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Movie Review: This Is Where I Leave You

In: Matt, Movies
this-is-where-i-leave-you-movie-review

This is Where I Leave You hit theatres this week and having witnessed some of the director’s past transgressions such as Cheaper by the Dozen and Night at the Museum I had my hesitations. The film features an all-star cast so at least I had that to look forward to.

The film, adapted from the novel by Jonathan Topper, tells the story of a dysfunctional family brought together by the death of their not so religious father whose last request was that the family sit Shiva, the seven day Jewish mourning period. As you can expect hilarity ensues as the family struggles to cope with being around each other while also dealing with their own personal issues.

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Movie Review: The Maze Runner

In: Movies, Tommy D

Movies like The Maze Runner aren’t brand new concepts. Dystopian future where the fate of the world rests on the shoulders of teenagers. We have the Hunger Games as Divergent which are both great franchises, and both female led. The Maze Runner is essentially the same kind of story but this time with all boys.

The movie starts fast right away. You are thrown into the maze when Thomas is sent into the Glades to meet his fate. He is greeted by the boys who have already been trapped there led by Alby. He takes Thomas around and shows him the ropes of the mini civilaztions, tell him that everyone has a role to play and they get along fine. That’s when Thomas starts noticing the Maze. No one knows where it came from or what it is, only that the get out of where they are they have to find the exit.

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Movie Review: How To Train Your Dragon 2

In: Movies, Tommy D
how-to-train-your-dragon-2-review

Four and a half years ago I woke up my lazy ass up at 8 am, drove to the burbs, and sat down in a movie theater full of screaming children for a 10 am screening. It really was a special level of hell for me. What I didn’t know at that time is that I would be sitting down and watching a movie that would become one of my Top 5 Films of all time. That movie was How to Train Your Dragon. The story of Hiccup and Toothless: two opposite species brought together by curiosity and love.

Four and a half years later, I got the email to wake my lazy ass up at 8am drive to burbs and sit in a theater full of screaming children at 10 am for the sequel to one of my favourite movies of all time.

If you haven’t seen the first Dragon movie, it is an absolute must. Click here to read my review of the original in this series so I can spare you the details of recanting it now. In short: A viking who supposed to kill dragons can’t do it; ends up befriending a dragon; and, they change the course of viking history forever. Simple story, but best movie ever.

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Movie Review: The Fault In Our Stars

In: Matt, Movies
the-fault-in-our-stars-movie-review

SPOILER ALERT: There will be tears. If you’re looking for a good cry, or a powerfully beautiful teen romance without the typical Hollywood clichés then I highly recommend you see this movie.

The Fault in our Stars is directed by Josh Boone and is based on the novel by John Green. It tells the story of Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) who is terminally ill with thyroid cancer that has spread to her lungs. A smart, witty and resilient girl, Hazel is taking her life one step at a time, just trying to make it to the next day. Not looking to far into the future, Hazel is blindsided when she meets Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort) who sweeps her off her feet in a way she describes as akin to falling asleep. “First slowly and then all at once.” Gus is also a cancer patient, having lost one of his legs to osteosarcoma. He is painfully sweet, handsome and irresistibly charming so much so that some may find his relentless optimism and unwavering positivity, coupled with his selflessness and utter devotion to Hazel a bit too far fetched and even slightly annoying. If the film has one fault (pun intended), it’s that Augustus’s character is a bit unrealistic as seen by the trip he takes Hazel and her mother on so that she may meet her favorite author.

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Movie Review: X-Men: Days Of Future Past

In: Matt, Movies
x-men-days-of-future-past-cast

The latest installment in the X-Men franchise hits theatres today. While I can’t claim to be an expert on the X-Men franchise, I’ve seen all the films in the series and can comfortably say that this might be my personal favorite. In its best moments it’s crazy fun, exciting with strong moments of emotion supported by a wildly talented cast.

X-Men: Days Of Future Past opens in a dark future. The war has devastated the world of both humans and mutants alike. The Sentinels, who seek out to destroy the last remaining mutants, patrol the world. In a last ditch effort to save themselves, and the world, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is sent back in time (or rather, his consciousness is sent back) to persuade Magneto (Patrick Stewart/Michael Fassbender) and Xavier (Gandalf/James McAvoy) to join him in preventing Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from murdering scientist Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage). Her assassination of Trask is what initially garners support for the Sentinel program, which also uses her DNA to allow the Sentinels to adapt and mimic any mutant power.

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Movie Review: Godzilla

In: Matt, Movies
godzilla

The latest Godzilla remake hits theaters today and while this revamped version of the radioactive giant lizard is visually impressive, the film itself was less than satisfying.

This version of the film begins in 1999 as a scientist (Bryan Cranston) watches as seismic tremors destroy a nuclear facility, killing his wife in the process. Some fifteen years later, he is convinced the cause of the tremors is part of some big cover up. His son, played by the delicious Aaron Taylor-Johnson, has heard his father’s conspiracy ramblings for years and pays no mind to them until, of course, a giant egg is found under the nuclear facility.

This egg, and one more found later, turn out to be giant alien like creatures that wreak havoc across multiple continents, destroying much of Las Vegas and San Francisco. Fortunately/unfortunately it turns out that everyone’s favorite towering lizard may be the only thing that can stop these MUTOs (Mutant Unknown Terrestrial Organisms). It takes about an hour before we even get to see Godzilla but the wait is definitely worth it, with audiences even applauding his arrival. The rest of the film is really just a bunch of destruction while the actors on screen try to play out their filler stories, which weren’t overly intriguing.

Movie rating & trailer after the jump…

kill-your-darlings-movie-review

In as much as my BA was in English Lit, my knowledge of writers contemporary and American is LIMITED. That said, hearing that Harry Potter‘s Daniel Radcliffe and Dexter‘s Michael C. Hall were costarring in this… what do I call it: gay, historical biopic work of fiction(?), I knew I had to try it. And, I’m very glad I did.

You do NOT need to be a lover of On The Road or Naked Lunch to appreciate this film- though I’m sure a love of mid-century writing couldn’t hurt- but you do have to be okay with medium paced, psychological thriller-lite to enjoy Kill Your Darlings as most of the movie is spent in a drug induced comma as the protagonists (if you can call them that) plot to revolutionize Columbia University and destroy their enemies. The characters, as I mock their virtuosity are nonetheless very human- which you would hope for in a historical work. As such, you hate them as much as you respect their efforts and intellect. Watching the boys cheat, finagle and condescendingly make their way through the ivy league institute annoys as much as it does have you admiring them for their attempts to alter an educational system painfully limited in scope and creativity. Taking place in the 40s during WWII, the ever-present backdrop of a world war lends an almost humourous backdrop to these essentially spoiled boys who existentially question life while on nitric oxide as men and women die overseas for their right to do so. Let’s just say you don’t leave this movie loving the characters in it: you can still leave it loving the movie itself though, and I did.

Click through to read the rest of my review and see the trailer

Movie Review: Transcendence

In: Donovan, Movies
transcendence-movie-review

Johnny Depp’s latest blockbuster, Transcendence, hits theatres today and while the film features a talented cast and an interesting story, the complexity of the whole thing just sort of implodes into a giant mess.

Depp plays Will Caster, a scientist whose focus is artificial intelligence. His ultimate goal is to create a computer system that not only learns and grows, but is self aware. Nearing this goal attracts the attention of a anti-AI terrorist organization that leads a series of attacks against AI labs culminating in an attempted assassination of Caster.

While on his deathbed, Caster’s wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) uploads his consciousness to the computer system resulting in a Will Caster/Computer hybrid that has the ability to evolve, learn, and grow. This creates a whole mess of predictable problems.

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