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Chappie (2015) Review

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Chappie

Time: 120 Minutes
Age Rating: 2773-o[1] Violence and Offensive Language
Cast:
Sharlto Copley as Chappie
Dev Patel as Deon Wilson
Ninja as Ninja
Yolandi Visser as Yolandi
Jose Pablo Cantillo as Amerika
Sigourney Weaver as Michelle Bradley
Hugh Jackman as Vincent Moore
Director: Neill Blomkamp

In the near future, crime is patrolled by an oppressive mechanized police force. But now, the people are fighting back. When one police droid, Chappie (Sharlto Copley), is stolen and given new programming, he becomes the first robot with the ability to think and feel for himself. As powerful, destructive forces start to see Chappie as a danger to mankind and order, they will stop at nothing to maintain the status quo and ensure that Chappie is the last of his kind.

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Chappie has been one of my most anticipated films of the year but it has been getting mixed to negative reviews since its release. It got the point where some people are worried about director Neill Blomkamp taking on the Alien franchise. Despite all the negative reviews I found myself enjoying this movie. It’s not perfect and I think that District 9 and Elysium are better than this, but I still think it’s a good film and is worth checking out if you haven’t seen it already.

One thing that I’ve noticed about the negative reviews of this film is that they didn’t like the direction that the plot went. This is mainly because of the marketing campaign misled expectations into a different direction to what the movie is about, which is why I recommend not watching the trailer. A lot of the movie has Chappie growing up with some drug dealers (played by the members of Die Antwoord) and are personally my main criticism of the film. It’s not the direction of the plot, I know what Blomkamp was trying to do by focussing on immoral characters, they are supposed to be bad people who are sympathetic but I didn’t feel the latter part, especially when it came to a character named Ninja, who I personally just couldn’t stand. Aside from the writing of those characters however, the other characters are well written and the plot kept me interested.

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Sharlto Copley returns for another Neill Blomkamp film and as usual is great. This time taking on motion capture, expresses a lot through it and he seems real and is shown evolving and learning, like a child and I could really see that through his performance. Dev Patel was also really good and Hugh Jackman was great as the villain of the film. Sigourney Weaver was decent but she played so little part in the role it was a wonder why she was cast. As I said earlier, the biggest fault of the movie are the drug dealers, played by the members of music group Die Antwoord. I have no idea why they were cast, but at times the film felt like a 2 hour commercial for them especially seeing as how they keep their band names as their character names. The actors did fine with what they had but the characters could’ve been better written.

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Like I said before, the motion effects on Chappie look excellent, he seemed real and is the highlight of the film. The action scenes like in District 9 and Elysium are fantastic, with great CGI and its cinematography. I do feel like it’s worth mentioning that Blomkamp overused slow motion a little too much for my taste but it’s not really a big flaw. I also particularly enjoy the soundtrack by Hans Zimmer, which really isn’t a big surprise, as every score that he composes is excellent.

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With Chappie, Neill Blomkamp (at least for me) proves once again that he’s a great director who can make really good movies. Even though this film hadn’t been getting a lot of love I still think it’s worth watching Chappie and making up your own opinion about it yourself. While some people are worried about Neill Blomkamp taking on the Alien franchise, I’m not. In fact I’m even more excited seeing as how he’s now successfully made 3 solid Sci-Fi films in a row.

X-Men (2000)

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X-Men

Time: 104 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine
Patrick Stewart as Professor Charles Xavier
Ian McKellen as Eric Lensherr/Magneto
Famke Janssen as Jean Grey
James Marsden as Scott Summers/Cyclops
Halle Berry as Ororo Munroe/Storm
Anna Paquin as Rogue/Marie
Tyler Mane as Sabretooth
Ray Park as Toad
Rebecca Romijn as Mystique
Bruce Davison as Senator Kelly
Director: Bryan Singer

Unique power-possessing mutants live in a world where their kind is hated by humans. Two mutants emerge: Logan (Hugh Jackman), a powerful and aggressive mutant with no past, no memories, and a girl, Rogue (Anna Paquin). Their quests for identities eventually land them in the sights of the fellow mutants and former friends, Erik Lehnsherr, a.k.a. Magneto (Ian McKellan), and Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart). Xavier wants a peaceful means of stopping the hatred toward mutants, while Magneto seeks to even things out with a machine that would speed up the mutation process in all humans. Xavier brings together a special group of mutants called “X-Men” to stop him.

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Superhero movies were very successful (and are still successful today) but in the 90s, superhero movies have started going down the drain, with movies like Batman and Robin, The Phantom and many others failing miserably. In the early 2000s though, some superhero movies started to become good and helped bring the genre back to praise. X-Men is one of these movies that helped the superhero genre do this and although I wouldn’t put it among my top 10 best superhero movies, it is still a decent movie on its own.

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Unlike some of the other comic book movies at the time, X-Men manages to be grounded in reality; the only parts that you have to really suspend your disbelief are that all these mutations could lead to super powers. The story is quite simple but it is effective. I do feel that apart from some characters like Wolverine, Rouge and Magneto, there weren’t a lot of characters that had a lot of personality or depth; this is particular with the villains (with the exception of Magneto).

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The standout performance in this movie is Hugh Jackman; he manages to bring out so much of his character. Patrick Stewart is also well cast as the wise Professor X and makes his lines convincing. Anna Paquin plays Rogue, a mutant who can’t touch a human being without harming them and she is quite good in the role; I know that a lot of people don’t share the same opinion as I have heard that she’s not like how she is in the comics. Ian McKellen was really good as Magneto, he’s one of those villain characters you can understand why they do what they are doing; he seemed human. Apart from these actors, the others do pretty well in their roles with what they got, however like I said, a lot of these characters don’t have much personality traits, especially the villains. Mystique was great in her fighting and transformation scenes, Sabretooth was a brute that didn’t really say anything and Toad, I still wonder why he was chosen as one of Magneto’s henchmen, he seemed the wrong choice. They looked good on screen and in action scenes but I can’t think of any personality trait that these characters showed; their personalities are set to ‘Villain Henchmen’ mode.

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The special effects were pretty good and were well used to show the abilities of the mutants. The action was also well filmed, particularly with the fight scenes, which the film had quite a lot of. The soundtrack by John Ottman was pretty good, if not as memorable as some other scores for other superhero movies.

Neu im Kino: Science Fiction- Abenteuer "X-Men - Der Film"

X-Men isn’t the best superhero movie ever made but it is an enjoyable movie to watch. In any case, it deserves recognition for being some of the movies that brought back the superhero movies in the early 2000s. Bryan Singer successfully brought the X-Men to the big screen the best way possible. It is worth checking out if you haven’t seen it already.

Prisoners (2013)

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Prisoners

Time: 153 Mins
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, offensive language and content that may disturb
Cast:
Hugh Jackman as Keller Dover
Jake Gyllenhaal as Detective Loki
Viola Davis as Nancy Birch
Maria Bello as Grace Dover
Terrance Howard as Franklin Birch
Melissa Leo as Holly Jones
Paul Dano as Alex Jones
Director: Denis Villeneuve

Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman), his wife Grace (Maria Bello), their teenage son Ralph and little daughter Anna celebrate Thanksgiving with their friends, Franklin Birch (Terrance Howard), his wife Nancy (Viola Davis), their teenage daughter Eliza and their little daughter Joy. After a while, the parents noticed that their youngest daughters disappeared. Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) is assigned to the case. The only lead is an RV parked on the street the day the girls disappeared. Its driver Alex Jones (Paul Dano) is arrested but is released due to a lack of evidence. As the police pursue many leads, Keller decides to take matters into his own hands, knowing his child’s life is at stake.

 

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Prisoners is a very surprising movie, first hearing about it I expected good performances. Instead what I got were great performances, high tension and well written dialogue. There was never a moment when I predicted something would happen. The dialogue between people is already fascinating and interesting; on top of that it’s delivered by actors who can make the lines very authentic and real. A lot of the movie spends time just on the family, when they aren’t looking for their daughters. That’s something that I don’t see with most kidnapping movies, most kidnapping movies follow the police trying to find the captives or focus on family trying to find them. Prisoners has probably the best representation of a family reacting to a kidnapping. There is still quite a bit of looking for the daughters and that is done very well too but the fact that the film takes time to focus on the characters instead on the plot, makes it stand out from other kidnapping movies. The final act was very intense for me as the stakes continually rise.

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A lot of this came from the excellent performances from this movie. This is hands down the best performance I’ve seen from Hugh Jackman, even better than in X-Men and Les Miserables. He plays Keller as a desperate father who will do anything to get her daugbhter back and holds nothing back. Another great performance is from Jake Gyllenhaal as Detective Loki. Terrance Howard, Viola Davis and Melissa Leo are also very good. Paul Dano is also worth mentioning as the role of Alex, the very disturbed driver of the RV. If there is a common thing all these performances had, they have a grounded sense of reality. The film is so well acted that I felt the emotions that these characters experienced. That is something that I don’t find very often in most movies, at least for me.

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The cinematography by Roger Deakins gives the film a dark look which adds to the dark atmosphere. It is never sunny in this movie which really suits this movie’s tone. As a result, the movie felt very dark and damp which was good for this movie. There were moments that reminded of David Fincher’s Se7en with all the grittiness and darkness. It had a sense of dread throughout the entire film and the look really sells it.

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Some people will call this movie depressing but there is no denying the skill of this movie. It’s probably not for everyone, especially for parents with young children. The film unfortunately isn’t as known as it should. The dark look of this movie, combined with the excellent acting results in a thriller that truly feels real. This is one of the most surprising movies that I have watched. I knew that this would be a good movie but it didn’t expect the expert craft of this film. This is one of the best films and surprises of 2013.