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Monthly Archives: March 2013

A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints

MV5BNjk4MzIyMzUxMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTk4NTU0MQ@@._V1_SY317_CR5,0,214,317_The movie is a coming-of-age drama about a boy growing up in Astoria, N.Y., during the 1980s. As his friends end up dead, on drugs or in prison, he comes to believe he has been saved from their fate by various so-called saints. (IMDb)

I really wanted to watch this one because of the cast, and because of where they were in their careers. Shia LaBeouf pre Transformers, Channing Tatum pre six pack, and Robert Downey Jr. pre Iron Man. And in that aspect, it was really interesting. The acting was really good, and had this raw quality about it. Something that initially was confusing was the scatter-brained nature of the plot. There are these random moments when it will seem like the camera/action is skipping, like an old DVD. As the movie goes on, however it serves more like a memory play, which then makes the skipping make sense. Also, this movie isn’t an adaptation of the book. It’s that fused with the author’s experience of going back to his hometown after he wrote the book, so that also took me a second to get. The only thing that actually bothered me in any way was the way events were depicted. Everything was the same, of equal value. There were a few huge defining moments for the characters, but they were made to be no big deal. They happened and then it was done. Basically, I just don’t know how you have a coming-of-age story without shedding importance on those defining moments. Overall though, this isn’t bad, and worth at least one watch.

6/10

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Posted by on March 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Rachel Getting Married

rachel getting marriedA young woman who has been in and out from rehab for the past 10 years returns home for the weekend for her sister’s wedding. (IMDb)

This is another movie I watched a bit of when it first came out, but never finished it. For the most part, I’m pretty glad I went back and watched it. What really stands out in this movie are the acting performances. Anne Hathaway is absolutely fantastic as Kym. It’s seriously some of her best work. Then, her chemistry with Rosemarie Dewitt as Rachel is fantastic. Dewitt herself is really impressive. The two of them have this completely relatable sister dynamic where they’re hugging each other one minute and screaming at each other the next. The whole family dynamic in general is fascinating to watch. All the moments where they are tip-toeing around each other, versus when they let go and are either screaming at each other or completely relaxed and having fun, all of it was really well acted. My only problems were with the actual movie itself. There were scenes that just felt like we were just watching people having fun, instead of anything happening that actually advances the plot. Then, the end of that scene would happen, and a point would finally be reached, and I would think to myself, “oh, that’s why that’s in the script.” I just wish the scene could have arrived at that point quicker. Also, this was definitely an indie film. There was shaky cam, zooming in and out, and moving around galore. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, it was just noticeable. Basically, this is worth it for the acting performances, especially Anne Hathaway’s.

6.5/10

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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30 Minutes or Less

30 minutes or lessTwo fledgling criminals kidnap a pizza delivery guy, strap a bomb to his chest, and inform him that he has mere hours to rob a bank or else… (IMDb)

I didn’t hear very good things about this. But I saw Jesse Eisenberg, Danny McBride, and Nick Swardson and I was like come on, it can’t be that terrible. Yeah…I’m not going to get that hour and a half of my life back. Here’s the thing. It wasn’t terrible, it’s all just been done before. The whole plot was extremely predictable, and the jokes weren’t on it, I think I laughed out loud once. And it wasn’t even a laugh, it was a chuckle. Normally, I find Danny McBride funny, but he just annoyed me in this one. Nick Swardson and Jesse Eisenberg almost save this one, because Swardson is just hilarious period and Jesse Eisenberg’s dry delivery was great for this role, but nothing else was in their favor. Basically, the only thing this movie really did for me was that it made me really crave pizza.

2/10

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Pirate Radio

pirate radioA period comedy about an illegal radio station in the North Sea in the 1960s. (IMDb)

I enjoyed this one. I’m not head over heels in love with it, but I really liked watching it. This is mostly thanks to the impressive ensemble cast that was assembled. They are all hilarious and bounce off each other really well. But honestly, you can’t really go wrong with people like Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rhys Ifans, Bill Nighy, Nick Frost, Chris O’Dowd, and more. I will say, the guys that made me laugh out loud were Kenneth Branagh and Jack Davenport as the uptight government guys trying to shut station down. They were completely hilarious because of how gravely serious they were. Honestly, the only reason I didn’t absolutely love this is the plot itself. This is a really long movie, and it doesn’t lag necessarily, but it feels like a two hour movie. Also, it’s fairly episodic and somewhere in the 45 minute mark, I found myself asking where this movie was going, because things were happening, but nothing was really going on, if that makes sense. So, this is one to watch like once to appreciate the comedy and the actors, but I don’t know if I could just sit and watch the whole thing again.

6/10

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Super

superAfter his wife falls under the influence of a drug dealer, an everyday guy transforms himself into Crimson Bolt, a superhero with the best intentions, though he lacks for heroic skills. (IMDb)

So, I go into this thinking that it is going to be a campier version of Kick-Ass. I mean, that’s pretty much how it was marketed. And a cast that includes Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler, Kevin Bacon and Nathan Fillion? I was in. And then I got through the first half hour. That first half hour was right on with my expectations. It was darkly funny, a little awkward and weird, but I was enjoying it. And then, somewhere after that point, it took this odd turn. The violence was more aggressive and realistic, there were jokes and scenes that would go to far for no reason. It got worse the longer this movie went on. It’s like the writer changed his mind on what kind of movie he wanted to make half way through. Because a dark movie that shows the real side of what would happen if someone tried to be a superhero? Totally valid idea. Don’t put it after a half hour of light hearted running around silliness. Then, don’t viciously and senselessly kill off one of your main characters, have a dramatic moment about it, then continue on with the fighting and try to be funny again by putting the campy comic book action sound captions on the screen. Basically, this movie turned me off the more and more I got into it, and then the ending was wholly unsatisfying. So, do yourselves a favor, watch Kick-Ass instead.

1.5/10

 
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Posted by on March 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Oz the Great and Powerful

oz the great and powerfulA small-time magician arrives in an enchanted land and is forced to decide if he will be a good man or a great one. (IMDb)

This is one I’ve been looking forward to. The visuals looked awesome, the cast was impressive, and it was a prequel to the Wizard of Oz. Thankfully, it lived up to my expectations. The visual aspect of it was awesome. The moment where is changed from sepia to the full color was an amazing moment. There was always a lot to look at and it was colorful. The cast also lived up to my expectations. James Franco was really good as Oz. Mostly because he let the guy be a selfish jerk, instead of trying to live up to the whole wizard thing. Michelle Williams was lovely, Rachel Weisz was scary, as was Mila Kunis. Now, the thing with her character was I had to [baby spoiler here, if the trailer didn’t obviously give it away already] warm into the fact that she was one of the bad witches. Because it’s Mila Kunis. But in the end, I thought she was really good. Two supporting characters that almost stole the movie were Zach Braff as Finley and Joey King as the Little China Girl. The two of them had some of the best moments and were a lot of fun to watch. As a prequel, I thought it was great. It tied into everything really neatly, without it being shoved down our throats. Yet it also operated as its own movie with its own vision, which I thought was great. There were also a few tie ins to the original Wizard of Oz that you have to pay attention to catch, and those were a lot of fun to discover. Overall, I thought this was really cute and a lot of fun, and a definite must see for any Wizard of Oz fan.

7.5/10

 
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Posted by on March 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Gun Hill Road

gun hill roadAn ex-con returns home to the Bronx after three year in prison to discover his wife estranged and his teenage son exploring a sexual transformation that will put the fragile bonds of their family to the test. (IMDb)

I thought this was both fascinating and heart breaking at the same time. It’s a real study in not only familial bonds, but the environment in which people are raised in. Why do they do the things that they do, and when does love of another person trump everything you’ve ever known and believed? The acting all around is fantastic. I loved seeing Judy Reyes, who I’ve only ever seen on Scrubs, get to really dig into this part. Harmony Santana as Michael was absolutely fantastic, and Esai Morales as Enrique was equally as fantastic. His character would do and say these things and my initial gut reaction would make him out as a bad person, but the way Morales portrayed him, you can see that he completely and utterly believes that he is doing the right thing, which was heart breaking to watch. Disclaimer, some of the scenes are brutal and a little hard to watch, and it does lag in places, but in the end, this is actually a pretty powerful movie.

6.5/10

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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