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Articles Written By JimHeskett

 

Video Vault: Captain America 2

February 1st, 2015

Given that marvel movies are about guys in costumes fighting crime, it’s incredible how realistic and believable the stories are. But not only that, you have to add in Marvel’s ability to cross pollinate so many different characters stories. And they always balance out the action with a good amount of character-building dialogue. We come to love these characters and genuinely care about what they go through. Too many action movies don’t spend enough time making us interested in what happens to the people, and instead get lost in explosions and dudes punching other dudes. Read... Read More

Video Vault: The Double

January 25th, 2015

“You’re in my place,” says a man to Simon James (Jesse Eisenberg) on the train. There are plenty of other places to sit, but the nondescript man wants Simon’s seat. Simon, being the meek man he is, gives up the seat. So opens The Double, based on the novel by Dostoyevsky. It’s a drab, mustard-colored look at identity. The setting is some kind of surrealist 1970s industrial steampunk land, and the entirety of the movie takes place in an office building, an apartment complex, and a diner. Claustrophobia galore. Read More  Read More

Movie Review: American Sniper

January 18th, 2015

In Clint Eastwood’s new video game, Call of Duty: American Sniper, Bradley Cooper affects a convincing Texas accent to portray Chris Kyle, the deadliest sniper in US military history. The film follows Kyle through four tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, one marriage and two kids. Cooper’s been receiving a ton of praise for his performance, and I can promise that he does deliver the goods. While it’s not the best performance of the year (that would be Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler, and boo to the Academy for snubbing him), he did make me misty-eyed once or twice. Read More  Read More

Video Vault: Ender’s Game Missed The Point

January 11th, 2015

As a Movie, Ender’s Game Missed The Point This last weekend, the wife and I watched the movie adaptation of the beloved book by Orson Scott Card, the author who seems to have developed a habit of espousing some not-so-popular opinions over the last few years. As a pure movie (ignoring the existence of the book), it was pretty good. The special effects were great, Asa Butterfield was convincing as conflicted, complicated young hero Ender, Harrison Ford was chilling as the manipulative leader Graff, Ben Kingsley was effective as the weird guy with a crazy accent and crap tattooed all over... Read More

Review: The Imitation Game

January 4th, 2015

Maths! Benedict Cumberbatch finally gets his chance to star in a prestige biopic, in the 2014 update of A Beautiful Mind a totally new movie based on the life and times of Alan Turing, the British mathematician who helped end the war and invent the machines that became computers. Read More  Read More

Movie Review: Wild

December 28th, 2014

It’s rare to say that a movie is better than a book. And usually, if you do, the literati will leave a nasty note on your door. But Wild the book–the memoir by Cheryl Strayed–was a story filled with more sulking than hiking. I gave up halfway through. I didn’t find the protagonist likable or compelling in any way. Read More  Read More

Review: The Hobbit – Five Armies Battling in 3D

December 21st, 2014

Just as J.R.R.R. Tolkien intended, the third film based on his 250-page children’s book just came out in theaters, drawing the prequel to the Lord of the Rings to a close. Recently, I railed against Hunger Games for this same tactic of stretching a single book across multiple movies. In that movie, it didn’t work. But Peter Jackson makes it work, because he uses a wide range of other obscure Tolkien material to flesh out the story. Read More  Read More

Review: Exodus Gods and Kings: Fire and Brimstone

December 14th, 2014

Even though these movies came out before I was born, I have fond memories of watching biblical epics like Ben-Hur and The Ten Commandments as a little kid. Charlton Heston and his big white beard daring Ramses to pry the staff of God from his cold, dead hands. Such spectacle! Such plagues! Since Noah last year, the biblical epic is making a bit of a comeback. But times have changed. In the 1950s, it probably seemed perfectly fine to have caucasian Charlton Heston playing the Hebrew Moses. Today, with Batman himself in that same role, it just doesn’t cut it. Read More  Read More

St. Vincent is an endless string of clichés

December 7th, 2014

Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy star in St. Vincent, which walks like a movie and talks like a movie, but it’s not actually a movie. What it is, instead, is an endless string of cinematic clichés that simulate a movie-going experience, sort of like Oculus Rift or that Al Pacino movie a few years back about the virtual woman. Simone, I think it was called? I’m not going to look it up. Never mind, that’s not important. Anyway, instead of going over the premise of St. Vincent, I thought I’d just list all of the clichés I found, which should give you a pretty good idea of... Read More

Video Vault: Cuaron’s Gravity Will Melt Your Eyeballs

November 30th, 2014

When Sandra Bullock won the Oscar for the The Blind Side, everyone just shrugged and said, “meh, it was a thin year”. So the idea that Sandra Bullock is a talented actress has gotten way out of hand. Her performance in this movie wasn’t enough to ruin it, but it could have been better. Not as good as one of your Chastains, Lawrences, Hathaways (see: Interstellar and Mockingjay), etc. But decent enough. Gravity is a visually stunning movie. For reals. If you’ve got a big fat 4K LCD with 37.1 Surround sound, you’re in for a treat. It will possibly melt your eyeballs,... Read More

Review: Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1

November 23rd, 2014

When the producers of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows announced they would split the final chapter of Harry’s saga into two movies, we all knew it was a blatant attempt to wring a little more money out of the franchise. For the most part, the last two Harry Potter movies worked… the book provided enough material to sustain the conflict over that much screen time. Suzanne Collins’ Mockingjay, though, didn’t. And part 1 of the final chapter of the Hunger Games trilogy suffers for it. Read More  Read More

Movie Review: Birdman is weird and wonderful

November 16th, 2014

Birdman is a rare beast. The new film by Alejandro González Iñárritu skirts the line between fantasy and reality with just the right touch of mysticism and grit. This might push Nightcrawler out of the way as the best movie of 2014. Iñárritu, director of such movies as 21 Grams and Biutiful, knows how to find the right balance between farcical comedy and heartfelt drama without resorting to emotional vomit. Whereas in The Judge, the tonal shifts felt forced, everything in Birdman works. It’s unpredictable, fun, touching, sometimes shocking. Read More  Read More

Movie Review: Interstellar

November 9th, 2014

The new film by Christopher Nolan, director of Inception and the Batman movies (no, not the Michael Keaton movies, if that’s what you were hoping) has just released his new film, Interstellar. I’ve been waiting for this movie for months, gobbling up trailers, anticipating, hoping it would be everything I wanted it to be. I wasn’t disappointed, but I wasn’t blown away, either. Read More  Read More

Movie Review: Nightcrawler is Tense

November 2nd, 2014

No, not the comic book character. Nightcrawler is a film starring Jake Gyllenhaal (and thank you, spellcheck, for the assist on that one. I would never get that right on my own) about the ambitious Louis Bloom, who stumbles into working as a freelance videographer. He then sells his footage to a news organization, and he’s determined to work his way up from nothing to a position of importance. This is a movie wrought with tension and anxiety. It’s stressful to watch, which is ironic, since it’s mostly about people filming stuff. But all of that tension and anxiety serve to make... Read More

Video Vault: Edge of Tomorrow Is Better Than Expected

October 26th, 2014

On principle, I’m against Tom Cruise. The couch-jumping, Xenu-praising freak gets way too much attention as is. But sort of like Kanye West, Tom Cruise offstage and Tom Cruise offstage are different beasts. I thought this was going to be a dumb action movie, but the pre-release reviews were glowing. So I gave it a try. Read More  Read More

Movie Review: Kill The Messenger

October 19th, 2014

When I was a little kid and saw The Karate Kid for the first time (obviously, the Ralph Macchio version, not the Jaden Smith version), the movie immediately made me want to learn karate. same with Top Gun. After that, I wanted to fly airplanes, wear Aviator sunglasses, and have a cool nickname like Ace or Torpedo or something. I had thought maybe Kill The Messenger might do the same thing for being a journalist. But not so much. This is a good movie, but it’s not exactly feel-good pro-journalism material. If you know the true tale of Gary Webb, you know things don’t end well for our... Read More

Movie Review: The Judge is Uneven, but Powerful

October 12th, 2014

Robert Downey Junior has to be one of the most charismatic and likable actors working in Hollywood. That’s why, in The Judge, it’s easy not to despise his character, Hank Palmer. Give this same role to a unknown actor, and no way would we root for this guy to come out on top. Hank Palmer is a flashy, conceited Chicago lawyer who acts like he’s got it all figured out, but his marriage is falling apart. When his mother dies and he returns home for her funeral, his father (Robert Duvall) is arrested for murder. Hank feels he has no choice but to stay in Indiana to represent his... Read More

Movie Review: Gone Girl is a Head Scratcher

October 5th, 2014

First of all, let me say how hard it will be to review this movie without spoilers, since it’s a plot-twist-apalooza spoiler minefield. But here we go: Nick and Amy Dunne live in suburban Missouri, a couple settled in to mid-marriage unhappiness. Their lives haven’t turned out the way they predicted, but things are about to flip upside down when Nick comes home to a ransacked house, and the police investigation into Amy’s disappearance begins. I can’t say more without spoiling too much, so I’ll cut the synopsis there. Read More  Read More

Movie Review: The Skeleton Twins

September 28th, 2014

The Skeleton Twins is an iceberg. Hold on, lemme explain. A good movie doesn’t throw buckets of information at you right away, drowning you in exposition. A good movie inserts just the right amount of mystery, which creates tension, which leaves you intrigued. You watch intently because you need to have your questions answered. The Skeleton Twins does just that. It plays like snippets of a much larger story, with a rich history that we’re only meant to guess at as the movie unfolds. Little bits of info surface at key moments, but the majority remains left unsaid. That brand... Read More

Movie Review: The Maze Runner

September 21st, 2014

The Maze Runner: Teenagers in Trouble This weekend, I had a choice between Maze Runner and A Walk Among The Tombstones, a gritty thriller in which Liam Neeson reprises his role from Taken plays a new, totally non-Taken character. I chose the Maze Runner, and this is my story. My favorite part of the evening may have been the trailer for Interstellar, the Christopher Nolan/Matthew McConaughey Oscar-bait film coming out later this year. Man, that looks exciting. I can’t wait to hear the time-is-a-flat-circle-in-space monologue. Read More  Read More