Jan 15 2014

Jan 14

Published by Jeff under Movie Reviews

Saving Mr. Banks - I’m not sure if it is just the nostalgia behind this film, but I enjoyed this quite a bit.  Emma and Tom would make anything watchable but this had that extra little kick of Disney magic without watering down the story.  I think this is one of the better movies of the year, even if it probably won’t get too much Oscar attention.  See it.

The Wolf of Wall Street - There is a lot of positive buzz with this movie (as if you wouldn’t expect  a Scorsese-DiCaprio venture to be highly thought of.  I, on the other hand, was left cold and uninterested.  There was just too much… everything.  None of the characters seemed redeemable, and I couldn’t care less what happened to them.  Maybe this was based on a true story, but it just seemed sad.  And 3 hours was too long to pay attention to something that seemed like it could have been adequately told in a much shorter time.

Her - This was a beautiful, touching story that was able to show an emotional connection where it would seem impossible.  Scarlett was able to make the operating system come alive, and Joaquin conveyed the lonely loser to perfection.  I wish I would have come up with the idea and script.  This will be on my year-end list… and very high.

Inside Llewyn Davis - I think I was looking forward to this movie so much that there was no way it could have lived up to my expectations.  And it didn’t.  I couldn’t find the structure, couldn’t really empathize with any character and the lead was just made out to be a sorry sack that I didn’t want to follow for almost 2 hours.  Disappointed.

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Jan 02 2014

Dec 13

Published by Jeff under Movie Reviews

Nebraska - A great character study of an aging man who is worrying about his legacy more than his life.  Great performances by Dern and June Squibb (in a scene stealing role).  I really enjoyed this film and thought the use of black and white was a perfect choice.  Forte and Odenkirk were solid in their roles as the two scenes.

Frozen - I didn’t realize that this was a retelling of The Snow Queen.  This had all the traditional character types that Disney fans have gotten to know over the years.  I basically enjoyed it but it was obvious that the “Barbie”-fication of the animation was a little too much.

Hunger Games- Catching Fire - Better than the first edition of this series, this film actually showed a little depth into the trauma that had to have been experienced by a child forced to kill other children.  Jennifer Lawrence continues to be the only young actress that can open a BIG movie by herself.  I enjoyed this, I enjoyed the ending, I enjoyed the twists (haven’t read the books).  See it on the big screen if you can.

American Hustle - Really enjoyable film.  Another great entry by David O Russell.  Should be a host of Oscar noms: Film, Director, Bale and Lawrence at least.  Fun movie, occasionally comedic but never forced comedy.  Great plot,  I recommend the movie.

Anchorman 2 -  No sense in breaking it down.  You already know if you’re going o see it.  I laughed a bunch, not quite as quoteble as the first, but I was entertained.

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Dec 01 2013

Published by Jeff under Uncategorized

12 Years A Slave - An acting powerhouse of a movie and another that I don’t care to see again.  Let the Oscar nominations flow for this one.  Movie, director, Ejiofor, Fassbender and Nyong’o are where I would start.  The only down side was seeing Brad Pitt as the person who finally got the word to the north about Solomon.  I just can’t help but seeing Pitt instead of his character and this wasn’t the movie to be pulled out like that.

Thor: The Dark World - Great move by Marvel and Disney holding this movie until the fall, I may have been tired of big budget fantasy if this was released in July.  I mostly enjoyed this movie and must admit that Portman looked the best I have ever seen here when she was in Asgaard, not that it is important but it was obvious.  Fun if not deep.

Dallas Buyers Club - McConaughey keeps getting better now that he has severed his ties to bad RomCom’s.  He is completely unrecognizable in this role and may just find himself in the midst of serious awards consideration.  Leto was great in a supporting role and the story was just so gripping.  I loved it.

Philomena - Judi Dench was so good it would be a shame to not see her at Oscar night.  After I saw Gravity, I didn’t think any actress could take the award from Bullock (I didn’t see Blue Jasmine so I apologize to Blanchett fans). Coogan was great and may get some award notice for his co-writing the screenplay.  This was a movie that I walked out and wished I would have written it.

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Oct 31 2013

Oct 13

Published by Jeff under Movie Reviews

Gravity - I wish Cuaron took less than 6 years to make a movie, but when he comes up with this kind of brilliance he has my approval to take all the time he needs.  Bullock did all the heavy lifting in the acting and should be the favorite for Oscar.  Sci-fi at its best.  Absolutely love this movie.

Prisoners - This is not an easy movie to watch.  But it was good.  I am not a parent and even I had a heavy heart for the characters… and I never thought that Wolverine was up on the screen.  Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal worked well on screen together and the peripheral characters were well performed.  I liked this movie more than I thought I would but don’t ask me to see it again.

Captain Phillips - Tom Hanks stepped up and led this movie to greater heights than it should have reached.  Barkhad Abdi was a revelation as the leader of the hijackers.  I think the movie could have been shorter but the tension created in those extended scenes seemed necessary.  See it.

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Sep 30 2013

Sep 13

Published by Jeff under Movie Reviews

Elysium - This is a role that Damon can do in his sleep so that wasn’t the issue.  The issue is that we all saw District 9 and know that Blomkamp is adept at diving into a class struggle, showing the pain and despair of the situation but this film had none of it.  And Jodie Foster’s accent was distracting.  Not recommending.

The Butler - A lot of good things working for this film but when I watched it I was kind of bored.  The pace of moving through the years was too much.  Great actors left with not much to do, except for Whitaker who was good in his restraint with a character who mirrored that same restraint.  There are better options if you want drama.

Enough Said - This tale of a “Beauty and Beast”-like romance, took the bold move of telling in reverse.  I thought it was refreshing.  Dreyfus showed she is more than just a comedic TV actress and deserves some recognition for this role.  I doubt she wins anything but she was great in the type of role usually reserved for men.

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Aug 31 2013

Aug 13

Published by Jeff under Movie Reviews

Fruitvale Station - Great movie.  Very impactful with the way they began with actual cell phone footage and then shows a dramatization of the day leading up to the incident.  Great performance by Michael B Jordan in the lead and I would find it difficult to believe it won’t be on my year end list.

The World’s End -  If you are a fan of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, you’re going to see this movie regardless of any critique.  I am a fan and enjoyed most of this movie.  The ending threw me off a little but I was already engaged and enjoying myself.   Thumbs up from me.

The Spectacular Now - The trailer was somewhat misleading, this is not a comedy though there were some comedic moments.  Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley were fantastic and this may be the final step for Shailene on her ladder to superstardom.  2014 will be her year.  Check this one out.

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Jul 24 2013

Jul 13

Published by Jeff under Movie Reviews

The Way Way Back - I really enjoyed this film.  It doesn’t really have elements that we’ve never seen before but everything just works better here.  The characters are believable and you just hope that this story really exists.  Great protagonist that you root hard for and you desperately want him to get the girl.  It was a little creepy seeing Steve Carrell and Toni Collette as a couple after they previously played siblings in Little Miss Sunshine but I can overlook that with the rest that this film has going for it.  Definitely recommended.

Pacific Rim - The showtimes forced me to see this in 3-D but I don’t think it was worth the extra few bucks.  The movie had some fun elements and was definitely better than some other big budget summer movies this year but there were some things that could have been done better or explored to greater satisfaction.  If you’re planning on seeing this movie, you may have already gone but I’d definitely see the 2-D version.  I doubt anyone has the screen at home to get the full feel of this but if you do, invite some friends over and make a night of it.

The East - Proof that a thriller need not be a huge budget gamble.  This small movie had all the elements of a suspenseful film and great acting to boot.  Brit Marling is becoming a safe movie bet for me going forward.  If you can find this film, it is well worth the time.

The Heat - I ended up liking this more than I thought I would.  The combination of Bullock and McCarthy proves to be a fun ride and don’t be surprised if there are sequels in the future.  I heard the other day someone say that between her TV show and her movie choices that Melissa McCarthy has the best of both worlds (a sweet supportive girlfriend and a potty mouth rogue).  And the trailer didn’t ruin all of the funny parts of the movie.  I enjoyed it.

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Jun 30 2013

June 13

Published by Jeff under Movie Reviews

Man of Steel - Typical structure at the beginning, Parents on Krypton, etc., and there was some nice set up  to a possible dive into the psyche of a Christ-like figure whose opinion of humanity is greater than our own.  They even gave a reason and motivation for the villain Zod.  And yet it diluted into a typical big-budget action movie with no regard for what or who gets in the way, very anti-Superman.  There were a lot of good people involved with this movie, making it even more tragic that the outcome was a hollow shell of what it could have been.

World War Z - massive “pre-release advertising” often gives me an indication that the product will be a disappointment.  I actually enjoyed this one though.  The suspense of disbelief was not difficult and allowed me to sit back and let it take me where it wanted to.  A few questions I had but nothing that would prevent anyone from enjoying the movie.

This is the End - A lot of laughs, some out-loud, and it appeared that they thought enough of the audience to not just have a bunch of famous friends get together and “see what happens.”  They played with some, strictly rumored, info about the actors and had no problem laughing at themselves, with a little too much anatomical humor and f-bombs for my taste, but like I said, I did laugh… a lot.

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May 19 2013

May 13

Published by Jeff under Uncategorized

Star Trek: Into Darkness - fun movie with great stakes and a worthy antagonist.  Simon Pegg’s comedic talent provides a needed respite from some breath-taking action.  I would have been fine with a version that is about 15 minutes shorter but I realize that squeezing in this much action requires extra time.  I trust JJ Abrams.  Hopefully, I’ll still be saying that when Star Wars: Episode VII comes out.

Iron Man 3 - better than the last, not as good as the first.  Downey Jr. is pretty entertaining when given free reign and this movie was no exception… a really nice kick-off of the official summer movie season.  I enjoy a lot of the actors work and certain special effects were really cool and unique.  Don’t think too much about this one and you should enjoy it.

Mud - Movie of the Year so far, granted most of the good ones still have a few months before they come out.  McConaughey will get most of the publicity, and he is really good, but the star here is young Tye Sheridan.  The matching of subplots to the primary plot was handled well.  This film had a great overall feel to it and the location was perfect.

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May 19 2013

Apr 13

Published by Jeff under Movie Reviews

Oblivion - typical Tom Cruise action movie, and yes I believe he can carry an action movie.  The layout of the desolate future earth was interesting and the twists were effective (one is pretty obvious but still came across as satisfying).  This would be a fine weekend night rental, maybe not your best choice but one you won’t feel cheated about.

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