Movies


VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: The Host (2013)

Clio: 4.6/5 stars, 8.6/10.
Carolyn: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Jesse: 3.4/5 stars, 7/10.
Evan: 4.1/5 stars, 8/10.
Native ratings: 3.7/5 stars Netflix, /10 IMDB.

Written & directed by Andrew Niccol, which had me hyped up to see the movie! We’ve seen every movie he’s directed (Gattaca, Lord Of War, In Time, S1m0ne), and also half the movies he wrote-but-didn’t-direct (The Truman Show, but not The Terminal). It is all excellent stuff, though we enjoyed some (In Time) more than others (Lord Of War, S1m0ne).

This movie, strangely, is based on a novel by Stephenie Meyer, the woman who wrote the Twilight Trilogy. Really?? This knowledge alone causes a lot of people to hate on the movie without watching it. Such sheep behavior is sad to witness.

This is Twilight-esque in the sense that teen romance is inserted into a genre that it is not normally so prevalent in. Is that a crime? Is mixing genres a crime? Should an action movie have no comedy? Should a comedy movie have no romance? Should a horror movie have no comedy?

So yes, this is a sci-fi movie about parasitic symbiotes taking over the planet by taking our bodies from us, but it is focused more on a few specific characters, and the love story that ties them together. There are no explosions or big gun fights. It’s about a race taking over humans and controlling them. They aim to live along with us and bring us further than we would get left to our own devices, but they also basically genocide us by killing our consciousnesses and replacing them with their own.

But some of us resist. The alien parasite hears the voice of the original human in their mind. It’s rare. And that is the case here.

Apparently a lot of people just reduce that to “watching a girl talk to herself”, which is a sad reducto absurdum applied to an idea that is actually far more interesting than that. I think it requires a litte bit of empathy that some people don’t have. I don’t find it a valid complaint.

There is REALLY a lot of hate here. The anti-Stephanie Meyer bandwagon is kind of pathetic. It’s like they are scared that someone might like something she’s involved in, because it would invalidate their own opinions — which are often themselves based on groupthink and expressed by people who have never seen one of her movies or read one of her books.

Fuck those guys. This was a great sci-fi, and had an unexpectedly interesting emotional/relationship angle, that most sci-fi movies don’t have. Good for Andrew Niccol — keeping his track record intact. Good for Stephanie Meyer — improving her track record, which needs it.

Evan: “I really liked the concepts and the story was good, but I’m going to have to knock it down a bit for the cheesy teen-movie moments.”

Saoirse Ronan (Hanna from Hanna, the voice of Arriety in The Secret World of Arrietty) as Melanie Stryder / Wanda.
Diane Kruger (Adult Anna in Mr. Nobody, Inglourious Basterds, National Treasure, Helen in Troy) as The Seeker / Lacey.
Chandler Canterbury (Repo Men, Benjamin as age 8 in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) as Jamie, Melanie’s little brother.
Jake Abel (Luke in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief) as Ian O’Shea, [highlight for spoilers] Wanda’s love interest.
Max Irons (Dorian Gray, 9 eps of The White Queen) as Jared Howem, Melanie’s boyfriend.
William Hurt (The Village, The Incredible Hulk, Dark City) as Jeb, Melanie’s uncle.
Frances Fisher (Sex & Death 101, 1 ep of Childrens Hospital) as Maggie, Melanie’s aunt.
Scott Lawrence (The Social Network, Avatar, Cloverfield, Star Trek Into Darkness, 2 eps of 24, Darth Vader in a bunch of Star Wars video games) as Doc.
Rachel Roberts (Simone in S1m0ne, In Time) as Soul Fleur.
Marcus Lyle Brown (Snatched) as Healer Fords.
J.D. Evermore (Django Unchained) as Trevor Stryder.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1517260/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Black Death (2010)

Clio: 2.4/5 stars, 4.6/10.
Carolyn: 2.4/5 stars, 5.6/10.
Jesse: 2.4/5 stars.
Native ratings: 3.4/5 stars Netflix, 6.4/10 IMDB.

This was recommended to me. It held promise, but just wasn’t that special. It was way, way too slow (an hour passed without much happening), relyed too much on mood over substance, and kind of droned on.

Jesse seemed to like it about half-way through, but then by the end he had changed his mind and thought he didn’t like it.

It wasn’t very action-packed, except for a few brief, awesomely visceral fight scenes.

Moreso at the beginning, it reminded me of the Dreamweaver album’s plot, which filled me with naive, inspired promise, but ultimately things didn’t go in the direction I’d hoped.

The movie does have a few neat structural tricks up its sleeve.

But still. I’d rather have my time back. I was (unfortunately) reminded of Valhalla Rising.

Directed by Christopher Smith (who directed and wrote Triangle, which WAS FUCKING AMAZING).
Written by Dario Poloni.

Starring Eddie Redmayne (8 eps of The Pillars Of Earth) as Osmund.
Sean Bean (Game Of Thrones, Boromir in Lord Of The Rings, Zeus in Percy Jackson, Silent Hill, Troy, Mirror Mirror) as Ulrich, the emissary of the bishop.
John Lynch (Shades [the one who dropped acid] from the movie Hardware!!!!!!) as Wolfstan, the older soldier who survived to the end and was also the narrator.
Carice Van Houten (Game Of Thrones, Carol from Repo Men) as Langiva (anagram for vaginal?!), the necromancer.
David Warner (Archmage in Gargoyles, Ra’s Al Ghul in Batman, In The Mouth Of Madness, Lord Downey in Hogfather, Sweeney Todd, Avatar, 9 eps of Men In Black: The Series) as Abbot.
Kimberley Nixon as Averill, the Osmund’s girlfriend.
Emun Elliott (Prometheus) as Swire.
Johnny Harris (Snow White And The Huntsman, Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Dorian Gray) as Mold.
Andy Nyman (1 ep of Holliston, Death At A Funeral) as Dalywag.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1181791/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Parker (2013)

Clio: 3/5 stars, 6/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 6/10.
Native ratings: 3.5/5 stars Netflix, 6.1/10 IMDB.

Generic Jason Statham movie.  It was OK, but not as good as Crank or The Transporter.  It was about the action, not the story, and the action wasn’t *that* special.

Directed by Taylor Hackford (The Devil’s Advocate).
Written by John J. McLaughlin (writer of Black Swan, 3 eps of Carnivale).

Based on a novel by Donald E. Westlake. The 6th movie to be based on the same character, but only the first one to actually call him Parker! He was actually “Porter” in Payback!

Starring Jason Statham (Crank, Transporter, The Expendables, Death Race, Snatch, Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels) as Parker.
Jennifer Lopez as Leslie Rodgers.

Michael Chiklis (Ben Grimm in the Fantastic Four movies, 4 eps of Family Guy, voice in the English version of Spirited Away, 1 ep of Roughnecks: The Starship Troopers Chronicles) as Melander.
Wendell Pierce (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, 1 ep of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, 2 eps of God, the Devil and Bob) as Carlson.
Clifton Collins Jr. (we *just* saw him in The FP the previous night, Rules Of Attraction, Crank 2, Star Trek (2009), Traffic, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World) as Ross.
Bobby Cannavale (Fake Superman in Movie 43, The Ten, Snakes On A Plane, 3 eps of Six Feet Under, ) as Jake Fernandez.
Patti LuPone (Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd, Heist, 7 eps of Oz) as Ascension.
Nick Nolte (Tropic Thunder, Hotel Rwanda, 48 Hours) as Hurley.
Daniel Bernhardt (Agent Johnson in The Matrix 2: The Matrix Reloaded) as Kroll.
Jon Eyez (Django Unchained) as Jack.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1904996/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: The FP (2011)

Clio: 4.4/5 stars, 7.6/10.
Carolyn: 3.6/5 stars, 6.6/10.
Native ratings: 2.9/5 stars Netflix, 4.7/10 IMDB.

This movie is perhaps best summarized as Idiocracy meets Rocky meets 8 Mile meets the videogame Dance Dance Revolution.

“In a post apocalyptic future, two rival gangs fight for control of Frazier Park by playing “Beat Beat Revelation”, a deadly version of Dance, Dance, Revolution(tm).”

Yes. An incredibly ridiculous premise. As soon as I read the summary, I KNEW I had to see it. I love Dance Dance Revolution, and I love post apocalypstic futures… Though I gotta say, that part of the summary was mis-leading. It doesn’t look post-apocalyptic. It doesn’t look apocalyptic. It doesn’t look like the future either. People drive around older cars and use payphones. Things are obviously bad, and people talk in a very different, stupider way … But it’s not really made obvious that there was ever any apocalypse. It’s a bit dystopian, that’s all.

But that’s a very minor complaint. This was one of those bad movies that is hilarious. Carolyn was somewhat annoyed at the dialogue, but it was still pretty funny. And they were doing that on purpose. Talking like fucking idiots. So much slang. Like the education system has collapsed and street talk has taken over the world… Yet people are still civilized enough to have Dance Dance Revolution machines at clubs and party spots.

The opening scene had someone dying from DDR.

This was awesome. And so unique and ridiculous. It may as well have been a cartoon. Fuck yeah.

Written & directed by Brandon Trost (mostly a cinematographer and special effects guy) & his brother Jason Trost (Hatchet 3, Crank 2, Scream 2), who played JTro.

Main characters JTRO and Stacy aren’t actors that have been in anything we’ve seen. But other stars included:
Art Hsu (Crank 2, uncredited role in Pirates Of The Caribbean 3) as KCDC.
Clifton Collins Jr. (Crank 2, Star Trek (2009), Traffic, uncredited role in Scott Pilgrim Vs The World) as CC Jam. DID NOT RECOGNIZE HIM.
James DeBello (Detroit Rock City, Dorm Daze, Cabin Fever, Scary Movie 2, American Pie 1) as Beat Box Busta Bill. Recognized him.
Nick Principe (uncredited role in Hatchet 2) as BLT.
Sean Whalen (A Midsummer’s Night Rave, Charlie’s Angels, Hatchet 3, Twister, Waterworld, Men In Black, The Cable Guy, The Bold And The Beautiful) as Stacy‘s Dad.
Dash Mihok (Sex & Death 101, I Am Legend, The Day After Tomorrow, Sleepers) as henchman Cody.
Michael Sandow (usually a camera guy) as henchman Jody.
James Remar (Harry Morgan in Dexter, Django Unchained, X-Men: First Class, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Pineapple Express, Ratatouille, 4 eps of Justice League, The Girl Next Door) as Narrator.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1296373/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Imaginaerum (2012)

Clio & Carolyn: 2.8/5 stars, 6.4/10.
Native ratings: 5.7/10 IMDB. Not available on Netflix.

This will be the 2nd time we watch a movie based on a concept album we’ve never listened to, performed by a band we’ve never listened to. The last one was Marillion:Brave, by Richard Stanley, director of the movie Hardware (1990). This one is based on an album by the Finnish metal band, NightWish. We mostly watched it for the visuals, which were pretty cool, but we were not as impressed as we were hoping.

The story was a bit lacking. The sound mix was surprisingly bad (though that is a distribution problem). It was overly-dramatic and kind of full of itself. But of course, it’s a video for an album, and music videos are sorta-kinda SUPPOSED to be like that — all grandiose and shit. So I might be faulting the genre for its own self-definition here. It also got a lot less exciting (and a lot more depressing) near the end. The acting wasn’t the greatest, but this also wasn’t a movie with very much acting in it.

In the end, this was style over substance. Some pretty awesome visuals. Definitely a great movie to watch — not as great to listen to, or think about. But visually, it was an 8/10.

Directed by: Stobe Harju (who directed Nightwish’s “The Islander” music video).
Written by: Stobe Harju & Mikko Rautalahti (Alan Wake video game), and Richard Jackson.
Story written by Tuomas Holopainen (Nightwish songwriter and band member) & Stobe Harju.

Starring Marianne Farley (Undressed, 2001: A Space Travesty, 6 eps of Vampire High) as Gem Whitman.
Quinn Lord (young boy in The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus–is he now typecast to only be in movies with Imaginae?rium in their title?, 2 eps of Smallville) as Tom Whitman – age 10.
Tuomas Holopainen (Nightwish song writer and band member) as Tom Whitman – age 47.
Francis X. McCarthy (BASEketball, 7 eps of Melrose Place, 4 eps of the original 21 Jump Street, Alien Nation, 2 eps of The Greatest American Hero, 1 ep of Smallville, 1 ep of Cheers, 1 ep of ALF, 1 ep of The A-Team, 1 ep of Parker Lewis Can’t Lose) as Tom Whitman – age 70.
Joanna Noyes (Grandma Thora Read in Arthur) as Ann – age 73.
Anette Olzon (Nightwish band member) as Ann.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1959409/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: 21 & Over (2013)

Clio: 3.4/5 stars, 7/10.
Carolyn: 2.6/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 3.5/5 stars Netflix, /10 IMDB.

Written & directed by Jon Lucas & Scott Moore (The Hangover movies, The Change-Up). Oh yay! Party movie!

But wait! This is the least funny movie these guys have ever done. It was OK, but it could have been funnier, and there could have been more to it. It just kind of fell a little bit flat.

It was definitely not as good as The Hangover movies… The Change-Up was also way better than this one.

This still had laughs, memorable characters, and memorable moments. Plenty of ridiculousness. And it’s not that the genre’s dead, or that we’re sick of it. I love this kind of movie. But some are better than others. This one was unfortunately more in the league of National Lampoon than American Pie. Everything was a bit more contrived and forced and less satisfying.

I still liked it… But coming in from “OMG MOVIE BY THE HANGOVER PEOPLE”-level expectations is a recipe for disappointment.

Starring Miles Teller (we haven’t seen the other 13 things he’s been in) as Miller, the party-hard one.
Skylar Astin (Roy from Wreck-It Ralph) as Casey, the responsible one.
Justin Chon (Eric in the Twilight movies, Puff Puff Pass) as Jeff Chang, the stressed-out Asian.
Sarah Wright (The House Bunny) as Nicole, the love interest.
Jonathan Keltz (American Pie presents Beta House) as Randy, the douchebag boyfriend.
Francois Chau (Lethal Weapon 4, Quick Kick in G.I. Joe, Shredder in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze) as Dr. Chang, Jeff Chang’s father.
The chicks that made out with each other? One was in In Time, and one was in 17 Again. So weird.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1711425/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: CARTOONS: REVIEW: The Lorax (2012)

Clio: 2.8/5 stars, 5.4/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 5.6/10.
Native ratings: 4.1/5 stars Netflix, 6.3/10 IMDB.

Based on the Dr. Suess book. Very generic. Too many songs. It’d probably be more enjoyable for a young kid, but didn’t have nearly as much to offer to adults.

Worth it to be able to visually explore a CGI instance of a Seuss-inspired world. For a lot of these Seuss movies, that’s really the sole point: Seeing what it looks like a grander scale.

Worth it, but I’d like more.

Directed by:
Chris Renaud (Despicable Me) and Kyle Balda.
written by: Ken Daurio (Despicable Me, Horton Hears A Who, College Road Trip, The Santa Clause 2).

Starring Danny DeVito (Taxi, Penguin in Batman Returns, Twins, The War Of The Roses, Man On The Moon, Mars Attacks!, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia) as The Lorax.
Ed Helms (Andy Bernard in The Office, The Hangover movies, 3 eps of Arrested Development, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay) as The Once-ler.
Zac Efron (Anakin Skywalker in Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode III, 17 Again, High School Musical, 1 ep of Firefly) as Ted.
Taylor Swift (the singer) as Audrey.
Betty White as Grammy Norma.
Rob Riggle (P.O.T.N. in NTSF:SD:SUV, 4 eps of American Dad, The Hangover, Step Brothers, Human Giant, Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby) as Mr. O’Hare.
Jenny Slate (2 eps of Bob’s Burgers, 1 ep of Ugly Americans, Saturday Night Live) as Ted’s Mom.
Nasim Pedrad (87 eps of Saturday Night Live, The Dictator, 7 eps of Allen Gregory) as Once-ler’s Mom.
Elmarie Wendel (Mrs. Dubcek in 3rd Rock From The Sun, 1 ep of American Dad, 5 eps of General Hospital) as Aunt Grizelda.
Danny Cooksey (5 eps of Invader Zim, Kung Fu Panda, 2 eps of G.I. Joe Renegades, Tiny Toon Adventures, Terminator 2, Static Shock, Dave The Barbarian) as Brett / Chet.
Stephen Tobolowsky (Bob Bishop in Heroes, The Time Traveler’s Wife, Boxboarders!, Buried) as Uncle Ubb.
Chris Renaud (he’s the director of The Lorax, Despicable Me) as Forest Animals.

 

Christie: Agreed. Liked it, but too many songs.

 

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1482459/combined

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