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Trailer Reviews for April 4, 2014

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER



I can’t decide if the Winter Soldier’s identity is supposed to be a secret. Black Widow is talking like the guy’s a big mystery, but you can see his face a couple of times in the trailer. Even if you don’t already know the answer from reading comics, you’ll recognize him from the other movies. It doesn’t really matter, I suppose. I’ll still see it. I like Cap better in his own movies than in the Avengers, because he gets to be funny instead of herding cats around all the time. Also, that winged jet pack is awesome. If I was the Cap, I’d be like: where’s MY winged jet pack?!

CAS AND DYLAN



Let me guess – she has such a meaningful, heartwarming adventure with the dying guy that once he dies she writes a meaningful heartwarming book that gets published super easily, the end. I feel like I’ve seen all this before.

AFFLICTED



Okay, I applaud them for finding a different excuse for their characters to be filming every weird and horrible thing that happens to them, but it doesn’t make sense. Who is editing and uploading the footage to their blog once they’re dead or full of rabies or whatever? And whose first instinct when their buddy comes down with rabies is to grab the camera and take it with them to the hospital? Though illogical, the rabid hulk/spiderman chest camera shots are pretty cool.

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DVDs for April 1, 2014

47 ronin

47 Ronin

Based on a true story (sort of), 47 Ronin features a group of samurai who attack a rival faction to get revenge for the death of their master. The difference between this movie and the other 47 million films about Japanese martial arts is that this one is American, stars Keanu Reeves, and is mostly a vehicle for CGI. Paradoxically, this Japanese story will best be enjoyed by people who are not fans of Japanese cinema because it seems so inferior by comparison. However, if you just want to watch some hackey slashy and cool special effects, you might actually enjoy it.

Buy 47 Ronin on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

anchorman 2

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

Will Ferrell’s iconic newsman and his entourage emerge from the 1970s and attempt to join the 80s by taking over a 24 hour news channel. Like Anchorman, you’ll either love this movie or hate it. Unfortunately the litmus tests seems to be attempting to watch one of the films. Haters (like me) rarely make it to the end. Some clues that you might not like this movie include: disliking other Will Ferrell movies, being offended by sexist/racist/anythingist jokes, and squirming with agony when characters embarrass themselves. Watch at your own risk.

Buy Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

pirate fairy

The Pirate Fairy

In this straight-to-DVD movie, Disney makes yet another feeble attempt to bring its Princess properties into the 21st century… by slapping a 19th century bar wench outfit on a fairy and setting her up as a misunderstood Tinkerbell villain. She apparently stole some pixie dust and Tinkerbell’s crew has to rescue it whilst attempting to sort out their switched-around powers. It’s a Tinkerbell movie so a lot of little girls will like it, but it mostly leaves me wondering who switched Disney’s brains around with bags of rocks.

Buy The Pirate Fairy on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

knights of badassdom

Knights of Badassdom

Knights of Badassdom is a goofy horror comedy about a group of scewups who accidentally summon a succubus while at a live action roleplaying convention (sort of like a pretend medieval camping trip/battle re-enactment). It’s better than Your Highness, mostly because it stars Peter Dinklage and Ryan Kwanten instead of Danny McBride, but it’s still pretty dumb. You might like it if you’re a fan of that Supernatural episode where Sam and Dean infiltrate a LARP convention as part of a case.

Buy Knights of Badassdom on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

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Trailer Reviews for March 28, 2014

NOAH



Literal bible interpretations are not my cup of tea, for the same reason dumb action movies are not my cup of tea. They put something that’s obviously impossible up on screen for dramatic effect and I have an aneurism. Jazzing it up with famous actors and special effects isn’t going to suck me in. Especially not for this movie. I almost had an aneurism just watching the trailer. All the animals in the world will not fit on a boat. Especially not the boat Russel Crowe and his family just built. And while we’re on the subject of boats, that is not a boat. That is a box. It’s too long and it’s not even sealed up. It would crack in half and sink faster than the Titanic. You can say magic helped them all you want, but if they’re floating on magic, why do they even need a boat? I’m really glad I haven’t seen Muppets Most Wanted yet. Otherwise I might have had to go to this.

BAD WORDS



Hmm. I’d see this before I saw Noah (I’d probably watch a Transformers movie before I saw Noah) but I don’t think I’d like it very much. Though I think the concept of an adult technically allowed to compete in a spelling bee because he never passed 8th Grade could be funny, the tone here is too mean and angry to be funny. It would have to be sillier and more heartwarming before I’d go for it.

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DVDs for March 25, 2014

Wolf of Wall Street

The Wolf of Wall Street

This movie, which could also be called Douchebags Spend Your Retirement Savings is the latest in a long line of Martin Scorsese/Leonardo DiCaprio teamups. It tells the true story of a Wall Street stockbroker named Jordan Belfort, who made a buttload of sketchy money and was subsequently tackled by the FBI’s white collar crime division. If you have a heart condition and a burning hatred of fatcat fraudsters, watching this movie will probably kill you.

Buy The Wolf of Wall Street on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

delivery man

Delivery Man

This movie is an Englishization of a Quebec movie called Starbuck. Vince Vaughn plays a screwup who discovers that his sperm bank donations have resulted in the birth of over 500 kids, all of whom want to meet their ‘dad.’ He’s not sure he wants to meet them, so he insinuates himself into their lives without telling them who he is. I’ve never found Vince Vaughn characters as ‘lovable’ as advertised, but you should see this movie just to watch Chris Pratt keep a straight face while being slapped by a toddler.

Buy Delivery Man on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

walking with dinos

Walking with Dinosaurs

This movie was mostly a 3D vehicle made to bring in kids who wanted to see CGI dinosaurs roaming around. While a lot of work was put into the effects, almost none was put into the story. A kid on an archeology trip gets a lecture that turns into a movie about a clumsy little dinosaur whose dinosaur tribe is migrating through a valley full of predators. Bad dialogue, thin plot, and heavy handed lecturing make this a big flop for all but the littlest and least discerning children. Just put on The Land Before Time instead.

Buy Walking with Dinosaurs on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

scooby wrestling

Scooby Doo! Wrestlemania Mystery

Otherwise known as the movie that ruins Scooby Doo. He and the gang travel to a Wrestlemania event (blergh) which is threatened by a ghost bear thing (what??) so the Scooby gang has to solve the mystery before the event can continue. And a bunch of “wrestlers” (sarcastic air quotes) have cartoon cameos. As you can probably guess, I hated big fake wrestling even as a kid (when they were still insisting it was real) but if you or your kids are fans you might like this movie better.

Buy Scooby Doo Wrestlemania Mystery on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

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DVDs for March 18, 2014

frozen

Frozen

Frozen is the big-deal cartoon cartoon of the year (it just won an Oscar) but to me, this confused story about a princess trying to get another princess to unfreeze their land is just Disney’s first, fumbling attempt to bring their damsel-in-distress musical model into the 21st Century. The reindeer is cute and the twists on convention are amusing but the songs all sound the same and the plot meanders all over the place. Check out my full review for more.

Buy Frozen on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

saving mr banks

Saving Mr. Banks

If you’ve ever wanted to see a Disney movie about how they get the rights to make movies, this is for you. It follows the (sort of) true story of author Pamela Travers and her twenty year fight with Walt Disney over the rights to her book Mary Poppins. Travers is portrayed as unpleasant and Disney as a giant man-child and their battle is less interesting than the flashbacks to Travers’ childhood in Australia. It’s not strictly true to life but it does make a compelling movie. Read my review for more.

Buy Saving Mr. Banks on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

american hustle

American Hustle

This movie won a bunch of Golden Globes but no Oscars (as is usually the way with Golden Globes and Oscars) and is almost as popular as David O. Russell’s last movie, Silver Linings Playlist. It didn’t appeal to me, but if you like crime dramas where everyone’s in over their head and nobody’s quite sure who’s going to be conned by who when, then you might. It follows a pair of con artists (Christian Bale, Amy Adams) and an FBI agent (Bradley Cooper) who worm their way into mafia circles in New Jersey.

Buy American Hustle on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

mandela

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

This film, which is based on Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, is a school history style overview of Mandela’s life, starting with his childhood. It chronicles his opposition to South Africa’s racist Apartheid policy, the time he spent in jail, and his decision to pursue a peaceful resolution. It ends with him becoming president. Since this movie is more about ideology and personal struggle than chronicling the violence of the time, it’s not too gritty to show to young people. With a PG-13 rating, it’s appropriate for classes of junior high schoolers and above.

Buy Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

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Need for Speed Review

poster from the Walt Disney Pictures film Need for Speed

My brother and I were all set to see Grand Budapest Hotel this weekend. Then I opened up the theater schedule and the only new movie playing was Need for Speed. In 3D. While I don’t hate cars (Top Gear is one of my favorite shows) I do hate dumb things. And this movie is based on a video game with no actual people in it.

A street racer jailed on a false manslaughter charge drives a one of a kind car across the country to defeat the real killer in a secret street race.

With the plot and character motivations tenuous at best, the real reason to watch Need for Speed is the cars. Though it does feature non-CGI race action and European supercars like the Bugatti Veyron, Lamborghini Elemento, and Koenigsegg Agera, it’s a shame that the star of this movie is a boring old Ford Mustang (GT500). For that we can probably blame sponsorship and the fact that the movie is American.

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Mr. Peabody and Sherman Review

poster from the Dreamworks Pictures film Mr. Peabody and Sherman

No way was I paying $14 to be bored to sleep by Slow Motion Swordfight 2: Now With More Beards and Instagram Filters, so my choice this week was cartoons. I only vaguely remembered Mr. Peabody from when I was little, so I could watch the reboot without all those pesky predetermined notions you usually have with a remake.

A hyperintelligent dog tries to keep his adoptive son out of trouble after he messes up the past trying to impress a girl from school.

My major concern was that I would be annoyed by the inevitable historical and scientific inaccuracies, but the movie is so hilarious that I ended up not caring about any of that. It also has some interesting things to say about adoption if you’re paying attention, so it’s both cute and funny. Take the kids. You’ll both like it.

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Trailer Reviews for March 7, 2014

300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE



I know I have a long history of watching not-otherwise-awesome programs featuring shirtless dudes, but even I have to draw the line somewhere. The first 300 movie bored me so hard I almost fell asleep. I blame it on a combination of irritating filmmaking gimmicks (filters, slow motion) and beards. I never was a fan of beards.

MR. PEABODY AND SHERMAN TRAILER



I only vaguely remember this show growing up, which is good, because I won’t care if they changed a bunch of things for the movie. I like history jokes and the trailer was pretty cute, so I’ll go. I just hope it’s funny enough to mask all the inevitable historical inaccuracies and broken rules of time traveling.

NO CLUE



I hate film noir, but this movie makes fun of it, so that’s a plus. Also, it’s Canadian, features Amy Smart, and looks half decently funny, so that’s enough for me… to check out on DVD… later.

ALAN PARTRIDGE



Apparently this movie is called Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa in regions (Britiain) where they actually know who Alan Partridge is (a BBC radio sketch comedy character). I normally like British comedy and Steve Coogan, but honestly, this trailer isn’t all that funny and it doesn’t give me much of an idea what the movie’s about. I’ll pass.

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DVDs for February 25, 2014

Whoops! It seems I accidentally did the DVDs for this week on February 4… which makes me wonder what actually DID come out February 4? Anyway here are those releases again, and this time it’s not a lie!

gravity

Gravity

The #2 best movie of 2013 (according to me) is now available to own! If you’ve seen it, you’re probably already pre-ordered your copy. If you haven’t see it – buy one now. It’s the thrillingest thriller I’ve seen in… possibly ever. Sandra Bullock plays an astronaut with a tragic past who struggles to stay alive in space after her shuttle is destroyed by debris. There are some science problems if you think about it too hard, but that doesn’t matter, because the rest of it is so awesome. Read my full review for more.

Buy Gravity on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

thor 2

Thor: The Dark World

Coincidentally, the #4 best movie of 2013 (according to me) is also available to own today. Thor himself may not be my favorite superhero (or even my favorite Avenger) but his movies are full of fun, action, witty jokes, and science. Fun science, not real science. In this one, Thor teams up with his (girl)fan-favorite brother Loki and portal-hop-battles an evil elf who wants to take over the universe with dark matter. Awesome! You can read my review for more or just go buy it already.

Buy Thor: The Dark World on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

nebraska

Nebraska

The quote on the DVD box, from the LA Times reviewer, says: “one of those movies I’ll watch for the rest of my life.” “Because it seems like it goes on forever,” my brain finished for him. This is one of those movies you either love or hate. If you’re into indie art house American slice-of-life drama, then you’ll think it’s the bees knees. If, however, you don’t, the prospect of a crotchety geezer trekking across a dreary black and white landscape to collect a scam lottery prize, occasionally stopping to argue with other local caricatures, will probably seem boring and pretentious.

Buy Nebraska on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

twice born

Twice Born

In Twice Born, Penelope Cruz plays a single mother who takes her teenaged son to Sarajevo so she can tell him all about his dad (Emile Hirsch), who died in the Bosnian war. Normally I’m all for depressing stories about Bosnia. I liked The Whistleblower, Welcome to Saeajevo, and Savior. But I think they would have done better to focus the depressingness on the conflict and the people caught up in it rather than trying to shoehorn in the same adultery/betrayal/marriage on the rocks drama that we’ve seen a million times. I recommend one of the other three movies I mentioned instead.

Buy Twice Born on DVD.

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Pompeii Review

poster from the Sony Pictures film Pompeii

This week’s film selection was brought to you by nepotism. My brother worked in the sound department for Pompeii (filling in – sadly he’s not in the credits) so of course our family turned out in support. I’m not sure I would have bothered with this one otherwise. The effects looked cool and there’s Kit Harington, but the Pompeii story is not one of my hot buttons.

A Celtic gladiator competes with a skeezy Roman senator for the love of a wealthy daughter of Pompeii… on the eve of a giant volcano explosion!

The story of Pompeii is a paint-by-numbers construct, taking all your standard hero clichés and assembling them into a half-decently pretty canvas that is subsequently destroyed by the REAL star of the movie: the volcano effects. I enjoyed it, but I seriously doubt it will make anyone’s ‘best of’ list.

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