Posts

Showing posts from January, 2014

Most Anticipated Films of 2014

Image
Compiling this list each year is more difficult than one would think.  Obviously it can only be made of films that are already known to be coming out by the general public.  I'd like to think that the films on my list below will be pretty good, but who knows?  There may be much better films released in 2014.  In any event, these are the ones that have me the most excited here at the beginning of the year:

Honorable Mention (in alphabetical order): The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Dumb and Dumber To, Godzilla, Gone Girl, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Transformers: Age of Extinction.


10) Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (July 18) - Some of my earliest movie memories from my childhood are of watching the old Planet of the Apes films with my dad.  2011's 'reboot' (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) was a prequel to the previously made films, and set in the same continuity.  This follow up looks to help fill in the gaps between Rise …

Timmmaaaaay's Top 10 of 2013

Image
Holy cow, it's that time again!  Time for my now yearly (thanks for screwing things up 2011) Top 10 list.  I found myself having a more difficult time compiling my list this year than I thought I would.  As has become customary, here are the parameters I use while making my list:
The list is pulled only from the movies released in 2013 that I actually saw (a second list comprised of the films from 2013 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 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. Just as last year, there were a few films that I wasn't able to see that probably could make an argument for inclusion on this list.  Some I missed in theate…

Review - Her

Image
Her (2013), R, 126 minutes - From the very first look at the trailer, Her looked like a very unique film with a strange premise: what happens when a man falls in love with the artificial intelligence of his computer's operating system?

At an unspecified time in the future, Theodore Twombly (Jaoquin Pheonix) is a writer who works for a beautifulhandwrittenletters.com.  He sits in a cube all day long authoring letters for people that are too busy to take the time out of their day to write a letter themselves.  Theodore is also a lonely man who is recently separated from his wife.  His friends Amy (Amy Adams) and Charles (Matt Letscher) keep trying to get him to go out and be social, but he isn't ready.  After seeing an infomercial on the way home one day, he purchases a new operating system for his computer.  The new OS is supposed to feature the latest in artificial intelligence.  It learns from your interactions with it and develops its own personality.  The installation of t…

Review - Inside Llewyn Davis

Image
Inside Llewyn Davis (2013), R, 104 minutes - Over the years, the Coen brothers (Joel and Ethan) have carved out their own little corner of the film making world.  One in which they show us glimpses of lives that could be our own and as is often the case in life, can be viewed with a certain sense of humor, albeit oftentimes a dark one.  Inside Llewyn Davis is their latest work, providing a look at a few days in the life of a struggling folk singer in 1961.

Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) is the surviving half of a folk duo.  His partner committed suicide and he is now trying to make a career as a solo act.  He struggles between gigs, bouncing from one friend's couch to another, refusing to try anything else because he says that music is his career.  The problem being but he rarely shows the passion for it that he claims to have.  He's a defeatist who lets his frustration build up and lash out at those who do support him.  That probably doesn't really sound like an interesting f…

Rental Review - Sound City

Image
Sound City (2013), NR, 108 minutes - Dave Grohl may be the coolest man in the world.  And if he isn't, he's pretty damn close.  Let's see...he was Nirvana's drummer, then he started a little band called Foo Fighters.  He produces and records with just about anyone, and now he's a film director to boot.  Sound City is the documentary that Grohl made to honor a small, now defunct recording studio in Van Nuys, California that was the birthplace of some of rock's most successful records.

By all accounts, Sound City was a dump.  It wasn't a place that would draw artists, but the owners invested in a state of the art (for the time) Neve soundboard early on.  This was no small undertaking, as it was hand built by British electronics genius Rupert Neve himself and cost over $75,000.  Between the unique equipment, a chance meeting that led to the powerhouse lineup that rocketed Fleetwood Mac to super-stardom, and their friendly staff, Sound City became a go-to recor…

Review - Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Image
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013), PG-13, 139 minutes - Based on Nelson Mandela's autobiography of the same name, I feel fell prey to a case of bad timing.  It received a limited release here in the states just a few days before Nelson Mandela passed away, leaving its widespread release to fall over the following weeks.  Obviously this film has been in the works for quite some time, but I wonder if its being released so closely to its namesake's passing hindered it as people possibly felt like it was 'cashing in'.  This is just speculation on my part of course.  It is certainly an interesting case of timing and its impact on a film's success.  

We get a run through of Mandela's (Idris Elba) life, beginning with his younger days working as a lawyer in an Apartheid-run South Africa.  From that very early stage, it is evident that this legendary man always had the back of his people and would fight for what was right.  We then see his entry into politics and h…

Review - Nebraska

Image
Nebraska (2013), R, 115 minutes - I wasn't really sure what to expect going into this film.  I had first read about it in a small blurb in Entertainment Weekly a couple of months back.  I hadn't seen a full trailer and only knew what little I had seen in that magazine piece: it was a film about an old man from Billings, Montana who decides to travel - one way or another - to Lincoln, Nebraska to claim a million dollar sweepstakes prize, and that it included great performances from Bruce Dern and Will Forte.  I'm glad that I had seen that little write up because what I encountered when I saw Nebraska at my local art house theater the other day was a very heart felt, endearing, humorous film that was one of the most enjoyable movies I've seen this year.

Woody Grant (Dern) gets a letter in the mail stating that he was 'a $1,000,000 winner!'.  We've all seen this kind of junk mail (or at least any of us over the age of 30 have, who knows if they still circulate…

Review - 47 Ronin

Image
47 Ronin (2013), PG-13, 119 minutes - A couple of weeks ago I was tweeting with an old co-worker and we both wondered whether 47 Ronin was going to be really good or horribly bad.  That's honestly the vibe that we both got from the trailer.  Fortunately for me (since I paid to see it in theaters), it falls somewhere in the middle.

47 Ronin is loosely based on an old Japanese legend about a group of samurai who attempt to avenge the death of their master, Lord Asano (Min Tanaka) at the hands of Lord Kira (Tadanobu Asano) and his mystically inclined right-hand woman (Rinko Kikuchi).  The group of Ronin is led by Ôishi (Hiroyuki Sanada), Lord Asano's captain of the guard.  Ôishi enlists the help of Kai (Keanu Reeves), a man who was taken in as a child and cared for by Lord Asano and his family.  Kai is referred to as a Half Breed by the Japanese because his mother was native and his father was a white sailor.  This plays into Ôishi's decision to ask for Kai's help as it …

Rental Review - Dear Mr. Watterson

Image
Dear Mr. Watterson (2013), NR, 89 minutes - I don't often sit down to watch documentaries, but every once in a while one catches my eye.  Anyone who grew up around the same time I did will recognize after one look at the movie poster just why this one caught my attention.

Much like this film's director Joel Allen Schroeder, I grew up eagerly anticipating the newspaper (especially the Sunday editions) and the brief glimpse into the world of Calvin & Hobbes that Bill Watterson provided us with each day.  We weren't the only ones.  There was just something about those characters and their shenanigans that sucked the world in.  That something is what this documentary focuses on.  Through interviews with other fans, Watterson's peers, editors, and historians Dear Mr. Watterson explores the impact that the mischievous blonde haired kid and his stuffed tiger had on the world.  It looks at changes in the comic strip medium over the years and how they impact today's cre…

Review - Gravity

Image
Gravity (2013), PG-13, 91 minutes - Wow.  I dropped the ball on this film.  How did I not see this one in theaters?  I'm actually having a pretty hard time figuring that one out myself.  I love films set in space.  And I don't just mean the crazy sci-fi/fantasy stuff, but films about the space program.  Sci-fi based in reality.  This one was directed by Alfonso Cuarón (I loved 2006's Children of Men).  And while I've never been a huge Sandra Bullock fan, I've never had anything against her either.  Certainly not enough to keep me from seeing a film.  I remember seeing the trailer in theaters, but not being all that impressed at the time.  As positive reaction to the film came out after its release, I had apparently myself convinced that the trailer I saw was slow and boring, but I'll be damned if I can find it anywhere on the good old world wide web.  All that I can come up with is that I wasn't really paying attention.  In any event, it's a shame that …