Sunday, July 20, 2014

Among Ravens

It seems like every other week there's a new title premiering on Video on Demand about friends in their 20's and 30's reuniting.  Every movie wants to be the next 'Big Chill'.  Few of them are.  And this is one of the worst entries I've seen of late.  Despite a decent ensemble cast including Amy Smart, Joshua Leonard, Will McCormack, and Natalie Imbruglia, it really has nothing of interest to offer.  No moments.  No chemistry.  No memorable dialogue or scenes.  It's just there.

'Among Ravens' is now available on Video on Demand.

Grade: D+

Who is this movie for?  No one.  It's not the worst I've seen, but it's not worth your time.

Video Games: The Movie

Take a trip back to the days of the Atari 2600, Nintendo, Xbox, Playstation, and whatever other video games you played with when you were younger.  This documentary, executive produced by Zach Braff and narrated by Sean Astin takes you from the dawn of video games, with rudimentary classics like Pong, to today's 3D and virtual reality games.  For those of you like me, who once loved them but are now far removed, it serves as nostalgic and entertaining but also educational.  Things have certainly come a long way since I hung up my controller with games like Super Mario Brothers.  Today's games are almost indistinguishable from movies, but yet more active than the passive entertainment of TV and movies.

'Video Games: The Movie' is now available on Video on Demand.

Grade: B

Who is this movie for?  Real gamers might enjoy it for nostalgic purposes.  I enjoyed it for that but also to see what the kids are playing with today.  Anyone who ever enjoyed any video game will probably find it entertaining.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Brony Tale

OK so we all have guilty pleasures we like but we're not proud of.  Think yours is embarrassing?  Well guess what?  There are actually men (many of them straight) who happen to love 'My Little Pony'.  (Yes, that 'My Little Pony'.)  So many, that there's even a term for them:  Brony.  So many, that they even have a convention for them.  And no one was more surprised to discover this than Ashleigh Ball, who voiced many of the characters.  This fun documentary introduces you to a group of men who, for whatever reason, are willing to own up to their guilty pleasure on camera for our entertainment.  And it's a guilty pleasure to watch.

'A Brony Tale' is now available on Video on Demand.

Grade: B

Who is this movie for?  Morgan Spurlock executive produced this doc, so that should give you a pretty good idea.

The Congress

Robin Wright plays herself in the not-too-distant future in this original high concept sci-fi film.  As an aging actress in Hollywood that's made some poor choices, her career is quickly fading.  But when the head of Miramount studios makes her one final, and somewhat surreal offer, she has no choice but to accept.  And then things get really trippy.  Half live action film and half animation.  Harvey Keitel, Danny Huston, Paul Giamatti, and Jon Hamm round out the amazing cast.

'The Congress' is now available on Video on Demand.

Grade: A-

Who is this movie for?  It's definitely not for everyone, and I'm not sure it's fully satisfying, but it gets a LOT of credit in my book for being experimental, ambitious, and totally original.  See it if you want to see something completely different.

Friday, July 18, 2014

In Theaters Now - 7/18/14

(new releases in green)

Chef       Grade: A

Edge of Tomorrow       Grade: A

Snowpiercer       Grade: A    (also available on VOD)

The Immigrant        Grade: A-

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes      Grade: A-

Third Person       Grade: B+

X-Men: Days of Future Past       Grade: B+

Life Itself       Grade: B+   (also available on VOD)

The Purge: Anarchy       Grade: B+

Begin Again       Grade: B+

The Fault in Our Stars       Grade: B+

Obvious Child        Grade: B

Wish I Was Here       Grade: B

Jersey Boys       Grade: B-

Ida       Grade: C-

The Grand Budapest Hotel       Grade: C-    (also available on VOD)

Venus in Fur       Grade: C-   (also available on VOD)

Belle       Grade: D+

Earth to Echo       Grade: D

Additional Films Not Reviewed:

22 Jump Street
An American in Hollywood
Deliver Us From Evil
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Planes: Fire & Rescue
Sex Tape
Think Like a Man Too
Transformers: Age of Extinction
Yves Saint Laurent