Guy Trilby (Jason Bateman) is a 40-year-old man with major issues. He isn’t happy and he doesn’t like anyone. His goal in life is to make his way up the chain from the local levels and win the National Spelling Bee (The Golden Quill). Why? Heck if we know! He is keeping that a secret from everyone, even his semi-girlfriend (Kathryn Hahn) who accompanies him on the trip to Nationals. Along the way, Guy is able to make everyone in his way furious at him, even the heads of the tournament. All except a 10-year-old boy (Rohan Chand) who is lonely and looking for a friend. Co-starring Allison Janney, Ben Falcone, Steve Witting, and Philip Baker Hall.
I went into Bad Words with no idea what it was about, and I must say, I think I wasted my time. The movie has its moments of shock-value humor and yes I did laugh out loud a time or 2, but Bad Words is more awkward than anything else, and I believe it’s because no one knows why this guy wants to be in the Spelling Bee so bad that it gets embarrassing. Once we find out why, it makes sense and we almost want to root for Guy, and I think if we knew why early on, we could have been more engaged with his character.
The movie only has a runtime of 88 minutes, and it felt much longer. The only saving grace to this movie was Rohan Chand. He makes this movie funny because you don’t expect a 10-year-old kid to be saying/doing most of this stuff. He also adds a level to Guy that makes him human and that’s why guy needed. Was it enough to save the film, nope, but it made it bearable. One thing I would have loved to see was Guy tampering with the word list in order to have the kids trying to spell dirty or made up words. Oh well… my advice is if you are over the age of 30, than you will find this annoying, otherwise you are still at an age to think this is gold.
5/10 Stars – I think I would have taken this movie completely different if I had known from the beginning WHY he was trying to win the Spelling Bee. Otherwise, it was just pathetic and semi-funny.
Bad Words is a black comedy that will make anyone with kids cringe and anyone under the age of 30 laugh till they pee their pants – if they like dark humor. Props to Bateman on his first directing attempt. It is always interesting to see a film that is both directed by and starring that same person in the leading role. Ben Affleck is one of the few I have seen do it great. Bateman does okay.
I think this film, like so many, has a very specific audience. If you like movies like The Hangover or This Is the End you will more than likely enjoy Bad Words. The way I typically describes movies like this is that they are just wrong. What I mean when I say that is the story or elements of the film are disturbing and just not right – they should not, I repeat not be happening. For instance a forty year old man giving a ten year old porn….that is just wrong. In context of the film however its a little bit funny. Don’t worry that isn’t too big a spoiler. The jokes in this movie will test your moral limits. Most are mildly humorous and a few are laugh out loud funny or embarrassingly funny. I have seen and heard better however.
I will agree with my other half in that the best part about the movie is Rohan Chand. He is just down right adorable. How he manages to stay so innocent looking while saying some pretty bad words is beyond me. He totally steals the show from Bateman whose performance is fine.
The biggest problem with this movie is that the interesting story of why Guy is in the spelling bees in the first place gets buried beneath the crude humor. If the writer Andrew Dodge had let that shine more it would have been a completely different film and far more enjoyable. Crude and rude humor is fun and all but at some point you want more from the story and the characters. Then again the pre-teens who sneak into the film and the college age kids will love this one. So maybe the lesson her isn’t that this is a bad movie just that I am to old to enjoy it. Ha! That is not a pleasant thought! Oh well….if you like black comedy, specifically raunchy black comedy then you might want to check Bad Words out. If not, pick something else to see. Oh and guys this is not, I repeat not a good date movie.
6/10 Stars – Not as many bad words as The Wolf of Wallstreet but plenty to mean you keep the kids far away from this one!
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As the Persian Army advanced on Greece, Leonidas’ 300 were not the only ones to face its wrath. Admiral Themistocles leads the men of Athens on the sea against Artemisia and her thousand ships. With little hope of winning on their own, Themistocles does everything he can to hold back the invading Persian forces hoping that the Spartans and the rest of Greece will unite with them. Xerxes the god king sees victory within his grasp but how easily it will slip through. Starring Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Headey, Hans Matheson, Callan Mulvey, David Wenham, Rodrigo Santoro, Jack O’Connell, Andrew Tiernan, Igal Naor, Andrew Pleavin, Ben Turner, Ashraf Barhom, Christopher Sciueref, Steven Cree.
300: Rise of an Empire is the continuation of the critically acclaimed 300 made in 2007. With its slow motion battles scenes, gushing blood and bare breasted women, this is little more than a fan-boy fantasy of a blood bath offering little to nothing of interest for the movie goer seeking entertainment.
Ouch right? I know my initial description of the film is a bit harsh but where the original 300 succeeded this continuation fails miserably. At least from my perspective which is why you are reading this blog right? As a fan of action films I expect things to be bloody and perhaps have little emotion or even story. If however it lacks a story or character development the action had better be fantastic and I can’t say that for 300: Rise of an Empire. The best description for everything about this film is that it is showy. As if the directors and producers just wanted to show off 3D technology and the quality of picture that the best cameras today have to offer. I swear you can see every falling dust particle and individual rays of light.
If this was their object then they definitely succeed. The film is gorgeous with rich colors and depth of field that makes you swear you can reach out and touch Themistocles rippling abs. The question is though is that enough to make this a great movie and I have to say no it is not. They took a history full of heroism, courage and sacrifice and stripped it down to nothing but blood. Where is the power in the story? Why do we care that the Persians are ripping apart Greece? I saw glimpses of attempts to bring the story more in focus than the dust particles but it never quite gets there.
I think we as audiences have passed the “oooo” and “ahhh” phase when it comes to cool new film technology and there is an expectations of more to it that 300: Rise of an Empire doesn’t even come close to meeting. I was sadly disappointed and more than a little bored.
4/10 Stars – Just watch the original or play the video game God of War – you will be better off I promise!
To preface before I comment on 300: Rise of an Empire, I wanted to point out that the original 300 is on my personal Top 100 list and is a movie elevated greatly by Gerard Butler. In fact, I didn’t even know who Gerard Butler was before 300 and now I can’t get enough of the guy. Fast forward to 2014 (should have been released last year but they needed the 3D money) and the “sequel” is here. 300: Rise of an Empire really isn’t the sequel because it spans the before, during and after of the original film. In fact it plays out almost the same except replace Leonidas with Themistokles, Xerxes with Artemisa, and Spartans with Athenians. Yes Xerxes is in this film, but not to the extent as I expected as a crazy, psycho Eva Green (what is the big deal with this lady?) stands front and center as the villainous.
For those of you who HAVEN’T seen the original 300 film, and actually want to see this movie, see this one first, that way you won’t be disappointed. This movie is far inferior to the first in every way. The action, the characters and the actors are just more entertaining in the first. Even the first movie has some pretty awesome quotes whereas the only thing I’ll remember about this movie is the funny sex scene. The fact that some guy named Sullivan Stapleton (who?) is playing Themistokles when Gerard freaking Butler was in the first movie says something. Sure the excessive action, gore and blood will have many fan-boys happy, but didn’t we get all that in the first film? I will say this, the one thing this movie added that the first lacked was Sea battles. Themistokles was head of the Athenian Navy and most of the battles are on ships which adds new ideas in the combat of this film. All in all, 300: Rise of an Empire is the little brother to 300. That doesn’t mean it is unwatchable or is complete garbage, but I would prefer to stick with the Spartans!
5/10 Stars – Not unwatchable, but nothing new over the far superior Spartan 300!
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The world has been through an unknown devastation. Some of the survivors living in what was formerly Chicago live in a society split into five factions. The founders created the factions so that everyone has their place and knows what is expected of them in order to keep the peace and prevent any further devastation. The five factions are the Abnegation (the selfless), Erudite (the intelligent), Candor (the honest), Dauntless (the brave) and Amity (the peaceful). Beatrice Prior (Shailene Woodley) was born into Abnegation but as she turns 16 she is tested to see in which faction she truly belongs. When her day comes her choice of faction surprises everyone. She must live with her choice and the difficulties it presents and the danger that she faces should anyone discover the secret she is keeping from her not just her faction but her family. A secret that could be the death of her or the saving grace for everyone she loves. Starring Theo James, Miles Teller, Kate Winslet, Ansel Elgort, Zoe Kravitz, Ray Stevenson, Jai Courtney, Ashley Judd, Maggie Q, Tony Goldwyn, Christian Madsen, Mekhi Phifer, Casimere Joellette, Ben Lloyd-Hughes.
Divergent, based on the book by Veronica Roth, is the next in a series of hot teen fiction books turned movies that are drawing the younger crowds into the theaters in droves and boosting the box office numbers in a major way.
I managed to read about 95% of the book before seeing this movie so I feel I can speak to it with at least some authority. I will say however that I think if I hadn’t read the book I might have enjoyed the film a little bit more. Like with most adaptations of book to film so many details get left on the cutting room floor because of time constraints. Sometimes this is for the better and sometimes it isn’t. I think this is one of the cases where it hurts the film a bit that details from book to film were lost or changed. It gave the film a rushed feel and little to no time to connect and sympathize with the main characters. I am the kind of movie goer that really wants to connect with the characters I am watching. It is almost like an emotional catharsis for me but I just didn’t get that in Divergent.
All that said Divergent isn’t a bad movie. In fact its pretty good as an action/sci-fi. It melds all the elements of the two genres together smoothly creating a world that seems eerily familiar yet so different. The settings, costumes and overall production are spot on to just carry you into the world. It builds a nice level of curiosity and intrigue so that you want to know more about this fascinating future sadly you just don’t get everything you want to know in the two-hour and twenty-minute run time. Long right…but didn’t seem long enough. I left the film feeling a bit unsatisfied and I personally hate that.
Like the majority of the teen fiction based movies out, The Hunger Games excluded, the acting leaves a lot to be desired. Shailene’s soulful eyes do her justice but her chemistry with leading male Theo James just isn’t there. Kate Winslet is fine and so is Ashley Judd; two of the bigger names to add their star power to the movie. Teenage dream boat Miles Teller makes brief appearances but like the rest of the side characters he doesn’t have much time to develop or show any real talent. The highlight for me was Theo James’ performance. No not cause he is hot…but because he truly embodied his character. Somehow he manages to exude this tough yet vulnerable thing that gives some depth to what at times can feel rather flat.
Let’s face it, most people are going to roll their eyes at another film in this genre. I think that perhaps Divergent should be given a chance. Many will see it as a Hunger Games knock off but it isn’t. It’s a different world with different ideals. Really, Divergent is about family and choices. More importantly it is about wanting to feel like you belong, somewhere…anywhere. That is something teens struggle with, heck we all struggle with on a daily basis. Even more than that Divergent is about fighting for who you want to be, who you really are despite the expectations surrounding you. Definitely some powerful suggestions going on in the book that the film brings out really nicely.
I recommend that you give Divergent a chance. It might surprise you and at worst it will probably make you want to read the book.
7/10 Stars – Definitely intriguing but lacked the wow moments for me…maybe they will be in the next movie!
Now a special treat…”her” sister – who happens to be 18 and a fan of the book Divergent – joined “her” for a pre-screening of the movie and we couldn’t resist letting you hear her unique perspective. Plus she got to meet Miles Teller and Jai Courtney so we had to share those pictures!
“Her” Sister’s Review:
Having read the book, I have to say that I really liked the movie! A good sign for a movie based off of a book for me is: does it make me want to reread the book? And Divergent definitely does! While the movie leaves things out and condenses and adapts for cinematic purposes, it is definitely a good (and mostly faithful) adaptation. Those who haven’t read the book, while although missing out, will still get a feel for the world through the movie and will still find enjoyment. Those who have read the book will find their pulse rushing and their head reeling as the movie takes on the same fast paced role that meant I could read the book in less than 24 hours!
The movie really is made by the interaction between Beatrice (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James). Theo James is a “teenage heartthrob” who had the girls in the theater screaming (especially when he took his shirt off). While his interactions with Shailene Woodley seemed a little forced, they were still enjoyable and definitely had the awkward aspect that was in their book interactions. Shailene Woodley had moments where, even without her hunky costar, she shone through. She brought the character of Tris to life when it seemed like the character might have been lost in the fast pace. Together, the two had you on the edge of your seat waiting for their next scene together, whether for a romantic moment or for a good laugh!
The fast pace of the movie left me looking for one big thing: deeper meaning. I know, I know, it’s an action/drama, what did I expect? I
excepted to be able to still feel the tension and the relationships more than I did. While the relationships between characters seemed authentic, I could not figure out why. The fast pace made it bounce from jokes to serious threats against a character’s life at a moments notice. Thus you have to just assume that behind the scenes there is a bond that connects everything - characters and plot – together. They definitely have the meaning, I know that from the book, but I just didn’t see it on the screen as much as I would have liked.
Overall, Divergent is a great adaption from a fast paced book. The actions scenes were captivating, the romance had the girls swooning, and it kept you laughing and cheering for the characters the whole way through. The fast pace, while in keeping with the book, was hard to keep up with, but it still gave an enjoyable time for everyone there, young and old (though the young probably enjoyed it a bit more).
8/10 I’m a stickler for details, but Divergent still inspired the rebel in me!
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Mr. Peabody is an inventor, business titan, scientist, genius and of all things a dog. Never adopted as a young pup he set out to wow the world, which he did. His biggest adventure though has been the adopting of his son Sherman. To make sure Sherman has the best education possible Mr. Peabody uses the WABAC, a time machine. With the WABAC the two embark on crazy adventures. Things get sticky when Sherman shows the WABAC to Penny and the two get into trouble. They accidentally rip a whole in the universe, disturbing some of most important events in history. So its Mr. Peabody to the rescue. Starring the voices of Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Lauri Fraser, Guillaume Aretos, Patrice A. Musick, Ariel Winter, Karan Brar, Joshua Rush, Stephen Tobolowsky, Allison Janney, Dennis Haysbert, Stephen Colbert, Leslie Mann, Zach Callison, Steve Valentine, Stanley Tucci, Lake Bell, Patrick Warburton, Tom McGrath, Mel Brooks.
Mr. Peabody and Sherman is the modern re-imagining of a classic cartoon that offers a little something for both parents and kids in terms of entertainment. Now I didn’t watch the original cartoon. It was before my time. This new version however I think will meet the expectations of its audience.
Honestly the film was cute and fun. There are a wide variety of jokes. You have the potty humor jokes for the kiddos, some slap stick humor and then jokes and puns on historical things that appeal to the older kids and the adults. None of the jokes are the kind that will make your side hurt from laughter but they work to keep you mostly entertained. The movie definitely had some slow spots but you make it through them to the fun on the other side without too much effort. The reason this movie doesn’t get a higher rating than a 7 from me is because I just wasn’t enthralled. Cute and fun animated movies are nothing new and there wasn’t anything to wow or overly impress me. Still take the family on an outing to see it because you will all enjoy yourselves.
Side note – I had to see this one in 3D….and if you read this blog you know that I am not a fan of the 3D. Don’t see this in 3D. Seriously it was pointless. Nothing about it needed to be 3D. Just don’t waste your money on the extra cost see it as a regular old film and you will be just fine.
7/10 Stars – You may not love it, but you will at least have a deep regard for it….
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The Wind Rises centers around Jirô Horikoshi who was a plane designer for Japan during the 1940s (WWII). As a boy, he was inspired by Italian designer Caproni and wanted to grow up to be a pilot, but due to poor eyesight, he couldn’t fly. That didn’t stop him however as he went on to be one of the innovative aeroplane designers of his time.
The first interesting thing to note about this movie is the fact that it is animated. Usually animated movies are family/child oriented and not a biography about plane design, but due to its Japanese origins, Anime was the chosen route. The color and simple, yet smooth images remind me of a Monet painting mixed with Anime style. It consists of mostly blues, greens and browns and most of the characters look the same! Why they chose this story for animation is beside me, but I will say it helps the enjoyment factor a lot!
The story itself, being a historical piece, is semi-dry at times. It isn’t just about planes, and it isn’t just about his personal life, but it’s a mix of the 2. We see Jiro’s achievements surrounding his designs but how he does not lose focus on what matters to him as far as morals and his loved ones. Other than the animation, the fact that we have likeable characters and personal sides to them is what keeps this movie from being too boring. I’m an American and I understand that this movie isn’t culturally relevant for me, and thus I would expect find it not as enjoyable as the people across the world, but as a critic I am comfortable saying that this movie isn’t for “entertainment” purposes. Sure the animation is beautiful and the characters are neat, but at its heart, The Wind Rises is a movie about plane design during World War 2, and that to me just makes it lose its luster. Some people will appreciate the story and others will think to themselves, “Why is there an animated movie about a guy who designed planes?” I guess I’m somewhere in between. This isn’t a bad movie, but it never grabbed me either.
The Wind Rises was nominated for Best Animated Feature by the Academy in 2013. Starring the voices (English Version) of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Martin Short, Mae Whitman, Darren Cross, Elijah Wood, Mandy Patinkin, William H. Macy and Stanley Tucci.
6/10 Stars – I can see the artistic achievements here, but at the end of the day, it wasn’t something I would watch again…
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His Review: Guy Trilby (Jason Bateman) is a 40-year-old man with major issues. He isn’t happy and he doesn’t like anyone. His goal in life is to make…
Her Review: As the Persian Army advanced on Greece, Leonidas’ 300 were not the only ones to face its wrath. Admiral Themistocles leads the men of Athens on…
Her Review: The world has been through an unknown devastation. Some of the survivors living in what was formerly Chicago live in a society split into five factions….
Her Review: Mr. Peabody is an inventor, business titan, scientist, genius and of all things a dog. Never adopted as a young pup he set out to wow…