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REVIEW – Happy Death Day

October 28, 2017 Leave a comment
Directed by: Christopher B. Landon
Produced by: Jason Blum
Written by: Scott Lobdell
Edited by: Gregory Plotkin
Cinematography by: Toby Oliver
Music by: Bear McCreary
Starring: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine, Rachel Matthews, Charles Aitken, Rob Mello, Phi Vu
Year: 2017

 

I originally planned on reviewing far headier stuff this year for Halloween Movie Month, but due to some personal/family circumstances and a general lack of motivation that’s partly resulted from that, I’m choosing instead to focus what little time I have left before the actual day of Halloween with movies that are a bit more lighthearted and easy to digest. At least for now. Considering the fact that the holiday also happens to be my birthday, however, I figured what better time than now to review the recently released and appropriately titled Happy Death Day?

 


 

Is the concept of repeating a certain day over and over, Groundhog Day-style, an overused plot contrivance already? I’m sure there are plenty of examples of TV episodes doing it, or at least doing something similar to it, but I’d be hard pressed to find more than a handful of movies that used the time loop device as their primary driving force. There’s Edge of Tomorrow, of course, and then there’s Run Lola Run, Source Code (sorta…), ARQ, and earlier this year we received 2017’s first film about a young woman repeating a traumatic day in her life with the decidedly more serious Before I Fall. While Wikipedia points me towards a few examples of the time loop being used in a few other films, however, I’m pretty certain that this concept being used in such a particular way, complete with characters fixing mistakes and wrongs, is still mostly known from Groundhog Day, a fact that horror comedy offspring Happy Death Day openly acknowledges, thanks largely to the obligatory meta-commentary all horror comedies are apparently required to integrate into their structure these days. Read more…

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2013 IN REVIEW: The Films I Didn’t See (May – August)

January 18, 2014 2 comments

Monsters University - Mike Wazowski

Blockbuster season. Typically the season where most of the most anticipated films of the year — the ones that were hyped perhaps years in advance — are released. Since 2012 was the year when The Avengers gave us the first superhero team-up film and the year when The Dark Knight Trilogy came to a close, 2013 looked like it was going to be rather underwhelming this time of year. I already mentioned that Iron Man 3 was released in April, starting the season early, but Thor: The Dark World wasn’t coming until October!

So that left us with two major superhero films to look forward to: Man of Steel, which divided audiences and critics alike in its more serious, violent portrayal of Superman, and The Wolverine, which made good on its promise to improve upon its abysmal predecessor and managed to be both coherent and quite entertaining. Pixar and DreamWorks continued their rivalries, however, with the release of Pixar’s first prequel, Monsters University, and DreamWorks’ first sequel to cash-cow Despicable Me. (The less said about Turbo, the better.) World War Z finally came out and, predictably, did very well for itself, what with people being starved for zombie entertainment until the next season of The Walking Dead started. Summer also saw the release of some fairly big “prestige” films, however, the likes of which you’d normally expect to come out during the fall and winter Oscar season: Fruitvale Station, The Spectacular Now, and Blue Jasmine each received widespread critical acclaim.

Perhaps my most anticipated films of the summer were Star Trek Into Darkness, Pacific Rim, and The World’s End, which were all released during this time, and I personally actually enjoyed each of them immensely, though to also varying degrees. This was the time period where I did get promoted at my job and also got a raise, so I was able to see a few more films that I just wanted to see during this time. Nevertheless, I couldn’t see them all, so, as with the last time, here are the films that, as of this writing, I did not see from May– August 2013, in order of release, as noted on Wikipedia. Please note that, as in the past, I still reserve the right to watch any film that is listed here and then re-remark on the film in one of the upcoming articles on films I did see from 2013. So, yes, again, you might see some of these films again, and soon… Read more…

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REVIEW: I’ll Be Home for Christmas (1998)

December 10, 2013 3 comments
I'll Be Home for Christmas (1998)Directed by: Arlene Sanford
Produced by: Robin French, Justis Greene, David Hoberman, Tracey Trench
Written by: Michael Allin, Tom Nursall, Harris Goldberg
Edited by: Anita Brandt-Burgoyne
Cinematography by: Hiro Narita
Music by: John Debney
Starring: Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Jessica Biel, Adam LaVorgna, Gary Cole, Eve Gordon, Lauren Maltby, Andrew Lauer, Sean O’Bryan, Lesley Boone
Inspired by the song by Bing Crosby
Year: 1998

 

Remember how big Jonathan Taylor Thomas was? Thanks to his role in the TV show Home Improvement as the wisecracking middle child Randy, “JTT” as he was popularly known, even managed to snag himself a role in one of Disney’s most enduring and popular films from the 90s (and, indeed, probably of all time), The Lion King. Many of the girls I knew loved him, as did apparently all the rest of the world. Luckily, unlike a lot of the childstars we see, Thomas at least had knack for comedic timing and managed to actually earn his right to being the funny one on the TV series that made him popular. At the end of the 20th century, however (Doesn’t that sound so apocalyptic still?), JTT left Home Improvement and began his journey into not just academics, but also to that corner of fame where people suddenly remembered you existed and ask aloud, “Where is he now?” Read more…

Review: “Pitch Perfect”

July 17, 2013 2 comments
Pitch PerfectDirected by: Jason Moore
Produced by: Elizabeth Banks, Paul Brooks, Max Handelman
Written by: Kay Cannon (screenplay)
Edited by: Zach Chemberlene
Cinematography by: Julio Macat
Music by: Christophe Beck, Mark Kilian
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Skylar Astin, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp, Brittany Snow, Adam DeVine, Ben Platt, Ester Dean, Alexis Knapp, Utkarsh Ambudkar, John Michael Higgins, Elizabeth Banks
Based on the novel Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A Cappella Glory by Mickey Rapkin
Year: 2012

 

Even though this movie is irritatingly responsible for bringing the Ace of Base song “The Sign” into my mind and never letting it get back out, I was surprised when I rented the movie on a whim earlier this year and found something I didn’t totally expect: a movie that I actually enjoyed quite a bit. I mean, I had seen the reviews for it were generally positive, which was a big factor in my curiosity, but I was still skeptical that this movie, which was so obviously, clearly trying to coast on the popularity of Glee in my eyes, was actually worth watching. It’s nice sometimes to be reminded that I can be wrong, however. Read more…

Review: “Legally Blonde”

May 2, 2013 1 comment
Legally BlondeDirected by: Robert Luketic
Produced by: Ric Kidney, Marc E Platt
Written by: Karen McCullah Lutz, Kirsten Smith (screenplay)
Edited by: Anita-Brandt Burgoyne, Garth Craven
Cinematography by: Anthony B. Richmond
Music by: Rolfe Kent
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Selma Blair, Matthew Davis, Victor Garber, Jennifer Coolidge, Ali Larter, Linda Cardellini, Holland Taylor, Raquel Welch
Based on the novel by Amanda Brown
Year: 2001

 

Have you ever seen the sequel to this? It’s horrible. Don’t do it if you haven’t. You’ll thank me when you haven’t peeled off your face because of it – and I’m not referring to the skin treatment. I’m being quite literal. It took lots of stitches and recovery time after I saw that junk on TBS.

Anyway, who needs a sequel, anyway, when Legally Blonde is itself two small complementary films merged into one pretty, pink package? One half college romcom, one half courtroom comedy, Legally Blonde provides a satisfyingly perky romp into a girl power fantasy. Read more…

Awful Movie Review: “Larry Crowne”

March 20, 2012 1 comment
Directed by: Tom Hanks
Produced by: Gary Goetzman, Tom Hanks
Written by: Tom Hanks, Nia Vardalos
Starring: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Cedric the Entertainer, Taraji P. Henson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Wilmer Valderrama, Bryan Cranston, Pam Grier, George Takei
Music by: James Newton Howard
Year: 2011

 

There was nothing drawing me into this movie. Any affection I may have had towards the film’s star, Tom Hanks, was weighed unfavorably against the fact that the film was co-written by his My Big Fat Greek Wedding muse Nia Vardalos. But I dove in headfirst and nearly blind to Larry Crowne, thanks in large part to the fact that a good friend of mine recommended the film as being “not so bad.” By the time I reached the halfway point, however, I was already checking out and asking her, “Why did you recommend this?” Her answer? She was jet-lagged, awake for 24-hours, and on Vicodin. And suddenly it all came into focus, ’cause no sober, well-rested person would ever recommend Larry Crowne for entertainment purposes.

Read more…

Special Review: “Lost in Translation” – A Personal Valentine’s Day Reflection

February 14, 2012 4 comments
Directed by: Sophia Coppola
Produced by: Sofia Coppola & Ross Katz, Stephen Schible (co-producer), Francis Ford Coppola (executive producer)
Written by: Sofia Coppola
Starring: Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Giovanni Ribisi, Anna Faris, Akiko Takeshita, Fumihiro Hayashi, Catherine Lambert
Music by: Kevin Shields
Year: 2003

 

First off, if you’ve been tuning in or wondering where the heck I’ve been since last Tuesday (you were, weren’t you, admit it), well, then I’m glad to let you know that I was just sick for a little over 4 days. Luckily, this overlapped with the weekend, and so I only missed two work days (and a birthday celebration, unfortunately). Melancholy about my own body’s tolerance for the common cold aside, I did get afforded a long break from work, which I spent eating ice cream to soothe my sore throat and watching some fantastic movies. Luckily, I am better now, despite a persistent cough and some clogged ears, and am ready to get writing just in time to do a holiday review! Read more…

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