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Showing posts from 2013

Gravity

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Please do yourself a favor and see Gravity. It is an incredibly immersive, gripping, and thrilling cinematic experience.

I know this may sound cheesy, but I'm one of those people with an overactive imagination, so the opening scene of Gravity instantly had me transported to a different place. I went from being a clod in a movie theater with snacks and soda to floating above the earth, joining a crew of astronauts in their mission to repair the Hubble telescope. And let me tell you, it was a breathtaking experience.

Some of my friends told me to see it in IMAX, and I didn't get that chance. (I didn't feel like staying up til midnight for that showing.) So, my wife and I saw it at an earlier time. It was in 3D, and still on a huge screen. If you're subject to motion sickness, there are a few scenes of outer space that might bother you. But, the performances, the pacing, the story, and the visuals are all great.

Anyway, I was not expecting to love Gravity as much as I do…

Blue Jasmine

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Blue Jasmine seems like an art film from a younger, more passionate director. But at age 78, Woody Allen is continuing his tradition of making edgy, interesting, and compelling films. And, yes, funny films, too.

Blue Jasmine is the story of Jasmine, played by Cate Blanchett, who has been married to a mogul (Alec Baldwin), living the high life in New York. They end up losing everything. Jasmine, emotionally battered and damaged, moves in with her sister in San Diego. She attempts to rebuild from nothing.

The story of Blue Jasmine is certainly compelling and interesting. Like any good art film, Blue Jasmine asks many interesting questions about life, society, and the state of things. (rich vs. poor, family, infidelity). However, it's not my favorite storyline from Woody Allen. The thing that keeps Blue Jasmine afloat is a list of compelling characters and fantastic actors. Alec Baldwin, Louis CK, Andrew Dice Clay, Cate Blanchett, and Peter Sarsgaard light up the screen.

I saw Andre…

3 Best Things about Breaking Bad Season - 5.2 Premiere Episode

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Between the sacred trio of my three favorite shows: (Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and the Walking Dead), Breaking Bad consistently proves to be the most exhilarating in many ways.

1. The Final Scene            

Now that Hank has gotten a large promotion at the DEA, he has finally discovered Walt's secret. Noticing his "W.W" initials in a Walt Whitman book, Hank's world has come unraveled by realizing that his nerdy down-and-out brother-in-law Walter White is, indeed, the devil incarnate. With new found inspiration, Hank has dedicated himelf wholly to getting to the bottom of this suspicion.

The final scene of this episode is a confrontation between Hank and Walt in Hank's garage. After Walt discovers a GPS hidden on the bottom of his car, his instinct is to confront Hank. The scene is incredible. Starting awkward and tepid, things get nastly quickly. Hank's pent up rage boils out, as he slams Walt around the garage, shouting out all the vile things he's done. &…

Monsters University

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Way back in 1995, Disney and Pixar unleashed Toy Story upon the world, and a modern era of Disney movies was born. Since then, many other studios like Dreamworks and Universal have followed suit with their own computer animated efforts.

     When you go back and watch the first Toy Story movie, it is hilariously stiff and clunky by today's computer animation standards. The technology and experience movie makers have gained since '95 really shows, and it's something moviegoers shouldn't take for granted. Monsters University is a dazzling, gorgeous, and incredible movie of modern animation. The imagery is so vivid you would swear you were there. And, the colors are so vibrant it adds a wondrous kind of energy to the story. The details of texture and movement almost add a third dimension, even if you don't see it in 3-D. I saw a digital showing on a giant screen with fabulous sound and picture.

     Not only are the visual and audio traits top-notch, but Disney …

42 and Harrison Ford

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42 is the story of legendary baseball player Jackie Robinson. It tells us how he was elevated from the minor leagues into the ranks of playing for the famous Brooklyn Dodgers. It was the mid 1940's, and baseball was a white man's sport. With the help of Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford), Jackie entered the major leagues with a tumultuous and controversial start. The whole Dodgers team had to endure an onslaught of hate, death threats, and racism with Robinson bravely at the forefront.

This movie is very paint-by-numbers in many regards, choosing its battles carefully. It reminded me of the bio pic Ray, with Jamie Fox playing Ray Charles. Only 42, unlike many other movies about equality and racial justice, pulls many punches. This may, however, be for the best. While there are a lot of racial slurs and horrible racist attitudes from many of the characters, it never feels like too much, or overbearing. This was very skillfully orchestrated by the filmmakers, and probably the editor…

The Internship

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Billy (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Owen Wilson) are salesmen whose careers have been torpedoed by the digital world. Trying to prove they are not obsolete, they defy the odds by talking their way into a coveted internship at Google, along with a battalion of brilliant college students. But, gaining entrance to this utopia is only half the battle. Now they must compete with a group of the nation's most elite, tech-savvy geniuses to prove that necessity really is the mother of re-invention. (c) Fox PG-13, 1 hr. 59 min. DramaComedy Directed By: Written By:Vince VaughnJared Stern In Theaters:Jun 7, 2013 Wide Box Office:$31.1M 20th Century Fox - Official Site 






The Internship, starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, is a fairly forgettable and half-fun comedy that was forged in the fires of mediocrity and risen to the great heights of marginal acceptability. Playing it safe at every turn, every "surprise" and "twist" is par for the course. Every average and predict…

Man of Steel

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Hitchcock

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HITCHCOCK is a love story about one of the most influential filmmakers of the last century, Alfred Hitchcock and his wife and partner Alma Reville. The film takes place during the making of Hitchcock's seminal movie Psycho. PG-13, 1 hr. 38 min. Drama Directed By: Written By:John J. McLaughlin,Stephen RebelloSacha Gervasi In Theaters:Nov 23, 2012 Limited On DVD:Mar 12, 2013 Box Office:$6.0M Fox Searchlight Pictures


















Cinephiles everywhere need to treat themselves to Hitchcock, by director Herb Jenkins and starring Anthony Hopkins as legendary filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock. Here's why:

If you're too young to remember Hitchcock, some of the potency of this story will be lost on you. But, it will be a fantastic introduction to a director that has had a heavy influence on modern movie making. Consider it an educational film about Hitchcock. Directors from M. Night Shamalayn to Woody Allen have been compared to him. He nearly perfected the art of the indie film, and created a …

Oscar Favorites 2013

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The Academy Awards are an American institution. Just a couple of weeks ago, Argo was awarded with Best Picture and a pile of other Oscars were given to other Hollywood filmmakers. I loved Argo, but I think there were other very deserving Best Picture nominees, too. This year was a fairly strong year for nominees (certainly stronger than last year's pics, with the the gimmicky The Artist winning the big prize.) Out of the 9 nominees, I saw 7 of them before the award ceremony. I still haven't seen Amour or Life of Pi. I've read and heard quite a bit about Amour, and I don't know that I'm quite brave enough to give it a shot. As far as Life of Pi, I'm waiting for that one to hit Blu Ray.

My wife and I loved Argo last year when it first came out in theaters. Ben Affleck is a stellar directer (glaring Oscar snub aside) and the cast of Argo feels like an "Evan's Favorites" kind of list. John Goodman, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, and even Ben Affleck.

Valentine's Day Movie Guide For Men

Valentine's Day is upon us, guys. If you haven't made grand plans or called ahead for reservations, it may be too late. You might have to stay in and curl up on the couch with your loved one. Not to fear, men, because I can guide you to the right movie to watch. Valentine's Day is like a cinematic landmine field for men who want to avoid getting stuck watching What To Expect When You're Expecting, or some other sappy girl movie like 27 Dresses.

At the same time, you don't want to be watching some testosterone drenched man flick like The Avengers, or Fast and Furious. Unless you want your girlfriend / wife to be mad at you. Chances are, though, if you're in a relationship that's successful, then you have enough sense not to even suggest a man movie like that, and enough sense to listen to me.

There are plenty of movies out there with wonderful love stories that are also not mind-numbingly terrible or boring. Before you get stuck watching The Notebook, take t…

Zero Dark Thirty

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For a decade, an elite team of intelligence and military operatives, working in secret across the globe, devoted themselves to a single goal: to find and eliminate Osama bin Laden. Zero Dark Thirty reunites the Oscar winning team of director-producer Kathryn Bigelow and writer-producer Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker) for the story of history's greatest manhunt for the world's most dangerous man. -- (C) Official Site

Zero Dark Thirty is a remarkable movie. It's a fascinating tale of the pursuit and capture of Osama Bin Laden, complete with the raid of Bin Laden's compound.

Jessica Chastain plays a CIA / military operative named Maya who is determined to find Bin Laden. Chastain's performance is vivid and affecting as she watches a terrorist endure torture techniques. She's tough-as-nails, but also vulnerable at times.

There are some violent scenes, gritty language, and dark moments in Zero Dark Thirty. However, it is a solid, incredibly stable, and sober telling …

Beasts of the Southern Wild

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In a forgotten but defiant bayou community cut off from the rest of the world by a sprawling levee, a six-year-old girl exists on the brink of orphanhood. Buoyed by her childish optimism and extraordinary imagination, she believes that the natural world is in balance with the universe until a fierce storm changes her reality. Desperate to repair the structure of her world in order to save her ailing father and sinking home, this tiny hero must learn to survive unstoppable catastrophes of epic proportions. -- (C) Fox Searchlight
Beasts of the Southern Wild is an ethereal dream that shows the world through the eyes of a young girl named Hushpuppy. Gritty, dirty, and filled with family strain, little Hushpuppy is trying to deal with a reality that is beyond her young scope. She is in denial that the world is cruel and difficult. Her father urgently and loudly attempts to teach her about the real world. But, as children are, they sometimes only learn by experience.
The imagery flows effort…

Oscar Nominees 2013

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The 2013 nominees for Oscar are in this morning, and....WHAAAAT????
1. No Best Director for Ben Affleck - HUGE SNUB! no Best Director for Tom Hooper - HUGE SNUB! I know David O. Russell did a great job in Silver Linings Playbook, but NOT better than Ben Affleck for Argo or Hooper for Les Miserables. This was a really strong field this year, so I guess someone got snubbed. But, I haven't seen Beasts of the Southern Wild, but I'm skeptical.
2. What is Amour? And why is it nominated for both Best Foreign Language AND Best Picture? I guess they're not mutually exclusive. I gotta admit, I didn't see that one coming. But then again, who did?
3. Bradley Cooper for Best Actor....SERIOUSLY? I saw Silver Linings Playbook (seperate blog review of that later) a few days ago, and I did NOT think Bradley Cooper was Oscar worthy.
4. Joaquin Phoenix - the comeback kid? This is an exciting nomination because I've always admired Phoenix, until his bizarre meltdown a few years ago. I hop…