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  • Being There

    Being There (1979)

    August 24, 2014

    An inventive, imaginative, brilliant little film concerning a simple gardener (Peter Sellers) who knows nothing of the outside world, but is forced out one day and through an odd series of circumstances, ends up being a close personal advisor to the President of the United States (Jack Warden). There is quite simply nothing really like this film, as it takes the subject of satire to a whole new level while Sellers na´ve, lovable character remains the anchor that drives the comedy and plot forward. This is a film full of wonder, and the great Sellers turns in one of his most skilled performances ever (in what would also be one of his last before his sudden death). For some, this movie will totally go over your head and you will not understand the comedic aspects that make it a truly special gem, but for others this will really connect. The ending is also absolutely genius too, definitely one of the best endings of all-time. Highly, highly recommended.

  • We're The Millers

    We're The Millers (2013)

    August 24, 2014

    An often funny if preposterous comedy concerning a drug dealer (Jason Sudeikis) who is tasked by his boss (Ed Helms) to do an international trade and bring marijuana across the border. The dealer decides to put together a fake family to give off the appearance of an everyday family man as to not raise any suspicion. There is a lot of predictability and crassness involved but I did find myself laughing more often than not. The ending feels a little forced and fake but for the most part it is not a bad movie and pretty enjoyable. Probably not worth many re-watches or entirely memorable, but not terrible either.

  • The Mummy

    The Mummy (1999)

    August 23, 2014

    Adventurous, but not an automatic recommedation. Some times, it feels like a cheap rip-off of "Indiana Jones", but other times, its fairly enjoyable.

  • Good Will Hunting

    Good Will Hunting (1997)

    August 17, 2014

    An original story concerning a janitor (Matt Damon) who works at MIT, before he is discovered by an arrogant professor (Stellan Skarsgard) after he solves a theorem only a handful of people in the world can figure out. This leads to an unstable but always interesting partnership of the two, which eventually develops into a raw relationship between the young man and the professor's former roommate (Robin Williams), who is a psychiatrist. This is a very well done film, due in large part to the screenplay, which is simply sensational, as well as the overall solid acting, led by Damon, Driver, and the always versatile Williams. Van Sant does an outstanding job capturing the atmosphere of Boston, and implements this backdrop into a tale of human emotion and uncovering brilliance in the most unlikely of situations.

  • Blue Ruin

    Blue Ruin (2014)

    August 09, 2014

    A quietly devastating and brutal picture about a mysterious figure named Dwight (Macon Blair) who journeys home to Virginia after hearing someone he knows is being released from jail. Director Jeremy Saulnier does a simply outstanding job developing an atmosphere that is full of absolute dread and shrouded in uncertainty. At the helms of the story is the little-known Blair, and the work he turns in is phenomenal stuff. The movie sometimes seems like it is pushing its violent storyline a bit too far at times to continue to shock its audience, but outside of that, this is a really-well done movie. It is full of gore, violence, and distasteful subject matter, but deserves a ton of credit in how it tackles the subject of revenge and how one mistake by two people can cripple so many around them.

  • The Last of the Mohicans

    The Last of the Mohicans (1992)

    August 09, 2014

    One of the best motion pictures ever made. An emotional, rich journey full of plenty of twists and turns, with the perfect hero to root for in Day-Lewis. The most impressive aspect of the entire film is director Michael Mann's eye for scenery - as this movie contains some of the most breathtaking in cinematic history. The love story between Lewis and Stowe is constructed beautifully, and the plot is paced to utter perfection. In addition, Wes Studi turns in a frightening, unforgettable performance as a man stripped of basic human emotions, whose thirst for revenge is what makes him so terrifying, since that is about all that drives him. The ending of the film is simply magnificent, and I have to say out of all the movies I've seen, this one features the best finale to a film that I can recall. It is intense, beautiful, stirring, and ultimately tragic but perfectly executed - I'm moved everytime I see it, and that's a testimony to the movie's ability to harness its power even after all the times I've viewed it. The score is also the best of the films I've seen - what a soaring soundtrack. Without question Michael Mann's best film, and one of my all-time favorite movies.

  • The Way Way Back

    The Way Way Back (2013)

    August 07, 2014

    A likeable enough coming of age story concerning an insecure, troubled teenager (Liam James) who is forced to go to his mother's boyfriend's (Steve Carell) beach house with them for the summer despite wanting to be with his real father. Once there, he stumbles into a summer job at a local water park, and makes friends with a 40's something staff member (Sam Rockwell) still attempting to live in his early days, and strikes up a potential romantic relationship with the cute girl next door (Annasophia Robb). While it is largely predictable and it has some moments of being absolutely corny, including the finale at the water park, it is still likable enough. It is an average movie with great performances, especially Rockwell, and it definitely has its heart in the right place. Not an outstanding movie by any stretch of the imagination, but far from bad.

  • Dog Pound

    Dog Pound (2013)

    August 04, 2014

    A well-meaning but ultimately disappointing and hollow take on a juvenile center focused around the lives of three boys recently put into the system, and what they experience during their time there. For the first half of the film, it is surprisingly gripping and realistically filmed and plotted. However, in the second half of the movie it veers left into "melodrama" territory, where you hardly start to believe anything that is happening and the story takes its lenses off of the boys in the facility and instead makes a hail-mary middle-finger attempt at the correctional officers. The acting is pretty good, about what you would expect for an indie film. In the end though, there are just too many scenes that feel fake and forced, not to mention pretty predictable, and the film never seems to decide what it wants to be truly about anyways.

  • Joe

    Joe (2014)

    August 03, 2014

    A grimy, dirty story of an ex-con named Joe (Nicolas Cage), who is running a successful tree poisoning business, until he slowly starts to become a father figure to an abused young boy (Tye Sheridan) who desperately wants to work for him and get away from his dangerous father (the late Gary Poulter). This film resembles "Mud" in many ways, especially by the presence of Sheridan who was in that film as well. However, what made "Mud" special was how the plot unfolded in a natural way and there seemed to be some direction behind the plot narrative. Here, the direction seems scattershot, like it does not know where it is going or what the point of the story is outside of "abuse is bad". The real treat here is the absolutely outstanding acting, especially from Cage who shows once again why he is one of the best actors on the planet when he is not doing stupid, silly blockbusters. Sheridan is special as well, and Poulter (an actual homeless man discovered and casted by the director) is Shakespearean level terrifying in his portrayal of a man with truly no soul. The movie has good intentions, and David Gordon Green is usually a solid director, but the way the plot unravels seems a bit contrived at times. Still, it may be worth seeing just for the performances alone, which are as said fantastic all-around.

  • Boyhood

    Boyhood (2014)

    August 02, 2014

    A totally unique masterstroke concerning the life of a young man named Mason (Ellar Coltrane) and his many different experiences growing up in Texas from ages 5 to 18. What sounds like a typical coming-of-age story is anything but, as director Richard Linklater crafts the most complete movie ever about childhood thanks to the way this movie is filmed. By completing this film in a 12 year period, we get to see not only the natural maturation and growth of Mason over time, but his parents (Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette), sister (Lorelei Linklater, Mr. Linklater's daughter), and friends that come and go along the way.

    This is a remarkable and daring film that gets everything right, and hits all the nostalgic notes it could possibly connect with, before ultimately stressing the importance of living in the present and not getting caught in the past. The acting across the board is phenomenal; especially Coltrane in what should be a star-making performance.

    Sometimes a movie comes out at the perfect time in your life. That happened to me in 2007 when Sean Penn's "Into the Wild" was released during my senior year in high school, and has since then became my favorite film thanks to the themes and messages it possessed concerning independence and doing what you love. "Boyhood" is one of those movies for me. It is one that I will view time and time again, while probably discovering something about it that I had not noticed before.

    To me this is a truly monumental film, and one that will undoubtedly go down in cinematic history as one of the greats.

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