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Excellent movie. It's the fastest 90 minutes in movie history. This movie keeps you so wrapped up in what's happening that before you take your first breath, you're halfway through the movie. Sandra Bullock plays Ryan Stone, an astronaut caught in orbit due to Russian space debris disabling the space shuttle. (Those dang Russians!) George Clooney plays Matt Kowalski, her fellow stranded astronaut. Theirs are the only two faces you will see the entire movie. Which is astounding in and of itself. The sound and visual of the movie is fantastic, they do a great job making you feel like you're there. The writers do a great job of making sure nothing is easy for our heroine, Ryan. She has to struggle each step of the way. I loved the fetus shot of Ryan as she slept briefly. and when she was stepping out of the water at the end, I got the impression of humans rising from the primordial ooze.
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Sell me this pen!
I spent most of the movie with an incredulous "You've got to be kidding me" reaction, but no joke, the whole story is based on the true life of the real Jordan Belfort, who professes to have really done all the things as portrayed in this movie. Regardless, the movie is wonderful, albeit over the top, with a great cast of characters. Leonardo DiCaprio does a fantastic job as the conniving money-hungry Belfort. Early on, we see the character of Mark Hanna, played by Matthew McConaughey, introduce Belfort to the world of Wall Street with a chest thumping, grunting chorus that would make Tim Allen proud. Belfort teams up with a short overweight poser named Donnie Azoff, played by Johah Hill, who becomes his second hand man. The cast of characters grows, including a wonderful performance by Jon Bernthal of Walking Dead fame, as the bruiser Brad; and relative newcomer Margot Robbie as Belfort's trophy wife Naomi; and Rob Reiner seemingly coming out of retirement to play Belfort's meat-head father. The ongoing narration hearkens back to Scorsese's earlier film Goodfellas, which was a bit too unoriginal and a lazy approach to storytelling. Nonetheless, Belfort takes the audience on a harrowing ride as his life spirals upwards and predictably downwards through fits of drug abuse and wanton sex, all while the feds try to lock him into their sites.
Zero Charisma (2013)
This movie just rolled a 20! Awesome!
Sam Eidson does a fantastic job playing Scott, an old loser with an old school nerd gimmick. Living with his Nanna, but thinking he's a big shot. "Because I'm the game master, that's why," says the bumper sticker on his unimpressive car. Scott takes the audience with him on his descent from lowly loneliness into the abyss of public embarrassment via a myriad of burnt social bridges. Scott's ugly demise at the hands of Miles, played brilliantly by Garrett Graham is a thing of comic beauty. Scott's futile attempt to maintain his reign over his nerdlings falls short. Katie Folger is a bright spot, playing Kendra, Miles' girlfriend. "The gods must be avenged," as Scott would say, and you must watch this movie to find out if Scott has the last laugh. Highly recommended by The Zeus and Tom Show.
The Kings of Summer (2013)
Not so clever
Pretentious, bad-acting filled movie. Premise of 3 teens running away from home to live in the woods. There are a couple of genuine laughs, but not enough to warrant the classification of comedy. Bright spots are Nick Offerman playing Frank, one of the fathers, and Erin Moriarty playing, Kelly, a school friend. Character of Biaggio starts out interesting, but develops into a caricature of himself. The trio's attempt to escape the adolescent rat race backfires when drama creeps into their woodly abode. The plot plods along as fast as teenagers mature. Nice try, but can't recommend it. Save yourself the time and go watch Stand By Me instead.
Prisoners will captivate you!
Prisoners is a tense mystery-thriller that will spin you through fits of fear, repulsion, anger, and relief. We highly recommend it based on its overall enjoyability as a movie that provides expected chills along with personal moral questions when you put yourself into the hero's shoes. The beginning of the movie has a palpable sense that something bad is about to happen. It's a similar feeling that you get at the beginning of many horror movies where the characters are introduced as carefree friends through the use of pointless, mundane chatter and laughter. But once the girls disappear, it's on! Any of you who are parents, as we are, can instantly relate to that lightning strike of fear that shoots through you when you realize you don't know where you kid is. That tenseness remains with you through most of the movie as they try to unravel the circumstances around the disappearance. Jake Gyllenhaal does an adequate job as the plodding yet persistent investigator, Detective Loki. The audience will be put into a balancing act of rooting for Loki to find the abductor, and hating Loki for not laying down the law while we sympathize with the victim's father Keller Dover, played convincingly by Hugh Jackman. It's really the character of Dover that will have the audience gut-wrenched as they try to decide if they would take the law into their own hands as Dover does when, as often happens, the law lets the accused out of jail. While Loki partially redeems himself by finally getting tough with the suspects and finding his way to the abductor, he still loses points for allowing one suspect to commit suicide before he can get an answer out of him and allowing Dover to beat him to the crime scene. The Dover character lets us down by torturing the wrong suspect and by letting himself be captured at the end. So, neither main character fully rewards the audience. But the biggest letdown was the revelation of the old church lady that broke bad and started killing kids after losing her own son many years prior. It was an, "Uh, really?" moment for the audience. But despite these few flaws, the movie manages to hold the audience captive and deliver the punches expected of a knockout thriller. See it!
Ender's Game (2013)
Great movie, but...
OK...I must preface this with simply saying that I am a huge fan of the book. That being said, this movie was not produced for me. It was produced for those who have not read the book. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It was an extremely well done movie and will most certainly gain new readers of what I consider one the best books I have ever read. It hit on many of the major concepts that were in the book, but left out others that were part of why I loved it so much. I do not want to spoil this movie, so I will not get into what those things were. I will simply say that true fans of the book will notice them rather quickly. The things that it does stay true to are extraordinary and took my breath away, like the battle room scenes, which were truly inspired and a treat to look at. I also liked getting a look at the "buggers" for the first time. The acting was spot on. Get used to Asa Butterfield. He is going to be around for a very long time. I would not be surprised if he gets an Oscar nod. He captured Ender exquisitely. Harrison Fords Graff was better than I had hoped for. I had always pictured Michael Ironside or Robert Duvall in the role, when I was reading it. The cinematography was a real treat and did not disappoint in any way. I strongly recommend this movie for fans of the series, but I feel like people who didn't read it might actually enjoy it more. Again, Great movie, but...
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Last Vegas (2013)
Funny Oldness Descends on Vegas
Cute, funny movie. I went to see this with my wife, and we found ourselves laughing out loud and sharing knowing looks based on some of the funny scenarios in the movie. The movie has a lot of good one-liners. Any of us that are getting up there in age will be able to relate to this. Great cast. Freeman, DeNiro, and Douglas deliver. Excellent work developing the characters from childhood through senior-ship. The actors playing the child versions of the leads really matched up well with their elder counterparts, and helped set up later scenes. The love triangle plot is developed well and fits well into the storyline. Overall, a good time for any couple or friends.