Month: August 2014

Rapture-Palooza (2013)

Whimsical takes on the end of the world are nothing new. Just in 2013 alone we have This is the End, The World’s End, and this film, Rapture-Palooza. But while the other two films are about surviving the destruction of the planet, Rapture-Palooza is more concerned with (1) a creepy romance between two of its characters and (2) living day-to-day life after everyone who believed in God was removed from the Earth’s surface. Oh, and surviving the fireballs of doom, random rainstorms of blood and bloodthirsty wraiths. The film’s lead and narrator is Anna Kendrick, here playing a teenage virgin named Lindsey. She, along with her boyfriend, Ben (John Francis Daley), were bowling one day when the Rapture occurred. No big deal, according to her description. One moment everyone was having a good time, while the next half the world’s population was in heaven. Those left on Earth had to deal with the aforementioned “inconveniences,” as well as the arrival of the Antichrist (Craig Robinson), who has dubbed himself “The Beast.” The “creepy romance” I mentioned above is in regard to the one that “develops” between The Beast and Lindsey. The Beast winds up laying eyes on her and decides to make her his object of desire. And because he’s the Antichrist, he gets what he wants. As the film moves along, almost anything that spews out of Robinson’s...

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Persepolis (2007)

 The Middle East, in more recent years, is starting to become a place full of violent content. Everywhere one looks, there is a sense of fear and terror throughout, making it impossible to stay or even live. So getting a documented look at the place is tricky. Luckily, we have the 2007 animated feature “Persepolis” to show how life in the Middle East is uncomfortable. Based on the graphic novel of the same name by Marjane Satrapi, who also co-directs the movie, this breathtaking film showcases how strong animation can be for adults, and make something brilliant in return. “Persepolis” is a gritty look at how one woman saw through her eyes the radical changes of her country. The story is told as an autobiographical tale of Marjane and her life growing up in Iran as a girl, and eventually as a woman in Europe. Unfortunately, Marjane sees many terrible things happen along the way. Things like the Islamic Revolution, the war between Iran and Iraq, being a foreigner in a new place, and many more. So, Marjane must adapt to the changes of society as she grows up into a woman trying to find her identity in this crazy world. “Persepolis” is a fantastic film worthy of watching multiple times. As stated before, the story is an autobiographical piece of work, with a few fictional elements thrown in....

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Narc (2002)

After a particularly dangerous and disastrous chase, undercover Narcotics officer Nick Tellis (Jason Patric) decides to resign from the Detroit Police Department. During this chase, he shot at a man who had a hostage and wound up causing the hostage, a pregnant woman, to miscarry. Thinking on his wife and child, he decided that it’s best to call it quits while he’s still alive. In the movies, retired cops don’t get to stay retired, so in Narc, Nick gets called back into action for one last investigation. Said investigation involves a dead undercover cop. Michael Calvess (Alan van Sprang) was shot dead at some point, and the other officers are having trouble finding any leads. With Nick still possibly having some connections to the criminal underground, he is chosen to look for some leads. He is teamed up with Michael’s friend, Henry Oak (Ray Liotta), a live wire, possibly mentally unstable man who wants revenge, not necessarily justice. We have our crime, we have our mismatched cops, and as a result, we have a movie. Narc is a gritty cop drama that feels as if it could be an episode of CSI, if CSI allowed for blood and profanity. And, perhaps, if darker subject matter that probably isn’t okay on television would be allowed. And if an episode of CSI was 105 minutes instead of what I assume is...

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Jersey Girl (2004)

Jersey Girl probably sounded like a better idea before Gigli opened and was met to terrible reviews and poor returns at the box office. That film starred Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, and was hated by almost everyone. It was panned so bad that Miramax, the studio distributing Jersey Girl, moved the later film’s release date back, hoping to distance itself from the Gigli scandal. Perhaps it was also to move it to early in the year, where many bad movies are dumped. The film doesn’t star Lopez, although both actors appear and share a not insignificant amount of screen time. Lopez appears only at the beginning of the film, playing Gertrude, the wife of Ollie Trinke (Affleck). Get your Gigli 2 jokes out of the way now. The couple get a few scenes before Gertrude winds up dying in childbirth. Ollie, unable to handle the stress of being a parent, winds up bursting in the middle of a press conference. He, a publicist, trashes Will Smith and the media in front of hundreds of people, most of whom would later write about him in the paper. So, Ollie moves back in with his father, Bart (George Carlin), in New Jersey, a far cry from The City. Ollie’s child, Gertie (Raquel Castro), grows up and loves the neighborhood. Ollie winds up meeting a girl working at a video store,...

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Knights of Badassdom (2014)

I’m going to go ahead and make the presumption that a large portion of the audience isn’t going to have a clue as to what “LARPing” is. You are not the audience for this movie. That’s especially true if, once I describe to you what it is, you think the concept sounds silly, stupid, or s…ridiculous. LARPing stands for “live action roleplaying,” which typically involves people dressing up in full costume and going into a forest to fight either other LARPers or imaginary creatures. It’s like if you were playing Dungeons & Dragons, but instead of rolling dice you’re actually acting out your character’s actions. This is a real thing, and is apparently not altogether an unpopular activity — at least, among its participants. The film takes place primarily in the middle of one of those LARP sessions. It does not mock the activity. It is a sincere film. It has some funny moments for anyone, but a lot of the jokes will only really work if you have the same affection for LARPing that it does. This is why I opened the way I did. You have to either be in, or have some sort of love for, this particular culture if you’re going to enjoy this film. It’s a very niche property, which is likely one of the reasons it spent years in “post-production.” Joe (Ryan Kwanten)...

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