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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.

     

     

     
  • 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”

     
  • 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

     

     

     

     
  • 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

     
  • 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.”

     
  • 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

     
  • paulywalnuts 3:56 am on September 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Riddick, Vin Diesel   

    Riddick Movie Review | Vin Diesel Recaptures the Magic 

    Riddick Movie Review | Vin Diesel Recaptures the Magic

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    Vin Diesel returns to the franchise that helped launch his career, despite never gaining more than a cult following.  It’s been nearly ten years since the franchise tried to go Star Wars on us with “The Chronicles of Riddick.”  Writer/Director David Twohy strips down the good vs. evil for the sake of the Universe, and returns the character to familiar territory.  Just as in Riddick’s first appearance in “Pitch Black,” this movie is mostly about man vs. some otherworld monsters, and everyone else getting in the way.  It’s a simpler story, but the stars of this movie pull it off and recapture the magic that’s been missing from this franchise for … well, almost ten years.

    The movie opens with Riddick injured and alone, and being hunted by a pack of wild creatures.  Flashbacks explain how he goes from leading a race of warriors at the end of “Chronicles” to where he is today – I won’t ruin it for you.  The first act is all about Riddick recovering, adapting to his new planet, and discovering the dangerous predators that lurk in dark.  Riddick finds a mercenary outpost, and sends a distress beacon.  Two teams of bounty hunters arrive to hunt and capture Riddick, but not all is what it seems.  Santana (Jordi Molla) is the sadistic leader of one group of bounty hunters, including David Bautista.  Matthew Nable plays the leader of the second group of bounty hunters, including Katee Sackoff and Bokeem Woodbine.  The bounty hunters don’t like each other, and the second team of them may know more about Riddick than they’re letting on … they sure aren’t trying to collect the dead or alive bounty on Riddick’s head.  11 vs 1 … but the odds tend to favor the one guy that has his name in the title.  And let’s not forget the monsters lurking in every dark corner, either.

    The pace of Riddick is a lot slower, closer to “Pitch Black” and “Alien” before that – and movie is better for it.  Twohy’s directing focuses less on surprises, and more on making sure each scene is dramatic, tense, and fulfilling.  The best scenes are the nighttime hunts where Riddick can see in the dark, and his adversaries (and the audience) is a step behind in figuring out what just happened.  Molla and Katee Sackoff in particular make the most of their screen time, though David Bautista is neither funny enough to be comedy relief, nor charming enough to be loved.  His career may yet mirror the Rock’s, but this movie won’t do it for him.  Everything else in the movie – delivers.

    Watch this if you were a fan of the original “Pitch Black.”  It recaptures the magic, and doesn’t try to be a great movie for anyone but those fans.  And you know what – it doesn’t have to be.

    IMDB Rating:
    7.2 out of 10

    Rotten Tomatoes Rating:
    60% of critics liked it / 68% of the audience liked it

    This (grooms)man’s Rating:
    7 out of 10 – it delivers what you want it to deliver.  Fanboys and fangirls will be satisfied.  If you don’t know if you’re a fanboy/fangirl, this isn’t your movie.

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  • paulywalnuts 1:56 am on August 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Forest Whitaker, Melonie Diaz, , Octavia Spencer, Ryan Coogler   

    Movie Review: Fruitvale Station 

    Movie Review: Fruitvale Station

    Fruitvale Station, writer/director Ryan Coogler’s first feature length film, chronicles the last 24 hours in the life of Oscar Grant.  Based on a true story, Oscar was shot in the back and killed by a transit policeman on New Year’s Day 1997, despite being unarmed.  Coogler’s movie debuted at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and took home both the audience award as well as the Grand Jury Prize for best film.  It competed in the Cannes Film Festival and won Best First Film.  Equally as important, Coogler captures something that the headline-obsessed cable 24-hour news cycle, newspapers, politicians, and demagogues haven’t been able to – the humanity of an imperfect person who is no longer on this earth through no fault of his own.

    In fairness, I’ve spent most of my adult life wondering why so many young men that look like me are accidentally killed by policemen or wannabe-policemen, and the discussion immediately turns to whether they deserved to be killed or not.  To his credit, Coogler avoids the controversy and simply presents a human being trying to be a better person.  Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan) spends New Year’s eve arguing with his girlfriend (Melonie Diaz), playing with his daughter (Ariana Neal), and making plans with his mother (Octavia Spencer).  Oscar has flashbacks to some of his biggest mistakes mixed in with some virtuous moments.  Oscar isn’t presented as an archetype – he’s a human being like the viewer, warts and all, trying to avoid the mistakes of his past while constantly being reminded of them.

    Fruitvale Station opens with real life video of Oscar’s final minutes, captured by dozens of bystanders with cameras in their cellphones.  After sharing in someone’s death, the viewer – follow Oscar along his last day of life, and feel unsettled each time Oscar pauses to make a decision.  I wondered aloud if I would have made the same decisions, or better yet what decisions would each of us change in our day-to-day lives had we known there would be no tomorrow?  With precious minutes left in the movie, having exhausted every emotion in my body trying to will a character onscreen to do something other than what I knew he was destined to do, my eyes were far from the only ones in the theater that were flooded with tears.

    Michael B. Jordan may well earn an Oscar nomination for this role, and Octavia Spencer may do the same.  Kevin Durand reminded everyone that’s seen him in Lost or 3:10 to Yuma that he can absolutely steal a movie if you allow him only a few minutes to act.  And Ryan Coogler should be proud … he’s told a gut-wrenching story that I worried a relatively few people in America could identify directly with, and made it accessible to anyone.

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    IMDB Rating: 7.6/10

    Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 94% of critics loved it / 91% of audiences loved it

     

    This (Grooms)man’s Rating: 10/10 … one of the most best dramas of the year.  An Oscar worthy performance by the lead male, supporting female, and writer/director.  This is a movie for people that rarely go to the movies to see … in the theater.  Bring tissues.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     
  • paulywalnuts 1:06 am on July 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Anthony Hopkins, , Byung-hun Lee, , Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker   

    Red 2: Too Much of a Good Thing 

    Movie Review: Red 2

    Sequels aren’t always as good as the original, and RED 2 tries to make up for that by packing in much more of what we loved about the original.  More guns, more gags, more silly situations … more senior citizens.  The result is much more chaos, without the amazing plot and actors’ chemistry that made the original so great.  Red 2 is fun, but falls short of the original.

    Here’s the rundown Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) is still retired, still extremely dangerous, but trying his best to live the quiet life with his girlfriend Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker).  All that changes when his buddy Marvin (John Malkovich) returns to tell him the CIA (and several other governments) have a contract out for all three of them, thinking they are smuggling nuclear weapons.  Sharp shooter Victoria (Helen Mirren) is one of the people chasing down Frank and crew, as well as cast newcomers Han (Byung-hun Lee) and Katja (Catherine Zeta-Jones).  Anthony Hopkins joins the cast as a long lost scientist that may or may not have helped create the nuclear weapon in the first place.

    The early part of the story centers on Frank doing what he does best with the folks he loves – and you think Sarah will help him realize this.  The B plot of act II is Sarah and Katja fighting for Frank’s attention, while all the while Han and Victoria are closing in.  The movie finally finds its real plot in the third act when the world is in danger and apparently all of the other subplots no longer matter as much as saving the world and wrapping up the movie.  The sequel was a rush job.  There was plenty of source material for the writers to base this movie on, but sometimes Hollywood thinks bigger means better.  It didn’t here, despite some genuinely funny moments.  Red 2 is enjoyable, but a little disjointed for anyone that hasn’t seen part 1 and a lot disappointing for anyone that has.

    IMDB Rating:
    5.5/10

    Rotten Tomatoes Rating:
    40% of critics liked it / 75% of audiences approved of seeing older actors in Hollywood … even for this

    This (grooms)man’s Rating:
    4 out of 10; wait for this on cable.  Maybe.

     

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  • paulywalnuts 9:24 pm on July 20, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Breaking News: Superman/Batman Teamup planned for 2015 

    Zack Snyder just announced the news at the San Diego Comic Con.  Keep an eye on the groomsmen on film facebook page for quick updates.  However – one quick note – everything Zack Snyder has said so far has pointed to another Superman movie prior to mashing up the universe.  He often spoke about Marvel’s patience with building their universe for 4 years before doing an ensemble film.  Although DC announced Snyder (and Christopher Nolan/David Goyer) are on board … I can’t imagine this was their idea.  More like “we’re doing this anyway, you’re either on board or not … and we’ll make you very rich if you’re on board.”

    What the DC Cinematic Universe needs is a Kevin Feige and Joss Whedon … people that will guide the buildout of the movie universe from a creative standpoint.  More comments on our Facebook page!

     

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  • paulywalnuts 5:53 am on July 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , idris elba   

    Movie Review: Pacific Rim 

    Movie Review: Pacific Rim

    Oscar winning director Guillermo del Toro tries his best to breathe life into Pacific Rim, an Independence Day meets Transformers tale of monsters vs. robots.  A director can buy an awful lot of CGI with reportedly $180 million to toy with, but every so often you felt like del Toro burned through the money to create some flashy fight scenes and all that remained was out of place speeches and toy figures in a bathtub, splashing about with no direction.

    The movie begins roughly 7 years into an alien attack on Earth … the slowest moving alien attack in movie history, mind you.  The aliens came not from outer space, but from a dimensional portal in the bottom of the sea.  Human technology is powerful enough to both map the rift and track the tunnel that the monsters (Kaiju) are coming from, but apparently not good enough to seal and/or destroy the tunnel.  In Independence Day fashion, the nations band together for a solution – giant robots (Jaegers).  Some characters are introduced without giving more than 2 minutes of background, if that.  Some tragedy occurs, someone gives a speech, and after two hours and almost 11 minutes into the movie … we’re still at the same place we began.

    For a director that tried so hard to win an Oscar with Hellboy II, and actually won an Oscar with Pan’s Labrynth … del Toro couldn’t do much to save this sinking ship.  Put aside that the Jaegers mostly fought over water and were probably creating tsunamis on the coasts they were supposed to protect … never mind that humanity could create trillion dollar fighting machines but couldn’t evacuate its coastal cities … not much happened in this movie.  Even great roles by Charlie Day and Ron Perlman got bogged down by half awake acting in the lead characters.

    The movie was more cluttered with formula (a Jaeger from each big country where this movie would like to make money, a weak love story) but nothing new.  No one that has seen Transformers or Iron Man will be amused by the CGI.  No one that has seen Independence Day will give a damn about the plot, especially since it wasn’t as good.  Seriously.  And no one that has seen Godzilla vs Mothra will care about the fight scenes.

    I went in not expecting much and I got what I paid for.

    IMDB Rating:
    70 out of 100

    Rotten Tomatoes Rating:72% of critics like the Director enough to give him a pass on this one

    This (grooms)man’s Rating:
    3 out of 10 … don’t see it unless you’re in a club and the movie is on mute in the background

     

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    • Winkelvi Twins 5:08 am on July 15, 2013 Permalink

      Paulywalnuts, totally agree with you. I m a giant robot to save mankind fan. I had high hopes when hearing about it. But then the trailer came out and it went downhill from there. Has there been any Hollywood Movie precedent for this? I can t recall any now which puts more weight on Del Toro to do well. Say you don’t know anything about Japanese culture such as, Godzilla, Anime, basically their mythical culture that invents things like this. In America you still got dubbed versions of Voltron, Robotech, and even America’s The Power Rangers. Even the Power Rangers plot was better than this. Hey I m being harsh but Del Toro you dropped the ball on this one. Actually Real Steel was better than this. I m losing faith in society when this movie is getting rave reviews from big important people. Critics praised the romance. But there was not one kiss. Mr. Freeze had more romance than the cast put together. Amongst all the silly impractical things that occur in the movie the fist bump into palm before the fight was ludicrous. The thing I did appreciate about the film was the exploration into the psychology of the Jaeger (bomb) pilots. But still not enough.

      Slight detail, they had Tom Morello play guitar on the score of the film. Mind you he is the awesome guitarist from Rage against the Machine. Ironic yes. Whats more ironic than that you ask? He played a ‘guard’ but he was basically one of the terrorists in Iron Man I when Tony Stark is in jail.

      If you really want to watch the best giant robot to save mankind movie in the past 10 years that has great characters, great plot, great animations, great everything, then I highly recommend watching Rebuild of Evangelion. You ll read in some reviews that Pacific Rim is a rip off of this anime.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rebuild_of_Evangelion

      Comic Con is next week in San Diego and everybody is going to big shit talking this movie. Hopefully Wolverine turns out to be awesome.

      3.5 out of 10

  • paulywalnuts 12:34 pm on June 25, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    World War Z Review | A Zombie Movie About Zombies 

    World War Z Review | A Zombie Movie About Zombies

    Ever since George Romero made it cool to see modern zombie movies in the 60s, the best known films have been about something much deeper than the zombies themselves.  Dawn of the Dead was Americans’ classic choice between consumerism or defense – guns or butter – in times of war (and whether we’d realize we needed both to survive external threats).  28 Days Later was about which institution provided society with both comfort and morality in times of crisis.

    World War Z is about zombies.  Humanity uniting to fight scary, swarming, mindless zombies taking over every city in the world.

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    You don’t know where the zombies came from and you may or may not know how to cure them in the end – but that doesn’t really matter.  Don’t let the trailers fool you – the whole Brad Pitt choosing between his family and the fight for humanity … it’s nowhere near as prominent as the CGI spectacle of the military fighting zombies or civilians running away from them.  Had the CGI stumbled, or been anything other than original – the movie wouldn’t have worked.  Despite little character development or emotion, the CGI  turned what could have been a bad B movie (angry ants attacking humans!  Substitute zombies for ants, though) into something amusing.  And actually thrilling.  I had no idea what would come next, but I was worried that death was just around the corner.

    Brad Pitt adds some humanity to a script that’s all over the place (more on that later) and devoid of much emotion at all.  *mild spoiler alert for this paragraph only*  One of the most powerful moments in the film was Brad on a rooftop ledge, ready to off himself if he was infected. Apparently, several other moments of humanity were added in late re-shoots when the original cut was unacceptable.

    If you’re a disaster movie fan, action fan, end-of-the-world fan, or even a Brad Pitt fan – you’ll be entertained.  You may even have your heart racing, like mine was, wondering where the next zombie will come from and take out a star.  If you’re looking for intelligent zombie movies in the tradition of Danny Boyle and George Romero, hit Netflix for one of their old movies.

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    IMDB Rating:
    7.4 out of 10

    Rotten Tomatoes Rating:
    68% of critics like it / 86% of audiences love it

    This (grooms)man’s Rating:
    7 out of 10 on CGI and badass Brad Pitt alone … see it in theaters if you’re an action junkie.  

     
  • paulywalnuts 3:31 am on June 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Why there is no review of “After Earth” 

    Because Hell has not frozen over.

    Sony's going to want a Men In Black 4 and 5 to pay for After Earth's disaster

    Sony’s going to want a Men In Black 4 and 5 to pay for After Earth’s disaster

     
  • paulywalnuts 3:15 am on June 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Netflix Night | Stand Up Guys 

    Netflix Night: Stand Up Guys

    Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, Alan Arkin in a mob movie about friendships and revenge … what’s not to love, right?  A whole lot, actually.

    Pacino comes out of prison after after serving 28 years and his buddy Christopher Walken gives him one never-ending night to welcome him back to the free world.  Walken is hiding a secret – he’s been assigned to kill Pacino by 10am the next day.  There really isn’t any plot or direction beyond that.  The movie zooms from one meaningless subplot to the next, but Alan Arkin is memorable in his short time on screen.  The other co-stars are pretty pointless, and the best part of the movie is its ending.

    IMDB Rating:
    6.5 out of 10

    Rotten Tomatoes Rating:
    38% of critics liked it / 50% of audiences liked it, but admittedly may have fallen asleep and are only saying they liked it because of the cast

    this (grooms)man’s Rating:3 out of 10 … it’s just not a good movie

     

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  • paulywalnuts 2:55 am on June 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Common, Dave Franco, , Jesse Eisenberg, , , ,   

    Movie Review | Now You See Me 

    Movie Review: Now You See Me

    Movies about magic aren’t generally supposed to do well at the box office, but “Now You See Me” opened up better than box office king Will Smith’s scientology disaster.  Is Will losing his mojo, or is “Now You See Me” really that good?

    A little bit of both, perhaps.  NYSM is a fun movie, a little reminiscent of National Treasure more so than any of the great magic-themed movies that came before it.  Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson, and the guy that looks like James Franco are all magicians that are brought together by a mysterious benefactor that helps them rob from the rich, and give to the poor.  Michael Caine is one of their biggest fans, Morgan Freeman wants to prove them to be frauds (stop hating, Mo Free), and Mark Ruffalo wants to lock them up.  The movie follows their act getting discovered in Vegas, famous in New Orleans, and infamous in NYC.  The plot isn’t mind-bending, but keeps you guessing what’s next … well, mostly.  The magic acts are still spectacular for a 2013 audience that’s spoiled by CGI.

    Louis Leterrier directs the movie like a little kid that can’t sit down … the camera is always moving, circling the scene and characters.  He gives plenty of wide shots of Vegas, New Orleans, and New York … and even manages to get the audience attached to the actors a little.  A very little.  Common and other backup stars made the best of their short screen time.   The movie was good enough to be amusing, but short of great.  Actually, somewhere right now Christopher Nolan is wondering if he made “the Prestige” a few years too soon.  Or perhaps he took the source material a little too seriously … because somewhere between the campiness of animated movies and the seriousness of the Prestige, Now You See Me exists.  And it’s fun to watch.

    IMDB Rating:7.4 out of 10

    Rotten Tomatoes Rating:
    46% of critics liked it / 75% of audiences liked it

    This (grooms)man’s Rating:
    5 out of 10 … a good movie to watch, but you can wait for the DVD

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  • paulywalnuts 2:40 am on June 3, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    The Problem with J.J. Abrams … 

    J.J. Abrams and Jon Favreau need to do a movie together.  Favreau cannot figure out how to execute a good movie despite a great plot (see Iron Man II, Cowboys & Aliens, and basically everything except Elf and Iron Man) and Abrams can create the best of movies with no original or compelling material whatsoever (see Star Trek : Into Darkness, Super 8, Mission Impossible III).  Abrams plots as of late are all derivative.

    The latest Star Trek has great special effects, great acting, and amazing moments … but the plot points and major events in the movie are almost exactly like Star Trek II: the Wrath of Kahn.  We’ve seen this before, and if you want to reboot a movie we’ve already seen, that’s fine, but stop acting like there is something new in there.  Super 8 was a shout out to every Steven Spielberg movie ever made.  Mission Impossible III was a shout out to an old franchise with an annoying actor and doing stunts we’ve mostly seen before.

    I’m officially no longer excited to see the Star Wars movies he is making.

    Find a new set of writers, or listen to Christopher Nolan when he creates a new story and script from sacred source material (it can be done).  Or stop working on so many damn projects at once because they’re all suffering.

    Star Trek: Into Darkness is a good movie … if you’ve never heard of Kirk and Spock.  If you have indeed heard of either of them – or Wikipedia – you’ll get the funny feeling you’ve seen it all before.  Because you have.

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