Sunday, August 31, 2014

Life of Crime: Movie Review


   


Atmosphere full of life, story was not.
Based on the Elmore Leonard novel, Life of Crime is set in 1978 and follows earlier versions of some characters who have previously graced the big screen. A sort of prequel to Jackie Brown, the two memorable characters, Ordell Robbie and Louis Gara, are instantly recreated. I certainly wouldn’t want to follow in the cinematic footsteps of Samuel L. Jackson and Robert DeNiro, but Mos Def and John Hawkes did so admirably. 2013

Directed by: Daniel Schechter

Screenplay by: Daniel Schuchter
Based on "The Switch" by Elmore Leonard

Starring: John Hawkes, Mos Def, Tim Robbins and Jennifer Aniston

Friday, August 29, 2014

Obvious Child: Movie Review


   


Surpassing the romantic comedy genre with hilarity.
Obvious Child stars Jenny Slate as Donna Stern. She’s an aspiring stand-up comedian, and night after night she bares her soul for everybody to see who she is, to relate to her, to laugh at her, and to laugh with her. Her material is certainly risqué but it’s also just life. She challenges everybody with acknowledging the facts of life and then just laughing at the absurdities of it all. 2014

Directed by: Gillian Robespierre

Screenplay by: Gillian Robespierre

Starring: Jenny Slate, Jake Lacy and
Gaby Hoffman

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The One I Love: Movie Review


   


One part reality, one part mystery, one part love.
The One I Love stars Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss as a married couple desperately trying to recapture the spark, magic and love of their marriage. Their therapist suggests a weekend away is all they need. A house, a gardened backyard, a pool and a guest house is theirs to make use of as they will. While both are willing to try, I would venture that both are looking too far outside themselves. 2014

Directed by: Charlie McDowell

Screenplay by: Justin Lader

Starring: Mark Duplass, Elisabeth Moss

Monday, August 25, 2014

Very Good Girls: Movie Review


   


Very dull girls make for a dull movie.
Very Good Girls opens with Lilly (Dakota Fanning) and Gerri (Elizabeth Olsen) skinny dipping at a public beach in the middle of the day and with that the girls shed their good girl exteriors. It’s the summer before college and they’re struggling with that coming of age time. They’re virgins, their happiness and their confidence is fragile, and they’re both determined to change who they are, or how they are perceived. 2013

Directed by: Naomi Foner

Screenplay by: Naomi Foner

Starring: Dakota Fanning, Elizabeth Olsen

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Camp Takota: Movie Review


Go back to camp and find three funny and entertaining women.

Camp Takota starts in the city where Elise (Grace Helbig) has a handsome fiancée and is dutifully working in the publishing industry before she finds success as a writer. Then that all comes crashing down and through a series of drunken phone calls, finds herself returning to work at the all-girls camp she used to attend as a kid. The opening is surprisingly very funny and Elise’s flaws are front-and-center, making her likable and entertaining. 2014

Directed by: Chris Riedell, Nick Riedell

Screenplay by: Lydia Genner, Mamrie Hart and Michael Goldfine

Starring: Grace Helbig, Hannah Hart and Mamrie Hart

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Are You Here: Movie Review


   


Here, there, life is everywhere.
Are You Here is a light-hearted drama about some of life’s heavier themes – death, love, friendship, moving on and what it all means, and then offers some interesting laughs at the strangest times. Whatever you thought this film was supposed to be, it’s not that. It is a comedy, but hardly the road trip comedy it's advertised as. It's funny and clever, and it most certainly is a very odd look at life after loss. 2013

Directed by: Matthew Weiner

Screenplay by: Matthew Weiner

Starring: Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson

Friday, August 22, 2014

What If: Movie Review (AKA The F Word)


   


Simply a romantic comedy with romance and comedy.
What If asks questions like, “what if your best friend is also the love of your life?” Alternate title The F Word stands for friendship, but it also wants to make sure you know how fun, fresh and explicit the dialogue is. Like a modern take on When Harry Met Sally, but one of the best things about the movie is that it’s a pure romantic comedy — plenty of romance and comedy and never veering away from that. 2013

Directed by: Michael Dowse

Screenplay by: Elan Mastai
Based on play by TJ Dawe, Michael Rinaldi

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan

Thursday, August 21, 2014

About Alex: Movie Review


About an ensemble that gives a new generation a film to call their own.

About Alex is advertised as The Big Chill (1984) for Millennials or Gen Yers, but in an effort to not sell this film short, it’s for anybody who was too young to be able to call The Big Chill their own. The main actors are all over 30 and the social media references weren’t over-done. It also boasts an indie cast to die for. I’m a big fan of pretty much all of them and they are cast perfectly for their skills. 2014

Directed by: Jesse Zwick

Screenplay by: Jesse Zwick

Starring: Jason Ritter, Nate Parker, Aubrey Plaza, Max Greenfield and Maggie Grace

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

If I Stay: Movie Review


Come for the tears, stay for the romance.

If I Stay builds up the characters and their relationships long before it really presents the title dilemma, but that’s probably best for your tear ducts. Only a fraction of the movie is set in present day but the car accident that places 17-year-old Mia Hall (Chloe Grace Moretz) in a coma is at the beginning and then we get flashbacks to her childhood, musical education and especially to her boyfriend Adam. It’s just as much a romantic drama as it is a tear-jerker. 2014

Directed by: R.J. Cutler

Screenplay by: Shauna Cross
Based on novel by Gayle Forman

Starring: Chloe Grace Moretz, and Jamie Blackley

Monday, August 11, 2014

Magic in the Moonlight: Movie Review


   


A whimsical air of love and magic.
There are two movies within Magic in the Moonlight. One is a plot-driven, thematically-heavy comedy about a realist magician desperate to unmask the secrets of a spiritualist. The second is like a romantic drama asking if opposites can attract. The former is much better but knowing that Woody Allen isn’t going to include unconnected ideas, the film can be quite good for his die hard fans. 2014

Directed by: Woody Allen

Screenplay by: Woody Allen

Starring: Colin Firth, Emma Stone

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Into the Storm: Movie Review


Into a whirlwind of intense stupidity.

“Let’s get outta here!” There’s a storm coming, so this means every character must scream that sentence every 20 minutes. Audiences should also heed their warning and just run aimlessly wherever you feel like it. The tornadoes (yes, that is plural, not just one tornado) in Into the Storm are far greater than anything ever recorded and not even storm shelters can save you. 2014

Directed by: Steven Quale

Screenplay by: John Swetnam

Starring: Richard Armitage, Sarah Wayne Callies

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy: Movie Review


Riotous ragtag guardians of a Marvel universe.

The Guardians of the Galaxy are an oddball group of outcasts that have appointed themselves in charge of saving the world and kicking some ass. Of course the world is not our world, but a Marvel universe in outer space where the visual effects artists have really outdone themselves. There is thankfully one human who is hilarious and his compatriots, including a raccoon, a tree and non-humans, are funny too. 2014

Directed by: James Gunn

Screenplay by: James Gunn and Nicole Perlman; Based on the comic book

Starring: Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper,
Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Dave Bautista

Monday, August 4, 2014

Boyhood: Movie Review


   


An epic slice of Texas life.
Boyhood literally examines all the points that make up a boy’s formative years. While viewers are free to extrapolate it to any boy, this movie is about one boy. Writer and director Richard Linklater first cast Ellar Coltrane as Mason at age 6 and filmed him and his movie family for the next 12 years. It is a flawless, moving piece of life in general that encapsulates all major moments and emotions. 2014

Directed by: Richard Linklater

Screenplay by: Richard Linklater

Starring: Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke and Lorelei Linklater