This is the angriest i have been at a film in a long time. The continuing trend of Hollywood studios treating children like they’re idiots, continues with The Nut Job. This film is the equivalent to a cheesy joke told at a party with friends. It’s an unfunny and uninteresting mess.The film stars a couple squirrels (Will Arnett and Katherine Heigl) who are literally fighting over nuts to feed a park of other animals. The biggest pain in the film is how many times they use the “Nut pun” OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER again. I think the audience understood the first time that nuts is a dirty pun that you can use as a sexual innuendo. It’s childish the first time and mind numbing by time 1,456. The voice acting is what gives this film as high of a rating as it is. Liam Neeson is outstanding once again. This time he is a villain who is the park’s leader as he is harboring a secret plan to starve them all out. Neeson is one of those actors who doesn’t need a face to truly grasp the emotion that he is delivering. Even in a script this stupid, he finds a way to make his character menacing. The 3D is totally useless. There is absolutely no reason that this film had to be in 3D except to make Pixar own even more of your wallet. There is one part in the film that didn’t make sense to me, but by the film’s end it was put in there just so the bad guy could be defeated. Another villain who is a human is blessed with the ability to hear dog whistles. This talent hurts him as he holds his ears in agony every time it’s blown. It’s never explained why or how he has this ability but it sure enough shows you why it was put in the film at the end of the movie. If it wasn’t for the voice work and Pixar’s excellent animation, this film would have been worse than the latest Paranormal Activity. It was THAT bad. I will recommend this film for kids, but even the ten or so kids in the theater i was in were getting bored with it. I caught several glances of them kicking the chairs in front of them. One even played games on his mother’s cell phone. The kids will like it, but only the hardest of die hard Pixar adults will like this film. I have yet to even explain the worst part. That is saved in the closing credits of the film. The film’s theme is Gagnam Style by Psy, and sure enough he makes an animated appearance dancing on the side of the credits. If 80 minutes of torture won’t make you roll your eyes, Psy’s 2 year old dance on the side of the screen will. It’s great to have a song in a children’s movie (yelling) THAT THE CHILDREN CAN’T UNDERSTAND THE LANGUAGE!!!!! Save your money and go see Frozen if you haven’t seen that. If you have, see it again. See it 400 times before this
Osage County is perhaps one of the most overrated films i have ever come across. For all of the Oscar buzz and critical praise that this film received, it really is quite disappointing. The story which is based on a play of the same name is about a dysfunctional family dealing with the loss of the father of the household and the secrets that follow. This 2 hour run time really has nothing to fill in the blanks with but childish arguments. Sure, it is an honest look at a real American family, but the big events in this film happen few and far between. Meryl Streep is definitely Oscar nomination worthy in her portrayal as Violet Weston. She is the same Streep who brings tears of cinematic virtue to every role she plays. Her character struggles with drug abuse, and it’s clear she is ripping apart at the seams. Julia Roberts is ok, but i didn’t feel she deserved an Oscar nomination. She practically plays the same character in every film (my opinion), and i think this film is cluttered with too many characters for it to be a memorable role for her. Two other bright spots in the film are Chris Cooper and Margo Martindale as the brother and sister of Violet. They have amazing chemistry as a couple who have been married far too long, and bring the best comedic chops to the film. It is the great acting performances like this that even give this movie this high of a grade. It tries so hard to be this generation’s Friend Green Tomatoes, but it just doesn’t have the articulate pacing of that film. The characters are so unlikable that by the end of the film we are left with a closing that doesn’t touch our hearts like it should. Overall, i would say that maybe this film will appeal to some female movie goers, but that’s about it. My advice to those fans who want to see it is to wait till a dollar theater or DVD rental. August : Osage County shows brief moments of excellence, but it’s the long waits in between that kill the momentum of this Oscar favorite.
Spike Jonze latest film is his greatest accomplishment to date. Her is a dramatic piece about the depths of loneliness and the things we look to for comfort in an aching wound. I saw the film even a little different from the description that i just typed. I saw it as a piece that warns us about the rise of technological advances, and how the need for human life is slowly getting phased out. Juaquin Phoenix stars as Theodore Twombley, a man who is emotionally scared to open up to the world after the divorce from his wife (Rooney Mara). He buys a new operating system which gives the effect of an actual person in the room with him. What follows becomes the most emotionally invested relationship of Twombley’s life. Phoenix is absolutely breathtaking in this film. It sounds bad when i say this is a one man show, but he is definitely a step above the rest. That doesn’t mean that this amazing ensemble doesn’t do their parts. Led by Amy Adams, Chris Pratt, Olivia Wilde and the voice herself, Scarlett Johansson. These characters give Phoenix all he needs to play through a series of emotions. The film for me was more sad than anything else. When you think about where we are today in our own technological world, it hits a lot closer to home than people might think. Problems quickly arise in the relationship when the voice lacks personal touch, and i think it is done in a manor that the audience will fully invest in. I wouldn’t be doing my job if i didn’t talk about the phenomenal cinematography. This is the most beautifully shot film that i have seen in a long time. The angles and close ups on characters faces that represent what they are going through is a Jonze classic in his arsenal. It works best in a film like this that plays off nothing but emotional depth. The use of light in the outside shots are like the beautiful path that Twombley is walking on his journey out of solitude. The dialogue does get a little cheesy at times, but the premise itself is kind of cheesy when you think about it. It honestly didn’t bother me as much as it might some other people. The only thing that worries me about a film like this is that it might be too artsy and slow at times for people to enjoy. I think the real lovers of film will truly enjoy this film because it’s everything that is great about Hollywood. Sometimes you only need a great actor like Phoenix to hit with such a powerful piece of cinema gold. The people who are expecting huge things to happen in this film will be set up for disappointment. The big things are there, but they come in the form of character growth. The original cut of this film was 150 minutes, and i would certainly be interested in checking out some of that deleted footage. In the end, this film shows us that the line between human interaction is being cut thinner with time. But if we are willing to accept help from the most unlikely sources, maybe we too can change for the better
Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro return to the boxing ring in a film that is decent, but easily forgettable. The two fighters fought twice with each of them winning one fight. When Stallone retires from the ring, De Niro has to wait 30 years for his rematch. The two out of shape veteran boxers are laughed out of every press conference and promotion for the fight. This film wasn’t bad considering it’s a tired setting for both actors. Kevin Hart and Alan Arkin each add their brand of humor to the film, and it’s only a few scenes that actually bring a smile to your face. This is one of those films where all of the good lines are said in the trailer and that is unfortunate. I did enjoy the story of the film and how the two boxers are tied closer than their respective sport. I also enjoyed that this film has bravery by actually having a winner. I have seen too many sports movies where it will end in a tie or never tell us the winner that i was expecting that with this film. Pittsburgh is the perfect place to set this film in. It’s the city of workers who are tougher than the concrete they walk on. It makes sense to make both of these fighters from the steel city. Grudge Match is a decent film to see for a family who are looking for something to do to keep them out of the cold. But as a critic, i have to say that this film runs out of energy before it even hits the final round. The verdict – Give it a rental.
The rise and fall of Jordan Belfort tells a story that is so crazy it can never be touched. I truly couldn’t have been prepared for the things that were coming in this movie. Leonardo Dicaprio gives and Oscar worthy performance as Belfort, a stocks trader who robbed hard working Americans of millions of dollars in the 90’s. Dicaprio is one of those actors who will always be an all time great. In Belfort, he makes us love and hate him which is the sign of any great actor. He brings so much to a character that we are supposed to despise because we cannot relate to him. Jonah Hill is also fantastic as Belfort’s best friend who quits his job to join up with Belfort. There were times when i forgot i was even watching Jonah Hill. It shows how far of an actor he has come from his days in Superbad and Knocked Up. The film is 3 hours long, and this is probably the only time i will ever advocate a single film being that long. You have to show every single scene along the way even when it seems pointless. It will all come together in the end like a puzzle. Martin Scorsese is one of the best directors in the world, and he only further cements his legacy with one of his greatest films ever. The lone problem that i had with the film was that we didn’t learn a lot about the characters after it all came tumbling down. We find out a brief interchange, but it doesn’t fill in the gaps to leave us satisfied. I am also curious to hear a woman’s perspective of this film as there are a lot of male misogynistic scenes where women are degraded and treated as meat. I can only imagine how uncomfortable it must have been to be a woman working at that office. The Wolf of Wall Street is truly one of those films that you have to see to believe. Even though it’s only a film, it tells the story of an insane time in American business. One that will probably never be repeated again. I definitely recommend this film to everyone, but be ready for a long sit and some weird scenes that will make you wonder why they are in there. Once again, if females see this film i would love to hear your thoughts.
Bruce Dern and Will Forte star in this black and white adventure about an old man (Dern) who receives a letter in the mail claiming he has won 1 million dollars. We know it’s a scam from the start, but that isn’t what the film is about. There are a lot of hidden meanings in this film that you really have to pay attention to get. One of those meanings was a father/son bonding experience across country. We find out that Dern has been kind of an abandoning father to Forte, but there isn’t anything the son wouldn’t do to make his father happy. The film is beautifully shot in black and white which i feel gives an old style feel in the way that we may be seeing the world the way Dern does. There are also excellent performances from Bob Odenkirk and who i think should win the Oscar for Best Supporting Female, June Squibb. Squibb is electric as the nagging wife who is driven crazy by her husband, but stands by him with her devotion to love. Nebraska is a slow sit though. I can’t say i would recommend this film to anyone but fans of director Alexander Payne (Sideways). His style of slow shots and meaningful undertones is something i like in a director. As i said, the film is riddled in slow spots. The dialogue is 100% of this movie. If you are waiting for some big explosion or some earth shattering event, this isn’t the film for you. I think most people will be bored by it, but i enjoyed it. It’s a different film from what you see in 2013, and if you have to travel to Nebraska to find it, well so be it.
This is going to be blasphemous to some people, but i thought this sequel to the 2004 original was even better. The film definitely steps it up in the laughs department, and i consider the original one of the 40 funniest films of all time. I now understand completely why it took almost 10 years for a sequel of this magnitude; everything is better. Besides the laughs, the movie tells a more epic story of Ron Burgandy and his news team. Some of the scenes will have you scratching your head in absurdity, but that is the kind of movies Will Ferrell is usually a part of. I have to admit that i was worried about this film with how much it has been pimped out on TV. I have seen Will Ferrell as Ron Burgandy everywhere over the last three weeks, and i thought it would be overdoing his best character. Some of the best scenes of the movie involve Ron’s interaction with an African American family, a severely awkward sex scene and another news team war that is twice as good and star studded as the original. I don’t want to give away a lot of spoilers, so this is one of those films you are going to have to see. I think even Ferrell haters will love this movie. It’s got something for everyone. Brick Tambland (Steve Carrell) is the best part of the movie for me. He has more lines with longer screen time in the sequel and that is a great thing. Sometimes Burgandy can get a little overdone with audiences because they know his humor too well. This is when it’s great to have someone like Carrell or Paul Rudd take the reigns and give their humor. The final ten minutes is some of the craziest things i have ever seen in a comedy, but i was laughing the whole time. Anchorman 2 brings back every great character from the first film and gives them more to do in the sequel. I recommend checking it out as it is the funniest film of the year (my opinion).
93 Minutes has never felt longer. I shouldn’t say that this film was a total waste, there are a few laughs. I hate saying this but Larry the Cable Guy was by far the best part of the film as the father of the husband in this story. Madea goes on vacation with a friend to the country to visit the friend’s daughter. Throughout the weekend, they find out that the daughter is married to a white man. This film does pack a decent message with the point of us all bleeding red, but at what a price. To sit through Madea’s loud rude and crude humor is just not worth another glorified Hallmark movie. Take away the rude jokes and that’s exactly what this is. Cheap acting and a story that totally doesn’t make sense. The people of this small town supposedly invested all of their money in this jubilee, so they all go broke. Sounds like a pretty stupid place to me. By the end of the film, the town gets their money back and some more ($100,000 a year for four years). It’s said that the school will be able to buy a couple computers with that money. How much do they think a computer costs? For that much money, they could build a new building than the town hall building that the kids currently go to school at. I also feel like the reason for some of the racism in the film (Both black and white) are some of the dumbest reasons i have ever heard. A Madea Christmas is the best of the three Madea films i have seen, but it still has a long way to go. This kind of film only appeals to the deepest Tyler Perry fans, and from what i have heard, that isn’t many. I don’t need to tell you this, but pass on this one
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.
Definitely the most i have enjoyed a Vince Vaughn film since 2011’s The Dilemma. With that said, it is far from a perfect film. Delivery Man goes through an identity crisis not knowing if it wants to be a comedy or a drama. It is because of the drama scenes that tug at your heart strings, that the crude humor does not work in a picture like this. Vaughn is ok in the role of a man who has fathered 533 kids through clinic donations. I feel like since the role doesn’t ask as much as the original version (2011’s Starbuck), Vaughn is an ok choice for the role. If they were trying to keep it like Starbuck, it would demand another actor because Vaughn is unable to push those dramatic scenes to the limit. Vaughn stars as Dave Wozniak, a man who is on the verge of starting a family with his girlfriend when he comes to the discovery of this secret. It’s no secret that i wasn’t a fan of The Internship, and i hated The Watch. Delivery Man is different though because it pits Vaughn in a role that is completely different for once. It was nice to see him not go for the cheap laughs and actually put back on his acting chops like he did in Clay Pigeons or A Cool Dry Place. The film gives us a somewhat unbelievable ending, but it’s forgivable in the fact that Wozniak is made a better man. I recommend this film to all Vince Vaughn fans as i feel if you loved The Internship, there is absolutely no reason you won’t enjoy this. Wait till video though. No reason to jump off the couch to see this film.
Jude Law stars in the role he was born to play. He plays Dom Hemingway, a mob worker who is jailed for 12 years after taking the rep for a drug deal gone wrong. While in prison, he abandons his daughter and wife, the ladder dies from cancer. When he gets out, it’s about a man on the verge of redemption. Law is absolutely amazing as Hemingway. He plays him as a loser who is always looking for the easy way out, but we cheer for him during all 90 minutes of this movie. Dom is an alcoholic, a womanizer, and a guy who has clearly not learned a lot from the 12 years he lost. He picks right up with a drunken three way with two prostitutes paid for by his mob boss. Law is very fast talking with brash English cursing to everyone he ever comes across. It is a role that is easy to like even with his flaws. The movie doesn’t do much beyond that to keep the attention of it’s audience. The film suffers greatly whenever Law isn’t on screen because everyone else is boring compared to our protagonist. The film does have some well shot scenes, but it almost feels like they don’t go on long enough for us to get the background of these other characters. The relationship between Dom and his daughter is presented, but we don’t have a heart to heart between them until the final 10 minutes. By then it is too late to ever get any clarity from this relationship, and that is a shame. This is the biggest probelem with this film; it goes nowhere. The main character really is no better by the end of the film because he is riddled in one bad luck scenario after another. Overall, i wish the film was more along the spark that it kicked off with in the first 20 minutes. It is there that we see so much promise for the journey ahead. By the 87th minute, Dom feels so defeated that there is nothing to look forward to at that point. If you see the trailer and feel like you really have to see this film, get it on DVD. It will be hard to find in theaters in a couple weeks, and i certainly don’t think it’s worth the journey to find it.
Ben Stiller is back in a film that is a little different than the films he has been known for over the last decade. He stars as Walter Mitty, a man who daydreams his life away while publishing photos for Life Magazine. The crew at Life are told that this will be the last issue ever published with most of the people losing their jobs. Some of the things i liked about this film was the amazing scenery and beautiful cinematography. It sets epic stages for Mitty to reclaim his life and go on the adventure of a lifetime. The Secret Life also gives us some awkward characters in the form of strangers he meets along the way. It’s sad that in these strangers we find that we care about them more than our two leads (Stiller and Kristen Wiig). Stiller and Wiig are very awkward in their form of conversation. It’s almost like two robots who have never met are talking for the first time. When we find out they have known each other for a couple months, it seems even weirder that they have such a problem being personable. Adam Scott gives another great performance as the villain of the film. Scott has been known to be very famous in these roles including a great performance in Step Brothers. The film runs out of miles in the main base scenes while Stiller is working at Life and at home. It’s kind of symbolic to the way this film goes. It’s only interesting when he is climbing mountains in the Himalayas or playing soccer in Afghanistan. The daydreaming also gets old by about the 3rd of 4th time it’s done. We see how predictable it is to tell the difference, and can see the joke coming from a mile away. Films like A Nightmare on Elm Street have always been great at producing a believable dream scene. I appreciate the explanation of why Stiller has less and less dream scenes by the end of the film, but it’s too late by this time. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty has the ability to be one of the year’s best, but it flutters in the basic bore of Stiller comedy. Give it a shot on DVD, but nothing more. The Film Freak’s Mother – 8/10 – I really enjoyed the scenery of this film. A lot of the fields of green reminded me of my time in Ireland. I also enjoyed the role of the mother (Played by Shirley Maclaine) as she reminded me a lot of myself in the things i do to Christopher. Some of the scenes i didn’t like were the daydreaming. I felt it was really drawn out and overdone with too many minutes wasted on it. I also didn’t like the boss (Adam Scott). I felt he was a jerk.