Theatrical Releases: 22 Jump Street & How To Train Your Dragon 2

22 JUMP STREET || June 13th, 2014

22JumpStreet-poster2 “22 Jump Street” proves that it is not “always worse the second time around”, a quote from the Chief in the film played by Nick Offerman. Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill return for another undercover adventure, making good on the promise at the end of the first film, as they head to college. The film has no way of surprising like “21 Jump Street” did, but it packs enough action and comedy as well as the most meta-humor of any comedy this year. The chemistry between the two leads is undeniable.
HowToTrainYourDragon2-poster Coming off the huge success of the first installment, Dreamworks’ hit franchise, which is rivaling even Pixar’s content, produces a sequel in “How To Train Your Dragon 2”. Hiccup has grown up a little since we last saw him (still voiced by Jay Baruchel) and is still riding Toothless the dragon. But with an impending war headed their way, they will need all the help they can get. Enter Hiccup’s mother (apparently a huge spoiler given away by the trailer) who has her own unique way of training dragons.
THEATER
TheSignal-poster A science fiction film with roots in the thriller and drama genres, “The Signal” sees three college students traveling across the Southwest when suddenly they end up in an eery detour where everything goes dark. When they wake up they are surrounded by people in white hazmat suits. Starring Laurence Fishburne and newcomers Brenton Thwaites and Olivia Cooke (who is a growing favorite of mine), this slow burn sci-fi, alien film is a must-see for me. THEATER

AllCheerleadersDie-poster Sex sells and that phrase is perfect for the film “All Cheerleaders Die”, an independent high school film that would otherwise not have much of a selling point. When a car full of cheerleaders die, a sinister force brings them back and has them killing to stay alive. Much like “Jennifer’s Body”, the cheesiness of the film works in the film’s favor and the attractive cheerleaders taking control and showing off their bodies is what ultimately sells this one. RENTAL
TheAmazingCatfish-poster “The Amazing Catfish” is probably a very touching and heartfelt foreign drama, which sees a young woman who has been alone most of her life connecting with an HIV-positive mother of four. But with a lack of standouts performances even in the trailer and completely dry sense of humor that I cannot place, the film is a tad on the out-there side, making it hard to imagine sitting down and enjoying this film. So unless it is recommended to me, I will pass. PASS
ApocalypseKiss-poster All hate aside for tiny little independent films with horrible production quality, I do have to give them a hand for actually getting their feature film made and released in theaters. “Apocalypse Kiss” is a high concept futuristic film which is science fiction, part noire. With a planet headed on a crash course with Earth, a detective continues to try and hunt down the criminals in his city. Attempting to use a hot blonde to attract viewers, it will take more to persuade me.
PASS
BurningBush-poster What first caught my eye about “Burning Bush” was Tatiana Pauhofová, a Slovak actress who has the look to be a Hollywood actress if she were to choose.  Presented as a three-part mini-series from HBO, the film takes place in January 1969 during Soviet occupation in the Czech Republic, specifically a pivotal moment when a young college student set himself on fire to protest. Even though this has a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, I find it hard to sit down for this history lesson.
PASS
ACoffeeInBerlin-poster Inclined to believe the critics and recognizing the achievements of the film by garnering so many awards overseas, I understand that the black-and-white drama, “A Coffee In Berlin” is probably a really spectacular film. But with nothing more to go on than awards from another country and I am not inclined, however, to actually see the film. About a hapless young man who is suddenly dumped, cut off, and forced to grow up, there really is nothing highlight about anything in the trailer. PASS
Heli-poster Telling someone a film is going to shock them is becoming the equivalent of those Facebook posts that say “this has to be seen to be believed” or “you will never believe what happens in this video”. And most of the time, it does not have to be seen and it can be believed. So with the foreign drama “Heli” touting a shocking film, from such a low quality trailer, I cannot imagine there is anything within the film that will shock me, unless it is the kid weightlifting a little girl at the end of the trailer. PASS
Hellion-poster Ever since his huge turn in the series “Breaking Bad”, Aaron Paul can basically do no wrong. In his latest little Indie film “Hellion”, he plays the father of two young boys after his wife has died. With one of his sons becoming a troublemaker, obsessed with heavy metal and dirt biking, Paul’s character faces losing everything if he does not dig his way out of his sorrow. Also starring Juliette Lewis, this film is brimming with emotion just from the trailer and is reminiscent of a David Gordon Green drama like “Joe”. THEATER
TheHumanRace-poster Every year there is some kind of low budget, race against time movie that mixes science fiction elements with the ticking clock thriller where there can only be one winner. I am reminded on “The Condemned”, in which Steve Austin starred, where ten entered and only one could survive. “The Human Race” is similar except it is set in some kind of track where the rules state if you get lapped or stop racing, you die, except this time there is 80 contestants including women and children. It could be 80,000 contestants and I still would not want to see it. PASS
IAmI-poster In “I Am I”, Rachael (Jocelyn Towne) meets her senile father who thinks he is thirty-four years old. He also thinks Rachael is her mother, Sarah, who passed away some time ago, but to get to know her father, she embraces this and pretends to be her mother. Also starring Jason Ritter, this small-time drama could easily be a Nicolas Sparks level release but without his name, these hard dramas never really stand a chance. We will just wait and see if Sparks releases a film with a similar premise.
PASS
IvoryTower-poster Overpriced college and the overwhelming financial debt of Americans that attend college is very interesting to me, because I do have a large chunk of student loans to pay off. But a documentary like “Ivory Tower” is not going to tell me very much that I do not already know and that the trailer does not point out. Do I hope that prospective college students and people who can make a difference watch this film? Yes. Is it too late for me? Yes.
PASS
Lullaby-poster Put Amy Adams in just about anything and I will watch it. But with an ensemble cast throughout, including Richard Jenkins, Garrett Hedlund, Terrence Howard, and Jennifer Hudson, “Lullaby” is stacked with reasons to see it. On top of being a very emotional film about family connection and illnesses, the chemistry of the family as well as Hedlund’s rapport with a young girl with cancer, outshines any of the bad set up with the smoking and the blatant allusions to Hedlund’s character doing a one-eighty by the end of the film.
50% PROBABLY
ThePastIsAGrotesqueAnimal-poster For anyone that listens to the band Of Montreal, the documentary “The Past Is A Grotesque Animal” is probably a huge deal for them, seeing a group of people that they have perhaps seen in concert or heard about after hearing them somewhere. But someone like me, who has zero connection to the band or their music, this film is utterly lost on me. I get that the lead singer is troubled (and I feel bad for his mother who is wearing a neck brace for some reason) but beyond that there is very little to grab one’s attention. PASS
TheRover-poster Set in post-apocalyptic Australia, “The Rover” borrows its tone and realistic depiction of an economical collapse from the pages of Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road”, not literally, but the styling matches for sure. Guy Pearce plays a man chasing down his stolen car when he comes across one of the carjacker’s brother, a halfwit played by Robert Pattinson, a huge step forward for the “Twilight” actor. Horrifically violent, the images of the film haunt you long after the film is done but the ending makes the entire film worth the ride.
SpanishLake-poster Precursors like “the most controversial documentary of the year” and “the following trailer contains disturbing material”, are definitely successful ways of getting individuals to watch your trailer. But the actual trailer for “Spanish Lake” does not deliver on any of its promises, telling the story of a small town in Missouri where people are so racist that when African Americans move into town, they move out and somehow the government supposedly helps with this. Just because you use the “N” word in your trailer does not mean your trailer contains “disturbing material”. I am interested to see what critics make of this film. PASS
Violette-poster Most of my viewing of the trailer for “Violette” was spent trying to figure out where I had seen the leading lady, the French actress Emmanuelle Devos, before. Still not having a clear answer after going through her filmography (it could be “Coco Before Chanel” as this is the only film that actually caught my eye as having seen), this biopic, “Violette”, in which she plays the title character is a little to dry for a foreign film. PASS
WitchingAndBitching-poster For a second upon seeing the cover of the film “Witching and Bitching”, I was sure the witch on the front was Kathleen Turner. I was mistaken. By the end of the trailer, I am fairly certain it is a man. Anyhow, the films sees a group of men stumbling upon a coven of witches and the antics that ensue. Normally I would pass on such a strange concept independent film but with high quality production value and a hint of strong humor and some sex, I am somewhat sold on the film. 25% MAYBE

THEATER

  • 22 Jump Street
  • Hellion
  • How To Train Your Dragon 2
  • The Rover
  • The Signal

RENTAL

  • All Cheerleaders Die

MOST LIKELY CATCH ON NETFLIX (75%)

PROBABLY CATCH ON NETFLIX (50%)

  • Lullaby

MIGHT CATCH ON NETFLIX (25%)

  • Witching And Bitching

PASS

  • The Amazing Catfish
  • Apocalypse Kiss
  • Burning Bush
  • A Coffee In Berlin
  • Heli
  • The Human Race
  • I Am I
  • Ivory Tower
  • The Past Is A Grotesque Animal
  • Spanish Lake
  • Violette

HELL NO

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