Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Fault in Our Stars

Adaptation of the bestselling book of the same name about a terminally ill 17-year-old who falls in love with a cancer survivor that she meets at a support group. All cast is very likable, with admiral performances by leads Woodley and Elgort, and an exceptional supporting appearance by Dafoe. A real plus for not spoonfeeding the audience; but for a story that insists on being honestly sad, it certainly lines itself up for convenient tragedy with a turn-of-events that is quite predictable to the more observant viewer. Title comes from Shakespeare's Julius CAESAR.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst

Groundbreaking HBO miniseries about Robert Durst. Directed by Andrew Jarecki, who previously directed the Durst-inspired ALL GOOD THINGS (2010). The show follows the reclusive real estate scion through three unsolved murders with plenty of history and mystery—all of which Durst himself became a suspect in—as well as taking some time to detail Durst's complex early life that could either explain his eccentricity… or perhaps suggest his ability to commit the crimes in question. The documentary incorporates in-person interviews and phone conversations over the course of many years, all building up to a historical finale.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Godfather

Brando and Pacino share the lead in this masterpiece based on screenwriter Puzo's best-selling novel of the same name, about the boss of an organized crime family gradually transferring control of his business to his son, a war hero who never had any interest in following in his father's footsteps. Pacino's transformation from a black-sheep to a ruthless Mafia boss is so slick that it's worth every second of the film's epic length, while Brando's iconic delivery as the legendary Don Vito Corleone is literally untouchable and indisputably one of cinema's greatest performances. Definitely a film that might need one or two replays before being fully appreciated, but it is a classic for all the right reasons. Followed by a must-see second installment two years later, which is arguable even better than this perfect picture! Direct Coppola co-wrote the script.

The Incredible Hulk

Wow. Who knew there would be so much eagerness to reboot the Hulk franchise only five years after Ang Lee's 2003 failure only to release an even bigger disaster. So now, after glossing over a new backstory in the lame opening credits, we have Edward Norton as Bruce Banner now, on the run while attempting to find a cure for himself before he is captured or before someone far less responsible than he obtains similar superpowers. While it should be embarrassing to reboot a story that was only done half a decade earlier, and that visual effects have not come all that far within that timeframe; what's worse than that and the lack of any other essential story elements is the simple fact that the plot does not MOVE. A mindless waste.

Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi

Third and final installment in the original trilogy, picking up one year after the events of EMPIRE. The ruthless Emperor Palpatine (McDiarmid) plans to take out the Rebel Alliance by constructing a second Death Star, while Luke Skywalker (Hamill) struggles to bring Darth Vader back from the Dark Side. The most eventful film of the series; however, this installment rarely tops the die-hard fans' list. Still, an overall great film; its only real downfall is the numerous rushed conclusions to some very key characters. The scenes that take place on Tatooine, Jabba the Hut's planet, make this film worth while. Ewoks are pretty lame though.


Forgettable superhero film exploring the origins of Bruce Banner (Bana), a genetics researcher who suffers a lab accident involving gamma radiation. The result: he has the capability of changing into a green-skinned monster when angry. The temper tantrums get him enough attention to be pursued by the United States military, but maybe the cast and crew should've pursued other projects. There's nothing much here except boredom and disappointment. While the film does have its moments and can be commended for its attempt at not being completely brainless, there is no payoff for an action film that doesn't have all that much action.


Critically acclaimed zombie comedy about a group of apocalypse survivors trying to find a sanctuary. Starts off very promising, with awkward college student Eisenberg and violently Twinkie craving Harrelson learning new skills from each other while also revealing their tragically humorous histories. Unfortunately, Stone and Breslin come along and—while initially helping add elements and humor to the plot—ultimately ruin all the fun, with Stone becoming a love-interest to Eisenberg, and Breslin offering nothing except lame jokes on adolescent ignorance and obliviousness. Started as a spec script for a TV pilot, and even with its short runtime, the film gets less and less interesting as it progresses. Still, despite the easy jabs at the movie's imperfections, it is without a doubt hilarious and entertaining, and even at some points… classic.


Based loosely on the story of multimillionaire heir John Eleuthère du Pont (Carell) financing 1984 U.S. Olympic gold medalist Mark Schultz (Tatum) for participation in wrestling competitions. Excellent performances all around—Carell definitely transforms, while Ruffalo is also memorable for the very charismatic Dave Schultz (Mark's older brother). The plot slowly heats up to a boiling ending, with its characters spiraling downhill—more of a quiet and intense film of crime and tragedy rather than wrestling. Not fully accurate, but Miller certainly tries to build multiple layers in order to compensate for cut corners. The script took several years to get off the ground, and the film spent almost an entire year in post production… the effort shows.

Big Hero 6

Inspired by the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name, this cute 2014 American 3D computer-animated superhero action comedy produced by Disney follows a robotics genius named Hiro (Potter), who forms a superhero team to help stop his invention from being used for harm by pioneer entrepreneur Alistair Krei (Tudyk). Baymax (Adsit), the white inflatable robot, is the movie's "poster bot"… and for good reason—but let's not forget Mochi (Hiro's affectionate fat cat), who comes in second place for stealing the show. Wonderful animation, but the overwhelming praise seems a little undeserved considering the story's predictable turns—the Fall Out Boy song "Immortals" is also a huge misstep.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Dumb and Dumber To

The stupid duo are back on the road, this time to track down Daniels' daughter in hopes that she'll donate him a kidney, with plenty of hilarious conflicts to sidetrack them along the way. Lots of fun callbacks to the original film. Layered with endless jokes just like its predecessor, but one can't help but think that this movie's qualities would've stuck more had its release come along much earlier. Still worth seeing if you loved the first and/or are looking for some harmless giggles. Stay tuned after the credits for a brief clip of a couple of familiar faces! Second sequel welcome if they don't wait another 20 years.