I Heard That Movie Was...

I Heard That Movie Was...: June 2014

Monday, June 30, 2014

MOVIE REVIEW: They Came Together - 'Like a Corny Romantic Story'

Director: David Wain
Starring: Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Bill Hader
Release Date: June 27, 2014

Director David Wain has tasted success before, he has not one but two Primetime Emmy Awards in his cabinet for his work in Childrens Hospital and has won 'Best Short Film' for Aisle Six at the Chicago International Film Festival. The more bizarre Wain makes his works the funnier the outcome. I still laugh out loud whenever I see Wet Hot American Summer. But that film came out in 2001 and since then Wain's movies have not made me laugh the same way and perhaps it has something to do with Wain leaving his indie roots. 2008's Role Models had its moments and 2012's Wanderlust could have been way better with the performance its actors gave. But now Wain is back with not only his indie roots but with a big chunk of cast members from Wet Hot American Summer in hopes that They Came Together can bring back the laughs.
They Came Together is a parody of the standard conventions of romantic comedies which follows Joel (Paul Rudd) and Molly (Amy Poehler) who first bump into each other on Halloween while wearing matching Benjamin Franklin outfits. They are at an instant dislike for each other and things only go downhill for Joel as Molly finds out he works for a company that wants to run her store out of business. The hostility doesn't last long as soon as the duo finds out they actually have a lot in common.

There are two films that I always try to avoid to watch as much as possible, horror films and romantic comedies. Horror, because nowadays it's rare to actually find a film that scares me. And romantic comedies due to the fact they are all the same. Yes, you'll have different characters, plots, and settings but the overall structure is the same. I'm guessing David Wain has felt my pain as well because They Came Together is a big laugh at the typical romantic comedy setup.

They Came Together follows the storyline of the beloved You've Got Mail, replace Tom Hanks with Paul Rudd, Meg Ryan with Amy Poehler and a book store with a candy store and you get the same premise. Wain also tackles what all romantic comedies have in common for the most part beautifully. Amy Poehler is a klutz so female viewers won't see her as a threat and she has an assistant who helps her with relationship advice but has no life of their own. As for Paul Rudd, he is Jewish but not in a threatening way (they made sure you wouldn't forget this fact throughout the film) and he plays basketball with his friends while they give each other relationship advice.

Every scene for the most part throughout the film will have you laughing. No, you won't be laughing out loud but you'll chuckle here and there at minimum. Wain had a set goal and he achieved it and he would have done it perfectly if it wasn't for a couple of tasteless scenes that the film could have lived without. Even though this film contains laughs and a Judge Judy cameo that I did not expect, I would not see the film in theaters but it is worth your money. Having it in your DVD collection is a must especially if you have grown tired of the romantic comedy genre. I am happy to see Wain go back to his indie routes and hopefully he doesn't leave that again.

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

ADVANCE SCREENING: Win Tickets to an Advance Screening of Planes: Fire & Rescue

I Heard That Movie Was... is giving out a pair of tickets to Disney's latest animated film, Planes: Fire & Rescue. The movie isn't set to hit theaters until July 18th but you and one guest will have the privilege of seeing the film on July 8th. I am no math expert but that is 10 whole days earlier AND you get to save money on two ticket prices!
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Saturday, June 28, 2014

MOVIE REVIEW: Tammy - 'Gimme Some Pies'

Director: Ben Falcone
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon, Dan Aykroyd
Release Date: July 2, 2014

Since Melissa McCarthy's role as Megan in Bridesmaids, she has slowly taken over the game making her one of the hottest comedians in Hollywood. She went on to do the movie Identity Thief with Jason Bateman which was sided with a lot of negative reviews but her next film would end up being one of the biggest surprises of 2013 as a Heat sequel is already in production. Now McCarthy teams up with her husband, Ben Falcone, in hopes to make their first hit together. Falcone makes his directorial debut with a script that both McCarthy and himself wrote. McCarthy already proved to us that she has what it takes to make an audience laugh but Tammy falls short in making anyone laugh and the problems start with the script.
Tammy (Melissa McCarthy) is having a bad day. She’s totaled her clunker car, gotten fired from her thankless job at a greasy burger joint and, instead of finding comfort at home, finds her husband getting comfortable with the neighbor in her own house. It’s time to take her boom box and book it. The bad news is she’s broke and without wheels. The worse news is her grandma, Pearl (Susan Sarandon), is her only option—with a car, cash, and an itch to see Niagara Falls. Not exactly the escape Tammy had in mind. But on the road, with grandma riding shot gun, it may be just what Tammy needs.

The main problem that Tammy deals with is that it doesn't give the main protagonist a strong goal. Yes, Pearl wants to go to Niagara Falls but there is no real importance to it and that makes the audience not care for their journey. What makes it worse, the duo have NO consequences if they fail to make it to Niagara Falls, they will be the exact same character they were from the beginning of the film. Once again, why should I or anyone else care if they get to Niagara Falls then? 

The weak plot can be saved if the characters are amazing. But once again, Falcone and McCarthy fall short of that as well. Pearl is an alcoholic with a health problem. A character development that has been seen in movies before but the health problem was never explained at all throughout the film and alcoholism was executed pretty simply. As for McCarthy's Tammy, the character who is supposed to bring all the laughs, goes through a character development that confuses viewers. Her initial vice is that she is overeats but that disappears early from the film and does not make a return. Then what makes her "funny" is that she is vulgar, has a potty-mouth, and is unpredictable. But besides these antics not bringing in any laughs, all of a sudden and without a warning, she becomes the opposite of all those things as she becomes laid back. 

What made Due Date, another road trip film, starring Zach Galifianakis and Robert Downey Jr. funny is that the two characters had a big contrast making their interactions hilarious. One was crazy, the other was serious. In Tammy, both characters are some sort of crazy making the interactions between the two bland. If the two characters aren't going to be different then at least they are going have an unresolved issue between the two, right? Wrong. Tammy's biggest differences were between her boss, husband and even a deer. Tammy is concerned about her grandmother's drinking but besides that, they got along pretty well. 

Two people who are alike and have no major problems going on a road trip that has 0 consequences if they fail is exactly what Tammy is about. The script did not set up for the film to succeed and everything else that followed can be blamed on the Falcone and McCarthy. Like Tammy in the film, I expect McCarthy to bounce back and give us more films with a script that actually works. I will totally recommend you to skip Tammy and wait until you are channel surfing one night and you happen to pass it.

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

MOVIE REVIEW: Deliver Us from Evil - 'The Doors'

Director: Scott Derrickson
Starring: Eric Bana, Édgar Ramírez, Olivia Munn
Release Date: July 2, 2014

Director Scott Derrickson knows his calling and that happens to be directing horror/thrillers films, something he's been doing for the big screen since 2005 with The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Working with horror films can be difficult, you need to find an original concept and put out a film that can actually scare the audience. Derrickson has put out three films since becoming a director and going off his last major picture, 2012's Sinister, Derrickson is heading in the right path in putting out another successful horror film. Matthew Pejkovic says, "One of the more authentically scary horror thrillers to haunt the screen in some time, a product of smart filmmaking, intriguing premise and a great lead performance from Ethan Hawke" in his review of Sinister. Derrickson only continues this uphill trend as Deliver Us from Evil happens to be his most ambitious film to date which is based on the book Beware the Night by Ralph Sarchie.
New York police officer Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana), struggling with his own personal issues, begins investigating a series of disturbing and inexplicable crimes. He joins forces with an unconventional priest (Edgar Ramírez), schooled in the rituals of exorcism, to combat the frightening and demonic possessions that are terrorizing their city. Inspired by the book, which details Sarchie's bone-chilling real-life cases.

What happens when End of Watch and Se7en fuses? You get Deliver Us from Evil. But the combination is not as good as those films individually. The film begins as a normal cop film about domestic violence and child endangerment but after a major plot revelation the script does a 180 and goes all supernatural. Derrickson does a good job blending a crime drama and an exorcism together. You never feel as if the film was searching for its identity while switching themes.

Deliver Us from Evil starts off with the same problem that most supernatural films have - the main protagonist, Ralph Sarchie, doesn't believe in the evil that is right in front of his face. From seeing a possessed woman who tried to kill her baby to the sounds that only he can hear. It kills a good third of the film as Sarchie remains in denial until he reaches a point where he cannot deny it anymore. But once he reaches that point the film gets interesting, Sarchie goes rogue and isolates himself from his family and co-workers.

But when it comes to the actual 'horror' of the film, you don't really get scared. In my opinion, a horror film excels when they leave the "jump and scare" tactic and use more gore and try to scare the viewers' mental. The scariest moments of the film comes from Sarchie's POV. He uses a flashlight as the only light source due to evil forces burning out all the light bulbs and even holy candles won't burn, creating a lot of the "jump and scare" reactions. To make things worse, Derrickson uses a lot of cliche horror techniques (a child's room at night, a recurring jack in the box sound, and a dilapidated basement) that needs to be retired from films... NOW! But Derrickson does know how make a lengthy exorcism scene not feel lengthy at all and does not kill the momentum of the film.

I left Deliver Us from Evil and thought that the film was good but not because of the horror in which it lacked 100%. Yes, there are scenes I might of have had only one eye opened or shouted "uhhhhh" after but at the end of the day it felt more like a cop movie with some horror aspects instead of a fusion of both with perfect harmony or a horror film with some cop aspects. This movie is worth your money but not the full ticket price, you should buy the film on DVD.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

MOVIE REVIEW: Jersey Boys - 'Too Good To Be True'

Director: Clint Eastwood
Starring: John Lloyd Young, Christopher Walken, Vincent Piazza
Release Date: June 20, 2014

Although Jersey Boys is a hit musical on Broadway, you don't need to see the musical to know that it is very successful. One of the reasons is that it is referenced in films. I mean, if Allen Gamble and Terry Hoitz can be bribed and distracted from their police work with some Jersey Boys' tickets then the musical has to be amazing, right? That was a reference from the 2010 film The Other Guys, if you don't recall who Allen Gamble and Terry Hoitz are. It is only right to take such a successful musical that went on to win four Tony Awards including 'Best Musical' and put it on the big screen. And who gets the privilege of directing it? Nobody else but the man himself, Clint Eastwood. Eastwood has taken a step back from directing since his 2011 film J. Edgar which received its fair share of negative reviews despite Leonardo DiCaprio playing the lead. Unfortunately, Jersey Boys will not avoid the negative reviews as the film falls flat when music isn't involved.
Jersey Boys didn't always go by that name, they were once "The Variety Trio" and Frankie Valli (John Lloyd Young) was Frankie Castelluccio before he entered the band. The group consisted of Tommy Devito (Vincent Piazza), Nick Devito (Johnny Cannizzaro) and Nick Passi (Michael Lomenda) but once Tommy heard Frankie's voice, he took him under his wing and taught him everything he knew. But not everything went well for the group, they just couldn't find that distinct sound. That was until they were introduced to songwriter Bob Gaudio (Erich Bergen). The group went on to rename themselves The Four Seasons and success followed soon after. But like the lyric from their hit 'Can't Take My Eyes Off You', things were too good to be true as the group slowly fell apart.

Clint Eastwood has a resume that leads you to believe that Jersey Boys would be a hit. He was the composer for seven of his films, was on plenty of soundtracks, and has directed a biopic called Bird. So how is it possible that Jersey Boys was not as good as the Broadway musical? Simple, the music Eastwood has produced, composed, and written all have a different sound than of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. See, Eastwood is jazz and the Four Seasons are more pop-ish and the result is Eastwood not having emotional attachment to the music and focusing more on the backstage struggles. 

Besides Eastwood failing to focus on the music as much as the musical does, Eastwood also didn't know what kind of film he wanted to make. He gets caught in between the musical it should be and the Goodfellas vibe that it shouldn't be. Eastwood spends more time going into the history of Tommy DeVito and his criminal past than any other character. To add to the criminal aspect, the band grows a relationship with mobster Gyp DeCarlo (Christopher Walken), and the only positive part of that is that Walken is amazing for the role and gives life to the film whenever he is on screen. But even with that, it's still not a good enough excuse to spend so much time on the mafia aspect when that means the music gets the back burner.

There is no doubt that the music Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons wrote and performed are fun and catchy despite it being a tad bit out-dated, but it should ultimately be the highlight of the film. But the majority of the musical numbers were performed so stiffly that if you are a fan of the musical you would be highly disappointed with the film. With the musical being approximately 15 minutes longer than the film, you're better off seeing the musical. There most likely won't be any awards handed out to this film unlike the musical. Wait until Jersey Boys is on Netflix for you to see it.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

MOVIE REVIEW: How To Train Your Dragon 2 - 'Heart of a Chief, Soul of a Dragon'

Director: Dean DeBlois
Starring: Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Jonah Hill
Release Date: June 13, 2014

In 2010, DreamWorks Animation released How To Train Your Dragon, which was set to be their next trilogy. The results? The fifth highest grossing film that DreamWorks Animation has ever released. The film also went on to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year. But can I say that I'm surprised? Not really. Dean DeBlois is not only the director of this film but he is also the writer. His past works consist of Lilo & Stitch, Mulan, Atlantis: The Lost Empire and more which are all animated films that have succeeded and I have personally enjoyed. With another film in the How To Train Your Dragon trilogy in the works already, DreamWorks Animation might finally have made another franchise that can compete with their most successful Shrek.
It's been 5 years since How To Train Your Dragon and the Vikings continue to live in harmony with the dragons. Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) continues to do things to the beat of his own drum as he journeys uncharted areas with Toothless while Astrid (America Ferrera), Snotlout (Jonah Hill), Fishlegs (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and the rest of the gang are competing in dragon races. One of Hiccup and Toothless' journey leads them to dragon trappers who are working for Drago (Djimon Hounsou) who is planning a dragon war. Now Hiccup and Toothless must unite with the people and dragons of Berk and a mysterious dragon rider to take down Drago before it is too late.

The things that made How To Train Your Dragon amazing is back in the sequel with better animation and visuals. Directors tend to try to change things for a sequel and the elements that made the original work so well finds themselves out the window but DeBlois stays faithful to what made the first film so successful. Due to the sequel being 5 years after the first film, a lot of the characters have matured and no longer have the little kid attitude but that doesn't stop the film from giving you a joyful, feel-good time for not only the children but the parents as well. The film is also a little darker than it’s predecessor.

Besides fire breathing, flying is a huge skill that dragons have and it is beautifully displayed throughout the film. As soon as the film begins it starts off with Astrid, Snotlout, Fishlegs and the rest of Hiccup's classmates participating in a dragon race. The computer generated animation was executed exquisitely and you even grow jealous of Hiccup's ability to fly on his own.

As for the characters, none shine out as much as Jay Baruchel's Hiccup and Toothless, with Toothless being the life of the film. The chemistry between the two characters is as great as it was in the first film. Ferrera's Astrid shined in the earlier parts of the film when she had more dialogue with Hiccup resulting in some heart warming moments. The comedy part of the film was delivered from Ruffnut who was voiced by Kristen Wiig and Gobber who was voiced by Craig Ferguson.

Overall, Dean DeBlois delivers a nearly flawless sequel that all kids are going to love. It is fast paced, well told and beautifully made - a film that should be truly appreciated. You should take your young ones out on a trip to the theaters to actually see this film but you should save some cash and pass on the 3D experience. With only two other animated films set to hit theaters this summer, How To Train Your Dragon 2 should also be a huge hit in the box office and will have a shot in dethroning one of the Shrek films and move into the top 4 most successful DreamWorks Animation film.

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Monday, June 9, 2014

MOVIE REVIEW: The Signal - 'R U Agitated?'

Director: William Eubank
Starring: Laurence Fishburne, Brenton Thwaites, Olivia Cooke, Beau Knapp
Release Date: June 13, 2014

William Eubank made his directorial début with the 2011 sci-fi film Love, which received bittersweet reviews. Now Eubank is back as a director with another sci-fi film The Signal, but this time he was able to do something he wasn’t able to do for Love, get a big name actor like Laurence Fishburne in his cast. Paired with Eubank's skills in cinematography and Fishburne's glorious acting history, can The Signal be the hit Eubank has been aiming for?
Intrigued by reports that a mysterious hacker named Nomad has breached MIT's advance security system and exposed its flaws, freshman Nic (Brenton Thwaities) and Jonah (Beau Knapp) hopped in a car with Nick's girlfriend Hailey (Olivia Cooke), and attempted to track down the elusive computer genius. Eventually, a trail of clues leads the three students deep into the Nevada desert. There, they finally come face-to-face with Nomad and before everything goes black. Later, regaining consciousness in a high-security government facility, a confused Nic quickly finds that the worst is yet to come as Damon awaits him while Nic regains consciousness.

As expected, the cinematography for The Signal was nothing but brilliant and beautiful but coming in, that was not the biggest fear of the film, it was its cohesiveness. Usually, I applaud movies that do not give the audience all the answers in one shot, allowing us to figure it out by ourselves instead of spoon feeding every single detail the writers and directors want to put out. But Eubank, director and co-writer, takes that to a new level to a point where it gets uncontrollable and distasteful. There is one scene in particular that can play as a metaphor for what Eubank did with the film. It is when Thwaities and Fishburne's character are sitting at their desks across from each other, refusing to answer each other’s questions out of stubbornness and wanting to leave the other in the dark. I do not want to take away from the actual scene because alone the scene was great, I mean, when looking at the beautiful cinematography how can you not be entertained? But when you’re finally about to get an explanation of that particular scene, Eubank throws in more puzzle pieces and more distractions.

Eubank's mysterious and hidden plot points were driven in hopes to nag a sequel for this film. And based off of how the film ends you might want a sequel, depending on whether or not you’re fed up with all the mystery. Eubank should take some pointers (not all because it had its flaws as well but better executed) from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 as it was better at building material for the next film and did not leave the audience in the dark with its set up. Eubank’s strategy can work in one of two ways: Everyone will demand a sequel because they want their questions answered or they will want to forget ever watching the film as they are annoyed with their list of unanswered questions.

Eubank also struggles with combining the different tones that the film sets. One tone focuses on the relationship between the characters and the other is that it is an over the top sci-fi flick. The two tones work with the underlying theme of the film but when you mesh the two together, its potency decreases as the film gets more intense.

Besides his cinematography, Eubank does shine with how he worked with the cast. He got the most out his younger actors while handling a big name actor like Laurence Fishburne. But hopefully with a stronger script next time, it would allow the characters more of an opportunity to shine. Cooke and Knapp were underused and Fishburne was too busy being mysterious to get any more out of him.

Overall, wait until you have an opportunity to see this film for free to finally decide to watch it, The Signal can be a pleasant surprise while channel surfing. A weak script and a long list of unanswered questions is enough for you to walk away from this film but if you are a fan of cinematography then the breathtaking visuals is enough reason to have this film in your DVD collection.

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Thursday, June 5, 2014

MOVIE REVIEW: Trust Me - 'You Never Learn Howard'

Director: Clark Gregg
Starring: Clark Gregg, Saxon Sharbino, Sam Rockwell
Release Date: June 6, 2014

Clark Gregg might be well known as Agent Coulson in Marvel Universe, but when he isn't playing an agent he's playing other roles in Hollywood. In 2013 alone, Gregg starred in four films and plays a big role in the television series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. So when it comes to acting, Gregg is no stranger and is very versatile in the roles he can play. But there is one role in Hollywood that Gregg has only taken up once and that is directing. In 2008, Gregg first took the director's seat in Choke, a film that only received a 54% on the Tomatometer from Rotten Tomatoes. 6 years later and Clark is taking a second jab at directing with Trust Me, which made its debut at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival. Unfortunately, not much has improved since Gregg's last time as a director.
Howard Holloway (Clark Gregg) is a child star turned agent for child actors who seems to be struggling at keeping his clients due to his arch-nemesis Aldo Shocklee (Sam Rockwell) being able to woo them all away. Things appear to look dim for Howard and his future as an agent until he meets a talented unsigned 13 year old actress Lydia (Saxon Sharbino) who has just been cast to play a role in the latest movie franchise based on vampires. But closing deals has never been easy for Howard, especially when he has Aldo attempting to steal his new client. Aside from this, Howard has to deal with a drunk and volatile man that is Lydia's father. The closer he gets to achieving the close of his career, Howard grows suspicious that Lydia is not everything that she seems.

The first hour of Trust Me was well put together, delivering a strong plot with jokes to match it. The film opens up with a flash forward of what is to be Howard's demise. Following the first hour of the film, you'll assume that when the film does get to the scene shown in the flash forward that it would be delivered in a comical fashion just like the rest of the film. Oh, how I was greatly mistaken.

The third act is when the tone of the film drastically changes. Suffering from a hurried storyline, Sharbino finds herself changing who she was portraying in the first hour on a dime. The very dark tone shift is about child abuse and how it is to be a young actor in Hollywood. Alone, the third act could work but with how the film set itself up throughout the first hour, the two tone just doesn't mesh the way Gregg hoped it would.

Which is awful because you actually grow to like Gregg's Howard and find yourself rooting for the underdog throughout the film. You want nothing but success for him and when things don't go his way you find yourself laughing. Then as soon as the tone shifts, all the fun you were having with the film just disappears and you catch yourself wondering if you are still watching the same film that you started.

On June 6th, Trust Me is set to hit limited theaters and will also be available for purchase on iTunes and On Demand on the same day. With Edge of Tomorrow and The Fault in Our Stars set to release the same day, you should over look the film and wait for it to be available to watch on Netflix. The third act is enough to ruin your enjoyment of the entire film but Gregg shows us that he is not that far from finally putting it all together when he's in the director's seat.

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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

MOVIE REVIEW: The Fault in Our Stars - 'Pain Demands to be Felt'

Director: Josh Boone
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff
Release Date: June 6, 2014

The Fault in Our Stars is a number-one bestselling novel by John Green that came out in January 2012. 18 months and millions of copies sold later the novel has been adapted into a film. Whenever a book is turned into a film, fans of the book always worry if the film crew will do the book justice. It's a scary thought really, these characters that you fell in love with as you turned the pages can be ruined if the film doesn't bring the characters to life the way you imagined them to be. Will Josh Boone and his crew make thousands of fans happy or will this adaptation turn sour?
Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) and Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort) are two extraordinary teenagers who are fighting the same fight - cancer. They both share an acerbic wit, a disdain for the conventional, and a love that sweeps them – and us – on an unforgettable journey. Their relationship is all the more miraculous, given that they met and fell in love at a cancer support group. The Fault in Our Stars takes us on an unforgettable journey about how it feels to be alive and in love.

If your biggest fear was that the movie adaptation won't live up to the book then take a deep breath of relief because Josh Boone stayed faithful to the book. The screenwriters even took entire passages from the book and inserted them into the script. Yes, there are scenes from the book that did not make the film but that was to be expected due to the film having a run time of 125 minutes. So if there wasn't a scene that did not contribute to getting Hazel and Augustus to Amsterdam or to the ending of the novel then it had to be left out. But even with that, you will not be disappointed. 

Woodley has proven herself as an actress in past films and it is no surprise that she killed it as Hazel Grace. What I enjoyed the most was that she didn't take the easy route by evoking pity or sadness from the viewers with her terminal illness. It's easy to sympathize with any film about cancer due to it being an illness that takes the lives of many loved ones but Woodley doesn't let that happen. Instead, she uses Hazel's goodness and wit to help the audience grow a connection with her. And Elgort does the same thing with Augustus even though he did come off too cocky. The chemistry between the two actors was simply beautiful and I must admit, I fell in love for them after their first interaction in the film. Issac (Nat Wolff) adds the only comic relief throughout the film as a patient whose cancer causes him to lose his eyes.

The greatest strength and what I appreciate the most from the film is that it does not use cancer to pull the tears from our eyes because yes, you will cry in this film. Instead, it uses love as the tearjerker because love is not always perfect and can get quite emotional. Not only does the love between Augustus and Hazel choke you up but the love between Hazel and her parents grows stronger.

"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, 
But in ourselves, that we are underlings." - Cassius
The title of the book and the film is a play on the quote from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. In general, I would agree with Cassius that the faults is indeed not in our stars but in ourselves but in the case of Hazel, Augustus and everyone else with terminal illness, the fault is in their stars.

Overall, I highly recommend going to see The Fault in Our Stars when it hits theaters on June 6th. It is a perfect date film or something you can go see with your family or friends. Make sure you bring your napkins because your hands might be too buttery from eating your popcorn to wipe those tears. This film is by far one of my favorite book to movie adaptations as of late. You'll get the same feelings from reading the book as watching the film. Note, you will shed more tears if you decide to read the novel. 

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

MOVIE REVIEW: Edge of Tomorrow - 'Live. Die. Repeat.'

Director: Doug Liman
Starring: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton
Release Date: June 6, 2013

Tom Cruise has had six action films come out over the last ten years in which he played the lead role but besides two films being part of the Mission Impossible franchise, he has only had one successful movie with his last two films being fairly disappointing. On the other hand, the director of this film Doug Liman, is no stranger to disappointments. Liman's first action film The Bourne Identity was a huge success. Since then, three more films have been added to the Bourne franchise with Liman being the executive producer of the last two and Matt Damon playing the lead. But when it comes to directing once again, Liman has yet to have another hit as Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Jumper never reached the levels of success that his first piece of work did. Can Cruise and Liman, who are both looking for another hit, help each other in this quest or will they both fall short once again?
Edge of Tomorrow kicks off with a string of news reports that show off just a glimpse of what is happening to the planet. Earth has been subject to an alien invasion by creatures given the name 'Mimics' and these Mimics are successful thus far in their attempts that the humans form the United Defense Force as an attempt at one last push to save the planet on the beaches of France. Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) has never seen a day of combat in his life and when he is summoned to London on the eve of the attack he assumes he is needed to oversee the media blitz that will accompany the attack.

Cage is greatly mistaken as General Brigham (Brendan Glesson) orders him to join the first wave so he can deliver a first hand account of what is taken place on the battle field. Cage attempts to get out of this order, being that he cannot stand the sight of blood but finds himself arrested as a deserter and handed to the military instead. Cage is given an ExoSuit and is thrown into battle in which he does not last very long in, dying 10 minutes into the film after killing a unique Mimic. Instead of finding himself in the afterlife, Cage wakes up back in the beginning of his day.

As Cage relives the same day over again, he finds himself ending his days in the same matter, dying. But after each death, Cage wakes up in the beginning of the day and it doesn't take long for him to realize that he is caught in a time loop. Cage is not the first to experience this weird time loop. Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) a.k.a Full Metal Bitch was once caught in the time loop as well. With the help from the Full Metal Bitch, Cage must become a super soldier and take down the Mimics and save the world.

We have seen this kind of story before in Bill Murray's Groundhog Day but in that film the time loop was meant to bring laughter. In Edge of Tomorrow, the time loop is meant to bring misery to Tom Cruise. With time loops you come across a plot that can get quite repetitive and with repetition comes predictability. But Liman does a great job to help avoid predictability by not showing us each day Cage has to repeat giving Liman the power when he wants to reveal a new bit of information each time.

Edge of Tomorrow ultimately feels like a video game at the end of the day. Liman gives us that first person experience. The viewer feels they are actually on the beach with Tom Cruise instead of watching other people doing the fighting. You get the feeling as if you are on the battlefield, the trenches and fighting the Mimics. And just like a video game, you never like dying because that means you need to start in the beginning of the level once again and Tom Cruise gets that feeling for two hours throughout Edge of Tomorrow. Cage grows frustrated with not being able to beat this day-long level and video gamers around the world can connect with that frustration. You'll think that Edge of Tomorrow is based on a video game due to how successful this video game concept played out but it is actually based on the Japanese military science fiction light novel All You Need Is Kill by Yoshitoshi ABe.

The third act is ultimately the weakest part of the film. A predictable love interest between the two heroes emerges. The film does not benefit from it as the duo shines brightest when Rita shoots Cage in the head whenever she feels they need a reset. Rita should be the main hero of the film as the movie wraps up but in typical Cruise fashion he becomes the main man.

Overall Edge of Tomorrow is a blast and I recommend taking your wallets out and seeing the film when it hits theaters and you must see it in IMAX. Liman was one act away from having a perfect film but predictability was unavoidable. I expect Cruise to have his biggest hit in the box office since his 2011 Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol. 

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MOVIE REVIEW: 22 Jump Street - 'Work Hard? Yes. Play Hard? Yes.'

Director: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Starring: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Ice Cube
Release Date: June 13, 2014

21 Jump Street took 2012's summer by a laughing storm as it was one of the best comedies of the year. In the film, Jonah Hill was 28 and Channing Tatum was 32 but were playing undercover high school students. The ages might be off but with the combination of the chemistry between the two and all the jokes within the film, no one really cared that they were double the age of a high school student. Now the actors are two years older and still playing student roles but this time they are freshmen in college. 21 Jump Street was certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and sequels usually never follow suit. But can these over age "students" pull off another hilarious stint?
Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) are back to their usual antics, messing up on the job as regular policemen. And just like last time, Deputy Chief Hardy (Nick Offerman) is tired of it and sends them back undercover. 21 Jump Street has been relocated directly across the street to a bigger and more hi-tech church at 22 Jump Street. Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) gives the undercover cops a similar case as last time: infiltrate the dealers, find the supplier. This time the drug is WhyPhy (Work Hard? Yes. Play Hard? Yes) and instead of going back to high school for a third time, they are going to college.

If there's one thing to take from this film it's that directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller believe in the motto, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Lord and Miller give us the same storyline and recycle the jokes with 22 Jump Street. Do I blame them? No. Why? Because the film gives us the same result as the last one, a hilarious piece of work. The film starts off reflecting on what happened in 21 Jump Street, paying homage to its television route. From there it gets straight to an action scene in which the viewer can tell that the film has a bigger budget this time and if it wasn't obvious with the action scene, there are plenty of jokes throughout the film in which they point that out for you.

The storyline might be reused but it gets a tad bit deeper between Schmidt and Jenko. As they arrive at the college, the duo finds themselves hanging with different crowds that the other does not fit in with. Jenko finds himself on the football team and Schmidt hangs with the artsy students. The strain even goes as far as finding our heroes in a therapy session. Their relationship fallout starts off hilarious with the gags thrown into the storyline but by the end it gets worn outs and you start to feel the lengthiness of the film.

Along with the new jokes, Mercedes (Jillian Bell) added hilarious jokes towards Hill's character which makes their fight scene that much more hilarious by the time it arrives. Ice Cube is in the film more frequently than the first film and he kills every scene that he is in. The filmmakers make a hilarious nod towards Tatum's White House Down and reference other films as well in a jokingly matter throughout the film.

As of June 13th, 22 Jump Street is the best comedy of 2014. If you thought 21 Jump Street was hilarious then you must go to theaters to see the sequel being that it is better than its predecessor. Yes you have the same plot ultimately, but the jokes will have you overlook that and you will enjoy the film completely. Make sure you don't leave until the very end as the end credit sequence is just as funny.

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Sunday, June 1, 2014

May's Movie Recap

What an interesting month May has been for movies, kicking off with Spider-Man swinging around NY for The Amazing Spider-Man 2. But that is not the only super hero film we were given this month as Wolverine went back in time for X-Men: Days of Future Past. While we are on the topic of the past, a monster, the god of monsters to be exact, that has been wrecking havoc since 1954 makes a new appearance in Gareth Edwards' latest remake of Godzilla. These are only three of the many films that were released in May, and believe it or not, none of these are my top pick for May. Here are my top 3 picks and my most disappointing film of the month.
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