Tuesday, December 31, 2013

American Hustle (2013)


Written By Eric Singer, David O. Russell
Directed By David O. Russell
Starring Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper

This film is a really well done film. It’s a period piece set in the 1970’s. Bradley Cooper is a favorite of mine and he is the center part of the story. Amy Adams is this centuries queen of the screen. She is electrifying in American Hustle. Jennifer Lawrence is good to but she’s more like the bell of the ball.

I watched this film glued to my seat. Every frame keeps you interested in how this thing will resolve. The story is told in a Scorsese style film dialogue that keeps it feeling realistic, Or at least nostalgic. All the characters are well written and heavily motivated. Even Lewis C.K. makes a large cameo part in this film.

Ultimately this story becomes confusing and I found it to be a bit to clean to wrap up the way it does. It’s a positive ending but for whatever reason I felt unsatisfied at the end. Maybe I’m just rooting for the wrong characters but I suppose this film has no true hero character.

No rating. Just a good film to see.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Anchorman 2 (2013)


Directed by Adam McKay
Written By Will Ferrell, Adam McKay
Starring Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell

I love lamp! And I love this movie. Everything about anchorman I love. It not that it’s a hilarious movie pocking fun at media culture and pandering news channels… I just really like how stupid they all are. Every character in this film is terrible. Its like slapstick comedy during an earthquake. There is really no “anchor” to help keep perspective. This is the genius part of the film.

This one has an all-star cast and even drake and Kanye make a special camio. All the old characters are still a big part of the film and the story just keeps going. Everything changed in new media and the change revolved around Ron Burgundy and that exactly how it should be.

The greatest part of this film is that it doesn’t take away from the first film. A lot of sequels and trilogies tend to change how the first film played out. But not anchorman 2! This film has all the class and dignity of the first film but all the swagger of a sequel. They did a good job of making the film stand on its own even though it pays tribute to the original.

Top 5. This film won’t but should make history.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

12 Years a Slave (2013)




Written by: John Ridley
Directed by: Steve McQueen
Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Brad Pitt

What can I say about this movie? It was sad. Very sad. The situation of the main character is tragic. Basicly a free black man is captured and forced into slavery in the deep south of The United States in the time period when slaver was legal. And of course, it was ilegal to enslave a free man and it was a terrible experience to go through... for 12 years!

The film making was good. Long drawn out scenes of torture and brutality that clearly show the dark side of slavery. How horrible it was for the men and women who were subjected to slavery. This movie focuses our minds on how unkind it was to enslave a people and force them to live in bondage.

The soundtrack and cinematography are very good. The acting and directing was done very well. Each scene has a beautiful backdrop of Louisiana and the time period is wonderful done. Despite the subject matter the film is beautiful and well produced.

Unfortunately, it ending of this movie doesn't quite capitalize on the message. The entire movie portrays slaver as a horrible practice that leave no indication of humility or respect for humanity. And yet the ending of the film leaves us with an emptiness. I couldn't find a message to take away from the film except 'slavery was wrong.' but I already felt that way.


No rating. Its a depressing movie but beautiful done with an all-star cast.  





Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Ender's Game (2013)


Written By: Gavin Hood
Directed by: Gavin Hood
Starring Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield

Ender's game is based on a very popular book. I read that book over 10 years ago. Now that I think about it over 15 years ago. I'm old... the point is I can't remember how it ended. And so the movie was a great surprise to me.

Ender's Game is simply a sci-fi adventure exploring the idea of Alien warfare and human survival tactical. The basis of the story is kill or be killed... by aliens. Interestingly enough, there is no war going on during their training.

Ender is a main character and a brilliant commander for tactical warfare. He is promoted up the rank during training to the point were he is in complete command of the entire military force as the simulate the end-all of battles.

Whats so great about this movie? Harrison Ford! This man can play a role and he was born to be on screen. Ford steals the show. He is a great addition to this movie and makes one hell of a general commander. (or whatever rank he holds in this film.) This film has some great acting. Also lots of action and battles that make for a fun experience.


No rating. This film was good but I’m guessing the next film will be twice as good.




 

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Friday, December 6, 2013

Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)


Written by Simon Beaufoy, Suzanne Collins
Directed by Francis Lawrence
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson & Philip Seymour Hoffman

This was a surprisingly great movie! Really, I genuinely enjoyed every second of this film. From the first frame to the last I was swept away in the story. It was masterfully thrilling to try and figure out what is going on and watch the story unfold. Everything was much more suspenseful this time. Apart from the “ritualistic brutal sport killing for a sloth of commercial onlookers” I found this movie to be compelling. Something about modern society is lurking in the background.

The basic story goes down like the first one. Jenifer Lawrence has to fight and she doesn't want to. The twist is that this time, everyone wants her to defy the powers that be. She becomes a symbol to the onlookers and rising up out of oppression. Jenifer Lawrence does a great job of embodying this character and we have all grown to love her since the Oscar... Right?

The cinematography is great. We don't even notice its there. The story flows perfectly through each shot. The acting is on pair with the first movie so don’t expect much there. But everything starts to really fit together. Its nice to see such a strong story being created out of that predictable plot line the last hunger games gave us.

Top 5. This film will pleasantly surprise you if you had low expectations. 




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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Enough Said (2013)



Written by: Nicole Holofcener
Directed by: Nicole Holofcener
Starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini

This is an adorable film. Julia & James don’t really have much chemistry on camera with eachother but then again they don’t really have any with the camera either. They portraiy real characters, and the reality of their made up lives sinks in as you watch. Nothing about this film is fake or fantastical. It remeinds me of an old Woody Allen film that speaks to the heart of people not children.

Holofcener is a good writer/director because the emotional stringe are being pulled at the appropriate time. Everything seems to fit together even though it’s all awekward and uncomfortable. Its best to see this movie with a liquored up crowed. The awekwardness of the film is best when laughed at.

Nothing about this movie screems genious but its just so solid and clear you can’t help but love every second of it. Its not super goofy like a Judd Apatow film or super depressing like Lars Von Trier but it finds this perfect middle ground that gives us a few laughs and a few moments of heart felt emotion. Don’t expect much from this film and you will be pleasantly supriesed.

Top 5. RIP James Gandolfini.

HFl
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Gravity (2013)


Written by: Alfonso Cuaron
Directed by: Alfonso Cuaron
Starring Sandra Bulack, George Clooney, Ed Harris

This was the best movie of 2013. And it was in 3D.

Word of Warning: Motion Sickness. This film is kinda wonky when I comes to gravity. As in there is none. But is a great movie to watch because you feel like really are an astronaut floating in space about to die because everyone and everything you know it so far away.

If that sound terribnly scary to you good! Because that’s what this movie is all about. The cinematography is incredibly not real. They didn’t really go out a shoot his thing in space. Its all green screen. But don’t let that ruin it. The 3D effects are incredible and as I said before you really feel like you are in space.

The story is a thrill ride. And you don’t get off until the end. Truly I was gripped with excitement and anticipation for 91 minutes. *I stayed for the final credit roll. Sandra Bullock does an incredible job as a novice astronaut fighting to survive the emptiness and isolation of space. *I’ve loved her since I sow ‘the net’ 

Spoiler Alert!!! there are no Aliens in this one. 

Top 5.  Best 3D Movie of the year!!!

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Thor 2: The Dark World (2013)

 

Written by: Stan Lee, Christopher Yost
Directed by: Alan Taylor
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston

Remember when I gave the first Thor Movie a bad review… What’s funny about that is the avengers really did make Thor a cool character.  When Thor comes to earth with his powers intact he starts to kick-ass the way he was always supposed to.

It turns out that The Avengers, and Thor 2 are awesome movies. BUT why did the first movie suck so much? Kenneth Branagh?

Thor 2 explores all the things Thor 1 left out. Thor’s homeland ‘Asgard’ and the power of the Gods all play a big roll in this film. The mythology and fantasy come out shining in along with the cinematography and special effects. This film will dazzle the eyeballs and stimulate the earballs, as you are whisked away in to a galactic dimensional freak fest fallowed with Thors hammer in the rear. *wink

The excitement doesn’t stop at the visuals. The storyline is compelling and fun. Natalie Portman finally gets back in the game with a sensual performance regarding her feeling for Thor. Her femininity is played up in this character and I found it a pleasing portrait for her. She doesn’t have a lot of girly rolls as an actress and she actually plays the part well.

This is kid friendly and full of suspense. I don’t see anything wrong with this movie except for the fact that it has no over arching message for the masses. Just good clean fun.

Top 5. Go see this one… but not in 3D

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Despicable Me 2 (2013)



Written by Ken Daurio & Cinco Paul

Directed by pierre coffin & chris Renaud

Starring Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig


Despicable Me 2 is a story about Gru (Steve Carell) basically falling in love. This film deals with Gru raising two young girls and balancing his business and personal life with his family. The difficulty comes when he is requested to solve a mystery and save the world. Ultimately he must swoop in a save the day.

It’s a fun movie to watch. If you sow the first one then this is basically continuing the story. You should go into this movie realizing how it’s geared to entertain children but also appeal to adults. Ultimately the film does a fine job of making you laugh and keeping your interest.

The animation is superb and action sequences work out perfectly. Nothing is missing in this animated feature except for the relevance. The audience is given a good performance and that’s it. Nothing gain or lost by this one.

No rating.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Worlds End (2013)




The Worlds End

Written By Simon Pegg & Wdgar Wright

Directed by Edgar Wright

Starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman & Rosamund Pike

Simon Pegg is a loser drug addict who remembers a single night when he was 17 trying to drink a pint at 12 different pubs on a famous town pub crawl. Since his youth, he has never made it to the final pub, Worlds End, so as an adult he gets the old gang together to recreate this amazing night that meant so much to him. Ofcourse this is when everything goes wrong...

So what do you thing about hot fuzz? How did you like Shaun of the Dead? Ok, now I'm just hitting on you. The truth is if you liked either of these films or both then chances are you will not be disapointed about The Worlds End. (that played out nicely)

This kind of campy fun film makes for a great movie going experience, where you won't need much else besides a good friend and a few laughs. The best part of this movie is how little it has to say about anything. Just a laugh we quickly move on to the next joke.

If you didn't like Shaun, or Fuzz then the only advice I can give you is this. Do you have friends? Do you drink beer? Do you have a healthy fear of alians and world invasion. How do you feel about comedy? I think you'll like it.

No rating. Just a fun film to see.

Blue Jasmine (2013)






Written by Woody Allen

Directed by Woody Allen

Starring Kate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin & Peter Sargaard

Note * Woody Allen has done such films as; Manhattan, Midnight in Paris, Mach Point, To Rome with Love & Annie Hall.

Woody Allen's new film is basicly about a woman going though PTSD. Her trama isn't from a war experience rather it's from her marrage that ended in devource and ruin. She is left with little money and no skills to survive. She is forced to move in with her sister who she had cheated out of a small fortune years earlier. This is where the story begins.

Woody Allen starts the film here, in the midst of disaster and as the movie progresses we see glimps after glimps of Kate living a "High Life" of the rich and powerful. These scene illistrate where Kate is coming from and how the current state of things is completely humiliating. As we come out of each luxurious scenes Kate is often sitting off in a corner with a long star... muttering to herself. She can't leave the past behind doomed to continuously relive her fall from grace. This is the PTSD of the film and as an audience member you feel it.

Woody Allen is a master of story telling. His films arn't filled with explocions or car chases, they are often focused on distictly character experiences. Some sugjest that these films are boring (and in some cases they are) but not because they are missing action but because we, the audience, are desencitized to the human character experience. We loose interest when someone on screen starts talking about what they truly want out of life. Even if you do find Woody Allen films boring they are only boring for the first half of the movie. Once he sets eveything up then he sends everyone into a frenzy and the entire story takes off.

Blue Jasmine is no different from his other films except that he has been practicing on all his other films so that he could make this one! Kate Blanchet is an incredible actriss who knows how to find the heart of a character and make it her aura on screen. She has all the skill and control of a brain surgen and she's even fun to watch.

Five stars. Woody Allen is many things... and one of them is a great filmmaker.


Monday, May 27, 2013

Iron Man 3 (2013)

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Writen By Drew Pearce & Shane Black
Directed By Shane Black
Starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Palrow, Guy Peirce & Jon Favreau

Iron Man 1 took audiences by storm. Downey was a surprising fit for the role but proved to keep a balance between super star hero and funny man ego. With his success in the roll it was no surprise to see him follow up with iron man 2 and the Avengers. Both films he commands the his role and keeps the audience engaged.

Iron Man 3 is simply a good film exploring the character of Tony Stark and the Icon of Iron Man. Strong storytelling goes into this film were as the last few films truly focused on the action. Iron man 3 isn’t lacking in action but it also, just like Downey, does a great job of balancing and merging two worlds together.

You won’t be disappointed while watching iron man 3. It’s the first super hero film (in a while) that really digs deep into the heart of the human character we all can identify with. Downey is a wonderful actor to watch and we all appreciate his efforts to make us laugh and make us cry. Bravo!

Top Five rating. Go see it!

The Big Wedding (2013)

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Writen By Justin Zackham
Directed By Justin Zachham
Starring Robert De Niro & Katherine Heigl

This movie has an all-star cast including Robert De Niro, Katherine Heigl, Diane Keaon, Susan Sarandon, Amanda Seyfried and Topher Grace. Its hard to not enjoy the cast of this movie because you recognize everyone in it. That almost becomes a problem because you notice that everyone is acting. At somepoint in the movie you want De Niro to say “are talkin’ to me? Theirs nobody else here?” or Susan Sarandon to start singing “Touch me touch me touch me! I want to be dirty!” Needless to say the all-star cast almost becomes distracting while watching this dramatic comedy.

The cinematography, writing, and  story arch is all descent, but what’s missing is the music. This film needs some serious soundtrack moments that are just not there. I wonder if they ran out of money trying to get all those a list actors. In any case, the movie plays well but misses those emotional moments.

I enjoyed it because I know a crew member who made it. Unfortunately I don’t think this film will go very far.

Bottom five. Rent it and tell me what you think.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Identity Thief (2013)






Written by: Craig Mazin, Jerry Eeten
Directed by: Seth Gordon
Starrring Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy

What makes a good comedy? Most great comedies have three attributes that make it believable.

1)    Honesty: Comedy is often funny when its true. For example, a Prime Time News Anchor is not funny. But a News Anchor who is a complete tool is hilarious. (Anchorman)
2)    Sensitivity: Jokes are often the extreme of emotion. For example: somebody starts laughing at a funeral.
(Death at a Funeral)
3)     Current: Jokes often have a time limit on their relevance. For example: psy gangnam style

Identity Theft is somewhat of a good comedy in that its honest. It doesn’t have much sensitivity toward the characters or events everything is just simply happening. It’s somewhat old news since the identity theft scare has already passed.


Bottom Five. Save your money and rent this one at a redbox. 

Red Down (2012)




Written By: Carl Ellsworth
Directed by: Dan Bradley
Starrring: Chris Hemsworth, Isabel Lucas, Josh Hutcherson

What’s so great about red down? Nothing! 

The original Red Down is an amazing story told through the eyes of the star Patrick Swayze. Nothing is as good as a Swayze movie and red down falls short as expected.

This is not to say Chris Hemsworth doesn’t do a good job. Hemsworth is great… in avengers and snow white… but he doesn’t quite play this role like a Champaign of cinema. I think he’s much better at playing British then American. That might be throwing his swagger off. The sad thing is this film was a flop in 1984 so why would it be a hit today?

This film was kind of enjoyable. It’s missing the old Russian music from the original. I loved the original for being so cheesy. This film was not very cheesy. Although in about 10 years it will be.

Bottom Five. Not good. 

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)




Written By: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens
Directed by: Peter Jackson
Starring Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage

Did you see the Lord of the Rings? Then you know what to expect.

This film was great. The Hobbit has all the majesty of Tolkien and all the mastery of Peter Jackson. Cinematography is brilliant with deep colors and seamless movements. The characters have elaborate costumes and cinematic lines. Everything about this movie screams classic.

Now for the bad stuff…All the reasons to love this film are all the reasons to hate it.



First complaint: We’ve already seen this film… actually we’ve seen this film three times already. Most of us took one look at the Three Volumes of Lord of the Rings and said, “I’ll just read the Hobbit and call it a day.” So, its more likely that most of us know this story pretty well. Peter Jackson must feel terrible about giving away the ending before starting at the beginning.

Second complaint: The Lord of the Rings is a three-book trilogy, and The Hobbit is only one. Why do we need to make this film in three parts? Its not like you haven’t made enough money off of this francize. Do we really need to go through this again?

Third and final complaint: If you are going to split it up into three movies don’t slow down the story. For whatever reason this film kind of drags on for a long time has little symbolism compared to The Fellowship of the Ring.

No rating, you can’t go wrong with Tolkien and Jackson but we should still hold them to some standards.