movie review

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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
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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…

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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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Adam’s Terrifying Revenge Movie Pick: Oldboy

In: Adam, Movies
oldboy-movie-review

A cross between Kill Bill, Hard Candy and Running Scared, Oldboy is a tale of revenge and mystery- a pretty damn good one too! Not wanting to give away anything more than the trailer would, I’ll tell you that this movie follows the search for answers and vengeance by a man imprisoned in a Satre-esque prison for 20 years. Played sexily (if you’re into daddies, and WOOF am I ever) by Josh Brolin, the protagonist is someone you’ll love to hate and hate to love as he vacillates between total dick and wounded pup. He hunts without discrimination the men and the men behind the men who trapped him for two decades leaving an impossible body count along the way.

This one is bloody. While its famed director Spike Lee doesn’t go all Quentin Tarantino with exploding veins of geysering blood, there is definitely some old world kung fu choreography that would look fake if you saw it in real life but gives this movie an otherworldly quality. It’s almost like watching a horrific dream sequence and you keep waiting for either the main character or yourself to wake up from it. Josh well embodies the dogmatic and determined killer who won’t rest until justice is paid and he can reunite with his daughter. Along the way, the fighter meets an overly sexy (seriously, HOW did an Olsen girl turn out so pretty?) Elizabeth Olsen who is really killing it these days with actual talent (sorry Michelle and Michelle!). The connection between them is undeniable and who cares about the age difference: they’re both hot. From violence to sex to more violence, this is definitely a GUY’S movie.

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

Adam’s Hilarious Jewish Movie Pick: In a World

In: Adam, Movies
in-a-world-movie-review

Now this is one funny movie. Basically a sitcom premise for the big screen, In a World follows the neurotic and unaware of her own gorgeousness Lake Bell as she attempts to break into the apparently very male dominated arena of trailer movie voice overs. You know, the guys who say: “In a world where men and women have to fight for survival etc etc..” Well, apparently this “world” is quite commanded by sexy sounding men who do NOT want to give up any screen time to a lady. Lake Bell takes issue with this. The daughter of one of the most famous movie voice over artists, Lake lands job after job as she burrows into this exclusive career to the dismay of her coworkers and acclaimed father.

An odd but fun premise for a movie, the real meat is in the relationships Lake has with her family, her clients and the odd duck who has a crush on her. Lake plays alongside some C-List names including Fred Melamed, Rob Corddry and Michaela Watkins who all play comedy to the max in their respective roles. Each character seems completely consumed by their own world and issues to the dismay of everyone else around them, but in classic american film style: deep down everyone is essentially a good person and cares for one another. It’s sweet, it’s damn funny and it’s definitely gonna give you a laugh: watch this one with a date.

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

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