Archive for October, 2013

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Bunch Of Movie Reviews Pt. 2 of 2

October 16, 2013

This Is The End – Up there for best comedy of the year with We’re The Millers. This ensemble comedy features most of the who’s who in the funny world: Jonah Hill, James Franco, Seth Rogen, Craig Robinson, Jay Baruchel, and Danny McBride, plus numerous cameos. Everyone is funny in their own typical way, but the coolest thing about the film is how the actors poke fun at each other and how the conflicts that arise may actually be legitimate. Do Jonah Hill and Jay Baruchel really hate each other? Not exactly a laugh riot like you might hope, but one of the better comedies of 2013. 6/10

Now You See Me – Perhaps the biggest surprise of 2013 so far, I found Now You See Me to be quite enjoyable. Four formidable magicians form an act together under the instructions of a mysterious fifth party and start performing astounding, controversial, and possibly illegal magic shows for very large crowds. The magic tricks in the movie are unique and interesting. The acting is good for the most part. The final act of the film gets a bit extreme though and lost me a little. Overall though, I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. 6/10

42 – For whatever reason, I wasn’t expecting much from 42, the Jackie Robinson biopic. Even so, it was still surprisingly boring. So boring, I fell asleep halfway through the movie and decided I didn’t care enough to finish it later. Harrison Ford is almost unrecognizable as Branch Rickey, but that probably won’t get him an Oscar nomination. I can’t put my figure on what was wrong with this movie, but Jackie Robinson deserves better. That much is for sure. 3.5/10

The CallThe Call was a solid suspense thriller with a decent performance from Halle Berry. I’ve seen better work from Abigail Breslin though. Worth watching, I guess, but nothing anyone has to see. 4.5/10

Pain & Gain – Wow, Mark Wahlberg, I thought you were a respectable actor. Dude hasn’t looked this cheesy since his days with The Funky Bunch. I got about 30 minutes into this movie and had no idea what it was about or where it was going. The Rock hadn’t even made an appearance yet. Really, really bad. 2/10

Curse Of Chucky – A solid return to the days when Chucky was scary. Before Tiffany. Before Glenn. Originally planned as a remake of the original Child’s Play, the film still takes place after the events of Bride Of Chucky and Seed Of Chucky. Unlike those films, however, Curse Of Chucky focuses on Chucky only and returns to the series’ scary roots, putting the humor aside for the most part. As far as fifth sequels are concerned, this movie is pretty good and probably deserving of a theatrical release. It’s certainly better than some of the stuff that gets released in theaters, especially horror films. Chucky looks as good as ever and is legitimately scary in this movie. Rather than shoving the psychotic doll down your throat, writer/director Don Mancini takes a more restrained approach, taking his time and building suspense before all hell starts to break loose. Dare I say it? With a modern look and 2013 technology on his side, this just might be the best Chucky flick to date. 6.5/10

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Gravity (2013)

October 12, 2013

Starring: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney
Director: Alfonso Cuaron (Children Of Men, Harry Potter & The Prison Of Azkaban, Y Tu Mama Tambien)

Astounding. Incredible. Those were my initial thoughts upon leaving the theater after watching Gravity, one of those groundbreaking films that will be mentioned for years to come as a visual effects pioneer. In fact, visually, Gravity just might be the most incredible accomplishment in cinematic history. It’s that good; and there’s never been anything like it. The film feels more like a 95 minute attraction you’d find at a high level amusement park. The only things missing are the seat belts and simulated movement. Otherwise, you might as well be in space with Ryan Stone, the rookie astronaut played by Sandra Bullock in the best performance I’ve ever seen from her. There are no moments in this film where you’re taken out of the experience. Everything is so wonderfully, beautifully, and accurately shot that you never question that these people are operating in zero gravity. Little touches like chess pieces and tear drops floating out of the screen towards you only add to the authentic, weightless movements of the human characters. The 3D seriously adds to the experience and I can’t imagine that seeing it without 3D is even remotely as satisfying.

The story here isn’t particularly profound. As one of my friends who walked out after an hour so eloquently put it: “one hour of running out of oxygen.” It really makes me wonder if we were watching the same movie. The visuals are so stunning, earth looks so magnificent in the background, and the film is so intense, that one hardly even notices how little plot there actually is here. And honestly, in a film like Gravity, it’s not that important. The overall themes of dealing with loss, lack of self worth, and so on, take a back seat to the real show: the terrifying experience of being lost in space with absolutely no human contact and no solid game plan for survival. Could you imagine being so utterly alone? In Gravity you barely have to. It looks so real and the experience is so personal, it might as well be your own.

Gravity should be showered with nominations come award season and should be a shoo in for most of the visual awards. Alfonso Cuaron has directed the closest thing to a masterpiece that I’ve seen in a long while. The amount of care put into the shooting of this film and the attention to detail is so tediously given, the final product is astonishing. A true feat. For a film that’s essentially about getting from point A to point B without dying, I’ve never felt so personally invested in reaching that final destination. An extremely impressive film and an absolute must see in 3D in the theaters.

Replay Value: The lack of replay value might keep Gravity from becoming a true classic, but with 3D televisions more and more common these days, maybe that’s not true.
Sequel Potential: None.
Oscar Potential: Gravity will be heavily nominated, probably in most categories, including Best Picture, Best Actress, and Best Director. I doubt the script will get a nomination and I don’t think George Clooney is deserving, but this film should be a cinch for the Cinematography, Visual Effects, and Film Editing statues.
Nudity: None.

Grade: 9.5/10 (Phenomenal/Instant Classic)

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Bunch Of Movie Reviews pt. 1 of 2

October 8, 2013

I remember a time, a little over a decade ago, when watching movies, writing reviews, and updating my website were arguably the most important things in my life. I watched EVERYTHING and posted my reviews immediately. I worked at a movie theater too, so I prided myself in having reviews posted before most major films were even released to the public. I remember having a huge book of HTML code and even had my own domain names: http://www.mistamac.com and http://www.maccent.net — both of which are now completely defunct (although it looks like someone else has registered the former for a photography website). Even the free Geocities site that used to host my pages for free is gone from existence. For all the time and effort I put into those sites, I have absolutely nothing to show for it. It’s a little depressing.

Things have changed quite a bit in the past decade. Movies don’t play nearly as large a role in my life as they used to. In fact, by 2005, I pretty had no clue what was going on in film… that is, until Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins woke me from my slumber and reminded me just how amazing movies can be. Since then, I’ve been more aware of what’s going on in the movie world (and completely obsessed with all things Batman!), but my dedication to posting reviews of the films I’ve watched has been sporadic, at best. Since 2008, when I started this blog, I’ve had periods of consistency, but mostly I’ve been really lazy about it. From my experience, writing talent doesn’t stay constant without practice and the more removed from it I become the more often I sit in front of my computer with no clue how to articulate my feelings. I’ve started and trashed more blog posts in the past couple years than I can count and I continually lower the quality and length of my film reviews. Still, there is one thing I’m sure of: I enjoy going through my older posts and reading my thoughts once upon a time and I really like having a catalog of all the films I’ve seen and my ratings for each one. I’ve made it a goal of mine to update my blog at least once a week though, so that should increase my consistency for the foreseeable future.

With that said, here are all the 2013 films I’ve seen that I haven’t posted about yet:

We’re The Millers – This isn’t saying much, but this is arguably 2013’s best comedy so far. Nearing her mid-40s, Jennifer Aniston is still smoking hot and this movie showcases her sexiness more than anything else in her career. Also, Will Poulter gives a breakthrough comedic performance and I was pleasantly surprised (upon further inspection) to discover that he was the same kid that wowed me in 2008’s Son Of Rambow. Like most comedies, We’re The Millers gets ridiculous at times, but all in all, provides consistent laughs. 6.5/10

Elysium – A fascinating concept and the highly anticipated follow-up to Blomkamp’s District 9, Elysium is riveting, gruesome, and heartbreaking while exploring the social divide between the upper-class and everyone else. For a film that feels a lot like an epic picture, Elysium is very concise well-paced, keeping you on the edge of your seat through it’s entirety. Heading into awards season, Elysium is in contention with Star Trek Into Darkness as the best film I’ve seen this year. 7.5/10

Spring Breakers – Wow. Spectacularly bad. And I’ve only seen the first 30 minutes. Three times. I just couldn’t stomach any more and it’s not like I didn’t try. Even so, you should have some semblance of a plot within the first half hour and there is none here. NONE. As far as I could tell, this film serves no purpose other than to capitalize on the popularity of Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez and exploit them by having them breaking bad. And while there’s plenty of nudity in the first half hour, don’t expect any from Gomez or Hudgens. I didn’t even make it far enough in the film to see James Franco, a former Oscar nominee, potentially tarnish his resume, but I can only imagine. This will be tough to top as the worst film of the year. Expect Razzie nominations for everyone involved. 2/10

The Bling Ring – Reminded me a lot of Spring Breakers, but slightly more watchable. Maybe it was because Sofia Coppola (Lost In Translation) wrote and directed it, or that Emma Watson starred in it, that I was able to make it through the whole thing, but unfortunately neither of these ingredients help the film at all. In fact, Coppola took a potentially interesting story–a group of teenagers breaking into celebrity homes for personal tours and to steal valuable items–and made it as boring and stupid as possible. Emma Watson is so bad in her role that I’m legitimately concerned about her acting future. There is nothing redeemable about this awful movie. 2/10

Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox – DC has a very strong history with their animated feature films, but this is probably one of my least favorite. Focusing on The Flash, The Flashpoint Paradox finds the titular hero in a different timeline where Bruce Wayne is dead and Thomas Wayne is a gun-toting, murderous version of Batman and Aquaman and Wonder Woman are the villains. Any Justice League film that puts Bruce Wayne on ice is already off to a bad start. I can’t imagine this is the best Flash story they had to work with, but maybe I just need to give it another watch. 5/10

Don Jon – I was a bit surprised by how much of a focal point watching porn is in this film. I was expecting a light, humorous rom-com that was maybe a bit on the dirty side, but Don Jon is quite filthy and reality versus fantasy and porn addiction play the biggest thematic roles. Scarlett Johansson is as gorgeous as ever, but her character is a bit snooty and overly controlling and the film definitely argues for substance over style when it comes to relationship material. Regardless, Joseph Gordon-Levitt has to be considered a genius for writing and directing a film where he gets to make out constantly with Scarlett Johansson. Kudos JGL! Also, a surprisingly good acting performance from Tony Danza! Consistently funny and at times repulsive, Don Jon is a fun watch. 6/10

This Is The End
Now You See Me
42
The Call
Pain & Gain