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Monthly Archives: August 2013

Jackie Brown (1997)


Jackie Brown Poster

Jackie Brown (1997)

 

Jackie Brown was the last of the Quentin Tarantino movies that I had not seen, until now.  Here is a film with a number of big name actors in their prime and an established director who had semi-recently directed Reservoir Dogs (1992) and Pulp Fiction (1994).  So why did I wait 16 years to watch this movie?  The answer is that I was only 11 years old when it was in theatres and it is rated R.  I was thinking about watching it about 11 years ago, but I had only heard bad things from die hard Tarantino fans, so I decided against it.  I figured I would get around to it eventually, but I sure didn’t think it would take me this long.

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The film is about an arms dealer (Samuel L. Jackson) who is at risk of being investigated by the police, so he decides to clean up shop and dispose of some of the employees of his illegal organization.  One of his employees named Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) is not so easy to get rid of.

The rest of the noteworthy cast includes Robert De Niro, Michael Keaton, Robert Forster, Bridget Fonda, Michael Bowen, Chris Tucker, LisaGay Hamilton, and Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister.

From the very start of the film, it feels like Samuel L. Jackson is playing basically the same character that he played in Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction.  He is loud, he talks a lot, and he uses the F and N words way more than he or anybody else probably should.  He gets away with it though because he is Samuel L. Jackson and somehow that makes it okay.

Jackie Brown Grier Forster

To this point in time, Tarantino’s films had been known for their heavy language, violence, and lots of dialogue.  Jackie Brown carries on this tradition, except has far more scenes of people sitting or standing around talking.  If the main characters are not sitting around an apartment chatting and smoking pot, then they are sitting around a bar or an office drinking, smoking cigarettes, and talking up a storm.  There is an obscene amount of talking and far less doing, anything.

This is a 2 hour and 34 minute long crime drama.  Honestly, it feels like Tarantino’s ego may have gotten the better of him while making this movie and he decided it was a masterpiece and therefore didn’t cut anything.  Maybe he had gotten so much praise from his first two films that he let it go to his head.  The film was probably an hour longer than it needed to be.  Some scenes were so painstakingly slow that I got bored and a little sleepy.

Jackie Brown De Niro Jackson

De Niro seemed somewhat miscast.  His character was so dumbed-down that it did not seem like he fit the part.

It was entertaining to see all of these big stars while they were still in their prime.  However, Jackie Brown is a bloated thriller without very many thrills.  This is Quentin Tarantino’s worst film.  I’m glad that I finally watched it because now I know what all of the fuss is about.  If you have not seen this movie, you’re not missing much.

Jackie Brown Grier Forster 2

I rate this movie a 4 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Run.

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Pawn Shop Chronicles (2013)


Pawn Shop Chronicles Poster

Pawn Shop Chronicles (2013)

Back in 2006 I was blown away when I watched the film Running Scared (2006).  I saw that movie in theatres three different times.  It was that good.  Paul Walker was the main star and Wayne Kramer directed.  Yesterday I watched a preview for Pawn Shop Chronicles and thought it looked like it could be pretty awesome and it has a solid cast.  Paul Walker is one of the main stars, but when I found out Kramer directed, that made me want to see it.

Pawn Shop Chronicles follows multiple stories involving drugged-out hillbillies, newlyweds, and an Elvis impersonator as their lives all intertwine because of their transactions made at a pawn shop.

Pawn Shop Chronicles Walker

The noteworthy cast includes Paul Walker, Matt Dillon, Brendan Fraser, Kevin Rankin, Vincent D’Onofrio, Elijah Wood, Chi McBride, Thomas Jane, Norman Reedus, Lukas Haas, DJ Qualls, Michael Cudlitz, Ashlee Simpson, and Matt O’Leary.

The movie is a disturbingly dark comedy and weird, white trash, hillbilly adventure.

Kramer continues the trend of super intense filmmaking with unique, quirky, fun characters in a brutally twisted storyline.

Just like Running Scared, the camera work and editing is very unique and fast-paced which helps to make the movie more thrilling.

Pawn Shop Chronicles Fraser

The movie is very graphic.  It was pretty shocking at times.  F-bombs, nudity, and disturbing images were all overused.

Within the first ten minutes of the film, I began to wonder what I had gotten myself into.  But, then the movie hit its stride and got much better.

Walker plays a way different type of character than he has ever played.  It was actually pretty refreshing to see him try something new for a change.  It was a stretch for him, but he pulled it off nicely.

For you Reedus fans out there; his role will disappoint you because it is hardly noticeable.  I felt like he was way underused.

This is Fraser’s best movie in over a decade.  I was happy to see him in a likable role again.

Dillon stole the show, in my opinion.  It never seems like he misses a stride.  Every once in a while when he finds the right character, he gives a breakout performance that reminds us all that he still has the ability to take over a movie.

Pawn Shop Chronicles Dillon D'Onofrio

For the type of film that this is, it is an exercise in quality filmmaking.  It will keep you guessing.  It is a funny, messed up, shocking adventure like no other.

I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Buy.

Emperor (2012)


Emperor Poster

Emperor (2012)

I have always wondered what Japan would have been like at the end of WWII when the Japanese surrendered.  It seems to me there would be a lot of chaos and resentment during the rebuilding process.

Emperor is based on the book “His Majesty’s Salvation” by Shiro Okamoto.  When WWII ended and the Japanese had surrendered, General Fellers (Matthew Fox) was given 10 days to weed through the intricate web of power surrounding the Emperor and detain the men responsible for the attack on Pearl Harbor.  He was also ordered to figure out whether or not Emperor Hirohito was a war criminal and if he should be hanged.  During his investigation, Fellers was also on a personal quest to find his missing Japanese girlfriend, Aya (Eriko Hatsune).

Emperor Fox Aya

The film was directed by Peter Webber and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Tommy Lee Jones, Colin Moy, Takataro Kataoka, Masato Ibu, Isao Natsuyagi, and Kaori Momoi.

This is the first movie of its kind that I have seen.  The film was not quite the powerful film that it could have been.  However, it was put together nicely, well acted, and well directed.

I thought that the film did an excellent job depicting the ruins of Japan.  It was eerie seeing the aftermath of entire cities that had been obliterated.

Emperor Fox Tommy Lee Jones

The movie felt like it was actually taking place right after WWII.

I feel that Matthew Fox has recently proved himself as a capable actor.  It was the film Alex Cross (2012) that made me take him seriously.  He did a good job in Emperor.

It was yet another no-nonsense role for Tommy Lee Jones and he played the part as well as he always does.

Emperor Tommy Lee Jones

The film did a great job of telling a story that I am sure that a lot of people are not familiar with.  If you are a fan of WWII movies like I am, then you will probably enjoy this one.  It felt a little slow at times because there are a lot of conversations with translators translating back and forth.  They go back and for between that and using subtitles and it makes the film seem longer than it really is.

There is not a whole lot of violence or language and the movie was very tastefully made.

I rate this movie a 7.5 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Rent.

The Big Wedding (2013)


The Big Wedding poster

The Big Wedding (2013)

I come from a very dysfunctional family, but I am sure that we all do in one way or another.  So maybe that is why I am drawn to dysfunctional movies.

The Big Wedding is about a couple that must pretend to be married even though they have been divorced for a very long time.  Their adopted son is getting married and the family is reuniting for the wedding, but his birth mother is unaware that his adopted parents were ever separated.

The Big Wedding Keaton De Niro birth family

The film was directed by Justin Zackham and the noteworthy cast includes Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, Susan Surandon, Topher Grace, Katherine Heigl, Amanda Seyfried, Ben Barnes, Robin Williams, Christine Ebersole, David Rasche, Patricia Rae, and Ana Ayora.

The movie is inappropriate from the very first scene and delightfully dysfunctional throughout.

The Big Wedding Surandon Keaton De Niro

The film revolves more around the families of the groom and bride rather than the groom and bride themselves.  That is what the movie actually has going for it because instead of being a sappy love story, it is more about the harsh reality of the lives of the family attending the wedding.

It’s very amusing to see acting legends De Niro, Keaton, Surandon, and Williams all in the same film together and all as awesome as ever.

There are tons of laughs to be had in this film.  From the awkwardness of a divorced couple acting like they are married to the funny insults back and forth between siblings and the jokes that get lost in translation with the adopted kid’s foreign birth family.

The Big Wedding Grace Heigl

The humor is raunchy and there is a lot of language.

I laughed harder than I thought I would.  The Big Wedding was a pleasant surprise.  It was hilarious, witty, messed up, heartfelt, and dysfunctional.  It was just like family should be, or at least how my family is.

The Big Wedding De Niro

The film appears like it could be a chick flick, but don’t be fooled.  It was just a pure comedy.

I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Buy.

If you liked The Big Wedding, then you will most likely enjoy:

Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011)

The Way, Way Back (2013)

Stuck in Love (2012)

Trance (2013)


Trance Poster

Trance (2013)

I’ve never been a huge fan of Rosario Dawson, but James McAvoy and Vincent Cassel in a psychological crime thriller involving hypnotism and directed by Danny Boyle sounded like it could have potential.

Trance Cassel frame

Simon (James McAvoy) works at an art auction.  He has gotten in way over his head with gambling debt that he owes a ruthless criminal named Franck (Vincent Cassel).  In order to settle his debt with Franck, Simon agrees to help rob an expensive painting from the art auction.  Things go wrong and Simon suffers a head injury which causes him to have amnesia.  He cannot remember where he left the painting and therefore cannot pay his debt.  Simon turns to hypnotism to try to help him remember and hopefully save his life.

The rest of the noteworthy cast includes Rosario Dawson, Danny Sapani, and Tuppence Middleton.

Trance Group shot

Trance is one of those movies that as soon as it ends you will want to watch it all over again just to try to figure it all out.  It is intentionally a little hard to follow.  It is a film that will play mind games with you.  Because of the hypnotism aspect of the movie, it is often hard for the viewer to tell right away what is real and what is not.  As events unfold on screen, you are slowly able to piece things together, but the movie keeps you guessing.

Each actor does what is necessary for their characters and nothing more.  The film is thrilling enough.  It felt like something was missing in the movie, but because it was so puzzling, it sort of made up for what it was lacking.  Movies are meant to entertain, and this one served its purpose.

There is a bit of violence and gore, lots of nudity, and plenty of language all with a very fitting trance soundtrack.

Trance McAvoy window

Overall, if you enjoy movies that are unpredictable and really make you think, then you will probably like Trance.

I rate this movie a 7 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Rent.

If you liked Trance, then you will probably enjoy the following films:

The Machinist (2004)

Leave (2011)

Wrecked (2010)

Trailer for All is Lost (2013)


All is Lost Poster

All is Lost (2013) (Click on the title for my full review.)

This is literally a one man show starring Robert Redford.  It is written and directed by J.C. Chandor.

The film is about a lone sailer (Robert Redford) who crashes into a shipping container in the middle of the ocean and his boat starts sinking.  Using every resource at hand, he tries his best to survive.

The movie looks like Cast Away (2000) except that instead of being stranded on a desert island, Redford is stuck in the middle of the ocean.

It’s a Robert Redford one man show.  That is enough for me to want to see it.

The film is set to release on 10/18/13.

Trailer for The Book Thief (2013)


The Book Thief Poster

The Book Thief (2013) (Click on the title for my full review.)

This movie is based off of the novel by Markus Zusak.  Liesel (Sophie Nelisse) is a young girl without a family in Nazi Germany during WWII.  She gets taken in and adopted by a couple who also hide a Jewish boy under their stairs.  With all of the terrible things going on around her, Liesel takes comfort in stealing books and sharing them with her new family.

The film was directed by Brian Percival and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, Ben Schnetzer, Joachim Paul Assbock, Kirsten Block, and Sandra Nedeleff.

I have not read the book, but the movie looks like it could be pretty good.  It’s a story that I am not familiar with, but it looks intense.

The movie is set to release on 11/15/13.

Now In Theatres Movie Review August 23rd – 29th


Now In Theatres Movie Reviews August 23rd – 29th

Click on this link for Now In Theatres Movie Reviews August 30th – September 5th

Movie Tickets Popcorn

I have seen and reviewed 29 movies that are currently in theatres.  Some of the films have been in theatres for a while now and others are newer releases.  If you are having trouble deciding what movie to see in theatres, I hope that you will consult my list for help.  Movie ticket prices are pretty expensive these days, and I might be able to help save you some of your hard earned cash.  My ratings will help you decide what are the best movies currently in theatres and what are the worst movies currently in theatres.  Also, at the bottom of the list I have provided you with previews of movies that are out that I have not seen yet.

Click on each title below for a trailer, poster artwork, and my full review of that movie:

Jobs (2013

Lee Daniels’ The Butler (2013)

Kick-Ass 2 (2013)

We’re the Millers (2013)

The Wolverine (2013)

Elysium (2013)

2 Guns (2013)

R.I.P.D. (2013)

Red 2 (2013)

The Conjuring (2013)

Man of Steel (2013)

World War Z (2013)

The Lone Ranger (2013)

White House Down (2013)

The Heat (2013)

This is the End (2013)

Now You See Me (2013)

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

The Hangover Part III (2013)

Mud (2012)

Pain & Gain (2013)

The Purge (2013)

Olympus Has Fallen (2013)

Oblivion (2013)

42 (2013)

Oz The Great and Powerful (2013)

The Place Beyond the Pines (2013)

The Company You Keep (2012)

The Iceman (2012)

Click on each title below for a preview and poster artwork of that movie along with my opinion of whether or not I think that film will be any good:

Paranoia (2013)

Grown Ups 2 (2013)

Pacific Rim (2013)

The Way, Way Back (2013)

After Earth (2013)

Scary Movie V (2013)

The Internship (2013)

I hope that you find my reviews helpful.  I will continue to update this list when I have seen more movies, so feel free to check back regularly.  Also, I plan on making a new list each week as more films are released.  Happy movie watching from www.brockingmovies.com

Jobs (2013)


Jobs Poster

Jobs (2013)

To me, Ashton Kutcher playing Steve Jobs is a sign that he is trying to shed his pretty boy image.  He has been in a few serious films, but for the most part he has stuck with comedy.  Usually you are unable to take Kutcher’s characters or the movies that he is in seriously.  He has been a likable goofball for the majority of his acting career.  Before watching Jobs, I knew that it had the potential to be a game changer for Ashton Kutcher’s career.  If he played his part well, then in a sense, he could earn his wings and continue making real movies.

Jobs Kutcher

Jobs is inspired by the true story of how Steve Jobs (Ashton Kutcher) co-founded Apple Inc. after dropping out of college and became one of the most innovative creators and entrepreneurs of our time.

The film was directed by Joshua Michael Stern and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Dermot Mulroney, Matthew Modine, Josh Gad, J.K. Simmons, Ron Eldard, James Woods, Lukas Haas, John Getz, Kevin Dunn, Nelson Franklin, Robert Pine and Elden Henson.

Jobs group garage

Since the movie is inspired by a true story, I would be interested in knowing exactly which parts are true and which parts are fiction.

I will admit that before watching Jobs, I knew hardly anything about Steve Jobs.  I knew that he founded Apple and he had a major role in the company’s success, but that was about it.

As a child, the first computer that my family owned was an Apple Macintosh.  That always stuck with me.  Fast-forward to now and Apple is still the best in the business and always evolving.

Jobs Kutcher Apple

Jobs is an intriguing story about a hippie college dropout with a vision for greatness and an overwhelming passion to follow through on trying to make the world a better place.

This is Kutcher’s best performance as an actor so far.  He did a heck of a job as Jobs.  The movie certainly has the potential to change Ashton Kutcher’s image and I foresee more serious movies in his future.  Is it a game changer for him?  I think that it certainly is.

The rest of the cast did an excellent job in their supporting roles.

Jobs old Kutcher

The film felt a bit long-winded towards the end and it lacked more development of Steve’s family life.  However, the film was uplifting and inspirational.  It’s a worthy tribute to a genius who left his mark on the world.

I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Buy.

Admission (2013)


Admission Poster

Admission (2013)

 

Paul Rudd has been typecast in the same roles for the majority of his career.  When Tina Fey is not on television, she is acting in cheesy romantic comedies.  With this in mind, I figured that this movie would be very average, but I thought that I would give it a chance anyway.

Admission Fey

The film is about an admissions officer at Princeton (Tina Fey) who is not very fond of children.  After finding out that an applicant just might be her son that she gave up for adoption a number of years before, she puts her job in jeopardy trying to help him get accepted.

The movie was directed by Paul Weitz and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Paul Rudd, Gloria Reuben, Wallace Shawn, Lily Tomlin, Michael Sheen, Nat Wolff, and Travaris Spears.

I would hardly classify Admission as a comedy.  It is not even really a dramedy.  It is a romantic drama, but mainly just a drama.

Admission Fey Rudd Wolff

It seems like more and more movies these days have been released classified as comedy/romance/drama.  It is deceiving because often times these movies are just not very funny or any good at all, i.e. The Guilt Trip (2012) and Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012).

These types of movies take actors that are mainly known for their comedy and they try to stretch the parameters of their acting ability by making them do comedy, drama, and romance.  The end result is usually a light hearted, dysfunctional concoction of cheesy and cheap humor, a formulaic story, and characters that seem out of place because they are out of their element and in over their heads.  Admission is exactly this kind of movie.

I chuckled a few times, I was bored a little bit, and when the movie was over I knew that I would never have to see it again.

Rudd and Fey keep making the same movies and therefore will continue to make the same movies.

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Tomlin was charming.  Given that she has mainly been acting in television lately, it was nice to see her in a movie again.

This is not even a good “chick flick.”  Don’t waste your time on this below average movie.

I rate this movie a 4 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Run.