Movie Review: Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

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Plot: A national manhunt is ordered for a rebellious kid and his foster uncle who go missing in the wild New Zealand bush.  

Rating: 8.5/10

Director Taika Waititi has a quality that most men don’t have – the ability to me laugh hysterically. I still haven’t recovered from watching What We Do in the Shadows, one of the only films where the term LOL was quite literal. Thus, I was naturally on board with watching another film done by him, even though many people told me that the Hunt For the Wilderpeople is completely different to WWDITS, I was still willing to give it a go. Critical acclaim and word on the ground that it was a fine film? Count me in.

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Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison) is a troubled teen who is sent to live with new foster parents Bella (Rima TeWiata) and Hec (Sam Neill). He is verbose, obviously intelligent, well informed on popular culture and very fond of Haiku. He quickly forms a relationship with Bella, but the personality differences between Ricky and the stoic bushman Hec is quite significant. Heartwarming hysterics ensue when it is mistakenly assumed that Hec kidnapped Ricky and a manhunt, led by an overzealous agent, is initiated to find the two in the New Zealand bush. An unlikely bond and friendship is born, and the two set on an epic quest to evade the quickly escalating man hunt.

Julian Dennison and Sam Neill deliver excellent work. Dennison is super cute with a mobile face that accurately expresses any feeling he has. Sam Neill is a veteran and complements Dennison’s over exuberance by being the opposite – a wild, introverted bushman.

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The film is endearing, heartwarming, hilarious, sad and beautifully directed. Can you tell I liked it yet? Good. I wouldn’t have thought this is in my genre of things I like, but it has become a habit of Waititi to make you like something that shouldn’t have worked in the first place. I’m actually worried that Hollywood will ruin this superb director. His next film is Thor: Ragnarok, something that will provide him with instant star status and access to big budgets, and it would be quite a letdown if he somehow lost his unique stamp because of the money wielding machine Marvel is. I will keep my fingers crossed for the best, but in the meantime, if you need a film to pick you up and motivate you for life in general, I suggest you give this a try.

Movie Review: Jurassic Park (1993)

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Plot:  During a preview tour, a theme park suffers a major power breakdown that allows its cloned dinosaur exhibits to run amok.

Rating: 8/10

I’ve been fangirling ever since I saw the new trailer for the Jurassic Park movie that is being released this year. I decided that it was exactly the right time to go revisit my childhood and watch all three movies again.

Revisiting this was so much fun. I enjoyed it more than I enjoyed it as a child, because I can have an actual comprehension of the plot while still going EEK for the dinosaurs. After reading up on this, I see plenty of people say the plot is slightly lacking, but I found it a sturdy one, except maybe that it wasn’t fully explored how all the systems went down and how the T-Rex went on such an epic rampage.

The movie is great. I think the visual effects put a lot of current movies to shame: It was 1993, I was THREE years old, and yet this movie still manages better effects than current movies.

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Character lovin’

Favorite: I loved Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern). Firstly, she was a relatively capable female character, scarce to the 1990’s, and she was just as equipped to deal with mad dinosaurs as the men were. Secondly, this quote from her:

And this:

Dr. Ian Malcolm: God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs.
Dr. Ellie Sattler: Dinosaurs eat man. Woman inherits the earth.

You just got to love a girl that talks like that.

Thirdly, that mumbling she does to herself is a very accurate representation of what I do when I am thinking to myself and forget other people are around me. I laughed and laughed at that.

I loved Jeff Goldblum’s as Dr. Ian Malcolm. He was a bit cheesy and very clearly a bit slimy, but it was obvious he had brains and definite opinions. I agreed with him on the following conversation because that is something I’ve always thought about any form of cloning, that people should GET what they are doing when they are cloning:

He knows from the start that the mere notion of bringing back dinosaurs from extinction is was asking for trouble, not even surprised when things started going wrong.

I liked Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) even though I found him a bit douchy. But hey, he is a scientist, and male scientists can be known for their douchyness 😉

THOSE DINOSAURS:

This is a movie that isn’t 3D, the visual effects are old compared to what we have today and yet you still notice how massive the T-Rex is the sound they make and how scary they appear. I really enjoyed the scenes where you grasp how majestic the Brachiosaurus is and how they renamed her to a “Veggie-Saurus”

Let me just say, someone needs to fire their health and safety representative. If it has been noted that the T-Rex is intelligent enough to search for weak spots in the fence, why not put up a secondary one that he CAN’T test? And then have multiple electrical lines running so that one is always on?

Also, open doors in animal enclosures, maintenance rooms IN enclosures, trees in roads. Seriously, someone needs to be fired.

Also, that severe oversight in using Amphibian DNA that has the capability of changing their reproductive organs was something that would never, ever have happened with proper research, FYI.

This movie is truly a showcase of excellent directing. You can feel the genius of Steven Spielberg looking at you from behind the scenes – the plot is well executed and the scenes flow into each other.

Jurassic Park is a wonderful trip down memory lane. I found this movie so terrifying as a kid and now I find it only highly entertaining. It was a great start to the franchise and really worthy of all the applause it got on its’ release.

Blindspot 2015: Magic in the Moonlight (2015)

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Rating: 7/10

So my Blindspot choices are moving along really nicely. I can’t believe that we are now somewhere halfway through the year. How is it possible that six months have gone by?! My choice this time around was Magic in the Moonlight, directed by Woody Allen. I love his signature washed out romantic feel that all his films has. I adore Midnight in Paris especially, and was rather excited to see if this movie held up. It also stars Emma Stone and Colin Firth, possibly two of my favorite stars in entertainment today.

Magic in the Moonlight is, most importantly, extremely watchable. It is in no way the greatest movie ever made or of extreme cinematic achievements, but it is beautifully shot and well executed. The movie moves at a great pace and is really a stylishly experience from start and finish. I think the dynamic between Stone and Firth is really well balanced – Stone’s Sophie is incredibly smart and witty and onto Stanley (Firth) to prove him wrong. Stone is really amazing and I can’t help but adore her. She is funny and talented and really just the cutest little thing. She is able to carry a story when the dialogue or plot drags, and this helped in the case of this film – the plot is just slightly drawn out at the end and when you reach the end you do feel that the movie could have ended fifteen minutes ago. Colin Firth… ah, man. He is so attractive for an older man and he really excels in any Mr. Darcy type of movie (the I’m an ass but my love for you makes me a better man). Even though Stanley is a prick, you root for him and hope he succeeds in anything he takes on. I also loved the suits he wore in here – gorgeous and classy and he does that with the signature upper crust English style that he was born that way perfectly).

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Although the story drags in some places, I had a really enjoyable time with this gorgeous movie. I did find the conclusion both lacking and drawn out in the wrong places, but that feeling was minor and didn’t distract from the overall satisfaction of finally getting to see Magic in the Moonlight.