Top 5 Tuesday: Favorite Childhood Movies

Hey everyone, today marks the start up of college once again. I’ve sort of been falling behind in preparation for classes, but I will not fall behind on Top 5 Tuesdays. So here is the list of my favorite movies from when I was a child, note that these are not necessarily child friendly movies.

5. Batman Forever

I’ve always loved superhero movies, and while Batman Forever still holds a special spot in my heart, it’s not a good movie. It’s great compared to Batman & Robin, but still no where near the Keaton Batman. I personally like that Batman more than Forever, but this is me trying to think in my childhood mindset. I loved the zany Riddler and the more comedic Two-face, but they didn’t age too well.

4. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

Easily one of the best Jim Carrey performances. He’s funny, quotable and did I say funny? This isn’t one of my favorites anymore, but I still love it more than most modern comedy films. The sequel doesn’t hold a candle, but Ace Ventura is definitely a must see film for comedy lovers. Laces Out!

3. The Matrix

It’s hard to believe that I quite young when this movie came out. It was a revolutionary film that blew my small mind as a child. I pretty much watched it once a week on VHS when I was a child. It was probably the best movie from my childhood, but oddly it wasn’t my favorite.

2. Mystery Men

Mystery_Men_film_posterI loved superhero films growing up (I still do, but who doesn’t). Mystery Men is sort of a superhero film, but it is crazy and hilarious. Ben Stiller, Paul Ruebens and William H. Macy made my younger self laugh like a never before. I watched the movie pretty much every day and could quote the movie like an expert. It had flashy effects for the time, flashier than what I had seen at least. It had everything my little brain could ever want.

1. The Mask

Jim Carrey, man, he gets me every time. I loved this movie just a slight bit more than Mystery Men and I literally watched this movie daily as a kid. Now looking back, there were a lot of jokes that went straight over my head, but that just makes rewatching it now even more fun. Who would have thought my favorite childhood movie had condom jokes.

Top 5 Tuesday: My Favorite Movies of 2014

Now I will preface this by saying that I really sucked this year when it came to going to the movies. I think I only saw 4 or 5 movies at the theater and waited for the rest to come in the mail from Netflix. This was a really lazy year for me, so don’t expect Birdman or Boyhood, which I’m sure will find a place on my list once I watch them.

5. 22 Jump Street

22_Jump_Street_PosterThis was easily the funniest movie I’ve seen this year. The Tatum/Hill combo is very deadly, they have some of the best chemistry in recent memory. The film is pretty much one big joke and it pays of very well. It might not be as good as the first, but to strike gold twice in a comedy franchise is very rare, just look at The Hangover movies. You can read more about my thoughts on this movie here.

4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

The first Captain America was the weakest of the Avengers movies, but it’s safe to say this was the strongest. It felt less like a superhero movie and more like a political thriller, which made the movie feel new in an era where Superhero movies feel very much the same. This was the point where Chris Evans proved he was the perfect casting for Captain America and it made people excited for the third installment, Civil War. I can’t wait to see Captain America and Iron Man go head to head.

3. Edge of Tomorrow

What a surprise! This might have been the second movie I saw in theaters this year and it made me so happy that I had. It was funny, had a lot of action and great performances by Emily Blunt and Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise is the kind of actor where if you love him or hate him, mostly hate him, you have to admit that he has a lot of great movies and great performances, like Mission Impossible 4, Tropic Thunder and now Edge of Tomorrow.

X-Men_Days_of_Future_Past_poster2. X-Men Days of Future’s Past

I’m pretty sure this was the first movie that I saw in theaters. If you haven’t seen it yet, rectify that. It’s easily the best in the franchise and doesn’t rely as much on Wolverine as some of the previous movies. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still prominent, unlike in First Class, but McAvoy and Fassbender’s rivalry also takes center-stage. When those two actors are on screen, only good things come from it.

1. Guardians of the Galaxy

This was not only my favorite movie of the year (at the moment) but it was also the biggest surprise. Everything about this movie was amazing. The writing, the directing, the acting, the music and everything in between was a perfect medley of…perfection. It outdid the Avengers in bringing heroes together and introducing me and a lot of other people to Starlord, Gamora and you can’t forget Groot. Man, this was a good movie. I can’t wait to watch it again…and again…and again.

Scrooged (Film Review)

Scrooged_film_posterAh, good old Scrooged, aka Bill Murray’s Christmas movie. There is nothing in this world like Scrooged, obviously it’s an adaptation of A Christmas Carol, but it does so in a way that hadn’t really been done before or since. The film follows Frank Cross, a TV executive that cares so little for his employees that he will fire them in an instant. He hates Christmas and spending time with his brother. It looks as if he will forever be this way until he is visited one night by the ghost of his mentor telling him to change his ways. From there he interacts with the three ghosts of past, present and future.

The movie is hilarious, with many nearly all the jokes still landing after the 20+ years it’s been out. Many of the set pieces and references are a bit old, but the comedy is still very much intact. It also has more heart than imagined. The cast is fantastic, with small roles from Bill Murray’s brothers and a few big names sprinkled throughout. Bill Murray is strong in his role as Frank Cross and Bobcat Goldthwait is just as great as a former employee who gets fired in the first few minutes of the movie. I feel like I’m in the minority in terms of my love of Bobcat Goldthwait’s comedy. He was hilarious in this and the Police Academy movies and directed great films like World’s Greatest Dad and God Bless America. This might be my favorite role of his, it’s pretty minor and very dark, but it’s still hilarious.

The other supporting cast, like Karen Allen and John Glover are perfect in their roles. John Glover plays the corporate douche amazingly and Karen Allen plays Frank Cross’s former love with heart, making the viewer hope they can push their issues aside and be together. (Though, that is pretty predictable). Everything about this movie is wonderful, from the comedy to the acting. It’s silly, emotional and leaves you excited for the next viewing. For me, it’s a must watch every Christmas.

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Camp Takota (Film Review)

Camp_Takota_Official_Movie_PosterI should probably preface this by saying that had this not been on Netflix streaming, I probably would not have watched this. I have nothing against Grace Helbig, I find her hilarious but her plugs for the film seemed like I wouldn’t like it. After watching the first minute or two, I felt like my first impression was a correct one. Anyways, here the review.

So within the first minute or two of the film, I feared this would be one that I would turn off before the midway point. Grace Helbig is very stiff in her performance, especially in the beginning and the guy playing her fiance was just as stiff. When they were on-screen together, it felt very much like a student film. Once the Hart ladies get on-screen, it all gets a bit better. They seem to elevate one another when they’re together. There are still scenes between them that feel very amateur, but it’s leaps and bounds better than the beginning. The movie’s performance never fully escapes the student film feel, but it more often has glimpses of a good independent film. The three leads, while staples on Youtube, could all have a future in film with just a little improvement.

Mamrie_Hart_and_Grace_Helbig_at_No_Filter_in_December_2013The story is pretty interesting. The film follows Helbig’s character, Elise. Elise has a great life, she’s engaged and working a great job until her life takes a turn for the worse. She resorts to going to her childhood camp, Camp Takota to get away. The script has good jokes and an interesting enough plot. It’s not a slice of perfection, but it’s solid enough. It’s also great to see a movie with female protagonists written by women. Not only is Mamrie Hart the best performer in the movie, she is one of the reasons why the script and the dialogue was so strong. Sure, boiled down this is a story about relationships, but it’s also about moving on and being happy being yourself, which is an important message not always preached. Sure, there’s wrenches in the mix, but that’s a common trait in any film. One could argue that it wraps itself into a little bow a little too cleanly, but I’ll admit, I was a sucker for that ending.

Some of the biggest issues were with the visuals and the sound. Some shots had audio not lined up, mostly which reaction shots, which isn’t a bad thing normally but the angle of the shots they do made it very apparent. Other times the audio quality was sub par, ruining any sort of pretty visuals. There’s an over use of dissolves, which are often unneeded in between shots, also there are some scenes that end with a fade to black and no audio whatsoever. The loss of visuals is fine, but having some sort of music or natural sounds or room tones prevents the oddness from coming through. Without it, it feels like a really strange mistake.

It should be known that this film is more adult-oriented, which can be confusing by the title and the basic plot description. Dialogue doesn’t pull punches and the main subject matter is more for late teens to young adults. I’d say it’s more for young women, but men can also enjoy it since most of the humor isn’t gender-specific. It’s a fun watch, has good laughs and glimpses of some really good performances.

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InAPPropriate Comedy Review

This review contains strong language.

Why did this movie win? Why did I have to watch it? I don’t know, but it was fucking torture. Because it’s so painful to write about it, this review will be very short and not so sweet. The acting was terrible. Having already seen The Amazing Racist on YouTube, what was arguably the most funny part of the movie was spoiled for me. While it’s not hilarious, this part of the movie is the most laugh worthy. Flirty Harry was decent, but like everything else in the movie, it needed better writing for it to be more than sub par. Pretty much all the skits felt like they were written prior to 2007. Blackass? Seriously a Jackass joke is the dumbest thing to have in a recent movie. Fuck, this was terrible. If I have to give this a score, it’s a .5 out of 5. So bad, avoid at all costs.

Your Choice Friday (Week 2)

This week is movies that I have no intention on ever watching. Last week was classics and good/decent movies that I planned on someday seeing, but this week I don’t think I will watch any of these movies without your vote. Take This Waltz, while sounding interesting, seems like it would be a snoozefest, which is what has deterred me for the longest time. Greenberg is similar, I’ve heard it’s boring and I am not a fan of boring. Tonight You’re Mine sounds interesting enough, but I have not read any reviews and Netflix is sure I won’t be a fan. inAppropriate Comedy is self-explanatory, it’s a terrible movie that you would only vote for if you had a deep-seeded hatred for me. 😀 No matter what your opinion is on marijuana, I think everyone can agree that Reefer Madness is completely off on its display of marijuana’s effects, for that reason I never hope to watch it, unless you vote for it here.

Last full day to vote on Your Choice Friday!

Hey everyone, the first weekly “Your Choice Friday” is coming to an end early tomorrow. If you haven’t voted, let your anonymous voice be heard! Next week will be filled with movies I have no desire to watch, so I’m excited, but I can’t wait to see what I have to watch this weekend.

Hugo (Re-Review)

hugo-movie-theaterFor being one of my favorite movies, my earlier Hugo review is among one of my least popular posts on this site. Re-reading the old review, I can see why. For being one of my favorite movies, it sure could use a better review.

Visually, the film is just mind-blowingly gorgeous, with certain colors, typically shades of blue, popping in any given scene. This creates a beautiful contrast. The use of lighting is worth applauding and  the costumes range from colorful to drab, which allows for easy layers in character status. Most importantly, the special effects are wonderful. Visually, this could be one of the best movies of the last decade.

Now, the most beautiful visual experience could me nothing if the acting is horrible. Luckily, each lead gives amazing and dramatic performances. Asa Butterfield plays Hugo, a boy who has experienced so much pain in his short life. Each line he delivers is done with such effortless perfection that you forget that you are watching a movie. Ben Kingsley is perfectly cast and there is very little to complain about his performance. Chloe Grace Moretz plays Hugo’s one and only friend and does a flawless job at that. I must say, though, this is the first time I’ve seen the actress in a role where she isn’t killing people or calling people less than desirable names. I must say it was nice to see her act in a non-violent movie. The biggest surprise, however, was Sacha Baron Cohen as Inspector Gustave. He was funny, dramatic and you couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. Three things I’ve never said about him…

Hugo Police manThe movie progresses very well, with Hugo sort of growing up and realizing things throughout the film. There wasn’t really a boring scene in this film, well unless you were expecting an action-filled experience. The major problem I had was that the trailers portrayed it as something it wasn’t. Based on the trailers, it was an epic film involving kids and robots, not a child’s imagination and perseverance through one of the toughest times in his life.

The film is a beautiful love letter to classic cinema and Martin Scorsese directs this flawlessly. He’s one of the great directors of the era and this film is no different from his earlier films. Well it is different in that it’s not hyper-violent or filled with swearing, but you get my point. All his films are wonderful and I love them all.

If you have not watched this movie, change that. Watch it. You may not like it as much as I do, but you may end up liking it more.

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Your Choice Fridays

OK, so in my long hiatus my mind often would drift towards fun things to do on the blog. So I came up with what I hope will be a fun way of forcing helping myself watch movies that I’ve never seen before. So here’s how it works. On Monday I release a poll filled with 5 movies available on Netflix streaming. Midday Friday, I close the poll and whatever movie with the most votes wins and I have to watch and post a review for Sunday. Sound fun? Well I hope it does because this was the best I could come up with. 😀

 

Don Jon Film Review

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In Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut, the audience is introduced to Jon (Gordon-Levitt), a buff womanizer who picks up chicks and lives by the one-night-stand. His carefree life, filled with maintaining his physique, hooking up and spending time with his family, is thrown for a loop when he meets Barbara (Scarlett Johansson), a hottie with a body (did I just say that?) that makes Jon contemplate playing the long game.

Acting wise, Gordon-Levitt was very strong as he portrayed a sex-crazed douche bag very well and was even able to intermix that and the tenderness he usually portrays on-screen. At the very least, this film shows that Gordon Levitt is versatile, something that has always been questioned as his roles typically feature him as the nice guy. Johansson’s performance was less desirable. It wasn’t bad, but she didn’t shine and that’s always disappointing as Johansson has proven that she isn’t just an attractive woman, but a great actress as well. Julianne Moore, who plays Esther, Jon’s classmate was perfectly cast and well acted. Moore is often overlooked now, but her performances are typically strong and this is no different.

Consider that the film is about porn addiction, there is a surprisingly low amount of nudity, though what is in the film is pretty graphic as it is from porn found on the internet. Obviously this film is intended for a mature audience, and the subject matter basically guarantees nudity, but it is shockingly reserved in that term.

don-jon-movie-trailer-screenshot-steamy

This being Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut, it’s pretty strong. The atmosphere is great, the overall acting is good and the writing was solid. Surprisingly, the trailers didn’t spoil the entire movie, at least from what I recall. The movie drags in places and the subject of porn addiction isn’t something everyone can get behind…no pun intended. If you are interested in the movie, I would strongly recommend checking it out, but the movie isn’t a must watch, unless you find the themes the film covers interesting, those being porn addiction and the misconceptions on what relationships are meant to be. Overall, it’s a dramatic comedy that focuses more on the drama.

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Fun Fact: Joseph Gordon-Levitt considered casting his friend Channing Tatum as Don Jon before taking on the role himself.

 

SNL’s Season Concludes: What’s next for the long-running franchise?

This was meant to have been posted on Tuesday, but was delayed because I’m an idiot – Austin

Saturday_Night_Live_(Season_38_Titlecard)After 38 seasons of making people laugh, some seasons more than others, this season ended on a high note. With Ben Affleck hosting, and many great guests contributing, there was at least one enjoyable skit for everyone. The season has introduced us to many great comedians, some who have been in seasons past, but were finally given a chance to step up. Others were newly featured and took little time to break through the TV screen and join us in our homes for some raunchy comedy. But with the season ending, we can’t help but wonder what is in store for us in the future.

Season finale

Ben Affleck is a pretty funny guy, and that was clear in his monologue. Talking about, and to, his wife and joking about his relationship with Matt Damon, Affleck was able to perform one of the best monologues of the season. Second only to Justin Timberlake, in my opinion. Affleck’s characters in the finale were pretty enjoyable, but he wasn’t able to deliver the charasmatic drive that other hosts, like Timberlake, Alec Baldwin or even Jon Hamm. Despite that, Affleck never falls behind and never becomes a nuisance.

Departures

Last Tuesday, the 14th, was a sad day when I first heard that Bill Hader would be leaving Saturday Night Live. Bill Hader joined SNL in 2005 and spent the 8 years there making people laugh. He earned recent fame with his hit character, Stefon. While I love Stefon, and will surely miss him, I do believe Hader’s career was more than a gay dude who knew all of New York’s hottest clubs. That being said, the Stefon send off was amazing, and needs to be watched. Other great Hader characters’/impressions are his game show host, the Merryville brother, his Al Pacino and his James Carville. All will be missed and Bill Hader, like Kristen Wiig and other past departures, will be damn near impossible to replace.

539px-Fred_Armisen_by_David_ShankboneAfter watching the final skit, it’s safe to say that Fred Armisen will definitely be leaving SNL. After singing a farewell song in his British Punk Rock attire, and being joined by great friends, Armisen and Hader tearfully waved goodbye. The credits were then filled with almost everyone crying and hugging one another, especially Armisen and Hader. Both these send offs were wonderful and funny, and well deserved.

It’s still unknown, at time of writing this, if Jason Sudeikis will be leaving as well. If so, he wasn’t given a grand send off, but he sure did leave his mark on SNL. Providing a top-notch Mitt Romney this season, and other great character throughout his run, Sudeikis might have the best chance at having a great movie career as he already starred in two hits, Horrible Bosses and The Campaign, as well as other movies.

This also marked the last full season for Seth Meyers, who will be heading to the Late Night desk after Fallon moves to the big chair. Meyers departure, while bittersweet, isn’t terrifyingly depressing as he’ll be doing the same, for the most part, 5 days a week. His interaction with fellow cast members will be missed though.

What next?

After a few weeks of asking, “who will host Late Night?”, we now have to ask, “who will take over for Weekend Update?”. Seth Meyers goes down in the history books as one of the best hosts of Weekend Update as he made funny, and critical comments on politics and the modern world all by himself. Solo comedy is always the hardest because he you rarely have anyone to play off of. As not to burden any one man, or woman, SNL should probably return to the co-host format and try to build the next Fey and Fallon. The question remains as to who should replace Meyers. I honestly have no idea.

The departure also leaves a huge gap in the cast. The amazing veterans are out and there only seems to be one or two men who can compare to them. Taran Killam is really the only male cast member, as of now, who can create laughs with each and every skit he’s in. Bobby Moynihan stepped it up this year, but not enough to make me confident in resting the show on his shoulders. One more year might be enough time to make me realize that Moynihan is the real deal, though.

This season was probably the best for the women of SNL. Vanessa Bayer and Nasim Pedrad both provided laughs all year-long. With Bayer’s best being one half of the former porn star duo that sell crappy stuff on the television. Pedrad’s best has got to be the fake movie trailer with Justin Timberlake. Also, with the addition of Kate McKinnon and Cecily Strong, SNL finds itself with possibly the strongest core group of women, and that is considering that a decade ago there was the other strong group. You know, the one with the likes of Tina Fey and Maya Rudolph.

SNL’s biggest task should be getting one or two men to join Jay Pharoah (who is pretty good, but underused), Bobby Moynihan and Taran Killam. They also should consider dumping Tim Robinson, who often appears nervous. He never really improved, unlike the other featured players. I do think they should keep Aidy Bryant, she wasn’t top-notch in her first year, but she did improve as the year progressed.

Whatever happens, I’m excited for next season as there is hope for the series to improve despite a ratings slump and a small faithful audience.

To the Wonder Review…what did I just watch?

100421_gal63 of 200 new films watched in 2013

Premiering at the 2012 Venice Film Festival, Terrence Malick’s “To the Wonder” experienced a limited release in the United States, making it a bit difficult to find. The film follows an American man named Neil as he moves back to America with his French girlfriend, Marina, and her young daughter. The two lovers are soon separated by distance as Marina moves back to France with her daughter.

Malick’s use of camera technique is worth applauding. His wide shots show just how small these characters are and his up-close shots frame the stone buildings of the European countryside. Continue reading

Man on the Moon (Quick) Review [61 of 200]

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Plot

We follow the life of Andy Kaufman, an awkward person who isn’t a comedian, but he sure is funny. Continue reading