Film

Lucy

by Cap'n Carrot on July 25, 2014 · 0 comments

in Film

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Falling back on a long debunked myth Hollywood fell in love with years ago that somehow a person only uses 10% of their brain, the latest movie from writer/director Luc Besson casts Scarlett Johansson as a completely unexceptional young woman whose mind is opened up by a designer drug allowing her to access more and more of her “unused” brain. The result feels very much like a script where only a fraction of 10% of a person’s brain power was used to write it.

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We now have a full-length trailer for The Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch as mathematician Alan Turing tasked with breaking the Nazi codes created by the German’s Enigma machine during World War II. Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Charles Dance, and Mark Strong also star. The film opens in theaters on November 21st.

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Under the Skin

by Cap'n Carrot on July 21, 2014 · 0 comments

in Film

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The line between a movie being artistic and pretentious is, like beauty, often in the eye of the beholder. Director Jonathan Glazer helms this tale of a beautiful woman (Scarlett Johansson) stalking lonely men in Scotland. Adapted from the novel by Michael Faber, Under the Skin has sharply divided audiences over the issue of style versus substance.

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Last year’s Cars spin-off starring Dane Cook as a cropduster with dreams of becoming a world-class racer came and went without much fanfare. Made by Disney rather than Pixar, Planes certainly had the feel of far too many of Disney’s straight-to-video sequels (despite the movie actually getting a theatrical release). I found the first film to be more than a little clunky, and certainly the weakest of any of the movies set in the Cars universe, but it still had enough charm and beautiful animation to keep my interest. Planes‘ sequel feels much the same with some uneven writing and cheap fart jokes. However, along with its impressive look, the sequel does celebrate the service of firefighters and offer a nice lesson for its target audience.

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If you’ve got some time on your hands this Fourth of July weekend head over to RazorFine Review where you can find my list of The Top Ten Movies of 2014 (so far).

best-of-2014-so-farThe Top Ten Movies of 2014 (so far)

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Written and directed by John Carney, Begin Again is simply a joy to watch. At times this tale of the mismatched pair of a record label exec (Mark Ruffalo) whose life is swirling around the drain and a young singer-songwriter (Keira Knightley) dealing with crushing rejection of her now-successful longtime writing partner and boyfriend (Adam Levine) comes dangerously close to being too cute for its own good. Thankfully Carney’s choice to ground the film in serious issues such as heartbreak, betrayal, estranged families, and politics of the music business balances the film’s hopeful tone and message to prevent the movie from ever becoming too cliche or sappy.

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I’m not a fan of Michael Bay‘s Transformers movies. In fact I’ve hated every single one. Transformers: Age of Extinction is not an exception, but on the sliding scale of horrific awfulness that is the Bay Transformers franchise it’s the least objectionable of the lot. Lazy, inane, and almost completely without merit, the latest Transformers film didn’t so much anger me as leave me increasingly confused and apathetic to the “storytelling” that was unfolding before my eyes.

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Jersey Boys

by Cap'n Carrot on June 20, 2014 · 0 comments

in Film

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From the big musical numbers, to the characters stopping at times to directly address the audience and the staging of much of the action, Jersey Boys feels every bit the adapted stage jukebox musical which spawned it. Fans of The Four Seasons are likely to enjoy themselves, although 134-minutes of Frankie Valli‘s recreated high-pitched crooning in stereo surround started to wear on me before the credits rolled.

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Picking up five years after the events of the first film, How to Train Your Dragon 2 finds Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) dealing with new challenges including his father‘s (Gerard Butler) plans to hand over the kingdom of Birk to his son, an enemy (Djimon Hounsou) creating his own army of dragons to conquer the world, and the unexpected return of Hiccup’s mother Valka (Cate Blanchett) who disappeared and has been presumed dead since Hiccup was a baby.

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journey-to-the-west-conquering-demons-blu-rayCo-writers and directors Stephen Chow and Chi-kin Kwok‘s comedic take on one of the four classic novels of Chinese literature stars Zhang Wen as would-be Buddhist demon hunter Tang Sanzang on his road to enlightenment. On the road he meets a far more experienced demon hunter (Qi Shu) who begins to fall for the goofy Sanzang.

Offbeat, humorous, and more than a little uneven, Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons is a bizarre horror-comedy with subplots ranging from a love story to Buddhist enlightenment to the intelligence of using fairy tales to fight monsters. Featuring battles involving pig-monsters and giant fish, the movie features an odd collection of characters in the Monkey King (Bo Huang) and rival bounty hunters with the strength and speed of a tiger (Yu Xing), a giant foot (Chaoli Zhang), and telekinetically-powered swords (Show Luo). More of it works than not, but at times it’s thoroughly engaging and at times it’s just plain weird.

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