Showing posts from November, 2015

Review - The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 (2015), PG-13, 137 minutes - Four years after the first Hunger Games adaptation hit the big screen with overwhelming success, we have come to the end of the franchise.  I remember feeling a bit apprehensive when they first announced that the trilogy of books by Suzanne Collins would become four films.  I was worried that the decision was a money grab by the studio.  That feeling was alleviated last year after seeing how Mockingjay - Part 1 played out and now, after seeing the finale that is Mockingjay - Part 2, I must admit that my worries were unfounded. Much like previous installments, Mockingjay - Part 2 picks up moments after the previous film ended, jumping immediately into the next chapter and not looking back.  Mockingjay - Part 1 set up the budding revolutionary forces of districts two through thirteen and Part 2 sees that revolution play out.  Feeling that Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) - the Mockingjay and living symbol of the revolutio

Rental Review - Spy

Spy (2015), R, 119 minutes - Our rental of The Gallows  Friday night earned us a freebie from Redbox, so last night my wife and I decided to change things up a bit with this comedy starring Melissa McCarthy, Jude Law, Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Allison Janney, and Miranda Hart.  The aptly named Spy is probably the best mockery of the super spy genre since Austin Powers, although it doesn't quite go full-parody.  It finds itself more in the homage/parody range similar to films like Hot Fuzz (2007) or 21 Jump Street (2012). Susan Cooper (McCarthy) is an analyst working in the 'basement' of the CIA.  She acts as eyes and ears for super secret agent Bradley Fine (Law) when he's in the field.  A mission mis-hap by Fine leads to the death a weapons dealer who knows the location of a stolen portable nuclear bomb.  In an attempt to right his wrong, Fine tracks down the dealer's daughter Rayna Boyanov (Byrne).  Cooper believes that finding Boyanov was too easy and that

Rental Review - The Gallows

The Gallows (2015), PG-13, 81 minutes  - When I realized that this past Friday was the thirteenth, I sent my wife a text jokingly wishing her a Happy Friday the 13th.  She replied with 'scary movie night!', and with that I found myself picking up this movie from the nearest Redbox, continuing our annual October scary movie binge into November. The Gallows is a low budget, found-footage horror flick that revolves around events taking place at Beatrice High School.  It begins with the recording of the school's 2003 presentation of a play called 'The Gallows', which ended in tragedy as a prop malfunction kills one of the performers, Charlie Grimille.  Jump to twenty years later, 2013, and the school is preparing a new performance of the play in honor of the anniversary of that tragic night.  The current presentation has been organized by theater teacher Mr. Schwendiman (co-writer/co-director Travis Cluff) and student Pfiefer Ross (Pfeifer Brown).  Inexplicably, joc

Review - Spectre

Spectre (2015), PG-13, 148 minutes - It's been quite a while since I've gone to a movie on opening night.  It generally doesn't fit into our schedule, and truth be told, I don't miss dealing with the crowds.  But this past Thursday night, a perfect storm of events occurred, allowing me the opportunity to check out the latest installment of the 007 franchise as soon as it opened.  What was that perfect storm you may ask?  First off, Spectre was playing at the local art house theater, which pretty much negated the possibility of an obnoxious crowd.  Second, the start time was 7 pm as opposed to midnight (apparently earlier Thursday night showings have become a thing since I last attended an opening night - nice to know).  And third, my wife had an exhausting day at school, one of those days where she didn't mind having a nice quiet house for the evening.  As a result, I jumped at the opportunity to see Bond's return to action. Spectre is Daniel Craig's

Review - Crimson Peak

Crimson Peak (2015), R, 119 minutes - There are a few directors whose films I would go see sight-unseen (not that that is very likely in this day and age), and while that list may vary here or there depending on where or when I may be asked (hypothetically of course I have never actually comprised such a list), I can assure you that Guillermo del Toro would be very close to the top of it.  I've been a big fan for quite a while, first becoming aware of his work through films like Blade II (2002) and Hellboy (2004), but developing a true appreciation for his talents in storytelling with 2006's  Pan's Labyrinth . Set in 1899, Crimson Peak is his latest completed project, and is another of his original stories.  This time around he weaves the tale of Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska), an aspiring author and daughter of wealthy American businessman Carter Cushing (Jim Beaver) who finds herself caught between the affections of childhood friend Dr. Alan McMichael (Charlie Hunn

Rental Review - Insidious: Chapter 3

Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015), PG-13, 97 minutes - In keeping with the scary movie theme of October, my wife and I rented this film Halloween night.  We've enjoyed the previous two films in the franchise and were curious to see if this one, released earlier this summer, would live up to its predecessors (my reviews for which can be seen here and here ). Insidious: Chapter 3 is a bit of a misleading title.  Yes, it is the third film from the franchise, but the story acts as a prequel for the prior films.  For all intents and purposes it is an origin story for for psychic Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye), and her paranormal investigating partners Tucker (Angus Sampson) and Specs (writer/director Leigh Wannell).  If you have seen the other two Insidious films, you know they comprise the trio that helps the Lambert family with their paranormal problems. In this film, Quinn (Stephanie Scott) visits Elise in an attempt to contact her recently deceased mother.  She explains that she feels