Brad Has Reviewed a New Film: The Imitation Game (2014)

Movie My Way: The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game is a film about the now well known mathematician Alan Turing and his quest with the help of the British government to break the once thought unbreakable Enigma device that the Germans used for all military communication during World War II.  I tend to grow tired of films set in World War II just because of the sheer amount of needless destruction and death these films convey.  To an extent, this film doesn’t focus so much on the fighting but the “back office” of the war and takes an interesting look into what goes on.  Having not lived through a war on our own soil, it is hard to imagine what life was like living in England during this time.  The threat of bombing attacks daily with not knowing where your next meal may come from are aspects we tend to forget.  I appreciated seeing this side of things and made both my wife and I wonder how the government and military leaders of Germany thought it was okay to wipe out almost all of Europe for whatever reason.  I am sure there are volumes  written about this topic out there but it is just hard for our brains to grasp at times.  Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Mr. Turing, does a wonderful job as the brilliant mathematician and forefather to the modern computer.  It is unfortunate that it took the British government and monarchy so long to recognize his accomplishments just for the fact that they couldn’t get over who he chose to sleep with.

My Movie Rating:
★★★★★★★★☆☆

Brad Has Reviewed a New Film: Interstellar (2014)

Movie  My Way: Interstellar

Interstellar

Christopher Nolan is getting pretty good at making films.  Interstellar is probably his best film to date and easily his most complicated.  The entire film revolves around bringing theoretical physics into reality wrapped in a “forced to save the earth” story.  This film throws a lot of complicated scientific theories and facts at the audience in a way that is approachable and consumable.  It is not your typical science fiction film because it has its roots in real science.  So in that regard, it almost isn’t science “fiction”.  It is a very nice combination of heady and heartfelt emotions tied together with a thrilling adventure story.  With a wonderful Hans Zimmer soundtrack, this film will delight people who want a deep and introspective, yet action packed time.  If you are looking for a popcorn style that will just wash over you, you probably won’t get as much out of it.  This film will get better with multiple viewings.

My Movie Rating:
★★★★★★★★☆☆

Brad Has Reviewed a New Film: Life After Beth (2014)

Movie My Way: Life After Beth(2014)

Life After Beth

This film was meant to be a dark comedy but I think most people thought it was going to be a “much lighter” dark comedy than it was. This film was wickedly smart. Almost cutting edge. Which is why I don’t think it was very well received. I think most were hoping for a Shaun of the Dead meets When Harry Met Sally. Though I thought it delivered on some fronts, I think most thought it either wasn’t funny enough or not scary enough. I thought it was just right in the middle of both. With its stellar A-List cast(Garry Marshall, John C. Riley, Paul Riser, Molly Shannon, Anna Kendrick, Cheryl Hines, just to name a few) to its intelligent writing, I think people were expecting something a little more “date” friendly and approachable. Being an avid horror film, I have to admit that this was one of the more refreshing and subtle approaches to the whole “zombie apocalypse” genre that has gotten popular over the years. What if the zombie apocalypse wasn’t as apparent as you thought it would be? What if it was subtle with people who you hadn’t seen if a few years started showing up? How would you react? Not as straight forward as you think it would be. This movie was fun but I can see why most would be turned off by it.

My Movie Rating:
★★★★★★★☆☆☆

Kingsmen: The Secret Service(2014)

Kingsmen: The Secret Service

Kingsman: The Secret Service

Kingsmen is a film that was HORRIBLY marketed. I have run into several people who thought this film was yet another teen-book-to-novel movie and just didn’t bother with it. Most thought it was maybe a British version of Spy Kids. This film is the absolute furthest thing from that and well worth the investment of time to watch over and over again. In reality, the Kingsmen is based on a comic book by Mark Millar and directed by Matthew Vaughn. You know, the guys who brought you the Kick Ass. That pedigree should tell what kind of film this is. An action movie for adults. A GREAT action film for adults. Not only does it bring some great action to the screen but some really laugh out loud comedy as well as some very interesting and rich characters. Samuel L. Jackson plays a great anti-hero with some wonderful dialogue and motivations and almost steals the entire film. I saw this film by myself while I was visiting my brother in Fresno. There were only four other people in the theater. Once I saw it, I knew that I had to get my brother to see it so I saw it again the very next day without hesitation. I can’t remember the last time I have even considered that. This film is that much fun. I will definitely be picking this up on BluRay once it is released and intend to see if I can’t get my hands on the original comics as well for a read. If this film is still in a theater near you and you are a fan of fun action movies for adults (read, this movie is very violent), do check this movie out. It is a blast!

My Movie Rating:
★★★★★★★★★☆

Brad Has Reviewed a New Film: The Deadly Spawn (1983)

Movie My Way: The Deadly Spawn

The Deadly Spawn

I am a sucker for all horror films made in the early 80’s.  I can’t get enough of them.  Maybe it is because of the budgets that existed before CGI or maybe it is because my cousin Eric who turned me on to these kinds of films back in the day.  I’ll happily accept the latter and I love a good, weird and strange film that goes the extra mile to bring something extra to the table.  The Deadly Spawn is about an alien race that has come to our planet via a comet  to spread its spawn across the country with no end in sight.  In so many ways, this film was destined to be just another  bad horror movie but it succeeds in many other ways.  The practical effects alone were worth the time to watch this film.  The filmmakers  went above and beyond to ensure that the creatures looked creepy, scary and ominous.  SO MANY TEETH!  It really brought the terror to the screen!  Today, this film may look a bit aged and funny, but back in the day, this film would have scared me to death and made me look under my bed each night.  If you are looking for a fun monster movie with friends, this is a great one pick.  I will be looking to see if I can’t pick this one up on digital media to add to the collection.

My Movie Rating:
★★★★★★★★☆☆

Brad Has Reviewed a New Film: The Pyramid(2014)

Movie My Way: The Pyramid

The Pyramid

The Pyramid is about a team of “scientists” who discover a three sided pyramid buried next to the currently known 4 sided pyramids in Giza, Egypt.  It causes riots in Cairo and never really explained why.  This is the crux of my problem with this film.  It places our characters in an interesting setting with a decent concept and then phones in every “horror trope” that Hollywood thinks we want to see.  One of my biggest gripes is this film is introduced as a “found footage” film.  Or to a lesser extent a “handheld” footage film.  There is a large difference between the two.  However, I HATE it when filmmakers tend to blur the lines between these two genres.  It starts out that we have  a lone filmographer who is the one holding the camera.  We also have someone who is wearing a head mounted camera.  From the beginning of this film, these are the ONLY two angles of this movie we, as viewers, should have been able to see.  However, this film often times cuts away to unseen camera holders and 5th and 6th person points of view(people that are not apart of this crew) that it totally takes me out of the viewing experience.  It is lazy film making.  That combined with your “scientist” players are all dumb as a bag full of bolts, this film just ruins a decent concept for cheap jumps and poor storytelling.

My Movie Rating:
★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

Brad Has Reviewed a New Film: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Movie My Way: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

So here we are.  The final installment of The Hobbit series.  Again, I am not sure why they felt the need to make this book into three pretty long films.  This one clocks in at about 2.5 hours which was fine.  There was plenty of action to be had and the visuals looked pretty good too.  Still can’t get over how good the character design of Smaug is which was a definite highlight of this film.  All in all, I think it is a nice addition to the entire Middle Earth anthology even if it is a bit on the long side.  If I were to pick, I feel that the Lord of the Rings series is a better series for the fact that it carries a lot more levity since there is a lot more riding on the outcome of those stories.  Even reading the Hobbit, it comes off as just a fun little adventure.  I think these movies tried to make them much more Lord of the Rings-like and I think it suffered just a little for that decision.  If you are fan, this film won’t disappoint.  Also, maybe someone can help me out.  I noticed that the subtitle of this film is ‘The Battle of the Five Armies’.  I only was able to count 4 – Man, Elves, Dwarves and Orcs.

My Movie Rating:
★★★★★★★☆☆☆

Brad Has Reviewed a New Film: Clown(2014)

Movie My Way: Clown

Clown

Clown is a horror film about a father who is forced to put on a mysterious clown suit found in a house that he is the real estate agent for in order to perform at his son’s birthday when their hired clown is a no show.  Unbeknownst to him, this isn’t a suit at all but the ‘skin’ of a demon.  I know the premise sounds ludicrous and trust me, it is.  However, once you can get past the weird concept, it isn’t a half bad film.  The evolution of our main character is pretty good especially when you consider that this film manages to take on one of the unwritten rules of horror films.  Never harm children.  I am not saying that this film does anything that would be cause for concern with kids simply because the premise is so outlandish and unrealistic.  I am saying that I was surprised that a low budget horror film would even consider introducing a potential hot button topic like that for fear of backlash/protests.  Besides, most kids are scared of clowns.  I know I was.

My Movie Rating:
★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

Brad Has Reviewed a New Film: The Theory of Everything

Movie My Way: The Theory of Everything

The Theory of Everything

The Theory of Everything is a film based on the life of the famous British scientist Stephen Hawking and his contribution to the area of Physics and his thoughts about how the universe, beginning of time and even God could possibly be explained.  I think these sorts of films are very difficult to encapsulate an entire life in just two hours.  This film does an admirable job of introducing us to Stephen as Phd student at Cambridge just before his ALS disease begins to manifest itself and continues all the way through to present day.  I can understand what this movie was going for but maybe because I haven’t followed or been influenced by Mr. Hawking’s work, that I wasn’t terribly impressed with the overall story of the film.  Eddie Redmane did a very capable job portraying Mr. Hawking suffering from ALS which garnered him the Oscar for best actor.  I thought it was good but still felt Michael Keaton could have easily won for his performance in Birdman.  Overall, It was a good film.  Not great or compelling.

My Movie Rating:
★★★★★★½☆☆☆

Brad Has Reviewed a New Film: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

Movie My Way: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1

So books written for teens and pre-teens are all the rage.  With the Harry Potter series breaking ground and paving the way all the way to the sparkling vampires of the Twilight series, these book adaptations are keeping entire studios in business.  These kinds of films can be cash machines for movie studios too which is why they feel the need to start breaking some of these books into sub parts, which is starting to just feel like a money grab instead of honoring the source material.  I am looking at you The Hobbit series.  In this third installment of the Hunger Games series, we finally get to the part where the underdog starts to fight back.  Not sure how I feel about this installment.  Now that there is no longer a “game” that our players are competing in, the more serious tone of this film sort of fell flat.  I am hoping that Part 2 will wrap things up and sort of “redeem” this part one.  Unless Hollywood decides they want to break this film into three parts.

My Movie Rating:
★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

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