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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Inside Out

Who is the voice of Bing Bong?
Pixar found its voice again. And it's inside your head.

Can an intelligent film that teaches kids to talk about their feelings (including sad ones) be the feel-good film of the summer? Pixar’s latest animated film answers that with a joyful “yes.”

The story of Inside Out takes place inside the head of an 11-year old girl named Riley and features colorful characters that represent her feelings: Anger, Disgust, Fear, Joy and Sadness.

I enjoyed this sophisticated film as if it was just for me, and the young kids with me (ages 6 and 8) were glued to the screen as well. They giggled and learned about feelings. If this film helps prove that you don’t have to have madcap visuals and fart jokes to hold kid-sized attention, then it’s done us one more favor too.

Simply put: My emotions were feeling simultaneously happy and sad while watching this film, and that’s the point.

Award potential: If Up can score a Best Picture nod, maybe this could too. We’ll see how the rest of the year goes, but it’s a lock for a Best Animated Film  nomination.

The ten buck review: Worth ten bucks.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

me earl dying girl better than the fault in our stars cancer movie THe Fault in Me Earl and the Dying Girl
The A in YA.

2015 Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner and YA dramedy Me and Earl and the Dying Girl arrives just in time this summer to mirror the blockbuster counter programing success of last year's The Fault In Our Stars. That fine film had the support of loyal John Green fans and shattered both box office and critical expectations of a "cancer movie." Jesse Andrews' book may not have that kind of following, but the film could be just as successful. Because it's a slightly better film.

It's the story of Greg, an awkward high-school senior, his "business partner" Earl and Rachel, a girl at school who has been diagnosed with leukemia.The film is directed by fresh new director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and benefits from the on screen charisma of Thomas Mann (Greg).

It's original, it's charming in an unforced way and it's one of the best films of 2015 so far.

Simply put: 500 Days of Summer + The Fault In Our Stars - Terms of Endearment 

Award potential: Thomas Mann's believable work as Greg is award quality, but a realistic prediction for a YA dramedy would be that the film has a good shot at one major nomination — Best PIcture, Comedy at the Golden Globes.   

The ten buck review: Worth ten bucks.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Jurassic World

good films in 2015

Ironically, time has been kind to this series about prehistoric beasts. I was amazed at how fun it was to go back to Jurassic Park. Even though the story is always the same, this film was fresh with new thrills. Plus, it has a true superstar lead — the unlikely new summer action hero, Chris Pratt.

The effects are first-class, the script is tight and the slow and suspenseful scenes are mixed nicely with high-action.

Credit to indie director Colin Trevorrow and executive producer Steven Spielberg, who have filled the film with enough movie magic and winking self-consciousness that I never felt like it’s the monster + run movie the script surely is. It’s a roaring good time.

Simply put: Now that’s how you do a summer sequel.

Award potential: It could be nominated for all technical awards, despite being the fourth in a series.

The ten buck review: Worth ten bucks.


is turtle fat

All hugged out.

When HBO’s Sex & The City appeared on the big screen four years after the series finale, it was a guilty thrill to see the key characters together one more time. When the key Entourage players return four years after their finale, none of that magic hits the screen.

I’m not sure why this didn’t work. Girls, cars, penthouses, yachts and Hollywood settings should have been (Ari) Gold for a summer movie.

One argument is that none of these actors have done quality work since the show so they feel stuck on the small screen. But that’s not the only thing; the story just isn’t any fun. For some reason it’s flatter and more unbelievable than the series’ worst TV episode.

Simply put: Loved the show. Was bored in the movie and didn’t laugh once.

Award potential: In the running for a Golden Raspberry, oh yeah!

The ten buck review: Not worth ten bucks.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


What movies has britt robertson been in?
It’s a small idea, after all.

I’d like to praise writer-director Brad Bird (Up, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocal) for attempting to give us an elevated summer action film with ideas and thoughts worth pondering on long after the credits roll. But the ideas never match the initial wonder phase and it just doesn’t add up to a cohesive two-hour film.

What begins with wonder, moves to a convoluted plot and ends with condescending sermonizing and the most anti climatic finale of the year so far.

Even the tone is confusing. I’m not sure if this film was supposed to be the next Back to the Future, San Andreas, Spy Kids, Wall-E or Terminator 2. Actually, I think it shifted across all of these.

On the plus side, the kids acted their parts better than George Clooney who seemed to just be going through the motions. Keep your eye on Britt Robertson; she could be the next Julia Roberts.

Simply put: Like some of the rides at DisneyLand; not for adults. It’s fine for kids who will enjoy the possibilities presented in Tomorrowland, but it’s a solid no for everyone else who should skip this never, never again land.

Award potential: None.

The ten buck review: Not worth ten bucks.