Month: February 2014

Runner Runner (2013)

An inconsequential movie with so little on its mind that you might think it was created by a robot with no idea of what a person is outside of what it’s seen in bad movies, Runner Runner is a thriller in the loosest sense of the word. Suspense is not generated in this movie. The narrative is run through so quickly that I almost want to suspect studio interference cut out a good half hour of film — except that I can’t think of what that half hour would contain, except more people talking about nothing in particular. Part of the problem is that you’ve seen this film before. A young up-and-comer, in this case a man named Richie Furst (Justin Timberlake), winds up under the tutelage of a wealthy businessman (Ben Affleck), learning the ins and outs of the business, before one of the two winds up having a different motive from the other, leading to conflict. The up-and-comer here is someone who gambles and found a cheater in the system of the Affleck character. He points out the cheater and is then offered a job. From here, he advances through the ranks of Affleck’s corporation at a breakneck pace, much like the film he’s in. There’s little time to do anything else. A love interest (Gemma Arterton) is introduced. An FBI Agent (Anthony Mackie) also shows up,...

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Movie Review of ‘All is Lost’ (2013)

Written and directed by J.C. Chandor (Margin Call), All is Lost is one of the manliest movies of 2013. It does not earn its manliness by including action, violence or cigars – rather, All is Lost is a low-budget man vs. the elements survival thriller which warrants its “manly movie” label through its depiction of one man’s determination, grit and courage in a desperate situation. This is not exactly a plot-driven movie, but rather a cinematic experience – it allows us to experience being trapped in the middle of the ocean surrounded by nothing but water. If Life of Pi was stripped of its cloying philosophical bullshit, it would look a bit like All is Lost. The movie is also structurally similar to Alfonso Cuarón’s critically-acclaimed Gravity, but with a far more interesting leading man in Robert Redford. There is not a great deal of story to All is Lost. It contains maybe twenty lines of dialogue in total, therefore the script reportedly ran for only thirty-two pages. In a nutshell, the movie is about Man (Redford), who has embarked on a yachting trip in the Indian Ocean. Awakening one morning to find water flooding into the cabin, Man realises that his vessel has struck a wayward shipping container, causing a sizable gash. He does his best to repair the damage, but both his laptop and his radio were damaged by the water, leaving him alone in...

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Popcorn (2007)

For movie buffs, working at a cinema sounds like a dream job. You get to talk movies all day, get into free screenings, and be around the product you love during working hours. It’s kind of surprising, then, that more films aren’t set inside the movie theater. I mean, doesn’t it seem as if filmmakers who used to work there might want to set their film there? “Write from experience” and all that? Popcorn is one such film set inside the multiplex, and it gives both a behind-the-scenes experience and a love story. The film’s lead is Danny (Jack Ryder), a teenager who sometimes goes to the movies. The girl who rips his ticket, Suki (Jodi Albert), reminds him of one of the girls in his manga, and therefore is the girl of his dreams. He can’t talk to her as a customer, so he decides instead to join the crew at the cinema, because being in uniform will give him confidence or something. Maybe he hopes to get to know her through osmosis. It’s not a plan that has a lot of thought put into it. What it does do is give us a surprisingly uncommon setting for this type of film, introduces us to an interesting cast of characters, and provides a sweet, if not necessarily fresh, love story. Or, it’s a “love story” if you can...

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Elysium (2013)

A sci-fi actioner that has ambitions of saying something about more than a couple of hot-button issues currently facing the world — and the United States in particular — Elysium might be a disappointing follow-up to director Neil Blomkamp’s District 9, but that’s only because almost anything he did would be disappointing in comparison. Elysium is still good and worth seeing, but just lower your expectations a touch before sitting down to start it. The film takes place in the year 2154, which sees Earth turned into a garbage-filled dump. Overpopulation and pollution finally took their toll on the planet, leaving it in this state. The wealthy people decided to build their own utopia, creating a space station called Elysium a short journey from Earth. The poor people left on the formerly green planet work as a cheap labor force for the residents of Elysium. They don’t have access to healthcare or benefits, leaving many sick and injured. Nobody on Elysium cares. Anyone trying to leave Earth for Elysium without proper credentials is blown out of the sky. Our protagonist is Max (Matt Damon), who winds up in a freak accident at his workplace which poisons his body with a lethal dose of radiation. He is told he has five days to live, and is given a pill so that he can function normally until his death. He knows...

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Everyone, if not most everyone, would admit that our advancements in compute technology has great benefits as well as sour disadvantages. We live in an information age that is totally limitless. Words like Google and friend are used as verbs more than nouns, nearly all of us(except yours’ truly) has some type of cell phone, ipad or ipod, and texting seems to have become a new national past time. We in America, literally live our lives online every single day. As you continue to watch the movie “Her”, your reactions may shift from funny to frightening when it comes to computers and machines, and then somehow meld together. Set “slightly” in the future, the film takes us into the somber world of Theodore Twombley (Joaquin Phoenix) a sort of surrogate writer of personal letters. While you realize his ability to compose the most exquisite messages for other people is superb, you also see that his own life could use some encouraging missives. Especially since he’s always trying to balance his time between playing video games and reminiscing about a marriage gone wrong, eventually resulting in a soon to be divorce. Abject loneliness is seemingly his trademark, except for brief encounters with other co-workers – until he meets Samantha. Seductively voiced by the beautiful Scarlett Johansson, she (or it depending entirely on one’s point of view) is the latest thing in operating system technology. Twombley decides to take advantage of this new Artificial...

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