Straight Outta Compton review

compton Straight Outta Compton (2015)

Directed by F. Gary Gray

Written by Jonathan Herman, Andrea Berloff, S. Leigh Savidge, Alan Wenkus & Andrea Berloff

Starring O’Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Neil Brown Jr., Aldis Hodge & Paul Giamatti

Synopsis (IMDb): “The group NWA emerges from the mean streets of Compton in Los Angeles, California, in the mid-1980s and revolutionizes Hip Hop culture with their music and tales about life in the hood.”

Straight Outta Compton was quite an experience for a white girl from Scandinavia. I think people like me should go and see this film. It’s quite nice way to get some shaking. And also very sad to notice how little has changed in 25 years. This film is very much showing the reality of today as well as the reality back in the days of N.W.A. And that kind of reality I have no idea.

Besides the politics, Straight Outta Compton is very good film. More than that actually. Characters are well-build and amazingly look-a-likes to their real life role models. Stories of these guys were authentic, there were no minute when I didn’t think this couldn’t happen. Even though there are scenes without purpose, so some more editing would have been good but those scenes too were genuine. It was so refreshing to see unknown faces on the screen for a change. Except Paul Giamatti who again did swell job. When it comes to other actors, most notably excellent Jason Mitchell in the role of Eazy E, they did splendidly. O’Shea Jackson Jr. is the other actor I’d like to point out for his work in the film but then again, he was playing his father, so there might have been some background work already done before this gig.

straightouttacompton

Like said, some more editing wouldn’t have hurt and some scenes were repetitive but that’s life. It can be easily be repetitive. I think that’s basically my only complain. Ok, I’m not the target audience for this film as I find this kind of machoism quite annoying but for the first time I have to say, I kinda got it. There just might be a reason to do stuff that looks stupid like giving the finger to authorities. I’m glad this story got told. And I’m very glad it happened now, it’s so relevant.

And the main thing. The music! Wow, those guys were and are talented. I haven’t really been listening to this kind of music but I sure will from now on. Have a look:

Rating: ****(out of 5)

The Best of the Best – Movies of Music

Yeah. I’m kind of cheating here. Like I tend to do quite often with my Best of the Best lists. So, this is the listing, idea gotten from a blog of Cinema Disco Parrot when she made a top ten of her favourite musicals. Well, I thought of making the same but then I just noticed, surprisingly I don’t like musicals. Weird. I though I do. But all these 12 films that I mention here have gotten me 10 or 9 in IMDb and that means they’re really good and I think that is good line to draw when making a top ten list, or what do you think? BUT as I said, I cheated and following films are not necessarily musicals but films either musicals or ones where music plays important part of the story.

Let’s go. So, two films just bubbling under top 10 are worth of mention too.

Walk-the-Line-movie-01

Pitch_Perfect_41339

Walk the Line

Pitch Perfect

And then to my actual TOP-10. The Best of the Best of movies that include music in one way or another. Clips of some of my favourite parts of the film. Including music. Videos might contain spoilers.

10)

CRY-BABY

I’m quite sure there are a lot of you who haven’t seen this one. You should. I’ve loved it since I was a kid. And Johnny is as hot as ever. It’s trashy, it has young Ricky Lake and porn star turned actress Tracy Lords and it even has Iggy Pop! Recommended all the way. Good fun!

9)

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

There’s no way that I could have done this list without Disney musicals. This is the first of three.

8)

ALMOST FAMOUS

I know what it is to love music. A band and follow them wherever they go. I love this film and this scene is the best scene in the whole film. It’s hard to explain how cool it is to travel with or after some band on tour. There’s some kind of magic. And Kate Hudson has never been more beautiful than as Penny Lane.

7)

THE PIANIST

A “little” different music film. Usually films with music are on the cheery side of the notes. The Pianist is devastating. But so well done. Adrien Brody really earned his Oscar for the role of Wladyslaw Szpilman.

6)

FROZEN

I have no idea how many times I have already shared that video. At least four in this blog, I think. Well, once more. I love that song! ❤

5) 

THE SOUND OF MUSIC

I just realised I don’t have Mary Poppins on this list. And apparently I thought it’s worth of 8/10. Hmph. Don’t know about that. But at least I have Sound of Music here. I love that song. And all the others in the film as well. I could’ve chosen any of them but that’s classic. Julie Andrews was and is amazing singer.

4) 

THE WIZARD OF OZ

When I was a kid and were sick my mum took me to my grandma to recover while she went to work. It was the best place to be when sick. She made me Nutella sandwiches and I was able to watch Star Wars  or Wizard of Oz. I couldn’t do that at home. It was so nice. You forgot you were sick when you were shipped to Oz with basket full of Nutella sandwiches.

3)

BEGIN AGAIN

It feels kinda wrong to put this tiny little film with Keira Knightley and Adam Levine on top of Julie Andrews and Judy Garland but I just absolutely loved this film when I saw it couple of years ago. It made me feel like I was flying. Kind of believe in the world again. And it describes the effect of music in your life so well. Oh so well.

2)

THE LION KING

Of course this is on the list. My god that is amazing opening for a film. And that film is still amazing. Hakuna matata!

1)

MOULIN ROUGE! 

That is not unfortunately the original clip of the film which they have actually managed to keep out of YouTube. At least I couldn’t find one. But that is by all means the best part of music of any musical ever. I absolutely love it! But again, I could choose any of the songs in Moulin Rouge. Whatthehell, here’s another:

There you go. I thought this would be easy and quick post to write but nooooo. I’ve been here for hours listening to all of those great songs from great movies. Two best things in the world; movies and music. *sigh* How about yours? What are your favourites? Which films that music is in the lead role would you recommend? I have, by no means, seen all of them.

Inside Out Review

As I’m finally back I should be back as well, huh? I haven’t done a review since Hobbit 3 in January. I’ll start with one that will most probably win the BEST ANIMATED FEATURE Oscar next February. It has made so much money according to BoxOfficeMojo (#73) and it’s already #53 in IMDb’s list of Top-250 and everybody seems to love it! Ladies and gentlemen;

INSIDE OUTinsideoutposter  (2015)

directed by Pete Docter & Ronaldo Del Carmen

written by Pete Docter, Ronaldo Del Carmen, Meg LeFauve & Josh Cooley

starring (as voices) Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Richard Kind, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling & Kaitlyn Dias

Synopsis taken from IMDb: “After young Riley is uprooted from her Midwest life and moved to San Francisco, her emotions – Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness – conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house, and school.”

First of all I have to say I didn’t love it as much as everyone else seems to love it. I liked a lot, especially story wise but I’ve seen much better animated films before. Maybe it’s because Pixar has not made THAT good films in couple of years (well, since Toy Story 3, I think) that now when they (finally) did, it seems a very big deal?! Maybe. I don’t know. But let’s go it through.

Good things. Joy. And Sadness. And well, all the other characters too. Amy Poehler is one of my favourite comediennes and she’s perfect as Joy as is the whole character in general. She’s a bit annoying but mostly you can’t help loving her. Without joy life would be horrible. Just horrible. But as told in the story, you do need other emotions too or it just might be a bit too much to handle. And this is where lies the best of Inside Out. The story is so well written. Even it might be a tiniest bit childish, it does remind us all how to deal with it. Or at least how we should do it. I think all people with children on the verge of their puberty should go and see this. With their children. It might help. I hope Pete Docter and go will get their nominations in screenplay category in January, they deserve it.

insideout1

I also enjoyed the execution of the film. It looks and feels fluffy and that’s kind of it is supposed to look like when you are in someones’ mind who’s still innocent. And I also enjoyed the way how they mixed with drawing techniques. And I loved the use of colours, it looked beautiful.

As those of you, who know me personally or have read this blog long enough, know I’m big cry-baby. I cry a lot when watching films or series or reading or just seeing a lonely grandpa on the street. I cry. Of course I cried while watching Inside Out but not much, really. Not much. And that is a surprise and to me, negative one. I cried a lot while watching the short film or music video or how ever you want to call it that was on before the actual film. Serious cry-alert here then! (sorry, couldn’t find one without lyrics)

Anyway, not crying a lot when watching an animated film must mean it is not that touching as it should be. To me at least. And another minus was that I didn’t laugh as much as I hoped for. It did feel a bit too much childish in a way that things were not as funny as they could’ve been. But I do believe this will become to be one of those animated films that kids around the globe will love. And adults are happy to watch together with them. It’s still a great story with great characters and you feel good after seeing it.

joy

Rating: **** (out of 5)

The Hunger Games: Mockinjay – Part 1 Review

mockinjay_poster_jennifer_lawrenceTHE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINJAY – PART 1 (2014)

Directed by Francis Lawrence
Written by Peter Craig, Danny Strong and Suzanne Collins (from her novel)
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelsson & Donald Sutherland

Again we here in Finland had a chance to see The Hunger Games: Mockinjay – Part 1 a tiny bit earlier than rest of the world. And again it was solid entertainment. BUT it is obviously part 1. The plot almost stays still. This movie felt like its main purpose is setting up things for the last installment. But don’t get me wrong, it was still good.

Lately I’ve been a bit fed up with all JLaw hype and her goofiness and it felt so good to be reminded why the world fell in love with her in the first place. She’s very good at what she is doing for her living. And that’s acting, folks. She is again Katniss, the great, real, feeling yet practical Katniss that we’ve gotten to know. She kicks ass. And what is the best thing in the film compared to the novel, she does not whine. Well, maybe a little but for those who’ve read the books, the amount of whimpering is almost non-existent. Thankfully. I love that girl.

plutarch-heavensbee-and-alma-coin-in-mockingjay-part-1

And when it comes to other players in the field, some of them get much more screentime than before like for example Liam Hemsworth’s Gale as well as Philip Seymour Hoffman’s (RIP) Plutarch. It is such a nice thing to watch him and Julianne Moore’s Alma Coin to change dialogue. They were and are simply such good actors that it always makes you smile. But that’s about all the smiling you’re going to do while watching this film. It’s war, people. And war is scary, nasty business that no one wants to go into. But sometimes you just have to.

The most important thing you get out of Mockinjay 1 is that it is very relevant. You just need to look in to the world and see that, sadly, this movie is very real for many of its habitants. “If we burn, you burn with us.”

mockingjay_falling

Stars: ***½ (out of 5)

 

Interstellar Review

I’m back. With a new layout and hopefully with a new courage to go on with my plan. And I saw Interstellar yesterday. Thankfully. Finally. I loved it.

interstellarINTERSTELLAR (2014)

directed by Christopher Nolan
written by Jonathan & Christopher Nolan
starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain & Michael Caine

First of all, Interstellar is a real sci-fi film. Unbelievable one. I was so ready to be disappointed because the film hadn’t quite lived up to all the hype and it didn’t do so spectacular work at the box-office that it should’ve had. And it’s Rotten Tomatoes score is “only” 74%. But thank god I did not miss it at big screen. It is one of the best films I’ve ever seen. After 15 minutes of its end, I was actually shaking. Amazing movie.

I don’t want to spoil anything because that is the best way to see the film. Not knowing a lot. The beginning of the film is already infectious if you don’t know what happens. Because they actually don’t tell you what has happened. Very annoying and so good. I don’t really know what I should write about it. It’s huge. And it needs to be seen on the biggest possible screen. With a good sound system. Some might say the music and sounds are too loud but I think it’s the point. They suck you in. In a good way. Mackenzie-Foy-beautiful

Ok, the cast. Well, there’s McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Casey Affleck, Matt Damon, Topher Grace, Wes Bentley and so on… So what can you expect except excellence? Especially in the hands of C. Nolan? And there’s also Mackenzie Foy playing Murph (the daughter of McConaughey’s character) and she happens to be outstanding. Check her out. She has already held her own in the last couple of episodes of Twilight saga (well, not that hard thing to do…) and also The Conjuring. I predict a bright future for her.

What else? Well, obviously, already mentioned sounds. They rock your boat. Or at least your seat. Literally. Huge. Music is quite overwhelming but then again, it’s Zimmer in all his glory. I know a lot of people who think that he’s over-the-top but to me, he’s the best (I still need to do The Best of the Best of Composers). Here again.

Visuals are, as you might guess, stunning. Of course. I absolutely adored the shots from the space. They were so relaxing. But the most important part for me was the emotional effect. It was tremendous. Like I said, I was shaking afterwards and if I remember correctly, that has happened to me three times before (Matrix, Fight Club and Drive). It was such a rollercoaster. And I love rollercoasters.

I know there are a lot of complaints around internet but I don’t want to think about if this could happen or if there are plot holes, if the dialogue is childish or if the characters  are making non-sensical choices. I don’t care. I had one of the best experiences in my life in cinema and I will remember that for a long long time. And well, Interstellar is at #11 at IMDb’s top-250, so I guess, I’m not alone.

interstellar_space

Stars: ***** (out of 5)

12 Years a Slave review

12-years-a-slave12 Years a Slave (2013)

Directed by Steve McQueen

Written by John Ridley (Story by Solomon Northup)

Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong’o, Sarah Paulson, Paul Dano, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti & Brad Pitt

Gosh, I’ve been away again. I finally got to see 12Years a Slave that I’ve been waiting to hit the Finnish cinemas for ages (or so it feels). And it was the best new film since Drive (that’s 1,5 years)! I do admit, I have enjoyed some films more than this but the way Steve McQueen handles the subject is spectacular. In hands of incapable director this one could’ve been a mess or at least overly dramatised. Now it’s almost perfect.

The story itself is interesting, brutal and honest in the way that it is sometimes hard to watch. I did close my eyes at least in one scene. And I felt bad, well, almost through whole film. Or not actually bad, more like, embarrassed. Because, you know, we still tend to act that way. And that’s the best side of this film. It makes you think. Me and my friend ended up talking about our own behaviour towards foreign people, people with different culture and even people with different skin colour. It is no wonder if refugees or other people from different cultures that are minority act out poorly when that is exactly what the major population is expecting them to do. Like in Finland, it’s really hard to get a job if you don’t speak Finnish and then what choices do you have other than get the money from the government (when Finnish people complain that you’re here only for free living), steal or beg. I thought about Solomon Northup beforehand and wondered why he just didn’t leave. Well, I know now why.

twelve-years-a-slave-michael-fassbenderWhen it comes to film making, 12 Years a Slave is beautifully shot; eg. there are some extra lovely shots of the nature of deep south that are so beautiful yet same time so creepy when compared to the horrors happening in the scene. Everyone of the actors and actresses are making their best job. I truly believe Lupita Nyong´o deserves her Oscar and Fassbender would too. His portrait of this sadistic character is unbelievably human. None of the white characters of the film are without soul (Sarah Paulson is also fantastic). You kind of understand where their behaviour arise from. And same time you just can’t understand how anyone can do that to another person. I liked a lot of Benedict Cumberbatch’s character (although he was not in his best) especially because his character made me think how I would have acted at those circumstances. I’d like to believe I’d been braver. Hopefully I’ll never come across to that kind of situation.

The only thing that was a bit too much in the film is, surprisingly, music. It’s too much. And I love Hans Zimmer and his compositions usually but because the story of Solomon is told quite a subtle way, the music is too dramatic. It does work in some of the scenes but not in all. McQueen is basically stating “this happened” but Zimmer is building up much more and for this once it doesn’t work. But that’s my only complaint.

12yearsIf they don’t give the Best Picture Oscar to this film, it’ll be injustice. Gravity is amazing, I’ve never seen anything like it and I’m sure American Hustle is a riot with great actors but 12 Years a Slave is a film that has a point to make. It should be shown to everyone, so we could, as human beings, think how we could start treating each other as equals.