Author Archives: Jennie Stoddart

New Trailer: Kill Your Darlings

A biographical drama based on the stories and circumstance surrounding the 1944 murder of David Kammerer (who is played by Michael C. Hall) and the Beat Poets (most of whom would later become iconic) whose lives were entangled in the situation. This is the first full length film from writer/director John Krokidas.  It stars Daniel Radcliffe (delivering a seemingly convincing American accent) as Allen Ginsberg and Dane DeHaan (who was definitely the stand out performance in The Place Beyond The Pines) as Lucian Carr.

While it premiered at Sundance, and has been really well received at a couple subsequent film festivals, there seems to be some secrecy/confusion about when this film is actually going to be released to the general public.  It will most likely be in the fall, but I would assume definitely before the end of the year.

*Photo Courtesy of Benaroya Pictures

September Movie Preview

September is upon us, and while there aren’t as many films being released, you can tell that it’s getting a little closer to awards season.  I’ve got a really good feeling about this Riddick movie.  


Release Date: September 6th

Synopsis: Betrayed by the Necromongers and left for dead on a desolate planet, Riddick fights for survival against alien predators and becomes more powerful and dangerous than ever before. Soon bounty hunters from throughout the galaxy descend on Riddick only to find themselves pawns in his greater scheme for revenge. With his enemies right where he wants them, Riddick unleashes a vicious attack of vengeance before returning to his home planet of Furya to save it from destruction.  Directed by David Twohy and starring Vin Diesel.  Both having done the previous 2 feature films in the series.

Our Thoughts:

Felix: Pitch Black was better than expected, but unfortunately it gave us Vin Diesel.
Chronicles was… I don’t think I ever saw that movie completely because it was boring, barely had a plot, and Vin Diesel was overacting

Rob: Giving us Vin Diesel… isn’t that bad a thing? We’ve pretty well managed to contain him to Fast and Furious movies and these Riddick sequels which apparently are low budget enough to turn a profit…

Dammit! I jinxed things. –

Jennie: While I probably will not be seeing this movie, I do appreciate that they are going back to the R rating category for this film. The first one was R and was reasonably successful. The second one they made PG-13 in hopes to widen the audience (which I get, but abhor for movies that really should be rated R) and it was, all things considered, a flop. This type of movie is supposed to be scary, violent, gory, and not appropriate for young teenagers.

Dave: For the life of me I will never understand why people go see Vin Diesel movies…It just hurts my brain to think about. He’s so awful. I just looked up his filmography…it hurts my head. He’s such a terrible actor and yet he is probably doing backstrokes through olympic-sized pools full of money in his mansion as I type this.

In case that was unclear: I’m going to skip this one.

Felix: But he was the bomb in Iron Giant!

Rob: No, he was the robot.

Felix: Yes but the robot was a giant bomb, hence, he was the bomb


New Trailer: The Counselor

I wouldn’t go as far as saying that I love Ridley Scott films personally, but they are almost always very well made and generally beautiful.  The writer for this however, I do have quite a bit of faith in. Cormac McCarthy has also written The Road and No Country for Old Men.  While neither is exactly uplifting, they are both vivid and memorable works. I imagine (and hope) that his screenplay for this film will be similarly well done.  Also, the cast looks great – Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, and Brad Pitt.

Jennie’s Review: Elysium

Letter Grade:

The Good:

All of the visuals are wonderful
The fight and action sequences
Throwback Sci-Fi

The Bad:

A bit predictable
Jodie Foster's accent and line delivery

Cast & Crew:

Written and Directed by: Neill Blomkamp
Stars:Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, and Sharlto Cople

Rated R for strong bloody violence and language throughout

Mostly set in the 22nd century, Elysium begins with a brief history of the world becoming beyond over populated and generally ruined at the end of the 21st.  We learn that those with substantial means have fled to a space station habitat called Elysium (according to the movies promotional website, homes on Elysium start at $250,000,000). There is no crime on Elysium as every home is serviced by a personalized advanced security robot.  There is no disease or injury because every home is equipped with a medbay that cures (almost instantly) any disease or ailment known to man.  We then meet young Max who is being raised in an orphanage on Earth run by nuns.  As a child, Max is caught stealing, to save up for a ticket to Elysium.  One of the Nuns takes him aside and tells him that he is destined for bigger things and that even though Elysium looks beautiful from his viewpoint, she reminds him how beautiful Earth looks from up there.  She then gives him a locket with a picture of Earth from space in it.  This was apparently a powerful gesture as he holds onto this token into his adult life.  Despite this though, he does still fall into a life of crime as an adult (played by Matt Damon) and serves some time in jail for stealing cars.  He is trying to make an honest living and get his life on track when an accident involving a lethal dose of radiation sets a new course for his life. (more…)

New Trailer: The Monuments Men

Art is a very important part of my life and all aspects of art history fascinate me.  When I heard about the plans for The Monuments Men, I was beyond excited.  There is a wonderful documentary written by the same man (Robert M. Edsel) who wrote the book this movie is based on.  The documentary (which is also based on a book) is called The Rape of Europa and if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.  I will probably watch it again before seeing this film

This trailer is a lot funnier than I expected.  It’s leaning more towards an Oceans movie than I would have thought.  The screenplay was written by George Clooney & Grant Heslov, who are good team (The Ides of March & Good Night, and Good Luck).  They are also the producers and have both had pretty good luck with that recently too, Argo in particular.

With this cast, the potentially wonderful writing, and the story, this is looking like a movie that should not be missed.

*Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Publicity

Summer Movie Preview: August

OK, not too much witty stuff here today, there’s just too many movies coming out in August.  Enjoy the trailers and maybe some of our ramblings on some of the movies being released over the next few weeks.

The Smurfs 2

Release Date: August 2nd (well, really it was released today)

Synopsis: The Smurfs team up with their human friends to rescue Smurfette, who has been kidnapped by Gargamel since she knows a secret spell that can turn the evil sorcerer’s newest creation – creatures called the Naughties – into real Smurfs. The film is being directed again by Raja Gosnell, with all the main cast returning (Neil Patrick Harris, Hank Azaria, Jayma Mays, etc). New cast includes Christina Ricci and J. B. Smoove as members of the Naughties, and Brendan Gleeson as Patrick Winslow’s stepfather.

Our Thoughts:

Dave: I didn’t let the first Smurfs movie ruin my cherished childhood Smurf-related memories I am sure as hell not going to start now by seeing this one. (Strange, my spell check doesn’t recognize “Smurf-related” as a word…maybe it’s not supposed to be hyphenated.)

Jennie: OK, I love Neil Patrick Harris but, this movie isn’t for me. Not that I think it looks (too) terrible, but it is geared towards a much younger audience. Some family movies are fun for adults too, but I don’t think this one fits into that category.

Rob: I’m sure this will bring some joy to some children, but not nearly as much joy as that felt by those actors’ agents. Yay, 10%!

Felix: Raja Gosnell took a great Scooby Doo script in which they had a bunch of adult themed jokes into the incomprehensible piece of garbage we saw. He did the same for the Smurfs. Just saying, this is going to suck.

Dave: Wait…you know the writer of Scooby Doo??

Felix: Read the original screenplay.

Jennie: Wait, you read the original screenplay for the Scooby Doo Movie???

Felix: Yes

Nicole: We saw the first one and I wouldn’t say it was awful, it did have some funny parts but it was slow and not great overall. I’m not really looking forward to this one even though I love NPH. My daughter however has been counting the days until it comes out. I haven’t been gutsy enough yet to tell her that we will not be seeing it on opening weekend


New Trailer: 47 Ronin

I, unlike a lot of folks (it seems), am not a Keanu hater. That being said, this could be end up being tragic.  The release of this movie has already been postponed twice, and this is Director Carl Rinsch’s first feature length film. This story is based on the actually Forty-seven Ronin, but it is an extremely fantastical take.  It appears to be a bit 300 and a bit The Last Samurai, both of which I enjoyed so, I am at least reasonably intrigued.

Jennie’s Review: Pacific Rim

Letter Grade:

The Good:

The special effects
The fight scenes
Generally everything visual

The Bad:

The writing
The delivery of most of the lines
Generally everything that wasn’t visual

Cast & Crew:

Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Written by: Travis Beacham & Guillermo del Toro
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kikuchi, Idris Elba, Charlie Day & Ron Perlman

Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout, and brief language

The first thing you see when the movie starts is what appears to be a computer screen that explains that Jaeger means Hunter and Kaiju means giant beast.  This is the explanation as to why the giant robots are called Jaegers and the giant aliens are called Kaijus.   We are then guided by voiceover through the history of the very first attack in San Francisco, and then the second on Manila, and so on.  Then the voice quickly explains the development of the Jaeger Program and how the giant robot warriors are piloted by 2 persons with their minds and memories connected.  The Jaeger program seems to be successful, very successful, the pilots become worldwide heroes, and the whole situation starts to be taken less seriously because humanity now feels like they have the upper hand.  Of course, this is not the case.  The Kaiju apparently have the ability to evolve very quickly to adapt to and withstand the weapons used against them.  We discover this as the voice is revealed to be Jaeger pilot Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) who is a co-pilot with his brother (Diego Klattenhoff) and they are called to defend the Alaskan coast from the newest Kaiju attack.  Things do not go well for the Becket brothers and from then on, the supremacy of the Jaegers is no longer intact.


New Trailer: Out of the Furnace

When Rodney Baze mysteriously disappears and law enforcement fails to follow through, his older brother, Russell, takes matters into his own hands to find justice.

2013 seems to be the year of wonderful ensemble casts, and this movie is no exception. Out of the Furnace stars Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Zoe Saldana, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe, and Sam Shepard.  Not to mention that every one of these actors (with the exception of Dafoe… maybe) is in at least one other major or critically acclaimed movie this year. Directed by second time director Scott Cooper, whose directorial debut was the Oscar winning 2009 hit Crazy Heart.

*Photo courtesy of Relativity Media via

Jennie’s Review: The Bling Ring

Letter Grade:

The Good:

The acting is good
The cinematography fits the subject matter perfectly

The Bad:

Narrow Audiance

Cast & Crew:

Directed by Sofia Coppola
Screenplay Written by Sofia Coppola, base on the Vanity Fair article by Nancy Jo Sales
Starring: Emma Watson, Israel Broussard, Katie Chang, Claire Julien, Taissa Farmiga, Leslie Mann

Rated R for teen drug and alcohol use, and for language including some brief sexual references

The film opens with a lot of fast cuts of celebrities being photographed by paparazzi and intercut with scenes of Marc (Israel Broussard) giving an interview about his involvement in the “Bling Ring” and Nicki (Emma Watson) responding to reporters outside of the courtroom.  Cut to before everyone was arrested, and we see Marc starting his first day at a new high school.  He meets Rebecca (Katie Chang), a popular affluent girl who befriends him immediately.  Not too far in, we discover that Rebecca has an affinity for high-end petty theft (mainly checking to see if the cars in her wealthy neighborhood are unlocked and stealing some of the contents when they are).  She invites Marc into her (not very well kept) secret and the two of them start on a path that very quickly lands them in the homes of the rich and famous (Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom, Lindsay Lohan, etc), and subsequently, jail. (more…)

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