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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Fantastic Four (2015)

Growing up as a geek in school, Reed (Miles Teller) has always been interested in science and what he can do with it to make a serious impact on life. Now he is in high school and he finally gets his chance to show some people at his science fair what it is he is trying to do. After doing something pretty unbelievable, Dr. Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathy) asks Reed if he would be interested in a full scholarship and coming to work for him. This offer is way too good to be passed up. Reed then teams up with Dr. Storms two children, Johnny (Michael. B. Jordan) and Sue (Kate Mara). Then there is also the help of Reeds buddy. Victor (Toby Kebbell). After working on a huge operation for some time, the four of them finally get their machine working and then something goes horribly wrong. All of them have something strange about them that is pretty unexplainable. This is something that will absolutely be stuck with them for the rest of their lives and together, they will be fantastic!

Some time has passed that this movie came out and I have been extremely hesitant of checking it out. Yes, I am a huge fan of Marvel movies, but with this one, I don’t really know what happened. Even with a promising cast, this movie still needed a lot of help, but before I get to the negative, let me first talk about the positive of this movie. About the first hour of this movie I really did not have any complaints about this movie. I thought it kicked off strong and was going to deliver another awesome Marvel flick, but sadly after the first hour, it turned to, pardon my language, shit! It took a turn for the worst and completely destroyed any hope that this movie actually had.

The acting was honestly not too bad in the movie, but it went nowhere and just got completely ridiculous and stupid. Miles Teller was fine in this. He is actually one of the big up-and-coming actors in my opinion. I think that he is capable of a lot and he is someone who we should look out for. Kate Mara has definitely been in the game for a while ever since she was a supporting cast member of Netflix’s original series, House Of Cards. It does seem like she chooses some bad movies though. She was fine in this, as well as the rest of the cast. I really can’t complain about them, but the movie itself just was awful.

This movie started off so strong and then had a disappointing last hour. It absolutely could not finish in the way we all wanted it to and hoped it would. This is a movie that without-a-doubt should be entertaining its audience from start to finish, but it could not do that. This movie needs a different director to help out because with such a good cast there is no reason it should suck as much as it does. To be brutally honest, it actually turns into a compete trainwreck that everyone was expecting. All the interesting stuff goes away after the first hour and then we are left with pure boredom and no entertainment or awesomeness at all. This is one you can absolutely skip and is very disappointing for all Marvel fans.

Overall, Fantastic Four is a complete travesty that even the strong cast could not help. This movie needed so much help and is one that I was horribly disappointed by.

Grade= D

Jurassic World (2015)

Here’s something that I’ve been waiting fourteen years for! We fast forward twenty-two years after the incidents that occurred at Jurassic Park. Now we have, Jurassic World! Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) is the person who is in charge of making sure everything is running smoothly with the theme park. Jurassic World is not exactly creating the revenue Claire hoped for, so now the park needs something new. A new dinosaur is in the process of growing and it is called the Indominus Rex. It is around Christmas time and Claire has not seen her nephews in a very long time, so they come to pay her a visit on Isla Nublar. Gray and Zach (Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson) arrive at the park hoping to have a nice and fun time. After something goes horribly wrong with the Indominus Rex and it escapes out of captivity, the park needs to be evacuated, but Gray and Zach are left in the middle of an attraction not knowing anything is going on. Claire needs to go out in the middle of the park and find them. This is where things get extremely chaotic. Claire obviously can’t do this alone, so she does this with the help of Raptor trainer, Owen (Chris Pratt).

I absolutely could not wait to see this movie. Every since I found out that this was being made, this was the number one movie I wanted to see. Growing up I was and currently am a huge fan of Jurassic Park. I don’t even know how to start with this one. I tried to go into this with not all that high expectations and I am very glad I didn’t because I liked this a lot more than I thought I would. Let’s face it, it was going to be damn-near impossible to beat the first one, but Jurassic World is definitely a movie that provides us with more than enough entertainment and is absolutely the summer blockbuster that everyone has been waiting for. If you are a Jurassic Park fan, then hold onto you seats and sit back and enjoy this ride.

The acting in this is pretty good for the most part. After the lovable and powerhouse performance from Chris Pratt in Guardians Of The Galaxy, it only makes sense that he would be one of the leads in this movie. As funny as he was in NBC’s sitcom, Parks And Recreation, I think Pratt really found his role in movies like this. Bryce Dallas Howard really didn’t impress me all that much, besides the fact that she is smoking hot. I don’t really think there was anything wrong with her performance, but I think that someone else would have fit the role a tad better. I haven’t really seen her in all that much, which isn’t really a problem, but with a big release like this one, I wish that someone else was the lead role.

I am not even gonna touch the CGI factor. Just know that there is a ton of it in this movie. Jurassic World is absolutely the movie that the entire world has been waiting for. The effects that you see in this movie are absolutely incredible. Something I really loved about this movie was that it often gave props to the original movie, which I found to be very cool. This is definitely a movie that you have to see in theaters because of the sound and effects. I think that any true Jurassic Park fan will definitely enjoy this to the fullest amount, but if you have never seen the original three, then you may not enjoy it as much. I think this was a really enjoyable movie that gives you all kinds of cool and awesome effects. Two thumbs up from me!

Overall, Jurassic World is the summer blockbuster that everyone has been waiting for. It provides us with entertainment, over-the-top awesomeness and is just simply an enjoyable movie that demands you see it in theaters. I definitely recommend going to see this one!

Grade= B+ (Very Good!)

Hot Pursuit (2015)

This is exactly what I was afraid of! We meet Cooper (Reese Witherspoon), a cop who likes to do everything the correct way. The thing about Cooper is that she is not the brightest one in the bunch an after a bad incident, she finds herself working behind a desk rather than being out on the streets. Cooper is given another assignment and that is to transport a big time drug cartels wife, Daniella (Sofia Vergara) to a witness protection house in Dallas. Cooper is very excited about doing this because she has been out of the action for a little while and this is the perfect opportunity for her to get her feet back on the ground and show her boss that she is capable of being back out on the street. The whole time while Cooper is on the road with Daniella, it seems as if a real friendship may be developing, or is it?

First off, this movie was nothing but a waste of my time. I just want to point that out in the very beginning. Hot Pursuit is a movie that has an incredible amount of problems. To play it short, I really despise this movie and actually really never want to watch it again. I think that I may have laughed three times and to be quite honest it might be less than that. There was just nothing about this movie that showed me that it was good, let alone funny. I think that the script was very poorly written and I think that everything about this was just sloppy and took you in many stupid directions that were never interesting or entertaining. Every laugh in this movie that they aimed for was a complete fail.

The acting in Hot Pursuit is not only dreadful, it’s horrendous. I thought that with the great performance by Reese Witherspoon in Wild, we would start to see some interesting roles and good acting from Reese, but sadly we see nothing but poor acting from her in this movie. As far as Sofia Vergara goes, I think it is best if she just sticks to ABC’s, Modern Family. She seems to have pretty solid humor in that show, but in Hot Pursuit, she shows that her lack of humor makes her a terribly casted actress for this movie. The greatest acting performance in the movie was from Mike Birbiglia and he only shows up for about one minute. Witherspoon and Vergara showed me nothing to think that either of them are the least bit funny.

Everything about this movie just made it completely painful to watch. From the lack of laughs to the horrendous acting, Hot Pursuit falls way short of everything that it aimed for. This was just a poor comedy that shouldn’t even be labeled as a comedy. I can’t even tell you what category this movie should fall into because it doesn’t fit any of them. This movie is just so bad that is makes you feel terrible sorry for everyone that has watched it. This movie is pretty much the equivalent to any new Adam Sandler or Kevin James film. The only outcome we see from those movies are nothing but poorly acted, written and all-around bad movies. This exactly how I felt while watching Hot Pursuit. I definitely do not recommend seeing this one!

Overall, Hot Pursuit is another one of those movies that has nothing good about it at all. This is simply just a bad movie that is in no way funny and one that is forgettable fifteen seconds after it ends.

Grad= D- (Terrible!)

Focus (2015)

Here’s a flick that’s been out for a few weeks that I was just able to watch. Nicky Spurgeon (Will Smith) is a very experienced man when it comes to conning people. Nicky has done this for many years and starts to feel like he should think about life more and maybe get out of this business. Things really start to change in Nicky’s life when a girl named Jess Barret (Margot Robbie) walks into his life. Jess wants Nicky to show her everything that he knows about being a con artist. Nicky decides that he will show her the ropes and help her out with this. Nicky thinks that Jess is capable to be in this kind of business. Things start to really change when Nicky is helping Jess because he starts to develop feelings for her. After a great weekend of conning, Nicky decides that he needs to let Jess go. We then fast forward three years into the future where the two somehow find themselves becoming reconnected.

Focus is the typical type of crime movie that is awesome, but starts to get a little over-the-top. I really enjoyed this movie and thought it was a lot of fun to watch. I was very surprised by how much I actually enjoyed this film. I have never been much of a Will Smith fan, but he made the me pretty entertained with this movie. I thought Will Smith and Margot Robbie were very enjoyable together and played a nice duo. I haven’t seen much of Margot Robbie in much besides The Wolf Of Wall Street, but I think she found the kind of role that she can really act in with Focus. 

Focus is directed by Glenn Ficarra. He is also the writer of this movie. I am not very familiar with the movies he has directed, but I am a little more familiar with some of the movies he has written. This was a nice change for him and I think this movie was directed very well. He gave us a fun movie with a couple solid actors that keep you entertained. This is a movie that is full of many twists and turns that you think are just awesome. Focus is a movie that can sometimes put you on the edge of your seat.

I wouldn’t say that this movie was excellent by any means, but it is a movie that I think many people will enjoy. Focus is the kind of movie that just provides you with a ton of entertainment and some smart conning ideas. If you are into that sort of thing, I think Focus is the movie that you will want to see. I’m honestly sorry I was unable to see this in theaters. I think this would make a really good movie going experience. It is an awesome crime/drama film that is just simply enjoyable.

Overall, Focus is a film that provides plenty of cool scenes and some pretty good acting. This is definitely a movie that I would check out at some point.

Grade= B (Good)

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!)