Need for Speed (Film Review)

Need_For_Speed_posterAaron Paul, coming off of the hottest role of a lifetime, must be in high demand. Despite that thought, he still joined the cast of Need for Speed, who many considered to be a Fast and Furious knock-off. With that in mind, I came into this movie with very little in terms of expectations. No matter how much I loved Breaking Bad there was no way in my mind that this would successful let alone good. In terms of box office numbers, it didn’t fail completely, but I was still hesitant if this film could be good or not.

Now, from beginning to end Need for Speed is action-packed, but instead of action I mean cars. The acting is hot and cold, with Aaron Paul giving a great performance for the type of movie this is. Imogen Poots has great chemistry with Paul, which can further be seen in the film, A Long Way Down. They play off one another pretty well, that coupled with Rami Malek’s performance leads to a good base cast. Malek’s strongest scene involves him exposing his rear end in the workplace, it leads to laughs in a movie that normally takes itself too seriously. Dominic Cooper isn’t weak in his performance, but he did leave a lot to be desired. Michael Keaton gives a surprisingly good performance in this, which further makes me want to watch Birdman, a film that I have heard a million good things about. His performance is very similar to the character he played in Robocop. Mostly that both performances are the good kind of wild. Scott Mescudi also appears in the film and does not disappoint in his role. He’s silly, which lightens the mood from Aaron Paul’s revenge seeking antics.

The story is the weakest part of the movie. It’s your typical tale of revenge and the cars, which sounds like it could be a sequel to the Fast franchise. Writing for the characters could have been better, especially since most gave performances that were incredibly strong of a movie of this caliber. Writing is the most important aspect of a film, a decent actor can look extraordinary if their dialogue is refined to perfection. It would have been nice to see the script touched up even just a bit.

The stunt work was pretty impressive for what they did, though I’ve heard a lot was done digitally. Which I’m fine with, there have been a lot of recent stories of stuntmen dying from freak accidents. If you’re not 100% sure that everything is right, it might be best to do it in post. According to the actors and people behind the film, a lot of the film was stuntwork, but they did do extensive work to make sure everyone was safe. A balance of practical and post-work is great and safer. The shots used were beautifully shot of the Canon C500, a camera I could only dream of using.

Coming out of it, I find that Need for Speed is much more than just a Fast and Furious knock-off, it’s got great actors and a strong director behind it. All it needed was a script to make it the best possible. Sadly, a script is the most important thing, so it really drives the overall enjoyment of the film. It did exceed expectations, that’s for sure.

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22 Jump Street (Quick Review)

Sorry for the quick review, but it took me a while to write a review for this. I still know the score, but I can’t go as in depth as I’d like to.

22_Jump_Street_PosterPros

Great chemistry between Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. They play off one another so well, it makes every scene they are in such a treat. The jokes made about it being the same thing were spot on and hilarious. The relationship between Hill and Cube’s characters are amazing in this installment, a definite step up from the previous movie. Also, the post credits sequence is a must watch. Despite how you feel about the movie as a whole, the post-credits will make you cry like a baby.

Cons

Since it is too much of the same, it might drive some people crazy. At first watch, I thought the movie was perfect, but as time went on I don’t know if I can watch it again and laugh at all the same points. I’ve seen 21 Jump Street 3 times and cried from laughing too damn hard.

Overall

A great movie, I’m not sure if it will live as long as 21 Jump Street, but it was a great movie and an amazing sequel nonetheless.

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A quick message from The Bishop Review!

Hey guys, I just want to thank you all for checking out TBR, I’m amazed at how many new readers have appeared in the last couple of days and I’m so thankful to all the returning readers as well. These last couple of days have been amazing and I can’t wait for you guys to read some of the articles slated to be up later this week.

Marco Polo (Episode Three Review)

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Wow, there is a lot to be said about this episode, it was what I would describe as a hot and cold episode, with the hot portions being steamy. Both literally and figuratively. Now to start, I will say this episode provides a more interesting look at Marco Polo, the central character who was often overlooked in episode two. They found a great balance between Kublai Khan and Marco Polo and provided the viewer with two interesting stories involving both characters. Along with that, they continued to develop other characters with other, more minor, story lines.

I feel like every episode will need me to address this, but yes, this episode does have nudity. While this has the most nudity of the first three episodes, by this time I’ve grown desensitized by the show’s use of nudity. I now understand why it was compared to Game of Thrones. They did introduce a new, interesting character in the episode. She’s a fighter and a good one at that. She’s tied closely to Marco Polo and their interactions added both a sense of comedy and few nail-biting action sequences.

Kublai isn’t shown as much of a warrior in this episode, more sidelined by a bad case of dreaded gout. Despite this, he continues to be the most interesting character in the show. That’s not to say that Marco Polo isn’t great, he is especially great in the first and the third episode. Kublai Khan and Marco Polo’s interaction at the tail-end of the episode might just be one of the most intense scenes in recent memory. The scene was just wonderfully done in every aspect. It might not give the episode a perfect score, but it saves it from any sort of slump that might have befallen an early episode in a period show.

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Marco Polo (Episode Two Review)

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This review will have minor spoilers for episode two of Marco Polo

OK, I know I said not to expect a per episode review, but I couldn’t help it. The first episode was great, and the second episode built upon itself, in some good ways and other not so good ways. This review will probably be much short than the previous, but with the longest review probably being the final one. But anyways, let’s delve into the review.

The episode starts out strong and continues forth with the same momentum. No major characters are introduced, though a minor character is introduced that deals almost entirely with Marco. The relationship between the two characters gives the audience the ability to see Marco interact with a character who, while a higher status than Marco, isn’t in the same leadership position as Kublai Khan and his family. Speaking of Kublai Khan, this episodes centers mainly around him, and is incredibly strong because of it. At this point in the show, he might just be the most fun character to watch. He’s complex and just so well acted.

The story follows mostly Kublai Khan and his struggle against his brother, who wants control. The conflict is bloody and seemingly settled in this episode, but no one can ever be sure. The acting between Kublai Khan and his brother is the biggest strength of the episode, showing a love/hate relationship with great emphasis on both aspect. Another story line involved the Chinese consort and her relationship with young daughter as well as she has problems with her brother’s leadership. She has a very interesting fighting scene where she is completely nude and killing quite a few people. Did she need to be naked? Hell no. The only thing I can take from this is that it will be a common point in most of the series. While I don’t mind nudity, I’d like for there to be a solid reason for it to be there. While one could argue that she stripped her robe in this to make fighting easier, it’s a weak defense at that. Well, at least she did actually kick ass in this scene.

I’d say the weakest part of the episode was the lack of Marco in it. Sure, he’s still the main character in the episode, but there was a lack of interesting story involved with him. When he was onscreen, it was more exciting to watch Kublai Khan and his struggles.

Consensus: Overall, it was a slightly weaker episode, with lots of development for Kublai Khan and minor developments for many of the other characters. 2 hours in and the feeling of this being a movie has not worn off, it’s still particularly strong and has the makings of being one of Netflix’s best shows.

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The Sting and the Pride

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Watching a film is something so natural for me, I just sit back and relax. If a movie sucks, I make sure to voice my opinion, or write about it here, and when it’s great, I want to scream to the heavens that [insert any actor/actress here] is the best in the world at what they do. After working on a film and being a part of the crew and seeing it completely finished is a breathtaking experience. A group of people working as one forms a sort of bond, it’s hard to explain. Outside of set, you’re just friends but on set, you tend to work with a sort of cohesion that powers you and the film you’re working on forward. I had the good fortune of working with a wonderful director/writer and providing sound with a wonderful co-sound guy. The actors were fantastic to work with and gelled really well together on camera. It was the most fun I’ve had working either on stage or on set. There were no egos, we fixed our problems and we got along great. Sure, many of us went our separate ways after filming concluded, but I’ve worked with and am working with some of them on smaller or equally sized projects. As well as keeping in touch with them because, like I said, they’re a pleasure to be around. But, the strangest thing happened with this short film, we were able to show it in front of actual, living and breathing people.

At first that sounds great, you’ll get the opportunity to see people react in person to your short. Which is great, people will surely love or like it and you’ll be proud. But nothing in this world is universally loved and you might have the tragic experience of hearing someone tear your movie apart. Luckily for me, I didn’t have to hear that, but I might as well have. So first off, the response to the film I worked on was nothing but positive, with one exception. After the film concluded and the credits began to roll, I heard someone nearby say, “thank God, it’s over.”

Now in a normal situation, I would have thought nothing of it, but this was a short I had worked on for months, the longest I’ve really ever worked on anything. It became the crew’s baby and we cared for it to the best of our ability, so hearing even the slightest criticism hurt and I immediately knew why some filmmakers and actors refuse to watch with an audience. It’s scary.

Despite that pit in my stomach, I still loved every second of the screening. I feel it drove closer the concept that not everyone is going to love a film, no matter how technically or emotionally strong it might be. I’m not sure what the fate of the movie will be now, that’s up to the producer and director, but I would be excited to see it make it into some small market festivals and such, one can dream, can’t they?

So, my wonderful readers, have you guys ever experienced anything similar? If so, I’d love to hear about it.