Frozen

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8/10

The best animated film i have seen in a long time. Before seeing this film, i had no idea that it was a musical. It’s a good thing that it is, because this film has some of the best musical pieces from Disney in a long time. The thing that i love the most about this film is that it reminds me a lot of those Disney films from the 80’s and 90’s. It was a time when the music was possibly the most important aspect of a Disney film, and that is what this is. The film doesn’t have your typical love story or your typical villain. Hell, it even has a swerve. That aspect alone gives Frozen a very original touch. On top of it, there is some of the most beautiful visuals i have ever seen in an animated film. I definitely think this film should win the Oscar for best animated film. The cast is incredible. Outside of Kristen Bell, it’s not really anyone super famous and i like that. Just voice actors here, the way it should be. Idina Menzel has the voice of an angel with amazing songs that she had a part in writing. The comic character (Olaf) was pretty good too. I don’t feel he was desperately needed, but Disney loves their comedy. I definitely recommend everyone see this film. Kids will love the colorful characters, and adults will appreciate the creative songs.

The Hunger Games : Catching Fire

 

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8.5/10

My favorite book of the trilogy is adapted in this sequel that is every bit better than the first adaptation. First off, there are some things that are left out from the book in this film. If you go into every film not wanting anything to change, then you might as well stick to the books. This film got roughly 90% of the book correct. Some of the adaptations are surrounded by beautiful scenery and awesome acted dialogue that puts the first film to shame. The biggest thing i loved about this film as opposed to the first one is the fact that the characters are much better in this one. The characters are given time to shine in their roles. My favorite character in the books has always been Finnick, and Sam Claflin plays him perfectly. The character isn’t too overdone with his charismatic charms that he comes off as feminine, but he carries enough charm to make the character lovable. Jena Malone also turns in an incredible performance as Johanna. She really adds her own attitude to an already rebel character. Phillip Seymour Hoffman kicked so much ass as Plutarch that i could never see anyone else in the role. It’s as simple as that. Peeta and Gale don’t get too much time to shine in this film and i hope their roles will be more important in the 3rd/4th film since they are a huge part of the Mockingjay novel. The film’s 2 hour and 26 minute run time didn’t even feel like it as the time breezed by. With the final novel being adapted into two films, i am curious to see how well they keep with the pacing. Especially since the first of those films comes out in less than a year. I hope they aren’t rushed too quickly. Overall, this film is great and definitely deserves a theater viewing. If you liked the first film, you will love this one. If you hated the first film, you won’t find much charm in this one

Gravity

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8/10

This film was easily the most suspenseful film of the year for me. First of all, you have to see this film in theaters. DVD will not do it justice one bit. I also recommend you go to the 3D showing. I don’t usually condone 3D, but it was well worth it in this film. Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are stuck in orbit in space. That is the whole premise. It seems dull, but these two great actors really make the most of a situation. My favorite things about this film was the editing and the score. Both of which are the best of the year in my opinion. The music is what totally supplies the suspense of this film. You really care for these characters and can see the terror that they face coming from a mile away. I found it funny that Ed Harris supplied the voice for mission control again (Apollo 13). The only thing i didn’t like about the film was that some scenes drag on a little too far. I think this will ruin the film for some people with short attention spans. This film gives us the most beautiful shots of earth in the background, and it’s only with those shots can you truly understand how deep these two are in. I recommend this film to everyone, but only in theaters.

Rush

 

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8/10

The title says it all in this fast paced film about two rival Formula 1 drivers who live the fast life of racing, and give it all to defeat the other one. This film had a lot of great qualities to it. The camera shots were beautiful with some incredible edits. This film should be nominated for an Oscar for it’s editing alone. Chris Hemsworth is great as the cocky and young, James Hunt, but it’s Daniel Bruhl who steals the show as Niki Lauda. During the film, you will find yourself rooting for Lauda even as the story follows Hunt more. I think that is what really puts Ron Howard above most directors in terms of storytelling. That subject definitely isn’t abandoned in this film as the story is every bit as good as any other part of the film. The only thing i would probably change about the storytelling is the outside of the racing world. We get glimpses into the different lifestyles of Lauda and Hunt, but we don’t ever really see enough to see what they are going through. The film is about the racing world, but to see more from the outside characters (Olivia Wilde especially) could make this film go a whole lot further. There are times where the film gets a little slow from the same scenario, and that is where some outside perspective would’ve helped. I would definitely recommend this film to everyone. I think racing fans will love it for obvious reasons, but non racing fans will like it from the charisma of Hemsworth and the intelligence of Bruhl.

Red 2

 

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8/10

Best action film of the year by far. The group returns in this sequel that is better than the original (in my opinion), and brings in several new characters that are awesome. Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren and John Malkovich (Best part of these films) return with Neal Mcdonough, Anthony Hopkins and Byung Hun-Lee. Hopkins is the best actor on the screen as usual, but it’s Lee who steals the show as the #1 assassin in the world, Han. Han is one of those bad guys who just kicks total ass and doesn’t worry about consequences. He is smarter, quicker and stronger than everyone in this group which makes you wonder how they will take this guy down. The result is one of few things i don’t like about this film. I don’t want to give it away, but he is jobbed out in this film like he was GI Joe 2. I also thought the last ten minutes were a little far fetched, but the difference between this film and say Fast and Furious is that these are trained agents, so them pulling this stuff off is a little more believable. Not completely, but a little bit. On top of it all, there are great explosions and awesome fight scenes. The scene with Han taking on a dozen cops in a convenience store personally sealed this film as an 8/10 for me. I definitely recommend this film for everyone. The guys will love the action and the women will love the comedy and the two awesome female heroes that carry the group completely

Fruitvale Station

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8/10

This was a very deep look into the tragedy of Fruitvale Station in San Francisco on New Year’s Eve 2008. An african american male is shot by a caucasian police officer, leaving the family in shambles. This film is heartbreaking in every sense that a man lost his life at the age of 22. He left behind a daughter and a loving girlfriend. I enjoyed the film because it is shot very well. I usually don’t like the “Shot on video” style of films, but this story is a film that definitely benefited from it. Octavia Spencer is the best performer in the film as usual. She always gives such a performance that can tug at the strings of your heart in any emotion. I think she is purely underrated and one of the best actresses in Hollywood today. I also liked how they made a short incident seem longer in an 80 minute film by filling in the blanks. They gave us a great back story that made you care about the change and good things to come in these characters futures. There were a couple of things i didn’t like which included the actress playing the girlfriend. I just think she wasn’t emotional enough to pull off a role of that magnitude. You can’t even tell me for a second that his girlfriend wasn’t knocked to the floor when she heard the news of her boyfriend. Yet she plays it like a headlight in her car just burnt out. The movie is definitely worth a look, but the only problem with true story films is that you never know 100% what is real and what the studios did to enhance a film. The final shot of the movie is done so well and leaves you with a powerful stance when you exit the film. I definitely recommend this film if you can find it in theaters. If not, it should be out on DVD soon.

Downloaded

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8/10

A great documentary about the rise and fall of the music sharing giant known as Napster. The film gives a great look into the battles and insight of the Napster employees and the war they fought against music industry giants. I think the story is told very well by both sides of the war, and shows you what the musicians were going through as well. It was also crazy to watch the last ten minutes and see the kind of successes and failures that Shawn Fanning and Shawn Parker accomplished after Napster. I definitely recommend giving this film a chance if you were a teenager like me in 2000 who grew up in a world where the technology was getting faster and smarter. Downloaded has 105 minutes of amazing footage that shows you the kind of world we were dealing with, and the ground that was being laid for internet giants like Facebook, Spotify and Itunes.

World War Z

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8/10

This is the happiest i have been after an original zombie film since 2003 (28 Days Later). The world is overrun by disease infected zombies in this end of the world drama. I say “disease infected” because this film treats the zombie epidemic as a disease…..and it works. It’s nice to see a film take an old idea and make it fresh again with the psychology and not the killings of zombies. That is what makes World War Z different; the zombies infect, not kill. Some of the scenes were amazingly scored by rock legends Muse, which only adds to a heart dropping scene like the one in the plane. Things i didn’t like about this film was the camera work. I got a headache watching this film that took me back to Die Hard 5 earlier this year. Shaky cam work doesn’t always have to be a stable in an action scene. I know why they do it, but just shoot the scene and leave it at that. I also had a dispute with the ending, but because of spoilers i can’t get into that. Brad Pitt is just ok as the lead in this film, nothing good or bad. I felt that a no namer could’ve done just as well, but it probably wouldn’t have sold in that perspective. Overall, i recommend this film in theaters but not in 3D. Outside of the plane scene, i didn’t feel it added anything great.

Star Trek : Into Darkness

 

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8/10

This sequel to the reboot explores the crew of the Enterprise as they lock horns with the great Khan. First of all, i am no Trekie by any means what so ever, but these films are more entertaining than the originals (to me) for a multitude of reasons. The characters are more human and can be related to in this film because they make the same mistakes that humans make everyday. This great cast is led by great performances from Chris Pine, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg and especially from Spock himself, Zachary Quinto. I personally think Spock is the best thing about these new films because he is played to a tighter friendship with Captain Kirk. Into Darkness circles that theory even further as it shows the tight bond between the two men and how they would do anything to help the other. This film is also fast pace and exciting. It has amazing battle scenes that you would have never seen in the original films. I get that technology has come a long way in 40 years, but when comparing the originals to this, you get to different sets of films. Clocking in at slightly over two hours, this film doesn’t drag at all. It keeps the audience entertained while revealing a lot about the character of Khan. I would have to say that i enjoyed this film even more than the first one and i look forward to the future of this franchise. I recommend this film to everyone because if i liked it, there is a chance that anyone will.

The Great Gatsby

 

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8.5/10

Really amazing remake that surpasses a lot of the things in the Robert Redford version. The performance of Joel Edgarton as Mr Buchanan was simply amazing. I loved the arrogance that he really mastered in that part. Leonard Dicaprio deserves an Oscar nomination. I am not sure if he should win, but a nomination at the very least. I also really enjoyed the 3D in the fact that it presented many beautiful landscapes. The 3D was subtle and not over done at all like you see in some movies. Some of the things that bothered me was the soundtrack. It’s kind of weird to see a film set in 1922 with Jay Z, Kanye West, Amy Winehouse and Beyonce playing. I don’t care if director Baz Luhrman likes to modernize all of his pictures, it just doesn’t work. I also didn’t like the performance of Tobey Mcguire. I thought he was a little overdone and a little old for the character of Nick Carradine. I prefer Sam Waterston in this role. They also took a couple of things and made them different from the novel; which i liked. The film does come in at 2 hours and 20 minutes, and is a little long. But i don’t really see a scene they could’ve cut and still gotten the effect out of each scene. The film has to be that long, and if the viewer doesn’t understand that then they have never read the book. Overall, i recommend this film on the grounds that it is another beautiful masterpiece by Baz Luhrman. It will be on DVD within a couple weeks, but it’s definitely worth a couple bucks at the dollar theater. I was glad i finally was able to see this film as it was one of the most anticipated for me of the summer.

The Iceman

 

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8.5/10

Such an amazing and impacting telling of the famous mob hit man known as Richard Kuklinski. Michael Shannon gives an Oscar worthy performance as the man who is stone cold when killing over 100 people. This film is definitely one of the best films of the year and deserves a look by everyone. It’s got an amazing cast that includes Winona Ryder, Ray Liotta (As badass as ever), Chris Evans, James Franco, Stephen Dorff and David Schwimmer. It was great to see into the mind of such a notorious killer for doing the things that he does. This is a 100 minute movie that keeps you entertained every minute of it, and that is something very hard to do. The only thing i would’ve done to improve the film is to show a little bit of Richard’s early life before he became a killer. It does show an abusive relationship with his father, but nothing much more than that. I recommend this film to everyone when it comes out next week. Definitely worth a look.

Pain and Gain

 

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8/10

This honestly has to be the surprise of the year so far. This movie tells a story of how it all went wrong for three bodybuilders who just wanted the American dream. This movie stars heavy hitters like Mark Wahlberg and The Rock, but it’s Ed Harris and Tony Shaloub who really steal the movie with incredible performances that differ from the roles they are normally cast in. This is easily the best Michael Bay film in existence because simply put; i am not a Michael Bay fan. Some of the scenes in this movie border on the horror genre because of the excessive use of gore. Overall, a good movie that i would definitely recommend. This movie will probably be overshadowed by films like The Great Gatsby or The Hangover part 3, but i think this one is definitely worth a look.