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2014 MOVIE OMNIBUS THREAD


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Finally saw the new GODZILLA movie. I was underwhelmed. Thin characters, an almost non-existent plot. Bryan Cranston tries his damnedest to squeeze some life out of this script, but it's just not enough to carry the movie when he's not around.

 

 

IMO, Cranston was trying way too hard. Dude, it's a movie about a giant lizard. You're not going to win an Emmy. You don't have to do real acting here.

 

I know "phoning it in" is looked down upon a bit by actors, but yeah, underplaying it can work too. Do a McKellan or Patrick Stewart and give enough to steal the show, but also remind everyone that you're way too good for all this and don't even have to try.

 

Why underplay?  Why not bring your very best stuff?  Especially when he's mourning the loss of Juliette fuckin' Binoche, who was absolutely not trying too hard (admittedly, she was given absolutely jack-shit nothing as a character by the script, perhaps the most poorly-written role she's ever performed).

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Smith said he shaved because he had to do green screen shoots for his movie Yoga Hosers

 

That is the movie that is staring Smith, Johnny Depp, and Smith's and Depp's daughters

 

Good god. From Wiki:

 

 

 

The film centers on 15-year-old yoga nuts Colleen Collette (Lily-Rose Depp) and Colleen McKenzie (Harley Quinn Smith), who have an after-school job at a Manitoba convenience store called Eh-2-Zed. When an ancient evil rises from beneath Canada’s crust and threatens their big invitation to a Grade 12 party, the Colleens join forces with a legendary man-hunter from Montreal named Guy Lapointe (Depp).

 

and then there is this:

 

 

 

According to Kevin Smith, the third and final film in his True North Trilogy will be entitled Moose Jaws which he credits the film as "Jaws with a moose".

 

I... I give up. There aren't words.

 

There are words: such as "this is kinda awesome, kinda" and "I'm totally gonna pay to see those movies".  Hey, aren't I supposed to be the Grinch around here?  
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Just got back from NIGHTCRAWLER. It's not for anyone without patience since it takes it's sweet time building to the big event seen in the trailers.

The ending will definitely turn some people off, but Jake G. carries the movie on his back and is so awesome at playing the skeeviest, sleaziest sociopath possible that I still give it a solid two thumbs up.

More thoughts may be forthcoming tomorrow.

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You know, Tim Burton putting Helena Bonham Carter in everything is one thing. She's a great actress and has a quirkiness that suits his movies.

 

But, honestly, nepotism in general does not work. See: Jaden Smith.

 

Hollywood: Your kids are not that talented.

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I have reached that time of the year where I am trying to see more films so I can have a semi-competent best of the year list at year's end.

I have quite a few movies that I am trying to knock out this weekend. Here are the first two from my letterboxd account: 

Begin Again - 6/10
 

John Carney's first film since 2007's wonderful film, Once, tries to capture the magic of that film on a grander scale. Begin Again is hit and miss on this goal. The strength of Begin again exists when it captures the beauty and grandeur of New York City. At times, I found myself reminiscing to some of the beautiful shots in Woody Allen's Manhattan. While this film does live up to the artistic means of Allen's masterpiece, it reminds you why New York City is a great on-site location for cinema.
 
As a film, Begin Again plays a lot of familiar beats that rarely surprises its audience, but some of the more "feel good" moments will find the viewer smiling at its earnest attempts. Knightley's performance carries this film in a big way and even makes up for Adam Levine's first attempt at acting in a feature film.

 

Neighbors - 8/10

Given the recent track record of comedies starring Seth Rogen, Neighbors proves to be Stoller's best and (maybe) most earnest film since 2008's tremendous Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Efron, Byrne and Dave Franco all deliver tremendous, gut busting performances. Given the usual over the top nature of these heavily improvised comedies, Neighbors surprises this viewer by exploring two generations experiencing transitional periods in their lives and how the fears of that transition lead to both groups acting out in funny, self-destructive ways. Do your best to see Neighbors, as it will probably be the best big budget comedy that is released in 2014.

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Also catching up on 2014.  I enjoyed The Two Faces of January quite a bit.  It's written and directed by the guy who wrote Drive, but it's very different from that movie, more Hitchcockian than anything else.  Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst are a couple vacationing in Greece, they run into an American tour guide played by Oscar Isaac, and after a death, all three of them end up going on the run together - but there's tension between all three.  Wasn't quite feeling Isaac as a great actor after Inside Llewyn Davis, but I am now!  He's so good here, making a great adversary for Viggo.  Lots of whispered, clenched-jaw conversations.  Only problem is that I could see people thinking it's a little too understated.

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Just watched The Campaign (2012), and while funny...what a weird fucking movie.  It starts off with Will Ferrell being a total dick and Zach Galifianakis being such a nice guy...albeit a weirdo.  Then they flip the script and you think maybe it's going to be a humorous but insightful look into how politics corrupts people, only for them to finish with a pretty lazy ending.  I laughed A LOT, but the ending could've been so much better.

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Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst sounds like the wackiest onscreen pairing since Will Ferrell and Nicole Kidman.

 

3 things:

 

1. I've barely seen anything at all with Kirsten Dunst, just Eternal Sunshine + this

2. Having said that, I bet the Kirsten Dunst in Melancholia wouldn't be too out of place alongside Viggo

3. Having said that, the idea was that the two of them weren't a perfect couple.  I think it was supposed to be a trophy wife sort of marriage that was starting to show cracks.

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I watched two comedies over the weekend. One of these was very good. Maybe great. The other was pretty average.

22 Jump Street was pretty incredible for a sequel. I loved that right away they hit you in the face with "yes, this is a sequel and it's the same shit as before but fuck it give us a chance and you won't be disappointed" and they never stop with those gags. The chemistry between Tatum and Jonah Hill is really awesome. It's such an odd couple but my god does it deliver. The roommate chick was awesome. She stole every scene she was in. Ice Cube flipping out at the restaurant had my dying. I have nothing but good things to say about this. The plot is the same but the writing is very creative.

Neighbors I did not like nearly as much. It's not Seth Rogan that bothered me. He's just kind of there. Inoffensive. It was the entire plot. It was pretty much an off-campus Van Wilder. The shit was so cliché. It had a checklist of college party movie gags and touched on every single one of them but not in a creative or interesting way. I felt like I saw the movie a hundred times over. The writing was so bland, whereas 22 Jump Street referenced a wide range of comedy. Also, I didn't think Efron and Franco had any chemistry. I didn't buy them as bros. If you want to see some legit bromance again go watch 22 Jump Street because Tatum and Wyatt Russell knocked it out of the park.

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Just watched The Campaign (2012), and while funny...what a weird fucking movie.  It starts off with Will Ferrell being a total dick and Zach Galifianakis being such a nice guy...albeit a weirdo.  Then they flip the script and you think maybe it's going to be a humorous but insightful look into how politics corrupts people, only for them to finish with a pretty lazy ending.  I laughed A LOT, but the ending could've been so much better.

I quite enjoy 'The Campaign', it's just the right mix of silly and wacky and downright stupid.  I thought it was at its best when it was just being silly: hitting the dog and baby, Ferrell's meltdown and subsequent sex tape/campaign ad, but I thought it was at its worst when it was trying too hard to say something and present a political satire (The whole "Motch" brothers angle, the ending, etc. etc.).  It's sorta like 'The Other Guys' (which I LOVE) where you have this silly send-up of police movie cliches then close on a variety of statistics about white collar crime that feels like it came from the end of a Michael Moore movie.

 

Watched RoboCop tonight (the new one) and I thought it was pretty damn great actually.  Thought the story was compelling and I loved the way they filled it up with interesting actors like Michael Keaton, Samuel Jackson, Gary Oldman, Jackie Earl Haley and Michael K. Williams.  Action sequences were fun and I really thought the motorcycle sequences were amazing.  I could've done with a little more of RoboCop bringing down random criminals before overriding his  protocol controls.  Also the visual of

Alex's head connected to his spinal cord, heart and lungs and nothing else

was really fascinatingly unsettling, maybe even more upsetting than Murphy's death sequence in the original.  I really liked this.

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Neighbors - 8/10

Given the recent track record of comedies starring Seth Rogen, Neighbors proves to be Stoller's best and (maybe) most earnest film since 2008's tremendous Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Efron, Byrne and Dave Franco all deliver tremendous, gut busting performances. Given the usual over the top nature of these heavily improvised comedies, Neighbors surprises this viewer by exploring two generations experiencing transitional periods in their lives and how the fears of that transition lead to both groups acting out in funny, self-destructive ways. Do your best to see Neighbors, as it will probably be the best big budget comedy that is released in 2014.

Serious question but do you have kids?

My wife and I have tried watching this movie 3 or 4 times now and we just cant get through it because of how terrible Rogen and Byrne are as parents.

We have a young daughter ourselves and we cant help but look at these irresponsible fucks and feel a little put off.

Id be interested in hearing if any other new parents felt the same.

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That was my biggest problem with Neighbors. Leaving their baby at home, without a babysitter or anything, while Rogen's and Byrne's characters are next door getting completely shitfaced was a little unsettling. At some point someone in the crew with kids should have pointed out that you can't portray Rogen and Byrne as good parents if they're just abandoning their kid.

 

That said, I was able to get past that and enjoy the movie, but it did and does bother me.

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Tabe is back to watching Netflix movies on the regular:

 

Standing Up - Came across this one on a "what's new on Netflix" site a few months back and the premise (victims of a horrible summer camp prank go on a journey of self-discovery and stuff) sounded promising so I added it to my list.  Last night, decided to give it a shot.  it's apparently based on a beloved children's/juvenile book.  I wouldn't know.  Anyway, admitting that I'm not the target audience, I still thought this wasn't very good.  And wouldn't have been when I was 12 either.  Howie & Grace are stripped naked and left alone on an island by their fellow summer campers.  They decide to find some clothes and wander around for a few days instead of returning to camp.  They make some friends at another camp and sort of try to get Grace's mom to come rescue them.  I say "sort of" because Grace calls her mom, screaming and crying for mom to come get her but when pushed for a reason why, instead of coming up with something even remotely close to what happened to her, she just says "they're all a bunch of hypocrites".  Yeah, THAT will get mom to come take you home from camp.  Whatever.  It does do a nice job of not having completely ridiculous situations or adults that are over-the-top.  And we get a nice feel-good ending.  In the end, not quite what I'd hoped for from the IMDB reviews.  4/10.

 

Hit the documentary thread for the rest of my recent viewing experiences and check back for my review of John Wick after I go see it tonight.

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I watched the rescored version of Drive on BBC3 last week. Haven't seen the version with the original score. It was not as bad as the other Refn movie I'd seen, but it was not as good as the other movie with the same title I've seen. Mark Dacascos was in that one.

 

I had a joke lined up about how they left the L off the end of the title, but that wouldn't have been fair. It was alright.

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That film is called Bad Neighbours over here, to avoid confusion with an Australian Soap Opera that was popular in the late 1980s.

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So, yeah, me and the guys went to the movies last night:

 

John Wick - Do you want to see 90 minutes of Keanu Reeves half-growling his lines and busting out headshots on a whole bunch of fools?  Yes, yes, you do.  This movie does nothing original - except perhaps not having Reeves bang the hot female assassin trying to kill him - but it does everything really well.  It's slick, it's fast-paced, it has some humor and Reeves is fantastic in this.  The bad guys are a bunch of cliches (Russian bad guys who smoke with the youngish son who's a totally entitled douchebag listening to obnoxious rap music) mixed with the "Mayhem" guy from car insurance commercials but you don't care.  They mess with Keanu's dog and he makes them pay.  And it all just...works.  So ignore the flaws, dream of a world where John Wick kidnaps Liam Neeson's daughter or something, and enjoy this movie.  It's a lot of fun.  9/10.

 

Um...where was Keanu's dog when he was doing 100mph donuts and slamming on the brakes?  One second it's there, one second it's not.  WTF?

 

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AxB I love that you hate Refn. Keep sending the films on the mail though.

 

I din't buy this one, it was on the telly. And I'm not sending you my Tivo box.

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