***As I'm sure anyone who reads any of my reviews know, I love to watch movies that get award recognition. It's an OCD type thing for me, and I do it every year. The Independent Spirit Awards came out and I immediately began to search for which movie I could watch immediately. The first was "Frances Ha" which is up for best picture. I knew some of it before I watched, but the thing that stuck out most for me was the director Noah Baumbach. I typically find his movies to be very boring. "Squid and the Whale" and "Greenburg" are two movies that got some recognition and just bored the hell out of me. Had fine performances and premises, but were just too slow. So I figured this would probably continue that trend. It's always good to be wrong, as this is definitely his best movie yet. It's about a dancer named Frances(Greta Gerwig) who is one of those girls who can't get their life together. Her roommate/best friend moves out of their apartment and on with her life. Frances then searches for new friends, while trying to make something of her dream to be a professional dancer. It does a great job of showing a real friendship that goes through the ups and downs of life. Gerwig is fantastic and one of the better female characters I've seen the last few years. The movie is all black and white, which gives it a very unique feel. It does drag in spots, but it's only 90 minutes long and the soundtrack is great(had "Modern Love" by David Bowie stuck in my head since!). Overall, if you're a fan of indy movies, then this is a definite movie to check out(it's available on Netflix streaming!). But if those type of movies aren't your thing, then you should probably steer clear.
"Red 2" is a sequel that follows the formula of the first movie and doesn't really add anything. It's basically another adventure, and another chance to see these characters. Which for what it is, is perfectly fine. This isn't one of those franchises with long lasting appeal, or something on an epic scale. It's an action comedy meant to entertain for 90 minutes, and that's what it does. The entire cast(except Freeman and Urban) are back for this go around. Frank(Bruce Willis) is living a simple life of trips to Costco with his girlfriend Sarah(Mary-Louis Parker) when he is thrust back into action to help stop the use of a weapon of mass destruction created by Anthony Hopkins. Again, everyone is trying to kill Frank and Marvin(John Malkovich), but no one is a very good shot. Willis seems to be going through motions, but Malkovich is awesome and crazy as ever. Parker is a little annoying here, which she can be in most her roles. The rest of the cast are all good, and the action is pretty good. This is "light" entertainment, meaning the day after you watch it, you'll probably just forget about it. It's not a bad movie, just not something that will stick with you or demand repeat viewings. If you enjoyed the first one, then you should like this.
*1/2 I really like a good car chase movie. When done right, they can be some of the most exciting action sequences in film. Then you get a movie like "The Getaway" where it is a 90 minute long car chase, and it just doesn't work. It's a big mess actually. Ethan Hawke stars as a driver who has to drive a car around a city doing a lot of crazy stuff that a mysterious voice on the phone(Jon Voight) is telling him to do, since he has kidnapped Hawke's wife. Along the way Hawke picks up Selena Gomez and the 2 try to figure out how to save his wife, and why this is being done to him. This is a bad movie. The directing is horrible. The edit job on this is one of the worst I've ever seen. It goes back and forth from the regular camera to camera set up on the car to make it seem like a found footage type movie. Hawke does good, as he always does, but Voight is completely wasted and Gomez is very miscast. I saw just completely skip this and watch a "fast and furious" movie if you like fast cars. If you want a good thriller involving a car, check out the original "Hitcher" or even "Joy Ride". Otherwise you'll want to get away from "The Getaway"(lol, see how I did that:-p )
Re-watched this last week and I gotta say it holds up very well. Still pretty funny, and definitely a good re-watch around Thanksgiving time. ***
Original review "Tower Heist" is kind of like a comedic version of the "Ocean's 11" movies. Alan Alda plays a millionaire who invests his workers pensions fraudulently, then loses it all. While awaiting his trial the workers, headed by Ben Stiller, decide to plan a heist and steal their money back from his penthouse apartment. The heist is very entertaining and pretty clever(although parts are predictable). The cast is very well rounded with Eddie Murphy, Michael Pena, Casey Affleck, and Gabourey Sidibe all taking part in the heist and providing plenty of laughs and some memorable lines. While the movie probably won't be remembered as long as some of Stiller and Murphy's other notable movies( "Meet the Parents", "Nutty Professor"), it is still worth a watch, and I could see a sequel coming out down the line. Good fall comedy if you need a laugh or just need to kill an hour or so.
This year has been pretty great for animated movies, and it saved probably the best for last in "Frozen". This is a real throwback Disney movie. One of those "love conquers all" stories with musical numbers and funny, memorable characters. I laughed so hard in this with the snowman and the reindeer, I had literal tears coming out. The songs are great, and it's just a movie that will be re-released overtime by Disney like it's other classics. It sits perfectly next to timeless greats like "Little Mermaid" or "Aladdin". I will say, if there is anything wrong with this, it's the lack of a truly good Disney villain. The villain is OK, but they are no Jabar or Ursalla. The animation is fantastic, especially the short before the movie with Mickey Mouse. We didn't catch this in 3D, but I can tell right now, I will be purchasing this is 3D on blu ray and will probably pop this bad boy in the first night. My wife loved it, my boy loved it, I think everyone had a great time with it. It's the type of movie that if you don't like, then I'd have to question if you have a heart or soul. Just a great movie that parents and kids will absolutely adore. Perfect theater movie for a fantastic time with the family. Also, I will say I hadn't seen very many previews at all for this and didn't really know much about it going in, and I think that is probably the best way to experience this if you can.