HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2 || September 25th, 2015

HotelTransylvania2-poster HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2 || Even for a kids movie, it feels a little juvenile, but what “Hotel Transylvania 2” lacks in more earned laughs it makes up for in being visually polished. Where as some animated films do not quite stack up against the likes of Pixar and Dreamworks, Sony Pictures at least does a nice job of making this feel brand new. But the story of a vampire grandpa trying to teach his grandson to be scary before his mom moves them away, seems a bit over kids’ heads, while not containing much in the form of adult laughs, sticking to “cute” laughs.
STREAM
TheIntern-poster THE INTERN || Random fact, a friend of mine pointed out that the type and color of the title on the poster for “The Intern” and even its placement on a black briefcase, oddly resembles that of the names of the “Ghostbusters” uniforms. Odd coincidence? This comes from the mind of Nancy Meyers (“The Holiday”, “Something’s Gotta Give”, “It’s Complicated”) and yet again it’s about an aging man finding a new lease on life. Robert De Niro plays an intern at an online fashion site, under the boss, played by Anne Hathaway. As much as I miss both of these actors on screen, not to this capacity.
PASS
LabyrinthOfLies-poster LABYRINTH OF LIES || Germany’s official entry into this year’s Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film, “Labyrinth Of Lies” is a thrilling story of a young prosecutor that comes across some documents implicating Nazis that were never tried following the fall of the National Socialist regime. The more he travels down the rabbit hole of documents, the more he founds out the dangers of getting involved as well as how far the rabbit hole actually reaches.
PASS
DrunkStonedBrilliantDead-poster NATIONAL LAMPOON: DRUNK, STONED, BRILLIANT, DEAD || My generation knew MAD and Cracked as the magazine known for pushing boundaries and they knew National Lampoon for movies starring Chevy Chase and later throwing money at movies that went straight-to-DVD. But National Lampoon actually started as one of those boundary pushing magazines, started by two Harvard students. “National Lampoon: Drunk, Stoned, Brilliant, Dead” showcases interviews with the key staff while highlighting the careers that took off, like Chevy Chase and John Belushi, thanks to their foray into movies.
PASS

99Homes-poster 99 HOMES || Chances are, all you would have had to say to me was “99 Homes” stars Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon and I would have said “yes”. But the story for the film looks to be intensely dramatic as well, following the housing crisis, which puts Garfield’s character on the street with his family… but when Shannon, the man who put Garfield on the street, offers him a job to do the same thing to other families, the lines get blurry as to right and wrong. With Michael Shannon involved, there’s no way I’m missing this.
THEATER
TheAnomaly-poster THE ANOMALY || The future. Shooting guns. Mind control. It just all feels repetitive. Yes, I know it’s getting progressively harder to produce new ideas and that most science fiction films find some new place to take these ideas, but when we involve hit-men and government agencies, I just really find it hard to stay interested. It does look like this embraces a darker rating and does have at least the familiar face of Brian Cox, but overall, it just does not go anywhere new when you want it to.
PASS
Ashby-poster ASHBY || Mickey Rourke, Nat Wolff, Emma Roberts, Sarah Silverman; enough said. “Ashby” sees Wolff playing the goofy new kid that moves to town, gets picked on, and falls for the gorgeous girl at school (Roberts). When a homework assignment sends him to his next door neighbor to write a paper about him, he finds that his neighbor (Mickey Rourke) is a not-so-retired hit-man with quite the body count. It looks like the right mix of serious with fun, and with an amazing cast, it sounds worth seeing to me.
RENT
ABraveHeart-poster A BRAVE HEART: THE LIZZIE VELASQUEZ STORY || Suffering from an undiagnosed disease which keeps her from ever gaining weight, Lizzie Velasquez is still one of the most positive people you are likely to meet. Looking much different than anyone else, that doesn’t warrant the mob of YouTube commenters, calling her the world’s ugliest person and calling for death threats or extremely hurtful things. I’m glad Lizzie is standing up against bullying.
PASS
FindersKeepers-poster FINDERS KEEPERS || This is a documentary ripped straight from the headlines, as a man buys a grill and finds a human foot inside. Now, were it involving normal individuals, this leg would either a) be returned to its rightful owner or b) be discarded, but only in this documentary would a man claim rightful ownership of it after FINDING IT IN A GRILL! The men involved are a recovering addict and amputee John Wood and a crazy talking Southern entrepreneur Shannon Whisnant. They are both definitely characters but this one feels a bit small and ridiculous.
PASS
TheGreenInferno-poster THE GREEN INFERNO || Eli Roth finally get his cannibal horror film to theaters after a delay. A group of young adults head off to “save the world” but when they arrive in the Amazon, the indigenous tribe that they came to save ends up wanting to eat them for dinner instead. Filmed with an actual tribe for the very first time, this is quite the endeavor. Roth is known for bringing new ideas to horror with his gruesome “Hostel” series, so you can only imagine what he delivers in terms of gore this time around.
RENT
TheKeepingRoom-poster THE KEEPING ROOM || Brit Marling never ceases to amaze me with her involvement in so many interesting and different films. This time, in “The Keeping Room,” she enters the American West following the Civil War, where she is attacked by two men. Getting away, she retreats to her homestead with her sister (Hailee Steinfeld) and their female slave. Having to ward off the intruders, including one Sam Worthington, this is epic on so many levels.
THEATER
LazerTeam-poster LAZER TEAM || Interesting concept but lacking in almost every other regard. Alien contact with Earth involves a futuristic suit landing in a crater. But when four random guys each put on different parts of the suit and get stuck in them, they become Earth’s greatest defense against an impending attack. The actors, however, are not entertaining, as they mostly come from being YouTube sensations. Regardless, the humor here is so childish, I’m surprised this isn’t aimed at being a children’s comedy instead.
PASS
MississippiGrind-poster MISSISSIPPI GRIND || An independent film starring Ryan Reynolds, Ben Mendelsohn, Sienna Miller, and Analeigh Tipton; sign me up. Mendelsohn plays a gambling addict who is born to lose and will never quite throw in the towel, while Reynolds plays a gambler who doesn’t care if he wins or loses, but has an impressive winning streak. Together they head down to Mississippi to try and turn a profit, but Mendelsohn might just drag them both down. This looks quite impressive for having never heard of it before, but with that amount of talent behind the wheel, it has to be seen.
RENT
PayTheGhost-poster PAY THE GHOST || It’s sometimes hard to remember that Nicolas Cage was once an Academy Award winning actor. Now he’s reduced to roles like in “Pay The Ghost” as a father trying to explain the disappearance of his son on Halloween and connecting it to some sort of entity that takes children. Cage has nowhere to stretch his legs and acting alongside Sarah Wayne Callies (“The Walking Dead”) leaves much to be desired as well.
PASS
TheReflektorTapes-poster THE REFLEKTOR TAPES || Need some explanation behind the music of Arcade Fire? “The Reflektor Tapes” seems to be a documentary alluding to why this band makes music and what they aspire to do, with footage of them practicing and playing on stage mixed with plenty of psychedelic imagery accompanied by music from the band itself. But I guess you need to like or at least be somehow influenced by this band’s music to have that desire to know and that is something I simply do not have.
PASS
Stonewall-poster STONEWALL || An organization that fights for gay rights back in the 1970’s when people that were homosexual couldn’t use their real names and were constantly worried about being physically abused, sometimes even by the police. Banning together to make a different and leading the revolution in pride, a group of LGBT push back, even to the point of radicalism. Directed by Roland Emmerich (“Independence Day”, “The Day After Tomorrow”) and starring Jeremy Irvine, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Joey King, and Ron Perlman, there’s quite a bit going for this film, but somehow it still feels a bit hallow.
PASS
Wildlike-poster WILDLIKE || “Welcome to Alaska,” where if your creepy uncle won’t get you, the bears will. 14-year-old Mackenzie (Ella Purnell) is sent to live with her uncle, while her mother straightens some things out, but when she flees from the threatening gaze of her uncle, she finds herself trying to get back home. Coming across Bruce Greenwood, a hiker whose car is stolen, she gets the guidance she needs to face what’s in front of her. “Wildlike” is a bit too blatant, not relying on much but tongue-in-cheek metaphors.
PASS

THEATER

  • 99 Homes
  • The Keeping Room

RENT

  • Ashby
  • The Green Inferno
  • Mississippi Grind

STREAM

  • Hotel Transylvania 2

PASS

  • The Anomaly
  • A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story
  • Finders Keepers
  • The Intern
  • Labyrinth Of Lies
  • Lazer Team
  • National Lampoon: Drunk, Stoned, Brilliant, Dead
  • Pay The Ghost
  • The Reflektor Tapes
  • Stonewall
  • Wildlike
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