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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Bonus Episode – Audio Commentary For The Evil Dead




Join us for this special bonus episode of Out Now with Aaron.  The guys are joined by guests Brandon Peters, Jim Dietz, and Jordan Grout for a commentary for The Evil Dead, the original horror cult classic from director Sam Raimi, starring Bruce “Don’t Call Me Ash” Campbell.  The group tries to have as much fun as the crew didn’t have during the making of the film, as they deliver plenty of knowledge regarding the film, memories of their first time viewing the film, and of course plenty of inappropriate humor concerning what is out there, within the woods.  Whether or not you play this recording with the movie in the background, just be sure to never read from the Book of the Dead!

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…

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Enter ‘Trance’ And Find The Reality In This Hypnotic Thriller



Trance:  4 out of 5

Elizabeth:  Have you ever been hypnotized before?
Simon:  Uh no…at least not that I can remember.

I love how in the dark I was about this movie.  The reason I jumped at the chance to see Trance is because I love Danny Boyle’s work, as he always tackles a new genre and injects his kinetic style into it.  This generally makes for a film that is quite unique, regardless of its quality.  Trance also features stars James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel, and Rosario Dawson, providing me with another reason to have wanted to check this film out.  Knowing nothing about the plot of this film going in, I was quite pleased with the results.  Much like how Stephen Soderbergh recently dabbled into the realm of neo-noir with his latest film Side Effects, Boyle has also made a film with noir-ish elements, while also exploring the idea of false realities created by hypnosis.  It is an interesting story, with plenty of energy to keep everything moving, and the added joy of providing the film with the structure of a sexy thriller.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Flashback Review: G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra



G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra:  3 ½ out of 5

[Note: This was my original review of the first G.I. Joe film.  Be aware that while I haven’t edited my original writing, it was published on Flixster originally, with my various errors and lack of care to really fine-tune it.  Also take notice of how I disregard Channing Tatum and say that I “never plan to watch this film again”.  Oh how things have changed.]

General Hawk: Technically, this unit doesn't exist. But if it did, it would be comprised of the best soldiers from across the world. And when all else fails, they don't.

Michael Bay (The Rock, Armageddon, Transformers) is a very popular name when it comes to naming a filmmaker responsible for very big and loud, explosive action films, but credit should also go to Roland Emmerich (Stargate, Independence Day, Day After Tomorrow) and Stephen Sommers (The Mummy, Mummy Returns, Van Helsing). Sommers, who directed this very loud and explosive film, doesn't have the same problems that Bay does by making G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra over-serious in the wrong areas and pushing camera movement to its limits.  So, in a world where I can give Transformers 2 3 stars, I can't say that GI JOE doesn't accomplish what it sets out to do.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Bonus Episode – Stoker and Spring Breakers




So here is another special bonus episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe, which is also an exclusive for the Podomatic site.  In this episode Aaron and guest Maxwell Haddad talk about their thoughts on two much-buzzed about films in limited release, Stoker and Spring Breakers.  The two explain what they think about both films and hopefully provide some insight into what it is that makes them worth checking out.  There is also plenty of thought on James Franco’s shit.

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

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

‘G.I. Joe’ 2: Cobra Strikes Back!

G.I. Joe: Retaliation:  3 ½ out of 5
Roadblock:  Let's move! The world ain't saving itself!
2009 saw the release of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.  While that film was a financial success and has its fans, it did not quite set the world on fire in the same way that Transformers, the other Hasbro toy-based movie franchise did.  The consensus seems to be that it was too campy for its own good.  While I may disagree, the idea for this sequel seems to have been to make it a lot more earnest, while still maintaining a level of fun.  The results are good enough, even if the film is more of an equal, as opposed to a greater piece of work than the former.  Retaliation may be a sequel that really wants to disassociate itself from the first movie, despite continuing on with where the first film’s story left off, but despite being ‘more serious’, it still has a lot of inherent goofiness and ridiculous, but enjoyable action sequences.  I may not be the biggest G.I. Joe fan (I had Star Wars toys), but this still fits as the kind of movie I would want to see made from this franchise.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 96 – Olympus Has Fallen



This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe finds an excited group talking about the latest Die Hard movie!  Of course we are not talking about A Good Day to Die Hard, because that wasn’t really a Die Hard movie.  The movie of the week is Olympus Has Fallen, which finds Abe, Aaron, and guest Scott Mendelson digging deep into what does or doesn’t make this movie work.  The fun does not stop there, as there is plenty of time for segments such as “Know Everybody”, “Out Now Quickies”, Movie Trailer Talk (Turbo and After Earth), Box Office Results, “Movie Callback”, Games, and other fun stuff.  Plenty to go over in this week’s episode, including listener feedback, contests, and plenty of random movie references!

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

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Walking Dead: Season 3, Episode 15 – This Sorrowful Life



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.

So there was a lot of good in this week’s episode of The Walking Dead, the penultimate episode before the season finale.  Unfortunately, that good had a bit of a delay, as we needed to get through some clunky storytelling before it became the Merle show.  Once this episode got going though, everything became much more focused and the big moments hit pretty well.  With the war between the prison and Woodburry on the brink, this week was a fine way to cut out some…dead meat and position these characters a little bit better before all hell truly breaks loose.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Bonus Episode – Audio Commentary For G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra



So now it is time for another commentary.  This Out Now with Aaron and Abe episode is another bonus commentary track.  This time Aaron and Abe are joined by Scott Mendelson, Jordan Grout, and Jim Dietz for a knowledge-filled commentary on the film G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.  It is knowledge-filled, of course, because knowing is half the battle!  There is also plenty of time to let the guys cut loose on their thoughts on the film and discuss how important the Baroness’s sunglasses really were, let alone Joseph Gordan Levitt’s presence in this film, in general.  So tune in for some commentary fun and pork chop sandwiches!

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, March 22, 2013

‘Olympus Has Fallen’ And A 90s Action Movie Rises



Olympus Has Fallen:  3 out of 5

Mike Banning:  With all due respect, I’m the best you’ve got.

It is funny how some movies strike me differently than others, despite their similarities.  Olympus Has Fallen has all the jingoism, xenophobia, and silliness to match awful films like Red Dawn or Red Tails.  It is also cheap and ugly enough at times to match an awful film like A Good Day To Die Hard.  There is a ton of violence to outdo sub-par films like Act of Valor or Taken 2.  Pushing all of this aside, sometimes you get a movie that is all of these things, but still entertaining, like Lockout Space JailOlympus Has Fallen sits in line with many other silly, yet very serious action films, but it works as another entertaining Die Hard knockoff.

Consider Your Options Before Accepting ‘Admission’



Admission:  2 out of 5

Portia:  You all want to know the secret to getting in.

Admission is a film that I do not have anything against, for what it is, but I also do not have a whole lot to say about it, as the film is pretty bland.  At this point, I saw the film a few weeks ago and it really did not make much of a lasting impression.  In regards to its setting and what we learn about an admissions process, the story presents something new, to an extent, but the film is still fairly predictable.  It would be hard for a film that stars Tina Fey and Paul Rudd to be unlikable, which is why I do not outright despise the film, but Admission has a lack of energy in a film that has stars capable of spouting fun zingers. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 95 – The Incredible Burt Wonderstone



This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe finds the guys talking a great deal about the wonderful world of magic.  Abe, Aaron, and guests Mark Hobin and Markus Robinson spend a good chunk of the episode talking about the magician comedy, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.  But the magic does not stop there, as there is plenty of time for segments such as “Know Everybody”, “Out Now Quickies”, Movie Trailer Talk (Kick Ass 2 and The Heat), Box Office Results, “Movie Callback”, Games, and other fun stuff.  Plenty to go over in this week’s episode, including lots of listener feedback, so make sure to mentally prepare yourself for a true spectacle.

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

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Safe Haven Movie Review – Just Seen It



This one must have slipped my mind, given all the James Franco I've been dealing with the past couple weeks, but feel free to watch me on Just Seen It again, as I discuss the film Safe Haven with Brenna and Kevin.

Official Show Description:

Brenna, Kevin and guest reviewer Aaron Neuwirth discuss this new romantic drama from the novel by Nicholas Sparks.

To escape a mysterious past, Katie moves to a small Southern town. There she falls for Alex, a widower raising two children. But their love is threatened when Katie’s secret come back to haunt her in.

Starring Julianne Hough, Josh Duhamel, and Cobie Smulders.
Written by Leslie Bohem (screenplay), Dana Stevens (screenplay) and based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks.
Directed by Lasse Hallström.
Produced by Marty Bowen, Wyck Godfrey, Ryan Kavanaugh and Nicholas Sparks.
Genre: Romantic Drama.

Starring Brenna Smith, Kevin Taft and Aaron Neuwirth.
Directed by Sean Wright.
Edited by Brian Jahns.
Sound Design by Aaron Fink and Nick Isaacs.
Produced by David Freedman(@ShowRunnerDave), Cooper Griggs, Aaron Fink(@AaronEvanFink) and Pedro Raposo.

WATCH US ON PBS SOCAL Saturdays at 6PM or pbssocal.org/justseenit

Find my full review of Safe Haven HERE

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Walking Dead: Season 3, Episode 14 - Prey



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 week’s episode of The Walking Dead was solid in an exciting sort of way, because I was actually engaged in the suspense occurring on screen, while admiring the episode’s focus overall.  This episode, “Prey”, was also able to have me care about Andrea, which is impressive.  Of course, it had to resort to making me choose between her or a psychopath, so the choice wasn’t that hard, but I still found myself rooting for her, for a change, so that is commendable.  This really was an episode that managed to set the stage for the upcoming finale and put characters in unique positions, given that I am intrigued by where a lot of things are going, which is the kind of anticipation I want to have for the show, rather than hope everyone just stops yelling at each other.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

‘The Incredible Burt Wonderstone’: Illusionist Or One-Trick Pony?



The Incredible Burt Wonderstone:  3 out of 5

Burt Wonderstone:  Behold the power of magic!

Here is a movie that has a promising premise that could have been better pulled off if it was either structured differently or came out a decade earlier.  The idea of competing magicians in Las Vegas is a good one, but The Incredible Burt Wonderstone does not quite have a script to really pull off a 90-minute movie out of this concept.  Despite its short-comings from a story point, however, I do think the film generates a lot of laughs, which is the ultimate goal, of course, as well as create at least one character that I would be happy to see more of.  Comedy is always the hardest type of film to critique, given how much humor registers differently to different people, but a film that makes me laugh is obviously doing something right.  ‘Burt Wonderstone’ does not quite push the envelope, but it does set in on fire and make a dove appear inside of it, which is as good a trick as making me chuckle more than a few times in a movie that is flawed.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

OMG Best ‘Spring Breakers’ Ever! Right You Guys?



Spring Breakers:  4 out of 5

Candy:  Spring Break forever!

Spring Breakers has a very easy hook, by providing us with the image of young college girls in bikinis, wearing ski masks.  The high concept phrasing is just as simple: a group of college girls rob a store in order to fund their spring break.  The cast consists of young girls, best known for their family friendly image, which is done very intentionally, as I find it key to note that the film is sly and satirical in what it’s depicting.  The film is also very aggressive in terms of its filmmaking style, but in a way that makes for a hypnotic viewing experience, regardless of how much I enjoyed the film.  Spring Breakers presents a barrage of boobs, butts, sex, drugs, and criminal activities, but beneath its colorful and explicit surface, I found a film with a thesis that I would consider fascinating.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 94 – Oz The Great And Powerful


This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe transports everyone to the land of Oz The Great And Powerful.  Abe and Aaron are joined by guests Stephen Gibler and Christian Spicer to float inside of bubbles, fly with monkeys, and talk about the latest from director Sam Raimi.  Additionally, the group goes through all of the regular segments, including “Know Everybody”, “Trailer Talk” (The Hangover Part III and Monsters University), “Out Now Quickies”, “Movie Call Back”, Box Office Results, and of course Games.  So come and take a step behind the curtain as the gang reveals their true thoughts in regards to this colorful adventure film that is groovy enough to have a Bruce Campbell cameo.

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

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Walking Dead: Season 3, Episode 13 – Arrow on the Doorpost

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.

I would like to think that a good number of people have seen or at least know of the movie Heat.  If you haven’t, I would just say go out and watch it now, but regardless, that movie is known for, among other things, having a sit-down scene between Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, both on opposite sides of the law, where the two share a bit about themselves and explain how nothing will stop either one of them from doing what they have to.  “Arrow on the Doorpost” or as I’m calling it, “My Dinner with the Governor” plays like an extended version of this pivitol scene from Heat, but does not quite gel as much as I would have liked.  The episode is still quite good, as it may be a filler episode, but it is focused; although after reaching a high with last week’s episode, ”Clear”, this week was back to a slightly lower level.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Step Right Up To The Wonderful World Of ‘Oz The Great And Powerful’


Oz The Great And Powerful:  3 ½ out of 5

Oz:  Where's your broom?
Theodora:  You don't know much about witches, do you?

This has not really occurred to me until recently, but Oz is quite the expansive franchise.  Along with the original books by L. Frank Baum, the series has had a multitude of different adaptations on almost every platform, including several films and musicals, stage plays, comics, and even video games.  Given how successful it was for Disney to reimagine Alice in Wonderland by way of Tim Burton, it comes as little surprise that the Mouse House would come up with a new take on the Oz series, which could similarly rely on creating a unique and colorful fantasy world for the characters to discover.  Bringing on director Sam Raimi (The Evil Dead and Spider-Man trilogies) is where they suddenly had my attention.  The results were quite positive, as I had a lot of fun with this re-introduction to the wonderful world that is Oz, despite some missteps along the way.  Fortunately there were plenty of flying monkeys to pick me right back up, during my journey through this film.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

‘Dead Man Down’ Brings Dour Revenge



Dead Man Down:  2 ½ out of 5

Beatrice:  I know why you came down tonight.  You want to know if the girl that’s been watching you saw what you did.

Here is another movie that displays the ever filmable tale of revenge and the complexities involved.  Dead Man Down brings forward an interesting challenge, as there are a lot of good things about it that I would like to recommend, even though I do not think the movie pulls through in the end.  Of course, it is a challenge week after week to display my opinions on these matters, so there you have it.  This film features several talented actors giving strong performances, some interesting story elements that do a decent job of separating it from other revenge tales, and some somber, but stylish direction in a lot of instances.  For the most part, Dead Man Down plays as a very fancy B-movie, which is only undone once it drives a literal truck through its third act.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 93 – Jack the Giant Slayer

This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe is all about going big and discussing the fantasy adventure Jack the Giant Slayer.  Abe and Aaron are joined by guests Alan Aguilera and Jim Dietz.  Additionally, the group goes through all of the regular segments, including “Know Everybody”, “Trailer Talk” (Epic and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2), “Out Now Quickies”, “Movie Call Back”, Box Office Results, and of course Games.  It is an episode that is sure to provide at least as much artificial entertainment as can be seen in Jack the Giant Slayer, plus the wily antics of a very silent Jordan Grout.

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

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Walking Dead: Season 3, Episode 12 – Clear




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 that’s more like it.  After three average and somewhat lackluster episodes in a row, The Walking Dead has now delivered the best episode of the season so far and one of the best episodes of the series.  It comes as no surprise to me that this has to do with the series delivering on four out of the five things I wanted the series to do in this second part of the season (Essay HERE).  “Clear” was a fantastic piece of television, which told a focused story, developed the characters, had plenty of suspense, some light (and much needed) touches of humor, and pushed forward some of the running themes of the series.  This is the show I want to see and the one I hope to continue to see.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

They Slay ‘Giants’, Don’t They?



Jack The Giant Slayer:  2 ½ out of 5

Jack:  What do you suppose is up there?
Elmont:  I never suppose, I simply prepare for everything.

There is something admirable about Jack the Giant Slayer’s decision to play itself straight.  It has been over 25 years since The Princess Bride, among other films, hit theaters and presented a satirical take on the fairy tale adventure genre, but ‘Jack’ doesn’t go for that angle.  Instead, the film is a straightforward adventure tale that utilizes state-of-the-art special effects to present a new take on the “Jack and the Beanstalk” legend.  It is unfortunate that the film is not better.   I would say it is decent overall, as the film has a few things going for it that I enjoyed, including some of the performances and the overall look of the film.  However, with the film feels awkward in being so straightforward, as if everyone involved wished they were in a more humorous or colorful film and it is this unevenness that takes away from my enjoyment of it overall.

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