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  • Mad Max Fury Road Movie Poster

    Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

    Wednesday, May 20, 2015

    His Review: In a post-apocalypictic desert world, somewhere on a secluded patch of Earth, is a small civilization known as the Citadel.  This so-called “city” is ruled by a power-hungry lord named…

    Read More

  • Pitch Perfect 2 Movie Poster

    Pitch Perfect 2 (2015)

    Friday, May 15, 2015

    His Review: After a disastrous accident that involves Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) flashing the President, the Bellas are suspended from competition.  Their only hope of staying alive is…

    Read More

  • Far From Madding Crowd Movie Poster

    Far From the Madding Crowd (2015)

    Wednesday, May 13, 2015

    Her Review: Bathsheba Everdene is a headstrong independent beautiful women living outside London helping her aunt on her farm.  Her life is forever changed when she receives the…

    Read More

  • Hot Pursuit Movie Poster

    Hot Pursuit (2015)

    Tuesday, May 12, 2015

    His Review: Hot Pursuit stars Reese Witherspoon as an uptight “rookie” cop who is by-the-book on practically everything.  When she is picked to escort a key witness to Dallas for trial,…

    Read More

  • Woman in Gold Movie Poster

    Woman in Gold (2015)

    Thursday, April 16, 2015

    His Review: Woman in Gold tells the true story of Marie Altman (Helen Mirren), a Jewish woman who escaped to America during World War II, and how she…

    Read More

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Mad Max Fury Road Movie Poster

His Review:

In a post-apocalypictic desert world, somewhere on a secluded patch of Earth, is a small civilization known as the Citadel.  This so-called “city” is ruled by a power-hungry lord named Immortal Joe (Hugh Keays-Brne) who treats his people as animals who need beg for food and water.  Furiosa (Charlize Theron) is head of Joe’s gasoline team who goes out in search of fuel every so often, but this time she has other plans.  Joe has 5 young wives who he treats as prisoners more than companions, and Furiosa has snuck them out of the Citadel with means to escape back to her homeland.  When Joe discovers this treachery, he sends his entire army-on-wheels after her.  Now on the run, Furiosa and Joe’s wives join up with an escaped prisoner who doesn’t speak much, but offers protection in exchange for travel.  His name is Max (Tom Hardy).

Directed by the George Miller (Mad Max, Road Warrior, Beyond Thunderdome), Fury Road is often asked whether it is a sequel, remake, or reboot of the original series.  My opinion is that is it a reboot with a lot of aspects from the original 3 crammed into 1.  Basically, if you have never seen the originals, it won’t matter one bit, but it might help.

Mad Max Fury Road is one giant fight on wheels.  The story is thin as it is simply about a woman who is on the run from a powerful warlord because she took his “wives.”  In fact, the story is difficult to grasp at the beginning because you don’t fully understand what is going on until you realize that Furiosa has Joe’s wives hidden in the tanker, but it’s really not that huge a deal.  I was just a little confused.

Something else I noticed was that Max’s role is just as important as all the others, so don’t expect him to overshadow the rest or take over screen time.  Everyone gets into the action, so when there is a fight or battle, there is plenty!  Charlize Theron is just as important to the action as Tom Hardy which I think kept everything fresh.

Speaking of action, that is what Fury Road is all about.  It is fast, in your face, and fun.  The stunts are unique and stuff you don’t see very often so buckle up!  The action grips you so much that the 2 hours go by in a flash!  The sequences are the meat and potatoes of this movie so if you don’t like explosions, don’t see this movie!

The only negative thing I have to say about Fury Road is the slow part in the middle when we meet the old women.  It could have been due to the fact that I watched this movie at night, but it kinda bored me.  Other than that minor quibble, Mad Max Fury Road is one fun ride that will sure to entertain!  Co-starring Nicholas Hoult, Zoe Kravitz, Josh Helman, and Nathan Jones.

8/10 Stars – High Octane, fast, furious and fun!  Mad Max is all action and little story, but who cares!

Pitch Perfect 2 (2015)

Pitch Perfect 2 Movie Poster

His Review:

After a disastrous accident that involves Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) flashing the President, the Bellas are suspended from competition.  Their only hope of staying alive is to go to Copenhagen and win the World Championship for the 4th time in a row, but it won’t be that easy as the German group, Das Sound Machine, stands in their way!

In her first major directing gig, Elizabeth Banks takes the reins to make a sequel that I never though was possible (0r necessary.)  The success of the first Pitch Perfect has lead us to here – the creation of another (and possible franchise) of A Cappella movies.   Yes, you read that right.  When I first saw previews for this movie, I was expecting total garage as I didn’t feel the first movie needed a follow up.  I still believe that this sequel didn’t “need” to be made, however, like most sequels, I was expecting a money grab with no quality.   Boy, was I wrong!

Pitch Perfect 2 not only takes the fame and success of the first movie, but elevates it.  The characters are witty, the one-liners are clever, and the songs span many genres and decades for everyone to find something they know and like!  My favorite thing about these movies are John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks as the commentators for “Talk-appella.”  They are inappropriate and HILARIOUS!  I just can’t get enough of them!

There is very little about Pitch Perfect 2 I didn’t like.  Even from the very beginning with the Universal Logo spinning on screen, we here A Cappella singing and it just makes the whole package fun.  With quotes such as “Sorry my boobs are weird, I was just jumping” to “I hurt my arms saluting the flag,” I couldn’t help but laugh out loud many times.  The trash talk between Das Sound Machine and The Bellas is awesome and all around the writing is perfect.  It’s the little things that make this movie a lot of fun!

All of your favorite characters are still there, including Fat Amy and the weird Asian girl, but there are also new faces.  There is a new Bella who is the daughter of an alumni who they nick name Legacy (Hailee Steinfeld) and the 2 leads from Das Sound Machine who just talk trash the whole time, and it is perfect!

As far as things I didn’t like about the movie… well as expected, the plot is unoriginal and formulaic.  There isn’t anything special with the story and at times it felt like scenes were added just to make this movie a “feature length.”  It’s not a charm killer, but it does make the movie feel flat at times when they aren’t singing.  The other part I didn’t like was that Fat Amy didn’t seem as funny this time around.  Watching Rebel Wilson walk in that turquoise dress was just painful on my eyes!  These are minor things, but still, they can factor in.

At the end of the day, Pitch Perfect 2 lives up to being a quality sequel and the continuation of a franchise.  Women are going to eat this up and say it is the best thing in the world and guys… well, you will enjoy yourself so don’t be worried if you take your lady out to see this.  It won’t be a waste of time, I promise!  I tip my hat to you Mrs. Banks!  Good work!  Starring Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Haliee Steinfeld, Brittany Snow, Skylar Astin, Adam DeVine, David Cross, Elizabeth Banks, John Michael Higgins, Flula Borg, Birgitte Hjort Sorensen, Ben Platt, Anna Camp, Alexis Knapp, Keegan-Michael Key and Snoop Dogg.

8/10 Stars – As expected, women are going to love this to death, but guys are going to enjoy this just as much.  Pitch Perfect 2 is a quality and funny sequel that I believe is better than the first!

True Story (2015)

True Story Movie Poster

His Review:

True Story is the movie adaptation of the Michael Finkel nonfiction book of the same name about his own experiences with Christian Longo dating back to 2001.  Michael Finkel (Jonah Hill) was writing for the New York Times when his credit was put in question for fabricating a story regarding child abuse in Africa.  About the time he was fired, he discovered that an alleged murder by the name of Christian Longo (James Franco) was using his identity.  Due to this strange fact, Finkel wanted to meet with Longo right away to understand why.  When he did, he decided to write Longo’s side of the tragedy, and what he learned changed his career forever!

True Story unfolds like a murder mystery but without any of the clues or investigation.  Sounds interesting, right?  Nope!  This movie is basically one big conversation and we, the audience, have to figure out what is true and what is crap.  Finkel is in a vulnerable spot because he just lost his job and his credit as a writer is low.  He needs something that will earn him praise once again, but as he hears more and more about Longo’s tale, he is sympathetic and believes every word he says.  The problem is, what is real?

James Franco and Jonah Hill give great performances together and are the stars of the show.  It’s weird watching these goofballs (who are friends in real life) take on these serious roles together.  However, they feed off each other well and they keep the movie from being a total snoozefest.  Simply put, True Story is a tale, a story.  It is a tale of one man listening and believing another man’s story.  So this movie is basically telling us two stories at the same time (Longo’s and Finkel’s.)  The problem is that Longo’s tale is so depressing and sadistic that the movie is a downer with no pick-me-up in sight.  Someone might argue that the sinking of the Titanic is a depressing movie with no happiness in sight, but it doesn’t involve a madman who killed his wife and 3 kids.  I just felt disgusted watching this movie because it is so descriptive in dialogue.  Everything is spoken.  We see no recreation or disturbing images.  The only thing we see is in our minds!

Once I realized this movie was all about the story Longo tells to Finkel, I became less interested.  I thought it was going to be about the investigation (I didn’t know the true outcome) and that it might have felt like a crime thriller.  The only thing we got was 2 amazing actors telling each other stories for fame and glory!  I’m suggesting that True Story be skipped as it is one I will not be visiting again.  Co-starring Felicity Jones, Gretchen Mol, Ethan Suplee, and Robert Jones Burke.

5/10 Stars – Even these 2 amazing actors couldn’t hide the disturbing events this movie recreates through stories.

Far From the Madding Crowd (2015)

Far From Madding Crowd Movie Poster

Her Review:

Bathsheba Everdene is a headstrong independent beautiful women living outside London helping her aunt on her farm.  Her life is forever changed when she receives the inheritance of a large farm.  While trying to prove she can be both master and mistress she must also deal with the attention of three very different suitors.  Gabriel Oak the sheep farmer, Frank Troy the handsome and reckless Sergeant and William Boldwood her prosperous and mature bachelor neighbor.  Bathsheba’s choices transform both her and the independent life she has striven so hard to create.  Starring Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, Tilly Vosburgh, Tom Sturridge, Juno Temple, Bradley Hall, Michael Sheen, Hilton McRae, Jessica Barden, Harry Peacock, Victor McGuire, Sam Phillips.

Based on the classic novel by Thomas Hardy, Far From the Madding Crowd is a period piece that offers what you would expect in the way of costumes and drama but ultimately stuffs too much into too little time and so didn’t quite live up to the grandeur.  Far From the Madding Crowd has great bones given its based on a classic novel.  What it needed was more time; miniseries or season long TV show time.  The characters deserved to have more depth than could be developed given the extensive plot.  Heck the plot deserved more time to be developed given that it was essentially three stories smashed into one.

Despite being an over crowded film plot wise there are things about Far From the Madding Crowd that make it worthwhile.  I already mentioned the costumes, plus then you have the sets and overall fabulous staging of the film.  Then there are the performances.  Carey Mulligan does a beautiful job encapsulating the spirit of her extremely independent and feisty character.  And Matthias Schoenaerts seems right at home as the rugged and dirty sheep farmer who is always there to protect the stubborn Ms. Everdene.  Beyond those obvious elements there is something a bit more for the more than average film goer.  There is a study in society.  A look at the power of rumors and neighborly murmurs.  Plus of course the study in feminism at a time when women were still not considered worthy to be land owners or capable of taking care of themselves without a husband.  True, some of this comes from the book but director Thomas Vinterberg manages to convey it all in an unobtrusive manner.

Ultimately Far From the Madding Crowd, like so many films so far this year, held much promise but failed to deliver.  In this case the filmmakers and writers simply tried to do too much in to little time.  But who knows maybe they will make this a miniseries.  I sure hope they do cause I know I would watch it.  Something has to take the place of the soon to end Downton Abbey.

6/10 Stars – Would have loved to love this love story but it just didn’t give me enough time to!

 

His Review:

As you can probably guess from the preview, this movie isn’t for guys.  This is a period piece about a strong-willed woman who tries to keep her farm afloat while 3 different men try to marry her.  Yawn!  Now don’t get me wrong, the cast is great and give good performances, but the subject matter wasn’t my thing.  It wasn’t the time period or the accents that turned me off.  It was the fact that everyone in the movie wanted this woman with very little courting or relationship development.  I agree with my wife when she says this movie is rushed.  It seems like every change of a scene is weeks in the future and the relationships between the characters aren’t developed well at all.  Sure the main 4 characters are, but even towards the beginning, I was left thinking that this woman sure gets around with the fellas.  Like most British 1800 love stories, this should have been a miniseries or television show as there could have been plenty of content added to each relationship to make them fuller.  I wanted characters and stories that I could become invested in and what I got was simply a complex story that hurried through.  Ladies, I’m sure you are going to like this kind of this, but guys, this isn’t for you at all!

6/10 Stars – I can see it meant well, and the cast sure held it together, but this story should have been a miniseries so it could delve into its many story lines further.

 

Hot Pursuit (2015)

Hot Pursuit Movie Poster

His Review:

Hot Pursuit stars Reese Witherspoon as an uptight “rookie” cop who is by-the-book on practically everything.  When she is picked to escort a key witness to Dallas for trial, she is ready for the opportunity.  However, when her partner is killed in a shoot out, she must focus on the task at hand in order to keep, not only the witness alive, but herself alive as well.

As stupid and predictable as Hot Pursuit looked, the 2 female leads were interesting to me.  They both are talented ladies and Reese Witherspoon playing a role much like she did as Tracy Flick in Election looked enticing.  From beginning to end, Hot Pursuit lives up to its unoriginal and plain premise, but is that really the reason you want to see this movie?  Nope!  Let’s face it, we all want to laugh and boy did I!

I don’t know if it is due to the chemistry of the 2 leading ladies, but I laughed quite a bit in this crappy movie.  Yes, I said it, crappy movie, but there is something about Sofia Vergara and Reese Witherspoon that just made me want more!  I can sum Hot Pursuit up as simple as this, if you want to laugh, watch it!  It is only 87 minutes long which is not bad at all, so what have you got to lose?  Don’t expect much from the story and you should be ok.  Don’t listen to the horrible reviews, it not THAT bad, but yeah, it’s a bad funny movie.  HA!  Co-starring John Carroll Lynch, Matthew Del Negro, Michael Mosley, Robert Kazinsky, Richard T. Jones, Jauquin Cosio, and Jim Gaffigan.

6/10 Stars – Stupid, moronic, predictable, unoriginal and funny funny funny!

Mad Max Fury Road Movie Poster

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

His Review: In a post-apocalypictic desert world, somewhere on a secluded patch of Earth, is a small civilization known as the Citadel.  This so-called “city” is ruled by a power-hungry lord named…

Pitch Perfect 2 Movie Poster

Pitch Perfect 2 (2015)

Friday, May 15, 2015

His Review: After a disastrous accident that involves Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) flashing the President, the Bellas are suspended from competition.  Their only hope of staying alive is…

True Story Movie Poster

True Story (2015)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

His Review: True Story is the movie adaptation of the Michael Finkel nonfiction book of the same name about his own experiences with Christian Longo dating back to 2001.  Michael…

Far From Madding Crowd Movie Poster

Far From the Madding Crowd (2015)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Her Review: Bathsheba Everdene is a headstrong independent beautiful women living outside London helping her aunt on her farm.  Her life is forever changed when she receives the…

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