Rob’s Quick Review: Nerve

Nerve has gotten much more realistic since I walked out of the theater a few weeks ago. It seems scarily prescient in the wake of Pokemon Go’s release.  Millions of people walking

Rob’s Quick Review: John Wick

John Wick is a stylish, fast-paced take on the revenge action genre. It’s very well written, interlacing funny moments into the action sequences, reminding me of the best of Shane Black’s writing.

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April Movie Preview: Part 1

Now that we’re post awards season, we’re in that weird in between before the summer movie explosion.  That being said, there are several movies of note trying to get the jump on

 

Rob’s Quick Review: Nerve

Nerve on Cinedraft.com
Letter Grade:
(?)

B
The Good:

Franco and Roberts have good chemistry
Dave is, by far, my favorite Franco


The Bad:

Loses its way when it tries to get too serious
Juliette Lewis' mother character

Cast & Crew:

Directed by: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
Written by: Jessica Sharzer
Staring: Emma Roberts, Dave Franco, Emily Meade, Miles Heizer, Colson Baker, Kimiko Glenn, Marc John Jefferies, Brian Marc, Samira Wiley and Juliette Lewis

Rated PG-13 for thematic material involving dangerous and risky behavior, some sexual content, language, drug content, drinking and nudity-all involving teens

Nerve has gotten much more realistic since I walked out of the theater a few weeks ago. It seems scarily prescient in the wake of Pokemon Go’s release.  Millions of people walking around, staring at their phones, doing stupid things because a game told them to? Yup. That’s real life now…

Franco and Roberts are good together, and Nerve has good energy when it’s engaged in its game of truth or dare, but every once in a while it tries to tap the brakes and look at the consequences, and that’s where it stumbles. It’s confident with the thrills but doesn’t really know what to do when it gets away from that, especially with the ham-handed way they try to cram Juliette Lewis in as the mother.








Rob’s Quick Review: John Wick

John Wick on Cinedraft.com
Letter Grade:
(?)

A-
The Good:

Stylish
Fast-paced
Shane Black-like writing


The Bad:

They try to get a little too cute with the subtitles.
Doesn't quite understand the physics of the timing of lightning and thunder.

Cast & Crew:

Director: Chad Stahelski, David Leitch
Writer: Derek Kolstad
Stars:Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Willem Dafoe, Dean Winters, Adrianne Palicki

John Wick is a stylish, fast-paced take on the revenge action genre. It’s very well written, interlacing funny moments into the action sequences, reminding me of the best of Shane Black’s writing. I don’t quite understand the decision to go and seemingly randomly bold and colorize certain words in the subtitles.








Jennie’s Review: Transcendence

Letter Grade:
(?)

B
The Good:

The Cast
It looks great
Reminds me of old school science fiction


The Bad:

Slow at times
Some of the cast needs more screen time, others less
Not as much of a Thriller as I would have like or as advertised

Cast & Crew:

Directed by: Wally Pfister
Starring: Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Kate Mara, Cillian Murphy, and Morgan Freeman

Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action and violence, some bloody images, brief strong language and sensuality

I know this isn’t a new release anymore, but based on box office numbers, you probably haven’t seen it…

We meet Dr. William Caster (Johnny Depp) and his wife Dr. Evelyn Caster (Rebecca Hall) at their home as he is setting up a copper screen above their backyard and garden area.  The screen’s purpose is to make a technology free zone so that they may have some respite from the completely science driven rest of their lives.  (This of course, it TRANSCENDENCEobvious foreshadowing even the first time you see it, but that’s OK.) Shortly after this lovely scene they are at a rather large speaking engagement and fundraising event, where despite William’s dislike of doing these sorts of things, he being the seemingly most famous genius alive at the time, is the main event.  His topic; the creation of a sentient computer that will create technological singularity (or as he calls it, Transcendence) and change the world.  After the lecture, a young man (Lukas Haas) who seems to be a religious zealot shoots William.  They originally believe that it is only a minor wound, but then discover it is far more serious, and the conspiracy goes much further than they suspected.  With only a few weeks to live, William wants to spend time with his wife.  Evelyn however is not ready to let go and uses her knowledge to “save” him by uploading his consciousness and officially creating the sentient computer they had been working towards for years.

(more…)








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April Movie Preview: Part 1

Now that we’re post awards season, we’re in that weird in between before the summer movie explosion.  That being said, there are several movies of note trying to get the jump on those summer releases (Captain America being the most obvious… why isn’t this a summer movie?  I mean, it’s fine, I’m still super pumped for it.)  Here are a few films coming out the first half of April.  With any luck, at least one of these will catch your eye.

Captain America: The Winter Solider

Release Date: April 4th

Synopsis: 2 years after the events of The Avengers, Steve Rogers still struggles to embrace his role in the modern world and battles a new threat from old history: the Soviet agent known as the Winter Soldier.  Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo and starring Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Robert Redford, and Samuel L. Jackson.

Our Thoughts:

Felix: It will be seen opening day. Marvel has done an amazing job of making better than expected movies even with characters that should be 2 dimensional. Last year’s Thor did a good job of having fun and still make you sit at the edge of the seat. From the early reviews, it seems that this has done the same, and Marvel is already ordering a sequel. Yay and yay.

Jennie: I have been nothing but impressed by this series of Marvel movies. They have done such a great job with story lines that many were skeptical of. They are really well done visually, but honestly I think the writers deserve the most praise. So far this one seems to be falling in line the same way and I’m very much looking forward to it.

Dave: I asked and they wouldn’t take my money ahead of time when they announced they were making this movie like two years ago. I gladly would have given it to them then. Marvel hasn’t made a bad movie in this series yet…which is really really impressive considering the genre they are working in and some of the trainwreck movies that come out of it. If they can make Thor work in theaters (with all his crazy and convoluted backstory) another Captain America movie should be a slam dunk.

(more…)








Jennie’s Review: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Letter Grade:
(?)

B+
The Good:

All of the Artistic Aspects
Great Cast


The Bad:

The R Rating Limits It

Cast & Crew:

Directed By: Wes Anderson
Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Jude Law, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Léa Seydoux, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, Owen Wilson, and more

Rated R for language, some sexual content and violence

The story opens with an author (Tom Wilkinson) revisiting how his younger self (Jude Law) came about the story of The Grand Budapest Hotel and its current owner (F. Murray Abraham)/ former lobby boy (Tony Revolori) Zero Moustafa.  It is sort of a story within a story within a story.  Luckily the main focus of the film resides with the early 1930’s storyline.  The main story is set in a fictionalized European styled location called Republic of Zubrowka.  In an also fictionalized history that somewhat mimics the years leading up to World War II.  So much so, that there is an occupation of the hotel towards the end of the movie by the ZZ (seemingly replacing the Nazi SS).  This movie, like all Wes Anderson movies, is quirky and strange throughout.  This one however is not so far over the edge that is distractingly so.  With many of his films, about 1/3 of the way through you’re thinking “No one is actually like this” and start just focusing on the absurdities. Not that this one isn’t absurd in many ways, but something about it already being set in a fictional place in an alternate history makes this OK. (more…)








Looking Back: The Best, The Worst, and Everything Else I Saw In 2013

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Rob’s Mini Review: Robocop

Robocop on Cinedraft.com
Letter Grade:
(?)

A
The Good:

Action sequences are slick and very well-paced.
Social commentary of the original is taken seriously and updated to fit the times.
ED-209 doesn't try to navigate a stairwell.


The Bad:

Still not a fan of the black armor, but even that can be explained away as social commentary.

Cast & Crew:

Director: José Padilha
Writer: Joshua Zetumer
Stars: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Abbie Cornish, Jackie Earle Haley, Michael K. Williams, Samuel L. Jackson

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action including frenetic gun violence throughout, brief strong language, sensuality and some drug material

I… wasn’t expecting that out of the reboot of Robocop… I expected a dumbed down version ofRobocop, caring more about the action than the satire and social commentary of the original, but I think this new version might actually be the better version. Where the original tended toward campy satire and over-the-top gore, this version takes both the action and the social commentary a little more seriously.

Implications and motivations seem much better thought out this time around, and are much more thoroughly explored. We spend a lot more time now seeing Robocop’s development, and we see that to the extent that Omnicorp is “evil”, it’s not about some megalomaniac desire to take over the world or to just be evil for evil’ sake. It’s about the banality of deadlines and performance targets and marketing research and stock prices. Each step in the wrong direction leads then further down the rabbit hole.

I seriously entered the theater expecting to, at best, not hate this new version and it wound up wildly exceeding my expectations at every step. The action sequences are slickly produced and the entire film was very well paced. Robocop is really worth seeing.

*Photo courtesy Sony Pictures Entertainment








Rob’s 2013 Oscar Checklist

Seen? Movie # of Noms
X American Hustle 10
X Gravity 10
X 12 Years a Slave 9
X Captain Phillips 6
X Dallas Buyers Club 6
X Nebraska 6
X Her 5
X The Wolf of Wall Street 5
X Philomena 4
X Blue Jasmine 3
X The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug 3
X August: Osage County 2
X Despicable Me 2 2
X Frozen 2
X Inside Llewyn Davis 2
X Lone Survivor 2
X The Grandmaster 2
X The Great Gatsby 2
X The Lone Ranger 2
X 20 Feet from Stardom 1
X All is Lost 1
X *Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me) 1
X *Avant Que De Tout Perdre
(Just Before Losing Everything)
1
X Before Midnight 1
X *CaveDigger 1
X Cutie and the Boxer 1
X Dirty Wars 1
X Ernest & Celestine 1
X *Facing Fear 1
X *Feral 1
X *Get a Horse! 1
X *Helium 1
X Iron Man 3 1
X Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa 1
X *Karama Has No Walls 1
X Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom 1
X *Mr. Hublot 1
X Omar 1
X *Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?) 1
X *Possessions 1
X *Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall 1
X Prisoners 1
X *Room on the Broom 1
X viagra prices Saving Mr Banks 1
X Star Trek Into Darkness 1
X The Act of Killing 1 buy cialis online
X The Book Thief 1
X The Broken Circle Breakdown 1
X The Croods 1
X The Great Beauty 1
X The Hunt 1
X The Invisible Woman 1
X *The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life 1
The Missing Picture 1
X The Square 1
X *The Voorman Problem 1
X The Wind Rises 1

(* Indicates a Short)

–1/16: Added Cutie and the Boxer

–1/16: Added Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa viagra generic

–1/16: Added The Grandmaster

–1/17: Added Dirty Wars

–1/17: Added The Hunt

–1/18: Added The Square

–1/20: Added Ernest and Celestine, and The Lone Ranger

–1/21: Added Despicable Me 2

–1/22: Added The Great Beauty

–1/23: Added The Book Thief, All is Lost, and The Broken Circle Breakdown

–1/29: Alone Yet Not Alone disqualified

–1/31: Added The Invisible Woman

–2/1: Added the Oscar Shorts

–2/3: Added The Act of Killing

–2/4: Added The Croods

–2/5: Added Prisoners

–Added 20 Feet From Stardom

–2/22: Added Omar

–2/28: Added The Wind Rises