Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Jersey Boys, The Signal, The Rover Reviews

Jersey Boys
Dir. Clint Eastwood

I was lucky enough this past May to see Jersey Boys on Broadway, the 2006 Tony Award-winning musical encapsulating the career of pop icons Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.  The show was fantastic, and impressed me not only in its music, set design, and talented cast, but strangely the pacing of the biographical tale was almost the best part, weaving in the major points of the story with music and asides from the members of the group seamlessly, keeping things moving with an upbeat energy.  This fun, vibrant stage show seems like it could make for a great movie adaptation in the right hands - but Clint Eastwood is not it.  Known mostly for hard-edged Westerns and crime flicks, why the powers-that-be chose Eastwood to direct this is beyond me, and the result is a bland, pointless, limp-dick version of the beloved Broadway production.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

22 Jump Street, How to Train Your Dragon 2 Reviews

22 Jump Street
Dir. Phil Lord & Chris Miller
Watch Trailer

21 Jump Street was one of the biggest comedy surprises to come out of 2012.  Loosely based off of an 80's TV show with marginal marquee value, starring Step Up and Dear John actor Channing Tatum and a skinny Jonah Hill - it was completely blindsiding when that film was actually one of the better comedies of the year.  Since then co-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller have become a hot commodity in Hollywood, especially after the box office darling The LEGO Movie, leaving 22 Jump Street with high expectations (a polar opposite circumstance from the first).  The sequel, though not as egregiously cookie-cutter as The Hangover Part II, does tread similar ground as the first film, but is decidedly much more "meta," constantly self-referencing that we're watching a sequel, to both the film's benefit and detriment.  The laughs come fairly regularly in 22 Jump Street, but its perpetually winking eye can get tiresome.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Fault in Our Stars, Edge of Tomorrow Reviews

The Fault in Our Stars
Dir. Josh Boone

Based on the best-selling novel by John Green and with a screenplay from (500) Days of Summer and The Spectacular Now scribes Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, The Fault in Our Stars is this summer's seemingly big "chick" movie (last year it was The Heat, before that Magic Mike).  Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort star as two teens with cancer, who end up falling deeply in love despite their respective conditions (Woodley needs a breathing apparatus and Elgort has an amputated leg).  Playing to the "Notebook crowd," the film is often sickeningly sentimental, but the strong leads and supporting cast - including Laura Dern, Willem Dafoe, and Mike Birbiglia - along with a witty (but hokey) script, make this a solid movie that is likely to bring overly emotional audience members to tears.

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