Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Opened December 20, 2013 
1 hr 27 min
PG | Creature Action and Peril and Mild Rude Humor

One thing that children love growing up especially boys are dinosaurs.  The thought of these mighty creatures roaming the Earth millions of years ago is just fascinating.  Being able to see them animated on the big screen is always a big thrill.  But then when Walking with Dinosaurs came out, moviegoers were complaining about how the dinosaurs were talking in this movie and that the dialogue was pretty annoying.  I thought to myself, it couldn't be that bad could it?  With my final day off of the year, I took my family to see a matinee of the film, and yes, the dialogue and plot ruins what would have been otherwise awesome in terms of amazing CGIs of these prehistoric beasts.


The film begins with a short modern day clip wasting the talents of Karl Urban, as his nephew (Ricky) appears to be on drugs.  How else would you explain a bird talking to him and taking him back in time to view what happened 70 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous period?  Most of the story is told through the bird, Alex (John Leguizamo) and the star of the film, Patchi (Justin Long).  Patchi is a Pachyrhinosaurus, which to us novices looks something like the more well-known Triceratops but with smaller horns.   We meet Patchi as the runt of his family and see his struggles through to adulthood.


What makes this movie not enjoyable for adults is the apparent struggles that the filmmakers have imagined up for our little Pachy.  A struggle that apparently includes a teenage love angst.  Sure none of us including the filmmakers were alive during those times to know if indeed they could have experience these things.  But they seem to take a little too much liberty in making the dinosaurs into something less like BBC's informative approach and more like one of Disney's teenage comedies.  



Overall, I would recommend waiting for this film on Netflix or catching a matinee of it.  Despite my misgivings of the dialogue and plot, the incredible visuals are a good enough reason to attend to give you that dinosaur fix until Jurassic World in 2015.  I did not watch the 3D version but some of the scenes looked like it would look very cool in 3D.  I took my seven year old daughter to the film and some scenes in which the Omnivores/Carnivores like the Gorgosaurus were attacking were very frightening to her.  I asked her after the film though if she enjoyed it and she said yes.  The main reason of that being Patchi's bravery.  So the film is better suited for a younger audience, but not this dinosaur of a critic.

As always thank you all for reading and wishing you a happy and wonderful new year!

Rating: 3.0 Stars out of 5.0 Stars

Trailer:


Cast:
Voiceovers for prehistoric creatures
John Leguizamo ... Alex
Justin Long ... Patchi
Tiya Sircar ... Juniper
Skyler Stone ... Scowler

Modern-day humans
Karl Urban ... Uncle Zack
Charlie Rowe ... Ricky
Angourie Rice ... Jade

Sunday, December 29, 2013


Opens December 25, 2013
1 hr 59 min
PG-13 | Intense Sequences of Violence, Some Disturbing Images, Intense Sequences of Action and Thematic Elements

Director Carl Erik Rinsch puts an interesting twist with his version of 47 Ronin.  But with a plot that is all over the place and characters better suited for an Anime, 47 Ronin is destined to fall on its own sword.  From the classic tale of the 47 Ronin that avenges their Lord, Carl Erik Rinsch adds a fantasy element, bringing us witches, dragons, and other mythical and supernatural creatures.


As much as Keanu Reeves is a part of the movie as an outcast to the Japanese shoguns and eventual Ronins, he and the other characters lacked coherent character development that ultimately made you not care if the 47 Ronins succeeded or not.  Throw in a rather slim propped up romance story and seppuku (ritual suicide) that still escapes the westerner's traditional logic of self preservation over honor and you get 47 Ronin.





The highlight of the film is Rinko Kikuchi who plays the witch Mizuki.  You would have seen her most recently in Pacific Rim as Mako.  Her bewitching stare in every scene she's in just gives her a presence that draws your attention.  The chubby ronin whose name I didn't catch was another standout character.  Oishi (Hiroyuki Sanada) and the other ronins were good in their roles but characters were just not memorable.  The CGI effects were good though not overly impressive.


Overall, I would recommend watching this film as a matinee or just waiting for it to come out for rental or Netflix.  There are just better holiday films out currently that are more deserving of your box office dollars.  For a better Keanu Reeves martial arts film, watch Man of Tai Chi.  For a better fantasy film, watch The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.


Rating: 2.5 Stars out of 5.0 Stars



Trailer:



Cast:
  • Keanu Reeves as Kai, a former slave who joins the Ronin.
  • Hiroyuki Sanada as Oishi, the leader of the Ronin.
  • Kou Shibasaki as Mika, Lord Asano's daughter and Kai's love interest.
  • Tadanobu Asano as Lord Kira, the Shogun's master of ceremonies and the one responsible for killing the Ronin's master.
  • Min Tanaka as Lord Asano, the former master of the Ronin.
  • Jin Akanishi as Chikara, Oishi's son.
  • Masayoshi Haneda as Yasuno
  • Hiroshi Sogabe as Hazama
  • Takato Yonemoto as Basho
  • Hiroshi Yamada as Hara
  • Shu Nakajima as Horibe
  • Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Shogun Tsunayoshi
  • Rinko Kikuchi as Mizuki, a witch who serves Lord Kira.
  • Yorick van Wageningen as Kapitan
  • Rick Genest as Foreman

Wednesday, December 25, 2013



  • Opens December 25, 2013 
  • 2 hr 59 min
  • R | Graphic Nudity, Drug Use, Language Throughout, Some Violence and Strong Sexual Content

The Wolf of Wall Street is yet another masterpiece by Director Martin Scorses that is award bound due to the superb acting by its cast.  This time around Scorses explores another seedy element of society, namely Wall Street, with his trademark, sex, drugs and profanity laced plot that will have you engrossed or disturbed.  And quite appallingly, most of what you will see did happen, as the movie is based on Wall Street con artist Jordan Belfort's memoir.



Despite the dark nature of the film, the black comedy will have you laughing out loud at the absurdity that these powerful men lived their lives in the heyday of the stock market.  From the amount of coke ingested to keep themselves sharp, to midget throwing and head shaving, these adolescent minded men shows that money can buy anything.  While these things didn't draw the attention of the FBI, their pump and dump schemes pilfering the coffers of the lower and middle class did.

The movie however starts and ends with Jordan Belfort played exceptionally well by Leonardo DiCaprio.  Ambitious and cocky, his downfall comes at his own hands, showing that money cannot buy the FBI.  Throughout the film, his character often breaks the fourth wall to quite amusingly make a point about his affluence or innocence.  DiCaprio's talent is showcased at its best when his character overdoses on expired prescription drugs leaving him as he describes like he has "cerebral palsy."


Besides DiCaprio, you can't help but praise (or drool over) Margot Robbie.  The stunning actress plays Belfort's second wife, Naomi.  She has the second best scene when she tells Jordan repeatedly that this is the last time he will be sexual with her.  That particular scene is extremely powerful and touching and should earn her an award in my opinion.  Matthew McConaughey is hilarious in the beginning, but unfortunately, his role is limited to Jordan's early life as Jordan's mentor, Mark.  Jonah Hill who plays Jordan's partner Donnie, whose role challenges him more than his usual comedies but still does not does enough to make him stand out more than his previous film roles.

Overall, I really enjoyed the film despite its long almost three hour film time.  The film is action packed enough to not have too many lulls to keep you interested in the film.  There is quite a bit of redundancies as far as repeating the fact that these guys party hard, which they did in real life.  The film is quite a contrast to the Boiler Room (2000) which was also based on Stratton Oakmont and Jordan Belfort.  Because of the excessive sex and drug use scenes, this movie is not for everyone.

Rating: 4.5 Stars out of 5.0 Stars

Trailer:

Cast:

  • Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort
  • Jonah Hill as Donnie Azoff
  • Margot Robbie as Naomi Lapaglia
  • Matthew McConaughey as Mark Hanna
  • Kyle Chandler as Patrick Denham
  • Rob Reiner as Max Belfort
  • Jon Bernthal as Brad Bodnick
  • Jon Favreau as Manny Riskin
  • Jean Dujardin as Jean-Jacques Saurel
  • Cristin Milioti as Teresa Petrillo
  • Christine Ebersole as Leah Belfort
  • Shea Whigham as Captain Ted Beecham
  • Katarina Čas as Chantalle
  • P. J. Byrne as Nicky Koskoff
  • Kenneth Choi as Walter
  • Joanna Lumley as Aunt Emma
  • Spike Jonze as Dwayne
  • Brian Sacca as Robbie Feinberg
  • Ethan Suplee as Toby Welch
  • Martin Klebba as Frank Berry
  • Madison McKinley as Heidi
  • Barry Rothbart as Peter Diblasio

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


  • Opens tomorrow, December 25, 2013 
  • 1 hr 54 min
  • PG | Some Crude Comments, Language and Action Violence

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty adapted from a 1939 short story of the same name by James Thurber shows us that dreaming and living are two different things.  Directed and starring Ben Stiller, the incredible tale of a mundane person fantasizing of a more interesting life, goes on an adventure to find a Life Magazine photographer who had sent him a negative that was supposed to be used for a cover.  The slide was lost and subsequently his job after 16 years on the job of handling and arching negatives for Life Magazine brings him out of his fantasies and into a much more interesting world.

While the premise is interesting enough, the movie tends to fall flat as far as excitement matching the life of Walter before his adventures.  The journey to find photographer Sean O'Connell (Sean Penn) takes Walter (Ben Stiller) out of his comfort zone and he slowly has less and less daydreams.  But even amazingly breath taking scenes from Walter's global travel can't  help the dull slow pace of the film taking into detail every little moment of Walter's not so interesting life.


The only saving grace for the film is the love interest of Walter's, Cheryl (Kristen Wiig) that unfortunately is not touched upon as much as you would want.  The eHarmony representative while amusing at first becomes a redundant joke that seems quite implausible.  The moment of meeting the famous photographer Sean O'Connell as well is anti-climactic.  The ending to the film however is a nice heartwarming touch when the cover is revealed to Walter as well as the movie goers. 

Overall, I would only recommend this movie as a rental or on Netflix if it ever shows up there.  The movie could have been tighten to avoid the long moments of just watching Walter travelling.  His dull personality while part of the point of the movie, does nothing to keep us from yawning.  The message of living your life instead of dreaming about it is a strong message that gets lost somewhere along the journey.

Rating: 2.0 Stars out of 5.0 Stars

Trailer:

Cast:
  • Ben Stiller as Walter Mitty
  • Kristen Wiig as Cheryl Melhoff, Mitty's love interest
  • Shirley MacLaine as Edna Mitty
  • Adam Scott as Ted Hendricks, Mitty's boss
  • Kathryn Hahn as Odessa Mitty, Walter's sister
  • Sean Penn as Sean O'Connell, a photojournalist
  • Patton Oswalt as Todd Maher, an eHarmony customer service representative

Monday, December 23, 2013



  • Opens December 25, 2013 
  • PG-13 | Sports action violence, sexual content and language

A slug fest for the ages as Grudge Match pits Robert De Niro who played Jake LaMotta in 1980's Raging Bull against Sylvester Stallone who played as Rocky Balboa in the various Rocky movies.  Of course it's not Jake vs. Rocky in this movie but Billy "The Kid" McDonnen (De Niro) taking on his arch rival Henry "Razor" Sharp (Stallone).  As the tag line goes, "a rivalry 30 years in the making," means both fighters are fighting again way past their prime.

In their careers, Billy and Henry each only had one blemish in their championship boxing careers, and that was to each other.  Billy had won the initial match up, and Henry the latter.  They were scheduled to face each other a third time while in their prime but Henry unexpectedly announced his retirement.  Fast forward 30 years later and Billy is a successful small business owner, owning a bar as well as a used car shop.  Henry meanwhile has seen better days as he is now a blue collar factory worker living in a small house skimping by to stretch his dollar with mounting debt.   

Dante Slate, Jr. (Kevin Hart) whose father was the promoter for the earlier fights between the two tries to reunite the two aging boxer.  He does so after a skirmish between the two at a video game shoot goes viral on the internet that garners interest for the two to fight again.  Henry is reluctant at first and we learn later why he is and why he retired long ago.  Spoiler, it has to do with a girl, or more specifically, Sally Rose played by Kim Basinger.


As unbelievable as the film is with the two aging actors going at it, you can't help but laugh as they poke fun at each other's eligibility for AARP membership.  While Stallone still has a mostly chiseled body, Robert De Niro's flab makes it implausible that even with training, that he'll be able to fight with such intensity as shown in Grudgement Day.  And it's the type of put downs though redundant at times makes you break a smile throughout the film.  Coming into his own is Kevin Hart as the promoter.  His banter with Henry's old time trainer Lightning (Alan Arkin) are some of the best scenes.  Both De Niro and Stallone puts on good performances.  Kim Basinger though is not particularly memorable.  Jon Bernthal like Kevin Hart is a rising film star.  If you love Jon in The Walking Dead, you'll love him in Grudge Match.  

Overall, I would recommend this film as a good winter holiday watch.  It'll make the old feel young again and the young appreciative of the older folks.  Whether it's learning about what's important in life (family) or not making the same mistakes in life, there's a positive message that the movie resonates that fits the holiday spirit.  The only thing that could have made this film better if it was done 20 years ago when both main actors were younger.  But then again it wouldn't be the laugh out loud comedy that it is now.  Be sure to stay during the end credits for some great cameos and more laughter with a certain ear biter and his former rival.

Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5.0 Stars

Trailer:


Cast:

Sylvester Stallone as Henry "Razor" Sharp
Robert De Niro as Billy "The Kid" McGuigan
Alan Arkin as Lightning
Kevin Hart as Dante Slate, Jr.
Jon Bernthal as B.J.
Kim Basinger as Sally Rose
Chael Sonnen as himself
Michael Buffer as himself
Anthony Bean as Dante Slate, Sr.
LL Cool J as Frankie Brite

Saturday, December 21, 2013


One of the most highly anticipated films of January 2014 is The Legend of Hercules starring Kellan Lutz.  Kellan Lutz whom you may be familiar with on the Twilight movie series as Emmett Cullen will also be in the upcoming The Expendables 3.  


About Hercules:

In the epic origin story THE LEGEND OF HERCULES, Kellan Lutz stars as the mythical Greek hero -- the son of Zeus, a half-god, half-man blessed with extraordinary strength. Betrayed by his stepfather, the King, and exiled and sold into slavery because of a forbidden love, Hercules must use his formidable powers to fight his way back to his rightful kingdom. Through harrowing battles and gladiator-arena death matches, Hercules embarks on a legendary odyssey to overthrow the King and restore peace to the land.



In theaters & 3D nationwide on January 10, 2014.

http://Hercules3DMovie.com 
http://Facebook.com/Hercules3D 
http://Twitter.com/Hercules3D 
http://herculesmovie.tumblr.com/




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Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Opened November 8, 2013 (Limited)
1 hr 23 min
PG-13 | Language, Crude and Sexual Content, Comic Violence and Partial Nudity

It's rare that I would come across a movie that I would find a complete waste of time and just down right hate.  Starving Games which is the sixth parody movie by Director Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer fills that bill to the tee.  The movie gets a half of a star just for being able to dupe film goers into watching their movies and being financial successes for the filmmakers to make more of this trash.  I remembered the film coming out late last year and lasting only a week at the AMC 25.  Here's why...

Once upon a time spoof films were actually good.  Naked Guns, Major Leagues, and Airplane! immediately jumps to mind.  Those had  clever jokes and star power, that Starving Games sorely lacked.  Their jokes references pop culture that are several years old and uses CGI that most teenagers could probably recreate with little training.  I really don't see where the $20 million that the movie has budgeted went towards.


Despite the lack of big names, I actually do like the main actors and actresses.  Maiara Walsh as Kantmiss Evershot, Cody Christian as Peter Malarky and Ross Wyngaarden as Marco all performed well in a poorly scripted and plotted movie.  The costumes are also quite good in the film mirroring those of The Hunger Games.  In particular the colorful costumes of the people in the Capital including Lauren Bowles as Effoff is almost a mirror image of the original.

I know part of the appeal of these movies is the ridiculous nature which makes it a parody.  But to me, this film is just an utterly lazy effort to just get a paycheck and get the film out in time to coincide with the Catching Fire release.  Why are they still parodying Avatar?  That film came out in 2009.  As well, Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja pales in comparison with the popularity of Candy Crush Saga over the past year.  


Overall, I would not recommend watching it unless you're forced at gun point.  Even if your'e a Hunger Games fan, incredibly curious, and had a free Redbox rental, I would not recommend it.  Time is better spent watching the Hunger Games or any of the other spoof movies I've mentioned above.  The film is available On Demand as well Blu Ray and DVD.

Rating: 0.5 Stars out of 5.0 Stars

Trailer:

Cast:
Maiara Walsh as Kantmiss Evershot
Brant Daugherty as Dale
Cody Christian as Peter Malarky
Ross Wyngaarden as Marco
Walker Anderson as Young President Snowballs
Chris Angerdina as Capitol Citizen
Joseph Aviel as Arnold Schwarzenegger
Diedrich Bader as President Snowballs
Beau Brasseaux as Chokehold Guy
Eric Buarque as Bruce Willis
Ian Casselberry as Skyblue
Christopher Matthew Cook as Guard
Danny Cosmo as Camera Man
Theodus Crane as Cleaver Williams
Kyle deKay as Ron Weasley
James DeWitt III as District Contestant
Darren Drude as Capitol Guard
Nick Gomez as Avatar
Gene Kevin Hames Jr. as Capitol Citizen
Michael Hartson as Bob Hylox
Juhahn Jones as Cinnamon
Mark Joyce as Detainee
Evan King as District 12 Resident
Chris Marroy as Stanley Caeserman
Bryan McClure as The Annoying Orange
Timmons Moore as The Annoying Orange
Josh Mueller as Equipment teen
Clint Michael Naquin as District 12 Citizen
Daylon Micah Othello as Hacksaw
Shawn Carter Peterson as RedFoo
Jade Roberts as Sylvester Stallone
Aaron Jay Rome as Oz
Trenton Rostedt as Thor
Jordan Salloum as Hawkeye
Jason Stanly as Jason Statham
Rob Steinberg as Jason Statham
Jerrad Vunovich as Contestant / Chokehold Victim
Dean J. West as Seleca
John Wettermark as Section 10 Citizen
Gene Williams as Chuck Norris
Wayne Xia as Capitol Citizen
Jesse Yarborough as Capitol Citizen
Lauren Bowles as Effoff
Eryn L. Davis as Rudy
Alexandria Deberry as Rudy
Alice Ford as Zitty Girl
Emily D. Haley as District 12 resident
Kennedy Hermansen as Petunia
Donna Hubbs as Capital Lady
Jamie Johansson as Capitol Citizen
Rhonda Laizer as District 12 Resident
Ashton Leigh as Dos Equis Girl
Kristin McKenzie as District 12 Resident
Taylor Ashley Murphy as Glammer
Erin Rementer as District 12 Resident
Katherine Jeanie Russell as District 12 Resident
Emily Jessie Thomas as District 12 citizen
Sarah Reid Vinyard as Hermione

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Opens tomorrow, December 18, 2013 
1 hr 59 min
PG-13 | Crude and sexual content, drug use, language and comic violence

If you get a sense of deja vu watching Anchorman 2, then you're not alone.  If you like the first one you may enjoy this.  But if you hated the first, then you would definitely hate the sequel.  From Baxter saving the day, to blurting out uncontrollably, the dysfunctional un-politically correct gang of anchors are back but in New York City.

There's some semblance of a story here, as Ron Burgundy's (Will Ferrell) better half Veronica (Christina Applegate) gets promoted to prime time, tension rises.  Out of jealousy, he splits with her, hitting a low note at Sea World before being recruited by a new 24 hours news network starting up.  He brings back the old gang who has gone their own ways.  From Brick who was believed dead, to Champ who passes Fried Bats as Fried Chicken.  Yes, it's absurd and only gets absurder.



The film does have its moments as some jokes never gets old.  Will Ferrell is at the top of his game along with his cast mates.  One of the things I have always enjoyed about him is the way he delivers his lines so beautifully instead of the stiff Vince Vaughn who also is back for this film for a cameo.  Christina's talent is a bit of a waste in this film compared to the first one.  But in her place, Meagan Good as Linda Jackson takes up the slack as the do no mess with woman.  As well, it is also cool to see all those celebrities doing a cameo in the news anchorman battle royal in the park.

Overall, I would not recommend paying full price for this film.  While it is enjoyable, if you've seen the first one, you're not missing much if you skip the second film.  Some of the sub plots are just incredibly pointless.  From his detached retina to the love interest between Steve Carell's character and Kristen Wiig's.  Steve's character's Brick is the Jar Jar Binks of Anchorman 2.  He tries too hard to be that person that is just always on way way left field when the team is already on the bench like Zach Galifianakis's Alan in Hangover.  But Brick compared to Alan just pales in comparison.
Rating: 3.0 Stars out 5.0 Stars


Trailer:

Cast:
  • Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy
  • Steve Carell as Brick Tamland
  • Paul Rudd as Brian Fantana
  • David Koechner as Champ Kind
  • Christina Applegate as Veronica Corningstone-Burgundy
  • Luke Wilson as Frank Vitchard
  • Vince Vaughn as Wes Mantooth
  • Fred Willard as Edward "Ed" Harken, the news director of KVWN.
  • Chris Parnell as Garth Holliday
  • Kristen Wiig as Chani, Brick's Lover
  • James Marsden as Jack Lime
  • Meagan Good as Linda Jackson
  • Harrison Ford as Mack Harken

I can't help but be excited that they're making a live action Kiki's Delivery Service.  One of my daughter's favorite Studio Ghibli animations of the same name based on the books by Eiko Kadono.  Miyazaki's adapation focuses on the first volume by Eiko, while the live action is supposedly based on the first two volumes.  Eiko's book series has six volumes in total.


If you're not familiar with the story, it is a coming of age story of a young teenage witch named Kiki (Fūka Koshiba).  She spends a year living on her own with her magic and her black cat Gigi.  The live action film is set to be released in Japan in March 1st of 2014.  No word yet if it'll be coming to the United States.  The film will be directed by The Grudge's Director Takashi Shimizu.

Trailer:

Besides Kiki's Delivery Service, anime fans also can look forward to the continuation of the Rurouni Kenshin live action films in 2014.  There are expected to be two parts.  The original live action was released in 2012, based on the anime and manga from the mid to late 1990's.  Of course the anime, I want most adapted to live action is Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira which has been stuck in limbo for ages.  Warner Bros. owns the rights to Akira.  Filming could possibly begin in 2014, but of course they have said that many times before.


What Japanese animation would you want to see adapted to live action?

Sunday, December 15, 2013


Released April 29th, 2009
1 hr 52 mins
Comedy

My Girlfriend is an Agent is a cute romantic comedy from South Korean released in 2009.  The film is currently available on Netflix with Korean dialogue with English subtitles.  The chemistry between the two main leads, Kim Ha-neul as Ahn Soo-ji and Kang Ji-hwan as Lee Jae-joon redeems the fairly predictable plot and redundant jokes.

Ahn Soo-ji is a secret agent who keeps this little detail from her boyfriend.  Fed up with her lies about where she is at and what she is doing, he breaks up with her and disappears from her life for three years.  When they run across each other again, she's on a mission to follow a Korean scientist who's suspected of selling a deadly virus to the Russians.  Lee Jae-joon, meanwhile has returned as a rookie agent for another department and is trying to determine what the Russians are up to in Korea.  As their paths crosses with each other, hilarity ensues from awkward situations to finger pointing.



Both main actors are great in their delivery of their jokes and adorable at the same time.  But how many times can we hear Jae-joon scream like a little girl before we annoyed?  Very quickly!  For an action comedy, the fight choreography is lacking and very mechanical.  Despite being secret agents, they lack the cool gadgets one might find in these type of films.

Overall, I would still recommend watching it if you have a Netflix account.  It's a nice winter storm in New York City viewing while stuck at home.  I would've liked less redundancy and better fight scenes.  There many good things about the film, but as well too many flaws to make it worth paying for or even demanding a sequel.

Rating: 3.0 Stars out of 5.0 Stars


What was the last foreign film you watched?  What's your all time favorite foreign film?

Trailer:


Cast:

  • Kim Ha-neul as Ahn Soo-ji
  • Kang Ji-hwan as Lee Jae-joon
  • Jang Young-nam as Team Leader Hong
  • Ryu Seung-ryong as Won-seok

Saturday, December 14, 2013



  • Opens Friday, December 13, 2013 (NY / LA; Expands December 20, 2013)
  • 2 hr 9 min
  • R | for pervasive language, some sexual content and brief violence

American Hustle by Director David O. Russell is a fun frantic paced film that can't be taken too serious despite the harsh realities it delivers about corruption.  The larger than life characters with an ensemble cast that can and has headline many films before is another award worthy movie among an already stacked year of contenders.

American Hustle is about a con man named Irving (Christian Bale) and his girl Sydney (Amy Adams) dragged into a corruption sting by FBI Agent DiMaso (Bradley Cooper).  Prior to that, the couple were drawn to each other out of a need for something better in their life.  When Sydney meets Irving, he is already involved in art forgeries and bank loan scams.  With Sydney they take it up a notch which of course draws the attention of the FBI.  FBI Agent DiMaso is a bit raw and unstable in trying to continue to nab the big fishes with no thought to the consequences of his pawns.  The reluctant Irving has to plan his biggest con yet to escape DiMaso, the mob, and help his new found friend, Mayor Carmine (Jeremy Renner) from the pinch.



From the beautiful costumes to the over the top characters, there's plenty to enjoy in this film.  The acting is phenomenal given the pedigree of its cast.  Christian Bale would have to be my favorite from the cast from the very beginning with his morning hair fix to his reactions to every crazy thing Bradley Cooper's character throws him into.  Jennifer Lawrence while hilarious in her role seems to not fit the character that well.  Yes, her character as Irving's wife will have you rolling on the floor with her naive sense of values.  But her youthful look works against her in this role that you would imagine an older attractive actress would play.

The pacing of the film is quite erratic moving back and forth between the present and the past until we are caught up in the present.  And even then we go back and forth with lulls between rushed scenes.  The soundtrack for the film is excellent in setting the mood of the film which will have you on your feet toward the end.  There's some clever twists which caught me by surprise, with a much happier ending than I would have expected from this type of film.

Overall, I enjoyed the film and would recommend it to everyone.  The film has already garnered numerous film award nominations and rightfully so.  What other movie can you see Hawkeye go to jail for corruption, Batman make off with Lois Lane, Rocket Raccoon get his comeuppance and Mystique end up with the mob?

Rating: 4.0 Stars out of 5.0 Stars

Trailer:

Cast:

  • Christian Bale as Irving Rosenfeld
  • Bradley Cooper as Richie DiMaso
  • Amy Adams as Sydney Prosser
  • Jeremy Renner as Carmine Polito
  • Jennifer Lawrence as Rosalyn Rosenfeld
  • Robert De Niro as Victor Tellegio
  • Louis C.K. as Stoddard Thorsen
  • Michael Peña as Paco Hernandez
  • Jack Huston as Pete Musane
  • Elisabeth Röhm as Dolly Polito
  • Erica McDermott as Addie Abrams
  • Melissa McMeekin as Sabrina
  • Colleen Camp as Brenda
  • Armen Garo as Dick Helsing
  • Zacharia Supka as Young Irving

Thursday, December 12, 2013


In Candy Crush Saga's first true expansion, we're introduced to a new world of game play that adds an extra frustrating element to the game that we're familiar with.  Dreamworld is accessible if you've recently updated your Candy Crush Saga app, via an Owl icon on your map.  You can easily switch back and forth between day and night mode.

The added new feature is of course a quite sleep owl who must maintain balanced on a twig with two different colors on each side.  The colors represents candies that if you clear too much of, knocks the owl off of the twig making you instantly lose the game.  But as you clear both sides equally and fill up the moon, the owl temporarily goes away and even clearing some of the candies along with it in "moonstruck."

I've just started this morning and am only in level 15 so don't have any tips or strategies to share with you yet.  If you have some tips or strategies feel free to share it below!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Opens Friday, December 13, 2013 
2 hr 40 min
PG-13 | Frightening Images and Fantasy Action Violence

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug brings us back to the beautiful Tolkien world which we last visited a year ago.  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey left everyone hanging with its abrupt ending breaking up The Hobbit book in three.  With the lack of action and suspense in the first movie, it didn't take much effort for The Desolation of Smaug to overtake the first film.  After all, we finally get to see Smaug!


As far as action, it was leaps and bounds better than the first.  Several scenes really stand out especially with Orlando Bloom as Legolas in action with Evangeline Lilly's character Tauriel.  The choreography is amazing with Legolas jumping all over the place, slashing and shooting at orcs during the Dwarfs' break out of the Elven prison.  Visually, the movie is just impressive in IMAX 3D at a high frame rate.  From Smaug the dragon to the little things like the lighting and effects, amazing detail was put into the film.

What I didn't like was the beginning of the film which according to Ian McKeller during the Q&A at the screening I was intended was shot last and added on from the appendices.  The movie like An Unexpected Journey had too many plodding parts which just prolonged the movie longer than it should.  Watching the dwarfs journey from A to Z without any action other makes you think they could have avoided making us pay for a third movie and just finished it in two movies.  And yes, like the first one, more so this one, the movie ends abruptly just as it gets good.  Watching dwarfs unrealistically running around avoiding the powerful Smaug without casualties is not the finish that you want left imprinted on you until the next film.

Besides that, other things you may or may not enjoy includes the romance angle Peter Jackson throws in for Tauriel and one of the Dwarfs that really leads nowhere.  As well, noticeably missing are the songs that was prevalent in the first movie.  The soundtrack is still great, but missing the "high ho" singing that added to the ambiance of the movie.  And also is it just me or is Legolas putting on a bit of weight since the last film?  His cheeks sure are a bit puffy.

Overall, I enjoyed the film and would recommend watching it on IMAX 3D if you can.  Martin Freeman is again amazing as Bilbo Baggins.  Seeing his slow corruption by the One Ring with the different raw emotions that he shows over the course of the film is enjoying.  The ending as I've warned is abrupt to lead to the final battle in the third movie.  Leaving you screaming at the screen to just finish the darn film.  Or at least that's what I did...

What did you think of the film, if you had a chance to see it?

Rating: 4.0 Stars out of 5.0 Stars

Trailer:



Cast:
  • Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey
  • Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins
  • Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield
  • Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug
  • Orlando Bloom as Legolas
  • Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel
  • Luke Evans as Bard the Bowman
  • Lee Pace as Thranduil
  • Stephen Fry as Master of Lake-town
  • Graham McTavish as Dwalin
  • Ken Stott as Balin
  • Aidan Turner as Kíli
  • Dean O'Gorman as Fíli
  • Mark Hadlow as Dori
  • Jed Brophy as Nori
  • Adam Brown as Ori
  • John Callen as Óin
  • Peter Hambleton as Glóin
  • William Kircher as Bifur
  • James Nesbitt as Bofur
  • Stephen Hunter as Bombur
  • Mikael Persbrandt as Beorn
  • Sylvester McCoy as Radagast the Brown
  • Craig Hall as Galion
  • Ryan Gage as Alfrid
  • John Bell as Bain
  • Mark Mitchinson as Braga
  • Manu Bennett as Azog
  • Lawrence Makoare as Bolg
  • Ben Mitchell as Narzug
  • Dallas Barnett as Bill Ferny Sr.

Saturday, December 7, 2013


So I'm a few days late with watching the trailer for Amazing Spider-Man 2 and while it doesn't review a lot of new things, it does review some interesting tidbits.

Peter Parker is still with Gwen Stacy.  Sorry Mary Jane Watson, but this tiger is not yours yet.  This is still the early years of his career where Gwen is his girl.  We already know he'll face the Green Goblin.  Can we see the same fate of Gwen with Spider-Man and Green Goblin in this movie as the comic?

In the trailer we also see that the story is continuing off with the closing credit scenes where Peter's father is mentioned.  In the comic books, Peter's parents are spies which he doesn't found out about until later in life.  In this continuity he appears to be only a scientist that discovered Osborn's diabolical plans for... ?  We should find out the answers to this in this movie, it appears from the trailer.  I'm guessing it's more complicated than world conquest.

With any super hero movie, it's the villains that make or break the film plenty of times.  We see glimpses of the new souped up armored Rhino.  I would've preferred the traditional version from the comic books.  A Green Goblin without the traditional Goblin mask and pointed hat.  And of course Jamie Foxx as the Electro.  But if you look carefully at the 1:17 mark, you seel what looks to be the Vulture's wings and Dr. Octopus's arms.  There's rumors that this will lead to a Sinister Six movie so who's the Sixth?  It's possible that they could bring back the Lizard from the first movie.  Sandman makes a good logical course if they want to continue introducing new Spider-man villains to this reboot universe.  A more sensational choice would be Venom of course, but he's never been one for a team environment.

What are your expectations for the film?  Are you looking forward to this?

Trailer:


Thursday, December 5, 2013


One of the films I get asked about a lot is The Wolf of Wall Street which is based on a book that a stockbroker wrote about his wild life during the hey days of the stock market.  Well, I got some great news.  Several contests are opening up soon as FINALLY a release date has been announced which is Christmas Day, December 25th.  The film full of explicit sex and drugs had to be trimmed a nudge to avoid the dreaded NC-17 rating.  There were rumors that this would cause the movie to be delayed until 2014.  Even with the trim, the movie is expected to be 2 hours and 59 minutes long.  The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill.


As more screenings become available I'll put them here.  (last updated 12/16/2013 12:37pm ET)


Contests:

Sponsor: Zayzay.com
Details: 2 Passes for Wednesday, December 19th, 2013
Starts: Unknown
Ends: Unknown
Link: http://zayzay.com/news/the-wolf-of-wall-street-v-i-p-screening-passes-giveaway-sweepstakes/

Sponsor: Village Voice
Details: 2 Passes for Monday, December 23rd, 2013
Start: December 16th
Ends: Unknown
Link: http://polls.villagevoice.com/polls/nyv/stella-film-screening/

Sponsor: Edge New York
Details: Passes for two, location, and time has not been given yet. December 18th
Start: December 5th
End: Unknown
Link: http://www.edgenewyork.com/index.php?ch=giveawaycenter&sc=giveaway_enter&id=10831

Closed:
Sponsor: Q 104.3
Details: Passes for two, location, and time has not been given yet. December 18th
Start: December 7th
End: December 12th
Link: http://rewards.q1043.com/asp2/ContestDetail.aspx?AID=199321

Sponsor: Bomba Party NYC & 43Kix

Details: First 50 attendees of their party get passes for 2 people (Admission cost for party is $20) December 18th
Start: 11:00pm Tonight 12/7
Ends: Tonight
Link: http://www.bombaparty.com/Bomba_Party_NYC.html

Sponsor: Z100

Details: Passes for two, location, and time has not been given yet. December 18th
Start: December 7th
End: December 12th
Link: http://rewards.z100.com/asp3/ContestDetail.aspx?AID=199321

Sponsor: KTU

Details: Passes for two, location, and time has not been given yet. December 18th
Start: December 7th
End: December 12th
Link: http://rewards.ktu.com/asp3/ContestDetail.aspx?AID=199321

Sponsor: Power 105.1

Details: Passes for two, location, and time has not been given yet. December 18th
Start: December 7th
End: December 12th
Link: http://rewards.power1051fm.com/asp3/ContestDetail.aspx?AID=199321