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:
★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

Brad has Reviewed a new Film: Wyrmwood(2014)

Movie My Way: Wyrmwood

Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead

Wyrmwood is a little independent zombie film out of Australia about a small group of people trying to survive not only these newly created zombies but the military as well.  Interesting combination of serious moments with a lot of comedy thrown in.  It also had a pretty unique twist to the whole genre as well which was refreshing.  Only thing I didn’t care for but can’t really blame them for was the overuse of CG effects as opposed to practical effects.  I tend to call these Macbook Movies since the budgets on these films are generally so low that the only way to get a film done is doing it yourself with the tools and resources you have at your disposal.  Like I said, can’t really blame them too much.  This film would be fun to watch with a bunch of people where the atmosphere is  lighthearted and fun.

My Movie Rating:
★★★★★★★☆☆☆

Brad Has Reviewed a Film: Under the Skin (2013)

Movie My Way: Under the Skin

Under the Skin

Under the Skin is a film about an alien in human skin, played by Scarlett Johansson, wandering around Scotland preying on unsuspecting men.  As simple as that description is, this film is much deeper than that and a lot more complex than it sounds.  This film tackles everything from gender roles to understanding the human condition in a very haunting and visually impressive manner.  There is something very unsettling about the way someone “from the outside” would view humans.  Their behaviors and actions. Their relationships and emotions.  The human condition is a lot more complicated than it first appears.  Joy and laughter and anger and rage can exist within the same space.  If I had no clue what “humans” were, my confusion would be as evident is it was in this film.  This film is not for everyone and at first, I didn’t think it was for me either.  After my viewing, however, the imagery and themes in this film have stayed with me and have left me thinking about a lot of things.

My Movie Rating:
★★★★★★★★★☆

Brad Has Reviewed a New Film: Whiplash(2014)

Movie My Way: Whiplash(2014)

Whiplash

Whiplash is a film about an aspiring drummer(played by Miles Teller) attending a prestigious music conservatory on the east coast with visions of being one of the best drummers to ever play.  When he runs into an instructor(played by J.K. Simmons) who uses whatever techniques he can to help his students achieve greatness, we see how hard it can be to be great.  I like it when films expose a subject that I am not overly familiar with.  Not that I am not familiar about what it takes to be a good drummer, but that I have never known anyone who has gone the conservatory route and what it takes to be the best of the best.  Especially when you are competing with some of the best players in your field.  It has to be daunting.  Whiplash conveys this struggle quite well and J.K. Simmons really unleashes a great performance for his character and adds a lot of great tension to the film.  His Oscar nomination for this role is rightly deserved.  My only real complaint about this film is the way the artists are portrayed.  This isn’t the first time I have seen a movie take the route that the artist must physically and emotionally suffer in order to be great.  Sure some the worlds greatest art did and does come from great personal tragedy and pain, but it is not a requirement in order to be a great artist.  I think this film drove that part a little too hard and seemed too on the nose to me.

My Movie Rating:
★★★★★★★★☆☆

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