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Showing posts from December, 2014

Rental Review - Dark Skies

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Dark Skies (2013), PG-13, 97 minutes - This is a film that my wife and I had been interested in since we first saw the trailer last year. It was added to our Netflix queue where it sat and sat until the other night when we finally had the opportunity to give it a watch.

Dark Skies is a paranormal thriller that follows the Barretts - Lacy (Keri Russell), Daniel (Josh Hamilton) and their sons Jesse (Dakota Goyo) and Sam (Kadan Rockett) - a family battling financial trouble and the stresses that come along with it. To make matters worse, the family begins experiencing strange phenomena, most of which seem to revolve around Sam and his belief in the stories about the Sandman  told to him by Jesse. As unexplained events continue, other members of the family are effected. Lacy's fear of what is happening leads her to the internet, where she finds a local man named Edwin Pollard (J.K. Simmons) who is considered an expert on the paranormal phenomena they have been experiencing. Lacy…

Review - Into the Woods

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Into the Woods (2014), PG, 124 minutes - Ordinarily, I'm not much of a musical fan but this big screen adaptation of the Broadway show caught my eye thanks to its cast and the way it mashes up a number of fairy tales (including Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel).

The story opens with a in which we learn what the various characters wish for but the film primarily revolves around the baker (James Cordon) and his wife (Emily Blunt) and their task to collect four items so that the witch next door (Meryl Streep) will reverse the curse that she had put on the baker's bloodline many years before. Only then will their wish of being able to conceive a child come true. The items they must obtain just happen to be items from the other fairy tale characters and their stories: one of Cinderella's (Anna Kendrick) slippers, Jack's (Daniel Huttlestone) cow, a lock of Rapunzel's (Mackenzie Mauzy) hair, and Little Red Riding Hood's (Lilla …

Review - Big Eyes

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Big Eyes (2014), PG-13, 105 minutes - Big Eyes is the latest directorial project from Tim Burton and is based on the events of artist Margaret Keane's life. Events which are both phenomenal and unbelievable at the same time. I can't say as I was familiar with her story before now, but it really is quite remarkable.

Margaret (Amy Adams) met fellow artist and future husband Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz) while painting portraits in the park for money in an attempt to support herself and her daughter. Keane was a charming man who had lived over seas and seemed to know everyone. They got along well, and when Margaret's ex-husband attempted to get custody of her daughter claiming that she could not provide a stable environment, they got married. Shortly thereafter, Walter talked his way into displaying their art at a local night club. His foreign street-scapes and her portraits of children with distinctive over-sized eyes. One night a couple mistakenly thought that one o…

Review - Fury

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Fury (2014), R, 134 minutes - This is another film that I was fortunate enough to catch before it disappeared form theaters, but haven't had the time to get anything written up. Fury is a film that caught my eye as soon as I saw the trailer earlier this year. Then a couple former co-workers highly recommended it and I knew that it would be right up my alley. I've always enjoyed period pieces, especially those that portray the difficulties of war time. Fury takes place in the waning days of World War II as the Allied forces push into Nazi Germany and focuses on Staff Sergeant Don 'Wardaddy' Collier (Brad Pitt), his four man crew, and the tank they operate.

Collier runs a tight-nit crew who loses a member in battle early in the film. The rest of the group Boyd 'Bible' Swan (Shia LeBeouf), Trini 'Gordo' Garcia (Michael Peña), and Grady 'Coon-Ass' Travis (Jon Bernthal) have to adjust to the dynamic of having a new member - Norman Ellison (Logan …

Review - The Theory of Everything

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The Theory of Everything (2014), PG-13, 123 minutes - I have been looking forward to this film for a few months, not only because Stephen Hawking is a fascinating figure, but because there is no way to tell Hawking's story without at least touching on Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as ALS, or as it is mentioned in the film, Lou Gehrig's Disease). As some of you may know, my uncle has lived with this debilitating disease for over nine years now. I wasn't sure if I'd have a chance to see it as it arrived at our local art house theater amidst the holiday chaos, but I was fortunate enough to find the time to sneak it in last week, on one of its last days here in town.

To my surprise, the majority of the film centered around the challenges and obstacles that Hawking, his (now ex) wife Jane and their family have had to overcome as a result of ALS over the years. Of course his scientific theories and accolades are touched upon here and there but they are not the…

Review - The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014), PG-13, 144 minutes -Originally subtitled 'There and Back Again', 'The Battle of the Five Armies' marks the final installment in director Peter Jackson's adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. This portion of the story shows the events surrounding the party of dwarves - led by heir to the dwarven throne Thorin Oakenshield - reclaiming and then defending their homeland, the Lonely Mountain of Erebor.

We are thrust into the action as 'The Battle of the Five Armies' picks up right where 'The Desolation of Smaug' ended, with the dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) attacking the people of Laketown. Smaug's vacating the Lonely Mountain allows Thorin (Richard Armitage) and his crew, including Bilbo (Martin Freeman) to re-enter the mountain and begin searching for the Arkenstone, the crown jewel of the dwarven treasure. As the search lengthens, Thorin is increasingly afflicted with 'dragon…

Review - Exodus: Gods and Kings (3D)

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Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014), PG-13, 150 minutes - Generally I really enjoy sword and sandal 'epics'. And generally I enjoy films directed by Ridley Scott, especially when they boast a strong cast. Unfortunately, an extremely poor 3D screening severely limited any enjoyment that could have been had with this film. I tend to avoid 3D when at all possible, but on this occasion it was the only showing that fit my schedule. At first I thought that my eyes just had to adjust. I hadn't sat through a 3D film since earlier this summer when I saw How to Train Your Dragon 2 (which happens to be an example of 3D done right). After a few minutes, nothing had changed. A person or object would be clear, but the rest of the picture still looked fuzzy as if I weren't wearing the 3D glasses at all. It didn't seem to be bothering anyone else in the theater so I figured it was just my eyes. I put up with it, disappointed but determined to try and enjoy whatever I could of th…