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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Rules Don't Apply - Box Office Review

Warren Beatty returns to the big screen portraying the eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes in this biopic that examines a possible love story between a two young bright eyed enthusiasts looking to make a mark on Southern California circa 1958 along with their entanglements with Mr Hughes. So let’s dive in and take a look at “Rules Don’t Apply” in this box office review…


Overall I was pleased with the film. It gave me exactly what I was hoping it would which was a fun period piece of Hollywood back in the 50’s. The characters were bit exaggerated but the relationship drama made it feel relatable but still a bit over the top. Everyone played their parts to almost exactness which also made it feel more theatrical and less cinematic. As I continued through the film I wondered how much more enjoyable it would be live on stage because of how the story was presented on screen. In short, you could almost say it feels like a Hallmark or Lifetime film. 

The acting talent was spectacular. Warren Beatty, Mathew Broderick, Alden Ehrenreich, Alec Baldwin, Candice Bergen, Martin Sheen and more. There’s almost too much talent in this movie and everyone of them performed well. I don’t recall a single character being a distraction but instead they all fit into the dramatic puzzle playing out on screen. There’s love, angst, jealousy, humor, depression, anxiety, passion and more. It was one of those films that just feels like a refreshing cinematic treat which doesn’t come along often. 


The title of the movie stems from a conversation between a driver and budding hollywood wannabe starlet and then evolves into an enchantingly simple piano/vocal ballad. The progression of the character to find herself in a position where the song just comes from within her heart onto the keys of the piano and from her voice was wonderful. I would purchase the song off iTunes for .99 cents in a heart beat. It was simple and charming. It was universal to everyone who’s ever been in love and looked across the table at their lover and told them, the rules don’t apply to you. There was a magical moment captured wonderfully on screen in that exact moment.



Rules Don’t Apply” is in theaters now! As much as I enjoyed this film I won’t recommend you see it on the big screen. The cost of the ticket is only paying for the acting talent and one moment where a song is born. The rest of the film, as I stated previously, feels like a Hallmark or Lifetime movies. It’s great for Sunday afternoons on the couch if you rent it from Redbox or VOD it. It’s a perfect at home relaxing movie because it won’t ask much of you but might give your heart a tickle by the end of the film. I should also caution you that while it has some touching moments, in the end, it’s a man’s decent into isolation and insanity. The story of Howard Hughes doesn’t end well and this movie concludes with that tragic reminder.


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Saturday, December 3, 2016

Moana - Box Office Review


There’s a possibility you experience some level of confusion on what is a disney animated film and what isn’t. Between Disney Animation and Pixar it can be difficult to stay on top of who is doing what with which characters and what stories. This review will be on a Disney animated feature so let’s dive in and take a look at “Moana” in this box office review…


This is the story of a culture who celebrated their own mythology of gods and men. It looks at the balance of mans contributions while still being under the rule of nature and the effects of a decision a demigod made long ago. The movie examines what it means to unique, to be passionate, determined and also part of something larger, more communal. This is all done through a few characters, a few songs, and a very charming film. 

We first meet the mythology of the culture as told by the grandmother of the king. She is considered to be the island “crazy” woman and she is animated and voiced to perfection for this role. From there we see the standard struggle between father and child as the free spirited youth, Moana, desires to explore the ocean and it’s only when the island begins to die that she is able to escape her fathers rule and head out to sea to find the demigod who started the whole matter. 
The film blends nicely the balance of male and female empowerment. It’s centered around Moana so there is a lean towards her characters triumphs over Maui the demigods successes but that is to be expected. So, as we have read in Greek mythology it is not the gods who get credit but man for his, or in this case, her efforts to help the demigods and gods overcome a struggle. 


The character balance of Moana and Maui was excellent. One, a self centered, narcissist demigod who is hiding more than he is revealing and a determined, passionate, family oriented princess who the ocean, and a bizarre chicken, have taken sides with. The dialogue and interactions between these two characters made the film enjoyable and thankfully so because they were the majority of the movie. Auli’i Cravalho voice Moana well and made her animated character believable. Maui as voiced by “Dwayne (the Rock) Johnson” is as charismatic as always. It’s impossible for this gentleman to be anything but charisma. 



Moana” is in theaters now! If you have kids or enjoy Disney animated films I definitely recommend seeing this on the big screen. If you prefer to save your hard earned dollars for holiday shopping I won’t try and convince you otherwise. This movie can equally enjoyed on the big screen as well as your home screen. My only criticism of this film was the song that Jermaine Clement performed midway through the film. I love Jermaine’s talents and his band “Flight of the ConChords” but this song, much like the opening song in “Tangled” felt like a pop tune and not the Disney/Broadway musical stylings I have come to enjoy. Other than that, I enjoyed this film and I definitely recommend you see it, either at the movies as a family or at home as a family. I still don't believe this is the best animated film of the year, "Kubo and the Two Strings" is holding my top spot but it's a great animated film.


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Friday, December 2, 2016

Act 188: Jessie's Movie Challenge

Jessie leads Masked Blogster and crew through a bracket of the worst movies chosen by show regulars. The winning worst movie will be screened with a live commentary. God help us all.

To listen, click here. To download, right click and "Save As..."

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Movie Review: Murmur of the Heart (1971)

Murmur of the Heart(Le Souffle Au Coeur) is movie by Louis Malle in the "coming of age" realm.  Fourteen year old Laurent(Benoit Ferreux) is the main character and he gets into all kinds of mischief.  Hustling on the streets for the Red Cross, stealing jazz albums from the local music shops, smoking, drinking, being hit on by a priest and more.  There were aspects of this film I really enjoyed and others that left me upset.  This review goes into detail in some aspects so if you have not seen it and do not want to be spoiled fully, please do not read past the next paragraph.

What I do like about Murmer of the Heart is the progression of Laurent.  He comes from a well to do family but it is a family that has their own issues.  Laurent's father(Daniel Gelin) doesn't show much affection, the mother(Lea Massari) shows entirely too much affection, and the two older brothers(Fabian Ferreux and Marc Winocourt) are just out to have a good time throughout(almost like sexual deviant versions of the twin Weasleys from Harry Potter).  Unlike the Weasley boys, by good time, I mean sexually harassing the maids, comparing penis sizes, getting Laurent drunk, taking their younger brother to a brothel and then interrupting the act.  We will get into the relationship with the mother shortly.

Later in the film, young Laurent is found to have a heart murmur and requires extra special care.
 Under unusual circumstances, Laurent must stay in a hotel with his mother and father.  This is where we get much more into Laurent and his mother's odd relationship.  She is very loving but she is also unhappy at home.  Laurent has seen his mother leave with another man at home and he also knows of this person coming to their hotel room.  Laurent loves his mother and supports her decisions.  That love goes to other extremes as Laurent goes to the hotel room when his mother leaves with her undercover lover and puts on her undergarments.  We later find that the man his mother was having the affair with did not want to continue.   Lea Massari is a beautiful woman and it is played up in this film.  Every man and boy wants to be with her and this upsets Laurent.  This all culminates on Bastille Day where, during the celebration, multiple men are vying for the affection of Laurent's mother.  The two of them leave drunkenly back to the hotel room.  It's just the two of them and they show each other how much they love each other the way no mother and son should.  Oddly enough, neither is ashamed.  The mother, realizing what happened, lets Laurent know it can't happen again although she will look back at it as something beautiful.

The progression throughout this movie was shot wonderfully and that was the aspect I really enjoyed.  Unfortunately, I figured there was going to be some sort of incest in this film the way the boys played with each other and the smothering nature of the amazingly attractive mother.

I received this movie in the Boxwalla Film Subscription Box.  You can read my reviews of those boxes at HelloSubscription.

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Monday, November 28, 2016

The Flash Review: Season 3 Episode 6 "Shade"


The Flash Season 3 Episode 6
“Shade”

Starring:
Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Danielle Panabaker, Carlos Valdes, Keiynan Lonsdale, Tom Cavanagh, Jesse L. Martin, Tom Felton, Mike McLeod

Synopsis:
Wally starts to have visions of him being Kid Flash so Barry tells him the truth about his powers in Flashpoint. Meanwhile, the rest of the group find out about Caitlin’s Killer Frost powers.


Final Thoughts:
We finally got the Wally West centric episode, with dreams of the Flashpoint alter-ego, Wally is more than determined to become Kid Flash. This is another character much like James Olsen which doesn’t feel like a natural fit to the show. There seems more forcing the character on the audience this year, which involves more complaining about not being a hero. I’ve been worried about the direction of The Flash with adding new speedsters to the show, I’m not sure if this will have any effect on Barry going forward or if its just a way to build upon the CW DC Universe, but adding Jesse Quick seemed to happen naturally while this story with Wally hasn’t and much like James with Supergirl. And just like James there is way more negative commentary from fans of the show about the character. 


With that being said, the rest of the episode was great. Especially with the torn emotions of Caitlin worrying about turning into Killer Frost and what the rest of the team will think. I am loving this character arc, but on a personal note worried because I absolutely love the character of Caitlin and wonder if they will ultimately turn her evil or try and keep her on the hero side. 


Finally, we learn that Alchemy isn’t the actual villain of the season which seemed a little weird since he has been a vocal point all season. But with the ending of Episode 6 we were introduced to Savitar who has taken the mantel of God amount all speedsters. 


What are your thoughts of the episode? Leave your comments below.


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Supergirl Review: Season 2 Episode 6 "Changing"


Supergirl Season 2 Episode 6
“Changing”

Starring:
Melissa Benoist, Mehcad Brooks, Chyler Leigh, Jeremy Jordan, Floriana Lima, Chris Wood, David Harewood, Brenda Strong, Sharon Leal, William Mapother, Nikohl Boosheri

Synopsis:
The Guardian arrives to lend a hand when an Alien parasite drains Supergirl of her Power. Mon-El contemplates his motives when he considers a new Career. Alex faces a new reality.


Final Thoughts:
The episode see an Alien parasite take over a human body and start to attack civilians. Both J’onn J’onzz and supergirl go to the stop the alien when both of their powers are taken from them. While Supergirl was able to recover before the end of the episode Martian Manhunter was not so lucky and needed the help of M’gann M’orzz. 


A lot of this episode centered on the growth of Mon-El and Alex Danvers character. While one was searching for his place on this new planet and whether he wants to be a hero or not. The other, Alex, was learning more about her self and who she is becoming.


This was an interesting episode, I am loving what they are doing with both Alex and Mon-El, however I am still not sure about James Olsen, which we saw become the Guardian. While growth development was great for most of the characters, it is becoming more and more apparent that the shows creators have no clue as to how to save James Olsen. I guess that is what the rest of the season is for, but if we don’t get any more invested in this character it might be time to send him back to Metropolis and the Daily Planet.


Let us know your thoughts of the episode and leave your comments below.


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Legends of Tomorrow Review: Season 2 Episode 5 "Compromised"


Legends of Tomorrow Season 2 Episode 5
“Compromised”

Starring:
Victor Garber, Brandon Routh, Caity Lotz, Franz Drameh, Matt Letscher, Maisie Richardson-Sellers, Nick Zano, Dominic Purcell, Neal McDonough, Graeme McComb, Emily Tennant, Lance Henriksen, Amy Pemberton

Synopsis:
When the Legends trace a timequake to President Reagan’s White House, they are shocked to discover their old enemy Damien Darhk is now a Senior Adviser to Reagan. AS the team works to uncover what Darhk has up his devious sleeve, Sara struggles with the choice of getting revenge or helping with the team;s larger mission. Thinking that the JSA members could be of help, Amaya and Nate break into the JSA and are surprised at what they find. Meanwhile, Stein tries to prevent his younger self from creating an even bigger time Abberation. 


Final Thoughts:
Even though this was an 80’s inspired episode, it was the first episode of the season where the timeline had been affected by Damien Darhk. It was nice to see writers focusing on Darhk and not just having him in an episode as a coincidence of timing. Legends of Tomorrow has been a fun show to watch but until episode 5, it wasn’t a must see show yet this season. Even with this episode focusing on the main villain, I am not sure how this will ultimately change the perception of the show.


There still seems to be a focus on Sara trying to kill Darhk, but so far it seems to just be more of a issue with causing drama between the team. Drama within the team seems to be a major plot this year for many of the DC Shows on the CW, I would like to see a change in this and we really need to see this happen for Legend of Tomorrow more so than Flash or Arrow, especially since each episode of Legends is weaker than the others.


I don’t want to come across as complaining about Legends, this is a solid show which is fun to watch. It may not be must see TV, however you will need to get caught up prior to the major crossover still to come.


Let us know what your thoughts of the 5th episode are and leave your comments below.


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Arrow Review: Season 5 Episode 6 "So It Begins"


Arrow Season 5 Episode 6
“So It Begins”

Starring:
Stephen Amell, David Ramsey, Willa Holland, Emily Bett Rickards, Echo Kellum, Josh Segarra, Paul Blackthorne, Rick Gonzalez, Joe Dinicol, Madison McLaughlin, Tyler Ritter, Carly Pope, David Meunier

Synopsis:
When Prometheus ups his killing spree, Oliver searches for connections between the Victims. Felicity and Curtis discover the victims have a mysterious Link to Oliver’s past and this new secret could upend his new team. Meanwhile, Thea has a Heart-To-Heart with Lance, and Felicity considers telling Malone the truth about her work.


Final Thoughts:
With the 6th episode of the season, Prometheus has now taken center stage. With a need to get the attention of Green Arrow and his team, Prometheus begins to attack random individuals that give clues to Oliver about his past exploits as the Hood. This new information begins to drive a wedge between the new recruits and the old team. Everything about this story has been great, I really love how they are slowly brining along Prometheus. We don’t need the big reveal right now and the writers seem to know that, playing the guessing game and even having the end of the episode point toward Lance just make this story that much greater. The only criticism I really have is the continuing issues with the new recruits, I am and I have seen many fans complain about this, the recruits just need to stop complaining already and start working as a team.


Speaking about Quentin Lance, the under used character finally had a little intrigue attached to him this episode with the tie to prometheus. It’s really the only downside to the entire season thus far, the under use of Paul Blackthorne who still doesn’t have much of a story other than the drinking and this growing father-daughter type bond with Thea. Hopefully the second half of the season see his character begin to be used more to his potential.


Finally lets talk about Felicity, the darling of the CW DC Universe just 2 years ago, the same character which took a major fall in the eyes of most fans seems to be back on track. With that being said, I am starting to get tired of all the Negative comments relating to her character. I was just as frustrated with her through most of the last two season, but the character has really gone back to her origins. And I for one am really enjoying it. As for her relationship with Malone, I am not sure how this will play into the remainder of the season. It seems like there is a continuing tease that she will go back to Oliver, I am more interested in how Malone fits in going forward.


Let us know what your thoughts of the 6th season were, and leave your comments below.


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Photo's are from CW Arrow

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - Box Office Review

A spin off film from a book that is less a book and more a journal of magical beasts and the levels of danger they present and where to locate them, if you can see them at all. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this movie but I got a wizard’s wand for showing up to an early screening. So let’s dive in and take a look at my thoughts of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” in this box office review…


Director David Yates returned to the Harry Potter franchise and that is a good thing. He gave this film a tonally different feel than the previous Potter films. This film was not made for children but young adults and older. It deals with a sort of demonic possession over children, mystical underworld that falls within the vein of speak easy’s during prohibition America and outright murder. To contrast all the dark themes we are presented a socially awkward, endearing, determined caretaker of animals who sees humanity as the violent oppressors, not the creatures. And who better to portray that type of personality than Eddie Redmayne. Despite the fact he couldn’t look people in the eye for long but was able to stop terrible magic and beasts I enjoyed his character and his performance.


The overall story is equally enjoyable. It balances humor and drama quite well. The addition of Dan Fogler was perfect. His blue collar, New York veteran attitude was such a compliment to Eddie’s more reserved and thought filled persona. I enjoyed their on screen chemistry and it made the overall feel of this movie much more worthwhile. 


This review wouldn’t be complete without, of course, mentioning the fantastic beasts. The creativity in this story for bringing these visually stunning creatures to life was superb. The first time we see the “farm” that they are kept on is just as magical as the beasts themselves. Some of the beasts even have unique personalities and some well developed behaviors we’ve seen in real animals. They are humorous, adorable, terrifying, tiny, gigantic, invisible, adaptable and some unpredictable. I found myself just loving the levels JK Rowling went to in creating these wonderful animals. 



Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” is in theaters nows! I have seen this movie twice already. It’s wonderfully done and carries some adult themes about life, death and the role we all can play in making sure that the animals we share the planet with are cared for properly. I very much enjoyed this movie, the characters and of course, the beasts. I definitely recommend you see this film on the big screen. The special effects will look much better on the big screen and it’s worth your time and money. You don’t have to know anything about the Harry Potter franchise either to enjoy this film. The references in this movie are almost meaningless to those of us who love the franchise because they are simply that, references. They do nothing to move the plot or build upon the world created in this film. Go see this movie!


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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Bleed for This - Box Office Review

Based on a true story, champion boxer Vinnie Pazienza was in a car crash that almost completely breaks his neck. He is given two choices from his doctor and he decides to go with the more dangerous option that provides him a slight chance at boxing again. So let’s dive in and take a look at my thoughts on “Bleed for This” in this box office review…


The fact that this was based on a true story and focuses on the triumph of the human spirit should surprise few people being how it was released during the holiday months. This is the time of year for movies like this because now is the time for catching the attention of the Oscars. I can’t say this film will win many awards, if any, but it certainly felt like they were trying to win or at least be nominated. As I watched the film I enjoyed Miles Teller and Aaron Eckhart’s on screen chemistry. They both are talented actors and they appeared to dig into the characters they were portraying. From their first meeting, to private training sessions/physical therapy and back into the ring, these two were believable. 


Ben Younger wrote and directed this biopic. I didn’t recognize the name and when I looked at his IMDB page (see previous hyperlink) it made sense. He hasn’t really directed many films. This movie had some serious pacing issues and it felt like it lasted forever. This movie moves at a slower pace than I anticipated which made my enjoyment lessen. Perhaps after a few more films Younger might work out some of the pacing issues I felt in this film. He clearly understands character development and relationships after watching this movie because the characters were all great. I just felt like time had stopped when the boxing stopped and then slowly started picking up again as the physical therapy started. Maybe that was intentional. I don’t know. 



Bleed for This” is in theaters now. You really have to like boxing movies or biopics to see this on the big screen. Like I mentioned, it’s a very slow film that feels like it’s 3 to 4 hours long but the characters are worth watching. If you have a Sunday afternoon and find it on Redbox or VOD I’d recommend that. It’s a good film that just crawls to the finish line. 


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