PREviews for May 2014

Here’s what’s on tap for May, and nothing looks like a must-see.

A Million Ways to Die in the West
Seth McFarlane directs this, and he’s the same guy who did “Ted”.
Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson, Amanda Seyfried.
Possibly hilarious. Possibly just funny. Either way, I’m there.
(I’m still laughing at “Ted.”)
IMDb Trailer

God’s Pocket
One of Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s last movies.
Say no more. I’m going.
IMDb with trailer

Million Dollar Arm
Jon Hamm (from Mad Men)
Aasif Mandvi (from The Daily Show)
Alan Arkin (from 103 movies, some of which were pretty great.)
Lake Bell (from this Esquire video.)
A movie about a sports agent with, shall we say, an unusual recruiting strategy. Looks pretty good.
(Every guy – every single one of them – who clicked on the Lake Bell link will be going to this movie.)
IMDb with trailer

Is it even possible to create a stinker of a movie with a cast that includes John Favreau, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Downey, Jr., Scarlott Johanssan, John Leguizamo, and Sophia Vergara?
Judging by the trailer, yes.
IMDb with trailer

New Seth Rogan movie. Looks pretty stupid.
IMDb with trailer

Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler had great chemistry in “50 First Dates”.
This one just looks unfunny.
IMDb with trailer

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REview of “The Railway Man”

The Railway Man

War stories – the true ones – are important stories, and this is a war story. 
Eric, a British soldier and the central character, is taken prisoner during World War II by the Japanese. He and his fellow soldiers are enslaved to build a railroad under extremely dangerous conditions. The movie flashes effectively back-and-forth between Eric during the war (Jeremy Irvine) and Eric after the war (Colin Firth). Nicole Kidman plays his wife in a role that seems not much more than a placeholder.  Stellan Skarsgard (one of the super-creeps in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) plays his friend and fellow survivor. 
Initially this is a movie about the inhumanity of war, being tormented by the past, and the desire for revenge. Ultimately, it’s a movie about forgiveness.  This was a good movie, but not a great one. I enjoyed it, but was not blown away. If you are intrigued by the topic, I would encourage you to catch it on Netflix. Otherwise, just skip it…
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PREviews for April 2014

Looks like a lot of quantity and not much quality out there right now, folks. Here’s what looks promising and not so promising.

Fading Gigolo
Sharon Stone and Sophia Vergara in a movie with Woody Allen. Nope, that’s not a typo. Written and directed by John Turturro, who also stars as the gigolo. This I gotta see.
IMDb with trailer

Alan Partridge
It looks like Steve Coogan is as funny in this as he was serious in Philomena. This might be a hilarious movie, so I’m going to check it out.
IMDb with trailer

The Unknown Known
103 minutes of Donald Rumsfeld in a documentary explaining his life with very little self-awareness and even less humility. Directed by the same guy who did “Fog of War”, a similar movie about Robert McNamara.
When I reflect on these men, their place in history, and the consequences of the decisions they made, a troubling term keeps popping into my head: sin eater.
I will see this movie, and I expect to feel the same way I felt both times I saw The Fog of War: numb.
IMDb with trailer

Heaven is For Real
A little boy has near-death experience that leaves him with special powers.  I generally give movies with Greg Kinnear the benefit of the doubt, so I’ll likely give this one a try, even though it looks a little sappy.
IMDb with trailer

The Railway Man
Starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman and produced by The Weinstein Company.
Do we really need yet another World War II movie?
Maybe not, but I’ll probably see this anyway.
IMDb with trailer

The Other Woman
Leslie Mann still manages to be funny, sexy, entertaining, and bankable, despite the little-girl voice.  Cameron Diaz is simply funny, sexy, entertaining, and bankable. This movie looks more than a little silly but still funny. Might try it.
IMDb with trailer

Draft Day
Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner, and Frank Langella in a movie about taking risks to rebuild an NFL team. I can offer no higher praise than this: it’s a movie about football and might still give it a try.
IMDb with trailer

Looks like Nicolas Cage is a bad guy with a drinking problem who’s trying to become a good guy under very difficult circumstances. Looks mildly promising.
IMDb with trailer

Johnny Depp’s character’s consciousness gets uploaded to a supercomputer before he dies, and the computer tries to take over the world. Looks like “Her” without the heart.
IMDb with trailer

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REview of “Noah”

Reviewer confession: last week was not a great week. Nothing really terrible happened, but it was not a great week. I mention that because I saw Noah on Friday night at the end of a not-great week. There’s a better-than-average chance my mood impacted my enjoyment of the movie.
That said - and with all due respect to Russell Crow, Jennifer Connelly, and Anthony Hopkins – I only lasted about 90 minutes of the 139 minutes required to see this flick.

As you know if you are a regular reader of this blog, I’m a big fan of starting with a great story, preferably something original. This movie enhanced the ancient Noah story, but it was still the Noah story. It seems to me that the producers of this one collected a strong cast and a bunch of special effects around a weak script and tried to monetize the combination. It didn’t work.
Come to think of it, it did work, at least for them. They still got to keep my $11.50.
IMDb with trailer

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REview of “Non-stop”

Solid action flick.

Liam Neeson was good.
Julianne Moore, too.
Somewhat unique.
Wait for the video, unless you’re just looking for an excuse to leave the house.
IMDb with trailer
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