Monday, March 30, 2015

5-Point Movie Review, 2014

Last year, 2014, I went and saw 26 movies. This time around I included 3 movies viewed on Netflix movie steaming service, and by this I mean that I sat down and really watched them unlike like other Netflix content where I let it play while I do something like art up something at 3:00 in the morning. “Art up” is a proper verb isn’t it?

For a break down of my grading process, you may refer to my 2013 roundup.

Averaging about a movie once every other week seems like a lot. However, about half way in the year I decided to avoid my local AMC Theartres’ $2.00 surcharge on films with showing times after 4:00 p.m. when paid with a gift certificate/ voucher. So I wasn't hitting them after work as I had been doing and instead I attended a Pacific Theater, which was a little less convenient. Other wise, I figure that I would have seen at least a half dozen more movies last year.

The abundant up-graded reviews (in white) shouldn’t be surprising, since by now I pretty much know what kind of films I like/ will pay to see. Which makes the three down-graded films (in black) particularly disappointing. On the other hand, I see ever fewer surprises in films with each year, and struggle to not down-grade something because I guessed the twist ending and rather more justly grade the quality of how well the twist ending was handled.

I graded both The Lego Movie and Big Hero 6 an “A,” and probably enjoyed The Lego Movie a bit more.

I down-graded Maleficent by three levels. Besides not understanding why the characters were depicted as they were (Maleficent, the misunderstood hero), I could not imagine the creative reason why it needed to be made.

You may note that I gave most of these a starting grade of “B.” In other words I’m saying this: “Congratulations, guys, you’ve went and made the film you wanted.”

To select one film of this batch as my “If you missed it, you should check it out” recommendation it would be Edge of Tomorrow a.k.a. Live, Die, Repeat, even though I bumped it up only one level. I think it earns that position just by being a decent film that was so difficult to market or in a concise way describe the film as something a lot of people would be interested in seeing. Interstellar, by contrast, as marketed was “Christopher Nolan’s weird space and time travel movie,” and audiences understood that. Certainly, in Edge, Tom Cruise brings his “Tom Cruise” brand of actioning, but it’s like the director uses that bit of familiarity as a set-up for a surprising pay-off.

Now, I’d love to continue ranting on about AMC Theatres’ policies, but I’ll stop myself.

Thank you for reading.

Thank you for watching.


Cinderella [PG] - Drama, Family, Fantasy
March 13, 2015 - Disney
Directed by Kenneth Branagh

Grade: B+
Up-graded from B.

+1: Costumes (Sandy Powell) and Art Direction (Gary Freeman, Leslie Tomkins).

Par: Story (Chris Weitz, screenplay based on Walt Disney’s Cinderella (1950) and Cendrillon by Charles Perrault).

+1: Cate Blanchett (as Lady Tremaine).

Par: Magic.

-1: Musical moments - lack of.

Note: Bryan is employed by Disney Consumer Products, sister company to Walt Disney Pictures who produced this film. Opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by The Walt Disney Company or any of its divisions. This blog is not associated with the Walt Disney Company or its divisions.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

All About That [Upright] Bass - Jazz Meghan Trainor Cover ft. Kate Davis - Postmodern Jukebox

Published by ScottBradleeLovesYa September 5th, 2014 on YouTube 

So, this one is pretty self-explainatory. The incredibly talented young performer you are watching is Kate Davis, and she’s the real deal. Not only does she possess the kind of voice that will take you back to the days of Billie Holiday, but she can also shred on the upright bass. You know what to do, internet - let’s make her famous, because she deserves it. Find her on Facebook here: 

The Band:
Kate Davis - vocals and upright bass 
Dave Tedeschi - drums 
Scott Bradlee - piano 

[] ... including tour dates.

Postmodern Jukebox is available on iTunes.

Penguins of Madagascar (the movie)

Penguins of Madagascar [PG] - Animation, Adventure, Comedy
November 26, 2014 - DreamWorks
Directed by Eric Darnell and Simon J. Smith

Grade: A-
Up-Graded from B.

par: Penguins as chicks.

+1: The villainous Dr. Octavius Brine and Dave the octopus (voiced by John Malkovich).

par: Screenplay (Michael Colton, John Aboud and Brandon Sawyer).

par: Un-cute penguins.

+1: Fun with name puns.

Into the Woods

Into the Woods [PG] - Adventure, Fantasy, Musical
December 25, 2014 - Disney
Directed by Rob Marshall

Grade: B+
Up-graded from B

par: “Disney-fication” of original Broadway musical source material (Stephen Sondheim, and James Lapine).

par: The cast including Meryl Streep (as the Witch), Emily Blunt (Baker’s Wife).

+1: Costumes (Colleen Atwood).

par: “Happy endings” that aren’t so happy and aren’t quite endings.

par: Two princes in musical competition over whose grief is worse, a.k.a. the number “Agony.”