Friday, August 9, 2013


My View:  Elysium  (2013)  R   It’s the year 2154, and the Earth is an overcrowded, polluted mess. The world’s wealthiest people live on a space station called, Elysium, high above the Earth. A gang leader named, Spider (Wagner Moura), has a plan to ship illegal immigrants to Elysium, but he needs one man to take on a dangerous mission, and that man is Max (Matt Damon). One of the leaders of Elysium, Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster), has made it her mission to keep Elysium free of all illegal immigrants, and she hires Kruger (Sharlto Copley), an insane bounty hunter, to use any means necessary to get the job done. Now, Max and Kruger are destined to battle.  I loved the first thirty minutes of this film, as we got to know about Max’s world and how he deals with it. It’s a world that is set up to keep Max in his place and a world he has wanted to desperately escape from, even as a kid. The film then started down a path where I no longer cared about what happened to Max and the other characters. It just seemed like writer / director, Neil Blomkamp, wanted to hit the audience over the head with a particularly strong political statement, something that portrayed better in the 2009 film, District 9. This film is extremely violent with the deaths of characters shown in a particularly gruesome way. As the film progresses, the plot becomes full of holes, so much so that you begin focusing on what is wrong or missing in the movie instead of the film and its storyline. I have always liked Jodie Foster as an actor, but her accent in this film is so strange that I have no idea where her character was supposed to have originated.    My Rating:  Bargain Matinee    Elysium Website
Family Faire:  Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters  (2013)  PG  Percy (Logan Lerman), Grover (Brandon T. Jackson), Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) and Clarisse (Leven Rambin) embark on a journey to retrieve the legendary Golden Fleece. Luke (Jake Abel), Percy’s arch-enemy, is determined to get the Golden Fleece first and therefore stop Percy and his gang from saving their training grounds, Camp Half-Blood.  While adults may be a little bored with this film, I think that children and young adults will enjoy it.  It’s much better than the first film (Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010)), and moves faster with much better acting.  The main stars, Lerman and Jackson, seems more comfortable in their roles and play off each other in an amusing way.  I also liked Leven Rambin, as the kick ass and take names later Clarisa, who has quite a few anger issues.  The highlight of the film is Nathan Fillon who plays the God, Hermes, who runs a shipping company. His scene supplying the gang with specialized weapons is incredibly funny. The special effects are much better than in the first film and, includes an incredible giant mechanical bull that Percy and the gang have to fight. I thought the ending was a little weak and much too easy, but, overall, it’s an enjoyable and adventurous film.   My Rating:  Bargain Matinee     Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters Website
My View:  We’re the Millers  (2013)  R    A small time pot dealer, David (Jason Sudeikis), is hired to bring a huge shipment of weed over the U.S. border from Mexico. To successfully smuggle the pot, he needs a plan, so David rents an RV and then hires a stripper (Jennifer Aniston), a runaway (Emma Roberts) and a neighborhood kid (Will Poulter) to pose as his family.  David's thinking is that no one will suspect a loving, fun group coming back from vacation. The big question is, can they pull it off?   I found very few scenes in this film funny and felt most of the time the writers (can you believe it took four of them to come up with this film) went for the easy laugh.  This is a film that tries to be crass and push the boundaries of comedy, but its plot is so weak and its dialogue so contrived, you see plot points way ahead of time.  I must say that Jennifer Aniston is a beautiful woman and a brave one for playing a stripper who wears very little clothing, but man, she’s got to get a better agent and quit making crappy films.  Be sure to stay for the outtakes at the end as they are much funnier than anything that was in the script..   My Rating:  Cable     We're the Millers Website
Indiefest:  Blue Jasmine  (2013)  PG-13  Jasmine’s (Cate Blanchett) life is falling apart, so she moves to San Francisco to live with her sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins). Jasmine is used to living the good life on Park Avenue, but now she must come back down to reality where people get jobs and live paycheck-to-paycheck.  Blanchett is this year’s Best Actress frontrunner for her portrayal of Jasmine as she slips slowly into madness right before our eyes.  While Blanchett is amazing to watch on-screen, the storyline and the dialogue feel as though Woody Allen, writer and director, mailed it in, not pushing many boundaries, while producing this very heavy drama.  I also didn’t like that there isn’t one character who actually develops throughout the film.  We learn everything about Jasmine and Ginger’s character in the first ten minutes of the movie. My Rating:  Cable   Blue Jasmine Website
Forgotten Film:  The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie  (1969)  The film is about a teacher, Jean Brodie (Maggie Smith), who teaches young girls at a school in EdinburghScotland during the 1930’s. Brodie is a headstrong woman who believes her method of ignoring the curriculum and teaching her students about life will influence them forever.  Maggie Smith, in her Oscar winning role, is extraordinary in the role of the flamboyant and charismatic teacher who isn’t above manipulating her students, expecting them to follow her blindly.  This film is a fascinating character study of a woman who is so sure of herself and her beliefs that she can’t see why everyone else in the world doesn’t follow her lead.     My Rating:  Full Price    The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie Info
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD):  Mud  (2013)  PG-13  One of my favorite films of this summer about two teenage boys (Tye Sheridan, Jacob Lofland) who encounter a fugitive (Matthew McConaughey) who persuades them to help him evade bounty hunters so he can get back to his one true love (Reese Witherspoon).  Matthew McConaughey is excellent in the title role, but it’s Sheridan who plays a troubled young man desperate for attention and love that makes this film work so well.    My Rating:  Full Price   Mud Website

Weird Credits:  From the credits of the film Elysium:  Truck Costumer

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Rush (2013)  R  Ron Howard brings us this film a legendary Formula 1 champion drive Niki Lauda, who has a near fatal crash, then mere weeks after the accident,  gets behind the wheel to race again.  The film stars Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Dormer and Olivia Wilde.     Rush Website
Until Next Time!

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