Theatrical Releases: Taken 2 & Frankenweenie

TAKEN 2 || October 5th, 2012

FRANKENWEENIE || Normally I would give films like this a chance, like “ParaNorman” earlier this year, but for one thing it resembles that film a little too closely and also the voice acting and animation just isn’t my thing. Tim Burton’s live-action films have always been appealing to me, but his animated films, not so much, as I am not a huge follower of “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and have never seen “Corpse Bride”. I get that this is based on a live action short film Burton made in the 80’s but the only thing I’m glad about seeing this released is that I don’t have to see the trailers anymore. PASS
PITCH PERFECT || As much as I really do not want to see this film, Anna Kendrick is in it and I will usually give her a chance in anything. However, this looks like a bad attempt at getting “Glee” into the movies. When will we realize that people do not break out into song whilst at school. At least there’s some hotties in this film. I still do not get the following behind Rebel Wilson. Could do without her in most things.
RENT
TAKEN 2 || Though I never saw the original “Taken” in theaters, I will probably see “Taken 2”, which looks like your basic enjoyable action film. The first film had such a huge following, it’s no surprise they made a sequel. And with Liam Neeson at the helm, there’s no real reason not to see it, as he can make anything better. The plot sounds reasonable, the action is built around specific moments, and this sequel is actually justified. THEATER
V/H/S || The most effective found footage film since “The Blair Witch Project” and exponentially creepier, “V/H/S” is basically made up of a grab bag of different horror films, all led by different directors. Each segment scares in a slightly different way, and though all succeed in horrifying, some are more adept than the others, especially “Amateur Night”, “The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger”, and “10/31/98”. At times relying too heavily on the gore factor, I eventually grew to appreciated the non-gory thrills that often smoothed over the blatant attempt at shock value.

#HOLDYOURBREATH || As sexy as this film could probably be, “#holdyourbreath” is one of those horror films that looks like a joke upon itself, with the notion that since a car full of teens didn’t hold their breath while driving past a cemetery, they can now become possessed by evil spirits. Sounds more like another “Friday the 13th” more than anything, but it can’t even really get that right. PASS
BEL BORBA AQUI || One day there will be a documentary made about every living artist… and someone will have to watch them all. I enjoy art and I enjoy documentaries taking a closer look at the artist, but it’s starting to get overdone. “Exit Through The Gift Shop” was cutting edge a few years ago, but nothing since has quite push the boundaries of an art documentary since and they mostly just become “a day in the life of” rather than something insightful. PASS
BUTTER || Jennifer Garner is usually a red flag for me to whether I will enjoy a film or not, but with “Butter” it looks like you’re supposed to hate her character, so it will be easy to put that aside. “Butter” is a dark comedy about the art of sculpting with butter following the lives of several different characters who all eventually intertwine. The humor looks enjoyable enough from the trailer and the ensemble cast is stacked, specifically with Hugh Jackman and Olivia Wilde. Directed by Jim Field Smith, with “She’s Out Of My League” under his belt, a favorite comedy of mine, I will definitely give “Butter” a chance. RENT
DECODING DEEPAK || I am not familiar with the spiritual guide Deepak Chopra, but this documentary made by his son following him and attempting to gain some insight on the man that many people turn to for guidance looks somewhat intriguing. STREAM
ESCAPE FIRE: THE FIGHT TO RESCUE AMERICAN HEALTHCARE || Finding out about societal inadequacies that I am otherwise unaware to are usually the most intriguing premises to documentaries for me. “Escape Fire” takes a look at the American health care system and since I know little about it, I am the prime viewer this documentary aims to find. STREAM
FAT KID RULES THE WORLD || Add Matthew Lillard to the list of actors trying their hand at directing. Though I enjoy Lillard as an actor, “Fat Kid Rules the World” doesn’t look like anything special, following a similar premise of “Terri” from last year without any real outstanding performances or high end production quality, although this film did win an award at Sundance. PASS
FLIGHT OF THE BUTTERFLIES || As interesting as butterflies may be… no. PASS
THE HOUSE I LIVE IN || Similar to the feel I got from the documentary and book “Freakonomics”, I feel like “The House I Live In” will delve deeper into a societal problem while uncovering some deep seeded issues that lead to the reason drugs are a problem in our country. STREAM
THE ORANGES || With a great cast and of-our-time, messy love story, “The Oranges” plays out similar to an off-beat comedy like “Orange County”. The narration is used effectively to tell the story and comes from the best character it could (Alia Shawcat), while the story itself is fresh, depicting the older man / younger woman scenario like its never been told before, bringing to light the complex nature of doing what makes you happy, regardless of what people around you will say. Hugh Laurie shows that he definitely has a place following the conclusion of “House M.D.” while the rest of the cast fill their roles nicely without much rising above their regular performances.
THE PAPERBOY || Reminiscent of the punch provided by “The Killer Inside Me”, Lee Daniels’ “The Paperboy” places Zac Efron in a performance driven drama that forces him to prove his acting prowess, and he comes out the better for it. Still overshadowed by his acting counterparts, Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, and John Cusack deliver extraordinary performances, all outside of their normal, respected roles. The plot is standard, with very few surprises, and those that do exist come off flat and purely for shock value. However, “The Paperboy” remains sexually charged and does not disappoint, also marking the first truly great performance from Macy Gray, as the housekeeper.
THE REVISIONARIES || Not sure how I feel about this film, though I am already enraged by the MacLeroy and his dinosaurs on the arc comment to the children at the end of the trailer. This is one of those documentaries that will lead me to lose slightly more of my faith in humanity. STREAM
SISTER || Lea Seydoux has caught my eye in the past year, with great small performances in “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” and “Midnight In Paris”. Now she’s in this highly acclaimed foreign film about a boy who steals from people at a ski resort and his sister, who bears the burden of watching after him. Though the plot is rather thin looking, the emotional depth of the characters looks appealing, along with the ever appealing Lea Seydoux. STREAM
TRADE OF INNOCENTS || The resident Lifetime Original Movie of the Week, “Trade Of Innocents” doesn’t look fit for a movie theater. Sure, you can toss Dermot Mulroney and Mira Sorvino in the film, but that doesn’t make it any better. PASS
WAKE IN FRIGHT || Hearing what big time directors, like Martin Scorsese, think about this film is a rather large selling point for “Wake In Fright”, an Australian film from 1971 that was considered “lost” due to its unavailability for so long. Now being released in the U.S., it is hard to say I am not at least a small bit interested in seeing what all the hype is about. STREAM
WUTHERING HEIGHTS || Yet another adaption of the romantic Emily Bronte novel, “Wuthering Heights”, this year’s film ventures to make the character of Heathcliff a young African American man. Though the MTV version of “Wuthering Heights” starring Erika Christensen, Katherine Heigl, and Mike Vogel is the best version I’ve seen to-date, I am always slightly interested to see what a different director and different actors can bring to the age-old tale. STREAM

THEATER

  • The Oranges
  • The Paperboy
  • Taken 2
  • V/H/S

RENT

  • Butter
  • Pitch Perfect

STREAM

  • Decoding Deepak
  • Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare
  • The House I Live In
  • The Revisionaries
  • Sister
  • Wake In Fright
  • Wuthering Heights (2012)

PASS

  • #holdyourbreath
  • Bel Borba Aqui
  • Fat Kid Rules the World
  • Flight of the Butterflies
  • Frankenweenie
  • Trade of Innocents

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