Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A Very Curious Comic Book Movie: Our Review of "Fantastic Four" (2015)

Directed By: Josh Trank (Chronicle

Starring: Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Bell, Tony Kebbell, Reg E. Cathey

Rating: PG-13 for sci-fi action and violence, and language

Run Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Synopsis: A group of young scientists invent a trans-dimensional teleportation device and gain superpowers following a catastrophic trip to another dimension's planet. These scientists and their civilian friend who was roped into the trip must then band together to save the planet from one of their own group.

REVIEW

Andrew: Hello dear readers! Sarah and I have been on an extended blogging hiatus due to a fairly busy summer with some weird work schedules for the both of us, but we were drawn out of said hiatus thanks to a film that we were morbidly curious to check out: Fox's new Fantastic Four reboot.


It's directed by Josh Trank, who made a name for himself with 2012's Chronicle - a superhero film that we reviewed positively back in the first year we did this blog - and stars Miles Teller (Whiplash), Kate Mara (House of Cards), Michael B. Jordan (Chronicle) and Jamie Bell (AMC's Turn) as Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic, Sue Storm/The Invisible Woman, Johnny Storm/The Human Torch, and Ben Grimm/The Thing, respectively.  Oh, and Tony Kebbell, who played Koba the chimp in last year's Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, plays Victor von Doom/Dr. Doom this time around.

So Sarah, let's get to it. This reboot has been critically panned and it's already a box-office flop, having earned only $26 million in its first weekend. Just for comparison, the 2005 and 2007 Fantastic Four films that starred Jessica Alba and a pre-Captain America Chris Evans earned $52 million and $58 million in their respective opening weekends.

Fox needs to contractually make a new Fantastic Four movie every few years or so in order to keep the film rights, lest those rights revert back to Marvel...

Sarah: Really?

A: Yeah. That's one of the primary reasons this new film even got made, as Fox waited until virtually the last minute to put it into production to hold onto their rights, and there's an unreleased, incredibly low-budget Fantastic Four movie from the 90's that was made for the same reason.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Alone In The Dark: Andrew Reviews "Unfriended" (2015)

Directed By: Levan Gabriadze 

Starring: Shelley Hennig, Moses Storm, Will Peltz, Jacob Wysocki, Renee Olstead, Courtney Halverson, Heather Sossaman

Rating: R for violent content, pervasive language, some sexuality, and drug and alcohol use

Run Time: 1 hour, 23 minutes

Synopsis: A group of friends are terrorized during a group Skype session by someone claiming to be the spirit of their friend, Laura Barns (Sossaman), one year to the day of her committing suicide following an embarrassing video of her going viral and the bullying she enduring afterwards.

REVIEW

Andrew: Hello dear readers! Now that we're making a more concerted effort to posting reviews (in conjunction with our schedules actually allowing us to), I'm going to try and do more Alone in the Dark reviews. If you're not familiar or don't remember what those are, Alone in the Dark reviews are when I watch and then review a horror movie all by my lonesome because Sarah doesn't like them. A couple of weeks ago I saw the indie-hit It Follows before she got up here to Connecticut and will be posting that review later this week. 

Today I will be reviewing Unfriended, one of numerous horror offerings coming out this year produced by Blumhouse Productions (producers of films like Paranormal Activity, Insidious and The Purge). Originally screened last year at Fantasia Festival under the name "Cybernatural," Unfriended is a play on the found footage genre, telling the story of a group of friends who are terrorized during a group Skype session by someone/something claiming to be the spirit of their friend Laura. Oh, and the film takes place one year to the day of Laura committing suicide after she was mercilessly abused online after an embarrassing video of her was uploaded to YouTube.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Ultimate Comic-Book Movie: Our Review of "Avengers: Age of Ultron" (2015)

Directed By: Joss Whedon (The Avengers

Starring: Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, James Spader, Elizebeth Olsen, Aaron-Taylor Johnson, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders

Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action, violence and destruction, and for some suggestive comments

Run Time: 2 hours, 21 minutes

Synopsis: Tony Stark (Downey, Jr.) discovers a way to create an artificial intelligence he dubs Ultron that could potential protect the world so The Avengers can retire. When Ultron (Spader) becomes sentient, it immediately decides to best way to protect the world is to rid it of mankind…starting with The Avengers.

REVIEW

Andrew: Hello dear readers! Our sincerest apologies for the long time between reviews. Simply put things have been crazy for the Kecks the past year or so. We moved from Connecticut to Georgia and then back to Connecticut in the span of 15 months. We each worked full-time jobs that had some pretty strange hours that limited our ability to see as many movies as we would've liked, as well as cut into our recording/transcribing reviews time.

But now we're back in Connecticut and our schedules have opened up to allow for more movie-seeing and reviewing! And what better way to make our comeback then by reviewing the presumptive summer box office champ?

Sarah: Yes! Tuesday night we were fortunate enough to be invited to an advanced screening of Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron thanks to our good friend Kevin. AOU brings back all of the Avengers from the previous Marvel Cinematic Universe films as they band together to fight a sentient robot named Ultron that Tony Stark creates through artificial intelligence in an effort to create a sort of "shield for the world."

A: That is basically how Tony pitches it. So with AOU we see some old faces that we're familiar with and some new faces involved - James Spader (NBC's The Blacklist) as the face of Ultron, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen (previously seen as a married couple in Godzilla) as siblings Pietro and Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, who work with Ultron…

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Two Tickets For...'s 20 Most Anticipated Films of 2015

Andrew: Hello dear readers! With arguably the busiest part of the year for my and Sarah's day jobs, we're able to turn a focus back to the blog like it deserves. We're hoping to start seeing more movies now and getting some reviews up, especially now that the Oscars have happened, somewhat marking the official beginning of the new year in movies.

With that said, we want to present the movies we are looking forward to the most in 2015. The way we went about this, Sarah and I each ranked the top 15 films we were looking forward to respectively. Then we took our individual rankings and combined them to find an average score for each film that got listed on at least one of our lists and listed every film by the cumulative ranking they received. For reference we have embedded trailers for the films that have them available online.

Without further ado, we present Two Tickets For...'s 20 Most Anticipated Films of 2015!

20.) Chappie

Sarah: This one I am so looking forward to. I think the motion capture looks brilliant and while I didn't see Elysium, I'm excited to see the new sci-fi film from the man who made District 9 (Neill Blomkamp). Hoping it'll be another winner! (Individual Ranking - Sarah: 14th Andrew: Not Ranked)



19.) The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
A: While Mockingjay Part 1 fell victim to the nature of being literally one half of a whole story, I'm really looking forward to the conclusion of the Hunger Games films because "Mockingjay" was my favorite book of Suzanne Collins' trilogy. This film series hasn't really shied away from showing the violence in the books and Mockingjay Part 2 should have some of the most shocking moments in the whole series when the rebels move on The Capitol. I'll be curious to see the film's depiction of some of the more important moments in the book, along with how they worked around the tragic death of Philip Seymour Hoffman. (Individual Rankings - S: Not Ranked  A: 14th)


18.) Ant-Man

S: I’m more curious than anything about this movie. I'm an unabashed Marvel Cinematic Universe fan, so I'm looking forward to another tale in the series.

A: Like Sarah I'm more just looking forward to seeing what this entry in the MCU will be like. Loved the trailer, I'm intrigued by Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas as the two versions of Ant-Man, and I'm curious to see the final product following all the pre-production problems with original writer/director Edgar Wright leaving the project and Bring It On director Peyton Reed coming on to direct and Anchorman director Adam McKay and Paul Rudd taking over writing duties. (Individual Rankings - S: 15th A: 15th)




Sunday, February 22, 2015

Two Ticket's For… Predicts the 87th Academy Awards!

Andrew: Hello dear readers! We're cutting it close to the wire but Sarah and I are here with our official predictions for tonight's 87th Academy Awards! We'll put the meat of the awards (Picture, Directing, the acting categories and screenplay categories) right at the top along with some quick breakdowns of why we made those picks, then we'll have all the technical categories, documentaries, short films and animated films after those without comment. So let's get to it! 


BEST WRITING - ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Jason Hall, American Sniper
Graham Moore, The Imitation Game
Paul Thomas Anderson, Inherent Vice
Anthony McCarten, The Theory of Everything
Damien Chazelle, Whiplash

A: Both of the screenplay categories are tough contests this year with a number of good movies, or movies that at least have a lot of love for them. Starting with Adapted Screenplay, I immediately cross off Inherent ViceThe Theory of Everything and American Sniper. I don't believe any of those have the fervent love of voters to really take this award, whereas The Imitation Game is a strong script that gives its main players plenty to chew on, and Whiplash is just a really strong script that tells a great, fresh story and gives J.K. Simmons and Miles Teller tons to work with. I'm giving the edge to Whiplash primarily because Chazelle pulled double-duty as writer and director for his first true feature film, and I think people will want to recognize a fresh new talent like him.


Sarah: I'm going to have to go with The Imitation Game in this category! While it does come down to those two for me as well, too, I think that most of the love for Whiplash is going toward the supporting actor, not necessarily the screenplay. Tough category but I think I'm definitely sticking with The Imitation Game.


A: Fun fact for anyone who didn't already know this, but Whiplash was placed in the Adapted Screenplay category because of a strange ruling by the Academy. Chazelle originally wrote a full-length version of his screenplay that would become the Oscar-nominated film we know and love. But in order to gain funding for a feature-length version, Chazelle made a short film version based off the original script he wrote, which even won a prize at Sundance two years ago. Because of the short existing, even though the screenplay for what became the full-length version with Teller and Simmons was written first and then adapted into a shorter version, the Academy determined the short to fall under their definition of "previously produced or published material" for the Adapted category. Crazy, huh?


Our picks - S: The Imitation Game  A: Whiplash


BEST WRITING - ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris Jr., & Armando Bo, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)  {Editor's Note: Heretofore, we shall refer to this film simply as Birdman}
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
E. Max Frye & Dan Futterman, Foxcatcher
Wes Anderson (screenplay), Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinnes (story), The Grand Budapest Hotel
Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler

A: Original Screenplay is the toughest of the two, and maybe one of the toughest categories of the whole night. All five of these movies have legit claims to the award, IMO. But we can probably cross Foxcatcher and Nightcrawler off because they're too dark. The Grand Budapest Hotel could win because voters might finally want to give Wes Anderson an Oscar, but I think this one is down to Boyhood and Birdman. Warranted or not, I think I'm going to cross Boyhood off because some factions of voters could think Richard Linklater had an advantage of writing the movie over the course of 12 years. Birdman also hits the voting bloc right in the sweet spot as it's about actors and gives all the main players great stuff to work with. I'm going with Birdman here.


S: Once again, I agree and think it is between those Boyhood and Birdman as well. We just watched Boyhood last night and while I wasn't impressed with it, I basically don't think that it is really getting the love that Birdman has gotten in this category. The director, Iñárritu, is on fire with the awards season and while we'll touch on his film's chances in other categories later, for now I'll say I think he wins for Original Screenplay.


Our picks - S: Birdman  A: Birdman

Friday, January 16, 2015

Two Tickets For...'s Top Ten Favorite Movies of 2014

Andrew: Hello dear readers. Long time, no post. We know. We've been positively awful about reviewing and posting other content on the blog the past few months. And it's not that we're not seeing films - because we are - but we've been pretty busy with our days jobs to the point that the time it takes to record, transcribe, edit and post the reviews like we'd like to feels exhausting. 

We'll try to be better as the new year continues, considering there are a TON of great-looking movies that we're excited for this year.

That all said, with 2014 in the rearview mirror now, Sarah and I wanted to take the opportunity to look back at all fifty-some films we saw that were released last year and talk about which ones were our favorites. Unlike in previous year's, because of our lackadaisical job at reviewing all the films we saw this year, our criteria is simply that we had to have actually seen the film. We've included a few movies that we didn't post reviews for.

So without further ado, in alphabetical order after the jump, here are my and Sarah's respective list of our Top Ten Favorite Films of 2014!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Walt Disney Animation Hits a Solid Double with Baymax and Co.: Our Review of "Big Hero 6" (2014)

Directed By: Don Hall & Chris Williams (Winnie the Pooh and Bolt, respectively) 

Starring: Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, Damon Wayans, Jr., T.J. Miller, Genesis Rodriguez, Jamie Chung

Rating: PG for action and peril, some rude humor, and thematic elements

Run Time: 1 hour, 48 minutes

Synopsis: Hiro (Potter) is a 13-year-old genius who spends his time hustling people in back-alley robot battles until his older brother Tadashi convinces him to attend the same university that he does. After inventing "microbots" to impress the school's admissions office, Hiro faces a personal tragedy plus the theft of his microbots by the hands of a masked villain. With the help of a medical robot assistant named Baymax (Adsit) that his brother invented for him, Hiro joins up with some of Tadashi's classmates to create a superhero group with the purpose of stopping the masked villain.

REVIEW

Andrew: Hello dear readers! Last night Sarah and I went to our local multiplex to catch this past weekend's big animated film release, Walt Disney Animation's and Marvel's Big Hero 6. Disney's latest is based on the Marvel comic of the same name, but only in sort of the loosest sense in that it took the comic's title and the characters' names. In all other aspects it is nothing like the actual comic, from my understanding. In a sense it's a wholly original Disney animated film. 

Now Sarah, I think there were some relatively high expectations for Big Hero 6 because Walt Disney Animation has been on quite the roll the past few years. Frozen was their most recent film and we all know how big of a phenomenon that became, and before that was Wreck-It Ralph which was very popular and a financial success in its own right. 

So with this being the first Disney animated film using a Marvel property, and the trailers where everyone was already falling in love with Baymax, this one had some high expectations. Now that we've seen Big Hero 6, Sarah, do you think it lived up to those expectations?

Sarah: I don't think it quite lived up to my expectations, but it did have some really good aspects to it. At its heart it definitely kept to the fact that it's a children's movie, but it's a children's movie that has the aspects of a Marvel superhero movie, which I enjoyed. I thought it was well-done and touching at the same time. It had Disney's mark all of over it, which was nice. It was just kinda fun.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Gyllenhaal Gives His Career-Best Performance In This L.A. Thriller: Our Review of "Nightcrawler" (2014)

Directed By: Dan Gilroy 

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton, Riz Ahmed

Rating: R for violence including graphic images, and for language

Run Time: 1 hour, 57 minutes

Synopsis: An eccentric but driven young man named Louis (Gyllenhaal) catches the bug for the freelance life of being a "nightcrawler": videotaping crime scenes and notable accidents around Los Angeles to sell to the local news. After Lou creates a working relationship with a local news director (Russo) and starts his own company, he goes down the rabbit hole - and to some extreme lengths - in an effort to beat his competition (Paxton) and drive his own career as high as it can go.

REVIEW

Andrew: Hello dear readers! This Sunday Sarah and I were able to FINALLY catch a movie at our local AMC Theatre that FINALLY reopened after a couple of months of renovations, and we took the opportunity to see this weekend's big new release, Nightcrawler, starring Jake Gyllenhaal (End of Watch).

Gyllenhaal plays Lou Bloom, a gaunt coyote of a man who we're introduced to as he's stealing a chain-link fence to sell for scrap metal and beating the crap out of a security guard who tries to stop him. Bloom is an eccentric dude who's obsessed with self-betterment and becoming successful at something as he struggles to find what that is.

That is until Lou comes across a fiery car crash one night and watches with curiosity as a freelance cameraman named Joe (Bill Paxton) jumps out of his van and starts filming the action. Lou discovers that Joe is a "nightcrawler" - a freelance videographer who films news-worthy accidents and crime-related incidents and then sells the footage to the local news stations. Lou falls in love with the idea and jumps right in, starting his own company and going to whatever lengths necessary to become a success at it.

Sarah, this was a film that I'd been hearing great things about for a while now, particularly how great Gyllenhaal was in it. Now that we've seen Nightcrawler, what did you think of the film and particularly Gyllenhaal?

Friday, October 31, 2014

Daniel Radcliffe Devilishly Moves Beyond His Wizard Past: Our Review of "Horns" (2014)


Directed By: Alexandre Aja

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Juno Temple, Max Minghella, Joe Anderson James Remar, David Morse


Rating: R for sexual content, some graphic nudity, disturbing violence including a sexual assault, language and drug use


Run Time: 2 hours


Synopsis: Ig Perrish (Radcliffe) is the prime suspect in the murder of his girlfriend, Merrin (Temple), though he proclaims his innocence. After a night of hitting rock-bottom, Ig wakes up with a growing pair of Devil's horns that spur everyone he talks to to disclose their deepest secrets and imbues him with some devilish powers, which he uses to solve his girlfriend's death.


REVIEW 


Andrew: Hello dear readers! We know we've been bad again at posting our reviews, as we actually have two recorded reviews done that just need to be transcribed and posted, but we're here today with a quick review on a perfect Halloween season film that Sarah and I watched On Demand last night - Alexandre Aja's Horns, starring Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe. 

Horns is an adaptation of the book of the same name written by one of my favorite current authors, Joe Hill. Hill is a well-known and popular writer in the horror genre and comic book community for his comic series "Locke & Key", but he's not quite on the general public's radar just yet which is a damn shame because his 3 novels - Horns, 2007's ghost story Heart-Shaped Box, and last year's vampire yarn NOS4A2 - are all fantastic and definitely up-to-par with his father's work. It's probably worth mentioning that Hill's father is Stephen King, and that Hill made a name for himself with Heart-Shaped Box and his short story collection 20th Century Ghosts before people discovered his lineage.

Back to Horns, in which Radcliffe stars as Ig Parrish, a young man whom everyone in town believes recently killed the love of his life, Merrin (The Dark Knight Rises' Juno Temple). Ig is the only suspect and even his family is skeptical of his proclaimed innocence. One night Ig gets wasted and wakes up the following morning sprouting a pair of horns, and his horns seem to have an effect on people wherein they can't help but tell him their deepest, darkest secrets, desires or just the straight effed-up truth, while giving Ig a bit of influential power to make people do what they're already inclined to do. Using his new powers, Ig goes on the hunt to discover who really killed his love.

Sarah, while this was a book I absolutely loved and was excited to see the film for, this is one I kind of had to talk you into renting since you thought it might be scary. Now that we've seen it, what did you think of Horns?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Two Tickets For… Visits the 2014 Atlanta Walker Stalker Con: Wrap-Up and More Pics!

Andrew: Hello dear readers! If you've been checking out our recent series of posts recapping the trip Sarah and I made to Walker Stalker Con Atlanta on Saturday, October 18th, you know that we were able to sit in on panels where stars of AMC's The Walking Dead answered fan questions, and that we had a blast listening to them and recapping them for you here!

And while we really, really enjoyed the panels, we gotta be honest and say that our most favorite aspect  of the convention was walking the convention floors, checking out the vendors, watching some of the show's stars from afar, and getting to actually meet a few special makeup effects artists that we're HUGE fans of.

Today's post is going to be a simple wrap-up of our trip to Walker Stalker Con, with some pictures Sarah took while walking the floor, some pics of stuff we bought from a couple of vendors, and I'll tell you about our encounters with those special makeup effects artists.

WALKING THE WALKER STALKER CON FLOOR

- You may or may not know this about us, but Sarah and I are BIG fans of SyFy's movie makeup effects competition show Face Off. We've religiously watched it from the start of season two when we found out it existed. And during the course of the show we've had favorites every season, but there were always two that really stood out to us and whom we rooted for in their time on the show: RJ Haddy and Roy Wooley.


RJ was a contestant in season two, and as we mentioned it was the first season we caught, so contestants from that season have always been a little closer to our heart than some from more recent seasons. RJ in particular was one we rooted hard for because of his outgoing nature and his incredible work, particularly he fantastic makeup on the Tim Burton episode where he created a Burton-esque Bellhop. Check it out below.

RJ Haddy's character he created for the Tim Burton challenge in Season 2 of SyFy's Face Off, a Burton-esque Bellhop who is part dresser with clothes askew, and an actual bell he can ring if he taps the top of his head.

To meet RJ we literally just walked right up to his booth where he was selling makeup tools and promoting a class he would be giving later that day that we regrettably were unable to attend. He had just finished chatting with someone and he walked right up to us as we were looking at some of his work! We mentioned to him how we were big fans of the show and of his, and he gleefully discussed aspects of the show, including some tidbits viewers at home probably don't know about, like:

  • On Day 3 of a Spotlight Challenge, between the 4 hours the contestants have in the lab and then Final Looks backstage before the judges see their work, all of the models get an hour for dinner. RJ told us that he learned to not do the work around his model's mouth before the model ate dinner because the act of eating meals would mess up whatever work he had already done. In particular he mentioned that any pasta meals that included oil were particularly harmful to any makeup already put on.
  • Some models are fought over by the contestants far more than some others. We had been talking to him about this current season (season finale on Tuesday the 28th!) and how he enjoyed a particular fairy makeup that was made, and when we mentioned how great the model used in that makeup seemed to be a popular one, RJ told us that she was by far one of the most fought over models. We thought that was neat.
  • In the same vein, while it's very obvious on the show that for each week's challenge the contestants have to wait their turn to select whatever character they'll try to do, it's not as obvious that the contestants then go in reverse order to select the model they want to use back in the lab. RJ also joked of a possible conspiracy theory that the "random" order that's drawn out of a hat isn't quite so random as you'd believe.