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  • Joe Movie Poster

    Joe (2014)

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014

    His Review: For the people who know Joe (Nicolas Cage), they would say he is a hard-working woodsman with a kind heart.  Joe lives in the deep south…

    Read More

  • Oculus Movie Poster

    Oculus (2014)

    Saturday, April 12, 2014

    His Review: Oculus tells the story of Kaylie (Karen Gillian) and Tim (Brenton Thwaites) Russell and how their family was torn apart by a supernatural mirror that hung…

    Read More

  • Draft Day Movie Poster

    Draft Day (2014)

    Thursday, April 10, 2014

    Her Review: Aside from the Super Bowl, Draft Day is one of the biggest days of the NFL season.  This draft day, Cleveland Browns GM Sonny Weaver Jr….

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  • Rio 2 Movie Poster

    Rio 2 (2014)

    Monday, April 7, 2014

    Her Review: Blu and Jewel have always thought they were the only ones of their kind left.  Everything changes when Linda and Tulio while on an expedition in…

    Read More

  • Captain America The Winter Soldier Movie Poster

    Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

    Friday, April 4, 2014

    Her Review: Captain America, aka Steve Rogers, is finding it hard to adjust to his modern-day role as hero following the events of New York where he joined…

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Joe (2014)

Joe Movie Poster

His Review:

For the people who know Joe (Nicolas Cage), they would say he is a hard-working woodsman with a kind heart.  Joe lives in the deep south and clears wooded areas for new forestation to be planted and is respected for it.  When a 15 year old boy named Gary (Tye Sheridan) stumbles upon Joe’s crew and asks for work, he is more than eager to be Joe’s right hand man.  Gary’s deadbeat drunk of a father has a real problem with Joe’s generosity and is determined to make both Gary and Joe pay for their disrespect.

I will start off by saying that Joe (the movie) is much more in depth than the synopsis I gave above, however, the main story revolves around Joe, Gary and his father.  Having said that, I can’t help but feel like Joe is very closely related to a movie released about 1 year ago named Mud.  In that movie Matthew McConaughey is a runaway convict named Mud who befriends a young boy that assists him in his further plans.  In my review of Mud, I felt that the movie played the topic “too safe,” but I will say that after seeing Joe, I’m glad Mud was “safe.”  You see, Joe is gritty, dramatic, shocking and sometimes disturbing.  The setting of the deep south sure painted the whole “white trash” vibe perfectly.  Everyone looked as if they hadn’t showered in a week.  Everyone was lighting up cigarettes as soon as the last one finished.  Other than Joe and Gary, it seems that ignorance reigns supreme and I find these kinds of movies, although well made, very hard to watch.  Mud did it in a way that I liked the characters and hoped Mud survived, but I could care less what happened to anyone in Joe.

One thing that is a nice positive was Nicolas Cage’s acting was well done and it’s good to see him back to par (even if it’s in a non-Hollywood film).  At the end of the day, Joe is not what I call entertainment and if anyone asks, I’ll kindly say, “just go watch Mud.”  It is the movie you need to see…  Co-starring Gary Poulter, Ronnie Gene Blevins, and Adriene Mishler.

4/10 Stars – Nasty and gritty in a “white trash” kinda way, Mud did this story much better…

 

Click Below for Links to IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2382396/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/joe_2013/

Bears (2014)

Bears Movie Poster

Her Review:

Bears is the true life adventure story about a mother brown bear and her two young cubs.  Set against the beautiful backdrop of Alaska, Sky, as the narrator John C. Reilly dubs her, and her two new-born cubs awake from hibernation and set out on an adventure together.  The world outside the hibernation den is exciting but also full of danger.  Sky must protect her cubs while at the same time focusing on eating enough to sustain herself and them.

Bears is a nature documentary but beyond straightforward informative knowledge about our world it offers a story and some lovable characters for us as an audience to embrace.  Overall at a run time of barely over an hour the film is light, silly at times but insightful.  It is a good film to take your school age children to see as a family.  There is nothing startling or disturbing so it would even be ‘safe’ for the younger kids as well.  The story behind the lessons is simple and sweet and spoiler alert it does end well.  I expected it to however considering this is marketed as a family film from Disney it wasn’t likely that any of our lovable brown bears would meet with untimely ends.

The beautiful scenery lends itself well to the sweeping camera movements.  However, with such nature documentaries out there as Life, Bears can’t quite live up to the expectations set by those glorious nature documentaries that have gone before.  Don’t get me wrong Bears does a great job but its simplicity and limited subject make you rather glad it is only and hour-long film.

Another oddity about the film was the choice of narrator. John C. Reilly wouldn’t be my first choice. Perhaps budget prevented Disney from obtaining the likes of Morgan Freeman but certainly there are better choices than Reilly.  Although I can admit that his quirkiness worked for certain scenes.  Overall though it was a bit hard to take him seriously.  That may however been the point, I don’t know.  Still, I think I would have preferred another voice to narrate the film.

All in all Bears was pretty much what I expected.  It is a documentary more in tune with the needs of a family and of the level of education for children.  It provides information without the education part being over bearing.  It has beautiful sweeping landscapes and high def shots that will amaze your eyes.  I will however say that I don’t think it is worth paying $10 or more per person to see it.  Maybe save this for an at home viewing with the whole family snuggled on the couch with a warm fire going.  That would be ideal.

6/10 Stars – Pretty much what I expected but definitely better documentaries out there to watch on similar topics.

 

Click Below for Links to IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes:

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/bears_2014/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2458776/?ref_=nv_sr_2

Transcendence (2014)

Transcendence Movie Poster

His Review:

When one of the top researches in the field of Artificial Intelligence, Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp), decides to cross his human self with that of a machine, controversy reigns supreme.  His wife (Rebecca Hall) is the only person who believes that the A.I. she talks to actually is Will himself.  As the machine becomes more omnipresent, and Will’s best friend Max (Paul Bettany) begins to side with the activists against the A.I., Will’s wife decides she much help destroy the man destined to control the world before it’s too late.

I had mixed feelings when I watched the trailers for this movie because I could tell that the suspense factor probably wouldn’t be there like I wanted, and boy was I right!  Transcendence is a snooze fest!  It has zero suspense, action or anything really thought provoking.  Even the all-star cast made me want to nod off throughout the whole entire thing.  The talent of these actors was wasted and my time, as I was hoping for something more intellectual and creepy (like something out of 2001).  There really isn’t much to review since this movie basically lets you down as it doesn’t become humans vs the machines like we hoped for.  If you can’t sleep and have insomnia (now that’s a good movie) than see Transcendence.  Otherwise, save your money, don’t even rent it!

4/10 Stars – Uneventful, boring, thrill-lacking and a waste of a great cast, Transcendence will put you to sleep!

 

Her Review:

Transcendence is an interesting commentary on our technological advancement but falls way short when it comes to being an entertaining film.  Fascinating as the premise of the movie is the fact that from the very beginning it lacks any punch or thrill tells you exactly what to expect from the rest of the film.

Like my husband I suffer from a lack of words to review this film.  It was just plain bad.  I was bored the whole time.  I didn’t care about the characters, the story…nothing.  It wasn’t compelling, exciting or even insightful.  Sure it featured some cool technology, all of which I had seen before thanks to Star Trek.  Sad right?  Fascinating as the tech might be it can’t be the backbone of the film.  I had hoped that the all-star cast might compensate for the lack of drama or compelling dialogue but nope they are only as good as the material.  I guess the saying “polish a turd and you still just have a turd just polished” seems to apply here.  Harsh but true.  Just don’t bother going to see this one and don’t Netflix it either.  Just forget it ever came out and wait for the good stuff opening later this summer.

4/10 Stars – Transcendence takes itself way to seriously to be interesting.

 

Click Below for Links to IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2209764/?ref_=nv_sr_2

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/transcendence_2014/

Heaven Is for Real (2014)

Heaven is for Real Movie Poster

Her Review:

Todd Burpo (Greg Kinnear) is the pastor at a small church in the tiny town of Imperial Nebraska.  His family like so many others have fallen on some hard times with the economy down and jobs scarce.  Times get really hard for the Burpo family when their son Colton (Connor Corum) gets extremely sick and nearly dies on the operating table.  He survives and recounts the details of his amazing journey to heaven, how he met Jesus and other people that were gone long before his birth.  His childlike innocence and matter-of-fact recounting tests his father’s faith and the faith of everyone in the church.  Starring Kelly Reilly, Thomas Haden Church, Lane Styles, Margo Martindale, Jacob Vargas, Thanya Romero, Danso Gordon, Rob Moran, Nancy Sorel, Darcy Fehr, Vivian Winther, Pete Hudson, Ursula Clark.

Heaven Is for Real is based on the number one New York Times best-selling book of the same name that recounts the true events of the Burpo family.  Heaven Is for Real is mostly what you would expect – comfort food for the faithful but yet thought-provoking and sometimes moving for the rest of the world too.

The entire film hinges on the performances of Kinnear and Corum.  So it is truly a miracle that they have a great rapport to carry the film through to the end.  Corum plays the role with the perfect child innocence.  Since he is a child this probably wasn’t extremely difficult for him but I was impressed none-the-less.  I think he was cast perfectly and his performances drew from me all the anticipated emotions of sympathy, love and belief that the director was hoping for.

If you put aside the movie’s agenda (drawn from the book of course) you are left with a well crafted sentimental family drama.  Thought provoking and emotional the film isn’t perfect but it does that job for the most part.  Where things get a little questionable is when they start showing the images of heaven.  I really wish they would have left all that to our imagination because it cheapens the film a bit for them to actually show us because the production value isn’t there.  Worse still the poorly done heaven scenes jolt you out of the happy emotional place you were before thanks to the performances I already mentioned.

Now I have to rant for a second because while I know that 95% of films aren’t filmed where they actually take place this is one where they easily could have done so.  Imperial, which I am intimately familiar with because my mother grew up there and my grandparents still live there, is a small town.  Filming in that area and even in the town wouldn’t have been an issue.  I mean heck at least get some shots of the main street.  Sadly there is no actual footage from Imperial.  Personally that just rubbed me the wrong way.  It won’t bother anyone else….well except maybe my family and some of the residents of Imperial but still it didn’t make things any better for me when things got a little bumpy story wise in the movie.  Again this is just my personal experience but since its my blog I can share!

Ultimately Heaven Is for Real is basically a fancy sermon but instead of being told from a pulpit it is told on a big screen with flashy production value.  Those who are religiously inclined will either love or hate this movie because while it might not seem it the topic is a bit controversial.  The rest who are looking for a movie based on entertainment value might want to look else where and save this one for a Netflix viewing at a later date.

6/10 Stars – Not just another religious film but still not one that will stick around for long I fear

 

Click Below for Links to IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1929263/?ref_=hm_otw_tt

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/heaven_is_for_real/

Oculus (2014)

Oculus Movie Poster

His Review:

Oculus tells the story of Kaylie (Karen Gillian) and Tim (Brenton Thwaites) Russell and how their family was torn apart by a supernatural mirror that hung on the wall in their father’s office.  11 years after the tragedy that sees their parents killed, Kaylie decides to perform an experiment on the mirror to see if her suspicions were correct all along.  Tim is reluctant to acknowledge the past had anything to do with the mirror due to a long hospitalization for psychiatric evaluation, but it’s not long before he is reliving the past along side Kaylie as they try to destroy the mirror once and for all.

Where to begin… where to begin…  I have a lot to say about Oculus, so stay with me as I try to explain my many thoughts and frustrations about this movie.  I like to think that I’m a fan of the “horror” genre and I’m always on the lookout for a good intellectual scary movie.  Some great movies that come to mind are Cabin in the Woods, Saw, Identity and Drag Me to Hell.  Another such horror film that I saw within the last 2 years that I loved is called Sinister.  The reason I mention Sinister is because you will see me compare Oculus heavily to it as they have some parallels.  I’m not saying they are the same, but they are close enough that Sinister can help me make some valid points.

First thing I will say is that Oculus isn’t really a horror film as much as a psychological thriller.  This day and age, with movies like Seven and Saw, the lines are blur between the 2 genres, but I would say that this movie isn’t really “scary” but more disturbing.  So true horror fans might be disappointed, like myself, who is getting really tired of the “age of paranormal.”  That’s right, I’m getting sick of these “bump in the night” movies that try to scare you with loud noises and people sneaking up on others.  Are we suppose to assume that in horror films everyone is deaf and has no peripheral vision?  I want to see unpredictable, truly creepy shit that shocks the audience to no end (i.e. ending to Saw, ending to Drag Me to Hell, beginning to Sinister).  Lets dive into the movie, shall we?

The very beginning of Oculus tries to set a tone for what could be a scary movie, but unlike Sinister that just chills you to the bone, Oculus just kinda waves at you and says, “Hey, this is a scary movie.”  After the opening 1-2 minutes that shows promise, we are introduced to 2 no-name actors who, in my opinion, can’t act and offered no charm for the audience to engage them.  What’s even worse, is for the first 20 minutes, I felt like the 3rd person in a 2-person inside joke.  The characters spoke in code and used the pronoun “it” way too much to keep the audience in the dark.  Why???  Why keep your audience in the dark during a really boring part of the movie so we can care even less about your main characters?  At least in Sinister Ethan Hawke was the lead so we had a familiar face to enjoy.  At about the 20-30 minute mark, Kaylie literally goes on a rant and blurts out the whole story, premise, history and outcome of EVERYTHING!  I mean it went from no info to basically telling us what will play out in the movie.  What do you mean everything, you ask?  Well, the way the story works in Oculus is that we see BOTH stories (present day and 11 years ago during the tragedy) unfold at the same time and when I say at the same time, I mean at the same time.  You see, when Kaylie and Tim take the mirror back to their old childhood home to perform the experiment, the mirror does just as it did 11 year prior - screws with their minds!  So the characters never know what is real and what is fake… AND NEITHER DO WE!  We are just as confused as the people in the movie.  I guess I can give the filmmakers props in this effect because we as audience members can relate with the characters because no one has a clue just what is going on or when (that’s right when!) it is going on!  By the time we are at the end of the film, we aren’t that surprised at the outcome of the tragedy 11 years ago because we were TOLD all about it in beginning of the movie!  What isn’t expected, however, is what happens to Kaylie and Tim in the present day.  For those of you who have seen Sinister, the ending is pretty wicked but fits the story and isn’t a total shocker.  Welllllllll, when you get to the end of Oculus, your jaw will drop, you will throw your arms up and say to yourself, “this was a huge waste,” because it really is.  I felt like no matter how crazy the movie was, the ending could have saved it, but it did the exact opposite.  It made me realize how much time I wasted trying to engage this story.  Ugh!  Avoid Avoid Avoid!  If you take anything away from this review, it’s that you should see the movies I listed above and leave Oculus alone.  Sinister is similar with a much better story, actors, and scares!  Go see that!  Co-starring Rory Cochrane, Katee Sackoff, James Lance, Annalise Basso and Garrett Ryan.

4/10 Stars – Totally confusing with one of the worse endings in a horror film I’ve even seen!  Oh, and it’s not even scary!

 

 

Click Below for Links to IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2388715/?ref_=nv_sr_1

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/oculus/

Joe Movie Poster

Joe (2014)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

His Review: For the people who know Joe (Nicolas Cage), they would say he is a hard-working woodsman with a kind heart.  Joe lives in the deep south…

Bears Movie Poster

Bears (2014)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Her Review: Bears is the true life adventure story about a mother brown bear and her two young cubs.  Set against the beautiful backdrop of Alaska, Sky, as…

Transcendence Movie Poster

Transcendence (2014)

Monday, April 21, 2014

His Review: When one of the top researches in the field of Artificial Intelligence, Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp), decides to cross his human self with that of a machine,…

Heaven is for Real Movie Poster

Heaven Is for Real (2014)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Her Review: Todd Burpo (Greg Kinnear) is the pastor at a small church in the tiny town of Imperial Nebraska.  His family like so many others have fallen…

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