Movie Review: Godzilla

Godzilla

I had described this film as “glorious” on a few occasions to my friends.  As it ended, the film left me with a smile and wanting for more (in a good way).

I had no expectations heading into this film, barely taking note of the trailer and avoided reviews.  This probably helped me like the film more.

The film certainly takes its time to build up to the debut of the titular character, or the “Alpha Predator”, as the film calls it.  The wait was worth it, as my jaw dropped when Godzilla emerged out of the shadows and declared his presence with a menacing roar.

The epic set pieces and action sequences, particularly those featuring the giant beast, are reminiscent of the fights from “Pacific Rim.”  The movements of the combatants appear slow on screen but that precisely adds gravitas to the scene; each impact reverberates through the theater and the audience echoes the tension.

The casting was decent, although I would have liked to see more of Bryan Cranston.  Amazing special effects and adrenaline-filled battle scenes aside, the film does commit one of the bigger sins of story-telling, and the movie suffers from it.

Nevertheless, “Godzilla” definitely surprised me and blew me away, and it is the perfect way to open the summer movie season (sorry, Captain America, April openings don’t count).

Movie Review: Out of the Furnace

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Boasting a truly star-studded cast that includes Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Zoe Saldana, Woody Harrelson, Willem Dafoe, and Forrest Whitaker, “Out of the Furnace” nearly overwhelms the audience with its sheer amount of good acting performances.  The film is also proof that intriguing premises or mind-blowing concepts aren’t always prerequisite for good entertainment.

The film is a drama set in the shadow of the latest Iraq War, in working class, suburban America.  It follows the life of Russell Baze (Bale), a hard working mill worker and his brother Rodney (Affleck), who struggles to transition back into civilian life after four tours in Iraq.  The drama that unfolds is gripping, and we care about what happens to these characters every step of the way.  We feel their pains, and their reliefs.  We experience the fear together with the main characters as the endeavor into the lawless and barbaric countryside.

“Out of the Furnace” doesn’t break new grounds, but it is two hours of solid entertainment, and it deserves more viewing and recognition than it has so far.

Movie Review: Captain America: Winter Soldier

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In a somewhat surprising turn, the sequel to 2011’s “Captain America: The First Avenger” not only tops its predecessor, but also outdoes the last two sequels released by Marvel, “Iron Man 3” and “Thor 2.”  While the plot of “Iron Man 3” is more of a character study of Tony Stark’s personal struggles since the events of “The Avengers”, and the plot of “Thor 2” focuses on the peace on a galactic scale, “The Winter Soldier” brings us back into Earth and continues the mission of keeping peace on our planet.

The stakes are never higher.  The plot and set pieces are well laid out and the audience is never confused as to what is going on.  The special effects perfectly accompanies the humanist story.  Finally, even with the obvious political undertones exploring the devastating potentials of state overreach, and laying the ground work for the next Avengers movie with the introduction of the Hydra organization and new villains, the film does not seem too preachy or drags along.

I chose to watch the film in IMAX 3D and it was worth every penny.  Every time the Winter Soldier punches Captain’s shield the theatre vibrated along with it.

As I mentioned, “The Winter Soldier” is the best Marvel (by Marvel Studios) film probably since 2012’s “The Avengers.”  Definitely catch it before “Avengers 2.”