Anniversary Week 2 Conclusion: My Fave Five New Movies I Watched During Year 2

I meant to post this on Thursday, my actual blogiversary, but because of the Christmas in July Blogathon and poor time management on my part (what else is new?), it wasn’t ready.  Every year, I like to look back at the new movies I watched, whether they were in the theater or simply new movies to me that I watched for the first time.  Last year was my freshman year as a blogger, so I made my fave five list of reviews I wrote, not the movies themselves.  Now that I have found my writing groove, this year, and probably in future Anniversary Weeks, I’m creating my list based on the movies.

When looking at the movies I reviewed, I discovered most (maybe even all) of the movies I reviewed from home video were ones I have seen before. Oops. 😛 As a result, all the movies on this list have been released between July 30, 2014 and July 30, 2015.  Now here are my five favorite movies I watched in the past 365 days.

Furious 7 movie poster5) Furious 7

Ever since Fast Five, the Fast and Furious series has gone in a fantastic direction. I really like the heist element that has been infused into every entry since. Furious 7 ups the ante and ridiculousness even further and is simply a fun ride. With the unfortunate passing of Paul Walker, this film had its share of problems. Luckily, Walker’s brothers took over and with some impressive CGI work, you couldn’t tell it wasn’t Paul. The tribute at the end was emotional and the perfect way honor to Walker.

4) InterstellarInterstellar movie poster

So far, I haven’t seen a single movie from Christopher Nolan that I haven’t enjoyed and Interstellar is no exception. The science can be hard to wrap your head around at times but the film did its best to explain it. It is also one of the best looking films of the year with its breathtaking special effects. Hans Zimmer’s score is spot on as always and adds some powerful emotion the what’s on screen. The final act may be a little out there but what would you expect from a Nolan film?

John Wick movie poster3) John Wick

When was the last time that you watched an action movie that simply enjoyed being an action movie? John Wick is, pure and simple, fun. It never takes itself too seriously and is a breath of fresh air for the action genre. Keanu Reeves gives a great performance as the titular character, a retired hitman, with a reputation that isn’t shown to the audience. Instead, the characters around him tell us what he is capable of before we even see it for ourselves. Plus the world of assassins it creates is ripe with story possibilities. I hope the next foray into the world is just as exciting.

2) Guardians of the GalaxyGuardians of the Galaxy movie poster

Guardians of the Galaxy is considered Marvel’s largest risk. Sure, people could believe a billionaire playboy philanthropist can build a suit of armor or a World War II soldier can be frozen for 70 years, but what about a talking raccoon or a tree that only says one sentence? Well it turns out audiences can. Leading with the ‘seems to be everywhere’ Chris Pratt, and sporting a wide variety of characters, every character brings something to the table. The main villain suffered like many Marvel villains seem to but not every villain needs to be a Loki or Magneto. Guardians of the Galaxy isn’t continuity heavy. In fact, the only continuity element is Thanos, who is getting set up for Avengers: Infinity War.  Given how it did with both critics and audiences, it is hard to believe people doubted this would work.

Inside Out movie poster1) Inside Out

Pixar is a pioneer in animated storytelling. In my opinion, Inside Out is up there with greats like Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles. The animation may be the best they’ve done so far with its vivid colors and fun character design. And the story is heartwarming and understood by all audiences. Older viewers can understand what Reilly has gone through and relate to the parents. Younger viewers can use the movie to understand what they are currently going through and are feeling in their lives. The world created for inside Reilly’s head is absolutely ingenious. Your train of thought is an actual train, memories are stored in shelves like a library, and the list goes on. I think it’s safe to say that Inside Out is one of the most unique movies of the last few years, which is one reason why it has claimed the top spot on my list.

And that does it for Anniversary Week 2! I hope you had fun joining me all week, looking at the Ocean’s Trilogy (Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve, Ocean’s Thirteen) and the Toy Story Trilogy (Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3), as well as my Original Six reviews that kicked off this blog.

Entering my second year of blogging, I had two goals in mind: 1) build relationships with fellow bloggers, mostly by becoming more active across other blogs (liking, commenting, participating in bloagthons, etc.), and 2) I’ve been trying to figure out how to word this goal but it simply boils down to increase my number of “regulars,” which builds off goal 1.  I like to think that I have successfully accomplished both objectives.

I would like to end with a BIG thanks to every one of you! These last two years have been a blast and it’s honestly due to all the contributions from all of you.  Every time my phone pings with a notification of a like or comment always brings a smile to my face.  So thank you everyone! 😀 I look forward to seeing what Year 3 brings. I have notes for Jurassic World, Inside Out, and Ant-Man that I will eventually turn into reviews and a few awards to accept.  Now time for a break, I have some gaming to catch up on. 😛


Interstellar Review

Interstellar movie posterSynopsis
When mankind is on the brink of extinction, Docter Brand (Michael Caine), sends Cooper (Mathew McConaughey) and a small crew consisting of Brand’s daughter (Anne Hathaway), Doyle (Wes Bentley), Romilly (David Gyasi), and the robot TARS (Bill Irwin (voice)), on a mission to find a new planet for the human race to inhabit.

Christopher Nolan is up there as one of my favorite directors. Every one of his films is dazzling and feels unique. Interstellar is no different. It may even possibly be his best looking movie to date. Nolan once again teams up with his brother, Jonathan Nolan, to create a wondrous piece of cinematic art.

When I first saw the run time was almost three hours I grumbled. I thought this movie would take forever to get through. Much to my surprise, the time was not a factor at all. Despite being ten minutes shy of The Godfather‘s run time, it flew by. The only time I was shocked there was more to go was at the end of the second act. The second act is the most action packed of the film and felt like it was going to be the movie’s climax. Even after it continued on, I still stayed engrossed in the story. Unlike Transformers: Age of Extinction, every minute was put to good use.

As I said, Nolan’s films have always looked amazing, but Interstellar is by far his best looking film yet. The special effects, the black hole in particular, are visually stunning and a real treat on the eyes. Nolan likes to use computer generated images (CGI) to enhance an experience rather than create an experience and it shows. And it wasn’t always the CGI that stood out. Most of the physical effects looked great, too.

Sound work is always an important part of a movie, whether you realize it or not. Interstellar‘s sound work is top-notch. As with most space movies, there are points where it becomes totally silent. This effect can greatly increase the dramatic effect of the scene and Nolan uses to great effect. Hans Zimmer, a frequently composer for Nolan’s films, once again does the score. And, not surprisingly, does an amazing job. His score superbly enhances the emotion seen on screen. Combine Zimmer’s score with the first-rate sound work and you have the perfect sound mixture.

The robots in the film, TARS and CASE, voiced by Bill Irwin and Josh Stewart respectively, are more whimsical than I had anticipated. They offered much of the movie’s comic relief. The cynical movie goer in me expected them to go crazy, a la HAL 9000, but thankfully that never happened because they are two of my favorite characters. Their look is interesting, too. Definitely a unique and versatile design.

I would have to say, though, that my favorite part about Interstellar is its range of emotions. There was humor, from the previously mentioned robots, TARS and CASE. At one point I was worried for the characters, I became scared for them. I was happy, their successes made me feel overjoyed with them. There was heartbreat, I was sad to see some of the characters who were killed. But the most important, and the emotion that drove Cooper and Murph, was love. Everything that Cooper did was for the love of his daughter Murph and it was well executed.

Interstellar is once again a great entry into Nolan’s unique film catalogue. It looks great, it sounds great, and it goes through a wide range of emotions. Even with a daunting run time, it flies by and is worth every second.



Cast & Crew
Christopher Nolan – Director / Writer
Jonathan Nolan – Writer
Hans Zimmer – Composer

Mathew McConaughey – Cooper
Mackenzie Foy – Murph (10 years old)
Timothee Chalamet – Tom (15 years old)
John Lithgow – Donald
Anne Hathaway – Brand
Wes Bentley – Doyle
David Gyasi – Romilly
Bill Irwin – TARS (voice)
Josh Stewart – CASE (voice)
Michael Caine – Professor Brand
Jessica Chastain – Murph
Casey Affleck – Tom
Leah Cairns – Lois
Liam Dickinson – Coop
Topher Grace – Getty
Matt Damon – Dr. Mann
Ellen Burstyn – Murph (older)

Trailer Round-Up 9/30/14

So I have been trying to create posts for trailers over the last week or so, but so many good trailers have come out in that time that I’m just going to do another Trailer round-up.  I forgot to include the second full trailer for Interstellar in my last TRU, so that’s first on the list.  Also, the world Jupiter Ascending gets explored, the old chaps of Kingsman: The Secret Service prove you don’t have to be young to kick ass, Reese Witherspoon gets a double dose of trailers with The Good Lie and Inherent Vice, and Neeson’s Brian Mills is out for revenge in Tak3n.  To jump to a specific trailer, click on it’s link below.

Interstellar #2

Synopsis: Interstellar chronicles the adventures of a group of explorers who make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage.

The more I see of Interstellar, the more I can’t wait.  I like how the first trailer and most of this trailer have focused on Matthew McConaughey and his family before his launch into space.  Then what is shown in their space adventures doesn’t look to give too much away.  Nolan has proven himself a more than capable story teller. Interstellar has everything going for it, so I hope it can pull it all together to create something great.

Interstellar blasts into US theaters November 7, 2014. Written and directed by Christopher Nolan, it stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Mackenzie Foy, Casey Affleck, Timothee Chalamet, David Oyelowo, David Gyasi, and Michael Caine.

Interstellar movie poster

Kingsman: The Secret Service #2

Official Synopsis: Kingsman: The Secret Service tells the story of a super-secret spy organization that recruits an unrefined but promising street kid into the agency’s ultra-competitive training program just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius.

The biggest surprise for me from this trailer was learning that Samuel L. Jackson was the villain of this movie.  The previous trailer didn’t give that impression.  In other news, the action and special effects look pretty good. With actors like Colin Firth, Michael Caine, and Samuel L. Jackson, I’m hoping this is one of the better films this fall.

Kingsman: The Secret Service opens in US theaters October 24, 2014, directed by Matthew Vaughn and starring Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Michael Caine, and Samuel L. Jackson.

Kingsman: The Secret Service movie poster

Jupiter Ascending #3

Official Synopsis: Jupiter Jones (Kunis) was born under a night sky, with signs predicting that she was destined for great things. Now grown, Jupiter dreams of the stars but wakes up to the cold reality of a job cleaning other people’s houses and an endless run of bad breaks. Only when Caine (Tatum), a genetically engineered ex-military hunter, arrives on Earth to track her down does Jupiter begin to glimpse the fate that has been waiting for her all along—her genetic signature marks her as next in line for an extraordinary inheritance that could alter the balance of the cosmos.

I have one thing to say about this movie: it looks gorgeous!  The Wachowskis have proven they know how to make a movie look pretty and Jupiter Ascending looks to be no different.  I can understand why the film has been delayed for so long if the time was spent on the visuals (it was originally supposed to come out this past July).

Jupiter Ascending, written and directed by the Wachowskis and staring Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Sean Bean, Douglas Booth, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Eddie Redmayne, and Terry Gilliam, hits US theaters February 6, 2015.

Jupiter Ascending movie poster

The Good Lie – International Trailer

Official Synopsis: They were known simply as “The Lost Boys.” Orphaned by the brutal Civil war in Sudan that began in 1983, these young victims traveled as many as a thousand miles on foot in search of safety.  Fifteen years later, a humanitarian effort would bring 3600 lost boys and girls to America.

It has been a long time since I have seen a Reese Witherspoon film.  I missed the trailer for this movie that was released during the summer, but I’m glad I caught this one before it’s release.  I am a fan of The Blindside, so having one of its executive producers be a part of this film is great.  I probably won’t see it in the theaters, but I will definitely check out The Good Lie when it gets released on home video.

The Good Lie will be in US theaters this Friday, October 3, 2014.  Directed by Philippe Falardeau, it stars Reese Witherspoon, Arnold Oceng, Ger Duany, Emmanuel Jal, Corey Stoll, Sarah Baker, and Kuoth Wiel.

The Good Lie movie poster

Inherent Vice

Official Synopsis: When private eye Doc Sportello’s ex-old lady suddenly out of nowhere shows up with a story about her current billionaire land developer boyfriend whom she just happens to be in love with, and a plot by his wife and her boyfriend to kidnap that billionaire and throw him in a loony bin…well, easy for her to say. It’s the tail end of the psychedelic `60s and paranoia is running the day and Doc knows that “love” is another of those words going around at the moment, like “trip” or “groovy,” that’s being way too overused—except this one usually leads to trouble.

This movie just looks like a ton of fun.  I’m not quite sure what to make of it yet, but it just screams “insanity.” And I like it.

Inherent Vice hits US theaters on January 9, 2015.  It stars Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Katherine Waterston, Reese Witherspoon, Benicio Del Toro, Martin Short, Jena Malone, and musician Joanna Newsom, and is directed by Paul Thomas Anderson.

Inherent Vice movie poster


Official Synopsis: Liam Neeson returns as ex-covert operative Bryan Mills, whose reconciliation with his ex-wife is tragically cut short when she is brutally murdered. Consumed with rage, and framed for the crime, he goes on the run to evade the relentless pursuit of the CIA, FBI and the police. For one last time, Mills must use his “particular set of skills,” to track down the real killers, exact his unique brand of justice, and protect the only thing that matters to him now – his daughter.

I like how Tak3n isn’t following the same formula as the two previous movies.  Taken was great, Taken 2 was good, but it was the same basic premise as the first.  However, this is something different (kind of).  We will also get more of Bryan Mills’ background and how he acquired his “set of skills.” As a fan of Liam Neeson and the Taken movies, I can’t wait for this one.

“Good Luck.”  That sent chills down my spine.

Tak3n shoots into US theaters January 9, 2015.  It is directed by Oliver Megaton and stars Liam Neeson, Forest Whitaker, Famke Janssen, and Maggie Grace.

Tak3n movie poster

Stop by tomorrow and take a guess at this week’s Movie Whose Line. Which of these movies are you most looking forward to?

Trailer Round-Up 6/3/2014

Once again I have allowed several new trailers accumulate over the last few weeks.  Time for another Trailer Round-Up!  In this TRU, Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar gets a full trailer, Lucy and Hercules (both part of my last TRU) get second trailers, Samuel L. Jackson works with some Brits, we get a look at Disney’s next animated feature film, and Tiny Fey and Jason Bateman tackle a more serious film.  To jump to a specific trailer, click on it’s link below.


Synopsis: Interstellar chronicles the adventures of a group of explorers who make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage.

I am a huge Christopher Nolan fan.  So far (I haven’t seen all of his works… yet) I have liked, if not loved, his movies.  And the fact he is doing a science-fiction movie is icing on the cake.  This trailer does a great job of not revealing too much but still getting me intrigued.  Plus with actors like Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, and Michael Caine, this movie is a must see for me .

Interstellar blasts into theaters November 7, 2014.  Written and directed by Christopher Nolan, it stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Mackenzie Foy, Casey Affleck, Timothee Chalamet, David Oyelowo, David Gyasi, and Michael Caine.

Lucy #2

Official Synopsis: From La Femme Nikita and The Professional to The Fifth Element, writer/director Luc Besson has created some of the toughest, most memorable female action heroes in cinematic history. Now, Besson directs Scarlett Johansson in Lucy, an action-thriller that tracks a woman accidentally caught in a dark deal who turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic.

Much like the first Lucy trailer, this trailer shows off her powers (obviously, since that is the central focus of the film it seems).  I mentioned that I was worried about her becoming too powerful, but it seems like that may be addressed in the film.  At several points, more towards the end of the trailer, we see what looks like Lucy falling apart Dark Phoenix-style and if I remember she comments about losing her human emotions in the first trailer.  So maybe I’m worrying over nothing.

Lucy stars Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Choi Min-Sik, and Amr Waked.  It’s directed by Luc Besson and will be in theaters August 8, 2014.

Kingsman: The Secret Service

Official Synopsis: Kingsman: The Secret Service tells the story of a super-secret spy organization that recruits an unrefined but promising street kid into the agency’s ultra-competitive training program just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius.

Another movie with Michael Caine.  That dude really gets around.  Anyway, this movie looks pretty funny.  Taron Egerton seems to be fairly new to film, but he appears to be a humorous actor.  Hopefully he can also pull off the action needed for this film.  Colin Firth, Michael Caine, and Samuel L. Jackson, on the other hand, I know can pull off both comedy and action so no worries there.

Kingsman: The Secret Service opens in theaters October 24, 2014, directed by Matthew Vaughn and starring Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Michael Caine, and Samuel L. Jackson.

Big Hero 6

Official Synopsis: With all the heart and humor audiences expect from Walt Disney Animation Studios, “Big Hero 6” is an action-packed comedy-adventure about robotics prodigy Hiro Hamada, who learns to harness his genius—thanks to his brilliant brother Tadashi and their like-minded friends: adrenaline junkie Go Go Tamago, neatnik Wasabi, chemistry whiz Honey Lemon and fanboy Fred. When a devastating turn of events catapults them into the midst of a dangerous plot unfolding in the streets of San Fransokyo, Hiro turns to his closest companion—a robot named Baymax—and transforms the group into a band of high-tech heroes determined to solve the mystery. Inspired by the Marvel comics of the same name, and featuring comic-book style action, “Big Hero 6” is directed by Don Hall (“Winnie the Pooh”) and Chris Williams (“Bolt”), and produced by Roy Conli (“Tangled”).

Out of all the movies in this TRU, this is probably the one I am most excited for.  Not only is it Disney, not only is it Marvel, but it is Disney making a Marvel movie.  When I first heard Disney was going to make a Big Hero 6 movie, I thought it was going to be a straight to DVD release.  Instead, it is getting a full blown theatrical treatment, which is AMAZING!  What would be really cool is if Big Hero 6 existed inside Marvel’s Cinematic Universe.  It wouldn’t take much, at the very least a simple mention of an event from one of the Marvel movies or a poster of one of the Avengers in a bedroom, or even a quick voice cameo from Robert Downey, Jr. or another actor from the Marvel films.  How cool would that be?

Big Hero 6 hits theaters November 7, 2014 and is directed by Don Hall and Chris Williams.

This Is Where I Leave You

Official Synopsis: When their father passes away, four grown siblings, bruised and banged up by their respective adult lives, are forced to return to their childhood home and live under the same roof together for a week, along with their over-sharing mother and an assortment of spouses, exes and might-have-beens. Confronting their history and the frayed states of their relationships among the people who know and love them best, they ultimately reconnect in hysterical and emotionally affecting ways amid the chaos, humor, heartache and redemption that only families can provide— driving us insane even as they remind us of our truest, and often best, selves.

It’s great to see Tina Fey and Jason Bateman, two hilarious comedic actors, do a film together.  This looks to be a more serious movie for both of them, but I think they can pull it off.  In serious movies with funny undertones, it can be difficult to balance the humor with the seriousness, so it will be interesting to see how this film does.  Plus it looks like there is a strong supporting cast, so this movie has a lot going for it.

Based on the novel written by Jonathan Tropper, This Is Where I Leave You goes to theaters September 12, 2014, staring Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, Corey Stoll, Kathryn Hahn, Connie Britton, Timothy Olyphant, Dax Shepard, and Jane Fonda and directed by Shawn Levy.

Hercules #2

Official Synopsis: Everyone knows the legend of Hercules and his twelve labors. Our story begins after the labors, and after the legend… Haunted by a sin from his past, Hercules has become a mercenary. Along with five faithful companions, he travels ancient Greece selling his services for gold and using his legendary reputation to intimidate enemies. But when the benevolent ruler of Thrace and his daughter seek Hercules’ help to defeat a savage and terrifying warlord, Hercules finds that in order for good to triumph and justice to prevail… he must again become the hero he once was… he must embrace his own myth… he must be Hercules.

I’m torn on how I feel about this movie.  On one hand, Dwayne Johnson is probably my favorite actor right now, and on the other hand it looks like it’s retreading material that has been seen many times before and could end up very cliche.  Unless I hear great things about Hercules when it’s in theaters,  I may just wait for this to come out on home video.

Hercules hits theaters July 25, 2014.  Directed by Brett Ratner, it stars Dwayne Johnson, Irina Shayk, Ian McShane, John Hurt, and Robert Maillet.