I watch a lot of movies and I also read a lot of books. Far and away… MoreI watch a lot of movies and I also read a lot of books. Far and away my favorite book series is The Hunger Games, and I've always appreciated the fact that the films have been nearly identical page for page representations of the books. I also love how the cast has always fit into their roles as if they were written just for them. People who never read the books, assume that all four movies are about this strange war game, and they couldn't be more wrong. The games are just a part of the story and are what ultimately spark the people to rebel against an oppressive government. What the Hunger Games is really about, is pushing your limits to become something more than you ever thought possible. In the spectacular finally of the series, the Civil War is on and it will take a dangerous mission into the capital to bring it to an end. Part 2, is just as exciting and well done as the other films with one exception, and that's why it's the only one of the four films to receive less than a perfect rating. Mockingjay was only one book, but they split it in two for the sake of making more money from another film. While this was a good idea to the film company, the fact is that there wasn't enough substance left for the final movie. Some scenes were rushed, while others moved to slow, and for the first time, whole sections, such as Katniss's training and newly formed bond with Joanne, were completely removed. While the film was excellent, I feel as though it was somewhat rushed and that the continuity was not as solid as it had been in previous films. That being said, it's still an epic conclusion and if you aren't already aware of the ending, you'll certainly be shocked and surprised by what happens, so while it's not the best of the four films, it's still well worth your time.
They say that serial killers are driven to kill and are unable to… MoreThey say that serial killers are driven to kill and are unable to stop, but Eugene Van Wingerdt (Scott Glenn) did stop. He stopped nearly thirty years ago and moved away to a small town, where he became the local barber and beloved member of the local community. One day, out of the blue, the son of the cop who originally investigated his crimes, tracks him down. The cop, posing as a budding serial killer, wants advice from Eugene, who continuing to claim he's not who the boy thinks he is. Eugene feels sorry for him and forms a bond with the young man, trying to lead him away from a life of crime, but as he does, will those old feelings come back to the surface, or is Eugene really just a misunderstood old man? The premise of the new independent film, The Barber, is certainly unique and to me it seemed as though there were many different directions this film could have gone in, but the path chosen, was the road less traveled, and the result was just a really boring and predictable story. This is one of those film where nothing really happens until the end, and by that point, the viewer is just so bored and sick of the whole thing that they just want it to be over. Scott Glenn stars and is far too old to be believable. I can understand wanting to be active and not simply take on the role of grandpa, but a mentor for a serial killer, it just doesn't fit. Glenn is paired with newcomer Chris Coy, who honestly couldn't act his way into a high school play, much less play a character with duel personalities. By the end of this film, I literally cringed every time the guy opened his mouth. The story here is solid, but the way producers go about telling it and the people they cast to star in it leave a lot to be desired.
Spy films are a dime a dozen, so what makes James Bond so special? Is… MoreSpy films are a dime a dozen, so what makes James Bond so special? Is it the fight scenes, the crafty villains, his style, or maybe just all of it combined? James Bond time means time to try new things in film, which is why even twenty-four films later, the story is still fresh and the character is still relevant. Spectre may be no different in terms of James Bond on a mission to stop a madman from destroying the world, but each film is different in the way it is shot, and each Director and actor brings their own take, style, and personality to the series. Spectre is a lot more audience friendly and lot easier to follow than many previous Bond films, but what made this one really special was the unique action sequences that I've never seen anywhere else. The balcony and helicopter scenes alone are enough to get any action junkies blood pumping. In film number twenty-four, James Bond is following up on the events in Skyfall, trying to find out who killed M. During his investigation he discovers something a lot bigger, an underground global terror network, that is responsible for many of the missions he's had to go on. Daniel Craig is of course fantastic and I still content that he is far and away the best Bond ever, but in this film, he meets a villain who may be one of the best villains ever. There is just something about Christoph Waltz that makes audiences hang on his every word. We first saw it in Inglorious Bastards six years ago, and since then he's only gotten better. The chemistry and friction between the two characters and the two actors trying to one up each other is nothing short of spectacular. While many fans of the series don't like how modern it's become, I feel as though the series is re-inventing itself with each film, and Spectre, is definitely among the most unique and special in the series.
I have never really enjoyed war films. I am by no means a pacifist,… MoreI have never really enjoyed war films. I am by no means a pacifist, but to me all the stories seem to be the same, and until now, I've been uninterested. It wasn't until viewing the Academy's best picture of 2010, The Hurt Locker, that I started to see things differently. In these films, it's not so much the story line that matters, but rather the characters that are featured in the film. The description of The Hurt Locker is just as bland as any other war picture, the story of a unit in Iraq that is responsible for disarming explosives. What makes this film so unique and made it the best film of 2010 was William James, played remarkably well by Jeremy Renner. Renner is known as an action star, so when I saw him nominated for best actor, I couldn't believe it. The truth is Renner's performance in this film was outstanding, because for once, he simply played himself. Renner may have been portraying a Sargent in Iraq, but the personality was his own. Director, Kathryn Bigelow, has become known for letting actors be themselves in developing their characters personalities, to the point where even some of the dialogue was in the spur of the moment. The Hurt Locker is a powerful film, with remarkable events and heartbreaking moments, but it's the films personality that is larger than life. I enjoyed every second of this film and it was truly the best choice the Academy could have made for best picture.
Over the past decade, we've seen a recent phenomenon in film, where… MoreOver the past decade, we've seen a recent phenomenon in film, where producers cast many big names in a clip film, that all comes together in the end. While this may work well with superheroes, it has yet to be successful in regards to comedy. That is why the film, Love The Coopers can be defined with one saying, too many cooks in the kitchen. This film features a large and impressive cast, and the previews looked terrific, but I assure you, Ed Helm's little girl calling him a dick, is just about the only truly funny moment in this film. The story here has a lot of different angles, and they do come together quite nicely, but this film is not what it was intended to be, as the last thing I would refer to it as is a hilarious holiday film. A lot of people are going to see this film because of it's cast, and from young Timothee Chalamet to veteran Alan Arkin, this cast is remarkable, however the story is not, in fact this whole film was fairly dull. I expect a lot from the cast, but even Hollywood's best and brightest can't make a film work when the writing just isn't there. I love the concept and I really wanted to like this film, but in the end it's just a big disappointment.
Before becoming household names, Jared Leto, Jake Gyllenhaal, and… MoreBefore becoming household names, Jared Leto, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Selma Blair were all cast in an independent movie, that was so unlike anything we've seen to that point, that it led to the creation of many of the quirky road trip films we see today. 1994, In a Las Vegas, Pilot (Gyllenhaal) is a small time drug dealer, and his best friend, Jack (Leto) is doing a mobsters wife. Life seems great for these high school dropouts, until a series of screw ups lead to them becoming targets. After stopping for prostitutes, (because that's what guys on the run typically do) they embark on a trip to Seattle where they pick up a hitchhiker (Blair) and prove that they are every bit as crazy as they are funny. Eventually the group winds up in Seattle, for the memorial to Kurt Cobain, where things get even stranger. The talent of this young cast is evident right from the beginning of the film, and you won't believe the amazing things that happen to them during their epic road trip. There have been a lot of best friend teams in films like this, Bill & Ted, Harry & Lloyd, Alan & Phil, but I would say that despite being completely overlooked, Jack & Pilot may be the best of the bunch. This film clearly paved the way for the buddy road trip comedies that followed and did so in such a way, that I felt like I was back in the 90s, watching a true cult classic. I say it all the time, but films like this are the reason I watch so many independent films. Highway is worth every minute you spend on it and is an absolute must see movie!
This film focuses on youth offenders, who were given life sentences… MoreThis film focuses on youth offenders, who were given life sentences for the crimes they committed. The question is, should a persons entire life be determined by one act they committed as a teenager? Several of these people are interviewed and the overwhelming opinion is that most of them don't deserve to remain where they are, despite what they've done. In fact a new law is going to allow for lifers, convicted as teenagers, to have their case re-examined after a specific amount of time, based on the nature of the crime. Given the people interviewed in this film, it's easy to say they deserve a second chance. Who doesn't feel for a kid, who was with a crazy friend at the wrong time, and convicted of felony murder, just for being there? Who doesn't feel that a fifteen year old, who killed his sexual abusive parents, twenty years ago, shouldn't be released? It's easy to feel this way when presented with these types of offenders, but what about the people they didn't interview? The kids who brutally kill, just to see what it feels like or the kid who goes into school and shoots a dozen people because he's been bullied, do they deserve a second chance at freedom? I don't argue with the fact that a persons development isn't fully complete by the time they are a teenagers. I also don't argue that this lack of maturity leads to their stupid decisions. In some rare cases, these cases should be re-examined. However, when someone is so broken, that they kill for fun and without remorse, even at a young age, they are broken, and until we knows for certain how to fix them, they belong behind bars. What does everyone else think?
I am a huge fan of the Divergent series, and after reading all the… MoreI am a huge fan of the Divergent series, and after reading all the books, I went so far as to proclaim that parts of it were even better than the Hunger Games. Unlike The Hunger Games and the first film in the series, Insurgent starts to veer away from the novel, making it hard for the fans, to envision just how they'll make the jump into the third book in the series. In what was once Chicago, the war between the factions has begun, and this time, no faction is safe from the Erudite. The intellectual faction has started collecting all the Divergent, in an attempt to open a mysterious box, that supposedly contains something that will change all their lives forever. Tris and Four are on the other-side, doing everything they can to stop the group from hunting the Divergents, whom they see as the key to changing everything. The first part of this film is an excellent representation of the novel and is every bit as exhilarating, but the second part veers off into a new direction. The films producers said they wanted to make the story easier for the casual fan to understand, and they did that, unfortunately, taking away the complexity of the story, takes away some of it's magic. As for the ending, it is completely different from the novel, leaving many to wonder if they'll make the third book into a film at all. Indeed they plan to, but it's hard to see just how they will go about doing it, after the events put in place by the end of this film. Shailene Woodley and Theo James returned for the sequel and again, they played the characters to tee, I really felt like these two were meant to play Tris and Four before the book was even set to be released on the big screen. Once again, the special effects, the acting, and the story are amazing, and this film would be worthy of five stars, if not for the ending that diverted too far away from the original story.
The daughters of Bruce Willis and Greg Evigan team up in Sorority Row,… MoreThe daughters of Bruce Willis and Greg Evigan team up in Sorority Row, a remake of the 1983 Horror classic, The House on Sorority Row. The remake is of course modernized and takes the classic independent horror film to the next level, with terrific effects, increased levels of fright and gore, and of course a ton of beautiful people. Where is this college and how soon can I apply?! Every guy and girl featured in the film, with the exception of Carrie Fisher, could be models, despite being well passed the age of most college students. The story starts out much like the original film does, with a Sorority prank that goes horribly wrong. The girls decide to cover up the incident and put it behind them, but at a large cost to their sisterhood. A year later, at the same party, someone knows what happened last year, and have decided to make the whole Sorority pay for their crimes. This film is a classic 'who done it' mashed together with a slasher film, and the results are pure excitement. The truth is that most of these film don't have much in the way of a story line and the killer is obvious to everyone, but not this time. This film is very reminiscent of Scream, and it really had me on the edge of my seat. A good Horror film is hard enough to find, but one with all that suspense and a compelling story to follow, that's worth it's weight in gold! Sorority Row is a perfect choice for those who want to spend Halloween, in front of the TV watching a scary movie!
Independent Horror films are always hit or miss, there is no… MoreIndependent Horror films are always hit or miss, there is no in-between. They are either better than any Hollywood movie or as awful as a film can be, Don't Blink is part of the latter. Ten friends in four cars go away on vacation, to a small resort village in the middle of nowhere. When the group arrives they are shocked to find, the town is abandoned, so why don't they just leave? All four cars are low on gas and of course the pumps at the only gas station in town don't work, for that matter neither do any of their cell phones, what are the odds? I don't know about you, but if I was in the situation, I'd run away as fast as I could, but these geniuses decide to huddle up in the main cabin and hope for the best. As they try to keep calm, members of their party start to vanish, one by one, in the blink of an eye, and soon, the group descends into madness. The whole premise of this film is ridiculous and the budget is so small, that most of the film is shot in the same location. As far as what's happening to them, don't think you'll ever find out, because that is supposedly the scariest part of the whole thing. Don't Blink, sounds like it would be fast paced and exciting, but it's as slow as can be, with a lot of talking, by a lot of stupid people, who are in a situation that would never happen. The dialogue is amateurish, the bad acting is the only real joke in the film, and the ending makes the whole thing just a complete waste of time. Even though I see movies like this from time to time, I'm still amazed that someone thought that something like this deserved to made into a feature film, and I continue to wonder if anyone reads these scripts before producing the film.