Archive | October, 2012

[Review] – The Sessions

31 Oct

Title: The Sessions
Year: 2012
Director: Ben Lewin
Writer: Ben Lewin
Starring: John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy
MPAA Rating: R, strong sexuality including graphic nudity and frank dialogue
Runtime: 95 min
IMDb Rating: 6.7
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Metacritic: 80

The film that came out of this year’s Sundance with the most buzz, being rivaled only by Beasts of the Southern Wild, was Ben Lewin‘s The Sessions, which was back then called The Surrogate. There it won the Audience Award and a Special Jury Prize for Ensemble Acting, was acquired for a huge $6 million by Fox Searchlight and has just now been released so that it can campaign it for some awards glory, and at the very least some really neat nominations are sure to come its way.

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[Review] – Alex Cross

30 Oct

Title: Alex Cross
Year: 2012
Director: Rob Cohen
Writers: Marc Moss and Kerry Williamson, based on the novel by James Patterson
Starring: Tyler Perry, Matthew Fox, Edward Burns, Rachel Nichols, Cicely Tyson, Jean Reno, Giancarlo Esposito
MPAA Rating: PG-13, violence including disturbing images, sexual content, language, drug references, and nudity
Runtime: 101 min
IMDb Rating: 4.9
Rotten Tomatoes: 13%
Metacritic: 30

Alex Cross is a character that has appeared in a bunch of novels from James Patterson (the 20th book headlined by the character is set for release next year), he’s one of those thriller-crime authors who somehow finds a way of releasing a book every month (what that says about their quality, I’ll leave for you to easily decipher). The character was first brought to the screen in 1997’s Kiss the Girls, with Morgan Freeman playing him, and then that one got a sequel, Along Came a Spider. Both of those films, by the way, weren’t particularly good, the typical thriller that had people doing impossible stuff in impossible situations (though, for some reason, I remember having seen Along Came a Spider a bunch of times as a kid), so, yeah, a reboot wasn’t necessarily something people were clamoring for.

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[Review] – Paranormal Activity 4

29 Oct

Title: Paranormal Activity 4
Year: 2012
Directors: Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman
Writer: Christopher Landon, based on a story by Chad Feehan
Starring: Katie Featherston, Kathryn Newton, Brady Allen, Matt Shively
MPAA Rating: R, language and some violence/terror
Runtime: 88 min
IMDb Rating: 4.7
Rotten Tomatoes: 27%
Metacritic: 43

Halloween is coming right up so what does that mean? That’s right, a new Paranormal Activity film is coming right up! Ever since the first one came about in 2007 and made over $190 million on a measly budget it became the new thing, replacing Saw as the yearly scary offering every Halloween and it made the whole found-footage style of filmmaking all the rage because of the low-risk, high-reward of it all. The first one was actually pretty terrific, certainly one of the best horror movies this new decade has seen; the second and third installments, however were decidedly weaker, but I still liked both of them a fair bit, handing out a B grade to both of them in 2010 and 2011.

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[Review] – Middle Of Nowhere

28 Oct

Title: Middle of Nowhere
Year: 2012
Director: Ava DuVernay
Writer: Ava DuVernay
Starring: Emayatzy Corinealdi, David Oyelowo, Lorraine Toussaint, Omari Hardwick
MPAA Rating: R, some language
Runtime: 97 min
IMDb Rating: 4.1
Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Metacritic: 75

Middle of Nowhere, Ava DuVernay‘s second feature which won her the Directing Award for U.S. Dramatic Film at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and which just received nominations for Best Feature and Breakthrough Actor from the Gotham Awards, is a pretty damn unforgettable film. It’s also the kind of film that probably won’t be seen by all that many people but that really, really should. I know so many good films will start flooding theaters at this time of year and the smaller ones will undeniably fall through the cracks for many, but even if you have to go out your way to avoid making Middle of Nowhere one those films you really should, this is one made for smart adults and it’s a little gem that shouldn’t be overseen.

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[Review] – Smashed

25 Oct

Title: Smashed
Year: 2012
Director: James Ponsoldt
Writers: James Ponsoldt and Susan Burke
Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Aaron Paul, Octavia Spencer, Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally, Mary Kay Place
MPAA Rating: R, alcohol abuse, language, some sexual content and brief drug use
Runtime: 85 min
IMDb Rating: 6.8
Rotten Tomatoes: 78%
Metacritic: 73

Smashed is a film that I had been very interested in checking out ever since it came out of this year’s Sundance Film Festival, where it won the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Excellence in Independent Film Producing and where the buzz surrounding the lead performance from Mary Elizabeth Winstead was tracking pretty high. Well, Sony Pictures Classics picked up the distribution rights and now we can all finally see it and make up our own minds. As for me, I was pretty blown away by the film, I thought it achieved greatness often and it all started with the performance from Ms. Winstead, who’s been a favorite of mine for a few years now and finally has the breakout role that should bring her great things.

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[Review] – Seven Psychopaths

24 Oct

Title: Seven Psychopaths
Year: 2012
Director: Martin McDonagh
Writer: Martin McDonagh
Starring: Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken, Tom Waits, Abbie Cornish, Olga Kurylenko, Gabourey Sidibe, Kevin Corrigan, Zeljko Ivanek, Michael Pitt, Michael Stuhlbarg, Harry Dean Stanton
MPAA Rating: R, strong violence, bloody images, pervasive language, sexuality/nudity and some drug use
Runtime: 110 min
IMDb Rating: 8.0
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Metacritic: 66

Martin McDonagh is (inarguably, really) one of the very best living playwrights we have today. The Irishman is the author of the Leenane Trilogy as well as the Aran Islands Trilogy of plays, not to mention The Pillowman and A Behanding in Spokane, and four of his works have received Tony Award nominations for Best Play. Then in 2005 he made Six Shooter, a 27-minute short film starring Brendan Gleeson that won him an Oscar for Best Live Action Short which he would use as a launching pad for In Bruges, his first feature-length effort that would come in 2008 and that would see him reunite with Mr. Gleeson.

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[Review] – Here Comes The Boom

23 Oct

Title: Here Comes the Boom
Year: 2012
Director: Frank Coraci
Writers: Kevin James, Allan Loeb and Rock Reuben
Starring: Kevin James, Salma Hayek, Henry Winkler
MPAA Rating: PG, bouts of MMA sports violence, some rude humor and language
Runtime: 105 min
IMDb Rating: 5.9
Rotten Tomatoes: 41%
Metacritic: 40

Look, I think Kevin James is a funny guy who’s made to seem funnier by the fact that he’s pretty damn likable, there’s a reason why The King of Queens lasted for nine seasons and over 200 episodes. I just really don’t like the stuff he’s been doing after he made the transition to the big-screen. Sure, the role that got him noticed by the movie guys, as Albert Brennaman opposite Will Smith in Hitch, was actually damn funny, but after that he’s been happy just hanging around the Happy Madison team which mostly means he’s been in some really crappy movies as a result.

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