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Monthly Archives: December 2013

The Bling Ring

the bling ringInspired by actual events, a group of fame-obsessed teenagers use the internet to track celebrities’ whereabouts in order to rob their homes. (IMDb)

This is so crazy, it had to be true, right? Anyway, I really liked this. The story is crazy, the characters even more so. The cast all work really well off of each other. I really liked the contrast between Katie Chang’s character (Rebecca) and Israel Broussard’s (Marc). She is the cold calculating ringleader while he is the new kid who wants friends. Then there are Claire Julien, Taissa Farmiga, and Emma Watson’s characters. Who are all the most vapid, self absorbed, materialistic teenagers ever. And it leads to some comedy gold, especially from Watson’s character, Nicki. The way she spins getting arrested into her 15 minutes of fame is actually quite impressive. It also doesn’t hurt that her mother is absolutely crazy (a fun performance from Leslie Mann). Aside from the comedy, something I really liked was how this story was told. Sofia Coppola doesn’t try to make this into an after school special or try to make any sort of moral point. She simply presents the story in all of it’s shallow, vapid glory. This leads to a somewhat detached feeling, as you watch this collection of scenes unfold, but it works in my opinion. I also really enjoyed the use of facebook pages, red carpet videos, etc. as a way to break things up. This movie isn’t going to do it for everyone, but it worked for me.

7.5/10

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Posted by on December 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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The Debt

the debt1965, three Mossad agents cross into East Berlin to apprehend a notorious Nazi war criminal. Thirty years later, the secrets the agents share come back to haunt them. (IMDb)

This has an interesting premise and is well cast. Well, almost well cast. The collection of actors, which are Jessica Chastain, Sam Worthington, and Marton Csokas playing the younger versions of Helen Mirren, Ciaran Hinds, and Tom Wilkinson, all are great together. The problem came with the men. Csokas and Wilkinson play Stephan, and Worthington and Hinds play David. Problem with this. Young Stephan looks more like old David, and young David looks more like old Stephan. Confusing right? Try watching it. I did figure it out eventually, it just took a bit. Something I did like were the transitions between 1965 and 1997. They were really seamless and interesting. The timeline is a little jumbled (on purpose) but it all comes together in the end. I thought both storylines were really interesting in their own right, but they did need the other to be complete, so it wasn’t like we were watching two completely different movies or anything. While the ’65 storyline was a little predictable, I enjoyed the acting, especially from Chastain and Worthington. She kicks ass, as usual, and this was some really nice acting from Worthington, who is normally doing action movies. And of course Helen Mirren is always interesting to watch, so no complaints there. So, while this takes a little bit to really get into, it’s worth it in the end.

7.5/10

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Bernie

bernieIn this black comedy inspired by a true story, affable Texas mortician Bernie befriends the small town’s wealthiest widow and then kills her. But despite the suspicious nature of her death, no one wants to think anything but the best of Bernie. (Netflix)

I was pleasantly surprised by this. This was a really clever take on an inspired by true story type movie. Using a mix of documentary style interviews and actual scenes with the main actors was brilliant. Also, interspersing actual townspeople who were there for the real story with the actors for the interview parts was a really nice touch. Matthew McConaughey as the Assistant DA and Shirley McClaine as the widow are a ton of fun. But, this movie belongs to Jack Black (never thought I would say that haha) He is awesome. He is a lot of fun and from his standpoint, he was just a really nice person who wanted to do everything for others. The whole thing is a lot of fun and is even more enjoyable because it is so crazy, it had to be true. Overall, it was unexpected how much I ended up liking this.

7/10

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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We’re the Millers

we're the millersA veteran pot dealer creates a fake family as part of his plan to move a huge shipment of weed into the U.S. from Mexico. (IMDb)

This was funny enough. A clever premise, decent writing, and a talented cast is what make this movie better than an average comedy. Granted, it’s only a slightly better than average comedy, but it could have been worse. I love pop culture references in comedy, and this was full of them, and they were well used too. I enjoyed Andy Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Will Poulter, and Emma Roberts as the four main characters. They were funny and worked really well off of each other. For me though, the big laughs came from Nick Offerman and Kathyrn Hahn, who play a couple they meet on the road. I love the two of them anyway, and I thought their characters were hilarious. What this movie suffers from though is being predictable, a little too long, and nothing revolutionary in terms of movie comedies. However, it wasn’t terrible. If my friends wanted to watch it for a movie night or something, I wouldn’t say no.

6/10

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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The Pirates! Band of Misfits

the pirates! band of misfitsPirate Captain sets out on a mission to defeat his rivals Black Bellamy and Cutlass Liz for the Pirate of the year Award. The quest takes Captain and his crew from the shores of Blood Island to the foggy streets of Victorian London. (IMDb)

If you’re like me and Wallace and Gromit was a staple of your childhood, then you understand why I wanted to see this. Also, this cast list is loaded, with names like Hugh Grant, Martin Freeman, Imelda Staunton, David Tennant, and a ton more. And for the most part, I thought this was quite cute. It’s a funny storyline, pirates teaming up with Charles Darwin for a science convention. The jokes are pretty funny, and a few actually were more adult than I’m used to seeing in animated movies (which I found out later were changed for the “American” version…dumb.) And all of the small allusions to British culture in the 1880s are pretty funny as well. (The Pirate Captain drinks with Jane Austen and then she ends up dating The Elephant Man…and Queen Victoria knows how to wield katanas…not even kidding) The animation is always gorgeous, stop motion never ceases to amaze me. My big problem was length. I know it was only an hour and a half, but that even felt a little too long. The problem was the scientist of the year bit took up the majority of the movie, when the really good story stuff happens in the back half. Nevertheless, this is a fun, albeit absurd animated movie if you need a few laughs.

6/10

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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The Five-Year Engagement

the five-year engagementOne year after meeting, Tom proposes to his girlfriend, Violet, but unexpected events keep tripping them up as they look to walk down the aisle together. (IMDb)

I heard this was cute, but I thought it was so much more than that. I thought it was laugh out loud funny and super intelligent at the same time. There are dozens of hilarious moments. This is thanks both to the writing (which is great) and the chemistry between the leads. Jason Segal and Emily Blunt work really well off of each other, then throw in Chris Pratt and Alison Brie as the best friend and the sister, it’s comedy gold. But the thing that really sold this for me were the moments that weren’t funny. This movie deals with the relatable dilemma of career versus love. Can you have both? Should one take precedence of the other? It’s really interesting watching these two characters trying to figure it out. Yes, figuring it out includes Jason Segal growing mutton chops and becoming a mountain man for 20 minutes but you get my point. However, there were places where this could have been trimmed. Coming in at a little over two hours, it’s just the tiniest bit too long. But I would still highly recommend this.

9/10

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Goon

goonWhen he’s seen dispatching a rude opposing hockey player in the stands, Doug Glatt is hired by a rival team … for his fighting skills. It seems the new team’s star is gun-shy after being hit by a puck, and Glatt’s job is to be his on-ice bodyguard. (Netflix)

I heard this was better than expected, but I didn’t know by this much. This movie is really funny and also unexpectedly heartfelt. Sean William Scott is adorable as Doug, the main character. He’s goofy, awkward, and truly cares about other people…who happens to be built like a tank and is gifted at beating the crap out of people. The ice fights were a ton of fun and pretty funny themselves. But, when the romantic subplot with Alison Pill’s character popped up, I thought that it was going to be pointless. But I actually ended up really liking it. It was more to show off Scott’s character a little more, which led to some really adorable scenes. (I never thought I would use the word adorable in a review of a hockey movie but there you go) Liev Schreiber is also a ton of fun as the league’s resident fighter. My complaint is over Jay Baruchel’s character, who is Glatt’s best friend. There’s raunchy humor, and then there’s just spewing innuendos and swear words every millisecond. I’m a fan of the first, not the second. As you can guess, that character did a lot of the second, and that got old after, like, one scene. But overall, this is a really funny movie that has a lot of unexpected heart.

7.5/10

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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