Friday, July 25, 2014

Hercules

My View: Hercules (2014)  PG-13  The son of Zeus, the Greek demigod Hercules (Dwayne Johnson), has completed the “Twelve Labors” and his family has been murdered.  He is asked by the King of Thrace (John Hurt) to help defeat a tyrannical warlord. This is just a fun movie to watch. It’s an imaginative retelling of the Hercules story with lots of action and plenty of "Herc" heroics. The Rock is probably the only man who can pull this off and make it believable.  He shows some of that humor he is known for, and the storyline is filled with nice twists and turns. It’s not a great film, but it’s got a great cast including John Hurt, Rufus Sewell, Ian McShane and Joseph Fiennes.  I enjoyed the 3-D effects, so if you want to spend the extra bucks, I think you will not be disappointed.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee Hercules Website 

My View: Lucy (2014)   Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) is working as a drug mule for the mob. A drug she was carrying inside her body leaks and, as a result, it allows her to use more of her brain’s capacity. Now, she can get the revenge she has always wanted.  This movie gets dumber as Lucy gets smarter. Lucy (Johannson) is forced to be a drug mule, and the bag containing the drug ruptures in her body. The drug allows Lucy to use more of her brain, and she gains abilities and powers as the brain-use percentage grows. The first half of this film is a fun, action filled romp with Lucy kicking some major butt, but the second half of the film becomes bogged down into some sort of homage to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 film. A perfect example of the film’s wackiness: the scene of Lucy getting captured by a drug lord’s hoodlums are inter-cut with scenes of a cheetah hunting a gazelle. Weird! And not in a good way.  My Rating: Cable  Lucy Website

Indiefest: I Origins (2014)  R  Ian (Michael Pitt) is a doctor doing research in the lab with the help of his lab partner, Karen (Brit Marling). Ian is working on a study of the human eye and its evolution. After a brief encounter with an exotic young woman (Astrid Berges-Frisbey), he makes a stunning scientific discovery that may change the way we see science and evolution.  This isn’t a bad movie, it’s just very slow moving and the lead, Michael Pitt, doesn’t have the charisma for the role. I did like Brit Marling as Pitt’s lab assistant (she makes every film she is in better). I think some people will enjoy the film’s debate between spirituality and science, but it’s sort of a romance film and a mystery.  Ultimately, the film fails at both genres.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee  I Origins Website
My View: And So it Goes (2014) PG-13  Oren (Michael Douglas) is a widower who is trying to make one more sale before he retires as one of the top are realtors, so he decides to sell his own house.  While trying to sell his house, he lives in an apartment complex he owns called, the Shangri-La. His life changes when his son (Austin Lysy), on his way to prison, drops his daughter (Sterling Jerins) in Oren’s lap. Now Oren is forced to care for his granddaughter and needs the help of his neighbor, Leah (Diane Keaton) to help.  This film tries really hard to tug at your heartstrings, but it fails mostly due to a badly written script. The biggest problem with this film is that the Michael Douglas character is truly unlikable. So why should we root for him? All I wanted to do was warn the Diane Keaton character to stay away from the mean old man. The kid, played by Sterling Jerins, has very little on-screen chemistry between either of the leads. The plot is predictable and slow moving. I wanted this film to be good, but it just sort of sits there.  My Rating: Cable  And So It Goes Website

Indiefest: Venus in Fur (2013)    Near the end of a long day of auditioning actresses for a new play, writer-director Thomas (Mathieu Amalric), is getting ready to leave his Paris theatre when a woman, Venda (Emmanuelle Seigner) comes into the theatre demanding an audition. Thomas reluctantly agrees and so starts an audition that will change each of their lives.  This intriguing film is a tour de force work of two actors who play off each other extremely well. Seigner is a knockout in the role of Venda, who is sexy and fun one moment but very scary and dominant in the next.  Amalric is almost a dead ringer for the director of the film, Roman Polanski, and does an impressive job of keeping up with Seigner. The film is constantly moving and never feels staged with a script that keeps you guessing. My Rating: Full Price  Venus in Fur Website
                                                            
Forgotten Film: Out of Sight (1998)   A career bank robber, Jack Foley (George Clooney), with the help of an old friend (Ving Rhames), breaks out of prison. During the escape, Foley has to kidnap a U.S. Marshall (Jennifer Lopez). After the successful escape, Foley lets the Marshall go, and now Foley, who is on his way to do one last heist, is pursued by the Marshal he kidnapped. This crime / comedy is a blast to watch. Clooney is perfect as the bank robber who charms all the ladies. This is the best work that Lopez has ever done, as she brings a great mix of sexy and determination to the role. This is one of those films you just don’t want to end.  My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again  Out of Sight Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Lucy: Additional city artist


Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Frank (2014)  R A young man joins an eccentric pop band led by a musician who wears a Paper-Mache head twenty-four hours a day. Michael Fassbender in a weird role? Sounds like something he is perfect for.  Frank Website
Until Next Time!


    

Friday, July 18, 2014

Sex Tape

My View Sex Tape (2014) R A married couple, Jay (Jason Segel) and Annie (Cameron Diaz), try to spice up their marriage by doing a sex tape. They wake up to discover that they have sent their video to the cloud network, where everyone they know can see it. Can they get the video back before the couple is exposed?  Yes, there are quite a few shots of Segel and Diaz having sex, and all the shots are done for comedy, and we mostly just see a tangle of legs and arms.  It’s a comedy that is slightly raunchy, and producers could have taken it farther, but they held back.  There are some funny scenes, especially when the couple visits Annie’s potential boss’s home, but the film quickly runs out of steam and is incredibly predictable.  It’s not a bad film, but it needed to be a whole lot funnier.  And, I never want to see Jason Segel’s butt ever again.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Sex Tape Website

My ViewThe Purge: Anarchy  (2014) R It’s time for the annual Purge, a night where everything is legal, and if you want to survive, you better lie low. A number of citizens, including a young married couple (Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez), get caught out in downtown L.A. How will they survive the night? This is a sequel to the surprise hit, The Purge (2013), but this one is a much better film.  It has far more action and less political talk than the original. This is what I call a video game type of film - one that has lots of fighting and chases but not a lot of heavy dialogue. I enjoyed watching this film, most of which was shot at night on the streets of L.A. It moves at a quick pace, is easy to understand, and it keeps you guessing on who will survive and how.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee  The Purge: Anarchy Website

IndiefestWish I Was Here (2014) R Aidan Bloom (Zach Braff) is a 35-year-old man who is having a mid-life crisis a little early. He is at a major crossroads that will force him to reassess his life, his career and his relationship with his family.  While at times funny and moving, this film too often goes for the easy joke or clich├ę plot point to make it a really effective film.  Braff is basically playing a less successful version of himself and doesn’t really bring anything new to the screen.  I did enjoy the performance of Kate Hudson, who plays Sarah, the wife of Aidan, who is in love with her husband and has supported his dream of being a full-time actor.  Also, Joey King, who plays the older daughter of Aidan and who is wise beyond her years, brings an honest emotional tone to the film.  I just wanted this film to be better than it is.  It’s enjoyable to watch and, at times emotional, but Braff doesn’t deliver a complete story, as this film feels more like several sketches pieced together.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Wish I Was Here Website

Forgotten FilmGone Baby Gone (2007) R A four-year-old is missing in the city of Boston.  The family feels that the cops aren’t moving fast enough and hires two private detectives (Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan) to find their baby girl.  The two P.I.’s start digging around and find out that this case is more complicated than just a simple abduction, and it could get them killed.  Ben Affleck directed this smart and tense film that has you guessing until the very end.  The casting is first rate, including Morgan Freeman, who plays a police investigator who is determined to find the girl.  Casey Affleck is at his best in this part, showing great range and bringing an emotional impact to the screen.  Ben Affleck knocks it out of the park with his first directorial job.   My Rating: Full Price  Gone Baby Gone Website  

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Sex Tape: Graphic Designer Specialty Tattoos

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouLaggies (2014) A young woman’s (Keira Knightley) life is in a rut. She decides to take a week off and lay low.  She meets a teenager (Chloe Grace Moretz) and convinces her to let her stay at her home.  Is it okay for a grown woman to spend so much of her time with teenagers? This comedy film stars Moretz, Knightley, Sam Rockwell, Ellie Kemper and Gretchen Moll, so you know I will be there to watch it.  Laggies Website
Until Next Time!




Friday, July 11, 2014

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

My ViewDawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) PG-13 It’s been ten years since a virus was unleashed and wiped out most of the human population.  Caesar (Andy Serkis) is leading a group of apes when they come in contact with Malcolm (Jason Clarke) and his small group of survivors.  A fragile peace between the two groups is threatened when a group of humans led by Drefus (Gary Oldman) wants revenge on the apes. Outstanding special effects, great scriptwriting and a lead performance by a man (Serkis) who could get an Oscar nomination for a role done on screen by CGI highlight,t this sequel which is better than the first film. The action sequences are incredible and the details in the special effects, such as close ups on the chimps, are just incredibly detailed.  The film moves at a nice pace, and the storyline is engaging with plenty of twists and turn.  I think it’s worth shelling out the extra money for the 3-D screening as there are plenty of scenes that use the effect. It’s a film I thoroughly enjoyed, and I look forward to more in the future.  Now if we can just get that Oscar nomination for Mr. Serkis, that would be great!  My Rating: Full Price  Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Website
Indiefest: Third Person (2013) R  Three  stories that take place in Paris, New York and Rome.  Paris; Michael (Liam Neeson) has left his wife (Kim Basinger) and has taken up with his old flame, Anna (Olivia Wilde).  New York; Julia (Mila Kunis) has been accused of attempting to kill her son and now is in a custody battle with his father (James Franco).  Rome; Sean (Adrien Brody) falls for an Italian woman (Moran Atias) who may be involved with the Mafia.  A dreary film about very unhappy people.  The film is full of couples making each other unhappy, which has the effect of the audience not caring what happens to them.  Most of the cast sleepwalks through the film, with the exception of Mila Kunis, who gives the best performance of what should have been an outstanding ensemble.  If you want to be bored and depressed for over two hours, then be my guest and see this film. My Rating: Cable  Third Person Website

Forgotten Film: Hearts of the West (1975) PGIn the 1930’s a farm boy (Jeff Bridges) wants to be a cowboy, so much so that he sends off for a correspondence course on how to be one.  He decides to take off for the west and, by accident, becomes a part of a movie company making “B” movies.  He’s not the brightest guy around and starts doing stunts that no one else will dare do.  This is not a great film, but it’s a blast to watch and Bridges, as the naive stuntman, is perfect in the role.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Hearts of the West Website
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I’ve Only Seen in Trailers But Just Looks Like a Bad Idea)My Man Is a Loser (2014)  R   Two married men (Michael Rapaport, Bryan Callen) get a playboy (John Stamos)  to help them save their marriage.  I couldn’t even make it through the trailer, so I don’t know how I would make it through the whole film.  My Man is a Looser Website
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD/Blue Ray)Bad Words (2014)  R  )  I liked this movie about a guy (Jason Bateman) who has never gotten over his bad experiences in school and decides to enter a national spelling bee.  What made this film is the chemistry between Bateman and the young kid he befriends at a contest, Rohan Chand.  Chand shows real comedic timing, and the film is full of funny and interesting characters. My Rating: Full Price  Bad Words Website

Weird Credits: From the credits of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes:  Fur Groomer

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouHappy Christmas (2014)   The writer / director of Drinking Buddies (2013), Joe Swanberg, a film about a young married couple (Joe Swanberg, Melanie Lynskey) who have a two-year-old son.  The husband’s younger sister (Anna Kendrick) comes to live with them but isn’t what you would call “responsible."  Anna Kendrick and Melanie Lynskey in the same movie?  Can’t get any better than that.  Happy Christmas Website
Until Next Time!


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Tammy

My View:  Tammy (2014)  R   Tammy (Melissa McCarthy) loses her job and finds out her husband has been having an affair with a neighbor.  After deciding to hit the road, and with no money, she enlists her Grandma Pearl (Susan Sarandon) to go on a road trip to get away from her troubles. Pearl and the road are about to teach Tammy a few of life’s lessons.  This just isn’t a very funny film.  McCarthy and her husband, Ben Falcone (who also directed), wrote the script, but, instead of highlighting the comedic talent of McCarthy, it almost buries it under the weight of bad jokes and, at times, depressing material.  Most of the cast is wasted, including Susan Sarandon, who mostly acts drunk, and Mark Duplass, who seems lost in the part of a romantic interest for McCarthy.  Kathy Bates does infuse some energy into the film, but it is far too late in the script.  I have great admiration for most of McCarthy’s work (except Identity Thief), but this just drops the ball and never recovers.  It’s a sad thing when the outtakes, shown during credits, are the funniest things in the film. My Rating: Cable  Tammy Website

Family FaireEarth to Echo (2014) PG   Tuck (Astro), Alex (Teo Halm) and Munch (Reese C. Hartwig) are about to lose their neighborhood because a new highway may be built through it. After one of the gang finds a mysterious object that emits a road map on their cell phones, the boys decide to spend their last night finding out where the map leads. Little do they know they are about to go on an adventure of a lifetime.  This is an E.T. for the information age, as the boys use today’s technology to help out an alien from outer space.  Of the three main boys, Astro stands out from the cast and does a impressive job with the narration.  This film isn’t up to the standards of E.T., never quite getting that magical moment that you crave, but kids will enjoy all the action, and parents will enjoy a kid’s film that has some intelligence to it.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee  Earth to Echo Website

My ViewDeliver Us From Evil (2014)  R   NY Police officer Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana) investigates a series of mysterious crimes. He soon enlists the help of Father Mendoza (Edgar Ramirez), when Ralph realizes that the source of the crimes may be satanical in nature. Can the two men defeat the demonic forces that seem to be taking over the city?  This is more of a crime drama than a horror film.  Most of the scares are of the "gotcha" variety with very few out and out moments that make you jump.  Think of this as more of a possession type of movie - not what I was looking for and not what was advertised. 
  My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Deliver Us From Evil Website

Indiefest:  Begin Again (2014) R   A down on his luck music executive, Dan (Mark Ruffalo), happens upon a bar where Greta (Keira Knightley) is performing. He convinces her that he will help her create an album using her music and his knowledge.  This is a film about how music can give people hope, joy and even purpose.  Knightley has a lovely voice and an excellent stage presence. There is a wonderful chemistry between Ruffalo and Knightley, which allows the two actors to create a working relationship on screen.  I loved the songs in the film.  One of the best is a song that Adam Levine, who plays Greta’s ex-boyfriend, sings in an attempt to win her back. The album that Greta and Dan record is done on the streets of New York, and the film perfectly captures the energy of the city.  If you love music, you will love this film that shows how music’s powerful effect on people can be. My Rating: Full Price  Begin Again Website

Forgotten FilmThe Fall (2008) R In 1915 Los Angeles, a young stuntman (Lee Pace) is hospitalized with broken legs after an accident on a movie set.  At the hospital, he meets a girl named Alexandria (Catinca Untaru) and begins to tell her a magical tale about a band of mercenaries who take on a bad guy by the name of Governor Odious.  As the story unfolds, the lines between reality and fantasy blur.  This is one of the most amazing visual films I have ever seen.  Shot over four years and without special effects, this film is magical in its appearance and with its storyline.  It’s a tale of hope and redemption that weaves a spell of storytelling for the delight of the audience.   My Take: Full Price  The Fall Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Earth to Echo:  blind stunt driver

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouMagic in the Moonlight (2014) PG-13 A romantic comedy where an Englishman (Colin Firth) is brought into a situation to help solve a possible swindle.  Woody Allen is hit and miss these days, but I am willing to see it because of Emma Stone and Colin Firth.  Magic in the Moonlight Info
Until Next Time!