Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Pyramid (2014)

Rated: R - Runtime: 88 min
tesg's Rating: One and one half star (out of four)

Not even the cannibal cats could save this turd.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Penguins of Madagascar (2014)

Rated: PG - Runtime: 92 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

The penguins were the only reason to see either of the Madagascar movies.  But are they clever, witty, and funny enough to prop up an entire movie on their own?

Yes.  Yes they are.  And they even managed to introduce a cast that will surely get a spin-off of their own.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

St Vincent (2014)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 102 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

Great funny Grumpy Bill Murray performance with an ear-to-ear-grin touching ending.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (2014)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 123 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

The first movie for me was a pleasant surprise.  The second movie for me was basically the first movie with a plot twist to set up the next movie.  I wanted something different.

The third movie is what I wanted.  Very different from the first, but just as well done.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Big Hero 6

Rated: PG - Runtime: 108 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

Remember "Sky High"?  I kept thinking about "Sky High" while watching this.  It reminded me a lot of "Sky High". 

This is probably a better movie than "Sky High" from a technical standpoint, but it's not nearly as fun.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Birdman (2014)

Rated: R - Runtime: 119 min
tesg's Rating: Four stars (out of four)

If you watched the trailer and think you're going to a superhero comeback movie, you may be in for a "bait-and-switch".  This is NOT a superhero movie.  At all.  This is a personal demon movie played out much like the "Prairie Home Companion" movie played.

And every bit of it is perfect.

Maybe not quite the end, but nearly enough so.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Nightcrawler (2014)

Rated: R - Runtime: 117 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

Jeepers.  What a creepy bastard.

Probably the best movie I've seen this year that I never ever want to see again.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

John Wick (2014)

Rated: R - Runtime: 101 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

After surprisingly opening with one of the most touching scenes in any movie I'll bother seeing this year, John Wick is a fantastically stylish killing machine of a movie for quite awhile.  And it would have been really great if they just kept it that way all the way through.  But no.  Not only do the bad guys NOT kill John Wick when they had the easy opportunity...they had to throw in the James Bond Villain-like standoff so perfectly parodied in the first Austin Powers movie.

Up until then, this was nearly as brilliant as Jason Statham's "Crank".

(If you haven't seen "Crank", you seriously need to.)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Equalizer (2014)

Rated: R - Runtime: 132 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

What...Steven Seagal was busy or something?

Friday, October 3, 2014

Gone Girl (2014)

Rated: R - Runtime: 145 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

A woman disappears in small-town Missouri.  The story sets the blame on the husband through a lot of manipulative plot twists.  And then...well, never mind.  Basically, this movie is chock full of twists and turns and it gets really REALLY ridiculous.

Some of it is clever.  Some of it is funny.  But in the end, I'm on board with the defense attorney's final assessment.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Magic in the Moonlight (2014)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 98 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

Awww, that was adorable.

Brain dead fluff, but adorable.

The Expendables 3 (2014)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 127 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

It's probably easier to list who isn't in this movie vs who is.  Some sort of revenge plot with a crap ton of action sequences leading to a finale at a really cool looking abandoned resort that gets totally imploded.

The trailer for this movie played like this was a "Fast & the Furious" franchise sequel.  Sorry guys.  You're not on that level.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 121 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

This is like one of those campy eighties space movies with a Han Solo-like character.  It's funny and silly and perfectly watchable in an almost cult classic sort of way.

Why it needed a $170 million dollar budget I'll never know.  Maybe it was for the music rights.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 130 min
tesg's Rating: Three and one half stars (out of four)

Every time a plot twist had me thinking the script was taking a turn for the worse, it didn't.  It just worked beginning to end.  That scene with the spinning tank

It looks great, it's a great's just freaking great.  This is the "Apes" movie I've been waiting for.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 113 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

You know how when you play a combat-style video game and you die, you revert back to a specific point in the game and keep trying until you succeed?  This is basically the movie version of that.  And probably the most important thing to get right in such a framework is the pacing, and they do it well here.  A great watch.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Jersey Boys (2014)

Rated: R - Runtime: 134 min
tesg's Rating: Two stars (out of four)

Wait...wasn't this supposed to be a musical?

Friday, June 13, 2014

22 Jump Street (2014)

Rated: R - Runtime: 109 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

This movie feels like they wrote a rough outline and improvised the rest.  Like 10 percent script and 90 percent improvisation.  "Cannonball Run 2" feels more put together than this.

Having said that, the two funniest scenes of any movie all year are in this, and it's a stupid fun ride overall.

Maleficent (2014)

Rated: PG - Runtime: 98 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

Friend: "Well, you liked it better than I did."

Me: "That's because you're a Disney traditionalist."

That's probably how it will go for you too.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Chef (2014)

Rated: R - Runtime: 115 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

My all-time favorite foodie movie, by far, is "Tortilla Soup".  "Chef" isn't on the level of "Tortilla Soup".  But it is harmless fluff if you don't mind the foul language (pretty much the only reason it gets an R rating).  It has a plot hole the size of China that is necessary for the journey and the ending, but I guess we wouldn't have a movie without it.

Robert Downey Jr, as usual, steals the show.

Only Lovers Left Alive (2014)

Rated: R - Runtime: 122 min
tesg's Rating: Two stars (out of four)

Jeepers.  What a pretentious prick.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Fault In Our Stars (2014)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 126 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

What this movie needs is less sappy music and a better director.  Maybe Jason Reitman.  Yeah, let Diablo Cody rework the script and Jason Reitman direct, and let the serious scenes play out cold, no sappy music.  Then you'd have something here.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 131 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

Some of the key players from the first three X-Men movies send Wolverine back in time to hook up with a couple of the guys in the prequel to change history and reset everything to two and a half movies ago so that we never ever have to watch the last two movies ever again.

Which is a pretty great gift to humanity.

Thanks for coming, cast of the prequel.  Say 'hi' to the Duke cousins for us.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Godzilla (2014)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 123 min
tesg's Rating: Two stars (out of four)

Most people probably think of Godzilla in the tone of the campy color Japanese films where Godzilla saves humanity from really ridiculous monsters.  True film buffs will direct you to the original 1954 Japanese film, a darker tone classic monster movie where Godzilla is introduced as an enemy they're trying to kill while a political debate goes on about learning from the circumstances that led to Godzilla's creation.

This new feature is trying to be both without the camp factor.  The result is a mess.  The feature has a dark tone.  There's too much human drama...Godzilla doesn't even show up until about halfway in.  The monsters just look out of place amidst the modern high-tech special effects.  The monster battles are seemingly always abbreviated.  Heck, some of the human scenes seem abbreviated.  Key points that should be documented within the movie aren't...we're just supposed to assume they happened.

It's certainly better than Roland Emmerich's horrible 1998 effort, but hey...what isn't.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Under the Skin (2014)

Rated: R - Runtime: 108 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

This is a slow-moving supernatural thriller that tells its story more through visuals than dialogue.  A girl seeks out men who are alone in life and not likely to be missed by anyone and lures them into a black goo.  What exactly happens to them and where this leads to are hashed out as the movie progresses.

It does a good job of that, but this won't be everyone's cup of tea.

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 142 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

It wouldn't take a lot of effort to put in some filler characters and turn this script into a season-long television series.  And with a few action scene exceptions, this movie FEELS like a television series, quality-wise.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 135 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

You know what I learned from this movie?  That between the beginning of the (regular) credits and the obligatory Marvel post-credits scene is more than ample time to take a bathroom break.

Walk down, pee, walk back, and see the post-credits scene with time to spare.

No idea why it took me this long to realize that.

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Rated: R - Runtime: 99 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

People will be pausing scenes for hours when this comes out on home video just to catch all the little details in each scene.  Wes Anderson overloaded this thing with detail, cameo appearances, and silliness, and that actually keeps this movie from being a brilliant masterpiece.

It's good, maybe even great, but it's WAY too over-the-top.

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Lego Movie (2014)

Rated: PG - Runtime: 101 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

It's stupid and it's silly and it's funny and it's ridiculous and then...completely out of's really really touching.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Her (2013)

Rated: R - Runtime: 120 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

Set in a not-too-distant future in a style that looks and sounds a lot like we envisioned the future in the eighties, a guy and his computer's operating system fall in love.  (Computers have evolved to be keyboardless, you talk to them.)

The movie follows the relationship much the way "Blue is the Warmest Color" follows its relationship, though less graphic.  Just as intimate, though.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

Rated: R - Runtime: 104 min
tesg's Rating: Two stars (out of four)

Set around 1959-1961 (they note that Elvis is in the military), an unlikable depressing musician goes nowhere.  Well...he goes to Chicago, but I'm speaking in life terms.

The two reasons to see this are the dinner scene and John Goodman.  Otherwise, this is just a downer to watch.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

Rated: PG - Runtime: 116 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

Here's the thing...I figured out immediately where the negative was.  So I spent most of the movie silently yelling "YOU IDIOT!" at the screen.

But it was beautifully shot and most of the performances were good, so we'll call it a nice piece of cinema fluff.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Saving Mr. Banks (2013)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 125 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

Not quite "Finding Neverland", but I'll take it.

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Rated: R - Runtime: 179 min
tesg's Rating: Three and one half stars (out of four)

Now THIS is Scorsese.  Top to bottom, beginning to end, just freaking great.  You may start thinking about comparing it to "American Hustle", but ten minutes in you'll have completely forgotten "American Hustle" and will be comparing it to "Casino".

Thursday, January 2, 2014

American Hustle (2013)

Rated: R - Runtime: 129 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

I was really looking forward to this.  A great cast and a script and direction from the guy who brought us "Silver Linings Playbook".

And it was...okay.  Scorsese Lite, if anything.  But I'd hoped for more.