Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Review: The Wolf of Wall Street

This will be my last blog post of the year [Editor’s Note: No shit, Sherlock]. Hopefully I won’t be idle too long as January is my anniversary and my annual Top Ten movie list. 

Anyway today we’re looking at The Wolf of Wall Street, a film based on the memoir of the same name by Jordan Belfort. Now Belfort is kind of the poster boy for reckless and immoral pursuit of capitalistic ends that messed up our economy so badly. Hench the idea of Hollywood making a movie about his exploits is a bit unsettling. Regardless this film has been in the works for a long time. Leonardo DiCaprio apparently was in a bidding war with Brad Pitt over the film rights to this flick, which DiCaprio eventually won, but the movie was in developmental hell for a few years before it was finally green lit. Martin Scorsese, who had been on and off the project for the beginning, came on as director. This movie had some potential however its dicey subject matter and the fear of glorifying what is one of the most maddening type of criminal act in modern American culture puts a big flashing warning light on top of it. I’m not sure it was moral of me to even watch this film at all but for the sake of this blog I hesitantly did so.

Full review after the jump.

[WARNING: This review contains some spoilers. But take in mind this movie is based on real events, so I don't feel that bad about it. You crybaby]

Monday, December 30, 2013

Review: Thor - The Dark World

Better do this before the year suddenly stops.

Marvel Studios continues its cinematic universe with Thor: The Dark World, a sequel to 2011’s Thor as well as last years The Avengers. Like many of Marvel’s movies this one had a hard time getting off the ground due to issues finding a director. Kenneth Branagh, who directed the first film, did not return for this one. Initially Marvel hired Patty Jenkins to step in but she quit a few months later citing “creative differences”. If you believe the rumors Marvel has a very bad habit of being extremely controlling over their films which supposedly is what caused friction between the studio and Jon Favreau during Iron Man 2 and Edward Norton during The Incredible Hulk. Anyway Marvel eventually settled on Alan Taylor who hasn’t directed a feature film in ten years. He has been working in television this whole time and most recently worked on The Game of Thrones, which is almost certainly what got him this job. Reviews for this movie were a bit mixed, much like every nerdy film this year it seems, but as a fan of first movie and The Avengers movie I was never going to avoid this flick.

Full review after the jump.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Mini-Reviews: Anchorman 2, American Hustle

My quest to find a 5-panda movie before the end of the year continues and I have to tell you I’m starting to get pretty frustrated. I’m basically going to the movies every other day now and it’s getting kind of ridiculous. On the bright side no one can ever accuse me of not supporting my local movie theater. Well, not my local move theater since I don’t have an address. But someone’s local theater, surely.

Today we’re doing Mini-Reviews and will be looking at to movies set in the past: American Hustle and Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.

Two new reviews after the jump.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Review: Frozen (2013)

As far as Disney’s animated films in the 21st Century go they have been very hit or miss. Since the rise of Pixar Disney’s solo efforts haven't reached the pinnacle of success they once ruled over. They’ve made good films (usually ones that were really outside the box such as The Emperor’s New Groove) but they’ve also made some pretty forgettable features and none of them were the same type of smash hit as classic flicks like Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King. The last few years they’ve been returning to the "Disney Princess" formula with varying levels of success. The Princess and the Frog did bad enough that it effectively killed off the concept of cell animated films [Author’s Note: F**K YOU, HOLLYWOOD!!!!!!] and Tangled, which had a ton of marketing problems, did well and was critically acclaimed despite the fact that it wasn’t all that good. Wreck-It Ralph was easily my favorite Disney film in recent years though it does not get the credit it deserves. Also it’s not a Disney Princess movie. Wait, maybe it is.

Anyway here we are at Disney’s latest attempt to justify not just giving Pixar total control over their animation department, Frozen. This movie, like The Little Mermaid, is based on a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen. In this case The Snow Queen. I don’t know why they didn’t just call this movie “The Snow Queen” but I’m sure it was a marketing decision and also dumb and probably sexist. I have a lot of interest in this film because when I was in grade school (So long ago. WHAT HAPPENED TO MY YOUTH!!!!!) we did extensive studying of The Snow Queen even though it’s not the most famous fairy tale in the world. Judging by the trailers Disney didn’t feel a great need to stay accurate to the original story. This film was directed Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee (Lee was also one of the writers of Wreck-It Ralph) and written by the two and Shane Morris.

So Wreck-It Ralph is a pretty hard act to follow. Can Frozen continue the trend set by its predecessor or is it just another example of an overrated Disney movie?

Full review after the jump.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Mini-Reviews: The Counselor, Oldboy (2013)

And I’m back. However I’m sad to report that I failed to finish the National Novel Writing Month challenge. I don’t want to bore you with my real life shit but I was distracted by a particularly bad personal issue that was immediately followed up by an equally life altering one so my November was mostly spent staring at ceilings in deep contemplation rather than writing (incidentally that’s also why it’s taken me so long to get this up). Things are still extremely volatile, my future is not very assured and I’m not feeling anything close to 100% or really up to doing any writing. BUT WRITING IS WHAT I MUST DO!!!!!

Anyway we’re firmly in December and you may have noticed that I haven’t written a single 5-Panda movie review this year. That’s not good. Frankly it hasn’t been a great year for movies, not like last year which had several really awesome films floating around (hell yeah Moonrise Kingdom, Looper, and Wreck-It Ralph). While I’ve seen good movies I’ve yet to see any truly great flicks this year and with my annual Top Ten Favorite Movie list just around the corner I’ve been stressing over what I’ve had to work with far. But it is Oscar bait season and there’s a lot movies coming out during this time that studios are banking on to be contenders for best film and other Academy Awards. So maybe if I watch as many of these movies as possible I’ll find that 5-Panda movie…or go insane from an overdose of pretension. We’ll see.

At least for today I’ll be doing the Mini-Review format. We’ll be looking at The Counselor, the latest film from Ridley Scott, and the American Oldboy remake.

Two new reviews after the jump.