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Monthly Archives: November 2014

The Homesman

Three women who have been driven mad by pioneer life are to be transported across the country by covered wagon by the pious, independent-minded Mary Bee Cuddy, who in turn employs low-life drifter George Briggs to assist her. (IMDb)

To be honest, I am not one for Western movies. It’s just not my jam. But, this cast is too good to be ignored. Tommy Lee Jones writes, directs, and stars. There’s Hilary Swank who we haven’t seen for awhile. Then not only is Grace Gummer in this, but Meryl Streep is in it too. The only thing that would have made it better is if they had actually played mother and daughter. Granted, Streep is only in a little bit of it, along with James Spader, John Lithgow, and Hailee Steinfeld, but still. So. I watched it. And I still don’t like Westerns. Parts were interesting, like the sheer set up that pioneer life drove three women mad. That was set up really nicely. It’s so desolate and lonely and when bad things happen, you’re expected to move on. So that was nice. And at the beginning I was really digging Hilary Swank’s character. She is independent and has her own land and stands up to the “proper” women, but there’s also this underlying desperation of wanting to be married, even if it is just to be a proper woman. And Swank is a smart actor, and you could see her working to bring those layers out, but at the end of the day, the script didn’t give it to her. Her character practically 360s at one point, and I give her credit for trying to justify it earlier in the movie, but it just didn’t work. She basically ends up being a plot device for Jones’ character, which wasn’t how it was set up at the beginning. Because once that shift happens, the rest of the movie is almost unbearably predictable. Although. I will say some of the cinematography is really pretty. So that was cool. But all in all, valiant effort Mr. Jones. It was almost there, but not quite.

5.5/10

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Posted by on November 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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The Mule

A first time drug mule is caught by law enforcement. (IMDb)

This is a black crime comedy out of Australia. But for me, I think it was a little more heavy on the straight crime side. There was some funny stuff, but there wasn’t enough to make it an actual black comedy. Honestly, I thought the tone over all was a little all over the place. There would be something funny, and then someone would get killed, and there was even a scene that straight up made me want to throw up. So…I don’t know. Hugo Weaving fans may want to check this out though, he plays this asshole cop and it’s pretty far from Elrond or V. He’s a lot of fun to watch. My TV people: John Noble (Henry from Sleepy Hollow) is in this as a bad guy. Not really a shocker, but it’s fun nevertheless. Also, Georgina Haig (Elsa in Once Upon a Time) is in this as the main character’s lawyer, who for some reason is never given a name even though she’s a major character. This is pretty straight up, nothing bold or new, but it’s a decent watch nevertheless.

5.5/10

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Quartet

A trio of retired opera singers’ annual celebration of Verdi’s birthday sours when their estranged fourth member shows up but refuses to sing. (Netflix)

I saw the cast for this and was like Dumbledore and McGonagall are in this it has to be brilliant. But, it was just ok. The concept was really cute. Having a home for retired musicians is a really fun set up. And during the credits, it showed the actors in the movie side by side with pictures of them earlier in their musical careers. But like I said, this was fine, and cute, and brought up some interesting moments in regards to not only aging, but potentially losing something (a talent) that was your life’s work as you age. Michael Gambon was really funny as this eccentric director type, and Billy Connolly was also quite funny as one of the members of the quartet. Maggie Smith was lovely as always, I just wish the script gave her a tad more to go with. You get the impression that she was a diva, and she kind of is, but not really, I would have loved to see the movie, (and Maggie Smith) go full tilt in that direction. I think it would have made for some really funny stuff. Overall, this isn’t a bad night-in Netflix watch.

6/10

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Promised Land

A salesman for a natural gas company experiences life-changing events after arriving in a small town, where his corporation wants to tap into the available resources. (IMDb)

Where to begin with this one. Because good things were happening in this. But I also felt like I was watching a very long and drawn out anti-fracking PSA. There was a scene where a guy from the town sounded like he was reading from an environmentalist website, but it was supposed to be dialogue. And everything just felt very manipulative. From both sides. You had Matt Damon and Frances McDormand being the natural gas sales people and doing all of their sales pitches and then John Krasinski as the environmentalist being just as manipulative, but with signs and sob stories. I don’t know. It made me not sympathetic for anyone. They tried this thing where Matt Damon’s character is doing it because he believes that the money the company gives the town can actually revive it, while at the same time McDormand’s character sees it as strictly a job, which was an interesting dynamic. Plus, Frances McDormand can make any character likable if she chooses. Whereas Damon’s character kept doing the “I’m not a bad guy” schtick and then doing something kind of assholeish. Then they tried this twist thing and by that point I just didn’t care. I don’t know guys. This could have been really thought provoking, but in the end, it was just kind of messy.

5/10

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Cirque de Soleil: Worlds Away

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This family-friendly fantasy intertwines artistic and acrobatic performances from some of Cirque du Soleil’s inventive shows to create a new story. (Netflix)

Let’s be real. This was a giant marketing scheme for Cirque du Soleil. They just combined different Cirque show acts, and put a very thin story on top of it. But damn was it pretty. All of the acts are gorgeous to watch, and some are just completely brilliant. My jaw was hanging open. If they were that good on a computer screen, they’re probably ten times better live. Yeah, there’s a story in there somewhere of a girl trying to find this aerialist dude that she just met but is madly in love with, but there’s amazing acrobats! Seriously, my entire rating comes from how awesome the acts were paired with director Andrew Adamson’s eye for capturing the perfect moments on a camera.

7/10

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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On the Road

Young writer Sal Paradise has his life shaken by the arrival of free-spirited Dean Moriarty and his girl, Marylou. As they travel across the country, they encounter a mix of people who each impact their journey indelibly. (IMDb)

I think the big question here is: Should On the Road (the Jack Kerouac novel of the same name) have been adapted to a movie? Was it even possible to be adapted into a movie? Jose Rivera gave it valiant effort, and his influence is present alongside Kerouac’s, but why? Lovers of the book are probably yelling at me through their screens right now, but to me, this was really meandering and scattered. Which. Yes. I know they were beatniks, that was kind of the point, but I don’t think it necessarily made for a compelling movie. All that being said, it’s really pretty. All of the different places you see them in are gorgeous and really well shot. Also, the cast list alone is insanely impressive, considering most of them pop in for a scene or  two and then you never see them again (Specifically Amy Adams. I loved her part. Something completely different from her.)  You could tell the whole ensemble was really into it, which made this watchable. I think this is one of Kristen Stewart’s better performances, (it’s also stated that this is one of her favorite books so that might have something to do with it) and I think Garrett Hedlund is really underrated. So, if you’re a big Kerouac fan, you might get more out of this than I did, but other than that, this is just ok.

4.5/10

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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The Impossible

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The story of a tourist family in Thailand caught in the destruction and chaotic aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. (IMDb)

Here’s the thing. I wasn’t rushing to see this not because I heard it wasn’t good, but that tsunami was devastating, affecting millions of lives, yet we’re going to make a movie out of a Spanish tourist family, but cast all white UK actors. It seemed like white-washing at its finest. And it still kind of was. But. Damn it was good. It’s a really well-made movie. The acting is great despite the script. I’m sure if you compiled a video of the family members screaming each others’ names, you would have half of the movie. Throw in Naomi Watts screaming unintelligibly, and you probably have another 1/4th. But speaking of Watts, she was fantastic, she made it all work, despite its flaws. And Tom Holland, who plays the oldest son, definitely has a bright career waiting for him if he keeps it up. The tsunami scene and immediate after math was terrifying and really well done from a special effects stand point. So, even though this one has a lot of of things stacked up against it, it’s still really good.

8/10

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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