Interstellar – Review Feb24

Interstellar – Review...

The Matthew McConoughey renaissance continues! Interstellar is definitely a movie to see on the biggest screen available. If you can find an IMAX still showing it, by all means, see this movie on the IMAX, and in 70mm if possible. You will not regret it. But if you watching Interstellar at home, please do yourself a favor and watch it on the biggest TV you can find. If you own a 40” and your friend owns a 70”, maybe it’s time to pay that friend a visit. Treat that friend to a Redbox night and spring for a box of microwavable popcorn while you’re at it. Side note: I wonder how many times owners of bigger than big screen TVs are having to sit through yet another viewing of Interstellar thanks to yet another friend who owns a small TV. I feel like Matthew McConaughey and Ben Affleck are having similar career trajectories. Both started out in the same indie movie, Dazed and Confused. Both went on to work on movies of varying quality. And now, both have recently found themselves getting pickier with their choices and putting out quality project after quality project. People point to True Detective as the start of the McConoughey renaissance. Those people clearly never saw Mud. I expected Interstellar to be good. I’ve found that to be a good rule of thumb to apply to any Christopher Nolan movie. However, I didn’t expect it to be this good. I don’t know why I thought Nolan would only deliver a better than usual outer space movie. But he doesn’t just deliver that. Instead, he gives us a movie that transcends the genre. A sizeable part of the movie takes place on Earth before McConoughey and his team head to...

Captain Phillips – Review Feb25

Captain Phillips – Review...

Out of all the movies nominated for Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards, Captain Phillips was the one that I had the least interest in seeing, and I can’t quite put my finger on why. It’s not because it’s based on a true story, or that I knew that Richard Phillips survives the movie. That doesn’t need a spoiler alert, right? The man’s walking around living his life. But I digress…plenty of the other Best Picture nominees are based on true stories, and I made a priority of seeing all of them. I think it’s Tom Hanks. Don’t get me wrong, I love Tom Hanks and think he’s easily one of the best actors of his generation. But something, and I’m not sure what to call it, kept me from needing to see this movie. The best I can call it is Tom Hanks fatigue. A Tom Hanks movie is one of the closest things we have to a blue-chip stock in film. I’m confident it’s going to be good. But I think I’m burned out on Tom Hanks war movies. And this is close enough to a war movie to let that burn out take over. All that said, having now seen Captain Phillips, I can definitely say that if you’re feeling any kine of Tom Hanks fatigue, get over it and go watch Captain Phillips. It’s awesome. Captain Phillips surprised me in the same way that Gravity surprised me. I had no idea how thrilling each of these movies would be. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that if you want to watch a thriller, you’d be better off renting Captain Phillips than heading to the theater to see Liam Neeson in Taken on a Plane (Note: I haven’t...

Dallas Buyers Club – Review Feb07

Dallas Buyers Club – Review...

Like almost every other Best Picture nominee this year, Dallas Buyers club is a very dark movie. Also like many of the other of this year’s Best Picture nominees, this movie is based on true events. Dallas Buyers Club tells the story of Ron Woodroof, a good ole boy from Texas. Ron is one hard partying homophobe. When he’s not hustling at the rodeo, he’s busy having sex, drinking and doing drugs. Unfortunately, his party boy lifestyle lands him with HIV. Ron contracted HIV at a time when it was still widely misunderstood to be a disease that only infected homosexuals. Ron even flies off on his doctor, taking his HIV diagnosis as an affront to his manhood, which Ron really ties with his heterosexuality. Given a 30 day death prediction from his doctor, Ron’s hustler instinct takes over, as he bribes his way into stolen AZT, a then experimental drug. When his AZT supply dries up, Ron makes a trip to Mexico that alters his life and sets him on a new direction of supplying medication to HIV patients (for a tidy profit, of course). It’s amazing how much weight Matthew McConoughey lost to play Ron Woodruff. The man is gaunt! It’s jarring to see McConoughey this skinny. McConoughey really disappears into the role of Woodruff. McConoughey was fantastic in The Wolf of Wall Street, but that was McConoughey being McConoughey being someone else. But here, he seems like a completely different person. I know McConoughey seems to be the favorite for Best Actor heading into the Oscars, but after watching Dallas Buyers Club, I’d give the award to Chiwetel Ejiofor for 12 Years a Slave. That”s not a knock against McConoughey at all. I just liked Ejiofor so much in 12 Years...

The Wolf of Wall Street – Review Feb06

The Wolf of Wall Street – Review...

In my review for American Hustle, I said that it seemed like David O. Russell was attempting to do his best Martin Scorsese. The Wolf of Wall Street almost feels like this is Martin Scorsese’s answer back. “No, this is how you do Martin Scorsese.” Mr. Scorsese does Martin Scorsese to 11 with The Wolf of Wall Street. This movie is the most over the top project directed by Mr. Scorsese since the video for Michael Jackson’s Bad. It’s The Wolf of Wall Street’s over the top tone that keeps it so entertaining for it’s exactly three hour running time. Yes, that’s right, 180 minutes. The Wolf of Wall Street is two minutes longer than the theatrical release of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.  Thankfully, Terrence Winter’s screenplay combined with Scorsese’s directing made for a much faster moving movie than it’s three hour run time would suggest. At no point was I looking at my watch, wondering how much more we had to go. Following what I would call the classic Martin Scorsese story arc, Jordan Belfort gets really good at doing something bad, is handsomely rewarded for it and then comes crashing down to earth in the end. It’s almost like Goodfellas on steroids. The money that Jordan Belfort makes in The Wolf of Wall Street puts Henry Hill’s biggest heist to shame. Though when the rug gets pulled out from under him, Jordan has a much easier fall than Henry did. They both lose the lives they had, but Jordan’s bounce into his new life seems to have bounced a lot higher than Hill’s, at least in the way that the ending of The Wolf of Wall Street depicts it. The acting in The Wolf of Wall...

Life Of Pi – Review Feb25

Life Of Pi – Review...

4/5 – Ang Lee earned his Best Director Oscar With less than eight hours to go before the start of the Oscars, I upped the number of Best Picture nominees I had seen by one by catching an early afternoon showing of Life of Pi. It’s good we showed up early, because it looked like everyone in the vicinity of Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill Cinemas had the same idea. Before the movie began, the old lady sitting behind me decided to walk her husband through the entire story of the movie in her loud old lady voice. Thanks, lady, you rock. I haven’t read the book, so I thought about turning around and yelling “Dobby dies in book 7!” at Madame de Spoiler. Instead, headphones went in, Foo Fighters came on, and spoilers were avoided. I have to admit, I considered keeping Foo Fighters going a little longer when I saw the first trailer was for the latest  Fast and Furious movie. Life of Pi started, and despite the constant running commentary from the old lady behind me (She loves meer cats! Tigers are scary!), it was a really good movie. First off, it’s beautifully shot, and the 3D looks awesome. This is the best 3D I’ve seen in a live action movie since Avatar. But unlike Avatar, everything doesn’t look like it’s CGI. Oh, a lot of this movie is CGI, but it doesn’t have that telltale fake look that CGI usually has. I was surprised to find out that the tiger in Life of Pi, Richard Parker, was a CG creature throughout the entire movie. I thought they used an actual tiger for at least some of the scenes. Cesi n’est pas un tigre. Life of Pi walks the line between endearing and...