Monthly Archives: June 2018

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Movie Trailer – Operation Finale

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Chris Weitz

Starring: Oscar Isaac, Ben Kingsley, Melanie Laurent

Release: September 14th, 2018

It would take a while to go into, but just take a look at Weitz’ filmography; the films he’s either directed or written are eclectic to say the least.  But the guy knows what he’s doing, and so do the stars of this film, undoubtedly.  The story looks intense, I believe it will be done justice, and I’m excited to watch.


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Movie Trailer – Mile 22

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Peter Berg

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Lauren Cohan, Ronda Rousey

Release: August 3rd, 2018

I like when Petey B & Marky Mark team up, good things happen, and Berg is a great director of true action: Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon, Patriots Day.  But here, they left reality behind and are playing with fiction, which doesn’t seem as if it’ll work as well.  Instead, this film just looks like a million others, even if it’ll be done slightly better.  And Ronda Rousey?  Really?  No thanks.


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Movie Review – Shrek

Category : Movie Review

Director: Andrew Adamson, Vicky Jenson

Starring: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz

Year: 2001

This is the tale of two viewings, because I’ve seen Shrek twice, once when I was 17 & now that I’m 34, and it’s like watching completely separate movies.  In 2001, Shrek‘s animation was cutting edge, the voices were done by current stars, it was surprising to hear modern music in a fantasy setting, and generally the film was received extremely well.  I liked it, if I wasn’t exactly running through the halls shouting its praises, but this time around I got a completely different vibe.  I shared it with my son, so there’s an enjoyment on that level that comes each time you see a piece of your childhood transferred to your children.  But otherwise, I really didn’t see what all the fuss was once about.

Shrek is an ogre who lives deep in the foreboding swamp.  He lives a peaceful existence, mainly, other than sometimes having to scare away townsfolk who get it in their minds that they need to hunt the monster, kill the beast, you know the story.  But recently, a new decree from Lord Farquaad has the fairy tale folk of the woods making refugee camps in the swamp, something that does not sit well with Shrek.  He and a chatty donkey travel to the local castle to talk to the Lord, and they are offered the swamp back exclusively, if Shrek will rescue Princess Fiona from a dragon and bring her back to Farquaad to marry.  Easy peasy, until hearts start leading the way instead of heads, which always results in serious trouble.

This time watching, my first reaction was that the animation was terrible.  I know, I know, I’ve been spoiled by Pixar and Laika and modern Disney, it’s all become so amazing that the old movies can’t possibly look as good.  But the visuals of Shrek are just stilted, blocky, unattractive; they really bothered me.  Then there’s the humor, which is mostly fart jokes and then a large reliance on the donkey cracking you up.  I didn’t dig either, and so I was left without much to grab onto.  The music is cool, the story is simple, there are things to enjoy, but I just had a really hard time understanding what it was that we loved all those years ago.  Time ages some movies more harshly than others, and I regret that I found out that this one doesn’t pass the test.

My rating: ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Trailer – How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Dean DeBlois

Starring: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Kit Harington

Release: March 1st, 2019

I really liked HTTYD and HTTYD2, they were both really great, so much fun.  I don’t see any reason to mistrust that the third and final installment will be any less entertaining.  The cast is back, Hiccup’s armor is awesome, and I don’t care that there’s yet another tricky villain, that’s just part and parcel.  I’m in.


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Movie Trailer – Serenity (2018)

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Steven Knight

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jason Clarke, Diane Lane

Release: October 19th, 2018

What a mess of actors and plots and moods, the result of which surely can’t be something excellent.  I like these actors, I like them a lot, and I have nothing against Anne Hathaway like some people do, I think she’s an incredible actress.  I would watch Interstellar this very second to see these two leads work off each other, but this movie is going to be nothing like that film.  What a silly thrill ride someone has created and has expected us to enjoy.


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Movie Review – Goosebumps

Category : Movie Review

Director: Rob Letterman

Starring: Dylan Minnette, Odeya Rush, Jack Black

Year: 2015

I was a big fan of the Goosebumps books when I was a kid, and now my daughter reads them with a passion.  I moved on to Stephen King as I got older, she says she wants to be the next King when she grows up (and after she’s old enough to read his novels), so the love of spooky stories has always been a big part of my life.  I’m glad there was a movie made about Stine’s creepy tales, because they are important to the lives of a lot of children, and it’s great to see some of his most famous villains and monsters on screen here.  What’s even better is that the film that celebrates the books is well done; not perhaps the greatest cinematic achievement of the decade, but something you can enjoy with your children if they are also fans, something to applaud for a fun time well delivered.

Zach and his mom have just moved to Delaware from New York, and he’s already sick of the small town life.  His dad died, they packed up and moved out of the city, so now he’s got to adjust to a new town and a new set of schoolmates.  It won’t be easy, but right away something positive happens; there’s a pretty girl living next door.  Not only that, but she’s nice and fun and willing to show Zach around, even though her dad is super protective, home schools her, and doesn’t like her to talk to other people.  A little weird, and so when Zach hears screams coming from next door, he assumes there’s trouble.  He and a new friend named Champ sneak into the house to investigate and inadvertently open a bunch of locked books.  Turns out, that was a bad idea, because Zach’s neighbor is none other than R.L. Stine, and those books were keeping the real monsters of his stories from tearing apart of the entire world.

Goosebumps is entertaining, and that’s all I really wanted from a movie that was made to honor the books.  We meet Stine (the real guy makes a cameo), we get some cool characters from his stories, my daughter was calling out villains in every scene and naming which book they were from, so that was all very cool, and if your family members are aficionados, this film was made for you.  Also, the acting is pretty good, as Minnette & Rush are solid young actors with bright futures, and Black is of course a goofball extraordinaire.  Amy Ryan, Jillian Bell, and Ken Marino make appearances, so there’s a little more comedy thrown in, and the movie is short and sweet, even including a couple twists, which we all know is classic Stine.  Nothing will blow you away, and you probably need to watch with kids, but that doesn’t stop Goosebumps from its job, which is simply to entertain, something it does with ease.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Trailer – The Girl in the Spider’s Web

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Fede Alvarez

Starring: Claire Foy, Sylvia Hoeks

Release: November 9th, 2018

I admittedly haven’t seen the other The Girl movies, and I haven’t read the books, so I’m judging this film simply on its trailer, which is terrible, and the percentage chance that it’ll suck, which is 100.


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Movie Trailer – A Star is Born

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Bradley Cooper

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Sam Elliott

Release: October 5th, 2018

I don’t see it, I don’t see the hype.  Bradley Cooper is a good actor, and he might even be a good singer, AND he could develop into a good director, who knows.  But this is his first try, this is a remake, and this isn’t the musical that will sweep us off our feet.  Because I can break Lady Gaga down in a similar way, but all that really needs said is that she isn’t an actress and won’t be able to support this role when she isn’t called upon to sing.  I hope I’m dead wrong, I hope I watch this come fall and absolutely love it.  But I’m predicting the opposite.


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Movie Review – My Life as a Zucchini

Category : Movie Review

Director: Claude Barras

Starring: Gaspard Schlatter, Paulin Jaccoud, Sixtine Murat

Year: 2016

Nominated for a Best Animated Feature Academy Award, and coming in at only 70 minutes long, My Life as a Zucchini is as quick & impacting as an animated short, but as full of story & emotion as a feature presentation.  It’s a mix of the two mediums, falling directly in the middle in a very smart and specific way.  It didn’t take home the prize at the 2017 Oscars, but for a foreign film to be nominated in the category is no small deal, and should alert audiences to the fact that this movie deserves not to be ignored.  It’s a powerful statement packed in a small punch, but one you will feel the next day regardless.

Ikar, better known as Zucchini, lives with his abusive mother and spends most of his time daydreaming of superheroes and the height of the sky, anything that will transport him away from his miserable existence.  When his mother dies in an unusual accident, Zucchini is left in the hands of the French government, where a friendly police officer/social worker places him in a group home for children whose parents are no longer in the picture.  There, Zucchini meets a bully named Simon who will become his friend, and a girl named Camille who will become special in a way that he could never have imagined.

What a beautiful story to share with us, one of loss and the hope of finding something special again.  Most of the action is set at the group home, and these aren’t supposed to be little kids, they’re around 9-11, so their personal tales can be a little uncomfortable, and the questions they have about the world around them can be mature in nature.  So this isn’t exactly a kids’ movie, it deals with very adult themes, which just makes it all the more atypical and amazing.  The problems the kids face are so real and so frightening, and the way they work through them is perfectly believable.  An animated movie, yes, with great stop-motion footage, but it’s more than that, Zucchini is also a wonderful stand-alone film, a short but emotional experience from a great French filmmaker that you won’t soon forget.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Trailer – Shock and Awe

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Rob Reiner

Starring: Woody Harrelson, James Marsden, Tommy Lee Jones

Release: July 13th, 2018

This movie is trying to be Spotlight but will end up being Truth.