Archive | September 2013

Don Jon


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What a dime

You know exactly what you’re in for as soon Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directing debut Don Jon snaps onto the screen, flashing his impressive writing, acting, and aforementioned directing credits interspersed between vaguely pornographic clips. His character (Jon “Don Jon” Martello Jr. himself) begins the opening dialogue in a blunt urban accent you think will annoy you but you get used to and begin to like within seconds, introducing us to his simple world: he only cares about a few things, like his car, apartment, family, body, oh, and also his porn addiction. Without missing a beat the movie marches on.

Gordon-Levitt’s frank and brutal writing and directing take us through his character’s life one snapshot at a time. In the morning he cleans his apartment with possible compulsive tendencies; he experiences severe road rage on the way to church; he asks for forgiveness for his sins for the week (all of which involve sexual acts) with a dopey grin on his face; next he’s at the gym working out in front of the mirror and praying; finally he’s at his parents’ house, where his father (Tony Danza of all people) won’t look away from the game and his mom (Glenne Headly) dreams of the day Don tells her he found “the one.” At night we hear the ding of his computer being turned on and, well, you know what happens.

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Prisoners


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Let me out

As the movie poster points out, Prisoners’ entire cast (except for poor Paul Dano at the bottom) has been considered for some sort of acting award at some point in their individual careers. And it shows in fantastic performances across the board, especially from leading men Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal. Each character seems to be striving toward some goal that contributes to the film’s arch theme – whatever that theme may be. Somewhere in this maze of a story, the film’s meaning slipped into the grim, intellectual hole it dug for itself. The entire time it holds your attention hostage, if only because you’re trying to figure out what exactly you’re watching. 

The film’s simple premise (two daughters from a small Pennsylvanian town are kidnapped, Jackman searches for them Neeson-style) quickly complicates itself beyond a high stakes goose chase. After the daughters were last seen playing on a stranger’s RV on their way home to retrieve their safety whistle, highly religious father Keller Dover (Jackman) recruits the help of Detective Loki (Gyllenhaal) to find them. Loki tracks the RV and arrests Alex Jones (Dano), a bespectacled man with an IQ of a 10 year old who can not directly be proven guilty, despite obviously being a sleazeball. 

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One Direction: This Is Us


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Best Movie Ever

Hey everyone. I am pleased to introduce my blog’s first ever guest blogger, my little cousin Becca, or as she would prefer you call her, Queen Bee. Bee has dedicated a large chunk of her teenage years to worshipping worldwide boy band One Direction, and would like to share a few thoughts about the woes of being a fangirl and their movie This Is Us, which she has seen and closely studied three times.

One Direction: This Is Us hit cinemas in America on August 29 and made an estimated 18 million dollars through Labor Day. The movie had Directioners like me rushing to see it all around the world. Some were even lucky enough to attend the premiere in either London or New York City, where the boys and whoever they invited could come. The movie shows fans the personal and performing lives of Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, Niall Horan and Zayn Malik, since starting on the X-Factor to becoming the world’s biggest boy band.

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Nouveau Départ


Nouveau Départ

Check out my friend Alex’s new single Nouveau Départ!

Insidious: Chapter 2


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Welcome to the Blumhouse

My pre-viewing expectations for Insidious: Chapter 2 were pretty abysmal. My fears first and foremost stemmed from it being a horror sequel from studio Blumhouse Productions, known for milking a franchise for every possible cent, which, while being a brilliant marketing strategy, sometimes sacrifices quality in favor of quantity. But Insidious: Chapter 2 excels not only by being genuinely frightening, but in areas horror movies aren’t particularly known for being fantastic in, such as scripting, storytelling, and perhaps most foreign to the genre, acting (yay Patrick Wilson!). I say this a lot, but this time I absolutely mean it: Chapter 2 is one of the best horror movies I’ve seen in a long time.

The plot refreshingly continues right where the first one left off without any bizarre location, genre, or cast changes in between. When was the last time that happened? In light of the recent supernatural events in the first Insidious (you actually need to be familiar with the events of the first to fully enjoy the second, which is crazy) the Lambert family relocates while the father Josh (Wilson) is accused of murdering a fallen main character from the original.

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Ranking summer 2013 movies


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It is now time to present this blog with yet another list, this time summarizing and ranking from worst to best the 12 movies I’ve seen and reviewed in summer 2013. Even though it’s still technically summer, we all know the real summer died a week or two ago when school started up again, bringing an unfortunate end to a season of films which was actually pretty decent overall. I almost got through the whole thing without seeing any fiery train wrecks. Almost.

The list includes movies I’ve seen since my summer began about halfway through May up until it ended about two weeks ago. Getaway will not be included on this list, just because I don’t want to think about it right now. Don’t worry, it will definitely be on the fall-winter list in last place.

Participants include, in the order I saw them:

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Getaway


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Just run

Courtney Solomon’s Getaway is the latest and quite possibly one of the least intelligent action-with-no-plot movies in a while. Solomon’s aggravating insistence of using incomprehensibly jittery and frantic camera movement at all times makes understanding what exactly is happening on the screen a chore, though perhaps she was merely trying to distract us from the fact that almost nothing happening makes sense in the first place. The only thing faster than the cars and camera angles in this film is the speed in which it’s diving down the box office.

The movie opens with second-long images of a silver car being chased by an army of identical cop cars, interspersed with images of an invaded home with littered with ruined Christmas decorations. Laboriously we learn that retired racecar driver Brent Magna (Ethan Hawke) is being controlled by a man delivering him orders via phone in exchange for the safety of his kidnapped wife (voiced and mouthed by John Voight). If Magna (who, for a horrifying minute, I thought screenwriters Gregg Maxwell Parker and Sean Finnegan had actually named ‘Magma’) fails to obey his often-dangerous commands, his wife will be killed.

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