Category Archives: Movie Review

22 Jump Street: A Quick Review

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I admit, the first time I watched 21 Jump Street I wasn’t a fan. To me, it was one of those movies that you have to watch a couple of times to really appreciate its humor. I recently viewed its counterpart, 22 Jump Street. I have to say as far as sequels are concerned, the writing of this film was genius! There is an exchange between Nick Offerman and the boys that was so tongue in cheek. Offerman’s Captain character basically gives the perfect formula for writing reboots. You take what worked in the original film and amp it up for the next chapter. It’s that simple! The jokes were fresh and there were enough call backs to 21 for fans to feel connected with the characters. Ice Cube reprised his role as the tough talking leader of the Jump Street division. Hiss larger role in this film had lots of hilarious payoffs. This movie was very entertaining and, I dare say, better than the original.

-Ashley

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The List: Reunion Films

I recently met up with my former classmates to celebrate our 10 year high school reunion. I’d be lying if I said that I had been super pumped about heading back to my alma mater, but like most things we dread, it wasn’t bad at all. In fact, I actually enjoyed seeing everyone and talking about what has happened in the last decade. Our reunion got me thinking about films with a similar theme. Thus, a list of my favorites was born.

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1. American Pie 2: Yes, they made an American Reunion but I preferred the sequel. It was fun to see Jim and the gang meet up after a year of maturing in college. The thematic thread throughout the American Pie franchise is friendship. I especially liked American Pie 2 because it was about growing up and taking the next step.

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That Awkward Moment: A Quick Review

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I recently screened the comedy “That Awkward Moment” starring Zac Efron, Miles Teller, and Michael B. Jordan. Was it funny? Yes. Was it as funny as I wanted it to be? Sadly, no. Although it was very entertaining, most all of the laughs were previously viewed in the trailer. In fact, I was sort of surprised at how seriously dramatic the film was at parts. I do think the writers did a great job of capturing the authentic world of dating in your late 20s. The acting was completely believable. Overall, I liked it and will probably watch it again when it airs on HBO in a year.

-Ashley

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Catching Fire: A Quick Review

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Yeah, it was good. Jennifer Lawrence nailed it, but did we ever doubt she would? I was immersed in Panem immediately, and I could literally feel the hope of an uprising in every scene! It was so powerful! The additional characters were well casted and have such intriguing back stories and motivations. And I was so excited to finally see some chemistry taking place between Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson. I mean, it wasn’t bad in the first movie — I just wasn’t that invested. In this film, you can really see them beginning to feel for each other in a truly selfless way. Yeah, I’m a fan. Go see it.

– Hillari

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Andrew’s Journey Through TIFF 2013: Episode III

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The Toronto International Film Festival is one of the first stops on the journey through film awards season. This year, Andrew was fortunate enough to be in attendance and is now recapping the films and events he attended while at TIFF.

TIFF Day 6

With bright and early screenings now a thing of the past for my festival experience, I had the great pleasure of sleeping in on this day. I dreamed of what might occur if I was to meet my idol who just so happened to be the star of the next film on my docket.

David Gordon Green’s Joe

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Nicolas Cage. What else needs to be said? Some love him and some hate him, but the haters always seem to forget that not only does he have an Academy Award bearing his name, but when on he remains one of the most talented actors in the biz. Now I get it, his recent string of endless sub-par action films leaves a lot to be desired, but every once in awhile he chooses a role that truly lets his artistry shine. Thankfully, Joe just so happens to be the latest. Playing the titular ex-con with an underlying mean streak, Cage gives a nuanced and (for the most part) subdued performance. Youngster Tye Sheridan is every bit his equal as Gary, a kid new in town who is looking for work and who Joe takes under his wing. Gary’s father (Gary Poulter) is abusive and is constantly taking money from Gary to fuel his rampant alcoholism. Under the helm of David Gordon Green, who has already released one great film this year in Prince Avalanche, the film is visually stunning with his signature brand of cinematography. While the film loses its focus at times and certainly has its fair share of disturbing moments, Green and his actors make sure to ground the film in a dark reality that seems true to life in this small Texas town. Whether you love him or you hate him it’s hard to argue that this isn’t another great Cage performance, and while us fans would certainly love for him to keep choosing these interesting off the beaten path roles, somebody’s gotta pay those taxes. Long live The Cage.

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Andrew’s Journey Through TIFF 2013: Episode II

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The Toronto International Film Festival is one of the first stops on the journey through film awards season. This year, Andrew was fortunate enough to be in attendance and is now recapping the films and events he attended while at TIFF.

TIFF Day 4

Following the insanely energetic experience of Midnight Madness the night prior, it’s safe to say that I would have benefited greatly from a solid night’s sleep. It wasn’t meant to be however, as the next morning I had a film scheduled for 9AM. Four hours of sleep later I woke up and around 7:30 walked to the Metro station, not even aware that it was Sunday. The station was closed of course and so I did what any intelligent person would do: take the six mile journey on foot. Now that may not sound all that impressive, but when you’re only going on a few hours of sleep and your feet are already blistered up from waiting in endless lines the day prior, it is. I sped walk the whole way and made it in about an hour to the TIFF Bell Lightbox, perhaps the finest movie theatre I’ve ever had the pleasure of being a patron of. I plopped down in the first row, exhausted.

Jason Reitman’s Labor Day

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My 9am film that day just so happened to be Jason Reitman’s Labor Day, a total change of pace from the kind of films Reitman’s made thus far in his still young career. Centered on a depressed single mom (Kate Winslet) and her son (Gattlin Griffith) whose worlds are upset upon the arrival of a wounded convict (Josh Brolin) who recently escaped from a local prison, it’s a definitively more low-key drama than Reitman’s norm. Labor Day is a work of extreme confidence without much in the way of Reitman’s usual comedic tinge and although he’s already proven adept at drama, it’s still quite a shock to the system at first. All three of the leads give fine, quiet performances that deliver a sense of intimacy not felt in most awards-player dramas.  One negative note however, is that Labor Day is yet another film featuring Tobey Maguire voice-over. Now I am not a hater of voice-over in general, but here it doesn’t seem to serve the story of the film in a particularly compelling way. Overall, I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about the film due to my severe lack of sleep, but it’s definitely an interesting drama that I very much look forward to viewing again upon it’s official theatrical release.

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Andrew’s Journey Through TIFF 2013: Episode I

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One of the first stops on the path to film awards season is the Toronto International Film Festival. Boasting one of the largest and most eclectic selections of films from all over the world, it’s safe to say that a visit to the festival has been on my film nerd wish-list for quite some time. This year, that wish became a reality.

The festival ran this year from September 5th to the 15th and I arrived in Toronto on the eve of 5th with plans to post a series of blog entries running through my various experiences at TIFF as they happened. It’s safe to say that it wasn’t meant to be as I severely overestimated the amount of time I would actually have to sit down and produce actual quality writing. Not discussing one of the greatest experiences of my life at all however, would be a mistake and that brings us to this very blog entry.

Over the course of the festival I attended fifteen events in total; thirteen film screenings, one Q & A, and a live read of a previously produced screenplay. The films I had the opportunity to check out were an interesting bunch, some of which will almost certainly factor in to the Academy Awards next year. With this the first of numerous entries, I plan to discuss everything I had the opportunity to see at the festival, along with random experiences I had during my time in the great white north. Toronto, I hardly knew you.

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Austenland (2013): A Quick Review

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One reviewer says Austenland is “a romantic comedy for Jane Austen fans only.”

Rotten Tomatoes says, “… it succumbs to outworn romcom clichés and slapstick gags.”

Forget that.

First of all… Continue reading

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The Mortal Instruments (Film Adaptation): A Quick Review

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Hmm… I was entertained. The visuals were cool and completely coincided with what my mind had already came up with as a reader.

Umm… The acting? Well, they all looked good. And Jamie Campbell Bower did not disappoint — I totally bought that he was Jace Wayland. I also thought the adult cast was well done. Jonathan Rhys Meyers is a little over the top, but an otherwise good villain.

I mean, overall, I liked it. I’m not going to lie, there were definitely some cheesy/flat-out-awkward moments. One in particular comes to mind, and if you see this film, you’ll know the exact one I’m talking about.

Will I pay to see this movie again? No.

Will I watch it while doing menial house chores, once it finds its way to ABC Family? Yes.

Will I pay to see the next one on the big screen? Yeah… Probably… I mean, I’m going to.

-Hillari

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Band Baaja Baaraat: A Quick Review

Bitto Sharma (Ranveer Singh) and Shruti Kakkar (Anushka Sharma) graduate from university. Shruti has everything planned out- start her wedding planning business (Shaadi Mubarak), get married five years later, then have kids. Bitto has no plans… except trying to get out of working on his dad’s sugarcane farm. Due to circumstances, the two become business partners and complications ensue (naturally).


What I liked about this movie:

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