Average User Score: 6.6Jul 31, 2014When the self proclaimed Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson graces the silver screen. in Brett Ratner's adaption of the Steve Moore comic, showcasingWhen the self proclaimed Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson graces the silver screen. in Brett Ratner's adaption of the Steve Moore comic, showcasing the titular character that is Hercules. I almost believed every second. Perhaps if not for the overly dramatic battle sequences, cornballish one liners, and some CGI heavy effects that could use some work. That being said, if not for Johnson and Ratner, we probably would be looking at a far worse version of the Kellan Lutz driven vehicle that opened back in January.
Johnson is the lion-sheep head wearing mercenary in full forced-a hired gun, but also a tabloid of the gods. The answer is that is he human? or god? He travels in style with the realm of a C.S Lewis novel at his side. (Yes, this was a reference to Narnia). Lured by riches, and seeking revenge for the unspecified death of his family.
At the film's best it reminded me of Zack Snyder's 300, while of course THIS film is rated PG13, so the blood spewing will be put to a minimum and Johnson who has brought life to many franchises including; "GI Joe" and "Fast and Furious". Is right in the typical macho wheelhouse he is normally accustomed too. When the big ferocious muscle induced hero is fighting the bad guys it all feels right. Brett Ratner (Rush Hour films) knows how to shoot some inept stylized action sequences, which I was engulfed entirely. However after the second battle (Which clocks in at about ten minutes) I was feeling a little fatigued.
Then, when the somewhat predictable finale the film follows--they expect the audience to be shocked as if we didn't see this coming. Most fans will bypass this flaw, I just kind of shrugged my shoulders and accepted it. The best scenes are the one's when Hercules has too ask himself who he is, and what he is there for. You probably saw this in the trailer "I AM HERCULES!!!!!" he shouts to the screen. Somehow during that scene my heart was beating pretty profusely. So, to some extent, the film had an effect on me.
The latest adaptation of "Hercules" was much better then it probably could have been (this is not saying much). I can almost guarantee that it will wash the tireless taste out of the forsaken "Legend Of Hercules" out of your mouth. I did actually enjoy the film when it all boils down. Probably because there is just enough plot to inch the film along, and more than enough battle escapades to at least distract me from the much bigger picture, which is probably a horrible film.
By: Nate Adams
Directed By: Brett Ratner
Runtime: 96 mins
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: July 25th 2014
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Average User Score: 5.7Jul 31, 2014Going into the latest Disney tent-pole, and the sequel to last summer’s snooze fest (Even by kiddie fare standards), “Planes: Fire & Rescue” IGoing into the latest Disney tent-pole, and the sequel to last summer’s snooze fest (Even by kiddie fare standards), “Planes: Fire & Rescue” I had my fair share of low, and I mean, low expectations. The trailers build this up to be one big sap fest, the first preview had the very good Spencer Lee singing the titular song “Still I Fly”. Which, yes makes it’s way into a slow montage in the film. To be expected, the film is not in the high winds of what it’s animation department is actually capable off. (Have you seen “Frozen?”) . Parents will find the film utterly predictable, but the younger children will more than likely be put in a trance, as soon as Dusty Crophopper swings into the big screen. To say the least I was truly surprised at how much I actually enjoyed this follow up sequel.
Having only been less than a year since we saw the last Planes, Dusty is now a big time celebrity, and world champion. However when his gearbox reluctantly fails -- this causes Dusty to find a new calling, as he most likely will never race again. After a terrible accident leaves his hometown in ruins Dusty takes new leave, and begins investing into the world of firefighting. Serving alongside the heroes he aspires to be.
You may not believe it at first, but there actually is some touching moments sprinkled throughout “Planes: Fire and Rescue”, not to mention, most of the scenery is gorgeous to look at (a vast improvement over the first outing). The directing staff actually studied for months on the actual depths that these firefighters go through. Which truly is showcased in the very cool air stunt sequences, which are easily the film’s greater strengths. Ideally, what propelled the film even further was the addition of a new band of characters, that are superior to the previous entry. Characters that I actually cared about. Of course, with new characters comes with a new cast..lead by Julie Brown (Modern Family) as Lil’ Dipper. Ed Harris, Wes Studi, Hal Holbrook while Dane Cook returned to voice Dusty.
So much went wrong with the first “Planes” that it actually set a low bar for the standards of Disney, and for that I was truly shocked. It has become apparent that this crew saw those faults and drastically altered them. Resulting in a more than passable escapism for the younger crowd..and even slight enjoyment for the adults as well. The film is nowhere near the likes of “LEGO Movie”, “Frozen”, or “How To Train Your Dragon 2”. Running at a smooth 1hr and 15 mins, is just perfect enough to entertain the kids..and not drag down the parents along the way. Everyone leaves feeling satisfied
By: Nate Adams
Directed By: Roberts Gannaway
Runtime: 75 mins
Release Date: July 18th
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Average User Score: 3.7Jul 31, 2014It had become very apparent to me early on during my viewing of “Sex Tape” that Cameron Diaz, and Jason Siegel were going to have remarkableIt had become very apparent to me early on during my viewing of “Sex Tape” that Cameron Diaz, and Jason Siegel were going to have remarkable on screen chemistry. Then the unthinkable happened, the first five minutes ended. Where to begin? is a question that is never asked in the treacherous debacle that is “Sex Tape”. A bland attempt at a lude-and raunchy R rated comedy, that is not only poorly scripted, but severely unfunny in all the wrong ways.
The film follows the early sex lives of one Jay (Siegel) and Annie (Diaz), we (the audience) know nothing about the couple at first. just that they love having sex. (As showcased within the films first hefty five minute montage - these scenes alone earned the hard R rating). Fast forward a few years -- and they have a couple kids, and are happily married. Annie is on the verge of the biggest breakthrough of her career (selling her blog to a huge branding company) headed by a douchey, crazy, and creepy Rob Lowe. While Jay is a successful songwriter, and musician. Between the jobs and the children sex is hardly ever an option. However, on a brink night to celebrate Annie’s new job. In a last ditch effort to restore some flair and originality into their sex lives...the couple inadvertently make a three hour long escapade. Thinking all was free and clear, their sex tape accidently leaks into the cloud and becomes available to all their closest friends and family. This results in a wild goose chase to “erase” all the evidence before it’s too late.
“Sex Tape” is by far one of the more intriguing premises this year has to offer. I mean ask yourself..”if you made a sex tape?” would you want your mom seeing it? heavens no. So my props go to Jake Kasdan and Jason Siegel for making a cool premise, That is, of course, the extent of my appreciation. From then on the movie wallows in self pity, and never takes off from the standard set. At one point Diaz character says “the quality of writing in porn has really gone down these days”. I immediately thought to myself “and so has this movie” ..this was a whopping twenty minutes into the film, where I knew there was no going back.
With most films that start off poorly you keep gesturing to your inner self “it’s going to get better, stick with it” and besides from a fun cameo towards the end of the fIlm (I won’t reveal who) “Sex Tape” is just moronic and plain boring. Picture an hour and forty minute long trailer..except with no humor, no jokes, and not a sensible care in the world. The film co-stars Rob Lowe in his worst performance..to date. In comparison..when you look at earlier films this year “Blended” for example, was a film that knew its boundaries, and it didn’t try to be better than it was. “Sex Tape” think’s it’s funny, and keeps mustering up the same lame one-liners that just leave you sitting in your seat checking your watch constantly wondering where the film is going. I was not a big fan of Kasdan and companies last film “Bad Teacher” I thought the bawdy humor didn’t mesh well with the plot at hand. I suppose the same goes “Sex Tape” in a sense. Not to mention this film has the most absurd amount of product placement I have ever seen. Ok..we get it..you like Apple products. Give me a break!.
“Sex Tape” is a film that comes on strong..and then surprisingly pushes you away. There are some moments where I laughed (preferably the aforementioned cameo). Sloppy characters, and even sloppier jokes (Even by R rated standards). Siegel belting out his lines in a high pitched squeal doesn’t help either. I admire the passion and devotion our two leads have to this film. (Diaz especially) However, as with most films with a intricate premise. “Sex Tape” is the latest addition to take something cool, and make it dull and lifeless.
By: Nate Adams
Directed By: Jake Kasdan
Runtime: 100 mins
Release Date: July 18th 2014
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Average User Score: 8.2Jul 31, 2014The "Planet of the Ape" series has suffered from it's fair share of ups and downs. Most folks, have bad taste still left over from 2001, whenThe "Planet of the Ape" series has suffered from it's fair share of ups and downs. Most folks, have bad taste still left over from 2001, when Mark Wahlberg headlined the Ill-fated Tim Burton remake of the same name. I liked it, but this is beside the point. Fox, lost all hope and canned any thoughts of a sequel to that version. Then in 2011, the unthinkable happened. A REBOOT (GASP). Rebooting franchises was starting to become a norm, and Fox deliberately invested..in what would be a giant hit .. "Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes". Not only was that film so captivating and touching..it was also extremely groundbreaking in the technological advances. Using motion capture suits and WETA digital to bring the apes to life.
Three years later, and here we are. "Dawn of The Planet of the Apes" has hit the silver screen..and while it's not nearly as captivating the second time around. This sequel still proves a worthy entry into this beloved franchise, offering richer and emotional character development. Something an audience member can appreciate. I don't want to sound cheesy...but there is a slight chance that yes, you may go bananas.
If you stuck around after the credits during "Rise" then you would know a fluenza was starting to break out. (As a result of the apes escaping) "Dawn" picks up the pieces ten winters after the virus outbreak. The apes (head by Caesar) have colonized and are living life peacefully. That is until the remaining survivors, headed by Malcolm (Jason Clarke) and his girlfriend (Keri Russell) stumble upon them. Hoping to use the apes source of power .. to generate it for the other surviving humans. That is until one Ape.. Kopa, decides to wage war on all of humanity.
Say what you will, but the original "ROTPOTA" was pretty top notch in terms of quality. I was shocked just how good it turned out to be. However what makes the film so good? .. very rare does an effects team get all the credit. My hat goes off to the folks at WETA digital and their ever expanding tools of motion capture. They simply make it look easy. But, those motion capture suits are nothing without their performers. Andy Serkis (Caesar) steals inadvertently every scene he is in.
The process for how the apes have genetically evolved is something for the record books. The audience can feel the emotional integrity that Serkis infuses into the role. For that alone I feel he deserves an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. On the human side of things, Jason Clarke is a much better James Franco to root for. While Gary Oldman is right in his typical wheelhouse.
In addition, the story this time around is entertaining yes..but lacking in some variety. When you watch this film's predecessor, you sort of grow up with Caesar and watch him evolve, plus the technology of the time was superb. The second time, we have grown accustomed to the confines we are entitled too. Matt Reeves (director of Cloverfield) knows his own boundaries and vastly improves upon them. I just wish there was more personal one on one time with Caesar and maybe understand the pressure he has to face. The writing was not as strong as I thought it needed to be too also. While of course this is just me being nit picky. The film still embarks into some new territory, offering a glum look into the not so distant future.
For any performance..the emotional connection to the character is so important. Don't let anyone walk out of this film saying they were not connected of some sorts to the apes. There was a time when I thought to myself.."wow this is amazing, how are they doing this?". The vast majority of the landscapes are simply jawdropping. I can't commend the visual effects crew enough.
With a bolder story, enticing characters and more darker tone. "Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes" has enough action for everyone. It may be a little too darker for younger children. But for older ones..the message is insightfully endearing. You also don't need to be familiar with the original flick to understand this one. There are few references from "Rise". So if you're worried that you haven't seen the predecessor. Rest assured, you won't be confused.
Really though, what it boils down too at the end of the day is one person, and his name is Andy Serkis who carries the film on his shoulders, and reluctantly brings new definition to the world of motion capture. It's something no person, nor reviewer can explain. In this process he puts all humans to shame..and actual apes everywhere.
By: Nate Adams
Directed By: Matt Reeves
Runtime: 130 mins
Release Date: July 11th 2014
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Average User Score: 6.1Jul 31, 2014What if all crime was legal once a year? What would you do? How you would you do it? you can quote "cleanse your soul". Does murdering reallyWhat if all crime was legal once a year? What would you do? How you would you do it? you can quote "cleanse your soul". Does murdering really solve anything? These were the questions asked in James DeMonaco's engaging (sometimes thrilling) escapade "The Purge" a little film that took the box office by storm. Now, over a year later, it's beginning to feel like "The Purge" is becoming an annual gathering.
Cashing in on the low budget .. and hopefully turning this franchise into the next "Saw" or "Paranormal Activity"). While I can say that the angle on the subject matter changes a tad, and the perspective as whole has transpired into something that, hypothetically, could work at some point. The problem with "The Purge: Anarchy" is there is little suspense, too many characters, and dumb cliches that I thought we had outgrown by now.
Where the original Purge lacked, "Anarchy" kind of makes up for (and not by much). The problem with the first Purge was that it didn't know how to categorize itself. Rather showing how else the world purges, it instead focused on one families night of survival (and stupidity). After about the half hour mark, the intriguing premise turned into a home invasion thriller reminiscent of such better made films like "The Strangers" and "You're Next". Not to mention the only actual crime that film capitalized on was murder. In "The Purge: Anarchy" we are not caught up in one family's life, but three. Which evidently becomes tiresome after awhile,It should say something that I didn't really care much to even know there names.
The film opens with an annual announcement commencing the annual purge, and to thank our founding fathers. We first meet a waitress Eva (Carmen Ejogo) who is desperately trying to make ends meet for her daughter, and sick father. Living in the projects. Next we meet the bitter couple of Shane (Zach Gilford) and Liz (Kiele Sanchez), whom are going through the process of a separation. As fate would have it, there car breaks down on a freeway hours before the purge commences (the trailer presumes the car just dies, however, a gang of thugs wearing crazy porcelain masks.. cuts the gas line). Then lastly we meet the classic father out for revenge, Leo Barns (Frank Grillo) for the death of his son, over a year ago by a drunk driver. You wouldn't ever think these three unlikely groups would ever cross paths in such a huge city, but they do. Leo inadvertently saves Eva and her daughter, and thus become entrapped within the confines of the purge..and now must struggle to indeed "survive the night".
First off, "The Purge: Anarchy" started with promise and I had some decent expectations. It looked as though the film would be more manageable, and open than the previous entry. Mainly because were getting into the city, and we are going to see how others purge. Does this happen? not really. Instead of taking a more character driven perspective, the film lags and settles for the same ole political mumbo-jumbo that we don't care about. Adding in some mindless subplot about an army militia, whose sole purpose is to end the Purge. Hence the name "Anarchy".
On the performance side of things, nothing truly stood out to me. The only character, if any, that I actually felt connected with was Leo Barnes aching father figure type role, played here by Frank Grillo. His motives for the purge were actually understandable, plain ole fashion revenge. At least he had some purpose. While others were just relentless, and killed others for no apparent reason. Aside from him, everyone else was just basic or average when it comes to the standards of horror fare. (If you can call this a horror flick).
I can respect the direction that James DeMonaco takes the film in, rather focusing on just one purge, it tries to introduce several purge's going on at once. The film's conclusion takes elements that made films like "Hostel" famous. Which is the more exciting aspect that the film has to offer. DeMonaco needs to write stronger characters, a heroine of sorts..that an audience can root for. Instead of introducing us to five people that make us feel nothing.
At least with the first Purge, they knew what to do with their characters. There was a certain creepiness that Rhys Wakefield brought to the first purge, playing the smart-ivy league schoolboy with a thirst for killing. . While this time, no character brought chills to my spine. Even the creepy rip-off masks from "Your Next" didn't send a shiver, nor a goosebump. I wanted to be engaged, enticed, and enthralled ...and I got neither. Which is truly sad considering how much effort went into making this film. Which, you could obviously tell the budget was a bit bigger and this shows in the action set pieces, which are very well shot. The film ends with "364 days until the next annual purge" so another sequel is almost a forgone conclusion.
Ask anyone that I know, and they will tell you I'm sucker for a bad horror/slasher flick. "The Purge: Anarchy" is too messy and can't pick up the pieces from it's interesting and original premise. Instead focusing on the events that actually occur, rather than characters I want to understand and get to know. Perhaps some flashbacks with Leo and his child before he was killed. Maybe if we knew the hardships that Liz and Shane had to go through, we as an audience could somehow relate. But no, we're settled for mindless violence that means nothing. I found enjoyment in the first thirty minutes (roughly). But then much like the original, it takes us away to something much more elusive than it needs to be. I still have hopes for what this franchise can accomplish, because in all honestly the premise is too intriguing. For now, If you're looking for a much better horror tale, stay in and rent "Your Next" or "The Cabin In The Woods". You will be glad you did.
By: Nate Adams
Directed By: James DeMonaco
Release Date: July 18th 2014
Studio: Universal Pictures
Runtime: 100 Mins
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Average User Score: 5.9Jul 31, 2014The term "Inspired by True Events" has been taken a bit extreme lately. Many fellow horror enthusiasts, such as myself, can agree to this.The term "Inspired by True Events" has been taken a bit extreme lately. Many fellow horror enthusiasts, such as myself, can agree to this. Films like; "The Conjuring", or "The Quiet Ones" use the term "Inspire" which is very loosely based on something that is somewhat accurate. The latest offender of this term; Scott Derrickson and his fright free flick "Deliver Us From Evil".
“Deliver Us From Evil” is a film that is cringeworthy and can give you a spike on the ole richter scale inside your body. However, It won’t keep you up late at night with nightmares if that is what you're wondering. That being said, at the end of the film’s lengthy two hour run-time, I felt the film dragged on to precariously in a sense to be taken seriously. Rather it settles in to smooth rhythm early on, then sells out for cheap scares that will make little girls scream, but anyone else feeling irritated.
The film opens with the promise “Inspired by true accounts of NYPD Sergeant Ralph Sarchie” Former altar boy turned, who is prone to a natural radar for danger, and trouble. After a dark night in the Bronx Zoo, Sarchie comes in contact with a possessed IRAQ vet. To which, Sarchie writes off as a lunatic. But once his wife (Olivia Munn) and daughter start hearing voices. This is where Father Mendoza (Ramirez) comes in and tests the boundaries of limitations.
The cast itself is top notch, featuring the plentiful-and terrifyingly real performance turned in by Eric Bana as the film chronicles his portrayal of NYPD Sergeant Ralph Sarchie and his accounts of paranormal entities and his journey for the truth. Bana owns the movie and walks with pride. In addition the Community alum, and righteous comedian Joel McHale turns in some dramatic roots as Sarchie’s wise-cracking partner Butler. McHale adds some much needed comedic relief when absolutely necessary. Sadly his charismatic charm, and character development goes nowhere. The real show stealer this time belongs to Edgar Ramirez as Mendoza, a priest with a notorious past that haunts him every day, but can channel his fear and anger through God. While Bana’s Sarchie can’t channel his rage (an ode to his earlier Hulk days?) The two perfectly balance off each other and prove a remarkable friendship that marks the films stronger attributes.
Obviously, with the good comes the ...well you know. With a title that distinctly calls itself “Deliver Us From Evil” I expected a little more. Not to mention our director Scott Derrickson, whose previous films include the taunt and edgy “Sinister” and of course a beloved classic “The Exorcism Of Emily Rose”. Nobody could argue he doesn’t know how to firmly grasp eerie backdrops and make you feel uncomfortable driving home late at night. But, the cheap thrills and gimmicks only make me question his credibility more. I wish that Derrickson took a more character approach (much like “Godzilla” did) and make us care more. Ralph Sarchie has a family on screen in the film, but its very rare when the audience actually see’s them. So to me, I just didn’t feel as emotionally connected. The ending is satisfying (especially for a horror film) Which was something I could appreciate, when most horror films (See “Oculus”) leave us high and dry and chomping at the bit. Derrickson screenplay at least left us with answers (probably because its loosely based on a true story).
Running close to two hours is a hard struggle..for any movie, let alone a self proclaimed-horror flick. There’s of course the occasional thought “Why is he going in the basement alone?!”, or “don’t go down there idiot!” , the same thoughts that come to mind watching ANY other horror flick. I can’t help but feel that these are the over dramatized sequences the film has to offer. And with a director like Derrickson, (just appointed as director of Marvel’s Doctor Strange) he set a bar for himself that obviously he couldn’t live up to.
I don’t wanna give the illusion I didn’t have a good time, because I did. There were moments I could feel the goosebumps linger up my body. There was less of that, then I wanted.. but they all can’t be “The Cabin In The Woods”. The film boasts with authentic performances all around the board, to which I was truly impressed. But, the latter is written..If the film had been more character driven, less gory, and more prone to it’s own plot-and shorter, then perhaps I would be writing a different review. Sadly “Deliver Us From Evil” comes exactly as advertised.. and I wish it didn’t.
By: Nate Adams
Directed By: Scott Derrickson
Runtime: 118 mins
Studio: Sony (Screen Gems)
Release Date: July 2nd 2014
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Average User Score: 3.3Jul 31, 2014Say what you will, but Melissa McCARTHY is undeniably a forced to be reckoned with. Her typical slapstick comedy and over the top raunchySay what you will, but Melissa McCARTHY is undeniably a forced to be reckoned with. Her typical slapstick comedy and over the top raunchy humor simply resonates with audiences, and in the meantime they flock to see everything she does. First off, I loved "Bridesmaids" (I mean who doesn't?). I throughly found tons of enjoyment, and laughs in "The Heat", and I hated "Identity Thief". Her latest, "Tammy" lands smack dab right in the middle. It's not as good as "Bridesmaids" and "The Heat", however it's far lightyears ahead of "Identity Thief".
The story comes from director, writer, and husband to McCARTHY Ben Falcone who got the film made on her box office appeal alone. Tammy ... is struggling, going about day to day life. This morning she hit a deer thus totaling her car. She also lost her job at Topperjacks to her egotistical manager (played by Falcone). And to top it off she comes home to find her husband (Nat Faxon) is cheating on her with the next door neighbor (Toni Collette). In a last ditch effort to reclaim her "independence". Tammy decides to go on a cross country road trip (of sorts) with her alcoholic and drug induced Grandmother (played very well by Susan Sarandon).
Where "Tammy" severely lacks, it makes up for in McCARTHY's performance. The script is not as tight and condensed as it needs to be. Running at a very modest, and crisp 90-minute run time (something we ALL can be thankful for). The film saves itself from running to long to drag the morale of the audience down with it. Not to mention the cast itself is top notch (another added strength). Featuring a last second addition of Dan Aykroyd, to Mark Duplass and Gary Cole, the list goes on.
Even if the script is loose and a retread, if anyone could have pulled this film off.. it was indeed McCARTHY. Weather your a fan or not, you can find something in "Tammy" that will at least make you chuckle. Though it's not consistent enough to be a full fledge comedy blockbuster, and when it falls flat (which it does a-lot) McCARTHY is right there to pick the film back up again. Best Joke? McCARTHY tells a skippy young teen to go eat some bath salts and then eat his girlfriends face off.
By: Nate Adams for I-Tunes and The Movie Buff blog.
Directed By: Ben Falcone
Run-Time: 96 mins
Studio: Warner Bros.
Release Date: July 2nd
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Average User Score: 4.6Jul 31, 2014Time, and time again the magic of movies have come to surpass the expectations of everyday life. From the events we see on the six o'clockTime, and time again the magic of movies have come to surpass the expectations of everyday life. From the events we see on the six o'clock news..to the overabundance of violence we see in cinema..what does this have to do with Michael Bay's new film "Transformers: Age Of Extinction"? nothing..I just wanted a cool intro.
I sit before you baffled, shocked and well.. obliterated as I feel like I have gone to battle and won. It's been quite some time since the little boy in me could ooze with so much excitement, anxiety and cheer. As only Michael Bay can do with his inept style of filmmaking. Which consists of two things 1) Blow stuff up, and 2) Blow more stuff up, while you are at it, why not just blow more stuff up. This approach has done wonders for his past attempts at filmmakings, speaking for itself. The lucrative and blockbuster famine that is "Transformers". Speaking for myself as a geeky fan boy who walks around aimlessly with an optimus prime on his wallet (judge me). I distinctly fell in love with everything Transformers back in 2009 when Bay and company changed my whole perspective on movies. Which is very rare to do, I might add.
Every since, I have worshiped Optimus Prime and the autobots as the neverending saga to defeat Megatron. There is just something about all the destruction, mayhem and action set pieces. Not to mention who can ever pass up a monologue from Optimus Prime. I mean golly, if he gave me a speech to climb mount everest, or fly to the moon you bet your ass I would die trying. So obviously you could say I am biased, but if you want one fans opinion, I suggest you keep reading.
Three hugely successful films later, I guess Bay felt the need to "reboot" or "start a new trilogy". Well folks, much like the first film back in 2009 "Transformers: Age Of Extinction" is presumably as advertised. A big budget spectacle that fits right in the middle of a warm Fourth Of July afternoon. The summer movie going season would be nothing, if we didn't have a Transformer movie to grace it. This time shuddering out former star boy Shia LaBeouf and replacing him with a better, leaner, and perhaps, more relatable Mark Wahlberg. At first glance I was appalled that the original cast was being reprimanded. Then again It could be very well for the best.
I digress as usual, the film picks up in the aftermath of "Transformers: Dark Of The Moon" where Chicago is left in ruins, and the government wants blood....and blood in the form of the Transformers. Hence the title "Age of Extinction" The hunt is on going for Optimus and his noble band of renegades that are forced into hiding and the CIA has cut a deal with the ruthless decepticons to get the job done. Optimus unlikely crosses path with Cade Yeager (Wahlberg) an inventor of sorts, the next Albert Einstein of his generation. Also a very stern, strict and passionate father to his only daughter Tris (Nicola Peltz). Cade, fixing junk to make ends meet, finds an abandoned rusted truck in an old closed down movie theater. Which turns out to be, you guessed it, Prime in the flesh. Bringing back a dated war the started long ago.
As fate would have it, an enemy foe (much like the last three Transformers) is threatening the fate of Humanity. The biggest question is .. does the audience really care?..I mean I don't know about you ... but I love watching Prime swoop in when all hope is lost and reluctantly kick some ass. It's predictable to a pulp..but its a formula that has been developed, and been proven to work. Some of the lines and bits of dialogue are a bit campy and cheesy (as expected). Kelsey Grammer's character at one point yells "Impossible" and I couldn't help but laugh, considering what movie he has been condensed in. I mean do you see the robots transforming around you?
Running a long, and sometimes brutal, two hours and forty four minutes I can't help but attest this film could be shorter. However, when the action is raging and the autobots are destroying heads like it's no tomorrow. Alas the runtime is a breeze. Fans of the genre (like myself) will be frothing at the mouth at the sight of the Dinobots (yes their entrance is all the more entertaining). The climactic battle is also the best the series has yet to offer, putting final battles like "The Avengers" to shame.
In addition the visual effects are top notch heavy and it's the same we all come to expect. While some of the characters we literally could care less about. (Including a very funny T.J Miller) Mark Wahlberg as the understandable father Cade Yeager is easy to get along with, and does his absolute best to give us a ground hero worth rooting for, and to a lesser extent. he does. Stanley Tucci also has ideally the best lines in the film..adding some much needed comedic elements to broaden the appeal towards the stunning conclusion. (If you can pay attention, with all the ruckus and mindless explosions taking place in the background)
Fans should also notice, while yes, there is humor.. "Transformers: Age Of Extinction" is far more darker then one would anticipate. Secondly, there is plenty of a set up for future installments so I highly doubt this is the last will see of these characters. Bumblebee is back in full swing as usual in his stunning yellow fashion. --The only thing that seemed to bother me the most, was how there was hardly any reference towards the past Transformer films. Not once is there a brief mention of Sam Witwicky (you know, Shia LaBeouf's character..you know...the one that founded the transformers and saved the world..three times). I understand that the crew is trying to turn a new leave..but I just find it highly unlikely they all just forgot about the man that made them famous.
In the end, don't come to expect nothing new from this film. In fact you should expect bigger and better. Chances are, if you're purchasing a ticket..you already know the ride you're in for. This is a smart technique that has worked wonders for the past installments and now a new bar has been set for the sequels that will grace it. Love, is always a strong word for me to use while discussing a movie. It definitely goes against my better judgement. But I just don't see how it's possible to walk out of this movie, without your heart beating out of your chest (as was mine) all to the tune of the great headliner song "Battle Cry" by Imagine Dragons. As this is just one man's humble opinion. I can agree that well, I loved "Transformers: Age Of Extinction".
By: Nate Adams
Directed By: Michael Bay
Runtime: 164 Mins
Release Date: June 27th 2014
Studio: Paramount Pictures
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Average User Score: 7.0Jul 31, 2014In the slum-dog age with the likes, and attests of the fortunate merry band of filmmakers turning huge Broadway productions into sensationalIn the slum-dog age with the likes, and attests of the fortunate merry band of filmmakers turning huge Broadway productions into sensational motion pictures. Audience members, including myself, have seen this across the world; with such well known titles, “Mamma Mia”, “Chicago”, “Rent” and, of course, “Les Miserables”. As fate would have proceeded, we have the wondrous, sometimes oversaturated, and embracing musical flux “Jersey Boys”. The latest musical adaptation to hit the silver screen, and much like the angel voice of Frankie Valli, the film is sweetly visceral, yet profoundly touching.
Nine years ago, the subdued Frankie Valli was inducted into a new generation of musical enthusiasts. He was resurrected by the Tony award winning stage production of the same name. From then on, the rest is history. The show, and film, chronicles the story of the rise and fall of the notorious Four Season, or “Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons”. Saving the four crooks from a lifetime of smuggling, dealing and heartache. The band cranked out four unstoppable hits including the likes of; “Sherry”, “Walk Like A Man” and the upbeat, high pitched anthem “Big Girls Don’t Cry”
Nobody could argue that these songs aren’t timeless, but granted if you took any song from this era everyone could have a jingle with it. The portion that is seemingly potent is the talented cast, and what is done with the source material. It should only seem fitting that John Lloyd Young take on the role that won him a Tony in 2006, portraying Frankie Valli. Which is truly a remarkable achievement. The vocal pitch-range, is extremely tough to come by naturally. In terms of hitting the notes, and such Young was the “bees knees”. In contrast, I didn’t believe for one second in the opening scenes he was supposed to be 16, when in real life he is actually 38. Believe it or not, looks are deceiving because, when Young opens his mouth and starts belting that high nasal falsetto...wow.
The real show stealer belongs to Vincent Piazza the only actor of the four whom didn’t revive a role from Broadway. (Young, Michael Lomenda, and Erich Bergen all played their same characters from the stage production). The flow, consistency and humble brutality that Piazza enfuses into the ruthless thug, Tommy DeVito is one for the books. I was immensely captivated and enriched everytime he graced the screen. If there’s only just a reason to see “Jersey Boys” Piazza’s performance is that reason.
Michael Lomenda, who portrays Nick Massi the bands bass player, and Erich Bergen playing the bands lead writer Bob Gaudio are evenly spot on, even if their accents could use a little work. It doesn’t hurt that they previously played these roles, so to them it’s eerily comfortable, and that relaxation shows. Christopher Walken also steps into the limelight as the mentor and welcoming Gyp.
Being helmed by a legend all the same as it’s band of misfits, Director Clint Eastwood takes the source material one step ahead of the bunch. Crafting a larger than scale buffet of musical endeavours, and stage churning performances that easily cater to the talented crew in front of the camera. With the huge ticket sales, much like Les Mis, still pouring in; a live film adaptation seemed financially plausible. Which doesn’t mean the film doesn’t surrcomb with it’s fair share of flaws, there are a few. Running times have been a keen issue with films lately. “Jersey Boys” at times thinks it’s a stage production, and can keep up with the pace it sets. While evidently this portrays quite nicely early on, however, once the two hour mark pulls up; the audience is left feeling a bit clogged.
Ideally, the biggest fault, we also never really get to know the man behind the music. Frankie Valli is an impeccable persona, that would have been ideal to know. However, when you only have a set time frame, and strict studio restrictions; what else could be done, or cut to fit the time allotted?. Eastwood does his best to make sure we have a deeper connection within the film’s main protagonists. Including breaking the coveted fourth wall which, in my oh so humble opinion, made the film all the more worthwhile.
In addition, giving the context of the story, the film is told through the lifespans of the band. Which means each actor had to portray each character from early teens to late sixties. These actors are talented. However, when you see the final scene there are no favors given by the makeup department. Given all the critical backlash from Eastwood’s past (I’m looking at you “J Edgar”) you would think some thought would be given. Alas, I digress.
Still, when it boils down. The film earns the name “Jersey Boys” and for most musical enfucatinatos, this adaptation will likely get the good graces among that community. Even though I wanted to spend more time with these characters. I was distinctly satisfied with where things ended, and transcended all the same. The music will continue for generations to come, and thanks to this film it can live on just a little bit more.
By: Nate Adams
Directed By: Clint Eastwood
Run-Time: 140 mins
Studio: Warner Bros.
Release Date: June 20th 2014
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Average User Score: 8.3Jul 31, 2014Well, we can't deny it to ourselves anymore. The gaping tundra of Winter is beyond us, and for that I say we are officially in the midst ofWell, we can't deny it to ourselves anymore. The gaping tundra of Winter is beyond us, and for that I say we are officially in the midst of the summer movie going season. Sequels, sequels, and more sequels are filling the gaps every weekend, 16 to be exact.
Sooner or later, goodwill from post franchises are going to run out. This is not the case with the returning favorites of the beloved "How To Train Your Dragon". "Dragon" was a film nobody, not even myself, suspected of being the next best thing..but it was. A little film from Dreamworks Animation, that distinctly gave Pixar a run for their money. The animation was gorgeous, the story even more so. A voice cast that included Gerard Butler, Jay Baruchel, Craig Ferguson and Jonah Hill. One could perhaps argue that something is "missing" from this sequel, I would argue not.
"How To Train Your Dragon 2" stands on its own, not as a sequel, but as an endearing story of hope, forgiveness, and courage. Our favorite characters are back in full swing. Taking place five years after the events in the first film. Hiccup (Baruchel) and his cohorts are all young adults now, serving as dragon riders in Berk. Who now are living peacefully among the towns people. The curiosity of Hiccup has grown immensely, and the world he thought he knew has opened up wider than he could ever imagine. Dealing with the added stress of being appointed his righteous father, Stoick (Gerard Butler) successor, and his tough as nails girlfriend Astrid (America Ferrera). Hiccup's curiosity eventually gets him caught by a notorious dragon warrior, which eventually turns out to be his long lost mother Valka (Cate Blanchett). Hiccup then discovers the plans of an imminent attack by the ruthless Drago Bludvist, a dragon hunter who will stop at nothing until his army is complete.
Furthermore, the main success here lies within the brilliant character development. I recently saw in an article by Entertainment Weekly in which they compared the characters, I saw a sluggish standing, dependent Hiccup being compared to a 20 year old, one legged and tough Hiccup, and to be honest I couldn't be more happier. As with time, it evidently changes everyone. While sure Hiccup and his friends are "growing facial hair", riding on the backs of dragons like it's nothing. Hiccup has become more than a sensational character to root for, rather a Luke Skywalker for this younger generation. We also can't have this film if not for the loveable mascot and poster child; Toothless. The silly, charming and fun Night Fury dragon, that stole our hearts back in 2008.
Equally, the story is just as good, if not better, than the original. The first one had the added pressure of society accepting dragons. Now they have but, face a greater threat than before. In the form of Drago Bludvist, who's rip-roaring voice is brought to spectacular life by Djimon Hounsou. For a childrens film; his antics are a bit darker than most villains you would see. Younger children may be frightened by his overall appearance. However, from my standpoint, I felt he was a worthy adversary for our crew of heroes. A Darth Vader to Hiccup's Skywalker. I also enjoyed the new character Erin (voiced by Game Of Thrones own Kit Harrington).
Of course, some will likely attest that the film's characters are a bit too harsh, or deafening. Some storybook concepts will likely have to be explained to some youngsters. There is an emotional integrity to be upheld here, and director Dean DeBois keeps that formula that made it's predecessor all the more credible. Including characters we care more about, then we have had before. I found little squabbles here and there of certain action set pieces that perhaps felt out of place. If speaking figuratively it never once took away from my fulfillment and satisfaction.
Most sequels tend to overdo it, others just wreck it's potential franchise. The old saying as it goes "if it ain't broken, don't fix it". "How To Train Your Dragon 2" is an emotionally charged, and high flying adventure. The animation is breathtaking, and better than it has every been. I find it hard looking at this film as a sequel, partially because it's so well done that it stands on its own. Which in any sequel is rare. I can only imagine what the future has in store for our lovable band of characters. I do know one thing, "How To Train Your Dragon 2" falls in that 5 percent of sequels that actually builds on their predecessor.
By: Nate Adams
Directed By: Dean DeBois
Runtime: 108 mins
Studio: Dreamworks Animation (Fox)
Release Date: June 13th 2014
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