MovieBoozer http://movieboozer.com Movies Measured by the Pint! Sun, 24 Sep 2017 12:15:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 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.

Verdict

The Devil Wears Prada is definitely one of the best modern-day comedies. It removes slapstick humor that was prevalent in early cinema, such as the days of Laurel and Hardy, and redefines what a comedy could be. The title itself is iconic, and it helped the careers of Oscar-nominee Stanley Tucci, Oscar-winner Anne Hathaway, and the marvelous Meryl Streep. It is clear that this film is will maintain its humor even though it was originally released over a decade ago.

The Devil Wears Prada (2006) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever Andy Sachs’s cell phone rings

Take a Drink: whenever the characters are wearing stylish costumes

Drink a Shot: whenever Miranda Priestly demands anything from her employees (and have additional shots whenever the workers cower in fear)

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Fantasia International Film Festival: Tiger Girl (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/fantasia-international-film-festival-tiger-girl-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/fantasia-international-film-festival-tiger-girl-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sat, 26 Aug 2017 12:15:58 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102910 By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) – When I think of female-driven punk as fuck films in both style and attitude over the last several years, I think Germany. In particular, this gem. Tiger Girl is another film fitting that broad description, starring the double trouble of drifter badass Tiger (Ella Rumpf) and Police Academy wanna-be turned …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –

When I think of female-driven punk as fuck films in both style and attitude over the last several years, I think Germany.

In particular, this gem.

Tiger Girl is another film fitting that broad description, starring the double trouble of drifter badass Tiger (Ella Rumpf) and Police Academy wanna-be turned enthusiastic partner in crime Vanilla (Maria-Victora Dragus).  They proceed to do what the fuck they want Bonnie & Bonnie-style.

A Toast

Young director Jakob Lass packs Tiger Girl full of lots of punk style and verve- energetic camera movements and cutting, saturated colors, and hot needle drops aplenty make this an engaging 90 minutes and play like A-list music video calling card at the very least.

The other element that very much works in this film is the rapport between Rumpf and Dragus, who both display charisma in spades on two unique registers.  These two clearly both have what it takes to level up to another degree of international exposure, particularly Rumpf, who’s had quite a year between this and Raw.

Beer Two

The two criminals Tiger hangs out with until they just up and disappear don’t add anything to the plot except lots of literal and figurative dickishness.

Beer Three

The escalation of criminality of these characters makes no sense, particularly for the clean-cut Maggy.  Just because she has an interesting new friend with a lively attitude means she goes from Security Guard/Police recruit hopeful to full-fledged antisocial misanthrope?

Verdict

Tiger Girl is a bit uneven and not necessarily possessing of a point, but is an energetic calling card for bigger and better things for all involved.

Tiger Girl (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for each new crime Maggy commits with her new buddy

Take a Drink: whenever anyone says ‘Tiger’

Take a Drink: whenever anyone has a drink

Take a Drink: whenever anyone does anything antisocial or debaucherous

Do a Shot: for male nudity of any sort

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Fantasia International Film Festival: The Villainess (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/fantasia-international-film-festival-villainess-2017-movie-review http://movieboozer.com/featured/fantasia-international-film-festival-villainess-2017-movie-review#respond Fri, 25 Aug 2017 17:15:52 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102438 By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) – It certainly looks like The Villainess is being positioned to be this year’s big crossover Korean hit, debuting at Cannes just like The Wailing and A Hard Day, and making a pretty high-profile run through quite a few top-notch subsequent film festivals to boot.  So,  how does it stack up? Good luck being …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –

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

Good luck being as awesome as The Wailing

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

A Toast

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

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

Beer Two

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

Beer Three

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

Beer Four

Mild Spoilers

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

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

Verdict

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

The Villainess (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for every kitchen scene

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

Take a Drink: every time you see a sledgehammer

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

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Legends of the Fall (1994) Movie Review: A Romantic Western War Epic http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/legends-fall-1994-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/legends-fall-1994-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Fri, 25 Aug 2017 12:15:19 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102807 By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) – Jim Harrison wrote a novel that inspired Edward Zwick to direct one of the most celebrated films of 1994. That film adaptation is none other than Legends of the Fall. Starring Brad Pitt and Anthony Hopkins, this film received recognition from both the Hollywood Foreign Press and the Academy. …

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By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –

Jim Harrison wrote a novel that inspired Edward Zwick to direct one of the most celebrated films of 1994. That film adaptation is none other than Legends of the Fall. Starring Brad Pitt and Anthony Hopkins, this film received recognition from both the Hollywood Foreign Press and the Academy. The awards that this film acquired were relatively few, but Zwick’s passion project lights up the screen after spending 17 years in development. The final result exhibits passion amidst the chaos of World War I.

A Toast

This film features beautiful production design, Oscar-winning cinematography, and a complex love story. There is definitely a lot of chemistry between Tristan Ludlow (Brad Pitt), his brother Alfred Ludlow (Aidan Quinn), and Susannah, played by Julia Ormond. This film might not be as glamorous as other films that Edward Zwick collaborated on, such as Shakespeare in Love, but his love for the subject matter definitely shows up on screen.

Beer Two

Even with such passion, the film is actually quite graphic. There are intense battle scenes, some gore, and even a frightening grizzly bear. The bear actually had its own name, and he is labelled as “Bart the Bear” in the ending credits. This film is definitely for mature audiences given the themes and relationships explored in this complicated tale of betrayal, family, and war.

Verdict

Legends of the Fall might have left the Golden Globes empty-handed, and it might have only won one Academy Award in a technical category, but this is still a beautiful adaptation of Jim Harrison’s novel. It took Edward Zwick nearly two decades to make this film, and his efforts really did pay off. It also features Brad Pitt as Tristan, the complicated hero who has to deal with both his family and forbidden love. This film is definitely filled with passion and desire in terms of both the making of it, and what audiences actually see as they watch a dramatic story unfold.

Legends of the Fall (1994) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: during every violent moment

Take a Drink: during every passionate moment

Drink a Shot: whenever the animals become stars in their own right, such as the galloping horses and the appearances of “Bart the Bear.”

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Kekszakallu (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/kekszakallu-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/kekszakallu-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Thu, 24 Aug 2017 17:15:20 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102757 By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) – For this Argentinian arthouse film, Kekszakallu sure is a curious title.  For one, it’s not Spanish, but rather Hungarian, the original title of Bartok’s famous opera better known as Bluebeard, in which the titular blue-bearded man marries and buries a series of wives. Nope, nothing to be concerned about here… Kekszakallu the film also …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –

For this Argentinian arthouse film, Kekszakallu sure is a curious title.  For one, it’s not Spanish, but rather Hungarian, the original title of Bartok’s famous opera better known as Bluebeard, in which the titular blue-bearded man marries and buries a series of wives.

Nope, nothing to be concerned about here…

Kekszakallu the film also centers on entrapped women, but of a different sort… or at least it seems it does.  The plot takes its time setting in motion, and follows several young women as they come to age and suffers various degrees of ennui.

A Toast

First-time narrative film director Gaston Solnicki stated that he wanted to retain the atmosphere of horror of the Opera coupled with his own characters, and while I’m not sure I read outright horror in the tone he achieves, it’s a transporting one nonetheless as the mesmerizing pacing coupled with sound and image really sucks you in- there’s not much else like it out there.

Solnicki is clearly fascinated with processes and movement, often taking lengthy digressions from the plot to focus on the skills of a keymaker or exterminator, or the motions of kids jumping like soldiers or lemmings off the diving board, or the intricate inner workings of a sausage factory.  Whatever he trains his camera on, though, the true attraction of this film is his and co-DP Diego Poleri and Fernando Lockett’s unique and arresting framing and long-take cinematography, paired beautifully with ambient sound design or Bartok’s Bluebeard opera.  This is a truly gorgeous film that will show you things you’ve never seen before on screen.

Beer Two

As I hinted at before, I’m not sure what Bluebeard has to do with this film terribly (there’s no imminent danger here), and mileage will vary for the oblique arthouse-adverse.

Verdict

Kekszakallu is arthouse cinema at its finest and most artsy- a visual poem jam-packed with stunning imagery.  Catnip for film junkies.

Kekszakallu (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for every pool scene

Take a Drink: whenever the framing is so interesting you’re mesmerized

Take a Drink: whenever the young girl stares off into the distance

Do a Shot: for Opera

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Black Roland in The Dark Tower – Genius or Disaster? http://movieboozer.com/articles/black-roland-dark-tower-genius-disaster http://movieboozer.com/articles/black-roland-dark-tower-genius-disaster#respond Thu, 24 Aug 2017 12:15:10 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103115 By: Amanda Sparks – When books are turned into television series or films, the plot may change, and the fictional characters from those books are often re-imagined as writers and directors envision them. While these changes often go on with little mention, other than statements such as “the book was better than the movie,” or …

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By: Amanda Sparks –

When books are turned into television series or films, the plot may change, and the fictional characters from those books are often re-imagined as writers and directors envision them. While these changes often go on with little mention, other than statements such as “the book was better than the movie,” or vice versa, once in a while they strike a discordant tone with some, and a public controversy results.

Evidently, Race Strikes a Discordant Tone

Putting non-white people in roles that people have considered to be white has resulted in such public controversy in recent years.

When it was announced that the Harry Potter heroine, Hermione, would be cast by a black woman, there was a public outcry, primarily by parents, not kids. The kids didn’t seem to care. J.K. Rowling took to Twitter over this one:

Likewise, when the character Finn in Star Wars: The Force Awakens was cast with John Boyega, a black actor, some fans were provoked and went to Twitter with calls to boycott the film. Their reason?  Finn’s casting was anti-white propaganda. They were quickly shut down by a host of others, with Tweets such as:

Audra McDonald

✔ @AudraEqualityMc

#BoycottStarWarsVII folks,
Lemme get this straight:
Wookies, Ewoks & Droids are fine but a BLACK PERSON is a problem?
Go home. You’re Drunk.

Enter Idris Elba as The Gunslinger

A majority of readers and moviegoers know Stephen King for his works of horror – Pet Sematary, Carrie, It, etc. But for those who are true aficionados of this author, his Western Fantasy Series written in the 1980’s holds real value too. Here is a combo of a Western “shoot-em-up” and Science Fiction, a series that showed King as an amazingly talented writer, perhaps a bit ahead of his time. The series almost seemed a natural for a movie, a chance to highlight a totally different King – a good vs. evil theme set in something totally different from the horror tales for which he is most known.

And so, The Dark Tower became a movie goal.

In the movie, there is only one gunslinger good guy left, Roland (Idris Elba), who must duke it out with the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey), to save the Dark Tower which holds the world together. He is accompanied by a young teenager with some special powers.

It’s a classic tale of good vs. evil, but instead of civilizations and armies, it is down to two men. There’s lots of action and adventure too.

So, what could be wrong?

Well, what could be wrong is that Idris Elba is black.

After almost 10 years in the making and a series of writers and directors, Sony Pictures finally began filming the picture in South Africa in early 2016, with Director Nikolaj Arcel. When the cast was announced, some fans went crazy, and not in a good way. Roland, after all, was white. His entire backstory was as a white man. How could the director do this?

The controversy waged for months. Finally, Stephen King himself entered the fray, stating emphatically that the color of Elba’s skin was of no consequence. What would matter, said King, was how he embraced and carried the role of Roland.

And the Verdict is In

Last weekend, The Dark Tower opened, along with Detroit and Kidnap. August is typically a pretty slow month for movies, and the weekend was no exception. Still, Dark Tower out-performed the other two, grossing $19.1 million.

The critics are weighing in now. And the general verdict is that the movie as a whole is rather average overall, if not “awful.” Critics from Variety, New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, and the Chicago Tribune are all painting a pretty negative picture, in fact, even including McConaughey’s performance as the Man in Black.

What stands out among all of these reviews, however, is the praise for Idris Elba and his stunning performance amidst a plot and surrounding actors that are pretty much “Ho-Hum,” and, as one critic says, is a disjointed series of events, with apologies to Stephen King, for the bastardization of his work.

And perhaps the series just does not lend itself to film, as one critic said.

It’s Not Elba

The apparent “flop” that critics see in The Dark Tower, then, has nothing at all to do with Idris Elba, as some angry fans insisted it would. It has everything to do with the writers and the directors. Elba did his job and apparently did it exceptionally well. It was everything else that went horribly wrong. The attempt to translate King’s great series into a feature film has failed. We are left to wonder if the anticipated television series will ever happen.

It’s a Changing Environment and Elba is Only One Example

So, Hermione and Finn are now black. And now that Captain America is black and Thor is a woman, in the comics at this point, diversity has hit the arts in a big way. And how great is this for kids too? Their superheroes can be non-white and non-male. And how much more reflective of society this really is.

In many ways Elba, along with other actors who are cast in traditionally white roles, are pathfinders. They are charting important new territory, they are weathering the negative comments that could be taken quite personally, and they are going on to perform their roles admirably.

Idris Elba has many years of acting ahead of him. He will be a highly-sought actor because of his talent, and skin color will not be a factor. He has already proved his versatility for roles in Mandela, American Gangster, Pacific Rim, Thor and more. He has maintained that reputation in The Dark Tower.

 

Author Bio: Amanda Sparks has a lot of roles to play as a writer. She currently works as a pro writer and editor at Essay Supply and also as a lifestyle writer at Huffington Post. In her own words, “I love everything about writing, and I love everything about improving lifestyles. Being able to do both at the same time makes my life pretty perfect.”

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Virtual Pub 220: The Dagwood Sandwich of episodes http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-220-dagwood-sandwich-episodes http://movieboozer.com/featured/virtual-pub-220-dagwood-sandwich-episodes#respond Thu, 24 Aug 2017 03:00:41 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103038 This week the movieboozer team discusses Hitman’s Bodyguard, Brigsby Bear, Good Time, Marjorie Prime, Marvel’s The Defenders, The Nut Job 2. Also, Hawk Ripjaw and Ken present another movie exchange with David Vs Goliath: Battle of Faith, Blow Out.  

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This week the movieboozer team discusses Hitman’s Bodyguard, Brigsby Bear, Good Time, Marjorie Prime, Marvel’s The Defenders, The Nut Job 2. Also, Hawk Ripjaw and Ken present another movie exchange with David Vs Goliath: Battle of Faith, Blow Out.

 

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Logan Lucky (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/logan-lucky-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/logan-lucky-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Wed, 23 Aug 2017 12:15:22 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103098 By: Christian Harding (Two Beers) – Well, that didn’t last very long. Here’s a tip: when any noteworthy or established current filmmakers say they’re about to go into retirement (especially if it’s a self-proclaimed “early” one), don’t believe them. Heck, Hayao Miyazaki has now twice(!) returned from a supposed retirement from filmmaking – though I …

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By: Christian Harding (Two Beers) –

Well, that didn’t last very long.

Here’s a tip: when any noteworthy or established current filmmakers say they’re about to go into retirement (especially if it’s a self-proclaimed “early” one), don’t believe them. Heck, Hayao Miyazaki has now twice(!) returned from a supposed retirement from filmmaking – though I can’t complain about that fact one bit. Such is the case with the Ocean’s Eleven trilogy helmer Steven Soderbergh, who most recently made Side Effects back in 2013, and announced his “retirement” from film directing soon after. Fast forward a mere four years later, and he’s already back in the director’s chair with one of the summer’s most lightweight but ultimately satisfying later entries in Logan Lucky.

Who wants to start taking bets regarding how long Quentin Tarantino’s supposed “retirement” will last?

A Toast

Back working in his comfort zone, director Steven Soderbergh positions Logan Lucky as an Ocean’s knockoff of sorts, in that it’s a star-studded heist dramadey set in a locale that’s very specific to the cast of characters involved, as well as the environment of the narrative. In this case, it’s the American South of the 21st century, with the central heist revolving around a hugely popular NASCAR race. As with the Ocean‘s trilogy, one of the greatest pleasures of watching this film is witnessing a cast full of established, A-list celebrities hamming it up for two breezily paced hours, while managing to never go too far over the top.

Particularly worthy of mention is Daniel Craig, brilliantly playing against type as one of the main architects of the robbery, and usually the smartest guy in the room at any given time. Also turning in solid comedic performances are leads Channing Tatum and Adam Driver, along with a grocery list’s worth of other players that would take too long to give proper appraisals for. Needless to say, the film also looks pretty nice to boot, with Soderbergh acting as his own cinematographer (hidden under a pseudonym as per usual) and is anchored by a sharp, polished screenplay by Rebecca Blunt (presumably another pseudonym). All of this amounts to an admittedly weightless, but still ultimately satisfying time at the movies.

Beer Two

If I were to point to one specific element of this film that could’ve used a bit more work, it would probably be the actual heist within the film itself; specifically, the somewhat cliched, unbelievable plot that centers around it all. With Logan Lucky being more of a straightforward comedy than some of Steven Soderbergh’s other recent works, the main focus here is on the interactions between his colorful cast of characters and the moment-to-moment antics and wackiness that come about from their actions driving the plot forward. The relatively thin nature of the story isn’t anything too noticeable or crippling here, since the focus is moreso on the characters involved, but it still warrants mentioning that the weakest element in a heist film is the heist itself.

Ocean’s 7/11

Verdict

Hey you, starting your “Best films of summer 2017” just a bit early; step away from the keyboard and go to the nearest theater to see what former “retiree” Steven Soderbergh has cooked up for us. While Logan Lucky isn’t necessarily up to the level of some of the director’s best works, it signals a welcome return to the silver screen for Soderbergh and is just an all around solidly enjoyable time at the cinema, featuring an impressive collection of A-listers hamming it up for your viewing pleasure. It won’t change your life, but you could probably do a lot worse, especially considering how late into the summer movie season we find ourselves.

Logan Lucky (2017) Drinking Game

Do a Shot: whenever Channing Tatum’s accent sounds a little dodgy.

Do another Shot: for every gag regarding Adam Driver’s fake arm.

Just a Sip: during each moment of Daniel Craig hamming it up.

Shotgun a Beer: when a John Denver song is mentioned or plays over the soundtrack.

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Fantasia International Film Festival: Tragedy Girls (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/fantasia-international-film-festival-tragedy-girls-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/fantasia-international-film-festival-tragedy-girls-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Tue, 22 Aug 2017 12:15:01 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102756 By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) – These days, it feels as if deconstruction of the horror genre is about as popular a direction for aspiring genre directors as pure horror itself.  Can’t wait until it’s deconstruction of the deconstruction time. Whatever that entails, you know Joss Whedon will be involved. Tragedy Girls almost qualifies as such, …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –

These days, it feels as if deconstruction of the horror genre is about as popular a direction for aspiring genre directors as pure horror itself.  Can’t wait until it’s deconstruction of the deconstruction time.

Whatever that entails, you know Joss Whedon will be involved.

Tragedy Girls almost qualifies as such, as two horror-saturated and social media-crazed high school girls (Alexandra Shipp and Brianna Hildebrand) set out to be just the best at murdering folks, YOLO!

A Toast

Director Tyler MacIntyre packs this film with plenty of candy-colored, 80s slasher heyday throwback style, and his film editor background clearly shows in the energetic cutting and the way it melds with the snappy dialogue of his and Chris Lee Hill’s callback-laden script.

Shipp and Hildebrand deliver two committed lead performances as the wanna-be serial killer duo at the heart of the film, and the supporting cast/victim list has not a few famous face ringers like Josh Hutcherson & Craig Robinson, not to mention Kevin Durand’s fun turn as a redneck/Jason serial killer hybrid who the girls take a shine to/kidnap to teach them the ropes of mass murdering.  It’s clear everyone’s having a ton of fun, and the film is filled with amusing nuggets like the prom’s theme, “A Night to Remember”, complete with sinking Titanic imagery.

Finally, for those slasher fans looking for their fix, the kills are nearly comically gross and gory- and there are plenty of them.

 

Beer Two

The 80s-influenced style and the social media infatuated present day setting don’t mix the greatest, or maybe I just really didn’t like the social media infatuation part (it’s as grating as you’d hope/expect/dread it to be).

Do we have to deal with this in our politics and entertainment?

Beer Three

Tragedy Girls is maybe not as clever as it thinks it is- sure, it’s manic and full of horror references, but its pleasures are surface deep.  You can see the plot wheels turning, and nothing feels particularly weighty or consequential.

Verdict

Tragedy Girls features two girls who might usually be the victims of a slasher flick as the very enthusiastic slashers themselves, and clearly has a lot of fun doing it.

Tragedy Girls (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for every reference to social media

Take a Drink: for every kill

Take a Drink: whenever the central duo say something gloriously bitchy

Do a Shot: for body cleanup scenes (you’ll need it)

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Wind River (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/wind-river-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/wind-river-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Mon, 21 Aug 2017 12:15:02 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103086 By: Movie Snurb (Two Beers) – Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) is a veteran game tracker for a small town in north Wyoming. He hunts wolves and mountain lions for the town to keep from hunting the livestock. One day Cory comes across a frozen woman a few miles from any house or shelter on the …

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By: Movie Snurb (Two Beers) –

Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) is a veteran game tracker for a small town in north Wyoming. He hunts wolves and mountain lions for the town to keep from hunting the livestock. One day Cory comes across a frozen woman a few miles from any house or shelter on the Wind River Indian Reservation. Local police dispatch the FBI and they send out FBI Agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) to investigate the murder. Jane decides to recruit Cory to help her because he knows the land and knows how to track creatures. Soon we find out this is much more personal for Cory then we realize.

A Toast

Taylor Sheridan is probably the most exciting screenwriter in Hollywood today maybe only behind Aaron Sorkin. He alone is revitalizing the western genre. First Sicario, then Hell or High Water, and now Wind River; Sheridan is taking very personal stories affecting many Americans today and using the landscapes where most Americans don’t know or understand. His ability to create tension and build that tension until it’s almost at the breaking point and then when you least expect it he breaks the tension with gunfire, explosions, or something else. Sheridan also has a magnificent way of telling a backstory so we aren’t sitting watch 20 minutes of boring backstory. Like when a character looks at a picture with a longing or sad almost regretful look. We know this person was important and is probably not around anymore. Then later after almost that whole story is fleshed out in quick shots, we’ll get a 1-minute dialogue to place in the missing pieces. It’s a brilliant method to fully flesh out characters without having to use bad dialogue or voice-over work. He’s a master craftsmen and I cannot wait to see what he has in store.

Even with the brilliant writing you still need capable actors or even a great screenplay could fall flat. Jeremy Renner is at his best in this film. Renner has always been at his best when he has a role he can sink his teeth into. It’s great to be in mega-blockbusters, however, in films like The Hurt Locker, The Town, and even in the basic action film S.W.A.T. his ability to fully flesh out a character and make them real is a true gift. Elizabeth Olsen is equally great as the do good FBI agent who knows nothing about the land or its people. It’s hard to portray what her character was going through. She is confident in her job and knows how to do it, however she still has a deer in the headlights when it comes to how things operate in Wind River. This could’ve came across as clunky or even one dimensional, however, Elizabeth does it wonderfully.

You can tell how personal this movie is for Sheridan. With this being his directorial debut, I think he choose this film because he knows people in this part of the country and wanted to make sure this story is told right. His tender eye for these details is what was needed to make this story feel honest and real and allows the audience to connect to the story. His choice to also use real Native American actors was a great choice to give even more authenticity to the story. People who understand the problems these people are facing, not just people who look like Native Americans.

Beer Two

I think the trope of having someone fly back 10 feet when they are shot in a movie is a lazy tool in an attempt to up the action because the rest of the film is flat. Or it’s used in a movie that is already over-the-top so the action matches. However, in a film like Wind River that is viscerally real, this feels very out of place. It’s makes the action feel unreal and takes the audience out of the story. I know it’s a minute detail but it really annoyed me because this film didn’t need that. The tense and action was already sweltering at 11, no need to try to intensify it when lazy action tropes to try to get the intensity across.

Verdict

Taylor Sheridan continues to write excellent modern Westerns that tell honest stories of problems in today’s America. When most people are calling these places flyover country, Sheridan is telling the stories from here that most people don’t know. It is a solid third effort and a great directorial debut.

Wind River (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Jane mentions how cold it is.

Do a Shot: every time Cory mentions he’s a hunter.

Do a Shot: every time we look at tracks in the snow.

Take a Drink: whenever Cory snipes something.

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365 Days of Movies- Henry J. Fromage Edition- Week 33 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-33 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-33#respond Sun, 20 Aug 2017 17:15:07 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102900 By: Henry J. Fromage – This week sees the likely end to my film festival screener cache for a decent period of time, but I went out with a relative bang with this eclectic set of films. 183. Free and Easy This Chinese arthouse oddity plays something like Napoleon Dynamite transposed to an even shittier place than …

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By: Henry J. Fromage –

This week sees the likely end to my film festival screener cache for a decent period of time, but I went out with a relative bang with this eclectic set of films.

183. Free and Easy

This Chinese arthouse oddity plays something like Napoleon Dynamite transposed to an even shittier place than rural Idaho (in this case, China’s industrial north) and played at half speed.  Perhaps that doesn’t sound like a recommendation, but I thoroughly enjoyed this thoroughly unique small-time criminal comedy, which seems to have more to say about the present Chinese psyche than many a more high-profile drama out there.

184. Tiger Girl

This German punk rock tale of two bad girls on different trajectories of badness is positively dripping with style and attitude, and serves as one hell of a showcase for the talents of Ella Rumpf, Maria-Victoria Dragus, and director Jakob Lass.  I’m not sure it has a whole hell of a lot more to say than “Chaos Reigns!”, but that’s all good.  Nobody’s gonna mistake any of these characters as role models, and the diamond-studded misanthropy sure is an engaging watch.

185. 78/52

This documentary delves into the 78 setups and 52 cuts that make up the seminal shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, which director Alexandre O. Philippe and his seeming cast of hundreds of filmmaking luminaries posit represented a paradigm shift in at least American film from the restraint of Classic Hollywood and the violence and realism of New Hollywood.  If you’re a film junkie, you’re sure to be fascinated by the varying levels of analysis of this moment in film history.

186. The Transfiguration

This film starts off with a bang into an interesting enough premise- a inner-city New York youth who at least thinks he’s a vampire, and certainly acts on those impulses.  What it unfortunately does is ladle on indie-film cliches like gangster bullies and a character I’d like to call the Manic Pixie Fuckup Girl to bolster a plot that feels only somewhat tied to the vampirism that is ostensibly this film’s hook.  An overall miss despite its seemingly unique aims.

187. Detroit

Kathyrn Bigelow and Mark Boal brought their same docurealist approach that characterized the impact of Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker to the 1967 Detroit Riots and the lamentable Algiers Hotel incident, in which three young black men lost their lives and seven others and two young white women were harassed, tortured, and severely beaten by some combination of Detroit PD, Michigan State Police, and the National Guard, along with a private security guard (John Boyega in the film) caught in the middle.  I frankly wish this wasn’t nearly as relevant to the present day as it is, but over the course of two and a half hours Detroit makes clear the history and culture that contributed to this horror, and why similar horrors plague American society to this day.

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Sophie’s Choice (1982) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/sophies-choice-1982-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/sophies-choice-1982-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sun, 20 Aug 2017 12:15:20 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102606 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – Meryl Streep is one of the most “celebrated” actresses in film history.  That term is in quotation marks because many people like to tease her about her record-breaking Academy Award nominations.  Interestingly, Meryl Streep has only won Oscar only three times, and she had to wait 29 years to win her …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

Meryl Streep is one of the most “celebrated” actresses in film history.  That term is in quotation marks because many people like to tease her about her record-breaking Academy Award nominations.  Interestingly, Meryl Streep has only won Oscar only three times, and she had to wait 29 years to win her third Oscar.  This film review is about her performance as Sophie in Sophie’s Choice, a brilliant adaptation of William Styron’s heart-breaking novel.  Both the novel and the film have become landmarks in contemporary entertainment.

A Toast

This film contains what is perhaps the most definitive Meryl Streep performance.  Many people consider it to be the greatest performance from any actor in cinematic history.  Streep masterfully captures the complexity of Sophie’s character (complete with a Polish accent)!  The scene in which Sophie is given her choice remains one of the most intense and dramatic moments ever captured on film.  Meryl Streep herself never saw that iconic scene until she was on Oprah many years later.  The authenticity that Streep gave to this contemporary character rightfully earned her the Academy Award that year.  She even beat Julie Andrews’s hilarious performance in Victor Victoria!  Without a doubt, this is Meryl Streep’s greatest performance.

Verdict

Sophie’s Choice remains one of the greatest motion pictures of all time.  The whole notion of a “Sophie’s Choice” also came about thanks to Styron’s novel and this hauntingly beautiful film.  Alan J. Pakula served well as the director of this powerful tale, and created a masterpiece that has entered the contemporary psyche.  His screenplay is equally brilliant given the fact that he had to remove a lot of mature content from the novel to appease the Hollywood censors.  A fun fact was that Meryl Streep literally begged Pakula to play Sophie, and that role allowed her to earn her second Oscar.  It appears as if Pakula made the right choice (pun intended).

Sophie’s Choice (1982) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever Sophie mispronounces English words (like when she mispronounces “Emily Dickinson” as “Emile Dickens.”)

Take a Drink: whenever Stingo does voice-over narration

Drink a Shot: during every part that might make you want to cry.

Take a Big Gulp: during the choice scene

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Trailer Reviews: The Hitman’s Bodyguard & Logan Lucky http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-the-hitmans-bodyguard-logan-lucky http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-the-hitmans-bodyguard-logan-lucky#respond Sat, 19 Aug 2017 17:15:32 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103072 By: Hawk Ripjaw –   The Hitman’s Bodyguard I first noticed The Hitman’s Bodyguard months back when I stumbled upon the poster, featuring an absurd parody of the Kevin Costner Bodyguard poster and being very convinced that someone was fucking with us. After watching the trailer, I can confirm that God’s light does still shine …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw –

 

The Hitman’s Bodyguard

I first noticed The Hitman’s Bodyguard months back when I stumbled upon the poster, featuring an absurd parody of the Kevin Costner Bodyguard poster and being very convinced that someone was fucking with us. After watching the trailer, I can confirm that God’s light does still shine upon us and we have been gifted with a glorious team-up of Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson. The trailer is a little suspect, with some dodgy CGI and a persisting suspicion that this is just an SNL joke, but with Patrick Hughes (Red Hill, The Expendables 3) at the helm, we might get some pretty good action. And with two really good character actors getting to spar with each other, there’s definitely some good chemistry on the menu. 

Beer Prediction

We have not done enough to deserve something this wonderful.

 

Logan Lucky

I remember when Steven Soderbergh announced he would “retire” from filmmaking after the amazing Side Effects. This was sad news; Soderbergh is one of the most reliably great filmmakers we have, Magic Mike notwithstanding, and Channing Tatum notwithstanding from Magic Mike. Does the term “notwithstanding” work like that? Can I just have subordinate layers of notwithstandingness until I’ve backed myself into a corner? It turns out, I don’t really have to, because Soderbergh has apparently rescinded his original threat and is back to directing movies. His latest entry appears to be a heist film similar to Ocean’s Eleven but with idiot rednecks, and I am totally on board with that. I’ve intentionally avoided anything involving this movie since the first trailers, because I know Soderbergh will deliver.

Beer Prediction

I’m not quite sure what they’re getting at with the “and INTRODUCING Daniel Craig…” bit, but it’s cheeky enough to interest me.

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The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/the-hitmans-bodyguard-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/the-hitmans-bodyguard-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sat, 19 Aug 2017 12:15:29 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103051 By: BabyRuth (Four Beers) – Many people seem pretty intrigued to see Nick Fury and Deadpool team up in a movie. Fun fact: this is the second time. Remember Dreamworks’ Turbo? Me neither. Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) lives in a big, modern, house, drives a fancy car, and has lots of guns. He’s a former CIA …

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By: BabyRuth (Four Beers) –

Many people seem pretty intrigued to see Nick Fury and Deadpool team up in a movie. Fun fact: this is the second time. Remember Dreamworks’ Turbo? Me neither.

Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) lives in a big, modern, house, drives a fancy car, and has lots of guns. He’s a former CIA agent turned personal bodyguard. Not just your run-of-the-mill personal bodyguard, but a “triple A rated executive protection agent,” which is apparently a big deal and a real thing and has nothing to do with the automobile association of America. It also pays pretty damn well. Many of his clients are not so good people though, hence the need for personal security. One day while on a job protecting a Japanese arms dealer, everything falls apart for Bryce when the man is murdered on his watch.

Oopsie!

Two years later, Bryce is no longer living in a big, modern, house or driving a fancy car, and is no longer triple A rated (which, after four pages of Google search results, I still can’t determine is an actual real thing). Since losing that client, the only bodyguard work he can get is protecting coked-out businessmen. But that’s about to change…

Over at the International Court of Justice (in case you are wondering, that is an actual real thing) in the Netherlands there is a big trial for a former dictator named Dukhovich (Gary Oldman, naturally). Despite killing hundreds of innocent people, he is about to go free. That is, unless, a single star witness testifies: Darius Kinkaid (Samuel L. Jackson), an infamous assassin, currently serving a prison sentence in Manchester, England. Kinkaid agrees to testify on the condition that his wife (Salma Hayek) is released from prison. (We never learn why she is in there, but that prison sure has a great make-up artist on staff.)

Because movie reasons, there is a stipulation. Kinkaid must get to the court in 24 hours and not a second more or Dukhovich walks. When the initial Interpol transport goes horribly awry due to Dukhovich’s henchmen’s interference, agent Amelia Roussel (Elodie Young) calls upon the only person she knows who will be able to successfully get Kinkaid from England to the court in the Hague alive. Can you guess who? Yup, her ex-boyfriend Michael Bryce!

Turns out Bryce and Kinkaid have a bit of a history and get this, are complete opposites! I know! You see, Bryce is uptight and by-the-book (as by-the-book as one can be who has no problem with killing dozens of people. It’s okay though, they’re all bad.) while Kinkaid is wild and unpredictable. (He also kills a lot of people, he is a hitman after all, but that’s okay too because they are also all bad. Hmm, maybe they do have something in common!) All that time forced together these two are just sure to bicker quite often! But you know, it’s possible they just might end up learning a bit from each other and becoming friends.

In between committing multiple acts of property damage.

A Toast

If you like hearing Samuel L. Jackson say “motherfucker,” well, you are in luck! He says it 457 times. That is completely accurate. I counted. Well, okay, I’m not so good at counting, but it’s around there.

Both Jackson and Reynolds are exactly as you would expect them to be, reveling in their go-to onscreen personas (Jackson: ultimate motherfucking badass/ Reynolds: snarky and sarcastic) that we’ve seen a million times, not that there’s anything wrong with that. They play on their strengths and off each other extremely well, making for a good odd couple.

Salma Hayek makes an appearance as Jackson’s equally tough and foul-mouthed wife and she nearly upstages the two leads in her little screen time, getting many of the biggest laughs of the entire movie. It’s refreshing to see her in a role other than “mom” or love interest of a member of the Happy Madison crew and she certainly appears to be loving every minute of it.

Beer Two

The whole film is one big tonal mess with Director Patrick Hughes (The Expendables 3 a.k.a. the Expendables sequel you didn’t  see) never quite deciding what he wants it to be. Or rather he decided to try to make it everything he wanted it to be: An 80s-style buddy action-comedy, a spoof of 80s buddy action-comedies, and a Tarantino-esque bloodfest (hell he’s already got Jackson and Hayek and just try counting all the head-shots). It’s too much and never as fun, funny, or clever as it thinks it is.

The humor is hit or miss. For every legitimately funny moment (Jackson’s and Hayek’s characters flashback meet-cute) there are two cringe-worthy terrible attempts (a fat and fart joke all in one!).

The story is predictable and feels derivative of better films that have come before (take your pick). I was surprised to learn the screenplay written by Tom O’Connor was on the 2011 Black List. Then again so was Dirty Grandpa, so maybe it was an off year.

Beer Three

Usually in action movies, the quieter scenes in between the big set pieces slow the film down to a grinding halt. As strange as it sounds, in The Hitman’s Bodyguard, it is the exact opposite. The best parts are the in-between moments of Jackson and Reynolds verbally sparring, swearing, and at one point, singing. The many (many!) over-the-top and brutal action scenes are uninventive, dull, ugly, and seem to go on forever. I just wanted them to be over so we could get back to the Reynolds-Jackson show.

Not only are the action sequences tedious and often hard to follow due to piss-poor cinematography (focus!), this film has some of the worst CGI I’ve seen this side of Neil Breen. Pay attention whenever there is an explosion or fire. It’s so, so awful. I don’t know if it was intentional, as much of the violence in this movie borderlines on cartoonish, but that would be my excuse if I had to personally answer for it.

I’m guessing acquiring the big names took up most of this movie’s budget so Hughes had to rely on this kid’s Youtube tutorial on how to make explosions using Windows Moviemaker for the special effects.

Plus, every scene is accompanied by some “clever” musical accompaniment that only distracts and is as sloppily mishmashed as everything else in this movie, so I guess that’s actually fitting.

And despite the poster (which is funnier than anything in the film) and its use in the trailer, “I Will Always Love You” is not featured, which is a bummer.

Beer Four

In a case of unfortunate movie timing, there’s a scene in which a truck plows through a crowd of protesters so yeah… so much for escaping to the local multiplex to forget about the horrors of recent events for a couple hours (yes, this one is TWO HOURS LONG and you feel every motherfucking minute of it).

Verdict: Four Motherfucking Beers

There’s a reason this one is dropping the third weekend of August. If you absolutely NEED to see it, go to a matinee or just wait for Netflix.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for every mention of “Triple A status”

Take a Drink: whenever anyone says “motherfucker”

Take a Drink: every time Kinkaid outsmarts Bryce

Take a Drink: any time a character sings

Take a Drink: for every flashback scene

Take a Drink: for every chase scene

Do a Shot: at every instance of noticeably fake-looking CGI

Do a Shot: for every head-shot

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The Glass Castle (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/glass-castle-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/glass-castle-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Fri, 18 Aug 2017 12:15:23 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=103040 By: Christian Harding: (Three Beers) – Well, I think we now know why this one didn’t get a more Oscar-friendly release date… Adapted from the 2005 best selling memoir of the same name, The Glass Castle is based on the real life experiences of author and protagonist Jeannette Walls, who spent the entirety of her childhood and …

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By: Christian Harding: (Three Beers) –

Well, I think we now know why this one didn’t get a more Oscar-friendly release date…

Adapted from the 2005 best selling memoir of the same name, The Glass Castle is based on the real life experiences of author and protagonist Jeannette Walls, who spent the entirety of her childhood and adolescence constantly moving in and out between many different homes, all the while living in extreme poverty with her parents and growing number of siblings. This film also reunites the actress/director team of Brie Larson and Destin Daniel Cretton, who were both behind the criminally overlooked Short Term 12 from 2013. Unfortunately, those hoping this project would recapture the magic of their previous collaboration will likely be disappointed here, as The Glass Castle is, despite a number of solid performances and some moving individual scenes, one of the most tonally conflicted and manipulative dramas this reviewer has seen in quite some time.

“So we both agree that my King Kong film was way better, right?”

A Toast

Above all else, the greatest strength of The Glass Castle is its assembled cast, though even this comes with a few caveats. Seasoned professionals like Woody Harrelson and Naomi Watts aren’t doing anything we haven’t seen from them before, but they both fit their roles well enough. This also marks the whopping third(!) film this year that completely wastes the acting talents of Brie Larson, who (despite having the leading role) isn’t really given all that much to do other than look stern and ashamed of her family, until the final twenty minutes finally call upon her to flex her Oscar winning acting chops. The only actor in this that’s really given consistently good, juicy material to work with is Ella Anderson as the teenage version of Jeannette, who really is quite good in this and does a lot of the heavy dramatic lifting. Both the actresses playing Jeannette, as well as Woody Harrelson, have the largest roles in the film and even when the writing is at its most hokey and mawkish, all the actors in this do a commendable job and try their best to elevate some otherwise very troubling material.

*Disclaimer: any words of negativity directed towards the parents of the Walls family in the upcoming sections is directed towards their portrayal in the film adaptation of The Glass Castle, and isn’t directed towards the real life figures, or how they were portrayed in the memoir*

Beer Two

There’s no doubt in my mind that the most significant and crippling flaw in The Glass Castle is its extremely confused, misguided tone. Throughout the course of the film, we’re shown all manner of poor decision making and irresponsible behaviors regarding the Walls parents’ treatment of their children, all of which ranges from slightly troubling at best to borderline abusive at worst – and most of it is shown in an flattering, tone deaf manner that’s way too unfitting given the gravity of the situation. For example, the film at times makes a point to focus on moments where all the kids are starving and forced to make a meal out of water, a stick of butter, and sugar – and another early instance involves the family busting a severely injured young Jeannette out of the hospital because they wouldn’t be able to pay for the bills.

These repeated instances of poor decision making are I guess meant to be cheered on by the audience, meaning to show a blue collar, working class family sticking it to the system that’s supposedly keeping them down; but the way the film is trying to make the audience feel is in such conflict with what’s actually being shown that the end result is beyond jarring; and it’s all accompanied by one of the most overbearing, manipulative musical scores these ears have heard in quite a while. We spend the entirety of The Glass Castle dwelling on the poor, irresponsible behavior of the parents and apart from being expected to find them quirky and charming all along the way, there’s even a completely forced final reconciliation between Jeannette and her parents which is supposed to redeem them somehow, but doesn’t feel earned one bit, and the attempt to make these monsters seem at all likable or sympathetic isn’t at all appreciated to say the least.

Beer Three

Despite being not only based on a true story but also written by a member of the family that the film is centered on, The Glass Castle has a surprisingly large number of underdeveloped supporting players herein. Again, it comes across as especially odd considering the angle this story comes from. Perhaps this approach as seen through the film adaptation was meant to put more focus on the father/daughter relationship at the center of the proceedings, but everyone else in the story feels like such an afterthought that it can’t help but draw attention to itself.

As I mentioned beforehand, the performances across the board are solid, but once again it’s the writing and the way this story was adapted to the screen that hinders and downsizes the roles of many of Jeannette’s brothers, sisters, friends, etc. These people might have, and most likely did play a pivotal role in the rather unconventional upbringing of this family, but based on the way The Glass Castle handles it all in film form, you’d swear that the father and just one of his children were the only people that had any major impact in how everyone in the family was functioning during the period of time the story chooses to focus on.

Yeah, don’t expect to be getting all choked up here during these final moments.

Verdict

While no doubt being well intended, as well as nicely acted on all fronts, The Glass Castle is still one of the most tonally misguided major releases of the year. A truly great film could’ve been made from this source material, had it been approached with a darker, more objective sensibility attached. But director Destin Daniel Cretton, despite showing noticeably improved visual and stylistic confidence since his last feature, turns the majority of the proceedings here into a hokey nostalgia trip that asks the audience to be enchanted by constant child endangerment and starvation, among many other things. Life living under those conditions may never have been boring, but it was often stressful and needlessly dangerous, and seeing it portrayed onscreen with such fondness and reverence gets tiresome very quick.

The Glass Castle (2017) Drinking Game

Do a Shot: each time Brie Larson is noticeably embarrassed or annoyed by her parents.

Do another Shot: for each moment Woody Harrelson dials it up to eleven.

Just a Sip: for every flashback or time jump.

Shotgun a Beer: whenever you notice that Naomi Watts probably hasn’t showered for a couple of days.

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The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/the-nut-job-2-nutty-by-nature-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/the-nut-job-2-nutty-by-nature-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Thu, 17 Aug 2017 12:15:54 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102995 By: Felix Felicis (Five Beers)- The movie that no one expected, the squeakquel literally NO ONE ASKED FOR, Nut Job 2 isn’t YouPorn’s latest dip into original content like a much, much smuttier Hulu (sadly), it’s the second movie in what I can only hope is NOT a franchise based on a purple fucking squirrel …

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By: Felix Felicis (Five Beers)-

The movie that no one expected, the squeakquel literally NO ONE ASKED FOR, Nut Job 2 isn’t YouPorn’s latest dip into original content like a much, much smuttier Hulu (sadly), it’s the second movie in what I can only hope is NOT a franchise based on a purple fucking squirrel antihero saving a park in New York City. It’s not even a very BIG park. Other parks probably laugh at it on the playground during lunchtime and I don’t blame them. YOU LET A PURPLE SQUIRREL LIVE IN YOU, SMALL NEW YORK CITY PARK, YOU KNEW WHAT WAS UP.

Hahaha this week can’t get worse, right? Right? RIGHT?!?!?!?

If you’ve never seen The Nut Job I can only gaze at you with a jealousy unmatched by the fires of a thousand burning retinas. That said, the first movie about Sully (Will Arnett) the purple squirrel has almost nothing to do with Nut Job 2 so feel free to skip it if you’re worried about franchise continuity [pause for laughter]. Nut Job 2: The Day My Soul Died follows Sully and the gang (yes Katherine Heigl is back as Andie the normally colored squirrel) as they roll around in a curiously vacant nut shop that went under and yet still has all the nuts in the basement and hasn’t been sold yet even though it’s prime New York City real estate. But wait! Tragedy strikes as the shop gets blown up and the Liberty Park animals scramble to not only save enough food for winter but also stop an evil mayor (who’s a spectacularly amazing Trump parody voiced by SNL’s Bobby Moynihan) from bulldozing the free park and turning it into an *amusement park (*neon lit deathtrap).

If you’re talking about my last fuck given, you’d be correct, sir.

A Toast

There’s just so much spectacularly wrong with Nut Job 2 I don’t even know where to start on what went right. I will say that the animation quality is considerably better in this movie than in the first but that’s not hard considering the first film (circa 2014) was created by what I can only assume were the ghosts of some very sad animators throwing the last of their standards into a radioactive dumpster fire.

Some people just want to watch the world burn.

I’ll also add that immediately after watching Nut Job 2 I told frequent debate co-writer (and one half of the greatest film critique duo ever formed) Hawk Ripjaw that the freefall of cinematic standards I’d just seen was a bowling ball rolling directly down his sadistic-love-of-awful-films alley because this animated tornado of visual barf (nominally aimed at children) was a hilariously horrifying and politically savage “fuck you” to the current administration and it was BREATHTAKING(ly bad). Like impressively so. It’s worth noting that Nut Job 2 was directed by Escape From Planet Earth‘s Cal Brunker (another movie yours truly could not “escape” watching- also, curiously, a Brendan Fraser vehicle). I also had a fun time live-tweeting this train wreck, which you can check out here.

Huzzah! Cinematic standards are dead!

Beer Two

I’m not drunk enough to do this but here we go, the characters in Nut Job 2 were copy and pasted from just about any and every children’s movie ever made with Buddy the Rat being a Ratatouille ripoff and, most notably, Jackie Chan’s lab rat street gang leader Mr. Feng being a blatant carbon copy (in spirit if not direct characterization) of the Evil Bunny from Zootopia. I mean, even odds the writers of Nut Job 2 got hammered and played chicken with plagiarism vs parody. The spectacular lack of creativity and/or depth used to flesh out the main characters (not to mention the ancillary cast) ripped a hole in the space/time continuum causing Justin Bieber’s fuzzy not-quite-a-mustache to fall out.

Don’t make direct eye contact with whatever’s on his upper lip, you’ll just make it angry.

Beer Three

Misogyny, environmental patronization, and cultural exploitation, oh my! Imagine you’re at Build-A-Bear but instead of a cute stuffed animal you come out of the store ninety minutes later with a cinematic plot Frankensteined together with every terrible idea ever. Like if the 1950’s, the EPA, and the ACLU fell into a Twilight Zone gangbang with a splash of animation and blatant disregard for subtlety then Nut Job 2 is what comes out nine months and three tequila-soaked sauna sessions later. This movie hammers home the point it’s trying to make with all the finesse of a back-alley hand job advertised under neon lights large enough to be seen from space.

Enjoy that visual, it’s my gift to you.

Beer Four

I don’t recall much of the dialogue from Nut Job 2 for several reasons. One being that the rusty spork I jammed in my eye about twenty minutes in to ease my mental anguish was a tad distracting. Another was that it was so generic my health insurance called afterward and told me to buy that script instead of my prescription name-brand dialogue ’cause it was five times cheaper to manufacture. Credit where credit’s due, though, I never thought a team of stoned hedgehogs knew how to READ much less WRITE so props to those little woodland creatures for turning out human words strung together in a somewhat coherent fashion.

Mad respect.

Beer Five

Holy fucking shit, y’all, Nut Job 2 was absolutely BRUTAL (and I mean that in the truest sense of the word). The Catch 22 of any animated movie geared toward children is that most kids outside of a Home Alone scenario can’t drive so grownups spoiled by such spectacular offerings like Up, and Ratatouille and Moana, need more than just animation to lure them inside the windowless van of family-friendly cinema these days. What resulted in the weirdly PG (for action and some rude humor) Nut Job 2 was a total tonal misfire for BOTH audiences (too juvenile and contrived for adults and way, way, way, way, way, way, WAYYYYYYYYYY too terrifying for anyone under the age of twelve).

BRB, ugly-crying in the shower FOREVER.

Nut Job 2 was a no man’s land of subject matter from the dark alleyways featuring dolls missing an eye to the PWECIOUS blended power pug pairing #frescious to seriously satanic serial killer-in-training Girl Scouts to A FUCKING PSEUDO-DEATHBED SCENE BETWEEN SULLY THE SQUIRREL AND HIS PRACTICALLY MUTE RAT BFF NAMED BUDDY. I’m not kidding. You could’ve ripped it right out of Game Of Thrones. Whatever the case, this tonal whiplash will leave anyone with a functioning braincell seriously disturbed.

-Me basically any time my spell to raise the dead or create an army of undead rats fails.

And

TELL ME THAT’S NOT SPOT-ON.

Verdict

I haven’t seen an animated movie less geared toward children since 2016’s Sausage Party. J/K. I didn’t watch Sausage Party. Enter theaters at your own risk. You’ve been warned.

Last Call: There’s a minor mid-credits scene with Jackie Chan outtakes just past the dancing animals that make your soul die but before the end of the credits and inevitable heavy drinking/emotional shower crying.

The Nut Job 2 (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: anytime Nut Job 2 events/dialogue could double as a horror/thriller.

Do a Shot: any time Andie gets musically cock-blocked.

Take a Drink: whenever the Mayor or Satan’s Spawn pops up to be obnoxiously evil.

Take a Sip: for every pun, joke that doesn’t land, or #frescious pairing.

Take a Drink: whenever Andie the squirrel hammers home her sage life advice.

Shotgun Your Beer: when even animated characters wanna nope out to Canada.

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Fantasia International Film Festival: Have a Nice Day (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/fantasia-international-film-festival-have-a-nice-day-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/fantasia-international-film-festival-have-a-nice-day-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Wed, 16 Aug 2017 12:15:21 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102686 By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) – It’s not often that you see an animated film in competition at a major world film festival, much less an adult one originating from outside of Hollywood.  Not only was the Chinese-produced Have a Nice Day in competition in Berlin last year, but it showed better than most all of the …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –

It’s not often that you see an animated film in competition at a major world film festival, much less an adult one originating from outside of Hollywood.  Not only was the Chinese-produced Have a Nice Day in competition in Berlin last year, but it showed better than most all of the films there.

Except, inexplicably, yet another Hong Sang-soo snoozer…

Have a Nice Day follows a bag of money between gangsters and petty criminals in industrial Northeast China, as they bumble their way towards achieving some very modest dreams with it.

A Toast

Have a Nice Day really is a unique concoction, from the animation style that combines bold minimalist lines on humans with highly detailed, near photographic backgrounds with just the right mix of traditional Asian painting touches to its laconic, dark sense of  humor- fully of wry irony, like a decaying police officer statue propped up in front of a corn field a thief drives through behind.

The film’s very slow-paced, but to its benefit- chock full of lots of beautiful stills of very ugly places and poetic interludes and philosophizing that call play like a Chinese animated version of Fargo (the TV show, more accurately).  The plot, which pulls together unique characters of varying degrees of criminality and competence, culminates in a violent confrontation of all of the parties over the money bag in a bittersweet display of futility and dysfunction that would do both the Coens and Noah Hawley proud.

Beer Two

For a movie so committed to finding the ridiculous of real life for these characters, the inventor’s weird sci-fi tinges, like his X-ray glasses, is tough to reconcile.  Admittedly, though, his last “toy” was an badass surprise.  Also admittedly, for a self-professed Fargo fan, it’s at least more sensible than UFOs…

Verdict

Have a Nice Day is an animated Chinese oddity that should play like gangbusters for fans of the worldview and plotting of TV’s Fargo.

Have a Nice Day (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for disturbing paintings

Take a Drink: whenever anyone smokes

Take a Drink: whenever anybody gets knocked out

Take a Drink: for Communist propaganda music video breakdown yeah!

Do a Shot: Trump!

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Ken’s Movie Diary 2017 – Week 29 http://movieboozer.com/articles/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-29 http://movieboozer.com/articles/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-29#respond Tue, 15 Aug 2017 17:15:38 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102842 Weekly Update: Still heavily in the midst of a TV show Binge watch so I once again didn’t watch a whole lot of movies in the last week.  I had time for a double feature of foreign-made Westerns. Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to …

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Weekly Update: Still heavily in the midst of a TV show Binge watch so I once again didn’t watch a whole lot of movies in the last week.  I had time for a double feature of foreign-made Westerns.

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

235. Tracker (2011)

This Kiwi Western stars Ray Winstone as a Boer tracker who comes to New Zealand following the end of the Boer Wars. Desperate for money, he takes a job helping to track a Maori sailor who allegedly murdered a British soldier. The Maori is innocent, but nevertheless desperate to escape, knowing it is his word against that of the real killer; another British soldier. The film is played out like an American Western while adding the colonial British imperial presence to add flavor. Very worth a look.

236. The Salvation (2014)

This Danish made Western was shot entirely in South Africa, and stars Mads Mikkelsen as a trapper living in the American West. After several years in the States he calls for his wife and son to join him, but they are tragically murdered shortly after their arrival.  The rest of the film plays out like a standard fare revenge Western, with plenty of melancholy, vendetta, and violence. The movie is made interesting by Mikkelsen, who brings a  compelling presence as the lead.

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Mamma Mia! (2008) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/mamma-mia-2008-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/mamma-mia-2008-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Tue, 15 Aug 2017 12:15:16 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102574 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – The Swedish pop group ABBA remains one of the most popular musical groups of all time. Their hits like “Dancing Queen” and “Mamma Mia” have entertained audiences for decades. They even inspired the A-Teens to perform new renditions of their songs as well as one of today’s most popular …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

The Swedish pop group ABBA remains one of the most popular musical groups of all time. Their hits like “Dancing Queen” and “Mamma Mia” have entertained audiences for decades. They even inspired the A-Teens to perform new renditions of their songs as well as one of today’s most popular musicals. The film adaptation of Mamma Mia! was once the highest-grossing film in the UK until the release of Avatar in 2009. This film was evidence that Twenty-First century audiences actually enjoy musical films.

A Toast

Since this is a major film musical, the best part is obviously the music. The film starts off with music almost immediately, and then audiences would sometimes sing-along and dance to the rhythm of ABBA’s greatest hits. An interesting feature of this musical is that it is known as a “jukebox musical” since it uses popular songs to assist with the story-telling. It must have taken a lot of creativity to create one of the most popular films of 2008.

Beer Two

The music might be spectacular, but the plot is absolutely cheesy. It seems bizarre that Meryl Streep was actually willing to play a mom who supposedly had “summer fun” with three men named Sam, Bill, and Harry. It is also strange that the daughter, Sophie, would be so excited about meeting her father even though she has no idea who he is (given the mom’s unusual behavior). Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried both gave great performances as the mother and daughter in this film, though, given the atypical plot.

Beer Three

One major complaint that audiences have expressed for this film is Pierce Brosnan’s singing. He probably just cannot keep up with Meryl Streep’s vocal talents even though they played romantic partners in this film. Maybe Brosnan should just stick with playing James Bond.

Verdict

Mamma Mia might not be one of the greatest musical productions, but it is essentially a “feel-good” movie that allowed audiences to escape the summer heat back in 2008. People are also currently excited about the sequel that will be released in the summer of 2018. It has been almost a decade since the original film came out, but people really do have a love affair with the music of ABBA. Maybe viewers will be dancing in the aisles again upon the release of Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!, just like they did all of those years ago.

Mamma Mia! (2008) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: during every musical number

Take a Drink: whenever the characters are seen in swimsuits

Drink a Shot: anytime anyone sings the phrase, “Mamma Mia!”

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Annabelle: Creation (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/annabelle-creation-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/annabelle-creation-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Mon, 14 Aug 2017 12:15:01 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102973 By: Jenna Zine (Five Beers) – A grief-stricken couple, Samuel and Esther Mullins, sequester themselves in their remote country home after the tragic loss of their daughter, Annabelle “Bee.” Twelve years into their self-imposed exile, they decide to open their house to a group of orphans. Supernatural occurrences escalate when one of their new charges discovers a …

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By: Jenna Zine (Five Beers) –

A grief-stricken couple, Samuel and Esther Mullins, sequester themselves in their remote country home after the tragic loss of their daughter, Annabelle “Bee.” Twelve years into their self-imposed exile, they decide to open their house to a group of orphans. Supernatural occurrences escalate when one of their new charges discovers a doll that has been long locked away and evil soon permeates their lives.

 

[Review contains spoilers.]

 

 

A Toast

Annabelle: Creation rolls it back to the very beginning of this creepy doll’s inception, made by famed toymaker Samuel Mullins (Anthony LaPaglia) who lovingly handcrafted the piece as an homage to his young daughter, Annabelle “Bee” (Samara Lee). (They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder – I’m guessing the butt ugly doll was meant as a compliment?)

If my dad was like, “I made this for you!” I would cry. [Photo Credit]

Bee is the apple of Samuel and Esther’s (Miranda Otto) eyes – the wealthy couple dotes on her obsessively. (Doll-making must’ve been pretty lucrative during the Dust Bowl depression era?) All is rosy in their privileged world until a horrible accident ruins their lives when Bee is hit by a car. The couple holes up in their mansion and their world basically stops. For some reason, after 12 years of silence, they decide to open up their home to a group of six orphans and one seriously hot nun (Stephanie Sigman as Sister Charlotte).

The girls are thrilled with their new digs – especially polio-stricken Janice (Talitha Bateman) and her best friend, Linda (Lulu Wilson). Of course they’re dying to explore the house and its surroundings – and, naturally, the best time to do that is in the dead of night. Janice soon takes to roaming the second floor while everyone is asleep, but the real trouble begins when a locked room (Bee’s bedroom, that has remained untouched since her passing) magically opens for her. She’s drawn to the locked closet – because I guess gaining access to the locked bedroom wasn’t enough – and, lo and behold, she finds a doll perched on a rocking chair, surrounded by decoupaged walls of pages ripped out of the Bible. You know, the usual.

Beer Two

As you may have guessed, the doll chilling in the rocking chair is none other than Annabelle, who is not amused by her timeout in the closet. You would think things would get rolling at this point, but friends they do not! The dry countryside and large property are meant to create a gothic setting, but it’s really an excuse to draw out the few and far between scares. This film moves slower than Janice’s polio gate. Shadow play and cheap, obvious shots are the name of the game for the bulk of the under 2-hour runtime. (Annabelle is like Jaws – you think you’re going to see a lot of the thing that’s supposed to scare you, but you’re fooled by the mere suggestion of its presence. There are some gorier, creepier things later in the flick – effects saved mainly for the finale.)

So much time is spent on Janice and Linda’s friendship, along with the struggles of Janice’s illness and subsequent disability, that it might as well have been renamed The Polio Diaries: A Cautionary Tale as to Why Children Should Be Vaccinated. By the time Janice and Linda are recounting a “hilarious” story about when they used to steal chocolate chips from the kitchen of their former orphanage, laughing like two old biddies at a coffee klatch, I was ready to stab myself in the thigh. The mere thought of puncturing my skin with my fancy new pilot’s pen (it has a light at the tip, so I can take notes in a dark theater like a god damn professional!) was way scarier than anything I saw on the screen.

Unlucky ladies. [Photo Credit]

Beer Three

I spent a lot of the time in my seat wishing:

  1. That I could eat popcorn. The film was so quiet that any munching would’ve rang throughout the theater. Am I codependent, worrying about everyone’s aural comfort over my snack desires? Let’s save the answer for another day!
  2. That I could leave. My god, this movie is boring.
  3. That the director could’ve at least had the decency to include a hot hookup between Sister Charlotte and Samuel. A titillating romp in the doll-maker’s toolshed would’ve gone a long way to increase my goodwill towards this dud. Instead, the only wood Samuel carved was a shoddily made cross.

The only sin here is omission. [Photo Credit]

Beer Four

The plot begins to thicken when Sister Charlotte finally begs for answers from bedridden Esther. The two have a polite and informative chat because, as noted, the nun has not banged her husband. I guess narrative exposition was more important than horror flick sex to the director, and to that I say, “Whatever, David F. Sandberg. Annabelle is not the monster here; you are!”

Esther reveals to the distraught Charlotte that Bee was taken from them suddenly and, while consumed by extreme grief, they prayed to any deity that would listen for another chance with their daughter. I guess God was busy that day because it was the Devil himself that answered the Mullins’ plea. Bee’s spirit soon began to appear in the house, which momentarily brought peace to her parents. But Bee quickly tired of not having a physical form and asked for permission to move into the doll her father crafted for her. They said “yes,” and Annabelle as we know her was created. (The title makes so much sense!) It didn’t take long for Esther and Samuel to figure out that – surprise! – the entity now inhabiting the toy was decidedly not their beloved Bee. It’s too bad, because when has giving your dead daughter permission to move into a horrifically homely doll not worked out? Weird. (I guess someone didn’t have access to Netflix. Chucky, streaming now!)

They would make a cute couple. [Photo Credit]

Beer Five

It should be noted that Esther lounges in bed wearing half of a porcelain doll face over a wound that, despite being a decade old, looks as fresh as the day the devil tried to rip her head open in order to claim her soul. Here’s the moment where I simply must complain about the fuzzy timeline. They have seatbelts in this movie, but apparently not antibiotics or hydrogen peroxide? Or was Samuel just too lazy to hit up the drug store for his wife, instead opting to create a poor – or, in this case, rich – man’s Phantom of the Opera? What year is the film set in? If I’d been allowed my brain food – aka buttered movie popcorn – maybe I could’ve figured it out, but I was cruelly denied by the hand of my own politeness. Sigh. On the upswing, the sound, or lack thereof, is well-done. The editor created an ambiance that worked effectively, especially in Dolby Surround. I spent half my time looking over my shoulder, hearing creaks and thinking someone was behind me.

I got the hottest bitch in the game wearing my chain. [Photo Credit]

However, this effect is not enough to make up for an overarchingly boring experience. As mentioned, it does ramp up at the end, with the entity in Annabelle successfully taking over Janice’s soul. (Bonus: The devil has no time for polio, so an evil Janice can walk!) A lot of crazy shit goes down before Janice disappears and Annabelle is shoved back in the closet. Did I mention this band of girls (and one hot nun) are literally rescued by men? I was already wildly offended by the slow-moving molasses subbing for a plot, but this just about put me over the edge.

Verdict

Oh, Annabelle – I want to think you’re scary. I really do. The Conjuring was a legitimate fright – but, two sequels in, there’s no denying this doll would’ve been better off left to rot in the attic.

Annabelle: Creation (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time a moving shadow is supposed to scare you.

Take a Drink: every time the mean girl posse excludes Janice and Linda.

Take a Drink: every time the gals use the creaky dumbwaiter.

Take a Drink: every time you wonder why in the hell Janice would go into Bee’s room in the first place.

Do a Shot: if you find Linda wildly annoying.

Do a Shot: for Anthony LaPaglia! So I Married an Axe Murderer is still one of the best movies of all time.

 

Last Call

If you want a to stare at Annabelle for a full minute before seeing her eyes move, by all means stay while the credits roll.

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365 Days of Movies- Henry J. Fromage Edition- Week 32 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-32 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-32#respond Sun, 13 Aug 2017 17:15:52 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102687 By: Henry J. Fromage – I’ve definitely developed a pretty quality theme over the last few weeks, between Fantasia Fest films and some more great July theatrical releases. 176. Have a Nice Day This surprise adult animation entry at this year’s Berlinale Film Festival plays like a Chinese version of the Fargo TV Show, following characters of …

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By: Henry J. Fromage –

I’ve definitely developed a pretty quality theme over the last few weeks, between Fantasia Fest films and some more great July theatrical releases.

176. Have a Nice Day

This surprise adult animation entry at this year’s Berlinale Film Festival plays like a Chinese version of the Fargo TV Show, following characters of various degrees of criminality as they aspire to secure a bag full of money that represents a range of modest to even downright sad aspirations.  Just like that show, and the film that inspired it, though, it’s all destined to end in a bloody pile-up of small mistakes and overconfidence.  Well worth your time.

177. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

I honestly have no idea what was going through Guy Ritchie’s head when he thought he’d turn the King Arthur legend into something like five movies of incredibly expensive, utterly nonsensical bombast.  I knew I was in for some bullshit from minute one, as evil sorcerer Mordred (Arthur’s illegitimate son in the tales, but whatever) commands an army of 10-story tall elephants to defeat Arthur’s father’s kingdom.  Yes, this is another origin story.  Anyway, I don’t know why he thought Arthurian legend was the perfect vehicle for his God of War + Game of Thrones + Diablo mashup aspirations, but it’s a pile of rancid garbage in the end.  Don’t think those sequels are coming.

178. A Taxi Driver

Song Kang-ho, who I’m starting to consider the Korean Tom Hanks, has another prestige picture out, this time playing a cagey taxi driver who steals a fare to take a German reporter to Gwangju in 1980- a city that has been sealed off as student protests and horrifically violent retribution clash while the rest of the country goes about their daily lives and briefly wonders about the small-scale Commie agitation that their news tells them is happening there.  This is pretty conventional in its execution- the Korean equivalent of Oscar bait- but it’s an interesting story with great character work from Song and Liam Nees-err, Thomas Kretschman.  Not that controlling a populace through fomenting confusion in their media has any present day relevance, either…

179. Tragedy Girls

Tragedy Girls wants very dearly to be Scream for the Instagram generation.  And while its tongue-in-cheek script and fairly refreshing and unique focus on wanna-be serial killer Heathers does receive the requisite filmmaking energy and verve (and just the other side of cartoonish gore) such a premise requires, it’s not half as clever as it thinks it is.  A good rental for horror junkies, though, most likely.

180. A Ghost Story

David Lowery, Rooney Mara, and Casey Affleck shot this film almost as an aside and for a pittance, and in secret just in case it turned out as foolish as its premise suggested it would.  It is, after all, a film about a ghost played by Affleck in a bedsheet with eyeholes.  Instead of a childish whiff, A Ghost Story is one of the arthouse home runs of the year, a heartbreaking rumination on death, time, relationships, and the universal truths that bind us.

181. Kekszakallu

If A Ghost Story, in all its beautifully shot extended scenes and subtle commentary on what it means to exist is too artsy-fartsy for ya, well, I have some bad news about this film.  Kekszakallu is an arthouse rendition of the classic Bluebeard story set in the present day of Argentina.  Except with none of the entrapment or murder or other recognizable story beats of its namesake.  What it does have, however, is some of the most inventive and eye-catching cinematography you’re likely to see in many a year, rendering the mundane gorgeously alien and leading you to agree that the plot is plenty fine being the least of this film’s concerns.

182. Most Beautiful Island

Ana Asensio wrote, directed, and stars in this tight thriller about a mysterious game that preys on beautiful immigrant women in New York.  The first half is an interesting view in the life of a immigrant who probably came with modeling dreams and now hands out fried chicken fliers, but it’s the tense and unrelenting back half that probably landed it the top prize at SXSW.

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Fantasia International Film Festival: Confidential Assignment (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/fantasia-international-film-festival-confidential-assignment-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/fantasia-international-film-festival-confidential-assignment-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sun, 13 Aug 2017 12:15:39 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102641 By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) – Do setups get more ripe for fish out of water shenanigans than North Korean/South Korean buddy cop movie? Yeah, not sure how this will work, either. That’s exactly what Confidential Assignment has to offer up, as North Korean badass Officer Lim (Hyun Bin) joins up with an unconventional but effective South …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –

Do setups get more ripe for fish out of water shenanigans than North Korean/South Korean buddy cop movie?

Yeah, not sure how this will work, either.

That’s exactly what Confidential Assignment has to offer up, as North Korean badass Officer Lim (Hyun Bin) joins up with an unconventional but effective South Korean career cop Office Kang (Yu Hae-jin) to pursue the ex-special forces defectors who killed his wife and stole a set of impeccable 100$ counterfeiting plates.

A Toast

Confidential Assignment has a likable central duo in the uniquely goofy-faced Yu Hae-jin and the impossibly cut Hyun Bin and that interesting if unlikely premise (this movie is all about Korean peninsular brotherhood and mutual regard, but we’re not likely to see a North Korean soldier running around Seoul anytime too soon).

Beyond that duo, I appreciated the interestingly complex motivations for the defector criminals/ex-special forces from North Korea, and despite a smidge of dodgy CGI, the action direction is otherwise pretty excellent, with some top-notch set pieces.  Finally, this copy had an unusually great translation- the wordplay was successful in a large part because the idioms and slang were perfectly transposed into their American equivalents.  Between this action and wordplay, all the ingredients for an at least moderately successful buddy cop film are here in spades.

Beer Two

The screenwriters don’t really play to the fish out of water piece at all, though.  Largely it’s played straight, particularly by Hyun’s Officer Lim.  Despite not really leaning into the comedy like you’d expect, the film largely follows the buddy cop template set out for it by Lethal Weapon on down, though.  If I made “spot the cliche” the drinking game, none of y’all would live.

Beer Three

For being as seemingly important to every person and country involved in the movie, the characters treat the counterfeiting plates awfully goddamn nonchalantly.  More than once, different characters that have zero motivation to let the plates go and all the reason in the world to prevent that from happen just… let people walk off with them.  It’s bizarre.

Verdict

Perhaps it was the North & South Korean buddy cop premise, but I was still invested in Confidential Assignment all the way through despite its various real issues.

Confidential Assignment (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever Detective Lin glowers at someone

Take a Drink: whenever somebody mentions how hot he his

Take a Drink: whenever Detective Kang mugs or makes a funny noise

Do a Shot: whenever we see the counterfeiting plates

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Trailer Reviews: Annabelle: Creation, The Glass Castle, & The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature http://movieboozer.com/articles/movie-trailer-reviews/trailer-reviews-annabelle-creation-the-glass-castle-the-nut-job-2-nutty-by-nature http://movieboozer.com/articles/movie-trailer-reviews/trailer-reviews-annabelle-creation-the-glass-castle-the-nut-job-2-nutty-by-nature#respond Sat, 12 Aug 2017 17:15:28 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102896 By: Hawk Ripjaw – It was a weird night. I started by Googling pictures of men so muscular their head looked too small, and then just started looking up Donald Duck impression tutorial videos.   Annabelle: Creation Studios are starting to realize you can’t just shit out a horror movie from some inexpensive/inexperienced director and …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw –

It was a weird night. I started by Googling pictures of men so muscular their head looked too small, and then just started looking up Donald Duck impression tutorial videos.

 

Annabelle: Creation

Studios are starting to realize you can’t just shit out a horror movie from some inexpensive/inexperienced director and expect it to start printing money. Or at least, they can’t do it twice. So after the first film sucks, they make a better sequel with a more insightful director. The current best example is Ouija (dir. Stiles White in his debut, 7% on Rotten Tomatoes) which was trounced by its sequel Origin of Evil (dir. Mike Flanagan of Hush, and 82% on Rotten Tomatoes). The original Annabelle was directed by John R. Leonetti, who’s a talented cinematographer but directed the terrible Mortal Kombat: Annihilation and The Butterfly Effect 2. Annabelle got a 29% on Rotten Tomatoes. For the sequel, we’re gifted by the usually-sure hand of David F. Sandberg (Lights Out, 76% on Rotten Tomatoes). So far, Creation is at a 69%. That’s not bad, but little girls and possessed dolls aren’t as scary as they used to be, so Sandberg will have to bring the atmosphere.

Beer Prediction

Even if it is good, I’m doubting whether it can reach the bar set by the Conjuring movies.

 

The Glass Castle

Oftentimes, I will read the synopsis of a movie before I watch the trailer if I don’t know much about it. For The Glass Castle, I read about a “tumultuous upbringing” as the result of “deeply dysfunctional parents” and “Woody Harrelson plays an alcoholic.”  Aside from Brie Larson looking sad, I didn’t really know what to expect, but it certainly wasn’t what I watched. Judging off the trailer alone, Woody Harrelson is a fun, carefree dad more focused on doing silly things with his kids than actually being a dad, such as moving everybody between homes, and the occasional hint of him being irresponsible. I still don’t know what the hell the tone is supposed to be. 

Beer Prediction

Look, this weekend I’m watching the sequel to an animated movie I never saw instead of this, so that should tell you how much I like family dramas.

 

The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature

While talking about cougar encounters with our esteemed Felix Felicis, she mentioned to me that her week was more unpleasant because she had to watch The Nut Job 2, and all I had to deal with was women in their mid 40s approaching me in grocery stores. Competitive as I am, often foolishly so, I immediately decided to also watch it. That way, she would no longer have the worse week, right? I try to not make rash decisions, because when I do, they’re often stupid. Such was the case here, where I claimed victory in my willingness to match a bad week with Felix, without thinking about the fact that she also has to review it. That, Felix, is a bad week. You win. I lose.

But now I have to see The Nut Job 2 because I pledged to do so. And I don’t have to review it. Which means 90 minutes and $9 are being literally thrown away when they could have gone to a food bank or something.

I lose.

Beer Prediction

Fuuuuuuuuuck, what have I done?

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Family Life (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/2beers/family-life-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/2beers/family-life-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sat, 12 Aug 2017 12:15:12 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102547 By: Jenna Zine (Two Beers) – Melancholy Martin (Jorge Becker) agrees to housesit for his distant cousin Bruno (Cristian Carvajal) and Bruno’s wife Consuelo (Blanca Lewin) while the family takes off to Paris for an extended trip. Soon the detached Martin finds himself enthralled with a local woman who makes him reconsider his hermit lifestyle. …

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By: Jenna Zine (Two Beers) –

Melancholy Martin (Jorge Becker) agrees to housesit for his distant cousin Bruno (Cristian Carvajal) and Bruno’s wife Consuelo (Blanca Lewin) while the family takes off to Paris for an extended trip. Soon the detached Martin finds himself enthralled with a local woman who makes him reconsider his hermit lifestyle.

A Toast

This project by accomplished Chilean directors Alicia Scherson and Chistian Jimenez, with screenwriter Alejandro Zambra, is a quiet, reflective indie flick delight. The story revolves around Martin, a damaged 40-something man, who, despite being good-looking and capable, is not motivated to make much of his life. We learn through a bit of exposition that the crux of his malaise centers around a bad breakup, with a woman who he is not yet over, as well as the sudden death of his father. Adrift, he agrees to spend the summer at his cousin Bruno’s swanky but homey pad, even though both seem quite wary of each other. Also slightly unnerved by Martin’s presence is Bruno’s wife Consuelo, who finds herself musing about the near-stranger that is set to take over their home.

The film is slow to start, a pace that remains steady throughout the film. A fair amount of the narrative is focused on the dynamic between Bruno and Consuelo, an interesting vibe in itself, while also watching the three interact as Bruno’s family gets ready to leave for their trip. (Bubbling under the surface is the possibility of infidelity on Bruno’s part, as well as a troubling message Bruno and Consuelo’s young daughter, Sofi, has painted on her bedroom wall about hating her parents and Paris.)

So, like how messy do you think our home is gonna be when we return? [Photo Credit]

There is chemistry between Consuelo and Martin – he even attempts to kiss her before she departs for the airport – but she rebuffs him, leaving Martin to his own devices as she quickly scurries off to join her family. It is once Bruno and co. leave that the full weight of what Martin has chosen dawns on him – the loneliness is almost deafening. To fill his hours, he wanders aimlessly around the two-story villa, poking through possessions, trying on clothes, listening to jazz, and chain-smoking. The only other thing he interacts with is the family cat, Mississippi, who, sensing his temporary owner’s disinterest, promptly goes missing.

Mississippi, you are harshing my vibe! [Photo Credit]

Beer Two

It’s the cat that finally propels Martin to leave the house and explore the neighborhood as he puts up “Missing” signs for the feline. Along the way he meets Pachi (Gabriela Arancibia) who is also flyering for her lost dog. (It is refreshing in this digital Tinder age to have a real life meet-cute.) Soon she is dropping by his house to check in on him, and shortly thereafter they are embarking on a passionate affair. (Pachi decides they will “fuck nine times” and then see if they want to renew “the contract.”) In the meantime, Pachi has questions about Martin’s life and the lie is born before Martin thinks twice: Yes, this is his house. Yes, he does have a child. And yes, he is divorced. The house, with all of its familial ephemera, has unwittingly set the stage perfectly. Whoops! But Martin, already enamored with Pachi and her young son, Seba, doesn’t see much cause to waver after presenting his fabricated “reality.”

There is so much hope for Martin – one thinks he has finally found happiness. All he has to do is come clean about the lie, hope that Pachi will understand, and move forward with the real life that’s just within his grasp. But can he beat the bitter beast of self-loathing? As the clock winds down on his housesitting gig (nicely illustrated by Bruno’s collection of hourglasses), Martin begins to fold in on himself. I kept thinking of the old adage, “If someone tells you who they are, believe them.” Martin sold Pachi (and ultimately himself) a fantasy – truly knowing Martin was never going to be a part of that.

Can you sense a love based on a lie? [Photo Credit]

Verdict

Though Family Life is subtitled I found myself turning up the volume, enjoying the cascade of dialect and the well-chosen soundtrack. The plot poses the oft-asked “how well do we ever know the ones we love” question, leaving viewers to fill in the blank. It is a quiet film with a short run-time. It is lovely but, much like its protagonist, it could’ve been a little bit more.

Family Life (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Martin and Pachi make love. Spoiler – it’s more than 9!

Take a Drink: every time you want to tell Martin to snap out of it.

Take a Drink: every time you fantasize about living in that gorgeous home. Interesting side note – the flick was shot in director Alicia Scherson’s pad.

Do a Shot: for Bruno and Consuelo, who have to come home from Paris and clean up Martin’s mess!

 

Last Call: I would recommend watching this beautiful film to the very last haunting frame.

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Kidnap (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/kidnap-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/kidnap-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Fri, 11 Aug 2017 12:15:23 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102884 By: Hawk Ripjaw (Four Beers) – Kidnap is the timeless thriller of one mom, and her quest to save her child through the power of a Chrysler Town and Country™. Did you know that a Chrysler Town and Country™ is capable of going offroad at any time, tearing the fuck out of a small 60’s …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw (Four Beers) –

Kidnap is the timeless thriller of one mom, and her quest to save her child through the power of a Chrysler Town and Country™.

Did you know that a Chrysler Town and Country™ is capable of going offroad at any time, tearing the fuck out of a small 60’s hatchback without harming the child inside, and jumping from 40 to 60 MPH in a mere crash zoom?

Karla Dyson (Halle Berry) is a single mom working at a restaurant, dropping sick burns on her shitty customers and raising her son Frankie. The movie tells us how much she loves him through a lengthy home video montage in which Karla documents every second of Frankie’s life. Cut to present time: in the midst of an apparently unending, soulless game of “Marco Polo” at the fair, Karla has to step away to take a call from her ex-husband’s lawyer, seeking full custody. Karla angrily says “If he thinks he can take my son….” before realizing that somebody has literally just taken her son. In pursuit, Karla immediately loses her phone, and has no choice but to put the pedal to the metal in her Chrysler Town and Country™ and get her son back herself. 

A Toast

No matter what she’s in (unless it’s an X-Men movie or Swordfish, both of whose directors probably didn’t even mention silly things like “emoting”), Halle Berry is still a pretty damn good actress, and even with some of the ridiculous shit she has to do and say in Kidnap, she’s still convincing. While she’s probably the only objectively good thing about the movie, she’s far from the only entertaining one. 

There are some great bad-movie moments here: there are horror-movie jumpscares, a bystander confused over whether Karla’s sun is named “Frankie” or “Marco,” the unreasonably excessive (though not graphic for an R-rated film) collateral damage, Karla’s sudden and hilarious shift into Liam Neeson mode, and assorted other bizarre beats which make Kidnap absolutely worth a watch for bad movie lovers, for the most part.

Beer Two

There’s an idea here, but not much else. Kid gets kidnapped, mom tries to save him… credits? The movie moves between events and scenes but doesn’t really seem invested in what happens, making everything completely surface level. There’s nothing to feed into the rift between Karla and her ex-husband, so there’s really nothing of substance in his fight for custody, or even a good reason given for it. In fact, it takes barely fifteen minutes for Frankie to get kidnapped: everything beforehand is rushed out of the way so the movie can get to the “good stuff.” While there’s certainly nothing wrong with a lean narrative, even the best of those have characters that feel real. They help drive the movie and have their emotions guide their actions rather than just have a vacuum of loud action beats and close-ups of Karla’s terrified face.

Beer Three

Maybe there’s a reason these crazy rednecks are kidnapping children. Maybe they are victims themselves, maybe they’re being coerced, or maybe they have their own self-centered, sinister reasons for doing it. Whatever it is, they’re not saying, and it erases any sort of nuance we could have gotten from them. Maybe 10 more minutes of movie could have given them something interesting to work with, adding more of a dynamic AND still clocking in at under two hours. Instead, a man that looks like Johnny Depp in disguise in the 21 Jump Street remake and a woman that looks like Melissa McCarthy dyed her hair blonde to star in The Hills Have Eyes just….sorta….take kids. There’s a five minute throwaway exchange in which one of them is yelling at “the middleman” on the phone, but there’s nothing else. You can give villains motives and dimension without trying to make child abductors seem sympathetic, but Kidnap either doesn’t know how or doesn’t care. As a result it makes the experience feel extremely thin.

Beer Four

The movie is edited in such a way that it actually feels unfinished. Specifically, an early scene finds a random slightly overweight male stranger with his shirt unbuttoned halfway down casually asking Karla how old Frankie was, before chuckling and staring at the kid. The shot on his face holds far too long, and feels like clumsy foreshadowing for the villain reveal. As it turns out, this man never appears again. The weird tendency for shots to hold too long is one in a very shallow bag of cinematic tricks: the go-to technique for intense moments is a bass drop and sudden slow-mo. It’s all terribly generic, save for one inexplicable slow-zoom dutch angle set to a very surreal stretch of music. For no reason. I still don’t know what the fuck the movie was trying to convey with that. 

Verdict

Kidnap comes incredibly close to being a shlock classic, and in many ways it gets the job done, clocking in at a breezy 90 minutes and ending without leaving much of an impression. If you’re like me, that’s a bit disappointing, because I’ve been salivating over this movie ever since the first trailer over a year ago. I specifically sought this out for another deliriously stupid Incarnate-style romp, but it never quite reaches those heights. Apart from a couple of very specific things, it’s not really all that offensively bad, either. It’s just a generally forgettable, mostly poor and basic action thriller. You don’t have to chase after this one. 

But that shlock. That beautiful shlock.

Kidnap (2017) Movie Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Karla screams

Take a Drink: whenever Karla talks to herself

Do a Shot: every time someone is injured or killed as a direct result of Karla’s actions

Take a Drink: for every instance of the sound dipping out/bass drop or a switch to slow-motion

Do a Shot: every time Karla goes off-road in the Chrysler Town and Country™

Take a Drink: every time Karla yells “Frankie” or “Marco”

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A Ghost Story (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/a-ghost-story-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/a-ghost-story-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Thu, 10 Aug 2017 12:15:11 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102697 By: Movie Snurb (Two Beers) – Admittedly, if you know nothing about A Ghost Story and then you watch the trailer you’ll think it either looks like the worst movie ever made, or possibly just the dumbest. However, if you give this film a chance, it poses several existential questions and attempts to answer them. …

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By: Movie Snurb (Two Beers) –

Admittedly, if you know nothing about A Ghost Story and then you watch the trailer you’ll think it either looks like the worst movie ever made, or possibly just the dumbest. However, if you give this film a chance, it poses several existential questions and attempts to answer them. It’s a meditative piece on life, love and how things are connected through time, even when we don’t know it.

Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara are a married couple living in a house. No names are told and they’re credited with M and C. Casey (C) dies in a car accident and his spirit comes back as a man under a white bed sheet. He goes back to the house to attempt to reconnect with his bereaved wife M(Rooney Mara). Eventually C’s Ghost stays in the house even after M has moved on, and travels through time with the house. If there was a film to show in your philosophy class about time, love, and connection, this would be it.

A Toast

Casey Affleck never ceases to amaze with his acting. There is very little talking in this film. In fact, the part with the most talking is the guys pretty much explaining the plot of the film. With this lack of dialogue, you need to have actors who can convey emotion without talking. This acting, at times, can be much more difficult. That is why Casey Affleck deserved to win Best Actor last year in Manchester by the Sea. His character was very introverted and withdrawn. Therefore, a lot of Casey’s acting was in his expressions and emotions. This film is the same way; however, he is under a sheet. We cannot see his face, yet he still is able to portray anger or curiosity.  Rooney Mara is excellent as well. One of her best scenes of her career might be the scene with the pie.

With this kind of minimalist script, you need other ways to tell your story. In this film they use the camera and editing to great effect. This film is full of long takes, scenes that almost bring anxiety because you are waiting for something else to happen or a cut but the camera stays still; allowing the actors to act with pure emotion, and the result is some beautiful moments. The opening scene is very personal and only contains maybe ten words, yet we understand everything about this couple with this long take as the camera suspends in a medium shot above their bed. In a lesser director’s hands this film’s 92 minute runtime would feel like 180 minutes. However, with the talented David Lowery it feels like barely over an hour in a very good way.

This is a quiet (figuratively and literally) film which also makes it very personal. There are times it is so quiet you can hear the person two rows behind you breathe. This film’s thought-provoking messages and questions will get inside of you and marinate for days. I recommend seeing this with someone so you can both discuss this film and digest it together. If I had watched this alone, I’d be dying to talk to someone about its meaning.

Verdict

A Ghost Story is a beautiful and personal film that will leave you thinking for days about the meaning of life. I couldn’t’ recommend this film enough. It’s a slow build, but the payoff is worth the wait.

 

A Ghost Story (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for each new tenant of the house

Take a Drink: for very jump in time

Take a Drink: for sunspots and paper notes

Take a Drink: every time you feel sad for the neighbor ghost.

Take a Sip: every time Rooney takes a bite of pie.

Do a Shot: whenever you jump- there’s some jumping in here, too

Drink a few beers after the film: while you contemplate life.

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The Dark Tower (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/the-dark-tower-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/the-dark-tower-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Wed, 09 Aug 2017 12:15:49 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102847 By: Felix Felicis (Four Beers) – Fun Fact: You can’t spell “meh” without “me” (and so I was thoroughly whelmed by Steven Spielberg’s latest adcraptation of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series and living embodiment of mediocre entertain-mehnt). This shallow, confusing, sequel/spinoff/rebootquel of the novels is somehow meant to pull elements from all the books but …

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By: Felix Felicis (Four Beers) –

Fun Fact: You can’t spell “meh” without “me” (and so I was thoroughly whelmed by Steven Spielberg’s latest adcraptation of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series and living embodiment of mediocre entertain-mehnt). This shallow, confusing, sequel/spinoff/rebootquel of the novels is somehow meant to pull elements from all the books but still stand alone as an origin story/sequel to the source material. BRB. Sticking my head in a toaster bath after trying to relate what I saw with what I was meant to see.

Yeah, that feels about right.

Cards on the table, here, I didn’t actually read the source material beforehand due to the reportedly odd piecemeal structure of how they built the narrative for Dark Tower on screen. This may have been a mistake because going into Dark Tower blind is kind of like walking into a pitch-black room filled with flying whack-a-mole mallets. You’re one thousand percent gonna get nailed in the face, repeatedly, by something you don’t understand where it’s coming from. Slight-to-moderate spoilers ahead, avast ye, matey, ye’ve been warrrrrrned.

Shockingly accurate footage of what watching Dark Tower feels like.

The film follows psychic wunderkind, Jake Chambers (introducing relative newcomer Tom Taylor) as his dreams poke through the fabric of reality into another world. An alternate world of magic and guns as he sees a Man In Black (Matthew McConaughey in what I can only assume is an extended-Lincoln-commercial acting headspace) trying to topple a tower holding evil outside the universe at bay. But wait! Brace yourselves for the only reason not to immediately fall asleep as The Gunslinger (aka Idris Elba and his six-plus-feet of chocolatey goodness) tracks the evil sorcerer down on a mission to murder his face real hard for… reasons. Chambers escapes the clutches of skinsuit-wearing rat people (fuck if I know) who are abducting psychic kids for the Man In Black because of… reasons… To track down the Gunslinger and help him go murder city on the sorcerer for… reasons. Bullets and bland dialogue fly like a mild breeze until the credits roll and you’re free to stagger on out of the theater (possibly) mildly entertained.

… maybe.

A Toast

Idris Elba was everything good about this movie. He did everything he could to make the Gunslinger, Roland, more than a gruff, two-dimensional caterpillar, trying (and failing) to break out of the shallow-character chrysalis though it was, sadly, not even close to enough to propel this beached whale of a snoozefest anywhere near interesting waters.

Fairly accurate footage of what it was like to sit next to me in Dark Tower.

I also may have laughed, slightly maniacally, at Jake’s mom, Laurie (Vikings‘ Katheryn Winnick) biting the dust in a super brutal and yet hugely anti-climactic manner, like, the way they expect this kid to deal with his mom’s death on the fly is savagely hilarious. Please note: I am a terrible person and find terrible things darkly humorous. I also admire the “zero fucks given” wrap up that basically has a fully grown man invite a kid he’s known roughly twenty-four hours along for a psychic orphan’s intergalactic rodeo at the end of the film. Because why the hell not.

Narrator: But it WASN’T “fine”.

Beer Two

I literally don’t even know where to begin to describe what went wrong with Dark Tower but the half-empty bottle of peppermint schnapps sitting on my desk would like to suggest, perhaps, that MAYBE DECIDE IF YOUR MOVIE IS A DIRECT ADAPTATION OF A NOVEL, A SEQUEL TO A SERIES OF NOVELS, OR A REBOOTQUEL TO THE WHOLE SERIES INSTEAD OF A NARRATIVE GANGBANG CLUSTERFUCK OF ALL THREE BEFORE FILMING A SINGLE FUCKING FRAME, HMMMM? ‘Kay? Good talk.

-Not the writer (Akiva Goldsman et al.) of this movie.

Dark Tower heavily borrowed on the expectation that they were playing to a built-in fanbase who would all have read the entire eight-book series before sitting down to this extremely anemic outline of a fantasy-driven adventure. Nothing was explained and almost anything that WAS explained happened as an extreme afterthought, most notably shoe-horning in details on the fly that seem like they should be a big fucking deal (like the fact that Roland is descended from an alternate universe King Arthur and his guns are forged from what we would consider Excalibur with all of this happening in maybe two lines of dialogue OH BUT THEY HAVE ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD TO REPEAT SHITTY-ASS LINES AD INFINITUM COMING OUT MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY’S MOUTH).

FML.

Beer Three

Picture a sad clown. Picture that clown picking up a broken crayon and drawing a series of two-dimensional dicks all over your face. Congratulations, you’ve just experienced the equivalent of the kind of nuanced character depth you can expect from Dark Tower. NO YOU LEAVE THOSE DICKS ON YOUR FACE, SUSAN, YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DID. Author’s note: Susan is the studio-exec stand-in who greenlit this mediocre shitsicle after it languished in development hell for a decade switching out writers, directors, and actors more expendable than a T-Swift squad member. Make sure to check Matthew McConaughey’s tepid pulse every once in awhile because either the Man In Black is afraid of facial expressions or McConaughey’s contract docked ten grand for every line delivered outside of a narcoleptic drawl.

Swap out “homicide” for “stop breathing” and this .gif is DEAD ON Matthew McConaughey in Dark Tower.

Beer Four

This was the longest ninety minutes of my life. Which is almost impressive considering the lack of anything resembling effort put towards the script, dialogue, and/or pacing in Dark Tower. I’m gonna do some rough computations and say that 40% of the dialogue is the Gunslinger oath repeated until you wanna drink whatever Kool-Aide will end the pain.

-Your expectations about Dark Tower meeting reality.

Another 50% of the dialogue is Matthew McConaughey telling people to “stop breathing”, “have a great apocalypse”, and/or that they’re “the whole package… as advertised”.

There’s another 10% in there somewhere for the sound of Roland loading bullets into his gun. Dark Tower was a rough one because there were sparks of an interesting idea (that never quite caught fire) somewhere deep inside the bland colon of creativity that squeezed out a passable cinematic turd I’m only too happy to flush on down the pipes of obscure mediocrity ASAP.

If I had a dollar every time I fell down the drain into a weird sewer, I’d have Oprah money, y’all.

Verdict

The Dark Tower is the “I know I walked into this room for a reason though fuck if I can remember why” of movies. Fingers crossed old age or my next tequila bender robs me of this memory.

The Dark Tower (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever anyone repeats the Gunslinger motto.

Take a Shot: every time that Matthew McConaughey tells someone to die.

Take a Sip: whenever Jake uses his shine to see or dream about the Man In Black.

Take a Drink: each time a portal or tower-beam-weapon is used.

Shotgun Your Beer: when bullets beat glass.

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Ken’s Movie Diary 2017 – Week 28 http://movieboozer.com/articles/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-28 http://movieboozer.com/articles/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-28#respond Tue, 08 Aug 2017 17:15:40 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102771 Weekly Update: Only watched one movie this week, been busy binge-rewatching Game of Thrones to refresh my memory for the new season! Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date- 234. The Incredible Jessica James (2017) This solidly acted quirky romantic comedy stars Jessica Williams …

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Weekly Update: Only watched one movie this week, been busy binge-rewatching Game of Thrones to refresh my memory for the new season!

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

234. The Incredible Jessica James (2017)

This solidly acted quirky romantic comedy stars Jessica Williams as the eponymous character; a struggling playwright in New York city. Full of sharp quips and no-nonsense attitude, the film definitely manages some good laughs now and again. Unfortunately, the rote story is one that has been done to death, and they never really give any characters much of a chance to shine outside of Jessica. Since it is on Netflix it is worth a streaming view, but it is not worth a movie ticket price…

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Fantasia International Film Festival: A Day (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/fantasia-international-film-festival-a-day-2017-movie-review http://movieboozer.com/featured/fantasia-international-film-festival-a-day-2017-movie-review#respond Tue, 08 Aug 2017 12:15:51 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102613 By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) – I actually got A Day as a bit of a bonus screener along with another Fantasia Film Festival screener, and if you’ve paid attention to my recent output, the fact that it was a South Korean movie meant I was gonna review it. It’s not like I have a South Korean …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –

I actually got A Day as a bit of a bonus screener along with another Fantasia Film Festival screener, and if you’ve paid attention to my recent output, the fact that it was a South Korean movie meant I was gonna review it.

It’s not like I have a South Korean wife or anything.

Based on the premise alone, I’m glad I did.  A Day is pretty literally a terrible day, repeated over and over Groundhog Day-style, in which a father must figure out how to save his daughter from her car crash fate.

A Toast

As the rules of this situation reveal themselves, it’s hard not to become entirely gripped by it.  Up until arguably the end (more on that later), this is a very original and intriguingly delivered premise that had me hook, line, and sinker.  If you don’t stay glued to the screen for 90 minutes figuring out what is driving this recurrence and how the characters could possibly extricate themselves from it, you don’t operate like I do.

A Day also boasts typically polished Ko-llywood(?) production values, with some excellent slow-motion effects and nice editing to keep the pace moving from day to day.  There’s some moments of great acting as well between three principal leads (I won’t spoil the third one).

Beer Two

The daughter is crazy annoying.

I’m not sure a motive is necessary…

There’s also a strong melodramatic streak running through the film, definitely in the denouement, and particularly in the song choice.  It wasn’t enough to put me off the film, but I can see tastes varying here.

Verdict

A Day plays a lot like you would expect a dramatic Korean-produced Groundhog Day would- it’s works probably better than it should.

A Day (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for every new day.  That it seriously enough.

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365 Days of Movies- Henry J. Fromage Edition- Week 31 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-31 http://movieboozer.com/articles/365-days-movies-henry-j-fromage-edition-week-31#respond Mon, 07 Aug 2017 17:15:52 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102617 By: Henry J. Fromage – This week features even more of the Fantasia Fest bounty, and some more great July theatrical releases. 171. The Senior Class This Korean adult animation tells the story of a besotted art student and his classmate he has a thing for, who so happens to be earning some money on …

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By: Henry J. Fromage –

This week features even more of the Fantasia Fest bounty, and some more great July theatrical releases.

171. The Senior Class

This Korean adult animation tells the story of a besotted art student and his classmate he has a thing for, who so happens to be earning some money on the side as some level of a call girl.  The vehicle is intriguing, but the story is pretty boilerplate dramatics, which either has a sly edge lampooning the “nice guys” image of themselves as pure romantics who the ladies just don’t realize they should be with, or is a movie made by one of those “nice guys”/”complete entitled douchebags”.  Unfortunately, as the film comes to a close with overwrought voiceover, I suspect it’s the latter.

172. Dunkirk

Wow. Some questioned that PG-13 rating, but what Christopher Nolan accomplishes with sound design here will dissuade even the most action film-desensitized youth far better than any amount of blood, guts, and cursing.  His stated goal was to immerse you in the action as much as humanly possible, and as bombs burst in your ears and your breath catches as the water rises to your throat you’ll know he achieved it.  Simply one of the most technically fascinating war films ever made, which, sure, doesn’t have a story to match (although I did like the intercut time structure better than some), but which accomplishes what it sets out to do like no other war film before it.  See it on as big of a screen as you can, and maybe bring a stress ball.

173. Spider-Man: Homecoming

This was another directorial gauntlet, as Jon Watts stated he wanted to make a Spider-Man film unlike any of its predecessors, citing John Hughes of all people as an influence.  While the actual John Hughes references in the film are unnecessarily underlined, Watts did capture the spirit he was going for.  This is a far funnier, far more relatable version of Spider-Man than you’ve seen before, which still brings the Marvel-approved action and universe tie-ins we’ve come to know and expect.  I’m actually more excited to see Peter Parker navigate high school in the future than I am to see him fighting supervillains, and that’s a unexpected pleasure for sure.  Probably my favorite Spider-Man iteration, and yes, I’m including the Raimi films.

174. A Day

This dramatic, Korean version of Groundhog Day, in which a surgeon relives the same day over and over to try and save his young daughter from dying in a car crash, is full of surprises and captivating ideas that will keep you riveted as you try to unpack this mystery and find a way out along with him.  Where it all ends up will have a varying effect on folks (it’s on the saccharine side), but for me, I enjoyed just about every minute of this.

175. Confidential Assignment

This is another Korean film (I’m on a roll), and this time the ‘South’ isn’t entirely implied, as it’s a buddy cop film bringing together a North Korean badass and a South Korean career cop to track down some North Korean ex-special forces who’ve stolen valuable counterfeiting plates and killed the former’s wife in the process.  It doesn’t track as comedic as I would have hoped, and follows the standard buddy cop template pretty much to a T, but the leads have good chemistry and it’s a novel enough transposition of that template that I quite enjoyed it.

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Raging Bull (1980) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/raging-bull-1980-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/raging-bull-1980-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Mon, 07 Aug 2017 12:15:52 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102419 By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) – Robert De Niro is one of the most recognizable actors in Hollywood. His career has spanned decades, and he has received multiple Academy Award nominations as he amassed a stellar body of work. Even though he has been doing a lot of raunchy comedies recently, he was at the …

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

Robert De Niro is one of the most recognizable actors in Hollywood. His career has spanned decades, and he has received multiple Academy Award nominations as he amassed a stellar body of work. Even though he has been doing a lot of raunchy comedies recently, he was at the top of his game in 1980 when he played Jake La Motta, a role that earned him his second Academy Award. Raging Bull is a very gritty black-and-white film that is full of suspense as audiences learn about the life of one of the greatest boxers of all time.

A Toast

This is perhaps De Niro’s best performance (and maybe even one of his best films as well)! De Niro accurately portrays the struggles of his main character by displaying the strength of Jake La Motta while also showcasing his vulnerability. This film is basically the life and hard times of Jake La Motta, and is essentially a cinematic bildungsroman (which, in the literary world, is a genre that presents the growth and development of the main protagonist). Joe Pesci also does well in his supporting role as Joey, and Cathy Moriarty excels as Vickie La Motta. Martin Scorsese also masterfully directs all three performers so that they would all received nominations at both the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards. This film is a great example of teamwork and collaboration!

Verdict

This film might not have the style and grace of a glamorous Hollywood production, but it is still a work of art in its own right. That is because Raging Bull captures the trials and tribulations of an unlikely hero as audiences empathize with La Motta’s struggles, and root for him as he boxes his opponents in the boxing ring. This is essentially a film that celebrates the underdog.

Raging Bull (1980) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: during every boxing match

Take a Drink: whenever the camera captures intense moments

Drink a Shot: every time Jake La Motta repeats the phrase, “I’m da boss”

Have some more Shots: whenever there are scenes in restaurants and bars featuring smokers and drinkers (but don’t do this literally)

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Detroit (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/detroit-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/detroit-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sun, 06 Aug 2017 12:15:58 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102824 By: Movie Snurb (Two Beers) – In 1967 Detroit was ready to explode. It’s a predominantly black community, but patrolled by a mostly white police force who abuse this community with a multitude of arrests and constant abuse and harassment. One night the cops arrest several black people with BS charges and the city loses …

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By: Movie Snurb (Two Beers) –

In 1967 Detroit was ready to explode. It’s a predominantly black community, but patrolled by a mostly white police force who abuse this community with a multitude of arrests and constant abuse and harassment. One night the cops arrest several black people with BS charges and the city loses it. A large riot breaks out bad enough to call in the National Guard. After three days of rioting things come to a head at the Algiers Motel. A man pops off some shots with a starter pistol to mess with the cops and guard. Unfortunately, they messed with the wrong police. Three Detroit police officers enter the annex of the motel to figure out who was shooting. Things blow up in the annex and it’s hard to watch.

A Toast

Kathryn Bigelow is still at the top of her game with this film. She is a master at creating tension. This film is like a rubber band pulled as tight as it can be until it snaps. With every scene the tension only keeps building. You’ll spend half of this film white-knuckling it on the edge of your seat. If there was any director who could tell this story right, like watching a man on a high wire, it could only be Bigelow. I cannot wait to see what dramatic story of American history she decides to make next.

The acting is stellar in this film. Everyone in their role, big and small, knocks it out of the park. John Boyega is great as the security guard who doesn’t seem to fit in with the police and guards or the community. Will Poulter is the big stand out in this film. He has the look of a boy scout, but underneath is a deep-seated racist with only hateful feelings. Will has come a long way since his turn as a bashful teenager in We Are the Millers. I won’t be surprised if he has a slew of offers after this film. I only wish we could’ve seen what Will could’ve done as Pennywise in the upcoming IT remake. I’d expect nothing less from a Kathryn Bigelow film, and this cast still exceeded expectation.

Beer Two

A few times this movie almost goes over the top with its dramatics. It was hard not too since some of facts of this fateful night are still debated. However, these dramatics almost became preachy, especially the scene inside the recording studio. It seemed to be forced and didn’t add to the story telling.

Verdict

With such a talented filmmaker and cast of actors in this film Detroit doesn’t become a cheesy mess. It’s a powder-keg that is ready to blow for two and a half hours. Kathryn Bigelow proves she is one of the best directors in the business and uses her talent to tell an important story of a dark spot in American history.

Detroit (2017) Movie Review

Take a Drink: every time a shot rings out.

Take a Drink: every time you begin to feel too tense.

Do a Shot: every time real footage is shown.

Smash a Beer: because all of American history isn’t all rainbow and smiles.

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Mansfield Park (1999) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/mansfield-park-1999-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/mansfield-park-1999-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sat, 05 Aug 2017 17:15:57 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102371 By: Alex Phuong (Three Beers) – 2017 is a very interesting year in the literary world because it has been two hundred years since Jane Austen’s death on July 18, 1817. In spite of her unfortunate passing at the relatively young age of 41, Austen’s legacy endures through some of the greatest writing ever produced. …

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By: Alex Phuong (Three Beers) –

2017 is a very interesting year in the literary world because it has been two hundred years since Jane Austen’s death on July 18, 1817. In spite of her unfortunate passing at the relatively young age of 41, Austen’s legacy endures through some of the greatest writing ever produced. Her keen examinations of the human condition have inspired filmmakers to adapt her work into cinematic works of art. It is a bit unfortunate, though, that a film version of Mansfield Park would deviate greatly from the original novel, resulting in a bland Hollywood romance.

A Toast

Like many films based on literature, this adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel contains the classic elements of a period drama, including: pretty costumes, production design that captures Austen’s historical era, and sweeping cinematography. The phrase “sweeping cinematography” is actually a very accurate description of the camera movements because there were parts in which the camera would fly around the set, and offers the audience the ability to experience “soaring.” The film also features an interesting cast that includes Harold Pinter as Sir Thomas Bertram and Johnny Lee Miller as Edmund. Miller actually received a nomination for a Chlotrudis Award for this particular supporting role.

Beer Two

Even though the filmmakers attempted to update the novel for contemporary audiences, those changes end up lowering the film’s credibility. According to the opening credits, this film is, “Based on the novel by Jane Austen, ‘Mansfield Park’, her letters, and early journals.” That opening credit accurately describes the film’s screenplay because some of the fans of the novel expressed disappointment upon seeing this film version. It is highly recommended for viewers to acquire context of Jane Austen’s life and work before watching this film (or else there will be a lot of confusion).

Beer Three

Not only was the film dramatically different from the original novel, but the movie is also frightfully dull. There are numerous scenes in which the characters just talk… A LOT! There really were some boring parts within this film, such as the conversations that the characters have both indoors and outdoors. Some of the discussions are actually beneficial, such as when Edmund praises Fanny Price for her attempts to assert her independence through writing. For the most part, though, this film is a bit of a chore to sit through because of all of its insipid moments.

Verdict

Between the years 1995 until approximately 2010, there has been a newfound interest in the life and work of Jane Austen thanks to theatrical films, television adaptations, and parodies like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. In fact, the 1995 film version of Sense and Sensibility was the first Jane Austen adaptation to receive a “Best Picture” nomination at the Academy Awards. Perhaps Miramax only produced this version of Mansfield Park in order to capitalize on the hype of romantic period dramas in the late ‘90s, like Titanic (1997) and Shakespeare in Love (1998). This film might be a mediocre adaptation, but it still has that cozy feeling of a “date movie.”

Mansfield Park (1999) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Fanny Price wears dresses with dark colors (including royal blue and burgundy).

Take a Drink: during every scene that take place on ocean docks (which oftentimes include majestic ships along with the beautiful sea).

Drink a Shot: whenever the characters discuss writing, money, love, and marriage (and all four of those topics coincidentally describe the life and times of Jane Austen herself).

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Trailer Reviews: The Dark Tower & Kidnap http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-dark-tower-kidnap http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-dark-tower-kidnap#respond Sat, 05 Aug 2017 12:15:53 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102815 By: Hawk Ripjaw – Ah, one of my favorite weeks: one where a distributor clearly didn’t give a shit about their movie, so they just drop it whenever. Question is, which one did that this weekend? The Dark Tower Almost a month ago, I entertained the idea of reading the entire Dark Tower series in …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw –

Ah, one of my favorite weeks: one where a distributor clearly didn’t give a shit about their movie, so they just drop it whenever. Question is, which one did that this weekend?

The Dark Tower

Almost a month ago, I entertained the idea of reading the entire Dark Tower series in preparation for the movie: by a rough, baked estimate, around 4,250 pages. Around the same time, life walked up and delivered the mother of all roundhouse kicks straight to my face. Now here we are, right now, a mere 35 pages into the first book and .82% of the entire series. Needless to say, as much as a meticulous planner as I am, some plans just don’t happen,and I’ll go into the film not knowing much about the story, and probably getting most of the books spoiled for me.

Maybe it doesn’t matter: Firstly, this is sort of a sequel to the books and dumps disparate elements from all of them into a blender. Secondly, it apparently sucks. While I’d be just stupid to expect a movie based on an “unfilmable” western/sci-fi/horror epic series, languishing in development hell for over a decade and changing directors and actors so often we’ve lost count, and finally here in a 95-minute feature written by The Grandmaster of Shit Akiva Goldsman, and hastily recut after disastrous test screenings, to be good, I still had some hope. Sometimes hope is all we have. And sometimes, something comes along to take that away. 

Beer Prediction

I don’t think we live in a time where we’re allowed to be optimistic anymore.

 

Kidnap

Every once in a while, there is a trailer that completely grabs my attention. It causes me to lean forward in my chair as I thirstily drink in everything laid before me. I ignore what’s around me, and I involve myself completely in what I see. I say to myself, “I have to see this.” Immediately, warm, familiar feelings of self-hatred and chaotic glee wash over me. Sometimes I can’t even tell the difference. Kidnap is that movie. It starts off innocently enough, with Halle Berry playing with her kid in the park, until she realizes she hasn’t been playing with her kid, and her kid has been kidnapped. Halle Berry proceeds to endanger or kill multiple civilians on the highway, and delay countless more, as she chases down the villains.

Trailers and TV spots feature an absurd escalation of violence, to the point where my roommate quietly took the name of Jesus Christ in vain when the teasers showed up late at night. Clearly, this is the new age of Halle Berry movies: a child gets kidnapped, and Berry develops a laser focus on that child’s rescue, no matter the cost or collateral damage. My seatbelt is secure.

Beer Prediction

I’m giddy. This might be the most hilarious piece of shit I’ll see so far this year.

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Fantasia International Film Festival: House of the Disappeared (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/fantasia-international-film-festival-house-of-the-disappeared-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/fantasia-international-film-festival-house-of-the-disappeared-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Fri, 04 Aug 2017 12:15:08 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102455 By: Henry J. Fromage (Five Beers) – House of the Disappeared is about probably what you might infer it is from the title- a house where people disappear, when they’re not getting murdered, attacked by ghosts, etc.  Lost’s Kim Yunjin is at the center of it all as a woman who was imprisoned for ostensibly murdering her family, …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Five Beers) –

House of the Disappeared is about probably what you might infer it is from the title- a house where people disappear, when they’re not getting murdered, attacked by ghosts, etc.  Lost’s Kim Yunjin is at the center of it all as a woman who was imprisoned for ostensibly murdering her family, but is released as an old woman with numbered days.  She returns back to the house to see if she can somehow reconnect with her son, who disappeared so many years ago.

A Toast

Well, it’s always good seeing Kim Yunjin again.  Also, in what has come to be an interesting trend, the traditional Korean occult scene is by far the highlight, with a pretty creepy surprise that feels like it should be in a better film.

Beer Two

Jump scares.  So many jump scares…

But seriously, so many fucking jump scares.

Beer Three

House of the Disappeared feels like it’s cobbled together from every other horror movie that’s come out in the last 20 years.  There’s feng shui experts instead of ghost hunters, those jump scares, a priest, the score telling you when it’s time to get scared, creaky/creepy old houses, creepy herky-jerky Japanese women etc, etc.  It’s all so… expected.

Beer Four

The principal crime is it’s just boring.  The plot jumps around and stops and starts so much that it can’t develop a consistent rhythm, and since you’ve already seen this movie before several times, it just doesn’t hold interest very well.

Beer Five

When the film does very belatedly decide to do something original, it’s such a bizarrely convoluted twist that it can’t help but capture your attention finally, but it’s too little, too late (and too much a head-scratcher).

Verdict

House of the Disappeared doesn’t bring much new to the horror genre.  Unless you’re some kind of horror completist, avoid.

House of the Disappeared (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for every flashback

Take a Drink: whenever a kid has a creepy look on their face

Take a Drink: every time the score starts freaking out

Do a Shot: for ga-ga-ga-ghosts!

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Fantasia International Film Festival: A Taxi Driver (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/fantasia-international-film-festival-taxi-driver-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/fantasia-international-film-festival-taxi-driver-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Thu, 03 Aug 2017 12:15:54 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102708 By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) – These days, every Song Kang-ho movie is an event.  He’s as respected of an actor as they come in South Korea, and is equally adept with the comedic and the dramatic.  Basically, if he’s in it, you want to see it. More or less A Taxi Driver stars Song as, …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –

These days, every Song Kang-ho movie is an event.  He’s as respected of an actor as they come in South Korea, and is equally adept with the comedic and the dramatic.  Basically, if he’s in it, you want to see it.

More or less

A Taxi Driver stars Song as, well, a taxi driver in 1980, who steals a fare that will change his life- a German journalist (Thomas Kretschman) who wants to go to Gwangju- a city that’s essentially been sealed off by the Government due to student protests.  There they find that things are so much worse than they imagined.

A Toast

A Taxi Driver is not a comedy, but is awfully comedic, particularly Song Kang-ho’s performance of a hustling taxi driver not afraid to play an angle to get ahead.   He actually steals the fare that will change his life and help bring an end to some truly despicable acts when he overhears it in a restaurant.  His character arc from there is great as he wakes up to what is really happening in his country, and is galvanized to sacrifice what it takes to help change it.  His and Kretschman’s rapport is excellent, and the latter gets some good acting in himself.

As he slowly morphs into Liam Neeson.

As always, this high-profile Korean production is well-shot, especially its riot scenes with smoke and fury and violent sound design.  I particularly liked how director contrasts this city under siege with the surrounding countryside once Song leaves it for the first time, bucolic, green, and sun-lit during Buddha Day festivities.  This underscores the gravity of his decision to go back to a place where his countrymen are having a polar opposite experience.

The ease with which the inaccurate media reports were effective in the rest of the country was very telling as well- controlling the population through media really works, or at least spreading confusion which allows your natural tendency to reassure yourself that everything really is alright to take over does.  Now, if only I could think of some modern day relevance for that message…

Beer Two

Song Kang-ho has not a few one-sided conversations in Korean with Kretschman, who does not speak the language, but has to play off of them anyway.  It’s a small detail, but as a foreigner in the same communication situation many times, it sticks out.

The scene where he eats kimchi and acts like he has hot lava in his mouth is pretty dumb, too.

Have you eaten at Taco Bell?  You can handle kimchi.

Beer Three

The plot often makes a play for the conventional in order to tug those heartstrings in a predictable manner, but in a true story like this, that’s not always a bad thing.  A bigger sin is constructing a vehicular action setpiece between taxis and government jeeps that had precisely zero chance of having actually happened, and instead plays as a wrong-headed way to add spectacle to a story that needed none.

Verdict

A Taxi Driver is a well-acted if a bit conventional drama about two very brave, very real men who told the world about a hidden evil.

A Taxi Driver (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Song does something mildly shady

Take a Drink: whenever the taxi breaks down

Take a Drink: for the code of the taxi driver

Take a Drink: for shoes

Do a Shot: whenever a news source straight up lies

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Virtual Pub 219: Atomic Emojis and the Incredible Jessica James http://movieboozer.com/featured/atomicblondeemojimovieincrediblejessicajames http://movieboozer.com/featured/atomicblondeemojimovieincrediblejessicajames#respond Thu, 03 Aug 2017 03:00:19 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102803 This week the movieboozer team discusses Netflix’s new movie The Incredible Jessica James, The Emoji Movie, Atomic Blonde & Hawk and Ken discuss the 1992 action movie Patriot Games. In addition, the movieboozer crew remembers the work of the late June Foray and Sam Shepard.  

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This week the movieboozer team discusses Netflix’s new movie The Incredible Jessica James, The Emoji Movie, Atomic Blonde & Hawk and Ken discuss the 1992 action movie Patriot Games. In addition, the movieboozer crew remembers the work of the late June Foray and Sam Shepard.

 

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Ken’s Movie Diary 2017 – Week 27 http://movieboozer.com/articles/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-27 http://movieboozer.com/articles/kens-movie-diary-2017-week-27#respond Wed, 02 Aug 2017 17:15:41 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102399 Weekly Update: This week my movie marathon focus continued with some war films, but following the deaths of director George A. Romero and Actor Martin Landau, I decided to do a bit of digging into their careers. Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date- …

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Weekly Update: This week my movie marathon focus continued with some war films, but following the deaths of director George A. Romero and Actor Martin Landau, I decided to do a bit of digging into their careers.

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

224. Coming Home (1978)

Jane Fonda plays Sally, the wife of a Marine Captain Bob (Bruce Dern), who is left alone when her husband is sent to Vietnam. Desperate for something to do, Sally volunteers at a VA hospital, and strikes up a friendship with handicapped veteran Luke (Jon Voight). She also begins to fall for him, but when Bob returns home, their romance is disrupted and soon a whole host of new problems are presented.  Coming Home is a powerful melodrama about the mental strain put on those who fought in the war, and those at home who they loved.

225. The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki (2017)

This solid romantic drama tells the story of Olli Maki, a Finnish Boxer who took on featherweight title holder Davey Moore, while contending with the strain of fame and promotion. Olli far preferred to focus on his burgeoning romance with his girlfriend Raija. Unlike most boxing films that focus on the drama of the fight and the build up to it, this film is more interested in Olli’s love life, and his lack of interest in the fame that comes with boxing. Making it a different kind of film than you’d expect (and certainly worth your time).

226. Killing Ground (2017)

Killing Ground is a realistic horror film about a couple who are terrorized by a pair of violent rapists. Unfortunately, the movie never really distinguishes itself beyond other horror films of its kind. The final act is particularly mediocre, as it is one of those movies where characters make dumb decisions which do not fit with the character they previously established.

227. The Iron Triangle (1989)

This B-level Vietnam War film is noteworthy only for the fact that it depicts both sides of the conflict. Most Vietnam films do not spend much time establishing the fact that the Viet Cong were humans too, people who had their own beliefs and in their own way believed what they were doing was right. The even handedness of the film does make an otherwise generic action war film noteworthy, if not quite enough to give a full recommendation.

228. The Quiet American (2002)

This remake of the 1950s original film is set in Indochina during the French Colonial period in the 1950s. Michael Caine plays a British journalist who writes about the rebellion that is tearing away at the French Army. He also loves a Vietnamese girl, who he can never marry as he has a wife at home who will never grant a divorce. Meanwhile, his girlfriend has another suitor; an American named Pyle (Brendan Fraser). Pyle has a secret of his own, however.  This is a solid period drama with an ambitious scope and some strong performances, including one of Michael Caine’s all time best roles.

229. Birth of the Living Dead (2013)

This documentary is about George Romero’s early work as a director, particularly his first feature: the massively influential Night of the Living Dead. The movie is all about the legacy of that low budget feature, and how the contemporary fictional portrayal of Zombies owes everything to this man and his ideas.  A wonderful little documentary for film buffs and Zombie fans alike.

230. Document of the Dead (1985)

When making his second Zombie movie Dawn of the Dead, George Romero allowed a film crew to visit the set and document the making of the project, including interviews with the cast and crew.  This film serves as a rare behind the scenes look at one of the most entertaining Zombie movies ever made, and as few films of the time had behind the scenes documentaries made about them, this film is particularly noteworthy.

231. Alone in the Dark (1982)

This comedic horror film stars Jack Palance and Martin Landau as insane asylum internees who become convinced their new doctor murdered the old one. They seize upon a power outage to escape and embark on a spree of murders to get at the doctor. Donald Pleasance is particularly entertaining as the pot smoking head doctor of the facility with unusual ideas of how to handle violent patients. This is a movie that relies entirely on the charisma of its principal cast, as the story is pretty much forgettable otherwise. But for fans of B-Horror this is definitely worth a look for some laughs.

232. The Long Goodbye (1973)

Elliott Gould plays an updated version of detective Philip Marlowe, as he investigates a murder that hits close to home. Marlowe is a somewhat disheveled character, living along with just his cat for company. The film is an often funny and dark look at the classic Noir detective story. The deeper Marlowe digs, the more broken people he meets on the way, and no one is without sin. Some criticized the movie for not staying true to the source material, but this version of the story works well as its own original work, regardless of the novel it is loosely based on.

233. Kuso (2017)

… This movie is a goddamned crock of shit.  In an attempt to be funny and transgressive it jumps all over the place with gross out humor and weirdness without any attempt to have a point or tell a cohesive story.  It makes last year’s The Greasy Strangler seem like a paragon of cinematic brilliance.

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Fantasia International Film Festival: The Senior Class (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/fantasia-international-film-festival-senior-class-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/fantasia-international-film-festival-senior-class-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Wed, 02 Aug 2017 12:15:22 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102497 By: Henry J. Fromage (Four Beers) – Korean adult animation doesn’t often get the buzz it’s live-action genre fare does, but recently hits like Seoul Station (sister film to the same director’s live-action smash hit zombie flick Train to Busan) have been getting more play. I actually prefer the animated prequel- check it out! The Senior Class doesn’t really feature …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Four Beers) –

Korean adult animation doesn’t often get the buzz it’s live-action genre fare does, but recently hits like Seoul Station (sister film to the same director’s live-action smash hit zombie flick Train to Busan) have been getting more play.

I actually prefer the animated prequel- check it out!

The Senior Class doesn’t really feature any genre elements at all, though, instead telling the story of an art college senior class which is rocked by the insinuations that it’s most attractive and talented member is a call-girl on the side.  At least ostensible protagonist and secret yearner Jun-soo sure is rocked by this.

A Toast

The Senior Class does definitely hold your attention as its drama ramps up, and spices things up with some surprisingly, *ahem* adult situations before the drama really does take hold.  It’s unabashedly an indie animation aimed squarely at the adult crowd, and does a good job of building fully-realized characters to hang this drama on.

Many of the stills from the film are also quite beautiful- there’s some definitely artistic talent on display here.  Finally, the Korea depicted here feels fleshed out and realistic- this is really what Korean college kids do- shooting the shit over some soju and Cass and making sure the love motels don’t hurt for business, or wishing they could.

Beer Two

While this seems slightly unfair to criticize an independent, low-budget animated film for, the animation isn’t the smoothest or cleanest.  The design is there, but speaking and movement in particular are a bit choppy.

Beer Three

There’s an often overwrought sentimental streak throughout the film, best characterized by the protagonist voiceover narrates a webtoon he created with an angel and a mermaid and incompatible hearts that clearly are meant to stand in for himself and the embattled object of his desire.  Regardless of the context (see below), these are awfully cheesy and (probably unintentionally) embarrassing.

Beer Four

This was a hard beer to assign, because either this film is very clever in outing its ostensible protagonist as the most vile kind of entitled male pig, or it sides with him, in which case this is an easy and disturbingly queasy Six Pack.  The reason why this is unclear is we never leave the main character’s POV.  This could be brilliant, or this could be sympathetic as the main character pines over a girl he won’t talk to, thinks she owes him something because he’s sexually attracted to her, then betrays her completely after becoming more emotionally invested in her plight than she herself seems to be.  He’s just the complete worst, and damned if I can tell whether this is a clever manipulation by the director, or whether he himself feels victimized by all those women who just won’t fuck a “nice guy” like him.

Verdict

The Senior Class is a hard one to sum up- either Men’s Rights drivel of the highest order, or deviously clever social commentary.  Unpolished regardless.

The Senior Class (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: anytime anyone drinks

Take a Drink: for corny art or angel references

Take a Drink: for every sexist remark

Do a Shot: well, that’s not something you’d see in a Disney flick…

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The Emoji Movie (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/emoji-movie-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-drinking-games/emoji-movie-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Tue, 01 Aug 2017 12:15:44 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102780 By: BabyRuthCT (Five Beers) – Have you heard? They made a movie about emojis! Emojis! This is it. The end is near! It’s really not. Well, it possibly is, but not because of this movie. Deep within every smartphone exists a city called Textopolis. This is where all the Emojis live. Yes, Emojis are walking, talking, …

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By: BabyRuthCT (Five Beers) –

Have you heard? They made a movie about emojis! Emojis! This is it. The end is near!

It’s really not. Well, it possibly is, but not because of this movie.

Deep within every smartphone exists a city called Textopolis. This is where all the Emojis live. Yes, Emojis are walking, talking, breathing, shitting, living entities.

Each Emoji has exactly one job: to nail their single emotion when the phone’s owner selects them. There’s a big stage with cubes where each Emoji waits and when called upon they get scanned and that image appears on the phone. The non-working Emojis just kind of hang out and go about their everyday lives. Don’t think about it too much.

Gene Meh (T.J. Miller) is different than the other Emojis, Emoji? (I don’t know and I’m not going to bother looking it up). See, while all his peers are only capable of being their one emotion, all of the time, Gene has ALL of the emotions and just feels things way too much to be Meh. But he dreams of standing on that stage and being selected by Alex, the teenage owner of the smartphone.

Gene finally gets his big chance and, of course, screws it up immediately.

The perpetually happy leader of the Emojis, Smiler (Maya Rudolph) is very angry about this (but she can’t show it because she can only smile! Hilarious!) and labels Gene a “malfunction” that must be deleted by killer bots.

A better movie about killer bots.

Gene then goes on the run. On the run in the world of this movie means he exits Textopolis and wanders around the background of Alex’s phone, popping in and out of various apps (the ones whose creators paid to be featured in this movie). His plan is to find a hacker to reprogram him to be meh and rid him of all those other pesky emotions. Along for the ride is Hi-5 (James Corden), who is hoping for some help in regaining his popularity after being replaced by the hipper Fist Bump. He thinks the hacker or the Great Oz or somebody can program it or something, I don’t know. The hacker, named Jailbreak, turns out to be…(gasp!)…a woman (Anna Faris) and her dream is to escape to The Cloud via Dropbox. Yes, this is really the plot.

A Toast

Patrick Stewart willingly (as far as we know) signed on to play the Poop Emoji and also was totally cool with his end credit of “And Sir Patrick Stewart as Poop.” I mean, if that doesn’t deserve a toast, I don’t know what does.

It was also an inspired casting decision to have Steven Wright play Gene’s father, Mel Meh.

The Emoji world-building was actually kind of clever and I laughed at an emoticon joke. (They are senior citizens in Textopolis and one of them exclaims “My colon!” Sue me.)

Which leads me to this:

Everybody needs to calm the hell down about how terrible this movie is.

Honestly, it’s not that bad. Yes, it’s a crappy, lazy, unfunny cash grab that I am in no way, shape, or form recommending, but it’s not the unspeakable atrocity many are making it out to be. It didn’t make me violently angry like Pixels did. It didn’t make me feel like I needed to spend a few supervised hours in a padded room like Movie 43 did. It’s not the worst movie ever made. It’s not even the worst animated movie ever made.

Trust me on this one. I re-watched Foodfight! the night before going to see The Emoji Movie to prepare myself and Emoji looks like Toy Story by comparison.

The mere announcement of this movie’s existence prompted outrage. It’s been universally hated and ridiculed since before the first trailer even dropped. I’d bet many critics already had their poop-emoji related insult-filled reviews half-written before sitting down to a screening. It’s an easy target, too easy. But it’s nowhere near the an equivalent experience is explosive diarrhea in a hot car with no a/c while stuck in an endless traffic jam reputation it’s been receiving.

Beer Two

And I’m kind of bummed about that. As mentioned earlier, I prepped for this movie by watching FoodFight! I was prepared. I was ready. I volunteered to review this movie, in fact, it was my number one pick because I had to see for myself just how putrid it was.

It’s bad but it’s not fun bad and it’s not soul-crushingly, catastrophically bad. It’s just the harmless, boring kind of bad.

Beer Three

The concept isn’t terrible. It’s no more ridiculous or more of a cash-grab than The LEGO Movie (from which it heavily borrows, along with other films). The difference, of course, is in the execution. And The Emoji Movie suffers from lazy, likely rushed writing. The jokes aren’t funny (For the record, the biggest laughs at the screening I attended were when Poop almost said the word “shit” and when that “Bubble Butt” song started playing).

Then there are annoying plot points that were clearly not thought out and just shoehorned in for a quick reference/joke. For instance, at one point, Gene encounters trolls—as if internet trolls are actual beings who exist within a phone and not the users themselves.

 Also, Hi-5’s anatomy is confusing and often disturbing.

Beer Four

There are a few attempts to make some kind of statement on smartphone/social media culture but the movie is never brave enough to go all the way (for obvious reasons). Teens (in the “real world”) are shown glued to their devices, two even walk into each other. Hi-5 monologues about the importance of having “friends” but not actual friends. Okay, all good so far.

But then the takeaway messages of this movie are: Smartphones are great! Download all the apps we just showed you! Check out this cool new Emoji!!!

Likewise, there’s an effort at a feminism angle with the Jailbreak character that falls just about as flat.

Beer Five

The more you think about the world of this movie, the more morbid it gets. And kids are smart. They will think about it. I feel bad for the parents who are asked “What happens to Gene and all the other Emojis when Alex gets a new phone?” or “Is the Just Dance lady going to die at the end of the day?” (There is a trash section on the phone where deleted programs go and the movie tells us that at the end of the day they die if they are not recovered. Geez.)

Verdict

The Emoji Movie is stupid, yeah, but not as horrible as you may have heard. Like its main character, it is simply meh.

The Emoji Movie (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever an emoji expresses an emotion they are incapable of showing

Take a Drink and Yell “CA-CHING!”: whenever an app is shown or named-checked.

Take a Drink: whenever anyone mentions “The Cloud”

Chug: during the Candy Crush scene

Take a Drink: whenever the movie rips off a better animated movie (Wreck It Ralph, Inside Out, The LEGO Movie, etc)

Take a Drink: for every weird movie reference no child will ever get (“Bye Felicia!” Really?)

Do a Shot: for every horrible pun

Do a Shot: for every poop joke

Do a Shot: when “And Sir Patrick Stewart as Poop” appears on the screen

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Atomic Blonde (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/atomic-blonde-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/atomic-blonde-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Mon, 31 Jul 2017 12:15:00 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102696 By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) – When I heard stuntmen turned action directors extraordinaire David Leitch and Chad Stahelski were not going to team up again on John Wick 2, I was both a bit worried and a bit intrigued to see what each brought to the creative alchemy of that film. Which one came up …

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –

When I heard stuntmen turned action directors extraordinaire David Leitch and Chad Stahelski were not going to team up again on John Wick 2, I was both a bit worried and a bit intrigued to see what each brought to the creative alchemy of that film.

Which one came up with all the dog killing?

Atomic Blonde stars Charlize Theron as Lorraine Broughton, an MI6 agent tasked with going to Berlin and finding a watch containing a master list of agents and their histories that could disturb the delicate balance on the eve of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

A Toast

One review I read posited that Stahelski brought the gloriously weird world-building to John Wick, and Leitch brought the neon-tinged cool.  Stahelski’s work on the John Wick 2 and this film certainly bear that out, although it’s clear both of them can direct the hell out of an action sequence.

Atomic Blonde is nothing if not neon-tinged cool and full of full-stop spectacular action.  Every frame of this film positively drips with late-80s style, from the sharp costuming and hair & makeup work to Jonathan Sela’s light, dark, and yes, neon-obsessed cinematography to the choice period pop cuts delivered in English and German and always rising to perfect earworm volume when some badass shit is about to happen.

Every five minutes, give or take.

In regards to the latter, I also read a comment to the effect of “John Wick vs Lorraine Broughton?  She would murder him!”  I… might have to agree with this assessment.  Theron absolutely owns this role, which is even more physical and all-around terrifyingly convincing than what she did in Mad Max: Fury Road.  She’s fearless, taking as good as she gives and owning the screen every second she’s on it.  Despite the awesome setting, the filmmaking verve, James McAvoy’s delightfully oily turn, or Sofia Boutella’s all-around hotness, this is straight up the Charlize Theron show.

Beer Two

The framing device isn’t terribly necessary and contributes to the plot being somewhat less than engaging- John Le Carre this ain’t.  Overall, Atomic Blonde suffers somewhat from Leitch always leaning style over substance, but man, what style!

Cheers to that.

Verdict

I hated to see Leitch & Stahelski separate, but if it means we get movies like Atomic Blonde and John Wick 2 every year… I’m in.

Atomic Blonde (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for ice baths

Take a Drink: for watches

Take a Drink: whenever the music rises and you know some ass-kicking is imminent

Take a Drink: for Stoli straight up

Do a Shot: Double cross!

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Trailer Reviews: Atomic Blonde and The Emoji Movie http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-atomic-blonde-and-the-emoji-movie http://movieboozer.com/articles/trailer-reviews-atomic-blonde-and-the-emoji-movie#respond Sun, 30 Jul 2017 18:15:35 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102684 By: Hawk Ripjaw – Atomic Blonde I’ve always been a pepper head, but lately I’ve been challenging the level of pain I can tolerate with the angriest hot sauces I can find. I have to raise the bar for how spicy I can handle. The last few years of action movies have been following a …

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By: Hawk Ripjaw –

Atomic Blonde

I’ve always been a pepper head, but lately I’ve been challenging the level of pain I can tolerate with the angriest hot sauces I can find. I have to raise the bar for how spicy I can handle. The last few years of action movies have been following a similar blueprint. Everything has to get more ridiculous. Everything needs a longer take, harder hits, more actors doing more dangerous stunts, and higher body counts. Atomic Blonde is the newest attempt to raise the bar. And like when I won’t complain when I find a hot sauce angrier than I’ve ever tasted, I certainly won’t complain. When action movies continuously attempt to raise  the bar, we all win. 

Beer Prediction

All are welcome in the House of the Action Movie Renaissance.

 

The Emoji Movie

Darkness falls across the land

The Emoji Movie is close at hand

Characters crawl in search of blood

Infesting the latest animated dud

And whosoever shall be found

Without the will to carry on

Must fall before this movie’s hell

And rot inside their mental shell

The pain of all is in the air

The screams of infinite despair

And Emoji borne from every tomb

Unite for everybody’s doom

And though you fight to stay alive

Your soul starts to wither

The world will not escape

The evil of the Emoji Movie

Beer Prediction

I’m probably going to watch this aren’t I?

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Vanity Fair (2004) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/vanity-fair-2004-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/vanity-fair-2004-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sun, 30 Jul 2017 12:15:30 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102404 By: Alex Phuong (Three Beers) – Reese Witherspoon has had a very interesting career ever since her break-out hit Legally Blonde premiered in the summer of 2001.  Since then, she has won an Academy Award for playing June Carter in Walk the Line (2005) and received a nomination for playing Cheryl Strayed in Wild (2014).  …

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By: Alex Phuong (Three Beers) –

Reese Witherspoon has had a very interesting career ever since her break-out hit Legally Blonde premiered in the summer of 2001.  Since then, she has won an Academy Award for playing June Carter in Walk the Line (2005) and received a nomination for playing Cheryl Strayed in Wild (2014).  Some people might not know that Witherspoon has actually played literary characters, including Cecily, a role in The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde in 2002.  A year before the release of Walk the Line, Witherspoon actually tackled one of the most controversial characters ever written, the relentless Becky Sharp, as she attempts to climb the social ladder within nineteenth century British society.

A Toast

Even though it did not receive any major nominations from the Academy nor the Hollywood Foreign Press, this film features spectacular costumes.  There are both beautiful British ball gowns along with exotic Indian-style attire.  Perhaps the reason why there are exotic belly dancers in this film is because of a historical reference to the colonization of India during the mid-nineteenth century.  Without a doubt, this film is full of eye candy.

Beer Two

Since this is not one of the Reese Witherspoon’s most popular films, a possible reason is because this film does not feature her greatest performance.  She was actually more memorable as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde than playing such a devious literary figure.  Witherspoon might have wanted to play an iconic character, but her performance ultimately (and unfortunately) falls flat.

Beer Three

Like many film adaptations of great literature, there are obviously numerous changes.  A considerable part of the novel is absent from the film.  Then again, there is only so much that Hollywood could do when adapting a novel that is about 800 pages long, and compressing all of the action into a two-and-a-half hour spectacle.  The beauty of this film really is superficial because the design is gorgeous, while the writing and the screenplay make fans of the novel want to gag.

Verdict

Vanity Fair is not exactly the best film adaptation ever, but Hollywood has always had this problem ever since the inception of cinema.  Sometimes Hollywood executives want to make a feature film in order to showcase glamour rather than do a novel justice.  Reese Witherspoon is also still doing a variety of films today, so maybe this minor misstep did not really hurt her career that much.  Just like the tagline for this film, “All is fair in love and war.”

Vanity Fair (2004) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Becky Sharp wears a beautiful outfit

Take a Drink: every time there is an elaborate sequence (such as war scenes and the Indian belly dancing scenes)

Drink a Shot: every time the color red appears on-screen

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365 Days of Movies- Henry J. Fromage Edition- Week 30 http://movieboozer.com/articles/102437 http://movieboozer.com/articles/102437#respond Sat, 29 Jul 2017 17:15:33 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102437 By: Henry J. Fromage – This week was full of more Fantasia Fest films and a few much-anticipated theatrical releases. 168. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets I will have to admit that Valerian was more much-anticipated by my wife, who’s a huge The Fifth Element fan, but I was pretty excited as well to see if …

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By: Henry J. Fromage –

This week was full of more Fantasia Fest films and a few much-anticipated theatrical releases.

168. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

I will have to admit that Valerian was more much-anticipated by my wife, who’s a huge The Fifth Element fan, but I was pretty excited as well to see if Luc Besson could recapture some of that film’s weird magic.  Well, in scenes like Rihanna playing a shape-shifting burlesque dancer as Ethan Hawke as her nose-ringed and cowboy-hatted pimp cackles behind her, or the opening where cultures and then alien races extend the hand of friendship at the International Space Station as they join together to form the titular City of a Thousand Planets, it certainly seems like he has.  Then people start opening their mouths.  Valerian couples some of the year’s most imaginative and thrilling world-building with some of the year’s absolutely worst dialogue, meaning I can’t recommend it exactly, but I do think you should see it, and it might as well be on the big screen.  Just be prepared to strain those eyes with all of the rolling they’ll do.

169. The Villainess

This year’s big play at crossover international success for the always vibrant Korean genre-film market after the spectacular The Wailing and the hard-driving A Hard Day isn’t as good as either of those films, but is one hell of an action vehicle for Thirst‘s Kim Ok-bin.  The action scenes are often shot from her P.O.V., and they’re never less than entirely impressive (even if the choreography does sometimes make you wonder why her enemies don’t try teaming up on her for a change).  The story is overly, probably unnecessarily convoluted, but if you’re a fan of pure action, this will be worth your time.

170. House of the Disappeared

This Korean horror film starring Lost‘s Kim Yunjin starts off as a boring, boilerplate haunted house flick full of jump scares and an over-aggressive score juicing them.  This is somewhat disappointing because it goes into full, not entirely successful mindfuck territory at the end, which could have really enlivened the film at least if a similar sense of urgency was given to the first hour and a half or so.  Overall, not terribly worthy of your time.

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Emma (1996) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/emma-1996-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/movie-review/emma-1996-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Sat, 29 Jul 2017 12:15:55 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102336 By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) – While composing her original novel, Jane Austen sought out to create a heroine that no one but her would like. The final result of this attempt is a delightfully romantic comedy entitled Emma, a novel about a young woman who meddles in the lives of the people around her. …

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By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –

While composing her original novel, Jane Austen sought out to create a heroine that no one but her would like. The final result of this attempt is a delightfully romantic comedy entitled Emma, a novel about a young woman who meddles in the lives of the people around her. Because of its timeless themes of love and marriage, many critics and audiences actually adore this novel (and some would argue that it’s Austen’s best). The novel also inspired Harvey Weinstein from Miramax to produce one of the best romantic comedies released in 1996.

A Toast

This film features beautiful Oscar-nominated costumes and a luscious Oscar-winning score. A fun fact about the costumes was that Ruth Myers had only five weeks to create 150 costumes. The film’s composer, Rachel Portman, was the first woman to win an Oscar for her original score. Since this film is a period drama, it obviously features beautiful production design. The film overall does its best to figuratively transport audiences to Jane Austen’s time period.

Beer Two

Since this film is based on Jane Austen’s longest novel, it can be a bit difficult to understand. That is because a lot of what happens in both the novel and the film is very subjective. Do the characters really love each other after declaring their admiration for one another? How can Emma Woodhouse be so naïve even though she is very witty and bright? The film might be confusing at times, but that is because it does its best to capture the complexity and subtle nuances prevalent throughout the original source material.

Verdict

Jane Austen redefined the heroine when she created Emma Woodhouse. Both the novel and the film also offer a new take on the typical love story because of its representation of complex relationships. William Shakespeare once wrote in A Midsummer Night’s Dream that, “the course of true love never did run smooth,” which perfectly describes this novel and its film adaptation. Congratulations to Gwyneth Paltrow for taking on the challenge to bring one of literature’s most famous (and possibly infamous) heroines to life on the silver screen!

Emma (1996) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: during every discussion of love and romance

Take a Drink: during every social gathering scene (such as parties and picnics)

Drink a Shot: whenever Emma is wearing a white dress (or any outfit that has the color white)

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Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets (2017) Movie Review http://movieboozer.com/featured/valerian-and-the-city-of-a-thousand-planets-2017-movie-review-drinking-game http://movieboozer.com/featured/valerian-and-the-city-of-a-thousand-planets-2017-movie-review-drinking-game#respond Fri, 28 Jul 2017 12:15:35 +0000 http://movieboozer.com/?p=102539 By: Felix Felicis and Hawk Ripjaw (Six Pack) – Much like with complex carbs, I have a love/hate/hate relationship with Luc Besson (though breadsticks never made me spiral into narcoleptic levels of boredom so hard it ripped a hole in the space/time continuum causing the latest Kardashian lip kit to fall out, so it’s Luc Besson: 0, …

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By: Felix Felicis and Hawk Ripjaw (Six Pack) –

Much like with complex carbs, I have a love/hate/hate relationship with Luc Besson (though breadsticks never made me spiral into narcoleptic levels of boredom so hard it ripped a hole in the space/time continuum causing the latest Kardashian lip kit to fall out, so it’s Luc Besson: 0, Breadsticks: 1). But wait! Through yonder computer screen sarcasm and snark break! It is yours truly, Felix Felicis (Celebrity Naptime Consultant) and Hawk Ripjaw (Professional Pool Party Extra To The Stars) ugly crying into our space beers this go ’round so that you, our booziest, most devotediest readers, won’t have to in a very special Felix-Ripjaw Debate Presents: Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Shits, Wait, Planets. This year we’ve mocked harder (Fifty Shades Darker) died inside faster (Transformers: The Last Knight) and came out the other side covered in questionable amounts of buttered popcorn and salty self-loathing (The Book Of Henry).

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

She Said: So this wasn’t a planned Debate movie with Hawk like we usually do (having dibbsed in perpetuity any and all Fifty Shades and Transformer movies due to guaranteed levels of mock-worthy shittiness) but the absolutely bugfuck-crazy brain baby Luc Besson just foisted off onto the world in the form of Valerian had me send up the Batsignal to the only other person who could help me deal with this and the resulting cinematic PTSD. With this review, Hawk, WE WILL CURE THE WORLD SHORTAGE OF SALT.

He Said: IODIZE EVERYTHING.

She Said: NO EARTH LEFT UNSEASONED.

He Said: That’s ironic, considering Valerian itself was bland as fuck.

*control (*watch)

She Said: I’m not even sure where to begin breaking down this clusterfuck of logistical blackholes and hot mess of impossible contradictions. I tried describing Valerian to a friend the other day it it LITERALLY TOOK ME AN HOUR TO FIND A FUCKING THROUGHLINE TO THE NARRATIVE I HAVEN’T BEEN THIS MAD SINCE INTERSTELLAR… WAIT… OH MY GOD, WAIT… IN… INTERSTELLAR… INTERSTELLAR WAS BETTER THAN THIS.

Unseen footage of me later that night after Valerian.

He Said: Crying in the shower is such great cardio, though.

She Said: Holy shit Valerian just reset my baseline for “bad”. I don’t know if I can handle the cognitive dissonance of this movie and the cult classic that is Fifth Element coming from the same man.

He Said: Even after I primed myself with pure undiluted hatred for Lucy, I couldn’t really prepare for this. 

She Said: Okay, so best effort to describe Valerian starts with a music montage (set to Bowie’s “Space Oddity”-irony at it’s finest right there) of humanity lifting off from Planet Earth with an international (and eventually intergalactic) lego connector of a space station. We’re all best friends in space! Which is unlikely considering I can’t even handle a week long road trip in a car with friends before bloodbaths ensue, but sure, e’erbody hugs it out en space.

Actual footage of someone trying to hug me the other day.

She Said: It was all downhill from here.

He Said: Forget the hill, this is a fucking freefall. 

She Said: But wait! Space Buddies Space Station “Alpha” (sadly Valerian was lacking in anything resembling basketball-playing Golden Retrievers) is in jeopardy of squishing earthlings now that it’s reached maximum weightyness orbiting our galactic bit’o’blue. So Earth basically #ByeFelicia’s the whole shebang by shoving Alpha out into a space river to float away like a less interesting Star Trek rebootquel.

He Said: The Earth Federation must be run by our current administration. 

She Said: This is where I begin to lose track of the sequence of events due to extreme lack-of-fucks-given.

He Said: By far the most interesting part of the movie for me was trying to remember Ethan Hawke’s name when his character showed up. 

If 2017 gives us nothing else it gave us Ethan Hawke as Jolly The Pimp. Thanks? I guess?

She Said: I can only assume my long term memory is rejecting Valerian like a failed organ transplant to protect my last functioning brain cell which is on life support after this shitshow ran it over with a mediocre Mack Truck.

He Said: Tell me what you need me to do. I’ll fucking do it. Who do I need to kill-

She Said: Don’t pull the plug until you’re SURE I don’t respond to Channing Tatum’s abs anymore.

He Said: Well that’s way easier. I’ve got She’s The Man on stand-by.

She Said: So I’m pretty sure after the Space Buddies set sail our timeline jumps like three hundred years into the future and we see what I’m assuming a knockoff Avatar world would look like where an Alien race (the Pearl on planet Mul) embrace nature and feed their world with pearls tiny dragons poop out before being obliterated by a space beef in their atmosphere.

He Said: There’s no way drugs were not involved in the creation of that scene. 

Save yourself what FEELS like three hours and just actually watch Avatar.

She Said: Mass-level, Serenity-like extinction events are, like, totes disruptive to getting a solid REM cycle in on a holo-beach, so we meet Dane DeHaan (60% of the time his face creeps me out every time) as Major Valerian waking up from a weird-as-shit nightmare (trying super hard to fit into the interstellar James Bondian box Valerian keeps desperately trying to shove him into) and human cardboard cutout, Cara Delevingne, as Sergeant Laureline doing what I can only assume is what passes as flirting between puppets.

He Said: You say that, but Muppets have more compelling character arcs, personalities, and relationships than these two did. 

She Said: That’s fair. So then Valerian proposes marriage to his female subordinate with no good reason why other than basically “um, because?” and Laureline shuts him down (for now) as they get called into work as agents of “The Government” (in this 28th Century where that means you can literally do whatever you want with little to no oversight) to retrieve stolen (and re-stolen) property of Alpha, thus setting into motion the most extra-yet-basic-bitch sequence of cinematic events ever.

He Said: And yet they keep going back to the marriage conversation. 

I don’t think they have an HR department in the 28th century or this shit 1000% would not fly.

She Said: Like, think of every tired trope and/or SciFi cliche and Luc Besson manages to cram it into this cinematic CGI blender with what feels like a thousand angry mental bees before the credits roll on this narrative wasteland where dreams go to be thrown into a dumpster fire and die.

He Said: It doesn’t just throw your dreams into a dumpster fire, it forces you to stand there and watch them burn. 

She Said: Did I miss anything? Hawk? I literally cannot even this movie anymore you try.

She Said: My brain Leslie “Noped” on outta this recap.

He Said: There’s a bearded submariner named Bob who accepts champagne as payment for services rendered? 

He Said: It’s all I’ve got.

A Toast

She Said: If you’ve ever wanted to see Cara Delevingne shove her head up an intergalactic Jellyfish’s ass then HOO BOY HAVE I GOT THE MOVIE FOR YOU. Other than than, a nice case of Hep B would be preferable to watching Valerian and The City Of Like Five Alien Races We Actually See. Had a nice nap in the middle.

He Said: To be fair, as irritatingly on-the-nose as it is to have “Space Oddity” playing over a montage of Alpha being formed, that was a really cool, world-building montage that could have led to a much more interesting movie. 

A visual guide to the success of Valerian’s creative execution.

Beer Two

She Said: Now there’s always the possibility that I blacked out and missed something vital, but this was the most misogynistic bullshit I’ve seen hit the screen since Gigli (just kidding I didn’t need to watch that movie to know that YOU CAN’T SEX A LESBIAN STRAIGHT C’MON FOLK NOW GET YA HEADS OUT YA ASSES).

I’ll take “Words We’re Gonna Hear Come Out Of Dane DeHaan’s Mouth Sometime In The Future for $1200”, Alex.

She Said: From what I can remember: there were no women in charge in this future government, it’s chill to sexually objectify and pursue romance with someone UNDER YOUR COMMAND and also sex trafficking is cool if it leads to an excuse for Rihanna do to a FUCKING STRIPTEASE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE MOVIE FOR NO LEGITIMATE REASON IS THIS A JOKE THIS IS A JOKE RIGHT WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK SERIOUSLY PEOPLE?!

He Said: I mean at least Rihanna was sort of a character, and it wasn’t like Star Trek: Into Darkness where the Admiral’s daughter, Carol,  just stripped down to her undies for no reason. But then again, the scene in that movie didn’t last for THREE STRAIGHT MINUTES like it did here. 

She Said: Oh and Major Valerian literally, LITERALLY, says to another male character “can we talk, man-to-man, for a minute” before leading the other guy away from his female partner to punch him because HAHAHAHAHAHA SILLY WOMEN AND THEIR SILLY VAGINAS AMIRITE, HAWK?!

He Said: HAHAHA IT’S ALMOST FUNNY BECAUSE LAURALINE HAS LITERALLY SPENT THE ENTIRE MOVIE AWAY FROM VALERIAN KICKING MORE ASS THAN HE EVER DOES! BUT ONCE THEY’RE BACK TOGETHER HE GETS CARTE BLANCHE TO PUSH HER AROUND! 

She Said: Plus he eventually saves the day so you know bish up and agrees to marry him at the end (if you think that’s a spoiler with the way modern cinema defaults women to a marriage-seeking setting THEN HAVE I GOT A BRIDGE TO SELL YOU IN SPACE).

He Said: All I “learned” from that ending is that space jewelry apparently rectifies all misdeeds. 

FML. I give up.

Beer Three

She Said: And speaking of spectacular fecal fuckwittery, I personally think it’s a daring choice for Besson to have outsourced his script to be ghostwritten by comatose yams.

He Said: I don’t know if I entirely agree with that analogy since even comatose yams still have some sort of nutritional value.

She Said: Really sells the shitacular ambiance I can only assume was his goal with lines like:

[Please note exact wording may not be precise due to extremely intoxicated transcription.]


Laureline: And why haven’t you wanted to get married until now?

Valerian: I’ve been looking for the perfect woman.

[RIGHT BECAUSE WE HAVE TO BE PERFECT TO BE LOVED UGHHHHH JUST UGHHHHH.]

Laureline: But you never stopped to LOOK.

I can literally feel my ovaries popping like frustrated confetti right now.

And

[Agent Valerian steals something super rare from knockoff Jabba The Hut/Liam Neeson Impersonator]

Knockoff Jaba: I’ll find you, Agent Valerian, I’ll find you wherever you are in the universe and I’ll kill you.

Valerian: Good luck.

Ow. My heart. It cannot take such a dramatic turn of phrase.

And

Government Leader: Agent Valerian, you’re running nearly twenty minutes late.

Valerian: Yeah, well, time flies when you’re-

NO

DON’T

DON’T YOU SAY IT

Valerian: -having fun.

OH MY GOD STAHHHHHHHP.

Beer Four

He Said: Someone I was talking to about this movie put it extremely well: “What if this movie and Passengers swapped both leads?”

She Said: [eye starts twitching]

He Said: It’s indicative of the extreme miscasting of both DeHaan and Delevingne that this would actually be a good idea. Have you ever hoped to see Dane DeHaan as a rougish, swashbuckling space agent?

She Said: Is that a joke?

He Said: Or Cara Delevingne as a real human being with a personality?

She Said: Now I just know you’re fucking with me.

He Said: Or that these two could establish a realistic, fun rapport without sounding like rejected characters from an SNL sketch?

She Said: I know Spicer ‘resigned’ but we can keep “Spicey” right?

He Said: The answer for all three of these is “fuck you for being hopeful” because this movie is a gigantic mess of important characters that suck and minor characters that are sort of interesting, and none of them ever connect in any interesting way, unless it’s just to aggravate you with something you’ll never get.

She Said: So kind of like a tornado full of dicks that never ends? They just keep slapping you in the face forever?

He Said: That’s oddly specific yet accurate.

She Said: I’ve said too much.

He Said: But also kind of like when Channing Tatum speaks directly into a camera, but less soothing.  Even more baffling, if you watch the behind-the-scenes footage of the pair, they have enough chemistry to power a space station. 

She Said: That ten minute clip was still a better “movie” than Twilight and Valerian combined. I can only assume Luc Besson ran afoul of a gypsy curse or haunted fair grounds during the filming of Valerian and changed direction mid-stream to the Stunned Gopher School Of Facial Expressions For Lead Characters.

He Said: So why the hell does this movie go to hell and back to remove any semblance of believable connection between these characters? Why does it actively sabotage itself ?

We certainly fucking don’t.

Beer Five

He Said: A movie called Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets would presumably have a lot going on, and this does, but in all of the worst ways.

She Said: If you watch closely it’s like a Where’s Waldo of all Luc Besson’s earlier successes with film all jammed together in one, proving the point that too much of a good thing can kill you (or at least bore you into a waking coma).

He Said: There are so many awesome possibilities for this story, but Valerian uses every chance for innovation and freshness solely to disappoint. This shit is more boring than an episode of 2 Broke Girls.

She Said: Or all of Season 1 Breaking Bad.

He Said: Late into the film, I started to suspect that I had misread the running time as 3 hours and seventeen minutes instead of 2.

She Said: There’s a special circle in hell that just plays Valerian on a loop over and over and over and-

She Said: Dwight was all of us in that theater.

He Said: Turns out it was just over two hours, but the movie is so badly paced it feels like twice the actual running time.

She Said: I had time for a nice nap in the middle and still woke up with enough time to regret every choice I’ve made up to this point in my life that led to the purchase of a ticket for Valerian.

He Said: For every time you think there’s going to be an interesting plot beat, the movie just veers off into another boring, asinine direction.

She Said: I’m just gonna copy and paste that bad boy for the Drinking Game portion of the review.

He Said: Late into the movie there is a THIRTY MINUTE DETOUR in the plot for absolutely no reason that has literally no bearing on the plot whatsoever.

She Said: That was the longest con anyone’s ever run on Rihanna to get her to strip.

The longer I watch this, the faker that CGI on her second outfit gets.

He Said: Basically, all of the cool ideas are spent in the first half hour, and from there the movie actively degrades into into a steadily more generic plot until it reaches a villainous “reveal” that is so obvious, and yet played up so much as a surprise, it’s hilarious.

She Said: The only way any of this was an actual surprise is if Valerian was the first movie you’ve ever seen in your life. And if the answer to that question is yes then you’re either a fetus or a pet rock from 1993.

She Said: Still the best listener I’ve ever dated.

Beer Six

She Said: I’m gonna go out on a limb here (stick with me this joke pays off) and say that Frankenstein’s Monster was stitched together more coherently than Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Dead Ends. GET IT. LIMB?!

He Said: Wow, this movie really did hurt you, didn’t it?

She Said: You’re not wrong. But I digress. Valerian had glimmers of an interesting idea combined with an almost Westworldian non-linear timeline (and failure to payoff that execution with enough of a reward that sitting though that clusterfuck of chaos was worth the eternal migraine you’ll get trying to explain it to someone else).

He Said: Come on, don’t do that to my Westworld. It doesn’t deserve that. 

Unseen footage of me trying to describe Valerian to a coworker.

She Said: Unfortunately even the CGI in Valerian (which was actually done fairly well) was more distracting than anything else when placed as a backdrop to a scattered narrative and characters more two dimensional than the background scenery and/or dealer’s choice Jersey Shore cast member.

He Said: You know they’re doing a reunion show, right?

She Said: Buy a blender. Get two potatoes. Draw spacesuits on them. Toss in a popsicle stick named “plot” and hit puree. Stand there covered in mashed potatoes BECAUSE YOU FORGOT TO PUT A FUCKING LID ON IT AGAIN, LUC BESSON.

He Said: That might be one of my favorite things I’ve ever heard you say. 

#TheStruggleIsReal

Verdict

She Said: WHY DO YOU KEEP TRYING TO HURT US, LUC BESSON, WHY, LIKE FOR REALS WHY.

He Said: While eating dinner after the movie, I just couldn’t stop gazing off into the middle distance, wondering what’s still right in a world where this exists. 

Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: anytime someone says “Valerian”. Pace yourself.

Take a Sip: for every exposition dump, mention, or montage of the City of a Thousand Planets.

Do a Shot: each time Puff the Tiniest Dragon shits hella pearls, y’all.

Take a Drink: anytime you think there’s going to be an interesting plot beat and then the movie just fists the last of your will to live like the world’s most boring sock puppet.

Take a Drink: whenever Valerian tries to convince Laureline to marry him. Take Two: anytime she shuts him down.

Shotgun Your Beer: if you make it to the credits fully conscious (no naps).

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

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

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

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Four Beers) –

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

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

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

A Toast

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

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

Beer Two

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

Beer Three

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

Beer Four

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

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

Verdict

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

Killing Ground (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for every red flag

Take a Drink: for every wild pig

Take a Drink: every time you see a gun

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

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

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By: Movie Snurb (A Toast) –

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

A Toast

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

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

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

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

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

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

Verdict

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

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

Dunkirk (2017) Drinking Game

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wonder Woman

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

Rating – 5/5

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

Rating – 5/5

Alien: Covenant

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

Rating – 4/5

The Big Sick

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

Rating – 4/5

Get Out

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

Rating – 5/5

Despicable Me 3

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

Rating – 3/5

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

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

Rating – 3/5

Cars 3

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

Rating – 4/5

Spider-Man: Homecoming

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

Rating – 4/5

Dunkirk

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

Rating – 5/5

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

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By: Henry J. Fromage –

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

162. War of the Planet of the Apes

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

163. The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki

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

164. True Stories

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

165. Killing Ground

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

166. The Last Dragon

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

167. Super Dark Times

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

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

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By: Jenna Zine (Four Beers) –

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

[Review contains spoilers.]

A Toast

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

Hell yeah – fun ahead! [Photo Credit]

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

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

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

Beer Two

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

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

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

Beer Three

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

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

We sparkle! [Photo Credit]

Beer Four

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

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

I see you, Coca-Cola! [Photo Credit]

Verdict

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

Girls Trip (2017) Drinking Game

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Last Call

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

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

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By: Hawk Ripjaw –

Dunkirk

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

Beer Prediction

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

 

Girls Trip

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

Beer Prediction

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

 

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

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

Beer Prediction

This is going to suck, isn’t it?

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

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –

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

Just put us in the rest home right now.

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

A Toast

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

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

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

Beer Two

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

Verdict

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

Super Dark Times (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever Darryl is as annoying as well

Take a Drink: for fights

Take a Drink: for the sword

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

Take a Drink: for disturbing dreams

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

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

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

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By: 3-Deep (Two Beers) –

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

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

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

A Toast

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

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

Beer Two

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

Verdict

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

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

Take a Drink: every time Caesar is brought down.

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

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

Take a Drink: for every Jesus allegory.

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

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

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –

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

Artist’s rendition.

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

A Toast

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

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

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

Beer Two

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

Cowabunga, dude.

Beer Three

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

Verdict

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

The Wave (2016) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever the main character acts paranoid

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

Take a Drink: for character deaths

Take a Drink: for clock shots

Do a Shot: for “Yessiree Bob”

Do a Shot: for… THE WAVE

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

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

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

213. All Quiet on the Western Front (1979)

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

214. Go Tell the Spartans (1978)

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

215. Big Jake (1971)

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

216. La Grande Illusion (1937)

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

217. The Train (1964)

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

218. Hamburger Hill (1987)

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

219. Betting on Zero (2017)

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

220. The Odd Angry Shot (1979)

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

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

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

222. The Boys in Company C (1978)

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

223. Hearts and Minds (1974)

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

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

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By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –

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

A Toast

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

Beer Two

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

Verdict

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

The Strange Woman (1946) Drinking Game

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

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

Drink a Shot: every time Jenny is mentioned by name

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

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

 

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

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By: Henry J. Fromage (A Toast) –

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

Being a virgin at 40 years old.

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

A Toast

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

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

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

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

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

Verdict

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

The Big Sick (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for every stand-up scene

Take a Drink: for film seen or film referenced

Take a Drink: for every visit to the hospital

Take a Drink: every time Chris gets ragged on

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

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

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By: Henry J. Fromage –

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

158. The Big Sick

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

159. The Beguiled (2017)

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

160. The Beguiled (1971)

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

161. Baby Driver

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

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

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By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –

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

A Toast

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

Beer Two

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

Verdict

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

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989) Drinking Game

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

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

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

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

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By: Jenna Zine (Six Pack) –

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

[Review contains loads of spoilers.]

A Toast

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

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

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

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

Beer Two

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

Beer Three

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

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

Beer Four

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

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

Presented with no explanation necessary. [Photo Credit]

Beer Five

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

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

Beer Six

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

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

Verdict

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

Wish Upon (2017) Drinking Game

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –

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

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

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

A Toast

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

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

Beer Two

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

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

Beer Three

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

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

Verdict

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

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

Take a Drink: for notebooks

Take a Drink: for cryptic writing

Take a Drink: for the egg

Take a Drink: for things floating through the air

Do a Shot: for bizarre twists

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

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By: Movie Snurb (Two Beers) –

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

A Toast

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

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

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

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

Beer Two

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

Verdict

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

The Beguiled (2017) Drinking Game

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ignacio Varga alias Nacho

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

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

Kim Wexler

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

When Jimmy McGill turns into Saul Goodman

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

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

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By: Hawk Ripjaw –

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

 

War for the Planet of the Apes

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

Beer Prediction

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

 

Wish Upon

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beer Prediction

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

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

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Four Beers) –

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

Hmmm.

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

A Toast

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

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

Beer Two

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

Beer Three

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

Beer Four

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

Verdict

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

A Quiet Dream (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for drinking

Take a Drink: for cats

Take a Drink: whenever Yeri gets hit on

Take a Drink: whenever anyone does anything dickish

Take a Drink: whenever North Korea is mentioned

Take a Drink: for the bathtub

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

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

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By: Henry J. Fromage –

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

153. The Whole Truth

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

154. Monster Hunt

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

155. Saving Mr. Wu

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

156. In the Forests of Siberia

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

157. Mother’s Day

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

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

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

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

A Toast

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

Verdict

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

Pygmalion (1938) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever Professor Henry Higgins is misogynistic

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

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

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

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

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

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Four Beers) –

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

I have no idea what’s going on.

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

A Toast

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

So much better name.

Beer Two

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

Beer Three

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

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

Beer Four

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

Verdict

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

Fabricated City (2016) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: “Mr. Hairy”

Take a Drink: for technical wizardry

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

Take a Drink: whenever the gangsters show up

Do a Shot: for Minority Report computers

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

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

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

203. Das Boot (1981)

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

204. King Rat (1965)

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

205. The Raid (2011)

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

206. Dersu Uzala (1975)

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

207. Sanshiro Sugata (1943)

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

208. Piranha (1978)

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

209. Stray Dog (1949)

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

210. Drunken Angel (1948)

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

211. 55 Days at Peking (1963)

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

212. Only Yesterday (1991)

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

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

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By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –

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

Mehhhhhhhhh.

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

A Toast

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

You know Frank Underwood could do something with that.

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

Beer Two

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

Beer Three

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

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

Verdict

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

The Truth Beneath (2016) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for campaign posters

Take a Drink: for new evidence

Take a Drink: for hacking

Take a Drink: for flashbacks

Do a Shot: for dress-shirt jogging

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

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By: Christian Harding (Two Beers) –

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

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

Welp, this didn’t age very well.

A Toast

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

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

Beer Two

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

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

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

Verdict

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

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) Drinking Game

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

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

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

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

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

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By: Hawk Ripjaw (Six Pack) –

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

Still with me?

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

Wait, what the fuck?

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

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

Wait…what the fuck??

A Toast

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

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

Beer Two

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

Beer Three

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

Beer Four

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

Beer Five

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

Beer Six

*SPOILERS*

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

*END SPOILERS*

Verdict

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

The Book of Henry (2017) Drinking Game

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

Take a Drink: for every shift in tone

Do a Shot: whenever someone starts crying

Take a Drink: whenever someone does something shitty

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

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

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By: Hawk Ripjaw –

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

Spider-Man: Homecoming

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

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

Beer Prediction

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

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

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

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

194. Reel Injun (2009)

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

195. Damn the Defiant! (1962)

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

196. Becoming Bond (2017)

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

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

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

198. The Brave One (1956)

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

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

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

200. Forbidden Zone (1980)

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

201. The Molly Maguires (1970)

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

202. Class of 1984 (1982)

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

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

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By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

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

A Toast

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

Verdict

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

Cleopatra (1934) Drinking Game

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

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

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

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

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By: Christian Harding (A Toast) –

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

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

France-chester by the Sea.

A Toast

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

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

Still a better love story than Twilight.

Verdict

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

Personal Shopper (2016) Drinking Game

Do a Shot: every time Maureen encounters a ghost.

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

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

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

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

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By: Hawk Ripjaw (Four Beers) –

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

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

A Toast

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

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

Beer Two

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

Beer Three

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

Beer Four

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

Verdict

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

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

Despicable Me (2017) Movie Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for every butt

Sip Your Drink: for every inflatable bubble gum bubble

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

Take a Drink: for every subtle sex joke

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

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

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By: BabyRuth (Four Beers) –

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

See what I did there?

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

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

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

A Toast

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

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

Beer Two

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

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

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

Minimal effort! Easy paycheck!

Beer Three

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

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

Beer Four

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

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