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  • 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

    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


    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


    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


    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.



    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


    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


    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


    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.



    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


    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.



    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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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.

  • 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 


    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.


    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).


    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

  • 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


  • 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!


     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


     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


     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.


     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


    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

  • 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).


    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 1:29 pm on September 14, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Alec Baldwin, Angelika, , Woody Allen   

    Movies at The Angelika: Blue Jasmine 

    This has been a rather humdrum summer for movies.

    So I find myself surprised by a couple of flicks that were released towards the tail end of the season. We happened to watch both movies at the Angelika, which historically has been a little too hip for me. However, a popcorn in one hand, and a cappuccino/organic cheesecake in the other is a novelty I could repeat; commercial theaters should consider expanding their food offerings, though I’m sure there’s a financial analysis that indicates otherwise. The crowd at Angelika an odd concoction – Lincoln Center constituents meets Williamsburg hipsters. OK, off topic as usual.

    Blue Jasmine, Wood Allen’s latest, is understandably reviewed by many as a shade of “Streetcar Named Desire.” Most things I would write treads familiar, and Blue Jasmine is certainly deserving of its 90%.

    So what of the manly men who are hesitant to see the movie? Well, see it with a date. It makes for an evening at the theater … except, you’re not at the theater. I’m not saying the movie is cheerful, but guess what, you and your date will have something to converse about at some length (as opposed to the conversations I had with Juliet following the Summer’s blockbusters,  “Sorry. Bad choice. You get to pick the next one.” Though I suppose, that could have been a strategy to secure a second date).

    If you don’t already know the plot, well … life goes wrong for the wife (Blanchett) of a Bernie Madoff type (Alec Baldwin), and she moves in with her adopted sister (Sally Hawkins). Tragic hilarity ensues.

    See it. Because when Blanchett gets nominated for the Best Actress Award, you’ll want to be able to participate in the conversation.

    I’ll review Austenland next, the second movie we saw at the Angelika. But first, I’m going to finish watching Apollo 18 … in fast forward.


    • CMrok93 4:13 pm on September 22, 2013 Permalink

      It’s one of those rare instances where Woody just let his ensemble do the talking for him, and what a perfect idea that was! Everybody’s great, especially Blanchett. However, I feel like that’s sort of known by now. Good review Jay.

  • 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









    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.


  • 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.


    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.







  • Justin 1:58 am on July 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Patrick Stewart, , X-Men Days of Future Past   

    The Wolverine | A True Wolverine Movie and Warmup for Next Year's X-Men Movie 


    Following the events of X-Men: The Last Stand, Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is racked with guilt over being forced to kill the woman he loved, Jean Grey (Famke Janssen).  He’s resolved to put away his claws, and live in the wilderness.  His self-imposed exile is interrupted when the dying Yashida (Hal Yamanouchi), a man Logan saved during World War II, wants to say good-bye to his savior in person.  Reluctantly, Logan travels to Japan to honor the old man’s request, but falls into a web of intrigue when his healing power is stolen from him by the scientist/mutant Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova), and he must protect Yashida’s granddaughter, Mariko (Tao Okamoto), from shadowy forces.

    While the movie has its flaws, it is fairly true to the comics, succeeds in being a character-driven story and provides a solo / self-contained Wolverine story that holds up well in the age of big superhero movies where cities are blown up. I dare say it also has the best post-credits scene ever.

    The movie  manages to hold together even though Wolverine is torn between two plotlines that have little in common other than one plotline depriving him of his powers so that he can be physically vulnerable in the other.  Nevertheless, these two tones veer between serious drama and cartoonish action, and the former is far more rewarding.  It lets Director James Mangold engage in imagery and atmosphere whereas the special effects driven set pieces feel like a sop to the action blockbuster superheroes must inhabit.  When we see Wolverine in World War II, he’s a P.O.W. and metaphorically a caged animal.  That symbol representing Logan’s inner conflict—his violent, animalistic side fighting against his human desire for forgiveness and attempting to reconcile his immortality—is the more fascinating journey.

    We won’t know how anyone else will compare to Jackman until another actor picks up the claws, but he has undeniably defined the role on-screen.  He is the Wolverine against which all other Wolverines will be judged, not just because he had the role first or the longest, but because he inhabited it so completely.  Even in the absolute clusterfuck of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Jackman never lost sight of the character, and he always has an awareness of how to make the story come to him rather than chase the whims of the plot.  In The Wolverine, he provides some levity to the drama finding his humanity while protecting Mariko, and in the goofy comic book scenes he plays it completely straight.

    However, despite the strength of Jackman’s performance, those action scenes still make the movie an uneven and slightly less rewarding experience.  The movie admirably takes its time to build up to the first set piece, but when it gets there, it’s a cacophony of slicing and gunshots.  Somehow, the action becomes more cogent once they get on top of a speeding bullet train rather than fighting on the ground.  But the film has still made a jarring transition from character piece to its hero ducking and jumping over street signs like he’s in a video game.  Fighting a giant robot and a woman who can shed her skin is still entertaining, but it also feels much sillier when not too long ago our hero was previously coming to grips with his identity.


    Thankfully, no matter how far the film goes to embrace its more cartoonish aspects, it’s still all about Wolverine as a character rather than part of a set piece.  His popularity is obviously due in part to his superpowers, but we’ve reached the point in movies where we’re seeing superpowers all the time.  Furthermore, blockbuster heroics have become so abstract that we’re debating how many innocent citizens have died so the superhero can save the day.  The Wolverine isn’t intended as a repudiation of other superhero movies, but it’s still a welcome celebration of the man who is the best at what he does even if it doesn’t involve saving the world.

    Grade: B

    I have to say, the best part of the movie for me, was the post-credits sequence (scroll down if you want to see). Looking forward to X-Men Days of Future Past.

    The scene opens with Wolverine going through the greatest hell any man or mutant can face: airport security (considering his bones are laced with metal, that must make him even more nervous than the rest of us). Whilst lining up to pass it, seeing an ad for Trask Industries (more on that later), he sees certain metal objects moving. Enter Magneto (Ian McKellan) .

    After warning Wolverine that ‘dark forces’ are on the horizon (this is presumably after he hands him a ring and tells him to chuck it into a volcano), Wolverine points out that he obviously doesn’t trust him. Magneto says that he’s brought along someone who will. Everyone in the airport sans our two focal characters freeze up and Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) zooms into scene in what is the fastest wheelchair driving of all time.

    In the comics Trask Industries creates the Sentinels, hilariously big gigantic robots that end up enslaving mankind after the assassination of a US Senator: http://groomsmenonfilm.com/2012/08/04/1004/. The story is one of the most famous comic book stories (one of my personal favorites). Trask will be played by Game of Thrones’ Peter Dinklage with most of the X-Men/X-Men 2 and X-Men: First Class casts returning. For now, Director James Mangold wanted a post credits sequence that wasn’t tongue-in-cheek (as to not take away from the movie), but substantive and meaningful for what’s to come next. 

    Personally I geeked out cause it was great to see the three back on the screen together.

    And of course if you haven’t seen it already, here is the teaser trailer for X-Men Days of Future Past:

    • Trev 1:40 am on July 30, 2013 Permalink

      Dude, you need to sleep more or drink coffee if you almost fell asleep in this movie.

      Also, the final battle may have been fucktacularly bad, but watching Logan go toe-to-toe with Shingen after getting his healing ability back, pissed off as all hell, was worth the rice of admission.

  • 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:

    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.



  • Jay 2:02 am on July 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Weekend Watch : Warm Bodies, a Zombie Chick Flick 

    There’s been a plethora of zombie movies of late. Don’t believe me? Well, just google “How many zombie movies have been made” and the first link is to a wiki list of 641 titles since Victor Halperin’s 1932 movie, White Zombie.

    That’s the first part of the math. Here’s the second part: If you tally the number of zombie movies from 2002 till the present, you arrive at approximately 463 films. That means nearly 75% of all Zombie movies have been made in the last 10 years or so.

    For those of you wondering why I chose 2002, well, that’s the year of Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later.

    Yes. Resident Evil also came out in 2002.

    No. Resident Evil is not the impetus for the undead avalanche at the movies.

    And since I’ve got the numbers in front of me, 17 undead movies were released in 2002. After 2002? 42 movies. In fact, an average of 45 zombie movies a year have been released since 2002.

    So, what does all this have to do with Warm Bodies?

    Nothing. I just thought the math was remotely interesting.

    Ok. Given the surfeit of undead, originality is certainly an arduous task. Warm Bodies sorta succeeds. I say “ sorta” because Zombieland is a superior movie in every way, except that a chick doesn’t fall-in-love with a zombie, which is the promise of Warm Bodies. I’m not saying that actually happens, but it’s no secret that a zombie tries to initiate a relationship. It’s a cute concept. Are people in love really that different from zombies? They ogle. They stalk. They chase. They obsess. They moan. They speak in fragmented inarticulate sentences.  And Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: First Class & Days of Future Passed, Jack The Giant Slayer), the love-struck zombie, is compelling enough opposite Teresa Palmer (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice), the heroine and female crush.

    If you’re a zombie movie fan, you should see this one, preferably with a significant-other who would rather watch The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement. Sorry. That’s not fair. In total transparency, it was Juliet who suggested we watch Warm Bodies. Be patient with the movie. Don’t expect so much from it and you’ll appreciate the cheese –ball answer to the question, “How do you kill a zombie?”

    Warm Bodies is directed by Jonathan Levine (50/50), and also stars John Malkovich and Rob Corddry.

    Warm Bodies

  • 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


    pacific rim





    • 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.

      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.













    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.











    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 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


  • Jay 2:55 pm on June 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Weekend Watch : Butter (me up) 

    (this is my first attempt at a mobile post)

    Starring: Jennifer Garner, Ty Burrell, Hugh Hackman, Alicia Silverstone, Olivia Wilde, Rob Cordry, Yara Shahidi

    If you listen to Rottentomatoes, then you’d probably skip this movie; that would be a mistake. Think of Butter as The Simpsons meet Family Guy meet The Boondocks meet Election. Butter isn’t as good as any of those shows/movies alone, but its certainly entertaining enough not to warrant a 35% on rotten. So what’s the complaint?

    I can see why a majority of critics didn’t like Butter, but the reasons are circumstantial and convenient. Released in October 2012, Butter was marketed by the Weinstein brothers as political satire. Strip the movie of that burden, and its just plain fun watching an ambitious housewife compete in a butter carving contest against a little girl (Yara Shahidi) and a scene stealing stripper (Olivia Wilde, who is certainly more to me now than just the Tron girl). Wilde happens to be infatuated with Garner’s husband (Ty Burrell). Throw Hugh Jackman in there as a sleazy car salesman and Butter is a perfect lazy weekend matinee movie before a mid-afternoon nap.

    Now, on to the “convenient” reasons. The critics jumped off the self-hatred bandwagon and onto the self-righteous parade float. The story equally centers around Garner and Shahidi, a young African American girl moving from foster home to foster home. Cordry and Silverstone play her most recent (and loving) foster parents. And Shahidi slings a plethora of one-liner attacks articulating the ‘craziness’ of white people. I clearly thought it was funny … the kind of politically incorrect jokes that my close circle of racially diverse and inclusive peers make. But many of the critics are personally offended. Suddenly, making fun of others is not funny. Really??

    Maybe the critics shouldn’t have taken the movie, or themselves, so seriously.

    Butter is available to stream on Netflix.


  • Jay 2:33 pm on May 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Weekend Watch : Side Effects … no nausea or rectal bleeding here. Just good fun. 

    Starring: Jude Law, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Rooney Mara, and Channing Tatum. Directed by Steven Soderbergh

    This is a good movie. It might even be a great movie. If you have two hours to spare to watch a thriller this weekend, this is the film.

    There’s nothing new I can add that hasn’t already been said by the critics who enjoyed the film (85% on rotten).

    Channing Tatum and Rooney Mara are married. She suffers from depression. Jude Law prescribes a drug. Shit happens. I’m not saying any more than that. Just watch the film, preferably with someone else to facilitate witty and investigative banter. Don’t take the movie too seriously, be patient, and you’ll have fun.

    Look to rent Side Effects on Vudu and Amazon.


  • paulywalnuts 8:20 pm on April 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: joseph kosinski, , olga kurylenko,   

    Reviewing (Cruise’s Career: Back from) Oblivion 

    Reviewing (Cruise’s Career: Back from) Oblivion








    Tom Cruise’s star has taken many hits in recent years, most of them self-inflicted.  With Oblivion, Cruise reminds folks like me why he is one of the world’s most popular movie stars when placed in the right movie.  Cruise’s offscreen reputation is quickly drowned out by an ambitious storyline, amazing but not over-used special effects, and breathtaking scenery that helps conveys the scope of the story Director Joseph Koshinski is trying to tell.  Let’s start with story.

    60 years after aliens attack Earth, Jack is one of the last humans left on what remains of the planet.  He is a technician, working alongside communications officer and girlfriend Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) and trying to avoid the unseen alien scavengers that may have lost the war, but refuse to leave the planet.  With two weeks left before they join their fellow humans which have relocated to Titan, Victorua can’t wait to leave and Jack is nostalgic for how life used to be 60 years ago. When Jack begins to stray from his humdrum routines, he begins unraveling the mystery behind the original alien invasion, how humanity actually fell, and what he can do to end the war between humans and scavengers for good.

    This homage to sci-fi movies that came before it will seem very familiar to lovers of the original Star Wars, Independence Day, the Matrix – but much more of a homage to what’s come before than derivative of their plot.  The audience is as much in the dark as Jack is through much of the beginning of the movie, but an occasional drone attack or scavenger hijacking will keep the pace moving along.  Olga Kurylenko and Morgan Freeman don’t have enough screen time, but make the most of what time they get.  Cruise and Riseborough have amazing chemistry and the mystery of what happened to the humans keeps you captivated.  The movie slows down in latter part of the second act, but even those slow moments lead to  an even bigger climax.  And yeah … it all leads to a great climax.

    Joseph Kosinski’s biggest project up until now was Tron: Legacy.  Oblivion was based on an unpublished graphic novel that he co-wrote, and much like Josh Trank, Kosinki has just announced himself as one of the great directors that everyone needs to pay attention to in the coming years.  Go find out why.  In a theater, preferably a real IMAX.

    IMDB’s rating:7.2 out of 10

    Rotten Tomatoes rating:
    59% of critics liked it; 68% of audiences liked it

    This (grooms)man’s rating:8 out of 10 … a sci-fi movie for people that love smart sci-fi movies.  It delivers much more than you expect, so go see it.  In IMAX

  • Jay 12:24 am on April 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 40 Year Old Virgin, Judd Apatow, Knocked Up, Leslie Mann, , Megan Fox, Paul Rudd   

    Weekend Watch: This is 40 


    OK, I’m doing my best here to be as consistent as possible. I’ve tried lists, netflix reviews, and other sordid gimmicks to remain somewhat stable with my movie reviews. Fail.

    Well, here’s my new one … attempting to post every Thursday so you have a movie suggestion for the weekend. Welcome to the first edition of Weekend Watch.

    This Is 40 … is not as funny as I wanted it to be, but funny enough. Worth watching this weekend? Sure, especially the unrated version, but there are some caveats.

    We’re reunited with a couple of cast members we’ve grown to love since the 40 Year Old Virgin, and who reprise their characters from Knocked-Up. Yes, this is a Judd Apatow movie, so once again we expect some earnest sweetness bundled with humor centered around bodily functions. We get to watch a married couple come to terms with … dun dun dun … turning 40. The problem with this movie is … it all seems a little forced, or perhaps a little too long. But perhaps the significance of turning 40 is wasted on me. When Juliet and I recently asked one of our friends how his 40th birthday turned out, he told us it was the worst birthday of his life. Well, I guess we’ve got something to look forward to.

    By the way, if you’ have never seen Lost and were hoping to watch the series soon, or let’s say you’re only three episodes from the finale, then DO NOT WATCH this movie. Unless you’d like to listen to the fate of every main character in a brilliant twenty-second bit.

    Also, this is Megan Fox’s best performance to date. But I digress …

    Actually, not really. I have nothing more profound to say. You’ll laugh a bit. Get bored a bit. Find a couple things brilliant. Ogle Megan swimming in the backyard pool. And ultimately forget the movie.

    PS – Who doesn’t like Paul Rudd?

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