Valentine’s Marathon: Romeo & Juliet (2013)

Next up in the Valentine’s Marathon is a tale really as old as time and probably one of the first Shakespeare plays I had to read in school but super renowned and adapted a ton of times and that is Romeo & Juliet. This version is the 2013 one with Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth.

Let’s check it out!

Romeo & Juliet (2013)

Romeo and Juliet 2013

Director: Carlo Carlei

Cast: Hailee Steinfeld, Douglas Booth, Damian Lewis, Paul Giamatti, Kodi Smit-Mcphee, Ed Westwick, Christian Cooke

Romeo and Juliet secretly wed despite the sworn contempt their families hold for each other. It is not long, however, before a chain of fateful events changes the lives of both families forever.-IMDB

 Its always hard to review Romeo and Juliet adaptations. We all know how the story will go and the tragic fate of these lovers. It becomes even harder each time to feel moved by the characters and the story somehow because of that familiarity. I’m not sure if this is the most recent movie adaptation but I think so with these young stars playing the popular roles. In reality, it feels like quite the task and one that I’d eventually like to do to talk about the play and all adaptations (or as many as I have access to). Maybe I’ll give that a go one day. However, we’re here to look at this adaptation and to be fair, it was fine. There were some familiar faces, some good performances, the set was pretty decent and so were the costumes. I’m not a Shakespeare extreme connoisseur so I don’t know the play front and back. It been a long time since I’ve read it but from what I remember, its seems pretty close (if not the same) in dialogue.  However, something seems missing which I can’t quite pinpoint so maybe as I write this out, I’ll figure it out.

Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet are played respectively by Douglas Booth and Hailee Steinfeld.  I haven’t seen a lot of Hailee Steinfeld but I have seen Douglas Booth in few of his previous roles, probably the one I remember most is LOL and Jupiter Ascending (review HERE). To step into Romeo and Juliet is a big task (like I mentioned before), there was to be passion and believability in their roles. Perhaps one of the things I didn’t quite feel was their connection. Sure, they were passionate in their lines and I could see it working but when they were together, something just didn’t click. Although, I feel that it progressed a little fast also. I get that its supposed to be a few days of events like most Romeo and Juliet movies are set in but it took two seconds to jump to seeing each other, dancing and then going to to the back and kissing. I never felt like other Romeo and Juliet movies progressed the love arc that fast for them and maybe its why those movies had a more impactful performance. Oh, and I actually did like Hailee Steinfeld’s performance. I feel that she has potential to do more and that’s where I think I probably should check out The Edge of Seventeen from last year.

Romeo and Juliet 2013

Talking about the Montague boys now, we’ve already discussed Romeo as the lover boy but possibly a great bromance trio goes to these guys who felt naturally good together. Somehow they worked well in showing their different personalities of Mercutio, Romeo and Benvolio. It was easy to believe that they all held different views of the rivalry between the Montague and the Capulets but also that they each also had different values. Mercutio is played by Christian Cooke, who is a familiar face and I liked him in the role. However, I love Kodi Smit-McPhee ever since I saw him in Let Me In (review HERE). This guy has some really great acting chops. He did a great job at Benvolio even if it was just a supporting role.

Romeo and Juliet 2013

The Capulets are much more individual but also has a lot more screen time. We have Tybalt, played by Ed Westwick who is incredibly known to me as Chuck Bass in Gossip Girl and I loved his character there. Ed Westwick does have some good acting and in the right roles, he can do quite a bit. As Tybalt, he really just does the cocky guy with a ton of anger issues who has incredible hate for Montagues who can barely keep his actions in control. Plus, he does a whole lot of odd grunting angry voices and always has a grimace, which I get is in character but something about his character felt a little overacted perhaps. I can’t say that its his best performance in my book. The other part of the Capulets is Damien Lewis as Lord Capulet. I honestly haven’t had much contact with Damien Lewis but he seems like a really powerful actor because Lord Capulet’s role really carried especially when he was having the whole scene with Juliet and making his point clear of her marrying Count Paris. That was a fantastic scene.

Overall, Romeo and Juliet in this 2013 adaptation was okay. It probably won’t be memorable but its not horrible either. The pacing of the script could probably use some work to help make us care more about Romeo and Juliet especially when everyone already knows how this all works out and pretty much knows what to expect. There are some decent performances that I haven’t even mentioned other than Hailee Steinfeld, Damien Lewis and Kodi Smit-McPhee but also we have Paul Giamatti who plays as the Friar and as always, he does a nice job in the supporting role. Its hard to not compare Romeo and Juliet adaptations to each other especially since there’s already been so many but here’s my shot at it.

Have you seen this adaptation of Romeo and Juliet? Which adaptation is your favorite?

San Andreas (2015)

The first in a bunch of 2015 movies is going to be a disaster film.  If you missed the weekly adventures and updates, I got a good few 2015 movies for Boxing Day at some sweet deals. Instead of leaving them to sit on my shelf and forget about them until a few months later, I decided that I’m going to try and watch a few more 2015 a little earlier than a week before the Academy Awards.  As you can see, I chose to start with San Andreas so that is definitely not an Oscar choice, not by a long shot.  However, point is that I’m going to aim to get some 2015 titles watched, more than my little 25 movies or so that I’ve seen so far.

Enough of the rambling, let’s check out San Andreas! 🙂

San Andreas (2015)

San Andreas

Director: Brad Peyton

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario, Hugo Johnston-Burt, Art Parkinson, Paul Giamatti, Archie Panjabi, Ioan Gruffudd

In the aftermath of a massive earthquake in California, a rescue-chopper pilot makes a dangerous journey with his ex-wife across the state in order to rescue his daughter.-IMDB

Disaster films (based on natural disasters) always work their hardest to make sure their audience needs to suspend their belief as much as possible.  Thing is, its got itself stuck in a category that almost guarantees to be bad movie-making with just a lot of crumbling buildings, floods, and other natural disasters when Mother Nature decides to tell the world (or the city) to go to hell. We’ve seen it in 2012 and The Day After Tomorrow for somewhat more popular choices. Despite saying that, you all know that I’m one to be able to suspend my belief quite a bit and plus, I change how I talk about a movie based on my expectations of it. San Andreas is a fun film.  Its predictable and has those normal natural disaster film tropes but you know what those other movies don’t have? Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. This man can make (almost) any film work with his expressions, one-liners and just his towering build.  There are a thousand things that don’t make sense in San Andreas, like him leaving his post to save his almost ex-wife and daughter but for all those things, there’s also a decent cast and story that kind of works. My best comparison would be like watching Uncharted as a movie because the moment you feel safe, impending danger happens almost immediately after. That is what disaster films need to be.

San Andreas

 A huge pro in San Andreas was that the cast we have here and the decisions they make, not just our main hero, Ray (played by Dwayne Johnson) made good decisions.  We had little heroes in the younger cast who saves each other and really toughs it out.  The youngest kid, Ollie makes some good calls.  Sure, romances and family drama shouldn’t be in the forefront of disaster movies but sometimes, in moderation, I can accept its existence.  Some of those moments were to let us understand Ray a little better so that we’d connect with his character also and his relationship with his ex-wife, who had just gotten engaged to this rich real estate guy responsible for the sturdiest skyscraper. We follow four groups throughout the movie from the experts, played by Paul Giamatti and his team at Caltech, Ray and his ex-wife finding their daughter, their daughter and the two brothers that escaped the building and ex-wife’s fiance Daniel. This movie is almost two hours long so it can sustain those story lines rather well (in comparison to other disaster film plots).

San Andreas

I’m not an expert in earthquakes and tectonic plates, even US geography and where the fault lines are and all that stuff, so I’m not going to talk about how sound the expert (played by Paul Giamatti) and his research worked here.  Like I said, there is a bit of suspending belief so I’m not sure I have to understand in depth but I got the idea so you knew that imminent dangers was hitting across that area. However, I do have to give it to San Andreas that its special effects were quite spot-on.  Sometimes, there are some cheesy or bad effects but this one made it rather believable.  If there’s any truth to this, if anything like this happens, Caltech is the place you want to be 😉

San Andreas

Overall, San Andreas is a pretty decent disaster movie.  A good part of that goes out to the great cast.  I personally love Dwayne Johnson and Paul Giamatti a lot so they already had extra points before the movie started.  It satisfied that disaster movie craving and actually exceeded what I expected to be much more fun with some good effects and smart characters that I was able to enjoy it even more.

Have you seen San Andreas? What are your thoughts? Do you enjoy watching disaster films?