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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

‘The Guest’ Was Polite And Awesome (Movie Review)

The Guest: 4 out of 5

David:  Mrs. Peterson are you sure you’re comfortable with me staying here?

It is great to go retro, when being guided by filmmakers who know what they are doing.  Director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett clearly have plenty of retro inspirations for their films.  Having found success in the realm of genre filmmaking, particularly with their previous collaboration, You’re Next, playing as a slasher film with a twisted comic edge, The Guest is another dip into familiar territory, enhanced by the sense of style and humor that oozes throughout the film.  Making note of which films have been mined for ideas may be going a bit too far, but suffice it to say that The Guest has surprises up its sleeve that come less from the reveals and more from what underlines those reveals, as this film is a lot of fun.

30 Day Film Challenge (Days 21 Through 30)

Currently over on Facebook, I am participating in the 30 Day Film Challenge for a group page known as Movie Magic Mesmerize Me.  It is fairly straightforward, as each day presents a new question, to which a film-related response is required.  As I am having a lot of fun adding my thoughts on this each day, I have decided to collect these posts and make a few articles out of them here as well.  So this post consists of my last set of responses for this challenge, days 21 through 30.  Note that I have not done much to really make the writing any better; not that it is bad, but I have done little to really proofread what were originally quick (but thought out) posts on Facebook. Enjoy. (Find Days 1-10 HERE and Days 11-20 HERE)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Out Now Nights Ep. 8 - The Walrus And The Grouts


Here's another new podcast episode that is a little different.  Often times after Aaron and Abe want to keep discussing films, but have already ended the episode.  Other times, we just want to talk about something in particular, even if it's not a full episode.  So, for this exclusive Podomatic and Soundcloud episode, of Out Now "Nights", Aaron is joined by Jordan Grout and Kaitlin Grout to discuss the Kevin Smith film Tusk.  Keep in mind that there may be a bunch of spoilers for many movies, but mainly enjoy this kind of brief, but free form discussion.


‘The Equalizer’ Takes Too Long To Find Balance (Movie Review)

The Equalizer: 2 out of 5

Robert McCall: When you pay for rain, you gotta deal with the mud too.

What do you see when you look at these older actors taking care of business?  A week after writing about Liam Neeson’s latest foray into the realm of B-movie thrillers, I now get to write about Denzel Washington’s latest action/thriller.  All I can say is The Equalizer certainly takes its time.  By the end of this 130 minute feature, it felt like I had watched a whole season of the CBS series that inspired this film and I would not exactly call that a good thing.  Denzel Washington may radiate confidence and director Antoine Fuqua may know how to stage stylish action sequences, but The Equalizer is a film that misunderstands how to balance a sense of poignancy with the slaughterfest that occurs anytime Denzel’s spider senses start tingling.  It also goes on to pad itself with a lot of dull material.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Here Be ‘Boxtrolls,’ Delightful, Stop-Motion Fun (Movie Review)

The Boxtrolls:  4 out of 5

Eggs: It’s a pleasure to meet you.

It is one thing to put out a film that is a film that shows off the hundreds of hours of work that went into crafting a wholly unique world and set of characters, but it is another thing to merge that craftsmanship with a wonderful story about identity and societal roles of all things.  Of course, it would be easier to just say The Boxtrolls is a high-spirited, mad-cap adventure-comedy that may not be as complex or tinged with darkness in the same way that Laika’s previous films, Coraline and ParaNorman, were, but still another fine entry from a studio that has done wonders in the stop-animation world in recent years.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 164: The Maze Runner


This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe features Rath’s Review’s Jordan Rath joining in with the boys to talk The Maze Runner.  Among topics covered, this episode features a fun round of Know Everybody (5:30), some Out Now Quickies™ (9:25), Trailer talk for Men, Women & Children (17:52), the main review of course (24:00), Out Now Feedback (53.20), a fun Game (1:09:15), What’s Out Now (1:18:31), and some Bloopers following this week’s close out song (1:27:25).  So now, if you've got an hour or so to kill…


Saturday, September 20, 2014

30 Day Film Challenge (Days 11 Through 20)


Currently over on Facebook, I am participating in the 30 Day Film Challenge for a group page known as Movie Magic Mesmerize Me.  It is fairly straightforward, as each day presents a new question, to which a film-related response is required.  As I am having a lot of fun adding my thoughts on this each day, I have decided to collect these posts and make a few articles out of them here as well.  So this post consists of my responses for days 11 through 20 of this challenge.  Note that I have not done much to really make the writing any better; not that it is bad, but I have done little to really proofread what were originally quick (but thought out) posts on Facebook. Enjoy. (Find Days 1-10 HERE)

A High Podcaster Has Given Us A Weird Dream Project In The Form Of ‘Tusk’ (Movie Review)

Tusk: 2 out of 5

Wallace: I don’t wanna die in Canada.

I have large doubts that 20 years ago, following the debut of writer/director Kevin Smith’s Clerks, anyone predicted that one day this man would make a film about a mysterious man turning an unknowing participant into a walrus, but here we are.  Based on an idea that stemmed from an episode of one of Smith’s podcasts, SModcast, which he hosts with his best friend and former producer pal Scott Mosier, Tusk is a twisted horror-comedy that certainly features some memorable images, but mainly serves as a way of telling us that Smith has no desire to really move beyond entertaining his own fanbase, despite stepping away from his comfort zone, from a filmmaking standpoint.  Given that I am a fan of Smith’s and hold a few of his films in high regard, I was certainly happy to go along with seeing how this film turned out, but if I had no clue about what this film was, I am pretty certain I would have thought Tusk was a film made as some sort of dare.


Friday, September 19, 2014

If You’re ‘The Maze Runner’, You Run Like Hell (Movie Review)

The Maze Runner: 3 ½ out of 5

Alby:  If you ain’t scare, you ain’t human.

At this point, seeing another YA novel adapted into a film only brings up so much excitement.  Part of it comes from there being only so many of these types of books I want to see as films and the other part is pretty simple: lots of these films are fairly dull and too focused on being a franchise-starter first, an enjoyable film second.  I had no real opinion on The Maze Runner going into it.  I have not read this book series, the cast is made up of younger actors I have seen in some things, but haven’t regarded as ‘the next big thing’, and there is a rookie director at the helm.  Keeping all of this in mind, it would be easy for me to go into the flaws of the logic in a movie like this or even how it could have handled certain aspects regarding dramatic tension better, but honestly, I had a good time watching this film.  The Maze Runner has a key thing going for it and that is consistency.  It is not overlong, it is decently acted, features effective enough visuals, builds its tension and mystery well, and has a serious tone that does not come off as cheesy.  This may not be the next big triumph for YA novel film adaptations, but it is far from the worst.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Gilliam Tries His Best To Construct ‘The Zero Theorem’ (Movie Review)

The Zero Theorem:  3 ½ out of 5

Qohen Leth: Waiting for The Call.  What other reason is there to pick up the phone?

Director Terry Gilliam falls into the category of filmmakers that make movies that fit entirely into their own genres.  Quentin Tarantino makes Tarantino movies rather than straight comedies or action movies.  Tim Burton used to not really make horror or fantasy films, but instead he made Tim Burton films (hopefully he gets back to that soon).  I could go on, but Terry Gilliam does not really make science fiction films, he makes Terry Gilliam films, and that is what The Zero Theorem amounts to.  While the film feels like it has too much indebted to his own past work, specifically his best film (arguably), Brazil, The Zero Theorem is still unlike any sort of traditional take on dystopian sci-fi worlds, because Gilliam operates on his very own level, even while battling studios to preserve his vision.  As a result, while visually arresting and well-acted, it is not as conceptually interesting as it is a fun polish on some old ideas.

Formulaic Family Hijinks Found In ‘This Is Where I Leave You’ (Movie Review)

This Is Where I Leave You: 2 ½ out of 5

Hilary Altman: For the next seven days you are all grounded.

This is Where I Leave You is the kind of film that walks the line between being aware it is not treading new ground, but still wants to make you happy, based on all the talented actors involved, and treating its subject matter in a more serious manner.  It is a film featuring characters that are mostly not all that inherently interesting, but because they are played by people like Jason Bateman and Tina Fey, the film at least has some reliable performances to stand behind them.  It is nothing new to have a small period of time serve as a way of course correction for the lives of a family in a film, but while this film is fairly enjoyable, it lacks much of anything to really make it stand out.  It is a film that does just enough, but sits a couple spots away from being essential viewing.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Hard Boiled Neeson Takes ‘A Walk Among The Tombstones’ (Movie Review)

A Walk Among The Tombstones: 3 out of 5

Matthew Scudder: Sometimes I do favors for people.

A Walk Among the Tombstones is a nice change of pace as far Liam Neeson’s career as a B-movie action star goes.  While the film may be sold as another chance to see Neeson use a particular set of skills to beat up some bad guys, it is really more of a detective story that flirts with noir-ish elements, with some grisly thriller aspects thrown in for good measure.  Based on a series of novels by Lawrence Bock, which is focused on the character Matthew Scudder, Neeson’s performance not only keeps this film together overall, but establishes a new potential franchise, which would be more interesting than watching him rescuing various kidnapped members of his family from European gangsters over and over again.

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Bonus Episode – 2014 Late Summer Indies


This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe features Adam Gentry and VeryAware.com’s Courtney Howard joining in with the boys to talk a few of the indie/arthouse films from the late summer. Among topics covered, this episode features a fun round of Know Everybody (4:30), some Out Now Quickies™ (12:00), and then the films: The Trip To Italy (20:43), Frank (37:40), The Congress (49:20), and Love Is Strange (1:09:15).  There is also Out Now Feedback (1:17:08), a fun Game (1:33:11), What’s Out Now (1:38:38), and some Bloopers following this week’s close out song (1:46:58).  So now, if you’ve got an hour or so to kill…


Wiig And Hader Make For A Wonderful Set Of ‘Skeleton Twins’ (Movie Review)

The Skeleton Twins: 4 out of 5

Maggie:  I was thinking you could come stay with me…

The Skeleton Twins is the kind of film that features a few actors giving the kind of performances that make it look easy.  Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig are best known for their work on Saturday Night Live, but clearly have aspirations to delve into more dramatic work, better showing off their range as performers.  It is one thing to find the humor in certain scenes, but it is another to make that humor play in scenes that come in between some heavy dramatic material.  This is a film that features some really dark material, but is able to develop a story that can follow a fairly formulaic level of plotting and still succeed, based on the confidence of the actors involved and the filmmakers working behind the scenes.  As a result, The Skeleton Twins works as a sad comedy for the art house crowd and manages to rise above the easy complaints about these sort of family-focused stories.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Out Now Commentary: Sleepy Hollow (1999)


In an effort to bring together Out Now with Aaron and Abe and The IchaPod CraneCast, here is this month’s Out Now Commentary for Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow, the 1999 supernatural horror film/dark comedy starring Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci. Aaron is joined by IchaPod co-host Brandon Peters and special guest Victoria Irwin to discuss this feature, Burton, Depp, and plenty of other topics in depth, in correlation to the film Sleepy Hollow, as it plays in the background (on mute for the listeners of course).  Lots of fun and interesting facts to take away from this one.

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…

Friday, September 12, 2014

‘The Drop’ AKA About A Dog (Movie Review)

The Drop: 3 out of 5

Bob:  I just tend the bar.

The Drop is a bit strange, as it is ostensibly a crime drama rooted in its characters, but not quite focused enough to claim to be about one thing in particular.  Sure, Tom Hardy is the lead in this film and we are basically following his mysterious character, who seems like a simple enough guy that could blow at any minute; but the film, while fairly straightforward, puts a number of things in front of its characters in a way that makes it hard to describe simply.  As it stands, The Drop is a well-acted feature about criminals, gangsters, abuse, sorted pasts, moving on in one’s life, just trying to get by, and a cute little dog.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

30 Day Film Challenge (Days 1 Through 10)


Currently over on Facebook, I am participating in the 30 Day Film Challenge for a group page known as Movie Magic Mesmerize Me.  It is fairly straightforward, as each day presents a new question, to which a film-related response is required.  As I am having a lot of fun adding my thoughts on this each day, I have decided to collect these posts and make a few articles out of them here as well.  So this post consists of my responses for the first ten days of this challenge.  Note that I have not done much to really make the writing any better; not that it is bad, but I have done little to really proofread what were originally quick (but thought out) posts on Facebook. Enjoy.

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Bonus Episode – 3rd Annual Summer Gamble Results

This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe is a big event, as we find out who won the 3rd Annual Summer Gamble.  Before the summer movie season started, Aaron and Abe were joined by Maxwell Haddad, Mark Hobin, Jose Cordova, Alan Aguilera, and Jordan grout to predict the top ten films at the box office for summer 2014.  With the season now having ended, the guys have calculated the results and spend this episode going over what happened this summer, who won the gamble, favorite summer movie moments, some Out Now Feedback, and more.  So now, if you’ve got an hour to kill…


5:52 - Results; 27:05 - Feedback; 31:37 - Single favorite movie of the summer?; 33:15 - Discussion about summer release schedule and big movies of the 2nd half of 2014; 37:33 - Pleasant surprises; 49:01 - Comedies of the summer; 52:18 - Thoughts of summer 2015; 1:02:33 - Out Now presents what's out now.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

‘The Congress’ Features The Wright Ambition (Movie Review)

The Congress:  4 out of 5

Jeff:  Once we've scanned you, there’s no going back.

I saw writer/director’s Ari Folman’s 2008 film Waltz with Bashir and was very intrigued by where he would go next.  That film revolved around a character searching for his lost memories as an Israeli soldier and was made using unique animation techniques.  Folman’s new film, The Congress, is similarly about finding one’s self in a sense, but it comes at this topic from a different angle.  Based on a science fiction novel by Stanislaw Lem, The Congress follows a character through an allegorical world that depicts the extreme merging of the entertainment industry and technology in ways so complex that people literally become animated characters.  This is a film that has too many ideas to fully make work, but thanks to a strong lead performance by Robin Wright, let alone the nature of the film, there is a lot to appreciate or dissect about what is seen in The Congress; aspects that I am still thinking about.

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Bonus Episode - Ghostbusters


This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe features Just Seen It’s Leah Aldridge and Professor Mike Dillon joining in with the boys to take a look back at the Ghostbusters franchise.  A lot of topics are covered, staring with a round of Out Now Quickies (5:00), which features discussion of The Congress and Robin Wright, among other things.  Then we move into the main topic of Ghostbusters (13:00), with many different areas of the first film covered. We discuss Ghostbusters II (59:40) at some length.  There is then discussion of the film’s societal influence (1:18:30), followed by discussion of a possible third film (1:27:10).  We also have Out Now Feedback (1:34:06), Games (1:40:52), and some bloopers at the end (1.52.53).  So now, if you’ve got an hour or so to kill…

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