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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Tag Archives: Nacho Vigalondo

Colossal (2017)

Sometimes, you don’t need to go home. Or anywhere.

After losing her job, as well as her boyfriend (Dan Stevens) in New York City, Gloria (Anne Hathaway) decides that it’s time to head on back to where she grew up in upstate New York, where she can hopefully find some time to get her life back in order and figure everything out. While there, she meets back up with an old friend from school, Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), who instantly remembers her and is so happy to have her back into his life. Gloria doesn’t know what she did to make him so happy, but for some reason, she’s willing to go along with whatever Oscar throws at her, like always drinking and even working at his local bar. For awhile, Gloria seems to be so very happy, but then, this weird thing begins happening: Somewhere out in Tokyo, a huge monster is destroying everything and everyone in its path. And the news in the U.S. is constantly covering this, with people either in total shock and horror, or just absolutely happy that it’s not them. Gloria doesn’t know what to think, except until she finds out that it may be her causing all of this death and destruction, somehow.

“Agent? Yeah, more stuff like this.”

When I first heard of Colossal, I remember it being pitched as a mixture between Lost in Translation and Godzilla. Interesting for sure, but could it work? Honestly, I wasn’t sure, but it was a bold, brave enough idea to take on and considering the current-day, big budget monster movies we seem to get, it would definitely offer a nice breath-of-fresh-air.

Which is exactly what Colossal is, although of course, it runs into its problem.

Most of the problems with the movie come from the fact that the idea, while interesting and definitely neat, also leaves a lot of questions when all is said and done. It all comes down to certain questions about sci-fi, how things would work, and what would happen, if say something such as this happened. It’s the kind of general questions that plague sci-fi and it’s honestly what bugged me for quite some time during Colossal; it wasn’t that I couldn’t give in to the idea and just run with it, it’s that it seemed to make itself more complicated as it went along, but without ever answering the questions it presented.

Still, for a movie about a bunch of hipsters and monsters, it still sort of works. Writer/director Nacho Vigalondo knows that he’s playing around with genres and tones here, but doesn’t ever make it seem too flashy; he knows he’s got something interesting on his plate, so rather than taking away from it, he gives us more to watch and be curious about. Sure, it’s interesting just how all of these monster shenanigans go down and play out, but Vigalondo’s also smart enough to know that having compelling characters make the monsters all the more compelling, too.

And with these characters, Colossal seems to be more interested in them, rather than the monsters, which is, once again, another smart move.

“Wanna PBR?”

Like, for instance, Gloria does, initially seem like a bit of a pain, but as time goes on, we begin to see that there’s more to her and her troubled-past. It also helps that Hathaway is pretty great in the role, allowing for us to Gloria as a bit self-destructive, yet also, at the same time, a smart and relatively independent gal who is capable of making her own decisions, as dim-witted as they can often times be. It’s a low-key and not all that showy role for Hathaway, but it’s the right kind of role for her and it shows why she can be so charming.

Sudeikis is also quite good in the role of Oscar, who seems like a very charming and sweet guy, but slowly begins to unravel into these sad, lonely and angry individual. His actions later on in the movie are questionable and make you wonder if it’s necessarily the right direction for him to go in, but there’s no denying that Sudeikis is actually quite surprising in the role. We grow to love him, but at the same time, pity him. He and Hathaway have a nice bit of chemistry, too, to where you can tell that they probably enjoyed working with one another, as it shows in their smaller, much more intimate moments.

You know, without all of the cool and kick-ass monster fighting, which, for a small, low-budget indie, is pretty good.

Makes you wonder why Hollywood tends to get it so wrong, sometimes.

Consensus: With an interesting idea to work with and a very good cast, Colossal is smart, even if it doesn’t answer all of the questions it lays down by the end.

7.5 / 10

There’s Anne, guys. Always charming and lovely, but for some reason, ya’ll hate her. Get over it!

Photos Courtesy of: Indiewire

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V/H/S: Viral (2014)

Does anybody ever put down a camera?!?

The third installment in the V/H/S franchise, but still same as the first, we find ourselves peering into a random bunch of stories shot in hand-held cameras. Some are cool, some are interesting, and some are just plain weird, but the fact remains, they are all shot as if they were found in a locked-cellar, for some unlucky individual to pick up and be a witness to. In this case, we, the audience, are those unlucky individuals.

While I know that’s a very small premise for me to give, there’s a reason behind it. For starters, there isn’t much of a plot here, except for some connecting story-line about a random dude on a bike chasing an ambulance that also just so happens to be causing all sorts of havoc and destruction around Los Angeles. But considering this is an anthology piece of sorts, I’ve decided to review it as I would like the other two: Paragraph-by-paragraph form, yo!

Most unoriginal Halloween costume, ever. What an idiot!

Most unoriginal Halloween costume, ever. What an idiot!

1. The leading story – While this is the main story we’re supposed to make sense of the most, considering that we’re seeing all of these strange videos for a reason, it’s pretty surprising how much of this story doesn’t make sense. For one, the gimmick of the video-footage itself being so damaged and choppy gets old real quick, especially when you haven’t got a single clue why it’s happening so damn much, and to make matters worse, there’s never a single clue given to us as to what the hell is exactly happening. We’re supposed to believe that this random dude on a bike is chasing after this ambulance so that he can save his girlfriend from something, but it’s never made understandable as to what sort of danger she’s being thrown into. It’s all so confusing and made worse by the fact that it begins and ends the same way: Puzzling.

2. Evil Magician story – Though this piece definitely offers some more bright and shiny moments, there’s still nothing here to really write home about. Apparently this famous magician gets a mysterious cloak one day to enhance his magician skills, and somehow, it has these evil powers attached to it, that inhabits the mind of whoever dares put it on. It’s a neat concept, sure, but the execution is just very meh. It feels almost like a copy of what Chronicle did, but less interesting and with way scattered-images, which makes it pretty mediocre. It has a solid finish, though, which only leads on for better things to come for the rest of the movie, so yeah, I guess there’s some sort of silver-lining to be found.

3. “Time Machine” story – By far, this may be the most memorable, best piece of the whole movie. What starts out as a simple tale of a guy using a time-machine, turns into something totally wacky, wild, crazy, and, well, fun. See, with some of these V/H/S segments, it’s always surprised me how little of them actually try to go out there and be just plain and simple fun. You’d think with the many horror movies out there that solely get by on this attribute, that so many others would follow, but for some reason, that doesn’t seem to happen, especially not in these movies. But thankfully, not only is this piece a pretty fun one, but it goes to a whole bunch of different places that you least expect it to, which is also another element these segments from this franchise had, but yet again, it’s hardly ever here. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind a good scare here and there with these segments, but if you can’t deliver on that punch, then at least give me something else to hold onto.

Anyway, like I said before, it’s definitely the best piece of the whole movie and the less I say about it, probably the better. Not just for my own good as a respectful critic, but for your own viewing-pleasures, people!

4. Skater story – While this may not be the best piece of the whole movie, it’s still pretty damn fun, while also a bit freaky at certain points. Once again though, here’s another one I can’t talk too much about except for saying this: A bunch of teenage skater-bros go out to the middle of Mexico for the best skating spots, only to realize that some spooky stuff is going on right where they’re grinding, yo. Like the previous segment I just wrote about, this is another one that starts off relatively simple, if terribly annoying because these skater characters feel like they’ve jumped right out of a Larry Clark film, which is, I guess, effective enough, but soon turns for the stranger and it’s quite a fun ride. There’s plenty of blood, gore, beheadings, scares, and even a possible sign of a demon.

Great Scott!

Great Scott!

If that doesn’t tell you that these are all supposed to be horror movies, I don’t know what will.

But there you have it, folks, not all of the segments may be great, but as a whole, they make the latest installment of V/H/S into something worth checking out. However, for this franchise to get better, I think they need to really just allow for far more exciting, crazier segments. I’m all down and happy when it just wants to simply scare us, but if there aren’t any jolts to be had, just let things run wild. There’s no shame, nor foul in going completely over-the-top, because either way, it’s going to be interesting.

Then again, nobody’s reading this to begin with, so I guess it doesn’t matter what I say. Maybe I’ll just film myself next time…

Consensus: Fun, exciting, and unpredictable in certain spots, boring and unoriginal in others, V/H/S: Viral is another fine installment into this young franchise that shows it has room to grow and get better, but also still has plenty of life left in it, too.

7 / 10 = Rental!!

Shut up, kid. No one cares.

Shut up, kid. No one cares.

Photo’s Credit to: Goggle Images