Pawn Sacrifice is the true story of the famous chess player Bobby Fischer (Toby Maguire). This movie takes us from his childhood to his world championship matches with Russian nemeses Boris Spassky (Liev Schreiber) at the peak of the cold war.
Just as The Imitation Game did a year before, Pawn Sacrifice takes a subject matter that is almost 50 years old about a man who is misunderstood and was known for mental breakdowns, adds in a couple of great performances and tries to become the next Oscar bait film. Right off the bat, the first thing of note is Toby Maguire and Liev Schreiber great performances. Both of these guys should get the attention of many during this award season. The supporting cast of Peter Sarsgaard and Michael Stuhlbarg also give this film a well-rounded fit that give plenty of aid to Mr. Maguire. For those of you that think this movie is just about Chess, you are wrong. Pawn Sacrifice is about a period of time and how the Cold War drove one of the greatest chess players insane.
It is interesting and sad to learn the history of Bobby Fischer. For those of you that are looking for the competition aspect from the chess play, the final 20 minutes during the championship is quite thrilling. It plays out like many other sports movies by doing a play by play of the matches. However, it is the tension and paranoia that takes place throughout most of the film that will leave the lasting impression. Bobby Fischer was a sick man who may have been smart and gifted, but it was his mental problems that drove his story south. As I said above, Toby McGuire does a great job at showcasing this illness and causing more tension than I was expecting.
As I mentioned before, Pawn Sacrifice felt very much like The Imitation Game minus the gay aspect and Pawn Sacrifice isn’t overly long for what it is. I enjoyed the chess aspect highly and the ending really sucked me in, but it was the mental issues that had me wanting to move forward as Fischer comes off as a whiny baby. I’m not exactly sure of the relevance of the film in 2015, but for those of you interested, this movie isn’t a letdown. I recommend it!
7/10 Stars – The chess match at the end along with the great performances kept my attention even through the annoying paranoia parts.
On August 7th, 1974, French performer Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) ran a high wire from the tops of the World Trade Center buildings in New York City and walked across it several times. This is his story…
Directed by Robert Zemeckis (Flight, Cast Away, Forrest Gump), The Walk is a charismatic journey that showcases the talents of Joseph Gordon-Levitt as he learns a few new tricks for his portrayal of Philippe Petit. Apparently taught by Petit himself for 8 days straight, Gordon-Levitt is charming and likable as he tells us point by point about his “coup” that will take place in New York City. I was skeptical when I went to see this movie due to the fact that it is a 2 hour movie about a guy who walks on a wire, but there is enough background and personal connection to pad the thin story. For those of you that are afraid of heights (as I am), The Walk sure finds ways to make you squirm and, even at times, I found myself closing my eyes due to the tension created about a guy walking at such heights.
You can feel Zemeckis’s trademark atmosphere and likable characters in this movie. It is about conquering your dreams and setting your goals high. I’m not sure how accurate The Walk really is, but I do know that Petit is alive today and he was a major consultant on the film. As far as a movie goes, The Walk is an enjoyable and entertaining good time. It’s interesting to learn about the history of New York and the Twin Towers and I think the cast creates something special out of what is essentially a guy walking on a wire. The ending is tense and dramatic enough that I was squirming in my seat (again, I’m afraid of heights) so that should tell you something.
At the end of the day, The Walk is entertaining and Gordon-Levitt is charming and impressive. I’m not so sure that this movie needed to be in 3D (or if it has much effect for that matter) so I wouldn’t spend your extra money seeing it that way, but I would make sure I saw this movie one way or another. It is very much worth it! Co-starring Ben Kingsley, Charlotte Le Bon, Ben Schwartz, Benedict Samuel, Cesar Domboy, James Badge Dale, and Steve Valentine.
7/10 Stars – Even with a thin story, Zemeckis and Gordon-Levitt breath life and charm into Philippe Petit’s high wire coup.
When a violent storm threatens the habitat of the Ares 3 crew on Mars, the crew decides to abandon the planet. During the evacuation, astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is struck by debris and is unable to be found in the storm. Believing Mark to be dead, the Ares 3 crew leaves Mars bound for Earth and reports the tragedy. However, 2 months later, NASA finds evidence that Mark is not only alive, but healthy and surviving. Now they have to figure out how to bring Mark back home.
Directed by Ridley Scott (Alien, Prometheus, Blade Runner) and adapted from the best-selling book, The Martian seems to be in good hands with a director who knows a thing or two about making sci-fi space movies. Right out of the gate, The Martian is interesting, charming and funny. Within the first 10 minutes of the movie, Mark is missing and the crew is making the decision on whether to leave Mars or keep looking. I love this! Ridley Scott wastes no time with background or development, he jumps right into the main problem and adds the supporting information along the way. This is a sure fire way to grab your audience’s attention and not let go!
Like many other Ridley Scott films, the visuals are stunning. Sure the surface of Mars isn’t that colorful, but the crisp and clear pictures make you feel like you are on the Red Planet. Did I mention this movie is surprisingly charming and funny throughout? Matt Damon is great as the proud and cocky lone Martian, and I simply can not see anyone else playing this role except maybe a young Tom Hanks (think Cast Away and Apollo 13.) You would think that a movie with a 1 man act wouldn’t have a big supporting cast, but the rest of the cast are all big name stars like Jeff Daniels, Michael Pena, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sean Bean, Kristen Wiig and Jessica Chastain. Without this supporting cast, the movie would simply be another Cast Away and the Martian goes above and beyond being a simple survival movie.
I mentioned Cast Away just a moment ago, and some might draw comparisons to that movie, but I think that the Martian is a mixture of Cast Away and Gravity. It has the survival and solo man aspect of Cast Away without all the fear and disillusionment and it takes the space adventure of Gravity without the huge amount of tension and stress. Don’t get me wrong, The Martian has its fair share of stress and fear, but I never felt like I was worried for Watney because we get to see what NASA is up to quite often. Some of you might not like that aspect, but I thought it was calming to know that Mark could actually communicate with others… eventually. You might draw some comparisons to Interstellar as well, but I didn’t like that movie all that much so I won’t comment.
Even with a run time of 144 minutes, The Martian never over stays its welcome. It doesn’t take very long for you to begin loving this movie which in turn makes you that more invested while watching. I strongly believe that The Martian is 2015’s first guaranteed Best Picture nomination and I wouldn’t be surprised if this takes home the Golden Statue. As I watched The Martian, it gave off similar vibes to when I saw Argo in 2012 and we all know what happened there. At the end of the day, it seem that if Matt Damon is in trouble, someone will be there to attempt to save his ass… and give out Oscar nominations at the same time. Co-starring Kate Mara, Benedict Wong, Askel Hennie, Donald Glover, Sebastian Stan, and Mackenzie Davis.
9/10 Stars – The Martian is stunning, crisp, charming, funny and thrilling! First real Oscar bait of the year!
There have been a lot of really cool and exciting discoveries on Mars lately but in all honesty Matt Damon might be the best thing to happen to the second smallest planet in our solar system. The Martian is a stunning, intense and surprisingly funny film.
I won’t bother with a breakdown of the film because my other half has that covered. I will say the fact that its based on a book, The Martian doesn’t necessarily have an original story. Truth is though there is no such thing as an original story. There are definitely unique things about The Martian that get the blood pumping and sustain your interest. Unlike Cast Away which has already been mentioned, The Martian has a strong supporting cast for Matt Damon’s stranded character. What I find astonishing is that every performance is compelling and relevant. Seriously, down to the smallest part everyone has a role to play that is ultimately “mission critical” if you will. Amazingly every actor and actress deliver a memorable performance to boot. Obviously Matt Damon carries the film and he does it well. Perhaps not quite as impressive as Hanks emotional performance in Cast Away, Damon offers his own spin on the abandoned man. The dry and direct humor slays me and Damon does it so well.
I was riveted the entire 144 minutes of The Martian. Even in the slower moments, of which there aren’t really many you are just glued to the screen wondering what Watney will do with the next problem presented to him. I can only imagine if this were reality what someone might do. Now if you aren’t as fascinated by the science the sheer beauty of the film will keep you captive. Ridley Scott never seems to fail a making beautiful films. So the realistic nature and awe inspiring sets of The Martian came as no surprise to me.
There are plenty of reasons to love The Martian and zero reasons to dislike or fault it. It will provide stiff competition for the rest of the films yet to make their debut for the award season. This is definitely a must see.
9/10 Stars – Matt Damon and Ridley Scott have made Mars the center of attention, even more so than NASA and that is impressive! Go check The Martian out you won’t regret it.
Now that Jonathan (Andy Samberg) and Mavis (Selena Gomez) are married, Dracula (Adam Sandler) is more accepting of humans in his life. However, once the young couple have a son, Dracula is obsessed with little Dennis becoming a monster. For whatever reason, Dennis seems to be less and less monster-like with each passing year, and with the possibility of Mavis and Jonathan moving to California, Dracula, along with his monster friends, set out to help Dennis transform before his 5th birthday.
Hotel Transylvania 2 is the kind of family animated movie that is mainly for the younger audience. I understand that most of the talented cast will appeal to the adults, however, just as many of Adam Sandler’s recent films, Hotel Transylvania 2 just isn’t that funny. I chucked at a few jokes along the way, but I never felt as if the movie was made for me. It has most of the same characters from the first movie and is your typical sequel for this caliber of movie. Those of you that enjoyed the first will find much of the same here.
As far as a movie goes, the animation is up to par. The runtime is a little short for my liking as I felt the story was rushed and not much development took place. Again, this movie is for kids so they need shorter movies to keep their attention, but when you have animated family movies out there that both young and old enjoy, I don’t see the need for this film. It’s sad to think that this comedy troupe of friends are on their last leg, but these voices are the same guys who did Grown Ups and that movie wasn’t that spectacular either.
If you have young kids, probably age 6-12 then this is the kind of movie they will love, but as far as the parents go, they will be bored yet glad it is only 90 minutes. All in all, watch the first to gauge if you think you need to see this continuation. It isn’t horrible, but it sure is forgettable. Co-starring voices from Kevin James, Steve Buscemi, David Space, Dana Carvey, Nick Offerman, Keegan-Michael Key, Fran Drescher, Megan Mullally, Mel Brooks, Molly Shannon, and Rob Riggle.
5/10 Stars – This child’s delight will bore parents with the thin story and simple comedy.
A decade ago Jake (Jason Sudeikis) and Lainey (Alison Brie) lost their virginity to one another in college. Since then, they have been in one disastrous relationship after another. When they meet back up after many years, they decide to remain strictly friends because sex only complicates their relationships. However, the more they try to deny their feelings for each other, the more we realize they are perfect together… but will they see it too?
To be honest, there isn’t much new or special here in terms of story or concept. Sleeping With Other People is a typical romantic comedy with a predictable plot about love and sex but the one good thing it has going for it is Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie. These 2 have great chemistry together and are quite funny. The only problem is that, for some, it will be hard to get past the mediocrity to love these characters.
It is sad there isn’t more to say about this movie, but I’m certain that this movie will be forgotten about in 6 months as it doesn’t have any memorable moments or staying power. Watch it if you are bored, otherwise, it isn’t a must see.
6/10 Stars – Sudeikis and Brie are charming and funny, but the story is typical and offers nothing new.
His Review: Pawn Sacrifice is the true story of the famous chess player Bobby Fischer (Toby Maguire). This movie takes us from his childhood to his world championship…
His Review: On August 7th, 1974, French performer Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) ran a high wire from the tops of the World Trade Center buildings in New York…
His Review: When a violent storm threatens the habitat of the Ares 3 crew on Mars, the crew decides to abandon the planet. During the evacuation, astronaut Mark…
His Review: Now that Jonathan (Andy Samberg) and Mavis (Selena Gomez) are married, Dracula (Adam Sandler) is more accepting of humans in his life. However, once the young…