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Friday, May 30, 2014

‘Maleficent’ Wishes To Soar, But Comes Up Lacking (Movie Review)

Maleficent:  2 ½ out of 5

Princess Aurora:  All the other fairies fly, why don’t you?
Maleficent:  I had wings once, and they were strong.  But they were stolen from me.

On the surface, placing audiences inside the head of one of the more memorable Disney villains of all time seems like a pretty interesting idea.  Add to that a casting choice that has rarely seemed any less perfect and you have a high concept Disney film with built in appeal from multiple standpoints.  I only wish the film actually delivered more fun to go along with its premise.  Maleficent no doubt delivers on the visual noise one would expect from a big budget, live-action fantasy film and Angelina Jolie’s return to the big screen, in front of the camera for the first time in 4 years, is certainly the most worthwhile aspect of the film, but for a film with so much to look at, there was not enough going on to keep it engaging.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

‘A Million Ways’ To Seem Like A Western...Not Enough To Be Hilarious (Movie Review)

A Million Ways To Die In The West:  2 ½ out of 5

Albert:  The American West is a terrible place in time.  Everything out here that is not you wants to kill you.

The surprising thing about Seth MacFarlane’s A Million Ways to Die in the West is how devoted to the genre it actually is.  While I can only think of so many western comedies offhand, there are plenty of ways to turn the genre on its head and have a lot of fun with it.  MacFarlane is happy to dive into that well, but while making fun of the genre, he appears to really respect it.  The issue then becomes how to make a film that looks like a western and sounds like a western into a film that is entertaining for the audiences showing up, based on the goodwill created by Ted or Family Guy.  Unfortunately, while MacFarlane is known for his comedic abilities, the laughs are not nearly strong enough to go along with a film that admirably spends its time on recreating the feel of a western, while rooting itself in character.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 152 – X-Men: Days of Future Past

This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe takes a leap to the future, before heading back to the past, as the gang talks about X-Men: Days of Future Past.  Aaron and Abe are joined by first time guests Ali Mattu, PhD, and HHWLOD’s Russell Latham.  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 (Kingsman: The Secret Service).  We are fully into a post Episode 150 world, so be prepared to keep having fun, mutants and all.

So now, if you’ve got an hour to kill…(Main review starts at 20 min and 30 sec)

Friday, May 23, 2014

‘X-Men’: Logan’s Run Back To The Future (Movie Review)


X-Men: Days of Future Past: 3 ½ out of 5

Professor Charles Xavier:  What’s the last thing you remember?

How do you bring everyone together?  That is the question returning X-Men director Bryan Singer must have been set on answering in his attempt to not only combine the casts from nearly every previous X-Men film, but find a way to satisfy everyone with what is basically the biggest X-Men film ever.  The results are fairly strong, as Singer manages to get past the overwhelming nature of having an incredibly large cast, two timelines, and providing emotional resonance in a film that is almost completely made up of forward plot momentum, expositional dialogue, and mutant action.  Fans of the franchise should be mostly pleased, as it takes one of the iconic comic storylines and uses the cinematic versions of established (and some new) characters to truly deliver an exciting spectacle.  Overcrowding is pushed aside in favor of eradicating previous story elements to make a focused and gratifying X-Men film, even if that means risking continuity coherence for the most devoted of fans, as well as some casual viewers.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 151 - Godzilla



This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe is the first true follow up to the well-received 150th Episode Spectacular and what better way to follow up a monster of an episode, than by talking about a giant monster movie.  Author Robert James and Just Seen It’s Aaron Fink join Aaron and Abe to talk Godzilla, the new take on the classic King of the Monsters.  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 (Interstellar).  The show format has been changed around a bit, but it is certainly still the Out Now that you know and love.

So now, if you’ve got an hour to kill… (The Main Review starts at: 29:58)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Trust A Few, Fear The Rest: A Look Back At X-Men Movie Posters



X-Men is one of the longer comic book movie franchises out there, which is not too surprising, given the vast amount of characters to build films around.  That said, the vast amount of characters have not always been utilized properly and only a few (and one in particular) have really been pushed to the front again and again, but this is not a post about the quality of the films.  I like the series in general and would even make arguments for certain positive aspects of even the worst entries in the series (X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine).  Instead of talking about the movies, with the heavily anticipated debut of X-Men: Days of Future Past on the horizon, I would much rather focus on something more specific: the franchise’s marketing campaign via movie posters, which are generally dull to terrible.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Out Now Commentary: X-Men (2000)


Our first post-150 show turns out to be a bonus commentary episode, so the new changes to our podcast are not exactly front and center as of yet, but that does not mean there is no fun to be had.  Aaron is joined by Scott Mendelson, Brandon Peters, and Jim Dietz to discuss the film X-Men, from 2000, directed by Bryan Singer.  As this is a commentary, while not scene-specific, plenty of discussion about this debut X-Men film, the series in general, comic book movies, and more are gone over in an informative and fun manner.  If you needed a way to get ready for X-Men: Days of Future Past, here is one such way to do so.

Important Note:  This commentary may feature 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, May 17, 2014

‘Million Dollar Arm’ Fouls Out (Movie Review)



Million Dollar Arm:  2 ½ out of 5

J.B.:  How fast do they pitch in cricket?...Fine, bowl.  How fast do they bowl in cricket?

It is easy to see the main issue with Million Dollar Arm, as it is all over the poster.  I like Jon Hamm, I look forward to seeing what he does, once Mad Men ends and he can really delve into some much better film roles, which he is more than able to handle, but his character is not the interesting part of this story adapted from reality.  Still, we follow this sports agent in a film that takes the Disney sports movie formula (which has worked many times before) and applies it to this “Jerry Maguire heads to India” story.  Unfortunately, while there are commendable elements, the film has little desire to really delve into the more interesting material involving the two kids with the million dollar arms.

Friday, May 16, 2014

He’s ‘Godzilla’, Hear Him Roar (Movie Review)


Godzilla:  4 out of 5

Ichiro Serizawa:  The arrogance of man is thinking nature is in our control and not the other way around.

It is great to see a movie like this treated with a level of respect.  While Godzilla can be boiled down to a giant monster causing a rampage in a city, the fact that the film (as well as its marketing) has a level of restraint in how to actually depict the sort of chaos that comes with this sort of film territory is impressive.  This new Godzilla movie has a lot more in common with a disaster movie than a science fiction/adventure story, but it respects the legacy of the 60-year old franchise.  The film is incredibly satisfying in the way it confidently builds up to huge reveals, maintains a level of pacing fitting of the more memorable summer blockbusters, puts a great deal of faith in letting the atmosphere enthrall its audience into the story, and still be a lot of fun to watch.  While the human-based drama leaves something to be desired, this is easily the most enjoyable Godzilla film since 1989’s Godzilla vs. Biollante.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Locke Rides Solo (Movie Review)



Locke:  4 ½ out of 5

Ivan Locke:  I’ve made my decision.

Watching someone attempt to control chaos can be a very exciting thing.  Fittingly enough, in recent years, I have now watched two major Batman villains attempt it.  Obviously Heath Ledger did his best to wreak havoc on the fictional Gotham City, only to be nearly outdone later by Tom Hardy’s Bane, but now Hardy is attempting to control a far less grandiose form of chaos:  the destruction of his own life.  Locke is a wonderfully gripping drama about a man attempting to remain calm and coherent in the midst of his entire life falling apart.  Set in what amounts to a singular location with only the physical presence of one actor, it is not just control on the part of the character, but the filmmaking in general that makes this film so compelling, despite its minimalist nature.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Out Now with Aaron and Abe’s 150th Episode Spectacular! – Our Favorite Movies


It’s here! It’s the 150th podcast episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe and it is perhaps one of the best episode conversational topics yet, as the guys discuss their favorite movies of all time.  Aaron and Abe are joined by frequent guests Scott Mendelson, Brandon Peters, and Maxwell Haddad to talk about their favorite movies, what that idea means, the notion of “best movies” versus “favorite movies”, the place of nostalgia in assessing favorites, and more.  Plus, there are a number of surprise guests listing some of their favorite movies as well.  It’s a packed episode full of reflection and revealing info about what movies make all of these guys tick.

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

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Hidy Ho! ‘Neighbors’ (Movie Review)

Neighbors: 4 out of 5

Teddy:  We’re having a hard time hanging onto our balls.  They’re so big.

In lesser hands, Neighbors could have been an easily forgettable mess of a film, with talented comedic performers simply going through the motions of a ‘versus’-type comedy.  The thing that separates a film like this from whatever junk a company like Happy Madison Productions tends to put out in theaters these days is the attempt to not only introduce some easy themes to go with the bevy of jokes, but really deliver on them just as clearly as the gags.  Make no mistake, Neighbors is a rowdy comedy that will live or die on whether or not observational humor + profanity (and shenanigans) can make you laugh, but it is hardly dumb humor.  It has plenty of silliness for the actors to engage in, but grappling onto the idea of adulthood matters just as much.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

‘Chef’ Is Deliciously Entertaining (Movie Review)

Chef: 4 ½ out of 5

Carl Casper:  We’re gonna cook like this.

It does not take a whole lot for a film to win me over if it has a lot of charm.  Get the right cast and allow them to have fun that is evident in the film and I will be happy to sit back and enjoy what has been put in front of me.  Swingers is a favorite movie of mine because, despite the shagginess of the production, it has great cast interplay to go along with the depiction of nightlife in LA.  Jon Favreau wrote and co-produced Swingers back in 1996 and has since gone on to direct much bigger movies like Iron Man and Elf.  Chef takes him back to his indie roots.  Working with a small budget and a simple concept, he has managed to take what he’s learned from his bigger movies and combine that very effectively with what he was able to do in his earlier films like Swingers and Made.  The result is an incredibly charming film, with a great cast, a nice father/son story, and some terrific images of food to gaze upon.

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 149 – The Amazing Spider-Man 2

This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe is all about doing whatever a spider can, or at least talking about what this new Spider-Man is up to.  Aaron and Abe are joined by Tyler Smith and Jordan from Jersey to discuss The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and there is plenty of discussion, including some spoiler talk at the very end of the show.  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 (The Fault in Our Stars and Let’s Be Cops).  This is the last episode before 150 and our changeover to version 3.7 of the podcast, where the stakes get even higher!

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

Thursday, May 1, 2014

‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ Forever (Movie Review)



The Amazing Spider-Man 2:  3 ½ out of 5

Max Dillon:  That must be pretty cool, huh?  To have the world see you like this – the amazing Spider-Man!  I wish I was like him.

I am a Batman fan.  People who know me well enough are pretty clear on that.  With that said, while Batman and the characters in his universe provide more for me to think about, I also grew up reading and watching Spider-Man (and occasionally his amazing friends).  I may find something more inherently interesting in the Caped Crusader, but it is easier to find fun in watching your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man knock out bad guys and one-liners, while zipping through New York City.  The Amazing Spider-Man 2 delivers on that and while the film is certainly stuffed with story and setups, it also features some dazzling action, a few very solid performances, and some ambition to go with some unfortunate desire to rest a lot of weight on Peter Parker’s shoulders. 

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