Inside Llewyn Davis

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7/10

Inside Llewyn Davis is kind of like a new song by a famous artist (The Coen Brothers). It’s got a good rhythm (Screenplay) and good characters (Narration), but it’s not the best from the artist or nearly the kind of songs you fell in love with (No Country For Old Men, The Big Lebowski, O Brother Where Art Thou). With that said, Oscar Isaac is a Best Lead Actor front runner when the Oscars come in March. He gives an amazingly warmhearted and dry witted performance as Llewyn Davis, a folk song writer struggling to stay afloat in 1961 New York. The first hour of this film kept in contention with some of the best films i have seen this year. It’s in the 2nd hour that the film begins to lose steam. We find out that some things have happened in Llewyn’s life that he has to make right. Mainly impregnating the girlfriend (Carey Mulligan) of a fellow friend and artist (Justin Timberlake). Mulligan is outstanding in the role of the harsh and negative girl who doesn’t quite know what she sees in Davis. My biggest problem with this film aside from the ending (Which i will get to later), is that many of the questions were never answered. I don’t want to spoil anything, but we never find out about the abortion or a couple of other things by the movie’s end. It’s like they had a great story and abandoned some of the parts to make an artsy ending. The ending itself just happens anti-climatic. When the screen goes black, you will ask yourself if that really is the end. It’s a shame too because you really care about these characters. They deserved a better ending than the one they are given. It’s amazing that with all i have said that The Coen Brothers still put together a decent film. Some great positives is the setting of each scene with incredible lighting. Also a score that i will be picking up in stores that should win an Oscar. Inside Llewyn Davis is not a film for everyone. Nothing huge or groundbreaking happens in this film. But if you can sit through almost 2 hours of beautiful songs with deep characters whose questions are not always answered, then this cup of tea is for you, friend. It’s also pretty cool to hear Akron mentioned a couple of times in the film

Hours

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7.5/10

If this is the last full length Paul Walker film, then i can say that his memory will go happy. This film really surprised me with how good it was. In my opinion, Running Scared and Joy Ride are the best Paul Walker films, but this is very close as well. Walker stars a man who is on his way to the emergency room to be there for his wife who is giving birth. When he is told that his little girl is on a breathing machine until she can breathe on her own, he finds out his wife has passed. When you take a story that already has a great plot like that and mix it with the fact that this is all taking place during Hurricane Katrina, it makes for an edge of the seat ride. The hospital is completely abandoned, so it’s up to Walker to keep his daughter alive for their rescue 48 hours later. I love when a film takes place in one setting the whole film. I think it asks more from it’s actors that way, and Walker definitely delivers. I really enjoyed the realism from the faulty hospital equipment to the surprises that Walker has while being alone in the hospital. When Walker died, he left behind a lot of fans who enjoyed the charisma that he showed on screen. If you are one of these fans, you simply CAN NOT miss this film. The ladies will shed some tears and be yelling at the screen while the guys will appreciate what the man does to keep his daughter alive.

Out of the Furnace

 

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7.5/10

A very deep and dark movie about the lengths we will go when something happens to a member of our families. This film has some amazing character performances and it’s those performances alone that give you every reason to see this film. Those performances are led by Woody Harrelson as a drug selling country hick who runs an underground fighting ring. Harrelson is one of my favorite actors, and it’s always fun seeing what role he will play next. Choosing him to be the villain for this movie was great casting. Is there any role this man can not do? Christian Bale and Casey Affleck are also impressive as the brothers in the story. Affleck has a young charm that makes him too naive for the stupid decisions he makes. Bale continues to be the best character actor bar non on the planet. The man will do anything to prepare for a role. The one thing i will say about this film is without those actors giving amazing performances, this film is nothing. The script is mediocre and plays out like a film you would watch on Lifetime Movies. It knows the points it’s crowd is supposed to cheer and boo and it exploits them. The film has a nice haunted town setting of Pittsburgh and it’s surrounding suburbs. A soundtrack by Pearl Jam gives the town it’s extra feel of hard nosed fighters who just never know when to quit. I recommend checking this film out, but keep in mind that there are some slow parts. Those parts don’t seem as big of a deal with the performances unfolding at hand.

Oldboy

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7/10

This film has it’s advantages to the 2003 Korean original, but falls just short of surpassing it. Josh Brolin gives an amazing performance and stars as a man trapped and imprisoned for 20 years for things he did in his past. He finds out he is framed for the murder of his wife while in that prison. I really enjoyed the 2003 version and was kind of worried about this one. Spike Lee does a decent job in adapting a very violent story to American cinema. There were a couple of things that i actually liked better in this film than the original. I will not spoil those things for the people who have not seen either version. The camera work in this film is supreme to that of it’s original for the quick cuts and views the way Brolin sees things. The ending to this version is also better in my opinion, as i had a couple of problems with the way the original ended. The acting is better in the original as the villain in this film is laughable. It feels like Brolin is controlling him the whole time and that is something that just doesn’t work in this story. There were also some violent things left out of this version that i felt added to the story, and those opportunities were missed. Overall, this film isn’t a bad version of the story. I would recommend this film only after you have seen the 2003 original. If you liked that film, then i really think you will enjoy this one as well.

In Fear

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7/10

In Fear grips like a full speed thrill ride even as the tension threatens to spin out of control. I was curious to check out this film if only for the 100% rating it currently has on Rotten Tomatoes, and it didn’t disappoint…….completely. This film is the happiest i have been with an original thriller in a good couple of years. It stars two young adults who have only known each other a couple weeks and are on their way to a festival when they decide to get a hotel room for the night. Just miles from the hotel, they encounter a maze on the way to getting there. They take different ways at different times to get there but end up at the same place they started. I really enjoyed some of the chilling themes of this movie like being stuck in isolation in the woods. Make no mistake, setting is VERY important in a film like this. It’s obvious that not a lot of money was involved in making this picture, so you have to hit the audience with ideas that can make the experience memorable. Alice Englert stars as female lead Lucy. It is in Lucy that we feel her pain as being stuck in the woods with someone she doesn’t fully know or understand. When you really think about it, that can be frightening for anyone. The sound editing/mixing is also something that should be complimented in this film. The suspenseful score starts the engine, but it is the amplified sound that compliment the high speed chases the most. I felt like i was getting the most i possibly could out of a movie with three characters and a car. The last British thriller that i saw was The Descent films, and i think this movie is sooooo much better than those. As the film’s 85 minute run time goes on, it is the darkness that plays the biggest role. Our characters sense a feel of panic and time running out with a car’s gas tank. It’s those little things that sneak up to the audience and hit you hard when you realize what is coming. The only problems i had with the film were a couple of the things the couple encounter during the movie. (Minor spoiler) With only one villain, it’s hard to imagine how all of this stuff was accomplished. I also felt the ending wasn’t entirely satisfying. It did give me a sense of pleasure, but not worth what these characters entailed. Overall, In Fear is a straight to DVD film (March 11th) that is definitely worth a look. If you like 80’s style suspense that is almost complimentary to the John Carpenter feel, this is a good film for you. I don’t know if today’s audience will be completely satisfied with the film, but it will be refreshing compared to today’s standards of shot on video (Or shot on shitteo, as i refer to them) films that are plaguing the genre.

Thor : The Dark World

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7.5/10

This anticipated sequel to the original masterpiece comes close in bringing the greatness again. I enjoyed this film a lot from different aspects that the first film didn’t bring. It is nice to see Loki and Thor team up to form one powerful union. I can only hope that something comes of this when The Avengers 2 comes out in a couple years. Make no mistakes about it, this is Tom Hiddleston’s film. As Loki, he provides us with the best lines in the script and the deepest character development of anyone in the film. I also enjoyed how this film wasn’t afraid to take more risks than the first one. There are a couple of death scenes in the movie that really open your eyes and let you know that Malekith and The Elf Army mean business. Malekith just falls short on the magnitude of Loki as a bad guy and that is understandable. Loki is after all the biggest rival in Thor’s comic book series. With that said, i enjoyed how Malekith spoke in a different language. It has always been weird to me how these civilizations talk in perfect english in these films, so it’s nice to see a villain who goes against the grain. The action scenes are there once again with some amazing damage being done to Asgard and London. This film clocks in at around 110 minutes, but it never drags. I think that is why i prefer the Thor series as opposed to Iron Man or The Hulk. It manages to keep itself fresh in two films that are around the 2 hour mark, and it still has lots of story to tell. I wasn’t too crazy about how this film set itself up for a 3rd one, but we shall see if Thor can break what i refer to as “The curse of 3”. Overall, i definitely recommend this film to everyone. I don’t think anyone will be turned away when it comes to the action that Marvel always brings to their films…………..Ok, Daredevil and Elektra don’t count

Captain Phillips

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7.5/10

Tom Hanks gives his best performance in nearly a decade in this film about a ship taken over by African pirates. I didn’t expect too much from this film, but boy was i surprised. The film does a great job of telling the 2009 story of merchant mariner Richard Phillips and his amazing rescue. What i like is that i knew most of the events that happened in the film, but there were some things that even surprised me. That’s not to say that this film is 100% true, but we as a public are not privy to that kind of information, so i will take anything. The only thing i didn’t like about the film is it’s length. It is too long of a film and does drag at certain points. It would be easy to trim a half hour off of this film, but i kind of understand what they were going for. As i said before, Hanks is brilliant. This role is kind of different for him because he doesn’t often play a victim. I was really rooting for him and hoping for the best in every situation he was put in. Just when you think he may be safe, he was put into an even worse situation. I have seen six films this week and this is definitely the best one. The way it is shot is brilliant with a minor shaky cam that doesn’t go to extreme annoyance levels (See Die Hard 5). The cast is perfect, including the pirates themselves. I definitely recommend this film to everyone, but i would save it for DVD. It’s over 2 hours long, so you will appreciate those times when you can pause the film to go to the bathroom or do something around the house. Either way, definitely worth a look.

Don Jon

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7.5/10

To see this film’s trailer is to only see half of the film. This comedy starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a lot more than a young man’s addiction to porn. It is about his transformation into becoming a better person which makes his sexual experiences that much better. Tony Danza totally stole the movie as Levitt’s father who is a shining example of most hard assed parents who want the best for their kids. I always say that Requiem For a Dream should be shown to every high school kid in the world, well this film needs to be shown to every male who is in a relationship. I don’t want to give too much away, but this film asks the question of which things within yourself are worth changing for what you view as tranquility. The only things i didn’t like about the film was some of the acting being a little over the top. I think people see New Jersey citizens in the script and always have to play to the stereotype. I feel like these characters could’ve added a little more to making them their own. Also, Brie Larsen plays Levitt’s sister and is totally wasted as she plays the Silent Bob role of the movie. Don Jon is a film about opening up your eyes and changing the things in your life that may be toxic to the way you live. I recommend this film to the male demographic. I don’t know how secure the female demographic will be to enjoy this film. The porn might be a little too over the top.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2

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7/10

The laughs are brought with a very cute movie for the whole family. I really enjoyed this film that is a sequel to what i thought was the best animated film of 2009. All of the best characters are back with Terry Crewes filling in for Mr T. I personally preferred Terry Crewes as i feel he is comic gold in anything that he does. Steve the Monkey has always been my favorite character in this franchise, but i thought Berry was a much welcome addition. There was something about this film that was more adorable than funny. Don’t get me wrong, the laughs are certainly there, but this film was just more of a feel good story for me. It doesn’t match the greatness of the original, but it is still a very good film. I have been real pleased the last couple of years with animated films. I think they are reaching an artistic peak with the technology available. I would welcome a 3rd film in this franchise as i feel they kept it very entertaining in the 2nd film. I personally preferred the egotistical mayor of the first film as opposed to Chester V, but that is a nit pick. Take the whole family to see this film. The kids will like it for all of the adorable and funny characters, but the adults will love it for all of the puns the kids don’t understand.

Curse of Chucky

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7/10

The moral of this story is to never judge a book by it’s previous covers. The Child’s Play franchise isn’t one one of my favorites in horror, but i did enjoy the first one. I think it’s a pretty silly premise, but has it’s charms with some great death scenes and a story that is good but never gives us a full history lesson. That is all multiplied by 5 with Curse of Chucky. This is the best film in the franchise by far. It’s got amazing death scenes, an amazing story that i will get to later and a cast of great characters. Brad Douriff dons the voice of the knife hurling doll known as Chucky. It was great to also see his daughter, Fiona Douriff as the lead of the film as a wheel chaired victim who must overcome her situation. The film is filmed with other amazing cameos that i am not going to spoil for you, and we finally get to find out the back story of the killer who possesses the Chucky doll, Charles Lee Ray. Brad Douriff had a lot to do with writing this film because he wrote a very clever way to bring Chucky back which none of the other sequels have figured out. Chucky is also menacing in this one like he was in the original. Sure, there are some comedic lines, but it’s not overdone. Chucky became a literal joke to everyone with the last couple films and this rightfully brings him back as a legend in the horror genre. The acting was terrible as usual with this film and some of the characters are dumb by actions, but i don’t think the film suffered as a result of it. Curse of Chucky is one of the biggest surprises of the year in my book, and it definitely reaches the top 5 in horror for the year of 2013. I recommend this film to fans of the franchise or anyone who thought that last few movies were crap. I think this is a film that likers and haters of Chucky will all enjoy.

Riddick

 

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7.5/10

I really enjoyed this sequel to Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick. In my opinion, this film is more similar to the style in Pitch Black. It’s rated R, and the storylines of the two films are very similar. There were of course some very enjoyable differences. This film has the best characters of the three films. The acting is a little dull with a couple of them, but i haven’t cared about characters fate as much as i do in this one. That cast is led by Katie Sackoff, who i think is the best character in the film. She is kind of like a female Riddick without all of the cliche’s. She is definitely the biggest badass female i have seen in cinema this year. I also enjoyed the ending as i felt it gave something different to this trilogy. I was worried that this film’s ending was going to fall in the same category as the other two, but it gave a little twist at the end that made you keep from rolling your eyes. I thought the CGI of the landscape looked great at night, but very fake during the day shots. I think Riddick films work better at night anyway because that is what he is all about. If there is a fourth film in the series, i would like to see a movie completely at night time. The monsters in this movie were very original and packed a lethal punch to give Riddick a hard fight. I recommend this film to fans of the series and action buffs alike. There are parts that will have you rolling your eyes at the believability, but come on, it’s a Vin Diesel movie.

The World’s End

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7/10

The final film in the flavors trilogy ends us on a positive note. There was a lot i really enjoyed about this film. About 35 minutes in, it becomes a totally different film that is all about learning from our mistakes and that the good times we had when we were young don’t have to be the best times of our life. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are back (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Paul) for another dose of comedic genius and great characters that are sometimes hard to find in today’s films. The character of Pegg’s was a little hard to like at first, but you realize that he is a man who doesn’t have much to live for. I thought the action and effects from the violence were done very well. The comedy is the right tone for a film that has a bit of a serious tone on alcoholism. The only things i didn’t like was what happened at the end of the pub crawl, and the ending of the film itself is a little drawn out. It’s cool that the film had balls to go through with an ending that some people might not be satisfied with when they head home. I definitely recommend the film to everyone, and especially to those of you who have seen Shaun and Fuzz and enjoyed them. I would say this is the 2nd best film of the trilogy behind Shaun of the Dead, but that is just my opinion.