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.

The Frozen Ground

 

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9/10

OUTSTANDING OUTSTANDING OUTSTANDING!!! Before i begin my review, i want to say it is a tragedy that this film will not receive a worldwide release in theaters. It is currently playing on Pay Per View on demand and will be out on DVD soon. This film was one of the best films i have seen this year. The only single problem i had with it was the ending being a little abrupt, but it’s really just nitpicking. The performances were totally out of this world. I am someone who doesn’t like Nicolas Cage after 2001. Outside of Kickass and The Family Man, he hasn’t done anything good in this century (my opinion). This film totally brings Nicolas Cage back to positive status. Definitely one of his five best performances as the police chief hunting a serial killer with almost a decade of kidnapping, rape and murder. John Cusack is my favorite actor and he is totally chilling as Robert Hansen. The best thing about the films of the 50’s and 60’s were seeing Hollywood actors portray roles that you never expected. I never expected Cusack to play a derranged killer, but it is one of his best performances ever. Quiet, plotting and absolutely terrifying. I could go on and on about the cast. Vanessa Hudgens showed some deep acting chops as the only victim of Hansen’s who got away. 50 Cent is amazing as a pimp who makes some bad decisions. Dean Norris, Radha Mitchell, Jodi Lynn o Keefe, Kevin Dunn. The list goes on and on. I did a little studying up on Robert Hansen before watching the film and it seems this story is about 95% true with the telling of the gruesome events. This film and The Iceman were two true stories that were told real well this year, and that is why they are both in my current top 5 for 2013. The scenery is absolutely beautiful as well with a cold, chilling Alaska being the setting. I think it is almost symbolic of Hansen’s cold insides, and the things he did to these poor women. I definitely recommend this film to EVERYONE. If you see five films this year, make sure one of them Is The Frozen Ground. I imagine someone will find something wrong with this film that they will take out on it, but in my opinion it is better than all of that. If you don’t like this film, you don’t know good storytelling.

Paranoia

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5.5/10

If this is a look into the future of cell phone technology, i think i will keep my flip phone. Paranoia tells the story of competing cell phone companies who are looking for the next biggest thing. It just so happens that the next big thing they are selling is a model for a big brother system. This film is so unbelievable that it can’t even spell the word logic. Unbelievable technology mixed with an almost comedic business side of the cell phone world makes this film an easy pass. I am sure cell phone companies are very competitive with one another, but this is a little too extreme. This film turns into a CIA espionage movie midway through and never lets up. The only thing i really found redeemable about this film was the interaction between Gary Oldman and Harrison Ford. They are definitely two seasoned veterans who knows what to bring to two characters who betrayed each other. Liam Hemsworth is the same old same. I am not really a fan of his work because of the bad choices he has made in 2013 with what films to take. The dialogue is something out of a James Bond movie, and that is NOT for the better. Who talks like this? The characters are robotic and very empty through the better part of 93 minutes. I do not recommend this film to anyone. If you like technology, it could be cool. But i can’t see anyone coming out of this film with a positive review. This film was Harrison Ford’s worst opening weekend ever and i think it’s pretty easy to see why.

Kick Ass 2

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6/10

I have to say, i was expecting much worse after reading the critics reviews. First of all lets get it out of the way, this film is nowhere near as good as the original. I consider the original Kick Ass the child of the series. Kick Ass 2 would be the teenage version as there are a lot of hormones and teenage problems in this one. More on that later. If there is a Kick Ass 3, it would be the full evolution of these characters as they have now taken on the adult superhero role. My biggest problems with this film were the dialogue which isn’t funny at all. I laughed a couple of times, but they were more about the situation. I was a little disappointed that the best character in the film (Hit Girl) is nothing more than a “Mean Girls” storyline for 3/4 of the film. Chloe Moretz is great again as the purple haired warrior. Christopher Mintz Plasse also does a great job as the super villain Motherfucker. He provided the only laughs of the film for me. I also didn’t like the setting of this film. I know that seems like something stupid to complain about, but the first Kick – Ass had such beautiful coloring and cinematography that just isn’t present here. It still maintains that comic book feel which is nice, but the whole aura isn’t there. John Leguizamo and Jim Carrey were great in their roles for the 10 minutes each of screen time they received, but they were mostly wasted in this film. Nicolas Cage didn’t have much more screen time in the first film, and still made the most of it. I definitely think some fans will be disappointed with this film because it doesn’t pack the punch that the first one did. I am part of the crowd that thinks it is good but not great. I would recommend this film when it comes to dollar theaters. I think it definitely warrants a silver screen showing from some of the action scenes, and the Hit Girl Vs Mother Russia fight scene is definitely not to be missed

Jobs

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7.5/10

I enjoyed a lot of the aspects of this film. The scenery is well done with a great model of the Apple offices being displayed. I really thought the film was shot in a beautiful way with lots of close up angles to display the emotions of a character. Ashton Kutcher wouldn’t have been my #1 choice to play Steve Jobs, but he gets a couple things right. Steve Jobs was a genius, but an asshole at the same time. Kutcher brings out the asshole in Jobs, but that is about it. The problem with Ashton playing the Apple CEO is that i only see Ashton; i don’t see Steve. The best performances in a biography film make you feel like you are watching the character and not the actor. Some good examples are Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln), Jared Leto (Chapter 27) and John Cusack (The Raven).With that said, i would’ve opted for Jason Schwartzman. Jobs gets a lot right with a script that includes a lot of important dates. It also has a lot of events that should be cut from the film that don’t make any reason to be there. With a 2 hour running time, there are definitely ways to get this down to a 100 minute film. When comparing this film to The Social Network and Pirates of Silicon Valley, i enjoyed the story and characters more in Social Network, but i felt Jobs was better than Pirates. I recommend this film as a rental or pay per view purchase. Not that the film isn’t good enough to see in theaters, but there are some small things you may miss that will need rewinding, so i don’t think it’s suitable for theaters.

The Butler

 

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7/10

This was a pretty good film that told a very detailed story of how far equal rights has come in 80 years. Forrest Whitaker really gave an amazing performance as the butler of The White House. Whitaker’s performance has been praised by many over the last couple months, and while i feel it is good, i don’t feel it is Oscar worthy. To be honest, i actually cared more about his son’s point of view in the story. It seemed like his son was taking a very different road that you don’t hear about often in movies. This cast is absolutely one of the best of the year. Aside from Whitaker, there’s Oprah, John Cusack, Alan Rickman, Liev Schreiber, James Marsden, Minka Kelly, Robin Williams, Terrence Howard and Cuba Gooding Jr. Not all of the performances are phenominal and the problem with a cast this huge is that you always desire more out of them, but they are given such limited time. John Cusack for instance, is my favorite actor but i felt he didn’t do Nixon well at all. The best impression was probably Alan Rickman as Reagan. The film has a lot of value for people to give it a look. You might even be like me and learn a thing or two. At 2 hours and 10 minutes, this film is a little long for the average viewer, but i think it’s well worth it. Personally, i feel it is probably one of the top two or three films currently playing in theaters.

Planes

 

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6/10

This movie had a lot of similarities to Dreamworks Turbo. Both films take place in a race where the little athlete that couldn’t has to overcome the big bad villain to win the race. Along the way, both films have side characters that tell the lead that they can’t win. This all leads me to wonder how many more times they can pull off the same premise. Cars was kind of similar as well, but Cars is my favorite of the three films by far. Planes isn’t a bad little movie, but it isn’t very original. As i said before, this premise has been done so many times that it’s completely predictable by this point. With that said, i did enjoy this film that had some great voice over work by Brad Garrett, Stacy Keach and Sinbad. Dane Cook wasn’t terrible as Dusty Crophopper, but his storyline wasn’t very exciting to me. The film is already planning for a sequel in 2014 and i hope it brings a little more with it. The animated world has been very blessed the last couple of years with Despicable Me (1 and 2), Wreck it Ralph, 9, Paranorman and many others. So it’s easy for a film like Planes to fall into the forgettable category. Clocking in at 82 minutes, it is a very short film. I think they could have taken more time to develop the story and make it a little different. I recommend this film to kids because they will love it, but i would pass for adults. It’s not a film that warrants more than a Redbox rental.

Elysium

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5/10

I still don’t know what the hell i just watched. Matt Damon and Jodie Foster star in possibly the biggest bomb of the summer (my opinion). This film had a very confusing storyline, slow paced movement among the storylines and a weak ending. You could pretty much predict what happens in the film just by watching the trailer. There were a couple of things i enjoyed and that was the performances of Jodie Foster as the head of security on Elysium. She really brings a lot to the role as a snob who is trying to keep the poor class off of her land. I also enjoyed Sharlto Copley as the rugged bad guy, Krueger. The film also has some decent action scenes, but that is it. The problems with this film are the symbolism it expresses with our own world of overpopulation and a snobbish rich class. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with symbolism, but it was poured on WAY too thick in this film. Elysium is a look at the future that takes you on a ride through a look at the future. The problem with that look is that it only gets exciting in the final 20 minutes. It is within that time frame that we finally land on Elysium. Anything before that, is a long and boring look at characters in which we don’t ever receive a decent back story with. I don’t recommend Elysium unless you are a die hard Matt Damon fan. Even then, it would be hard for me to believe you would enjoy this.

We’re the Millers

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7.5/10

Definitely the funniest movie of the year. This was probably the first film in a couple of years that really tugged at my gut as far as laughs go. This film has an outstanding cast led by Jennifer Anniston, Emma Roberts and Ed Helms, but it’s Jason Sudeikis and Nick Offerman who totally steal the show. Sudeikis has been in some great comedies, but he is never really the centerpiece of the story. This film totally changes that and shows that he should be the lead in more roles. There is something about the way he says his lines in a straight toned manner that really only he can do. Nick Offerman kicks total ass as a DEA agent. For the people who love Parks and Recreation, he turns in another great performance in this film. The story and situations are a little far fetched, but i have seen a lot worse from better films this year. Millers succeeds because you care about these characters and the family they become by the end of the film. The scenes with Anniston stripping are a little much and not really needed, but the men will like it. There is a point after she strips where Sudeikis looks at the camera and shrugs like he is saying “What the hell?” I definitely recommend this film for people who want to go to the movies and have a fun time. This film will leave you with some lines you will be quoting for the next couple of years. Be sure to stay for the credits as there is a great gag reel. It includes what i think is the greatest gag reel prank i have ever seen. You will know what it is when you see it

The Lone Ranger

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7/10

I am wrong about a film every once in a while, and this was definitely one of those times. The Lone Ranger clocks in at 2 hours and 20 minutes long which will detract a lot of it’s viewers. I am not foolish enough to believe that everyone will feel the same way about this film that i did. With that said, it is a lot of fun and thrills with very colorful characters. The chemistry between Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp is incredible, and i can see why they were both chosen for this role. Johnny Depp can be a little stereotypical of the indian culture as Tonto, but does not overdo it. The cast also includes excellent turns from Barry Pepper, Helena Bonham Carter and the always amazing William Fichtner. This was also surprisingly dark for a Disney film. I was definitely surprised as they showed an eating of the heart by the villain of the movie. Things i would’ve done differently aside from cutting the film to 2 hours even, i would’ve included more about the backstory of Tonto. We do learn that he is responsible for a lot of the bad things in the film, but i found that story very intriguing and would’ve liked to learn more about it. Overall, i definitely recommend this film to everyone, but be prepared for a long one. I am also not guaranteeing you will like it. But hell, it made a believer out of me, and i am certainly not an easy one to please when it comes to cinema.

2 Guns

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6.5/10

Honestly, i was a little disappointed in this film. It’s good, but it doesn’t have a lot of substance. The trailer pretty much tells you everything about the film, and you can tell the direction it is heading with all of the predictions in the first 15 minutes of it. I really enjoyed the team of Mark Wahlberg (stole the movie) and Denzel Washington, and you can tell they had a lot of fun shooting this film. The action is pretty good, the storyline reminds me of 1996’s Bulletproof, and they even manage to throw some great comedic humor into it. I guess i was disappointed because nothing out of the ordinary happened. Like i said, if you have seen the trailer then you have already seen 90% of this film. Bill Paxton is great as the bad guy. He is typically someone i am not a fan of, but he certainly fit well as a C.I.A agent searching for his 43 million dollars. I would only recommend this film at the dollar theater or to wait till DVD. It’s not something that would require you to put ahead of other (better) films that are currently playing.

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