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Showing posts from January, 2013

Rental Review - Moonrise Kingdom

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Moonrise Kingdom (2012), PG-13, 94 minutes - Wes Anderson films are always a bit odd and a little quirky.  As a result he's developed a pretty good following for an independent film director.  I personally tend to find his films very entertaining and Moonrise Kingdom is just another example of this.

With his latest effort, Anderson takes us to an island off the coast of New England circa the 1960`s in order to tell the story of a young couple falling in love. Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward) are both quirky and awkward and neither feels that they fit in at home or with the other kids their age.  This common belief draws them to one another and they run away together, Sam from scout camp and Suzy from home.  After their disappearance is noticed, an island-wide search begins led by Police Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis), Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton), and Suzy's parents Walt and Laura Bishop (Anderson regular Bill Murray and Frances McDormand respectively).  On top o…

Rental Review - Pitch Perfect

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Pitch Perfect (2012), PG-13, 112 minutes - My fiance loves a capella, so when she first saw the trailer for Pitch Perfect she made it known that it would be a movie that we'd see.  Unfortunately we missed it in theaters as it didn't stick around very long in our area.  Having just gotten the chance to watch it earlier in the week, I kind of wish that we had seen it on the big screen because it really is a lot of fun.

Pitch Perfect opens with the finals of a collegiate a capella competition between two groups from Barden University: The Barden Bellas (an all female pop and looks themed group) and The Treblemakers (an all male frat-like group with a winning pedigree).  The Bellas blow their performance in a disgustingly epic fashion and as a result find themselves struggling to bring in new recruits the following year.  Queue up the misfit group of new blood the Bellas end up with after Barden's a capella tryouts.  All of their new girls can sing, but they don't exactly …

Review - Mama

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Mama (2013), PG-13, 100 minutes - Jessica Chastain is ruling the box office right now, starring in the two top grossing movies in theaters this past week.  One is Zero Dark Thirty (for which she earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actress), and the other is this little horror film based right here in Virginia (it had a $15 million budget and made over $32 million over its first week).

Mama begins in tragedy just after the beginning of the financial collapse in 2008, a man named Jeffrey (Nikolaj Costar-Waldau) murders a co-worker and his estranged wife before taking his two daughters (three year old Victoria and one year old Lilly) and fleeing town.  Driving too fast on snow covered roads, he loses control and they slide off the side of a mountain road and crash in the woods.  The three of them survive the wreck and come across an abandoned cabin after fleeing the scene.  Once he's started a fire, Jeffrey breaks down in another room.  After regaining some composure, he comes back t…

Review - Life of Pi (3D)

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Life of Pi (2012), PG, 127 minutes - I got a pleasant surprise today when I realized that one of this year's most nominated Oscar films wasn't just still showing in my area, but was still playing in 3D.  I haven't seen a movie in 3D in almost two years, but I had heard such good things about the use of 3D in Life of Pi that I was intrigued.  Everything I had heard was correct.  Life of Pi is a visually gorgeous film, and in my (somewhat limited) opinion probably has the best looking 3D effects since Avatar.

The film is narrated by Pi Patel (Irrfan Khan) as he tells a writer (Rafe Spall) about his experiences surviving a disastrous shipwreck at sea in which he lost his entire family.  His story of survival is interwoven with elements of three different religions that he learned about and drew from during his youth and tells of his efforts in sharing a lifeboat with the only other survivor: a Bengal tiger that was being transported from Pi's father's zoo in India to …

Review - Les Misérables

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Les Misérables (2012), PG-13, 157 minutes - It took me a few weeks, but I was finally able to sneak in a viewing of Oscar nominee Les Misérables Friday night.  I have never seen a Broadway show and had no previous knowledge of Les Mis other than that it one of the most successful Broadway productions ever and was based on the novel by Victor Hugo.

For my fellow Les Misérables newbies, Les Mis follows Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), prisoner 24601 as he in paroled from prison after serving 19 years for stealing bread to feed his family. He breaks parole, takes up a new name, and sets out to help others to make up for his past transgressions.  Eight years later he is passing as a factory owner and mayor of Montreuil-sur-Mer.  It is there that his new life gets really complex.  He crosses paths with Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe), the very same man that granted him his parole.  Javert doesn't recognize Valjean at first and by the time he puts two and two together, Valjean has promised…

Most Anticipated Films of 2013

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The only problem with producing a list like this so early in the year is that there are always films that would be more than worthy of inclusion that haven't been announced yet.  I have no doubt that something else will pop up as the year goes on that I'll get wicked psyched for, but right now these are the movies that I'm most looking forward to in 2013 (trailers provided where available along with tentative release dates):

Honorable Mention: The Lone Ranger, The World's End, Anchorman: The Legend Continues, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, The Wolverine, Monsters University, Much Ado About Nothing, Warm Bodies, A Good Day to Die Hard.

10) Despicable Me 2 (July 3)- Despicable Me was a very pleasant surprise in 2010.  The characters were great, the story was fun, and the minions!  Can't forget the minions!  The trailers thus far have been the same as the trailers for Despicable Me - short and fun, but not giving us any idea of what to expect for a plot.  It's a litt…

Out Now with Aaron and Abe Shout Out

Hey everybody, check out the latest episode of Out Now with Aaron and Abe!  Out Now is a film review podcast and on this episode they cover Gangster Squad (which I haven’t seen yet).  Not only that, but they also give a quick shout out to Nerd in the ‘Noke (around the 2:50 mark)!  These were the guys that put Beasts of the Southern Wild on my radar last summer and their film discussions are always entertaining.  Big thanks to them for the mention!


Review - A Haunted House

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A Haunted House (2013), R, 86 minutes - I have to admit right off the bat, that A Haunted House is not an amazing movie.  It did however, serve its purpose as a means for escape for my fiance and I after a really long week.  We wanted something that wasn't too deep and that could provide a laugh and that's exactly what this film did.

A Haunted House is the first of two horror spoofs to hit theaters this year (Scary Movie 5 arrives in April).  The funny thing is, this was co-written by Marlon Wayans who also co-wrote the original Scary Movie thirteen years ago.  Unlike the Scary Movie franchise that parodies any and all horror films, A Haunted House specifically spoofs the Paranormal Activity franchise, making a mockery of many of its trademark scenes.  A few are legitimately funny, but most are low-brow, physical bits of comedy.  The cast is full of familiar faces - Marlon Wayans, David Koechner, Nick Swardson, Cedric the Entertainer, and J.B. Smoove.  I've enjoyed all of…

Rental Review - Beasts of the Southern Wild

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Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012), PG-13, 93 minutes - I had first heard of this film last summer while listening to the Out Now with Aaron and Abe podcast.  They were quite taken by this little indie film and their discussion piqued my curiosity.  Unfortunately there was only one theater in my area that screened it (The Grandin) and it was only there for a very limited time.  I missed it on the big screen and was relegated to waiting for its blu-ray/dvd release.  Yesterday, three days after it received four Oscar nominations, and after months of waiting, I was finally able to watch Beasts of the Southern Wild.

This film takes a unique look at life in a southern Delta community known as The Bathtub - an impoverished area located below the flood plain and cut off from the rest of the world by a levee.  What makes it so unique is the vantage point from which the story is told: that of a six year old girl named Hushpuppy who lives in The Bathtub with her father.  Her narration repeats t…

Timmmaaaaay's Top 10 of 2012

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Somehow I didn't get a Top 10 list posted last year, which is odd because making lists is fun.  They are completely subjective and everyone has their own opinion.  Often times this leads to debate and discussion, which is one of the reasons I began this blog in the first place.  Just a couple of quick points and then we'll get started:
The list is pulled only from the movies released in 2012 that I actually saw (a second list comprised of the films from 2012 that I would still like to see appears after my Top 10).These are the films that I enjoyed the most when I saw them in the theater not necessarily the best based on their award winning potential (although that may be a happy coincidence in some cases).All of these films have had a full review posted here on the blog.  If you have more interest in a particular film, click on the movie title and follow the link to my previously posted review. It was a really strong year for movies and from what I hear, there's a good chan…

Review - Zero Dark Thirty

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Zero Dark Thirty (2012), R, 157 minutes - Zero Dark Thirty.  Military slang for thirty minutes past an unspecified hour in the early morning (before 10am when the hours are prefixed by a '0').  This is the phrase that provides Kathryn Bigelow's latest military thriller chronicling the ten year hunt for Osama bin Laden with its name (similarly to 2008's The Hurt Locker).

Based on first hand accounts, Zero Dark Thirty begins with an eerie, blank screen with cell phone and radio chatter from people experiencing the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.  It then skips forward two years and picks up with the interrogation of a detained al Queda member by a CIA agent named Dan (Jason Clarke).  Mid way through the interrogation we are introduced to the driving force behind the successful search for bin Laden, another CIA agent named Maya (Jessica Chastain).  Maya is fairly new to the CIA and is on her first assignment.  Brutal torture tactics are used to extr…

Rental Review - The Watch

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The Watch (2012), R, 102 minutes - Ever wonder what your local neighborhood watch does?  Keep an eye on your house while you're out of town?  Make sure there are no unwanted loiterers running around?  Instill a sense of community and security?  How about sitting around arguing with each other and drinking beer before saving the world from an alien invasion?  As far fetched as that sounds, it is the basis for this comedy starring Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, and Richard Ayoade.

Evan (Stiller) is a go-getter of a community man and the manager of the local Costco who organizes a neighborhood watch group after the security guard his store is brutally murdered.  Evan is quite serious about the crime and the continued potential threat to the neighborhood, but the only three guys to show up for his inaugural neighborhood watch meeting - Bob (Vaughn), Franklin (Hill), and Jamarcus (Ayoade) - see it more as an opportunity to hang out with the fellas.  A few typical buddy comedy s…

Review - This Is 40

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This Is 40 (2012), R, 134 minutes - Judd Apatow's latest comedy is a 'sort of' sequel to 2007's Knocked Up according to the movie poster.  'Sort of' in that This Is 40 follows Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) who were supporting characters in in that film, but This Is 40 doesn't tie back to Knocked Up at all.

This Is 40 takes a look at the life of a family whose parents have just turned 40 and are both feeling a bit of a mid-life crisis.  They are both having financial problems at work (Pete owns an independent record label and Debbie owns a small fashion boutique).  Pete has kept his end of the financial troubles a secret and the family is in danger of having to sell their house and downsize to make ends meet.  These troubles are just the tip of the iceberg.  As a result of turning 40 and not feeling as fulfilled or as accomplished as they had envisioned Pete and Debbie get increasingly frustrated with each other.  When they aren't driving eac…