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Saturday, August 30, 2014

A ‘Life Of Crime’ Should Be Better (Movie Review)

Life of Crime: 3 out of 5

Marshall:  Hey, you keep your wife out here and someone’s liable to steal her.
Frank:  You promise?

Sometimes I find myself asking, “Why wasn’t this better?”  Life of Crime has everything going for it.  The film is a prequel of sorts to Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown, as both films feature three key characters.  More specifically, crime novelist Elmore Leonard wrote both Rum Punch and The Switch, the novels both films are based on.  Regardless, the film has interesting source material and circumstances going for it, as well as a great cast, most of Leonard’s dialogue still intact, and a nice period-film aesthetic to top it all off.  Still, Life of Crime never manages to be anything more than average.  It is unfortunate, but I have some thoughts as to why this may have been the case.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 163: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For


This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe features Firstshowing.net's Ethan Anderton joining in with the boys to talk Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.  Among topics covered, this episode features a fun round of Know Everybody (6:00), some Out Now Quickies™ (8:45), Trailer talk for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (12:10), the main review of course (17:14), Out Now Feedback (50:33), a fun Game (1:10:55), What’s Out Now (1:17:40), and some Bloopers following this week’s close out song (1:24:10).  So now, if you’ve got an hour or so to kill…


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Brief Thoughts: August Arthouse Roundup 2014


I really enjoy putting my reviews together.  I honestly wish I could delve deeper into certain movies, but alas, I get incredibly busy and can sometimes only deal with movies to a briefer extent than I would prefer.  This is why I write these occasional "Brief Thoughts" posts on movies I have seen, as I want to at least offer some of my own perspective on them.  They may not be as polished, but I can at least get my opinions out there.  This batch of mini reviews contains my thoughts on (in alphabetical order): Calvary, Happy Christmas, Magic in the Moonlight, and What If.

Friday, August 22, 2014

‘Love Is Strange’ And Kind Of Wonderful (Movie Review)

Love Is Strange: 4 out of 5

Ben:  When you live with people you know them better than you care to.

I tend to enjoy seeing process be put on display in film.  A lot of times that applies to crime dramas or heist films, where you see the way things play out in a wordless manner, involving a lot of the inner workings of certain activities.  Love Is Strange, a film that is not remotely close to being a crime drama, puts process on display early on, as our two lead characters awaken and get ready for their wedding.  We watch them go through morning routines, leading up to their attempts to hail a cab. It does enough establish a sense of place, but more importantly, it allows us to watch two actors who seem incredibly comfortable in their roles.  That is how this film plays out for the most part, as we watch actors work very well together in a fairly low-key comedy/drama, and enjoy being in their company.

Welcome Back To The Cartoonishly Grim World Of ‘Sin City’ (Movie Review)

Sin City: A Dame To Kill For: 3 1/2 out of 5

Johnny:  Sin City’s where you go in with your eyes open, or you don’t come out at all.

In 2005 I fell in love with Sin City.  While the worst thing that film may have given since us was the directional ambitions of the graphic novel’s creator Frank Miller (see don’t see: The Spirit), it had plenty else to offer.  Director Robert Rodriguez delivered an ambitious and visually stunning adaptation of a few books from the acclaimed graphic novel series, leaving audiences clamoring for more.  It unfortunately took nine years to finally see more from this world, which finds audiences already satisfied with similarly visually striking films since and more or less content with having the one Sin City film behind them.  But now we have a sequel and while there are some issues with the results, for the most part, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is a fun ride back through the mean streets of this stylishly gritty town.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Out Now Bonus: Step Up All In


Here’s a bonus Out Now with Aaron and Abe episode that is a Soundcloud and Podomatic exclusive.  For this bonus, Aaron is joined by Scott Mendelson, Brandon Peters, and Randy Shaffer to discuss Step Up All In, the fifth entry in a film franchise that Out Now has spent way too much time going over, it would seem.  This episode is spoiler and reference heavy, but it is all in good fun and for the sake of explaining how Step Up All In is one of the better films of the summer. Pop and lock that.

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

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 162 – The Giver


This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe features Battleship Pretension’s David Bax joining in with the boys to talk The Giver.  Among topics covered, this episode features a tribute to Robin Williams (7:43), a fun round of Know Everybody (13:20), some Out Now Quickies™ (19:48), Trailer talk for Unbroken (27:55), the main review of course (32:31), Out Now Feedback (1:00:19), a fun Game (1:12:17), What’s Out Now (1:16:49), and some Bloopers following this week’s close out song (1:23:20).  So now, if you’ve got an hour or so to kill…


Monday, August 18, 2014

The Trip To Italy And The Laughs That Come With It (Movie Review)

The Trip To Italy: 4 out of 5

Steve:  It just feels odd doing something for a second time.

A long time ago Bing Crosby and Bob Hope had a successful series of comedy films, such as Road to Morroco, where they would travel somewhere and basically have fun with each other in various locals.  After finding a lot to enjoy in The Trip and now having seen The Trip to Italy, if Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon want to continue making films where they play exaggerated versions of themselves, while traveling to different countries to eat amazing looking dishes, humorously argue with each other, and do hilarious impressions, then I would be all for it.  The Trip to Italy not only continues to give these two the opportunity to have a lot of fun together, it also plays even better than the first entry, with plenty of laughs to be had during this European vacation.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Brief Thoughts: Step Up All In


I really enjoy putting my reviews together.  I honestly wish I could delve deeper into certain movies, but alas, I get incredibly busy and can sometimes only deal with movies to a briefer extent than I would prefer.  This is why I write these occasional "Brief Thoughts" posts on movies I have seen, as I want to at least offer some of my own perspective on them.  They may not be as polished, but I can at least get my opinions out there.  This post is a look at Step Up All In.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

There’s An Offbeat Comedy In The Head Of ‘Frank’ (Movie Review)

Frank: 4 out of 5

Frank:  Underneath I’m giving you a welcoming smile.

A film like Frank is not for everyone, but who cares?  I had a lot of fun with this offbeat comedy that keeps the head of its main character inside a large papier-mâché head.  The film is a comedy, a road movie of sorts, and a look at experimental/indie music culture.  It is also very funny, well-acted, and a little bittersweet, given what we learn of Frank, the man behind the head.  Given that Michael Fassbender can work for me in just about anything, I was not surprised to be so taken by this film, but it is still one I want to see be given a chance, because having a little (or a lot) of weird can be a very good thing.

Friday, August 15, 2014

The One I Love (Movie Review)

The One I Love: 3 1/2 out of 5

Note:  This was part of a double review I originally published at Why So Blu? during my coverage of the Newport Beach Film Festival.  That said, The One I Love is now on VOD, so I wanted to re-post my thoughts on it somewhere.

What lengths can one go to in an effort to save a marriage?  That is a question that is not only brought up in The One I Love, but explored in ways that one would not expect.  While it would be a disservice to reveal why that is the case, it should be known that there is a realization early on that takes this enjoyable film out of the seemingly ordinary mold it looks to be filling and heads in a whole other direction that will make the film quite memorable, even if the script does not quite nail the landing.

Received Lightweight Entertainment From ‘The Giver’ (Movie Review)

The Giver:  3 out of 5

The Giver:  Simply stated, although it's not really simple at all, my job is to transmit to you all the memories I have within me.  Memories of the past.

The Giver is the story of a young hero living in a futuristic society where a governing system has seemingly made everything perfect and free of chaos, with ruminating thoughts on possible corruption lurking just beneath the surface.  This seems like an interesting idea, were one not to realize how often it seems to come about.  These past few years have already given us films like Divergent and The Hunger Games, and while The Giver is also a popular book now adapted into a feature film, it seems to have come at a time where we did not really need it.  It is not because the book did not deserve the film treatment, but more due to how relatively slight it feels by comparison.  Like it or not, a film like The Hunger Games succeeds for numerous reasons, such as its scope, the actors involved, and cultural relevance at the time.  While The Giver has aspects that keep it from being a poor film, it unfortunately feels like it missed its opportunity to be a bigger deal.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Let’s Be Cops, A Comedy, And An Action Movie (Movie Review)

Let’s Be Cops:  2 out of 5

Ryan:  Even the cops think we’re cops!

I see a lot of movies and I enjoy rewatching a lot of movies.  One would think that I would rewatch movies that I especially like, but that is not necessarily true.  The example that applies here is a film called Blue Steak.  This was a forgettable Martin Lawrence comedy from 1999, where Lawrence starred as a jewel thief posing as a police officer.  It is not especially clever, but I find it entertaining and seem to watch it, for some amount of time, whenever it appears on TV.  Let’s Be Cops is similar in both being about some guys posing as police officers and that it is not especially clever either.  The film is not even as good as Blue Streak, but hey, I would maybe stop to check in on Let’s Be Cops, were I to find it on TV years from now.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 161 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles


This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe is a special event and totally radical.  Aaron and Abe not only managed to record the show in the presence of each other, but Mark Hobin managed to join in as well.  Even crazier, the trio recorded inside of a movie theater, as onlookers/future fans looked on!  Of course, the movie tackled was the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which may or may not have left the guys shell shocked.  It is a bit more scattered of an episode, but the gang still covers a lot of new trailers and responds to a ton of listener feedback.  It’s a fun and colorful episode, so be sure to keep up and fly straight.

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

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

‘The Expendables 3’: Cheap, Chopped, And Cheesy (Movie Review)

The Expendables 3: 2 ½ out of 5

Doc Death:  I’m the knife before Christmas

At this point in the Expendables franchise, it seems apparent that there is little understanding as to how to really deliver on what could make these films true action delights.  The story means little to me in these films, the presence of all the big name action heroes is more important than their acting, but somehow these films have yet to deliver well-directed action.  There are moments that payoff, but these films still have not found a way to be consistently entertaining due to the very thing that should be most important – solid action.  It may be hard to capture the sort of magic that one enjoys from the various decades of action movies, starring these heroes that have been repeatedly watched by many, but at least being able to show the action clearly would be nice.  As it stands, while the effort is there and the comradery is apparent, I can still only depend on The Expendables to be mediocre.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Out Now Commentary: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)


With a new take on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles hitting theaters, this bonus commentary episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe features Abe, Aaron, and guests Brandon Peters and Scott Mendelson, all discussing the original 1990 film.  This is another information packed commentary episode, filled with humorous tidbits, personal stories, and of course plenty of facts about the film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, what happened next, and how the film made an impact on pop culture overall.  Tune in to hear all the goodies and get a whole lot of T-U-R-T-L-E Power.

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…

Thursday, August 7, 2014

T-U-R-T-L-E Average (Movie Review)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:  2 ½ out of 5

April O’Neil:  So, you’re…Ninja Mutant Turtle Teenagers?
Donatello:  When you put it like that, it sounds ridiculous.

There is a scene where Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) seemed to reveal its true colors.  It features William Fichtner’s villainous character dressed in all black, sporting an Under Armour top, and looking about as close as he can to producer Michael Bay, while explaining his nefarious plot that felt like a metaphor for blockbuster superhero movies.  While standing in a very glossy and elaborately designed set, in the midst of fantastical CG creations, we hear about a dreaded disease that will be spread, only to have the same villains release a cure and make billions as a result.  Having just been treated to Guardians of the Galaxy a week prior, TMNT feels like another emotionless superhero film produced by Hollywood, while a potentially huge money makers seek to reassure some faith in these studio blockbusters.  That in mind, it is not that TMNT is all that bad, it just feels like a generic film rolling off an assembly line.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 160 – Guardians of the Galaxy


This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe is a show featuring a couple thugs, some outlaws and a lot of content.  Aaron and Abe are joined by guests Mark Hobin and Christian Spicer to talk Guardians of the Galaxy, rank the Marvel films, and discuss the idea of instant classics.  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 (Mad Max: Fury Road).  It’s a fun and colorful episode, so be sure to keep up and fly straight.

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

Friday, August 1, 2014

Get On Up Is Out Of Sight (Movie Review)

Get On Up:  4 out of 5

James Brown:  If it sounds good and it feels good, then it’s musical.

There is a level of familiarity to musician biopics at this point that tends to keep me from becoming too excited about the prospect of a new one.  With varying degrees of separation, they mostly tend to follow a formula, much like any film that hits similar beats as its predecessors within the same sub-genres (just look at the Guardians of the Galaxy, which opens on the same day, as it is supremely entertaining, but still following a proven formula).  Keeping that in mind, I am also a big fan of James Brown and was happy to go in to this film pretty open-minded (as I generally do).  If there is one way to express how much I ended up enjoying Get On Up, it would have to be by stating that no musician biopic has ever made me want to dance as much as Get On Up did.  While the film only occasionally falls into some familiar trappings, Chadwick Boseman’s lead performance is terrific in a film that tries to be fair to its main subject, and add plenty of soul to the genre.

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