Title: Before Midnight (2013) Runtime: 109 minutes Director: Richard Linklater
I was super excited for Before Midnight when I first heard about it. I adore the first two films (Before Sunrise and Before Sunset), and simply couldn’t wait to see Before Midnight, which is why it made the cut for my most anticipated summer films of 2013. Heck, I even drove 2 hours into New York City to catch a screening of it!
In 1995 we met Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Deply), two strangers on a train who spend a magical evening together. In 2004 we meet the couple nine years later, while Jesse is promoting his new novel, based off of their one amazing evening. A lot has changed in their lives, but it’s great seeing where it all goes in this one evening.
Before Midnight picks up in 2013, 18 years after our couple first met. If you haven’t seen the first two films, do yourself a favor and watch them before you see Before Midnight because this trilogy deserves to be watched in the order that it was intended. Continue reading →
Now You See Me tells the story of “The Four Horsemen”, who are four magicians that have some serious tricks planned. Their first, which is the highlight of all the trailers, involves sending a live audience member to a bank in Paris and delivering the money back instantly to the audience. Why are they doing it? And, better yet, how? That simple premise drives the entire plot of Now You See Me. Continue reading →
Title: Star Trek Into Darkness Runtime: 132 minutes Director: J.J. Abrams
Star Trek Into Darkness has done everything it could to make me think it was going to be terrible, from the cheesy title, to the pretty-but-boring ten-minute IMAX preview before The Hobbit. Yet, there I was on opening day, dropping $15 to see an IMAX 3D showing and placing the title at number 3 in my top 5 summer films I couldn’t wait for.
The film opens with the same ten-minutes that were shown before The Hobbit and let me just say, what happens afterwards is some great sci-fi fun. These scenes in 3D look awesome, as water drops in front of your eyes and things burn up all over. The 3D was a solid addition to the film, and while it isn’t Avatar quality, it really adds an extra layer to each scene, be it smoke rising around you or all kinds of particle effects fluttering in front of your eyes. Continue reading →
Title: The Great Gatsby (2013) Runtime: 143 minutes Director: Baz Luhrmann
The Great Gatsby was my second most anticipated film of the 2013 summer season. The movie had huge shoes to fill, not just because I was excited for it, of course, but also because Baz Luhrmann directed one the finest musicals ever released in Moulin Rouge. So how does Luhrmann’s latest effort hold up on its own?
I never read the classic novel that this film is based on, so I knew was that Gatsby was a “man of mystery with a secret”. The film starts with an almost zany approach, with weird camera angles, and overacting silliness; it gets the viewer in the mood for one trippy experience. That implied experience is delivered in spades during the first hour of the film thanks to a mix of modern artists blaring rap across crazy-fevered parties. There are also a number of throwbacks to Moulin Rouge in this time: some of the dance moves, and the party atmosphere of that film’s larger numbers, for example. Continue reading →
Title: Troll Hunter (2010) Runtime: 103 minutes Director: André Øvredal
I make no qualms about enjoying the hell out of a good found footage movie. I started loving the subgenre with the release of The Blair Witch Project when I was much younger, and the Paranormal Activity sequels of recent years (not the original, mind you) have cemented the fact that I simply like these types of films. Are there problems with these movies? Of course there are – namely, justification – but I am willing to suspend disbelief if the story is interesting and engaging.
Troll Hunter more than fits that bill, and is one of the finest found footage movies I’ve seen since my introduction to the genre in 1999.
The Norwegian film follows a group of students who start out believing that they are hot on the heels of the country’s most notorious bear poacher. The three students follow deaths of bears, interview professionals and get fed stories by the wildlife patrolman. As the trio gets closer to the poacher in question, they start to follow him late at night as he routinely disappears from his trailer. What they discover is that this “poacher” is actually a hunter, but bears are not his area of expertise. Instead, he hunts gigantic, ugly, deadly trolls for the government. Continue reading →
Welcome to Film Swappers, where Chris and Branden force the other person to watch any movie of their choosing. The only rules are that the films chosen have to be ones that the other person hasn’t already seen, and they must be watched and reviewed.
Film Swappers #5 The Girl Next Door (2007) and April Fool’s Day (1986)
Title: The Girl Next Door (2007) Director: Gregory Wilson Runtime: 91 minutes Viewer: Chris
Pre-Viewing Thoughts The Girl Next Door is another film that I’d never heard of, and one I would have just passed over like most “horror” titles on Netflix. This was nothing like what I was expecting and I wouldn’t even call it a horror film, or torture porn, even though it offers many similar ideas.
Summary of Film The Girl Next Door (based on the Jack Ketchum novel of the same name) follows the story of two recently orphaned sisters who go to live with their aunt. One of the sisters, Meg, does not get along well with her aunt, and this eventually leads to her enduring unspeakable torture and abuse. The film is based on a true story, one I read about after viewing the movie, and despite taking place in the 1950s, it strikes to the heart of the bullying situation many kids go through these days, although a lot more extreme and bit more personal. Continue reading →
Title: Videodrome (1983) Runtime: 89 minutes Director: David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg is undoubtedly an intelligent filmmaker. He makes smart horror/sci-fi films that require the viewer’s full attention, all while adding in some of the most incredible gore effects you’ll ever see. If I told you that I understood Videodrome completely, I’d be lying. Even though it is a bit dense, and the overall message of the movie isn’t easy to pin down, I do know that I enjoyed the hell out of it.
James Woods plays Max Renn, a cable TV programmer who specializes in softcore porn and hardcore violence. He stumbles upon this program thanks to his pirating partner entitled Videodrome. There is no plot at all, just 30-60 minutes of violent torture and eventual murder. Renn is fascinated by the idea, and wants to find out more about the production. Nothing is as it seems, though, and his search for Videodrome becomes one massive hallucinatory nightmare filled with violent sex, mutating body parts, and more secrets than you can shake a stick at. Continue reading →