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The Lucky 13: Favorite [Unconventional] Christmas/Holiday Films VOL. 4

December 24, 2014

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted relatively ANYTHING on this blog, but it is that time of the year where my annual Lucky 13 Favorite [Unconventional] Christmas/Holiday Films is upon us. So, here I am, with my Vol. 4 List. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and a Happy New Year!

13. “Sint [Saint Nick]” -Sint Niklas, a sinister cleric, returns to avenge his death by killing innocent children. This random Dutch horror film was something I came across on Netflix not too long ago. It’s irreverent, cruel, dark, and simply weird. Think of it as a somewhat jolly version of Freddy Krueger.

NOW AVAILABLE ON NETFLIX INSTANT

12. “The Family Man” – Brett Ratner directs Nicolas Cage in this updated take of the holiday ‘what if’ scenario that made “It’s A Wonderful Life” so relevant to pop culture. The movie doesn’t always hit home, but the films opening set-up and strong performances from Cage, Don Cheadle, and Téa Leoni, make up for it’s mellow final act.

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11. Mixed Nuts” – Steve Martin and whole mess of other comic talents [including Madeline Khan, Adam Sandler, and Gary Shandling to name a few], star in this ensemble holiday madcap comedy about a local suicide-prevention hotline called Lifesavers is being threaten to close down. Friends, family, and crooks come together Christmas eve to find a solution to their life problems. The movie ends on a whim, and many have claimed this as a weak film, but for some reason I find this [mess of a] comedy somewhat charming. Even Sandler is somewhat tolerable, which is saying a lot.

10. Adam Sandler’s 8 Crazy Nights– Oh yes, speaking of Adam Sandler, there’s his one-shot animated classic, “Eight Crazy Nights”, the cinematic answer to his beloved SNL song. While it’s EXTREMELY juvenile to the max, I cannot help but be transfixed by such beautiful 2D animation. This is a movie you can sit down with your friends and family, drink some hard egg nog, perhaps pack a bowl of weed, and see where things go.

9. “Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life” – It’s not a Christmas movie, HOWEVER, the build up to the ‘meaning of life’ is a joyous as the holiday itself, as we learn from 80 mins of sex jokes, universal revelations about out Solar System, the miracle of birth, and finally death, that heaven celebrates Christmas every single day!

8. “Black Adder’s Christmas Carol” – Not really a movie, but more of a 45 min TV special, based on the beloved cult British series starring Rowan ‘Mr. Bean’ Atkinson. The fiddled mean spirited Edmund Blackadder is pulling a role reversal take on the classic Dickens story, where Ebenezer is the most pleasant, lovely man around London. Three ghosts have taken upon themselves to turn Ebenezer into the most vile human being only Edmund Blackadder could approve of.

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NOW AVAILABLE ON NETFLIX INSTANT

7. “Happy Christmas” – “Drinking Buddies” director/writer/actor, Joe Swanberg, directs this charming yet real indie-holiday-dramedy about a girl splitting up with her boyfriend just before the holidays; the young woman tries to start over, but her self-destructive behavior gets in the way. The movie boasts from strong performances led by Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey, Mark Webber, Lena Dunham, & Swanberg himself. “Happy Christmas” was in contention for the Grand Jury Prize at this years Sundance Film Festival.

NOW AVAILABLE ON NETFLIX INSTANT

6. “The Children” – What was supposed to be a relaxing Christmas vacation turns into a terrifying fight for survival as the children begin to turn on their parents in the most violent of ways. I’d rather not spoil anymore, but if you can find this DARK holiday horror British film, watch it.

5. “Tokyo Godfathers” – Christmas Eve, three homeless people living on the streets of Tokyo find a newborn baby among the trash and set out to find its parents. “Tokyo Godfathers” is quite the brilliant anime feature that tends to move on off the spectrum of endearing drama and whacky comedy. It’s a viewing that I think many should consider to be on the top of their holiday list with movies like “Scrooged” and “Christmas Vacation”.

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4. “The Hunt” – This is as dark as it gets for a dark-holiday set film. I’d rather not go into much spoiler territory here, but I will say it’s a movie you CANNOT miss out on. It’s on Netflix, so just add it to your list and watch it. Mads Mikkelsen gives what looks like his most tenacious performance yet.

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NOW AVAILABLE ON NETFLIX INSTANT

3. L.A. Confidential” – The ‘Bloody Christmas Scandal’ is the streamline element to jumpstart the plot of this classic neo-noir thriller, based on the book by crime-novelist, James Ellroy. It’s not entirely a Christmas film, but it definitely serves up the best of both words.

2. “The Grinch” – I’ve debated the last few years regarding whether or not I post this film on my list. This year I say fuck it, “The Grinch” is a Christmas movie, it’s on ABC family during the holidays all the time, hence forth it’s labeled as a ‘cheery holiday classic’ for all to love. I guess many people decided to over look the irreverent humor, potty talk, dark history behind the Grinch, and so on. It’s like this movie was created by the Zucker/Abrams company of “Airplane”, but instead hired Ron How—OOOHHHH yeah, that’s right. Still, for all the mixed stalking this film carries, none can deny the sheer brilliance in Jim Carrey’s performance underneath all that wondrous Rick Baker make-up.

1. “Brazil” – Terry Gilliam’s reality-twisting opus shows viewers a world that resembles the Orwellian nightmare of 1984. The film follows a simple public servant decides to abandon the safety of his normal life to follow a woman who’s literally from his dreams. Bombarded by holiday commercialism and a surprise/shocking visit from Santa Claus, as armed police take his home apart.

Check out:

Vol. 1 – 2011

Vol. 2 – 2012

Vol. 3 – 2013

The Lucky 13: Thirteen Life Lessons We Learned From “GHOSTBUSTERS”

August 31, 2014

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In honor of celebrating the 30th anniversary re-release of the greatest sci-fi/horror/comedy of all time (and my ultimate favorite movie ever), I look back at the 13 life lessons the beloved Ivan Reitman film has taught us.

These are the 13 Life Lessons Ghostbusters taught us…

13. Let small-minded people make themselves look foolish – We’ve dealt with bullies, we’ve faced ignorant assholes, and sometimes all we want to do is slug them right in the jaw. However, in the long run we should learn to take the high road and let these foolish fools perform their own self-destruction. In the end, their downfall caused by their own faults is ten time more gratifying that a punch to the face.

12. DON’T bring Thorazine on your first date – Seriously why the fuck did Peter bring Thorazine on his first date with Dana? To this day it’s one of the biggest mysteries of the film. Case in point, don’t bring drugs on your first date!

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11. Love comes from unexpected places – Egon and Janine’s relationship is sweet and somewhat nuanced throughout the film, and it’s a given proof that the people we may care the most for are standing right in front of us the whole time, and if we don’t truly act on those feelings we may lose them to a wimpy accountant/lawyer in the films sequel.

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10. Picking up girls like a boss – Anytime Peter Venkman is speaking to someone of the opposite sex you should be taking notes.

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9. Rules are mean’t to be broken – Bending or breaking the rules of the status quo may in fact be a benefit. Case in point: Crossing the streams–Save the world!

8. How to properly curse – Kids like to curse because they think they’re being cool, but to know how to properly curse for the right conversations…you can learn a lot from the Ghostbusters. My favorite curse line is from Winston, “Since I’ve join these men I have seen shit that’ll turn you white!”

7. Say ‘NO’ to junk food – I’d like to think that the subtle twinkie theory is a message that processed sugary foods are severely bad for you. If not that, then the giant marshmallow entity might be a bigger sign.

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6. Being intelligent is awesome – The smart guy ends up being the hero, the smart get the girl, the smart guy works hard, the smart guy is awkward, the smart guy is unique, the smart guy is awesome, plain and simple.

5. Taking risks will pay-off – A load of capitol was required to get the Ghostbusting business jumpstarted, Ray took a leap of faith, put his house on the market, and opens a third mortgage! If you’re willing to take that amount of risks for a new up-and-coming business, and it ends up as a success? That is the most gratifying feeling anyone could ever have.

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4. Love your job – These guys love what they do, they’re making killer money, they’re facing something no normal Average working American is facing, and they’re essentially nerdy superheroes (more or less). Find a career path that best fits you, take on the world, be a success in the field you need to be in.

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3. Optimism is crucial – When you’re down on your luck, when you lost your current job, and the thought of failure begins to show on the horizon, the best thing you can do is stay optimistic, because you never know what could happen next.

2. Be imaginative – Think big, dream big, the rest is all up to you.

1. Face your fears – The greatest thing “Ghostbusters” ever taught me was to no longer be afraid of things that go bump in the night. If three college teachers and a working class every-man can face the forces of evil with a smug smile on their face, then I can face the eerie sounds and shadows in my 6-year-old selfs bedroom.

“Ghostbusters” is now in theaters for a limited run and the Anniversary Blurays for both films will be made available Sept. 16th.

The Lucky 13: Best Movies of the Summer – 2014

August 22, 2014

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Well, summer has pretty much come to an official close. Which means Oscar season is just nearly right around the corner! Exciting times no doubt, anyone else pumped to see P.T. Anderson’s latest, “Inherent Vice”? Any who, lets take this time to look back at this summers biggest, boldest, and yet modest films to grace the silver screen for the summer of 2014.

13.) “The Rover” – “The Rover” was probably director, David Michôd, first mix-bag film, however the movie really leaves an everlasting impression on the viewers. This Australian outback neo-western features an incredibly unsettling tone, garnered by the deranged musical composition (by Antony Partos), sharpened sound design (which will leave many hearts in the theater pounding), and a career best performance by Robert Pattinson.

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12.) “Neighbors” – Who’da thunk it, a college frat film would actually show a realistic outlook of adulthood from the point of views of the adults as well as the college frat boys themselves, vying for their youth, who are not ready to enter a world of being boring…adults. This off-kilt juxtaposing between the pairs work on so many levels, it’s refreshing for a comedy to flip flop it’s themes and still come out on top with the same theme it was always intending to tell; fear of adulthood.

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11.) How to Train Your Dragon 2 – Strong character development, a sequel storyline branching further than it normally should, the “Dragon” films are off to a good start and with a strong conclusion, it just may very well be the strongest animated franchise DreamWorks was hoping for, ever since they botched it up with “Shrek”.

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10.) “Godzilla” – We see a “Godzilla” film for two things; people screaming/running in sheer terror & Godzilla duking it out with big, bad ass, ugly monsters. WE GOT THAT, and then some in this film. The “Jaws” approach was very smart, and refreshing, the slow burn reveal of all the chaos that’s eventually being thrown at us was effective, and the pay off was extremely rewarding.

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9.) “Calvary” – “Calvary” does what “God’s Not Dead” could never do, it doesn’t spoon feed us such dribble religious nonsense by saying, ‘We’re right, you’re, wrong accept Jesus forever!’ NO! A movie dealing with religion or has religious overtones, shouldn’t leave us with definitive answers, but more or less interesting questions. It’s the questions that should keep us going, not knowing the official answer that many may very well not agree with. And that’s what I took away from John Michael McDonough’s second feature.

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8.) “A Most Wanted Man” – A slow burn, nerving pace comes naturally in a John le Carre spy-thriller. Philip Seymour Hoffman gives a brilliant performances as a German spy with everything he does hang loosely in the balance. This was a movie I was proud to see at Sundance, with Hoffman present. It was my one and only time I’ll ever be in the same room with that man. RIP PSH.

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7.) “X-Men: Days of Future Past” – Bryan Singer manages to find a comeback in his own self, directing the occasional flop for the past few years hasn’t faired too well for him, but the fact that he’s returned to his roots, so to speak, find a new way to visually tell a familiar story, using brilliant color pallets, noteworthy score, clever edits, and assembling such a dynamic cast, it’s times like these I feel an over sense of pride in a director who rightfully deserves a comeback hit.

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6.) Snowpiercer – Forget that it’s a dystopian futuristic sci-fi film, forget that the action is highly kinetic, and even forget that the movie was bastardized for a lackluster release, “Snowpiercer” is seriously one of the best films of the year! The defining moment in this film, that solidified it as a true cinematic achievement in it’s genre, is near the end when out anti-hero Curtis tells his most personal, life defining story. WOW! See it just for that, I beg of you!

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5.) “Obvious Child” – This film by no means an easy sell, when you say the film is an abortion rom-com, and I don’t mean abortion in the sense that the movie sucks, no-no, I’m actually talking about ABORTION, controversial ABORTION, if you catch my drift. Yet the movie manages to handle the subject manner with grace and solid realistic humor from genuine comic actors/actress’. I’m happy to see Jenny Slate really branch out into her own; she kills it in this film.

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4.) Edge of Tomorrow – How could a science-fiction action movie, with Tom Cruise headlining, featuring one of the WORST movie titles in the history of the genre be so damn good? “Edge” has the perfect balance of humor and sincere drama, with dynamite performances all around; Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson, Emily Blunt, and naturally Tom Cruise, who reassures moviegoers everywhere he can still hold his own in a big budget tent-pole movie.

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3.) “Boyhood” – I’ve seen this movie FIVE times now (since I saw it this pass March at SXSW), FIVE TIMES! Insane, I know, but bare with me, how could I continue to revisit Richard Linklater’s nearly three-hour dramedy about a boy growing up from age 6-18? Let’s forget the fact that the movie was shot over a 12-year period, the story is so damn honest! It’s one of the most honest portraits of growing, especially for anyone who’s a mid-90s-early 2000’s kid growing up. When I saw this movie at SXSW, I saw myself in Mason, I saw my brothers, I saw my friends, I saw my family, I saw events that I too experienced during that same period. If a movie can touch you like that, you know you have a masterful filmmaker at the helm.

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2.) “Chef” – Jon Favreau decides to return to his roots and make a change in himself, and it shows. “Chef” is undeniably smart, funny, sweet, and features an orgasmic array of food items that will make any movie goer drool over. Favreau wanted to shoot in real places, and keep the authenticity of a road movie alive. By going on a real road trip with the filmmakers (Miami-New Orleans-Austin-LA), the emotional attachment is far more gratifying than Tony Stark’s issues in “Iron Man 2″.

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1.) “Guardians of the Galaxy” – OOGA CHALKA OOGA CHALKA OOGA OOGA OOGA CHALKA! C’mon people, you knew I’d place this as my #1. Yes it trails behind “Boyhood” by ONE screening, but damnit I fucking LOVED this movie the most. It’s a summer movie that truly defines what a summer movie needs to be; FUN! Fun, colorful, action packed, comedic, (a dash of) dramatic, I could go on. James Gunn has brought back the wonderment of what makes a summer blockbuster exciting to see for the first, second, third, and fourth time. Chris Pratt’s career changing performances is identifiable, Dave Bautista is a perfect straight man, Zoe Saldana is dangerous, and Vin Diesel & Bradley Cooper are the heart of the film. Too much awesome to be packed into a two hour movie, I wish it were three!

A message from ThatMoviesWeLoveSite…

August 21, 2014

Screen shot 2014-08-21 at 11.22.44 AMI’ve been a little in-and-out of it from my ‘cinematic critical writings’ on this blog of mine. Truth be told this past month I’ve been focusing most of my energy on my big move to Atlanta. It’s time to jumpstart my career in the world of filmmaking, now, in a serious manner. I’m happy to report that I arrived safe & sound, and have already acquired an office job on a scripted drama series.

So, where does this leave me, as well as you, the readers (if I even have many)? 

For all intense and purpose, things are going to get hectic real quick around here for me. The show I’m working on is currently in pre-production mode, but once shooting begins next month, my free time to go out, see movies, and write about them will become limited at best. A closing chapter may be on the rise, but that doesn’t mean the book is over, it simply means the next chapter is about to begin.

I started writing reviews for my Film History Professor’s website, Hudak on Hollywood, in the fall of 2010. When the summer of 2011 rolled around, one of my closest and dearest friends, Kristina, convinced me to start my very own blog page, hence the birth of ThatMoviesWeLoveSite. I’ve posted over 450 articles on this page since then; from reviews, to festival updates at Sundance, to my beloved Lucky 13 lists. Every Christmas I’ve made it my mission to continue topping my Favorite Unconventional Christmas/Holiday Films; three volumes! Since then my reviews have made appearances on other movie devoted or art enthused websites, such as InstaReviews & Greasy Magazine.

Screen shot 2014-08-21 at 11.22.37 AMI’m not saying that I’m quitting writing reviews or even this blog altogether, I’m just saying that slowly but surly you’ll begin to see less and less of my work here, as a critic. I’ll still do some Lucky 13’s, my casual Sundance journal, and yes, I’ll review some movies that deserve much needed attention. I’ve loved writing these articles, they’ve given me nothing but satisfaction, and I’m glad others have told me that they use my articles as inspiration regarding what to see and what not to see. To know that I could have that kind of affect on people based solely on my film reviews is quite overwhelming. 

And now, I leave you all with a quote…

“You have this idea that you’d better keep working otherwise people will forget. And that was dangerous. And then you realize, no, actually if you take a break people might be more interested in you.” –Robin Williams (1951-2014)

The Lucky 13: Favorite Robin Williams Performances

August 12, 2014

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Six months ago I posted my Lucky 13 Favorite Philip Seymour Hoffman performances in wake of his passing. Never did I think such the news of a passing of a well respected actor could have such an affect on me, until last night when news broke that all around funny man, and a generally good-natured human being, Robin Williams, had died. Williams touched us all with his infectious laugh and rambunctious comic antics. He was a master of improv, he was scholar in the dramatic arts, and he was a good man.

It’s hard to admit it, but it may in fact be true, more so than ever, but comedians seems to have many dark internal struggles. They try so hard to make others laugh that they sometimes take the time to evade their own personal struggles/demons; Belushi, Pryor, Farley, and Williams. The abuse of drugs, alcohol, and even depression are strong vices that deserve the attention/help from friends and family, let this be another cautionary tale for anyone who’s going through dark days in their lives. It’s definitely given me a greater perspective on life, and I’ll certainly do my up most best to not take things for granted.

But, let us take this moment and reflect all the joy, wonder, drama, sometimes fear Robin has brought us in cinema. These are my Lucky 13 picks for my favorite Robin Williams performances.

13. Vladimir Ivanoff, “Moscow on the Hudson” – This is one of Williams earlier subtly dramatic roles, as he playsa Russian musician, who defects Soviet Russia, ends up working in a Bloomingdale’s department store in New York City, as he finds adjusting to American life more difficult than he imagined. It’s a gentle reminder at the wonderment Williams can truly evoke as a character actor, while the movie itself may tend to go off tangent, it’s one of those top performances I find myself revisiting every 4-5 years on TV late in the evening.

12. Walter Finch, “Insomnia” – 2002 was the year Robin showed off his evil side to his fans, starting with Christopher Nolan’s re-imagining of the cult Norwegian crime drama, “Insomnia”. Williams plays a prime suspect in a murder case that Al Pacino’s Det. Will Dormer is investigating. The best scenes in the film are the ones that feature the psychologically distraught Dormer & Williams’ Finch. Two leading men, that you’d never imagine teaming up on the screen would do, end up bring such veracity to their performances.

11. The Mime Instructor, “Shakes the Clown” – It’s not a major role, but it’s a testament how good a friend Robin is, as he supports his pal Bobcat Goldwait in his directoral debut in this unconventional dark comedy, set in a universe overrun by clowns and mimes. Robin plays a foul mouthed Mime instructor who’s only in one scene (uncredited) of the entire film, but man oh man does he own that scene. It’s one of my top favorite random Robin Williams moments in a comedy film.

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10. Seymour Parrish, “One Hour Photo” – This is perhaps the quint-essential CREEPIEST role Robin has ever done, and to this day the movie still gives me chills. There’s nothing scarier than a man with nothing to lose over the sick obsession of another human being, or human beings for this film.

9. The Genie of the Lamp, “Aladdin” – You can’t NOT have the Genie on this list. When I was in Kindergarten, for the school talent show I performed “Friend Like Me”, I was going through a major “Aladdin” phase back then, and to this day it remains my favorite Disney animated from of the 90s. And it all goes to that goofball Genie, like I’ve stated before, Williams’ laugh is infectious, especially to a five year old.

8. Dr. Malcolm Sayer, “Awakenings” – Before his team-up with Al Pacino, Williams had the opportunity to share the screen with Robert De Niro, in the inspired true story based on Oliver Sacks’ 1973 memoir, telling the story of British neurologist Oliver Sacks, fictionalized as American Malcolm Sayer, who in 1969 discovers beneficial effects of the then-new drug L-Dopa. He administered it to catatonic patients who survived the 1917–28 epidemic of encephalitis lethargica. Leonard Lowe (De Niro) and the rest of the patients were awakened after decades of catatonia and have to deal with a new life in a new time. A genuine performances by Williams who’s onscreen chemistry De Niro is an underrated feat.

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7. Armand Goldman, “The Birdcage” – Williams & Nathan Lane make the best on screen couple ever, plain and simple. This comedic riot about a gay couple in Miami Beach, whose son is about to marry a senators daughter, find ways around the obviousness of their stature of living so the Senator won’t be taken off by the family her daughter is about to be married into. Based on the play, “La Cage Aux Folles”. Mike Nichols directs Williams to become a sharp as nails, emotionally distraught drama queen, with a fantastic supporting performance by Lane, Hank Azaria, and Gene Hackman. Wanna hear some of the best (laughable) screaming in a movie? Watch “The Birdcage”.

6. Rainbow Randolph, “Death to Smoochy” – Danny DeVito’s bleak-dark-comedy about the PBS-esq television world features an array of oddball performances. It’s been said this is the angriest role of Williams career, which for many viewers and critics alike was a bit of a turn off. Me, I find so much guilty pleasure in this movie, it’s so damn dark and whacky, for me it has major repeat value. Why? Because of RAINBOW FUCKIN’ RANDOLPH!

5. Parry, “The Fisher King” – Williams plays a deluded homeless man in Terry Gilliams modern-mystical drama about to broken men in search for the Holy Grail New York City. Williams erratic behavior and Jeff Bridges shock-jock manner work hand in hand in this film.

4. Lance Clayton, “World’s Greatest Dad” – Re-teaming with long time comic friend, Bobcat Goldwait, Williams plays a poetry teacher (sound familiar) at a private school, the very same school his sex crazed bastard of son attends. The movie focuses on the exploits of accidental fame and how one can cope with it. One of the most raw performances I’ve seen in Williams’ filmography was the moment when he discovers his dead son, it’s too damn real, especially now.

3. Daniel Hillard/Mrs. Doubtfire, “Mrs. Doubtfire” – Cross-dressing Robin Williams, the 90s was a prime time for this comic genius, and “Mrs. Doubtfire” was one the pivotal proofs of that notion.

2. Adrian Cronauer, “Good Morning, Vietnam” – Many felt this was the biggest Oscar robbery in Williams career, but nevertheless he still came out on top with “Good Will Hunting”. Saigon, 1965, during the Vietnam War, as a radio DJ on Armed Forces Radio Service, proves to be a hugely popular  fella with the troops, but infuriates his superiors with what they call his “irreverent tendency”.

1. Peter Banning/Peter Pan, “Hook” – The one thing we can all take away from this movie is family is the biggest happy thought of them all.

Honorable Mentions: “Good Will Hunting”, “Toys”, “Popeye”, “Dead Poet Society”, “Cadillac Man”, “Dead Again”, “Being Human”, “Jumanji”, & “Jakob the Liar”.

“Get On Up” – Review (POSITIVE)

August 3, 2014

Screen shot 2014-08-03 at 9.54.03 AMTate Taylor is not my favorite director, he can cast a movie well, but his films just come off as generic, bland, Oscar bait wannabe films. So, it was nice to see him stretch it out just a tad with his biopic about the great James Brown. The movie does follow many musical biopic tropes, and then it takes the time to break them, literally. However, the real reason people are going to see this movie is for Chadwick Boseman’s hypnotic performance as the Godfather of Soul.

Boseman is a rising star, after his success in 2013’s “42”, I could see the skies the limit for this gent; he truly is a great actor. There’s something about him, there’s almost this old Hollywood charm hidden inside of him, I can’t quite place it, but the appeal is apparent. Much like how Jamie Foxx portrayed Ray Charles, Boseman literally disappears inside James Brown, all I saw for the (near) two and half hour runtime was Brown, NOT Boseman.

The movie takes a few liberties to paint Brown in a not so kind light, and that’s good because the man himself was sometimes hailed as a sonofabitch, that is if you really didn’t know the man, or was apart of his inner circle. It’s been said in the past that Brown had major trust issues, whether you work at a record label or you’re apart of his band, and how the movie shows this almost justifies this behavior, but not to a full extent.

The best moments are when Boseman’s Brown breaks the fourth wall, defending his attitude, his choices, and his general point of existing. The real James Brown, I feel, would do something like that, he had this I don’t give a fuck kind of way of doing thing. It’s either HIS way, or no way.

Problem is, Tate Taylor does push the movie to go into these “The Help”-style territories, and that’s when the bland pacing falls into place, not for long thank goodness, but it’s simply a reminder that this is a Tate Taylor film, and we should not forget it, why? OSCAR BAIT!!!

Screen shot 2014-08-03 at 9.54.27 AMThough I make an exception for Chadwick Boseman, I see him being a frontrunner so for this year for the Best Actor nomination, probably not a win, but I’d like to see him nominated. I’m still a little irked that he was passed up on a nomination for “42”. And hey, Dan Aykroyd is in this movie too, as James’ long time manager. Aykroyd and Boseman are a great pairing in this film and bring us some of the best dialogue driven scenes in the film.

“Get on Up” has a groovin’ soundtrack, that will surly make you toe tap the entire time you’re in the theater, the films dynamic range of bizarre tempos and scene transitions will definitely make the film an interesting watch, when it’s not playing the generic biopic moments. You know how they say that editing makes the movie? The editor seems to be having a good time here.

GRADE: B+

“Lucy” – Review (SO-SO POSITIVE) [SPOILERS]

August 3, 2014

Screen shot 2014-08-03 at 9.20.59 AMHow does a movie with so much build up, so much craziness going, so much…whatever the fuck is going, all of sudden with just…well, nothing really. Ok, I don’t actually mean ‘nothing’, something did happen, it’s just something a lot of us weren’t really anticipating or perhaps ready to grasp. Is this what it felt like for people when they saw “The Fifth Element” in theaters for the first time?

Whether you love him or hate him, French filmmaker, Luc Besson, has brought audience members a lot of bizarre and sometimes unconventional female driven actioneers, and sometimes for the better (“The Fifth Element”), here Besson does a lot of his usual tricks, Lucy herself seems to be a mixture of past Besson characters; Leeloo (“The Fifth Element”) & Mathilda (“Leon: The Professional”).

An American tourist, Lucy (Scarlett Johansson), visiting China, is caught up in a nightmarish deal where she is captured and turned into a drug mule for a new and powerful synthetic drug. When the bag she is carrying inside of her stomach leaks, Lucy’s body undergoes unimaginable changes that unlocks her mind’s full potential 100%. With her new-found powers, Lucy turns into a merciless killing machine intent on getting back at her captors, and retrieving the remaining bags of drugs before they can spread.

Scarlett Jo is good here, I’m not kidding, she is GOOD. We’re entering a renaissance of female butt-kickers, and I’m certain Scarlett is paving the wave for that. It’s only a matter of time we’ll see that solo “Black Widow” film. Just look at what Marvel is doing with “Agent Carter”.

Honestly I was throughly enjoying this movie up until it’s final moments, the sporadic editing, the animal-allegories of Lucy’s dilemma, the visual style, it was all truly epic in a pulpy sorta way. However, it is truly amazing how much of a dramatic turn a movie can have on a person when it all goes fuck up at the end.

Seriously, what the flying fuck was with that ending, I was expecting 100% to go down that way, I mean…an organic SUPER COMPUTER? She turns into a flash-drive for a knowledge in the universe?  I can see what Besson was probably trying to convey, but the end result just doesn’t come off all right. There’s a part of me that feels Besson either half-assed the ending by throwing a dart at an idea board, seeing what could be one of the many fashions that could happen to a person when their brain reaches 100%.

What I did take away from this movie is that dolphins have unlocked 20% of their brains capacity. How about that?

GRADE: C+