Leap Year


Amy Adams, Matthew Goode, Adam Scott
Directed by Anand Tucker
Rating: B-

Anna Brady (Adams) has been in a relationship for four years and her boyfriend has yet to propose. So when she learns that during a leap year, a woman is allowed to do the proposing, he will just have to accept.

Anna’s boyfriend, Jeremy (Scott), is traveling to Ireland for a cardiology conference and it just so happens to be around February 29. After a brief meet-up with her estranged father who talks about her grandmother who proposed during leap year, Anna books a flight to Ireland to surprise her boyfriend.

Yet, all the signs are pointing that it may not be “meant to be” when severe weather diverts her flight to Wales and she has to hitch a ride on a boat to Dingle, which is on the opposite coast of Ireland than where she wants to be. Soaking wet from a sudden downpour of rain, she finds herself in Declan’s (Goode) restaurant and pub.

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Kill Bill: Vol. 2

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Uma Thurman, David Carradine
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Rating: B

The Bride returns to continue her journey of revenge against her former employer and lover. What he has in store for her at the end of the road was not something she was expecting.

In this continuation of the Bride’s story (Thurman), her past opens up and viewers learn more about her training rather than her personal life. Bill (Carradine), her lover, is the last target as she hunts down everyone who had a part in the Two Pines Massacre that put the Bride into a coma and lost her child.

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Kill Bill Vol. 1

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Uma Thurman, Vivica A. Fox, Lucy Liu
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Rating: A

The Bride survives a slaughter on her wedding day and seeks vengeance on the team of assassins who tried to kill her.

In this violent tale of revenge, The Bride (Thurman) wakes up from a four-year coma to discover a hole in her head and an empty womb. She goes on a path to kill members of a team she was once a part of, the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad.

In this first volume, she crosses off two names: O-Ren Ishii (Liu) and Vernita Green (Fox). Director Tarantino must love the way blood splatters because this is one gory film. The beginning of the movie captures the audience’s attention with an intense fight scene before revealing the why of the film.

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Amadeus

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F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce, Elizabeth Berridge
Directed by Milos Forman
Rating: B

A jealous composer threatens to harm Mozart’s career while never actually coming out as his rival.

Mozart’s (Hulce) arrival in Vienna stirs some excitement among the emperor and his councilors, but his appearance is not what they expected. The emperor’s music composer, Salieri (Abraham), is struck by Mozart’s compositions, believing that Mozart is a vessel through which God shares music with. When Salieri meets a giggling, vulgar young man, he is repulsed and upset with God.

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Chef


Jon Favreau, John Leguizamo, Emjay Anthony, Sophia Vergara
Directed by Jon Favreau
Rating: A

Criticism hurts. When an esteemed food blogger gives a two-star rating to a respected chef, his reaction goes viral on the internet.

Carl Casper (Favreau) has been in a food funk. The restaurant he cooks for has been serving the same food for five years because the owner won’t allow him to change the menu. The menu they’ve currently got is attracting customers, so why mess with the formula? It takes a harsh review for Carl to quit his job and rediscover how cooking good food makes him happy.

On a road trip in a food truck from Florida to California, Carl has the help of his son and a loyal sous chef. The three gain popularity from state to state as their food truck builds an online presence through Twitter and Facebook. Not only does Carl find his passion in cooking again, but he also rebuilds his relationship with a family he has hardly spent time with.

It’s hard not to get hungry while watching Chef, because as Carl throws himself into his work, the food he makes looks delicious. Carl shares with his son, Percy, how becoming a chef changed his life as they tour across the country. He’s excited to make Percy try new foods from a Cuban sandwich to a beignet, and Percy is excited to bond with his dad in these moments.

Chef is the kind of movie people who watch cooking shows (like Top Chef, or Masterchef, or even The Next Food Network Star) because it integrates cooking with a plot about finding passion in food. It took a bad review to shake things up in Carl’s life and it turns out to have been a good thing. He found happiness in cooking for himself, and not just trying to please people with the same boring food.

These characters bring a lot of heart to the movie and this is a story to inspire in those a drive to find their passion in life.

 

Photo credit: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/movies/chefs-review-chef-film-delivers-on-food-but-too-much-hollywood-flavour-20140507-zr64s.html

Wet Hot American Summer


Janeane Garofalo, Michael Showalter, Marguerite Moreau, Paul Rudd
Directed by David Wain
Rating: D-

A cult classic with an A-list cast but this movie was just terribly, embarrassingly, frustratingly stupid.

It’s the last day at summer camp Firewood and it’s the camp counselors mission to get laid. The kids are off being kids and doing scheduled activities while the teenaged counselors shirk their responsibilities to make-out or get high. Wet Hot American Summer is the ultimate parody of summer camp movies, and maybe those who went to camp can appreciate the humor. Otherwise, it was extremely hard to get through.

In this unbelievably long day at camp Firewood activities go awry while couples break up and make up. I guess the only positive thing about this movie is the acceptance kids have for each other. Two guys have a ceremony cementing their love, and when their “homophobic” friends (because that’s how they act when they find out about the ceremony) find out, they buy the couple a wedding gift. Meanwhile a cook accepts himself for who he is and opens up about his weird feelings in front of the campers.

Yet it’s the lack of character growth, frenzied-dialogue, and over-exaggerated personality traits that makes this film hard to swallow. I paused this movie halfway and almost didn’t return to it, because it was just so bad I wasn’t entertained. There wasn’t much happening to make me laugh -something this movie is trying to accomplish- however there are a lot of people who like this movie. There are also a lot of people who don’t.

The cast is what sold the movie to me, but even ten minutes in I knew I was setting myself up to settle in and suffer. I know this movie is supposed to be silly, but what’s funny about watching a bunch of actors play dumb? It completely lost me at the scene when a bunch of counselors go into town to buy stuff and check books out at the library, but then they buy cocaine, harass people on the street, shoot heroine, and become prostitutes. That is when I thought, okay, what just happened?

I’m just one of those who don’t get it, and I wouldn’t recommend this movie to anyone. It’s just not funny. I can’t give it an “F” though, because somehow people actually like it.

The Quiet Ones


Sam Claflin, Jared Harris, Olivia Cooke, Erin Richards, Rory Fleck-Byrne
Directed by John Pogue
Rating: A

An Oxford professor attempts to cure a troubled girl of an evil within herself by helping her manifest it into a physical form.

Brian (Claflin) is hired as a cameraman to record events during an experiment involving an orphaned girl named Jane (Cooke). He first encounters her locked in an empty room with a blanket around her shoulders. Professor Coupland (Harris) explains that he saved her from an asylum and that she was an orphan who was rejected from multiple homes. Each family abandoned her after an abnormal occurrence, which the professor and his team of two students have witnessed.

Part of this experiment involves keeping Jane awake by blasting music, which often leads to complaints from the neighbors. Professor Coupland is forced to move on to another location in an isolated neighborhood. Brian grows attached to Jane as he sees how helpless she is, and he tries to prevent the professor from pushing her too far in his experiments. It isn’t until they start to make a breakthrough that they discover the horrors from her past and how the supernatural is all too real.

In this documentary-styled horror film, the thrills of suspense slowly build up to a highly terrifying ending. The Quiet Ones teases the audience with bursts of adrenaline-packed scenes as the professor pokes and teases out negative energy from Jane. Brian has trouble understanding what is going on and tries to rationalize what he is seeing, from Jane conjuring burn marks on her hands to heavy thuds from the floors above. All these little moments add to a grand finale of breaking forth a secret locked up in Jane’s subconscious that shouldn’t have been revealed.

There’s a relationship between the characters, as Brian observes during his filming of the experiment. He captures vulnerable moments which show biases and maybe some unethical treatments. He can’t help but get sucked in as he disobeys the rules and interacts with Jane.

This was a fantastic movie based on its suspense, storytelling, and visual elements. The Quiet Ones keeps the viewer intrigued and the ending does not disappoint. It’s also based on true events which are another reason why people would watch because everyone loves to see something scary that “supposedly” happened. The ending has left me truly terrified which is a mark of a great horror film.

 

Photo credit: http://filmeye.se/wordpress/?p=3942