Thursday, May 30, 2013

Mud Review

Mud: Matthew McConaughey plays the title character Mud, a drifter of sorts who is living in an old abandon boat that is actually stuck in a tree. The film is set in rural Arkansas along the Mississippi river. The setting and characters are so rich and interesting, you can't help but get involved in the tale. Two young boys stumble across Mud when they go to investigate the abandon boat themselves. An unlikely friendship is formed between the boys and the shifty stranger. After hearing Mud’s story explaining why he is living on this river island and avoiding town, the boys agree to help him get the boat fixed up for him to set sail. They also agree to help him track down his girlfriend played by Reese Witherspoon who is in town waiting to hear from Mud. She is not the only one looking for him however as there is a bounty on his head. The story reminded me of the great coming of age movie Stand By Me – which can only be a good thing. Like director Jeff Nichol’s past two films Take Shelter and Shotgun Stories the characters are so well written and so well played that you can’t help but care about them by the end of the film. In a time of movie sequels galore, I loved the unique story and setting. McConaughey continues the roll he is on with another outstanding performance. This is one of the best independent films of 2013! 

Rythemovieguy’s Grade: 3.5 Jaws

If this movie had parents they would be: Stand By Me & One Crazy Summer

The Great Gatsby Reviewed

The Great Gatsby: Calling it the “Great” Gatsby is a bit of false advertising as this latest adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald is decent at best. The movie tells the story of the mysterious Gatsby who throws outrageous parties – in fact Gatsby’s parties are right up there with Thornton Melon’s from Back to School. He is doing this to catch the attention of his past love Daisy ( Carrie Mulligan) who lives across the bay. They are finally reunited, but can they erase the past enough to have a future together, that is the actual mystery. What had me excited from the time I heard Baz Luhrmann was directing was the lavish party scenes he would bring to life.  However, while they were fun to take in….it was nothing close to the wonder we saw in Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge. The story is told through Gatsby’s next store neighbor Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) who gives a serviceable job. The movie really belongs to DiCaprio who I thought was fantastic as Gatsby and Joel Edgerton who was equally great as Daisy’s husband Tom. The film missed its mark emotionally – I was never drawn in by Daisy and Gatsby’s romance. While I enjoyed watching this classic novel unfold on screen, I found myself wanting to care more about the fate of the characters involved. Great Gatsby? NO – More like Decent Gatsby....

Rythemovieguy’s Grade: 2.5 Jaws

If this movie had parents they would be: Moulin Rouge & The Talented Mr. Ripley

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Top 10 of 2012

Top 10 of 2012: As we approach the most unpredictable Oscars in years, I find it a perfect time to name my top 10 films of the year. For those of you that listen to my podcast  CinemaJaw, I gave my list out weeks ago in episode # 136. However there is something about "putting it on paper" that makes it seem official. As always I have also included a second opinion (Jen's list is listed below). I have also included a third opinion (MattK, co-host of  CinemaJaw). Many of these films are out on DVD and VOD. Enjoy.

Ry's Top 10
10) Looper
 9) The Impossible
 8) The Life of Pi
 7) Django Unchained
 6) Silver Linings Playbook
 5) The Perks of Being a Wallflower
 4) Argo
 3) Searching for Sugar Man
 2) Moonrise Kingdom
 1) Zero Dark Thirty

Jen's Top 10
10) 5 Broken Cameras
 9) Life of Pi
 8) The Impossible
 7) Argo
 6) Your Sister's Sister
 5) The Perks of Being a Wallflower
 4) Cloud Atlas
 3) Silver Linings Playbook
 2) Zero Dark Thirty
 1) Searching for Sugar Man

MattK's Top 10
10) Jiro Dreams of Sushi
 9) Prometheus
 8) Lawless
 7) Skyfall
 6) Dark Knight Rises
 5) Amazing Spiderman
 4) Wreck-it Ralph
 3) Ted
 2) Django Unchained
 1) The Avengers

Friday, February 08, 2013

Side Effects Movie Review

Side Effects: Take two pills and call me in the morning. Steven Soderbergh’s latest prescription drug thriller stars Rooney Mara, Jude, Law, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Channing Tatum. Mara plays Emily Taylor, a young woman suffering from depression while her husband (Tatum) is in prison for insider trading. Upon his release she tries to get healthy by seeking out help from a psychiatrist (Law). This is a “thriller” not a “drama” so not everything is what it seems. Soderbergh opens up the twist early, which I found refreshing. This allowed the last 40 minutes of the movie to play out like a good detective story. In fact, I have not seen such good detective work done by a doctor since Harrison Ford in The Fugitive. While I did enjoy some of the twists, I unfortunately found the story implausible near the end. I am not sure the courts would allow Law’s character to keep treating a patient as the case was building against them. Jude Law gave worthy performance as did Rooney Mara (although I found her hair to be distractingly bad).  The more leeway you give the script the more you will enjoy, for me it was not the perfect dose.
RyTheMovieGuy’s grade: 2.5 Jaws    
If Side Effects had Parents, they would be: The Fugitive and Primal Fear