MovieBoozer http://movieboozer.com Movies Measured by the Pint! Sun, 19 Nov 2017 18:15:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 365 Days of Movies- Henry J. Fromage Edition- Week 44 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-44 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-44#respond Sun, 19 Nov 2017 18:15:33 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104363 By: Henry J. Fromage – Another limited but random week of movie watching, focused on good not great new releases. 222. Wonderstruck The newest from master Todd Haynes, with his usual distinguished film crew including Oscar-nominees DP Ed Lachman and Composer Carter Burwell, landed with a whimper at Cannes earlier this year, and now we …

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By: Henry J. Fromage –

Another limited but random week of movie watching, focused on good not great new releases.

222. Wonderstruck

The newest from master Todd Haynes, with his usual distinguished film crew including Oscar-nominees DP Ed Lachman and Composer Carter Burwell, landed with a whimper at Cannes earlier this year, and now we get to see why.  He’s adapted a YA book from Brian Selznick, who also wrote the book adapted by Martin Scorcese with Hugo, and to an even greater degree than that one, feels like a bit of a waste of its filmmaking crew’s copious talents.  Neither are awful films, mind you, but neither exactly display their directors’ main talents.  Wonderstruck is a handsomely-produced d ual-period piece with a time-jumping interrelated story between the 1920s and 1970s, and how the film deals with the deafness of its two main characters is conceptually interesting and lovingly handled.  However, it’s… a bit slow and boring, and builds to a conclusion engineered for maximum good vibes melodramatic tear-jerking which lands with a thud and a saccharine skid.  Well, there’s that Peggy Lee moving ‘comin…

223. Murder on the Orient Express

Kenneth Branagh tackles the best detective of all time, yes, that’s right, Hercule Poirot, in this star-studded, CGI-sheened adaptation of Agatha Christie’s classic mystery.  The production is all-around handsome, the mustache is non-cannon but pretty goddamned glorious, and Branagh keeps the pace humming along.  I’m not the biggest fan of some of the big screen spectacle-chasing changes to the source material, and the overall impact is low, but as Hollywood mid-range budgeters go, I’ll take more of this over wanna-be franchise starters any day (although was that a hint at a sequel at the end…?).

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Enchanted (2007) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/enchanted-2007-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/enchanted-2007-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sun, 19 Nov 2017 13:15:47 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104266 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – Seventy years after the release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937), the Walt Disney Company produced yet another fairy tale film… with a twist. Enchanted is a very special Disney film because it celebrates the Disney legacy while also poking fun at itself in humorous ways. The …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

Seventy years after the release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937), the Walt Disney Company produced yet another fairy tale film… with a twist. Enchanted is a very special Disney film because it celebrates the Disney legacy while also poking fun at itself in humorous ways. The film itself is a very modern version of the Disney fairy tales that have enchanted audiences for decades while redefining what a Disney film could be for the modern age. Many would argue that Enchanted is the first modern Disney classic of the Twenty-First Century.

A Toast

This film features a fabulous performance from Amy Adams and all of the charm and grace of Disney’s legacy. Adams definitely deserved her Golden Globe nomination for playing the Princess Giselle, an animated character who finds herself in the strange and terrifying world of New York City. This film also boasts three Academy Award-nominated original songs (and this was the last film to have that distinction after the Academy changed the rules in terms of its nominations). This film might have lost to Oscar to the song “Falling Slowly” from Once (2007), but it still has the magical and musical elements of the “Disney Renaissance” thanks to the music by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz. Enchanted really is enchanting (pun intended) because it essentially honors the magic of Disney.

Verdict

Enchanted is a very delightful film that contains numerous references to Disney’s past. Some critics argued that this film might have had assistance from Walt Disney himself even though he has been dearly departed for a very long time. There is also (possibly) an upcoming sequel entitled Disenchanted that might be released in 2018. It has been a decade since this film’s original release (as of 2017), but Enchanted will definitely remain a continuation of Walt Disney’s enduring legacy.

Enchanted (2007) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: each time the characters from Andalasia enter New York City through the manhole.

Take a Drink: every time there is a reference to Disney’s past

Take a Drink: every time Pip (the chipmunk) gets into any sort of trouble or mayhem

Drink a Shot: every time a famous Disney celebrity appears on-screen (i.e. Jodi Benson, Paige O’Hara, etc.)

Make Yourself a Martini: when Nathaniel gives Giselle an apple martini in the Italian restaurant

Celebrate with your Favorite Drink: when this film reminds you that dreams can come true!

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To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/to-kill-a-mockingbird-1962-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/to-kill-a-mockingbird-1962-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sat, 18 Nov 2017 18:15:37 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104335 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – Harper Lee was one of the most beloved authors in contemporary American literature. The world mourned her passing on February 19, 2016, and her novel Go Set a Watchman shook the literary landscape upon its publication the year before. Lee was responsible for one of the greatest novels ever …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

Harper Lee was one of the most beloved authors in contemporary American literature. The world mourned her passing on February 19, 2016, and her novel Go Set a Watchman shook the literary landscape upon its publication the year before. Lee was responsible for one of the greatest novels ever written, and the adaptation of that same novel ended up becoming a cinematic masterpiece. That beloved classic is none other than To Kill a Mockingbird. Indeed, this Pulitzer Prize winner served the basis for a triumph in filmmaking that students continue to study in academic settings, and remains a landmark in both the literary and cinematic world.

A Toast

This film features an Oscar-winning screenplay, outstanding art direction, and great performances from both Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch and Mary Badham as Scout. Mary Badham might have lost the Oscar to Patty Duke’s portrayal of Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker, but her nomination was well-deserved. Gregory Peck’s performance is iconic because he was able to bring one of the most beloved characters to the silver screen. Peck ended up winning the Oscar for playing the inspirational lawyer in Maycomb, Alabama, and the American Film Institute (AFI) voted that Atticus Finch was the #1 greatest hero in film history. To Kill a Mockingbird is definitely a film that has stood the test of time simply because of its profound explorations of racism, growth, and maturation.

Verdict

Harper Lee might no longer be with us, but she blessed the world with one of the most profound stories ever written. Many people love Atticus Finch so much that they were hesitant to read Go Set a Watchman since that novel portrays Atticus as an anti-hero. Maybe the reason why Harper Lee wrote about that specific character in both a positive and negative way is to reveal the fundamental fact that there will always be both a good side and a bad side to everything. Even if readers do not enjoy Go Set a Watchman, film lovers can still marvel at Alan J. Pakula’s adaptation of one of the most beloved American novels that the world has ever known.

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Scout and Jim behave rambunctiously together

Take a Drink: during every courtroom scene.

Enjoy Your Favorite Drink: while Atticus Finch delivers his famous and inspirational speech about the humanity that defines this beloved classic.

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Trailer Reviews: Justice League, The Star, & Wonder http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-justice-league-the-star-wonder http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-justice-league-the-star-wonder#respond Sat, 18 Nov 2017 13:15:57 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104438 By: Hawk Ripjaw –   Justice League I have a lot of respect for DC fans. They’ve had it rough for the last few years: Man of Steel was fine, but Batman v Superman is so ambitious yet problematic that people are still arguing about it. Suicide Squad, a unique idea for a tentpole franchise …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw –

 

Justice League

I have a lot of respect for DC fans. They’ve had it rough for the last few years: Man of Steel was fine, but Batman v Superman is so ambitious yet problematic that people are still arguing about it. Suicide Squad, a unique idea for a tentpole franchise film, was an unmitigated disaster whose only bright points involve elements that weren’t fully explored. Wonder Woman, of course, was a surprisingly fun standalone flick, but an outlier from the rest.

But they are excited for Justice League. Like the symbol on Superman’s chest to signify hope and the unyielding will to hold on to it, they’re still confident that a new DCEU movie will deliver a compelling story that does justice to their beloved characters. This is something that Marvel fans don’t have to worry about: the MCU movies, at this point, consistently meet a modest bar of quality. While generally unremarkable, they’re very entertaining and can be expected to be decent movies. DC fans don’t have the luxury of taking new films for granted, for reasons that mostly fall on the disorganized and unconfident shoulders of the WB and their producers. 

Yet, they persevere. In the face of a trend of misguided movies, they’re still confident that we’ll get something good. Cynicism would by now make most give up on the series, but those hopeful, devoted DC fans are willing to give it yet another chance. They don’t expect a great movie, they want one. They don’t have the entitlement of the Marvel fans, but they’re passionate. With the majority of movies in the DC universe being less than great so far, they’re still ready to hope for the next one to deliver. That’s a degree of love for a franchise you rarely see.

Beer Prediction

Less awesome is the sub-50% Rotten Tomatoes score, and the fact that even the positive reviews have some reservations. Hope is what will continue to fund this franchise, it seems.

 

The Star

“The Nativity Story, but from the perspective of the animals” is something that was probably conjured after a couple of minutes of brainstorming, and the trailer shows it. Ironically, I also just saw the trailer for Rampage starring Dwayne Johnson, which had a similar feel. Yes, that is Rampage based on the video game where giant animals trash city buildings. Yes, this is where we are at in the current state of Hollywood. Most memorably, the trailer for The Star features Tyler Perry as a camel, a “classic” “Animal that ‘talks’ isn’t understood by humans so the important thing the animal needs to say is interpreted as animal sounds by the human” gag, and a dove waving his ass at the camera. This is coming out right before Pixar’s Coco, so why not save your movie dollars for some weed or maybe a nice gift for a loved one. Or both!

Beer Prediction

Look, I am all about the birth of Jesus, but it is seriously time we start trying to raise the bar for religious movies.

 

Wonder

Sight unseen, it’s easy to dismiss Wonder as another in the pile of irritatingly try-hard child prodigy movies, involving smart youngsters overcoming adversity through the power of spunk and snark. However, the trailer sells a surprisingly touching story of how to conquer shame and anxiety. Whether or not you’ve got a deformed face, you’ve probably faced problems with other shithead human beings. Because that’s what we do: we’re assholes to each other. Wonder looks like a nice reminder that it’s pretty cool to just be nice, and true to yourself. We really need that right now, don’t we?

Beer Prediction

I want this movie to do well, partially because the talented Jacob Tremblay deserves something successful after The Book of Henry.

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LBJ (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/lbj-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/lbj-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Fri, 17 Nov 2017 13:15:30 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104352 By: Oberst Von Berauscht – President Lyndon Baines Johnson is one of the most contradictory figures in American history, on one hand pushing through some very progressive social reforms and leading the way in Civil Rights legislation, on the other hand deeply self-conscious and paranoid, and his escalation of the War on Vietnam will forever taint …

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By: Oberst Von Berauscht –

President Lyndon Baines Johnson is one of the most contradictory figures in American history, on one hand pushing through some very progressive social reforms and leading the way in Civil Rights legislation, on the other hand deeply self-conscious and paranoid, and his escalation of the War on Vietnam will forever taint his legacy. LBJ follows the eponymous politician (Woody Harrelson) from his years as John F. Kennedy’s vice president through the assassination and his subsequent assumption of power.

Through about an inch-thick coating of makeup

A Toast

Woody Harrelson clearly did a great deal of research into Johnson’s mannerisms and speaking style; he disappears into the role almost completely. A challenging feat for a President who has been played by so many other great actors. Woody’s performance particularly nails the way Johnson was able to make himself whatever he needed to be in order to get what he wanted. Johnson was well known for working both sides of an issue and self-consciously taking the side of what was popular. The film delves quite aptly into how that worked for him as a politician most of the time…

Beer Two

That said, the film doesn’t touch much on how that could (and did) also blow up in his face. While the film isn’t covering the timeframe of his Presidency where this is most well known (in relation to the war in Vietnam), ignoring this side to him draws an incomplete picture of the man. The movie only very briefly touches on his need to be loved by the public, a personal failing that other films on his life have conveyed much stronger.

See also

See also, also

Beer Three

The film’s primary fault, though, is that it feels like a re-treading of material without anything new to say. It re-plays numerous scenes depicted in other Johnson-related films coming to the same conclusions as those films. This wouldn’t necessarily be a movie-killing problem if the other LBJ-related films weren’t made so recently. All the Way, Path to War, and a few relevant scenes from Selma, Jackie, and The Butler all did very solid jobs with presenting President Johnson. This version is not only late to the party, but all it brought was a half-eaten bag of cheez-puffs.

“What the shit, Frank?”

Beer Four

Director Rob Reiner should take a little bit of time to re-familiarize himself with his own films of the 1980s-early 1990s. At some point during the mid 1990s he seems to have forgotten how to carry dramatic weight. Even in his off-kilter comedy The Princess Bride or films as wacky as This is Spinal Tap Reiner managed to hit the audience with moments where they can really feel for its characters. In LBJ, even during the JFK assassination sequence (which should be the most affecting moment for an audience), the film comes off cold and unemotional.

Verdict

LBJ is like watching Rob Reiner play connect-the-dots; it draws a clear picture but doesn’t aspire to anything more.

LBJ (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever LBJ says something crass

Take a Drink: when ever the Kennedy name is mentioned

Do a Shot: each time the story flashes back or forward

Do a Shot: whenever LBJ takes a drink

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Dispatches from the Philadelphia International Film Festival http://movieboozer.com/articles/philadelphia-film-festival http://movieboozer.com/articles/philadelphia-film-festival#respond Thu, 16 Nov 2017 13:15:52 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104368 By: Christian Harding – For the 26th year in a row, the Philadelphia International Film Festival (or PIFF for short) has been going strong, and is showing no sign of slowing down. For this Northeastern Pennsylvania denizen, making a yearly trek all the way into the city for this event is always a worthwhile venture, …

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By: Christian Harding –
For the 26th year in a row, the Philadelphia International Film Festival (or PIFF for short) has been going strong, and is showing no sign of slowing down. For this Northeastern Pennsylvania denizen, making a yearly trek all the way into the city for this event is always a worthwhile venture, and is a tradition I look forward to every year. Here’s just a small sampling of the many, many films which were selected to screen at the festival this past October, and some of the ones I was fortunate enough to see either during the festival’s run, or shortly thereafter:
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Beloved (Jonathan Demme)

Earlier this year, acclaimed director Jonathan Demme passed away at the age of 73. Demme is most well known for scoring Oscar gold with his modern horror classic The Silence of the Lambs, and also for directing the film which nabbed Tom Hanks his first Best Actor win with the aptly titled Philadelphia. The PIFF therefore selected a number of Demme’s features to screen over the course of the season’s festival run, among which is his criminally underrated 1998 drama Beloved. Based on the Toni Morrison novel of the same name, the story of Beloved takes place in post-Civil War America, where we follow Oprah Winfrey’s Sethe as she tries to navigate somewhat of a normal life at home with her daughter after living the majority of her life in slavery.
But that all changes when a mysterious young woman who calls herself “Beloved” shows up at her house, and after a series of unexplained paranormal phenomenon begins occurring in their home, is eventually is revealed to be the ghost of Sethe’s long dead daughter. And if that premise sounds a bit unusual and even potentially un-filmable to you, then it’s a true credit to Jonathan Demme’s talents as a director that he’s able to take this genre-bending premise and turn it into something not only worth watching, but also dramatically satisfying, in addition to being just plain unnerving. But unfortunately, Beloved didn’t fare quite as well with critics or audiences as some of Demme’s other past successes, and the film has since faded into obscurity, with only a small but vocal cult following dedicated to sharing its memory. The selection of this over some of Demme’s other, more recognizable works might seem odd at first, but to anyone who was willing to give it a chance, they’re probably thankful now for the opportunity to see it played once again in big screen form.
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The Florida Project (Sean Baker)
a.k.a. American Honey Jr. A smash hit at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and a follow up to his acclaimed 2015 feature Tangerine, Sean Baker’s The Florida Project takes place right on the outskirts of the self-proclaimed “happiest place on Earth” – the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida. Similar to Baker’s previous Tangerine, this film largely consists of non-professional actors in almost all the prominent roles (save for Willem Dafoe as the manager of the Magic Castle Motel, where the majority of the film is set). And despite Dafoe’s much Oscar-buzzed supporting turn, the real stars of this show are the mini-ensemble of child actors at the center of the film, featuring Brooklyn Prince as the true protagonist of this story, and whose perspective the majority of the film’s proceedings are seen from. Also noteworthy is the way in which this was filmed; unlike Tangerine, which was famously shot entirely using iPhone 5S smartphones, The Florida Project employs a more traditional style and is shot more formally than Baker’s previous works, and yet somehow feels entirely distinctive and vibrant from a purely visual standpoint, as well as being in complete harmony with everything else Baker has made thus far, both tonally and aesthetically. There’s really nothing like it out there right now, even in the ever-growing field of American coming of age dramedies.
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Thelma (Joaquim Trier)
Also a centerpiece at this year’s PIFF was Norway’s entry into the forthcoming Oscars’ Best Foreign Language Film race, Thelma. Based on the trailers, one couldn’t be blamed for drawing comparisons between this project and Stephen King’s Carrie (in book form or any of the onscreen adaptations), with both properties containing the premise of a young woman’s coming of age being heavily symbolized by each stories’ central heroines either gaining or being made aware of their own supernatural abilities. Having seen the film myself, I can verify that, apart from a number of surface level plot similarities, the two properties are vastly different in terms of tone and narrative goals. While both stories operate with a seemingly identical central conceit, Carrie is famously more shocking and horrifying in nature, whereas Thelma takes a sweeter, more empathetic and romantic approach to the story – not necessarily in how the titular protagonist’s newfound abilities are depicted, but rather in regards to the surrounding circumstances which awaken and/or strengthen said abilities.
Chief among these are Thelma’s increasing sense of independence from her overbearing and deeply religious parents after moving away to college, as well as the exploration and questioning of her own sexuality, and also dealing with a blossoming romance with an older female classmate. And it’s this central, manifest emotional sincerity that not only separates it from the aforementioned King work, but also what makes Thelma such an original and deeply effective film in its own right. It’s one of the year’s most pleasant surprises and is well worth seeking out if and when it becomes available to the public. *ending spoilers follow* There’s also one more aspect in which Thelma is incredibly noteworthy – dare I say damn near revolutionary – in that it actually features a *happy ending* for it’s central queer pairing; yes, you read that correctly. Stop the presses, everyone: I think we may very well be experiencing film history in the making here!
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Visages, Villages / Faces, Places (Agnes Varda, JR)
In our ever darkening, seemingly hopeless modern world full of worsening climate conditions, record-breaking mass shootings, and the Trump administration, it’s important that we continue to embrace the little things that make us happy and hold onto whatever brings us joy in this world. Case in point, the new documentary Faces Places, a collaboration between French New Wave director and just all around delightful human being Agnes Varda and photographer/muralist JR. Another big winner from Cannes 2017, the film follows Varda and JR as they travel together around rural France, meeting with the communities and creating large portraits to plaster on the surroundings. Together, they work to create these portraits of the various types of people they come across along the way, be it in the form of murals, or the film itself. The film has also been generating considerable amounts of awards buzz leading up to the beginning of this forthcoming Oscar season, and while awards recognition is rarely an indicator of quality by itself, hopefully Faces, Places should be able to crack into the lineup within the increasingly competitive documentary categories. At the very least, it should manage to succeed in bringing joy to the audience members viewing it at any given time. And in this day and age, is that really something we can afford to pass on?

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Virtual Pub 230: Murder on the Orient Express, Assholes, Batman Vs Two Face etc http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-230-murder-orient-express-assholes-batman-vs-two-face-etc http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-230-murder-orient-express-assholes-batman-vs-two-face-etc#respond Thu, 16 Nov 2017 05:00:21 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104435 The post Virtual Pub 230: Murder on the Orient Express, Assholes, Batman Vs Two Face etc appeared first on MovieBoozer.

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365 Days of Movies- Henry J. Fromage Edition- Week 43 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-of-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-43 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-of-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-43#respond Wed, 15 Nov 2017 18:15:06 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104273 By: Henry J. Fromage – This week was actually a single day thanks to work, and what an eclectic day of film watching it was indeed. 219. The Killing of a Sacred Deer The mistake many will make with this film is reading it as anything but a comedy- sure the darkest fucking comedy imaginable, …

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By: Henry J. Fromage –

This week was actually a single day thanks to work, and what an eclectic day of film watching it was indeed.

219. The Killing of a Sacred Deer

The mistake many will make with this film is reading it as anything but a comedy- sure the darkest fucking comedy imaginable, but pure Yorgos Lanthimos-brand comedy nonetheless.  Drawing inspiration from the myth of the sacrifice of Iphigenia due to her father Agamemnon killing the goddess Diana’s favorite deer, this oblique revenge tale features all of the deadpan delivery and just otherworldly weirdness of Lanthimos’s dual breakouts, Dogtooth and The Lobster, but arguably amps it up even further.  Barry Keoghan’s strange face is the perfect canvas for the ain’t quite right young man terrorizing surgeon Colin Farrell’s family, but it’s Nicole Kidman who turns the unprecedented trick of having one foot in Lanthimos’s signature universe and one foot in our own- she really doesn’t get the recognition she deserves for her near unmatched versatility.

220. Brawl in Cell Block 99

S. Craig Zahler is only two movies in (after his hyper-violent and hyper-entertaining debut, Bone Tomahawk), but he’s already created his own utterly unique universe- a film world in which the bone-crunching B-movies of yesteryear are inhabited by witty and verbose men of action (played by cast-aside character actors relishing the chance to take a bite out of A-grade material).  Vince Vaughn’s career may have taken a turn towards laconic badasses in his underrated season of True Detective, but in this relentless prison fight/revenge flick it crystallizes into a bold and pure new direction- when you have other critics making comparisons of the star of Fred Claus to Lee Marvin, you know you’re witnessing something special.  Good god, the gore effects in this thing, too.

221. Thor: Ragnarok

After leaving the theater for this, I posted “Let’s just have Taika Waititi make all of the movies from here on out.” and I didn’t mean ‘all the Marvel movies’.  I can’t really understate how much I enjoyed this technicolor, Jeff Goldblum-saturated, Tessa Thompson-dominating, Heavy Metal-rocking marvel of a flick- hands down my favorite of the series so far.  Waititi takes probably the least successful of the Avenger franchises and makes it his own weird playground of in-jokes, eye-popping design, surprisingly effective and perfectly dosed drama and action, and just pure goddamn fun.  This was probably already true after Hunt for the Wilderpeople, but I’ll watch literally anything he ever makes, ever again.  His comedic talent appears to be limitless.

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Cinderella (1950) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/cinderella-1950-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/cinderella-1950-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Wed, 15 Nov 2017 13:15:57 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104201 By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) – The Walt Disney Studio went through hard times amidst the chaos of World War II. Even with that struggle, Disney was determined to continue the legacy of his studio that came to fruition after creating his first animated feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937). Since he found …

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By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –

The Walt Disney Studio went through hard times amidst the chaos of World War II. Even with that struggle, Disney was determined to continue the legacy of his studio that came to fruition after creating his first animated feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937). Since he found success by producing an animated fairy tale, Disney thought that he could achieve a similar accomplishment by returning to his roots. Disney was right because the release of Cinderella in 1950 essentially saved the Disney Studio from financial hardship. The film itself is a very enchanting motion picture based on one of the most iconic stories ever told.

A Toast

The animation for this film is absolutely spectacular. All of the human characters look very believable given the sheer realism of their movements. Part of the reason for this was because around 90% of the film was shot in live-action, and then the animators used that footage to assist them with their work. This film also features Walt Disney’s favorite piece of animation, which is the part in which the fairy godmother magically creates Cinderella’s beautiful ball gown. Lady Tremaine (Cinderella’s stepmother) is also deliciously evil, and a great Disney villain. Given the success of this character, it is no wonder that Disney would choose Eleanor Audley to also play Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty (1959). These great qualities are among the many reasons why Disney films like Cinderella are timeless masterpieces.

Beer Two

Even with the greatness of this film, its Academy Award nomination for the “Best Original Song” entitled “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo” is a bit questionable. Some people might argue that such a nomination is a bit ludicrous because the song itself consists of mostly gibberish. Even with that minor issue, the music overall is very beautiful, and the film’s nomination for “Best Original Score” is well-deserved. The fact that this film is a musical makes it even more enchanting.

Verdict

Walt Disney knew that the magic of fairy tales would allow his studio to continue his dream of producing great entertainment. Cinderella was the starting point for a lot of great Disney films produced throughout the 1950s, including Peter Pan (1953) and Lady and the Tramp (1955). Some film historians would argue that if Cinderella flopped at the box office, then the Disney Studio would cease to exist. It is almost as if the fairy godmother had cast her spell to ensure that the Disney legacy would live on long after the success of the fair Snow White!

Cinderella (1950) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Lucifer (the cat) chases the mice around

Take a Drink: every time the stepmother and stepsisters (Lady Tremaine, Drizella, and Anastasia) behave spitefully

Drink a Shot: for all of the bubbles during the song “Sing Sweet Nightingale”

Have a Drink: every time Cinderella cleans anything (and be sure to clean your cup after enjoying your drink!)

But Be Sure to Finish your Drink: before the clock strikes 12!

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Daddy’s Home 2 (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/daddys-home-2-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/daddys-home-2-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Tue, 14 Nov 2017 13:15:53 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104392 By: BabyRuth (Three Beers) – Last week, I saw A Bad Moms Christmas –an unnecessary sequel to a decent but forgettable comedy that reunites the central cast in the days leading up to Christmas and adds older, well-known actors as the parents of the main characters to disrupt the holiday cheer. This week, I saw Daddy’s …

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By: BabyRuth (Three Beers) –

Last week, I saw A Bad Moms Christmas –an unnecessary sequel to a decent but forgettable comedy that reunites the central cast in the days leading up to Christmas and adds older, well-known actors as the parents of the main characters to disrupt the holiday cheer.

This week, I saw Daddy’s Home 2 – an unnecessary sequel to a decent but forgettable comedy that reunites the central cast in the days leading up to Christmas and adds older, well-known actors as the parents of the main characters to disrupt the holiday cheer.

Former rivals Brad (Will Farrell) and Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) are now BFFs and “co-dads,” working in harmony while splitting up fatherly duties for Dusty’s children with his ex/Brad’s wife Sara (Linda Cardellini). In addition to those kids: Dylan (Owen Vaccaro) and Megan (Scarlett Estevez), there’s also Griffy (Brad and Sara’s baby) as well as Adrianna (Didi Costine), Dusty’s new wife Karen’s (Alessandra Ambrosio) daughter with ex-husband Roger (John Cena). Got it? I think I did. I may have missed a kid… You know, they really should have passed out charts along with the movie tickets.

Brad and Dusty are so simpatico that they decide to have one big Christmas for everyone rather than separate celebrations . Their big Christmas gets even bigger when Dusty’s estranged garbage father Kurt (Mel Gibson) turns up uninvited.  Brad’s dad Jonah (John Lithgow) is also on board for the festivities, though he is most definitely invited as that father and son pair are pretty much the furthest thing from estranged.

Exhibit A

And so we’re off. It’s time to deck the goddamn halls…again.

A Toast

In the Christmas sequel showdown between the [Bad] Moms and the Daddies, Daddy’s Home 2 easily comes out on top. It’s the much better movie of the two and unlike Moms, has several laugh-out-loud moments and didn’t make me hate Christmas. The writing is superior in that there was actual thought and effort put into it and the characters and situations are (slightly) more grounded in reality. It’s never mean-spirited—rare in comedies these days (as well as a deviation from the first movie)—and doesn’t rely on crude body humor or lazy vulgarity. There’s not one fart joke and no one gets hit in the balls. This is progress people!

That’s not to say it isn’t ridiculously silly and doesn’t often lay on the pratfalls for easy laughs. With Ferrell involved there’s plenty of physical comedy. Lithgow takes part too, as Brad’s equally accident-prone father. The slapstick gets tiresome after a while, as the funniest bits are dialogue-based. Fortunately, there are many cases of this including an instant classic scene of the four fathers discussing thermostat etiquette (trust me, it’s funnier than that sounds).

The naïve but lovable character of Brad is what Ferrell does best (being set at Christmastime, there’s even a bit of Buddy the Elf in there) and it’s nice to see him back in his sweet spot after this summer’s painfully unfunny The House. John Lithgow couldn’t be more perfectly cast as his ultra-sensitive and affectionate father.

The addition of Mel-hey at least I’m not as bad as Kevin Spacey-Gibson may leave a bad taste in some viewers’ mouths, but casting him as a sadistic, misogynistic prick was kind of a genius move. If he’s going to be welcomed back into the mainstream, this is really the only kind of role that makes sense.

One of the best parts of  Daddy’s Home was John Cena’s cameo as Dusty’s new rival, Roger. The casting was inspired and a fun payoff, especially for WWE fans to see the “Marky Mark” jokes of Cena’s early rapper persona come full-circle with the two finally sharing a screen at the conclusion of the first movie. I was hoping there would be more of Cena in this sequel, but he does have a few pretty great scenes once he finally shows up in the last act (though I’m a little disappointed that his big, epic showdown with Walhberg’s character was a snowball fight and not a rap battle. I mean, come on writers.)

The kids, who are given subplots of their own, hold their own opposite the older leads, the standout being Scarlett Estevez, who gets some of the biggest laughs of the whole movie.

But overall, it’s Wahlberg and Ferrell’s chemistry that makes Daddy’s Home 2 work as well as it does. They were great as arch-nemeses in the first film and even better as a team in this one. Even when the “harbors are opened” and the two spar, it’s evident they still care for and respect each other. It’s like watching family members argue.

Of course there’s a touch of family drama mixed in, required, yes, but effective, slow-building to the eventual pot boiling over and subsequent everybody-makes-up-happy-ending. But that moment, even as over-the-top absurd as it is (I won’t ruin it but pay attention to an early flashback), feels earned and rewarding rather than abruptly slapped on.

Beer Two

In addition to experiencing déjà vu from A Bad Moms Christmas, much of Daddy’s Home 2 felt very, very familiar.

Doofy, accident-prone father? Christmas decoration destruction? Sledding mishaps? Going into the forest to find and cut down that perfect but much too large tree? Hmm.

Well, I guess if you’re going to steal borrow, borrow from the best.

Beer Three

As in A Bad Moms Christmas (I know I’m making a lot of comparisons, but these are essentially the SAME, exact movie right down to the “X Days until Christmas” title cards and characters heading to Las Vegas for New Year’s which makes me wonder if there is a crossover movie on the horizon) supporting characters of the opposite sex are relegated to set dressing. Linda Cardellini doesn’t get to do much more than react to the men’s antics, while Alessandra Ambrosio barely has two lines of dialogue, though she does get a bit fleshed out when it’s revealed that she’s a freaking criminal! To the film’s credit, it does pass the Bechdel Test, when the two characters have a discussion about why shoplifting is wrong. Welp, we can’t have everything.

“Hi!!! I’m here if you need me. Yes? No? Oh…Well, okay, I’ll go stand in the background.”

Verdict

Despite its flaws, this movie was better than it had any right to be. Maybe my expectations were extremely low after suffering through the dumpster fire that was A Bad Moms Christmas, but I actually found Daddy’s Home 2 quite funny and charming and enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would.

Daddy’s Home 2 (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever anyone uses the term “co-dads”

Take a Drink: for every “countdown to Christmas” title card

Take a Drink: whenever Mel Gibson’s character says something offensive (small sips)

Take a Drink: whenever Brad is injured

Take a Drink: whenever Jonah is injured

Take a Drink: whenever Griffy is forgotten

Take a Drink: whenever anyone adjusts the thermostat

Do a Shot: for every on the lips kiss between a father and son

Do a Shot: for every cameo (listen carefully- one is a voice)

P.S. : Dear Hollywood, Please, puhleeeessse, make Missle Tow.

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Murder on the Orient Express (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/detective-mystery/murder-on-the-orient-express-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/detective-mystery/murder-on-the-orient-express-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Mon, 13 Nov 2017 13:15:25 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104384 By: Jenna Zine (Four Beers) – World-famous detective Hercule Poirot attempts to take a vacation while aboard the luxurious Orient Express, but his plans for rest are foiled when a murder takes place on the train, forcing him to solve the case… possibly before the killer can strike again. A Toast There can’t be more classic source …

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By: Jenna Zine (Four Beers) –

World-famous detective Hercule Poirot attempts to take a vacation while aboard the luxurious Orient Express, but his plans for rest are foiled when a murder takes place on the train, forcing him to solve the case… possibly before the killer can strike again.

A Toast

There can’t be more classic source material than an Agatha Christie mystery (the celebrated novelist is only surpassed in sales by the Bible and the works of Shakespeare). That said, it is unclear why Hollywood decided to spend $55 million on this limp noodle of a remake (there is also a far superior 1974 version). The premise is promising and the cast outstanding, but it still manages to fall short. Let’s examine why…

Beer Two

Kenneth Branagh plays the titular Poirot, while also holding down the director’s chair. Branagh does a great job with the character and is clearly having a blast chewing up the scenery. The problem? He’s the only who gets to do so. The cast is stuffed with talent, including Dame Judi Dench as Princess Dragomiroff, Willem Dafoe as Cyrus Hardman, Penelope Cruz as Pilar Estravoados, Josh Gad as Hector MacQueen, Michelle Pfeiffer as Caroline Hubbard, and Daisy Ridley as Mary Debenham. Johnny Depp is a thug and bully with a drinking problem, a penchant for abusive dark deeds, and a moral compass pointed permanently due south. He also plays the bad guy, Samuel Ratchett, in this film.

With marquee names such as these, the movie should be teeming with standout performances as each actor vies to top the other. Instead, we get Branagh, Branagh, and – oh, hey! How about some more Branagh? Meanwhile the rest of the cast is afforded scant screen time, acting opposite, you guessed it, Branagh! All do the best they can with their allotted moments, but you can sense thoroughbreds yearning to break free.

“Psst… Josh. Did you hear I’m a jerk?”

Beer Three

Do you like molasses? I like molasses too! Just not for pacing of my film plots. Christie’s book was published in 1934 (the novel, per usual, shines above its screen counterparts) and is understandably held to a different standard from today’s fast-paced world. However, this version is being released in 2017, yet Branagh has chosen to do nothing to reflect that. Instead he delivered a product with absolutely no embellishment. The result is a tepid note for note reinterpretation that feels more like a play. (Granted there is nothing wrong with plays – they remain an important facet of our entertainment culture. But that is not what people are expecting when they go to a movie. I hit the 12:30 PM showing on Friday, Veteran’s Day, and it was packed. My sense was people entered excited and left deflated).

If the movie has nothing clever to say, why should I? [Photo Credit]

Beer Four

It’s not a total loss, as the sets and costumes are sumptuous. The beauty is a feast for the eyes. (Am I on a dare to cram as many idioms into one review as possible? I’ll never tell!) Though the pace is slow, it is nice to enjoy some subtle dialogue. (Stellar examples include: “Romance never goes unpunished,” “You’ve got a head full of steam and a mouth full of words,” “There is no end to the lies produced for me,” and “If it were easy, I would not be famous.”) Unfortunately, it doesn’t live up to the slick marketing hype; I suspect word of mouth will spread quickly that this thriller is not at all thrilling.

(Speaking of Hollywood marketing, I beg of studios: Please, please stop torturing us with so many previews. You’re actively punishing a captive audience and then turning around expecting support. Previews used to be a treat – a teaser of 3 or 4 movies to come. Now that time clocks in at an excruciating 25 MINUTES or more, plus commercials. I’m beginning to think they’re in cahoots with an underground league of babysitters working for the mob. Think you’re getting out of that theater in 2 hours or less? No, you are not – and it’s gonna cost you).

I feel you, Penelope. I was pretty bored too! [Photo Credit]

Verdict

There is nothing horribly wrong with MOTOE – it is simply not compelling enough to warrant feature film status. Lacking the humor of another classic detective series (the Robert Downey Jr.’s Sherlock Holmes installments) or the gravitas of something grittier, it’s left to just… sit there. And that’s no damn fun.

Murder on the Orient Express (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Poirot reveals his OCD tendencies.

Take a Drink: every time a character is questioned by Poirot.

Take a Drink: every time you fixate on a gorgeous costume or piece of scenery.

Do a Shot: when Poirot says, “I don’t like your face,” to Johnny Depp’s character and you want to shout, “Same!”

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Trailer Reviews: Daddy’s Home 2 & Murder On the Orient Express http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-daddys-home-2-murder-orient-express http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-daddys-home-2-murder-orient-express#respond Sun, 12 Nov 2017 18:15:40 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104371 By: Hawk Ripjaw – Daddy’s Home 2 On my list of movie ideas that I kind of hate, “a main character with a parent played by a significantly older and very famous actor for shenanigans” is close to the top. Usually it comes in a sequel, following a moderately successful comedy. Often, it’s a very …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw –

Daddy’s Home 2

On my list of movie ideas that I kind of hate, “a main character with a parent played by a significantly older and very famous actor for shenanigans” is close to the top. Usually it comes in a sequel, following a moderately successful comedy. Often, it’s a very bad sequel. Honestly, I don’t know why there is even a second Daddy’s Home, given that the original wasn’t all that good or memorable in the first place. Adding John Lithgow is admittedly a great casting move, but you can only watch him kiss Will Ferrell on the lips in the trailer so many times before you realize the movie probably isn’t going to offer much in the way of fresh comedy. Truly, this is not an Adam McKay project. That’s not even to mention Ferrell’s diminishing returns in general (although I’ll be honest, I thought The House was kind of fun). Optimism is not on this movie’s side.

Beer Prediction

I guess if you have to watch a Christmas movie about parents and their parents, you at least have this and Bad Moms Christmas to worry about? You can also count yourself lucky that the producers of this haven’t been rumbling about a Bad Moms cinematic universe.

 

Murder on the Orient Express

Depending on who you are, there are a couple of specific things you’ve been looking forward to in Murder on the Orient Express:

  1. A good old-fashioned murder mystery.
  2. Actors such as Willem Dafoe, Michelle Pheiffer, Dame Judi Dench, and Kenneth Branagh.
  3. That glorious mustache.

Whether or not those great things can overcome what has so far been said to be a relatively dull movie remains to be seen. What also remains to be seen is whether people bored by it just don’t understand what makes Agatha Christie a compelling storyteller. What I do know is that Branagh’s mustache is 100% worth the price of admission.

Beer Prediction

Please, please don’t play that fucking Imagine Dragons song in the movie.

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Ken’s Movie Diary 2017 – Week Numbers are Overrated http://movieboozer.com/featured/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-numbers-overrated http://movieboozer.com/featured/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-numbers-overrated#respond Sun, 12 Nov 2017 18:15:32 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104215 Weekly Update: Due to unforseen circumstances I have been unable to keep making this a weekly update thing, I am however still keeping count of my movies and will update you whenever I have the time. Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date- 278. …

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Weekly Update: Due to unforseen circumstances I have been unable to keep making this a weekly update thing, I am however still keeping count of my movies and will update you whenever I have the time.

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

278. Geostorm (2017)

A nonstop disaster movie thrill ride for people who didn’t get bored of non-stop disaster movie thrill rides in 1998. Revel in the utter lifelessness of this cookie-cutter would-be blockbuster. Drink it in…

279. Only the Brave (2017)

One of the best films of 2017 thus far, Only the Brave tells the story of a group of forest-firefighters from Arizona. Miles Teller proves once again to be one of the best up and coming stars in Hollywood and Josh Brolin/Jeff Bridges continue to carry their torches of stardom burning brightly. The fire fighting sequences are wonderfully shot and blend practical and computer effects seamlessly. The direction is stellar, keeping the story moving at a blistering pace even at nearly 2 and a half hours long.

280. Thank you for your Service (2017)

Based on a true story, but following nearly to a T the template of classic postwar drama The Best Years of Our LivesTYFYS is a truly unsettling film about readjusting to civilian life following the Iraq War. Post Traumatic Stress disorder is explored in detail. Miles Teller hits a twofer with his second powerful performance in as many weeks. Supporting Teller is Beulah Koale, who carries the dramatic weight of his character with star-making quality.

281. Marshall (2017)

Read the full review

282. Brawl in Cell Block 99 (2017)

Vince Vaughn gives a spectacular performance as a man with just the worst luck in the world, but can handle himself in a grudge match. Taking as a template the “prison movie” grindhouse subgenre, director/writer S. Craig Zahler makes a very solid genre film that happens to also feature some of the most sharply written dialogue in modern filmmaking.

283. Spielberg (2017)

A solid documentary about the career of Steven Spielberg, taking you through most of his best known films in detail. The film touches on Spielberg’s rocky relationship to his father, and how that colored many of his films, which brings a unique new perspective to them. Like last year’s De Palma, this won’t change your mind about the filmmaker, but it will give you more details about the films you grew up on and love.

284. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Director Taika Waititi brought his characteristic comic flair to a film that otherwise could have been a dreadful bore. Everything relating to Thor, Loki, and the Hulk plays spectacularly like a buddy comedy. The film is incredibly entertaining throughout, as this part of the story makes up at least 3/4 of the film, but every time the more dramatic storyline playing out on Asgard is addressed the film screeches to a halt for a few minutes.  As usual with recent Marvel films there are simply no real stakes, so the comic elements are what buoy things. Since this film has a higher quantity of humor than average, it mostly works.

285. LBJ (2017)

Do you like watching someone play connect the dots? This by the number LBJ Biopic would be completely unremarkable were it not for a solid turn by Woody Harrelson, who is sadly trapped behind a few inches of unconvincing makeup. There are several much better films about President Johnson out there, seek them out instead.

286. Loving Vincent (2017)

A loving tribute to artist Vincent Van Gogh done the most gorgeous way possible: animated. Every frame of Loving Vincent is a remarkably detailed oil painting mimicking the painter’s style. The story itself is a simple journey a character makes to deliver a letter from the recently deceased artist to his brother, and the people he meets and talks to along the way. Very worth watching for its spectacular visual flourishes.

287. Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

Boasting a super-sized cast of excellent actors, Director/Star Kenneth Branagh delivers a visually sumptuous adaptation of Agatha Christie’s landmark mystery novel. Unlike the 1974 Sidney Lumet-helmed adaptation, this film gives nearly every member of the large cast something interesting to do, which keeps the close-quarters setting interesting. There are a few small deviations from the source material in the name of upping the film’s stakes, but it mostly feels in service of the story. Mostly though, this is a solid and very entertaining throwback. Your parents who binge watch BBC/ITV mysteries will love it.

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Sleeping Beauty (1959) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/sleeping-beauty-1959-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/sleeping-beauty-1959-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sun, 12 Nov 2017 13:15:48 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104161 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – After the success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937) and Cinderella (1950), Walt Disney decided to return to the fairy tale by choosing to adapt Sleeping Beauty as an animated feature. This film would be different, though, because Walt Disney himself did not want to simply repeat …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

After the success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937) and Cinderella (1950), Walt Disney decided to return to the fairy tale by choosing to adapt Sleeping Beauty as an animated feature. This film would be different, though, because Walt Disney himself did not want to simply repeat his previous efforts. Using the phrase, “A Moving Illustration,” Disney’s goal was to create a film that consisted of opulence and majesty when it comes to its artwork. Indeed, Disney produced of the greatest animated features ever made that contains pure cinematic beauty.

A Toast

This is one of the most sophisticated Disney films ever made. The visual design is much like the medieval and Gothic art that was made during the time period in which this film is set. Part of the reason for this were the beautiful layouts and backgrounds that Eyvind Earle designed in order to make animation feel more artistic rather than conventional. The final result is an animated feature that is purely aesthetic. Sleeping Beauty also features what is perhaps the greatest Disney villain of all time- Maleficent. Her name itself is a portmanteau of the words “malevolent” and “magnificent,” and those two adjectives perfectly describe “The Mistress of All Evil.” She is so iconic that she had her own movie in 2014 fifty-five years later! Many young girls also admire the beautiful Princess Aurora, and the adaptation of Peter Tchaikovsky’s classical ballet score earned the film its only Academy Award nomination. Nevertheless, Sleeping Beauty will always maintain its timelessness as one of the greatest Disney films ever produced.

Verdict

Sleeping Beauty was advertised as “six years in the making.” It also premiered alongside epic films like Ben-Hur in 1959. In spite of its rough opening in January that year, Sleeping Beauty still had financial success by being the year’s second-highest grossing film (right behind Ben-Hur!) There have been nearly sixty films since this film premiered in 1959 (as of 2017), but Sleeping Beauty will always remain one of Disney’s crowning achievements because of his unique vision of what the overall design of an animated feature could look like.

Sleeping Beauty (1959) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Maleficent uses her staff for wicked reasons

Take a Drink: every time Maleficent’s pet raven (named Diablo) squawks very annoyingly

Drink a Shot: each time Flora and Merryweather use their wands to change Princess Aurora’s dress pink and blue

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Sylvio (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/sylvio-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/sylvio-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sat, 11 Nov 2017 13:15:53 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104190 By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) – Sylvio is about a gorilla who works a dead-end job in debt collection and who’s one pleasure in live appears to be his videotaped one-man puppet show, The Quiet Times with Herbert Herpels.  When he stumbles onto a surprisingly popular Public Access TV show out collecting a debt, his newfound and very …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –

Sylvio is about a gorilla who works a dead-end job in debt collection and who’s one pleasure in live appears to be his videotaped one-man puppet show, The Quiet Times with Herbert Herpels.  When he stumbles onto a surprisingly popular Public Access TV show out collecting a debt, his newfound and very relative stardom open new doors for him.

This is Sylvio.

A Toast

You’ll know in the first five minutes whether Sylvio is for you.  Fortunately, Sylvio is strangely engrossing from the start, from its minimalist pastel and kitsch-obsessed set, graphics, and art design to its weirdly protracted scene by scene rhythms.  It’s just quite unlike anything you’ve seen before, perhaps sharing more in common with Adult Swim late night mock-infomercials than anything we’ve seen at feature length before.

As you get drawn into the peculiarities of Sylvio’s world, especially as he befriends the crew of a local Public Access TV show and begins to ascend to (a very modest) stardom in a segment in which he smashes various objects in amusingly inventive ways, the fact that this is a man in a gorilla suit and cheap sunglasses falls away.  The way Sylvio Bernardi (credited as himself, because of course) brings a soulful complexion to this character invests you in his travails, and even lends a bit of weight to the simple plight of an artist story that makes up its plot.

Beer Two

You’ll know in the first five minutes whether Sylvio is for you.  Unfortunately, Sylvio is extremely twee and full of the kinds of millennial preciousness that society loves to hate for being so self-consciously unconscious, the kind where carefully curated 80s-idolizing thrift store clothes, posters, and household decor is the apex of creative expression.  I dig that shit, but you may well hate it.

Let this be your Rorschach test.

Beer Three

There’s something here about how the entertainment industry twists you, makes you into something you’re not in the name of providing the same thrills that got you famous in the first place.  Also, Peace > Violence.  It’s pretty simple stuff, and the odd package doesn’t make it quite as profound as the winsome indie guitar noodling would like you to believe.

Verdict

Sylvio is an uncategorizable oddity, a hipster confection if there every was one, but one that makes you root for a man in a gorilla mask regardless.

Last Call:  In many ways, the most surprising element of the film is the immediate pre-credits scrawl.

Sylvio (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever Sylvio goes to work or work comes to Sylvio

Take a Drink: for every episode of The Quiet Times with Herbert Herpels

Take a Drink: for every episode of The Afternoon Show with Al Reynolds

Take a Drink: whenever Sylvio breaks something

Take a Drink: when, obviously, they go to a thrift store

Do a Shot: for banana-themed electronics

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Chicago (2002) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/chicago-2002-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/chicago-2002-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Fri, 10 Nov 2017 13:15:46 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104100 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – “A flash of leg…” “The taste of temptation…” “The smell of corruption…” “And things that go bump…in the night…” These words were part of the opening narration for the trailer of the 2002 Best Picture winner Chicago (2002). Even though this was his directorial debut, Rob Marshall somehow managed …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

“A flash of leg…”

“The taste of temptation…”

“The smell of corruption…”

“And things that go bump…in the night…”

These words were part of the opening narration for the trailer of the 2002 Best Picture winner Chicago (2002). Even though this was his directorial debut, Rob Marshall somehow managed to create one of the greatest movie musicals of the 21st century. As a tribute to the legacy of Bob Fosse and the power of jazz, this film is a cinematic triumph that helped revitalize the musical after the success of Moulin Rouge! the year before. This film is definitely a high point in Hollywood’s attempt to bring back the musical.

A Toast

This film features phenomenal performances from its entire cast, great production values, and memorable songs. The Academy was definitely aware of the greatness of this film since they awarded it with six wins out of 13 nominations, including the coveted Best Picture Oscar. Colleen Atwood won her first Oscar for creating costumes that are both stylish and surprisingly sexy. The real stars of this film, though, are Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renée Zellweger, who brought to life the murderesses who struggled to survive in 1920s Chicago. Catherine Zeta-Jones actually won the Oscar for her supporting role as Velma Kelly while Zellweger lost to Nicole Kidman for playing Virginia Woolf in The Hours. 2002 was definitely a competitive year given all of the talent that received acknowledgement from the Academy at that time!

Beer Two

Even with all of its awards, acclaim, and accolades, this film might not be suitable for everyone. Some people might find it puzzling that a musical could deal with homicide. The film still somehow managed to receive a “Best Screenplay” nomination, though (probably because it honors the legacy of films like the 1979 film All That Jazz and the rich history of jazz itself.) The film is also (obviously) violent since most of the characters are murderesses. Nevertheless, the film is still visually stunning, and the music has been very captivating ever since the film premiered in 2002.

Verdict

Chicago is a great film, but it is definitely an acquired taste. Some people might not enjoy it given all of the mature content that earned this film its PG-13 rating. Others might find the film unusual unless they are aware of its references to both American history and cinematic history. Even with those minor flaws, this film is still a brilliant adaptation of the hit Broadway musical. In fact, some critics argued that the original Broadway musical was un-filmable. Luckily, Rob Marshall knew how to adapt this film into a cinematic work of art, and he definitely deserved his Best Director nomination for directing this modern classic. Years have passed since this film premiered in 2002, but many people still enjoy its beautiful score… and all that jazz! 😉

Chicago (2002) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for every musical number

Take a Drink: every time Taye Diggs (the bandleader) introduces a musical number

Drink a Shot: for every gun shot

Have some more Shots: every time the six merry murderesses sing the phrase, “He had it comin’!” during the “Cell Block Tango” number

Enjoy your favorite Drink: every time the characters sing the phrase “…and all that jazz!”

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Creep 2 (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/creep-2-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/creep-2-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Thu, 09 Nov 2017 13:15:05 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104326 By: Hawk Ripjaw (A Toast) – 2014’s Creep was one of the biggest streaming surprises of that year. Patrick Brice’s found-footage serial killer movie was very unsettling, surprisingly funny, and utilized the handheld camera format in a way that felt personal more than gimmicky. Creep 2 builds cleverly on the mythology of its killer as …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw (A Toast) –

2014’s Creep was one of the biggest streaming surprises of that year. Patrick Brice’s found-footage serial killer movie was very unsettling, surprisingly funny, and utilized the handheld camera format in a way that felt personal more than gimmicky.

Creep 2 builds cleverly on the mythology of its killer as well as on the concept of found footage, this time focusing on a webseries called Encounters run by Sara (Desiree Akhavan). She responds to craigslist ads and records the interactions to find the vulnerabilities in these Internet characters and give them a voice. After several encounters but no viewers, she finds an ad posted by Aaron (Duplass), vaguely seeking someone to film him for 24 hours. Seeing a potential big break, she responds, and what follows is an entirely different killer-victim dynamic than in the original.

A Toast

The most thrillingly effective element of Creep was Duplass, known for his indie comedies and for FX’s sitcom The League, his charm always front and center. He had that same charm in Creep, but that likability was married with a creepy unpredictability. What made his character so great was how he preyed on the kindness and common decency of others, a cruel move by the movie in how it makes you feel susceptible to punishment for showing compassion. There was definitely something wrong with him, but his weird mix of sadness and eccentricity made him fascinating.

Brilliantly, Creep 2 accepts the challenge of tackling a similar character piece that needs to still be surprising now that the cat’s out of the bag. There’s no longer the question of “is he crazy” (because the ending of the original and the opening of this make that very, very clear). Now the question is “how crazy is he,” something that’s far more engaging than any modern cinematic psychopath usually gets to be.

Now that Aaron’s modus operandi has been made clear a couple of times, Creep 2 has much more fun delving deeper into what makes this charming maniac tick. He’s given an excellent foil with Sara, as well: while the victim in the original film reacted with trepidation in almost every situation and spent most of the movie responding to Aaron with resistance, Sara is fascinated. She acknowledges the red flags, but wants to know more about Aaron and actually connect with him. This also fundamentally changes how the movie handles jump scares: the main characters’ responses to Aaron’s incessant desire to startle people is distinctly different between movies, so the way the audience gets to respond keeps Aaron’s control of the situation much less one-sided.

Duplass is even better in Creep 2 than he was in the original, describing the act of murder with the passion one might use to explain how a piece of music makes them feel. His dynamic with Sara, too, changes his demeanor in a way that makes him at once more magnetic and repulsive. His vulnerability has become less of a façade than an actual trait, so knowing that about him creates an awesome sense of dissonance between familiarity and repulsion. The fact that Duplass is still able to exude likable charisma is seriously impressive.

Verdict

The original Creep slowly built dread as more was gradually revealed about an already-unsettling character. Creep 2 finds the same man becoming disillusioned with what he now considers the routine of luring and murdering malleable videographers. It pushes deeper into the psyche of a well-spoken but very dangerous man by allowing him this time to build a genuine two-sided friendship with his supposed latest victim and balancing it with the very real fear creators have of stagnating creativity—and how that changes their drive. It’s not as immediately frightening as the original, but the trade-off is a more vulnerable Aaron with a more involved look at who he is. That’s not only funnier, but also more unsettling on a deeper level. Brice’s confidence in his killer is shaping a fresh, interesting new horror franchise.

Creep 2 (2017) Movie Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time someone leaps out of nowhere

Take a Drink: whenever Aaron tells a story or anecdote

Do a Shot: whenever Sarah should probably run but doesn’t

Take a Drink: every time Aaron switches his demeanor

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Virtual Pub 229: Thor Ragnarok, LBJ, Stranger Things S2 http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-229-thor-ragnarok-lbj-stranger-things-s2 http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-229-thor-ragnarok-lbj-stranger-things-s2#respond Thu, 09 Nov 2017 04:00:29 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104347 The post Virtual Pub 229: Thor Ragnarok, LBJ, Stranger Things S2 appeared first on MovieBoozer.

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365 Days of Movies- Henry J. Fromage Edition- Week 42 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-42 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-42#respond Wed, 08 Nov 2017 13:15:49 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104186 By: Henry J. Fromage – Another slow week, but did catch a couple of very distinct films to review and kept at my list of flicks to catch up with before year’s end. 216. Thank You For Your Service The second of Jason Hall’s scripts after American Sniper to focus on the plight of our veterans on …

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By: Henry J. Fromage –

Another slow week, but did catch a couple of very distinct films to review and kept at my list of flicks to catch up with before year’s end.

216. Thank You For Your Service

The second of Jason Hall’s scripts after American Sniper to focus on the plight of our veterans on the home front, and his directorial debut, Thank You for Your Service has none of the perhaps jingoistic strains of that smash hit, but does echo many of its strengths.  Miles Teller, Joe Cole, Scott Haze, and especially extremely impressive newcomer Beulah Koale all deliver heartbreakingly natural performances of veterans dealing with their PTSD in varied ways.  Hall delivers a film that may toe the line of cliche in moments (and features the surprising and ineffective presence of Amy Schumer), but which delivers enough emotional impact to be spoken of in the same breath as classic portraits of American soldiers and the toll wartime has taken on them like The Best Years of Our Lives and Born on the Fourth of July.

217. Sylvio

Sylvio is about, well, Sylvio (played by himself, of course), a gorilla who works at a dead end debt collection job by day and films his puppet show, The Quiet Times with Herbert Herpels at night.  When his path crosses with a Public Access talk show he finds a creative outlet and like-minded friends, but also the tyranny of popularity as he begins to be pigeonholed as a wild ape who smashes things on camera.  The entire film is saturated with a thrift-store bought kitsch obsession which shows through in its design, costuming, and very mindset, but if you dig that sort of thing, you’ll likely the slow but pleasing rhythms of this indie film-making metaphor.

218. The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

If you were pinned down to describe what a Noah Baumbach movie is like, you’re likely to find yourself describing his breakout, The Squid and the Whale, as he’s evolved significantly from his Whit Stillman-like Kicking and Screaming and his two Greta Gerwig collaborations, Frances Ha and Mistress America, feel like both more her voice than his and pleasing mellowed from their uneven and acidic predecessors in his oeuvre.  Now, however, he’s delivered in my opinion his best and most distinctly proprietary work since The Squid and the Whale, in another story about children (Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler, both great, and Elizabeth Marvel, even greater) obsessed with their intellectual and outspoken father’s (Dustin Hoffman) opinions of his underappreciated legacy.  It’s awkward, hilarious, and actually genuinely touching at points, and finally feels like everything a Noah Baumbach film should be.

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Hamlet (1996) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/hamlet-1996-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/hamlet-1996-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Wed, 08 Nov 2017 13:15:36 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104043 By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) – “To be… or not to be?” That is the question. Within the history of theater, many would argue that William Shakespeare’s Hamlet is the greatest play of all time. Its profound exploration of life and death has captivated audiences ever since the early 17th century. It even lead to …

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By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –

“To be… or not to be?” That is the question.

Within the history of theater, many would argue that William Shakespeare’s Hamlet is the greatest play of all time. Its profound exploration of life and death has captivated audiences ever since the early 17th century. It even lead to a celebrated film adaptation in 1948, which starred Laurence Olivier and won the Best Picture Oscar that year. There have always been problems with Shakespearean adaptations, though, mainly because…

1. Modern day audiences sometimes have a hard time understanding Shakespeare’s poetic and rhetorical language
2. Sometimes the plays are so long that filmmakers have to remove certain elements just to make the finished film’s running time reasonable.

In spite of those two key issues, Kenneth Branagh was bold enough to adapt, direct, and star in his 1996 version of Hamlet while also remaining faithful to the original source material. The final result is a Shakespeare adaptation of EPIC proportions!

A Toast

This film features an all-star cast that includes Julie Christie as Gertrude and Kate Winslet as Ophelia. A fun fact is that Kate Winslet was actually working on the set of this film when James Cameron asked her to play Rose in Titanic (1997). The film also features beautiful production design, sumptuous costumes, and an Oscar-nominated screenplay. Part of the reason why this film received its screenplay nomination was because Branagh was bold enough to film every single line of the original play. And of course, Kenneth Branagh is definitely the star of this film since he plays Hamlet himself.

Beer Two

Even though the production design is gorgeous and received an Academy Award nomination, it is actually not that faithful to Shakespeare’s historical time period. That is because the original play was published in the early 1600s, but the overall look of the film is like a Nineteenth Century period drama. A possible reason for this was the popularity of period pieces made in the 1990s, such as Sense and Sensibility in 1995. Coincidentally, Kate Winslet played Marianne Dashwood in that beloved Jane Austen adaptation, and Patrick Doyle composed the original score for both of those films. Even with that minor historical inaccuracy, Hamlet is still a wonderful film that is simply a sight to behold.

Verdict

When it comes to Shakespeare adaptations, it can really be a hit or a miss. A hit might be the Franco Zeffirelli version of Romeo and Juliet (1968), and a miss could be the 2004 version of The Merchant of Venice, starring Al Pacino. Because of the complexity of Shakespeare’s language, film studios are oftentimes very hesitant to allow filmmakers to produce such film adaptations. Thankfully, Kenneth Branagh was very wise when it came to his knowledge of filmmaking, which was probably why Hamlet resonated with audiences even with its four-hour running time.

Hamlet (1996) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time the film mention ears and hearing (which are real motifs from Shakespeare’s original play)

Take a Drink: every time there are moments of deception and misogyny (which help reiterate the theme of the subjective nature of reality)

Enjoy your Favorite Drink: as you watch Kenneth Branagh perform the famous “To be or not to be” soliloquy that is ultimately one of the most iconic scenes in literary history

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Thor: Ragnarok (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/thor-ragnarok-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/thor-ragnarok-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Tue, 07 Nov 2017 13:15:03 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104321 By: Hawk Ripjaw (Two Beers) – Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has been away for a while. After searching far and wide for one of the cosmic infinity stones, he finds himself facing the fire demon Surtur (Clancy Brown) to prevent the Norse version of the apocalypse, Ragnarok. He handily defeats the demon and returns to Asgard …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw (Two Beers) –

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has been away for a while. After searching far and wide for one of the cosmic infinity stones, he finds himself facing the fire demon Surtur (Clancy Brown) to prevent the Norse version of the apocalypse, Ragnarok. He handily defeats the demon and returns to Asgard to find Loki (Tom Hiddelston) posing as Odin (Anthony Hopkins) after having sent their father away at the end of The Dark World. Loki has also accidentally released Hela (Cate Blanchett), the “hot-but-in-an-intimidating-way-because-she-will-kill-you” Goddess of Death, and their sister. Hela, banished for her lust for power and desire to conquer all of the realms, is ready to destroy all of Asgard and claim her place as its leader.

Despite working together, Thor and Loki are easily defeated by Hela and are booted to Sakaar, a dumpster planet run by Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) who pits prisoners against each other in a giant arena. Thor is delighted to find that his first opponent is Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), who unfortunately has been on Sakaar for a long time, stuck in Hulk mode with little of his humanity remaining. Thor must talk some sense into Hulk, reunite his brotherly bond with Loki, and convince a former Asgardian Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) to join him in retaking Asgard from Hela.

A Toast

New Zealand director Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows, Hunt for the Wilderpeople) brings his shamelessly goofy brand of comedy into the MCU, and the result is one of, if not the funniest MCU movie to date. The humor mines sublimely goofy moments from semi-obvious fodder that Waititi spins into gold—Asgard’s name is incorrectly referred to as “ass-burg” by Grandmaster, Thor’s idea of a disguise is ludicrously bad, and the introduction to Sakaar features a great, weirdly specific Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory reference—to name just a couple. Thor is almost a different character the third time around, which would normally be an issue but here just feels like a character is finally getting a chance to capitalize on his abundance of personality.

It’s also beautiful to look at, awash in occasional Frazetta-flavored imagery and 80s glam, the latter spilling over into an awesome synth-lite score and not one, but two uses of Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” that serves as Thor’s battle music. Like the Guardians movies, Ragnarok really marks a reinvention of sorts in the Marvel formula. While there’s still a lot of what has made the rest of the franchise such a mainstream behemoth, there are some more adventurous choices made here that signal more inventiveness going forward.

Goldblum deserves a specific mention for his absolute peak Goldblum status. The man has always had an “I want to be his friend” sense of wonderful eccentricity to the point that it’s literally a brand. Here he’s on brand in a way that he hasn’t been since he worked with Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, and his particular weirdness is nothing short of amazing. Likewise, Waititi himself gives life to the disarmingly sweet rock monster Korg, injecting Waititi’s goofy charm directly into the movie. Marvel movies don’t generally have a personality directly influenced by their directors, but Thor: Ragnarok makes a strong case for that being a good idea.

Beer Two

A noticeable by-product of all the fun there is to be had with Ragnarok is that the stakes have rarely felt lower for a Marvel film. Initial plot announcements pointed out the title’s reference to the Norse version of the apocalypse, something that sounded pretty dark and possibly trilogy-closing for Thor. And there is a bit of that here, but really the movie is so fun and silly and fast-paced that the dramatic bits just don’t have the weight they could have.  That’s probably more of a stylistic choice than a tonal misfire, but the fact remains that “Thor’s evil sister who is the goddess of death and wants to conquer the universe with her undead army after slaughtering all of Asgard” is something that sounds a lot more dire than it ends up being. That said, as the cinematic climate continues to skew towards the dour, Ragnarok is a wonderful break.

Verdict

It turns out that Taika Waititi’s uniquely wacky sense of humor is the perfect fit for Thor, and the pairing of the generally-underused Thor and Hulk makes for a promising bromance. Despite all of the attention given to the destruction of Asgard and the threat of Hela to the entire universe, the movie works just fine as a buddy comedy about the God of Thunder reuniting with the Strongest Avenger. The threat of Hela is fine, but doesn’t really feel like it belongs in what really amounts to a Thor episode with little bearing on the overall MCU. Yet, those more serious plot elements are met with indifference at worst, as the rest is such a pure delight that it’s almost impossible not to love. This is the escapism that we’ve been needing.

Thor: Ragnarok (2017) Movie Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for each cameo you can spot

Make it a Double: if that cameo is a Taika Waititi alum

Do a Shot: whenever someone says “Devil’s anus”

Take a Drink: for every sex joke

Do a Shot: for each Jeff Goldblum-ism

Take a Drink: whenever Korg says something charmingly depressing

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A Bad Moms Christmas (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/a-bad-moms-christmas-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/a-bad-moms-christmas-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Mon, 06 Nov 2017 13:15:57 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104303 By: BabyRuth (Five Beers) – Last year’s Bad Moms was a surprise hit. Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn starred as a trio of mothers who, fed up with the pressures and demands of being perfect, decided to say “fuck that shit” and be, well, bad. Not really, they just drank a lot and told …

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By: BabyRuth (Five Beers) –

Last year’s Bad Moms was a surprise hit. Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn starred as a trio of mothers who, fed up with the pressures and demands of being perfect, decided to say “fuck that shit” and be, well, bad. Not really, they just drank a lot and told off/stood up to the people who were mean to them, took them for granted, or were too demanding. There were hijinks. There was lots of swearing. Then everything worked out in the end and everyone was better off and happy. It was a decent weekend afternoon watch and had some funny parts. It was fine.

It really didn’t require a sequel though. Once the credits rolled, I didn’t feel a burning need to someday revisit these people to see what happens next in their lives. But here we are, a little over a year later, with A Bad Moms Christmas (I guess the lack of apostrophe in the title means it’s supposed to read like they’re a singing group or something and it’s their Christmas special. You know what I mean? As in, they are The Bad Moms™ not just some random bad moms who are having Christmas? I don’t know… I’m done thinking about this. I’m mad enough I have to devote time to writing this review. Oops, spoiler alert: I hated this movie.)

Even though the vomit is barely dry on Sexy Cat costumes everywhere with this movie being released literally one day after Halloween,  it’s time to deck the goddamn halls!

The Bad Moms™ : Amy (Kunis), Kiki (Bell), and Carla (Hahn) are each preparing in their own way. Amy decorates, bakes, shops, wraps, and repeats while narrating just how tough the holidays are for mothers (so I guess the reset button has been pushed after the last movie?). Kiki wears a lot of festive sweaters. Carla gripes about all the trees she has to trim. By “trees” I mean vaginas or as she eloquently puts it, “pussies,” because she works at a spa, in case you forgot (I did). Tis the season!

Everything gets disrupted when the moms’ own mothers show up. And get this—they are each wacky in their own way! Amy’s awesomely-named mother Ruth (Christine Baranski) barges in and overrides Amy’s plans for a quiet and chill holiday with a complete schedule of over-the-top activities, while never missing an opportunity to belittle and criticize her daughter. Sandy (Cheryl Hines) goes all Single White Female on Kiki. Susan Sarandon plays Carla’s mother Isis (oh you read that name right), a drifter who only visits when she needs money.

Amy, Kiki, and Carla again must join forces and this time, “take Christmas back!”

Only, they really don’t. They kind of put up with shit for an hour until they finally stand up for themselves and then are made to feel bad about it (even though they were all completely justified) while the older moms see their errors and everyone apologizes in an abrupt and jarring tonal shift. Then they are all happy and do silly dancing during the end credits.

That’s it, you’re welcome. Seriously, don’t waste your time and money going to see this.

A Toast

This is one of those movies that’s infuriating because it’s such a waste of a good cast.

But, other than signing on, it’s not their fault, so cheers to the very funny (just not in this movie) and talented women. Kunis, Bell, and (especially) Hahn fully commit and swing for the fences, doing their best to try to pull some laughs out of the lazy material.

The casting of the Moms’ moms is inspired. Hahn and Sarandon have the best chemistry and are the most believable mother-daughter combo of the three pairs. Cheryl Hines annoyed the hell out of me, but I guess that was the point, so kudos! Baranski’s overbearing, overcritical, perfectionist mother is basically the same character as the one she plays on The Big Bang Theory (shut up, you watch it and know exactly what I am talking about), but she does it so damn well and easily steals the movie.

The men are pretty much glorified extras whose only purpose is to react to all the “zaniness” with the exception of Justin Hartley who shows up as a potential love interest for Carla. He’s pretty great as the sweet and extremely well-endowed firefighter/exotic dancer/fantasy for the drunk women target audience who wins her heart during a ball-waxing session, but again, would have benefited from better writing.

Beer Two

Have I mentioned that this movie is not funny? Not even a little. I didn’t laugh once. I didn’t even almost-laugh once. It’s that lazy type of humor (no surprise, with Hangover writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore at the helm once again) full of “shocking” sight gags, foul language as the punchline, and no actual comedy.

There are a few attempts to set up and execute a genuine joke between all the “fucks,” “taints,” and penis-shaped cookies, but Lucas and Moore manage to screw those up.

For example, Baranski’s character plans to throw an elaborate Christmas party in Amy’s home and talks about hiring Kenny G. Then she mentions it several more times throughout the film.  Gee, do you think Kenny G is going to make a cameo? Is the audience actually supposed to be surprised when he shows up? The way you do something like this is, you mention it once, ONCE, and then pay it off later. (Last year’s Why Him? also botched this.)

Similarly, the aforementioned ball-waxing scene, clearly designed to be the sequence everyone’s going to be talking about, starts out with a funny concept but then goes on and on until it all the humor is sucked out of the idea. Same with Hines’ character’s guilt-trip attempts of announcing she has made-up diseases.

Beer Three

The first movie worked (for the most part) because the characters and situations were believable and relatable.

But that all goes right the hell out the window here. Everyone in this movie is such an over-the-top caricature that not one person (okay, maybe Amy’s boyfriend) would actually exist in real life.

Likewise, in what world would these situations occur?  How can you find and close on a house in two days? Wouldn’t one get arrested for stealing a Christmas tree from a busy store (or also, groceries right out of people’s carriages)? How about for sexually assaulting a mall Santa?  How can a person (even Christine Baranski) completely redecorate a house, order food and drinks, hire employees, and find a camel in five hours?

Most importantly, where are these malls whose food courts serve beer?

Beer Four

While I didn’t hate the first Bad Moms, I have a hard time remembering a lot of it. The main thing I do recall is the slow-mo montage of the moms getting drunk and going grocery shopping.  That’s likely the standout scene most people remember, so in A Bad Moms Christmas we get another, nearly shot-for-shot, montage of the moms behaving badly—this time at a mall.

Why stop there? How about another montage of the families at SkyZone (who likely footed a large portion of this movie’s budget)? But why limit the montages at SkyZone to just one? How about TWO montages at SkyZone? More is better, right?!

There are so many friggin’ montages I lost count.

Beer Five

Like in the first movie, when the running time calls for it, everything must be resolved in a big sentimental finale. Despite Kunis and Baranski’s best efforts (and they are both excellent when they get to show real range) it’s unearned and feels slapped on.

Verdict

This is, quite possibly, the worst (in the bad way) holiday movie I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen Santa With Muscles (which coincidentally also had Mila Kunis in it). Skip this lazy cash-grab sequel that contains nothing that made the first movie fun (and funny).

A Bad Moms Christmas (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever a character does (go easy)

Take a Drink: whenever Ruth gives her grandchildren wrapped gifts while telling them the very expensive contents

Take a Drink: for every:

  • “fuck” (two when a child says it)
  • “pussy”
  • “balls”
  • “taint”

Take a Drink: whenever Ruth doesn’t remember meeting Amy’s boyfriend Jesse

Take a Drink: every time Kenny G is mentioned.

Do a Shot: when Kenny G shows up

Do a Shot: for every montage

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Thank You For Your Service (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/thank-service-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/thank-service-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sun, 05 Nov 2017 13:15:06 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104183 By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) – You can’t help but compare Jason Hall’s last script, American Sniper to his present one, and directorial debut, Thank You for Your Service. Although Miles Teller probably doesn’t get mistaken for Bradley Cooper terribly often. Both films explore the emotional and mental toll wartime has on our servicemen, but refreshingly there’s no …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –

You can’t help but compare Jason Hall’s last script, American Sniper to his present one, and directorial debut, Thank You for Your Service.

Although Miles Teller probably doesn’t get mistaken for Bradley Cooper terribly often.

Both films explore the emotional and mental toll wartime has on our servicemen, but refreshingly there’s no change Thank You for Your Service will be mistaken as a nationalist chest-thumper like American Sniper was by many.  No, this film is entirely about the home front, as three soldiers (Miles Teller, Beulah Koale, and Joe Cole) return from Iraq to varying degrees of familial support but the same Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which surfaces in the men in unpredictable and varied ways.

A Toast

In order for a film like Thank You for Your Service to have the impact that it should, it’s absolutely essential that the audience quickly bonds with and invests in the emotions of its leads.  A film spent talking about feelings and traumas that are only shown in flashbacks requires an audience that is even more interested in those feelings than they are the wartime action that created them.

Otherwise, you get this.

Teller, Koale, and Cole are able to quickly and effectively display their immutable brotherhood and build rapport with the audience so that when their domestic lives begin to be subsumed by PTSD our hearts are torn right along with their families’.  Teller yet again demonstrates his ability to be entirely inhabited by his characters, playing in some ways the toughest role- the Sergeant who has to be strong for his comrades and his superiors, the man who takes care of others, not the man who needs to be taken care of, no matter how much that may not be true.

It’s Koale, though, who steals the screen as a man from a tough background who will tell anyone who listens that “the Army saved my life”, but who’s memory has been affected to a startling degree an IED explosion.  While it’s Koale’s first role, unless he’s actually an Iraq veteran suffering from crippling PTSD and memory loss, he deserves a place in the Best Supporting Actor conversation.  He just is his character, and through his eyes we see the confusion and betrayal that our finest returning home from wartime too often justifiably feel.

Beer Two

Jason Hall does not shy away from the cliches you’d expect from this type of film, from the almost cartoonishly callous superiors to the pitbull Koale saves after it was discarded to die post-dogfight to the flirting with a life of crime subplot to the melodramatic “Just live your life.  That’s how you honor him” at the end.  These actors and Hall’s generally excellent instincts for naturalistic scene-setting and incidental dialogue save the film from wallowing in that cliche, but it definitely pops up here and there.

Beer Three

Amy Schumer, yes, that Amy Schumer, is entrusted with delivering that final cathartic line, but she shouldn’t have been.  Died brown hair and a lack of makeup do not a dramatic actress make, and while it’s always nice to see comedic superstars try their hand at something different, she’s not playing at the level of her castmates here yet, and it shows, badly.

Verdict

Thank You For Your Service often takes the conventional path, but ends up an affecting and rousing portrait of those who have given so much.

Last Call:  In many ways, the most surprising and affecting element of the film is the immediate pre-credits scrawl.

Thank You For Your Service (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever somebody acts callous towards a soldier

Take a Drink: for every flashback or hallucination

Take a Drink: for every mention of drugs

Take a Drink: whenever you see a gun

Take a Drink: whenever anyone mentions suicide

Do a Shot: for every single Amy Schumer scene

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Ken’s Movie Diary 2017 – Week 36? http://movieboozer.com/articles/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-36 http://movieboozer.com/articles/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-36#respond Sat, 04 Nov 2017 17:15:46 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103890 Weekly Update: More movies movies movies movies… Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date- 274. Of Unknown Origin (1983) This amazing little movie tells the story of one man’s fight against a ravaging rodent invading his house and home. Bart Hughes (Peter Weller) is …

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Weekly Update: More movies movies movies movies…

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

274. Of Unknown Origin (1983)

This amazing little movie tells the story of one man’s fight against a ravaging rodent invading his house and home. Bart Hughes (Peter Weller) is a successful business suit on the verge of a major promotion when his wife and kid leave the house on a trip. Bart discovers that a vicious rat has infiltrated the home, and becomes obsessed with killing it. The film plays fast and loose with realism, making Bart’s fight with the rat feel like a descent into madness.

275. Professor Marston & the Wonder Women (2017)

Professor Marston was a successful Psychology professor in the 1920s who along with his brilliant wife invented the lie detector and pioneered a whole new theory on human behavior (DISC theory). On top of that, Marston was the creator of Wonder Woman, the first female superhero to be accepted into the canon of great comic icons. This compelling biopic explores Marston’s private life, where he, his wife, and another woman lived an unusual, but committed 3-person relationship (with a hefty helping of BDSM).

276. The Foreigner (2017)

Jackie Chan plays Mr. Quan, a Chinese restaurant owner whose daughter is murdered in a bombing in London. Distraught and angry, he watches the news and once he sees an IRA connection to the bombing, he seizes the opportunity to go after Irish Deputy Minister Liam Hennessy (Pierce Brosnan), who he believes knows more than he is letting on. This movie is a tonal mess, moving between some truly dramatic sequences and comically silly action set-pieces with blatant disregard for common sense.

277. The Snowman (2017)

Read my full review here

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It Doesn’t Suck: Killing Gunther (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/doesnt-suck-killing-gunther-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/doesnt-suck-killing-gunther-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sat, 04 Nov 2017 12:15:14 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104075 Inspired by  Adam Nayman’s book It Doesn’t Suck: Showgirls, this brand new column is dedicated to movies that received either mixed or negative reviews. Just like Nayman’s analysis contributed to Paul Verhoeven’s movie’s classic cult status, reviews presented in this category aim at highlighting everything brilliant about overlooked masterpieces and new releases. By: Maria R. …

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Inspired by  Adam Nayman’s book It Doesn’t Suck: Showgirls, this brand new column is dedicated to movies that received either mixed or negative reviews. Just like Nayman’s analysis contributed to Paul Verhoeven’s movie’s classic cult status, reviews presented in this category aim at highlighting everything brilliant about overlooked masterpieces and new releases.

By: Maria R. (Two Beers) –

Released just a month ago, Killing Gunther has mostly received negative reviews with few critics appreciating the former Saturday Night Live alum’s first directorial effort. This should come as no surprise, though, as even the synopsis of Taran Killam’s debut sounds generic and anything but exciting. Indeed, given a number of movies revolving around ensembles that have been produced over the past few years, the story of seven killers hired by the insecure hitman Blake (Killam) to take down the assassin Gunther (Arnold Schwarzenegger) who has been screwing him over professionally and personally doesn’t seem too unique. At first glance, the use of the mockumentary format isn’t likely to excite potential viewers either, for the style has been associated with low-budget indies for quite awhile now. So why doesn’t this movie suck?

A Toast

Schwarzenegger has been in the centre of the movie’s marketing campaign which has led to many disappointed spectators and dubious critiques that have denoted the actor’s short amount of screen time.  On the other hand, Killam should be praised for the sole fact that not everything that is funny and actually worth seeing was used in the film’s trailer. That said, even though each member of Blake’s crew is introduced in the teasers, seeing them in the first act doesn’t feel repetitive: Killam has a lot to offer as the narration progresses. Paradoxically, the characters who at times look like they’ve been inspired by re-used caricatures look more fresh and interesting than the Suicide Squad members. Plus, luckily for us, they’re all shown within the first 15 minutes before the act gets stale.

In addition to that, kudos go to Killam for not relying on the vérité style as the main asset to squeeze laughs out of the audience. Instead, using the documentarians to move the plot along without having them break the forth wall, he focuses more on the likes of his “team”: Allison Tolman, Bobby Moynihan, Aaron Yoo, Steve Bacic, Ryan Gaul, Amir Talai, and Paul Brittain. The cast was given a chance to improvise on set, and without a doubt that was the best decision one could make to create the illusion of chemistry between the characters that are united by such a questionable goal. Moreover, the plot twists that might have been considered cheap in a different genre magically work here; take the ridiculous romantic storyline between Sanaa (Simone) and Donnie (Moynihan) for example.

Beer Two

Here’s what doesn’t seem to work though. First, there’s Killam’s bizarre combination of action flick sarcastic deconstruction and over-the-top humor. For instance, we have Gabe (Brittain) remarking that it’s impossible to enhance Gunther’s image that the documentarians were able to get during the assassins’ first meeting. The joke is later juxtaposed to the character being killed by a tombstone landing on his head.

Other than that, further into the movie we find out that Blake’s determination is dictated by personal revenge: turns out, Gunther was romantically involved with the hitman’s ex-girlfriend Lisa (Cobie Smulders). The storyline appears underdeveloped and rushed. To make matters worse, it looks like Lisa’s appearance is added only to provide the protagonist with his enemy’s address. To top it all off, Schwarzenegger finally arrives at the very end of the third act.

A lot of people have lamented the waste of the talents implemented in the movie. The characters are quickly eliminated and Blake spends most of his time trying to figure out what he’s doing wrong. In fact, he’s got everything it takes to make things go for him: a dream-team, a mentor (Aubrey Sixto), even Gunther’s address. Maybe this is Killam’s message. Movies are made and their directors feel entitled. They want to be the best and they want it right now.

They combine sophisticated jokes with over-the-top humor without truly balancing it out. They have stars performing in their films, ludicrously expansive CGI effects, and unnecessarily storylines embedded to make their material look like a real full-fledged movie rather than an extended SNL skit. To which Schwarzenegger’s Gunther says: “Well, that’s bullshit. You know how I became the best? I did it the old-fashioned way. I earned it. I’ve been doing it for almost 50 fucking years so I deserve to be the best.”

Verdict

Whether Schwarzenegger simply deserves to be goofy and silly with his roles just because he’s been in the business for more than 50 years is another question. But the fact that one can’t be the best by simply getting rid of the best holds true. Apart from that, Killing Gunther makes fun of its audience too. Our generation does want immediacy; in other words, we want to see Arnold as soon as possible and get frustrated by the end of the second act where he’s nowhere to be seen. But don’t worry, he shows up eventually, and oh, he’s so worth the waiting. Let’s sincerely hope that one day Killam’s talent is anticipated and appreciated just as much. Given he gets to such point the old-fashioned way.

Killing Gunther (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever a new member of Blake’s team is introduced

Do a Shot: every time one of Blake’s team members dies

Take a Drink: every time you see Sanna’s dad on screen

Do a Shot: every time something doesn’t go the way Blake plans

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Trailer Reviews: Thor: Ragnarok http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-thor-ragnarok http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-thor-ragnarok#respond Fri, 03 Nov 2017 17:15:06 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104258 By: Hawk Ripjaw – Thor: Ragnarok I have a theory on the way Marvel movies have been marketed recently. Marvel had to start out in more basic terms, letting their trailers and posters appeal to as broad a market as possible in their risky bid to create the biggest interconnected universe in movie history. Their …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw –

Thor: Ragnarok

I have a theory on the way Marvel movies have been marketed recently. Marvel had to start out in more basic terms, letting their trailers and posters appeal to as broad a market as possible in their risky bid to create the biggest interconnected universe in movie history. Their first huge chunk of movies had to have as much mass market appeal as possible to get people to go see the movies. But now, they’ve got a built-in audience: you can’t just not go see the newest Marvel flick. That, along with the success of the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, has made Marvel much more adventurous. This is why the trailers and posters for Ragnarok (and even Black Panther to a lesser extent) have more color than LSD-infused Skittles.  If Iron Man pulled that shit all the way back in 2008, we wouldn’t be here with the god of thunder and a giant green man having space adventures. And that’s the most exciting part of the Marvel brand at this point: it’s comic book as fuck, and I can’t wait.

Beer Prediction

I didn’t even talk about how this is directed by Taika Waititi, who made What We Do in the Shadows and the amazing Hunt for the Wilderpeople. This is a man who wants to make a great movie before he makes a studio movie, and who probably knows what he’s doing more than at least a handful of other MCU directorial choices.

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Fantasia International Film Festival: Most Beautiful Island (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/fantasia-international-film-festival-most-beautiful-island-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/fantasia-international-film-festival-most-beautiful-island-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Fri, 03 Nov 2017 12:15:18 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102752 By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) – The South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival is know for its high-profile genre premieres, which this year included Baby Driver, Atomic Blonde, Free Fire, and The Disaster Artist among others, but its actual Narrative Competition award winners tend towards the more independent. 2016’s Narrative Award winner Most Beautiful Island, this year’s big winner, is an …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –

The South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival is know for its high-profile genre premieres, which this year included Baby Driver, Atomic Blonde, Free Fire, and The Disaster Artist among others, but its actual Narrative Competition award winners tend towards the more independent.

2016’s Narrative Award winner

Most Beautiful Island, this year’s big winner, is an NYC-set immigrant drama that very quickly turns into a psychological thriller, as a job that sounds too good to be true soon proves to be for Luciana (Ana Asensio).

A Toast

Perhaps most impressive about this film is that not only does Asensio star, featuring in nearly every (or quite possibly every) frame, but she also wrote the film and directs it.

Despite the multiple hats she wears in this film’s production, she shies away from the simple or the straightforward.  The story is very surreal, between what characters do for a living (the chicken flyers scene followed by them throwing away their costumes in a bathroom), the imagery (cockroaches exploding through the wall and drowning in a bathtub in close-up), and what dangerous game the characters get drawn into (the anticipation is half the fun here, so I’ll leave that a secret).

Style-wise, the oblique, hand-held cinematography puts you on edge, but still finds spots of beauty in non-traditionally beautiful NYC environs, and the editing is set on engineering the maximum tension it can, especially in the film’s breathlessly fast final 3o minutes.

Finally, Larry Fessenden, aka Jack Nicholson’s depraved younger brother, is always a welcome presence and a great sign of genre bona fides.

No?

Beer Two

The bathroom scene is a big overwrought, and I can’t begin to fathom what her plan was there.  Seduce the guy to let her go, but you know, without any touching?  In general, doesn’t seem like she thinks a lot of things through, which, of course, is how a plot like this has to work, I suppose.

Verdict

Most Beautiful Island is a quick and dirty thriller in the guise of a immigrant drama that will keep you on your toes.

Most Beautiful Island (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for insects

Take a Drink: for red flags

Take a Drink: whenever Luciana pulls a fast one

Do a Shot: Hey, that’s the title!

Do a Shot: for each round of The Game

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Jigsaw (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/jigsaw-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/jigsaw-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Thu, 02 Nov 2017 12:15:23 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104224 By: Reel 127 (Six Pack) – “If it’s Halloween, it must be Saw.” Oh how this franchise has returned with a vengeance. Saw had ended with its seventh movie, Saw 3D or Saw the Final Chapter or “Saw: What is Dead May Never Die.” The franchise had stopped being successful despite its incredibly low budgets. …

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By: Reel 127 (Six Pack) –

“If it’s Halloween, it must be Saw.” Oh how this franchise has returned with a vengeance. Saw had ended with its seventh movie, Saw 3D or Saw the Final Chapter or “Saw: What is Dead May Never Die.” The franchise had stopped being successful despite its incredibly low budgets. The Paranormal Activity franchise had become the films that everyone saw on Halloween, but now Paranormal Activity has ended. Jigsaw has risen to reclaim the throne of the Halloween franchise king.

There are no more Halloween, Friday the 13th, or

Nightmare on Elm Streets left. This is the best we get.

Jigsaw takes place ten years after the death of John Kramer, the Jigsaw killer (so ten years after Saw 3 and 4 for those of you who try to follow the continuity). A game has started and now five people are fighting for their lives to survive the sadistic killer’s games. At the same time, police are puzzled by how a dead man has come back as the evidence shows Jigsaw is still alive.

I first got into the Saw films in middle school. The perfect time, too- being an edgy teenager really made me want to watch the series. Now as I look back all I can see is a series willing to compromise its own continuity and logic for the sake of making endings that will have the audience go “Damn!” I am going to put a huge spoiler warning up now. Skip to the verdict if you want to avoid them.

Abandon hope, all who enter.

A Toast

This felt like a walk down memory lane. The scene where we see the collection of old traps… was a terrible scene. But! It was great to see all the things that made the franchise memorable back when there was anything worth remembering about it.

Couldn’t help but notice this monstrosity was left out.

The second to last trap was the only moment I genuinely enjoyed. The final two survivors meet face to face with Jigsaw and are chained to the wall, a callback to the original Saw. The game appears to be set up where one must shoot the other. The female lead, Anna, who we have more or less been rooting for up until now, gets the gun and shoots. We see her refusal to learn the lesson Jigsaw was trying to teach, and in doing so she kills herself and destroys the two keys hidden in the shotgun shell. It was the only time I felt enjoyment that wasn’t sarcasm or laughter at absurdity.

Beer Two

Get ready for the shit list. The reason the very first Saw film worked was because it played with audience’s minds as opposed to being a gore fest like every single film after it. Those who died in their traps were only given short recaps of their demise and the more drawn out scenes (Reverse Bear Trap and bathroom trap) were longer because of the characters trying and mostly succeeding in surviving. It was showing how far someone would go to survive, even if they were beginning to feel complacent in their lives. The horror came from making the audience think from the characters’ perspectives. By the second film this was all thrown out in favor of showing as many people dying in as gruesome of ways as possible. Jigsaw continues this tradition of sacrificing complexity for the sake of making more torture porn for the teenage masses.

Why make people question their own morals
when you can have awesome death scenes, amiright!?

Beer Three

As the bloodiness rose, so did the ridiculousness. The first Saw worked because it was believable that a vigilante serial killer could do something like Jigsaw in real life. But as the traps became more and more complex that was quickly lost. Heck, one of the traps in the first film was just a maze of razor wires. Any serial killer could put something like that together. At the very least, the complexity of the traps only increased the longer it went. As if Jigsaw felt he needed to one up himself with each new game he made. Which makes the traps in Jigsaw much more annoying. We find out at the end that the game with the five people took place long before John Kramer ever died. It even took place before the first movie! Meaning all the complex ridiculous traps were made back when Jigsaw was still keeping his operation small and simple. Just another time the Saw franchise has pissed on its own continuity.

Beer Four

Jigsaw fails even if you try to look at it as a stand-alone movie. Instead of taking after its predecessors by starting with a slow and dark scene to establish the mood, we immediately begin with a chase scene. There’s nothing wrong with starting differently, but it sets a tone of “don’t take this very seriously” while trying its best to scare people with unbelievable set-ups. You can’t have a movie that is scary that won’t even try to hold some suspension of disbelief!

Nothing scream realistic like a trap
made of lasers that cut your head open.

As much as this film tried its best to not call back to the original films (Jigsaw is the only character to return from the original), it can’t help but copy all the good and bad of the originals. We continue to argue Jigsaw’s morals as this time his victims all have done something that caused others to die. Originally he chose his victims because they didn’t appreciate life and even wished to be dead, then he gave them the choice to live or die. But by Saw II it had basically become anyone he had a grudge against. Jigsaw even continues with Jigsaw being an omniscient god who knows and sees all. One of the traps in Jigsaw revolves around how much change a woman stole from a purse. How the fuck could he have found that out?

For being an all knowing god
he sure as hell didn’t know when he was going to die.

Beer Five

God bless Tobin Bell! This man has been doing these films for over a decade now and if it weren’t for him this franchise would have died long ago. Now that we have surpassed the number of movies he has been alive for they will find any excuse to have him show up in a flashback. I remember in an interview a long time ago, a producer said that for Jigsaw’s part they write “insert Tobin Bell dialogue” in the script. Bell is able to give such presence in every scene he is in that it doesn’t matter what is happening or even what he is doing. That couldn’t be truer with his one scene in Jigsaw.

Above: The only reason anyone buys a ticket to these movies.

Jigsaw gives a monologue about the final two victims needing to learn their lessons. All while he takes apart a box with several saw blades in it. When he finishes taking apart the saw box he gets out a shotgun for the final game. There was no fucking purpose to him having the box of saws other than to be menacing. He even takes it out of the room when he leaves. Bell’s performance in Saw will always be remembered despite how stupid these movies are.

Beer Six

That final twist. That final fucking twist was the final thing this movie needed to promise that the Saw franchise can never truly die. This series will go on for decades and decades like many horror franchises before it.

A quick recap of the times they used the “secretly helping Jigsaw twist”:

  • In Saw II, it turns out Amanda had been working with Jigsaw and is his apprentice.
  • In Saw IV, it turns out Detective Hoffman has been working with Jigsaw since before the first Saw film!
  • In Saw 3D, it turns out Dr. Gordon, the guy who most assumed bled out after cutting off his leg, has been secretly working with Jigsaw since the end of Saw!
  • In Jigsaw, it turns out this guy Logan, who just got introduced in this movie, has been working with Jigsaw since the very, very beginning. Despite him never being mentioned previously and the fact his presence would have drastically changed the dynamic of the original franchise. In fact, the only reason Logan is alive is because Jigsaw does something he has literally never done. Save someone from the middle of a game. So in pulling this twist for the fourth time they managed to take a shit on Jigsaw’s entire character.

As long as the Saw franchise keeps copping out with a new “Jigsaw,” while using flashbacks to force in Tobin Bell, they can keep this franchise going on forever. They will just keep breaking continuity with each new movie they make.

Verdict

If you have reached a loving, yet hateful relationship with the Saw franchise then you will love Jigsaw. It was a nostalgic trip of unintentional comedy not worth missing by fans. For those who have never gotten into the Saw films, don’t start with Jigsaw. I can only advise watching this once you suffer through the first seven movies.

“What is dead may never die,
but grows harder and stronger.”

Jigsaw (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time someone meets a bloody end.

Take a Drink: every time there is a “trap” shown and/ or explained.

Take a Drink: every time there is a reference to the original Saw series.

Take a Drink: every time you can hear the Saw theme play.

Do a Shot: for the opening remix version of the theme.

Take a Drink: every time the iconic “Live or Die” line is uttered.

Take a Drink: every time you can easily discover a continuity mistake/issue.

Do a Shot: when Tobin Bell finally shows up.

Finish Your Drink: as that batshit explanation of an ending plays on through.

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Virtual Pub 228: Marshall, Thank you for your Service, Brawl in Cell Block 99 etc http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-228-marshall-thank-service-brawl-cell-block-99-etc http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-228-marshall-thank-service-brawl-cell-block-99-etc#respond Thu, 02 Nov 2017 03:00:41 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104255 The post Virtual Pub 228: Marshall, Thank you for your Service, Brawl in Cell Block 99 etc appeared first on MovieBoozer.

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Suburbicon (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/suburbicon-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/suburbicon-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Wed, 01 Nov 2017 12:15:26 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104236 By: Hawk Ripjaw (Four Beers) – Suburbicon is every 1950s neighborhood: everyone knows the mailman, the supermarket is just down the street, the residential lanes and the houses the line them are perfectly symmetrical, and each and every citizen has the same idea of what the perfect life should be: all-white. The arrival of the …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw (Four Beers) –

Suburbicon is every 1950s neighborhood: everyone knows the mailman, the supermarket is just down the street, the residential lanes and the houses the line them are perfectly symmetrical, and each and every citizen has the same idea of what the perfect life should be: all-white. The arrival of the Mayers, an African American family, startles and offends the rest of the neighborhood.

Directly behind them lives the Lodge family: Gardner (Matt Damon), his wheelchair-bound wife Rose (Julianne Moore), her twin sister Margaret (Julianne Moore), and his son Nicky (Noah Jupe). When two thugs break into their home one night resulting in the death of Rose, Margaret decides to move in. Nicky grows suspicious of his parent and aunt when Margaret dyes her hair to more closely resemble Rose, and she and Gardner begin discussing Rose’s life insurance money after neglecting to call out the thugs in a lineup. Something sinister is happening in Suburbicon, and it’s not the minorities living next door.

A Toast

Suburbicon certainly isn’t short on style, and Clooney’s film draws influence from both neo-noir and from the long-abandoned idea of the perfect nuclear family setup in a neighborhood whose houses are indistinguishable from each other. The latter now elicits a certain sense of dread and artifice masking something sinister, which Clooney mostly gets right from the get-go. Matt Damon and Julianne Moore are as reliable as ever, but the real standouts are Noah Jupe as a child watching everything fall apart around him, and Oscar Isaac as an insurance claim investigator who knows exactly who he’s about to back into a corner. Particularly with Isaac, the movie comes alive in his brief moments onscreen and it’s here where everything feels like it works together. Unfortunately, the rest is almost fatally unfocused.

Beer Two

The rules of screenwriting credits are as such: if two or more writers have an ampersand connecting their names, it means that the writers wrote it together as a creative team. However, if one or more writers are separated by the word “and,” the latter writer came in to make edits after a first draft was completed by the former writer. This can often cause some weird and noticeable inconsistencies in the final script. With Clooney and collaborator Grant Heslov reworking the original Coen Brothers script, the finished product has exactly that feeling of two movies trying to occupy the same space.

Beer Three

This in turn leads to bigger issues with tone, as the spirit of a dark screwball comedy is consistently undermined by much more serious elements. As Clooney had promised, this is not a very funny movie. In fact, at many points it gets quite grim and sinister. That’s certainly not outside of the Coen wheelhouse, but the brothers almost always manage to drop quirky characters into grim situations and still make it fun. Suburbicon has a couple of quirky characters, but they have no harmony with the events of the movie in a way that would make it work. Instead, there are just really unpleasant things happening while characters that should be fun just feel muted or out of place.

Beer Four

Suburbicon’s biggest problem is its bizarre, largely unexplained decision to feature a subplot surrounding the town’s reaction to a black family moving in. Every few scenes, there’s another glimpse at the townspeople of Suburbicon, seemingly with nothing else to do other than yell and bang on drums outside the Mayers house all day and night.

This is supposed to be ironic: the entire town and even the news are preoccupied with the idea of a black family in the neighborhood while something actually sinister is going on in the house right behind them. But a topic as weighted as racial politics needs a consistent through-line in the narrative as a whole to be effective, and Suburbicon almost treats it like an afterthought. It’s an interesting idea to point out the tunnel vision people can get when confronted with a different skin color, but the way it’s shown in the movie just feels hopelessly grim rather than thematically effective.

Verdict

On top of feeling like a faint knockoff of a Coen Brothers movie, Suburbicon is also frustratingly inconsistent in general. There are a handful of scenes that show that Clooney can be a talented director—primarily the two involving Isaac—but the rest don’t feel confident. There are two decent movies hiding in here, but they directly conflict, each tone constantly getting shortchanged to make room for the other. There’s a directly opposing caveat to nearly everything likeable about Suburbicon, which in a movie that eventually makes it very clear what it wants to do, is just disheartening when it so soundly fails to do it.

Suburbicon (2017) Movie Drinking Game

Do a Shot: for each death

Take a Drink: for every time the action switches back to the neighborhood protesting the new family

Take a Drink: for every dramatic music sting

Take a Drink: whenever someone apologizes for Rose’s death

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Marshall (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/marshall-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/marshall-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Tue, 31 Oct 2017 12:15:59 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104208 By: Oberst von Berauscht – In 1940 NAACP attorney (and future Supreme Court Justice) Thurgood Marshall (Chadwick Boseman) was dispatched to Connecticut to defend the case of Joseph Seall (Sterling K. Brown). Spell was a chauffeur accused of rape by the wife of the man for whom he worked. When the Judge declined to permit …

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By: Oberst von Berauscht –

In 1940 NAACP attorney (and future Supreme Court Justice) Thurgood Marshall (Chadwick Boseman) was dispatched to Connecticut to defend the case of Joseph Seall (Sterling K. Brown). Spell was a chauffeur accused of rape by the wife of the man for whom he worked. When the Judge declined to permit out-of-state attorney Marshall to argue in court, Connecticut lawyer Sam Friedman (Josh Gad) was forced to lead the arguments, with Marshall supporting.

A Toast

Marshall chooses to focus on a single event in the life of the eponymous figure; a wise decision, as it allows a deeper focus on character. Chadwick Boseman seems to be a go-to actor for historical drama these days, having recently played both Jackie Robinson and James Brown.  Marshall is a step up from those by the numbers biopics, with a solid script and supporting performances from Josh Gad, Sterling K. Brown, and others.

Including James “crazy beard” Cromwell…

Director Reginald Hudlin keeps the film moving at a steady pace, revealing the pieces of the film’s puzzle a bit at a time like a classic courtroom drama. Hudlin’s directing background is mostly in comedy, and he does bring a touch or two of humor to keep the film’s mood even. But the humor never feels forced or overwhelms the seriousness of the situations the film’s characters get into.

Beer Two

Sticking to what works in typical courtroom drama, Marshall could be accused of not aspiring to anything more than being a genre picture. Indeed Marshall’s story beats are quite predictable, even to those unfamiliar with the history behind the case. However, the performances and dialogue are strong enough to keep the film from feeling dull or ordinary. Chadwick Boseman carries enough suave style to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool, which counteracts most deleterious effects.

“Excuse me, 1940s White Mob, but I’m too busy swaggering”

Beer Three

There is a scene in the film in which Marshall sits down at a table to talk about the case with his friend Langston Hughes. This is one of those compulsory scenes in historical drama where people meet and talk about famous things happening to remind you of the year the film takes place. It seems all historical dramas have this scene, or several of them, and it always takes me out of the movie. Though thankfully it isn’t as bad as the Picasso scene in Titanic…

“That Picasso Guy? Oh, he’ll NEVER catch on!”

Verdict

Marshall is a solid historically-based courtroom drama with a compelling narrative and performances.

Marshall (2017) Movie Review

Take a Drink: every time Marshall or Friedman’s name is spoken

Take a Drink: for historical African-American name-dropping

Take a Drink: whenever the Judge makes a ruling on an issue

Do a Shot: for protesters!

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365 Days of Movies- Henry J. Fromage Edition- Week 41 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-41 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-41#respond Mon, 30 Oct 2017 17:15:49 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103936 By: Henry J. Fromage – I was able to keep up my enhanced pace from last week, and have started to dig into the bounty of missed critical darlings from earlier in the year and in theaters. 211. Gerald’s Game Once this Mike Flanagan-directed Stephen King adaptation gets its claws into you, it really digs …

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By: Henry J. Fromage –

I was able to keep up my enhanced pace from last week, and have started to dig into the bounty of missed critical darlings from earlier in the year and in theaters.

211. Gerald’s Game

Once this Mike Flanagan-directed Stephen King adaptation gets its claws into you, it really digs in and doesn’t let go.  Carla Gugino is absolutely captivating as a woman who finds herself alone and handcuffed to a bed with nothing but her husband’s (Bruce Greenwood) corpse and the specters of past and present to keep her company.  Her arguments with those specters and mad struggle for survival will hook you entirely.  Nevermind the utterly unnecessary epilogue- a dealbreaker for some, but not for me.

212. Rat Film

Rat Film may start out as an examination of rats’ coexistence with humankind, but becomes much more- a history of animals far more insidious to our well-being.  Director Theo Anthony takes his time coming around to his central premise, but finds a throughline between Baltimore’s (not that the metropolis in particular mattered- many U.S. cities share disturbing similarities I’m sure) history of rat control and it’s history of zoning and racial containment that culminates in a stunning comparison between color-coded maps drawn out in secret by city planners a hundred years ago and demographic heat maps of all of Baltimore’s social ills today.  They’re virtually identical.

213. Only the Brave

This story of the heroic and tragic Stone Mountain Hot Shots is rendered in much the same style as Peter Berg’s ripped from the headlines masculine weepies Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon, and Patriot’s Day.  You come to know these men, played by recognizable character actors like James Badge Dale, Taylor Kitsch, and yet another eccentric and amazing Jeff Bridges performance.   Then the fires start, and director Joseph Kosinski shows he’s got more in his toolbox than just inconsistent, amazing-looking sci-fi.  The emotional core of the film, though, and what really elevates it to something especially effective, is the core relationship between team captain Josh Brolin, junkie fuckup Miles Teller, who reminds him so much of himself, and Jennifer Connelly as Brolin’s wife, who’s not sure she’s so okay with giving her man to wildfires for broad swathes of the year.

214. The Florida Project

This is an unfairytale of a uniquely American vagrancy- permanent residents of the Magic Kingdom Motel in the shadow of its just a tad less seedy namesake.  Sean Baker, who’s made a career of documenting the tribulations and small but brilliant beauties in the lives of some of America’s least visible citizens, from African immigrant Time Square handbag hustlers to transvestite prostitutes on the Sunset Strip, brings both a purely empathetic humanity and an unjaundiced eye towards the consequences of his characters’ actions.  What sets The Florida Project apart from the rest of his filmography, and what has set it on the path to some measure of Oscar glory, is how he takes the point of view of the children for which this stripmall and marshland existence is perhaps magical in its own right, but as adults we see how Willem Dafoe, playing the compassionate motel manager, and Bria Vinaite, playing the lead’s mother have to scramble in the background of this sunkissed concrete playground to preserve any measure of dignity and constancy.

215. The Snowman

I heard this was the right kind of bad- hilariously bad, “how did this get made?” bad, and the production stories seemed to correlate with that- director Tomas Alfredson claiming large chunks of the script were unshot, the terrible ADR on Val Kilmer (and in a few other scenes), etc.  However, I’m sad to report that this is honestly a very pedestrian kind of bad.  I can’t imagine how 15 minutes of unshot footage could have helped such an uninspired airport novel plot, or what in the world could have attracted such a top-notch assemblage of talent to waste a year of their lives on this thing.  It’s a decade-late Silence of the Lambs wanna-be, which has been edited and in spurts amusingly reconfigured to be a coherent story, which is probably what went most wrong here.  I suspect that there was more, you know, mystery, in the source material, and in salvaging what must have been a true mess they lost that aspect in the name of putting together a story that network TV procedural consumers can follow.  In the process they lost anything resembling a story worth telling.

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The Song of Bernadette (1943) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/2beers/the-song-of-bernadette-1943-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/2beers/the-song-of-bernadette-1943-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Mon, 30 Oct 2017 12:15:29 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103964 By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) – Jennifer Lawrence is one of the hottest young actresses working in Hollywood today. She won an Oscar at the age of 22 for Silver Linings Playbook, and has collaborated with David O. Russell multiple times. However, this film review celebrates the Oscar-winning performance of a very different “Jennifer”–Jennifer Jones. …

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By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –

Jennifer Lawrence is one of the hottest young actresses working in Hollywood today. She won an Oscar at the age of 22 for Silver Linings Playbook, and has collaborated with David O. Russell multiple times. However, this film review celebrates the Oscar-winning performance of a very different “Jennifer”–Jennifer Jones. Jones won the Academy Award on her 25th birthday for The Song of Bernadette, the film that launched the long career of this beloved starlet. Even with limited acting experience at that time, Jennifer Jones helped make this film one of the best from Hollywood’s Golden Age.

A Toast

Obviously, the best part of this film is Jennifer Jones’s performance. She is able to capture the complexity of Bernadette Soubirous while also making the character very human and relatable. The film also features Oscar-nominated performances from Gladys Cooper, Anne Revere, and Charles Bickford for their supporting roles. The film also contains a hauntingly beautiful score from Alfred Newman that has an almost religious quality to it. The Song of Bernadette is so wonderful that it is no surprise that the Academy acknowledged it with twelve nominations.

Beer Two

Even with its acclaim, this film is actually a bit difficult to watch. That is because the subject matter is really heavy (religion). There are also a lot of tense moments throughout the film, such as when the other characters question Bernadette’s sanity. The film’s long running time does not help it, either, and some people might not want to devote 2 hours and 36 minutes to this black-and-white classic. Nevertheless, this film is still a great adaptation of Franz Werfel’s famous novel.

Verdict

Films that deal with religion have always created controversy. Examples include Elmer Gantry (1960) and The Passion of the Christ (2004). Even with such topics, filmmaking grants artists the creative freedom to produce cinematic masterpieces. That undeniable truth is the reason why films like The Song of Bernadette have an enduring legacy. It is a blessing that David O. Selznick arranged for Jennifer Jones to appear in this film because it made her the “Jennifer Lawrence” of the 1940s.

The Song of Bernadette (1943) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Bernadette encounters the Virgin Mary

Take a Drink: every time Alfred Newman’s score sounds “heavenly” (pun intended)

Drink a Shot: for every symbolic use of water

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Trailer Reviews: Jigsaw, Suburbicon, & Thank You for Your Service http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-jigsaw-suburbicon-thank-service http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-jigsaw-suburbicon-thank-service#respond Sun, 29 Oct 2017 17:15:44 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104168 By: Hawk Ripjaw – Guess which movie has the worst critical reception? Depending on which aggregator you like to visit, the answer may surprise you. Jigsaw Seven years. That’s how long it’s been since the last installment of the horror franchise whose marketing hook at one point was “It’s Halloween, so it must be Saw” …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw –

Guess which movie has the worst critical reception? Depending on which aggregator you like to visit, the answer may surprise you.

Jigsaw

Seven years. That’s how long it’s been since the last installment of the horror franchise whose marketing hook at one point was “It’s Halloween, so it must be Saw” (or something similar). The series started out impressively: psychological mind games and crazy twist endings punctuated by deviously inventive ways to spill blood made for a couple of memorable movies, before it became a little too obsessed with everything and got progressively more absurd and careless. I mean, look at the poster for The Final Chapter. How awful can you get?

So, with a different set of directors, a nice gloss, and a trailer that’s a much jauntier than the rest, we’re supposed to want to be sucked back in. But I know better. I can almost guarantee that this will dip back into the same formulas and problems that the latter chunk of movies struggled with. When the trailer first dropped, I was intrigued by what felt like a new direction for the franchise, but now I’m no longer sure. With the same writers, there’s no way they’re actually going to blaze a new path, is there? It’s probably just going to be the same shit with traps, lots of flashbacks, a man with terminal cancer (who is now dead) somehow orchestrating the elaborate capture and death of tens of people, and some kind of twist. Based on the trailer I’m guessing half of the scenes take place at a different point in time and that’ll be the twist. Does it even matter? This probably won’t return Saw to its former glory.

Beer Prediction

Choice moments from the trailer that make me want to get hit by a train rather than see them in the movie: the jogger at the beginning screaming at the body while everyone else awkwardly stares at it; and the random guy making a cheeky sarcastic comment at Billy the Jigsaw puppet.

 

Suburbicon

Who doesn’t love George Clooney? The guy’s classy, seems super nice, and has, for the duration of my entire existence, maintained a standard of ridiculously good looks. He’s almost impossible to resist… until you look at his directing filmography. Sure, Good Night and Good Luck is a great movie. But Leatherheads is a mess. Clooney bounced back with The Ides of March, then crashed and burned again with The Monuments Men. So his track record isn’t great. It’s encouraging that the script was written by the Coen brothers, but disheartening that it was rewritten later. Everything about Suburbicon has “risky” written all over it, and while this looks like the Coeniest of Coen-scripted/non-directed movies, you can’t just pick up sheet music from Beethoven and play it like you know exactly what you’re doing. That’s a good analogy, right?

At the very least, the trailer song is a reminder that Run the Jewels is one of the most talented musical duos working today.

Beer Prediction

The presence of anything from the Coens is always worth a sacrificial offering to the movie gods, but this one might bite us in the ass.

 

Thank You for Your Service

A couple of years ago, Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper tried to portray PTSD by exploring his reaction to memories of the Middle East. It was moderately successful, when it wasn’t switching back into early-2000s action sequences with parkour snipers and slow-motion headshots. That’s probably why, even as a noted critic of war movies in general, I’m intrigued. The trailer looks almost completely character-focused, ditching the weird action stuff in American Sniper and really just diving right into what war can do to someone and how that infects the remainder of their personal life. That’s the kind of shit I like to see in a war movie.

Beer Prediction

It has to be better than American Sniper. 

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Geostorm (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/geostorm-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/geostorm-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sun, 29 Oct 2017 12:15:42 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104107 By: Felix Felicis (Five Beers) – I don’t know how it happened. I don’t know when it happened. But somehow Gerard Butler became the Tom Cruise of terrible action movies. I mean, Tom Cruise isn’t even really Tom Cruise anymore because, much like a Kardashian or 1980’s Jennifer Grey, he’s had a *little work done on …

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By: Felix Felicis (Five Beers) –
I don’t know how it happened. I don’t know when it happened. But somehow Gerard Butler became the Tom Cruise of terrible action movies. I mean, Tom Cruise isn’t even really Tom Cruise anymore because, much like a Kardashian or 1980’s Jennifer Grey, he’s had a *little work done on his face (*A lot of work. Like all of the work). But get moderately drunk and snort a line of San Andreas, Day After Tomorrow, 2012, ArmageddonJack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, and Happy Feet. Congrats. You’ve saved yourself ten dollars and a hangover from the last of your dignity dying. And I’m not saying there aren’t AMAZING(ly) bad Gerard Butler movies out there so terrible they inspire awe(some hilarity). Please see for reference: Gods of Egypt. By all objective standards, Gods of Egypt is a hot dumpster fire of regrettable cinematic choices. I blame Hawk Ripjaw and our years of collaboration for this, BUT BY CTHULHU I LOVE THAT MOVIE FOR EVERY REASON I SHOULDN’T. Geostorm was not that kind of movie. Geostorm wasn’t even CLOSE. You might even say it was a… GLOBAL DISASTER FROM THE LIKES OF WHICH THE WORLD MAY NEVER RECOVER. You’re welcome. You’re welcome for that pun. Avast, ye, Boozers, spoilers ahead… ye’ve  been warrrrrrned.
Most of my thought process during Geostorm.

A Toast

Round of applause for Gerard Butler’s accent which does approximately 64% of his work for him (I don’t know if anyone here has seen P.S. I Love You but it’s responsible for the ocean level rising due to single women and their annual tearfall. HAHAHA “GLOBAL WARMING” IS A HOAX. Just kidding. Pet a panda. We’ll all be dead soon. Lulz. But back to things I enjoyed about Geostorm. Um. Some of the special effects were pretty cool. But that’s like saying there’s a room full of Jersey Shore cast members with a neat door that teleports you inside like Platform 9 and 3/4. I don’t care how awesome the fringe benefits are, there’s no way you’re getting me inside that room without a lobotomy.

Beer Two

The schizophrenic narrative and bipolar tone of Geostorm was impressive in its failure to decide if it wanted to be a straight-up disaster flick or a political thriller and thus parachuted into cinemas with a truly magnificent belly flop. Tornado! Intrigue at the White House! Tsunami! Murder in spaaaaaaaaaace! Presidential assassination attempts! Space Station hack with a sprinkle of global apocalypse!
BRB. Rolling my eyes FOREVER.
This badly-seamed Frankenstein’s monster of genre organ rejection never coherently gelled into anything more than a clusterfuck of terribly organized CGI disasters and political subterfuge with about as much narrative coherency as a shovel to the face. Not since Happy Feet and/or The Last Mimzy has such a thinly veiled environmental message been drilled into audiences with a lack of finesse previously reserved for government officials who use public beaches not open to the public during a shutdown and/or your dealer’s choice Kardashian clothing line.
Actual footage of me writing this review.

Beer Three

Some movies are awful but enjoyable… Some are in on the joke, and some ARE the joke. Geostorm is the latter. With a magnificent lack of self-awareness Geostorm deadpans its way though some truly godawful dialogue without the slightest wink or nod to the audience indicating that they’re having fun with it (so we should too). And that’s a shame because if ANYONE could’ve saved this movie from being a bathroom trash fire where dreams go to die, it’s Gerard Butler (who’s superpower is delivering ridiculous dialogue with such charm you can’t help but enjoy it). But they stick him in space and give most of the focus to his brother Max for the majority of the movie.
Yeah. That tracks
Some dialogic gems include but are not limited to:
“Hey Max, we don’t walk out on each other, that’s the unspoken code between brothers.”- Gerard Butler’s Jake
UM YOU LITERALLY JUST SPOKE IT.
And
“If you don’t wanna take this [hacking investigation] any further…”-Max
“I do, I do, I mean I do and I don’t, kind of like riding a roller coaster or eating Chipotle.”-Dana
The Chipotle shade in Geostorm is REAL, y’all.
And
[voiceover]
“As long as we remember we share one planet, one future, we will survive.”- Jake’s daughter, Hannah
SCI/FI MOVIE, MY ASS, MIMZY.

Beer Four

Sweet fuck can we just have ONE movie where there isn’t a marriage-hungry bish just THIRSTY for that societal validation of matrimony? Oh, you have a kickass female secret service agent assigned to the President’s detail (a criminally underused Andy Garcia). Cool, cool. BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE. She’s ALSO in an ethically and professionally questionable relationship with a highly placed government official (Jim Sturgess as Max). BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE. After a token protest, Abbie Cornish’s “Sarah” falls right in line with the collusion and kidnapping of POTUS because, like, the world’s in danger so no time to Netflix and Chill.
-Sarah, the ENTIRE movie.
BUT WAIT- you get it. Sarah does some BADASS driving in the middle of a weatherpoclaypse after which the President deduces that Max and Sarah are dating. He deadpans (for laughs) “Marry her.” Yeah. Okay. BECAUSE BITCHES AIN’T SHIT WITHOUT A MAN. Ughhhh. Can we not for like five minutes? I literally can’t even. But the best part is EVERY time Sarah meets someone after that she introduces herself as Max’s fiance, like, did I miss something? You know, like a PROPOSAL? Or the rise of FEM-say it with me-INISM?
Misogyny at its finest.

Beer Five

The mashed up, stale, decades old refried genre beans Geostorm is trying to reheat and pass off as a fresh burrito spits in the face of everything I love; movies and burritos. And Channing Tatum. And churros. And naps. But I digress. There’s nothing new to see here other than Ed Harris as the obvious villain from minute one onscreen (seriously though, if you see Ed Harris in a movie and he’s NOT the bad guy, there’s your twist). From the plot to the concept to the casting, Geostorm phones this one in and phones it in HARD with an incomplete jigsaw puzzle built with pieces from better movies, kind of like what Luc Besson did with my new benchmark-for-bad movie, Valerian And The City Of  A Thousand Planets (except Luc Besson stitched his shitshow together with bits from his own greatest hits showcase whereas Geostorm just borrowed from everyone else).
Valerian haunts me still.
The most realistic part of Geostorm may be a three-way tie between stopping the countdown clock on global destruction at one second and/or the ease with which POTUS was kidnapped to maybe the Cinderella-story dark horse of the weird sexual tension (HERE FOR THAT) and/or stilted interactions between Max and Jake. Pay attention to how Jake pulls Max in for a hug at the end there. The last time a guy did that to me IT WASN’T PLATONIC. Any way you slice it, Geostorm was clearly written by depressed hamsters snorting whippets locked in a room somewhere that only shows San Andreas, Day After Tomorrow, 2012, ArmageddonJack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, The Last Mimzy, and Happy Feet with a dash of the scene with the dog from Independence Day on a loop. Buuuuut if you feel like being blasted into space on a meh-diocre rocket-shit THEN HOO BOY HAVE I GOT THE FLICK FOR YOU.
YEAH, BACK OF THE NECK IS A REAL PLATONIC WAY TO GRAB SOMEONE IN FOR A HUG.

Verdict

Even before I saw Geostorm I could feel a “chill” in my soul; it was the last fuck I had to give, dying. Now I know how every Karen in HR feels, locked into that death spiral of futile resistance toward her destiny. HR belongs to Karen. Shitty disaster flicks belong to me.

Geostorm (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for each mention of the “forbidden” secret service romance and/or insanely improbable scenario in which a secret service agent is down to *clown (*violate the core principle of their organization MULTIPLE TIMES BUT IT’S OKAY SHE’S IN LOVE).
Take a Drink: for every brotherly argument, conversation, and/or (weirdly) sexually charged hug.
Take a Sip: anytime someone mentions the “Dutch Boy”.
Take a Shot: for every overt act of sabotage and/or voiceover.
Shotgun your Beer: BECAUSE HE’S THE FUCKING PRESIDENT.

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The Florida Project (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie/the-florida-project-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie/the-florida-project-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sat, 28 Oct 2017 12:15:21 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104022 By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) – Sean Baker’s made a career out of docudramatizing a side of America that Hollywood ignores completely- the African street peddlers in Times Square, the transvestite prostitutes of the Sunset Strip, and now the motel homeless living decidedly unmagical lives in the shadow of the Magic Kingdom. Score a …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –

Sean Baker’s made a career out of docudramatizing a side of America that Hollywood ignores completely- the African street peddlers in Times Square, the transvestite prostitutes of the Sunset Strip, and now the motel homeless living decidedly unmagical lives in the shadow of the Magic Kingdom.

Score a point for realism, though.

The Florida Project follows six-year-old Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) and her ne’er-do-well friends as they live a carefree childhood without understanding the harsher realities that surround them.

A Toast

Calling Moonee’s life unmagical is sheerly a matter of perspective, of course, and Baker cannily chooses hers and her playmates’.  Through their eyes, and Alexis Zabe’s roving camera, the pastel motels and abandoned condos, the sky ablaze with sun setting on stripmall wasteland, the streetlight-dotted parking lots… well, there is magic here.

This is anything but a fantasy, though (or at least until Baker’s ready to rip your heart in two with it).  As Moonee plays, the almost off-puttingly real Bria Vinaite as her barely more than a child herself in both age and sense of responsibility hustles in any way she can to make rent and keep them fed and free.  Her fuck the world attitude does her few favors, though.

Willem Dafoe of all people plays the spiky but compassionate manager of the Magic Kingdom motel, a man who walks a fine line of caring for his residents and making sure they don’t fuck things up for everybody.  You’ve never seen him like this and the way he integrates so seamlessly with a cast of near entirely nonprofessional actors speaks to the incredible work he does.

“Huggable” is not an adjective one associates with Willem Dafoe.

Beer Two

While Baker’s sympathies throughout his career clearly lie with the downtrodden, he sometimes tips his hand a bit too much.  His characters are part of a vicious circle capably implied by his very focus on their lives, but all of them make a series of choices that help perpetuate it, which can only be read as selfish when innocents in their orbit are pulled down with them.  This is what DCFS is for.

Verdict

The Florida Project is glorious and tragic and terribly and wonderfully authentic.  De Sica would be proud.

The Florida Project (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for shenanigans

Take a Drink: for Disney references

Take a Drink: for baths

Take a Drink: for helicopters

Take a Drink: for fights

Do a Shot: for heartbreak

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Tyler Perry’s Boo! 2: A Madea Halloween (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/tyler-perrys-boo-2-a-madea-halloween-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/tyler-perrys-boo-2-a-madea-halloween-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Fri, 27 Oct 2017 12:15:01 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104085 By: Hawk Ripjaw (Six Pack) – The frustratingly-named Tyler Perry’s Boo! 2: A Madea Halloween is bad, even by Madea standards. Tiffany Simmons (Diamond White) is the reason I do not want children. She is a total shithead to her dad, talks down to her friends, and wants nothing more than to bang a frat …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw (Six Pack) –

The frustratingly-named Tyler Perry’s Boo! 2: A Madea Halloween is bad, even by Madea standards.

Tiffany Simmons (Diamond White) is the reason I do not want children. She is a total shithead to her dad, talks down to her friends, and wants nothing more than to bang a frat boy. Her dad Brian (Tyler Perry) is a worrisome, protective pushover of a dad. He’s spent nearly every year of Tiffany’s life celebrating her birthday by showing up at school with a gift and a ridiculous birthday hat. He still treats her like she’s a third of her age, and lets her walk over him. She puts him down because he got her headphones instead of a car, and visibly treats her divorced mother Debrah (Taja V. Simpson) as the favorite. Debrah, for her part, undermines her ex at every turn and lets her new boyfriend fawn over her in front of Brian.

To continue to press her dad’s buttons, Tiffany returns to the frat house she tried to party at in the last movie, and now that she’s 18, invites herself to the follow-up party. This time, the party is at Lake Derek, which is called Lake Derek because years ago a man named Derek killed a bunch of teenagers there. Debrah, for some reason, is completely okay with with her 18 year old daughter going up to a haunted murder site with a bunch of horny teenagers with alcohol on Halloween Eve. Brian is upset when he learns, but eventually throws up his hands and does nothing. Madea (Tyler Perry), Brian (Tyler Perry), Hattie (Patrice Lovely), and Bam (Cassi Davis) yell at each other and talk about weed and prostitution, before making a halfhearted attempt to go after the kids. You can see why this movie doesn’t really have any teachable moments, besides how to not make a movie.

A Toast

One barely-registered edge this sequel’s story has over the original is that it’s not immediately made obvious that the monsters are just people pulling a prank. For about half of the movie, it’s made somewhat mysterious, but there’s always that nagging feeling that Perry, an outspoken opponent of Halloween and a Christian, probably wouldn’t fill his movie with an army of the undead. The fact that the movie doesn’t come right out and say “We’re going to pull a prank” is still appreciated. While no one really has anything funny to say, Joe at least gets a couple of chuckles purely from the shock value of some of his surprisingly nasty lines. Unfortunately, it dissipates after multiple recycled bits.

Beer Two

The awful sound editing of Boo 2! is a stark reminder of how the word “punishing” can apply to two very different types of movies for two very different effects. To use recent examples, Dunkirk and Blade Runner 2049 had punishing sound design that was at times painfully loud. That discomfort was intentional, designed to build tension, panic, and atmosphere. Boo 2! is just noise. It builds tension over the unpleasantness of the movie, panic over realizing how your life has come to this, and the atmosphere of a cinematic universe involving a man dressing up like an old woman and yelling at people with her friends.

Apparently, the bare minimum of the sound mix for a “scare” involves a sound sting and between two and six characters violently screaming. Often it’s accompanied by a chainsaw or growling. It’s shrill and extremely unpleasant, indicating a profound misunderstanding of how sound design should supplement the movie experience. To boot, there’s a great deal of weirdly noticeable ADR that feels like a late addition to cut down to a PG-13 rating.

Beer Three

Last year’s Madea Halloween entry was filmed in about a week. While it hasn’t been revealed how long the sequel took, it feels even more amateurish and slapdash. It’s horribly lit, feeling like a made-for-TV Halloween special that never got any post-production. The shot composition and framing establishes no sense of space whatsoever, even to the point that different rooms in a house or different areas of the camp don’t tie together as one setting. The makeup for Madea and her entourage, whether it’s because of that lighting or because it’s as haphazard as everything else, looks fake as ever. Even the individual scenes feel touch-and-go, as though the first take was considered good enough regardless of line readings.

Beer Four

There’s a very distinct and uncomfortable feeling of déjà vu throughout this Halloween sequel, to the point where it almost feels like a soft remake. The elderly characters constantly either smoking or talking about marijuana is a returning running gag. There is once again a twerking scene, and several more Hattie dance sequences. Several YouTube stars return, once again simply to be themselves rather than try to act. Madea and her friends are once again pursued by monsters, screaming and hollering like the Mystery Team. It’s all just…. worse than last time.

Beer Five

Perry’s family-values storytelling doesn’t amount to much. Some of the character arcs come to predictable fruition, but don’t mean anything. The ending basically amounts to Brian and his friend slapping each other on the back for pranking the shit out of their daughters. But the daughters don’t learn much other than the fact that their dads are capable of pranks. The fathers, in their distinctly compartmentalized parental styles, simply win without learning how to be better. Especially in the case of Brian, he has simply frightened Tiffany until the next time she tries to sneak off to a party, this time probably without anyone knowing so that she won’t have to worry about Brian pulling another prank. So what’s the point?

Beer Six

It’s a mark of a bigger problem that Perry, who ostensibly continues to peddle wholesome family values, fills this movie with scenes that draw a stark contrast to his usual recipe. Snippets of attempts at wholesome parenting are punctuated by old adults yelling about marijuana, prostitution, bodily fluids, racial slurs, and physical abuse. In most movies, this would be unfunny at worst. But Madea was introduced as a tough-love authority figure with a loud mouth and a good heart. The latter is nowhere to be found now, leaving just an R-rated character in a “family” movie.

Verdict

It’s just awful. Perry is putting less and less effort into movies that already feel lazy, and it’s abundantly clear. Boo! 2 has no sense of pacing, space, originality, comedic timing, style, taste, restraint, or fun. It’s a surprisingly hateful movie that demands to be hated. This might be the worst of all of the Madea movies, and that’s saying something.

Tyler Perry’s Boo! 2: A Madea Halloween (2017) Drinking Game

 Do a Shot: whenever Madea references her past as a prostitute

Take a Drink: for every use of the word “ho”

Do a Shot: whenever Joe mentions his past as a pimp

Take a Drink: for every reference to marijuana

Take a Drink: for every time Hattie is incoherent

Do a Shot: every time someone is a dick to Brian

Take a Drink: for every sex joke

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Same Kind of Different As Me (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/4beers/same-kind-of-different-as-me-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/4beers/same-kind-of-different-as-me-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Thu, 26 Oct 2017 12:15:08 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104056 By: BabyRuth (Four Beers) – Take a look at the poster for Same Kind of Different As Me: At first glance, this appears to be a promising drama featuring Oscar nominated/winning actors (Renee Zellwegger, Greg Kinnear, Djimon Hounsou, and Jon Voight) with a release date in late October, just on the brink of Important Award Contender …

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By: BabyRuth (Four Beers) –

Take a look at the poster for Same Kind of Different As Me:

At first glance, this appears to be a promising drama featuring Oscar nominated/winning actors (Renee Zellwegger, Greg Kinnear, Djimon Hounsou, and Jon Voight) with a release date in late October, just on the brink of Important Award Contender film season.

So I felt a little bamboozled when I learned this is yet another entry in the ever-growing “faith-based cinema” category.

Upon further investigation, it seems that wasn’t necessarily the original intent. The movie was initially scheduled to be released by Paramount back in April of 2016, then delayed until February of this year. It was eventually was pulled and shelved. Pure Flix (God’s Not Dead, Do You Believe?) then acquired the distribution rights and gave it a (limited) theatrical release this past weekend.

Same Kind of Different As Me is an adaptation of the best-selling book of the same name based on the true story of white millionaires Ron and Deborah Hall and a homeless black man named Denver. Yup, it’s one of those stories. I guess Paramount was hoping for The Blind Side-style success, but seemed to have backed out right around the time the trailer dropped.

As The Guardian put it:

“This is a real trailer for a real film. It isn’t a spoof or a satire. Same Kind of Different As Me is  distributed by Paramount Pictures and stars several Academy Award winners and nominees. It is a real film that people made on purpose.”

Ouch!

Married rich people Ron (Kinnear) and Debbie (Zellwegger) are having some problems. Debbie learns that Ron has been having an affair. But Debbie is a saint so instead of throwing the bastard out on his ass and taking him for everything he’s worth (which is a lot – they live in a freaking mansion), she calls up his mistress and tells her that she forgives her and that she hopes one day she will find love like the one she and Ron once had (seriously). For Ron’s penance, he must volunteer at the local homeless rescue mission (where she already, naturally, volunteers and everyone calls her “Miss Debbie” while giving her a thankful grin as she gives them an extra scoop of mashed potatoes). Ron doesn’t see the point and would rather just whip out his checkbook, but he wants to correct his wrongs so he begrudgingly obliges.

Debbie has been having some weird dreams. Dreams of sitting in a hospital room and spotting a magical, wise black man who she follows outside into a beautiful forest and he starts singing “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” while cartoon birds land on his shoulder. Okay, that last part doesn’t happen, but it may as well have.

One day while volunteering, she spots the very same man (Hounsou) from her dream. Only this time he’s screaming and breaking windows with a baseball bat. He is known as “Suicide,” but later we learn his real name is Denver Moore and to say he’s had a rough past would be a major understatement. Debbie attempts to get to know him, but he is cold and silent. She then appoints Ron to see if he can break through. Over time, Denver warms up to them and three develop a friendship that changes their lives forever.

A Toast

All joking aside, the story behind the film is very sweet and inspiring. During the end credits (you know, when they show clips and photos of the real people) it is revealed that the foundation that resulted from the depicted events has raised an estimated $85 million for the homeless. That’s pretty awesome.  In addition Pure Flix organized nationwide red carpet events that benefited local shelters. That’s pretty awesome too.

The film is well-meaning and sincere in the way it gives a face to homelessness that just may make some think differently the next time they see someone less fortunate than them.

There is lots of talk of God and faith of course, but the film is never preachy in the way that other entries in the genre are, which is refreshing.

The extremely talented and acclaimed cast elevate the material and deliver sincere, heartfelt performances, especially Hounsou.

Beer Two

In case you haven’t been able to figure it out from the trailer, this is the kind of movie that is so over-the-top sappy it dares the viewer not to cry. And if you resist and your eyes roll back into your head instead of producing tears, it will double down on the sadness and schmaltz until it eventually succeeds and pulls them out. Think it won’t happen? Just wait until the third act when the film takes a turn into Nicholas Sparks territory.

But again, it’s really the actors who are to thank (blame?) for this, because they are all (with the exception of Voight, who pretty much phones it in as Ron’s offensive and alcoholic father) way too good for this movie.

Beer Three

It’s too bad director Michael Carney (this is his first feature film) didn’t trust his very capable cast enough to let their performances provoke the emotional response alone, without feeling the need to punctuate every scene with the dramatic, swelling music. It’s distracting, annoying, and unnecessary.  The one scene where he showed restraint (the affair confession) demonstrates how much more effective the drama is without it.

Beer Four

The film’s framing device consists of Ron recalling past events while attempting to write the book on which this is based. It appears and disappears over the course of the movie as much as Kinnear’s put-on Southern accent. But my main gripe with it is that it tells the story from his perspective and as a result, everything comes off a little self-satisfied. It would have been much more interesting to see the events from Denver’s side.

Verdict

Though the true story is inspiring and is one that is deserving of being told, I can only recommend Same Kind of Different As Me if you are a big fan of any of the actors or of the book/real life people. Or my mom, because my mom loves these kind of movies.

Same Kind of Different As Me (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Denver cries

Take a Drink: for every sad backstory

Take a Drink: for every “Hi, I’m Debbie, what’s your name?”

Take a Drink: whenever you catch yourself rolling your eyes

Take a Drink: whenever Greg Kinnear loses his accent

Do a Shot: whenever you can’t help yourself from crying (Damn you, movie!)

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Virtual Pub 227: Boo, Brave, Snowman, Geostorm http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-227-boo-brave-snowman-geostorm http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-227-boo-brave-snowman-geostorm#respond Thu, 26 Oct 2017 03:00:24 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104095 The post Virtual Pub 227: Boo, Brave, Snowman, Geostorm appeared first on MovieBoozer.

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Victoria & Abdul (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/victoria-and-abdul-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/victoria-and-abdul-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Wed, 25 Oct 2017 12:15:26 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104051 By: Movie Snurb (Four Beers) – Victoria & Abdul tells the true story of Queen Victoria and her Indian Muslim servant Abdul Karim. Victoria is older and crotchety, and lots of people in her life are gone and she now seems to be just awaiting death. Abdul comes to the United Kingdom to present a …

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By: Movie Snurb (Four Beers) –

Victoria & Abdul tells the true story of Queen Victoria and her Indian Muslim servant Abdul Karim. Victoria is older and crotchety, and lots of people in her life are gone and she now seems to be just awaiting death. Abdul comes to the United Kingdom to present a Mohur, which is a token of appreciation from British-ruled India, to the Empress of India. Victoria ends up taking a liking to Abdul who fills her with a renewed purpose for getting out of bed in the morning. He begins to teach her the Qur’an and Urdu. However, the people around Queen Victoria do not take kindly to an Indian being so close with the Queen, especially the heir to her throne- her son.

A Toast

Judy Dench is by far the best thing about this film. Most of the cast is great, especially Ali Fazel and Adeel Akhtar (who provides most of the laughs). However, Dench is on her A game here as she always is. You could make the argument that she has begun to be typecast, but that’s only because she is so damn good at portraying real life royalty. I won’t be surprised if the Academy decides to nominate her for this role; if she doesn’t land a nomination it’s because the film didn’t do well critically or commercially. There is a argument to be made for a nomination though, as she is the one saving grace to the film.

Beer Two

The film has nothing new to say on the front of racism. There are so many films that touch on this subject that it’d be nice to see some kind of a new take on the matter. The film does tell a story that we have not heard before and needs to be told but it still doesn’t feel original or insightful.

Beer Three

Part of the problem is the film play like a paint by numbers activity. We know where the film is going, and the filmmakers decide that doesn’t matter. Watching this film felt like driving to my day job. I’ve done it so often my brain tunes out and I still get there. You’ll be able to do the same in the theater and get what the film is trying to tell you.

Beer Four

The film also felt rushed.  There wasn’t that much time spent on Victoria and Abdul building their friendship, so by the time the end of the film comes you try to decide if you should even care about the relationship. Yeah we get it, we shouldn’t treat people differently based on race, class, gender, sexual orientation, or whatever. There needed to be some more scenes forming that bond and the film could’ve had a bigger emotional impact in the end.

Verdict

Victoria & Abdul is a nice film. It’s a story that was not told for a very long time and needed to be told. This film will go over well for your grandmother, but if you’re not a grandmother you could skip this one. Go see Blade Runner 2049 instead while you still can.

Victoria & Abdul (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Abdul teaches something to Victoria.

Do a Shot: every time someone gives a judgmental look.

Take a Drink: every time the wake up Queen Victoria.

Do a Shot: every time Victoria’s son is a jackass.

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Professor Marston & the Wonder Women (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/professor-marston-wonder-women-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/professor-marston-wonder-women-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Tue, 24 Oct 2017 12:15:23 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104050 By: Christian Harding (Two Beers) – As much as my distaste for resorting to overused, commonplace platitudes has been well documented within my reviews on this site, I once again find myself needing to resort to one in order to best describe a film I’ve just seen. In this particular scenario: “The truth really is …

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By: Christian Harding (Two Beers) –

As much as my distaste for resorting to overused, commonplace platitudes has been well documented within my reviews on this site, I once again find myself needing to resort to one in order to best describe a film I’ve just seen. In this particular scenario: “The truth really is stranger than fiction”. Case in point, the real life backstory concerning the creator of the Wonder Woman comics and his rather… “unconventional” romantic entanglement with his wife and one of his university students, whom they both find themselves falling equally in love with. Rather than waste time on a useless love triangle sort of situation, the three decide (both in real life and in the film) to engage in a fully committed poly-amorous relationship, one which spanned multiple decades, and left a significant impact on all three of their lives. Such is the plot of the new historical biopic Professor Marston & the Wonder Women.

A Toast

For the sort of story Professor Marston & the Wonder Women is about to really work and be able to be taken seriously, it needs to have three very good, committed actors at the center of it; and fortunately that’s what we’ve got here. Luke Evans plays the titular role of Professor Marston – a college professor (imagine that!), the inventor of the lie-detector, and the eventual creator of the Wonder Woman comics – and does so with capable amounts of likability and gravitas. Bella Heathcote also stars as the student that has caught the eye of both the titular Martson and his wife, but the real standout of this trifecta is Rebecca Hall as Marston’s devoted wife Elizabeth. Once again, Hall continues to cement herself as one of the most reliably engaging and also one of the most underappreciated currently working actresses. The three of them all have very solid chemistry with one another and each person registers as a unique individual within the group, each one bringing something different and completely their own into their decidedly uncommon venture.

Very nice of the cast to recreate one of the year’s most well known memes.

Beer Two

For all that Professor Marston & the Wonder Women purports to tell an unconventional romantic tale, and succeeds in doing so, the constant reliance on token, previously established historical biopic cliches is a little disappointing. The biggest offender herein being an intrusive, and in hindsight, fairly unnecessary framing device. I honestly couldn’t think of one beneficial reason to include such a structure for this film, apart from occasionally reminding the audience that this story involves the Wonder Woman comics somehow and we’ll be getting to the point eventually. Add to that the fact that the film at certain points seems to be brushing over or just completely omitting what seem like key elements or component of the story, that seem both like important details to add to the proceedings and also just missed opportunities to add more drama to the plot. For instance, how do the trio’s children feel about their parents’ arrangement? Do they even know the truth? If not, then how do the three of them keep up their relationship without letting anyone on the outside find out? I wouldn’t exactly qualify these things as plot holes, but they’re questions that could potentially be raised by viewers, and these elements are left largely unaddressed, and it’s to the overall detriment of the film at large.

“I know you say that Gal Gadot doesn’t speak the best English, but did we have to recast her already?”

Meep

Verdict

Professor Marston & the Wonder Women is a good, solid presentation of an otherwise quite unique and decidedly unconventional story. The more formal, restrained directing approach doesn’t necessarily match the red-hot eroticism and overall kinkiness of the subject matter at hand, but the film certainly never downplays or criticizes these elements either, which is arguably a more commendable feat. Besides, if a film’s central message ultimately boils down to “If everyone in the world was more sexually open and liberated, the world would be a better, more peaceful place”, then who am I to argue with that?

Professor Marston & the Wonder Women (2017) Drinking Game

Do a Shot: for every reference to the Wonder Woman comics or characters.

Do another Shot: whenever it cuts back to the framing device.

Shotgun a Beer: for every bit of foreplay and/or unspoken sexual tension.

Finish your Glass: during the formative act of bondage, as seen on the poster.

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Only the Brave (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/only-the-brave-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/only-the-brave-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Mon, 23 Oct 2017 12:15:33 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104021 By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) – One of the more creatively fruitful prestige subgenres of recent is the masculine melodramatic procedural.  Think Peter Berg’s Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon, and Patriot’s Day, or Clint Eastwood’s recent output. Post this P.O.S. Only the Brave may not have any guns, but its story of the wildfirefighting band of brothers that were the …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –

One of the more creatively fruitful prestige subgenres of recent is the masculine melodramatic procedural.  Think Peter Berg’s Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon, and Patriot’s Day, or Clint Eastwood’s recent output.

Post this P.O.S.

Only the Brave may not have any guns, but its story of the wildfirefighting band of brothers that were the Granite Mountain Hot Shots fits squarely in the subgenre.  We watch the team form, become the first certified non-governmental hot shot team (the firefighters who engage forest fires directly), and then face wildfires of mind-boggling power.

A Toast

Like those Peter Berg films above, the formula for Only the Brave’s success is simple- build character and camaraderie, invest the audience in the procedural details of a world unfamiliar to most, then blow it all to hell.

Probably as close to Hell as Nature has to offer.

The key to the first step is strong acting and writing, and the latter feeds naturalistic (and often quite funny) dialogue and character interactions to a cast of of familiar faces like James Badge Dale, Taylor Kitsch, and Jeff Bridges doing his weird old cowboy thing and somehow once again making it unique.

Only the Brave really belongs to Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, and Jennifer Connelly, though, the first two playing the team captain and the young junkie fuckup who reminds him of himself.  Connelly plays Brolin’s wife, a horse-whisperer who’s learned to survive on her own as her man fights wildfires, but who’s not sure she wants to.  The way their arcs converge in the end is nothing short of heartbreaking.

Director Joseph Kosinksi and DP Claudio Miranda deliver on the blow it all to hell part, finding images of terrible beauty in the flames and the stark Western countryside they lick at.  This film proves what I’ve always seen in Kosinski’s more uneven sci-fi efforts- a great director ready to pull all of his talents together and really deliver.

I’ll still take that sequel, though.

Beer Two

It sure feels like forever until we get that first fire.  All of the setup arguably pays off in spades when we reach the climactic final half hour, but it does feel like some tightening up could have been done.

Verdict

Only the Brave is another masculine tearjerker of a tale of heroes and the band of brothers that became them.

Only the Brave (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for every practical joke

Take a Drink: whenever drugs are alluded to or taken

Take a Drink: whenever Jeff Bridges in all his glory shows up

Take a Drink: for horses

Take a Drink: for each fire

Do a Shot: every time they do the fire blanket drill

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Portrait of Jennie (1948) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/portrait-of-jennie-1948-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/portrait-of-jennie-1948-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sun, 22 Oct 2017 18:15:32 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103987 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – Some of the greatest films of all time attain their legacy by being beautiful works of art. After all, filmmaking is a form of art. In fact, the famous notion of a muse inspiring artists have resulted in some of the best artistic compositions of all time, such as …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

Some of the greatest films of all time attain their legacy by being beautiful works of art. After all, filmmaking is a form of art. In fact, the famous notion of a muse inspiring artists have resulted in some of the best artistic compositions of all time, such as when the Muse inspired Homer to write the epic poem The Odyssey. Sometimes art can influence filmmakers, and a perfect example of this is the making of Portrait of Jennie in the late 1940s.

A Toast

This film simultaneously celebrates art while being a compelling work of cinema. Jennifer Jones excels as Jennie even though her performance failed to acquire any major nominations. She still does well nevertheless, especially after winning the Oscar for The Song of Bernadette four years earlier. She was 25 when she won the Oscar, and her performance as young Jennie is still outstanding even though she was 29 during this film’s original release. The film itself is also a black-and-white spectacle that contains paintings and dream-like cinematography to give the film an artistic feel.

Verdict

Jennifer Jones had a long and interesting career that includes playing the infamous Madame Bovary. Even though that notorious heroine has become an iconic figure in both literature and film, some people might not be familiar with the mysterious Jennie. Portrait of Jennie actually does feel like a mystery because it deals with unfathomable concepts, such as the nature of time and space. This film also feels very philosophical given the opening narration that includes quotes from Euripides and John Keats. The actual portrait of Jennie might be just as mysterious as the woman who inspired it, but sometimes the greatest works of art need no explanation. Congratulations to the filmmakers for making a boldly artsy film that asks many questions without offering any easy answers (and that quality itself is why some works of art have endured for so long…).

Portrait of Jennie (1948) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: during every reference to famous classical figures (such as Robert Browning and John Keats)

Drink a Shot: dvery time a drawing or painting appears on-screen

Make Sure You Are Not Sober: during the surreal and enigmatic ending that conclude the last ten minutes of this cinematic work of art.

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365 Days of Movies- Henry J. Fromage Edition- Week 40 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-40 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-40#respond Sun, 22 Oct 2017 14:15:01 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103914 By: Henry J. Fromage – I was able to keep up my enhanced pace from last week, and have started to dig into the bounty of missed critical darlings from earlier in the year and in theaters. 206. Of Unknown Origin Ken, Bill A., and I celebrated Friday the 13th with this somewhat forgotten Peter …

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By: Henry J. Fromage –

I was able to keep up my enhanced pace from last week, and have started to dig into the bounty of missed critical darlings from earlier in the year and in theaters.

206. Of Unknown Origin

Ken, Bill A., and I celebrated Friday the 13th with this somewhat forgotten Peter Weller oddity, one of his first headline film roles, in which he plays an NYC boardroom jockey of some sort who gets embroiled in a no holds barred throwdown with the rat who’s decided to infest his brownstone house.  Watching him descend into pure madness as the rat fucks with him relentlessly and mercilessly is a definite joy, but the fact that said rat changes in dimension and perspective per the dictates in the scene, or that it sounds like a actor impersonating a rabid cat whenever it attacks, or that the film toys with something more psychological but ends up in a hilariously literal place explain the lack of cult film reputation you’d swear it should otherwise boast.

207. A Quiet Passion

A Quiet Passion portrays Emily Dickinson (Cynthia Nixon, primarily) as a woman so ahead of her time that the surrounding film loses all value as a period piece and a biopic.  This is a pure fiction that wants to trade in second-rate Love & Friendship witty asides and a purely modern perspective far more than it wants to address its subject matter in any meaningful way, and the result is a film that feels like it has no interest in anything besides delivering Terence Davies’ strange opinions about what of Emily Dickinson is worth portraying and what can be subsumed to an agenda entirely unrelated in any way to the historical figure.  A shame, because his The Deep Blue Sea remains one of my favorite films of the last decade.

208. Tramps

There’s a particular type of 1970s-indebted neo-realist New York film brewing these days, perhaps best embodied by the Safdie Brothers and their breakout Good Time, which tells stories of Big Apple grittiness with old title lettering and needle drops and new hand-held immediacy and specificity.  If that film was this style’s signpost Crime Film, then Tramps is its Romance (with a little crime mixed in, of course).  Callum Turner and Grace Van Patten star as young New Yorkers caught up in a bag game orchestrated by barely more put together criminals (including Mike Birbiglia and lost Coppola cousin Louis Cancelmi) who fall in love as they chase after a briefcase accidentally dropped with an unwitting third party.  While the story is hardly something new, the execution is entirely enjoyable- a definite recommendation for this burgeoning new style.

209. Victoria and Abdul

This story of an aged and alone Queen Victoria and the Indian man she befriends and perhaps unwittingly lifts to a position of great envy among her staff, children, and sycophants is a tough one to tackle.  On its surface and in many ways to its core a typical Oscar and Old People-bait story of tolerance and compassion by white people, it also features an powerful scene in which Adeel Akhtar viciously tells off the entire British Empire (who you’ll recognize as the brother from The Big Sick).  That might not be enough to balance out the fact that a film based on Abdul’s recently discovered private diaries reveals so little about the man himself and his motivations and feelings regarding his relationship with the most powerful person in the world at the time.  Nonetheless, Judi Dench is an absolutely deserving Best Actress hopeful as the depressed and besieged monarch who finds something worth living for in this friendship, and there’s plenty of effective humor to make this a plenty pleasant evening at the movies.

210. Kingsman: The Golden Circle

While judging by that dreaded Rotten Tomatoes score, this is an unpopular opinion, I think this was every bit as fun as the first film, reflecting and building on its pleasures much like the franchise it clearly hopes to emulate even as it satirizes it- James Bond.  This time around we get the heretofore unknown American cousins The Statesmen involved, including Bond vet Halle Berry, Channing Tatum and Pedro Pascal (in what may have been late switched roles), and a delightfully weird Jeff Bridges of course.  There’s still plenty of well-choreographed action, erstwhile edginess, and a similarly politically confused dastardly plot as last time, but let’s be honest.  Elton John is the MVP of this joint.

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Trailer Reviews: Geostorm, Only the Brave, The Snowman, & Tyler Perry’s Boo! 2: A Madea Halloween http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-geostorm-only-the-brave-the-snowman-tyler-perrys-boo-2-a-madea-halloween http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-geostorm-only-the-brave-the-snowman-tyler-perrys-boo-2-a-madea-halloween#respond Sat, 21 Oct 2017 18:15:11 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104014 By: Hawk Ripjaw – Geostorm It’s here. Gerard Butler, who quickly and reliably pumps out terrible action movies, is back with an even nuttier concept than we’ve ever seen him in–and we saw him in Gods of Egypt. It’s somewhat commendable that Geostorm strives for such a grand scope. Gerard Butler, a satellite that controls …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw –

Geostorm

It’s here. Gerard Butler, who quickly and reliably pumps out terrible action movies, is back with an even nuttier concept than we’ve ever seen him in–and we saw him in Gods of Egypt. It’s somewhat commendable that Geostorm strives for such a grand scope. Gerard Butler, a satellite that controls the weather, terrorists that take control of said satellite, and the President in danger are all things that could come together to make something amazing. It’s the sort of plot that was one thousand percent not conceived by a sober person. What remains to be seen is what makes or breaks the disaster movie: does it know how stupid it is?

Beer Prediction

Thankfully, Geostorm appears to be at least partially self-aware. That’s something to look forward to. And even if he doesn’t know it, Butler’s prominence in shlock is something he not only thrives in, but should completely own.

 

Only the Brave

I don’t know what it is, but firefighter films are a hard sell for me. But do you know what’s not a hard sell? Director Joseph Kosinski, who made the underrated Tron: Legacy and Oblivion. Jeff Bridges is another element that…goes down easy….no, that’s not–that’s not like that. I mean, his performances are never hard to swall–no, shit. He’s a great actor. I like his movies. I will watch a firefighter movie directed by Joe Kosinski and featuring Jeff Bridges. And I will probably like it. 

Beer Prediction


Even with Miles Teller, whose film career is…unpredictable, to say the least, I’m staying optimistic.

 

The Snowman

I love murder mysteries. And I love snow. So naturally, murder mysteries in the snow are absolutely my thing. Snowstorms sow isolation, and when a crime is committed in a snowy setting, it has a great sense of immediacy and helplessness. Unfortunately, it looks like this time around the real helplessness is felt by the actors. This movie had a troubled production schedule, even to the point where parts of the story never got filmed so there are just going to be random gaps in the narrative that the editing will be attempting to hide. Given that context, it now makes sense that Michael Fassbender looks so irritated and incredulous.

Beer Prediction

LOOKS LIKE MAYBE THE REAL MURDER VICTIM IS THE AUDIENCE AM I RIGHT?

 

Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween

Do you want to know how many of these Madea movies I have paid money to see? Almost all of them. Yes, my name is Hawk Ripjaw and I am part of the problem. I even went to the theater to see A Madea Christmas and the first Madea Halloween Party. I am part of the reason that Tyler Perry can keep making these things. And the worst part? I don’t enjoy them. They’re awful, cheaply-made, lowest-common-denominator comedies. But I’ve already seen all of the proper Madea-featured features, so why stop now? Someone has to review them.

Beer Prediction

No burden must be left without someone to carry it.

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The Snowman (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/the-snowman-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/the-snowman-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sat, 21 Oct 2017 12:15:52 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=104006 By: Oberst von Berauscht – Michael Fassbender is Harry Hole, an alcoholic Norwegian Homicide investigator lost in the depths of his own addiction. He is invigorated when a serial killer starts directly targeting him with messages. The killer’s M.O. is to target mothers who for one reason or another are morally upsetting, building snowmen around …

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By: Oberst von Berauscht –

Michael Fassbender is Harry Hole, an alcoholic Norwegian Homicide investigator lost in the depths of his own addiction. He is invigorated when a serial killer starts directly targeting him with messages. The killer’s M.O. is to target mothers who for one reason or another are morally upsetting, building snowmen around the scene of the crime. Harry teams up with rookie homicide detective Katrine Bratt (Rebecca Ferguson), who seems to be a little too personally involved…

A Toast

Michael Fassbender tries… and tries hard to make this film work. His performance deserves a better movie. The same can be said for Director Tomas Alfredson, who seems to be struggling to hold a sinking ship together. Alfredson and Cinematographer Dion Beebe do manage some wonderful shots of the snow-swept landscapes both in the city and rural areas. This is a film with zero brain activity being kept alive with machines that are a marvel of science, but not enough for any kind of acceptable recovery.

Considerably less depressing than reality though…

Beer Two

Fortunately for film fans with a love for Irony, The Snowman is far from a total loss. This is without a doubt one of the most incoherently thrown together major Hollywood productions since Winter’s Tale. Destined perhaps to be shown in film classes as a warning to young filmmakers. Rumors of the film’s rushed production schedule have crafted a movie that must have been impossible to properly edit, as the movie was cut together by Academy Award winning editors Claire Simpson and Thelma Schoonmaker. Large swaths of story were reportedly excised, not because the film itself was cut down, but because they weren’t given the time to shoot the whole script. And try as you might, not even an Oscar-caliber editing team can edit something that wasn’t filmed.

“All the clues” must have been left off the shooting schedule

Beer Three

It is sadly obvious that Val Kilmer’s recent illness affected this movie. His role seems heavily cut down to what amounts to 4 or 5 brief scenes. Kilmer wasn’t this film’s problem, and in fact his gaunt look benefits the film since his character is supposed to be a hopeless alcoholic.  But the way filmmakers decided to edit him around the rest of the film is… bizarre to say the least. His voice is totally re-dubbed by an actor who seems cast to sound as little like Kilmer as possible. The ADR is so poor that the one time you see Kilmer’s mouth move while speaking, the dialogue is completely out of sync. Scenes that are supposed to be dark and brooding instead brought out laughter from the audience.

Beer Four

The final twist of the movie which reveals the killer is neither shocking nor in the least compelling. Mostly because the movie opens with a sequence that gives you everything you need to know to guess the killer in the very first scene in which you meet him. This leaves the attempt at a red herring feeling spectacularly half baked.

Just Kidding Simmons…

Beer Five

The scariest character in the movie is one particular child actor whose behavior, and the way her dialogue is presented, is more unsettling than the most gruesome murder sequences.  Being a child actor, I won’t call her out by name, other than to say that she’s responsible for several jump scares. The plasticine adorability she gives off in the film signals a child who escaped from a cloning machine down at central casting.

Even the snowmen emote more convincingly.

Beer Six

While I haven’t read the screenplay, I would be shocked if this many talented people were attracted to the parade of serial killer film clichés this becomes. Beginning with a pint of Dragon Tattoo was a fine way to kick it off, but chasing it with a few shots of The Bone Collector might have been the wrong decision.

Still languishing in the bargain bins of many a Wal-Mart…

Verdict

The perfect garbage fire to warm yourself up with this Halloween season

Six-Pack, 6 pack beer, 6 Beer Movie, Movie Boozer, 6 Beers, Cheers

The Snowman (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for terrible dubbing

Take a Drink: for ridiculous plot twisting

Take a Drink: weird edits

Do a Shot: inappropriately placed pop music

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Happy Death Day (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/happy-death-day-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/happy-death-day-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Fri, 20 Oct 2017 12:15:54 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103944 By: Will Ashton (Three Beers) – There’s a poetic irony to Hollywood redoing the Groundhog Day formula over and over again. Sure, the formula is now mechanical and overdone, but frankly, that’s the point, right? At their best, these time-loop movies have a playful, spunky, funny attitude to them. They use the formula to twist …

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By: Will Ashton (Three Beers) –

There’s a poetic irony to Hollywood redoing the Groundhog Day formula over and over again. Sure, the formula is now mechanical and overdone, but frankly, that’s the point, right? At their best, these time-loop movies have a playful, spunky, funny attitude to them. They use the formula to twist different genres and the better ones have fun with the seemingly unlimited possibilities thrown in their wake. That’s why movies like Edge of Tomorrow, Source Code, and Triangle succeed while others like this spring’s Before I Fall fail to compete. Thankfully, Happy Death Day knows how to have good, cheeky fun with its premise. Never pushing well beyond its formulaic confines, yet ultimately using its repetitiveness to its advantage, it’s a cheesy, campy horror-comedy delight. Sometimes it’s good to have something that’s a little familiar.

There’s a poetic irony to Hollywood redoing the Groundhog Day formula over and over again. Sure, the formula is now mechanical and overdone, but frankly, that’s the point, right? At their best, these time-loop movies have a playful, spunky, funny attitude to them. They use the formula to twist different genres and the better ones have fun with the seemingly unlimited possibilities thrown in their wake. Because, quite frankly, it’s hard to make a movie better than Groundhog Day. In many ways, Harold Ramis’s 1993 classic perfected the formula. Even when you try to do different things, you’re basically making a weaker version of a better film. But at the same time, isn’t that like saying people shouldn’t make more movies because they’ll likely never compete with Citizen Kane? They’re very likely right, but doesn’t that defeat the purpose of making movies? Isn’t it fair to say that most movies aren’t necessarily trying to become classics? It’s not the best argument in the world, I’m aware, but I believe there’s some validity to it. Happy Death Day, for all its various faults, owns up to its shortcomings, and it doesn’t let its tongue-in-cheek attitude get too obnoxious or overbearing. At least, not for this particular viewer. It simply produces a bouncy, enjoyable time at the movies, particularly for the teenage crowd, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

There’s a poetic irony to Hollywood redoing the Groundhog’s Day formula over and over again. Sure, the formula is now mechanical and overdone, but frankly, that’s the point, right? At their best, these time-loop movies have a playful, spunky, funny attitude to them. They use the formula to twist different genres and the better ones have fun with the seemingly unlimited possibilities thrown in their wake. In this version, we follow Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe), a bratty medical student and sorority sister who seemingly spends her days getting loaded, banging her fit med professor Gregory Butler (Charles Aitken), and being rude to everyone, including her roommate and her father. But on her birthday, a holiday that Tree doesn’t hold in high esteem, something quite peculiar happens. She’s followed by a stranger in a goofy baby mask and brutally murdered, only to wake up in the dorm room of nice guy Carter Davis (Isreal Broussard), which is where she woke up the morning prior. Did she have a weird nightmare? Is she suffering from deja vu? She spends the day in a daze, only to be murdered, yet again, that night. And then she wakes up in Carter’s dorm again, and the cycle continues. And then it continues. Then it continues again. And she realizes that, for reasons unbeknown to her (and to the audience), she’s reliving her birthday (and death day!) over and over, and that pattern isn’t going to stop until she finds out who it is that’s murdering her.

A Toast

There’s a poetic irony to Hollywood redoing the Groundhog’s Day formula over and over again. Sure, the formula is now mechanical and overdone, but frankly, that’s the point, right? At their best, these time-loop movies have a playful, spunky, funny attitude to them, and they change things up. A key factor in the success of both Groundhog’s Day and Edge of Tomorrow is the strength and charisma of their lead actors. Bill Murray and Tom Cruise brought rich personality to their main characters, letting us watch as they try to adapt to their newfound situations in funny and characteristically telling ways. The same can be said for Happy Death Day and Jessica Rothe — an exceptionally bright, wickedly expressive actress who’ll hopefully propel to bigger, better things after this part. Her on-screen journey from self-entitled brat to kindhearted sweetheart is believable and well-realized through the wit and versatility Rothe brings to Tree. Hell, she even makes you believe that a person is called Tree! That should count for major brownie points.

There’s a poetic irony to Hollywood redoing the Groundhog’s Day formula over and over again. Sure, the formula is now mechanical and overdone, but frankly, that’s the point, right? Director Christopher Landon (Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse) also brings a fun energy and zippiness to the proceedings, never letting you get bored even if you’re aware of all the tropes. Self-awareness in horror-comedy is tricky business. Sometimes it does wonders, like in Scream. Other times, like in Netflix’s recent The Babysitter, it can become smug and grating. Happy Death Day falls somewhere down the middle. It’s never as clever as it desperately hopes to be, or thinks it is, but it’s also routinely funny and endearingly charming. Its fun-loving spirit is only matched by its zest for never taking itself too seriously, except for a few moments towards the end. Some will be annoyed by how tame it can be, especially for a slasher killer flick, but there’s a gentle sincerity throughout that’s more likable than not.

Beer Two

There’s a poetic irony to Hollywood redoing the Groundhog’s Day formula over and over again. Especially since, after a point, they learn to take more risks and get more enjoyment out of what’s possible. It’s always entertaining to watch characters get a kick out of what they can do with their limitless possibilities, yet with Happy Death Day, the PG-13 rating is both a blessing and a hindrance. The general lack of blood and foul language (minus the sole f-bomb dropping) makes the movie too toothless for its own good. The rich potential for extravagant deaths and over-the-top antics are shortsighted by the safeguarded rating; it’s hard to really get away with murder when you approach this premise with safety gloves. Yet, through its PG-13 rating, Happy Death Day also avoids the risk of fetishizing the premise of a young girl dying over and over again. It’s possible that, if given the R-rating, this would’ve become too sinister or mean-spirited. Or it perhaps would’ve been, ahem, overkill. Happy Death Day never gets off on killing Tree several times. And that’s maybe for the best. Despite all the silliness, it’s also genuinely interested in its own little murder mystery, even if it’s not hard to predict. That helps add to its innocent charm. Its general audience-friendly rating prevents it from reaching its full potential, but it also keeps it from going too extreme in the opposite direction — to the point where it’s overeager to go into some Final Destination 3-level nastiness.

Beer Three

There’s a poetic irony to Hollywood redoing the Groundhog’s Day formula. And it’s fun to see Hollywood finally doing Groundhog’s Day in the horror genre. But as a horror movie, Happy Death Day is very mild. There are moments of light tension, but it’s also not particularly scary, which is ultimately disappointing. Despite the straightforward horror set-up at the beginning, Happy Death Day quickly goes into comedy, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it never finds the right amount of tension and suspense. It’s a little half-hearted in the horror department. And while that’s not something that kills it overall, it does take away from some of the fun. If you’re making Groundhog’s Day into a horror film, you should relish in it!

Verdict

There’s a poetic irony to the Groundhog’s Day formula. And while no film has successfully matched the same heights of that comedy great, Happy Death Day is nevertheless a decent, highly enjoyable —if overly routine — B-level effort. Yes, you have seen this formula done over and over again, but when it’s done well — and with a fun attitude — it’s hard to complain. It’s not quite a scream, but Happy Death Day proves there’s still life in the time-loop genre. That’s enough to make you go through this formula all over again.

Happy Death Day (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Tree is killed. Play this one responsibly.

Take a Drink: every time a character says “bitch” or “biotch.”

Take a Drink: every time Tree repeats the day or relives a part of her birthday.

Take a Drink: whenever a character mentions another film.

Do a Shot: when you discover the REAL killer.

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A Quiet Passion (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/103913 http://movieboozer.com/featured/103913#respond Thu, 19 Oct 2017 12:15:21 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103913 By: Henry J. Fromage (Five Beers) – A filmmaker can make a film so excellent that I give them a free pass for life.  Whatever they make next, I will watch it, irrespective of quality of reviews even.  Terence Davies, after his gorgeous The Deep Blue Sea, is such a filmmaker. Seriously, get on it. A Quiet …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Five Beers) –

A filmmaker can make a film so excellent that I give them a free pass for life.  Whatever they make next, I will watch it, irrespective of quality of reviews even.  Terence Davies, after his gorgeous The Deep Blue Sea, is such a filmmaker.

Seriously, get on it.

A Quiet Passion even had the reviews and premise going for it- Cynthia Nixon starring as a witty conception of the all-time great poet Emily Dickinson, a woman and an artist ahead of her time.

A Toast

Like many filmmakers who set out to make a period piece, the usually elegiac Terence Davies ensures that A Quiet Passion is well set, coiffed, and costumed.  His script is also clearly in love with the spoken word, some of which are indeed amusing.  Cynthia Nixon is having a lot of fun and delivers lines better than the rest, except for the simultaneously stodgy and forward-thinking Keith Carradine as her father.

Beer Two

The young Emily Dickinson prequel scenes are teeth-gratingly bad.  Social straw dogs are set up and immediately knocked down (vituperatively religious schoolmarm, casually sexist father, pro-slavery old diddy, etc, etc), and Dickinson comes off as a 21st Century woman who’s time-traveled to this precise instant to tell them all like it really is.  Considering none of these social ills are exactly anachronisms themselves, I have to ask… Why?

Beer Three

Every piece of dialogue is engineered for maximum wit, very clearly by someone who feels possessing of a thoroughly modern sensibility and a sparkling comic wit (not accusations ever made of Davies before now, to the best of my knowledge).   The first half of this script could have been rendered as a series of four-panel funny pages cartoon and dispensed as such across several months with no noticeable difference.  Catherine Bailey’s Vryling Buffam (a real human name if I ever saw one) is the worst- she literally speaks in nothing but overlabored setups and punchlines.

Snap! my good man.

Beer Four

The casting is bizarre- the scene where Dickinson’s brother begs his father to allow him to do his heroic duty in the Civil War is undercut just a tad by the father being played by the 68-year old Carradine and the son by the 53-year old Duncan Duff (they look even less separated by age on the screen).  Cynthia Nixon and Jennifer Ehle play sisters who are somewhere between 25 and 55 years of age, depending on the dramatic and comedic contents of the scene, and not particularly due to the passage of time.

Beer Five

Did you know that Emily Dickinson was the foremost feminist and atheist of the 19th Century?  No, me (and literally every biographer of the real historical figure), either.  This film displays no interest in Emily Dickinson the real human person who actually lived nor Emily Dickson, Sublime Poet, but rather the same bizarrely invented conception of Emily Dickinson, Social Rebel.

Verdict

It’s hard to determine just what A Quiet Passion is supposed to be- a biopic drama, an anachronistic farce, a high-minded meditation or a feather-light amusement?  Whatever it was supposed to be, it doesn’t work.

A Quiet Passion (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever somebody does something age-inappropriate

Take a Drink: whenever religion is presented as ridiculous

Take a Drink: for every witty bon mot

Take a Drink: whenever somebody defies social mores

Do a Shot: for each Dickinson poem quoted

Do a Shot: for hot George Washington takes

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Virtual Pub 226: Blade Runner, Foreigner, Florida Project, Prof. Marston etc http://movieboozer.com/articles/virtual-pub-226-blade-runner-foreigner-florida-project-prof-marston-etc http://movieboozer.com/articles/virtual-pub-226-blade-runner-foreigner-florida-project-prof-marston-etc#respond Thu, 19 Oct 2017 03:00:31 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103985 Lots of movies to talk about this week, too many to count!

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Lots of movies to talk about this week, too many to count!

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Rat Film (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/rat-film-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/rat-film-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Wed, 18 Oct 2017 12:15:47 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103952 By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) – The relationship between ratkind and mankind spans the history of both species, and the rise of the city entwined their fates irreparably. Life just wouldn’t be the same without ya, buddy. Rat Film sets out to tell the history of the rat in Baltimore and its contemporary affect on …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –

The relationship between ratkind and mankind spans the history of both species, and the rise of the city entwined their fates irreparably.

Life just wouldn’t be the same without ya, buddy.

Rat Film sets out to tell the history of the rat in Baltimore and its contemporary affect on the city, but ends up delving into a whole lot more.  Let’s just say there’s more than one kind of rat.

A Toast

Director Theo Anthony deploys an impressively eclectic range of resources in the conception of his documentary film, not least his own considerable talents behind the camera and editing bay, Dan Deacon’s unnerving electronic score, and Maureen Jones’s resolutely monotone voiceover.  But this is not just an aesthetically intriguing mix of elements, but also an almost randomly compiled list of fascinating interviewees, almost straight out of an young Errol Morris film, including rat fishermen, hunters, and more professional exterminators, a forensics instructor with the world’s creepiest dollhouses, and, hardest interrogated, the past itself through archival maps and photographs.

It’s that last bit that you begin to realize is the true thrust of Anthony’s film, as stories of experiments in rat population density which go to hell begin to reveal uncomfortable and unnecessary to elucidate parallels with project housing and other forms of social experimentation.  What Rat Film eventually builds towards is no less than a devastatingly clear history of Baltimore segregation and racial and social politics and the world they have very consciously created.  It’s a rat’s nest indeed.

Beer Two

All of this randomness does create a somewhat scattershot effect, and it can be hard to tease out a thesis at times (forensics dollhouse man is damn interesting, but very tenuously connected, if at all).  Rat Film does build to a gutpunch of a climax though- nevermind some of the twists in the path getting there.

Verdict

Rat Film may start out as an examination of rats’ coexistence with humankind, but becomes much more- a history of animals far more insidious to our well-being.

Rat Film (2016) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for every mention of rat poison

Take a Drink: whenever the history of rats crosses over with awful Baltimore racial history

Take a Drink: for rat owners

Take a Drink: for virtual reality & video game graphics

Take a Drink: for each horrifying experiment

Do a Shot: whenever things get a bit too real

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The Foreigner (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/the-foreigner-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/the-foreigner-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Tue, 17 Oct 2017 12:15:12 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103972 By: BabyRuth (Three Beers) – You guys, Jackie Chan is back in a new movie! He’s starring as wronged father out for vengeance! And he has a very particular set of skills. Skills he has acquired over a very long career. And Pierce Brosnan is the bad guy with an exaggerated Irish accent! Jackie Chan is …

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By: BabyRuth (Three Beers) –

You guys, Jackie Chan is back in a new movie! He’s starring as wronged father out for vengeance! And he has a very particular set of skills. Skills he has acquired over a very long career. And Pierce Brosnan is the bad guy with an exaggerated Irish accent!

Jackie Chan is an international treasure. I know I was psyched when I heard about this movie. It’s been a while since we’ve seen him (I conveniently forgot about that  Karate Kid remake- THAT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH KARATE) and the idea of the 63-year old actor laying out bad guys half his age with inventively choreographed stunt-work definitely sounds like a whole lot of fun.

But The Foreigner is not a whole lot of fun.  At least not “fun” in the way most would expect a Jackie Chan movie to be (or the way the trailers for this film make it appear). Instead, we get a gritty political thriller that happens to have Chan in it.

Quan (Chan) is a widowed restaurant owner living in London with his teenage daughter Fan (Katie Leung). Don’t get too attached to Fan—in the film’s first scene she enters a clothing store seconds before a bomb is detonated at a nearby bank. A group called the Authentic IRA (Irish Republican Army) takes responsibility for the incident. The grieving Quan then becomes obsessed with learning the names of the members who carried out the attack.

After several attempts to the London police go nowhere, Quan begins to hound Liam Hennessy (Pierce Brosnan), the Irish Deputy Minister and former-IRA member, convinced he must know something.

At first Hennessy shrugs off the persistent little man, seeing him as nothing more than a nuisance who won’t stop calling and showing up at his office. That is until Quan starts taking some more, um, drastic measures to get the official’s attention. You know, like setting off his own series of explosions in Hennessy’s office and remote vacation home. Pretty much the usual…

Turns out Quan knows some stuff and Hennessy realizes he just may have underestimated him.

A Toast

Spoiler Alert: There is a dog. At one point you think something terrible has happened. But come on, Jackie Chan would never kill a dog. Not even mad-as-hell/emo Jackie Chan. The dog is fine. We even see it in a later scene just in case there was any doubt.

Sorry, I just had to get that out of the way. There is actually more to toast than that.

The Foreigner is a very well-made (especially impressive given the estimated budget of only $35,000,000) and well-acted film. It’s also a nice reunion between director Martin Campbell and Pierce Brosnan (who last worked together when Campbell directed GoldenEye in 1995).

Though Chan’s character is a long-retired from fighting restaurateur, hence a much, slower, less-coordinated version of the Chan most audiences are familiar with, he still gets to showcase his skills in a few solid fight sequences.

Beer Two

It’s great to see Jackie Chan attempt to branch out with more serious work. It’s a smart move considering the stage of his career. But aside from looking, really, really sad and also really, really tired, and repeatedly asking in a low voice for the names of the bad guys,  there isn’t much to see.

He’s really trying though…he’s acting. He does effectively portray a broken-down man with nothing more to lose, it would just be nice if there were more to it. I do hope he continues to explore more dramatic fare, but hopefully whatever that may be will give him a chance to expand his talents while still allowing his natural charisma (nowhere to be seen here) to shine through.

Beer Three

The film is based on a 1992 novel called “The Chinaman” (the film’s title was changed to the more generic, but much less racist-sounding The Foreigner) by Stephen Leather, which I’m sure is an intense page-turner best absorbed over time (and with the option to go back and re-read portions). However, condensing a story with so many sub-plots, twist, backstories, and political history (with which the audience is expected to already be familiar) into a film with a 114 minute run-time appears to have presented a challenge as it all feels very overstuffed, over-written, and convoluted.

At the same time, it’s slow-moving with long stretches of expository dialogue. The tone is dark, and dour, and every scene has that gray-blueish tint because It’s Serious Dammit! It’s a bit of a chore to get through. Maybe it’s my own fault for going to a 10PM show and drinking a glass of wine during it, but at times I felt my eyes taking extended blinks. Thankfully, the action sequences are a welcome break.

I was more emotionally-invested in the fate of that cushion than anything that happened in The Foreigner. (Note: I admit I totally requested doing the review for this movie for the sole reason of somehow incorporating this video.)

Beer Four

For Jackie Chan’s big, dramatic comeback, he sure isn’t in it much. He disappears into the woods (literally) for a good twenty-plus minute chunk mid-film and the focus shifts to Brosnan’s character. I’d argue that Hennessy, not Quan, is the actual main character.

In fact, the whole revenge plot feels tacked on. It could have been omitted entirely and had no effect on the main story.

Verdict

While I wouldn’t recommend running to the theater to see The Foreigner, it’s still a decent VOD choice. Just don’t expect to see the Jackie Chan you know and love. Wait for Rush Hour 4 for that.

The Foreigner (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever Quan asks for The Names (take two if it is written)

Take a Drink: every time a character rolls their eyes at Quan’s persistence

Take a Drink: whenever someone says “Chinaman” (apparently too offensive to keep as the title, but not too much to include several mentions of, despite the fact that Quan is Vietnamese)

Take a Drink: for every double-cross

Take a Drink: whenever Pierce Brosnan’s character does (there’s a lot of these, he’s Irish after all!)

Do a Shot: for every explosion

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Trailer Reviews: The Foreigner, Happy Death Day, & Professor Marston and the Wonder Women http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-the-foreigner-happy-death-day-professor-marston-and-the-wonder-women http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-the-foreigner-happy-death-day-professor-marston-and-the-wonder-women#respond Mon, 16 Oct 2017 17:15:00 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103931 By: Hawk Ripjaw – The Foreigner Remember all that buzz about how Jackie Chan refused to use guns in his American movies because he didn’t want to send a bad message to the kids or something? And then he proceeded to do the Kill Bill heart-exploding punch thing to a bunch of bad guys? Now, …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw –


The Foreigner

Remember all that buzz about how Jackie Chan refused to use guns in his American movies because he didn’t want to send a bad message to the kids or something? And then he proceeded to do the Kill Bill heart-exploding punch thing to a bunch of bad guys? Now, I don’t know if The Foreigner technically qualifies as one of his American movies, but I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say that his gun rule has a price tag. As in, “you get one unloaded magazine per zero on that paycheck.” Of course, trailers lie, and Jackie Chan, despite his stance on guns, probably says that mostly because he can kill you in five different ways before your body hits the ground. It would generally be less interesting that the apparent majority of the movie features Pierce Brosnan doing shady political stuff. However, given that this is directed by Martin Campbell (Casino RoyaleEdge of Darkness), there is potential for character nuance. Also However, this is directed by Martin Campbell (Green Lantern, Vertical Limit), who has made some very lifeless, boring movies. 

 Beer Prediction

 

Look, there’s no way it’s going to be that bad. Not even Renny Harlin can fuck up a Jackie Chan performance.

 

Happy Death Day

The Groundhog Day template is so interchangable for so many concepts. Edge of Tomorrow adopted the concept to a fun, cheeky sci-fi action format.  Source Code, meandering ending notwithstanding, is a delight. I’m quite certain that Netflix’s Naked is a disaster, and Premature, about a teenager whose day resets every time he climaxes, is a funny concept that cannot possibly make a good movie. This weird, specific subgenre has many reasons to work and many more to fail. Happy Death Day should hopefully fall into the former camp. The idea that she keeps injuries from each death and it just makes her weaker and more vulnerable gives a much greater sense of urgency, and might be exactly what this needs to be memorable. 

Beer Prediction

That baby mask is pretty effective, too.

 

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women

It’s a movie about a man who created a female character who ties people up to force them to tell the truth, but her impossible strength can be diminished if you manage to tie her up. I’m not sure if I’m watching a drama about comic book characters or a 60 Minutes segment about sex perverts. Actually, this looks way better. I honestly thought this was a documentary about the creation of Wonder Woman, but instead it’s a crazy love triangle involving three people, one of which created Wonder Woman. If this feeds into psychology as much as I hope it will, I’ll be happier than a college freshman with a Wonder Woman poster. That’s not weird, right?

Beer Prediction

There aren’t  many romance stories like this, so you might as well take advantage of it.

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Battle of the Sexes (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/battle-of-the-sexes-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/battle-of-the-sexes-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Mon, 16 Oct 2017 12:15:08 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103769 By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) – I would say Cam Newton’s comment last week about the utter hilariousness of women talking about sports with authority was appropriately timed for the release of Battle of the Sexes if it were some kind of rarity.  Unfortunately, it’s not. It doesn’t typically take such a conveniently buffoonish form, either. Battle …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –

I would say Cam Newton’s comment last week about the utter hilariousness of women talking about sports with authority was appropriately timed for the release of Battle of the Sexes if it were some kind of rarity.  Unfortunately, it’s not.

It doesn’t typically take such a conveniently buffoonish form, either.

Battle of the Sexes tells the story of in her prime tennis superstar Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and 50-something year old former tennis luminary turned bored businessman and gambler Bobby Riggs (Steve Carrell), as the latter decides that a match in which he plays the top female talent to prove once and for all the superiority of male athleticism may be something that would play on TV.  Boy howdy, does it ever.

A Toast

Battle of the Sexes is often very well framed and shot by La La Land’s Linus Sandgren, and it flies through its story with great pacing and editing thanks to the confident helming of Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton.  It’s a consummately polished film that has great fun in recreating the colors and fashions of the 1970s as well as the hustle and athleticism of top flight tennis.

Just a touch garish, perhaps.

The real attraction of the film, though, is its true and truly ridiculous story that can’t help but reflect on the odiousness of Boys Clubs everywhere, as recent news events demonstrate are far from a thing of the past (nevermind when you’re actually reading this, I’m sure there’ll be some news that applies).  And while that is handled with the requisite seriousness, and even a little bit of extra sly commentary (the reporting scenes with Natalie Morales inserted into historical footage with Howard Cosell, hand clasping the back of her neck like some low-rent vampire, are particularly telling), it’s also often very funny, taking perhaps the easy shots at sexist boorishness, but sinking them all.

It’s not Carell’s Bobby Riggs who is on the receiving end of this, surprisingly, though, as he’s instead portrayed as a man willing to play the clown for a chance back in the public eye with an interesting relationship with his rich wife who’s bankrolled perhaps one too many of his schemes.  Between this and Emma Stone’s often conflicted sports super-star who’s dealing with her own double life even as she’s trying to change the world for women in all walks of life, this film’s greatest achievement is its almost across the board array of interesting and complex characters.

Beer Two

Well, except for King’s husband, Larry.  He’s a goddamned saint.  If you flipped the sexes in the relationship and made the infidelity cisgender, he would be a suffering but remarkably understanding and loving housewife character last seen on screen sometime in the 60s.  I’m glad the real Larry and Billie Jean remain friends, but I suspect things didn’t play out quite like this in real life.

I’m disappointed you’re cheating with my wife, but I feel like this double standard is on the right side of history.

Beer Three

In general, Billie Jean’s romance with hairdresser and free spirit Marilyn (Andrew Riseborough) is not handled particularly great from a style (gauzy long-take close-ups) or story integration standpoint.  Billie Jean’s need to hide her homosexuality in an era even worse in its attitude than towards women is a fascinating and important part of her life, but telling the story of her sexual awakening in parallel with her path towards her greatest triumph feels like a distraction both for the character (Marilyn’s free spirit mostly manifests as selfishness) and for film as a whole.  The somewhat ham-handed and obvious finale demonstrates both how laudably earnest the filmmakers are to incorporate the struggle for LGBTQ rights and how unsure they are as to how to do so in the context of their main story.

Verdict

Battle of the Sexes ably mixes comedy and drama in the too weird to be fiction tale of a male vs female showdown that played out on the world’s biggest stage.

Battle of the Sexes (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever somebody says something sexist or homophobic

Take a Drink: whenever Bobby Riggs does anything patently ridiculous (could be a double with the above)

Take a Drink: for each tennis game

Take a Drink: whenever Larry does anything near-saintly or deeply sad

Take a Drink: whenever Billie makes eyes at Marilyn

Do a Shot: for Jack Kramer getting his comeuppance

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365 Days of Movies- Henry J. Fromage Edition- Week 39 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-of-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-39 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-of-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-39#respond Sun, 15 Oct 2017 17:15:32 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103727 By: Henry J. Fromage – I decided this week that being as we’re in the Fall and prime movie season, it was time I made a concerted effort to watch some.  Here are the desserts this week. 202. Blade Runner: The Final Cut It’s been years since I saw this (never mind which cut I …

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By: Henry J. Fromage –

I decided this week that being as we’re in the Fall and prime movie season, it was time I made a concerted effort to watch some.  Here are the desserts this week.

202. Blade Runner: The Final Cut

It’s been years since I saw this (never mind which cut I would’ve caught), and my wife never has, so I figured a double feature with one of my most anticipated films of the year was in order.  An interesting phenomenon occurred- not only was I cooler to this film than I remembered being, but I also found it’s sequel superior.  Don’t get me wrong, Ridley Scott’s film is influential in ways Blade Runner 2049 could never hope to be, a true triumph of futurism and design which has become so intertwined with its genre that it can be hard to imagine what a mind-blower it must have been on June 25th, 1982.  Unfortunately, I was not in the theater then, so while I yield to the brilliance of its aesthetics and its truly surprising and gorgeous ending, much of the rest of the film left me more indifferent in the unique manner in which Ridley Scott films often do.  It’s probably time to start recognizing his great talent as a filmmaker and his relative mediocrity as a storyteller in the same breath.

203. Blade Runner 2049

While I can certainly understand why this 2 hour, 43 minute rumination on what it means to be human didn’t play to the general public like Transformers 3, I’m very glad a studio was dumb enough to give Denis Villeneuve the ducats to make it (don’t hold your breathe for his new Dune movie, though).  With Roger Deakins pushing the visual language of the first Blade Runner to dizzying new heights, Villeneuve’s usual creative team layering on spectacular sound design and editing, and Hans Zimmer, Benjamin Wallfisch, and Johann Johannsson contributing a Vangelis and drone-inspired score, even as a purely sensory delight Blade Runner 2049 is a triumph.  However, it’s Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford delivering performances as good as any they’ve yet done and a beautifully paced story full of both action and philosophy which really elevate the film.

204. American Made

Plenty of thinkpieces have been written about Tom Cruise being Hollywood’s last Movie Star in the classic sense- a headliner whose name alone is an endorsement.  Well, let’s go ahead and ignore this year’s The Mummy for a second (he at least was fun in it), and file American Made as yet another piece of evidence that this remains true.  He’s utterly magnetic in his turn as Barry Seal, a former TWA pilot who gets recruited to run spy flyovers for the CIA, starts gun-running, then ferrying cocaine back to the U.S. for the Medellin cartel, then really gets in hot water from there.  It’s Doug Liman’s light touch on such heavy material that really stands out, though, as he turns a history that’s arguably set back the entire Hemisphere into the absurd farce that it in many ways was even more ridiculous in real life.  Any story that can inspire sentences as mind-bending and truly disgusting as Ronald Reagan’s “A few months ago I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions tell me that’s true, but the facts and evidence tell me it is not.” proves the maxim that truth is indeed stranger than fiction.

205. Kedi

One of the first things you’ll notice about Istanbul if you ever visit (and you absolutely should) is sheer number of surprisingly healthy and friendly-looking stray cats roaming the streets.  It turns out that cats are almost a communal property there, a true feature of the city, and Kedi roams it in search of stories of human and cat connection and whatever universal truths it can glean from that.  What it becomes is a surprisingly affecting portrait of not just cat lovers, but the beautiful human instincts that draw them towards emotional bonds with animal-kind.  It’s as humanist a film that has come out this year, one that could use many more stories like these.  And yeah, it’s catnip for cat lovers, too.

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The Age of Innocence (1993) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/the-age-of-innocence-1993-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/the-age-of-innocence-1993-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sun, 15 Oct 2017 12:15:54 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103897 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – Edith Wharton remains a major figure in American literature. Her work includes the novella Ethan Frome and the novel The House of Mirth. Wharton was the first woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for The Age of Innocence, so it is no surprise that Martin Scorsese would want to …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

Edith Wharton remains a major figure in American literature. Her work includes the novella Ethan Frome and the novel The House of Mirth. Wharton was the first woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for The Age of Innocence, so it is no surprise that Martin Scorsese would want to adapt this beloved novel into a feature film. The final result is a sumptuous tale of love, passion, and desire that enchanted both critics and audiences since its original release in 1993.

A Toast

This is definitely a quintessential American period drama. The film features Oscar-winning costumes as well as terrific performances from Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Winona Ryder. Ryder actually won the Golden Globe for bringing May Welland to the screen, but unfortunately lost the Academy Award to Anna Paquin for The Piano. Nevertheless, the film is perfect for anyone fascinated with Nineteenth Century American culture.

Verdict

Many of the most beloved period dramas come from British authors like Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. However, Edith Wharton still deserves her own place in the literary canon given her insight into human nature through her compelling writing. Some would also say that Edith Wharton is much like an American version of Jane Austen since both of them are women who examine the manners and mores of their respective countries while also providing social commentary on life in the 1800s. Many people might be more familiar with Pride and Prejudice and A Tale of Two Cities, but The Age of Innocence serves as a great reminder that the stereotypically genteel period of 1870s New York might not be that innocent after all (pun intended).

The Age of Innocence (1993) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for every flower

Take a Drink: for every envelope with the characters’ names on them

Take a Drink: for every classic painting

Enjoy Your Favorite Beverage: as you marvel at the gorgeous production design and lavish costumes of this beloved period piece

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Victor Victoria (1982) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/victor-victoria-1982-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/victor-victoria-1982-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sat, 14 Oct 2017 12:15:56 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103875 By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) – Julie Andrews is one of the most iconic actresses of all time. She won an Oscar for her film debut in Mary Poppins (1964), and she sung her heart out in The Sound of Music (1965). Even with such a great start to her film career, Julie Andrews suffered …

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By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –

Julie Andrews is one of the most iconic actresses of all time. She won an Oscar for her film debut in Mary Poppins (1964), and she sung her heart out in The Sound of Music (1965). Even with such a great start to her film career, Julie Andrews suffered from typecasting from her “squeaky clean image.” In opposition to that notion, Julie Andrews tackled very risqué roles as an attempt to shatter that image. One of those films was S.O.B. (1981), and then Andrews did what is perhaps her most sizzling performance in Victor Victoria. Directed by her own husband, Blake Edwards, Julie Andrews created one of her most signature roles outside of Disney and Rodgers and Hammerstein. The final result is an Oscar-nominated performance for a film that explored a controversial topic–human sexuality.

A Toast

This is definitely one of Julie Andrews’s greatest performances. As a woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman, Andrews knew how to navigate the tangled web of lies that her character gets stuck in as she struggled to survive in 1934 Paris. The music is also spectacular, especially the song “Le Jazz Hot.” The screenplay was also very daring even though it might have been considered too “hot” (pun intended) to win the Oscar. Nevertheless, this is one of the boldest and most original films that Julie Andrews ever starred in.

Beer Two

Even with great production values, performances, and music, this film is surprisingly violent. Who knew that Julie Andrews had the ability to punch! Such content is actually justifiable, though, because it gives the film a sense of realism while also reiterating the fact that sometimes life can be very difficult. Perhaps that is the reason why this film deals with such controversial subject matter. As Norma Cassady, Lesley Ann Warren also plays a surprisingly feisty character given her explosive personality, which is probably why she would be willing to behave so scandalously (and receive an Oscar nomination for her performance). Even with that minor issue, the film still contains one of the most interesting plots that the silver screen has ever known.

Verdict

Before there were popular LGBT-centered forms of entertainment (such as the TV show Will & Grace and the film Milk), Victor Victoria redefined what filmmakers could produce. Its open depiction of homosexual themes meant that Hollywood censorship changed alongside the shifting Hollywood landscape during its original release in 1982. Its legacy endures today because Chris Colfer did his own rendition of the musical number “Le Jazz Hot” during the second season of Glee. This film also managed to earn a “PG” rating even though it presented topics that would make some audiences feel uncomfortable. Nevertheless, Victor Victoria will always remain a gender-bending classic.

Victor Victoria (1982) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Julie Andrews sings with a voice that (literally) shatters glass

Take a Drink: during every LGBT reference

Drink a Shot: every time Julie Andrews repeatedly sings the phrase “Le Jazz Hot” (and also for the dancers snapping their fingers during that show-stopping musical number)

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New York Comic Con Day 3 http://movieboozer.com/articles/new-york-comic-con-day-3 http://movieboozer.com/articles/new-york-comic-con-day-3#respond Fri, 13 Oct 2017 17:15:24 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103834         So much to do, so little time but them’s the breaks at New York Comic Con. We had a great time checking out all the cool stuff Comic Con had to offer but we leave you with tons more pics from our adventure at New York Comic Con 2017. We can’t …

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So much to do, so little time but them’s the breaks at New York Comic Con. We had a great time checking out all the cool stuff Comic Con had to offer but we leave you with tons more pics from our adventure at New York Comic Con 2017. We can’t wait until next year.

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Edward Scissorhands (1990) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/edward-scissorhands-1990-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/edward-scissorhands-1990-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Fri, 13 Oct 2017 12:15:53 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103739 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – Hollywood likes to make films involving monsters, and some famous examples include Frankenstein (1931), starring Boris Karloff and Dracula (1931), starring Bela Lugosi. Even with such frightening appearances, a fundamental fact is that not everything is what it seems. That notion prompted Tim Burton to create one of his …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

Hollywood likes to make films involving monsters, and some famous examples include Frankenstein (1931), starring Boris Karloff and Dracula (1931), starring Bela Lugosi. Even with such frightening appearances, a fundamental fact is that not everything is what it seems. That notion prompted Tim Burton to create one of his most memorable motion pictures in 1990, which is the cult classic Edward Scissorhands. This is definitely one of Burton’s crowning achievements because of his examination of beauty within it.

A Toast

This film features Oscar-nominated makeup and a Golden Globe-nominated performance from Johnny Depp. It also has a beautiful love story that is strikingly similar to the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. Edward Scissorhands is much like the Beast because they are both social outcasts with frightening external appearances. Nevertheless, Kim (Winona Ryder) is much like Belle because Kim is able to look past such a horrific exterior to see the man that Edward really is. The film itself provides great social commentary about how something out of the ordinary can truly be extraordinary given the contrast between Edward and the surrounding community. The entire population is purposefully a set of “cookie-cutter people” because Tim Burton wanted to highlight the fact that normality can sometimes be bland and ordinary. It was not until Edward came along that everyone’s lives changed forever.

Verdict

One of the taglines for this film is, “Edward was here…” Indeed, Edward Scissorhands showcases how the actions of one single person can influence everyone around him or her. Edward changed the suburban community that he visited, and audiences are able to know more about the definition of beauty given the film’s plot. This film is a great example of how true beauty comes from character rather than superficial appearances. It was a good thing that the Avon Lady visited the castle on the top of the hill during that one fateful day…

Edward Scissorhands (1990) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Edward gives someone a haircut using his scissorhands

Take a Drink: during every beautiful moment involving Kim and Danny Elfman’s luscious film score

Drink a Shot: for all of the houses that look the same, and how Edward is much different than the people around him

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New York Comic Con Day 2 http://movieboozer.com/articles/new-york-comic-con-day-2 http://movieboozer.com/articles/new-york-comic-con-day-2#respond Thu, 12 Oct 2017 17:15:21 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103805         After a fun-filled day one at New York Comic Con, we were ready to meet more of our favorite imaginary character. Terrific cosplayers filled the convention floor of the Javits Center, site of the mega New York Comic Con, and with camera on hand, we captured many more superheroes, villains, warriors, …

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After a fun-filled day one at New York Comic Con, we were ready to meet more of our favorite imaginary character. Terrific cosplayers filled the convention floor of the Javits Center, site of the mega New York Comic Con, and with camera on hand, we captured many more superheroes, villains, warriors, etc. Enjoy!

 

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Ken’s Movie Diary 2017 – Week 35 http://movieboozer.com/articles/movie-news/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-35 http://movieboozer.com/articles/movie-news/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-35#respond Thu, 12 Oct 2017 12:15:04 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103542 Weekly Update: More movies movies movies movies… Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date- 265. A Walk in the Woods (2015) This is the kind of movie you watch with your parents because it is guaranteed to offend nobody and pass the time amicably. …

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Weekly Update: More movies movies movies movies…

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

265. A Walk in the Woods (2015)

This is the kind of movie you watch with your parents because it is guaranteed to offend nobody and pass the time amicably. And that’s exactly what led me to watching A Walk in the Woods. Director Ken Kwapis managed to make the dullest possible version of the buddy movie. Robert Redford and Nick Nolte try their best, but neither are able to salvage this junker.

266. The Lego Ninjago Movie (2017)

This latest entry in the Lego film franchise takes a few too many story beats from the first Lego movie and repeats them, combined with less jokes per minute than either of the previous films. While the movie does have some effective laughs, particularly when it parodies Kung Fu movie tropes, it doesn’t do enough to make up for its shortcomings.

267. Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)

The film doubles down on action/spy movie tropes and then pushes them to ridiculous extremes. Matthew Vaughn treads the lines of genre conventions while slyly satirizing them. Everything about Kingsman: The Golden Circle is over the top and yet everything is perfectly organized. The action choreography is particularly marvelous, with Vaughn moving the camera around dynamically in such a way that the topography of the fight is fully understood. I enjoyed this film even more than the first Kingsman.

268. The Wedding Party (2016)

This Nigerian-made romantic comedy follows two upper class families as they prepare to unite under matrimony. For the most part The Wedding Party treads similar territory as numerous rom-coms before it, but with a cast of very likable characters and solid comedic performances, the movie’s charm holds out.

269. The Innkeepers (2011)

Director Ti West crafted a uniquely meta and low-key horror film with this sleeper.  It follows two people, Claire and Luke, on the last night a popular and old hotel is open for business.  The two know their jobs are being eliminated, so rather than do real work, they get drunk and set out to ghost-hunt the hotel, having heard for years about an apparition that supposedly haunts the building. The Innkeepers is gripping and fun until the very end, where the climax disappoints with an appeal to genre conventions that were until then being subverted.

270. Gerald’s Game (2017)

Gerald and Jessie are headed to their oceanside cottage for a romantic weekend, intent on trying to save a dying marriage.  To add some kink to their sex life, Jessie agrees to being handcuffed to the bed. However as soon as this happens, Gerald dies of a violent heart attack.  Trapped and miles from any help, Jessie must figure out how to escape, while slowly losing her grip on reality.

Not unlike The InnkeepersGerald’s Game is a film that succeeds in droves until the very end, where the finale just falls apart. Unlike The Innkeepers though, Gerald’s Game collapses so incredibly under its own weight it becomes impossible to recommend. The film is full of metaphor about abuse and overcoming trauma that it is impossible to miss. In the last 10 minutes Gerald’s Game decides its audience is too stupid to have comprehended any of that, and decides to drive it into your skull with a mortar and pestle. If you like having your films end with a dose of fatherly condescension, this could be right up your alley.

271. The Hindenburg (1975)

This 1970s disaster epic attempts to come up with a conspiracy plot to explain the real life Hindenburg Zeppelin disaster. It fails… miserably. Robert Wise does his best to make a dull and very unbelievable story cinematic, particularly with some excellent cinematography around miniature work. Avoid this.

272. The Power of Glove (2017)

There are plenty of Youtube-based documentaries already available that detail the life and quick death of Mattel’s Power Glove accessory for the Nintendo Entertainment System. But this doc is worth a look for its in depth interviews with the creators, which sets it apart from previous attempts to tell the Power Glove story.  Those unfamiliar with the brief, but potent pop culture phenomena that was the Power Glove would do well to seek this film out.

273. Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

What a surprise to find a long-delayed sequel to such a monumentally beloved film actually manage to impress. Not only that, but it is in many ways more interesting than the original film. Denis Villeneuve takes many of Ridley Scott’s visual flourishes as a jumping off point for a deeper exploration of what it means to be human.

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New York Comic Con Day 1 http://movieboozer.com/articles/new-york-comic-con-day-1 http://movieboozer.com/articles/new-york-comic-con-day-1#respond Wed, 11 Oct 2017 17:15:19 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103772         And Movieboozer.com was once again given a prized press pass for New York Comic Con 2017, the largest and greatest of all the comic cons in the world. And speaking of the world, when they aren’t busy saving it, we saw many of our favorite superheroes walking around the Jacob Javits …

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And Movieboozer.com was once again given a prized press pass for New York Comic Con 2017, the largest and greatest of all the comic cons in the world. And speaking of the world, when they aren’t busy saving it, we saw many of our favorite superheroes walking around the Jacob Javits Convention in Midtown Manhattan, casually strolling around. From the Justice League to the Suicide Squad, X-Men, and other fantasy roleplayers, New York Comic Con was packed with your favorite comic book characters. Of course, we were there to capture almost every single one of them. Thank god they made this a four-day convention.

 

 

 

 

 

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My Little Pony: The Movie (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/my-little-pony-the-movie-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/my-little-pony-the-movie-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Tue, 10 Oct 2017 12:15:57 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103752 By: Reel 127 (Four Beers) – I need to start with a full disclosure here. I’ve been a fan of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic since 2011. This movie has been a long time coming for fans of the show. I had an odd feeling of excitement going into this. Yet I still wasn’t …

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By: Reel 127 (Four Beers) –

I need to start with a full disclosure here. I’ve been a fan of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic since 2011. This movie has been a long time coming for fans of the show. I had an odd feeling of excitement going into this. Yet I still wasn’t expecting much from it.

Twilight Sparkle is the princess of friendship in the land of Equestria, where small equines populate the land. Just as the Friendship Festival is set to begin a mysterious invader called the Storm King arrives to rule over Equestria. It’s up to Twilight and her friends to save the day by going on an “epic adventure” across the land. Along the way they meet all kinds of celebrity guests to help them in defeating the Storm King.

A Toast

Going into this movie I was very conflicted. I didn’t want to automatically enjoy it because of fond memories from when I first fell for the show. But even when I tried to watch this subjectively I still had a lot of fun with it. The people who made this clearly put plenty of love into it. The songs were well done, a couple of which I found myself humming as I left the theater. The animation was very pleasing; despite the bright colors it never became a sensory overload. The new characters who were added for this movie felt fleshed out even if their screen presences were short. And for fans of the show it was a nice treat to see the main characters on the big screen.

Kristin Chenoweth was the most perfect addition possible.

Beer Two

This is film. Not television. As a result things play out differently. Especially when adapting a property from a different format. For the most part it probably isn’t necessary to watch the TV series to understand it, but it certainly would explain the backstory. The audience is thrown in with at least some expectation that they know what’s going on. But with film it should be a contained story that doesn’t require homework before going into see it.

Beer Three

I was curious to see how the main characters would be represented in the movie. Where most movies don’t have too large of a principal cast, this one instantly begins with seven. Twilight was the main focus and received the most screen time. But I noticed that Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash, the two most recognizable characters to mainstream audiences, were given more time than others. Characters like Fluttershy and Applejack seemed to just be along for the ride. They never really offered anything or helped advance the story. They could have been removed without issue. But, because of the source material, all characters were forced in regardless of what purpose they ultimately served.

Front Row: Expendables.

Beer Four

My biggest complaint with this movie is that it was very predictable. I was surprised to find myself thinking “Oh, so this will happen next,” for pretty much the entire movie and being correct every time. The movie painted a clear path early on and stuck to that. There was nothing complex or new to come from it by the end. For its target audience that really doesn’t mean much. But for an animated film to be raised to the level of being memorable it needs to offer something more.

Verdict

It’s pretty straightforward. If you wanted to see this movie before than you are good to go. However, this movie is very much made for kids and not for families. I find it hard to recommend it to anyone who isn’t a brony or has kids.

  

If you want to save money and get the same effect,
all seven seasons are currently on Netflix.

My Little Pony: The Movie (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time a song starts.

Take a Drink: every time an extreme close up is used as a scene transition.

Take a Drink: every time it is mentioned how colorful the ponies are.

Take a Drink: for every obvious toy set being advertised.

Take a Drink: for every character you recognize (drink up bronies!).

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The Mountain Between Us (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/the-mountain-between-us-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/the-mountain-between-us-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Tue, 10 Oct 2017 12:15:54 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103862 By: Hawk Ripjaw (Four Beers) – Alex (Kate Winslet) is a photographer about to get married. Ben (Idris Elba) is a married surgeon who needs to get to an operation for a young boy. Because all flights out of the airport are cancelled because of a storm, Alex and Ben are stranded. Luckily, Beau Bridges …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw (Four Beers) –

Alex (Kate Winslet) is a photographer about to get married. Ben (Idris Elba) is a married surgeon who needs to get to an operation for a young boy. Because all flights out of the airport are cancelled because of a storm, Alex and Ben are stranded. Luckily, Beau Bridges is willing to fly his tiny plane straight into the storm for $800, but it’s ultimately a stroke that kills him and crashes the plane.

Ben and Alex are stranded once again, this time on a snowy mountain with nothing but a couple of snacks and Beau Bridges’ dog. The dog is never in danger of being eaten (or really in danger of anything at all). Alex has a a broken leg, which is quickly and conveniently fixed thanks to Ben’s surgical experience. With no choice but to survive, they decide to fall for each other in a weirdly off-brand version of Stockholm Syndrome. That’s right: the next time you’re feeling down in the dumps and destined for the life of loneliness, find a stranger and hope you might wind up in a crashed plane together because you’re totally going to fall in love.

A Toast

The movie thrives almost entirely on the chemistry of Idris Elba and Kate Winslet, who both deliver fine performances deserving of a far better movie. Elba in particular has always had a wonderful electricity to his performance, regardless of the movie he’s in. He’s one of those rare actors whose ability defies the actual quality of his movies, and that holds true here. Winslet doesn’t fare quite as well, but she pairs nicely with Elba and the two have a pleasant rapport. 

Beer Two

The Mountain Between Us is both a survival movie and a romance, but never fully manages to embrace either. When focused on the burgeoning romance between the leads, the fight for survival feels distant and artificial. When it comes time to face the elements, the chemistry between the characters vanishes. The survival side of the narrative suffers the most, particularly as the movie has more interest in drinking in the objective attractiveness of the leads than it has in illustrating the vague, directionless landscape.

The way the wilderness is shot is possibly meant to convey how lost the characters are, but sudden, convenient discoveries of helpful landmarks feel more like deus ex machina than logical means of plot progression and sense of space. It comes down to editing more than cinematography, as some of the landscape shots are indeed breathtaking. There’s just no devotion to the environment as a character. It’s merely a catalyst for the next scene of sexual tension–unearned, I might add, as the great chemistry between the characters has little room to grow with them being so thinly written.

Beer Three

One of the biggest problems with the movie is the script, as Elba and Winslet work hard to elevate characters that have no weight to begin with. Elba is a doctor who has (or had?) a wife. Winslet is a photojournalist who is about to get married. That’s about all we get from them. They travel in two parallel lines that never divert. There are no character arcs, just two ids that magnetize towards each other with no reason. Neither is changed by the end of the movie. It’s far more wish fulfillment than it is character drama. 

And then there are lines such as Ben saying that he plays Candy Crush to stimulate his amygdala.

Beer Four

After slowly and steadily depleting its goodwill over the course of its runtime, The Mountain Between Us squanders what’s left with a final 20 minutes that are just awful. It’s made relatively obvious at a certain point that both characters will survive. Throughout their fight for survival, their charming chemistry morphs into genuine love resulting in a probably very rancid sex scene. Once rescued, each of them goes back to their lives, feeling vaguely sorry for themselves. Aggressive melodrama drives them back together in a fateful lunch date, culminating in one of the most awful final scenes in recent memory. Imagine the lamest ending you can think of to a romance movie that ends with the characters reunited, then imagine it much worse than that. It’s snort-through-your-nose ridiculous, and prompted the elderly woman next to me to whisper her irritation to her husband. 

Verdict

The Mountain Between Us takes one of the most bizarre nosedives of any other film of 2017. It begins with a decent amount of promise: two thin characters given a pleasant likability by their players, and some decent banter between them as their snarky personalities push back against the helplessness of being stranded on a mountaintop. Initial charm gives way to steadily more formulaic moments as the movie gradually redirects interest from conflict to romance. While all praise goes to Elba and Winslet for their performances, their characters just don’t have the meat to sustain an interesting romance. The editing is lazy and distracting. The story focuses on the wrong things, and fumbles everything. If nothing else, it reveals that Elba and Winslet should absolutely be reunited for something a bit more intelligent and passionate. 

The Mountain Between Us (2017) Movie Drinking Game

Do a Shot: whenever Ben or Alex makes a joke

Take a Drink: for every mention of death

Take a Drink: for any flashback or random cut to an earlier shot

Do a Shot: for any sudden, convenient turn of fate

Take a Drink: whenever someone mentions the dog

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365 Days of Movies- Henry J. Fromage Edition- Week 38 http://movieboozer.com/featured/365-days-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-38 http://movieboozer.com/featured/365-days-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-38#respond Mon, 09 Oct 2017 17:15:09 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103585 By: Henry J. Fromage – I was on a couple long West Coast flights this week, allowing me some catch-up time for those borderline intriguing prospects that make perfect plane movies. 199. The Brothers McMullen I’ve been meaning to catch up on Edward Burns’ big breakthrough for some time, and somewhat randomly Delta had it …

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By: Henry J. Fromage –

I was on a couple long West Coast flights this week, allowing me some catch-up time for those borderline intriguing prospects that make perfect plane movies.

199. The Brothers McMullen

I’ve been meaning to catch up on Edward Burns’ big breakthrough for some time, and somewhat randomly Delta had it this go-round.  Unfortunately, this probably fairly edgy Irish Catholic familial/sex dramedy hasn’t held up terrible well.  Full of terrible 90s fashion and terrible 90s sexual politics, it plays about as well as early Sex and the City episodes (okay, all Sex and the City episodes), trafficking in stereotypes and apologetics for boorish behavior.  The principal cast does well enough (including familiar faces like Connie Britton, who really comes off best), but Burns’ relative lack of success since despite his leading man looks and directorial resume make a little more sense now.

200. Chuck

At first, this biopic of the boxer who inspired Sylvester Stallone to write Rocky appears to be yet another middleweight boxing flick with an overqualified cast (Liev Schrieber, Elizabeth Moss, Ron Perlman, Jim Gaffigan, and Naomi Watts), but it morphs into a still familiar, but quite effective character study of a man who would be Champ.  Schrieber is as good as he’s ever been playing a selfish but likable man who feels like his underdog charisma is enough to get through life, and Moss gets some great scenes as his long-suffering wife who’ll suffer no longer.  God knows what Naomi Watts is doing in the film, though- she just must’ve wanted to try on that Jersey accent for size.

201. Beatriz at Dinner

I was also quite pleasantly surprised by this showcase for Salma Hayek, who plays a faith healer/masseuse for a rich L.A. couple (Connie Britton again and David Warshofsky) among others, who finds herself half-invited to a fancy real estate business-forward dinner party that includes John Lithgow as a Trumpian magnate who she may have some history with.  It’s half a teeth-grinding and occasionally unsubtle comedy of discomfort and half a surprisingly enigmatic and nuanced indictment of The Men who Turn the Motor of the World, courtesy of Enlightened‘s Mike White and surprisingly Youth in Revolt‘s Miguel Arteta, showing an entirely new dimension here.  Heavily recommended, and here’s hoping that Hayek gets her overdue acknowledgment on the awards circuit.

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Blade Runner: 2049 (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie/blade-runner-2049-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie/blade-runner-2049-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Mon, 09 Oct 2017 12:15:03 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103759  By: Christian Harding (Two Beers) – We all knew this was coming. Given Hollywood’s seemingly endless preoccupation with reboots, remakes, sequels, etc. over the last decade and a half (at least much moreso now than any other period of time in film history), it’s no surprise that Blade Runner would eventually be given some sort of newer …

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 By: Christian Harding (Two Beers) –

We all knew this was coming. Given Hollywood’s seemingly endless preoccupation with reboots, remakes, sequels, etc. over the last decade and a half (at least much moreso now than any other period of time in film history), it’s no surprise that Blade Runner would eventually be given some sort of newer addition to the legacy, especially considering its increasingly revered status as a science fiction classic, thanks in no small part to the parade of Director’s Cuts and Final Cuts that Ridley Scott has been fooling around with ever since the film’s initial release back in 1982.

Fast forward to 2017 where a much belated (if completely unnecessary) sequel has finally made it into theaters, helmed by one of the most interesting filmmakers to emerge as a major player this decade in Denis Villenueve, with the participation of Harrison Ford reprising his role from the first film, and also having Ridley Scott in a producing role, which is perhaps for the best considering how poorly Scott’s recent return to the Alien franchise fared earlier this year. The resulting film herein being Blade Runner 2049, a flawed yet ultimately satisfying continuation of the Blade Runner franchise, which I guess now is officially a thing. Huh.

A Toast

To keep plot points and details to a minimum, I’ll just go over the basics to start with: Blade Runner 2049 centers on Ryan Gosling in the leading role this time around, as a titular “Blade Runner”, whose job it is to “retire” (read: kill) any replicants (synthetically born humans, bred for the sole purpose of slave labor) still hanging out from the 2019-era of the first film. When given his next assignment, Gosling’s futuristic bounty hunter is suddenly thrust into a case that’s – surprise, surprise – much bigger and more far-reaching than he or the audience was expecting. Soon, Gosling’s officer, know only as K, finds himself embarking on journey of self-discovery that leads him to Harrison Ford’s Rick Deckard from the first film. As far as the thematic links between Blade Runner 2049 and its predecessor go, the central questions of morality and humanity from the first one are largely kept intact here, which helps tonally link the two films together, instead of this one seeming like a pale imitation of the ideas and narrative threads brought up in the original.

Ryan Gosling may not have been able to save jazz, but maybe he can save the latter half of Harrison Ford’s career.

Among the many influences the 1982 Blade Runner had on the science fiction genre, one of its biggest was in regards to the design and art direction of any potential future landscapes and settings. In that respect, Blade Runner 2049 certainly had a lot to live up to, and on that front it definitely does not disappoint. In a very wise move, the aesthetic of 2049 doesn’t try to copy or… replicate (awwwww yeah!) the exact look or feel of the original film. Instead, it updates it for our more modern sensibilities, both in terms of the glossy design of the city-scapes and in terms of the technological advances that have occurred since 1982. What we’re seeing isn’t a faithful, nostalgia-driven recreation of everything we’ve already seen before, as well as dozens of pale imitators since then but rather the logical continuation of what was presented to us beforehand, and a carefully thought-out update, making it more believable that this is what the world shown to us in the original Blade Runner would conceivable look like thirty years after we last left it.

Beer Two

Sony gonna Sony… again. While the case of obvious studio meddling isn’t as blatant or egregious here as it’s been with other Sony produced films of past years, there’s still a number of moments where it’s extremely noticeable and bothersome. To say nothing of the usual parade of product placement that in this case is at least fairly well hidden and doesn’t much call attention to itself, a lot of the action or attempts at excitement here feel unusually out of place and forced in. While of course a certain level of action and chasing is to be expected in a multi-million dollar spectacle film from two major Hollywood studios, some of the action beats feel like an afterthought; just added in during a latter pass on the script in order to add some punches and explosions to make the trailer seem more exciting to the average moviegoer who has no idea what Blade Runner even is.

These included setpieces like a brief shootout in a junkyard that’s quickly cut short by missile fire, as well as a prolonged fistfight between Gosling and Ford during their first meeting. Scenes like these just come and go with so little impact on the story or characters that the constant breaks in the narrative just to deliver these sequences don’t feel entirely justified, and probably could’ve been cut short to tighten up the runtime a bit without impacting the overall flow of the film much at all. Also worth mentioning is the surprisingly rushed and underwhelming climax of the film, though I at least give the creative minds at play here some credit for not trying to recreate or outdo the magic of the iconic “tears in rain” finale from the original film.

“Ridley… we’re home.”

Verdict

Overall Blade Runner 2049 is a worthy companion piece to the original. While it doesn’t quite reach the heights of its predecessor, how could we possibly expect it to do so? The first one revolutionized the aesthetic of mainstream science fiction for decades to come, so the best we could hope out of any follow-up would be that it add something new to the mythos without copying from the original too much, and that’s thankfully what we got here. While not an instant game changer in the way the first was, 2049 is a damn good piece of modern sci-fi that holds up well enough on its own and doesn’t detract much, if at all from the beloved cult classic is hails from.

Blade Runner: 2049 (2017) Drinking Game

Do a Shot: for every reference or callback to the first film.

Do another Shot: whenever someone says “replicant”.

Shotgun a Beer: for every piece of product placement (do another if it has a Sony logo on it).

Finish your Glass: each time Ryan Gosling smiles or shows any emotion at all.

Pour out your Glass: for each bit of delicious Roger Deakins eye-candy.

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The Red Shoes (1948) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/the-red-shoes-1948-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/the-red-shoes-1948-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sun, 08 Oct 2017 17:15:46 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103650 By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) – Films have a unique capacity to influence the lives of their viewers. Many people pursue careers in Hollywood simply because they fell under the spell of the magic of cinema. One very special Best Picture nominee has inspired countless people to dream of themselves as dancers, given the beauty …

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By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –

Films have a unique capacity to influence the lives of their viewers. Many people pursue careers in Hollywood simply because they fell under the spell of the magic of cinema. One very special Best Picture nominee has inspired countless people to dream of themselves as dancers, given the beauty of this Technicolor classic. That film is none other than The Red Shoes (1948). Indeed, this film is a treasure from the 1940s because its sheer beauty has inspired many to hope to be dancers after watching this gorgeous story unfold.

A Toast

This is definitely one of the best films of the 1940s (or any other decade for that matter). Moira Shearer made her spectacular film debut in 1948 in her leading role as Victoria Page, a ballerina torn between two lovers as well as her passion for dancing. The film itself is a very clever re-imagining of the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale because it takes a somewhat depressing story and transforms it into a cinematic masterpiece. It is actually very interesting how Hans Christian Anderson has inspired some of the greatest films of all time, and this film is no exception. The dancing sequences are simply exquisite, and the love story that drives the plot is full of passion. This film is very passionate, indeed, because it involves both romantic love and the love involved with chasing after one’s dreams.

Verdict

The Red Shoes is one of those rare films that contains a love triangle without making the romance very cliché. Instead, this film is a great example of artistic merit given its dream-like quality. The inventors of Technicolor have often cited this film as the best example of a Technicolor film. It also won Academy Awards for its art direction and luscious musical score. It is clear that this film will continue to inspire artists, dreamers, and dancers as long as audiences have the audacity to pursue their dreams.

The Red Shoes (1948) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: during every mentioning of love

Take a Drink: during every beautiful dance sequence

Drink a Shot: every time Moira Shearer wears her coveted red shoes

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Trailer Reviews: Blade Runner 2049, The Mountain Between Us & My Little Pony: The Movie http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-blade-runner-2049-mountain-us-little-pony-movie http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-blade-runner-2049-mountain-us-little-pony-movie#respond Sun, 08 Oct 2017 12:15:19 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103736 By: Hawk Ripjaw – Blade Runner 2049 is 2 hours and 43 minutes long. That’s quite a time investment. Almost as much time as the average person spends trying to figure out which version of the original Blade Runner is the right one. Blade Runner 2049 Denis Villenueve? Roger Deakins? That’s already a match proven …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw –

Blade Runner 2049 is 2 hours and 43 minutes long. That’s quite a time investment. Almost as much time as the average person spends trying to figure out which version of the original Blade Runner is the right one.

Blade Runner 2049

Denis Villenueve? Roger Deakins? That’s already a match proven to be made in heaven, but when you throw in the moody sci-fi backdrop that inspired an entire generation of multimedia stories for them to portray, it’s perfect. The intoxicating marriage of bright primary colors and dirty, dystopian locales looked great when Scott did it,and Deakins looks ready to match it. Toss in the current King of Brood Ryan Gosling, whose weird transformation from hunky Notebook star to “That guy from Drive who just stares blankly in a way that makes him creepy” makes him a great choice for sci-fi noir. There’s almost nothing holding it back.

Beer Prediction

An R-rated movie with a $150 million budget is usually not a successful recipe, but it’s got chefs that….know how to…make it tasty? Metaphors are tricky.

 

The Mountain Between Us

I’m hearing some mild rumblings that The Mountains Between us may be…selling a different movie from what we’re actually getting this weekend. Apparently, this is less “harrowing survival movie” than it is “heartwarming romantic drama in which Idris Elba and Kate Winslet get it on after their plane crashes.” Yes, this is apparently a completely standard romance with a backdrop of being stranded in the cold wilderness with only someone else’s body heat to keep you warm. Even the movie’s official Twitter account has revealed that the dog lives. For me, that means I’ve gone from general disinterest, to mild interest, to total indifference. If the marketing team can’t figure out how to tell me what this movie is supposed to be, chances are the movie doesn’t even know. 

Beer Prediction

Idris Elba gets more free passes than my eventual wife, and that’s even after Dark Tower. There’s no way this can be that bad.

 

My Little Pony: The Movie

Fandom is a funny thing, isn’t it? For a while, I wondered why exactly My Little Pony had such a huge fanbase of adult men. And then I remembered that I’ve seen the Post-9/11 Mike Myers Cat in the Hat more times than most of the movies I’ve seen in my life, and I really can’t talk. Not that I’m a fan of that movie, but the time investment has to mean something, right? That means that they’ve actually got a leg up on me since they’re investing their time on something they actually like, while I’m just making myself miserable at every chance I get. Shit….when was the last time you compared yourself to a Brony and lost?

Beer Prediction

The movie still looks like shit.

Glorious shit.

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Stronger (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/stronger-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/stronger-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sat, 07 Oct 2017 12:15:23 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103661 By: Movie Snurb (Two Beers) – Stronger is about the true story of Jeff Bauman (Jake Gyllenhall). He went to support his ex-girlfriend while she ran the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013. Two pressure cooker bombs were set off at the end of the finish line of the marathon and Jeff happened to be …

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By: Movie Snurb (Two Beers) –

Stronger is about the true story of Jeff Bauman (Jake Gyllenhall). He went to support his ex-girlfriend while she ran the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013. Two pressure cooker bombs were set off at the end of the finish line of the marathon and Jeff happened to be standing close to one of them. Both of his legs had to be amputated and in the process of healing he becomes the symbol for hope and “Boston Strong.” The film focuses on Jeff’s recovery and how it affects his family and his ex-girlfriend/girlfriend Erin Hurley (Tatiana Maslany), along with Jeff having to grapple with becoming this national symbol that he doesn’t want any part of.

The real Jeff Bauman.

A Toast

Jake Gyllenhaal is possibly the most transformative actor in Hollywood today. Gyllenhaal’s ability to go from a ripped boxer, to a Mountain Climber guide, to a gaunt sociopathic “Night Crawler”; to a double leg amputee who is grappling with being a symbol for hope & “Boston Strong” while recovering from having his legs blown off, is truly astounding. This could’ve been a one-dimensional boring character, who really could’ve been unlikable. Gyllenhaal takes Jeff Bauman and completely fleshes him out into a multileveled character. The film and Gyllenhaal does such a brilliant job with Bauman’s real character arc that by the end of the film you feel changed as well, and it’ll bring you to tears. Jake Gyllenhaal is one of my favorite actors and I haven’t seen such transformation in any of his other performances as he achieves in Stronger.

Not only is Gyllenhaal great, but the entire cast does a fantastic job. Tatiana Maslany as Erin Hurley (Bauman’s Girlfriend) gives a great performance, as her character has to try and deal with standing between Jeff who doesn’t want to be this symbol of hope for the nation and his family who want to push him in front of every camera they can. She gives a very tender and vulnerable performance as much as Jake Gyllenhaal does. Miranda Richardson as Patty Bauman (Jeff’s mother) is equally brilliant as the mother who is proud of her son but also doesn’t totally understand him and his want to be left alone by the media. This was definitely an actors’ film and with the material they were given they were able to all give brilliant performances.

John Pollono’s script is great, finding the vulnerable moments and instead of exploiting them allowing us to experience them and in turn better understand everything that is going on in not only Jeff Bauman’s universe but with Erin Hurley and Patty Bauman and his family and friends. Not only is the script great, but David Gordon Green’s directing is also on point for this film. He also chooses to not shy away from the difficult to watch moments. Green knows exactly when to pull away from the emotion and deliver a very impactful ending that truly pays off. This could’ve been a very cheesy affair, however, the excellent directing, writing, and acting make this a powerful must-see film.

Beer Two

I really liked this film; however, it feels slightly more bloated than its 116 minute run-time. There are a few scenes when the film tends to drag; however, the emotional weight of the film plus the powerful acting more than make up for the weakest part of the film.

Verdict

Jake Gyllenhaal gives arguably his best performance to date; I won’t be surprised if an Oscar nomination is in his future. Not only Gyllenhaal, but Tatiana Maslany, Miranda Richardson, and the rest of the supporting cast take this film that could’ve been a cheesy made for T.V. film and make it a powerful film about recovery, heroism, and love.

Stronger (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink:  any time you hear “Boston Strong”

Take a Drink: every time they’re drinking on screen.

Do a Shot: every time Jeff’s family is yelling at one another.

Do a Shot: every time you cry or almost cry (be honest.)

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Gerald’s Game (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/geralds-game-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/geralds-game-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Fri, 06 Oct 2017 12:15:11 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103579 By: Hawk Ripjaw (A Toast) – I can tell you right now that Gerald’s Game is terrific. You can take me on my word, and invest about 100 minutes into this Neflix release, because completely fresh is honestly the best way to consume it. Otherwise, the review contains light spoilers. Jessie (Carla Gugino) and Gerald …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw (A Toast) –

I can tell you right now that Gerald’s Game is terrific. You can take me on my word, and invest about 100 minutes into this Neflix release, because completely fresh is honestly the best way to consume it. Otherwise, the review contains light spoilers.

Jessie (Carla Gugino) and Gerald (Bruce Greenwood) travel to a vacation home to reinvigorate their marriage. Gerald’s idea is to handcuff Jessie to the headboard, which  Jessie is willing to try. Gerald gets too into the rape fantasy, leading to an argument. The marital strife leading up to this getaway comes to a head. Gerald suddenly dies from a heart attack, leaving Jessie chained to the bed.

Jessie snaps. Gerald is dead, she is trapped, and a feral dog is nibbling at Gerald and waiting to start on Jessie. Her mind takes over. Her fears and neuroses manifest as a critical, living Gerald. Her inner strength, courage, and cleverness appear as another stronger, more confident Jessie. The former insists that this is the end for Jessie. The latter walks her through her fight for life. Jessie must escape, but it will involve more than removing her physical handcuffs. 

A Toast

Gugino and Greenwood anchor the dialogue with electric performances. They weaponize fantastic chemistry into lengthy dialogue scenes flowing with tension. Gugino in particular is an utter powerhouse, guiding Jessie through the anguish, terror, and mental fragmentation of approaching death. When it comes time to unpack the trauma of her past to save her in the present, she perfectly links her emotions to those of her 12-year-old counterpart. Gugino is poised to dominate awards season. 

Gerald’s Game cruelly layers the dread, offering frightening new vessels for unease in each scene. One may be a shadow just outside the house, or in the very room. Another may be whispers of what goes through one’s mind right at death. Yet another could be sudden glimpses of past traumas forming present neuroses. Whether physical, imaginary, existential, or psychological, Gerald’s Game employs all of them. They’re each frightening on their own, but earn extra layers of dread when you’re not sure which is which. 

There are so many minor things that make the tension much more effective. A repeated shot of Jessie removing and replacing a glass on a shelf barely within reach is frightening because any of those attempts could result in the glass slipping and breaking. Frequent POV shots from Jessie’s position feel as helpless as she is. Many shots hold mere seconds longer than normal, stretching out the anticipation of a scare to unbearable levels. Scene transitions and lighting create confusion and dread. This is a master class of editing.

Driving the dialogue, Jessie’s fractured psyche begins talking to her. It tells her in detail what will happen when she dies. It explains how alone she is now, and how she has been for years. It asks what brings us to our moment of death, and how we could have stopped it. It reminds her of past traumas, and how they’ve lead her here. It’s a different flavor of horror, and it’s almost more terrifying than any creature of the shadows. But there’s some of that too, and it’s still impressively creepy.

These lead to some of the best sequences of the film, where more is revealed about Jessie’s frightened psyche and what led her to marry a misogynistic lawyer and let him handcuff her to a bed. Flashbacks reveal repressed trauma, but may represent sources of inspiration for another attempt at escape in the present. Past traumas shape present submissiveness, but survival mode kickstarts dormant confidence. It’s an affecting character study wrapped in an excellent horror package.

Verdict

Gerald’s Game is a devastatingly effective psychological horror masterpiece. Mike Flanagan has assembled a spectacularly unsettling chiller that knows exactly when to twist the knife, and does so slowly. The dreadful, paralyzing unease mixes tragic flashbacks and startling moments of gore for an unpredictability that crawls deep under the skin. The character study cleverly interacts with the main plot, introducing new avenues for tension. As a minor disappointment, the epilogue just barely fails to cash in on the dread set by the movie prior, mostly due to execution rather than content. The last ten minutes feel just a bit rushed and lack the confidence of the rest of the story. But the rest of Gerald’s Game is so beautifully put together, it’s a mild stumble in an otherwise stellar picture. This is the horror film to beat in 2017. 

 

Gerald’s Game (2017) Drinking Game

Do a Shot: for every reference to another entry in the King-verse.

Take a Drink: when you think something ambiguous is real.

However, also Take a Drink and See Who Gets Drunk Faster: if you disagree with your friend and think it’s imaginary.

Take a Drink: for every flashback

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Ken’s Movie Diary 2017 – Week 34 http://movieboozer.com/articles/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-34 http://movieboozer.com/articles/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-34#respond Thu, 05 Oct 2017 17:15:16 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103364 Weekly Update: Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date- 262. Mother! (2017) This overly pretentious, …

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Weekly Update: Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies Movies

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

262. Mother! (2017)

This overly pretentious, ambitious film tries to tell the story of the Christian Bible in miniature, through metaphor. The film builds to an explosive, violent and shocking climax which seems calculated to anger Christians. There… is really not a lot of substance here…

263. Spider-Man Homecoming (2017)

An entertaining return to form for the Marvel Spider-Man series, with plenty of action and humor and just the right pinch of material from the ongoing cinematic universe to keep things interesting. The Cinematic Universe elements do not feel reverse-engineered into the story like many of the more recent Marvel films. Tom Holland feels like an excellent casting choice for Peter Parker, who is treated here like a far more believable teen than any prior Spider-Man incarnation on film.

264. Anti Matter (2017)

This low budget sci-fi indie descends into madness very early. When Scientist Ana subjects herself to a teleportation experiment she finds herself unable to form new memories. With only a few lingering images of events she’s witnessed following the accident, she attempts to put together what has happened, and to find out what there is to do. The film’s primary problem is that the concept isn’t near enough to carry the film’s 100 minute runtime.

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Long Day’s Journey Into Night (1962) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/long-days-journey-night-1962-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/long-days-journey-night-1962-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Thu, 05 Oct 2017 12:15:56 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103512 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – Eugene O’Neill is widely considered to be the greatest American playwright. His achievements include four Pulitzer Prizes and the Nobel Peace Prize. It is no surprise, then, that filmmakers would want to adapt his plays for the silver screen. Even though O’Neill died in 1953, Hollywood still transformed his …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

Eugene O’Neill is widely considered to be the greatest American playwright. His achievements include four Pulitzer Prizes and the Nobel Peace Prize. It is no surprise, then, that filmmakers would want to adapt his plays for the silver screen. Even though O’Neill died in 1953, Hollywood still transformed his stage productions into memorable motion pictures. One of the more famous film versions of his work was released in 1962 when Long Days’ Journey Into Night became an instant classic.

A Toast

This film really is a classic because it honors the legacy of O’Neill’s dramatic work while also showcasing powerful performances from its cast. Katharine Hepburn obviously excels as Mary Tyrone, the matriarch of a delusional and dysfunctional family. Hepburn herself received both a Golden Globe and Academy Award nomination for bringing the famous character to life on screen. The rest of the cast does well as they exhibited the hardships that the Tyrone family has to endure on one single day in August 1912. The film itself might be a bit depressing, but that is because O’Neill wanted to explore the theme of illusion versus reality while also presenting the fact that life itself is sometimes bleak. It is actually amazing how the entire cast can make an iconic stage production into an iconic film!

Verdict

Even though it is almost three hours long, this film has a lengthy running time simply because it captures the complexities of the original stage play. O’Neill himself might not have been alive when this Long Day’s Journey Into Night was released, but it really does honor his legacy. In fact, the cast spent three weeks rehearsing before filming began, and then the filmmakers shot the entire film in sequence. The meticulous attention to detail makes viewers feel as if they really are watching the stage play without seeing a live production of it. This film might have had limited support from the Academy and Hollywood Foreign Press Association, but it still reveals how one single day really can be a long journey into night (pun intended).

Long Day’s Journey Into Night (1962) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time there is mentioning of fog and foghorns

Take a Drink: when the characters consume alcohol or morphine (but not literally, of course)

Slowly Sip Your Favorite Drink: as the Tyrone family slowly descends into madness

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Flatliners (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/flatliners-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/flatliners-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Wed, 04 Oct 2017 12:15:08 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103594  By: Christian Harding (Four Beers) – Sony gonna Sony. Whatever sense of creativity or originality their film company may have once possessed has now been diluted down to a revolving door of endless remakes and reboots of their previously established properties, whether anybody was asking for them or not. These have ranged from the failed The …

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 By: Christian Harding (Four Beers) –

Sony gonna Sony. Whatever sense of creativity or originality their film company may have once possessed has now been diluted down to a revolving door of endless remakes and reboots of their previously established properties, whether anybody was asking for them or not. These have ranged from the failed The Amazing Spider-Man series, to the infamous Ghostbusters reboot, and even the unexpectedly good remake of The Magnificent Seven. This brings us up to speed with Sony’s latest attempt at reviving one of their older properties in Flatliners, a half remake, half soft-reboot of the 1990 Joel Schumacher horror/sci-fi vehicle, complete with a returning cast member (Keifer Sutherland) who surprisingly doesn’t reprise his role from the original film (or perhaps he did in an earlier cut of the film). Like most of the other modern remakes we’ve been forced to acknowledge over the past decade and a half, it’s a slick, well-polished, and competently made Hollywood product that takes zero chances and is perfectly content aiming right down the middle. Nothing new in that regard, but you’ve probably seen a lot worse than this – and you may take that however you like.

A Toast

If you’ve seen or at least heard of the original film, then you’re already aware of how ludicrous the premise of Flatliners is, but for those who remain unawares, it concerns a group of medical students who suddenly become preoccupied with the sensation of having their hearts stopped and being revived after a few moments, especially when it’s discovered that peering onto the other side seemingly enhances the brain activity of whomever does the “flatlining” (and yes, they do refer to it as such for the entire film). It goes further from there into some supernatural and horror-lite areas, but you get the gist. In the casting department, the film is more or less hard to fault. It’s good to see Ellen Page back in a starring role, and she does a solid enough job here, for what she’s given. Diego Luna unfortunately has yet to be cast in the Jabba the Hutt spinoff he apparently wants so badly, but he’s well utilized here as the sole voice of reason in the whole cast. Rounding out the leads are Nina Dobrev, Kiersey Clemons, and James Norton, all of whom do a perfectly fine job with what amounts to some pretty underwritten roles.

“I just really want to touch Yabba…”

Beer Two

Let me state for the record that I am, in fact, not a doctor. But as a Joe Everyman with the most basic, commonplace understanding of medical practice and implementations of such, even I was getting irritated by the level of unprofessional and irresponsible behavior of these “doctors” – and not even when it comes to the central gimmick of flatlining (damn, now they got me doing it). Even the most standard, everyday medical practices are bungled by these wannabe Victoria’s Secret models posing as med students. I understand that film logic dictates that certain liberties must be taken and corners cut for the greater good of storytelling, but suspension of disbelief can only grant you so much forgiveness. And when the actions of these characters would not only result in their expulsion, but possible incarceration in certain circumstances, and yet they continue to get away with everything without lasting consequences (apparently being responsible for the accidental death of a patient under your care AND altering the report to cover you own ass only gets you on academic probation at worst), then you’ve broken whatever viewer/film trust we had, which wasn’t much to begin with, considering the goofy-as-hell central premise we’re dealing with here.

Beer Three

Oh yeah, this was also supposed to be a horror film, wasn’t it? Uhmm… I guess so. To be perfectly frank and honest, I think the film itself forgot as well. For the entire first act of this film, there isn’t a single moment, shot, musical cue, etc. to indicate whatsoever that this was going to teeter into spook-house territory. But once the titular gimmick gets underway, Flatliners takes a sudden shift into your token, generic PG-13 horror nonsense. And given the otherworldly elements of the premise, the people behind this film couldn’t even be bothered to provide us with any creative or substantial imagery to depict it all. Just some glossy, forgettable CGI pastels that I guess are meant to symbolize the afterlife or something? I dunno. Clearly I’m putting more thought into this than anyone involved in the project seemed to.

Actual photo of a Sony studio exec after seeing what the Rotten Tomatoes score for this was.

Beer Four

This is just one detail of the entire film, but it deserves its own beer: I just wanted to make sure that we all know that once your heart stops and blood is no longer flowing to the brain, your brain cells start dying off after a short period of time. Common knowledge, yes? And if your heart stops and you’re out for a full seven or eight minutes, you can’t just come back to life with the exact same amount of consciousness and brain activity as before, right? OK, just checking.

Verdict

Overall, Flatliners is a wholly unnecessary and toothless remake of its flawed but otherwise perfectly solid original. It doesn’t use its creative central premise to its fullest potential, but the actors all do a solid enough job at selling the completely ludicrous proceedings. At the very least, this reviewer certainly wouldn’t say it’s deserving of the measly 0% rating it’s received on Rotten Tomatoes; but if that’s the level of venom and vitriol it takes to end Sony’s parade of unnecessary remakes and reboots, then who am I to complain?

Flatliners (2017) Drinking Game

Do a Shot: every time one of the characters “flatlines”.

Do another Shot: for each jump scare.

Shotgun a Beer: whenever there’s a reference to the original film.

Finish your Glass: each time you notice a completely false scientific fact or inaccurate medical practice.

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American Made (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/american-made-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/american-made-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Tue, 03 Oct 2017 12:15:13 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103564 By: Hawk Ripjaw (A Toast) – American Made centers on Barry Seal (Tom Cruise), a hardworking American family man, working as a pilot for TWA in the 70s and supporting his wife (Sarah Wright) in their Louisiana home. But he’s bored, and he’s not making enough money. Secretly, Seal had been helping smuggle cigars, which invites …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw (A Toast) –

American Made centers on Barry Seal (Tom Cruise), a hardworking American family man, working as a pilot for TWA in the 70s and supporting his wife (Sarah Wright) in their Louisiana home. But he’s bored, and he’s not making enough money. Secretly, Seal had been helping smuggle cigars, which invites CIA agent “Schafer” into his life. Schafer (Domhnall Gleeson), in turn, invites Seal into the the world of the CIA, and tasks him with quitting his job at TWA. Instead, Seal would be flying a two-engine plane over Central and South America to take pictures of the insurgent camps there to gain an edge over Russia in the Cold War.

Reconnaissance soon turns into information courier work, where Seal hands off money in exchange for information on the Communists in the area. The cartels, including Pablo Escobar (Mauricio Mejia), eventually invite Seal to help traffic cocaine back across the border into America, giving Seal the “raise” Schafer denied him.

This lands Seal in hot water with the Colombian police, so Schafer, leering like a devil holding a contract, relocates the Seals to Alabama, where Seal begins to ship weapons to the Contras on behalf of the US government to combat the Communists. The Contras, having no interest in fighting, turn their weapons over to the cartel. Seal continues to run drugs, reconnaissance, and other contraband across multiple borders, having a big hand in the empowerment of the largest cartel in history and in the process earning literally more money than he knows what to do with.

Yeah, it gets wild.

A Toast 

Doug Liman is a director that has been reliably putting out entertaining movies for a while, but American Made feels like a class all its own, with a number of unique approaches to tone, editing, and storytelling that come together in a deeply satisfying way. This movie is just fun, in a very easygoing, free-wheeling manner that gives the impression that it’s probably playing it fast and loose with the facts, but doesn’t care which events actually occurred and doesn’t expect you to, either.

Tom Cruise is a large part of this, with his trademark charisma that attracts some and unsettles others. He lends that same fingers-crossed-behind-my-back untrustworthiness to his narrative interludes that makes him such a distinct celebrity in real life, and marries it to a man who lets his push for the American Dream start to drag him behind it when it gains too much momentum. Seal’s confidence frequently shines through, even when he needs to be quick on his feet when law enforcement falls in step with his strategy.

The movie highlights Seal’s scrappy methods with an unruly, documentary-style handheld camera. It frequently segues into expository segments with Seal talking into a camera, and adds hand-written text to punctuate changes in setting and time. Liman treats all of these like a set of tools, things that work as narrative devices in the moment but don’t force the film to adhere to a blueprint.

Gleeson, too, is terrific as Schafer, acting as the devil on Seal’s soldier and pushing him further into trouble without helping him get out. He’s the face of the CIA for American Made and, by extension, the government. This was a tumultuous time in American history, and the movie treats it with a bit of a shrug. This is a gamble that pays off, as decades later it’s hard to believe it actually even happened.

Verdict

Most of what American Made does right is its flippant treatment of these events, from the borderline incompetent law enforcement, to the way everything tends to work itself out. In a lesser film, this would have felt lazy. But Liman tackles it with unwavering confidence and a commitment to giving a wild story a well-earned personality. It’s a glimpse of the spectacular corruption of the CIA and US Government during that time period, filtered through a cheeky, darkly comedic lens with energy and style to spare. It’s a wonderful surprise and a great fall flick.

American Made (2017) Movie Drinking Game

Do a Shot: for every jump in time

Take a Drink: each time the movie raises the stakes

Take a Drink: for every time Seal starts narrating again

Do a Shot: for every narrow escape

Take a Drink: whenever Seal finds a new way to hide his money

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Trailer Reviews: American Made, Battle of the Sexes, Flatliners & ‘Til Death Do Us Part http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-american-made-battle-sexes-flatliners-til-death-us-part http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-american-made-battle-sexes-flatliners-til-death-us-part#respond Mon, 02 Oct 2017 15:15:07 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103567 By: Hawk Ripjaw – American Made I think Tom Cruise gets a bad rap. Sure, he’s fucking crazy and The Mummy is one of the most hilaribad movies of the year, and Scientology is more sinister the more we learn about it, but the guy has charisma. Whether that’s a result of successfully lowering the thetons …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw –

American Made

I think Tom Cruise gets a bad rap. Sure, he’s fucking crazy and The Mummy is one of the most hilaribad movies of the year, and Scientology is more sinister the more we learn about it, but the guy has charisma. Whether that’s a result of successfully lowering the thetons or whatever they’re called, or it’s just because Cruise is really good at getting people to like him, most of his movies make good money because Cruise has an amazing screen presence. That’s pretty much the only reason I would watch American Made, since running drugs and contraband aren’t things that generally interest me. I like reading up on the Cold War, but cartels have always unsettled me to the point of wanting to avoid learning too much on them. However, the ace in the hole American Made may have is director Doug Liman, who directed Cruise in that science fiction movie that no one can decide the title of. Is it Edge of Tomorrow or Live Die Repeat? Also, why do we keep calling it underrated when nobody can shut the fuck up over how much they loved it? Make up your mind!

Beer Prediction

I’m putting my chips on Liman, even if he does decide to change this movie’s title in five months.

 

Battle of the Sexes

I didn’t even hear about this movie until I saw a trailer for it when I went to go see….something I can’t even remember. Maybe it was It. Maybe it doesn’t matter, because the movie takes two people I really admire (Steve Carell and Emma Stone) and combines them with something I really can’t stand (Tennis, unless maybe Mario is playing it). Of course, Battle of the Sexes is probably really about tennis as much as Arrival is about a alien invasion. I didn’t know much about the iconic tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, but I did a quick read-up and confirmed that this was an important piece of history in terms of gender equality. I’m not entirely sure why males felt that a game where you smack a ball with a racket is something women should have no part in, but we’ve been doing that shit for years so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised.

Beer Prediction

What’s not surprising is that both Carell and Stone look like they’re bringing their A-game once again, so we definitely have something to look forward to.

 

Flatliners

I don’t know what compelled some asshole to make a sequel/reboot to a Joel Schumacher movie starring Kiefer Sutherland killing himself to see what was in the afterlife before bringing himself back, but here we are. While the concept is interesting enough, the trailers for the Flatliners 2017 edition is pitching a very generic story with shots of five very attractive people immediately after dying. I don’t know what that’s supposed to do for me, but it didn’t work. What’s more, something comes back to haunt each of them, and it appears to be specifically tailored to something bad they’ve done in the past. Now that makes me curious, because I have to wonder how someone trying to strangle you with a plastic bag while you’re driving ties back to a sin of the past. I guess you could argue that the trailer has done its job in terms of intriguing me, but I would argue that intrigue and stuff that really don’t appear to make sense are quite different. 

Beer Prediction

Yeah, because the one thing I want in escapist entertainment is the idea that the final release from this mortal coil is even shittier than being alive.

 

‘Til Death Do Us Part

Ah, yes–once again, it is time for another erotic relationship thriller. Ever since The Boy Next Door, which I still regard as a modern classic shlock classic, I’ve been waiting for another movie to meet that bar. For the past couple of years, studios have been trying, with moderate success including this year’s When the Bough Breaks and disappointing misfires like Unforgettable. It’s hard to say with ‘Til Death Do Us Part, since while domestic violence is never a laughing matter this movie definitely seems like one. At the very least, I can get on board with some scary stuff apparently involving a baby, the evil husband trying to creep the main character out by playing a piano, and Taye Diggs getting his ass kicked protecting the damsel in distress. 

Beer Prediction

There’s only one way to find out how bad this will be, so I guess I’ll bee seeing this soon.

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Fantasia International Film Festival: 78/52 (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/fantasia-international-film-festival-7852-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/fantasia-international-film-festival-7852-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Mon, 02 Oct 2017 12:15:50 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102912 By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) – It can’t be overstated how influential Psycho was, but it can be easy to forget out paradigm-shifting it was at the time. Horror movies were a bit different before this point… 78/52 is a star-studded, meticulous examination of Psycho, and more specifically, the 78/52 setups & cuts employed by Alfred Hitchcock in the …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –

It can’t be overstated how influential Psycho was, but it can be easy to forget out paradigm-shifting it was at the time.

Horror movies were a bit different before this point…

78/52 is a star-studded, meticulous examination of Psycho, and more specifically, the 78/52 setups & cuts employed by Alfred Hitchcock in the famous three-minute shower scene that, as this documentary posits, changed everything.

A Toast

Director Alexandre O. Philippe does a stunning job of gathering together so many luminaries across the scope of Hollywood history, so many unique and insightful viewpoints, to each give their own personal contribution to contextualizing what this seminal moment in filmmaking history meant at the time, to the people making the film, in reference to the films that preceded and would follow it, and to the many, many filmmakers it inspired or imprinted itself on in some indelible way.

I shudder to think of a universe without Hitchcock.

While I wouldn’t call this approach entirely unprecedented, it’s still interesting to see Philippe rely almost entirely on talking heads and create the thesis for his documentary around their multifarious contributions.  He probably hit on the perfect way to highlight just how influential this film was by letting those who were influenced tell its story.

Beer Two

I saw one review tag this film as ‘hyperbolic’, and if the shoe doesn’t fit all the way, you can get most of your foot in it.  Certainly some voices are more perhaps overly effusive than others, and we probably didn’t need to bring Gus Van Sant’s Pyscho remake into it, either…

“Nope” – all of film-dom.

Verdict

78/52 is an exhaustive, engaging peek into the filmmaking craft and psychology behind Psycho‘s infamous shower scene and the outsized effect it had on future filmmakers.

78/52 (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for every famous director, actor, or screenwriter interviewed

Take a Drink: for each Hitchcock film referenced

Take a Drink: whenever the shower scene is shown

Do a Shot: whenever Hitchcock himself comes off a tad creepy

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The LEGO Ninjago Movie (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/the-lego-ninjago-movie-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/the-lego-ninjago-movie-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sat, 30 Sep 2017 12:15:11 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103503 By: Hawk Ripjaw (Three Beers) – Going into the second theatrical LEGO movie of 2017, I didn’t know much about the source Ninjago universe, other than it decides that the only way you can make ninjas even cooler than they already are is to give them elemental powers and giant Gundam-style mechs to pilot and …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw (Three Beers) –

Going into the second theatrical LEGO movie of 2017, I didn’t know much about the source Ninjago universe, other than it decides that the only way you can make ninjas even cooler than they already are is to give them elemental powers and giant Gundam-style mechs to pilot and tear shit up. It’s literally the exact opposite of what a ninja is, but it’s also the foundation for an animated film based on a line of toys targeted at eight-year-olds, so do you really have the energy to criticize something like that?

The story focuses on the city of Ninjago, which is under constant threat from sadistic tetrabrachius Lord Garmadon (Justin Theroux). Garmadon resides in a volcano just off the Ninjago shoreline, where he plots his takeover of Ninjago, fires generals both professionally and literally straight out of the volcano, and builds shark-themed robots.

Always at the ready are a team of ninjas headed by high school Lloyd (Dave Franco). Lloyd happens to be the estranged son of Garmadon, which draws the ire of the entire city and paints Lloyd as an outcast. His ninja friends (Fred Armisten, Kumail Nanjiani, Michael Pena, Abbi Jacobson, and Zach Woods) are his only friends. During their greatest battle, Lloyd accidentally summons Meowthra, a giant, live cat, who threatens to level Ninjago more quickly than Garmadon could ever dream. If Ninjago is to be saved, Lloyd and Garmadon need to sort out some daddy issues immediately.

A Toast

The LEGO Ninjago Movie is another reminder of how the current trend of sugar-rush insanity that has become the status quo for animated movies can still feel mostly fresh. Following the blueprint set by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the jokes come at a breakneck pace, and many of them land, while others are noticeably borrowed from the previous films, to diminished returns.

It adheres closely to the original film’s flavor of comedy that is daringly zany and content with making a joke even if only a tiny handful of people would get it. It’s commendable that the movie puts equal effort into an insult about smelling like a butt as it does a live-action montage of fake martial arts movies that includes a martial arts sequel to Locke, the little-seen 2013 Tom Hardy indie. 

When the movie has to get down to business with Garmadon and Lloyd being forced to reconcile and become an effective father-son unit, the vocal talents of Franco and Theroux shine, as both actors are clearly having a very good time.

Beer Two

Ironically, what mostly sets Ninjago apart is the the predictable, somewhat unsatisfying plot. More so than the other two theatrical LEGO movies, Ninjago follows a very basic student-and-teacher narrative, and adds some more of the familiar father-son dynamic that each film has used so far. While The LEGO Movie and Batman both utilized the trope in unique ways, Ninjago is just a standard alienation story wrapped in a standard “find your inner power” narrative, and it just isn’t as unique or compelling. Even the live-action framing device feels limp and compulsory compared to how The LEGO Movie made it such an effective piece of the story.

There is some fun to be had with the chemistry between Franco and Theroux, especially in the way the two characters are forced to bond together to save Ninjago, but with as often as the movie calls back to jokes and references in the earlier movies, it’s difficult not to notice that yet another examination of a father-son relationship is operating on a much lower level than what we’ve seen so far. 

Beer Three

Even the great elements of the movie don’t quite fit together, no doubt a byproduct of the trio of directors and at least nine different writers credited for the movie. There’s the great humor of the cinematic LEGO brand, but its weirdly specific and off-kilter vibe that usually works so well doesn’t play nice with the kid-focused story of the Ninjago universe. So far, the series had done well with weaving adult themes and clean adult-focused humor with more juvenile jokes and bright animation to attract the kids. They are almost modern hallmarks of an effective, broadly-appealing family films. They work because every element works so well together. The LEGO Ninjago Movie doesn’t quite work because most of the elements are there, but they don’t know how to come together for a satisfying movie. Niche comedy is slightly less important than selling Ninjago toys, and that’s a bit troubling. 

Verdict

At the end of the day, Ninjago is more LEGO. This is both a good and a bad thing, because while it has some of the most memorable highs of the franchise so far, it’s also got pretty much all of the lowest lows. That doesn’t make it outright bad–in fact, it’s still a lot of fun–it’s just a bit lackluster when put against the very high bar the previous two movies have set. The comedy is still very funny, but the by-the-numbers plot takes away some of the heart. It’s possible that the recipe for these LEGO films is going stale, but it’s better to hope that the energy is still there even while Ninjago is missing a few ingredients. This is a great franchise, and it will remain that way if the effort focuses on the soul rather than the brand–which is exactly where The LEGO Ninjago Movie miscalculated. 

The LEGO Ninjago Movie (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever someone says “Ninjago”

Do a Shot: every time Garmadon treats Lloyd like shit

Take a Drink: whenever someone says “butt”

Do a Shot: for every joke borrowed from a different LEGO movie

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Friend Request (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/friend-request-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/friend-request-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Fri, 29 Sep 2017 12:15:36 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103487 By: Henry J. Fromage (Five Beers) – Friend Request, or Facebook Witch, as I have now named it for posterity, is about a college girl who, *shudder*, friends someone SHE DOESN’T EVEN KNOW.  Predictably, that person is a crazy internet stalker who kills herself and then haunts her from beyond the grave plus is totally a Facebook witch. A …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Five Beers) –

Friend Request, or Facebook Witch, as I have now named it for posterity, is about a college girl who, *shudder*, friends someone SHE DOESN’T EVEN KNOW.  Predictably, that person is a crazy internet stalker who kills herself and then haunts her from beyond the grave plus is totally a Facebook witch.

A Toast

Well, the “I’m a tortured soul who spins the turntables if you know what I mean while watching Tim Burton movies” artsy animations are kinda cool.

Beer Two

Even the crazy disturbed girl is Hollywood attractive.

What a ghoul…

Also, she and her medical student boyfriend have one of those real estate porn all-glass Los Angeles lofts that Patrick Bateman wouldn’t feel out of place in.

Beer Three

Well, everyone is Hollywood attractive except for the comic relief (Hollywood) fat friends who are obnoxious in their attempts at talking like the kids talk these days and who are obviously the first ones who will die.

Also one of them is totally an internet hacker who confirms that this may just be A FACEBOOK WITCH OH FUCK!!!

This is the weirdest thing I found image searching ‘Facebook Witch’.  I kinda feel let down.

Beer Four

Filmmaking-wise and scares wise, this is even more predictable than the script.  Wavy internet text and photos and bizarre grainy pictures?  Check.  Jump scares with long, obvious lead-ins and the same canned scream these films have been using for a century?  Check.  Bleary blue and grey tinted anonymously professional cinematography?  Check.   I can’t stress enough how much this film is everything you assumed it was the first second you saw a poster.

PS- Try guessing the deaths in order.  I succeeded! (It’s not that hard).

Beer Five

Remember that cell phone horror movie from 2008?

I know you didn’t.

This is exactly the same kind of decade-late pearl-clutching horror for teens produced by some old white dude who got his studio start as Cecil B. DeMille’s pageboy that comes out periodically.

Verdict

Friend Request dares to deliver the very real public service announcement, “Be careful who you Friend Request!”.  Yes, it’s exactly the garbage you expected.

Friend Request (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for jump scares, obviously

Take a Drink: for “Facebook”

Take a Drink: for Facebook “error messages”

Take a Drink: for INTERNET WITCHERY

Take a Drink: for creepy videos

Take a Drink: for mirrors

Do a Shot: if you ever actually jump.  You suck at movies.

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365 Days of Movies- Henry J. Fromage Edition- Week 37 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-of-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-37 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-of-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-37#respond Thu, 28 Sep 2017 17:15:45 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103370 By: Henry J. Fromage – This has got to be the nadir of my 365-day journey towards… something less than 365 films.  A TV cut of a meh classic and… Friend Request. 197. Breakfast at Tiffany’s This is one of those popularly held “classics” that I’ve just never gotten around to.  Well, what seems like 87 …

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By: Henry J. Fromage –

This has got to be the nadir of my 365-day journey towards… something less than 365 films.  A TV cut of a meh classic and… Friend Request.

197. Breakfast at Tiffany’s

This is one of those popularly held “classics” that I’ve just never gotten around to.  Well, what seems like 87 hours of windows updates on my streaming machine later, I had already completed this one.  Holy Fuck How Was This Ever Acceptable Most Racist Award Winner Mickey Rooney aside, this is clearly another charm showcase for the inimitable Audrey Hepburn with a little screenwriting funk from the unique and immensely image-conscious Truman Capote.  Cast anyone but Hepburn here and this film is lost to the mists of time, but she alone makes it required viewing, even if I wouldn’t go so far as to enshrine it as a real classic (her character’s really a horrific person).

198. Friend Request

I predicted every death in this film.  In chronological order.  I could talk all day about the hilariously retrograde notion of the Internet as a Monster or the journeyman-like boringness of every single element of this film (not even an unironic laugh to be had anywhere), but seriously, that’s all you need to know about the film.  I’d suggest you try it, too, but that’s pointless because A) you could totally do it too, and B) that would mean you would have to watch this film I’ve already forgotten ten minutes after watching.

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Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/cat-on-a-hot-tin-roof-1958-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/cat-on-a-hot-tin-roof-1958-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Thu, 28 Sep 2017 12:15:57 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103456 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – Richard Brooks has directed some of the most controversial motion pictures of all time. He even won an Oscar for writing the screenplay for Elmer Gantry (1960). Two years prior to that victory, though, Brooks brought to the screen one of the most fiery adaptations of a classic in …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

Richard Brooks has directed some of the most controversial motion pictures of all time. He even won an Oscar for writing the screenplay for Elmer Gantry (1960). Two years prior to that victory, though, Brooks brought to the screen one of the most fiery adaptations of a classic in American drama. Starring Elizabeth Taylor as Maggie the Cat, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a silver screen classic because it captures the complexity of the play by Tennessee Williams while bolstering the careers of its stars, Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor.

A Toast

This film is definitely one of the best films of 1958. It is full of drama, passion, and secrecy. There are actually numerous instances of illusion versus reality, which are all thematic elements that characterize most of Tennessee Williams’ plays. Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman both deliver strong performances even though neither of them won the Academy Award that year. The screenplay is also very strong and (mostly) faithful to the original source material. That is because of the somewhat controversial topics that had to either be removed or nuanced in order to appease the censors. Even with those minor changes, though, this film captures all of the power and dramatic flare of the original stage production.

Verdict

1958 is a very interesting year in Oscar history because of the unique combination of “traditional” and “scandalous” films. Gigi won Best Picture even though it is mostly a typical Hollywood musical. Other films, though, began tackling more controversial topics, such as I Want to Live!, starring Susan Hayward. It seems fitting that Cat on a Hot Tin Roof would receive six nominations (but no wins) in 1958 because the 1960s included more risqué motion pictures, like Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. Perhaps this film serves as a transitional phase in Hollywood filmmaking as films began to ignore censorship rules in order to create more compelling works of cinematic entertainment. The legacy of this film really does live on, just like how Maggie exclaims, “Maggie the Cat is alive! I’m alive!”

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Brick is seen with crutches

Take a Drink: during every mentioning of “Big Daddy”

Drink a Shot: every time Elizabeth Taylor does something that makes her feel like “a cat on a hot tin roof”

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Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/kingsman-the-golden-circle-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/kingsman-the-golden-circle-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Wed, 27 Sep 2017 12:15:49 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103442 By: Felix Felicis (Three Beers)- I don’t think there are instruments invented yet capable of quantifying my excitement upon finding out that action comedy sleeper hit Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) had greenlit a sequel. More Samuel L. Jackson! (Okay, probably not he DID get a bit stabbey there at the end) More Colin Firth as …

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By: Felix Felicis (Three Beers)-

I don’t think there are instruments invented yet capable of quantifying my excitement upon finding out that action comedy sleeper hit Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) had greenlit a sequel. More Samuel L. Jackson! (Okay, probably not he DID get a bit stabbey there at the end) More Colin Firth as Harry Hart! (confirmed even though their reasoning for how they reversed a head shot is nothing short of gloriously absurd) AND. BEST THING YET. INTRODUCING MY AND HAWK RIPJAW’S BOYFRIEND, CHANNING TAT”YUM”. Better still was when they released the trailer for Kingsman: The Golden Circle in what may be the most masterfully edited three minutes of all time. Slight spoilers ahead, avast ye, mateys, ye’ve been warrrrrned.

Seriously.

Actual footage of the writer’s bullpen here at Movieboozer after The Golden Circle trailer dropped… Okay, maybe just Hawk and I.

I tell you that so you, our dear readery readers, will understand the exact level of hype I was at walking into the theater this weekend. And while I was whelmed by the effort strung together using the steam power from the first Kingsman, cobbled together with beyond kickass action sequences, Golden Circle was, at best, a passable sequel.

We open on Taron Egerton as Eggsy sometime after the events of the first film as he settles into being a spy, a boyfriend to Princess Tilde, and a doggy daddy. Enter Julianne Moore as knockoff Samuel L. Jackson-level baddie “Poppy” who wants to legalize the drug trade so she can FINALLY hit the Forbes 500 list. Cue car chases, explosions, and a global hostage crisis/thinly veiled political commentary. But robot doggies and Elton John! So yay?

I watched and write this for you, Boozers… Le sigh.

A Toast

Elton John was everything good about Golden Circle.

The bitch is BACK.

I hate to say that about anything Channing Tatum is also in, but due to scheduling conflicts a large part of Tatyum’s role was reportedly given to Game of Thrones‘ “Overconfidence In Self-Skills” winner Pedro Pascal’s Statesman Agent ‘Whiskey’. In a void where actual character development failed to flourish, Elton John (who rocked my Spring Break trip to Vegas back in ’08) was the bright, shining, super sassy light boosting a flagging action comedy running on fumes from the first movie and tied together with (admittedly epic) action sequences and cameo appearances.

The robot attack dogs being named “Benny” and “Jet” were the cherry on top of my Elton John Sundae.

Beer Two

Here’s where things began to go slightly off the rails. The beauty of Kingsman: The Secret Service was that it took a tongue-in-cheek look at action spy comedies and let itself in on the joke. Golden Circle is a little bit of a hot mess that kind of IS the joke. The narrative is a heavy-handed knockoff of a political commentary that even Nut Job 2 handled with more subtlety (which I am all for, but c’mon, Golden Circle had everything but evil Oval Office mustache twirling). The plot lacked focus and/or flow, only seeming to come together within the many awesome, kickass, truly epic action sequences. Golden Circle made no damn sense, but if you loved Secret Service then this flick has enough momentum to propel this bloated, beached sequel of wasted opportunities across the finish line.

You have sexy, eye-patched amnesiac Colin Firth FULLY SUBMERGED IN WATER WITH HIS SHIRT STILL ON?! Lose an eye, lose a shirt is MY motto.

Beer Three

There was something in addition to the sloppy characters, disjointed plot, and wasted time in-between slick action sequences that I saw which still haunts me, HAUNTS ME, to this day. I close my eyes and it’s there, lurking, waiting for me to remember it. No, it’s not the misfire of casting Julianne Moore as the Big Bad (think tech savvy June Cleaver gone Shark-Tank-wrong with a spastic tonal overlay) after the giddy rush of Samuel L. Jackson’s lispy magnificence. No. It wasn’t that. It also wasn’t the reasoning behind how and why Harry Hart is still alive (which somehow involves a gel pack, brain nanites, and retrograde amnesia BECAUSE OF FUCKING COURSE IT DOES).

Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur… Okay, I’m back.

It wasn’t even totally the lack of feminism (sure, a crown princess has no outside interests or duties other than as a girlfriend who ultimately wants to get marrie-arghhhhhh nope remember your calm center) or the fact that Halle Berry’s Ginger Ale spends the entire movie fighting entrenched sexism that is the Boy’s Club of the Statesman only to have her rightful place at the end as a Statesman OFFERED TO EGGSY OR HARRY BECAUSE PENIS and then have it GRACIOUSLY “given” to her by the boys instead (ohmmmmm you are a gentle oak of calm). Okay, part of it might have been the absolute relegation of women in this movie (and cinema in general) to objects of possession or obstruction. Like, FOR EXAMPLE, the sight that still haunts me.

There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home…

Here we go. At some point during the movie Eggsy and Whiskey need to find someone ELSE we thought was dead from the first movie (who’s now working with the new Big Bad) and their best option is to honeypot this guy’s girlfriend at a European Coachella-fest-like shindig. Ohmmm working past the implication women are important (and disposable) because of the men they bang ohmmm. They have to plant a tracker on her. Sure. Okay. I’m with you. But, oh no! It’s not just any tracker. Le sigh. It’s a tracker that must be inserted through a mucus membrane. Brb. Rolling my eyes FOREVER. This causes discord between Eggsy and Princess Tilde (because he called her to see if jamming his hand up some random chick’s hooha was chill-and then seemed surprised when it wasn’t). But then later on the camera pans down as Eggsy’s hand slides over Honeypot’s silk undies AND THEN X-RAY MORPHS INSIDE HER TO SHOW THE TRACKER ATTACHING ITSELF TO I’M ASSUMING A VAGINAL WALL. NOBODY NEEDED THAT.

AHHHH WHYYYYYYY WHY WHY WHY WHYYYYYYY. NO.

Verdict

Kingsman: The Golden Circle gets the gang back together again for a passable rodeo at Spy City but it doesn’t lasso itself more than “half” a win. TRUST ME WHEN/IF YOU WATCH GOLDEN CIRCLE THAT JOKE’S GONNA KILL.

Last Call: There isn’t one. Giddyup on outta there. I’m so sorry. I can’t stop. IT HAD TO BE PUN.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: when the Kingsman/Statesman do.

Do a Shot: for ground “Chuck”. Literally. Don’t eat that burger, man.

Take a Drink: every time evil robots come out to play.

Take a Sip: for every codename-drop “Whiskey”, “Galahad”, etc. Also: “babe”.

Shotgun Your Beer: When Elton John saves the gay, I mean day.

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The Invitation (2016) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/the-invitation-2016-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/the-invitation-2016-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Tue, 26 Sep 2017 12:15:21 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=98118 By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) – Karyn Kusama’s had quite an up and down career since breaking out with Sundance smash Girlfight.  Follow-ups Aeon Flux and Jennifer’s Body both went over about as well as tofurkey at a Thanksgiving barbecue competition, but this year’s she’s back with a change of pace heading in the right direction. Pictured: The Wrong Direction …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –

Karyn Kusama’s had quite an up and down career since breaking out with Sundance smash Girlfight.  Follow-ups Aeon Flux and Jennifer’s Body both went over about as well as tofurkey at a Thanksgiving barbecue competition, but this year’s she’s back with a change of pace heading in the right direction.

Pictured: The Wrong Direction

The Invitation is much more like it- a thriller about a man (Logan Marshall-Green) returning with his girlfriend (Emayatzy Corinealdi) to the house of his ex-wife (Tammy Blanchard) and her new beau (Michael Huisman) for a reunion dinner party with their old friends.  This is awkward in more ways than one, as they split due to a shared tragedy, and now the hosting couple wants to tell them all about the cool new belief system that helped them get their lives back in order.  Something ain’t right.

A Toast

Karyn Kusama does an excellent job of ratcheting up the feeling if unease, that something’s not quite right, that we’re missing something essential and maybe dangerous, right from the jump.  That weird feeling you get when you hear somebody waxing effusively about this new belief system or philosophy or spiritualism that have totally changed their lives.  This film basically plays on that discomfort and spins an entire thriller out of it.

No… no thank you.

The first two acts mostly play out via conversation, but the conversations get weirder and weirdly profound until they just… turn a corner.  As the actors get more comfortable with each other, they play very well off each other, especially when things start going to crazytown, and technically speaking Bobby Shore shoots a very slick film. Honestly, saying much more spoils this kind of dish, but suffice it to say, when the third act tips over the precipice, even then Kusama keeps tight control, maintaining a nice ever-ratcheting escalation to a fairly unexpected denouement and one of the finest final shots of the year.

Beer Two

The Invitation takes awhile to get chugging.  Some awkwardness is clearly what they were going for, and some is probably unintentional- actors of varying degrees of experience getting used to acting like they’ve known each other for years and delivering lines that depend on that comfort and history to feel authentic.  They get there, though.

Verdict

The Invitation is a taught thriller, a thoroughly creepy example of tonal control, and a roaring comeback by Karyn Kusama.

2beers

The Invitation (2016) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for flashbacks

Take a Drink: whenever anyone mentions “the invitation”

Take a Drink: for every blank smile from Eden

Take a Drink: for heartfelt revelations

Take a Drink: whenever Will acts super-intense or snoops around

Do a Shot: when shit gets cray

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Trailer Reviews: Friend Request, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, & The LEGO Ninjago Movie http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-friend-request-kingsman-the-golden-circle-the-lego-ninjago-movie http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-friend-request-kingsman-the-golden-circle-the-lego-ninjago-movie#respond Mon, 25 Sep 2017 17:15:45 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103446 By: Hawk Ripjaw –   Friend Request While sitting in the theater for mother! the other night, I saw a trailer for Friend Request. While watching it I thought by mistake that this was called Unfriended, and that Unfriended from last year was Friend Request. Initially I was frustrated with myself for such a silly …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw –

 

Friend Request

While sitting in the theater for mother! the other night, I saw a trailer for Friend Request. While watching it I thought by mistake that this was called Unfriended, and that Unfriended from last year was Friend Request. Initially I was frustrated with myself for such a silly little error, but then I realized that these movies are both about an evil spirit that possesses social media and kills people because high school is so hard, and I can’t remember the last time I cared less about a movie. It doesn’t help that I generally hate high school movies, given that nothing about my personal high school experience was remotely pleasant, and therefore the politics of high school life just aren’t interesting, especially when the students perform satanic rituals to release demons from the Internet and post Facebook statuses for you, which is what two college dorm-mates did to each other when a laptop was left open anyway. They didn’t even need demons! So what’s the point of going to see this? 

Beer Prediction

The tagline is “Evil is Trending,” so I can at least applaud that.

 

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

The original Kingsman was classy: bespoke suits, umbrellas, and, of course, manners. And as that film seemed to represent how people generally view the British, the sequel is most definitely how everyone sees America: characters named after alcohol, Southern accents, denim, and a blatant disregard for subtlety. While successfully avoiding most marketing for the movie (excluding the irritating reveal of Colin Firth’s return), I still don’t find myself feeling terribly excited for this, or at least not as much as I should. The original Kingsman is a modern classic, repurposing the spy movie format for the hipster generation and cheekily up its own ass just enough to convince you that it was in on the joke.

So why does The Golden Circle feel like it only cares about the punch line? It’s just more of everything, with maybe much less of the glance at class warfare that made Eggsy’s transformation into a Kingsman so interesting. That said, there’s little you can do to resist that great interplay between characters and the adrenaline-drenched action, so regardless of how good it actually is, there are some absolutes that we can still look forward to. 

Beer Prediction

Plus it has Channing Tatum, soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

 

The LEGO Ninjago Movie

There are a few things that define the LEGO movies: rapid-fire humor, the importance of family, and male characters suddenly being without their pants. The third is a weird trend of both, and soon to be all three, of the LEGO theatrical movies: The LEGO Movie had the popular TV show “Where are My Pants??” The LEGO Batman Movie has Robin removing his pants Luchador-style every change he got (and throwing them into Batman’s face), and now The LEGO Ninjago Movie features Garmadon ripping of Jackie Chan’s pants as a distraction during a fight. Points for consistency, but I’m more content that a full-grown adults still find the idea of losing one’s pants amusing. It gives me hope. 

I have it on good authority from a friend that the Netflix Ninjago series is “chill,” but this claim is unsubstantiated by some… unpromising YouTube clips. They make me seriously hope this movie leans into the weirdness that makes these movies so endearing, even with three directors (!) and nine credited screenwriters (!!!) to spread the creative directions thinner than the characters of The Big Bang Theory

Beer Prediction

Wait, is it pronounced “Nin-JAH-go,” or “Ninja-GO?”

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My Blind Brother (2016) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/blind-brother-2016-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/blind-brother-2016-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Mon, 25 Sep 2017 12:15:53 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=97913 By: Henry J. Fromage (Four Beers) – Every year we get several under the radar comedies that seem to pop up on Netflix or Amazon without a lick of marketing or forewarning, despite attractive casts of comic stalwarts which you’d expect could get a film in theaters on name recognition alone. Admit it, you don’t know …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Four Beers) –

Every year we get several under the radar comedies that seem to pop up on Netflix or Amazon without a lick of marketing or forewarning, despite attractive casts of comic stalwarts which you’d expect could get a film in theaters on name recognition alone.

my_blind_brother_poster

Admit it, you don’t know what the hell this is.

My Blind Brother is the latest, featuring the murderer’s row of Nick Kroll, Adam Scott, and Jenny Slate as a 30-something manchild going nowhere fast, his blind sports star/local hero brother, and the woman torn between them, respectively.  That kind of sets it all up really.  Scott tries to swim across a lake?  That bears mentioning.

A Toast

There are worse ways to spend 90 minutes than with this cast.  Scott in particular really embraces his asshole overachiever character as well as the physicality and even facial expressions of a blind man.  Yep, he’s somewhat the villain of the piece, since Kroll feels obligated to help him in his many athletic endeavors in the name of raising money for charity and or keeping Scott in the limelight.

There are some interesting setups in the film surrounding guilt in its many forms; Slate’s in turning down, then leading on a blind man, Kroll’s at feeling responsibility for his brother’s blindness in the first place due to a childhood accident, and it all comes around to some heartswells in the end, lessons learned, etc, which are effective enough.

Two Beers

This is a comedy of awkwardness, not a comedy of… comedy.  It’s just not very funny.  I don’t think I laughed once.  So, explains all that under the radar bit, I guess.

badmoms2

Not that I laughed once at this major theatrical release, either.

Three Beers

For all the apparently clever turning of the tables, My Blind Brother is arguably demeaning to blind people.  Charlie Hewson plays some sort of pot-smoking gangsta wanna-be who’s also blind and likes to joke about how the cops will let him do anything.  This is probably a part that could have been given to an actual blind person at least, because God knows a SAG card wasn’t necessary for this kind of role.  Not that there aren’t plenty of blind SAG card holders, but I’m assuming every single one passed.  Otherwise, much fun is made of Scott slamming into things, or driving a car, etc.  The entire premise just seems like something that should have never left the whiteboard.

Four Beers

Kroll and Slate have been navigating towards this Indie borecore type of film lately, perhaps to assert their acting bona fides for larger projects like so many comedians before them.  It’s… just not their strength, and the results are never terrible, but…

loving-nick-kroll

Distracting presence in Loving arguably aside

… they’re never much more than mediocre, either.

Verdict

My Blind Brother may have a cast that suggests comedy, but you’re not going to find much of that there.  Largely diverting if very slight dramedy?  Sure.

4Beers

My Blind Brother (2016) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever Robbie’s blindness is mentioned

Take a Drink: for watching TV or talking about watching TV

Take a Drink: whenever Robbie acts like an asshole

Take a Drink: whenever Jenny Slate makes a bad decision or digs herself in deeper to an awkward situation

Do a Shot: for each time Robbie does something a blind person wouldn’t normally or probably shouldn’t do

Do a Shot: for bathroom conversations

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A Man for All Seasons (1966) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie/a-man-for-all-seasons-1966-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie/a-man-for-all-seasons-1966-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sun, 24 Sep 2017 12:15:51 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103430 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – The historical epic has always been a popular film genre. Famous examples include the record-setting Oscar winner Ben-Hur (1959), and the highly controversial 1963 version of Cleopatra, starring Elizabeth Taylor. The term “epic” implies grandeur and splendor, but not all period pieces have to necessarily be grandiose in order …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

The historical epic has always been a popular film genre. Famous examples include the record-setting Oscar winner Ben-Hur (1959), and the highly controversial 1963 version of Cleopatra, starring Elizabeth Taylor. The term “epic” implies grandeur and splendor, but not all period pieces have to necessarily be grandiose in order to be great. That is the case of the 1966 Best Picture winner A Man for All Seasons because it tackles a controversial period of European history without excessive Hollywood spectacle.

A Toast

This film is beautiful not because it looks pretty, but because it is a great example of masterful storytelling. Robert Bolt won the Academy Award for adapting his own play for the silver screen. The film also features a brilliant Oscar-winning performance from Paul Scofield as the iconic historical figure Thomas More. The cinematography and costumes are also very stylized without being too ostentatious. Perhaps the reason why this film won awards in those particular categories is because it essentially transports audiences to the historical era of Henry VIII without the unnecessary glamour that characterizes other major Hollywood productions. Nevertheless, this film is still a great example of cinematic art.

Verdict

1966 was a very interesting year at the Academy Awards because two adaptations of popular stage plays were released that particular year, and those two films essentially competed against one another for Oscar gold. That is because Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was a major awards winner even though it lost the Best Picture award to A Man for All Seasons. A fun fact is that Richard Burton turned down the role of Thomas More in order to play “George” in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, but that allowed Paul Scofield to win the Oscar for that coveted role. Such competition just proves that 1966 was a great year for film, and that the historical legacy of Sir Thomas More lives on long after the events that characterized his life in 16th century England.

A Man for All Seasons (1966) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: during every tense moment in which Thomas More remains silent

Take a Drink: every time there are discussions about laws (including God’s law and marriage laws)

Drink a Shot: every time there are witty lines of dialogue from Robert Bolt’s Oscar-winning screenplay

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Violet & Daisy (2013) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/violet-daisy-2013-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/violet-daisy-2013-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sat, 23 Sep 2017 12:15:26 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=66952 By: Henry J. Fromage (Five Beers) – So, here you have the directorial debut of Geoffrey Fletcher, Oscar-winning screenwriter of Precious.  It stars James Galdolfini in one of his final roles, Alexis Bledel, and Saoirse Ronan in a hyperstylized tale of teen girl assassins who run into a bit of trouble on their latest hit.  …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Five Beers) –

So, here you have the directorial debut of Geoffrey Fletcher, Oscar-winning screenwriter of Precious.  It stars James Galdolfini in one of his final roles, Alexis Bledel, and Saoirse Ronan in a hyperstylized tale of teen girl assassins who run into a bit of trouble on their latest hit.  What can go wrong?

British-Movie-Hanna-1

I mean, Ronan in badass role can’t possibly… right?

A Toast

Well… there’s certainly a high ‘style’ content.  In certain scenes, like a bizarre 60s flight attendant afterlife dream sequence (you’ll just have to see it), it’s spectacular.  Too bad those scenes are way, way too few and far between.  As far as the acting goes, you can’t go too far wrong with Gandolfini, and the girls are just fine.

Beer Two

About all that stylizing.  I’m usually all for some quality stylized violence.

British-Movie-Hanna-1

Thank you, sir! May I have some more?

However, if you go that route, the first rule is to keep the pace fast.  Violet & Daisy does the exact opposite, just unhurriedly meandering from scene to scene, whether it’s a shoot-out or dramatic character building.  The soporific score probably doesn’t help matters.

Beer Three

Part of the result of this is that you never know quite what tone they’re going for here.  Is it comedic? Dramatic?  Satiric?  Sad? Action-packed?  Comic Book?  It half-heartedly nibbles at the margin of all of these, but never fully commits.

Beer Four

The one thing you’d think you could count on Fletcher for is a script, but this is no less problematic.  He has a serious tell, don’t show problem, revealing character back story and even major plot points mainly through boring conversations.  Also, his Tarantino-aping dialogue fares about as well as all of the other Tarantino wanna-be’s out there.

American_Strays

Remember this?  Neither do they, I’m pretty sure…

Beer Five

Most annoyingly, how the fuck have Violet and Daisy survived this long?  They seriously are actively incompetent assassins at every turn.  They run around shooting with their eyes closed, stay in the same place they fired unsilenced shots off for hours, and even fall the fuck asleep at on their target’s couch…

The Icemanposter

You have to have MichaelShannonface to get away with that shit

Verdict

Violet & Daisy seemed to be right up my alley, but is just one more sad stab at another Reservoir Dogs, a decade late and a dollar short.

5Beers1-300x102

Violet & Daisy (Drinking Game)

Take a Drink: whenever Daisy is a ditz

Take a Drink: for every hit

Take a Drink: for pets

Take a Drink: whenever the damn dresses are referenced

Do a Shot: whenever V & D (hmmm… ewww) prove to be horribly incompetent assassins

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City of Gold (2016) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/city-gold-2016-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/city-gold-2016-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sat, 23 Sep 2017 12:15:07 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=98587 By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) – Food is a great democratizer.  You can find bites equally as perfect in their own ways at the finest Parisian restaurants and the smallest street corner taco stands. Keep your filet mignon.  Give me dat street meat! Jonathan Gold was one of the first and is probably the preeminent …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –

Food is a great democratizer.  You can find bites equally as perfect in their own ways at the finest Parisian restaurants and the smallest street corner taco stands.

Keep your filet mignon.  Give me dat street meat!

Jonathan Gold was one of the first and is probably the preeminent proponent of that philosophy, and Los Angeles is his playground- a food critic’s La La Land.  City of Gold explores his relationship with the city in which he lives, writes, and most importantly, eats.

A Toast

This documentary seems unprepossessing, but has quite a bit on its mind.  First we have a pretty standard sketch of the food critic that arguably did more than any other to elevate that medium into an art form, even winning a Pulitzer, and it’s a well done profile.

Greater than that, though, is Gold’s, and hence the film’s, goal of profiling Los Angeles’s vibrant mix of cuisines and cultures, the ways in which they’ve shaped the city’s history, even the way in which they reflect our nation’s history, which too many forget is utterly and completely a history of immigration and culture clash and double-ended assimilation.

Maybe we should build a wall…

Watching this, yes, you will see a stunning array of foods that will make your trigger finger twitch on plane tickets to Los Angeles this weekend, but more importantly you will see the empathy that the saliva forming in the corners of your mouth betrays in you whatever your biases or fears say to the contrary.  Give into that feeling.

Beer Two

As awesome as it is to spend time with this man, and visit yet another mouthwatering hole in the wall joint, City of Gold can definitely meander from time to time in search of its next nugget of wisdom.  At only 86 minutes, it’s forgivable, but there’s arguably an even tighter film in there.

Beer Three

Jonathan Gold’s poor working habits/self-imposed writer’s block just isn’t terribly interesting.  If these are the only warts you can find for your “warts and all” piece, it’s probably fine to apply a little foundation and forget about it.

I’m sitting on another five reviews to write, but nobody’s making a documentary about me…

Verdict

City of Gold is a love letter to Los Angeles, a city that encompasses a world of flavors, and the world of people that make it up.

City of Gold (2016) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for each new cuisine you see

Take a Drink: whenever anyone stands in awe of being with with the Jonathan Gold

Take a Drink: for long lines or celebrity sightings

Take a Drink: for other interviewed food personalities

Do a Shot: to chase away those sharp pangs of hunger

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Virtual Pub 224: Mother!, American Assassin, Lemon http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-224-mother-american-assassin-lemon http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-224-mother-american-assassin-lemon#respond Sat, 23 Sep 2017 03:00:16 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103437 This week the Movieboozer pubcast discusses Mother!, American Assassin, Lemon and more.

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This week the Movieboozer pubcast discusses Mother!, American Assassin, Lemon and more.

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The Alchemist Cookbook (2016) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/alchemist-cookbook-2016-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/alchemist-cookbook-2016-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Fri, 22 Sep 2017 12:15:40 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=98642 By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) – For many film fans, including myself, Joel Potrykus announced himself with a bang with the feral, lo-fi, and thoroughly bizarre Buzzard, but those in the know have tabbed him as the heir apparent Alex Cox for awhile now. I know Cox is still alive, but he was last seen doing this, …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –

For many film fans, including myself, Joel Potrykus announced himself with a bang with the feral, lo-fi, and thoroughly bizarre Buzzard, but those in the know have tabbed him as the heir apparent Alex Cox for awhile now.

I know Cox is still alive, but he was last seen doing this, so…

The Alchemist Cookbook is another portrait of a a man (Ty Hickson) with obvious mental issues bursting through his natural charisma.  In this film, he pretty much rolls solo in his Breaking Bad trailer out in the woods attempting to synthesize or conjure… something.  His buddy (Amari Cheatom) and cat show up on occasion, but otherwise it’s you, him, and the creeping specter of his insanity.  Or is that what it is?

A Toast

Nothing much happens, but it doesn’t much matter.  Potrykus is a whiz at creating atmosphere and a creeping sense of unease, then startling us out of it with some genuine strangeness set to the right kind of diegetic soundtrack to keep on your toes.  In this case, he goes more supernatural than in Buzzard‘s flight of mind, but it’s no less effective.  The unfussy, almost documentary-like shooting and obviously cheap and yet impressively enhanced sound design give the film a Blair Witch Project, or, oddly, The Witch feel at times as you start to buy what he clearly believes before too long.

Hickson clearly isn’t the most experienced actor around, clearly no Jack Nicholson just yet, but this is a great showcase for both him and Cheatom, who have a natural rapport that even tends towards what feels almost like Tyler the Creator comedy at points.   There’s an alchemy at work for sure in this film, as despite its modest resources, it’s really supremely engaging from start to finish.  The Alchemist Cookbook is simultaneously hilarious and terrifying in ways it really has no business being.  It’s glorious.

Beer Two

Okay, it matters a little bit.  There isn’t really anything you’d call a plot, and what there is perhaps qualifies as a touch forced in spots.

“My pills.  You forgot my pills!”

It also kind of just ends because it has to.  There’s a nice 70s-style finale that could have come from Nicolas Roeg, but it doesn’t feel like the film necessarily builds to it.

Verdict

Joel Potrykus is the Punk Rock filmmaker of the moment, and The Alchemist shows that as much as any of his films even as it takes a detour into effective horror.

The Alchemist Cookbook (2016) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for esoteric-looking science

Take a Drink: whenever Cass or other furry friends make an appearance

Take a Drink: whenever Sean screams into the woods

Take a Drink: for each chapter heading

Take a Drink: for peanut butter

Take a Drink: when shit starts to get weird (mileage will vary)

Do a Shot: for white tuna with a Faygo chaser

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Hawk & Ken Survive: Len Kabasinski Movies http://movieboozer.com/articles/hawk-ken-survive-len-kabasinski-movies http://movieboozer.com/articles/hawk-ken-survive-len-kabasinski-movies#respond Thu, 21 Sep 2017 17:15:55 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103408 Hawk Ripjaw and Ken Discuss independent B-movie filmmaker Len Kabasinski.

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Hawk Ripjaw and Ken Discuss independent B-movie filmmaker Len Kabasinski.

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Ken’s Movie Diary 2017 – Week 33 – Len Kabasinski Week! http://movieboozer.com/articles/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-33-len-kabasinski-week http://movieboozer.com/articles/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-33-len-kabasinski-week#respond Thu, 21 Sep 2017 12:15:09 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103363 Weekly Update: This week was dedicated to the films of Len Kabasinski; a Pennsylvania filmmaker who has self produces, directs, writes and stars in movies, often with a familiar cast of cohorts. His director trademarks include: Martial Arts, Gore, Female Nudity, Heavy Metal, and low production values. There is an enduring charm to these films, and …

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Weekly Update: This week was dedicated to the films of Len Kabasinski; a Pennsylvania filmmaker who has self produces, directs, writes and stars in movies, often with a familiar cast of cohorts. His director trademarks include: Martial Arts, Gore, Female Nudity, Heavy Metal, and low production values. There is an enduring charm to these films, and thankfully many of them are free to Amazon Prime subscribers, making them quite easy to experience.

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

256. Swamp Zombies (2005)

Kabasinski’s first film reminds me of the sort of movies I made with friends in High School. In that it is clearly a group of friends in the woods with whatever resources they had to work with, doing the best they can… and a lot of things going horribly wrong. The audio is off, the camerawork and framing are confusing, and the acting ranges from amateurish to godawful. But you know what, he fuckin’ tried. The plot is simple enough; a local hospital is performing experiments which are causing people to reanimate, now the zombies are loose and terrorizing a group of students in the woods. I am not going to recommend this film for any but the most devout of z-movie fans, but there’s a charm there in the background which Len would hone and improve upon vastly in later releases.

257. Fist of the Vampire (2007)

Len Kabasinski wanted to combine Martial Arts and Vampire movies, and in that he succeeds. Production values are certainly better here than Swamp Zombies, employing lots of green screen shots and computer effects which up the ante quite a bit. Entertainment is endless from these not at all convincing effects shots. But the film’s real highlight is in the awkwardly edited and framed fight scenes. It is clear Len and team knows what they are doing move-wise, but he still is trying to figure out how to shoot these sequences, and the results are often hilarious.

258. Angel of Reckoning (2016)

A more recent entry in Len’s filmography, this is his most polished film to date, with a simple but compelling narrative, workable (if sometimes stilted) dialogue, and well-shot action sequences. It is genuinely impressive to see this film in the context of his previous ones, because there is a conscious effort to improve in every aspect of the filmmaking process. Jessica Kabasinski carries her lead performance amicably, and many of the secondary actors hold their own quite well. The film’s pacing feels solid, slowly building to the violent climax with more and more layers of insanity. A real highlight of the film are the over-the-top Gangland characters who feel straight out of 80s Cannon productions like Death Wish 2.

259. Apocalypse Female Warriors (2009)

Len Kabasinski loves to have badass female leads and this film brings that out in triplicate. The filmmaker attempts to bring a Post-Apocalyptic atmosphere with zero budget, and the results are mostly ineffective. Low-budget Apocalypse films generally succeed by scaling down their production aims, but this attempts a full out Mad Max-like plot without the means to accomplish it.  Even the first Mad Max cost a few hundred thousand dollars to make, because destroying cars is not cheap. Len might have done well saving his funds to do this one when he could afford some set-building.  The movie does have an impressive Minigun prop, but that isn’t sufficient to carry things.

260. Curse of the Wolf (2006)

Touted by the team at Redlettermedia as their favorite of the Kabasinski chronology, Curse of the Wolf combines zero-budget schlock charm with a ludicrous plot and some of the most hilarious werewolf makeup I’ve ever seen. Len is still using a cheap camera here, and it does hurt the watchability a bit, but this was the first of his films which feels like Len is sort of in on the joke, and having fun with his lack of production funds.  Give this one a look first if you are seeking out a few good B-movie laughs.

261. Bound by Blood: Wendigo (2010)

… How do you manage to make a movie about a flesh-eating Native American Spirit Demon boring?  Fuck this shit.

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365 Days of Movies- Henry J. Fromage Edition- Week 36 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-of-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-36 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-of-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-36#respond Wed, 20 Sep 2017 17:15:27 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103291 By: Henry J. Fromage – Yeah, this wasn’t the most productive week from a movie-watching perspective, but was plenty of work to keep me busy.  That’s… good? 195. mother! Some say that going into this uniquely Darren Aronofsky-produced mindfuck of a mindfuck blind is the way to go, but I’m not sure I agree.  Watching …

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By: Henry J. Fromage –

Yeah, this wasn’t the most productive week from a movie-watching perspective, but was plenty of work to keep me busy.  That’s… good?

195. mother!

Some say that going into this uniquely Darren Aronofsky-produced mindfuck of a mindfuck blind is the way to go, but I’m not sure I agree.  Watching the dumbstruck looks on the faces of many in the audience while they filed out makes me think that they thought they were walking into some sort of Hollywood released horror or thriller, much like It Comes at Night, and much like that film, what they really bought a ticket to is one filmmaker’s extremely nihilistic equation for life, the universe, and everything.  Unlike that film, this one has Darren Aronofsky and Jennifer Lawrence (whose current relationship will take on several more fucked up shades of meaning in your mind after watching this), and both exquisitely demonstrate their talents to the extent of their capabilities.  This is capital ‘A’ Art, clearly not for everybody and arguably not for most anybody, which makes it all the more remarkable that a major Hollywood studio bankrolled it and released it wide.  One more piece of advice- take none of this at face value- this is pure religious, political, but really seriously religious metaphor, and sussing out what each of the elements represents to Aronofsky is a unique fascination.

196. The Mummy

On the other end of the spectrum is this Hollywood wide release that contains nor wishes to contain any subtext whatsoever.  Instead, this is just another failed attempt to recreate that Marvel Universe magic, almost tragically desperate in its transparency, and only worth recommending spending some not entirely engaged time on for Tom Cruise, who clearly saw this as another upper-mid-range franchise to put his stamp on.  There just aren’t many like him in the Hollywood game anymore, and we’re going to miss him when he’s gone (too old to literally throw himself down the stairs for our entertainment).  Outside of Cruise, though… yeah, this is by committee blockbuster filmmaking at its most inessential and ineffective- not nearly bad enough to be a curio like Fantastic Four, but not good enough for even the Chinese market to give it false hope.

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Death of a Salesman (1951) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/death-of-a-salesman-1951-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/death-of-a-salesman-1951-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Wed, 20 Sep 2017 12:15:36 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103252 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – Ever since the founding of America in 1776, immigrants from all over the world came to the U.S. to pursue “The American Dream.” Even with such idealism, the bleakness of reality forced many dreamers to learn that such perfection is oftentimes unobtainable. Nevertheless, people still hold on to their …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

Ever since the founding of America in 1776, immigrants from all over the world came to the U.S. to pursue “The American Dream.” Even with such idealism, the bleakness of reality forced many dreamers to learn that such perfection is oftentimes unobtainable. Nevertheless, people still hold on to their dreams while searching for prosperity. Many of the greatest works in American literature actually attempt to dispel the myth of “The American Dream,” which resulted in some of the greatest stories ever written. Perhaps one of the most famous examples of such writing is Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, and its 1951 film adaptation honors the legacy of Miller’s powerful drama.

A Toast

This film is a brilliant adaptation! A very unique feature of this film is its editing. There are numerous times in both the film and the original stage play in which the characters transition from the present reality to either other locations or events in their pasts. For example, there is a scene in which Willy Loman would walk out of the kitchen door, and then magically transport to a time in which his two sons, Biff and Happy, were washing the family car. The remarkable aspect of these shifts in time and space is that they flow almost naturally as the viewers understand the complexity of Willy Loman’s difficult life. As mentioned previously, the editing is remarkable because the transitions reiterate Miller’s theme of illusion versus reality while also giving the film a dream-like quality. Such an exploration of that powerful theme reminds viewers about the impossibility of idealism.

Verdict

It is a funny coincidence that two film adaptations of two of the greatest American plays would be released the same year. Fredric March excels as Willy Loman, but neither him nor Marlon Brando won the “Best Actor” award even though they played two of the most iconic characters in American drama. There are a lot of striking similarities between Death of a Salesman and A Streetcar Named Desire because of their themes as well as the nominations that they received at both the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards. In fact, Alex North received two nominations for “Best Original Dramatic Score” because he composed the music for both of these films even though the coveted Oscar eluded his grasp. Nevertheless, Death of a Salesman will always remain one of the greatest plays ever written, and is truly a landmark on both the stage and the silver screen.

Death of a Salesman (1951) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: during every smooth transition between fantasy and reality

Take a Drink: every time members of the Loman family abandon each other

Drink a Shot: for all of the sparkling lights that appear in a scene in which Willy Loman is driving and talking about diamonds

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American Assassin (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/american-assassin-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/american-assassin-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Tue, 19 Sep 2017 12:15:15 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103413 By: Movie Snurb (Five Beers) – Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’Brien) is on vacation with his new fiancé and a terror strike happens. His fiancé is murdered while he survives. Mitch decides to take it upon himself to take down all of the terrorists in the world. The C.I.A. gets a hold of his plan and …

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By: Movie Snurb (Five Beers) –

Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’Brien) is on vacation with his new fiancé and a terror strike happens. His fiancé is murdered while he survives. Mitch decides to take it upon himself to take down all of the terrorists in the world. The C.I.A. gets a hold of his plan and captures him when he “invades” the first cell. The C.I.A. recruit Mitch to do their bidding. He agrees and goes to train with Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton), a veteran ex-Navy SEAL. After minimal training they are sent out on a mission to stop an arms dealer trading with a mystery man nicknamed Ghost (Taylor Kitsch), who has plans to kill millions of Americans. Come to find out Stan and Ghost have a history.

A Toast

There’s not much to praise about this “action” film. Taylor Kitsch does a good job as the bad guy. We could’ve had a few more scenes with Kitsch, especially for more backstory about Ghost. All we get is a few words from Stan. Michael Keaton as Stan does a fine job; he doesn’t have much work with but with what he does Keaton preforms admirably. The final scene is pretty cool; even if it is a little CGI-heavy, it still was pretty cool to watch.

Beer Two

For an “action” film this film is very dull. There was very little action, too little, really, for it to be considered an action film. Also, if you’re action film is going to have a slower pace it should have more story to go with it, but here they strung out a simple storyline so it lasted 100 minutes.

Beer Three

With stretching that storyline, the pacing becomes a snails pace. I’d compare it to Heat- Heat is 3 hours and though it’s listed as an action film there is far less action then story. Except with Heat the film is brilliant and the story is compelling. This film, you get the sense where the film is going, so while you think there’s only 20 minutes left there’s really 40. Not to mention the action sequences aren’t compelling, which makes the film move even slower.

This scene alone was a better action film.

Beer Four

The writing is not great. In the beginning Mitch and his fiancé don’t seem like they’ve been dating long enough to be getting engaged. Their exchanges are clunky and not cute but rather driveling. At least there aren’t any one liners like “You’ve been ghosted”. Or some crap. Not only in the dialogue, but also with the characters, pretty much everyone is this film is dumb. If the action is going to be slow your film should be intelligent to keep the film interesting. Most of the characters and their dialogue come off dumb.

There were also a lot of continuity errors. I won’t explain them because it will take me four pages to get them all out; however, if you see this film you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Not to mention the part where Mitch should’ve burned alive in a tunnel. I don’t think that’s what they mean by the “Magic of the Movies.”

Beer Five

Lastly Dylan O’Brien was just not believable as the dopey boyfriend/fiancé turned stone cold assassin. His story wasn’t relatable and neither was his character. Whenever they’d give him an order or instructions he would disobey. He never came off as threatening, more like a whiny frat douche who tries to act badass. I would’ve cast Taylor Kitsch in the lead role and found a different guy to play Ghost, maybe a female; nobody would’ve seen it coming and it would’ve given this film a better angle.

Your stone cold assassin, everyone.

Verdict

For an action film there isn’t much action in American Assassin, or good action for that matter. The main character comes off whiny and annoying. It’s a paint-by-numbers slow film, and I recommend skipping it. Just wait a couple weeks and go see Blade Runner 2049.

American Assassin (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time you feel like you missed something.

Do a Shot: every time someone dies.

Take a Drink: every time Mitch doesn’t obey an order.

Chug a Beer: when you realize when you train at a 9 Rounds or an MMA gym that you’ve “passed a test” for the C.I.A. as well.

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mother! (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/mother-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/mother-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Mon, 18 Sep 2017 12:15:01 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103387 By: BabyRuth (Three Beers) – Oh boy… So… Hmmm… Earlier this year, I reviewed Gore Verbinski’s A Cure for Wellness, an odd, fever-dream of a movie. Despite having some issues with it, I appreciated the fact that a film so strange, so polarizing, and so non-mainstream managed to get a wide theatrical release, let alone made …

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By: BabyRuth (Three Beers) –

Oh boy…

So…

Hmmm…

Earlier this year, I reviewed Gore Verbinski’s A Cure for Wellness, an odd, fever-dream of a movie. Despite having some issues with it, I appreciated the fact that a film so strange, so polarizing, and so non-mainstream managed to get a wide theatrical release, let alone made at all. I was certain it would be the most bizarre movie-going experience of the year for me.

Well, along comes Darren Aronofsky to give Verbinski and anyone else who dares all the beers to hold with mother!

It’s almost impossible to explain the plot without going into spoilers, and judging by the ultra-secretive lead-up (attendees at advance screenings were asked to sign nondisclosure agreements) and possibly intentionally misleading marketing campaign (while parts are certainly horrific, this is no cut and dry horror flick), Aronofsky surely felt that the less known going into the film, the better.

Though most who are reading this at the time of its posting will likely have heard some plot points by now (one in particular I’m sure) as the film has been out for a couple days, I still will try to avoid going into too much detail.

Jennifer Lawrence stars as the titular character, who like every other person in this film, is never referred to by a proper name. She lives with her much older husband, a famous poet, “Him” (Javier Bardem),  in a large secluded farmhouse. The home is so isolated, there are no roads leading to it or even a driveway. mother spends her days renovating the massive house while He attempts to overcome a case of writer’s block and create his next masterpiece. Though their life appears idyllic, something seems off.  Maybe it’s the house, which has a beating heart and bleeds. Or maybe it’s just because they don’t have a TV. Yeah, definitely that. Don’t you just hate those pretentious assholes who are all “I don’t own a TV?”

Their quiet existence is challenged when one day out of the blue, there is a knock on the door. It’s a doctor (Ed Harris) who claims to have mistaken the estate for a bed and breakfast. He (Bardem’s character) invites the man in to stay the night, despite mother’s concerns. The next day the doctor’s wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) shows up, then their two sons (Brian and Domhnall Gleeson), then, well, this is where I will stop. Let’s just say things escalate from there.

Basically this. But not really. But still, someone please make a mash-up trailer of this and mother!

A Toast

I’ve been hearing a lot of  “people are either going to really love mother! or really hate it.” I agree with that statement, though I believe there is a large third group  who aren’t exactly sure how they feel about it.

I am firmly in that camp and I would imagine I have as much company in it as our mother! homeowners do judging by the reaction of the audience at the screening I attended. Many people just sat in silence staring at the screen as the credits rolled. Several burst into laughter, similar to the release after a roller coaster ride, which is fitting because “roller coaster ride” is the best way to describe this film. It is most certainly an experience. And every person is going to have a different one.

But it is an experience one won’t forget anytime soon. I have not stopped thinking about mother! since I saw it. My feelings on it keep changing (making this review particularly difficult to write). I will definitely revisit it at some point.

The look of mother! is signature Aronofsky: extreme close-ups (Observation: Lawrence does not have one pore on her face), over-the-shoulder tracking shots, and shaky handheld cameras. Aronosky knows how to create unbearable tension  and this is no exception.

The cast is excellent. The events of the film are shown from Jennifer Lawrence’s character’s perspective and she is in nearly every shot. She has little dialogue but delivers one hell of a performance. Likewise, Javier Bardem puts on a master class in intense glaring.

But it is Michelle Pfeiffer who nearly steals the entire film. She is GLORIOUS:  fierce, funny (often providing some much needed, but fleeting, comic relief), and divinely wicked. What I’m saying is, give this woman the Best Supporting Actress Oscar right now.

I’d advise anyone planning to see mother! to do so soon, in a theater, because the sound design adds so much to the overall experience. Every creak of the house, every footstep in the distance, is not only heard, but felt. It’s incredible.

Beer Two

This film is not for everybody. That should go without saying concerning Aronofsky, but even those familiar with his work may find mother! a challenging watch.

The first half is a dread-soaked, slow burn of a build. Some may even use the word boring to describe it. It’s almost as if Aronofsky is toying with his audience, daring us to want something to happen.

And then it does.

And it’s insane.

Not one to shy away from disturbing imagery (Requiem for a Dream still makes me feel physically ill when I think about it – and I watched it once, over a decade ago. I never want to see it again. I mean that in the best way.), Aronofsky amps it up to a level so unsettling, so unexpected, and so utterly batshit crazy, that it may be too much for many to sit through. There were a few walkouts at my screening, my own husband being one of them (“That’s it for me, see you outside,” he whispered about ten minutes before the ending. After the film I found him giving the poor elderly usher an earful of how awful he found the film. Needless to say, the short ride home felt like an eternity.) I have a feeling this is going to be a pretty common occurrence throughout theaters this weekend. I can understand, again, it’s an extremely hard watch. But for those who hang in there, the climactic sequence is one hell of a piece of film-making that needs to be seen to be believed.

Beer Three

The film is an allegory filled with countless metaphors. Many are so transparent I’d hesitate to even refer to them as metaphors (Aronofsky is not exactly known for his subtlety).

Here’s my metaphor for mother!: It’s a puzzle that halfway through solving, you realize contains pieces from several other puzzles mixed in and there is no way to put them all together.

My question is, what is the takeaway after what is being represented is established? What is the point? Is there a point? How does it all fit together?

Of course there’s the whole “everyone can interpret it in their own way and draw their own conclusions” thing, but that explanation feels like a copout in this instance. I personally feel Aronofsky had so many themes he wanted to explore (Religion! The environment! Sexism! The artist’s struggle! The cult of celebrity! Humans are garbage! God is garbage! Sorry Rachel Weisz! Sorry in advance Jennifer Lawrence!), and refused to kill any of his darlings (*wink*) so he threw them all in, along with a literal kitchen sink, whether they worked cohesively or not, and then never bothered to develop them past a certain point. They are just there, for us to figure out and debate. Again, it’s super hard to go into without revealing too much (though I feel like I just sort of did) As a result, the film is as crowded as the house it’s set in. And that frustrated me, especially after being put through the emotional wringer watching America’s sweetheart endure nightmare after nightmare only to reach an open (and predictable) conclusion. But that was most likely the intention.

Still, as a fan of Aronofsky, I would have preferred the two main themes been split into two separate, companion films (as in the case of The Wrestler and Black Swan) and with a clear focus on each, instead of mother!’s manically trying to force the misfitting puzzle pieces together.

Verdict

While not for the squeamish, I applaud Aronofsky’s ambition to make a film so unlike anything else that it will divide and even anger audiences. That it surely will do, along with inspiring countless conversations and heated debates. In this current age of sequels, reboots, franchises, and lazy comedies, it’s about damn time there was a film like this. However, for me it was a little too much style over substance as far as THE BIG SECRET MESSAGE.

Even if you don’t go to see it, if you happen to find yourself in a movie theater in the near future, I highly recommend standing outside a screening of mother! that has just let out to watch the reactions, because while I don’t feel “entertaining” is the correct term to describe mother! itself, that part of the overall experience most certainly was.

mother! (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever mother drinks that yellow stuff (What IS that stuff? If anyone knows, please let me know)

Take a Drink: whenever mother says “Excuse me,” “What are you doing?” or “Get out!”

Take a Drink: for every knock on the door

Take a Drink: for every (amazing) Michelle Pfeiffer bitchface

Take a Drink: every time mother pleads for people to get off the kitchen sink

Do a Shot: random, unexpected cameo (you’ll know when)

Do all the Shots: during the last half hour

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Ken’s Movie Diary 2017 – Week 32 http://movieboozer.com/articles/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-32 http://movieboozer.com/articles/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-32#respond Sun, 17 Sep 2017 17:15:06 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103231 Weekly Update: Some more randomness in the doldrums of mid-September movies. Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date- 250. Monster House (2006) Dan Harmon’s stab at writing a kid’s movie culminated in this fascinating and genuinely creepy family film. Monster House manages to blend child-friendly …

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Weekly Update: Some more randomness in the doldrums of mid-September movies.

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

250. Monster House (2006)

Dan Harmon’s stab at writing a kid’s movie culminated in this fascinating and genuinely creepy family film. Monster House manages to blend child-friendly themes with just enough horror to keep things fresh, and Harmon’s trademark sense of humor.  Fans of Community and Rick & Morty will be surprised how well Harmon’s comedy translates into PG territory, and the unique visual style makes the lower-budget computer effects feel compelling even years after its release.

251. Out of Sight (1998)

This heist film stars George Clooney as Jack Foley, a suave thief who literally charms the pants off of the Federal Officer tracking him. Marshal Karen Sisco (Jennifer Lopez) is kidnapped by Foley during a prison break, and the two immediately appear to have a mutual attraction for each other. Sisco escapes, and Foley embarks on a scheme to rob the home of a wealthy inmate with whom he shared prison time. Sisco is faced with the difficult challenge of her loyalties; to her job or to spur of the moment (but passionate) romance. Director Steven Soderbergh’s direction gives the movie a dynamic flow that keeps it from feeling like the well-trod territory it really is.

252. Wonder Woman (2017)

Color me shocked that after a run of horrific failures from Warner Bros and DC in their attempts to establish a “DC Cinematic Universe”, they would manage to create a genuinely good movie. Director Patty Jenkins clearly had a more compelling vision for her film than that of Zack Snyder or David Ayer, and treats Wonder Woman with just enough grace and dignity without forgetting to address some of the inherent silliness of the premise. As a result, the movie feels far more akin to the better Marvel cinematic universe films than it does to its own brethren. Hopefully the Justice League movie strikes a similar balance as deftly.

253. The Big Sick (2017)

The true story of comedian Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily Gordon is fictionalized in this film written by them, changing a handful of details (including Emily’s last name for some reason). In The Big Sick, Kumail is a struggling Chicago-area stand up comedian who is trying to launch his career while his mother constantly brings Pakistani girls over to attempt to arrange a marriage.  Kumail isn’t interested in this tradition and searches for romance on his own, eventually finding love with girlfriend Emily. When a misunderstanding divides the couple, though, her sudden and life-threatening illness sends her into a coma and Kumail finds himself drawn to her hospital bed, and spending time with her parents.  This is a very worthwhile comedy-drama that approaches romance from a genuinely original angle.

254. 9/11 (2017)

So… Charlie Sheen and a few other characters are stuck in an elevator of the World Trade Center on 9/11, and who cares because this movie is every bit as moronic as that first part of the sentence sounds.

255. It (2017)

It really works at times, particularly when it is focused on the child characters being haunted by it. When it gets really weak is in dealing with the horror elements itself, which can’t seem to escape the tropes of jump-scare filmmaking. It gets tiring as a result, but overall it is an ok movie.

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The Crucible (1996) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/the-crucible-1996-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/the-crucible-1996-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sun, 17 Sep 2017 12:15:00 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103296 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – The Salem Witch Trials were one of the darkest times in American history. The chaos and confusion of that era has inspired some of the greatest films and literary classics that attempt to capture of complexity of that historical event. The playwright, Arthur Miller, lived during the McCarthy Trials …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

The Salem Witch Trials were one of the darkest times in American history. The chaos and confusion of that era has inspired some of the greatest films and literary classics that attempt to capture of complexity of that historical event. The playwright, Arthur Miller, lived during the McCarthy Trials that included the Red Scare, and he cleverly uses both of the notorious historical trials to create a seminal play that is essentially an allegory about the nature of hysteria. The final result is a play that haunted the minds of audiences since 1953, and its film adaptation in 1996 introduced Miller’s ideas to a new generation that included anyone willing to endure the severe test appropriately titled The Crucible.

A Toast

The acting in this film adaptation is absolutely phenomenal. Daniel Day-Lewis does some of his best work here in his performance as John Proctor even though he failed to acquire any major nominations for his work here. Oscar-winner Paul Scofield received a Golden Globe nomination for playing Judge Thomas Danforth, a man who dealt with the secrets and lies prevalent in this historical drama. This film also contains what is perhaps Joan Allen’s greatest performance as Elizabeth Proctor, a role that earned her nominations at both the Golden Globes and the Oscars. Arthur Miller definitely deserved an Academy Award nomination for adapting his chilling play for the silver screen. This film is a great example about how history has a tendency to repeat itself given the allegorical nature of this frightfully astounding motion picture.

Verdict

By definition, a “crucible” is a container used to heat elements at extreme temperatures (which are oftentimes used in chemistry classes). A second definition of this term, though, is “a severe test or trial.” Since the original play and this acclaimed film version dealt with historical trials, it is no surprise that Arthur Miller would use that specific word to describe the horrors of “severe tests and trials.” The Salem Witch Trials might have happened in the 17th century, and the McCarthy Trials might have happened in the mid-Twentieth Century, but this timeless play and film will always remind viewers to not neglect the past. Otherwise, society itself would have to endure its own metaphorical “crucible.”

The Crucible (1996) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: during every religious reference, including to God, Heaven, and Hell

Take a Drink: every time there is an accusation of being a witch

Do a Shot: during every hysterical moment (including screaming, finger-pointing, and anything else that characterizes such a bleak time in American history)

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The Ripjaw Recap: Marvel’s Inhumans: Episodes 1 & 2: the IMAX Experience http://movieboozer.com/articles/ripjaw-recap-marvels-inhumans-episodes-1-2-imax-experience http://movieboozer.com/articles/ripjaw-recap-marvels-inhumans-episodes-1-2-imax-experience#comments Sat, 16 Sep 2017 12:15:04 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103347 By: Hawk Ripjaw (a lot of beers) – I have done a very foolish thing. Inhumans started as a planned MCU film to be released next year. But before production really got into full swing, Marvel unceremoniously downgraded the film to an ABC series. Somehow, deals got renegotiated and the first couple of episodes got …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw (a lot of beers) –

I have done a very foolish thing.

Inhumans started as a planned MCU film to be released next year. But before production really got into full swing, Marvel unceremoniously downgraded the film to an ABC series. Somehow, deals got renegotiated and the first couple of episodes got shot with IMAX cameras for a special engagement in glorious IMAX early before the premiere of the show proper on ABC at the end of the month. Somewhere, on Reddit, someone has asked “Yeah, but was Captain America: The Winter Soldier shot in glorious IMAX?” 

Of course, you can shoot an alcoholic diarrhea in IMAX and it won’t change the fact that it came out of someone’s asshole. Inhumans is terrible. And as we know, everything’s bigger in IMAX: screen, the price tag and, when applicable, the pure, humbling feeling of a terrible mistake you can’t take back.

Inhumans opens with a lot of slow-motion running, shooting, and raining, as a cat-eyed young girl flees from a militia. Seemingly cornered, she comes across a man with green skin who tells her that she’s an Inhuman–someone with powers—and that there is a home for them on the moon, and that he will protect her. Roughly ten seconds later, she gets gunned down in glorious IMAX, and he also gets shot and falls into the water.

Zip up to the moon, where the Inhumans have settled away from humanity in an invisible city called Attilan, ruled over by a royal family comprised of Black Bolt (Anson Mount), who does not speak because his voice generates deadly shockwaves and has the perpetual look on his face of having just smelled a fart; his wife Medusa (Serinda Swan), who can control her hair; Gorgon (Eme Ikwuakor), who has hooves; Crystal (Isabelle Cornish), who…shoots energy out of her hands, I think, and Karnak (Ken Leung), who can….predict….some scenarios and sort of rewind time to approach it from a different direction….and also make an energy compass? It’s not made clear. There’s also Bolt’s brother Maximus (Iwan Rheon), who doesn’t have powers. He’s a dick and nobody likes him.

Members of Attilan, at a certain point, experience puberty via a public ceremony called Terrigenesis. This involves each character steppping into individual chambers that kind of look like phone booths, as crystals removed from a sacred box are dropped into the chambers where they are converted into vapors which give the kids powers. This is a great opportunity for several characters to spout expository dialogue about the function of an apparently archaic ritual handed down for generations and other mumbly bumbly. The girl, Iridia, gets butterfly wings, and the boy, Bronaja, seemingly gets nothing. However, when Maximus touches him, Bronaja goes into a seizure in glorious IMAX and has a vision about snakes surrounding Maximus against a wall. We don’t actually see the vision, we just get to hear everyone talk about it.

Attilan runs on a caste system, where the royal family lives in the lavish castle while apparently everyone else is forced to live in very dirty dungeons and operate under a mob mentality that calls to mind Life of Brian. People such as Maximus and Bronaja, however, are on an even lower rung because of their lack of powers. Maximus has had enough of it, and attempts to speak to the people, telling them that they shouldn’t shun Bronaja for having no apparent powers, because sometimes Terragenesis can take time to manifest powers. “It didn’t with you!” bellows a random crowd member. Maximus promises that even those without powers will have a voice once he is king.

Triton, the green dude from the intro, is, according to an Inhuman with projector eyes, possibly still alive. Gorgon wants desperately to validate this. Crystal has a giant teleporting bulldog named Lockjaw, who sends Gorgon to Honolulu. Upon arriving, he spends most of his time yelling Triton’s name before wading into the ocean and discovering that he can’t swim because having two giant hooves is about as useful has having concrete tied to your legs. He’s rescued by some cool surfer dudes sharing a communal beach settlement. He later is revealed to be able to create shockwaves with his hooves.

Medusa wanders around the castle, reminiscing about when she and Black Bolt fell in love, remembering his shame over killing his parents with his voice in glorious IMAX. This is shown in a painfully hilarious scene where an adolescent Bolt is seated in front of his parents. He simply asks “why?”, causing an epic shockwave that turns his parents into ashy splatters on the wall.

Maximus runs into Medusa wandering outside the chamber in which Bolt is meditating and basically says “Wanna fuck?” She is having none of it. Medusa uses her hair to throw Maximus against the wall, telling him they’ll never bang. Maximus indicates that she’s still part of his spank bank and she throws him down and storms away. Maximus realizes that the vision of snakes just came true (because Medusa the Inhuman has hair and Medusa the mythological thing has snakes for hair, get it?), so he immediately overthrows the castle and recruits the Royal Guard to capture or kill the family. Yeah, it’s that quick.

Crystal, eager to finally have something interesting to do in the episode, tasks Lockjaw with getting the family off of the moon. In turn, Maximus summons his right-hand lady, Auran, to go after them. Auran’s two favorite things in the world are wearing leather and murdering people, so she’s more than happy to get to Earth. To do so she goes to visit a talking wall and threatens his family.

Karnak is the first one the Guard goes after. He fights off most of the guards before being shot himself, but is somehow able to step out of his body, assess the situation, and rewind time to forsee the gunshot and finish defeating the guards. Lockjaw transports Karnak to Honolulu, and the limitations of Karnak’s clairvoyant powers become apparent when he promptly falls off a cliff in glorious IMAX.

Back on Attilan, Medusa is holding her own against the guards, but one of the Inhumans working for Maximus manages to overpower her so that Maximus can shave her hair Les Miserables-style, stripping her of her powers. Medusa spends most of the rest of the episode feeling sorry for herself, but takes a brief break to have a catfight with Auran and violently stab her multiple times, seemingly killing her. But since Auran has healing powers and is an apparent walking amalgamation of at least three different fetishes, she’ll probably be back.

Bolt and Lockjaw teleport to the middle of a street in Honolulu, where a glaringly stereotypical Hawaiian man with dark skin, a goatee, and a floral print shirt almost hits them with his car before Bolt escapes. Unable to speak, Bolt must communicate by looking intensely at people with the exact same expression. Apparently as aware as the rest of us that his costume looks stupid, Bolt visits a clothing store and decides to just walk out with the suit the clerk helped him try on in a sequence that seemed to be desperately avoiding the Makeover Montage trope. He is chased down by the police and arrested, where his inability to speak gives the actor playing Generic Police Interrogator to say his obligatory lines before Bolt is led into a cell in glorious IMAX.

The episode closes with Bolt glancing up at the moon, where his brother is giving a speech about how his new regime will ensure that everyone on Attilan will have a voice. The Inhumans logo flashes on the screen, leaving only a sense of deep indifference towards the rest of the narrative and a more-than-vague feeling of having been soundly bamboozled–even knowing full well going in it was going to be shit.

I could be mad at Disney for doing this. But really I’m just mad at myself for doing this.

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Thumbelina (1994) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/thumbelina-1994-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/thumbelina-1994-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Fri, 15 Sep 2017 17:15:37 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103186 By: Alex Phuong (Four Beers) – Hans Christian Andersen remains one of the most beloved storytellers of all time. His timeless fairy tales have enchanted readers as well as inspired some of the greatest family films of all time. Perhaps the two most famous films based on Andersen’s work are Disney’s The Little Mermaid (1989) …

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By: Alex Phuong (Four Beers) –

Hans Christian Andersen remains one of the most beloved storytellers of all time. His timeless fairy tales have enchanted readers as well as inspired some of the greatest family films of all time. Perhaps the two most famous films based on Andersen’s work are Disney’s The Little Mermaid (1989) and Frozen (2013). However, some people might not know that Jodi Benson (the voice of Ariel) actually did another animated fairy tale adaptation of Andersen’s work. That is because she played the title role of Thumbelina a few years after voicing the famed Disney princess. Thumbelina is actually a very unique film because it offers a different take on what an animated fairy tale could be outside of the iconic films that made Walt Disney famous.

A Toast

Jodi Benson actually does remarkable voice work here. She is able to give Thumbelina her own distinct voice without sounding too much like Ariel. Not only that, but the voice of Cornelius (the fairy prince) sounds exactly like a sixteen-year-old even though the actor (Gary Imhoff) was in his early forties during this film’s production. The two lovers also share a really romantic duet called “Let Me Be Your Wings,” which is truly a joy to the watch. This couple really is the star of this film!

Beer Two

The human-like characters might be the stars of this film, but the talking animals are a nuisance. The villainous animals (like the frogs and Mr. Beetle) are not really that menacing. Instead, they are just really annoying. It seems bizarre that a frog would kidnap Thumbelina just so that Thumbelina can try to make it big as a singer. Mr. Beetle is also much like Iago from Disney’s Aladdin because both of them are somewhat annoying (but also comedic) roles for voice actor Gilbert Gottfried. It also seems bizarre that a lot of the male animals keep on trying to flirt with Thumbelina just because she is beautiful. This film openly displays the hardships of inappropriate displays of affection (which is really disturbing since this is supposed to be a family film).

Beer Three

The frogs speak Spanish at certain points, which might make it hard for viewers to understand what is going on during those particular scenes. The frog family’s home also contains Spanish words written on the walls, and neither the dialogue nor the painted words have any English translations. That might leave a plot hole for viewers who don’t understand that particular language.

Beer Four

This film won the Razzie for the Worst Original Song, “Marry the Mole!” That “victory” is strong enough to give this film another beer in this film review.

Verdict

This might not be the best animated film of all time, but it was still a nice attempt to bring one of Hans Christian Andersen’s stories to the screen. Like many animated fairy tales, there is some sort of life lesson that viewers can take away after the film ends. Perhaps this film teaches viewers that there is no shame in being yourself. Thumbelina might be a small person, but she is still larger than life (and yes, there is a lot of wordplay being used in this concluding paragraph). Being small does not mean that people are unable to dream big!

Thumbelina (1994) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: during every musical number (which are either delightful or might make you want to gag)

Take a Drink: whenever the fairies emit fairy dust when they fly

Drink a Shot: every time the male animals have inappropriate displays of affection toward Thumbelina

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Trailer Reviews: American Assassin & mother! http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-american-assassin-mother http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-american-assassin-mother#respond Fri, 15 Sep 2017 12:15:01 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103340 By: Hawk Ripjaw – This week, the movie everyone Hawk was really looking forward to sadly got delayed to late October. That movie, of course, is All I See Is You, a “romantic thriller” about a guy with a blind wife who gets an “oh shit, I’m ugly and now she knows it” moment when a …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw –

This week, the movie everyone Hawk was really looking forward to sadly got delayed to late October. That movie, of course, is All I See Is You, a “romantic thriller” about a guy with a blind wife who gets an “oh shit, I’m ugly and now she knows it” moment when a medical procedure restores sight to one of her eyes. That sounds like it could be hilariously awful, so it’s still on my radar. 

American Assassin

American Assassin, apart from being one of those “we don’t know what to call this movie so let’s take a word and put ‘American’ in front of it” movies, is enticingly bristling with a possibly-fatal level of machismo. It’s base, for sure: Dylan O’Brien plays a guy whose girlfriend is killed by terrorists, so he asks Michael Keaton to turn him into a killing machine.

Much has been said thus far by fans of the book: this is, apparently, a long-running series about a stoic, meticulous government agent. As you can see from the trailer, the film adaptation dispenses with all of that boring Tom Clancy bullshit in favor of O’Brien killing a bunch of people in a very loud and violent fashion, as well as battleships crashing into each other and nuclear bombs creating shockwaves that destroy helicopters. Because that’s America. That’s manly. Dicks will be measured. Words will be said.

Beer Prediction

It’s disgusting and I want it.

 

mother!

I have a weird relationship with spoilers. Sometimes I can’t resist seeking them out, and find myself very upset upon finding them. Or maybe I’ll just accidentally stumble across one, and while I like having all of the facts, I simultaneously hate getting spoiled. That all changed two years ago, when I accidentally found out that Han Solo would be killed in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Since then, I’ve vowed to avoid spoilers when I can, and it’s been working well. It helps, too, when marketing directly avoids giving anything away. I can applaud whoever is behind the marketing for mother! because I’ve seen multiple trailers for it and I still don’t know what the hell is going on. We know that it has a bunch of great actors, and we know that some seriously nerve-scraping shit is probably about to go down. That’s plenty reason for a Thursday night showing.

Beer Prediction

If nothing else, this movie is responsible for bringing Darren Aronofsky and Jennifer Lawrence together as a couple. How adorable!

 

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365 Days of Movies- Henry J. Fromage Edition- Week 35 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-of-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-35 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-of-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-35#respond Thu, 14 Sep 2017 17:15:19 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103128 By: Henry J. Fromage – Memorial Day and this weekend offered up the opportunity to catch a few more theatrical flicks I’d been meaning to get to, plus yet another turkey tied to poor Dane DeHaan this year. 190. Logan Lucky Steven Soderbergh’s return from a “retirement” nobody believed for a second is definitely more …

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By: Henry J. Fromage –

Memorial Day and this weekend offered up the opportunity to catch a few more theatrical flicks I’d been meaning to get to, plus yet another turkey tied to poor Dane DeHaan this year.

190. Logan Lucky

Steven Soderbergh’s return from a “retirement” nobody believed for a second is definitely more in the range of his crowd-pleaser Ocean’s Eleven instincts than his arthouse ones, but ain’t nothin’ wrong with that.  This Southern Fried heist flick is never less than entirely engaging and amusing, with a surprisingly stacked cast all committed to delivering both the requisite plot machinations for its well-oiled heist machine and quirky characterizations that endear you and keep you laughing.  A damn fun late-summer flick.

191. Tulip Fever

This aforementioned turkey is famous for how many times it has been shifted around the schedule, and finally viewing it this week shows why.  There was probably a handsomely staged but perfectly mediocre mid-range Oscar wanna-be in this material at one point, but over the ensuing couple of years since it was finished it’s clear Harvey Scissorhands has lived up to his reputation once again and edited it to shreds.  What’s in theaters now plays like a bizarre 107 minute Cliff’s Notes of a probably 150 or so minute original cut.  It’s barely a film, but just enough of one to easily top my Worst of the Year list so far.  It’s that bad- hilariously so.

192. It

I’ve actually only seen snatches of the original, which, sorry, looks cheap as hell, an iconic Tim Curry aside, and Cary Fukunaga getting replaced by Mama‘s Andres Muschietti didn’t exactly inspire confidence in this one.  The first trailer for this entirely changed my mind, though- looking disturbing as fuck and melding a real Stranger Things nostalgic fetishization of 80s culture that’s all the rage right now (and perfectly fine by me).  I’m happy to report this film lives up to that trailer perfectly, as the horror is positively brutal and Bill Skasgaard’s Pennywise is destined to be the Halloween costume and vocal impersonation of the year, for good and ill.  The cast of children is across the board excellent as well, with Stranger Things‘ Finn Wolfhard a particularly hilarious highlight.  Sure, God knows why these children keep going into sewers unarmed, a repeated occurrence that is utterly maddening, but you have to get past that, I suppose.

Special shout-out to the dipshits who brought their crying kid to It.  Parents of the year.

193. Snatched

Yeah, it’s kinda obvious why this one flubbed as hard as it did.  While I’m never going to complain about a little Amy Schumer in my life, this clearly never aspired to be much more than the quasi-ethnophobic mother/daughter kidnapping comedy its logline and trailers promised.  The film feels like it has enough genuine comic material for a really good sketch, or maybe a recurring series of them that peters out after three or four, but it has been stretched out to feature length to capitalize on the legitimately enticing return of Hawn to the big screen.  Now that it’s on DVD, it’s probably the time to strike- say while folding laundry or something.

194. The Last Vampire on Earth

Or you could fire up Youtube and watch this, one of the ultra-cheap knock-offs of recognizable film from Vitaly Versace (a real name, I have no doubt in my mind).  While the ultra-cheap production values and clear attempt at capitalizing on the Twilight franchise reminds you of those cheapie sub-Asylum mockbusters that used to dot Family Video shelves the week of a major release, this is something different- a film from a true film believer who also happens to be truly inept.  This film, with its uniquely awkward performances, hilarious casting (witness bargain basement Robert Pattinson above), weird plot points and settings, and curious but absolutely serious philosophizing gave me special, special Neil Breen vibes.  No greater bad film compliment exists.  Can’t wait until The Jungle Book: Make-A-Wish hits the Tube.

PS- They even play super-boring short-range football toss like in The Room!

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Indiscreet (1958) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/indiscreet-1958-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/indiscreet-1958-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Thu, 14 Sep 2017 12:15:25 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103147 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – Cary Grant was one of the greatest leading men that Hollywood has ever known.  He starred in a wide variety of classics ranging from North by Northwest (1959) to Operation Petticoat (1959).  His own personal favorite film from his own filmography was actually a delightful comedy that co-stars Ingrid Bergman, and …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

Cary Grant was one of the greatest leading men that Hollywood has ever known.  He starred in a wide variety of classics ranging from North by Northwest (1959) to Operation Petticoat (1959).  His own personal favorite film from his own filmography was actually a delightful comedy that co-stars Ingrid Bergman, and their chemistry definitely appears on-screen.  Perhaps that is why the romance between their characters is openly displayed in a film called Indiscreet, because there is nothing discrete about the love that the fictional couple, Philip Adams and Anna Kalman, genuinely share between them.

A Toast 

This film is simply a joyous romantic comedy!  Cary Grant does some of his best work here, which is probably why this was his favorite film.  Both Grant and Bergman received Golden Globe nominations for their outstanding comedic performances, and this film is definitely a crowd-pleaser.  The best part about this complex love story is that this film showcases romance without being too sentimental and melodramatic.  That has actually been an issue in plenty of other romantic films, such as the 1939 classic Wuthering Heights.  Even though this film failed to win any Golden Globes and received zero Oscar nominations, it is still an underrated classic.
Verdict
Cary Grant might be known for his collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock, but he actually did well with Stanley Donen as well.  The film Indiscreet is simply another example of the versatility of this famous actor.  This is also Nora Ephron’s favorite film, and its style of humor could have inspired Ephron to make her own romantic comedies like Sleepless in Seattle (1993) and Julie & Julia (2009).  Hopefully audiences will be able to appreciate the subtle humor within this film (and similar romantic comedies) because it shows how a film does not need to be raunchy in order to be funny.

Indiscreet (1958) Drinking Game

 
Take a Drink: every time Anna Kalman changes her dress
Take a Drink: every time Philip and Anna have conversations using old-fashioned telephones
Have a Drink: whenever the characters have drinks

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Virtual Pub 223: It, 9/11, Twin Peaks & more http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-223-911-twin-peaks http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-223-911-twin-peaks#respond Thu, 14 Sep 2017 03:00:37 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103337 This week the Movieboozer podcast talks about the It movie, 9/11 and other films.

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This week the Movieboozer podcast talks about the It movie, 9/11 and other films.

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Home Again (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/home-again-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/home-again-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Wed, 13 Sep 2017 12:15:30 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103303 By: Jenna Zine (Six Pack) – A recently separated mother of two finds her life turned upside down when she allows three young men to move in with her after a one-night stand. [Review contains spoilers.] A Toast Alice Kinney (Reese Witherspoon) is hit with a double whammy when she turns 40 while still reeling from separating …

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By: Jenna Zine (Six Pack) –

A recently separated mother of two finds her life turned upside down when she allows three young men to move in with her after a one-night stand.

[Review contains spoilers.]

A Toast

Alice Kinney (Reese Witherspoon) is hit with a double whammy when she turns 40 while still reeling from separating from her husband (Michael Sheen as Austen), who chooses to stay in New York while she heads back home to Los Angeles. To alleviate her depression, she decides to whoop it up with a wild night on the town and ends the evening in bed with Harry (Pico Alexander), a hottie she met at a bar. Too bad Harry got whiskey dick (spoiler alert!), but it doesn’t stop Alice from doing his laundry and making him breakfast the next morning. (Psst… Alice, we need to have a talk about self-esteem and a little something called “playing hard to get.”)

I think she’s found her amuse bouche! [Photo Credit]

So begins Home Again (I kept wanting to call the film Home Alone, which is a far superior title – and movie, for that matter), Hallie Meyers-Shyer’s directorial debut. You may recognize Hallie’s last names – her mother is Nancy Meyers of It’s Complicated/The Holiday/The Intern (and more) fame, and her father is Charles Shyer, who brought the world Father of the Bride. I’m not sure where Hallie went to school, but she’s obviously studied every nanosecond of her parent’s famous movies – sadly for worse, rather than better. A fresh take on the well-trod rom com genre could’ve been exciting – instead Meyers-Shyer seems intent on remaking a pastiche of her mother’s projects, down to the very last frame. Yawn.

Beer Two

But back to the “plot.” After Alice’s adventure, she finds additional houseguests, Harry’s roommates (Nat Wolff as Teddy and Jon Rudnitsky as George), passed out in her living room the next day. Just as an awkward conversation commences, Alice’s mother (Candice Bergen as Lillian) pops in with Alice’s children (Lola Flanery as Isabel and Eden Grace Redfield as Rosie) in tow. Instead of everyone running screaming from the room, a friendly chat takes place, ending with Lillian inviting Harry, Teddy, and George to move in with her daughter and grandchildren. This plot twist is about as believable as snow in July – yet here we are! The trio – aspiring filmmakers – find out that Lillian’s husband/Alice’s father was a revered and iconic Hollywood director. The guys ply Lillian with compliments and the next thing you know she’s handing over the keys to Alice’s mansion. Wow, flattery truly does get you everywhere – including Lillian’s daughter’s pants!

The look on your face when you think, “I’m an Oscar winner. What am I doing in this dreck?” [Photo Credit]

Beer Three

No fear of the Craigslist killer here! Alice doesn’t bat an eye at the thought of three strange men moving into her palatial estate, and the boys turn out to be nothing short of angels – because, you know, white people. Soon Alice is receiving tech support for her burgeoning interior design business from Teddy, free childcare from George, and hot sex from Harry (who recovers from his whiskey dick with aplomb). The scariest thing that happens is an after-party with wine bottles thrown in the garbage. Seriously, you motherfuckers have everything. Can you not even be bothered to recycle?

Beer Four

Things move along seamlessly, other than Alice’s rich bitch nightmare client Zoey (Lake Bell, providing one of the only sparks of comedy in the flick) giving her hell. And by hell I mean Zoey asks her to do a few menial tasks, which Alice balks at and considers beneath her station. (Alice has only just started her interior decorating business, but expects to only do the fun parts of the job. It must be a blast to work for entertainment instead of financial need!)

Alice and Harry move towards getting more serious, until he lets her down by choosing to stay at an important business meeting over showing up at a dinner party to meet her friends. Alice, who briefly finds her spine, tells Harry it’s over and the guys are forced to move out. Meanwhile, Alice’s husband is being driven crazy by jealousy and flies across the country to see her with the intention of getting back together. I guess checking in on his kids is a bonus?

And now, presented without irony, the Reese Witherspoon remix of, “Don’t you know who I am?”

Beer Five

One thing I found entertaining was the amount of quality cameos, including Jack Black, Catherine O’Hara, John Lithgow, Harold Ramis, Chevy Chase, Lily Tomlin, Leslie Mann, Ben Stiller, Lizzy Caplan, Nat Faxon, and Kevin Kline. Oh, wait – whoops! That’s the partial cast of Orange County, the movie I streamed when I got home to wipe the memory of this insipid slog from my brain. This 2002 comedy holds up surprisingly well – go watch that!

This flick is pretty damn fun! [Photo Credit]

Beer Six

Before we sign off, did I mention the one clip we get to see of the trio’s fledgling film is a scene of a white man stealing a black man’s pocket watch in an alley? What kind of Breitbart hell is this?! The film is awash in such white privilege; you’d think it was ripped from Steve Bannon’s diary. You just know he dreams of the bougainvillea trellises and 1,000 count thread sheets at Casa Kinney when he’s not on dates with the devil.

In closing, there’s a fistfight between one of the guys and Alice’s husband (where he punches her soon-to-be ex in the face on Alice’s behalf ‘cuz bitch apparently can’t take care of herself), a lengthy montage where everyone successfully moves on with their extraordinary lives, a realization on Alice’s part that she’d rather bang a 26-year old dude on the regular than reunite with her hard-partying music exec husband, a school play almost gone awry before Saint George saves the day, and a gorgeous dinner party where all the characters realize that everything in their perfectly perfect lives has happened for a reason and they’ve created a unique new family. The ending is a giant eye roll.

Verdict

For a rom com, there’s surprisingly little romance or comedy. The irony that Meyers-Shyer made a film with a subplot about how hard it is to make it in Hollywood while simultaneously milking the teat of nepotism will be lost on no one. This trust funder’s screenplay should’ve stayed in the vault.

Six-Pack, 6 pack beer, 6 Beer Movie, Movie Boozer, 6 Beers, Cheers

Home Again (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Alice feels sorry for herself.

Take a Drink: every time you wonder why Reese decided to follow up her stunning turn on Big Little Lies with this snooze-fest.

Take a Drink: every time you wonder about the sanity of a mother who would allow three 20-something male strangers to move into her home with her young children.

Take a Drink: every time Harry and Alice hook up. At least there’s one thing of interest!

Do a Shot: for every time you check your phone to see if the film is almost over.

 

Last Call:

You tell me. My patience had waned, so I’m not sure if there are any additional scenes of note.

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9/11 (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/911-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/911-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Tue, 12 Sep 2017 12:15:34 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103314 By: BabyRuth (Five Beers) – Perhaps you’ve heard about a new film that takes place during the tragic events of September 11th, 2001 starring one of the most randomly assembled casts in movie history  (Charlie #winning Sheen, Gina “Crystal Connors, darlin” Gershon, Whoopi—Oscar Winner—Goldberg, Whoopi Goldberg’s unfortunate wig, and Luis—oh yeah, that guy—Guzmán) which for some …

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By: BabyRuth (Five Beers) –

Perhaps you’ve heard about a new film that takes place during the tragic events of September 11th, 2001 starring one of the most randomly assembled casts in movie history  (Charlie #winning Sheen, Gina “Crystal Connors, darlin” Gershon, Whoopi—Oscar Winner—Goldberg, Whoopi Goldberg’s unfortunate wig, and Luis—oh yeah, that guy—Guzmán) which for some reason, did not go straight to DVD/VOD/cable/an endless abyss but is currently being shown in movie theaters (of course, coinciding with the 16th anniversary of that horrible day). Most likely, you haven’t. But I assure you, it is true. I saw it with my own eyes along with six other people.

Why would such a movie exist? Who would greenlight this thing thinking it was a good idea? These are wonderful questions, however, even after seeing it, I have no goddamn clue.

9/11 tells the story of five people: There’s Jeffrey Cage (Sheen), a goodhearted but work-obsessed billionaire who tells terrible jokes. Jeffrey is in the middle of divorce proceedings with his estranged wife Eve (Gershon). Eve wants to move forward with the split while Jeffrey still hopes to work it out. Then there’s Eddie (Guzmán), a custodial engineer—do NOT call him a janitor—going about his daily rounds of unclogging toilets and never getting to finish a cup of coffee. Michael (Wood Harris) is a bike messenger, just trying to make it through his tasks in time to get home for his young daughter’s birthday party. Finally, there’s Tina (Olga Fonda), a young woman who picked the wrong day to go to her sugardaddy’s World Trade Center office to break off their relationship.

After some clunky introductions and clunkier expository dialogue (Yankees/Mets baseball small talk, because they’re in New York don’t you know?), the five all end up in an elevator in the North Tower moments before the first plane makes impact with the building. At first they figure it’s some kind of technical malfunction and nothing more than an annoyance delaying their plans for the day. They soon realize they are trapped and each deal with it differently. Tina immediately reaches for a bottle of pills in her purse. Michael keeps silent, at first. Eve asks “what’s going on?” a few dozen times. Jeffrey keeps calm, as he’s used to things going his way, though he can’t help recalling the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Eddie tries to figure out how to resolve the situation, calling upon his friend Metzie (Goldberg), who oversees all the elevators from a control room, through the elevator’s intercom system, which thankfully still works. As time passes, the situation becomes more clear, more dire, and the five, along with Metzie must work together to find a way out before it’s too late.

Unfortunately, Goldberg couldn’t find a way out of this movie (and wig) after signing on.

A Toast

So how does that sound? Terrible? Unnecessary? Exploitative?

Well, with the exception of “unnecessary,” because again, WHY??, it’s not as horrible and offensive as the trailer makes it appear. Oh, it’s bad, but it could have been a lot worse. It just kind of exists for whatever reason.

While we are discussing things that exist for some reason…WHYYYY????

There are few moments that come close to achieving a genuine, emotional reaction. Close, but again, the whole thing is so poorly written and just flat out a bad idea that they never make much of an impact.

Beer Two

9/11 is adapted from a stage play called “Elevator” by a writer named Patrick Carson. It ran in Tucson in 2011. I managed to find a description of the play:

“There’s a maintenance worker; a young secretarial assistant; a pregnant Muslim woman who we learn has a Jewish husband; and a middle-age philanthropist crippled in both body and spirit. There’s also a wealthy man who perceives himself as powerful and important, but who is pretty much just a well-dressed asshole. His older female assistant is constantly apologizing for his behavior and tries to soothe the fears of the captives. As their situation drags on, and they learn the nature of what has happened, there are confessions, musings and acts which reveal the essence of each of them as they try to deal with the fate they all share.”

Screenwriter Steven James Golebiowski made a few changes and without seeing the play, I would venture to assume they were not good ones because the above synopsis sounds a hell of a lot more interesting than the movie I saw. Changing Sheen’s character from a well-dressed asshole to a well-dressed hero was a mistake, though since Golebiowski was a writer on the Sheen comeback sitcom Anger Management, it’s quite obvious this is another attempt to clean up Sheen’s image after his infamous public meltdown a few years back. But it’s an odd choice for the troubled actor’s return to feature films as some comments he made several years ago about the September 11th attacks are coming back to haunt him like lawsuits from former sexual partners.

The other characters are pretty much stereotypes, and despite the actors’ best efforts (some better than others), are so thinly written that it’s hard to care very much about them. We meet one nameless, minor character in the final few scenes who elicits more of an emotional response in his short screen time than any of the core six.

Beer Three

There are attempts at having the characters from various backgrounds debate and discuss race, class, privilege, etc  Breakfast Club-style during the quieter moments of their ordeal, but it never really goes anywhere or makes any kind of commentary other than they are different. (Ya think?) It’s just filler until the next escape attempt.

Beer Four

It’s obvious this movie was made on the cheap and one of the methods used to show the devastation was to rely on archived news footage of the actual events. It’s pretty unsettling and feels like yet another wrong decision. Shots often linger far longer than they need to and it’s uncomfortable. I understand this was the intent so we #neverforget, but we’ve all seen those images hundreds of times. No one is forgetting anything. That footage is of real people dying; there is no way to incorporate it into entertainment. None.

Beer Five

Jeffrey and Eve have an eight-year-old son (I think he was eight. Eight or ten or five, I’m not sure, somewhere around there.) named J.J.

J.J. is the absolute worst. When Eve is finally able to get a cellular signal (on September 11, 2001, in the World Trade Center, in a freaking elevator… sure) and reach her mother (Jacqueline Bisset – further adding to the randomness of this cast) J.J. is all “Hey dad, check out the buildings on fire!” When he’s told he needs to stay inside, he whines about wanting to go to the park. J.J. is a sociopath. Fuck you J.J.

Verdict

I still don’t understand how or why this movie exists, let alone how/why it received a (limited) theatrical release. While not as offensive as expected, it’s still very bad and unnecessary. For a film in which the intended purpose of its existence seems to be to remind its audience to “never forget,” it’s pretty forgettable.

9/11 (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: foreshadowing (there’s actually dialogue about the phrase “in the eleventh hour” that a character mistakenly references as “in the ninth hour.” Get it?  9? 11? Ugh. Drink.)

Take a Drink: there is a character named Metzie who loves the Mets. Seriously. Drink.

Take a Drink: whenever Eve asks Jeffrey to sign the divorce papers

Take a Drink: whenever someone says “What’s going on?”

Take a Drink: every time someone makes a comment about how wealthy Jeffrey is

Take a Drink: that little asshole J.J.

Take a Drink: every time someone attempts to pry open the elevator doors

Take a Drink and Keep Drinking: whenever you feel uncomfortable (real news footage)

Do a Shot: every time the lights go out

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It (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/it-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/it-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Mon, 11 Sep 2017 12:15:17 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103280 By: Movie Snurb (Two Beers) – It is the monster (1,138 page) monster book about a group of friends self-deprecatingly called the Losers Club and their battle with the town of Derry, Maine’s demon Pennywise the Dancing Clown. The book was once adapted as a television miniseries and was on a re-watch not great. Tim …

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By: Movie Snurb (Two Beers) –

It is the monster (1,138 page) monster book about a group of friends self-deprecatingly called the Losers Club and their battle with the town of Derry, Maine’s demon Pennywise the Dancing Clown. The book was once adapted as a television miniseries and was on a re-watch not great. Tim Curry is still iconic, but the movie really doesn’t hold up. Now 27 years later (HA!) we get another interpretation of Stephen King’s nightmare inducing book, and it does not disappoint.

A Toast

The first major worry everyone had was how anyone could fill the giant shoes of Tim Curry. Well, Bill Skarsgard creates his own version of the demon clown and it is every bit as terrifying as Curry’s and the book version. He becomes unrecognizable under all of the white make-up and red hair.  His voice fluctuates and changes and is utterly unnerving. He doesn’t spend much time talking but when he does it’s frightening and his snarls and growls are even scarier. Fans of both the book and Curry will be very please with Skarsgard.

All of the kids in the Losers Club are perfectly cast. The whole film is well cast, with Bill as Pennywise and the Losers Club and even their rivals Henry Bowers and his goons. Jaeden Lieberher as Bill Denbrough is excellent, nailing his stutter and not making it seem fake or taking it over board. Sophia Lillis as Bev Marsh is charming and does a great job of being a center of the Losers Club’s attention, behind Pennywise of course. However, Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things) as the smart-mouthed Richie Tozier is possibly the best of the child performances. I found Richie to be annoying in the book; however, Finn makes Richie quite likable and garners tons of laughs.

The cinematography is brilliant from Old Boy (2003) DP Chung Chung-hoon. There were several shots that almost appeared in 3-D; it was a terrifying effect, especially the scene in Bill’s shed. Also the camera being cock-eyed every time the kids are coming close to Pennywise was an unsettling effect. The camera isn’t right so you already feel uneasy, plus in the back of your mind you know a demented clown is coming. The special effects were stellar as well. There was a lot of CGI but it was put to good use, and when Pennywise went from the contorting CGI to Bill Skarsgard scaring the crap out of the children it appeared seamless. Too often films can rely on CGI for scares, but this film does not use them as a gimmick.

Lastly, this is a mostly faithful adaption. They do change things, for instance the time setting. The film takes place in 1988 instead of 1958. Also Ben Hanscom becomes the film’s narrator in telling the story of Derry and how horrific accidents have been happening every 27 years in Derry. In the book Mike Hanlon takes this role. However these differences are minor and help move the film along. The main essence or theme of Stephen King’s book is what is important and is what was captured. Pennywise feeds on your fears, so whatever you’re most afraid of it’ll take that form and scare you silly. This is still the main theme of the film; however he does take different forms in this film than in the book. Also without creating spoilers, how the kids learn to defeat Pennywise is also used and works in the film’s climax. I’m very excited to see how It: Chapter 2 is going to turn out.

Beer Two

However, I did have some problems with the film adaptation. Henry Bowers isn’t really in the film. He was a major terror in the book, arguably as much of a terror as Pennywise for the Losers Club. However, in the movie he still has some scenes and his scenes are basically lifted straight from the book, but I wish they‘d have utilized him more.

On that same note, I felt that instead of more back-story they favored the jump scare.  Now don’t get me wrong, most of the scares are effective and as the film progresses the film becomes terrifying instead of just using a jump scare here and there. But to get the film going, they could’ve used fewer jump scares and more exposition. There are other minor issues I had with the film’s interpretation; however, I don’t want to give away spoilers and none of the others are large enough to truly ruin the film.

Verdict

This adaptation is the one Stephen King’s nightmare-inducing book deserved. The entire cast is great and its marvelous make-up, cinematography, and special effects truly bring Pennywise to life.  If you’re a fan of the book, the 1990 TV adaptation, or know nothing about the story, you will enjoy this film and go home sleeping with the hallway light on.

It (2017) Movie Review

Take a Drink: every time someone dies.

Do a Shot: every time Pennywise the Clown appears on screen.

Take a Drink: every time Richie makes a wisecrack.

Do a Shot: for every different form Pennywise takes.

Pound a Beer: in preparation for this movie, just to calm your nerves.

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The Little Mermaid (1989) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/the-little-mermaid-1989-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/the-little-mermaid-1989-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sun, 10 Sep 2017 17:15:35 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103155 By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) – After Walt Disney’s untimely passing on December 15, 1966, the studio that he created went through hard times. Disney had a series of flops, like The Black Cauldron (1985). While he was still alive, Walt Disney struggled to adapt “The Little Mermaid” story as an animated feature. It was …

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By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –

After Walt Disney’s untimely passing on December 15, 1966, the studio that he created went through hard times. Disney had a series of flops, like The Black Cauldron (1985). While he was still alive, Walt Disney struggled to adapt “The Little Mermaid” story as an animated feature. It was not until John Musker and Ron Clements wrote a treatment of Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved fairy tale that the Disney studio had the audacity to tackle such a bleak story. The original fairy tale actually is very dark, but Musker and Clements managed to write and direct what is now perhaps one of the most iconic Disney films ever made. Indeed, this animated fairy tale musical remains a classic in the Disney canon.

A Toast

One of the best elements of this film is the music. The film received both the Golden Globe and the Academy Award for Alan Menken’s luscious score and the famous song “Under the Sea.” Besides the music, this film features spectacular animation. In fact, approximately 80% of the film has some sort of special effects animation, including bubbles, fire, and of course, magical sequences. Perhaps that is why The Little Mermaid has such a wide audience (because it feels like a magical tale, pun intended).

Beer Two

Even though this is one of Disney’s greatest films, it can actually be very frightening. Ursula the Sea Witch has haunted the minds of children ever since the original 1989 release date. There is also some mild innuendo involving the human body (but we don’t need to talk about that here). In fact, this film received criticism for not being “family friendly.” Therefore, there appears to be a division between audiences because some people would honor this film while others would criticize its (somewhat) mature content.

Verdict

The Little Mermaid is definitely a Disney classic. It led to both theme park attractions and a television series in the 1990s. Many people also enjoy Ariel’s beautiful singing voice. The success of this film began the “Disney Renaissance,” which includes films like Beauty and the Beast (1991) and Aladdin (1992). In fact, The Little Mermaid was the first Disney film to win an Academy Award since Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971). There is also current buzz about an upcoming live-action remake of this enchanting film. Walt Disney might not have been able to adapt the famous tale into an animated feature  himself, but it truly is a blessing to know that there is an association between the original fairy tale and the trademarks of “Disney magic.”

The Little Mermaid (1989) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Ariel sings (which includes the song “Part of Your World” and her famous vocalizing)

Take a Drink: every time creepy Oscar-winning music plays alongside Ursula the Sea Witch

Drink a Shot: for all of the bubbles that appear on-screen

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Trailer Reviews: Home Again & IT http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-home-again-it http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-home-again-it#respond Sun, 10 Sep 2017 12:15:31 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103275 By: Hawk Ripjaw – Looks like we’re back in September with at least something enticing to watch. One is a horrifying-looking film filled with immature children and scene after scene of pure nightmare fuel, and the other is a fresh take on Stephen King’s It.   Home Again Nothing says “wacky rom-com setup” quite like …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw –

Looks like we’re back in September with at least something enticing to watch. One is a horrifying-looking film filled with immature children and scene after scene of pure nightmare fuel, and the other is a fresh take on Stephen King’s It.

 

Home Again

Nothing says “wacky rom-com setup” quite like “a recently-divorced 40-year-old woman gets trashed and bangs a dude nearly half her age, then allows him and his two friends to stay in her house with her children, and then her ex-husband shows up to complicate things.” Ironically, that’s almost an identical response to the question “what does shit sound like?” While the trailer itself for this is weirdly benign, watching it knowing exactly what the plot entails is a little… less enticing. It almost makes me want to watch it just so I can see how carefully the movie tries to navigate the weird premise.

Beer Prediction

This bears distinct parallels to nearly every vapid rom-com starring middle-aged actors ever made.

 

IT

Given that nearly all of the Stephen King adaptations that could be considered “Good” are based on stories that don’t involve anything that people seem to love him for, it’s easy to not get excited for It. Sure, The Mist is great, and Salem’s Lot is fun–hell, Maximum Overdrive is amazing,  even if not in the same way King intended it back when his directorial debut was fueled by an unfavorable cocaine-to-blood ratio in his veins. Aside from that, you have… a lot of bad movies. Thankfully, general indifference to another It update gave way to spectacular anticipation once the first trailer for Andy Muschietti’s film dropped. This looks scary, with recognizable scenes from the novel and miniseries getting a fresh coat of paint and updated air of menace. And at just over two hours, that leaves plenty of time for the first half of King’s Bible-length novel, featuring the young kids navigating adolescence and their deepest fears. This is going to be good.

Beer Prediction

It’s all right, I don’t really sleep much anyway.

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A Life in Waves (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/life-waves-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/life-waves-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sat, 09 Sep 2017 12:15:06 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103258 By: Larry Crane (A Toast) – This documentary, directed by Brett Whitcomb, follows the extraordinary life of electronic composer Suzanne Ciani. A Toast After opening with an amusing spot featuring Suzanne on Late Night with David Letterman, we follow her youth and, with the support of her mother, her as she studies classical music training at Wellesley …

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By: Larry Crane (A Toast) –

This documentary, directed by Brett Whitcomb, follows the extraordinary life of electronic composer Suzanne Ciani.

A Toast

After opening with an amusing spot featuring Suzanne on Late Night with David Letterman, we follow her youth and, with the support of her mother, her as she studies classical music training at Wellesley College, eventually getting a Masters in composition at UC Berkeley in 1970. In the Bay Area she meets pioneering synthesizer builder Don Buchla, and becomes enthralled with the concept of composing with/for electronics – the “sounds that nobody had ever heard before.” After her traditional composition teachers scoff at her work, she hangs out with Buchla at the San Francisco Tape Music Center at Mills College.

On a visit to New York City she is enthralled with its vibrancy and decides to relocate. After looking for a record contract, she ends up creating the electronic score for The Stepford Wives (1975) and begins working on television/radio ads. Her sounds for the Coca-Cola ad (a bottle opening and pouring) quickly became iconic and more work followed. Based on this success, she opens a recording studio in her apartment and works tirelessly on film and advertising scoring as Ciani/Musica. She reflects on her ad scores: “It heightens the reality; the real sound always fell short. Electronics added thousands of colors.” She even contributes sounds, score, and synth-processed vocals to Bally’s Xenon pinball machine! All of this is in a quest for “technology to be sensual.”

Photo courtesy of Ms. Ciani’s publicist.

After this success, she looks back to her initial goal of a record contract, and begins the next phase of her career as a solo artist. Her Seven Waves LP comes out in 1982 and is well-received, and the follow up, The Velocity of Love, does very well in Japan. She starts moving back into more piano-orientated performances, while also constantly working on jingles and scores. “I was going full blast,” she recalls, when breast cancer sent her an “alarm that makes you shift gears.”

Photo courtesy of Ms. Ciani’s publicist.

Leaving the hustle of New York after treatment, she settles in Bolinas, California; a small, beautiful, isolated town on the coast north of San Francisco. A failed marriage also makes her rethink notions of romantic love, as well as romantic music, and eventually she returns to electronic music and composition. “My romanticism is with life itself,” she says, and this new chapter sends her around the world to talk about synthesis and composition for “this generation [that] is aware they missed something.”

Verdict

This film is a must-see for anyone interested in how synthesizers and electronic music morphed from colleges and avant-garde composition into the mainstream media culture. But more so, it is a compelling study of a woman in a field dominated by men; one who boldly decided that, “I want to do what only I can do.” Her drive was derived from her experience that “if a guy would do something, the woman had to do it better.” And she did. Suzanne Ciani was an undeniable trailblazer;  she changed the landscape of sound, and she did it in her own special way.

A Life in Waves (2017) Drinking Game

 

Take a Drink: every time a cable gets patched in on a synthesizer.

Take a Drink: whenever you hear a sound that you’ve never heard before.

Do a Shot: whenever Suzanne stops to absorb something in wonderment.

Last Call:

No extra scenes, but Ciani’s music plays to the end and is definitely worth a listen.

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Virtual Pub 222: It, Logan Lucky, Little Evil, The Big Sick & more http://movieboozer.com/podcast/virtual-pub-222-logan-lucky-little-evil-big-sick http://movieboozer.com/podcast/virtual-pub-222-logan-lucky-little-evil-big-sick#respond Sat, 09 Sep 2017 03:00:44 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103270 This week’s pubcast will discuss It, Logan Lucky, Little Evil, The Big Sick & more. Episode is split into 2 Parts:

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This week’s pubcast will discuss It, Logan Lucky, Little Evil, The Big Sick & more. Episode is split into 2 Parts:

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Leap! (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/leap-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/leap-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Fri, 08 Sep 2017 12:15:19 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103164 By: Henry J. Fromage (Five Beers) – It’s been three weeks since the last CGI Babysitter was released (a Nut Job movie, no less) and it’s early Fall, so you know what that means. Time for some cheap horseshit! Yep, Leap! will scratch that shit the kids up itch/virulent rash for ya.  It stars Elle Fanning as an orphan who …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Five Beers) –

It’s been three weeks since the last CGI Babysitter was released (a Nut Job movie, no less) and it’s early Fall, so you know what that means.

Time for some cheap horseshit!

Yep, Leap! will scratch that shit the kids up itch/virulent rash for ya.  It stars Elle Fanning as an orphan who wants to be a ballerina and a Dane DeHaan as an orphan who wants to be an inventor in a steam-punk-adjacent turn of the century Paris!  The kids will love that shit, right?

A Toast

This production clearly spent a lot on the background animation at least, which is bordering on photorealistic in places- there was some real talent and processing power wasted on this one.

Beer Two

Too bad the character animation is so herky jerky and often immensely ugly.  This comes from the European school of make every non-hero look as distended and nightmarish as possible.

Oh fuck no.

Beer Three

The character animation really tells you all you need to know about how simplistic this movie is- ugly characters are evil or comic relief, even before we learn anything about them.  There’s some too little, too late correction of this that keeps it from being downright reductive, but overall the story hits the exact beats you predicted they would from the trailer without exception.

Beer Four

The action sequences belong in Looney Tunes world.  Characters fall from great heights or suffer what should be severe concussions several times to no real ill effect, but we’re supposed to believe dancing is a difficult physician activity that causes pain and takes physical dedication?  Why not just strap on a wooden rocket to make those pirouettes extra fancy?

Beer Five

Ugly face people fall down, boy hit head on bell, make loud noise, farts! That’s the extent of the humor on display here.  It’s positively cynical.

Verdict

Leap! is exactly what it looks like- a mediocre-to-bad foreign-produced swipe at parents’ wallets strategically released with no competition.

Leap! (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: Derp!  Physical “comedy”!

Take a Drink: for each new achievement in butt-ugly character design

Take a Drink: for passive aggression

Take a Drink: for pop songs

Take a Drink: for beyond tired cliches

Take a Drink: for pigeons

Take a Drink: for the dumb “depressed elephant” line

Do a Shot: just… all the time

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Right Now, Wrong Then (2016) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/right-now-wrong-then-2016-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/right-now-wrong-then-2016-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Thu, 07 Sep 2017 12:15:32 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=99095 By: Henry J. Fromage (Five Beers) – I’ve never really gotten the Hong Sang-soo cinephile devotion out there in some circles.  I guess there’s something impressive about a low-fi conversationalist who makes largely the same self-examining film every time out reaching this level of film fest love. I mean, Woody’s been doing it for 60 years… …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Five Beers) –

I’ve never really gotten the Hong Sang-soo cinephile devotion out there in some circles.  I guess there’s something impressive about a low-fi conversationalist who makes largely the same self-examining film every time out reaching this level of film fest love.

I mean, Woody’s been doing it for 60 years…

In Right Now, Wrong Then, we see the same story played out twice, back-to-back: a film director (hmm, who is that supposed to be?) meets an artistic young woman, woos her, then goes with her to a dinner at her friend’s, which goes awry.

A Toast

The replay structure is an interesting, if far from original (he’s even done it before), idea on paper, and Sang-soo does an interesting job of subtly varying the two sections by tone and performance, for which Kim Min-hee of The Handmaiden and his actorial stand-in Jung Jae-young are certainly game, with the former particularly acquitting herself well as the woman who gets fed up with his bullshit in several different ways.

She’s earned her wariness of men the honest way.

Beer Two

Jung is clearly a stand-in for Sang-soo, even more so than usual, but here all he gets is praise from supporting characters, either blatantly or even when disguised as a passive-aggressive dig.  Are “you can drink so much!” and “I heard you have quite the way with women” ever going to read fully as criticism to a man?  Not on your life.  It’s like “I’m scared that your dick is just too big!”

Beer Three

This character is so evidently full of shit that it’s tempting to read this as some form of self-satire, but if that’s the case Hong Sang-soo never clues us in on that being the case.  If he had any interest in that reading, in the second half he would have had the woman not have any idea who he was, perhaps, or at least have an opinion of him that was different than, “Are you really the great director Ham Cheon-soo?”

Everybody in America would recognize Jim Jarmusch by name, right?

Beer Four

In both sections Sang-soo is awfully pushy and insistent in an often sexist way in his pursuit of Min-hee.  He gets called out at dinner in the first part for being a womanizer who dates women on his production and who, oh yeah, is married, but even that comes off as strangely boastful.  In the second part he basically encourages her to sleep with a man so she can get her loneliness off her mind and really explore her artistic potential as a painter.  Wtf?

In a weird wrinkle rumors have it Hong and Min-hee were secretly married recently- they’re certainly dating anyway.  I’m currently taking odds on how long that will last.

“But honey, you’re an actress, and therefore crazy.  Wait, wait!  What did I say?”

Also, the scene in the second half in which the director admits to the painter that he loves her even though he just met her today and by the way has a wife and two kids gives a particular indigestion in the light of this fact.

Beer Five

The filmmaking is style-less and simple.  Hong has never really displayed any real interest in filmcraft, focusing instead on self-psychoanalysis without any of the academic and professional credentials to be able to actually accomplish such an evidently complicated and exhausting task.  Yes, this is what he does every movie, and also yes, after this, you can count me out of the camp of his admirers, more definitively than ever before.

Verdict

Right Now, Wrong Then sees me get off the Hong Sang-soo train, at least until the next film festival showers accolades on him…

Right Now, Wrong Then (2016) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever a character does

Take a Drink: for every compliment another character gives the director character

Take a Drink: for passive aggression

Take a Drink: for generic artistic statements

Take a Drink: for sexist statements or behaviors

Take a Drink: whenever the camera pulls in

Take a Drink: for every different you notice between the two chapters

Do a Shot: for the big switch

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Ken’s Movie Diary 2017 – Week 31 http://movieboozer.com/articles/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-31 http://movieboozer.com/articles/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-31#respond Wed, 06 Sep 2017 17:15:34 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103106 Weekly Update: I finally got a chance to return to the movie theaters this week, and saw some nice solid movies, and then some others… Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date- 240. Okja (2017) Okja is one of 26 lab bred “superpigs” created …

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Weekly Update: I finally got a chance to return to the movie theaters this week, and saw some nice solid movies, and then some others…

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

240. Okja (2017)

Okja is one of 26 lab bred “superpigs” created to take part in a corporate-run experiment. Each pig is delivered to a different farmer around the world, and after 10 years whoever grows the biggest pig is the winner. Okja is raised in the hills of Korea alongside Mija, who loves Okja more than anything in the world. But then the company returns to reclaim their prize Pig, and soon Mija is caught up in a fight between the company and an animal rights group with their own motives.

Okja feels like a classic Disney film with a bit more grit, dealing with the sometimes disturbing ways animals are bred to slaughter. The film isn’t anti-meat as it takes time to mock the sometimes overzealous animal rights activists, but certainly anti-corporation and against the cold methods some companies use in their quest to grow more and bigger meat sources. Heartily recommended for those looking for a modern day fairy tale with a social conscience.

241. The 101-Year Old Man who Skipped Out on the Bill and Disappeared (2016)

This rousing sequel to The 100-Year Old Man who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared follows in the original’s footsteps in a familiar, but not at all dull way. A year after the events of the first film, Alan Karlsson and his friends are still in Bali, but have managed to blow just about all of the $50 million dollars they stole in the first film. Looking for ways to make money, they discover a bottle of “Folksoda” a drink Alan perfected in the 1970s with the help of the Soviet government. Soon they find themselves pursued by gangsters, a crazed woman, and the CIA all looking for the formula. It is definitely recommended to see the first film in order to comprehend this one, as it acts as a direct continuance of the story. Overall, this is a solidly entertaining follow-up and worth a look for fans of the original.

242. R.O.T.O.R (1987)

R.O.T.O.R. (Robotic Officer Tactical Operations Research) is a robot cop unleashed on the world too early, as it had not yet been programmed with the ability to not kill everything in sight.  Its up to R.O.T.O.R’s creator to hunt him down before he kills a bunch of people. This movie is simply made for bad movie nights with friends, highly recommended for that purpose.

243. Logan Lucky (2017)

A group of rednecks plot a heist against a racetrack in Steven Soderbergh’s latest film. Sort of an off-kilter take on the Oceans 11 formula, but rather than a gang of master thieves, it’s a gang of blue-collar working guys. Full of clever dialogue and humor, this is a heist film that I’d recommend to just about anyone.

244. Wind River (2017)

Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) is a hunter for the Fish and Wildlife service who happens upon a dead girl while tracking in the mountains.  He calls in the police, who call the FBI, as the murder occurred on Tribal land. Agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) is sent to investigate, and asks Cory to assist, as he knows the land. What follows is a dark and snow-swept mystery that examines living with loss, as well as the trials of life on American Indian reservations. This is an often depressing, but ever poignant film, another masterpiece by writer Taylor Sheridan.

245. Dunkirk (2017)

At the start of WWII, the Germans launched an offensive that overwhelmed the French Army and British Expeditionary Force, pushing them all the way to the coastline, where the British made a stand at Dunkirk, just long enough to allow a large amount of their men to be evacuated. What was essentially a massive military failure was also in many ways a morale victory, as the evacuation employed the use of civilian seacraft, working together. Director Christopher Nolan keeps the film moving at a breakneck pace, ramping up the tension with each passing second. One of the year’s best films.

246. Our Kind of Traitor (2016)

A British couple (Ewan McGregor, Naomie Harris) find themselves in way over their heads when on holiday in Morocco. A Russian gangster approaches them and asks the husband to approach British authorities on his behalf, claiming to have information that could buy him protection. Our Kind of Traitor is a solid espionage thriller perfectly in line with what fans of John Le Carré have come to expect. Though perhaps not quite as inventive and involving as the best adaptations of his work, still worth a viewing for genre fans.

247. A Murder of Quality (1991)

This Made for TV movie adapts John Le Carre’s second novel, which brings the character George Smiley into a murder investigation when a killing occurs in a rural English Public School. This is not so much a spy story as a murder mystery, and it is handled pretty much the way most British TV murder mysteries play out. I can’t speak to the book, but this is pretty predictable overall.

248. The Deadly Affair (1966)

Yet another adaptation of a John Le Carré novel, but with names changed for rights issues. James Mason plays British Intelligence officer Charles Dobbs, who investigates the apparent suicide of a prominent official who he had spoken to just hours earlier. Dobbs soon uncovers a scheme to pass information to the East and a cover-up. Director Sidney Lumet brings a good amount of style and atmosphere to the proceedings, and the film utilized a pre-exposed color technique that gives a moody, washed-out feeling to the visuals.

249. The Invisible Man Returns (1940)

Vincent Price stars in this sequel to the original Invisible Man film. Framed for a murder he didn’t commit, he escapes the gallows by having a doctor inject him with the same invisibility serum as the first film. The struggle then begins for him to clear his name, and work to find the cure for the invisibility before it drives him insane. This film belongs to Vincent Price, whose charismatic performance keeps the film from feeling like more of the same. Fans of classic Universal horror will get a real kick out of this one.

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Funny Face (1957) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/funny-face-1957-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/funny-face-1957-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Wed, 06 Sep 2017 12:15:56 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103122 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – Stanley Donen directed some of the most memorable movie musicals in cinematic history.  Perhaps his most iconic film is Singin’ in the Rain (1952).  Because of his skills as a director, he purposely chose film legend Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn (who was a rising star during the 1950s) …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –
Stanley Donen directed some of the most memorable movie musicals in cinematic history.  Perhaps his most iconic film is Singin’ in the Rain (1952).  Because of his skills as a director, he purposely chose film legend Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn (who was a rising star during the 1950s) to star in one of the most glamorous musicals of that decade.  The final result is a delightful musical-comedy called Funny Face (1957), a film that continues to enchant audiences even after its original release sixty years ago (as of 2017).
A Toast
This musical is absolutely glamorous!  It is a bit of a shame that it left the Oscars empty-handed because it definitely deserved its four nominations for “Original Screenplay,” “Art Direction,” “Cinematography”, and “Costume Design.”  Most people associate Fred Astaire with Ginger Rogers, but Audrey Hepburn actually makes a great partner for the legendary Fred Astaire even though this was her first movie musical.  Nevertheless, Audrey Hepburn lights up the screen against a gorgeous Paris backdrop in a film that is “s’wonderful” and “s’marvelous.”
Verdict
Right after winning the Academy Award for her film debut in Roman Holiday, Audrey Hepburn went on to have a successful career until her unfortunate passing in 1993.  She might have been more memorable in films like Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), but Funny Face should not go unnoticed.  In fact, there is nothing “funny” about Hepburn’s face because she looks absolutely stunning in this marvelous picture.  Her iconic dance scene in her signature black leotard has also been used in a GAP commercial (and that was before she donned on her signature black dress when she played Holly Golightly.)  Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn really did form a dynamic duo as they sang and danced throughout the streets of Paris in this musical gem.

Funny Face (1957) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Kay Thompson sings the phrase, “Think pink!”
Take a Drink: every time Fred Astaire photographs Audrey Hepburn (and also have additional drinks when she repeatedly exclaims “Take the picture!,” but not literally, of course.)
Drink a Shot: whenever the phrase “s’wonderful…s’marvelous…” is sung

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Tulip Fever (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/tulip-fever-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/tulip-fever-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Tue, 05 Sep 2017 12:15:37 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103222 By: Henry J. Fromage (Six Pack) – Everyone knows the story of the production of Tulip Fever now- the delays and changes and recastings, postponed release date after release date, and the withering reviews that have ensued.  I’m here to tell you it’s not as bad as you’ve heard- it’s so much worse. Tulip Fever stars Dane DeHaan …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Six Pack) –

Everyone knows the story of the production of Tulip Fever now- the delays and changes and recastings, postponed release date after release date, and the withering reviews that have ensued.  I’m here to tell you it’s not as bad as you’ve heard- it’s so much worse.

Tulip Fever stars Dane DeHaan (poor Dane DeHaan) and Alicia Vikander (she’ll be just fine) as star-crossed lovers in late 1600s Amsterdam.  Vikander’s husband is Christophe Waltz, so you know he’s an evil lecher/pious religious fanatic/dangerous schemer/hapless cuckold/who the fuck knows.  Anyway he has… motivations?  And those motivations are probably dangerous.  There’s also Holiday Grainger as Vikander’s housemaid who gets pregnant by fishmonger Jack O’Connell but due to misunderstandings he’s forced to join the Navy for a year and Vikander and Grainger have to pretend like it’s really Vikander who’s pregnant and all the while the city is going mad for tulips husbanded by Mother Superior/Tulip Mafioso Judi Dench/leading to an economic bubble about to burst and also Zach Galifianikis is like on screen, but in an entirely different movie consistent with Zach Galifianakis circa 2014 when this was shot and also Cara Delevingne is a dirty thieving whore- no, that’s not criticism- she just is (in the movie, I don’t know her, but she seems nice).

Got all that?

A Toast

As you may have heard from some critics that may also be your Grandma (they’re actually your Grandma- collectively, Voltron-style.  Don’t ask questions you don’t want answers to), Tulip Fever does feature very handsome production values.

I shouldn’t be the one to have to tell you, but this is not a normal Thanksgiving.

We’ll get to it, but if Harvey Weinstein had just left things the fuck alone he might have gotten a token wardrobe or hair & makeup Oscar nomination out of this (but rest assured, not now).  Also, Judi Dench hisses at a little orphan child in her path.  I doubt it was scripted.  It’s the best part of the whole film.

Beer Two

The editing can be characterized only as a hit job.  There’s is absolutely no way this is the film the talent involved originally delivered.  I will eat my hat if Justin Chadwick didn’t deliver a first cut well over two hours, that, judging from the mix of tones on display here (more on that later), probably wasn’t very good, but I’m positive would have been at least coherent.  It’s clear that Harvey Scissorhands, for reasons unknown, decided he could “fix” the film in the editing room, and “fix” it he did.

Fixed!*

Beer Three

Let me be clear, I’m sure no version of this footage would have been very good.  The ludicrousness and hamfisted plots twists that overlay a supremely conventional backbone (or 2 or 3 supremely conventional backbones belonging to different species, actually) can be no doubt be laid at the feet of the script and presumably source material, which this cut hits all the high points of in ‘Plot Points in a Minute or Less!’

Diarrhea guaranteed.

Beer Four

All of the different directions that the far too many creative voices in this production try to pull the film in result in a truly bizarre mix of tones.  Sure, there’s the Diet Shakespeare mix of romance, melodrama, and tragedy that one set of trailers promised, but also the sensuality and arch tone of a more “modern” take on the same material that another did.  However, there’s also pure atheist farce butting up against a devoutly religious morality play, and explicit sex and the grandma-pandering Thomas Kincaid-lit happy endings, and whatever buffoonery poor Zach Galifianakis is forced to do in his five minutes or so of screentime.  It’s thrillingly schizophrenic.

Beer Five

The cut we get here is full of bizarre flourishes like the clearly added in post voiceover which switches perspectives once in awhile and sets up that unbelievably cheesy cop-out of an ending.  My favorite example is when more bizarre voiceover very deliberately and ham-handedly reminds us Waltz is a whoremonger before a complete character resurrection minutes later.

Again, there was probably at least a little nuance in the book and the original cut of the film, although some scenes belie that, like the one where the tulip loses a petal after the first time Vikander cheats with DeHaan seconds after Waltz calls her ‘innocent’.  Whatever the case- not anymore.

No, I’ve never heard of Girl With a Pearl Earring.  Why do you ask?

Beer Six

This can’t even rightly be called a film.  It flew through scenes so quickly and with such a minimum of connective tissue or breathing room at first that I halfway suspected this was an elaborate practical joke and the film would be over after 30 minutes.  Instead, it became clear there was just way to much plot to fit into a standard hour forty-five, and Harvey would be damned if he cut any of it, but equally damned if he released anything longer than the average length of a theatrical release.  By the end the utter failure to commit to a perspective or establish consistent characterizations superseded all of that.

This version of Tulip Fever is a Cliff’s Notes of a mediocre novel that was optioned before it was even written, and very likely of whatever film Justin Chadwick first handed over, hack-sawed into the hilarious travesty it is today.  Harvey Weinstein delivered a film that somehow is even worse than the red flags he’s been throwing on it for years.  It’s really quite glorious.

Verdict

Tulip Fever is an early contender for worst film of the year- a Frankenstein’s Monster of hubris and producer overreach that should be a warning to anyone looking to work with Harvey Weinstein again.

Tulip Fever (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever you can’t stifle a laugh at the naked obviousness of an edit.

Take a Drink: for each Zach Galifianakis scene.  Poor fuck.

Take a Drink: for sex scenes apropos of just about nothing.

Take a Drink: for fascinating discussions of the tulip market.  Who’s being sarcastic?  No- you are!

Take a Drink: for Vermeer knock-offs.

Take a Drink: for plot twists that lead to plot hip dislocations.

Do a Shot: when Judi Dench hisses at a child.  She’s a goddam treasure.

Do a Shot: for the careers of Justin Chadwick, Jack O’Connell, and Dane DeHaan, which all took a stiff one right in the nuts.

*If you’re in need of a good laugh, Google ‘awful taxidermy’ sometime.  Thank me later.

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The Glass Menagerie (1950) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/the-glass-menagerie-1950-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/the-glass-menagerie-1950-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sun, 03 Sep 2017 12:15:54 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103011 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – Tennessee Williams is one of the most iconic playwrights of all time.  He has written plays that many students study in academic settings, and some of his work has been transformed into legendary films.  One of his most iconic plays is A Streetcar Named Desire, and the celebrated film …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –
Tennessee Williams is one of the most iconic playwrights of all time.  He has written plays that many students study in academic settings, and some of his work has been transformed into legendary films.  One of his most iconic plays is A Streetcar Named Desire, and the celebrated film adaptation in 1951 was a major Oscar winner that year.  The year before, another big screen adaptation of a Tennessee Williams play made it to the silver screen even though it did not generate the success of the classic starring Marlon Brando.  Nevertheless, The Glass Menagerie is still a wonderful picture even though it did not achieve global recognition.
A Toast
The Glass Menagerie is a very interesting film because it is an adaptation of a “memory play.”  A lot of what happens in the original stage play and the film involve subjectivity because not everything that happens in the plot is trustworthy.  That is because the characters and events are oftentimes unreliable.  In fact, the original play consists of only seven distinct scenes woven together into an American classic.  Even with some changes, the film still honors the themes of the memory and illusion versus reality as audiences do their best to understand the complex characters.  Interestingly, the basic plot of the film version is still accessible and mostly reliant on the source material.  Kirk Douglas also does well as Jim O’Connor, a man who could be the potential love interest of the main character, Laura Wingfield.  This film might not be the best adaptation ever, but 20th Century Fox definitely did its best to campaign for Oscar gold that year.
Verdict
The Glass Menagerie might not have reached the fame of A Streetcar Named Desire, but there are actually still a lot of interesting parallels between the two classics.  Amanda Wingfield is an aging Southern belle, much like Blanche DuBois, a character that earned Vivien Leigh her second Oscar.  Both of these classics also deal with dysfunctional families as well as the inability to cope with reality.  It seems appropriate that Tennessee Williams would write about the fading Southern culture especially since he was a Southerner himself.  This film might not be the most memorable picture ever, but it can still offer important lessons on memory itself.

The Glass Menagerie (1950) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Tom wants to go out to the movies
 
Take a Drink: every time the characters mention “Blue Roses”
Drink a Shot: every time Laura’s famous glass menagerie appears on-screen

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Tales of an Immoral Couple (La Vida Inmoral de la Pareja Ideal) (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/1beer/tales-of-an-immoral-couple-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/1beer/tales-of-an-immoral-couple-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sun, 03 Sep 2017 12:15:21 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103175 By: Jenna Zine (A Toast) – A passionately love-struck teenage couple are torn apart by scandal, only to be reunited 25 years later when a chance meeting results in a comical evening of errors. A Toast Martina (played by Ximena Romo as a teen and Cecilia Suarez as an adult) and Lucio (a teen Sebastian Aguirre and …

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By: Jenna Zine (A Toast) –

A passionately love-struck teenage couple are torn apart by scandal, only to be reunited 25 years later when a chance meeting results in a comical evening of errors.

A Toast

Martina (played by Ximena Romo as a teen and Cecilia Suarez as an adult) and Lucio (a teen Sebastian Aguirre and adult Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) had the typical “meet cute” in high school: girl flirts with boy, boy joins ballet class to be near girl, boy and girl embark on a roller coaster of true love and sexual exploration that involves their dance teacher and an erotic photographer. Wait, what? So goes director/screenwriter Manolo Caro’s riotous and heartbreaking take on love at first sight and how it looks through the eyes of adults.

Ballet has never looked more alluring! [Photo Credit]

Martina and Lucio’s story is told in interweaving scenes of the present day and high school flashbacks, beginning with the estranged lovers bumping into one another at a grocery store (set in the picturesque town of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico) after a dramatic separation 25 years prior. The two engage in awkward chit chat, pretending to be unaffected by one another’s presence even as their chemistry roils. When they find they’re both attending the same benefit later that evening, they each come up with fictional spouses as dates to the gala. Now where to find willing participants to flesh out the ruse?

Why are Martina and Lucio desperate to go to such lengths? One understands when seeing the sizzling connection they shared in high school – a wildly sexual and mature relationship that comes around but once in a lifetime. (Ximena Romo and Sebastian Aguirre are both stunning in their roles – I could watch them forever.) Anyone who’s had the thrill of young love will relate to the drama of making every moment count. Unfortunately, Martina’s jealous friend, Amelia (Natasha Dupeyron), and nosy sister, Beatriz (Mariana Trevino), set circumstances into motion that ensure the lover’s connection comes to a shocking end.

An evening based on a web of lies. What could possibly go wrong? [Photo Credit]

The present day gala scenes are absolutely hilarious, evoking frothy reminders of early work by Pedro Almodovar. Martina’s drunken roommate Igor (Juan Pablo Medina) is riotous as her faux husband and Paz Vega is luminous as Lucio’s stand-in, the pregnant Loles (who’s actually Lucio’s best friend’s wife). The “will they, or won’t they” culminates in a wild dinner party that no one will soon forget. Do they get their happy ending, after nearly three decades apart? I won’t spoil it here, but I guarantee you’ll have a blast finding out.

Verdict

I simply adore this film! The deftly layered plot blends the comical with the gut-wrenching. Any rom com fan will delight in the time spent in Martina and Lucio’s world.

Tales of an Immoral Couple (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time there’s a ballet class.

Take a Drink: every time teenage Martina and Lucio embark on an adventure.

Take a Drink: every time there’s a hot sex scene!

Do a Shot: if you want to slap that little bitch Amelia for ratting out Martina and Lucio.

Do a Shot: for Manolo Caro’s black comedy mini series, coming to Netflix in 2018!

 

Last Call

The film is so lovely that you’ll want to watch to the last frame.

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365 Days of Movies- Henry J. Fromage Edition- Week 34 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-of-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-34 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-of-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-34#respond Sun, 03 Sep 2017 12:15:18 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102933 By: Henry J. Fromage – Only three movies watched this week, as I worked every other minute of every day.  It’s been fun.  Good thing two of these flicks might rank among the best of the year!  I’ll let you guess the ugly duckling here. 188. Wind River Taylor Sheridan established himself as one of …

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By: Henry J. Fromage –

Only three movies watched this week, as I worked every other minute of every day.  It’s been fun.  Good thing two of these flicks might rank among the best of the year!  I’ll let you guess the ugly duckling here.

188. Wind River

Taylor Sheridan established himself as one of the most exciting voices in American cinema with his scripts for Sicario and Hell or High Water, and now takes the reins of director with Wind River, which he also wrote.  The influence of the previous directors he’s worked with are apparently, from Denis Villeneuve’s heart-stopping and stark sound design to David Mackenzie’s ability to help his actors locate the humanity in even the darkest scenes as realistically as possible.  Unfortunately, Kurt Sutter’s almost comically heavy hand with bullshit macho-sensitive soundtrack cuts also factors in, but hopefully Sheridan grows out of that and nevertheless, Wind River‘s examination of the beauty and despair of Wyoming’s Indian Reservations and small rural towns is every bit the story that his previous two films were, and just about as much a film- which is really saying something.

189. Good Time

This fever nightmare has been compared to Martin Scorcese’s early portraits of a scuzzy, seedy, dangerous 1970s New York City.  The Safdie Brothers seem to have made a career out of demonstrating that there’s still plenty of scuzzy, seedy, dangerous qualities to the Big Apple, and their latest character study shot in painful close-up focuses on the remarkably porous visage of one Robert Pattinson, making the final leap here to Great Actor status.  Expect him to be in the Oscar conversation as it’s impossible to tear your eyes away from him as he attempts to shuck, jive, and scramble his way to freeing his mentally challenged brother (played by Benny Safdie himself) after a bank robbery gone awry.  The entrancing synth score by Oneohtrix Point Never and particular the credits song they wrote performed by Iggy Pop (“The Pure and the Damned”) deserve mention as well.  If that song doesn’t at least get nominated for an Oscar, it’ll be a travesty.

189. Leap!

What a great and terrible year to be Dane DeHaan.  He’s been all over major releases this year, but all have been bombs to greater or lesser degrees (see: A Cure for Wellness and Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets).  Now for two weeks running he has films that have been shelved so long they’re basically already punchlines hitting at least moderately wide release- and I get to review them both!  The things I do for love (of MovieBoozer).  While the wtf release strategy of Tulip Fever has been getting its share of attention, probably not even DeHaan himself remembers making Leap!, released in most international markets as Ballerina over a year ago.  Good thing, because it’s a prime example of cliche and pratfall-ridden Eurotrash animation that gets a release in the States when it’s been too long since the last animated film to sate the young’uns came out, with its only distinction being they found some very talented background animators to work behind the typically grotesque and cut-rate character animation.

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Charade (1963) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/charade-1963-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/charade-1963-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sat, 02 Sep 2017 17:15:31 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102939 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – Alfred Hitchcock directed some of the most memorable pictures ever made. His work ranges from the “Best Picture” winner Rebecca (1940) to the frightening classic Psycho (1960).  However, this film review is for “the greatest Hitchcock film that Hitchcock never made”!  That is because Charade (1963) contains the mystery …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –
Alfred Hitchcock directed some of the most memorable pictures ever made. His work ranges from the “Best Picture” winner Rebecca (1940) to the frightening classic Psycho (1960).  However, this film review is for “the greatest Hitchcock film that Hitchcock never made”!  That is because Charade (1963) contains the mystery and suspense of a Hitchcock classic even though he personally never made it.  Nevertheless, this film remains a truly remarkable thriller.
A Toast
Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant excel in their leading roles. This film contains the right combination of romance, mystery, and thrills to tell a story that keeps audiences at the edge of their seats until the very end.  Part of the success of this film relies in how everything in this film is very subjective.  Such deceit prompts audiences to keep guessing which characters to trust until the finale.  Indeed, this film is much like the term “charade” because of all of the secrets and lies that the characters have to utilize just to survive.
Verdict
Some people have criticized this film because of the idea that Cary Grant was simply too old to play the male lead.  Nevertheless, Grant still delivers a performance that keeps the hearts of viewers racing until the very end.  Cary Grant’s performance here is very similar to his classic role in Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest (1959).  Audrey Hepburn would later go on to play a variety of roles, including Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady (1964), and have another suspenseful role in Wait Until Dark (1967).  Part of what makes a film great is its timelessness, and it is clear that this film will stand the test of time even though Hitchcock had no involvement in this picture.

Charade (1963) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Audrey Hepburn changes her hat
Take a Drink: whenever the little boy named Jean-Louis Gaudet behaves obnoxiously
Drink a Shot: during every tense and suspenseful moment, and cheers when the film reaches its thrilling conclusion!

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Trailer Review: Tulip Fever http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-review-tulip-fever http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-review-tulip-fever#respond Sat, 02 Sep 2017 12:15:30 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103193 By: Hawk Ripjaw – Ah, September: the chill in the air, the shorter days, the feeling of everything starting to die, and a more sadistic version of January where unmitigated cinematic sewage surges unabated through theaters. With few exceptions, this is the month of garbage, of movies nobody cared about but weren’t made in time …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw –

Ah, September: the chill in the air, the shorter days, the feeling of everything starting to die, and a more sadistic version of January where unmitigated cinematic sewage surges unabated through theaters. With few exceptions, this is the month of garbage, of movies nobody cared about but weren’t made in time for the opening cinematic dump months of the year. We’re starting with a, uh, promising first film of the season.

Tulip Fever

Ironically, Tulip Fever was going to be one of the February releases. This is still long after a much-more-expensive planned projected directed by John Madden with different actors, and the eventual shift into a different movie that simply got delayed a few times. That usually is a bad sign for a movie when the release date and attached names get changed too many times, but for Tulip Fever you could have showed me the trailer all those years ago and I still would have told you it looks like garbage. Me, personally, I’ve never been a fan of period romance pieces, especially if they involve one or two people already married deciding they’re just going to bang someone else and feel sorry for themselves. Boring. Nobody cares.

Beer Prediction

The fact that the studio has already scaled back the screenings for this is not promising.

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Extreme Justice (1993) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/extreme-justice-1993-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/extreme-justice-1993-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Fri, 01 Sep 2017 12:15:12 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102857 By: Alex Phuong (Four Beers) – Whenever there is a scene of violence in media, sometimes people wonder if such actions are justifiable. Sometimes bloodshed (and even death) is necessary in order to benefit society as a whole. The graphic nature of violence and death form a major element of Mark L. Lester’s Extreme Justice. …

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By: Alex Phuong (Four Beers) –

Whenever there is a scene of violence in media, sometimes people wonder if such actions are justifiable. Sometimes bloodshed (and even death) is necessary in order to benefit society as a whole. The graphic nature of violence and death form a major element of Mark L. Lester’s Extreme Justice. That title is actually very fitting for what happens in the film because there are numerous times when justice is taken to the extreme.

A Toast

One of the best elements of this film is Lou Diamond Phillips’s performance as Jeff Powers. He is able to capture the complexity of his character because he oftentimes expresses doubt for his actions. Such a mentality reveals that he has a human conscience. It is almost as if he figuratively asks himself, “Should I do this? Or should I not?” Jeff constantly has his internal struggles while asking if he should go about being part of a death squad. This performance gives the film a layer of complexity while also encouraging audiences to look beyond the violence, and to ask themselves if people really do deserve to die (or not).

Beer Two

Since this is a violent film, it can be tough to sit through. Gun shooting begins almost immediately after the opening credits, and the violence is very pervasive. Like many gory films, there is a lot of blood (and even several cadavers). This film can be very disturbing.

Beer Three

Some of the characters take up screen time for the sake of killing time. For example, there is a scene in which there are two stupid beach boys wanting to commit a robbery. Violence and chaos are obviously a part of this scene, and such senseless violence characterizes a majority of the film.

Beer Four

This film is slightly misogynistic. The female lead is named Kelly Daniels, and she does her best to write reports about the mass killings while also maintaining her integrity when doing her newspaper work. There are also disturbing scenes involving women as victims, but such information cannot be divulged here because of spoiler alerts.

Verdict

In many great stories, violence is an essential element to the storytelling. Epic stories like the Trojan War and the Battle of Actium have characterized both historical events and fictionalized accounts based on such events. Violence really does drive the plot in this film, but it is oftentimes gratuitous. Maybe some audiences would develop the mentality of its lead character, Jeff Powers, after watching this film, and ask themselves if any criminal activity does anything redeemable whatsoever.

Extreme Justice (1993) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for every gunshot

Take a Drink: for every gory moment

Drink a Shot: for each dead body

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The Transfiguration (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/transfiguration-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/transfiguration-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Thu, 31 Aug 2017 12:15:36 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102911 By: Henry J. Fromage (Four Beers) – In 1978, George Martin released Martin, about a disaffected young man who thinks he’s a vampire, which may all be in his mind, but which doesn’t stop him from murdering a few folks and drinking some blood as if he was. Kinda makes you a vampire regardless, no? The Transfiguration is about …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Four Beers) –

In 1978, George Martin released Martin, about a disaffected young man who thinks he’s a vampire, which may all be in his mind, but which doesn’t stop him from murdering a few folks and drinking some blood as if he was.

Kinda makes you a vampire regardless, no?

The Transfiguration is about a disaffected young man who thinks he’s a vampire, which may all be in his mind, but which doesn’t stop him from murdering a few folks and drinking some blood as if he was, except it’s set in inner-city New York.

A Toast

Okay, that comparison may be a bit reductive.  Michael O’Shea’s film does try to tease out a psychology for its main character distinct from that film, and delivers good-looking imagery in that indie handheld magic hour shooting style that is so much easier to replicate these days with the level of technology that is readily available, but which is pretty nonetheless.

Beer Two

O’Shea’s script is predominantly an awkward marriage of vampire tropes and Sundance-y indie/romance/hard times cliche.  Either half of this film (the modern day vampire half and the life is hard in the ghetto half) would be at home before or after midnight at Sundance, and both play out exactly as predictably as anyone who’s seen their fair share of these would expect- down to acoustic guitar song over the credits.

Beer Three

The Magical Pixie Fuckup Girl that takes a shine to this creepy, much younger, stranger boy to the point that she single-handedly drives their romance is such an unnecessary trope and unbelievable element to this film that it probably sours any potential advantages this setting could have offered.  I can’t wrap my head around why she existed in this film at all except to present a relentlessly cheerful portrayal of a cutter and victim of abuse.

Beer Four

After meandering in no particular direction but that ill-conceived romance for an hour and fifteen minutes or so, The Transfiguration decides it now wants to get all bittersweet and dramatic on its way to its conclusion.  This “life is tough on the streets” downbeat wrap-up is every bit as out of place as the chick or the brother who sits on his nice couch in their surprisingly roomy projects apartment and watches TV all day.

Verdict

While maybe you can applaud The Transfiguration for its setting and central character, you’re going to be much happier if you watched Martin again instead.

The Transfiguration (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for vampire reference

Take a Drink: for every disturbing video or image

Take a Drink: whenever Milo is hazed or picked on

Take a Drink: whenever Milo just creeps in general

Do a Shot: for every vampire attack

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Virtual Pub 221: Wind River, The Tick & more http://movieboozer.com/articles/virtual-pub-221-wind-river-tick http://movieboozer.com/articles/virtual-pub-221-wind-river-tick#respond Thu, 31 Aug 2017 03:00:29 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103162 Wind River, Lemon, Amazon’s The Tick series, Blood in the Face, Death Note. Also, Hawk & Ken’s weekly movie exchange presents Akira Kurosawa’s Ran.    

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Wind River, Lemon, Amazon’s The Tick series, Blood in the Face, Death Note. Also, Hawk & Ken’s weekly movie exchange presents Akira Kurosawa’s Ran.

 

 

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Fantasia International Film Festival: Free and Easy (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/free-easy-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/free-easy-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Wed, 30 Aug 2017 12:15:45 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102913 By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) – I thought I was in love with the off-kilter rhythms and strange sense of humor of this year’s animated Chinese Coen Bros riff Have a Nice Day… …but wow is Free and Easy an interesting beast.  Small-time cons, cops, public officers, and religious men run into each other in a backwater industrial …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –

I thought I was in love with the off-kilter rhythms and strange sense of humor of this year’s animated Chinese Coen Bros riff Have a Nice Day…

…but wow is Free and Easy an interesting beast.  Small-time cons, cops, public officers, and religious men run into each other in a backwater industrial town time seems to have forgotten, conning, proselytizing, and giving a lot of funny looks.

A Toast

Free and Easy has just the best kind of bizarre, droll tone, unlike most anything I’ve seen before.  Every interaction is just the other side of normal, extremely funny in its straight-faced absurdity if never crossing into outright hilarity.  Director Geng Jun seems to have picked a cast almost primarily on how well they can hold a blank stare and how off-puttingly funny and strange their faces look as they do it.  I might not be doing the queer charms of this film justice in my description, so I’ll try again- it’s like an arthouse Chinese version of Napoleon Dynamite set in a place even shittier than rural Idaho.

Just imagine it.

Despite the arresting nature of the film’s aesthetics (which include some genuinely beautiful cinematography, by the way), you can’t help but tease out some social commentary in the interplay between travelling salesmen, Buddhist panhandler monks, Christian street preachers, and the lowest-level party officials and small town police.  Perhaps the strangeness of the film is meant to mirror the strange fit between an in some ways too fast-growing China and the commerce and religion that have been re-introduced into its previously closed- loop ecosystem.

Beer Two

While it is entirely part of the intent, if not the charm of Free and Easy, this film is slow as molasses, both in plot and, it seems, in the play-out of every single scene.  If you’re not on its wavelength and enjoying it within the first 10 minutes, you’re gonna have some trouble.

Verdict

Free and Easy is an absolutely unique curio of atypical comedic rhythms and intriguingly delivered insight on the modern Chinese mentality.

Free and Easy (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for every cigarette lit or smoked

Take a Drink: whenever somebody stares blankly at something

Take a Drink: whenever we see soap or a gun

Do a Shot: for sweet Kung Fu moves

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An American in Paris (1951) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/an-american-in-paris-1951-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/an-american-in-paris-1951-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Tue, 29 Aug 2017 17:15:58 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103080 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – The Hollywood musical has been a beloved genre ever since the inception of cinema.  Famous couples have teamed up to create some of the greatest moments ever captured on film, such as Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. Vincente Minnelli was a very audacious director who wanted to create a musical …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –
The Hollywood musical has been a beloved genre ever since the inception of cinema.  Famous couples have teamed up to create some of the greatest moments ever captured on film, such as Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. Vincente Minnelli was a very audacious director who wanted to create a musical masterpiece, and he did so in 1951 when An American in Paris won “Best Picture.”  Indeed, this is one of the greatest musicals in cinematic history.
A Toast
The triumphant winner of six Academy Awards, An American in Paris is essentially a beautiful love letter to dreamers wishing they were on the other side of the Atlantic. That is because of the famous notion that Europeans hope to pursue the “American Dream” while Americans fantasize about living glamorous lives in countries like England and France.  Gene Kelly delivers one of his greatest performances, and his role in this film rivals other iconic performances that year, including Marlon Brando’s film debut as Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire. Leslie Caron excels as the female lead even though this was only her first film.  Since this is a musical and a Minnelli film, it obviously features beautiful production design, outstanding cinematography, and gorgeous costumes.  This film is definitely a sight to behold!
Verdict
An American in Paris will always remain one of the greatest movie musicals of all time.  Its legacy endures today because this film partially inspired Damien Chazelle to create La La Land even though his favorite movie is actually The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.  The famous 17-minute ballet sequence is much like the equally famous Epilogue in La La Land.  Coincidentally, both films won six Oscars even though La La Land infamously lost the “Best Picture” award to Moonlight (which included the shocking mix-up of the winners during the original Oscar telecast).  Nevertheless, Vincente Minnelli is much like Damien Chazelle because of their devotion to the musical genre, and this film will definitely inspire anyone who enjoys cinema as a form of art.

An American in Paris (1951) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Gene Kelly speaks French
Take a Drink: during every musical number
Enjoy Your Favorite Drink: during the epic 17-minute “dream ballet” of this musical masterpiece

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Trailer Reviews: Birth of the Dragon & Leap! http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-birth-of-the-dragon-leap http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-birth-of-the-dragon-leap#respond Tue, 29 Aug 2017 12:15:37 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103144 By: Hawk Ripjaw – Editor’s Note: Since apparently nobody in America went to the movies this weekend (it was the worst in 16 years!), running this now still seems entirely timely. Pour one out really quick for Polaroid, a dire-looking adaptation of a short film about a Polaroid camera that unleashes Final Destination on whoever …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw –

Editor’s Note: Since apparently nobody in America went to the movies this weekend (it was the worst in 16 years!), running this now still seems entirely timely.

Pour one out really quick for Polaroid, a dire-looking adaptation of a short film about a Polaroid camera that unleashes Final Destination on whoever you take a picture of. The trailer gets progressively more idiotic & hilarious the longer it goes on.

I was going to review Polaroid, but it seems to have disappeared. I’m a little disappointed. 

 

Birth of the Dragon

This is a weird one. Birth of the Dragon is a Blumhouse Tilt/WWE Studios movie, and directed by George Nolfi, who directed The Adjustment Bureau and wrote a Bourne sequel, an Ocean’s sequel, and that kinda-fun supernatural military movie Spectral. Just based on the trailer, I don’t think I have any idea what’s going on. It’s a Bruce Lee movie, but is he a vigilante, movie star, aspiring martial artist, or all three? Why is he fighting all of those people? Why hasn’t he gotten arrested? Is it all just part of the movies he acts in? Is he even the main character? Do I even care?

Beer Prediction

Ehhh….nah. I don’t.

 

Leap!

Oh wow, cool, look at all of the things an adult male moviegoer will be interested in with Leap! A orphan girl who wants to be a ballerina; her eventual love interest that builds inventions, for some reason; an off-putting mashup of slapstick, underdog dance drama, and steampunk; boring animation; training montages; Elle Fanning.

Not that there should only be movies made for me, but at the same time it’s hard to get excited for anything this is offering. Also I’m pretty sure it was made way the hell long before it actually came out, which has been a good sign… like never?

Beer Prediction

Might as well just see Inhumans in IMAX. How shitty does that look? Way more fun than this does, and I can say that with confidence.

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Good Time (2017) Main Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/good-time-2017-main-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/good-time-2017-main-review-drinking-game#respond Mon, 28 Aug 2017 12:15:09 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103131 By: Movie Snurb (A Toast) – Connie Nikas (Robert Pattinson) and his mentally handicapped brother Nick Nikas (Benny Safdie) decide to rob a bank for $65,000.  No rhyme or reason is given and the audience is just along for the ride after.  Per most bank robberies the brothers do not get away with it and …

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By: Movie Snurb (A Toast) –

Connie Nikas (Robert Pattinson) and his mentally handicapped brother Nick Nikas (Benny Safdie) decide to rob a bank for $65,000.  No rhyme or reason is given and the audience is just along for the ride after.  Per most bank robberies the brothers do not get away with it and are forced to change plans. When a chase leads to Nick getting arrested, and since  Connie doesn’t have enough money to get his brother out of jail on bail, we are taken on a journey through the seedy underbelly of New York to scrounge up 10K to get Nick out of jail. If you couldn’t tell by the trailer, things go far from the plan and we are in for one helluva ride with Connie.

A Toast

Robert Pattinson was born to play Connie. He burns up the screen with total charisma, reminiscent of a used car salesman. He sounds good and you believe him. Yet, your gut is telling you to not believe a word he’s telling you, and next thing you know you’re driving away in a car that was twice your budget. Connie is a perpetual liar, to the point I don’t think he ever tells the truth while on screen, however, even when you know he’s lying you still believe him. It is something I’ve never seen an actor have to do and I don’t know if another actor could do it better. I would’ve bought a “brand new Blu-ray player” out of his car for $50 and gotten home with a box full of bricks. We watch Connie commit a litany of felonies and yet you still are rooting for him, hoping he does the right thing. Connie is one of the best examples of an anti-hero and will be an iconic character for years to come, partly from the great writing, but mostly from Robert Pattinson’s brilliant performance.

Connie has a masterful character arc, probably one of the best I’ve seen in recent years. In shows and in movies you know a good character arc because you are rooting for them. You experience them make bad decisions and you hope they change and grow. When they do grow and change it’s rewarding because you got to grow and change with them. Connie is a relatable character and one you can root for, even when he leaves a path of destruction for everyone in his life he comes in contact with. Maybe it’s because we want to see him do right by his brother, maybe it’s because he is that charismatic, but in the end you’ll feel rewarded because we got to grow with Connie.

In a great film a score won’t be noticed. It’s like a cog in a watch; if it’s working right you won’t notice everything little cog in the watch. You’ll know that the watch works great and you’re satisfied. However, you can also have a great film with a great score and notice the score. I’m not talking about in the way of Star Wars or an Indiana Jones film where the initial few bars are recognizable. I mean when a score helps pump the film along or add to the film to help create tension or joy, or used as a cue to let you know something is going down. This score is a perfect match for the film. It’s like the drums that help keep the film’s tempo. The score is almost an homage to the 80s synth scores- it’s euphoric. I want to listen to the score and drive through downtown Kansas City at 2 a.m. just cruising. Not to mention Iggy Pop’s song at the end of the film perfectly encapsulates the film’s idea and atmosphere.

Good Time is a visceral and a darkly honest experience. The cinematography really throws the audience into this dark world. The film is almost unpolished, which makes it feel that much more real. If Good Time would’ve been a major motion picture production the film would’ve been too polished and it wouldn’t have been so primitive, which is what this film needed. The neon lighting mixed with the dark night sky made for almost a dreamlike film and yet it felt almost too real. Lots of close ups and placing the camera between the characters rather than using over the shoulder shots lets the audience enter the characters’ universe rather then just watch this experience.

Verdict

A24 is currently the most exciting production in Hollywood. They take films most production companies would pass on because they aren’t going to be major money makers. The films are fresh and brilliant. Good Time is like After Hours + Mean Streets + Spring Breakers. It’s a crazy concoction of dark story telling. You can tell Martin Scorsese is a major influence on the Safdie Brothers. Robert Pattinson gives a career performance that should lead to an Oscar nomination. If you see this film for one reason, see it for Robert Pattinson.

Good Time (2017) Movie Review

Do a Shot: every time Connie commits a felony.

Take a Drink: every time we see the Sprite bottle full of acid.

Do a Shot: every time Connie gets philosophical.

Down a Beer: for that poor security guard.

Do a Shot: every time Connie has to change plans or the night takes an unexpected turn.

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Ken’s Movie Diary 2017 – Week 30 http://movieboozer.com/articles/movie-news/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-30 http://movieboozer.com/articles/movie-news/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-30#respond Sun, 27 Aug 2017 17:15:28 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102989 Weekly Update: Had time for only 3 films this week, kind of struck out with all three of them… Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date- 237. David vs Goliath: Battle of Faith (2016) Movieboozer’s own Hawk Ripjaw requested me to watch this one… …

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Weekly Update: Had time for only 3 films this week, kind of struck out with all three of them…

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

237. David vs Goliath: Battle of Faith (2016)

Movieboozer’s own Hawk Ripjaw requested me to watch this one… Really dude? This dull low-budget religious epic confounds the meaning of the original story by turning the David & Goliath story into that of a trained warrior against a giant. Clocking in at around 75 minutes, this mercifully short film spends the first hour showing how David went through extensive combat training for what appears to be years before he got a chance to fight Goliath. I thought the whole point of the story was that David wasn’t a master swordsman, but rather just a young boy who happened to be braver and more clever than the most powerful warrior the enemy had to offer. Combine that with weak effects, mediocre acting, and lackluster direction, and the result is a boring and wrong-headed cash-in on the recent Christian film craze.

238. Long Live the King (2016)

It is clear the filmmakers love King Kong. It is too bad they couldn’t do anything more than present a bit longer than an hour of people praising the film, and not doing much else. It would have been great to delve deeper into the making of the movie, or exploring its legacy in more detail. What you get instead is a chance to watch fans of the movie explain the plot, and then say how everything in it is amazing.  I agree with them, King Kong is an amazing and ground breaking film… but a documentary about it deserves more detail.

239. Miss Sloane (2016)

Elizabeth Sloane is a political lobbyist whose cunning behavior has seemingly gotten the best of her. Sitting before a congressional hearing, she is facing potential charges for perjury when faced with questions about her work lobbying for gun control. The film flashes back to the events leading up to this hearing and you see that Miss Sloane is devious and amoral, and willing to do anything to push the issue she is hired to push. Much like Miss Sloane herself, this movie is a bit too clever by half, with constant backstabbing maneuvers that culminate in a final epic twist that feels reverse-engineered. As if the screenwriter came up with an ending and wrote a plot around it. While full of clever quips and dialogue, the Sorkinesque writing can bog the plot down with self-congratulatory political posturing. It goes without saying that a movie about the gun lobby would have to take a stance on one side or the other, but the film never really commits, and feels a bit underwhelming as a result. Still worth a look for fans of political thrillers, if not quite essential.

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The Devil Wears Prada (2006) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/devil-wears-prada-2006-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/devil-wears-prada-2006-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sun, 27 Aug 2017 12:15:28 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102677 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – One of the highlights of a person’s live is when he or she gets his or her first job. Employment has also been a major issue in the current day given the competitive nature of the modern world. Having a job might be a blessing, but working for the …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

One of the highlights of a person’s live is when he or she gets his or her first job. Employment has also been a major issue in the current day given the competitive nature of the modern world. Having a job might be a blessing, but working for the wrong person can make life a living hell. That notion formed the basis of the New York Times bestseller The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger, and its subsequent film adaptation led to one of the most popular films of 2006.

A Toast

This movie features Oscar-nominated costumes and marvelous performances from both Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway. Upon its release, it was a box-office smash during the summer of 2006, and it remains one of the most successful films for both of those actresses. The film is absolutely hilarious because of all of the pain and suffering that Andy Sachs has to put up with while working for the devilish Miranda Priestly. The film is also beautiful to look at because it features the glamour of the fashion world. It is a bit of a shame that this film did not win the “Best Costume Design” Oscar because the Academy tends to have a preference for period dramas, which was probably why Marie Antoinette won that particular award that year. This film is funny from beginning to end.