Mad Max: Fury Road Theatrical Trailer

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 8.33.15 PM

The Mad Max franchise will always hold a special place in my heart. They were movies that I grew up with. So far all of the promotional material for Fury Road has me intrigued. Warner Brothers is doing absolutely everything in their power to sell this movie and as a film lover I have to say I’m impressed. It looks as if the filmmakers know exactly what they want from the movie and it looks as if they have delivered. The trailer showcases the absolute insane premise and visual style that George Miller has chosen for this movie. George Miller isn’t exactly a household name but after directing Happy Feet and it’s sequel, it’s nice to see him return to the product that made both him and Mel Gibson a star. Now the biggest question that it faces this movie is, “Will this reinvent the series or fail on impact?”

Golden Globe Awards 2015 Nominees and Winners (Update)


It’s that time of year again. Award season. The one time of year we get to celebrate films by awarding them with self glorifying statues. To me this is my Super Bowl. I like to be able to predict the winner and see how many I can get right. Lately it has been easier than usual. The award shows stick with the safe bets instead of awarding what is truly great. For the most part they are all good movies but sometimes the less inspired choice wins.

I’m going to keep things short. I will list the nominees, who I think will win, and the eventual winners. Easier said then done. My predictions will be bolded BLACK while the winners will be bolded RED

Best Motion Picture – Drama

Boyhood – Directed by Richard Linklater
Foxcatcher – Directed by Bennett Miller
The Imitation Game – Directed by Morten Tyldum
Selma – Directed by Ava DuVernay
The Theory of Everything – Directed by James Marsh

Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical

Birdman – Directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu 
The Grand Budapest Hotel – Directed by Wes Anderson
Into the Woods – Directed by Rob Marshall
Pride – Directed by Matthew Warts
St. Vincent – Directed by Theodore Melfi

Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama

Steve Carell – Foxcatcher
Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game
Jake Gyllenhaal – Nightcrawler
David Oyelowo – Selma
Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything

Best Actress in a Motion Picture- Drama

Jennifer Aniston – Cake
Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore – Still Alice
Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon – Wild

Best Actor in a Motion Picture- Comedy or Musical

Ralph Fiennes – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Michael Keaton – Birdman
Bill Murray – St. Vincent
Joaquin Phoenix – Inherent Vice
Christoph Waltz – Big Eyes

Best Actress in a Motion Picture- Comedy or Musical

Amy Adams – Big Eyes
Emily Blunt – Into the Woods
Helen Mirren – The Hundred Foot Journey
Julianne Moore – Maps to the Stars
Quvenzhané Wallis – Annie

Best Director

Wes Anderson The Grand Budapest Hotel
David FincherGone Girl
Ava DuVernaySelma
Alejandro Gonzalez InarrituBirdman
Richard LinklaterBoyhood

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture

Robert Duvall – The Judge
Ethan Hawke – Boyhood
Edward Norton – Birdman
Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher
J.K. SimmonsWhiplash

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture

Patricia Arquette – Boyhood
Jessica Chastain – A Most Violent Year
Keira Knightley – The Imitation Game
Emma Stone – Birdman
Meryl Streep – Into the Woods

Best Screenplay

Wes AndersonThe Grand Budapest Hotel
Gillian FlynnGone Girl
Alejandro Gonzalez InarrituBirdman
Richard LinklaterBoyhood
Graham MooreThe Imitation Game

Best Animated Feature

Big Hero 6
The Book of Life
How to Train Your Dragon 2
The Lego Movie

Best Foreign Film

Force Majeure (Turist), Sweden
Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem Gett, Israel
Ida, Poland/Denmark
Leviathan, Russia
Tangerines (Mandariinid), Estonia

Best Original Song – Motion Picture

Big EyesBig Eyes (Lana Del Ray)
Glory – Selma (John Legend, Common)
Mercy Is – Noah (Patti Smith, Lenny Kaye)
Opportunity – Annie (Greg Kurstin, Sia Furler, Will Gluck)
Yellow Flicker Beat – Hunger Games, Mockingjay Part 1 (Lorde)

Best Original Score – Motion Picture

Alexandre Desplat – The Imitation Game
Johann Johannsson – The Theory of Everything
Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross – Gone Girl
Antonio Sanchez – Birdman
Hans Zimmer – Interstellar

Best TV Drama

The Affair
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
The Good Wife
House of Cards

Best Actor – TV Drama

Clive Owen – The Knick
Liev Schreiber – Ray Donovan
Kevin Spacey – House of Cards
James Spader – The Blacklist
Dominic West – The Affair

Best Actress – TV Drama

Claire Danes – Homeland
Viola Davis – How to Get Away with Murder
Julianna Margulies – The Good Wife
Ruth Wilson – The Affair
Robin Wright – House of Cards

Best TV Miniseries or Movie

The Missing
True Detective
The Normal Heart
Olive Kitteridge

Best Actor – TV Miniseries or Movie

Martin Freeman – Fargo
Woody Harrelson – True Detective
Matthew McConaughey – True Detective
Mark Ruffalo – The Normal Heart
Billy Bob Thornton – Fargo

Best Actress – TV Miniseries or Movie

Maggie Gyllenhaal – The Honorable Woman
Jessica Lange – American Horror Story: Freak Show
Frances McDormand – Olive Kitteridge
Frances O’Connor – The Missing
Alison Tolman – Fargo

Best TV Comedy

Jane the Virgin
Orange Is the New Black
Silicon Valley

Best Actor – TV Comedy

Don Cheadle – House of Lies
Ricky Gervais – Derek
Jeffrey Tambor – Transparent
Louis C.K. – Louie
William H. Macy – Shameless

Best Actress – TV Comedy

Lena Dunham – Girls
Edie Falco – Nurse Jackie
Gina Rodriguez – Jane the Virgin
Julia Louis Dreyfus – Veep
Taylor Schilling – Orange Is the New Black

Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries, or TV movie

Matt Bomer – The Normal Heart
Alan Cumming – The Good Wife
Colin Hanks – Fargo
Bill Murray – Olive Kitteridge
Jon Voight – Ray Donovan

Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries, or TV movie

Uzo Aduba – Orange Is the New Black
Kathy Bates – American Horror Story: Freak Show
Joanne Froggatt – Downton Abbey
Allison Janney – Mom
Michelle Monaghan – True Detective


The Interview Review, A Controversial Comedy of Mediocre Preportions


The Interview

Directed by: Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg

Starring: Seth Rogan, James Franco, Lizzy Caplan, and Randall Park

I don’t know if there has been a movie that has received this much attention by the media in a long time. It is well-known that Sony recently got hacked and threatened by a terrorist organization to remove this movie from theater or else there will be grave consequences. Not long after theaters began refusing to show the film. Sony eventually pulled it from release all together, which lead to a public outcry. The United States didn’t appreciate Sony giving into the demands of a terrorist, so Sony decided to release the movie on VOD and select theaters. Usually movies that cause this kind of controversy are movies like Salo, or The 120 Days of Sodom or In The Realm of the Senses, not some comedy starring Seth Rogan. In short was all the controversy necessary; absolutely not. But does that mean it is a bad movie? Short answer, No.

Dave Skylark (James Franco) is a popular televsion personality who runs a show called Skylark Tonight. It is a show where he interviews celebrities and reveal personal things about them. Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogan) is his producer and his best friend. One day the two learn that North Korean dictator Kim Jung-Un (Randall Park) is a big fan of his show. They end up scoring a personal interview with him. Not long after they receive this news the CIA come to them to go on a mission to assassinate him. Once they get to North Korea things go differently than they or the CIA expected.

To me, these are two separate movies, the first being a standard Seth Rogan comedy involving two buddies and their closer than normal relationship and the second is a movie about the assassination of Kim Jung-Un. Some choices made in the first half the movie don’t work as well as they should but once the movie gets going it feels fresh and interesting. There are many ways that the movie could have handled the “assassination” portion. I know if they created a fake dictator ruling a fake country, instead of North Korea, would have created the same effect. The fact they are making a statement about the hell that goes on there is pretty ballsy of them and I respect the movie for doing that.

Once the main characters reach North Korea the movie becomes exactly what you would have expected from it. During this part of the movie we really get a sympathetic look at Kim Jung-Un, who is played with great sincerity by Randall Park. They humanize a man that we all perceived to be a monster. Sure, in the end, he is still an evil dictator but the movie shows a much deeper and tortured side to him. The movie doesn’t just make a commentary on North Korea, it also says something about America today and the interest we have in celebrity life rather than actual “news”. It’s a satire to its core but it combines what Seth Rogan does well with its harsh political commentary.

I have a lot of problems with James Franco’s performance as Dave Skylark. For a man with an Oscar nomination under his belt, he isn’t able to bring life to his character. Lately his movie choices have been a little odd, focusing in directing and acting in multiple movies in a single year. After a while you can see the fatigue with his performances. He does have a lot of good interactions with Seth Rogan and Randall Park but nothing to make him interesting.

The beginning of the movie I have the most trouble with. Early on I believed that the movie will be a complete mess. Seth Rogan has developed this sense of humor that has branched out for many years and has become mainstream now. If there isn’t a drugs, gross out scenes, or male friends that appear to be way to “close” to each other. This is all that the first part of the story is. Like 22 Jump Street and Neighbors, this kind of comedy doesn’t appeal to me.  They abandon this template and go for something a little different. I like that transition and wish that would have done that throughout the entire movie.

The Interview is rather dumb comedy that manages to go for something new. It achieves a lot with their insane premise but doesn’t quite live up to its potential.

Grade: C+

Inherent Vice Review, A Pretentious Bore of a Comedy


Inherent Vice

Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Katherine Waterston, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Benicio Del Toro, and Eric Roberts

There was a time that I thought some directors could do no wrong. I’ve held directors up a pedestal, praising the genius of their work but they gotta fail at some point. Right? When walking into Inherent Vice I was slightly optimistic, I love Paul Thomas Anderson but didn’t like the book at all. It is sad to say that the book didn’t translate well to screen. Anderson returns to a time that he captured so well in Boogie Nights and to a genre that he loved with Punch-Drunk-Love. In a way he combines both of those movies, the strange comedy mixed with a period piece, and tried to adapt a book that was never meant to be adapted. I question the love for this movie, to me it is more a love for Anderson combined with the stubbornness to admit that he isn’t the perfect director everyone thinks he is.

The movie begins with Doc Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) receiving some troubling news from his ex-flame Shasta (Katherine Waterston) about a conspiracy to send billionaire Micky Wolfmann (Eric Roberts) to an insane asylum. Not long after receiving the news both Micky and Shasta disappear without a trace. Doc is the prime suspect but he takes it upon himself to find out what has happened to his ex and her new boyfriend.

After I finished watching this movie, it immediately reminded me of The Counselor and that is in no way a good thing. The Counselor was a movie that used nonsensical dialogue to further the plot, only leading to a convoluted and disappointing ending. Inherent Vice is exactly the same way to me. The dialogue is overwritten to the plot that you completely forget what that began talking about. It is all about these interactions.

Labelled as a “comedy” is a bold statement. I found very little to laugh about. There were certainly funny and entertaining scenes scattered throughout the film but when you add in all the extended scenes of talking about nothing it’s really not effective. Josh Brolin’s character Christian “Bigfoot” Bjornsen provided most of the laughs. At one point he barges through Doc’s door and smashes it completely as he walks in. I found that amusing. I give a lot of credit to both Brolin and Phoenix for excelling in their roles and their presences elevate the movie slightly.

The supporting cast was mostly wasted. Outside of Josh Brolin and Martin Short, no one was utilized to their fullest potential. The 5 minutes that Short was in was exciting and fun and I credit to his zany performance. The female characters are worthless as well. The film is narrated by an unknown female character that isn’t even explained. She pops in and out of the movie as if she had an important role. For the longest time I believed she was just a voice in Doc’s headed. Shasta was an interesting character who is given two big scenes to shine. She mostly opened the story and closed the movie. The longest she was in the movies was an extended nude scene that leads to her telling the audience about the horrible nature behind her recent relationship. It makes sense in the grand scheme of things but fells a little exploitative.

There are certain things that I could praise about this movie. Paul Thomas Anderson is a director who understands the process of filmmaking. He takes on new and daring things and Inherent Vice still falls into the category. He knows what he wants and he gets it. The camerawork is absolutely great. He is always moving his camera in interesting ways and makes for a visual experience. The first scene where Doc talks to Coy Harlingen (Owen Wilson) is the essential visual of a noir film. The score is also effective but slightly too much in certain scenes.

I keep going back to this but everything in this movie felt pointless to me. The interactions between characters and the story itself. What could have been a good movie turned out to be a very disappointing entry into Paul Thomas Anderson’s career.

Grade: D+

Best Movies of 2014

It has been quite a while since I posted anything on here. The last few months have been rather hectic. From school to work, I couldn’t find time to write reviews or continually post on this site. That doesn’t mean I didn’t see any movies since then. In fact I’ve seen most of the movies you could have seen, except the noticeably bad films released in the last few months.

A lot of movies that I really liked didn’t make my list and even with such a great summer with some impressive blockbuster, it was hard to keep some off my list.  The top three films where difficult because the could be interchangeable at any time.

There were some very welcome movies and also very disappointing movies that I was looking forward to. Making this list was rather difficult but I feel that it is a rather well constructed list.

10. Boyhood


By the time I reached number 10, I realized that I didn’t include one of the best reviewed movies of the year. Everyone seems to be putting this at the top of their lists and I can’t deny that it is one of the best constructed movies of the year and a masterpiece, in my opinion. The story is timeless, the editing seamless, and the directing is top notch. The 12 years used to make this movie sets it apart from other movies of this caliber. Why is it at the bottom? When it comes to my list I put movies on it that I would rewatch in a heartbeat. After thinking about it, I haven’t really had the urge to watch Boyhood again. Now matter how impressive the movie may be, I never thought about watching it again.

9. The Grand Budapest Hotel


Early on in the year, I believed that no movie could top this movie. To my surprise this year has been a fantastic year for film. This movie combines everything I love about Wes Anderson. The aesthetic of the film is amazing, while Monsieur Gustave H. is by far the most fascinating character in Anderson’s filmography. The changing aspect ratios was another amazing addition to the movie. This isn’t my favorite of his film but it is certainly one of his greatest achievements.

8. Gone Girl


David Fincher is one of my favorite directors working today. He always brings something new to an aged formula. That is one of the reasons that make Gone Girl so unique. Instead of having the major twists saved for the end, the movie decides to reveal it at the end of the first act. It is an intriguing factor that I give both Gillian Flynn and David Fincher for pulling it off so well. What makes this movie even more fascinating is the commentary on both marriage and the media. Everything about this movie is nearly perfect. Rosamund Pick proves her acting chops and even Tyler Perry was able to surprise me, for the first time in his career. Even if I like other of Fincher’s films more, I do think this is a great addition to his impressive filmography.

7. Locke


No other movie this has done more with less. So much goes on during the course of the runtime, that it is surprising that it was only 80 minutes long. Tom Hardy has impressed me lately. He is a powerhouse of an actor and he really shines as Ivan Locke. Throughout the movie more and more is revealed and it makes you question both his choices and reasons behind them. For a movie that takes place solely in one location, I couldn’t believe how much and how well they were able to pull it off.

6. Under the Skin


I always thought that Scarlett Johansson was all looks and not really a good actor. I was proven wrong when I saw her in Under the Skin. The movies unique approach is impressive and the minimalistic style makes for a haunting and exhilarating experience. It asks questions that movies typically don’t ask. It asks what it is meant to be human but it doesn’t give you all the answers. The visuals are impressive and the score creates a chilling yet unique.

5. Filth


I don’t know why I loved this movie so much, it was just so damn fun. James McAvoy is like you’ve never seen him before. He plays the vile and disgusting character so well. The movie isn’t so much about plot but more about how insane his characters become over time. Often times the movie is hilarious but also very sad and depressing. You never truly sympathize with him, you mostly fell bad for him. The ending is so damn perfect for the movie and completely ends the film in a satisfying manner.

4. Interstellar 

Interstellar astronauts explore new planet

Christopher Nolan is one of the best blockbuster directors working today. He is able to make the movies that he wants and is able to create some impressive films. His visual eye is incredible. He may have some problems with female characters but this is the first time that I feel he has created some worthwhile female characters. This movie isn’t about space travel as much as it is about love, loss, and fatherhood. There are so many perfect scenes of action but it is the little scenes that Nolan was able to impress me. This is by far his most emotional film to date. You feel the stakes at hand and really sympathize with each character, except for one. Interstellar impressed me both visually and emotionally.

3. Whiplash


I wasn’t expecting much from this movie. I never really liked Miles Teller and a movie about a jazz drummer didn’t make me want to see it. Once I saw the trailer, that changed. The final product is so intense and awe inspiring that I loved it the minute I walked out. J.K. Simmons gives one of the best performances of the year, he is volatile and intense but somehow relatable. Even Miles Teller impressed me. The final ten minutes had me at the edge of my seat and is incredibly satisfying after all that happens in the movie.

2. Nightcrawler

nightcrawler review

This was one movie that surprised the hell out of me. The movie created a character that is both psychotic and wise. He is a man who know what he wants and takes it, no matter what. Jake Gyllenhaal gives the performance of his life. The story is always surprising and you don’t know where it is going to go in the end. The commentary behind this movie is strong and very out there but it works so well. The directing is perfect and the cinematography is breathtaking. More than anything this is a character study and it showcases a character that is completely original and is also a work of genius.

1. Birman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)


The most surprising and delightful movie of the year goes to Birdman. Alejandro González Iñárritu created such a fascinating experience. He one of the best dramatic directors working today. He is able to get the best performances out of some of the most unexpected actors. Every actor in this movie are going the extra mile. Michael Keaton is revolutionary. He essentially playing a warped version of himself and he convinces everyone that he still does matter. What sets this movie apart from any other film this year is the fact that it is manipulated to look like one take. It is a technical revolution and is impressive in it’s cinematography. A lot had to go into this movie to achieve this feat and boy does it achieve it. There is also a lot of commentary involving the state of hollywood today, critics, and the will to matter. I loved this movie and think it is the best made movie this year.

Honorable Mentions

Edge of TomorrowAn original and fun blockbuster. Not your typical blockbuster but it breaks the model and makes something unique.

EnemyAn interesting and intelligent thriller that leaves you asking question long after it’s over.

Guardians of the GalaxyA very different Marvel movie and really shows that they can make an interesting movie out of unknown characters.

The RoverFueled by amazing performances and a simplistic story. This movie creates a landscape fully developed and tension that is equally fascinating and grim.

Blue RuinA movie that came out of nowhere and managed to create a fascinating and personal portrayal of revenge.



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