movie reviews

Laggies

by Cap'n Carrot on November 7, 2014 · 0 comments

in Film

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Director Lynn Shelton‘s Laggies is an odd film that attempts to blend character study with rom-com tropes. It lacks the satiric wit and humorous mean-spiritedness of Young Adult but plays on similar themes of a protagonist struggling to grow-up. Andrea Seigel‘s script is kept afloat in its weaker moments thanks to an engaging performance by its star and a clear message about the struggles of finding oneself as an adult and the odd paths we take to get there.

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Dracula Untold

by Cap'n Carrot on October 10, 2014 · 0 comments

in Film

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What would you sacrifice to save the loves of the ones you love? That’s conundrum is central to the events of Dracula Untold which recasts Vlad the Impaler as a former child soldier drafted into the service of the Turkish Army. After making a name for himself for the brutal ways in which he left enemy soldiers on the battlefield, Vlad eventually returned home to Transylvania to resume his role as prince. After a decade of peace Vlad’s peaceful tranquility is shattered by the return of the Turks who demand 1,000 children including Vlad’s son to grow the ranks of their upcoming campaigns.

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Kill the Messenger

by Cap'n Carrot on October 10, 2014 · 0 comments

in Film

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Based on accounts written by Nick Schou and Gary Webb, Kill the Messenger offers a rather one-sided look at San Jose Mercury News reporter Gary Webb’s (Jeremy Renner) investigation and publishing of a story concerning the CIA supporting the cocaine smuggling of Nicaraguan Contra Rebels and the sale of those drugs inside the United States.

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Directed by Jonathan Liebesman (Battle Los Angeles, Wrath of the Titans) and produced by Michael Bay, it’s not really a surprise that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles isn’t a good movie. What is surprising is the fact it isn’t mind-numbingly awful, and at times it even borders on even being dumb fun and mildly entertaining.

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Choosing to go where no Marvel film has gone before, Guardians of the Galaxy not only opens the door to the wider Marvel Universe among the stars but also introduces some of Marvel Studios most memorable characters. I’ve been a fan of the current team since they got together back in 2008, but I had serious doubts about how well Marvel could incorporate a group of space misfits who include thieves, killers, a genetically-enhanced raccoon, and talking tree into a mainstream sci-fi/action film.

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Wish I Was Here

by Cap'n Carrot on July 28, 2014 · 0 comments

in Film

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Ten years ago Zack Braff wrote, directed, and starred in a little film called Garden State. Over the next decade the actor continued to work in front of the camera but other than directing a few episodes of Scrubs left the work behind the camera to others. With the help of a Kickstarter campaign, Braff returns to the big screen with Wish I Was Here which features many of the same quirks of his Garden State while focusing on sensibilities that have evolved over time.

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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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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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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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