Whale of a Tale Productions

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47 Ronins by Carl Erik Rinsch (2013)

Maybe it is good that I am not directing films, because this is my type of movie, and it is a total failure and has gotten an 11 % rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I loved it. A really good fantasy action film set in Fuedal Japan, with great action. A Japanese fantasy film in the vein of many Hong Kong action films. With the added bonus of looking great, and having great special effects and fantastic 3D!

A young mixed race boy named Kai is wounded by evil spirits, but escapes. He is taken in by Lord Asano (Min Tanaka), and his daughter Mika (Kou Shibasaki) falls for the young man. Asano’s head Samurai Oishi (Hiroyuki Sanada) never likes or trusts Kai though. Kai (Keanu Reeves) grows up to be a peasant, as he cannot be a samurai. Asano leads his Samurai into the wilds to defeat a creature, and make it safe for the Shogun (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa). Kai leads them to the creature, and ends up saving a samurai, and killing the creature with the samurai’s sword, but the Samurai takes the credit. Kai comes back late alone, and Mika goes to help him, but he asks her to leave, even though they love each other, but he is bellow her station.

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Blue Jasmine written and directed by Woody Allen (2013)

Woody Allen has moved to San Francisco this time, and back to straight drama more in the vein of Husbands and Wives to craft this very real drama that is another fantastic film from the New York auteur. Certainly not as fun as Midnight in Paris, but Blanchet is awesome, and so very real. She really is one of the best actors out there period. A must see drama.

The film jumps through time of the life of Manhattan socialite Jasmine (Cate Blanchett). She was married to a Bernie Madoff style financier named Hal (Alec Baldwin), who was arrested and hung himself in prison, and she has lost everything. We start with Jasmine arriving in San Fransisco to stay with her sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins). Ginger and Jasmine were both orphans adopted by the same parent, though it was always made clear that Jasmine had the better blood. Quickly Jasmine throws a wrench in Ginger’s life as she tries to get her life together, deciding to be an interior decorator, though she needs to learn to even use a computer first.

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Epic by Chris Wedge (2013)

Easily the best animated film of the year, and yet it likely won’t even get nominated. This adaptation of The Leaf Men and The Brave Good Bugs by William Joyce, has amazing design and a fun adventure story. I am so surprised this didn’t get better reviews, because I really loved it! And the art is so good, I would love to get the book on all the concept art for the tiny leaf warriors! A must see film!

17 year old M.K. (Amanda Seyfried) moves in with her eccentric scientist father Professor Bomba (Jason Sudeikis). Bomba is obsessed with finding a race of tiny human warriors in his back yard. So obsessed, that his wife had long ago left him, and he hasn’t seen his daughter until her mother died. The warriors though are real and called Leafmen, who move faster than human’s so are impossible to see (much like the original Star Trek episode where the people can be heard as a buzz). The Leafmen protect Queen Tara (Beyoncé) and the creatures of the forrest from the evil Boggans led by Mandrake (the great Christoph Waltz). The Leafman leader Ronin (Colin Farell) pushes young soldier Nod (Josh Hutcherson) too far and he quits, though Ronin had promised his father to watch over Nod. The queen is in the process of choosing a successor to keep the forrest safe, but Mandrake sends his son Dagda (Blake Anderson) after them, and the Queen is killed along with Dagda, but she passes her power into a bud that ends up with M.K. who is shrunk down and sped up by the power, and they must save it, to save the forrest.

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12 Years A Slave by Steve McQueen (2013)

Easily one of the best films of the year with some terrific performances, that should easily get oscar nominations, though it is hard to watch. McQueen holds his shots for a long time, and that can make some of the brutal violence utterly cringeworthy. And the truth of the story makes it even more powerful.

Chiwetel Ejofor plays Free Black man Solomon Northop in 1841 New England. He has a family and is a very talented violin player and carpenter. When his wife and children go to visit her family, Solomon takes a job offered by two men in a circus (Scoot McNairy and Taran Killiam) making good money playing violin. After a night of drunken celebration, he awakens chained up and being sent to New Orleans as a slave. He is called Plat, an escaped slave, and is told to hide his identity so as not to be killed. A friend he makes on the boat is killed when he tries to stop a female slave from being raped. Plat is sold by Theophilus Freeman (Paul Giamatti) to the kind plantation oener William Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch). Ford recognizes Platt’s skills, giving him a violin, and using him to help make his waterways good for shipping, but his oversear John Tibeats (Paul Dano) doesn’t like being showed up by Platt, and mistreats him. Platt fights back. Tibeats and his friends try to lynch Platt, but Ford eventually stops it, but he can’t protect Platt and sells him to the cruelest slave owner Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender).

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August: Osage County by John Wells (2013)

A miserable film about miserable people arguing with each other. No one is like able, and the film is just depressing and doesn’t go anywhere. Really not worth seeing.

Poet Beverly Weston (Sam Shepard) hires a helper named Johna Monevata (Misty Upham) to take care of his drug addled, chemo undergoing bitch of a wife Violet (Meryl Streep). Then Beverly goes out on his boat and kills himself. His daughters and their families are called home. Barbara (Julia Roberts) with her estranged husband Bill (Ewan McGregor) and daughter Jean (Abigail Breslin). Karen (Juliet Lewis) and her fiancee Steve (Dermot Mulroney). Ivy (Julianne Nicolson) who is having an affair with her cousin Little Charles Aiken (Benedict Cumberbatch). And Beverly’s brother Charles Aiken (Chris Cooper) and his wife Mattie Fae (Margo Martindale).

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Philomena by Steven Frears (2013)

Easily one of the bet films of the year. Moving, enjoyable and sometimes funny, this film is really worth seeing. A true story based on the book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by Martin Sixsmith. Judy Dench is fantastic, even if she is playing younger than she is.

Steven Coogan plays former journalist and recently disgraced Government Labour Advisor Martin Sixsmith. He is supposed to write a book about Russian history, but isn’t doing much. He meets human interest story journalist Sally Mitchell (Michelle Fairley). Retired Irish nurse Philomena Lee (Judy Dench) confides to her daughter, that 50 years ago she had an illegitimate child, and her father gave her to a nunnery, and she was forced to give up her son and work as a slave for 4 years to pay off her debt. We see her as a young girl (Sophie Kennedy Clark) working as a slave and forced to give up her son Anthony (Tadhg Bowen). The daughter gets Sixsmith to try and tell her mother’s story, and he gets a job working for Sally Mitchell. They head to the nunnery, but are put off by current in charge, and not allowed to talk to the old nurses who were there while Philomena was. They are told the records of Philomena’s son were lost a fire, and they give her a contract she signed saying she would never look for the child.

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Lone Survivor written and directed by Peter Berg (2013)

The true story of Navy Seal Marcus Luttrell and Operation Red Wings, and his book of the mission of which he was the Lone Survivor. This is such and intense film, and a really well done and enjoyable war film. Really one of the better films this year. Brutal and non stop once it gets going, amazing that anyone could survive what he went through.

This is the story of Seal Team 10’s failed mission, Operation Red Wings. The mission was to kill a notorious Taliban leader in Afghanistan who had recently killed a platoon of Marines. The film starts with actual footage of Navy Seal training. The four man team is led by Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy (Taylor Kitsch), with SO2 Marcus Luttrell (Mark Walberg), SO2 Danny Dietz (Emile Hirsch) and SO2 Matthew Axelson (Ben Foster who I usually don’t like, but was ver good here). They’re commanding officer is LCDR Erik S. Kristensen (Eric Bana). The team is dropped off via helicopter, but it’s gunships are pulled off to other missions, and the communications are bad in the mountains, so they make a deal to not do anything until they have missed more than 2 call ins. After a long haul in, they find the village and see their target, but things are screwed up when some goat herders find them. The Team is out of communications, and even their unsecured satellite phone gets cut off. They can either break rules of engagement, and kill the herders , leave them tied knowing they will die, or let them go and give up on the mission. Murphy decides to do the right thing and let them go, and try to quickly head out as the men go to tell the Taliban.

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The Day of the Doctor by Nick Hurran (2013)

I was excited for, but worried for Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary Special. I wish I had seen it in 3D too. Anyway, Stephen Mophat’s last season with Matt Smith as the 11th Doctor and Jenna Louise Voleman as Clara Oswald had really left me flat. The worst season since the return in 2005, and such a let down after how good the story had been with Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) as companion, but I need not have worried. The Day of the Doctor is awesome. Having David Tennant the 10th Doctor and Billie Piper (who played Rose Tyler) return was a stroke of genius, and having a couple of amazing Cameos was even better. This is really Doctor Who at it’s best! An absolute must see!

We start with the original Doctor Who titles and a nod to the first opening, then see Clara as a teacher, getting a message from the Doctor and going to find him. As soon as she enters the TARDIS, it is picked up by a helicopter, and being taken by UNIT. It arrives in London and the Doctor and Clara are met by Kate Stewart (Jemma Redgrave) the daughter of the Brigadier and her assistant Osgood (Ingrid Oliver). They are taken to a Gallifreyan 3D painting from Queen Elizabeth the first. The Painting is of the last day of the Time War, and we zoom in to the War Doctor fighting the Daleks.

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The Night of the Doctor by John Hayes (2013)

As a huge fan of the 8th Doctor Paul McGann and his Big Finish Audio Adventures, this short film is literally a gift from Steven Mophat. Not only do we finally get to see the 8th Doctors regeneration, but McGann also mentions all of his Big Finish companions moving them all into official Doctor Who cannon! This should really have been the start of the 50th Anniversary episode instead of a webisode, but it is on the Blu-ray, so…

Cass (Emma Campbell-Jones) is a woman in a crashing space ship during the Time War between the Timelords and the Daleks. The Doctor (Paul McGann) arrives to save her, but when she learns he is a Timelord she refuses to go with them and they crash into Karn.

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Her written and directed by Spike Jones (2013)

I was really looking forward to Spike Jones’s quirky science fiction love story, but this, like many films recently is a bit of a snoozer. And it is pretty weird. Funny and enjoyable at points, but the message of our dependance on cell phones wears a bit thin. Still Joaquin Pheonix is great and Scarlett Johansson has the perfect sultry and sexy voice for the OS, and even Amy Adams is not bad here. Still, after all these slow films, I could use some cheesy fast paced action. Still like Spike Jones, but this and Where the Wild Things Are are not my favorites, though I like this one better, just so slow, a bit depressing, and not much going on.

Joaquin Pheonix plays Theodore Twombly, a sad lonely man who writes love letters for people, is refusing to sign divorce papers from Catherine (Rooney Mara), and has only one friend Amy (Amy Adams). Theodore ends up upgrading his smart phone with a smart female OS (Scarlet Johansson) who names herself Samantha and they quickly begin to develop a relationship.

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Prince Avalanche by David Gordon Green (2013)

I saw the trailer for this one, and like Paul Rudd, so I wanted to see this, and I did enjoy it, but it is certainly a bit of a snoozer. And it isn’t helped by the horribly shaky camerwork, which I am never a fan of! The characters are interesting, though a bit borring, and it seems a bit pointless, just a slice of life of some weird characters. Can’t say I would really recommend this one.

The film starts talking about forrest fires in 1988, then we go to see Alvin (Paul Rudd) a loser working on a small road painting lines, and putting road signs. He has hired his girlfriend’s brother Lance (Emile Hirsch) to try and “straighten him out” but really he has no clue and has left his girlfriend to work in a remote forrest. Lance wants nothing more than girls.

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Nebraska by Alexander Payne (2013)

A slow paced, black and white performance piece about the relationships of family members. A decent film, with a great performance by Bruce Dern, but pretty slow paced, honestly a bit of snoozer. And Will Forte is a bit over the top, but I usually think he is.

Woody Grant (Bruce Dern) is an alcoholic old man who is losing it, and receives a letter saying he won a million dollars from a magazine company and believes it. He can’t drive so tries to walk. His son, David (Will Forte) works selling stereo equipment, and gives in to his dad, agreeing to drive him to the company office, though he knows his father has not won. His surly mother Kate (June Squibb) is pissed, but he takes his father anyway. Woody keeps getting in trouble, getting drunk, smacking his head and ending up in the hospital, but they make it to Woody’s hometown.

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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug by Peter Jackson (2013)

The second of Jackson’s 3 part adaption of the Hobbit, and the first he felt was really his own. It is certainly a better film than the first, though it does take more liberties with the story. And once again I saw it in HFR, high frame rate, 48 frames per second, though this time in IMAX so with passive glasses. This time Jackson has softened the HDR, and lowered the saturation to try and remove the video look, but to me it still had a video look, though less of the keystone cops effect I got with the first film. The softening and lowering of saturation got rid of the amazing clarity I loved in the last film, and did not make it look less like video, so that was dissapointing. The 48 FPS did make the 3D look fantastic and smooth though. And yes the film is better and more action packed. And Smaug is amazing! And it is fun to have Legolas back, though some changes seemed arbitrary, and didn’t add much.

Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellan) meets the hunted Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) at the prancing pony, saving him from agents of evil, and setting him on his quest to take back the Misty Mountains. We then cut to Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) a year later on their quest, still running from Azog (Manu Bennett) and his Orcs. Azog is called to his master the Necromancer (Benedict Cumberbatch), so he sends his son Bolg (Lawrence Makoare) after the dwarves. Gandalf leads the company to the home of the shapeshifter Beorn (Mikael Persbrandt) who helps them to the Elven Mirkwood forest. The forest seems sick, and they find dark speech grafitti, causing Gandalf to leave. The company enters the Mirkwood Forrest, but get lost with Bilbo climbing a tree and figuring where they are, as the rest are captured by evil spiders.

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American Hustle by David O. Russell (2013)

Wow, this is supposed to be such a great film, with Oscar potential, but I thought it was crap. Sure the film looks great, like a Scorsese film, and has a great soundtrack, and some great performances, but the characters are completely unlikeable except Rosalyn Rosenfeld played by Jennifer Lawrence, the story is mediocre at best, and the hustle itself was so simple to be no twist and not at all enjoyable. I wish I could get my time back, seriously.

This is the story of Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale having gained 40 pounds and with a crazy combover) a small time hustler, working with Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams as bland as ever) to con people who can’t get loans into paying them $5000 to get a loan they never get. Sydney is married to crazy young mom Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence who is just awesome) and has adopted her son, but in love with Sydney. They are caught by FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) a vapid and idiotic agent who lives with his mother, curls his short hair and ignores his fiancee for Sydney. The couple is forced to entrap others, and go after the mayor Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner with great huge hair), conning him into bribing Congressmen.

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Gravity by Alfonso Cuarón (2013)

Wow! Wow! Wow! Now I thought I would like this film, but I didn’t realize just how much it would blow me away! Not only is this a fantastic science fiction film, but it has the best special effects I have ever seen, and the best 3D I have ever seen! I mean it felt like you were there, and the changing perspective made it even better. Wow, what a film! And I love how it is set i the real world, even if it couldn’t have all happened. And honestly peoples complaints about Sandra Bullock’s hair not floating, didn’t bother me at all. Not only would it have added to the cost, but digital hair may not have looked that good, and that really would have distracted. And not explaining why a Medical Doctor was working on Hubble didn’t bother me either because it wasn’t necessary to be explained! And sure for someone who says they were awful at piloting Soyuz, was pretty good at it, but it is a science fiction film! And it is exciting, visually spectacular and quite enjoyable. And I may not be a fan of Sandra Bullock, but she was fine here. The scientific flaws in the film bother me much more, and I will talk about them a bit in my review. Still this is a fantastic film with amazing visuals and a must see in 3D!

Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is a medical doctor and mission specialist on a shuttle mission, while she is working on her update to the Hubble Space telescope. The mission commander Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) is out testing an experimental MMU, while a second mission specialist finishes up and heads toward the airlock. Stone is having trouble getting her addition to Hubble working, when they get an emergency call from Mission control. The Russian’s shot down one of their satellites and it has caused a catastrophic cascade, with all Satellites in the way being destroyed and adding to the debris cloud and about to cut off communication.

Review Contains Spoilers!

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Riddick by David Twohy (2013)

This film returns to it roots with a story much more like Pitch Black than the strange Chronicles of Riddick, and is better for it, though still a bit of a retread. Still enjoyable to see more Riddick, and Vin Diesel in his signature roll. A fun film overall, but nothing too special, and the Katee Sackhoff side boob shot is appreciated, but just so unecessary!

Richard P. Riddick (Vin Diesel) has been betrayed by the Necromongers and abandoned on an inhospitable planet. He ends up taming an alien dog like creature and taking on the hostile world. Eventually defeating evil underground scorpion creatures that block his path, and heading to a mercenary outpost, where he puts out a call, and Mercenaries come for his bounty.

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The Grandmaster by Wong Kar Wai (2012)

If you regular read my posts you should know I am a huge Wong Kar Wai fan. In fact I think he is the greatest film maker alive today. The only French New Wave director still making films, so I have long been anticipating his take on the story of Bruce Lee’s Master Ip Man, which was in fact the first film announced on this subject, but there have been so many out based on him now, though this one is of course very different. First off it stars the great Tony Leung Chiu Wai, one of the finest actors in the world as Ip man, and of course being by Wong Kar Wai it is a very different film. Yes it has awesome and incredibly visual fight scenes, but it is a much sadder and more languid film about the sadness in the great Ip man’s life, and those surrounding him. It is a wonderful if melancholy film that really is another must see. It is gorgeous, well acted and directed, and film to show just how great of a director Wong Kar Wai really is, and hopefully another best actor not for the great Leung Chiu Wai.

Tony Leung Chiu Wai plays Ip Man. We start with an amazing fight scene in the rain with Ip Man fighting many martial artists in a heavy rain. It looks awesome is worth seeing the movie to see. We then see some of his early training with his master Chan Wah Shun (the great Yuen Woo Ping) and his marriage to his lovely and understanding wife Cheung Wing Sing (played by South Korean actress Song Hye Kyo), and we hear how the first part of his life was the spring and was all good up until age of 40.

Then Gong Yutian (Wang Qingxiang), the main martial arts master from Northern China, who has united many martial arts styles arrives, and already declared that his protege Ma San (Zhang Jin) will be his successor, but also decides that in the south there should be a southern master. Many fights erupt in the whorehouse where the martial artists meet, but Ma San beats them all until Gong Yutian sends him back home. Gong Yutian daughter, martial artist Gong Er (Zhang Ziyi) arrives and wants the fight to stop, as she wants to succeed, but cannot as when she marries she will give up her name to her husbands. The Southern Masters decide that Ip Man and his Wing Chun should represent them.

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Oz the Great and Powerful by Sam Raimi (2013)

I am a Sam Raimi fan, or at least you could say I once was. As I am a huge fan of the Evil Dead films, but after the disastrously bad Spiderman films, I have lost a lot of respect, so I was not looking forward to this film at all, but the wife wanted to see it so I rented it on Netfllix. She was ready to quit in about 20 minutes, it is that bad, but we stuck it out, and it does have some cool points at the end, one really good concept that works really well here. And my biggest complaint is just how bad everything looks. Yes everything is fantastical, but the effects just don’t look good, and the 2D film does not benefit from multiple extended sequences obviously made to wow 3D audiences, that add nothing to the plot. And so many of the plot points are so obvious and called out way too early that there is no surprise to this film except the decent ending sequence, which is more an homage that really works than any for of surprise. This film is just not good and wastes some fairly good talent along the way.

This is basically a prequel to the old Warner Brother’s film, though made from the source material which is public domain, though hewing so close to the original film in some things, I pictured Warner lawyers going over the film with a fine tooth comb. This is the origin story of the Great and powerful Oz. We see him first in 1905 Kansas, Oscar “Oz” Diggs (James Franco) working as a magician in a circus, treating his assistant Frank (Zach Braff) and charming stupid girls with slight of hand and music boxes. His old love Annie (Michelle Williams) comes to visit and tell him that she has been proposed too, and Oz blows her off as he doesn’t want to be a good man, but a great man. Just then the strongman, whose woman he charmed, bursts through and as a storm approaches, Oz jumps in his hot air balloon to escape, but ends up being sucked into a twister. After an extended 3D action sequence, he comes through and out into OZ, and the film opens up from 4:3 B&W into color, and widescreen into the fully digital and not so great looking land of Oz.

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Star Trek Into Darkness by J.J. Abrams (2013)

I am really scared of the new Star Wars film, as I other than some great character moments and great effects, this film is a mess! Not only is the story a mediocre crossing of Star Trek 2 and Star Trek 6, but so many plot points go nowhere or are spoiled so in early the film that there is no suspense! And so much is thrown away. The Klingons (who look awful) only show up once. Cumberbatch is wasted never becoming the ally or adversary he should have. And there are no consequences! I can say the 3D upconvert looked great, even the lens flares were not bothersome. Sure i will see it again on blu-ray as it is Star Trek, but overall this was a failure as Star Trek. A popcorn summer film, with a twisted look at original Star Trek. I would rather have seen new Star Trek in the original timeline’s future, but done with style, then screwing up old wonderful stories and not bringing anything new, while destroying so much of what was great!

SPOILERS AHEAD!

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Iron Man 3 by Shane Black (2013)

 

 

 

 

I wanted to like this film, as I am a huge fan of the comic and loved the first film, and liked the second, but really was not much of a fan of this one. While it is a fun summer popcorn film, I was too thrown not only by the blatant changes to the storyline from the comic, that to me ruined some fundamental iron man storylines, but also by the huge plot holes in the script. Maybe when I see it again on blu-ray I will enjoy it more, because it was funny, and the effects (and 3D upconvert) were great, but the story just left me flat. And for some I would have been OK if they had just changed things a little (or just made up a new villain, since this villain is most certainly not the Mandarin, nor does that have anything to do with extremis!

The movie starts with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) remembering meeting a scientist named Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall) who was working on a way to remap and control DNA to repair, but it had problems and would cause things to explode, but the drunken Tony gives her a formula to help. Stark also blows off a cripples scientist named Alrdich Killian (Guy Pierce) who is working on creating a think tank called Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM, which I felt should have had some nod to the yellow beekeeper outfits always seen in the comics). We then cut to the present, where Pepper Potts (Gwynyth Paltrow) is running Stark Enterprises, and Happy Hogan (John Favreau) has become head of security. The now physically fit Killian comes to pepper to show his way of fixing the human brain, but she turns down funding him because the project could be too easily weaponized. Meanwhile Tony Stark has serious PTSD and spends him time locked in his lab, making new armor variations, including his new suite that will fly to him in individual parts. Pepper has moved in, but he still interacts with her via his armor when he can (which he can remote control now), and he is basically really losing it. Meanwhile a new terrorist the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley playing a Mandarin that has nothing to do with the comic Mandarin whatsoever) is threatening the President (William Sadler) and make explosions where the find zero bomb parts. War Machine now redubbed the Iron Patriot, and it’s pilot Colonel Jim Rhodes (Don Cheedle) is trying to find the Mandarin, but the intelligence is always faulty.

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Stoker by Park Can Wook (2013)

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I am a huge Park Chan Wook fan, so I was so excited to see his first American film, but could not be more let down. It was visually and auditorily impressive, but the story and acting suck! Mia Wasikowska is cute, but her usual impassive self, and Nicole Kidman is always impassive, but it doesn’t lend to such a visually told story. And Mathew Goode doesn’t have much to work with. And the pacing is slow, in fact I didn’t even realize the film was in modern times for about 40 minutes! And there was no great twist or even explanation, and thinking it through makes it work even less. I just don’t see the point! In fact this film is a should pass. Don’t waste your time!

Flight by Robert Zemekis (2012)

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Wow! That is one insane plane crash! Wish I had seen it in the theater!

Not at all the film I thought it was. The trailer’s make it look like a film about a heroic pilot who saves his passenger’s when his plane fails, and it is, but in fact is mostly about addiction. Denzel Washington is awesome as Pilot William “Whip” Whitaker (and I am glad he was nominated for the academy award), who while being way over the legal limit, manages to save a crashing plane by rolling it and getting it out of it’s dive, and killing 2 crew and 4 passengers and maiming the co-pilot. Whip does coke and drinks like a fish, but he is a great pilot. The union representative and his old friend Charlie Anderson (Bruce Greenwood) and attorney Hugh Lang (Don Cheedle) are brought in to cover up the alcohol and drug abuse before it goes to a congressional committee, but Whip can’t hold it together for 5 minutes, nor even admit he has problem.

Denzel is great, as is John Goodman as his drug dealer, and while I called the story ending before it happened, it was the only way it could have gone. It was still a good ride, even if it does drag at times, though that could partially be attributed to how intense the Plain crash in the opening is.

Well worth checking out. I wish i had seen the crash in the theater!

Looper written and directed by Rian Johnson (2012)

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I loved Johnson’s first film Brick, though not the Brother’s Bloom, but was still excited for this sci fi film, and it turns out rightly so. This is an intelligent and well done science fiction film with great acting and a good story. The kind of film you want to watch again, to get all the intricacies. I highly recommend checking this out.

In 2044 the US is in bad shape, and 10% of the population has developed Telekinetic powers. In 2074, Time Travel is invented and quickly banned, but is taken by organized crime as a means of disposing if bodies. Abe (Jeff Daniels) was sent to the past to Hire Loopers who kill and dispose of bodies sent back from the future along with silver bars as payment. These loopers work until there loop is closed, when they their future selves are sent back and they kill them, and are paid in gold. This is called Closing the Loop and the Looper retires and does what he wants for 30 years. There is a rumor that a hew boss in the future, The Rainmaker is closing all the loops. Joe Simmons (Joseph Gordon-Levitt made up and acting just like Bruce Willis) is our Looper. He is a drug addict and sees a stripper, but saves half his silver and is learning French so he can move to France when he closes his own loop. Joe’s best friend Seth (Paul Dano) doesn’t close his own loop when his older self arrives singing a song, and comes to Joe for help. Joe hides him, but when Abe’s goons take Joe to abe and he threatens to take all his silver, Joe gives up his friend. Old Seth (Frank Brennan) on the run first gets a message carved into his arm, then slowly starts losing limbs and a nose as they cut up younger Seth and kill older Seth as he arrives. Joe is stunned and wants to give half his silver to a stripper he sleeps with, but she refuses. At Joe’s next kill, it is his future self (Bruce Willis), untied and without a bag on his head. His older self pins and takes the blast on the gold on his back and knocks out his younger self, leaving him a message to run. Young Joe instead plans on fixing things by closing his loop.

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Lincoln by Stephen Spielberg (2012)

First off Daniel Day Lewis was great as Lincoln, and Tommy Lee Jones is great as Thaddeus Stevens, and they deserve at least nominations. Now Sally Fields as Mary Todd? I didn’t buy it, she was just Sally Fields, and she should have been 10 years younger than Lincoln instead of 10 years older. And the costuming, production design and effects to bring us into this time were stunning, but the cinematography by Januscz Kaminski was surprisingly bad, looking much like his work on Indiana Jones 4 which I so loathed. Right off we have Lincoln talking to Union soldiers and he has a lovely face light, and yet no one else has any light coming from that direction. So there is no source and it looks fake. And this continued through the film, where you could see source lights, but the light hitting the actors did no match. It was distracting and frustrating to watch. And the story of Lincoln passing the 13th amendment illegalising slavery, after the election, but before his second term is interesting, but feels too disjointed here. I would rather have watched it from one point of view. Sticking with Lincoln, or more interestingly if they had allowed Thaddeus Stevens to be the lead, but instead it jumps around so much, that it felt very long and not very cohesive as a whole. Sure it has some great moments, but overall it left me flat. Speilberg’s best film in a long time, but still way overhyped and only a so so film!

The Raid: Redemption by Gareth Evans (2011)

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Wow! I will say that again! Wow! Now this is action, and action one right. Easily one of the top 10 best martial arts films ever made! Fantastic! This film features Indonesian pencak silat martial arts in over the top action with a 1.1 million US budget. Thailand who took the action crown from Hong Kong now needs to be worried about Indonesia! It is that good. The story is simple, but perfct as. Martial arts showcase. A martial arts expert Rama played by Iko Uwais is on a raid of a tall apartment building completely controlled by a criminal. The raid is set by a corrupt cop, and much of the team is killed instantly, but not Rama who manages to fight his way out, especially with the help of his criminal brother. The is the second film by Evans using silat and his action choreographers Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian (the first Merantau is in my Netflix cue) and a third about a prison is planned (it was actually supposed to be the second film, but proved too complicated, but thanks to this movie has now been financed and will be a semi sequel. I can’t wit for more! This is a must see!

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