Movie Review: All is Lost (2013)

Lionsgate Entertainment
Director: J.C. Chandor
Runtime: 1 hour, 46 minutes
Rated: PG-13 (for brief language)
Writers: J.C. Chandor
Starring: Robert Redford
Action | Adventure | Drama
In the entire film, there are only a few strands of dialog, most of them abruptly short. The rest is a silently slow drama with one man lost at sea (Robert Redford). It all takes place 1,700 nautical miles from the Sumatra Straights.

After a collision with a cargo container at sea, our man finds himself staring mortality in the face. And not even knowing his name, the bigger questions that go unanswered only make us wonder all the more what preceded the movie’s events…

“13th of July, 4:50 pm. I’m sorry...I know that means little at this point, but I am. I tried, I think you would all agree that I tried. To be true, to be strong, to be kind, to love, to be right. But I wasn’t. And I know you knew this. In each of your ways. And I am sorry. All is lost here...except for soul and body...that is, what’s left of them...and a half-day’s ration. It’s inexcusable really, I know that now. How it could have taken this long to admit that I’m not sure...but it did. I fought ‘til the end, I’m not sure what this is worth, but know that I did. I have always hoped for more for you all...I will miss you. I’m sorry.” 

DVD Review: In Heaven There is No Beer (2012)

No-Money Enterprises
Runtime: 1 hour, 29 minutes
Rated: No MPAA rating
Director: Dave Palamaro
Writer: Dave Palamaro
Starring: Carla Betz, Cooper Gillespie,
Bang Sugar Bang, King Cheetah
Documentary | Biography | Music
In Heaven There is No Beer is the story of the Los Angeles “Kiss or Kill” music scene (2002-2007). Fed up with the posh elitism in an industry filled with commercialist greed and conniving self-interest, a group and their devotees set out to carve their own niche in the music world.

Sickened by the Sunset Strip’s elitist “pay-for-play” policies and the over-the-top trendiness of the Silverlake scene, up-and-coming bands and their fans decided to break all the rules by falling back on the appeal of original music, cheap booze, ridiculously low cover charges, and a homegrown sense of welcomeness and community. And it worked.

Kiss or Kill peaked out with over 60 bands and more than a thousand dedicated fans behind them. From there, we watch as the growth of the movement lends itself back to becoming a threat to what it originally stood for.

Unless you follow the indie music scene, you’ve probably never heard of any of the bands featured here (some of the featured bands include King Cheetah, The Dollyrots, Bang Sugar Bang, The OAOTs, and The Letter Openers). But watch and you’ll hear their story and be able to relate to the struggle that threatens all newbies who get caught up in the growth cycle of success, only to finally become what they hate most.

DVD Review: Antisocial (2013-14)

Breaking Glass Pictures
Runtime: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Rated: No MPAA rating
Director: Cody Calahan
Writers: Chad Archibald, Cody Calahan
Starring: Michelle Mylett, Cody Ray Thompson, Adam Christie
Horror | Sci-fi | Thriller

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS ONE SPOILER (7th Paragraph and following).

Antisocial is about the New Years party you really don’t want to attend. Five university friends (Michelle Mylett, Cody Ray Thompson, Adam Christie, Ana Alic, and Romaine Waite) gather at a house party to ring in the New Year. Initially escaping them: a snowballing epidemic erupting outside, the effects of which are becoming global within a stupidly short time.

Independent Film Review: Only in L.A. (2013)

Chronicles Film
Runtime: 1 hour, 24 minutes
Rated: No MPAA rating
Directors: Jus Riddick, Robert Filios
Writers: Jus Riddick, Matthew Chester
Starring: Jus Riddick, Haley Strode, Kaylon Hunt
Comedy | Crime | Drama | Romance | Thriller
The title, Only in L.A., makes the movie sound like it is going to be a promotional documentary about the city of Los Angeles. It is not. Some might say it should have been. What it does promote is...hope? Residing good buried beneath the skin of humanity? Ok. We’ll take it.

From the IMDb description: “Set in and around Los Angeles, we follow a series of vignettes that capture a unique moment of love, hate, clarity, confusion, triumph, and failure among our characters’ relationships with one another and with the city itself.”

Ask around and you’ll find that this is as good a description as any of what is accomplished in Jus Riddick’s and Rob Filios’ film, which is divided into six segments: “Hollywood”, “Silverlake”, “3rd and Fairfax”, “West Hollywood”, “San Fernando Valley”, and “Studio City.” And therein lies the initial hurdle in presenting the film’s vision: it is hard to elaborate further since the movie is spliced together with unrelated stories that don’t involve each other with the exception of their being in the geographical location of California. Those who worship the liberals-to-liposuction L.A. scene may more easily look past this, but when we don’t see other intertwining themes or plot connections, it stands out.

Movie Review: RoboCop (2014)

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer - Columbia Pictures
Runtime: 1 hour, 48 minutes
Rated: PG-13 (for intense sequences of action,
including frenetic gun violence throughout, brief
strong language, sensuality, and some drug material)
Director: Jose Padilha
Writers: Joshua Zetumer, Edward Neumeier
Starring: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton
Action | Crime | Sci-fi | Thriller

It was 1987 when Paul Verhoeven brought us the first RoboCop. Later came two unsuccessful sequels, but we won’t acknowledge those except to say that RoboCop was a really cool idea for its time.

Movie Review: The Lego Movie (2014)

Warner Brothers Pictures
Runtime: 1 hour, 41 minutes
Rated: PG (for mild action and rude humor)
Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Writers: Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman
Starring: Will Ferrell, Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Charlie Day,
Morgan Freeman, Will Arnett
Action | Adventure | Comedy | Family

In The Lego Movie, an ordinary Lego piece, “Emmet” (Chris Pratt, voice) is leading an ordinary life in Legoland, following the rules and going about his construction job just like every other day—until he stumbles onto a secret plot by “President Business” (Will Ferrell, voice). The wicked, evil plot: to superglue all of the pieces in Lego universe together, thus squelching creativity and silencing any resistance to his soon-to-be-made-known sinister plans.

Movie Review: The Nut Job (2014)

ToonBox Entertainment
Runtime: 1 hour, 25 minutes
Rated: PG (for mild action and rude humor)
Director: Peter Lepeniotis
Writers: Lorne Cameron, Peter Lepeniotis
Starring: Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser, Liam Neeson
Animation | Adventure | Comedy
Other than giving us flatulence-prone excursions and a punishing number of puns on words like “nut,” (“nutty,” etc.), we get very little that really stands to be counted in the The Nut Job, the latest animated work by ToonBox Entertainment.

“Surly” (Will Arnett, voice) has let down his fellow animals in the park one too many times. After a nut extraction effort goes horribly wrong, resulting in the loss of the animals’ winter food supply, he is ejected from the community by a unanimous vote. Moving on with only his selfishness in tact, he must use his resourcefulness and a little luck to locate a new supply of nuts and a new home. His journey will put him in touch with a pooch named “Precious” (Maya Rudolph, voice), some mean street rats, and bank robbers.

Movie Review: I, Frankenstein (2014)

Lionsgate Entertainment
Runtime: 1 hour, 32 minutes
Rated: PG-13 (for sequences of intense fantasy
action and violence throughout)
Director: Stuart Beattie
Writers: Stuart Beattie, Kevin Grevioux
Starring: Aaron Eckhart, Bill Nighy, Mirando Otto,
Yvonne Strahovski
Action | Fantasy | Sci-fi
Dr. Victor Frankenstein builds a creature from the remains of the deceased. The creature is unable to handle the primal or emotional drives of human beings. The doctor’s wife is killed. After succumbing to the cold in an attempt to bury her, a now alone creature goes about to bury his creator when he is attacked by demons. After killing one of them, the creature – named “Adam” (Aaron Eckhart) – is intercepted by gargoyles and finds himself in the middle of an age-old war between two immortal forces battling for control of the world.

Being left alone as the only of his kind in a changing, fast-paced world, we come to see him interact some 200 years from the opening time period wherein he is still being pursued by the prince of dark forces who initially sought him, “Naberius” (Bill Nighy). When he encounters a scientist who helps him understand himself, “Terra” (Yvonne Strahovski), he is made ready to carve out his own destiny.

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