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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ted Is A Pretty Fuzzin’ Funny Movie

Ted:  4 out of 5
Ted:  I look like Snuggles' accountant.
I laughed a lot during Ted.  It sits next to 21 Jumps Street for me, currently, as the best pure comedy of 2012.  It is a high-concept comedy that could have easily worn itself out, coming off more as an extended Saturday Night Live sketch, but it doesn’t.  Ted, while profane and raunchy at times, also bothers to give a damn about its characters, which results in a film that is fun to watch, for sure, but also has enough heart and actual respect for the people involved that it works quite well as a film.  It should come as no surprise that the movie features plenty of filthy and offensive jokes, but the real shocker should be the amount of care that went into making the lead characters likable.  Also, bears are funny.

The Exotic Adventures Of ‘Magic Mike’ Part 1: The Tampa Strip

Magic Mike: 3 ½ out of 5
Mike:  Women, money, and a good time…
Within the past year, director Steven Soderbergh has directed three very different films.  First was the biological disaster drama, Contagion; then there was the throwback action flick, Haywire; and now we have Magic Mike, a comedy-drama based around a group of male strippers in Tampa, Florida.  One thing is for sure, Soderbergh likes to dabble in different genres.  Given that I like to follow along with directors I admire and the fact that the last male-stripper movie I saw was The Full Monty, which is a film I really enjoy, there really seemed to be no reason for me not to want to see Magic Mike.  So I went to a screening, which was a packed theater, full of women, ready to see a bunch of hunky guys dance around on stage.  True to expectations, Magic Mike was more than just colorful exploitation, as it used its likable cast to provide a film that had humor and drama…along with assless chaps.

Friday, June 29, 2012

‘People Like Us’ Is Sentimental Stuff

People Like Us:  2 ½ out of 5
Sam:  It’s a $150,000 and I’m supposed to give it to some woman and kid that I’ve never met.
I really don’t have anything against this movie for what it tries to be.  Given that someone already went ahead and called pull quote credit by proclaiming People Like Us as “The feel good movie of the summer,” I get the feeling that anyone that is going into this movie will probably have a good idea as to what to expect.  It is a simple story that is full of sentiment and characters that don’t reveal all of the info they have to others, even though everything would be cleared up in a matter of minutes if they were to do so.  The film is well cast, but everyone gets their moment with monologues delivered, while on the verge of tears.  It does have some clever moments and other factors that make it decent, but it is also overlong and quite flashy in its filmmaking.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 62 – Brave and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe answers a very simple question: what do Brave and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter have in common?  Besides the graphic nudity seen in both, it is the fact that they are the subject of this week’s episode.  Featuring guests Mark Hobin, Maxwell Haddad, and Markus Robinson, Aaron and Abe get plenty to discuss involving these films, as well as the regular segments – “Know Everybody”, “Trailer Talk” (Monster’s University and Wreck-It Ralph), “Movie Call Back”, games, and other good stuff.  Plus, we announce another contest that is very simple to enter.

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

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Take A Walk On The ‘Beasts Of The Southern Wild’ Side

Beasts of the Southern Wild:  4 out of 5
Hushpuppy: I see that I am a little piece of a big, big universe, and that makes it right.
I went into Beasts of the Southern Wild with no idea as to what I was going to see.  I had only heard about it being very well received at Sundance and Cannes, but little in the way of what the film was actually about.  Vague descriptions used key words like “fantasy” and “Katrina”, but I still did not have much of an “in”, before sitting in my seat getting to watch the film for myself.  To my delight, ‘Beasts’ turned out to be one of the most unique films I have seen this year.  With elements of Spielberg and Terry Gilliam, combined with the use of a sort of documentary-style grittiness, the film is creative, affecting, and nontraditional in many ways.  ‘Beasts’ deals with what it takes to be a survivor and how to handle grief, but serves as a fable of sorts as well, with a great performance from the young girl at the center of the story.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Woody Allen Meanders ‘To Rome’

To Rome With Love: 2 ½ out of 5
Jerry:  You know you married a very bright guy.  I’ve got a 150/160 I.Q.
Phyllis:  You’re figuring it in Euros.
It is kind of fun to reference To Rome with Love as “this year’s Woody Allen film”.  Allen seemingly works non-stop, releasing new films on a near yearly basis and has a pretty strong batting average overall that most other filmmakers would kill to have.  Especially given his creative freedom, Allen has enjoyed plenty of success, but that also tends to find him running hot and cold at times.  To Rome with Love feels like “lesser Allen”.  It’s certainly not “bad Allen”, as the film has plenty of enjoyable aspects to it, but especially after coming off of the very warm reception from Midnight in Paris (Review, Essay), this film felt problematic.  There’s a new locale and a strong cast, but the film has issues with how to utilize its assets and ends up lighthearted, but overwritten and messy.

Friday, June 22, 2012

‘Lincoln’ Lincoln, What You Thinkin’, Those Vampires Have Blood They’re Drinkin’

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter:  2 ½ out of 5
Henry Sturges: There is darkness everywhere! You are not the only one who has lost everything.
There is a certain level of expectancy when seeing a movie like this.  I was first made aware of this bizarre sounding mash-up idea a little over a year ago.  The film is based on a book by Seth Grahame-Smith (who also served as the film’s screenwriter), which became a bestseller.  I read the book based on recommendations and obvious intrigue, due to the fact that it’s called Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and I found it to be a really interesting read in the way it told a tale that involved vampires, while clearly being well-researched in the way it tied story elements into historical events.  Unfortunately, the film represents little that was seen in the book, which would not be a bad thing, except for the fact that the movie is not very good on its own.  There is some fun to be had in the campy/stylized way the vampire hunting action is portrayed, but all of the other clunky aspects make it feel like just another generic action movie that happens to be set in a particular time period, with a layer of the supernatural to help distinguish it.

I Found Joy During ‘Seeking A Friend’

Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World:  4 ½ out of 5
Roache:  The sky is falling.
Sometimes I just really like it when things work out the way I expect them to.  In the lead up to Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, I had a pretty exact image of what my response was going to be upon seeing the film and it ended up being more or less everything that I wanted out of it.  Should that sully my feelings toward it, given that I predicted my own reaction to the film?  I don’t think so.  Should I be disappointed that the film did not surprise me by going in a different direction than what I expected?  I don’t think so either.  I was initially intrigued by the film based on the setup and who was involved and got what I wanted.  Seeking a Friend’ presents a premise that is inherently dark, but adds on some sensibilities of a romantic comedy and a likable cast, which makes it a rewarding film to see.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Pixar’s Princess Learns How To Be ‘Brave’

Brave: 4 out of 5
Princess Merida: If you had a chance to change your fate, would you?
It is interesting how this year’s feature from Pixar is both somewhat of a departure, yet also a familiar story that they are attempting to tell.  Brave, first and foremost, is an enjoyable film, which manages to provide a story that is humorous, exciting, and fitted with some emotional stakes that seem true to Pixar form.  What makes it both different by Pixar standards, yet familiar as well, is the fact that it stands more closely to being a traditional Disney film, featuring a princess character who makes particular choices and is forced to tackle a life-changing adventure, to an extent.  The result is a film that eventually heads down a path with an inevitable conclusion, while also meeting the acceptable requirements of servicing a strong, lead female character, and providing a strong mother-daughter relationship tale.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 61 – Moonrise Kingdom

This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe finds the group dissecting the idiosyncrasies of Wes Anderson’s latest quirky feature, Moonrise Kingdom.  Aaron and Abe are joined by guests Liz Manashil and Leah Ducey to discuss said film, as well as provide plenty of discussion in the form of (sort of) entertaining, film-related banter.  The other normal segments are intact as well, including “Know Everybody”, “Trailer Talk” (Sinister and The Watch), “Movie Callback”, Box Office results, games, and other fun.  There is always a lot going on in these episodes, but Aaron and Abe definitely prove once and for all what kind of birds they in fact are.  Also, most importantly, Liz has a very special announcement, which comes early in the episode.

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

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 60 - Prometheus

On Skype, no one can hear you scream…This week’s episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe is a packed one, as Aaron and Abe are joined by Scott Mendelson, Adam Gentry, and Jordan Grout to discuss the latest sci-fi film from Ridley Scott, Prometheus.  It is a packed episode, as the gang goes in deep with this one (and also do a little spoiler talk at the very end).  Regular segments of course as well.  “Know Everybody”, “Trailer Talk” (Django Unchained and Flight), Box Office Results, “Movie Call Back”, and some fun games to enjoy.  The key thing to take away though, the group answers every question about Prometheus and LOST in this episode…yeah, every single one.

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

Friday, June 8, 2012

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Bonus Episode – Audio Commentary for Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem

Whoever wins, we lose…again.  So they did it, this bonus episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe is another commentary for another bad movie.  In honor of the release of Prometheus, this time Abe, Aaron, and special guests Jordan Grout and Jim Dietz all got together and watched Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem, while delivering as much fun possible in the form of audio entertainment.  Again, one may not even need to watch the film in order to enjoy listening to a podcast episode like this, but if one has the desire to do so, feel free, as the group discusses all that they can about this never-to-be cult classic and other things as well, since it sometimes becomes hard to stay on topic when dealing with AVP: R.  Lastly, there is a very easy giveaway contest detailed in this episode as well.

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…

Thursday, June 7, 2012

‘Prometheus’ Brings Fire For All To Question

Prometheus:  4 out of 5
Elizabeth Shaw:  Prometheus, are you seeing this?
It must be difficult to approach a film like this from the perspective of a filmmaker who has done previous, similar work that is now considered a classic.  It must also be difficult for someone to go in and see a film like this, knowing what one knows about said classic, the filmmaker, and the pedigree of people involved in its making.  Prometheus is a film that began as a prequel to Alien, only to evolve into something different, yet still shares the same universe.  It marks the return of director Ridley Scott to the realm of science fiction, but it certainly does not seem like he has run out of ideas.  On the contrary, the biggest problem that he and his screenwriters have is the fact that Prometheus, while a visually gorgeous spectacle, is too full of ideas and too ambitious for its own good.  There is enough material for multiple films, yet Prometheus instead relies heavily on merging all of its big ideas into one film that has an epic scope, but suffers from narrative issues.  Still, there is more intrigue and ideas worth discussing in this film than many other mainstream films I will see this year, let alone the thrilling nature of what I got to see visually in this film that makes it easily worth the time spent watching it.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Out Now with Aaron and Abe: Episode 59 – Snow White and the Huntsman & Piranha 3DD

This week’s packed episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe features plenty of talk about Snow White and the Huntsman and Piranha 3DD.  But before getting to those film reviews, Aaron, Abe, and special guest Laremy Legal get into some fun questions from both listeners and each other with the “Know Everybody” segment, followed by trailer talk (Les Miserables and The Bourne Legacy).  Then it does become time to really delve into the main features, followed by “Movie Call Back”, Box Office Results, and some games.  But that’s not all.  A bonus segment with Leah Ducey and Jordon Grout features even more discussion about Piranha 3DD.  As stated, a packed show.

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


Saturday, June 2, 2012

‘Snow White’ Goes Dark

Snow White and the Huntsman:  2 ½ out of 5
Mirror Man: My queen, you have defied nature and robbed it of its fairest root. But on this day there is one more beautiful than you.
Queen Ravenna: Who is it?
Mirror Man: Snow White.
Given the visual wonderment seen throughout this darker take on the Snow White fairy tale, it is too bad there is not more to praise in other regards.  Snow White and the Huntsman is a fairly empty film that has plenty to show off on the outside, given the high budget and imaginations at work to create rich fantasy worlds, but practically nothing inside when it comes to showing off the characters involved or a story that makes more sense.  This would be less bothersome if the film was at least fun, but it has very little joy to share, instead keeping things quite grim throughout.  Despite good looking visuals and a good looking cast (in more ways than one), Snow White is more or less a bad apple.

‘Piranha’ Doubles The Ds And Lowers The Intelligence

Piranha 3DD:  1 out of 5
Maddy:  This is like one really expensive joke.
Well I did not think I would be writing a review that would come to the defense of Piranha 3D, but its god-awful sequel Piranha 3DD certainly necessitates some attempt to separate the two.  While one may scoff at the 2010 horror-remake, that film at least knew how to deliver on almost every level that it tried to.  Piranha 3DD fails spectacularly at being anything that resembles horror, comedy, sexy, or basic, intentional entertainment.  The film is only a step or two up from those terrible excuses for parody films (Meet the Spartans, Disaster Movie, etc.) and really requires the aid of some friends who want to equally try and make some good out of a film that is so bad.  Still, try as we did, nothing good came from what we saw, as Piranha 3DD only delivered one ‘D’, which stands for dumb.


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