Okay everyone, If you are reading this then congratulations! You successfully found my newest review of some of the MSU RHA Movie Offices recent additions. If you weren’t searching for this review and stumbled upon it, maybe give it a read and see if one of the reviews sparks your interest in a movie. As always I am Derek Bry, BFA Acting Major, an employee of the Movie Offices and operator of this very new blog. I am on twitter (@derekbry) and I would love to receive any feedback as to how you feel about this review blog, and ways that I could make my content better for readers. Without further ado, I shall begin.
12 Years A Slave: biography, history, drama R. — Post civil war america, free black man Solomon Northrup is abducted in upstate New York and sold into slavery. Solomon is sold first to Mr Ford and behaves well and is trusted with many responsibilities, but he refuses to redo his own work on a shed and is strung up by the neck from a man who also works for Mr Ford. Hours later once he is found Mr Ford cuts him down and helps Solomon into the house, and tells him he needs to be sold to keep him safe. He is then sold to Edwin Epps, a notorious ‘Slave Breaker’ who is particularly brutal. Solomon has to bide his time working on his cotton plant while trying to prove he is a freeman. Based on a true story, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, and Lupita N’yongo this picture was nominated for nine Academy Awards, winning Best Picture, Best Writing, and Best Actress for N’yongo’s performance. There are many thrilling moments and scenes of violence depicting how terrible it was to be forced to live as a slave. — I was blown away by this film, after watching how well it had done at the Academy Awards I was curious as to what it was all about besides slavery. Ejiofor’s performance was outstanding and the story of Solomon Northrup’s determination and tenacity is remarkable. The pain he suffers both physically and mentally as he waits and works trying to return to his family is so subtle and yet so apparent. He does not want to appear weak but he can’t deny the toll it takes on him. Every aspect of this film was wonderful, the set design and the costumes were very successful at drawing me into the world and when combined with the score and the actor’s choices I was blown away. Michael Fassbender was incredible as well playing Epps. He was intimidating and ruthless and unpredictable in a way that makes every move nerve racking. All in all this is a beautiful piece of work, aside from some violent scenes and the use of the N-word I recommend that everyone see this movie at some point. 12 Years A Slave 9/10
American Hustle: crime, drama R. — Con man Irving Rosenfeld is forced to work for FBI agent Richie DiMaso, going undercover with his british partner into the world of New Jersey power brokers and the mafia. A New Jersey Politician gets caught between the mob and the feds and Irving’s unpredictable wife adds a complicated element to the mix. Set during the 70’s this exciting film is filled with a star studded cast including Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Jennifer Lawrence. Nominated for ten Academy Awards including best picture, best actor in a lead role, best actress in a lead role and best supporting actor and actress. This is an excellent and unpredictable crime movie that is a lot of fun to watch. — I had really wanted to see this movie based on how interesting the trailer had appeared, but going in had I known nothing about the plot. After figuring out that it was a crime movie, that Christian Bale was really great at conning people and that Bradley Cooper needed him to go undercover for him to infiltrate the mob I started to focus more on what was happening. The costumes are great and exactly how the 70’s seemed to be, entirely successful in conveying the time period. The actors obviously were phenomenal based on their recognition at the Academy Awards, but there was something that I did not anticipate with a crime drama genre style film, there were many humorous moments. More than I had expected, Bradley Cooper is a young FBI agent still living at home trying to keep his work out of his family, and Jennifer Lawrence is great as Christian Bales eccentric wife. At some points the movie does get a little slow and plot heavy and missing these moments is rather detrimental to understanding all the deception going on on both sides of the operation. I really enjoyed this movie and give American Hustle an 8/10
Captain America: The Winter Soldier: action, adventure, sic-fi PG-13. — Steve Rodgers is struggling to adjust to the 21st century even with the help of Natasha Romanov (Black Widow) and director of SHIELD Nick Fury. He faces a new threat, a super soldier out of Russia known only as The Winter Soldier who is quite possibly his greatest foe. With the threat of corruption the Captain must decide who he can trust and who he can’t. Full of action, great fight sequences and classic Marvel style comedy this is his hardest challenge yet. — This movie is awesome. If you love Captain America, if you love Marvel in general then this is the movie for you. The first Captain America movie was great and did so much to introduce the Cap into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it was very plot centric with the development of Steve Rodgers as a character and his transformation into Captain America and what was going on with HYDRA. These were all completely necessary and made for a wonderful movie although there was a feeling of longing for more action sequences. The Winter Soldier satisfies that longing with some of the most exciting scenes in the MCU to date. Seemingly making up for all the lost fight scenes this movie is not short on action and cool shots. That isn’t to say that it is lacking in the plot department, with the introduction of a new character to the team and deception in SHIELD there is still much plot to be had. When I saw this film in May of last year I left the theatre under the impression that this movie was better than Avengers and was the best Marvel movie to date. Highly recommend to any fans of Marvel or its movies, Captain America: The Winter Soldier gets an 8.5/10
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: action, drama, sci-fi PG-13. — The second installment of this series revival takes place 10 years after the events of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and the pandemic has wiped out much of the human population. Caesar’s family and followers are thriving in the Redwood forest. The surviving humans living in San Francisco are desperate for power and need to access and repair the hydro-eclectic power plant in ape territory. Watch as ape and man attempt to trust one another only to end up in an all out war. Andy Serkis is phenomenal as Caesar the leader of the apes and gives a tremendous motion capture performance. With stunning visual effects this out does its predecessor. Also starring Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke, Keri Russell and Toby Kebbell. — I found the first movie in this reinstatement to be outstanding and like something I had never seen before. The CGI and motion capture performances were incredible and the plot was surprisingly touching. That being said this film blew it out of the water and is a fantastic sequel. While Rise is a more tender getting to understand the world of the film Dawn is a more supped up action flick. The plot is deep and important regarding the humans and apes abilities to trust each other in this strange new and highly volatile world and investigates the new relationships that these two species have with each other. The struggle between the two for power is also interesting, not really power over the other, so much as power to ensure their own security. But there is also more action in this movie. The motion capture performances by Serkis and the other actors playing apes is stunning. They somehow manage to give a performance that is not only apelike, but is also surprisingly human. There isn’t really a correct way to describe this interesting transitional period of development that the apes are going through as they adapt more human characteristics. If you were a fan of Rise or are a fan of Andy Serkis you will be very pleased with this movie. If you like gorillas, chimpanzees and orangoutangs you will also enjoy Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. I recommend seeing the first one before viewing this sequel so you have a better understanding of where the apes have come from and their journey to this point. I give Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 8/10