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  • paulywalnuts 5:16 am on February 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Oscar Predictions | The Return of (Grooms)Men on Film 

    2015 seems like it was so long ago.  If you haven’t read our blog in a while, you may not have noticed that we haven’t had much to say.  We would like to welcome the triumphant (and hopefully not too short-lived) return of (grooms)men on film with Groomsmen Pauly’s Oscar predictions.  Pauly traditionally wins the major acting categories’ Oscar guessing game each year, and this year should be no different:

    Best Actress:
    “Charlize Theron” as Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road. Theron narrowly beats out Daisy Ridley, another strong female protagonist that starred as Rey in Star Wars: Episode VII and was among the most sought after action figures in 2015.

    Best Supporting Actress:
    “Tessa Thompson” in Creed for being multi-dimensional, multi-cultural, hottie and badass.

    Best Actor:
    “Will Smith” in a shocker, wins for Concussion.  Apparently, he did not receive the largest number of actual votes, but award presenter Steve Harvey could not pronounce David Oyelowo’s name.  (Paraphrasing Uzo Aduba, if you can learn Dostoevsky and Tchaikovsky, why can’t you learn Oyelowo?)

    Best Supporting Actor:
    “O’Shea Jackson” for Straight Outta Compton.  Arguably, Jackson could have been nominated for Best Actor, but was Jason Mitchell startled Oscar voters as Eazy-E, the black guy that was the last person to die in a movie.

    Best Director:
    “Ryan Coogler” for Creed.  The Academy is making up for its snub of Fruitvale Station that somehow was not nominated for best director in Coogler’s debut.

    Best Picture:
    “Straight Outta Compton” wins, despite flaws, for its portrayal of social and political upheaval in the 1990s.

    Let’s enjoy another celebration of the moving picture in this year’s most diverse Oscars yet!  The food will be provided by the Garces Group, the music will be conducted by Lin-Manuel Miranda, and the water was shipped in from a small town just outside of Flint, Michigan.

     

     

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  • paulywalnuts 11:37 pm on February 22, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    Oscar Predictions | Who Will Win (and who should have!) 

    Best Picture: “Birdman” will win.
    Birdman is a great film about a relevant topic in this world … do actors that make comic book movies lose legitimacy?  Okay, maybe relevant only in Hollywood.  But that’s who’s voting.  Who SHOULD win: “The Imitation Game.”  Who SHOULD NOT win: “Boyhood.”  Hmmm … shot the movie over 12 years with the same cast.  That’s nice.  Great gimmick.  Kind of like the 3-D in Avatar. You shouldn’t win Best Picture for that.  But perhaps you should compete for …

    Best Director: “Richard Linklater” will win for Boyhood.
    A 12 year film schedule is a big deal for a director, so expect the Oscar to go to Richard Linklater.  Who SHOULD win: Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”

    Best Actor: “Michael Keaton” will win for Birdman.
    Tough call with Bradley Cooper pulling off a threepeat in consecutive years, but I give the nod to Keaton.  Who SHOULD win: Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game.”

    Best Actress: “Julianne Moore” will win for Still Alice.
    An incredible performance by an actress who is overdue for a win.  Interestingly enough, her win may help Bradley Cooper in the Best Actor category.  After being nominated in 1998 (Best Supporting Actress: Boogie Nights), 2000 (Best Actress: The End of the Affair),  2003 (Best Supporting Actress: The Hours, AND Best Actress: Far From Heaven) – this is Moore’s first Academy Nomination in a long time.  Anyone who thinks Bradley Cooper has many more chances may change their mind when they see the gap between great roles … and lack of great roles … for someone as talented as more.  Who SHOULD  win: Julianne Moore.

    Best Supporting Actor: “J.K. Simmons” will win for Whiplash.
    Sorry, Ed Norton.  You played a talented prick incredibly well.  But you were just being yourself.  Who SHOULD  win: tossup between everyone not named Ed Norton.

    Best Supporting Actress: “Laura Dern” will win for Wild.
    Who SHOULD win: Keira Knightly, “The Imitation Game.”

    Still Waiting for their Oscar: “Fruitvale Station”

     
  • Justin 4:21 pm on February 22, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    Oscar Picks: Keaton for Birdman 

    Here’s my picks ahead of the Oscars tonight. Some I wish were different (Boyhood is overrated…).

    Others I think are completing deserving and hopefully win (Michael Keaton in Birdman).

     

    Best Actor: Michael Keaton, “Birdman”

     

    Best Actress: Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”

     

    Best Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”

     

    Best Supporting actress: Laura Dern, “Wild”

     

    Best Director: Richard linklater, “Boyhood”

     

    Best  Picture: “Birdman”, 

     
  • Justin 9:29 pm on January 3, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    From Avengers to Star Wars, 2015 will be Bigger than 2014 

    2014 was a typical in-between type year for movies. 2015 will be anything but, when it comes to movies. In one year, we’ll get the return of our favorite park with dinosaurs in Jurassic World, the return of our favorite terminator with a Austrian-accent in Terminator Genisys (terrible name…), the return of the Avengers in Age of Ultron, and of course the return of Cinema’s biggest franchise (hopefully to bring greatness back to Star Wars) in Star Wars The Force Awakens.

    The other big sequels will be Furious 7The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, and Sam Mendes’ Bond flick Spectre. Honorable mention to Mission Impossible 5 (who knew that MI 4 Ghost Protocol would be great) to close out the year.

    There’s also a lot of new movies to mention as well, such as Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland, Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Secret ServiceMad Max: Fury Road with Tom Hardy, Neill Blomkamp’s Chappie, Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four, Ridley Scott’s The Martian, and of course Marvel’s Ant-Man.

    Finally, Pixar is premiering two brand new movies, Inside Out, and The Good Dinosaur. And just to cover all bases.., there’s also Pitch Perfect 2, Ted 2, Minions, The Wachowski siblings’ Jupiter Ascending, and Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella.

    See, that’s a lot of movies…

    (Pics/writeups courtesy of Collider)

    Kingsman: The Secret Service
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    Release Date: February 13th
    Director: Matthew Vaughn
    Cast: Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Caine, and Mark Hamill
    This is the film that Vaughn gave up directing X-Men: Days of Future Past in order to tackle.

    Furious 7

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    Release Date: April 3rd
    Director: James Wan
    Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Tyrese Gibson, Kurt Russell, Ludacris, Nathalie Emmanuel, Djimon Hounsou, Lucas Black, and John Brotherton
    Due to the tragic death of Paul Walker during production, this was no doubt one of the toughest films to get completed. But after regrouping and finding a way to finish the movie while also honoring Walker and his work in the franchise, Furious 7 is poised to be unveiled to the world this spring. Somewhat impossibly, this series is the strongest its ever been six films deep, and with The Conjuring and Insidious director James Wan making his action genre debut on Furious 7, many are eager to see both if this seventh entry keeps the winning streak alive.

    The Avengers: Age of Ultron

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    Release Date: May 1st
    Director: Joss Whedon
    Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Paul Bettany, and James Spader
    Were it not for a little thing called Star Wars, this would probably be the no contest winner for the most anticipated film of the year.

    Mad Max: Fury Road

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    Release Date: May 15th
    Director: George Miller
    Cast: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Zoe Kravitz, Riley Keough, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, and Nathan Jones
    In a marketplace filled with sequels and reboots, here’s something that’s in between. Director George Miller returns to the franchise that helped jumpstart his career with something wonderfully rare: a franchise blockbuster that refuses to stick to the formula. The post-apocalyptic actioner follows a single chase for its entire runtime of 110 minutes, with Hardy’s lead character appearing to be a man of very few words.

    Tomorrowland

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    Release Date: May 22nd
    Director: Brad Bird
    Cast: George Clooney, Britt Robertson, Hugh Laurie, Judy Greer, Kathryn Hahn, Keegan-Michael Key, and Pierce Gagnon
    In a world filled with sequels, reboots, and adaptations, the mere prospect of an original studio blockbuster is somewhat mind-blowing. With regards to Tomorrowland, on top of that unique foundation we’ve got a script by Damon Lindelof, an eclectic ensemble cast, and a mysteriously futuristic sci-fi premise. Not to mention animation veteran Brad Bird in the director’s chair, whose live-action debut was the immensely satisfying Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.

    Jurassic World

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    Release Date: June 12th
    Director: Colin Trevorrow
    Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Irrfan Khan, Nick Robinson, Ty Simpkins, and Vincent D’Onofrio
    The potential for a fourth Jurassic Park movie has loomed large for years now, but the sequel is now finally in the can and set for release. Personally developed by Steven Spielberg himself, the follow-up finds the dream of a dinosaur theme park fully realized when–surprise!–something goes terribly wrong. Safety Not Guaranteed director Trevorrow makes a big step up from independent dramas to franchise filmmaking, and it appears that he’s swinging for the fences when it comes to switching things up.

    Inside Out

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    Release Date: June 19th
    Director: Pete Docter
    Voice Cast: Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Phyllis Smith, Diane Lane, Kyle MacLachlan, and Kaitlyn Dias
    The folks at Pixar took 2014 off entirely due to the last-minute delay of The Good Dinosaur, so Inside Out will act as our first new Pixar film since the summer of 2013. The feature marks the triumphant return of director Pete Docter, whose past two Pixar features Up and Monsters, Inc. still rank among the studio’s very best. This time he sets his sights on a uniquely told story that revolves around the anthropomorphized emotions that live inside us all. If the first trailer is any indication, we’re in for a delightful ride.

    Terminator: Genisys

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    Release Date: July 1st
    Director: Alan Taylor
    Cast: Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, Jason Clarke, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Matt Smith, Byung-hun Lee, Dayo Okeniyi, Courtney B. Vance, and J.K. Simmons
    Here’s a film that is both a reboot and a sequel. Essentially pretending that Terminator: Salvation never existed, Genisys treads familiar territory by finding Kyle Reese (Courtney) once again being sent back in time by John Connor (Jason Clarke) in order to prevent his mother’s death by Terminator. However, when Reese gets to his destination (ie. the setting of the original The Terminator) things are very, very different. The first trailer for this one didn’t really go over all that well, but it’s possible Genisys packs more surprises that make this a franchise worth continuing.

    Ant-Man

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    Release Date: July 17th
    Cast: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Pena, and Judy Greer
    We once again get a double dose of Marvel outings in 2015, and if Avengers: Age of Ultron acts as the big Phase Two finale, Ant-Man is the postscript. You’re no doubt well aware of the rocky road to production of this film, but Marvel recovered rather quickly after Edgar Wright’s departure and the July 2015 release date stuck, so everyone is eager to see what director Peyton Reed brings to the MCU in what serves as Paul Rudd’s superhero movie debut.

    The Fantastic Four

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    Release Date: August 7th
    Director: Josh Trank
    Cast: Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell, and Tim Blake Nelson
    This is an odd scenario in which we still know next-to-nothing about this film—we haven’t even seen an official (or non-official) image of anyone in costume. Odds are Trank has put together a very different kind of superhero film and Fox is being careful with the way they introduce this reboot to audiences; we’ll know soon enough.

    Spectre

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    Release Date: November 6th
    Director: Sam Mendes
    Cast: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista, Andrew Scott, and Monica Bellucci
    With Skyfall, director Sam Mendes crafted one of the most successful James Bond installments of all time, so it’s safe to say expectations are high for his return to the franchise.

    The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part II

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    Release Date: November 20th
    Director: Francis Lawrence
    Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Liam Hemsworth, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Elizabeth Banks, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, Natalie Dormer, Gwendoline Christie, Toby Jones, Stanley Tucci, Jeffrey Wright, and Donald Sutherland
    The Hunger Games is one of the most popular franchises in recent memory, with it finally coming to an end with the final installment this fall.

    The Good Dinosaur

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    Release Date: November 25th
    Director: Peter Sohn
    Voice Cast: Lucas Neff, Bill Hader, Neil Patrick Harris, John Lithgow, Frances McDormand, and Judy Greer
    While 2014 went without a new Pixar film, 2015 may be the first year that we get two if things go according to plan. The Good Dinosaur suffered some significant creative changes behind-the-scenes, but all now seems to be running smoothly with a story that answers the question: what would happen if the dinosaurs never went extinct? Described as a buddy comedy, the film follows the adventures of a dinosaur named Arlo and his unlikely human companion.

    The Martian

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    Release Date: November 25th
    Director: Ridley Scott
    Cast: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kate Mara, Kristen Wiig, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sebastian Stan, Mackenzie Davis, Michael Pena, and Sean Bean
    Boasting a script by Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods), this adaptation tells the story of an astronaut stranded on Mars who must find his way home. That’s a simple enough premise, but Scott has put together a pretty stellar ensemble cast and will no doubt be crafting some impressive visual set pieces. Will the film be different enough to avoid Gravity comparisons? We’ll find out this fall.

    Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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    Release Date: December 18th
    Director: J.J. Abrams
    Cast: John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Gwendoline Christie, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker, and Max von Sydow
    J.J. Abrams kicks things off by setting up this new series of sequels and spinoffs, but the strong connection to the franchise’s history comes from the involvement of the original trio: Ford, Hamill, and Fisher. The first teaser was a fantastic glimpse at this 21st century Star Wars, and there will no doubt be a fever pitch of anticipation come December.

    Mission Impossible 5

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    Release Date: December 25th
    Director: Christopher McQuarrie
    Cast: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Rebecca Ferguson, Alec Baldwin, Sean Harris, and Simon McBurney
    Star Wars isn’t the only film coming out this December, as the next entry in the Mission: Impossible franchise is also poised for release. McQuarrie most recently did a fantastic job helming Cruise in the underrated Jack Reacher, so everyone is curious to see what sort of POV he brings to the Mission: Impossible series. Ghost Protocol is going to be tough to top in the set piece territory, but McQuarrie’s a gifted writer and penned the screenplay for M:I 5 as well, so we’re hopefully in for a wonderfully compelling story.

     
  • paulywalnuts 3:57 am on December 29, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    “Top Five” Review | Worth the Hype 

    Chris Rock isn’t the greatest actor in the world (see Pootie Tang), but it turns out he’s a pretty good writer and director.  Really good, actually.  Top Five is the comedy about an actor and former stand-up comic named Andre Allen (Chris Rock) that was once known as the funniest man in America for his roles in action comedies, but has now hit rock bottom and is trying to re-ignite his career with more serious movies.  The movie takes place over the course of one day with Andre being interviewed by a reporter (Rosario Dawson) on his movie’s opening day, and scheduled to get married the next day to a reality star (Gabrielle Union).  Top Five looks a lot like a romantic comedy about an unexpected love triangle.  It’s surprisingly more … it’s a hilarious story about success and failure, and how people treat you when you experience both.

     

    *Very mild spoiler warning* Andre Allen is a recovering-alcoholic that ‘s returning from rock bottom.  Instead of returning to comedy and doing another installment of his “Hammy the Bear” franchise, he rolls the dice by playing a Haitian slave that led the largest uprising in the western hemisphere.  While promoting the movie on its opening day, he’s stuck doing an interview with Chelsea, a New York Times film critic that he doesn’t trust, but reluctantly lets her shadow him throughout the day.  Flashbacks help tell the story of Andre’s rise to fame and fall from glory, as he also reconnects with his old ‘hood and hits promotional events throughout the city.  On top of everything, his fiancee Erica (Gabrielle Union) is finishing up wedding planning — but with her reality network about the wedding more than her future husband.  **End of spoilers**

    The story may not seem like much, but Chris doesn’t waste words or scenes.  There’s plenty of jokes, but most of the cast nails their roles.  Rosario Dawson is excellent, the supporting cast (JB Smoove, Gabrielle Union,  Cedric the Entertainer and others) pull their weight, and the guest stars (Jerry Seinfeld, Adam Sandler, Tracy Morgan, & Ben Vereen to name a few) actually get to contribute to the story in great ways.  Chris Rock hasn’t become a better actor … his range of emotions still go from happy with a smirk on his face to shocked with a smirk on his face.  But the movie is strong enough without needing much from Chris.

    Rock very thoroughly explores the difference between love and loyalty, and the little gestures one does 9or doesn’t do that shows how much they really care about someone.  Chris has mined this type of comedy before, with his movie “I Think I’m in Love With My Wife,” as well as his stand-up comedy.  Sadly, Top Five comes out as the news reports that Chris Rock and his wife of 19 years have filed for divorce … so he’s probably been thinking about these themes a great deal.  He treats them as complex issues, with no saints or villains, just a lot of adults making difficult choices.  The movie launched a bidding war when it was screened on the festival circuit, and you should check it out in theaters and find out why.

    I can’t end this review without giving my top five:
    1. Jay-Z
    2. Public Enemy
    3. Biggie
    4. MC Lyte
    5. Eminem

    Top Five
    Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 90% with critics, 71% with audiences
    IMDB Rating: 7/10
    this (grooms)man’s rating: 9/10 … one of my top five movies all year

     

     

     

     
  • Justin 11:24 pm on December 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , JRR Tolkien, , LOTR, , , Smaug, The Battle of the Five Armies,   

    Battle of the Five Armies Review | More of the Same 

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    Picking up from where the cliffhanger of the last movie left off, this action-oriented installment opens with protagonist Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and his dwarf pals fretting over having unwittingly awakened Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch). If you can’t remember, last year’s The Desolation of Smaug ended with the dragon leaving his mountain lair and heading to Lake-town to do some old school fire damage on the town.

    The Battle of the Five Armies, the conclusion to The Desolation of Smaug also starts so abruptly, you’ll be checking to make sure you haven’t arrived after the movie had started. It’s been a year since the second installment ended, but Jackson treats it like yesterday, cranking up the film just frames after the last movie stopped dead in its dragon tracks. Even the good-natured Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) doesn’t have enough screen time to bring his tender, journeyman touch to the tale. Freeman, who is a great actor, can’t make a role work when he’s reduced to a footnote in the story.

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    There was a time when fields covered with thousands of warriors would have been impressive enough. But audiences are too savvy to filmmaking to be blinded by quantity over quality. The battles aren’t as crisp as they should be in the 3-D version. The process always darkens the image and this movie’s inherently lack of lighting suffers more because of the gimmicky film process.

    Jackson’s skill as a storyteller — that was so well displayed in the original Lord of the Rings trilogy — has been once again replaced by a mishmash of action with recycled characters. The most annoying example is Ryan Cage’s role of Lake-town flunky Alfrid, which has been expanded from a meaningless player to a painfully unfunny comic relief. Appearances by Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, Hugo Weaving as Elrond and Christopher Lee as Saruman feel forced, as if Jackson was more interested in giving loyal fans a treat than keeping to the story structure. Just because this is the “end” doesn’t mean everyone needs to take a curtain bow. Legolas (Orlando Bloom) is also back and has become a video game character; at one point he literally jumps up falling blocks (Weta Digital just needed to include that sound that Mario makes when he jumps in the air).

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    The two main problems with The Battle of the Five Armies is the abrupt leap into the story coupled with an over indulgence in computer-generated military chaos. In a film series that has pressed the importance of even the simplest person, the last film replaces the oneness of a touching story with the blinding fury of the action sequences.

    It’s not a bad ending to the Hobbit’s unexpected journey, but it does not reach the standard set by the other films. Aside from Bilbo, the final chapter of The Hobbit trilogy is a sad shell of the franchise filled with dull set pieces and action sequences we care little about. Jackson earned his emotions and “perseverance and true bravery” themes in The Lord of the Rings. By comparison, The Battle of the Five Armies says “greed is bad”, which is pretty lame given this trilogy is based on one book, and cost ~$750 million to make, while also bringing in ~$2 billion to date.

    Grade: C

     
  • Justin 12:36 am on July 15, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Michael Bay Films: Poorly Reviewed and Seen by Everyone 

    It’s no surprise that Michael Bay’s films either make you happy (#awesome) or make you mad (#trash).

    Given Transformers 4: Age of Extinction, with a 17% on Rottentomatoes.com, just became the highest grossing movie of the year (with a global box office of ~775 million), I thought it would be nice to just take a look back at how Bay’s movies have historically performed and how they’ve been reviewed (courtesy of BoxOfficeMojo.com and RottenTomatoes.com). The red line is the rotten tomato score with the US and non-US movie box office gross (in millions of dollars, and not accounting for inflation) of all of Bay’s movies (not including Pain and Gain given it’s more of a outlier when you look at Bay’s movies).

    Revenue

    Not surprisingly, the results are exactly what you would have guessed. And keep in mind, Transformers 4, the worst reviewed movie from Bay to date, has only been in theaters for about two weeks….

    So, sequels it is. It’s quite sad given good one-off movies like Edge of Tomorrow didn’t get much fanfare while having glowing reviews (a 90% on Rottentomatoes), with good word of mouth just not being enough. Many of the highest grossing  movies this year, like most years, are sequels (http://boxofficemojo.com/yearly/chart/?yr=2014&p=.htm). And good one-offs like Edge of Tomorrow, while it did well overseas, no one here saw. Say what you will about sequels, but sequels make money.

     
  • Justin 3:32 pm on April 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Anthony Mackie, , , Cobie Smulders, Hayley Atwell, , Robert Redford, , , Sebastian Stan, The Winter Soldier   

    Captain America: The Winter Soldier Review | Just Go See the Movie 

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    By now, you’ve heard the buzz around Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and it is well justified. While it may not top the Avengers, particularly in spectacle, this is the first Marvel Studios movie since the original Iron Man that really stands on its own, and across all Marvel movies, is probably the most emotionally mature in both themes and acting. The movie accomplishes being a great action flick and cloak-and-dagger thriller that also pushes the Marvel universe forward as opposed to being another standalone where you ask yourself where the other Avengers are and should they be helping.

    Early on, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), the embattled director of S.H.I.E.L.D., dispatches Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America, and Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), a.k.a. Black Widow, on a mission to rescue a naval ship overtaken by pirates. But Fury also plays the two against each other, and it turns out that it’s Nick himself who’s under siege.

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    Casting Robert Redford, an old Hollywood veteran, to shore up its ensemble cast, adds further integrity and gravitas to the movie and to the threat at hand (and everyone is correct, it conjures up Redford’s classic spy and political thrillers from back in the day). And by tweaking this sequel to play more like a cloak-and-dagger thriller than a special-effects blowout (though of course there’s plenty of that too), directors Anthony and Joe Russo have delivered an unusually satisfying and substantive superhero movie.

    Redford’s well-dressed Alexander Pierce is a senior S.H.I.E.L.D. official with a long history with Nick Fury, who remains the terse center with which the whole Marvel Universe has revolved around to some extent. However, The Winter Soldier smartly throws things off-kilter when Fury is brutally assaulted in broad daylight by a masked, cybernetically enhanced assassin (the Winter Soldier) who has an inside line on S.H.I.E.L.D.’s operational protocol. And when Steve Rogers/Captain America tries to figure out who ordered the hit, he finds himself on the outs with the suddenly unstable spy agency, whose agents are angling to take him down, and leads to a pretty badass escape by Rogers from SHIELD headquarters.

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    The idea of the red-white-and-blue-clad Captain America involuntarily matched up against the military-industrial complex that created him is entertaining, and Evans imparts a sense of disillusioned weariness to his performance that clashes with his character’s 1940’s stars and stripes stance. A scene in which Rogers clandestinely visits the Smithsonian to see an exhibit about his Second World War exploits is somber but sweet in a way that transcends the jokey glibness of the Iron Man franchise. It also counters Captain America’s image as a ’40s-era relic (he was the straight man in The Avengers) while evincing a fond, possibly foolish nostalgia for the unambiguous heroism of the Greatest Generation.

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    The Winter Soldier of course has plenty of action – every dollar of its estimated $170-million budget is onscreen – but it’s also got an intricate dramatic and thematic structure holding everything in place. For instance, Steve and Sam’s (Anthony Mackie) bond over the fact that they both lost wingmen in wars six decades apart is never overstated in the dialogue. In terms of acting Chris Evans gets high marks all around, from the action to the scenes with Redford. But kudos to everyone from Jackson to Mackie to even Johansson.

    But back to the action; it has some of the tightest and memorable action sequences as of late. The movie has three acts, with some very memorable action sequences particularly in the first two acts. Rogers’ escape from SHIELD headquarters shows off what makes him a superhero and the directors even accomplish having the audience believe that Rogers is in true peril, especially when he takes on the Winter Soldier during a pretty cool highway chase sequence. The sequences in the third act between the three heli-carriers are abit predictable, but you’ll be just sitting back and enjoying it all at that point.

    DC Comics and DC Comic-book movies, you’re running out of time for any chance to be taken seriously. And I have a feeling Bryan Singer’s action sequences in this May’s X-Men Days of Future Past may feel very flat in comparison now.

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    The movie of course isn’t perfect, but the flaws are minor and in no way detract from the overall enjoyment. The Winter Soldier is one of those fortunate and extremely rare confluences of studio vision, filmmakers, cast and script. The chemistry was simply right (I am not suggesting this is a fluke, as that would be disrespectful). Looking at past projects however, Marvel has gotten equally promising talents before but the end result still didn’t quite click. Whatever the case, the bar has now been set very high. Not just for superhero flicks, but for action films in general.

    Go see it.

    A-

     
  • Justin 2:59 am on March 3, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    But, the Real Winners are … 

    Best Actor:
    Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club

    Best Actress:
    Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

    Best Supporting Actor:
    Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

    Best Supporting Actress:
    Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle

    Best Director:
    Tough one, but I’m going with Steve McQueen, 12 Years A Slave

    Best Picture:
    Also a tough one. I think we’ll see another movie and winner here with Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity

     
  • Jay 11:59 pm on March 2, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    And the Winner Really Is … 

    It’s time for me to avenge my performance from last year’s picks.

    Best Actor:
    Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club

    Best Actress:
    I’m taking a risk here but I’m voting Judi Dench from Philomena. (I mean, who actually saw that movie? No one.)

    Best Supporting Actor:
    Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club

    Best Supporting Actress:
    Lupita Nyong’o for 12 Years A Slave

    Best Director:
    It’s either Steve McQueen for 12 Years A Slave or Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity. I’ll have to go with McQueen since Pauly picked Cuaron. But I really want to pick Cuaron.

    Best Picture:
    It should be Gravity, but it’ll be 12 Years A Slave

     
  • paulywalnuts 11:30 pm on March 2, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    And the Winner Is … 

    Last year, yours truly went 4 for 6 in Oscar Predictions for all of the major categories.  Defending my title, here are my picks for who will win (and who should win!).

    Best Actor
    The Winner Will Be – Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club.
    The Winner SHOULD Be – Matthew McConaughey
    Potential Spoiler – Chiwetel Ejiofer for 12 Years a Slave.  Apparently the voters have never seen Glory.  Or Roots.  Or Fruitvale Station even …

     

    Best Actress
    The Winner Will Be – Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine
    The Winner SHOULD Be – Amy Adams for American Hustle.  She made everyone around her better, in every scene.
    Potential Spoiler – Meryl Streep.  Her being nominated is enough to scare the other contenders

     

    Best Supporting Actor
    The Winner Will Be – Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club
    The Winner SHOULD Be – Jared Leto.  He turned in one of the more powerful performances of any year, let alone 2014.
    Potential Spoiler – Barkhad Abdi is still living his 15 minutes of fame.

     

    Best Supporting Actress
    The Winner Will Be – Lupita Nyong’o
    The Winner SHOULD Be – Jennifer Lawrence.  The more I watched, the more I realized she deserves the back to back win.
    Potential Spoiler – this race should come down to those two

     

    Best Director
    The Winner Will Be – Alfonso Cuaron.
    The Winner SHOULD Be – David O. Russell.  He put so many Oscar winners on one screen and made the movie bigger than any of their roles.
    Potential Spoiler -Steve McQueen deserves an Oscar one day.  Not toady, though.

     

    Best Picture
    The Winner Will Be – American Hustle.  David O. Russell is on fire.
    The Winner SHOULD Be – Dallas Buyer’s Club … top to bottom, the best of the many great films this year.
    Potential Spoiler – If 12 years a Slave and Dallas Buyer’s Club splits the liberal activist crowd, Gravity may sneak in and win.

     
  • paulywalnuts 4:51 pm on February 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Running Ticker: Movies Where the Black Guy Dies First 

    Anyone that says black actors don’t get enough parts in Hollywood clearly doesn’t realize the cottage industry of “first one to die in a movie.”  Michael B. Jordan practically built his career on getting tragically killed, putting him in great company with Paul Winfield, Morgan Freeman, Samuel L. Jackson, and Darwin from X-Men: First Class.  I’m still ticked off about that one.

    2014 Black Guy Gets Killed First (to be updated all year)

    • Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit – Jack goes to Russia and finds the only black guy.  And kills him.

    My Favorite Black Guy Dies First scenes from previous years (not an exhaustive list)

    • “Chronicle” (2012) Rest in Peace, Michael B. Jordan.
    • “Fruitvale Station” (2013) Rest in Peace, Michael B. Jordan.  I knew you would die but I still cried when you did.
    • “Star Trek: Into the Darkness” (2013) Rest in Peace, black guy that wanted to save your kid.
      • This movie is based on Star Trek II: the Wrath of Khan” (1982), where Paul Winfield also dies first.  In Khan’s defense, he was trying to kill everybody.  Rest in Peace Paul Winfield.
    • “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” (2013) I can go either way on this one.  The first person killed was in District 11.  That said, it wasn’t a main character and, quite frankly, damn near all of the main characters die except for Jeffrey Wright.  The producers deserve praise for diverse casting and equal opportunity killing.
    • “X-Men: First Class” (2011) Darwin is Latino in the comics, but was made a black guy in the movies.  So he could die first.
    • “Red” (2010) Rest in Peace Morgan Freeman.  (first main character to die. twice).
    • “AVP: Requiem” (2007) Rest in Peace random black high school guy and your five white friends.  Horror movies usually kill everybody but the virgin, so I don’t hold this against you.
    • “the 300” (2006) Rest in Peace, black messenger.  You shouldn’t have delivered bad news to your enemy while standing next to a well.
    • “Kill Bill: Volume I” (2003) Rest in Peace, Vivica A. Fox.  You weren’t the first killed chronologically, but in Tarantino’s time twisted storytelling, you’re the first main character we saw die.  Don’t worry … Tarantino loves black people.
    • “3,000 miles to Graceland” (2001) Five Elvis impersonators rob a bank.  Guess who dies first?
    • “American Psycho” (2000) In a movie about killing prostitutes, the black homeless guy died first.  Or did anyone really die?
    • “Deep Blue Sea” (1999) Rest in Peace, Samuel L. Jackson.  At least LL Cool J lived
      • Deep Blue Sea joins great Sam Jackson deaths in Jurassic Park, Goodfellas, Star Wars Episode III, the Other Guys, Django Unchained, Jackie Brown, Junkle Fever (Really … in a romance movie), 187, Menace 2 Society, Lakeview Terrace … what am I missing?
    • “William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet” (1996) Baz Luhrman did great casting with Harold Perrineau … absolutely inspiring.  And the first to die.
    • “Heat” (1995) Rest in Peace, Dennis Haysbert.
    • “Forrest Gump” (1994) Rest in Peace, Bubba (first main character to die).
    • “Unforgiven” (1992) Rest in Peace, Morgan Freeman.  Practice for Red (first main character to die)
    • “Seals” (1990) Rest in Peace, Dennis Haysbert.
    • “Full Metal Jacket” (1987) Rest in Peace, Dorian Harewood.  You died a slow and painful death with multiple gunshots
    • “Red Dawn” (1984) When the Russians invade, they will also kill the black guy first.
    • “The Gremlins” (1984) Rest in Peace, Glynn Turman.
    • “Aliens” (1986) Rest in Peace, Ricco Frost.  Even in space, the black guy dies first.
    • “Christine” (1983) Rest in Peace, black assembly line worker.
    • “Carrie” (1976) Thank you casting director, for not killing the black guy first in the remake
    • “Enter the Dragon” (1973) Rest in Peace, Jim Kelly.  At least the Asian guy lived.
    • “The Dirty Dozen” (1967) Rest in Peace, Jim Brown.
    • “The Shining” (1980) Jack Nicholson wasn’t really scary … the only person that got killed in the movie was the black guy.
     
  • paulywalnuts 3:35 pm on February 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Jack Ryan, Kenneth Branagh, Kevin Costner, Kiera Knightly, Tom Clancey   

    Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (Movie Review) 

    Jack_Ryan _Shadow_Recruit_14

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Hat’s off to Kenneth Branagh for directing a modern spy movie that is intelligent as well as action packed.  Sadly, you did it 12 years after the Bourne Identity … which was better.  Jack Ryan: Shadow recruit is a fun reinvention of a great character.

    Plot summary – Jack Ryan (well played by Chris Pine) is a young brainiac at the London School of Economics during the September 11 attacks.  Out of patriotic duty, he enlists in the Marines, gets injured on a mission, but still commits heroic acts while barely able to walk.  During recovery, the CIA recruits him to be an asset … on wall street.  Yes, America, our nation’s biggest heroes are actually among the 1%.  Jack uncovers a financial terrorism plot against America, and when he reports it – the agency sends him to Russia to investigate.  He fights for his life and the lives of those he loves in order to get back to the US and stop a terror attack.

    The first act is devoted to building up the character of Jack Ryan – naive, idealistic, soft spoken, but incredible attention to everything going on around him.  You can’t escape comparing him to Alec Baldwin and Harrison Ford’s versions of the same character – and he somehow combines the two.   And yes, I’m intentionally not mentioning Ben Affleck’s take on J.R.

    Anyhow – we know what makes Ryan tick and we know what makes our main villain, (played by the director) tick.  I won’t spoil who the villain is or what he wants to do – but I will start to criticize where this is getting a little silly.  First of all, the enemy is Russia.  Come on, I know we don’t exactly like each other, but you might as well have made the enemy Cuba or another country that the US has documented beef with from 30 years ago.  Financial terrorism is so cutting edge, until this breaks down into a KGB-style plot in the present day.  I’m not even getting started on how a plot to take down the US financial system was being planned for 20 years but apparently only by one person in one branch of Russian government.  So a dozen (hundred?  thousand?) rogue operatives are all capable of taking down the US financial system?  We must me in worse shape than anyone thought …

    I loved the character development, but it pretty much took over the first two acts at the expense of any action.  There is one great fight sequence in the second act but that’s it.  The best part of the first hour and a half is Kevin Costner’s character being the badass we are waiting Jack Ryan to turn into.  Act three makes up for it, with great sequences, car chases, and Jack Ryan finally becoming a larger than life hero, not just naive cog in the CIA machine. But no studio wants to hear, “well at least we nailed the ending.”

    Branagh’s job was a to recreate the mythology and he did.  There are plenty of flaws, but if you like spy movies – and especially if you like Jack Ryan – you should give this a try.  It’s better than the last two Jack Ryan movies (Sum of All Fears, Clear and Present Danger) but not as good as the second (Patriot Games) and nowhere near the classic first (the Hunt for Red October).

    … and all of the Bourne movies are better.

    IMDB Rating:
    6.5 out of 10

    Rotten Tomatoes Rating:
    56% of critics like it / 63% of audiences like it

    This Groomsman’s Rating:
    6 out of 10; better than average and worth seeing eventually

     

     
  • paulywalnuts 4:20 am on February 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Agents of SHIELD is (a lot like) LOST 

    Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was one of the most anticipated network pilots in years.  It was the highest rated drama launch in four years, and had all of the ingredients to be a television blockbuster like ABC hasn’t seen since … well, LOST.

    Just like LOST, a sure winner got bogged down into plots that go nowhere and characters no one gave a damn about.  Somewhere around Season 3 of Lost, after it returned from the writers’ strike, it turned into television gold.  Agents of SHIELD is poised to make a similar run.  Like LOST, it’s got to do a couple things first:

    1.  Embrace it’s inner geek
    You can only keep guessing what the show is about for so long until your friends make fun of you for watching Gilligan’s Island with smoke monsters.  LOST embraced it’s geeky premise of good vs. evil being guarded by time travelers and demi-gods.  Ridiculous premise – perfect execution.  SHIELD needs to stop pretending to be a drama about humans that wished they were heroes.  Your target audience loved the Avengers, so expand that cinematic universe.  The crossover with Thor: the Dark World and upcoming appearances by Lorelei, Sif, and Deathlok will go a long way towards appeasing the fanboys and fangirls.

    2.  Who’s your villain?
    It sure took long enough to find Jacob, and then he died, but sorta came back and explained what the hell was going on.  It only took the entire length of the series to figure that out.  SHIELD doesn’t have that long.  Pick a villain – the Clairvoyant or Hydra or Centipede or Quinn or whomever else keeps popping up needs to have less mystery and more screen time.  Comic book movies are only as good as their villains (see why Ang Lee’s Hulk and the Fantastic Four failed).  Villains that don’t pose a threat to anyone are not very super by definition … so define a villain, give the villain a direction, and give our heroes a chance to fight for the world or risk grave consequences.

    3.  Kill some characters
    Not because it would be Whedonesque or even raise the stakes … just because the current cast endears as much affection as the tissue I just blew my nose with.  Clark Gregg is the only actor worth a damn, so the others need to get better or be killed.  We all loved John after he was finally killed … may we love FitzSimmons or Ward or Skye as well.

    Agent May can stay.

    marvels-agents-of-shield

     
  • Jay 10:47 pm on January 18, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Breastfeeding Movie List, Pt. 1 

    Alright. I’m not actually the one doing the breastfeeding, much to your disappointment I’m sure. If I were, this would be a post on Scientific America and I would surely be in the running for a Nobel. Just sayin. And if you thought this was a list of the best movies about breastfeeding, you’ll also be disappointed.

    My wife is doing the majority of the feeding, and I jump in at the end with the bottle. But. Watching movies in the background is a good way for Juliet to stay awake while passing her life force on to the baby. So do the math; an hour of feeding every two hours is … a lot of time to watch movies.

    So here’s what I’m calling, Breastfeeding Movie List … Part One (from worst to best)

    5) RIPD

    If Men in Black had a morbidly obese, uglier, and more ignorant half-sibling, this movie would be it. RIPD should have been RIP’ed (do you see what I did there? Well, me neither). There is one minor twist, but the movie is so banal, you don’t care.13% on Rotten Tomatoes. You’ve been warned!

    RIPD-Screenshot

     4) Flypaper

    McDreamy (the guy from Grey’s Anatomy) and Ashley Judd find themselves in the middle of a bank heist, “Clue” style that is. Who are the real bank robbers? Who is doing all the murdering? Who is the evil mastermind? Will you figure it out before the end of the movie? Probably. Patrick Dempsey occupies the manic Tim Curry role. The problem is, you never really give a shit. 17% on Rotten Tomatoes. Watch it on Netflix

    flypaper-movie-image-01

     3) Price Check

    This could have played out like the sequel to Office Space, but it didn’t. A brilliant Parker Posey is a biting, ambitious, manic corporate director brought in to turn a local supermarket chain into a nationally competitive company. All she’s given is the local crew (picture the Scranton crew from The Office). Eric Mabius (Ugly Betty’s boss) is the only guy with any talent. What ensues is sorta funny.  67% Rotten Tomatoes. Watch it on Netflix

    Price-Check-still-28-Parker-Posey

     2) Drinking Buddies

    Jake Johnson (Zooey Deschanel’s boyfriend/roommate on New Girl) and Olivia Wilde work together; they’ve got some serious chemistry, but Johnson is dating Anna Kendrick (Up In The Air) and Wilde is dating Ron Livingston. The movie is more sincere than the typical Hollywood offering and the conclusion is a refreshing portrayal of the differences between love and friendships. 82% on Rotten Tomatoes. Watch it on Netflix.

    drinking-buddies2

     1) Robot & Frank

    This is a very graceful and endearing  movie about family and aging. Set some short time in the future, the ever adept Frank Langella plays the elderly, semi-retired thief suffering from dementia. Langella teams up with his caretaker Robot, voiced by Peter Sarsgaard, for one last heist. Langella’s family – James Marsden and Liv Tyler – get caught up in the mix. It’s worth watching. 86% on Rotten Tomatoes. Watch it on Netflix

    frank-and-robot_approved_wide-0dcf07b63aed6a99fa7bfe4cf92359e09693f3e6-s6-c30

    Checkout Jay’s other lists:

    Ron Perlman’s Top 10

    Our Favorite Milla Jovovich Movies

    Ranking Movies Across 16,000 Miles

    Sequels That Should Have Been

    Star Trek Movies’ Top 10 Moments

     
  • paulywalnuts 4:37 pm on December 15, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    “Oldboy” Movie Review | Sick, Twisted … and wonderful 

    Spike Lee’s Oldboy is a remake of a Korean classic.  The new version honors Korean revenge films, but also infuses the graphic violence of Tarantino and the sadistic humor of Samuel L. Jackson from his best roles.  As far as the plot goes – Joe Doucett (Josh Brolin) is a man that no one likes.  He is kidnapped and stored in a dirty-motel like prison for 20 years.  In that time, his ex-wife is killed and daughter missing, and the news blames Joe for both crimes.  20 years after being kidnapped, Joe is mysteriously set free, but vows to track down his captors.  When they realize he is after them, they promise to go after his still-missing daughter unless Joe can answer two questions (1) why was Joe kidnapped?  (2) Why was he set free?  Joe works with two friends he trusts (Michael Imperioli, Elizabeth Olsen) to find his daughter and to exact revenge on his captors.

    Much like Spike Lee’s 2006 mystery, Inside Man (starring Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, and Jodie Foster) – every action in this movie has a purpose and every detail is thought through by the main character.  Joe Doucett isn’t, in this critic’s humble opinion, the main character in this movie.  He’s just the person we get to see unravel the mystery.  The main character is the villain that kidnapped him (Sharlto Copley) and his various henchmen for hire (led by Samuel L. Jackson) gives you the briefest glimpse into a sick, twisted world that is much bigger than Joe Doucett’s story.

    IMDB Rating:
    4.9 out of 10 (what are they thinking?)

    Rotten Tomatoes Rating:
    44% of critics liked it / 45% of audiences liked it (they’re all on crack)

    This (grooms)man’s Rating:
    8 out of 10, one of the biggest surprises of the year, everything that “the Counselor” was not

    "Where the hell am I."

    “Where the hell am I.”

     
  • Jay 4:53 pm on November 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Iron Sky: Black Man Goes to Moon, Comes Back with Nazis 

    If you’re looking for an absurd action/comic book B-movie with more than passable special effects and a not-so-implicit critique of American political ethos, then watch Iron Sky (the movie is a Finnish/German/Australian production. I suspect they’re not our hugest fans).

    OR.

    If you’d like to see a movie where the black guy doesn’t die first, then watch Iron Sky.

    Here’s what you need to know. Nazis escaped at the end of World War II. Where do Nazis go if they don’t want to be found? Well clearly, the dark side of the moon. In the not-so-distant future, the new President of these great United States finds her Palinesque self in a rating slump. So what gimmick does her PR consulting firm suggest? “Yes We Can … send a black man to the moon.” It’s never been done before. (Wait, really??) And it’s something all Americans can get behind.

    So imagine our black protagonist’s surprise when encountering Nazis on the moon. Well, he’s not as surprised as the Nazis who find a black man behind the helmet. I believe their incredulous reaction is followed by the question, “Is this some kind of joke?” Of course, the whole movie is a joke, and some amount of comic hilarity and action follows.

    Admittedly, I watched this movie at 1am in the morning and expectations were low. But it’s worth a try. Yes You Can … watch a black man go to the moon. Stream it now on Netflix.

    Iron Sky

     
  • paulywalnuts 1:56 pm on October 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , roberto aguirre sacasa, stephen king   

    “Carrie” Movie Review | A Great Movie … for 13 Year Old Girls 

    Movie Review: Carrie (2013 remake)

    It’s a tall order to try and reboot the original Carrie (1976), written by Stephen King, directed by Brian De Palma, and nominated for two Oscars.  If anyone has a chance at recreating the success of the original, writer Roberto Aguirre Sacasa is the perfect choice.  There are few Hollywood writers who are as capable of capturing the mythology of a story, the motivation of a character, and the drama of a plot line.  He never gets the chance.

    This year’s Carrie movie won’t get any Oscar nominations.  [*mild spoiler warning] We enter the story to find 16 year old Carrie White (Chloe Grace Moretz) as an outcast at school.  After being home schooled for years, the state forced her mentally unstable mother (Julianne Moore) to send her to high school, but Carrie is unprepared for being an adolescent lady let alone interacting with others in the world.  She wants to be accepted by her classmates, and longs for the attention of boys.  Very, very early in the movie she gets her first period while showering in the locker room, and thinks she’s bleeding to death.  She’s mocked by her classmates, who take a video of her and post it to YouTube (in one of the few moments where the original script is updated for a modern audience).  A caring gym teacher finds out what happens and punishes the women responsible, threatening to suspend them and prevent them from going to the prom.  As a bunch of young women hate her and plot their revenge, Carrie discovers that objects begin to move when she gets angry.  Rather than scaring her, she seeks to control the powers that make her “special” and find out if there is anyone else like her.

    Anyone familiar with the original Carrie knows where the plot goes from here.  If you haven’t seen the original Carrie, this movie is a lot closer to Beautiful Creatures or Twilight than it is to a Brian De Palma classic.  Julianne Moore does an incredible job as a mentally unstable, religious zealot that inflicts pain upon herself to punish her for her sins. Her conversations with Carrie are the best parts of the movie, but lack the punch of any dramatic reveal.  Chloe Grace Moretz – and pretty much everyone except Julianne Moore – don’t develop much over the course of the movie.  The storytelling is rushed and the characters are somewhat shallow in the first 30 minutes, but settles down by the second act.  The climax at the prom is well-directed and captures both the horror and the confusion of the moment, but wasn’t moving because the audience didn’t get a chance to build up empathy for any of the characters involved.  Or even get to know the characters, really.  Would it have hurt to mention someone’s name and background a little bit during the movie?

    Compared to standard teenage/tweenage targeted movies, Carrie is a step above, but that’s a pretty weak standard to be judged by.  Serious moviegoers craving a psychological fantasy where a sympathetic character turns into a killer should check out “Chronicle.”  If you’re into watching a young lady devolve into madness, rent “Mary Marcy May Marlene.”  If you just want to skip to the bloody prom scene – stream Game of Thrones “Red Wedding” episode.  If you’re a 13 year old girl and worried about getting embarrassed on YouTube … well, this probably isn’t your movie, either.  Well conceived, badly executed, and obviously cutting corners in plot and development so it can be released around Halloween and make a quick buck.  I blame the studio, not the writer.

    IMDB Rating:
    6.4 out of 10
    Rotten Tomatoes Rating:
    48% of critics liked it / 59% of audiences liked it

    This (grooms)man’s Rating:4 out of 10.  Watch the original, instead

    Tagline: "You Will Know Her Name" ... which is weird since everyone knew her name, and oddly referred to her as Carrie White, as if there was some other Carrie we should know about

    Tagline: “You Will Know Her Name” … which is weird since everyone knew her name, and oddly referred to her as Carrie White, as if there was some other Carrie we should know about

     
  • paulywalnuts 3:17 am on October 8, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    10 Reasons I’ll Keep Going to the Movies This Year 

    Okay … you’ve gone out to see Gravity.  You loved the 3D … your date got motion sickness.  You’ve already seen the Butler and figure you can wait till January to see any other serious Oscar contenders, right?  Well there’s plenty left to keep us excited this year.  Here are my top 10 reasons to go to the movies for the remainder of the year, with plot summaries courtesy of IMDB.com (until they sue me to take the descriptions down.)

    1. the Counselor: A lawyer finds himself in over his head when he gets involved in drug trafficking.  October 25

    Fassbender, Bardem, Cruz, Diaz, Pitt.  Directed by Ridley Scott.  No brainer …

     

    2.  Carrie: A re-imagining of the classic horror tale about Carrie White, a shy girl outcast by her peers and sheltered by her deeply religious mother, who unleashes telekinetic terror on her small town after being pushed too far at her senior prom.  October 18

    Roberto Aquirre-Sacasa is a beast.  I can think of few writers that you can trust with decades worth of source material as varied as Spiderman and Carrie.

    3.  the Secret Life of Walter Mitty: An office worker who lives inside fantasy worlds where he gets to live an adventurous life while romancing his co-worker sets off a global journey to fix things when both of their jobs are threatened.  December 25

    If the movie can live up to the trailer, audiences will be inspired to do great things

    4.  Oldboy:  Obsessed with vengeance, a man sets out to find out why he was kidnapped and locked up into solitary confinement for 20 years without reason.  November 27

    May just be the next badass revenge flick we’ve been waiting for since Kill Bill Volumes I and II

     

    5. Twelve Years A Slave: In the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery.  October 31

    This movie is getting incredible Oscar buzz despite starting at an obvious disadvantage … it is one of several vying for a very crowded racial consciousness vote along with 42, Fruitvale Station, the Butler, and Mandela.  Still, many call it the favorite for Best Picture.

    6.  Last Vegas: Three sixty-something friends take a break from their day-to-day lives to throw a bachelor party in Las Vegas for their last remaining single pal.  November 1

    While everyone is waiting for Ron Burgundy and Anchorman 2, Last Vegas may steal the show

    7.    Thor 2: Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all.  November 8

    Can Chris Hemsworth bring in a Marvel-sized audience after the Avengers and Iron Man 3 both pulled in over $1 billion?

    8.  Dallas Buyers Club: The story of Texas electrician Ron Woodroof and his battle with the medical establishment and pharmaceutical companies after being diagnosed as HIV-positive in 1986, and his search for alternative treatments that helped established a way in which fellow HIV-positive people could join for access to his supplies.  November 1

    Any time an artist gains or loses that much weight for a role, I want to see if the character they played was worth it

    9.  American Hustle: The story of a con artist and his partner in crime, who were forced to work with a federal agent to turn the tables on other cons, mobsters, and politicians – namely, the volatile mayor of impoverished Camden, New Jersey.  December 25

    David O. Russel is having a hard time working with new actors.  He keeps winning Oscars with them, though …

    10.  The Best Man Holiday: When college friends reunite after 15 years over the Christmas holidays, they will discover just how easy it is for long-forgotten rivalries and romances to be ignited.  November 15

    15 years is a long time to wait for a sequel, but the trailer makes it look like everyone still has the same chemistry

     
  • Jay 2:20 am on September 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Dexter, Jennifer Carpenter, Michael C Hall   

    In Support of Dexter’s End (yes, spoilers ahead) 

    Dexter is as close to a comic book superhero as we’ve gotten on television … that is, a comic book superhero who isn’t already a “comic book superhero” (i.e. The Hulk, Wonder Woman, Batman, etc).

    By day, he’s a blood analyst on the Miami Metro Police force. By night, he dispatches bad guys with a syringe, knives, and often hand-to-hand combat. Dexter even has a costume: the cargo pants, skin tight brown shirt, the occasional butcher’s apron, and the black gloves.

    “But he’s a sociopath,” you say. “Not right in the head.” Well, I would venture to say, so our most of our comic book superheroes, who prance around in tights, exacting justice, living dual lives; they are dysfunctional individuals who don’t just resist integration, they are incapable of such assimilation into society.

    What does this have to do with my thoughts on Dexter’s appropriate end? Sorry, very little. It’s just an interpretation of the show I’ve wanted to share for some time.

    Moving on.

    Juliet and I are sad to see one of our favorite television shows end. With the loss of Breaking Bad on the horizon, this is going to be a tough year for us (yeah yeah, woe is me and my first world problems). For many, the Dexter series finale is an unsatisfying conclusion. Some have dubbed it … “worst finale since Seinfeld!” Wow. Harsh.

    But seriously. Could it have gone any other way? (DO NOT READ ANYMORE IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW HOW DEXTER ENDS)

     

    (OK, YOU’VE BEEN WARNED …)

     

    Death would have been too good for Dexter.  And life with Hannah and Harrison? C’mon, that’s too easy. Prison for Dexter? Too appropriate.

    In retrospect, of course Deb dies. The result? We see Dexter experience pain, the kind he’s been aspiring to on his trek towards humanity. It’s the kind of pain that comes from having loved … and, wait for it … lost. With the loss of Deb, we see Dexter cry for the first time. Folks … that’s HUGE! And how tragic that Deb might be his last “kill?” For all the “good” reasons (or alibis) for his prior kills, this is the one we perhaps empathize with the most. It’s also a fitting end to the series … a tribute to the central relationship on the show. It would be a mistake to argue that Dexter is solely about Dexter. It is as much about Deb. And through the eight seasons, Deb and Dexter have been a mirror for each other’s struggles.

    As a general rule, we don’t change. We adapt. We grow.  But that’s different from becoming something we’re not (there’s a reason why we can’t just go out and date anyone and live happily after; we’re not so malleable. Think about it.) So who is Dexter now? Unhinged, without the code, without Harry in his head, without Harrison to care for, without Deb in his life? Surprise! He is as he always was. A sociopath. A serial killer. And what of his self-imposed exile? It’s acceptance. It’s even a little selfless, perhaps the most unselfish act of his eight season run. What a torturous end for Dexter, but one that is far more self-aware and enlightened than many of us will ever have.

    Dexter

     

     
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