Her

Her

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Heard so many good things about this film.  Glad to say I wasn’t disappointed when I finally got to watch it.  Easily one of the more unique films to get a wide release and certainly deserved its nomination for Best Original Screenplay.  Maybe because I have been in the technology industry for close to 20 years now, but something about this film is very intriguing.  With our smartphones getting smarter with the likes of Siri and Cortana, how far off is a concept about an Operating System and that can understand and interpret human speech and actually learn about the person using them.  Sure, I think reality is a long way off but with advancements in technology it is a concept that isn’t too hard to believe.  Will our culture and society ever get to a point where having a relationship with a “simulated” person is commonplace or even acceptable?  Some pretty deep philosophical questions that I didn’t fully expect for a film like this.  Very enjoyable and Joaquin Phoenix is still a pretty amazing actor.

My Movie Rating:
★★★★★★★★½☆

American Hustle

American Hustle

american-hustle-posterAmerican Hustle is a film set in the 70′s about fast talking con-artists who are able to convince people to part with their money with the promise of more money.  It deals with all the complicated personal relationships and drapes it all in the horrific color palate of the 70′s.  A good looking film that was well acted by everyone you see in the poster above.  For me. the problem lies with the length of this film.  It seems that when you are trying to make a film that the Academy will pay attention to, you need to clock in at over 2 hours.  Didn’t need to be nearly that long.  Has a great soundtrack that puts you in that 70′s frame of mind.  We tend to forget how ugly things looked back then because even though the film accurately depicted the look, it is hard to believe that our entire culture at the time though this was a good look.   So be prepared for a long, well acted but “ugly” film.

My Movie Rating:
★★★★★★★☆☆☆

Gravity

Gravity

gravity_xlrgOne of the better films I have seen in a while.  Simple concept executed perfectly.  It is a concise 90 minute film that puts you in the shoes of our two main characters in ways that I have never seen before on film.  As good as CGI is today, it has to be done in a way that doesn’t makes itself too noticeable.  In the case of Gravity, I think the storytelling is actually improved with the top notch visuals and stunning and creative camera angles.  The only fault I have with it is that the dialogue can be a little “childish” at times.  That’s the only fault I have with it.  Everything else was there to help set the tone and the stage for this well executed film.  If you haven’t seen this film, do yourself a favor and watch this on a proper movie watching setup.  I realize not everyone can have a 1080p projector and 7.1 sound system but do whatever you can to ensure that you do it justice.  If you don’t, then don’t blame the film for lack of quality.

My Movie Rating:
★★★★★★★★★☆

Machete Kills

Machete Kills

machete_kills_ver10_xlrgThis is by no means a good movie.  Is it a fun movie? Heck yeah!  Robert Rodriguez brings in another installment of a tertiary character that he introduced in the mock-trailers for his grind-house collaboration with Quentin Tarantino.  Before looking too deep, you have to realize the kind of film he is making here.  When I was a kid, once the Saturday morning cartoons were done and a round or two of playing outside occurred, my brother and I sometimes resorted to afternoon television.  One of the shows that was always interesting was called ‘Action Theater’ where they would show some sort of schlocky action film from the 70′s that involved helicopters exploding, car chases and over the top villains.  I get the feeling these are the same movies that Robert Rodriguez grew up on because this is exactly what the Machete series is about.  It embraces all of the over the top cliche’s, characters and dialogue to deliver a pretty fun film.

My Movie Rating:
★★★★★★★☆☆☆

The Wolf of Wall Street

The Wolf of Wall Street

WolfofWallstreetThe Wolf of Wall Street is a film about a real man by the name of Jordan Belfort who was driven by 80′s excess and is determined to achieve success by any means necessary.  The latest film from Martin Scorsese is carries a lot of the same things that have made his films so popular which is probably why it is getting so much attention come Oscar time.  To be honest, it is a good film.  It is well made and very well acted.  Leonardo DiCaprio plays Jordan Belfort and brings probably his strongest performance since Django Unchained.  Even Jonah Hill brought a very believable character to the screen as his Jordan’s sidekick and comic relief.  That is where my rub with the film lies.  At times, this film felt like a 3 hour episode of Three’s Company.  It was almost farcical and slapstick at times which made for somewhat of a weak story.  Though I am sure most of this film is rooted in some truth, I just couldn’t digest all of it and feel satisfied.  It certainly didn’t need to be 3 hours long but that is just a minor gripe.  So if you want to watch a film about excess, selfishness, poor choices and over the top drug use, this is the film for you.

My Movie Rating:
★★★★★★★☆☆☆

Carrie (2013)

Carrie (2013)

carrie-poster-2013Stephen King is known for writing books that fans can’t seem to get enough of.  Most film adaptations, however, are poorly done and just don’t translate very well to his writing style.  The original Carrie with Sissy Spacek in 1978 was one of those films that seemed to not only convey King’s original story pretty well but is regarded in horror circles as being a pretty good film for the period.  I had high hopes for this remake when I first heard about it.  So far, Chloe Grace Moretz has put together a pretty good film catalog and thought she was a good choice to play Carrie White.  However, this film seemed to miss the mark on a very important aspect of the original.  The entire film builds up to the Prom scene that has become iconic from the original.  Once this film arrived at this scene, it seemed to almost hurry through it just to get to the end.  Not sure why they felt the need to almost truncate Carries rage to get to the end scenes.  Speaking of the ending, I am not sure why they left things so wide open.  Maybe so they can have several straight to DVD sequels that contain no stars and sell for $4.99 at Safeway in the see through bin at the front of the store.

My Movie Rating:
★★★★★★½☆☆☆

Solo

Solo

SOLO-PosterSolo is the story of a young woman named Gillian who is overcoming her traumatic past by trying to become a camp counselor for the summer.  Part of her interview process is to spend two nights alone on an island near the camp to prove she can handle the outdoors.  A pretty far fetched concept for sure but it isn’t entirely implausible.  I attended a University that made all potential resident counselors do 24 hours by themselves in the woods to build character and leadership qualities.  Anyway, the formula for when our main character starts on the island, this film plays out pretty much how you think it would.  The antagonist is introduced and things start to go awry from there.  Nothing really new that this film brings to the table for the genre.  However, one thing it did have going for it is that it looked really good.  Some very pretty set pieces and scenery that complimented most of the scenes.  Above average for an independent thriller.

My Movie Rating:
★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

The Changeling

The Changeling

TheChangelingThe Changeling is a film about a music composer, played by George C. Scott, who has to relocate to Seattle after the tragic death of his wife and daughter in a roadside accident. The Changeling is considered to be one of the classic haunted house films in the horror genre.  I have to agree in that regard.  This film was filled with a lot of great atmosphere and set design.  The house that our lead occupies is completely creepy and would be intimidating to spend the night in by yourself.  This film set a lot of standards for spooky horror films to come.  My main problem with this film is that it played its hand a little too aggressively in the third act of the film.  The first two acts were a nice slow burn that built all sorts of tension and really set the stage for a thrilling climax.  However they veered too far from what got them there to this point and shifted gears in a direction I didn’t really grab hold of.

My Movie Rating:
★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

Jobs

Jobs

JOBSposterIn Jobs, Ashton Kutcher plays a man that almost needs no introduction in today’s society.  Quite capably in fact.  Was impressed with his depiction of this iconic figure.  In this biopic, we follow Steve Jobs from the time shortly after he has dropped out of college to the introduction of the iPod.  Steve Jobs is definitely a man who changed the face of the technology industry.  His products have been prolific and groundbreaking, if not overpriced.  Most people really like love his products and will pay whatever it takes to get the latest Apple products and this film looks at the costs associated with having such success in the industry and the legacy that one eventually leaves behind.  I think this film did a pretty good job of showing Steve Jobs in a light that most people aren’t aware of.  He was not a very nice man and almost impossible to work for.  What I didn’t like about this film is that they almost sum it up as “You’re an ass and you chew up co-workers, partners, girlfriends and even your own children and spit them out but it’s okay because you are a visionary and made products that lots of people use.”  This analogy seems to fit with a lot of the blind devotion to Apple products that a lot of people have.  That is not how life works.  There comes a time when those things tend to catch up to you and eventually realize what is important in life and learn what sort of legacy you want to leave behind.  Curing disease, feeding the hungry or simply investing in your family have a much larger global impact than making expensive toys.

My Movie Rating:
★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

The Lone Ranger

The Lone Ranger

the-lone-ranger-posterJohnny Depp as a Native American.  As good an actor as I think he is, I had a hard time swallowing this pill.  Thought maybe it would wear off later in the film but this feeling stuck with me throughout the duration.  It wasn’t because of his acting either.  It was his dialogue. Almost all of it was skewed toward comic relief.  Not sure why but it just felt, I don’t know…disrespectful.  That was the overall tone of the film too.  It was almost too lighthearted for my tastes which is unfortunate because the as an action film, there is some really well choreographed and well shot action sequences involving heavy machinery.  Alternatively, that is what saves this film and the lens I need to view this film.  This was meant to be a “popcorn” film and nothing more.  In that sense, it succeeded.  Anything more than that and it would be a failure.  I am sure Disney will find a way to make additional sequels.

My Movie Rating:
★★★★★★★☆☆☆