The Way Way Back

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9.5/10

Every year there will be a couple of films that get delayed a few months because i wasn’t able to catch the films while they were in theaters. Luckily, The Way Way Back announced that it was going back into theaters for a limited engagement. This was a film that i wanted to see since May, and it didn’t disappoint. This film was a lot better than i thought it was going to be. Nat Faxon and Jim Rash write and direct a tribute to all of our adolescent memories. The Way Way Back is about a family who takes a vacation to the father’s (Steve Carrell) beach house. First of all, the characters are the best i have seen in a film all year. Carrell plays an amazing douche bag who tries to rough up his step son by dragging him out of his shell. Liam James plays that kid we all once were who longs to belong to someone or something. That feeling of loneliness that drifts into all of us when we enter our teenage years. He also plays it very well. Toni Collette was great as his mother, Amanda Peet, Rob Coddry, and Maya Rudolph turn in decent performances as well. My only gripe is that Coddry doesn’t have much to do and is kind of wasted, but his character isn’t a main one so it didn’t bother me that much. The two people who really steal this film are Alison Janney and Sam Rockwell. Janney is brilliant as an alcoholic mother who is a humiliation to her kids and friends. She has some of the most awkwardly funny moment that can’t help but drag a smile out of you. Sam Rockwell plays my favorite character of the year, by far. His character works as kind of a father figure to James and he sees the child that he used to be with loneliness. He gets James a job at the Swim park he works at, and it turns into the best summer of James life. Rockwell’s dialogue is something that deserves to be seen by everyone. He has a sarcasm that reminded me a lot of Randall Mcmurphy (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest). The script is amazing and really gets across the dramatic points that this story has to tell. It’s with those dramatic tones that this film is hard to judge if it is a comedy or drama. I personally saw it as more of a comedy. The drama shows that there are more problems with this family that meets the eye. Steve Carrell is not the best adult figure to these teens going through growing up. The only things i didn’t like about this film was slight nitpicking. I feel that the beginning 15 minutes start off slow and might make some people lose interest. Some people don’t have patience at the beginning of a film, but i am telling you to give it a chance. Those fifteen minutes just build the story before it plays out the problems in front of our eyes. I also didn’t like the last two minutes of the film. The film technically has two endings. The first one is amazing. It sends you going home with a smile. Then there is the 2nd one that leaves you with kind of a bad taste. I can’t give away too much because i really want people to see this film. It’s just not the way i would’ve ended it, but i think the directors were going for a realistic tone that happens in the everyday world. Overall, i definitely recommend this film. I don’t want to give away where i have it ranked currently, but it’s definitely one of the best films i have seen this year. Plus, i was alone in the theater and that always makes for a more enjoyable experience.

Despicable Me 2

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7.5/10

This film was really entertaining and almost comes as close as the laughs it had in the first film. Gru and his minions are back in this sequel to find Gru a wife. It’s obvious at about 20 minutes into the film that this is going to be Lucy (voiced by Kristen Wig). While i normally love Kristen Wig, i found her role to be the only thing about the movie i didn’t like. Her character is annoying at times and doesn’t have a lot to do. The Minions are better than they were in the first film with such bits as singing ‘I Swear’, and rowing boats with their funny sounds. I enjoy the Dispicable Me franchise, and it seems like a spinoff with the minions is right around the corner. One of the better things with franchises like this is that the whole family can see it. There are enough grown up jokes involved in this film that Mom and Dad can take the kids and not worry about being bored for 90 minutes. Side note – I am strongly debating being Gru for Halloween. I guess i will just have to see what i can do about it. Overall, a really good film that i recommend everyone sees in a theater. Really, there isn’t much better out in theaters right now. Probably Man of Steel is the only thing i would see above this.

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.

White House Down

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6/10

Channing Tatum saves the world from terrorists in this film that is similar to this year’s Olympus Has Fallen. My opinion is that Olympus Has Fallen is the better film, but White House Down has the better cast. I am not someone who hates on Channing Tatum because i am a guy, but he wasn’t very good in this film. He was very cliche as the hero of the day, but his acting was bad at best. I think he should stick to comedies like 21 Jump Street. This film is saved by performances from Richard Jenkins, Jimmi Simpson and Jamie Foxx (Who i am normally not a fan of). One thing that this film did better was the action sequences. We see the White House being torn to shreds with no redeeming quality left of it what so ever. The bad guys are decent in this film, and have a pretty good motive for doing what they do. One thing i would change about this film is the 2 hour and 5 minute run time. It simply runs out of steam by the 90 minute point, and requires a couple of big swerves to keep it going. The swerves work, but not enough to pick this film back up. Overall, i recommend waiting for the dollar theater or Redbox for this movie. The women will give it a 10/10 because Channing Tatum is in it

The Heat

 

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6/10

This film was a lot better than i thought it was going to be. With that said, it is nowhere near a great film though. It has a great first hour and then goes on to fizzle out towards the end of the film. Melissa Mccarthy plays the same character that she does in every film, but it works a lot better for an R rated comedy like this. Even though i enjoyed Identity Thief more than this film, i enjoyed Melissa more in this movie. I think one of the biggest things with this film is that it will reflect more on the female audience. i don’t know if the male crowd will like it unless they are die hard Melissa Mccarthy fans. This movie had some great laughs mixed in with some amazing supporting actors. Michael Mcdonald (Mad Tv), Marlon Wayans, Taran Killiam (SNL) and Michael Rappaport just to name a few, really help Melissa with a script that has a lot of holes. Sandra Bullock didn’t really do anything to add to the film. It seemed like she was on sleep mode for a lot of the film. Overall, i did enjoy this film and laughed as much as i would expect to for a free film. I definitely recommend it to the female readers of this page. If you are male, give it a look and let me know what you think. I am curious to hear the male’s perspective a little more on this one.

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.

Man of Steel

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7.5/10

Such a beautiful film with a cast that really hits a home run. Zach Snyder is back with another amazing piece of cinematography. As a fan of Watchman and the beauty of Sucker Punch (Cause not much else was great about that film), this movie only improved my opinion on Mr. Snyder. This is the film that every Superman fan has been waiting decades for. In my opinion, this is the greatest Superman film of all time. Great acting performances are handed in by Kevin Costner, Russell Crowe, Laurence Fishbourne and of course the amazing Michael Shannon. I didn’t really like Amy Adams as Lois Lane, but she is a football field better than Kate Bosworth. It also took some time for me to adjust to Henry Cavill as the man with the cape. I am not fully in his camp yet, and it may take another Superman movie to see what he can do when he is deeper under fire. The problem with making a Superman film and why nearly no one has been able to do it is because he is the strongest and fastest superhero on the planet. It’s hard to put someone up against him and make him seem defeated and vulnerable. Zod is an excellent choice to put up some adversity, but i had a couple other villains who i would’ve preferred. I absolutely loved the action and destruction in this film. After being slightly disappointed with Iron Man 3, Man of Steel redeems my faith in the superhero genre. My favorite part of the film was definitely the epic showdown between Superman and Zod which goes through buildings and streets like they are wallpaper. I longed for more scenes on Krypton as i felt they were some of the best of the movie. Overall, i definitely recommend this film and would like to hear your opinions on where it ranks among the original four Superman Movies and the 2005 Superman Returns

The Bling Ring

 

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5/10

This chronicles the story of the celebs whose houses were robbed in 2009 by a group of out of control teenagers. The film is ok, but it is pushed further because of the great cast it is. The movie played out like a made for TV film, and maybe that would’ve been a better medium for it. Emma Watson and Katie Chang were amazing. They really made the most out of these spoiled girls that broke into people’s houses for no reason except to live their lifestyle. I compared this film a lot to this year’s Spring Breakers. I think The Bling Ring is a better movie, but the comparisons are very striking. The camera shots were also done very well with many of the break ins being recorded like a security camera. One of the biggest things for me to believe is that no security or anyone close to the celebs were in the house while these people were out of town. This is based on a true story, so i know the break-ins were a real part of the story, but how do you not have someone watching your house? The story just doesn’t have enough meat to carry a film through 90 minutes, so it’s injected with a lot of club shots where we see the kids enjoying their victories. We could care less about those moments, and just wait for when they are caught. One final thing i will say that worked in the film’s benefit was that it showed how easy it is to learn the things we need to from celebrity addresses to actual views of their houses. All of this is supplied by the internet, and that is a scary thing. The Bling Ring is something i would recommend to people who follow celebrity tabloids, but it’s hard for this film to keep you entertained for 90 minutes.

This is the End

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7/10

A very fun movie that i would recommend to groups of friends who are out to have a good time. This film added a comedic touch to the end of the world genre and i think in that aspect it succeeds. There are very funny comedic performances by Craig Robinson, Michael Cera, Danny Mcbride and Jonah Hill, to name a few. Where it fails is in the running time of 106 minutes which makes it feel like 2 hours. The movie does have slow spots in between where it almost runs out of ways to make Armageddon funny. I did think the effects were pretty cool, and the damage done to LA was an absolutely amazing scene that would make Michael Bay crap his pants. I recommend this film if you just want to have a good time and not see anything too serious. It definitely has an ending that has to be seen to be believed.

Hello Herman

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4/10

Herman is a boy who shoots up his high school after years of abuse and torture. This film’s biggest problem (aside from it’s editing, sound, terrible acting and length of time) is it’s story progression. With a movie synopsis like the one i described, you know a story can’t go much further. Example – Boy shoots up school, boy either dies or goes to prison, Boy is put to death if he is sent to prison…..THE END. There isn’t anything about this film that makes you go WOW, or sets up a difference in the shootings we have had in our country. This film does offer a look into the mind of one of these children who are picked on, but it’s stuff we already know. It’s pretty much assumed that a child doesn’t just snap for the hell of it. There has to be a building up of tension and terror in a child’s life for them to let it all out. This film is just an anatomy of that. Norman Reedus does give a decent performance and has some shadows of his own, but that is definitely not enough to save this film. The movie was so generic that the news channel was called “American News”, i am not kidding. The news anchor and the governor are so overdone that it’s ridiculous. We are supposed to sit there and believe that they would get away with the things they say about Herman on TV? Even killers cannot be trashed like they are doing. Overall, i don’t recommend this film to anyone. It’s a decent look at a hate crime, but it doesn’t give you anything new to put yourself through 85 minutes of this slop

The Purge

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6/10

First off, i didn’t like or hate this movie. The difference with this movie as opposed to The Lords of Salem is that this film had the potential to be great. During the first 70 minutes, it is a good film. It gives a great build-up right to the point of the bad people breaking into the house. From there, it’s like the writers didn’t know how to follow in the last 20 minutes. There is a twist ending that gives the film life again, but they abandon it for an ending that is both predictable and corny. This film is enriched with good performances by Ethan Hawke and the leader of the creepy outsiders, Rhys Wakefield. The movie oozes in symbolism for the way we do things in our current society just to prove a point. This isn’t one of the finer points of the film. Finally, i finished the film wondering how all criminals and murderers obide by rules made by our founding fathers. THEY ARE MURDERERS!!! THERE ARE NO RULES FOR THEM!!!! I would recommend this film if you have a dollar theater in your town. Other than that, i wouldn’t waste your time in theaters.

The Internship

 

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5/10

This film bored me to the point of stopping four times to pause along the way. Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson return to try to catch that lightning in a bottle that they did with Wedding Crashers. The problem with this film is that even though it is classified as a comedy, it simply isn’t. I laughed twice during the whole film, and even that was generous. The storyline of two 40 year old’s trying to get into Google is simply too dull to warrant a near 2 hour film. Vince and Owen play two of the biggest douchebag characters that are so hard to like and understand. These are supposed to be the two guys we cheer for, but they continue to cost and hurt the people around them because they try to always say the cool thing. I enjoyed the decent inside look at the Google campus, and thought that this could’ve been a pretty cool educational film. But the atmosphere just doesn’t work for comedy. I recommend this film as a Redbox rental, but nothing more. Don’t waste your time in theaters.