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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 46 – Wanderlust and Oscar Predictions

This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe has a review and an elongated segment devoted to what is now old news.  Aaron, Abe, and special guests Mark Hobin and Mark Johnson spend time reviewing the Paul Rudd/Jennifer Aniston comedy Wanderlust.  Later on, the group goes over their Oscar predictions for the Academy Awards (this was recorded the morning of).  There will be a bonus episode that goes over the results, which should be released shortly after this episode.  And the other segments are around as well, including “Know Everybody”, Trailer Talk (The Dictator and Casa De Mi Padre), and box office results.  Were we to have planned better, we would have already released a predictions segment, but we’re not, so here it is anyway.

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

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Set Yourself Free For A Laugh With ‘Wanderlust’

Wanderlust:  3 ½ out of 5
Wayne Davidson: My name's Wayne by the way. I'm a nudist.
George: Oh yes, we noticed your penis earlier.
I do like it when I laugh a lot during a comedy.  The funny thing about this film is that I did laugh a lot during it, yet it is hard for me to say that I really loved it.  I liked it for sure, it has Paul Rudd being incredibly charming, smarmy, and just plain silly, along with a very talented supporting cast; all with moments to shine.  The film is also just plain bizarre at times, fitting in having little moments that I can appreciate based on my own tastes.  Still, even as a smile remained on my face, the structure of this film has its faults, not feeling like a seamless experience, as it reaches its inevitable plot beats.  Were the premise to be strong enough to go somewhere more interesting, this film could have relied on more than just humorous moments from its cast, but as it stands, it does provide enough humorous moments from the cast, which is just fine.

Friday, February 24, 2012

‘Act of Valor’ - Rated M For Mature

Act of Valor:  2 ½ out of 5
Frag Out!
Last year my title for the film review of Battle: LA stated that you may need a video game controller in order to watch it.  With Act of Valor, it seems more like a supplement to playing a video game.  If you were to become tired of playing Modern Warfare or Battlefield, then Act of Valor is easily a way of keeping that emotional state alive.  For a film that is based around authenticity of the actions taken by the actual active duty U.S. Navy SEALs, it is certainly just as concerned as looking like a slick video game come to life.  The big difference is that this film is clearly working on a lower budget and lacks some of the visual panache that is more easily achieved by experienced action directors.  Still, Act of Valor does contain a lot of harrowing action sequences, glued together by a plot that is a straight procedural and entirely inconsequential.  Regardless of the intentions of this film (which started out as a recruitment film in early stages), if one desires a flurry of explosive action that is slightly more realistic than average, this is that film.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Midnight InCeption

The summers of 2010 and 2011 have provided me with two films that, on the surface, have very little in common with one another; however, after some careful consideration, I have found many intriguing similarities between the two.  I am speaking of 2010’s Inception, written and directed by Christopher Nolan, and 2011’s Midnight in Paris, written and directed by Woody Allen.  These films are unlikely allies, because, in a broad sense, they are both very concerned with the concept of dreams.  Both films contain a somewhat multi-layered approach to their concepts and story and were met with much success both critically and financially.  It would seem audiences were on board for multifaceted thinking in the case of both a blockbuster film and a low key “art house” comedy.  Regardless, I had a simple goal in mind, which I hope properly puts forth how I wanted to turn a single idea into an in-depth article concerning two films I greatly admire. [Major spoilers for both films, beyond this point]

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 45 – Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe finds the duo (along with guests Jordan Grout and Alan Aguilera) dealing with vengeance, as the rider has come to claim his souls.  Ghost Rider: The Spirit of Vengeance is the main film review for this week and there’s nothing like a big dose of Cage Rage to get things going.  Of course all of the regular segments are here as well, including “Know Everybody”, Trailer Talk (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Lockout), box office results, retro reviews, and there is even time for some games.  This episode is hotter than a flaming skull.

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

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Double Shot Of The Punisher

So after watching Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, I figured I would revisit Punisher: War Zone, as I was very much reminded of that film.  Having done that, I've decided to put up my original review of that film, which is a little bit more crudely written, as many of my early reviews are.  As a bonus, I've also put up in my review for the 2004 Punisher staring Tom Jane as well.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

‘Ghost Rider’ Blazes Through A Frenetic Sequel

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance:  I don’t know what star rating best applies, so I’ll say 3 out of 5
Johnny Blaze: This thing... There's no conscience, just hunger. The Rider's gonna come out. And when he does, he'll destroy whoever's got it coming.
Let’s start off with an obscure reference – The tagline for the mid-90s comic book film, The Phantom was “Slam Evil”.  In Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Johnny Blaze, aka The Rider, doesn’t just slam evil, he literally sucks it in, chews on it, spits it out, then gives you the finger, as he drives off on his Hellcycle.  Let it be said right now, if you’re seeking a film full of constant clarity and touches of nuance, this sequel to (the inferior) Ghost Rider will not be for you.  However, if you want a film that has Nic Cage dialed to 11 and pissing fire, Idris Elba as a drunken French priest going on shooting rampages, and the Highlander himself – Christopher Lambert as a tattooed monk with a long scimitar, then this new Ghost Rider film, from the directing duo behind the Crank films, is one you may want to check out.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 44 – Safe House

This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe puts the gang on the run, after their secure location is raided by evil forces from the outside.  Aaron, Abe, and guest Gerard Iribe are talking about the Denzel Washington/Ryan Reynolds action/thriller Safe House and also manage to save some time for a mini-review about the new, limited-release horror film from director Ti West, The Innkeepers.  The group also manages to fit in the regular segments as well, including “Know Everybody”, Trailer Talk (The Amazing Spider-man and The Bourne Legacy), (epic) Box Office results, retro reviews, and some games.  Hopefully the second house remained safe enough for these guys to record the whole thing.

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

Monday, February 13, 2012

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Bonus Episode – Audio Commentary for Ghost Rider

Yep, they did it.  In what may be one of the worst episodes (or best) of Out Now with Aaron and Abe, the gang actually sat down and watched Ghost Rider to record a commentary for a bonus episode.  Aaron and Abe are joined by guests Ken Noffsinger and Jordan Grout for what was more like an endurance round, as the gang sat back and “enjoyed” what was the Nic Cage-starring ‘soon-to-be-superhero classic’ Ghost Rider.  Making things even better, Jordan was watching the extended cut, while the rest of us watched the theatrical, so plenty of fun in that respect.  One probably doesn’t even need to actually watch Ghost Rider, while listening to this, but if you can find a copy (unfortunately it is not streaming on Netflix), or even if you don’t, you may be able to get some joy out of listening to this track.

Important Note:  This commentary features 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, February 11, 2012

A ‘Safe House’ Built Of Rookies, Rogue Agents, And Bloodshed

Safe House: 3 out of 5
Tobin Frost: Remember rule number one: you are responsible for your house guest. I'm your house guest.
Safe House has a lot of elements that should make it a pretty good watch.  A first rate cast, a solid story setup, and an “R” rating earned through the use of non-gratuitous violence, are all aspects that had me excited from the trailer alone.  For the most part, this film delivered just that, but something still seemed to be missing.  Despite the presence of an intense and pretty badass Denzel Washington, Safe House felt a bit lacking at times, in terms of giving me something more to chew on.  At other times, it felt a lot like other movies I had previously seen.  These aspects in mind, I still think it worked well overall in delivering a pretty violent and gritty, but good looking action picture, which is sometimes all really one can ask for.

‘Journey 2’ Features Mysterious Island Lizards, Rocks, and Caines

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island:  2 ½ out of 5
Alexander:  I’m going to show you something that will take your breath away.
It is nice to set up goals for yourself.  For example, I happened to have three goals for the New Year:  see Michael Cain ride on a giant bumblebee, watch The Rock bounce berries off his chest, and find out if a giant electric eel can power a submarine (all of that is true, yes).  With Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, I managed to achieve all of those goals at once and there was still plenty of time to see baby elephants, volcanoes full of gold, and the lost city of Atlantis (all in eye-popping 3D, no less).  Look, this is not a movie that is meant to be taken very seriously and for 90 minutes (following a pretty great, new Looney Tunes short) I did manage to get a decent amount of entertainment out of this film.  Dwayne Johnson just has too much damn charm and is considerably less sweaty than he was in Fast Five.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 43 – Chronicle

This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe finds four young men happening upon a bright light in the dead of night and experiencing something great.  This is of course referring to the brightness of their computer monitors, as Aaron, Abe, and guests Jordan from Jersey and Alan Aguilera all share their thoughts on the super-powered “found footage” film Chronicle.  Along with that, the gang discusses some movie trailers (Project X and Silent House), has some fun with “Know Everybody”, and follows through with the other regular segments as well, such as box office results, and the retro reviews.  It’s a show recorded late at night, but everyone is more than game to play along, using telekinesis or otherwise…

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

Ralph Fiennes’ ‘Coriolanus’ + Modern Warfare

Coriolanus:  4 out of 5
Coriolanus:  Nature teaches beasts to know their friends.
I am a fan of actor Ralph Fiennes.  I enjoy stories involving Greek tragedies.  And I tend to like films that reappropriate the works of Shakespeare in interesting ways.  I found the concept of having Ralph Fiennes star in his directorial debut of the Shakespeare tragedy Coriolanus, which has been set in modern times, despite retaining the Shakespearean dialogue, to be an intriguing one.  Fortunately, it paid off greatly for me and those who would be similarly interested in such a thing.  While the modern setting makes way for some pretty stylish action sequences early on, the film is mainly a powerhouse of acting, with characters digging into the usage of iambic pentameter, and delivering fine work all around.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

‘Chronicle’ Shows The Morality Of Superpowers On A Budget

Chronicle:  4 out of 5
[While flying]
Matt:  It’s cold up here!
If Superman: The Movie made you believe a man could fly, Chronicle will make you believe that three boys can hold their own up in the air as well.  Chronicle is a pretty entertaining story about a group of high school kids that discover superpowers.  That the film has the added quality of being shot by way of camcorders, cell phones, security cameras, and news footage is an interesting route to take.  Setting the film up as a “found footage” flick does suggest some gimmickry is at play, especially when justifying the presence of the camera at times, but the joy of seeing a fresh take on what is both a superhero and supervillain origin story, made on a small budget, makes it worthwhile.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Harry Potter And ‘The Woman In Black’

The Woman In Black: 3 ½ out of 5
Sam:  If we open the door to superstition, where does that lead?
I kid around in my title, but really, when you are the lead in one of the most popular film franchises of all time and now star in a completely different film, it is hard not to call attention to this fact.  Daniel Radcliffe stars in an old fashioned horror film (actually produced by Hammer Film Productions), that is steeped in effective atmosphere and does a lot right, without having to resort to blood and gore, in place of actual scares.  The story is very simple (which is common in Hammer Horror films), with fairly predictable plot beats and scares, and when the film is not trying to scare you, it is basically trying to depress you, but with all that in mind, it is a solid effort in regards to haunted house/ghost stories.

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 42 – The Grey

This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe sees the boys stranded out in the cold and intense wilderness, as they are discussing the new Liam Neeson survival drama, The Grey.  Joining the duo, also in from the cold and intense wilderness of Park City, Utah, is Adam Gentry, who unfortunately did not catch up with The Grey, but did get to attend both the Slamdance and the Sundance Film Festival.  So Aaron and Abe cover The Grey, Adam talks about some of the films he got to see, and the trio have some fun with the other segments of the show as well, including “know everybody”, trailer talk (Act of Valor and Wrath of the Titans), some retro reviews, box office results, and other fun stuff.  Liam Neeson would be proud.

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


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