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Friday, September 27, 2013

‘Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2’ Is Not Simply Overdone Leftovers



Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2:  4 out of 5

Brent:  What is that?
Manny:  Tacodile…Supreme!

Four years ago I was delighted to walk out of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs with a giant grin on my face.  I went into that film not knowing what to expect and was overjoyed to find that it was this wonderful animated comedy, complete with great imagination, animation, a sense of irreverence that fits of the style of humor The Muppets have exhibited in their show and films, with the way it balances the jokes for people of all ages.  Cloudy’ has since stood as one of my favorite animated comedies of the past several years.  Now we have the sequel, which has the task of following up something that I hold quite high esteem.  It is very fortunate that this sequel lives up to its predecessor, as it finds away to be creative in a new way, while continuing to maintain the same level of comedic spirit.

‘Metallica’ Attempts A Live-Action Metalocalypse



Metallica: Through The Never:  3 out of 5

Metallica:  Come crawling faster.  Obey your Master.  Your life burns faster.  Obey your Master.  Master.

First thing first, while this heavy metal concert film shares its title with the name of one of Metallica’s albums, the actual song, “Through the Never” does not appear in this film.  It does not matter much, because that is not the band’s best song and film features an awesome greatest hits collection for any fan of this hard rocking group, as they perform in front of legions of fans on an epic stage.  It also happens to have a side story depicting a surreal, apocalyptic adventure.  This is certainly different than most rock concert movies, as it does little to shed light on the actual band and serves as more of an extended music video.  For the most part, this works.  Through the Never will play best for fans, but those seeking a loud concert film with the IMAX 3D seal of approval should be pretty happy with what they get.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Better Check Your Luggage And Avoid ‘Baggage Claim’



Baggage Claim:  2 out of 5

William:  You’ve spent your whole life wanting to be your own woman.  Why do you want to change things now?

Baggage Claim has come from a long line of romantic comedies featuring impossibly beautiful women with problems finding love.  It is annoying to have to say something like, “take my words with a grain of salt, as this is not my preferred genre,” but it is true.  Baggage Claim is definitely a film that is made for an audience that is into these kinds of clichéd romantic comedies, which feature attractive casts and the bare minimum requirements to develop a premise that slightly differs from those that came before it.  One can throw the “hypocrite” label at me all they want, when I recommend a horror movie that feels ever so similar to another one and does not do a whole lot new, but what can I say?  Some movies just do not work for me, especially when I have examples of similar ones that do.  Baggage Claim may work as easy entertainment for some, but there is very little here that had me legitimately enjoying the film.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Adventures Of ‘Don Jon’ New Jersey



Don Jon:  3 ½ out of 5

Jon:  This girl is more than a dime.

As if Joseph Gordon-Levitt has not done enough to rank as one of my favorite young actors (Brick, Looper, 50/50, etc.), he has now gone and written, directed, and starred in his first feature film.  Having the story surround a real ‘Don Juan’ who also has a porn addiction is a bit of an interesting choice for one’s first film, but given that the last sex addiction-related film I saw was Steve McQueen’s Shame, a great film with a great performance from Michael Fassbender that I will likely never watch again, Don Jon gets points for being very entertaining and genuine in its approach.  There are certainly aspects of the film that show where Gordon-Levitt can improve upon his future career as a filmmaker, but as far as a first feature goes, Don Jon is mostly breezy fun matched with NSFW content.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 121 - Prisoners




This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe finds the guys delving in some dark territory, as they discuss the dreary drama Prisoners.  Abe and Aaron are joined by Mark Hobin and Markus Robinson to find out whether or not Hugh Jackman rage and Jake Gyllenhaal blinking are enough to rescue two little girls.  Additionally, all of the regular segments are present as well, including “Know Everybody”, “Out Now Quickies”, “Movie Call Back”, “Out Now Feedback”, and Trailer Talk (Grudge Match and Out of the Furnace).  It is a surprisingly high-spirited show this week, so be sure to be prepared to smile a bit more than the cast of this film.

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

Saturday, September 21, 2013

‘Prisoners’ Sets Its Sights On Terrifying Parents


Prisoners: 3 ½ out of 5

Keller:  We’re running out of time.

Prisoners does such a great job at providing many spooky possibilities for what could have happened to two innocent, little girls that it is a shame the ending does not quite pack more of a wallop.  While certainly a dark and heavy kidnapping drama to get through, it is only able to accomplish so much before reaching a final act that settles for more conventional tactics.  The film is very well acted by its two leading men, filled with other great actors doing fine work, and great to look at overall, making it the kind of adult-skewing feature that can garner a lot of attention, as it takes all those elements and works it into compelling subject matter.  Prisoners is overlong and not a shining example of its genre, but it presents other interesting ideas, strong performances, and an overall tone that certainly makes it watchable, no matter how dark.

Fasten Your Seatbelt And ‘Rush’ To The Theater


Rush:  4 out of 5

James Hunt:  Don’t go to men who are willing to kill themselves, while driving in circles, searching for normality.

Rush is an incredibly solid drama that features fine film craftsmanship on display, solid performances from the lead actors, and a well-oiled story that respects its audience.  While the film is based on facts, it rarely dips into dramatized scenes that lessen the entertainment value to be found in the film.  It is the kind of feature that has a little something for everyone, as far as these adult-skewing dramas are concerned.  Director Ron Howard has put together a genuinely exciting feature that balances all its parts to great effect and he makes sure that you really hear the engine of this film hum cleanly and loudly.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Tune In For The ‘Stories We Tell’



Stories We Tell:  4 out of 5

Michael Polley:  My god all this stuff we’ve been joking about for years is actually true.

This has not been by choice or any reason in particular, but I have not seen too many documentaries so far this year.  That said, I was fully willing to embrace a new film from director Sarah Polley, which happens to be a documentary about her family.  My initial thought, upon learning about the nature of this documentary, had me wondering why a film like this would need be made, let alone why would it be compelling.  It is somewhat surprising that Stories We Tell is as compelling as it is.  I say “somewhat” because the film has near universal acclaim, so I would have, if anything, been more surprised to not have liked the film.  The film is a documentary, no doubt, but it has a well thought out structure and presents a story with some turns balanced by the earnest nature of the people involved and the fact that they are very likable in their matter-of-fact presentation of the details.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 120 – Insidious Chapter 2


This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe finds the gang opening up the book and seeing which way this new chapter of Insidious takes them.  Insidious Chapter 2 is the review of the week and Abe and Aaron are joined by Jimmy O and Jason Coleman to discuss it.  Additionally, all of the regular segments are present as well, including “Know Everybody”, “Out Now Quickies”, “Movie Call Back”, “Out Now Feedback”, and Trailer Talk (Escape From Tomorrow and Homefront).  The Further may be closer than expected, but at least the guys are fully prepared to project their thoughts on it.

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


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Line Up Your Sights And Take 'A Single Shot'



A Single Shot:  4 out of 5

[Note: This review was originally published on WhySoBlu.com, when I saw the film at the Newport Beach Film Festival.  The film is now on the verge of opening in theaters and on VOD this week.]

Pitt: Most problems aren’t as bad as they seem, the thing is you’ve got to deal with them before people get backed into corners.

A Single Shot is a dark tale fitting of its moody tone.  This film tells the sad story of John Moon (Sam Rockwell).  While stalking a deer out of season, John accidentally shoots and kills a teenage girl.  While trying to dispose of her body in an abandoned container, he stumbles upon a large sum of money.  John of course feels the guilt for what he has done, but also sees this as an opportunity to help his family, despite the fact that John’s wife, Moira (Kelly Reilly), recently left and took their son with her.  Unfortunately things become much more complicated as John gets caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse with hardened backwater criminals out for his blood.  Moon now must outsmart those hunting him down to save himself and his family.

Friday, September 13, 2013

‘Insidious’ 2: Back To The Further



Insidious Chapter 2:  2 out of 5

Josh:  We’re a family again.  Nothing is going to bother us anymore.  I promise.

It stands to reason that Insidious Chapter 2 exists.  The first film became a sleeper hit, as director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannel (the creators of Saw) combined forces with the producers of Paranormal Activity, Oren Peli and Jason Blum, to make a sufficiently scary horror film.  Insidious was a spooky film that twisted around a standard haunted house story, by involving astral projection. It was made on the cheap, but put Wan’s directorial talents to good use, as he and his crew were able to make an effective horror film, with lots of emphasis on deliberate camera work and sound design.  Now, while James Wan’s other horror film from this year, The Conjuring, is still earning revenue in theaters, Insidious Chapter 2 sets its sights on bringing audiences back into the Further.  I only wish the film did not feel so misguided.

They May Seem Nice, But You Can Leave ‘The Family’ Alone



The Family:  2 ½ out of 5

Maggie:  We’re not in Brooklyn anymore.
Fred:  I don’t think there’s anywhere further from Brooklyn than this rathole.

A good crime comedy is always something I am happy to embrace.  I was ready to walk away from this Luc Besson-directed mob comedy with a bit of a smile on my face, but fugetaboutit.  For the most part, The Family works as a sort of quirky fish-out-of-water film.  It has a family living in France, under witness protection, with the added element of violent, dark comedy, some comic book sensibilities, and some other, off-kilter elements.  It did not quite hit some of its satirical marks and had some tonal issues, but it seemed fine.  Then the film decided to drop everything and opt for a poor ending, with shootouts and very little in the way of substance to leave with.  I am not quite sure why this had to happen, but I am sure that it took the wind out of the sails of an otherwise halfway decent movie.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 119 - Riddick




This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe proves which of the guys are afraid of the dark and which just love dingos.  Aaron and Abe are joined by guest Brandon Peters to discuss Vin Diesel’s passion project, Riddick.  Plenty of Diesel, misogyny, and penis monsters were found in the movie and hopefully this podcast delivers on some of that as well.  Additionally, all of the regular segments are present as well, including “Know Everybody”, “Out Now Quickies”, “Movie Call Back”, “Out Now Feedback”, and Trailer Talk (Robocop and Divergent).  Riddick may only see best when he’s in the dark, but the guys are certainly keen on brightening up even his day, so here it is.

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

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Bonus Episode – 2nd Annual Top Summer Movies Gamble RESULTS



Summer Movie Season has ended!  It’s time for another Bonus Round with Aaron and Abe.  This special episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe has been one to anticipate all summer long.  Aaron, Abe, and guests Mark Hobin, Maxwell Haddad, and Jordan Grout have all come to find out who won.  This is the 2nd Annual Top Summer Movies Gamble Results show, where everyone will learn what the top ten biggest films of the summer were (in regards to domestic box office) and who was closest in their predictions.  Each participant created their own list (and added a few dark horses as well) and this podcast goes over the scoring process and what went down.  Additionally, the guys discuss their favorites, least favorites, disappointments, and surprises from this past summer as well.

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

Thursday, September 5, 2013

‘Riddick’ Returns To The Dark



Riddick:  3 out of 5

Riddick:  There are bad days and there are legendary bad days.  Today is shaping up to be one of those.

Riddick has returned to the big screen and the character continues to bring Vin Diesel to a place where he can walk the line between bad ass and goofy.  It is nice to see cheesy, B-movie goodness every now and again.  While being entertaining for various reasons does not make up for areas like excessive runtimes or having too many ill-defined characters, I genuinely enjoy the Riddick character enough to want to wander in the dark with him for a time and see if the results are worth it.  Fortunately, I was more impressed this time around, than with The Chronicles of Riddick.  Riddick is certainly scaled down and has more in common with Pitch Black, which introduced audiences to the character back in 2000.  It is by no means a classic and more of an attempt to satisfy those who already are fans, but I was certainly pleased by the areas where this movie shines brightest, even if it meant suffering through some blindingly bad low points.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 118 – Blue Jasmine




This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe is headed to the bay area.  They guys are here to talk about Woody Allen’s venture to San Francisco, in his film Blue Jasmine.  Adam Gentry joins on this week’s episode and he is happy to dive right in as well.  Additionally, all of the regular segments are present as well, including “Know Everybody”, “Out Now Quickies”, “Movie Call Back”, “Out Now Feedback”, and Trailer Talk (Saving Mr. Banks and August: Osage County).  No breakdowns happen on this podcast but it is still a fun listen anyway.

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

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