Film Review #2 “Despicable Me 3”

Directed by: Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda
Starring: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker
Distributed by Universal Pictures[2]
MPAA Rating: PG
Running time: 90 minutes

Mike G’s Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Illumination Entertainment really has a gold mine here with the “Despicable Me” franchise. It literally just prints its own money…but so far after three films and an even better spin-off, they are still great. Pixar’s movies cost near or above $200 million per film and don’t get me wrong they are good, at least they used to be, while Illumination knocks out films like this and “The Secret Lives of Pets” for just $80 million. These are quality films that are very entertaining, pack great voice casts and overall great movies. “Despicable Me 3” is a great addition to the series and is a step up from the second film.

Official Premise: The mischievous Minions hope that Gru will return to a life of crime after the new boss of the Anti-Villain League fires him. Instead, Gru decides to remain retired and travel to Freedonia to meet his long-lost twin brother for the first time. The reunited siblings soon find themselves in an uneasy alliance to take down the elusive Balthazar Bratt, a former 1980s child star who seeks revenge against the world.

Pharrell Williams steps up again and some great new songs for this film. I don’t think he replicated another “Happy” on this soundtrack but very fun music. In addition the film has a flood of 80’s theme of music that is very fun in this film ranging from a-ha to Madonna to Michael Jackson. Trey Parker, co-creator of “South Park” is a new addition to this cast and voices the role of villain Balthazar Bratt, a former child star who’s grown up to become obsessed with the character he played in the 80’s, Evil Bratt. Trey knocks it out of the park and steals the movie, no question. Also we get to meet Gru’s twin brother, Dru and he is another great addition to this sequel.

What I love most about this film is that it is has a nice balance. A nice balance of Gru, Lucy and the girls as well as the a fun backstory for Bratt and of course we get a good amount of those lovable Minions. If Illumination is reading, I am ready for a “Minions 2” BTW for sure next. Just love those guys (or whatever they are). I saw this with my five year old daughter and she simply had a blast. She was laughing throughout and even though some of the 80’s theme was obviously lost on her she enjoyed the balance of the characters and just had a great time watching this film. I really hope that Illumination continues down this trend and continues to deliver great animated films for the whole family!

Film Review “Cars 3”

Directed by: Brian Fee
Starring: Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Armie Hammer, Larry the Cable Guy, Nathan Fillion, Kerry Washington, Lea DeLaria, Cheech Marin, Michael Wallis, Paul Dooley
Distributed by: Walt Disney Studios
MPAA Rating: PG
Running time: 109 minutes

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

After the second disaster of a film, the “Cars” franchise should have come to an end. The thing is that the “Cars” brand brings in billions in merchandise alone, so Disney is stupid not to keep the brand in people’s heads. Personally, I have never been a fan of either of the two previous films. The first was good, don’t get me wrong but it’s not a favorite when I think of great Pixar films. “Cars 3”, luckily, was better than the second that’s for sure. The film has more heart like the first but unfortunately doesn’t deliver much till the end. Newcomer character, Cruz Ramierz definitely steals the show.

Official Premise: Blindsided by a new generation of blazing-fast racers, the legendary Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) is suddenly pushed out of the sport he loves. To get back in the game, he will need the help of an eager young race technician, Cruz Ramirez (voice of Cristela Alonzo), with her own plan to win, plus inspiration from the late Fabulous Hudson Hornet and a few unexpected turns. Proving that #95 isn’t through yet will test the heart of a champion on Piston Cup Racing’s biggest stage!

Before I saw this I was quick to say at least Mater looks like he is not even in this film but what’s funny after seeing it is his scenes I actually enjoyed and added the only real comedic relief. He still was only in the film for a very short time. I took my five year old to see this and honestly, she was bored out of her mind and gave it a big thumbs down. I liked it a little more because of the heart that the film tried to replicate from the first film. I appreciated that and I know others will as well.

Keeping in line with the previous films, Pixar didn’t disappoint. The visuals were impressive and the colors were beautiful, no question. The 3D, I felt was rather useless. I don’t recall being wowed by anything. Obviously, I doubt we have seen the end of this franchise. I did like the way it was ended in particular and could lead it down an interesting path, but overall I just left the theatre like my kid feeling kinda blah, didn’t hate it just didn’t really love it.

Film Review “The Mummy (2017)”

Directed by: Alex Kurtzman
Starring: Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis, Jake Johnson, Russell Crowe
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Rated: PG-13
Running time: 107 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

After seeing the first trailer to “The Mummy” starring Tom Cruise, I have to admit, I rolled my eyes a little and said “Oh boy” and I wasn’t sold on a female mummy plays by Sofia Boutella. So going into the movie, my expectations were kinda low but I was hoping to really dig it. Let me tell you from the moment this movie started I was HOOKED, till the moment it ended! I loved it. I thought that it was a perfect start to Universal’s new planned “Dark Universe”, which will feature all the classic monsters. I love the old monster films and they are just begging for an actually good big screen revival. “The Mummy” is a non-stop action packed, scary as hell must see Summer flick! Do not miss this film!

Official Premise: Nick Morton (Cruise) is a soldier of fortune who plunders ancient sites for timeless artifacts and sells them to the highest bidder. When Nick and his partner come under attack in the Middle East, the ensuing battle accidentally unearths Ahmanet (Boutella), a betrayed Egyptian princess who was entombed under the desert for thousands of years. With her powers constantly evolving, Morton must now stop the resurrected monster as she embarks on a furious rampage through the streets of London.

From the trailers, I wasn’t sure if this movie was going to be more action than horror but let me tell you it packed some great scares and was creepy as hell. I was honestly shocked cause it was freaking scary in parts…yet still packed some amazing action scenes. I am sure that till film will be compared to “The Mummy” film series with Brendan Fraser but it is completely different. That series was more like an Indiana Jones copy. This series feels much darker and surprisingly more fun as well.

Big surprises in the cast were Jake Johnson (known better as Nick Miller from TV’s “New Girl” and “Jurassic World”). He steals the show and gives the film a real ode to “An American Werewolf in London”, which I dug a lot! Great addition. Also Russell Crowe, yet again, surprised us all showing up as Dr. Henry Jekyll, which adds so much to the film and plans for future development. He nails the role perfectly and I can’t wait to see more of him in future films in this new “Dark Universe”.

I am sure “real critics” are going to tear this apart but if you are a true genre fan, this is a fantastic kick off to this new shared universe that Universal is creating and real fun/scary film to enjoy this Summer. It also delivered a great lead-in/back story that adds some great mythology to the film as well…and the best part about this film is that the trailer doesn’t give it all away like in other recent films this Summer (talking about you “Alien: Covenant”). So be sure to head to the theaters and have a blast with this one and let’s ensure that Universal has the opportunity to continue their “Dark Universe” but I am dying to see what they come up with next for “Bride of Frankenstein” in 2019.

Film Review “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales”

Directed by: Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg
Starring: Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario, Kevin McNally, Geoffrey Rush
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Release date: May 26, 2017
Running time: 129 minutes

Mike G’s Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Yo-ho, Yo-ho, a pirate’s life for me! Honestly, I expect very little from this latest (and claimed final…yeah, right!) adventure in the series. But “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” is a fun ride. I have been a fan of each of the films in this franchise. They are not perfect by any standards but they are entertaining for sure. Even though everyone loves Captain Jake Sparrow, my favorite part of these films have been the baddies…and in this film Captain Salazar steals the show. I would honestly recommend seeing this film just to watch Javier Bardem’s performance. He is an amazing bad guy. Everything from his flowing hair to his weezing as he speaks is just amazing! Even though claim as a the final adventures, this franchise still has steam left in it and I am on board for sure!

Official Premise: Thrust into an all-new adventure, a down-on-his-luck Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) feels the winds of ill-fortune blowing even more strongly when deadly ghost sailors led by his old nemesis, the evil Capt. Salazar (Javier Bardem), escape from the Devil’s Triangle. Jack’s only hope of survival lies in seeking out the legendary Trident of Poseidon, but to find it, he must forge an uneasy alliance with a brilliant and beautiful astronomer and a headstrong young man in the British navy.

I’ve read some reviews saying that “Dead Men Tell No Tales” tries to tell too much story and no character but I loved the back story that Salazar provides to the franchise and how it ties in with Jack Sparrow’s origin. The worst part of the film is no question the inclusion of Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley’s characters. There combined five seconds on screen is surely laughable and worth nothing. Johnny Depp seemed a little tired in the role and just rolling with the punches but people love Jack Sparrow and he delivers some great laughs. There is even a nice little cameo from The Beatles’ Paul McCartney as Sparrow’s Uncle.

The visual effects are solid in this fifth entry. The zombie sharks were a bit of a let down and wasn’t the spectacle that I was hoping for, visually cool but they really didn’t do much. Co-director’s Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg took the film in a good direction and I enjoyed their spin on this franchise. I am curious to see where this franchise goes next after this film (which is sure to make another billion dollars for Disney). I just hope that they don’t pick up with the same old Elizabeth Swann and Will Turner love story again, been there done that. This is definitely a solid kick off though for this Summer and makes this film the first popcorn flick to catch. So grab some snacks, sit down and enjoy the ride!

Film Review: Rammstein “Rammstein: Paris”

“Rammstein: Paris”
Rammstein
Spinefarm
Director: Jonas Akerlund
Runtime: 128 minutes

Our score: 4 out of 5 stars

German industrial metalers Rammstein are set to release a new concert film on May 19th titled “Rammstein: Paris”. Shot over the course of two nights at the Palais Omnisports arena in Paris in front of 17,000 by Swedish director Jonas Åkerlund the film features 22 songs from the band’s expansive repertoire. The end result is not only the most spectacular collection of imagery from one of Germanys most successful bands, but also a masterpiece of music cinema, capturing Rammstein’s energy as a unique visual and sonic experience.

Being no stranger to Rammstein’s concert films featuring the bands over the top theatrics I was very eager to check out the band’s latest release “Paris”. Needless to say I was not disappointed. From the bands over the top entrance which has them walking through the crowd in a stoic procession like fashion before being lifted up to the rafters by industrialized scaffolding to the closing number “Pussy” which features front man Til Lindemann mounting a phallic like device only to douse the crowd in a mystery substance as it moved across the front of the stage. No one does a live show quite like Rammstein and I am sure attempting to film a show this immense was no small feel however director Jonas Akerland and his crew nailed it making this one of the better live releases from the band.

Though I found some of the special effects used to be a bit too much causing portions of the film to be difficult to watch due to their frantic nature “Rammstein: Paris” is a film fans of concert DVD’s have to check out. Having seen a large amount of live films from all different genres I don’t think I have seen any other band take such a cinematic approach with their filming. Lots of different angles and top notch sound made up any short comings I may have found. With the variety of formats the concert is set to be released in you owe it to yourself to check one out.

Track Listing
1.) Intro
2.) Sonne
3.) WOLLT IHR DAS BETT IN FLAMMEN SEHEN
4.) Wollt Das Bett in Flamm
5.) Sehnsucht
6.) Asche Zu Asche
7.) Feuer Frei!
8.) Mutter
9.) Mein Teil
10.) Du Riechst So Gut
11.) Links 2 3 4
12.) Du Hast
13.) Haifisch
14.) Buck Dich
15.) Mann Gegen Mann
16.) Ohne Dich
17.) Mein Herz Brennt
18.) Amerika
19.) Ich Will
20.) Engel
21.) Pussy
22.) Fruhling in Paris

Super Bowl LI: The Perfect Sporting Film?

Source: NFL via Facebook

You just couldn’t script it, could you? Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots, one of the most successful franchises in the history of the National Football League, produced the greatest Super Bowl comeback of all-time to beat the Atlanta Falcons back in February.

Trailing 28-3 at half time, Tom Brady led the Patriots to a phenomenal victory that will live long in the memory of football fans across the globe. If you want to create a dramatic sporting film based on real events, look no further than this game – it will go down in the annals as one of the craziest matches in Super Bowl history.

If truth be told, nobody saw it coming and that is what made it even better. Heading into the famous half time show, the Patriots and the great Tom Brady were down by 25 points. Only a fool would have claimed that New England were going to win from such a bleak position…

But they did. In true Hollywood style, the Patriots offense rallied and started to close the gap. On the other side of the ball, defensive co-ordinator Matt Patricia made a handful of tweaks to the system and the Falcons just couldn’t cope with the added pressure. A movie would have to go down the route of a favourite bouncing back despite facing major odds rather than a true underdog story; the Patriots were well fancied going into the clash.

To be honest, you wouldn’t even need to focus primarily on the first half at all. While some may be looking for eye-witness accounts from New England players, a greater emphasis on the storyline might work better.

Source: New England Patriots via Facebook

Shooting a movie based on the comeback could be relatively straightforward; open up with the Patriots heading into the locker room with the scoreboard in sight and dive in there with a Belichick speech littered with inspirational quotes and passion. If you want to grab attention right from the beginning, an opening scene like that would certainly fit the bill.

Who knows, we could be set for another equally dramatic event in 2018. Next year’s Super Bowl will take place in Minnesota and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Bill Belichick and the Patriots, currently +600 in NFL betting odds with bet365, competing on the big stage once again.

As long as Belichick and Brady are at Gillette Stadium, New England will always be in contention and a film focusing on how both men have carried the Patriots’ dynasty in recent years would go down a treat with sports fans.

Last year’s Super Bowl was truly remarkable and New England supporters will never forget the comeback. Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons have been criticised for choking but that is completely unfair to the Patriots; they deserved to win based on that second half effort.

When we look back through the history of sporting films, underdog stories tend to dominate so it is about time that we celebrated an era of success; the New England Patriots deserve a movie on Super Bowl LI – let’s hope that a film maker out there agrees.

Film Review “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”

Directed by: James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan,
Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris Sullivan, Sean Gunn, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Release Date: May 5, 2017
Running time: 136 minutes

Mike G’s Score: 4 out of 5 stars

When I left the advance screening back in 2014 for Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy”, I said to my wife that this movie is the “Star Wars” for our new generation and it will be HUGE! Fast forward to 2017 and here we are with Vol.2 being released and looking back at how much the first film affected Hollywood. The magic of the first film has tried to be copied since and the only film to get close was “Deadpool”. It is hard for me to scream that “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is better than the first. I really really liked it but I also watch the first film almost weekly or at least monthly, so to say I’m a big fan is an understatement. I even got my 5 year old daughter into the first film (I know I’m a terrible dad, but she LOVES IT!). Vol.2 is easily one of the best films I have seen this year and an amazing follow-up to the first film. I have a feeling as I see it a few times more my love will only grow.

Personally, I am bored with “The Avengers” in general, i.e. Iron Man, Captain America and their movies. I am more into Marvel’s releases like “Guardians”, “Doctor Strange” and even the new “Thor” looks fantastic! These are great superhero movies and I can easily add Vol.2 to that list! The sequel not only is action packed entertaining movie but also packs some mega emotional character driven dramatic moments. I love those moments. This movie has so much heart, literally so much. The jokes are funnier. I swear everything that Drax says is pure gold. Baby Groot was cute and really wasn’t overused like I assumed he would be to steal the show.

Everyone was talking about Kurt Russell’s role of Ego and Peter Quill’s father..and he was everything I wanted and more! Russell is just tearing it up with this and the “Fast and Furious” franchise. He is on fire. The star of this film is no question, Michael Rooker. His role of Yondu was expanded greatly from the first film and really gets some amazing screen time (cue Cat Stevens’ song “Father and Son”). Even Sean Gunn (James’ brother) got an expanded role and delivered some really great scenes. I really enjoyed Kraglin in this film! Sylvester Stallone popped up for a bit, cool to see him but didn’t do much. He was mostly just setup for future films playing the important character aka Starhawk. And if you are a Toby fan like me from the TV series “This Is Us” keep an eye out for Taserface! Love him! The girl power in “Guardians” was very strong, which makes me happy due to having an eager to see this 5 year old. Karen Gillan got a chance to expand Nebula more in this sequel and she was just brilliant. Zoe Saldan and her got some nice screen time together. Pom Klementieff joined on playing a very important character named Mantis and easily stole our hearts…even though she is really ugly…(according to Drax).

The songs from the first “Guardians” really made the film so special and unique. The second film doesn’t disappoint in terms of great picks and don’t feel forced like when “Suicide Squad” tried to copy. ELO’s “Mr. Blue Sky” is a great track. Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain” has great placement in the film. Sam Cooke’s “Bring it on Home to Me” was a great and very sweet moment. George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” is one of my favorite songs ever. I mentioned above Cat Stevens’ song “Father and Son,m which was just a perfect choice for this film. James Gunn’s band along with David Hasselhoff, yes David Hasslehoff even have a fun song in the end credits. The score is beautiful again from Tyler Bates. I’ve been listening to it for about a week now before seeing the film and I had a really great appreciation for the music when I saw it. Honestly this is the first Marvel film that really interested me with their score.

The visual effects are just beautiful. Ego’s planet is breathtaking for sure. This is a film that needs to be seen in the theater. Preferable the biggest IMAX screen possible. Please do not see this film at little theater. 3D was good didn’t really jump out too much. I could have gone either way on that. This franchise has a BIG future ahead of it and as long as it has James Gunn’s vision leading it down this path I am on board and very excited to see what is coming next! Hopefully Gunn will actually give Nathan Fillion a decent role in next film that won’t be cut 😉 I am just happy that Vol.2 doesn’t disappoint and I believe that it is because they didn’t just try and copy the first film. They took what worked from the first film, expanded it perfectly and ended up with one of the year’s best film.

The Legend of The Holy Grail in Film

 

There are many legendary tales from years gone by, legends that have been handed down to generation after generation.

Some have managed to become a little convoluted over time as they ultimately change as society and culture changes around them, whereas other legends have caught the imagination and even helped inspire some memorable moments in film, television and even the world of gaming.

One such Arthurian legend revolves around the divine vessel known as the Holy Grail, and the apparently epic quest to uncover it.

Here’s a look at just some of the shows, movies, literature and games that have been inspired and spun off from this cup of eternal youth.

MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL (1975)

To kick things off we just have to make sure that this incredible comedic gem is where it belongs, right at the top. From the surreal minds of the world famous Monty Python team they were able to collectively draw from the Arthurian legend of the Holy Grail in their first feature film outing.

It was 90 minutes of absurdity and hilarity and in spite of its budgetary restrictions it still bought an incredible amount of historical accuracy and realism to the proceedings focusing on King Arthur (played by the late Graham Chapman) and his loyal knights as they embark on their legendary Grail quest.

 

INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE (1989)

In what should have been the final feature in an Indiana Jones trilogy, which was sadly followed up with an extremely unsatisfactory and almost ridiculous sequel involving aliens and crystal skulls, Indie’s final crusade involved plenty of action and adventure as he teamed up with his Holy Grail scholar father as they set out to track down the legendary cup before those pesky Nazis get their hands on it.

In the final moments of the movie Indiana must face a series of challenges in order to reach the cup only to face a vast selection of various cups, false Grails and an ageing knight sworn to protect the chamber.

He must choose the correct one in order for it to give healing powers, needed to help his injured father.

 

AVALON 2

In this follow up to the original popular slot game the fun and medieval theme flows around the quest for the grail. Avalon 2 is a 5-reel game that requires the player to help King Arthur retrieve the grail and return it to Avalon.

It includes a special Grail Bonus feature that includes an impressive line-up of 8 additional bonus games to enjoy. It’s triggered when 3 or more random Grail symbols appear anywhere on the reels and there’s plenty there to keep most gamers interested.

 

THE DA VINCI CODE (2003)

In Dan Brown’s bestselling mystery thriller novel ‘The Da Vinci Code’ it’s Professor Robert Langdon who races around on his hunt for the legendary Grail.

Along with police cryptographer, Sophie Neveu, the pair must solve a number of cyptic clues that will lead them to the hailed cup which is revealed to not actually be a cup at all, but a tomb containing the bones of Mary Magdalene.

Film Review: “John Wick: Chapter 2”

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Common and Laurence Fishburne
Directed By: Chad Stahleski
Rated: R
Running Time: 122 minutes
Summit Entertainment

Our Score: 4 out of 5 Stars

Did the first “John Wick” need a sequel? No. Does “John Wick: Chapter 2” need a sequel? Yes. I didn’t know I needed “Chapter 2” in my life, but I’m glad I got it and now I want more. “Chapter 2” is more of the same from the first installment and that’s not a bad thing. It’s a great thing.

Picking right up where the previous movie ended, John Wick (Reeves), also known as “The Boogeyman,” is finishing off the lingering threats and hitmen who did him wrong from the first installment. But instead of easing back into a low-key and somber retirement, with a new dog in tow, he’s greeted by an old acquaintance, Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio). D’Antonio recruits Wick to help him take over a seat of power in the criminal underworld. Wick isn’t so sure, but Santino uses an old blood oath and three missiles to Wick’s home to sway him.

All the potential consequences and paths of this blood oath, as pointed out to Wick multiple times throughout, are Wick’s death. Luckily for Wick, and the audience, he’s the one who spends entire runtime dishing out death. Before the story even contemplates getting too muddled in specifics and new characters, “Chapter 2” takes a deep breath and once again stops itself from becoming too literal. Just like the original, character introductions are more about the person’s individual quirks, skills and ticks, than their actual name or purpose. And “Chapter 2” keeps the video games tropes around as everything is still paid through magical golden tokens and Wick’s gun is stuck on auto-aim.

This helps keep everything flowing as this sequel is about 30 minutes longer, but rarely dull. While “John Wick” was more about the man behind the blood hungry myth, the sequel appears to be more about Wick diving deeper into the world around him, including the Continental, the criminal safe haven, hangout and safe zone from the first film. The Continental is still shrouded in mystery, but the little depth that is revealed implies it’s a lot more than just a U.N. for gangbangers. It may be the actual cogs of society and government.

What made the original so good is that it never bogged itself down in realism despite the backdrop being New York City. Instead it collects visual actualities to prop up this notion that this alternative reality is percolating beneath the surface. “Chapter 2” expands this alternate reality by dropping visual indications on how all these backstabbing swindlers and emotionless assassins have managed to govern themselves. Murder is their business and they’re serious about it. The rules in this violent fantasy world are simple, habitual, rehashed for clarity, and never biased towards any of the heroes and villain.

“Chapter 2” also further establishes previous canon while building on fresh canon without having any of the new nuances become superficial. The violence is a lot more over-the-top, but played straight-faced for laughs. The killings are more gruesome, but never repugnant. Like much of the visually stunning set-pieces, like a room of rotating mirrors bathed in laser light, the violence is aesthetically pleasing. That’s because it’s visually relayed that Wick doesn’t love or sink his teeth into this line of work anymore, but does it as a necessity for survival.

The same crew from the first is back for more, providing an enjoyable and realistic continuation of a seemingly one-off story about a retired assassin out for revenge. He’s no longer out for revenge, but struggling with the underworld that wants him to be addicted to the rush and thrill of being a hired gun. Wick’s world is noir, retro, and techno all in one cohesive ball. The John Wick franchise is not only a great addition to the action-film catalogue, but a much needed renaissance for the CGI-heavy genre.

Film Review: “Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends)”

“Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends)”
HBO Films
Director: Colin Hanks
Runtime: 83 min

Our score: 4 out of 5 stars

“Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends)” follows the American rock band Eagles of Death Metal as they recount their experience before, during and after the tragic terrorist attack at their concert in Paris on November 13th 2015. Directed by Colin Hanks the film spotlights the deep bond of friendship between co-founders Jesse Hughes and Josh Homme as well as the connection the band has with their fans. This relationship along with the groups feeling of responsibility to help Bataclan survivors deal with the physical and emotional wounds is the premise for “Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends)” and what brings the band back to Paris just 3 weeks after those attacks.

Sadness, anger, hope and happiness are just some of the emotions you will be exposed to by watching HBO Films latest documentary “Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends)”. The entire world was impacted by the terrorist attacks on November 13th 2015 none more so than those who survived it, the families of those who did not and the band who was playing on stage at the time of the attacks. Director Colin Hanks is direct in his approach as he does a great job capturing the emotions of the band and fans through candid interviews as they prepare to return to Paris just 3 short weeks after the attacks with hopes of unity and to provide some level of comfort to those still struggling with the lingering effects of the attacks.

More than just your typical behind the scenes rock doc “Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends)” delves deep in to not only the bands love of their fans but also the extremely strong bond between front man Jesse Hughes and drummer Josh Homme. Friendships this strong are a rarity and throughout the course of the films 83 minutes you can clearly see how this life long bond is transferred to crowds around the world. Even in the darkest of moments this relationship seems to serve as the foundation for the bands strength in moving forward. If you watch one documentary this year it should be this one.

“Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends)” premiers

Monday, February 13th @ 10pm on HBO.

Film Review: “20th Century Women”

Starring: Annette Bening, Elle Fanning and Greta Gerwig
Directed by: Mike Mills
Rated: R
Running time: 1 hr 59 mins
A24

Our Score: 3 out of 5 Stars

In 2010, writer/director Mike Mills penned a film loosely based on his father called “Beginners,” with Christopher Plummer taking home an Oscar for his work. This week Mills has turned his pen towards his mother, with Annette Bening shining through in a performance that could end up the same way as Plummer’s did with Oscar gold.

Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann) is a 15-year old boy being raised by a less then orthodox mother. We learn from Jamie that his mom Dorothea (Bening) wanted to be a pilot but instead now holds a high position with a major company. Dorothea is 55 and divorced. She doesn’t date much and, when she does, it doesn’t last long. Her world is Jamie. Or so she thinks. Her world also consists of Abbie (Gerwig), a boarder dealing with the possibility of having cervix cancer, William (Billy Crudup), a former hippie with a knack for fixing cars and pottery bowls, and Julie (Fanning), a neighborhood girl that Jamie is helplessly in love with. As their stories intertwine, it’s hard to see who the mature member of the “family” is and who the child is.

Set in 1979, the film makes great use with its pop culture references. Musical acts like the Raincoats and Black Flag dot the soundtrack while references to President Ford falling down the stairs of Air Force One or President Carter addressing the nation and it’s “crisis of confidence” – now referred to as “the Malaise Speech” – help set the tone of the on-screen action. As someone who remembers these events, and the “groovy” clothes from the period, it triggered some fond memories of my youth.

The film does have some problems with its pacing, but the energy jumps up when any of the three female leads are on screen. Fanning and Gerwig are both solid, especially since neither one of them were born in the time the film takes place. But it is Bening, one of our most overlooked talents, who shines here. She mines her emotional depths as she tries to find ways to connect with her son while still trying to maintain a lifestyle she has reluctantly become accustomed to. It is one of her finest performances and one I sincerely hope the Academy recognizes this year.

Kansas City Film Critics Name “Manchester by the Sea” the Best Film of 2016 During Presentation of 51st Annual James Loutzenhiser Awards

Manchester by the Sea was chosen as the Best Film of 2016 by the Kansas City Film Critics Circle, the second oldest critics group in the country. MediaMikes film critics Michael Smith and Jeremy Werner are members of the group. Smith also serves as the groups secretary and is a member of the governing board. The film was also recognized with the Robert Altman Award for Direction and the film’s star, Casey Affleck, was chosen as the year’s Best Actor. The winners were announced today during a ceremony for the 51st Annual James Loutzenhiser Awards at the Alamo Drafthouse Mainstreet Theatre in Kansas City.

Manchester by the Sea led all films with three wins, while Arrival, Hell or High Water and Moonlight each received two awards. Natalie Portman was named Best Actress for her portrayal of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in Jackie while Jeff Bridges was awarded Best Supporting Actor for his work as a grizzled Texas Ranger in Hell or High Water. For the 13th time at least one category resulted in a tie when Viola Davis (Fences) and Naomie Harris (Moonlight) tied in the Best Supporting Actress category. Zootopia was named the year’s Best Animated Feature.

This year the group also awarded the inaugural Tom Poe Award for Best LGBT Film. A beloved associate professor of film and media arts in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Poe, who passed away in November at the age of 70, was a long-time member of the Critics Circle. His reviews were inevitably astute and well-informed yet just as naturally considered and kind, in keeping with his sympathies for both filmmaker and audience. It was Poe’s belief that “great film reviews give rise to thinking about films.” As such, he supported many members of KCFCC through encouragement and dialogue. Tom Poe was our colleague and friend, and it is our intention that this annual award honor his legacy as an advocate for LGBT rights and promote his desire for justice by way of accurate and beneficial representation. The inaugural recipient is Moonlight.

The full list of winners is below:

BEST FILM

Manchester by the Sea

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD FOR BEST DIRECTOR

Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea

BEST ACTOR

Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea

BEST ACTRESS

Natalie Portman – Jackie

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Viola Davis – Fences and Naomie Harris – Moonlight

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Taylor Sheridan – Hell or High Water

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Eric Heisserer – Arrival

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

The Handmaiden – South Korea

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

OJ: Made in America

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

Zootopia

VINCE KOEHLER AWARD FOR BEST SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY or HORROR FILM

Arrival

TOM POE AWARD FOR BEST LGBT FILM

Moonlight

Film Review “Oasis: Supersonic”

Directed By: Mat Whitecross
Rating:R
Genre: Documentary
In Theaters:Oct 25, 2016
Runtime: 122 minutes
Studio: Mint Pictures

Our Score: 2 out of 5 stars

Oasis is a band torn apart by fame, drugs and family disputes. As soon as the band got famous, they also were falling apart. Flashback to 1994, I picked up a cassette of Oasis’ debut album “Definitely Maybe” and I was an instant fan but that love affair did not last long. Following the band’s 1995 follow up “(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?”, which superseeded the first but also lead to the band’s decline. I don’t recall really latching on to their third studio album, “Be Here Now” and their future albums as well.

“Oasis: Supersonic” is a new documentary from team behind the Academy Award-winning biopic “Amy”. The film tell sthe story of the band from the beginning to the peak of their career, conflicts between the brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher and almost immediate decline from the top. Overall, I wouldn’t call them my favorite band but I was curious to learn a bit more of their downfall but the film honestly was a bore. Running over two hours, I felt like it could have been summed up in a one hour MTV special, if MTV covered music anymore.

I do have to commend the film though and the reason I kept watching was due to the very up close and personal footage that was included. This wasn’t a documentary filled with interviews from people around the band or unrelated people but with the band themselves. If you are looking for some never before seen archive material and interviews with the band, then this film does deliver in that sense. I just got bored very quickly and just wanted to revisit their few hit songs and move on.

Playing Film Themed Bingo and Slot Games Online

You can always find something to do as long as you have some form of mobile device or computer that will allow you to get online, and one thing that we are aware many people do get involved in, apart of course from watching films and TV shows is gamble online.

Therefore, will be a very good chance that you will enjoy gambling online yourself, or you may be thinking of doing so if you have never experienced doing it before, and if that is the case then we would encourage you to take a look at the guides related to bingo and slots bonuses as you may never look back when you do!

Whilst you could sign up to a casino site or download a casino app, one of the best type of gambling sites you can sign up to is an online or mobile bingo site. For when doing so you will get access to just as many casino games as you would at a casino site but will also have a plethora of bingo games and side games you can also play too.

Claiming bonuses will always give you plenty of additional playing credits and winning opportunities, and below is an overview of the types of bingo and slot machine bonuses you will be far better off claiming!

Deposit Match Bonuses – As the value of your deposit that is going to be matched by the casino when you claim a deposit match type of bonus these do tend to be the most frequently utilized bonuses by players.

However, it will be the bonuses on which at the very least 100% of your deposit amount will be matched by the casino with bonus credits that are going to be offering you the very best value, so be on the lookout for those higher valued bonuses!

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Jack and the Beanstalk Film and Namesake Slot Machine

If you have ever had to keep the kids amused, there is a very good chance that one film you have sat them down to watch is Jack and the Beanstalk. In fact, over the years there have been many remakes of that original film, many of which are actually suitable for both children and adults!

As is always the case when a film, book or even cartoon has proven to be popular with viewers, a company involved in the design and supply of slot machines will license that film and designed and then launch a slot game which boasts that theme.

Therefore it will not surprise you to learn that there is in fact quite a number of sites that have Jack and the beanstalk slot, and as such if you do every fancy trying your chances playing a slot machine with a fin theme and one that is bound to give you something of a fun fill and rollercoaster type of slot playing session so do consider playing that slot online.

Below we have highlighted several of the built in features of that slot game which we think you will enjoy, and as you are always more than welcome to play the Jack and the Beanstalk slot game for free or for real money you can always test it out at no risk as see if you like playing it!

Animated Graphics – Watching any slot game you are playing suddenly springing to life thanks to some high definition graphics and animations is always going to add another level of fun to your slot playing sessions.

That is what you will find on offer on this slot game, so one tip for playing it will be to play it with a large a screen size setting on your computer as you can do, for you will then get totally enveloped in playing it online when you do so.

Multiple Staking Opportunities – There will be plenty of different staking options you can pick and choose from when playing this slot, so even if you are a very low stake slot machine player you will still get plenty of fun when playing it and play it in such a way you will not spend much money doing so!

Huge Jackpot on Offer – The jackpot on offer on this slot is certainly going to be worth playing it with the aim of winning, however keep in mind that some of the best and highest valued winning payouts can also be achieved when you have triggered its bonus features.

Bonus Features Can Be Triggered – The way in which the most fun to play slot games have been designed is in such a way that a bonus game can be awarded to you when playing off a base game spin. That is something you will find on offer when playing this slot and that bonus game could turn out to be a frequently triggered one too!

 

 

 

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