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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Nicsperiment's End of Summer Movie Mini-Reviews, 2014

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The summer is over. I am crying. Why do summers have to end? If the summer was endless, would we surf forever? I tried to surf once, and I hurt myself. Here are mini-reviews of everything I've watched since my summer break movie mini-reviews. I called that one "summer break" because I thought that was all the break I was going to have. Turns out I had two more unforeseen months of breaking to come...if you call still working my job, watching my son, and taking care of my family "breaking."

22 Jump Street -- 8/10
It's been a long time since sequels have consistently sucked, and as 22 Jump Street is just as hilarious and entertaining as its predecessor, that idea should stay dead. Doesn't hurt that you actually want to hang out with these characters.

America -- 5/10
Semi-entertaining, and documentarian, Dinesh D'Souza, actually makes a few valid points, but then, three-quarters in and out of complete left-field, he tips his hand. This movie is built, not to defend "America," but its own filmmaker, D'Souza, from illegal campaign finance charges that will likely send him to prison. 

Attack the Block -- 9/10
Though it is rated "R," and some of the kids get killed by aliens, this is about as close to the Goonies as this decade is going to get. Fun, fast, loud, and funny, with an excellent crew of misfits, and a giant, blood-soaked heart.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes -- 9/10
Somehow gets the viewer to root for a pack of computer-generated apes over its human protagonists, though you also like the protagonists, too ("the viewer" and "you" really just mean me. Those words just sound better). Probably the most thematically difficult summer blockbuster in a while, and if Andy Serkis doesn't get some kind of award for his work this time, this whole movie business is a sham.

Drinking Buddies -- 9/10
Most movies about relationships follow a movie formula, but Drinking Buddies actually stays true to real life, as it explores the dynamic of a close, "platonic," guy-girl relationship, and the toil that can take. Also, I mostly knew Olivia Wilde from supermarket magazine covers, but based on her work in this film, she is quite an actress.

Elsker dig for evigt (Open Hearts) -- 8/10
Before Mads Mikkelsen was Hannibal, or even before he was Le Chiffre, he was the star of a bunch of really excellent, really difficult Danish films, among them, this, the first of two film's Mikkelsen collaborated with director, Susanne Bier, where he plays a doctor...sleeping with the fiancee of a patient...who was hospitalized by the doctor's own wife...and you care about everybody. As I said, difficult, even more so than the previous sentence.

Guardians of the Galaxy -- 9/10
In a world where a film like The Dark Knight is a bit of an anomaly (a superhero film that is actually a great film on its own), Guardians of the Galaxy sets a new standard. Marvel films have been consistently good as of late, but Guardians' character, humor, action, pacing, emotion, and heart are leagues above--that sentence didn't feel like it did the film justice; I didn't even mention how awesome its music is...how many punctuation gimmicks can I use to extend this sentence: I think that about does it (or does it?).

The Last Winter -- 4/10
Environmental horror film that never gets its feet off the ground, let alone past its heavy-handed message. If you want to scare the audience, you have to actually make them care about the characters who are in danger--THEN you can focus on your agenda.

Prince Avalanche -- 7/10
Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch give excellent performances as two screwed-up guys who really need each other's friendship, and they are well-served by the dialogue in David Gordon Green's screenplay. Unfortunately, Green's pretentious, overindulgent direction gets in the way, as well as--and I can't believe I'm saying this--Explosions In the Sky's over-loud, heavy-handed soundtrack.

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