Monster Dearest

The red smoke from those flares bear semblance to my wrists post-film.

I have never been insulted by a film’s stupidity until now. This decade’s edition of Godzilla is soulless and lost, wasting cast and crew over the course of two hours and three minutes.

In this reviewer’s eyes, the fault lies on the shoulders of writer Max Borenstein (emphasis on “Bore”), whose asinine talents would be better put to use writing the imminent My Little Pony movie. I honestly couldn’t tell you what the film is about, due to the fact that Borenstein’s script bears a constantly moving plot that never stops to think of what is being said and/or done. Moreover, it’s riddled with tired, cringe-worthy clichés and glazes over plot holes of various sizes. The kingpin offense is how the film is secretly a sequel (you read that correctly) to the 1954 original — a most unworthy one that rides the tail of its predecessor by bearing its same name. It’s as if Borenstein watched Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland for inspiration.

Further, I seem to remember that Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption) wrote an (obviously) unused draft of the film which portrayed the film’s titular monster as he was shown in the 1954 original — a living, terrifying metaphor for the dangers of the nuclear age. Specifically, Darabont sought not to render him as a protector of humanity, which is the way he was in the film’s sequels — in his words, “he became Clifford the Big Red Dog.” Guess what Godzilla is in the finished film.

Unlike Borenstein’s writing, Edwards means well in his direction — Make no mistake, the film is an eye-and-ear candy binge, particularly on an IMAX 3D screen. From visuals alone, Edwards’ future as a director looks bright, but he deserves a better script for his freshman outing. Speaking of, the cast present in this film is incredible, but again, they suffer from an utterly destitute script that renders their talents either flat or hysterical.

There’s little to appreciate, let alone love, in this mess of a monster movie, save for the visuals and sounds brought to the film by Gareth Edwards. Here’s hoping Borenstein doesn’t get welcomed back for Edwards’ upcoming Star Wars spinoff.

Rating: 0.5/5

Second Best is Still Among the Best

Y'know, I like the English poster a whole lot more.

Y’know, I like the English poster a whole lot more… though they forgot a comma between “Frears” and “Director.”

Philomena is a beautiful film, and ranks as my personal second best film of 2013, above The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and just below Saving Mr. Banks. As before, spoilers will be detailed, so go see the film if you haven’t already (as of this writing, it’s still in my area theaters).

Are we ready? Okay, here we go. The performances by Mr. Coogan and Miss Dench are well-thought and refreshingly believable; these leads never stoop to caricature or needless emphasis on a singular facet of the very real people they play — they are human beings, and little else, which is as it should be. Coogan’s portrayal of Martin Sixsmith (the straight man, if you will) is appropriately dry and wry, but he gives him a heart, with many moments of bonding throughout and notably exemplified in the film’s climax (which I will not spoil for you all; it has to be seen and/or heard).

As for Miss Dench, I don’t think I’ve ever seen her so cuddly and innocent in a film before. She has acted in such a way before (i.e.: Ladies in Lavender, Tea with Mussolini), but in playing Philomena Lee, she isn’t happy-go-lucky from the get-go. In her first scenes in the film, she is a woman with a lot on her mind, her faith at a crossroad, and a heart that is empty, gradually improving as the film goes on, and in spite of the fact that she finds that her son is dead midway through the film, she then decides to learn about him from those who knew and loved him.

There’s a lot of faith to be found in Philomena, not just with Philomena’s faith that she’ll find her son, but learning to find footing in your faith — in this film’s case, Catholicism. As a Catholic myself, I am struggling to regain my faith due to a few past hardships, and while this movie doesn’t “cure” me or anyone (it doesn’t seek to, anyway, nor is it supposed to), it is somewhat inspirational, for reasons that should become evident if you have seen the film, and if you haven’t, definitely do so and as soon as you can!

Rating: 5/5