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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…)








Teaser Trailer: The Lego Movie

The Lego Movie on Cinedraft.com

So I don’t normally post Trailers but I am BEYOND excited for this one!

This is the first-ever, full-length theatrical LEGO® movie, directed by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller,  and doesn’t open in theaters until February 7, 2014 but it can’t come soon enough!  It features the vocal talents of Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman,  and Alison Brie , with Liam Neeson and (ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!) Morgan Freeman.

The 3D animated film follows Emmet, a perfectly ordinary LEGO minifigure who follows the rules and is mistakenly identified as the most extraordinary person and the key to saving the world.

The trailer had me consistently laughing and I can’t wait for it to come out!

 








Rob’s Review: Now You See Me

Letter Grade:
(?)

B+
The Good:

Likable characters
Familiar things done well and with style.


The Bad:

Actors don't have to stretch themselves much.
Beginning of the third act drags a bit.

Cast & Crew:

Writer: Ed Solomon, Boaz Yakin, Edward Ricourt
Director: Louis Leterrier
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Mélanie Laurent, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine

Rated PG-13 for language, some action and sexual content

Now You See Me

Now You See Me is a fun movie. There’s nothing terribly groundbreaking about it, but the stuff we’ve seen before is done well and with a good deal of style. There are secrets and intrigue, car chases through the streets of New York, and foot chases through the French Quarter during Mardi Gras. It’s actually kind of a throwback to an older style of movie. (Charade came to mind in the theater, but that’s not a perfect fit.) (more…)








Summer Movie Preview: May

Summer movie season is upon us with the release of Iron Man 3 this Friday, so the Cinedraft staff felt now would be a good time to take a look at what is coming up this summer.  We start out with what’s coming out in May…

Iron Man 3

Release Date: May 3rd

Synopsis: Robert Downey Jr returns for another go-round as Tony Stark as he faces off against Ben Kingsley’s Manderin. Shane Black directs, and this will get Felix exceedingly excited. Also stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Guy Pearce, and either Don Cheadle or Terrence Howard, depending on how the coin flip turned out this time.

Our Thoughts:

Rob: This will be the real kick-off of the summer season. I’m not completely sold on Kingsley as the Mandarin, but I read that after seeing the Iron Man 3 finale Joss Whedon was upset because he didn’t know how he’d be able to top it for The Avengers 2, so expectations are pretty high.

Dave: I’m excited for Iron Man 3, I really am. I don’t doubt it will be a well made action film filled with funny Robert Downey Jr. one-liners. I suppose my only real worry about this film would apply to all Post-Avengers Marvel Universe movies… If the bad guy in Iron Man 3 is such bad news, why not just call in the rest of the Avengers to easily defeat him? Did they all have plans for the weekend that they couldn’t cancel? Seems like the conflict in this movie could be resolved by having the Hulk go in and slap Ben Kingsley around for a few minutes… problem solved.

Jennie: I am really looking forward to this movie. I think Robert Downey Jr is great and I generally have liked the Marvel movies over the last few years (not Ghost Rider of course). I like Ben Kingsly a lot and his voice sounds kind of awesome in the trailer, but I’m not sure how it will work with him as a action movie bad guy. I have no doubt that it’s going to be an entertaining movie. (more…)








Movie Review: Oblivion

Oblivion
Letter Grade:
(?)

A-
The Good:

Stellar production design, the film looks absolutely beautiful.
Kept me engaged throughout.
Plot goes in unexpected places and is best experienced unspoiled.


The Bad:

Score straight out of the 80s.
Some will complain about the pacing.
Loses some of the stellar design towards the end.
Kind of hard to write a review that doesn't give away the best plot points...

Cast & Crew:

Director: Joseph Kosinski
Writers: Joseph Kosinski, Karl Gajdusek, Michael Arndt
Stars: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough

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

Oblivion left me kind of sad, those poor, poor marketers. How are they supposed to actually sell this movie? I completely understand now why, after seeing Oblivion’s trailer about 20 times in theaters, I still had no clue what the actual plot would be. The plot twists here are so integral to the plot, and your enjoyment of this movie, that you don’t want to give anything away at all. I’m actually a little surprised that they let us see in the previews that Morgan Freeman was in this movie. (Sadly, he does no narration. That’s all left to Tom Cruise.)







Dave’s Movie Review: Olympus Has Fallen

Letter Grade:
(?)

D
The Good:

Exciting (but often unrealistic) and fairly well made action sequences
Butler plays a good action star
Morgan Freeman!


The Bad:

Poor acting performances by a few otherwise reliable actors
Glaringly unrealistic premise
Lazy/poor script writting

Cast & Crew:

Director: Antoine Fuqua
Writers: Creighton Rothnberger, Katrin Benedikt
Stars: Gerald Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Melissa Leo

Rated R for strong violence and language throughout

Ok, so here’s the deal. This is my first official review I’ve written for Cinedraft (or any site for that matter). I’m going to level with you because I want us to get off on the right foot (people keep telling me that honesty is important…). I was all ready to write a review for this movie that praised the “disaster” genre (I’m counting terrorist attack as a “disaster” for the sake of argument) and talked about how awesome it was despite being a kind of stupid action movie…I may have even gotten a head start on writing my review before seeing the movie…which was probably stupid… and maybe unethical or something… I don’t know, I’m not a journalist… what I do know is after watching Olympus Has Fallen, I couldn’t delete my optimistically positive (and
completely uneducated) “review” fast enough. I really wanted to love this movie, and as you are probably picking up on by now (through your masterful skills of mental deduction, or the big ol’ not so positive letter grade at the very top of this review), I did not love it.

Antoine Fuqua’s (Tears of the Sun, The Shooter, Training Day, Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise video) most recent movie is an action movie through and through. The White House (Code Named “Olympus”) and the President (Aaron Eckhart) are attacked and captured by Korean (I think North Korean, but to be honest it wasn’t super clear and I may just be making that assumption because those crazy North Koreans have been threatening to kill the planet again.), black hood-wearing, super-scary and evil terrorists (which I suppose is a nice break from all the Middle Eastern terrorists we’ve been subjected to recently). Luckily for America, Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler), who just so happens to have something to prove after failing to protect the first family months earlier, manages to fight his way through the seemingly impenetrable wall of bad guys and machine gun fire to make his way into the White House and is now the last hope for rescuing the kidnapped President and saving the world from certain disaster. (more…)








Trailer: Now You See Me

Quite a cast. Isla Fisher, Morgan Freeman, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Michael Caine, Jessie Eisenberg, and the less stoned Franco brother.

“FBI agents track a team of illusionists who pull off bank heists during their performances and reward their audiences with the money.”