Friday, August 29, 2014

In Theaters Now - 8/29/14



(new releases in green)

Boyhood       Grade: A+

Ghostbusters 30th Anniversary      Grade: A

Chef       Grade: A

The Hundred-Foot Journey       Grade: A

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes       Grade: A-

Magic in the Moonlight       Grade: A-

Lucy       Grade: A-

The Trip to Italy       Grade: A-   (also available on Video on Demand)

Life of Crime      Grade: B+   (also available on Video on Demand)

The Purge: Anarchy       Grade: B+

A Most Wanted Man       Grade: B+

Guardians of the Galaxy       Grade: B

Land Ho!       Grade: B

Calvary       Grade: B

What If       Grade: B

Frank       Grade: C+

Get on Up       Grade: C+





Additional Films Not Reviewed:

The Admiral: Roaring Currents
As Above, So Below
Cantinflas
The Expendables 3
A Five Star Life
The Giver
How to Train Your Dragon 2
If I Stay
Into the Storm
Island of Lemurs: Madagascar
November Man
Let's Be Cops
Planes: Fire & Rescue
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Step Up All In
A Summer's Tale
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
When the Game Stands Tall

Trip to Italy


Who's up for another food tasting European road trip with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon?  What??  You haven't seen the first one yet???  Outrageous!!!  OK, well for your benefit I will once more recommend you check out The Trip circa 2011 when Coogan and Brydon first take to the road, swapping observations, comedy, and impressions, all the while getting on each other's nerves.  And, as with the first film, the locations in this sequel are beautiful, the food looks ever so tempting, and the camaraderie is perfect.  Sure, the novelty is gone.  And yes, this one isn't as funny as the first.  But it's still a trip well worth taking ... for the right viewer.

Both 'The Trip' and 'The Trip to Italy' are available right now on video on demand.  And 'The Trip to Italy' is also in limited release in theaters now.

The Trip     Grade: A
The Trip to Italy      Grade: A-

Who are these movies for?  If you like British comedy series like Ricky Gervais' 'Extras' or 'Life is Short' you're sure to find these films hilarious.  Some, on the other hand, might not find it funny at all.  It helps if you dig impressions.

Friday, August 22, 2014

In Theaters Now - 8/22/14



(new releases in green)

Boyhood       Grade: A+

Chef       Grade: A

The Hundred-Foot Journey      Grade: A

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes       Grade: A-

Magic in the Moonlight        Grade: A-

Lucy       Grade: A-

The Purge: Anarchy       Grade: B+

Life After Beth       Grade: B+

A Most Wanted Man      Grade: B+

Guardians of the Galaxy       Grade: B

Land Ho!      Grade: B

Calvary       Grade: B

What If       Grade: B

Are You Here      Grade: B   (also available on Video on Demand)

The Prince       Grade: B-   (also available on Video on Demand)

Frank        Grade: C+

Get on Up       Grade: C+

Earth to Echo        Grade: D





Additional Films Not Reviewed:

The Admiral: Roaring Currents
After
Another Me
The Expendables 3
Finding Fela
A Five Star Life
The Giver
Hercules
How to Train Your Dragon 2
If I Stay
Into the Storm
Island of Lemurs: Madagascar
Let's Be Cops
Planes: Fire & Rescue
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Step Up All In
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
When the Game Stands Tall

Friday, August 15, 2014

In Theaters Now - 8/15/14



(new releases in green)

Boyhood        Grade: A+

Chef        Grade: A

The Hundred-Foot Journey      Grade: A

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes        Grade: A-

Magic in the Moonlight        Grade: A-

Lucy         Grade: A-

Rich Hill       Grade: A-   (also available on Video on Demand)

The Purge: Anarchy        Grade: B+

Dinosaur 13      Grade: B+   (also available on Video on Demand)

A Most Wanted Man       Grade: B+

Guardians of the Galaxy        Grade: B

Land Ho!       Grade: B

Calvary       Grade: B

What If       Grade: B

Get on Up        Grade: C+

Mood Indigo        Grade: C





Additional Films Not Reviewed:

22 Jump Street
The Admiral: Roaring Currents
The Expendables 3
Finding Fela
A Five Star Life
The Giver
Hercules
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Into the Storm
Let's Be Cops
Maleficent
Planes: Fire & Rescue
Sex Tape
Step Up All In
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Monday, August 11, 2014

Robin Williams (1951 - 2014)

 
Just like the rest of the world, I am shocked to hear that not only is Robin Williams dead at 63, but it sounds like he took his own life.  I was aware he was in and out of rehab in recent years, battling alcoholism, but didn't realize he suffered from depression.  It's a terrible thing that doesn't care if you're poor or rich, famous or unknown.

Truthfully I never cared for Robin Williams as a stand-up comedian.  Sure his mind worked a mile a minute, too fast for even his mouth to keep up, but his comedy never really won me over.  But, surprisingly, as a dramatic actor, he was almost unmatched.  It amazed me that that wacky guy who played Mork from Ork could deliver such amazing performances as he did in 'Good Will Hunting', 'Dead Poets Society', and 'Awakenings' (which literally brought me to tears.)  Occasionally his comedies worked for me (including 'Mrs. Doubtfire', which I would've bet money on that I'd hate but I actually love) but more often than not it was his darker films that really struck a chord with me.  His dark trilogy in 2002 ('One Hour Photo', 'Insomnia', and 'Death to Smoochy') showed a whole new side to him.  'Bicentennial Man' was a totally underrated film and 'Patch Adams' is way better than critics give it credit for.  'The Final Cut' is possibly his most overlooked gem.  And now, under the circumstances, 'World's Greatest Dad' (which isn't for everyone, because it's both terribly sad and weirdly quirky) strikes an even more fitting chord.  Though, for me, I will most appreciate and remember him for something he did in 1994.  Back then a fledgling new series called 'Homicide: Life on the Street' was struggling to avoid cancellation, due to inconsistent airings and frequent changes of timeslots on NBC.  Enter movie star Robin Williams who did what movie stars didn't do back in 1994.  He guest starred on a TV show!  (And one with only 9 episodes under its belt.)  On one very poignant episode called 'Bop Gun', he stole the show from the huge talented ensemble cast, brought in viewers, and is often acknowledged to be the person who saved that show from cancellation, after which it went on for another 5 seasons and 110 amazing episodes.  It's just one of many reasons I will miss Robin Williams.  Rest in Peace.  And Nanu Nanu.



Friday, August 8, 2014

In Theaters Now - 8/8/14



(new releases in green)

Boyhood        Grade: A+

Chef       Grade: A

The Hundred-Foot Journey     Grade: A

Snowpiercer        Grade: A    (also available on Video on Demand)

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes       Grade: A-

Magic in the Moonlight       Grade: A-

Lucy        Grade: A-

About Alex        Grade: A-   (available on Video on Demand)

The Purge: Anarchy        Grade: B+

A Most Wanted Man       Grade: B+

Begin Again        Grade: B+

Obvious Child        Grade: B

Guardians of the Galaxy       Grade: B

Calvary        Grade: B

What If        Grade: B

Wish I Was Here        Grade: B-

Jersey Boys        Grade: B-

Get on Up        Grade: C+

Mood Indigo        Grade: C

And So It Goes        Grade: C





Additional Films Not Reviewed:

22 Jump Street
James Cameron's Deepsea Challenge
Hercules
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Into the Storm
Maleficent
Planes: Fire & Rescue
Sex Tape
Step Up All In
Tammy
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Transformers: Age of Extinction

About Alex


It seems like every other week there's another low budget indie drama on VOD about a group of old friends reuniting.  Often times it's due to a tragedy, thus triggering intense bonding, philosophical conversations, vicious fighting, and swapping of sex partners.  Every one of them wants to be the next 'Big Chill'.  Few of them compare.  But 'About Alex' is one of the few exceptions that really stands out in this genre, largely due to the quality and chemistry of the cast.  Max Greenfield shines the brightest, but Aubrey Plaza, Jason Ritter, Maggie Grace, Jane Levy, Max Minghella, and Nate Parker all gel and make this a VOD premiere well worth your time if you like the genre.

'About Alex' is now available on Video on Demand.

Grade: A-

Who is this movie for?   It's the next 'Big Chill' for fans of talky indie dramas.

Mood Indigo


There are no more charming and likeable actors in French cinema than Audrey Tautou, Romain Duris, and Gad Elmaleh.  So I would bet the farm that I'd adore this latest film written and directed by Michel Gondry.  The problem is, it's written and directed by Michel Gondry.  And he's one of the most overrated art film directors in film history.  Gondry often gets credited for 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind', but he only directed that film and it is Charlie Kaufman's brilliant writing that made it a brilliant film.  Gondry's greatest credit is that he didn't ruin it.  Unfortunately, 'Mood Indigo' didn't have Kaufman's involvement.  It's pure Gondry.  And that means it's way too artsy and way too quirky.  The right amount of art and quirk is a great thing.  Too much is just tedious.  And this film gets way too tedious way too fast.  Disappointing.

Grade: C

Who is this movie for?   Fans of Tautou, Duris, and Elmaleh should probably still see it.  (I wouldn't listen to a film critic who told me not to.)  Just don't say I didn't warn you.