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

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Movie Review For November 26, 2014

It's Thanksgiving week so most movies will be hitting the theaters on Wednesday instead of Friday. Enjoy!

Rated: PG
Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, John Malkovich, Tom McGrath
Plot: The penguins must team up with another elite force to try to stop a villain from kidnapping the world's penguins.

Clint Says: Take the whole family and see this in theaters this week

This may well be the funniest animated movie of 2014. I laughed out loud 15 or 20 times and spent the better part of the rest of the film trying to wipe the smile off my face with no luck.

Kids will love this movie because it has a lot of fun elements for them, but adults will be just as pleased with it because it has an interesting plot, surprisingly in-depth character development, and it is fast-paced.

I put this movie up with the likes of THE LEGO MOVIE and MR. PEABODY AND SHERMAN. This has been an incredible year for animated films and PENGUINS keeps the streak alive.

Rated: R
Stars: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Chris Pine
Plot: After their business is sabotaged, three guys come up with a plan to get their money back, but their plan gets hijacked by a scheming sleazeball.

Clint Says: See this in theaters this week...if you can handle the raunch

The original HORRIBLE BOSSES was a raunchy, hysterically awesome movie. HORRIBLE BOSSES 2 is the same. My jaw hurt when I left the theater after this movie, but I also felt like I needed a shower. This movie is so raunchy they couldn't even make a 2-minute trailer without several cuss words in it.

As with any comedy, the movie may be funny but it's only as good as its plot. In this case, the plot is outstanding. Sure, it has a few minor holes, but nothing that will hurt your head. It's fun and funny, but with significant moments of suspense and drama. The juxtaposition is what makes this movie so good.

If you can handle the offensive humor this is a sequel worth seeing.

Monday, November 24, 2014

DVD Review For November 25, 2014

Rated: R
Stars: Pierce Brosnan, Luke Bracey, Olga Kurylenko
Plot: An ex-CIA operative is called back into action to bring down one of his former trainees.

Clint Says: Rent this movie this week

This film was released into theaters in one of Hollywood's typical dump months. It's where they release all of the films they don't expect to do well. But there are always one or two exceptions. Thankfully, THE NOVEMBER MAN is an exception.

This film is a very good, high entertainment spy flick that will keep you engaged and guessing. It is also done in a way that you really don't know if the main characters are going to make it out alive or not, adding to the suspense and thrills of the movie.

It's a lot of fun to see Pierce Brosnan return to the big screen in a high-action spy role. His cool-as-a-cucumber approach is the perfect juxtaposition to his quick-acting adversary.

It's not quite on par with the better James Bond films, but you won't walk away disappointed.

Get a big bucket of popcorn and enjoy the ride.

Rated: PG-13
Stars: Brenton Thwaites, Jeff Bridges, Odeya Rush
Plot: In a seemingly utopian society, a boy begins to learn the truth that they are all being manipulated by the government, and must figure out a way to stop them.

Clint says: Rent this if you are interested to see where the YA genre began

This is one of those films that will mean a lot more to some people than to others. For those that read THE GIVER and understand the importance of that book in helping to create and shape the Young Adult genre this will be a film of great importance. For your average movie-goer, this film will probably be a little slow with a mediocre payoff.

The world-building is unique and interesting and there is enough suspense to keep you engaged throughout the film, but it isn't as exciting or fast-paced as DIVERGENT or THE HUNGER GAMES.

Rated: PG-13
Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan
Plot: A man tries to be friends with a woman who has a boyfriend.

Clint Says: Rent this movie this week

While this movie is at its base a formulaic Romantic Comedy, the chemistry between Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan is incredible. Their banter and non-verbal communications will make you smile throughout the movie, and there are several moments that will make you laugh out loud.

This is one of those sleeper films that seem to come out a couple of times a year that, for whatever reason, don't get traction among moviegoers, but are exceptional movies. I highly recommend WHAT IF.

Rated: PG-13
Stars: Just about every action hero in Hollywood
Plot: The Expendables team comes up against a new foe in an old friend and must work together to stay alive.

Clint Says: If you liked the first two, buy this DVD today

Here's the deal with this franchise, just think SHARKNADO, only with a huge budget and A-List actors. These films are so ridiculously over-the-top that they are among the most entertaining films ever. They aren't meant to be thought-provoking or important movies. They are meant to poke fun at the action genre in a non-parody way that satisfies completely.

Grab a big bucket of popcorn, get a bunch of friends and have a great time watching this movie.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Movie Review For November 21, 2014

Rated: PG-13
Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Donald Sutherland
Plot: Katniss must overcome her demons to help lead the revolution against President Snow and the Capitol.

Clint Says: Drop everything and go see this movie now!

Wow. Just. Wow.

This franchise is slowly killing me...in a good way, but killing me nonetheless. I'm warning you now that there will be a collective groan when this movie ends. Not because it's a bad ending, but because the audience will be desperate for more. There was a moment that, for a split second, I thought they were going to end the film about 10 minutes earlier than they did. It would have been an incredible ending and there would have been riots in the streets. So, thank you, Mr. Director, for saving us from resorting to our own little revolution.

This film is dark, intense and brutal. If you are hoping to see a pretty Jennifer Lawrence, this is not the film for you. She is broken and beat down for nearly the entire film. Her portrayal of Katniss suffering in the depths of PTSD is spot on. At points it is almost difficult to watch because of the level of pain she is in.

Philip Seymour Hoffman (Plutarch Heavensbee) gives a fine performance in one of his last roles. Elizabeth Banks (Effie Trinkett) takes her character to a new level, giving us some much needed comic relief. And Woody Harrelson (Haymitch Abernathy) continues to become more vulnerable and deep. They create a trio of support for Katniss that we see is one of the few things that keeps her going.

This film is incredible from beginning to end. In fact there was only one small part that bugged me, just some made up drama with Katniss not able to find Primm. If you liked the first two films you will really enjoy this one as well. If you liked the book then you will love this film, because you get so much more in the movie.

I recommend seeing this movie now and then again later on this week. It's that good.

NOTE: I am now also doing the NERD RIDERS DRIVE THROUGH MOVIE REVIEW for YABooksCentral.com. If you would like to see that review, here you go:

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

DVD Review For November 18, 2014

Rated - PG-13
Stars: Chloe Grace Moretz, Jaime Blackley
Plot: A girl in a coma has an out of body experience that allows her to decide whether to die or to live a life completely different than the one she had planned.

Clint Says: It's worth renting once

Chloe Grace Moretz has become one of the premiere go-to girls in Hollywood, and rightfully so. She pulls off a wonderful performance in this young love tale.

This is a dark film, but it is also filled with hope and inspiration. The director does a very good job of keeping the film from being overly sappy or overly depressing. And the back and forth between past and present works really well in this film.

If you liked THE FAULT IN OUR STARS you will enjoy this movie as well. It's not as good, but it will satisfy your need for a young-love story.

Rated - PG-13
Stars: Michael Douglas, Diane Keaton
Plot: A curmudgeonly old widower and his singing widow neighbor must learn how to care for a granddaughter he never knew he had.

Clint Says: Rent this if you've already seen everything else

This movie is a prime example of why we hear people complaining how Hollywood has lost its creativity, and nothing original comes out of Hollywood anymore. Hollywood has learned that most of their "original" ideas are old, dried up and a waste of time.

While this film has a few laughs and a few warm, fuzzy moments, overall it is a slow, boring tale. Douglas and Keaton spend most of the movie just going through the motions. And the plot is so ridiculously predictable and stereotypical that most in the audience will spend a large part of the movie rolling their eyes.

Watching this felt a bit like watching a superstar athlete trying to keep up after he is well past his prime in a league that has passed him by. It's sad in a way to see the likes of Rob Reiner, Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton trying to remain relevant in an industry that has moved away from their style of movies.

If you really want to see these actors in something good this weekend rent some of their better works. You'll be happier for it, and it will save you from wasting your money and your time.

Rated - PG-13
Stars: Richard Armitage, Sarah Wayne Callies, Matt Walsh
Plot: A massive outbreak of tornadoes has people running for their lives.

Clint Says: Let someone else rent the DVD and make plans to leave early

This is nothing more than an overdone, crappy version of TWISTER. The Director starts this film out using the "found footage" technique where all of the video the audience sees is shot by the characters in the movie, but about halfway through the film he starts using interspersed shots from an outside perspective. It felt like there were scenes that they really wanted in the movie, but couldn't figure out a way to have a character shoot it so they took the lazy way out and hoped the audience wouldn't notice.

There is one very compelling scene in the film where you actually feel for the two people that are about to die, but that covers about four minutes of the film. The other 100 minutes are eye-rolling stupidity.

I'm sure the planning meeting for this film included a brain-storming session with the title, "Forget About Plot And Continuity, What Cool Things Can A Tornado Destroy?"

Without giving away anything that the trailer didn't already show us, my favorite eye-rolling scene is when the massive, climactic uber-tornado hits the small-town airport and takes out a half-dozen 747's. Apparently, Silverton, Oklahoma is a major international hub.

The special effects are well done, but that alone is not worth the price of admission.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Movie Review For November 14, 2014

Rated: PG-13
Stars: Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels
Plot: Lloyd and Harry go on a trip to find Harry's long-lost daughter to help save his life.

Clint Says: If you love stupid humor flicks drop everything and go see this now

Rarely does a sequel live up to the original. Even more difficult? A sequel that can hold its own against an iconic original. That was the task laid out for DUMB AND DUMBER TO as the second installment to the potty humor franchise. (We do not count DUMB AND DUMBERER as a prequel...in fact, it shall henceforth be know as THE MOVIE THAT SHALL NOT BE NAMED).

I had my expectations set low as I sat down to watch this film, and much to my pleasant surprise, the cast and crew delivered an awesomely dumb movie. I was laughing hard throughout the flick, cringing in all the right places, and shaking my head in gleeful disgust at the stupidity and depths of the juvenile humor.

If you are a fan of DUMB AND DUMBER this movie will not disappoint. For the new generation of movie-goers, this is a stellar introduction into the DUMB. If you are not a fan of stupid humor flicks, stay far, far away from this film. There is nothing for you here. The plot is dumb, the jokes are dumb, and the acting is dumber. Not to mention that we get to see WAAAYYYY to much of Jeff Daniels back side.

I saw this movie with a 13 year old guy. He thinks it should win the Best Picture Oscar. That's all you need to know.

Rated: R
Stars: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Nate Parker, Minnie Driver
Plot: A pop-star falls in love with the cop that saved her life, and they try to build a relationship while dealing with the bright lights of stardom.

Clint Says: Save some money and see a matinee

This is one of those films that is just fine. There is nothing great about it, there is nothing bad about it. There is nothing that I will remember about this movie and there is nothing that I desperately wish to forget.

Five months from now when the DVD is released I'll say, "Oh yeah, I remember seeing that film. Now what was it about again?"

It's a nice love story with an interesting, if not unique, premise. Both of the leads play their parts well and for the most part it's believable.

If you are looking for a decent love story without having to think to hard about plot, this film would be a good choice this weekend.

Rated: PG
Stars: Kirk Cameron, Darren Doane
Plot: A man that hates the commercialism of Christmas is taught by his brother-in-law a new way to look at the holiday.

Clint Says: I. Can't. Even.

I honestly don't know what I saw when I saw SAVING CHRISTMAS. It's not a movie (as the trailer makes you believe), it's not a documentary (as some have suggested), and it's not a sermon (although it feels like that for 90% of the film). For simplicity's sake, I'm going to refer to it as a movie.

I feel it necessary to disclose that I have worked with Kirk Cameron in the past, I like the guy a lot and I want to see him do well. I also have friends that work at Provident (one of the companies behind this film) and I wish them nothing but the best.

That said, this movie is horrible. I get the idea of the film, but the execution is super-low-budget and it feels like the entire concept was thought up, written down and set in stone over lunch at Panera Bread with no further creative meetings allowed.

This is one of those "I have a point to make" films that pushes the plot to the side. In this case, the plot is pushed almost completely off the screen. Nearly an hour of the 75 minute long movie is a straight up sermon you might hear at any non-denominational church on any given Sunday in December. The other 20 minutes or so are random diatribes about conspiracy theories, dance breaks or well, that's about it.

This film also ends at least four times. I mean it really, truly ends. Like, I'm sitting there and I see the scene fade to black and I start to get up and then there is more. It was really weird. It's hard to believe that a 75 minute long film can feel long, but this one felt like it dragged on for hours.

I will say this for the film, if you are a Christian and you have an issue with the commercialism of Christmas, you may want to see this movie. It may change your mind, it may not, but it will at least give you another perspective on the holiday.

Monday, November 10, 2014

DVD Review For November 11, 2014

Rated: PG
Stars: Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchette
Plot: Hiccup and Toothless must fight to keep the dragons from falling into the hands of an evil warlord.

Clint Says: Buy this DVD as soon as possible

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2, simply put, is another outstanding offering by the DreamWorks team, and it is just as good at the first in the series.

It is action-packed, funny and heartwarming. The story is compelling and will keep audiences of all ages engaged throughout. There was very little that I didn't like about this film, and those things were easily overlooked due to the general amazingness of the rest of the film.

The artwork on HTTYD2 is incredible. Several times I found myself mesmerized by the intricate detail, especially the fur on the clothes and the scales on the dragons. It's worth the price of the DVD just to see the artwork, but you get so much more.

Grab the whole family and enjoy this film together.

Rated - R
Stars: Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon
Plot: A middle-aged, down-on-her-luck woman tries to find herself while on a road trip with her grandmother.

Clint Says: Rent this DVD when you get around to it

The trailers for TAMMY are almost completely misleading. This movie sits on a throne of lies! Yes, this movie is funny, but it's not nearly the slap-stick riot the trailer portrays it as. In fact, this film is much more of a relationship film that is heartwarming. heartbreaking and will make you cry with a bunch of Melissa McCarthy humor thrown on top.

I won't say I didn't like the film, because I thought it was fine, but I felt like I had been misled by the trailers. I saw it in a packed theater and halfway through the movie a few people had already walked out and never returned. I don't think it was because they hated it, they were simply expecting something different.

If you are not a fan of bad language you'll want to avoid this movie as McCarthy is in rare form throughout, even by her standards. But for those of you that are Will Ferrell fans, he is one of the producers of this film so you'll see the typical Ferrell cast of characters in several different roles.

If you are wanting a full-fledge comedy, this is not a good choice for you, however if you are looking for a knee-slapping STEEL MAGNOLIAS go rent TAMMY and enjoy.

Rated - R
Stars: Damon Wayans Jr., Jake Johnson
Plot: Two buddies dress up like cops for a party, but when people start taking them seriously they keep the charade going.

Clint Says: Rent this if you've already seen everything else worth seeing

This is one of those comedies that could have been so much better than it was. It has a few funny moments, but for the most part it just lays there flat. 

There are so many more police comedies that are way better than this film. If you really want to see one this week, I'd suggest renting one of the others before spending any money on this one.

Limited Release Films With Oscar Buzz

This is the time of year where we start to see a lot of films that are potentially Oscar-worthy, but for whatever reason are only released in a few theaters. If you have a chance to see any of these films I would highly recommend it. They are not necessarily palatable for those of you that like the highly commercialized films, but for those of you that like films off the beaten path these may be good choices for you.

Rated: R
Stars: Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton
Plot: An aging actor tries to revitalize his career by writing, directing and staring in a Broadway play.

Clint Says: If you can find this in a theater go see it now

This is one of the most original films I've seen in a while. The way this movie is shot is so innovative and fun you can't help but to be mesmerized by it. The first 97% or so of the movie is shot with what is supposed to be a single camera, continuous shot. It is absolutely fascinating.

Aside from the creative cinematography, the acting is outstanding and the story is compelling and the characters are deep. You really feel for these characters and understand their struggles.

There is an aspect to this film that will turn off some movie-goers. At times it seems interesting at other times it feels out of place to the rest of the story, but for those that are willing to suspend disbelief and just go with it, you will truly enjoy this film.

Rated: R
Stars: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons
Plot: A student at a prestigious music college is invited to play in the top band, but soon discovers the band director is abusive

Clint Says: If you can find this in a theater go see it now

This is an amazing film. J.K. Simmons character is one of the most evil villains to hit the big screen in years. He is so brutally abusive to his students that you truly hate him with your entire being. His creative use of the F-word is almost mesmerizing. If he isn't up for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar it would be a real shame.

It is fascinating to watch Miles Teller's character grow throughout the film from a cocky but insecure student into a driven man willing to risk everything for the sake of his career. Plus, he plays the drums with the passion of the greats.

This is an outstanding "overcomer" film that is worth seeing if you can find it in theaters.

Rated: PG-13
Stars: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, David Thewlis
Plot: The story of the life and marriage of Stephen Hawking

Clint Says: If you can find this in a theater go see it now

Eddie Redmayne should not only be nominated for the Best Actor Oscar, but we should just go ahead and give him the statue now. His performance is astounding.

The Academy is partial to pretty people making themselves much less physically desirable for a role, and Redmayne does that in this movie, but he goes beyond the physical. He transforms into Stephen Hawking.

Felicity Jones may get an Oscar nod as well and if so, it will be well-deserved. She plays the "I've given up my own dreams for the sake of my family" role spot on.

This movie is brilliant, heartwarming, heartbreaking and inspiring all at once. Even if you are not a fan of Stephen Hawking, this film will still entertain you.

Rated: R
Stars: Keira Knightley, Chloe Grace Moretz, Sam Rockwell
Plot: A post-college woman, going through a quarter-life crisis, hides from responsibility in the house of a young girl

Clint Says: If you can find this in a theater go see it now

This film is a long-shot for Oscar consideration, but it is a great film. It's an interesting commentary on the part of the late-twenties generation that refuses to grow up and move on past their time in high school and college.

Sam Rockwell is spectacular in his role as a single dad trying to raise an unruly teen girl. Keira Knightley is refreshing in her role as someone that doesn't have all of her stuff together. And Chloe Grace Moretz proves once again that she is one of the greatest teen actors of our time.

The plot isn't mind-blowing, which is why it probably will be overlooked by The Academy, but the performances are worth watching.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Movie Review For November 7, 2014

NOTE: I will be releasing a special post on Monday reviewing several limited-release films that have Oscar buzz.

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!

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, get up and run out of the theater, go to a coffee shop and make up your own ending. You will be so much happier. 

Rated: PG
Stars: Scott Adsit, Ryan Potter
Plot: A young genius uses a robot and his friends to help solve a mystery. 

Clint Says: Drop everything and go see this in theaters now

When you get the geniuses from Disney, Pixar, and Marvel all in on a movie you end up with some epic awesomeness. BIG HERO 6 is epic awesomeness. This is a movie that will be inserted into the DVD player a few months from now and set to "Repeat".

The animation is crisp, detailed, layered and filled with background fun for those of you that like to search for Marvel Easter Eggs. The story is very well told. It is compelling, emotional, funny and engaging for children and adults. 

I saw this film in 3D and was pleasantly surprised that they didn't do a lot of the gimmicky 3D-in-your-face stuff that doesn't add anything to the film. That said, you aren't going to miss anything by saving a few bucks and seeing it in a 2D theater. 

This film is really action-packed and some of it may be a bit too intense for the under 5 crowd, but aside from that, everyone else will enjoy this film. Grab the whole family and go see this as soon as possible. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

DVD Review For November 4, 2014

Rated PG
Stars: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning
Plot: The untold story of how Maleficent came to be and the story behind the story of Sleeping Beauty is finally revealed.

Clint Says: Buy this DVD now

Unlike many film critics, I am a sucker for a good Disney flick, so walking in to see MALEFICENT I had high hopes that it would live up to the incredible trailers and that the story they chose for her would be worthy of a film of this magnitude. My high hopes were met with an astoundingly epic movie that was suspenseful, charming, and funny.

Kudos to the special effects team. If they aren't nominated for an OSCAR there is something wrong in Hollywood. The creatures' texture and movement is as close to real as I have ever seen in a movie. Their attention to detail was so precise that you almost feel like you can reach out and touch the scenery.

Angelina Jolie puts the entire cast and crew on her back and carries them all to the finish. She is Maleficent, and if you aren't completely enamored with her by the end of the film we probably need to break up. As for the secondary characters (read: everybody but Angelina), they do a fine job of supporting Jolie without getting in the way of her stellar performance.

My only beef with this film are two gaping plot holes near the end that are obvious enough that even casual movie-goers will most-likely notice them. Aside from that though, MALEFICENT is one of the best movies of the year.

Rated - PG-13
Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Ian McShane
Plot: A mercenary fights alongside a small band of warriors while trying to live up to the legend of Hercules

Clint Says: Rent this DVD as soon as you can

This film really surprised me. I'm typically not a fan of Greek legend movies because they are either over the top with violence or long and plodding. HERCULES is neither. It is action-packed, fast-paced, thrilling, humorous, and the story is compelling and well done.

This is a new take on the legend and myth of Hercules that will satisfy fans of the classic Hercules story as well as fans of good action flicks.

Dwayne Johnson does a marvelous job of portraying Hercules, but in a way that doesn't make the demi-god too serious. Ian McShane is a scene stealer throughout, and the rest of Hercules's team round out a fun cast with great on-screen chemistry.

The special effects are well done and not overbearing. You'll want to see this on as big a screen with the best sound system possible.

It's nice to see that someone finally made a movie about Hercules that is worth seeing and is not only entertaining, but fun and exciting as well.

Rated - PG
Stars: Dane Cook, Ed Harris
Plot: Dusty becomes a firefighter after pushing his engine too hard while racing.

Clint Says: Rent this DVD for the kids and leave the room

This movie has a lot of action and adventure for the younger crowd, but parents will not be amused. The plot has potential but the execution is fair at best. It feels like the honchos on this film just went through the motions knowing that no matter how good or bad it is it will still draw crowds and make a nice profit.

I will say that the animation in PLANES is spectacular. In fact, there are a couple of scenes that I thought might be real. If incredible, true-to-life animation is your motivation then this movie will blow your mind.

One aspect of the film that some movie-goers will not appreciate is the seemingly constant use of plays on words to make it sound like the characters are cursing. One example being when Dusty says, "I kicked As...ton Martin." I'm really not sure why the creators of films for kids do this. It adds nothing to the movie and offends a portion of the crowd.

The movie does have a few good lessons on listening, patience and perseverance, but I wouldn't say that it is worth the price of buying the DVD. A single viewing will be satisfactory for most people.