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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 79 – Cloud Atlas



This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe shows all of the ‘Outies’ that everything is indeed connected, as the boys review Cloud Atlas, with guests Adam Gentry and Alex Billington from Firstshowing.net.  It is certainly a full review, as the gang really delves into the film, but word of warning, there are some big spoilers in this review.  Plenty of time for the other regular segments as well, including “Know Everybody”, “Trailer Talk” (Iron Man 3 and Evil Dead), “Movie Call Back”, “Out Now Quickies”, Box Office Talk, and of course Games.  It is a full episode, complete with everyone playing multiple roles, so feel free to find all the connections you can.

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

‘The Innkeepers’ Is A Spooky, Slow Burn, Horror Flick



The Innkeepers:  3 ½ out of 5
Luke:  Everything happens for a reason Claire.  Nobody just "ends up" at the Yankee Pedlar.
The Innkeepers is a slow burn horror film that takes its time in really developing the characters, before supplying payoff in the form of thrills.  It is for a viewer who can be patient and allow the story to play out at its own deliberate pace, while allowing themselves to enjoy the relationships portrayed between the people involved.  It is not much of a surprise that the film came out in a limited theatrical run, while also being distributed in a Video On Demand format, because as much as I like to see films on the big screen, watching it at home felt just as appropriate, if not more so.  Given my tolerance for a film of this type and my high regard for writer/director Ti West’s previous film, House of the Devil, I found The Innkeepers to be well made and fitted with funny and grounded performances.  It also does have effective, spooky moments, when they do arrive.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Walking Dead: Season 3, Episode 3 – ‘Walk With Me’ Review



Thanks to the encouragement of The Walking Dead TV Podcast, I will be writing weekly episode recaps for this season of The Walking Dead.  Anyone continuing on should expect spoilers.

“Walk With Me” is the episode that fans of the comic series have been wanting from practically the start.  An entire episode devoted to Andrea, Michonne (still not directly addressed by name), and our newest character - The Governor (David Morrisey).  Taking place almost entirely inside the gates of Woodbury, this was another solid installment in what continues to be a great start to the season.  Hell, this episode even had the official return of Merle (Michael Rooker), which every fan of the show has been curious about.  No sign of Rick and the Grimettes in this episode, but there were plenty of other things to focus on this week, including the tragic loss of Michonne’s pets, Thing 1 and Thing 2.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Bonus Episode – Audio Commentary For GoldenEye


Golden, GoldenEye, were you expecting someone else?  That’s the newest commentary for Out Now with Aaron and Abe, which features Aaron being, once again, joined by Scott Mendelson and Brandon Peters, to lay out thoughts on the first in the Brosnan series of James Bond films.  Again, we have packed this commentary with info that makes up the combined knowledge of guys who like Bond, guys who like movies, and guys who like to have fun on a commentary track, so hopefully it is enjoyable.  Whether or not you actually watch the movie, while the commentary is playing, surely you will find yourself happy and Onatopp of things.

Important Note:  This commentary features both juvenile uses of language and jokes that may be considered un-PC.  We of course are just trying to have a fun time…

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

Friday, October 26, 2012

Gerard Butler Rides Giants and Chases ‘Mavericks’



Chasing Mavericks:  2 out of 5

Frosty:  That wave is a myth and the four of us who surf it intend to keep it that way.

Chasing Mavericks is the kind of film that clearly has its heart in the right place.  I would not say that the story crashes like a wave onto the beach, because of its devotion to making its lead character a saint that can do no wrong, but it does suffer because it is so willing to not so much have real characters as it has easily defined types and several, by-the-numbers, dramatic subplots.  On the plus side, Chasing Mavericks does make the case for their needing to be a true IMAX documentary about surfing, because this film does feature some pretty wonderful cinematography, when dealing with the mythical waves that our hero hopes to surf one day.  It is a familiar sort of film, but being too familiar does not ruin it completely.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

‘Cloud Atlas’ Presents A Sextet Like No Other



Cloud Atlas:  4 out of 5
Robert Frobisher: I believe there is a another world waiting for us, Sixsmith.  A better world and I'll be waiting for you there.
For all the sequels and blockbuster we have gotten this year, an ambitious, high-budgeted, semi-independent film has certainly tried to push itself to the top as well.  Cloud Atlas is one of the more unique films I have seen this year, as it not only swaps between six different storylines, but six different time periods, which range from the 1840s to way into the future.  Add to that a handful of actors, all playing a variety of different roles and you can see why it is a very intriguing project, developed and directed by three talented filmmakers.  Some flaws aside, I found Cloud Atlas to be incredibly well structured, given the complex nature of the story being told, and a wonderful work of art, after discounting the awkwardness of putting familiar actors in odd makeup.  It will surely be divisive, but I was really into what co-directors Andy & Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer challenged themselves to make.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 78 – Sinister and Paranormal Activity 4



This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe is our 2012 spookathon…or something.  Whatever, this is what constitutes a horror episode for the year, as Aaron, Abe, and guests Maxwell Haddad and Alan Aguilera gather to discuss the two big horror releases of October 2012 – Sinister and Paranormal Activity 4.  And while this is a double movie review episode, the gang still has time to get through the other segments as well, including “Know Everybody”, “Trailer Talk” (Texas Chainsaw 3D and Carrie), “Movie Call Back”, “Out Now Quickies”, Box Office Talk, and of course games.  The guys may be talking about scary flicks, but this is all still about having a fun time.

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

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Walking Dead: Season 3, Episode 2 – ‘Sick’ Review




Thanks to the encouragement of The Walking Dead TV Podcast, I will be writing weekly episode recaps for this season of The Walking Dead.  Anyone continuing on should expect spoilers.

This second episode of the third season of AMC’s The Walking Dead not only continues where things left off from last week, but also continues in delivering on hardcore zombie violence and character development.  While not as rock solid as the premiere episode last week, it did make something very clear, the ‘Ricktatorship’ is in full effect and while it may be delivering results, it is going to be taking a toll on Rick’s character, as he continues to make some uncomfortably tough decisions.  Also, T-Dog was given a lot of chances to look angry this week, so let’s jump into things.

Friday, October 19, 2012

‘Para4mal Activity’: The Voyage Home



Paranormal Activity 4:  3 out of 5

Alex:  Mom, I don’t think it was an accident.

I can understand the ambivalence involved with caring about the fourth entry in a horror series, let alone one that has been churning out entries on a yearly basis.  Paranormal Activity has been chugging along and providing yearly follow-ups that have been surprisingly effective for me.  While the basic concept has not altered, I have admired the way these filmmakers have been able to find new tricks and creative ways to scare its audience.  True, the structure of the films is simple and follows a formula that is only made distinct by the setting and characters involved, but I have enjoyed these films both for the tension they are able to create and the mythology that has come from it.  This latest entry, unfortunately, does not so much raise the bar as it just sits in place.  It forwards the story along, but in terms of creativity, does not quite pull off something that feels as ambitious.  Still, for fans of the series and those who want a simple horror movie, Paranormal Activity 4 does provide that sort of fun experience audiences are expecting.

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Bonus Episode – Audio Commentary For Moonraker




Another commentary for Out Now with Aaron and Abe.  This time the guys are talking about the 11th James Bond film and one of the most underrated, Moonraker.  They figured that with Skyfall approaching soon, talking Bond films would be fun, especially with the presence of Scott Mendelson and a man Aaron and Abe consider a pretty well-spoken Bond enthusiast, Brandon Peters.  Abe sits this one out, but the rest of the group goes through a lengthy discussion while watching the film, which can be synched up for those who would want to watch along, but for everyone in general, this commentary track is just a strong source of fun banter revolving around this film and Bond in general.  So enjoy.

Important Note:  This commentary features both juvenile uses of language and jokes that may be considered un-PC.  We of course are just trying to have a fun time…

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



Thursday, October 18, 2012

Take The Time And Enjoy ‘The Sessions’



The Sessions:  3 ½ out of 5

Cheryl:  Shall we get undressed?
Mark:  …Sure.

The Sessions is the kind of film that could easily be brushed aside, given the premise.  You could boil it down to its basic parts:  a crippled man meets someone new and overcomes some sort of adversity, and just think of it as plain Oscar bait.  There is also the chance that someone could find the idea with a punchline set up pretty easily:  A cripple, a catholic priest, and a sex surrogate walk into a bar, and so on.  Fortunately, The Sessions does have more to offer, as it is a very likable film, with wonderful performances coming from all of the actors involved.  It is still a movie ‘inspired by a true story’ and does follow the sort of plot structure that would be expected, but it gets by do to its strength in other areas.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 77 – Argo




This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe is more concise than last week, but still packed with content, with a the main review of the week being devoted to the new thriller Argo from director/star Ben Affleck.  Aaron and Abe are joined by Mark Hobin and Alan Aguilera to talk all about the film, as well as participate in all of the regular segments, including “Know Everybody”, “Trailer Talk” (Hitchcock, 42, Miami Connection), “Out Now Quickies”, “Movie Call Back”, Box Office Results, and of course Games.  There was plenty to discuss this week and plenty of e-mails, which the group is always happy to read, so surely listeners will have much to enjoy as well.

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

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Walking Dead: Season 3, Episode 1 – ‘Seed’ Review




Thanks to the encouragement of The Walking Dead TV Podcast, I will be writing weekly episode recaps for this season of The Walking Dead.  Anyone continuing on should expect spoilers.

Well, after a long wait, everyone who has been waiting for The Walking Dead to return (with the exception of Dish subscribers, of course) was able to sit down and tune in to the third season premiere episode this past Sunday night and boy did it deliver.  This is the kind of episode that the show has delivered on in the past, but has not been able to match up to on a consistent level.  Seed managed to set the scene, reestablish the characters, and provide plenty of zombie-slaying action.  It may have left us with a fairly abrupt closing, given the cliffhanger ending, but it certainly has us clamoring, like hungry zombies, for more.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Affleck’s ‘Argo’ Nails Nail-Biting Suspense



Argo:  4 ½ out of 5

Jack O'Donnell:  They've got revolutionary guards going door to door.  These people die, they die badly.

Argo is a dynamite thriller that takes a story based on true events and makes it work as a high stakes suspense feature.  Regardless of whatever facts may have been embellished or altered for the sake of the film, Argo works very well because it has a grounded sense of reality and a terrific cast, chock-full of character actors, all providing understated performances that do not attempt to overthrow the strength of the overall story.  It also benefits from having a 70s-style handle on the type of thriller it is, positioning it well amongst other well-plotted old school films.  Argo is about one thing, and it achieves that by working as a rock solid caper/rescue mission film, with some great direction from star Ben Affleck.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Snow White Shih Tzu And The ‘Seven Psychopaths’



Seven Psychopaths:  5 out of 5
Hans: An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.
Billy: No, it doesn't. There'll be one guy left with one eye.  How's the last blind guy gonna take out the eye of the last guy left?
There is no way around this, so I am just going to get it out of the way now.  One, I loved Seven Psychopaths and I believe it to be one of the best films of the year.  Two, I can easily see how not everyone will love this movie the same way I do.  The film is a hard R-rated, dark comedy that serves as both a humorous film about hitmen and a genre deconstruction that plays with the nature of self-awareness in film’s we expect certain outcomes from.  It features great and funny dialogue, some over-the-top violence, while also providing some wonderful performances, and a story structure that is constantly evolving.  The fact that the film knows what it is and calls attention to it will probably throw some people off of the track it has laid for itself, but I was completely on board with this crew of nutcases.

Watch Where You Move, Or Things Will Get ‘Sinister’



Sinister:  3 ½ out of 5


Ellison:  I’ve never been on to something this big before.
 
Sinister is exactly the kind of horror movie I like to see during the month of October.  It may not be a future classic, but it is a film that delivers on providing an entertainingly scary experience in the theater and presumably at home.  As opposed to being a remake or another entry in an old horror series, Sinister is a new horror film, with a concept that delivers.  The atmosphere is consistently creepy, there is some slick direction to make it stand out, and Ethan Hawke gives a strong lead performance.  While I don’t think the story quite delivers on what it sets up, the film, as a whole, is still frightening enough and fitting to be seen around the time of Halloween or whenever you need a good scare.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 76 - Frankenweenie



This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe is a regular show that covers the new stop-animated film from director Tim Burton, Frankenweenie, but it is also the first episode of several that will feature hosts that earned a spot on the show, based on participating in friend of the show, Liz Manashil’s Kickstarter campaign.  So having said that, the guests of this week’s show are Maxwell Haddad and the first Kickstarter-based guest, The Vern from Video Vangaurd.  Regular segments are present as well, including “Know Everybody”, “Trailer Talk” (A Good Day to Die Hard and The Lone Ranger), “Movie Call Back”, “Out Now Quickies TM”, Box Office Talk, and of course games.  Also, be sure to stick around to the end to hear thoughts about Taken 2.

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


‘The Perks Of Being A Wallflower’ Can Be Quite Nice


The Perks of Being a Wallflower:  4 out of 5

Charlie:  Right now we are alive and in this moment.  I swear we are infinite.
I would say I had an enjoyable High School experience.  I was no jock, but didn’t find myself huddled in a corner of the library either.  I had my friends, got good grades, and ran track.  Everyone experiences high school differently though and regardless of how good or bad, everyone surely experienced significant events that would go into shaping who they are.  The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a film that I think many people can find something about that they can relate to, as it has numerous situations that come with the territory when thinking about high school.  It may focus on a specific set of characters that can each be seen as specific archetypes, but the film has enough charm and well-handled drama to make it resonate regardless.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Gearing Up For Season 3 of ‘The Walking Dead’




I just received the latest hardcover edition of Robert Kirkman’s long running graphic novel season, The Walking Dead, which has put me in a good enough mood to share some thoughts on the upcoming season of The Walking Dead.  As I am about to be writing weekly thoughts on the upcoming season, episode by episode for HHWLOD, and because it is not often that I have a moderate amount of time to do my own editorials, I figured I could provide a bit of a primer on where I stand with this popular AMC series.  It is in a good position to deliver possibly the best season yet, but it also still faces challenges, if it does not learn from its own past missteps.  A continuing story of survival horror can no doubt be an uphill battle.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Look Who’s ‘Taken’ Too



Taken 2:  2 ½ out of 5
Bryan Mills:  Listen to me carefully Kim. Your mother is going to be taken and people are gonna come for you too.
There is a reason why Taken 2 already stood a challenge of being a good movie.  In 2008, the first taken arrived in theaters and became a smash hit for a very simple reason:  Liam Neeson turned his genteel persona on its head.  He became a determined father who would take down anyone in his way, when it came to getting his kidnapped daughter back.  The film was not exactly original, but the confidence and tenacity seen in a respected man like Neeson made for an action film that could be taken a bit more seriously.  Cut to 2012, Neeson has since become an action star at this point in his career and while revisiting Taken may seem like an obvious idea, it also does not lead down many more roads that haven’t been traveled already.  It doesn’t help that the film’s choppy direction robs the action sequences or more delight, but the confidence of Neeson is not enough to give this film a pass either.

‘The Paperboy’ Misses The Delivery



The Paperboy:  2 out of 5

Hillary Van Wetter:  These your paperboys?  What are they gonna do for me?
Charlotte Bless:  They’re gonna save you.
It seems like The Paperboy should have enough to make it an entertaining, trashy thriller.  It has all of the right ingredients, with several actors giving strong performances just for the sake of adding on to a film that does not even really need it.  Yet, the plot is shapeless and lacks anything that resembles a sense of urgency.  There is plenty of material present to make a story that is much more engaging, but the film instead putters out fairly inconsistently, not quite knowing what to stick with or know what works best.  The Paperboy is a swamp noir that gets caught in the muck.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

‘Frankenweenie’ Is Brought To Life! (Via Stop-Animation)



Frankenweenie:  3 ½ out of 5

Victor:  I can fix that.
This may be one of the more ironic results of the old saying, “If at first you don’t succeed, try try again,” when it comes to filmmaking.  Back in 1984, director Tim Burton was fired from Disney for making a live-action short called Frankenweenie, which was deemed ‘too scary’ for children.  Now, for whatever reason, whether it’s the change in regime at Disney since the 80s or because of Tim Burton’s higher standing in Hollywood, he has been able to revisit the story he developed and co-wrote and turn it into a feature-length, stop-animated feature for mass audiences to enjoy.  The results are decent enough, as the film is entertaining and light, in a Burton-y sort of way, but confining the original idea to a shorter length may have been the best call in retrospect.  Still, the film is certainly enjoyable and one of the better features from Burton in a while.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 75 - Looper



This week’s packed episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe finds guests Laremy Legal and Jordan aka Doctor Esquire talking with Aaron and Abe about the new Time Travel film Looper from writer/director Rian Johnson.  It’s been an anticipated film for all of these guys, so take a listen to their discussion, along with what they talk about before and after the main review; i.e. the regular segments of the show, which includes “Know Everybody”, “Trailer Talk” (Les Miserables), “Movie Call Back”, “Out Now Quickies™”, Box Office Results, and some Games.  Also, stay tuned to after the main portion of the show finishes, as Aaron and Abe have plenty more to go over involving the celebration of the 75th episode and some announcements.

So now, if you’ve got time to kill…

Monday, October 1, 2012

Brief Thoughts: Batman: The Dark Knight Returns - Part 1

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns - Part 1:  4 out of 5

Rookie Cop: You've crippled that man!
Batman : He's young. He'll walk again. 

 Set in a future version of Gotham City, The Dark Knight Returns is a title that describes exactly what this story is about.  Now 55-years old, Bruce Wayne (voided by Peter Weller) has retired from donning the cape and cowl, following the death of Jason Todd (the second Robin).  The city has once again become the victim of crime, mainly from a group known as The Mutants.  Wayne sits by, hoping his role as a billionaire philanthropist can do enough to keep him going, but he is drawn back into the persona he created for himself, as he once again goes out into the night to fight crime.  During this time, we also hear from Alfred, of course, who is not happy that Wayne is breaking his promise to stop this crusade; Commissioner Gordon, who is now aware of Wayne's true identity and has always supported Batman regardless; Harvey Dent, who has been given a second chance, thanks to plastic surgery, but is reverting back to his old ways; and a young girl named Carrie Kelly, who has decided that taking up the mantle as the new Robin is a good idea.  Despite his age, Batman continues to be the hero people deserve, albeit, one who is having a little more difficulty nowadays.

Brief Thoughts: Welcome To The 'Hotel Transylvania'

Hotel Transylvania:  2 1/2 out of 5
Dracula: House-keeping!
This is the story of a father protecting his daughter, while also coming to terms with societal changes.  The twist is that the father happens to be Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler) and he is protecting his daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez) and many others by having opened a hotel for monsters to gather and take vacations away from the threat of humans.  Monsters include Frankenstein's Monster (Kevin James), the Wolfman (Steve Buscemi) and his wife (Fran Drescher), Griffin the Invisible Man (David Spade), and Murray the Mummy (Cee Lo Green).  The movie takes place around Mavis' 18th birthday, where she is finally able to leave the hotel and explore the world, but Dracula is not having any of that.  Things get complicated when a backpacking human, Jonathon (Andy Samberg), happens upon the hotel, shocking both himself and Dracula, who has thought to have created a safe haven that can keep all humans away.  Things become more complicated when Jonathon and Mavis appear to grow quite fond of each other.  Monster Mashing Mayhem ensues.

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