The post’s title is fairly self explanatory, and in spite of not being able to make it out to everything I intended to see this year I still think it was another great year for movies. I seem to say that every year seeing as how there’s always a nice list of movies to pick from when it comes to what were my favorites. This year though, it felt like there was a larger than usual gap in what critics and larger blogs have pinpointed as the best films of the year destined for Oscar gold and the movies I’m about to list below. Doesn’t really matter to me since the Oscars every year are a glaring example of why I don’t put much faith in the yearly awards shows, and why life if some much better if you just embrace what you like instead of what a group of snobs are telling you to like. With that being said…read this list of movies that I’m telling you to like.
J/K….but ya know, since you’re here maybe just take a peek anyway. Thanks!
(10) You Were Never Really Here – Fans of Lynne Ramsay, especially those who may have watched We Need to Talk About Kevin (or rewatched, but I dunno who would do that to themselves) should have known what to expect here. Joaquin Phoenix puts in a stellar yet subtle performance as a tortured veteran doing some pretty depressing work who gets caught up in an even darker conspiracy. (more…)
I wouldn’t say I’m a closet Lady Gaga fan, but let’s be honest, there is a lot to admire about the way the artist handles herself against endless scrutiny and judgmental passes. It’s not entirely likely to change with the release of A Star is Born, but man does it just add one more thing to admire about not just the talents of Gaga, but of Bradley Cooper’s repertoire as well.
We’ve always known Cooper had acting chops to go along with being annoyingly handsome, but the dude has a knack behind the camera as well. A Star is Born is his take on a property that’s been visited and revisited four times now and it’s a testament to the ever-changing landscape of the music industry that it has the capability of seeing even more iterations long after we are gone.
The film follows the road weary Jack (Cooper) as he happens to stumble into a drag bar to quench his alcoholism and is mesmerized by the voice and stage presence of Ally (Gaga). Fascinated by her he persists in learning the rest of her story and eventually inviting her on stage to perform a duet of a song that she regaled him with the night they met. (more…)
Note: The new changes are still in the works, while I work on getting them integrated fully below you’ll fine a taste of what I expect to be the norm for posts on this page. A mixture of life updates, movie/tv/beer reviews.
What’s on tap for today?
Countless other parents before me know the endless barrage of incoherent insanity that comes with the daily life of a two year old. I’m not sure anything prepared me for a photo shoot with TWO two year olds and the resulting absurdism that enfolded. Next, the wife and I took the world’s most annoyingly consumer driven holiday and had ourselves a date night which included some sushi and a trip to the Alamo Drafthouse for a ‘Rowdy Screening’ of Fifty Shades Freed. Lastly, I revisit my childhood to recount a cartoon I’m thinking I didn’t really understand or appreciate for my age at the time…Duckman.
It’s been at least a week now since Valentine’s Day came and went stealing depressing amounts of money from the pockets of men and women alike. Forcing ourselves to buy gifts on a designated day that prove to our SOs that we love them–cause, ya know…how else would they know? Anyway, to commemorate the holiday it was decreed that we take girly girl to a studio and get her pictures taken in a super adorable dress that my wife picked out, that was also on sale (score!). (more…)
Let’s be honest with one another–the Fifty Shades series is an easy target for snarky critics. There’s not much of a challenge in sitting down and pinpointing every illogical turn the movie takes and every laughable line of dialogue uttered by actors who seem as tickled about what they are saying as we are hearing it. It’s hard to take a breath, collect oneself and approach a movie like Fifty Shades Darker and pick out why you should see it–and trust me, no one involved has made it easy.
For every one thing good you can say about James Foley’s film there are a handful more pushing into the spotlight to ruining it for the rest of us. Yet we march on–Fifty Shades Darker picks up shortly after the first film as Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) continues to creepily pine for the plain Jane, Anastasia (Dakota Johnson). After a half-hearted attempt to brush him off, Anastasia agrees to meet with Christian to renegotiate the terms of their “arrangement”. As they embark on their new relationship Christian’s past and Anastasia’s vanilla sex appeal proves to be a little more complicated than they anticipated. (more…)
There’s something I find inherently frustrating about aggressively vague and simplistic one word movie titles. If you think of something like, JAWS- that’s a perfect one word title for the movie it is, powerful, descriptive and memorable. Some movies bypass this by simply putting “the” in front of the title, thus clearing up any confusion of what the movie could possibly be about. Now, let’s talk about SPRING- a movie title so vague that if you didn’t know what you were in for could be extremely off-putting depending on your taste in movie, or pleasantly surprising. If I were to approach someone who asked me what movie I liked recently and I were to say, “I love SPRING,” which carries a few different reactions. Either they will think I’m confused and told them my favorite season, or they will know I just mentioned a movie and hopefully ask a followup question. In rare cases, those who keep an eye on the indie horror circuit will know what I’m talking about and we can continue the conversation.
With a name like SPRING, it’s tough to imagine what a horror film like that could possibly be about- unless you’ve already seen the trailer or read the IMDb synopsis. SPRING is a horror/romance hybrid that follows Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci) who’s hit a bit of a rough patch in his life. His mother, who he’s been taking care of, just passed away and after a scruff in a local bar some rough characters have their sights set on him. If that’s not enough, one morning the cops knock on his door, presumably as a followup following the bar skirmish. Naturally, Evan makes the decision that it’s time to get the hell outta dodge, so he uses some of his inheritance to abscond overseas. He tags along with some Brits as he makes his way around Europe before finding his way to Italy where he decides to plant him self after having an intriguing encounter with a woman, Louise (Nadia Hilker), and finding a job helping an aging olive farmer. Evan again bumps into Louise and the two begin a sprouting romance that seems all too perfect from the outside. (more…)
The two most telling things I can possible say to anyone getting ready to read my ramblings about the Oscars is that (1) as of writing this I haven’t seen all the movies nominated and therefore can’t accurately speak for many of the nominations those movies have gotten (but I will try), and (2) I don’t necessarily care about the Oscars. I know what movies I saw in 2014 that I loved and many of them would have never had a chance to even enter Oscar discussions. Therefore the Oscars are more of a “cherry on top” should any of the movies I loved actually get recognition- and I’m not that big a fan of cherries.
I will say I do enjoy watching the Oscars….some of the time. I feel like the ceremony is too long and there are too many categories I don’t really care that much about. However, I do enjoy watching seasoned actors giving their acceptance speeches, especially if I’m a big fan of said actor/actress. In the event any of my favorite movies, actors, actresses, scores, and writers get recognized for movies I enjoyed during the year I get a pretty satisfying rush even having not been involved in their success. But seeing as how I don’t really hold the Oscars near and dear to my heart it’s more of a momentary celebration than anything I remember long after its over. So…all that being said aren’t you pumped for my predictions now? (more…)
There’s plenty of romantic comedies out there that get a bad rep for being misogynistic or just comedies in general; it’s only fair that the women have their day right? If you don’t want to classify THE OTHER WOMAN as a romantic comedy, I’ll play along, but I will then call it one of the weirdest buddy comedies I’ve seen in a while. It’s got a some sporadic laughs, but so much more about it is so confused and strange that I’m not sure what Nick Cassavetes was really going for.
Things seem to be going great when Carly (Cameron Diaz) meets Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and the two date for months. Carly feels comfortable enough for Mark to meet her father, but when he bails on the meeting last minute Carly begins to suspect something is amiss. Her suspicions are confirmed when she drives out to his home to discover her flame has a wife, Kate (Leslie Mann). Now Kate being tipped of her hubby’s illicit affair she tries like hell to befriend Carly to get to the bottom of Mark’s wrongdoings and discovering more than just infidelity. (more…)
Who out there is getting really tired of these young adult movie adaptations? I know I am. I haven’t even attempted to plunge the depths of the HARRY POTTER series, barely even remember that TWILIGHT was once a thing and the only one that seems to matter right now is THE HUNGER GAMES. Then of course DIVERGENT comes along. A few months ago I had no idea that this even existed- it was merely a weird trailer that meant nothing to me. I was then passed the book recently and I figured, why not? Took me about a week and a half to get through it and my feelings on the book pretty much mirror the film. It’s decent, but nowhere near great.
I barely even want to get into explaining the inner workings of DIVERGENT, but I’ll try. The world went through a massive war and in the wake the inhabitants of Chicago built a fence around the remains of the city, to protect themselves from whatever was left out there. Inside the walls the people in charge created five factions, each with a central set of ideals that they take very seriously. When the children of the society turn a certain age they are required to take a test that gives them an idea of what faction they would mostly likely belong to. However, in rare cases the test is inconclusive indicating the subject is divergent and therefore cannot be pinned to one way of thinking. The children then go through a choosing ceremony where they chose what faction they will spend the rest of their lives in. (more…)
There are so many movies out there with guy humor that get bad wraps for being sexist and so many romantic comedies that get dumped on for being, well, dumb. It seems only natural that one that combines them gets a bad wrap and dumbed on for both of the same reasons. That’s at least the impression I got from a lot of the things I read about THAT AWKWARD MOMENT and I laugh in the face at them all. This a guy’s film that as raunchy as it is, is not nearly as insensitive to the female condition as people will have you believe- and it’s damn funny to boot.
THAT AWKWARD MOMENT is three friends Jason (Zach Efron), Mikey (Michael B. Jordan) and Daniel (Miles Teller) who decide to make a pact to stay single for a while after Mikey’s wife cheats on him and asks for a divorce. The only problem is that once the pact is struck, Jason meets a girl he’s really into, Daniel thinks he might be ready to be in a relationship with a friend that’s been right in front of him the whole time and Mikey finds a way to put life back into his marriage. However, neither friend decides to divulge any of their new life developments to one another causing a serious of hilarious and awkward moments.
Yes, the film is not Shakespeare- but it doesn’t have to be. It’s not the handbook of love and all the secrets to make your love life perfect- but it doesn’t have to be. What it has to be is entertaining and it delivers on that in spades. Anyone telling you this is trash has a stick up their ass and it’s the longest relationship they’ve had. There’s moments of real relationship jitters and cute new relationship goosebumps for the ladies to get their fix and hilarious raunchy guy humor for the fellas. It’s a win win- guys satisfy their gal’s need for romance and get a chuckle for their trouble. More than a chuckle actually. (more…)
Mud – I loved Jeff Nichols previous film TAKE SHELTER, which is why I was pretty amped to check out his latest effort, MUD. Nichols has been able to extract amazing performances from his actors and I had no reason to expect any less this time around. To an extent, MUD is pretty much what I was expecting, although it didn’t quite connect with me as emotionally as TAKE SHELTER- and for specific reasons.
MUD is about two young friends that venture out to an island off the river they live by to find a boat left by recent floods and find it high up in a tree- only thing is that they also find that a fugitive by the name of Mud (Matthew McConaughey) has been making it his home. As it turns out Mud’s presence becomes an obsession for the boys as he entertains them with stories of how he’s here to reunite with his true love, but has to lay low due to some trouble Mud got into for his true love, Juniper (Reese Witherspoon). As Mud uses the boys to retrieve him supplies to fix the boat so he and Juniper can make their escape one of the boys, Ellis (Tye Sheridan) struggles with personal problems of his own that deal with love and family. (more…)