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DRINKING BUDDIES is brewed with care

20 Jan

DRINKING-BUDDIES

Sometimes love is all about timing, Kate (Olivia Wilde) and Luke (Jake Johnson) are co-workers at Chicago brewery. They are best friends that like to drink and flirt with one another, but struggle with romantic feelings because they are dating other people. Writer and director by Joe Swanberg gives a different, but realistic look at relationships that go on in the restaurant industry. Their connection resonated with me, even though I spend my time on the other side of the bar. The actors’ portrayal becomes dynamic when alcohol becomes part of the equation. It looses the characters up and blurs the emotional reactions in the process.  Actions speak louder than words, and this film’s best scenes are those moments of silence. Like most bar relationships, I am left with wishing there was more to it.  Drinking Buddies is brewed with care, but I did not want to order another round.

WORD COUNT: 150

Adam’s Grade: B

Chuck’s Grade: N/A

I am glad I spent time with HER

16 Jan

HER-FILM

Spike Jonze’s latest film ‘Her’, set in the not-too-distant future, tells the story of writer Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), who finds himself falling in love with Samantha, an advanced operating system (Scarlett Johansson), while he is dealing with a divorce from his wife Catherine (Rooney Mara). The film emits warmth and intelligence with its exceptional production design, cinematography, and performances. There is a charming quality to Jonze’s dialogue with both of the characters being tormented by loneliness. Her does not shy away from topical subject material, such as modern society’s dependence on technology. If it has not happened yet, it will in the near future, unless people are to compartmentalize and measure technologies contribution to a better life. Phoenix tops his performance in The Master with this grounded performance while Johansson, captivates our senses with her sultry voice. Her reminds audiences to appreciate the moments with our loved one. I am glad I spent time with Her.

WORD COUNT: 156

Adam’s Grade: A

Chuck’s Grade: N/A

HANSEL AND GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS

9 Jan

HANSEL-AND-GRETEL-WITCH-HUNTERS

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters was a disappointing interpretation of the Grimm fairytale to say the least. The mixture of humor and horror could not match the coolness factor of Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) as witch hunter siblings hellbent on revenge. There were many great ideas in director/writer Tommy Wirkola’s script, but he could not maintain a consistent voice and look throughout the picture that could convince audiences to believe in his story. I could accept the exploding witches (to an extent) and kind-hearted trolls that seemed to be the only creature that could actually kill humans for some reason, but I could not swallow the anachronistic scenes of witches duking it out with Jeremy Renner, as well as the Van Helsing-like modern weapons used in the film. For me, the film was a complete letdown, but I am sure there will be  a sequel with a lesser known cast in the future.

WORD COUNT: 155
Chuck’s Grade: D-
Adam’s Grade: N/A

The World’s End goes down like a good beer

26 Aug

AT-WORLDS-END

Fans of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz will enjoy the hilarious and heartfelt, The World’s End. It concludes the Cornetto Trilogy, which refers to the color and flavor of ice cream in the film. Obviously, very important stuff and I will have to get a triple scoop with each flavor because Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s third installment ends the trilogy on a high note.

Twenty years after a failed attempt of a pub crawl called the ‘Golden Mile’ – 12 pubs, 12 pints, Gary King (Pegg) drags his childhood friends along to complete the hedonistic task. Not even aliens will deter them from this great achievement.

I was impressed with the film’s ability to mix genres and still spend the time developing each of these characters. Unfortunately, I did feel overwhelmed at times with the story’s sci-fi/action sequences and ending, but with repeated viewings I am sure I will grow to appreciate it like a good beer.

WORD COUNT: 157

Adam’s Grade: B+

Chuck’s Grade: N/A

Kick-Ass 2 gets its ass kicked

19 Aug

KICK-ASS-2

The original Kick-Ass surprised audience with its funny story, gratuitous violence, and vulgar language from a cute cast of kids. Three years later, the kids are not as cute and the violence is cartoonish, and the language seems appropriate for your typical high school teenager.

Dave aka Kick-Ass (Aaron Johnson) joins forces with a group of costumed vigilantes led by Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey), while Mindy aka Hit-Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) attempts to live a normal life. Elsewhere, Chris D’Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), seeks revenge against Kick-Ass.

The film mainly lacks a good story. The script tries to set up emotional moment after another and fails miserably. However, the action is entertaining and like the first film, Hit-Girl steals every scene she is in. Kick-Ass 2 gets its ass kicked by the original because it cannot defeat the expectations of its fans and ends up like most sequels, which is not much.

WORD COUNT: 152

Adam’s Grade: C+

Chuck’s Grade: N/A

The Spectacular Now shook me

15 Aug

the-spectacular-now

Eight months into 2013 and The Spectacular Now is the best film I have seen so far. It features a young cast that brings Tim Tharpe’s novel to life. The film follows Sutter Keely (Miles Teller), a high school senior that refuses to live beyond the moment. He has no plans and his interests have led him to a life of hard partying, but after being dumped by his girlfriend he wakes up to something much more.

The film exceeded my expectations because of the performances by Teller and Shailene Woodley. Their chemistry and charisma are charming and pulls you in. This is not your normal coming of age film. Screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber defy the formula and create an unpredictable story that goes to all the right places. I believe it is the most authentic picture of adolescence since John Hughes. The Spectacular Now shook me and took me back to a place I had forgotten about

WORD COUNT: 159

Adam’s Grade: A

Chuck’s Grade: N/A

The Truman Show is the master template for popular entertainment today

1 Aug

THE-TRUMAN-SHOW

The Truman Show is easily one of the most original ideas to emerge from Hollywood in the late 1990s. At the time, reality TV and manufactured amateur celebrities were in its infancy stages. Fifteen years later, the film’s subject material remains relevant because of the public’s obsession with watching this form of entertainment. Society has not degenerated to the level of The Truman Show’s unethical decision to buy the rights of a newborn child to unknowingly serve as the central character in a fake world of scripted characters and controlled events 24 hours a day. It is the perfect combination of soap opera melodrama, reality, and movie magic that will become the master template for popular entertainment today.

Writer Andrew Niccol’s brilliant multi-layered script is funny, dramatic, dark, and intelligent. Ed Harris (Christof) portrayal of a producer/director’s “ends justifies the means” position is powerful while Jim Carrey finally finds a role that allows him to demonstrate his range as an artist.

WORD COUNT: 160

Adam’s Grade: A-

Chuck’s Grade: A

Forgetting Sarah Marshall is remembered

30 Jul

FORGETTING-SARAH-MARSHALL

I have been a fan of Jason Segel and Judd Apatow since Freaks and Geeks. I was excited to see him take the lead role in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Segel wrote himself the perfect part as the jilted boyfriend trying to overcome a recent break-up with a famous TV star (Kristen Bell), and then the infamous first sighting with her new boyfriend (Russell Brand). Putting this relationship behind him becomes a challenge, even after meeting Rachel (Mila Kunis).

Although, Peter is trying to forget Sarah, audiences remember this romantic comedy as one their favorites because everyone has had at least one break up they have tried to get over. It has a likeable cast, clever humor, and some lighthearted moments that resonate with the hopeless romantics. Like many break ups, the drama can drag out longer than it should, but the story is solid and it propels Segel to another level in his career.

WORD COUNT: 157

Adam’s Grade: B

Chuck’s Grade: N/A

The Way, Way Back

22 Jul

THE WAY WAY BACK

The Way, Way back is a coming of age film written and directed by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash. It is your typical Sundance Film Festival featuring a talented cast and a story of a socially awkward character finding his way through the “normal” world of irrational people, until he gets to a place that makes sense for everyone, including the audience. It is a good story but at the same time a “safe movie” that gives some great insight on self-identification and understanding the way of the world.

Maybe I am out of touch, but Duncan’s awkwardness seemed unrealistic to me, although it helped create an interesting character. It wasn’t believable. For me, Owen (Sam Rockwell) was the reason to watch this film. His performance knocks it out of the Water Wizz water park while Trent (Steve Carrell) and Pam (Toni Collette) are a great team and provide the necessary obstacles for Duncan to avoid.

WORD COUNT: 157

Adam’s Grade: B

Chuck’s Grade: N/A

RED was not on my radar

19 Jul

RED-FILM

I had no expectations when I saw this film in 2010. It was not on my radar. I had never heard of the comic and I had already seen Morgan Freeman work with Bruce Willis in Lucky Number Slevin. I wasn’t that impressed with that film, but I was willing to give RED a chance because it adds Helen Mirren and John Malkovich to the ensemble of Retired, Extremely Dangerous operatives. I must admit the film was funny and the action sequences were entertaining. Action-comedies are Willis’s bread and butter, but watching the other three film icons participate was difficult to accept at first, but once I was able to let go of my prejudices I must admit the film was very funny and the action sequences were entertaining. However, I would not watch choose to watch it again, unless it was on cable late at night. With that said, I will wait for RED2 to hit REDbox.

WORD COUNT: 157

Chuck’s Grade: B

Adam’s Grade: C