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Category Archives: Movies

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

captain-america-the-winter-soldier-title_25Yes, of course, I’ve been waiting to see this movie from the moment they announced it was going to be made.  Captain America (Chris Evans) is easily my favorite Avenger, apologies to the very hot Hawkeye.  Prior to seeing the first Captain America movie I hadn’t read a comic or seen a cartoon with this character, but after viewing I was completely a fan.  You see the reason I like Captain America more than other heroes is that he doesn’t fit the trend.  There are just too many, fast wheeling, irresponsible guys who suddenly have a great tragedy befall them then they grow up and become super.  Think Iron Man, Green Hornet, Thor, etc.  Then you have the born supers, Wonder Woman and Superman.  But Captain America, he was just a kid from Brooklyn.  He had hero qualities even before the serum; it just enabled him to be able to use them on a grander scale.

Anyway back to the movie.  I’ve seen several places where people have written that this was the movie that Captain America deserved, basically dissing the first movie.  I’ll correct them; this definitely was the sequel he deserved.  Without the first movie laying the groundwork, and still excellent in its own right, the sequel wouldn’t have meant anything.

Of course I’m not going to spoil it for you but I will tell you some of the reasons why this movie is probably my favorite Marvel sequel to date.

Read more at my new blog here.

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Posted by on April 10, 2014 in Movies, Reviews

 

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The Wolf of Wall Street

TheWolfofWallStreetAnother excerpt from a new post on Petals from a Lily; 

I’ve been wanting to see this movie for awhile, not really sure why because I knew very little about it. Maybe it’s because of Leonardo DiCaprio. Ever since seeing him in Django I’ve seen him as a more mature actor. Although he wasn’t bad in Shutter Island or Inception.

However, it’s a wonder I made it to the end of this movie. It’s not bad… although I would argue that it’s a bit too long. But the writing is good, the acting well done, and more than enough going on visually to keep you more than interested. But seriously I was ticked off or nearly nauseous most of the film even though no there are no gross scenes really… Read more here.

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2014 in Movies, Reviews

 

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Pontypool – 3rd Movie of 2014

pontypool_xlgNothing is scarier than the unknown. The movie Pontypool does a very good job at illustrating that. Set in a small radio station located inside a church basement, the day starts out pretty mundane. Then the station starts getting reports of an incident. At first it just seems a like a random small thing but as the reports come in it becomes bigger and more bizarre. The problem for Grant Mazzy (Stephen McHattie), the on-air disc jockey and radio station employees Sydney Briar (Lisa Houle) and Laurel-Ann Drummond (Georgina Reily) is that they have no way of telling if what they are hearing is true or a hoax. And if it is true, what exactly is going on?

You may find Pontypool labelled as a zombie movie and in the strictest sense it’s not. It’s more of an outbreak movie and even then that’s not quite right. The source of what’s going on I don’t think I’ve ever encountered in a movie before. And no I’m not going to tell you what that is, of course.

downloadWhat I will tell you is what I think of the movie. I thought it was pretty awesome, if for no other reason than being different. Some may find it slow cause there isn’t a lot of action for the majority of the film, it takes place in one location, and there is a lot of dialogue. But there is still a good amount of thrills and it makes you think.

Overall this movie gave me the feeling of a feature length Twilight Zone episode, but in a good way. Sure the acting probably could be better, I suppose, although I really did like the character Grant Mazzy. And the small amount of special effects aren’t Hollywood gold, but it doesn’t matter. It’s still a damn good story idea and that’s what’s important here.

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2014 in Movies, Reviews

 

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The Boat That Rocked (Pirate Radio) – 2nd Movie of 2014

PirateRadioPosterHave you ever watched a movie and the whole time you are thinking, “Why didn’t someone make me watch this before now?”, and then when you finish it you wonder if it’s too soon to watch it again? That’s how I feel about Pirate Radio (originally titled The Boat that Rocked).  Seriously.  I don’t know if it’s because of the cast, the music, or the fact that people are thumbing their nose at convention, but I’m seriously in love.

Set in 1966, Pirate Radio is a fictional retelling of a time period when rock-n-roll didn’t rule the airwaves, well not in Britain anyway.  British radios stations could play very little of it and  the only way you could hear more it was from one of the many “pirate” radio stations housed aboard ships in the North Sea.  As much as the government wanted to they hadn’t quite devised a way to shut them down so they played what they wanted.  The ship this movie focuses on is Radio Rock, ran by Quentin played by the ultra-suave Bill Nighy.  Radio Rock is staffed 24/7 by a varied and somewhat motley crew of DJs including The Count (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Simon (Chris O’Dowd), Dave (Nick Frost), and others.

On the other side is the British government intent on taking down Radio Rock and the other pirate stations, because, of course, rock music is evil, anti-establishment, and all that.  Hired by Sir Alistair Dormandy (Kenneth Branagh), Mr. Twatt (Jack Davenport), feel free to giggle, devises many different schemes to dismantle radio freedom.

The movie doesn’t technically have a main character, although the story tends to be presented from the view of “Young” Carl (Tom Sturridge). Carl is a 17 year old boy who is sent to Radio Rock by his mother after he is expelled from school to spend some time with his godfather Quentin.  It’s a coming of age time not only for him but seemingly everyone on the boat.  This movie is not just about the fight to bring music to the masses, but the changes they all go through, both on and off the air.  They find love, or lust, their voice, their purpose, and the play some damn fine music.

It’s hard to convey why I love this movie so much. I think the biggest thing is character investment.  There are just so many different personalities and it doesn’t take long for you to forget they are actors and think of them as people, some of which you wouldn’t mind having as friends.  It also blends the seriousness of the fight with a nice feel good atmosphere.  The highs aren’t too high and the lows are just enough to hit home without depressing the hell out of you.

Now this movie is not without flaws.  There are many glowing anachronisms, particularly if you are an audiophile or a history buff and parts of the movie requires some suspension of disbelief.  But you know, who cares, this movie isn’t about as much about accuracy as it is the experience, the feelings, and to illustrate what can happen not only when you are passionate and believe in something but also when you are brave, or crazy enough to stand up for it.

Long live rock-n-roll.

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2014 in Movies, Reviews

 

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Bounty Killer – 1st Movie of 2014

Just so we are clear, I’m not going to try and watch a movie a day again this year.  Too exhausting.  However, I still love, and plan on watching, a lot of movies, so yesterday I started with Bounty Killer.

Bounty Killer seems like the little movie that could.  It started out as a short in 2011, then was a graphic novel in February 2013, and finally a feature length film in September.  But how is the movie?  It’s actually pretty good.

One thing you will notice about this movie is that it will remind you of other movies. For me it’s a little bit Sin City and a little bit Road Warrior or Doomsday.  But it’s not a bad thing; I actually like how they mixed the elements together to create a pretty clever movie.  The basic plot is this, corporations have taken over the world, literally, as in like running the countries.  Eventually they become involved in wars that plunge the world into a post-apocalyptic waste land. However, the people rise up and now the corporate bigwigs are on the run, with prices on their heads.  That’s where the bounty killers come in.  Tasked by a council, bounty killers hunt down and execute the corporate fugitives for big rewards.  This movie is about two of the best bounty killers, Drifter (Matthew Marsden) and Mary Death (Christian Pitre).  They are celebrities to the regular citizens and are seen as heroes, but both of them are hiding secrets that could get them killed.

Mary Death

Mary Death

If you like guns and over top violence then you will like Bounty Killers. It’s not wall to wall but it gets a bit bloody at times even if it’s unrealistic.  The plot is pretty good,  the costumes are interesting, and special effects are low-budget but not horrible.  I like how they mix in comic book graphics and elements throughout the movie. The dialogue seems like they were going for noir but not quite making it. That’s not to say there isn’t good line or five. Although my favorite lines always seemed to come from Jack LeMans (Barak Hardley) who is Drifter’s caddy; basically the sidekick that makes sure you always have the right weapon at hand and reloads while you keep firing away.

Eve as Mocha Sujata

Eve as Mocha Sujata

Filled with lots of actors you know from other things including Beverly D’Angelo, rapper Eve, and everyone’s favorite odd celebrity Gary Busey, this movie is a pretty decent b-grade action time waster even if it’s a bit cheesy at times.  I could watch it again and not be disappointed.  It’s not fine cinema but most of what I watch isn’t.

The trailer had too many spoilers in my opinion so I leave you with a Red Band clip.  It’s red band because of violence and a minor bit of swearing.

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2014 in Movies, Reviews

 

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Quitting is not failure

I’ve ended my 365 Movies challenge.  Actually I ended on day 318 with the movie Train to Nowhere.  It almost seemed appropriate.  I was not feeling the challenge anymore.  I’m pretty sure I had missed another movie day and most importantly, I wasn’t having any more fun.  It was great when I started, but then it turned into a chore, and in the end I was really starting to dread it, especially when my life became really busy last month.

There was a time when I would have not written this post.  I would’ve let the subject just fade away all the while berating myself for being a failure once again.  But you know something? I am not a failure, I’ve watched 327 movies (I’ve watched two new movies since 318 and this includes the seven movie rewatches) so far this year.

Even more than that, I’ve expanded the types of movies I watch.  I’ve watched movies in Swedish (Patrik, 1,5) German (Rammbock: Berlin Undead, Iron Sky, The Wave #210) , French (Vidocq, Ca$h #252), Hindi (Delhi BellyDhoom), Italian (Gommorah #224), Bokmal-Norwegian (Dead Snow #225) and Hebrew/Yiddish (Eyes Wide Open #170).  I’ve watched comedy, action, science fiction, thrillers, and even a chick flick or two.  I’ve learned about adults with autism (Wretches and Jabberers), illegal immigration (Train to Nowhere #318), and about the architect of the 1965 March on Washington (Brother Outsider:The Life Of Bayard Rustin).  And after all this time, I’ve finally watched the holy frickin’ trilogy (Star Wars #172, The Empire Strikes Back #175, and Return of the Jedi #176).

How can anyone call that a failure?

Will I do this again next year?  Probably not, watching a movie a day can be daunting and besides I have way too many television series in my Netflix queue that I’ve been ignoring.  Besides, I didn’t get to rewatch as many movies as I would have liked to and when I would do a movie marathon it only counted as one movie.  But, of course, I will still be watching movies.  I predict I will watch at least 100 next year, minimum.

One thing I hadn’t expected when I started this challenge was how it would shape parts of my life.  At first I was going to just keep track of them in a notebook, because I was already writing an occasional review for another website.  But then I started writing them here and it helped me so much with my writing skills.  Then someone read some of my reviews and asked me if I would be willing to do a small weekly audio segment.  That became Been Caught Streaming on KJSR.net.  That’s on a hiatus now because I’m becoming a DJ on the station, doing a weekly two hour show playing music from movie soundtracks (Thursdays from 7-9pm EST).  There is a bit a review in there as well but I’m not sure if I’m going to add back the Been Caught Streaming segment yet. It seems I just can’t get away from movies.  Not that it’s a bad thing.

So yes, for all intents and purposes, this is the end of the 365 Movies challenge,  although I will still be keeping track of any other movies I watch in the next 29 days.  But as far as a movie a day?  That’s over, I quit.  But I’m not a failure.

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2013 in Movies, Reviews

 

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Thor: The Dark World – Movie 311 of 365

THOR_TheDarkWorld2013I’ll have to admit I went into this movie with great trepidation; I wasn’t a fan of the first movie. Thor was okay, I guess, but I really hate the son is a bit of a party boy then something happens and he man’s up and takes responsibility movies.  Plus I really didn’t find anyone I could actually care about in the first movie, sorry Loki fans.  Then there was no where near enough Heimdall (Idris Elba) in that first outing. At least this time Heimdall takes off the darn helmet.

Okay, Thor: The Dark World has some good parts besides that and overall I will say it’s better than the first.  Better, but I wouldn’t go as far to call it great. Now I know part of the problem is that I really can’t seem to get into high fantasy.  I usually miss a bit of what’s going on in the narrative and characters seems to be polarized in their personalities.  That and Odin (Anthony Hopkins) is as big of an ass as he was in the first movie.  There are some decent battle scenes but it still seems to be all Thor’s (Chris Hemsworth) show.  I know it’s his movie but I just think Captain America treated the other fighters a bit better.  Asgard is full of warriors, let them shine a bit more.  I definitely could’ve watched more of Sif’s (Jaimie Alexander) fighting skills.

The story line is basic, ancient badass Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), is trying to destroy the nine realms; Thor is trying to stop him.  There is of course more sibling emo times with Thor and Loki (Tom Hiddleston).  Loki is his usual crazy self, dialed back a bit from The Avengers so as not to outshine Thor.  And then there is the really really long distance romance between Thor and Jane Foster (Natalie Portman).  The romance didn’t make me want to barf near as much as the first time.  Actually, I liked Jane in this.

And now that I think of it, I didn’t want to smack Darcy (Kat Dennings) this time.  Darcy is still Darcy, but like Loki, dialed back a bit until she is just quirky, not annoying as hell.  And let’s not forget Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) who mostly just adds to the continuity and plausibility from The Avengers.

So why am I saying this movie is only good and not great?  I wanted more.  I was out of the theater in two hours.  That included the previews and all of the credits (because one never leaves a Marvel movie before the very last credit). Personally I think this movie needed at least another thirty minutes.  With that time they could’ve fleshed out so much more and it wouldn’t have felt rushed.  Explanations went flying by, scenes lacked depth and Thor once again is left seeming pretty flat as a character.  I don’t think this is Hemsworth, just lack of script.  Maybe they were pushing the time is of the essence point, but this movie is so much darker than the first and I don’t believe they really took advantage of that.

Do I feel like I wasted my time? Not really, there is plenty of great action and some touching bits as well.  Also, the funny bits are actually funny and don’t feel as forced as the first time.  However, I am hoping for a director’s cut of The Dark World with the rest of the scenes that would’ve have made this the movie I was hoping it would be.

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2013 in Movies, Reviews

 

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