Media Rack

Digging for Fire

by Cap'n Carrot on August 28, 2015 · 0 comments

in Film

digging-for-fire-posterMiddle-age apathy is the major theme of Digging for Fire as a husband (Jake Johnson, who co-wrote the screenplay along with director Joe Swanberg) and wife’s (Rosemarie DeWitt) separate weekend plans while on vacation let each work through the listlessness of their shared existence and eventually find their way back to each other. It’s a story that’s been done several times, sometime much better (like Massy Tadjedin‘s 2010 film Last Night) and more often far worse (any number of middle age brain-dead romcoms).

More archetypes than fully fleshed-out characters, neither Tim nor Lee are all that interesting. Tim is your typical mid-life crisis male wanting to spend time with old friends and recapture lost youth. Lee is worried about the future, her marriage, and loosing her sense of self under the weight of marriage and parenthood. Johnson and DeWitt give the characters a bit of a spark but it’s Tim’s unusual obsession with finding a bone and old revolver buried in the back yard of the home where the family is staying that proves to give the movie something unique to explore, if not something terribly original to say.

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Mistress America

by Cap'n Carrot on August 28, 2015 · 0 comments

in Film

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Written and directed by Noah Baumbach (and co-written by the movie’s star Greta Gerwig), Mistress America is an uneven comedy that has a tone and feel more befitting a stage play than even an independent theatrical release. That’s not to say it should be easily dismissed. Despite its issues, when the film gets it right it gets it just right (such as an extended sequence in a yuppie suburban home where the quick-hitting back-and-forth dialogue finally hits on every note). Taken as a whole, Mistress America is neither as good as its brightest moments or as bad as it valleys where the lack of laughs exposes just how thin a story Baumbach is working with.

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justice-league-gods-and-monsters-blu-rayI was ecstatic when I heard Bruce Timm was returning to DC for a new animated feature. One of the creators behind Batman: The Animated Series and Justice League Unlimited, the animated DCU just hasn’t been the same since his departure. When I heard the premise of the movie, however, I was more skeptical. It turns out I need not have feared that Bruce Timm might be corrupted by the grit of the New 52 that’s turned so much of DC’s comic and video output to shit. Timm certainly delivers a darker and more adult story than expected but it’s still grounded in a profound understanding and love for these characters that is far too often lacking in much of DC’s current output.

Although the word Elseworlds doesn’t appear in its title that’s exactly what Justice League: Gods and Monsters is: a story set in an alternate version of the DCU vastly different from the any we know. The result is as unexpected as it is enjoyable. It may not be classic Timm, but the man certainly hasn’t lost his knack for characters, design, or storytelling.

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“Old Demons” comes to a close as despite Archaeus‘ temporary hold over Angel pitting Buffy‘s ex against her current undead boyfriend, and having a host of lesser demons to fight off the rest of the Scoobies, the gang finds a way to come through in the end. Despite the fact that the arc comes to a close here with Archaeus’ defeat neither the demon nor the “Restless Door” artifact are taken out of play leaving the opportunity for one or both to make an appearance later in the season.

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Mr. & Mrs. Smith

by Cap'n Carrot on August 26, 2015 · 0 comments

in Film

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Originally released in theaters 10 years ago, Mr. & Mrs. Smith stars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie who, unbeknownst to each other, are rival spies for competing spy organizations. Doug Liman‘s 2005 film has held up pretty well over the past decade. Pitt and Jolie are fun together in a script that allows them to play off each other and, when called for, kick each other’s ass in one hell of a prolonged action scene that leaves their suburb home destroyed.

Most notable for its action set pieces, Simon Kinberg‘s script also has its share of humor (including a Fantasy Island joke that never fails to tickle my fancy no matter how many times I see the movie). It’s not a great film by any standard, but it still works well as a mostly-entertaining action flick (especially the first hour). Released several times on both DVD and Blu-ray, the new version includes pre-released extras and a digital copy of the film but sadly the Blu-ray only includes the theatrical cut of the film as the unrated extended version isn’t available on this release.

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It’s all Mikey‘s (Greg Cipes) fault! Goofing off in Donatello‘s (Rob Paulsen) lab, Michaelangelo not only exposes Donatello to a chemical that slowly makes Donnie dumber but his actions also result in the creation of not one, not two, but three villains for the rest of the Turtles to band together to fight. Accidentally releasing the Creep who in turn uses the remains of Snakeweed to create Son of Snakeweed, the Turtles barely manage to defeat the pair only to see them combine into the monstrous Creepweed.

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The First Season of Killjoys comes to a end with Alvis (Morgan Kelly) jailed and marked for death, the Company preparing to bomb Westerly into the Stone Age, Delle Seyah Kendry (Mayko Nguyen) using the genetic bomb to stage a coup, and one member of Lucy falling into Khlyen‘s (Rob Stewart) clutches. “Escape Velocity” is a pretty packed season finale that doesn’t so much wrap-up the various threads of the show’s First Season and lay the foundation for a possible Second Season.

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For some the recent scandal is easier to put behind them then others. Oliver (Matt Gordon) returns to 15 Division as a beat cop deciding he’s had enough of the politics behind the desk. Traci (Enuka Okuma) cuts off all ties to Steve Peck (Adam MacDonald). Meanwhile Gail (Charlotte Sullivan) is stuck with her brother being brought up on charges and a friend who continues to be distant while being forced to spend the day with Steve’s old partner (Katharine Isabelle) who decides to take out her aggression on the closest Peck she can find.

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American Ultra

by Cap'n Carrot on August 21, 2015 · 0 comments

in Film

american-ultra-posterThe tail end of the summer movie season is pretty much a crap shoot. While I was pleasantly surprised with the under-appreciated The Man from U.N.C.L.E., director Nima Nourizadeh‘s stoner-action comedy is more what I’ve come to expect from this time of year. American Ultra isn’t a bad film, but it’s not all-together a good one either. A hodgepodge of ideas from both better and worse movies, American Ultra is an occasionally enjoyable B-movie mess.

Jesse Eisenberg stars as stoner convenience clerk Mike Howell with a girlfriend (Kristen Stewart) too good for him, friends (most notably John Leguizamo) just as mentally-challenged, and a brain full of secret CIA training which has been locked away for years until the most over-the-top Topher Grace ever captured on film decides to have Howell killed by agents that make the bad guys in Hudson Hawk look like Bond villains.

Activated by the former leader (Connie Britton) of the project, Howell soon finds himself with the ability to instinctively kill in a variety of bizarre ways without ever understanding exactly how, why, or what he’s doing. Dumb, but at least it looks cool on camera.

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Clipped closes out it’s First Season with a high school reunion finale for most of the employees of the barber shop. Along with introducing us to the prom date Danni (Ashley Tisdale) dumped in favor of A.J. (Mike Castle), and allow Ben (Ryan Pinkston) to confront an old bully (or at least attempt to), “Reunion” also reveals Charmaine’s (Diona Reasonover) secret wish to have been a cheerleader in high school.

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