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Showing posts from 2014

How did I do with my must see 2014 films?

I hope everyone has a fun and safe new years eve tonight! This is how I fared with my must see movies of 2014. 9 A's 7 B's 5 C's 1 D (fuck you, Monuments Men!) Three of the seven films I haven't seen yet got moved to 2015 releases.(The Green Inferno, The Ever After, and Every Secret Thing) Tusk will probably suck, but I still have Eleanor Rigby, Whiplash, and Foxcatcher to look forward to in 2015.  1) Interstellar (B+) 2) Captain America: The Winter Soldier (A-) 3) Night Moves (A) 4) The Green Inferno 5) Only Lovers Left Alive (C) 6) The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby 7) Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (C) 8) Maleficent (B) 9) 22 Jump Street (B-) 10) The Monuments Men (D) 11) Gone Girl (A+) 12) How To Train Your Dragon 2 (A+) 13) Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (B-) 14) Hellion (B) 15) I Origins (A) 16) God Help The Girl (B) 17) Enemy (A) 18) Frank (C+) 19) Whiplash 20) The Theory of Everything (A) 21) Under The Skin (C) 22) The Ever After 23

Review: The Interview

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The art of honey potting, and honey dicking. Aaron Rapaport (Seth Rogen) is a producer on a popular Entertainment Tonight type show staring the slightly dimwitted Dave Skylark. (James Franco) Upset that his peers aren't taking him quite as seriously due to the nature of his show, that is about to change when they find out North Korean leader Kim Jung Un (Randall Park) is actually a huge fan. They are set to conduct an interview with him, but before they go, the CIA intercepts them and wants them to take him out. Unless you've been living under a rock for the past month, you know the drama surrounding this film. Luckily for us, the film was released and we can finally see what all the fuss was about. I admit, I never had the highest expectations for this film, despite being a huge fan of both Franco and Rogen. Most of the comments I saw from people around the web called it "terrible" and "a huge waste of time." I disagree on both parts. It's no

Review: Wild

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I'm going to walk all my problems away. Cheryl (Reese Witherspoon) recently ruined her marriage to Paul (Thomas Sadoski) by cheating on him and doing heroin, among other things. Disappointed that she's not the woman her late mother, Bobbi (Laura Dern) wanted her to be, she sets out to hike the Pacific Crest Trail alone to clear her head. You know what's a good way to make a decent film a little less decent? Annoying people sitting next to you. That's what I had to deal with here. I sat next to a woman who was whispering to her husband throughout the entire film about which man was going to try to rape Cheryl. According to her, whenever a man hands a woman a drink, it's spiked. She even said "see, there it goes!" a few times during the film when she thought said rape was going to happen. Spoiler alert, there is no rape in this film. Go home and watch the Lifetime channel for that.  Back to the actual movie, I kind of expected it to be fairly slo

Indie Gems: Happy Christmas

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Getting your shit together 101. Jenny (Anna Kendrick) moves in with her older brother, Jeff (Joe Swanberg) and his wife, Kelly (Melanie Lynskey) and their adorable two year old son. She's trying to bounce back from a breakup, one that she probably caused herself judging by the way she acts in the film. She also tries to inspire Kelly to starting writing again. First things first, I have a gigantic crush on Mark Webber. I will seriously watch this guy in anything. I think he's tremendous. His character strikes up a relationship with Jenny, and that was one of my favorite parts of the film. Much like Drinking Buddies , this film wasn't made with a traditional script. The actors ad-libbed most of their lines. All the conversations, especially the drunken ones felt very authentic. Everyone has had these talks before. I can't get enough of Lynskey and Kendrick. They play off each other so well. I was a little worried about Lena Dunham, but her character is onl

Essential Christmas Movies

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Merry Christmas everyone! I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday. My family does most of our celebrating on Christmas Eve, so it's bumming around and watching movies for me today. Here's a quick list of my favorite holiday films. Nightmare Before Christmas This film works for Christmas and Halloween. I never get tired of watching it.  Gremlins This film screams nostalgia for me. I remember having the story on a little record, and I liked listening and comparing it to the movie. A Christmas Story HOOOO HOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Bad Santa I worked at a movie theater when this was showing. Our theater was in the mall, and the mall Santa went to the late show in his Santa costume. He loved it. I'll never forget that.  A Christmas Carol This story has been done so many times, but my favorite will always be the Disney version. I watched it again with my son a few days ago, it still holds up.

DVD Review: Jodorowsky's Dune

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The 'greatest' science fiction film never made. Another documentary that showed up on the short list for the Academy Awards. This one follows director Alejandro Jodorowsky and his failed attempt to adapt the popular science fiction novel Dune   into a film.  I find stories of failed films or hardships making films fascinating. Film making is obviously a lot of fucking work, but how often do people really think about what goes into making a film? After watching this relatively short documentary (not even an hour and a half) I'm kind of left with a bad taste in my mouth instead of sympathy like I expected. It sucks when a film maker doesn't get to show everyone their vision, and maybe his Dune would've been wonderful, but Jodorowsky doesn't really take any responsibility for his film not getting made. He refused to budge on the run time, which he wanted to be 10+ hours when the studio wanted 90 mins. Then he goes as far to say that George Lucas, St

2014 Blind Spot Series: Fanny and Alexander

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This wraps up my first year of doing the Blind Spot Series! I'm so glad Ryan created this and I'm looking forward to next year's. What I knew going in: When I first published my list of the films I was going to be watching, many said to save this for December. So I knew it had a holiday theme. The story follows the sprawling Ekdahl family over the course of a few years. Most of the focus is on young children Alexander (Bertil Guve) and Fanny. (Pernilla Allwin) Their father suddenly passes away in the film's first act, and their mother Emilie (Ewa Froling) remarries a bishop Edvard (Jan Malmsjo) despite him giving her several red flags like his bare as a bone house and his request that she and her children move their with no possessions whatsoever. Spoiler alert: he turns out to be a super douche.  Igmar Bergman is still a director I'm new to. This was his 3rd film on my list, and it honestly felt so different from the other two I watched. I hate to say it

DVD Review: Joe

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How do you know when a movie is truly forgettable? When you completely forget that you saw it and had planned to review it. I always review every new movie I finish, and I knew I've been forgetting something for weeks. Turns out, that something was Joe .  Ex con Joe (Nicolas Cage) who runs a tree removal business takes the young Gary (Tye Sheridan) under his wing when the boy shows up to work for him one day. Gary lives in an abusive home, constantly beat by his father. (Gary Poulter, a homeless man that was cast in this film who tragically died on the streets 6 months after it wrapped) This is probably the best I've seen Nic Cage in awhile, but I'm going to be honest. I don't like good Nic Cage. I like Batshit crazy Wicker Man Nic Cage. So watching him carry this film was kind of a bore. Tye Sheridan is wonderful though, and I was disappointed that he wasn't in it more. This kid has a seriously bright future. Joe isn't a terrible film, it

Indie Gems: Parts Per Billion

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A different take on the end of the world. A deadly pathogen has been released in the Middle East as chemical warfare. It's spreading rapidly and killing millions. You know there would be people stocking up on supplies, barricading themselves in houses, but there's always going to be those people that still try to go about their day. This movie is about those people. Andy and Esther (Frank Langella and Gena Rowlands) are scouring a children's hospital for remaining oxygen tanks, trying to survive as long as possible. Andy is the one that sold the information on how to make this deadly weapon in the first place. Then there's his lawyer, Mia and her husband (Rosario Dawson and Josh Hartnett) that were having a rocky marriage to begin with. Andy's grandson Erik (Penn Badgley) and his fiance Anna (Teresa Palmer) take a different approach as Anna tries to let go of her fear of what's going in. This film is a lot like Bobby . There's a big important

Thursday Movie Picks: Coming of Age Movies

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This week's theme from Wandering through the Shelves is Coming of Age movies. Sometimes I feel like I'm getting too old for films like this, then I find a good one that I just fall in love with. Here are three of my favorites 1) Stand By Me I imagine this film is on everyone's favorite coming of age lists. It's one of those that I loved as a kid, and still loved as an adult. 2) Blue is the Warmest Color I'm not sure if I've ever rooted for a character like I did with Adele in this film. I legitimately wanted to hug her at the end of it. 3) The Perks of Being a Wallflower I wish I would've read this book when I was in junior high, I feel like I could've related to it more back then, but it still didn't stop me from enjoying the hell out of this film now. (Particularly Ezra Miller's performance) 

Review: The Theory of Everything

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Extraordinary. That word easily describes both Jane and Stephen Hawking. Especially after watching this. The film takes a look at Dr. Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne), a now world famous physicist and his first wife, Jane (Felicity Jones) when they first meet at Cambridge University. Early on in their relationship is when Hawking is diagnosed with motor neuron disease which slowly destroys him physically, but Jane vows to fight with him.  I never read Traveling to Infinity , Jane's memoir of which this film is based, but I knew enough about it to be a little concerned with the way they were initially advertising this as some epic love story when in fact, things were very difficult for them. I'm glad I see I was wrong about that first impression. The film captures both their love and hardships. Redmayne and Jones are both spectacular here. I can't say enough about how great their performances are. The film is shot beautifully and had a lovely score on top

Rambling TV: Thoughts on the series finale of The Newsroom + more

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Go fuck yourself, Aaron Sorkin. It had to be said. I've actually been saying it all season. I get that The Newsroom isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I loved the show. I liked the concept the cast was immensely talented. It's too bad Aaron Sorkin, the show's creator didn't feel the same.  Sorkin's a genius, but let's face it. His ego is massive. He didn't get the same ratings he had for The West Wing, so he was ready to move on. Which is his right, I know, but it sucks for the people he put out of a job, and the viewers who liked the show. Not to mention he threw his entire production under the bus last week when he said the penultimate episode was the first one he actually liked. The Newsroom ended ahead of it's time because of Sorkin's ego. It's not like he wasn't putting out quality work. Now let's talk the episode. In what seems to be a trend with HBO shows on their final season this year, this episode centered around

Review: God Help The Girl

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She needs all the help she can get. Eve (Emily Browning) is an Australian living in Glasgow. She's been battling an eating disorder and depression and has been staying at a voluntary rehabilitation center. She sneaks out and goes to a show and meets James (Olly Alexander) and becomes intrigued with him. She loves to write music, he loves good music. Together they team up with one of his guitar students, Cassie (Hannah Murray) to form their own band.  I've seen this film described as a "musical for everyone." I'm not sure if it's for everyone, (people will complain about the entire cast being hipsters) but I enjoyed it for what it's worth. The songs were sweet. The cast, while not having the strongest voices still have a nice folky charm to them. It does feel different from other musicals I've seen. The costumes are beautiful. The film is set in modern times, yet they wear a lot of vintage clothing. Sadly, it's the modern costumes th

Review: The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz

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The way I watched this film was very fitting. When I saw the Academy put up its shortlist for the documentary Oscar nominations, this one sounded immediately interesting. It's set to release on Netflix next month, but luckily I came across a tweet where someone said the whole movie was on youtube. And it still is.  Of course a film about Aaron Swartz's life would be on the internet for all to see. That's what he was about. He wanted people to have access to all the knowledge they could. Aaron was a programming prodigy who helped start plenty of sites online that you've certainly heard of. (RSS, Reddit, etc) The former he helped with when he was all of 14. He was arrested when he conducted a mass download of information from MIT. He wasn't selling it or going to blackmail someone with it, he just thought everyone should have access to it to learn. He was going to be charged with nearly 13 felonies and was treated like a criminal. He sadly committed suicide

Indie Gems: The Immigrant

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Welcome to America, you get to be a hooker now. Ewa (Marion Cotillard) escapes conflicted Poland in 1921 to come to America with her sister. However her sister has tuberculosis and isn't allowed to leave Staten Island. Ewa has to pay for her care to be released, and her aunt and uncle that she planned on living with have apparently disappeared. Ewa is pulled aside by a man named Bruno (Joaquin Phoenix) who offers to help her. But soon we find that he's not as nice as he seems as he forces her into prostitution. She then finds herself falling for his eccentric cousin, Emil (Jeremy Renner) who performs as a magician.  This is the type of movie you expect to see during Oscar season, but unfortunately the marketing for this movie was awful and it ends up on Netflix Instant instead. It's a shame, Cotillard gives a fantastic performance here.  You may see the ending coming from a mile away, but our leads give wonderful performances and the film is never boring.

2015 Golden Globe Nominations

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Here are the 2015 Golden Globe nominations. Unbroken was surprisingly shut out. No tears from me over that. Big Eyes and Grand Budapest made some surprise moves. Begin Again was shut out, and most of the TV nominations are awful. (for my taste, anyways) My thoughts as always follow in green. Best Performance By an Actress in a Television Series – Drama Claire Danes - Homeland Viola Davis - How to Get Away With Murder Julianna Margulies -The Good Wife Ruth Wilson -The Affair Robin Wright - House of Cards Best Original Song – Motion Picture "Big Eyes" - Big Eyes “Glory” - Selma “Mercy Is” - Noah “Opportunity” - Annie “Yellow Flicker Beat” - The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 No Lost Stars from Begin again or Everything is Awesome from the Lego Movie. Honestly, the Globes usually go for more mainstream artists than the ones that actually end up winning the Oscar. I bet only Glory carries over to Oscars. Best Original Score  Alexandre Desplat - The Imitat

2015 Screen Actors Guild Nominations

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Here's a list of the 2015 SAG nominations! I'm actually kind of surprised by a lot of things. Let's get to it. My thoughts as always follow in green. Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role Steve Carell - Foxcatcher Benedict Cumberbatch - The Imitation Game Jake Gyllenhaal - Nightcrawler Michael Keaton - Birdman Eddie Redmaybe - The Theory of Everything I'm so psyched Gyllenhaal got in there. I think this is how the Oscars will look too, he's still the wild card as Oyelowo could sneak in for Selma. (which wasn't released in time for enough people to see it here.) Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role Jennifer Aniston - Cake Felicity Jones - The Theory of Everything Julianne Moore - Still Alice Rosamund Pike - Gone Girl Reese Witherspoon - Wild Rosamund!! She's my favorite here. I'm kind of surprised to see Aniston. I was thinking Cotillard would get in. Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor i

Review: Horns

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#nofilter Ig Parrish (Daniel Radcliffe) is the prime suspect in his beloved girlfriend Merrin's (Juno Temple) murder. He didn't do it, by the way, and all the DNA evidence that could've cleared him has been destroyed. After a night of heavy drinking (and urinating all over the memorial at Merrin's murder site in anger) he wakes up the next morning with horns growing out of his head. When he talks to people, they suddenly start telling him things they never would dream of saying. Eventually, one of them admits to knowing something about what happened to Merrin. I read the book earlier this year, which I really enjoyed. It turns out I should've waited. When we think about book to movie adaptations, we're always thinking "I hope they don't make any big changes." Well here, it's the little changes that got on my nerves, there's SO many of them. The character's professions, their location, the timeline things occurred, added drama

Rambling TV: Thoughts on The Newsroom and Agents of SHIELD.

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The Newsroom I've always loved The Newsroom. I find is fascinating and interesting and hard to take my eyes away from it, yet I was shocked last night at how emotional I got over it.  This was a solid hour of TV. Will has been in jail for 52 days since we've last seen him. He's having a conversation with a cell mate that turns out to be a hallucination of his father at the end. Infuriatingly, he also refuses to give up the name of his source again, even though Lily Hart, THE source, shot and killed herself on the steps of the Justice Building.  Don goes to interview a rape victim, Mary (played by VEEP's wonderful Sarah Sutherland, who honestly deserves a guest star Emmy after this) at Princeton who isn't getting a trial, so she started a website where people can name the ones that assaulted them. Pruitt wants both Mary and her attacker to be in the studio, moderated by Elliot. Mary will actually do it, but Don doesn't want her to. He knows she won't ge

Indie Gems: In A World...

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Speak up. Carol (Lake Bell) is the daughter of a famous voice over actor, Sam (Fred Melamed) whose been trying to break into the business herself. She's mostly doing accent coaching, but when she lands the part of doing a trailer for an upcoming big franchise, the voice over world just isn't ready to handle the female voice. Lake Bell is becoming somewhat of an "it girl" on the indie scene, and I was never really sure why until I saw this. She wrote and directed this and shows a lot of potential. The supporting cast of Rob Corddry, Demetri Martin, Ken Marino, and Alexandra Holden are particularly strong as well. (Eva Longoria and Cameron Diaz also make cameos as themselves)  In A World had plenty of witty one liners and managed to make an extremely infuriating topic (Men's world, women can't do it) intriguing.  Grade: B+ Memorable Quote: "It's like if a beanie baby could talk..." - Carol (Lake Bell)

Review: Penguins of Madagascar

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They're sick of hearing 'I like to move it" too. If any of you have had the misfortune of seeing the Madagascar movies, you'll know that the penguins, while always a minor role were destined to be big. Now they are fulfilling that destiny by having their own movie. This is the plot: Sick of hearing "that song" over and over, the Penguins leave and and promptly kidnapped by an Octopus (seriously) that was a former zoo mate of theirs, whose seriously butthurt over being shipped off from zoo to zoo in favor of the public paying more attention to cute and cuddly penguins. He's created a serum that's going to turn all the earth's penguins into monsters after he's done kidnapping them all. The penguins escape at first, but one of them (Private, the little one, on his quest to prove himself worthy) is taken again. Now they have to team up with an undercover organization, The North Wind, consisting of a bear, a wolf, an owl, and some other