The year 2014 has been a great year for movies! While there are far to many to have seen them all, below is a list of movies I was able to get to in the theaters and my ratings. Let me know if you agree or disagree in the comments below.
|1. Robocop:||(2.5 / 5)|
|2. The Lego Movie:||(2 / 5)|
|3. Pompeii:||(2 / 5)|
|4. Captain America-Winter Soldier:||(4.5 / 5)|
|5. Veronica Mars:||(3.5 / 5)|
Disney’s Frozen has gotten under my skin in a way that no movie has in a very long time. I knew I enjoyed it the first time I watched it, but I really had no idea just how much this movie would be on my mind in the time since then.
At first I thought that maybe it was just the fact the Disney had seemingly gone back to their roots in making great animated movies in the vein of The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and my personal favorite – Aladdin. Correction, my former personal favorite as Frozen has soundly dethroned its predecessor. However as time has progressed I am coming to find that it really isn’t that simple. Frozen has simply spoken to me on a level that very few works have ever managed. In short, Frozen got to my heart. (As it turns out, contrary to popular belief, I have one.)
Saturday, March 24,1984.
Shermer High School,
Shermer, Illinois, 60062.
Dear Mr. Vernon,
We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. What we did *was* wrong. But we think you’re crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. What do you care? You see us as you want to see us – in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. You see us as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal. Correct? That’s the way we saw each other at 7:00 this morning. We were brainwashed.
But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal. Does that answer your question?…
The Breakfast Club.
This is the opening, and with a minor change the closing of the 1985 John Hughes teen movie classic, The Breakfast Club – one of the of, if not THE seminal movie experience of my adolescent years. In large part this film was responsible for changing my perception of who I thought I was and in many ways who I ended up being.
This week we talked about the movie 1976 Horror film Carrie (you can see the video of the discussion below). We took a look at the Spielberg/De Palma collaboration not only as a classic in the Horror genre but also as a snapshot of what was common/acceptable in movies almost 4 decades ago. But we also happened to draw this movie while the Carrie 2013 remake is out in theaters, so this really turned into a discussion of Carrie as a franchise. Below are some quick Highs and lows from the three films:
This is the movie that started it all. The story is of a shy girl who was sheltered from the world by a fearful, delusional mother and the damage done to her by this upbringing. Carrie is an outcast, shunned by the social groups in her high school as a pariah. Not only does she not have the social skills needed to integrate in her environment after only recently being allowed to attend a public school, Carrie is unprepared to deal with the changes her body is going through as she becomes a young woman. After traumatically having her first menstruation in a locker room full of her classmates and panicking, these girls mercilessly mock her chanting the refrain – “Plug it up.”
The post was originally written as a twitter response (140 characters at a time) to the following conversation:
If you've read @EndersGameMovie & enjoyed it, my recommendation is stay away and preserve your memories…
— The M Cluster (@TheMCluster) November 2, 2013
I am not a Zombie aficionado. I did not start watching The Walking Dead until midway through season three. I was a fan of The Living Dead franchise and had no problems with 28 Days Later. I really rather enjoyed Warm Bodies. I hate(d) the Resident Evil Series. Given my Zombie resume is somewhat middle of the road, the hype surrounding the release of World War Z had very little affect on me. The truth is had I not known that I would need to be conversant on this film for the purposes of the show and this site – there is a good chance I would have waited for it to come out on DVD. I’m glad I didn’t.
World War Z is apparently a very very loose adaptation of the novel by the same name written by Max Brooks. This may come as a shock to you – but I have not read the book either. Once again, I’m glad I didn’t. The film adaptation stars Brad Pitt as United Nations war crimes investigator extraordinaire (Ret.) Gerry Lane. In the opening of the movie we see Gerry with his family, which are comprised of Mireille Enos, Abigail Hargrove and Sterling Jerins – the three ladies in his life and presumably the reason he is no longer working in the capacity of an investigator. They appear to currently be living the American dream, although we are meant to understand that Gerry’s work was a real issue for his family life and we learn that his daughter is a severe asthmatic. I’ll assume this was meant to make us care for the characters, but the truth is his family seemed so secondary to the movie that they never meant much to me at all.
I’ll get right to the point – This move has got to be one the the most ridiculous movies I have ever seen. And one of the funniest. it is stupidly, ridiculously, hilariously funny. FUNNY. With a capital F.
Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg took the “Keep it simple, stupid” approach to writing this movie. So simple in fact that it has – are you ready for this – no characters. All of the actors in this movie are playing themselves. Well, to be fair, they play the people that viewers at large would expect them to be.
Jay Baruchel plays Seth Rogan’s friend who has come to visit him in Los Angeles. While in town, Rogan has made plans for them to attend a party at James Franco’s house, in which many of Hollywood’s blooming A-Listers are in attendance. Among these are – too damned many. Check out the image below:
This is just what I could get in one screen capture. This movie is almost over-flowing with the number of celebrities who make an appearance – and it works perfectly. The most notable of these has to be Michael Cera, who is inebriated, intoxicated, womanizing and laugh out loud funny.
The story is essentially that during this party – the apocalypse happens. Like the actual apocalypse. Not the Zombie Apocalypse, or a Nuclear Apocalypse – the mother f’ing fire and brimstone, god will smite you, hell on earth Apocalypse. The Chosen are carried away to heaven and guess what – all the actors are left behind. What we are left with is a core group of survivors (Rogen, Baruchel, Franco, Hill, and Craig Robinson) trying to figure out what the hell is going on and applying what little survival skills they have. And just when it seems like they are getting a handle on things, Danny McBride shows up to fuck everything up.
In a market that is over-saturated with disaster films, there is no doubt that this one if going to stand out from the pack. The actors comment on how they are ill equipped to handle the situation at hand because – well, they are actors. They PRETEND to be able to get out of any situation – and in this case, not so much. The genius in this that that it all adds up to a hilariously fun story to watch. You actually care about the ‘characters’ in the film and in some cases you care enough to root for their demise.
Rogen, Baruchel, Franco, Hill, and Craig Robinson take the disaster movie (and make no mistake this is not a spoof, it IS a disaster movie) to an entirely new level. If you are not easily offended and you are looking for a good laugh this is one of the years must see movies.
Have a look at the trailer below!
The Purge is an interesting movie in that it was enjoyable for all the wrong reasons. That is not to say that the film is poorly made or that there are poor performances, but it seems, at least to me and those that were in the theater with me – that much of the film did not come off as it was supposed to.
The setting is the not so distant future. Poverty is just about unheard of. Unemployment is at an amazing 1%. The economy is stable and crime in America is nearly non-existent. In the opening of the film we are treated to a barrage of news audio and video in which the subject is the annual purge, which is credited with saving the country and bringing prosperity to the masses. What we come to find is that the “New Founders” have designated twelve hours during one day a year where crime – even murder – is not illegal. This is the purge. The opportunity to purge the hatred, anger and villainy that is poisoning your soul without consequence.
The story is centered on one particular family for whom the purge has brought particularly high levels of prosperity. Of course this prosperity comes through the sales of – security systems. See in this world, home invasion is not illegal, so the well prepared person is the safe person. However what this does is bring a notable imbalance between the haves and the have nots. Not everyone can afford a fancy home security and more often than not, these are the victims of those who go “hunting” to purge their souls. For James Sandin and family this year they have to put their money where their mouths are when one of his children ill-advisedly brings a stranger into their home to save his life, only to make his family the target of the hunters pursuing him. You may think I am giving the film away, but this is just what you’ve been told in the trailers.
The film had lots of suspense, but it also had more laughs than I believe it was supposed to. There were many beats in the movie that were just comical in just how far from reality they really were. Ethan Hawke put in a fine performance as does the rest of the cast, but some of the writing is – well, just off. There is a red herring or two that make you look for a twist that isn’t coming (or is it?). The story does not drag and there is quite a bit going on. I would say the big miss here is the dialogue.
Writer/Director James DeMonaco really screwed the pooch on what could have been either an great piece of satire or a real in depth commentary on the current state of society. Instead we get a poorly stitched together story with talented actors that come across as cardboard caricatures of an over-entitled upper middle class. I generally am a fan of anything Ethan Hawke is in, but this one puts that to the test. While I still think it is an entertaining movie, all of the out of place laughs really made for a disappointing and lackluster “day in the life of” film. The surprise ending of the film solicits less of a surprise than a “heh, figures” kind of moment.
The action in the film is your typical slasher fare attempting to mask itself in less than witty banter and 1980’s horror imagery. At the end of the day, I’d say wait for this to come out on dvd. If you are looking for a serious film, this movie will likely make you want to – well, Purge.
You can check out the trailer below.
Now You See Me has been the surprise movie of the year for me. I went into the movie not knowing what to expect and had my lack of expectation exceeded a thousand fold.
The movie opens and gives the audience a profile on each character in the movie, all of which are street magicians – some of which are more “legitimate” than others. Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Jesse Eisenberg and Dave Franco star as our four protagonists who have two things in common. They are all excellent magicians and they all have caught the eye of a mysterious figure who invites all of them to embark on an adventure.
Fast forward a year later and we now see our four magicians have joined forces to become the mega magician team called “The Four Horsemen”. Not only have they gained popularity, but they have gained a major sponsor in the form of Michael Cain. As Cain learns, he should have heeded the warning that the audience was given at the beginning of the film, “The closer you look, the less you see”. All is not as it seems, and to re-mediate the situation – enter the magician debunker – Morgan Freeman.
“The first rule of magic is always be the smartest guy in the room.”