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Yea, I understood it all! NOOOOT! But who cares, still amazing!
Where can I start instilling my praise for Christopher Nolan's mesmerizing film "Interstellar"? There is lots to love about "Interstellar",but keep in mind it's a Nolan film, so there's lots to learn with "Interstellar" by viewing it repeatedly and getting a degree in Astrophysics. OK, I was a bit far out there, but again it's a Nolan film so there are plenty of "come again?" moments even if your intelligence if plenty above ground. The movie stars Matthew McConaughey as Cooper, a widowed father of two, who resides in a future where the crop is dying, and the world is in danger of extinction. Cooper, a pilot and a farmer himself, gets fatefully transported to a secret organization who at that time many thought no longer existed; we call them today NASA. Cooper is asked to go on a mission with space astronaut comrades to find another planet that can inhibit life so the people on earth don't have to face their impending doom on the endangered planet earth. Cooper has a wily 10 year-old daughter named Murph and a devoted teenage son named Tom. Murph is the one that is fully against her dad going on this longtime mission, an age part of the mission is that Coop stays the same age while the earthlings get older; beats Oil of Olay any day I guess! The mission is filled with complexities, deceit, discoveries, and challenges; and they even go and Save Private Ryan; OK, I am stopping there. Will Cooper ever see Murph and Tom again? Well, I am not not going to be an interspoiler by revealing that. Nolan proved once again that he is a master auteur with his direction of "Interstellar"; but what I was enamored more about his orchestration of the film that he made the picture more as a love & bond story between a father and a daughter through the test of time (and this is big time) and their brawny magnetic force. The technical features of the movie were exemplary including its cinematography, production design, sound, and of course its extra special visual effects. Christopher and Jonathan Nolan's screenplay was sure complex but very heartwarming, And yes, there was a a bit of a drag in the film's second act, but it all rightfully led to an astonishing third act. McConaughey continues his alright, alright, alright acting with his superb performance as Cooper. Anne Hathaway was outstanding as the fellow physicist astronaut Dr. Amelia Brand; and there was another brand that rated high, and that was the performance of Michael Caine as Amelia's father, Professor Brand who orchestrated the mission. The enchanting Jessica Chastain yet delivered another potent performance as the adult Murph. Other fine supporting work was lifted off by Wes Bentley as fellow astronaut Doyle, David Gyasi as the Black Hole expert Romilly, and child actress MacKenzie Joy as a young Murph. So if you have not done so already, now it's the time to set your cinematic mission set to the stellar "Interstellar". ***** Excellent
John Wick (2014)
Wooooow!!!! To quote Gomer Pyle: Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!
Wickedly action-pack entertainment is what "John Wick" brings! The movie instantly wicky wakey'd me up with its no-holds barred bravado tone. Kudos to Director Chad Stahelski for his masterful action orchestration of the picture. "John Wick" stars a sensational Keanu Reeves (yes, you heard right!) as the title character. Wick is a former Russian mafia hit-man who seeks all-out vengeance on his former boss' son for stealing his car and killing his puppy beagle. Hey, I am a beagle owner myself, so I can empathize with Wick, I would go bezerk if someone hurt my beagle. Wick is pretty much a badass one-man army in seeking his revenge as he battles an entire Russian Mafia Army! Sure, it goes over-the-top at times, but who cares? The action sequences is the paramount of the picture. Keanu Reeves has never been better, I don't know what kind of red or blue acting pills he took to prepare for this, but it worked. The always great Willem Dafoe also delivers a hit performance as a former accomplice of Wick. And Michael Nyqvist delivers a good performance as the baddie head Russian mafia honcho Viggo Tarasov. So hopefully I have Wicked you up before I go-go, and have convinced you to take a shot at "John Wick". ***** Excellent
The Babadook (2014)
Essie is the easy reason to give this one a ba ba look
The Australian horror film "The Babadook" was not as haunting as I thought it was going to be. Maybe all the "baba blabber" about how magnificent the film was garnered high expectations for me. Writer-Director Jennifer Kent's movie stars Aussie actress Essie Davis as Amelia, mother to young child Samuel who warns mummy that the fictional title character in a children's book called Babadook will enter their home and cause horror havoc. Amelia ignores Samuel's warnings and, not to play Bada Spoiler, you pretty much can assume the rest. Kent did not really construct any spooky elements to the picture; and it was somewhat predictable. Now I must exorcist, I mean exercise my right as a ghost corny film critic, to mention that Aussie Essie was auuuuustanding as Amelia. Child Actor Noah Wiseman was on his novice thespian ark (whatever that is) quite bravely with his stunning role as young Samuel. "The Babadook" was not totally a bad bad spook, but it could have been better. *** Average
Only Frank the Tank has more action antics than this!!!
I feel that Writer-Director David Ayer's World War II film "Fury" got massacred with many unfair negative reviews. Sure, it might have been 20 minutes too long (so it wasn't too fast but it was furious), sure it mimicked "Saving Private Ryan" mucho with its many narrative missiles (whatever that means?), but I sure did enjoy it anyway. "Fury" stars Brad Pitt as Sgt. Don "Wardaddy" Collier who commands a Sherman tank Fury and its five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Ayer based the film on real life war incidents told by former War veterans who manned Army tanks in World War II. It just seemed like yesterday or better said "ayer" when Ayer wrote the "Training Day" screenplay, and after a few solid directorial action-movie efforts including "End of Watch", one could say Ayer is a director for today's action movies, not yesterday's; you got all that. The cast of "Fury" was the bomb! That basterd Brad Pitt was on target as a Nazi Killer again as Wardaddy. Shia LaBeouf can still act, besides his real life garbage-head shenanigans, he was sound here as the preaching tank Private Boyd "Bible" Swan. Lorgan Lerman was a perk in the movie as the scared rookie Private Norman Ellison. Jon Bernthal was no "walking dead" tank Private as the aggressive Grady "Coon-Ass" Travis. And to round out the Tankers, Michael Pena was not as good as the rest but still did not misfire as tank sharpshooter Private Trini "Gordo" Garcia. Maybe the jury is still out on "Fury" and still has to pass the test of time, but I still think that this movie did not tank in my round of cinematic machinery. *****Excellent
A Most Violent Year (2014)
Isaaaaaac serves it up!!!
Writer-Director J.C. Chandor's "A Most Violent Year" is not the most violent picture I have ever seen; in fact, there is not that much violence in it. But that is irrelevant, because Chandor's picture is not much about violence, but on entrepreneur competitive tactics to supersede competitors; even though some of the players involved here do bring violence in the mix. The industry that is showcased here is the oil truck corporation. The year here is 1981 and the city, none other than New York, who in that year there was a myriad of violent acts happening in the Big Apple. Rising Star Oscar Isaac stars as Abel Morales, a oil truck company entrepreneur who is in the process of finalizing a slick deal which will bring his company to the top of the game in the New York Oil Truck market. The problem is that Abel's drivers are being thrown and assaulted in their trucks by a competitor or some other entity. Jessica Chastain co-stars as Anna Morales, Abel's wife who is pretty much the boss of that relationship, and she is the mother f*cker who runs that place. Chandor does drive "A Most Violent Year" in slow mode, but somehow it was the proper gear to propel this story. His screenplay was solid but not even close as one of the best in "a most competitive year" of terrific screenplays in the film year of 2014. However, it was Issac's money starring performance as Abel was what most paramount of "A Most Violent Year"; no doubt the Morales character will remind you of kinder Michael Corleone, but with the same firepower of topping his competitors. Chastain was sound, but a bit underused; and that is never a good thing when we are talking about one of the greatest, if not the greatest, actress working today. I also enjoyed Albert Brooks' showy work as the Morales' lawyer Andrew Walsh; a role that Chandor probably wrote for Brooks' to drive it home; which he did. "A Most Violent Year" is not for everyone, some will find it too slow, but in the end you should set a date with it. **** Good
The Dog (2013)
Did not rob me out of two hours of my life, but I was not exactly barking with joy!
The documentary "The Dog" tails the tale of the late John Wojtowicz; the real life homosexual bank robber who the hit 70's film "Dog Day Afternoon" is based on. As presented in "Dog Day Afternoon", Wojtowicz' committed a bank robbery in early 70's in New York, along with two amateurs, to pay for his boyfriend's sex change operation. In the doc "The Dog", Wojtowicz is presented as an outlandish, outspoken New Yorkan who had no regrets about his crime; and also does not restraint himself on telling all the ins & outs of his homosexual lifestyle. Directors Allison Berg and Frank Keraudren had a bit of bark in the making of the documentary but not enough bite. Sure, they do interview plenty of players involved in that infamous bank robbery including Wojtowicz's ex-boyfriends, his ex- wife, and the amateur would-be robber who chickened out. But somehow, I felt "The Dog" tried to bite more than it could chew by stating too many mundane happenings. Nevertheless, you attica check it out if you are going through one of those dog days; just beware of some of "The Dog" drawbacks I warned you about. *** Average
The flight thriller "Non-Stop" sure has its turbulent silliness and unauthenticated features, but it still aired out its downright thrilling popcorn entertainment. Liam Neeson stars as Air Marshall Bill Marks who is pretty much a marked man in a transatlantic flight. There is an anonymous passenger on board who threatens to start killing the passengers if a large sum of money is not deposited into an account. Marks then pilots into action to save the day. Sure, you could call this flick "Taken on a Plane", but somehow this one worked for me. Director Jaume Collet-Sera steered the movie with intensity which kept me on the edge of my seat; so que Sera, Sera. The script sure had its flaws, but who cares; this is not a movie that flies on dialogue. Neeson was tough as nails as Marks. A underutilized Julianne Moore flies coach in this one with a supporting role as a female passenger who inadvertently gets caught up in the action; sure one always wants more from Moore, but it seems like she was just flying high and having fun with this role. " Non-Stop" is not a showstopper of a flick, but it won't give you much of a red eye of boredom. So hop on this cinematic flight and have fun with it. **** Good
Thank God for Chastain!
"The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Her" appeared to be an engaging movie about a woman whose life is turned upside down after a family tragedy and a spousal separation. What actually appeared in Writer-Director Ned Benson's film was a wishy-washy take on a confused woman who seeks family shelter after personal problems. The originality of this movie disappeared throughout its showing time; oh wait, on second thought, there was no appearance to begin with. I found the movie dreadfully boring. However, there is something here that salvaged this movie; and that comes in the form of the steady Jessica Chastain with her marvel performance as the title character. Chastain is one of, if not the best, actress working today. She always disappears into her character, and that is proved once again with her work here as Eleanor Rigby. However, I do not have the same sentiments for the supporting performances of this movie; which included (believe it or not) Viola Davis, James McAvoy, and William Hurt. Back to Jessie: It is too bad Chastain had to wrestle with the film's mundane storyline & screenplay. Benson actually filmed three versions of "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby";one from the "her" perspective (meaning Eleanor), one from the "him" perspective (being Rigby's estranged husband Conor), and one from the "them" perspective (which I guess is the rest of the Rigby party). I experienced the "her" one. But something tells me that him or them is not much better than her; which pretty much sums up human gender interaction; whatever that means. Time for me to disappear. Goodbye! *** Average
The comedy "Tammy" is a tumultuous disappointment, and is not a hammy to sit through. Melissa McCarthy stars as the title character. Tammy is an uproarious clown of a woman who gets fired from her job and finds out her husband is having an affair all on the same day. Did I feel sorry for her? No way Jose. Tammy decides to go on a road trip with her alcoholic grandmother to.... I actually forgot the reason they went on the road trip, I think I was in a bored Tammytrans by then. Ben Falcone directs "Tammy" with lots of over-the-top shenanigans that were very disturbing. Now, I do credit Falcone and McCarthy (who both scribed the film) for including some funny zingers here and there in the screenplay, but there were far and few between. McCarthy overacted at her best, I mean worst as Tammy; and Susan Sarandon as the lushy grandma looked more like a Dead Grandma Walking with her stale performance. "Tammy" should be left alone, by all means. ** Needs Improvement
The Skeleton Twins (2014)
No need to get the skeletons out of your closet watching this picture!
Make no bones about it, the indie comedy-drama "The Skeleton Twins" is a nice little picture about two depressed siblings who reunite after not seeing each other for 10 years, and let's just say that the skeletons soon start coming out of their closets as they reveal much about themselves. The film stars SNL alumnus Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig as Milo and Maggie. Milo is a struggling actor in Los Angeles who unsuccessfully attempts suicide in the film's opening scene. That near death experience brings him to reunite with his estranged sister Maggie who takes Milo to her hometown New York, so he could be in a New York state of mind. Anyways, Maggie is no bright chip of the old block either. She is unhappy in her marriage with a caring, devoted husband. She cheats on her husband and is taking birth control pills behind her husband's back. Maggie is one skeleton twin that is bad to the bone. The performances from Hader and Wiig were outstanding, and it was what brought the film to life. I also thought Luke Wilson was brilliant as Maggie's husband Lance. However, I was not too enamored with Craig Johnson's direction and screenplay of the movie. Too me it was a bit uneven and it might have needed some bare bones exuberance to the filmmaking of "The Skeleton Twins". But I am still recommending this movie as a solid viewing, and no joints are even required to get a semi-cinematic high watching "The Skeleton Twins". *** Average