Movie Review: ‘Southpaw’ Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, 50 Cent
Jul 2015 24

Jake Gyllenhaal is on a roll.

With his new film, Southpaw, the actor once again buries himself into another role. This time it’s Billy Hope, a boxer who is seemingly on top of the world.

He has millions of dollars, a beautiful wife and daughter and has won 43 straight fights.

After a tragedy strikes Hope’s family, everything he has vanishes, including his longtime manager Jordan, played by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson.

Antoine Fuqua does a fine job directing the film. In fact, it may be his best work since Training Day.

Just like Fuqua did in Training Day with Denzel Washington, he gets a scene stealing performance from Gyllenhaal, who should garner some Oscar attention for his role.

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Marvel’s ANT-MAN Opens Number 1, Yet Lowest Gross Since THE INCREDIBLE HULK. What Does That Mean?
Jul 2015 21

Ant-Man Large Poster Paul RuddBy now, we’ve all grown used to the idea that any new Marvel movie is capable of topping the box office and leading ticket sales worldwide, if not setting a new record for an opening weekend. Time and time again, the studio pushes out a new superhero adventure only to set its own bar higher, and in the process that same studio has raked in untold hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. It’s the new standard: Marvel Studios + new movie = $$$.

And then along came Ant-Man. Arguably the studio and comic book giant’s most bizarre standalone project to date, the project served as the origin story to a hero who’s actually an original Avenger (if we’re going by comic lore), but who’s also something of a joke. Scott Lang (played by Paul Rudd) is a master thief who’s gifted with a special suit by mad scientist Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). The suit gives him the ability to shrink down to ant size while enjoying the accompanying perks, like magnified strength and the ability to control, um, ants. And voila! A superhero story is born.

Incredibly enough, this ludicrous concept actually played pretty well on the big screen. Ant-Man received pretty good reviews (a cumulative 80% positive on Rotten Tomatoes), for a number of reasons. To begin with, Paul Rudd is an intriguing brand of Hollywood darling; he can be knee-slapping hilarious or he can play the forgettable good guy, but he’s really hard to criticize. Douglas is his own brand of darling, and on top of these two packing a punch among critics, there’s the fact that the movie is pretty enjoyable. Like Guardians Of The Galaxy before it, it excels by not taking itself too seriously, and this helps viewers to relax and enjoy the fun.

Unfortunately for the studio, Ant-Man didn’t quite match the box office success of Guardians Of The Galaxy (which topped $160 million in its opening weekend). Marvel’s latest had a gigantic opening by most ordinary standards, nearing the $60 million mark. But as IGN pointed out, this was actually Marvel’s weakest opening since The Incredible Hulk (and that in itself is an extraordinary statement on the money-making power of the superhero genre).

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Movie Review: ‘Max’
Jun 2015 26

MaxI’m a sucker for dog movies, I admit it.

I cry like a little bitch at the ASPCA commercials, so maybe my take on “Max” isn’t as reliable as some heartless asshole’s take.

“Max” is 100 minutes of dog love, pure and simple.

Dog lovers will devour this movie and be left begging for seconds.

“Max” is a German shepherd, that was trained by the military to assist in weapons finding missions.

It just so happens that Max’s trainer/owner is shot and killed early on in the movie.

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Movie Review: ‘Jurassic World’ Starring Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard
Jun 2015 11

Jurassic-World-Poster-Official22 years exactly after Jurassic Park comes Jurassic World, the fourth film in the franchise, and possibly the best one since the original.  Jurassic World takes us back to the island from the first film, where the idea of cloned dinosaurs has been resurrected and expanded. Audiences flock from over the world to see wondrous exhibits presented by corporate sponsors.  The park is owned by an eccentric billionaire (as if there is any other kind), and run by the bullheaded and independent Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard). Despite having finally introduced the world safely to animals once thought to be extinct, the thrill just isn’t there any more. The park is seeing less growth every year as the novelty fades. Audiences want more danger, and bigger spectacle. Jurassic World intends to deliver by genetically modifying a new dinosaur, more dangerous than one we’ve ever seen before. As you can guess, things go pretty awry from here, and only Veloci-whisperer (Chris Pratt) can hope to stop it. Oh, and just for giggles, a subplot about Claire’s nephews is thrown in so younger audience members can find a character within their wheelhouse.

Jurassic World, come for the story, stay for the spectacle. The story is just really an excuse to throw the audience into a modern day monster thriller. The characters aren’t particularly deep, but really is that what you came to this movie for? Sure, Chris Pratt continues to show after his breakout in Guardians of the Galaxy, that he is in fact a enthralling leading man. Pratt has the comedic chops to keep audiences entertained, and the dramatic chops to make even a far fetched character believable.  His counterpart in Bryce Dallas Howard manages to hit the right notes, despite her character being a mesh of somewhat offensive female-centric tropes. Howard makes the best of it, despite not changing out of her heels for the duration of the film. Supporting the two leads are Ty Sympkins and Nick Robinson, who play much the same role as the children from the first film. Adults might find them a bit grating at times, but they are essential to some of the dangerous elements of the plot.

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Film Review: ‘Poltergeist’ Starring Sam Rockwell, Jared Harris
May 2015 22

poltergeist-remake-posterWhat happens when legendary horror filmmaker Sam Raimi joins forces with Gil Kenan, the director of Monster House to remake one of the greatest horror films ever made? A soulless train wreck of a movie.  This “haunted house” remake doesn’t come even close to the originality of the 1982 version.

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