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THE IDENTICAL || September 5th, 2014

TheIdentical-poster The first time I saw the trailer for “The Identical”, I was positive it must be about Elvis Presley, but with zero mention of his name or any recognizable songs, I was persuaded otherwise. Having looked deeper, the film is actually touching on Elvis without actually making the connection, as Elvis apparently had a brother who died during child birth. Looking to discover what could have happened between the two and how music could have shaped them if they had been separated at birth, Ashley Judd, Ray Liotta, and Seth Green star along actual Elvis impersonator Blake Rayne.
PASS
TheLongestWeek-poster Billy Crudup is a talented actor that often surprises in his roles but is never an actor I actually go out of my way to see. Jason Bateman and Olivia Wilde on the other hand are enough to sell me on their own, let alone together. All of these talented professionals team up for the dark romantic comedy “The Longest Week” which sees over-privileged Bateman get cut off and move in with his best friend Crudup. Unfortunately for Crudup, Bateman also starts seeing his girlfriend and a competition ensues. Also starring Jenny Slate, the horrible reviews for this film will not keep me away.
THEATER
TheRemaining-poster Last weekend, I was standing in line at a movie theater and as the free movie promoters circulated the upcoming pre-screenings, a woman asked what a movie was about. One of the first words the promoter used was post-apocalypse and the woman turned him down immediately, stating she would not see anything about the apocalypse because of its over-saturation in the movies lately. The world is currently obsessed with the rapture and the apocalypse. “The Remaining” continues this theme, basically offering the dramatic horror version of “This Is The End” and their outdoor romp to stay alive during the rapture.
25% MAYBE

Devoured-poster Watch the trailer for “Devoured” and try telling me that the stranger on the subway car does not have a striking resemblance to Gene Simmons of KISS. With that aside, this psychological thriller hits all the old staple marks, complete with the copy line touting a shocking ending, the images of the leading lady showing off her exceptional figure and eventually the gore that will make up the film, with people pulling out their teeth, falling down a flight of twisting stairs, and getting grabbed by a bloody hand through a locker. Most horror films I can at least get somewhat behind, but there are always a few bad apples in the bunch, present film included.
PASS
FalconRising-poster The lead in “Falcon Rising”, Michael Jai White, might look familiar because he played Gambol opposite Heath Ledger’s Joker in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight”. Donning the ex-marine on a war path monicker, White takes the Neeson route and heads on his own “Taken” adventure down to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, to take vengeance out on the men that beat his sister. Neal McDonough stars supporting, and even though he is apparently a good guy, his villainous nature in most of his previous films and television series including “Justified” make it hard for me to trust him. Also starring the daughter of Muhammad Ali, Laila, there is definitely enough star power but not enough writing or directing to bring out their talents.
PASS
Frontera-poster Leave it to Ed Harris and Michael Pena to sell me on a film I had mixed feelings about. “Frontera” attempts to dramatize events on the U.S. / Mexico border in which Pena plays an illegal immigrant that gets entangled in a shooting of a former U.S. sheriff’s wife. Harris is the sheriff and as he comes out of retirement to prove who actually killed his wife, involving a sharpshooter, and riding against the new sheriffs in town, this modern day Western has just enough heart and is willing to dissect the racism that is placed on the Hispanic folk looking to settle in America, that its hard to to be drawn in. Eva Longoria also stars, in which puts away her dolled up look and finally looks like a normal person.
25% MAYBE
GodHelpTheGirl-poster Certain actors and actresses land on a list of mine in which I am likely to venture out and see all of their films at a certain point in time. To me, it makes sense because if I love that particular performer, I will want to see their entire body of work to fully appreciate them. Emily Browning is on that list and is slowly becoming one of my favorite actresses. So when an odd film like the musical “God Help The Girl” comes about, in which she stars as the lead, I normally throw caution to the wind and will likely jumping into the film with reckless abandon, just to experience Browning on-screen.
50% PROBABLY
Higher-poster If you follow films as closely as I do, patterns start to emerge, especially when it comes to documentaries. Every week there is a new documentary chronicling the life of a famous person, or capturing some failing part of our justice system, and in its own category is the mountain climbing expedition documentaries, and “Higher” falls into that category. Because there are so many of these films, more times than not, I will pass on them. But there is something about Jeremy Jones’ expedition that looks more incredible than the normal fair and with beautiful landscapes and death-defying climbs, I might just be drawn to see this one.
25% MAYBE
Innocence-poster Just like there are lesser loved best-selling novels, there are lesser loved movie adaptations of best-selling novels. “Innocence” falls in the same vein as films like “Beautiful Creatures” and “The Mortal Instruments” but with the failing of these films, one has to wonder if studios take certain films that are already made and sweeps them under the rug. “Innocence” definitely has the feel of something that was swept away, but with a strong performance from Kelly Reilly (“Flight”) highlighted in the trailer, I am slightly drawn to this young adult adaptation.
25% MAYBE
Jackhammer-poster When your film touts Jamie Kennedy and Nicole Sullivan as its biggest stars, someone has to realize that that does not necessarily lift the film up to where they want it to be. “Jackhammer”, at least from the trailer, looks like a mess, trying to mix together so many ideas, like male stripping (trying to capitalize off of “Magic Mike”), competition movies, and visual effects heavy fight sequences, compiling a film that I have absolutely no idea what its about.
PASS
KellyAndCal-poster Through years of independent dramas getting stronger and stronger, there tends to be a formula brewing to which every independent film tries to adhere to. Place a well-known star in an existential crisis. Add a straight-shooting character into their life that makes them see the world as possibly it should be. Toss in some current alternative music cue and have the main characters life completely shaken up. “Kelly & Cal” follows that formula perfectly, putting Juliette Lewis in suburbia with a baby. Not fitting in, she befriends a wheel-chair bound straight-shooter next door, dyes her hair blue, and frightens her husband. Lewis has unfortunately never been a draw for me, and with this feeling formulaic already, I fear the film itself will follow suit.
PASS
LastDaysInVietnam-poster Director Rory Kennedy’s (daughter of Bobby) newest documentary, “Last Days In Vietnam” is exactly what the title describes, using interviews with people involved and archival footage depicting the end of the America’s involvement in the war and the heartrending decisions made by the soldiers, naval men, and pilots. Although I appreciate this film-making and find it hugely important to disclose events like this for those that are interested, I am simply not interested and feel there are better Vietnam documentaries to be made.
PASS
Memphis-poster Trailers that regard its unknown director and unknown stars as someone notable or the selling point of the entire film is funny to me. “Memphis” touts singer and actor Willis Earl Beal as someone I should know, but even after looking him up, I am at a loss. Director Tim Sutton has done one other film a few years ago called “Pavillion” which no one has ever heard of. So why this trailer disregards any form of storytelling or interest point to bring to my attention these people who I have never heard of is beyond me.
PASS
NoNoADockumentary-poster Having never followed baseball, or sports in general besides professional wrestling, the name Dock Ellis was just that, simply a name. But in the documentary chronicling his life as a pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates, “No No: A Dockumentary” specifically takes a look at the events of June 12, 1970, in which Ellis pitched a no-hitter. The catch? He was on LSD when he did it. With his brash interviews and erratic nature, Ellis comes off as a very interesting man, facing racism and drug use head on and allowing for a no holds barred look at his past. And even though baseball may not be my thing, intriguing characters definitely are.
50% PROBABLY
RocksInMyPocket-poster Quite the surreal jaunt into animation, “Rocks In My Pockets” is actually a documentary about the Latvian director, Signe Baumane, and the women in her family who suffer from depression. Her narration is not the most discernible, with wavering inflections and a draft one type of feel, but the drawings are very well done for that rough-around-the-edges style of animation and this could easily pop up as an Oscar nominee given the right circumstances. However, until that point, this holds very little interest for me.
PASS
ThunderAndTheHouseOfMagic-poster When you compare Disney, Pixar, and Dreamworks  films to the other animated fare that are released in a year, it is astounding the difference in quality, not just in the animation renderings but in the voice work, the recording, and the storytelling. “Thunder and the House Of Magic” is light-years behind the films the bigger companies put out, and I mean decades behind, coming off as a film that was on the brink of the computer-generated revolution. Why certain film-makers even bother is beyond me.
PASS
TrailerParkBoysDontLegalizeIt-poster Having never gotten into the series “Trailer Park Boys”, the new film from the Canadian comedy trio, “Trailer Park Boys: Don’t Legalize It” simply does not seem like my type of humor, with weed jokes, fart jokes, and some team dynamic that remains an inside joke for those that have watched previous films. The guy with the glasses visually looks funny but the trailer offers little to nothing in the form of laughs that would make me believe this to be a humorous endeavor.
PASS
Wetlands-poster With all the films I see in the theater, at least once or twice a year I am subject to feeling extremely uncomfortable in my seat, watching a film or even occasionally just a trailer which touches on sex or perverse natures in a way that makes for better viewing in the privacy of your own home. Perhaps it is reminiscent of what it would be like to be in a peep show theater with people relieving themselves in their seats, but there is just something off-putting in those moments. There was a brief twinge of that feeling during the trailer for “Wetlands”, the story of a brash young woman who is so politically incorrect that the first time we see her in the trailer she is digging in her butt and eating something gross off her finger. Unfortunately, “Wetlands” looks very well made and the character grows on you, showing the strong likability of the main actress, Carla Juri. However, I will not make the mistake of seeing this in theaters and will instead opt to wait for its home video or VOD release.
RENTAL

THEATER

  • The Longest Week

RENTAL

  • Wetlands

MOST LIKELY CATCH ON NETFLIX (75%)

PROBABLY CATCH ON NETFLIX (50%)

  • God Help The Girl
  • No No: A Dockumentary

MIGHT CATCH ON NETFLIX (25%)

  • Frontera
  • Higher
  • Innocence
  • The Remaining

PASS

  • Devoured
  • Falcon Rising
  • The Identical
  • Jackhammer
  • Kelly & Cal
  • Last Days In Vietnam
  • Memphis
  • Rocks In My Pockets
  • Thunder and the House Of Magic
  • Trailer Parks Boys: Don’t Legalize It

HELL NO

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