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Rating History

Interstellar (2014)
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Finally! Here is my review of my most anticipated movie of the year, Interstellar. Alright, alright, alright.

In the most too distant future, Earth is beginning to die. Crops are all dying out and it's near the end of all humanity. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a former pilot and widowed father and a few others must embark on an Interstellar voyage to save all of humanity.

What a beautiful, enthralling epic Interstellar is. This was my most anticipated movie of the year and despite other reviews being mixed or mixed to positive I believe this to be one of the best movies of the year! Christopher Nolan has created another masterful film and a movie I will not forget anytime soon.

Matthew McConaughey is fantastic as Cooper. He is the actor who you really follow and carries the story and he's fantastic! He is just that one character who you root for to win. He is easily an Oscar contender for Best Actor in a Leading Role, this is the best I've ever seen from him. One scene in particular he had no holding back tears he was so convincing. Anne Hathaway is also great as Amelia Brand, one of the astronauts who goes on the voyage. I thought she did a great job with the work given her. David Gyasi and Wes Bentley are terrific here as well and this is the best thing Nolan does. He brings out the best in every single one of these actors from this A list cast. We even have a robot in this movie! It was completely awesome! It acted as a comic relief at moments which were hilarious but in the end I really did care about the fait about the robot as well.

Back on Earth Mackenzie Foy who played Cooper's daughter Murph is great. She is an excellent child actor and I want to see more of her in the future. Her chemistry with McConaughey were some of the best father, daughter duo I've seen in years. In a role I will not spoil Jessica Chastain comes in and gives a performance worth an Oscar nomination for an Actress in a Supporting role. And if you have a Nolan movie Michael Caine will show up and he's great as well. All of the acting in this movie is just spot on brilliant and we even get a child actor who wasn't annoying but excellent!

While we do have the interstellar voyage, essentially this movie is about a father and his daughter. Like I mentioned above, Mackenzie Foy's and McConaughey's chemistry was so strong and the goodbye scene was so emotional and so well done I forgot this was a movie! I didn't see the actors but their characters. What I wanted to see was the Earth as it was dying and we do get that! I was hoping it just wouldn't cut to the voyage but the first half of the movie is on Earth and it's fantastic to see carnage and everyone realizing that they aren't going to survive.

But the movie really kicks in once we leave the planet Earth and get one of the most beautiful representations of space ever put to film. Everything looks gorgeous and in the end it is one of the most beautiful movies I have ever watched in my life. Nolan is an expert is practical effects and not once in this movie, CGI and a green screen was used. I know! He only used practical effects in this movie, in 2014 where CGI is the way to go he creates one of the most stunning movies ever made without it. This is where it gets tough because I can't really talk about the space aspect of the film without spoiling anything but I will say it turns into a true space epic.

Director and Writer Christopher Nolan creates this masterpiece and he is deserving of a Best Director nomination for this film. Not only is the emotional scenes excellent and visuals top notched but the action set pieces are enthralling. One sequence in particular had my hands sweating and my legs shaking, waiting to see the outcome of it. By the time it ended my hands were sweating. Interstellar believe it or not is as scientifically accurate as you will get. Nolan spent seven years studying wormholes, that is great dedication. Interstellar makes me want to read more about wormholes and want to study everything about it I was so interested in it! Despite having a three hour runtime the movie never drags and I didn't want it to end. Nolan truly is one of the best filmmakers working today.

You just have to appreciate Nolan's ambition on this picture. From the man who brought us Inception, this is his most ambitious film to date and you just have to stare in awe at this picture. This is a truly original film and it's ideas are not only thought provoking but universally epic.

The movie gets it's amazing emotional pull from the science of black holes. The way it represents them, time in there will speed up time on Earth and it's shown in great detail and heartbreaking. The one scene happens and it's so real that I was tearing up and attempting to hold them back the best I possibly could. We also get this sense of place in the universe. We learn that we aren't the only things in the universe that it's much larger than we ever could imagine. In reality I'm just this spec or bacteria on this planet making this review for you all, I'm nothing more and the movie does this so well that it makes me think about it all.

Do I really need to talk about Hans Zimmer's amazing score? The music in Interstellar is so unique and different that is separates itself from other music scores. The music empowers each scene and often brings emotion out, by the end of the movie I wanted to buy the Interstellar soundtrack. In fact as soon as it's released I'm buying that soundtrack because it's that fantastic!

If you do want to see Interstellar I do recommend seeing it in iMax. I saw Interstellar on a four story screen surrounded in an iMax theater. The sound quality was excellent and it made me feel as if I were in the moment. While I do recommend it make sure you are familiar with iMax because this was my first time ever and it took me sometime to adapt into it. But it was so worth it. Interstellar was made to be experienced like this.

In the end, Christopher Nolan's Interstellar is a fantastic piece of cinema and is one of my favorite movies of the year. It's filled with excellent performances, amazing direction and featuring some of the best action scenes of the year. Please see Interstellar as soon as possible!

I give Interstellar an A+.

Nightcrawler (2014)
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Just clarifying, this is not the X-Men character. My review of Nightcrawler.

Directed and Written by Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler tells the story of Louis "Lou" Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a thief living in Los Angeles, just surviving. One night he is driving where he witnesses a car crash, one man (Bill Paxton) begins the film the scene so he can sell it to a news station to make money. Lou decides to do the same thing, he buys a camera and an assistant where he begins to become an expert on it to the point where he begins to commit crimes to get these stories.

I have seen a lot of movies in 2014 and I will tell you that Nightcrawler is the absolute best movie I've seen all year. We are featured an outstanding film with an unforgettable performance Jake Gyllenhaal. In fact this is the best movie I've seen since 2012s Silver Linings Playbook.

First off, Jake Gyllenhaal gives the performance of the year as Lou, he is flawless as this character. He nails every single aspect of his character. First off he lost a large thirty pounds to play the character stating "he wanted him to look like a coyote who is trying to find the scrapes of living on the streets" and it truly shows. His weight loss is just the surface to this amazing performance. His line delivery is just mesmerizing. During the course of the movie I never once was Jake Gyllenhaal but Lou, how often can you ever say that?

His character is one of the most memorable characters I've seen all year, maybe in years. His character lacks empathy so he doesn't care about other people. His interactions with the other characters in the story is riveting. That is credited to writing but that will come later. The way he says his lines are just chilling and often hilarious. Seriously this movie could be a very black comedy. I was laughing at some of the things he said when I don't think I was suppose to. He is constantly threatening to beat, blackmail or even kill the people around him if it doesn't get his way. This is one memorable character.

Rene Russo plays the news director who he begins to sell his footage too. She is also great. She could possibly be nominated for Best Supporting Actress but she isn't a front runner by any means. She is great at playing this character who is so desperate at getting rating that she looks over the fact that Lou is most likely insane. Her interactions with him were the best scenes in the movie where I had no idea what was going to happen and I was looking forward to every single time they got in the same room. Also Riz Ahmed is great in the movie but in the end they all are just in the shadow of Jake Gyllenhaal.

Essentially Nightcrawler is a character study film. Similar to Taxi Driver this movie follows Lou as he slowly begins to lose his mind and his obsession takes over him. Right off the bat we know something is off with his character, we don't learn any of his backstory however that benefits because it's surrounded in mystery and makes you think. As the film progresses he becomes even more disturbing and that was the best thing about the movie. I love films that are based around character study and this movie does that perfectly.

Dan Gilroy in his directorial debut also wrote the movie and the screenplay is just perfect. This is one of the best and most original screenplays in years. The dialogue is rich and fascinating and it takes so many different twists and turns you don't expect. I was on edge the entire time wondering where this movie was going. Gilroy's direction was fantastic, he creates a lot of tension throughout the movie even when nothing is really happening. Every scene is directed with great skill and precision, I felt like I was watching an Alfred Hitchcock film.

The locations were another strong aspect of Nightcrawler. The streets of LA look fantastic. This is the best they've looked since Drive back in 2011. Everytime we see him recording all of the crimes I left like I was literally in LA with him.

Finally Nightcrawler features one of the best finales I've seen all year. It's slow building and as it progresses farther the suspense only builds, my god I was starting to shake waiting to see the outcome. I was sitting on the edge of my seat, fists clenched, my palms sweating and by the end of it my mouth dropped in shock.

When I say Nightcrawler is the best movie of the year, I mean it. This is easily the best of 2014 and I beg all of you to see Nightcrawler if you get the chance, it's more than worth your time. Jake Gyllenhaal is unforgettable as an unforgettable character. The screenplay is one of the best I've seen in years and throughout the entire movie I was on the edge of my seat. This is one of the best movies I've seen in years.

I give Nightcrawler an obvious A+.

Fury (2014)
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

OK, for real, my review of Fury right now.

Fury is directed and written by by David Ayer and is set during the last month of the during World War II in April 1945. The Allies make their final push into Nazi Germany. Leading this is Sagent "Wardaddy" (Brad Pitt) as he takes his crew (Shia LaBeouf, Michael Peņa, Jon Bernthal) with their tank fury behind enemy lines. But problems occur when one of his men is killed and is replaced by Norman Ellison (logan Lerman) who has never seen a day of combat.

While very disappointed, Fury is still a hard hitting look at the horrors of World War II and we are featured great performances from Brad Pitt and Logan Lerman. Without a doubt flawed, but delivers some excellent thrills.

Brad Pitt is at the top of his game in Fury. He is the strongest part of the movie and he (for the most part) carries it. While I don't think he's as good as he was in Moneyball and probably won't be nominated for an Oscar he's just great. He really does bring the character of Wardaddy to life as he has become a killing machine and forgotten the man he once was. Logan Lerman gives his best performance, even better than The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Without a doubt he was the Jeremy Davies of Fury as never seen combat, it made him a very relatable character and I rooted for him to live through the movie.

Despite all the hate he's gotten, Shia LaBeouf is great in the movie. He is grown since Transformers and shows us he's a very capable actor. Also his dedication to the role is to be noted, je actually pulled out a tooth and cut his face with a knife for the role, that is a dedicated actor. Michael Peņa is good in the movie along with Jon Bernthal, but in the end they don't have much to work with and my god these the characters are just dicks.

Other than Brad Pitt and Logan Lerman, I really didn't care about the other characters. Not only do we learn nothing about each character (no backstory at all) but they are so unlikable! Jon Bernthal is the biggest dick ever, especially one scene I hated to punch him in the face! He irritated me so freaking much. I didn't mind Michael Peņa's character but along with Shia LaBeouf and the rest of the cast we don't learn that much in the end. So when the intense action scenes hit I didn't really care or want these unlikable people to live, other than Brad Pitt and Logan Lerman.

The action scenes were very well done and otherwise intense. The one thing Fury did show us that other WWII movies haven't is tank warfare. This is the first movie I've ever seen tanks go up against each other in combat so that was interesting to watch. It's a whole new type of combat and it makes it that more interesting. The sound was Oscar worthy, I felt like I'd been transported into World War II. But like I said it lacked some needed attention due to the fact that I didn't care about the characters that much.

This is a great look at World War II. It was nothing fun, we get a very hard look at combat. Men getting blown up in graphic ways. At times hard to look at and does anything but glorify war. We also get a very intense scene with Brad Pitt and Logan Lerman were Pitt makes him do something that was against his morals. People will find this a bit disturbing but at the same time it was necessary to show him what he needed to do in the end.

Another scene that is getting a lot of hate is this dinner scene where Pitt and Lerman meet these two german girls. The movies momentum stops but to me this is one of the things that makes Fury special. It was a quiet moment to get to have Pitt and Lerman's characters bond and understand each other more. That was the best part of the movie, not the battle scenes.

Other flaws in Fury were the pacing of the movie. The whole story takes place in a day or so and despite having a near two and a half hour runtime there wasn't a natural flow to the story and things just happened. The movie lacked story in that case as well.

So while I am disappointed by Fury, the great acting and intense battle scenes bring the movie above average. Towards the end it becomes nearly impossibly to by what's happening and it becomes very Hollywoodized. The dinner scene is the most important scene in the movie and I still did enjoy it.

I give Fury a B+.

Dracula Untold
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Who wants to see my review of Fury! Well here's Dracula Untold instead....

Vlad the Impaler (Luke Evans) is a family man and a leader of his own people. But when the turkish come and threaten to take away his family and people he must go to a vampire to turn himself into Dracula in order to gain the power to defeat the new enemy.

Now I'm gonna be completely honest with you...this actually isn't that bad. I know, I know, "I've lost my mind, can't trust my opinion anymore." But in all honestly, I found this movie is to really entertaining and the best thing, vampires are awesome once more.

Luke Evans does a really good job as Dracula. I bought his performance and he was a relatable character. I wanted him to succeed and win, he brought a lot of humanity to the character and overall did a damn good job. He is without a doubt the biggest positive about the movie and carries it most of the way. Dominic Cooper who plays the villain, meh. I think any person could have acted like a complete douche and they would have nailed the character. His wife (Sarah Gadon) did a good job with his character, which isn't much but still did a good job. And my god, she is hot.

I really liked how they really tried to make a different Dracula story. We all know the Count Dracula story, but do we really know Vlad the Impaler? I didn't so it was refreshing to see them try to change things up. While the actual story isn't that great or anything, follows a pretty predictable A B C format. It also featured more of an emotion pull than I thought. I'm not spoiling anything but I did in the end care about the character of Dracula and his family.

This movie without a doubt goes into guilty pleasure. But at the same time it doesn't. There were times where the movie didn't take itself that seriously which was good because the overall story is a guy who goes to a vampire to turn him into another vampire to fight off enemies. How can you really take that seriously? For the most part if knowledges it's silliness but then it will try to be really serious and dramatic. Those scenes through my off and I kind of laughed at it.

But come on, why did we come here? To see Dracula kill a bunch of people which we see in awesome ways. The visual effects were very good in the movie, one of Dracula's powers is being able to turn into a flock of bats and back into human form. Those looked great and when the action hit it was awesome. We see him transform and stab, slash and bite a bunch of enemies in cool aways. They do make him an idiot at times, I won't tell you the scene but there's a moment where he could just kill all of the enemies at once and he doesn't for no real reason. And, shaky cam is featured at times.

The movie is really trying to hold a PG-13 rating so they just start shaking the camera around so we don't see a lot of the violent stuff. That hit the movies grade hard, only a few movies have ever pulled off shaky cam for one and it just bugged me. If they went for an R rated movie it would have been better to watch.

This is suppose to be the start of a Monster Universe where I guess The Wolfman, The Mummy and many other classic monsters will come together like an Avengers type of thing. I like the idea. To me, it will be interesting to pull off and awesome to see Dracula in the same room with the Wolfman or the Mummy.

So Dracula Untold did surprised me. I thought the action was cool, the effects were well done and Luke Evans is awesome in the role of Dracula. This is without a doubt guilty pleasure for sure. If they do make a sequel (which they will) unless Luke Evans comes back I won't see it. I'm curious where the reboot to the Monster Universe will go.

Dracula Untold is a B movie that gets a B-.

The Judge
The Judge (2014)
3 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Iron Man defends Tom Hagen against the villainous Bad Santa in The Judge, my review now.

The Judge tells the story of Hank Palmer (Robert Downey Jr.), a very successful lawyer who works in Chicago. But when his mother passes away he goes back to his Indiana roots where he meets his two brothers (Vincent D'Onofrio and Jeremy Strong) and his entranged father (Robert Duvall) who is the judge of the town. But when he is suspected of murder, Hank will defend his father against Dwight Dickham (Billy Bob Thornton) despite his feelings toward his father.

The Judge benefits most from an excellent leading performance by Robert Downey Jr. and great supporting work by the great Robert Duvall. While The Judge is beautifully filmed, the film overall lacks some needed substance.

Robert Downey Jr. finally plays a role outside of Iron Man and this man is an actor. This is the best I've seen him (outside Iron Man) since his Oscar nominated performance in Tropic Thunder. He owns the screen and carries the movie through a near two and a half hour runtime. His character does resemble Iron Man (something I've noticed) but he has a very challenging role and nails every second of it. He is one of the best actors working today not to have won an Oscar. The great Robert Duvall gives a very impressive performance in this film. This is the best I've seen him in years, he proves to us why he is one of the best actors of all time. Playing a mostly unlikable character, he comes off as a nasty cuss but that only makes me even more fascinated to watch on screen.

The best scenes without a doubt were the scenes where they went at it. Downey Jr. and Duvall had excellent chemistry on screen and it got VERY intense in the arguments they had. Both showing off the best they could pull off, it seemed natural for them. I just wish the rest of the film lived up to these scenes, they're aren't many at all but when they did happen it was the highlight of the film.

In supporting work Vincent D'Onofrio and Jeremy Strong play Hank's older and younger brothers. They were very solid. I believed their performances (particularly of Donofrio). Supporting work is just as important as leading, while I think they get put down by the two main leads they were strong enough to make an impression. This movies acting is without a doubt the highlight and the actors carry it most of the way.

This film is beautifully filmed as well. The frame shots and they way the picture looked was fantastic. Leading the cinematography is Janusz Kami?ski creates a very moody and dark pictures were the colors are saturated. This added a more grey looking picture at the main point which added on greatly.

The courtroom sequences were the most disappointing aspect of the film. They lacked a lot of needed energy. Now I'm not saying it had to be over the top Liar Liar or anything but there wasn't a moment where I felt a slip of suspense or worried about Duvall's character. I they do a very good job at filming these scenes but looking at scenes like Lincoln where I know the outcome and yet are on the edge of my seat the entire film does prove a small problem. Billy Bob Thornton was great in the scenes but I wanted to see more of him which we didn't get.

This also goes on way too long. This is a two hour and twenty minute film and holy crap it shows. Easily twenty minutes could have been cut out of the movie and also cutting out this certain character, Vera Farmiga playing Samantha, an old love interest of Hank's character. She didn't really move the plot any farther and really just dragged the movie on longer than it needed to be. If they had cut her out of the entire film it wouldn't have been any different and put more focus on the main subject.

The main message his family in the movie. I liked it but it got to a point of it so was sentimental. Unbelievably sentimental to the point where it was kind of corny. Some of it really did work a lot to the films benefit giving more emotion but it crossed the line a few times to where it was "Yes, this is a movie and we are going to make you cry by making it as dramatic as possible".

So The Judge is OK, without a doubt the acting carries the movie along, Downey jr. proves he can act outside of Iron Man and it's great to see Duvall working again. This is not a perfect movie, I am slightly disappointed by the outcome of it:

I give The Judge a C+.