Movie Review: American Sniper – Hollywood Propaganda turns a true Tragic story to one of Triumph.

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American Sniper is seeing completely unprecedented success, earning over $90 million and holding the top box office spot this month. So what’s making it so popular?

U.S. Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) has been shipped off to Iraq with one goal in mind. Protect his fellow soldiers with his handy, dandy sniper rifle. After saving tons of people without being seen, he earns himself the nickname “Legend”. In the sniper world, the last thing you want it to have a reputation of being the best, because it tends to put a big fat bulls-eye on your back. Despite the threat from insurgents behind enemy lines, Chris serves four tours in Iraq. Of course, then he returns home and realizes that he can’t leave behind the war.

For the life of me, I can’t understand why this movie is doing so good. This is not a storyline that hasn’t been done to death. In fact, soldier coming home stories make up about 80% of the action market. Think about it. The hero is almost always a former cop or former soldier, with nothing to lose, who can’t let go of his bloodthirsty days with his license to kill.

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This is not one of Clint Eastwood’s best films. In fact, it reeks of something I hate; the propaganda machine. Kyle, based on the real Chris Kyle, is a one dimensional machine who views all the residents of the land he comes to conquer as savages. He signed up for the military after being served a heaping portion of patriotism after 9-11. He is the requisite soldier. Just smart enough to kill people, but not smart enough to question those kills.

I really don’t like the way they treated this story. A shallow look at his PTSD at the end does not a redeemable character make. The real Chris Kyle was a story of tragedy, not a story of triumph over adversity. It’s the story of a man who got handed a raw deal and fell apart because of that.

The real Chris Kyle was probably a lot more conflicted than this movie let on. I doubt he thought “Your rifle is only a tool. It is a hard heart that kills,” which was an incredibly unfortunate and insensitive tagline. Yes, the man was a legend, with 160 confirmed kills and the deadliest sniper in American history.

But he was also a man and I don’t think we saw enough of that. This movie was based on Kyle’s best selling book of the same name, and here’s the thing. It didn’t need to be embellished. His story was good in its own right. They didn’t need to create a bad guy so he could have a cat-and-mouse style relationship with him. But they did and the propaganda machine went into full effect.

Kyle’s book was a story of redemption and understanding. It was not an excuse to trick kids into enlisting, which is kind of what I feel like this was. Honestly, I thought Clint Eastwood was supposed to be a Libertarian? I’m questioning that now, because this movie feels like it was written by Dick Cheney.

American Sniper is breaking records everywhere, and it just broke another one. It sent Essa Alroc’s bullshit meter right off the charts.

WE GAVE IT: 3.5 Stars – Watch the Official Trailer and Official Movie Poster below!

3.5 stars

 

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Movie Review: The Interview (2014) – Franco and Rogan owe the Sony Hackers a big ‘Thank You’.

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It’s been a long time since a movie opening has caused so much controversy. After getting hacked by someone in North Korea, Sony decided to cancel the opening of the Interview entirely. Of course, after a bit of pressure from our government, Sony decided to release the movie on various streaming sites. Sometimes a bit of controversy is the best thing that can happen to a movie. This movie is one of Sony’s highest grossing online downloads ever and has already earned about $18 million.

Dave Skylark (James Franco) is the host of his own celebrity gossip show, Skylark Tonight. Despite the fact that he’s capable of scoring the hottest interviews and breaking news (the opening features Eminem confessing to being gay) his producer Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogan) wants to move into more serious news. It’s then that they learn that North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong Un ( Randall Park) lists Skylark Tonight among one of his favorite shows. When Rapoport is able to score an interview with the dictator, the CIA enters the picture and asks the two to take him out for good.

My reaction to this movie is mixed. First of all, this was a great showcase for Seth Rogan and James Franco’s Bromance. I have not seen two individuals with such on screen chemistry since Tony Curtis and Jack Lemon went drag in Some Like it Hot. That movie had its own share of controversy at the time of its release, but that only helped cement it as a classic.

Is the Interview a classic? Well, while it is funny, I do have to say, but for the Sony hack, I have a feeling it would have disappeared into complete obscurity. While it is quite funny, it’s nothing particularly special. Much of the humor is gross out humor. It has the requisite jokes about things getting put in butts and drugged out people partying way too hard that you’d see in a college humor movie.

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Make no mistake, despite the subject matter, this is clearly a college humor movie. It has its laugh out loud moments, and those laugh out loud moments mainly play out when Rogan and Franco are on screen together. Another breakout star in this one is Randall Park. While he doesn’t look much like the Korean dictator, he had that ‘one part little boy wanting to please his dad, one part completely out of touch elitist’ attitude down pat.

All in all, it was a funny movie, if a little bit redundant. You won’t learn anything about North Korea that you didn’t already know before, but I have to admit, the backdrop allowed for some pretty rich humor.

The ironic thing was this movie probably wouldn’t have gone anywhere but for the fact that North Korea made such a big deal about it. It would have been yet another gross out movie, with lots of gratuitous sex scenes and fart jokes, that quickly disappeared from the public eye. It was only the Sony hack that made this movie a classic and a headline.

If anything, Rogan and Franco should send North Korea a thank you note.

If you like movies along the lines of Neighbors, then the Interview might be worth your time. Heck, you should probably go ahead and download it just so you won’t be the only person who hasn’t seen it. Either way, the Interview is worth the watch

WE GAVE IT: 3.5 Stars – Watch the Official Trailer and Official Movie Poster below!

3.5 stars

 

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Movie Review: The Captive (2014) – A tired 2nd half makes this prime for a Red Box Rental

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There is nothing quite like a lighthearted romp about an abducted child, right in time for the holidays. Sigh. The Captive is an indie flick that is currently suffering from some seriously poor timing, on top of a been there, done that script.

In The Captive, we meet landscaper Matthew Lane (Ryan Reynolds). One snowbound Canadian day (is there any other kind?) his daughter Cass (Peyton Kennedy) disappears from his parked car. Of course, his wife Tina (Mireille Enos) blames him and the tragedy destroys his marriage. Jump to 8 years later when we meet Cass’s abductor Mika (Kevin Durand), as well as the teenage Cass (Alexia Fast) who has herself a hefty case of Stockholm Syndrome. Thrown into the mix is a police officer who won’t let the case die, Nicole Dunlop (Rosario Dawson) and her skeptical partner Jeff Cornwall (Scott Speedman), who seriously suspects Matthew in the girl’s disappearance.

This movie starts out well enough, because there is a sense of suspense and disaster. Ryan Reynolds plays the part of the grieving, bereft father well, and his emotional reunion with his daughter is a tear jerker. Dunlop is suitably no nonsense and vulnerable. Had this been a straight shot, the movie would have been a winner in my book. Heck, it would have been right up there with Gone Baby Gone. It has the directing chops behind it, with the amazing Atom Egoyan.

Egoyan ruins it with far too much jumping around in the timetable. While flashbacks can be a great addition to a frightening story, I find them unnecessary when the story isn’t much of a mystery. Cutting back and forth in the timetable took a lot of the dramatic tension out of the film, which is something this movie really had going for it.

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Then, with the addition of two poorly written characters, the script never really recovers. The first is Mika, who is such an over the top evil mastermind, he even twirls his pencil mustache. It’s like Egoyan wanted to make this character weird, but took him to a level that made him cartoonish instead. The unnecessary asides about how much he loves The Magic Flute are both strange and confusing. Durand has the skills of a high end B movie actor and his inability to turn his character into anything more than one dimensional evil ruined Mika.

Next was the character of Jeff Cornwall, who just didn’t fit. Yes, I get every cop is skeptical in a missing child case, but this guy goes too far. He is so corny and over-dramatic I had to check and make sure I wasn’t watching a Lifetime movie.

This movie feels like a half and half effort. The first half is excellent, with well written characters suffering from every parent’s worse nightmare. The second is just strange, with unbelievable characters and over acting. The pacing kind of mixes everything up. As a result a good effort falls flat. While I will say this movie is worth the watch, it’s probably best viewed for free in the comfort of your home… when it makes it inevitable premier on Lifetime.

WE GAVE IT: 3.5 Stars – Watch the Official Trailer and Official Movie Poster below!

3.5 stars

 

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Movie Review: Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 – A whole butt-load of fluff and Fodder

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Very few new releases came out this past Friday, as it seems very few movie makers were willing to go up against the third installment of the Hunger Games. Considering the fact that the last wildly successful movie ended in a cliff hanger, it’s not surprising that the continuation is crushing it at the box office.

In Mockingjay, we again meet up with Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) shortly after she straight up wrecked the giant Hunger Games bubble. She travels to the highly secretive District 13, where she meets up with President Colin (Julienne Moore), while the District prepares for war….that we really won’t get to see because they split the last movie into two separate movies.

I’m going to say it. It was a cheap, sleazy move. Yes, it worked for Twilight, but that was because the final book in the Twilight series was twice as long as the other books and had two distinct parts. This was not the case with the novel Mockingjay was based on. In fact, it might have actually been shorter than the first two books.

So enter a whole butt-load of fluff and fodder to force this into a two parter, no matter how unnecessary. There’s lots of sitting around in war rooms, strategizing and trying to figure out how to cash in on Katniss’ reluctant hero routine. Much of it feels repetitive and dragged out. This movie is by no means as exciting as the first two.

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I’m going to say this, despite my love for the lead in this film. Jennifer Lawrence, you’re getting too old for this sh@t. When the star signed on for the trilogy, she was still in the ingénue stage and was perfect for the part. But after several years, and many more mature rolls, I’m just not feeling it anymore.

The action scenes are played out. Every single district looks the same, as Katniss scales piles of bones and rubble, all while looking sad and world weary.

The late great Phillip Seymour Hoffman is featured heavily in this film, and his sardonic commentary helps break of the monotony. In addition, they’ve added in Elizabeth Banks’ character, though she’s been deglamorized. Both are a welcome breath of air in a heavy movie that felt a bit more like Wag the Dog then an adaptation of a dystopian young adult novel.

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The movie ends on a sour note, with Katniss not even taking part in the most exciting battle scene. Well, I mean, she watches it on a TV, but it’s not really the same as watching her going all “Rambo with a Bow”. Again, this was a result of splitting the movie. Looks like we’re going to have to wait for the unnecessary fourth installment to see her in action.

While not as exciting as the first two, Mockingjay Part 1 still carries forward the same SE quality and acting chops, so it’s not a total letdown. Let down least of all are the producers, who raked in an impressive $120 million on the opening weekend.

WE GAVE IT: 3.5 Stars – Watch the Official Trailer and Official Movie Poster below!

3.5 stars

 

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Movie Review: Horns (2014) – I’ll never call Daniel Radcliff “Harry Potter” again.

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When it comes to the horror genre, very few things have never been done before. Surprisingly, Horns, the comedic/drama/horror manages to do just that. Of course, just because they came up with a unique concept doesn’t mean they’ll be able to pull it off. After all, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes was a unique concept and look how well that was done.

Horns stars Harry Potter as you’ve never seen him before, which is probably why he elected to take this roll. Daniel Radcliff plays Ig. At the start of the movie, we see him canoodling with love of his life, Merrin (Juno Temple). Of course, as is apt to happen in movies like this, that pretty much seals the young ladies fate. Jump forwards a few months and she’s dead while he’s a drunk who’s been accused of her murder. After one particularly bad night, where he breaks a statue of the Virgin Mary and then pees on it, he wakes up with a handy set of horns. Once the horns come in, the movie turns from “Gone Girl” to “Liar, Liar” with a bit of a reverse take. When people see Ig’s new horns, they feel an immediate uncontrollable urge to confess all their darkest, evilest desires.

One thing I didn’t like was the flowery prose. Come on, the guy pees on the Virgin Mary in the first 20 minutes of the movie, and then he’s tossing out lines like “She was my Garden of Eden,” when talking about his dead ex. I feel like the symbolism was a bit too on the nose. Merrin was apparently everything good about this kid. That’s further evidenced by flashback scenes where they bond over a rosary, or even with Merrin’s occasional angelic presence. She was the angel to his devil, the yin to his yang, the jelly to his peanut butter. I get it already. Let it go!

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It’s a clever story. I’ll give it that. Think a Liar, Liar universe where everyone is really mean or secretly a serial killer. One problem I had with the timing was when Ig’s horns come in and he realizes what they do, instead of using these incredibly useful tools to hunt down his girlfriend’s murderer, he goes around town asking everyone what they think of him…or just life in general.

Then, when it comes to the big reveal and the action part of the movie, it feels rushed and everything moves terribly fast. It’s like the producers realized ‘crap, we only have 20 minutes left” and had to rush to tie up all the lose ends.

Don’t get me wrong. Horns juggles a lot of balls and for the first half of the film, does so expertly. It’s just when it comes to the end, they lose control and everything falls flat. Possibly a bit more time focused on solving the who, what and why of the movie would have been better. I mean, Ig is believed to be a brutal murderer/rapist living in a close knit lumber town. Does he really not know what people really think of him? Did I really need to see half an hour of people telling him they don’t like him?

Despite some flaws with pacing, it’s a good story with a few funny parts set in to break of the tension. It’s a dark movie, but a good effort…and I’ll never call Daniel Radcliff “Harry Potter” again.

WE GAVE IT: 3.5 Stars – Watch the Official Trailer and Official Movie Poster below!

3.5 stars

 

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Movie Review: The Judge (2014) – A mediocre effort slightly elevated by the acting of Downey and Duvall

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There is just something about a man with daddy issues… Before we get started, you should know that this is your standard hometown boy makes good movie, complete with a workaholic with marriage troubles, who had a disapproving father that needs his help but won’t admit it.

Hank Palmer (Robert Downey Jr.) is your standard sleazy defense lawyer with a successful career living in the big city. All that changes when his estranged father, Judge Joe Palmer (Robert Duvall) is accused of murder and Hank needs to return to his small Indiana town to defend him. While there, he rekindles a relationship with the coolest chick in town, Samantha (Vera Farmiga), and his estranged brothers, Glen (Vincent D’Onofrio) and Dale (Jeremy Strong). Complicating matters is the recent death of their mother and the Judge’s wife, which makes the ornery old man even more ornery than usual. As a bit of comic relief, enter Hank’s tween daughter (Emma Tremblay).

There is too much going on in the movie. It tries to mesh family drama with a major murder case, but there are so many story lines, it’s impossible to follow every single one. It’s like watching forty episodes of Law and Order, all at once.

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I am very glad to see Robert Downey Jr. outside of an Iron Man costume, though. I forgot that this guy actually knows how to act. In a character that should be utterly unlikable, Downey brings redemption and vulnerability. With Downey playing him, Hank wouldn’t be my new best friend, but I wouldn’t unfriend him on Facebook either.

Robert Duvall is great as the grumpy old man judge. He plays his holier than though character well and makes you understand why Hank would choose to cut him out of his life. The relationship between the two takes center stage, with the hit-and-run trial the judge is facing becoming nothing more than a backdrop to the family drama already brewing.

The run time is RIDICULOUS. Two hours and 22 minutes is way too long for so much drama, even with all the different story lines going on. If you’re trying to write a political thriller, an hour and a half is more than sufficient. Two hours just leaves your audience exhausted. Save the two hour run times for movies like Lord of the Rings. Ninety minutes is more than enough for a legal thriller. Hell, Law and Order does it in only 60 (not including commercial breaks).

The movie feels like a desperate grab for an Oscar, from a guy who is tired of playing all his parts in a latex body suit. It tries so hard to be deep and serious that is comes off as a whiney movie about the first world problems of rich white dudes.

My judgment on The Judge is that it’s a mediocre effort that is slightly elevated due to the power of its leads. This overlong, overstuffed movie fails to satisfy. It’s hard to like the leads or even understand their motivation. While it might be a decent way to pass an hour, you’ll find yourself getting bored and losing interest about 80 minutes in… which is exactly where this movie should have ended.

WE GAVE IT: 3.5 Stars – Watch the Official Trailer and Official Movie Poster below!

3.5 stars

 

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Movie Review: The Maze Runner (2014) – Lord of the Flies meets Twilight

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Currently crushing it at the box office is The Maze Runner, a slightly dystopian mystery with an almost Lord of the Flies feel. Pleasing audiences and critics alike, this movie might be able to redeem a decidedly poor selection of September releases.

Dylan O’Brien, who is probably best known for his role as a teen heartthrob and werewolf on MTVs Teen Wolf, stars as Thomas, a young man with no memory. He wakes up in an industrial elevator with no knowledge of how he got there. He is then dropped in the middle of a field where he meets other members of a strange new community, which they call The Glade. In the Glade, there are laws and a caste system that has been developed by the older members. Their days are spent trying to figure out why they are there, as well as running from giant spiders called Grievers. Running the whole show is a mysterious organization known only as WCKD.

This is an adaptation from a popular YA novel, but rest assured, there are no sparkling vampires or plucky heroines stuck in love triangles here. This is far more Lord of the Flies than it is Twilight.

Thomas does an admirable job of playing the protagonist, a curious, brave boy with a past that’s a mystery even to him. This is a nice takeaway from his decidedly alpha male character on Teen Wolf, and I think O’Brien proves his range in this movie.

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The CGI of the maze is fantastic while the CGI of the spider creatures is a bit ridiculous. It’s a shame that they did so well with the background, but when it comes to action scenes with the Grievers, the movie falls apart. You’re not in suspense, because you’re trying not to laugh. The Grievers really are that silly looking.

I wish there had been more conflict from the members of the community. I get that as far as millennials are concerned, it’s all the adult’s fault, but the fact that they all get along so well is very hard to swallow. I mean, have any of these kids actually ever been to a high school? The newcomer never gains instant acceptance, no matter how drawn together they are to face a common enemy. I think more conflict in the community would have made this movie a bit more suspenseful.

The Maze Runner has everything it needs to be a hit among teens. It’s dark, dismal and focuses on a world where adults are the problem, even if we never see them. We get to watch a teen heartthrob run around fighting bad things and being brave. It’s filled with adolescent angst, with the often asked question ‘who am I?”

At 113 minutes, the movie drags on a bit too long for me, with them sucking every second of suspense they can out of the mystery. But it’s still a suspenseful, exciting watch… if you can resist laughing at the Grievers.

WE GAVE IT: 3.5 Stars – Watch the Official Trailer and Official Movie Poster below!

3.5 stars

 

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Movie Review – ‘Trailer Park Boys 3: Don’t Legalize It’ – Fans Won’t be Disappointed

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When it comes to movies about potheads, you have great movies, like the fine medical bud you can find in Colorado, and you have the terrible schwag that the neighbor kid is growing in his back yard. So I decided to check out “Trailer Park Boys 3: Don’t Legalize It” to see what kind of pot movies Canada grows.

Robb Wells, Mike Smith and John Paul Tremblay are back with another installment of the cult hit, Trailer Park Boys. The boys have a problem, and it’s a unique one for a pothead. Ottawa is about to legalize weed. The problem is that Ricky had a lucrative pot business. Julian is making a killing selling clean pee he collects from a military base for people hoping to scam drug tests. Bubbles just inherited a house. Insert road trip to fight the good fight against marijuana legalization.

Cute premise, but unfortunately, most of the jokes have been recycled from the first two films. Nothing really new happens in this installment and the whole shaky camera thing is getting tired. I don’t know why, but I thought the Trailer Park Boys were hilarious three years ago. Now I don’t. Maybe I’m over the fad and I have a feeling America is starting to get over the fad.

I mean, these guys have made a lot of money on their movies. Isn’t it time to upgrade to a real cameraman? The whole shaky amateur feel wasn’t what made these guys great. It was the plotlines, characters and dialog. They’d lose nothing if they put a little more focus on quality.

Despite all this, there are still a few laugh out loud moments, particularly when Bubbles is on the scene. There’s also a cute flashback to the three’s childhood that is just plain hilarious, considering how little changed between then and now.

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ENTERTAINMENT ONE - Trailer Park Boys 3: Don't Legalize It

There are a few running jokes that still haven’t lost their glow. For example, shirtless Randy’s shirt-lessness despite the weather or location continues to be funny as he’s put into new backgrounds. Sometimes, the movie achieves goofball status, but it’s still fun.

The documentary style (as seen on shows like The Office) is getting a bit tired, but it still works for Trailer Park Boys. In fact, I’d be hard pressed to say any other way this film would work.

The stars have melded well with their characters, to the point where you start to wonder if this is who the guys really are. That hasn’t changed from the first few movies. But the fact is, it’s starting to wear a little thin.

This might be an excellent option for those who followed the television series and the other two movies. However, it’s probably not a place for newbie’s to start, as it really isn’t their best work. It’s a shame, because the premise was good and right up these guys’ allies. If you’re wondering what kind of humor it is, think “Always Sunny In Philadelphia”. These are not moral, upstanding characters, so them getting on the side of law and order is a fun twist.

If you are a fan of the series, this might be worth the watch. However, if you’re new to it, I recommend you start elsewhere.

WE GAVE IT: 3.5 Stars – Watch the Official Trailer and Official Movie Poster below!

3.5 stars

 

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Movie Review: When the Game Stands Tall (2014) – Tries too hard to Inspire

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You know how guys are always complaining about chick flicks? Yeah, I just discovered something. Inspirational sports movies are nothing more than chick flicks with enough rugged sports mixed in to make men still feel manly for watching then. Rocky, Rudy, Any Given Sunday…every last one of them cleverly disguised chick flicks. If that’s not enough for you, I have a new example…When the Game Stands Tall.

Inspired (probably loosely) by a true story, when the Game Stands tall tells the story of football coach Bob Ladouceur (Jim Caviezel). The coach is known for being the man who took the De La Salle High School Spartans from obscurity to a 151-game winning streak. Then, like all good things, his winning streak comes to an end and tragedy strikes the team. Then, everyone learns the true meaning of friendship as they sit around drinking tiny coffees and talking about what they’ve learned from being strong southern women.

Ok, so I made the last part up, but it wasn’t much of a stretch. When the Game Stands Tall makes a classic mistake in sports movies. It tries too hard to be uplifting and inspirational. Shoot for “Forest Gump” inspirational and not “after school special starring those Jesus vegetables” inspirational.

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To give this movie some props, I have to say the pacing was excellent and there was a judicious use of angles, especially when filming sports related moments. The direction itself draws the viewer in, making them want to become part of the story.

Then the characters talk and ruin the effect. Every character is a cliché, from the dad living through his son’s glory, to the thankless, long suffering wife and the grizzled but noble coach. Occasionally, I get the feeling that a movie is making fun of me. Like someone in Hollywood is saying “just make it as sappy and inspirational as possible. These idiots eat this stuff up.”

This is nowhere near sports movie greatness. It’s barely even memorable. From the over the top name, to the over the top script, you’ll feel like someone is beating you over the head yelling “are you inspired yet?”

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A few bible passages are slipped in and of course, the coach is also a religious studies teacher. We didn’t have one of those in my high school, but whatever. Here’s an unrelated side note, Jim Caviezel also played Jesus in the Passion of the Christ. Yes, it’s hard to recognize him without all the blood, but that was Jesus in the Passion of the Christ…which is still the finest snuff film I’ve ever seen. This movie taught me something, though.

When you’re waiting for Kirk Cameron to make an appearance…that’s how you know you’ve gone too far on inspirational.

On its own, the story was good. When it’s forced to be a feel good flick, it turns so sweet, it gets inedible. That’s too bad, because this could have been good. I think half the problem with the movie (and it feels weird saying this about Jesus) is Jim Caviezel. He’s really a one trick pony. He plays stoic very well, but nothing else. I swear, his face is chiseled from stone.

This one might be a skip for anyone but the most die hard sports/ chick flick lover.

WE GAVE IT: 3.5 Stars – Watch the Official Trailer and Official Movie Poster below!

3.5 stars

 

 

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Movie Review: If I Stay (2014) – Too much sap, Too much symbolism and Too much melodrama

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If I Stay is the much anticipated film attempt at the best selling book of the same name. Right now, it’s rocking number 3 at the box office because let’s be honest, people love movies where young people might die. The movie starts out with Mia Hall (Chloë Grace Moretz), who initially thought the hardest decision she would ever face would be whether to pursue her musical dreams at Juilliard or follow a different path to be with the love of her life, Adam (Jamie Blackley). Enter a snowy Oregon night and an inattentive driver and suddenly, Mia is in a coma. For one day, she is trapped between life and death, trying to make the decision to snap out of it or let go. As if that premise wasn’t depressing enough, toss in a lot of melodrama and you have the perfect recipe for a young adult hit. The movie goes too far. It’s too much sap, too much symbolism and too much melodrama with no humor. The coma is not treated realistically, and I’m not just talking about her out of body experiences. I’m pretty sure if the majority of young, beautiful people with their whole lives in front of them were trapped in a coma, they would immediately opt out. But this chick can’t decide whether or not to wake up. That’s the whole premise of the movie. Her deciding to stay.

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The answer should be an easy yes. She’s not maimed, she’s not in “please put a pillow over my face” terminal illness pain. She’s just taking a short nap and she can wake up whenever she wants.   One character I did like was her boyfriend, who was a bit of a cliché but a fun one. Adam is the bad boy nonconformist to Mia’s empty cello playing life. For the roll, Blackley did well and I found this to be a young actor to watch. My only problem was his music. I mean, the guy is supposed to be this huge nonconformist, then when he plays his music, it sounds like a souped up version of Dave Mathews. For a movie that’s supposed to be character driven, it’s not very character developed. Mia comes off as this teen-angst filled good girl who suddenly develops borderline personality disorder. Adam is the requisite bad boy with a heart of gold. Here’s the major problem with this movie; everyone is too perfect. The parents love the boyfriend, who loves them right back. Mia loves everyone and no one ever fails. The beginning of the movie shows her boyfriend opening for a major rock band in ‘flash to the future’ section…The optimism of youth.

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She’s given no reason to not want to stay! Now, if her mom had been a crack head, she had an alcoholic father and was a GED dropout with a meth dealing boyfriend, then I could understand the major conflict. If your life is terrible, then you have a reason to not want to return to it. But “I can’t decide between the finest musical school in the world or my perfect boyfriend”? Talk about your first world problems. If YOU stay at the theater for this one, you’ll have plenty of company for your nearly 2 hour nap. My recommendation is save it for that chick you’re trying to impress…you know, the one that liked Twilight.

 

WE GAVE IT: 3.5 Stars – Watch the Official Trailer and Official Movie Poster below! 3.5 stars

 

 

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