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Saturday, October 29, 2011

‘In Time’ Features No Aging Or Good Dialogue

In Time:  2 out of 5
Henry Hamilton:  If you had as much time as I had, what would you do with it?
Will Salas:  I sure as hell wouldn’t waste it.
I cannot imagine it being at all simple to develop a story set around a future society, with a specific set of rules in place.  For all the fun it must be to describe the ways characters must behave and dress and how the look of the world has changed, getting down to the logistics of whatever it is that is setting the plot within this future society must be a difficult process.  Often times a fine B-movie emerges out of a simple sci-fi concept, simply because it was entertaining enough to have its obvious flaws be looked over (Equilibrium comes to mind).  With In Time, it seems like there is enough here to make a very entertaining feature; however, something seems to have gone very wrong in the scripting stage, as the dialogue is really bad and the various themes of the film are pretty heavy handed.  It is a shame, because I generally enjoy the sci-fi work from writer/director Andrew Niccol.

Go Gonzo With ‘The Rum Diary’


The Rum Diary:  3 out of 5
Lotterman:  How much would you say you like to drink?
Paul Kemp:  I’d say on the upper-end of social.
In the 1998 Terry Gilliam film Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which has Johnny Depp playing one of the various incarnations of writer Hunter S. Thompson, you could use many different adjectives and phrases to describe it, but a decidedly fun romp is not the one I would immediately jump to.  With The Rum Diary, a film based on a novel that Thompson wrote about his experiences in 60s Puerto Rico, but did not publish until the late 90s (which was due to his friendship with Depp), there is a decidedly lighter tone in a lot of ways, but it is the aimlessness and overall resolution of the film, which I think holds it back from achieving a greater sense of purpose.  This may be true to the spirit of Thompson, but I feel the film suffers due to it.  There are a lot of good things to recognize, including Depp’s performance along with others featured in the film and the photography of the various locations used, I just wasn’t fully taken by the film as a whole.

Shrek Origins: ‘Puss In Boots’


Puss In Boots:  3 out of 5
Jill:  Is it true a cat always lands on its feet?
Puss in Boots:  No! That is just a rumor, spread by dogs!
The phrase “less is more” comes up a lot when dealing with particular characters that people tend to love.  In Shrek 2, the character of Puss in Boots was first introduced and became an immediate favorite to many.  Given that character’s popularity and the fact that DreamWorks Animation has decided to milk Shrek for all it’s worth, it comes as little surprise that the swashbuckling feline was able to land his very own spin-off movie.  Now, while my admiration for the Shrek franchise faded around the third film in that series, I felt fairly indifferent towards what to make about this newest addition.  The film could have easily backfired by bringing a supporting player into the spotlight.  Thankfully, I actually enjoyed quite a few aspects of this movie, mostly in the ways that it actually distanced itself from the pop culture reference-heavy Shrek films and stood as a fairly conventional, but entertaining adventure film.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Bonus Episode – Audio Commentary for John Carpenter’s The Thing


Based on the love and praise Aaron, Jordan Grout, and Alan Aguilera have for John Carpenter’s The Thing, along with Abe’s newfound love and respect for The Thing, the gang decided to do their first audio commentary for that film.  Simple enough to enjoy, the gang even has a brief intro to properly explain how to synch the film with the podcast.  So if interested, sit back with your copy of The Thing and listen to a bunch of guys chat about it.  And stay tuned to the end, if you want to learn the secret word.

Important Note:  This commentary features both juvenile use of foul language and spoilers for both the 1982 The Thing (obviously) and the 2011 The Thing.

Of course, in addition to this episode, there are many more episodes to be found on iTunes, as well as on the hosted site, The HHWLOD Podcast Network, and still at outnow.podomatic.com for mainly the newest episodes and some exclusives.  One can also learn more at the official Facebook page for Out Now, facebook.com/outnowpodcast (“like” it), which features updates from Aaron and Abe’s personal blogs, other random posts, and some photo albums.  Finally, feel free to e-mail the show at outnowpodcast@gmail.com with any sort of feedback or add an iTunes rating/review. 
 
So now, if you’ve got an hour to kill…

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 32 – Paranormal Activity 3

  
This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe features a discussion about the currently annual Halloween installment of the Paranormal Activity franchise.  This third entry of the series gives the group plenty to talk about, as Aaron and Abe, along with guests Mark Hobin and James Plunkett, delve into the particulars involving how fresh or old/entertaining or not this series feels.  The other segments are still a part of this episode as well, including “know everybody”, trailer talk (The Devil Inside and Young Adult), box office results and predictions, retro reviews, and a brand new game.

Of course, in addition to this episode, there are many more episodes to be found on iTunes, as well as on the hosted site, The HHWLOD Podcast Network, and still at outnow.podomatic.com for mainly the newest episodes and some exclusives.  One can also learn more at the official Facebook page for Out Now, facebook.com/outnowpodcast (“like” it), which features updates from Aaron and Abe’s personal blogs, other random posts, and some photo albums.  Finally, feel free to e-mail the show at outnowpodcast@gmail.com with any sort of feedback or add an iTunes rating/review. 
 
So now, if you’ve got an hour to kill…

‘Take Shelter’, A Storm’s A Brewin’


Take Shelter:  4 out of 5
Curtis:  I’m gonna build out the tornado shelter in my back yard and I could use some help.
Dewart:  What the hell you wanna do that for?
Curtis:  Just needs to be done.
I am giving out a lot of admiration to quiet thrillers lately.  Between Martha Marcy May Marlene and this foreboding drama, one certainly needs to take a breath, sit back, and watch a simple comedy to keep from becoming too distraught in their own lives.  Take Shelter is a very well acted story about a man having visions of impending doom and how he and his family deal with it.  It features fantastic performances from the leads and serves as a direct alternative to many of the “in your face” thrillers that have come out over the year.  While it is another very deliberately paced drama, it is due to the lead actors that I was very drawn into what this film had to offer.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Back to the ‘Paranormal’: Part III

Paranormal Activity 3:   3 ½ out of 5
Dennis:  Katie and Kristi, say hi to the camera.
It is easier to latch onto some horror series than others.  Much like what people laugh at in comedies, things that can scare someone differ from person to person.  For me, the Paranormal Activity movies have been quite effective, both in the theater and then later at home, when I am left to sleep during the quiet night in my room.  While the initial experimental quality of the first has worn off, along with the simplicity of its plotting, which I really admired, this third entry still effectively makes me worrisome for the things that go bump in the night.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

‘The Three Musketeers’ Is Junk Food, Like The Candy Bar

The Three Musketeers:  2 ½ out of 5
d’Artagnan:  You’re the Three Musketeers.  I came to Paris to be one of you.
It seems like there was one type of phrase that came to mind during the making of this movie:  “This is not your father’s Three Musketeers”.  In the era of blockbuster filmmaking that audiences now live in and in the wake of somewhat self-aware period action films like Pirates of the Caribbean and Sherlock Holmes, the clear logic was to take this latest adaptation of the Alexandre Dumas novel and apply a steampunk-style reinterpretation of the material.  This new adaptation from director Paul W.S. Anderson, who is content with slumming in C-movie filmmaking, is a pure exercise in style-over-substance, filling the screen with excessive explosions, slo-mo, and very campy characters and storytelling (and all filmed in glorious 3D of course).  Strangely, I also have to add that the film is, at times, genuinely entertaining.  There are certainly better ways to appreciate this story, but I can’t deny the small amount of appeal that this film does have.

‘Martha Marcy May Marlene’ Is Quietly Chilling

Martha Marcy May Marlene:  4 ½ out of 5
Lucy:  Where are you?
Martha:  I’m sure.  Upstate somewhere I think.
Lucy:  Find out where you are and I’ll come get you.
Martha:  I can’t wait that long.
It is not rare to see a new independently made thriller every so often, but it certainly is satisfying to see one that is well acted, rich with intrigue, and full of disturbingly quiet tension.  The tongue twistery-titled film Martha Marcy May Marlene is one that unfolds skillfully, telling a story set within two timelines that involves a young girl’s plight while under the control of a cult and her struggle to assimilate back into normal life after escaping it.  The overall narrative does not supply any more information than it has to and plays out like a slow burn, but there is a strong level tension that boils under the surface and a number of uncomfortable scenes that work very well with the story that is presented.  Along with the breakout work from the lead actress, the rest of the effort to put together Martha Marcy May Marlene was strong enough to have the film creep its way into being one of my favorites of the year.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 31 – The Thing



This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe re-discovers why man is the warmest place to hide.  Of course that refers to the 1982 horror classic, John Carpenter’s The Thing, and what better way to discuss it than by reviewing the new prequel/remake of the film, also titled The Thing…well I can think of another way to discuss it, but that’s something that will be revealed later on in the week.  For now, this week’s episode features Aaron and Abe, along with special guests Jordan Grout and Alan Aguilera discussing The Thing, along with participating in the rest of the standard segments, including “know everybody”, trailer talk (The Avengers and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance), box office results and predictions, retro reviews, and some games.

Of course, in addition to this episode, there are many more episodes to be found on iTunes, as well as on the hosted site, The HHWLOD Podcast Network, and still at outnow.podomatic.com for mainly the newest episodes and some exclusives.  One can also learn more at the official Facebook page for Out Now, facebook.com/outnowpodcast (“like” it), which features updates from Aaron and Abe’s personal blogs, other random posts, and some photo albums.  Finally, feel free to e-mail the show at outnowpodcast@gmail.com with any sort of feedback or add an iTunes rating/review. 
 
So now, if you’ve got an hour to kill…

Saturday, October 15, 2011

‘The Thing’ From Another Decade...Was Much Better


The Thing = 1 ½ out of 5
Sam:  The last thing you want to be is cooped up with 12 Norwegian guys.
A pointless retread, cleverly disguised as a prequel to John Carpenter’s 1982 horror classic.  Sure it is set before the events of the previous ‘Thing’, but this film so wishes to be just like its predecessor, it’s just too bad no one wanted to concentrate on a decent script or finding what it takes to recreate the sense of dread and paranoia that made that film so rewarding.  I could try to be less harsh with this movie, but what is the point?  I did not enjoy it, found many problems throughout, and have very little praise to give to it.  I guess I’ll keep going, but the gist of this thing is that anyone unfamiliar with the previous version of The Thing should go seek that film out right away and avoid this film.

Beat For Beat, It’s The Old ‘Footloose’, But In New Boots


Footloose:  3 ½ out of 5
Ren:  Wait, jump back.  It’s against the law for people to dance?
So earlier in the week, before seeing the new update of Footloose, I watched the original 1984 Footloose, starring Kevin Bacon, for the very first time.  Upon doing this, I found out something that I was not aware of – Footloose is a legitimately good movie and I was never aware of this fact.  It rests on the silly logic of having a town under oppression when it comes to the subject of dancing, but the movie is quite enjoyable.  With this remake, I can’t say I was excited for it, especially given my newfound appreciation for the original, but I was curious, as I learned it was under the direction of Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow, Black Snake Moan), who has a good handle on films with a country setting.  Fortunately, while it goes the carbon copy route, I found this modernized update of Footloose to be quite enjoyable as well.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 30 – Real Steel and The Ides of March



This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe is a double header, which may have been more suitable for Moneyball, but that’s moot at this point, because Aaron, Abe, and special guest Mark Hobin spend the episode talking about both Real Steel and The Ides of March, as the featured main reviews of the week.  Somehow the gang was able to fit discussions about both the Cloonster and Giant Fighting Robots within one episode.  Along with the main reviews, all of the regular segments of the show are present as well; including “know everybody”, trailer talk (Tower Heist and Contraband), box office results and predictions, retro reviews, and of course games.  Quite a packed show.

Of course, in addition to this episode, there are many more episodes to be found on iTunes, as well as on the hosted site, The HHWLOD Podcast Network, and still at outnow.podomatic.com for mainly the newest episodes and some exclusives.  One can also learn more at the official Facebook page for Out Now, facebook.com/outnowpodcast (“like” it), which features updates from Aaron and Abe’s personal blogs, other random posts, and some photo albums.  Finally, feel free to e-mail the show at outnowpodcast@gmail.com with any sort of feedback or add an iTunes rating/review. 
 
So now, if you’ve got an hour to kill…

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Don't Beware, But Instead Welcome “The Ides Of March”


The Ides of March = 3 ½ out of 5
Paul Zara:  There’s only one thing that I value in this world and its loyalty.  Without it, you’re nothing.
In reviewing a film that would be described as a political thriller, the question of how that person leans versus how the film is deciding to lean can easily come up.  This is the same as associating any personal view towards a film, come time for its evaluation.  Being subjective while holding back personal views can easily be tricky business to contend with.  It also feels non-bothersome to me, as I am fairly apolitical and was really just interested in seeing what this fantastic cast could do in this film.  Headlined by Ryan Gosling and starring George Clooney both in front of and behind the camera, among others, The Ides of March is a solidly entertaining film that may not have the punchiest dialogue or sharpest take on modern politics, but is very well acted and assuredly made.

Friday, October 7, 2011

“Real Steel” Is Built From Likable Spare Parts

Real Steel = 3 out of 5
Charlie:  You know you’re bringing him home in pieces right?
As if one giant freaking robots movie was not enough for one year, we now have a new one that involves the seedy underbelly that is robot boxing.  Well not quite, Real Steel is a fairly standard sports action/drama, which happens to be set a small amount of time in the future where robots have replaced humans in the world of boxing.  However, despite the Rock ’Em Sock ‘Em concept of this film, the central plot of this story revolves around a father and his estranged son learning to come to terms with each other, bonding over the accomplishments of a robot boxer they turn from an underdog into the people’s champ.  Despite its adherence to clichés and many other issues that I had with the film, there was enough heart, likability, and sweet robot fighting action to have kept me involved with what was going on.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 29 – 50/50

 
 
This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe is all about laughs and cries as we focus on Abe’s love life.  That’s not true.  Actually this episode is all about the new comedy/drama 50/50 starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt (JGL – Jiggles) and Seth “Funny Person” Rogen.  Joining Aaron and Abe in the discussion of 50/50 is Alan Aguilera, making this another true Triple A episode.  Surrounding the review of the film are all the regular show segments, including “know everybody”, trailer talk (we discuss Premium Rush and The Descendants), box office results, retro reviews (quite a few good flicks are mentioned here), and games.

Of course, in addition to this episode, there are many more episodes to be found on iTunes, as well as on the hosted site, The HHWLOD Podcast Network, and still at outnow.podomatic.com for mainly the newest episodes and some exclusives.  One can also learn more at the official Facebook page for Out Now, facebook.com/outnowpodcast (“like” it), which features updates from Aaron and Abe’s personal blogs, other random posts, and some photo albums.  Finally, feel free to e-mail the show at outnowpodcast@gmail.com with any sort of feedback or add an iTunes rating/review.  

So now, if you’ve got an hour to kill…

Saturday, October 1, 2011

“50/50” Tips The Odds In Your Favor

“50/50”:  4 out of 5
Adam:  A tumor?  Me?  I mean that doesn’t make sense.  I don’t smoke, I don’t drink…I recycle.
Cancer Comedy!  See, when you scream that at someone, besides the natural awkward chuckle some may have, selling this idea may not be the obvious path to success.  There is a tendency to make a film covering this sort of topic feel too sentimental or overly expressive in how it wants to make you feel.  Basically, there is a tricky balance to maintain, if one wants the audience to be able to laugh with the lead characters involved in a story about someone getting cancer and dealing with it.  50/50 does manage to maintain that balance.  It is a heartfelt comedy/drama that manages to wisely balance its jokes with sincerity and not come off as something too maudlin.

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