I watch crappy movies so you don't have to.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Best (And Worst) Of 2014

As 2014 comes to a close I'd like to thank all of you for allowing me to have one of the coolest jobs on the planet. Not only do I get to make people laugh every morning, but I also get to see a ton of amazing films and then get to talk about them.

And while it is a lot of fun, please know that I do not write here or do reviews on the radio and TV without giving a lot of thought to your time and hard-earned money. I try my best to look at every film with a clean slate and a fresh view so that I can give the most honest and respectful (to you) review that I can. 


I enjoy your feedback and engaging debates on whether a movie is good or not, the things you thought I got right and the things you know I got wrong. In the end all opinions are valid, because art is subjective and we all have our own tastes. 


Movies are an incredible art form. They are an amazing gift that hundreds of people have toiled over to give to us in the hopes that we will appreciate their hard work and sacrifice. Sometimes the gift makes us laugh until we cry, sometimes we cry so much we have to laugh, other times we walk away wishing we could get the last two hours of our lives back.


I hope you enjoyed the films of 2014 as much as I did, and here's to hoping my 2015 Top 10 Worst films will be a very difficult list to create.


Thank you, all!





The Best of 2014

Honorable Mentions: 

These films were great, just not great enough to crack my top 10.

FOXCATCHER 

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2
LONE SURVIVOR
MALEFICENT



My Top 10 Films of 2014

10. WHAT IF

Rated: PG-13
Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan
Plot: A man tries to be friends with a woman who has a boyfriend.
Trailer


The chemistry between Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan is incredible. Their banter and non-verbal communications will make you smile throughout the movie, and there are several moments that will make you laugh out loud.

This is one of those sleeper films that seem to come out a couple of times a year that, for whatever reason, don't get traction among moviegoers, but are exceptional movies.


9. THE FAULT IN OUR STARS
Rated: PG-13
Stars: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff
Plot: Two teens with cancer fall in love and learn how to live a beautiful, if short, life.
Trailer

For those of you out there who say, "ugh, I don't want to see some cancer death movie," don't be so quick to judge. In THE HUNGER GAMES kids killed kids, yes, but that wasn't what it was about. In TFIOS, teens are dying from cancer, but the story is about them living, and loving, to the fullest that they can in the short infinity they are given.


8. THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 1
Rated: PG-13
Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Donald Sutherland
Plot: Katniss must overcome her demons to help lead the revolution against President Snow and the Capitol.
Trailer

This film is dark, intense and brutal. If you are hoping to see a pretty Jennifer Lawrence, this is not the film for you. She is broken and beat down for nearly the entire film. Her portrayal of Katniss suffering in the depths of PTSD is spot on. At points it is almost difficult to watch because of the level of pain she is in.


7. THE JUDGE
Rated: R
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall
Plot: A big-time lawyer returns to his home town and his estranged father, a judge, who is accused of murder.
Trailer

This film is powerful, intense and emotional. Downey Jr. and Duvall give masterful performances that are award-worthy and probably just shy of Oscar nominations.



6. THE LEGO MOVIE
Rated PG
Stars: Will Ferrell, Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks
Plot: An average Lego construction worker leads the master-builders in a quest to stop Lord Business from ruining Lego life as they know it.
Trailer

This movie is very funny, the plot is interesting to kids and adults and there is a twist at the end that you will never see coming. It's funny, heart-warming and enjoyable for all ages.

Bonus: The STAR WARS cameo is awesome. Everything is awesome. (You'll understand that after you've seen the movie...in fact, that phrase will probably be stuck in your head for days).



5. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
Rated - PG-13
Stars: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper
Plot: A misfit group is forced together and must use their skills to try to save the galaxy from a madman.
Trailer

This film is gut-bustingly funny, exciting, the plot is compelling and the chemistry between the cast is near perfect.

Children of the 80s will find this movie totally radical. For reasons that become clear in the movie, Peter Quill is essentially stuck in the 80s therefore all of his pop culture references are from that time period. It makes for some extremely funny moments.



4. BIRDMAN
Rated: R
Stars: Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton
Plot: An aging actor tries to revitalize his career by writing, directing and staring in a Broadway play.
Trailer

This is one of the most original films I've seen in a while. The way this movie is shot is so innovative and fun you can't help but to be mesmerized by it. The first 97% or so of the movie is shot with what is supposed to be a single camera, continuous shot. It is absolutely fascinating.

Aside from the creative cinematography, the acting is outstanding and the story is compelling and the characters are deep. You really feel for these characters and understand their struggles.



3. THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING
Rated: PG-13
Stars: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, David Thewlis
Plot: The story of the life and marriage of Stephen Hawking
Trailer


Eddie Redmayne should not only be nominated for the Best Actor Oscar, but we should just go ahead and give him the statue now. His performance is astounding. He transforms into Stephen Hawking.

Felicity Jones may get an Oscar nod as well and if so, it will be well-deserved.

This movie is brilliant, heartwarming, heartbreaking and inspiring all at once. Even if you are not a fan of Stephen Hawking, this film will still entertain you.



2. THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
Rated R
Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Jude Law, Willem Dafoe, F. Murray Abraham, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Murray, Edward Norton
Plot: A world-class concierge trains his protege in the ways of hotel service while going on a fantastic adventure.
Trailer

This may be Wes Anderson's best work yet. Ralph Fiennes is spectacular as are many of the other peculiar characters throughout the film. If forced to put this movie into a category, I'd have to call it a dark comedy, but it is much more than that.

The plot is uniquely interesting, the music is outstanding and, it wouldn't surprise me at all for this film to get an Oscar nod for cinematography. Every scene in this movie is framed like a beautiful painting.



THE BEST OF THE BEST


1. THE IMITATION GAME
Rated: PG-13
Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley
Plot: A British mathematician works to break the German's code to help the allies win the war.
Trailer

This is easily my top film of the year. Benedict Cumberbatch gives a masterful performance as does Keira Knightley.

This movie is so highly compelling because the stakes are so high, and this cast delivers the intensity to the audience every step of the way.

Without giving anything away I will say that the scene following their success is one of the most powerful, gut-wrenching and heart-breaking scenes I have ever seen. This is truly a masterpiece that should be seen by all.





The Worst of 2014

Dishonorable Mentions: 

These films were really bad, just not horrible enough to sink into my bottom 10.

THE BEST OF ME

TRANSCENDENCE
TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION
UNDER THE SKIN



My Worst 10 Films of 2014

10. DRACULA UNTOLD

Rated: PG-13
Stars: Luke Evans, Sarah Gadon, Dominic Cooper
Plot: Vlad The Impaler defies the Turks and takes desperate measures to protect his family and his followers from war
Trailer


The plot is jumpy, the action scene are all shot with shaky camera, and the ending is cringe-worthy.

The most disappointing aspect of this film is that it bases it's story in the reality of Vlad The Impaler, but the movie makes him a sympathetic character. If you know anything about the real Vlad The Impaler, he was anything but sympathetic.




9. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES
Rated: PG-13
Stars: Megan Fox, Will Arnett
Plot: The four turtle brothers must work together to bring down the criminal rule of Shredder.
Trailer


This is one of this reboots that nobody asked for, but Hollywood made it anyway. The turtles are creepy, the story is tired, Megan Fox still can't act, and the action scenes move and jump so fast it's hard to tell what is going on.

Older fans are going to be turned off by the sheer stupidity of the film and it is too intense for the under 8 crowd.



8. THE BOXTROLLS
Rated: PG
Stars: Ben Kingsley, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Elle Fanning
Plot: A young boy and girl try to convince their town that the trolls that live below are not vicious monsters, but an evil exterminator stands in their way.
Trailer


Much of this movie has to do with cheese, so I will stick with that theme here. The plot has more holes that Swiss cheese, it stinks worse than Munster, and it's cheesier than a seven cheese tortellini.

Basically, this movie is not Gouda. (If you thought this review was bad, go see the movie. You'll nominate this for a Pulitzer). 




7. INTO THE STORM
Rated - PG-13
Stars: Richard Armitage, Sarah Wayne Callies, Matt Walsh
Plot: A massive outbreak of tornadoes has people running for their lives.
Trailer

I'm sure the planning meeting for this film included a brain-storming session with the title, "Forget About Plot And Continuity, What Cool Things Can A Tornado Destroy?"

Without giving away anything that the trailer didn't already show us, my favorite eye-rolling scene is when the massive, climactic uber-tornado hits the small-town airport and takes out a half-dozen 747's. Apparently, Silverton, Oklahoma is a major international hub.



6. LUCY
Rated: PG-13
Stars: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman
Plot: A young woman is drugged and as a result is able to tap into 100% of her brain's capacity.
Trailer

Luc Besson, writer and director of LUCY, needs to get some people on his team that are willing to tell him "no"...quickly. I'd be hard pressed to try to come up with another movie that falls apart so thoroughly in the last 20 minutes. (Except for the #5 movie on this list).

The first hour of this film is actually pretty exciting despite the preachiness and plot holes. My recommendation is, if you really must see this in theaters, watch until Lucy lands in Paris. At that point, get up, walk out of the theater, go get some coffee with a friend and come up with your own ending to the movie. I guarantee you that your ending will be way better than the actual ending.



5. INTERSTELLAR
Rated: PG-13
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Cain
Plot: A former pilot is sent on a journey into space to find a new planet for humans because the earth is becoming uninhabitable.
Trailer

I can't even begin to tell you how bad the last 30 minutes of this film were. I sat in stunned silence, mouth agape. I couldn't believe my eyes. How could a Christopher Nolan film with such an incredible cast, and Oscar-worthy acting I might add, fall apart like a spaceship flying into a black hole?

There were several moments in the first 2:15 of the film that were odd, like story jumps and plot holes, but I was willing to overlook all of that because the film was so epic. Now I can't unsee any of it.

If you really must see this film, (and I can't really blame you because the trailers make it look so good), just watch until they launch the robot into the black hole. At that point, get up and run out of the theater. You will be so much happier. 


4. NOAH
Rated: PG-13
Stars: Russell Crowe, Emma Watson, Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins
Plot: A man is told by God to build a massive ship in order to save his family and animals from a world-destroying flood.
Trailer


It feels like Aronofsky read a children's version of the Noah story, realized he had enough material for a 15 minute film, then filled up two more hours of preaching about how humans mess up the earth and why animals are better than humans.


Putting aside the issues bible believing people will have with this film, it's just not a very good movie. It's slow moving, it's preachy, and the special effects are sub par for a movie of this magnitude.


3. A HAUNTED HOUSE 2
Rated: R
Stars: Marlon Wayans, Jaime Pressly
Plot: Malcolm has finally moved on from his possessed ex, but strange things start happening when his new girlfriend and her kids move in.
Trailer


If you saw the first one, you've already seen this film. And believe it or not, this flick is actually worse than the first one.

It's full of the same sex and racial jokes that are slightly funny at best, but most of the time they are just tired.


2. THE GAMBLER
Rated: R
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Jessica Lange, John Goodman, Brie Larson
Plot: A university professor with a gambling addiction has one week to pay back a quarter of a million dollars to loan sharks.
Trailer


THE GAMBLER is full of spectacular acting in a spectacularly bad flick. This is one of those films where I feel like I saw a completely different movie than most of the critics. I've seen many of them raving about this film, but I just don't get it.

This movie got so long, boring and annoying that near the end I was hoping the main character would get hit by a bus and the credits would roll. 


THE WORST OF THE WORST


1. A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST
Rated: R
Stars: Seth MacFarlane, Charlize Theron. Liam Neeson
Plot: A meek farmer must stand up to a rough cowboy to fight for the woman he loves.
Trailer


If you are in the mood for a completely mindless, boring, useless flick full of juvenile humor this film will still disappoint you. I can't stress enough how bad this movie is. Seth MacFarlane wrote, directed, produced and starred in it, and apparently he didn't have anyone around him willing to tell him "no".

MacFarlane must have compromising pictures of Liam Neeson and Charlize Theron or they owe him a huge debt. Those are the only plausible explanations as to why they would be in a horrific train-wreck of a movie like this.

The best thing about A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST is that it is so bad there is zero chance we will have to see Seth MacFarlane screwing up the OSCARS again.

Monday, December 29, 2014

DVD Review For December 30, 2014

THE EQUALIZER
Rated: R
Stars: Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas, Chloe Grace Moretz,
Plot: A retired FBI agent is pulled back into the game of taking out bad guys when he meets a girl in a lot of trouble.
Trailer

Clint Says: See this DVD as soon as you can


Denzel does it again with another well done performance in a movie that is predictable, but still highly entertaining. His understated demeanor and his ability to portray a tough calm while dealing with high-stress situations make this movie much better than it would have been with a lesser actor.

The film is a bit slow in places, but it doesn't bog down too much. The compelling nature of the story and the characters keep the audience interested even in the down times.

My only real beef with this movie is the climactic scene, in which we see the big showdown between Denzel and the bad guys. It's like a grown up, killer version of HOME ALONE. And the death scene for one of the main bad guys reminded me of Paul Reuben's death scene in BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER.

That aside, this is a fun flick that will have you cheering for Denzel from start to finish.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Movie Review For December 28, 2014

THE GAMBLER
Rated: R
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Jessica Lange, John Goodman, Brie Larson
Plot: A university professor with a gambling addiction has one week to pay back a quarter of a million dollars to loan sharks.
Trailer

Clint Says: Don't even bother


THE GAMBLER is full of spectacular acting in a spectacularly bad flick. This is one of those films where I feel like I saw a completely different movie than most of the critics. I've seen many of them raving about this film, but I just don't get it.

When the film begins it dumps us in the middle of the story, which I am fine with and many time enjoy, but THE GAMBLER doesn't give us any flashbacks or back story to fill in the gaps. At no point are we shown why he has the addiction in the first place, nor do we ever see any motivation the main character has to do the things he does.

The romance feels weird and forced, John Goodman is a creeptastic, human version of Jabba The Hutt, and the editor must have been on vacation for most of the editing because there are many scenes that drag on endlessly for no reason.

This movie got so long, boring and annoying that near the end I was hoping the main character would get hit by a bus and the credits would roll. (You'll recognize the scene I'm referring to if you are unlucky enough to have to sit through this mess).

Wahlberg and Lange both give performances that are incredible to watch, unfortunately the story is total crap.



FOXCATCHER
Rated: R
Stars: Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo
Plot: The story of John du Pont and his obsession with USA Wrestling.
Trailer

Clint Says: See this in theaters if you can find it


Steve Carell has already received several award nominations for his spot-on portrayal of John du Pont and I'm sure there are many more nominations to come. All of them are well-deserved. Steve Carell is not on the screen, it is John du Pont, and it's not just because of the makeup.

Tatum and Ruffalo also hold up their end of the film as well as evidenced by the award nominations they are both receiving .

This is one of the rare instances where I think it might be a better movie-going experience if you don't already know the story. The twists and turns are fascinating and intriguing, but for those that know the story you will notice the major plot changes and the film will feel slow.

FOXCATCHER is a disturbing and creepy film that is strangely gripping and mesmerizing. It is the kind of film that gets into your brain and will sit there for days.

Hopefully, this film will gain more attention and be released in more theaters as the bigger nominations come in, but as for now, you'll have to search it out to see it.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Movie Review For December 25, 2014

THE INTERVIEW
Rated: R
Stars: James Franco, Seth Rogen
Plot: A gossip journalist and his producer get the opportunity to interview Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea, but the CIA has other plans
Trailer

Clint Says: It's an okay movie, but it's worth seeing in theaters just to make a point


This may be the most talked about film of 2014. Sony couldn't have begged for better publicity or come up with a better marketing plan than all of the controversy and hacking caused by this film. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

I saw this movie in a sold out theater full of people you would never expect to see at a Franco/Rogen flick. This movie has become a cultural icon that everyone wants to see. In fact, this was more of an event than just seeing a movie. The crowd was totally into it 30 minutes before the film started. The theater was playing patriotic music, strangers were talking to each other in a "Go 'merica" way, and the mood was basically a huge F.U. to anyone that didn't want us to see this movie.

As for the movie, it's okay. It has a lot of funny moments and the story is pretty good. It's a typical Franco/Rogen flick with lots of crude body-part humor and other assorted raunchy jokes. It's not as good as THIS IS THE END, but it isn't a horrible mess either. If it were a typical release it would probably make about $50 Million then fade off into DVD land never to be thought of again, but because of the controversy this may end up being one of the highest grossing films of 2014.

On it's surface I would say it's worth seeing on DVD or streaming, (which is available now), and not something worth spending your money on in a theater, but there is more to this film than just the quality of the movie. This has become a statement film for many different reasons, so if you can find a ticket, I say go enjoy this in a theater and experience the event of the movie even if the movie isn't that great.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Movie Review For December 25, 2014

INTO THE WOODS
Rated: PG
Stars: Anna Kendrick, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Chris Pine
Plot: A baker and his wife encounter several other fairy tale figures as they try to complete a task for a witch.
Trailer

Clint Says: Save some money and see a matinee, but be sure to go


I saw this musical on stage several years ago and absolutely loved it. When I heard that Disney was making it into a film I was a bit nervous that the story would get too sanitized from the original to really have any impact. Thankfully, I was wrong.

Disney did a spectacular job at making this a musical palatable for children, (although I probably wouldn't take anyone under age 8), yet still intense and dramatic for the adults. The screen version is also significantly funnier than I remember the stage performance to be.

One big mark against this film is its length. There is a point where it feels like the movie ends, but then it goes on for about an hour after that. They probably could have accomplished the same thing by editing the last hour down to about 20 minutes.

Chris Pine steals the show and his song "Agony" is the highlight of the entire film. Meryl Streep does a fine job, although I wouldn't consider it to be award-worthy. If I had my choice of award nominations for this movie I would give the nod to Daniel Huttlestone who plays Jack. (He also plays Gavroche in Les Mis). He is mesmerizing once again.

Fans of the musical will notice missing and new songs in this version, but I think you will like this version all the same.

You can also watch my Drive Through Movie Review of INTO THE WOODS on YABooksCentral.com.




THE IMITATION GAME
Rated: PG-13
Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley
Plot: A British mathematician works to break the German's code to help the allies win the war.
Trailer

Clint Says: Drop everything and go see this movie now


This is easily one of my top ten films of the year. Benedict Cumberbatch gives a masterful performance as does Keira Knightley.

This movie is so highly compelling because the stakes are so high, and this cast delivers the intensity to the audience every step of the way.

Without giving anything away I will say that the scene following their success is one of the most powerful, gut-wrenching and heart-breaking scenes I have ever seen. This is truly a masterpiece that should be seen by all.



UNBROKEN
Rated: PG-13
Stars: Jack O'Connell, Takamasa Ishihara, Domhnall Gleeson
Plot: A former Olympian gets stranded at sea during World War II then becomes a prisoner of war inside Japan for several years.
Trailer

Clint Says: Wait for the DVD


Fair or not, UNBROKEN and director Angelina Jolie have the unfortunate draw of opening against another true-story World War II film, and THE IMITATION GAME completely obliterates this film in all aspects.

This movie could have been something special, but it never gets there. I wasn't made to care for the main character any more than the other POWs, nor did I really hate his enemies. The character development was weak at best and in many cases non-existent. We blow through the main character's childhood and Olympic career so fast that we miss anything that might have been compelling about him.

Jolie uses flashbacks during the first third of the film which are powerful and well done, but then they just stop. For the last two thirds of the film we get nothing. I think the movie could have been a lot more powerful if she had kept those flashbacks going as a way to show his resolve and something to give him hope.

This is not a bad film at all, in fact it is pretty good, it just isn't great. And a movie like this needs to be great.



BIG EYES
Rated: R
Stars: Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz
Plot: A woman's paintings start to become very popular, but her husband takes credit for them.
Trailer

Clint Says: See this in theaters as soon as possible


Whether you remember the actual Big Eyes phenomenon or not this movie will touch you. Waltz and Adams are outstanding in their respective roles as an overbearing con artist and a beaten down artist.

The film is pretty straight forward, especially for a Tim Burton flick, but he does inject his special flair for the odd throughout the film.

For a movie about painting, it is surprisingly fast-paced and the tempo really never lets down. It's full of drama and suspense and the story is as compelling as a high-value art heist. It's just an art heist done in a subtle way.

Monday, December 22, 2014

DVD Review For December 23, 2014

THE GOOD LIE
Rated: PG-13
Stars: Reese Witherspoon, Corey Stoll, Arnold Oceng
Plot: A single woman helps Sudanese refugees acclimate to life in America
Trailer

Clint Says: It's worth renting the DVD once


Reese has a busy week. She is staring in the critically acclaimed film WILD (my review) and stars in the DVD release of this mediocre film about an incredible story.

This is one of those rare occasions where the story is so important that it outweighs the fact that the movie just isn't that good. There are some big plot holes and the pacing is all over the place, but the story makes it worth enduring.

I will say that for a low-budget film it was better than I expected it to be, but it's only slightly better than a made-for-TV movie. It's worth seeing, but just rent it, it's not worth buying

I had the opportunity to go to the Red Carpet Premiere of THE GOOD LIE. You can see the video of the evening here.



PRIDE
Rated: R
Stars: Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West
Plot: When a group of coal miners go on strike they are helped by an unlikely alliance with gay activists
Trailer

Clint Says: Rent this DVD as soon as possible


This is one of those films that is based on a true story, but not necessarily the exact true story. That said, it's an interesting film that portrays a moment in time in a fascinating way.

Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton are masterful in this British film that is a lot funnier than I was expecting.

If there is anything wrong with this movie it would have to be that it seems to be a bit too polished and smooth. It would have been nice to see more of the grit and grime that started the strike that eventually led to this film.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Movie Review For December 19, 2014

THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES
Rated: PG-13
Stars: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellan, Richard Armitage, Luke Evans
Plot: Bilbo and Gandalf must work together to try to save Middle-Earth from the greed of its varied inhabitants.
Trailer

Clint Says: Save some money and see a matinee


Director Peter Jackson finishes strong with the final installment in THE HOBBIT trilogy. It's not the best film of the bunch, but it is satisfying enough that fans of the series will walk away feeling fulfilled.

I will say that it feels like there is something missing from this movie. To be quite honest I can't figure it out, but I think it's the lack of character depth. This is essentially a 2 1/2 hour CGI battle movie and I would have liked a bit more story out of it.

The action is spectacular, the creatures are fascinating and the quest is compelling. And, without giving anything away, the finale of this film ties in beautifully to the beginning of THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy.

It's the end of an era, so go enjoy this one.




NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB
Rated: PG
Stars: Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Dan Stevens, Rebel Wilson
Plot: Larry and his museum friends must travel to London to find out why their magic is coming to an end
Trailer

Clint Says: Wait until after opening weekend, but see this in theaters


It's surprising that this franchise is now releasing its third film and all three of them are great movies. One would expect there to be a dud in the bunch by now, but not in this case.

The effects are fun, the jokes are funny and the story will keep audiences of all ages engaged and entertained. (It may be a bit too intense for the under-five crowd, but everyone else will be fine).

Even though it is set, mostly, in London, we really don't get to see their culture. As with the other films, most of the movie takes place inside the museum. So if you're going to see London you'll be disappointed.

For those of you that were fans of the three old night security guys from the first film, you will be happy to know that they return in this one and they are just as funny as ever.

This is the last on-screen performance by Robin Williams and Mickey Rooney, which is sad, but it's a wonderful film in which to see them off.




ANNIE
Rated: PG
Stars: Quvenzhane Wallis, Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz, Rose Byrne
Plot: A young orphan and a wealthy businessman create an unlikely alliance that leads to a deeper relationship
Trailer

Clint Says: Save some money and see a matinee


This is one of those films that if you don't find yourself dancing in your seat you may need to check your pulse. It's a fun, entertaining film that is great for the whole family.

It's interesting that the movie executives decided to go with big-name talent over lesser-know actors that are trained singers. The music is a bit weak in the film, but strangely, it doesn't really matter. The acting is great and there are several funny moments where they break the fourth wall and poke fun at the whole idea of musicals.

The story is engaging and fast-paced, but it's almost a little too fast-paced. The movie seems to go from Annie's hopeless situation to happily ever after in the blink of an eye.

Quvenzhane Wallis has proven to be one of Hollywood's great child actors, and it wouldn't surprise me at all to see her get several major award nominations for this role.

Gather up the whole family and enjoy a sing-along with the rest of the theater.



WILD
Rated: R
Stars: Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern
Plot: A woman endures a long hike to try to rediscover who she is
Trailer

Clint Says: Wait for the DVD


I know there is a lot of awards buzz surrounding this film, but I found it to be an okay movie at best. It has several compelling moments and Witherspoon does a wonderful job in her role, but there is only so much you can do with a movie about someone walking 1,100 miles.

The film starts slow and drags on for a while, then, just about the time the movie starts to get really good, it's over. And the ending of the movie feels like it would have made a more compelling chunk of the movie rather than the one paragraph of narration jammed in to try to tie the whole package up with a nice bow.

Typically, I don't like to do this, but I feel that a lot of movie-goers may be shocked at the content of this film. It is Rated R for a very good reason. WILD is full of sex, nudity, drug use and adult language. I'm not sure that most audiences will realize the adult nature of this film until they are already in the theater.

There is nothing in this film that makes it worth seeing in theaters. You'll be fine waiting for the DVD.

Monday, December 15, 2014

DVD Review For December 16, 2014

THE MAZE RUNNER
Rated: PG-13
Stars: Dylan O'Brien, Aml Ameen, Will Poulter
Plot: A group of teens, trapped in a maze, must find their way out and who put them there.
Trailer

Clint Says: Buy this DVD as a gift for the YA lover in your life


This is yet another Hollywood offering to the rabid fans of Young Adult Dystopian action flicks, and overall, it's a pretty good film.

The cast does a great job and the story is interesting and intense. In fact, there were several moments where I caught myself holding my breath due to the intensity of the action or situation on the screen.

As with most movies of this ilk, there are a few eye-rolling moments and a couple of minor plot holes, but overall the movie stands up well.

Young Adult fans will enjoy this film as will fans of sci-fi thrillers. I saw it with several uber YA fans and all of them thought the movie was great.




TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES
Rated: PG-13
Stars: Megan Fox, Will Arnett
Plot: The four turtle brothers must work together to bring down the criminal rule of Shredder.
Trailer

Clint Says: If you have to watch it, make someone else rent it


This is one of this reboots that nobody asked for, but Hollywood made it anyway. The turtles are creepy, the story is tired, Megan Fox still can't act, and the action scenes move and jump so fast it's hard to tell what is going on.

There are several things that happen that are way too coincidental or convenient giving the audience ample opportunities to eye roll.

It's also a film that misses its core audience. The older fans are going to be turned off by the sheer stupidity of the film and it is too intense for the under 8 crowd.

This film is significantly less cheesy than the 1990 version, but it's still not worth seeing.




THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU
Rated: R
Stars: Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver, Jane Fonda, Corey Stoll
Plot: A mother and her four grown children return home to grieve the death of their husband and father.
Trailer

Clint Says: Wait for it to stream on Netflix


This is one of those films where the teaser trailer lies to you. It looks like a comedy with a little bit of heart-warming gooeyness thrown in for good measure. In reality, this is a sad, dark, weird, boring movie.

It's somewhat like THE BIG CHILL, only the Dysfunctional Family Feud version.

If I wanted to see a dysfunctional family peck at each other I'd just go home. If I have to see it on the big screen it should at least be funny. Unfortunately, almost all of the funny moments in the movie are revealed in the trailer. And in context, some of those moments aren't all that funny.

I stayed for the whole movie, but mentally I said THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU about 30 minutes into it. Save your money on this one.



THE SKELETON TWINS
Rated: R
Stars: Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Luke Wilson
Plot: Twins try to reconnect with one another after they both almost die on the same day.
Trailer

Clint Says: I haven't seen it yet, but I hear really good things about it


I am anxiously awaiting this DVD because I was unable to see it while it was in theaters. I've heard a lot of good things about this film and it is up for several awards.

If you have already seen it, please let us all know what you thought about it in the comments section below.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Movie Review For December 12, 2014

EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS
Rated: PG-13
Stars: Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Ben Kingsley
Plot: The story of the battle between Moses and Ramses for the lives of the Hebrew slaves.
Trailer

Clint Says: Wait for the DVD


When one hears that a film is being made about the life of Moses and his tumultuous relationship with Ramses, one would think that the film would include significant coverage of the plagues, the parting of the sea and the bringing down of the Ten Commandments. While all of these events are technically covered in this movie, they are a small fraction of the 2-plus hours of otherwise dull movie.

The film does have a few interesting moments, but overall it just skims the surface of the biblical story, and, on several occasions, skips major plot points leaving the view to have to fill in the blanks for themselves.

Director Ridley Scott takes several liberties with the story which will, no doubt, upset a portion of the movie-goers, but it's not so far off the beaten path from the original story that the average movie-goer will find fault with it.

I will say that the effects of the plagues and sea are incredible for the small amount of time we get to see them, but it's not worth spending the money to see this on the big screen. You'll get the same effect watching it at home.




TOP FIVE
Rated: R
Stars: Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, Gabrielle Union, Kevin Hart
Plot: An alcoholic comedian spends the day with a reporter trying to explain why he wants to be a serious actor.
Trailer

Clint Says: Wait for the DVD and let someone else rent it.


This is supposed to be a comedy, right? I saw the movie and I'm still not sure if it was supposed to be a comedy or not. There was not a single audible laugh from anyone in the theater when I saw this movie. That's not an exaggeration. Not one single laugh.

The film is an awkward mix of fiction and what is supposed to be reality. For example, Chris Rock's character is at a strip club for his bachelor party with Adam Sandler, Whoopi Goldberg and Jerry Seinfeld all of whom are playing themselves.

You can tell that a lot of this movie was allowed to be improvised, but it's not great improvisation. A lot of it feels off or choppy.

I'm a big Chris Rock fan, but this movie misses the mark on many levels. Don't waste your time or your money.

Monday, December 8, 2014

DVD Review For December 9, 2014

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
Rated: PG-13
Stars: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper
Plot: A misfit group is forced together and must use their skills to try to save the galaxy from a madman.
Trailer

Clint Says: Run to the store and buy this DVD now


Wow. Just. Wow.

Marvel has outdone themselves with GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY.

This was easily one of the best movies of the summer and probably one of the top ten movies of the year. It is gut-bustingly funny (to the point where I missed several lines due to all the laughter so I had to go back to the theater to see it again), it's exciting, the plot is compelling and the chemistry between the cast is near perfect.

Another aspect of this movie that will please movie-goers is that this movie has three strong female characters all with agency. It's so nice to see an action flick that treats the female characters in a way that makes them important to the plot and they have the will and ability to affect things on their own rather than waiting for their prince charming to save the day.

Children of the 80s will find this movie totally radical. For reasons that become clear in the movie, Peter Quill is essentially stuck in the 80s therefore all of his pop culture references are from that time period. It makes for some extremely funny moments.

The writing for this film is so spectacular that you really have no idea if any of these characters are going to survive to the end of the story. It's refreshing to see a movie that doesn't protect its main characters to the point of taking the suspense away as to what may happen to them.

This film can be wrapped up in two words. They will mean nothing to you until you see the movie, but once you do they will be epic. Those words are "dance off". Enjoy.

One small warning: Unlike most MARVEL films, this one uses quite a bit of adult language. So use your discretion when considering taking the young ones.



DOLPHIN TALE 2
Rated: PG
Stars: Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman
Plot: The staff at Clearwater must find a companion for Winter before she is taken away from them forever.
Trailer

Clint Says: This may be worth buying, but it's for sure worth renting


This is one of those films that I knew going into it, it was going to be a feel-good movie with a good dose of inspiration. I was surprised that that movie was actually very good and well done beyond the expected.

I saw this movie in a theater packed with children and adults with missing limbs or other physical challenges. Talking with them after the film helped me to realize how inspirational Winter is to so many of them.

I sat next to a young friend of mine, Zion, who had both of his feet amputated a couple of years ago. He kept whispering to me during the movie all the facts about Winter that the movie was leaving out. It was one of the more joyful movie experiences of my life.

This is a great family-friendly film that will inspire you and give you hope.




WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL
Rated: PG
Stars: Jim Caviezel, Alexander Ludwig, Michael Chiklis
Plot: The triumphant story of the heart behind the 151 game winning streak of De La Salle's high school football team.
Trailer

Clint Says: Rent it when you have some extra time


This is another inspirational film that is exactly what you expect it to be. It has several meaningful and heartbreaking moments, but overall it really isn't that great of a movie.

The story isn't bad, the acting is okay and the drama seems real enough, but it just doesn't quite come together to make you feel like the movie wants you to feel when the credits roll.

It's much less a football movie and more of a relationship film, so for those of you that skipped it in theaters because you thought it was another sports flick, you may find it worth renting.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Movie Review For December 5, 2014

THE PYRAMID
Rated: R
Stars: Ashley Hinshaw, Denis O'Hare, James Buckley
Plot: A group of archaeologists uncover more than they bargained for inside an ancient pyramid.
Trailer

Clint Says: Don't even bother


Earlier this week the movie AS ABOVE SO BELOW came out on DVD. In that film, several people find themselves trapped by something evil in the catacombs of Paris. THE PYRAMID is the same movie, only in a pyramid and significantly crappier. (And that's really saying something, because AASB wasn't that great of a flick).

The scares in this movie are all old and hack, the plot is just slightly more original than the scares, and even though this film clocks in at a mere 89 minutes it feels like it drags on much longer.

Just like walking across the hot desert sand for days with no water, the end credits are a beautiful and welcoming oasis.

The scariest thing about this movie is that it is the only wide release film this weekend and it's still going to be lucky to finish third at the box office.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

DVD Review For December 2, 2014

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
Rated: PG-13
Stars: Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Jason Clarke
Plot: Humans and apes are on the brink of war for control of the earth as the apes get stronger and the humans get weaker.
Trailer

Clint Says: Rent this when you have a chance


Like this first in this series, RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, this movie does an exceptional job at showing us the emotion of the apes, but unlike its predecessor, DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES falls flat at the end.

This film has a Shakespearean vibe to it in that most of the plot centers around betrayal and misunderstandings. However the director chose to leave the ending a little too open for a third installment of the franchise, (currently unnamed, but due out in 2016). It almost feels like they wanted to end the movie well, but to do so would have meant a three hour long movie so they chose relative brevity (two hours and ten minutes) over a solid ending.

If you liked RISE you'll be fine with DAWN, but it is in no way better than the first. There is nothing that happens in this movie that makes it worthy of buying the DVD, just rent it and you'll be satisfied.

Hopefully the third film will regain the glory of the first one.



THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY
Rated: PG
Stars: Hellen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal
Plot: Two rival restaurant owners clash when the son of one goes to work for the other.
Trailer

Clint Says: Rent this movie this week


This movie is straight up food porn for foodies. If you like slow-motion egg beating montages and people eating ripe, juicy fruits and vegetables as their eyes roll back in their heads, this is the movie for you.

I would be remiss if I didn't try to use as many food analogies as possible while reviewing this film so here we go...

While I did like this movie there were ingredients (1) that were missing making it rather bland to the palate (2). I wish the director had chosen to spice things up (3) a bit with more conflict between the characters rather than figuratively throwing it in a microwave (4) to resolve it quickly.

The parallel love stories do heat up (5) well as the movie progresses and the story is intriguing. Although this is not a children's movie at all it is clean enough to take any little foodies in your family. THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY is a respectable palate cleanse (6) for everyone.



AS ABOVE SO BELOW
Rated: R
Stars: Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman, Edwin Hodge
Plot: Dark secrets are revealed in the catacombs below Paris.
Trailer

Clint Says: Rent this DVD if you've already seen everything else


This is about as basic and formulaic as you can get in the found-footage horror genre. The premise is quite interesting and the execution is tolerable, but the only real scary parts of this film are the jump-out-and-yell-boo moments. The rest of the movie is somewhat suspenseful, but by no means scary.

As with most horror flicks, there are several huge plot holes and missing or non-explained elements throughout the film that will drive some moviegoers crazy. However, the typical horror film fan will find this movie to be a decent horror flick with enough scares to raise heart rates for 90 minutes.

If you aren't into horror films this one will either bore you or give you lots of time to study the ceiling with all the eye rolling you will be doing.

Personally, I kept waiting for Harry Potter to show up somewhere in the catacombs under Paris. (You'll have to see the movie to understand why).

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Movie Review For November 26, 2014

It's Thanksgiving week so most movies will be hitting the theaters on Wednesday instead of Friday. Enjoy!

PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR
Rated: PG
Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, John Malkovich, Tom McGrath
Plot: The penguins must team up with another elite force to try to stop a villain from kidnapping the world's penguins.
Trailer

Clint Says: Take the whole family and see this in theaters this week


This may well be the funniest animated movie of 2014. I laughed out loud 15 or 20 times and spent the better part of the rest of the film trying to wipe the smile off my face with no luck.

Kids will love this movie because it has a lot of fun elements for them, but adults will be just as pleased with it because it has an interesting plot, surprisingly in-depth character development, and it is fast-paced.

I put this movie up with the likes of THE LEGO MOVIE and MR. PEABODY AND SHERMAN. This has been an incredible year for animated films and PENGUINS keeps the streak alive.



HORRIBLE BOSSES 2
Rated: R
Stars: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Chris Pine
Plot: After their business is sabotaged, three guys come up with a plan to get their money back, but their plan gets hijacked by a scheming sleazeball.
Trailer

Clint Says: See this in theaters this week...if you can handle the raunch


The original HORRIBLE BOSSES was a raunchy, hysterically awesome movie. HORRIBLE BOSSES 2 is the same. My jaw hurt when I left the theater after this movie, but I also felt like I needed a shower. This movie is so raunchy they couldn't even make a 2-minute trailer without several cuss words in it.

As with any comedy, the movie may be funny but it's only as good as its plot. In this case, the plot is outstanding. Sure, it has a few minor holes, but nothing that will hurt your head. It's fun and funny, but with significant moments of suspense and drama. The juxtaposition is what makes this movie so good.

If you can handle the offensive humor this is a sequel worth seeing.

Monday, November 24, 2014

DVD Review For November 25, 2014

THE NOVEMBER MAN
Rated: R
Stars: Pierce Brosnan, Luke Bracey, Olga Kurylenko
Plot: An ex-CIA operative is called back into action to bring down one of his former trainees.
Trailer

Clint Says: Rent this movie this week


This film was released into theaters in one of Hollywood's typical dump months. It's where they release all of the films they don't expect to do well. But there are always one or two exceptions. Thankfully, THE NOVEMBER MAN is an exception.

This film is a very good, high entertainment spy flick that will keep you engaged and guessing. It is also done in a way that you really don't know if the main characters are going to make it out alive or not, adding to the suspense and thrills of the movie.

It's a lot of fun to see Pierce Brosnan return to the big screen in a high-action spy role. His cool-as-a-cucumber approach is the perfect juxtaposition to his quick-acting adversary.

It's not quite on par with the better James Bond films, but you won't walk away disappointed.

Get a big bucket of popcorn and enjoy the ride.



THE GIVER
Rated: PG-13
Stars: Brenton Thwaites, Jeff Bridges, Odeya Rush
Plot: In a seemingly utopian society, a boy begins to learn the truth that they are all being manipulated by the government, and must figure out a way to stop them.
Trailer

Clint says: Rent this if you are interested to see where the YA genre began


This is one of those films that will mean a lot more to some people than to others. For those that read THE GIVER and understand the importance of that book in helping to create and shape the Young Adult genre this will be a film of great importance. For your average movie-goer, this film will probably be a little slow with a mediocre payoff.

The world-building is unique and interesting and there is enough suspense to keep you engaged throughout the film, but it isn't as exciting or fast-paced as DIVERGENT or THE HUNGER GAMES.



WHAT IF
Rated: PG-13
Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan
Plot: A man tries to be friends with a woman who has a boyfriend.
Trailer

Clint Says: Rent this movie this week


While this movie is at its base a formulaic Romantic Comedy, the chemistry between Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan is incredible. Their banter and non-verbal communications will make you smile throughout the movie, and there are several moments that will make you laugh out loud.

This is one of those sleeper films that seem to come out a couple of times a year that, for whatever reason, don't get traction among moviegoers, but are exceptional movies. I highly recommend WHAT IF.



THE EXPENDABLES 3
Rated: PG-13
Stars: Just about every action hero in Hollywood
Plot: The Expendables team comes up against a new foe in an old friend and must work together to stay alive.
Trailer

Clint Says: If you liked the first two, buy this DVD today


Here's the deal with this franchise, just think SHARKNADO, only with a huge budget and A-List actors. These films are so ridiculously over-the-top that they are among the most entertaining films ever. They aren't meant to be thought-provoking or important movies. They are meant to poke fun at the action genre in a non-parody way that satisfies completely.

Grab a big bucket of popcorn, get a bunch of friends and have a great time watching this movie.