Monday, June 17, 2013

Corman's World (2011)

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Documentaries generally do not strike me as a fun-filled good time. There tends to be exceptions to the rule, but mostly I have to be in a particular mood to watch a documentary.

I consider myself some sort of independent filmmaker, so Corman's World seemed like a must-see source of information and learning. However, that does not mean that I was ever a passionate Roger Corman fan. Merely that I always appreciated him and understood the indirect influence he has over my life.

Corman's World now happens to be my second favorite documentary of all time. Furthermore, Corman himself proved to be one of the most inspirational filmmaker stories I've had the pleasure of learning about.  

Corman's World was not only educational but also a fun-filled amazing time filled with captivating anecdotes, a moving social standard, and a standard of quality not always found in a Roger Corman movie.

And one last thing, Roger Corman seems like he may be one of the most pleasant celebrities on the face of this planet.

4.0 Stars

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Big Something (2011)

Never in my life did I think I would watch a film in which a character tries to sell a Cheech and Chong vinyl in the record store I bought my first Cheech and Chong vinyl, Big Bambu. However, The Big Something (filmed in Tracks in Wax on Central) manifests the quirky scenario into a reality of high definition digital celluloid.  

The Big Something provides the audience a fun little tale of murder mystery, Arizona slackerism, and the plight of a twenty-something Travis Tritt fan.

Not only filmed in my favorite childhood record store, but also set in the mystical land of mixed accomplishments and broken dreams, Tempe, AZ. The Big Something utilizes a variety of nicely scouted Phoenix metro locations. The film inspires many, “Hey I use to snake milk crates from there” and “Do doughnuts after washing my car in that parking lot” moments which make the film quite appealing to an Arizona native. Additionally, the desert city atmosphere added a unique sense of personality not found in many films.

In general, I turned my back on the “indie” film market several years ago. Not independent films, but rather the film shot on a shoe-string budget that perfectly fit a niche genre that reeks of watered down Kevin Smith style dialogue, lays out plot and character development in a manner that makes the audience feel as though they are waiting in line at Disneyland, and generally self-admits a more unique way of making a low budget film could simply not be devised. In other words, I find most of the “indie” films of the 2010s to be boring, depressing, and only inspiring empathetic embarrassment. Furthermore, watching a group of four people in turtlenecks drinking wine and pontificating life, religion, and cell phones does not appeal to me, unless it stars David Hyde Pierce or Jeremy Piven. I digress.

While The Big Something feels somewhat like Clerks in a record store, it breaks free from my negative sentiments of indie films and executes the telling of a fresh story from a unique perspective. I’m personally happy this is one of the first digital films I’ve purchased online, and the pick-your-price style of distribution always deserves two thumbs up or twelve tomatoes or something. I can really appreciate The Big Something. All of the cast and crew’s work stands out with above-average quality and deserves a big round of applause. The Big Something has to be one of the first films over the last decade able to inspire my hope in both “indie” and Arizona films.

This article was originally written & published for a different publication in August of 2012.

The Hangover Part III (2013)

I don’t give a damn what you say, and I’d probably say you’re dumb if you said otherwise: The Hangover III fucking rules! 

Let the critics bash it, “It’s got a… on Rotten Tomatoes.” Shut up, you no fun having asshole. I genuinely appreciate Todd Philips, the cast, and story of this movie. Not to mention the soundtrack. 

Everyone bitched about the outline borrowing of the second Hangover. I have no clue why they are bitching now and I don't care. Is it a matter of expectations? I have expectations when I watch a movie too. I also love it when I film goes entirely against my expectations.

When I walked out of the film, I looked at my friends and said, “The only thing missing was (omitted).” However, on second thought, the film was exactly the way it should be.

Either way, don’t listen to them. Shit, don’t listen to me, but see The Hangover III. You know, I apologize for the foul language.

I decided to discuss a movie that I feel is much more dynamic, skillful, and personally touching than the masses may have you believe.

Meanwhile, I made the decision to do so in a manner that is detached from the general conventions of this organization. First off, because I can. However, what’s most important is I am merely writing this because I truly fucking loved The Hangover III.

Sometimes the best movies are the ones that you don’t like but I love.

4.5 Stars.

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Call (2013)

 The dramatic conclusion rises with tense energy, and the movies concludes. FADE TO BLACK. (chuckling) "What a shity movie," I say to myself out loud. Not with passion or disdain in my heart, but rather an amusement with the ridiculous and a sense of comfort found within familiar cinematic formulas.

 Audiences on currently rank The Call at a 6.7 out of 10 stars. Which by Up Till Dawn Films standards happens to be quite substantial. While am not going to argue with the ranking, I was quite surprised by the average. Both Liz from Nip/Tuck and Christopher Moltisanti from the Sopranos co-starred, so I guess that added some cool points. Yet, Chris was killed within ten minutes, and Michael Imperioli should always get more screen time. Sorry for the spoiler, but you're probably not missing much by attaining the information.

If you're a 911 operator, this is the movie for you. Meanwhile, The Call when considering that it happens to be a WWE Studios film, more than exceeds expectations. However, if you're looking for value in your movie ticket this weekend, Evil Dead or even Jurassic Park in 3D may prove to be a more satisfying spend. Additionally, Oz the Great and Powerful stars James Franco and Mila Kunis, so what's that tell ya?

2.3 Stars

Monday, February 11, 2013

Life of Pi (2012)

Attempting to get through all of the films that received an Oscar nomination for Best Picture has proven to be a somewhat difficult goal.

To watch all nine films, that supposedly comprise of the best films of 2012, with any sort of outward anguish seems like a "first world problem."

However, that does not negate the challenges I've endured in order to get through each of the nominees. Meanwhile, I am noting the same roster that includes Argo and Django Unchained, so it would seem safe to assume that there had to be at least one other gem that might carry the possibility of bringing joy to a often cynical and impatient viewer.

While joy may not be an all-encompassing adjective, I found Life of Pi to be an unexpected pleasure. I almost feel as though I'm glad that I saw the movie prior to ever reading the book. I'm sure the book lives up to its reputation. Yet, I'm limited on reading time, and a shelf over flowing with unread books may topple over me prior to even finishing this brief statement.

Some may shrug Pi off without care or notice. Others may find Life of Pi entirely boring, and so it goes each day. While entitled to an opinion, I would be inclined to doubt this type of viewer's taste and character.

Perhaps, one of the most satisfying aspects weaved within the story of Pi was the unabashed sensitivity to the nature of man and wild. Furthermore, Life of Pi possess a magical way of providing insight into each of its viewer's personal battles, struggles, and conflicts, but all without judgement or pretense.

I feel as though the film provides an experience that could be enjoyed by almost any human on the planet. Life of Pi not only administers a brilliant cinematic experience, but also serves as a mesmerizing tribute to the weary brutality and joyous celebration we all call life.

4.3 Stars.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

CSI - Crime Scene Investigation - Season 130

          Does anyone still watch CSI? 

Is it common knowledge that Gil Grissom, was replace by Larry Fishburne, who has been since replaced by Ted Danson? Yep Sam from Cheers, and the black guy from the original cast gambled him self to death or something.

I mean, I still watch it, but it seems as though I may be the only one. I'm watching it right now as I blog. Aww who is this dude that is guest starring? It will come to me. Elisabeth Shue is now one of the stars of Crime Scene Investigation too. Bet you didn't know that.

The one primary thing that I have never really liked much is the theme music. Meanwhile, please don't confuse my urge to watch the latest episode of CSI as anything but an uncontrollable urge. I still need to know. I don't know why I need to know, but I cannot... holy shit Gary Sinise!

 A New York/Las Vegas cross-over episode, as well as that guy. Who is that guy?
 Well anyway just wonde...

The fucking vampire king guy.

From The motherfucking Lost Boys, that's who it is.

Shit, gotta go.

Please donate money, or click on any of the links or pictures in this post and buy stuff. We need new desks.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Hit and Run (2012)

I can't recall a time that I noted Dax Shepard much. I remember that he use to help Aston Kutcher with silly pranks, but never did I think to myself, "Oh nice! Dax Shepard is the star." The general trend may continue. However, were the film to be starring, written, and directed by Dax I cannot honestly think of another reaction I would produce.

Almost every aspect of Hit and Run came as a surprise to me. Meanwhile, my preconceived notions were not crushed by some contrived string of clever and unexpected editorial twists and plot turns, but rather by a highly satisfying and seasoned execution of entertaining storytelling. There's dynamic subplots, extremely interesting supporting characters, and superior performances across the board.

Dax Shepard, Tom Arnold, Kristen Bell, Bradley Cooper, Beau Bridges, Ryan Hansen, and Joy Braynt all hit the proverbial head of nailing hilarious and compelling acting. In fact, Dax and Cooper share one of my favorite comedy scenes of 2012.

I could not imagine how, a person that does not take the world too seriously and loves comedy, would not enjoy Hit and Run.

3.4 Stars.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

Maybe I should watch it again or something? No, thank you. I generally do not find myself yearning for the end of a movie. Especially, with the looming thought, "Maybe this one has a better ending than their last." While the ending stunk just as much as The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty had a much more refined boring-as-shit consistency than Hurt Locker.

Kathryn Bigelow seems like she's anxious a lot and, much like the torture controversy, misdirected. I found the end of The Hurt Locker disappointing, and as a father quite insulting. Zero Dark Thirty, was not so much a disappointment but rather a piece of military-propaganda garbage basking in the pretense of intentional award grabbing. And this red haired Jessica Blubbinstain, or whoever she is, nominated for an Academy Award? She can't even cuss.

I read somewhere there's 272 occasions of the word fuck in Resevoir Dogs. Any one of the Dogs' use of the word graces the audience's ears in a free flowing harmony. Now compared that to the few sprinkled in Zero Dark Thirty by this Jessica chick, and it seems apparent that she would speak more naturally were it merely a matter of strep throat.

The supposedly noteworthy string of bland, drawn out, and uninspired chucks of plot end on some contrived release of energy from Jessica. She hones in whatever childhood trauma she must, and sheds a tear after "expertly" identifying bin Laden's body

Facial recognition be damned. Jessica is the gal to go to during these important matters. "Clear a path soldiers," Jessica has arrived to confirm the conclusion to, as the film taglines, "The greatest manhunt in history."

I call bullshit.

Why has nobody been bringing up this Jason Clarke guy? He is the male lead, and one of the brothers in a good movie of 2012, Lawless. Clarke was phenomenal in Zero Dark Thirty (as well as Lawless.) Either way, I bet I would have been more moved by a sequel to Point Break.

Slop it up America, because Up Till Dawn Films will not.

2.6 Stars

Lawless ~ 4.2 Stars

Please note: We are perfectly aware that Jessica is also in Lawless. So what?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Watch (2012)

What do you mean you did not like The Watch? To be perfectly honest, I initially thought I would be disappointed by The Watch. However, I not only found The Watch to be enjoyable but also thought that it was one of the best Saturday-night-popcorn comedies of 2012.
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The script was hilarious, and as usual Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller, and Jonah Hill are the people who I continue to want to see in comedy films. Even the weird black guy was freaking phenomenal. I certainly do not expect it to appear on some fanboy-of-highly-dignified-taste's list of, "Best Films Ever," but he's most likely an asshole anyway.

The story was original, and it even properly utilizes a little red herring to earn more of my respect in the plot development department. The Watch had me calling my wife in from the other room to watch scenes that I could not stop laughing at. Although, she generally replied, "I do not see what's so funny" her taste level is quite questionable in the first place.

Furthermore, it turns out that the director Akiva Schaffer is also the director of Hot Rod, another ridiculous and underrated comedy that overly self-righteous critics generally scoff at. I highly recommend The Watch to all the Up Till Dawners out there. I assure you it deserves a much higher acclaim than Bullshit Tomatoes 17%.

3.5 Stars

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

When I first decided to start writing reviews, blurbs, or whatever you want to call them for the UTDF blog, I wanted to make a concerted effort to keep inflammatory comments to a minimum. Without getting too personal, some may say that the task would be quite a challenge for me. While I have certainly poked fun at and talked trash upon occasion, I feel that, generally speaking, I have done a pretty good job at keeping many of my urges at bay.

However, there comes a time that we all must regress in order to grow. I found The Hobbit  to be simply baffling. I am not even going to grace the flick with a star ranking. In all honesty, The Hobbit, in the manifestation Peter Jackson has decided upon, should not even exist. It may also be important to note that I'm a big fan of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

I purchased all of the extended editions as soon as they came out years ago, but I am perfectly content in saying The Hobbit will not make its way to my collection. Prior to seeing the film, I felt as though the, "How fast did a you fall asleep?" jokes were getting old. Yet, what else is there really to say? "The special effects were cool." Sure, but how could they not be? It seems as though it would be an even bigger insult to skimp on the effects considering the guy had ten hours+ of previously released cinema to ensure that any other million dollar checks that were issued to any Tolkien project would be, at very least, visually superb. Meanwhile, as far as visually superb goes, I would have rather paid ten dollars to go to the aquarium.

Hey Mr. Jackson!
* ...your lack of originality is showing.
* many times are you going to use the same Frodo and Bilbo scene.
* matter what you do all of these stories already have an author.
* ...The Frighteners was better.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Impossible (2012)

I am a huge fan of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. While the historical horror slasher has nothing to do with The Impossible, I feel that it is very important to point out the level of intensity I can normally stomach. About fifteen to twenty minutes into The Impossible, I found myself think that I no longer wanted to watch the film. 

The thought did not cross my mind because I thought the film was going to be bad, but rather it was almost too much for me to handle. It was simply too much, too real, too much of a setup for sadness. Additionally, upon initially learning about The Impossible I thought that it may simply be a film studio attempt at a cheap buck. However, as it tuns out, I ultimately found The Impossible to be an awe-inspiring and gut-wrenching tale based on actual events and people. I do not know if I have ever cried as much during any other film, ever. (Maybe I was just in a mood though.)

Naomi Watts made a brilliant performance. Although, I have yet to see all of the nominees performances if Watts does not win an Oscar I'm going to slap someone. Even the children stars were not overly annoying, and demonstrated true talent and tenacity. I am more than happy that I was able to man-up and get through till the end. The movie was certainly better than I expected, and is a must-see for any parents out there.

3.9 Stars.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012)

My, what a pleasant surprise Seeking a Friend for the End of the World turned out to be. I was looking forward to the release of the film, but it seemed as though it quickly came and faded into the night with a gentle whisper. It would appear that this turnstile type theater visit would be the fault of shabby marketing, or maybe I am simply alone in my applauding sentiment. However, I found the picture to be one of the most adorable and sweet love stories that I have seen in awhile. And I generally do not have a taste, or the patience and tolerance, for adorable and sweet.

While its proper category rests in the romantic-comedy slot,  much like 40-Year-Old Virgin, the cringe the genre generally arouses should not stifle the perception of the movie's level of quality. I originally thought that I would find the concept of Seeking a Friend more interesting that the film itself, yet I am shocked at how much I appreciate this type of storyline in action.

Furthermore, all of the performances were not over the top nor too dry, but rather just right and on point. Even Keira Knightley managed to pull off a believable and entertaining modern-day-British Winona Ryder quite nicely. The concept of the movie alone seemed as though my expectations would automatically be set too high. Whether or not they were, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World exceeded my expectations. Although, I would not call it a non-stop-laugh riot, it did not need to be, and I am pretty sure that was not the ultimate goal of the film's makers. Meanwhile, there were plenty of hilarious moments, and Seeking a Friend for the End of the World provides an uplifting tale of the human spirit even as the world ends.

3.3 Stars.