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Archive for the 'Movie Reviews' Category

Fly High And Soar Through The Heavens With ‘How To Train Your Dragon 2′ (Movie Review)

How To Train Your Dragon 2While I tend to be a very impatient fellow who’s always wanting something else as fast as it can be handed to me, there are some things worth the wait.  There are such things as the perfect film.  Lightning can surely strike the same place twice.  And for those reasons and so many more, that’s why were gathered here today.  We’re here today to discuss my favorite film of 2014 thus far, How To Train Your Dragon 2.  Quite frankly, I don’t care if I ruin the rest of the review by bestowing my feelings upon you this early within.  How To Train Your Dragon 2 was about as perfect as they come in my opinion, a film the whole family (young and old) can rally behind and truly enjoy.  The filmmakers broke the mold when they crafted the first one in 2010 and this second one is “the Holy Grail” or The Empire Strikes Back of which all sequels should strive to live up to.  It really doesn’t get any simpler than this.  Now that the origin story was told some four years ago, there’s a whole new world to explore within How To Train Your Dragon 2 and let me assure you, the stakes have never been higher. Continue reading ‘Fly High And Soar Through The Heavens With ‘How To Train Your Dragon 2′ (Movie Review)’

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Cruise And Blunt Fight Til The ‘Edge Of Tomorrow’ (Movie Review)

edge of tomorrow whysoblu thumbsAt this point, Tom Cruise does not need to be defended for doing what he is good at.  The guy works incredibly hard to make movies that entertain audiences, fully committing to roles that may not require him to break out of a certain character type, but that’s why he’ s a movie star and not a character actor.  Clearly he saw something in the script for All You Need Is Kill (now titled Edge of Tomorrow) that he felt would go well with the other sci-fi films in his filmography, because this did not look like an easy movie to make, yet it continues to add credence to his status as a huge sci-fi geek (I mean the dude actually believes in aliens).  Edge of Tomorrow is inventive, witty, fun, and many levels of awesome, all rolled up into one fine summer movie package.  If that’s not what you want from a summer action movie, Tom Cruise surely isn’t the one to blame.

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Re-Live Each Day “On The Edge Of Your Seat” With ‘Edge of Tomorrow’

Edge of Tomorrow TNI’m not sure who it was, either Aaron or Gerard here, but I remember it like it was only yesterday (no pun to the subject matter of this film), when one of them recommended to the Why So Blu clan members that they needed to check out the trailer for Edge of Tomorrow.  Come to think of it, Aaron probably had a leg up on us all last year with his coverage of three Warner Bros. titles here and of course his WonderCon writeup this past April here.  And like usual, when I first watched the trailer I refuted that I would ever love it.  I mean I loved Tom Cruise in Oblivion last year and I even loved a loophole time jumping flick like 2012’s Looper, but I sometimes get agitated and very antsy when I’m forced to watch the same thing transpire over and over only to get a little bit more info each time.  However, like usual, popular consensus seems to always get under my skin and I seemingly can’t help being swayed by it. Continue reading ‘Re-Live Each Day “On The Edge Of Your Seat” With ‘Edge of Tomorrow’’

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The Shining Stars Highlight ‘Fault’ (Movie Review)

the fault in our stars whysoblu thumbActors can make all the difference in films that only have so much going for them, based on either the screenplay or the way a film handles convention in general. The Fault In Our Stars is a film that deals with two young adults with cancer, who happen to fall in love with each other. There is obviously more to it than that, which is what I assume made the original novel, by John Green, so compelling to its large fan base (note: I have not read this novel), but that is the one sentence way to describe the film. Keeping that in mind, while not doing much to be all that innovative, the strong cast was enough for me to accept the story being told, as many of the right notes are hit to make it a film that certainly tugs at the heartstrings, but does not try to pride itself on having that effect.

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‘Maleficent’ Wishes To Soar, But Comes Up Lacking (Movie Review)

maleficent whysoblu thumbOn the surface, placing audiences inside the head of one of the more memorable Disney villains of all time seems like a pretty interesting idea.  Add to that a casting choice that has rarely seemed any less perfect and you have a high concept Disney film with built in appeal from multiple standpoints.  I only wish the film actually delivered more fun to go along with its premise.  Maleficent no doubt delivers on the visual noise one would expect from a big budget, live-action fantasy film and Angelina Jolie’s return to the big screen, in front of the camera for the first time in 4 years, is certainly the most worthwhile aspect of the film, but for a film with so much to look at, there was not enough going on to keep it engaging.

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‘A Million Ways’ To Seem Like A Western…Not Enough To Be Hilarious (Movie Review)

a million ways whysoblu thumbThe surprising thing about Seth MacFarlane’s A Million Ways to Die in the West is how devoted to the genre it actually is. While I can only think of so many western comedies offhand, there are plenty of ways to turn the genre on its head and have a lot of fun with it. MacFarlane is happy to dive into that well, but while making fun of the genre, he appears to really respect it. The issue then becomes how to make a film that looks like a western and sounds like a western into a film that is entertaining for the audiences showing up, based on the goodwill created by Ted or Family Guy. Unfortunately, while MacFarlane is known for his comedic abilities, the laughs are not nearly strong enough to go along with a film that admirably spends its time on recreating the feel of a western, while rooting itself in character.

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‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ Erases The Sting of Many Bad Memories and Replaces With Amnesia (Movie Review)

Days of Future PastAlthough I cannot claim to be a huge X-Men fanboy, I went into this past Tuesday night’s press screening of X-Men: Days of Future Past with a gusto of glee and optimism, not to mention excitement, after being so let down by the mediocre Godzilla last week.  And why not?  The past two films, The Wolverine and First Class, were actually really quite good after series stinkers such as The Last Stand and Origins: Wolverine.  So I thought why not take all that negative energy exhausted from my disappointment over Godzilla (although Curtis Bloodworth and countless others will disagree with my sentiments there) and spin it into something positive by strolling into Days of Future Past (henceforth abbreviated as DOFP throughout the rest of this review) with a big a$$ smile on my face.  You know, now that I think about it, that begs to question.  What movie isn’t good with a little Michael Fassbender action in it, huh?  Alright, let’s be serious.  We are gathered here today to talk about the time traveling comic book film, DOFP, and by golly it’s about “time” I stop wasting your present and start talking about your future, that is the movie you’ll be attending this weekend. Continue reading ‘‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ Erases The Sting of Many Bad Memories and Replaces With Amnesia (Movie Review)’

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‘X-Men’: Logan’s Run Back To The Future (Movie Review)

x-men dofp whysoblu thumb 2How do you bring everyone together? That is the question returning X-Men director Bryan Singer must have been set on answering in his attempt to not only combine the casts from nearly every previous X-Men film, but find a way to satisfy everyone with what is basically the biggest X-Men film ever. The results are fairly strong, as Singer manages to get past the overwhelming nature of having an incredibly large cast, two timelines, and providing emotional resonance in a film that is almost completely made up of forward plot momentum, expositional dialogue, and mutant action. Fans of the franchise should be mostly pleased, as it takes one of the iconic comic storylines and uses the cinematic versions of established (and some new) characters to truly deliver an exciting spectacle. Overcrowding is pushed aside in favor of eradicating previous story elements to make a focused and gratifying X-Men film, even if that means risking continuity coherence for the most devoted of fans, as well as some casual viewers.

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He’s ‘Godzilla’, Hear Him Roar (Movie Review)

godzilla whysoblu thumbIt is great to see a movie like this treated with a level of respect. While Godzilla can be boiled down to a giant monster causing a rampage in a city, the fact that the film (as well as its marketing) has a level of restraint in how to actually depict the sort of chaos that comes with this sort of film territory is impressive. This new Godzilla movie has a lot more in common with a disaster movie than a science fiction/adventure story, but it respects the legacy of the 60-year old franchise. The film is incredibly satisfying in the way it confidently builds up to huge reveals, maintains a level of pacing fitting of the more memorable summer blockbusters, puts a great deal of faith in letting the atmosphere enthrall its audience into the story, and still be a lot of fun to watch. While the human-based drama leaves something to be desired, this is easily the most enjoyable Godzilla film since 1989’s Godzilla vs. Biollante.

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Locke Rides Solo (Movie Review)

locke whysoblu thumbWatching someone attempt to control chaos can be a very exciting thing. Fittingly enough, in recent years, I have now watched two major Batman villains attempt it. Obviously Heath Ledger did his best to wreak havoc on the fictional Gotham City, only to be nearly outdone later by Tom Hardy’s Bane, but now Hardy is attempting to control a far less grandiose form of chaos: the destruction of his own life. Locke is a wonderfully gripping drama about a man attempting to remain calm and coherent in the midst of his entire life falling apart. Set in what amounts to a singular location with only the physical presence of one actor, it is not just control on the part of the character, but the filmmaking in general that makes this film so compelling, despite its minimalist nature.

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Godzilla’s Bark Is Worse Than Its Bite (Movie Review)

Godzilla 2014 Movie ReviewIf you were asked where would Hollywood be without another reboot of the famous Japanese film monster, Godzilla, how would you answer?  I guess if someone asked me that, my initial response would be probably making another attempt at Freddy Krueger.  But since things didn’t fair all too well for the slasher’s last go around, I would gladly have Godzilla back any day, that is until they reimagine Michael Myers.  However, as usual, I digress.  Strolling into this past Monday night’s press screening, despite the few negative reviews I had read, I was actually looking forward to seeing the big green guy stomping around like nobody’s business on the giant IMAX screen.  After all, American audiences haven’t had any Godzilla sightings since Roland Emmerich’s take in 1998.  Wouldn’t you say it’s kind of about time to welcome back our monstrous friend?  I think so!  I’m a big fan of the recent collaborations between Legendary Pictures (minus Jack the Giant Slayer) and Warner Bros. so why not?  Let the good times…um…smash! Continue reading ‘Godzilla’s Bark Is Worse Than Its Bite (Movie Review)’

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‘Million Dollar Arm’ Fouls Out (Movie Review)

million dollar arm whysoblu thumbIt is easy to see the main issue with Million Dollar Arm, as it is all over the poster. I like Jon Hamm, I look forward to seeing what he does, once Mad Men ends and he can really delve into some much better film roles, which he is more than able to handle, but his character is not the interesting part of this story adapted from reality. Still, we follow this sports agent in a film that takes the Disney sports movie formula (which has worked many times before) and applies it to this “Jerry Maguire heads to India” story. Unfortunately, while there are commendable elements, the film has little desire to really delve into the more interesting material involving the two kids with the million dollar arms.

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‘Chef’ Is Deliciously Entertaining (Movie Review)

chef whysoblu thumbIt does not take a whole lot for a film to win me over if it has a lot of charm. Get the right cast and allow them to have fun that is evident in the film and I will be happy to sit back and enjoy what has been put in front of me. Swingers is a favorite movie of mine because, despite the shagginess of the production, it has great cast interplay to go along with the depiction of nightlife in LA. Jon Favreau wrote and co-produced Swingers back in 1996 and has since gone on to direct much bigger movies like Iron Man and Elf. Chef takes him back to his indie roots. Working with a small budget and a simple concept, he has managed to take what he’s learned from his bigger movies and combine that very effectively with what he was able to do in his earlier films like Swingers and Made. The result is an incredibly charming film, with a great cast, a nice father/son story, and some terrific images of food to gaze upon.

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Hidy Ho! ‘Neighbors’ (Movie Review)

neighbors whysoblu thumbIn lesser hands, Neighbors could have been an easily forgettable mess of a film, with talented comedic performers simply going through the motions of a ‘versus’-type comedy.  The thing that separates a film like this from whatever junk a company like Happy Madison Productions tends to put out in theaters these days is the attempt to not only introduce some easy themes to go with the bevy of jokes, but really deliver on them just as clearly as the gags.  Make no mistake, Neighbors is a rowdy comedy that will live or die on whether or not observational humor + profanity (and shenanigans) can make you laugh, but it is hardly dumb humor.  It has plenty of silliness for the actors to engage in, but grappling onto the idea of adulthood matters just as much.

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NBFF 2014 Review: ‘Arlo & Julie’

arlo and julie whysoblu thumbThe final film I was able to see for the Newport Beach Film Festival was this fun little indie called Arlo & Julie. I really enjoyed it. With a neat story, very likable characters, and a soundtrack consisting mostly of old jazz to better evoke some specific films and filmmakers that I see as likely influences, Arlo & Julie has a lot of what I like to see in smaller films that I can only hope to see reach a larger audience at some point. It does just enough to set it apart from other films, but also has plenty in common with the quaint little indies that I tend to like a lot.

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‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ Forever (Movie Review)

the amazing spider man 2 whysoblu poster 1-001I am a Batman fan. People who know me well enough are pretty clear on that. With that said, while Batman and the characters in his universe provide more for me to think about, I also grew up reading and watching Spider-Man (and occasionally his amazing friends). I may find something more inherently interesting in the Caped Crusader, but it is easier to find fun in watching your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man knock out bad guys and one-liners, while zipping through New York City. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 delivers on that and while the film is certainly stuffed with story and setups, it also features some dazzling action, a few very solid performances, and some ambition to go with some unfortunate desire to rest a lot of weight on Peter Parker’s shoulders.

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A Neon Powered Conduit & ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2′ (Movie Review)

A Neon Powered Conduit & 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' (Movie Review)When I moved to Austin, TX over a year ago from Cleveland, OH I expected my change of scenery to be quite stimulating and invigorating, but you all know that whole grass is always greener on the other side thing, right?  While the skies may not be grey all the time like in Cleveland, I would take that downtown skyline any day.  However, I say this only to illustrate a point because the same comparison can be made when analyzing recent DC super hero films to Marvel ones.  Although I believe the Nolan Batman trilogy to be some of the best superhero films ever made, I can clearly see where comic book purists can get off complaining that the onscreen events are too dark, brooding and unconventional in terms of how a comic book movie should look, pop and shine on the big screen.  I can accept that, so can most people, but also many cannot.  So where am I going with all this?  Well, let me get straight to the point I am trying to make. Continue reading ‘A Neon Powered Conduit & ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2′ (Movie Review)’

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NBFF 2014 Review: ‘Follow Friday The Film’

ff the film whysobluSo what is all this Twitter business? Wednesday at the Newport Beach Film Fest afforded me the opportunity to check out a documentary that would have made more sense to see on a Friday. At least I now know what I can recommend via #ff on Friday, as Follow Friday the Film is an enjoyable documentary about Twitter. While not an instructional guide and more of an interesting look at how society is evolving, with a specific focus on popular social media, the film is not attempting to force Twitter on its audience, but instead invite folks to see the deeper value in typing a certain amount of characters into a program at any time. It helps that the film is structured together through a road trip, with plenty of interviews to really provide a broad perspective on the subject. As a person that uses Twitter plenty, I was happy to find a group that put out a film explaining this microblogging service so simply, yet in a charming manner.

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