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:
★★★★★★★★☆☆

Brad Has Reviewed a New Film: Birdman(2014)

Movie My Way: Birdman

Birdman

Birdman is an odd film about a once mega-blockbuster movie actor wanting to break back into legitimacy by writing, producing, directing and acting in his Broadway play.  Riggan Thomson is played by Michael Keaton who shares a similar back story coming from likes of Batman of the 90’s which may be why he is so good in this film.  I fully expect this film to be the Oscar darling and expect Michael Keaton to be a near front-runner to win best actor.  He brings a very gritty and frustrated realism to the screen.  He is the bright spot of this film by far.  I am sure it will win more awards than just best actor but I found myself being frustrated at the pace of this film.  Long continuous shots and manic characters yelling and being frustrated wore on me for the first two thirds of the film.  The story also takes several jabs at people who tend to enjoy said action blockbuster films. Almost a “you aren’t smart enough to get this film” gesture to watchers.  This film was almost too deep for itself.  Overly philosophical and deep, mired symbolism supported by very good looking and colorful shots.  The Oscars and voters will fawn all over it.  So will a lot of hipsters just to try show everyone how deep, forward thinking and progressive they think they are.  Michael Keaton deserves an Oscar.  The rest of the pretentious film does not.

My Movie Rating:
★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

Brad Has Reviewed a New Film: Big Hero 6

Movie My Way: Big Hero 6

Big Hero 6

Big Hero 6 is an animated film from Disney about a young inventor named Hiro who, along with his older brother Tadashi, has a passion for robots.  I won’t go into too many more details as I don’t want to give away any major plot points.  This was a pretty good film.  I have to admit that I am a little jealous of kids these days and the plethora of quality kids films.  Not that I feel all animated movies are meant for kids.  Hollywood seems to follow that mantra though.  If it is an animated film then it is immediately tagged as a kids movie. I would love to see a big budget animated film for adults.  I guess Avatar comes close but I think you get what I am saying.  That said, Big Hero 6 would have been the kind of film I would have LOVED as an 8 or 9 year old.  It looks great, has some great action and plugs into the superhero fantasy that most kids have at that age.  So if you have kids this age, I highly recommend it.  It is a PG rated film so I think even younger kids could enjoy this movie with their parents.  Pixar films still have the edge when in comes to the heartfelt story with deep rich characters but Big Hero 6 is a pretty good time.

My Movie Rating:
★★★★★★★☆☆☆

Brad Has Reviewed a Film: Fury(2014)

Movie My Way: Fury(2014)

Fury

Fury is a historical film about a World War II tank commander(played by Brad Pitt) leading his squad through the German countryside.  We aren’t given much more information than that other than the Allied tank forces at the time were severely outgunned and out armored against the Germans with their superior Panzer tanks and Blitzkrieg tactics.  War is absolutely brutal.  This film depicts that brutality in what I imagine is a pretty realistic fashion.  It never ceases to amaze me how humans are able to do what they do in times of war.  To not see humans with loved ones or emotions but to simply see “the enemy”.  World War II sat at a time in our history where the computer age hadn’t arrived and war was fought with tactics, machines and bodies.  And man did the bodies pile up on both sides.  Fury delivers the brutality of war which some may find uncomfortable.  The one thing I wish this film would have done was have a more compelling story.  Some sort driving goal to achieve.  Maybe that is a little too Hollywood though.  Maybe life during war the goal is just simply surviving another day.

My Movie Rating:
★★★★★★½☆☆☆

Brad Has Reviewed a New Film: Nightcrawler (2014)

Movie My Way: Nightcrawler (2014)

Nightcrawler

Nightcrawler is a very unique story about an odd loner living in Los Angeles who stumbles into the world of freelance video journalism and the seedy underbelly of our media driven society and news cycle.  This film is one of he first films in a while that has held me from the opening scene to the end.  With a run time of 2 plus hours, that is no easy feat.  Jake Gyllenhaal plays the lead in this film with an eerie style to it.  Something about him and his character makes me uneasy when his character is on screen.  I do think this was intentional too.  It added a lot of high tension and was wonderfully acted.  On the surface, the story may seem like a big statement on news media and our thirst for more.  In some way, it most certainly is.  However, I liken it to shining a light on a monster.  A monster that many people don’t even realize exists.  When in actuality, this monster is a alive and well in almost every home and it feeds almost every day.

My Movie Rating:
★★★★★★★★☆☆

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