Friday, September 19th16.2°C
Reel Quick Movie Reviews

Coming to a theatre near you!

The Oscar-worthy movies aren't quite out yet, but I did find a few that peaked my interest. If you like football and real stories, When the Game Stands Tall was my favourite this week. 

When the Game Stands Tall

Even though I wouldn't consider myself a football fan, this story had enough heart in it to keep me interested. Because it was based on a true story, I was so much more invested in the characters, their stories, and their lives. With a fun soundtrack, my only complaint was that it was very similar to all the other 'true sports stories" movies.

My Rating: 28/34

Reminded me of: Remember the Titans, Facing the Giants, Million Dollar Arm

Magic in the Moonlight

Colin Firth is, without a doubt, the best part of this movie (sorry, Emma Stone). It's a typical Woody Allen script - controversial and does more than just dabble in existentialism, faith, and other deep topics. However, the cinematography was fantastic and may tempt you to buy a one-way plane ticket to France.

My Rating: 25/34

Reminded me of: Midnight in Paris, Importance of Being Earnest, The Prestige

Be on the lookout for: 
The Box Trolls (September): From the makers of ParaNorman, I'm looking forward to this quirky stop-animation movie. Check out the trailer and behind-the-scenes fun here.
The Maze Runner (September): With rumour of a sequel already in the works, this book-to-movie adaptation should be a heart-pounding, action-filled mystery. You can see the trailer here.
The Judge (October): Because we're always looking forward to Robert Downey Jr.'s next new movie. 
Gone Girl (October): From the best-seller list, it's a mystery/thriller. And Ben Affleck haters can just leave, because this trailer gives me the chills. 
See you at the movies!


Movie adaptation better than the book?

All the movies I watched and reviewed this week were originally books.. I've read "The Giver", but watching "The Hundred-Foot Journey" on screen has made me want to read the book. That being said, I don't think I'll read "If I Stay" anytime soon. Check out my tiny reviews below to find out why. 
The Hundred-Foot Journey

From the countryside setting, cooking, and kisses - this film was saturated with French. Helen Mirren was spectacular as always, but the whole cast worked really well together. An excellent story with some unpredictable twists, you'll need to watch this film on a full stomach to prevent drooling.

My Rating: 31/34
Reminded me of: Ratatouille, Eat Pray Love, Julie and Julia, The Exotic Marigold Hotel, and Million Dollar Arm. 
The Giver
Don't watch this movie because you heard Taylor Swift was in it since her short cameo can easily be missed with an untimely popcorn refill. I loved the use of colour throughout, and even though it was different than the book, the script held strong. It's unfortunate that with all the dystopian/utopian movies out these days, this one didn't really stand out from the others and may be easily forgotten.
My Rating: 26/34
Reminded me of: Divergent, Elysium, and Ender's Game

If I Stay
The whole premise of this movie is a bit strange: a ghost girl running barefoot around a hospital wondering if she should live or die with intermittent flashbacks to her life before. Her parents were instantly likeable, but I thought the supposedly gorgeous guy who was cast as the male lead was too old and made for some creepy chemistry. It's definitely geared towards the Nicholas Sparks-y demographic and all music lovers, but the script bounced too much between "super cheesy" "super creepy" and "super touching" for me to fully enjoy it. 
My Rating: 23/34
Reminded me of: Fault in Our Stars with a twist of August Rush, Safe Haven,Twilight, and The Host
See you at the movies!

Guardians is worth the hype

It was a hit and miss this week at the theatres. Check out my snippet reviews for movies on the big screen that you might want to avoid and the ones you shouldn't miss out on! 



If you're looking for the best version of Hercules, stick to the 1997 Disney movie, since I'm pretty sure nothing can beat the musical version of this famous demi-god. This 2014 version was packed with testosterone, big battle scenes, slicing people, and filming Dwayne Johnson's muscles from every possible angle. I was surprised with the decent plot and funny script, but prepare for your typical over-the-top ancient Greece movie. 

My Rating: 24/34

Reminded me of: Pompeii, Troy, Gladiator, 300



This sci-fi served as a great reminder to never ever ever do drugs. Though the concept seemed promising, the script was terrible and weirded me out within minutes. Putting aside the fact that the entire premise of the movie is scientifically inaccurate (we do use much more than 10% of our brain capacity), it was filled with inconsistencies and jarring scenes. The only great part about this movie was that it was only 90 minutes long, so I didn't waste any more of my life. 

My Rating: 9/34

Reminded me of: Limitless, Turbo, Ninja Assassin, Planet Earth, Tree of Life


Guardians of the Galaxy

If Chris Pratt wasn't reason enough to watch this summer blockbuster, then let Bradley Cooper as a sarcastic raccoon convince you. The pacing was excellent, the soundtrack was brilliant, the script was hilarious and it had the right amount of action in it. Because I never thought I would never have such an emotional attachment to Groot, I would say this is probably my favourite action movie this year. 

My Rating: 29/34

Reminded me of: Star Wars, Avengers

See you at the movies!


Americans, Apes & Apple commercials

There's something for everyone this week in theatres, but if you're asking for my recommendation, Begin Again with Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley wins hands down. 
Begin Again
This is the type of movie I could watch again and again if only just for the spectacular soundtrack. Not your typical fairytale story, I loved how candid and genuine it felt. From catchy original songs to strong characters, my main complaint was that the blatant Apple product placement throughout the entire movie was a bit annoying. 
My Rating: 29/34 
Reminded me of: Music and Lyrics, Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist, Chef, an Apple commercial
The Purge: Anarchy

This movie was out of my comfort zone, and though I would classify it as a thriller, it had some chilling parts to it. I'm not sure if it was intentional by the director, but even though the basis of The Purge is a hypothetical futuristic setting, the costumes, weaponry, vehicles, and technology in the movie weren't at all futuristic and gave the eerie feel of a familiar and not-so-distant future. The characters were not completely believable but this suspenseful movie did well to seem convincing and terrifying, especially when they started wrapping their inexcusable crimes in the American flag to justify them.

My Rating: 22/34

Reminded me of: The Hunger Games, The Dark Knight, The Island


Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 

Let's make this simple: If you liked the first movie and can handle apes speaking to humans while riding horses, you won't be disappointed by this sequel. The plot was predictable, but it delivered lots of action and explosions as the trailer promised. Bottom line is that if you're not a fan of talking animals in movies, skip this one.
My Rating: 24/34 
Reminded me of:  Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Tarzan, Babe

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About the Author

Alyssa Quigley is an enthusiastic chocoholic who thinks life is too short to be taken too seriously. When she's not writing movie reviews, she loves watching movies - especially musicals - with friends, playing volleyball and is an avid Amazing Race fan.


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.

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