Archive for January, 2015

Art Cine Productions,

Christian Camargo, Katie Holmes, William Hurt, Allison Janney, Cherry Jones, Russell Means, Michael Nyqvist, Jean Reno, Juliet Rylance, Mark Rylance, Ben Whishaw

The family gets together to celebrate the Memorial Day weekend at the summer house alongside a lake in rural New England. The period is in the mid 80’s. The family tries to get along, but there are many issues and many problems, and the weekend is a bit of an eye opener and game changer for the family as the fight and bicker their way through the long, long weekend.

This is a Russian story inspired by Anton Chekhov’s “The Seagull”, moved to the U.S. It was terribly difficult for me to sit through. Generally I love “people” films and “relationship” films much more than most guys. But I simply despise films that have no purpose and no point. Just setup a camera, film a day or two in a family’s life where nothing much happens (to be fair their is a tragedy in the last few minutes of the story, but by that time nobody really cares). It just goes on and on and on with unlikable characters, no plot or purpose, no direction, it just happens. When I saw it produced by a company called “Art Cine” I knew what I would get. This film is trying so very, very hard to appeal to stuck up artsy folks, and as a result, leaves the rest of us far behind. I really tried hard to give this movie a chance. It has a really good cast, but with nothing for them to do. I’m not sure what made these folks accept this film, but I’ll bet there is a story behind it. I just can’t think anyone read it and said, “This will be a fascinating story”. I was NOT in a bad mood when I watched, neither was I tired or distracted. I went into hoping for the best and a bored nearly to tears throughout. In the end, there wasn’t anything worth recommending. I am not sure with the original story, but people rave about it. Maybe the transfer to America during the Reagan days, just did not work. Avoid it, unless you really like art house movies for some reason.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Columbia Pictures, LStar Capital, Point Grey Pictures,

James Franco, Seth Rogen, Lizzy Caplan, Randall Park, Diana Bang, Timothy Simons, Reese Alexander, James Yi

Dave Skylark (James Franco) is a tabloid news show host, with Aaron Rapaport (Seth Rogen) as his producer. When the find out North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is a fan of the show, they score the interview of a lifetime when they are invited to North Korea to shoot the interview. But the CIA tracks them down with an operation to assassinate the dictator during the interview. Naturally, with these two, everything goes wrong and they’re lucky to get out at all.

This is the film that garnered all the attention, mostly of the wrong kind, due to the announcement of the hacking scandal at Sony and the subsequent threats from the North Koreans and the cancellation, the a limited release on Christmas Day. None of that really matters much, but it has to be considered in the story of the movie, if not the movie itself. This is a James Franco/Seth Rogan comedy, so it’s pretty silly with potty jokes and sexy sight gags throughout. It’s like it’s put together by fourteen year olds, or perhaps Howard Stern? It’s a lot like his humor. But knowing it’s that genre going in makes it easier to watch. You have to go into this expecting juvenile bathroom humor to start with. As far as the huge scandal, I’m not paranoid enough to say it was all thought up to promote the film, although I feel pretty sure this wouldn’t have been a very big film had it come out without all the media attention, so that was a blessing of sorts for them. But that doesn’t make up for the price Sony had to pay in the data theft. Still, I’ve never believed for a minute that North Korea actually hacked Sony because of this film. I still think it’s a disgruntled employee or ex-employee who was responsible, and I doubt The Interview had anything at all to do with it. It wasn’t the original focus when the hack came to light, but quickly became the scape goat when it became easy to blame this on a far away dictatorship that we don’t like in the first place. The film is not Shakespeare, that’s for sure, and it’s more like a Leslie Nielsen or Charlie Sheen type slapstick comedy. For the style, and the type of movie, however, it’s not that bad. Some of it is really funny, and it’s fun to jump on the bandwagon and be American and watch a free movie courtesy of Sony. I missed the Christmas day freebie on You Tube, but it’s out on NetFlix streaming now, so if you are interested in what the hubbub is all about, this is a free (if you’re a member of NetFlix anyway, and who isn’t) way to watch it and get up to date. I had to watch this as it’s part of American folk lore now, and I have to see it. I was surprised that it was not that bad, and it was a pleasure watching it. Not nearly as funny as it could have been, but it’s light-hearted tom foolery for 90 minutes or so and why wouldn’t you watch it.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Movie Rentals Releasing Tuesday January 27, 2015

  • Before I Go to Sleep
  • The Book of Life
  • The Color of Time
  • Days and Nights
  • Fury
  • The Judge
  • Justice League: Throne of Atlantis
  • Miss Meadows
  • My Old Lady
  • Open Windows
  • The Remaining

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Alcon Entertainment, Black Label Media, Blue Sky Films,

Reese Witherspoon, Corey Stoll, Thad Luckinbill, Sarah Baker, Sharon Conley, Maria Howell, Joshua Mikel, Mike Pniewski

A family of boys and a girl are orphaned in southern Sudan when the war from the north comes to their village. They have been starving for years, and now the village is gone and so are most of their family members. They walk over 700 miles to Kenya to a refugee camp only to suffer more. But when they are selected to go the United States, they are chosen to go to Fargo, and an apartment has been found for the boys, though their sister was sent to Boston with another family causing them great pain. Carrie (Reese WItherspoon) is assigned to find work for them, but she finds a lot more as she begins to learn what these guys have been through and how much suffering there is in the world. This film is based on a true story.

This film has a very “Blind Side” feel to it. Reese Witherspoon excels in this kind of a role as somewhat overwhelmed and befuddled, yet with a great heart and a lot of compassion. The story is very touching, and the things we take for granted would be really strange for people coming from this kind of horrible live. There have been some criticism of this film as it doesn’t tell a lot about the war, and the atrocities that were inflicted on these people, and why they were at war in the first place. I can give them a pass on this, because this is not the story of the war in Sudan, but the story of the refugees and how they managed to survive. This is their story, and I’m sure there are thousands more similar stories. The story is really two parts. The beginning is about their life in Sudan and their attempt at saving their lives. Once they arrive in America, it’s a whole different story as they try to quickly learn and adapt to life here, which is much different. The cinematography is outstanding, the settings are stark, dry, and bare in Sudan, and make you quickly realize how different life is there. The character of these boys, their honor and respect comes through very well, and their misunderstandings and attempts to do what’s right, even without understanding anything about the culture here is touching. But the close relationships of the family themselves is the most stunning part of the story. This is an excellent film, and one that I highly recommend.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Voltage Pictures, Zanuck Independent, Zephyr Films,

Matt Damon, Tilda Swinton, Christoph Waltz, David Thewlis, Peter Stormare, Ben Whishaw, Rupert Friend

Qohen Leth (Christoph Waltz) is a computer geek in a strange futuristic society. He travels to a cubicle daily to do his work moving data around, but longs to work from home because of a call that he received a long time ago. The call was interrupted, and he’s sure they will call back, but he must be home to receive it. Qohen is a messed up guy, but of course the stress of what he does, and the wacky world in which he lives would probably drive anyone crazy. His supreme boss is called Management (Matt Damon) and Quhen is sure that Management would have the answers to his burning question. This futuristic and colorful adventure is sure to turn your world upside down.

When I completed watching this film (in one sitting), I thought for sure I HATED it. Then as I though about it, I liked it more and more the longer I thought about it. Now that a couple days have passed, I have come to the conclusion that perhaps I really liked it. It’s weird. It’s a Terry Gilliam film, so that says a lot. For those not familiar with Terry, he was the “American” in Monty Python and also the one who drew the very strange animation pieces in the middle of the programs. Terry has a weird outlook on life and if you keep that in mind you get more out of this story. First, the sets and locations are outrageously colored. The advertisement is everywhere and it’s constantly beat on you trying for force you to listen. It’s psychedelic and much like real life pictures of the animations that Terry did. It’s a crazy world. The fact that the cast lists Matt Damon and Tilda Swinton first is odd, as well, as these are two of the lesser characters in the film. Neither has much screen time. This is really the Christoph Waltz show, and boy does he nail it. His character is borderline insane. You might think it odd to see this listed as a comedy, but it’s very funny, although it deals very deep subjects and foremost the question of the entire film is the meaning of life. In fact, as you come to learn what the Zero Theorem is, you can see how Qohen’s madness comes from the fear that it all means nothing at all. It’s a really artful film, and it may go over the heads of many people who just won’t get the meaning out the madness, but I can see that is one film that stayed with me, and the more I thought about it, the more I liked what I had seen. Certainly if the “Ministry of Silly Walks” or the most dangerous animal in the world, the “Clever Sheep” entertained you, and you got it, you’ll probably find a real gem in this film. On the other hand, if you’re one of those (and there’s nothing wrong with this) who find Monty Python and the Holy Grail to be pure nonsense and a complete waste of time, you’re probably not going to like this very much either. In the end, I’m really glad I saw it. In the beginning, though, I wondered what the heck was going on in front of me!

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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