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Monthly Archives: January 2015

American Sniper

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Nominations: Best Picture, Leading Actor (Bradley Cooper), Film Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and Adapted Screenplay (Jason Hall)

Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle’s pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield and turns him into a legend. Back home to his wife and kids after four tours of duty, however, Chris finds that it is the war he can’t leave behind. (IMDb)

So. I’m going to look at this purely from a cinematic view. Because I have my opinions about the story as a whole, but let’s talk about the movie itself. Overall, it’s pretty solid and well done. Clint Eastwood does a wonderful job of creating these tense moments that make you almost stop breathing. Bradley Cooper does a really nice job as Chris Kyle. You really saw Kyle’s journey and how war can really change a person, as well as him coming back from that. What I will say is that the middle, which consists of his second and third tours, get a little cliche and formulaic. Then, it got a little better after his third tour, but I will say that the final big battle in his fourth tour got a little long to me. There was a solid five minutes of just gunfire back and forth with no plot development. It’s also one of the most brutally violent movies I have seen in quite some time. So, take that as you will. But I will say overall, this is worth a watch.

6.5/10

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Posted by on January 30, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Black Sea

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In order to make good with his former employers, a submarine captain takes a job with a shadowy backer to search the depths of the Black Sea for a submarine rumored to be loaded with gold. (IMDB)

I got an advanced screening pass for this movie from work, so why not go see it. And it was ok. Not brilliant, but it kept me watching. Especially since 3/4 of the movie took place in a submarine, that’s pretty impressive. Most of the twists and turns are predictable, but there was one big one that took me completely by surprise. Jude Law is quite good, but he rarely disappoints. His accent work in particular is really fun. Scoot McNairy is also good as Daniels, the corporate assistant, forced to go with the crew.  There is also some interesting commentary about how society treats former military people, especially highly specialized ones, like the characters in this movie. They all know how to drive and operate a giant submarine, but are forced into menial jobs out in the real world. Overall, this is decent. Better than other movies of a similar nature, but save this one for a Netflix night in.

5/10

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Foxcatcher

Nominations: Leading Actor (Steve Carell), Supporting Actor (Mark Ruffalo), Directing (Bennett Miller), Makeup/Hairstyling, and Original Screenplay (E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman)

The greatest Olympic Wrestling Champion brother team joins Team Foxcatcher led by multimillionaire sponsor John E. du Pont as they train for the 1988 games in Seoul – a union that leads to unlikely circumstances. (IMDb)

I’ve been looking forward to this one, because I found the casting absolutely fascinating. All three of them did something very different than I have seen before. I would never think of Mark Ruffalo playing a wrestling gold medalist, but he was great. It was interesting watching him as the character bouncing back and forth between intense wrestling guy and a family man. I was also really impressed with Channing Tatum. In the past, I’ve seen him as a better comedic actor than dramatic one, but this may have changed my mind. One of the first things I noticed was that he changed his physicality for the role. He was bulkier, he walked differently, among other things. Like Ruffalo, he also did a really nice job of balancing the wrestling side of the character, with a more sensitive side, which was a little brother wanting to get out of his older brother’s shadow. Lastly, Steve Carell was absolutely fascinating to watch. There was something really quite dark about the way he portrayed du Pont. It was refreshing to see him take on this kind of role. As for the movie itself, the story is extremely interesting, but I will say, the whole thing is very sparse. It’s a quiet movie with a lot of far away shots. Obviously this was done on purpose, and I didn’t mind it for the most part, but it did make some parts drag a little bit. But this movie overall is quite interesting and is worth a watch, especially for the acting.

7.5/10

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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2015 Oscar Nominations

So, this is quite interesting this year. There are some obvious snubs (Selma in general, and Amy Adams, who won the Golden Globe for Big Eyes are examples). But there are also some pleasant surprises (Marion Cotillard getting a nom for her work in the Belgian film Two Days)

But, here is a list of all of the nominees:

http://oscar.go.com/nominees?cid=oscars_nominees_announcement_cadillac

And, here are the links to reviews of the movies I have already seen:

The Imitation Game: Best Picture, Leading Actor (Benedict Cumberbatch), Supporting Actress (Keira Knightley), Directing (Morten Tyldum), Film Editing, Original Score (Alexandre Desplat), Production Design, and Adapted Screenplay (Graham Moore)

https://jeleff11.wordpress.com/2015/01/05/the-imitation-game/

The Theory of Everything: Best Picture, Leading Actor (Eddie Redmayne), Leading Actress (Felicity Jones), Original Score (Jóhann Jóhannsson), and Adapted Screenplay (Anthony McCarten)

https://jeleff11.wordpress.com/2014/12/18/the-theory-of-everything/

Two Days, One Night: Leading Actress (Marion Cotillard)

https://jeleff11.wordpress.com/2014/12/30/two-days-one-night/

Still Alice: Leading Actress (Julianne Moore)

https://jeleff11.wordpress.com/2014/12/17/still-alice/

Gone Girl: Leading Actress (Rosamund Pike)

https://jeleff11.wordpress.com/2015/01/11/gone-girl/

Into the Woods: Supporting Actress (Meryl Streep), Costume Design, and Production Design

https://jeleff11.wordpress.com/2014/12/27/into-the-woods/

How To Train Your Dragon 2: Animated Feature Film

https://jeleff11.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/how-to-train-your-dragon-2/

Guardians of the Galaxy: Makeup/Hairstyling and Visual Effects

https://jeleff11.wordpress.com/2014/08/15/guardians-of-the-galaxy/

The Lego Movie: Original Song (Everything is Awesome)

https://jeleff11.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/the-lego-movie/

Nightcrawler: Original Screenplay (Dan Gilroy)

https://jeleff11.wordpress.com/2014/12/22/nightcrawler/

X-Men: Days of Future Past: Visual Effects

https://jeleff11.wordpress.com/2014/05/29/x-men-days-of-future-past/

 

Stay tuned for more Oscar fun!

 

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Warm Bodies

After a highly unusual zombie saves a still-living girl from an attack, the two form a relationship that sets in motion events that might transform the entire lifeless world. (IMDb)

When I first heard about this movie, I didn’t know what to really think about it. But, then I kept hearing good things about it, so I thought I would give it a try. And I really enjoyed it. The premise is clever, as were the allusions to Romeo and Juliet. I didn’t realize that that was what they were going for until they actually did a balcony scene and I realized their names were R and Julia. It was subtle enough to catch, but not distracting. Nicholas Hoult steals it as R. You can tell he actually really put work into the progression of full blown zombie back into a human. His voice over monologues are funny and smartly written. Rob Corddry is also quite good as R’s friend, M. Overall, I liked this way more than I thought I was going to. It’s a great balance of comedy, romance, and even a little bit of horror that can satisfy almost any type of audience member.

7.5/10

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Gone Girl

With his wife’s disappearance having become the focus of an intense media circus, a man sees the spotlight turned on him when it’s suspected that he may not be innocent. (IMDb)

So, I was not expecting the many twists and turns that this one took. Because about forty minutes in was what felt like an ending. And honestly they could have gone along with that ending and it still would have been an interesting movie. What makes this stand out is that it keeps going, and keeps spiraling downward, until you reach the end and it just hits you how far these characters spiraled. Ben Affleck is really good as Nick. Nick is kind of an asshole who gets put in a situation that no one should be. So, you feel sympathy for him but you also think he’s a dumbass. Affleck did a really nice job with the balancing act for his character as a whole. Rosamund Pike is indescribable as Amy. Mostly because I don’t want to ruin it for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, but she also does a really nice job. I also really enjoyed Neil Patrick Harris as Amy’s high school boyfriend and Carrie Coon as Nick’s sister. As a whole, I’m honestly never disappointed with David Fincher films. He keeps them quickly paced, visually interesting, and he always gets good stuff out of his actors.

8/10

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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The Imitation Game

During World War II, mathematician Alan Turing tries to crack the enigma code with help from fellow mathematicians. (IMDb)

Ok. The next statement may be a tad presumptuous. But. This may be a perfect biopic. I have three problems with biopics. They a.) try to cram the entire person’s life into two hours (most likely with the same actor playing like a 20 year span) b.) Conversely, they sometimes zero in on only one event in the person’s life, leaving out everything else that made them who they are. c.) Get preachy about a certain trial or tribulation they faced. This did none of that. It focused on three very important, separate time periods in Turing’s life. Yes, the WWII era was the most prominent, but it used him as a boy in school and him in the early 50s after the war as a brilliant supplement to that time in his life. Then, after falling in love with this character, it moves more to the latter part of his life, where he is persecuted for being gay. It was done in such a way that it doesn’t hammer it over our heads repeatedly, but is still heartbreaking. And then, to top all of this off, Benedict Cumberbatch was brilliant. One of my favorite performances ever from him. I can’t even think of more words to describe how great he was. Keira Knightley also gives one of the stronger performances of her career. The life of Alan Turing is an important story to tell. And this movie did him justice.

9.5/10

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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