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  • John Wick Chapter 2 (2017)

    Monday, February 13, 2017

    His Review: After the events of the first movie, John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is visited by Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio) to collect on a “blood oath” marker previously…

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  • The Lego Batman Movie (2017)

    Monday, February 13, 2017

    His Review: When The Joker (Zach Galifianakis) and all the villains of Gotham City realize that Batman (Will Arnett) doesn’t need them anymore, they decide to turn themselves in…

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  • 89th Academy Awards Nominations 2017

    Tuesday, January 24, 2017

    2017 Oscar Nominations   Best Picture  Arrival Fences Hacksaw Ridge Hell or High Water Hidden Figures La La Land Lion Manchester by the Sea Moonlight   Directing Denis…

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  • Split (2017)

    Monday, January 23, 2017

    His Review: Kevin (James McAvoy) has been diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder by his psychiatrist Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley) but when one of the stronger identities takes over…

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  • Top 25 Movies of 2016

    Friday, January 6, 2017

    His Top 25 Movies of 2016 Since I started doing this list back in 2012, there hasn’t been a year that has been as disappointing as 2016.  Out of the approximate 150 movies…

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Reel and Unscripted’s 89th Annual Academy Award Picks

His Picks:

For a full list of the nominations… click here!

 

Best Picture:  

One of the things I noticed with the best picture selections this year was the overall negative tones to most of the movies.  Lion and Arrival are the only 2 movies that truly have no negative undertones.  Even Hacksaw Ridge, Hidden Figures and La La Land, movies that have positive messages, give negative vibes at times.  Compared to other years, 2016 was a down year for movies and films like Moonlight, Manchester by the Sea and Fences showed us sad and depressing movies that we never want to see again.  According to my rankings of the year, the best movie on this list is La La Land and it will win.  By the way, Sully should have been the 10th nomination.

 

Best Director:

Out of the 5 nominations, Damien Chazelle for La La Land would be my pick and will probably win.  However, if Clint Eastwood had made it in, his job with Sully was quite amazing.

 

Best Actor:

The award season darling is Casey Affleck for Manchester by the Sea, and I really like Casey and if he wins, I’ll be happy for him, but let’s face it, Denzel Washington owned Fences and should win.  Oh, and Andrew Garfield should have been nominated for Silence over Hacksaw Ridge… just saying.  Where was Tom Hank’s and Joel Edgerton’s nominations?

 

Best Supporting Actor:

Only 2 people from this category deserved the nomination in my opinion.  Michael Shannon, although I love him, shouldn’t have gotten the nod over his counterpart Aaron Taylor-Johnson.  Lucas Hedges did a fine job but there were others more deserving, and Mahershala Ali, although I thought he was the best part of Moonlight, he was in the movie about 20 minutes.  Dev Patel does a fine job in Lion, and if he wins, I’ll be very happy, but Jeff Bridges‘s character in Hell or High Water is funny, series and cunning all at the same time and for that he should win.

 

Best Actress:

I know Emma Stone is the darling this award season, but when you go up against Natalie Portman and Meryl Streep, I have to give the award to a veteren who did a much better job.  Portman in my opinion submersed herself in the role of Jackie O to the point of being unrecognized.  She should win.  By the way, Ruth Negga shouldn’t have gotten the nod over several Amy Adam’s roles.  Huge snub!

 

Best Supporting Actress:

Another one of those categories that has nominations from people who are in the movie for a few scenes.  Nichole Kidman and Michelle Williams are hardly in their movies and Octavia Spencer wasn’t even the most important of the 3 ladies in her movie.  The landslide winner here is Viola Davis.  No question.  She is a force in Fences and is what makes Denzel so great!

 

Best Adapted Screenplay:

Out of these 5 nominations, the best and most interesting story is Arrival.  Lion is a close 2nd.

 

Best Original Screenplay:

La La Land has a loveable and special story that only gets better as it goes along.

 

Best Animated Feature:

ZOOTOPIA!  This was my #1 movie of the year and it will win!  Kubo and the Two Strings was my #4 of the year, so it could have a chance.

 

Best Editing:

The ending of La La Land tells me that this award will go here, but unfortunately since we don’t get to see all the footage, it’s a shot in the dark.

 

Best Cinematography:

With only minor nominations, Silence has the best shot at winning here with it’s set pieces and visuals.

 

Best Original Song:

Justin Timerlake’s music isn’t my favorite, but ever since I heard “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” I can’t get it out of my head.  My 2nd choice would be the song from Moana.

 

Best Make-up and Hair:

It will be Star Trek Beyond.  Look at it’s competition.

 

Best Costume:

This one was very hard as several could win but my gut says La La Land.

 

Best Production Design:

Again, another category that many could win, but I though Passengers was awesome (as many did not) and the visuals surrounding that spaceship were awesome.

 

Best Visual Effects:

I’m pretty sure a Star Wars movie is going to win this category.  Rogue One for the win.

Warcraft (2016)

His Review:

When a portal opens between the Orc and Human worlds, a war is started that confuses the few that are in power.  Why did these 2 worlds come together and why are they fighting?  There is a superior evil among both groups that neither can understand, but if these two races can’t find peace, then the planet of Azeroth is doomed.

Warcraft is based off the popular computer game (that I never played but play games similar) and I can’t for the life of me understand what the hell is going on in this movie.  Nothing is truly explained to the audience and if you don’t know the game than you won’t understand the movie.  The generic fantasy setting is bland and boring as we have seen the type of movie many times before (with the best being the Lord of the Rings.)  The CGI is mediocre at best, and the costume for the woman playing the half orc half human was poorly created.  I will give it props for feeling like a video game, however.  Just like in many video games, the acting is horrible and the characters have such weird names that no one can follow who is who.  You can spot the traitors a mile away, and the giant stone golem at the end is rather pathetic.  I usually would advise anyone watching this movie to give it a 2nd viewing because you almost are guaranteed to need it, but I would recommend that no one watch this.  This is just another failure in the world of video game movies.  My brain hurt after watching this.  Starring Anduin Lothar, Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper, Toby Kebball, Clancy Brown, Robert Kazinsky, Ruth Negga, Anna Galvin and Ben Schnetzer.

4/10 Stars – Hard to follow generic fantasy movie about humans fighting orcs with poor CGI effects.  I’ll pass.

My All-American (2015)

His Review:

My All-American is the story of Freddie Steinmark (Finn Wittrock) who was an underdog on the football field.  In high school, he was one of the best players on his team and got a scholarship to the University of Texas along with his teammate Bobby Mitchell (Rett Terrell).  Throughout the year of playing ball, his knee began to give him problems, but it wasn’t until after Texas won the National Championship that Freddie learned he would have to lose his leg to cancer.

My All-American means well.  It tells a true story and does it with plenty of heart, however, with a run time that is way too long, this movie becomes more daunting that it should.  Following behind plenty of other true stories in sports, My All-American will be left in the dust for 2 reasons; it is too long and it is too plain.  I don’t feel that there was enough “Hollywood” magic in this movie to keep audiences fighting along with Freddie.  I felt the movie should have been over after the championship game (which is the best part of the whole movie), but it goes on for another 30 minutes as we watch Freddie fight the cancer.  I’m obviously not suggesting they cut this part of the movie out, but the beginning of the movie could have been trimmed.

Part of me feels like the Championship game was glorified too much.  It feels like the movie should have ended there, but it keeps going causing the audience to get antsy as they want to head for the exits.  The ending wasn’t as special as it should have been and I wish that it had a bigger impact on the overall story.  Obviously this movie isn’t a “bad” movie, but it doesn’t achieve what it set out to do.  Sure it educates the audience on the life of Freddie Steinmark, but I still don’t feel like I really knew the young man, and that is where the movie lacks.

When it is all said and done, I feel like this movie will be quickly forgotten about compared to the vast amounts of other sports related stories.  Freddie Steinmark is someone to know about, especially living in Texas, but I feel like his story should be told in a more emotional way.

6/10 Stars – Obviously not a bad film, however, My All-American fails to add true emotion behind its touching story due to a long run time.

Rules Don’t Apply (2016)

His Review:

In the 1950s, Hollywood had a huge influence in the form of Howard Hughes (Warren Beatty), an actor, inventor and recluse.  He ran a talent agency in Los Angeles, however, none of his clients ever saw him.  In fact, most people never saw him except for a few close people, and even then they only saw him a little.  Frank Forbes (Alden Ehrenreich) works for Howard as a driver and he is assigned to Marla Mabrey (Lily Collins) who is a new talent coming to work for him.  There is a rule when it comes to being employed with Howard Hughes and that is not to fraternize with the talent.  Frank can abide by this rule, but when Marla begins to show interest in Frank, things soon start to get out of control.

At first, I didn’t understand why this movie needed to be made.  We have seen this kind of movie before with “forbidden love” and the breaking of the rules, but the setting and the main characters add some flare to the story and keep it somewhat interesting.  The addition of Howard Hughes was a mystery to me because this story has very little to do with him until the 2nd half of the film.  After seeing the movie The Aviator, we all know that Howard was a crazy guy, but the love triangle was missing and perhaps that was because this happened later in his life or being this story is bogus, either way I didn’t understand why someone from history was included.

The 2nd half of the movie is when it gets more interesting because not only does Howard have a stronger presence, but the main characters we have been watching finally come into focus.  All the development pays off as the relationship between Marla and Frank come to a head and the drama keeps the audience interested.  The performances of Warren Beatty, Lily Collins and Alden Ehrenreich also help this movie feel more mature

As I stated before, I’m not exactly sure the history of this movie nor why this movie was made, but it isn’t a horrible watch.  I think that those of you that do sit down to see this movie won’t regret it and the story will keep you interested, but those of you that skip this aren’t missing out on much.  I think if anything, this movie brings Warren Beatty back to relevance and shows us the talents of Lily Collins and Alden Ehrenreich.  It was nice to see Matthew Broderick back in a decent role too.

6/10 Stars – It was odd at first, but the story and characters grow on you a little.  I found that the setting and the drama kept me interested as the movie went on, but that isn’t saying much.  It is merely “ok.”

20th Century Women (2016)

His Review:

The setting is 1979 Southern California.  Dorothea (Annette Bening) is an older single mother with a teenage son whom she had when she was 40.  She rents out her home to 2 other people, Abbie (Greta Gerwig) and William (Billy Crudup), and everyone gets along well.  Abbie has cervical cancer and is having to deal with the fact she cannot have children.  She has strong feminist views and is expressive about them even at the worst of times.  William is a nice, gentle man who helps Dorothea fix up the house and generally causes no issues.  Dorothea’s son Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann) is learning about the world around him as he becomes an adult.  His is in love with his best friend Julie (Ellie Fanning) but since they have known each other forever, she won’t allow romance to flourish even though she sleeps in his bed almost every night.  Together these 5 people explore life, love and heartache during a specific time in history.

I have to be honest… I was hesitant about seeing this movie because it looked boring.  Knowing that Annette Bening was the lead in a movie set in 1979 about feminism didn’t sound appealing because I was expecting something super dramatic and depressing.  However, this movie wasn’t what I expected and I was pleasantly surprised.  First thing I noticed was that it isn’t depressing nor is there a lot of fighting.  There are sad moments, but for the most part, this movie is about love and life.  The characters are the best part of this movie as their personalities carry the film.  They are all unique and special and feed off of one another.  Because of the simple and rather bland story, these characters have to be on point to keep the audiences interest and I think they do the job right.  I really enjoyed how the characters were developed not only on screen, but through narration into each persons backstory (and at the end, their futures.)

Speaking of the story, there isn’t much to the flow of the movie.  It is the kind of movie where we simply watch people live and experience life.  There aren’t plot twists or major memorable moments so this is going to keep the rewatch value down, but that is the purpose of the movie so you can’t fault it for that.  I just wish that something more emotional or special could have happened.

Overall, the characters and the acting are what make this movie really good and worth watching.  There are enough happy moments and comedy to not make this a total bore for casual watchers, but I don’t see anyone watching this movie more than once as there isn’t anything needing of a 2nd viewing.  If this sounds interesting to you, it was worth the watch.

7/10 Stars – It may not be the type of movie I normally want to watch, but the well-developed characters and the solid acting keep this semi-interesting plot afloat.

Reel and Unscripted’s 89th Annual Academy Award Picks

Thursday, February 23, 2017

His Picks: For a full list of the nominations… click here!   Best Picture:   One of the things I noticed with the best picture selections this year…

Warcraft (2016)

Thursday, February 23, 2017

His Review: When a portal opens between the Orc and Human worlds, a war is started that confuses the few that are in power.  Why did these 2…

My All-American (2015)

Thursday, February 23, 2017

His Review: My All-American is the story of Freddie Steinmark (Finn Wittrock) who was an underdog on the football field.  In high school, he was one of the…

Rules Don’t Apply (2016)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

His Review: In the 1950s, Hollywood had a huge influence in the form of Howard Hughes (Warren Beatty), an actor, inventor and recluse.  He ran a talent agency…

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