THEATRICAL REVIEW: Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter

April 24, 2015 Leave a comment
Kumiko, the Treasure HunterDirected by: David Zellner
Produced by: Jim Burke, Andrew Banks, Cameron Lamb, Chris Ohlson, Nathan Zellner; Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor (exec.)
Written by: David Zellner, Nathan Zellner
Edited by: Melba Jodorowsky
Cinematography by: Sean Porter,
Music by: The Octopus Project
Starring: Rinko Kikuchi, Nobuyuki Katsube, Shirley Venard, David Zellner, Bunzo
Year: 2015 (wide)

 

Opening with a distorted epigraph declaring the following tale to be “based on a true story,” Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter is actually based more in legend than true events. The true story became muddled thanks to a misunderstanding between Bismark, ND police officers and a Japanese woman named Takako Konishi, who had come to America from Tokyo and who the police had trouble communicating with thanks to a language barrier. Konishi was seeking some kind of refuge from her overwhelming depression somewhere near Minneapolis. She had lost her job back in Tokyo and had spent some time there with her married American businessman lover, whom she possibly came to see before tragically committing suicide near Detroit Lakes, MN. The language barrier between the police and Konishi, however led to the creation of an urban legend that Konishi had instead come to seek out the money-filled briefcase Steve Buscemi’s character had buried in the Coen Brothers film Fargo, believing the briefcase was real thanks in large part to that film’s epigraph declaring the story to be based on truth (it wasn’t) – this epigraph is, in fact, the very same one that Kumiko borrows for its own story. While David and Nathan Zellner here choose to focus on the myth for their story, however, in so doing, they actually manage to do justice to Konishi’s tragic story by portraying the heartbreaking truth of her emotions that were lost in translation through the story that far more people were compelled to listen to. Read more…

REVIEW: That Thing You Do!

April 14, 2015 Leave a comment
That Thing You Do!Directed by: Tom Hanks
Produced by: Jonathan Demme, Gary Goetzman, Edward Saxon
Written by: Tom Hanks
Edited by: Richard Chew
Cinematography by: Tak Fujimoto
Music by: Howard Shore
Songs by: Tom Hanks, Adam Schlesinger, Rick Elias, Scott Rogness, Mike Piccirillo, Gary Goetzman, Howard Shore
Starring: Tom Everett Scott, Liv Tyler, Johnathon Schaech, Steve Zahn, Ethan Embry, Tom Hanks, Obba Babatundé, Holmes Osborne, Charlize Theron, Bill Cobbs, Giovanni Ribisi
Year: 1996

 

If there were any two comedies that resonated with me as a kid as being truly “great” versus merely “entertaining,” those movies were Groundhog Day and That Thing You Do! These were movies I would watch when I was bored or when I was doing chores or when I was in a bad mood or when I was in a good mood – or when I was just really in the mood for some truly great movies, period. These were also two of the few movies that everyone in my family could agree upon to watch together and be contented with while growing up, which, if you know my childhood, was something very significant. Read more…

THEATRICAL REVIEW: Zombeavers

April 1, 2015 Leave a comment
ZombeaversDirected by: Jordan Rubin
Produced by: Evan Astrowsky, Chris Bender, Christopher Lemole
Written by: Al Kaplan, Jordan Rubin, Jon Kaplan
Edited by: Ed Marx, Seth Flaum
Cinematography by: Jonathan Hall
Music by: Al Kaplan, Jon Kaplan
Starring: Rachel Melvin, Hutch Dano, Cortney Palm, Lexi Atkins, Bill Burr, Jake Weary, Peter Gilroy, Rex Linn, Brent Briscoe, Phyllis Katz, Robert R. Shafer, Chad Anderson
Year: 2015

 

“We cannot turn against each other right now. That is exactly what the beavers would want!” That’s the line in the trailer that sold my buddy and me on seeing this film. And, as if that weren’t enough, the trailer ended with the tagline, “They’ll dam you to hell!” Ha! This movie knew what it was, and the fact that it was getting decent enough reviews on Rotten Tomatoes (64% positive!), we figured, you know… why not? So he came driving up 100 miles to visit, with Zombeavers being half the reason for our hanging out. (He also wanted to go to Ikea.)
Read more…

THEATRICAL REVIEW: Cinderella (2015)

March 25, 2015 Leave a comment
Cinderella (2015)Directed by: Kenneth Branagh
Produced by: Simon Kinberg, David Barron, Allison Shearmur
Screenplay by: Chris Weitz
Edited by: Martin Walsh
Cinematography by: Haris Zambarloukos
Music by: Patrick Doyle
Starring: Lily James, Richard Madden, Cate Blanchett, Stellan Skarsgård, Nonso Anozie, Sophie McShera, Holliday Grainger, Derek Jacobi, Helena Bonham Carter, Hayley Atwell, Eloise Webb
Based on Cendrillon by Charles Perrault and the 1950 Walt Disney Pictures film
Year: 2015

 

I am admirer of the work put out by Disney, despite not always admiring the company itself. Their penchant for retelling the same stories time and time again admittedly gets old, and their recent attempts to remake and retell their animated films in live action, complete without songs, did not sit well with me. This isn’t the first time they’ve done this – they did the same thing back in the ‘90s when they did live action versions of The Jungle Book and the briefly franchised 101 Dalmatians and its sequel, the obviously named 102 Dalmatians, which… at least they got Glenn Close to come back? Anyway, I was not particularly looking forward to Cinderella – a retelling of a tired story which, to be quite honest, provided us with one of Disney’s lesser animated films back in the day – especially after the massive disappointment that was the atrocious Maleficent last year seemingly proved this whole thing was just one big cash grab, motivated by the money Tim Burton’s also-atrocious Alice in Wonderland made. When the trailers came out, the ones with actual actors and not just a spinning glass slipper, I didn’t even like the look of the film. So, no, I was not looking forward to the new and needless Cinderella, 2015 edition. Read more…

THEATRICAL REVIEW: Chappie

March 14, 2015 Leave a comment
ChappieDirected by: Neill Blomkamp
Produced by: Simon Kinberg
Screenplay by: Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell
Edited by: Julian Clarke
Cinematography by: Trent Opaloch
Music by: Hans Zimmer
Starring: Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel, Watkin Tudor Jones (“Ninja”), Yolandi Visser, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Sigourney Weaver, Hugh Jackman, Brandon Auret
Based on the 2003 short film Tetra Vaal by Neill Blomkamp
Year: 2015

 

Oh man. Chappie… I was so hoping this would be good. I absolutely love District 9 and think it’s still one of the best, most original sci-fi films in recent history, and I was thrilled that it was nominated for Best Picture, regardless of whether it was only because they had expanded the selection size. Neill Blomkamp’s follow-up, Elysium, wasn’t anywhere near as good, and its moralizing was clumsy as hell, but it was definitely an interesting and mostly entertaining film that also looked very nice. Chappie was an opportunity for Blomkamp to look at what worked and didn’t work from both films and deliver something truly special. Blomkamp himself even recognized the fact that Elysium was a step in the wrong direction in a refreshingly candid interview with Uproxx, wherein he points out “it was all resting on a somewhat not totally formed skeletal system, so the script just wasn’t there; the story wasn’t fully there.” That’s awesome, and all, but man… What happened, then, with Chappie?! Read more…

REVIEW: DuckTales: The Movie – Treasure of the Lost Lamp

March 7, 2015 Leave a comment
DuckTales the Movie - Treasure of the Lost LampDirected by: Bob Hathcock
Produced by: Bob Hathcock, Jean-Pierre Quenet
Screenplay by: Alan Burnett
Edited by: Charles King
Music by: David Newman
Starring: Alan Young, Rip Taylor, Christopher Lloyd, Russi Taylor, Richard Libertini, Terrence McGovern, Joan Gerber, Chuck McCann, June Foray
Based on the TV series DuckTales and Uncle Scrooge comics created by Carl Barks
Year: 1990

 

Yeah, if you grew up watching this series, there’s a pretty good chance that the theme song is playing in your head right now – it’s certainly playing in mine as I write this. It’s practically obligatory at this point to mention it anytime the show is brought up – and I’m certain we’ll see it brought up again more and more thanks to the recent announcement from Disney that they would be reviving the show for Disney XD, likely due to the success of the remastered DuckTales video game and the ensuing renewed interest in the property. It’s certainly why I chose to review this movie, which just so happened to have been in my collection, thanks to the Disney Movie Rewards program, which was, up until recently, the only way to get it. Read more…

2014 IN REVIEW: My Top Films of the Year

February 22, 2015 Leave a comment

The LEGO Movie - Batman and Benny

I saw so many movies this year, I honestly couldn’t pick the best movie. The selection was so wide because I saw so many, I honestly couldn’t pit movies I just enjoyed versus films I admired. So, this year, I’ve decided to do something different — I separated them into genres. it’s not exactly what you might expect – Guardians of the Galaxy isn’t in sci-fi, for instance, because it’s much more of an adventure film in space.

I’ve ordered these based on gut instinct overall, however, and so you’ll be able to see what I (currently) favored over others. That being said, however, all of these movies are fantastic.

I’m tired of explaining things, honestly. The process of doing the year in review this year was a lot longer than I intended. So, yeah. You know the drill. Read below! Read more…

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