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21 reviews in total 
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10 out of 20 people found the following review useful:
The Coen's... enough said, 5 December 2013

Sometimes when you are with your friends you will go into those 'what if' scenarios. You know things like what if you found a million dollars, or what if you only had one week to live? I always remember someone asking me what would be the one thing you would grab if your house was on fire. Well I want to change that question to this: if you could only choose one filmmaker to always make movies, which would you, choose? How do you decide, when there are so many great filmmakers? Well my choice would be the Coen Brothers. Now I know what you are thinking, I said one filmmaker, and my answer happen to be brothers, but my response to that would be, when they direct and write their films they are like one incredible creative force.

I choose the Coen's because they march to their own drummer and tell stories that always seem special, and memorable. They don't make movies that exist in the normal world; instead they invite you into their world. Now in the Coen's world there tends to be a lot of anger, but with that anger you also get passion and the most unique kind of humor as well. In their new film "Inside Llewyn Davis", they tell a story about a young folk singer trying to navigate Greenwich Village in 1961. That singer's name is Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac), and if you couldn't guess by the name the story is about him. Llewyn is trying to cope with being on his own after his musical partner jumped off the George Washington Bridge. Although extremely talented things just don't seem to go right for Llewyn, and it is mostly his fault. You see Llewyn does not have the best attitude and always relies on the generosity of others to survive. It could be crashing with his friend's girlfriend Jean (Carey Mulligan) or getting work with Jim (Justin Timberklake) to help pay his debts. No matter how bad his life can get though, Llewyn can always escape into his music.

I know why I love a Coen Brother's movie; to me it is just like comfort food. As in comfort food, you know what you are getting; you will get great characters, a great story, and a little added "Coeness" that makes their stories so special. While their movies have those central elements in common, their stories and themes are never the same. With "Inside Llewyn Davis" everything is there and as with "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" we get a great soundtrack to boot. Oscar Isaac is brilliant as Llewyn Davis, who learned to play guitar for this role. In fact all of the musical scenes where actually recorded live during filming for an authentic sound. Everyone has a favorite Coen movie, because no two seem to ever be alike. The only thing they have in common is they are always seem to be one of the better movies of that year, and with "Inside Llewyn Davis" that trend remains.

Brian Taylor

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Nebraska (2013)
2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
All about family, 5 December 2013

If you could see into a window of an average American family what would you see? Movies have always tried to portray the average family life, but there is always one problem, they are played by movie stars. I mean when I walk around my neighborhood I don't see anyone that looks like George Clooney or Jennifer Lawrence. I think that filmmakers get the act down, but the look is just so hard to get, it's hard to fake it. Well with that all said, I think someone finally got it right and also made one of the better movies of the year.

"Nebraska" is Alexander Payne's new movie about life in the Midwest. Woody Grant (Bruce Dern) has received a letter claiming that he has the winner of a million dollars. All he has to do to travel from Montana to Nebraska to claim his prize. That is exactly what Woody intends to do, even if he has to walk to Nebraska. Lucky for Woody he has a son, David Grant (Will Forte) who wants to help Woody live out his fantasy, even though he knows he hasn't won anything. So against David's mother's wishes, David decides to take Woody on a trip to Nebraska to claim his prize. David, whose life as a home electronic salesman isn't the greatest, wants to use the trip as a chance to spend time with his father. David and Woody decide to stop by Woody's home town and see Woody's brothers and his old business partner Ed Pegram (Stacy Keach). What follows is the perfect story about what family truly is.

I think if you were to ask twenty different people what their definition of family is; you would get about as many different answers. Family to me, put up with you no matter how you act and they are always there when you need them, no matter what adventures you take. Alexander Payne knows how to show a family that just feels right and just like in 2011 "The Descendants" you feel like these families could be your neighbors. Unlike with "The Descendents" though Payne only directed this film, but seems to have found a kindred spirit in writer Bob Nelson. The story is amazing, but what lifts Nebraska to greatness is the performance by the entire cast. Dern, who has always been a great actor, gets one of those roles that win you awards. Forte, who is better known from his days on Saturday Night Live, doesn't welter next to Dern and more than holds his own. As great as those two are, the show is stolen by June Squibb, who plays Woody's wife and somehow gets all the best lines. With this movie you can go from laughing to more laughing, and to just taking in a great flick. If it was up to me it would be required that Alexander Payne makes a movie every year like Woody Allen. I wish I had that power, but I don't, so I will just enjoy his movies when they come out, and I promise you this is one you will enjoy quite a bit.

Brian Taylor

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80 out of 108 people found the following review useful:
A great laugh, 24 October 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In 2000 a show started airing on MTV that had a group of guys performing stunts. These were not just regular stunts, these were stunts that required a "don't try this at home warning" before every show. I never was a fan, or I thought I wasn't, the problem was I never actually sat down and watched it. Well it was such a success the guys took their antics to the big screen, and that is where I discovered the joy of Jackass. Johnny Knoxville can take a hit, as well as everyone in his crew. Now, while some things border on disgusting, in the end you can do nothing but laugh at just how far these guys will go. Unlike the previous movies/ TV show, "Bad Grandpa" is a different approach, but provides just as many laughs. Irving Zisman (Johnny Knoxville) has just lost his wife. To make things more complicated, his daughter drops off his grandson Billy (Jackson Nicoll), so that Irving can take him to his father who lives cross country. The deal is, it's all fake. The purpose of the trip is to catch people's reaction to everything from stealing, destroying property, and even crashing a kid beauty pageant. They do this all while having Irving's dead wife in the trunk. It is all done for laughs, and trust me you will have plenty of those as you watch this movie. It is easy to be like how I was before I actually watched these guys in action and judge them as idiots. In the end they may be idiots, but they will make you laugh, and at times cry. I know these movies are not for everyone, but for those of you who go see it, you will have a great time. You get to see a picture of Middle America and the many characters we have living in this great country. I haven't laughed as hard in a movie in a long time, and I have seen a lot of so called comedies this year alone that did very little to bring the funny. So don't be like me, don't judge this book by its cover. Go see "Bad Grandpa" because the world is a much better place with laughter, and this movie provides plenty of it. Brian Taylor

About Time (2013/I)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
About Time a great romantic comedy, 24 October 2013

When I get together with my friends sometimes we always have the discussion that I think most people have with their friends. That conversations about what super power you would choose if you could choose one, oh wait that is just me and my friends? Anyway the one thing I wish I could do is to be able to travel back in time. I don't want to be able to change history, just to be able to have a redo on something I did. Well that will never happen, but is exactly what "About Time" is about.

Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) has just turned 21 and his father (Bill Nighy) has a family secret to tell him. It is nothing like something evolving a dark secret in their past, the secret is that the men of their family can travel back in time. This secret is met with disbelief and doubt and of course the desire to find out if it is true. Tim decides to go back to the night before at his parents New Year's Eve party and kisses a girl at midnight, something he missed on the first time. What would you do with such a gift? Get rich? Make your life perfect? For Tim his choice is to use it for love. Tim now armed with this new ability heads to London to start his life, and to find his true love. It is not long after that he meets Mary (Rachel McAdams) and Tim uses his gift to correct his mistakes in his courting of her. Tim and Mary start a life together and a family, and Tim discovers that living everyday to its fullest is truly the secret for a happy life.

I know what you are thinking a love story about time travel, "The Time Traveler's Wife" all over again. Well I have good news for you, even though they both have Rachel McAdams in common, that is the only thing they share. What makes "About Time" different? Well that is simple it is written and directed by Richard Curtis (Love Actually). Curtis knows how to tell a love story, he just seems to make the relationships in his movie feel real. We have all heard the "only in the movies" line before, but Curtis makes it feel real. "About Time" has that feeling, from the awareness of the first time meeting someone, to the feeling you get when you meet the right person. As good as Curtis's material is, it would all be for nothing if it didn't have the right actors. Gleeson and McAdams are magical together, and you can't help to especially enjoy Gleeson's preference. There are so many movies dealing with love and relationships that come out every year. Some are funny, some are sad, but most of them get it wrong, because things that happen in those movies don't happen in real life. Well with "About Time" you get something that feels real, and if that is not enough, you get one of the better movies about love that you will see all year, and it is about time for that.

Brian Taylor

Last Vegas (2013)
8 out of 22 people found the following review useful:
Hopefully the "Last" Vegas, 24 October 2013

There is an old saying that things get better with age. Now I can believe that is the case for some things, but let's face it, being young is so much better. Being young and being older are just two different worlds, and no better place says that more than Las Vegas. You have downtown for the older and established crowd, and then you have the fresh and new strip. Well a few years ago we were given "Hangover" and we got to see how Vegas can be for that younger generation, but how would it be for the sixty and up crowd?

Well lucky or unlucky, depending on whom you are, someone has tried to tell us that story. Billy (Michael Douglas) is what I picture as your typical rich 71 year old Californian. Looking much younger than he really is, very tan, and of course dating a much younger woman. Billy has decided he wants to marry his younger girlfriend, and calls his three childhood friends to meet in Las Vegas for a bachelor party. So Billy calls Sam (Kevin Kline), Archie (Morgan Freeman) and Patty (Robert De Niro) to meet him in Vegas for a great weekend. Once in Vegas we are given all kind of jokes about being old, even throwing in a fanny pack joke for good measure. We have parties, lots of scantily clad women, and of course a reference to Viagra. Just remember the saying," what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas"

I will say I enjoyed watching the first "Hangover", Just because it was different and pushed the envelope. Then they wanted to give us more, and like a real hangover one was enough. I only bring up "Hangover" because you may hear people refer to "Last Vegas" as the hangover for the older crowd. Well let me say that would be a bad comparison, because at least "Hangover" was funny. Yeah there are some cute moments in this movie, and it will definitely play to a certain crowd, a crowd that reached retirement age already. Written by Dan Fogleman, who brought us the very good "Crazy, Stupid, Love" last year and directed by Jon Turteltaub (National Treasure), neither of which live up to their past endeavors. To top it off most of the actors, seem to be mailing it in, and treat this more like a payday than a fun role. The one good thing with this film is that is brought back Kevin Kline, who doesn't act as often as he should. I think what someone should do next is Vegas with a bunch of teenagers, that way the circle is complete. It is easy to make comments about the age factor in this movie, but in the end that does not matter. What matters is, if you are going to make a comedy, the movie should be at least funny, and this movie is not at all. So if you want a story about a weekend in Vegas, book a trip there, just do anything else but watch this movie.

Brian Taylor

10 out of 28 people found the following review useful:
Escape this movie, 17 October 2013

I sometimes sit with my friends and we talk about the worst job to have. Fast food worker, test subject, maybe that guy who cleans the monkey cages at the zoo. What if your job though was to go to prison? You would have to serve just like every other inmate, but you also have to find a way to break out of the prison you are in. So basically your job is to break out of prisons. It all sounds fun until that day you can't break out, what happens then?

"Escape Plan" is a movie about guy who makes a living out of breaking out of prisons, just in case the title didn't give that away already. That guy's name is Ray Breslin (Sylvester Stallone) and there is not a prison that can hold him. Ray works for the federal prison system to test their maximum control prisons on how escapable they are. Well apparently Ray always gets out, so I would say those prisons are pretty easy to escape from. Well when you are this good, someone is bound to offer you a shot at a prison that someone believes you can't get out of. Ray takes that job, and it sent to a prison unlike any he has seen before. The place is designed by someone who read the book on ways to make your prison escape proof, a book which Breslin wrote. It doesn't take Breslin long to realize that someone wants him to disappear forever, and that this job may be a little harder than planned. Breslin though meets "the man who can get things" in Rottermayer (Arnold Schwarzenegger), who wants to know who this new prisoner is. Breslin soon lets Rottermayer in on the truth and together they come up with the perfect escape plan.

Now I will hand it to them, the escape plan they come up with is pretty good, now if only the movie was that good. Twenty five years ago this would have been the biggest movie in the world. Stallone and Schwarzenegger would be in big bold letters and every red blooded male would be in line waiting. The problem is this is 2013 and not 1991, but just like this movies formula, the story is behind the times. Watching Arnold and Sly in their primes was fun; I mean you really believed that they could both single handily taken out an army. Now when I see Arnold pick up a M60 and start firing it, I am more worried he might pull something in their prime, Arnold and Sly would pull down twenty million per film, now like all the other aging action stars of the eighties and nineties the only reason they have jobs is because of each other. "Escape Plan" just came out in the wrong decade, written by Miles Chapman and Jason Keller, you get the feeling they watched way to much eighties action movies. Which could have its place in the current state of film, but not here. When I was younger I used to dream about Arnold and Sly teaming up for a movie, well after watching this movie the only escape I was looking for, was the fire exit.

Brian Taylor

34 out of 57 people found the following review useful:
Things that go bump in the night, 12 September 2013

When you are making a horror movie it always helps to have a few things around in the movie in order to help set the mood. Things like creaky old doors, a piano, and preferably an old and creepy looking house. Now these are not absolutes, but they can help for sure. Horror movies are not like other movies, because there are so many possibilities for sequels, just look at the "Friday the 13th" series. In 2011 James Wan and Leigh Whannell brought us "Insidious", a story about a family that had unwelcome visitors in their house. The supernatural kind.

That family, the Lamberts, have gotten away from their house and the experience they had in it. Josh (Patrick Wilson), Renai (Rose Byrne), and their three children are all safe and move in with Josh's mom. At the beginning of the film you find out this is not Josh's fist experience with a sprit. It seems Josh has a gift where he sees dead people and with the help from Elise (Lin Shaye) he forgets that gift, until he uses it again to save his son from a place the living shouldn't be. That place I imagine is the same place Carol Anne from "Poltergeist" was in as well, but instead of talking through a TV, a tin can phone is used to communicate to the other side. Renai senses something is not right about Josh, a sentiment that is shared by Josh's mother as well. So with the help from a man named Carl (Steve Coulter) and two guys who provide the comic relief, they all set out to free Josh and his family from the evil that haunts them.

The story picks up exactly where the first film ended, which makes the chapter 2 a perfect title. There are so many more possible chapters to this story, because let's face it there are a lot of ghosts out there. "Insidious: Chapter 2" is part ghost story and part detective story, as we try to unravel what is following the Lamberts around. Lucky, unlike what he did with "Saw" we are still under the direction of James Wan and he keeps us on the same path as the first film. If you are going for jump out of your seat frights, then this is not the film for you. There are some moments that may make you jump a little, thanks to some good camera work, but this movie is more like "Seven" than say, "The Conjuring". In a genre that seems to be getting everything right at the moment, "Insidious: Chapter 2" doesn't disappoint. The only thing that could improve, is to have a little less common sense moments, you know those moments where a character does the thing everyone knows they shouldn't. I think it is very fitting to release this film on Friday the 13th, because like that franchise, you hope this one also has a long life making us afraid to sleep with the lights off.

Brian Taylor

Riddick (2013)
13 out of 52 people found the following review useful:
Fade to black, 5 September 2013

The science fiction genre is unique in the world of movies. The reason why this is so is because no other genre has fans that are so passionate about certain characters and their respective franchises. Think of the biggest followings out there for movies, with the exception of the comic book movies, are mostly science fiction. Love runs deep with these franchises, and there is little room for error when comes to the fan base. In 2000 "Pitch Black" was released and introduced us to Riddick and a new Sci-fi franchise, and I kind of have mixed feelings about that.

While "Pitch Black" was new and fresh, with that hint of that old school sci-fi, it was everything that after that where the problem lies. "The Chronicles of Riddick" was more on the forgettable side and now we have "Riddick", shorter title, but still the same results. Riddick (Vin Diesel) is in his own words "having one of those legendary bad days". Still trying to get home, Riddick is left for dead on a planet that is unknown. Luckily for Riddick he is a survivor, or was a great Boy Scout at some point in his life, because he figures out how to live off the planet he is on. He does everything from fixing his broken leg, to taming the planets wildlife. For most of the first part of the movie, I thought I was watching a story about a boy and his dog. Riddick takes his new pet and finds a sort of "time share" place for bounty hunters when they are on the planet. He uses an emergency beacon to lure someone there, so that he can hitch a ride. Two different parties show up, and while they don't get along at first, they realize if they want to live, they will need to team up to get Riddick. The problem is that there lies a bigger problem than Riddick, and everyone must work together if they are all going to get off this planet alive.

Now I always like to root for the hero, but I don't know if Riddick is the hero or the villain. Maybe anti-hero since he is an escape prisoner, so that should be a hint. Either way, I was not really rooting for Riddick to survive, because that could mean another sequel. Vin Diesel has a very limited range, he is a great voice actor (Iron Giant), and he can do the tough guy who is too cool (Fast & Furious), but that is about it. You will never have to worry about seeing Diesel in a David Mamet film, because he is a man of very little words. "Riddick" was written and directed by David Twohy who wrote and directed the previous two films. While surviving is pretty much the theme of the movie, you may wonder how you survived having to watch two hours of something that should have ended after ninety minutes, of the first film. Although Diesel has hit franchise gold with "Fast & Furious ", lighting in most cases does not strike twice. To me it is easy, this is one franchise everyone involved should let fade to pitch black.

Brian Taylor

2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Please don't let it end, 22 August 2013

Everyone remembers the best night of their life. The one thing we all have in common with our best nights is that you never wanted it to end. You and your friends all have those stories, the ones we tell about that perfect night. Well I am going to assure you, that you and your friends don't have a story like this group of guys. Well unless your story can top saving the world, all while making a pub run… didn't think so.

Gary (Simon Pegg) was the cool guy in High School you wanted to be like. Good looking, fun, and didn't care about what anyone thought of him. Gary had a group of friends who followed him; there was Oliver (Martin Freeman), Steven (Paddy Considine), Peter (Eddie Marsan) and Andy (Nick Frost). In 1990 they tried to do the golden mile, a trip to twelve pubs ending at The World's End. They did not make it, but it was still one of those nights you won't forget. Flash forward twenty years later and Gary wants to finish what they couldn't finish twenty years earlier. Things have changed though, only Gary has remained the same, somehow he convinces the group to get to give it another try, and they head back home to finish the golden mile. Something about the town is different though, and not the normal time passage different, it is more like the town has been taken over by robots different. That doesn't stop Gary from wanting to complete what he came to do. All he and his friends have to do is fight the evil robots and make it to The World's End.

What is the perfect trilogy? That can be an easy question to answer, if you think of a trilogy in the normal sense. Yeah you have trilogies like "Star Wars" "The Godfather", and "The Matrix" series, but what about the 'Cornetto' Trilogy? Some of you may be asking what the 'Cornetto' trilogy is, well let me tell you. It is "Shaun of the Dead, "Hot Fuzz", and the grand finale "The World's End". The series gets its name from Cornetto Ice Cream, which makes an appearance in all three films. The other thing all three films have in common is that they were all written by Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg and directed by Edgar Wright. You hope this is not the end of this perfect partnership, a partnership that goes back to 1999 on a great TV series called "Spaced". It is really hard to not enjoy a movie like "The World's End" a movie that provides you with everything you need, it is like the perfect balanced meal. It is easy to say "Edgar Wright has done it again", but he really has. I implore you to go to your local cinema and watch one of the best movies of the summer and would make any day a perfect day. In fact the only thing that could make it any better, would be to enjoy a Cornetto, while you watch the perfect way to end the Cornetto Trilogy.

Brian Taylor

6 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Just another YA book to movie, 21 August 2013

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Since the success of the Harry Potter series, publishers and studios alike have been searching for the next billion dollar franchise. Lighting did strike again with Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series, but for every success like that there is a lot more failures like "The Golden Compass" and "Beautiful Creatures". How do you know if you got a hit or miss? Well there are only two outcomes, a bomb and you move on, or you can print your own money all the way to Gringott's (Harry Potter joke). The question arises, what will "The Mortal Instruments" be?

The story is your usual young adult novel world. It evolves around a girl, a couple boys fighting for her love, and of course supernatural beings. Clary (Lily Collins) is pretty much your typical teenage girl. Her mother Jocelyn (Lena Headley) is always trying to protect her like a good mother, but she is also hiding something from her as well. Clary can see things that regular people cannot, and not in the "I am crazy" way. Clary finds out that she is a shadowhunter, or someone who fights demons. She can't remember everything, because someone cast a spell on her to help block her memories. Clary meets Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower) who is also a shadowhunter as well, and who help explain to her as well as the audience the world she is entering. Together, they must stop the mortal cup from falling into the wrong hands. Yep, there's a mortal cup.

It has to be a hard thing to follow success. Not because it can't be duplicated, but because too often it looks like you are just copying what came before you. Ever since Harry Potter, everyone wanted to ne second in the success on the page and the big screen. When "Twilight" hit, you had the all too familiar forbidden love story, typical conflict if you know vampires and werewolves. With "The Mortal Instruments" you are dealing with a lot of the same formula, even down to the afore mentioned vampires and werewolves. I mean at least the main characters are not the next Bella and Edward, but at times during the film I was trying to figure out if I was on team Jacob or Edward, before I realized "wrong movie". In no way is "The Mortal Instruments" a rip off of "Twilight", it is just not much different, they take place in what seems like the same world. I know I am the wrong audience for this film, I mean I am not an 8 to 16 year old girl. Everyone in this movie looks like they stepped out on the latest issue of YM, and I don't mean that in a good way. Fans of the book series may enjoy this movie, as well as people who like to look at "pretty" people emote. For the rest of us out there, this just isn't our cup of tea. This, in my mind, will go down as another miss in the elusive search for that next franchise that takes the movie world by storm, in other words, this franchise will probably shuffle loose this 'mortal' coil long before they can reach the end of their series on film.

Brian Taylor

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