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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Nightcrawler (Movie Review)

Nightcrawler:  5 out of 5

[Note: Orignally posted via WhySoBlu.com for BeyondFest]

Lou Bloom:  Park the car and get your camera!

I find there to be a lot of beauty in Los Angeles at night.  It is a bit odd, as I find most films that portray LA primarily at night tend to be centered on crime.  Something about the way this city is illuminated by its street lights, cars, and various other forms of activity just does something for me.  Certain films and filmmakers have proven to have quite the handle on filming this sort of thing.  I think of a director like Michael Mann, who seems to understand exactly how to shoot LA at night, given what he brought to films like Heat or Collateral.  With Nightcrawler, a dark, satirical neo-noir, writer/director Dan Gilroy and cinematographer Robert Elswit seemed to want to do all they could to capture amazing photography of this city at night.  As a result, we watch a slimy character do all he can to get great footage, while in turn finding something sublime in how wonderfully shot the whole thing is.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 169: Whiplash


This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe features guests Mark Hobin and Markus Robinson joining the duo to discuss the film, Whiplash.  Among topics covered, this episode features a fun round of Know Everybody (4:45), some Out Now Quickies™ (8:42), Trailer talk for Avengers: Age of Ultron (22:32), the main review of course (30:17), Out Now Feedback (1:05:12), a fun Game (1:18:00), What’s Out Now (1:27:20), and some Bloopers following this week’s close out song (1:34:05).  So now, if you’ve got an hour or so to kill…


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

V/H/S: Viral (Movie Review)

V/H/S: Viral: 3 out of 5

[Note: Originally posted via WhySoBlu.com for BeyondFest]

Dante:  Welcome to the show!

One certainly cannot accuse the V/H/S series of not wanting to evolve.  Each film serves as a horror anthology based around the idea of genre directors using the ‘found footage’ to put together some extremely messed up films, but this series has also attempted to grow its mythology and find new and wilder approaches to the short films.  The first V/H/S was marred by its long runtime and general nastiness as far as a majority of the characters, both protagonists and antagonists were concerned.  V/H/S 2 was a major step up, as it was shorter, scary, well-produced, and still very extreme.  Now we have this third feature which is a bit of mixed bag.  On the one hand, it is very well-produced and shows a lot of creativity.  On the other, a large focus on the connective tissue between the individual films really brings things down, along with the very evolution of the central conceit, which may be controversial to ‘found footage purists.’

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Out Now Commentary: Escape From New York (1981)


This month’s commentary is a special one.  We have fun doing these commentaries every month and while we try to pack them with info, as well as entertaining discussions, every now and then the films connect to some of us personally.  In honor of Jim Dietz, who is on this commentary track, along with Out Now commentary regular Brandon Peters, we now have a commentary for a Dietz favorite, Escape from New York, the John Carpenter/Kurt Russell cult classic.  The group goes over all the details they can in regards to the film, the careers of the filmmakers involved, the impact of this film, and more!

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, October 25, 2014

Out Now Bonus: Horror Special 4 – The 80s


We are just having a blast putting these horror specials together, even if we don’t have nearly enough time to put in all the work we want to on these discussions of various decades of horror films.  That being said, this week’s special has Aaron, Brandon, and Jimmy O talking for a long time about the 80s.  Lots of early discussion about where horror was at this time, especially given the rise of slasher films, before going into a year by year breakdown of many of the most notable films from each year in the 80s.  Clearly there is a lot of love for this decade from Brandon and Jimmy, who relish in a chance to go into some under-praised and under-seen gems (and it is unfortunate that Jason was not able to participate).  With all that in mind, slashers, dream demons, werewolves, gore, possession and plenty more is all gone over in this week’s fun bonus special. 

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


‘Ouija’: Board To Death (Movie Review)

Ouija: 1 ½ out of 5

Elaine: I’m just not ready to let her go.

So Ouija is a total bust.  Not that I expected much from a horror film based on the spooky toy, once mass-marketed by Parker Brothers, but it amounts to nothing all that special or entertaining, just laughably dull.  Something interesting to note is how so many old slasher films and even the recent Saw franchise, among other horror franchises, end up receiving similar bad review scores, but will go on to be remembered by cult audiences.  No one will remember Ouija.  That is the kind of movie it is. This is a thing that will come and go.  It may have allowed work for some young actors and a decent job for the filmmakers involved, but that’s about it.  Good on them for getting the film done, but yeah, it’s just a silly horror movie.

Friday, October 24, 2014

‘John Wick’ Is The Bomb! (Movie Review)

John Wick:  4 out of 5

Viggo:  He’s the guy you send to kill the Boogeyman.

This is just great.  In a time where we get a lot of action movies designed to build into some sort of franchise, here comes John Wick, a film most likely designed to be a one-off attempt at showing an older Keanu Reeves kick ass in some very brutal ways.  The film is bound to become an American cult action favorite, but the unexpected, yet the best thing that could happen is to see this film become a breakout success and lead to at least a reteaming of Reeves, writer Derek Kolstad, and directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch.  While John Wick is straight to the point with its story, there is enough in the way of character and world building (not to mention terrific action) that would make me happy to see these guys continue to make slick action flicks such as this.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

‘Dear White People,’ You Cut Deep (Movie Review)

Dear White People:  4 ½ out of 5

Mitch: It’s like Oprah and Spike Lee had some sort of pissed off baby.

I don’t think there is any real way around me saying that I am of mixed-race and have certain views towards humor that delves into race.  Obviously I could just not mention this at all, but that seems like more of a disservice, when it comes to a review that focuses on a film satirizing racial politics on a college campus.  While my experiences do not reflect the events that take place in Dear White People, I did have a level of understanding of the circumstances and walked away both very satisfied and somewhat angered, given how the film works in its provocation.  The best way to look at Dear White People though, is as an examination of identity.  It leans on certain points for the sake of a particular story, but this is a film about understanding one’s self versus what the masses understand.  It also happens to feature some very fine filmmaking on display for a directorial debut.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 168: Fury


This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe features guest Ken Noffsinger from his own home, as we recorded a special ‘in person’ episode this week, while discussing Fury.  Among topics covered, this episode features a fun round of Know Everybody (7:51), some Out Now Quickies™ (12:59), Trailer talk for In The Heart of the Sea (20:04), the main review of course (24:20), Out Now Feedback (44:48), a fun Game (59:29), What’s Out Now (1:04:20), and some Bloopers following this week’s close out song (1:12:39).  So now, if you’ve got an hour or so to kill…


Friday, October 17, 2014

‘Birdman’ Forever (Movie Review)

Birdman:  5 out of 5

Birdman: How did we end up here?

As if I needed more reasons to want to love Michael Keaton as a performer, director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu has given the actor a fantastic role that puts him back in the spotlight, in a film that puts heavy emphasis on what it is to mean something to many, only to want to redefine one’s self.  That is just one of the many ideas that Birdman tackles, as the film plays as a very entertaining dissection of Hollywood, Broadway, and the notion of fame in our modern culture.  Additionally, Inarritu was far from content with treating this project as a simple satirical exercise, so the film is made to show us the weeks that go by in this story within nearly one long take.  This shot is of course many shots carefully stitched together, but the screenplay is also a careful assemblage of ideas, themes, and great moments for all the actors to shine.  This makes Birdman an ambitious and unpredictable ball of energy that just so happens to be a spectacular film to watch.

Out Now Bonus: Horror Special 3 – The 70s


Now for the 70s.  Continuing our weekly horror specials for the month, Aaron is joined once again by Jimmy O from JoBlo.com, Brandon Peters from The Naptown Nerd, and Jason Coleman from Starpulse.com with the intention of talking more horror.  This time the guys are dealing with horror from the 1970s, which ranges from prestige and mainstream entries like The Exorcist to experimental efforts like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, which has obviously gone on to become a classic.  Various directors are discussed, the impact of films like Halloween and Jaws is given attention, and plenty of other films are brought up in this fun conversation.  And stay tuned for next week’s episode discussing the 1980s, where the guys will go over B-movie fun, gore, slasher films, and more!

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

Thursday, October 16, 2014

‘The Book Of Life’ Is Full Of Life (Movie Review)

The Book of Life 4 out of 5

Candle Maker:  Today was a good day…of the dead.

The Nightmare Before Christmas has become a widely loved kids film, when it comes to celebrating Halloween.  If things go the way they should, The Book of Life is in a nice position to become the film that represents Dia de los Muertos for kids, let alone brings it further into mainstream prominence.  Director Jorge Guiterrez and his team, including producer Guillermo del Toro, have created a stylish, animated, adventure-romance, which is full of life.  It is a bit odd to point that last part out, given that the film celebrates the Day of the Dead, but then again, there is a lot of odd charm in this film that may be overstuffed with ideas, but is so lighthearted and fun, it is easy to look over some minor flaws, when it comes down to supporting a nice little animated film such as this.

A Tough Drive And the ‘Fury’ Five (Movie Review)

Fury:  3 ½ out of 5

Wardaddy:  I had the best gunner in the entire United Army in S.E.  Now I have you.

World War II has been the source of a lot of great war movies, let alone movies in general.  It seems to have a near endless supply of material, when it comes to developing new ideas for screenplays.  Fury may not be the first film about a tank crew, but it does seem like a refreshing approach to this sort of film in modern times.  With that in mind, while writer/director David Ayer was able to provide some exciting action sequences, a thrilling final act, and strong enough material for the actors to work with, there is only so much a film like this can accomplish when we end up not learning a whole lot about who this crew is.  As a result, Fury is a pretty straight-forward and occasionally intense war film that certainly looks like the effort to keep it authentic was made, but does not have much complexity, beyond visceral thrills.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 167: The Judge


This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe features guest Michael Lee from MovieViral.com to discuss The Judge.  Among topics covered, this episode features a fun round of Know Everybody (5:00), some Out Now Quickies™ (10:16), Trailer talk for American Sniper (17:25), the main review of course (23:10), Out Now Feedback (50:10), a fun Game (1:05:50), What’s Out Now (1:14:52), and some Bloopers following this week’s close out song (1:21:12).  So now, if you’ve got an hour or so to kill…

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Unneeded Legend Of ‘Dracula Untold’ (Movie Review)

Dracula Untold:  2 out of 5

Vlad:  I’m the thing men fear.  Not a ghost, something else.

Dracula Untold is 92 minutes long.  There are likely just over 92 films about the character of Dracula, in some form, if we collected all versions (including Nosferatu and the Blacula films, of course), but suffice it to say that I was not expecting this latest concept for how to incorporate the character into a film to be anything special.  Sure, I was intrigued by the idea of going way back and seeing what they can do with a story about Vlad the Impaler, but this really is not that film.  Dracula Untold is more or less an excuse to provide another brooding period action hero, which has been currently in style since Russell Crowe in Gladiator (see: 300 and Ridley Scott’s other recent period films).  This time the gimmick relies on brooding action guy being a vampire with awesome powers.  There does not end up being a whole lot of weight or excitement in this film, but it looks visually interesting at times and at least it was only 92 minutes.

Out Now Bonus: Horror Special 2 – The 50s & 60s


Time for round 2.  The horror bonus episodes continue, as Aaron is joined by Naptown Nerd’s Brandon Peters, Starpulse’s Jason Colman, and JoBlo’s Jimmy O to discuss horror films during the 1950s and 60s.  This time period revolves around more movie monsters and Hammer Horror, how the atomic age and the Cold War became a factor, the works of Vincent Price and William Castle, the big changes taking place in the 60s, which included the shift into the supernatural-themed horror, the early days of slasher films coming from some great filmmakers, and plenty more, which the guys try to get all into.  It is another fun episode and stay tuned for next week, when the guys talk entirely about 70s horror, when things get experimental, bloodier, and grittier.

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…


‘Whiplash’ Most Certainly Hit The Tempo I Wanted (Movie Review)

Whiplash:  4 ½ out of 5

Fletcher:  You want the part?  Then earn it.

Being a great drummer is clearly no easy feat.  One would not think a young jazz musician wanting to play drum at a music school would be the source for a gripping thriller, but then again, writer/director Damien Chazelle was responsible for writing the film Grand Piano, which was a thriller about a man forced to play the piano (or else!).  That in mind, Whiplash is not a guilty pleasure take on a Hitchcockian thriller; it is an intensely focused drama that matches its ace lead performances with striking cinematic visuals to deliver a pretty fantastic film.  This is a film that pushes its characters to their limits, in an effort to show what it means to be talented, passionate, and transfixed by getting something exactly right.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

St. Vincent The Familiar (Movie Review)

St. Vincent:  3 ½ out of 5

Vincent:  I’m showing him how the world works.

At its best, St. Vincent is a solid comedy-drama that features Bill Murray working at the best of his abilities as an actor to convey the sadness behind the guise of a smartass who has had a rough decline in later life.  When the film does not work as well, it is because writer/director Theodore Melfi relies on a proven formula to do the work for him, despite the tonal balance one must carefully work with in order to succeed.  Even with the problems in mind though, St. Vincent succeeds overall thanks to the casting of Murray and the nice level of chemistry he has with the cast around him, even if they are all on the path of a paint-by-numbers plot.

Alexander’s ‘Very Bad Day’ Is Harmless Fun (Movie Review)

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day:  3 out of 5

Emily Cooper:  This day is so cursed.

Initially, I think I was more interested in how I would be writing the title of this film for the review, rather than what I was hoping to get out of actually seeing it.  I have settled on ‘Alexander’ or ‘ATHNGVBD,’ but really, I am happy to write about this actual film as well, because it is harmless fun.  Adapting a feature length film from a 32-page children’s novel can only lead to so much success, depending on who is involved, but Rob Lieber’s script manages to extend the novel’s idea into a fun family comedy that does not celebrate the misfortune of Alexander and his family, but instead embraces the optimism required to hold a family together, despite the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad things that happen to them.  As a result, the film works both as a broad comedy and as a family comedy with good things to take away from it.

Here Comes ‘The Judge’ (Movie Review)

The Judge: 2 out of 5

Judge Joseph Palmer:  Are you asking if you can represent me?

There is a scene in The Judge that features the big city lawyer and his estranged father having a huge argument during a violent wind storm.  It is just one of the many scenes that really want to hammer home the emotions on display.  Despite featuring a solid cast and moments where they can shine, The Judge is a film that goes way overboard, when it comes to spelling out exactly how an audience should feel.  Not helping is the very sentimental screenplay that must have read, “Go big,” at the end of a good majority of the scenes, as a note to both the actors and director.  The film is a huge pile of clichés that seem to have been filmed in an effort to rake in awards consideration for the two acting Roberts featured.  It is the kind of contrived courtroom drama that is designed to get an obvious audience response, despite a lack of any sort of real weight behind the film.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 166: Gone Girl


This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe features guests Peter Paras and Just Seen It’s Aaron Fink stopping by to talk Gone Girl.  Among topics covered, this episode features a fun round of Know Everybody (5:22), some Out Now Quickies™ (10:51), Trailer talk for Inherent Vice (17:45), the main review of course (23:22), Out Now Feedback (1:08:37), a fun Game (1:29:35), What’s Out Now (1:36:37), and some Bloopers following this week’s close out song (1:43:39).  So now, if you’ve got an hour or so to kill…

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Out Now Bonus: Horror Special 1 – The Early Years


So it begins! Thanks to some prodding by Joblo.com’s Jimmy O, we were inspired to do something special with the podcast for the month of October.  The idea is to release a new bonus episode every Friday this month, in an effort to cover the various decades of horror.  For this first week, Aaron is joined by Naptown Nerd’s Brandon Peters and Starpulse’s Jason Colman to discuss horror films up to the 1940s.  This of course revolves around the silent film era, the early days of Universal’s Monster Movies, famed horror legends from that time, the many sequels and remakes that came during that time, and more.  We sort of jumped in head first on this podcast concept and ended up having a lot of fun the first time around, so we hope you enjoy and stay tuned for next week’s episode: Hammer, Sci-Fi & Price in 3-D!

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…


‘Annabelle’ And Her Pasadena Dream House (Movie Review)

Annabelle:  1 ½ out of 5

Annabelle:  I like your doll.

Annabelle is the cinematic equivalent of, “who cares,” which I was tempted to write as the lone words to describe my thoughts on the film.  There is nothing offensively bad about this film, but there is really just nothing here.  With very few original ideas and the amount of story that could be seen as a twenty minute short that serves as an opener to The Conjuring 2: Still Conjuring, Annabelle is unfortunately the kind of film that will serve its true purpose, which is to take in more earnings based solely on the success of the film that inspired it.  The bonus for this film is that it can achieve mild praise from the teens that have never seen the horror movies it is ripping off, aside from Insidious, which is a much better film, as far as taking from the old and making new again, before similarly being saddled with an inferior follow-up.  But yeah, I will see how much more I can write about this ‘who cares’ film.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Gone Girl, Hello Affleck Armpit


He Showed His What? Did Somebody Think Of The Children?!

In a surprising bit of news this week, David Fincher’s Gone Girl not only reveals the acclaimed Gillian Flynn novel in cinematic form, it reveals flesh of its lead star Ben Affleck.  The future Batman showed audiences more than they were expecting, when it came time to portray the Nick Dunne character in the process of slightly moving around, leading to the brief exposure of his under arm area, commonly referred to as ‘the armpit’.  This news comes curtsey of several thousand users on Twitter, who were treated to early screenings of the film, only to be shocked by the Bounce star’s true commitment to the role, requiring him to present himself as an indifferent male that has recently discovered his wife was missing.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

‘Gone Girl’ Is Wicked Fun (Movie Review)

Gone Girl:  4 ½ out of 5

Tanner Bolt: Whatever they found, I think it’s safe to assume that it’s very bad.

Part mystery-thriller, part sly commentary, Gone Girl finds director David Fincher working hard to bring Gillian Flynn’s bestselling novel to life.  The result is a very entertaining feature that is able to straddle the line of darkness thanks to its many twists and turns, strong performances, a great amount of dark humor, and the sort of technical excellence expected from David Fincher and his crew.  For whatever reason, just because this film seems to stem from the more serious, prestigious side of Hollywood, many want to stack it next to its Oscar potential.  I do not quite see that, but what I did see was a modern film imbued with the spirit of pulpy crime novels, resulting in a fine example of what can come out of Hollywood, when a great amount of talent is involved and put to good use.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 165: The Boxtrolls


This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe features Leah Ducey and Taylor Vaughn joining in with the boys to talk The Boxtrolls.  Among topics covered, this episode features a fun round of Know Everybody (5:27), some Out Now Quickies™ (8:18), Trailer talk for Big Eyes (17:05), the main review of course (24:23), Out Now Feedback (52:36), a fun Game (1:02:17), What’s Out Now (1:08:48), and some Bloopers following this week’s close out song (1:15:44).  So now, if you’ve got an hour or so to kill…


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