Thursday, December 31, 2015

My Top 10 Movies of 2015

I know I say this every year but I really did have a hard time with this. I've seen so many great movies and to narrow it down to just 10 was almost impossible. But I've done my best. As always, I'll start at number 10 and work my way up to number one, giving a few quick thoughts for each movie. 

10. Inside Out

  • I think the best kinds of kids movies are the kind that don't talk down to them. Ones that both kids and adults can enjoy. Inside Out is one of those movies. A wonderful story with a great message. I'm not afraid to admit I cried several times. 
9. Straight Outta Compton
  • A well made, very relevant movie chronicling the rise and fall of legendary hip hop group NWA. A few moments where it falls into the category of your typical biopic but it's definitely worth seeing. Especially for the great performances.
8. The Martian
  • Unlike Gravity, this movie is surprisingly funny. And you don't spend the whole time with Matt Damon. You get to see what else is going on as they try to rescue him after a mission on Mars goes wrong and he's left stranded. It's nice to see Ridley Scott back to making good movies.
7. Steve Jobs
  • Yes I know Michael Fassbender doesn't look a thing like the real Steve Jobs and that the movie probably isn't 100% accurate but so what? Still well made and fascinating to watch.
6. Room
  • Make sure you have plenty of tissues for this powerful drama about a 5 year old boy named Jack (played by talented young actor named Jacob Tremblay) who has spent his whole life in a 10 by 10 foot shed with his mother (Brie Larson, who's my pick to win Best Actress). 7 years earlier she had been kidnapped and put in the shed, Jack the result of being raped repeatedly by her kidnapper. They escape eventually and face their biggest challenge yet- adjusting to the outside world.

5. Spotlight
  • The more I think about it, I should've rated this movie even higher in my initial review. I think this stands a good chance at winning Best Picture, Great acting, directing, etc. 
4. Mad Max: Fury Road
  • This should come as no surprise to anyone that Mad Max is on my list. Even if Tom Hardy (who was perfectly cast as Max and did an amazing job as usual) hadn't been in the movie I still would have loved it. Director George Miller has created one of the best action movies I've seen in years. I had so much fun watching this. Major props to Charlize Theron as well for her bad ass performance. It's just as much her movie as it is Tom Hardy's.
3. The Gift
  • The directorial debut of Joel Edgerton. He also acts in it and wrote the script. I can't recommend this movie enough. It could've easily fallen into the category of your typical thriller but it didn't. Yes it has some jump scares but they actually worked. The best thriller I've ever seen. I hope Joel Edgerton continues to direct. He's really good at it. 
2. Beasts of No Nation
  • For the longest time, this was my number one movie of the year. Now it's a VERY close second. I know I never did an actual review for this and I saw it on Netflix instead of in a theater. But I just had to put it on my list. It stars Abraham Attah (who judging from this performance has a bright future ahead of him) as Agu, a child soldier in Africa fighting in a civil war under the leadership of the Commandent (Idris Elba). Much like 12 Years a Slave, it's a movie I feel everyone needs to see but you'll only watch it once because it's so damn depressing.
1. Creed
  • Being such a huge Rocky fan, I was skeptical when I first heard they were making this. Seemed unnecessary. It turns out I had nothing to worry about. Director Ryan Coogler has created a wonderful movie that perfectly fits into the Rocky universe but at the same time does its own thing. Stars Michael B. Jordan as Adomis, the son of boxing legend Apollo Creed. He's also a fighter but is determined to make a name for himself. Needing a trainer, he goes to Apollo's friend and former rival Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone, who gives his best performance in a long time). One of the best theater experiences I've ever had. Everyone was on the edge of their seats cheering and clapping. It really is the feel good movie of the year.

Honorable Mentions:
Here are a few more movies that I loved this year and are worth checking out. The only reason they didn't make the list is because I simply ran out of room-
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • Labyrinth of Lies
  • Brooklyn
  • Black Mass
  • Cinderella
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (IMAX 3D)

Just to let you know, this will be a SPOILER FREE review. 

AHHHHHHHH! OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! Sorry, I'm still recovering from a massive nerdgasm. I had to get that out of my system. As you can already tell, I absolutely loved The Force Awakens. I can't even remember the last time I was this excited for a movie.

Normally this would be where I talk about the plot but I've decided not to do that with this review. For me it was an even better experience going into the movie not knowing too much other than what's already been shown in the trailers. All I'll say is it's set 30 years after the events of the original trilogy. It brings back many of the classic characters including Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), and many more. At the same time you're introduced to new characters- scavenger Rey (Daisy Ridley), former Storm Trooper Finn (John Boyega), and Resistance pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac). They must face new enemies, one of them being Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).

You can tell that director JJ Abrams not only is a huge Star Wars fan but that he did his research. It was amazing to see all the attention to detail. Everything from the dirty and used feel of things reminiscent of the original to the look and design of the robots and creatures and so much more. There's practical effects as well as CGI. But unlike the CGI in those fucking prequels, it doesn't look fake and isn't overkill.

One of my favorite things about this movie was the phenomenal performances. Harrison Ford worked his ass off. A lot of times with famous actors you just see them and not their character. Quite the opposite here. All I saw was Han Solo. Probably one of the biggest cheers from the audience was when he and Chewbacca first appeared on screen.

I was also impressed with the new cast. John Boyega and Daisy Ridley have great chemistry as well as comedic timing. There's plenty of humor here but it's never over the top. They also pull off the action and dramatic scenes very well. It's so nice having a movie where I actually care about the characters. These actors have a bright future ahead of them and I can't wait to see what they do next.

If you happen to live near a theater that has an IMAX screen I urge you to see it in that format. This is the type of movie that IMAX was made for. It really makes you feel like you're right there in the middle of the action. And the 3D is really good. For once it's noticeable, unlike most 3D movies I see these days.

I can't even begin to describe the amazing experience I had with The Force Awakens. Not only the movie itself but everything leading up to it. I met a lot of really nice people while waiting in line. The line by the way was the biggest I've ever seen for a movie. It wrapped around the whole theater and back out into the mall. Even with that big of a crowd everyone was very respectful and there weren't any issues from what I could tell.

Do I recommend the movie? Hell yeah I recommend it! Go see it. Go see it multiple times. Thank you JJ Abrams for creating this masterpiece. You've made this Star Wars fan very happy.

My Rating: 10/10

Saturday, December 12, 2015


I've been hearing nothing but good things about Room for months. So when I heard that the small theater near my house (which is owned by the film club I belong to) was showing it this week I jumped at the chance. I've seen a lot of movies this year and Room is definitely one of the best. 

Five year old Jack (Jacob Tremblay) has spent his entire life in a 10 by 10 foot space that his mother, whom he calls Ma (Brie Larson), has named Room. 7 years earlier, Ma had been kidnapped by a man referred to only as Old Nick (Sean Bridges) and placed in there. Despite their circumstances, Ma does everything she can to make Jack feel safe, loved, and have as normal a life as possible. One day they finally escape and Jack faces his biggest challenge yet- the outside world. 

The movie is just about two hours long. The first half focuses on Ma and Jack's life inside of Room. The other half is about them trying to adjust (or in Ma's case readjust) into the world. 

There's been a lot of talk that Brie Larson is the front runner to win Best Actress at this years Oscars. I would love to see that happen. Her performance is so raw and realistic. 

I hope Jacob Tremblay gets some recognition too because his performance was just as good. Very convincing. He is an amazing young actor. 

The only flaw I can think of is that the conflict between Ma and her father Robert (William H. Macy) never gets resolved. But it's such a good movie that I'm willing to overlook that. 

Room is so heartbreaking to watch that I was in tears during many of the scenes. It's a powerful, well acted, and well made movie that I think everyone should see. 

My Rating: 10/10

In the Heart of the Sea (3D)

WARNING: There could be what some consider spoilers in this review. Nothing too major. Still, read at your own risk.

I remember seeing trailers for In the Heart of the Sea well over a year ago. From what I've heard, it was originally scheduled to come out back in March but got pushed back until now so that it could compete during Oscar season. I thought it looked interesting... Oh who am I kidding? I just wanted to see this because of Chris Hemsworth. Good god that man is gorgeous! To my surprise the movie ended up being pretty decent. I mean, it wasn't great but it had its moments. 

The movie tells the true story that inspired Herman Melville's Moby Dick. In 1820 a whaling ship called the Essex and its crew, which includes first mate Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth) who should really be captain instead of rich dumbass George Pallard (Benjamin Walker), set sail from Nantucket. They are then preyed upon by a giant whale that destroys their ship and strands them at sea for 90 days. During that time, they must all do se extreme things in order to survive. 

I'll say this about director Ron Howard- he knows how to make good movies (I like to pretend that his version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas doesn't exist). I loved his last movie Rush which deserved way more attention than it got. With this, there's some really nice special effects and cinematography. And all of the actors give amazing and at times heartbreaking performances. 

One thing I didn't care for as far as the direction goes was some of the camera work. It made me so nauseous at points that I had to close my eyes. I mean I expected it since most of the movie takes place at sea but still... Not fun. 

And another thing, Ron Howard does way too much telling and not enough showing. Which I can understand since there's some things you just can't show and keep it at a PG-13 rating. Mainly the scene where the crew had to resort to cannibalism otherwise they'll starve to death. I'm really glad he didn't show that. But for other reasons I wish he had home for an R rating. 

The ending of the movie felt extremely rushed. It could've benefited from being maybe 20 minutes longer. If you insist on seeing this in theaters do not I repeat DO NOT see it in 3D. It isn't even that noticeable at all. I had to keep looking over my glasses to make sure I was at the right screening. I would've preferred seeing it in 2D but those show times just didn't work for me. 

I know it sounds like I'm saying this is a bad movie but I'm not. It's actually good. I probably won't watch it again though. If you're a fan of Ron Howard or Chris Hemsworth by all means check it out (I would just wait until it comes to Netflix). They're a great team and I hope they do more movies together in the future. 

My Rating: 7.5/10

Saturday, November 28, 2015


When they first started talking about doing a Rocky spinoff awhile back, I was nervous. The sixth movie in the franchise had wrapped things up nicely. I figured, why keep it going? Why not end it on a good note? But then more details came out about the plot, the cast, and who was directing it. I was like okay, maybe this could work. Then I saw the first trailer and was completely on board. I had to see this opening weekend. So what's the final verdict? Well I didn't think anything could top Beasts of No Nation as the best movie I've seen this year, but Creed has done it. What an amazing movie!

Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) is the son of boxing legend Apollo Creed. He grew up knowing who his father was, but never met him since Apollo died before he was born.  He's also a boxer but wants to make a name for himself separate from his father. Needing a trainer, Adonis heads to Philadelphia and enlists the help of Apollo's good friend and former rival Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone). 

The movie is directed by Ryan Coogler, who also directed Michael B. Jordan in Fruitvalle Station (a great movie that I highly recommend if you haven't seen it already). He does an amazing job providing a fresh take on the franchise and making it fit into this universe without being disrespectful. There's several nods to the original movies but it never feels like they're saying, "Hey look at this! Remember this? Wink wink." The way most of these types of movies do. Also, the cinematography is gorgeous and the editing is well done. There's this one fight scene that he filmed in one long take that just blew me away. All of the fight scenes were so well done that I completely forgot I was watching a movie and not an actual boxing match. And I'll say this about Ryan Coogler, he sure knows how to get great performances out of his actors. 

Speaking of that, boy do Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone deserve recognition come award season for their powerful performances. They work so well together. And it's nice to see Rocky isn't reduced to a cameo in this movie but has his own storyline. This is just as much his movie as it is Adonis's. It was so heartbreaking to watch that I couldn't help but tear up. I swear if Stallone doesn't at least get a Best Supporting Actor nomination then the Academy can go fuck themselves. 

Tessa Thompson is also in this playing Adonis's girlfriend Bianca. Did the movie really need a love interest? No. But it's not really a big part of the story and I liked the character so I didn't mind. 

The musical score by Ludwig Goransson fits wonderfully. Definitely another one I'll be adding to my iPod. And yes, you do briefly get to hear the original Rocky theme . I won't say what scene it's in but they couldn't have placed it better. Everyone in the audience got so excited. 

This was one of the best theater experiences I've had in a long time. People were so into it. The entire audience, myself included, were on the edge of their seats cheering and clapping. It was so much fun. 

Everyone should just stop what they're doing right now and go see Creed. I can't recommend this movie enough. You'll laugh, you'll cry, and walk out of the theater with a big smile on your face. I can't wait to see where they take the franchise from here. 

My Rating: 10/10

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Mockingjay part 2 (IMAX)

I can't believe it's all over. Not only does Mockingjay part 2 signify the end of The Hunger Games franchise, which I've been a huge fan of since the beginning, but most likely the last good YA franchise we'll ever see. Seriously, what else is there? Divergent? Ugh! Anyway, while Mockingjay was my least favorite of the books I really enjoyed part 1 of the movie adaptation. I think part 2 is just as good. Maybe even a little better. 

The movie takes place just days (maybe even minutes) after the events of part 1. Panem is now in full scale war, with each of the districts united against the Capitol. Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and company make their way into the Capitol in an attempt to assassinate President Snow (Donald Sutherland, who has always played the role with such calmness that it's downright frightening). Of course, this won't be easy. Snow has laid out many deadly traps (called pods) throughout the city. In order to free Panem, Katniss risks losing everyone she loves. 

Director Francis Lawrence has once again done an excellent job bringing the book to life. I haven't read the book since right around the time the first movie came out but it seems like a pretty faithful adaptation. There were a few slight changes that I thought worked, although there were a few that didn't. My only complaints as far as the direction goes is that at times the movie felt rushed (despite its 2 hour 16 minute runtime). Also, there were some shots in the sewer scene that were so dark I couldn't tell who was who. But overall the direction was good with plenty of action that more than makes up for the slow set up of part 1. Not that I had a problem with that but I know some people did. 

Jennifer Lawrence continues to be one of my favorite actresses. She was the perfect choice for Katniss. This movie is so depressing and she really nails those scenes where she has to get super emotional. It broke my heart watching her. 

The one who I'd say has improved the most is Josh Hutcherson. In the first movie I just couldn't buy him as Peeta. But over time he has gotten better and now I love his interpretation of the character. 

I do have some other issues with the movie but those are really the same issues I had with the book. I would love to go into more details but then I would be spoiling too much. 

If you have a theater with an IMAX screen near you I highly recommend you see the movie in that format. It looks amazing and well worth the extra money. 

Bottom line, Mockingjay part 2 is a really good movie and a fitting conclusion to the series. While Catching Fire is still my favorite out of all of them, it's still worth seeing. A big thank you to Gary Ross and Francis Lawrence for bringing these wonderful characters to life. 

My Rating: 9/10

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Peanuts Movie (3D)

Like many people, I grew up watching The Peanuts. To this day I still watch the classic movies like The Great Pumpkin and Merry Christmas Charlie Brown whenever they're on TV. When I first heard they were making this, I was so afraid they would modernize it and ruin the charm. I'm happy to report that that's not the case here. The Peanuts Movie is amazing, cute, and really feels like one of the old movies. 

This time around, Charlie Brown tries his best to impress and win the heart of the Little Red Haired Girl. Of course, this isn't easy for him. Meanwhile, Snoopy writes a book about The Flying Ace- an epic story where he tries to rescue the love of his life, Fifi, from The Red Baron. 

And that's really it as far as the plot goes. It's pretty simple. Maybe a little too simple. I'm not saying that's a bad thing. I just would've liked to have seen them do more with the story. 

The animation here is absolutely gorgeous. That was another thing I was worried about. I thought they would ruin the look of the characters with 3D animation but they didn't. Technically it's 3D but it still looks like 2D animation. 

The story was written by Charles Schulz's son and grandson- Craig and Bryan. They do an excellent job honoring their father's/grandfather's memory by creating a story that feels like something he would have written. It's very sweet with a great message. I'm not afraid to admit that I cried a little watching this. 

I'm really happy they decided to make The Peanuts Movie. It brings these wonderful characters back and introduces them to this generation. It's something both kids and adults can enjoy. 

My Rating: 9.5/10

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Spectre (IMAX)

Let me start off this review by saying that I'm a huge fan of Daniel Craig as Bond and of the last movie Skyfall. Hell, Skyfall was in my top ten favorite movies of that year. So I was very excited for Spectre, despite the not so great reviews. I'm sorry to say that as I was leaving the theater, I couldn't help but feel disappointed. Some of the movie was very good. But some of it was terrible. 

The movie takes place not long after the events of Skyfall. By the way, I wouldn't say you have to see Skyfall in order to see this. You might be a little confused at times but here they do a decent job of recapping things. This time around, Bond uncovers a cryptic message that leads him to discover the sinister organization known as Spectre. Meanwhile M (Ralph Fiennes) is struggling to keep MI-6 going despite political forces wanting to shut it down. 

The first maybe two thirds of the movie were actually pretty good. If you go into this expecting another Skyfall then you'll be disappointed. It's more of a funny, dumb (but still bad ass) action type of Bond but I was completely okay with that. However, the last third was such a mess. At least it was laughably bad though so I had a good time making fun of it. 

What really pissed me off was what they did with Christoph Waltz as Oberhausen. As usual, he does an amazing job. But I feel like he was wasted here. He was the perfect choice to play a Bond villain and when it's revealed what his motives are I was like, Are you kidding me?? That's it?

And don't even get me started on th theme song by Sam Smith. I have nothing against him but that song fucking sucked. It pales in comparison to the powerful song Adele did for Skyfall. I still get chills whenever I hear it. 

I would normally say wait til this comes to Netflix but the movies looks gorgeous on an IMAX screen and worth paying the extra money for. 

I really can only recommend this movie if you're a fan of James Bond and are curious to see how this plays out. This was Daniel Craig's last time as Bond. It's kind of sad that this is how it ends. 

My Rating: 6/10

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Steve Jobs

Every so often a movie comes along that is so good that I leave the theater afterward completely speechless. Steve Jobs is one of those movies. 

For those of you going into this expecting your typical biopic then you'll be very disappointed. It doesn't follow the usual rise, fall, and redemption story you're use to seeing. But I love the fact that it does something different. The movie instead mainly focuses on the behind the scenes of three major product launches in Steve Jobs' career- 1984's Macintosh, 1988's NeXT Computer, and 1998's iMac. You also get to see his relationship with his daughter Lisa who for years, despite a DNA test proving otherwise, denied he was her father. 

Another thing I love is that the movie doesn't shy away from the fact that Steve Jobs was not a very nice guy. A genius yes but still an asshole. He treated people like shit. The only one that can put up with him most of the time is marketing executive Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet). 

The movie is directed by Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours). The way he shot it makes it feel like a series of small plays which was a brilliant move. And he sure knows how to get great performances out of his actors. 

Of course, a lot of the credit has to go to Aaron Sorkins for his incredible screenplay. The dialog here is some of the best I've seen in a movie in years. 

And then there's Michael Fassbender. Wow! He sure is good at playing assholes. It just goes to show you too that you don't have to look like the person in order to make people believe you are them. Michael Fassbender doesn't look a damn thing like Steve Jobs. But from the moment the movie started I was sucked in by his performance. I'll tell you this much, if he doesn't win Best Actor this year then a big FUCK YOU to the Academy. 

One performance that really surprised me was Seth Rogen who played Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak. There's a scene towards the end where his character calls Steve Jobs out on everything that made my jaw drop it was so good. I really hope he starts doing more dramas like this instead of those dumb comedies. 

I thought about it a lot and I honestly can't think of any flaws. It's a well made, well acted movie that I highly recommend people go out and support. 

My Rating: 10/10

Monday, October 26, 2015

Film Columbia 2015

22 movies in 7 days. I'm completely exhausted but it was totally worth it. This was my big vacation for the year. I had so much fun seeing movies and reuniting with some wonderful people. There were a lot of good movies this year and a few that were... not so good.

As I do every year with this, I'm not doing long reviews for each movie. For one thing I just don't have the time. The other thing is most of these movies haven't been released to the public just yet so I don't want to spoil things too much. I'm just going to give a few brief thoughts and then my rating. So here we go-


  • Wonderful movie set in 1912 about the early days of the British Woman's Suffrage Movement. Powerful performances especially by Carey Mulligan, who's sure to get a Best Actress nomination. My Rating: 9/10
Mia Madre:
  • A foreign movie about a director who has to cope with her dying mother while trying to deal with a crazy actor on the set of her latest film. The movie wasn't terrible, but aside from a few funny moments I just found myself bored. I didn't care too much about the characters either. My Rating: 7/10
Cemetery of Splendor:
  • This was such a chore to get through. I'm still not sure what it's even about. A few pretty scenes here and there overall it was a mess. Avoid this movie at all costs unless you have trouble falling asleep. My Rating: 3/10
Jack of the Red Hearts:
  • Sweet little movie starring Anna Sophia Robb as Jack, a troubled teen who poses as a caretaker and forms a close bond with a young autistic girl and her family. Great acting by all. A little sappy at times but overall it's very well made. My Rating: 8/10
 Louder Than Bombs:
  • Predictable movie starring Gabriel Byrne as a man struggling with his feeling about his wife's death and his relationship with his two sons played brilliantly by Jesse Eisenberg and Devin Druid. Narrative could be seen as confusing to some. My Rating: 7.5/10 
45 Years:
  • British drama about a couple about to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary. The husband receives some shattering news and it changes the wife's perspective on their marriage. A little dull but the movie is pretty short. I thought the performances by Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay were very believable. My Rating: 7/10
Very Semi Serious:
  • An interesting and funny documentary about artists who've had several of their cartoons featured in the New Yorker over the years. My Rating: 8/10
  • A documentary about the monsoon season in India. Okay overall but at times I questioned some of the direction. If you're an animal lover like me there's a scene that will really turn you off. My Rating: 6.5/10
The Lady in the Van:
  • Maggie Smith can do no wrong! Based on the play of the same name that also starred Maggie Smith about writer Alan Bennett and the bag lady who lived in her van in his driveway for 15 years. Good movie even with the slightly out there ending. My Rating: 8/10
Labyrinth of Lies:
  • Powerful drama based on a true story. A young prosecutor names Johann Radmann (Alexander Fehling, who's amazing in this) who in 1963 brings many German guards serving  at Auschwitz during World War 2 to trial for murder. I strongly urge everyone to see this when it comes out. My Rating: 10/10
  • An old fashioned love story set in the 1950's about a young Irish immigrant played by Saoirse Ronan who is torn between her Italian American boyfriend and a nice Irish man from back home. They don't make many movies like this anymore which is a shame. My Rating: 9/10
Sweet Red Bean Paste:
  • A charming and surprisingly touching Japanese movie about an elderly woman who suddenly shows up to help a man, who runs a confectionery shop, perfect his red bean paste used in his pastries. This movie had me tearing up quite a bit. My Rating: 8.5/10
May Mountains Depart:
  • A love story/family drama told in 3 time periods- the late 90's, present day, and the near future. Has some really nice cinematography. However, I enjoyed the first two parts much more than I did the third. My Rating: 7/10
Measure of a Man: 
  • Vincent Lindon stars in this well made and very relevant French drama as a man who is unemployed and struggles to take care of his family, which includes his special needs son. My Rating: 8.5/10
  • The great Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford star as CBS producer Mary Mapes and anchor Dan Rather during their report that claimed that Bush Sr. used his influence to put Bush Jr. in the National Guard who then skirted his duties. I wasn't too impressed with Robert Redford's performance. However, Cate Blanchett really shines here. My Rating: 8/10
  • Has some similarities to Slumdog Millionaire but that's not a bad thing. Tells the story of three friends who accidentally find a wallet that has evidence to destroy a politician. The three leads are outstanding young actors. Hope they do well in the future. My Rating: 9/10
I Saw the Light:
  • I really wanted to like this movie but it's such a lazy attempt at a biopic. Tom Hiddleston plays legendary country singer Hank Williams. The only positive thing I can say is that he looks and sounds like him. Other than that Hiddleston is just doing a bad imitation. The editing was just awful and the movie had some of the worst dialog I've heard in a long time. Avoid this if you can. My Rating: 5/10
  • Delightful and at times funny movie directed by Jafar Panahi, who's been banned from making movies for 20 years in Iran for so called "propaganda against Islam". Yet somehow he's made three movies since his arrest. Such a pleasure to watch. My Rating: 9/10
  • This was the Saturday night surprise movie. So much better than last years. Directed by Tom McCarthy, it tells the true story of the Boston Globe and how they uncovered the huge scandal of child molestation and the cover up within the local Catholic Archdiocese. Great performances by Michael Keaton, Liev Schreiber, and Stanley Tucci. As much as I love Mark Ruffalo, I felt like he was overacting here. My Rating: 8.5/10
Beyond Glory:
  • Stephen Lang stars in this one man performance based on his play where he brings to life the story of eight Medal of Honor winners. Very powerful. My Rating: 8/10
Son of Saul:
  • Boy this was a downer. Of course going into this knowing it was a Holocaust movie I expected it to be. Powerful movie. I just wish they had developed the main character more. My Rating: 7.5/10
Heart of a Dog:
  • I like to think I'm pretty open minded when it comes to movies. I'll watch just about any genre. I went into this expecting a cute movie about a dog. Instead I get some strange shit straight out of the Terrence Malick school of movies. Took everything in me not to walk out. How much did I hate this? Let me put it this way- I'd rather sit through all four of Michael Bay's Transformers movies while getting a root canal. My Rating: 2/10

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Crimson Peak (IMAX)

Call me crazy, but I loved Guillermo del Toro's last movie Pacific Rim. In fact I've always been a fan of his work. I know I'm not the only one. So when I heard he was making this I knew I had to see it opening night. That and of course, Charlie Hunnam is in it. While I think I liked Pacific Rim just a little bit more, Crimson Peak is still a really good movie. 

Mia Wasikowska stars as Edith Cushing, an aspiring author who has been able to see ghosts ever since the death of her mother years ago. She meets a mysterious outsider named Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) and his sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain). After yet another family tragedy Edith marries Thomas and goes to live with him and Lucille in their home that is the very definition of a haunted house. Sensing something isn't right, Dr. Alan McMichael (Charlie Hunnam)- Edith's friend since they were children and as you probably guessed is in love with her, begins to investigate. 

I'll say this about Guillermo del Toro, he sure knows how to make beautiful movies. Especially period pieces like this. And his attention to detail... Wow!! I can see why this movie took so long to make. 

The cast was just perfect. Jessica Chastain can't seem to give a bad performance. She's absolutely terrifying as Lucille. I found myself more scared of her than I was the ghosts. The ghosts to me were more creepy than they were scary. 

I know a lot of women will disagree with me, but I don't find Tom Hiddleston to be all that attractive. Don't get me wrong he's a great actor and he's very charming in this, but he just doesn't do anything for me. 

Charlie Hunnam on the other hand... Damn!! That man is just so gorgeous it isn't funny. The things I would do to him. He has more of a supporting role in this but he's really good. It made me want to yell at the screen at Mia Wasikowska, You idiot! You've got a great guy here who clearly loves you and you go for the creepy outsider instead? What the fuck is wrong with you??

I would've liked this movie even more had it not been so predictable. I was able to guess what the big reveals were very early on in the movie. I also found myself a little disappointed. Going into this I thought it would be more of a horror movie. Instead it ended up being a gothic romance. A very good gothic romance but still. 

Crimson Peak is the perfect movie to watch this time of year. I highly recommend you spend the extra money and see it in IMAX. And if you're a fan of Guillermo del Toro's previous movies, you'll enjoy this as well. 

My Rating: 8.5/10

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Everest (3D)

When I first heard they were making this movie I thought great, here's another movie about a bunch of dumbasses doing something crazy for no reason, shit happens but yet they somehow all manage to survive. Boy was I wrong! Everest is a wonderful movie that is not only visually stunning, but gives you a huge emotional punch in the gut. 

Everest is based on the true story of a group of climbers lead by Rob Hall (Jason Clarke). On May 10, 1996 they are about to make their final ascent to the summit of Mt. Everest. Suddenly, a huge storm hits. Facing extremely harsh conditions, the group struggles to survive against all odds. 

Director Baltasar Kormakur (2 Guns, Contraband) has put together an amazing cast that includes not only Jason Clarke but- Josh Brolin, Jake Gyllenhaal, John Hawkes, Sam Worthington, and many more. While they don't look like their real life counterparts they do a good job portraying them. There are many times thought the movie however, where it is so snowy and windy that you have a hard time keeping track of who's who. It's very confusing but nothing that should stop you from seeing it. 

A lot of credit should go to the visual effects team. I'm not sure how much of it was filmed on actual locations and how much was green screen but it was beautiful. Especially when you see it in 3D. The 3D isn't as in your face as other movies, but it still makes you feel like you're on that mountain with them. Definitely worth the extra money. My only regret is that I didn't get a chance to see this in IMAX. I can only imagine how incredible it looks in that format. 

The movie is only about two hours long but it does drag a little. At the same time, it ends rather abruptly. Leaving you wanting just a few more minutes to deal with all the emotions brought on. If it wasn't for that I would have given this a perfect rating. 

Everest is a brilliant movie that I highly recommend. While there's no way in hell I would ever attempt climbing a mountain like that, I now have respect for people who do. Just be prepared- it's very much a downer. You'll want to go home afterward, put on Netflix and watch nothing but comedies just to cheer yourself up. If you can deal with that, go see this while it's still in theaters. 

My Rating: 9.5/10

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Martian

Wow! I knew this movie would be good judging by the amazing cast and from the trailers I've seen. The Martian exceeded all my expectations and is probably one of my favorite movies of the year so far. 

The Martian is based on a popular book written by Andy Weir. During a mission on Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is presumed dead after a storm and is left behind by his crew (Jessica Chastain, Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, and Aksel Hennie). Using his intelligence and some supplies, Mark must struggle to survive on this dangerous planet and find a way to signal to Earth that he's alive. 

A lot of comparisons have been made to Gravity and yes, there are some similarities. But what surprised me with The Martian was that , unlike Gravity, it's really funny at times. I found myself laughing quite a bit. Another way it's different is you don't spend the whole movie with Matt Damon. You get to see what's happening on Earth as NASA tries to come up with a rescue mission as well as the crew who feels horrible for leaving him behind. 

Director Ridley Scott has created a visually stunning movie. Because the showtime worked out better, I ended up seeing in this in 2D. So I can't comment on the 3D. Just know that if you decide to see it in 2D it still looks amazing. 

Ridley has also put together a great cast. Of course a lot of this movie falls on Matt Damon's shoulders and boy does he pull it off. Which is no surprise to me since I've always been a big fan of his. The supporting cast does just as good a job and has a lot of chemistry. 

There's a lot of scientific talk and while I didn't understand it half the time, I was never bored. Those nearly two and a half hours just seemed to fly by. 

I was all set to give this movie a perfect rating but the more I thought about it, I do have one small complaint. Aside from a few moments, you never got the sense that Mark was in any real danger. He's able to come up with solutions to his problems almost too easily. It's nothing that should stop you from seeing the movie though. 

The Martian is an interesting, dramatic, and humorous movie that will have you on the edge of your seat. If you're into these types of movies I highly recommend it. 

My Rating: 9/10

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Black Mass

Johnny Depp is back! After basically playing the same character for the last several years, he's taken on a serious role and proven what I already know- he is an amazing actor. His performance as well as the movie in general just blew me away.

Black Mass tells the true story of James "Whitey" Bulger- the head of the Irish Mob in Boston in the late 70's. He was also the older brother of Senator Billy Bulger (Benedict Cumberbatch who does a Boston accent convincingly enough, it was just weird for me to hear him talk like that). He ends up making an "alliance" with a guy he grew up with- FBI agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) to take down the Italian Mob.

Johnny Depp gives a performance that is at least worthy of an Academy Award nomination. He completely transformed himself for the role. For two hours he stares at you with these haunting eyes and you totally forget that he's Johnny Depp. It's so scary and tense whenever he's on screen. One minute he's very calm and the next he's putting a bullet is someone's head. All it takes is one little word or action and you'll quickly realize you don't fuck with this guy. It had me cringing in my seat the whole time. 

I thought Joel Edgerton did just as good a job. This is as much his movie as it is Depp's. He's having and incredible year and I couldn't be happier for him. 

There are so many great actors in here that I just don't have time to talk about all of them. I will say that I don't think anyone in here gave a bad performance. 

This could've easily been a three hour movie. I honestly think they should have made it that long. There's no way you can fit the whole story of Whitey Bulger into two hours, although director Scott Cooper does his best attempt. There are certain points in the movie where it feels like something is missing. Not that it's  edited poorly. You can just tell there had been an explanation but maybe pressure from the studio forced him to cut the run time down. I really hope they release an extended cut on DVD/Blu-Ray. 

If you're interested in knowing more about this, I highly recommend a documentary called Whitey: United States of America vs. James J. Bulger. It's goes into a lot more details especially once Whitey is caught and his trial begins. I had the chance to see this last year and it's very well made and fascinating to watch. It's on Netflix right now. 

If you're a fan of gangster movies or any of the actors in here, I think you'll love Black Mass. It's well worth the money to see it in theaters. 

My Rating: 9.5/10

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Scorch Trials

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the first movie. It had some really cool ideas. So I was pretty excited to see this one. I'm happy to report that despite a few flaws, The Scorch Trials was really good. 

The Scorch Trials takes place just minutes after the events of The Maze Runner. Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) and the other Gladers have escaped the Maze only to face a world that's been nearly wiped out by a disease called the Flare. At the same time they are trying to discover more about WCKD, the mysterious that put them in The Maze in the first place. 

If you haven't already seen The Maze Runner, I strongly suggest you do before seeing this. Not that you'll be completely lost or anything but it helps you understand the characters and their motivations. 

I thought most of the actors performed well, especially the supporting cast. I swear there were times I felt more interested in what was going on with them than I did the main characters. Aidan Gillen (aka Littlefinger) plays Janson, a shady character who "rescues" Thomas and his friends but has other motives. He's a great actor who always seems to get roles like this. If I were a character in a movie and I saw him coming I would run in the other direction. 

I also really liked Rosa Salazar as Brenda. She kicked ass and had a lot of heart. And I felt like she had more chemistry with Dylan O'Brien than the actress playing Teresa did. The special effects overall were done well, with the exception of a few moments where it was obvious green screen. 

I liked there take on zombies, although in this universe I believe they're called Cranks. I can't really say that I cared for the look of them (I've seen it done WAY better) but I still found the whole thing fascinating. 

My only real complaint would be the pacing. At the beginning the movie felt a little rushed. But in the middle it really seemed to drag. Luckily the last 30 minutes or so more than made up for it. Very tense and lots of action. It sets things up nicely for the final movie. 

If you loved The Maze Runner then I think you'll really like The Scorch Trials. Yes, in a way it does resemble other franchises. But that doesn't mean it's not enjoyable. I'm looking forward to the final movie. 

My Rating: 8/10

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Visit

The Visit is the latest movie from director/writer/producer M. Night Shyamalan. I know what you must all be thinking- Fuck this guy! He hasn't made a decent movie since Signs. I was thinking the exact same thing. I had no intention of ever seeing this. But then I saw that it was actually getting decent reviews and since nothing else better is out that I haven't already seen, I decided to give it a chance. To my surprise, the movie actually ended up being really good!

The movie is about two kids named Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) who go on a week long trip to a farm in Pennsylvania to visit their grandparents (Deanna Dungan and Peter McRobbie) whom they have never met due to a falling out with their Mom (Kathryn Hahn). Things seem a little strange, but at first they attribute it to typical old people problems. But they quickly discover that it goes beyond that and that something is seriously wrong with Nana and Pop Pop.

M. Night Shyamalan has created a movie that's both comedy and horror. You'll laugh and you'll scream. I know I jumped out of my seat several times. I love how he doesn't take things so seriously this time around. The movie seems very self aware. Maybe that's the key for him from now on. That and not giving him a huge budget to work with. 

The movie really plays off the fear that most people have of getting older and also seeing our loved ones go through the effects of old age. 

The cast is made up of mostly unknowns. I really liked the performances, with the exception of the kid playing Tyler. Not even five minutes in and he was already getting on my nerves. This lasted for most of the movie and for that I had to take a few points off my rating. 

Of course, it wouldn't be a M. Night Shyamalan movie without a twist. I wouldn't call it huge (I kind of had a feeling this was where he was going with it) but it was still good.

Could this mean that M. Night Shyamalan is back to being a decent director? I don't know about that but I think The Visit is a step in the right direction. He's certainly earned another chance from me. 

My Rating: 8/10

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Sinister 2

I really enjoyed the first Sinister. It had characters I cared about and was one of the few horror movies in recent years that actually scared the crap out of me. I was a little nervous about this one however, since it wasn't directed by Scott Derrickson and it's been getting terrible reviews. In fact I had planned on just waiting until this came to Netflix. But I remembered that I had a free movie pass so I figured why not put it to good use. Plus I wanted to support C. Robert Cargill who I've been a fan of for years. So what's the verdict? Well to be honest, it's a terrible movie. But it's far from the worst I've ever seen.

Sinister 2 picks up not long after the events of the first movie. This time around we follow a new family- a young mother named Courtney (Shannyn Sossamon) and her two sons Dylan (Robert Daniel Sloan) and Zach (Dartanian Sloan) who move into a rural house with a terrible past. When former Deputy So & So (James Ransone, the only actor to reprise his role from the first movie besides the guy playing Bughuul) learns that this family would be next in line to fall to Bughuul he does everything he can to help them. 

As I said, Scott Derrickson wasn't the director this time around (although he did write the script along with C. Robert Cargill). Instead it was Ciaran Foy, who up until now had done mostly short films. Boy did he fuck up here! I didn't feel scared at all when watching this. There were a lot of jump scares (far too many for my liking) and only one of them got a slight reaction out of me. It's like he took everything that made the first movie great and just shit on it. 

I don't blame C. Robert Cargill and Scott Derrickson at all. They had an interesting story here. Hell, there were even a few scenes that I thought were decent. If it weren't for them I'd be giving this movie a much lower rating. 

Somehow Ciaran Foy screwed things up translating this from script to screen. I understand having your own interpretation of the story but come on! And that ending... Seriously? I was already angry at this point and this just pushed me over the edge. When they showed that moment and then cut to the credits I was like, "Fuck you!". And no, I didn't just think that in my head. I literally said it out loud in the theater. 

I could go on a rant all night about Sinister 2 but I'll spare you that. As I said it wasn't the worst, but I still wouldn't waste my time or money on it. If you're really curious, wait til it's on Netflix. Better yet just watch the first one again. 

My Rating: 5/10

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Straight Outta Compton

Having been a kid when NWA really hit it big (I think I was only about four or five at the time), I didn't know a whole lot about them. I mean I knew who they were and remember hearing of the events surrounding them but that's about it. Of course, when I was a little bit older I listened to some of their music and liked it. So when I heard they were making this movie I really wanted too see it and find out more. I'm happy to report that Straight Outta Compton was amazing! It's honestly one of my favorite movies of the year so far.

The movie chronicles the rise and fall of legendary hip hop group NWA- Eazy-E (Jason Mitchell), Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins), Ice Cube (O'Shea Jackson Jr., Ice Cube's actual son. He's the spitting image of his father.), DJ Yella (Neil Brown Jr.), and MC Ren (Aldis Hodge).

One of the many things I love about this movie is the incredible performances. One that really stood out to me was Jason Mitchell. Of course, the ones I knew the most about were Dr. Dre and Ice Cube. But I didn't know a whole lot about Eazy-E other than the fact that he was in the group and sadly passed away from AIDS in 1995. I was sobbing when it came to this part in the movie. I knew it was coming but it still hit me right in the feels. And to anyone who gets mad at me for not posting a spoiler warning- Seriously? This happened 20 years ago! Anyway I would love to see him and the rest of the actors get some kind of recognition come award season. But with the way the Academy is who knows if that will happen.

Director F Gary Gray does a good job developing this story and showing both the good and the bad side of these guys. But you can understand where they were coming from. They did gloss over a few things though. But I enjoyed the movie so much that I was willing to let that go. 

The movie also covers a lot of what was going on at that time, including the Rodney King case and all the police brutality. It's really sad to think that in all those years since these events occurred, not a whole hell of a lot has changed. 

My only criticism of the movie is that it felt a little rushed in the second half, mainly towards the end. You got the feeling that there was more that was suppose to be there. From what I've heard, the original cut was suppose to be three and a half hours long but they ended up editing it down to two and a half hours. I really hope they release the longer version on DVD/Blu-Ray. 

Even if you're not a fan of hip hop, Straight Outta Compton has something for everyone. I highly recommend it. 

My Rating: 9.5/10

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Gift

Wow! That's what was going through my head as I was walking out of the theater. I'm a big fan of Joel Edgerton and boy did he hit it out of the park and create one of the best thrillers I've seen in years.

The Gift follows Simon (Jason Bateman) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall)- a married couple who one day, while out furniture shopping for their new house, encounter Gordo (Joel Edgerton). Gordo went to high school with Simon 25 years ago. After the very awkward encounter, Gordo begins coming over unannounced and brings them a series of gifts. At first he seems harmless, but definitely a little odd. Robyn then slowly uncovers the real connection between Simon and Gordo and what happened all those years ago.

Joel Edgerton makes his directorial debut here (as well as writing the script and producing) and I couldn't be more impressed. The story slowly builds up and gets more and more tense as each thing is revealed. Everything from the way the scenes were edited together to the color sceme (which is a lot of blues and grays) really sets the tone and added to the creepiness.

I also applaud Joel for showing just how much bullying can affect you even later in life. Another director might have set this in high school but I'm glad he decided to go this route instead. 

Every actor in here gave an amazing performance. Joel Edgerton was great as Gordo. The character is very awkward but Joel doesn't play it over the top. There's just enough of that creepy factor to let you know that something isn't right with him. 

Jason Bateman does just as good a job. It was a little weird at first seeing him in this type of movie given that he's well known for doing comedies. Simon is a character that on the surface appears fairly normal but at the same time you can tell there's something off about him too. 

Just to warn you there are a few jump scares in this movie. Not a lot though. I counted maybe two or three. Normally I hate when movies do this but here it really works. Each time, even though I could sense when it was about to happen, I jumped in my seat and yelled out. I swear I thought I was going to have a heart attack. 

There was one moment at the end where a big twist is revealed. All I'll say is it will make people very uncomfortable and it took me out of the movie for a minute. I thought about taking a point off my rating because of it but it's such a well made movie that I'm willing to let that slide.

I really encourage all of you to go out and support The Gift. Hollywood really needs more movies like this. It really makes you think and will stick with you even days later. I know it's early but this movie stands a good chance of making my top ten list at the end of the year. 

My Rating: 10/10

Monday, August 3, 2015

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

I was a big fan of 2011's Ghost Protocol, which was surprising given that I was never really crazy about the first three. This time around I was excited for Rogue Nation and it did not disappoint. While I think Ghost Protocol was slightly better, I still loved every minute of this movie.

This time around Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team- Benji (Simon Pegg), Brandt (Jeremy Renner), and Luther (Ving Rhames) take on the Syndicate, a rogue organization that is determined to destroy them.

There's really no point in going into more details.We all know nobody goes to these movies for the plot. It's all about the action and boy does director Christopher McQuarrie deliver! The action scenes were some of the most jaw dropping and well choreographed I've seen in years. Especially the one under water. How Tom Cruise, who I believe did most if not all of his own stunts, is still able to pull this off I'll never know. The movie was two hours and eleven minutes long but time seemed to just fly by. Not once was I bored.

Yes, the movie is ridiculous and over the top. You really have to suspend disbelief but so what? Although there were a few scenes, mainly the motorcycle one, where I felt they were really pushing it.

If you're looking for a really fun action movie then check out Rogue Nation. It'll be money well spent I promise.

My Rating: 9/10

Saturday, July 25, 2015


I've been wanting to see this movie for a number of reasons. First, ever since I was little I've been a huge fan of boxing as well as sports dramas. Second, I found out that this was written/produced by Kurt Sutter who was the writer/creator of one of my favorite shows- Sons of Anarchy. Now that I've finally seen it, what do I think? Well despite a disappointing beginning, Southpaw blew me away it was so good.

Jake Gyllenhaal plays Billy Hope, a boxer at the top of his career. Suddenly, and I'm not spoiling anything here because they show it in the trailer, his wife Maureen (Rachel McAdams) is killed and, due to his behavior in the aftermath, he loses custody of his daughter Leila (Oona Laurence). Hitting rock bottom, he begins working for/training with former boxer Tick Willis (Forrest Whitaker) in order to build himself back up and get his daughter back.

The movie is directed by Antoine Fuqua, who directed last years The Equalizer which I actually liked. He does a pretty good job here, but I have some mixed feelings. The first 30 minutes or so moved really slowly and it was edited poorly. It's hard to describe unless you actually see it. I was about to write this movie off but then, and this is probably horrible of me to say, once Billy's wife dies things really get going. I liked his pretty spot on portrayal of boxing culture as well as all the family drama.

Maybe I'm biased, but I think a lot of credit goes to Kurt Sutter's writing. He's created a story that at times is emotionally powerful. I'll admit it's your typical cliched sports/drama movie that's very predictable. But that doesn't mean it isn't enjoyable.

This is very much a movie that's all about the performances. Jake Gyllenhaal... wow!! All the positive things you've heard about him in this are absolutely true. It's scary the way he was able to transform and fully immerse himself in the character. The only thing was I couldn't understand a damn word he was saying half the time. I had an easier time understanding Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. Anyway, you really believe him as a boxer.   Especially in the final fight scene which is bad ass and felt so real that it had me on the edge of my seat.

What I loved just as much if not more than that final fight scene was the scenes between Jake and his onscreen daughter. They were very convincing and it just broke my heart seeing them. I teared up quite a bit. Oona Laurence is a great young actress and I hope to see her in more movies.

Southpaw wasn't nearly on the same level as say Warrior was for me, but I'm still glad I saw it. If you can get past the first 30 minutes, I think you will too. I promise it's worth the effort.

My Rating: 8/10

Sunday, July 19, 2015


I must admit I've never been a big Judd Apatow fan. The only movie of his that I kind of like is Knocked Up. But when I saw the trailer for his latest movie Trainwreck I thought it looked funny and could actually be good. And you know what? For the most part it was.

Trainwreck stars Amy Schumer as Amy, who, starting at a young age, has had it drilled in her head by her father Gordon (Colin Quinn) that monogamy isn't realistic. She's always taken that to heart. But that could all change when she falls for sports doctor Aaron (Bill Hader), the subject of an article she's writing.

One of my favorite things about the movie was the chemistry between Amy Schumer and Bill Hader. They're both really funny actors and I thought they worked well together. I'd love to see them do another movie in the future.

There are a lot of cameos here, most of them are great while a few will make you go, what the hell? My favorite, and this really isn't a spoiler because he's in the trailer, is Lebron James. I wouldn't really call it a cameo though since he had a bit more screentime than that. He plays himself, just slightly fictionalized, and is good friends with Bill Hader's character. His scenes got some of the biggest laughs out of me.

I really enjoyed the soundtrack as well. Each song they used fit perfectly with each scene.

As far as romantic comedies go, you've seen this all before. It doesn't really add anything new. Does this make it a bad movie? Far from it. With these types of movies if I can get a couple of really good laughs, as was the case here, then I consider it a success.

My one big issue was I felt the movie dragged on a bit too long in the last act. The movie is a little over two hours long and by the time it got to the end I thought, This really should've been over about ten minutes ago. 

Trainwreck was one of the better romantic comedies I've seen in a long time. It's a lot of fun and offers a pretty honest look at relationships. It's definitely worth seeing.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Terminator Genisys (IMAX 3D)

I've always been a huge fan of the Terminator franchise, with the exception of that god awful third movie. Yes, I even liked Terminator Salvation. But when I heard they were going to make a fifth movie I thought, is this really necessary? So I went into this with very low expectations and came out surprised. While it wasn't nearly on the same level as the first two movies, it was still pretty good!

Terminator Genisys starts out much like the first movie. Resistance leader John Connor (Jason Clarke) sends his right hand man Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back to 1984 to protect his mother Sarah (Emilia Clarke) from a Terminator trying to kill her thus preventing John from ever being born. But due to something major that happens, when Kyle gets there, nothing is what he expected it to be.

Director Alan Taylor (whose previous work includes Thor: The Dark World and a couple of episodes of Game of Thrones) does an amazing job being very respectful of the first two movies while at the same time making it it's own thing. He really paid attention to details and was able to recreate the classic opening scenes from the first movie, just with a slightly different twist.

The visual effects were very nicely done. I was especially impressed with the way they were able to recreate the 1984 Terminator/Arnold. To prepare for this movie, I went back and watched the original on Netflix and honestly I couldn't tell the difference. That's how good it was.

It was no nice to see Arnold back! This time around he plays a Terminator who is reprogrammed to go back and rescue a young Sarah Connor (I think she's around 9 at the time) as well as protect and raise her. Sarah even lovingly refers to him as Pops. Arnold's scenes with Emilia, whose take on Sarah Connor I loved and she even looks like a young Linda Hamilton, were very sweet and even funny at times.

While I said this movie was pretty good, it's far from perfect. For one thing, good lord Jai Courtney can't act! His performance as Kyle Reese was so robotic most of the time. Would it kill him to show just a little emotion? I've heard from many people, and I agree with them, that he would've been better off playing a Terminator. However, he is really nice to look at so that's a plus. And he did have decent enough chemistry with Emilia.

Also, as bad ass as the action scenes were, some of them went on too long or just weren't necessary all together.

If you're planning on seeing this in theaters don't bother seeing it in 3D. It's not even noticeable most of the time.

Terminator Genisys obviously isn't the best movie in the franchise. but it's a hell of a lot better than the third movie or even Salvation. They really tried to do something different and I can't wait to see where they go from here.

My Rating: 8/10

Magic Mike XXL

Once again, my ovaries have exploded! It's funny, my review for the first Magic Mike still holds the record for the most hits one of my reviews has gotten. I wonder if this one can top it since Magic Mike XXL was even better than the first.

The movie takes place three years after the events of the first. Mike (Channing Tatum) is back along with Dick (Joe Manganiello), Ken (Matt Bomer), Tito (Adam Rodriguez), and Tarzan (Kevin Nash) for one last ride at a male stripper convention in Myrtle Beach.

A big thank you to Gregory Jacobs for listening to us and including way more stripping scenes than the first. Although if I had my way it would be two hours of nothing but stripping. There's still a story there and a decent one at that, but that's not what you came to see. This isn't going to be winning any Oscars and they know that. I given them credit for not taking themselves too seriously and trying to be something it's not.

I really enjoyed the performances. The actors all looked like they had such a fun time filming this. Channing Tatum... wow!! Some of the moves he pulled off I didn't think were physically possible. After him, my favorite would be Joe Manganiello. There's a scene of him in a convenience store that when you get a glimpse of it in the trailer it looks stupid. But once you see it in the movie and how it plays out it's actually hysterical.

Matt Bomer was also really good. I had no idea he could sing so well! I hope he does more of that in the future.

Speaking of music, I thought the soundtrack was perfect and fun and fit well with the amazingly choreographed dance/stripping routines.

My only complaint, and it's very minor, would be there were a few moments during some of the non stripping scenes that seemed to really drag. It's like, get back to the stripping dammit!

Magic Mike was crazy and fun. A perfect way to start off the 4th of July weekend. Definitely go see it if you get a chance.

My Rating: 9/10

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Ted 2

I knew going into this that it didn't have great reviews. But I figured what the hell, I'm in the mood for a comedy. And you know what? While it wasn't great, for the most part I had fun watching it.

Ted 2 is the sequel to the 2012 movie which ended up being a huge hit. This time around, Ted (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) has married Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth) and they want to have a baby. But in order to become a parent, he'll have to prove he's a person in the eyes of the law. His best friend John (Mark Wahlberg) and a young lawyer named Samantha (Amanda Seyfried) help him along the way.

Seth MacFarlane, while he seems like a nice guy, is not the greatest director. At least not when it comes to feature length films. This movie was nearly two hours long and it didn't need to be. There were several scenes that really had nothing to do with the plot and were just added in to kill time. I think this would've worked much better had it been an hour television special. But I'll give him credit, while some of the jokes fell flat for me, a lot of them were pretty funny. I found myself laughing quite a bit, mainly in the first half though.

I really enjoyed Mark Wahlberg in this. I've been a fan of most of his movies. His comedic timing in this is spot on. I think he's at his best in these types of movies. He also has great chemistry with Ted, a CGI bear for crying out loud. The same can't be said for him and Amanda Seyfried. I like her and it's not that she's bad here, I just didn't buy her as Mark's love interest.

Ted 2 ended up being better than I thought it would be. I don't know if I'll watch it over and over again, but maybe every so often if I'm in need of a laugh. If you enjoyed the first movie or if you're looking for a halfway decent comedy (and don't mind a little crude humor), check this out.

My Rating: 7/10

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Inside Out (3D)

I've always been a fan of most Pixar movies. So when I heard they were releasing Inside Out I knew I had to see it. And I must say, Pixar has once again hit it out of the park!

Inside Out is about a young girl named Riley whose life if guided by the emotions living inside her mind- Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), and Disgust (Mindy Kaling). Everything is going great until one day when Riley and her parents suddenly move from their home in Minnesota to San Francisco. With all of these changes, Headquarters begins to explode into chaos!

Pete Docter and Ronaldo Del Carmen have done an amazing job directing (as well as writing) a story that technically is aimed towards kids but at the same time adults can get a lot out of it as well. And as is the case with Pixar, this movie hits you right in the feels.

The animation looked absolutely beautiful. So much effort was put into even the smallest detail, like the way the characters hair looked and moved.

I really don't have anything bad to say about the movie other than I wouldn't bother to spend the extra money on 3D. It's hardly noticeable at all. It's a shame because it had the potential to look really good in that format.

Going into the movie, I was afraid I would be sitting in a theater full of screaming kids. Thankfully that was not the case. There were kids there of course, but I noticed there was also a lot of people my age and older who like me didn't have kids. We all had fun watching a sweet and touching movie with a great message. I can't wait to see what Pixar does next.

My Rating: 9/10

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Jurassic World (IMAX 3D)

I've been looking forward to this movie ever since it was first announced and got even more excited when I saw the trailers. Judging by the line I stood in to get into the theater (which I swear was just as big if not longer than the line I was in for The Avengers) I wasn't the only one who felt this way. Believe the hype everyone. Jurassic World was amazing!

The movie takes place 22 years after the events of Jurassic Park. Isla Nublar now features a functional theme park called Jurassic World, run by Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard). But attendance is starting to decline so they decide to genetically engineer a new breed of dinosaur. What could possibly go wrong?

I love that director Colin Trevorrow has basically ignored movies two and three and instead made Jurassic World feel like a direct sequel to Jurassic Park. There's quite a few references to the first movie but it's done respectfully, unlike other sequels/reboots where it's all in your face like, Hey look at this! Remember this? 

Chris Pratt sure is on a role lately and I couldn't be happier for him. He's very charming, funny, and does a great job here as raptor trainer Owen. His character was probably the only one I actually cared about. Do I wish they had taken the time to develop the other characters and make them likeable? Sure. But I knew going into this that the real stars of the movie were the dinosaurs.

My hat goes off to the visual effects team. I'm not sure how much of it was practical effects and how much was CGI but the dinosaurs looked very real and was convincing whenever they interacted with the human characters.

The movie looked absolutely stunning on an IMAX screen. You really felt like you were there. But as far as the 3D goes, while it was decent in a few spots overall it wasn't that noticeable. Still, I'd say it's worth the extra money just so you can have that great IMAX experience.

Seeing Jurassic World gave me chills. Everything from the bad ass action scenes to the beautiful score was well done. It felt like I was nine years old again and seeing Jurassic Park for the first time. I can't wait to see where they go from here.

My Rating: 9/10

Saturday, June 6, 2015


I had every intention of avoiding this movie like the plague. But then several friends told me that it was actually good so I decided to give it a chance. I'm glad I listened to them and didn't bade my decision on the trailers, which made this out to be just another dumb Melissa McCarthy "Hey look at me I'm fat!" type of movie. There's a few moments of that to an extent, but I ended up really enjoying the movie.

Spy stars Melissa McCarthy as Susan Cooper, a desk bound CIA analyst who ends up volunteering to go undercover and infiltrate the world of a deadly arms dealer.

What surprised me the most was that not only was this a comedy, but it also had some really good action sequences. They don't shy away from the violence either. There's people getting shot in the head, stabbed, poisoned, etc. If you're a little squeamish this may not be the movie for you.

I hope Melissa McCarthy does more movies like this because she's actually not a bad actress. I especially loved her scenes with Jason Statham. The two of them actually work well together and it looked like they had a lot of fun. Speaking of Jason Statham, it was great seeing him play a character that's pretty much a parody of every other character he's ever played.

Paul Fieg (who also directed Bridesmaids and The Heat) does a decent job writing and directing. Most of the jokes were pretty funny, but a few of them just didn't work for me. Also, I felt like the movie went on a just a little too long. It would've been even better had he cut out about 20 minutes.

Spy was a really fun and refreshing take on the spy spoof movie. While it's not nearly as good as Kingsman, it's still worth checking out.

My Rating: 8/10

Saturday, May 30, 2015


I was in the mood for a romantic movie this week. Plus it stars Bradley Cooper. What could possibly go wrong? Well, a lot apparently. I didn't hate the movie by any means. It was just... weird.

Aloha is about a man named Brian Gilcrest (Bradley Cooper)- a military contractor who returns to Hawaii to oversee the launch of a weapons satellite. While there he reconnects with his ex-wife Tracy (Rachel McAdams) and forms a relationship with Alison Ng (Emma Stone)- a Navy pilot assigned to him.

What the hell happened to Cameron Crowe? This is the same man who directed Jerry Macguire, a movie that I love and will watch whenever it's on TV. I even thought Elizabethtown was a sweet little movie. But Aloha wasn't even close to being as good as those.

The writing he did was horrible as well. I'm sorry but I don't know anyone who would talk the way these characters do. It was almost embarrassing.

Speaking of characters, what really made me mad was they had such a talented cast- Bradley Copper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Alec Baldwin, etc. and they're all wasted here. To be fair, they did try their best given the material they had to work with. And as much as I like Emma Stone, she was terribly miscast. She and Bradley Cooper had absolutely no chemistry.

The movie was just all over the place. What was Cameron Crowe trying to say here? I feel like in the hands of a different director and screenwriter, this could've been a pretty good movie.

I'll admit though, in the last third of the movie were a few moments that were genuinely sweet. I even laughed a few times. It's because of this that I can't give it any lower of a rating than I already am.

If you're looking for a really good romantic dramedy, I would recommend Silver Linings Playbook instead. Aloha is just okay and very forgettable. If you insist on seeing it, wait until it comes to Netflix. It's not worth the money to see it in theaters.

My Rating: 6/10

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road

When I first heard they were making this movie, I kind of had mixed feelings about it. I've only seen the original Mad Max and while I liked it, I only watched it once and that was years ago. Plus I thought great, here we go again with another unnecessary sequel/reboot. But then I heard that it was being directed by George Miller (who directed the original movies) and starring my man Tom Hardy and I knew I had to see it. I'm so glad I did because the movie was amazing and one of the craziest I've seen in a long time.

Fury Road is set in a post apocalyptic world where people have gone crazy just struggling to survive. Max (Tom Hardy) is a loner trying to find peace after the loss of his wife and child. He encounters and eventually ends up aiding Furiosa (Charlize Theron) who wants to make it back to her homeland and escapes the clutches of warlord Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne).

I applaud George Miller for all the hard work he put into creating this fun, crazy, and well made action movie. He really put his heart and soul into it. It's two hours of car chases and explosions and it kept me entertained the whole time. What amazed me the most was that the majority of the effects in here were practical. In an age where CGI is relied on too much this was refreshing to see. How the hell he was able to pull off some of those scenes without CGI I'll never know. I wish more directors would go this route.

Tom Hardy, of course, gives another amazing performance. He doesn't really talk all that much here. But the way he's able to communicate his eyes and his facial expressions... wow!!

Some would say, and they wouldn't be wrong, that the real star of the movie is Charlize Theron. Her performance as Furiosa was badass and she holds her own against all the men in here. For the most part this is her story. At least that's what it felt like anyway.

Nicholas Hoult was the biggest surprise to me. At first I thought his character was just another crazy guy. But as the movie went on and you learned more about him, you really felt for him and could understand why he was the way he was. Nicholas put a lot of heart into it.

Many people have asked if they need to see the original movies in order to see this. The answer is, not really. Fury Road pretty much stands on its own. It might help if you watch the others to get a sense of what this world is about, but you certainly won't be lost if you don't.

I ended up seeing this in 2D mainly because the showtime worked out better for me. But also because the 3D I've seen in most movies lately has been complete shit, and yes the includes Age of Ultron. Anyway, Fury Road looks great in 2D so don't think you're missing out on anything by seeing it in this format.

There is one moment though, which I won't say what it is, that was very uncomfortable for me to watch and forced me to look away from the screen for a minute. Judging by the other people in the theater, I wasn't the only one. It's nothing that should stop you from seeing the movie though. But it's the reason I'm not giving this a perfect rating.

Fury Road is one of the most insane yet well made movies I've seen in a long time. I really hope it does well so that the sequels can get made. Directors take note- this is how you do an action movie!

My Rating: 9.5/10

Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Avengers: Age of Ultron (IMAX 3D)

I've waited three long years for this movie. Now that I've finally seen it I just have to say- AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!! Sorry, I'm still recovering from a massive nerdgasm. Age of Ultron was absolutely amazing!

This time around, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) tries to revive a peacekeeping program but things go horribly wrong. Now the Avengers must once again work together to stop Ultron (James Spader) before he destroys the world.

Director Joss Whedon is back and does another great job handling such a large cast. I don't know of too many directors who could pull this off but somehow he does. Each of the characters is given several moments to shine. There's also of plenty of that Joss Whedon humor that I love. There were several scenes that had me cracking up.

What makes Age of Ultron a little different is that in this one there's a lot more battle scenes. They're a lot of fun to watch and totally bad ass. The only downside is there's very little room to breathe. There was so much action, fighting, and explosions and I just wish they had slowed it down a bit at times. Some of my favorite scenes in the movie were the "quieter" moments that were few and far between.

Of course, I have to talk about Ultron himself. Marvel's villains have always been pretty weak for the most part but here he's done well. It helps that you have a great actor like James Spader playing the role. He has a creepy voice and his performance is just the right amount of scary and humorous. While Loki is still my favorite villain, Ultron is right up there.

I'm not really spoiling anything by telling you this since it is heavily implied in the trailer, but yes there is a romance that happens between Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). I wasn't crazy about it at first but as the story progressed and certain things are revealed, I found their relationship to be kind of sweet. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.

Okay, it's time for me to nitpick just a little bit. While I absolutely love Age of Ultron, I kind of liked the first Avengers movie just a little bit more. Put away your torches and pitchforks. It has nothing to do with the movie itself. It's more of a personal preference.

STAY DURING THE CREDITS! Do I really have to keep saying this? This time there's only one scene and it's in the middle of the credits. All I'll say about it is it sets things up for Infinity War  and had most of the people in the theater cheering, myself included.

One last thing- I wouldn't even bother watching this in 3D. You can't even notice it. When some of the trailers shown before have better 3D than the movie itself that's a problem. The movie looks great on an IMAX screen but unfortunately it's only showing in IMAX 3D. Save the extra money and see it in 2D instead.

Age of Ultron was so much fun and mostly lived up to the hype. If you're a Marvel fan or just a fan of superhero movies in general, I think you'll love this as much as I did. I'm really looking forward to seeing where they go from here.

My Rating: 9/10

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Age of Adaline

I can't even begin to tell you the number of times I've seen the trailer for this over the last six months or so. Finally I was like, Dammit okay! I'll go see this. I was in the mood for a romance movie anyway. And as far as these types of movies go, this was actually pretty good.

The Age of Adaline tells the story of Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively)- a young widowed mother who, after a car accident, is rendered ageless. She spends the next several decades changing identities, moving every so many years, and never getting too close to anyone out of fear they'll discover her secret. The only one who knows is her daughter Flemming (Ellen Burstyn). At a New Year's Eve party in the present day, she meets Ellis Jones (Michiel Huisman) and they eventually fall in love. But a weekend at his parent's house threatens to uncover the truth.

The movie tries to explain Adaline's condition with some scientific talk which is such bullshit. There's nothing wrong with a simple fantasy if done right.

Blake Lively gives her best performance so far. It's hard to portray someone who physically looks to be in her late 20's but mentally is over 100 years old. But she really pulls it off. Everything from the way she carries herself to the way she talks is very convincing. I absolutely loved her scenes with Ellen Burstyn. I wish the director had spent a little more time on this interesting relationship between a mother and daughter.

I also liked Michiel Huisman (whom I'm already a fan of since he's on Game of Thrones) in this. He's charming in his own way. Some of his dialog isn't great, but it never felt too cheesy.

The great Harrison Ford plays Ellis's father William. His role is kind of small but VERY important. I can't say too much without spoiling it, but his performance was very touching.

My one big complaint is the use of narration. It was completely unnecessary! There are moments where they literally describe everything going on in the scene. I could see it for myself and didn't need it spelled out for me. When will these directors learn that showing is better than telling?

The Age of Adaline is certainly one of the better romance movies I've seen in a long time. Is it sappy? Absolutely. But I still enjoyed watching it and I think you will too.

My Rating: 8/10

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Child 44

Lets be honest- there really isn't much being released in the next few weeks while we all wait for Age of Ultron. So I figured I'd check this movie out. It hasn't been advertised all that much. Hell, the only reason I knew about it was because I am a huge Tom Hardy fan. And once again, he gives a brilliant performance. As far as the movie itself, I kind of have mixed feelings about it.

Child 44 is based on a book written by Tom Rob Smith. It's set in the Stalin era of the Soviet Union and tells the story of Leo Demidov (Tom Hardy)- a disgraced member of the military police force who, along with his wife Raisa (Noomi Rapace) begin investigating a series of child murders. Of course, there's more to this story than it seems.

I found the first half of the movie to be extremely boring. It moved at such a slow pace that I could feel myself nodding off at times. Of course, this could also have been due to the fact that I hadn't slept much in the past few days.

The movie was also very dark. Not only in terms of the tine, but the lighting as well. For example, there was this fight scene where I couldn't tell who was who or what was going on half the time. I get what the director was trying to do but damn.

Also, whoever they hired to edit this should never work in the film industry again. The way it moved from one scene to the next (mainly in the first half) was so poorly done. Once scene in particular that stood out to me was a love scene where the camera is moving up and there I was all excited thinking I'm about to see Tom Hardy's ass in all it's glory. But then it quickly cuts away to something else. I wanted to scream, Fuck!!!! Why are they doing this to me? It made me so frustrated! I'm taking half a point off my rating just for this alone. Inexcusable.

I've talked a lot about what I didn't like, but once it got to the second half and Leo and Raisa really begin investigating and trying to find this serial killer, it became this really good, intense, on the edge of your seat thriller.

I also loved Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace's powerful performances. The two of them work so well together and have such amazing chemistry. It was interesting to see their relationship develop from the beginning of the movie to what it is at the end. In the middle of all this bleakness is a very touching love story.

Child 44 is not for everyone. Probably the only people who will see it are fans of historical thrillers or of any of the actors in here. But if you can get past the first half, it's worth checking out.

My Rating: 7/10

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Longest Ride

I had never planned on seeing this movie in theaters. If you've seen one Nicholas Sparks movie, you've pretty much seen them all. I've said it before and I'll say it again- there hasn't been a decent Nicholas Sparks movie since The Notebook. But I figured I'd give this a chance since I've already seen most of the movies that are out right now. To my surprise, I actually liked The Longest Ride. Was it as amazing as The Notebook? Absolutely not. But it was still pretty good.

The Longest Ride tells the story of Sophia Danko (Britt Robertson), a college student about to embark on her dream job at an art gallery in New York. She meets Luke Collins (Scott Eastwood), a champion bull rider trying to make a comeback. Even though they come from two completely different worlds, they of course fall in love. One night as they're driving home from a date, they stop and help an elderly man named Ira Levinson (Alan Alda) who has just been in a car accident. Through a series of letters he had written to his beloved wife Ruth, we learn the incredible, sometimes heartbreaking, story of their life together. Their story inspires both Luke and Sophia.

Make no mistake, this film is loaded with almost every cliche you'll find in a Nicholas Sparks movie. Takes place in North Carolina? Check. A kiss/love scene that takes place in the rain or some equivalent? Check. Someone dies? Check. I could go on and on.

I give director George Tillman Jr. a lot of credit though for trying to create a decent romantic drama. And for the most part he succeeds given what he had to work with. I really enjoyed the bull riding scenes. While I've never been a big fan of the sport, he somehow made it interesting. 

Through a series of flashbacks we see Ira and Ruth's love story played out. This was by far my favorite part. Their relationship felt much more realistic than Luke and Sophia's. 

That being said, while I wasn't too impressed with Britt Robertson's performance, I thought Scott Eastwood was great as Luke. It's crazy how much he looks like his father. He's very charming and has the potential to be a really good actor. I'm look forward to more movies from him. 

If you're a Nicholas Sparks fan you're going to love this. While The Longest Ride isn't the best movie ever made, I would watch it again if I'm ever in the mood for a sappy romance movie. Give it a chance.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Furious 7

It's hard to believe but the Fast & the Furious franchise is now 14 years old. I absolutely loved the first movie and have been watching ever since. Hell I even sat through those god awful second and third ones. Honestly, just skip them and watch the first and then movies 4-7. That being said, did I ever imagine I would be sitting here writing a review for a seventh movie? Absolutely not. Furious 7 is by far the most ridiculous and over the top one yet... And I loved every minute of it!

Furious 7 finds Dom (Vin Diesel) and the rest of his crew moving on from the events of the last movie and leave that life behind. Unfourtanetly, their past comes back to haunt them when Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) seeks revenge for what happened to his brother Owen (movie 6's villain played by Luke Evans).

James Wan takes over as director and I think he does a really good job, especially considering he's done mostly horror movies up until this point. I also give him a lot of credit for being able to finish the movie after Paul Walker's death. Since Paul only completed about half of his scenes, they had to use a combination of cgi, body doubles (including Paul's brothers), and stunt doubles. It was edited so well that I couldn't even tell the difference for the most part, except for a few brief moments where it was obvious cgi if you looked really close. 

Even though the action keeps getting crazier and crazier, I had so much fun  watching this movie. It was nearly two and a half hours but it sure didn't feel like it. Although I'm convinced that somewhere along the line (a deleted scene maybe?) Dom and his crew gained superpowers. That's the only explanation I can think of for what they are able to pull off. There's no way a normal human would be able to survive what they do. 

I can forgive them for that though. What I can't forgive them for is the terrible dialog. It's too distracting and I had to take off a point it was so bad.

Overall though, I really enjoyed Furious 7. If you liked the other movies than you'll love this. I know Vin Diesel said there would be an eighth movie, but I wish they would end it here. It tied everything up nicely and it was very respectful to Paul's memory. The last ten minutes had me tearing up. 

Who am I kidding, whenever an eighth movie is released, I'll be there opening night :)

My Rating: 9/10

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Insurgent (IMAX 3D)

I haven't watched Divergent since it first came out a year ago. I was a little disappointed with it, but I was still willing to give Insurgent a chance. So what's the verdict? Well, it's slightly better than Divergent. Not that that's saying much.

Insurgent takes place just a few days after the events of Divergent. Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four are now on the run and being hunted by Erudite leader Jeanine (Kate Winslet). She's discovered an important box that can only be unlocked by a Divergent. This box could unlock the truth about the past and change their future forever.

I will give the director, Robert Schwentke, some credit. He tried to do the best he could with the material he had to work with. There are some nice visuals, much better than in Divergent infact. But visuals can only take you so far. 

I think Shailene Woodley is a good actress and she does a decent job here. My problem is she and Theo James have absolutely NO chemistry. Their so called love scene was almost painful to watch. At least there was no cheesy pop song playing during it this time so that was a plus.

Speaking of Theo James, while he's nice to look at, he couldn't act if his life depended on it. His performance as was so robotic! Damn would it have killed him to show a little emotion? I literally laughed out loud several times he was so bad.

Just to warn you, if you haven't seen Divergent I strongly suggest you watch it before you see this. You'll be very confused otherwise since they don't bother doing a quick recap the way most movies would. 

If you plan on seeing this in theaters, watch it in 2D. The 3D wasn't even noticeable most of the time. 

I know it seems like all I'm doing is knocking Insurgent. To be fair, I thought some of the simulation scenes towards the end were actually pretty cool. But that's about it. Still, I'm willing to give the next two movies a chance. 

One more thing that annoyed me though, is they had the amazing, Academy Award winning Octavia Spencer in this movie and they completely wasted her! I haven't read the books so maybe she plays a bigger role in the next one.

If you're a huge fan of the books then I think you'll like this. If not, wait til it comes on Netflix. Better yet, just watch The Hunger Games movies again. They're a million times better. 

My Rating: 7/10

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Cinderella (IMAX)

I've been looking forward to this ever since I saw the trailer. Disney's latest trend is taking their classic animated fairy tales and re-telling them in live action form. After being disappointed with Maleficent, I'm happy to say that they've gotten it right with Cinderella.

There's nothing new as far as the plot goes. It's basically the same as the animated version. When Ella's (Lily James) father unexpectedly dies, she's left at the mercy of her cruel Stepmother (Cate Blanchett) and two Stepsisters (Holliday Grainger and Sophie McShera). Things begin to change when she meets the handsome Prince Kit (Richard Madden). 

The director Kenneth Branagh ,who also directed the first Thor, does an amazing job bringing this story to life. It's something that's clearly aimed for young children, especially girls, but he's managed to make it enjoyable for adults as well. I wasn't the only one there without a child and we all were having a good time.

Every actor in here was perfectly cast. Lily James not only looks the part but really captures the goodness and courage of Cinderella. She also had great chemistry with Richard Madden, who after seeing this, I can't imagine anyone better to play the Prince. Being a huge Game of Thrones fan, he'll always be Robb Stark to me. Anyway, you could tell the two of them had a lot of fun. I especially loved their first scene where Cinderella meets the Prince in the forest. It was really sweet and they played off each other well. 

The great cate Blanchett is very convincing as the wicked Stepmother and the movie is careful not to make her too one dimensional.

Holliday Grainger and Sophie McShera are over the top as the Stepsisters and some people probably won't like that. But I didn't mind because that's how they're suppose to be.

I just have to say that whoever designed the costumes should get an Oscar. They were so beautiful! Especially Cinderella's dresses. I really want her blue ball gown. 

This is one of those movies that I highly suggest you see in IMAX if you can. The cinematography and visual effects are stunning and seeing it on an IMAX screen really makes you feel like you're a part of this magical world. 

If you're into fairy tales I highly recommend this. It's definetly a movie I will watch again and again. I had such a good time. It almost made me believe in Prince Charming again... Almost ;)

My Rating: 10/10