Thursday, February 28, 2013

Review: Emperor

Release Date:  March 8, 2013
Running Time: About 95 minutes
Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Matthew Fox, Kaori Momoi
Who to see it with: Your friend who loves Japanese culture


I'll admit, I really liked this movie.  But, I also have an affinity for movies about Japan.  Emperor tells the story of America's occupation / rebuilding of Japan following the end of World War II.  It follows General Bonner Fellers as he investigates the Emperor of Japan's involvement in the build up to World War II.  The movie is part investigation and part love story.  Unfortunately, the love story aspects seemed tacked on to give some backstory on General Fellers and to give him some more humanity.  It ends up slowing the movie down and making it feel disjointed.  Thankfully, the acting is great, the cinematography is phenomenal (recreating a war torn Japan and decimated Tokyo), and the overall story is very interesting.  There is some really well done exploration of Japanese culture and their relationship with the Emperor.  I'd love for everyone to see it but I think you should probably

Rent it.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Review: The Croods

Release Date:  March 22, 2013
Running Time: 98 minutes
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone
Who to see it with: Your kids or anyone who likes animation


I'm a sucker for animation movies.  And for Nicolas Cage movies.  But animation movies and Nick Cage movies can be hit or miss.  You've got the good ones (Kung Fu Panda, Shrek, and Face/Off, Lord of War) and the not so good ones.  So I was cautiously optimistic going to see the Croods, and luckily this movie pleasantly surprised me.  The animation was simply stunning.  Although it starts off in a bland desert environment, that quickly changes to lush jungles with beautiful scenery. The story was well done, the characters were fun, and there was some genuinely good writing and voice acting.  There were moments when the theater seriously laughed out loud.  The voice performances were very natural and you could recognize who the actors were without it being distracting.  This movie was great.  

See it.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Review: A Good Day to Die Hard

Release Date:  February 14, 2013
Running Time: 97 minutes
Starring: Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch
Who to see it with: Your friend who really really liked Die Hard


I think that the Expendables must have been like a 20 year high school renunion for 80s action stars.  And just like after seeing all your old high school friends, you want to relive those glory days again.  And thus, we have new action movies from Schwarzenegger, Stallone, and Willis.  A Good Day to Die Hard tries to do what the old Die Hard movies did, but just feels weird and dated in modern times.  There are references to the previous Die Hard movies, old lines and throwbacks to past movies, but overall the movie felt awkward.  The plot made no sense and the bad ass Bruce Willis character doing what he wants because he is tougher than everyone else just feels odd when he's causing international incidents and massive property damage.  Case in point, he runs in front of a car, gets hit, then yells at the guy saying "what are you doing" before pulling him out and carjacking him.  Maybe the problem is that I've grown up and the Die Hard movies haven't, but I just didn't enjoy the movie.

Don't see it.

Review: 21 and Over

Release Date:  March 1, 2013
Running Time: Roughly 90 minutes
Starring: Miles Teller, Justin Chon, Jonathan Keltz
Who to see it with: Whoever you saw the Hangover with


I really didn't expect this movie to be good.  I thought it would just be a stupid, fun hangover clone.  But it was genuinely funny with many laugh out loud moments.  The main character is kind of annoying for about 60% of the movie (kind of like Jonah Hill in Superbad) and a lot of the characters are pretty bad, but overall it's an enjoyable movie.  The characters grow on you and Justin Chon drunk is great.  There is some very funny writing, crazy situations, and the whole movie is pretty over the top.  Maybe see it, but most likely

Rent it.