Saturday, March 23, 2019

The Dark Knight Review

The Dark Knight, 96%, A, 4.5 Stars
The Batman movie fans deserve. The Dark Knight has it all: great action, quality characters, and an epic dynamic, all of which helps it hold up more than ten years later.
Plot
-Pacing 9/10
The movie itself is a bit long, but I can’t think of anything to not cut. The issue is more in presentation, but I digress.
-Coherence 9/10
The overall plot makes sense, but small things slip the cracks or get picked up on so far in that you may have forgotten how it was set up earlier.
Characters
-Relatability 10/10
I felt like these characters represented power dynamics we can all find relatable, especially with arguments of morality and whether we’re all really like the Joker deep down or not.
-Development 8/10
Despite that relatability, I still didn’t care too much for these characters. I care more than in Batman Begins, but Nolan never really shows enough of the human story to make me invest in them. We’re just presented with Jim Gordon’s family, and supposed to care because of Gordon, but we’re not shown enough of them being a family in my opinion.
On the positive side, Nolan develops Bruce Wayne well as the man trying to be the symbol and does a good job of showing how he covers his tracks, even in the face of Coleman Reese trying to expose him.
Picture
-Visual Believability 10/10
The visuals age outstandingly well thanks to minimal CGI. The world feels realer with practical effects and real crowds than any computer ever could make it.
-Purposeful Content 10/10
Everything advances the story of a city on the edge of order and chaos.
Soundtrack
-Emotional Resonance 10/10
Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard give this soundtrack their all, with the Joker’s theme “Why so Serious?” in particular selling the terrifying nature of the character.
-Appropriate Use 10/10
It all enhances their respective scenes.
Dialogue
-Appropriate Humor 10/10
There’s just enough humor to break the tension, such as when Bruce covers his tracks with the ballet dancer boat or when he saves Gordon as Bruce Wayne and asks if he should go to a hospital to help detract any suspicion he’s Batman.
-Appropriate Cursing 10/10
The language is surprisingly clean, but the rest of the movie’s edgy enough for me to disregard it.
Franchises either die a crappy mess, or live long enough to see themselves rebooted and elevated to new heights. In this case, Batman lives long enough to be elevated to new heights. If you take away the suit, then it’s still a great movie about order and chaos, which means it ages very well.
Numeric Breakdown
-1 = That Bad
0. Unbearable
  1. Awful
  2. Really Bad
  3. Bad
  4. Weak
  5. Mediocre
  6. Questionable
  7. Good
  8. Great
  9. Amazing
  10. Perfect
Letter Grade
100%-97% = A+
96%-93% = A
92%-90% = A-
89%-87% = B+
86%-83% = B
82%-80% = B-
79%-77% = C+
76%-73% = C
72%-70% = C-
69%-67% = D+
66%-63% = D
62%-60% = D-
59% or below = F
Star Grid
0%-19% = 0.5 Stars
20%-29% = 1 Star
30%-39% = 1.5 Stars
40%-49% = 2 Stars
50%-59% = 2.5 Stars
60%-69% = 3 Stars
70%-79% = 3.5 Stars
80%-89% = 4 Stars
90%-99% = 4.5 Stars
100% = 5 Stars

Friday, March 22, 2019

The Purge Review

The Purge, 3/22/19, 74%, C, 3.5 Stars.
Painfully average at best, boring at worst.
Plot
-Pacing 3/10
The movie moves so fast, I wondered if I’d missed something. Granted, I did start this when I got home from a long day of doing stuff, but it moved so fast, I thought I missed something, and after checking and confirming I didn’t, I just wonder what why.
-Coherence 7/10
The movie for the most part made sense, but I didn’t really feel invested in this. The ideas presented were interesting, but I didn’t get a sense of urgency.
Characters
-Relatability 7/10
I figure the characters reacted the way any of us would in this kind of context. It wasn’t bad in this regard, it just wasn’t extraordinary.
-Development 5/10
Even worse was the character development. I didn’t feel any reason to care for the Sandins, even when the son brings in the guy who’s the target. There was a lot of room for improvement, such as showing Mr. Sandin as a strict father instead of just saying so, which would make the boyfriend’s motivations clearer.
Picture
-Visual Believability 10/10
The best part of this is the visuals. Maybe I’ve been watching so many Marvel movies off the record, but I really liked how this wasn’t a heavy-CGI blockbuster, and was just more down to Earth with its visuals.
-Purposeful Content 10/10
Everything on screen advanced the story and at least wasn’t pointless.
Soundtrack
-Emotional Resonance 8/10
The soundtrack added here and there, but didn’t go as far as it could have.
-Appropriate Use 8/10
See previous section.
Dialogue
-Appropriate Humor 6/10
I’m a little conflicted on the humor because I’d have liked more, but at the same time, it may have ruined what little tension was there.
-Appropriate Cursing 10/10
The language was appropriate in its context.
While fairly consistent and mercifully short, this clearly needed some retooling, and adding material to develop characters would have helped. To align with the movie, I’m ending this review here as suddenly as possible.
Numeric Breakdown
-1 = That Bad
0. Unbearable
  1. Awful
  2. Really Bad
  3. Bad
  4. Weak
  5. Mediocre
  6. Questionable
  7. Good
  8. Great
  9. Amazing
  10. Perfect
Letter Grade
100%-97% = A+
96%-93% = A
92%-90% = A-
89%-87% = B+
86%-83% = B
82%-80% = B-
79%-77% = C+
76%-73% = C
72%-70% = C-
69%-67% = D+
66%-63% = D
62%-60% = D-
59% or below = F
Star Grid
0%-19% = 0.5 Stars
20%-29% = 1 Star
30%-39% = 1.5 Stars
40%-49% = 2 Stars
50%-59% = 2.5 Stars
60%-69% = 3 Stars
70%-79% = 3.5 Stars
80%-89% = 4 Stars
90%-99% = 4.5 Stars
100% = 5 Stars

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Review (Project: Henry's Endgame)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier, 99%, A+, 4.5 Stars
Who the hell’s Joe Johnston? The Russo brothers don’t just advance the character of Steve Rogers, but evolve his story into something beyond the period piece his first movie was, enhanced with commentary on freedom vs. security.
Plot
-Pacing 10/10
We waste no time getting started with Steve making a new friend, followed by a stealth mission and from there, almost non-stop action. It breathes at the right moments in the right ways.
-Coherence 10/10
The story makes sense from beginning to end, with all the twists set up properly, although Fury not dying was one that the marketing gave away. It also delivered amazing commentary on modern society with Project Insight and Steve’s take on modern day “security” being something we as a citizenry should all worry about. I for one would rather not have a metaphorical gun pointed to my head 24/7 to make me play nice, and if you disagree with me, Fury and Pierce represent your viewpoint well.
Characters
-Relatability 10/10
The two worldviews this movie shows are nuanced yet simple: freedom for security vs. freedom to do what’s right. It’s a relevant dynamic that makes the viewer question whose hands you want your security in. Steve’s dilemma is very relatable to me because I can’t stand being a blind follower of any group, and he challenges the status quo, which I would describe as the audience living through him for those who may want it changed but don’t have the willpower to do so.
-Development 10/10
This dynamic also develops Steve as the man out of time. It advances his journey by corrupting the establishment he trusted, which challenges his black-and-white worldview of the establishment being an all-good entity.
Picture
-Visual Believability 9/10
Some of the CGI shots are too obvious for me, especially when contrasted with the magnificent shaky-cam fight scenes that feel realer than any computer ever could make it.
-Purposeful Content 10/10
Everything advances Steve’s character arc and adds to the real world commentary.
Soundtrack
-Emotional Resonance 10/10
Henry Jackman’s soundtrack ditches Alan Silvestri’s grand orchestral score for a grittier, less romanticized sound that sells the machiavellian nature of the Winter Soldier and the more confusing nature of the times Captain America woke up in.
-Appropriate Use 10/10
It was consistently used appropriately to sell the scenes.
Dialogue
-Appropriate Humor 10/10
There’s an occasional quip, and a fun tone to the opening before the serious stuff begins, and even then, any humor that shows up isn’t overbearing. Moments like Steve and Natasha kissing to unnerve the Hydra goons and the recurring Natasha trying to push Steve into the dating game is naturally placed and effective.
-Appropriate Cursing 10/10
While the shield gets dirty from the fighting unlike in The Avengers, the language is rightfully a little dirty here and there.
The Winter Soldier is Marvel’s greatest movie of them all. While the CGI shots aged poorly in the last five years, the grittier fight scenes hold up brilliantly and the commentary enhances the story. When I first saw this, my only problem was the fact it ended, but now, those effects are too obvious. The freedom vs. security commentary will hold up well because of the truth Arnim Zola dished out in that bunker: freedom won’t be taken by force, people will give it up for security in a world that’s gone crazy.
Numeric Breakdown
-1 = That Bad
0. Unbearable
  1. Awful
  2. Really Bad
  3. Bad
  4. Weak
  5. Mediocre
  6. Questionable
  7. Good
  8. Great
  9. Amazing
  10. Perfect
Letter Grade
100%-97% = A+
96%-93% = A
92%-90% = A-
89%-87% = B+
86%-83% = B
82%-80% = B-
79%-77% = C+
76%-73% = C
72%-70% = C-
69%-67% = D+
66%-63% = D
62%-60% = D-
59% or below = F
Star Grid
0%-19% = 0.5 Stars
20%-29% = 1 Star
30%-39% = 1.5 Stars
40%-49% = 2 Stars
50%-59% = 2.5 Stars
60%-69% = 3 Stars
70%-79% = 3.5 Stars
80%-89% = 4 Stars
90%-99% = 4.5 Stars
100% = 5 Stars