Monthly Archives: July 2013

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Movie Trailer – Compulsion

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Egidio Coccimiglio
Starring: Heather Graham, Carrie-Anne Moss, Kevin Dillon
Release: August 13th, 2013

I wouldn’t watch this movie if someone paid me.  Unless it was, like, five dollars or something.  Then I would watch it, hate it, and curse at Heather Graham.  She’s literally the worst actress to come along in thirty years.  It makes me angry that she is a famous millionaire and I’m not.


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DVD Review – Fred Won’t Move Out

Category : DVD Review

Director: Richard Ledes
Starring: Elliott Gould, Fred Melamed, Stephanie Roth Haberle
Year: 2012

I’ve got to be honest; the only way I know Elliott Gould is as Ross and Monica’s dad from Friends.  Well, I take that back.  I think I remember him from an episode of Touched by an Angel, but I’m not proud of that.  My point is that I knew going into Fred Won’t Move Out that I was going to have a hard time separating Fred from Jack Geller.  And especially since Jack is so funny and I didn’t imagine a movie about the end of an old Jewish man’s life would be.  And it wasn’t mostly, and yet was sometimes.  Confusing, I know, but then so was the movie.  Not plot-wise, that was straight forward, but by the end I was unsure whether I had enjoyed watching it or not.

The Movie

The story of the movie revolves around the last phase in the life of a man named Fred.  He has lived in his current home for fifty years with his wife, Susan.  She requires a constant attendant, as she is incapable of taking care of herself.  The attendant’s name is Victoria, a very caring yet stern woman who takes Susan to the bathroom, feeds her, and is beginning to need to keep a watchful eye on Fred as well.  He is beginning to become forgetful; not paying his taxes, not going to the grocery store.  And after he has a fall, his grown children begin to worry about his safety.  Their names are Bob and Carol, and while they love their parents very much and respect Fred’s desire for freedom, they understand that he is no longer safe on his own.
Most of the action of the film takes place on one day during a visit to the family home.  Bob and Carol have driven in from the city to spend the day with their parents, bringing Carol’s daughter Lila with them.  They stay to help Victoria around the house, to have lunch as a family, to attend an eclectic music therapy session, and ultimately to convince their father that the time has come for him to leave his home.  Susan is moving to a care facility and the plan is for Fred to accompany her.  But he becomes resistance.  For Fred, the move means an end to his old life and his independence.  For his children it means a lessening of their daily worries, as they know that both of their parents now need more attention than they can give.  The family struggles with the impending move, as the individuals that make up the group don’t always see eye to eye.

When a movie has this little action and relies so heavily on dialogue, the acting really comes to the forefront and can make or break the film.  I don’t think the acting broke anything, and yet it didn’t really blow me away either.  Elliott Gould actually had a small part, which was surprising when you consider that the movie was named after his character and that he’s the only well-known actor in the entire project.  The bulk of the lines were given to the son and daughter, and while they were just fine they definitely couldn’t carry a heavy story like this one.  They were almost too real, too flippant or amateur or something.  They seemed like actual people and not actors, but for some reason it didn’t work and just felt strange.
The story and plot as a whole were well thought out and realistic.  Perhaps not all of us have been in a situation quite like this one, but I for one can imagine it pretty well, be it with my parents as they get older or with myself, as someday I may be incapable of taking care of myself and a decision will have to be made.  It was a very sad scenario, and the characters were accurate depictions of how we might react were we put in a similar spot.  And the flow of the story was pretty straight forward, except for a few weird dream-like sequences that didn’t really make much sense.  They definitely didn’t add anything to the movie and should have been edited out by someone with a good eye.
All in all, I’m on the fence with this one.  It’s not like it was a bad movie.  The acting was fine, the story was real, and there were some great emotional triggers.  There was even a funny scene with the music therapist who played piano and led the family in rousing song.  But I just can’t say I liked it, because I often found myself a little bored.  Maybe it was the low-key acting, or the elderly people sitting around getting older by the second, or the conversations about bagels and who ate whos bagel and how many bagels were bought.  I just found myself not caring; about the bagels, about the family, about how the story would end.  The movie wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t good enough to illicit a major reaction. 


Video – With an aspect ratio of 16:9 Widescreen the picture quality is just fine.  Nothing spectacular, but nothing distracting either.  The majority of the movie takes place in and around a home, with a lot of dialogue and people sitting down.  In other words, the video wasn’t really put to the test.
Audio – There are zero sound options on the disc.  No audio choices, no alternate languages, and no subtitle choices.  The sound in the film was fine, with no obvious blemishes, but again there wasn’t really any chance to try out anything more than a raised voice.
Extras – The only extras on the DVD are three trailers: Fred Won’t Move Out, Gun Hill Road, and Future Weather.  Let me recommend watching Gun Hill Road, a terrific and moving film, one that’s worth a first and a second watch.

Final Thoughts

Skip it.  I almost wish I could give it a higher rating, but the film just isn’t worth a lot of time.  It’s not an awful movie, but there have got to be so many other ones that should be above it in any movie queue.  The video was fine, the audio was whatever, and the extras were minimal.  An overall fine film that comes off as bland and won’t be memorable.

✰ ✰ – Content
✰ ✰ – Video
✰ ✰ – Audio
– Extras
– Replay

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Movie Trailer – The Frozen Ground

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Scott Walker
Starring: Nicolas Cage, John Cusack, Vanessa Hudgens
Release: August 23rd, 2013

I saw this movie already.  It was called Insomnia and it sucked.  Why would I see it again, this time starring one of the worst actors on the planet?  I’m talking about you, Nick!  And why is Vanessa Hudgens all of a sudden in every movie being made?  Did someone do a research study and discover that what we needed was more Vanessa Hudgens?  Because I thought I was doing just fine without her.

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Movie Review – This Is the End

Category : Movie Review

Director: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen
Starring: Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill
Year: 2013

When the trailer for This Is the End first came out I thought it looked pretty funny.  I figured if you liked Superbad, which I did, you’d like this one as well.  It has some of the same actors (Rogen, Hill, Cera) and the same style of raunchy comedy that revolves around bodily fluids and recreational drugs.  However, a major difference would be that in this movie the actors play themselves, with a ton of cameos thrown in for good measure.  So while I assumed that I’d find it funny, I also thought that it would fall short of better movies because it would lack that emotional base that we don’t always notice but we usually need.  Well, apparently they just decided to replace emotion with extra crude humor, and the result wasn’t a shallow film but one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in years.
Almost the entire story takes place in James Franco’s new house in Hollywood.  Seth Rogen and his old friend Jay Baruchel are reuniting in California, a place that Jay hates to be.  Seth talks him into coming with him to Franco’s housewarming, where there will be a ton of drugs and celebrities.  Among the elite are Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, Emma Watson, Rhianna, Michael Cera, Paul Rudd, Jason Segal, Aziz Ansari, and a bunch of others.  Jay may not be having a great time, but the night is about to get worse.  It seems as if the apocalypse is upon them, as the Hollywood Hills are engulfed in flame, blue lights take people into the sky, and monsters roam the streets.  Only a small group of the party-goers survive and they must band together and get along if they are to have any chance of waiting out the end of the world.

I did not expect the movie to be as funny as it was.  I mean, I thought it’d be funny, not hilarious, but it was definitely the latter.  It was non-stop comedy from the very beginning, but somehow it never got old or annoying.  I haven’t laughed that hard since who knows when; maybe since Superbad.  And while that movie relied on our memories of how awkward it is to be young, this movie got us laughing by putting audiences in ridiculous situations that only warped minds could possibly think of.  And the comedy was warped, be warned.  It was crude, sexual, graphic, dirty, whatever you want to call it.  But it was also real; it was a bunch of guys stuck in a house together with nothing to do but smoke pot, look at porn, drink wine, turn on each other, and worry about which of them was going to die next. 
I guess that’s why the movie worked; it was surprisingly real for such a silly film.  Now, by real I don’t mean realistic, I mean it felt natural.  It felt like the lines were what Seth and Jay and Jonah would say if they found themselves in this situation.  Breaking down that fourth wall really worked because it made the characters real and allowed the actors to make fun of themselves and of each other while still playing people in the movie.  It was kind of a genius idea, and I’m not sure the movie would have worked so well had they tried to create stories and backgrounds and fake names.  It worked because it was off-center, because it was hilarious while being pretty original.  And you could tell the guys were having a great time making the film, which was really infectious.  I felt jealous that I wasn’t under lock-down during the rapture with this crew; for being that close to death it seemed like they were having a pretty awesome time.

My rating: ✰ ✰ ✰ ✰ ✰

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Movie Trailer – Afternoon Delight

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Jill Soloway
Starring: Kathryn Hahn, Juno Temple, Josh Radnor
Release: August 30th, 2013

The only thing that concerns me about this movie is that Jill Soloway is partly responsible for the TV show Nikki.  If you saw that during its brief run you’ll understand.  I’m not really sure why I did other than that Nikki Cox was hot and I was sixteen.  But anyway, I think this movie actually looks kinda good and funny, but I can’t see myself making it a priority.

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Movie Review – Sharknado

Category : Movie Review

Director: Anthony C. Ferrante

Year: 2013
If you haven’t heard of Sharknado you’ve been in a cave for the last couple of weeks.  What started as a made-for-TV movie became a Twitter sensation, prompted an encore presentation, and has supposedly produced a future sequel.  It’s baffling really; the SciFi channel has created hundreds of unwatchable horror movies, why did this one explode into pop culture?  Well I had to watch it to find out, and now you’re being graced with its review.  Obviously I didn’t expect too much going it, but after seeing it I’m even more confused than I was before.  I guess all the other SciFi originals were bad, making them throwaways.  This one was so bad that it was a sensation.  Go figure.
The storm of the century is coming, and California better brace for impact.  A hurricane is sliding up the coast of Mexico, picking up hundreds of sharks and carrying them north where they have never been before.  When the storm slams the coasts of the Golden State, flood waters rise, water spouts emerge, and sharks are everywhere.  Fin, a bar-owner, and his crew risk the now dangerous California freeways in order to rescue his ex-wife and children, a task made difficult by bloodthirsty sharks in the drains, the pools, and in the air.  They can stick together, they can arm themselves, but can they survive the sharknado!?
This is maybe the worst movie I’ve ever seen.  At least I understand now why everyone wanted to watch it, because films this horrendous don’t come along every day.  I mean, you really have to try to make something this awful.  Each scene seemed hand-crafted to be more terrible and to make less sense than the one before.  And then Tara Reid, that guy from 90210, or Kevin McCallister’s dad would pop up and spout the most ridiculous line and things would get that much worse.  I spent most of the movie shaking my head and feeling slightly embarrassed; for the people who actually spent money to produce this film and for myself for sitting down to watch it.  Be prepared for a ton on shark bites, some cheap special effects, a lot of actors looking around stupidly, and many shouts of “watch out!” when someone is dangling above a shark’s mouth incapable of looking or moving anywhere else.  That’s kinda how I felt while watching it, and I don’t think I escaped unscathed.
My rating:

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Movie Trailer – Snowpiercer

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Joon-ho Bong
Starring: Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton
Release: August 2013

This looks like one of those that’s a better story than movie.  Why is it so hard to get sci-fi right?  I will watch almost anything that’s post-apocalyptic, but I’m not sure if I can watch this one.  Chris Pine?  Sure.  Chris Evans?  No thank you.

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Movie Review – Flashdance

Category : Movie Review

Director: Adrian Lyne
Starring: Jennifer Beals, Michael Nouri, Sunny Johnson
Year: 1983

I love 80s movies.  I don’t even know what it is; maybe the gritty nature of the films, the terrible yet wonderful music, the big loud clothes & hair, the coked-out imaginations of the filmmakers.  But whatever it is, 80s movies are great.  Top Gun, Legend, All the Right Moves; and those are just the ones with Tom Cruise!  But I had never seen Flashdance, an 80s dance classic that is full of iconic scenes.  When it won You Vote, I Review I was excited to finally see it and experience one more incredibly over-the-top funky favorite.
Alex is a female welder and night club dancer.  That’s right.  She lives in Pittsburgh, welds by day and dance in a non-nude bar for extra cash.  But it’s not just for the money.  She loves to dance, whenever and wherever she can.  It is her passion, and yet she’s never had any formal training.  She dreams of someday becoming a ballerina, but her fears hold her back.  When she meets and falls for her rich boss Nick, he opens up her heart and allows her to finally believe in herself, something she has never been able to do until now.
It was pretty fabulous if you like non-stop 80s music, 80s hair, and 80s fashion.  It was the epitome of the time and the genre, so it’s worth something right there.  The music was great, with the songs we all know; What a Feeling and Maniac.  The dances were frequent and a little crazy, but hey so were the 80s.  The story was a little far-fetched, and that’s putting it nicely.  And the acting didn’t really help, as I never believed Alex loved Nick, or vice versa.  It was a movie to be watched because of what it is, not because of how good it is.  But still, worth a shot.

My rating: ✰ ✰ ✰

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Movie Trailer – Thanks for Sharing

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Stuart Blumberg
Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Gwyneth Paltrow, Josh Gad
Release: September 20th, 2013

Blumberg co-wrote The Kids Are All Right, which was a good and honest movie.  It also starred Mark Ruffalo who, in my book, is an underrated actor.  So putting Gwyneth Paltrow aside and also ignoring the fact that this movie co-stars Pink, I think I’m willing to give it a shot.

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Movie Review – The Grey

Category : Movie Review

Director: Joe Carnahan
Starring: Liam Neeson, Frank Grillo, Dermot Mulroney
Year: 2011

I’m a big fan of Liam Neeson.  From Schindler’s List to Love Actually, he’s done some great films that warrant a lot of respect.  Now, he’s done his fair share of bad movies: The Other Man, Battleship.  But, on a whole, he lends credit to the projects he’s involved in and he’s gotten me to see a few just because he’s in them.  The Grey is one of those, a movie I might not have seen had it not been for Liam Neeson.  I might have watched it some day, I do like survival movies, and the whole plane crashing and having to defeat the wild thing looked pretty cool, but he definitely pushed my interest over the edge.
The main character, played by Neeson of course, works for an oil company in Alaska.  His job is to protect the workers on the tundra from starving wolves; he has studied them, knows their habits, and is good at killing them.  But his knowledge is truly put to the test when he and a small group of men find themselves stranded in a frozen wasteland.  Their plane has crashed, leaving them as the only survivors and desperate to live.  They must make their way to civilization, no easy task, but as they travel they are hunted by a ferocious pack of wolves bent on killing the men one by one.  In this struggle for survival one group must destroy the other if anyone is to make it out alive.
It’s a pretty forced plot; a place crashes into an inhospitable environment where the wolves decide that every human must die and luckily the men have a wolf expert with them.  It’s hard to believe it could actually happen, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun to watch.  It was a pretty thrilling movie; guys getting picked off one by one, personalities clashing, wolves howling around the perimeter, never knowing what’s coming next as you run for your life through the snow.  Maybe a little cheap, but very entertaining.  It reminded me of The Edge, which is a great wilderness survival movie that has excellent actors who turn it into something more than a animal/action flick.  The Grey was the same; a cool movie that had a good actor with the talent to make it a little better than it should have been.  Expect blood, snow, wolves, and a little cheesy heart-wrenching, but watch it just the same.

My rating: ✰ ✰ ✰ ✰