Movie Review: ‘Tusk’ Starring Justin Long, Michael Parks
Sep 2014 19

“Is man indeed a walrus at heart?”

tusk movie posterThis is one of the pseudophilosophical questions posed in Kevin Smith’s new film Tusk, the first film adapted from a podcast (see Smodcast #259 “The Walrus and the Carpenter”). Not so much a horror film in the traditional blood and guts fashion, the Clerks director’s latest opus is more psychological – with plenty of humor mixed in throughout. And if you are a fan of the SmodCo podcast brand, there is no shortage of homage to be enjoyed.

Wallace Bryton (Justin Long) is one half of the duo who hosts the “Not-See Party” podcast, which centers around his travels to interview quirky internet celebrities (like the “Kill Bill Kid,” who chops off his own leg with a samurai sword). Wallace then explains his story to Teddy (Haley Joel Osment) who did “not see” what happened. Upon packing his bags for Canada to interview the the aforementioned legless star, he leaves his girlfriend Ally (Genesis Rodriguez) in the States – stating that he basically doesn’t want her to stop him from being entertaining. Ally is not a fan of his mean-spirited podcast antics, and wishes that the “old Wallace” she fell in love with would come back.

Wallace arrives in Manitoba only to find that the “Kill Bill Kid” has taken his own life, leaving him out the cost of his plane ticket and the interview he came for. As he drowns his sorrows at a local bar, he stumbles upon an ad posted by an old man who has lived “A life of adventure, with stories to tell.” Intrigued by the posting (based on the real-life Gumtree ad by UK hoaxer / eventual Tusk associate producer Chris Parkinson, which inspired the podcast), Wallace travels a couple of hours to a secluded mansion owned by Howard Howe (Michael Parks). After a couple of fascinating stories, and some delicious tea, Wallace find out that he has been roped into much more than listening to the old man’s stories.

Read More [..]

Movie Review: ‘Jersey Boys’ Directed by Clint Eastwood
Jun 2014 20

It was only a matter of time before the 4-time Tony Award-winning musical Jersey Boys became a motion picture. The Broadway show, which also received the 2009 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical, still runs after 3,564 performances and tours around the world. And now Clint Eastwood has directed a film which is strikingly close to the source material, and has tremendous talent in front of the camera.

John Lloyd Young opened the Broadway production as Frankie Valli in 2005, and returns as the star of the film. It also stars Erich Bergen as Bob Gaudio, Michael Lomenda as Nick Massi, and Vincent Piazza as Tommy DeVito. The story starts with a 16-year-old Frankie getting roped into petty crimes by Tommy, and eventually joining Tommy’s band “The Lovers.” As times change, trios are out and the people want to see 4 members in the band. Frankie, Tommy and Nick make an agreement with singer/songwriter Bob Gaudio to become the fourth member of the band, which would eventually become The Four Seasons. The film shows the entire journey of the group and it’s member, from creation until present day – the good, and the bad.

Read More [..]

Movie Review: ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2′ Starring Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Kit Harrington
Jun 2014 13

HTTYD 2 Poster Large 3DHow to Train Your Dragon was a huge surprise hit in 2010, garnering almost $495 million worldwide on a $165 million budget. The film also received a 98% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, proving that critics, adults and kids alike were equally enamored by the colorful tale of Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his dragons. HTTYD was nominated for 2 Academy Awards, including Best Animated Feature – losing that year to Toy Story 3. With such a great film, it is often hard to live up to the original; but in the case of How to Train Your Dragon 2 – it gets pretty darn close.

The story takes place five years after the events of the first film. Berk has completely accepted dragons, thanks to Hiccup and his friends, and the villagers work and live alongside each other on a daily basis. While the villagers are interested in dragon sports during their free time, Hiccup and Toothless explore new lands and try to complete their handmade map. His father, Stoick (Gerard Butler), wants to start training him to become the chief of Berk – yet Hiccup doesn’t think that the job is for him. During one of his adventures, Hiccup and his fiance Astrid (America Ferrera) discover a new fortress that has been attacked and encased in ice – lead by Eret (Kit Harington), who blames them and their dragons. Eret and his crew attempt to capture their dragons, explaining that a conqueror named Drago Bludvist is building a dragon army and must have them. When Hiccup tells his father what Drago is up to, Stoic locks down Berk and warns him of the dangerous villain. Yet the hero inside of Hiccup doesn’t allow him to stay put, as he escapes the village with Astrid to reason with Drago. Along the way he runs into someone he never would have imagined, and finds out that he isn’t the only one who shares a bond with dragons.

Read More [..]

Movie Review: ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ Starring Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton
Jun 2014 06

“Groundhog Independence Day”

Edge of Tomorrow PosterTime travel movies have always fascinated me. What if you could go back in time, change the past and right the wrongs? What if you could forever alter history for the better? The possibilities are endless. Then there are movies like Groundhog Day, one of the all-time great comedies. While not traditional “time travel,” the character is stuck in a time loop – forced to repeat the same day over and over. We already know that this can mean comedy gold, but what if you apply it to a big-budget action movie? Enter Edge of Tomorrow.

Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) is the public face of military recruiting, yet he has never actually been in combat. After successfully recruiting hundreds of thousands of new soldiers for the war against a technologically advanced alien race who has invaded Earth, General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson) wants to embed Cage in the action to gather PR footage. When he declines, going as far as to basically blackmail the general to get out of duty, he is put under arrest and ends up tased by military police. When he wakes up, he meets Master Sergeant Farell (Bill Paxton) who is the opposite of sympathetic to his situation. Cage ultimately ends up on the battlefield, unskilled and untrained, and dies minutes after landing on the ground. But unlike most deaths, his results in waking up at the moment he was detained by MP. Everything is exactly the same, and eventually he finds that no matter what he does – he is living the same day over and over after each death.

Read More [..]

Review: ‘Hands on a Hardbody’ at New Line Theatre (May 29-June 21)
Jun 2014 05

Chances are that if you’re watching live theatre in the Midwest, more often than not it’s tough to be genuinely surprised. That doesn’t mean there is any lack of talent or amazing shows that come through town. And we have a great theatre community in St. Louis. Yet there is a huge difference between seeing a show that you know will be amazing – and feeling completely surprised by something risky and new. Most shows we see are already proven, and who can blame them? It’s expensive to put on a show, and especially to bring us something new from Broadway. Yet this isn’t the case with New Line Theatre, who time after time produces shows that are different and widely unknown. Artistic director Scott Miller has a true talent for recognizing the potential in shows we might otherwise have never seen, and filling them with some of the best actors in town. With that being said, I introduce you to their latest success: Hands on a Hardbody.

hardbody-1Based on a documentary film which follows true events from 1995, Hands on a Hardbody takes the audience to Longview, Texas for an annual competition of endurance. The prize? A brand new pickup truck. And it’s a musical. How wonderfully strange and fantastic the synopsis sounds. But you haven’t seen or heard anything until you’ve been to the show.

Songwriter Amanda Green is no stranger to bringing us this sort of unexpected gem. My first introduction to New Line Theater was in 2012 with their production of High Fidelity, based on one of my favorite films. But a musical? Green was responsible for those lyrics, and the show was an absolute blast. And how about the surprise Broadway hit “Bring It On The Musical,” based on a 2000 high school comedy about cheerleaders? Green teamed up with the mega-talented Lin-Manuel Miranda (In The Heights) and Tom Kitt (High Fidelity, Next to Normal) on that one, which completely caught me off-guard with how fun it was. And now Green, along with Trey Anastasio (Phish) and a book by Doug Wright (Quills, The Little Mermaid), has done it again. This time with a musical about a contest to win a truck. On paper, it’s hard to imagine that the show could be so amazing. But I’ve learned to trust both New Line and Green by now, and both have yet to let me down.

Read More [..]

Page 1 of 33612345...102030...Last »
Read full margin-right: 36px; Movie Review