Are The Movies Any Good Any More ? Have Multiplexes Caused The Death Of Good Movies.

I did not find any movies this week worthy of review, so for this week only till normal service is resumed I will be talking about the cinema and the movies in them right now.

I think the rot may have set in quite a few years ago. Picture it, it is the 1980’s and the new boy on the block is the video cassette tape now consigned to the bargain bin of technology and probably gathering dust in your attic as we speak.

Well this now defunct technology caused a serious problem in the world of cinema, little cinemas with maybe one or two screens in every medium sized town started to close under the avalanche of VHS. Everybody now had a VHS tape player so why bother sitting in an old crumbling cinema whose golden era had passed when you could sit in the comfort of your own home.

This seemed to signal the death nell of cinema. But while it had been delivered a body blow it went away and rethought it’s packaging and enter the new improved multiplex offering imported from the United States. We all love shopping, so more often than not most multiplexes now are attached to a greater shopping experience.

This however has caused a problem I feel. Whereas once Hollywood only had to produce a few movies to satisfy the needs of the cinemas of the world. Now the average multiplex now contains no less than 5 screens and sometimes many more. This now means that many movies that have to be made to feed this monster. Movies used to spend many weeks, if not months in a cinema. Now most movies, if they are lucky live the high life on their opening weekend and maybe the following 2 weeks, after this space has to be made for the next offering to the cinema going public.

This is not to say that every movie that has come out recently is a dud, far from it. But I think that these jewels get lost in the multiple choices offered to us. Some are not even that lucky and get consigned to the arthouse or independent cinema circuit and never even get a sniff of being in the multiplexes.

If you have any interest in cinema and I asked you to tell me the movies that you had seen in the past few months, I would say you would struggle to remember most of them. They are a bit like the popcorn that is served in multplexes nowadays – packaged in a big colourful box and instantly forgotten once consumed. However if I asked you what movies are your favourite ones from 1 to 10 there would be a good chance that this list would contain movies that have been released pre 1990.

The financial figures for cinema are pretty good at the moment and audiences are quite healthy right now, but I seriously doubt that Pixels will be looked on with misty-eyed nostalgia with today’s youth in 10 or 15 years and will see them queue around the block to view a retro screening of it !!

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Paper Towns

Having never read the book that this movie is based on I came to this movie fresh with no preconceptions of whether it would measure up against the book. This is not unique for me I am by nature a more visual person so when it comes to a choice of the story told by book or film, I tend to default to the movie, sorry authors and writers of the world.

There is a good chance that you will not have heard of any of the actors in this movie and I even myself could not name any movies they might have been in, previous to this movie. Cara Delevingne is probably going to be draw for most people to see how she does making the move from model to actor.

It is the plotline of many a John Hughes 80’s movie, the boy lives next to his neighbour the girl and his friendship with her of many years has changed to love. She of course is popular in high school and he is a shy young man who just has trouble expressing his love for her and worships her from afar, she needless to say has no idea that he feels that way about her.

The shy young man Quentin is played by actor Nat Wolff and Cara Delevingne plays the part of Margo, the object of his obsession.

One night Margo appears at the window of Quentin’s bedroom and recruits him to go on a night of revenge pranks on Margo’s friends who she feels have wronged her. Quentin though timid at first eventually opens up to the possibilities that this night of pranks will give him and possibly get closer to Margo.

After the night of fun Quentin goes to school as normal but Margo does not appear and this does not change over the next few days. I am sure like me your mind will go intially to the storyline of many a murder mystery, this however is not that movie.

Quentin decides to follow a set of breadcrumbs left by Margo and ends up going on a cross country roadtrip to find the missing Margo. He recruits his friends into his little roadtrip and as often happens in roadtrip movies, it is less about the destination and more about what it takes to get there.

I won’t spoil the ending and whether they locate Margo but this is one of the better ones and I for one really enjoyed this movie and reminded me of many movies of my youth, a little montage I really enjoyed at the end of the movie took me back to a simular one in the iconic 80’s movie The Breakfast Club, no problem borrowing from a movie like that as long as you don’t do it scene for scene. A great little movie and worthy of making some time in your week to check it out.

In case you were wondering where the title of the book and movie was inspired by. Paper Towns is a trick used by mapmakers, create a non – existent town on your map and if you see this map reproduced anywhere you know that someone has copied it without your prior permission.

#MOVIES V REAL

How do you shorten a trip on a map in the movies, well why not take a cue from Indiana Jones. Create a line on a map between the two points and superimpose your mode of transport onto the screen. Ah, if only we could do that in real life, goodbye jetlag. Sadly, unless someone has created a Star-Trek style transporter and is keeping it quiet, we will still have to keep taking those travel sickness tablets !!

Trainwreck

Have you ever been indulgent and gone to more than one movie in a day, I had planned to write a review for a completely different movie which was the first part of my indulgence. But as so often happens with me at least there are one or two movies that surprise you and so it came to pass with Trainwreck, a little surprise and guaranteed to be a good night out at the movies.

The lead actress Amy Schumer is well known recently for Saturday Night Live on American TV. This is her first foray into a lead role and based on this she will  be penciled in for more roles in future movies.

We find Amy, also the character’s name working for a mens magazine whose stories seem to driven by a no holes barred approach and the boss that no one would want to work for.

The movie aptly describes the love life of Amy, get just close enough to be loved but show the man the door before it even has a chance of getting serious, partly influenced by Amy’s childhood and how her Dad behaved when she was growing up. You are probably thinking this does not sound very comedic, but often this is where the best comedy stems from.

Well Amy has been given the assignment of interviewing sports doctor Aaron Conners played by Bill Hader. Despite herself she finds as time goes on that she really falls in love with Aaron. This really throws Amy for a loop and of course she is put on the back foot.

This movie will surprise you with some quite touching scenes mixed through the comedy. This movie has a heart and is not just played for laughs. Unlike some comedy movies, you care about happens to Amy and want it to work out for her, and the final scenes will have you punching the air with a metaphorical  – Yeah !!

Amy Schumer has written this movie and Judd Apatow directs. The paring works very well and I for one hope that this not the last time they work together.

Whether you are just looking for out and out laughs or a great date movie, this movie won’t disappoint. It’s like the movie equivalent of a nice warm hug and you are certain to come out with a warm glow about you.

#MOVIES V REAL LIFE

It seems that most nights out in the movies always go well, well maybe horror movies don’t follow that template. How many times have you gone on a night out and something always spoils the party quite literally. A spilt glass of something that you know despite your best efforts will never come out the morning after. As we are talking the morning after how many times have you woken up and you think ” Did I really drink that much and who is this person beside me in the bed ”

I really want to go on one of those movie nights out where you are the centre of attention and everyone thinks you are a font of sparkling conversation and wit. Sadly real life never plays out that way, does it !!

Fantastic Four

You may wonder why this movie was made since the two previous most recent incarnations did not exactly set the box office alight.

Well the observant among you might notice that newest version is made by Twentieth Century Fox rather than Marvel/Disney, this comes about due to the fact that this graphic novel team is one of the older group of the Marvel universe and has been around since the 1960’s and that the rights are not exclusively held by Marvel, so maybe Fox thought we will have a little of that pie, an expensive pie mind you €120 million dollars exactly.

This version is directed by Josh Trank, who directed a movie of a few years ago Chronicle which is about young people who suddenly gained superpowers and what they do with them. So no change there with this story.

The actor Michael B. Jordan has come along with Josh Trank from Chronicle and plays the part of the Human Torch. New actors to this movie are Miles Teller ( Whiplash ) who plays the part of Reed Richards – Mr Fantastic, Kate Mara plays Susan Storm and Jamie Bell plays The Thing.

This is movie is a movie of two halves. The first half tells us the origin story of how the Fantastic Four came to be – from childhood to Reed tapping into the secret of interdimensional travel. This part of the movie works well and you settle in and think ” This is going to a good movie “. Then something happens not quite sure what but I think they were so busy setting up the story, they then realised that is after all a comic book based novel and then tried to shoehorn this into the movie. A little late into the proceedings as it happens and the results don’t quite gel with the first half of the movie.

Doctor Doom, the Fantastic Four’s nemesis appears in the form of the actor Toby Kebbell. He comes along for an unsanctioned ride into another dimension which does not go well and they are all changed in various ways and gain new powers on a primeordial Earth-like planet called planet Zero. He is left behind by the other members of the group and is transformed into Doctor Doom. To say he is not happy about this an understatement and seeks to change this planet Zero by pulling matter through the dimension from Earth, which puts our planet in peril and the Fantastic Four are required to step up to the mark and put a stop to Doctor Doom’s plans.

This as I earlier outlined is where the movie does not quite work, which is sad as the first part started so well. They have not injected enough humour or action into this movie, which is why in essence the most recent selection of Marvel movies have done well at the box office and is why most of us go to them. We want to be entertained, we want to care about the fate of movie’s main stars and this does not really happen and this may answer why this movie does not quite work.

They have penciled in a sequel for 2017 but a have a feeling based on this movie and how it has been received that this may not come to pass.

The Fantastic Four – More like just the Okay Four. It seems that 120 million dollars, just does not get you as much as it did before.

#MOVIES V REAL LIFE

CGI is great for the modern movie storyteller, but done badly it just lets down the whole movie. You sit there peeking through your hands thinking ” When will this horror end ” and as we are talking about horror they can be particularly guilty of this. Instead sometimes, bad CGI or special effects can make you laugh when you are ment to be screaming. You have heard the expression ” So bad it was good ” well filmmakers if you have a limited budget, don’t skimp here. Otherwise you might find that the movie going public might desend on you zombie – like for making them sit through your badly CGI-ied movie.

Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation

If you live in Ireland at least, of late when you here the initials IMF your mind automatically goes to those 3 men from the troika standing on the steps of the Department Of Finance around the time of the most recent financial crisis. But I am digressing.

We have now reached no 5 in the Mission Impossible franchise, so how do you make it new and fresh. Well strapping Tom Cruise to the side of a moving plane is certain to catch ones interest. Whereas most actors would be happy to CGI themselves into stunts, Tom Cruise god bless his enthusiasm for wanting to please his audience likes to put himself right in the centre of the action. Must be a nightmare for the films insurance people.

As we arrive at the start of the movie the IMF has been disbanded but a new threat has emerged in the form of The Syndicate, who are they ? what motivates them ? It turns out that they are collection of ex-spies from many countries who supposedly are dead according to official records. They seek to establish a new world order through a series of escalating terrorist attacks. At the head of this organisation is a baddie worthy of a Bond movie played expertly by and very menacingly by Sean Harris.

This is probably one of the most difficult missions that Ethan Hunt and his team have yet had to face. Along the way he encounters Ilsa Faust a disavowed British agent. Throughout the movie you are unsure, is she with The Syndicate or is she trying to help Ethan. She is played expertly by Swedish-British actress Rebecca Ferguson and unlike a lot of past Bond girls she is not just there on screen to make it look nice, she is everybit the equal of Ethan Hunt and shows this in one particular scene – a motorbike chase in Morocco which will have you gripping the edge of the seat.

Simon Pegg is back as Ethan’s techy and comic sidekick and provides the best comic moments of the movie, Ving Rhames re-appears as the long term member of the IMF.

You can just watch this movie for the action or you can get involved in minutiae of the storyline which sometimes feels like you are watching a visual representation of a John Le Carre novel, which ever you prefer you won’t be disappointed. This movie feels more like the start of a franchise rather than the fifth movie in, so buy your popcorn and Coke at the concession stand and settle in for a slightly more than two hours enjoyable Summer blockbuster.

It seems as well that we are in for a bit of a spyfest over the next few months with the Guy Ritchie movie based on the 60’s TV series ” The Man From Uncle ” then of course the daddy of them all the new James Bond ” Spectre ” and finally of in the distant horizon Stephen Spielberg will complete the set with his Cold War in Berlin inspired movie.

# MOVIES V REAL LIFE

How many time have you watched a movie with a car chase in it and though this is great but not very realistic. It always amazes me that the car comes out with barely a scratch on it and the same seems to be the case for it’s occupants.

More often than not even a slight tip in your local supermarket carpark seems to result in a large scrape worthy of the Titanic’s encounter with the iceberg and will also result in setting off your airbags.

Maybe those airbags should be on the outside as well as the inside !!

Inside Out

While good, Pixar’s output of late has not exactly set the world of animation alight, did you go to Brave or Cars 2 ? This year however we are getting two Pixar movies, later in the year we get The Good Dinosaur and this week get Inside Out. The director is Pete Docter who created another Pixar movie Up, he has said in other interviews that the genesis of this story was in part inspired watching his own daughter making that transition from young girl to teenager and all that happens with that change.

We all really would love to know what others are thinking and in particular many parents would love to know what their children are thinking, this in essence is the premise of Inside Out. This is the story of Riley and her parents.

Riley’s life is settled, she has had a good upbringing, enjoys hanging with her best friend, does well in school and enjoys playing ice hockey in Mid America Minnesota. But as often happens in life, nothing stays the same. Riley’s dad voiced by Kyle McLachlan has to take his family across America for a new work possibility in San Francisco This upsets Riley’s little life.

All her emotions have been given a character Joy,Sadness, Fear & Anger which decide how Riley behaves when presented with a life situation. Joy is the central one of these voiced by Amy Pohler, she is the one who tries to keep Riley on an even keel from the emotional control room. Riley’s important core touchstones like family e.t.c are represented by islands. But all is not well in Riley’s life thanks to the unexpected move and Joy and Sadness have to go on an odyssey to make sure that Riley can get back to the person she used to be. Sadness,Fear and Anger are left in charge but being the emotions they are, chaos ensues.

A lot of the theories of how our brains and emotions work will more than likely go over young children’s heads but kudos to Pixar for trying to explain it to us in general. There is always a danger when trying to explain these deep concepts that it can feel like one of scientific toys that parents buy for their children thinking it will expand their minds and the kid gets more enjoyment out of the box that it came in.

Thankfully this never really happens with Inside Out and it is both an engaging, touching and heartwarming story. So if you find yourself at a loss when the Summer weather does not behave itself. Pack the children into the car and take yourself to the local multiplex or cinema, both you and the kids will enjoy it.

As we are talking about Pixar, did you realise that it is 20 years since we were first introduced to the wonder of the Pixar animated world in Toy Story. Keep that sense of wonder and enjoyment going Pixar.

# MOVIES V LIFE

Emotions are strange things, very human. So in our rush to create new, faster, more responsive technology maybe it might be a good idea not to include emotions into the mix. After all remember what happened to Data from Star Trek everytime the crew or he decided to switch on his emotion chip.

Ant Man

Ant who ? Yes I am sure like me when you heard the latest Marvel Superhero was to be Ant Man, you scratched your head and thought who is he, I’ve never heard of him. He is one of the lesser known superheroes and also has not been transformed by a radioactive spider.

This movie has had a bit of a troubled history, the original director Joe Wright left due to creative differences with Marvel / Disney and Peyton Reed stepped into the directors chair. Some of Joe Wright’s scenes still survive in this movie and who knows what that movie might have been. But don’t let that put you off.

At the start we see Hank Pym ( Michael Douglas ) in a room with Howard Stark – Hank is reluctant to let his most recent invention into the hands of Howard Stark. Fast forward in time and we see Scott Lang ( Paul Rudd ) a small time crook with a young daughter on the outside of prison where he currently resides. He is convinced to do just one more job by colleagues once he gets out.

Despite his better judgement he agrees to break in to a wealthy man’s house. We find out that this house happens to be the house of Hank Pym. Scott is caught but rather press charges Hank asks Scott to help him to defeat the actions of his former protege Darren Cross ( Corey Stoll ) who has become villain of the peace.

This movie leans heavily on the fact that Scott has been shrunk to the size of an ant and the best scenes come out of this. Most Marvel movies have some humour in them, but this has a lot more and is the better for it. Paul Rudd is ideally cast as Scott as he has lots of experience with humour. Evangeline Lily makes an appearance as Hank’s daughter Hope, and one scene hints as to a new character should Ant Man 2 come to pass. I enjoyed this movie much more than the most recent Avengers which I felt had lost some of it’s spark.

Even if you are not a major superhero fan, if you are looking for a movie that mixes comedy and action very well. Check it out, you will be pleasantly surprised. Who knows you might even be counting the days till Ant Man 2 is released.

#MOVIES V REAL LIFE

Much as the idea of being bitten by a radioactive spider and swinging through New York sounds cool, I have sneaking thought that the end result would be more akin to the THE FLY rather than the red and black spandex Marvel superhero we all love. So make sure to stay out of lab !!