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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Summer movie showdown: Three enter, only one leaves


    Paramount Pictures

    This week, there is a smorgasbord of films to cover. In lieu of doing a standard review of a single film, these three films — “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” (hereby referred to as “TMNT”), “Into the Storm”and “Boyhood” — which have basically nothing in common, will be pitted against each other in a battle royale. It’s the last gasp of summer — Which of these movies will hold its head high heading into the fall, and which will be left to swelter and die in the dog days of Tucson heat?

    Megan Fox as April O’Neil in “TMNT.” You may be thinking to yourself, “Now, wait a hot second, shouldn’t the characters that the movie is named after be counted as the heroes?” Well, that’s what you’d hope, since the turtles and their humor are the most enjoyable part of the movie. However, we are with O’Neil, a reporter that’s trying to break out of the leagues of fluff-piece journalism, from beginning to end. Therefore, Fox is the anchor of the film. If that sounds a little dubious to you, that’s because it is. She does a fair job, honestly, but there are times when she’ll let out a terror-filled scream so fake you can just imagine the director saying “action” just seconds prior.

    Ellar Coltrane as Mason in “Boyhood.” For those unfamiliar with the premise of “Boyhood,” director Richard Linklater filmed, for a couple of weeks a year over the course of 12 years, the life of Mason. The same actors (Lorelei Linklater as sister, Ethan Hawke as father, Patricia Arquette as mother) portrayed Mason and his family, meaning the passage of time was completely organic. A year in actual life was a year in “Boyhood.” While makeup, special effects and different actors always show age in film, there’s something beautiful about Coltrane literally growing up before our eyes.

    Richard Armitrage as Gary Morris, Sarah Wayne Callies as Allison Stone, Matt Walsh as Pete, Max Deacon as Donnie, Nathan Kress as Trey in “Into the Storm.” The politically correct term for this amount of leads is an “ensemble cast,” but the actual correct term for this amount of leads, in the case of this movie, is “unwieldy and forgettable.”

    Winner: It’s not even close. “Boyhood.”

    Tohoru Masamune as Shredder in “TMNT.” Shredder is a robot samurai in a suit that’s outfitted with an endless amount of blades. He never runs out of knives like Katniss and Legolas have an endless amount of arrows. Though his intentions to unleash a deadly pathogen on a metropolitan city are as clichéd as they come (see: “The Amazing Spider-Man”, “Batman Begins”), he’s got some fight in him. His brouhaha with the turtle’s anthropomorphic rat sensei, Splinter, is one of the better fights on screen this summer.

    Firenado and EF5 tornado in “Into the Storm.” The main draw of this film, and very likely the only reason to see it, is for the special effects-created terrors of nature. They are impressive to behold on the big screen, and I couldn’t help but feel that impending sense of dread when one of these tornados touched down in the hapless town of Silverton. A firenado makes a brief appearance and chars a cameraman, but the real big boss is a massive EF5 tornado whose size is of mythological proportions.

    Alcoholic stepfathers, criminal facial hair and the indiscriminate passage of time in “Boyhood.” As Mason grows up, from a curious 6-year-old to a still curious 18-year-old, he undergoes the one constant we all undergo: disenchantment. Not one, but two, drunken stepfathers come into his life. In his awkward teenage years, when you can just see that his turbulent upbringing has taken its toll, he grows wisps of facial hair and gets his ears pierced. Finally, at the end, when Mason’s leaving for college, we realize time stops for no one, and the little wide-eyed kid, staring up at the clouds, is no more. As Mason’s mother, Olivia, says, “I just thought there’d be more.” Things change.

    Winner: This is a stacked category. I’m giving the edge to “Into the Storm.” The only thing the storms did wrong was not take out more characters.

    Most Fun
    “TMNT” knows what it is. It never takes itself too seriously, and special kudos to Will Arnett (Gob from “Arrested Development”). It’s a perfectly brief 101 minutes long, meaning it doesn’t over stay it’s welcome.

    “Into the Storm” has more humor than I thought it would have, thanks largely in part to two hillbilly daredevil storm chaser supporting characters that operate out of a rickety truck. However, the humor wears thin halfway through, and I wish the movie had done away with it once things started to get serious.

    “Boyhood” has so many moments that will instantly transport you back to your childhood. From the release of a new “Harry Potter” book to playing a Wii when it first came out, this film is a time machine. However, 15-30 minutes could have been shaved off at the end.

    Winner: “TMNT.” The running time is the operating factor here. “Boyhood” sags under its weight towards the end, while the turtles clock out for pizza at just the right time.

    C- for “Into the Storm.” I would urge you, if you’re still interested in seeing this movie, to go out and see it right now while it’s in theaters. There won’t be a benefit to seeing the massive storms shrunk down to a TV or computer screen.
    B- for “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” I had a good time at this movie, and that’s coming from someone who was a childhood fan of the turtles, but not that big of a fan. I laughed a lot and there are some positively over-the-top action sequences. However, apart from class clown Michelangelo, the rest of the turtles seem underdeveloped.

    And the winner: A- for “Boyhood.” This film is a time capsule of growing up in America in the 2000s and is a viewing experience like none other.

    Philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre said literature is not only seeing yourself in the prose, but also knowing that you are being seen. When you watch this film, if you grew up around the time Mason did, you’ll not only see yourself, you’ll know that you are being seen, open to the world.

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