Machete Kills

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6/10

A decent sequel from the same people who brought you the legendary original. This film lays the ground for a very unusual trilogy. I will not give much away about the upcoming third film, but this film gave what it always promises. It had great and goofy action scenes with a lot of blood. It had laughs that were a little few and far between, but still there. It had crazy characters played by some big time actors. The best of those performances are from Mel Gibson and Cuba Gooding JR. Cuba is only in the film for a few minutes, but his performance is one of my favorites just on the attitude he brings to the role he is playing. Gibson is great as the villain of the film. He creates a Star Wars-esque scenary (Yes you read that right) that creates an over the top finale. The things i didn’t like about the film were petty, but they were there. I have never been a fan of CGI blood when there are so many amazing special effects guys anymore. Hell, Tom Savini was starring in the movie, so there is absolutely no reason for this. I get that they might do it to make it look cheesy, but i think human effects would make it even funnier. I also didn’t like the ground work laid for the 3rd film. I will definitely go see it, but i am not looking too forward to it based on the scenery. These films are all about the goofy, but sometimes you can take it a little too far. I recommend Machete Kills if you want a good time at the movies. There isn’t anything wrong with waiting till dollar theaters though to see it.

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.

Metallica : Through the Never

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6/10

The worlds of music and film meet in this concert film with the story happening outside of a Metallica concert. First of all, the band still has it. They put on an epic 10 song performance that makes you feel like you are there in the live crowd. Shot with the beautiful Technicolor cameras, it makes for an amazing stage show that pushes the music even further. The other half of the film stars Dane Dehann as a stage hand who is caught in the middle of an apocalypse outside of the stadium. His job is to deliver a mysterious bag that we never find out what is inside. This part of the film we could have done without, but i understand why they did it. There are some beautiful symbolism shots that include a burning scene that had to be near impossible to shoot. We just never learn why this whole thing is going on and we know even less about why this bag is so important. There is no talking during this part of the film at all, and they just act as action and fighting scenes to play to the background of the music. To me, this film could be summarized as one giant 85 minute music video, but i think it’s a little more than that. I have seen concert films before and this one leaves you with a little extra. I do love Dehann as an actor and wish he could have gotten more character development here. This film only played for one weekend at Imax theaters and it’s understandable. It’s hard to categorize this as a film or a concert. It’s an experience that has to be seen by all Metallica fans. If you aren’t a fan of the band, it won’t mean anything to you.

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.

Runner Runner

 

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4/10

This sloppily made film made me want my 8 bucks back. Justin Timberlake stars in this film about the internet gambling world and the hazzards that come with it. First of all, Timberlake is a spoiled brat who doesn’t care about other characters when they get ripped off, but we are supposed to get behind him and root for him to punish the bad guys. As i said earlier, this film is sloppy for a lot of reasons, but i will give you some examples. Timberlake loses all of his money (17 grand) in the first ten minutes of the film by gambling, yet he has enough money to give $40 to his loser father, take a flight to Costa Rica, and get a hotel room for a week. Another mess was a party scene with loud club music being played (The DJ was DeadMau5 – EXCELLENT). Timberlake can hear the female lead talking perfectly word for word from 40-50 feet away. Superman like hearing, ladies and gentlemen. 80 minutes into this film and i wanted to kill the director for all of the poker puns that were being added into EVERY sentence. 1 or 2 is fine in a cliche film like this, but Jesus do we really need one in every scene? The one saving grace for this film was Ben Affleck as the poker website creator. Some people have complained that his role was a little over the top for the villain, but i think it’s perfect. Affleck was so believable as this prick, that i was actually rooting for him by the end of the film. Timberlake is just that unlikable in this film. That is not to say that i haven’t enjoyed Timberlake’s roles in film, but this seems like he took a step backwards. This is the film that pop stars make the first time they step into film (See Britney Spears in Crossroads). I don’t recommend this film to anyone, and it should be avoided at all costs.

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.

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.

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.

Prisoners

 

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9/10

Hugh Jackman is an Oscar contender in this dark kidnapping drama. This 2 and a half hour film is filled with enough swerves to always keep you guessing. I thought the film played out more as a TV show than a movie. It has such a bleak surrounding that you wonder if the sun ever shines in this town. Two children go missing on Thanksgiving Day after playing outside, and the only thing the parents have to go on is an R-V that the kids were playing on outside. The thing i find the best about this movie is that it’s much more than a harrowing drama. It plays out a story that shows how parents can become a nightmare version of themselves when they lose the thing that can be the most precious to them, their children. This film turns in great performances as well from Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis and Maria Bello. Infact, i think Terrence Howard is the only actor who was wasted by a jam packed film. There simply just isn’t enough for him to do in this film. Some people who watch the film are going to hate it because there is kind of a negative aspect to the way the film ends, but i think it’s perfect. All of us have to answer for the sins we have committed and that is no further proof than in the film Prisoners. This is definitely the best film in theaters right now, and i recommend that everybody go see it. I don’t think a film has ever been as smart to cops and how they act when a child goes missing. A top ten of the year for sure.

Thanks For Sharing

 

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6/10

If Judd Apatow directed a film about sex addiction and the toxic traits that come with it, this would be the film he would make. Thanks for Sharing follows a couple of people in a group (Mark Ruffalo, Tim Robbins, Pink and Josh Gad) who struggle with the real disease known as sex addiction. This film does do a lot of good in opening the eyes of the world, and getting the word out there. It does have a lot wrong with it at the same time. For one, Mark Ruffalo just doesn’t feel right in this role. He comes off as a smarter man in all of his films and is quite good at playing the stereotypical genius character. That is why someone like The Hulk is perfect for him, because he is the side of Bruce Banner that is the scientist. In this role though, it just doesn’t work. He shares no on screen chemistry with his girlfriend in the movie (Gwyneth Paltrow) and that really hurts the scenes. Ruffalo is a great actor, but there are just some films that certain actors shouldn’t do. Tim Robbins however, was born to play this role. He plays a father whose own son is a drug addict. He struggles between the responsibility of leading a group and being a positive role model for his own child. Pink is also a breath of fresh air. For this being her first big role in a film, she really nails it. She brings such a deep sense of comfort and paranoia at the same time in her role as Dede. The scenes in this film were shot very well, but don’t take many risks. It’s a pretty safe movie with some real touching moments. There were just a couple of parts in particular that really took me out of the film. You can see some things coming from a mile away, and i think that is truly one of the film’s biggest weaknesses. Overall, the film is just OK, but should probably still be seen by anyone who is into films like these and 28 Days. As for sex addiction, i would stick with 2011’s Shame. It polarizes the disease in a more life altering nature.

Insidious : Chapter Two

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5/10

I am convinced that i may be the only person who didn’t like this movie. I have seen posts over the last week from people saying it was “The best movie ever” and “The best horror film of the year”. It all left me scratching my head after watching it. Insidious 2 does have it’s moments. I particularly enjoyed the storyline about the abused little boy and the spirit of the woman in black. It made complete sense when they were explaining the back story and some of the things that happened in the first film. The one thing i didn’t understand was how the good spirit of Josh could hear the alarm going off in the first film and then be the one ringing the alarm at the same time in the 2nd film. The thing that is real depressing is that i laughed my way through a lot of this film. The fight scenes were anything but suspenseful and the scenes are just utterly pointless. The comedic dialogue was great (especially with the two nerds), but it doesn’t belong in a demonic film this dark. The score is once again phenominal. There is something about hearing violins during jumpy scenes that really heightens the terror. I also enjoyed the work of Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne. They were definitely the right choices for the mother and father of this family. This film really made me sad for the first one because i LOVED that movie. The suspense was great and it didn’t need some cheap comedy laughs or even a backstory for it to be great. Speaking of which, where the hell did the man with the red face go in this sequel? He is nowhere to be found. You would think that he would have a lot to do with this abused child becoming a killer. Overall, i DO recommend this film because i know people are going to like it because some people were not raised on classic horror films. This is a genre that i am a very tough critic with because it’s my favorite kind of films, but i do not give this a passing grade.