Friday, November 28, 2014

Movie Review of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (PG-13) - Review by Daniel Kilgallon

Run Time: 123 min

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 1 is the latest installment in The Hunger Games, a four part series of dystopian science-fiction/action-adventure films based on the same named trilogy of books by American author Suzanne Collins. As with several other popular film-to-book franchises including The Twilight Saga and Harry Potter, it was decided that this final installment of The Hunger Games trilogy would be split into two parts as well.

The star studded cast of the previous films remained intact for this movie including: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Julianne Moore, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland and the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman. 

I thoroughly enjoyed 2012’s The Hunger Games and I thought that last year’s Catching Fire was a slight improvement over its predecessor. That being said, I was really looking forward to seeing what they would do with this next chapter. Furthermore, I never got around to reading the third and final book, so I had no idea what to expect from this movie and I still don’t know how the monumental story will come to an end. 

Mockingjay- Part 1 picks up right where Catching Fire left off. Following the chaotic and destructive end to the 75th Annual “Hunger Games” Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) was picked up by a rebel hovercraft and has now ended up somewhere that everybody thought to be destroyed; District 13. Her previous home, District 12 is now in complete ruins following an air raid by the corrupt Capitol of Panem. Also, during the chaos of the end of the Hunger Games, the Capitol managed to capture Katniss’ co-victor and pretend lover Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson). Now Katniss must use her rebellious persona and embody the “Mockingjay", a symbol of hope for an all-out rebellion by the rest of Panem’s districts against the mighty Capitol. 

Overall, I had a very good time watching this movie. Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence is better than ever in her lead role as Katniss Everdeen and the acting is exceptional across the board. Even though this film has less action than its predecessors, it still remains the darkest chapter yet and the action it has is absolutely thrilling. Although it suffers a bit from playing the part of the slow, buildup film to Part 2, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 still manages to entertain on a large, epic scale.

Movie review - Dumb and Dumber to (PG-13) review by Stephen Signor

Run Time: 110 Minutes
On December 16, 1994, Harry Dunne and Lloyd Christmas embarked on a journey that opened up their world. Nineteen years, eleven months and so many days later they are reunited. From the moment the film starts you know that time has had no effect on their character as well as their appearance. 

In Dumb and Dumber To Carrey and Daniels are not the only ones back. The Farrell’s too (Peter and Bobby) reprise their own credits as directors to bring this sequel to life and propel us into another zany world where there is no rhyme or reason for the misfits of Harry and Lloyd.  This time the craziness takes them on a road trip to locate Harry’s (Daniels) newly discovered daughter who was apparently given up for adoption. As you can imagine just the premise of this new information is enough to bring them to calamity and us on our backs with laughter. 

Rachel Melvin rounds out the lead cast. She is the mysterious ditsy daughter Penny, a piece of work in her own right.  Although she has appeared more recently in this year’s horror/comedy Zombeavers, she is best known for her appearance as Chelsea Benson Brady in the soap opera Days of Our Lives. For this appearance she brings the necessary element to her character that compliments Carrey and Daniels. Perhaps, as Directors of the film The Three Stooges, the Farrell’s chose to incorporate Penny’s presence. If so, it works very well.

Lest I forget to give kudos’s to give the supporting cast that includes the likes of Bill Murray, and a key part by Kathleen Turner. Then there is Rob Riggle. He had an uncredited role as Mr. Walters in this year’s 22 Jump Street but will be remembered here in his first ever credited role as Police Captain Travis Lippencott assigned to tracking down Harry and Lloyd for who knows what. 

In the end and for the second time I cannot for the life of me identify who is dumb and who is dumber. But that doesn’t matter really. It is a path of discovery that should never be realized. Why spoil the fun? To this end I can only say that Dumb and Dumber To is a parody of its self and will not disappoint those who are skeptical about sequels.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Movie review of Interstellar - By Daniel Kilgallon

Run Time: 169 min

Interstellar is a new science fiction movie from critically acclaimed director Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception, The Prestige, Memento). The film has an extremely impressive cast featuring Academy Award winners Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway and Michael Caine as well as Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain. Largely due to the people involved in the production, Interstellar was one of my most highly anticipated movies of 2014. I am an enormous fan of Christopher Nolans work and I just couldn't wait to see what he would do with his next ambitious project. I wouldn't say that Interstellar is my favorite Nolan film, however that is hardly disappointing as I still think it is one of the better science fiction movies of recent memory.

Interstellar portrays a very near, dark future in which our planet has been devastated by extreme drought and famine. The human race faces extinction due to major food shortages and drastic climate changes. Now, a group of explorers must use a newly discovered wormhole in order to travel beyond our solar system, searching for another planet capable of sustaining life. One of these explorers is a widowed astronaut named Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a former NASA test pilot/engineer turned farmer who lives with his father-in-law and two children. Due to the complications of the space time continuum, Cooper is faced with the seemingly impossible decision of seeing his children again or saving the future existence of the human race. 

Anybody familiar with Christopher Nolans work knows that his films can oftentimes be very confusing. His 2000 thriller Memento is literally a storyline told in reverse order and 2010s Inception wanders seamlessly through multiple layers of dreams within the subconscious. For better or worse, Interstellar is quite similar to those movies in the sense that the story is a little difficult to follow at times and some of the unique ideas in it can be hard to wrap your head around. That being said, I still think that 
Interstellar is an excellent, epic film. In my opinion, the effects are just as remarkable as the breathtaking visuals in last years Gravity, however the story is much improved. Furthermore, the acting is outstanding across the board and Matthew McConaughey is brilliant in another Oscar-worthy performance. Overall, Interstellar is one of 2014s best films and another gem on Christopher Nolans flawless track record as a director.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Movie Review of Gone Girl (R) - Review by Daniel Kilgallon

Run Time: 149 min

Gone Girl is a new drama/mystery/thriller film directed by David Fincher and based off the 2012 Gillian Flynn novel of the same name. Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike star while Neil Patrick Harris and Tyler Perry are featured in supporting roles. Even though I never got a chance to read the book, I must say I was extremely excited for this movie. I had heard nothing but overwhelmingly positive reviews, plus David Fincher is one of my absolute favorite directors. Some of his most famous works such as Se7en, Fight Club, The Social Network and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button are amongst my all time favorite movies. With his most recent film being 2011’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I was really looking forward to seeing what he would bring to the table this time around. I can now say that Gone Girl exceeded all of my lofty expectations and is right up there with my personal favorite David Fincher films.

Gone Girl is a complex, detailed film that is fueled by a string of signature David Fincher plot twists all throughout. Having said that, I will keep my summary somewhat brief to avoid any spoilers and allow you to fully experience this unique film in its entirety. On the day of his fifth wedding anniversary, a man named Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) reports that his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) has gone missing. What follows is a constant pressure felt by Nick from police forces and the media alike. His eventual lies, deceit and overall strange behavior begin to change the public’s opinion. Before he knows it, the rest of the world and us as an audience keeps considering the dark idea that Nick Dunne actually killed his wife.
Overall, I had a great time with Gone Girl despite its rather lengthy two and a half hour runtime. It managed to keep me fully interested for every minute largely due to the intrigue and mystery of the story combined with the seemingly endless string of unexpected plot twists and dark humor. Furthermore, Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike turned in outstanding performances in their lead roles. I would not recommend this movie to everybody simply due to its very dark subject matter and occasional graphic images, but if that doesn't bother you, you must see Gone Girl; David Fincher has managed to craft yet another masterpiece.