Saturday, April 1, 2017

Keeping Up with the Joneses (2016)

Ah, the American suburbia, where your social status means everything and your status improves by the amount of money you have or the material goods you buy. Back in the day, neighborhoods like the one in the movie were close-knit communities, today it seems like the most you'll get out of your neighbor is a friendly nod.

The Gaffneys had a good life. Jeff (Zach Galifianakis) works as an human resources director at a big defense plant. He's an average guy who hasn't met a problem that couldn't be solved with a stress ball. His wife, Karen (Isla Fisher) is an interior decorator who took some time off to raise their kids. On the surface everything appears to be normal, however it feels like something is missing in their lives, especially now that they're kids are away for the summer.

That is, until the Joneses' family moves in across the street. Natalie (Gal Gadot) is super sexy, who excels at everything she does and Tim (Jon Hamm) is an handsome, accomplished travel writer. Tim and Jeff hit it off immediately, while Karen is a bit hesitant to connect with the ever-so-suspicious Natalie. As it turns out, the Joneses' moved in next door for a purpose, they are spies and have their eyes set on Jeff's place of employment. It involves a mole within the company, a vicious arms dealer who is only known as "Scorpion."

Let's face it, espionage movies involving ordinary people have been done many times over the years. Similarities include, but are not limited to, Spy, True Lies, Mr and Mrs Smith, among others. Keeping up with the Joneses isn't any different, actually truthfully it may be one of the worst of the aforementioned titles.

RATING: 2/5  A movie to watch if you're really, really bored and have a buck-fifty burning a hole in your pocket but don't expect anything close to a masterpiece.


Directed by: Greg Mottola
Starring: Zach Galifianakis, Isla Fisher, Jon Hamm, Patton Oswalt
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual content, action/violence and brief strong language
Run Time: 105 Minutes

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Edge of Seventeen (2016)

High school can be the best or the worst time of your life. For many, it's a wonder how anyone survives this awkward time. For Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld), she's earned the label. Over the course of the movie, which tracks during her junior year, she learns that the path of survival has less to do with doing homework, losing her virginity, or making friends than it does with becoming comfortable with herself.

Nadine is conflicted with one the most catastrophic ailments any nerd-leaning child can have: a popular sibling. Her brother, Darian (Blake Jenner) is beloved by the entire student body, but worse is he's always had more love and support from their mother, while Hailee's always been the black sheep of the family. Despite feeling isolated since the death of her father, Nadine has found solace in the friendship of Krista (Haley Lu Richardson), the sister-figure she never had. Krista isn’t just her best friend, however, she’s her only friend.

This isn’t a romance (although there are romantic aspects); it’s a coming-of-age drama. Hailee Steinfeld portrays Nadine as an awkward student, supported by a best friend-turned-brother's-girlfriend, a absent-minded mother, a loving but recently departed father, and Woody Harrelson: a teacher we all wished we had in high school. The screenplay presents life through Nadine's perspective and, as circumstances force her to grow and change, we see things more clearly: betrayals that aren’t really betrayals, “perfect” lives that aren’t quite so perfect, and people hurt by her actions who don’t deserve the pain.

RATING: 4/5

Director: Kelly Fremon Craig
Starring: Hailee Steinfeld, Haley Lu Richardson, Blake Jenner, Woody Harrelson
MPAA Rating: R for sexual content, language and some drinking - all involving teens
Run Time: 104 Minutes

Friday, February 17, 2017

A Walk in the Woods (2015)

Directed by: Ken Kwapis
Starring: Robert Redford, Nick Nolte, Emma Thompson


A couple old guys taking a walk on the Appalachian Trail doesn't sound like an award winning motion picture does it? Well, as it turns out, it isn't. The success of similar features usually relies on the chemistry of the two leads, something we notice is a bit lackluster here.

Bryson (Robert Redford), a renowned author, is facing a delayed mid-life crisis and on a whim decides to walk 2100+ miles on the east coast, from Georgia to Maine, via the Appalachian Trail. The problem is: his wife, Catherine (Emma Thompson), won't let him hike it alone. After being rejected by most of his old friends, he is forced to invite the only one with an interest - a man he hasn't seen in decades and with whom he didn't part on the best of terms. By his own admission, Katz hasn't done much with his life and is so out of shape, it looks like he might have trouble walking a mile, let alone 2100+ of them. Nonetheless, the two of them hop on a plane to Georgia and the odyssey begins.


RATING: 4/5
Overall: A Walk in the Woods is a very mediocre adventure flick, if you want a similar film but with better background story my recommendation would be to see Wild. 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

The Company You Keep (2012)

Directed by: Robert Redford
Starring: Robert Redford, Shia LaBeouf, Susan Sarandon, Chris Cooper, Nick Nolte, Terrance Howard, Richard Jenkins, Anna Kendrick, Sam Elliot


For anyone unaware, the Weather Underground Organization, commonly known as the Weathermen, was an American militant radical left-wing organization founded on the Ann Arbor campus of the University of Michigan in protest of the Vietnam War. In Robert Redford's film, The Company You Keep, he imagines what it would be like for some members of the group to still be alive and hiding in America today. They were once branded terrorists and now, the few that remain, have slowed down to blend in as soccer moms or local lawyers in small towns.

The movie begins when a mom, Sharon Solarz (Susan Sarandon) sends her kids off to school and sets to turn herself into the FBI for the crimes she committed while she was a member of The Weathermen. This event triggers a newfound interest in the case and the few others who remain hidden are suddenly being actively hunted again. The primary target is Jim Grant (Redford), a single father just trying to keep his daughter happy after the passing of her mother the year before. He is uncovered by a local journalist (Shia LaBeouf) and from that moment on, he runs, just as he's done for the last thirty years.


RATING: 3/5
Overall: This is a very slow thriller, starring many A-list actors which makes it worth checking out at least once.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Blind Spot Series 2017

Here we are a whole month into the year and naturally I'm late to the party. The blind spot series was created by fellow movie blogger, The Matinee.

 As an overactive movie collector, I have amassed a huge backlog of movies, as an attempt to reduce this backlog and keep my blog moving I will watch something I have missed over the years and feature a review on it each month.