MovieBoozer http://movieboozer.com Movies Measured by the Pint! Fri, 28 Jul 2017 03:00:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Virtual Pub 218: Over and Dunkirk http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-218-dunkirk http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-218-dunkirk#respond Fri, 28 Jul 2017 03:00:26 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102639 This week the  Movieboozer crew talks about Dunkirk, Valerian, Kuso and The Bad Batch. Hawk and Ken also talk about The Raid 2 as part of the ongoing movie exchange.

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This week the  Movieboozer crew talks about Dunkirk, Valerian, Kuso and The Bad Batch. Hawk and Ken also talk about The Raid 2 as part of the ongoing movie exchange.

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Fantasia International Film Festival: The Villainess (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/fantasia-international-film-festival-villainess-2017-movie-review http://movieboozer.com/featured/fantasia-international-film-festival-villainess-2017-movie-review#respond Thu, 27 Jul 2017 12:15:52 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102438 By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) – It certainly looks like The Villainess is being positioned to be this year’s big crossover Korean hit, debuting at Cannes just like The Wailing and A Hard Day, and making a pretty high-profile run through quite a few top-notch subsequent film festivals to boot.  So,  how does it stack up? Good luck being …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –

It certainly looks like The Villainess is being positioned to be this year’s big crossover Korean hit, debuting at Cannes just like The Wailing and A Hard Day, and making a pretty high-profile run through quite a few top-notch subsequent film festivals to boot.  So,  how does it stack up?

Good luck being as awesome as The Wailing

The Villainess stars Thirst’s Kim Ok-bin as a human weapon who’s been doomed to play a pawn role in various assassin power struggles since she was 9 or so years old.  Having been taken in by perhaps the most polished and hard-hearted agency of all, will she get a chance to avenge the murder of her father and husband and keep her daughter safe, or are there more surprising machinations in store (there are).

A Toast

The Villainess opens with a pure statement of purpose, a first-person point of view hallway throwdown that is like a big middle finger to Oldboy‘s all-time classic hallway hammer fight.  And, while I don’t give it quite those laurels, it’s a pretty fucking awesome fight, one of many in a film that begrudgingly lets up for the plot, but is always itching to get to another thrillingly choreographed, bone-crunching melee of brutality.  Pure action hounds will find what they’re looking for here.

Kim does an excellent job anchoring the film as well, never less than believable as a badass that would put most action stars to shame, while also displaying an emotional vulnerability that makes it easy to empathize with this one-person WMD.  Finally, Jeong Byeong-gil’s direction is polished and often thrillingly experimental in his quest to put you as close to the copious action as possible, and stages some gorgeous stills to boot.  Hollywood, pay attention- he could replace the Pierre Morels and McGs of the world without breaking a sweat.

Beer Two

The first person/Hardcore Henry POV action shooting style has a ton of potential, and some very distinct drawbacks.  There’s the whole videogame-esque unreality, but for my money, the most annoying thing is noticing things the main character should have, and which should be causing them mortal danger, but doesn’t.  Seriously, does every knife-wielding henchman seriously sit and wait their turn?  What gentlemen.

Beer Three

As is often the case with Korean genre fare, The Villainess hits a near obligatory two hours by layering on the twists and double-crosses to an ultimately confusing degree.  It’s impressive that a film can telegraph who the big bads are going to really be from the very start, and yet thoroughly confuse you on the journey to revealing them as to how they relate to the protagonist and her past.

Beer Four

Mild Spoilers

The ending (not the often amazing bus-fight, instigated by a hatchet-wielding Kim propelling herself onto a bus off a car superhero-like) is dumb.  She faces down the police, after all the insanity and emotional turmoil that preceded her murdering every evil bastard in her way, and… breaks into a crazy-person cackle?  What?

Oh, and how does the title apply exactly?  Who’s the villainess in this scenario?

Verdict

The Villainess brings the thrills as well as any Hollywood action film you’re likely to see this year.  Too bad the plotting wasn’t nearly on par.

The Villainess (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for every kitchen scene

Take a Drink: every time the camera goes to the First Person POV

Take a Drink: every time you see a sledgehammer

Do a Shot: for every doublecross and/or big reveal that you probably saw coming

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Fantasia International Film Festival: Killing Ground (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/fantasia-international-film-festival-killing-ground-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/fantasia-international-film-festival-killing-ground-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Wed, 26 Jul 2017 12:15:51 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102367 By: Henry J. Fromage (Four Beers) – Not that I’m likely to get the chance, but seriously my friends, don’t go camping in rural Australia. Even these guys will probably tear your throat out given the chance. Killing Ground is just the latest tourist board reminder to not do that, as it follows two groups of campers …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Four Beers) –

Not that I’m likely to get the chance, but seriously my friends, don’t go camping in rural Australia.

Even these guys will probably tear your throat out given the chance.

Killing Ground is just the latest tourist board reminder to not do that, as it follows two groups of campers and some dodgy-looking outbackers as they converge across space and time on a rural campsite.  What ensues is most definitely horror film territory.

A Toast

Killing Ground boasts a very effective structure when you figure out what that is- cunningly jumbling up timelines in its onset to keep you on your toes, or more accurately on edge.  When you do get on the same wavelength of the film, it seems like the anticipation of the brutality to come is made all the worse by knowing basically when and how it must.

And when it does, it’s pretty freaking brutal- slasher and midnight movie fans will find what they’re looking for here.  The film’s relentless forward motion when all the timelines converge on the present day one will keep you glued to the screen the entire time.  This is just solid genre filmmaking 101.

Beer Two

While it is unnerving, the same structure that I praised above means that it takes awhile to determine what’s going on in the plot.  Your patience with a story that you have little to no idea what is going on in may vary.

Beer Three

Too much of the film occurs in near opaque night blackness.  There aren’t many film crews that have the skills necessary to make this state anything less than confusing and muddled, and the crew here isn’t among them.

Beer Four

With as few and as ultimately clearly defined of a plot the film ends up having, there sure are several untied plot strings – what happened to the kid?  Is this a Tarzan origin story?

Other than those, though, Killing Ground pretty much ends up heading in the exact direction you expect it to.  Don’t expect many surprises.

Verdict

Killing Ground is a nasty piece of disturbingly realistic Aussie horror that ranks up there in the brutality scale with Wolf Creek.  

Killing Ground (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for every red flag

Take a Drink: for every wild pig

Take a Drink: every time you see a gun

Do a Shot: whenever it’s too pitch black to tell what’s going on

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Dunkirk (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/dunkirk-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/dunkirk-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Tue, 25 Jul 2017 17:15:46 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102527 By: Movie Snurb (A Toast) – Dunkirk is the true and harrowing tale about the battle/escape of the British troops off of Dunkirk beach during World War II after being pushed back to the waterfront by the Germans. The German tanks stopping coming for the British because they decided it’d be easier to pick them …

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By: Movie Snurb (A Toast) –

Dunkirk is the true and harrowing tale about the battle/escape of the British troops off of Dunkirk beach during World War II after being pushed back to the waterfront by the Germans. The German tanks stopping coming for the British because they decided it’d be easier to pick them off with the Luftwaffe bombers and fighter planes. Because the water at Dunkirk Beach is so shallow, the destroyers and medical ships couldn’t get close enough to the shore to load troops. The British Navy begins to commission civilian boats to rescue the soldiers. The Navy thought they were only going to get about 30,000 of the 400,000 men off of the beach, however, because of the brave civilian efforts, they rescued nearly 350,000 men.

A Toast

Christopher Nolan is one of the most exciting filmmakers working today. He never shies away from taking monumental risks in storytelling to tell a completely original story, or creative ways to tell his stories. He also uses 21st Century technology to enhance his stories, and Dunkirk is no exception. First the film is told from three different points of view: The Air, The Land, and the Sea. Also, these different points of view are spanning different lengths of time; The Air is in one hour, the Sea is in one day, and the Land in is one week. It was a big risk to go between these points of view as if they are happening at the same time. However, the way Nolan slowly pieces these stories together is like watching puzzle pieces fall into place. We see a dogfight, and then 15 minutes later in the film we sea that dogfight from the point of view of the civilian sailors. In some lesser director’s hands the film would’ve been a jumbled mess, but with Christopher Nolan this becomes an invigorating retelling of a powerful and prideful moment in British history.

Hoyte Van Hoytema does some gorgeous work on this film, just like he did in Interstellar and Her. Each is shot in very different styles and each film has its own beauty. Nolan likes to play with IMAX cameras and has since The Dark Knight in the semi-truck flip scene. Using IMAX cameras allows him to put this film on a grand scale which is what this story needed. It needed to be told in this format to help understand what these men went through to try and just survive. The scenes which we see the IMAX the most are in the Air, communicating the scale of the war and the emptiness that is all around if these men are shot down. Then we are put into the cockpit of the Spitfires during the dogfights, giving us the most authentic experience, just behind VR, of what it would’ve been like to be in that moment. And the scene when we get to be in the cockpit when one of the Spitfires goes down is pulse-pounding.

Not only is the IMAX great for Hoytemas’ photography, but also for the sound. Jesus are those IMAX theaters loud, and this film is justified in having the loud ear-attacking sound. There is no doubt in my mind that this film will be nominated for Sound Mixing and Sound Editing, if only for the moments when the Luftwaffe come screaming down at the poor soldiers to slaughter them like fish in a barrel. That sound is one of the most terrifying sounds I have ever heard and it was just in a movie. I can’t begin to understand hearing that sound in real life and how petrifying that sound would be. Hearing it those few times lets me understand why the Germans engineered their planes to have those screamers on the sides. It is soul crushing for your enemies to hear. It’s moments like these that allow this film to become an immersive white-knuckling experience rather than just watching a film.

Of course you can’t mention the sound design of a film with talking about Hans Zimmer’s occupying score. His score in this film is a constant reminder that time is running out and these men need to get off the beach. There are few moments of silence without score or sounds from the film. One moment is a beautiful moment when a Spitfire runs out of gas and is gliding to earth as all of the men watch. However, Zimmer’s score is engrossing and helps push the film along, while keeping the films intensity at a firm 11. Nolan and Zimmer pairs like a fine wine and cheese. It’s like chocolate and peanut butter, and I wouldn’t want any other composer for Nolan’s films.

This is Nolans’s tightest film at a brisk 106 minutes. The film is a pure cut of meat with no extra fat on it. Not only is the film his shortest since Following, but there is hardly any dialogue to be heard in it. Tom Hardy has more of the lines and they are delivered through another mask as he fights off the Luftwaffe. However, the story doesn’t need a lot of dialogue to push the story, we know what is happening and what needs to be done. The story is in the action, not the talking. The actors all do a brilliant job with their parts even with the minimal dialogue, especially newcomers Fionn Whithead and One Direction’s Harry Styles. I don’t doubt they both could have strong careers ahead of them.

This is also Nolan’s most personal film yet. Interstellar was about love and how it is unquantifiable and it is the most powerful thing in existence, over time and space. However, this is a film that hits very close to home with Nolan. Dunkirk is a moment of great pride for Britain. This is not just an immersive action film but it is also a deeply affecting story. There are several moments that will tug at your heart strings and move you to your core.

Verdict

Dunkirk is why we go to the movies, even when we have so many options to stay home and watch movies from the comfort of our own home. Nolan still believes in seeing films on the big screen and Dunkirk makes a strong case for why we should still go to the theater. Dunkirk is one of the most intense, and literally white-knuckling (my fingers hurt from clinching my fists) films I have ever seen. I believe this film will lead the Oscar race with a truckload of nominations and might just earn Nolan his first directing nomination and hopefully, and deservedly, win.

P.S. To the guy next to me scrolling on his phone during the intense battle scenes. If you can’t be pulled away from your phone during the most gripping film in a long-time then you shouldn’t go to the movies.

Dunkirk (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time the Luftwaffe come screaming down.

Do a Shot: before the film to calm your nerves.

Take a Drink: for every time Harry Styles and Fionn Whitehead speak.

Do a Shot: for every Luftwaffe fighter that goes down.

Finish your Beer: for all the men who lost their lives trying to just survive.

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The Top 10 Films of 2017 So Far http://movieboozer.com/articles/top-10-films-2017-far http://movieboozer.com/articles/top-10-films-2017-far#respond Tue, 25 Jul 2017 12:15:55 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102580 We have seen some great films over the last seven months, but which deserve an extra mention? From a Dunkirk evacuation story to talking cars, we’ve got it all covered Wonder Woman Gal Gadot put in an impeccable performance in the role of Diana Prince, aka Wonder Woman, in this action packed movie.  Gadot toed the …

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We have seen some great films over the last seven months, but which deserve an extra mention? From a Dunkirk evacuation story to talking cars, we’ve got it all covered

Wonder Woman

Gal Gadot put in an impeccable performance in the role of Diana Prince, aka Wonder Woman, in this action packed movie.  Gadot toed the right balance between showing the kind heart in her character, but also portraying the fierce mentality that is required to fight for the side of good. Chris Pine plays a more detached, cynical character in Steve Trevor, but as we might predict, grows closer romantically to Diana in this Patty Jenkins-directed thriller set largely in World War I.

Rating – 5/5

Logan
Another Sci-Fi action film makes the list with James Mangold’s Logan. Adapted from the highly popular X-Men series, Logan does an impeccable job of portraying what things might be like in a post X-men world (heaven forbid). With strong appearances from Hugh Jackman, the ever-consistent Patrick Stewart, and Stephen Merchant, whose gawky frame and stark resemblance to ‘a bit of weird art’ (according to Karl Pilkington) make him the perfect person to play Caliban. Special mentions should also go to the young Dafne Keen who made a stunning screen debut in her role as Laura.

Rating – 5/5

Alien: Covenant

Recent research by Betway Insider suggests that the possibility of another planet like Earth’s existing is 1 in 3, and with this idea heavily romanticised, a whole host of films have been released recently that have hit upon this idea. Despite being the 6th film in the saga, Alien: Covenant holds up rather well and is propelled forward by an extremely impressive Michael Fassbender performance. Katherine Waterston also provides a strong female protagonist as Ridley Scott delivers a gripping science-fiction horror.

Rating – 4/5

The Big Sick

Michael Showalter directs a film that shows how love can be found between an inter-racial couple despite their cultural differences. Comedian Kumail is torn between the expectations of his traditionalist family, who want him to marry a Pakistani woman and his feelings for Emily. He has his ups and downs in his relationship with the girl, who later goes into a medically induced coma. Although a Romantic Comedy in principle, The Big Sick also explores deeper issues of the conflicts between family and romance.

Rating – 4/5

Get Out

This film continues the theme of inter-racial relationships, but in a more extreme fashion. Chris goes with his girlfriend Rose to meet her family, some of whom behave mysteriously as a sense of danger crescendos throughout. Jordan Peele has directed a piece of work that contains echoes of horror movies but also examines the realities of racism. Get Out has been voted as the best film of 2017 so far, but it’s not for the faint-hearted.

Rating – 5/5

Despicable Me 3

Directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda, Despicable Me 3 sees Gru get re-acquainted with his long-lost twin brother Dru. Together they aim to defeat supervillain Balthazar Bratt, who is on a revenge mission to destroy Hollywood. The humour is a little on the eccentric side, as you’d expect from a film starring small, yellow, cylindrical creatures – or indeed one that features Steve Coogan. Those who appreciate colourful animation and quirky jokes though have much to look forward to.

Rating – 3/5

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

David Beckham is known for his bending free-kicks, but here he attempts to bend his skills towards acting, making a cameo in Guy Ritchie’s fantasy film. The concept of an ex-Manchester United footballer playing the part of a grumpy Knight is just about as wacky as the film itself, which explores the challenges Arthur faces whilst growing up in the hard, back alleys of Londinium. Charlie Hunnam plays the main character in the movie, which strays a little on the wild side but also throws up political ideas. Getting smooth acting from Becks, though, is like getting a sword out of a stone.

Rating – 3/5

Cars 3

This might be a kids-centred film about talking cars, but it contains themes of age and insecurity that we can all relate to. Lightning McQueen, a seven-time Piston Cup racing legend, fears a new generation of more technologically advanced cars, such as the arrogant Jackson Storm, threatens his status. Lightning tries to find new ways of staying ahead of the pack and in his frustration, has ups and downs in his relationship with others, such as trainer Cruz Ramirez. Can Lightning strike twice?

Rating – 4/5

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Another superhero film from the popular trilogy, this Jon Watts piece sees Peter Parker attempt to balance regular high-school life with the small matter of being Spider-Man. 21-year-old Tom Halland plays Spidey, who uses his budding superpowers to fight crime in his neighbourhood, whilst also having the imperfections of any normal kid. His two worlds become intertwined as the film goes on, with thrilling results.

Rating – 4/5

Dunkirk

The story of Dunkirk from the Second World War has become so well-known, the phrase ‘Dunkirk Spirit’ can be used to convey a group’s stoicism and determination in the face of danger. It is of little surprise therefore that the evacuation story has caught on, with Christopher Nolan directing arguably his best work to date. Dialogue may be limited, but in many ways this adds to the sense of suspense in one of the greatest war films of all time.

Rating – 5/5

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365 Days of Movies- Henry J. Fromage Edition- Week 29 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-of-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-29 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-of-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-29#respond Mon, 24 Jul 2017 17:15:21 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102366 By: Henry J. Fromage – I got a chance to stop by and see Oberst again and catch up on a few of this year’s more acclaimed releases, and a few of the cult oddities that we always gravitate to as well. 162. War of the Planet of the Apes As big budget Hollywood franchises …

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By: Henry J. Fromage –

I got a chance to stop by and see Oberst again and catch up on a few of this year’s more acclaimed releases, and a few of the cult oddities that we always gravitate to as well.

162. War of the Planet of the Apes

As big budget Hollywood franchises go, has there ever been as big a disparity between hype and results than this one?  Critics love all three of these exemplary films, the latter two of which have been shepherded to ever greater artistic heights by Matt Reeves (another under the radar big budget artist who’s due is almost certainly coming with the next Batman film).  This (final? they’re going to do Planet of the Apes, right?) installment combines gritty Western revenge tropes with, yes, Apocalypse Now references, but also quite a bit of Kubrick (did he reference the master’s entire oeuvre?  Watch it tell me if there are any he missed).  And Andy Serkis… wow.  CGI has crossed the uncanny valley without us noticing it, folks.  One of the best of the year so far.

163. The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki

This boxing film, about a true life title fight that represents one of Finland’s most high-profile sporting events in their history, strangely seems to want to be about anything but boxing.  As we follow the lively Olli, as he goes to the big city of Helsinki to train while still trying to negotiate a romance with his small-town sweetheart, it’s hard not to bend to to this movie’s slower rhythms and stop worrying about when the boxing will come- but it does, and it’s as well shot and realistically handled as anything else in this film.

164. True Stories

David Byrne of Talking Heads apparently caught the filmmaking buzz from Jonathan Demme as he was making the seminal concert documentary Stop Making Sense.  But, as his musical career would probably tell you, his stab at motion picture-making was going to be far, far weirder than the already pretty idiosyncratic Demme (and you can definitely see the small-town Americana influence from earlier Demme films like Handle With Care).  The result is some sort of slice of Americana turned just a quarter-dial to the straight bizarre in that singularly early 80s Talking Heads way- the kind of movie in which a young John Goodman tries to find the perfect woman through a surprisingly beautifully-delivered live song at the town fair, or a family dinner devolves into a musical number about economics, all shot in gorgeous pastels by all-time cinematographer Ed Lachman.  There’s nothing else like it out there.

165. Killing Ground

This Aussie backwoods horror film is pretty much exactly what you’d expect from an Aussie backwoods horror film (remember Wolf Creek?), but with a nasty, nasty edge of realism and a chronologically cross-cut structure that doesn’t always work beautifully (regardless of how they chop it up, you know pretty much exactly how this story is going to go), but does serve quite well to ratchet the tension to unbearable levels.  If you’re a hardcore horror brutality fan, you’ll find what you’re looking for here.

166. The Last Dragon

This is just the kind of cult film that fans of the thoroughly strange, thoroughly 80s brand of cult cinema are looking for.  In theory, it’s about a young black kung fu master (Bruce Leroy… yep, you heard that right) protecting his kung fu class, neighborhood, pop’s pizza stand, and Veejay wanna-be girlfriend (one-time Prince hanger-on and star-for-a-minute Vanity) from the machinations of the evil Sho’nuff, which amount to busting up soundstages, pizza parlors, etc.  There’s also some sort of Mob-ish subplot that doesn’t really matter, too, but overall, honestly, this film is made to bask in the glory of Julius Carry’s Sho’nuff.  Just look at that magnificent bastard in the photo up there.  A hearty helping of distinctly 80s cheese is just icing on the cake.

167. Super Dark Times

This suburban horror story starts out like just another Sundance-ready coming-of-age drama, before it swerves sickeningly into something more depressing midway through, and never lets up from there.  Beautifully conceived and shot by first-time feature director Kevin Phillips, himself an experienced cinematographer, and DP Eli Born, Super Dark Times is one of the most impressive films of the year so far in my book, with a vibe not unlike Gus Van Sant’s Elephant.

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Girls Trip (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/girls-trip-2017-movie-review http://movieboozer.com/featured/girls-trip-2017-movie-review#respond Mon, 24 Jul 2017 12:15:23 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102504 By: Jenna Zine (Four Beers) – The film follows four lifelong friends as they reconnect during a weekend trip to New Orleans. Much revelry (and many revelations) ensues! [Review contains spoilers.] A Toast No one can deny the dynamic chemistry of this cast, with Regina Hall as high-powered lifestyle author Ryan Pierce (a favorite of accomplished director …

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By: Jenna Zine (Four Beers) –

The film follows four lifelong friends as they reconnect during a weekend trip to New Orleans. Much revelry (and many revelations) ensues!

[Review contains spoilers.]

A Toast

No one can deny the dynamic chemistry of this cast, with Regina Hall as high-powered lifestyle author Ryan Pierce (a favorite of accomplished director Malcolm D. Lee’s), Queen Latifah as gossip blogger extraordinaire Sasha Franklin, Jada Pinkett-Smith as uptight single mother Lisa Cooper, and breakout star Tiffany Haddish as wild card Dina. The quartet formed an unshakeable bond in college as the Flossy Posse, but slowly drifted apart in their adult years as each strove to focus on their life goals. Ryan is arguably the most successful, a self-help guru who forms a partnership with her husband, ex-NFL player Stewart Pierce (Mike Colter), to help brand and promote her latest best-selling book You Can Have It All. (Spoiler alert: we quickly find out that Ryan does not have it all and is, in fact, subjugating herself for appearances in order to nab a lucrative talk show deal.) When Ryan is offered the keynote speech at the upcoming Essence Festival, she quickly makes arrangements to have her college girlfriends join her in hopes of getting their friendships back on track.

Hell yeah – fun ahead! [Photo Credit]

The movie starts off strong with a joyous vibe that made me want to drop everything and join them in New Orleans. (The city acts as the fifth character, imbuing additional levity from a place that has worked so hard to triumph over tragedy. It is especially thrilling with the prominent use of the gloriously rehabbed Superdome.) Though Ryan and Sasha are initially frosty, due to a failed business venture Ryan pulled out of, the four pals don’t take long to establish their groove and promptly get to the business of having fun.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for the comedy portion to wane and the overarching drama to take over. We find out at the top of the film that Stewart, one half of the picture-perfect media darling couple RyanandStewart, is actually having a torrid affair with an “Instagram ho” named Simone (Deborah Ayorinde). A damning picture is texted to Sasha, who’s receiving pressure from advertisers to up her site traffic, thus setting up the conundrum: does she leak the photo to save her own business and subsequently screw over her friend, or does she help bury this juicy piece of gossip? The three pals decide to alert Ryan of the affair – only to find out that she already knew, and while not thrilled, is “fine” with it because she’d rather protect her brand than her heart. However, they can’t control Simone, the Lindsay Shookus of mistresses, who refuses to play nice and go away. (We later find out Simone is pregnant and has no qualms about threatening to blow Ryan and Stewart’s lives apart.)

Bourbon Street will never be the same! [Photo Credit]

Beer Two

As mentioned, this plot point happens a scant ½ hour into a 2-hour flick, thus handing over the bulk of the screentime to the fallout of the affair. Did I mention this fails the Bechdel test, virtually right out of the gate? Not that it doesn’t come with a lot of fun, with Dina delivering a searing monologue as to what she’s going to do to Stewart when confronting him on Ryan’s behalf.

Speaking of Dina, the female leads suffer a bit from Sex & The City syndrome, with each character in the foursome locked into a designated archetype. Dina is especially unhinged as the wild child – played to the hilt by Tiffany Haddish who does for this role, and her career, what Melissa McCarthy did in Bridesmaids. Haddish provides the scene-stealing bulk of the comic relief, but Dina is so over the top that no sane adult would really want her as a best friend, despite her fierce loyalty. Unless you want a friend who secretly drugs you with absinthe she bought from a street vendor, gets into a massive brawl that results in the entire group getting kicked out of their fancy hotel, and simulates fellatio with a banana and a grapefruit in a demo over brunch that will turn you away from Eggs Benedict forever, in which case Dina will be your perfect match!

Buckle up, ladies – the real trip is about to begin! [Photo Credit]

Beer Three

Oh, the insanely fabulous trip the absinthe provides though! This allows the best friends to truly cut loose, with the gals straight up hallucinating in a nightclub, each left to their own drunken euphoria as all hell breaks loose. Dina thinks she’s floating as she reaches for imaginary stars, Lisa thinks she sees her lover but is really tonguing a Jumbotron, and Sasha makes out with a lamp that she thinks is a handsome man hitting on her. Meanwhile, Ryan is in a meeting with her agent (Kate Walsh as Elizabeth Davelli, who also accidentally partakes in the absinthe cocktail), husband Stewart, and a powerful television exec who has the ability to make all of Ryan and Stewart’s big time dreams come true.

For once, uber-professional Ryan is drunk enough not to give a damn and wanders off with her girlfriends before she can seal the talk show deal. The gals leave the club, don wigs, stumble into a bar and straight into bad girl Simone, where a dance off between the Flossy Posse and Simone’s group quickly devolves into a full blown fist fight. Whoops! Along with this raucous brawl are numerous over-the-top sight gags, such as peeing on a crowd while zip lining, that vary from funny to tiresome. Though the dialogue is strong, the gags end up feeling like a bit of a comedy cop out by the end.

We sparkle! [Photo Credit]

Beer Four

There’re a wild amount of cameos, including Diddy, Ne-Yo, Morris Chestnut, Ava Duvernay, Common, Maxwell, Bell Biv Devoe, Top Chef alum Carla Hall, and Mariah Carey to name just a few. (Luckily Mariah’s bit goes much more smoothly here than it did in The House.) There’s also a notable (and distractingly obvious) display of big name sponsors. Coca-Cola has such a massive presence, with the company’s name dangling behind nearly every shot at the Essence Festival, that it’s easy to end up feeling like the film was partially a big ad for the soda giant. It felt like everyone was scrambling to get on board with this stellar cast. Here’s an idea – put Queen Latifah, Regina, Jada, and Tiffany in high-profile projects more often and give these talented ladies some space.

There’s still so much to unpack, from a romantic subplot with Ryan and musician friend Julian (Larenz Tate), to Sasha’s secret struggles with the rapid decline of her business, to Lisa’s sexual reawakening, and more. All of it ends up feeling a bit bloated (speaking of bloated – hello, and welcome to beer four!) with a run time clocking in at a long-feeling 2-hours.

I see you, Coca-Cola! [Photo Credit]

Verdict

I wanted so badly to love this movie. Unfortunately, it’s an uneven presentation that lags. It’s definitely not for lack of trying though. The four leads are so fun, and all shine in this raunchy send up. It’s far too rare to see a female big budget comedy, much less one with wildly underrepresented African American women on the big screen. One just wishes they were given better source material to do their talents justice.

Girls Trip (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Tiffany delivers a hilarious one-liner.

Take a Drink: every time Lisa is told to loosen up.

Take a Drink: every time Ryan forgives an undeserving Stewart.

Do a Shot: for when she finally stands up to him!

Take a Drink: for Sasha’s morality struggle between gossip-mongering and friendship.

Take a Drink: for every crazy celebrity cameo you spot.

Do a Shot: for grapefruit. You’ll know.

 

Last Call

I must confess that I did not stay to the last frame, so I can’t confidently comment on extra scenes during/post credits as I was eager to get outside and drink beers at a baseball game. Summer was calling and I needed to answer!

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Trailer Reviews: Dunkirk, Girls Trip, & Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-dunkirk-girls-trip-valerian-city-thousand-planets http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-dunkirk-girls-trip-valerian-city-thousand-planets#respond Sun, 23 Jul 2017 17:15:23 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102519 By: Hawk Ripjaw – Dunkirk Two very significant parts of my cinephilic personality will clash this weekend: My general disinterest in war films, and my very profound interest in Christopher Nolan films. I’m not even sure why I don’t like war films. From what I can remember, I’ve seen both Clint Eastwood WWII movies (which …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw –

Dunkirk

Two very significant parts of my cinephilic personality will clash this weekend: My general disinterest in war films, and my very profound interest in Christopher Nolan films. I’m not even sure why I don’t like war films. From what I can remember, I’ve seen both Clint Eastwood WWII movies (which I liked), Saving Private Ryan (which was good), We Were Soldiers (which bored me), The Hurt Locker (which I enjoyed), American Sniper (which I walked out of), the Vince Vaughn scene in Hacksaw Ridge (which I didn’t understand). I guess I’ve enjoyed a lot of what I’ve seen, and probably more that I can’t even remember. Maybe I secretly love war movies. Maybe I’ve been wrong this whole time. 

Beer Prediction

Guaranteed we can do a drinking game on this bad boy for every time someone almost dies.

 

Girls Trip

I’ll admit I laughed at the trailer for Girls Trip. I’ll also admit that the main thing I laughed at was a grown woman telling her best friend how shoving weed up her asshole won’t give her an infection. But why do I have to admit that? Chick flicks have changed over the years. What used to be Jennifer Aniston wandering around Eat Pray Love doing nothing is now Melissa McCarthy taking a dump in a bathroom sink in Bridesmaids. It’s a good trend, but they’re still not good movies. Girls Trip goes the risky route and appears to ditch any breaks for clean humor or actual heart and just fill a ton of sex jokes in. The difference is that they’re well-written jokes spoken by characters that actually feel like they’d be saying that stuff. Organic characters? What a concept! 

Beer Prediction

I know, I know: it’s from the director of Scary Movie 5.  Wait. Yeah, that’s a little bit scary.

 

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

I kinda like Luc Besson. The guy directs some great movies (The Fifth Element!), and produces some not-so-great ones (Nine Lives!). He has some great ideas that make awesome movies, and some awesome ideas that make terrible movies. Lucy, I’m looking at you. Unfortunately, Besson’s capacity for writing checks that his movies can’t cash–or just writing really shitty checks that his movies can totally cash–is making me apprehensive for Valerian. And now that I’ve heard from two people now that it’s terrible, I’m prepared for this to basically be another modern Luc Besson movie. But the guy’s got passion, and one hell of an imagination. But he continuously fails to translate this effectively onto the screen, so we may unfortunately have to expect the trend. 

Beer Prediction

This is going to suck, isn’t it?

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Fantasia International Film Festival: Super Dark Times (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/fantasia-international-film-festival-super-dark-times-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/fantasia-international-film-festival-super-dark-times-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sun, 23 Jul 2017 12:15:14 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102390 By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) – Prepare yourselves for the concept of the 1990s as a nostalgia film setting.  Yeah, I know it’s happening already, but man, Hollywood doesn’t care if you’re right around 30.  You’re gonna feel old. Just put us in the rest home right now. This is a hacky way to point …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –

Prepare yourselves for the concept of the 1990s as a nostalgia film setting.  Yeah, I know it’s happening already, but man, Hollywood doesn’t care if you’re right around 30.  You’re gonna feel old.

Just put us in the rest home right now.

This is a hacky way to point out that Super Dark Times is set in 1995, presumably to justify the kind of coming of age tale that requires daily bike rides with your friends, corded phone conversations, and no mention of the internet, nevermind in portable form.  All of these childhood touchstones take a, well, dark turn, putting these friends’ relationships to the test on a different plane, and heading on a, well, super dark path.

A Toast

First-time feature director Kevin Phillips starts his off with his and Luke Piotrowski/Ben Collins’ very naturalistic dialogue and character writing and the woozy visuals he conjures up with DP Eli Born using a lot of soft natural light and perpetually overcast skies to create a realistic, nostalgic vision of 1990s teenhood.

They then dash it to pieces with a surprising act of unintended violence that spins the film into a paranoid almost-thriller.  Phillips exhibits strong directorial control throughout- the escalation of events truly is nerve-wracking.  Once things get a little bit fucked up and trippy, his direction steps up to the plate and does the same.

If anything, Super Dark Times is a triumph of filmcraft, but the cast does a good job of making you care for them, which makes the shocking, almost Elephant-feeling turns the third act takes all the more affecting.

Beer Two

The annoying fat friend is probably too good at being annoying- most nobody acts like this.  In general, the acting isn’t always up to par with the rest of the filmmaking skills, although it’s plenty good for the experience level, and as the film pares back to a few key players in its home stretch, something that leaves your mind entirely.

Verdict

Super Dark Times is a harrowing story of innocence corrupted, of darkness descending on a suburban high school magic hour idyll.

Super Dark Times (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever Darryl is as annoying as well

Take a Drink: for fights

Take a Drink: for the sword

Take a Drink: whenever shit gets, well, super dark

Take a Drink: for disturbing dreams

Do a Shot: wait, is that a Lars von Trier’s Antichrist reference?

Do a Shot: weed really is the gateway to Hell, eh?

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War For the Planet of the Apes (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/drama/war-for-the-planet-of-the-apes-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/drama/war-for-the-planet-of-the-apes-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sat, 22 Jul 2017 15:30:16 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102426 By: 3-Deep (Two Beers) – Blockbuster fatigue is in fashion this summer season. Old reliables are left dormant at the box office, to say the least. Audiences would rather catch up on GLOW before seeing The Mummy or Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Which leaves War for the Planet of the Apes in …

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By: 3-Deep (Two Beers) –

Blockbuster fatigue is in fashion this summer season. Old reliables are left dormant at the box office, to say the least. Audiences would rather catch up on GLOW before seeing The Mummy or Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Which leaves War for the Planet of the Apes in a curious position. The third installment in the shockingly great prequel trilogy, which finally gives motion capture actor extraordinary Andy Serkis the lead performance of a lifetime as Caesar, the leader of the ape rebellion, War For the Planet of the Apes is a bleak, chilling, emotionally taxing, and pathologically haunting conclusion. It’s filled with fraught tension, heartbreaking consequences, weighty pathos, and challenging thematics. This snowy, coldly cynical, but also weirdly emotional new sequel is almost everything you wouldn’t expect from a big summer blockbuster, and that’s crucial to its solemn, strangely moving success.

The latest sequel directed by Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Let Me In) finds Caesar and the rest of the primates in a futile fight with humanity. With the intelligent apes in dire straits, Caesar remains vigilant but weary, knowing full well that war is nothing if not painfully, heartbreakingly consequential. And in their most devastating loss yet, Caesar seeks revenge on the Colonel (Woody Harrelson), a malignant, unsympathetic war criminal ready to do whatever it takes to keep humanity from falling victim to the apes’ uprising.

Along the way, Caesar and his trusted companions, Maurice (Karin Konoval) and Rocket (Terry Notary), meet a precious mute orphan (Amiah Miller) and an outcast former zoo chimpanzee who calls himself Bad Ape (Steve Zahn, in a spirited turn), all of whom help to rescue Caesar after he voluntarily finds himself under the cruel captivity of the Colonel’s torture chamber. War doesn’t leave any clear survivors, however, and in the process of providing retribution for his kind, Caesar might have to give up everything.

A Toast

War for the Planet of the Apes is, quite simply, a cinematic marvel. Much like the first two installments before it, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, it’s a near perfect blend of state-of-the-art technology mixed with some fundamentally captivating old-fashioned storytelling, a spellbinding combination of old-fashioned merits mixed with new-age innovation. In their own individual ways, each installment proves itself more efficient and more proficient than the last. Reeves commands this newest sequel with a stern dedication to the grim bleakness of this foreboding tale. Filled with meditation and contemplation, War for the Planet of the Apes is, by far, among the most thoughtful, intelligent and, ironically, human blockbuster to graze the silver(back) screen in far, far too long.

And honestly, what can be said about Serkis’ simply extraordinary performance that hasn’t been said already? Filled with soulful depth and broken reflection, Serkis’ Caesar is more downtrodden and mangled in this newest installment but never less than powerful in his convictions. It solidifies Serkis as one of the strongest and most outstanding central characters of the 21st century, and that might honestly be an understatement. Serkis has always been one of the greatest working actors (and sometimes tragically misunderstood) working in the business today, and there’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll receive a long-overdue lifetime achievement Oscar for his performance in this film, along with his incredible work inside the past few other high-profile WETA cinematic contributions. It’s an unmistakably vulnerable and electrifying portrayal of grief and the power of reconciliation. This series has always excelled at making us root against our own species, and the key to its overwhelming success can be found in Serkis’ steady hand.

Beer Two

But man, is this movie bleak. And I’m someone who loves their movies nice and dark. War for the Planet of the Apes follows in the steps of its predecessor to a fault. Lacking the stark contrast between Rise and Dawn which ultimately makes the second film the strongest in this new trilogy, War can often feel as though we’re retreating familiar waters, even though — all things considered — we’re not. Also, at 140 minutes, War for the Planet of the Apes‘ onslaught of melancholy and sorrow is quite a bitter pill to swallow. Not as digestible and immersive as the previous two films, War for the Planet of the Apes might leave you restless in the middle, as it struggles to find its narrative focus in the midst of overbearing Jesus allegories and hard wrought pain for our central apes. It’s impeccably made filmmaking throughout it all, but the script, written by Reeves and Mark Bomback, could afford to tighten up the drab second act.

Verdict

But why temper with some true greatness? War for the Planet of the Apes is high spectacle cinema at some of its most compelling and pathologically resilient. It’s proof that this new prequel series will go down as one of the strongest and most surprising trilogies in cinematic history. That’s no easy feat. War for the Planet of the Apes comes when the summer movie season is in dire need of high-end filmmaking. Thankfully, it has greatness to spare. War for the Planet of the Apes is an absolutely astounding triumph.

War for the Planet of the Apes (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Caesar is brought down.

Take a Drink: anytime humans are seen as desperate or plain evil.

Take a Drink: for every pained wide-eyed stare from the little girl.

Take a Drink: for every Jesus allegory.

Do a Shot: for that final moment. It’s been a hell of a ride.

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The Wave (2016) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/98440 http://movieboozer.com/featured/98440#respond Fri, 21 Jul 2017 12:15:49 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=98440 By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) – The director of this film’s name is Roar Uthaug.  That is all. Artist’s rendition. His film, The Wave, is about a disaster that will very likely come to pass in our lifetime in the More og Romsdal county of northwestern Norway- a piece of a mountain sloughing off into a fjord …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –

The director of this film’s name is Roar Uthaug.  That is all.

Artist’s rendition.

His film, The Wave, is about a disaster that will very likely come to pass in our lifetime in the More og Romsdal county of northwestern Norway- a piece of a mountain sloughing off into a fjord and causing an 80 meter-tall (think most of a football field) wave which will lay waste to any buildings and people at a lower elevation than that.  Kristian is a geologist about to take a plum oil company job and move his family away from this dangerous area, but the day they’re set to leave the monitoring instruments start acting up…

A Toast

The Wave is a disaster spectacular on a budget, but more effective than its recent brethren costing 3+ times more, because Uthaug has an innate skill for building tension and mounting dread both in the macro (y’all town’s gonna die) and the micro (y’all Dad’s gonna die) like a pro.  The inevitable landslide and tsunami are impressive enough effects, but the real stars are the cinematographer and production designer, and the utterly gorgeous and not a little menacing real life, really in danger locale of Geiranger.

I’d roll the dice on vistas like this, too.

The structure of the film is also interesting in an a-Hollywood-typical way.  Much more of an attempt is made to add a little heft to the personalities of the archetypal family and a little science and real-world applicability to the mechanics of the disaster, so the big moment doesn’t occur until more than a third of the way through.  The disaster itself is appropriately car and town-smashing brutal and full of teeth-clenching personal peril, but over relatively quickly compared to the destruction porn that is the main calling card of La La Land disaster flicks.  The final third is a despairing search for family members afterwards, and proves no safer without the tsunami chasing at their heels.

Beer Two

The pre-disaster setup is a bit dependent on some pretty dumb actions (in particular, characters just going off and doing things for several hours without thought, apparently, like leaving your kids in a car while you helicopter off to check out some fault lines, or… skateboard all night in an apparently 20 yard-long corridor?)

Cowabunga, dude.

Beer Three

All of these story beats have been used a hundred times before in this kind of film, and while they’re certainly executed better than Roland Emmerich gives a damn to, despite some protracted, almost believable feints towards going another direction, you know exactly what’s going to happen to those characters the minute you meet them.

Verdict

The Wave puts pretty much any Hollywood natural disaster flick in the last decade to shame.  Roar Uthaug is a name to remember for a few reasons.

The Wave (2016) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever the main character acts paranoid

Take a Drink: whenever somebody yells at him about it or work in general

Take a Drink: for character deaths

Take a Drink: for clock shots

Do a Shot: for “Yessiree Bob”

Do a Shot: for… THE WAVE

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Ken’s Movie Diary 2017 – Week 26 http://movieboozer.com/articles/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-26 http://movieboozer.com/articles/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-26#respond Thu, 20 Jul 2017 17:15:36 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102276 Weekly Update: This week my movie marathon focus was war movies, with a few random others in between. Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date- 213. All Quiet on the Western Front (1979) This made for TV remake of the 1930 film and the …

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Weekly Update: This week my movie marathon focus was war movies, with a few random others in between.

Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date-

213. All Quiet on the Western Front (1979)

This made for TV remake of the 1930 film and the novel of the same name tells the story of WWI through the eyes of a young German enlistee.  He watches as his fellow classmates die off one by one, and witnesses horrors of war ranging from gas attacks, constant artillery shelling, rats, and the horror of killing someone in self defense, and then having to watch them die slowly. Co-starring the incomparable Ernest Borgnine, this version of the story is equally adept at traversing the challenging novel’s themes, and doesn’t pull any punches. The result is this film is on roughly equal grounds artistically to the Oscar-winning original film version.

214. Go Tell the Spartans (1978)

This dark satire tells the story of a small group of American advisors in Vietnam who are ordered to establish an outpost in a valueless and indefensible village. Burt Lancaster plays Major Barker, an aging officer who has been condemned to his junior rank in perpetuity owing to youthful indiscretions. He immediately sees the imbecility of his orders, but to satisfy his superiors is obliged to follow them anyway. This is a darkly comical film about how ridiculously underprepared the American military was for the kind of war Vietnam turned out to be, and while the film is sometimes as subtle as a thrown brick, it is a solid statement about the war, and war in general.

215. Big Jake (1971)

When “Little Jake” is kidnapped and held for ransom, his grandmother calls for her ex-spouse Big Jake (John Wayne) to help deliver the ransom money to the perpetrators.  Meanwhile the rest of the family attempts their own style of hostage rescue, which goes about as well as you’d expect when John Wayne is the star of the movie and is the one who is supposed to win the day. This is a middling late-career Wayne Western, with some good scenes and action, but not a lot of substance.

216. La Grande Illusion (1937)

One of the strongest anti-war statements ever made, La Grand Illusion tells the story of a group of French soldiers during WWI who are captured by the Germans and send to a POW camp. While there, the lines of friend and foe blur as soldiers from either side share moments of bonding. The bigger divides are those of class, and even those are quickly changing, with the aristocracy being replaced in favor of businessmen. Strictly anti-war, this film doesn’t show any scenes of warfare, and the few moments of violence are so distasteful and heartbreaking that there is no possibility of the film being misinterpreted.

217. The Train (1964)

This thriller is set just before Paris is re-taken by the Allies during WWII.  An officer attempts to pilfer the city of its most famous works of art, and stows them on a train bound for Germany. The French Resistance catches wind of the operation and conduct a sabotage mission.  While not on the highest level of director John Frankenheimer’s best, this taut suspense film keeps the tension flowing throughout and Burt Lancaster gives a bravura performance as the Resistance leader in charge of the operation.

218. Hamburger Hill (1987)

This Vietnam-era film tells the story of a company of men who are charged with taking a heavily defended hill. Whereas most Vietnam films deal with politics, this concentrates more on the experiences of the grunts on the ground. The film also explores racial tensions, personality clashes, and the stigma of replacement troops on the front lines.  The film is unflinchingly violent, but well-paced and tense. Not the highest level of Vietnam war films, but a solid entry.

219. Betting on Zero (2017)

This documentary tells the story of Bill Ackman, a stock investor who claims his research determined the company “Herbalife” is a pyramid scheme and should be run out of business.  To back this up, he put more than a billion dollars into a “short” investment which effectively bets on the company’s failure.  The film looks into Ackman’s claims about Herbalife and seems to draw similar conclusions to Ackman about the company, though it questions the morality of short investments, which allow traders to profit on other’s financial failures.  The film does a great job stating both sides of the issue, only time will tell if Ackman’s prediction comes true.

220. The Odd Angry Shot (1979)

Like Hamburger HillThe Odd Angry Shot doesn’t concern itself with making any big statements about politics. Instead it explores the life of a group of soldiers (this time Australian) as they live and shed blood in Vietnam.  The movie makes a good companion to Robert Altman’s M*A*S*H, in that it contrasts the good humor of the soldiers and silly antics at base camp with the confusion and fear that results when the bombs and bullets fly. This is a supremely entertaining slice of life at war story, and since few films about Vietnam talk about the experience of allied countries other than the USA, it is a unique viewpoint to explore.

221. Born on the 4th of July (1989)

Ron Kovic served his country in Vietnam as a Marine Sergeant, that is until he was paralyzed from the chest down. After a horrifying stay in the horribly underfunded and unsanitary Veteran’s hospital, Kovic came home facing a bitterly divided nation. After years of soul searching, he began to see the absurdity of the Vietnam War and became an active anti-war activist. While Born on the Forth of July features many of Oliver Stone’s trademark over-the-top elements, the real soul of the movie belongs to Tom Cruise. This is without a doubt Cruise’s all time best performance, completely disappearing into Kovic’s character. The film also has some of Stone’s most gripping visual moments, thanks to the cinematography of Robert Richardson.

222. The Boys in Company C (1978)

After viewing this darkly satirical war film, you might be left wondering whether Stanley Kubrick got sued for Full Metal Jacket. Indeed this film came out 9 years earlier and bears more than a striking resemblance. Like Jacket, the film opens with a group of new recruits entering Marine training during the Vietnam War, and we are introduced to foul-mouthed Drill Sergeants, one of whom played by none other than R. Lee Ermey. The film then moves to Vietnam where the recruits discover the grim and disturbing life of soldiering is even worse than they expected.

223. Hearts and Minds (1974)

This documentary about the Vietnam War was a huge deal when it came out, with unprecedented and unvarnished interviews and footage of the war and the people involved in the war. This was one of the first significant anti-Vietnam documentaries to see popular notice. This film makes the strongest case against the War in Vietnam that you’re bound to see. The film’s chief flaw, though, is it pushes the envelope a bit past pure documentary into propaganda. Some of the interviews and footage shown feels carefully edited or placed into a context to convey the filmmaker’s point of view. While it is important that a documentary has something to say, and even though I personally tend to agree with this filmmaker’s stance on the war, there wasn’t a need to manipulate things as far as was done here, it feels disingenuous. The movie is nevertheless extraordinarily powerful, and the footage that speaks for itself is evidence enough to support the filmmaker’s case.

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The Strange Woman (1946) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/the-strange-woman-1946-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/the-strange-woman-1946-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Thu, 20 Jul 2017 12:15:52 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102222 By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) – Hedy Lamarr was one of the most beautiful and versatile actresses that Hollywood has ever known. She has played a variety of roles ranging from Joan of Arc in The Story of Mankind (1957) to Delilah in Samson and Delilah (1949). With such beauty and talent, it would seem …

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By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –

Hedy Lamarr was one of the most beautiful and versatile actresses that Hollywood has ever known. She has played a variety of roles ranging from Joan of Arc in The Story of Mankind (1957) to Delilah in Samson and Delilah (1949). With such beauty and talent, it would seem very strange that Lamarr would have the starring role in a film called The Strange Woman (1946). Nevertheless, Lamarr is definitely the star of this Film Noir classic.

A Toast

Because of Hedy Lamarr’s undeniable beauty, she radiates throughout the entire film. She might have been in a role as the plain and ordinary-named “Jenny,” but Jenny looks fantastic as a strange and manipulative woman in 1820s New England. Lamarr wears beautiful costumes throughout the picture, and she executes the role very well by bringing Jenny Hager to life out of the pages of Ben Ames Williams’s original novel. This film really is one of Hedy Lamarr’s best films.

Beer Two

In spite of Lamarr’s strong presence on-screen, there is a major plot hole in this film. Jenny Hager is a character born in Bangor, Maine, but her character has a strong Austrian accent. That is a type of plot hole that has occurred numerous times in film history because filmmakers have a tendency to cast stars with big names in order to attract audiences. Even with that slight error in casting a major star, her portrayal of Jenny is still one of Hedy Lamarr’s best film performances.

Verdict

Film Noir was very popular in the 1940s. It led to some great cinematic achievements, like The Maltese Falcon (1941), as well as some mediocre pictures like Guest in the House (1944). Hedy Lamarr had many strong roles during the 1940s and 1950s, and this film contains some of her best work. It might not be one of the greatest films in the film-noir genre, but it is still an interesting film about the roles that women play in society as a whole. Jenny Hager might not be the most admirable character in both literary and film history, but it did allow Hedy Lamarr to showcase her acting skills.

The Strange Woman (1946) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever there is water on-screen (including rain and rivers)

Take a Drink: every times the characters say the name “Mr. Poster.”

Drink a Shot: every time Jenny is mentioned by name

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Virtual Pub 217: Valerian & the Podcast of 1000 topics http://movieboozer.com/articles/virtual-pub-217-valerian-podcast-1000-topics http://movieboozer.com/articles/virtual-pub-217-valerian-podcast-1000-topics#respond Thu, 20 Jul 2017 03:00:52 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102411 This week Valerian & the City of 1000 Planets is discussed alongside The Big Sick, The Little Hours, Fletch, plus a tribute to the late George Romero and Martin Landau.  

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This week Valerian & the City of 1000 Planets is discussed alongside The Big Sick, The Little Hours, Fletch, plus a tribute to the late George Romero and Martin Landau.

 

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The Big Sick (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/big-sick-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/big-sick-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Wed, 19 Jul 2017 12:15:07 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102317 By: Henry J. Fromage (A Toast) – The films Judd Apatow produces don’t often feel like they should be comedies, tackling subjects like unplanned pregnancies, mid-life crises, professional malaise, and other straight dramatic territory. Being a virgin at 40 years old. The Big Sick might take the cake, though.  Based on the real-life relationship of comedian and …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (A Toast) –

The films Judd Apatow produces don’t often feel like they should be comedies, tackling subjects like unplanned pregnancies, mid-life crises, professional malaise, and other straight dramatic territory.

Being a virgin at 40 years old.

The Big Sick might take the cake, though.  Based on the real-life relationship of comedian and entertainers Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon, the film covers their meet cute.  You know, comedy show heckling, classic horror movies, breaking up because your boyfriend’s Pakistani family would ostracize him if he doesn’t enter into an arranged marriage with an ethnically appropriate woman, being the only one available to sign off on putting your ex-girlfriend into a medically induced coma… you know, the usual stuff.

A Toast

What makes The Big Sick such a resounding success is that its incredibly true to life because it was incredibly true to life, and Nanjiani and Gordon find a way to tell their story authentically while still delivering all of those other hallmarks of a top of the line Apatow production- both the entirely effective drama and plenty of laughs delivered both by the protagonists (played by Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan), their parents (Anupam Kher and Zenobia Shroff & Holly Hunter and Ray Romano respectively), and a cast of comic ringers that all steal whatever scenes they can wrest away from the main crew (Aidy Bryant, Kurt Braunohler, and especially the winningly toxic Bo Burnham).

Didn’t this guy used to be on MTV or Disney or something?

In particular, the film becomes something uniquely interesting after the meet cute has become a nightmare and Nanjiani is thrust into contact with Gordon’s parents and begins to form a strange relationship with them as they navigate the hospital waiting room life together.  When, spoiler alert, she wakes up, the film doesn’t shy away from those harsh truths either- her parents may like her ex just fine, but she’s been asleep this whole time, and the last time she interacted with him they were explosively breaking up.  It’s… a little much to handle.

The cultural specificity of Nanjiani’s experience growing up the son of a traditional Pakistani family is also extremely engaging.  Despite covering some of the same territory that Aziz Ansari has in his own excellent Master of None, Nanjiani’s struggles are quite distinct in and of themselves, and for anybody with a complaint of familiarity, I congratulate you on the only action film you’ve ever watched- Die Hard, and the only horror film you’ve ever watched- Halloween.   You’ve made nothing but good choices with your life.

I agree, who needs more Rock n’ Roll when you have Chuck Berry?

Verdict

The Big Sick resurrects that old Apatow production magic, melding heart and humor in the proportions that recall their best work.

The Big Sick (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for every stand-up scene

Take a Drink: for film seen or film referenced

Take a Drink: for every visit to the hospital

Take a Drink: every time Chris gets ragged on

Do a Shot: whenever Kumail is told he’s kicked out of the family

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365 Days of Movies- Henry J. Fromage Edition- Week 28 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-of-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-28 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-of-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-28#respond Tue, 18 Jul 2017 17:15:22 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102309 By: Henry J. Fromage – Back from vacation, it was time to catch up on all of those worthwhile theater movies that have started to pop up all of a sudden. 158. The Big Sick I was expecting something a bit more up the middle- it’s really been awhile since Apatow Productions have hit one …

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By: Henry J. Fromage –

Back from vacation, it was time to catch up on all of those worthwhile theater movies that have started to pop up all of a sudden.

158. The Big Sick

I was expecting something a bit more up the middle- it’s really been awhile since Apatow Productions have hit one out of the park- so I was unprepared for how much I would truly enjoy this true life story of a relationship blossoming in about the worst of situations possible.  It’s hard to come back from breaking up with a girl, then putting her in a coma (the medically induced kind, because it was an emergency and there was nobody else around to sign off on this life-saving measure, but still…).  Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon spin gold out of their unique meet cute story, as well as the travails of convincing one set of parents that you’re not the bad guy their daughter convinced them you were before the whole coma thing, and another set to go against centuries of tradition and not kick their son out of the family for daring to marry a white woman instead of a nice arranged marriage with a good Pakistani girl.

159. The Beguiled (2017)

Make no mistake, this is a Sofia Coppola film, and I couldn’t be happier with that fact.  Taking some pretty salacious source material (see bellow) and turning it into both a subtle and astute study in several female psychologies and a crackling thriller is worthy of the Best Director accolades Coppola secured at Cannes.  Perhaps a bit slow for some, and a bit unwieldy in a scene or two, but overall a case study in remaking a film without changing anything flagrant, but still producing an entirely different experience, tone, and theme.

160. The Beguiled (1971)

The Don Siegel original pretty much opens with a wounded and bloodied Clint Eastwood telling his twelve year old discoverer “old enough for kisses!” and planting one smack on her, again, twelve year old lips.  Yeah, this isn’t the first film I would’ve expected a Sofia Coppola to remake, as in its original form it’s very much a bold, stylish (moreso than Coppola’s feature), anti-War (ditto), and perhaps excessively masculine vision of a story primarily about women… and the likely fox that has entered the henhouse.  I think Siegel could have gone a tad further with Eastwood’s character in the end, but still liked this for what it was, entire lack of political correctness be damned (although another note- this one does include a slave character, which Coppola curiously avoids entirely, written well and acted to great impact by Mae Mercer).

161. Baby Driver

This is what Edgar Wright does- remix a veritable smorgasbord of pop culture cues and references into a blindingly cool amalgam of style and pizzazz.  Baby Driver has all of that in spades, essentially a musical of percussive action and idiosyncratic soundtrack choices that does feel like a step in a different direction for Wright.  This is an action film, first and foremost, with comedy an accent, not the whole cloth.  And, as such, it’s as effective an entertainment as Scott Pilgrim (although I’ll have to watch this a few more times to definitely state it measures up to that one in my estimation).  It’s just too bad Wright didn’t have any real substance to bring to the table like in his Cornetto trilogy of films- or perhaps Simon Pegg & Nick Frost are fairly essential to that.  Still, very entertaining.

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Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/honey-i-shrunk-the-kids-1989-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/honey-i-shrunk-the-kids-1989-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Tue, 18 Jul 2017 12:15:56 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102256 By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) – Disney is oftentimes known for its animated classics.  After all, Walt Disney himself pioneered that genre when he made Snow White and the Seven Dwarves in 1937.  As the Disney studio was trying to diversify its films, though, its filmmakers began to experiment with live-action family flicks.  One of …

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By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –

Disney is oftentimes known for its animated classics.  After all, Walt Disney himself pioneered that genre when he made Snow White and the Seven Dwarves in 1937.  As the Disney studio was trying to diversify its films, though, its filmmakers began to experiment with live-action family flicks.  One of the most memorable films to have come from the 1980s was Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, and this film allowed Disney to try making a science-fiction film that would appeal to both kids and adults.

A Toast

The film actually features some very clever special and visual effects.  It even won a BAFTA for that particular category!  It seems a bit unfortunate that the Academy failed to acknowledge this film because it took a lot of filmmaking wizardry in order to make it look like the kids and teens in the film really did shrink into the size of insects.  The production team actually spent more than nine months creating a wide variety of props ranging from large blades of grass to a giant ant that would terrorize the children.  All of those months of hard work paid off, though, since the perilous situations that the kids undergo look shockingly realistic as they did their best to survive such horrific situations.

Beer Two

Even though this film is a family flick, it is not actually family-friendly.  There are suggestive comments, mildly profane terms scattered throughout the film, and a ton of action and adventure violence.  It is rather surprising that this is a Disney film since Disney is oftentimes labeled as a studio that would make films intended for very young children.  Then again, many critics question the innocence of Disney films, including The Little Mermaid, which coincidentally came out the same year as Honey, I Shrunk the Kids in 1989.  Perhaps Disney was trying to abandon its wholesome image as the studio began to expand in the late 1980s.

Verdict

The title of this film is iconic, and many film lovers are aware about the basic plot once they hear this particular title.  It might not be the greatest Disney live-action film ever made, but it did allow Disney to create a family film that is not an animated fairy tale.  Honey, I Shrunk the Kids will always remain a memorable picture because of the meticulous attention to detail used to make it look like a father actually did shrink his kids.

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever friends and neighbors label the Szalinskis as “weird.”

Take a Drink: during every reference to “French class.”

Drink a Shot: every time the kids have to deal with violence and peril after they shrank.

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Wish Upon (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/wish-upon-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/wish-upon-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Mon, 17 Jul 2017 12:15:11 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102378 By: Jenna Zine (Six Pack) – Clare Shannon (Joey King) is an awkward, unpopular teen whose life is changed when her dumpster-diving father, Jonathan (Ryan Phillippe), gifts her with an ornate box he dug out of the trash. She soon realizes this thrifty treasure possesses supernatural powers of granting wishes, but there’s a high price …

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By: Jenna Zine (Six Pack) –

Clare Shannon (Joey King) is an awkward, unpopular teen whose life is changed when her dumpster-diving father, Jonathan (Ryan Phillippe), gifts her with an ornate box he dug out of the trash. She soon realizes this thrifty treasure possesses supernatural powers of granting wishes, but there’s a high price to pay.

[Review contains loads of spoilers.]

A Toast

Ah, there’s nothing like the father/daughter bond, especially when said father is a hoarder who dives for trash and keeps his daughter living in the decrepit home where her mother/his wife hung herself in the attic. You know, the usual. So starts Wish Upon, a somewhat promising premise that disintegrates rapidly. The film tries, beginning with a flashback/dream sequence that shows Clare’s mother’s (Elisabeth Rohm as Johanna) suicide shortly after she disposes of an awkwardly wrapped item. What could it be, you guys? It’s a mystery! (No, it’s not. It’s the fucking box. But don’t worry, the movie will insult your intelligence; not only by making this plot point wildly obvious, it will also go out of its way to explain it to you several times.)

Forward to present-day Clare who, despite looking as cute as a button, is unpopular because her father has a habit of digging through the garbage in a massive dumpster that’s coincidentally situated across the street from her high school, in full view of her classmates. (As happy as I am to see Ryan Phillippe on the big screen again, he is wildly miscast in this role. Stubble on a male model visage does not exactly inspire audience-goers to think, “Oh, he obviously makes his living digging through junk.”) Her classmates’ nickname for her – get ready for it – is Dumpster Girl (how clever!), with the most popular gal in class often pelting her with leftover beverages. Despite her unsavory reputation, Clare has two kick-ass besties in the form of June (Shannon Purser, aka Barb from Stranger Things) and Meredith (Sydney Park), who serve as her support. But enough of the backstory; this is a “horror” film, so let’s get to the (lack of) gore! Conveniently there are seven deaths, plus six beers and one shot waiting for a drinking game. Someone must’ve been planning to end up on MovieBoozer!

Beer One/Death One comes shortly after Clare gets home from school after being tortured by queen bee Darcie (Josephine Langford), who almost ran over her on the way to class, threw cold coffee on her, and brawled with her in the cafeteria. Where were the teachers during all this? No one knows! Anyways, Jonathan has left a gift on her bed (he claims it’s a fancy bday present, but it was actually retrieved from a neighbor’s garbage can earlier that day) – an ornate box, one that Clare immediately cleaves to her chest while wishing Darcie would “just go rot.” The mystery box gets to work swiftly, striking Darcie with necrotizing fasciitis. Clare is exuberant, until she finds her sweet dog under the porch, dead. (At least we assume it’s the dog. All we see is a pile of fur with what looks like some canned beets nestled in the middle. Scary!)

Hmm… I wonder how badly this will ruin my life? [Photo Credit]

Beer Two

Clare takes a beat to mourn the dog her mother gave her as a child before moving on with the business of being a teen. Soon she’s musing to the box that she sure would like the most popular boy in school, Paul (Mitchell Slaggert), to fall madly in love with her. And gosh darn it, he does! At least, I think he did. All that happens with Paul is that he dumps his current fling, walks to Clare, says “hey,” and then barely interacts with her for most of the movie. Kids and their relationships these days! (There’s an obvious stalker plot “twist” towards the end, but it’s a bore.) This (not) hot & heavy connection comes at the price of her elderly uncle’s life (whom she also barely spends time with) before he slips in the tub, cracks his skull, and bleeds/drowns to death. Hey, tubs are tricky; it could happen to the best of us!

Beer Three

Somehow Jonathan and Clare are alerted to this tradgedy on the nightly news. (Senior Citizen Slips in Tub – Story at 5!) Jonathan ruminates that there’s no way either of them will be left a penny from this relative’s massive estate. But guess what? One touch from Clare to the trash genie and boom! – they’re living in a mansion, baby! (I guess grouchy Uncle August was happy to let them reside in filth rather than share his roomy digs while alive.) Clare is overjoyed at her turn of fortune and lavishes gifts on her friends while lapping up her new luxury. Meanwhile, across town, her former neighbor (a wasted cameo from Twin Peak’s Sherilyn Fenn as Mrs. Deluca) is getting mangled in the kitchen sink by her garbage disposal. Dinner shall be served cold at Casa Deluca tonight… and forever!

Will someone please explain why my agent agreed to put me in this film? [Photo Credit]

Beer Four

Not the brightest bulb, Clare still has not put two and two together of wishes coinciding with bizarre (albeit mainly inferred) gruesome deaths. Still, she is curious about the Chinese symbols on the box and enlists the help of her classmate Ryan (Ki Hong Lee), who takes her to his cousin’s fancy loft (Alice Lee as Gina) to get help with the translations. This is accomplished by Clare agreeing to compensate Gina by buying her wontons. Seriously. Alas, the wonton for information exchange is largely fruitless, with Gina promising to get back to Clare with more details soon. Girl, you just got played. Ton and run. Happens all the time.

Meanwhile, Clare, who now has vanquished the mean girls, nabbed the school hunk, and lives in a mansion, still wants more! Though she is “dating” Paul, she is still not accepted by the in-crowd, so she cradles the box, wishes for popularity, and dashes off to a party where everyone gives her a round of applause when she arrives. Well worth it for another soul to feed the box, if you ask me! For this, she sacrifices the life of Gina who is gored in her own loft by an art installation shaped like a bull after tripping on a rug. (I bet Gina’s last thought was, “I should’ve doubled that takeout order.”) Speaking of tripping, what was screenwriter Barbara Marshall on when she wrote this? I want some!

Presented with no explanation necessary. [Photo Credit]

Beer Five

Though her life is now virtually perfect, Clare continues to be embarrassed by her father, who still loves digging through trash with his buddy, Carl (Kevin Hanchard). (Geez, Clare – do you have to control everything? Let the man have his downtime!) You know what you do when you’re a teenage girl and you have seven wishes? You wish for your god damn dad to be cool. In this version of reality, cool means Jonathan going from crawling in garbage to playing sax in a living room band with Carl. Did I mention the one item Clare and her father moved into their new digs with was Jonathan’s jazz saxophone? Because who wouldn’t have guessed that.  Somehow this is less mortifying than dumpster diving to Clare, who invites June and Meredith over to watch her dad’s band practice. June declares Jonathan’s hot, “like Sriracha hot” and Clare finally feels proud.

Of course the stakes continue to rise. Clare has finally acknowledged the box to death ratio and confides in her friends. Her besties, rightly, tell her that she’s being a bad person and to cut it out. June is especially mystified by Clare’s shallow wishes, asking why she’s only been thinking of herself when she could’ve asked for world peace or the cure to cancer. Ugh, June – you are a wet blanket! Clare has everything she wants and that should be enough, so shut your mouth with your logic and compassion. By the way, it’s Meredith’s turn to bite the dust – plummeting to her death in a glass elevator. Going down, Mr. Tyler?

Beer Six

Girlfriend has two wishes left, but despite being schooled by Buddha/June and losing Meredith to a rising death toll, she still reaches for the box to wish that her mother had never committed suicide. (Um, she didn’t start there? I feel like I would take getting to see my mom again over a chaste fling with some hot dude – but it’s been a long time since I’ve been in high school, so my teen logic is rusty.) Shortly thereafter Clare’s mother, Johanna, is knocking on her bedroom door, asking her to come join the family for dinner. Clare is ecstatic. However her joy is short-lived when she sees Carl in their front yard, up in a tree with a chainsaw while her father directs what branches to cut from below. And… you guessed it. Carl drops the saw, and Jonathan meets a bloody end. That’s one way to quit a jazz band!

Clare is (finally!) now in a desperate tizzy to right things. She rushes to the box, claiming she knows how to beat it… by turning back time to before she became its owner. She wakes up the next day with her father, friends, and beloved dog all alive, ready to head to school and embrace being Dumpster Girl. However, with this seventh wish comes a seventh life. Clare gets taken out, Meet Joe Black style, and the box is passed along to another unsuspecting victim, the cycle unbroken. Take it from me, the box always wins.

Verdict

Sweet baby Jesus, who greenlit this project and then totally spaced they were making a horror film? This is the most toothless “scary” movie I have ever seen – it’s the Gerber food of flicks. I’m not sure who it’s intended for – perhaps an introduction to frights for 10-year olds? The scariest thing that happened during this entire experience was when a man sat one seat away from me in a nearly empty theater, proceeded to take his shoes off, and then put his bare feet on the seat in front of him. Now that’s terrifying. If you are at all interested in the plot and would like to see it done a million times better, revisit The Craft or the first installment of the Final Destination franchise

Wish Upon (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time someone dies. Or you think someone dies. Most of the deaths are set up, the camera pans away at what should be the most interesting/scary moment, and then returns to the scene of the crime.

Take a Drink: every time Jonathan and Carl go dumpster diving.

Take a Drink: every time Ryan Phillippe plays glorious, glorious jazz saxophone.

Take a Drink: whenever Shannon Purser/June is onscreen and you want to shout, “Justice for Barb!” #strangerthingsforever

Take a Drink: every time you ask yourself, “Why am I an adult watching a PG-Rated horror film? What has come of this genre; nay, this world?”

Take a Drink: every time you see a plot point coming from a mile away. 

Do a Shot: if you think the dog is the smartest character in this movie.

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New York Asian Film Festival: Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/vanishing-time-a-boy-who-returned-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/vanishing-time-a-boy-who-returned-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sun, 16 Jul 2017 12:15:31 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102034 By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) – I know I go on and on about the willingness of Korean directors to smash together disparate concepts that should never cohere, yet somehow do, so I won’t retread that for this film.  Instead, here’s the plot of Vanishing Time: Three preteen boys and a girl go into the …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –

I know I go on and on about the willingness of Korean directors to smash together disparate concepts that should never cohere, yet somehow do, so I won’t retread that for this film.  Instead, here’s the plot of Vanishing Time:

Three preteen boys and a girl go into the woods and find a cave with a glowing orb in it.  The girl is the last to exit the cave, and when she has, all three boys have disappeared.  She tells the story of the orb to adults who won’t listen, and whose attitude towards her changes sharply when the body of one of the boys is found buried in a playground.  A strange man accosts her in the woods, insisting he’s the boy she had a crush on, all growed up.  This somehow becomes a poignant tale of sci-fi, sacrifice, and romance, because of course it does.

It helps when the forest drifter looks like a boy-band model.

A Toast

It doesn’t take long for the film to settle into a Stranger Things vibe, which should catch the attention of fans of that show, aka everybody, apparently.

Vanishing Time goes very inventive places from there once it gets around to explaining its central mystery, and I won’t reveal the technique, but does great with a particular special effect that illustrates the predicament the main characters find themselves in.  This melds well with the more grounded plot of a town mourning for its missing children, and the real stickiness of the plot comes when the outside world learns of what happened, and misinterprets it catastrophically.  This isn’t all Spielbergian wonder or hard drama, but rather an interesting mix of the two.

Beer Two

Some of the genre-mixing doesn’t work so well.  The kids dabble in the occult (which doesn’t have any apparent connect with the rest of the pot, by the way), including a weird spirit-summoning scene that is scored with jaunty kids movie music… just some buddies making summer memories!

“That summer was a magical summer.  We learned so much about ourselves, and the tensile properties of cat intestines.”

Beer Three

When it comes to the big reveal, the technical execution of the world the characters find themselves in is never short of engaging, but after awhile you realize there’s not any apparent internal logic or structure to the rules of this place, which makes the stay there about as frustrating for you as for the characters.

Finally, there’ s a an odd teen girl wish fulfillment vibe to it in places that is, let’s say, interesting… considering what’s going on and the relative ages of those involved.  The ending especially can be easily misinterpreted as something a lot ickier.

Verdict

Vanishing Time is a high-concept sci-fi/coming of age tale that stakes a claim for Korea on yet another genre you never knew existed.

Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for notebooks

Take a Drink: for cryptic writing

Take a Drink: for the egg

Take a Drink: for things floating through the air

Do a Shot: for bizarre twists

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The Beguiled (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/beguiled-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/beguiled-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sat, 15 Jul 2017 18:15:31 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102316 By: Movie Snurb (Two Beers) – The Beguiled is about a school for girls in the South and one day while one girl is out looking for mushrooms she comes across a Union soldier. They decide to nurse the soldier back to health and then decide whether to let him go or turn him over …

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By: Movie Snurb (Two Beers) –

The Beguiled is about a school for girls in the South and one day while one girl is out looking for mushrooms she comes across a Union soldier. They decide to nurse the soldier back to health and then decide whether to let him go or turn him over to the Confederates. This decision starts to become harder and harder until the climax. The Beguiled is a brilliant slow burner that pays off in the end.

A Toast

Sofia Coppola is at the top of her game in this film. Every scene feels like it was meticulously rehearsed and redone until it was perfect. I liked her decision to not use a score. The music is very minimal and it works for the film. This made the audience attuned to every sound, piece of dialogue, and facial expression. Making the audience almost uneasy, which allows Sofia to play with the tension until the pot finally boils over. I definitely see a lot of awards headed Sofia’s way in this year’s awards circuit.

The cinematography is brilliant. The dimly lit sets were another tool Sofia used to keep pulling those tension wires tighter. People are almost taught by movies that bad things happen in the dark. So what bad thing is going to happen and when? This film is a slow build and the brilliant camerawork helps keep the tension tight. The film could fall apart and become boring, but the great camerawork, directing, and acting keep this slow burner engrossing until the very end.

The acting is also amazing, there’s really no weak role in the film. Elle Fanning is great, and Coppola and Kirsten Dunst’s pairing again is another homerun. Colin Farrell is wonderful as the poor Union soldier at the mercy of these Southern Women. Nicole Kidman is having a great year this year in TV and film and this might be her best role yet this year. She’s magnificent as Miss Martha, the head of this school for girls. Kidman’s ability to play equal parts Cold and Calculating and Compassionate was truly something to watch.

Sofia Coppola and Philippe Le Sourd’s (Director of Photography) ability to render the time period was truly brilliant. Also with the help of Stacey Battat’s costume design, they all made the film very authentic. It felt like we were dropped into the South during the Civil War. It was highly impressive to watch this, when some films could fall into the tropes of trying to render a certain time period. However, this felt much more like Barry Lyndon, where it almost seems like we are watching a living painting.

Beer Two

Colin Farrell did a great job in this film along with all of the other actors. However, I found his character to be annoying. I don’t know if that was Sofia’s decision because she wanted the audience to dislike him, but his irrationality towards the end was a little ridiculous.

Verdict

The Beguiled is a meticulously styled period drama. If I was a betting man, I’d bet you’ll see this film with a few Oscar nominations come February.

The Beguiled (2017) Drinking Game

Do a Shot: every time Corporal McBurney flirts with a one of the women.

Take a Drink: every time they play music for him.

Do a Shot: for every scene where they’re eating.

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Better Call Saul Renewed http://movieboozer.com/articles/better-call-saul-renewed http://movieboozer.com/articles/better-call-saul-renewed#respond Sat, 15 Jul 2017 16:15:16 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102353 The last episode of Better Call Saul’s season 3 aired on June 19th and left the show’s fans with a bit of a bitter taste. The last episode seemed to be the last one for one prominent star, whose character appeared to be killed off. Although Better Call Saul clearly defined its own identity, proving …

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The last episode of Better Call Saul’s season 3 aired on June 19th and left the show’s fans with a bit of a bitter taste. The last episode seemed to be the last one for one prominent star, whose character appeared to be killed off. Although Better Call Saul clearly defined its own identity, proving it can live on its own and not only be a prequel to Breaking Bad, season 3’s finale seemed to prepare the connection to Breaking Bad.

The question regarding the show’s renewal was on everyone’s lips. Will Better Call Saul be canceled? Will it be renewed so that we can build expectations towards season 4? AMC did not let the suspense go on for too long. At the end of June, the American cable and satellite television channel announced a new season of Breaking Bad’s prequel will be aired in 2018. Here is a brief review as well as some potential leads that would be developed in season 4:

Ignacio Varga alias Nacho

Nacho, a charismatic character who balances between good and evil, finally managed to fulfill his plan against Salamanca in order to protect his father.

In Breaking Bad, Season 2, Episode 8, when Walter and Jesse Pinkman threaten Saul Goodman, he said, “It was not me! It was Ignacio!”. Here is another proof of genius for Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, subtly inserting hundreds of links between the two series. But what happened in the meantime? Did Nacho take the place of Hector Salamanca after his attack? What role will Krazy-8 have? We hope that season 4 will show us its ascent and/or descent into hell.

Kim Wexler

This business woman is described by many as a model of righteousness, with an organized routine and flawless appearance. But, her struggle for perfection takes a sudden turn with the intense scene of her car crash in the 2nd to last episode of the season. The symbolism of all those sheets flying away can be interpreted as the end of her desire to always do well. This sudden twist in her character’s development might suggest she is ready to follow Jimmy. We are eager to see how this will roll out as well as when and how she will disappear from his life.

When Jimmy McGill turns into Saul Goodman

It is rather difficult to pinpoint the moment when Jimmy turns into Saul Goodman. His transformation is gradual, and it can actually be seen more as a surfacing of his real nature since he has always been attracted by cheating tricks and manipulation games. By the end of the season, he tries to make a point that there is no destiny and everything can be manipulated in life, including a Bingo or lottery game. If we are to trust Jimmy’s vision of life, you would never buy a EuroMillions ticket, no matter how appealing the jackpot would be.

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Trailer Reviews: War for the Planet of the Apes & Wish Upon http://movieboozer.com/articles/movie-trailer-reviews/trailer-reviews-war-planet-apes-wish-upon http://movieboozer.com/articles/movie-trailer-reviews/trailer-reviews-war-planet-apes-wish-upon#respond Sat, 15 Jul 2017 12:15:36 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102345 By: Hawk Ripjaw – I’m gonna take a wild guess and predict that the Rotten Tomatoes/Metacritic scores for Wish Upon are lower than the number of years I’ve been alive, and the scores for War for the Planet of the Apes are higher than the number of years I’ll live to see.   War for …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw –

I’m gonna take a wild guess and predict that the Rotten Tomatoes/Metacritic scores for Wish Upon are lower than the number of years I’ve been alive, and the scores for War for the Planet of the Apes are higher than the number of years I’ll live to see.

 

War for the Planet of the Apes

I was a petty man when I was a student of film studies. A bitter, petty man. As in, “I didn’t like Cloverfield very much, and I didn’t think Let Me In was a necessary remake, so fuck Matt Reeves and his movies.” Eventually, I told myself how stupid that is, especially since I enjoyed Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and it turns out I was missing out a seriously good movie in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. This is the kind of series you don’t see too much anymore: real, honest-to-god connective tissue between movies that share one concrete storyline. That fact alone is reason enough to see War, just so we can see that amazing CGI creation Caesar participate in the conclusion of his three-movie arc. 

Beer Prediction

While I’m pretty sure I wasn’t actually that vindictive, and just kind of didn’t get a chance to see Dawn theatrically, I’m at least glad I’m here now to.

 

Wish Upon

It took me several candid viewings of this trailer to figure out that the opening scene shows the mom’s body after she hanged herself, and not just a really tall person turning around to look at the girl.

Speaking of directors, one would be more justified to avoid Wish Upon for a number of verifiable reasons:

  1. It’s made by the guy that made Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. And The Butterfly Effect 2.
  2. It’s almost literally a Goosebumps story. And a Twilight Zone episode. And a movie called The Box. And the song “I Wish” from Into the Woods.
  3. It’s a horror movie whose main attraction is characters getting killed–and it’s rated PG-13.

It looks terrible, but there are reports that this is on a level of camp that makes me cancel weekend plans just to be sure I can experience it.  Learning this was the breath of fresh air I needed after all of these ridiculous high-quality movies that I enjoyed for actual reasons. It’s time to go back to the pain of what Hollywood is really about: taking your money and slapping you in the face for being stupid. And I love it

Look at the thumbnails for the trailers I get to choose from:

Those look like some quality shitty-horror-movie screams. I’m sold.

Beer Prediction

It’s going to be nice to hate something again.

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New York Asian Film Festival: A Quiet Dream (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/a-quiet-dream-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/a-quiet-dream-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Fri, 14 Jul 2017 12:15:30 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101911 By: Henry J. Fromage (Four Beers) – “A story about a young woman Ye-ri (Han Ye-ri) who runs a bar and takes care of her unconscious paralyzed father, and three men (Yang Ik-june, Park Jung-bum, Yoon Jong-bin) who frequent the bar trying without much success to win her heart. One day, Ye-ri asks what they dreamed …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Four Beers) –

“A story about a young woman Ye-ri (Han Ye-ri) who runs a bar and takes care of her unconscious paralyzed father, and three men (Yang Ik-june, Park Jung-bum, Yoon Jong-bin) who frequent the bar trying without much success to win her heart. One day, Ye-ri asks what they dreamed last night. While each of them tells their nightmares, Ye-ri tells them she had a dirty dream, making love to each of them.”

Hmmm.

Yep, that’s the wikipedia plot description, and the sum total of what I knew about this film going into it.  And that’s what you’re gonna get.

A Toast

At my most charitable, this kind of has a Clerks hangout vibe going, as the three characters do have some good back and forths as they chill and converse inanely in competent hand-held black and white compositions.  The randomness of the plot can be amusing, and trying to figure out how all this plot ties together is fairly engaging.

There’s also lots of talk of Chinese-Koreans, which the director is, and which have a second-class reputation, and North Korean defectors.  There’s probably some interesting societal commentary going on here running below the surface of my understanding, but it does add an element of interest nonetheless.

Beer Two

A Quiet Dream is verrry artsy- you know, the art school kinda artsy, in which random things happen, characters change on the fly, and nothing really adds up to anything plot-wise.  The ending in particular is full of significance apropos of nothing.  I won’t spoil it, but if you think of the top two most pretentious ways this film could end, then you’ve probably thought of both of the moves A Quiet Dream makes in the end.

Beer Three

Probably the main issue of the film is everyone’s a dick, well all of the male characters anyway.  All of them display varying degrees of super antisocial behavior, to the extent that it’s a very good question as to why this girl is still hanging out with these three guys at all.  Surely you can find somebody more worthwhile to hang out with, Yeri!

Beer Four

Along with those arthouse pretensions comes near-obligatory languid pacing- no plot to speak of means no forward momentum.

Verdict

A Quiet Dream is the type of film that always finds a place at your lesser film festivals and the final days of the big ones.  If that’s your thing…

A Quiet Dream (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for drinking

Take a Drink: for cats

Take a Drink: whenever Yeri gets hit on

Take a Drink: whenever anyone does anything dickish

Take a Drink: whenever North Korea is mentioned

Take a Drink: for the bathtub

Do a Shot: for each dream, if you can identify any of them

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365 Days of Movies- Henry J. Fromage Edition- Week 27 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-27 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-27#respond Thu, 13 Jul 2017 17:15:08 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102286 By: Henry J. Fromage – And now for the trip back from Korea for a long overdue vacation, so you know what that means- the same damn plane movies. 153. The Whole Truth This film was so aggressively courting that late-90s semi-prestige John Grisham adaptation image, right down to the poster and Keanu Reeves/Renee Zellweger/Jim …

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By: Henry J. Fromage –

And now for the trip back from Korea for a long overdue vacation, so you know what that means- the same damn plane movies.

153. The Whole Truth

This film was so aggressively courting that late-90s semi-prestige John Grisham adaptation image, right down to the poster and Keanu Reeves/Renee Zellweger/Jim Belushi cast, that I was originally taken in by it.  Make no mistake, though- this came out last year, and despite a couple decent courtroom and otherwise twists and turns, it’s ultimately a pale imitation of that subgenre’s very particular charms.

154. Monster Hunt

China’s biggest domestically-produced grosser ever is a flatulent CGI-fest in which, I’ll attempt to describe the plot, monster hunters track gelatinous CGI creatures which sometimes wear human skin that they get from… somewhere, but these monsters are good folks after all, certainly undeserving of an ultimate fate of being served in a super-exclusive restaurant.  Give it a chance, though, because despite the low-hanging comedy fruit, this is another genuinely weird and impressively progressive and pro-environmental/anti-rhino horn bullshit Chinese film along the lines of The Mermaid, in which it’s the ladies who are the competent ass-kickers and the doltish protagonist who ends up, well, pregnant with a monster egg.  China…wood? is sneaking up on Hollywood in more ways than one, folks.

155. Saving Mr. Wu

Another Chinese film, based on the real-life kidnapping of a movie star and the thrilling police investigation to locate him and catch his kidnappers before the worst occurs.  Boasting dual world-class performances by superstar Andy Lau and new face Wang Qianyuan as the devil-may-care kidnapper king, this is a fascinating film not just for the procedural elements and genuinely thrilling plot escalation, but also the context of crime in a country where death sentences seem like the default response to practically any category of crime.  Talk about having nothing to lose.

156. In the Forests of Siberia

This contemplative French film, in which a marketing executive gives up his old life to move to a remote cabin in Siberia adjacent to Lake Baikal, plays like a (somewhat) less doomed Into the Wild, and highlights to me just how much quality cinema is being produced world-wide that even a dedicated film festival-follower, Oscar Foreign Language Film devotee, and cinema-nut of all persuasions hasn’t heard of.  Buoyed by top-notch dual performances, the second of which is a Russian fugitive of the law who our protagonist finds a kinship in survival with, and gorgeous winter photography, if you happen across this one, give it a look.

157. Mother’s Day

Yep, scraping directly along the bottom of the barrel instead of doing something constructive like sleeping.  Gary Marshall went out just as he lived the last couple of decades of his Hollywood professional life- engaged so whole-heartedly in corn production that Iowans are trying to figure out if they can market 100% corn-based ethanol.  This film has a whiff of the deep, town-blanketing funk that such a factory would produce.  Only a Gary Marshall holiday film could so impressively combine stereotype and produce placement in a scene like an Indian mother drinking a Goose Island IPA apropos of nothing during a Skype conversation or a proud black woman sassily declaring “I think your daddy used his veteran’s discount at Pro Flowers!”.  It’s hard to get too angry at this, though, considering the whole post-mortem deal, and the fact that you can’t help but feeling that Marshall was 100% sincere in this “everybody just get along” creamed corn.

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Pygmalion (1938) Movie Review: Not Just a Greek Myth http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/pygmalion-1938-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/pygmalion-1938-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Thu, 13 Jul 2017 12:15:07 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102138 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – During the early stages of Hollywood history, censors did their best to remove as much inappropriate content as possible so that few people would be offended while watching films. Among the issues that they attempted to censor was poor language. It seems ironic, though, that a film made in …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

During the early stages of Hollywood history, censors did their best to remove as much inappropriate content as possible so that few people would be offended while watching films. Among the issues that they attempted to censor was poor language. It seems ironic, though, that a film made in 1938 would contain mild amounts of profanity. Then again, Pygmalion is no ordinary film because one of its main themes is the power of language. Leslie Howard and Wendy Hiller star in this beloved adaptation of Bernard Shaw’s famous play, which ultimately became one of the Best Picture nominees of that particular year.

A Toast

This is definitely one of the best film adaptations of any famous literary work. Bernard Shaw adapted his own play for the screen, and won the Oscar for it! He added new scenes, such as the ballroom scene, but those changes only enhance the film, which could possibly explain why he won the award that year. The film overall is a great adaptation because the story of Eliza Doolittle and Professor Henry Higgins translated well to the silver screen. Part of this achievement occurred thanks to the Oscar-nominated performances from Leslie Howard and Wendy Hiller. The film itself might not have won “Best Picture,” but it is still a very remarkable film.

Verdict

Bernard Shaw’s famous story about the flower girl transformed into a fair lady has enchanted audiences ever since the original play opened in 1914. The subsequent film adaptation is one of the greatest black-and-white films ever made. It also led to one of the greatest movie musicals of all time, which was the Best Picture winner My Fair Lady (1964). Both films contain mild amounts of profanity, but that is because language is one of the main themes that Shaw wanted to convey. It is actually a blessing that Pygmalion made it past the Hollywood censors so that audiences would be able to enjoy one of the greatest stories ever written.

Pygmalion (1938) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever Professor Henry Higgins is misogynistic

Take a Drink: every time Eliza Doolittle attempts to say, “The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plains.”

Take a Drink: every time Eliza Doolittle repeats the line, “I’m a good girl, I am!”

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Virtual Pub 216: Spider-Man Homecoming. Also Rutles, GLOW, Piranha, http://movieboozer.com/podcast/virtual-pub-216-spider-man-homecoming-baby-driver-also-rutles-glow-piranha http://movieboozer.com/podcast/virtual-pub-216-spider-man-homecoming-baby-driver-also-rutles-glow-piranha#respond Thu, 13 Jul 2017 03:14:11 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102314 This week the movieboozer crew talks Spider-Man, and also a host of older but good…er movies.

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This week the movieboozer crew talks Spider-Man, and also a host of older but good…er movies.

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New York Asian Film Festival: Fabricated City (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/fabricated-city-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/fabricated-city-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Wed, 12 Jul 2017 12:15:49 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101843 By: Henry J. Fromage (Four Beers) – Nobody slaps together disparate genres and tones quite like Korean cinema these days, making watching a Korean genre film with zero prior knowledge a truly unique experience. I have no idea what’s going on. Forbidden City really leans into the potential of this, opening with an incongruous scene that sort of …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Four Beers) –

Nobody slaps together disparate genres and tones quite like Korean cinema these days, making watching a Korean genre film with zero prior knowledge a truly unique experience.

I have no idea what’s going on.

Forbidden City really leans into the potential of this, opening with an incongruous scene that sort of demands I reveal as little as possible.  Let’s just say there’s action, crime, ludicrous twists, hacking, and revenge, among other awesomeness.

A Toast

Forbidden City‘s chief asset is its infectious energy, which evidences itself in many ways, from Ji Chang-wook’s star-making turn selling material that is often featherweight to the car and bone-crunching action to an approach to plotting that is simultaneously thrilling and bugnuts.  Often that crazy plotting and dialogue is nutty enough to work, from the souped up dong-cha (shit-car) car chases to Mr. Hairy, which is a character name every movie could use.

So much better name.

Beer Two

That insane sense of plot escalation can give you plot acceleration whiplash.  It’s like four different screenwriters made four different scripts and Fabricated City was frankensteined out of them, with an added rewrite to amp up the goofy humor.  It’s an odd mix.

Beer Three

To maintain a plot like this, characters need to acquire or reveal a particular set of skills awful damn fast.  Fighting, driving, hacking- everyone’s The Transporter whenever they need to be, which kills dramatic tension just a tad.  Also, if you can’t spot the true villain of the piece as soon as he shows up, you’re officially bad at movies.

Let’s just say, when Korean Mads Mikkelsen shows up you know what’s going down.

Beer Four

That opening scene relies on some pretty dodgy CGI, and, well, you’ll see how well it ties in and can determine for yourself whether that really accomplished anything.

Verdict

Fabricated City is a very energetic, often fun, and really ridiculous Korean genre smash-up that will entertain if you like that sort of thing.

Fabricated City (2016) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: “Mr. Hairy”

Take a Drink: for technical wizardry

Take a Drink: whenever someone drives the dong-cha (shit-car)

Take a Drink: whenever the gangsters show up

Do a Shot: for Minority Report computers

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Ken’s Movie Diary 2017 – Week 25 http://movieboozer.com/articles/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-25 http://movieboozer.com/articles/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-25#respond Tue, 11 Jul 2017 17:15:08 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102151 Weekly Update: More of my movie viewing choices from the last week! Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date- 203. Das Boot (1981) The harrowing journey of one U-Boat during WWII from beginning to end of their voyage. The film humanizes the daily struggles …

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Weekly Update: More of my movie viewing choices from the last week!

Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date-

203. Das Boot (1981)

The harrowing journey of one U-Boat during WWII from beginning to end of their voyage. The film humanizes the daily struggles of those whose only goal was survival in circumstances beyond their control. There are many submarine films out there, but Das Boot is arguably the one that best captures the desperate, cramped conditions of daily life for those on board. This is a fantastic film recommended for genre fans and art film fans alike.

204. King Rat (1965)

This dark and brooding war film tells the story of an enterprising internee of a Japanese Prisoner of War Camp during WWII. Whereas numerous officers and enlisted men at Changi Camp in Singapore are under a constant daily struggle for survival, Corporal King has found a niche in working the angles, bribing guards and selling items on the black market. As a result he and those close to him live somewhat comfortably, much to the chagrin of the rest of the prison population. The film is a notch darker than many prisoner of war films of the period, more cynical and unforgiving. Definitely worth a look for those wanting to explore a dimmer view of human nature.

205. The Raid (2011)

“Action-packed” is a pull-quote you see on just about every poster, and just as the poster above indicates, this film is fucking full of excitement.  But no amount of bluster is going to give away just how balls to the wall grungy and violent this wonderful genre gold is. The story is bloody simple; a SWAT team is moving in on a fortified apartment complex run by a notorious gangster and his private army. Things go horribly wrong and the surviving SWAT members are in for a battle of their lives.

206. Dersu Uzala (1975)

It is the early 1900s in far Eastern Russia, and a Captain of the Army is leading a mapping expedition. Deep in the wilderness and winter fast approaching, the expedition runs into Dersu Uzala, a hunter native of the area who joins as a guide and becomes invaluable. A strong friendship forms between the Captain and Dersu. The film is a beautiful story of friendship, and a parable for the encroachment of civilization in the wilderness.  Boasting gorgeous cinematography that gives David Lean a run for his money, Dersu Uzala was directed by Japanese master Akira Kurosawa, and this might one of his biggest visual accomplishments, particularly in dealing with natural scenery. As a fascinating aside, the film was made in the Soviet Union with mostly Soviet funds, as at the time Kurosawa was having trouble getting money in his home country. The film’s international acclaim resurrected his reputation after a series of setbacks and won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film, making it one of three the Soviet Union won.

207. Sanshiro Sugata (1943)

This debut film of Akira Kurosawa, Sanshiro Sugata is a solid debut for the filmmaker, representing many of the visual experiments that would make the director synonymous with the art of cinema. The story is quite simple, about an aspiring Judo student who contends more with himself than with any opponent on his way to becoming a master. It’s not quite as poetic or as measured in its pacing as later Kurosawa films, but is an extraordinary effort for a first time filmmaker destined to do great works.

208. Piranha (1978)

Director Joe Dante and Screenwriter John Sayles crafted the ultimate Jaws parody with this clever and gory horror flick about a Texas riverside community turned upside down by the release of mutated Piranhas into the waterway.  The filmmakers knew their audience and worked perfectly within the Roger Corman school of schlock, delivering the three B’s of B filmmaking (Boobs, Blood, and Beasts).  Give it a watch.

209. Stray Dog (1949)

When a rookie detective’s pistol is pick-pocketed on the train one day, the cop is humiliated, forced to confess the crime to his boss and face up to the shame. Determined to find the gun, he teams up with a veteran cop to investigate. Then people start turning up shot with bullets matching his pistol, making the situation even more desperate. Toshiro Mifune is excellent as the shamed cop who blames himself for every act performed by the criminal who took his gun. You feel his existential torment and self-doubt at every turn. As the veteran cop Takashi Shimura is a fantastic foil, taking on the role of the mentor/father figure for Mifune. One of Kurosawa’s early classics, this is essential viewing for Noir/Detective fans.

210. Drunken Angel (1948)

When Yakuza gangster Matsunaga (Toshiro Mifune) visits Dr. Sanada (Takashi Shimura) to treat a gunshot wound, the Doctor also diagnoses him with TB. Initially violent and incredulous, Matsunaga begins seeing Dr. Sanada regularly. Dr. Sanada doesn’t have the best bedside manner and the two spar verbally (and physically) with each other, but gradually a relationship develops. This film is widely considered director Akira Kurosawa’s first major artistic statement, and watching it all these years after its 1948 debut, I agree wholeheartedly. It explores the deplorable living conditions of postwar Japanese slum life and the challenges endured by those who live there. As a character study, it contrasts two irascible characters who share much in common, but choose to live differing lives from each other.

211. 55 Days at Peking (1963)

This film tells the story of a 55 day siege that occurred during the Boxer Rebellion in China at the turn of the 20th century.  A group of 11 nations had embassies in Peking held under constant attack by a severely anti-colonialist movement. While the movie has excellent production values and a solid cast, the film plods along with a weak screenplay that never really feels compelling.  Making matters worse, the film has aged terribly due to the filmmakers’ unfortunate decision to cast most Chinese speaking roles with White actors in makeup.  The result is a deeply flawed movie that is notable only for its production values, and is deeply offensive on many levels, which means it’s about as watchable as a Michael Bay movie.

212. Only Yesterday (1991)

Director Isao Takahata’s sensitive character drama tells the story of a 20 something woman who heads to the country for a vacation, with flashbacks of her 5th -grade self. As the film continues, it becomes clear she isn’t totally satisfied with all of her decisions she made as a youth, and wants to try a new direction, but isn’t sure how to start.  This is a very adult movie, not in terms of containing violence or sexual content, but rather dealing with subject matter that requires an adult perspective to fully understand.

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New York Asian Film Festival: The Truth Beneath (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/the-truth-beneath-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/the-truth-beneath-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Tue, 11 Jul 2017 12:15:55 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101844 By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) – If you’re watching a Korean murder mystery, then you should already know what you’re in for.  No straightforward, un-soul-scorching slick Hollywood crap here. Mehhhhhhhhh. Nope, The Truth Beneath proudly upholds the tradition of going as fucked up as possible.  The often misbehaving daughter from a political family goes missing on the …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –

If you’re watching a Korean murder mystery, then you should already know what you’re in for.  No straightforward, un-soul-scorching slick Hollywood crap here.

Mehhhhhhhhh.

Nope, The Truth Beneath proudly upholds the tradition of going as fucked up as possible.  The often misbehaving daughter from a political family goes missing on the eve of an election, forcing her parents to make some terrible choice about how to damage control while still searching for her.  As her mother (Son Ye-jin) delves further into the past of a daughter she barely knew, things get way more messed up from there.

A Toast

This film really goes for that messed up sweet spot with gusto- you will not be bored following its twists, turns, and stunning revelations.  The script’s toxic mix of politics and family dynamics, current ambitions and past indiscretions, almost feels like something that could factor into House of Cards pretty nicely someday.

You know Frank Underwood could do something with that.

Son delivers a nice performance at the center of all the craziness- a woman coming to terms with how little she understood her daughter and sinking into desperation and bitterness the longer she is missing.  Director Lee Kyoung-mi also delivers a finely polished film, with some neat freeze frame in motion tricks (you’ll know it when you see it) and even a frantic shaman scene that recalls that virtuosic witchcraft montage in The Wailing.

Beer Two

There are a few supernatural-leaning scenes that aren’t really incorporated very well into what’s otherwise a film seemingly committed to realism.  The hypnotism scene in particular seems an unnecessary plot shortcut, even if it is a bit cool in its execution.

Beer Three

The final twist or three of many really takes things too far.  When you realize how far these characters have come and how deeply they’ve sunk into villainy  at what motivation, it’s really hard to reconcile.  It’s the Scandal approach- if you keep your audience gasping, maybe they’ll miss how little of this adds up over time.

“I am your Mother and your Father, and I murdered them both!”

Verdict

The Truth Beneath is another nicely fucked up Korean murder drama with a bit too much commitment to twist-driven storytelling.

The Truth Beneath (2016) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for campaign posters

Take a Drink: for new evidence

Take a Drink: for hacking

Take a Drink: for flashbacks

Do a Shot: for dress-shirt jogging

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Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/spider-man-homecoming-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/spider-man-homecoming-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Mon, 10 Jul 2017 12:15:36 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102266 By: Christian Harding (Two Beers) – Given the increasingly accelerating rise in ‘geek/nerd’-friendly cinema within the blockbuster scene the 21st century, one of the most popular and profitable film series of this era has been the Spider-Man franchise. With his being among the most popular comic book properties of all time, multiple interpretations of the …

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By: Christian Harding (Two Beers) –

Given the increasingly accelerating rise in ‘geek/nerd’-friendly cinema within the blockbuster scene the 21st century, one of the most popular and profitable film series of this era has been the Spider-Man franchise. With his being among the most popular comic book properties of all time, multiple interpretations of the character are to be expected, of course. However, few would disagree that attempting to adapt the franchise for the big screen not once, not twice, but *three times* over a period of only fifteen years seems a bit excessive. But such are the demands of current blockbuster tentpole franchising, and here we have the third modern adaptation of the beloved webslinger.

What makes this one stand apart from the previous two versions, first portrayed by Tobey Maguire and then again years later by Andrew Garfield, is that this Spider-Man is officially part of the timeline and continuity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, something which many comic book fans have been asking for ever since the whole experiment kicked off with Iron Man back in 2008. And after a brief but memorable appearance in last year’s Captain America: Civil War, Tom Holland’s Spider-Man finally gets his own feature-length film to shine and prove to both Tony Stark and audiences all over the globe that he can carry his own solo-outing in Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Welp, this didn’t age very well.

A Toast

This might go without saying, but it needs to be addressed up front: Spider-Man: Homecoming is by far the best solo Spider-Man film since 2004’s Spider-Man 2. Of course, the middling level of film quality we’ve gotten from this franchise since then sort of puts a damper on that praise, but it just feels so good to finally have another one of these fall into the positive category for a change. Tonally, Homecoming comfortably fits in with the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe outings (unsurprising, since their flicks are known for a tonal and stylistic consistency maintained throughout all of them), and its more lightweight approach to the character and his world even compliments the attempted ‘high school comedy’ angle pretty well.

Apart from Tom Holland’s solid turn as the titular superhero in training (I’m not entirely confident declaring him as the best of the three actors to play Spidey just yet, but he still does a perfectly fine job of making the role his own and standing out from the rest), supporting players like Jacob Batalon, Tony Revolori, and Disney Channel alumni Zendaya all fare pretty well, and are dealt a solid balance of smart comedic writing while blending their own unique, likable personalities into their roles. Here’s hoping we get more out of them during inevitable future installments. Also worth mentioning is the villain du jour in Michael Keaton’s Vulture. While he doesn’t single-handedly solve Marvel’s villain problem (don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about), Keaton gives a solid turn in the role and has more than a few really memorable, intimidating moments to balance out the otherwise hokey looking Vulture suit.

Beer Two

For all that Spider-Man: Homecoming is really trying to distance itself from the previous installments in the franchise and be seen as its own singular interpretation of the Spider-Man universe, it sometimes can’t help but get bogged down with constant references and easter eggs to both Marvel characters and films of the past – the first twenty minutes or so in particular are dominated with these elements to a distracting degree, but they thankfully become less and less present (or at least noticeable) as the film goes on.

All that being said, I also give the creative minds behind the film a decent amount of credit for at least attempting to make Tony Stark’s presence herein somewhat tied into the plot, as well as making him a key part in Peter Parker’s emotional journey. It’s just that now that Spider-Man is officially a part of the MCU, it feels pretty redundant to be so reliant on references and canon-stroking to continue emphasizing his role in the grander scheme of things. This feels especially needless when considering that this one film also needs to shake off the memory of both Maguire and Garfield’s versions of the character on top of everything else. This might seem like an odd point to focus on, but hopefully they can at least balance all of these elements with better success in the upcoming installments.

*leans over to date and whispers* “…that’s Spider-Man…”

Verdict

On the whole, Spider-Man: Homecoming is a pretty rousing success, considering all it had to live up to. At the very least, it’s definitely the breath of fresh air this character needed so desperately after three wishy-washy at best solo films, and is just an all around entertaining film in its own right. While it doesn’t quite reach the heights of the first two Sam Raimi directed films, that’s almost an unfair standard to judge this interpretation of the character just yet, since we’re only at the beginning of his tenure. Judged on its own merits, it’s a solidly enjoyable flick and well worth checking out if you aren’t fatigued by the constant rebooting of the same characters time and time again.

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) Drinking Game

Do a Shot: for every cameo by an Avenger or other previously established Marvel character.

Do another Shot: whenever you spot a Marvel Easter-egg (and do one more if a character in the film acknowledges it).

Shotgun a Beer: for each reference to a past Spider-Man film and/or actor.

Pour a Glass Out: for the combined man-tears of both previous Spider-Man actors seeing their franchises continue without them.

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The Book of Henry (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/the-book-of-henry-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/the-book-of-henry-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sun, 09 Jul 2017 17:15:56 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102233 By: Hawk Ripjaw (Six Pack) – Before we get started, you should really watch the trailer for The Book of Henry. Still with me? Henry Carpenter (Jaeden Lieberher) is an absurdly smart 11-year old. He’s so smart, he creates Rube Goldberg machines in his science workshop (and not the cool ones, those stupid ones that …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw (Six Pack) –

Before we get started, you should really watch the trailer for The Book of Henry.

Still with me?

Henry Carpenter (Jaeden Lieberher) is an absurdly smart 11-year old. He’s so smart, he creates Rube Goldberg machines in his science workshop (and not the cool ones, those stupid ones that do something basic like put whipped cream on a cookie), already knows what an adult is trying to describe before they can put it into words, and balances the family’s bank account while his mom Susan (Naomi Watts) plays video games on the couch.

Wait, what the fuck?

Yes–possibly surpassing Eva Khatchadourian for Worst Mom Award, Susan plays video games all night, is consistently late to pick up her children, and likes to get drunk with her coworker Sheila (Sarah Silverman), taking advantage of Henry’s weird role as the proto-father figure of the unit. Next door lives Christina (Maddie Ziegler), a withdrawn, talented dancer for whom Henry has feelings. Henry soon learns that Christina is being abused nightly by her stepfather Glenn (Dean Norris). Calls to child protective services are useless, as Glenn is the police commissioner and the head of CPS is Glenn’s brother.

Then Henry gets a brain tumor and dies. An impossibly handsome and very tall neurosurgeon named Dr. Daniels (Lee Pace), who oversaw Henry’s brief stay in the hospital, starts to sort of be a love interest for Susan. Susan is more interested in a diary Henry left behind, which, along with some audio cassettes, will train Susan to become a sniper and kill Glenn.

Wait…what the fuck??

A Toast

Given the critical lambasting The Book is Henry is receiving, there is already heavy (and probably unsubstantiated) buzz that Colin Trevorrow will be terminated from Star Wars Episode IX in what is already referred to as “Tranking yourself”–a reference to Josh Trank’s transcendentally horrible Fantastic 4 reboot allegedly leading to his own removal from the Star Wars franchise. Ultimately, that’s not entirely fair to Trevorrow, who does well enough attempting to handle the script that’s been put in front of him.

Trevorrow pulls strong performances out of each of his actors, particularly Jacob Tremblay in a genuinely heart-breaking turn as surviving brother Peter. Unlikeable as she is as a character, Naomi Watts effectively conveys a grieving mother not just in elongated sequences of moping but in her brief, fruitless attempts to inject happiness into a day. Grief is painful, and The Book of Henry mostly handles it well–even when in the context of everything else it feels melodramatic. 

Beer Two

Quirky “smart kid outsmarts the adults” humor, cavity-inducing sweetness, and ridiculously overblown tragedy collide in a very ugly way multiple times in the movie, to the point where a scene that should be genuinely emotional is completely ruined moments later by a joke, or something comedic feels like it shouldn’t be funny. Everything is startlingly out of place, and none of the tones ever feel genuine. Then there are the moments that don’t even really know what they want to be. In the recordings Henry left behind, he injected pauses into his conversation, so that Susan could “talk back” to the recording. Is it supposed to be comedic or is it supposed to somber? If the movie knows, it’s not willing to say anything. 

Beer Three

If you watched the trailer above, you probably hit a point where you started wondering what the hell was going on. The movie isn’t dissimilar, with its insane sprint through the genres of quirky family comedy, misery porn, and revenge thriller, often in a matter of minutes. This is quite literally three different movies coexisting in the same space, and every time the movie feels like it’s going to go the sensible route for the plot, it goes for something completely else entirely.  It almost feels like the result of three different focus groups getting their notes mixed up when their three different couriers collided in the hall and dropped everything, and instead of trying to organize everything, they just shuffled it altogether into one structurally incoherent behemoth.

Beer Four

Henry is the “young savant” archetype cranked up until the knob breaks off. He’s the little asshole that when he’s not five steps ahead of the adults in the conversation, he’s correcting them and showing them how their pitiful adult mind is no match for him. He refers to his school principal by her first name and talks to her like he’s her police captain. He totally schools Dr. Daniels on the intricacies of his condition. There’s an irritating smugness to Henry that completely crosses the line of quirkiness into that distinct feeling of a young character being written by someone much older, completely detaching him from any reason to care about him and turning the tragedy of his death scene into soap opera fodder.

Beer Five

Henry’s mother doesn’t fare better: Susan is a comically terrible parent, with a distinct lack of usefulness to a degree usually reserved for a sitcom, while Silverman’s Sheila consistently convinces Susan to binge drink with her, even on a post-bender afternoon. Susan literally drags her kids to Sheila’s house to see why Sheila didn’t show up for work. Upon finding Sheila passed out in her backyard, Susan wakes her and takes roughly ten seconds to succumb to Sheila’s invitation to yet another drink. While Peter has some of the best moments of the movie in how he deals with the devastation of losing his role model, he finds other ways to be irritating, such as his genuine fear of sharks in the bathtub and a baffling third-act talent show performance that was probably meant to come across as charming, but really just indirectly suggests that Peter got the short end of the stick in the finite pool of Carpenter family intelligence.

Beer Six

*SPOILERS*

A very special final beer goes to the ending of the movie, which is so shockingly wrong-headed it’s actually kind of offensive. It ends with Susan adopting Christina, and suddenly all is well. While Henry didn’t care for a story Susan loved to read to her children, Christina loves it. Previously, it was established that Susan ends every night by asking her sons whether the door should be closed, and whether the nightlight should be on. They always give differing answers. The same question is asked once more at the end, but Christina and Peter both have the same response, which makes Susan happy and bizarrely suggests that Christina, finally at peace, has effectively replaced the tightly-wound Henry and created an equilibrium in the family that wasn’t there before. It conveniently, and insultingly, diminishes the dramatic heft of mourning for Henry.

*END SPOILERS*

Verdict

The Book of Henry is an amazingly misguided and tonally chaotic disaster, and easily one of the worst movies of the year. It’s outrageously terrible; the sort of madly scattershot concoction that may well be celebrated in the same circles that treasure The Room, Winter’s Tale, and The Boy Next Door in the coming years. It’s a fascinating exhibit of what not to do with a film, where even Trevorrow’s confident direction can’t overcome a script that almost feels like a  practical joke. While we shouldn’t be too worried about what Trevorrow will do with Star Wars, it’s hard not to have doubts. 

The Book of Henry (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Henry is smarter than an adult

Take a Drink: for every shift in tone

Do a Shot: whenever someone starts crying

Take a Drink: whenever someone does something shitty

Take a Drink: for each instance of Henry’s clairvoyance

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Trailer Review: Spider-Man: Homecoming http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-review-spider-man-homecoming http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-review-spider-man-homecoming#respond Sun, 09 Jul 2017 12:15:50 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102252 By: Hawk Ripjaw – Oh, it’s another Marvel superhero movie weekend. You know what that means: nothing else dares come out at the same time. Spider-Man: Homecoming This is probably one of the most important movies to come out this year. Not because there’s any political subtext (that we know of) or a character dying …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw –

Oh, it’s another Marvel superhero movie weekend. You know what that means: nothing else dares come out at the same time.

Spider-Man: Homecoming

This is probably one of the most important movies to come out this year. Not because there’s any political subtext (that we know of) or a character dying of a fatal disease–unless you count Sony’s relentless attempts at rebooting the Spider-Man franchise. At long last, Marvel is finally stepping in.

This is an insane business deal. Let’s just put it out there: Sony’s film division is falling apart. For every good movie they put out, they’ve got three bad ones. One of their “biggest projects” of the year is the fucking Emoji Movie. Spider-Man is all they have left. Marvel wants Spider-Man. Sony is definitely not giving Spider-Man up. So Marvel borrowed creative freedom for a Spider-Man movie that would tie into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Sony would both bankroll the movie and reap all of the profits. It’s a boost to Sony’s bank account and an even bigger boost to Marvel fandom. Everybody wins. As long as it’s good.

Beer Prediction

It has to be good. We Spider-Man fans can’t take another failure.

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Ken’s Movie Diary 2017 – Week 24 http://movieboozer.com/articles/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-24 http://movieboozer.com/articles/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-24#respond Sat, 08 Jul 2017 17:15:47 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101969 Weekly Update: Another week in hospital, another random bunch of streaming films watched. Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date- 194. Reel Injun (2009) This documentary traces the history of the American Indian as presented in cinema. Featuring interviews with Native American actors/directors and …

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Weekly Update: Another week in hospital, another random bunch of streaming films watched.

Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date-

194. Reel Injun (2009)

This documentary traces the history of the American Indian as presented in cinema. Featuring interviews with Native American actors/directors and other filmmakers with experience working alongside them, the story traces the myths and gets to the bottom of how Indians became a faceless antagonist in so many Westerns. The film also addresses the new wave of Indigenous cinema, where independent filmmakers have begun to spring up from various tribal communities. The film stays entertaining while also serving as an incredible historical and sociological document, essential viewing.

195. Damn the Defiant! (1962)

Inspired by one of the largest mutinies in the naval history, Damn the Defiant! tells the story of a British Naval frigate that undergoes a crew rebellion after their firm but fair captain is injured, turning command over to his sadistic executive officer. Films about mutinies all have pretty much the same flow to them; this is no exception, but Alec Guinness’ solid lead performance keeps things fresh.  Those looking for a film depicting life in the age of sail could do worse than this.

196. Becoming Bond (2017)

Less a “documentary” and more a “docu-drama”, George Lazenby gives the filmmakers his best anecdotes from his childhood and various careers leading up to his work on his one and only film in the James Bond franchise. He worked as a Used Car Salesman and Male Supermodel before essentially conning his way into the Bond role.  At least that’s how he tells it.  The film reenact’s Lazenby’s stories using actors and the result is a very amusing look at Lazenby’s life.  One does get the sense that many of his stories are apocryphal, or at least considerably exaggerated for comedic effect, but the stories are so fun to listen to that it’s hard to split hairs.

197. Twelve Years a Slave: Solomon Northup’s Odyssey (1984)

Avery Brooks, who would gain further notoriety as Captain Benjamin Sisko in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, is cast as the titular hero of this strange story of a kidnapped freeman forced into slavery in the early 1800s.  The film is not dissimilar to the more recent bigger budget adaptation of the same story, but the dialogue and presentation are far less polished.  The normally dependable Brooks seems to have been under the impression he was on stage, because his performance is far too showy for the material. He’s always been a stage-oriented performer, but things are pushed a bit too far here. It is good that Steve McQueen chose this story to re-do, because this was clearly something that needed to be given a stronger presentation.

198. The Brave One (1956)

This sweet fable won an Academy Award in the 1950s for Best Writing.  I’m not sure that’s a fair assessment of the material, and the film’s reputation has probably been blown up even more by the fact that the blacklisted Dalton Trumbo worked on it under a pseudonym.  This is really just a nice little story of a boy and the bull he raises from a calf, and his struggle to keep his pet from being taken to the bull ring.  There’s nothing showy about the movie, and the writing is pretty unremarkable.  But its solid family entertainment, particularly the excellently filmed bullfighting sequences.

199. Hated: GG Allin and the Murder Junkies (1993)

Rocker G.G. Allin was inarguably the living definition of “punk” rocker, famous for his violent onstage outbursts, usually against his audience. He’d strip himself naked, urinate/defecate on stage, and beat himself bloody with the microphone. Director Todd Phillips explores Allin’s appeal, and with interviews with Allin himself and those close to him, a picture develops of a truly mentally unbalanced individual. Phillips clearly empathizes with Allin, and might even buy into some of his statements about Allin’s “greatness”. But I found myself feeling sorrier for Allin than anything else.

200. Forbidden Zone (1980)

Randy Elfman, then-leader of Oingo Boingo, set out to make this the band’s definitive statement of their famously eccentric stage show. With a cast of misfits and using sets that feel somewhere between German Expressionist and High School Stage play, the film tells an incomprehensible story which is somehow never less than fascinating to watch. It is challenging sometimes to discern what here was a technical mistake and what was actually an intentional decision. The hard R-Rated Alice in Wonderland-like atmosphere here has an audience that will embrace it, though.

201. The Molly Maguires (1970)

Sean Connery and Richard Harris star in this story of a coal mining town in the midst of a series of terrorist attacks.  Connery is the head of an organization known as the Molly Maguires, who use terrorist action to fight against the injustices miners have been experiencing at the hands of the company town. Harris plays an agent of the company hired to infiltrate the Maguires and catch them red-handed. The film deals with the moral quandary of terrorist action for a cause, and asks you to make up your own decisions as to who was on the side of right, if any were to begin with.

202. Class of 1984 (1982)

A hilariously campy 80s nightmare scenario, in which the teenage population become so dangerous that they essentially control the schools themselves. Teachers are besieged and outnumbered against the hordes of awful young human beings representing the future of America. It is up to one band class teacher to take on the students at their own game, and no phony liberal things like law and order are going to stop him. This is one of a series of Reagan Era panic movies that have aged into comedies.

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Cleopatra (1934) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/cleopatra-1934-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/cleopatra-1934-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sat, 08 Jul 2017 12:15:04 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102087 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – Cecil B. DeMille was one of the greatest producers from Hollywood’s Golden Era. He has produced numerous Best Picture winners and nominees, and has worked with some of the greatest film stars from that time period. DeMille was aware about the cinematic qualities of the famous historical tale of …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

Cecil B. DeMille was one of the greatest producers from Hollywood’s Golden Era. He has produced numerous Best Picture winners and nominees, and has worked with some of the greatest film stars from that time period. DeMille was aware about the cinematic qualities of the famous historical tale of Cleopatra, and created a Best Picture nominee that was only one hundred minutes long. The final result is a visually stunning black-and-white spectacle.

A Toast

This film features Oscar-winning cinematography and a fabulous performance by Claudette Colbert in the title role. Interestingly, Colbert won the Best Actress Oscar not for this film, but for the Best Picture winner It Happened One Night (1934). The overall design of the film is beautiful, such as the camerawork that captures the glamour of Cleopatra, including her famed golden barge. The costumes are also very stylish even though a “Best Costume Design” category did not exist at that time. Like many big-budget Hollywood productions, this film portrays the life and times of Cleopatra with sheer opulence.

Verdict

Cleopatra was one of the most important films made during the early stages of Hollywood history. It was made around the same time that censors were debating about what could (or should) be shown on-screen. It was one of three films made during the height of Colbert’s career (the other two being Imitation of Life and It Happened One Night). It was also the first Cleopatra film that received a Best Picture nomination until the highly controversial version came out in 1963. A fun fact is that this film did not inspire the Elizabeth Taylor epic because the 1963 version was actually a remake of the 1917 version. Nevertheless, Cleopatra (1934) is still a delightful Hollywood historical epic that is much shorter and simpler than one of the most scandalous films ever produced in cinematic history.

Cleopatra (1934) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever Cleopatra does anything romantic with Julius Caesar and/or Marc Antony

Take a Drink: every time Claudette Colbert wears a fabulous costume

Drink a Shot: whenever old-school Hollywood glamour appears on-screen, including the very mighty golden barge

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Personal Shopper (2016) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/personal-shopper-2016-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/personal-shopper-2016-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Fri, 07 Jul 2017 12:15:44 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102203 By: Christian Harding (A Toast) – Grief is one hell of an emotion. For those who have ever had the displeasure of finding themselves coping with it, the feeling can quite literally be indescribable; like experiencing the infamous ‘five stages of grief’ all at the exact same time, and with each one constantly competing for the most …

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By: Christian Harding (A Toast) –

Grief is one hell of an emotion. For those who have ever had the displeasure of finding themselves coping with it, the feeling can quite literally be indescribable; like experiencing the infamous ‘five stages of grief’ all at the exact same time, and with each one constantly competing for the most attention. So, with cinema being the powerful tool that it is – one of its greatest capabilities being the potential for subtly instilling empathy within the viewer – there seems to be no better avenue for exploring grief in its entire confounding splendor. And out of some bizarre cosmic coincidence, there’s been an influx during the last year of grief and mourning-centered films that have been getting made and released (think A Monster Calls and Jackie, among others). Yet another one of the most recent followers of this trend would be the French produced yet English-language psychological thriller Personal Shopper.

This film reunites the acting/directing partnership of Kirsten Stewart and Olivier Assayas, whose previous team-up resulted in heaps of critical accolades and global awards prospects for the both of them, the film in question being the satirical dramedy Butts of Sils Maria. With that in mind, this latest collaboration between the two had a lot to live up to, both for critics and audiences alike. So, in the humble opinion of this particular reviewer, they not only succeeded in matching their previous work, but might have even surpassed it with one of the most challenging and unusual horror genre hybrids we’ve seen in quite some time.

France-chester by the Sea.

A Toast

Plot-wise, I’m reluctant to get into it all that much. For the most part because there admittedly isn’t that much of a literal A to Z storyline going on here, but also because I wouldn’t dare reveal whatever surprises that the film does indeed hold in store. But to cover just the basics: the aforementioned K-Stew plays a young woman named Maureen living in Paris who works as a titular “personal shopper” (ask your hipster roommate who studied abroad in Paris for a year) for a fictional French celebrity. On the side, she also moonlights as a psychic medium who communicates with the spirits of the dead, and therefore hopes to make contact with the essence of her recently deceased twin brother. From there, Maureen finds herself getting involved with all manner of bizarre spiritual entities and things only proceed to get weirder, deadlier, and more supernatural as the film moves forward.

As indicated by my purposefully vague, brief plot summary, the impact and emotional toll of the grieving process no doubt plays a large role in the thematic elements of Personal Shopper. More than most films dealing with the subject matter, this one tackles it in a very understated, almost passive manner. So much so that it runs the risk of becoming alienating towards audiences less accustomed towards its slower, subtle direction; but the combination of intelligent screenwriting and cautious pacing allows for a lot of breathing room. The two manage to work hand in hand surprisingly well, making this one of the most unique and singular horror-lite films released this year.

Still a better love story than Twilight.

Verdict

Despite my raving about it throughout most of this review, I fully acknowledge that Personal Shopper won’t be for everyone. Most viewers will probably be drawn in by its slow, deliberate pace and be really impacted in the end, whereas others will might find it’s tone to be alienating and too languid to leave much of a lasting impact. The best suggestion I can give would be for you to find out for yourself and give it a shot if what I’ve described sounds in any way interesting to you. Even while recognizing how inaccessible it might be for some, there’s more than enough to recommend in here for even the most casual of viewers. Just don’t go in expecting a typical ghost story or some token weepy melodrama, and you should be just fine.

Personal Shopper (2016) Drinking Game

Do a Shot: every time Maureen encounters a ghost.

Do another Shot: whenever Maureen tries on Kyra’s clothes.

Shotgun a Beer: each time Maureen has a face to face conversation with Kyra.

Pour a Glass of Wine: for yet another sophisticated, albeit rather confounding depiction of grief on film – a seemingly recurring theme in the cinema of recent months.

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Despicable Me 3 (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/despicable-me-3-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/despicable-me-3-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Thu, 06 Jul 2017 12:15:44 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102208 By: Hawk Ripjaw (Four Beers) – Gru (Steve Carell) has mostly settled well into family life, now married to Lucy (Kristen Wiig) and still looking after his foster daughters Margo, Edith, and Agnes. They still work for the Anti-Villain League, and while they’re successful enough, Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker) outsmarts them, steals a priceless jewel, …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw (Four Beers) –

Gru (Steve Carell) has mostly settled well into family life, now married to Lucy (Kristen Wiig) and still looking after his foster daughters Margo, Edith, and Agnes. They still work for the Anti-Villain League, and while they’re successful enough, Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker) outsmarts them, steals a priceless jewel, and costs them their jobs. Bratt was a popular 80’s child star of a TV show in which he was the adorable villain, until puberty hit him hard. Now, Bratt intends to fulfill the nefarious designs of the character he used to play on TV. At the same time, Gru receives sudden word that he has a long-lost brother that he never knew: Dru (Carell), endowed with endless money and a significant head of hair to boot. Ironically, Dru has always craved the villain life, and wants Gru to teach him his ways. With Dru’s help, Gru can almost certainly retake the jewel and get back in the AVL’s good graces. During this time, the Minions, disillusioned with Gru’s new goodness, quit, promptly get arrested, and even more promptly rise to prison kingpin status. Lucy and the girls go about town, as Lucy attempts to settle into her role as a mother. Margo accidentally gets engaged. Agnes continues her search for a unicorn. Edith is largely forgotten. Nothing really seems to matter.

There’s also butts. Tons of butts. Men get their clothes blown away until they’re nude, faces get stuck in other people’s butts, power wedgies are given by bubble-gum balloons, and Minions flash their butts and even rub each other’s butts together.

A Toast

It’s par for the course for animated movies to look great now–heck, look at the startling jump in quality between The Nut Job and its sequel–but that doesn’t change the fact that this is another colorful, detailed animated movie that is just great to look at. The animation is colorful, expressive, and overblown, and occasionally treads into straight Looney Tunes territory during the Minions sequences. Nearly the entire thing is extremely silly and consistently juvenile. 

The voice cast is stellar, with new addition Trey Parker as Bratt being a standout. For all of the years Parker has been running his own show, literally, with South Park, he had never been approached to do work outside of his own umbrella. He sounds much like one of his characters from his main show, but he’s still clearly having a great time. 

Beer Two

Nearly all of the humor in Despicable Me 3 comes exclusively from the visual and physical comedy, while the script limps along with no purpose other than to guide the story to the next bright action sequence or family-friendly sex joke. The exception is nearly everything involving Bratt, which ironically is almost exclusively weird 80s references almost no child will come close to recognizing. This creates a weird schism when parents bring their children to Despicable Me 3 that wasn’t there with other slam-dunk animated adventures of the year. The Lego Batman Movie had broad appeal for all ages and inside jokes for devoted Bat-fans and Captain Underpants had a timeless immaturity in its nostalgia factor for the parents and freshness for the kids. Meanwhile, Bratt’s entire subplot will engage kids for the bright colors and leave them disinterested in a steady stream of 80s references. At least it’s a nice throwback for the rest of us.

Beer Three

Gru, Lucy, the girls, and the Minions together are a terrific melting pot of a family, with their differences endearingly making them a complete unit. To tamper with that recipe is to damage the overall dish, and Despicable Me 3 does just that. By the halfway point of the film, the Minions are off on their own, Gru and Dru are spending time together, and Lucy and the girls are around town. Ostensibly, the idea is to let Gru come to grips with his decision to no longer be a villain, and for Lucy to settle into her role as a mother, but not enough attention is given to the ensemble as a whole to play off of each other. Most notably is the exclusion of the Minions, consistently the funniest element of the franchise and here relegated to backseat status and maybe 20-30 minutes of overall screen time. Had they been removed entirely, they wouldn’t have affected the movie at all. It’s rare that this is a bad thing, and they deserved to have a larger and more integral role.

Beer Four

For all that it has going on, Despicable Me 3  is surprisingly, frustratingly forgettable. Two movies so far have laid some decent groundwork for a good family dymanic-cross-James Bond-style-shenanigans, but the threequel consistently comes up short in trying to find enough for its characters to do. There’s also a surprising lack of emotional resonance and impactful character arcs: previous films made some attempt at delivering some solid moments of character drama, but even threads that could lead to those moments in this installment stop at a single throwaway line and never explore any of the character growth that could come from it.

Verdict

It’s honestly difficult to dislike a movie that makes so many earnest attempts at cuteness like Despicable Me 3 does. It also boasts a lot of great slapstick and some old-school references that are funny, but feel misguided in terms of the target audience. Ultimately, it’s a likeable, oftentimes very funny, but deeply forgettable entry in a series of diminishing returns. That in itself is worrisome, given that Despicable Me 3 has already set the all-time record for widest US release in terms of number of locations (4,529), and is very likely going for another in terms of weekend gross. That means more sequels, but if Gru and company can’t find more exciting things to do with this world and its characters, it may be time to retire for good.

Still, a grown man getting his ass split by a giant bubblegum harness and being forced to sing “Happy Birthday” as he floats past an high-rise office party isn’t something you see in every summer animated movie.

Despicable Me (2017) Movie Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for every butt

Sip Your Drink: for every inflatable bubble gum bubble

Do a Shot: for every 80’s pop culture reference

Take a Drink: for every subtle sex joke

Take a Drink: every time you hear Trey Parker’s voice and think of a South Park character

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The House (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/house-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/house-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Wed, 05 Jul 2017 12:15:13 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102186 By: BabyRuth (Four Beers) – Happy long Fourth of July weekend! Those heading to the cinema for some summer movie fun may see a new comedy from the writer of Neighbors starring Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler and think “well, that’s a safe bet!” See what I did there? Unfortunately a safer bet would be staying …

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By: BabyRuth (Four Beers) –

Happy long Fourth of July weekend! Those heading to the cinema for some summer movie fun may see a new comedy from the writer of Neighbors starring Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler and think “well, that’s a safe bet!”

See what I did there?

Unfortunately a safer bet would be staying home and watching pretty much any other movie starring either of the two leads because The House craps out. And if you don’t understand gambling lingo, The House is just plain crap.

Scott and Kate Johansen (Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler) are upper middle class suburbanites getting ready to send their only child/“best friend” Alex (Ryan Simpkins) to her dream school, Bucknell University. After Alex’s scholarship unexpectedly falls through, Scott and Kate scramble to try to figure out another way to come up with the tuition.

Their wacky! friend Frank (Jason Mantzoukas) is also going through a rough time. His wife (Michaela Watkins) recently left him and he is facing foreclosure on the big, now empty home they once shared. After Scott, Kate, and Frank take a short trip to Vegas and lose big, they hatch a plan to turn Frank’s house into an underground casino. If the house always wins, why not be the house?

A Toast

It’s pretty impressive how despite a clever concept and a cast of some of the most reliable comedic actors working today, just how not funny this movie is. I don’t mean “not funny” in oh, I chuckled a few times, maybe worth a rental for background noise while folding laundry kind of way. I mean just not funny at all at any time throughout the entire thing. I didn’t laugh or even almost-laugh once.

To be nice, I’ll raise a glass to Jeremy Renner’s cameo.

Beer Two

Adlibbing in comedies is a lot like CGI in sci-fi: it works best in small doses to add to the final product, not when it is the entire product. It also is most effective when it is seamless.

I wouldn’t be surprised if every other page in the screenplay for The House is just the character’s name followed by “adlib here” with the rest blank. It’s incredibly lazy and no one seems to be trying very hard. In keeping with the gambling metaphors, it’s a lot like the actors are slot machines: pull after pull, never hitting, maybe getting a quarter back every now and then.

But I guess when the scripted “jokes” include teenage girls discussing when they plan to get date-raped, the writers were hoping the mere presence of Ferrell, Poehler, and  Mantzoukas (along with other established improv comedy vets like Nick Kroll, Rob Huebel, and Cedric Yarbrough. I’d also mention Michaela Watkins here but she is completely wasted. Hopefully someday she will get a role worthy of her talent.) would be enough to bring some laughs. It isn’t.

Minimal effort! Easy paycheck!

Beer Three

The only time this movie got any kind of reaction out of me was an unexpected bit of over-the-top bloodshed. And that reaction was a slight wince.

And then it happens several more times, getting more and more garish (and GWARish). It’s stupid and comes off as a last-ditch desperate attempt at humor as well as a means to  secure an R-rating, along with countless “fucks” and drug use, as is par for the course these days in comedies. zzzzzz

Beer Four

This movie is one of those cringefests about stupid dumm-dumms making stupid dumm-dumm decisions over and over. It starts with the Vegas trip (well, you could say it starts way before the Vegas trip with the parents not bothering to save any money for their daughter’s college education, despite appearing to be pretty well off with a nice home in a neighborhood where people have enough money to gamble away hundreds of thousands of dollars, but I digress). They miraculously get on a winning streak at the craps table and unbelievably get thisclose to making enough to pay for Alex’s entire education. Do they take the money–which would easily solve their tuition dilemma, at least in the short term—or, do they continue to stupidly and predictably let it ride until they lose it all? I’ll give you one guess.

Their stupid dumm-dumm decisions just get stupider from there and we care less and less about these stupid dumm-dumm people (which wasn’t a whole lot to begin with).

This is a huge problem because the characters never seem to be real people—and that’s before they morph into Casino spoofs (Amy of course, doing her “badass gangster lady” persona that she’s required to do at least once in every film). Even in a high-concept, absurd farce, there has to be some degree of believability and likability to the characters. Mantzoukas comes closest of the three main actors. Ferrell and Poehler are just Ferrell and Poehler phoning it in like a 12:45AM SNL sketch.

Verdict

The funniest thing to come out of The House is the story about Mariah Carey’s ill-fated (and cancelled) cameo.

You’re better off  going to the nearest casino and betting your movie ticket money on roulette. You’ll probably lose it, but at least it won’t take an excruciating hour and a half.

The House (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for every bottle of Stella Artois

Take a Drink: whenever a film or TV show is spoofed

Take a Drink: “HILARIOUS” EXCESSIVE GORE!

Take a Drink: for every slow-motion walk to a rap song

Take a Drink: every time Will Ferrell’s character has trouble with numbers

Take a Drink: when someone says “The Butcher”

Do a Shot: after you leave the theater and wonder why you didn’t see Baby Driver instead

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Okja (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/okja-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/okja-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Tue, 04 Jul 2017 12:15:50 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102169 By: Movie Snurb (A Toast) – The Mirando Corporation claims it has discovered a new species of super pig. However, you find out this pig was developed in one of their laboratories. They use this new species to develop 25 other pigs and will let them grow for 10 years. At the end of 10 …

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By: Movie Snurb (A Toast) –

The Mirando Corporation claims it has discovered a new species of super pig. However, you find out this pig was developed in one of their laboratories. They use this new species to develop 25 other pigs and will let them grow for 10 years. At the end of 10 years the farmer who has grown the largest pig will get to have their pig shown off at a big celebration in New York. A farmer and his daughter in South Korea end up winning. However, Mija the daughter doesn’t want Okja taken away so she travels to Seoul to stop the Mirando Corporation. While Okja travels to Seoul and then to New York she is captured by the ALF (Animal Liberation Front) who want to expose the real Mirando Corporation to the world. It’s a pulse-pounding trip that will have you on the edge of your seat, laughing & crying all at the same time.

A Toast

What I love about Bong Joon-ho’s films is they always have a concise message about important social and societal issues. The Host spoke about environmental issues and the dangers of not being cautious with how we treat the environment. Snowpiercer spoke about the treatment of people in different classes and whether it is ok to treat people differently or treat them as lesser because they have less or more. Okja is no different; this time his message is very clear about eating animals and whether it is ok to eat an animal. Aren’t we all God’s creatures? And if so, why are some eaten and treated to inhumane conditions so some of us can have bacon? It also has commentary about the fast-food industry. I read that Joon-ho became a a temporary vegan after visiting a slaughterhouse in Colorado. He wanted the slaughterhouse scene to be terrifying and to do so he needed to be exposed to the real thing. Bong Joon-ho is a very important modern filmmaker because he is able to concisely convey his message and is able to tell it to the world.

The acting is amazing in Okja, from Seo-Hyun Ahn as Mija to Paul Dano as the leader of ALF with quiet reserve to Jake Gyllenhaal as Johnny Wilcox, a neurotic TV Animal scientist who seems almost unhinged and had me laughing nearly every time he was on screen. However, of course Tilda Swinton is brilliant as Lucy and Nancy Mirando. Swinton is a true character actor who can carry a film at the same time. She seamlessly becomes a different character in every film she does. I like to think she is part chameleon because most times she becomes almost unrecognizable and she always pulls it off. I would expect nothing less from any of these actors and they all delivered. It is incredibly well acted.

Not many films can alternate tones between uproarious laughter and true sadness. Bong Joon-ho was able to manage several tonal shifts in Okja and not lose track of the overall tone of the film. I’ve seen several films that can’t figure out whether they want to be a comedy or drama, or action or comedy. Bong’s ability to have genuine comedic moments in a drama with moments that will tear your heart apart is unmatched.

Also the VFX is stunning in this film. They collaborated with Erik De Boer, who won an Oscar for the sensational work on Life of Pi. I was amazed with his work of Life of Pi, never being able to tell when they used a real tiger and when they used a CGI one. Okja looked real the entire film. It really helped when we finally arrive at the Slaughterhouse, it feels like we are watching real life animals being slaughtered. If the VFX were any less it would’ve distracted and lessened the impact of the film that Bong was striving for. However, the effects team nailed this film. I hope Okja is honored at the Oscars with a visual effects nomination.

Verdict

Okja is definitely the best thing Netflix has produced. It’s a blockbuster you can watch from your house, which is great because you’re going to need some tissues. It’s equal parts hilarious and horrifyingly sad. Okja is another home run from Bong Joon-ho and everyone should find some time to watch this film.

Okja (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Okja’s named is said.

Take a Drink: every time you cry or almost cry.

Do a Shot: for every super pig murdered.

Pound a Beer: for Gyllenhaal when his character is drunk and pouring his heart out.

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365 Days of Movies- Henry J. Fromage Edition- Week 26 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-of-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-26 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-of-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-26#respond Mon, 03 Jul 2017 17:15:32 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102132 By: Henry J. Fromage – I’m on my way to Korea for a long overdue vacation, so you know what that means- plane movies.  Mediocre, mediocre plane movies. 149. Okja Before decamping for Korea, I caught Bong Joon-ho’s latest, which has been pitched as some sort of marrying of The Host to Steven Spielberg-esque girl and her otherworldly …

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By: Henry J. Fromage –

I’m on my way to Korea for a long overdue vacation, so you know what that means- plane movies.  Mediocre, mediocre plane movies.

149. Okja

Before decamping for Korea, I caught Bong Joon-ho’s latest, which has been pitched as some sort of marrying of The Host to Steven Spielberg-esque girl and her otherworldly friend E.T. business.  I found this tale of a Korean girl and her GMO superpig vs. corporate bullies trying to profit off of it (wait, does Mirando sound like Monsanto to you, too?) to be a little on the nose and cloying from the story perspective, but just shy of brilliant from the filmcraft side.  You should definitely give it a watch if only to see Bong emulate Spielberg beautifully behind the camera.  The story, CGI farting hippopig, and the proudly bizarre, tonally insane performances by Tilda Swinton (dual manic Katie Perry/evil(-er?) Hilary Clinton) and Jake Gyllenhaal (Richard Simmons meets all the cocaine I’m sure Richard Simmons never did)… ehhh, take it or leave it.

150. Remember

This lean, mean thriller stars Christopher Plummer as the Alzheimer’s-ridden man on the trail of the one of four age-appropriate men who could have been the concentration camp guard from his and his Nazi-hunter friend’s Auschwitz past.  It’s as simple a setup as you could imagine, and I won’t say much more about the plot.  Some critics felt this could have been fashioned into the awards-type prestige picture that Atom Egoyan used to make, but for my money this stripped-down, excellently acted morality play/revenge tale works just fine as it is, all the way to the nasty, narratively efficient finish.

151. The Hollars

John Krasinksi directs himself in the kind of star-studded (seriously, everyone) city boy coming home to an unspecified Middle America full of tasteful indie tunes and kooky drama independent feature that might as well be a rubber stamp for the genre.  Despite that, the cast really is good, the tunes really are present, and with Margo Martindale as the more than capable anchor, the drama is dramatic enough.  Worth that plane or lazy afternoon TV watch, and keep some tissues handy.  It ‘gon get ya.

152. Happy Feet

Yep, I had to wait until a plane with no other options before I was ready to watch George Miller’s other franchise.  Hard to believe Mad Max and Happy Feet sprung from the mind of one man.  Like, near impossible to believe.  This won Best Animated Film over Monster House (and Cars, which was the only other nominee- it was a weird year for the category).   Watch this and Monster House again and tell me what you think.  Sweet like a mountain of Sweet & Low in a Syrup monsoon.  Meh.

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Baby Driver (2017) Movie Review: An Exhilarating Action-Musical http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/baby-driver-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/baby-driver-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Mon, 03 Jul 2017 12:15:03 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102157 By: Reel 127 (A Toast) – For those of you who haven’t seen an Edgar Wright film I’m going to go ahead and assume you have been living under a rock. But if you don’t know, he is a fantastic comedy director who is increasingly becoming mainstream in film, known for such films as Shaun …

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By: Reel 127 (A Toast) –

For those of you who haven’t seen an Edgar Wright film I’m going to go ahead and assume you have been living under a rock. But if you don’t know, he is a fantastic comedy director who is increasingly becoming mainstream in film, known for such films as Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. His latest project, Baby Driver is no exception in the director’s glowing track record.

The lack of British actors in this movie is a bit off-putting though.

Baby Driver is the story of Baby, a young getaway driver who wants to leave his life of crime behind. As a child, Baby was in an accident that caused him to get tinnitus. Now, to drown out the constant ringing in his ears he listens to music. The film very much uses this to its advantage when creating the soundtrack, helping to capture the perspective of Baby for the audience.

A Toast

The most notable thing about Baby Driver becomes apparent in the very first scene. It’s synchronization. So much of the movie works with the music it plays. Since the main character listens to music all the time we are really hearing and seeing the world in his perspective. But the coordination reaches an impressive level. Sure, in an action scene quick cuts can be used to cue up with beats in the song. However, even in slow moments it continues. There is a dinner scene towards the middle where Baby and Debora’s movements overtly sync up with points in the slower song playing.

Baby Driver avoids the pitfalls of song selection for movies. I feel as though there have been too many times I see a movie where a song is playing but it serves no purpose. It may be a cool song that people will know, but it does nothing to strength the scene it is used for. Baby Driver is so selective in its song choices that I found myself paying attention to song lyrics. Wright uses songs that not only blend with the scene to create the mood, but even having the lyrics, more than once, directly reference what is happening in the scene.

Any film that can successfully use Queen and the Beach Boys deserves an award.

Ansel Elgort gave a fantastic performance as Baby. He gave life to a mostly silent character through his body language and reactions. After seeing him in this movie I am very much looking forward to what else Elgort is capable of. Jon Hamm, Kevin Spacey, and Lily James as well all gave stellar performances. The cast was selected and directed masterfully, as all are able to do a good balance of comedy in addition to serious action. A trademark of Edgar Wright films.

Verdict

Is this movie flawless? Absolutely not. Jaime Foxx never felt very threatening like his character was meant to be, and more than once the film falls into terrible-action-editing-syndrome with lots of quick cuts that makes it impossible to follow. But with everything that is done so well for Baby Driver it is more than worth overlooking its flaws. This is definitely one of the better summer movies and worth the time and cost to see in theaters.

When the weakest part of your movie is Jaime Foxx,
you probably made a damn fine movie.

Baby Driver (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time a new song starts.

Take a Drink: every time car tires are screeching.

Take a Drink: for every pop culture reference.

Take a Drink: every time the tinnitus ringing can be heard.

Take a Drink: every time someone dies.

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New York Asian Film Festival: Ordinary Person (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/ordinary-person-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/ordinary-person-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sun, 02 Jul 2017 12:15:29 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101910 By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) – Perception is everything in politics, and managing that perception and diverting attention away from it is the first precept of damage control when scandal comes knocking.  And what better cover than a nice serial killer news frenzy? Ordinary Person is about a fairly ordinary, certainly far from incorruptible cop, Sung-jin (Son …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –

Perception is everything in politics, and managing that perception and diverting attention away from it is the first precept of damage control when scandal comes knocking.  And what better cover than a nice serial killer news frenzy?

Ordinary Person is about a fairly ordinary, certainly far from incorruptible cop, Sung-jin (Son Hyun-joo) in 1987 Korea who thinks he’s found himself a murderer, perhaps a serial one.  He soon realizes that if he plays his cards right, he may make exactly the powerful friends he needs to rise above his station.  But as his reporter buddy Jae-jin (Kim Sang-ho) constantly proves to him, this is one dirty game of poker.

A Toast

This film is suffused with interesting period detail- 1980s Korea is far from the modern day, but you see interesting vestiges here, and the political situation reminds you of how relatively recently this bastion of Asian democracy was under the thumb of a military dictatorship.

Sung-jin is an ordinary person indeed, seduced by power and privilege and all of the trappings of it.  He’s a bad cop who’s prepared to do what it takes to take care of his own, but who has a conscience, as unforgivably slow-activating as it is (hence, a beer to help you wait).  However, when he, and by proxy the film’s plot, get going, they really get going.  It may take nearly an hour, but the film’s third act is a maelstrom of betrayal, revenge, political double-dealing and backstabbing, and even uplift.  It even feels like the cinematography becomes more engaged and energetic.  The film finally builds to an interesting historical denouement, and ties everything into that struggle for democracy, the hard price paid for it, and its eventual reward.

Beer Two

It takes a good 30 minutes to figure out what this movie’s about, or what the driving plot motivators are anyway.  The ending also goes a very saccharine scene too long, after already wrapping up on the perfect note.

Beer Three

Sung-jin really stretches the definition of an identifiable protagonist- he does some truly heinous shit, and doesn’t seem terribly conflicted about it until too late in many cases.  Arguably his eventual conviction and action comes across more powerfully because of that, but also arguably he deserves everything that he gets.

Verdict

Ordinary Person is an interestingly conflicted tale of a bad cop drawn into a political game that may be too dirty even for his weak convictions.

Ordinary Person (2016) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for head slaps and other low-scale physical violence

Take a Drink: for eating

Take a Drink: whenever anyone says “Swifty”

Take a Drink: for foot chases

Take a Drink: for interrogations

Do a Shot: for dogs and hideous dog metaphors

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Trailer Reviews: Baby Driver, Despicable Me 3, & The House http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-baby-driver-despicable-me-3-the-house http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-baby-driver-despicable-me-3-the-house#respond Sat, 01 Jul 2017 18:15:01 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102135 By: Hawk Ripjaw – You ever get those weeks where you have two definite high-grossing movies, and one the studio clearly had no faith in?   Baby Driver This just looks too good. There is almost literally nothing in this trailer I don’t like. Gun to my head, maybe I’m not the biggest fan of …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw –

You ever get those weeks where you have two definite high-grossing movies, and one the studio clearly had no faith in?

 

Baby Driver

This just looks too good. There is almost literally nothing in this trailer I don’t like. Gun to my head, maybe I’m not the biggest fan of Lily James drawling like Jessica Simpson, but absolutely everything else seems amazing. So many awesome actors. Real car stunts. Edgar Wright’s signature visuals. A rhythm to the editing that moves like music. I’ve loved almost everything Edgar Wright has done, and I’ve anxiously been waiting for his newest movie. I don’t have anything else to say. I love the cast. The practical action is going to be sweet. The soundtrack is probably going to be better. It’s going to be fucking awesome. 

Beer Prediction

Now that this is out, can we stop crying about the apparent war crime that was Edgar Wright not getting to direct Ant-Man?

 

Despicable Me 3

The Despicable Me franchise is one that I don’t really think about much, and don’t really have much of any opinion on either way, but don’t exactly mind watching, either. The first one was pretty fun, the second one was a little bit disappointing, and I can barely remember a single thing about Minions. People seem to hate the minions, and I’m amazed I’m not one of them. I just feel like the kind of guy that would want to boot one of those little fuckers into a wood chipper. I think part of it is that they totally own how weird they are, and how they’ve quickly gone from goofy childlike mascots to aggressive, proto-sexual “if only they weren’t so adorable” cartoons. Somehow, Universal and Illumination figured this out and apparently significantly downscaled the presence of the Minions in this threequel, as while Gru and his sudden appearance of a completely opposite family member (a common thing in comedy sequels) jack around. Altogether, this seems like it’s going to be a little disjointed, but if it has enough of those filthy little goggle-wearing creatures I’ll give it a shot. 

Beer Prediction

This is the lowest-rated movie in the series. Who wants to ride this mine cart to see how low it goes?

 

The House

It’s starting to get scary to be a Will Ferrell fan. I don’t mean like I’m afraid of liking something everyone else is going to hate–I mean it’s difficult to love someone who keeps hurting you. Anchorman 2 promised a nostalgic sequel and kind of delivered, but it still felt kind of tired. Get Hard tries too hard, and Daddy’s Home is all sorts of uncomfortable, in all of the wrong ways. The House looks like all of those things. Granted, I didn’t hate any of those three films outright, and they’re not anywhere near what shit that Adam Sandler has started peddling, but for someone who loved all of those old Ferrell movies, I really want to like the new stuff he’s putting out. But for each movie that comes out, the concept becomes more basic. Now it’s diluted down to The House, which is a casino in a house. That’s it. It’s a simple concept, but it doesn’t expand and become more fun. At least, we think. I’ll still go to the theater to see Ferrell, until he breaks my heart completely. 

Beer Prediction

Let’s hope this isn’t the film to do it.

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Caesar and Cleopatra (1945) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/caesar-and-cleopatra-1945-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/caesar-and-cleopatra-1945-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sat, 01 Jul 2017 12:15:55 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102025 By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) – The story of Cleopatra is well-known. Her name itself reveals a historical world filled with romance, passion, and deception. William Shakespeare wrote about her in Antony and Cleopatra, and Joseph L. Mankiewicz made the iconic (but also infamous) version starring Elizabeth Taylor in 1963. A very different playwright, George …

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By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –

The story of Cleopatra is well-known. Her name itself reveals a historical world filled with romance, passion, and deception. William Shakespeare wrote about her in Antony and Cleopatra, and Joseph L. Mankiewicz made the iconic (but also infamous) version starring Elizabeth Taylor in 1963. A very different playwright, George Bernard Shaw, wrote about the love affair between Caesar and Cleopatra during the early Twentieth Century, and that play formed the basis for the 1945 film that features Claude Rains and Vivien Leigh in the title roles. This film might not be as famous as the Elizabeth Taylor version, but it is still an interesting take on the famous love story.

A Toast

This film has very beautiful production design (and earned an Academy Award nomination in that category as well!). The sets are well-designed, and showcase the ancient world populated by hundreds of Hollywood extras. Vivien Leigh might look glamorous in her make-up and costumes, but the true beauty comes from the craftsmanship that went into creating Cleopatra’s historical era. George Pascal was also famous (and infamous) with his attention to detail, so he actually imported sand from Egypt in order to get the right color to accurately show. Vivien Leigh has also said that filming took nine months since Pascal served as both the director and producer of this historical drama.

Beer Two

Even though Vivien Leigh won an Oscar for playing Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind, her take on Cleopatra is not exactly her best performance. The name “Cleopatra” implies power and seduction, but Leigh portrays her as if the Queen of Egypt was a silly and naïve little girl. Bernard Shaw even said that, “”She’s not right at all”. After making this film, Leigh would later go on to play Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire, and Caesar and Cleopatra was made almost exactly halfway between her two Academy Award victories. It is almost as if Leigh was more suitable for playing Southern belles instead of the famed Egyptian queen.

Verdict

Caesar and Cleopatra is not one of the most well-known versions of the famous love affair, but it is still an interesting portrayal of one of the most iconic women in world history. For many people, the first thought that comes to their minds when they hear the name “Cleopatra” is Elizabeth Taylor. Some people might also not even know that Vivien Leigh played Cleopatra because her name is synonymous with Scarlett O’Hara and Blanche DuBois. Perhaps this film was simply a misstep for George Pascal because of the inappropriate casting of an Oscar winner.

Caesar and Cleopatra (1945) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever Cleopatra squeals and behaves childishly

Take a Drink: whenever Julius Caesar is wearing laurel wreaths

Drink a Shot: every time Cleopatra calls out the name “Ftatateeta,” who is Cleopatra’s main servant

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Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/transformers-the-last-knight-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/transformers-the-last-knight-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Fri, 30 Jun 2017 12:15:43 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102040 By Felix Felicis and Hawk Ripjaw (Five Beers) – The sound you’re hearing right now is the shrieking of Michael’s last Baygasm in the Trans5mers franchise with the release of Last Knight: Sadly Not The Last Movie In The Extended Universe. You’re also hearing yours truly, Felix Felicis (Celebrity Kale Consultant) and Hawk Ripjaw (Professional Dumpster …

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By Felix Felicis and Hawk Ripjaw (Five Beers) –

The sound you’re hearing right now is the shrieking of Michael’s last Baygasm in the Trans5mers franchise with the release of Last Knight: Sadly Not The Last Movie In The Extended Universe. You’re also hearing yours truly, Felix Felicis (Celebrity Kale Consultant) and Hawk Ripjaw (Professional Dumpster Fire To The Stars) ugly crying into our cosmopolitans once again so that you, our booziest, most devotediest readers, won’t have to in a very special Felix-Ripjaw Debate Presents: Transformers: The Last Knight. This year we’ve mocked harder (Fifty Shades Darker) died inside faster (Wimpy Kid: The Long Hauland came out the other side covered in questionable amounts of buttered popcorn and salty self-loathing (The Mummy).

The duo that white-girl-drunk-cries together, writes together.

She Said: I made the impulsive, nay, epic, mistake last weekend to live-tweet ALL FOUR OF THE TRANS4MERS MOVIES before going to see Last Knight (thread seen here) and you’d know all about that, Hawk, because “Misery” loves company.

He Said: Isn’t that what we named the office hamster?

She Said: Misery is the name of my vodka bottle.

He Said: That makes more sense.

She Said: The closest thing I can describe to the unique, brain-meltingly-rancid pain is being locked in a room with a tornado full of dicks just repeatedly slapping you in the face over and over and over and over and- well, you get the point.

He Said: I TOLD YOU THAT SLEEPOVER STORY IN CONFIDENCE, FELIX.

She Said: GET IT, POINT?!

He Said: You’re the devil.

She Said: Well, YOU’RE welcome for that pun. Regardless, the binge had two results. One, an epic tweet storm chronicling my descent into madness. And two, it put my last functioning brain cell on life support long enough for me to watch Trans5mers without going absolutely, irrevocably bonkers.

He Said: That’s also up for debate.

That burn was next-level, bruh. Respect.

She Said: I’m honestly getting railroaded by seasonal allergies as I write this like Bill Cosby railroaded the justice system and my love of J-E-L-L-O so I’m not exactly coherent, but neither was the plot of Last Knight so tomato/torobot. We open on some thrilling narration trying to shoehorn Transformers into every era of history like I was trying to shoehorn my last scrap of dignity into a thimble when buying a ticket to Trans5mers this week. Something happens, something else happens, Mark Wahlberg gets chosen to be humanity’s Obi Wan Kenobi (have they SEEN 1996’s Fear?!? That’s not a great call, Earth. Hot science lady shows up to magic hands the robot lightsaber of doom and robot Medusa power trips Optimus Prime into douching out for a hot minute before Cade Yeagar saves Earth. For now. SAY THAT FIVES TIMES FAST. I dare you. I think I’ve covered all the basics because NOTHING IN THIS MOVIE MAKES ANY GODDAMN SENSE.

You try it, Hawk, I literally cannot even.

He Said: I got you. This latest installment begins in Medieval Times (the time period, not the restaurant), Bay-ified to within an inch of its life with massive explosions and ALSO GIANT ROBOTS. Merlin (Stanley Tucci again for some fucking reason) is given a staff which allows him to control a giant three-headed Transformers dragon. In the present day, the Earth is sort of a dystopian wasteland following four movies of Transformers action (but really only Chicago, because fuck Chicago. The rest of the world is fine). Cade Yeager lives in a junkyard where he houses some of the Transformers. His daughter isn’t in the movie for reasons so poorly explained I would put money on Nicola Peltz getting creeped out by how she was filmed in the last one. There’s also British Megan Fox Vivian Wembly (Laura Haddock), Academy Award Winner SIR Anthony Hopkins and his C-3PO butler, Optimus Prime turning evil because….he…wants t-to…help save Cybertron by literally…r-ramming the planets into each other, and, uh, the revelation th-that Earth is also a Transformer, um, and another revelation that the major figures across history protected the secret of–of the Transformers…..annnnd. Ummm. Fuck. There’s allso a 14-yearl0old gril that builldsss robits and John Turtletorro is en Cuba fr sm reeeeeeezn. N Wembly th lastt sur5ing mbr of Witwicky and staff of Merrrrrrrrrrrrrrline somth–killme.exe–

She Said: That’s the third time he’s exploded today.

A Toast

She Said: I was in a special circle of hell this week reserved for people who love watching Below Deck, hate kale, and happened to binge-tweet all four Transformers movies at once.

He Said: I mean, how crowded could that circle actually BE.

She Said: It’s a really specific circle.

He Said: So just you and like two people from Idaho?

She Said: That sounds about right and it lowered my expectations for Last Knight to subterranean levels and something weird happened. I didn’t loathe it.

He Said: But isn’t that basically like in ‘Princess Bride’ where Westley ingests small amounts of poison to become immune to it so he can drink the great big cup of poison when it’s placed in front of him? 

She Said: Absolutely, and in addition to continuing my search for the six-fingered man, let me also be clear that I would scoop my own eyeballs out with a rusty spork before attempting anything like that again (but the Stockholm Syndrome held on long enough for me to watch the flaming dumpster fire of cinema that was Last Knight and actually utter the phrase “well, it was better than the last one” out loud. In public.)

He Said: There is no “better” in the Transformers franchise. Just different shades of shit.

-Hawk and I basically any time we’re forced to watch a Transformers or Fifty Shades flick.

She Said: The baby dinosaurs were kind of cute, the product placement (limited to one really obvious Bud Light scene) almost restrained, and the fact that they attempted to give the female leads their own motivations and skill sets (kind of) almost admirable.

He Said: … Okay, I’ll agree with you on the product placement. At least the context felt right. 

She Said: The rest of it was about as painful as gargling acid meth in a room full of agitated badgers.

He Said: Agitated badgers… With chainsaws. And rectal thermometers. 

Gross but freakishly accurate.

Beer Two

She Said: There aren’t human words to describe the utter lack of anything resembling something that once gang-banged narrative logic in Last Knight but I’m gonna try.

He Said: Something got gang-banged in this movie, and I’m pretty sure it was the audience’s expectations. 

She Said: I never thought I would say this but Interstellar had a more grounded plotline.

He Said: Folks, that actually means something because if there’s one thing that Interstallar doesn’t have very much of, it’s the ground. 

She Said: And I still start screaming or typing in all caps when describing the fact THAT A BLACK HOLE AND THE LAWS OF PHYSICS ARE OVERCOME BY THE MOST POWERFUL FORCE IN THE UNIVERSE IF YOU GUESSED LOVE YOU’D BE RIGHT IT’S LOVE.

He Said: We talked about your problem with that word, right?

She Said: Sorry. But seriously. If your movie makes less sense than Interstellar you’ve got problems.

He Said: Last Knight’s got so many problems counting them all at once is literally a medical risk. 

She Said: It’s the damnedest thing, every time I try to lay out this twisted bag of ass-snakes and make an argument as to specifically HOW Last Knight screws the pooch five ways from a narrative Sunday, I pretty much get a nosebleed and black out so I’ll just say trust me you won’t understand a goddamn thing.

He Said: I’m told I go into a seizure every time the TV spot plays during Shark Tank. 

She Said: I honestly don’t think anyone involved with the writing of Last Knight took into account logic, or coherence, or long term memory, or- hahahaha just kidding this movie was written by cyborg cucumbers invading our planet with a mission to make us dumber (and easier to conquer) through the use of pop culture and I have to say at this point its Cyborg Cucumbers: 1/Humanity: 0.

He Said: They deserve way more points than that for what they’ve put us through. 

The more I think about this, the more I’m convinced I was brainwashed by that Trans4mers binge.

Beer Three

He Said: Either I’m getting older and wiser-

She Said: … Too easy.

He Said:or these movies are caring less and less about having actual dialogue.

She Said: There wasn’t so much “intelligent dialogue” in Last Knight as there were incoherent flashbacks and Powerpoint secret society slideshows with Anthony Hopkins trying his damnedest to throw shreds of plausible-narration-pasta at the audience-wall to see if he could get SOMETHING, anything to stick (shoehorned in-between two worlds colliding). That is not a metaphor, I repeat, NOT A METAPHOR.

He Said: It’s as if Trans5mers knows that we want good characters, and actively decides to punish us for asking for such a thing.

She Said: Blink and you’ll miss Last Knight try and convince you Abraham Lincoln was a member of a secret society keeping news of their robot overlords under wraps for CENTURIES.

He Said: It’s over two hours, literally, of people just trading expository dialogue back and forth, including a solid lifetime 20 minutes of Anthony Hopkins giving that TED Talk about Transformers.

She Said: I was born and I died during that Transformers TED Talk. My clone is writing this review in-between running errands for her new cyborg cucumber overlord.

He Said: For the same effect they could have just done a bunch of scrolling text and saved the money on Hopkins. 

She Said: Never forget recent cinema has ALSO tried to convince us Abraham Lincoln was a vampire hunter.

STILL a better movie than Trans5mers.

Beer Four

She Said: I’m not comfortable doing the exact math on just how much of my life the Transformers franchise has stolen from me, but it’s north of double digits and those are hours I could’ve spent napping.

He Said: Maybe even triple digits depending on how you look at it. 

She Said: Or learning how to breakdance.

He Said: This movie breaks DREAMS. Now you want to breakDANCE?

She Said: It wouldn’t even be a big deal if (not unlike The Last Witch Hunter or Jupiter Ascending or Gods of Egypt) Last Knight had been both terrible AND entertaining instead of just so boring I could hear my last functioning brain cell committing ritual seppuku in a theater on opening weekend that had three, count ’em, THREE PEOPLE (including myself) waiting to witness the further exploits of Optimus Lame and Co.

Unseen footage of me watching Last Knight in theaters.

She Said: If there had been a speck, nay, a GRANULE of purpose propelling this bloated behemoth across an almost three hour finish line I didn’t see it.

He Said: If there was even the tiniest nanoscopic MOLECULE of purpose, we might’ve actually ENJOYED the movie. That is, if the purpose was anything other than making enough money to put a fleet of strippers though college.

She Said: Trying to retcon/backdoor launch an extended universe/new Transformers franchise using the Frankensteined corpse of the last is like trying to weave a needle of logic through a hailstorm of larger, louder, completely useless needles.

He Said: Ugh… heat-seeking, USED needles. Filled with ebola. And essence of Taylor Swift.

She Said: For fuck’s sake, Paramount, just do what Fox does every decade with Fantastic Four (in an effort to stop the rights from reverting back to Marvel) and reboot it from scratch and save me the extra hour and a half trying to fit a new franchise into the skin suit of the old one. You know, kind of like how Optimus Prime wore his dead friend during the finale of Revenge of the Fallen.

He Said: We talk about skin suits, like, way too much.

She Said: If I die first, I give you permission to wear my skin suit and battle Decepticons, Hawk.

Beer Five

He Said: If you know me, you know I take poor continuity like a glove-slap-across-the-face-as-a-challenge-to-a-duel.

She Said: You get slapped in the face a lot, then.

He Said: While the X-Men movies kind of just do whatever the fuck they want and throw up their hands and say “time travel!” to excuse their lack of flow, the Transformers movies do whatever the fuck they want and say fuck you for asking questions, sit down and let Lil’ Mike show you his movie.

She Said: I’m pretty sure they let Lil’ Mike strap you to the chair Clockwork Orange-style.

He Said: Cybertron coming to Earth was the plot of ‘Dark of the Moon’, but everyone seems to have forgotten about that.

She Said: Basically me looking at the DVD cover of Dark of the Moon.

He Said: Bumblebee can suddenly and inexplicably reassemble himself after being blown apart.

She Said: ‘Bee is perhaps the fuckiest of “fuck you”s Michael Bay has ever put onscreen. Like his changing abilities and allegiances (OH DON’T THINK I FORGOT HE WAS SAM’S BFF FOR LIKE THREE MOVIES AND THEN NOPED OUTTA THERE) and apparent time-traveling amnesia.

He Said: Some go to great lengths to get out of a toxic relationship. Like most supporting characters in Shia LeBouf movies. 

She Said: Like “hahahaha oh yeah I was on earth for a hot minute during like World War I-or WWII I honestly can’t remember- but then I came back with Optimus and we don’t talk about my previous shenanigans oh hey Anthony Hopkins, ‘sup?”.

She Said: Does… Not… Compute…

He Said: Oh, and you know all those posters with Optimus Prime and those trailers with Evil Optimus?

She Said: …y- yes?

He Said: Bet you’d like a movie about that, right?

She Said: I mean, not as much as Channing Tatum’s unauthorized sex tape, but sure.

He Said: Well, as long as you buy your ticket, wait about two hours and then go in, you’ll get to see nearly all of him.

She Said: ALL OF CHANNING TATUM?!

He Said: *sigh* no. Please stop teasing me.

Verdict

She Said: Transformers: Last Knight is what happens when you put Anthony Hopkins, Bud Light and a psychotic alien demi-goddess in a blender and hit “meh”.

He Said: These movies are slowly TRANSFORMING me into a broken shell of a human being, and that’s saying something a mere five months after ’50 Shades Darker’ when I had thought the healing had begun. It’s at once more chaotic, more boring, overstuffed and more meaningless than the ones that came before it. 

Last Call: Not quite a post-credit scene but there’s a blip (after Optimus Prime goes all philosophical and shit) meant to set up the next film in the *shudders* wild west of a post-Michael Bay Trans5mers franchise.

Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever Cade acts like a jackass. 

Take a Sip: for every action by, or “revelation” from the Witwiccans.

Take a Drink: whenever you check your watch to see how much longer this shitshow is going to take. Take Two: if you have to ask someone else.

Do a Shot: every time someone says something that shouldn’t be said in a movie about a children’s toy. 

Take a Sip: for every Transforming sound. Buy a replacement liver first.

Shotgun Your Beer: for Bumblebee’s real voice.

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Raw (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/raw-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/raw-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Thu, 29 Jun 2017 12:15:50 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101868 By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) – I’ve been salivating at the prospect of seeing Julie Ducournau’s Raw ever since the obligatory tales of walk-outs, fainting, and vomit coming out of its debut screening at Cannes in 2016. Oh, those tender-constitutioned critics… Raw follows virgin & vegetarian Justine (Garance Marillier) as she begins her freshman year at veterinary school …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –

I’ve been salivating at the prospect of seeing Julie Ducournau’s Raw ever since the obligatory tales of walk-outs, fainting, and vomit coming out of its debut screening at Cannes in 2016.

Oh, those tender-constitutioned critics…

Raw follows virgin & vegetarian Justine (Garance Marillier) as she begins her freshman year at veterinary school alongside her older sister Alexia (Ella Rumpf) and her journey to becoming very much the opposite of both.  It all gets… gory.

A Toast

Ducournau really has accomplished something unique here – a blend of horror and social commentary and terribly wry comedy that should never mix in those proportions, but does.  In many ways, its closest kindred spirit is Wetlands, also a female gross-out comedy all about busting taboos but with an ambivalence towards the moral desirability of that… just with a tad more gore.

And what glorious, practical effect-driven gore it is.  I defy you to eat popcorn during this, much less anything else.

*Shudder*

Marillier in particular is great as innocence corrupted, and holds the center of a film whose tagline could be “Just How Bad Is This Going To Get?”  Ducournau definitely brings strong stylistic chops, particularly the strong verite camerawork and well-deployed gothic synth score by Jim Williams, but what really stands out about her and this film is their absolutely unique and bugfucking insane sense of dramatic escalation.  You will not know where this is going even if you think you do, and nothing about that is anything but catnip to film fans like me.

Beer Two

This is a hard, hard watch.  Itchy rashes, weird animal fetuses, peeling skin, so much blood… and that’s the shit I feel like telling you about.  It gross.

Beer Three

If you think too hard about what this plot could possibly stand as a metaphor for, well, it’s nuts.  Raw is clearly far more interested in laying waste to taboos than assembling a coherent position and, honestly, all power to it.

Verdict

Raw is a funny, beyond fucked up, and thrillingly feminine-focused horror film destined to provoke for years to come.

Raw (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for grotesqueries

Take a Drink: for anti-vegetarian aggression

Take a Drink: for drug metaphors

Take a Drink: for initiations

Take a Drink: for sinful pleasures

Do a Shot: when you fucking need it

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Virtual Pub 215: Transformers again?… why? $&#% this @&%# http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-215-transformers http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-215-transformers#respond Thu, 29 Jun 2017 03:00:50 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102094 This week some of us still managed to waste 3 hours of their day at the new Michael Bay Transformers movie. This was accomplished in spite of all sane reason that should have warned them away.  We also touch on, Okja, Baby Driver, Class of 1984, Forbidden Zone & The Raid: Redemption.

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This week some of us still managed to waste 3 hours of their day at the new Michael Bay Transformers movie. This was accomplished in spite of all sane reason that should have warned them away.  We also touch on, Okja, Baby Driver, Class of 1984, Forbidden Zone & The Raid: Redemption.

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Cool As Ice (1991) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/cool-as-ice-1991-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/cool-as-ice-1991-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Wed, 28 Jun 2017 12:15:46 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101996 By: BabyRuth (Six Pack) – 1991 was a monumental year in film. It gave us The Silence of the Lambs, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and Beauty and the Beast. It also gave us Cool As Ice. For anyone who didn’t have the pleasure of living through the early 90s, it was a magical time that can …

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By: BabyRuth (Six Pack) –

1991 was a monumental year in film. It gave us The Silence of the Lambs, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and Beauty and the Beast.

It also gave us Cool As Ice.

For anyone who didn’t have the pleasure of living through the early 90s, it was a magical time that can never be duplicated. It was also a very strange time in which a film like Cool As Ice would only ever exist.  The movie was a 6 million dollar attempt to capitalize on Vanilla Ice’s success (it only grossed a little over 1M so… so much for that crackerjack genius idea.)

I’m not sure how this gem has not yet been covered on this site, but it’s a wrong that needs to be righted, so let’s g-o.

Vanilla Ice stars as a rapper-dancer extraordinaire/tough biker gang leader/orphan/nomad riding from gig to gig with his fluorescently dressed posse, schlinging schlongs, breaking hearts, and solving crimes along the way.

To get you in the right frame of mind, I present the trailer. Please keep in mind, this is 100% serious.

A Toast

Don’t be so quick as to roll your eyes and write this off as simply a bad movie starring a musician (see: Crossroads). Cool As Ice is special, yup yup.

What sets Cool As Ice apart from others is how bizarre it is on every single level.

For starters, the look of it is so bright and manic that I would advise those with epilepsy against watching it (and that is hard to do because everyone should watch it). I’m guessing the aesthetics are a result of the producers ordering those involved to make “something hip for the short-attention spanned kids—you know, something that looks like those MTV videos.” And then the filmmakers watched exactly one music video and said “Okay, got it!” That video was surely DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince’s (that would be Will Smith to you kiddos) “Parents Just Don’t Understand.” Because the whole movie has the exact same feel. It’s insane, and I mean insane in the best possible way. There are bizarre angles and cuts and one scene is even sped up for some reason which sort of makes it frightening, you know, like in Requiem for a Dream (which came out nine years later by the way. Hmmmm.)?

Jump to the 30 second mark.

It’s worth mentioning here that one of the people responsible for the look of this movie is cinematographer Janusz Kaminski, who would later go on to win Oscars for his work on Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan, along with dozens of other nominations and critically-acclaimed films. This is absolutely true; go on and check IMDB if you don’t believe me.

Speaking of music videos, this movie is essentially one large music video. There are so many performances and montages, it’s easy to forget there is an actual plot (much like fellow early 90s extravaganza Graffiti Bridge, which looks like Singin’ in the Rain compared to Cool As Ice).

We are treated to a five-minute-long opening number featuring a “special appearance” by Naomi Campbell as the lady who sings the hook in between Vanilla Ice’s verses, a la C+C Music Factory (I feel like I’m losing the younger Boozers with my references. Are you guys still with me?)

I love how Naomi Campbell was such a big get that despite only being in that one scene, she’s prominently featured on the DVD cover and listed as the third main actor in the movie (sorry Michael Gross).

Star Search Spokesmodel Winner and “Cherry Pie” girl Bobbie Brown also has a featured cameo. Because, again,  90s.

And then there is the dancing. So much dancing. What I’m saying is, it’s amazing.

Amazing.

The fashion also deserves a toast of its own.

Don’t even act like you don’t find this breathtaking.

It’s worth noting that Vanilla Ice did all of his own motorcycle stunts and that’s pretty damn impressive so cheers to you Ice! I wish I could figure out how he got his bike to jump a fence and a second-story window without a ramp though. It must be one of those magical levitating motorcycles.

Beer Two

So as Vanil—I  guess I should refer to him as Johnny, since that is his character’s name, even though we don’t learn it until about halfway through—and his crew are rolling through the about-to-be-shaken-up small town, there are a few slo-mo shots of the residents in open-mouthed amazement at the spectacle they are beholding. They’ve never seen anything like it!

But then Johnny and his posse happen upon this monstrosity, which is apparently totally normal to the locals.

Sadly the house no longer looks like that, so no need to plan that trip to Glendora, CA.

No, our hero hasn’t accidentally wandered into a Tim Burton film, this house happens to be a motorcycle repair shop/bed & breakfast/acid trip which is very good luck because one of Johnny’s homeboys’ bike broke down in the scene before. The old couple who own the crazy house are just as wacky as you’d imagine. And just you wait until they dance!

(If the lady looks familiar it’s because she also played Blanche in Grease and more importantly Mrs. Stimler in Splash )

But they are nice people and put Johnny and his friends up indefinitely while fixing the bike and feeding everyone peanut butter-sardine-pineapple-pickle-mustard sandwiches. Wacky!

People have actually attempted to eat this in real life.

It’s almost too much wacky to take! You can nearly hear the producers saying “the kids are gonna think this is hysterical!” (To their credit, they were right, just not in the way they were hoping.)

Beer Three

It’s fortunate for Johnny that he and his crew have to chill in Bumblefuck, Smalltown for a few days because that gives him plenty of time to put his sweet moves on good-girl Kathy (Kristin Minter)—whose name he cleverly shortens to “Kat”.

Of course, the multi-talented Johnny is also a master of seduction. Here are a few moves from his playbook:

  • Jumping his bike over a fence (you don’t need no ramps when you’re as cool as ice), startling Kat’s horse and almost paralyzing her in the process.

  • Complimenting a girl on her sucker punching skills while sounding like a third grader: “You hit pretty good, for a GIRRRRL.

 

  • Showing up to her house unannounced and insulting her boyfriend—<<record scratch>>

Okay we need to stop here for a moment and watch this scene in its entirety because it is truly one of the most incredible things ever put to celluloid. Of course, it contains the famous “Drop that zero and get with a hero” line, but that is just the icing (pun intended). The whole thing is so captivating, from the beginning with Ice hanging out in front of the Crazy House doing the gotta go pee pee dance, to the disembodied “AWW YEAH,” to the fly entrance music accompanying his walk to “I’m just coolin” immediately followed by the Blue Steel, to—just watch! I dare you to watch it only once.

Pretty sure Justin Bieber modeled his whole career after this scene.

But that’s not all! Then there’s:

  • Stealing her daily planner (a move later used to the same success in 27 Dresses – seriously, how many movies stole from Cool As Ice?- It’s almost as bad as ripping off a classic bass line and calling it your own brand new invention.)

 

  • Dry-humping her in the middle of the dance floor at the hot club called The Sugar Shack after hijacking the stage and dropping some sick rhymes on the unprepared town squares all while wearing the most amazing jacket in the history of the world.

  • Breaking into her bedroom and force-feeding her ice in her sleep. Seriously, that happens and she’s totally cool with it. Cool as ice. With ice. And Ice, who is not Ice, but Johnny.

 

There’s only so much a girl can resist, amIright ladies?

Soon Johnny and Kat are love montaging in the most romantic setting ever: a construction site.

 Aww yeahhh.  DANGER! LUST! FANNYPACK!

Beer Four

It’s here where I needed to chug a quick beer because I noticed something strange happening. I was starting to find myself oddly charmed by this movie and Vanilla Ice himself.

I know, I know.

Let me attempt to explain: Now, if I saw 1991 Vanilla Ice walking down the street I’d want to punch him in the face. Repeatedly. However, in the context of this movie, where we as the audience are forced to accept his character as the most awesome person in the world, well, I’m kind of buying into it. (Credit also to Kristin Minter, who brings the best out of him, acting-wise, and the pair actually have remarkably effective chemistry).

No, you’re googling the Vanilla Ice photos from Madonna’s Sex book…

Beer Five

This isn’t just a love story though, there is crime and intrigue!

In a subplot that definitely wasn’t written on a cocktail napkin after three Scotches halfway through the filming of this movie, we learn that Kat’s dad, played by Michael Gross (Family Ties, Tremors) is a former police officer who is in the witness protection program after ratting out some dirty fellow cops. Well, guess who was just released from prison and looking for revenge?

The dollar store version of the Wet Bandits find out where Michael-just give me the damn paycheck-Gross lives because of a local TV news story about Kat’s many accomplishments (riding a horse, getting accepted into a college, making Vanilla Ice look like a viable romantic lead). Damn that overachieving daughter of his! And damn that local news station broadcasting nationally… somehow!

So the two bad guys make their presence known by popping up at the house, stalking Kat, breaking in—wait, my bad, that’s what Johnny does. But they are the bad ones. They want money!

Naturally, Kat’s dad assumes Johnny is working with the bad guys, due to movie contrivances like Johnny asking them for directions to the Sugar Shack (I really hope you all are following along) and forbids Kat from seeing him! Drama!

You know what this means…

Time for a sad montage.

Beer Six

Kat has an awful little brother. The Not Wet Bandits do the family a favor by kidnapping him but everyone is sad and actually want him back. There’s a ransom tape, which Johnny unknowingly delivers, further making it seem like he is working with the Not Wet Bandits. Instead of going to the police, or you know, the witness protection program people, the family stands around wondering what to do. Kat decides that there is only one person who can help them.

She brings the tape to Johnny, who literally stops, collaborates, and listens and then figures out where the bad guys are keeping her brother and saves the day!

I forgot to mention that Johnny is also an expert fighter, easily taking down any and every opponent (one-by-one, of course) who dares challenge him. And with cartoon sound effects!

He learned from the best.

Verdict

Have you been paying attention? Go watch this right now. Not later. Not ta-ma-row. This movie is a goddamn funky fresh day-glo early 90s time capsule masterpiece mindfuck that is endlessly re-watchable. Word to your mother.

Cool as Ice (1991) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for every “yup yup”

Take a Drink: at every spontaneous cut to someone dancing

Take a Drink: for every montage

Take a Drink: Crazy House!

Take a Drink: giant salt shaker

Take a Drink: disgusting sandwich

Take a Drink: whenever anyone says “Sugar Shack”

Take a Drink: after reciting each phrase you can read on Vanilla Ice’s amazing black and white coat

Take a Drink: for every cartoon sound effect, record scratch, or “AWWW YEAH” out of nowhere

Do a Shot: whenever Vanilla Ice jumps his motorcycle over something (without a ramp!)

Do a Shot: for the following lines:

  • “You know the chick that drives the horse?”
  • “I’m just coolin’”
  • “So what’s up for ta-ma-row?”
  • “Homeboy this!”
  • “You’re seein’ me now.”
  • “Drop that zero and get with a hero.”
  • “Let’s G-O!”

LAST CALL: After watching an hour and a half of Vanilla Ice barely being able to form a complete sentence, he pops up during the credits to remind kids to “b kool stay n skool.” Alright then.

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365 Days of Movies- Henry J. Fromage Edition- Week 25 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-of-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-25 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-of-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-25#respond Tue, 27 Jun 2017 17:15:24 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101890 By: Henry J. Fromage – Another week gearing up for the New York Asian Film Festival- full reviews to come on pretty much all of these. 144. Cars 3 This is exactly the Pixar Cars sequel you expect it to be- but instead of following up on the oddly Bond-themed, Mater-heavy antics of the first, this one wisely hearkens …

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By: Henry J. Fromage –

Another week gearing up for the New York Asian Film Festival- full reviews to come on pretty much all of these.

144. Cars 3

This is exactly the Pixar Cars sequel you expect it to be- but instead of following up on the oddly Bond-themed, Mater-heavy antics of the first, this one wisely hearkens back to the relative successes of the first film.  It’s just too bad that they feel the need to trade in on the nostalgia that Paul Newman and his soon thereafter passing imbued that film with.  Disney’s getting too comfortable with this actor resurrection business for my tastes.

145. Ordinary Person

This Korean film follows a dirty cop as he investigates what may be Korea’s first serial killer and finds that the official interest in the case may open doors to him he never thought possible.  Everything comes with a price, though, and he’ll need to weigh whether this newfound privilege is worth what soul he has left.  Solid Korean genre fare with an interesting historical setting- near the fall of the military dictatorship that ruled it for decades.

146. A Quiet Dream

This is a capital ‘A’ Art film, the kind of black and white, conversation-driven, director-worshipping near plotless and opaque critical darling that populates film festivals the world over.  This one happens to be Korean, opening the Busan Film Festival last year, and despite reviews from Variety and the Hollywood Reporter, I have a hard time distinguishing it from its Art film brethren.  Pretty forgettable.

147. After Last Season

Less forgettable is this purely bizarre new entry in the ‘So Bad Its Good’ canon.  After Last Season is every bit as shoddy, nonsensical, cheap, and singular as your Fateful Findings or Birdemics, but more of a mindfuck than a laughfest, as cardboard box and paper MRIs and cheap Casio soundtracked chairs on strings and post-it note computer chips gild an incomprehensible sci-fi plot that appears to be going for Tron meets Minority Report meets an abandoned cardboard box factory advertisement.  Just… awful.

148. Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned

As with many of these Korean flicks, I’ve gone in complete cold and been flabbergasted at each bizarre tonal shift and big plot twist until, roughly halfway through, I figure out what kind of movie it’s trying to be.  Vanishing Time is the absolute pinnacle of this, and I’m just going to drop a Stranger Things meets Inception tagline and leave it there.  Is it good… I think so?  Is it goddamn audacious and original?  Absolutely.

Orange is the New Black: Season 5

Some folks call this season a misstep, but I for one don’t see it.  Entirely focused on the riot that broke out at the end of Season 4, Season 5 does an excellent job developing a host of characters it’s barely touched for a few years, even making Piscatella a goddamn tragic figure somehow.  It’s really quite amazing what this creative team can do with such an incredibly diverse and talented cast (with Tasha Jefferson’s Taystee firmly cementing herself as the MVP- an Emmy or bust for this woman, please).  I will keep watching this show as long as they keep putting out another season of the most singular and surprising show out there in my opinion.

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Great Expectations (1998) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/great-expectations-1998-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/great-expectations-1998-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Tue, 27 Jun 2017 12:15:03 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101862 By: Alex Phuong (Three Beers) – A recent trend in Hollywood is taking classic stories, and updating them into modern times.  An example would be the Indian film Bride & Prejudice (2004), which modernizes Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.  Alfanso Cuarón was bold enough to direct a modernization of Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations even though he …

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By: Alex Phuong (Three Beers) –

A recent trend in Hollywood is taking classic stories, and updating them into modern times.  An example would be the Indian film Bride & Prejudice (2004), which modernizes Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.  Alfanso Cuarón was bold enough to direct a modernization of Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations even though he had limited experience as a director at that time.  The result is an interesting take on the famous novel that is ultimately a wildly romantic love story.

A Toast

This film contains a lot of passion.  The romantic elements are seductive, and it features repeated scenes that show the development of the relationship between Finn and Estella as they transitioned from childhood to adulthood.  One of the most obvious examples is when Finn and Estella kiss at a fountain when they were both young, and then repeat that in New York City as adults.  The film also features a very beautiful score from two-time Oscar nominee Patrick Doyle, and a lot of sensuous kissing in the rain that rivals similar scenes from The Notebook (2004).  This film is definitely wildly romantic!

Beer Two

Since this is a modernized version of a classic novel, there are obviously numerous changes.  All of Dickens’s original characters were renamed except for Estella, and people unfamiliar with the original novel might not be able to identify this film as based on the famed Nineteenth Century text.  The changes are a bit interesting, but it might leave some readers confused if they were to read the novel after watching this film.

Beer Three

This film contains way too much profanity.  It is also a bit unfortunate that the child actors who played the young Finn and Estella had to either listen to the adult actors say bad words to them or say crude terms themselves.  Hopefully their work on this film did not completely destroy their innocence, even though it is tough for child actors to face the competition that exists in Hollywood.

Verdict

Great Expectations is intentionally a modernization of Charles Dickens’s original novel.  That means that it is not supposed to follow the original text very closely.  The film is still somewhat meritorious, though, because it contains all of the elements of a modern Hollywood love story.  Dickens wrote the novel to provide social commentary, but this film simply provides a nice escape from reality with a very passionate love story.  This film might not be the best adaptation ever, but it can still entertain viewers who enjoy contemporary romance.

Great Expectations (1998) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Finn does some kind of artwork (like sketching and drawing)

Take a Drink: every time there is water on-screen (including the fountains and the rainy weather)

Drink a Shot: every time the color green appears

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The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/blackcoats-daughter-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/blackcoats-daughter-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Mon, 26 Jun 2017 12:15:46 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101846 By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) – What a time to be alive as a horror fan.  From Blumhouse’s growing ambitions to scores of international sources of great  horror to arthouse distributors like A24 entering the fray, there’s arguably never been a better time. Well, A24 has another hit after The Witch and It Comes At Night with The Blackcoat’s Daughter, …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –

What a time to be alive as a horror fan.  From Blumhouse’s growing ambitions to scores of international sources of great  horror to arthouse distributors like A24 entering the fray, there’s arguably never been a better time.

Well, A24 has another hit after The Witch and It Comes At Night with The Blackcoat’s Daughter, a tale of three seemingly unrelated young women (Kieran Shipka, Lucy Boynton, and Emma Roberts) converging on a girl’s school on the first weekend of winter break.  Hellish things ensue.

It’s Kind of a Scary Story.

A Toast

While his I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives In the House hit Netflix first, The Blackcoat’s Daughter is the long-delayed directorial debut of Oz Perkins, son of Anthony.  Of course the Son of Psycho himself would go into the horror biz.

Oz has real knack for this, though, with a death’s grip on tension.  Almost every scene plays out brutally slow and ominously, even those in which little seems to happen.  The unnerving buzz of a soundtrack from his brother, Elvis, especially coupled with sound design that is every bit as unsettling, does almost as much as those damn long take shots you expect to burst into bloodshed at any moment.  Every frame is composed juusstt off kilter, designed to provoke unease.

Just wait until the Totoro demon shows up.

The three leading ladies all acquit themselves well, but it’s Shipka’s film, in ways I don’t want to reveal (the violence could come from any of them- or none of them.  Watch it!)  I’ll just say she has a haunting singing voice and does the best with the many closeups Perkins employs.

Beer Two

Perkins does pull a very interesting twist midway through the film that he unfortunately seeds with a few too many clues.  Those without much patience might find this a bit too slow to develop, but hang in there- it’s coming.

And if not, I hear Rob Zombie’s still making movies

Verdict

The Blackcoat’s Daughter is a ticking time bomb of a horror debut from a director who couldn’t have a much better pedigree for this genre.

2beers

The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for every blank stare from Kieran Shipka

Take a Drink: for knives

Take a Drink: “You smell pretty”.

Take a Drink: for heads resting on pillows

Take a Drink: for creepy noises

Take a Drink: for hellish crescendos

Do a Shot: when you jump

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Trailer Review: Transformers: The Last Knight http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-review-transformers-last-knight http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-review-transformers-last-knight#respond Sun, 25 Jun 2017 17:35:27 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101991 By: Hawk Ripjaw – Maybe someday I’ll do something more productive with my life than watch Akiva Goldsman-produced action movies. Transformers: The Last Knight Just earlier this week, our very own fearless Felix Felicis decided to binge all four Transformers movies split over two days. I respect that. I don’t even know how I could …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw –

Maybe someday I’ll do something more productive with my life than watch Akiva Goldsman-produced action movies.

Transformers: The Last Knight

Just earlier this week, our very own fearless Felix Felicis decided to binge all four Transformers movies split over two days. I respect that. I don’t even know how I could find the strength to do it. She convinced me to join her, but as luck would have it I was only able to rewatch the two worst of the series, Revenge of the Fallen and Age of Extinction (lucky me!). Together they were a powerful, sobering reminder that you don’t have to be drunk to make terrible decisions. Bound as we are to co-review every Transformers film, I will be joining Felix once again this weekend to co-review Bay’s alleged final Transformers film. While we have many more Transformers films to, uh, “look forward to,” this marks the end of an era filled with Linkin Park music, John Turturro acting like a jackass, a preoccupation with the female form that would make Rob Cohen blush, and multiple attempts to sweep continuity errors under the rug. So this should be fine, right? Right? Right? Right, guys? Right? Right? Right, guys? Guys? 

Beer Prediction

I’ve put way too much thought into wondering why the font for the title has changed three times in the past three movies.

This is going to be terrible, isn’t it?

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Band Aid (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/band-aid-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/band-aid-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sun, 25 Jun 2017 12:15:29 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101973 By: Jenna Zine (Two Beers) – When Anna (Zoe Lister-Jones) and Ben’s (Adam Pally) therapist abruptly quits, the couple opts to reckon with their marital problems by starting a band. “It’s not fighting if it’s singing, right?” (photo credit) A Toast The plot centers around Anna and Ben’s fight-fueled relationship as they struggle to find …

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By: Jenna Zine (Two Beers) –

When Anna (Zoe Lister-Jones) and Ben’s (Adam Pally) therapist abruptly quits, the couple opts to reckon with their marital problems by starting a band.

“It’s not fighting if it’s singing, right?” (photo credit)

A Toast

The plot centers around Anna and Ben’s fight-fueled relationship as they struggle to find equilibrium in their lives. Inspiration to start a band strikes when they create an impromptu song at a toddler’s birthday party. Soon they’re cleaning out their garage to make room for a practice space and putting their arguments to lyrics. Through this, they find their stressful connection lightening as they work on their improvised tunes. They pick up a drummer along the way – their awkward neighbor, Dave (the hilariously droll Fred Armisen), who also happens to be a recovering sex addict. (Armisen provides a large amount of comic relief, as expected, but also shines as a band member. He’s served as a drummer for numerous groups in real life, and his solo will blow you away.)

There’re also a cavalcade of star cameos and supporting roles to add to the fun, including Colin Hanks and Chris D’Elia as annoying Uber customers (Anna is a driver), Brooklyn Decker and Hannah Simone as Anna’s gorgeous friends, Jamie Chung and Erinn Hayes as Dave’s fellow recovering sex addicts, plus spots from Susie Essman (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Ravi Patel (Meet The Patels), Retta (Parks & Rec), and Jesse Williams (Grey’s Anatomy).

Zoe Lister-Jones is the MVP of this project, acting as producer, writer, director (this is her directorial debut), and lead character in this lovely film. (You may know Lister-Jones from her numerous television roles, including her current spot on Life In Pieces, but she also has deep ties to the indie film community. She and her husband, Daryl Wein, also a filmmaker and actor, have collaborated on Breaking Upwards, Lola Versus, and Consumed.) The addition of the always likeable Adam Pally (Happy Endings, The Mindy Project, Making History) makes for a palpable chemistry that drives the movie. The snappy dialogue provides for many laugh out loud, yet make you think moments. (“Why are you taking muscle relaxants? You barely have any muscles.”)

Beer Two

The only issue I had with the film was, ironically, the great casting. Anna and Ben are so adorable together that I had trouble figuring out what the problem was. Their fights didn’t seem that explosive or problematic – I was thrown when a visit to their counselor resulted in the therapist telling them they were “clearly in a lot of pain.” Really? It seems like they were having a blast to me! They represent the proverbial “perfect couple” – naturally attuned to one another as partners and best friends who revel in each other’s company.

Yes, they have the normal irritants of any couple – who does the most chores, money issues, tension with the in-laws, how often to have sex, how to retire subjects long-term companions revisit too often, and so on. But they also smoke loads of weed, make a trip to the beach to take mushrooms, and collapse in giggles whenever they have a chance. They’re both wildly attractive, and attracted to one another. They have a nice home and great friends. Their careers aren’t where either one of them wish to be, but neither are stuck in hopeless dead ends. (As my friend said, “They live in L.A., so… I guess this is their version of failure?”) It smacks of heteronormative white people problems. Of course a deeper issue is revealed late into the film. I won’t spoil it here, and it is nothing to make light of – but it’s something the couple is capable of handling, once they finally confront their grief.

“Look at us – we’re arguing! No, really!” (photo credit)

Verdict

The upswing of this delightful pairing is a wholly watchable and thoroughly enjoyable experience. The plot could’ve been excruciating to sit through in the hands of the wrong people, but Lister-Jones and Pally make you care about these hot people who are having a blip in otherwise fantastic lives.

Band Aid (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Anna & Ben do drugs. And maybe do a few of your own.

Take a Drink: for every “fight” song they croon. (In addition to the script, Zoe also co-wrote the lyrics!)

Do a Shot: as a special shout-out to Zoe, who hired an all-female crew – the first in feature-length film history!

Do a Shot: when Fred Armisen’s character shows up at the door in leather “pajamas.”

Do a Shot: when Anna flaps a microphone against Ben’s face like it’s a penis while at an open mic, and then tries to deep throat said microphone!

Last Call

There is a brief, and very cute, scene at the top of the credits – but no need to stay to the very last frame.

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Ken’s Movie Diary 2017 – Week 23 http://movieboozer.com/articles/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-23 http://movieboozer.com/articles/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-23#respond Sat, 24 Jun 2017 17:15:54 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101807 Weekly Update: Another week in hospital, another random bunch of streaming films watched. Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date- 184. The Mechanic (1972) Charles Bronson stars as a hitman for the mob who is revered for his clean work. Bronson meets the son of …

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Weekly Update: Another week in hospital, another random bunch of streaming films watched.

Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date-

184. The Mechanic (1972)

Charles Bronson stars as a hitman for the mob who is revered for his clean work. Bronson meets the son of a young man who he assassinated (Jan Michael Vincent) who is fascinated with Bronson’s line of work.  Comfortable with the irony of the situation, Bronson takes Jan Michael Vincent under his wing and trains him as his protégé. Since this is a Michael Winner film, there really is no subtext or deeper themes, just fetishization of violence.  But Bronson gives a solid performance and the movie has plenty to satisfy genre fanatics.  Just don’t come looking for good dialogue.

185. Park Row (1952)

Samuel Fuller was a journalist before working in movies and Park Row was his love-letter to the industry. It is the mid-1800s in New York, and the biggest American newspapers are based on the titular street. The film depicts a conflict between two newspapers, one young and idealistic, one established and less than reliable.  Park Row is a rallying cry for the Fourth Estate, a challenge to rise to high ideals and report the news honestly and with integrity. The film can occasionally fall into melodrama, and certainly can be accused of preaching, but in this day of media confusion, where one doesn’t know whose side of the story to trust, the message of Park Row is uniquely relevant.

186. Silver City (2004)

This George W. Bush-era political satire by director John Sayles tells a compelling and often funny mystery story set within the campaign of a Republican gubernatorial candidate in Colorado. When a body is discovered on the site of the candidate’s (Chris Cooper) shoot for a political commercial, the campaign manager (Richard Dreyfuss) hires a private investigator (Danny Huston) to look into the background of a handful of potential political enemies, and he discovers a conspiracy of environmental neglect and corruption. The movie meanders a bit too much in the 2nd act, despite a strong start, and never quite catches its breath.  But the film is full of solid performances and a strongly written screenplay that justifies a viewing for fans of political satire.

187. The Glass Shield (1994)

Director Charles Burnett’s first foray into “commercial” filmmaking is a workable police drama about racism with a strong message and solid performances. The script is the film’s weakest point, with dialogue that feels right out of a soap opera. Every character is written too “on the nose”, with one-dimensional motivations. The 3rd act struggles to come to a justifiable conclusion, and winds up falling somewhere on the weak end of “acceptable” in terms of viewer satisfaction.  Burnett wisely didn’t return to making films like this, instead focusing on smaller character pieces which befitted his style far more.

188. That Guy Dick Miller (2014)

If you don’t know Dick Miller, you’ve probably never seen a movie by Director Joe Dante or Roger Corman. As this documentary’s title indicates, Dick Miller is one of those ever-present “that guy” character actors who often will appear in just a single scene of a movie, just to say a few lines, but are capable of carrying a full film on their own as well.  Miller has a winning and affable New Yorker personality that endeared him to numerous directors and scored him a solid working career that continues to this day.  This doc traces the origins of Miller’s semi-stardom to its roots.  An excellent documentary for B-movie fans.

189. The Night of the Generals (1967)

This unique war film plays out more like a mystery, as it focuses on the murder of a prostitute in Warsaw in the 1940s during the German Occupation.  The Investigator in charge, Major Grau (Omar Sharif), has narrowed his search to three unlikely targets: General von Seidlitz-Gabler (Charles Gray), General Kahlenberge (Donald Pleasence), and General Tanz (Peter O’Toole). The investigation is played out alongside the backdrop of Operation Valkyrie; the plot to kill Hitler.  This subplot unfortunately serves little to advance the mystery and comes off feeling like an unnecessary extra that just slows the pacing down. Still, WWII film buffs will get a lot out of this, and as a bonus, the movie features Peter O’Toole delivering a truly sinister performance.

190. The Secret of Roan Inish (1994)

This Irish fairytale written and directed by John Sayles tells the story of Fiona, a little girl who moves in with her grandparents in the seaside village near the island where she was born.  Years ago when the family island was being evacuated due to the war, Fiona’s infant brother Jaime washed away with the tide, his bassinet washing away faster than any boat could catch up.  When Fiona arrives at her grandparents, she takes in the local folktales of the region, particularly one about her own family, indicating an ancestor once married a Selkie (a seal who can becomes human after shedding their hide).  Soon she sees signs of a person living on the abandoned island, and a mystery unfolds that will change her family’s life forever. This is a beautiful little story heaped in Celtic lore. Not dissimilar thematically to the animated feature Song of the Sea, and highly recommended for fans of that film or those looking for a good family-friendly story.

191. Go for Sisters (2014)

John Sayles wrote and directed this film about a Parole Officer (Lisa Gay Hamilton) who discovers her adult son, who she hasn’t had contact with in some time, has disappeared and is wanted for questioning in connection to a murder.  She enlists the help of a client/friend (Yolonda Ross) who knows the streets, as well as an ex-DEA agent (Edward James Olmos), and they trace the son’s movements to Mexico.  Go for Sisters was shot for under a million dollars over just 19 days, and combined with a strong script and solid performances is a small triumph of low-budget filmmaking. As with all Sayles films, the focus is on character development rather than action, but Lisa Gay Hamilton’s stellar performance as a worried but determined mother anchor the film and hold interest for the 2 hour runtime.

192. Limbo (1999)

John Sayles’ Limbo starts off not unlike many of his ensemble films, focusing on numerous characters who populate a community, but this time around the film takes a late in the game twist that changes your interpretation of the film’s themes altogether. To go into more details would spoil it, so I’ll recommend you go into this one cold. Needless to say, the film’s title is incredibly important in your interpretation of the story. Stellar lead performances from David Strathairn and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio ground the film in reality. This is one of Sayles’ most thought-provoking films.

193. Sunshine State (2002)

This comedy/drama about an aging seaside community feels like something out of a Carl Hiaasen novel. The fictional community of Delrona Beach, Florida is struggling to redefine itself years after its tourist season has peaked.  The town used to be home to one of the largest African American summer tourist crowds in the deep South, but after segregation ended, many went elsewhere as they were able to for the first time in their lives. Meanwhile developers have been buying up tracts of land, with eyes on a planned high value gated community to be established.  The film focuses on several families and how they are dealing with their town’s changing makeup.  Sunshine State is overlong, but features some of Sayles’ funniest characters and some very profound discussion on the subject of changing times. All through the film, a Greek chorus of sorts is embodied in a group of affluent golfers whose un-PC discussions set the tone for the rest of the story.

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An Education (2009) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/an-education-2009-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/an-education-2009-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sat, 24 Jun 2017 12:15:07 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101954 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – Mark Twain once famously remarked, “I never let school interfere with my education.” Those are very wise words considering the fact that sometimes the greatest life lessons are learned outside of the classroom. That notion directly relates to one of the Best Picture nominees of 2009. Based on Lynn …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

Mark Twain once famously remarked, “I never let school interfere with my education.” Those are very wise words considering the fact that sometimes the greatest life lessons are learned outside of the classroom. That notion directly relates to one of the Best Picture nominees of 2009. Based on Lynn Barber’s memoir, An Education is a very unique love story that shows that life itself does not necessarily go by any academic textbook.

A Toast

An Education was not one of the most popular films of 2009, but it certainly was one of the best. It also received an Oscar-nomination for Nick Hornby’s adapted screenplay as well as one for the coveted Best Picture Oscar.

Carey Mulligan shines in her Oscar-nominated role as Jenny Mellor. She is able to honor Lynn Barber as a person while also making her character her own. Jenny is a very headstrong and independent woman who reveals the complexity of adolescence as teenagers transition from childhood to adulthood. Mulligan also highlights what it means to struggle to find oneself as she has to make difficult life-changing decisions, such as honoring her parents’ wishes while also finding herself. Jenny Mellor is ultimately a brilliantly realized character who really is her own woman. Besides Mulligan’s great performance, the film also features a great supporting cast that includes Dominic Cooper and Oscar-winner Emma Thompson.

Verdict

An Education is a very special film because it educates audiences to learn more about themselves rather than solely rely on school to receive a proper education. David mentions early on in the film that he studies at “The University of Life,” which suggests that life itself really is the ultimate educator.

An Education (2009) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever French music is being played and whenever the characters speak French

Take a Drink: whenever the characters talk about Jenny’s potential future at Oxford

Drink a Shot: whenever Jenny offers very clever rebuttals to what her educators say to her. (i.c. The Headmistress says, “Nobody does anything worth doing without a degree,” and Jenny replies, “Nobody does anything worth doing WITH a degree. No woman anyway.”)

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Ella Enchanted (2004) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/ella-enchanted-2004-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/ella-enchanted-2004-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Fri, 23 Jun 2017 12:15:18 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101795 By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) – Anne Hathaway has had a very interesting career ever since her film debut in The Princess Diaries back in 2001.  Since then, she has received a Best Actress Oscar nomination for Rachel Getting Married and won the Oscar for her supporting role as Fantine in Les Misérables.  Many people …

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By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –

Anne Hathaway has had a very interesting career ever since her film debut in The Princess Diaries back in 2001.  Since then, she has received a Best Actress Oscar nomination for Rachel Getting Married and won the Oscar for her supporting role as Fantine in Les Misérables.  Many people still admire Hathaway for her portrayals of very independent princesses.  Ella Enchanted is a delightful family film because it features one of Hathaway’s most iconic roles while also having the enchantment of a modern-day fairy tale.

A Toast

Anne Hathaway delivers a very underrated performance in this film since it is a family film instead of a major awards contender.  In spite of its juvenile qualities, Hathaway still manages to believably portray what life is like for her character, Ella, after the fairy godmother Lucinda cursed Ella with the gift of obedience.  The trials and tribulations that Ella has to endure reveal how difficult it must be for someone who constantly succumbs to the demands of others.  On a metaphorical level, Ella represents the person whom other people might try to take advantage of simply because of the kind and helpful nature of such individuals.  The modern aspects of this fairy tale reveals the fundamental fact that listening to what other people say is not always the best way to live.

Beer Two

Ella might be a modern-day Cinderella, but Prince Charmont is very flat and stereotypical knight in shining armor.  In fact, Prince Charmont hardly does anything heroic given the flatness of his character.  Part of the reason for this is because the film hopes to teach young girls that they do not need to wait to be rescued.  That is a very great lesson for women, but it still would have been nice if the prince actually did something more meaningful than just look like a pretty boy.

Verdict

Ella Enchanted will always remain one of Anne Hathaway’s most memorable films.  Hathaway really knows how to play princesses with spunk, which she did in The Princess Diaries and its subsequent sequel.  It is also interesting to know that in the beginning for her career, Hathaway played the really independent princess, Mia Thermopolis, but she later assumed the roles of struggling women, like Kym in Rachel Getting Married and the literary character Fantine.  It is almost as if Ella was a transitional role for Anne Hathaway as she moved from comedic films to more dramatic parts.  Nevertheless, Ella Enchanted is the best blending of both comedy and drama for Hathaway, and she even did all of her own singing!  Great job, Anne!

Ella Enchanted (2004) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: during every classic fairy tale reference

Take a Drink: every time Anne Hathaway sings (and cheers when she sings “Somebody to Love” by Queen)

Drink a Shot: whenever Ella obeys the commands of others (but don’t do this literally)

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Cars 3 (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/cars-3-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/cars-3-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Thu, 22 Jun 2017 12:15:00 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101845 By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) – It’s that time of year again- time for Pixar to do its part contributing to the Disney marketing & money-printing machine and cash in on its good name with a familiar, merchandise-friendly sequel to a franchise that started out with a touch more integrity… well almost. “Integrity” is pushing …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –

It’s that time of year again- time for Pixar to do its part contributing to the Disney marketing & money-printing machine and cash in on its good name with a familiar, merchandise-friendly sequel to a franchise that started out with a touch more integrity… well almost.

“Integrity” is pushing it for any Larry the Cable Guy vehicle.

Cars 3 sees Lightning McQueen complete his fairly inevitable character journey from young overconfident hotshot to the veteran threatened by the young overconfident hotshots, as a new generation of stats-driven speedsters take over the track.  Can he and all his comic relief sidekicks, his mentor’s mentor, and one hotshot young trainer who lacks the confidence to race herself find a way to victory?

A Toast

Let no one ever tell you that Pixar doesn’t put its money right up there on the screen.  They just keep pushing animation further and further towards complete and utter photorealism, and some shots honestly straight up achieve it.  The several montages of driving across the great U.S. of A. are nothing short of gorgeous.

Otherwise, to be honest this sort of story would probably get at least 10 more rottentomatoes percentage points if it came from, say, Dreamworks.  It’s perfectly serviceable storytelling delivered by engaged vocal performances and some pretty dazzling racetrack action.  It’s not Moby Dick, but it’s not The Nut Job, either.  The kids will eat it up, and you really won’t hate it.

Beer Two

This is the most explicitly kid-aimed franchise of the whole Pixar bunch, and that’s including a three-movie series about literal toys.  So, yes, there’s plenty of corny jokes and child-friendly nonsense.  It is what it is.

Slightly more unfortunate is how the plot trades on the nostalgia of the first to find its trademark Pixar heart.  There’s something somewhat off about invoking Paul Newman’s final film role from the original Cars as extensively as this does- it’s the corporatization of a legacy in the exact same way the film ironically denounces in the case of Lightning McQueen.  Recognizing that you shouldn’t be doing something doesn’t then mean you can go ahead and do it.

Beer Three

I know that this is a popular Cars universe complaint, but there’s really no way not to wonder about a world that still has animal life, and that has all of the vestiges of human culture, right down to regional specificity, and yet no sign of humans at all… this is Terminator shit.

Okay, fine, let’s call this the obligatory Larry the Cable guy beer, too (although he’s toned wayyy down from last time).

This has got to be single-handedly propping up Dan Whitney’s career now, right?

Verdict

Cars 3 is pretty much exactly what you think it is- another franchise play that steers course back to the nostalgia of the first film, for better and worse.

Cars 3 (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for flashbacks.  R.I.P. Paul Newman.

Take a Drink: for talk of aging

Take a Drink: for talk of sponsorship

Take a Drink: for Southern stereotypes

Take a Drink: for horrifying Pixar Theory implications. (what happened to the people from those campers?  Or school buses?)

Do a Shot: whenever Larry the Cable Guy Truck shows up

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Virtual Pub 214: What we watched at home instead of going to the movies http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-214-watched-home-instead-going-movies http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-214-watched-home-instead-going-movies#respond Thu, 22 Jun 2017 03:00:11 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101962 This week the movie releases really weren’t all that interesting, so instead we rented a bunch of stuff.  Films we covered include a Samuel Fuller Double Feature The Steel Helmet and Park Row, Walter Hill’s Streets of Fire and other streaming movie selections.  

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This week the movie releases really weren’t all that interesting, so instead we rented a bunch of stuff.  Films we covered include a Samuel Fuller Double Feature The Steel Helmet and Park Row, Walter Hill’s Streets of Fire and other streaming movie selections.

 

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Megan Leavey (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/megan-leavey-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/megan-leavey-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Wed, 21 Jun 2017 12:15:18 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101842 By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) – The humble dog movie is a genre rivaled perhaps only by Madea movies and Nazi Olympic documentaries in its ignominy.  Seriously, any genre that produces horseshit like A Dog’s Purpose is the pits. Funny how even the most conservative folks get awful metaphysical when the topic of dead pets comes up. Megan …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –

The humble dog movie is a genre rivaled perhaps only by Madea movies and Nazi Olympic documentaries in its ignominy.  Seriously, any genre that produces horseshit like A Dog’s Purpose is the pits.

Funny how even the most conservative folks get awful metaphysical when the topic of dead pets comes up.

Megan Leavey at first appears to be just that kind of movie, as it tells the of course true story of a fuckup (Kate Mara) who joins the Marines and finds purpose in training (and developing a deep bond with) a bomb-sniffing German Shepherd, Rex.  It’s after getting back from Iraq, though, when the drama really begins.

A Toast

This film, and first-time fiction director Gabriela Cowperthwaite (of the could not be more different Blackfish), are smarter than that tagline, though.  This isn’t a dog movie, but rather a character drama, and Cowperthwaite and Mara find some real emotion in Mara’s coming home and how she and Rex alike are affected by the inevitable PTSD that results when you, well, get blown up.  Leavey’s real campaign to adopt her former combat partner is impactful when you consider how much her and her canine sacrificed.

PTSDog

The procedural elements of man and dog alike training for such a unique role are fascinating for the time they’re on screen, and Mara really is excellent, maybe because she’s the only person who can say “Fuck” like a normal person.

Beer Two

Speaking of that, this is the kind of “gritty” story where the film opens on how salty Leavey’s mother is by showing her say “Crap” and “Goddamn” in a conversation.  Yep, can’t jeopardize that PG-13 rating.  There’s a slightly braver, more realistic feeling film buried in here, but instead we get the sanitized Hollywood version, in which people signify leaving their old lives behind by traveling cross-country with no luggage.

You brought your phone, but where’s the charger!?

Beer Three

This film might have been brought to you by the YES Network.  Roughly 50% of the often clunky script is awkwardly inserted Yankees talk, when it’s not showing game footage or, in the end, Yankee stadium.  Fuck the Yankees.

Verdict

Megan Leavey is a workmanlike, but overall effective enough paean to a messed up young soldier and her unbreakable bond with her bomb-sniffing dog.

Megan Leavey (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for bad wordplay

Take a Drink: for explosives

Take a Drink: whenever a dog freaks out

Take a Drink: Yankees

Do a Shot: for the Starter Dog

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Rough Night (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/rough-night-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/rough-night-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Tue, 20 Jun 2017 12:15:52 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101946  By: Christian Harding (Three Beers) – A recent trend that seems to be flourishing in modern Hollywood is the R-rated, female driven comedy. There have always been films of that sort in the guise of popular culture for at least a couple of decades, but in the last few years there appears to have been a …

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 By: Christian Harding (Three Beers) –

A recent trend that seems to be flourishing in modern Hollywood is the R-rated, female driven comedy. There have always been films of that sort in the guise of popular culture for at least a couple of decades, but in the last few years there appears to have been a massive influx of these types of comedies. This was most likely prompted by the surprise hit of Bridesmaids back in 2011, and has continued just as recently as last year with the pleasant surprise Bad Moms. Among the most recent iterations of this trend is Rough Night, a lightweight but entertaining summer diversion that boasts a pretty solid cast and mostly utilizes them well, whenever the film manages to stay focused on the jokes and isn’t trying to aim for anything outside of its creative boundaries.

A Toast

As is the case with most modern comedies, the specifics of the plot aren’t super important. But to summarize quickly, Rough Night involves a bachelorette party held for Scarlett Johansson’s bride to be, and attended by an old group of college friends (Jillian Bell, Kate McKinnon, Zoe Kravitz, and Ilana Glazer, respectively). Soon after the festivities start, things go south pretty quickly, and the majority of the film’s plot, as well as the humor, comes in the form of how awfully things turn out and the ideas everybody involved has in trying to get themselves out of the increasingly disastrous situation. A lot of the film’s strengths rest on the chemistry between all five leading ladies, and fortunately they’re all up to the task. There really isn’t a weak link among them and each one is given plenty of humor to work with, and nobody given the generic ‘stick in the mud’ unfunny role. Each one fulfills their roles perfectly well, and no one person aims to steal the show out from the others, with each actress given their proper share of the spotlight.

Beer Two

For all that Rough Night relies on the charms and chemistry of its five leads, the film occasionally seems content to fall back on obvious gags and raunchy humor, much to its detriment. While these sections don’t necessarily derail the film to the degree of something like the recent Baywatch adaptation, they do stick out like a sore thumb amidst the otherwise low-key, character-based humor that most of the structure is built upon.

Beer Three

Another regrettable tendency in regards to Rough Night’s handling and delivery of its humor is that it has a lot of repeated jokes and over-explaining of some otherwise surface level, obvious humor. Listing a few examples here would be redundant and likely ruin the impact when the jokes happen, but just take my word for it. Another irritating repeated trend (though this is something that by no means only impacts this one film specifically) is the long stretches of strained, tiresome improv and ad-libbing, most of which isn’t terribly clever and usually just distracts from the stakes of the actual plot going on. Again, it’s not something that only applies to this one film, but it’s a lazy habit that most modern comedies seem to suffer from, and it always feels at odds with the tone and style of the rest of the film whenever it’s used here.

Verdict

All in all, Rough Night is a pretty fun time at the cinema. It’s certainly among the better R-rated mainstream comedies as of late, and elevated by a strong ensemble cast. Nothing revolutionary within the genre, but it gets the job done well enough and provides enough midbudget entertainment for those who need a smaller-scaled alternative to all the multi-million dollar spectacles competing for ticket prices. It’s getting released at arguably the perfect time of year for this sort of thing, so go check it out while the timing still feels right.

Rough Night (2017) Drinking Game

Do a Shot: whenever the characters do.

Do another Shot: *Mild spoilers* for each failed attempt to dispose of the dead stripper’s body.

Finish your Glass: during all of the jokes at the expense Kate McKinnon’s Aussie.

Shotgun a Beer: when you become more invested in the subplot involving Scarjo’s fiance than the main one.

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365 Days of Movies- Henry J. Fromage Edition- Week 24 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-24 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-24#respond Mon, 19 Jun 2017 17:15:58 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101742 By: Henry J. Fromage – I’m actually getting back to full-scale reviews again to gear up for the New York Asian Film Festival- full reviews to come on, well, all of these. 141. Fabricated City It’ll take you about an hour before you figure out what kind of movie this is supposed to be, which, judging from …

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By: Henry J. Fromage –

I’m actually getting back to full-scale reviews again to gear up for the New York Asian Film Festival- full reviews to come on, well, all of these.

141. Fabricated City

It’ll take you about an hour before you figure out what kind of movie this is supposed to be, which, judging from the intentionally and highly misleading opening scene, might be part of what this weirdly cobbled together Korean genre exercise is going for.  It’s not successful at everything it attempts, but by the end you’re more likely than not going to find yourself on its wavelength.  Plus, Korean Mads Mikkelsen!

142. The Truth Beneath

This is a much more conventional Korean thriller, and one that is entirely invested in the twists, turns, and truly fucked up plotting that has made Korea arguably preeminent destination for crime thriller fans in the last decade.  This is no Park Chan-wook masterpiece, though, but still a well-made if occasionally unbelievable psychological puzzlebox of a murder mystery.

143. Megan Leavey

This is neither as bad as what you might suppose from the description (Marley and ‘Merica!), nor quite as good as the surprisingly positive reviews have been.  Kate Mara leads this film quite capably and, as it should be, is the source of any emotion it pushes you towards, but the dialogue is often trite and the dog, well, is no Uggie.  With time, this dog may find his way a la Robert Pattinson, but he ain’t got the goods from what I can see so far.

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown

Anthony Bourdain has been globetrotting, dish-sampling, and history and culture-summing for 9 seasons now, and I am never less than entirely jealous when I see this show.  If I could choose any job imaginable, this would be it- the man goes to some interesting places, eats some damn interesting-looking food, and meets some even more interesting people on his way to documenting, well, parts unknown.  And I want to know them all.

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Frost/Nixon (2008) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/frost-nixon-2008-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/frost-nixon-2008-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Mon, 19 Jun 2017 12:15:45 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101643 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – Richard Nixon remains one of the most controversial figures in American history. The infamous Watergate scandal eventually led to his impeachment. In spite of such controversy, he is still a very fascinating person. He has also been a popular film role because of movies based on his life, including …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

Richard Nixon remains one of the most controversial figures in American history. The infamous Watergate scandal eventually led to his impeachment. In spite of such controversy, he is still a very fascinating person. He has also been a popular film role because of movies based on his life, including Nixon (1995). The film Frost/Nixon is more than just a biography, though, because it reveals the tensions that exist for someone who holds great power.

A Toast

Peter Morgan brilliantly adapts his own stage play that eventually led to one of the Best Picture nominees of 2008. Morgan also wrote the screenplay for The Queen (2006), and received Oscar nominations for both films, which implies that he has the skills to write about powerful figures. Frank Langella also excels as the infamous President. He actually remained in character throughout the production to deliver a powerful performance. Michel Sheen also does well as David Frost even though he failed to garner any nominations. It is also unfortunate to say that this film received five nominations each at both the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards, but left those two special nights empty-handed. Even with that sense of loss, this film is still a triumph because of its unique take on controversial subject matter.

Verdict

Frost/Nixon might not have been one of the most popular films of 2008, but it is still one of the best. Audiences tended to offer admiration to other films made that year, such as Revolutionary Road and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Nevertheless, Frost/Nixon manages to look at a very crucial time in American history without making the film look like a boring history lesson. Congratulations to Ron Howard for directing another special film that defies the conventional biographical film template!

Frost/Nixon (2008) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: during every tense scene between David Frost and Richard Nixon

Take a Drink: during every reference to the Watergate scandal and the possible burning of the tapes

Drink a Shot: whenever the cameras that recorded the historic television interviews start rolling

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Ken’s Movie Diary 2017 – Week 22 http://movieboozer.com/articles/movie-news/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-22 http://movieboozer.com/articles/movie-news/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-22#respond Sun, 18 Jun 2017 17:15:57 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101678 Weekly Update: This week was a mixture of biopics, cornball monster movies, and a couple wild cards for good measure. Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date- 174. Cromwell (1970) Richard Harris plays Oliver Cromwell, the English Parliamentary Minister who overthrew a King in favor …

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Weekly Update: This week was a mixture of biopics, cornball monster movies, and a couple wild cards for good measure.

Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date-

174. Cromwell (1970)

Richard Harris plays Oliver Cromwell, the English Parliamentary Minister who overthrew a King in favor of a government free of monarchy. Alec Guinness plays King Charles, whose political policies drove the Parliament to declaring civil war against him.  Cromwell is a very well-acted period epic that is cut down only by the way it condenses years of history into a handful of sequences that feel cut down. It isn’t surprising to read that the film was once significantly longer but was cut down before studio release. Someday I hope a full version surfaces, as this one shows a lot of promise but feels rushed.

175. MacArthur (1977)

General Douglas MacArthur remains a controversial figure in American history. On one hand, he played a major role in WWII and the Korean War, leading the army through some of its greatest victories, as well as led the way in rebuilding Japan as we know it today. On the other hand, his massive ego led him to defying the President of the United States on multiple occasions, including threats to expand the Korean conflict into a global one. MacArthur is one of the most powerful military figures in history, and his disobedience to civilian authority caused some major concerns. Gregory Peck stars in this biopic that doesn’t quite succeed in its stated goal of representing both sides to his personality, the hero and the egotist. Peck’s performance is stellar, one of the best of his career, but one cannot help but see through the screenplay’s clear bias towards MacArthur’s heroic side. At times the film feels downright deifying of MacArthur.  This isn’t to say he was undeserving of praise, but more attention could and should have been payed to his more controversial viewpoints. Apparently the film’s budget was slashed at the last minute, forcing numerous scenes to be left un-shot.  One wonders what the film might have been had this not happened.

176. Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla (1994)

When his DNA reaches outer space and is irradiated a new, more powerful Godzilla is created. Not just any Godzilla, a SPACE GODZILLA goddamn it! You can tell he’s from space because of the crystals on his shoulders… which means space? The actual plot to this one is so convoluted, and I feel like much of it was lost in the English translation. But its an excuse to see Godzilla fight a bigger, space version of himself, so sign me up!

177. The Buddy Holly Story (1978)

Gary Busey plays the young Buddy Holly through his rise to fame and prominence all the way to the night of his sudden and violent death in a plane crash. Busey is spot-on with his Holly performance, neither feeling like an impersonation nor imitation. The film plays flagrantly with historical facts, but captures the spirit of Buddy Holly as a performer beautifully.

178. La Bamba (1987)

More fact-based than The Buddy Holly StoryLa Bamba stars Lou Diamond Phillips as Ritchie Valens, who died in the same plane crash that killed Holly.  (These two films make for a compelling double feature btw). La Bamba is the better film of the two story-wise, and with stronger musical performances thanks to Los Lobos, who provided spot-on versions of Valens’ work while also contributing heavily to the score.

179. Baahubali: The Beginning (2015)

This first part of the record-breaking Indian historical epic tells the story of a man born and raised by a commoner family who discovers he is royalty. The film then flashes back to tell the story of how this came to be, climaxing at a gigantic battle, pausing occasionally for musical sequences. The film’s biggest flaw is its over-reliance on computer-generated effects that were clearly more ambitious than the budget could produce convincingly.  But this was overall very entertaining, with solid cinematography and eye-catching visuals, as well as a fantasy story that moves along at a fast pace even in spite of the over 2 hour running time.

180. The Long Gray Line (1955)

John Ford directed this biopic about Marty Maher, a Sergeant who served at the West Point Academy for over 50 years in various roles. While the early scenes feel a bit too light in tone and comical, the movie picks up steam in the 2nd act, as the character development deepens.  Maher’s story is that of an average man who didn’t like the army so much as it gave him something to do with his otherwise directionless self. Over time, he became beloved as a kind of ever-presence at West Point, watching as Cadets come and go, and become officers who command him. Marty hasn’t the ambition to go anywhere beyond where he is, but his good nature makes him invaluable to the school and all who attend/work there.  Shot beautifully in Cinemascope mostly on site at West Point Academy, this small film isn’t one of Ford’s masterpieces, but it’s a lesser known sleeper that is very worth looking into.

181. The Assignment (2016)

What the ever-loving fuck was Walter Hill thinking when he wrote this story of a hitman forced into Gender Reassignment surgery against his will? Michelle Rodriguez plays Frank Kitchen, the aforementioned hitman. The early scenes depicting Frank in male form are ludicrous, as the makeup team overcompensated for her utter lack of masculine features with a metric ton of fake body hair that would make the hirsute Robin Williams seem bare by comparison. Add to this a screenplay full of laughable dialogue and Sigourney Weaver being laughable as the sadistic surgeon who does the procedure. Her character feels like it is supposed to have the intelligence and sophistication of Hannibal Lector, but this is conveyed with simplistic references to obvious intellectual sources like Shakespeare/Poe quotations. Worse yet is the wrong-headedness of the story itself, which is probably why the film was protested by Trans-Rights organizations upon its release.

182. Gentlemen Broncos (2009)

Jared Hess’s most self-indulgent film, digging even deeper into his quirk bag than ever before. Hess has a distinctive style that makes his films a “love it or hate it” proposition, and this is no exception. In fact, the sheer degree of strangeness in Gentlemen Broncos may turn off some of those who loved his other movies. The story is simple enough, about a teenage home-schooled boy whose sci-fi story “Yeast Lords” is stolen by both a famous author and a local independent filmmaker at the same time, and how the boy deals with it. The movie frequently breaks for sequences starring Sam Rockwell reenacting scenes from Yeast Lords, which represent some of the most bizarre and hilarious scenes I’ve seen in recent memory. If you’re a Hess devotee, this is worth your time, but if you are turned off by his other stuff, this should be avoided at all costs.

183. Hard Times (1975)

Charles Bronson plays a drifter in the Deep South who is an experienced bare knuckle brawler.  He travels from place to place taking underground gambling street fights, until one day when he meets a talkative promoter (James Coburn) who promises bigger returns if they team up. The two travel to New Orleans, where they use Bronson’s age and rough appearance to fool younger fighters into challenging him. This was director Walter Hill’s debut as a filmmaker, but in many ways it remains one of his most mature and self-assured projects. The performances from both Coburn and Bronson are excellent; this lesser known period fighting movie is well worth a look for fans of the genre.

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All Eyez on Me (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/101847 http://movieboozer.com/featured/101847#respond Sun, 18 Jun 2017 12:15:56 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101847 By: Movie Snurb (Four Beers) – All Eyez on Me is the long awaited biopic of the prolific rap artist Tupac Shakur. Since the massive hit Straight Outta Compton, this film that has been waiting to be made for a long time. After John Singleton left the film in a vocal way, this film seemed …

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By: Movie Snurb (Four Beers) –

All Eyez on Me is the long awaited biopic of the prolific rap artist Tupac Shakur. Since the massive hit Straight Outta Compton, this film that has been waiting to be made for a long time. After John Singleton left the film in a vocal way, this film seemed dead in the water. However, they found Benny Boom, a guy that’s really known for music videos, and the script went through multiple writers. John Singleton may have known what he was doing when he left this film in the dust. This is a film that needed to be made and one that a lot of people have been waiting for and unfortunately Tupac’s fans will need to wait longer for a proper medium to tell his life story.

A Toast

The film is very stylish and at times nails the vibrant time period of the 90s. They were able to use Tupac’s real music which also worked very well to help tell his story. The acting at times was over-the-top, but some of the portrayals felt very real. Danai Gurira as Tupac’s mother Alfeni was the star of this film and Tupac’s story. Even when the material becomes cheesy, Gurira finds the heart of the message being conveyed. Also, they couldn’t have found anyone who looks more like Tupac than Demetrius Shipp Jr. It’s remarkable to watch this film and think that you’re not watching Tupac himself.

Beer Two

Unfortunately, that is as far as it goes for Shipp as Tupac. He does get some mannerisms, and Tupac’s way of speaking. There are times when you can tell he is trying to act like Tupac rather than become Tupac. Like the scenes when we see “Juice” and “Above the Rim” being filmed. It’s almost uncomfortable to watch. I’d rather they just have shown clips from the real film rather than Shipp recreating the scene. However, when he is given time he is able to settle into the role.

Beer Three

Shipp isn’t given time in most scenes to settle into them. This film is full of relentless cuts and edits, and not in a good David Fincher kind of way. Every time a scene felt like it was being set up it would cut to the next. Every scene felt like it was cut short in order to hit all of the “highlights” of Tupac’s life. This overediting of the film turned it into a generic story with characters who aren’t fully fleshed out. If this weren’t a true story, I’d begin to wonder why am I supposed to care about these people. We never really get to know anyone, including Tupac. Also, I had a problem with Boom’s decision to slow-mo every important moment in Tupac’s life, as if the audience isn’t able to understand that this moment in time will be significant to Tupac. It felt pandering rather than moving.

Beer Four

This incessant need to cut every scene short made this film a greatest hits film of Tupac’s life. Not only that, but all of the songs used of his in the film were his greatest hits, only emphasizing this feeling. They used these songs in a trope rather than actually showing the weight the songs have. Like, when his mother leaves after visiting him in prison, while she’s leaving “Dear Mama” begins to play. It all feels very on the nose. He could’ve been reflecting on his past and realized how great his mom was and then show him writing the song. I didn’t like how they chose to tell his story from the beginning up to his sexual misconduct conviction. They used an interview to help move the story along, but instead they’d use it to set up a scene by having two sentences of dialogue. They could’ve used voice-over and saved money, time, and it would’ve worked just fine. The film felt very pandering and maybe it will resonate with some fans, but I have to believe most will leave feeling unsatisfied.

Jamal Woolard reprising his role as Christopher “Biggie” Wallace

Verdict

It’s 2 hours and 20-minute runtime doesn’t feel overly long, but All Eyez on Me will still leave you with an empty feeling. Some fans will enjoy this film hearing all of Tupac’s big hits and seeing the big moments in his life. But I think most fans will not be satisfied with this version of the story of Tupac. This isn’t the worst the film could’ve been, but it could’ve been so much better.

All Eyez on Me (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time the film goes into slow-mo.

Take a Drink: every time Suge Knight threatens someone.

Take a Drink: every time a Tupac song is played.

Pour a Drink Out: for Tupac in the end.

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47 Meters Down (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/47-meters-down-2017-movie-review http://movieboozer.com/featured/47-meters-down-2017-movie-review#respond Sat, 17 Jun 2017 17:15:27 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101781 By: BabyRuth (Three Beers) – If there’s one lesson we learned from last month’s Snatched, it’s NEVER LEAVE THE RESORT WHILE VACATIONING IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY EVEN IF YOU MEET A REALLY CUTE GUY AND IT SEEMS TOTALLY SAFE. 47 Meters Down is the latest entry in the Vacationing White Girls Making Stupid Decisions Cautionary Tale …

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By: BabyRuth (Three Beers) –

If there’s one lesson we learned from last month’s Snatched, it’s NEVER LEAVE THE RESORT WHILE VACATIONING IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY EVEN IF YOU MEET A REALLY CUTE GUY AND IT SEEMS TOTALLY SAFE.

47 Meters Down is the latest entry in the Vacationing White Girls Making Stupid Decisions Cautionary Tale subgenre.

Lisa (Mandy Moore) is trying to get over a recent breakup. Her ex, some guy named Stuart, ended their relationship because he found her too boring. I’m not paraphrasing, that is the actual reason. Determined to prove him wrong and show him just how not boring she is, Lisa takes a trip to Mexico with her sister Kate (Claire Holt)—an adventure-seeking, bundle of fun. They’re sisters but they have such different personalities!

Lounging by the pool and drinking margaritas is just not cutting it for Kate so when the two meet a couple of attractive locals who suggest going on a cage-diving excursion—WITH SHARKS!— she convinces Lisa that it would be the perfect way for her to shed that boring image. Just think of Stuart’s face when he sees the Instagram posts! After a few drinks, Lisa reluctantly agrees. Surely it’s completely safe!

Totally safe! (I just noticed that the name of the boat is the “Sea Esta.” Get it? Puns! Irony!)

Lisa has a change of heart the next day once she sees the beat-up boat and rust-covered cage, but again Kate convinces her to stop being such a boring McBorepants. After the guys complete their dive and come back up to the surface unscathed and raving about the amazing experience, her fears subside.

A little.

Initially, all is good and the sisters take in the underwater view from the safety of the cage, only five meters down, while maintaining radio contact with the tour captain, Taylor (Matthew Modine) through their masks. Even Lisa starts to relax and enjoy herself.

But you know how that cage wasn’t looking so great? Only a few moments later, there’s a snap of a cable and the cage is sent plummeting down to the bottom of the ocean floor, 47 meters down, to be exact. Whoops! (Perhaps they should have invested a little more money into the winch system instead of those high-tech walkie-talkie-masks.)

With a very limited oxygen supply, out of range of contact with the boat, and several Great Whites circling them (thanks to good ol’ Captain Taylor illegally baiting the water with chum) the two sisters must figure out a way to make it back to safety before running out of air or becoming shark candy.

A Toast

47 Meters Down has an interesting history. Originally titled In the Deep, it was intended to go straight to DVD/VOD by Weinstein-owned Dimension Films last August. But just days before the scheduled release, the film was acquired by Freestyle Media who then opted to wait until 2017 (the Summer ’16 shark horror movie quota had already been met with  The Shallows) and give it a full theatrical release.

It was a smart move. This is one of those fun nail-biters that works best in a dark theater with a full audience just waiting to spill their popcorn. The atmosphere is dread-soaked, the tension is unbearable (in the best way), and the scares are well-earned. Director Johannes Roberts (The Other Side of the Door) keeps everything moving at a good pace and utilizes the fear of the unknown brilliantly, putting the audience into the sisters’ position. The intensity increases when the girls must leave the safety of the cage making them vulnerable to the razor-toothed predators lurking in the dark water. The action never breaks to the boat above, a wise decision as it leaves the viewer down below with the women wondering if help will ever come. And refreshingly, while the film is certainly very scary, it’s never excessively gory.

In a clever twist, the sharks aren’t even the biggest threat to our poor, unlucky protagonists. The limited supply of oxygen and danger of “the bends” (deadly nitrogen bubbles caused by swimming to the surface too quickly) pose just as much, if not more danger. Everything plays out in real time which makes the ticking down clocks on those tanks an always present concern.

But there are sharks of course! And 47 Meters Down contains some of the best CG sharks in recent memory. The effects are incredibly well done and seamless, never crossing that fine line of being so glaring that the viewer is removed from the immersive experience. The sharks are mostly seen in quick glimpses or partial views; each appearance makes a striking impact due to the less-is-more approach.

We’ve come a long way.

I also appreciated that the sharks behaved, well, like sharks, rather than the vengeful movie monsters they are usually portrayed as (again, see above).

Moore and Holt do an effective job of putting the audience into their characters’ situation, repeatedly shifting from fear to panic to relief and back again, even though the writing works against them.

Which brings me to…

Beer Two

The dialogue.

Oh god, the dialogue.

I guess Roberts (also a co-writer, along with Ernest Riera) didn’t trust that the audience would be able to follow what they were watching because the sisters narrate Every. Single. Damn thing they do. Even when they aren’t talking to anyone. (“I’m almost out of air.” “I got the spear gun!”) It often took me out of the movie because I kept picturing Moore and Holt in a booth recording their ADR.

There are times when  it is unintentionally hilarious though.  At one point Moore’s character experiences a close call and exclaims in a comically chipper tone “I thought the shark was gonna get me!” which set off a chain reaction of snickers throughout the full preview audience at the screening I attended.

Much of the dialogue is clunky and full of exposition (we learn the two women are sisters by Kate looking for Lisa and yelling “Sis?” – who does that, really?)  There’s a big sibling heart-to-heart at the bottom of the ocean that comes off as nothing more than an attempt to give the characters some conflict to resolve, which really isn’t necessary. And for chrissakes, they talk about freaking Stuart again! Who gives a shit about Stuart?! (Who we never even meet!) Save your precious air ladies!

Beer Three

This one is a little petty but I need to do it.

Early on, there’s one of those montages of the characters drinking and dancing in slow-motion. You guys know what I’m talking about. It’s usually used in comedies to depict fun times and debauchery.  I am SO SICK of this overused, lazy trope. So like my fellow pet peeves, the ballerina jewelry box and the slow-motion traveling bullet effect: automatic beer. 

Verdict

Intense, terrifying, and just plain fun (and occasionally funny), 47 Meters Down is a welcome surprise. See it in a full theater. And see it soon, before someone spoils the ending.

47 Meters Down (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever the water turns red

Take a Drink: every time someone talks about stupid Stuart

Take a Drink: every time Taylor tells the girls to get back in the cage

Take a Drink: whenever Kate or Lisa narrate what is clearly happening onscreen

Take a Drink: whenever anyone says “the bends”

Take a Drink: whenever an oxygen tank beeps

Do a Shot: SHARK!

Do a Shot: “I thought the shark was gonna get me!”

Do a Shot: every time you yell “OH COME ON!” at the screen

Pour One Out: for the shark cage tourism industry, which is surely going to suffer as a result of this movie, but it’s kind of a dangerous and shitty industry anyway, so no biggie.

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Trailer Reviews: 47 Meters Down, All Eyez on Me, Cars 3 & Rough Night http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-47-meters-down-all-eyez-on-me-cars-3-rough-night http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-47-meters-down-all-eyez-on-me-cars-3-rough-night#respond Sat, 17 Jun 2017 12:15:26 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101829 By: Hawk Ripjaw – For some reason, my mind doesn’t want to get these titles right. I keep saying 47 Eyez on Me or just 47 Meterz Down.  47 Meters Down I totally didn’t even hear about this movie until like a week ago, and by all accounts this looks like a pretty standard horror movie. …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw –

For some reason, my mind doesn’t want to get these titles right. I keep saying 47 Eyez on Me or just 47 Meterz Down. 

47 Meters Down

I totally didn’t even hear about this movie until like a week ago, and by all accounts this looks like a pretty standard horror movie. Let’s take a look:

Friends going outside of their comfort zone to do something new and exotic (check).

They’re totally alone, which means if anything happens to them they’re probably screwed (check).

No safety precautions are taken, which increases the probably of something dangerous happening (check).

JUMP SCARES (check).

Probably some baggage from the past (inconclusive, but come on, man).

Characters screaming, crying, and saying how frightened they are (check!)

Beer Prediction

Mandy Moore? What year is it?

 

All Eyez on Me

I really don’t have much of a cultural stake in the events of a Tupac biopic. I do like the music of Tupac, but I didn’t grow up in a crime-filled neighborhood constantly expecting racial oppression. It’s still an interesting culture, and maybe a reason to see the movie, but only to see the man behind the music and how his culture shaped him, and vice versa. It could be a really interesting film with some dynamic performances, especially with Jamal Woolard returning from Notorious. On the other hand, it could be directed from the guy that made Next Day Air and it’ll be a boring, lackluster piece of shit. And that’s really too bad. 

Beer Prediction

A Mandy Moore movie about fucking sharks has a better Rotten Tomatoes score than this. 

 

Cars 3

Sure, third time’s a charm, right? That rule never works for me, especially in dating, so why should I expect it to work here? The last Cars movie was 70% spy movie and 90% Mater acting like a fucking jackass, and people rightfully hated it. If I were Pixar, I’d move on, but at the same time you can’t deny the merchandising benefit, which has added more commas to Disney’s bank account than most of us combined will ever see in our entire lives. It makes money, so Disney keeps wanting them made. There was an interesting theory posited online concerning Cars 3, suggesting that Lightning McQueen’s crash in the trailer is allegorical for the crash that was Cars 2, and now Pixar, like McQueen, needs to return and prove they’ve still got it. Even if that’s not an intentional allegory, it kind of works for this movie. Unfortunately, after Cars 2 I’m having a bit of a trust issue with a new one. 

Beer Prediction

I’m the wrong person for this series. I think the Cars movies suck and they’re only serviceable for their place in the Pixar Theory.

 

Rough Night

While searching for a reason to be interested in Rough Night, I stumbled across a minor tidbit: apparently this is a pseudo-remake of Peter Berg’s Very Bad Things, a comedy about a bachelor party thrown into disarray after the discovery of a dead body. Dead bodies make for great comedy for some reason, but they’re not the automatic special ingredient. They’re the spice that makes the rest of the dish taste good. Usually. That’s probably not the case here. Although I do love all of the actresses. And some early things I’ve been hearing is that the movie is way better than the trailers would have you believe, which is pretty bold for a comedy given that the last handful of comedy trailers (CHiPsBaywatchSnatchedGoing in Style) were way better than their actual movies (none of which were very good anyway). But I have nothing better to do this weekend so I guess I’ll spend money on a movie I’m very apathetic about. 

Beer Prediction

I mean, it can’t be as rough as having to take the kids or a girlfriend to Cars 3, right? Right?

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The Best Poker Movies http://movieboozer.com/articles/best-poker-movies http://movieboozer.com/articles/best-poker-movies#respond Fri, 16 Jun 2017 17:15:24 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101810 Without a doubt, poker is the most successful casino game of all time. Thanks to the simplicity and ease of access that poker offers, millions of people around the world can pick up a deck of cards and get stuck into a competitive, hard-to-master but easy to play game with their friends (or enemies). Although …

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Without a doubt, poker is the most successful casino game of all time. Thanks to the simplicity and ease of access that poker offers, millions of people around the world can pick up a deck of cards and get stuck into a competitive, hard-to-master but easy to play game with their friends (or enemies).

Although poker has humble beginnings, it has transformed into a global phenomenon with a rich history and growing fan base. Poker took a turn when Hollywood jumped on the growing popularity of the game in the 1950s and 60s, with characters like James Bond cementing the game as truly glamorous and bringing it to the forefront of pop culture. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at some of best and most enjoyable poker movies out there.

Rounders

It could be argued that Rounders was one of the catalysts for the online poker boom of the late 90s /early 2000s. A young Matt Damon was the entirely loveable law student dragged into the world of underground poker, forced to play for not only a debt but his life. With a superb cast including Edward Norton, John Malkovich, John Turturro and Martin Landau, Rounders is a feel good film that became an instant cult classic and something of an inspiration for amateur poker players who also dreamed of WSOP gameplay.

Casino Royale

Although James Bond has been haunting the casinos of the world on film for almost 60 years, it took until 2006 and the full remake of Casino Royale for poker to gain the spotlight. The fast paced action mixed with tense poker gameplay saw the Bond series take a new turn. With a high stakes poker game set up to strip a supervillain of their funds, James has to dodge several attempts on his life before the champagne moment at the end of the game. Casino Royale inspired hundreds to hold poker nights at home as well as contributing to the already booming interest in both online poker and televised poker that could be found on late night TV throughout the 2000s.

The Cincinnati Kid

Steve McQueen was at the height of his career when this depression-era poker movie was released. Poker was still firmly in the casino, with access to the glamour and drama of high-stakes poker limited for the general public. The character driven plot is completely centered around a nail-biting game of poker which sees a number of twists and turns before the explosive final sequence (spoiler alert). Although the film received mixed reviews at the time, it has become something of a poker classic that focuses on the game over character development.

Although there a few other notable mentions including Maverick, Stuey, and Deal, it doesn’t seem that there are many future classics in development at the moment. There have been some great casino movies recently, but the focus on poker hasn’t been as strong. Hopefully we will see a film soon that will ensure poker remains in the mainstream for the next generation, but until then poker fans will have to create their own stories.

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Top 20 Greatest Films of the 21st Century, Part II: 10 – 1 http://movieboozer.com/articles/top-20-greatest-films-21st-century-part-10-1 http://movieboozer.com/articles/top-20-greatest-films-21st-century-part-10-1#respond Fri, 16 Jun 2017 12:15:52 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101605 By: Movie Snurb – Here is Part two of the list of the 20 greatest films of the 21st Century. I hope you enjoy numbers 10 -1. Zero Dark Thirty – 2012             Many people think The Hurt Locker is Kathryn Bigelow’s best film. I do agree that The Hurt Locker is a great film, …

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By: Movie Snurb –

Here is Part two of the list of the 20 greatest films of the 21st Century. I hope you enjoy numbers 10 -1.

  1. Zero Dark Thirty – 2012

            Many people think The Hurt Locker is Kathryn Bigelow’s best film. I do agree that The Hurt Locker is a great film, but Zero Dark Thirty is even greater. This was a massive story involving one of the largest attacks on US soil in American history. This involved the greatest 10-year manhunt for the man responsible for these horrific atrocities. This was an important story that needed to be told. Bigelow’s ability to create tense scenes of just dialogue is unmatched. Especially as the film moves along and more things happen to Maya’s colleagues, we become increasingly frightened and tense at what might happen to Maya. Then the last 30 minutes when they raid UBL’s house is one of the greatest scenes in film history. It felt like I didn’t blink for those entire 30 minutes.

  1. City of God – 2002

            I don’t know where to start with this film. It’s a whirlwind of fast editing and writing. Vibrant and exciting cinematography show off the 60’s and 70’s poverty-ravaged favelas of Rio De Janeiro. This film is storytelling at it finest; its ability to use voiceover to push the entire story forward is magnificent. Parts of this film remind me of The Godfather, especially during the baptism and murders. Lil Z gains control of the slums in a similar fashion and it’s brilliant to watch. The ability to show the same scene from different viewpoints allows you to learn something new every time you see the scene and I’ve never seen this use to better effect. This is an unflinching and saddening look at real problems in the world. However, it is worth the watch.

  1. Her – 2013

            This is an absolutely beautiful film, in the cinematography, set design and use of colors, the music, and the writing and acting. The score can stand on its own. It astutely captures the introspective, somber tone of the film. It’s perfect to put on, close your eyes, and let the music take you away. This film accurately depicts our modern relationships; our use and almost dependency on technology has helped and also hinders us in building solid relationships. Especially texting; we can “ghost” people and never talk to them again. We lose the intimate connection in relationships. This film says we need that human connection; we can only get so close to a screen or through a phone. We need human interaction to have a true relationship. This is a film everyone should see once in their life.

  1. Manchester by the Sea – 2016

            I did not expect this film to be as heavy and phenomenal as it is. This is a film that sticks with you because we can see and understand this story happening. How a small decision we think is insignificant can change so many people’s lives. It also feels so real because it depicts grief in real life. So many times in movies everyone at a funeral is bawling. However, in real life most people are quiet and somber. There are moments of humor in tragedy, like when Michelle Williams is being put in the ambulance and the legs to the stretcher keep falling. These are tiny things that happen that we can’t control. The film feels honest and real, which makes it all the more gut-wrenching. It has been talked about to death, but this was the perfect casting. Lee is a quiet introverted person; he bottles his emotions and it is in the moments when Casey Affleck isn’t talking that we see his best acting. It’s internalized and only brought out by body language and facial cues, which Casey does brilliantly. It’s a tough film to stomach, but the payoff is worth the watch.

  1. No Country for Old Men – 2007

            This film has been dissected countless times and for good reason, it’s brilliant. This is a film that should be taught in film schools for directing, editing, writing, and acting. The theme is what makes this film above many others. I’ve watched several film dissections of this movie, and it’s apparent that this film’s theme is up for interpretation, which can be a very bad thing because of inept filmmaking, but in this case it’s because the film is so great it takes a few watches before you can begin discussing it, and everyone has a different opinion. I believe that the film represents society, Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) represents any person going through life, and Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) represents the trends in life that begin to make you feel old because you don’t understand them. Whether it’s a progressive movement or a weird music trend, sooner or later this world will put you out to pasture.

  1. In the Mood for Love – 2000

            Wong Kar-Wai has a keen eye for beauty and it shows in his films, with the actors, set design, and costume design. His films pop off of the screen in a mesmerizing way.  He’s influenced so many filmmakers and most movie-goers have no idea. He’s influenced one director whose film will appear later on this list. This film is beautiful and yet it is heartbreaking. It poses a question everyone has asked, “What would it be like to date that person?” And in many cases the answer is never as good as the fantasy in our own heads. Most times our fantasies are much better served staying in our own heads. Once you open Pandora’s box it’ll never be the same. Sometimes we can even get lost in our own fantasies and it can consume us. We obsess about them and build them up in our head and the outcome is never as good as we build it up to be. Maybe it’s a better idea to keep these fantasies in your head and do what Chow Mo-wan does at the end of the film.

  1. The Social Network – 2010

            As close to a perfect film as you can get to, The Social Network is brilliant in every fashion from; Directing, Writing, Editing, Acting, and the Score (capitalization intentional). Aaron Sorkin is possibly the best screen writer we have working today and potentially the greatest ever. His rapid fire witty dialogue is hard to miss and sometimes harder to follow along. David Fincher’s directing and edit-heavy films are meticulous and keep the audience’s attention. The pairing of Fincher’s editing and direction and Sorkin’s dialogue is a match made in heaven. Sometimes Sorkin’s writing can be long-winded, and Fincher was able to sift through the script and give excellent constructive criticism. Also, since most of this film is people sitting and talking in rooms, Fincher’s editing makes these scenes that could get boring, even with the brilliant writing, become cinematic gold. Watch the scene when the Winklevoss twins and Divya are talking about what to do when they discover Mark stole their idea. Count the edits; I haven’t, but I’m sure it’s quite large. The score could stand on its own and proved Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross are legit film score composers. It is an absolutely genius film, and it will be considered a classic in the future.

  1. There Will Be Blood – 2007

            I wrote a rather lengthy review of this film for this site and you should definitely check it out since I only have a long paragraph to explain why this film is so great here. However, this is a film that only comes along once every 15 years. Paul Thomas Anderson is a genius director and screenwriter. He has an ability to tell any kind of story with similar underlying themes of family, love, and religion. He knows his audience is intelligent, which is why he is able to elevate these films from good to great. The cinematography is amazing, especially in the scene when the oil pump blows. Daniel Day Lewis gives a performance for the ages and brings to life the larger than life character of Daniel Plainview. You love to hate this man who sees nothing in people worth liking. However, you can’t look away, and when he is not on screen you can’t wait for him to be back. I do think this is a film you should see more than once so you can fully capture and understand everything in the film.

  1. Moonlight – 2016

            This film stuck with me after I watched it the first time. For months I couldn’t shake this film from my mind. After I had thought about it for a few weeks I knew we had a very important and game-changing film. Barry Jenkins’ ability to take three different actors who share no screen time and make the audience believe that it is the same person is a remarkable gift, and I can’t wait to see what he does next. It’s a beautiful film; it not only gets under your skin, but it wraps itself around your soul and doesn’t let go for a very long time. Mahershala Ali’s Juan is an important character in this film. He represents those people in our lives that give you a hand and let you know it’s OK to feel different. Maybe you won’t feel like you belong sometimes, but that’s OK because there will always be someone that will accept you. Even though Juan is only in the 1st act of the film, you still feel like he’s there during the 2nd and 3rd act because of how he affected Chiron in such a short amount of time. It’s a once in a lifetime kind of film that everyone needs to see.

  1. Boyhood – 2014

            The idea to film a little bit every year for 12 years is a huge risk. For IFC Fims to take this massive risk is surprising; however they looked liked the smart ones when it paid off in the long run. When you watch this film you can’t poke a hole through any of it. I don’t believe it is a perfect film; however, I can’t find any fault when I watch it. Though it is called Boyhood, I really feel like it’s not only about Ellar, but about his mother and father and sisters’ journey through these 12 years. The film is full of brilliant performances. Patricia Arquette won the Oscar for her performance and it was rightfully deserved. Ethan Hawke gives a great performance. What is so great about this film is we get to see all of these characters grow, not just Ellar. In the end everyone is such a different person then who they were at the beginning of the film. This is a rare film that we do not get very often and many might take for granted. There is nothing spectacular or life-changing, but it’s something we have never seen before and we probably will never get to see it again. We get to watch these people age and grow for 12 years. It’s a special film that will be remembered for years.

I hope you enjoyed my list. Do you think I missed any films, or do you think there was one on this list that didn’t deserve it? Let me know in the comments!

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Top 20 Greatest Films of the 21st Century, Part I: 20 – 11 http://movieboozer.com/articles/top-20-greatest-films-21st-century-part-20-11 http://movieboozer.com/articles/top-20-greatest-films-21st-century-part-20-11#comments Thu, 15 Jun 2017 12:15:13 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101606 By: Movie Snurb – Though we’re only about 17.5 years into the 21st century, we have already had a plethora of brilliant films. We’ve also had some of the worst films ever put on screen. However, this is a list to celebrate what I think are the 20 greatest films of 21st century. I haven’t …

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By: Movie Snurb –

Though we’re only about 17.5 years into the 21st century, we have already had a plethora of brilliant films. We’ve also had some of the worst films ever put on screen. However, this is a list to celebrate what I think are the 20 greatest films of 21st century. I haven’t put any limits on this- if the film came out from the year 2000 on, it’s fair game.

  1. The Royal Tenenbaums – 2001

            When I began this list I knew I was going to put a Wes Anderson film on it. There are some greats to choose from. I think Rushmore is his best film, but unfortunately that was released in 1998. Many think The Grand Budapest is his greatest, and though it is good, I think this is his modern masterpiece. Anderson has an ability to make a quirky, funny, charming film, and yet in the end its genuine heart sneaks up on you. It’s what makes his films great instead of just quirky indies. This film is one of his best because he takes so many different characters’ stories and follows them with great detail, and yet the overall film doesn’t suffer from jumping in between the stories. It’s great cast and all give brilliant performances; even Alec Baldwin’s voiceover work is brilliant.

  1. Oldboy – 2003

            Park Chan-wooks’ mystery thriller, which I consider to be a horror film as well, is one of the few films that blew my mind when I first watched it. Yes, I’m talking about the big reveal at the end of the film. If you don’t know the ending of the film don’t ruin it for yourself, just go watch it and have your mind blown. Not only is it the ending that makes this film great, the performances are stellar, the direction is masterful, and the cinematography is gorgeous. Chung Chung-hoon is a master at his trade and no better film shows this off. Oh Dae-su’s fight scene with the hammer is jaw dropping. You can see Chung’s latest work in The Handmaiden. This is a brilliant film that Hollywood felt the need to unnecessarily remake. No surprise, it did not do well critically. Just watch the original.

  1. Inception – 2009

            Another film that immediately blew my mind after I saw it, this one I couldn’t stop talking about either. How could you not, though? There are so many things to chew on and dissect in this film. The brilliant thing I really love about this film is Nolan never feels the need to spell everything out for the audience. Nolan knows his audience is smart and doesn’t shy away from high-minded concepts. This was an original idea, not based on any existing IP, or a sequel. That’s what makes this film so great. It was fresh, and great to see Hollywood was willing to still take chances on new ideas. Of course it helped that the The Dark Knight grossed over 1 billion dollars worldwide. However, with all of the reboots, sequels, and cinematic universes, it’s nice to see great original films are still being made.

  1. Inside Out – 2015

            I don’t think there is a better film to show your kids and teach them about emotions and how they work. I also think this is a great reminder to parents that children have emotions just like them and have a right to experience different emotions. So many times it seems that parents are yelling at their kids for being sad or mad in a moment. We’re all human and it’s going to happen. No human can be happy all of the time and neither should they strive to be. Our emotions are who we are, we should show them and experience them. It’s OK to cry, it’s OK to be angry, it’s OK to be disgusted. This was a very important film that I think could be used in classrooms.

  1. Steve Jobs – 2015

            “Steve Jobs is a master class in direction, acting, editing, and writing.” – Jack’s Movie Reviews. I couldn’t think of a better way to say this, so I figured I’d use a quote from Jack’s Movie Reviews on YouTube. This sentence is spot on. Danny Boyle’s fast-paced editing formula pairs perfectly with Aaron Sorkin’s genius and rapid fire screenplay. I honestly believe this might be his best screenplay to date, and his entire body of work is brilliant. For Sorkin’s fast paced writing you need capable actors to keep up and make the words feel natural. Michael Fassbender gives his best performance as Steve Jobs, making him human. It doesn’t matter that he doesn’t really look like Steve Jobs, his performance helps make this film, along with Kate Winslet. She’s Steve’s yin to his yang. Winslet and Fassbender have great chemistry. What is so great about the editing? It helps the screenplay move along. This film is all talking, so you need to edit the scenes with multiple cuts. This way the audience doesn’t lose interest. When Steve and John Scully are arguing is the best example of all of these elements put together. This film is an action movie with words.

  1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – 2004

            Another brilliant original film, this time from the unique mind of Charlie Kaufman. Another great performance from Kate Winslet and a subdued yet stellar performance from Jim Carrey. This film asks the question that everyone has wondered; “If you could forget about your Ex, would you?” Would you erase all of the bad and good memories? Would it be that easy to forget about them? This film explores all of these questions and does it with brilliant quirky comedy. This film also is very emotional for people, obviously because everyone has asked this question to themselves, whether you were the dumper or dumpee. It’s as funny as it is sad and it’s not hard to see why Charlie won the Oscar for best original screenplay. It’s not only one of the best screenplays of the 21st century, but it’s one of the best all-time and should be taught in screenplay writing classes.

  1. Brokeback Mountain – 2005

            One of the best love stories and the saddest to ever be told. A film that was clearly ahead of its time because the Academy chose not to reward it, instead giving the top honor to Crash. Probably one of the biggest Oscar blunders of all-time. This film spoke volumes to everyone who was afraid to be themselves out of fear of persecution from either family, friends, or strangers. It boasts brilliant performances from the late Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Williams, and Anne Hathaway. The film is beautiful to watch with the scenery and cinematography. But it is also a beautiful love story that will bring you to tears. This is a must watch for everyone.

  1. The Departed – 2006

            How do you not put Scorsese on any best film of a certain decade list? It was just a matter of choosing which film I was going to pick. Considering this is the one he won Best Director and Best Picture for, plus it’s my favorite film of all-time, it was an easy pick. The direction is brilliant. The cast is massive and doesn’t falter with too many big names in one film. The acting is genius, but the best performance in the film belongs to Matt Damon. He’s built his career in Hollywood on being the charming hero. He plays the slimiest gutless POS and does it flawlessly. He’s an excellent counterpart to Leonardo DiCaprio’s troubled hero. Though they share very little screen time, it’s always evident that they’re going after one another. I’d also recommend checking out the film this is adapted from: Internal Affairs from Hong Kong.

  1. Before Midnight – 2013

              The Before Trilogy (Before Sunrise/Before Sunset/Before Midnight) is probably the most honest portrayal of love Hollywood has created. It’s the final film in this trilogy that truly caps this 18-year long story off. Richard Linklater’s writing is brilliant. What I love most about his writing is how real all of his conversations feel. Whether it’s Dazed and Confused and a couple high schoolers talking about getting high or a couple discussing whether to live in the US or Europe in this film, every conversation his characters have is one you feel like you’ve had before. Linklater, Ethan Hawke, and Julie Delpy all write for the Before movies. The decision to have the main actors contribute to their characters and the story is a genius choice. It’s their chemistry that also makes these movies feel so real. Before Midnight is an honest and harsh look at the hard parts of Love.  Love is not always easy and smooth. This film shows that perfectly.

  1. Zodiac – 2007

            Zodiac is a film that has seemed to get more love and respect the older it gets. David Fincher’s 2nd best film behind one to appear on part 2, Zodiac is an unsettling look at obsession and how it can affect everyone around you. This film sucks you in and you don’t realize it, even with its 162 minute runtime. The audience becomes so invested in the story that we begin seeing what Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal) sees, even if all of the evidence doesn’t point to it. It works because we become highly invested in solving this mystery. So, by the end of the film when Robert is in the basement of the movie poster artist we begin to get freaked out, because we are just as paranoid as Robert now.  We become frightened and begin thinking he’s in the house of the Zodiac and needs to get the hell out of there. The true story behind the Zodiac is curiously interesting, so naturally the movie is the same way. This allows Fincher to use his meticulous direction and bring the past back to life with disturbing accuracy. Careful when you watch this, you might get obsessed and try to solve the murders as well, and end up alone in a hotel room.

That is, it for Part I of this list. Be sure to look out for Part 2 coming tomorrow!

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Virtual Pub 213: The Mummy, The Assignment & recent streaming views http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-213-mummy-assignment-recent-streaming-views http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-213-mummy-assignment-recent-streaming-views#respond Thu, 15 Jun 2017 07:48:25 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101777 This week the Movieboozer crew talks about The Mummy, It comes at Night, The Last Dragon, The Assignment, and Gentlemen Broncos, and the usual random subjects.  

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This week the Movieboozer crew talks about The Mummy, It comes at Night, The Last Dragon, The Assignment, and Gentlemen Broncos, and the usual random subjects.

 

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The Mummy (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/mummy-2017-movie-review http://movieboozer.com/featured/mummy-2017-movie-review#respond Wed, 14 Jun 2017 12:15:51 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101762 By: Hawk Ripjaw (Four Beers) – Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) is a US soldier of fortune who, along with his best friend Chris (Jake Johnson), is exploring Iraq in search of loot and treasure for them to plunder–or antiques to liberate, to hear Nick defend it. After about half a dozen one-liners each later, the …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw (Four Beers) –

Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) is a US soldier of fortune who, along with his best friend Chris (Jake Johnson), is exploring Iraq in search of loot and treasure for them to plunder–or antiques to liberate, to hear Nick defend it. After about half a dozen one-liners each later, the pair has stumbled upon a group of rebels in a small town and accidentally revealed a centuries-old tomb in the ensuing gunfight. Morton’s one time lover (because of course she is) Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) uses the powers of exposition to observe that this site is different: instead of the usual hallmarks of a tomb designed to escort a spirit to the afterlife, this is designed to keep its occupant imprisoned. The occupant is Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), who was mummified alive after murdering her family to steal the throne 5,000 years ago.

Ready for things to get weird?

Naturally, Nick shoots the rope of a pulley system operating the tomb, lifting the sarcophagus out. The military gets the sarcophagus loaded onto a plane, at which point the spirit of Ahmanet crashes the plane. Morton is apparently killed but wakes up unscathed in the morgue, having been revived by Ahmanet because he appears to be the reincarnation of Ahmanet’s lover from 5,000 years ago. As explained by a suddenly appearing Russell Crowe as Dr. Henry Jekyll, and by Nick’s own bizarre visions, Ahmanet intends to rebuild her magic dagger (the other half of which is buried somewhere with a Crusades knight in England) and stab Nick with it, which will possess him with the spirit of Set, the god of death, turning Nick into Set and giving him the power of life over death and making him and Ahmanet the rulers of the entire world.

Or something.

“How many movies did I sign on for?”

A Toast

Let’s just get it out of the way: The Mummy is not good. But it is sure as hell fun. Cruise is surprisingly very entertaining here, roguish and never short on casual jackassery in a Nathan Drake from Uncharted sort of way, and frequently dipping into camp with some Cage-lite physical acting during his manic visions post-”death.” The special effects are quite goofy as well, with some nicely grotesque shots and mummy zombies that have a jerky way of movement that looks like stop-motion animation that missed a couple of frames. It’s one of the few moments that felt reminiscent of classic movies.

It’s almost never boring, either: as The Mummy rushes breathlessly through setpiece after setpiece of occasionally-incomprehensible supernatural action and ludicrous plot developments and worldbuilding, it barely pauses for a moment now and then to offer some exposition via flashbacks that look like fragrance commercials or bite-sized tidbits on ancient Egypt. The first time one of these happens is the final barometer for whether or not you’re going to have fun with The Mummy.

Beer Two

It’s almost impossible not to laugh at a movie that involves the villain delivering a literal Kiss of Death by sucking a man’s life force out of his body through his mouth and turning him into a mummy zombie, or the sudden and frequent appearance of a zombified Jake Johnson for no reason. These are all absurd ideas, and they’re either completely terrible, sublimely hilarious, or both, depending on what you’re looking for here.

A lot happens here, but a lot doesn’t happen. As the beginning of Universal’s new Dark Universe, The Mummy spends a lot of time setting up a sequel and an interconnected universe and leaves little for itself. It exists almost wholly to be a launchpad for a franchise, nearly all of its characters being a means to an end. Dr. Jekyll, in a delightfully zany interlude, is introduced as the mastermind of a facility to examine and eradicate evil and is literally this franchise’s Nick Fury. Yet all he does is provide context for forthcoming films, not really needing to exist in this movie other than to spout expository dialogue and deliver one of the stupidest (and funniest) action sequences of 2017.  

Yeah, it has its own logo.

Beer Three

The script, which has three writers credited in the main closing credits and twice that on IMDB, does no favors for anyone. Nearly every line out of someone’s mouth is either expository dialogue explaining what slow-motion visions can’t, or just laying the groundwork for more movies. There is no character development, no one is very interesting, and nothing of true consequence happens until the very end. Then there are the bits where it begs the question how they went through six fucking people and no one said anything, such as a scene where Cruise is preparing to go at Ahmanet and Jenny is a few yards away cheering “Yeah! Kick her ass!” The lack of quality control in a script for a movie this expensive, even down to simple coherency, is alarming. 

Beer Four

By attempting to be an action/horror/adventure mashup, The Mummy seriously loses track of its tones. It occasionally nails the sense of adventure and fun that it’s trying to hearken back to, but every time it leans back into serious drama and straight attempts at horror, it falls apart. There is potential for some great campy horror with the zombie/mummy minions, but those sequences are played like straight horror, so it’s rarely clear what sort of emotional response the movie is asking for from its audience. It’s a shame because it clearly, very earnestly wants to pay homage to the adventure and horror beats of the original 30s movies, but consistently trips over itself with everything else and fails to organize the tonal shifts. 

Verdict

The Mummy is one of those films that scratches a very specific sort of itch, treading so quickly and confidently into “so bad it’s good” territory that you almost get the sense that this is all one gigantic, calculated $125 million in-joke. At other times, you’re not so sure. The weird deconstruction of Cruise as an action hero, callbacks to the franchise’s campy roots, and dark overall theme never comes together correctly. It’s often questionable whether you’re laughing with the movie, or at it. But when everything in this first installment of an extended monster “Dark Universe” is this satisfyingly terrible, it doesn’t really matter.

The Mummy (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time someone drops a fact about Ancient Egypt

Do a Shot: whenever Nick has a vision

Take a Drink: every time Nick gets his ass kicked

Take a Drink: for every jump scare

Do a Shot: for every reference to classic Universal Monsters

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It Comes at Night (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/comes-night-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/comes-night-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Tue, 13 Jun 2017 12:15:26 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101752  By: Christian Harding (A Toast) – God bless A24. I don’t usually tend to put a spotlight on specific film studios and/or companies in my reviews, but in this case I feel as if it’s warranted. Now, think of any really interesting independent drama, or an original and unique low-budget genre film that you’ve seen …

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 By: Christian Harding (A Toast) –

God bless A24. I don’t usually tend to put a spotlight on specific film studios and/or companies in my reviews, but in this case I feel as if it’s warranted. Now, think of any really interesting independent drama, or an original and unique low-budget genre film that you’ve seen in the past couple of years, and there’s a good chance that it was released by A24. Their output in regards to the horror genre has been particularly impressive, ranging from critical darlings like last year’s The Witch, to more schlocky, guilty pleasure fare like The Monster, and then there’s whatever the hell was going on with Kevin Smith’s Tusk. Point being, they’ve been responsible for getting lots of refreshing content seen and enjoyed by both critics and audiences, and here we have their latest offering with It Comes at Night, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi/horror mashup that will no doubt leave most general audiences members scratching their heads, but will also satisfy those looking for something a bit more unconventional and singular for their viewing experience.

A Toast

As with most of my horror reviews as of late, I’ll try to keep the plot summary as brief and concise as possible as to let the true impact of the film be felt as best as possible. But to just cover the basics, It Comes at Night centers on a family of three living in an unspecified time in the near-ish future after a vaguely apocalyptic event has wiped out most of humanity. The three of them try to keep busy during the day and maintain their home in the safest possible lockdown at night. Of course, things aren’t always what they seem and not everything can go according to plan all the time, hence some conflict and tensions must arise sooner or later, and ninety minutes later, we have a feature film on our hands. To sum it up in a more casual manner, think of this film as an expansion on this infamous one sentence horror story: “The last man on earth hears a knock on the door.”

With such a limited setting and by extension, minimal cast involved, nailing all the central roles here is crucial, and It Comes at Night does just that. By now, Joel Edgerton is a fairly well known leading man, and does a more than capable job as the central patriarchal figure of this twisted domestic family setting. Carmen Ejogo also fares well here, handily redeeming herself after playing one of film history’s dumbest characters in Alien: Covenant. Rounding out the central trio is newcomer Kelvin Harrison Jr, who more than capably adopts the most empathetic role here. And while I’m hesitant to even mention whether or not more actors show up in this, let’s just say that if any others appear in this film, they all do a very good job and convincingly add to the central conflict at hand.

Despite its lean running time of about an hour and a half, It Comes at Night is a pretty slow burn throughout most of it, and for what the film was ultimately going for, both tonally and in terms of the subject matter and thematic elements, it more than earns it. While the rather deliberate, unconventional pace might rub general audiences the wrong way (I dare not guess what the CinemaScore rating for this will be – would a C+ be too much to ask?), those willing to give it a chance and who are probably more familiar with films containing this sort of unnerving, dread-induced crawl forward will likely find a lot to appreciate here. Director Trey Edward Shults is only on his second feature with this puppy, but already he’s proven himself to be a talent to watch out for, with a particular knack for being able to depict a rather uncomfortable social scenario grow increasingly problematic and even potentially dangerous as time moves forward. This was true for his equally impressive debut feature Krisha, and definitely carries over here as well. Now the question is, which multi-million dollar franchise offering is this guy going to get suddenly tossed into?

“You wanna tell him what the real CinemaScore is, or should I?”

Verdict

Overall, It Comes at Night is a damn fine piece of modern genre filmmaking, and a breath of fresh air in what’s thus far been a pretty safe, generic summer at the movies. If you’re in the mood for an intelligent, original viewing experience, rounded out by some genuine thrills and tension, then this is the film you’ve been waiting for. Smart, complex, and told in a very tight, lean fashion, this fits right in with the creative and business model A24 as perfected for themselves over the last few years. Give these folks all your money, because they’ve certainly earned it.

It Comes at Night (2017) Drinking Game

Do a Shot: for every dream sequence

Do another Shot: each time the red door is shown or mentioned.

Shotgun a Beer: when the obvious “red shirt” family pet fulfills its purpose in the story.

Pour a Glass of Wine: when shit starts to hit the fan, and you need something easier on your stomach.

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High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2008) Movie Review: Go Wildcats! http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/high-school-musical-3-senior-year-2008-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/high-school-musical-3-senior-year-2008-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Mon, 12 Jun 2017 12:15:41 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101588 By: Alex Phuong (Three Beers) – Many people agree that high school consists of four miserable years. Even with such teen drama, a very popular genre is the “high school fantasy.” In fact, popular films and television shows oftentimes are set in high school, such as Clueless (1995) and the Golden Globe-winning TV series Glee …

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By: Alex Phuong (Three Beers) –

Many people agree that high school consists of four miserable years. Even with such teen drama, a very popular genre is the “high school fantasy.” In fact, popular films and television shows oftentimes are set in high school, such as Clueless (1995) and the Golden Globe-winning TV series Glee (2009-2015). One year before Glee premiered, though, Disney released the third installment of the High School Musical series to show the cast during their fictional senior year. This film is not exactly the best Disney movie ever made, but it is still very popular and has a fan base that supports the East High Wildcats.

A Toast

Since this is a musical, the film actually does feature some catchy tunes. There is the prom number called, “A Night to Remember” and the romantic duet “Can I Have This Dance?”. Even though it features eleven original songs, none of them received nominations at the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards. Still, the songs are still somewhat delightful because it adds fun to a “Disney-fied” version of high school. Along with the singing, the film also features very elaborate choreography.

Beer Two

Even though this film received a “G” rating from the MPAA, this film is not exactly family-friendly. There are two main reasons for this. First of all, Sharpay Evans is not a great role model because she is very materialistic and self-centered, which the film showcases during the musical number “I Want It All.” The second reason is because of Zac Efron’s somewhat inappropriate behavior in the film. Without giving away any spoilers, let’s just say that he “acts like a teen heartthrob.” Fans of Zac Efron might like that, but parents won’t.

Beer Three

In contrast to the first two made-for-TV films, this new installment features a new character named Tiara Gold. She basically just imitates Sharpay, and they are both blonde! Is her character really that necessary, though?

Verdict

It has been over a decade since the first High School Musical film premiered on Disney Channel in 2006. In spite of that, many people still adore this film series. Disney also announced in 2016 the possibility of a fourth film in the series. This third film also holds the record for having the best opening weekend for a movie musical at $42 million. It has been years since the original Wildcats graduated from East High, but maybe Disney will be able to revive this beloved musical trilogy in the near future.

High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2008) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever Troy and Gabriella do anything romantic

Take a Drink: during every reference to typical high school topics, like prom, graduation, and preparing for college

Drink a Shot: every time the East High school colors (red and white) appear on screen.

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365 Days of Movies- Henry J. Fromage Edition- Week 23 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-23 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-23#respond Sun, 11 Jun 2017 17:15:06 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101709 By: Henry J. Fromage – Finally getting some time to dive into some of the 2017 releases I’ve missed, I discover I’ve not been missing very much. 137. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Stick a fork in this franchise, it’s done.  The Pirates movies are getting so overwrought, over-CGI’d, underwritten, and inessential that it …

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By: Henry J. Fromage –

Finally getting some time to dive into some of the 2017 releases I’ve missed, I discover I’ve not been missing very much.

137. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Stick a fork in this franchise, it’s done.  The Pirates movies are getting so overwrought, over-CGI’d, underwritten, and inessential that it retroactively casts a pall on even the at-the-time uniquely spectacular original.  If Jack Sparrow had quit after one or even three outings, he may still go down as one of Hollywood’s iconic characters.  Now he’s just Johnny Depp getting his fail all over another franchise.  Watch, this will still eke out a billion and another sequel, though…

138. Wilson

Continuing my experience in garbage, I was very surprised to find this adaptation of Daniel Clowes’ acerbic cult comic to be as toothless and baby-down soft a Hollywood product as can be.  Even Woody Harrelson can’t save this utterly bland, Hollywood “life lesson”-spouting pap from being the utter tone-deaf death trudge through vanilla ice cream that it ends up being.  I wasn’t expecting much, but I wasn’t expecting such gross mediocrity, either.

139. Life

In the year we got another Alien sequel, who knew this concept was so nice we needed it twice?  A surprisingly overqualified cast and some good set design, nasty gore effects, and appropriately thrilling direction by Daniel Espinosa make this well worth a watch, especially now that you can do it via rental.  It won’t feel terribly unfamiliar to fans of the genre, though, that’s for sure.  If you can’t figure out the ending well before it occurs, you’re doing it wrong.

140. It Comes at Night

God, I hoped that lady who tried to sue Drive for not being the Fast & the Furious clone its trailers made it out to be watched this one, thinking she was walking into the scariest film of the year.  If I was the judge this time, I’d award her the money.  A horror film in only the barest sense of the word, this slow to the point of tedious post-apocalyptic exercise in tension-building was written by Trey Edward Shults after his father died.  The existential despair at watching a loved one waste away in front of you, and you powerless to stop it, definitely comes through in this film, but that’s all that does.  If that sounds like a fun Friday at the movies, well, my wife sure as fuck doesn’t agree with you, for one.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Now, here’s something I enjoyed watching this week- the Tina Fey-produced, perfectly cast spiritual successor of 30 Rock, may have an even higher joke hit rate, if that’s even possible with both that comparison point and the shear rate at which this show volleys jokes at the wall to see what sticks.  Hidden in with all of the perfectly random jokery and callbacks is an tale of near-boundless optimism in the face of all life throws at you- we could all use a little Kimmy Schmidt in our worldview.

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The Hours (2002) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/the-hours-2002-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/the-hours-2002-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sun, 11 Jun 2017 12:15:37 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101514 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – Michael Cunningham is currently one of the most prolific writers in contemporary literature. His work includes By Nightfall and The Snow Queen. Cunningham has the unique talent of taking classic tales, and re-imagining them as modern-day masterpieces. That is because The Snow Queen references the fairy tale by Hans …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

Michael Cunningham is currently one of the most prolific writers in contemporary literature. His work includes By Nightfall and The Snow Queen. Cunningham has the unique talent of taking classic tales, and re-imagining them as modern-day masterpieces. That is because The Snow Queen references the fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson, and the novel that earned him the Pulitzer Prize centers around Virginia Woolf. Stephen Daldry and David Hare were bold enough to adapt The Hours even though some critics argued that the novel would not translate well to the silver screen. Nevertheless, the final product ended up being a major awards contender in 2002.

A Toast

This film contains all of the elements of a major Oscar contender. Nicole Kidman earned her first Oscar right after receiving her first nomination for Moulin Rouge! the year before. It allowed Julianne Moore to receive a nomination for her supporting role as the housewife Laura Brown. It also features Meryl Streep as Clarissa Vaughan, who is basically a Twenty-First Century Mrs. Dalloway. All three actresses shine in this tale of three different women all living a lie. The film actually explores very deep concepts that Virginia Woolf explored in her writing, such as social status and mortality. Nicole Kidman also did voiceover work as Virginia Woolf because there would be times in which she would deliver short vocal monologues that could be heard in the background. It is almost as if Kidman was able to bring the beloved author to life in order to critique both her own historical era and modern society simultaneously. This film is a great example about how women can be at the heart of a film while teaching audiences powerful life lessons.

Verdict

Virginia Woolf lives on within her published writing and also provides inspiration to artists who dare to dream. Cunningham deserved his Pulitzer Prize for honoring such an iconic woman. It is actually a bit of a shame that The Hours only received one Oscar for Kidman’s performance. During Oscar night, Denzel Washington actually made a joke about how Kidman had to wear a fake nose in order to resemble Virginia Woolf. Nevertheless, all three actresses worked together in a collaborative effort to celebrate the legacy of a beloved author. Virginia Woolf really did leave a lasting impression on the world, and this film honors her genius.

The Hours (2002) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever there is a time jump between the different eras within this film (which are 1923, 1941, 1951, and 2001).

Take a Drink: during every depressing moment

Drink a Shot: during every reference to Mrs. Dalloway

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Trailer Reviews: It Comes at Night, Megan Leavey, & The Mummy http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-it-comes-at-night-megan-leavey-the-mummy http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-it-comes-at-night-megan-leavey-the-mummy#respond Sat, 10 Jun 2017 17:30:41 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101730 By: Hawk Ripjaw – It Comes At Night This time, I’m staying as far away as I can from any information on this movie. What I know so far is that there will probably be nighttime scenes, and there will be some thing, and it will make its presence known during that time. Or maybe …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw –

It Comes At Night

This time, I’m staying as far away as I can from any information on this movie. What I know so far is that there will probably be nighttime scenes, and there will be some thing, and it will make its presence known during that time. Or maybe it’ll be an arthouse allegory that doesn’t really have any hard supernatural scares. The marketing goes either way: by not really revealing anything, it’s either hiding some quality scary shit, or you’ll need your monster fix elsewhere. You don’t know, which is why it’s interesting. And even if there aren’t monsters (and there probably won’t be, since that feels more like a Blumhouse thing than an A24 thing), there’s certainly a promise of some good tension between the characters, for whatever reason they have to be against each other.

Beer Prediction

Seriously, I know nothing. But I’m expecting great things.

 

Megan Leavey

It’s a war movie about a dog, and the soldier that becomes best friends with him. I’m gonna be honest here. I don’t really care for war movies unless someone manages to suck me into Kathryn Bigelow hype, and I already live with a dog who will lick your face until either a) he collapses from exhaustion or b) is forcibly pushed away, so I don’t have many reasons to watch this. To boot, it comes out the same weekend as a) an A24 release, which, given their pedigree is a day one guarantee ticket purchase, and b) a Tom Cruise horror universe reboot of a Dark Universe starring several Universal Studios monsters, so you can see how I prioritize my movies. Look, I’m sure Megan Leavey is great. Kate Mara and her dog are both seriously worth attention. But the shlock of The Mummy calls to me. I have a problem. 

Beer Prediction

It really does look good, though.

 

The Mummy

There are 15 movies in Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe. Warner Bros quickly catches onto the hype and are only at four, but are quickly building momentum. Universal looks on, bitter and jealous, with no good characters to their name. Unless—no. No, it’s too crazy. It’s too strange, and risky, and not nearly as cool. But they have to try. What if there was an extended universe with all of the classic monsters? What if it had Tom Cruise? This, friends, is the line of reasoning that makes me both applaud and fear for the future of cinema. We have here the inception of an interconnected series of movies starring classic Universal monsters, and the idea of a future mashup of these creatures that isn’t a godless disaster like Van Helsing hits right at that point of my brain that salivates at an idea as nutty as Frankenstein meeting The Mummy. It makes literally no sense, but as long as everyone involved understands this, we’re in for some serious shit fun… shit.

Beer Prediction

BRING ME THE LARGEST OF POPCORN BUCKETS!!

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Annie Hall (1977) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/annie-hall-1977-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/annie-hall-1977-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sat, 10 Jun 2017 12:15:13 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101427 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – 2017 is a very special anniversary year for film. That is because it was forty years since the release of the first Star Wars film. This film review is not about Star Wars, though, because it is actually about the Best Picture winner of 1977. Annie Hall is arguably …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

2017 is a very special anniversary year for film. That is because it was forty years since the release of the first Star Wars film. This film review is not about Star Wars, though, because it is actually about the Best Picture winner of 1977. Annie Hall is arguably Woody Allen’s masterpiece because of its simplicity along with its examination of love and relationships. It might not have the glamour of Star Wars, but it is still simply beautiful.

A Toast

This film features an Oscar-winning performance from Diane Keaton, an Oscar-winning original screenplay, and Woody Allen’s only acting nomination. Keaton’s role as the eponymous Annie Hall is iconic, and many adore Keaton’s portrayal of a ditzy character. In fact, Keaton’s name is almost synonymous with Annie Hall, and the outfits that Keaton wore within the film started a fashion trend even though most of them were her ordinary clothes. The screenplay is also brilliant because it contains numerous rhetorical devices, such as puns, humor, and even mild uses of satire. Part of the reason why this script is so brilliant is because it deglamorizes the typical Hollywood love story by reiterating the fact that the real world is not always perfect. Annie Hall essentially revolutionized romantic filmmaking because it is essentially a modern story that contains gritty realism that ultimately has a powerful impact on viewers.

Verdict

Annie Hall might be the greatest film that Woody Allen produced. Many twenty-first century audiences might recall Woody Allen’s recent work, like Midnight in Paris (2011), but Annie Hall still delivers important life lessons on reality. Life itself might not be perfect, but its imperfections make it what it truly is. It might seem paradoxical, but life is supposed to be imperfect. The creative genre of realism might be upsetting, but that is just the way of the world. Woody Allen really did create a modern masterpiece by exhibiting the true nature of love.

Annie Hall (1977) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever Alvy Singer acts neurotically

Take a Drink: whenever there is a flashback or a fantasy sequence

Drink a Shot: whenever Annie Hall says the famous phrase “La-dee-dah.”

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Ken’s Movie Diary 2017 – Week 21 http://movieboozer.com/articles/movie-news/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-21 http://movieboozer.com/articles/movie-news/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-21#respond Fri, 09 Jun 2017 17:15:48 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101522 Weekly Update: Still recuperating from a serious injury, which will take a few more weeks at least. So for the next few weeks my new movie viewings will consist of mostly stuff I could find on TV or streaming. Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year …

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Weekly Update: Still recuperating from a serious injury, which will take a few more weeks at least. So for the next few weeks my new movie viewings will consist of mostly stuff I could find on TV or streaming.

Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date-

164. The Most Dangerous Game (1932)

Filmed at the same time, and with much of the same cast and sets as King KongThe Most Dangerous Game is a simple, entertaining adventure story of a hunter stranded in a shipwreck. The hunter meets the island’s owner, Count Zaroff, who professes to be a hunter of some acclaim himself, although bored and feeling unchallenged by the sport. Zaroff’s preference now is hunting a more cunning game; MAN!  The film is a bit dated, but it moves along at a fast pace and is worth a watch for those who read the original short story, or are fascinated with the concept.

165. Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) 

This movie follows a group of young women in a 19th century Australian finishing school dealing with the sudden disappearance of 3 of their fellow students and a teacher while on a field trip deep in the Outback.  Rumors and theories abound, many of which awaken a carnal side that their Victorian upbringing had long suppressed.  Director Peter Weir gives the film’s characters a strong sense of realism amongst a very challenging situation, which clashes beautifully with the often hyper-real elements of the cinematography and editing. Picnic at Hanging Rock quietly satirizes overly kept and sheltered European society by clashing it with the harshness of nature.

166. The Last Wave (1977)

Even more mind-bending than Picnic at Hanging Rock, but with a bolder direction. Peter Weir’s The Last Wave follows a big city Australian Solicitor (Richard Chamberlain) as he takes on a challenging case of Aboriginal murder. A handful of suspects are charged even though the actual cause of death is not clear, and as he digs deeper, the Solicitor begins to suspect that the death may have had some tribal significance, perhaps even foretelling a dark future. As the film goes along, the film moves away from the mystery of the murder into something far deeper and more oblique.

167. The Naked Prey (1966)

When a group of hunters on Safari insult a native tribe, the tribe’s warriors capture and kill all but one of the group. This man they set free with a head start, but proceed to hunt like an animal. The man learns much about the nature of hunting and the savagery of his own European colonial roots as he runs for his life. This simple premise and skillful presentation makes the film a thrilling and intense action/suspense movie. Highly Recommended.

168. Lumumba (2000)

Director Raoul Peck dramatizes the early days following the Congo’s independence from Belgian rule, as Patrice Lumumba becomes the first Prime Minister for only a very short 2 month period before his assassination. Eriq Ebouaney plays Lumumba, giving the character a drive and determination which feels natural. It is easy to see how this man became so popular, and how his unbreakable resolve ultimately led to his downfall. As Lumumba deals with internal strife, military unrest, and meddling from various international powers, he finds himself in an unwinnable situation, one that will ultimately leave him martyred and the country in chaos.

169. The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936)

Quite an entertaining period-adventure story, if you can get past the way the film completely tramples on history. The film manages to find a tacit excuse to tie the wars on the Indian frontier in with the Crimean War. The action sequences are wonderfully shot and the stunts genuinely captivating even today; however, the film is notorious for causing the deaths of numerous horses and at least one stuntman, and the level of neglect regarding the animals made this film hard to find for years as a result.  If you want a harrowing classical adventure film set in the British Imperial era, stick to Gunga Din.

170. Headshot (2016)

A man who was shot in the head and left for dead wakes up months later with no memory of his past. As he pieces it together he discovers dangerous people trying to kill him for reasons he doesn’t know, and the more he finds out about himself, the less he likes. Headshot is a violent and fun Indonesian action flick that leans a bit into overlong territory and has some lulls in the action that slow the pace. But the action scenes and gore effects are excellent and the acting is solid.  Worth a view for fans of Asian action.

171. Young Winston (1972)

Richard Attenborough’s epic tells the story of Winston Churchill from his youth through his experiences as a fame-seeking officer in the British Army, up to his election as a Minister of Parliament.  Told through a series of flashbacks which are somewhat non-chronological and with some compelling documentary style “interview” segments from numerous characters, the movie doesn’t feel like any ordinary biopic. While the episodic nature of the film means some sequences are more compelling than others, the film picks up in a big way at the halfway point and really delivers. Simon Ward was a brilliant choice to play the young Churchill; it is fascinating how his voice evolves from his younger years into the vocal range of the famed Prime Minister at his peak.

172. North to Alaska (1960)

This film stars John Wayne and Stewart Granger as gold miners who hit it big during the Nome gold rush. Wayne travels back to Seattle on business, and to pick up Granger’s fiancee, only to find that the fiancee has left him and married another.  Wayne finds a “replacement” for Granger’s fiancee in an ex-prostitute, and offers her the chance to move up to Alaska and be rich. She tentatively agrees, but falls in love with Wayne in the process, complicating things considerably. “Light Comedy” is the best description for this film, as it is as inoffensive as it is unchallenging.  This is a film of yesteryear that will not translate well for modern audiences.

173. Sahara (1943)

This timely war film was released at the same time as WWII was beginning to heat up, and deals with early American involvement in the conflict. Humphrey Bogart plays a tank commander who along with his crew and a handful of British infantry venture out into the desert hoping to escape the German army after a military defeat. They pick up an Italian and German prisoner along the way, as well as a Black Colonial British officer. Sahara is notable for depicting various viewpoints on the war from the perspectives of soldiers from numerous backgrounds. With the exception of the German prisoner (undoubtedly for mid-war propaganda purposes), these depictions are free of demonization. The performances are uniformly solid and the desert cinematography gorgeous. Highly recommended.

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Suits (Seasons 1-6) TV Review: More Than Just Apparel http://movieboozer.com/television-review/suits-seasons-1-6-tv-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/television-review/suits-seasons-1-6-tv-review-drinking-game#respond Fri, 09 Jun 2017 12:15:45 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101524 By: Marwan Omar (Two Beers) – Courts of Law have always had this feeling of fearful dignity imbibed to their halls and stands, and this is the fundamental building block for creating unforgettable scenes taking place there along the years. Powerful lines as “You’re out of order!” from Al Pacino’s And Justice For All and “You …

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By: Marwan Omar (Two Beers) –

Courts of Law have always had this feeling of fearful dignity imbibed to their halls and stands, and this is the fundamental building block for creating unforgettable scenes taking place there along the years. Powerful lines as “You’re out of order!” from Al Pacino’s And Justice For All and “You Can’t Handle the Truth!” from Jack Nicholson’s  A Few Good Men made us fall for such movies and increased our appetite for likely moments of tension followed by the relief of justice being served.

On June 23rd 2011, USA TV Network was the center of attention as they premiered their new series that shed the light on the behind-the-scenes process of invoking the law, that ends up having these heroic in-court speeches set to action, and as fast as a judge hitting a sound block with his gavel, the series’s viewership exceeded millions and TV enthusiasts acquired a new favorite show, where episodes are marked by the sounds of heels clicking, the nervousness in the air, lawsuits drafted every minute, and men in suits with piles of paper moving in every direction… introducing USA’s Suits.

Suits is the story of two lawyers: Harvey Specter and Mike Ross. Harvey, the man owning a Lexus, suits worth thousands of dollars, and sporting Michael Jordan as a client, isn’t only a legitimate lawyer, but also the best closer in the city of New York. On the contrary and despite his love for practicing the law, Mike skipped the part where he actually goes to law school to get his degree and settled with being a bike messenger who has a mediocre life. As fate intervenes, the two paths cross, with Mike’s life turning upside down as he successfully convinces Harvey to hire him in his major law corporation. Throughout the episodes, their interactions highlight their differences, conflicts, and mutual affection based on their common grounds and their shared mentality of winning and never taking no for an answer, and living in the fear of news spreading highlighting that Mike is actually a fraud.

A Toast

One thing about Suits is its loyalty to the old-school orientation of the TV industry. The format of the series wasn’t affected by the trendy, cinematic way of making TV shows nowadays, and that made it enjoyable without the urge to sit tight, devote yourself completely to the screen, and over-analyze its deep messages as if you’re watching a movie. With content being delivered as light as a feather, all you have to do is relieve your stresses, order some pizza, and enjoy the 40 minutes of content on a chilly Saturday night.

(Aaron Korsh, the creator of Suits)

The creator of the show, Aaron Korsh, constructed his show based on two narratives. The first was using his fixed characters to tell their persistent plot, and the other was based on the one-episode characters that he used to build his short plots presented in the lawsuit and its case displayed in each episode, using the same approach used in similar projects like Grey’s Anatomy. However, this approach puts the writers in a jam for the need of these fixed characters to be intimidating and interesting enough to complement these come-and-go characters and for the audience to be attracted to the story as a whole with all its plots. By measuring the level of anticipation for the new seasons, and for the seventh season this summer, we can tell that Aaron Korsh had successfully pushed this to the limit.

(Mike Ross and Harvey Specter)

In a place stuffed with lawyers, Aaron Korsh used only two of them to pull our hand to enter his land of law; Pearson Hardman, the place where longer-than-usual lines of dialogue are delivered in restrooms, and movie references frequently find their way into the employees’ words. Harvey and Mike, through their interactions and walking dialogues, involved us in the fast rhythm of lawyers’ life in Pearson Hardman and taught us more about real law than any movie, which gives Suits a huge advantage over similar projects.  After just a few episode, expressions such as Subpoenas, depositions, Pro Bono Cases, and injunctions became interestingly familiar to the level of you considering whether it’s too late to do a career switch, aiming to work with them someday.

Comparing season 1 to the other seasons, your attention will be drawn to the fact that each episode is almost independent, with cases closed at the end of each episode, unlike further seasons where episodes start with a fast recap of preceding cases that lasted for episodes and even entire seasons in some cases. In addition to that, putting the standard 16-episodes seasons against the 12 episodes of the first season can prompt the conclusion that USA TV Network was giving the series a shot until proven successful. However, Korsh had a complete view of how the series would proceed disregarding the channel’s precedent intentions, judging by his smooth build ups, and smart integration of each build up to construct a basis for the series’ future.  He establishes the profound portrayal of our characters’ backgrounds that came in later in the seasons very early. It was obvious that the man was in no rush to put what he had in mind into writing. His great knowledge of where he’s going was his companion along the way, even when his gut made him go for summoning Lord Varys and Catelyn Stark from Game Of Thrones in his episodes. Being charged with murder in the third season, Catelyn had no luck in Suits, either, as her habitual jinx wasn’t changed in Korsh’s script.

(Lord Varys and Catelyn Stark guest starring in Suits)

As the series proceeded, Korsh’s script showed 3 main characteristics; Parallelism in most occasions as episodes were going in two or more directions at the same time to emphasize a certain theme or just to keep up with all that’s happening in peak moments. Also, Intelligence regarding the challenges he created to surround our characters that had us every time saying “that’s it, it’s the end”, and even more intelligence in fluently finding a way out of each challenge, fooling us without harming the dramatic flow, giving the protagonists a chance to live and fight another day. Finally, Divergent ideas controlled the show, as displayed in the different scenarios and problems that came in the shape of family struggles, technological conflicts creating trust issues, and even ballet-related matters, when the law’s intervention in our lives becomes inevitable, and lawyers turn into our closest friends to drive our forsaken rights back home.

(Gabriel Macht as Harvey Specter)

Harvey’s nothing but Clint Eastwood in his golden days, only if Eastwood was fonder of the law and being a lawyer than his horses as a Western cowboy. But as we see his hidden story of pain and betrayal, we get to remember that he’s only human, and that image of Eastwood fades, turning him more into any one of us, a person capable of committing mistakes, feeling lost and shedding tears. What’s worth mentioning is that this fade doesn’t harm his tempting charm or his irresistible glamour.

Gabriel Macht, as Harvey Specter, displays his ultimate talent that surprisingly, wasn’t recruited for some other remarkable project up until being cast for Suits. The 45 year old actor with his enchanting details was the best fit for such a character that holds the series’s weight on his shoulders, which is what he successfully did. His character’s structure offered the man the space to show some real A-class acting skills that often reminded me of the best actors’s performances where their silence can deliver much more meaning than scripted words. Shows like Suits shed light on such actors who the cinema passed by, marking Harvey Specter as one of the best TV characters, right alongside How I Met Your Mother’s Barney Stinson, judging by their choices of suits and appreciation for such invention.

Harvey’s character was probably the one who benefited most from the clever scripted lines. Macht’s elegance and know-it-all attitude by which he always says the right things at the right time and always knows how to act, in addition to his personification of his character’s transformations, qualified him to be the shining star and the most talked about among his fellow actors, not to mention taking the lead in the Facebook-shared quotes and occupying your “Role Model” zone.

(Patrick J. Adams as Mike Ross)

Mike Ross, performed by Patrick J. Adams, is the second character in the series’s main duo. The writers used the character with the photographic memory and bad choice of ties to create a catalytic reason for Harvey’s character to go through exponential transformation. Not only that, but also his existence had set a subplot of romance into motion starting in Season 2, and it was emphasized on a wider scale in the later seasons, taking advantage of the show’s parallelism.

One great thing about Patrick J. Adams is his capability of finding harmony with his script mates to succeed together as a team. The on-going romance line he created with Rachel was fascinatingly lovable for the compatibility he displayed with Meghan Markle. His interactions with Louis Litt also participated in portraying hidden depths in both characters, not to mention his congruence with Harvey Specter. Although often in Harvey’s shadow, Patrick J. Adams delivered a good performance in his individual moments of focus. Also, his chemistry with Harvey tickled the audience’s emotions when seeing them all together on screen, increasing the show’s fan base. Such popularity yields their high entry on the list of best duos on TV, and gave them the opportunity to join the producers team of the show they majorly participated in making a success, starting as co-producers in 2013, and promoted to full producers starting 2014.

(Rick Hoffman as Louis Litt)

At first he strikes you as the arrogant manager who’s hated by his co-workers, but as soon as you know about his love for ballet, Shakespeare, and mud sessions, the way you see Louis Litt will completely change. Normally, characters like Louis Litt aren’t supposed to be someone’s favorite, but when the creator’s efforts in writing this character’s dimensions wisely and thoroughly meet Rick Hoffman’s massive personification talents for assigning to the character his way of walking, talking, humoring, and behaving, you know Louis Litt can be your favorite, as happened in my case.

Despite sometimes being the wrecking antagonist who’s capable of shutting the whole party down to the extent of you despising him, he makes his return just a few minutes later to show his motives in the most utterly touching way possible, undoing any negative thoughts and making you re-love him. This rapid change doesn’t smoothly happen over and over again every day, and it wouldn’t have been the same without Aaron Korsh’s attention to detail that make thes difference, and the great Rick Hoffman.

Alongside Harvey and Mike, Louis completed the outstanding acting trio with head-to-head acting contests between him and Harvey, knocking out Mike on most occasions. Being a supporting actor without as much attention asHarvey and Mike, Rick Hoffman’s against-the-tide exertions to earn such a position in our hearts deserves a long round of applause for the man who will get you “Litt Up!”.

(Sarah Rafferty as Donna, Meghan Markle as Rachel, and Gina Torres as Jessica)

Alongside the previously mentioned trio of males, the females in Suits formed another trio themselves. Donna, performed by Sarah Rafferty, is the red-headed female version of Arthur Conan Doyle’s aged character. Not only did the high-ego Sherlock Holmes existing in Suits raise the bar high for secretaries’ characters, but also took our affection for females to a new level for her ultimate confidence, knowledge, and ability to remarkably using her eyes to underline her spoken purpose. Putting effort in showing the weaker side of such a strong character and her complicated relationship with Harvey made a new subplot come to life, adding a new thread to a sea of threads which were well-integrated by the show’s creator.

The second female element was Rachel Zane, performed by Meghan Markle. The 35-year old lady wasn’t of a great effect on the plot in the first season and parts of the second season, as her subplot wasn’t yet initiated. Her relationship with Mike Ross, and her will to become a lawyer, were the spark starting her own story, and gave the woman the space to show us what she’s got. The on-going romance line wouldn’t have been that effective if it wasn’t for Meghan, with her cute presence and lovely soul that make you just admire her, adding to the stack of Suits another great role in writing and performance.

Beer Two

The managing partner Jessica Pearson, performed by Gina Torres, is the final and the weakest element in Suits. She, by being externally firm all the time, failed to display much transformation, delivering a very conventional performance and almost identical lines in every situation to the extent that you could literally predict what’s coming out of her mouth next. In addition, solid facial expressions were her reaction to almost anything. Clearly, bothering the audience by harming the rhythm of episodes and adding conventional seconds to the aired minutes were Jessica’s priority over actually managing her firm.

Verdict

Suits is your definitive guide to the hidden life cycle of the law. It clearly shows in detail the gambling life lawyers live in with their every action pursuing a win, and the pain of being slandered, attacked, and falsely accused as a criminal just for demanding your rights, only to be forced to settle for a deal. Suits has gone deeper in examining this dark side of the law’s procedure than any other movie or series, and from season six’s finale, we can’t help but wait and wonder what the new season has for us, counting down the hours and minutes to the 12th of July.

Suits (TV Series) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time a character says “Goddamn”.

Take a Drink: every time Louis talks to his recorder.

Do a Shot: every time Jessica says “Excuse Me?” or “What did you just say to me?”

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Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (2017) Review: Tra-la-la-mendous Fun http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/captain-underpants-the-first-epic-movie-2017-review-tra-la-la-mendous-fun http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/captain-underpants-the-first-epic-movie-2017-review-tra-la-la-mendous-fun#respond Thu, 08 Jun 2017 12:15:46 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101677 By: Will Ashton (Two Beers) – I’ve waited my whole life for a Captain Underpants movie. I spent many days of my youth imagining what the series would be like on the big screen. Dav Pilkey’s deliriously immature children’s novel series is rambunctious, ridiculous, and really, really funny in its bathroom humor follies, with enough …

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By: Will Ashton (Two Beers) –

I’ve waited my whole life for a Captain Underpants movie. I spent many days of my youth imagining what the series would be like on the big screen. Dav Pilkey’s deliriously immature children’s novel series is rambunctious, ridiculous, and really, really funny in its bathroom humor follies, with enough imagination, innovation, and heart to excuse its, shall we say, less-than-school-friendly material. Intentionally crude, both in terms of its child-like animation style and its gleefully juvenile storylines, but filled to the (toilet) brim with zeal and the right amount of silliness, it became a worldwide phenomenon for a reason. The books aren’t high art, by any stretch of the imagination, but they deserve the same amount of praise.

That’s why I waited with nervous anticipation for Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie. Coming out nearly 20 years after the first book, The Adventures of Captain Underpants, hit bookshelves, DreamWorks Animation isn’t exactly striking while the iron is hot on Pilkey’s popular/controversial graphic novel, yet the book franchise has earned such a protracted legacy, they’re still arguably nearly as beloved now as they were in my childhood. That’s simply a testament to the universal appeal of Pilkey’s novels, selling more than 70 million books worldwide in over 20 languages (I remember my weird uncle once got me a copy of the Spanish edition, for whatever reason, one early ’00s Christmas). Captain Underpants isn’t just adolescent nonsense; they’re fantastically energized, creatively infused, and genuinely inspiring children’s books that are clogged with more wit and heart than you’d ever expect — which is why it’s easy to imagine all the different ways Hollywood could screw it up with their inevitable film adaptation.

Pilkey’s influence was key to Captain Underpants‘ appeal. With the author largely absent here (though he is credited as an executive producer), it was hard to infer how successfully director David Soren (Turbo) and screenwriter Nicholas Stoller (Storks, Forgetting Sarah Marshall) could translate the ingenuity and, dare I say it, the integrity of the original books. But I worried for no good reason. Capturing all the fun, playfulness, zaniness, and warmth of Pilkey’s source material, without alienating those unfamiliar with the books or any discerning adults who might find this family movie objectionable, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is a legitimately rousing, captivatingly active, continuously funny, and contagiously invigorating delight from start-to-finish. Respecting and appreciating Pilkey’s original work, while modernizing it just enough to make it approachable and accessible for today’s audiences, it’s overflowing with sincerity, style, weirdness, and wild debauchery. It might honestly be the best animated movie I’ve seen so far in 2017, and it’s possibly the best comedy I’ve seen this year too. I can’t begin to tell you how happy the kid in me is right now; Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is exactly what he wanted.

From the overactive imaginations of George Beard (Kevin Hart) and Harold Hutchins (Thomas Middleditch), Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie follows these two dexterous fourth-grade prankers (and next-door neighbors) who want nothing more than to spend their days writing and drawing their handmade comic books. Their most famous creation is, of course, Captain Underpants, a superhero known for only wearing a red cape and his tighty whiteys, with an origin story that’s not too dissimilar to the one shared by a certain alien from Krypton. Selling to their fellow students under their own homemade brand, Treehouse Comix Inc., their comics are just as adored as their pranks, which they inflict on their cruel teachers. Of course, such mischievous antics (which involves springboards and sometimes tigers) make them the bane of Principal Krupp’s (Ed Helms) horrible, lonely, solemn, wretched existence.

A pear-faced, stone-cold growler with an eternal frown and a horrendously unconvincing mop of a toupee, Principal Krupp has made it his mission in life to bring down George and Harold no matter what it takes. And when he catches George and Harold’s misdoings upon tampering with humorless brainiac Melvin Sneedly’s (Jordan Peele) latest invention, the Turbo Toilet 2000, during a recent science convention, Principal Krupp threatens to ruin their friendship forever by *gasp* putting them in separate classrooms. Fearing the absolute worse, George and Harold devise a plan to stay together, and in the process of doing so, they stumble upon a 3D Hypno Ring, which they pulled out of a cereal box, that hypnotizes their principal into doing their goofy bidding. In the midst of their adolescent deeds, George and Harold come up with the perfect plan: to turn their stern principal into none other than Captain Underpants, their bald, always smiling (if not always clothed), foolishly helpful comic book creation. Sure enough, with a snap of their fingers, Krupp is now Captain Underpants, and with that comes a whole lot of unclothed trouble.

Meanwhile, the nefarious Professor Poopypants (Nick Kroll) hatches an awful scheme to rid the world of laughter forever. Though Captain Underpants doesn’t have any superpowers (or any powers whatsoever), the not-so-super hero will help George and Harold take down Professor Poopypants before it’s all too late.

A Toast

What makes Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie such a triumph is that it captures a child’s sense of humor and imagination far better, richer, and (thankfully) funnier than most family animated movies. It’s to the film’s ultimate benefit that, unlike the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies, Soren and Stoller recognize that the property isn’t merely rampant potty humor; rather, it’s an icky, gross-out platform for celebrating the joys and wonders of growing up with a vivid, overactive imagination. Pilkey’s books tapped into a child’s wonderment of limitless boundaries and dreamy-eyed belief in the most ridiculous of ideas by approaching it on their own level, with the kind of jokes they’d squeal over as their minds went wild. The movie does the exact same thing. It takes these fantastically unrefined gags and turns them into something freshly poppy, heartily absurd, and, in its own sort of unconventional way, oddly beautiful.

Even with its meta humor and its more adult-friendly mindset, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie — first and foremost — is all for the kids. They’ll be positively enraptured by its nonsensical silliness. It’s dopey and unsophisticated, but it’s also simple and entirely in its own ludicrous little orbit. It’s all completely character-focused too, which gives weight to these (pretty clever) lowbrow jokes. It’s the kind of film that spins copious jokes at the expense of a planet named Uranus, yet it still finds boisterous and bubbly ways to keep ramping up the goofiness and the giddiness without losing your attention or patience. It’s miraculous. It’s a madhouse of sheer foolishness, and I simply couldn’t be more tickled.

And though Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is the cheapest DreamWorks Animation production by a healthy margin, the animation is just tremendous. Much like The Peanuts Movie back in 2015, Soren’s latest draws inspiration purely from Pilkey’s illustrations and that adds to the joy of it all. Despite its 3D computer source, the design is impeccable in capturing Pilkey’s signature hand-drawn style, which helps make this newest movie the most cartoonish DreamWorks Animation release by a long mile. I mean that in the absolute best way possible. I hope DreamWorks Animation makes more movies this silly in the future. Unlike The Boss Baby, Captain Underpants earns its goofiness while never making it tiring.

Beer Two

My biggest concern with Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie was its voice cast. In true DreamWorks Animation fashion, they favored high-profile celebrities over, say, unknown children or dependable voice actors. But perhaps I was simply drunk by its charm, but the voice acting largely works. Hart and Middleditch are distracting as fourth graders at first, but once you loosen up to the film’s string of oddities, the fact that two grown men are voicing these pre-pubescent children isn’t all that strange. Similarly, Helms is surprisingly quite good as Principal Krupp/Captain Underpants, providing a versatile and heartfelt performance that really helps radiate the character’s blind-hearted descents into adventure and peril. Meanwhile, Peele is unrecognizable in his supporting turn, while Kroll is clearly having a ball playing up the German looney with the most unfortunate name in science history. The reliable cast’s nimble, energetic enthusiasm adds to the film’s loose charms, which helps capture its wild-and-free spirit.

Similarly, Captain Underpants‘ joke-every-30-seconds approach might not swing to everyone’s fancy, and there are certainly more-than-a-few gags that refuse to land. But with so many jokes flung at the screen, it’s safe to say that nearly 75 percent of the jokes launched are at least fairly amusing, and those are certainly better odds than you’re going to find in most comedies seen this year, animated or otherwise. It’s on par with Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs when it comes to floating above middling expectations.

Verdict

I’ll try to keep it brief: Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is an absolute blast. Whether you’re a child, a child-at-heart, a major fan of the books, completely cold on the series, or a shrewd, humorless adult, there’s a good chance you’ll find something that’ll leave you in stitches. This durable, buoyant franchise starter is one of the freshest and funniest movies you’ll see in the theaters this year. Tra-la-la!

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time we see one of George and Harold’s comics.

Take a Drink: every time you see something you recognize from the books.

Take a Drink: every time it breaks away from 3D animation.

Take a Drink: every time Captain Underpants yells “Tra-la-la!”

Take a Drink: every time Professor Poopypants tells someone to quit laughing.

Do a Shot: during Professor Poopypants’ backstory.

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Virtual Pub 212: Wonder Woman, Headshot, Captain Underpants http://movieboozer.com/podcast/virtual-pub-212-wonder-woman-headshot http://movieboozer.com/podcast/virtual-pub-212-wonder-woman-headshot#respond Thu, 08 Jun 2017 03:00:25 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101681 This week the Movieboozer crew talks Wonder Woman, Captain Underpants, It Comes at Night and the new Indonesian action film Headshot.  

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This week the Movieboozer crew talks Wonder Woman, Captain Underpants, It Comes at Night and the new Indonesian action film Headshot.

 

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Wonder Woman (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/wonder-woman-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/wonder-woman-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Wed, 07 Jun 2017 13:45:25 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101650 By: Felix Felicis (Two Beers) – It’s finally happened. 2017 has broken the world. Sea levels are rising, dogs and Kardashians are getting along, our Cheeto-In-Chief is slowly but surely dismantling democracy, there was that whole Fyre Festival thing… and DC has made an excellent superhero movie. Which actually may be the most surprisingly apocalyptic thing to happen …

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By: Felix Felicis (Two Beers) –

It’s finally happened. 2017 has broken the world. Sea levels are rising, dogs and Kardashians are getting along, our Cheeto-In-Chief is slowly but surely dismantling democracy, there was that whole Fyre Festival thing… and DC has made an excellent superhero movie. Which actually may be the most surprisingly apocalyptic thing to happen thus far in a year littered with human garbage and dumpster fyre dreams. I went into Wonder Woman with DC expectations and walked out MARVELously pleased. Sorry not sorry for that pun.

What I imagine anyone reading this is thinking right now.

Wonder Woman delivers exactly what you’re expecting (and more) in this fish-out-of-Amazonian waters origin story. Much like Marvel’s Ant Man, Wonder Woman manages to (flawlessly) be both an origin story and an installment in the larger framework of the DCU. We follow Diana (Gal Gadot) from her childhood on the hidden Amazonian island Themyscira, to bustling war time London as she and pilot/spy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) do their best to stop David Thewlis aka the god Ares (and by extension the Central Powers opposing the Allies in the war to end all wars) from unleashing hell in the form of a heinous new kind of chemical weapon (created by the creepy bish in a broken doll mask, Dr. Poison aka Elena Anaya) upon the world during WWI. Just get a little drunk and squint a little and it’s basically Captain America… ish.

With a dollop of Pretty Woman/She’s All That.

A Toast

Wonder Woman is the DC movie we’ve all been waiting years for. It’s a gloriously kickass FUBU for women and cinema in a time when we need both together more than ever. Director Patti Jenkins crafts a superbly restrained clarity in her narrative that is coherent, principled, and genuinely moving. Wonder Woman makes the most of this economy of purpose in such a way that the action pops harder and faster on screen than many superhero flicks do when given the green light, most notably when Diana uses her slo-mo hair and runway walk of doom to turn the No Man’s Land of a battlefield into Ladytown, Population: 1 Amazonian Princess. There is warmth, humor, innocence, betrayal, and bitter victory (all before the credits roll), showcasing an ensemble cast perfectly designed to break your heart in a way that’ll have you back in the seat ready to watch it all again before you can even say “lasso of truth”. Seriously. If you don’t straight-up burst a brovary during the finale fireworks you might be a robot sent from the future to destroy mankind.

#BoomBoyByeFoop (to the five of you who’ve seen the third season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and understood that reference- I salute you).

Wonder Woman belongs to Gal Gadot from start to finish and she owns every frame of it (though mad props to Chris Pine and his baby blues/nearly full frontal for keeping up). Gadot has an ineffable charm as Diana that draws you in and makes you her companion on this breakneck adventure (she goes from Mila Kunis to Milla Jovovich in under a week) through battlefields both obvious and unseen. Wonder Woman isn’t a perfect movie, but it’s far better than I expected and holds its own (in terms of quality) against Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 this summer blockbuster season (also reviewed by yours truly). I saw Wonder Woman in both 2D and IMAX 3D and I can say that this movie is spectacular in any D you choose to watch it in (though it kicks a little extra ass in an added dimension). I’m normally against paying more for what most studios use purely as an added box office cash grab, but there are some truly thrilling action shots that the 3D version just absolutely slays with.

Like this one.

Wonder Woman has all kinds of Crouching Tiger/Hidden Kickass goodness in it.

And this one.

Mad props to my Princess Bride Buttercup bae, Robin Wright, as Diana’s Aunt Antiope (pictured above) giving me all the YAS QUEEN I can handle this week.

Beer Two

Much like Guardians Vol. 2, Wonder Woman has a few clunky moments in the narrative that bop you a little too hard on the nose with its message of love (familial for Guardians, romantic for WW) to flow as smoothly as I’d like. Wonder Woman’s pacing also feels the tiniest bit disjointed at times (slightly too long on Themyscira (and in London), slightly too little on the battle at the end. This would be a Toast based solely on DC standards, though taken on a Marvel playing field it falls just under with, ultimately, Two Beers. DC had better deliver on Justice League or Wonder Woman will prove just a magnificent flash in the pan. Only time, and our fave new silver screen demigoddess, will tell.

#WinterIsComing

Verdict

Wonder Woman is proof positive that it’s not all about uter-YOU, guys, but about uter-US when it comes to making movies worth the price of admission (so get your ass in a seat for this hard-to-beat summer treat today).

Last Call: don’t stick around for any extra-credit cameos because there aren’t any easter eggs in this badass basket.

Wonder Woman (2017) Drinking Game 

Take a Drink: whenever someone tells Diana she can’t do something. Take Two: when she does it anyway.

Do a Shot: every time Diana asks Steve if he’s average/any time Steve calls someone his secretary.

Take a Sip: for slo-mo and multi-lingual Wonder Woman convos.

Shotgun Your Beer (Then Pour A Little Out): when Diana’s relationship with Steve gets a little… explosive. 

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My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/my-entire-high-school-sinking-into-the-sea-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/my-entire-high-school-sinking-into-the-sea-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Tue, 06 Jun 2017 12:15:47 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101604 By: Bill Arceneaux (A Toast) – My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea is a work most personal and honest, but not necessarily literal and true. It’s a kaleidoscopically surreal cartoon of teenage relationships and high stakes danger and action. It’s also a journey of reaffirmation and maturity, where kids fight for survival and …

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By: Bill Arceneaux (A Toast) –

My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea is a work most personal and honest, but not necessarily literal and true. It’s a kaleidoscopically surreal cartoon of teenage relationships and high stakes danger and action. It’s also a journey of reaffirmation and maturity, where kids fight for survival and growth in the same breath. Above all else, it’s a film where imagination and memory crash into each other, to create a new history for its maker.

Though, that last sentence is more a suspicious feeling than absolute fact.

“And I’m probably the greatest detective in the world!”

A Toast

Finally, we get a movie about a FICTIONAL school disaster. Think Battle Royale, but without the gore, without the bullets, and without the societal and political themes. What you’re left with is a story about young adults fighting one another while trying to maintain their high school interpersonal status quos. Cliques, friendships, and flirtations will either be strengthened or broken apart. In My Entire High School, we see a similar if more slightly more lighthearted tragedy (oxymoronic) at play.

A high school has been built on a fault line near a cliff at the side of the ocean. Each floor of the building represents a grade, with freshmen at the bottom and seniors at the top. When an earthquake strikes, casting the school into the sea, sinking awfully quickly, a small group of survivors make their way up in an attempt at rescue. Led by Dash, Assaf, and Lunch Lady Lorraine (the heroine of the movie), we go through colorful sequences of panic and despair, and of incredible frights and heroic heights, all as the water rises and the building falls.

This scenario alone perfectly symbolizes the climb of personal development into adulthood that high school, in theory, is supposed to prepare you for. Of course, it doesn’t always work that way for everyone, and is usually pretty miserable. This known misery works in My Entire High School’s favor, highlighting the pitfalls, both figurative and real, that the characters faced daily and confront now. Social castes are exposed as more faulty than the ground the building was built on, with some students seen as being expendable over others. Popular vs meek, basically.

There is an Adult Swim-ish attitude to this film, that fills even comical moments with dramatic subtext. By no means is this a “friendly” watch, as hundreds of deaths occur, sometimes most violently. It’s ruthless and captivating in how, for example, a senior football player is seen as a God, but ultimately is a lazy and power mad maniac, or how truly remorseful people here will get regarding past and current transgressions, especially under these circumstances. While dialogue at times feels Wes Anderson-like and Mumblecore-y, the heavy emotions felt for sure mask any whimsy seen. This is the best disaster movie I’ve seen in many years.

Director Dash Shaw, I got the impression, was drawing much from his own experiences, and exploring through creative means how things meant to him, in spite of how they actually played out. This doesn’t make the film less honest, as his memories are his own, and he can contort them however he likes. This is the Be Kind Rewind factor, which is to say that he “sweded” his own high school life. Take liberties with your biography, I say. Everything is permitted!

Verdict

Go big or go home. My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea goes large, packing into its under 90 minutes enough cinematic, animated, and wonderfully dramatic power to make it an easy 2017 favorite. Leave behind the middle schoolers – this may traumatize.

My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: if the animation style almost made you sea sick.

Take a Drink: every time Dash suggests lofty and wordy writing.

Do a Shot: for Lunch Lady Lorraine, who goes above the call of duty.

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365 Days of Movies- Henry J. Fromage Edition- Week 22 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-22 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-22#respond Mon, 05 Jun 2017 18:15:17 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101498 By: Henry J. Fromage – Nothing says Memorial Day Weekend like watching Scots waste themselves on heroin for four straight hours.  Yep, it was a Trainspotting kind of weekend. 132. Trainspotting Finally able to give the sequel a watch, I figured I should revisit the original, which I haven’t watched since my University days… now a decade ago, …

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By: Henry J. Fromage –

Nothing says Memorial Day Weekend like watching Scots waste themselves on heroin for four straight hours.  Yep, it was a Trainspotting kind of weekend.

132. Trainspotting

Finally able to give the sequel a watch, I figured I should revisit the original, which I haven’t watched since my University days… now a decade ago, dammit.  Anyway, Danny Boyle’s big breakout still retains the verve and junkie insanity of both the material and the filmmaking choices, with the slight caveat that some of the devil-may-care worldview feels a bit more, well, immature these days.  Still a damn classic, and that baby on the ceiling will continue to guest star in many a nightmare to come, I’m sure.

133. T2 Trainspotting

In some ways, this film feels like exactly what a 20 years later revisit of these characters should be- strangely depressing and oddly out of tune in its anti-consumerist, “live life” speechifying.  Twenty years have brought these characters essentially no further on their existential journeys, which feels both accurate and not much of a justification for this film to exist.  There’s some good comedy here still- my particular favorite an oddly specific heist of an anti-Catholic society still reliving the battles of the 1700s that ends in Ewan McGregor bursting into tongue-in-check song- but Boyle is far too comfortable making easy references to the original film for no overt purpose beyond nostalgia-baiting the audience into becoming the exact consumerist ‘Live-lifers’ the boys didn’t want to become.

134. War Machine

I can certainly understand the negative reviews for this Netflix original- David Michod clearly has an issue deciding whether he wants to go with a heightened, In the Loop tone or a more conventional dramatic one, with half of his characters stranded on the cartoon side, and the other half the gritty realistic one.  The scope of this thinly-veiled Stanley McChrystal story also seems oddly limited- did the supreme commander of the Afghan War really get fired over a single drunken busride across Europe reported in a magazine article?  Wolf of Wall St.- level debauchery this ain’t.  Still, Brad Pitt’s strange, deeply committed performance and the political wheeling and dealing were enough to hold my interest for the whole run time, and I’d say this satire hits as many of its marks as it misses.

135. Free Fire

Speaking of cartoons, Free Fire is like a hyper-violent Tom & Jerry cartoon, except with a warehouse of heavily armed ringers portrayed by a killer cast, trading barbs as deadly as the almost unending stream of bullets.  Armie Hammer, as a cool, collected, and utterly witty assassin, and Sharlto Copley, as a motormouthed South African gun dealer, in particular dominate the screen in every minute they’re on it.  If you don’t like gunplay and wordplay, this won’t be your speed, but if you like either or both, this is 90 minutes of pure entertainment.

136. Baywatch

It’s been described as such elsewhere, but, yes, this movie is exactly as advertised.  If the trailers made you run screaming for the hills, then keep running, but if you thought, “This cast usually makes me laugh, I’ll give it a roll”, then you’re unlikely to be disappointed.  Yes, it’s thoroughly, thoroughly dumb (every single time a character mentions, “just call the cops!”, they’re entirely right), but the cast really sells the material and, dodgy CGI aside, the action scenes usually get the job done pretty darn well.  Sure, probably a rental, but not one you’ll regret once you’ve made the choice.

Fargo

The recent announcement that this season of Fargo may be its last makes me realize how damn lucky we are to have gotten even three seasons of top-flight prestige television out of a concept that should never have worked- a sequel TV series to the Coen Bros masterpiece that they appeared to have no interest at all in being involved in.  Noah Hawley’s made this world his own, though, telling tales of intricately connected crime and punishment full of Midwestern awkwardness, criminal incompetence, and strong policewomen while adding layers of pathos, resonance, and even, oddly, science fiction absurdity that nobody could have predicted.  This season’s shaping up to be as good as the first two- here’s hoping Billy Bob shows up and ties the perfect bow on everything.

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Gosford Park (2001) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/gosford-park-2001-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/gosford-park-2001-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Mon, 05 Jun 2017 12:15:17 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101462 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – The early Twentieth Century was a very unique era. There was the transition between social hierarchies to a more modern take on how society could operate. Art and culture also began to shift from traditional types of work to bold statements of creativity. Gosford Park is a delightful dramedy …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

The early Twentieth Century was a very unique era. There was the transition between social hierarchies to a more modern take on how society could operate. Art and culture also began to shift from traditional types of work to bold statements of creativity. Gosford Park is a delightful dramedy because it captures the essence of English society in 1932 while also providing a clever story based on an idea by Robert Altman and Bob Balaban.

A Toast

This film features an Oscar-winning screenplay by Julian Fellowes because of its social commentary on high-class English society. An interesting fact is that Fellowes also wrote for Downton Abbey, which shares similarities with Gosford Park. Helen Mirren and Maggie Smith also deliver Oscar-worthy performances even though they both lost the Best Supporting Actress Award to Jennifer Connelly for A Beautiful Mind. The overall design of this film is also a lot like The Remains of the Day (1993), which was another Best Picture nominee. It appears as if the Academy has adoration for films that center around British culture because of its tendency to nominate films that are either based on British literature or film that takes place in that country. Robert Altman did a miraculous job directing this film, which earned him a Golden Globe, but he unfortunately lost the Academy Award to Ron Howard.

Verdict

Gosford Park is much more than the name of a wealthy estate on the English countryside. It is an ode to a time period that many people admire. Such a fascination with the European lifestyle has resulted in countless films and television shows, including The Crown (2016- ). It is such a pleasure to know that Robert Altman’s imagination resulted in one of the best films of 2001. He might be gone, but his legacy will never be forgotten, so go ahead and enjoy your stay at Gosford Park.

Gosford Park (2001) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time the characters drive old-fashioned cars

Take a Drink: whenever the upstairs women wear expensive and authentic jewelry as part of Jenny Beaven’s Oscar-nominated costumes

Drink a Shot: whenever there are servants on screen (and there is actually a servant in every scene of this film, which means that viewers will be taking shots all throughout the picture)! (don’t actually do this)

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Trailer Reviews: Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie & Wonder Woman http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-captain-underpants-the-first-epic-movie-wonder-woman http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-captain-underpants-the-first-epic-movie-wonder-woman#respond Sun, 04 Jun 2017 17:15:33 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101569 By: Hawk Ripjaw – Holy shit, one of my favorite superheroes is getting their own movie this weekend! Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie It’s a dangerous gamble to write a book series about a brainwashed principal stripping down to his tightie whities to fight crime. It is perhaps a more dangerous gamble to make …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw –

Holy shit, one of my favorite superheroes is getting their own movie this weekend!

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie

It’s a dangerous gamble to write a book series about a brainwashed principal stripping down to his tightie whities to fight crime. It is perhaps a more dangerous gamble to make an animated film based on that book series. Yet, in a world where animated movies feature talking baby CEOs and groceries having orgies, maybe it’s time to take some risks. It seems like a good year for animated films so far, what with The Lego Batman Movie and, if you have access to some good weed, The Boss Baby. Of course, hell is nearly upon us with The Emoji Movie, and The Smurfs: The Lost Village also came out, so I guess it’s not really that great, but I’ve been in a good mood the past two days and I don’t want to ruin that. We’re going to go ahead and bet on this being a winner, especially with creator Dav Pilkey being so involved. 

Beer Prediction

If it has Flip-O-Rama, I can die happy.

 

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman has so far followed in the footsteps of the last two DC movies. Whispers of studio interference. Trailers that show a lot. Very strong early buzz from YouTube and Twitter critics. And finally, the movie finally releasing and everyone realizing they just got fucked. It looks, however, like the latter is not the case for Wonder Woman. People are loving this movie, and they’re not studio shills or some asshole persuaded by a free ticket and a commemorative popcorn bucket. This has a 92 motherfucking percent on Rotten Tomatoes. This might actually be good. Wonder Woman is a great character, and was one of the less irritating parts of Batman v Superman, so there’s a lot to hope for. The biggest thing we have to worry about is the same thing we have to worry about in any movie that includes Chris Pine, and that’s the risk of overdosing on motorcycle riding and mansplaining. If we can get past that, it should be smooth sailing. 

Beer Prediction

Regardless of the quality, I want this to get some sort of Academy Award just so those Suicide Squad dipshits can stop saying that Suicide Squad is objectively better than any other superhero movie because it got the Oscar for Best Makeup.

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Moulin Rouge! (2001) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/moulin-rouge-2001-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/moulin-rouge-2001-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sun, 04 Jun 2017 12:15:10 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101404 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – Fifteen years before Damien Chazelle made La La Land (2016), Baz Luhrmann made a movie musical that essentially reinvented the genre. Using a beautiful love story, gorgeous production values, and a mixture of both classical and contemporary music, Luhrmann made a beloved film that was the final installment of …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

Fifteen years before Damien Chazelle made La La Land (2016), Baz Luhrmann made a movie musical that essentially reinvented the genre. Using a beautiful love story, gorgeous production values, and a mixture of both classical and contemporary music, Luhrmann made a beloved film that was the final installment of his Red Curtain Triology. Moulin Rouge! is arguably the first major 21st century musical because it received awards and acclaim while also reminding audiences about the power of love.

A Toast

Francophiles can rejoice when watching this film because it contains the splendor of turn-of-the-century France. The film is obviously beautiful, and even won Oscars for its art direction and costume design. Nicole Kidman delivers one of her most popular performances as Satine, the courtesan who falls in love with a penniless writer, played by Ewan McGregor. This role allowed Kidman to receive both a Golden Globe award as well as an Oscar nomination. Moulin Rouge! also contains very clever references to both classical and modern elements as it told a timeless story. Specifically, the basic plot is very similar to Camille by Alexander Dumas, and the film features a variety of songs ranging from “The Sound of Music” to Elton John’s “Your Song.” On the most basic level, though, this movie is a love story, and its simplicity meant that audiences could easily relate to it.

Verdict

Moulin Rouge! changed the way that movie musicals could be made. Without this film, other musicals like Chicago and Mamma Mia! might have never come to fruition. The Bohemians within the film advocated truth, freedom, beauty, and above all things, love, and many audiences still have a love affair with this musical gem. The love story between Satine and Christian will never fade away as long as viewers express their admiration for a film that redefined the Hollywood musical.

Moulin Rouge! (2001) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever there are sparkles (such as the ones in the costumes and the night sky)

Take a Drink: during every pop culture reference (like Marilyn Monroe and Madonna)

Drink a Shot: whenever the characters use the word “love” and its different variations (such as “lovers” and “loving”)… which means that you will need 143 shots! (don’t actually do this)

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The Reader (2008) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/reader-2008-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/reader-2008-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sat, 03 Jun 2017 17:15:07 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101368 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – The Holocaust was one of the darkest periods in history, and numerous museums have been built to honor those who perished within that horrific era. Films about World War II and the Holocaust have also led to some of the greatest films of all time, such as Schindler’s List …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

The Holocaust was one of the darkest periods in history, and numerous museums have been built to honor those who perished within that horrific era. Films about World War II and the Holocaust have also led to some of the greatest films of all time, such as Schindler’s List (1993) and Saving Private Ryan (1998). Not all films about World War II actually take place on battlefields, though, because the repercussions of war can have a lasting impact on anyone that it affects. The Reader (2008) is a very interesting film because it is a unique love story that reveals the devastation that war could have on people outside of its violence and hysteria.

A Toast

This film contains what is perhaps Kate Winslet’s greatest performance. It allowed her to sweep the acting categories during awards season in 2009 while also having the distinction of winning awards in both leading and supporting roles given the complexity of her character, Hanna Schmitz. The ironic fact about Kate Winslet is that many people adore her performance as Rose from Titanic (1997), but she hardly won any actual awards for that particular role. (She did receive numerous nominations, though.) 2009 was definitely Kate Winslet’s year because she earned acclaim for both The Reader (2008) and Revolutionary Road (2008). Winslet herself had expressed admiration of the novel that formed the basis for this remarkable film. The original author, Bernhard Schlink, also stated that he envisioned Kate Winslet as Hanna, which suggests that this is Winslet’s definitive performance.

Kate Winslet, David Kross

Verdict

The Reader holds the unique distinction of being very simple and complex simultaneously. In one way, it is simply a love story that builds tension as the relationship progresses. In spite of that simple plotline, this film asks big questions without delivering easy answers, such as what happens to people when they have secrets and lies. Rose from Titanic said that, “A woman’s heart is a deep ocean of secrets,” and Hanna Schmitz is a brilliantly realized character filled with mystery. Stephen Daldry definitely deserved his “Best Director” nomination for directing a film adaptation of a novel that is thematically similar to his other major awards contender, The Hours (2002).

The Reader (2008) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for every passionate scene

Take a Drink: for every heartbreaking scene

Drink a Shot: for every scene involving reading

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Ken’s Movie Diary 2017 – Week 20 http://movieboozer.com/articles/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-20 http://movieboozer.com/articles/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-20#respond Sat, 03 Jun 2017 12:15:43 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101435 Weekly Update: Still recuperating from a serious injury, which will take a few more weeks at least. So for the next few weeks my new movie viewings will consist of mostly stuff I could find on TV or streaming. Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year …

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Weekly Update: Still recuperating from a serious injury, which will take a few more weeks at least. So for the next few weeks my new movie viewings will consist of mostly stuff I could find on TV or streaming.

Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date-

159. The Wings of Eagles (1957)

Director John Ford and actor John Wayne team up for this Biopic of “Spig” Wead, an aviation pioneer who helped to convince the U.S. Navy of the importance of airplanes. Wead was seriously injured, leaving him nearly paralyzed.  Unable to fly, he became a screenwriter, eventually befriending director John Ford. As a result this film feels like a very personal tribute to a close friend.

160. The Sea Wolves (1980)

This epic wartime thriller inspired by actual events tells the story of a Commando raid on the Portuguese Colonial Indian city of Goa during WWII. Portugal was neutral in the war, and as a result several merchant German ships were allowed to make port. Although ostensibly disarmed, a rise in local British shipping attacks indicated that these German boats were communicating movements to nearby submarines. A small team of British non-regulars and retirees came together to plan a secret raid. The film is unevenly paced and fairly predictable, but with stars Roger Moore, Gregory Peck, and David Niven it is impossible not to find something to appreciate.

161. Mister Roberts (1955)

Lieutenant Douglas Roberts (Henry Fonda) is one of several junior officers on board the U.S.S. Reluctant, a military freighter that has spent the entire war on the sidelines. The ship is led by Commander Morton (James Cagney), an officious man who is as demanding as he is arrogant.  Roberts desperately wishes for a transfer to a combat ship, but Morton won’t allow it. Nor will the Commander allow his crew even the most modest of shore leave. As a result, the morale aboard the ship is crumbling. Mister Roberts is equal comedy and drama, highlighting the doldrums of the less glamorous roles people played in the military during the war. Not that these roles were unimportant, but the sacrifice was real.

162. Godzilla against Mechagodzilla (2002)

This fairly modern entry in the long-running Toho Godzilla film series reboots the backstory of Godzilla Nemesis Mechagodzilla, this time borrowing a little bit of Robot Jox along the way.  Lt. Akane Yashiro is a member of a special unit set up to defend Japan from Monster attacks. Determined to make amends for her past failures, she earns the driver’s seat behind Japan’s newest secret weapon: a giant robotic, weaponized version of Godzilla to compete against the real thing.  Like most Godzilla movies, this backstory is mostly fluff, the main event being the fun of watching a couple people in costumes crash around a meticulous model of Tokyo.  Though it is nice to see a single human take on Godzilla 1 on 1 this time around.

163. Hatari! (1962)

This adventure film brings classic action icon John Wayne to the African Savannah as the head of a company of live game trappers who catch animals for zoos, circuses, and other organizations. The film’s plot is mostly based around the relationships of the characters, but fortunately there is enough fun situational humor and solid performances to keep these interesting. The real reason to watch Hatari!, though, is the insanely dangerous stunts. The live animal trapping sequences were done without stuntmen, the actors all performing their own work, driving head-long across the wilderness in beat-up vehicles trying to wrangle everything from Water Buffalo, to Zebras, and even more dangerously; Rhinos.

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The Man Who Knew Infinity (2016) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/the-man-who-knew-infinity-2016-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/the-man-who-knew-infinity-2016-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Fri, 02 Jun 2017 12:15:37 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=98483 By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) – Dev Patel stars in a Weinstein-style traditional Oscar contender about Indian boy far from home, and devoted to gaining a seemingly impossible piece of knowledge.  Nope, I’m not talking about Lion, which was excellent by the way. Watching that and A Monster Calls back to back was brutal on …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –

Dev Patel stars in a Weinstein-style traditional Oscar contender about Indian boy far from home, and devoted to gaining a seemingly impossible piece of knowledge.  Nope, I’m not talking about Lion, which was excellent by the way.

Watching that and A Monster Calls back to back was brutal on my tear ducts.

The Man Who Knew Infinity tells the story of prodigy mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan (Dev Patel), an uneducated clerk from India who sends some examples of the theorems he’s been working on as he can to Cambridge’s G.H. Hardy (Jeremy Irons), who insists he come to England to publish with his assistance.  Their dynamic is often at odds, but they complement each other in inspiring ways.

A Toast

As in Lion, and most of his films, Patel does great work, portraying an incredibly intelligent man whose huge ego if anything may underrepresent the scope of his talents, a man whose way with numbers verged on miraculous and who attributed his facility with them to intuition and a form of communication with the Divine, and a tragic figure who was cut down far younger than our world deserved.

Coughing blood is always a ticking clock in cinema.

Jeremy Irons is also great, a man whose only relationships are with his subject matter and other individuals in that field, an atheist and firm believer in the rigid necessity of proofs and mathematical rigor.

The movie’s ultimately about their relationship, both working and personal, as the men grow to understand the minds they have in each other.  It really works.

True romance, of a sort.

Director and screenwriter Matthew Brown’s screenplay also makes an admirable and largely successful attempt at quantifying Ramanujan’s discoveries in terms a layman can understand, and employs some interesting shading as well, like when the British draftees, about to head off to fight Hitler, beat up this Indian boy who will stay behind.

Directing-wise, Brown does a credible Tom Hooper; his film is polished and professional, his composer Coby Brown delivers a classical score with interpolated Indian rhythms that bests what might be an Oscar-nominated similar attempt for Lion, and DP Larry Smith, who, surprise, surprise, has worked with Tom Hooper, but also Stanley Kubrick on Eyes Wide Shut and Nicolas Winding Refn on Only God Forgives, delivers a sturdily well-shot film.

Beer Two

This is a pretty standard setup- misunderstood genius, fish out of water, British colonial bullshit, long-suffering wife, tragic denouement, etc.   The rises and falls of the film will feel deeply familiar, but are still effective enough.

Verdict

The Man Who Knew Infinity is a standardly, but well-executed biopic of a two brilliant minds you may not recognize.

The Man Who Knew Infinity (2016) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for antiquated colonial insults (‘Gunga Din’ certainly counts)

Take a Drink: for superstitions and beliefs

Take a Drink: for foreshadowing and mention of WWI

Take a Drink: for brazen self-confidence

Take a Drink: for any utterance of “proof”

Do a Shot: for simple explanations of complex concepts

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Under the Sun (2016) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/under-the-sun-2016-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/under-the-sun-2016-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Thu, 01 Jun 2017 12:15:04 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=98299 By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) – Yes, Under the Sun is another documentary about North Korea, but Vitaliy Manskiy and his crew pull something off that no others have, or will ever again.  They built special cameras, with two memory cards, you see.  One with all the state-approved official content, and one with every shot …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –

Yes, Under the Sun is another documentary about North Korea, but Vitaliy Manskiy and his crew pull something off that no others have, or will ever again.  They built special cameras, with two memory cards, you see.  One with all the state-approved official content, and one with every shot they could steal of normal life in Pyongyang and all the artifice that goes into these State-permitted glimpses of its people.

Every day is Octoberfest in Pyongyang.

Ostensibly, Under the Sun follows young Zin-mi as she prepares to enter the Children’s Union, and the big dance performance that will commemorate the occasion.

A Toast

One of the first things that will strike you about Pyongyang is its eerie quiet.  There are no city noises, no hustle and bustle, no traffic that doesn’t appear to be studiously staged, like the bus scene where the handlers demand several reshoots of little Zin-mi getting on the only bus we see the entire film, then waving goodbye to her parents.

What other documentaries about North Korea have largely failed at, and what Mansky’s approach allows him to accomplish, is catching people off their guard, without the perfect composure and actorial pretense.  Even something like children wrinkling their nose to suppress an itch during a long speech is achingly human and terrifying in its implications.

You also get a pretty good idea of the horror stories the children get fed in school, stories apparently so commonplace they struggle to stay awake while an old veteran describes Americans hunting down and burning children and… shooting tombstones thinking they were people?  You know, because they had people’s names on them.

The entire American army, apparently.

Mansky has a real eye for finding humanity and deeper meaning in quotidian images, paired with an evocative violin score- this would still qualify as an effective art film if it was shot anywhere else in the world.

The last scene is heart-rending.  Zin-mi is either a great little actress or the purest example of why this country has sustained itself as long as it has.  To some clear extent, propaganda and indoctrination works.

But only there, right?

Beer Two

The question must be asked- was this a responsible decision by the filmmakers?   Sure, they completed the heist successfully, but what about that family or those handlers left behind?  What happened to them?

Image unrelated, I fucking hope.

The film can also feel a tad repetitive in places, but you can’t fault the decision to include as much of this rarer than rare footage as possible.

Verdict

Under the Sun is one of the most uncommon documentaries you’ll see, showing the North Korean propaganda machine en media res.

Under the Sun (2016) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for soldiers

Take a Drink: for propagandistic lessons for the little girl

Take a Drink: whenever you see the handlers

Take a Drink: for alternate takes

Take a Drink: for the red flower

Do a Shot: when you realized it’s named a “kimjongilia”

Do a Shot: “Action!”

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Virtual Pub 211: Pirates, Baywatch & films for the bedridden http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-211-pirates-baywatch-films-bedridden http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-211-pirates-baywatch-films-bedridden#respond Thu, 01 Jun 2017 04:00:55 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101521 Pubcast host Ken attempts to re-join the pubcast, albeit laid up in a hospital bed.  Besides discussing the Pirates movie and Baywatch, we discuss movies that Ken has watched while recuperating and unable to make it to the cinemas.

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Pubcast host Ken attempts to re-join the pubcast, albeit laid up in a hospital bed.  Besides discussing the Pirates movie and Baywatch, we discuss movies that Ken has watched while recuperating and unable to make it to the cinemas.

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Ken’s Movie Diary 2017 – Week 19 http://movieboozer.com/articles/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-19 http://movieboozer.com/articles/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-19#respond Wed, 31 May 2017 17:15:51 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101243 Weekly Update: Unable to go to the movie theaters due to a serious injury. So for the next few weeks my new movie viewings will consist of mostly stuff I could find on TV or streaming. Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date- 152. …

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Weekly Update: Unable to go to the movie theaters due to a serious injury. So for the next few weeks my new movie viewings will consist of mostly stuff I could find on TV or streaming.

Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date-

152. Staying Alive (1983)

John Travolta returns in this sequel to Saturday Night Fever; it is now the early 1980s and dance music has gotten… shittier. Directed by Sylvester Stallone, who also co-wrote the movie, this film plays like a series of aerobics music videos intercut with dialogue.  Travolta’s character is kind of an unlikeable asshole, dating two women at the same time and without any real moment of recognition or recompense.

153. Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

Based on the Truman Capote novel of the same name, this film follows the life of professional New York socialite Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn), who woos many men with the dream of finding a particularly rich one to marry.  This was early 1960s speak for high-class Prostitute, and the film dodges the sex for sale angle very carefully. What it doesn’t dodge carefully is the uncomfortably racist character of Golightly’s landlord Mr. Yunioshi (Mickey Rooney). This yellow-face depiction of a Japanese man was pretty dated even for the time, but for a modern audience it brings the film to a screeching halt.

154. The Year of Living Dangerously (1982)

Peter Weir’s wartime romantic drama is set in Indonesia during the civil upheavals of 1965 which set the stage for a bloody civil war and genocide. Mel Gibson is Guy Hamilton, an Australian reporter on his first overseas assignment, charged with the task of reporting on the situation.  He seeks help acclimating to the country via fellow Australian reporter Billy Kwan (Linda Hunt) who uses his connections to team up and find the bigger stories. Meanwhile, Guy falls for British Embassy worker Jill (Sigourney Weaver), and and she for him in the midst of the political turmoil. This is a beautifully shot and sharply written commentary on Western involvement in Eastern political matters, with a convincing romance for good measure.  Add to that Linda Hunt’s unusual (but effective) casting as a male reporter, and her splendid performance with the material, and you have a tremendously compelling result.

155. Volcano (1997)

This expensive disaster film came out the same year as the somewhat more effective Dante’s Peak, albeit with a much bigger scope in mind; that of a Earth-shattering volcanic disaster in the middle of Los Angeles. Tommy Lee Jones is “Hero Man”, whose job it is to oversee rescue efforts and to save the city.  Ann Heche is “Science Woman”, whose job it is to give plausible explanations for the increasingly ridiculous things happening on screen.  Perhaps the film’s only real positive boon is the multimillion dollar special effects… So watch this if you like big shiny objects.

156. Micmacs (2009)

Jean-Pierre Jeunet is a wispy, sentimental director, with a keen visual eye and a love of quirk. Micmacs continues in the mood of films such as Amélie. Micmacs tells the story of Bazil, a man who is rendered fatherless by a landmine and years later; jobless and homeless by a stray bullet. Both the mine and the bullet were manufactured by the same arms company, which Bazil discovers is operating and illegal arms smuggling ring. He uses the power of hobo ingenuity and an army of fellow hobos to reap hobo vengeance. I found Micmacs quite entertaining at the time, but looking back it isn’t particularly memorable.

157. Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)

Joan Crawford is Blanche Hudson, a famous actress whose budding film career ended suddenly in a car accident. She lives with her older sister Jane “Baby Jane” Hudson (Bette Davis), who had a big career as a child actress, but has been living off of Blanche’s coattails ever since. The two sisters bicker with each other quite a bit, but lately Jane’s behavior has begun to sink to particularly dark levels. The real life Bette Davis and Joan Crawford despised each other severely, and tales of their off-screen antics makes this truly disturbing psychological horror movie feel all the more believable. Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? is seriously effective even today, highly recommended.

158. True Stories (1986)

David Byrne of The Talking Heads created this film as a concept music/film project inspired by stories told in tabloids. The film is presented in a sort of Documentary format, though with intentionally artificial elements that always linger in the background. It’s centered on the fictional town of Virgil, Texas, which is heading into its big sesquicentennial “Celebration of Special-ness”. The film is a mix of comic sarcasm, quirky humor, music-video sequences, and features prominent performances from a young John Goodman and writer-monologist Spaulding Gray.

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Up the Down Staircase (1967) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/up-the-down-staircase-1967-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/up-the-down-staircase-1967-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Wed, 31 May 2017 12:15:05 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101198 By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) – May 9, 2017, was Teacher Appreciation Day. It is actually very miraculous how much the school system has an impact on people. Teachers sometimes struggle with helping students because either the students do not care about their education, or because they genuinely have trouble learning. Nevertheless, teachers actually do …

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By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –

May 9, 2017, was Teacher Appreciation Day. It is actually very miraculous how much the school system has an impact on people. Teachers sometimes struggle with helping students because either the students do not care about their education, or because they genuinely have trouble learning. Nevertheless, teachers actually do leave a powerful impression on students, and the power of education can prepare anyone to endure the trials and tribulations that life throws at them. Some of the greatest motion pictures actually involve school settings, such as Dead Poets Society (1989), which starred the late Robin Williams. Up the Down Staircase is actually a very interesting film because it reveals the power of learning English literature while also honoring the English teachers who yearn to empower young minds.

A Toast

Sandy Dennis is phenomenal as the English teacher Sylvia Barrett. Dennis had the honor of bringing a contemporary character to life in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and she made this film a year after winning the Oscar for her supporting role as Honey. This performance as an English teacher is actually very underrated because this film failed to receive acknowledgement from the Academy. Dennis might not have achieved the fame as some of her co-stars, like Natalie Wood and Elizabeth Taylor, but she still managed to bring another contemporary character to life since the original novel was very popular at that time.

Beer Two

Like a lot of high school drama films, this film unfortunately displays the chaos and confusion that often characterize the worst four years of anyone’s life. The kids are very rambunctious and display hardly any respect for Ms. Barrett’s personal efforts. This film was very tough to watch especially since there is so much rude and inappropriate behavior in the high school English classroom. The film does well at revealing the importance of English as an academic subject, but it also showcases the bleakness of teenage drama.

Verdict

Even though Up the Down Staircase was a very popular novel during the 1960s, it is a bit of a shame that both the original novel and its film adaptation have faded into obscurity. Many people are familiar with other popular films made during that decade, like Mary Poppins (1964) and The Sound of Music (1965). Maybe part of the reason why this film did not achieve that much fame is because of its realistic depiction of high school that many film audiences might not want to sit through. Even with its flaws, Up the Down Staircase still honors the power of teaching as a profession, and how education leaves a lasting impression on students. So on every year in the month of May, celebrate Teacher Appreciation Day. Carpe Diem!

Up the Down Staircase (1967) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Sandy Dennis mentions a literary classic (like A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens)

Take a Drink: whenever Sandy Dennis has to raise her voice in order to maintain control of her classroom

Drink a Shot: whenever the teenagers act like teenagers

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Baywatch (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/baywatch-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/baywatch-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Tue, 30 May 2017 12:15:46 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101468  By: Christian Harding (Three Beers) – We all knew this one was coming. In an age of constant reboots, re-imaginings, and basically any known preexisting property with a recognizable brand name getting the feature film treatment, it was inevitable that Baywatch would soon be getting re-adapted into film form. And follow the trend of self-aware, borderline …

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 By: Christian Harding (Three Beers) –

We all knew this one was coming. In an age of constant reboots, re-imaginings, and basically any known preexisting property with a recognizable brand name getting the feature film treatment, it was inevitable that Baywatch would soon be getting re-adapted into film form. And follow the trend of self-aware, borderline parodies of recognizable properties like 21 Jump Street and The Lego Movie, the 2017 big screen adaptation of Baywatch – of course adapted from the popular television series of the same name –  hopes to follow in the footsteps of the aforementioned franchises. But while this particular attempt at a knowingly tongue-in-cheek franchise revival ultimately falls short of the cleverness and charm that it aspires to, it’s not without it virtues, and manages to provide a fair amount of lowest common denominator, guilty pleasure chuckles. Make of that what you will.

A Toast

Far and away, the best thing about Baywatch is its assembled cast. For all the problems this film has (and we’ll get to those later), the one consistently praise-worthy aspect throughout the entire thing is how the chemistry between all the major players keeps everything afloat (pun optional). Surprising absolutely nobody, it seemingly remains impossible for Dwayne Johnson to give a performance that’s not utterly charming and charismatic, and former Disney Channel alumni Zac Efron continues his recent trend of capable, self-deprecating comedic turns. But perhaps the most surprising thing about this film is how well the female cast members all manage to fare. Actresses like Alexandra Daddario, IIfenesh Hadera, and Kelly Rohrbach, while serving in fairly underwritten parts, each manage to inject their roles with their own likable, charming presences – apart from obviously just being there to fulfill the requirements of mere eye candy, though there’s certainly no deficit in that department either, be it for the men or the women in this. For all that the humor itself might not always work, these performers sometimes manage to elevate it due to a very believable, natural group dynamic between them all.

Beer Two

All humor is subjective, folks. What might leave one individual completely cold and unmoved might bring another person to tears due to uncontrollable laughter. But what’s not subjective are things like wit, cleverness, and style – none of which are present in the humor of Baywatch. Now, I’m not suggesting that every film aspire to be the sharpest, most challenging comedic tour de force imaginable, but it wouldn’t hurt for this film to at least attempt to have any of the smarts that it aspires towards. Rather, it opts for the easy gag every time, and even sometimes drags its more raunchy set-pieces out long past their expiration dates. And while making the viewer uncomfortable is surely its goal in a few of these cases, it would help if the jokes themselves were funny at all to begin with, which many of them regrettably aren’t.

Beer Three

For all that Baywatch tries to be self-aware and constantly pokes fun at both itself and the source material that it’s based on, it does fall victim to what’s beginning to re-emerge as a problem for modern comedies once again, and that’s trying to force in a story that’s both serious and for the most part completely devoid of any attempts at humor. This is something that’s plagued most mainstream US comedies from the past couple of decades, where the actual comedy in the film sometimes comes across as window dressing to hang onto an otherwise completely predictable, uninteresting story – and Baywatch is unfortunately no different. While it makes sense to have some sort of meat on the bones of this flick, there’s a very noticeable separation between the ‘story scenes’ and the ‘comedy scenes’, each of which take on entirely different moods and styles, and neither of which fit in very well with one another. As I mentioned, this isn’t a problem specific to this one film, but it doesn’t make it any less distracting or unnecessary.

Clearly a very serious procedural about drug trade and crime investigations.

Verdict

At the end of the day, you get what you pay for with Baywatch. I’m not usually a fan of the whole “just turn off your brain and go with it” scapegoat, but if there’s anything playing in theaters right now that requires such a descriptor, it’s this puppy. While the film aims for 21 Jump Street levels of self-awareness and satire, its efforts are often stunted by the lousy writing and occasional over-reliance on crude and shock humor. But the assembled cast does one hell of a job picking up the slack from the storytelling and joke departments, and manages to just barely salvage the whole production. If this seems up your alley, I can’t imagine it wouldn’t please its target audience. Just don’t go in expecting anything other than exactly what its advertised as, and you should be good to go.

Baywatch (2017) Drinking Game 

Do a Shot: during each slo-mo running shot.

Do another Shot: for every cameo from the old show.

Shotgun a Beer: each time a penis related gag runs on for longer than two minutes.

Finish your Drink: if/when you hear the original theme from the television show.

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell Not Tales (2017) Movie Review: It’s Time to Abandon Ship http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/pirates-caribbean-dead-men-tell-not-tales-2017-movie-review-time-abandon-ship http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/pirates-caribbean-dead-men-tell-not-tales-2017-movie-review-time-abandon-ship#respond Mon, 29 May 2017 17:15:09 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101452 By: 3-Deep (Four Beers) – There was once a period of time where 2003’s Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was arguably my favorite movie, which makes my complete, wholehearted indifference towards Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, the fourth sequel to Disney’s theme park ride-based blockbuster film …

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By: 3-Deep (Four Beers) –

There was once a period of time where 2003’s Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was arguably my favorite movie, which makes my complete, wholehearted indifference towards Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, the fourth sequel to Disney’s theme park ride-based blockbuster film series, both fascinating and troubling. It has been a long 14 years between films one and five, where Johnny Depp went from handsome, if endearingly a little kooky, dream boy/critical darling to one of the biggest celebrities in the world (thanks to his work in these films) to a drunken fool/public embarrassment with performances that strike many filmgoers as near-parodies of his other, once-brilliant better work. Time hasn’t been kind to Depp of late. Time hasn’t been kind to the Pirates of the Caribbean films either. What was once a genuinely swashbuckling, highly entertaining, and enjoyably strange action-adventure fable has paved the way to a collection of convoluted, exhausting sequels, none of which capture the same magic found in the lean, compulsively delightful, agreeably pulpy, well-made, and well-acted original film.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest was sporadically engrossing, if often bogged down by excessive plotting and a bloated budget. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, similarly, was a messy, overcompensating trilogy-ender that lacked most of the snappy wit and charm of the first movie through too many characters, too many settings, and too many plates trying to spin at once. It was simply tedious. If you remember anything from Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, congratulations. You have a better memory than this writer. Although I was starting to doze off well before the closing curtains.

Which leads us to our latest installment, which is released a full six years after the last one yet, distressingly, discerningly, and depressingly, still suffers from many of the problems that plagued the other sequels. In fact, if anything, it might suffer from more issues — especially considering its overstuffed narrative, its overinflated allowance, and its lack of narrative coherence and general focus. It’s one of the year’s most expensive blockbusters, yet despite all its excess, Dead Men Tell No Tales is a classic example of too little, too late. A meandering, excessive, and overworked tirade of special effects and dullness, Dead Men Tell No Tales certainly isn’t the treasure fans seek to redeem this lost franchise. Abandon hope, ye who enter the theater.

Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp) is back, whether you wanted him to or not. Still the bacchanalian fool we once knew before, Sparrow continues his lowly attempts at thievery and misgivings all around the seven seas, and in the midst of his latest escapade, which finds a simple bank heist turning into a town-destroying folly, Sparrow makes the acquaintance of Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario) and Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites). The latter is the son of Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), hoping to rescue his cursed father from his plight on the Flying Dutchman, while the latter is a whip-smart wannabe astrologist sentenced to death for her perceived witchery.

Henry needs Sparrow to help him free Will, while Carina is rescued by Jack and his crew, then comes along for the ride. Meanwhile, the undead Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem) is not far from their trail, as he and his undead compadres are recently unleashed from their unholy entrapment when Jack unknowingly gives away the compass which held them in solitude. If that all sounds fairly confusing and complicated, I apologize. Dead Men Tell No Tales seemingly follows a fairly simple plot, yet there’s so much going on at once that it’s hard to make sense of anything. And that’s without talking about how Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) is also quick on their tails, hoping to retrieve the Black Pearl, which is somehow kept inside Captain Jack Sparrow’s chest? Look, let’s stop while we’re ahead. I’m giving myself a headache.

A Toast

There are sporadic moments of fun to be had in Dead Men Tell No Tales. The aforementioned bank robbing sequence, for instance, is entirely ridiculous and completely illogical at face value, yet with its (mostly) practical effects and highly choreographed stunts, it retains some of the lost silly goofiness of the original. Similarly, there’s a wickedly inspired guillotine visual gag that would make both Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin proud in its dexterity and timing. Other than that, I’ll admit that the character design of Salazar’s undead crew of scallywags, with their assortment of several missing body parts and perpetually floating hair and bodies, was both visually compelling and genuinely pretty creepy. The gorgeous oceanside locations are, as per usual, gorgeous. Also, after the complete irreverence of On Stranger Tides, it’s nice to see some emotional stakes again — if merely as a one-time fan of this franchise and these characters. Do they earn those stakes? Hell no, but it’s nice to see a little bit of effort made, at least.

Drink Two

Something I admire more upon revisiting the first Pirates of the Caribbean is its simplicity. At 143 minutes, it’s certainly not short, but with its brisk pacing, its involving characters, engaging set pieces, and, most of all, its focused, compulsively entertaining, and sincerely well-crafted story, it moves like electricity. By contrast, Dead Men Tell No Tales is the shortest PotC movie yet, clocking in at 129 minutes, yet it feels almost twice as long. With its overly congested story, its plethora of characters, its various destinations, and its ongoing need to stuff as many lame wacky jokes as possible, much to the film’s detriment, it fails to capture that same nimble spirit which made the original film such an infectious delight. It’s soggy and overly demanding, expecting itself to do so much while never progressing the protagonists, the mythos, or the extended narrative in any fulfilling or meaningful ways. It’s not boring per se, but it lacks the consistent amount of fun that made the original film — even upon rewatches — such a wildly good time.

Drink Three

The Curse of the Black Pearl relied mainly on practical effects, only using CG when it helped the story. It’s the Christopher Nolan logic. By contrast, Dead Men Tell No Tales is overloaded with CG, which makes it impossible to connect to a majority of the environments. It only helps distance you further from the plot as well. There’s no real weight and gravitas to these scenes. Everything’s flimsy and disregards physics and logic completely.  In a story that’s practically as overbooked as it is, it only emphases just how ballooned and overwrought these sequels became. The magic feels forced, and the flesh and blood characters feel secondary to the wizardry of the special effects team, which works endlessly to make you invested. But it’s all shambolic and overweight, lacking anything resembling honesty or humanity. The ship quickly sinks.

Drink Four 

There was once a time when Depp’s buffoonery was lighthearted and fun. Those days are no longer with us. Whenever I review a film, I tend to separate the art and the artist unless the art calls upon the artist. If that makes sense. Essentially, if the actor’s performance doesn’t make me think about his real life, then I don’t feel the need to associate it with the film. With Depp, however, that’s nearly impossible.

Filmed close to his emotional/psychological breakdown and the end of his marriage, Depp’s sloshy, half-hearted performance as Jack Sparrow in this newest iteration deeply calls to mind his recent tabloid antics, which makes the experience of watching Depp play an aloof, stumbling alcoholic way less enjoyable. If Depp’s Oscar-nominated performance as Jack Sparrow in the first movie was Keith Richards at the height of his creative outburst, then Depp’s Sparrow in Dead Men Tell No Tales is Richards on a ten day bender, as he slouches around, mumbling words you can’t make out before he pukes in the sink for the fifth time this morning. There’s no enjoyment this time around. Sparrow is deeply troubling to watch now, and it doesn’t help that Depp simply isn’t putting his best foot forward anymore. Sparrow was once a character that Depp could play with his eyes closed. You wouldn’t know that from this film, though.

Verdict

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is similar to what I imagine watching Guns ‘N’ Roses performing today is like. Most of the major players are gone, or they’re simply bit players on the sidelines. The musicality of the first film is now overproduced and filled with too much background noise. Our Axel Rose, Depp as Sparrow, is a shell of his former self, and it’s embarrassing and painful to watch him try to retain some of that former glory. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is practically a classic by today’s Hollywood standards, and it was the movie that started their ongoing blockbuster trend. In contrast, Dead Men Tell No Tales is a wandering relic of a past generation, searching the seas for its purpose but never finding anything more than chaos and boredom, blasting at all cylinders. No amount of rum is going to make this one an engaging viewing experience, whether you’re a fan of the series or not.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time you feel uncomfortable/embarrassed for Depp’s stumbling ass.

Take a Drink: every time a joke lands horribly.

Take a Drink: anytime you find yourself in a moment of flickering fun.

Take a Drink: every time the screen is consumed by CG.

Do a Shot: when THAT cameo happens.

Do another Shot: when that other cameo happens.

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Trailer Reviews: Baywatch & Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-baywatch-pirates-caribbean-dead-men-tell-no-tales http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-baywatch-pirates-caribbean-dead-men-tell-no-tales#respond Mon, 29 May 2017 12:15:04 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101445 By: Hawk Ripjaw – There’s a sequel to The Boss Baby  set for 2021, so we have plenty of time to find the good drugs.   Baywatch Speaking of sequels, I guess I should stop complaining about how often we get them, because we’re seeing a resurgence of the “TV shows made into movies” trend. …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw –

There’s a sequel to The Boss Baby  set for 2021, so we have plenty of time to find the good drugs.

 

Baywatch

Speaking of sequels, I guess I should stop complaining about how often we get them, because we’re seeing a resurgence of the “TV shows made into movies” trend. Weirdly, the best/most successful ones were 21/22 Jump Street, which themselves were just riffs on the very idea of remakes and sequels (on top of being hilarious) being pointless. Unfortunately, everyone seemed to miss the point, because they’re still happening, and we’re starting to reach the bottom of the barrel as a raunchy, R-rated treatment version of a TV show becomes less and less of a good idea. At least this looks better than CHiPs, right? It has Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron being doofy, which is a bit more of an enticing mixture than Dax Shepard and Michael Pena. That might be what saves it. 

Beer Prediction

I’ll buy a ticket to show my support for 23 Jump Street. That’s how it works, right?

 

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

On the other hand, maybe I should be vocal about sequels, because no one was strong enough to stop Rob Marshall’s fourth Pirates movie, On Stranger Tides, which was such a godforsaken disaster (Blackbeard had a fucking flamethrower, from the director of Chicago??) it turned me off of Jerry Bruckheimer in a way I haven’t been since Kangaroo Jack. At first, I had hope for Dead Men Tell No Tales. It’s directed by the guys that did Kon Tiki! Javier Bardem is the villain! The trailers don’t focus on Jack Sparrow acting like a fucking idiot, or focus on him at all (even though the Young Jack CGI looks like garbage)! And maybe, just maybe, the promise of “The final adventure” will actually be true. All we can do is see something else, or just enable Disney by going to see it. 

Beer Prediction

And yet, there I’ll be this weekend. I am absolutely part of the problem.

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The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) Movie Review: A Timeless Tale http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/curious-case-benjamin-button-2008-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/curious-case-benjamin-button-2008-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sun, 28 May 2017 12:15:58 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101218 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – F. Scott Fitzgerald remains one of the most celebrated American authors. He wrote The Great Gatsby and Tender is the Night, both of which resulted in film adaptations. Fitzgerald did more than just write novels, though, because he also wrote one of the most unusual short stories ever. His …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

F. Scott Fitzgerald remains one of the most celebrated American authors. He wrote The Great Gatsby and Tender is the Night, both of which resulted in film adaptations. Fitzgerald did more than just write novels, though, because he also wrote one of the most unusual short stories ever. His timeless story, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, is a unique tale about the nature of time itself. This beloved story inspired David Fincher to create one of the most celebrated films of 2008.

A Toast

This film is pure Oscar bait. It received a total of thirteen nominations, including Best Picture. The best feature of this film is its screenplay because of Eric Roth’s and Robin Swicord’s treatment of the original source material. They both basically made a bizarre tale very universal by examining the nature of life itself. The screenwriters also explored the theme of time in beautifully profound ways, and ultimately teach audiences to not take their lives for granted. This powerful story translates well to the silver screen thanks to powerful performances from Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, and Taraji P. Henson. It also contains all of the elements of a major Oscar contender, including outstanding visual design, stunning visual effects, and the hard work of a brilliant director.

Verdict

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is one of those rare cases in which a film adaptation can be very strong without being too close to the original source material. The original short story is actually very bizarre because the main character could actually talk while he was an old man in the form of an infant. The screenwriters basically took a very strange story, and crafted a Twenty-First Century masterpiece. This film might not have won Best Picture, but it is still a great picture that will hopefully stand the test of time.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever Mr. Gateau’s clock is seen with its hands ticking backwards

Take a Drink: every time Benjamin Button and Daisy encounter each other as he grows younger and she grows older

Drink a Shot: during every quotation that sounds like it came from a wisdom book (i.e. “Our lives are defined by opportunities; even the ones we miss.” –Benjamin Button).

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Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/diary-wimpy-kid-long-haul-2017-movie-review http://movieboozer.com/featured/diary-wimpy-kid-long-haul-2017-movie-review#respond Sat, 27 May 2017 12:15:24 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101388 By: Felix Felicis (Five Beers) – It was a dark and stormy night, the wind howled outside and the shutters banged against the cabin in the woods with each torrential gust of rain. Jeff Kinney pours himself a whiskey with a trembling hand and sets the decanter down next to the loaded revolver silently taunting him …

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By: Felix Felicis (Five Beers) –

It was a dark and stormy night, the wind howled outside and the shutters banged against the cabin in the woods with each torrential gust of rain. Jeff Kinney pours himself a whiskey with a trembling hand and sets the decanter down next to the loaded revolver silently taunting him to write. He lets out a soft, choking sob as his fingers fly across the keyboard. He knows what kind of hell is about to be unleashed. He just doesn’t care, whiskey-numb to a world sleeping unsuspecting of the family-oriented dumpster fire of a movie based on the fourth book in his young readers series he’s about to unleash upon them. A bolt of lightning splits the sky in two, just catching the reflection of a single tear running down Jeff’s cheek in the mirror on the wall. He’s done. It’s… ready.

So, cards on the table here, I’ve neither read nor googled anything about the franchise or it’s source material (an admittedly adorable and very popular children’s series written by Jeff Kinney) so I walked into the fourth cinematic adcraptation blind – somehow managing to not miss a beat of this practically narcoleptic plot. We open on a family (the Heffley’s) experiencing suburban hell at a restaurant while out to eat before going on their annual road trip (I can practically feel my childless uterus high-fiving itself by this point). The middle son and hero of the series, Greg (Jason Drucker) manages to (unfortunately) become a viral Diaper Hands video sensation overnight and cooks up a plot with dumber-than-a-dealer’s-choice-Kardashian older brother, Rodrick (Charlie Wright) to hijack the family road trip to hit up a video gaming convention on the way to erase Greg’s Diaper Hands shame. Extremely lame shenanigans and face-meltingly boring events ensue.

Yeah. That seems about right.

A Toast

I didn’t die in a fire before, during, or after the film so that’s a plus. There was also one… ONE moment where I kind of laughed (though it’s even odds on whether or not the Stockholm Syndrome had kicked in by that point) at the youngest Heffley (played by twins Dylan and Wyatt Walters) being reunited in slow-mo with a pig he won at a farm fair set to traditional Rom/Com-like background music. Did I mention the fire? Definitely didn’t die in a fire.

Phil is my spirit animal.

Beer Two

I kind of wish I’d died in that fire. There are no words in the human language to accurately describe the sheer boredom at being a fully grown adult forced to buy a ticket to this pandering, less-creatively-written-than-love-letters-to-Channing-Tatum-by-Hawk-Ripjaw-and-I, “family-oriented” screenplay/dialogue.

One day, he’ll love us as much as we love him… One day.

When I die, just bury me in a life-sized sourdough bread bowl and slap a speaker on top of my headstone with the message “stop dumbing-down family-friendly entertainment just because someone is six-years-old, or sixty, doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy the same movie.” and a video screen with Up playing silently on a loop. Ad Infinitum.

#RelationshipGoals

Beer Three

The acting itself wasn’t so much wooden as the characters so two-dimensional at times I had trouble distinguishing the actors from their sometimes-sketched-directly-onto-the-screen counterparts. I don’t blame Alicia Silverstone for her wet blanket of a mom that was so aggressively a stereotype of “Mom”dom that, much like Darth Vader, she existed to solely kill any past, present or future buzz anyone could ever have. I see you, Cher from Clueless, I see you in there trapped and struggling to escape only to ultimately fail and then be forced to make a joke about “Face-books and Insta-tweeps” (actual lame parents-don’t-understand-social-media joke subject to inaccuracy due to dangerously lethal levels of ennui whilst in the theater).

Pretty accurate depiction of 90% of my facial expressions during Long Haul.

Beer Four

Clocking in at barely ninety minutes, somehow Wimpy Kid: Long Haul (so, so aptly named) manages to make that seem like an eternity. Like I’m seventy percent certain there’s a circle in hell that just screens this movie on a loop. The same recycled jokes and gags represent the lowest hanging fruit on the comedy tree and it hits the “slapstick/zany hijinks that’ll warm your heart with family-friendly fuzzies” demographic so obviously and so hard it practically breaks through the space/time continuum to an alternate (and happier) universe where Long Haul was never made while also breaking the last of your will to live in this universe. Just for the love of Cthulhu read the books and stop watching the movies, kids, please, I’m begging you. I don’t have another one of these screenings in me.

Actual footage of me writing this review.

Beer Five

Even judging Long Haul by the practically subterranean bar I have for kids movies these days, it still couldn’t manage to overcome all of the disparate elements threatening to tear it apart at any given moment to be anything more than a narcoleptic piece of forgettable fluff. The gaps in narrative logic were so large NASA called and wants to land a moon rover in one, not to mention these logic leviathans totally derailed the part of my brain trying to legitimately figure out how so much could go so wrong so quickly on a road trip unless the Heffley’s had run afoul of some Romany gypsies or managed to offend a Taylor Swift fan (they will come at you and come at you HARD) recently. Not gonna lie, Long Haul hit Home Alone levels of parenting fails. To be absolutely fair, Long Haul wasn’t an objectively terrible movie (subjectively I would peel my face skin off with a rusty spork before viewing again), it just wasn’t a very good, very memorable or very worthwhile one. And that’s almost worse.

This .gif is an exact replica of my face trying to recall enough about Long Haul to write it up.

Verdict

There’s no way they can make a fifth movie, right? Right? … RIGHT? Brb. Preemptively launching myself into low orbit around the moon.

Last Call: There’s apparently a mid-credits bonus bit. I wouldn’t know since I bailed harder when the credits started to roll than a white girl at an all-carbs buffet brunch but the interwebs say so.

Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for every Diaper Hands .gif, meme, video or mention.

Take a Drink: each time Greg gets away with something. Take Two: Every time he’s caught.

Take a Sip: whenever something goes terribly, horrifically, comically wrong (pace yourself).

Take a Shot: every time the Heffley’s try to avoid a Manny Meltdown.

Shotgun your Beer: for the unlikeliest way to drop in on a ninety-year-olds birthday party that somehow doesn’t end in a trip to the hospital or someone having a heart attack.

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365 Days of Movies- Henry J. Fromage Edition- Week 21 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-21 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-21#respond Fri, 26 May 2017 17:15:58 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101289 By: Henry J. Fromage – Another busy, movie-lite week.  I’ll keep this bonus TV series shout-out going, though, because we’re getting a lot of good ones about now. 130. Staying Alive Oberst and I gave this a watch, and it’s quite a specimen indeed, a nearly plotless (let’s watch Travolta be a douche to multiple women and …

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By: Henry J. Fromage –

Another busy, movie-lite week.  I’ll keep this bonus TV series shout-out going, though, because we’re getting a lot of good ones about now.

130. Staying Alive

Oberst and I gave this a watch, and it’s quite a specimen indeed, a nearly plotless (let’s watch Travolta be a douche to multiple women and dance to some truly godawful 80s pop-trash) cash-in on the disco success of Saturday Night Fever, released years after disco up and died, and repurposed by director Sylvester Stallone (yes, really) as a thinly veiled tale of his own early career striving (yes, he was a dancer, and no, unfortunately this film doesn’t find room for any Italian Stallion action).  Everyone involved will most assuredly hope nobody remembers this, and most will be right, except for Frank Stallone, for which this might actually qualify as one of the higher profile films on his resume.  Poor Frank Stallone.

131. Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Kids

Despite his biggest success being Silence of the Lambs, it’s perhaps fitting that Jonathan Demme went out on this music documentary note, as music and people-watching described much more of his oeuvre than his Oscar-winner.  This documentary is a pretty in-and-out account of Timberlake’s culminating concert in his tour with the Tennessee Kids, and it displays his personability and attention to detail before ever hitting the stage for a show that has plenty of spectacle and all of the hits.  It’s the closing moments of the film, as we watch the stagehands tear down and the segue into a time lapse of the arena coming together before the show, though, that speak the most to our loss of Demme… he had a remarkable ability to frame life in the most everyday and yet evocative way.

Better Call Saul

It’s somewhat of a marvel how a spin-off focusing on one of the least appealing characters in insta-classic Breaking Bad has already surpassed its source material in many unexpected ways.  On one hand, it makes sense that this creative team just keeps getting more mature and subtle the more they build on their previous experience, but on the other, man, what a treat.  Season 2 might be trading in a little too much on the recognizance of its titanic forebearer, chock full of easter eggs and callbacks now that the inimitable Gus Fring is a third planet for its plot to revolve around, but the Jimmy McGill material remains as good of television as there is right now, bar not many, perhaps none.

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2017 Tribeca Film Festival Roundup http://movieboozer.com/articles/2017-tribeca-film-festival-roundup-all-film-descriptions-courtesy-of-tribecafilm-com http://movieboozer.com/articles/2017-tribeca-film-festival-roundup-all-film-descriptions-courtesy-of-tribecafilm-com#respond Fri, 26 May 2017 12:15:55 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101306 By: Rob Perez – (ALL FILM DESCRIPTIONS COURTESY OF TRIBECAFILM.COM) So Movieboozer.com was once again granted a most sought after credential for the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival.  And we’re happy to report, this year’s crop of indie films, documentaries, even TV series was the best crop of films the festival has shown in the four …

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By: Rob Perez –

(ALL FILM DESCRIPTIONS COURTESY OF TRIBECAFILM.COM)

So Movieboozer.com was once again granted a most sought after credential for the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival.  And we’re happy to report, this year’s crop of indie films, documentaries, even TV series was the best crop of films the festival has shown in the four years we’ve been covering the festivals. With popcorn and soda at hand, we watched over a hundred hours’ worth of great films (with a few snoozes in between we gotta report). We caught celebrities such as Jessica Biel, Jeffrey Wright, Dustin Hoffman, and Kobe Bryant in post screening Q&A’s or taking part in roundtable discussions. Heck, we even got to see the reunion of the original cast of Reservoir Dogs at the film’s 25th anniversary screening, courtesy of the festival. Music played a big role in many of the documentaries we checked out, from documentaries that looked into the lives of Clive Davis, 80’s rock stars, and Whitney Houston, to Johnny Rotten.

The Tribeca Film Festival attracted audiences in droves, marking Tribeca 2017 as its most successful year yet, and the outlook for next year is looking strong with calls for more film submissions, greater press coverage, and more celebs coming to town to maybe take a selfie or two with the many fans that camped outside of theaters hoping to get a glimpse.

The list below is a partial list of films we checked out. While there were hundreds of films screened, we only profiled films we actually saw (with reviews of many of them to follow) and thought were worth telling our readers to check out when they arrive to a theater near you. So when you have the time, go give these films a look. Have your movie club card ready, a big tub of goodies, and have fun.

 

 

 

Chuck

Better known as the Bayonne Bleeder, Chuck Wepner was a 70s-era heavyweight boxer with the ability to take a punch like no other, facing off in his career against Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, and even an actual live bear. But despite his numerous wins, and even more numerous losses, the apex of his life story was serving as the real-life inspiration for a little film called Rocky. Played with flair and pathos by Liev Schreiber, Chuck is taken in by his own newfound celebrity, succumbing to an epic life of drugs, booze, and wild women, while struggling to maintain the only true relationships he’s known- with his no-nonsense wife (Elisabeth Moss) and a straight-talking local bartender (Naomi Watts) with whom he has an undeniable immediate spark. Philippe Falardeau’s Chuck is an entertaining chronicle of the rise and fall of this larger-than-life legend.

Dog Years

Vic Edwards (Burt Reynolds) was one of the biggest movie stars in the world, known of his mustachioed good looks and cocky swagger. With his Hollywood glory a distant memory, the now-octogenarian Vic begins reassessing his life with the passing of his beloved dog and the arrival of an invitation to receive a lifetime achievement award from the (fictional) International Nashville Film Festival. Intrigued by the promise of long-lost adulation, Vic accepts the offer. The festival, however, turns out to be very different from the glitz and glamour affair he expected, personified by his foul-mouthed, text-obsessed, punkish escort/driver for the weekend, Lil (Modern Family’s Ariel Winter). Humiliated but motivated to make the most of his time in his home state of Tennessee, Vic and a reluctant Lil take off for Knoxville on a road trip neither will soon forget. Utilizing archival footage from Reynold’s real-life filmography, and featuring sterling lead performances from the rakish icon and Winter, Adam Rifkin’s Dog Years is a funny and ultimately touching cross-generational comedy.

Dumb: The Story Of Big Brother Magazine

At the beginning of the 1990s, the popular narrative held that skateboarding was in its death throes, just another fad on the wane after the boom of the 1980s. But all of that changed with the founding of the influential underground magazine Big Brother. An irreverent, boundary-pushing breath of fresh air that spoke to skaters and non-skaters alike, nothing was out of bounds for Big Brother– which covered music, stunts, and nudity with as much gusto as skateboarding.

Dumb: The Story of Big Brother Magazine is a fast-paced and entertaining chronicle of the rise and fall of the cult magazine, whose taboo-breaking stunts and unapologetically crass humor spawned MTV’s Jackass and a generation of skaters. Featuring a trove of original footage and interviews with the magazine’s major players, including Johnny Knoxville, Spike Jonze, Steve-O, and Tony Hawk, Dumb is a stylish celebration of the lowbrow legacy of this touchstone of 90’s counterculture.

Elian

Eli·n Gonzalez swims in the Cuban sea, one of his favorite pastimes. Film still from ELI¡N.
Photographer: Ross McDonnell.

As the new millennium began, one news story captured the attention and hearts of nearly every American. On Thanksgiving 1999, a young Cuban boy named Elián González was found floating in the Florida Straits by himself after his mother drowned trying to seek refuge in the United States. Before long, the 5-year-old González became the centerpiece of an intense custody battle between his father back in Cuba and his relatives in Miami, which, in turn, brought attention to the long-brewing tensions between Fidel Castro’s Cuba and the U.S. Throughout the news coverage, though, one voice was too young to join the heated international conversation: that of Elián himself. Eighteen years later, in the wake of Fidel Castro’s monumental death last November, ELIÁN lets the now 23-year-old tell his story, along with the other key players, of one of the biggest news events in modern times. Executive produced by Alex Gibney, Tim Golden and Ross McDonnell use Elián’s intimate details as the jumping-off point for a powerfully relevant historical account.

Frank Serpico

As an NYPD officer in the late 60s and early 70s, Frank Serpico blew the whistle on the corruption and payoffs running rampant in the department, was shot in the face during a drug arrest, and most famously became the subject of Sidney Lumet’s classic film Serpico. Forty-plus years later, Serpico talks about his Southern Italian roots and upbringing, his time as an undercover officer, and his post-NYPD life in Europe and ultimately upstate New York. Adding their own recollections are his fellow officers, childhood friends, his West Side neighbors, and his admirers such as writer Luc Sante and actor John Turturro. With unprecedented access to its subject and augmented by original music by Jack White and an original score by Brendan Canty of Fugazi, Antonino D’Ambrosio creates a memorable, powerful portrait of an always-committed public servant who still walks the walk in his very own unique way.

Gilbert

Legendary comedian Gilbert Gottfried has had quite the career. Rocketing to fame in the 1980s, he was thrust into the public consciousness almost immediately thanks to his brash personality, unique worldview, and off-kilter comic timing. Now, foul-mouthed and unapologetic after decades of flying solo in both his work and in his personal life, Gilbert has shockingly reinvented himself… as a family man.

Director Neil Berkeley’s Gilbert reveals an unexpected side to the iconic comedian. The film peeks behind the larger-than-life persona at a more personal story about growing up in Brooklyn and becoming a husband and father late in life. Gottfried’s singular outlook on life and his ability to bring humor to even the darkest situations has, at times, gotten him into trouble. Still he soldiers on, an expert craftsman at bringing his audience to the edge (and sometimes pushing them over). Gilbert strips the comedic character away to reveal the man behind it. Berkeley allows the audience an intimate — even vulnerable — view of Gottfried out of character.

I Am Evidence

Every year, thousands of rape kits containing DNA evidence are left untested by police around the country. Over 175,000 kits have been uncovered to date, resting in backlogs and storage facilities, each of them an unsolved case. Currently, only eight states (Georgia, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York) have passed laws requiring that rape kits be tested by police. As a result, decades’ worth of kits have been shelved, perpetrators remaining free and victims ignored, the potentially crucial evidence left to languish.

Produced by Mariska Hargitay, I AM EVIDENCE takes an intimate look at this widespread problem and its consequences. By taking a step closer, it gives access to the reality that hides behind these daunting statistics. In victims’ accounts of their assaults and the serious consequences they suffer, we see the people behind the numbers. Shining through is the hope of a different future, brought to reality by the extraordinary efforts of people like prosecutor Kym Worthy to combat this issue. Not only have cases been solved, but perpetrators have been prosecuted and justice served.

 

Get Me Roger Stone

With his bespoke suits and collection of Nixon memorabilia, political firebrand and noted eccentric Roger Stone has been a fixture of Republican politics since the 1970s, yet at the same time, Stone has always been an outsider to the political establishment. The youngest person called before the Watergate grand jury, Stone wears his notorious reputation (and his full-back Nixon tattoo) like a badge of honor. His candor in this timely and unexpectedly entertaining documentary opens the book even further on his proprietary brand of underhanded politicking. Despite its success, his strategy of confrontational (some would say “dirty”) politics was always publicly rejected by the Conservative mainstream. But now, with the shocking ascendancy of his longtime pet project Donald Trump (interviewed in the film), Stone — the ultimate political trickster — would likely say he was just ahead of his time.

LA 92

Few images are seared into the American consciousness like the beating of Rodney King at the hands of four white Los Angeles police officers and the riots after the officers’ acquittal in the spring of 1992. The unrest, sparked by a verdict many viewed as yet another example of judicial indifference to law enforcement’s harassment of Los Angeles’s African American population, lasted for six days. The widespread looting, arson, and assaults were all captured by TV news and broadcast to a shocked nation. By the time the violence was quelled, more than fifty people had lost their lives and over $1 billion dollars in damage had been done to South Central Los Angeles and the surrounding neighborhoods.

Twenty-five years after the verdict, Academy Award®-winning directors Dan Lindsay and TJ Martin (Undefeated) draw on archival news images and unseen footage to craft an in-depth portrait of those riots and the tempestuous relationship between Los Angeles’s African American community and those charged with protecting it.

My Friend Dahmer

Before Jeffrey Dahmer became one of the most notorious serial killers of all time, he was a teenage loner. Conducting grisly experiments in a makeshift backyard lab, Jeff was invisible to most. That is until his increasingly bizarre behavior unexpectedly attracted friends. Based on the cult graphic novel, My Friend Dahmer chronicles the origins of the man. The monster. The high school senior.

Writer/director Marc Meyers adapts graphic novelist (and actual Dahmer classmate) Derf Backderf’s source material with a careful eye, presenting this origin story with a thoughtful approach and drawing remarkable work from his young cast. At the center of the film is a revelatory performance from former Disney® star Ross Lynch as the teenage Jeff, who lends unexpected dimension to his portrayal. Shot on location not just in Dahmer’s hometown, but also in his actual childhood home, the film nails the necessary period details with stunning accuracy. Meyers has crafted a unique biopic, entertaining the audience with a frighteningly compelling narrative while simultaneously presenting a nuanced snapshot of mental illness, the inherent desire for human interaction, and the perils of duplicitous friendship.

Reagan Show

A Republican president takes office at the height of his Hollywood-powered, camera-ready fame. He governs with lenses constantly flashing, and claims that he’s just the public face in front of real policy-makers and dangerous global threats. That’s the story of America’s 40th president, Ronald Reagan. The movie star, known for playing cowboys and gun-toting heroes, took over the White House in 1981 and led the United States against Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s threats of war. Amidst the actual governing, though, Reagan’s presidency set a new standard for video documentation. Cameras followed Reagan’s every move, leading opposing pundits to accuse him of “majoring in public relations” more so than hardline presidential affairs.

Comprised entirely of archival footage taken during those pre-reality-television years, The Reagan Show is a highly entertaining and informative look at how Ronald Reagan redefined the look and feel of what it means to be the POTUS. Co-directors Pacho Velez and Sierra Pettengill’s film uncannily provides a fascinating precedent for the made-for-TV President.

The Clapper

New York native and Tribeca alum (Boulevard, TFF 2014) Dito Montiel heads out west with his hilarious satire, The Clapper, adapted from his novel of the same name. After the death of his wife, Eddie Krumble (Ed Helms) moves to Los Angeles looking for a fresh start and becomes a professional paid audience member for infomercials and other live studio tapings, with his best friend Chris (Tracy Morgan) at his side. Though struggling financially, Eddie seems to have finally caught a break as he forms a bond with comely gas station attendant Judy (Amanda Seyfried). But when Eddie’s many disguises and telegenic enthusiasm catch the eye of a notorious late night talk show host and his producer (Adam Levine), they turn Eddie’s life into the newest national obsession, threatening his budding romance with Judy. Montiel’s latest film is a charming and original romantic comedy for our modern, meme-obsessed moment.

The Family I Had


A family is torn apart by an unthinkable crime: the brutal and seemingly unmotivated murder of a young girl by her teenage brother. At the center of the story is the beleaguered single mother Charity, now mother to a murdered child and the murderer himself- how does she move forward, and what kind of relationship can she forge with her now incarcerated son? Devastatingly honest, The Family I Had performs a family archaeology to understand not only this tragedy itself, but the generations of intra-family violence, mental illness, and unspoken secrets that preceded it. More than just an undeniably compelling true crime story, Katie Green & Carlye Rubin’s The Family I Had is a study in both the power and the limits of family, forgiveness, and filial love.

The Farthest

It asks the most basic questions about human existence, and the most complex. It demonstrates the simplest application of physics, and the most nuanced. The most unscientific aspect of its construction is also its most ethereal: the famed Golden Record. It blazed a trail beyond our solar system, a trail that won’t be followed by anyone in our lifetime. Voyager is a collection of paradoxes, least of all a masterpiece of ingenuity that has already become the first manmade object to journey into interstellar space.

With The Farthest, documentarian Emer Reynolds provides ample evidence that Voyager remains the most audacious project in human history, and one of humankind’s greatest successes. Through a rhapsodic collection of interviews, animations, photographs, and never-before-seen archival footage, she recreates the forty-five years it took the spacecraft to reach its current point in space, and the secrets it uncovered along the way. The enthusiastic men and women who built Voyager and nurtured it along its twelve-billion-mile flight (and counting) complete the film with fascinating behind-the-scenes stories. The Farthest is a joyful celebration of a golden age of American curiosity, exploration, and the will to look up at the sky and ask, “Why not?”

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The Shat in the Hat: Hawk Ripjaw Survives http://movieboozer.com/articles/the-shat-in-the-hat-hawk-ripjaw-survives http://movieboozer.com/articles/the-shat-in-the-hat-hawk-ripjaw-survives#respond Thu, 25 May 2017 17:15:52 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101249 By: Hawk Ripjaw – I remember distinctly, years ago, my mother and sister and I were out to eat at Burger King. Those were the days when my stomach could process fast food without sounding like most of the population of the Denver Aquarium. As we sat there, my mother suggested we all see the …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw –

I remember distinctly, years ago, my mother and sister and I were out to eat at Burger King. Those were the days when my stomach could process fast food without sounding like most of the population of the Denver Aquarium. As we sat there, my mother suggested we all see the Jim Carrey live-action Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! I ended up enjoying it a lot, because I was quite young and I really liked Jim Carrey. That stuck with me and I still kind of admire the movie for its production design even as most of the rest of the movie wasn’t very great. Admittedly, the effort put into the Grinch’s backstory was inspired.

Three years later, a crisp copy of Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat arrived from Netflix, back when we were still a bunch of cavemen ordering discs from Netflix–discs!–and we all sat down to watch it together. There is so much hatred for The Grinch, but all of that bad blood started to boil long before the world would witness what production designer-turned director Bo Welch and Mike Myers hath wrought. And they hath wrought something far more terrible and insane than a simple Jim Carrey movie.

Most noticeably, the movie tries to take a very thin story and stretch it out. Unlike The Grinch, this doesn’t really have any extra story to tell.

Or does it?

I saw The Cat in the Hat once when I was a kid. Then I saw it last month. And then a dozen more times after that. Each time, I thought more deeply. I started to record my thoughts. When I watched it, I felt something. I felt sadness, and anger. I dug deeper into my psyche and that’s when it hit me: beyond the surface level hollowness lies a root cause, something sad and sinister, some dreadful machinations from which only the wails of the suffering can be heard. The Cat in the Hat touts something foul and evil, and I want to know what it is.

Only I can stop it.

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Milk (2008) Movie Review: Honoring an Activist http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/milk-2008-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/milk-2008-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Thu, 25 May 2017 12:15:55 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101252 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – Spoiler alert: This movie is not about a dairy product. A recent trend in the entertainment world is the inclusion of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) characters in television and film. Will & Grace changed the face of television, and might even have a reboot soon! Major figures …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

Spoiler alert: This movie is not about a dairy product.

A recent trend in the entertainment world is the inclusion of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) characters in television and film. Will & Grace changed the face of television, and might even have a reboot soon! Major figures in the LGBT community include Chris Colfer from Glee and Ellen DeGeneres. This film is about Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to a major political office. Gus Van Sant brilliantly directs this Oscar-winning film to reveal that minority figures really do add “color” (pun intended) to the vast majority of society as a whole.

A Toast

This film features a brilliant Oscar-winning screenplay from the openly gay screenwriter Dustin Lance Black. Black was able to take a controversial topic and made it appeal to a wide audience. Sean Penn is probably at his best as the eponymous Harvey Milk because of his ability to become that figure while respecting both the straight and gay communities. Penn not only looked like Harvey Milk physically, but he also honored Milk’s legacy by essentially transforming himself into that person, and inspired viewers who saw his Oscar-winning performance. Josh Brolin also did well in his supporting role as Dan White, but he obviously could not compete against Heath Ledger’s take on the Joker in The Dark Knight (2008) that year. This film is not just about the gay community because it actually celebrates all people regardless of their sexual orientation.

Verdict

Diversity classifies today’s world. There are different races, ethnicities, and characteristics that make up the world today. This film might have taken place in 1978, but the impact of its subject matter still resonates with audiences many decades after those historic events took place. Harvey Milk himself might no longer be with us, but his courage and determination have paved the way to the acceptance of people no matter what traits attempt to define them. Milk is much more than just a history lesson because it is about social change that came about from people challenging the status quo. The fact that radicals revolutionized reality made the world what it is today.

Milk (2008) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever Harvey Milk gives speeches on the soap box.

Take a Drink: whenever there are rainbow flags that appear on-screen

Drink a Shot: for every reference to homosexuality, and cheers to those who honor that community!

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Virtual Pub 210: Alien Covenant, King Arthur, Everything Everything http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-210-alien-covenant-king-arthur-everything http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-210-alien-covenant-king-arthur-everything#respond Thu, 25 May 2017 03:47:00 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101413 Pubcast host Ken is unable to attend for the time being owing to some personal health issues, but Bill Arceneaux and Hawk Ripjaw are carrying the torch. This week’s topics: Everything everything, Alien Covenant and King Arthur.

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Pubcast host Ken is unable to attend for the time being owing to some personal health issues, but Bill Arceneaux and Hawk Ripjaw are carrying the torch. This week’s topics: Everything everything, Alien Covenant and King Arthur.

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Ken’s Movie Diary 2017 – Week 18 http://movieboozer.com/articles/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-18 http://movieboozer.com/articles/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-18#respond Wed, 24 May 2017 17:15:46 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101229 Weekly Update: I severely dislocated my knee, resulting in a long road of recovery ahead.  Still watching movies though. But the volume is sure to decrease, particularly of new releases. Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date- 147. PT109 (1963) When released in theaters, president …

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Weekly Update: I severely dislocated my knee, resulting in a long road of recovery ahead.  Still watching movies though. But the volume is sure to decrease, particularly of new releases.

Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date-

147. PT109 (1963)

When released in theaters, president John F Kennedy was still in office, 5 months away from his assassination.  PT109 was the first dramatic feature made about a sitting president while the president was still in office. It tells the story of the young JFK when he served in the Navy during WWII as commander of a Patrol Boat in the Pacific Theater. Kennedy was decorated for heroism when the boat he was on was split in half by a Japanese destroyer, and he led many of his men to safety by swimming island to island. Cliff Robertson wisely avoids doing a JFK voice impersonation, instead focusing on building his character in other ways. The film is too long, spending too much time setting up the real survival story (perhaps to give the film more battle scenes?), but is ultimately a satisfying genre film. It’s notable for its focus on the Patrol Boat battle groups which may not have gotten the glory of mighty battleships and aircraft carriers, but carried out necessary tasks with equal risk to life and limb.

148. RockNRolla (2008)

Guy Ritchie’s return to form in the Crime-Comedy genre that made him famous. RockNRolla tells the stories of various London Underworld figures, including a big-time real estate conman, a Russian Mobster, a group of small time stick-up men, and a junkie Rock Star whose act of thievery controls their fates. Like Ritchie’s other crime films, RockNRolla is full of humor and sharp plot twists that guide its seemingly disconnected characters to a conclusion where the plots intersect ironically. While the formula is more obvious this time around, the strong character building ends satisfactorily.

149. Solitary (2016)

Red Onion State Prison is Virginia’s most secure facility, a supermax prison where people spend their incarceration in near-total segregation from human contact.  This HBO films documentary follows the everyday lives of several inmates and guards, exploring the facility’s culture and how prisoners stay sane (if they can) in such isolated conditions. An evenhanded film, Solitary makes it clear that these prisoners got here for a reason; that being their antisocial and uncontrollably violent criminal behaviors. The filmmaker makes clear the culture created by these supermax prisons may also be contributing to the inmate population’s dehumanization; treating them like caged animals.

150. Stuart Saves his Family (1995)

Stuart Smalley (Al Franken) is an unlicensed television therapist whose public access “Daily Affirmations” show serves really as more of Smalley’s own personal therapy than for his viewers. Smalley finds out his Aunt has just died, the same day that he loses his Public Access timeslot. He goes home to the funeral and the audience is shown how Stuart got so screwed up to begin with, as his entire extended family is a Psychiatrist’s dream/nightmare.  His brother/father are alcoholics, his sister an overeater, his mother a chronic enabler, and everyone blames Stuart rather than themselves for their problems.  Stuart sets out to find a way to help his family deal with their issues, and perhaps fix his own life in the process. While advertised as a comedy, and based on the Stuart Smalley comedy sketches Al Franken did for Saturday Night Live, this is far from a straight-ahead laughfest. The film has a tragicomic atmosphere that is far more common these days amongst independent filmmakers. It seems unsurprising that this film was not a success on its initial run, but given a modern context is actually quite compelling.

151. Unstoppable (2010)

Thanks to the stupidity of a couple of rail yard workers, a freight train carrying a volatile load of chemicals and fuel is send rolling down a main-line track at high speed and without an engineer. It is up to Chris Pine and Denzel Washington, two train drivers whose train happens to be on the same track, to intercept and stop the out of control engine. A mid 90s action film in style, Unstoppable is Speed minus the villain. With a lot of style and surprisingly well acted, the laughable premise nevertheless makes the film play like an unintentional satire of over the top action films.

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The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/scarlet-pimpernel-1934-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/scarlet-pimpernel-1934-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Wed, 24 May 2017 12:15:25 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101146 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – A lot of films made in the 1930s were very adventurous. Audiences enjoyed swash-buckling stories like Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) and anything that starred Errol Flynn. Sometimes some of the greatest films of a particular era were adaptations of novels filled with excitement. The 1934 version of Orczy’s …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

A lot of films made in the 1930s were very adventurous. Audiences enjoyed swash-buckling stories like Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) and anything that starred Errol Flynn. Sometimes some of the greatest films of a particular era were adaptations of novels filled with excitement. The 1934 version of Orczy’s The Scarlet Pimpernel was much more than a film set in the French Revolution because it captures the chaos and confusion of one of the most turbulent times in European history.

A Toast

This film features the diversity of Leslie Howard’s acting range. He does well as the main character within an adaptation of a famous literary classic. He might act like a know-it-all and a “wise guy,” but he actually plays that role really well while remaining faithful to the source material. Another great feature is the editing, because practically every minute of this film was shot meaningfully without dragging the film down. It is hard to believe that so much could happen in just 97 minutes! Because of its well-paced nature, this film really is enjoyable from beginning to end.

Verdict

Writers and filmmakers have been fascinated with French history, which includes the French Revolution. Another famous example is Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities. The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934) might not have received acknowledgement from the Academy, but it is still a great adventure into the world of French history and literature.

The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever the characters use guillotines

Take a Drink: every time Leslie Howard acts like a “wise guy”

Drink a Shot: whenever the characters recite the famous “Scarlet Pimpernel” poem

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Everything, Everything (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/everything-everything-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/everything-everything-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Tue, 23 May 2017 12:15:37 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101362 By: Hawk Ripjaw (Four Beers) – Maddie (Amandla Stenberg) has a very rare case of SCID (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency), which in Hollywood means you need to live in an airlocked house where everything is irradiated to remove contamination and you can never, ever go outside. In real life, it means that you’re fucking dead well …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw (Four Beers) –

Maddie (Amandla Stenberg) has a very rare case of SCID (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency), which in Hollywood means you need to live in an airlocked house where everything is irradiated to remove contamination and you can never, ever go outside. In real life, it means that you’re fucking dead well before age 18 unless you get a bone marrow transplant, which could also kill you. Of course, the movie has a love interest, so it goes for Door A and lets Maddie live in her sterile prison, where she exchanges text messages and longing looks with new boy-next-door Olly (Nick Robinson) and his conveniently-located bedroom window. Despite the wishes and fears of her mother (Anika Noni Rose) and nurse Carla (Ana de la Reguera), Maddie finds a way out and finds a way to be with Olly. But will true love conquer her sickness?

I can’t believe I just wrote that.

A Toast

Probably the biggest surprise of Everything, Everything is how earnest it is. The lighting,  cinematography, and music feel bright and alive, and there is a genuine feeling that the filmmakers have a connection to the story and characters. It’s a nice Stenberg and Robinson also have very strong chemistry as the love interests. The emote and interact in realistic ways, and there’s a genuine feeling of affection between them. 

Maddie and Olly text–a lot. While Everything, Everything begins with the simple device of showing the text exchanges overlaid on the picture, director Stella Meghie quickly starts to experiment with ways to shake things up, such as dropping both characters into a diner of budding architect Maddie’s design, sitting across a table and verbally exchanging texts. It’s a cool, unconventional way to connect the characters when they can only converse indirectly, and the movie really comes alive during these creative and occasionally eccentric segments.

Beer Two

Earnestness, however, doesn’t give you much mileage without a strong script. Everything, Everything does not have a strong script, and as a result suffers in several fundamental places; for starters, it’s often very boring, as the events and stakes of the story fail to offer anything of genuine interest. The dialogue is pieced together from fortune cookie vignettes and romantic Tumblr verses, never coming together like anything that feels remotely realistic. It’s a fantasy romance, and it works against the earnest, realistic affection between the characters that Stenberg and Robinson work so hard to make effective.

Beer Three

Further owing to the slight clumsiness of the script is the uneven internal logic of the movie itself. Most notably, much is made of the great lengths taken to protect Maddie, even restricting what can be brought into the house for fear of contamination. Practically in the next scene, nurse Carla brings a book into the house for Maddie. Later on, Maddie signs up for a credit card, and uses it to purchase plane tickets, and we are expected to ignore the fact that a girl who has been confined in the same house for 17 years has identification to board a plane in 2017. A lot of the problems here come directly from elements concerning Maddie’s condition, because their ramshackle logic consistently endangers the momentum of the love story with glaringly obvious passes at misery porn and that weirdly trendy Hollywood subgenre of attractive teenagers having terminal illnesses.

Beer Four

In the last act, the movie delivers a “twist” that you can almost definitely guess from watching the trailer, and more than likely guess from hearing a synopsis. It’s clumsily handled and dangerously tone deaf, and it derails the entire movie in a way that it never fully recovers. Again, it suggests the movie’s own lack of confidence in the strength of the romance side of the film when it so hastily drags a sudden turn of events on the illness side. As a result, they don’t work well together.

Verdict

There are far worse YA adaptations and even teen romances out there, but there are better ones as well. Everything, Everything sits around the middle of the pack, with pleasant visuals and score clashing with uneven pacing and a clumsy script. At the end of the day, it’s inoffensive, and will probably satisfy the core demographic (which doesn’t include me, at all) but there’s not much reason to see it otherwise.

Everything, Everything (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for every time Maddie and Olly start texting.

Do a Shot: for every fantasy sequence.

Take a Drink: every time mom says/does something shitty.

Do a Shot: for every licensed song.

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365 Days of Movies- Henry J. Fromage Edition- Week 20 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-20 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-20#respond Mon, 22 May 2017 17:15:35 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101258 By: Henry J. Fromage – It was a pretty busy and therefore movie-lite week.  I’ll add a bonus TV series shout-out, since I’ve been tending towards shorter, more digestible fare lately. 127. Fist Fight Pure Hollywood studio-comedy pap that fits the purpose of watching it perfectly fine.  This is a comedy in the Horrible Bosses-vein, like the …

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By: Henry J. Fromage –

It was a pretty busy and therefore movie-lite week.  I’ll add a bonus TV series shout-out, since I’ve been tending towards shorter, more digestible fare lately.

127. Fist Fight

Pure Hollywood studio-comedy pap that fits the purpose of watching it perfectly fine.  This is a comedy in the Horrible Bosses-vein, like the majority of studio comedies are these days, meaning it earns its R-rating with a bunch of entirely superfluous f-bombs and very little else daring or original enough to warrant it any other way.  It also earns just enough laughs to justify a watch if you know what you’re getting into, via a committed cast of comic ringers in supporting roles like Jillian Bell and Tracy Morgan, as is typical in these sorts of films.

128. Alien: Covenant

This was much more of a direct sequel to Prometheus than I was expecting or the marketing divulged, and in many ways is all about the best character of that film, David, as the always ill-fated crew of the Covenant lands on a hospitable-looking planet when their ship takes heavy damage seven years away from their intended colony planet destination and finds the uncanny android there.  A Frankenstein tale befitting the Gothic sensibilities of co-writer John Logan and the aesthetic predilections of Ridley Scott ensues, which does have its pleasures, even if it doesn’t cohere all that well with the obligatory and oversold Xenomorph horror/action setpieces.  I’d say if you liked Prometheus, you’ll find something to appreciate here, although my wife would heartily disagree.

129. 20 Million Miles to Earth

So, I only caught the last 75% or so of this, but dammit, I’m counting it.  Ray Harryhausen devised a way to pay for his Italian vacation by setting his latest creature feature in Rome, in which a Venusian monster comes to Earth and starts to grow unchecked in its more hospitable conditions, then the Army pits a zoo elephant against it for some reason.  There’s something about vintage Harryhausen stop-motion animation that just plain works as spectacle, and any creature feature fan will find much to like here.

Master of None

Who would’ve seen a season of fairly immaculate Italian neo-realist-inspired television coming from Tom Haverford?  And yet, here we have it, 10 episodes of loosely related vignettes, some only barely related to Ansari’s character’s loves and losses, that will go down as some of the best TV of the year.  It’s only too bad that so much of the season does revolve around Ansari’s relationship with his Italian belle, as these parts feel the weakest and least grounded in reality in some ways- but not nearly enough to ding the show all that much.  Here’s hoping he’ll be back for more, although who knows when that will be.

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Alien: Covenant (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/alien-covenant-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/alien-covenant-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Mon, 22 May 2017 12:15:42 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101296 By: Reel 127 (Two Beers) – Alien has got to be the most unintentionally symbolic franchise of all time. No matter what happens, no matter how much time passes, it seems the franchise can’t be killed for good, just like the aliens in them. However, things have turned back to the positive side with the …

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By: Reel 127 (Two Beers) –

Alien has got to be the most unintentionally symbolic franchise of all time. No matter what happens, no matter how much time passes, it seems the franchise can’t be killed for good, just like the aliens in them. However, things have turned back to the positive side with the latest film. Alien: Covenant is another prequel to Alien; a group of settlers accidentally come out of hyper sleep to discover a closer planet they could inhabit. Once there they quickly become marooned when the deadly xenomorphs return.

A Toast

The writing stands out as the strongest part of Alien: Covenant. The story and pacing work well with the characters. Each event has an effect and progression that feels natural. Nothing is forced so that the story can reach a point the filmmakers want, rather than what should logically happen. The cast of this movie was excellent (of the characters who mattered). Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterson, Billy Crudup, and even Danny McBride not only gave life to their characters, but the characters were well-written and developed. Making it actually matter if they live or die.

I will say though that I have no idea
why James Franco is in this movie.
Literally everyone else had more screen time than him.

Alien: Covenant is one of those few franchise films that can stand on its own. If you watched this one before any other film in the series you can still understand what is happening. The film is part of the prequel series that takes place before Alien. This one picks up after the events of Prometheus. Michael Fassbender reprises his character, David, from Prometheus and plays a new android named Walter. There is a really well-shot scene where the two of them are interacting and no cuts are used. It’s almost worth seeing the movie for just this scene.

Beer Two

The cinematography could have been better. Alien: Covenant uses a blend of handheld filming as well as mounted filming. For the most part it works, but one too many times the camera was shaking too much and for no reason. As if they decided not enough was happening in the shot so moving the camera around would make it better.

The cast is a little too large for this film. Despite the full crew in Alien, you could still learn everyone’s name and understand them before they were killed off. I honestly lost track of how many randos died in this movie. After they only took the time to develop like five of the characters I was thinking, “Oh, so everyone else is alien fodder.”

Marketing research suggests audiences prefer
people being ripped open even if they
have zero character development prior.

With Alien, the film was much more of a horror film with its pacing. With Aliens, the film was clearly an action flick. Alien: Covenant tries to be both; at times it can be done really well, and other times it really doesn’t work. The build up to the first alien being born was a really good horror sequence with the host’s body being torn from the inside out and the chaos ensuing thereafter. Then with a second alien born not long after they transition into an action sequence. This is one of the times it really works. The climax unfortunately can’t seem to balance this. It keeps trying to act like the ending to Alien with the buildup of anticipation of trying to kill the last alien, but then they make it a huge spectacle like Aliens. This doesn’t make or break the movie, but it certainly is distracting enough to take you out of the scenes where it happens.

Verdict

Despite its flaws, Alien: Covenant is a great addition to the Alien franchise. There are times where you might roll your eyes at what is happening. I certainly got a laugh at the characters using GoPros despite it being the future. The effects are good enough that a trip to the theater to experience them is justified. If you are only going to see so many films from a franchise this summer, make this one of them.

God, this is going to be a long summer.

Alien: Covenant (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time an alien claws it way out of somebody’s body.

Take a Drink: every time a character dies and you think, “Who was that?”

Take a Drink: every time someone slips on blood.

Do a Shot: every time James Franco speaks (you’ll be surprised how rare that is).

Do a Shot: every time they show that decapitated head in the water.

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Virtual Pub 191: Office Christmas Party, Tickled, Incarnate http://movieboozer.com/podcast/virtual-pub-191-office-christmas-party-tickled-incarnate http://movieboozer.com/podcast/virtual-pub-191-office-christmas-party-tickled-incarnate#respond Sun, 21 May 2017 20:53:49 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101339 The post Virtual Pub 191: Office Christmas Party, Tickled, Incarnate appeared first on MovieBoozer.

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Virtual Pub 190: Kirk Douglas turns 100, The Red Turtle http://movieboozer.com/podcast/virtual-pub-190-kirk-douglas-turns-100-red-turtle-others http://movieboozer.com/podcast/virtual-pub-190-kirk-douglas-turns-100-red-turtle-others#respond Sun, 21 May 2017 20:51:55 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=97847 This week the movieboozer team discusses the now 100 year old Kirk Douglas and his life and career, as well as a potential Oscar nominee: animated feature  The Red Turtle.

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This week the movieboozer team discusses the now 100 year old Kirk Douglas and his life and career, as well as a potential Oscar nominee: animated feature  The Red Turtle.

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Virtual Pub #188: Allied http://movieboozer.com/podcast/virtual-pub-188-allied http://movieboozer.com/podcast/virtual-pub-188-allied#respond Sun, 21 May 2017 20:49:34 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101334 The post Virtual Pub #188: Allied appeared first on MovieBoozer.

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Virtual Pub #187: Arrival http://movieboozer.com/podcast/virtual-pub-187-arrival http://movieboozer.com/podcast/virtual-pub-187-arrival#respond Sun, 21 May 2017 20:42:45 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=97483 This week the movieboozer team talks about The Arrival, the 1996 sci-fi thriller film starring Charlie Sheen.  Oh and some other movie that just came out…

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This week the movieboozer team talks about The Arrival, the 1996 sci-fi thriller film starring Charlie Sheen.  Oh and some other movie that just came out…

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Shakespeare in Love (1998) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/shakespeare-love-1998-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/shakespeare-love-1998-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sun, 21 May 2017 17:15:06 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101007 By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) – This is one of the most controversial Best Picture winners. In one way, this film is a triumph because it won seven Academy Awards, and captures the essence of Shakespeare’s impact on the world with his profound plays. However, many would argue that this is one of the most …

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By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –

This is one of the most controversial Best Picture winners. In one way, this film is a triumph because it won seven Academy Awards, and captures the essence of Shakespeare’s impact on the world with his profound plays. However, many would argue that this is one of the most overrated movies ever made. Still, hopeless romantics adore Shakespeare in Love (1998) because of its ability to blend Shakespearean drama with romantic and comedic elements. The overall merit of this film, though, is still very subjective.

A Toast

Since this is a period piece, the film obviously looks very beautiful. The production designers brought to life the Shakespearean Globe Theater, and the film looks as if viewers are witnessing life in sixteenth century England when Shakespeare was still alive. The film also contains very clever references to Shakespeare’s plays, such as the skull from Hamlet. Since this is a romantic comedy, the film obviously contains references to Shakespeare’s greatest romance, Romeo and Juliet. Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman won the Golden Globe and the Oscar for their screenplay that is a clever re-imagining of that popular Shakespeare play. Stoppard also wrote Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, which looks at Hamlet through the eyes of those two minor characters, so obviously Stoppard is well-versed in Shakespearean drama.

Beer Two

The film might have the style and grace of a Shakespeare play, but the acting awards and accolades that this film received leave much to be desired. It is ironic that a film about show business would contain two of the worst Academy Award victories of all time. The first mediocre performance is Judi Dench’s role as Elizabeth I. Dench won the Oscar for one of the shortest performances ever captured on film, and she did not even do much in order to win that award. A possible reason for this is because the Academy tends to favor portrayals of royalty, so maybe that is why they awarded Dench for her eight-minute performance.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s leading role as Viola De Lesseps is arguably the worst Oscar-winning performance. Her victory meant that Cate Blanchett lost the Oscar for a much more stunning interpretation of Elizabeth I in Elizabeth (1998). Paltrow’s acceptance speech at the Academy Awards is also painful to watch because of her hysterical sobbing while feeling undeserving in the presence of Meryl Streep. Some might even say that Streep should have received her third Oscar for One True Thing (1998). The Academy might have only given this film all of its Oscars because of Harvey Weinstein’s heavy campaigning.

Verdict

1998 was one of the most interesting years in the history of the Academy Awards. That is because all five of the Best Picture nominees dealt with European history. Elizabeth and Shakespeare in Love are set in Elizabethan England, while Saving Private Ryan, The Thin Red Line, and Life is Beautiful all take place during World War II. Many critics still argue that Saving Private Ryan is a much better film than Shakespeare in Love. However, all is fair in love and war when it comes to what audiences believe to be the best film in any particular year.

Shakespeare in Love (1998) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: during every reference to Shakespeare’s plays outside of Romeo and Juliet

Take a Drink: whenever the characters speak lines from Romeo and Juliet

Drink a Shot: every time there is a passionate and romantic scene

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Trailer Reviews: Alien: Covenant, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul, & Everything, Everything http://movieboozer.com/articles/movie-trailer-reviews/trailer-reviews-alien-covenant-diary-of-a-wimpy-kid-the-long-haul-everything-everything http://movieboozer.com/articles/movie-trailer-reviews/trailer-reviews-alien-covenant-diary-of-a-wimpy-kid-the-long-haul-everything-everything#respond Sun, 21 May 2017 12:15:18 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101247 By: Hawk Ripjaw – There is nothing funny about this week. Alien: Covenant Oh boy, a sequel to Prometheus! How thrilling! Just what we all wanted! Given that Prometheus was a nice-looking, occasionally creepy two-hour cock-block, there’s little reason for me to want to have much hope for the next story, especially since Ridley Scott …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw –

There is nothing funny about this week.

Alien: Covenant

Oh boy, a sequel to Prometheus! How thrilling! Just what we all wanted! Given that Prometheus was a nice-looking, occasionally creepy two-hour cock-block, there’s little reason for me to want to have much hope for the next story, especially since Ridley Scott has like five more of these planned. What has me most curious is the screenplay: Damon Lindelof and his meandering ass is not involved with Covenant. John Logan, who has written some good stuff (Rango, Skyfall, Coriolanus) and some bad (The Time Machine, Star Trek: Nemesis) is joined by Dante Harper, who…. is the production manager on a bunch of documentaries. The story is by the screenwriter of Logan (yay!) and of Green Lantern (fuck!), so really this movie’s quality is anyone’s guess. I’m not going to get my hopes up.

Beer Prediction

And the line “Yeah, but this one has xenomorphs” isn’t an acceptable free pass for this to be loved.

 

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul

Oh, my sweet hell, this looks horrible. I hate this trailer. I loathe it. This is one of the most infuriating, horrible, irritatingly-cut, unfunny, depressing, all-is-lost pieces of bullshit I’ve ever seen. This trailer looks like something I’d watch in the trailers of a videocassette for some B-grade Disney movie I checked out from the church library. Every time I see this fucking trailer, I have to look away. It seems specifically engineered to irritate, with characters specifically terrible in their own terrible ways, in a family film that appeals to none of the family. I don’t even want to think about this movie. It’s just wasted energy. I don’t know what the budget was for this, but whatever it was, that money could have been used for Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy 3, but instead we’re getting a Hellboy reboot. And they say justice isn’t dead. Do they say that? Because apparently it is. 

Beer Prediction

I’m not fucking with you. This trailer makes my skin crawl.

 

Everything, Everything

I guess the world just fucking hates me because the only way this week can get worse is with the appearance of a movie that looks like the bastard child of Bubble Boy and The Space Between Us, except with a lot more depression and texting, and that stupid thing where you put your hands on some glass and the person on the other side also puts their hand on it so it’s like they’re touching each other through the glass. Seriously, have you ever seen that shit in real life? I’d feel like a damned idiot if someone caught me doing that. Anyway, I just want to get this over with. 

Beer Prediction

I’m reviewing this over the weekend. I expect to not enjoy my weekend. At least I’m not reviewing Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

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A Beautiful Mind (2001) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/beautiful-mind-2001-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/beautiful-mind-2001-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sat, 20 May 2017 12:15:16 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101080 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – Films have depicted mental illness ever since Olivia de Havilland starred in The Snake Pit (1948). After that, there have been films like The Three Faces of Eve (1957), which dealt with Multiple Personality Disorder, and Silver Linings Playbook (2012), starring Jennifer Lawrence. Suffering from a mental disorder might …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

Films have depicted mental illness ever since Olivia de Havilland starred in The Snake Pit (1948). After that, there have been films like The Three Faces of Eve (1957), which dealt with Multiple Personality Disorder, and Silver Linings Playbook (2012), starring Jennifer Lawrence. Suffering from a mental disorder might be frightening, but there is still a sense of intangible beauty associated with going against the norm. John Nash definitely defied convention with his contributions to math and economics even though he suffered from schizophrenia. Ron Howard masterfully adapts A Beautiful Mind into what eventually became the Best Picture winner for 2001.

A Toast

This film features an Oscar-winning performance from Jennifer Connelly, a brilliantly adapted screenplay by Akiva Goldsmith, and what is perhaps Ron Howard’s greatest achievement as a director. It is a shame that Russell Crowe did not win the Oscar for playing John Nash, but he still excelled in his portrayal of Nash, who was actually still alive when this film was released in 2001. Nash’s legacy lives on in this film even after his death in 2015.

The adjective “beautiful” describes this film not because it has the glamour of a stylish Hollywood musical, like Moulin Rouge! (2001), but because it reveals the universal fact that beauty exists everywhere. The notion that a tortured soul can have a brilliant mind challenges generally accepted views on beauty, and states that all audiences can interpret what they view as beautiful. A Beautiful Mind manages to take controversial subject matter, and create a work of art.

Verdict

A Beautiful Mind is much more than just a Best Picture winner. It combines math and science with art by creating a very unique juxtaposition between all three of those abstract concepts. The usage of mathematical equations and scientific knowledge in beautiful ways reveal the fundamental fact that anything can be artistic. Such a combination would not appear again in film until the release of The Theory of Everything in 2014. John Nash might be gone, but his contributions to the world will never be forgotten, and this film celebrates his beautiful mind.

A Beautiful Mind (2001) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever there are math equations on chalkboards

Take a Drink: whenever John Nash does something anti-social

Drink a Shot: during every scene involving schizophrenia, mental illness, and hallucinations

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Wuthering Heights (1939) Movie Review: Classic Melodrama http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/wuthering-heights-1939-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/wuthering-heights-1939-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Fri, 19 May 2017 12:15:21 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101129 By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) – The Brontë sisters are amongst the finest writers in literary history. Charlotte Brontë had Jane Eyre, Anne Brontë did Agnes Grey, and Emily Brontë wrote only one novel. In spite of Emily’s tragic death at a relatively young age, her only novel remains one of the most timeless tales …

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By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –

The Brontë sisters are amongst the finest writers in literary history. Charlotte Brontë had Jane Eyre, Anne Brontë did Agnes Grey, and Emily Brontë wrote only one novel. In spite of Emily’s tragic death at a relatively young age, her only novel remains one of the most timeless tales of all time. Samuel Goldwyn saw the aesthetic qualities of Emily Brontë’s passionate love story, which prompted him to produce the 1939 melodramatic classic Wuthering Heights.

A Toast

This film features one of Laurence Olivier’s greatest performances as Heathcliff. Merle Oberon also does well as Catherine Earnshaw even though Vivien Leigh won the Academy Award for playing the tempestuous Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind. This film features some of the finest acting that was done during the Golden Age of Hollywood. In fact, Geraldine Fitzgerald received her only nomination for playing Isabella. Indeed, great performances did this novel justice as Olivier and Oberon brought Emily Brontë’s wildly romantic couple to the silver screen.

Beer Two

In spite of the strong chemistry between the two lovers, this adaptation did not exactly honor the literary qualities of Emily Brontë’s novel. That is because the film only features about half of the original source material. The basic love story within the film is also very cliché and overly dramatic because it lacks the subtle nuances within the relationship between Catherine and Heathcliff that made their love story endure in the book. This film is a classic example of how it is sometimes hard for Hollywood to produce a film version of a beloved literary classic. Nevertheless, the film still retains the romantic qualities of the famous story even though it is probably too romantic.

Verdict

Hollywood produced Wuthering Heights in 1939, which is perhaps the most iconic year in cinematic history. That year included classics like The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind. Even though Gone with the Wind acquired most of the Academy Awards at that time, Wuthering Heights fortunately received a Best Picture nomination. It might not be as celebrated as the Best Picture winner, and it might not have the family-friendly appeal of The Wizard of Oz, but Wuthering Heights will always remind audiences of the passionate tale of Catherine and Heathcliff, which will always remain one of the greatest romances of all time.

Wuthering Heights (1939) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever there are scenes in the moors

Take a Drink: during every romantic and melodramatic moment

Drink a Shot: whenever you need Kleenex while watching this dramatic love story unfold

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Ken’s Movie Diary 2017 – Week 17 http://movieboozer.com/articles/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-17 http://movieboozer.com/articles/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-17#respond Thu, 18 May 2017 17:15:11 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101089 Weekly Update: This week got weird with some TV movies, some Clint Eastwood, and some David Cronenberg movies. Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date- 138. The Sacketts (1979) This made for TV adaptation of the Louis L’Amour stories follows three brothers as their …

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Weekly Update: This week got weird with some TV movies, some Clint Eastwood, and some David Cronenberg movies.

Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date-

138. The Sacketts (1979)

This made for TV adaptation of the Louis L’Amour stories follows three brothers as their lives intersect in the Wild West. Tom Selleck, Sam Elliott, & Jeff Osterhage are the Sackett brothers, each with their own code of ethics that is tested as they experience choices along the way. Movie fans will immediately recognize the numerous character actors that populate this solid film including Glenn Ford, Ben Johnson, John Vernon, Jack Elam, Slim Pickens, and others.

139. Videodrome (1983)

David Cronenberg’s technology horror thriller follows a TV producer (James Woods) as he discovers Videodrome; a rogue signal that presents brutal S&M and murder as a Television program. As the producer digs deeper into Videodrome, he begins to experience increasingly violent hallucinations, and becomes suspicious of a larger conspiracy.

140. The Beguiled (1971)

Soon to be remade by Sofia Coppola, this Clint Eastwood-led film concerns a Union Army Corporal who stumbles wounded into the hands of the women of an all-girls boarding school. The headmistress takes him in, nursing him back to health while hiding him from capture.  Soon the repressed sexuality of the young women and girls in the school comes alive, and the girls begin to fight over his company. And for his part, the soldier encourages them, at least at first…

141. Coogan’s Bluff (1968)

Ostensibly this film’s concept is about a cowboy cop from New Mexico who becomes a fish out of water on the streets of New York in pursuit of a criminal. After a promising start, the movie bogs down, particularly when the criminal he is chasing proves to be a comical parody of a hippie.  Let this one be.

142. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

A solid Marvel sequel, concentrating even more heavily on humor than the first Guardians film. Director James Gunn manages to expand on character and tell a different kind of story while still following the Marvel mantle to the T.  My only major issue was that the action sequences are a bit overblown this time around, most particularly when it comes to physics.  It seriously hampers the feeling that there are any serious threats when nothing seems to legitimately endanger the main characters. Still, this is exactly the level of quality Marvel has come to stand for.

143. Maps to the Stars (2014)

This dark film follows a handful of vapid celebrities as they go about their vapid lives being vapid. Through Cronenberg’s sharply satiric eye, and some strong screenwriting, the film manages to be a brilliant satire on how Hollywood’s excesses color our culture with empty aspirations. The film works mostly through the strength of its ink-black humor, which keeps the film’s themes feeling fresh without being too preachy.

144. Scanners (1981)

One of David Cronenberg’s most lauded sci-fi horror films is about a group of psychics who have the power to control people, and even kill with their minds. The fantastic concept is undercut by glacial pacing and a lead actor whose performance and line delivery is a notch or two more compelling than a block of cement.

145. Shivers (1975)

This sexploitation-horror film was David Cronenberg’s directorial debut. When a scientist’s experiment goes awry, slug-parasites attack an isolated luxury apartment complex, and everyone the slug-creatures attack becomes a rapist who infects their targets with more parasites. Soon the entire complex is bursting at the seams with a parasite-led orgy of sex and violence.

146. Blow (2001)

Johnny Depp plays George Jung, a real-live pioneer of the illegal cocaine trade. Almost single-handedly responsible for the spread of cocaine across the United States, Jung was the middle-man who brokered the trade between US-based dealers and the Colombian cartels. Director Ted Demme gives the film a presentation reminiscent of Goodfellas, though not quite as stylish. Fans of stories of the rise and fall of a criminal empire will no doubt enjoy this film.

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Lowriders (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/lowriders-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/lowriders-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Thu, 18 May 2017 12:15:32 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101189 By: Movie Snurb (Two Beers) – Lowriders follows the story of Danny (Gabriel Chavarria), a twenty something graffiti artist who thinks that trying to make money on your art is a foreign concept; he’d rather put up his art for free around Los Angeles.  Miguel (Demian Bichir) is his father who loves everything lowriders. He …

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By: Movie Snurb (Two Beers) –

Lowriders follows the story of Danny (Gabriel Chavarria), a twenty something graffiti artist who thinks that trying to make money on your art is a foreign concept; he’d rather put up his art for free around Los Angeles.  Miguel (Demian Bichir) is his father who loves everything lowriders. He has an auto body shop where he is building his prized possession “Green Poison” to enter in the big Lowrider competition where the winner receives 10,000 dollars and is revered as a king in the lowrider world. Danny’s brother Francisco AKA “Ghost” (Theo Rossi) just got out of prison and he hates his father Miguel. He attempts to steer Danny away from their father and beat him in the big lowrider competition. It’s a stirring family drama interwoven in lowrider culture.

A Toast

The acting is stellar in this drama from everyone from Bichir, to Chavarria, to Danny’s girlfriend Lorelai (Melissa Benoist, Supergirl). She becomes almost unrecognizable in this role as the artist hipster girlfriend. She helps Danny see that he can still be a serious artist and make money. Eva Longoria plays Miguel’s wife and she is actually outshined in this film by Damien Bichir and Theo Rossi. Rossi is the true star of this film. He is far different than his character Juice in Sons of Anarchy. In here he is much more frightening, he has a commanding presence on screen. He’s able to convey that the people around him respect him, but there is a little fear with that respect. Even in his scenes with Bichir he demands the camera and the audience’s attention. He could be a serious talent for years to come.

This is Ricaro de Montreuil’s first English film. I think he does a brilliant job with his first English film. You can tell he has talent and knows how to use it. You can also tell Montreuil has a deep passion for lowriders, and that detail and knowledge is what makes this film rise above mediocrity. I’d like to take a moment to thank Hollywood for giving this to an appropriate director who knows the material instead of using the lowrider culture as a backdrop to just mask the fact that this is a drama we’ve seen before. Montreuil uses his knowledge and passion to intertwine the lowrider culture into the story. You can really tell this love for the cars during the scenes of the meet ups. At times the cars are the most beautiful thing in this film, one that includes Melissa Benoist, Eva Longoria, and Theo Rossi.

The pacing is genius; some might say that the film feels slow, but I believe that is intended. Ricardo de Montreuil paces the film as if we’re riding in a low-riding Chevy Impala. The film burns with a slow pace, but it never seems to drag. Montreuil uses brilliant storytelling, music, and gorgeous cars to move the film along at the perfect pace.

Beer Two

At times the writing can become cheesy. In this film it feels like we’ve definitely been here before and we know what’s coming along with the cheesy dialogue. In lesser actors’ hands this film would crumble like blue cheese, but fortunately this film has more than capable actors all across the board which prevents this disaster.

Verdict

Though Lowrider treads in familiar water, the film overall is enjoyable. Snatched and King Arthur: Legend of the Sword aren’t really worth your time and money. I suggest taking a chance on learning about a culture that many of us know little or nothing about. I guarantee you’ll enjoy the slow and low ride.

Lowriders (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time you see a gorgeous lowrider

Take a Drink: every time you see a lowrider hit the switches and pop in the air

Do a Shot: whenever there is a mention of their mother Marisol

Do a Shot: every time Danny Spray paints something

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The 5 Most Intense Gambling Scenes http://movieboozer.com/articles/5-intense-gambling-scenes http://movieboozer.com/articles/5-intense-gambling-scenes#respond Wed, 17 May 2017 17:15:48 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101224 The five most intense gambling scenes are worth watching over and over again. People can do this so much more easily in the age of online video streaming. These scenes are typically part of movies that have a lot of gambling scenes. However, there are also great gambling scenes worth watching in the case of …

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The five most intense gambling scenes are worth watching over and over again. People can do this so much more easily in the age of online video streaming. These scenes are typically part of movies that have a lot of gambling scenes. However, there are also great gambling scenes worth watching in the case of movies that are not necessarily purely gambling movies. Gambling is very cinematic and it has a huge role to play in a lot of films and film franchises.

1: Casino Royale

The poker scene in Casino Royale is one of the best modern examples of an intense poker scene. Given the buildup and the plot relevance of this scene, it seems very dramatic. This film was intentionally supposed to be grittier and more realistic than many James Bond movies. However, this scene would not look out of place in a much more heavily dramatized Hollywood spectacle.

2: Cool Hand Luke

For the fans of classic cinema, it’s hard to beat the gambling scene from Cool Hand Luke. It’s hard to beat Paul Newman’s poker face at the best of times in particular. While this film is clearly a product of its time, many of its scenes do hold up today, especially the gambling scene. This is one of the defining scenes of the movie. People who see it out of context can still usually appreciate it in many cases as well, which makes the scene even more special.

3: Goodfellas

Almost every scene in the film Goodfellas is incredibly intense given the subject matter, and the famous gambling scene is no exception. Almost any scene with character actor Joe Pesci is going to have a lot of intensity to it as a matter of course. This is a scene that shows the versatility of gambling scenes in the first place, while also putting them into an effective context.

4: Ocean’s Eleven

There’s a poker scene in the beginning of the movie in the classic modern movie Ocean’s Eleven. It’s hard to go wrong with actors as charismatic as George Clooney and Brad Pitt in the first place, and these two actors truly give it everything that they have in this scene. People might be thinking of a scene like this when they start out with a great casino bonus at Red Flush. Red Flush Online Casino games can seem even cooler when people are thinking about Brad Pitt and George Clooney the whole time.

5: Rounders

Of course, any list that covers some of the most intense gambling scenes of all time has to cover scenes from the ultimate gambling movie, which is Rounders. Many of the gambling scenes from Rounders could actually make a list like this. In terms of sheer intensity, it really is hard to beat a scene like the one where Matt Damon’s character goes up against John Malkovich’s character in a game of poker. Given the nature of the stakes and the manner in which the movie sets up this scene, audiences who have watched this movie since the late 1990s have been spellbound throughout this entire scene.

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King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/king-arthur-legend-of-the-sword-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/king-arthur-legend-of-the-sword-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#comments Wed, 17 May 2017 12:15:17 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=101204 By: Hawk Ripjaw (Four Beers) – King Arthur: Legend of the Sword opens with an evil mage mind-controlling giant rampaging elephants to demolish the kingdom of King Uther (Eric Bana). Because he possesses the sword of Excalibur, Uther easily defeats the mage, and saves the kingdom. Meanwhile, Uther’s jealous brother Vortigern (Jude Law) conspires with …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw (Four Beers) –

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword opens with an evil mage mind-controlling giant rampaging elephants to demolish the kingdom of King Uther (Eric Bana). Because he possesses the sword of Excalibur, Uther easily defeats the mage, and saves the kingdom. Meanwhile, Uther’s jealous brother Vortigern (Jude Law) conspires with bloodthirsty, wish-granting octopus ladies to take the throne late at night by force. Concerned only for the safety of his family, Uther gets his wife and his son, Arthur, to the boat to escape. Suddenly, a creature that looks like Shao Khan on fire throws a spear and murders his mother (Happy Mother’s Day!) and proceeds to defeat his father in a duel. The boat drifts away with the surprise-orphaned Arthur aboard.

Years later, Arthur (Charlie Hunnam), lives life on the streets of Londinium, eventually getting arrested and shipped out to where Excalibur is encased in stone. Arthur successfully removes the sword, which fulfills the prophecy and frightens Vortigern to attempt to publicly execute Arthur. This is thwarted by Bedivere (Djimon Hounsou), a mage (Astrid Berges-Frisbey), Bill (Aidan Gillen), and Percival (Craig McGinlay), who help Arthur escape to their hideout. There, they explain that Arthur is the chosen one to defeat Vortigern, whose lust for power and influence surpasses that of the Dark Lord Sauron, and that only Arthur can save the kingdom. Since this is the first of a six-movie series, Arthur accepts the challenge (eventually), and then a whole bunch of other really trippy stuff happens.

A Toast