Month: May 2014

A Million Ways to Ruin a Movie

I had pretty high hopes up for this one. Family Guy is probably one of my favorite shows on television. Literally. The entire 23 minute laugh constantly. Like non stop. My friends kind of hate me for it. Not to mention, Ted is one of my favorite films. So with Seth MacFarlane set out to follow-up Ted, I was pretty excited. MacFarlane wrote, directed, produced, and stars in A million ways to die in the west. The film also stars Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Neil Patrick Harris, Giovanni Ribisi, Sarah Silverman, and Liam Neeson. And as my title to this review suggest, it’s not what I was hoping for.

Now don’t get me wrong, that is sounding a little bit harsh. It’s not a terrible film. A million ways to die in the west tells the story of Albert Stark(MacFarlane) as he deals with his girlfriend(Seyfried) breaking up with him, and the million of ways that there are to die in the west. He pretty much hates living in his time. He meets Anna(Theron) whosets up to teach him to be a man and win back his girlfriend. Little does he know Anna is married to the evilest gunslinger in the west, Clinch Leatherwood(Neeson).

What works about the film are the little cameos, with exception of the greatest of them being ruined by the trailers. Which if you haven’t seen, you are lucky. There a lot of jokes that a throw backs to Family Guy, which I found hilarious, no matter how minor they were. As well with Barney Stinson in the film, there are a few ribs to How I Met Your Mother that are definitely going to hit if you are a fan of the show. The rest of the jokes are hit or miss. When they are on they really make you laugh. Charlize Theron is a gem in the film. She stands out like she does in most films, and has a lot of fun with the role. Barney as well is hilarious. It is kind of small roll, but it was still very funny. Giovanni Ribisi and Sarah Silverman are funny together, pointless characters, but still funny.

The rest of the cast is rather weak. Seth MacFarlane is not horrible as the lead, but he doesn’t mak you see the character. All you see is Seth MacFarlane, in the west. All you hear, is Brian Griffin. As well, the film has Liam Neeson. Liam Neeson! And yet the character is a waste of his talents. You could have put anyone in the roll, and it wouldn’t have been missing anything. If you have Liam Neeson, use him! He is one of the biggest badasses of all time, why would stick him in such a watered down role? There are also a lot of rehashed jokes. Like I get it, laxative, guy has poo. Ok. But how many more times are comedies going to rely on this joke? Dumb & Dumber hit it strong, let it go now! Also there would be a great set of jokes, then dick joke, then fart joke, then dick joke, then fart joke. It is almost like MacFarlane was feeling lazy, like when he wrote the Cleveland Show. The film also could have benefitted from the magic of the cutting room. If they would have cut out about 30 minutes it would have ran a lot smother. It definitely dragged a bit toward the end.

All in all, A Million Ways to Die in the West is a decent film. It rehashes jokes you’ve seen and heard before, but carries on Family Guy references strong. Seth MacFarlane isn’t horrible, but comes off as a guy wanting to put himself in the starring role of a film and make out with Charlize Theron. I gave the film a Jeebus score of 3. Check out the Matinee. Barely.

X-Men are back to the future!

The X-Men are back! This time they brought the whole gang. First Class, and the originals all in one film, together, as one unit. But more importantly, the King of the X-Men film is back! Bryan Sigler! In a summer filled with some pretty big blockbusters, including 3 other superhero films, X-Men Days of Future Past shines brightest thus far. In Singer’s triumphant return to this world, he brings along with him the veterans like Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, and Hugh Jackman, as they team up with youngins James McAvory, Michael Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence. Days of Future Past is a refreshing take on the X-Men and sets the universe up for an even brighter future.

The film starts out in the future, setting up a grim world that has taken place after all previous X-Men films. The world has flushed out all mutants, and all those help mutants. Leaving only a few to fight the good fight for humanity and mutant kind alike. A plan is set to send Wolverine back in time to stop a specific event that sets the world on a path toward destruction. In the past Wolverine must deal with a broken Charles Xavier, as well as Magneto and all that he represents.

There are many pluses to this film. Most notably the return of Singer. He brings the X-Men films full circle, and ties everything together. He clears up the majority of loose ends. In a film that has well over 20 characters the fear of overcrowding is very plausible. However Singer divides time so perfectly. Sure a few minor mutants get very little screen time, and that can be disappointing, but the over all feel of the film is so much fun you forget that certain characters aren’t around as much. Another fear was that this would just be another story in the Wolverine saga. Whereas Wolverine is a key character, and arguably the most iconic character of the entire franchise, the film is almost more of Charles Xavier and Mystique’s film. As well as a film about hope.

I had a few minor problems, most of which are very nitpicky and probably spoilerific, so that said I won’t really go into them much here. Most of which were truly the plot holes that were left untouched, one of which being HOW DID PROFESSOR X COME BACK TO LIFE AFTER THE LAST STAND! Sorry, that really bothers me. Only other negative I will say, is for the average movie fan, you might be confused by the post credit scene. Remember that feeling after the Avengers post credit scene, and you were like “huh? Who’s that?” You will feel that again. As a comic book superhero nerd, I nerded out.

Over all when I look at X-Men Days of Future Past, I gave the film a Jeebus score of 5.3 with a bonus of .4 for all the superhero nerd east eggs this film gave me! Which I will talk about in a spoiler filled review in a few days! Overall, that’s a Jeebus score of 5.7, Multiple viewings required!

Still hooked on a feeling. Marvel releases the 2nd Guardians of the Galaxy trailer.

Marvel is firing on all cylinders these days. What started in 2008 with Samuel L Jackson telling Robert Downey Jr he wanted to talk about “the Avengers initiative” in a post credits scene of Iron Man, has grown into an entire universe. A universe that has now spread for  films, and now a 10 with Marvel’s upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy. Today Marvel has released their 2nd trailer for the upcoming superhero film. The fun thing about the Guardians is, we don’t really know what to expect. Remember back when superhero were limited to Batman and Superman. Then came the X-Men and Spider-Man, both well known so accepted. But then, then Jon Favreau, Kevin Fiege, and Marvel took a chance on Iron Man. No one really knew what to expect, but it blew up the superhero genre and introduced us to a whole new future of for the superhero film. But since then the films have been expected. Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk, Avengers. All a little more known. But the Guardians of the Galaxy? The general public doesn’t know them. Hell half the comic book world doesn’t know. So watching this trailer, you get the same feelings you got early on with Iron Man, its exciting to see where this goes.

Guardians of the Galaxy tells the story of Peter Quill as he is forced to team up a band of misfit criminals to save the galaxy from the forces of evil. The film stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, John C Reilly, Glen Close, and Benicia del Toro. It will be directed James Gunn, and is set to be released August 1 2014.

Million Dollar Arm Review

For years Disney has been giving us amazing sports films. Glory Road, Invincible, The Mighty Ducks, The Rookie, Angels in the Outfield, Cool Running, and Remember the Titans. Now you can add another to the list. Million Dollar Arm. The film stars Jon Hamm, Aasif Mandvi, Bill Paxton, Suraj Sharma, Madhur Mittal, Lake Bell, and Alan Arkin. The film is directed by Craig Gillespie, who is best known for the Fright Night Remake, and Mr. Woodcock. Based on the true story of Sports agent J.B. Bernstein and his attempt to turn two Cricket players from India into Major League baseball Pitchers.

The film is everything you would expect from a Disney sports film. At times it is a little predictable, but that doesn’t really seem to matter. Its a fun film to watch. In 20sports agent J.B. Bernstein set up a Indian reality TV show, where the winners would win 1 million dollars, and formal training for the MLB. Million Dollar Arm follows Bernstein (Hamm) as he is a down on luck sports agent who travels to India to start the American Idol style contest to find a pitcher in baseball he can represent. A long the way he finds himself and learns its not all about the business, its about life.

The cast is very strong. Jon Hamm is no Coach Bombay, but he plays the part well. He shows the duality of a sleazy agent, yet a man with a good heart at the same time very well. The ball players from India, Madhur Mittal and Suraj Sharma, who play Dinesh Patel and Rinku Singh respectively, are phenomenal. They play the confused kids in America with such devotion. You really feel for these guys as they struggle to learn and adapt to the rules of Baseball, and American society over all. Alan Arkin is someone I always enjoy seeing in films. He always plays such a great grumpy old man. Lake Bell, who I don’t know from many films, was my favorite part of the film. She has a dry sense of humor that fits so well in the film.

Like I said the film gets predictable at times, but it is still such a fun film, you look right over that. Its a great film to take the family to, or for a date night. I really enjoyed it, and gave the film a Jeebus score of 4, a good time at the theater.

New Interstellar Trailer is here!

The genius between The Dark Knight Trilogy, The Prestige, Momento, and Inception, Christopher Nolan, brings us his next big project, Interstellar. Not much is known about the film before the trailer other then Christopher Nolan is directing. The plot seems to center around a group of scientist and explorers set out on a mission to explore a wormhole that is found in space. The Hollywood Reporter has said that the film will involve time travel other worldly dimension.

With the release of Legendary Pictures’ Godzilla, we were given a look at the brand new trailer for Interstellar that you can watch below. The film is going to be distributed by Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures, as well as Christopher Nolan’ Syncopy. It is scheduled to be released on November 7 2014, and will star Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Casey Affleck, Topher Grace John Lithgow, and Matt Damon. Christopher Nolan is not only directing the film, but will be producer, and wrote the screenplay.

Godzilla is back, well he’s kinda back.

Godzilla has stomped his way back into American cinema. The Japanese are angry that he’s fat, but the American’s are excited and hopeful. Mainly because we want to erase the memory of Roland Emerich’s 1998 Godzilla. This go around Gareth Edwards takes the director’s chair. Edwards will probably be best known for this film since he doesn’t have too many credits to his name. Now the question is, does Godzilla stand up to our hopes and dreams? To me, I have to say, no.

Godzilla tells the story of Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) a Lieutenant in the US Navy, who lost his parents when he was young. His mother to an unnatural force of nature, and his father (Bryan Cranston) to the search for what killed his wife. When his father is arrested in Japan for stumbling across the cover up of his wife’s death they are both thrust into world threatening disaster. Two monstrous creatures are awakened and begin to wreak havoc on the world. However by awaken these monsters, the earth’s natural force comes to light to be our savior. And that force is not just another monster, but a God, Godzilla.

The film itself is actually written and directed well. Should they have named this film something different, without the connection to an iconic on screen monster, I might have liked it more. However, there is really very little of screen time for title character. Godzilla has, at max, 30 minutes of on screen in the 2 hour film. You don’t get your first monster until half an hour in, and Godzilla doesn’t show up until hour in. Not to mention when he finally does, he is nothing but background sporadically for seconds at a time. When the action starts, the film cuts to a new scene, normally with Godzilla on a television screen.

This isn’t to say it’s a bad film. Sitting back and just watching it for what it is, it is not bad at all. The acting is spot on, and the direction isn’t bad. The films graphics are phenomenal, and Godzilla has never looked so incredible. The story itself is well written. You feel the gravity of the situation these characters are put in. Taylor-Johnson plays the soldier to a T. You feel his dilemmas, but see that he is going to do his job regardless of what happens around him. Elizabeth Olsen is such a good actress, and truly has a bright future. She plays Taylor-Johnson’s wife, and shows such strength in the film. She’s not the damsel in distress, or the eye candy like she easily could have been. And Cranston as well gives an amazing performance. I have not watched Breaking Bad so this was really my first introduction to him. Ken Watanabe is another shining star. But then again, he is a shining star in every film he appears in. He plays the scientist who has been studying the myth of Godzilla his whole life.

All in all, Godzilla, is not Pacific Rim. It’s not the mindless monster film we, or at least I, was hoping for. So if you are going to this film to see Godzilla, you are going to be disappointed like myself. But if you could look past that, go to see a character film, on what people would do if this disaster were happen, then you might enjoy it. I give Godzilla a Jeebus score of 3.5, Check out the Matinee!