I watch crappy movies so you don't have to.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Movie Review For April 17, 2015: PAUL BLART: MALL COP 2, MONKEY KINGDOM, and UNFRIENDED

Rated: PG
Stars: Kevin James, Raini Rodriguez
Plot: Paul Blart heads to Las Vegas for a vacation, but being a security guard is a full-time job.

Clint Says: Wait for the DVD

I can't begin to tell you how excited I was for this movie to finally be released. Not because I wanted to see it, but because I've now seen the trailer about 150 times. Finally I can move on.

If you saw the original PAUL BLART MALL COP, just stop now and be happy. PBMC2 is nothing more than a rehash of the same jokes in the original film, but this movie has less heart and less drama.

There are a few very funny moments, but not enough to make it worth spending theater ticket prices to see it. On top of that, the plot is paper thin, the motivation for the bad guys is ridiculously weak, the love interest makes no sense at all, and there isn't even a decent twist to keep you guessing.

This is one of those films where the trailer is not only better than the actual movie, but you see all you need to know in the trailer.

Save your money on this one and we will all hope that the other cop comedies coming out this summer will be better than this.

Rated: R
Stars: Shelley Hennig, Jacob Wysocki, Renee Olstead, Will Peltz, Moses Jacob Storm
Plot: A group of friends are haunted by an evil spirit while they Skype with each other

Clint Says: Don't even bother

This may be the lamest excuse for a horror movie I have ever seen. And that is saying something. But one of the reasons I love movies so much is because everyone has their own opinions and taste. As I was walking out of the theater positive I had just witnessed on of the worst movies of 2015, I saw a fellow movie reviewer and friend and asked him what he thought. He said, "It was brilliant! One of the move unique films I've ever seen." It's fascinating how two people can see the same thing in two completely different ways.

I will say that the premise is quite intriguing, but the execution is lacking greatly. Clocking in at only 82 minutes, this film is mercifully short, but it could have been 20 minutes shorter and still accomplished the same thing. It's slow, boring, barely dramatic and even less scary than it is dramatic.

The actors, for the most part, do a fine job in their roles. But there is only so much a person can handle when it comes to six teens screaming at each other on Skype. It was like I had entered the third level of Whiny People Hell.

Honestly, I think the only person in our theater that was even the slightest bit scared was a toddler. (Side note: What kind of idiot brings a toddler to an R-rated horror flick?!) And even that kid only cried twice.

Rated: G
Stars: Tina Fey
Plot: The story of a young monkey and mother trying to survive in ancient ruins in South Asia

Clint Says: Wait for the DVD

These DisneyNature films are always very well done and interesting and MONKEY KINGDOM is no exception, but like the others, there isn't anything in the movie that makes it so compelling that you have to see it in theaters. You will get the same effect and joy by watching this in your own living room four months from now that you would get by seeing it this weekend.

Really, the only reason to see it in theaters is because part of the ticket sales go to helping the monkeys survive. But if that is really something that concerns you, then just donate the full price of a ticket and then wait for the DVD.

As with most DisneyNature films, make sure you stick around through the credits. they show the camera crews working closely with the animals. To me it is the most intriguing part of the whole movie.

This film is safe and enjoyable for the whole family, so if you are looking for an outing this would be a good choice. Just don't expect your kids to walk out of it like they had just seen FROZEN.

Monday, April 13, 2015

DVD Review For April 13, 2015: WOMAN IN BLACK 2: ANGEL OF DEATH and BIG EYES

Rated: PG-13
Stars: Helen McCrory, Jeremy Irvine, Phoebe Fox
Plot: A group of WWII child evacuees are placed at Eel Marsh mansion re-awakening the evil within.

Clint Says: Rent this if you haven't seen the first one

The first film in this franchise, starring Daniel Radcliffe, was one of the creepiest and well done horror movies I have ever seen. It was dark and sinister, but not overly dramatic. Nor was it full of the usual scary movie hack tricks to make it seem scarier.

This film is exactly the same as the first one. That's good in that it is really creepy and well done, but it's bad because it doesn't further the story at all. It's all of the same stuff for the same reason 40 years later. Also, the climactic scene got a huge eye roll from me as I'm sure it will from most attendees.

If you haven't seen the first one, you can jump right in with this one and it will scare you stiff. If you have seen the first one you may want to go ahead and skip this one since there is nothing new for you to enjoy.

They set it up for a third film, which I understand from a business standpoint, because this franchise will make a ton of cash for the studio, but unless there is a significant plot change it will probably just be more of the same.

Rated: R
Stars: Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz
Plot: A woman's paintings start to become very popular, but her husband takes credit for them.

Clint Says: Rent this today

Whether you remember the actual Big Eyes phenomenon or not this movie will touch you. Waltz and Adams are outstanding in their respective roles as an overbearing con artist and a beaten down artist.

The film is pretty straight forward, especially for a Tim Burton flick, but he does inject his special flair for the odd throughout the film.

For a movie about painting, it is surprisingly fast-paced and the tempo really never lets down. It's full of drama and suspense and the story is as compelling as a high-value art heist. It's just an art heist done in a subtle way.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Movie Review For April 12, 2015: WOMAN IN GOLD

Rated: PG-13
Stars: Helen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds
Plot: An Austrian-born woman living in America fights the Austrian government to return a highly-prized portrait of her aunt to her family 60 years after it was stolen by the Nazis.

Clint Says: Go see this as soon as you can

This is one of those interesting films that, had it been in the right hands, could have ended up on the short list of Oscar consideration. Unfortunately, instead of being truly spectacular like THE IMITATION GAME it falls more into the slightly above average category like MONUMENTS MEN.

Mirren and Reynolds do an outstanding job, but the writing and directing fall short. That said, this is an important film that you should see in order to understand even more of the atrocities committed by the Nazis.

Based on a true story, this film is emotional, powerful and, at times, hard to watch, but it is well worth enduring the uncomfortable parts to understand the struggle that so many European Jews suffered.

If you have teens, I would highly recommend taking them to see WOMAN IN GOLD. It may lead to some interesting and dynamic conversations.

Thursday, April 9, 2015


Rated: PG-13
Stars: Britt Robertson, Scott Eastwood, Alan Alda
Plot: A Professional Bull Rider and an art lover build a relationship with the help of love letters written from a man to his wife in the 1940s.

Clint Says: Nicholas Sparks fans will love it, everyone else stay away

THE LONGEST RIDE is Nicholas Sparks at his sparkiest. Basically, if you loved SAFE HAVEN you will ooze happiness at the end of this movie. If you hated THE BEST OF ME you would be better off trying to ride a bull than watch this flick.

Nicholas Sparks's movies and books are the definition of formulaic. Personally, they have zero appeal for me. I like surprises and twists when I watch something, but I am not the target audience for his art so it doesn't really matter what I think when it comes to the plot. However, I can speak to the quality of the film.

Britt Robertson does a great job in her lead role. I'm sure we will see her getting more roles from Hollywood now. Scott Eastwood does a decent job, but really his job is to be eye candy, and at that he excels.

One of the things that drives me crazy in movies are continuity errors. This film may have one of the biggest I've ever seen. Our hero manages to drive from Nashville, TN to Winston-Salem, NC, still in his bull riding uniform, in a matter of minutes. Mr. Director, bookmark Google Maps and use it on occasion.

Then there is the bull snot scene. You did not read that wrong. A. BULL. SNOT. SCENE.  Dear reader, I can not even begin to convey to you how ridiculous and disgusting the bull snot scene is. Why the director decided that it was a good idea to give us slow-motion, full-frame footage of bull snot flying through the air we may never know, but it's there for all of us to endure.

The film had several funny moments, some on purpose, most not. If you can make it through the bull-riding man/oil drum-riding woman/man and woman riding each other montage without having your own bull snot moment, you are a better person than I.

Clocking in at 2 hours 8 minutes, THE LONGEST RIDE really is just that.

Rated: R
Stars: Al Pacino, Annette Bening, Bobby Cannavale, Jennifer Garner
Plot: An aging rock star is giving a life-changing letter that leads him to connecting with his adult son and family.

Clint Says: If you can find this movie, go see it now

To be honest, when I saw the trailer for this film I thought it looked okay, but it didn't seem to be much more than an old-people-find-love-while-teaching-each-other-life-lessons flick. I'm glad it is so much more than that.

Al Pacino does a nice job, but Bobby Cannavale completely steals the show. He is spectacular. I wouldn't go so far as to say his performance is award-worthy, but it is absolutely worth the price of admission.

This film is heartwarming, dramatic, funny, heartbreaking and beautiful. I laughed out loud, I came really close to crying (which is saying a lot because I rarely cry at movies), and I held my breath in suspense. This story is told so well that I even cared about the hotel valet and receptionist.

I am still reeling at the ending of this film. It is one of those amazing moments in film when everything comes together, great actors, great acting, great writing, and great directing leading to a scene that is so full of tension, drama and suspense that you feel like the screen is going to explode. And if it doesn't, you just might.

Throw on top of all of that a John Lennon-led soundtrack and you've got a movie well worth seeing.

Rated: R
Stars: Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Adam Driver, Amanda Seyfried
Plot: A forty-something couple begins hanging out with a twenty-something couple, but things aren't what they seem

Clint Says: Wait for the DVD

If this film had condensed the first hour into about 10 minutes and then gotten to the last 45 minutes it would have been a much better movie. Unfortunately, by the time I sat through the first hour I pretty much just wanted it to end.

It felt like Ben Stiller was just going through the motions, Naomi Watts didn't really add much to the story, and Amanda Seyfried wasn't used to her full potential. Adam Driver, on the other hand, was incredible, as usual.

While I did like the twist that completely blindsided me, it wasn't enough to overcome the mundane feel and pace of the rest of the film. There is nothing in it that would make it necessary to see in theaters, so save your money and wait for the DVD. But even then it probably won't be worth it, unless you just fast forward to all of the Adam Driver moments.

NOTE: For my Nashville readers, this is only playing at The Belcourt.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

DVD Review For April 7, 2015: A MOST VIOLENT YEAR

Rated: R
Stars: Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, David Oyelowo
Plot: A heating oil company owner finds himself in a turf war and a battle with the authorities in 1981 New York City.

Clint Says: Rent it if you have a couple of hours to kill

Jessica Chastain gives an outstanding, award-worthy performance in this otherwise lackluster film. With a title like A MOST VIOLENT YEAR you'd think there would be a good bit of violence. Well, you'd be wrong. Most of the violence takes place off camera and even then it's pretty tame.

My main thought as I walked out of the theater was, "Who knew the heating oil business was so rough?" I wish I had been thinking, "Wow, what an incredible movie."

The film is slow, tame and the ending is exceptionally anti-climactic. I would say it's a two-hour waste of your time, but that would be unfair to Chastain's performance. She makes the film tolerable.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Movie Review For April 3, 2015: FURIOUS SEVEN

Rated: PG-13
Stars: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Jason Statham, Kurt Russell
Plot: Dom and his team must recover a high-tech surveillance program in order to go after the guy that's trying to take them down

Clint Says: Grab some popcorn, check your brain at the door and go this weekend

This film is ridiculous, stupid, over the top and COMPLETELY AWESOME!

Look, you know what you are getting into with this flick. It's fast cars, hot people, epic fighting and not much else. That said, the reason anyone goes to see these movies is for the fast cars, hot people and epic fighting.

This franchise really hit its stride with 6 and now 7 keeps that momentum going. It's a fun, exciting popcorn flick that will have you holding your breath and then driving too fast when you leave the theater.

For a movie about fast cars, it does take a while before it gets going. The first 20 minutes or so are pretty slow, but once the action kicks in it's a non-stop street race to the credits. There are several moments where the action is eye-rollingly ridiculous, but in this style of movie that is perfectly fine, and as far as I'm concerned, encouraged.

Paul Walker fans are going to be very pleased with the film. I'm not sure how much of the movie is actually him and how much is his brother filling in, but there wasn't a single second when I could tell that is wasn't him. The "face-replacing" technology that we first saw in the latest TRON film with Jeff Bridges was amazing, but still looked a bit odd. It was used in this film to put Paul's face on his brother's body for certain scenes, but now, it is seamless.

The last five minutes of the film are a tribute to Walker. It is a wonderful tribute, but it barely has anything to do with the rest of the movie. It's almost as if the Director said, "Plot? We don't need to worry about plot! This is Paul Walker!" But, even though the tribute doesn't fit it at all with the rest of the film, fans of the franchise will probably have a tough time keeping from shedding a tear.

A note to my Nashville area readers: Be on the lookout for the reporter about 10 minutes into the movie. She is our very own Stephanie Langston from News Channel 2!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

DVD Review for March 31, 2015

Rated: PG-13
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Cain
Plot: A former pilot is sent on a journey into space to find a new planet for humans because the earth is becoming uninhabitable.

Clint Says: This movie is ah-mazing!...Wait...wha? OMG! This is HORRIBLE!

INTERSTELLAR has the dubious honor of being one of my Top 10 Worst films of 2014...

I should have known better. When they released the first teaser trailer for this film almost a year ago I was so excited, but I should have known better. Great films don't need to do that. When we found out they were only going to pre-screen this film for movie reviewers and not general audiences, I should have known better. Great movies want as many people to see the film before release date as possible to spread the word. I should have known better.

This film clocks in at just shy of three hours. The first 2:15 are some of the most interesting, compelling and spectacular movie magic I've seen in a long time. I was enthralled. I was pulled in hook, line and sinker. Just like THE DARK KNIGHT films, Christopher Nolan was knocking it out of the park. 

Then the last 30 minutes of the film made their ugly appearance.

I can't even begin to tell you how bad the last 30 minutes of this film were. I sat in stunned silence, mouth agape. I couldn't believe my eyes. How could a Christopher Nolan film with such an incredible cast, and Oscar-worthy acting I might add, fall apart like a spaceship flying into a black hole?

There were several moments in the first 2:15 of the film that were odd, like story jumps and plot holes, but I was willing to overlook all of that because the film was so epic. Now I can't unsee any of it.

If you really must see this film, (and I can't really blame you because the trailers make it look so good), just watch until they launch the robot into the black hole. At that point, turn off the DVD player or computer, go to a coffee shop and make up your own ending. You will be so much happier. 

Rated: PG-13
Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley
Plot: A British mathematician works to break the German's code to help the allies win the war.

Clint Says: Buy this DVD today

This film has the honor of being my top pick of 2014. It is an outstanding movie that should be seen by everyone. Benedict Cumberbatch gives a masterful performance as does Keira Knightley.

This movie is so highly compelling because the stakes are so high, and this cast delivers the intensity to the audience every step of the way. It is powerful, heartbreaking and intense.

Without giving anything away I will say that the scene following their success is one of the most powerful, gut-wrenching and heart-breaking scenes I have ever seen. This is truly a masterpiece.

Rated: R
Stars: Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern
Plot: A woman endures a long hike to try to rediscover who she is

Clint Says: Rent this when you get around to it

There was a lot of awards buzz surrounding this film, but I found it to be an okay movie at best. It has several compelling moments and Witherspoon does a wonderful job in her role, but there is only so much you can do with a movie about someone walking 1,100 miles.

The film starts slow and drags on for a while, then, just about the time the movie starts to get really good, it's over. And the ending of the movie feels like it would have made a more compelling chunk of the movie rather than the one paragraph of narration jammed in to try to tie the whole package up with a nice bow.

Typically, I don't like to do this, but I feel that a lot of people may be shocked at the content of this film. It is Rated R for a very good reason. WILD is full of sex, nudity, drug use and adult language. I'm not sure that most audiences will realize the adult nature of this film until they've already pressed play on the film.