Tag Archives: reviewed by: naomi

Fast Five Review: The Skeleton Twins (2014)

Skeleton Twins

 

Reviewed by Naomi

1. Did you like it?

Yes.

2. Why/Why not?

Estranged twins Maggie and Milo (Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader) reconnect after they independently have near death experiences but they are not happy to see each other. As the movie progresses and their present day trainwreck lives are explained, we gradually find out what led to their estragement.

It’s a pretty full on viewing and definitely well made, great script, great acting, but it’s not a feel-good indie movie. I usually like indie films for their bitter-sweetness, but this one erred on the side of bitter more than sweet. Having said that, there’s some great moments where the chemistry between Wiig and Hader is genuinely indearing and reminds me of the best kinds of adult siblings relationships.

3. “You would enjoy this movie if…”

If you’re an indie fan.

4. “This film made me think…”

There was a lot of life decisions to cringe at. I cringed a lot.

5. Stars out of five?

2

Fast Five Review: Jurassic World (2015)

Jurassic World on DVD

Review by Naomi

1. Did you like it?

Yeeeees

2. Why/Why not?

Jurassic World was good blockbuster fun!

The Jurassic World theme park is now 10 years old and visitor numbers are starting to fall, financial backers want a new attraction to draw people back to the park and Dinosaurs aren’t enough of a draw card anymore. They decide to create a hybrid, what could go possibly wrong? Indominous Rex, the dinosaur they create, is super smart, has unforeseen abilities and thanks to her wily ways, escapes and puts the whole park and its twenty thousand patrons under threat. Brothers Gray and Zach are visiting their Aunt Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) who runs the park and gives them all access passes. This places them right in harms way when the Indominous Rex escapes her enclosure. Claire enlists the help of Veloceraptor handler Owen (Chris Pratt of Parks and Recreation fame) to help her rescue her nephews.

I had a ball in this film and there were a few moments when I was gasping at the turns in the plot and the thrills and spills Jurassic World afforded. This felt more like a sequel to the first movie, Jurassic Park, as it had a similar tone and I would be fine if we just forgot that the other two sequels exist. There are a few references to the first movie, but you could watch it as a stand-alone. The only real negative was that it was missing Geoff Goldblum’s glib comic relief. I missed him.

3. “You would enjoy this movie if…”

…you loved the rest of the franchise or even if you only loved the first movie.

4. “This movie made me think…”

I want some raptor friends to ride motorbikes with.

5. Stars out of five?

4

Fast Five Review: Woman in Gold (2015)

WomanInGold

 

 Reviewed by Naomi

1. Did you like it?

Yes.

2. Why/Why not?

Woman in Gold, starring Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds, is based on the true story and novel The Lady in Gold by Anne-Marie O’Connor.

During World War II millions of dollars of valuables and art was stolen from Jewish families by the Nazis. Maria Altmann’s family’s collection of prized Gustav Klimt paintings was among them, including a treasured painting of Altmann’s Aunt, Adele Bloch-Bauer. In the interceding years between the war and theft and the movie-present-day, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer became to Austria what the Mona Lisa is to France. Undeterred, Maria is determined to fight for her family’s paintings which she believes to be rightfully hers. She enlists a friend’s son, a young lawyer to take on this juggernaut of a case.

The story is dealt with in good humour and sincerity. I found the interactions between Mirren and Reynold’s characters particularly compelling and layered. This is a drama, but it is with a light touch!

3. “You would enjoy this film if…”

Helen Mirren is marvellous in most things. If you are a fan of her, you will be a fan of this film.

4. “This film made me think…”

A week later, I bought a book on art restitution from the second world war. So interesting.

5. Stars out of five?

4

Fast Five Review: Jurassic Park (1993)

JurassicPark

Review by Naomi

 1. Did you like it?

Yes.

2. Why/Why not?

When I first saw this movie, circa 1996, it scared the pants off me. I had Raptor nightmares. Who wouldn’t! – the claws, the sneakiness and the guards being dragged around the corner of the cage when the raptors are moved to their new enclosure (!). I have watched it a few times since and I’ve got to say, I do love this movie. The sheer audacity of reanimating dinosaurs using prehistoric DNA preserved in amber (which absolutely does not work, but I can suspend my disbelief). The park investors bring in experts AFTER carrying all of this out to decide if the theme park that has been created is safe to open to the public. We experience the craziness of the whole thing through the eyes of palaeontologist Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and paleobotanist Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), as well as grandchildren of the park’s owners. Perhaps a park that is not yet certified safe for the public might not be the best place to bring your grandchildren? Just a thought.

During the grand tour of the new park, there is a power outage which turns off the electric fences that keep the dinosaurs safely locked away. All hell breaks loose and thrills and spills ensue. Some excellent and thrilling scenes of note involve the T-Rex attacking the tour cars and also pretty much any scene involving raptors. The special effects stand up really well even today. There was extensive use of animatronics and puppetry which helps to make the dinosaurs completely believable. Jurassic Park has a soaring score by John Williams that injects a sense of adventure and suspense all the way through. To sum up, this is a cracker.

3. “You would enjoy this movie if…”

You love dinosaurs, classic Geoff Goldblum one-liners and lots of suspense.

4. “This series made me think…”

Say ‘no’ to theme parks full of murderous prehistoric monsters!

5. Stars out of five?

4

Fast Five Review: Wild (2014)

Wild

 Review by Naomi

1. Did you like it?

Overall, yes.

2. Why/Why not?

Wild is the movie adaptation of the book by Cheryl Strayed. Cheryl’s life is headed down a destructive path; reckless behaviour, drugs, infidelity and marriage breakdown but she decides she will hike the Pacific Coast Trail alone and use the experience to pull herself together. The timeline jumps around, telling her back-story even as she begins the trek. Her completely inadequate knowledge of hiking becomes apparent very quickly. Initially her adventuress and foolhardy spirit is admirable, but her inexperience is jarring. What I really liked about the film was that when she was out on her own in the wilderness, her reckless choices leading to consequences to be felt by herself alone, there was nobody else there to pick up the pieces, so she had to. It’s hard to sympathise with her character, but I still wanted to see her succeed.

The scenery is amazing and the sequences with no dialogue are pretty powerful. Although these scenes are a feature in the film, Cheryl does cross paths with various people, some who frighten her, encourage her, even some help lighten her load – physically and metaphorically.

3. “You would enjoy this movie if…”

…if you liked Castaway, The Way, Into The Wild.

4. “This series made me think…”

I love the outdoors and need to spend more time wandering there.

5. Stars out of five?

3