Monthly Archives: January 2016

Retrospective: Best Movie of 2015

2015 has come to an end, and so many movies have captivated me this year. This was actually a tough decision on what I thought was the best movie of the year. So I decided to take the 10 movies that I think were the most memorable and introspective experiences of the year and put them in order of which were the best. Granted, not all of them can make it. So here are some honorable mentions of movies that I didn’t get a chance to see, or films that didn’t quite make the final cut.

Honorable Mentions:

Trainwreck, Spotlight, The Big Short, Sicario, Room, Bridge of Spies, Creed, Straight Outta Compton, It Follows, Steve Jobs, Carol, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Paddington, The Good Dinosaur, Anamolisa, Jurassic World, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, The Revenant

10. Me and Earl and The Dying Girl

Perhaps the most honest portrayal of chemotherapy in cinematic history, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl presents a raw and emotional journey of two friends helping a girl through the worst chapter of her life. It can be hysterical one moment and then gut-wrenching the next. Olivia Cooke as Rachel and Thomas Mann as Greg have excellent chemistry as two strangers trying to become friends. The most underrated movie of the year, it teaches an important lesson: Cancer sucks.

9. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

2015 was a year chock full of action blockbusters, with more to appear on this list. To be honest, I was growing tired of Tom Cruise trying prove that was still an action hero. But he still has the charisma and energy to carry a movie, and Rebecca Ferguson surprised with one of the stronger female characters in recent action history. From the opening sequence when Ethan Hunt jumps onto a real plane to the ending credits, Rogue Nation is a nonstop thrill ride that never ceases to entertain.

8. The Hateful Eight 

Quentin Tarantino closes out the year in true style with another Western epic. The film combines an excellent cast into a story about eight intriguing strangers who take refuge in stagecoach stopover during a blizzard in Wyoming. Great dialogue and beautiful cinematography are shown in glorious 70 mm format. All wrapped together with Ennio Morricone’s musical score, and you have one tense mystery that can keep you engaged throughout it’s three hour run-time.

7. Ant Man

Alright, raise your hand if you expected this movie to be Marvel’s first true bomb. Now put your hand down if it entertained you beyond expectations. That should cover just about everyone. Who would have thought that a heist movie could have starred such an unconventional superhero? Paul Rudd gives an extremely charismatic performance as the titular superhero trying to redeem himself by helping scientist, Hank Pym, steal his technology. It remains one of the funniest superhero movies of the decade, highlighting how ridiculous the whole idea actually is.

6. Ex Machina

One of the most surprising movies of 2015, Ex Machina proved to be a breath of fresh air in what seemed like a dying genre. It features great performances from both Domnhall Gleeson and Oscar Isaac as an employee who wins a contest to spend a week with his reclusive CEO to take part in the Turing Test. The Turing Test is used to test the intelligence and emotions of an A.I., played by standout Alicia Vikander. Not only is it visually stunning, but it also introduces complex themes and messages too numerous to count that will leave audiences thinking for quite a while afterwards. And from a directorial debut, no less.

5. Brooklyn

You didn’t think it would just be all action and sci-fi, did you? Brooklyn was a unique look at life inside of one New York’s most populace areas. Saoirse Ronan shines as a shy Irish immigrant adjusting to life in America and falls in love with someone from a culture that’s generally disrespected by hers. The beautiful cinematography and costume designs reinforce the feeling of nostalgia from the 1950s. I may not be a fan of period dramas, but Brooklyn really made branch out from my typical boundaries of movie genres. This is what Jane Austen WANTED to craft, but could never.

4. Inside Out

Easily the best animated movie of the year, Inside Out is perhaps the most mature and emotional story from Pixar yet. Telling the story of the five personified emotions of an eleven-year-old girl, the movie takes it’s time to show off the gorgeous animation and soundtrack by Michael Giacchino. The superb voice cast is led by Amy Poehler and Phyllis Smith as Joy and Sadness, in a film that is well-paced by director Peter Docter. Inside Out proves that Pixar is still capable of original stories and is as close to perfection as any animated movie can ever get.

3. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

Let’s face it: there was no movie in 2015 more hyped up than the seventh installment of the Star Wars Saga. In fact, were it not for it’s derivative structure, it likely would have made it even higher on this list. With memorable new characters and updated old ones, J.J. Abrams has revived yet another iconic franchise for a new generation of film-goers to enjoy. The fantastic soundtrack by John Williams injects so much life and emotion into every scene when necessary. It’s also worth noting how well it manages to seamlessly blend practical effects with state-of-the-art CGI. John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, and Adam Driver all have promising futures ahead of them, thanks to what is now the highest grossing movie in North America.

2. The Martian

Ridley Scott continues to prove his status as one of the greatest directors in science fiction with The Martian. Matt Damon leads an all-star ensemble cast as Mark Watney, an astronaut who accidentally gets stuck on Mars after a dust storm forces his team to abandon their manned mission. Watney must do everything in his power to contact NASA while also keeping himself alive by growing food from his shit on a planet where nothing grows. Exhilarating and surprisingly funny, it faithfully adapts Andy Weir’s scientifically accurate novel right down from the character traits to the science behind each of the events. I would not mind watching it again, especially considering it’s uplifting theme of people coming together to save a man from a bad situation.

  1. Mad Max: Fury Road

A post-apocalyptic experience like almost no other, George Miller returns to his signature franchise with the 4th installment of Mad Max. In an age flooded with CGI-driven films, it’s nice to see a movie most filled with real stunts and stuntmen. Max Rockatansky helps the warrior Furiosa transport herself and a number of concubines away from Immortan Joe and to a safe haven known as the Green Place. The action sequences are absolutely insane, bolstered by the fact that these are actual people, and not CGI recreations. The themes and undertones in the film prove that George Miller is capable of making stories deeper than they appear to be. Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron riff off each other nicely, even though there’s minimal dialogue and the two really didn’t get along on-set. In the end, despite a relatively simple plot, Mad Max: Fury Road will go down in history as one of the greatest action movies of all time.

Alright, so do you agree with me? What was your favorite movie of the year? And for that matter what movie did you hate most in 2015? Whatever your thoughts are, be sure to leave a comment. And if you like what you see, be sure to like this post and follow my blog for more posts.

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“The Hateful Eight” Movie Review

The most important thing to take away from this movie: Samuel L. Jackson is cool again. This epic Western mystery film from Quentin Tarantino was released upon Christmas Day, 2015, grossing $102.5 million at the box office. The movie was reportedly cancelled after the script with an alternate ending leaked online, causing Tarantino to want to publish it as a novel instead. After a live-reading, though, he changed his mind, and for the better of all of us. I was originally going to review Ex Machina or Sisters, but the Hateful Eight was so good that it persuaded me to rave about it instead. Set several years after the American Civil War, the film follows eight different strangers, The Hangman, The Prisoner, The Bounty Hunter, The Sheriff, The Confederate, The Little Man, The Mexican, and The Cow Puncher, who take refuge in a stagecoach stopover in Wyoming when an intense blizzard rolls over. But something is amiss; there’s a culprit responsible for something bad. It’s essentially a Western, Quentin Tarantino-esque version of the movie Clue. The concept of several strangers being stuck in a cold environment with little trust for one another is also reminiscent of the 1982 cult horror film starring Kurt Russell, The Thing. Each character is there in the haberdashery for their own ambiguous reasons. John Ruth is a bounty hunter known for bringing his captives in alive, including the unfortunate and racist Daisy Domergue, Major Marquis Warren is a former black Union war hero turned violent bounty hunter, Chris Mannix is the son of a Lost-Causer and the new sheriff of Red Rock, Oswaldo Mobray is the charismatic hangman from Red Rock, Joe Gage is a flamboyant cowboy on his way to visit his mother, Bob is the caretaker of the haberdashery while it’s owner is away, and Sanders Smithers is a former Confederate general coming to the state where his son died. The entire cast does a great job. It was nice to see Samuel L. Jackson let his mouth loose, and Jennifer Jason Leigh earned her Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination. Bruce Dern, in particular, looked horrified during a scene where a story of his son is being shared. As always, Tarantino is a master at building characters and tension through dialogue, and this being a mystery the tension is turned up a bit. Let’s get into the 70 mm format. While most directors are jumping at the most advanced digital camera to make their movies, The Hateful Eight is the eleventh movie in history and the first since 1966 to utilize Ultra Panavision 70 mm film. It creates a wider frame and you can even see it sprocket-bobbing during the Overture. It just helps bring out the beauty of the cinematography, and it even adds six extra minutes of film, plus a 15-minute Intermission. You may want to use it to take a break from the carnage and intensity. Speaking of the Overture, the music is absolutely astonishing. The first Western score by Ennio Morricone in 35 years, it helps add to the film’s ominous tone and suspense. I promise, if you try to listen to the first song while eating food with your family, you can’t help but get that shifty-eyed look. There are two major flaws. The runtime of this movie is just over three hours, and there are a couple scenes that feel like they could’ve been trimmed. Secondly, about two thirds of the way, the beans are spilled, and the suspense is kind of gone. Now it’s time for Tarantino carnage. Despite that, The Hateful Eight is still a suspenseful and violent epic that makes a worthy addition to Quentin Tarantino’s filmography, but I’m not sure if I like it as much as other films like Inglourious Basterds. If this movie and Django Unchained don’t bring back the Western genre, I don’t know what will.

“Brooklyn” Movie Review

*Gotta review one more movie, The Hateful Eight. After that, I’ll make a post about the best films of the year.*
It turns out that true romance stories set in long-ago periods are officially not dead yet. This historical period drama directed John Crowley was initially given a limited release in Ireland on November 6, 2015, before gaining a much wider release later that month. Grossing just over $30 million against it’s $10 million budget, the film also garnered strong reviews at the Sundance Festival. Based upon Colm Toibin’s award-winning novel of the same name, we’re taken back to the 1950s as a young woman named Ellis Lacey moves to the U.S. from Northern Ireland, an arrangement made by her older sister to give her a better future. Living in a board house in Brooklyn, she starts falling for an Italian-American named Tony Fiorello. At a point, her past catches up, and she has to decide between two different men and two different countries. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not an ardent fan of romance movies set in periods from a long time ago. Hence why I could never get into Downton Abbey or Jane Austen. But Brooklyn is different from those type of love stories. It represents a time when two very different cultures couldn’t have been farther apart. The Irish and the Italians constantly feuded with one another throughout the 20th century, so to see a movie about two people from both cultures fall in love with one another is really sweet. And the movie looks pretty as well. Especially the scenes in Ireland, there’s just a fluorescent beauty in the natural light used for interior shots and on the countryside. The ever-flowing green pastors make you feel like you’re watching the Lord of the Rings movies. The actors all did a wonderful job in their respective roles, big or small. Saoirse Ronan as Ellis Lacey is completely convincing as a young woman who moves to an unfamiliar land she has to call home. She deserves her Academy Award nomination for Best Actress, though whether or not she wins against Brie Larson or Jennifer Lawrence is anyone’s guess. Emory Cohen was great as Tony, her American love. And Domnhall Gleeson showcases his talent as an athlete on the verge of inheriting property. Gleeson has had a successful year in 2015, with Ex Machina, Brooklyn, The Revenant, and even Star Wars starting to introduce him to mainstream audiences. Lastly, the primary theme of Brooklyn seems to be chasing the American Dream. Ellis goes to America with hopes of a better future, and dreams of living with Tony for the majority  of the film. Overall, Brooklyn is a poignant period drama that can tug at the heartstrings of even the toughest of filmgoers.

“One Hundred Years of Solitude” Book Review

Let’s face it: it’s pretty much the story that gave birth to late-night Spanish novellas. This magically realistic novel was originally published solely in Spanish in 1967, and has since sold well over 30 million copies worldwide. I know that it’s highly unusual for me to post a review for a book, especially one that I am now decades late to read. But the fascinating character studies, the symbolic metaphors, and the fact that it’s considered the single most influential Latin American novel in history have won me over. Written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who also created classics such as Love in the Time of Cholera, it tells us the multi-generational story of the town of Macondo set within a remote swamp. The often magical and miraculous events that occur within this town are told through the eyes of the family who first founded it, the Buendias. The Buendias are headed by the family patriarch, Jose Arcadio, who tries and constantly fails to keep family traditions alive. The ever expanding history of the town is ,as I said previously, told through the eyes of the various descendants, relatives, and illegitimate children of Jose Arcadio Buendia. At first, this may sound like a typical narrative revolving around familial struggles in a rural region of society. If that’s all you perceive this book to be before your read it, however, you are either going to be pleasantly surprised or just remarkably disappointed. Make no mistake; this is no zany comedy, but there are plenty of moments and elements that can make the reader crack up with laughter. For example, the rebellious leader Colonel Aureliano Buendia has nearly 17 children during his campaign. And the author makes several funny quotes throughout the story, including a scene where soldiers serving under martial law try to “sabotage the sabotage” by ironically burning plantations and commissions. You can also just make accurate inferences that many of these characters have become very conflicted over the course of Macondo’s lifespan. The first, and probably the least addressed, issue the Buendias have to cope with is the fact that the majority of the family got started off of incest. Seriously, Jose Arcadio got intermarried with his first cousin, Ursula, and his family was conceived not long after that. It’s also helps creates an interesting contrast to their strong religious beliefs, as Jose Arcadio and Ursula’s incestuous harem could very well be considered the “original sin,” and their own offspring would similarly fall to this fate. Best character of them all: I’m going to spend a bit of time talking about Ursula. She’s simply fascinating, because she mostly tries to stay out of the lives of the female members, but she goes all out to save some of the males. I’m not joking. Before Colonel Aureliano and his trusted officer are about to get executed, she sticks a revolver in her son’s clothing and convinces her husband to save them from certain death. She also bares the distinction of being the oldest character in the whole story, living to over a hundred years old. Which now brings me to the film’s title. To be perfectly clear, this novel is really open to interpretation Perhaps the biggest and most important theme in One Hundred Years of Solitude is the inevitability of history repeating itself. There will always be a female fighting for the affection of a handsome man, and there will always be a male who’s ultimately vying for more power than they currently have. Colonel Aureliano and his followers fight for the Liberal party and slaughter thousands in the process, while his brother Arcadio tries to enforce the Conservative cause and invoke similar casualties. Later on, you actually begin to empathize with Aureliano as he admits to his second in command that he is fighting merely for pride, and the second in command tells him he’s just fighting for “something that has no meaning to anyone.” Despite it’s sometimes complex writing prose and convoluted family tree, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a thought-provoking and wonderful tale that uses magical realism to it’s advantage. The story is utterly engrossing, as it’s not afraid to touch upon themes of family conflicts and the fluid nature of time and life itself. Even after his semi-recent death, this will be remembered for generations as Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s supreme masterpiece of the literary world.

“The Force Awakens” Spoiler Discussion

It’s obvious I rarely make posts about spoilers of a big movie or show or game, and you know when I do? It means serious discussions were ignited. The Force Awakens was so rich in characters and themes that even if I didn’t want to make this, there are parts I can’t avoid talking about. That is an official spoiler warning; if you’ve not seen Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens yet…WHY??? Consider yourself warned. The opening crawl addresses everyone’s question by saying Luke Skywalker has gone missing. The opening scene has the best Resistance fighter pilot, Poe Dameron, picking up the portion of a map that leads to Luke, which is the scene involving Max Von Sydow’s character. I feel that his opening line, “This will begin to make things right,” was Disney saying they’ll make up for fans’ disappointment with the prequels. One of many things I liked was how they updated the Force, as Kylo Ren is able to stop a laser bolt mid-air when Poe tries to shoot him. After Poe makes a joke and Captain Phasma and Kylo slaughter the villagers, it set the tone for the entire film. And you get the idea it would be similar to the original Star Wars. Later on, FN-2187, later going by the name Finn, rescues Poe from the First Order to get away from their cruelty. They crash land on Jakku, but Finn goes to a market where he meets Rey and BB-8 for the first time. After meeting, Stormtroopers and TIE Fighters swoop in to kill them. When they’re running, she refuses to fly a ship, saying “That ship’s garbage!” Don’t call the Millennium Falcon garbage, Rey. During the chase sequence, when she flips the ship over to destroy the TIE fighter, I started to wonder if she and Finn were Force-Sensitive. And right when she had the vision when touching Luke’s old lightsaber, I thought to myself “Hold on. So far, there has been no evidence that Finn is with the Force at all. Our girl here is the Jedi.” Another point I didn’t want to tell you in my spoiler-free review so that you could find out yourself is that Kylo Ren actually surprised me in The Force Awakens. In fact, some moments, I empathized with his character. He may be the one who wiped out all of Luke’s potential Jedi and formed the Knights of Ren, but he also feels very conflicted with the Force, wanting to please Supreme Leader Snoke and his grandfather. When he’s having a mental Force battle with Rey, she tells him “You’re just afraid that you won’t live up to Darth Vader!” He was bluffing the entire time because he just looks and sounds like an average guy. You see, Luke vanished because he was ashamed; he couldn’t look his friends in the eye without feeling he had failed their son and tore their family apart. I was disappointed at first with Snoke’s appearance, but I was glad to see it was just a hologram of him. Then the biggest tragedy in the franchise’s history…the Han Solo scene. After he plants charges inside a Starkiller Base outpost, he confronts his son Kylo Ren, or simply Ben. The minute he walked onto the catwalk, I thought, “This isn’t going to end well.” They’ve a great conversation, because Kylo Ren took off his helmet and teared up as he was talking to his father face-to-face for the first time in God knows how long. Adam Driver and Harrison Ford did great with their relationship, even when Kylo Ren impales Han with his lightsaber and Han strokes Kylo’s face because he’s still his son. What truly made it tragic was Chewbacca’s scream, because he reacts like he witnessed his best friend murdered in front of him. Chewie leaves on his own while Finn and Rey have to fight Ben in the forest with lightsabers. As I said in my review, the duel isn’t highly choreographed. It’s really dirty. The entire time, because Chewie shot him, Kylo Ren he pounds it to intensify the pain because that’s what keeps him going. He defeats Finn, and I thought he was dead. Then came a moment where I teared up because it was simple and powerful. Luke’s lightsaber is in the snow, and Kylo Ren is trying to pull it towards him, but it flies right past him and is caught by Rey. They go at it, and when they clash he says, “You need a teacher! I can show you the ways of the Force!” She calms her mind, she beats Kylo Ren. I’m not lying, I thought Kylo Ren would be a one-and-done villain and Snoke would find another apprentice. But before Starkiller is destroyed, he tells General Hux “Bring Kylo Ren to me. It’s time to complete his training.” I’m glad they’re carrying some characters over into the next installment rather than cycling them out for more action figures. But in the end, Rey does travel to Luke’s planet, supposedly the first Jedi Temple. She holds out the lightsaber for him from a distance, and then the film ends. I know many fans weren’t happy with Luke’s final scene, but I was completely satisfied. It was filled with overt metaphors, and was open to interpretation. I love this movie, and loved it even more the second time I saw it. It’s a great character study, an emotional family tragedy, and Star Wars is back.

“Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens” Movie Review

A short time ago at a computer desk far, far away….I promised I would publish a review. This epic space opera was released on December 18th, 2015, following three long years of tremendous amounts of hype, controversy, and speculation. It has since broken numerous box office records and is projected to make over $2 billion worldwide, and won rave reviews from critics and fans alike. Don’t worry. This review is completely spoiler-free of any major plot points for those who haven’t seen it yet. However, I will post a spoiler discussion shortly after this. I suppose the best way to do this would be to talk about what we already knew from the trailers and promos. So Finn is a brand new Stormtrooper who renounces the First Order after witnessing their first-hand cruelty. He escapes and meets Rey, a lonely scavenger on the desert planet of Jakku, who is longing for the return of her family. They both come across the much-hyped droid BB-8 and now have to run from the First Order who are being led by the mysterious Dark Side figure, Kylo Ren. Most of the cast members from the original trilogy return, which was initially a concern of mine, because it felt like they were being shoehorned into the film for the sake of nostalgia. But all of them, particularly Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford as General Leia and Han Solo, perfectly remember how to play their iconic roles. I’m going to tell you right now that all of the new stars, especially John Boyega and Daisy Ridley, have very bright future careers ahead of them. Then again, there are a number of other big and small name actors who appear in the film but only briefly. I think most of them did it for the sake of saying that they were involved the Star Wars Saga. For example, Max Von Sydow’s character, although involved in the central plot, was only in one scene and felt more like a cameo. And some of the new characters I liked, but were not given enough screen time. I’m telling you right now that the awesome, chrome-plated Stormtrooper Captain Phasma did precisely jackshit. And General Hux was exactly who I expected him to be: a young and cruel officer of the First Order. But there’s no doubt in my mind that the new central main characters are all genuine and relatable. And I’ll delve more into their individual story arcs in the spoiler discussion. The Star Wars franchise has been a mixed when it comes to visual effects. However in this latest installment, there is a beautiful blend between practical and computer-generated imagery, effectively bridging the prequels and the originals in terms of visuals. Speaking of the originals, the most common point of criticism for The Force Awakens is the fact that it relies perhaps too heavily on nostalgia from A New Hope. That is especially apparent in the final act of the movie, where it just feels like a major case of deja vou. That’s not to say that the film isn’t rich with it’s content in terms of story, characters, and themes. One of my favorite parts about the film was the lighsaber fight that everyone knew was coming. But unlike the prequels, it’s not highly choreographed and sophisticated. It’s actually really dirty and destructive. It keeps you on the edge of your seat, as it really feels like some serious consequences are going to happen to either participant. It has been my belief for many a year that John Williams was and always will be the greatest film composer of all time. And he continues to prove that statement with probably his best score since E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. Although, this time, the music isn’t as exciting or blood-pumping as some other iconic tracks from the franchise, including Duels of Fate and The Imperial March. Instead, like the rest of the film, the soundtrack is more based on emotions and raising goosebumps. It really lends itself well during some of the more emotional moments. And one of the strongest emotions in The Force Awakens is it’s humor. It’s easily the funniest entry in the Star Wars series to date, no thanks to J.J. Abrams Star Trek-esque direction, the co-written screenplay with Lawrence Kasdan, and the chemistry of the cast. John Boyega, in particular, has a clever and surprisingly honed timing for comedic moments. In truth, some of the more purist Sat Wars fanatics will jump at the opportunity to hate the movie because J.J. Abrams is directing, Disney is funding/marketing the whole thing, or simply because it has nothing to do with the Expanded Universe. Despite it’s derivative structure in plot, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is still an emotional, character-driven, and supremely entertaining entry in the Star Wars Saga. It stands as one of the absolute best movies of the year, and actually gets better every time you watch it. In the end, it’s simply one of the best science fiction movies of the new decade. NOW GO SEE IT!!!

“Spectre” James Bond Movie Review

*Light Spoilers throughout the review. Just wanted to mention the highs and lows.*
Appropriate introductions are in order. Bond…James Bond. The 24th installment of the long-running franchise of British spy movies was released worldwide on November 4th, 2015, and as of that date is the most expensive Bond film ever made, with a cost exceeding nearly $250 million. The ever-growing popularity of the series has caused the box office to triple that amount in proceeds around the globe. Alright, if nothing else, you need to see this movie for it’s opening track shot. It lasts about five minutes, uses a number of zoom-in/zoom-out techniques, and is set in the backdrop of Mexico City on the Day of the Dead. The majority of the rest of the film can be summed up in one word: underwhelming. I don’t mean to mislead you, it’s not a bad movie. However, it fails to live up to the success of it’s predecessor, Skyfall, which was a commercial smash and critical darling. Now, on with Spectre, what I liked about it and what I felt could’ve been better. The film begins in Mexico City revolving around 007’s disastrous yet successful assassination of a target posthumously assigned off the books by the deceased M. He is indefinitely grounded by MI6’s new M, played very well by Ralph Fiennes, who is struggling to come to grips with all the new surveillance systems operated by a mysterious man named C. James Bond discovers that the man he assassinated was connected to a larger organization called SPECTRE, which is essentially the quintessential evil corporation. This organization actually ties together the previous Daniel Craig Bond films rather well. Le Chiffre, Mr. White, Raoul Silva, Dominic Greene, Vesper, Quantum; they were all just separate subordinates of SPECTRE. I enjoyed seeing that, because it made the previous films feel relevant to the overall story. However, it was rather disappointing to see that many of the new characters didn’t get as much screen time or character development as one would have hoped. Case in point, the character C wasn’t in front of the camera that often, but the casting of Andrew Scott felt like typecasting. He had already played Moriarty, and so you could see his true motivations coming a mile away. The villain himself, though played tremendously well by Christoph Waltz, felt very similar to his previous characters in Quentin Tarantino films. Moneypenny is in Spectre, though. She really doesn’t do much. She’s in this movie for the sake of “if Moneypenny wasn’t in a James Bond movie, that would be weird.” there’s no doubt in my mind, however, that Daniel Craig still kicks some major ass as 007. Quite literally, as the henchman who’s chasing him around for about a third of the film is played by famous wrestler, Dave Bautista, who also played Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy if you’re unfamiliar. I’m going to tell about the two Bond Girls in this movie. Monica Bellucci was completely inconsequential to the story and characters. Lea Seydoux, on the other hand, is a big part of the plot and has a better personality then some other Bond Girls of the past. But again, she didn’t get enough screen time to truly show that. Now we’re just going to skip to the two biggest problems with the movie, because I feel these are the essential things you need to know before you decide on seeing the movie or not. First off, the pacing feels very inconsistent. Especially in the first act because there’s so much exposition that it feels as if nothing is happening plot-wise. And considering the film’s 148 minute running time, you’ll likely feel like you’re forcing yourself through the process. Second, the emotional stakes and feels of Spectre are entirely superficial. Don’t be fooled, there will be a few scenes where you’re laughing, but in terms of getting choked up with tears, it didn’t work. Despite that, Spectre is still an ambitious and mostly fun addition to the long-running franchise, even if it can never reach the levels of Skyfal or Casino Royale. But hey, it’s still more believable than Roger Moore in Moonraker or Pierce Brosnan in Die Another Day. F.Y.I., be sure to trash your movie after it’s release and all the promotional touring is finished, Daniel Craig.