Catch-up Mini-Reviews

Chef

fourstars

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Jon Favreau delivers a gentle, touching, and humorous film that hits so many good notes. The film meanders through weird first act script choices before catching its groove in the second and third acts. It ends up being a lot of fun and worthy of subsequent viewings.

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John Wick

threestars

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John Wick answers the question, “What’s the least acceptable reason someone would go on an all-out killing spree?” Despite having an ultra-simplistic plot, the movie has well-executed action sequences and creative atmospherics. But, all together it feels too much like a video game cinematic.

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Guardians of the Galaxy

fourstars

Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Pics

Marvel just proves that it can take the most obscure source material and make a hit blockbuster movie out of it. Fun. Great cast. ‘The Avengers In Space’– except better.

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The Interview

three_andhalfstars

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It’s weird saying that The Interview will be remembered as a historically significant film. Whether or not you like this movie is dependent on whether or not you like typical Seth Rogan movies. I, for one, was amused throughout this film.

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Magic in the Moonlight

threestars

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When it comes to Woody Allen’s lesser films, it’s hard for me to be too nitpicky. I’ll hold him in high regard no matter what kind of movie he concocts year after year. MM isn’t very memorable, but it is gorgeous to look at. It also has great actors, and a manageable script; and that’s enough to be entertained.

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Non-Stop

three_andhalfstars

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One of Neeson’s better performances with a script that updates enough old tricks to keep you guessing.

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The November Man

two_andhalfstars

November Man

It’s sort of awkward how, in this film, Olga Kurylenko plays the exact same character as her one from Quantum of Solace. All she did was switch up her Bond counterpart.

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2

threestars

Andrew Garfield;Dane DeHaan

Marc Webb has his moments, but it’s safe to say I wouldn’t be too disappointed if a third addition to this series never came to fruition.

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A Walk Among the Tombstones

threestars

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This movie starts out really well. The always reliable Liam Neeson does what he does best. The directing and script seem to be going in a good direction. And then, we get to know the villains. Any threat or interest in where the story was going after that faded into TV melodrama.

‘Whiplash’ and making movies about drummers

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fourstars

 

(2014 – Director: Damien Chazelle   Cast: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons)

Whiplash is, for the most part, a thrilling, nerve-wracking film highlighted by the performances of Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons. The movie stays true to its subject matter by swaying, changing tempo, and exploring dynamics the same way any good drum solo would. Read More…

‘Nightcrawler’ and the study of negotiation tactics

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four_andhalfstars

 

(2014 – Director: Dan Gilroy   Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed)

The first half of Nightcrawler is serviceable. Robert Elswit’s cinematography looks as good as usual. Jake Gyllenhaal is convincing and gives his usual stellar performance. Dan Gilroy’s directing seems capable, considering he’s known for being a writer and not for being behind the camera.

But then there’s a point about halfway through this movie where it becomes another beast altogether.

Read More…

‘American Sniper’ and patriotism

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four_andhalfstars

 

(2014 – Director: Clint Eastwood   Cast: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller)

I was skeptical before seeing American Sniper. I was worried the film would be patriotic propaganda. I was afraid it would be politicized. I was afraid the film would embellish a real life modern hero and wouldn’t feel authentic. But Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper made a simple, stripped down character study that stands as one of the best in the director’s impressive catalog. Read More…

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