2015

Movie Review: The Hateful Eight

thehatefuleight_posterNote: Screened 35mm Roadshow Cut with an Overture and 12 minute Intermission

Quentin Tarantino has an extremely rabid fan base and perhaps even more rabid haters. It’s when those two groups intersect that create some very tumultuous water. His latest opus, The Hateful Eight, is precisely the type of movie with potential to unite on the fence fans and haters alike. You’ll find no argument here that The Hateful Eight contains vile characters, racist/sexist dialogue, and horrendous treatment of women. In spite of all that, Tarantino’s film is still a whole lot of blood soaked fun. Though, it’s understandable if this film in-particular falls too bitter for those with sensitive palates.

Kurt Russell stars as John Ruth, a bounty hunter traveling in the middle of winter in Wyoming, handcuffed to Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a bounty he’s transporting to be hanged. In the middle of nowhere he comes upon a stranded Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson), another bounty hunter transporting a trio of dead bodies to collect his bounty. Ruth hesitantly agrees to allow Warren to come on for the ride. The trio stop to hold up at Minnie’s Haberdashery for a couple of days to wait out the storm before continuing on their way. Inside, a handful of gentleman have also taken up residence and Ruth, being a watchful and careful individual, doesn’t trust a one of them. Deciding that at least one of the men isn’t who they say they are he and Warren must keep a watchful eye for someone who might have their eyes set on helping Daisy Domergue go free.  (more…)

Brew & View: The Buzz Awakens

The Movie (No Spoilers)

img_8405To celebrate the long awaited release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it seemed long overdue to bring back a favorite feature of mine, Brew & View. It’s been a long long time–and in a galaxy far away if you will–since we last saw the likes of a Brew & View. Even still, this will not be your typical Brew & View–let’s call it, View & Brew to be a bit more accurate. The following will be a spoiler free review of The Force Awakens, followed by the beer pairing for the film. The beer in question, Toppling Goliath’s Light Speed Pale Ale.

First things first though. It was only a few years ago that J.J. Abrams rejuvenated a series that this reviewer previously had no allegiance to. Abrams successfully injected a sense of enthusiasm and fandom into me that was previously void, so the monumental wait for the filmmaker to tackle a franchise where enthusiasm and fandom already existed was almost unbearable. J.J. tackled the unenviable task of reviving a series that was nearly destroyed by its creator with an uncommon poise and emerged on the other end having given the franchise a much needed infusion of modern tastes that brings Star Wars into a new generation with extreme spectacle.

The Force Awakens picks up some time after the events of Return of the Jedi, wherein Luke has disappeared following a failed attempt to train a group of Jedis. In that time a new threat, the First Order, has risen from the ashes of the Empire, but the Resistance is seeking to ensure that they do not succeed. Both are searching for Luke knowing that he could be the key to stopping the First Order. (more…)

Movie Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

mockingjay2_posterThe revolution continues in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2. At this point in the series there is seemingly no need for introduction, but Katniss finds herself in the final stages of a face-off with her natural enemy President Snow as she and the rebels of District 13 prepare for war with the Capitol.

Once again Jennifer Lawrence continues her masterful portrayal of Katniss Everdeen, but in a series that in it’s final incarnation seems to be treading water. The transition from Part 1 to Part 2 certainly seems to justify being split into two films, but simultaneously feels a bit long winded. Additionally, director Francis Lawrence has made some questionable choices in terms of story details that serve only to bloat the runtime, and short changes certain characters to the point that their impact on the film’s conclusion leaves much to be desired. In the director’s defense though, his source material does much of the same. (more…)

Movie Review: Krampus

krampus_posterIt’s that time of year again, where we fire up the holiday classics to coax out the warm fuzzies of the season, sip egg nog, and endure time with our families. Trick R’ Treat Director, Michael Dougherty, returns behind the camera for a potential Christmas classic of his own, one that’s particularly keen on exploring the endurance test of spending time with people you hate. Krampus, brings to life an obscure holiday legend with a familiar energy and blend of horror and dark humor that only slightly misses the bullseye of being a true classic.

Adam Scott, David Koechner, and Toni Collette lead the cast as a family together for the holidays that do not particularly care for one another. Tom (Scott) and Sarah’s (Collette) son, Max (Emjay Anthony) is having a crisis of his holiday spirit as kids at school and his cousins mock him for his belief in Santa and the spirit of the holiday. His spirit is so shaken that he rips up his letter to Santa and angrily throws it out the window. Unfortunately, Max’s anger has summoned the wrath of the Christmas demon, Krampus, who descends on the neighborhood to punish those who have lost their Christmas spirit.  (more…)

Movie Review: Knock Knock (Blu-ray)

knockknock_posterYou’re home alone, wife and kid out gone for the weekend, and two unbelievably gorgeous women show up at your door. These girls are soaking wet, lost, now waiting for a cab to take them to the correct house. Soon, the flirting begins and gets more intense and before you know it, the women have lured you into some hot and heavy sex. No, this is not the beginning to a Penthouse letter, but the setup for Eli Roth’s latest thriller, Knock Knock.

What would you do? The crux of the film seems to ask this biting question. Surely there isn’t a man out there who doesn’t have an answer ready to draw that makes them look like the perfect boyfriend/husband, but Roth seems to have lazer focus in digging at the itchy scar that is male sexuality and desire.

Yet, this sure doesn’t sound like much of a thriller so far, right? Seems more like the first of many steamy scenes to a porno…except wait..that’s Keanu Reeves. No the actor has not slipped so far as to resort to the adult film industry to make a buck. As it turns out, the gorgeous women that Reeves has just soiled his marital bed with have not happened upon the family man by chance and have some sinister plans to make him pay for his infidelity.  (more…)

Movie Review: Bone Tomahawk

bonetomahawk_posterI don’t spend a whole lot of time imagining my idea cast for a western. That’s usually because westerns are a genre that 1) I don’t know much about and 2) they just aren’t my cup of tea. If I were to ever make that list this much I’ll tell you, Kurt Russell, Richard Jenkins, Patrick Wilson, and Matthew Fox would not be on that list. All fine actors to be sure, but not ones I’d associate with the genre. Then again, S. Craig Zahler doesn’t give a damn what anyone might expect from his debut feature, Bone Tomahawk.

Kurt Russell stars as Sheriff Franklin Hunt who looks after the humble folk of a small town. Their quiet life is uprooted when a drifter stumbles into town raising suspicion of his foul deeds. While receiving medical attention in jail overnight a pack of cave dwelling cannibals roll in and kidnap the drifter and a couple of the towns residents. It becomes the job of the sheriff and a handful of men to make the journey to the cannibals’ lair in order to retrieve the captives- hopefully in one piece.

Hot off Eli Roth’s uneven cannibal flick The Green Inferno, Zahler has a completely different perspective to share with whatever audience will hear him. Zahler’s script is slow, it’s patient, and it’s bold. (more…)

Movie Review: The Martian

themartian_posterRemember that classic bit of dialogue from one of TV’s most acclaimed dramas Breaking Bad where Jesse Pinkman exclaimed in excitement, “Yeah science!” His boyish wonder is precisely how I viewed and how I imagine the world viewing Ridley Scott’s, The Martian. The film is a compilation of imaginative scientific ingenuity and human resilience that’s sure to put a hop in the step of all who gaze upon its beauty.

Matt Damonn stars as astronaut Mark Watney who is left for dead on Mars following a catastrophic storm that sends his team home early from their mission. Remarkably, Watney survived the incident and determined to survive until the next manned mission to Mars lands. However, his cohorts at NASA recognize that their astronaut is still alive through sattalite photos and move to find a way to bring him home safely before he runs out of resources. (more…)

Movie Review: The Green Inferno

greeninferno_posterEli Roth is back and doing what he he does best- killing dumb college kids wondering in foreign places they don’t have any business being in the first place. The Green Inferno finds the filmmaker challenging himself by filming in an environment ripe with complications and emerging with his most beautiful looking film to date when looking beyond the blood and guts. Yet, Roth’s worst tendencies lurk around some of the most pivotal moments keeping the film from being as good or horrifying as it had the potential to be.

The Green Inferno follows Justine (Lorenza Izzo) as a bright-eyed and well intentioned college freshman teetering on the edge of desire to become more actively involved in a group of “activists.” When the group led by Alejandro (Ariel Levy) take on a cause to stop a company from chopping down a Peruvian rainforest and killing a local tribe, Justine joins in. Their plan succeeds in a such a way that leaves Justine questioning her decision to join the cause, but shortly after leaving their plane’s engine fails and crashes in the backyard of the very tribe they were trying to save. Still dressed like the men who’ve been tearing apart their lands the tribe mistakes them as a threat and take the remainder of the group hostage. Unluckily enough, the tribe also has a taste for flesh and the group must find any means of escape before they end up being served for dinner.  (more…)

Movie Review: The Visit

thevisit_posterThe name M. Night Shyamalan hasn’t been synonymous with quality entertainment for quite some time. Recent blunders like After Earth and The Last Airbender have left the director in proverbial filmmaker purgatory. Looking to revamp his own reputation Shyamalan enters the risky realm of found footage horror with The Visit with uber producer Jason Blum at his side. The result, is easily the best film Shyamalan has attached his name to in over a decade.

A pair of kids Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) have never known their grandparents because their mother (Kathryn Hahn) had a falling out with them when she was 19, left home , and hasn’t seen them since. However, the grandparents now desperately want to get to know their grandchildren and reached out online for the chance to spend a week with them. Becca, the film savvy one, decides she wants to make a documentary about the experience as a means for her mother to hear her parents forgive her for leaving so many years prior. Over the course of the week though, it becomes increasingly clear that Nana (Deanna Dunagan) and Pop Pop (Peter McRobbie) either have no control of their mental/physical faculties or are not worthy of reconciliation.  (more…)

Movie Review: The Overnight

theovernight_posterPatrick Brice is enjoying what is likely a busy year right at the beginning of his career- a career which in my opinion has loads of potential. Speaking of loads, The Overnight (Brice’s second feature), is a sex comedy that employs a lot of the same character tricks of Creep. However, unlike Creep the tricks don’t quite leave the same lasting impressions in spite of the film’s undeniable sense of chemistry and mystery.

Los Angeles newbies Alex (Adam Scott) and Emily (Taylor Schilling) looking to get the lay of the land with their young son have a chance meeting in the park with Kurt (Jason Schwartzman). Out of the interaction Kurt invites the family to his house house for a play date that night so that he and his wife can give them the 411 on the area. The night starts harmless enough, but as the night extends into the wee hours of the night things get progressively weirder as Alex and Emily begin to suspect there’s something a little naughty afoot. (more…)