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Archive for the 'Movie Reviews' Category

MVFF Review: The Automatic Hate

MVFFThe Automatic Hate begins by treating the viewer like an adult. The character of Cassie, played by Deborah Ann Woll (“Daredevil,” “True Blood”), is seen crying and our main character Davis, played by Joseph Cross (Running with Scissors) is trying to be both reassuring and respectful enough to want her to come to him when she is ready to talk. At this point, the viewer doesn’t know what is going on with their relationship, but the amount of information we gather about these two people within the first 5 minutes is enough to understand that they are equipped to handle life events together in a mature way, even if that might mean spending a few days apart to let whatever is weighing on Cassie to dissipate before they can have a discussion again. For a film to do this to its viewer is exciting. Continue reading ‘MVFF Review: The Automatic Hate’

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MVFF Review: Interwoven

MVFFHow bad can a film be to reach cult status? Watching “Interwoven,” I wondered how many people will invite friends over to embrace is complete bat-shit craziness. There were moments where I had to rewind because I couldn’t believe what just happened. It’s bonkers, sure, but it fails to go all the way. There’s a level of insanity that’s missing, one preventing it from catapulting into midnight screening territory.

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Mill Valley Film Festival Review: The Automatic Hate

daMill Valley Film FestivalUnnerving and touching, Justin Lerner’s sophomore film “The Automatic Hate” is deceptively simple, revolving around a family being faced with the sins of their past. Young chef Davis Green (Joseph Cross) has a fairly mundane life, which is thrown into chaos when a woman, Alexis (Adelaide Clemens), shows up late one night claiming to be his cousin, an absurd claim given his belief that his father is an only child. Confronting his father (Richard Schiff), a psychology professor, it’s revealed to him that Alexis indeed spoke the truth. Given Davis’ strained relationship with his girlfriend Cassie, he uses this new information as an opportunity to get away for a couple days to investigate this new side of the family.

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Everyone Wants ‘A Faster Horse’ (Movie Review)

A Faster HorseIf A Faster Horse proves nothing else than the fact that we all have our own “Mustang” story, then the documentary film is already a winner in my book.  For me, I suppose my father had a little something to do with my infatuation and affectionate love for the legendary pony car.  You see, my dad had a little makeshift shrine in our basement devoted to his 1964 1/2 red convertible that included pictures of it, the original window sticker and whatnot.  One of his most famed tales is how he almost walked away from that new vehicle deal over a hundred dollar disagreement with the salesman.  Now between you and me, one-hundred dollars seems like chump change today, but back then that would be like saying you owe me seven-hundred and fifty-two dollars.  Come to think of it that is still chump change.  Alright, my dad’s just cheap.  There I said it!  However, he taught me the value of money and how to manage it so there’s always a silver lining.  I suppose that since my room was decorated with posters like the Cobra branded logo on my bedroom door and the models I crafted were all Ford Mustangs had a little something to do with my obsession over the muscle car too.  I remember this one model fondly.  It was a black 1980 Cobra Mustang that had that infamous, large Cobra logo on the hood.  I loved that car! Continue reading ‘Everyone Wants ‘A Faster Horse’ (Movie Review)’

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Cross The Border To Check Out ‘Sicario’ (Movie Review)

SicarioSicario is one of those titles that when the press screening invite hit my inbox I immediately fist pumped the air and screamed “oh hell yeah.”  There was just something about the theatrical trailer (in particular that hallway of dead bodies behind the walls), never mind my love for Villeneuve’s Prisoners, that instantly sucked me in and had me believing without a shadow of a doubt that I was really going to love this one.  Does that even make any sense?  It does to me, but I digress.  So while the rumor mill has Lionsgate already eagerly working on a sequel to Sicario, let’s not put the cart in front of the horses.  We still need to tackle one very important subject here first and foremost.  What’s that your wondering?  Well, the movie review of the first Sicario of course.  So here we go… Continue reading ‘Cross The Border To Check Out ‘Sicario’ (Movie Review)’

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‘The Martian’ Cultivates A Rich Extraplanetary Film Experience (Movie Review)

The MartianThe Martian is one of those rare moments where I went into the movie knowing full well what was going to happen.  No, I’m not clairvoyant.  I read the book written by Andy Weir.  However, what makes the headlines even more interesting besides me reading a book is the fact that Andy’s novel was first self published in 2011.  It wasn’t until 2014 that the world really knew of Andy’s work here when Crown Publishing purchased the rights.  How do you like those apples?  Pretty damn impressive, huh?  You know it!  And you also know sooner or later with Mars One in the mainstream headlines everything is going to be about Mars so you better just get used to it now.  However, what’s not to love with Ridley Scott in the director’s chair here?  Oh yeah baby!  So sit back and blast off with me as I take you to Mars and back below with The Martian. Continue reading ‘‘The Martian’ Cultivates A Rich Extraplanetary Film Experience (Movie Review)’

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‘The Walk’ Thrills With “High-Tension” Moments (Movie Review)

The WalkEver since I saw the trailer for The Walk in IMAX at a screen of Mad Max: Fury Road I have been enthralled about seeing it.  The weird thing though is I hate heights.  However, I’m oddly drawn to that vertigo feeling seeing a film such as The Walk on a large IMAX screen can induce.  Is that weird?  I think so, but then again I am weird so maybe it only makes sense.  Anyway, the time has finally come to see Joseph Gordon-Levitt walk that green screen stretch between at the time in 1974 the very real Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.   What say you?  You ready to take that death defying plunge in IMAX with me this week?  Don’t worry.  I assure you Joseph Gordon-Levitt will be just fine.  It’s just a movie, and remember, he’s Robin (aka The Boy Wonder) after all.  Come on.  Put your tightrope walking shoes on and following me in. Continue reading ‘‘The Walk’ Thrills With “High-Tension” Moments (Movie Review)’

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Everest is Definitely Worth The Climb (Movie Review)

everest So let me first start off by saying that I am NOT a fan of 3D in movies.  I’ve found that 3D actually tends to make the picture darker than it should be and less defined.  Outside of the classic Michael Jackson short “Captain Eno,” I’ve yet to see an instance where it didn’t annoy me for some reason.  Now, having said that, Everest is definitely the kind of movie that is enhanced by 3D.  There are sweeping shots that capture massive scope and depth that I think you will loose with the regular format.  The filmmakers definitely took the time to make sure that the 3D was used for more than just some guy poking you in the face with a stick.  This is the type of movie that really tries to create an olfactory experience.  Every element is designed specifically to give you the feeling that you’re right there with them.  Take the music for example; the film opens with a slow deep Cello that evokes the feeling of struggle and loneliness.  Fast-forward to when they arrive in Nepal and it switches to local Nepalese folk music. And when all of the climbers are gathered together at the base of the mountain to train, you hear classic 90’s jams such as “This is How we Do it” by Montell Jordan that INSTANTLY take you back to that time.

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Johnny Depp “Steals” The Show In ‘Black Mass’ (Movie Review)

Black MassThe following is public knowledge.  James Joseph “Whitey” Bulger, Jr., born on September 3, 1929, is a convicted murderer and a former organized crime boss of the Boston Irish mob crew known as the Winter Hill Gang.  US prosecutors indicted Bulger for 19 murders based on grand jury testimony.  Word is he was once an informant for the FBI too.  Bulger fled Boston and went into hiding on December 23, 1994, after being tipped off by his former FBI handler about a pending indictment under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).  You may remember the RICO Act from The Dark Knight, eh?  And so for sixteen years, he remained at large.  For twelve of those years, Bulger was listed second on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, behind only Osama bin Laden.  Talk about being a celebrity, huh?  However, like most gangsters in movies, Whitey was eventually found (in Santa Monica of all places) and captured, in other words, all good things must come to an end. Continue reading ‘Johnny Depp “Steals” The Show In ‘Black Mass’ (Movie Review)’

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Drop Some Dope Rhymes And Make ‘The Visit’ To Grandma’s (Movie Review)

The VisitI feel like a broken record saying this, but never in a million years did I ever think I’d be back in a theater seat giving another M. Night Shyamalan film a chance, or even a second thought for that matter.  After Earth and The Last Airbender were the straw that broke the camel’s back for me (not to mention ones previous to those), but you have to admit The Visit does look freaky cool and crazy interesting in its theatrical trailers, doesn’t it?  Of course it does!  So primarily speaking, that’s the real reason we are all gathered here investing in and reading this movie review today.  M. Night Shyamalan has your attention, and most of all, your curiosity.  Remember, that’s what killed the cat so tread carefully here.  However, don’t fret!  Let me be your guide.  Take this plunge with me.  Here goes nothing!  Off to grandma’s house we go! Continue reading ‘Drop Some Dope Rhymes And Make ‘The Visit’ To Grandma’s (Movie Review)’

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There’s ‘No Escape’-ing The Intensity Here (Movie Review)

No Escape Movie ReviewThe movie title No Escape (not the 1994 one) sounds so familiar, doesn’t it?  At least to me it does.  It sounds like it could easily be a name of a KISS song from the 1980s or something when they were struggling to find their sound during the Killers era, but I digress.  Perhaps what shocked me even more was seeing Owen Wilson on the movie poster when I received the press invite to cover this one.  I instantly thought why have I never heard of this film and of course what is funny man Owen Wilson doing in a film like this.  I almost dismissed this one had it not been for the trailer.  After viewing it I thought wow if it’s a great story and Owen Wilson can really pull this one off, it could be quite good me thinks.  After all, I thought his brother Luke did a great job in the serious role he portrayed in 2007’s Vacancy, one of my earliest Blu-ray titles in my collection (a little Brian White trivia for ya).  So let’s do this.  Let’s talk some No Escape. Continue reading ‘There’s ‘No Escape’-ing The Intensity Here (Movie Review)’

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‘Straight Outta Compton’ Is Dope (Movie Review)

Straight Outta ComptonFor the first time in a very long time I’m honestly not even sure where to start with this review.  I really never had any interest in the hip hop, rap musical group NWA even though I grew up with them during their rise and as a result, many controversies.  I always thought their music was a bit too obscene and controversial for my tastes.  At least I knew my parents would have never went for it.  However, one thing’s for sure.  Universal’s trailer for Straight Outta Compton knocks it out of the ballpark and reels you in, hook, line and sinker with what they put out their on display.  It looked like a biopic pic I could really get behind.  Perhaps Ice Cube said it best when it comes to this film.  He said “I don’t know any other movie where you can mix gangster rap, the F.B.I., L.A. Riots, HIV and feuding with each other.”  Ain’t that the truth.  Ladies and gentlemen I present to you Straight Outta Compton. Continue reading ‘‘Straight Outta Compton’ Is Dope (Movie Review)’

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Review: FANTASTIC FOUR: Not That Bad! Not That Good!

Fantastic FourIf the entire running time of Fantastic Four was a mess and a slog, it would be much easier to write about. But because the film gets so much right in it’s first 45 minutes, talking about it becomes extremely frustrating. The film is a clear example of project that tragically derailed and no one knew how to get it back on track, so they just haphazardly pasted scenes here and there and hoped for the best. The end product mirrors the inter-dimensional planet the titular four travel to: visually interesting, but ultimately lifeless.

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Unwrap ‘The Gift’ To Subvert Your Thriller Expectations (Movie Review)

The GiftIt’s going to take me awhile, but I’m sorry.  Every time I hear the movie title The Gift my mind instantly thinks of Sam Raimi’s 2001 film featuring the likes of Cate Blanchett, Katie Holmes, Keanu Reeves, Giovanni Ribisi and Greg Kinnear.  I keep having to tell myself it’s 2015 and movie titles are allowed to have the same name as others that have come before it.  Is it unoriginal?  Hell yes it is, but we have a new player in town and lately producer Jason Blum (The Purge and basically every other horror film out there in recent years) is a force to be reckoned with because the dude is walking on water.  He can do no wrong!  Of course it doesn’t hurt when your film features the talents of Jason Bateman and Joel Edgerton too, but I digress.  We’ll talk more about those two down below.  Ladies and gentlemen, I present to my gift to you…The Gift movie review. Continue reading ‘Unwrap ‘The Gift’ To Subvert Your Thriller Expectations (Movie Review)’

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Fantastic Four Is A “Grimm” Disgrace (Movie Review)

Fantastic FourLet’s forget about whether this is a good film or not for a minute.  In my opinion, here’s a motion picture that should have never been made.  I understand all the reasons why it was made, the rights involved, securing the property and what not, but come on, really.  Do the trailers for this new Fantastic Four film look any better than the two Jessica Alba incarnations that came before?  In my opinion, they do not.  Actually, the trailers looked worst.  However, that’s just my two cents because I’m sure I’m in the minority here, but I rather liked the first two Jessica Alba infused Fantastic Four films.  They were fun, lighthearted and entertaining.  And hey!  If not for those two Fantastic Four films, the world would have never found the Captain America they all know and love today in that of Johnny Storm.  Ah, Johnny Storm.  Don’t even get me started on that topic (I’m not going to play that card). Continue reading ‘Fantastic Four Is A “Grimm” Disgrace (Movie Review)’

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Tom Cruise Defies Gravity Once Again in ‘Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation’ (Movie Review)

Mission Impossible Rogue Nation TNThere was a period of time in my life back in the middle 2000’s where I just wasn’t a fan of Tom Cruise.  Maybe it was his relationship with Katie Holmes, or maybe it was all his scientology crap, I don’t know, but I just couldn’t watch his films for awhile.  I remember catching Mission: Impossible III one late night on a Dell Latitude laptop (yuck!) while working third shift in a data center, but other than that I had no idea what I was missing out on.  Then came news of Tom scaling one of the tallest buildings in the world in Dubai in the fourth entry of this series, and that was all it took.  My butt was definitely in a theater chair to see that.  Ever since that Tom Cruise can do no wrong in my books churning out incredible flicks left and right like Oblivion and Edge of Tomorrow, just to name a few. Continue reading ‘Tom Cruise Defies Gravity Once Again in ‘Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation’ (Movie Review)’

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Just Your Typical Summer ‘Vacation’ (Movie Review)

VacationBelieve it or not, July 29th’s Vacation is actually the fifth theatrical and the seventh total installment of the National Lampoon’s Vacation series.  However, that stat does little to phase or impress me.  While I loved some of the earlier National Lampoon’s Vacation movies, the trailers for 2015’s Vacation absolutely rocked.  So much so that I felt if a trailer can elicit that much laughter from me, I just have to see the finished product and ensure there are still some good, unexpected laughs to be had with the feature.  And that ladies and gentlemen is why we’re here today to discuss in-depth the merits and hopeful laughs of Vacation.  And I know this is digression, but God I could really use one (referring to the very real dictionary definition of the word vacation).  Haha. Continue reading ‘Just Your Typical Summer ‘Vacation’ (Movie Review)’

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Pixels (Movie Review)

PixelsI really wanted to love this movie.  I really did.  Although the special effects are very amazing and rather stunning; it is the same old same old Happy Madison movie formula.  Sandler is the hero who doesn’t have self-confidence, James is the best friend who does believe in the hero and serves as a moral compass, Dinklage plays the over-sexed and inappropriate sleazy friend, and Gad plays the under-sexed and awkward nerd.  It was disappointing. Continue reading ‘Pixels (Movie Review)’

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