Category Archives: movie reviews
reviews of movies
The Academy seemed to regard Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine as a performer’s piece not worthy of a Best Picture nomination, despite having an open slot in their new-ish top ten. It’s performances, unique casting and apparently personal story (it bares some similarities to Woody Allen’s life, apparently) wasn’t enough to move the Academy, but if you haven’t seen Blue Jasmine yet, I suggest you take a look. Read the rest of this entry
More than any movie I’ve seen in the last few years, Dallas Buyers Club is a strong character study and performance piece for the actors, but as a movie over all, it has some problems. Read the rest of this entry
The 86th Academy Awards has come and gone, and it went about as expected – no surprises save one, and it wasn’t a big deal. Read the rest of this entry
I’ve tried to see all of the movies before, but like previous years, I just couldn’t get to it. So here we are: the 86th Academy Awards, and I’m making my picks from more of “I understand the people who actually get to vote” sort of view as well as based on what I’ve seen. And, rather than go through the entire list, I shall now most humbly present to you my picks for Best Picture and Best Directing for the 2014 Oscars. Read the rest of this entry
I wouldn’t call Hyde Park on Hudson a riveting film, but it’s certainly watchable. It’s full of lots of fun and interesting performances, particularly from its leads: Bill Murray (as President Franklin Roosevelt), Laura Linney (FDR’s cousin, Daisy), Olivia Colman (as Queen Elizabeth – Movies and shows featuring Olivia Colman just keeps popping up, don’t they?) and Samuel West (King George VI).
Hyde Park on Hudson is really just a short snip of people’s lives. It gives us a chance to see a side of FDR that is not well known, but I think The King’s Speech covered all we’ll ever need on King George VI. I suppose the movie is about Daisy, but frankly (if you’ll pardon the FDR-ish pun), Daisy just isn’t that interesting and their story arc together isn’t especially compelling – this goes with for the ark between FDR and the royals, too as we know the hist and the movie doesn’t do much to heighten the tension. In fact, the movie’s settings and manner sorta downplay the lead up to the second World War, which seems impossible, but people fretting over eating hot dogs at picnics will do that to a picture.
Definitely check out Hyde Park on Hudson for the performances, but don’t expect a great film. I give it a 7.5 out of 10.
There is so much to like about Highlander - and yet, the movie is kinda silly. In many ways, it’s the perfect 1980s action-adventure-fantasy flick as it checks off the boxes while pushing the limits of the genre and is still careful not to go too far. It’s Godfather II styled interwoven past and present story telling is ambitious and a bit grand for a movie about guys who are compelled to cut each other’s heads off, but that’s 80s movies for you.
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There’s Alfred Hitchcock movies and then there’s Rebecca. It’s one of his older flicks (1940 – his first picture for Hollywood) that is consistently on everyone’s list of best Hitchcock movies, and it’s easy to see why. It flows like a lot of his other movies in terms of narrative, but the performances and revelations push this one above most of its peers.
Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier are great in the leads – especially Fontaine (Hitchcock sure did like his leading ladies, didn’t he?) Meanwhile, Judith Anderson is great as Mrs. Danvers, the head housekeeper. She’s completely over the top in a way I’ve never seen before… She’s over the top understated. It’s fascinating to watch. If you ever wondered how an actor could do so much by doing so little, Anderson is doing it here.
Why I’m writing about Creed is going to take a while to explain. I’ll do my best to make sense of it all.
It all started when I was editing the Green Lantern movie review post. I was fixing a grammatical error when I noticed this:
Lemme zoom in for ya.
I thought, “Holy potato balls!” and nearly did a spit take all over my monitor. The fragment, “with arms wide open” was a line from the Creed song of the same name, but as soon as I think Creed, I remember their up tempo hit, “Higher.”
This reference hadn’t been relevant for over ten years when the post was originally published, and now, it seemed even more ridiculous. I made the decision to delete it, but I didn’t – I never shall. I just kept looking at it and thinking.
Everyone here at CreativeJamie.com was saddened to learn that Harold Ramis had passed away after a battle with a rare illness. We loved watching him on the screen (Ghostbusters, Stripes), but his directorial accomplishments (Groundhog Day, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Caddyshack) were just as notable. Whether in front of or behind the camera, Harold Ramis always gave us something to smile about. The world is surely poorer for this loss.
A few weeks ago, I dropped a quick movie review of Nebraska which stated that the film was so good, there wasn’t much else for me to say. That Awkward Moment is the antithesis of Nebraska; it sucks so bad, there’s just not much to talk about. Zac Efron, Miles Teller (who manages to not annoy me in the way a similar character did in I Give it a Year - which isn’t nearly as good as this movie, by the way – if that means anything) and Michael B. Jordan are all fine actors and funny dudes, but even quality performances can’t save a screenplay this bad. The movie is centered around three dudes talking, and men just don’t talk this way, nor would women fantasize they would, leaving me to wonder exactly who this movie is for. The story isn’t even by the numbers – that’s giving it too much credit. This story is watercolors bad. That’s how predictable it is; I got up and went to the bathroom and missed about 3 minutes because I knew I wouldn’t miss anything I couldn’t figure out in five seconds and I was RIGHT! No one can save this movie from itself.
But, I’ve seen worse movies, so let’s give That Awkward Moment a 4 out of 10 and be done with it. (The movie’s title reminds me of that old Drifters song “This Magic Moment,” which is currently stuck in my head, so I can thank them for that.)
Most 1980s movie sequels were lame all around: they usually couldn’t get the lead actors back, the story was lame, and for some reason, most of these sequels end up taking place in Manhattan. (Short Circuit 2 and Splash Too are examples of this sort of 80s sequel.) 1990′s Gremlins 2: The New Batch decides to parody that sort of stuff and the first movie to hilarious results, making it one of the most underrated movies of its kind. Read the rest of this entry
I Hate Valentine’s Day is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. It’s poorly written and cheap looking… But to be fair, most of the camera work is well done. (That’s about the only nice thing I can say about this movie.)
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If you’ve seen one Wes Anderson movie, you’ve seen ‘em all… but that doesn’t mean they’re not all awesome. Life Aquatic is a bit outside the usual WA box and The Royal Tenanbaums is a bit darker than most of the other movies, but essentially, they all have similar themes, visual elements and at times, even story points, like writing plays, suicide, the slightly-exotic-unobtainable-girl, or running away. Rushmore might be typical Wes Anderson fodder… but it’s damn good fodder. If you want the cliff notes version of WA movies without anything too heavy happening, than Rushmore is the WA flick for you.
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We’ve discovered an alarming trend of characters (mostly protagonists) employed as writers in various works of fiction we’ve encountered – especially at the movies. For example:
- The dad in August: Osage County is a well known, published writer.
- The husband in I Give it a Year has published one novel and is struggling with his second.
- Just about everyone except the mom and her new husband are writers in Stuck in Love; [SPOILERS!] the dad is a well known, published writer, the daughter publishes a book mid-movie and the son publishes a short story at the end of movie
- Everyone in Wonder Boys is a writer, but it’s at least central to the plot of the movie
- Everyone in No Man’s Land is a writer… maybe specifically a poet?
- Colin Firth is a writer in Love Actually
And this is characters we’ve noticed just in the last two or so weeks. I’ve heard the adage, "Write what you know," but this is ridiculous.
I Give it a Year features every possible mistake one could make in a farce. The pace is all wrong, the scenes go on too long and almost every moment somehow leads to character/defines a relationship and yet at the same time still feels like filler. It’s really incredible, what they’ve done here. And how many wacky comic relief characters can you pack into one movie? There are at least three in this flick. (The best man is the most annoying, by far, but they’re all over exposed and annoying in their own way. At the end of the movie, a character says to him, "I never have to see you again," and the audience thinks, "Hooray! Neither do I!" and then he comes back during the credits, just so he can be unfunny one more time. Again, incredible.)
This is the sort of movie I usually rail on and on about, but I just can’t. Every scene has the same problems, but the biggest problem is this movie is BORING. It’s 97 minutes, but it feels like an eternity. (Oh, there’s a joke: "I gave it 97 minutes – I should have gave it 5!")
I Give it a Year is on Netflix for your viewing displeasure. Let’s just say it’s a 3 out of 10 so I can stop thinking about it and hopefully purge it from my brain.
What can one say about Nebraska? Well, it’s great. Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb, Bob Odenkirk and the rest of the cast are all spot on. The black and white really helps solidify the atmosphere – as does the soundtrack. There is one moment toward the end that I thought was cliche, but, had it not occurred, I think I would have been disappointed, so it’s a "damned if they do, damned if they don’t" sorta thing.
Yeah… that’s it. Go see Nebraska – I’m giving it a 9.5 out of 10; it’s a nearly perfect movie.
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No Man’s Land starring Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Billy Crudup and Shuler Hensley (Broadway Review)
Rather than a proper review of Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land (starring Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Billy Crudup and Shuler Hensley), I will present you with a gushing about the show and the lavish ambiance that is the Cort Theatre – including video of the post-show Talk Back Q&A session with the cast!
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Matt Damon and Michael Douglas star as Scott Thorson and Liberace in the film nobody wanted to make (because it’s “too gay”), Behind the Candelabra. They finally found a home for their picture at HBO, bringing life to the story of the piano playing legend and Thorson, who wrote the book from which the movie is adapted.
As you may have gathered from the quick movie review affix, I don’t have much to say about Behind the Candelabra. It’s a good movie, but I wouldn’t say it’s great. It’s more of performer’s movie rather than the combining all of the elements of film all together and doing something unforgettable. Matt Damon and Michael Douglas are wonderful in the starring roles and I gained new respect for Scott Bakula and Debbie Reynolds, but Dan Aykroyd is barely in the movie and just distracted me, and Rob Lowe looked so freakish that… yeah, that distracted me, too.
Anyway, the story just didn’t grab me, so to speak. It held my attention, but I wasn’t especially invested in what happened to Scott Thorson, and I think that’s what was missing here. It’s a good flick, but not great; I’m giving Behind the Candelabra a 8 out of 10.