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Monday, May 30, 2011

Out Now with Aaron and Abe – Episode 11: Kung Fu Panda 2


Following the landmark that was our tenth episode, Out Now returns with episode 11, Kung Fu Panda 2.  Abe and I bring in the big guns for this week's podcast, because not only do we have in store not one, but two podcasts coming out this week; but both this episode and the next episode (The Hangover Part II) will feature a guest.  That's right, in an effort to liven things up, Abe and I recruited a good friend, Jordan Grout, to help us with the show.  Quite the upgrade indeed, bringing a new dynamic to our fun and games.  Or course, along with a review of Kung Fu Panda 2, the regular schedule does occur, which includes some trailer discussion (The Muppets and Puss in Boots); a tease about the box office, as official results were not in yet at the time; a retro review that basically covers DreamWorks Animation, and some games, which includes a new version of one of our favorite games.  As always, you can find all our episodes at outnow.podomatic.com (and we're working on finally getting the show into iTunes), you can "like" our Facebook page at facebook.com/outnowpodcast, and you can of course e-mail us at outnow.aaronabe@gmail.com, and provide us with feedback, comments, and maybe even some thoughts on having a special guest on the program.  So now, without any further ado, if you have an hour to kill...enjoy:

Friday, May 27, 2011

‘Kung Fu Panda 2’ Serves Up Another Bowl of Awesomeness


Kung Fu Panda 2 = 4 out of 5
Shifu:  This could be the end of Kung Fu.
Po: But, I just caught Kung Fu!
Shifu: And now, you must save it!
The Dragon Warrior, a panda bear named Po, is back with his team of martial arts animal warrior friends known as the Furious Five in this gorgeous sequel to Kung Fu Panda.  I emphasize gorgeous, as the animation (which includes different animation styles), use of color, and martial arts choreography are all wonderfully executed (it also works in 3D, as is usually the case with animated features).  The entire voice cast returns for this film, which is a follow up to what I consider to be DreamWorks Animation’s best film.  I feel my expectations were in about the right place and as a result I really enjoyed the film, despite a few issues that have me holding back from calling it as good as the first.  Still, there is a wider scale to the fights that take place and the stakes of the film, which help to do justice to the ambitious nature of this film’s story.  This film was certainly a very enjoyable watch.

Kung Fu Panda - No Charge For Awesomeness

Kung Fu Panda: 4 out of 5

Note: Obviously the new Kung Fu Panda arrives in theaters this week, so I figure I would post my thoughts on the original film.
Po: Wow, your all so much bigger than your action figures. Except you Mantis, your pretty much the same.
This movie proved to be way more enjoyable than I thought it would be. It combines wonderful animation with some great humor from the performers and over the top zaniness that reflects recent action scene in various wire-fu movies. It all works to be the best computer-animated Dreamworks film since the original Shrek.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

‘Hangover’ New Moon: The Wolf Pack Is Back

The Hangover Part II = 3 ½ out of 5
Stu:  Oh my god, we kidnapped a monk.
Before I get to explaining (in more words than I have to) that if you laughed at the first film, then (minus the originality) you’ll probably enjoy this one, I want to list some of the alternate sequel titles that my friends and I came up with for The Hangover Part IIHangovers, 2 Drunk 2 Hungover, Hangover 2: Hung Harder, and Hangover 2: Bangkok Dangerous.  With that out of the way, let me just say that I really enjoyed the first Hangover.  I built it up in my mind to be something amazing before it was released in the summer of 2009, and somehow the film delivered.  Very funny, quotable, and rewatchable, not to mention quite cinematic and well made from a filmmaker’s standpoint.  With this new film, I did not try to build it up as much.  The first film seemed to come out of nowhere, but surprised audiences with an original premise as a mystery comedy of sorts, while I only expected more of the same from its sequel.  I could not have been more correct about my assumptions, as this film presents almost the exact same premise/beats as the first film, except in Thailand.  While Hangover Part II follows the form of most inferior sequels, I can’t say that I did not laugh a lot throughout the film anyway.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Out Now with Aaron and Abe – Episode 10: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides


It is a momentous occasion, as Abe and I have reached our monumental 10th episode! Prepare for maximum momentary amazing.  And now, with all alliteration aside, this episode is very pirate-y indeed, as Abe and I discuss the latest installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise - On Stranger Tides.  Of course, the standard format applies, as we first discuss a couple trailers (Harry Potter and Cars 2), followed by our feature review.  Then we get to our other regular segments, including box office results, retro reviews (which leads to more Pirates discussion) and the some more fun and games.  Sure there is lots of fun to be had for our loyal followers (and we do love the 10s of you), but I can only hope that more will start to join in on the fun, as this episode also addresses another big announcement - Out Now has a Facebook page.  That's right, by visiting facebook.com/outnowpodcast, one can see another home for all of our past episodes.  As always, you can also feel free to e-mail us at outnow.aaronabe@gmail.com with any questions, concerns, suggestions, or even submissions to our Episode 8 Thor Contest, which is still ongoing.  You can also find all our other episodes at outnow.podomatic.com and make sure to "Like" our facebook page if you get a chance as well.  Now, if you've got an hour to kill...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

‘Everything Must Go’ Has Will Ferrell Dialed Down

Everything Must Go = 3 ½ out of 5

Nick:  A lot of people say that the dining room is the most underutilized room in the house.  I say it’s the front lawn.

Will Ferrell headlining a limited release comedic drama is not the sort of film that is going to stir a ton of interest from audiences that are happy with seeing him be loud and boisterous, but that does not mean the film should be overlooked.  Ferrell is very good in a role that does not require most of his usual strengths.  I do not find it surprising, as most comedic actors are usually very talented when it comes to drama.  As far as the film goes, it is a bit of a slow burn and it falls into some of the trappings of these types of arthouse theater films, but it tells a good story.  While it does hit a number of comedic beats, this is a drama about a man who has stumbled many times in his life and is finally finding some clarity.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Takashi Miike Delivers ‘13 Assassins’ Versus 200 Guards In Epic Fashion


 13 Assassins = 4 ½ out of 5
Shinzaemon: I shall accomplish your task... with magnificence.
As if it were not cool enough to be having westerns entering successfully back into theaters, the chance to see new samurai films made with the technology of today is equally exciting.  Better yet is the fact that I can appreciate a film that has clearly been inspired by samurai films of the past, notably the work of Akira Kurosawa, which manage to practically apply the type of mood and pacing appropriate for such a film.  Furthermore, add a fantastic action sequence that lasts nearly a third of the film’s running time.  Legendary Japanese director Takashi Miike is certainly no slouch when it comes to filmmaking, and while he may be more known in the U.S. for his cult status as an ultra-violent horror/action film director, his talents easily serve him well here in creating an old fashioned samurai story, using modern sensibilities.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The ‘Tides’ For These ‘Pirates’ Are Not ‘Stranger’, They’re Duller

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides = 2 ½ out of 5
Jack Sparrow: Captain, I wish to report a mutiny. I can name fingers and point names.
Blackbeard: Perfect.
The last thing you want in a summer blockbuster is to be bored.  Unfortunately, the fun that has previously been a driving point in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise seems to have just about run out.  I suppose giving an opinion on the franchise seems appropriate, given that this is supposedly a new start for the series.  As far as I am concerned, the previous ‘Pirates’ films have not steered me wrong.  They all share the same problems (overlong and overly plotted), but there is a sense of fun and imagination that I have greatly admired throughout.  This latest installment of the series manages to just feel long, without the benefit of being much fun.  It is unfortunate, as I admire what Johnny Depp brings to the series, along with the inclusion of some old and new characters, but ‘On Stranger Tides’ really sunk the ship.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirates 3-Pack


With the fourth installment of the Pirates of the Carribean franchise hitting the shores soon, I figured, similar to my Fast and Furious series post, that I would provide a summation of my thoughts on the previous three films, using the older reviews that I put together at the time.  Since these are older, once again, it really reflects how I've gotten marginally better at this over time.  Still, I enjoy this series enough that I revisited them this past week and continue to enjoy what they have to offer.  Yes, they are all too long and overly plotted, but there is a sense of fun that I get out of each installment and I appreciate the imagination that goes into building the worlds for each of these films.  So, enjoy another look at these films, before they really do become dead in the water.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Out Now with Aaron and Abe – Episode 9: Priest


Greetings from the land of clearer Podcasts! That's right, thanks to some upgrading on our part, this episode of Out Now features a better quality audio track.  It is of course helpful because now you can hear Abe and I lay into Priest, as we share our thoughts on that film.  As always, we have our standard segments as well, including talk of movie trailers (Fright Night and Horrible Bosses), followed by the main review, and then more fun with box office prediction results, a retro review, and some more fun and games.  Abe and I have been trying hard to keep this thing going and making it better as we continue on, so I hope listeners can enjoy our discussions as well as our running themes of Abe losing at things and my terrible plot summaries of film.

Special Note: In episode 8, where we talked about Thor, I put the rules up for a contest, which is in the notes for that episode.  I mention that contest, which is still going, and lay out the details in audio form, so anyone willing to participate in the Frost Giants contest, still has a good chance of winning a prize.  We also now have a Facebook page, so anyone can search for our podcast and be sure to "like" our page.  Anyone can of course e-mail us at Outnow.aaronabe@gmail.com and shower us with hate mail or constructive criticism, as well as find all of our episodes at outnow.podmatic.com.  So, if you've got an hour to kill, enjoy the podcast:

Saturday, May 14, 2011

‘Bridesmaids’ Showers You With The Funny


Bridesmaids:  4 out of 5
Megan:  My dress is so pretty it makes my stomach hurt.
Bridesmaids is a very funny movie.  It is not because it tries to make chick flicks “cool” by adding a raunchy side so guys can laugh too.  It is also not because I feel I need to support this film for the sake of making women feel appreciated.  That is all bogus.  This movie is simply very funny because it has a great cast of very funny people and it is well written and put together.  Kristen Wiig, who stars as well as co-wrote the film, does great work here.  Coming from the Judd Apatow school of comedy, which has also provided us with films such as Knocked Up and Superbad, this is a film that follows in that sort of trajectory, hitting big with some great signature moments, but also having plenty of little character moments, as well as the sentimental factor.  It is overlong, as these films tend to be, but it still makes for a lot of fun, given the amount of time it lets us spend with these characters and the way it handles this premise.

‘Priest’ Has Committed Many Sins


Priest:  1 ½ out of 5
Hicks:  Are you teaching me how to shoot?
Priest:  I’m teaching you how to kill vampires.
I want to know what happened behind the scenes during the production of this movie.  It would have to be more interesting than anything that happened in this film.  The film is based off of a very popular Korean comic series, so I would like to think that someone brought in a presentation to Charles B. Hollywood and his staff of budgeters, gave some thoughts on how he could turn this comic series into a surefire winner, and was then promptly escorted out of the building, while the execs counted the ways to make this film work to their benefit.  As a result, you have this messy piece of work that delivers many things that are hot right now.  Vampires – check; cool, slow motion fight scenes – check; sci-fi setting – check; lone badass on a motorcycle – check; disregard the source material – check; PG-13 rating, so monsters can be killed, but appeal to a wide audience – check; 3D post conversion – double check.  At only 87 minutes, this is certainly a film that crams plenty into its short runtime.  It is a good thing that they manage to leave it open for a sequel (psst. no it isn’t).

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Out Now with Aaron and Abe – Episode 8: THOR


And here we are again.  Out Now with Aaron and Abe, episode 8 - Thor.  In this episode, Abe and I discuss the Mighty Thor's debut blockbuster film - Thor (click for the written review).  Of course, before getting to Thor, Abe and I bring out our regular discussion of some select movie trailers (Cowboys & Aliens and The Green Lantern).  That is then followed by a quite lengthy discussion of Thor.  As always we then delve into some fun and games, as Abe and I have some fun explaining and predicting box office totals, as well as have more fun with the William Fitchner Game and another round of "Cast This".  I had a lot of fun with Abe during this episode, so despite our skills at this still developing and the audio quality being merely okay, I am grateful for whoever it is that keeps coming back for more.  Additionally, you can e-mail us and shower us with hate mail or actual comments that we would love to hear at: outnowpodcast@gmail.com

Two special things to take note of:

- Following the outro music of the podcast, listen a little more if you want to hear some bonus, slightly spoilery, Thor talk.
- Also, and this is big, this podcast comes with a contest, which I realized should occur after the fact.

The Contest:  Count the number of times either Abe or myself say the phrase "FROST GIANTS".  Send that number, along with a name and home town, to our email - outnowpodcast@gmail.com with the subject line that says FROST GIANTS CONTEST.  The person who's e-mail arrives first, will personally receive a DVD of my choosing (probably related to this episode) in the mail, after I work out those details.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

It’s Hammer Time For The Mighty ‘Thor’

Thor:  4 out of 5
Thor:  The answers you seek shall be yours, once I claim what is mine.
Summer, 2011, is an important time for Marvel Studios.  Both Thor and Captain America are going to hit theaters, and they have been designed to build into the Avengers movie that will be released in 2012.  A dense movie universe, with so much history and comic mythology behind it, has not been attempted before, so eyes are set on seeing how well it all works out.  While Captain America won’t hit screens until July, everyone’s favorite Norse God/superhero is now entering the scene.  Fortunately, Thor is a success.  Thanks to a fairly simple plot about a hero’s redemption that is balanced well against the absurd components that go into making a big, live action blockbuster film about Thor, this film succeeds in being very entertaining, while true to its roots.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Aaron’s Top 15 Most Anticipated Films of Summer 2011


So the time has come to prepare for the onslaught of summer blockbuster entertainment.  I previously put together a list of films I anticipated for the spring, and with that now out of the way, it’s time for the next stage of this year – massively large budgeted entertainment.  The number of films coming out this summer is so large that I had to add an extra five films to the list, because a top ten just wouldn’t cut it.  Once again, I use the term “summer” loosely.  I am not going by the actual start and end of the summer; I am going by the summer film season, which begins at the start of May and ends at the start of September.  As far as these choices go, the dates are subject to change, but at this point, they should mostly be sticking to these release dates.  So with all of that out of the way, let’s get to the flicks:

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Out Now with Aaron and Abe – Episode 7: Fast Five


And here it is - lucky number seven.  That’s right, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, episode 7: FAST FIVE is ready to go.  This week, Abe and I discuss the merits of the Fast and Furious franchise and where the newest installment gets placed in our eyes.  Along with the review, as always, Abe and I fill out the rest of the show with some talk of trailers (specifically 30 Minutes or Less and Transformers: Boom Boom Bay), some fun and games, complete with a new game to play called “cast this”, and what is becoming my favorite segment – predictions and results about the box office for the film we have reviewed and next week’s guesses (Abe’s least favorite time).  Hopefully the audio quality is solid this time around and you will enjoy our use of intro and outro music.  Additionally, you can now e-mail us and shower us with hate mail at: outnowpodcast@gmail.com.  Now, as always, if you've got an hour to kill, enjoy the podcast:

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