Monthly Archives: January 2016

  • 0

Movie Trailer – Taking Stock

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Maeve Murphy

Starring: Kelly Brook, Scot Williams, Georgia Groome

Release: February 5th, 2016

This movie only works if you happen to find Kelly Brook attractive, which I do, but even that might not be quite enough to convince me to watch what will definitely be a terrible movie.  It’s a bad trailer, to start with, boring & bad.  The plot seems silly as well, the bumbling crime caper experience, and I’m sure I’ve seen it done much better before.  But there’s still Kelly Brook.  I had no idea she was English, a fact that makes her acting in Survival Island a bit more understandable.  She was hotter back in the day before she got fake boobs, though at 36 she’s still got it, but I don’t think that’s enough to trick me into watching.


  • 0

Movie Review – Pure

Category : Movie Review

Director: Lisa Langseth

Starring: Alicia Vikander, Samuel Froler, Martin Wallstrom

Year: 2009

Alicia Vikander is having one hell of a beginning to her career.  This Swedish actress was building quite a portfolio in her native country with short films and television series before here work in America began.  I first saw her in Ex Machina, a brilliant performance, which was somewhat overlooked.  However, she was nominated for an Oscar for her role in The Danish Girl, another strong delivery.  In between, her films were mediocre: Son of a Gun, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.  But here with Pure we go back to the very beginning, to the Swedish film that began her career, and sent her down the path to where she is now.  Not a bad way to start.

Young Katarina has more problems than she can count, and no way to solve them.  A checkered past has marred her reputation, branded her a slut, and landed her a case worker.  Anger issues stop her from keeping a job or getting along with others.  A deadbeat mother has driven her away from home, into the arms of a kind boyfriend but someone she doesn’t have any passion for.  No, life holds no flavor for Katarina, until the day she hears Mozart.  His music represents to her all that is beautiful in the world, all that is possible, all that she’s never known.  She is drawn to the local concert hall, secures a job, falls in love with a conductor, begins to read poetry, and seems on a path to betterment.  But it’s not that simple, music doesn’t kill your inner demons, and humans aren’t as lovely as their music might make them seem.

Especially for her very first major role, this was one of Vikander’s best.  She was perfect as Katarina; hurt, angry, fragile, young, naive, volatile.  She impressed me as much for her young age as for her talent, coming across as someone who had been born to appear on screen.  That she’s beautiful doesn’t hurt, but she didn’t sell her body here, she owned every sexual moment instead, keeping control while still holding the character above the noise.  The side actors were equally impressive, Froler & Wallstrom representing opposite males, opposite choices.  The music was great, the mood was great, the setting was great, and I love the Swedish language.  If you’re a fan of Vikander (Anna Karenina, Testament of Youth), see her here; your opinion will only be bolstered.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


  • 0

Movie Trailer – The Wave

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Roar Uthaug

Starring: Kristoffer Joner, Ane Dahl Torp

Release: March 4th, 2016

“Puts Hollywood disaster movies to shame”, and I actually believe that.  Compare this to San Andreas and tell me which comes out on top.  Also, this film looks like a more thrilling Force Majeure, which was a great flick, with the added intensity only adding to the quality, not detracting from it, or a foreign version of The Impossible.  Kristoffer Joner was excellent in King of Devil’s Island, so I expect more of the same from him here.  This looks like a must-see.


  • 0

Movie Review – Lazer Team

Category : Movie Review

Director: Matt Hullum

Starring: Burnie Burns, Michael Jones, Colton Dunn, Gavin Free

Year: 2015

After watching the trailer, I thought Lazer Team had the chance to be the under-the-radar comedy of the year.  It looked funny, refreshing, like an odd mix of a dozen movies, but in a way that would poke fun of its own genre.  It looked good, basically, but sometimes trailers can be misleading.  Such is the case here, since the actual film that followed was exactly the opposite of what I was hoping for.  I don’t think I laughed once during this movie.  I’m not even sure I cracked a smile.  The humor was so shallow as to almost be unrecognizable as humor, disappointing me in every way I could be disappointed.  If you, like me, were looking forward to a strange mix of styles here with the end result being a surprisingly wonderful comedy, prepare to be let down.

Four losers stumble upon the greatest event in human history, and are almost guaranteed to screw it up.  Hagan is a local cop, a depressed & downtrodden chump who will never leave his hometown and will never live down his poor high school legacy.  Herman was a promising athlete, but is now an incorrigible drunk who has no respect for the law.  Zach is a teenage wasteland, Woody a blazing idiot, but the quartet are about to become more important than they ever could have dreamed.  They are, accidentally, the first on the scene of an alien spacecraft landing, which was meant as a gift to humanity.  See, evil aliens are coming, they want to fight a champion for the fate of Earth, and a special power suit has been supplied.  Only, these guys weren’t meant to wear it.

Dumb, dumb, dumb.  I really didn’t laugh, not once, and I could not have been more disappointed by that fact.  I was looking for a more off-beat The Watch, a funnier Pixels, a goofy Tron.  What I got was puke jokes, poop jokes, penis jokes, and the list goes on.  The humor could not have been more juvenile or simple, comedy that any dorm room moron could have come up with on a random Thursday at 3am.  But even stupid humor of that caliber could at least have been tolerable were it to come from actors who were naturally funny.  But none of those were available for this film, apparently.  If you have the misfortune of watching Lazer Team, you will see some of the worst actors ever put on screen, the dumbest concepts, the most unoriginal material, and you will curse yourself after 90 minutes of wasted life.

My rating: ☆ ☆

 


  • 0

Movie Trailer – Admiral

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Roel Reine

Starring: Frank Lammers, Charles Dance, Rutger Hauer

Release: February 23rd, 2016

A movie with a very small window of opportunity, it still looks good enough to watch, though not if it required too much effort to see.  There’s a niche here I guess, for historic action/dramas that bring key events to life, but I can’t imagine anyone going crazy for this film.  I’d see it, but only if it were easy.


  • 0

Sports – 2015 NFL Year in Review

Category : Sports

Here is my 2015 NFL Year in Review

(8-2 for the postseason, 163-93 for the regular season)

My postseason picks were fairly strong, but my regular season picks took a slight dip this year.  It was a wild 17 weeks, with too many upsets to count and some insane finishes.  My predictions for division winners and Super Bowl teams were so off that I won’t even go into that, but here is the way the 2015 NFL season shook out, with only one game left to go:

AFC Division Winners

afcnepatriots

afccinbengals

afchoutexans

afcdenbroncos

NFC Division Winners

nfcwasredskins

nfcminvikings

nfccarpanthers

nfcaricardinals

AFC Wild Cards

kcchiefspitsteelers

NFL Wild Cards

gbpackersseaseahawks

Super Bowl

carpanthersdenbroncos

Champions?

sb50


  • 0

Movie Trailer – Providence

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Sharon Wilharm

Starring: Juli Tapken, Rich Swingle

Release: February 12th, 2016

Is this a Christian movie?  This feels like a Christian movie.  And not only that, but a very bad Christian movie, like one that’s not even good enough to be shown on Lifetime or Hallmark.  I can make a love story too, featuring two actors no one has ever heard of before, set in some town, full of cheese & cliche.  But I won’t because that would be pointless.


  • 0

DVD Review – Grace of Monaco

Category : DVD Review

Director: Olivier Dahan

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Tim Roth, Frank Langella

Year: 2014

Some stories are begging to be told, while others couldn’t buy an audience.  Simultaneously, some movies need to be seen, while others have absolutely nothing to offer.  Grace of Monaco falls into the latter category two times over.  It’s rare that you see a film with this kind of star power and this solid of a true life plot fall so very short of its goal, becoming something so unnecessary that its mere presence is an insult to all.  Harsh perhaps, but true nevertheless.  Countless stories go untold, countless movies go unseen, but for a professional team to take on a project like this and to watch it fail so completely is something we don’t see every day.  Don’t expect Olivier Dahan (director of the La Vie en Rose) to rebound from this disaster quickly, while on the flip side, don’t expect Nicole Kidman to be this awful ever again.

The Movie

monaco4

If fairy tales do indeed exist, consider the life of Grace Kelly to be the modern-day version.  An award-winning actress, this Philadelphia girl rose to super-celebrity status with roles in huge American films: High Noon, Dial M for Murder, Rear Window.  She even won an Oscar in 1954 for The Country Girl, cementing her place in Hollywood history as one of the silver screen’s most beloved leading ladies.  But Grace would give it all up, the burgeoning career, the glamour of the red carpet, the roles of a lifetime, for what at the time seemed such a small thing; love.  Grace married the Prince of Monaco, Rainier Grimaldi, and her life would never be the same.

Monaco, the second smallest nation in the world, was like a fairy tale kingdom when Grace took the throne as Princess, and her life seemed a continuation of the perfection of her past.  But all was not well in Monaco, nor with her new husband, a man under the intense pressure of ruling.  After having three children, Grace longed for a return to acting, something her Prince forbade.  Also, the country itself was on the brink of collapse financially & politically, with France threatening to take the land by force.  Monaco, having no way to fight back and relying on its beauty to survive, would become an apt metaphor of Grace Kelly herself, a fragile & angelic woman whose only hope was the very thing she gave up her old life for; love.

monaco3

It shocks me that someone saw this story as a necessity to share.  The filmmakers read about Grace Kelly and decided to reenact a portion of her life story.  And that portion happened to be the time in which she thought about going back to acting but didn’t, thought about divorcing her husband but didn’t, and the time Monaco was about to absorbed by France but wasn’t.  What exactly was supposed to be interesting about this film?  What was the purpose behind making it in the first place?  Some stories aren’t interesting enough to be told, some movies aren’t captivating enough to watch, and Grace of Monaco is a fine (or poor) example of both.  Perhaps someone just wanted to parade Nicole Kidman around in classic outfits because the colors would pop given today’s high definition media.  Well, good job, that much worked.

But what didn’t was the actress herself, once you got past her fancy outfits.  Kidman’s botox-infused face was frozen for most of the film, giving us nothing, revealing nothing, and pushing us away rather than drawing us in close.  She was about as unlikable a heroine as you are likely to see; breathy, angsty, unsure, a teenager trapped in woman’s boy with Kidman’s aged face attached atop.  She has been so much better, even as recently as this year, but failed here to do anything in a movie that was set up to fail.  Tim Roth as Rainier was fine if uninspired, but Parker Posey, who I love, was downright dreadful in a small role, completely destroying every scene which she found herself in.  Not that she could have made many much better, they were all propped up on the wobbly stilts of a very uninteresting tale of “love” and “freedom”.  A movie that should appeal to no one, only visually does it make any positive impression.

The DVD

monaco5

Video – With an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the visuals might just be the best part.  The film was shot using Arricam cameras with Panavision G-Series and Angenieux Optimo Lenses.  The video quality is high, with beautiful color and crisp focus, highlighting the majesty of the country & the magnificence of Grace’s wardrobe.  The picture was lovely, the historic mood well-crafted, but that’s where the positives of the film end.

Audio – The DVD was done in English Dolby Digital 5.1 with some French subtitles during the film.  English Subtitles for the Deaf & Hearing Impaired and Spanish Subtitles are available in the menu.  The audio quality of the film was fine, with no noticeable flaws, but also nothing to remember.  The music was equally forgettable, with the exception of one pleasant operatic performance.

Extras – There are no special features on this disc.

Final Thoughts

monaco2

Rent It.  Though not a painful film to watch by any means, there are, at the same time, not many reason to seek it out.  The costumes are impressive, the scenery nice, the story interesting to those already fans of Grace Kelly.  But the movie itself is a failure to capture our attention.  It’s a pointless retelling of a boring subject, not one that will inspire anyone to great fascination, unless you perhaps lived in Monaco in the 60s.  The video is very nice, the audio unmemorable, and there are no extras on the DVD.  Rent only if you’re curious despite my review, but don’t expect much.  This film didn’t ask to be created, it was forced, and the result was both unnecessary & poor.

☆ ☆ – Content

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ – Extras

☆ – Replay

 

 


  • 0

Movie Trailer – Solace

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Afonso Poyart

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Abbie Cornish, Colin Farrell

Release: September 2nd, 2016

This movie looks absolutely awful, like someone watched Se7en, added a physic, and filled in every gap with utter shit.


  • 0

Movie Review – Hyde Park on Hudson

Category : Movie Review

Director: Roger Michell

Starring: Bill Murray, Laura Linney, Samuel West

Year: 2012

Sometimes the content outweighs the delivery, and such is the case with Hyde Park on Hudson.  Especially considering The King’s Speech and our new-found knowledge of the stuttering King George, we were poised for a dramatic retelling of the events leading up to Britain’s and America’s entrance into WWII.  Doubly interesting is the story of FDR, the wheelchair-bound President who had so much impact on our history.  A story about these two great men coming together to help decide the fate of the world is automatically fascinating and will draw audiences no matter what.  Too bad this film doesn’t hold up to its story, giving us just enough to enjoy, but not enough for us to remember long after.

Franklin Roosevelt was, surprisingly or not, a great philanderer.  His marriage to Eleanor was more a companionship, she being rumored to prefer women, even living with lesbian couples in a separate house from FDR.  He, in fact, lived with his mother when not in the White House, in Hyde Park, New York.  There, the president would preside over national affairs, as well as his own affairs, which, as our story begins, include his own distant cousin Daisy.  She would become a major part of his life, even attending the festivities surrounding the visit of the King & Queen of England prior to WWII.  England needed America’s help but was much too proud to beg.  What followed was a historic weekend filled with political and social intrigue.

Though not a great film by any estimation, Hyde Park on Hudson at least has a few more positives than negatives, which is something, though also disappointing for a movie about such an important time period.  The biggest flaws were Laura Linney’s acting, which was fairly awful, and Roger Michell’s direction, which was equally bad.  But they were overcome by some pretty excellent pieces of the puzzle.  Bill Murray was very convincing as FDR, the King & Queen of England were perfectly portrayed, the music of the film was wonderful, the color stunning, and I enjoyed two odds aspects of the story; that the wife of main character need not be an Earth-shattering presence and that love triangles don’t necessarily always shatter.  This film was enjoyable, if just, barely overcoming a slow pace and some bad apples, ultimately becoming a mediocre movie that only history buffs might love.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆