Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Best of 2014 - Part II - There And Back Again

And now for the biggest time of year for my opinion, the official Top Ten Films of the Year.


The best part of seeing this for the first time was my complete indifference to it at first. Even walking in, I thought, “Why do I bother to see things I have no real interest in seeing”. The answer was “Because it’s 7 o’clock and you don’t have anything better to do”. Well, that was all I needed because I was completely sucked in and even got emotional during it. I knew that Paul Dini had been involved with a draft ages ago and he even said things were changed around but the tragic heart that made HEART OF ICE and MAD LOVE such painfully good point of views from the villain is well represented here. It was so cleverly spun that even when the more obvious things were happening I was still surprised by them and even the audience was guffawing with emotion they clearly weren’t ready to handle yet. Angelina Jolie was never my favorite but I can see why she has a mass appeal beyond stark attractiveness. She even steals the show from known show stealer Elle Fanning. There is a moment with them toward the end that I was literally embarrassed to be tearing at. And a Lana Del Rey cover to boot. I spread the word on this a lot over the summer and I’m glad people enjoyed it.


Marvel at it’s Marveliest. The Agents of SHEILD weaving. The Gary Shandling senator from IRON MAN 2. The mysterious Stephen Strange surveillance. The Russo brothers, who directed, know their stuff. And love their stuff. They effectively broke the modern superhero movie formula and turned it more into a comic book formula. The references were never glaring but fit fluidly inside a universe you are now familiar and comfortable in. The Winter Solider storyline they adapted wasn’t as great as the comics but it was still great for the movie. And again, like GUARDIANS, still leaves much more to be explored. Which I’m fine with. And it looks like they are going to properly go into the next phase of the storyline with CAP 3: CIVIL WAR which will probably overtake the Marvelness to levels where people are mad at how inside baseball (or Speedball, right mah nerds?) it is. But Marvel is wicked smart, and probably knows how to not alienate people by going full dork on a project. I remember going to a local theater the weekend this came out and seeing “CAPTAIN AMERICA: SOLD OUT” all over the box office and it felt good and that we had come a long way. I felt like Forrest Whittiker at the end of THE BUTLER. If you understood this, please consider us engaged.


In an effort to fully review all of the top films, I tried to watch all that I could this week and I only really made it out to WHIPLASH. But that’s fine because it was still as taught and engaging the second time. It has an escalating tension matched only by the top movie of the year, but in favor of this movie, this never doesn’t let go until you see credits. There is no brief respite as you decompress for an epilogue. It just mounts until the final sequence which is one of the most unique I’ve seen, and is a full testament to the talent of Miles Teller, who is my new dreamboat, and the director who had the balls to finish like that and somehow succeed. Both times, people had to catch their breath by the end and audibly went “wow”. JK Simmons will get a lot of attention for being yelly, but it’ the quieter moments that make him scarier. His scene where he tearfully recounts the career of a former student or when he legitimately lays out his teaching philosophy in a bar towards the end are why Simmons really has the goods. And if there was a special Oscar for best 3 seconds of a movie, it goes to Paul Reiser to apologizing to some good that hits him in the head with a popcorn tub while carelessly walking down the row behind him. The best part of this movie and kind of this year is how I end up seeing logic in the sociopathic tendencies of the lead characters in things. This actually made what seemed like a hollow goal seem reasonable to me. Who am I to judge someone for not wanting the comforts of love and affection from family and friends in favor of becoming the best he can be at what he loves? If he’s willing to bleed for it, he should have it.


I was very annoyed when people were surprised at how good this was. Phil Lord and Chris Miller made CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS and 21 JUMP STREET. I know how good they are. I didn’t question it for a second and it was still better than expected. They were also the OTHER guys chose Chris Pratt as their hero lead and look how smart they look now? I also love how they present two completely different lines of thinking and make them both okay. In fact, make them seem equally as good. I even bought legos after this movie because now my brain is big enough to actually follow the instructions to make them properly. And when I walk into a toy store and buy a 70 dollar lego set, I proudly tell the 19 year old girl at the register that it is for ME, and if needs me, she’s gonna have to wait until I finish this Star Wars cantina set. That’s the kind of confidence you can’t buy, but is now the kind of confidence that will confound someone hard enough that it may seem appealing. Thank you, Warner Bros. for giving me the chance to be cool.


The original is one of the best action movies I’ve ever seen and this somehow tops it. A larger budget lets them go outside and instead of the back to basics small story of the first, it tells a larger epic one that features stunts that I can guarantee you killed some people. Poor Captain America came out a week after this, and while they had some good action in it, it looked like Ms. Tucker’s 9th grade stage combat class in comparison. In fact, the director of this should definitely be making Marvel movies. I suggest IRON FIST. It leads to a third movie, which apparently takes place DURING this one, BOURNE style. I fully expect them to top themselves once again.


Some people like to be special little snowflakes with their best lists. Show off what you don’t know and lord it over your mainstream ass. There’s a bit of that in me, but I take a genuine pleasure in spreading the word of small things that should have a big audience and find it rewarding when people trust that opinion enough to experiment and it actually works. But when everyone, including the powder wigs whom control the Oscars are all agreeing on the same thing, I think that the system is working. I’ve known about this movie for sometime and got to see it about a month early and really feared that it sounded too weird for people to even think about giving a chance. But Fox Searchlight knows how to get eyes in front of a screen, and luckily they are the people that gambled on this. It’s weird to see so many of my favorite actors in one place (and one take) and for every single one of them to be giving the performance of their career. Amy Ryan is one of my favorites, but I had to be reminded that she was in this because even her awesomeness was blocked behind 7 other bright stars. I failed to mention Naomi Watts’ performance in ST. VINCENT as being one of the highlights of that movie. She was completely not herself in it and I think she even gave up a little dignity to do it but she’s just as good here. And my beloved Michael Keaton reminding everyone of what us true MULTIPLICITY fans knew for years, that this guy could do it all and can still be the best thing in a room full of best things if given the chance to do so. I feel so immensely proud of this guy that was the first guy on a screen I ever idolized, that it feels strange to have these feelings for someone you don’t even know. But heroes are just that, a lot of the time.


Roger Ebert became the one of the only film critics you could trust because he wasn’t trying to convince you of his own intelligence while reviewing a movie. This is a problem with a lot of critics. It wasn’t always this way, as we see in this documentary about his life and eventual death. He earned this respect and that attitude even if he gave the occasional MUMMY sequel a pass. I have to admit to a bias because of being so enchanted by seeing someone else’s passion for movies was just too much fun that it felt like I was doing something wrong. It even has a good healthy portion about his relationship with Siskel and how it defined them both, Kirk and Spock style. Bias or not, this is my list and here it shall stay. Although it’s not like I’m defending HEARTBREAKERS or anything here, I think anyone that sees it will come pretty close to how I felt when watching it.


It’s kind of heartbreaking to see any sort of age on the people or things that you love. Noticing it implies that you weren’t there for a portion of it’s existence where it changed without you. This is how some of the vignettes in BOYHOOD felt to me because the big huge events in the life of young Mason’s life move like a strong river current onto the next thing because that’s how life actually works. We’re glad it he got through it but we care enough to want to see how. It’s not always shown, but in other ways is. Richard Linklater has been pretty prolific throughout the last couple of years and he even has managed to make the Top Ten list for his third year in a row. I guess he always has a place on this list and in my heart. The real star however, is Ethan Hawke who should be given an Oscar for playing Mason’s dad as a confused kind of barely there dad all the way to “Let’s have a beer” at his graduation. At that party scene even I was a little anxious feeling that it was all “over” like probably a lot of parents do. The mom thing resonated sure but it was weird how the dad thing did. I seem to avoid my dad a lot more these days after realizing how rocky our history actually is. But I saw him for Christmas and for some odd reason hugged him a second time, tight and for longer than you’d expect. I can’t explain it and don’t really see much use in trying to analyze why someone like me would do that. I just accept the mystery and rhythm of life.


It was really hard trying to choose what number one would be this year. The top five can practically be rotated any which way and it would still make sense to me. This one came with a soundtrack that was played often throughout the year and had musical sequences that were often viewed on YouTube. This one I kind of consider a bit of a failure because it didn’t really get in front of a lot of eyes despite my yelling from the mountain tops how much joy it brought me. Yet another bit about some young people starting a band. What came to me later is how much it represented friendship in your 20’s. By the time you’re 30 you’ve kind of lived 3 or 4 different lives with a different set of peers that came in each time. The short intense burst of creativity and energy that helped poor Eve out of her depression and onto the next phase of her life was great but of course all too brief. That doesn’t make it any less important than anything else she’ll do or what Cassie and James do either. Maybe on a smaller scale. Anytime things get too confusing for first time director Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian to articulate, a song comes on and it becomes crystal clear. I’ve never heard such catchy beautiful music fall out of mouths like it was effortless. This beacon of hope should maybe be the top film of year, I admit. But the truth is…


I have a dark side. Something about this movie called to me the second I saw the poster. I even refused to watch the trailer. Schedule did not permit a reasonable hour to watch the premiere of the film, so midnight on a school night it was and that’s kind of the only way to watch this movie. I had no idea where it was going to go as the tension built and built from the beginning all the way to the heart jumping climax. Jake Gyllenhaal had me completely spooked and constantly in awe of what his character was capable of in good ways and bad. It was a fantastic LA movie as the tagline suggests, some cities do shine brightest at night. It looks the best when you’re a ghost and you’re the only one around for blocks while driving around at 3am. I think that’s why I love COLLATERAL so much too. Having had several night jobs, I am well aware of the energy of what goes on in the dark and it’s my kind of energy most of the time. The power in the solitude of night is something you can kind of get drunk on and that happens to this character. I’d be a jerk to spoil any part of it so I’ll just say it’s flawless and endlessly fascinating and wish it was part of a larger world that I could check in on regularly. If Lou Bloom were a villain in the DRIVE universe, it would be my favorite thing ever. Someone make DRIVE comics, please. LA movies are another bias I am fully aware of as I love my dirty unsung mass of chaos. Most have adopted it, but I was born in it. I said early that it seems silly to expect scares in a movie when you’re an adult but this one had several. I was actually ready to barf right before the climax and I usually make fun of people like that but it made me feel alive so I want it always.

And that’s that for the year. 2015 looks to be a big bad catch match of crazy cool things, and hopefully it lives up to the hype. But 2014 earned a hearty pat on the back for having tons of great things come from nowhere. I hope there are surprises next year as well. Go to the movies more. Thanks.

- D

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Best of 2014: Mockingjay - Part 1

A quick preface. I thought I was going to write about WISH I WAS HERE for the worst list because Zach Braff's directorial follow up to GARDEN STATE was utter garbage, but I have an upcoming podcast about that and seeing how it only made 3 million dollars in theater, I think you're safe from it's crime.s Ok, I saw about the same amount of movies I did last year (roughly 140) and I think this accurately represents the best movies I saw of last year. Let’s get start with some honorable mentions:



Black and white, I feel is something associated with pretense in an unfair way. I think it takes you a world that is just different enough to get lost in. Just real enough to believe and just imaginary enough to succumb to. This one is about an Iranian town (shot in California, actually. I was sitting there wondering why some parts of Iran look like the Valley) about a boy who meets and falls for a girl who’s dispensing her own kind of nocturnal and supernatural justice towards the people who are destroying the moral sanctity of the city. But her new found love is only conflicting her because she is a tool of revenge now and isn’t certain she deserves the love that’s coming to her. It’s a beautiful movie full of young angst and black and white views that are contested by reality and emotion. A better love story than any of the young adult crap that’s coming out of Barnes & Noble but something I think young people would find even more intense and even more poignant. It’s the first film from Ana Lily Amanpour and I can’t wait to see what she’ll do next.


OKAY, SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP FOR A SECOND. I know you want to whine about this when you should have been whining about the last one but let me give you one last chance to redeem yourself about this. This has some of the best scenes coming out of any super hero movie, Marvel or otherwise and the only true legit Spider-Man story telling ever done on that silver screen you threw your medium icee at after this movie started to roll credits. Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacey made this movie great. Her relationship with Peter Parker finally had actual weight and chemistry and when her grim fate met her, it made it all the more heartbreaking. And that moment where the little boy in the Spider-Man costume tries to defend his city because that’s what Spider-Man taught him to do, and when the real Spidey tagged in and came at The Rhino, it’s everything you ever wanted out of your bedsheets and plastic dinette set. It’s what dreams are made of and what makes generations keep coming back to the same characters decades and decades later. Anything else kind of melts away because of it.


Found footage horror is mostly miss but this one came with some legit creepy vibes as a bunch of people go beneath the streets of Paris to the ancient catacombs that may hold the fabled philosopher’s stone. But what they don’t realize is that they are descending further and further into the ACTUAL hell and now have to find a way to escape eternal damnation and the prison of their own greatest sins. It’s found footage THE MUMMY if that was actual horror. Scary and suspenseful and you actually care about the characters. The horror bubble bursting has kind of made the cream rise to the top if you’re not a movie about a haunted armoire or doll.


This one wins the FRANCES HA award for the year. Speaking with some friends recently, they kind of scoffed at me saying that because it’s nowhere near the grace and elegance of FRANCES HA, and while I wanted to kiss them for thinking this, this doesn’t mean it doesn’t have it’s own place in the sun. That’s kind of the point of these movies. These little bursts of personality and emotion that get pushed to the side for what society seems grandiose or important. Two friends lives start to diverge when one gets serious with their boyfriend and the other one’s troubled life continues to be troubled and starting to not be as cute as it used to be. Coming from a life that is definitely the more unflattering side of that coin, I tend to deeply connect to stories like this. Wondering why romantic relationships have to mean more than platonic ones. If I’ll still think the same thing as I get older. If we romanticize this period in our lives too much or if it was the real deal. I guess the important thing is that this is the way we feel right now, and that we’ll take solace in the bond we have with everyone else who does.


Ah, the first in 2014’s fantastic journey of musicals about bands starting their band. Mark Ruffalo and Kiera Knightley are two music industry hopefuls that have found themselves disenchanted and emotionally drained from their endeavors, but when they meet each other and collaborate create something that’s worthwhile to the both of them. Their relationship is unromantic, which immediately makes it more interesting in how they help each other become the best of what they are and Ms. Knightley highlights yet another talent on her resume with her heartwrenching rendition of Like A Fool into the answering machine of an ex-boyfriend. Creating a whole mess of tracks for a great soundtrack and a great uplifting movie that doesn’t feel disingenuous or grating.

TOP 20:


Keanu Reeves kind of owns the title of the zen warrior. It’s hard to believe there were any before him but here he is. Stalwartly trying to be passing when he’s so good at the destruction of human beings, he can not possibly escape it. This movie also doesn’t treat you like a dummy in that life and references to the past weave in and out of it without having to sit there and explain them all to you. This is all unfolding for you in a realer time. A movie constantly in the moment, even when his main quest gets finished early on, there is far more to it than originally thought. And the action is just incredible. America can still dazzle when it wants to. And it’s good to see the old school show you how it’s done after it’s been gone for too long. Kind of the whole point of the movie, really.


Not only is this a great movie. Not only does it right a sinking ship. Not only does it weave old and new into a triumphant celebration of a franchise but it’s like if BATMAN BEGINS weaved in and out of the Tim Burton universe. They’ve kept this continuity for 14 years now and Hugh Jackman has been the perfect Wolverine for 7 films now, even when the films were bad. The original director is back to reclaim his former glory and the glory of a franchise and they both help each other succeed. And they are using the original storylines of the comics to do it here (and beyond) in their own unique ways that are kind of better than the source material anyway. It also waves a flag that signals things to come which are far more exciting than they’ve ever been. Marvel is actually making their non-owned entitys step up to keep up with the rising quality of comic book feature adaptations and I just wish it would rub off on DC Comics.


Everyone agrees that Bill Murray is great but he hasn’t been at his best in quite some time, usually taking the back seat in some indie movie where he barely gets to say anything because I think all the greats come to a point where they don’t think they have anything left to give anymore. Well, ol’ Bill tries again here in a comedy that he should have made several times over the last couple of years to hold us over. He has successfully transcended into our modern Walter Matthau where he gets to be the surly old man but still uniquely and bitingly funny and maybe with some more of the sweetness that he’s been hinting at for years now but never really gave into. That what this is mostly. A funny, still slightly edgy good time that will make you look back and think fond thoughts. A movie fit for the king (Murray, Murray being the king, you guys).


More music from fresh talent. This time in the form of adolescent Russian girls are tired of not being taken serious and tired of conforming to a life that doesn’t suit them and isn’t much interested in having them in it. What does suit them is fucking up someone else’s band practice, which leads to them forming their own band with a sure fire hit single about how gym class can go fuck itself. If someone truly doesn’t take you for granted, then they know that being 13 grants you a little leeway. When you discover things at 13, chances are it’s well tread territory but for them it becomes a new way of life. It’s easy to be patronizing to this kind of spirit because it’s already been killed in yourself, which is well represented here, but if you look back and cheer on a hopeless dumb dream that doesn’t even have the dignity of talent, you may find it again in your stone heart, you awful awful person.


This movie is great and is a perfect summer film, that just so happens to be an arthouse blockbuster, that for no reason shouldn’t be a big 3000 theater opener at your local Regal Entertainment theater. It stars Captain America, and has great action, and compelling story from a great director and you can point to many members of it’s cast and say “Hey, I know them”. Is it because Hollywood is actually too afraid of non-existing properties when it comes to throwing the big summer dollars at them for wide release or is it because these characters have large sins on them that they are working on atoning for and that the average movie-goer doesn’t have the capacity in their heart or mind to consider a three dimensional character that is flawed to the point of changing what you think of them halfway through, maybe for the worse? Maybe it’s because people have already let go of the reality of rail travel. WHO KNOWS? I just like that it’s here for us to have and enjoy. It took a little bit work to find it, but it proves that you really can’t say “They don’t make movies like this anymore” because they do and they will always be waiting for those willing to find them.


Thought to be a boring Weinstein awards grab, this is actually one of the best character pieces of the year. Benedict Cumberbatch plays the real life Alan Turing, who is recruited by the British government to help break the Nazi Enigma code and end the war. His methods are crazy at first but even his genius has consequences in this funny, captivating and ultimately sad portray of real life heroes and the toll it took on them. It’s also very super hero in the modern sense where their gifts and responsibility to humanity weigh heavy and it takes a lot of humanity to endure. Perfectly acted and written, and I think the tone will surprise you with how refreshing it is for this kind of movie. This is one of the few actual Oscar contenders that actually deserve it.


The pendulum swings both ways, truly as this was a perfectly orchestrated hit, even if no one knew it at the time. In fact, they definitely didn’t. They took the good will Marvel has already earned and gave audiences something completely different with it but with the same great characters, fantastic action, genuine relationships and colorful imagry. Their genre-izing has really worked so far, and take it from a fan of the comic series in which this was based on, they really did a great job of making it thematic experience. And also, they just scratched the surface of what they could do. It’s the most popular movie of the year, and deservedly so and you all should actually pat yourself on the back for at least giving a talking tree and raccoon a try. This time you were rewarded for your efforts and next time you may not be. But remember it’s always important to try. It’s hard to expect Marvel to keep the momentum much less top itself but it looks like in the next few years, they are going to try very hard to.


Again, horror is getting better and better. This is another first time female filmmaker that kicked open the door and showed everyone in the room how to do it better. I always argue with people who say that this or that horror movie was “scary” and I counter with “How can any movie really scare you? We’re adults. What can scare you?” Well, the poor single mother who’s relentlessly tormented by some evil children’s book character as an allegory for what she’s going through in her life with her poor manic son is actually scary to me because it’s something a lot of people probably deal with. But it’s not worth knowing unless something flashy or scandalous is happening along with it. This woman and her son’s battle with their demons is presented in a way where they could very well lose and that’s what was truly horrifying about this. The stakes were “real” in a sense and the ending which I won’t spoil here, is maybe the best horror ending I’ve ever seen as it doesn’t rest on a single laurel or trope that is usually reserved for filler for this type of movie. This was a real achievement.


When I first saw Jenny Slate’s one woman show at the UCB theater in Los Angeles, I kind of fell in love with this quirky new personality and wished that I had any sort of creative juice so that I could work with her. She had a quick and uneventful season on Saturday Night Live and I feared that she’d be another one of those one season darlings that never got to live up to her full potential. Which is why I was so excited to see her star in a movie. It could have been another one and done week like forgettable run at the local indie theater but it found it’s audience and I feel like it took a minor miracle. Another first time female director (a lot of great debuts this year) Gillian Robespierre saw what I once saw and actually got it done and put her in a movie about a girl who’s one night stand ends in pregnancy and she actually makes use of one of her options and decides to go through the emotional process of getting an abortion. Oh, also it’s a silly comedy. Not only is she hilarious in this but she’s a fantastic actress. There is a moment where she hast this silent bit as a doctor is asking her a question that’s heart shattering and perfect and I couldn’t believe she had it in her but was so glad that she does. Hopefully, this continues a long and fruitful career for all involved and hopefully people keep taking chances and spreading the word on those indies.


I described this as the German porno version of AMELIE as it exists in a hyper realistic world of whimsy and complete and utter filth. The second time I saw this, I saw it with friends and actually thought I was overselling the gross out factor but no. The movie really delivers on that end. And it’s in this world that somehow exudes a charm and innocence from a girl who’s family unit no longer exists, and she starts feeling like she shouldn’t either, being a product of that family. She accidently shaves a fissure into her poor butthole and uses this HIGHLY traumatic and painful and embarrassing experience to try and get her parents in the same room together again. I really related to this and even her uniquely self-destructive nature. The broken toys always seem like the most appealing to me. I wonder if it’s because they are the ones that are most ignored or the ones with the most genuinely interesting history. I generally don’t try to make myself seem more interesting because of these weird little bits about me but the finding parts of yourself you didn’t realize were there, in a grubby toilet that anyone with sense would avoid is kind of the meaning of life to me.

Annnnnnnd, come back tomorrow for the final part! The top ten of the year!!!

- D

Monday, December 29, 2014

Ugh of 2014

I see a lot of bad movies a year. It comes with the territory of being a manic compulsive when it comes to what’s playing in the local (and not so local) cinema each week. I could give you the whole “I’ve seen C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate…” speech but you won’t care. Luckily for me and I guess you is that this was a pretty exceptional year for film by volume and I decided to do the worst list a little different this year. There is tons of movies I could write about but most I never want to think of again as they are not worthy of remark, try as I might. These five movies are bad, sure, but mostly represent what I find the most appalling when being disappointed by a movie. Journey into my mind’s eye for THE WORST OF 2014.


 I like almost everyone involved in this. I love Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz. I love the writers who gave me FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL and FIVE YEAR ENGAGEMENT. I think the director is a-okay who gave us THE TELEVISION SET and came up in the Apatow regime. The worst player in all this is Rob Cordry and not even he can be blamed for this. It’s a failure on all levels made worse for the fact that everyone involved should have made this far more tolerable than it was. Maybe that’s what it’s downfall was. Everyone just trusted each other too much and didn’t speak up at the critical moments. In this, a couple makes a sex tape on their iPad and it syncs with all the iPads they just gave away to people because the husband always upgrades to the new iPad whenever it comes out, and has amassed a collection. Watch this movie right after SELMA and see how much of your own material possessions you end up breaking afterwards. It’s hard sitting through something bad. It’s harder when you keep expecting it to turn a corner at any second and it never comes.


The 80’s was the greatest decade for entertainment that there will ever be. I don’t blame the industry for going back to it forever more when it tries to make hits. But they must answer for when they make something without knowing one iota of why it was popular in the first place. Congratulations, you got the color scheme correct and the basic boxes of which turtle fills which role in the spectrum of alpha males. That’s pretty much it. Just ‘roid them up, make everything look like a monster truck, throw in hot babes and flames now you have Michael Bay’s turtles. The new ROBOCOP is also awful for different reasons but still doesn’t understand what works about it’s source material. But this one had rapey farting turtles that learn ninjitsu from a pamphlet so it wins over poor Robo. I hear tell that the current TMNT cartoon on Nickelodeon is good, but I still fear that when the kids refer to what’s lean, green, and on the screen, they will look to this mish mash of fireballs and car wash greeting card jokes as the end all be all.


These are all the same movie, and for some reason kids think this is the greatest thing ever. So when it comes time to make the movie, actual good filmmakers can’t change things for the better because of the whining that will amplify with the power of the internet, so they must adhere to limp dick young adult grab assing as they nod in approval “Yes, good. Just as my diary willed it to be.” And who are the parents that actually join in on these things? It used to be that kids used to follow what PARENTS did. Not the other way around! This is why the ABC series COACH was the number 1 show among third graders at Fremont Elementary when I was a kid. Because mom and dad dictated what media was seen. Stop trying to relate to you children. What they like is mostly awful and your ringtones are embarrassing everyone. Anyway, since one of these awful movies became one of the top ten highest grossing films of all time, now they all have to look and feel like each other. Burlap clothing. Monolithic buildings. Ruins of a post apocalyptic city. A sorting of personalities that are all vaguely patronizing and scientology like. The same story over and over with no stakes and starring plastic children who can’t act and a-list adults that are slumming it for their children for the same reasons I mentioned above. I can’t wait til this fad dies.


Someone once paraphrased “People are good, and worth fighting for”. I agree with the second part. Nothing makes me disappointed in a person more than when they out of the blue quote FAMILY GUY or proclaim anything resembling positive feelings towards the movie TED. A previous worst list alumnus. I’m silently and not so silently judging each and every one of you this applies to. Seth MacFarlane is kind of the anti-Richard Linklater in that he will always have a place on this worst list and his name is more of a promise of garbage quality that has never ever wavered. This one is especially bad because instead of the tired stock accents he usually gives to some outrageous cartoon character, he decided to be the star in a comedy western full of racist, sexist, toilet jokes that fly out of nowhere and made more awkward when it falls flat to an audience and we hear that painful silence or even worse yet, when one of you animals actually laughs at this stuff. Luckily, this one flopped, proving that you mouth breathing dolts can’t even get to a theater without a cursing cartoon animal in the tv ads telling you to come. Disgraceful. The funnier part of this whole ordeal is that Seth MacFarlane actually wrote this as a novel before the movie came out. How a joke like “And then Jamie Foxx shows up” would play out in text, I don’t know. Fortunately, I don’t have to read that and his fans can’t read, so we all win.


Christopher Nolan changed the Hollywood blockbuster for awhile after DARK KNIGHT because he found a good take on something that’s been done to death. He’s since proven to be quite boring and a bit of a fluke director. NOW IMAGINE SOMEONE TRYING TO COPY THIS. Imagine being so boring you have to take someone else’s boring style. This is what former Nolan cinematographer Wally Pfister did when he made his first movie, TRANSCENDENCE from a screenplay that made me really depressed to think of how many other Nolan rip off scripts are out there floating around Hollywood like Matthew McCaughnahey and Anne Hathaway astronauts, searching for someone greedy and stupid enough to make them. Well, this one got past and Wally doesn’t want to be a DP anymore, and he someone got an A-List cast together to make a movie that belongs on Showtime at 3am with some softcore sex scenes to spice it up. It’s so horrendously bad, that you’re left there shocked at why anyone would say yes to it. So bad that its just boring enough for your brain to turn to much and just awful enough for you to not fall asleep at how boring it is. It’s like CIA torture. I’ve never seen a movie like it before and it may be the worst big budget movie I’ve ever seen if you didn’t count it being unfunny and racist and stupid like TRANSFROMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN or the Star Wars prequels. It’s a movie so bad, it didn’t need a franchise to ruin. I hope you never become curious enough to see what I’m talking about.

SOON! Top 25 of the year in two parts like your precious book adaptations!


Friday, January 3, 2014

2013, the bread and butter: Part II of II



I firmly believe that had this been a big studio horror film, this film would take the reigns from SAW and PARANORMAL ACTIVITY as the next great horror franchise. Jeffrey Combs plays an eccentric millionare that collects a group of sad sack charity cases once a year for dinner where he offers them the monetary solution to all their problems. But they must play along with his games and there can only be one winner. What follows is a series of Would You Rather implements of torture and pain that very often gives you the opportunity to pass it on to your neighbor or let you go through with it yourself. In a world where CABIN IN THE WOODS has effectively retired horror, a film that doesn’t give in to cliché and attempts to unfold events on it’s own merit is sadly a rare commodity.


The politics of the man are not what this movie is ultimately about, but the main success of this documentary is in the way it tells the story about one of the most crucial times of modern day New York City. It’s edited to set the tone and sounds and feel of a city steeped in crime and poverty and over the course of 40 years became a slick and clean tourist Mecca. The burden of being responsible for the city in such a turbulent time is highlighted rather intensely, and the city’s new chapter is heralded in as the city’s former shepards fade into the background. Koch died the day this movie came out, giving the final scene, a bridge being named after him and it being his seemingly proudest moment as The Only Living Boy In New York played put such a pretty cap on what seemed to be a very solitary life.

Another Best Actress contender, Shailene Woodley comes to fucking play in this. Miles Teller plays an alcoholic high schooler that accidentally gets involved with the sweet and shy Woodley and a relationship blossoms. Her first. Teller seems to open up from the inside out as she becomes a bigger part of his life and as he is willing to let that be so. Teller’s future starts to unravel in front of him as he is unable to handle his roots and his current place in life and while he keeps expecting to add a break up her dumping him on the list, she is only there for him more and more as he spirals down. Even in one intense moment where you realize this isn’t a crush, and this isn’t a clingy girl playing house, that she is in love with him completely and he doesn’t even know how to process such a thing when everything else in his life seems doomed to fail. Woodley pierces your heart with sincerity with just a glance, leaving behind her teenage melodrama roots in the process. It’s a shame she’s been snagged to be another heroine for some limp dick teen fiction book series franchise because she should actually continue to play real human beings.


Emma Stone is a young cave girl in the last line of cave people dwelling in a particular prehistoric valley. Her family stayed that way by holing up in the dark, scrunched in a rock, never letting danger find them. But she is too curious about the outside world, and when an earthquake destroys their home, the head of the tribe, Nicolas Cage must find them new shelter. Such a perfect cast with Catherine Keener as the mom and Clark Duke as the son and Cloris Leachman as the grandma. Mixed with amazing action sequences, clever production design and a 3D presentation actually worth the surcharge, THE CROODS thrives on imagination and discovery with colorful bursts of life and hilarity. The director of LILO & STITCH and HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON shouldn’t be expected of anything less.


Edgar Wright is one of the best filmmakers of our time. Nothing is accomplished without a thick, rich layer of thought and care to every frame of his movies. Every movement or line has a meaning and every scene and character has a place and a purpose. This tale of trying to recreate youthful anarchy and ending up a descent into alcoholism is all over the map, but carefully strung more tightly together with every passing moment. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost deliver the performances of their careers. It’s a real feat how different their trilogy characters are and the relationships they have together work, almost going full circle in this. The music and action and top notch cast make this movie not only a must see, but a must see several times. A movie that is actually several movies, a different one each time you see it.


This movie nails it. A young boy, unimpressed by the way his snide father is raising him, decides to convince his friends to help him build a house in the woods to live in permanently. They survive off the land (with a Boston Market nearby) and answer to no one but themselves, but the freedom doesn’t change you. And sooner or later their fates become self fulfilling prophecies and the future that they were trying to avoid comes back to finally be faced. First time filmmaker Jordan Vogt-Roberts creates his own style that is painfully funny, refreshing and introduces us to a great cast of young men that will hopefully have legit careers after this. Keeps the young rebellious heart in us strong.


Another 3 hour epic, this time subtitled and the most comprehensive love story I’ve ever seen on screen. With the long runtime, it uses the time it has with us wisely as it shows you the meeting of these two girls and how their relationship grows at a realistic yet still intriguing space. You’re there for everything. And I mean everything. There is a 15 minute hardcore sex scene that follows an intensely steady courtship that just erupts all over their sheets. It earns the scene. It gets your blood charged for their honeymoon phase and the subsequent sex scenes are just as appropriately proportionate to where they are in the relationship. There is a moment in this movie they do the meet the parents thing over dinner and any movie would have this be an opportunity for comedy or awkwardness but it taught me something so substantial about letting your partner into your life completely and without apology that was even more intense for me to handle than the sex scenes. My robot insides started to discharge a salty substance and I saw things that I didn’t bother to see in my own life. Of course, after all of the happily ever after comes routine. And sometimes hurt. And sometimes you make mistakes in the fleeting moments of doubt that you spend a lifetime wishing you could take back. For as long as we sit there and are with them, there is a moment in this movie that marks for the first time, exactly how much time has passed as all of this has been going on and it was so utterly heartbreaking and bleak to me that I couldn’t help but cry. At a passing line. The intensity of that lmost final scene then double downs and by the time the credits roll I felt like I had been in serious relationship and needed some serious me time. Fantastic performances by the female leads and not just one of the best movie of the year, but one of the best movies I’ve probably ever experienced. Keyword experience.


Richard Curtis, co-creator of Mr. Bean and writer/director of LOVE ACTUALLY owns beach front property in my heart and has a summer home on my funny bone. He has crafted a story here that I fear was improperly marketed as a run of the mill geek gets girl through magic premise but it’s far from actually being that. It’s not even the story of using super natural powers for gain. It’s used to get perspective. And it’s a romantic relationship at the center, it’s an entire lifetime. Rachel McAdams does deserve all the praise and paychecks though. There is something so undeniably genuine about her. Every smile and every stumble is TOO legit and Bill Nighy gets the chance to do some meaty stuff here. But Brendan Gleeson’s son Domhnall gets his feature debut here and does excellent. I was so taken by this movie’s sense of responsibility to the story when it came to time travel. It’s used in a rather conservative way that one might think would hold you back but it really amplifies the heart of what’s going on. LOVE ACTUALLY can seem a bit shallow at times, because it needs to serve so many stories at once. It works but Curtis focusing on just one story really blew me away. Also, there is a blonde bombshell in this that the movie trips in front of and apologizes as being “dreadfully sorry” as it accidentally drops it’s monocle in her cleavage. But the same blonde is in Wolf of Wall Street and really throws her against the wall for a good knackering. I just found it funny how British and American directors treated such beauty.


Having gone through my own parents divorce as a child (twice, it’s a good story), I know what it feels like to be in the middle of a dissolving relationship. I also know what it’s like to have my best interests completely ignored and what it was like to be shuffled off to two buildings you were supposed to call “home”, knowing full well you were pissing off the other parent by being there for any length of time. I think we might underestimate what a child can process in times like these. This movie is seen completely through the eyes of a little 7 year old girl and how she interprets her parent’s relationship ending. The parents hatred for each other becomes intense enough for to be used as a pawn and often too much a reminder of the other to be taken at all seriously. Maise’s parents find other people and they become part of Maisie’s life too. At first forcefully and out of necessity, but ultimately for her own good. And when the two people that care about her most, aren’t her parents and can be ripped from her life at any moment, the suspense builds and liquifys your insides unlike any movie you’ll see this year. It’s weird that we hemmed and hawed about that little girl in BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD for shouting some motivational slang or whatever the fuck and absolutely NO ONE is talking about Onata Aprile. Never have I seen a child actor deal with such loss and heartbreak as vividly as she did, and again, subtle. You know, like real life. I was at the edge of my seat all the way up to the credits rolling and I’m not sure I could take another emotional whallop like that of Maisie’s journey, but if it could open up your perspective and empathy to the lives of other people, it’s worth it.


There’s a lot I’ve already said about this movie. A whole 7 months worth of praise and recommendation. The story of a woman’s solitary journey to find the happiness within herself hit me harder than any movie I’ve seen since I was a teenager. Far from being their first film, Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig’s script has the lean high impact bare bones whimsy that seems like the indulgence of a first time filmmaker. It’s got the youthful optimism running in it’s veins. There are many films like this, but this one is it’s own thing. An up and coming dancer in New York city is thrown into a spiral of self doubt when her best friend moves out of her apartment to be with her boyfriend. A relationship that’s becoming very serious very fast and Frances incomplete is not something that’s ready to function on her own. Needless to say, Greta Gerwig gives the performance of the year. One that never asks for sympathy. One that is always looking toward a positive outcome. I saw this movie 10 times in a theater and it didn’t even occur to me the first couple of times just how long Frances mills about. There is a feeling of loneliness and solitude while being surrounded by life that really strikes a chord with me. Her independence is unflattering and embarrassing at times, even though there is really no one around to judge it but herself. Others seem to succeed around her but she eventually realizes she has to define her own terms of success. It means a lot of letting go. Some dreams. Some parts of your life. Some regression and some hurt. And when she finally starts becoming comfortable with reality, the mania of her twenties calms down a bit. She sees the sky isn’t falling and as the clouds part a bit, she sees that the people she loves have always been there. Her person is still there for her. Maybe a little bit farther away, but she can still find her eyes across a crowded room.

- D

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013, you're the mayonaise for me: Part I

Time to fill your January with all the hits you may have missed as I inform you of my very favorite movies of 2013 out of the 137 I sat through. On we go.

Honorable Mentions!


Kathryn Hahn plays a Silverlake stay at home mom and wife to an overworked and immature app designer and is of course unfulfilled with her life. This movie goes Nicole Holofcener by way of Judd Apatow in a very fluid way when on an ironic trip to a downtown LA strip joint on a couples date, she becomes infatuated with a stripper played by Juno Temple (probably the #1 underrated actress working today, seen in about five thousand of these indies). She herself takes on the time honored cinematic position of Captain Saveaho and offers this poor troubled young girl opportunity and compassion in exchange for shaking things up in her lives a bit. But it slowly becomes apparent who really has their head on straight when the third act goes into Turbo nuts mode and the aftermath is just as suspenseful and explosive. Quite an original story with fantastic performances by Temple and Hahn. This year has been fueled by amazing performances by female leads and it bugs me when the same 5 get nominated for everything because as this list will show you, there was some doozies that are going to be overlooked. Hahn unfortunately, being a big one.


An adaptation of one of the many beloved Judy Blume novels featuring lost and confused youth and surprisingly, the first one to make it to the big screen. Willa Holland plays a girl who’s young father recently passed away and she moves to New Mexico with her mom, the Pink Power ranger and little brother to be with relatives that will take over the parenting role from an emotional devastated mom. Directed by Lawrence Blume, Judy’s son, and co-written by the both of them, the mid-seventies angst and tone are clear as crystal as they nail the feeling of being young, having your guiding forces taken away from you, not knowing what’s coming next and the painful realization that the way you handle it now will effect your for a long time to come. Common teen novel plot elements come to the surface but the real winner is Willa Holland and the way the barren lands of New Mexico compliment what she’s going through as she fondly remembers the sunny beach lifestyle of not that long ago. A real gem that unfortunately wasn’t that well received, but hopefully more Blume adaptations can make their way to the screen soon.


The opening sequence of SPRING BREAKERS is one of the best of the year because while trying to establish this enticing sexualized tone of mischief and fun, it really becomes quite terrifying and off putting as it overextends it’s welcome into your senses with an intensity you can’t wait to end. And it’s the perfect set up for what’s to come as a group of girls with varying senses of good judgment decide to go to Mexico for SPRING BREAK, but they soon realize that it’s a paradise they don’t ever want to leave. But paradise and the anything can happen nature of vacation in exotic locations soon deliver much more sinister roles for them to play and one by one, the ones with the most sense leave the group, offering only complete and utter chaos left to deal with. James Franco cements his career to me in this as this kind of thing being what he does best with the role of his life that should definitely be recognized. He isn’t Robert DeNiro’s son or Spider-Man’s enemy or a handsome WWI flying ace. He is a dreaded out psychopath tweaker with a hint of class. Putting Disney/ABC Family stars as the leads doesn’t exactly hit home the shocking nature it’s supposed to, because it’s not about corruption of the innocent. It’s about how fucked up inside you always were.


The biography of the pornstar turned mainstream sensation for popularizing a sexual act that apparently was uncharted territory before she came along. This movie succeeds in several ways. It really highlights a time I had never realized happened. A time where porn became mainstream. A time where it was playing in REAL movie theaters and being talked about by Johnny Carson and Walter Cronkite. A time where the moral majority of America was like “Oh, hell no” and stopped an entertainment industry into becoming a Biff’s Pleasure Palace kingdom unto ourselves. Another is this is Amanda Seyfreid at her best. Not playing second fiddle to anyone, or chasing after Justin Timberlake or Channning Tatum. This is her movie. And from a structural standpoint it’s pretty brilliant because it tells you the story twice. Once with glamour of fame and stardom and once with a healthy dose of reality. One where Linda Lovelace isn’t an entertainer anymore, where she doesn’t exist just in the moment but comes with a past and a future it’s bone chilling and heartbreaking. As much as 12 YEARS A SLAVE activated your White Guilt mode, this one should be a five alarm fire to you because this kind of thing definitely still happens to people and they probably will never have the voice to save themselves. A movie that completely changes my perspective is rare and worthy of note. Also, holy fuck is Peter Skarsgaard scary. He should have played himself in GREEN LANTERN.


We are lucky to have the Coen Brothers but even moreso lucky to have their career. Where they can make this kind of movie in their signature style and not have sense or sentiment get in their way. Llewyn Davis is a struggling folk singer in the 1960’s east coast folk scene. He’s a dime a dozen kind of guy and all of his mistakes are still dragging him down. The only thing he seems interested in is his music and surviving off of it. Success eludes him and people around him seem to have a much better attitude about it than he does, successful or not. Only two movies this year nailed the solitary journey that some accidentally condemn themselves with and this movie is one of them. And gives the lead a certain dignity to it. We don’t see the things that made Llewyn such a bad guy, but we hear and see how it effects him. It’s almost like they don’t even really exist, which provides us with a pretty great perspective from his side. But as they say in the film, it’s a story that was never new but never gets old and echoes even throughout the events we unfold for ourselves.


The terrible irony of Diablo Cody’s career is that she’ll forever be known for her first two horrible scripts and her next two after that will go largely unnoticed. YOUNG ADULT was a near masterpiece, carefully honed and perfected by the people that did JUNO to us. But here, Cody for the first time directs her own script and admittedly regrets it. And I kind of regret it too. She’s not that strong of a director and even her own vision is cloudy here, but the script is great. Julianne Hough has been hitting a lot of singles and doubles in supporting roles over the last few years, but Cody expertly cast her as a small town wannabe starlet who’s debilitating and defacing accident left her scarred physically and emotionally but with a huge settlement check decides to ditch her town and head to Vegas. Even though Cody writes herself into a lot of holes, Hough’s performance is one of heartbreaking confusion and anger that doesn’t always land correctly because Cody tends to give snarky dialogue in too many places even if it’s out of character, but the good shines through. I think I’ve really come to appreciate the kind of movie that doesn’t accomplish what it was trying to do but is still charming anyway. It actually fits for this kind of movie any the intent is so clear that it manages to ghost it’s way towards a win.


Movies are supposed to show us people and lives and places that we may have never had the chance to experience. Unfortunately, this one captures a time and a place that is almost dead. This movie details the history of not Coney Island but it’s struggle to exist. An ancient relic of yesteryear, made obsolete and irrelevant but the Walt Disneys and Sam SixFlags of our age, Coney Island’s will to run solely on charm is becoming less and less likely as development companies have bought up the land, are influencing the right people and rezoning the area to build an epic monstrosity of Taco Bells, Pizza Huts, Hot Topics and Dave & Buster’s. Told through the story of rider owners and operators of the Zipper, one of the more commonly seen amusements around the world, we see the common man get phased out for the new and improved common. A faceless common that didn’t earn it’s past and doesn’t have a future. A true underdog tale that may have you thinking differently at what you decide to dismiss.


I didn’t know that Lake Bell should be Wonder Woman. I know this now, of course, and I also didn’t know what she was capable of opening our eyes to. Writing and directing this her self, the unfortunately titled IN A WORLD… dumbs down the theatrical voice over industry to tell us a story about taking down the patriarchy. Literally and figuratively as she plays a fresh new voice over artist with a big buzz that is giving competition to the heavyweights of the medium; one of which is her father. IN A WORLD... might be cheesy and simple in some areas, but the ones it chooses to swing for the fences for, it hits big. Also, she wrote a subplot in this that she should have just kept and made into a whole second feature for her to do about the marriage of Rob Cordry and Michela Watkins that is shockingly effective when it chooses to be dramatic. A wonderful original surprise, now let’s fire Gal Gadot, please.


Another example of the great female performances of the year, little Sarah Bolger who made us weep with her irish accented rendition of Desperado in IN AMERICA is back in pog form playing the daughter of James Marsden and Claire Danes in a Laissez-Faire type parenting situation. He is out lumberjacking hundreds of miles away while she finds companionship elsewhere. Her life makes sense to her because that’s all she knows, but as life starts to drop a ton of bricks on her one brick at a time, she finds the structure of her upbringing to be very unstable when it comes to dealing with her issues in her own head. I related very much to her, not realizing my own parents crumbling marriage and relationship’s effect on me until much later unlike her who is realizing it as it starts to unravel. There is a lot to be said about a performance that finds the balance between subtlety and vulnerability without a lot of tears and yelling. Bolger deserves some props for miming the weight of this on her shoulders so well. But hold on, Judi Dench threw some shade at some rude chimney sweep, bombard her with SAG awards.


Last year, Channing Tatum’s MAGIC MIKE made the list and I said that it will go down in history as one of the most misunderstood successes of all time. Unfortunately, most of you were all bad at this one too. Irony and goofery is tough to navigate through these days. When you see such a premise as this (The second to be released this year) you might start salivating at how funny everyone’s gonna think you are when you dismiss this, but in reality the movie is gonna be funny enough for all of us, so just sit the fuck back down, Arsenio. You can say what you want about the action genre of the 80’s and 90’s but one thing you can’t say is that this movie didn’t nail it. Or bow down to it’s alter, basically. This movie does what most who attempt this kind of thing nowadays doesn’t, and that’s be genuinely fun. We have to give poor Roland Emmerich a pass every once and awhile for the GODZILLAS and the 10,000 BCS, because when he cooks, he cooks. And he managed to be the only director this year to actually make the rest of his movie work around the amazing Joey King. It’s almost an honor to her to finally give her a movie she doesn’t have to carry all by herself. And of course, Tatum hits all the right notes as well. James Woods villain. Flag drill team callback. I give you an Incomplete on this, America. Go back and do it right this time.


It’s not that directors don’t try to unhinge and go for broke, but so rarely are they enough of a lunatic to run the asylum and Martin Scorsese basically just bowed down and tipped his hat to us, but it wasn’t his hate, it was the top of his skull and when he bowed down we saw his brains. It's like an episode of Mad Men on a speedball. He’s getting a lot of heat for glorifying this behavior that fueled the greed that took down the American economy but there are a few things one must realize before scraping the shame of your finger at the man. First, if you actually get genuine enjoyment at the things portrayed in this picture, than you are an A-1 psychopath. Two, there is nothing glorious about it, in fact, I had to look away multiple times to keep my stomach from turning, and three, they are completely ignoring the result of all this madness. I will say though, there is a drug scene in this movie that went from nauseating to compelling to flat out cheer worthy. At three hours, it complements the excess and exhaustive nature of the film’s subjects and so rarely does something fire on this many cylinders from a director you think you’ve seen it all from.


As common as a classic Coke bottle, and just as cumbersome and too much trouble for what it’s worth, Bruce Dern plays an old buzzard who’s starting to lose his mind and what’s to claim his sweepstakes million dollar prize by walking across the state to get it. His son, Will Forte decides to humor the old man as his last hurrah and drives him to where he needs to be. But not without a weekend stop in his old home town, where his new found fortune makes him a hero and a pariah. But what becomes apparent is that his legacy is worth more to him than anything the sweepstakes could give him and in his old age, he’s become a little more desperate to preserve it. Director Alexander Payne basically fade away hooks this one for the three by doing what he does best, cast a wonderful ensemble and make you take a second look about a place and people you already made up your mind about.


Another found footage movie that transcends it’s gimmick, this movie succeeds at telling a well rounded story about tragedy and the players within. Easily compared to Columbine, and somewhat influenced by Dave Cullen’s Columbine book, (it’s even in the movie) the movie cleverly shapes together a young man who’s relationship with his best friend is starting to divert into very different paths. Very often funny and engaging, it provides a non-melodramatic portrait of how a situation can go horribly wrong and leaves you grasping at a lost grip that you think will somehow transport you 3 seconds into the past where you can do something about it, but it’s done. The desperation here becomes so palpable and uncomfortable because it’s coated in a very familiar world. With people you would know and things you would tell them. It becomes more horrifying than any monster movie can dish out.


Precisely and exquisitely built up by the film’s first two chapters, BEFORE SUNRISE and BEFORE SUNSET, this part of the story highlights falling out of love with as much intensity as new love, or lost love. Julie Delpy has her work cut out for her in this movie, dealing with a relationship after all the fireworks have ended and the park is all cleaned up and has become just an ordinary occurrence day after day. It’s not as clear to Ethan Hawke as it is to her, who feels it with every heart beat. Knowing what he was willing to do to be with her. How capable he was of doing it to her if another Celine came along and swept him off his feat. Dealing with the reality of loving another person was done very well in the cinematic year of 2013 and it like this movie was not afraid of showing you the consequences because it had so much truth behind it. As hard as the first two movies mourned the loss of youth, this one hammers home just how long life is and the sobering reality of waking up is just as much apart of the dream as falling asleep.


Universal banked on nostalgia and accidentally created a franchise. And this movie I feel is the end all be all of what it could be. Honed to perfection, FURIOUS SIX revs out of the gate with the most exciting action set pieces and characters in any movie this year. It has the Summer sun running in it’s veins and just when you think you know where it’s going it hits the Nos button and jacks you the fuck up. I would find it hard to believe anyone could have a problem enjoying this movie. I hear a lot of “Do I need to see the others?” when asking about this and I always think to myself “You made your bed, now lie in it”. You can drink from the cup without penance, fine. But then you won’t know the joy of seeing Tyrese fill the screen and your heart up with the exuberance of seeing an old friend again. You won’t feel the sharp turns or the clink of the glass to congratulate a job well done as the ones that rode every quarter mile with these dudes, together. AND DON’T YOU DARE TRY TO DO IT NOW.

To Be Concluded!!!!

- D