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

The Conjuring

 

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7.5/10

I really enjoyed this horror/suspense movie about a family that is the victims of a possession. Based on a true story, this film has been receiving mostly positive reviews with even some comparing it to The Exorcist. Personally, i thought the film was done really well with great acting and a lot of visuals that make the non-horror fan very scared. I don’t think deep horror fans (like myself) will be that scared or bothered by this film. I found 2012’s Sinister a little more bothering to me. That doesn’t mean that this film doesn’t deserve the praise it’s getting. The Conjuring tells a very creepy story that makes you wonder how this family is ever going to get out of it. Some of the negatives of the film was the weak body count and a somewhat anti-climatic ending. Some of the positives was the great acting led by Vera Farmiga as a psychic with the ability to see demons.Also, i don’t praise child actors often, but i thought they were outstanding in this film. All five of the children add something to a great formula. I also think the musical score is one of the best of the year. I think the music in particular is where a lot of the comparisons to past horror films comes from. I would recommend this film to horror fans new and old who are looking for a recipe on horror films done right. There have been many done wrong in the last 15 years, but The Conjuring is one that we will be talking about for years to come.

R.I.P.D

 

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6/10

This film really surprised me a lot by how much i liked it. First of all, Jeff Bridges is phenominal in this movie. Had it not been for him, i probably would’ve knocked this film down to a 6. That is how important he is to this film. Aside from Bridges, you can just tell that everyone had fun making this picture. It radiates from some of the cheesiest dialogue of the year as they do it with a smile. This film did remind me A LOT of Men In Black. Infact, i could probably write a paper describing the similarities, but i would rather not. I also enjoyed the great action and some of the ugliest monsters i have ever seen. Some of the things i didn’t like were just two big questions i had. 1. If Ryan Reynolds isn’t allowed to say his name, then why doesn’t he just say the name of the killer? There is no rule what so ever about that, and even if his wife doesn’t know it’s Ryan Reynolds telling her, she at least knows who is responsible for his death. 2. Why don’t the mirrors reflect their avatar identities? It would be impossible for the mirrors in the car or in the bathrooms to show Jeff Bridges or Ryan Reynolds unless they were dead too. Last time i checked, mirrors don’t have lives, so it will always be a mystery. This film got a lot of criticism and is considered the biggest box office bomb of the summer. To be completely honest, i don’t understand it. With films like Grown Ups 2 and The Smurfs 2, i can’t imagine how this film does worse. I don’t feel that it is for everyone, and only 50% of the audience (maybe less) will like it, but i recommend it for having a good time at the movies. Above all else, Jeff Bridges kicks total ass AGAIN.

Turbo

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6/10

This was a decent film, but is very unbelievable even for an animated Dreamworks film. Turbo is about a snail who receives magic powers that make him go fast. With these powers, he enters the Indy 500 to race alongside him longtime hero. The way the snail receives the powers and the way he does 226 MPH without even damaging his texture is what amazes me. The ending is comedic for all of the wrong reasons when the Indy 500 becomes a foot race. Things i liked about this film was the amazing cast which included Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Samuel L Jackson and Michelle Rodriguez. I enjoyed the animation as Dreamworks is always on top of their game with great 3D and visual effects. In the end, i think this film is definitely geared for ages 9 and younger. Unlike Shrek, Despicable Me and Toy Story, i can’t imagine many teenagers or young adults getting an enjoyment from this. Overall, i recommend this film if you are bored and looking to get out of the house. I would honestly wait till the dollar theater shows it, but to each their own.

Pacific Rim

 

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7/10

This film was like a mix between The Power Rangers movie and Real Steel. I will first of all start by saying that i enjoyed this film a lot more than all three Transformers films and Battleship. This film has a lot better characters and real life drama than those films could ever comprehend. This movie is a big war with robots taking on monsters that appear out of a portal from the ocean floor. My only problem with that premise is that it never explains why the portal is there in the first place. I would’ve liked some background on when the attacks started, but instead we arrive midway through a random attack of San Francisco. Another problem i had was the training class of stick jousting. I understand why they had to do it, but why couldn’t it just be a boxing class? The robots don’t use sticks so why do the trainees have to? Stuff i liked about this film was the cast. Idris Elba has always been an amazing actor in my opinion, and he really adds a dramatic layer to this film. Charlie Hunnan is great in the lead role that gets a little cliche at times, but gives us more than a typical jock in this role. In my opinion, the action was 2nd to none in 2013 film, and i would definitely be curious to see how this film looks in 3D. Overall, i recommend this film for the action buffs. I think it provides a good story with tons of great fighting scenes between the robots and the monsters.

Grown Ups 2

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3/10

Ohhhh my Lord, where do i start? This film was absolute garbage in it’s purest form. I laughed a couple of times, but those were at the jokes that have the most obvious punchline. Adam Sandler plays the biggest douchebag i have ever met who continuously insults him children, is a non supporting husband and acts like he has unstoppable power in making the decisions for the family when he doesn’t even have a job. The humor is the goddamn pitts. One joke calls for Kevin James to burp, sneeze and fart at the same time. Now i know people are going to insult me and say that i shouldn’t watch a movie that i know is going to be trash. You guys have to realize that i do these things for you. I try to put out the warnings to help you before you spend money. I also know that there will be people who will now make it their mission to go see Grown Ups 2 and tell me how wrong i was because they like to argue. But i am going to cut straight to the point. If you like this film, you are a moron. You will find even the dumbest thing funny and there is no help for you. There was one thing i liked about the film; Salma Hayek’s breasts bouncing. THAT’S FUCKING IT!!!! I don’t think this was the worst film of the year, but it’s pretty damn close. I am one of those people who enjoyed some of the charm of the first film, but it’s absolutely gone in this shit bomb. Amazingly though, none of those things were my biggest problem with the film. They actually had CGI shots for this film that included a fake deer and a fake tire going down the road. But that’s not quite my problem, it’s the fact that it’s the worst CGI i have ever seen in my life. This looks fake for Birdemic standards. I totally don’t recommend this film to anyone, but i know people are going to love it because i trashed it so bad. In the words of a good Adam Sandler flick i leave you with this quote ” Mr. Madison, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul”.

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.