New Movie January #18-31

#18 Warcraft: The Beginning (2016) “As an Orc horde invades the planet Azeroth using a magic portal, a few human heroes and dissenting Orcs must attempt to stop the true evil behind this war.” — For a fantasy movie based on a game, this was pretty good. Don’t think about it too much, just enjoy kind of movie.

#19 The Last Unicorn (1982) “A brave unicorn and a magician fight an evil king who is obsessed with attempting to capture the world’s unicorns.” — J was amazed that I had never seen this movie, so we watched. Not as trippy as Wizards or The Point, but definitely weird. Not really a fan…

#20 Lego Scooby-Doo!: Haunted Hollywood (2016) “The Scooby gang try to rescue an old movie studio, which is not only threatened by developers, but a series of movie monsters too.” — Arthur’s pick from last week. For a silly Lego movie, this was pretty good. And we even get character voiced by Elvira. Added bonus points for not being super annoying.

New Movie January #11-18

#11 The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box (2013) “Seventeen-year-old Mariah Mundi’s life is turned upside down when his parents vanish and his younger brother is kidnapped. Following a trail of clues to the darkly majestic Prince Regent Hotel, Mariah discovers a hidden realm of child-stealing monsters, deadly secrets and a long-lost artifact that grants limitless wealth – but also devastating supernatural power.” — I loved this family friendly action adventure story. It was just the fun movie I needed the other night. Apparently the movie is based on a book. I’ll have to check it out.

#12 Burying the Ex (2014) “A guy’s regrets over moving in with his girlfriend are compounded when she dies and comes back as a zombie.” — Such a fun little twist on the zombie trope. This was a ton of fun. Definite must-watch movie.

#13 St. Vincent (2014) “A young boy whose parents have just divorced finds an unlikely friend and mentor in the misanthropic, bawdy, hedonistic war veteran who lives next door.” — Been on my list for awhile now. Glad I finally got around to watching this one. Bill Murray is great at playing the asshole.

#14 A Royal Night Out “On V.E. Day in 1945, as peace extends across Europe, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret are allowed out to join the celebrations. It is a night full of excitement, danger and the first flutters of romance.” — A silly little movie for overnight feedings. This was a fun movie. Plus the costumes are amazing!

#15 Interstellar (2014) “A team of explorers travel through a wormhole in space in an attempt to ensure humanity’s survival.” — I enjoyed most of this movie. The look and sound are amazing. Very 2001-esque. I liked the premise of the movie. What I didn’t like was the conclusion that someone love transcended all the obstacles. A little hooey for my tastes.

#16 Jason Bourne (2016) “The CIA’s most dangerous former operative is drawn out of hiding to uncover more explosive truths about his past.” — We felt like we had to finish the series, but I must say that I was disappointed in this movie. Acting was so-so, plot was predictable, and worst of all, the shaky cam continued.

#17 Invaders from Mars (1953) “A young boy learns that space aliens are taking over the minds of earthlings.” — Part of our 100 best science fiction films. Properly cheesy scifi. J and I had a lot of laughs from the unintentional comedy. Definite must-see for scifi fans even if the film doesn’t have the same impact as in the 1950s.

#18

New Movie January #1-10

#1 The Spirit of Christmas (2015) “A woman falls in love with a man who is somewhat unavailable.” — While the premise is a bit ridiculous (he’s a ghost, but not a ghost!), I really did enjoy this one. The romance was cute and the setting of the inn was gorgeous.

#2 Back to Christmas (Correcting Christmas) (2014) “A woman travels back one year in time to the Christmas before her broken engagement and tries to repair what went went wrong. She discovers that this is a challenging undertaking.” — Hmmm… the characters were pretty boring and I just want to punch the boyfriend every time he was on screen. Definitely not my favorite of the season.

#3 Christmas Belle (2013) “With her California hometown in the rear-view mirror, Belle heads north on business to facilitate the estate sale of a mansion. While the job is a dream, the client, Hunter Lowell, is not. But, as the two spend more time together, his icy demeanor begins to melt. Although their relationship is budding, Belle’s long-time suitor, Tony, arrives, sending mixed signals to Hunter while adding chaos to the holiday season.” — Haylie Duff isn’t my favorite actress (it always seems forced), I did enjoy the romance between the two leads. And I really really really want to live on that estate.

#4 A Christmas Kiss II (2014) “At a Christmastime event, Jenna shares an impromptu, unforgettable kiss with the dashing billionaire, Cooper Montgomery. Unaware of his intentions and fearful of getting hurt in another relationship, Jenna vows to resist his charms, but begins to realize his affection is real as the two spend more time together.” — Amazingly, I think I enjoyed this sequel more than the first one. Much cuter and the characters weren’t as head-smackingly stupid.

#5 Holiday Engagement (2011) “Afraid to tell her family she’s been dumped, Hillary hires an actor to play her fiancé during a 4-day Thanksgiving weekend at her parents’ house.” — Not a very exciting one. I watched it but really can’t say that it was good or bad. It just was.

#6 Begin Again (2013) “A chance encounter between a disgraced music-business executive and a young singer-songwriter new to Manhattan turns into a promising collaboration between the two talents.” — Been in my Netflix queue for awhile… An understated film, but I really enjoyed it.

#7 Carnival of Souls (1962) “After a traumatic accident, a woman becomes drawn to a mysterious abandoned carnival.” — My mother’s been begging me to see this for years now. Such a weird movie… Interesting, but weird.

#8 The Last Five Years (2014) “A struggling actress and her novelist lover each illustrate the struggle and deconstruction of their love affair.” — A bit of a mixed bag. I loved Anna Kendrick in this one and the singing was quite lovely. I could not stand the male lead. Something about him made me just want to punch him the entire movie even when the character was being sweet and sincere. So good and bad I guess…

#9 Man Up (2015) “A single woman takes the place of a stranger’s blind date, which leads to her finding the perfect boyfriend.” — A refreshing take on the romantic comedy. I adore Simon Pegg and his character is a lot of fun in this movie.

#10 Daddy’s Home (2015) “Brad Whitaker is a radio host trying to get his stepchildren to love him and call him Dad. But his plans turn upside down when their biological father, Dusty Mayron, returns.” — Movie night with the twins! This was laugh out loud funny. Loved it!

New Movie January #10-31

Okay so I’m lying a bit here… we got nowhere near 31 movies watched this month. We only got to 11 movies. A bit sad, but January has been a bitch. We’ve all been super busy, but also sick almost the entire month. Only a few movies to highlight for the last two-thirds of the month.
MV5BNjI5OTQ0MDQxM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzcwNjMyNTE@._V1_SX214_AL_#10 Spy “A desk-bound CIA analyst volunteers to go undercover to infiltrate the world of a deadly arms dealer, and prevent diabolical global disaster.” — Way funnier than it should have been. Why was it so funny? Still don’t know, but we definitely enjoyed it.

MV5BMTM4NzQ0OTYyOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDkyNjQyMg@@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_#11 Taken “A retired CIA agent travels across Europe and relies on his old skills to save his estranged daughter, who has been kidnapped while on a trip to Paris.” — Somehow I had never seen the first Taken, but have seen the two sequels. The first one is way more brutal than the other two. Crazy stuff! It was an enjoyable night of movie watching…

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New Movie January #1-9

I love starting off my year with some great new-to-me movies. I’m not doing individual movie review posts, but opted for mini review collections.

MV5BOTAzODEzNDAzMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDU1MTgzNzE@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_AL_#1 Star Wars: The Force Awakens “Three decades after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, a new threat arises. The First Order attempts to rule the galaxy and only a ragtag group of heroes can stop them, along with the help of the Resistance.” — Really really really enjoyed this one! So glad I got to see it!

The_Skeleton_Twins_poster#2 The Skeleton Twins “Having both coincidentally cheated death on the same day, estranged twins reunite with the possibility of mending their relationship.” — I really enjoyed this quirky little indie film. Wiig and Hader were great in this. Two thumbs up.

Vampire_Academy,_Blood_Sisters#3 Vampire Academy “Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, half human-half vampire, a guardian of the Moroi, peaceful, mortal vampires living discreetly within our world. Her calling is to protect the Moroi from bloodthirsty, immortal Vampires, the Strigoi.” — I read the book series and enjoyed it. The movie was ridiculously campy and vapid. Not a fan at all.

#4 Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List “Naomi and Ely have loved each other their whole lives, even though Ely isn’t exactly into girls. The institution of a “No Kiss List” has prevented the two from rifts in the past, but bonds are tested when they both fall for the same guy.” — Ugh! So stupid. I only watched about half before I gave up. It was not good at all…

MV5BMTg5NDk4MTUwNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDU5MTc4OQ@@._V1_SX640_SY720_#5 I Give It a Year “Newlywed couple Nat and Josh are deliriously happy despite their differences, though friends and family aren’t convinced that they can last. With their first anniversary approaching and attractive alternatives in the mix, can they last?” — I really really enjoyed this little romance.  The lead actor was bugging me the entire movie until I figured out that he was in the Cornetto Trilogy. Duh! Beyond that, I really enjoyed the characters and the storyline in this one.

MV5BMjA2OTk5ODkxMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODc4MDk0OQ@@._V1_UY268_CR3,0,182,268_AL_#6 Europa Report “An international crew of astronauts undertakes a privately funded mission to search for life on Jupiter’s fourth largest moon.” —  A little late to the party, but this movie was amazing! I loved the storyline, but even more, I loved the characters. Fascinating movie about space exploration. A must see! And that ending just floored me. I just sat there for a few minutes processing everything I had watched. Loved it!

MV5BMjMwNDU1NzMzM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTY3ODk1OQ@@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_#7 Drinking Buddies “Luke and Kate are coworkers at a brewery who spend their nights drinking and flirting heavily. One weekend away together with their significant others proves who really belongs together and who doesn’t.” — I feel like the tone was a bit all over the place on this one. I didn’t quite feel like I got the message at the end. Decent movie, but nothing to rave about.

MV5BMTgxOTYxMTg3OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDgyMzA2NDE@._V1_SX214_AL_#8 Insurgent “Beatrice Prior must confront her inner demons and continue her fight against a powerful alliance which threatens to tear her society apart with the help from others on her side.” — Ugh. Not excited about all the changes they made to the storyline and characters.

 

MV5BMTQxNTc3NDM2MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzQ5NTQ3OQ@@._V1._CR28,28.649993896484375,1271,1991.0000305175781_SX214_AL_#9 Don Jon “A New Jersey guy dedicated to his family, friends, and church, develops unrealistic expectations from watching porn and works to find happiness and intimacy with his potential true love.” — Very interesting film. J and I had a big discussion about characters and pacing because of this film. I really like it, but the trailer completely sold a different movie.

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August Movie Month

My 30 day challenge was new-to-me movies. Unfortunately, my plan did not get off to a great start. I didn’t watch a single movie for the first four days of the month. From there, I just lost momentum. Here are the movies that I watched during the month of August…

MV5BNDIzNDA4MzA3Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODI2NzEzOQ@@._V1_SY317_CR3,0,214,317_AL_1. See Girl Run (2012) “A young adult woman decides to revisit her past relationships in order to find some guidance in her current life.” — Netflix told me that I would only give this movie 2 stars, but I enjoyed this quiet independent movie. It was a nice understated look a woman struggling with comparisons to her past and current relationships.

MV5BMTk0NTYyNTk2M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTg4ODEwMTE@._V1_SY317_SX214_AL_2. Lizzie Borden Took an Axe (2014) “The true story of Lizzie Borden, a young woman tried and acquitted in the 1892 murders of her father and stepmother.” — Very cheesy, but lots of fun to watch.

download3. The Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies (2014) “Bilbo and Company are forced to engage in a war against an array of combatants and keep the Lonely Mountain from falling into the hands of a rising darkness.” — I hadn’t gotten around to actually watching the last film in the trilogy. Josh got it for me so I could watch. It wasn’t amazing, but a good movie. I loved seeing Elrond and Galadriel be bad asses in the added scene.

images4. Teacher of the Year (2014) “Surrounded by the eccentric faculty of Truman High School, Mitch Carter wins the California Teacher of the Year award and immediately receives a tempting offer that may force him to leave his job.” — A pretty depressing comedy. Meant to be funny, but I wasn’t laughing.

download (1)5. The Boxtrolls (2014) “A young orphaned boy raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collectors tries to save his friends from an evil exterminator. Based on the children’s novel ‘Here Be Monsters’ by Alan Snow.”  — The red hats were the best part of the movie. Arthur enjoyed watching the trolls. He loved their silly looks.

download6. World War Z (2013) “United Nations employee Gerry Lane traverses the world in a race against time to stop the Zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments, and threatening to destroy humanity itself.” — Finally watched this one. Yeah not a favorite. The pacing was really weird and there was a ton of exposition. A bit of a snore really. And I loved the book!

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NMJ #25: John Wick

MV5BMTU2NjA1ODgzMF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTM2MTI4MjE@._V1_SX214_AL_Title: John Wick

Year Released/Rating: 2014 R

Starring: Keanu Reeves; Michael Nyqvist; Alfie Allen

Directed By: Chad Stahelski; David Leitch

Written By: Derek Kolstad

Genre: Action

Star Rating:  5/5 stars

Where I Got It: Server

Trivia:

  • According to Keanu Reeves, he did 90% of his own stunts in the film.
  • The security guard who waves Wick onto the airport runway is reading “Shibumi” by Trevanian, a 1970s thriller, also about a retired master assassin dragged back into the game. The story Viggo tells about how Wick killed three men “with a pencil” might also be a reference to Shibumi, whose hero kills with everyday objects.
  • Keanu’s fifth time playing a role named John.
  • The tattoo on John Wick’ s back translates to “Fortune helps him who is strong.”

Summary: An ex-hitman comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that took everything from him.

Review: This has been on my radar for awhile now… so glad we downloaded it. What a great action revenge flick. The action sequences were amazing: choreographed perfectly, shot great. No shaky cam here. John Wick was a great character. Loved him! And all the supporting players were fun especially Perkins. Definite must see for action fans.

Best Bits: 

  • Viggo Tarasov: I heard you struck my son today. Aureilo: Yes, sir, I did. Viggo Tarasov: May I ask why? Aureilo: Well, sir, he stole John Wick’s car and, uh, killed his dog. Viggo Tarasov: [pause] Oh.
  • Viggo Tarasov: In a bar, I once saw him kill three men… with a pencil.
  • Viggo Tarasov: They know you’re coming. John Wick: Of course… But it won’t matter.
  • Francis: Are you here on business, sir? John Wick: Afraid so, Francis. [pause] Why don’t you take the night off? Francis: Thank you, sir.

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NMJ #22-24: Ascension

MV5BMjI0NjI3MDQ1N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzg0ODY0MzE@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_AL_Title: Ascension

Year Released/Rating: 2014

Starring: Tricia Helfer; Gil Bellows, Brian Van Holt; Brandon Bell

Directed By: Stephen Williams; Mairzee Almas; Nick Copus; Robert Lierberman; Vincenzo Natali

Written By: Adrian Cruz; Melody Fox; Philip Levens

Genre: Science Fiction

Star Rating:  4/5 stars

Where I Got It: Server

Trivia: 

  • Ryan Robbins and Tricia Helfer appeared in the very first scene of “Battlestar Galactica” as the Armistice Officer and Cylon “Number Six” respectively.
  • Major character is named “James Toback” and is frequently called by his full name rather than first name like the other characters; presumably this is the series writers’ in-joke homage to writer/director James Toback, whose classic Paramount film THE GAMBLER has been recently remade starring Mark Wahlberg.

Summary: A young woman’s murder causes the subjects of a century-long mission to populate a new world to question the true nature of the project as they approach the point of no return.

Review: Decent little miniseries from Syfy. J and I called most of the twists, but I still enjoyed it. They could have kept the big reveal until the second night, but whatever I was still okay. Viondra was definitely the best character in the series. Love her so much!

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NMJ #21: Cavedigger

MV5BMTgyMTU0OTYxOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDUyNTEwMTE@._V1_SY317_CR8,0,214,317_AL_Title: Cavedigger

Year Released/Rating: 2013

Directed By: Jeffrey Karoff

Genre: Documentary

Star Rating:  3/5 stars

Where I Got It: Server

Summary: In this OSCAR® NOMINATED documentary short, artist Ra Paulette digs other-worldly, sculptural caves using nothing but hand tools. But, as patrons cut off his projects due to lack of funds or artistic differences, Paulette’s frustration mounts. This penetrating portrait examines the cost of Paulette’s obsession and tracks him as he rejects commissions for his own 10-year Magnum Opus.

Review: An interesting little short, but ultimately I was not a fan of the person being documented. Paulette’s art cannot be denied. The caves are amazing both in their beauty and technicality. But his attitude toward his friends and wife really bugged me. Really not a fan of him…

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NMJ #20: Craigslist Joe

MV5BNDc5OTM3MTQ0Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjEyODcwOA@@._V1_SX214_AL_Title: Craigslist Joe

Year Released/Rating: 2012

Directed By: Joseph Garner

Genre: Documentary

Star Rating:  4/5 stars

Where I Got It: Netflix

Summary: In a time when America’s economy was crumbling and sense of community was in question, one guy left everything behind to see if he could survive solely on the support and goodwill of the 21st century’s new town square: Craigslist.

Review: It started out a bit cheesy and weird. But as the month passed, I became more invested in Joe’s connections. I loved seeing all the weird and wonderful people he met through Craigslist. The documentary renewed my faith in the human race. People are willing to help if you just ask. After watching, I had to check out our local Craigslist page. I didn’t find anyone to help today, but I’ll remind myself to periodically check…

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