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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.

  • 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

  • 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 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



  • 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.


  • 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?

  • paulywalnuts 3:57 pm on January 20, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bill Murray, , Edward Norton, Frances McDermott, Harvey Keitel, Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Tilda Swinton, Wes Anderson   

    Sleepy Sunday DVD Review | Mooonrise Kingdom 

    Movie Review: Moonrise Kingdom


    Question: if Moonrise Kingdom is one of the best movies of 2013, why have so few people seen it?

    Answer: you either love Wes Anderson’s sometimes absurdist approach to directing, or you don’t.  Many don’t love that his movies have dialogue and special effects and plotlines that are closer to a high budget stage production than anything in Hollywood.  Many love his style for the same reason.

    Moonrise Kingdom doesn’t disappoint.  Young boy and girl fall in love, run away with each other, and a sleepy town full of colorful characters set out to find them.  It’s innocent and awkward and mildly violent at times (a shame what happened to the poor dog …).  Peel it all back and there are two kids no one seems to love that want to love each other in spite of their quirks, and a whole town that’s lost love trying to tell them not to.  Pretty adorable story.  Pretty good acting.  Bill Murray and Bruce Willis bring out the best in each other, and the rest of the cast has as much fun with it as the kids do.

    And earning 3x your budget is a pretty good run for any movie, so Anderson’s budgets will only get bigger, and more people will see his movies.

    Rotten Tomatoes Rating:
    94% of critics loved it / 88% of audiences loved it

    IMDB Rating:
    7.9 out of 10

    This (grooms)man’s rating:
    7 out of 10, a quirky but fun DVD you should get for a date night




  • Jay 11:51 am on September 8, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Netflix Instant Review | Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame 

    You might remember the posters and commercials in Fall 2011. Well, it’s available to watch instantly on Netflix.

    My expectations were high. Detective Dee is directed by Tsui Hark, who produced several seminal John Woo action flicks from the ‘80s including Better Luck Tomorrow and The Killer. The cast includes Andy Lau, of Infernal Affairs (the older and superior version of The Departed), and the martial arts sequences are choreographed by Sammo Hung (Jackie Chan’s portly comedic sidekick in any number of ‘80s flicks).

    Writing that this movie is Crouching Tiger meets Hellboy would mean Detective Dee is an awesome movie. It’s not. If Crouching and Hellboy had twins, Detective Dee would be Danny Devito’s Vincent to Arnold’s Julius. OK, that’s harsh, but it took me three weeks to finish watching this movie. And by-the-way, you don’t get to call yourself a “mystery” if you make things up along the way.

    The story? Detective Dee draws its context from the Zhou Dynasty in the 600s, during which time a man named Di Renjie (who Detective Dee is loosely based on) served as chancellor to the first and only Chinese woman, Wu Zetian, to ever hold the title Emperor. Compelling, paradigm shifting stuff, right? So why am I watching a movie with talking deer, shape shifting, and spontaneous combustion. I get the mystical and fantastical origins of such movies; I’ve been watching Hong Kong produced films since I was a kid but the poorly executed gimmicks are squarely aimed at critics who don’t know any better (hello, 81% on rottentomatoes).

    The martial arts? Lame. Sammo, you’re to blame. If Andy Lau looks like he’s throwing a punch at 2mph, then reshoot the scene, choose a different angle, cut the scene differently, or don’t have him throw a punch.

    The set pieces? They’re impressive, especially the underground world. It doesn’t make up for the story or the martial arts.

    Watch Jet Li’s Hero instead. Too bad that isn’t available to watch instantly.

  • paulywalnuts 3:24 am on August 27, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    DVD Review | Takers 

    Why was this movie made?  Idris Elba tries to help a cast that consists of not one, but two rappers.  Apparently Rihanna fans must have boycotted Chris Brown’s role in the theaters because it made so little at the box office.

    No actor is even trying to put on a good performance.  T.I. is terrible, which hurts since I love him as a reformed rapper.  As an actor, they need to feed him some steak or something to fill him out and help him look menacing when he threatens those in the movie that are more intimidating than him. Which is everyone.

    IMDB Rating: 6.0

    Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 27% of critics (who would even admit to liking this?) / 55% of audiences (again, who?)

    (grooms)men recommendation: Skip the movie.  Even on DVD.

  • Jay 3:42 am on July 23, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Netflix Instant Review | Centurion 

    This is formally the first in a series of Netflix Instant reviews. Juliet and I have around 300 movies sitting in our instant queue and I’m sure we’re not the exception. We spend more time trying to find a movie to watch than actually watching one. That’s because we’re not sure the movies are any good. Ideally, the Netflix movies would be keyed to Rotten Tomatoes, or Metacritic. Someone know why they’re not? In many cases, the movies have been reviewed by only the thinnest numbers of critics, and who has time to look them up when you’re browsing? So perhaps these reviews might help folks decide what to stream.

    Well, Centurion is NOT one of those movies. I would not play this movie in the background as you run errands around the house, or perhaps while you read the latest volume of The Walking Dead. This is how forgettable the movie is. With 20 mins left, I thought I was experiencing a serious bout of deja vu only to realize that I had watched the freakin movie once before. I just didn’t remember it. How could this be, with a movie helmed by Neil Marshall (director of The Descent) and with a cast led by Michael Fassbender (Magneto, David the android from Prometheus)? The cast also includes a previous Bond girl, a sidekick from Doctor Who, the detective from The Wire, and the guy who plays that dude from Game of Thrones. (note to self, write something about actors whose faces you always see but never headline a movie. Maybe call it, the Ron Perlman Growth Curve)

    The story is promising, loosely based on the disappearance of the Roman Ninth legion in Caledonia (Scotland). Its execution is dull and the affect is numbing, though interlaced with moments of extreme bloodiness. Fassbender plays a roman soldier, son of a gladiator (so we assume he can fight), who is taken prisoner by the Caledonians. The Ninth legion is sent to pursue, and are of course violently dispatched by the face painted natives. Fassbender and several survivors spend the rest of the movie running away, culminating in an utterly underwhelming fight. It’s as if the movie production was plagued by bad weather, cost overruns, and multiple script revisions.

    59% on Rotten Tomatoes. 62/100 on Metacritic.

    Pass on this one. Move on to the next movie in your queue.

  • paulywalnuts 4:52 am on July 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    DVD Review | The Matrix Revisited 

    Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A visionary director takes a comic-book like storyline featuring an unlikely leading male in the role of the hero, but treats the subject matter with as seriously as possible. Along the way, the movie is a critique of modern society and expectations as much as it as an action movie and draw a beloved geek following. If you said this describes The Dark Knight Rises, you obviously didn’t read the subject line (shame on you, Winklevii). However, I choose the eve of TDKR to return to the incredible expectations facing the Wachowski brothers when they decided to turn the Matrix into a trilogy.

    Just as Christopher Nolan wanted to examine humanity, so too did the Wachowski brothers look at decisions, heroes and villains, and choice versus fate. Whereas Nolan’s Batman trilogy uses current events as a lens into looking at heroism, perception, and he consequences of our choices – the Matrix looked to philosophy, science, and religion. We can fill a graduate course examining any of these aspects of the Matrix, but I choose to focus on religion right now.

    SPOILER ALERT if you haven’t seen the Matrix II and III (and contrary to popular belief, you should. More on that later): The Matrix Reloaded and the Matrix Revolutions had some of the deepest religious commentary in popular movies. A young man was the chosen one that would deliver a people, his mentor preached of his coming before ever meeting him, his people were not all of the same faith, and the faithful and unfaithful alike had to fight for nothing less than the fate of humanity. Insert your favorite western (and a few eastern) religions, and start using this to teach our children how to be faithful!!! Instead of having everyone agree and defeat the bad guys through faith, in the end we found out that faith didn’t matter. Those that believed and those that didn’t found out that we have to share this world with each other, and even with the “evil creatures” that we’ve been fighting for so long. Instead of repeating the same circle of failure (hats of to James Joyce and the Dubliners) – everyone embarked on a new path. Wait, that doesn’t sound like holy doctrine anymore?!

    And the explanation of such deep thinking didn’t go over well with audiences. No matter how many times we see the scene in part II with the Engineer (shout out to the engineering geeks that understood who an “engineer” was in programming speak), we don’t feel better about the movie. The Lost creators cited that scene in deciding not to explain the Island, because audiences couldn’t digest something so complex. Audiences didn’t get it, critics attacked the movie for being a blatant money grab to finish out a trilogy, and our love affair with the Matrix faded. Hats off to the Wachowskis for trying to be more than just an action movie.

    … and has off to Christopher Nolan for trying to make Batman more than just neon coloring and nipples on the Batsuit (no Joel Schumacher, you are still not forgiven). It will be nigh impossible to please audiences and critics as you finish off what has been a great exploration of human decisions and consequences. Perhaps we will learn in the end that none of it matters. Perhaps we will just enjoy the movie on a superficial level as a great action movie. But perhaps, just perhaps, someone will break down the themes throughout the trilogy and make a graduate course out of it. I’ll sign up for the class.

    Here’s to seeing TDKR, and hoping the director’s cut is less than 2 and a half hours. Two much of a good thing, man …

  • paulywalnuts 5:26 am on March 2, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Analeigh Tipton, Emma Stone, Juliane Moore, Kevin Bacon, Ryan Gosling, Steve Carrell   

    DVD Review | Crazy, Stupid, Love 

    Try as much as you want, you’re not getting away from love right now. Valentine’s Day just set you back, the Vow is still being hyped nonstop, and if you’re a girl you want to see Reese Witherspoon in This Means War. If you’re a guy, you want to see Tom Hardy and Chris Pine fight each other. If you’re myself or Jay, you’re still wondering why it isn’t called Spy vs. Spy. Here’s a better solution – look up Steve Carell’s recent work.

    He’s putting together movie after movie where he’s the poor schmuck that can’t get his love life right … chick flicks from a dude’s perspective. It’s working every time. Never more so than Crazy, Stupid Love. I had no idea what to expect. With so many stars, I didn’t know if this was a serious movie or a lot of stars punching it in and hoping for a payday at the end. It’s definitely a serious movie, and an instant favorite.

    Steve Carrell is a dedicated husband and father, has been with the same woman since he was 17. His wife (Julianne Moore) admits to sleeping with the creepy guy from work (who else … Kevin Bacon) and wants a divorce. Carrell is stuck in self pity until local barfly and mack daddy Ryan Gosling gets him to dress better, act better, and get back on the prowl. So what happens when Carrell has all the confidence in the world but can’t get the girl he loves? How about Gosling who doesn’t love anyone or anything and possibly not even himself? Or Carrell’s kid who is in love with his babysitter (the sinfully hot Analeigh Tipton), who is in love with Carrell? And how the hell does Emma Stone fit in to all of this if she can’t get the guy that loves her?

    It sounds like a chick flick, but it’s not. It’s a heartfelt comedy for every guy that ever had the best of intentions and something got in the way – hilariously got in the way! – every time he thought the coast was clear. It takes some of the most awkward moments men can get into (finding a hot chick that happens to be crazy and now won’t leave your life … check!) and makes you laugh out loud. And cringe a little bit.

    It doesn’t wrap up in a happy little ending where everyone gets what they want, but it’s great to see all of the pieces come together at the end. Certainly worth renting for your next date movie, men. Certainly worth forcing your man to watch, women.

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