Jurassic World Review: An Exercise in Cynically Racking up Nostalgia by Undermining Its Roots

In the twenty five years since its release, Jurassic Park has still remained a staple for 1990’s cinema because of its innovative visual effects and to this day, it’s astonishing that it still happens to look every bit as beautiful as it does. But as the franchise had only grown to become as big as it did, the meaning behind Crichton’s original creation had slowly been fading away. Surely enough, it’s hard to deny that the original Jurassic Park still remains a spectacle for the eyes because of what it had taken in order to make you truly believe that you were seeing actual dinosaurs on the screen through the film’s innovative use of both computer-generated imagery and animatronics. But there comes a point to which one can only get too caught up by the image of the spectacle that Jurassic Park had set into place and Jurassic World only emphasizes that danger all the more, because it cynically exploits that nostalgia one would have had for the original film without ever finding its own way to carry itself through. It cynically boils down what Crichton would have wanted to say about the eventual spectacle of nature’s own ways only to what audiences would buy in as “dumb fun,” and to me, that never felt right – it just felt ugly.

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Irrational Man – Review

✯½

Woody Allen’s career has only brought out highs and lows all over the different eras which he spans, for the days of thoughtful romantic comedies like Annie Hall and Manhattan are evidently long gone. Having consistently directed one film a year, there was only a point to which Allen’s experimentation doesn’t seem to find itself working nearly as much as it used to and at its worst, the redundance has only come to a point of annoyance and films like Irrational Man come out. But knowing Allen’s trademarks could have also called for Irrational Man to work in an almost self-reflexive manner, knowing how he writes the dialogue and exchanges between his characters. The case with Irrational Man could be that maybe what’s being sought here is far too on the nose and almost to the point of boredom, reminding its own viewers that gone are the days of Allen consistently offering an insightful perspective about the world around oneself and now he feels like a wannabe of himself.

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The Lobster – Review

✯✯½

I think I find myself enjoying Yorgos Lanthimos more in theory rather than in storytelling. The first time I saw Dogtooth I remember having been so shaken by its satire to the point that I ended up feeling guilty about myself for having found it so darkly funny and I found Alps to be one that echoes that same sort of dryness although not with the same impact. Something about The Lobster just hits me in that manner but I can’t put my finger on it, because I just find myself at odds with how I end up feeling about the final effect it leaves behind. At times brilliant and other times maybe a tad too weird for its own sake, it’s easy to see why one would be put off. On first watch I remember having found myself extremely impressed but on a second watch, said effect seems to have faded.

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Truth – Review

✯✯½

Despite the underlying importance of its subject matter, Truth is nothing more than a slog to sit through from start to finish. Screenwriter James Vanderbilt of Zodiac fame seems to have headed down somewhere else afterward and now with him going behind the camera, what could only have come up was something that’d go either way on the map. In the case of Truth, something frustrating comes along and in turn dampens the impact of what was said to come afterward. There’s a fascinating story going behind it, and quite frankly it’s the underplaying of the subject matter that keeps it from being much more as a whole.

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Absolutely Anything – Review

✯½

Honestly not sure who exactly to feel sad about more in this case, but with Absolutely Anything it’s hard enough: on one end it’s Robin Williams’s last film and on the other it’s the last we’ll ever see of the remaining Monty Python members inside of a film together. But why exactly is it a sad thought in the first place on either end? It’s a sad thought that this may be the last we will see on both ends (certainly the last on Williams’s end) because Absolutely Anything is just a flat out terrible film. If Absolutely Anything turns out to become the last that we’ll ever see of Terry Jones as a director, then it’d only pain me even more to see the Python leaving on such a distasteful note.

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Victoria – Review

I’ve always hated the look of a film that goes in a single continuous long take. Even for how much I admire the effort in Russian Ark, it didn’t hide how there were moments I also found myself distanced from the material to which it had intended to present. It made me all the more skeptical before I decided to go ahead and watch Victoria, and quite frankly what snapped back into me was everything I hated about focusing on attempting this feat multiplied by a growing boredom that eventually geared almost towards anger. I know out there, that there are people who are set to admire Victoria on that count but I fall on a radically different end of the spectrum for instead I found myself aggravated the whole way through. One can say what they will about the twelve year aspect of Boyhood but at least I felt something when watching such – in Victoria I was only waiting for a cut and nothing more.

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No Home Movie – Review

✯✯✯✯½

The first thing that came to mind when I watched No Home Movie was a thought of heartbreak. It was not only in the fact that Chantal Akerman had committed suicide and No Home Movie was her last film, but also within the subject to which it focused on, all to have suddenly been made much more heartbreaking with the eventual death of Akerman. And yet with all of this having been said, it is that one growing feeling where No Home Movie begins to lay its own effect on those whom are watching, for what Akerman presents brings oneself back to a time we were not around, and we are left to reflect upon the figures that led to our own existence. It fits that this is Akerman’s swan song, because it reveals so much about herself in the very best manner, and lays the personal to become universal.

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Carol – Review

✯✯✯✯✯

After eight years of absence following the distinctive Bob Dylan biopic I’m Not There., Todd Haynes returns to the screen adapting the work of my favourite author with Carol. At first I was thinking to myself about a match made in heaven, given Haynes’s distinctive visions present for Julianne Moore-led dramas Safe and Far from Heaven, together with a love story by my favourite novelist – and the final result indeed was every bit as pleasing as I would have wanted, and perhaps even more than such at that. Admittedly, The Price of Salt was not one of my favourite Highsmith novels but some sort of aura hit me the moment I saw how Haynes adapted it to the screen, and in no time – that feeling of blissfulness only came clearer to me. One which only the best films I’ve seen this decade have hit me with, for that is certainly what Carol is. Continue reading →

The Witch – Review

✯✯✯½

Robert Eggers’s debut The Witch is a movie that works so perfectly yet I still struggle trying to grasp onto why it’s so loved. My theater experience watching The Witch was never the most pleasant and unfortunately on the spot I could not gather my thoughts properly, but upon a revisit I find myself all the more conflicted because what I remember having worked so well for me that one time never seemed to latch on. All I know for a fact is that there is another crowd of moviegoers who will certainly like, or even love The Witch given as it feels like a rather refreshing entry for the horror genre considering where it lies in recent years, and I won’t deny its good qualities. I’m not one of those people, and that’s what pains me because there’s so much to The Witch that I know should work for me. Continue reading →

Smosh: The Movie – Review

½

At this point of my life, I’d already have gone past the time in which I thought Smosh was funny so inevitably I skipped Smosh: The Movie when it was first announced. Morbid curiosity had gotten the better of me and eventually I watched it together with a group of friends, who (somewhat) have made the experience feel less painful than it already had been. Unfortunately with that said, there is just about nothing in Smosh: The Movie that even works, and given as I’ve already outgrown Smosh’s humour all that I can truly feel when watching this was that part of me was slowly dying. I was reminded of the painful memories that had lasted all as a result of Fred: The Movie, and while nowhere near that level of being terribly awful, the experience is beyond painful. Continue reading →