Saturday, March 30, 2013

John Dies at the End: Movie Review


Ridiculous, funny, philosophical, disgusting and messy – a true comedy-horror film.
Lots of movies like to show you the ending at the beginning, but very few tell you the ending in the title. “John Dies at the End” has that illusive entertaining title and an even more entertaining plot summary: “A silent otherworldly invasion is underway, and mankind needs a hero. What it gets instead is John and David, a pair of college dropouts who can barely hold down jobs. Can these two stop the oncoming horror in time to save humanity? No. No, they can't.” That piece of brilliant writing comes courtesy of the author of the source novel. 2012

Directed by: Don Coscarelli

Screenplay by: Don Coscarelli
Based on the story by David Wong

Starring: Chase Williamson, Rob Mayes and Paul Giametti

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Stoker: Movie Review

Visually telling a horror film with a downplayed story but cinematic pizzazz.

“Stoker” is all about appearance. An elegant exterior covering up insidious actions and motives. The story begins with the death of India Stoker’s father. A somber India mourns at the funeral while her mother livens it up with an interest in Charlie. An uncle India never knew existed. But the film begins with photography, after all it is all about appearance in every possible way. Probably to cover up the lack of story. 2013

Directed by: Chan-wook Park

Screenplay by: Wentworth Miller

Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode and Nicole Kidman

Monday, March 25, 2013

The First Time: Movie Review

Proves that teen romances can be sweet and charming.

“The First Time” is not just about having sex for the first time, but falling in love for the first time, and also just being yourself in front of the object of your affection for the first time. Aubrey (Britt Robertson) has a boyfriend (we’ll get to him later) and Dave (Dylan O’Brien) is infatuated with a girl who will probably never like him for who he really is – she’s just too into herself for that to ever happen. 2012

Directed by: Jon Kasdan

Screenplay by: Jon Kasdan

Starring: Britt Robertson, Dylan O'Brien, and James Frecheville

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Electrick Children: Movie Review

A unique approach to a teen pregnancy leads us down new but frustrating
and uncomfortable paths.

“Electrick Children” takes a story that’s been done before — a teenager raised in a religious community finds herself pregnant — and then proceeds to tell the story like you’ve never seen it before. It deserves credit for being unique. However that singularity can be hard to digest and accept. The film turns into a story that is impossible to interpret or understand; at times intriguing and other times frustrating. 2012

Directed by: Rebecca Thomas

Screenplay by: Rebecca Thomas

Starring: Julia Garner, Rory Culkin, and Liam Aiken

Friday, March 22, 2013

Admission: Movie Review


Likable actors attempt to overcome the lack of jokes.
"Admission" was billed as a comedy, too bad it's not. Even when we're introduced to Portia (Tina Fey), I still couldn't figure out what type of comedy they were going for. There just doesn't seem to be any inherent comedy in the university admission process. But when Portia accidentally kisses high school director John (Paul Rudd), it finally becomes clear that this is in fact a romantic comedy, a dramatic romantic comedy. 2013

Directed by: Paul Weitz

Screenplay by: Karen Croner

Starring: Tina Fey, Paul Rudd, Nat Wolff and Michael Sheen

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Late Quartet: Movie Review


The powerful dynamics found within a quartet.
I was expecting “A Late Quartet” to rely on heady themes of classical music. Before going into it, I did at least learn some of the emotions that are involved in Beethoven's Opus 131, and interestingly, that was probably enough. I still believe that music fans will get a lot out of it, but it's meant for fans of relationship dramas where the slightest word or indiscretion can do a number on the players' psyches. 2012

Directed by: Yaron Zilberman

Screenplay by: Seth Grossman, Yaron Zilberman

Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Mark Ivanir, and Christopher Walken

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Call: Movie Review

Emotional, dramatic thriller that keeps it together despite some ridiculous antics.

The premise of “The Call” works well for an independent, straightly-told thriller. And that’s what we got. Focusing only on 911 operator Jordan (Halle Berry), the plot evolves over the phone when cute, blonde teenager Casey Welson (Abigail Breslin) is kidnapped. Like the actress herself, Berry’s Jordan is an experienced, hard-working woman who’s had some tough breaks in life. The first call doesn’t work out so well, but when she’s back at work she has to rely on her training and insights. 2013

Directed by: Brad Anderson

Screenplay by: Richard D'Ovidio

Starring: Halle Berry, Abigail Breslin and Michael Eklund

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone: Movie Review

Sweet, simple and mildly enjoyable but that doesn't add up to any laughs.

“The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” did a wonderful job of casting the dynamic duo of Burt Wonderstone (Stevel Carell) and Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) and establishing the look and feel for their “magical friendship” and then proceeded to completely destroy any chances for laughter and enjoyment. The very meager plot has Burt Wonderstone attempting to revive his career only to fail miserably. 2013

Directed by: Don Scardino

Screenplay by: Jonathan M. Goldstein, John Francis Daley

Starring: Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Olivia Wilde, Alan Arkin and Jim Carrey

Thursday, March 14, 2013

How to Survive a Plague: Documentary Review


In some cases, words and actions can save a million lives.
“How to Survive a Plague” takes real footage from the 1980s and 90s fight for health among the homosexual community and allows us to accurately re-live the tragedy of the rise of AIDS worldwide and the political incompetence to do anything about it. Part of the excellence of this documentary is allowing the actual events to speak for themselves. 2012

Directed by: David France

Screenplay by: David France, Tyler H. Walk and Todd Woody Richman

Starring: Peter Staley, and Bob Rafsky
These activists had the foresight to record their conversations and protests, and these filmmakers had the foresight to know how to edit it to leave the power in the hands of those fighting.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Blancanieves: Movie Review

The twist to Snow White loses its emotional focus but maintains its ingenuity.

"Blancanieves" (literally Snow White in Spanish) places Snow White into 1920s Spain in black and white and classic silent film form. This version of Snow White not only takes on a Spanish twist, but a dark and gothic twist too; however, you will have to wait until the end for the latter twist to reveal itself. The beginning establishes the bullfighting setting with a Flamenco dancing flourish 2012, Spain

Directed by: Pablo Berger

Screenplay by: Pablo Berger

Starring: Daniel Giménez Cacho, Macarena Garcia and Sofia Oria