Moneyball

ImageBased on the true story of Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane trying to create a World Series capable team out of the lowest budget in all of Major League Baseball, Moneyball is one of the few great classic sports movies around.

Billy Beane, played by Brad Pitt, is in a tough spot.  He tries to compete with all Major League Baseball for the World Series title but does not have a budget comparable to any of the big name teams.  Everything seems to just continue on like baseball always has, if you don’t have enough of a budget, you cannot get good players.  Until Peter Brand, played by Jonah Hill, comes along.  Brand teams up with Beane to create a recruiting tool based on a computer-generated analysis system.  They faced opposition from almost everyone when trying to build this team using a system that broke the normal for baseball recruiting, but it worked for them.

Moneyball was a movie that I enjoyed watching.  The acting was great, and I even enjoyed Jonah Hill stepping away from his usual comedian role and taking a more series character.  It captivated my attention from the start and kept it throughout.  It was not a typical “sports action” movie.  This movie focused primarily on the storyline and behind the scenes action of managing the Oakland A’s, but the plot and storyline held me through the entire movie.  It was definitely a 9 out of 10, check this one out next time you are looking for a movie to watch!

Sequels Sometimes A Bad Thing

I wanted to vent about the problem with sequels. We get excited when we find out an awesome movie’s story is going to be continued in a sequel, but, more often than not, we leave the theater feeling disappointed. If the sequel is not disappointing, it may spawn a franchise which just starts to get more annoying as it grows bigger and bigger.

After posting my review of Scream, I watched the next two movies in the series and only found myself wanting to watch the first one again. Watching the Scream 3 especially made me miss the characters from the original. Yes, Scream 2 and Scream 3  add interesting storylines to the series, especially the third one, but I can’t help but think the original would have been just fine as a standalone film. Some things don’t need to be answered and just left up for discussion amongst the audience.

The Saw franchise is a perfect example of this. As the director, James Wan, points out, there was minimal gore in the first one with a focus on the plot and the way it was presented to create the high tension a viewer feels when first watching the movie. It was original and thought provoking. The sequels only seemed to try and repeat what the first had done and that’s an impossible feat for any sequel. Like Scream, it was a refreshing, new, instant classic that was fine as a standalone film.

While there are some sequels that became rare exceptions, most filmmakers should consider taking the short story approach to their movies: leave some questions unanswered. Some questions in the original go unanswered because only the most talented writers can answer those questions well. Even so, a movie is much more interesting with questions left to be answered by the viewer.

Olympus Has Fallen

Olympus Has Fallen was a pretty good movie that I enjoyed watching.  It had a few downfalls, but overall a great plot that kept me attentive and entertained.

The plot was centered around a former Secret Service Agent who found himself trapped inside the White House during a hostage attack on the President of the United States.  Played by Gerard Butler, Mike Banning becomes the only hope the President has of getting out of the White House alive.

I won’t spoil too much of this movie for you, but one of the major downfalls I saw in it was the fact that it had way too much of the classic, down to the wire, predictable action.  Yes, I know that this was supposed to be a suspenseful action movie, but when it becomes too predictable I start to lose interest.  I knew almost everything that was going to happen and it was a typical action packed movie that everything came down to the final 3 seconds and then the hero saves the day.  I am all for a good action movie, but the directors needed to cut down on the predictable-ness of this one.

With that being said, Olympus Has Fallen was still a great movie that is definitely worth your time to watch.  It was action packed and had a great plot that kept me interested.  Just be ready to predict everything that is going to happen because it follows suit in all the other action movies you have already seen.

Scream Has What Modern Horror Movies Lack

Most horror movies these days are either remakes, sequels or movies made solely to cash in on the Halloween-Scary-Movie craze every year. Scream is an original story with a vibe of excitement and reverence for the history of the horror genre and it’s hard not to start feeding off of that vibe.

Scream is directed by the legend Wes Craven and written by Kevin Williamson, whose love for the classics surfaces in the references to Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th and more in the dialogue. While most movies these days, and even 17 years ago, were making the killer some unstoppable force, Williamson made the source of murder in Scream memorable with the way they behaved. He made them creepy, clever and someone you may find yourself liking by the end.

While I won’t give away who is responsible for the blood and mayhem of Scream I will say that they’re probably my favorite of any slasher film killer I’ve seen. Their phone calls, especially to their first victim, are just classic. They love terrorizing their victims emotionally just as much as they do physically. They’re much more interesting to watch than a quiet, superhuman Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers. Their reveal at the end is just a perfectly executed moment.

While Neve Campbell plays a great protagonist in Sidney Prescott, her supporting cast gets more of my praise, especially Jamie Kennedy as Randy Meeks. When he discusses who the killer may be in the video-rental store while using past horror movies as reasoning, I am hooked the entire time. Kennedy’s acting in this scene is so entertaining and is topped off with his yelling, “Everyone is a suspect!” in the middle of the store.

I demand that you watch this movie for Halloween.

Gatsby, The Great

The Great Gatsby was definitely one of the movies that lived up to its name.  It was a great movie that lived up to the expectations and hype it had created.

The Great Gatsby was one of the classic books I had to read for a summer reading project in high school.  I loved the book, so when I heard that they were making a movie about it I was really excited.  Movie reenactments of books are not always great; sometimes they are less than good.  But The Great Gatsby was one of the exceptions.  Leonardo Dicaprio and Tobey Maquire, characterized as Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway respectively, did the book justice and had a flawless performance in this movie.

As a side note, I know other critics have made this comment, but even the soundtrack was perfect for this movie.  The mix up between the 1920’s lifestyle portrayed in this movie and the modern day era music soundtrack created contrast and made the movie that much better and exciting.

The plot was great and did not stray from the book as well as, the acting was executed perfectly for this movie.  If you have ever read the book, or even if you haven’t I would highly recommend spending a couple hours watching this movie because you will not be disappointed.

 

The Place Beyond the Pines

Luke Glanton and Avery Cross (played by Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper respectively) live on opposite sides of the law in this well written drama centered around love, loss, and lineage.

The Place Beyond the Pines is one of the better movies I have seen in the past year. I’m not going to give away any main plot points in my review because this movie is a solid original screenplay about two men whose paths cross in an incredibly shocking way and the ripple effect it has on those around them. This movie draws you in and keeps you guessing throughout.

When Luke Glanton, a motorcycle stunt rider in a traveling carnival, finds out he has a son, he decides it’s his responsibility to take care of him. Glanton leaves his life as a stunt rider and gets a job at an auto shop. Shortly after, he goes on a spree of bank robberies with his boss throughout the town of Schenectady, New York, in which he uses his motorcycle as his getaway vehicle.

Avery Cross is a first year Schenectady police officer with a law degree and plans to rise fast through the ranks of the department. Cross is out on patrol when he sees Glanton, now dubbed “The Moto-Bandit,” fleeing the scene of his most recent bank robbery. When the two meet, it changes both of their lives along with the lives of those closest to them, for the worse.

the Place Beyond the Pines is a great example of a movie that they just got right. It appeals to most audiences because it has a little bit of everything: guns, drama, high-speed chases, drugs, love, revenge and corruption. . If you have 2 hours and 20 minutes to spare, I highly recommend this one.

This is the End.

Well, where do I start with this movie?  I guess I get to be the first one to write a negative review on this blog. Let me put it plain and simple for you, do not waste your time with the movie This is the End.  This was supposed to be a comedy but it was far from that.  It was probably one of the most stupid movies I have ever watched and there was no real point to anything.  

High Hopes were led astray.

This is the end was a movie that I was genuinely looking forward to.  The previews made it look like a great comedy.  It seemed like it would be one that my college friends and I would enjoy.  So that is what I did.  My roommates and some friends of mine rented it from Redbox and sat down on a Friday night together to watch it.  I mean, surely you cannot go wrong with as many big name stars in this movie as there were right?  The cast had an obnoxious amount of big named stars such as:

  • Jonah Hill
  • James Franco
  • Seth Rogen
  • Michael Cera
  • Rihanna
  • Paul Rudd
  • Channing Tatum
  • and the list could go on forever.

But the big named cast did not do much for me.  Sure, there were some good one-liners that were funny, but not many.  It just seemed like the movie had no real point to it, and was just a stupid comedy that I did not enjoy at all.  Thus, leading to me writing this blog saying that if you are looking for a good, funny movie to watch with your friends, This is the End, is not the one.