Author Archives: Jennie Stoddart

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.

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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.

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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…)








Jennie’s Review: Out of the Furnace

Letter Grade:
(?)

A
The Good:

Acting
Cinematography
Realism


The Bad:

If I have to pick, I'd say that it isn't exactly uplifting.

Cast & Crew:

Directed By: Scott Cooper
Written By: Scott Cooper and Brad Ingelsby
Starring: Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson, Casey Affleck, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe, Zoe Saldana, and Sam Shepard

Rated R for strong violence, language and drug content

Out of the Furnace opens with Harlan DeGroat (Woody Harrelson) at a drive in theater.  He is on a date and the woman with him says something that upsets him.  He proceeds to throw her food out the window, jam a cigar down her throat, slam her head against the dash board, and then beats a good samaratatin checking on his date so savagely that onlookers are calling 911 by the end of the scene.  In case you missed the subtlety of this scene, he’s an awful person and the most OUT OF THE FURNACEobvious bad guy of the movie… unless of course you include post traumatic stress disorder and crippling depression as bad guys as well.

We then meet Russell Baze (Christian Bale) a worker at the local Steel Mill and his brother Rodney (Casey Affleck), a Veteran who has done a few tours in the Middle East and is heading out for another due to being stop-lossed.  Rodney has a gambling problem (and a Bare-knuckle boxing to pay off his debts problem), Russell works hard and tries to bail him out as much as he can but it’s not enough.  Their father, who also spent his life working at the Steel Mill, is dying and hooked up to all sorts of medical equipment in his own living room.  Russell’s girlfriend Lena (Zoe Saldana) wants more of a commitment, specifically a baby, but he does not believe he is financially ready for that sort of step.OUT OF THE FURNACE

Then Russell makes a terrible decision that changes his life and the lives of his loved ones forever.

This is the second endeavor for Director Scott Cooper.  His directorial debut was the critically acclaimed, award winning, and box office success Crazy Heart.  While this movie did not garner as much hype as the first one did, and it will not surpass its success, I believe it to be a wonderful piece that Cooper should be proud of. (more…)








November – 1st Weekend Movie Preview

We’re modifying our monthly movie previews starting today.  With all the different movies coming out every month and with awards season upon us, we’re going to do weekly previews so they are a little more manageable to read (and to put together), so here we go.

Ender’s Game is clearly the hot movie of the weekend, but there are a few others if you don’t want to fight the crowds.  Other than the big budget sci-fi film, there’s a family holiday movie, a couple of bio dramas, a romantic comedy, and an old guy buddy comedy.  It should be a fun weekend at the theater. generic viagra for sale online cual mejor generico viagra

Ender’s Game

Synopsis: The International Military seek out a leader who can save the human race from an alien attack. Ender Wiggin, a brilliant young mind, is recruited and trained to lead his fellow soldiers into a battle that will determine the future of Earth.  Based on the novel by Orson Scott Card. Directed and written by Gavin Hood, the film stars Asa ButterfieldHailee SteinfeldBen KingsleyViola Davis, Abigail Breslin, and Harrison Ford.

Our Thoughts:

Rob: Ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod… I still can’t quite believe this movie got made. This is my all-time favorite book series. For decorum’s sake I’ll leave it at that…

Felix:  The trailer didn’t evoke any emotion that made me want to see this movie. Other than adults that read the book, who was this trailer targeted to? And maybe the marketing team is the same as those that marketed Oblivion, which was an unfair movie campaign for a decent sci-fi movie.

Jennie:  I have not read the book or any of the series, so I’m going in with no preconceptions. It looks really well done and I’m generally a sucker for over the top sci-fi action movies.

Dave: I’ve read the book (when I was younger and then just again recently as a refresher). I’ve got some reservations in terms of what this story has the potential to turn into when made into a big blockbuster movie, but I’m cautiously optimistic. It does look to be well made. I’m a little worried that the trailer seems to be a little Harrison Ford-centric. This story isn’t about Harrison Ford (or the character he plays), it’s about Ender. I’m hoping that they didn’t shift the focus to Ford because he’s the big name star. I will also go ahead and say that I think I’m getting a little tired of Old Harrison Ford. Is it just me, or is he really not that great of an actor? That’s right, I said it. Please address all hate email to GeorgeLucas@IRuinActorsForever.com (P.S. Dear George Lucas, Please don’t sue me, or have me murdered, or force me to sit through a Hayden Christensen movie)

Felix: He was the bomb in Witness (because Peter Weir is a better director (PS Dear Mr. George Lucas, Emperor of Ewoks, Please don’t sue me, or have me murdered, or force me to sit through a Hayden Christensen movie. I DO forgive you for making Ewan McGregor, Liam Neeson, and Natalie Portman act like they don’t know how to read in your movies. Please don’t digitally replace my face to look like Jar Jar.)

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New Trailer: Birth of the Living Dead

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To accompany our horror movie brackets, we thought we’d highlight a new documentary about the one that really started it all, Night of the Living Dead.  Director <a href="http://www.imdb generisches viagra kaufen.com/name/nm0474203/?ref_=tt_ov_dr” target=”_blank”>Rob Kuhns presents the story of the little horror movie that could in Birth of the Living Dead.  In this film, Night of the Living Dead Director George Romero and others discuss the unlikely film, how it came to be, and how it changed horror movies forever.  For now, the screenings are pretty limited, but with any luck it will be available for you to check out sometime soon.

*Artwork by Gary Pullin/Courtesy of Predestinate Productions 








October Movie Preview

With our Halloween Brackets in full force, we’re a little behind on the October preview, but here we go.  Have you already seen a couple of these?  We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Gravity

Release Date: October 4

Synopsis: A medical engineer and an astronaut work together to survive after an accident leaves them adrift in space. Co-written and directed by Alfonso Cuarón and stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.

Our Thoughts:

Jennie: I am not totally sold on this movie. Now, I know I’ll see it, but I’m not quite sure I’m interested in a feature film (that appears to be mainly) about someone floating by themselves in space. At least it’s not a 2+ hour long movie though.

Editor side note – the below is not actually a spoiler, just snarky.  Moving on…

Felix: 1. Sandra Bullock dies
2. This movie will be about the human existence and about what we do when we know we are going to die. Gravity like death is inevitable.

Dave: 1. SPOILERS!!!
2. Could you sound any more pretentious?? I watched the trailer. It’s about space ‘plosions.

Felix: When Sandra Bullock burns on reentry, is she a “shooting star”?

Rob: Seeing as we’ve already seen most of the movie released in 3-minute chunks I think it’s safe to say that this should be awesome.

*Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.

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Jennie’s Review: Don Jon

Letter Grade:
(?)

B+
The Good:

Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Writer, Director, and Star
It’s brutally honest and unapologetic
Julianne Moore


The Bad:

The graphic and vulgar subject matter will be too much for some people

Cast & Crew:

Written by, Directed by, and Starring - Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Also Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, Tony Danza

Rated R for strong graphic sexual material and dialogue throughout, nudity, language and some drug use

DON JONIn a modern interpretation of the 17th century legendary character (and womanizer) Don Juan, Don Jon opens with a fast cut montage of a lot of scantily clad women in many different forms from pop culture, commercials, music videos, professional cheerleaders, actresses on the red carpet, and of course, porn.  We meet the title character Jon (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) as he sits at his computer, with his voiceover rationalizing his preference to porn over real women.  He is not rationalizing it to himself, but to us the viewers.  He knows he’s right.  He has no trouble hooking up with women (as is graphically displayed) but it’s just not the same and he is incapable of truly loosing himself with anyone but his online ladies.  He then meets Barbara (Scarlett Johansson) and everything changes, but not in the ways you would expect.

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