Friday, April 26, 2013

Pain & Gain

My View:   Pain & Gain (2013) R  Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) works as a personal trainer. He’s a fairly happy guy, but he wants the good life and he wants it now. So Daniel comes up with a sure fire plan to make all his dreams come true; just kidnap Victor (Tony Shalhoub), a wealthy client, and extort money from him. He enlists two of his bodybuilding friends (Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie) to help. So, what could go wrong? Uh, just about everything. I liked the first part of the film, which has a very stylized look, and Wahlberg can be very funny playing the earnest but somewhat dumb personal trainer.  Also, some of the scenes that set up why Lugo wants to do the kidnapping are funny. The scenes with Dwayne Johnson and Tony Shalhoub are well done and quite creative, but I hated the last third of the film where some very serious crimes are treated as though they are part of a cartoon plot. Michael Bay's (Transformers) over-the-top direction works for awhile in this film but after continually being blasted with the same images over and over, the film's style seems to get in the way of the storytelling.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Pain & Gain Website
My View:  Mud  (2013)  PG-13  Two teenage boys (Tye Sheridan, Jacob Lofland) encounter a fugitive (Matthew McConaughey) who persuades them to help him evade bounty hunters so he can get back his one true love (Reese Witherspoon). This was one of my favorite films of the 2013 Atlanta Film Festival, and Matthew McConaughey has another performance that will get him talked about for an Academy Award where he plays the slick-talking, likable Mud. But it's the performance of the two lead boys, Sheridan and Lofland that make this film so good. Sheridan has that presence on-screen that makes you think of the young performances of River Phoenix and Kevin Bacon as he has star quality and easy way that makes you want to follow his character anywhere he wants to go. Reese Witherspoon is somewhat wasted as the girl whom Mud wants so desperately to win back, though, her casting makes us instantly understand how she put such a spell on him. But it's Sheridan playing the troubled young man that you want to root for and hope that everything will turn out all right for him which makes Mud a film you should go see.     My Rating: Full Price    Mud Website

Indiefest:  The Company You Keep (2013)  R  Decades ago a radical student terrorist group named, “The Weather Underground,” set off bombs and robbed banks to try and force the American government to end the war in Vietnam. Some of the terrorists were caught, but others are still on the run. Now, a newspaper reporter (Shia LaBeouf) begins digging up the story after one of “The Weather Underground” members is caught. By the time the reporter is finished, a number of lives will have changed. I generally like Redford's films, but I felt almost as if the amount of stars in this film, such as Anna Kendrick, who plays an FBI agent, was a little like stunt casting, making it sort of a lets see how many stars want to work for Redford, and therefore prop up a script that has huge holes in it. The film moves along very slowly as if it doesn't want to reveal too much too soon. I enjoyed the scenes with Shia LaBeouf a little more than the scenes with Redford, as the LaBeouf scenes tended to have a lot more energy in them. But the film takes way too long to revel the real plot, and then the film creates a very unlikely ending which makes watching this film not the best of movie going experiences.    My Rating: Cable     The Company You Keep Website

Indiefest:  Arthur Newman (2013) R  Wallace Avery (Colin Firth) is not happy with his life. He’s lost a job he didn’t like, his ex-wife hates him, his son doesn’t want to do anything with him and his girlfriend (Anne Heche) isn’t crazy about him either. So, Wallace decides to go on a road trip to reinvent himself and start a new life as Arthur Newman. While on the road he meets Mike (Emily Blunt), who also wants to reinvent her life. It’s a trip that’s going to be a bumpy ride. I really enjoyed this film and loved the chemistry between Firth and Blunt, as we get to watch their friendship develop throughout the film. The films score really helps define the mood but doesn't go overboard in telling the audience just how they should feel. While this is a "road" picture, it's more about the people on the trip, not about where they are or where they are going. This is an enjoyable film and makes watching two actors worth the price of admission.    My Rating: Full Price   Arthur Newman Website

Forgotten Film:   Pumpkin (2002) R  Carolyn (Christina Ricci) is a vain, stuck up young woman who is obsessed with making sure that she and her sisters win Sorority of the Year. To impress the judges, she enlists her sorority to help train mentally and physically challenged athletes for the upcoming Challenged Games. Carolyn is teamed with Pumpkin (Hank Harris), a wheel chaired bound young man who may also be mentally challenged. Due to Pumpkin's compassion and humor, she finds herself falling for him, something that scares Carolyn, and she takes a long time to even contemplate a relationship with Pumpkin. Will she give up her family, friends and her sorority way of life to stay with him? The film has warmth and humor, and Ricci does a masterful job of at first being an unlikable character who changes into someone we can see has compassion and depth. While not a perfect film, this film's heart wins out in the end.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee     Pumpkin Info

In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD):  The Impossible (2012)  PG-13  Based on a true story of a family who, while on vacation at a coastal resort in Thailand, are separated after a devastating Tsunami hits. Naomi Watts, in an Academy Award Nominated role, is breathtaking as the wife who risks everything to find her family under tragic circumstances. This film is heart breaking, at times, but is ultimately uplifting, as you see just how strong the human spirit is in times of unbelievable destruction.   My Rating: I Would Pay To See it Again    The Impossible Website

Weird Credits: From the credits of Mud: Boat Captain (by my count there were 12 boat captains listed)

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  The Great Gatsby (2013)  PG-13  Based on one of my favorite books, I was incredibly let down by the 1974 Robert Redford, Mia Farrow film. Let's see what director Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge!) can do. The great cast of Leonardo DiCaprio, Isla Fisher, Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire certainly is worth the price of admission.    The Great Gatsby Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, April 19, 2013


My View Oblivion (2013) PG-13  After decades of war with an Alien race, most of Earth has been destroyed. Jack (Tom Cruise) is one of the last few humans stationed on the planet. His job is to repair drones on the surface, kill any aliens still remaining and extract Earth’s few remaining resources. But Jack finds a crashed spaceship, a spaceship that will change his life. This is a big mess of a film that seems to steal ideas from other movies, even other Tom Cruise movies, and the film has plot holes the size of Tom Cruise’s ego. While I did think the film looked amazing, he special effects were outstanding and created a future Earth that was almost unrecognizable, but they don't make up for the lousy script that had an ending that I absolutely hated.   My Rating: Cable   Oblivion Website

Indiefest:   Disconnect (2013) R  This film explores the interconnected world of the internet and its far reaching perils. A husband and wife (Alexander Skarsgard, Paula Patton) have their identities stolen, a widowed father (Frank Grillo) has no idea what his son is doing on-line, a reporter (Andrea Riseborough) is trying to do a story on the exploitation of young men on the internet and a married couple (Jason Bateman, Hope Davis) can’t connect with their son whose whole world is wrapped up with music and the internet. This is a very stylish film with some excellent performances, especially Skarsgard and Patton, who are trying to keep their marriage from falling apart. This is an interesting film to watch, and while not all of its stories are resolved, you do get an idea where most of the characters will end up.   My Rating: Full Price   Disconnect Website

The 50 (A Movie from My Best/Worst Films of All Time):
#7 Best Film
Casablanca (1942) What can you say about one of the most Iconic films of all time? This film about a cast of characters all meeting up at a nightclub has intrigue, romance, humor, and just about any other plot device you can think of. And it all comes together beautifully with marveous dialogue and gorgeous black and white cinematography. You can’t get any better than Humphrey Bogart in the role of Rick, the owner of the nightclub and Ingrid Bergman as his love interest and who has never been more beautiful. What makes this such a classic film is the outstanding supporting cast with Paul Henried, Claude Rains, Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre, just to name a few.   Casablanca Infor

Forgotten Film:  The Americanization of Emily (1964) In England for the build-up to D-Day, Charlie Madison (James Garner) is a carefree American naval officer who, despite his best intentions, falls for a British widower (Julie Andrews). This film has a brilliant script written by Paddy Chayefsky that was way ahead of its time with the anti-war slant to the storyline. Garner is perfect as the suave military man who works at avoiding the war, only to be sucked into it. Julie Andrews, in one of her first starring roles, is beyond compare as the young woman who falls in love with Garner and changes his life.   My Rating: Full Price    The Americanization of Emily Info

In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD)  Django Unchained (2012) R  Set in the South in 1858, Django (Jamie Foxx), a former slave who has turned bounty hunter, with the help of his partner, Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), look for Django’s long lost wife, Hildy (Kerry Washington). They find her on Calvin Candie's (Leonardo DiCaprio) plantation, where the main sport is slaves fighting to the death. I liked this film but wish it was about 20 minutes shorter. The script by Quentin Tarantino is worthy of the Oscar that he won as it is smart and witty. I loved the first 30 minutes of this film but felt that it slowed down a bit once Leonardo DiCaprio’s character entered the picture.   My Rating: Full Price    Django Unchained Website

Weird Credits: From the credits of Disconnect: Driving double

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  The Big Wedding (2013) R  I am not sure exactly what the plot of this film is but does it matter? Just look at the cast, which includes Robert De Niro, Amanda Seyfried, Robin Williams, Susan Sarandon, Diane Keaton.  Tell me this doesn’t look like a fun film to watch.   The Big Wedding Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, April 12, 2013


Thursday, April 11, 2013 7:23 PM

My View:  42 (2013)  PG-13  This film tells the courageous story of Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) who was signed by Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) to the Brooklyn Dodgers to become the first African-American player to break the baseball “color line.” Unfortunately, this film doesn’t live up to the legend of Robinson as it’s filled with clich├ęd moments, some of which made me cringe. Chadwick Boseman just doesn’t have the charisma that Robinson had, making it hard to see why people were so enamored not just with the baseball player, but with the man, himself. And I hated Harrison Ford in the role of Rickey, as Ford plays him way over the top, almost making it a parody of the man who changed baseball. I also wanted to see the time that Robinson spent in Montreal, playing Triple A baseball, as I know that city rallied behind Jackie, but the film skips over that time period. There is an impactful scene between Robinson and Pee Wee Reese (Lucas Black) on the baseball field near the end of the film, but unfortunately that’s the only part  that really stands out, making the rest of the film feel like a made for TV film from the 70’s.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee   42 Website

Indiefest:  Trance (2013) R  Simon (James McAvoy) works as an art auctioneer at a prestigious auction house. While auctioning off a painting worth millions of dollars, the auction house is hit by robbers, resulting in Simon getting hit over the head. When he wakes up, the burning question everyone has, including the robbers is, where is the painting? But Simon can’t remember a thing about the robbery. This is one of those films that you never know what is real and what is made up, and I guarantee that you won’t see the ending coming. I liked McAvoy in the role of the auctioneer who gets in with the wrong people, but the performance that really impressed me was Rosario Dawson in the role of the hypnotherapist who is hired to help Simon remember. While I didn’t enjoy this film as much as some of director Danny Boyle’s other work (127 Hours, Slumdog Millionaire), it was fun to watch it spin its tale of intrigue.   My Rating: Full Price   Trance Website

Indiefest:  Starbuck (2013) R  David (Patrick Huard) is in a world of trouble. He has a low paying job delivering meat for his family’s butcher shop. He owes money to the mob and, to complicate matters even more, he has just found out that his policewoman girlfriend, Valerie (Julie LeBreton), is pregnant with his child and doesn’t want him to have anything to do with the child once it’s born. But, that’s nothing compared to the latest news David gets.  Under the name, Starbuck, David deposited sperm at a local sperm bank over 600 times, resulting in David fathering over 500 children. Now David decides to find out what kind of kids his children have become. This film is funny, warm and has a lot of heart, and Huard is the reason why this film works, as he makes David a very likeable guy and someone that you would want to be in your life. This is one of the better feel good films of the year, a film about family, both lost and found.   My Rating: Full Price    Starbuck Info

Forgotten Film:   Rock ‘n’ Roll High School (1979)    Student Riff Randell (P.J. Soles) runs the school, and new principal, Miss Togar (Mary Woronov) just doesn’t know it yet. The only thing that Riff loves more than her high school is the punk rock band The Ramones. When Principal Togar bans Rock n Roll from the high school, Riff gets the Ramones to help her take back the school. This is a goofy, fun film that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Soles is adorable as the Ramones obsessed Riff, who brings a high energy and enthusiasm to the role. If you want to experience a little of the punk rock scene in the 70’s, this is the movie for you.   My Rating: Full Price   Rock n Roll High School Info

In Case You Missed It ( A Film Just Released on DVD):   Hyde Park on Hudson (2012)  R  Set in 1939, this film is about the love affair between President FDR (Bill Murray) and his distant cousin, Margaret Stuckley (Laura Linney). The backdrop of the film is the coming to America of King George IV (Samuel West) and the historic meeting at Hyde Park between the Roosevelt's and the King/Queen of England. I liked the performances in this film, which made it enjoyable to watch, but the film didn’t have a lot of substance to it.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Hyde Park on the Hudson Website

Weird Credits: From the credits of 42: Baseball Costumer

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:   Now You See Me (2013)  PG-13  A team of Illusionists are pulling off bank heists while performing on stage in Las Vegas, all the while the FBI is trying to figure out how they are doing it. I will go see any film that Melanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds, Beginners) is in, but this film looks like it’s going to be a blast to watch with a cast that includes Morgan Freeman, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Caine, Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg.    Now You See Me Info
Until Next Time!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Evil Dead

My View:   Evil Dead (2013)  R    A group of friends want to get away and decide to go to a remote cabin in the woods. There they find a mysterious book called, The Naturom Demono, and, despite warnings written on the book, they decide to read it anyway. It’s a mistake that could cost them their lives. This is the bloodiest film I have seen in a long time, maybe the bloodiest ever. I won’t be surprised to hear people passing out or throwing up due to the ultra-violence. I liked the setup of the film, but because it's  is such a “Gorefest," it starts to lose its punch near the end. I wanted the film to be scarier, and I also wanted just a little more humor. Also, it doesn’t seem to have the catch phrases that were so prevalent in the original film.  Evil Dead fans, stay through all the credits for a little treat at the end.     My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Evil Dead Website

My Take: The Place Beyond the Pines (2013)  R   Luke (Ryan Gosling) is a daredevil motorcycle rider on the carnival circuit who encounters Romina (Eva Mendes), a woman he had an affair with the last time he was in town. Now he finds out that he has fathered a son with Romina, and Luke wants to do right by his new found family, but he may have to turn to a life of crime to get ahead. Do not be fooled by the trailer, which makes it look like the whole film is about Ryan Gosling’s character. It’s equally Bradley Cooper’s film, as he plays a cop that is on a collision course with Gosling’s character. I felt the film was too long with the storyline giving us way too much information about the films characters. This is a film that some  critics will fall in love with, but I felt it missed the mark by a long shot.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee    The Place Beyond the Pines Website

Indiefest:   The Sapphires (2012)  PG-13   An Australian film about four Aboriginal girls who form a singing group and travel to Vietnam to entertain the troops. Chris O’Dowd plays Dave, the man who convinces the girls’ families that they will be safe on the tour that changes all their lives. I saw this film last year at the Austin Film Festival and just loved it. Chris O’Dowd is perfect as the boozy, scamming Dave who sees, at first, the girls as a meal ticket, then actually begins to care for them. The singing in the film is amazing, and the storyline reels you in from the start.    My Rating: Full Price     The Sapphires Website

Forgotten Film:    Waking Ned Devine (1998)  PG   Ned Devine lives in the small Irish town of Tulaigh Mhor, population 52. Well, it was 52, but Ned dies due to shock after winning the Irish National Lottery, and now the population is 51. Town Leaders Jackie O’Shea (Ian Bannen) and Michael O’Sullivan (David Kelly) decide that since Ned has no living relatives, the town should reap the rewards of the winning ticket and fool the National Lottery official that Ned is still alive and kicking. This is a brilliantly funny film, full of characters that make it so enjoyable to watch.     My Rating: Full Price    Waking Ned Devine Info

In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD):   Lincoln (2012)   PG-13  An incredible, Oscar winning performance is given by Daniel Day-Lewis as the title character. The film has a great cast and is beautifully shot, but I think it’s one of those films where the performance is much better than the script. I wanted the film to be more about Lincoln’s whole life as opposed to the last few months.    My Rating: Full Price     Lincoln Website

Weird Credits: From the credits of Beyond the Pines: Body double for Mr. Gosling

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Oblivion (2013)  PG-13   I am not a big Tom Cruise fan, but this Sci-Fi film’s trailer makes it look really good. This film, about how Earth is no longer inhabitable after an alien invasion, will be Cruise’s only film released in 2013. My guess is that it’s going to be a winner.   Oblivion Website
Until Next Time!