Movie News

Friday, December 20, 2013

Chris's Review: ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ is solemn musical odyssey into the mind and soul

I like movies. Even more so, I like reviewing movies. But there is a bit of a downside to being a film critic – there is often not much turnaround time. Usually when I review a film, I watch it once then have a day or two to write the article. Often, that just is not long enough.

The fantastic thing about movies, especially the really good ones, is that they have the ability to expand and take on new life inside your mind. If I find myself continuously thinking about a particular film for days after I see it, then more often than not, I know it is good. Unfortunately, there is not much time for this with a deadline looming – which can also be a detriment to the film’s initial reception.

Fortunately, with Inside Llewyn Davis, I not only got to see the film several weeks in advance, but I got to see it twice. And in those extra weeks (and the extra viewing), inside my mind, a good film evolved into a great one.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Christian Bale Lists

Dan Here:
Time for another round of Best Of Lists.

Christian Bale is one of the best actors working in movies. He has had a long and productive career that shows no signs of slowing. He has just received a Golden Globe nomination for his role in the newest film from David O. Russell, AMERICAN HUSTLE. The movie is getting tons of great press and you can read Chris's full, four star review here.

Bale was nominated and won both the Golden Globe and Academy Award as a supporting actor for his work in another Russell film, THE FIGHTER. He has deftly made the transition from child actor to Oscar winner, and along way, done great work in some incredible films, so here are


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Dan's Discs: THE FAMILY

I must be slipping in my old age because I forgot to discuss THE FAMILY, which is now on DVD.

Director Luc Besson is really a jack of all trades. 
He has done everything from Action, to Sci-Fi to Animation and is almost always successful.
Three of his features, LA FEMME NIKITA, LÉON: THE PROFESSIONAL and THE FIFTH ELEMENT are nothing short of brilliant. His latest feature, THE FAMILY, didn't make much of a splash at the box office, but as of now is clinging to a spot in my Top 10 films of 2013.

Besson takes from, and shouts out, many famous gangster films from American cinema. 
The result is a wild ride that really has everything: 
High and low brow comedy, action, drama, romance, thrills and violence.
It's also full of some great acting. 
Old favorites Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Tommy Lee Jones are very entertaining.
There is good work from John D'Leo, who plays a smarter, meaner version of Ferris Bueller. 
And last but certainly not least, a standout performance from Dianna Agron, best know for her work on the TV show GLEE. 

Agron is absolutely smoldering and brings serious emotion to a movie that lives on the edge of being an insane romp. Strike that, the movie is an insane romp, but Agron's performance and storyline line really raise the drama stakes. If you like blood with your comedy, then look no further, because THE FAMILY has plenty of both and much more.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Chris's Review: On being real and playing roles in ‘American Hustle’

American Hustlethe star-studded new film from David O. Russell, the director with the newfound golden touch – is movie all about appearances. It looks like Boogie Nights and feels like Goodfellas (or at least tries really hard to). The film puts a lot into how its actors look on screen, and in turn, their characters do the same within the narrative. Everyone plays a role, in more ways than one.

Throughout the film, there is a lot of talk amongst the characters about the difference between being “real” and “playing your part” – but the fun thing is you never really sure who is being that so-called “real” and who is just playing “a part.” Everyone is trying to stay one step ahead of the game (and each other). Same goes for the film – the filmmakers are trying to stay one or two steps ahead of the audience, so you have a hell of a time trying to figure everybody and their plan out.

Sure, the plot is twisty and the film is tremendous fun, but in the end, American Hustle is all about the superstar cast, all of which is in top form (all the award season love can surely attest to that).


It's Tuesday and two of my favorite films of 2013 are out on disc:

ELYSIUM  is one the best science fiction films in recent memory.
Sure, the plot is not terribly original:
The rich have fled the polluted Earth and moved into an outer space colony, leaving everyone else to scrape out an existence on the toxic planet. Max (Matt Damon) is dying and can only be saved with the medical technology the colony possesses. 
You may have heard stories like this before, but you haven't seen it like this.

Writer/Director Neill Blomkamp follows up his debut film, DISTRICT 9, with breathtaking sequences, a relevant message and quick pacing that leaves you wanting more, not begging for the film to end. ELYSIUM could have easily tried to be more "epic" and dragged you through the history of how Earth became so horrible. Instead, we get a short introduction to the setting and then are taken on a thrill ride with some of the best action of 2013. It's really a shame that the film didn't set the box office on fire: If Blomkamp can do all this with $100 million, I can't imagine what his $200 million film would look like.

Thrilling, dark and disturbing are all words you can use to describe PRISONERS.
It centers around the fallout from the disappearance of two young girls.
Their families seek answers and justice. 
However just because something seems obvious, does not necessarily make it true.

The film is a slow burn that clocks in a two and a half hours, but if you leave to get popcorn, you are doing yourself a great disservice. The film's structure and length only intensify the emotions that the characters and the audience are feeling. It is full of characters who may or may not be exactly what they seem. For me, the standout was Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal). He gives amazing depth to a character that we are basically told nothing about. His subtle performance is some of the actor's finest work, helping make the film one of 2013's best, and definitely, most intense.

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