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Friday, March 30, 2012

Those Wrathing, Clashing ‘Titans’ Are At It Again

Wrath of the Titans:  3 out of 5
Hades:  You sweating like a human, brother.  Next, it will be tears.
I think there is a certain amount of humor in the fact that Wrath of the Titans is essentially a take-two on this movie series.  Wrath was certainly felt in regards to the 2010 film (which was in no way helped by the 3D that was then used as the key example of bad usage of the format to compare other films to).  Now we have the sequel to a film that doesn’t seem to have much high regard, yet made a huge box office splash during its release.  For being a sequel, Wrath is certainly an improvement.  It follows a lot of familiar sequel tropes, which involves being bigger and badder, yet retreading a lot of the same plot beats from the first film.  Fortunately, the key element is that this film is more fun than the first, which is good, because I did enjoy the idea of remaking the original 1981 Clash of the Titans, but was disappointed with what came out of that.  Wrath of the Titans may not become a cheesy classic like the original Clash, but at least its decent matinee fun.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 50 – The Hunger Games

And here it is, Episode 50!  This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe is recorded in front of a live audience; voiced in color; presented in 3D (so I hope everyone has their special Out Now Glasses), full of surprises (including evil twins and crazy plot twists), and we announce a brand new contest (with a sweet prize).  Also, someone will die at the end of the episode.  Joining Aaron and Abe in this fun filled episode are Jordan Grout and Liz Manashil, who will be helping to review The Hunger Games.  There is also the inclusion of all the favorite segments – “Know Everybody”, “Instead or Because Of”, “Trailer Talk” (we talk about a lot of trailers this time around), Box Office results, games, and some other fun stuff.  As mentioned, this is our 50th episode, so listen up and pay attention for the various bits of banter, announcements made, and additional Easter eggs and bloopers.

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

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Bonus Episode – Audio Commentary for Clash of the Titans

Time for another Bonus Commentary Episode!  For whatever reason, Aaron and Abe have decided to spend more time adding their thoughts over films that they felt like watching together, along with a couple guests – Jordan Grout and Jim Dietz.  Say what you will about how much one learns during these commentaries, but at least they manage to have a good time watching the film, despite the many tangents they go on.  Anyway, if you happen to have access to the original 1981 Clash of the Titans or feel like listening to random chatter about the movie, without actually watching it, here is one way to do so.

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…

Monday, March 26, 2012

‘The Raid’ Is An Insane Action Experience

The Raid: Redemption = 4 ½ out of 5
Tama:  Good morning everyone.  We have some guests trawling the halls today.  Now go to work.  And please enjoy yourself!
Encompassing a lot of my thoughts for how awesome The Raid was can be simply brought down to saying that during my viewing of the film, following yet another incredibly well filmed, well choreographed action sequence, my friend announced that he was sweating.  It was humorous, but appropriate, as the film is so exhausting, yet riveting to watch; so intense, yet satisfying to see the action taking place; and so simplistic in setup, yet so rewarding in regards to seeing filmmakers deliver an enjoyable film, that taking a second to make a statement about one’s awareness is really the only way to keep one from getting too involved and ending up hitting someone yourself.  Ok, so maybe the film isn’t crazy and immersive enough to make someone do something that stupid, but The Raid is easily one of the finest action films to grace screens in quite some time.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Hunger Games Are On Like Donkey Kong

The Hunger Games:  4 out of 5

Katniss Everdeen:  Wanna see what I got you today?  It's a mockingjay pin.  As long as you have it, nothing bad will happen to you.  I promise.

It seems like The Hunger Games could have easily been a huge disaster waiting to happen, regardless of the monetary success it becomes in its opening weekend.  The film is based on another popular book series, geared more towards a teenage audience, featuring a familiar narrative, with a romantic angle added on to boot.  We are already seeing crowds go wild and chanting things such as, “Team Peeta,” which could easily come off as nonsense to those unfamiliar.  Thankfully, this heavily anticipated film is pretty damn entertaining.  Given the strong lead performance, solid handle on bringing the source material alive, and maintaining a certain level of excitement throughout, I was very happy to be thoroughly pleased by the results and more interested in reading the other two books in this series.  Now regardless of whether or not one has read the books, I think there is a lot to enjoy in this film, especially given the crazy amount of hype it has to live up to.  Some flaws aside, this could be the start of a new franchise that is both well crafted and worthy of such high fan reaction.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 49 – 21 Jump Street and Casa De Mi Padre

This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe is actually subtitled during one of our reviews.  Well that is not entirely true, but Aaron, Abe, and guest Gerard Iribe do take part in reviewing not one, but two comedies – 21 Jump Street, starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, and Casa De Mi Padre, starring Will Ferrell.  The regular segments follow as well, including “Know Everybody”, trailer talk (Dark Shadows and Prometheus), box office results, “Instead or Because of”, some games, as well as some brief discussion of WonderCon 2012, which Aaron was part of on the weekend of this recording.  It’s another packed episode indeed.

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

Casa De Mi Padre Is A Decently Funny Experiment

Casa De Mi Padre:  2 ½ out of 5
DEA Agent Parker:  Do.  You.  Speak American?
Armando Alvarez:  No sir.  I don't speak American.
I have got to hand it to Will Ferrell.  In recent times, it seems like some have soured on some of his antics, which can happen to a lot of comedic stars who make a lot of movies that can be generally categorized in a similar way.  I like Will Ferrell quite a bit, he makes me genuinely laugh, but more importantly, while it may not seem immediately apparent to some, he takes a lot of chances with his films.  One can point to some of his roles and see a lot of the same elements shining through, but beyond some of the goofiness that he exudes (which, again, continues to make me laugh), there are some interesting choices being made.  The one that provides the subject for this review is his Spanish language film, Casa de Mi Padre, a passion project of sorts, which has been independently financed and put out in limited release.  It is not a great film, but I did laugh quite a bit during it and admired this weird, experimental parody of telenovelas.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sex, Drugs, Car Chases – It’s Not High School, It’s ’21 Jump Street’

21 Jump Street:  4 out of 5
Jenko:  Always one strap it.  Always
So anyone that was hoping for the dark and gritty reboot of the 80s undercover cop drama 21 Jump Street in the same way that Michael Mann rebooted Miami Vice, they will be disappointed with what has actually been made.  Instead, this is a delightfully funny and wild take on that material, which is like a crack-addicted blend between John Hughes and Lethal Weapon.  This new take on 21 Jump Street maintains the same basic premise of assigning cops to undercover roles as high school kids, but ups the raunchy factor significantly.  The film is at times crude, but also a lot cleverer and more self aware than one would expect.  It is entertaining in a wonderfully over-the-top sort of way, with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum making for a great comedic team.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 48 – John Carter

This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe takes us to the fourth rock from the sun, as Aaron, Abe, and guests Scott Mendelson and Jordan Grout all take part in a fairly lengthy discussion of John Carter.  Lots to talk about and the review certainly is hefty.  Also lengthy are discussions of the trailers for Men in Black 3 and Finding Nemo 3D.  The usual segments follow as well, including “Know Everybody”, box office results and predictions, deciding what to watch with “Instead or Because of”, and some games and other fun.  Plenty of talk, plenty of tangents, and Jordan certainly has more to say about this film than Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds.  And also stay tuned at the end to hear some slight spoiler talk as well.

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

Friday, March 9, 2012

‘Silent House’ Is One Long Shot Of Suspense

Silent House:  3 out of 5
Sarah:  Dad, I just thought I heard something upstairs…
There were two films that hit at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, which featured rising star Elizabeth Olsen.  One was the tense, but quiet thriller, Martha Marcy May Marlene, and the other is a remake of the Uruguayan, Spanish-language horror film, La Casa Muda, known as Silent House.  What makes the original and this remake unique is that both films were designed to portray one continuous shot throughout its entire running time.  Quite the feat to achieve, for sure, and whether or not the films have actually been done in one entire take or not, whatever edits there could be are certainly very few and far between, which is a stunning technical achievement in itself.  Additionally, the film gets points for being a suspenseful experience and once showing once again that Elizabeth Olsen is a young force to be reckoned with.  It is a neat take two for an experimental type of film, regardless of similar narrative problems.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

‘John Carter’ – Get Your Ass To Mars

John Carter:  4 out of 5
Dejah Thoris: You, are, John Carter of Earth?
John Carter: Yes M’am.
Well I had fun with this space jam.  It must be tough for guys like James Cameron, George Lucas, or in this case - director Andrew Stanton, who work years on end to deliver a passion project of theirs, but have so much negative thought put into whether it will succeed or not based on early impressions.  I am not sure how John Carter will do in its opening weekend and I am not sure how the majority of the population will react to it, but I had fun; warts and all.  While the story rides the line between being too old fashioned and too involved, given the lack of a clear backstory build up, I really admired the spectacle that was presented.  I found this to be a fun sci-fi yarn, full of inventive visuals, a handful of interesting characters, and some well-staged action.  It has a few flaws, but it plays well enough as an old tale finally brought to life on the big screen.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 47 – The Lorax and The Secret World of Arrietty

This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe is a double episode of family oriented fun.  Aaron and Abe are joined by Just Seen It’s Liz Manashil and Leah Ducey (for basically an extended cameo, yeah!) to discuss a couple trailers (Piranha 3DD and Frankenweenie) and to review Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax and Studio Ghibli’s The Secret World of Arrietty.  The group also has time for the other segments, including “Know Everybody”, “Instead Or Because Of”, box office results, and of games.  Got a lot done, with plenty of things to cover, in wonderful animated detail.

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

Saturday, March 3, 2012

‘The Lorax’ Is Certainly A Colorful Film...

The Lorax:  2 ½ out of 5
The Once-ler:  Little did I know, I had just summoned a mystical creature as old as time itself.  The legendary, slightly annoying, Lorax.
I was kind of excited about this one.  That’s saying something in my eyes, as I have yet to really enjoy a full length Dr. Seuss feature film.  How the Grinch Stole Christmas was pretty forgettable, I try not to talk about The Cat in the Hat, and Horton Hears a Who was a step in the right direction, but they all suffer from the same problem.  Dr. Seuss’ books simply were not really meant to be stretched into 90-minute films.  Sure one could feasibly write enough new material to keep things interesting, but that still has not really worked.  The Lorax is the latest attempt at this, but once again, I found myself quite bored with the attempt at making this film last longer than it needed to.  It didn’t help that the musical numbers, which there are quite a few of, were fairly uninteresting, let alone the fact that two of the lead actors are singers that didn’t sing.  I was also kind of missing out on learning more about the title character, who only appears so much in this film.  There was a certain amount of charm that I thought could be had with The Lorax, but unfortunately, it did not pan out as well as I was hoping; though it is a brightly animated experience.

Way Too Much Monkey Business In ‘Project X’

Project X:  2 out of 5
Thomas:  This is way more than 50 people.
Costa:  Of course it is; it’s plus one.
I tend to dislike the reviews where I feel like I have to write about the qualifiers needed to justify where I am coming from on certain films.  Project X, for example, is a film that is seemingly designed to be enjoyed by the teenage boy crowd, despite being an incredibly hard-R rated film full of debauchery throughout (that description would have saved space for the poster and the MPAA, by the way).  I can say I went in open-minded, as, behind the scenes, there are a number of people involved that made this project more intriguing to me.  Coming out of it, beyond a few chuckles here and there, there is not really much for me to recommend to the paying movie-going public that couldn’t be found in other, better films or on the internet for other…obvious reasons.  Take away the gimmick of making this a ‘found footage’ film and all you have is an unoriginal, tepid, and fairly mean-spirited film that provides plenty in the way of raunchiness, but not much else.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Borrow A Pass And Enter ‘The Secret World Of Arrietty’

The Secret World of Arrietty:  4 out of 5
Arietty: Human beings are dangerous.  If we're seen, we have to leave.  My parents said so.
The Secret World of Arrietty is a charming and wonderfully detailed animated film.  This is an anime that has come out of Studio Ghibli, which is way more focused on delivering a relaxed story and providing plenty of details through its wonderful hand-drawn animation, than flooding the eyes of its viewers with non-stop wackiness and forced jokes.  Now that isn’t to say that this is some sort of animated prestige picture, but it is a film that differs from most mainstream fare.  In any case, it is a fine, low-key, but wonderfully made animated feature that is fortunately a part of a fairly-wide theatrical release.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Bonus Episode – Oscar Results

This special bonus episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe is all about the Oscar results.  Well that’s not entirely true, special guest Jordan Grout joins Aaron and Abe to discuss his thoughts on Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds (someone had to), but after that, the group then dives into what took place on Oscar night.  Not a lot of frill to this episode, just enough to let everyone know how good or bad these guys were at predicting this year’s winners.  And who doesn’t like getting bonus episodes?

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


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