Tuesday, July 22, 2014

This Sequel Gives the Crowd What It Wanted, But Still Falls a Bit Short: Our Review of "The Purge: Anarchy" (2014)

Directed By: James DeMonaco (The Purge

Starring: Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Kiele Sanchez, Michae K. Williams

Rating: R for strong disturbing violence, and for language

Run Time: 1 hour, 43 minutes

Synopsis: Taking place one year after the first film, The Purge: Anarchy follows 5 strangers from different walks of life - a nameless soldier with an axe to grind (Grillo), a mother (Ejogo) and daughter who were nearly kidnapped by an army, and a bickering couple whose car broke down at an inopportune time - as they try to avoid a masked gang and various Purgers while trying to make it to safety in downtown L.A. on the night of the annual Purge.


Andrew: Hello dear readers! So we know we've been a little lax here lately as we still haven't published our review of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, but we're here with our review of the only film we saw this past weekend - The Purge: Anarchy.

It's the sequel to last year's The Purge, which had an awesome concept and did very well at the box office, but left a lot of its audience and critics cold. (I had a mixed reaction to it on my initial viewing, and frankly, this movie is kinda what I was asking for in my review of the first one.)

Sarah, we actually sat down and watched The Purge a month or so ago which was your first time seeing it. So let's start this review off by comparing what you thought of the first one and it's relatively small-scale home invasion plot, and The Purge: Anarchy's much wider-scale.

Sarah: First of all I want to say that these movies are silly. The premise really makes absolutely no sense. But they are kind of fun, in an extremely violent kind of way. The first one takes place solely in a Los Angeles mansion. It's in tight quarters and gives it more of a horror movie feel. There are elements of jumpiness and "who's around that corner?!" The new one is all over the city of L.A. It has a much more action movie feel to it, and I really liked that. It almost felt like it would be a great premise for a haunted house. I could totally see this as a walk-through at Universal Studios' Halloween Horror Nights for sure.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Knightley, Ruffalo Team Up To Melt Our Hearts With Music: Our Review of "Begin Again" (2014)

Directed By: John Carney (Once

Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Keira Knightley, Hailee Steinfeld, Catherine Keener, Adam Levine

Rating: R for language

Run Time: 1 hour, 44 minutes

Synopsis: Dan (Ruffalo) is a record executive who has fallen on hard times, to the point of losing his job and contemplating suicide. Greta (Knightley) is a British songwriter who followed her singer boyfriend (Levine) to America but gets her heart broken when he hits it big. When Greta sings one of her songs impromptu in a bar that Dan is getting drunk at, he hears and becomes inspired by her music. Together they decide to record her songs in the open environment of New York City as they help each other try to regain who they once were.


Andrew: Hello, dear readers! We're here with the second of our two reviews we're posting today, as last Thursday we checked out Begin Again, the new film from director John Carney, who a few years back came out with a very popular indie film called Once. Once told the story of a pair of musicians in Ireland who fall in love but ultimately go their separate ways, and it really kind of took the world by storm because of its music. It just became a huge indie hit, won an Oscar for Best Original Song, and also lead to a popular and Tony-winning adaptation on stage. 

And now Carney's come back with Begin Again, which follows in a similar vein as Once in that it's about musicians, yet is its own film. This movie was about a down-on-his-luck- music producer named Dan, played by Mark Ruffalo...

Sarah: Who discovers a young singer/songwriter named Greta, played by Keira Knightley, who is getting ready to head home to England after a terrible break-up with her newly minted rock-star boyfriend played by Adam Levine.  Dan thinks that he can take Greta and do something with her songs; something that will pull him out of his slump that is fueled primarily by booze. 

A: This was one that I know I had been looking forward to ever since it premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last year and got good word of mouth. It looked like it had a great cast...

S:  And we read the article about it in Entertainment Weekly and it really just got us excited about seeing this movie on screen. And finally it has come to our little Indie film theater here in Atlanta! So now that we’ve seen it, Andrew, did it live up to our excitement?

Chris Evans Shines In This Great, Unique Korean Sci-Fi Action Film: Our Review of "Snowpiercer" (2014)

Directed By: Joon-ho Bong (The Host

Starring: Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Kang-ho Song, Octavia Spencer, Ed Harris

Rating: R for violence, language and drug content

Run Time: 2 hours, 6 minutes

Synopsis: After a failed attempt to solve global-warming causes the whole plane to freeze in a matter of minutes, the surviving remnants of mankind all live aboard a futuristic train where a class system has evolved between the rich front cars and poor rear cars. A man named Curtis (Evans) has decided the time has come to lead a revolt against the front of the train, with a goal of getting further than any other previous revolt and taking control of the engine...or die trying.


Andrew: Hello dear readers! Sarah and I were able to catch two films during this past 4th of July weekend, one of which was the long-awaited Korean sci-fi/action film Snowpiercer starring Chris Evans (Captain America: The Winter Soldier).

Snowpiercer is based on a French graphic novel called "Le Transperceneige" by Jacque Lob, and focuses on a post-apocalyptic scenario where mankind has inadvertently caused another ice age when they tried to fix global warming, and the only surviving humans all live on a gigantic train called Snowpiercer. The train circumnavigates the globe in a never-ending loop that takes one year to circle the whole globe. 

The populace of the train is separated into different classes - the rich, one-percenters live in the opulent front cars (as they actually had paid for their passage) while the poor, ninety-nine-percenters live in the destitute rear cars under the oppression of the front cars and the mysterious Wilford, who created the train.

Chris Evans plays Curtis, one of the many who forced their way onto the train to barely escape freezing to death, who has spent 17 years living in the back of the train, and he's had enough of it. Along with his younger sidekick, Edgar (Jamie Bell), and under the tutelage of an older man named Gilliam (John Hurt), Curtis leads a rebellion in an attempt to take over the train's engine to free his people from the back of the train. It's all actually pretty straightforward and well-spelled out in the film.

Sarah, this was one that I know I was personally looking forward to as I had heard nothing but universal acclaim for it. Plus the trailer just looked awesome. So tell me, what were your thoughts going in to Snowpiercer and what do you think now that we've seen it?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Bay's Latest Robot Film Might Be Worst of the Bunch: Our Review of "Transformers: Age of Extinction" (2014)

Directed By: Michael Bay (Pain & Gain

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer

Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language and brief innuendo

Run Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Synopsis: 5 years after the destruction of Chicago, all Transformers are in hiding as they're hunted down one by one by a rogue Transformer called Lockdown and a black ops team headed by a shadowy CIA agent (Grammer). When a nearly broke inventor named Cade Yeager fixes up a broken down semi-truck and discovers its actually Autobot leader Optimus Prime, he unwittingly makes his family the prime target of those who've been searching for Optimus.


Andrew: Hello readers! This past weekend Sarah and I went against our better judgment and decided to shell out our hard-earned disposable income to see the latest installment in Michael Bay's immensely profitable toy commercial/product placement Transformers series, Transformers:Age of Extinction. If you couldn't tell from that opening sentence, this is not going to be a positive review.

Sarah, I'll admit as much that I found, and still find, the first Transformers movie to be good and entertaining. But the second and third entries in this series......not so much. So we obviously weren't expecting too much from this film. So with that said, was Age of Extinction worse, equal, or better than the two films that came before it?

Sarah: So I really wanted to like this one. I was hoping it was going to be a total reboot. And ooooooh it was not. It fell right in line with the horrible dribble that preceded it and I'm going to throw out that it was the worst of the bunch. If I had wanted to watch a two-and-a-half hour commercial I would have stayed home and turned on the Home Shopping Network. The groans that were issued during this movie were far, far too many. Just.....the worst. What did you think?

A: I'm still not gonna go so far as to say it's the worst of the series - need I remind you that Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen had giant Transformers testicles dangling over the Egyptian pyramids? But it comes darn close to taking the crown. There are so many bad things about this movie that I don't even know where to start.