Showing posts from December, 2012

Review - Django Unchained

Django Unchained (2012), R, 165 minutes - There are a few followers of this blog that already know this, but for anyone new or just passing through, here it is: I enjoy westerns.  Unfortunately it is a rare genre in this day and age.  I have also become a fan of Quentin Tarantino’s work over the years.  So, as one could imagine, Django Unchained (the D is silent) is a film that I've been pretty excited about for a while now.  It snuck onto my ‘Most Anticipated Films of 2012’ list earlier this year as an honorable mention entry (it would have been much higher had there actually been an official trailer released at that point), and my excitement only grew throughout the year.

Django Unchained is a wonderful mash-up of a well made spaghetti western and Tarantino’s style of storytelling and violence.  It takes place two years before the Civil War and follows Django (Jamie Foxx), a slave who is purchased by a bounty hunter by the name of Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz).  Schultz det…

Review - Killing Them Softly

Killing Them Softly (2012), R, 97 minutes - Killing Them Softly is a film that I saw on a whim a week or so ago starring Brad Pitt, Scoot McNairy, James Gandolfini, Richard Jenkins, and Ray Liotta. I didn't know much going in other than who was in it and that it involved the mob or organized crime in some way.  Having had a few days to try and process my thoughts, I'm still not sure what to make of it.

Here's what I do know: Killing Them Softly is well acted.  Pitt, McNairy, and Jenkins are the best of the bunch.  Gandolfini does well too, he just plays a character that is about impossible to like and Ray Liotta does his usual mob movie thing.  I'm not real familiar with him, but Ben Mendelsohn was pretty entertaining as well as one of the two small time crooks who knock over an underground poker game.  Liotta's character (Markie Trattman) runs the poker game.  A couple of years before, he had the brilliant idea of having someone hit his own game because he'd …

Review - The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012), PG-13, 169 minutes - After The Lord of The Rings: The Return of the King came out in 2003, the question soon became 'when would The Hobbit be adapted?'. Legal/contractual issues then made the world wonder if The Hobbit would ever be made at all.  Once that situation got sorted out, Jackson was going to produce while Guillermo del Toro was set to direct.  It took so long to get things off the ground, del Toro moved on to other projects and The Hobbit was left up in the air again.  Finally Jackson decided to take another trip through Middle Earth, the universe that he so perfectly brought to life with the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  It only took nine years, but the first part of Jackson's vision of J.R.R. Tokien's The Hobbit is finally here.

An Unexpected Journey follows a young Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), an unassuming hobbit that is very much a homebody.  Gandalf (Ian McKellen) pays him a visit and unbeknownst to Bilbo, cho…

Trailer Talk - Pacific Rim (2013)

Mechs!  Monsters!  Guillermo del Toro!  Idris Elba!  Ron Perlman!  Can it get any better?  Seriously though, this has been a greatly anticipated and discussed project from Guillermo del Toro for the last year or two.  And to finally see footage, gorgeous footage at that, really is exciting.

The trailer gives us the basic premise: giant monsters rise up from within the Earth and mankind takes to piloting giant mechs to fight off the threat.  It may be a very basic and nerdy plot, but with previous films like Blade II, the Hellboy movies, and Pan's Labyrinth under his belt, Guillermo del Toro has proven to have an unbelievable creative mind, both story and design-wise.  I love that his cast is littered with great character actors such as Idris Elba and Ron Perlman (even Charlie Hunnam, Burn Gorman and Clifton Collins, Jr for that matter).

There are already quite a few movies on the slate for next year to get excited about, but after seeing this trailer I think that Pacific Rim tak…

Rental Review - The Lorax

The Lorax (2012), PG, 86 minutes - Some may remember that The Lorax ranked #10 on my Most Anticipated Films of 2012 list back towards the beginning of the year.  As I mentioned there, this was mostly because The Lorax was one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books when I was a kid.  If I were making my Top 10 list for this year today, The Lorax probably wouldn't make the cut, but it was a very fun and entertaining presentation of Dr. Seuss' environmental tale.

The big screen version of The Lorax tells the story of a boy named Ted and his efforts to find a real tree to bring back to his small town of Thneedville in an effort to impress a girl named Audrey.  At first this doesn't sound like this would be a big deal, but Thneedville has grown into a completely artificial town.  There are no naturally occurring plants anywhere and as a result, a local business mogul named Mr. O'Hare all but runs the town.  His company supplies the people of Thneedville with fresh are to breath.  I…

Trailer Talk - Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

Here it is!  The much anticipated first teaser for Star Trek Into Darkness!  As is typical of a J.J. Abrams project, information about this film has been pretty hard to come by.  It shouldn't be any surprise that this teaser does its fair share of teasing.  Whetting our appetites, without giving away too much of the plot.  We're shown bits of a film that looks more bleak than its predecessor (Abrams' franchise reboot from 2009).  We see plenty of action (including the Enterprise crash landing?).  We see the new incarnations of the Enterprise's crew all returning.  We see Benedict Cumberbatch's villain for a fleeting moment.  Is he Khan?  Is he not?  Who cares!  Either way he'll probably be an excellent antagonist for Kirk (Chris Pine) and company.  As far as I'm concerned, it'll just be an added bonus if he does turn out to be Khan.

I grew up watching re-runs of the original Star Trek series and the movies that spun out of it.  I wouldn't consider…

Review - Lincoln

Lincoln (2012), PG-13, 150 minutes - When it comes to movies, I've always enjoyed period pieces.  Give me a film that provides a glimpse into another time and I'm happy.  I've also always enjoyed a well made biopic.  Luckily for me, these two genres often times go hand in hand.  In this case, Steven Spielberg covers both genres with an excellent film that focuses on the final four months of our 16th President's life, including his push to get the 13th Amendment to our Constitution passed in order to abolish slavery.

Most biopics tend to cover an entire lifespan, but Spielberg decided to narrow his focus on a fraction of Abraham Lincoln's life that had the most lasting effects on our country (Tony Kushner's screenplay draws heavily from Doris Kearns Goodwin's novel 'Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln').  He takes a look behind the scenes and shows us Lincoln's mindset after having made the Emancipation Proclamation and being …

Review - Rise of the Guardians

Rise of the Guardians (2012), PG, 97 minutes - Every year there are a handful of new holiday themed films that pop up in theaters between Thanksgiving and Christmas and just about every one involves a Christmas heavy plot.  Oddly enough, despite including a couple of holiday specific characters, Rise of the Guardians doesn't revolve around this gift giving time of year.

This film focuses on a group called The Guardians (based on a series of children's books by William Joyce), that is comprised of North (Santa Claus), Bunny (the Easter Bunny), Sandy (the Sandman), and Tooth (the Tooth Fairy).  Their job is to look after and protect the children of the Earth.  The more the children believe in The Guardians the stronger and more real they become.  This is where Jack Frost comes in.  He has the power to control winter.  He's the one that gives kids snow and ice and snow days.  He has no memory of his life before receiving his wintry powers and there are no tales about Jack and…