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

Fruitvale Station

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8/10

This was a very deep look into the tragedy of Fruitvale Station in San Francisco on New Year’s Eve 2008. An african american male is shot by a caucasian police officer, leaving the family in shambles. This film is heartbreaking in every sense that a man lost his life at the age of 22. He left behind a daughter and a loving girlfriend. I enjoyed the film because it is shot very well. I usually don’t like the “Shot on video” style of films, but this story is a film that definitely benefited from it. Octavia Spencer is the best performer in the film as usual. She always gives such a performance that can tug at the strings of your heart in any emotion. I think she is purely underrated and one of the best actresses in Hollywood today. I also liked how they made a short incident seem longer in an 80 minute film by filling in the blanks. They gave us a great back story that made you care about the change and good things to come in these characters futures. There were a couple of things i didn’t like which included the actress playing the girlfriend. I just think she wasn’t emotional enough to pull off a role of that magnitude. You can’t even tell me for a second that his girlfriend wasn’t knocked to the floor when she heard the news of her boyfriend. Yet she plays it like a headlight in her car just burnt out. The movie is definitely worth a look, but the only problem with true story films is that you never know 100% what is real and what the studios did to enhance a film. The final shot of the movie is done so well and leaves you with a powerful stance when you exit the film. I definitely recommend this film if you can find it in theaters. If not, it should be out on DVD soon.

The Wolverine

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7/10

This is the Wolverine film that i have been waiting for. This sequel to the crappy X-Men Origins: Wolverine does things a little better in the story of this legendary comic character. It’s not 100% perfect, but it is getting there slowly. Hugh Jackman returns in a role that i couldn’t imagine anyone else in Hollywood playing. He is simply amazing by this point playing the troubled Logan. Jackman is probably the best casted superhero in any comic book film. This film finally took the dark premise of Logan’s life and brought it to the big screen, and that is something that no X-Men film has done correctly so far. I really enjoyed how they finally showed us the bone structure underneath the claws. It’s the little things like those that can always win me over. I wasn’t too high on the choice for Viper as the villain. She is an amazing character and very powerful, but i have always considered her more of an Avengers villain (comic books or not). It was also pretty comical to see Yukio beating her down. The visuals and shooting locations are beautiful for this film. I have always liked the setting of Japan when filming a troubled story. They seem to get it right with their western culture and beautiful landscapes. Be sure to stay after the credits again as we see build up for the upcoming X-Men : Days of futures Past. The 2 minute bit had me half excited and half wondering where the hell they are going with this film. Overall, i recommend The Wolverine to comic book fans in particular. I don’t think the outside world will get much enjoyment out of this film, but the fans of X-Men and Wolverine will love it.

Killing Season

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7/10

Robert De Niro and John Travolta return to top notch in this revenge thriller. De Niro held Travolta at gunpoint in the Bosnia war shooting and (what he thought) killing him. 18 Years later, Travolta returns for revenge. I loved the amazing acting by each one. This movie only features four credited actors, but it doesn’t need anyone else. It’s all about De Niro and Travolta giving great performances. The film only runs 80 minutes, but i don’t think it hurts it in anyway. It has a story to tell and that is as long as the movie could possibly stretch without it getting dull. I enjoyed the beautiful music score by Christopher Young. Johnny Cash even lends his support with the song “Don’t take your guns to town”. It certainly makes you never look at the song the same way again. Since this is an independent film, you probably won’t be able to find it, but i definitely recommend seeking it out when it hits DVD. If you are a fan of De Niro or Travolta, i think you will enjoy it.

Drinking Buddies

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6/10

Not a bad little film, but i felt like the ending left something to be desired. Drinking Buddies is a film about two couples who go on vacation together and cheat on each other. The results are one relationship ends while the other continues until the truth is revealed. When i saw the trailer for this film, it screamed comedy. That is a very wrong representation. This film reminded me of a Kevin Smith Chasing Amy kind of drama. It stars a great cast of Olivia Wilde, Ron Livingston, Jake Johnson (Nick from Tv’s New Girl), Anna Kendrick and Jason Sudeikas. It’s funny that this film has Johnson in it because this film plays off as an episode of New Girl. It waits and waits and waits for Johnson and Wilde to hook up, and even dragging it out for the better part of the 90 minute run time. That was probably my biggest problem with the film; it was just incomplete. It drags in the middle while trying to bring these two together, and then the ending doesn’t even give you a definitive closure on all of the characters. I really think they could’ve invested more time in the dialogue and made these characters more presentable to the audience, but what you get is a film that seems like dragging even in only 90 minutes. One thing i liked about the film was the representation of alcoholism as Wilde and Johnson work at a brewing factory. Wilde’s character can definitely be described as an alcoholic and we see her life spiral down in shambles because of bad decisions. I recommend this film now that it’s out on DVD because you will only be spending a buck or two. I definitely feel it’s worth those dollars, but you will finish the movie wondering why you wasted 90 minutes on this film instead of something much better. There are definitely MUCH better dramadies that have come out in recent years

House Party 5 : Tonight’s the Night

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2/10

What a complete pile of crap. It’s sad to think of how great the first three movies were of the franchise and see what it’s become. Even the 4th film (Ferris Bueller rip-off) entertained me more than this. I am going to get out of the way the one thing i liked about this film and that is Kid N Play returning to cameo in the roles that made them famous. My problem with it however is that they are in the last 2 minutes of the movie. They make us wait 88 damn minutes for a 2 minute cameo that isn’t that good. This film made me miss Grown Ups 2 with it’s horrible dialogue and acting. It looks like they pulled a bunch of kids off of a high school acting class and let them do their thing. If that doesn’t do it for you then maybe insulting fat people by making them break the floor during a sex scene. Yeah, that’s sure to get a laugh out of everyone, because fat people should only be used for trashing. There is also pedophilia with a 50 something neighbor coming to the party to hit on the 17 year old main character. She is about as trashy as your worst nightmare while lifting her skirt and mentioning how wet the main character has made her. This film is so bad and it knows it that it references other films and TV shows (Twilight, True Blood). One thing i always find funny about these films are the fact that everyone can dance. Now, i’m not talking about a dance movie like You Got Served or Step Up, because those people are supposed to be trained dancers. This is a high school movie with kids who can dance better than an Usher video. Another funny part is when the token bad guy shows up and punches out the main character, and actually walks out to boo’s. WHO DOES THAT? If this isn’t enough, they even insult and poke fun at the first House Party by naming the main character Chris and then insulting the Kid N Play dance move by calling it whack. People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. The ending is left with the biggest form of unbelievable as Chris’s best friend fixes the mess by selling his car. That’s fine and dandy, but how did he fix the huge hole in the floor in less than 8 hours? Better yet, how did he sell his car between the hours of 3 AM and 9 AM? I don’t recommend this film to anyone, and you can definitely look for it on the bottom five of my end of the year countdown.

Only God Forgives

 

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7/10

This review will no doubt be the weirdest and most contradictory of all of my reviews. First of all, i want to say that i enjoyed the film. It was definitely a good old fashioned Japanese revenge film. It reminded me a lot of the kung fu films because of the graphic violence of it. I also enjoyed the cinematography and the way the film was shot. Nicolas Refn sees a world in his films that is both beautiful and frightening. He is a director that i really enjoy, and i felt he did a good job here……..mostly. On the negative side, i can fully understand why this film was booed at Cannes Film Festival. This movie definitely isn’t for everyone, and i will go ahead and tell all of my readers that i would be very surprised if anyone else likes this movie. One thing that is good and bad about this film is that it’s dominated by the performance of Vithaya Pansringarm. Make no mistake about it, this is his movie. As much as you are told in the trailer and synopsis to hate this man, he is the guy you will feel the closest to. You understand why he does the things he does. Ryan Gosling and Kristen Scott Thomas are kind of wasted here. It’s a shame because you have great actors like these two in the film and they are practically on sleep mode the entire time. Only God Forgives will go down as possibly the only film i have ever liked and not recommended at the same time

Escape From Tomorrow

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.5/10

WOW!!! What the hell did i just watch? Disney World is put under a dark side in this film that resembles Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. For those of you who don’t know this film was shot entirely guerilla style at Disney World without Disney’s permission. Because the film changes the music in the background, it does qualify as legal use. Disney have distanced themselves from this film and i totally understand why. First of all, the good things. It does have a decent premise that would have been much better under a different and more experienced director. They were going for the whole secret side of Disney thing here, and i can get behind that. It’s execution is done so weird and pointless that you wonder what the hell you just watched. The acting (Even for amateurs) is pathetic. I am going to go on a limb and say anyone associated with this film will probably never work in cinema again. I also liked the music in the background of the film. I think that some of the music mixed with the beautiful noir black and white shots makes for some enjoyable moments. The problem is that those moments are few and far between. This is one of those movies so bad that it has to be seen to be believed. I find it amazing how they filmed this whole movie on Canon cameras and Iphones because some of the shots leave you wondering how the hell they did that. I just wish more effort would have been put to the actual script itself. I never thought i would see one of the best films i have ever seen and one of the worst in the same week, but i am far past surprised in this business, anymore