Posted: May 1, 2015 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PG Cooper's Movie Reviews
Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson
The Fast and the Furious franchise is all kinds of flawed, but if nothing else it’s been fascinating to see this series evolve. The first film, released in 2001, was a humble little movie about drag racing which turned into a surprise hit. From there came two sequels which both suggested the series was heading straight for the direct-to-video bargain bin and plummeting fast. Then, inexplicitly, the series was save by 2009’s Fast & Furious, a substantial hit, and followed by Fast Five, which actually brought some level of legitimacy to the series, at least on the level of schlock action films. Now, The Fast and the Furious is one of the biggest move series around, with each entry proving a huge blockbuster. Personally, I’ve been pretty critical of these movies, but I’ve slowly had a change of heart. I still think they’re problematic, but there’s fun to be had in these movies, including the most recent, and most ridiculous entry, Furious 7.
After defeating international criminal Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) have been able to return safely to the United States and pursue their lives as they see fit. For Brian (Paul Walker), this means settling down with his wife (Jordana Brewster) and young son. However these plans are put on hold when Han (Sung Kang) is killed by Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), who is seeking vengeance on the crew that crippled his brother. Dom vows to avenge Han’s death, and is approached by covert ops leader Frank Petty (Kurt Russel), who can give Dom in his crew the resources they need to bring down Shaw provided they bring in a hacker captured by mercenary Mose Jakande (Djimon Hounsou). What follows is a globetrotting adventure of action and insane stunt work. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: April 12, 2015 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PG Cooper's Movie Reviews
Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson
In the last few years, it seems a lot of the genre films that receive a lot of praise are ones that are self-conscious genre deconstructions. In the realm of horror, the poster child for this is The Cabin in the Woods, but it’s a trend that can be spotted in other films as well and I’m growing tired of. It’s not the deconstruction of genre that bothers me, it’s the smug attitude these films have about pointing out genre conventions which annoy me. Horror’s most recently acclaimed film, It Follows, certainly seems like it could be such a film at first glance. The film certainly plays with conventions of the genre relating to sexual promiscuity, and it’s also a pretty clear throwback to the horror films of the late 1970s and 80s (namely John Carpenter), but it’s not defined a sense of “irony”. Instead, this is an interesting little horror film which chooses a unique angle and is made with conviction.
Jay (Maika Monroe) is a young girl living with her single mother (Debbie Williams) and sister, Kelly (Lili Sepe). Jay has been seeing a boy named Hugh (Jake Weary) and after a few dates the two have sex. After this, Hugh explains to Jay that he has been being stalked by a supernatural entity which can take the form of any human being (someone known or a stranger) which kills by touching the victim. He inherited this affliction by having sex with someone also “cursed”, and the only way to remove it is to pass it to another through sex. Naturally, Jay doesn’t believe him, but it soon becomes apparent is words are true as various forces only she can see have been relentlessly pursuing her. Her options are to flee, or to try and pass it on to someone else. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: March 22, 2015 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in Lists
Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson
First impressions are important. The opening scene of a film is one of the most crucial. Filmmakers need to grab the audiences’ attention right from the start while establishing certain elements which will run through the film, such as tone, characters, story, setting, etc. A lot of filmmakers have come up with some ingenious openings and I’ve wanted to do a list of my favourites for a while. However in my research I thought of another idea; movies that started really strong, but were never able to match their first scene. These movies listed aren’t necessarily bad, some I’d even call straight-up good, but each opened with a promise that wasn’t really met. The rankings of the list are based on two factors: how the excellence of the opening and how disappointing what follows is. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: February 23, 2015 by moviebuff801 in Lists
By: Michael “MovieBuff801″ Dennos
Another year, gone. So that means that it’s time once again to recount the films from the past year that had the most impact on me, and when I look over this line-up, I realize just how strong 2014 was overall for movies. Without further ado, here is that line-up:
Jake Gyllenhaal has sure had some interesting roles in the past few years, and Nightcrawler keeps that ball rolling with Lou Bloom, a dark, unsettling individual at the center of an equally dark and unsettling, but ultimately fascinating film. Gyllenhaal is at the top of his game as Bloom, a disturbingly driven man who finds work as a “nightcrawler,” i.e. someone who prowls the night with a police radio looking for accidents and crimes horrific enough to document to then sell that footage to any local news station. Bloom is creepily good at getting such footage, and most of the time, all it takes on Gyllenhaal’s part is just a widening of his eyes to communicate the fact that we should be sort of scared at his calm, calculating detachment in these kinds of circumstances. But that’s only a small facet of what’s overall a towering performance. The rest of what Nightcrawler has to offer is a sharply-written screenplay by Dan Gilroy, who also directs, and it’s a script that examines the various questions of moral and ethical issues that come with showing such graphic footage on television, and it really says a lot about how such questions can twist the people involved and it also shines a light on just how macabre the idea of “good news” has become. First-time director Dan Gilroy captures the nightlife of L.A. extremely well, along with the grittiness of the violence, culminating in a gripping car chase towards the end of the film. Dan Gilroy is of course related to Tony Gilroy, notable for Michael Clayton and his work on the Bourne franchise, and it would seem storytelling talent runs in their family. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: February 22, 2015 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in Lists
Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson
The Academy receives a lot of flak, much of it for good reasons. They’ve certainly made some head scratching decisions in the past, and will likely continue to do so for as long as there is an Academy. Still, for all their mistakes, they usually get a few things right each year. With that in mind, I present the last fifteen years at the Academy, with presenting an egregious mistake, but also a smart choice which holds up well. I’m strictly looking at the winners here. You wouldn’t see any list entries specifically focusing on what was and wasn’t nominated. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: February 15, 2015 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in Lists, PGCMAs
Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson *The above image represents 2013’s PGCMA Best Director and Best Picture winner; Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave.
There are two signs of a good year when might notice when compiling a top ten; reshuffling of the top choices, and having to make some tough cuts. There were lots of movies worthy of making this list and while it hurt to cut some, I’m really satisfied with the list assembled. Additionally, the top choices are all excellent and I put a lot of thought into where everything goes. So, to conclude my awards series, as always, my top ten films of the year, with my top five acting as my nominees for Best Director and Best Picture, with the number one film being the winner of the aforementioned awards. Thanks to everyone who read through my awards and without further ado, I present my choices for the top ten films of 2014. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: February 14, 2015 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PGCMAs
Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson*The above image represent’s 2013’s PGCMA Best Director and Best Picture winner; Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave.
Marion Cotilard, The Immigrant: Despite playing a character that’s a little too saint-like, this really is a strong performance from Marion Cotilard. She depicts Ewa as a caring woman gradually beaten down by an unjust world and she really nails some big emotional moments.
Charlotte Gainsbourg, Nymphomaniac: It must have been tempting to play the sex-addicted Joe in some over the top, maybe even depraved way, but that’s not at all what Charlotte Gainsbourg does. Instead, she plays Joe as essentially a normal person. She bears some regret for the pain she’s caused, but there’s also a sense of pride and self-confidence to her work. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: February 13, 2015 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PGCMAs
Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson*The above image represents 2013’s PGCMA Best Director and Best Picture winner; Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave.
Best Original Screenplay
Damien Chazelle, Whiplash: This is a very straight-forward movie that doesn’t have any major twists. Instead, the script for Whiplash finds its strength in deep characterization and a thorough understanding of the environment the film depicts. Chazelle has said the film is based on his own experiences in a jazz band and this certainly feels legit. More importantly, the two main characters feel very fleshed out.
Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler: Part of what makes Nightcrawler so special is the novelty of exploring a career never shown on film. I never thought about where news stations get their footage, but this shows it’s actually an interesting world. The characters are also strong with the dynamic between Lou and Nina being particularly rewarding. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: February 12, 2015 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PGCMAs
Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson*The above image represents 2013’s PGCMA Best Director and Best Picture winning film; Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave.
Best Foreign Language Film
I should probably note that there are a handful of films I wanted to see but was not able to for this award, like Winter Sleep and Force Majeure. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case, but it did allow for some smaller films to get in.
Gloria: This is a character study of a middle-aged woman trying to find some level of love and happiness in the later years of her life. Occasionally dramatic and occasionally funny, this is an entertaining little movie and while I’m unsure of how much attention this may have got had it been in English, but it’s a decent watch.
Ida: A black and white film about a Polish nun’s identity crisis in the wake of World War Two is about as art house as foreign cinema gets. Despite what could be an intimidating pedigree, this is actually a pretty accessible film with beautiful cinematography and a very engaging exploration of guilt and identity. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: February 10, 2015 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PGCMAs
Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson *The image represents 2013’s PGCMA Best Director and Best Picture winner; Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave.
Birdman: Birdman may not be quite as comedic as the trailer would suggest, but the film certainly walks the fine line between comedy and drama. Much of the humour comes from Keaton’s performance, but the script is also full of witty lines and Alejandro González Iñárritu proves to be surprisingly playful with the material.
The Grand Budapest Hotel: This has got all of the classic Wes Anderson humour. The visual style, the child-like innocence, quirky characters, and clever dialogue. However the film adds a new element for Anderson; profanity. There’s a surprising amount of cursing and Anderson weaves it into the rest of his dialogue seamlessly. It makes for an often hilarious mix. Read the rest of this entry »