Category Archives: 2 1/2 Snobs

The Believer (Drama-Crime)

indesdsx“Incomprehensible ancient literature may be a short wick to rebellion for the intelligent and stubborn youth”

Danny Balint (Ryan Gosling) is a fierce and articulate man with the mission to rid the world of the Jewish epidemic plaguing the culture. Everything about this race of people fills him with rage, their irrational convictions, rituals, and even their “sexual habits” he deems regressive to the human species. After meeting with a group of fascists sharing similar ideals, Danny is on the fast track in leading his own revolution. One minor difference that sets him apart from his brethren is that the blood that runs through his veins is that of his greatest enemy.

This film sets out to illustrate a young man eagerness to prove the invalidity of the Jewish ideologies, though in reality his motivation is only to somehow justify his own self-loathing. This drive was instilled in him from adolescence, finding his rational and subjective interpretations of religious studies frustrating, especially since no one else was able to understand his near sided viewpoint.

When the time came for any honest retribution, it came off as purely manufactured due to the formula character arcs and playbook storytelling that led up to this point. Reaching far and wide for actual artistic expression fell into a cyclic over-dramatized score paired with black and white reenactments of the main protagonist morphing into the creator of decade old pain. This imaginary event clearly being the main driving factor and epiphany, shaped the sophisticated yet somehow malformed brain to understand even the slightest sympathy.  With this small angel whispering in his ear, the events leading to the third act were countless demonstration of bipolarity, yet instead of climactic thrill you were given jumbled chaos.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Action-Sci-Fi)

fire“The elite shall bring the game to another level, as well as a hidden agenda that could bring a new rebellion”

After Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) are the first “Couple” to win the hunger games, they take a tour to speak to all the districts. In turn, small uprising are making their way to select districts and the president is nervous of another rebellion. With Katniss being the centerpiece of hope for the people, what better way to diminish her than to put her into another hunger game for the 75th anniversary with all the previous winners. Just before the games begin, the odds seem to not be in her favor, but interestingly enough alliances fall into place were they are least expected.

Coming off of a very successful initial film by both critics and audiences alike, the series is on the path to become a fruitful franchise.  In a matter of speaking the same elements are used, the flashy parties, holograms, futuristic technologies, and social class systems holding animosity for one another.  A few things didn’t work as well with the sequel and most noticeably the pacing, which is attributed to the first half of the film with little to no action. This was no surprise, since the backstory was essential especially as this film is not the last of the series.

The problem wasn’t so much of the plot itself, but more that the over dramatization was being used in place of any substance.  Once realized this came off as a bit of a cheap way to rushed the meaningful development of the tale all together. There was also quite a bit of crying, mostly from Katniss, leaving the viewers ready for combat uninterested in the melodrama and emotional love triangle.

Once the games did begin, a few new obstacles were introduced and creative plays to the game, which had you on your toes through the remainder. This all led up to a brilliant cliffhanger that brought viewers into an amnesia to the slow start and created anticipation for the third installment.

Mr. Nobody – (Drama-Romance-Sci-fi)

nobody“If you don’t make a choice then the possibilities are endless, well, actually that is choosing and realistically you’re left with nothing”

Nemo Nobody (Jared Leto) is a 117 year old man and the last mortal on the planet.  This makes him the only remaining window to the past, and before he perishes it is vital for his insights to be documented.  So through a hypnotist and journalist, the recollections of his life are recorded for the generations to come.  The only problem is, he is either extremely senile or he is intentionally contriving a story of multiple imaginable lives with different partners to express his philosophies on life.

This daring futuristic rom-dram uses an oversimplified version of string theory and relates it to the choices we make (or don’t make).  An even more impressive feat was encapsulating this theory into the realms of romance and companionship, and vaguely alluding to the concept of multidimensional love.  Entranced in the past lives he may or may not have lived, the audience scrambles to decipher the best choices he could make and empathizes with the poor ones.  If this sounds familiar to another film you may have seen, you too will be frustrated with the lack of originality and almost identical events that take place.

Another fault was that initially the pacing of the film was a delight for about an hour or so, but this momentum slowed drastically when the different realities were continuously regurgitated even after the audience comprehended the relational dynamic and possible mates qualities.  This lead to a drawn out second act that overdeveloped the characters, which deteriorated the initial appeal of the relationships. The irony is that the director is known for short films, and with a more structured screenplay and competent editing work he could have had a recommendable film at half the length.

On a final note, the ending portrayed Nemo as completely senseless and contradictory to his creed once he made a definitive love selection before his last breath.  This could have been seen as either random or a weak attempt at a metaphor that a clear choice was the true reason for his passing.

 

12 O’Clock Boys (Documentary-Crime-Drama)

12clock“Reckless motor biking is horseplay in comparison to the cities alternative pastimes”

Pug, an inner city boy living in Baltimore, is just shy of becoming a teenager and is obsessed with urban motorsports. In particular he idolizes a group of vigilantes that take over the main streets in his neighborhood called the 12 O’clock boys. They get their name-to-fame from the ability to wheelie their vehicle to the point of complete inversion giving the impression of the hands of a clock at 12. Pug’s goal in life is to perfect this trick and gain the respect from this brotherhood with hopes to ride along side them.

The majority of the footage gave a dirty aesthetic as if the camera was picked up at a pawn shop.  The transition between scenes on the other hand used a high quality camera with slow motion, capturing these street riders frozen in that moment, which was in essence the only mesmerizing aspect of the film.

The prominent theme was the underground perspective through the eyes of the under privileged youth living in the ghetto.  Complimentary to this was the home environment of the main character and a typical single mother living in the projects, lacking a filtered vocabulary even around her young children.

The problem lies within the storyline,  showcasing three years of this young boys ambitious training and maturing process while squeezing it into a cool hour and 12 minutes.  One would assume this to be a rushed process, if there was some material to go off of.  What ended up happening was the film had no substance, falling short in delivering any progression or redemption.

The message the audience will take from this film is the jaded mentally instilled within this culture, which is openly portrayed on screen.  The anarchical driven mischief, stemming from a false sense of liberties, only confirms the stereotypes the outside world gives this demographic leaving the viewer perplexed as well as unsympathetic.

The Last Circus (Foreign-Horror-Romance)

circus“A seductive woman can make clowns out of men, some become vengeful and the remaining deranged”

A young boy’s clown father is captured during the Spanish Civil War and imprisoned to work as a stone miner.  Once the boy finds him, he is told one last message before his fathers’ gruesome death, he will never be a funny clown because of his troubles but a sad clown.  This imbedded into his soul, he sets out for a career following his fathers’ clown-shoed footsteps, and along the way falls for a distressed trapeze artist.  This passion transforms into insanity and an evil clown emerges.

The opening scene most likely used a good portion of the budget for the film and was truly an exhilarating and unique experience.  Take circus performers, give them weapons, and throw them into an explosive high-raged battle in their full circus attire.  You actually have to bring yourself back to reality and remind yourself what you are watching, and if you don’t you will gradually get frustrated by how absurd the film is.

You will encounter sub-par acting and dialogue, a fair amount of suspense, and outrageous scenes that feed your curiosity.  The over-the-top violence and gruesome images, though distasteful, were the most intriguing aspects of this film.  The distinct ambiance of the shots with dark and diluted colors was attributive to the horror theme.  In essence it is a story of clown meets girl, clown falls for girl, girl wants two different clowns, girl is confused in which clown she wants more, girl wants neither clown, girl gives up.  It would be honest to say that the first and third acts were executed perfectly, but they lost it somewhere in the middle.