Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Five Worst Movies of 2014

It's that time of the year. Time for the end of the year lists, and today we start with the Five Worst Movies of 2014.  

I saw about 150 movies this year and like most years, there are far more bad movies than good ones. To be on this list, movies had to be released to local theaters in the calender year.  So let's see which ones were they worst.

I will link you back to my original review from the theater run, so you can read all about it, if you are considering renting or pay-per-view. 

Five Worst Movies of 2014

1/  The Best Of Me -  Absolutely putrid Nicholas Sparks story in a movie that can only be described
                                   as agonizing to watch. Every single thing about this stinks. Same of crap year
                                   after year from this camp.  I would have to be paid handsomely to sit through
                                   this again.  Dry-heaveable in every regard.

2/  Left Behind -  The only reason this was not the runaway worst movie of the year, is because of the
                             gift from Nicholas Sparks above.  This is far more about the actual movie making
                             than the story.  This looks like it was filmed in someones basement. Horrible. What
                             has happened to Nicolas Cage?  Could this be worse?  I don't think so.

3/  Let's Be Cops - This buddy comedy is about as bad as one of these can get. And aren't comedies
                               supposed to be funny?  Thought so.  Horrendous, offensive, and just a bad, bad
                               idea in ever regard.

4/  I, Frankenstein - Back to January for this gem.  This had finally cleared my memory banks, until
                                I looked back over my notes and found this was drilled as hard by me as any.
                                Silly waste of time. 

5/  Tammy - Melissa McCarthy movies have made my worst list three years in a row now.  Tammy is
                     just her again playing the same character, and not being funny yet again.  She is so much
                     better than these summer comedies.

Honorable Mentions

Lucy - Scarlett Johansson as a woman that somehow can use all of her brain power to dominate the
            world.  Too bad she couldn't use it to make a better movie than this piece of junk.

Ouija -  Still sad that I wasted two hours on a 75 degree day to see this.  I could have played golf.
             simply awful

The Purge:Anarchy - The original Purge was pretty good and thought provoking a year of two ago.
                                   This is not.  This stinks

There they are they worst movies of 2014.  In the next few days I will post the Most Surprising Movies Of 2014, The Most Disappointing, and finally the Five Best Movies Of 2014, so check back to see the picks.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

MOVIE REVIEW - Exodus Gods And Kings

Esteemed director Ridley Scott offers up his latest attempted blockbuster, Exodus Gods And Kings this week. Huge budget and an opening that was nothing more than a financial whimper last weekend.

Christian Bale stars as Moses in the latest Hollywood trend of bringing their interpretation of Biblical stories to the screen.  With IMAX screens and other various large format theaters with 3D, and incredible sound systems, it seems the time is right for these large movies to make a comeback.  Now, if we could just get the good movie part right.

EG&K, is the story of Moses leading the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt about 400 BC.  You may or may not know the story, and it's been done a few times before.  This version has Bale, Joel Edgerton, John Tuturo, and for some reason Ben Kingsley, and Sigourney Weaver are in this.  Each of the latter two having about 10 minutes of screen time in this two-hour twenty-two minute epic. 

All the usual stuff happens in this as you might expect.  Big sets, 100's of extras, elaborate costumes and props.  A huge musical soundtrack, and monster special effects.  My gut feeling is that the special computer effects are the main catalyst for the remaking many of these epics, and that's a shame.  This movie has nothing really new to offer.  It's long, it's drawn out, and being honest there is nothing really special about the big scenes or the effects.  And maybe the one thing that really kills this, is there's just no suspense at all. Very pedestrian movie making.

It is an amazing skill to make a compelling movie while telling a story that people already know. Titanic comes to mind as a good one. Apollo13 too. Both made a known story suspenseful.  There is none of that here.  This movie just comes, and goes, and just looks expensive, all the while not really delivering a very interesting time at the movies.

Plus, without trying to sound like an activist, and understanding that animals can not be injured during movie making, this movie has a fascination with showing horrible things happen to animals. Albeit computer generated.  Many will find this very disturbing as countless (CG) horses are harpooned, falling off cliffs, burned, drowned and involved in terrible battle scenes. Same with goats, and sheep.  It was absolutely over done, and I knew the whole time many would be bothered by this.  It is very fatiguing.

Bale is fine in this very large starring role, and the supporting cast is fine as well. But being honest you may be checking out after the first hour or so. The wonderful backdrops, the occasional stunning camera shots swelling with big music will wear off, and you will just be hoping for a more exciting movie.

Exodus Gods And Kings.   Big dud!

Monday, December 15, 2014


In very limited release, here comes Reece Witherspoon in the new, Wild.

Wild is based on a really popular book written by Cheryl Strayed of the same name.  It tells her account of her incredible journey through her young life, complete with all the ugliness there is. This book was really decorated, and the story is very good.

Strayed was a young woman in the early 1990's who was dealing, or not dealing, with the death of her mother at 45.  She was also dealing with a tough childhood, and consequently a really tough start to adulthood.  Strayed lost her way horribly, by doing heavy drugs, and basically becoming a prostitute for drugs.  In short, she sets out on a very long list of exceedingly self-destructive behaviors.  So after she messes up her marriage with drugs, and countless infidelity, she decides to go on a life changing trip.

Strayed decides to walk 1,000 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail.  It is from the Mexican border, to the Canadian border through the desert, mountains, and very tough terrain. She has zero experience in hiking or camping. and she decides to do it alone, to try to find herself and start over.  Who knows what she will find and discover?

Strayed is played expertly by the wonderful Oscar winner, Reece Witherspoon.  This is a one person movie for the most part, and she is terrific in this very challenging role.  It is a huge part, filmed wonderfully in a series of beautiful backdrops.  For many, this will simply not be exciting enough to be entertaining.   For those who read the book though, this is a dream come true.  This has the feel of Eat, Pray, Love and even The Way from a couple of years ago.  The Way especially - which was a very good movie.

It certainly is an interesting story, and Strayed really did a miraculous feat. But for some this could have the feel of a self serving pat-on-the-back, as at times it fails to be really moving outside of itself.  This is told in flashback form for much of it, as it shows Strayed as a child, a teen, and a troubled young adult, struggling to find her way.

Witherspoon does a lot with this role, and is really great bringing her to life, and a various stages of it.  In short, it is a brave performance in every regard, as she is asked to do much that is physically challenging, and some unfortfortable on camera.  She should be talked about at awards show season time.

Wild.  This is a acquired taste, and some will love, and the rest won't bother going.  Overall, this is quite good.

DVD - New Streaming and DVD December 16

With the holidays almost here, there are a fury of new options for your home theater from DVD and your streaming service.  So you can finally get caught up if you don't get the theater very much.

This weeks list is short.  Keep in mind we only feature major motion picture releases and not TV shows coming to DVD, games, or direct to video. Where applicable, I will link you back to my original review from the theater run to help you make your decision easier.

New This Week

The Maze Runner

Teen action flick from late last summer.  Was touted as a big hit, and it really wasn't.

This Is Where I Leave You 

Big time cast comedy from the summer. There are some laughs, but overall not as great as it could have been.  Although Tina Fey is very funny. 

Friday, December 12, 2014


Funny man Chris Rock is back with a career changing movie he wrote and directed called, Top Five. This is simply sensational.

First off, this is not for everyone, as it has graphic and lengthy sexual scenes, tons of very harsh language and very offensive dialogue at times.  But, this movie is honest, it has a great story, and addresses a ton of subjects that are tough to talk about, and need to be. This is a comedy of sorts, but it is a ton of movies rolled into one.  It is a romantic comedy at times, a harsh comedy at times, a drama, and totally worth an adult night out.

Meet Andre Allen (Rock).  He is a recovering drunk who at one time was a big stand up comic. He then made a series of bad action-comedies called Hammy Bear that made a ton of cash, but played to horrible reviews.   Now he is trying to make a serious movie and be taken more seriously in Hollywood.  He is on the verge of marrying a beauty from a reality show, when he meets a young and lovely journalist (Rosario Dawson) who wants to write an article on him. So, they spend two days together to get the story, but the real story is that they have feelings for each other.  And they have many kindred spirits between them.

During the interview, Andre is revealing more about himself to her, and he ever has to anyone. And as he battles his inner demons, she does too.  So in the end, will he marry the woman from TV, who is no good for him, or will he go another direction?  In a nutshell, that's the story.

This is so darn good, it is one of the biggest surprises of the year. This is Rock as you have never seem him.  He is funny, charming, and moving as this conflicted guy, who never seems to really get it right. The written story is one of the best scripts of the year, and it is delivered wonderfully buy the great cast which reads like an all-star team, with  Kevin Hart, Gabrielle Union, Tracy Morgan, Cedric The Entertainer, Jerry Seinfeld,  Whoopie Goldberg, Adam Sandler and countless others in cameos. 

This is surprisingly deep, funny, and super relevant.  It is harsh at times and pulls no punches for much of it.  For those without an open minded sense of humor, or for those who are easily offended, you may want to select another movie. But this is very good, and it made me laugh out loud many times. It also made me think and made me feel.  And Chris Rock has found another color to add to his rainbow.  This is a project worth doing in every facet.

Top Five.  This is really, really good.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

MOVIE REVIEW - The Theory Of Everything

In limited release, the new The Theory Of Everything is out.  We are a little late on this one but this is a movie totally worth seeing - if you are areal movie goer.

If you go to the movies twice a year, this may not be our flick. TTOE, is the real life story of the genius Stephen Hawking, especially his life with wife Jane whose book this movie is based on.  Hawking was about 21 when he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease as a promising young genius physicist in England in 1963 when the movie begins. To be fair, this two hour movie does begin very slowly, and I was worried. But it rebounds.

Hawking married a young woman named Jane.  They go on to have three children all while Hawking continues to spiral down with his horrible illness.  Hawking, who was originally given 2 years to live in 1963, is actually still alive today. This movie chronicles he and Janes amazing journey through it all.  This though is not light movie watching.  At times it is gut-wrenching and tough to watch, but it's a unique chance to look into a place that luckily most of us will never have to.

Hawking goes on and enjoys extraordinary success in the scientific community worldwide even with the illness.  But this movie really showcases what Jane goes through in her 30 years of being married to a genius with virtually no voice.  This stars Eddie Redmayne as Hawking and he is terrific as he takes us through Hawking from young and healthy to severely ill.  But this movie really belongs to Felicity Jones, who is simply sensational as the angelic-like Jane. 

This is a wonderfully directed and acted movie with a great look, taking us through the various periods to time. This also has a terrific music soundtrack that adds much.  This movie stays on point, doesn't wander off course. In the end this is a love story, albeit one you have not seen before, and that always gets points with me. Very interesting and original after a slow start.

The Theory Of Everything.  Very good.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Does Kim Kardashian Play Football?

Well, here we are the Browns making another QB change. Sadly, the Browns are in a position where there is no choice. What's been happening on the field is tough to watch. So here comes Johnny Manziel, the immensely popular hero to many. But can he play in the NFL? We are finally going to find out.

This whole Manziel thing kind of reminds me of the Kim Kardashian phenomenon. She was born into affluence and been raised to heights unimaginable a few years ago. Why? Her TV show, memorable selfies and videos, plus marrying controversial singers. Kim though is very beautiful and insanely curvaceous in popular areas. She’s entitled, loves the high lifestyle, and fame. But what is she actually good at? That's a fair question. What she is good at, is living outside of her fans lives, all the while making them desperately wanting to live hers. Wish I thought of it.

I don't know if Kimmy K can play football or not. But Johnny Manziel at this stage seems to be the male equivalent of Kim Kardashian. Well, there are a few differences... clearly. Manziel can play college football.  But being more than honest, he played very well in a small handful of very exciting college football games in the nation's best college football conference. He did not win a championship, and spent two short years at Texas A&M. But he seems to be an exciting player. And now he's the Browns QB.

He, as well was born into affluence. He breaks all the rules, is entitled, and does his own thing just like Kimbo. He is hugely rich before taking one step onto an NFL field. He also lives outside of his fans lives and makes them desperately want to live his. Sound familiar? He's brash, arrogant, confident, and seems eager for prime time. For some reason fans love everything about him. But they do not know if he can play in the NFL. No one can honestly say he can.

The proof will eventually be in the pudding. Manziel will either win football games for the Browns or not - period. While Manziel is either tossing touchdowns, or getting his brains beat out by full grown men who can't wait to take their shot, Kimster will still be on top tweeting away. If Johnny bombs out, dudes will endlessly make excuses for their hero until it becomes painfully obvious that they have hitched their wagon to the wrong horse. And if that's the case, they will pick up and move on to the next flavor of the month. Then Manziel will go the way of Cleveland sports lore as so many have from all of our teams.

But if Manziel cuts through and somehow becomes the Browns real future on the field, we could be in for a real treat. Unlike Kardashian, Manziel will have an absolute barometer of success that she never will.  Wins and losses. If he really wants to win and be a Brown, he could be big time exciting to watch. If that scenario plays out, this area could be on its ear for the next decade as the legend takes hold. Especially if Manziel would totally embrace his role here as a player and a citizen in a working man’s town. And win.

But he has a decision to make. Simply, “Do I want to be Kimmy K, Johnny Football, or do I want to be more than a a pop culture icon and be a real winner? Like it or not, truth is he's a rock star to his fans - for reasons TODAY, no one can honestly explain logically to anyone. So, is this the future that we have been waiting for?

Or does Kim Kardashian play football?