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Monthly Archives: December 2014

Two Days, One Night

Sandra, a young Belgian mother, discovers that her workmates have opted for a significant pay bonus, in exchange for her dismissal. She has only one weekend to convince her colleagues to give up their bonuses so that she can keep her job. (IMDb)

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Marion Cotillard, I think she’s brilliant. And it’s no different in this. It’s really something different than she’s done before and it’s fascinating to watch. The movie itself is really interesting because it’s one of those movies where you jump right in and put the pieces together as you go. You would think it would be boring-her traveling around to talk to her co-workers over the span of a weekend-but I was engaged and interested the entire time. I think what helped was that every reaction was different, every situation vastly different. That could be credited to the directors/writers, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. They’ve written a complex character as well as a complex (although deceptively simple) script. It does lag in a few places, and while long takes are super interesting, some went on for a tad too long. But overall, this is really well done.

7.5/10

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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The Interview

Dave Skylark and producer Aaron Rapoport run the celebrity tabloid show “Skylark Tonight.” When they land an interview with a surprise fan, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, they are recruited by the CIA to turn their trip to Pyongyang into an assassination mission. (IMDb)

So, I think I will always wonder how this movie would have been received without all of the controversy that surrounded it. But, aside from all of that, this is decent. It’s not as good as Pineapple Express, but it has its moments. I did laugh out loud a couple of times, and I will always love Seth Rogen and James Franco together, I think they’re really funny. The surrounding cast is good too. I’m always a fan of Lizzy Caplan, who plays a CIA agent in this one. I don’t know where Diana Bang, who plays President Kim’s propagandist, has been, but she needs to do more because I think she’s really funny. And finally, Randall Park as President Kim himself is great. Utterly ridiculous, but great. But overall, this is ok. It’s not the best comedy in the world, but I also wasn’t hating it. Plus there’s a puppy. And he literally stole the last 15 minutes with his cuteness.

6/10

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Temple Grandin

A biopic of Temple Grandin, an autistic woman who has become one of the top scientists in the humane livestock handling industry. (IMDb)

This is an older biopic made by HBO, and it’s been recommended to me multiple times so I figured I’d give it a shot. Now, I normally don’t love biopics, I think they try to cram too much into too little a time, but I really enjoyed this. What made it interesting to me was that it was a person I didn’t really know about. I also knew nothing about cattle handling and that whole industry so that was actually really interesting to learn about too. Even though the story is really good, Claire Danes as Temple really takes it up a notch. I thought she was wonderful. Although I will say, we saw about 15-20 years of Temple’s life, from high school to post Masters, and they didn’t try to change Danes appearance at all. She was great, but it was hard to believe that someone could look exactly the same from 14-30, but that is a tad nitpicky. This movie is visually interesting in that it tries to show us how Temple sees the world. It makes us understand her even more, and let’s us into her mind and how brilliant and funny she really is. Overall, this is a really strong movie, and I think more people should see it.

8/10

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Into the Woods

A witch tasks a childless baker and his wife with procuring magical items from classic fairy tales to reverse the curse put on their family tree. (IMDb)

This was wonderful. I was grinning like a big dumb idiot during a big portion of this. It’s visually beautiful, the costumes are gorgeous, and I really liked that the creative team took some creative liberties, but still remained true to the original musical. A lot of the solos in act one are the characters singing about what they just did and/or thought. So I liked that we froze time for Steps of the Palace, or saw a little bit of Jack climbing up and down the beanstalk for Giants in the Sky, and Agony was probably the funniest four minutes of the whole movie. I always think Rob Marshall is the man to go to for musical adaptations and he didn’t disappoint. The cast nails it. I can’t say enough good things. My friend and I were texting about it and it turned into just EMILY BLUNT. JAMES CORDEN. CHRIS PINE. MERYL. They sing beautifully, they acted well. I can’t fangirl enough. Now. Here is where I get nitpicky, because I am a big fan of the show. When making a movie adaptation, concessions have to be made. At first, I was sad that they cut the Narrator/Mysterious Man. But honestly, it was a good choice, because that character is so meta and interacts with the audience and the characters that it probably would not have translated well. My big thing is that I wish Disney would have just went for it and gotten darker, like Act Two is supposed to be, even if it garnered the PG-13 rating. Because that’s a major thing in the show, is that the darker, more realistic Act Two is a clear departure from the zany, mostly light Act One. It’s supposed to be Once Upon a Time…later. They nailed the zany musical comedy. But by not embracing the darker parts of Act Two, the latter half felt a little rushed, and the more emotional moments didn’t hit as hard as they could have. But. Like I said, I know I’m being hyper critical. I loved it overall, and plan on getting the soundtrack sometime this week.

9/10

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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If You Don’t, I Will

Pomme and Pierre have been together a long time. Passion and spontaneity have given way to predictability and cold shoulders. But there’s a lingering optimism, a hope they can return to the couple they used to be, attending chic art openings and sharing a laugh like young lovers. On a hike together one afternoon, Pomme declares her independence by deciding to stay in the woods rather than return to an underwhelming life with Pierre. Pierre tries to get back to normal, despite his worry over herĀ whereabouts and the indelible sense that he’s missing his better half. Meanwhile, Pomme begins an extended meditation in the forest on where her own life should go next, with or without Pierre. In the end, both are left to contemplate the strength and meaning of each other’s commitment. (Rotten Tomatoes)

This French movie has an intriguing premise. The moment of the trailer that got me hooked was Pierre says “Come on, let’s go home.” Pomme simply says: No. The problem with that is that this whole set up doesn’t come in until about half way through the movie. For the first half, you have to sit through miserable people bickering about their miserable lives. It’s not that fun to watch. Funny at first, but it wears out its welcome quick. Once Pomme does stay in the forest, it starts to pick up a little bit. Emmanuelle Devos, who plays Pomme, had some of my favorite moments in the whole movie. But here’s the thing. I think this whole bickering couple things works best when the audience sees that they are both in the wrong, and conversely, in the right. I don’t know about other people that watched this, but I found Pierre to be a whiny asshole. I got why Pomme was tired of him. So, I don’t know. This is well acted and it has its moments, but it’s just not a must see.

5/10

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Nightcrawler

When Lou Bloom, a driven man desperate for work, muscles into the world of L.A. crime journalism, he blurs the line between observer and participant to become the star of his own story. Aiding him in his effort is Nina, a TV-news veteran. (IMDb)

This is an interesting story. The big thing about this movie though is that everything takes a backseat to the main character. Which worked and also didn’t at the same time. It worked because the combination of writing and acting of Lou Bloom is what makes this movie worth watching. The character is that guy who is nothing but nice at first glance, but at the same time there is something really off about him. It was well written and Jake Gyllenhaal really brought him to life. His performance reminded me of Christian Bale in American Psycho, really well done over all. Now, the reason why the focus on Lou was also a disadvantage was that the audience doesn’t care about anything else in the movie. The side characters are just not as important and when things happen to them, it’s not as poignant. And from a writing stand point, they’re not as fully developed as they could be. So, if you’re a Gyllenhaal fan, you’ll eat this up, and it is worth watching for him, but overall, this could have been a lot more.

6/10

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Up in the Air

With a job traveling around the country firing people, Ryan Bingham enjoys his life living out of a suitcase, but finds that lifestyle threatened by the presence of a new hire and a potential love interest. (IMDb)

The only other Jason Reitman movie I’ve seen is Juno (which I liked. There I said it. I even own it.) But I really liked this because it was more mature. An interesting story, and it does make you think about your own lifestyle. Could I live out of a suitcase? Could I not really have a home? At the end (spoiler alert) seeing him have the potential and the drive to change and then have that not happen is really sad to watch. George Clooney can always play the suave, charming, but also tad assholeish business man, no complaints there. The two performances I really enjoyed were Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick. They were foils of each other and the scene where they share their different perspectives on career, and dream guy is really interesting. There’s also parts of this that are really funny as well. So, this is an adult comedy. Not the raunchy kind, but rather a comedy about real, adult, life, that is worth a watch if you haven’t done so already.

7.5/10

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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