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Monthly Archives: July 2014

Hotel Transylvania

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Dracula, who operates a high-end resort away from the human world, goes into overprotective mode when a boy discovers the resort and falls for the count’s teen-aged daughter. (IMDb)

It’s no secret I’m a sucker for kids movies. This one though, was just meh. I mean, it was cute, and I’m sure actual children loved it. But what’s elevating family movies nowadays is watchability for adults. (Think Despicable Me, Frozen, How To Train Your Dragon, etc.) The humor wasn’t quite smart enough  for one. Although, the voice cast was impressive and there were some funny moments. Also, when Dracula reveals what happened to his wife, that was a nice moment. But in the end, while this was cute, it wasn’t up to the caliber of other family movies out there today.

5/10

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best

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A singer-songwriter hits the road with a self-appointed music revolutionary. (IMDb)

This is a typical indie road trip movie. But is a little better than average. The music is interesting and the script has some really funny moments. But it’s also really cliche at the same time. Ryan O’Nan and Michael Weston are funny together, and I’ve always found Arielle Kebbel interesting to watch. Some of the funniest stuff though comes from Wilmer Valderrama. He is only in one scene, but he’s really funny. So, this isn’t bad, it’s just predictable.

5.5/10

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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End of Watch

 

end of watch

Officers Taylor and Zavala patrol the streets of South Central Los Angeles, an area of the city ruled by gangs and riddled with drug violence. (Netflix)

I have literally only one complaint about this. It was marketed as being shot documentary style with hand held cameras. It either needed to stick with that the whole way through or just shoot it normally. The mixing of the two didn’t really work. It made it seem like the director was all in for the documentary style, and then realized half way through filming that doing that only wouldn’t totally work with the story he wanted to tell, so he just started throwing normal shots in until they took up half of the movie. But. Other than that, I thought this was brilliant. You really get to see the two main characters fall into a rabbit hole of sorts. Neither they nor the audience fully understand everything that’s going on, and I think that makes it even scarier. It’s unapologetically violent and gritty, which actually really worked for me. I liked that the script did some time jumps, like we’re seeing mini-episodes in these cops’ lives. On top of all that, the acting is awesome. Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena are fantastic. They have an easy chemistry and banter to where you really believe that they’ve been friends for a long time. Speaking of their banter, it really broke up some of the heavier scenes, which was really nice, and then to find out that most of it was improvised made it even better. Anna Kendrick got to show a little of her goofy side and America Ferrera got to show a little of her badass side. I don’t want to ruin the ending but I cried. A lot. A definite recommendation.

9/10

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Dredd

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In a catastrophic future, the remaining population is crowded into megacities, where all-powerful and ultraviolent cops are hunting for terrorists. (Netflix)

If you’re looking for a cut and dry simple action flick, look no further. I will say though, this is better than the average action movie. The visuals are awesome, especially for the drug high sequences. i thought it was interesting that Karl Urban never took off the helmet. I know that fits in with the comic books, but it’s a pleasant surprise that they followed that. Olivia Thirlby definitely held her own as the rookie out on her first day. But for me, Lena Heady as the crazy drug lord stole the show. She was awesome. So like I said, this was simple. Heroes start typical day, typical day goes bad, they shoot their way out. But I think the simplicity worked. There were a lot of opportunities to dig a little deeper, but save that stuff for the sequel. Normally action movies aren’t really my thing, but I didn’t think this was too bad. 

6/10

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Liberal Arts

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When 30-something Jesse returns to his alma mater for a professor’s retirement party, he falls for Zibby, a college student, and is faced with a powerful attraction that springs up between them. (IMDb)

This was really interesting, as well as a good vehicle for Josh Radnor, who served as writer, director, and lead. It was a truthful look at an adult’s desire for youth and a college girl’s desire for maturity. Also throw in Richard Jenkins as a recently retired professor, and you see another view of wanting to retain youth. Radnor and Elizabeth Olsen are great together. Some of Radnor’s stuff can get a little pretentious sounding, but it did work with the character. Zac Efron also has a small part that is actually really great. I will say that I thought the subplot with Dean, another college student, was a little unnecessary. I kind of see where they were going with it, but I don’t think it was really needed. The college they filmed at (Kenyon in Ohio) is gorgeous. Something else I liked were all the little gems of advice hidden in the writing. As someone who is at a point in their life that is basically between these two characters, I totally got it. Overall, this is nothing revolutionary, but it made me both nostalgic for college and excited for my future at the same time, so that says something.

7/10

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower

the perks

An introvert freshman is taken under the wings of two seniors who welcome him to the real world. (IMDb)

I’m not going to lie, it’s borderline shameful that I haven’t seen this yet. I’m a huge fan of the book. I read it in high school and I felt like it perfectly portrayed adolescence. And now, the movie has done the same thing. Possibly even more so for me now that I’m looking back at high school instead of being in it.

Anyway, to the movie itself, I think this may possibly be one of my favorite book adaptations I’ve seen in a long while. We’re used to seeing authors write the screenplays for their movie adaptations, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen them direct it as well, which was a risk that Stephen Chbosky took, and it paid off. I think it actually makes sense, who would know the world best than the author itself? I loved the main three actors. I knew Logan Lerman could act, but I didn’t know he could act. You know? I thought he was so impressive, I loved him. Ezra Miller was a perfect Patrick. The way Patrick uses charisma and humor to cover up darker things always stuck out to me in the book, and he captured that really well. Even though I’m a big fan of Emma Watson, when I heard she was cast, I was a little skeptical. Nothing against her, she just wasn’t the Sam I pictured. And I was proved wrong. I thought she was great. And from this being her first post HP role, it’s really cool to see how she’s grown. So yeah. I should have seen this a long time ago. But I’m glad I got around to it.

9/10

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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The Master

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A heavy-drinking loner finds some semblance of a family when he stumbles onto the ship of Lancaster Dodd, the charismatic leader of a new “religion.” (Netflix)

This was interesting. This is one of those movies that just drops you in on something and doesn’t explain a whole lot about the world. Normally, I don’t like that. I think it distances the audience. But for some reason, I didn’t mind as much with this. Yeah, there were things I still don’t quite get, the pace is a little slow, and there was terminology that the characters knew but we didn’t, but I was much more focused on the people. These are some insanely fascinating characters. Having them well-acted doesn’t hurt either. Philip Seymour Hoffman is so engaging, always has been. You can’t help but get on his character’s side throughout this. Joaquin Phoenix was also fascinating to watch, his character was so complex it was hard to wrap my head around it. I also really liked Amy Adams as Hoffman’s wife. One of my favorite moments of the whole movie was this part where she’s saying this mini-monologue about being accepted by people in the city, and it’s underscored by Hoffman typing and some music. I don’t know what it was, but it was so incredibly engaging. This is one I think needs multiple viewings to even begin to fully understand everything that’s going on, and I think it deserves those repeat watches.

8/10

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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