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.

42

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8.5/10

It’s funny to go from my earlier review to this because this is one of my favorite films of the year so far. This film shows the struggles that Jackie Robinson went through in his rookie year in pro baseball. One of the things i loved about this film was the fact that it didn’t just show the struggles of Jackie, but the struggles of his family, friends and even his teammates. It was great to see this team come together as a band of brothers who had each others backs when they realized Jackie is their teammate. The only minor criticism i had for the movie was that it only covers his rookie year. I would’ve liked to have seen this story span over the first seven years of his career to the point of him beating the Yankees in the World Series in 1955. I felt that if you even had to make it a 2 and a half hour movie to get to that point that it would’ve been entertaining enough to keep up through that length. Other than that, it’s a film that i highly recommend to any sports or non-sports fan. The performances of Chadwick Boseman as Jackie and Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey are incredible enough to give this film a gander. I also really thought the cinematography of Ebbits Field was amazing. They got everything down perfectly to a tee with the stadium design of a stadium that has been gone for over 50 years

Evil Dead (2013)

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8/10

Really great horror movie that was a non stop gorefest. I really enjoyed the references to the original movies and the creative ways they accomplished it. I recommend this movie as a movie that you don’t really take seriously but a movie that you go to have fun with your friends. The only things i didn’t like were the cast. I couldn’t care less what happened to them. There were also certain things that were done by a nail gun and a chainsaw that i couldn’t believe, but i will bitch about that more later. I totally recommend this film to everyone.

Dead Man Down

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8/10

Tons of thrills in this crime drama starring Colin Ferrell and Noomi Rapice. This film really amazed me considering it is produced by WWE films. It’s easily the best thing that company has ever produced. The best thing about this movie is the fact that it is a completely different film than what it represents in the trailer. Colin Ferrell’s family is murdered by a crime group led by Terrance Howard. He lives on to join their group in order to get back at them and what follows is a great story. This film does have a lot of action, but i think it’s the story and the wonderful characters that really brings it together. Some of the weaknesses was the ending. I didn’t feel that it was the right kind of justice for the bad guys, but that is nitpicking. I also felt some of the scenes were a little comical at times. Like the scene where Noomi Rapice has rocks thrown at her by small children. That’s a little extreme for kids picking on her. Overall, a great film that i recommend to everyone. Not a lot of money went into this film and sometimes it is better that way. Dead Man Down proves that good action mixed with a great story is always a winner.

Stoker

 

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8/10

Stoker may be the most deranged coming of age tale i have ever seen. I really enjoyed this film as a whole, and there is a lot to enjoy. However, i am not foolish enough to believe for a second that people will enjoy this like i did. This is a very unusual suspense/horror film about an uncle who comes to live with a mother and daughter after his brother dies. This film is very slow during the first half hour of the movie, but if you can outlast all of that it definitely rewards you with amazing performances by Matthew Goode and Nicole Kidman. The best performance however was Mia Wiakowski. Long gone are the days of her performance in Alice In Wonderland. She is now a woman, and has the ability to tell so much emotion in one look at the camera. I was very surprised at the dark turns that this film took, but it was done in such a tasteful way. The music is absolutely breathtaking because it doesn’t appear too often. The color of the scene tones mixed with excellent camera work makes this a definite top ten nominee at my end of the year list. I recommend this film to anyone who doesn’t mind a slow paced dark film. I think you will appreciate the things it does above all of that.