Tag Archives: movie reviews

Fall Movie Preview!

Goodbye summer, hello fall!

It’s the one season with everything: sweater weather, ASU football, pumpkin-flavored everything, and of course great movies.

Here’s what we’re excited for, skeptical about, and just downright not going to see this fall:

Jordan:
Most Excited to See: The Theory of Everything – Nov 14 (Trailer)
This looks like an amazingly beautiful movie about how Stephen Hawking met his wife Jane at university. As their love blossoms, however, he is diagnosed with ALS and given two years to live. I’m sure I will sob all the way through it, seeing as the trailer made me cry.

Skeptical, But Probably Still Gonna See It: Into the Woods – Dec 25 (Trailer
Another popular musical is adapted to film. We’ve seen this go well (Les Mis) and okay (Jersey Boys). I’m not super emotionally attached to this play. Maybe going in with low expectations will make me enjoy it.

No Way Am I Seeing This: The Boxtrolls – Sep 26 (Trailer)
I was originally intrigued when I saw the first trailer, because the art and design is so breath-taking. But since then I’ve seen more plot in other trailers and it does not look good at all. Disappointing.

Kurtis:
Most Excited to See: Fury – Oct 17 (Trailer)
Just from the trailer, the visuals and the acting in Fury look amazing. Based in Nazi Germany, Fury looks to be the perfect kind of historical fiction; capturing the grittiness of war and marrying it with a sensational story that feels unlikely and entirely possible at the same time. I’m going to have to check this one out in theaters.

Skeptical, But Probably Still Gonna See It: Dumb and Dumber To – Nov 14 (Trailer)
When I first found out they were making a sequel of one of the funniest movies of all time, and that it’d be starring Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, I was so excited. Then the trailer came. There definitely seem to be some aspects of what made the original so great in tact but the Farrelly brothers seem to have added a whole lot of extremely crude and sexual humor this time around and that’s not really my thing. I’m probably going to see it but I don’t have very high hopes that it’ll even come close to the original.

No Way Am I Seeing This: The Judge – Oct 10 (Trailer)
Talk about a movie that’s trying way too hard. It looks to be about the most cliched movie ever made and I really want nothing to do with it. This is also by the director who made I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry back in 2007, so take that as you will.

Morgan:
Most Excited to See: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Dec 19 (Trailer)
I think this series has been my most anticipated movie for the past like, four years. Or at least since they announced the project. I wasn’t as big a fan of the second as I was the first, but I still have high hopes for the remaining installments.
Honorable mentions: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1The Maze Runner

Skeptical, But Probably Still Gonna See It: The Book of Life – Oct 17 (Trailer)
The first time I saw the preview for this movie, I thought it could be okay. The second time around it looked less appealing. I’m not really sure why. I think the idea of Channing Tatum in an animated movie kinda freaks me out. But I’ll see it anyway, mostly because I think Jordan will make me. 😉

No Way Am I Seeing This: The Interview – Dec 25 (Trailer)
I can’t exactly put my finger on it but there’s just something about Seth Rogen that drives me up the wall. I just can’t stand him, and I usually don’t enjoy his movies. I think this movie will definitely have some good humor, but I’ll probably be the only person not to see it.

Monday Night Football Movies

It’s fall and football is back in all its (recent off-the-field-stuff aside) glory. We’ve already looked at the greatest baseball movies earlier this summer, and now it’s time for us to turn our attention to the best football movies ever made. At first blush, it might be hard to recall that many great football movies but the more I thought about it, the harder picking a top 3 became. But, here it goes:

Morgan:
3. The Waterboy (1998)
Because every list needs a class clown aka Adam Sandler movie. And because this little guy is usually almost always in my head: “Water sucks. It really, really sucks.”

2. Friday Night Lights – TV series (2006-2011)
I know, I know, it’s not a movie but I’m including it because I can. And to be completely honest, I haven’t seen that many football movies. It’s just great. FNL can make you laugh and cry in a single episode. Plus, it’s football set in Texas, which is a recipe for trouble, greatness, and, of course, southern accents. It’s also (sort of) how the blog got it’s name. If you haven’t watched it, I don’t know what you’re doing with your life.

1. Remember the Titans (2000)
This particular movie deserves this spot for many reasons. Not only is it simply an inspiring story of triumph in sports, but also in racial equality. It’s a truly emotional, heartwarming story. Also, baby Gosling is in it (swoon). So there’s that.

Jordan:
3. Little Giants (1994)
The early 90s were the height of sports movies for kids – The Mighty Ducks in ’92, The Sandlot in ’93. Then finally in 1994, we get our own football movie. Becky isn’t allowed to join her uncle’s football team because she’s a girl. So she gets her dad (90s icon Rick Moranis) to coach their new ragtag team. Classic.
Bonus: Buzzfeed’s Where Are They Now?

2. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Okay, okay, this may be bending the rules. But I would argue that football plays a major role in this Silver Linings Playbook’s plot. Robert DeNiro is a huge Eagles fan, extremely superstitious and cannot turn down a bet. His gambling problem gets so bad that Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence (both amazing in this film!) have to make a bet with the bookie about their dance competition. Really fantastic movie.

1. Remember the Titans (2000)
Do I really need to explain this? So many amazing actors. Too many lines to quote all of them. (Left side! Strong side!) Historical sports films will always be my number one.

Kurtis:
3. The Replacements (2000)
Based on the 1987 NFL strike, The Replacements follows the Washington Sentinels team of scab players that cross the picket lines to play the greatest sport in America. This replacement team is made up of misfit characters; a convenience store security guard, two rappers, a sumo wrestler, and a deaf player. Basically the team is a complete joke (which is what helps make this movie so funny) and is led by former Ohio State QB Shane Falco (Keanu Reeves), the only one with true experience, and coached by Gene Hackman. The team learns how to play together and by the end of the movie become a legitimate team with a chance to win. It’s a little cliched, but it is funny and has some heart. Definitely a movie that has repeat watching value and survives as a great sports comedy.

2. Rudy (1993)
Sean Astin plays the title role in this incredible telling of the true story of Rudy Ruettiger, an undersized football player who always dreamed of playing for Notre Dame. Told his whole life that it would never happen, Rudy is determined to make his dream a reality. He didn’t have the grades, the skills, or the money to attend Notre Dame but gets into a nearby private college and gets his grades up JUST enough to move to Notre Dame as a transfer student. No where near making the team, Rudy starts working as an assistant groundkeeper to pay tuition. Everything is stacked up against him, but Rudy is too full of determination to let anything stand is his way. Rudy is full of sentimentality, yes, but stands as a testament to the power of the human spirit. One of the most inspirational films ever made.

1. Remember the Titans (2000)
Overcoming racism, football, Marvin Gaye songs, and Ryan Gosling; is there anything else you need in a sports movie with a powerful message. Remember the Titans follows newly-hired head coach Herman Boone (Denzel Washington) navigating a newly integrated political landscape, all while trying to coach a team of high school students with some preconceived racial notions about one another. The team, the coaches, and the city learn how to live as one and celebrate all of life’s victories with one another. Where this movie really shines is that it doesn’t make all the white players and coaches to be evil and the African-American players and coaches to be the noble saints. Instead, it focuses on both sides of a newly integrated school simply learning to be better, more compassionate people and drop all of their prejudices by the wayside. The performances, across the board, are truly inspirational and when it’s not Denzel wowing the audience in his usual way, it’s the students (Wood Harris, Ryan Hurst, Donald Faison, Ethan Suplee). Remember the Titans is one of the greatest movies ever made and easily finds itself right at the top of the list of the best football ones too. It’ll be easy for you to catch as it’s probably playing on TNT right now.

What’s your favorite football movie? Comment below! #gopackgo

First Friday – Netflix Reviews

Every month Netflix gets a whole list of new titles to watch! Check out what’s worth your time this week.

Kurtis – Cool Runnings:
Okay, this movie just hit Netflix September 1st and it’s important you all know about it. Cool Runnings is now streaming on demand, any time you want it. If you thought the addition of the Mighty Ducks was a big deal, now there’s even more mid-90s goodness to enjoy. For those unfamiliar, Cool Runnings is based on the true story of the rag tag group of Jamaicans who dreamed of being at the Winter Olympics as a bobsled team. There were some problems to start, but eventually, the first Jamaican bobsled team makes their way to Canada for the Olympics. In the freezing weather Derice, Sanka, Junior and Yul are laughed at because no one can take a Jamaican bobsledding team led by a previously disgraced trainer seriously. But, like so many other Disney movies, we learn that heart and character help all heroes overcome. Starring John Candy as the coach and featuring so many quotable lines (“Feel the rhythm! Feel the rhyme! Get on up, its bobsled time! Cool Runnings!”) this movie features some powerful nostalgia for all of us who grew up in the 90s. If you look at this from solely a technical standpoint, it doesn’t blow anyone away. It doesn’t have an incredibly unique story, the writing, while funny, is pretty straightforward and nothing particularly interesting is going on with the direction. But it’s a kids movie, and it’s fun, and it’s funny and heartwarming, and it stirs great memories of when you actually had to go to a store to borrow a movie you didn’t own. So don’t miss this blast from the past on Netflix.
Bottom Line: If you grew up with this movie like I did, you owe it to yourself to revisit it. If you’ve never seen it before, go in expecting something light and entertaining, and I think it’ll totally hold up.
Rating: 3/5

Morgan – Forces of Nature:
This week I watched Forces of Nature, with Sandra Bullock and Ben Affleck. And let me start out by saying that it was bad. So, so, painfully bad. The storyline is okay; it’s about a guy named Ben who is about to get married, and on his way to his wedding his plane crashes (sorta). He meets Sarah (Bullock) on his flight, who is also trying to get to Savannah, and they decide to take the rest of the trip together. After that, just about everything goes wrong. From then on, he takes it as a sign that he isn’t supposed to get married, and every one and everything is telling him he shouldn’t. I thought I would maybe slightly enjoy this movie, despite the fact that Netflix predicted it as a 2/5 stars for me. I mean it’s a rom-com, what’s not to love? I can’t exactly put my finger on it, but I just hated it. I feel like it was trying to hard to be more than it was. It wasn’t really that funny. It was pretty boring, even though I felt like a lot happened. It doesn’t end how you think it should, which I hated, but was also kind of happy about.
Bottom Line: There were few things I liked about this movie, totaling seven minutes, maybe. However, not worth your time. And I love Sandra! Just skip it.
Rating: 1/5

Jordan – Jerry Maguire:
I always love when Netflix adds new movies. It forces me to try something new. Or in this case, something twenty years old that I’ve never seen. Jerry Maguire popped out to me because Kurtis said part of it was filmed in Arizona, and I’m all about AZ pride right now. Starting the movie, I realized I knew nothing about the movie other than the one liners. The story opens with Jerry (Tom Cruise) as a big shot sports agent who grows a conscience. His firm fires him and snatches all his clients except Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding, Jr.). An accountant Dorothy (Renee Zellweger) also leaves the company with Jerry. As they start working together, Jerry bonds with Dorothy’s son Ray. Dorothy is totally enamored and they start a relationship that can only be described as toxic. The two leads are not my favorite actors. And instead of being together, I think their characters need counseling.
On the other hand, Jonathan Lipnicki is a diamond in the rough. He is adorable. Cuba Gooding, Jr. and his movie wife (Regina King) are phenomenal and steal every scene. The famous lines are way better with context, for sure.
Bottom Line: if you haven’t seen it, it’s definitely worth a watch! Get some major pop culture. If you haven’t seen it in 20 years, watch it and enjoy the 90s nostalgia.
Rating: 3.5/5

What are you watching on Netflix? Tweet or Facebook us with #fnbnetflix.

#BWAHM (Leo in the 2010s)

We’ve made it the present! Leo has been in so many good movies recently that it was hard to narrow it down to our favorites! What’s your favorite ’10s Leo Movie? Answer in the poll down below.

Kurtis – Shutter Island (2010):
This is a psychological thrilled that gets better with every viewing. It’s only then that you start to pick up on all of Scorsese’s intricate and subtle details. The story starts out simple and grows more and more complex as it moves forward, bringing you to the point where you don’t know what to believe. Leo plays Teddy Daniels, a detective called in to search for a missing inmate at Shutter Island, a prison for the criminally insane. It becomes clear that the authorities at the prison are withholding information from him and his partner (Mark Ruffalo) but Teddy keeps digging to find the truth. It’s a race to unravel the hidden truths of this place before Teddy goes crazy himself. It’s Leonardo DiCaprio in 50s clothes, when has that NOT made for a successful movie. Honestly, the first time I saw this in theaters, I left feeling somewhat underwhelmed. But now that I’ve seen it a few times, it stands amongst Leo’s best films. It has a great story, good cinematography, an awesome score, and enough small little foreshadowing details to keep you coming back looking for more clues. It’s a movie that invites you to participate with it, to be your own detective trying to solve the puzzle before the movie makes a reveal, and those are the best kind of suspenseful thrillers you could ever watch.

Jordan – Inception (2010):
Leo has been in some really amazing in this small time frame, but this is for sure my favorite. Judging my timehop in recent weeks (Inception was FOUR years ago?!), I could not stop tweeting/posting about it. I’m pretty sure I considered getting a totem so I could tell whether I was dreaming. And I say BWAHM whenever it even loosely fits. It’s not just me; every one loves this movie. Especially rappers.
If you haven’t seen it, I think you’re missing out. There is a slew of awesome actors (mostly Christopher Nolan’s favorites). Great action sequences, sweet graphics, a sick soundtrack, and a weird Matrix-y plot.
PLUS THE ENDING. AMERICA STILL WANTS TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS, NOLAN.

Morgan – Inception (2010):
My favorite Leonardo DiCaprio movie from the 2010s is Inception, hands down. When it first came out, I saw it in theatres twice within the same week. Embarrassing, I know. But it was so dang good that I didn’t even care. This is actually the movie that made me really like Ellen Page. Everything about this movie is incredible. First, I learned that Ellen Page rocks. Second, the rest of the astoundingly amazing and superior cast: Cillian Murphy, Michael Caine, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Ken Watanabe, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Third, the soundtrack. Even though we (Jordan, Kurtis and I) joke around and imitate it (BWAAHHM), it really is epic and unlike other soundtracks from its time. And last but certainly not least, good ol’ Leo. He really delivered a perfect performance for this mystery/Sci-Fi thriller, and keeps you intrigued and entertained until the very last second. Inception was a true work of art, thanks to Christopher Nolan, DiCaprio, and everyone else involved.

 

Last Week: ’00s Leo Movies ————————————–——————— Next Week: Leo Month Finale

Blog Me if You Can

Now we’re really hitting Leo’s prime.

We’re looking at our favorite movies starring Leo in the 2000s.

Morgan – Catch Me if You Can (2002):
The 2000s were an incredible time for Leonardo DiCaprio. He starred in a number of films that have become awesome, must-see movies today. People would be shocked if you told them you had never seen Gangs of New York, The Departed, or Blood Diamond, to name a few. My favorite from the 2000s however, is Catch Me If You Can. It’s the incredible true story of one of the world’s most famous con-men in history, Frank Abagnale Jr. He begins posing as a Pan Am pilot to cash forged checks, until the FBI catches on, forcing him to move from disguise to disguise. It is a fast-paced story without a dull moment that is easy to follow and fun to watch. DiCaprio and Tom Hanks are a great duo, and of course, Amy Adams sucks. Just kidding, she’s actually okay in this movie, but I still hate her.

Jordan – Catch Me if You Can (2002):
This is definitely the first movie I ever saw with Leonardo DiCaprio in it. Which means I probably saw it at age 12 or 13. And I saw it multiple times and all the special features (back when people actually liked buying DVDs). So this movie may just hold a sentimental place in my heart.
But I think it was also just a great movie. Even the opening credits are iconic! Leo definitely proved he could carry a movie. The other names in the billing don’t hurt: Stephen Spielberg, Christopher Walken, Amy Adams, John Williams. Sure, he soared in Romeo + Juliet and Titantic in the ’90s, but CMIYC solidifies DiCaprio’s career as the charming anti-hero in a period piece. I’m down to watch this anytime.
(Also, I feel the need to give a shout out to Blood Diamond, which I watched this week in preparation. Pretty solid movie about the Sierra Leone civil war and illegal diamond trade. Very graphic, violent, and sad. And I couldn’t get over Leo’s Afrikaner accent. Not my favorite, but still a good one. Of course, I love anything about Africa.)

Kurtis – The Aviator (2004):
This was a tough choice for me. I had it narrowed down between The Aviator, Catch Me If You Can and Gangs of New York. Ultimately, I decided on The Aviator because it is DiCaprio’s best performance of the three. The way he captured Howard Hughes’ eccentricities and descent into crazyville was absolutely perfect. The Aviator is a long biopic that showcases Hughes’ life from a twenty-something who made millions in the oil business to a perfectionist movie producer who took three years to complete his first film to a complete recluse separated from society. It’s complex and seeks to cover a lot of ground but even coming in at a nearly three hour run time, Martin Scorsese has a way of pacing this film that it doesn’t feel drawn out or slow. DiCaprio gives close to a perfect performance and elevates every scene he’s in. The whole cast gives solid performances, and Cate Blanchett shines as Katharine Hepburn.

Last Week: ’90s Leo Movies ——————————————————— Next Week: ’10s Leo Movies

Netflix Review Friday

We’re back from hiatus with post number TWO this week! (Go check out our first post about Leo Month here.)

We decided to start back with a fan favorite: Netflix Reviews!

Morgan – I Give It a Year (2013):
It’s the story of newly weds Nat and Josh who fell in love and got married after only seven months of knowing each other. Almost immediately after coming back from their honeymoon, they discover that being married to each other is more difficult than they thought. Both their families and their friends think they won’t make it past the first year. I thought the plot was interesting, however, the execution fell short for me. It’s a British rom-com, making the humor sometimes funny and sometimes terribly, terribly awful. I usually really enjoy British love stories, but this is no Love Actually. Rose Byrne and Simon Baker were both huge pluses for me which made the movie semi-bearable. And while it ended how I thought it should, the road map to get there was ehh at best.
Bottom Line: It’s a great movie to watch for a girls Pinterest night. In other words, if you’re not totally paying attention.
Rating: 1.5/5

Kurtis – Prince Avalanche (2013):
I was really excited to watch Prince Avalanche; an offbeat buddy comedy starring two of my favorite actors, sign me up. My excitement was soon met with disappointment as Prince Avalanche delivers a story far more scattered than nuanced. Alvin (Paul Rudd) and Lance (Emile Hirsch) are two road workers spending the summer isolated in the mountains repairing and rebuilding from a devastating wildfire. The two men start out at odd with one another because their ages and personalities greatly differ and over the course of the film they become trusted confidants and even friends as they each try to work through the demons in their personal lives that have brought them out into the mountains for the summer. The film, however, tries so hard to be existential and contemplative that the subtext and unspoken messages are too muddied to take the viewer in any direction. All in all, Prince Avalanche is too thin on substance to be an engaging feature-length film and would have been better suited as a short film, as it moves too slowly making 90 minutes feel more like 180.
Bottom Line: Prince Avalanche feels as though it were made for critics to drool over and not for viewers to engage with. Skip it, much better options on Netflix right now.
Rating: 2/5

Jordan – Can’t Buy Me Love (1987):
I love high school teen romantic comedies. I don’t know why, but I do. Can’t Buy Me Love starts with Ronald (Patrick Dempsey aka McDreamy on “Grey’s Anatomy”) as the biggest nerd in school. He mows lawns during the summer while all the popular kids get to blow their parents money on clothes at the mall. Cindy (Amanda Peterson) is the most popular girl in school. In comes the She’s All That plot line. Ronald pays Cindy to pretend to be his girlfriend for one month. Slowly, they become friends and Cindy falls for Ronald. But Ronald falls for popularity.
It’s a fun movie. Great laughs, great characters, and always fun seeing the current heartthrob in his dorky teenager days. It’s definitely kick back and relax movie. Like on a Saturday when you’re cleaning your house. Bonus: it was filmed in Arizona, and that’s always a plus in my book.
Bottom Line: Not as iconic as Clueless, but would be great as a part of a high-school-movie marathon.
Rating: 3/5

 

What have you been watching on Netflix lately?

X-Men: Blogs of Future Past

Can you believe it?! It’s our six-month bloggiversary! And what better way to spend it than by reviewing another Jennifer Lawrence movie?

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) | Trailer
Run Time: 131 minutes

Rated: PG-13 (For sequences of intense sci-fi violence and action, some suggestive material, nudity and language.)
Directed By: Bryan Singer

Kurtis:
As a huge fan of X-Men: First Class and a not-so-huge fan of the first X-Men trilogy, I’ll be first to admit that I had some serious reservations about X-Men: Days of Future Past and its blending of the two universes. So much so, in fact, that I almost didn’t want to see this new film. I’m certainly glad I decided to see Days of Future Past and give it a shot because director Bryan Singer nailed it. The movie centers around government created Sentinels whose sole purpose is destroying mutants and anyone who could possibly spawn a mutant down the road by reading their genetics. The future is a bad, bad place and the world’s only hope relies on sending Wolverine’s consciousness back to the 70s to help prevent the creation of the Sentinels. This is probably Hugh Jackman’s best and most nuanced performance as Wolverine and with how much screen time he gets, we should all be thankful for that. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are the absolute perfect young Professor X and Magneto and Fassbender in particular delivers and incredible performance showcasing just how powerful and bad ace Magneto can be. One of my misplaced fears with this film was that there’d be an attempt to force feed the audience the old cast members from the original series without much rhyme or reason. Luckily, they’re handled great by Singer, only featured sporadically and in ways that make sense. The character that steals the show: Quicksilver, played by Evan Peters. There’s one scene in particular that’s the most visually engaging scene I’ve seen in a super hero movie in a long time. Super Speed characters have never been showcased in this way, and it makes me really excited to see what they can do in the future with Quicksilver or even a character like the Flash. Now, you have to know that some of the plot is a little convoluted, but I’m giving some leeway here because they attempted to bridge two series and introduce time travel and that’s a tough task for anyone. We are in the golden age of super hero films right now and X-Men: Days of Future Past is another great addition to the upper echelon.
Bottom Line: It would have been 5/5 if it weren’t for the overly complex aspects of the plot. But all in all, it’s a really great movie with big special effects, compelling characters and a great lead-in to the next sequel. X-Men fans rejoice, we’re finally getting the movies the mutants deserve.
Rating: 4/5

Morgan:
I’m not sure how people generally feel about the X-Men movies, but for the most part I’ve liked them. X-Men: Days of Future Past is absolutely no exception. Not only is it an exciting story that keeps you (or me at least) sitting anxiously on the edge of your seat (or laying on super comfy seats), but it’s also well made, and the perfect reboot of the series. The past and present versions of the characters working together to rewrite their future is awesome, even if it’s only to see Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan back again as Professor X and Magneto. I’m obsessed with James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, who both performed fabulously. My favorite character, who I wish could have had more screen time was Peter, who offered such great comic relief in an otherwise slightly stressful movie. Even though I’m no history buff, I appreciated how Singer tied in aspects of the Magic Bullet theory and Kennedy’s assassination.
Bottom Line: Days of Future Past perfectly ties in all previous X-Men movies while flawlessly carrying the story forward. See it, even if you haven’t seen the others. You won’t be disappointed.
Rating: 4.5/5

Jordan:
This has been the third superhero movie we’ve reviewed recently. I’m not complaining! I’ve loved them all. And unfortunately, I’m going to end up giving them all the same score, which makes no sense. Because this one beats both the Cap and Spidey. (Geez, DC, where you at?)
This movie has everything! Sweet action sequences. Peter Dinklage as the bad guy. More super powers than can fit in one fight scene. The best parts of the original and new casts. Moral dilemmas. And a Richard Nixon look-a-like.
I would say this movie is not for the faint of heart. Hopelessness is a key element. Young Professor X (James McAvoy) can’t handle the loss of his legs, his best friend, and his sister, so he shoots up wannabe-heroin every night. The future X-Men are being exterminated at every turn and must send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back to 1974 to stop any of this from starting. Young Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) is considering assassinating an anti-Mutant scientist (Peter Dinklage) to save her race. It’s a lot to handle for 2.5 hours.
Bottom Line: See it in theatres! But don’t go to AMC Centerpoint on Mill, because I want that to stay our little secret. 
Rating: 4/5

AGGREGATE RATING: 4.2/5