99 Homes (2015)

A desperate construction worker, Dennis Nash (Andrew Garfield) is really trying to make ends meat to support his son, Connor (Noah Lomax) and mother, Lynn Nash (Laura Dern). Nash is a construction worker who has been in-and-out of work all the time due to a poor economy. After several warnings of repossession, a sketchy real estate broker by the name of Rick Carver (Michael Shannon) shows up at the Nash home with police officers informing them that they must vacate the premises because the home now belongs to the bank. After being escorted off the property, Nash has no idea what he is going to do. He has no money, no job, and he has to take care of his son and mother. After a few days, Nash finally finds a job with Carver where he will have to do exactly what Carver does, even if that means cheating the government, which could very likely put him in prison for a long time, destroying people’s lives, and having his son and mother resent him as a person.

The is one that I have been looking forward to seeing for a while. I have never seen anything that director, Ramin Bahrani made prior to this film, but I may actually want to check them out now. I was really happy with the turnout of this movie. I think that it had a great story, great acting, directing and even went into character development. 99 Homes also teaches you some lessons in life that there are a lot of hardships in life and things like this can actually happen. This is just a really exciting and thrilling drama that often makes you feel bad for people, but love the people who are on the other end of this doing the illegal work. What I really liked about this is that we see Nash go from completely desperate when he loses his home, to greedy and unable to stop what he’s doing because he wants more.

The acting is what really made this movie better than good. Andrew Garfield gives a fantastic performance in this and he is someone who we know is capable of doing great things, but we often forget about him due to the amount he is actually in. He is someone who I think is capable of having an Oscar nomination in the near future. Another great thing about this movie is the outstanding performance from Michael Shannon. He has been in a lot of movies as of late and I think he has only gotten stronger as an actor in his career. He definitely stole the show on this now. Even the small amount that Laure Dern was in this, she was pretty good. She is generally good in everything she is in, so I kind of expected this.

99 Homes is pretty much a thriller and not a serious drama. There are a few scenes in this movie that will have your heart racing. There was even a lot of character development in this movie that sparked my interest. From the beginning, they really went deep into how Nash and his family live their lives and the hardships they faced all the time and they did the same with Carver. 99 Homes is definitely a movie that I think a lot of people will find to be good. This is a really good thriller that has you not knowing how things are going to work out for Nash. The entire movie is almost like watching a close sports game and you are down to the final two minutes.

Overall, 99 Homes is a crazy thriller with some triumphant performances and an interesting premise. This is one I recommend checking out.

Grade= B+

 

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Maggie (2015)

Here’s one that recently came out I finally got a chance to see. Yes, this is another zombie movie. This time there is a deadly virus that is turning everyone into zombies once it reaches them. When small-town farmer, Wade (Arnold Schwarzenegger) finds out that his daughter, Maggie (Abigail Breslin) has been infected by the virus, he will stop at nothing to try to save her. Wade takes Maggie to see a doctor and the doctor releases her to spend whatever time she has left with her family. Wade’s wife, Caroline (Joely Richardson) tells Wade to take the kids to her sister’s house so they do not become infected by Maggie. Wade just wants to do whatever he can to protect his daughter even if he know’s her fate.

Maggie is a movie that i really questioned before going to see it because I thought how could I go sit through a zombie movie that I have probably seen twenty time already? While Maggie was not the best one out of the zombie movies, there was definitely something unique about this and I think that it is something that worked for the better. I definitely would not call this a drama because the whole movie follows how Maggie gets worse and worse and will eventually become a full-out zombie. This was definitely more of a drama in my opinion. It was definitely weird to see how a zombie movie became more of a heartfelt drama. This was the part I really had to get used to, but I definitely enjoyed it.

The acting we see in Maggie is pretty good for the most part. I thought Abigail Breslin was really good in this. I really haven’t seen much of her since Zombieland, but she definitely pulled this one-off. Now, Arnold Schwarzenegger on the other hand, I had a big problem with. For some reason I cannot take that guy serious as an actor. His accent is absolutely ridiculous and when he tries another one it just does not work out. Another reason I had a problem with him was because we don’t see enough of him in this. His goofy accent aside, he was actually pretty enjoyable to watch in this and most people will probably think he was good, but you just don’t see as much as you would like of him.

I will say that Maggie is definitely something different and very unique in its own way. I think it was a bold move to make this movie and it really worked out well. At first I thought it was going to be very goofy and stupid, but as I often prefer, I was proved wrong with my thoughts and I saw a movie that I really enjoyed and I thought was really good. This movie is definitely not one you would expect to see because it has to do with zombies, but it is definitely one that drama fans can enjoy. It did get crazy at times, but ti wasn’t crazy that was completely over-the-top. When they showed scenes with full-out zombies in them, they did the best they could and I really had no complaints about that.

Overall, Maggie is a good, fun drama that tells a pretty interesting story if you are a fan of zombie movies. This is definitely one I would add to the list of movies to see.

Grade= B (Good)

Wild (2014)

Here’s a movie that tells a nice story about a woman trying to get her life back in order. Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) decides to take a 1,000 mile hike on the Pacific Crest Trail all by herself. She does this because after the passing of her mother, Bobbi (Laura Dern), her life just gets out of control. Cheryl develops a very bad drug addiction and is having multiple affairs with other men while she is married. This causes her to get divorced. Cheryl gets a wake up call and realizes she needs to do something different with her life to get it back on track. Cheryl needs to do a lot of things differently in order to do this long hike. She needs to eat horrible food from her backpack and sleep in a small tent for a few months until she finishes. Cheryl really needs to change her life and while hiking, she sometimes meets people who are in a similar position like her.

Wild is a movie that has a story that is just okay. I thought Reese Witherspoon gave a very compelling leading performance. There is no question as to whether or not she deserves the Oscar nomination. I’m not quite sure if she will win because that category is pretty great this year. This movie is definitely a great step forward in the future for Reese as an actress. We haven’t seen Reese give a great performance like this since Walk The Line.

This movie while being good, does have its series of problems. When the film focuses away from the reasons why she is doing this hike, it becomes rather boring. The scenery of the hike is pretty beautiful, but I just felt as if we should have seen more of her life leading up to the hike. Laura Dern is up for an Oscar for her performance as Cheryl’s mother. I do not necessarily agree with this. I do not think she had enough screen time and even when she was on-screen I was not very intrigued by the performance.

Wild is a movie that you have to watch strictly for Reese Witherspoon. I did not think this movie lived up to all the hype it was given. I was really surprised I found myself getting bored with this movie because going into it I really thought the story would be more  interesting than it was. I think this movie could have been a lot better than it was, but is still not a bad movie to watch. I can’t say there wasn’t times when I did enjoy it.

Overall, Wild is a movie that has a great acting performance and an alright story. I think this is a movie a lot of people would enjoy. This is one you should check out, but there is no rush to do so.

Grade= C (Okay)

Django Unchained (2012)

Looking for another Tarantino classic? This is one you’ll want to watch. We meet Django (Jamie Foxx), a slave that is being marched with other slaves to his new oner’s estate. While all chained up with other slaves, a man named Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) shows up and needs some assistance and since Django is able to help him, Dr. Schultz decides he wants to buy him. Dr. Schultz needs to find the fugitives know as the Brittle brothers. Schultz is not a man who likes slavery, quite frankly he hates it. Now that Django is helping Dr. Schultz find who he is looking for, Dr. Schultz promises to help Django rescue his wife (Kerry Washington) from notorious slave owner, Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).

Django Unchained is directed by Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino may be the best director out there right now. He is definitely one of my favorites and I think having him as director of this film is why this works as well as it does. This movie is just a nonstop riot of humor and entertainment. This was one of the most anticipated moves to see in 2012 and it certainly did not disappoint. This was a movie that consisted of a shit ton of violence and brutal scenes to watch. It definitely wouldn’t be a Tarantino movie without all that. Look at his list of movies that he’s directed. Every one of them has some pretty brutal scenes.

I think this movie may be Tarantino’s best in the past ten years. This is just an all around great movie. I could not wait to see it and when I did I left completely satisfied. I have to talk about the acting now. The performances by everyone in the movie were just awesome. Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz were excellent together. This is the second film by Tarantino that Christoph Waltz has been in and he has won the Oscar for both of them. I thought Leo gave an outstanding performance as Calvin Candie.  There is even a small appearance by Jonah Hill that will have you laughing your ass off. All the actors gave us something to enjoy from their roles in this.

Django Unchained had some excellent writing as well. This won the Oscar for best original screenplay. This was without a doubt deserved. I thought the script was phenomenal and  is one reason why this movie is one of the best films of 2012 and could have arguably won best picture at the Oscar’s. This wouldn’t be your typical best picture winner, but I was happy it was nominated. It absolutely deserved the nomination and quite possibly should have won.

Overall, Django Unchained gives you something to enjoy, be horrified, and laugh at at times. Tarantino strikes again with another masterpiece! You should definitely watch this if you have not see it.

Grade= A (Excellent! A Must See!)

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (2014)

Wanna see an awesome action packed movie? This is one for you! If you are a fan of the first one you will absolutely love this. This one is set ten years after the first one ends and most of civilization is completely wiped out. The apes are finally able to live in the wilderness where they  belong. The apes have resided there for quite some time and they get sight of humans still living in the city and they feel they may need to act on this. The leader of the apes, Caeser (Andy Serkis) does not want to start a war wight them. He tells the humans that as long as they stay on their side of the bridge there will be no war. There is one problem with this. There is a generator that can bring back all the power in the city, but this is located right where the apes are living. Caeser is not happy about this, but one of the humans, (Jason Clarke) is able to connect with Caeser and let them know that the two of them can work together without anyone being harmed. One ape, Koba, (Toby Kebbell) does not like how Caeser is handling the situation this way and he decides to do something that will make him leader of the apes. Koba decides it’s time to go to war with the humans.

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is an incredibly awesome movie. You have no idea who you are rooting for in this movie. This is not a movie of right versus wrong or good versus bad. This is a movie where the act is definitely the enemy. Caeser and the humans do not want to go to war with each other. As soon as Koba took over, everything changed and all the apes had to listen to what he said. In its delivery of these ideas, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes gives us something that is very impressive.

It was incredible to see how the computers were able to make the apes look so realistic for what was not an animated movie. While watching this movie you feel as if you are the humans on earth. This is a re- boot that was done correctly and it may even be considered almost as good as the Dark Knight trilogy, but that is a whole other argument. The motion- capture of movies just keeps getting better and this was a perfect movie to notice it. Everything just looked too real and it was awesome.

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is something that has the audience amazed and wanting to see more. I can’t wait to see where they decide to go with the next one. This is a series that will be talked about for a long time to come.

Overall, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is a movie you have to see the first one to better understand why all of this is happening. This movie was a summer blockbuster that makes an awesome movie watching experience. Two thumbs up!

Grade= A- (Awesome!)