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See Million Dollar Arm !!!

May 15, 2014 Movie Reviews 3 Comments

I was approached a few months ago to screen Million Dollar Arm and my only problem was that I have not been able to talk about how much I enjoyed it up until now. With the release this Friday, let me echo the the sentiments of the good buzz you are probably starting to hear, Million Dollar Arm is the feel good hit of the summer. While the box office is crowded with mega blockbusters and hyper budgets, MDA comes at a time where people need a feel good story that is both original and entertaining, which is exactly what the films is.
Based on the true story of A sports agent who stages an unconventional recruitment strategy to get talented pitchers into the major leagues, the movie has an international feel about it embedded in the traditional Hollywood model. Jon Hamm is a pleasant surprise who carries the film with class and ease. The ‘Indian Pitching’ stars of the film played by Madhur Mittal and Suraj Sharma add to the heart warming story that develops in this ‘fish out of water scenario’.
However, the real catch of the film comes through with the performance of newbie Pitobosh who plays ‘Amit’ in the film. Though he is new to Hollywood, his character Amit (who acts as a liaison for the aspiring pitchers when coming to America) is one of the most charming characters I’ve seen in any sports film to date. Adding to the film is the AR Rahman musical touch bringing another strong element to the film and enhancing the potential for a film that will naturally be compared to Jerry Maguire and Slumdog Millionare, but I assure you that the film is not simply ‘like’ either of those. Instead, MDA is a movie that is touching, refreshing and positive in a way that the summer season needs at the box office.
Disney’s Million Dollar arm has to be my one of my favourite films of the year so far. I’ll admit that on paper I thought this film was going to be a hot mess of stereo types and clichches, but you will be pleasantly surprised.

Oh those Neighbors

Neighbors is the type of comedy that you’ve grown to expect from the talent that is featured in it. Seth Rogen has built a career out of playing the slightly awkward, somewhat endearing, average ‘Joe’ who manages to get himself into and out of a plethora of trouble.
The premise is simple and somewhat over explained in the trailers you have seen, new couple moves into a new neighbourhood and frat sets up shop next door to them. What happens next is a series of events that plays out like a bunch of scenes mashed together in hopes of finding cohesion.

What you will like : The comedy is fairly consistent and the laughs flow through the film with ease. The gags and situational comedy make way for some real laugh out loud moments and surprisingly both Zac Efron and Dave Franco have some great chemistry on set.

What you will struggle with : It’s never clear who we are really rooting for in the film. on one hand you want the College kids to simply have the ‘epic’ fun that they are attempting to have and on the other hand you just want the new couple to live in peace. The problem here is that you don’t have enough time to invest in either because the story doesn’t take enough time to develop into anything other than a ping pong game of who can out smart the other.

Finally : I admire what Seth has been able to do with his career and his interview on Howard Stern solidified to me that he is a lot smarter than the characters that he plays. I can’t figure out how no director has been able to convince him to shake his giggle which always gets in the way of differentiating his characters.

Who should see it : If you liked Pineapple Express or Superbad this fits in well with your sense of comedy.

Who should avoid it : It’s not really a date night movie more of a ‘lets get a bunch of people together and see it movie’ I will also warn new parents that you may cringe at some of the decisions the new couple make in the film – but hey it’s a movie right?

The Amazing Spider Man 2 – A Dad’s Review

The Amazing Spider Man 2 – Releases May 1st in North America

What you will like – There is quite a bit of non super hero story here, in fact it’s mostly a love story embedded in a super hero flick. The 3D is non intrusive but quite impressive. The action is steadily paced through a plot that is predictable yet interesting. You will also appreciate the breathing room between the onslaught of destruction that we’ve become numb to when watching this genre. Emma Stone is beautiful and useful in the plot and not just a side bar. It’s also a film that doesn’t take itself too seriously and has quite a few comedic moments. Andrew Garfield is a natural and has taken this character to another level and now officially owns it.

What you won’t like - There is a strong action sequence to start the film and an even stronger one to end the film but in between you may think that love is a little to prominent in the air. You may also struggle with the validity of Dane DeHann as the Green Goblin as they didn’t use him to his fullest evil potential. Paul Giamatti is under used (perhaps for another reason which I can’t give away here) and the sound track is so annoying that even Spider Man acknowledges it at one point in the film.
I hate to say it but Jamie Fox was mis -cast. He could have very easily been a stronger plot point in the film but I feel like his acting skills got lost in his larger than life character.

Parents – If your kid liked the first one there is a good chance he/she will like this one however I don’t think he/she think of the film as a step up, more of a continuation, which could be a good thing. Take a chance on the 3D if your child is 8 and up. Don’t make this the first super hero film that they see as it will be both confusing to follow and a little too ‘dramatic’ for them. The violence is on par with any other action/super hero flick and while it is lighter than the others it does have a few moments that will create conversations in the car ride home. The good news is your kids won’t need an ‘Avengers’ type primer to get into the flick.

Finally – I expect the film will open well, not sure if it will have the legs to out pace Captain America but it will definitely give it a run for it’s money. It will be interesting to see if it can last more than 1 week at numbers 1 considering the other big titles hitting screens in the next 2 weeks.

The LEGO MOVIE – The Dad’s Review

February 6, 2014 Movie Reviews 3 Comments

The Lego Movie is one of the most anticipated films for kids of all ages. The movie has been buzzed about for quite some time now and so the expectations are high. So, taking a well-seasoned 5 year old to the screening was the real test to see if the film lives up to the hype.
To start with, the movie is the type of movie where the jokes fly off the screen at a mile a minute. The gags are none stop and the action enhances the 3D experience to not just a thrilling level, but also a unique one. I say this because right now the 3D action that dominates the big screen has a lot of similarities amongst itself. I can tell you first hand that this time around you are in for an original treat.
While the voices of some of Hollywood’s elite bring an identifiable aspect to the film (Will Ferral, Morgan Freeman), they don’t necessarily MAKE the film. Instead, the complicated yet entertaining visuals are the real secret to the success of the film.
My five year old who is a passive Lego fan, was glued the entire time and while the a dozen of the jokes were pop culture references that went over his head; he was still glued with a grin on his face. His favourite lines were delivered by the daft Dark Knight, who manages to steal many of the scenes he is in.
There are a few moments that made me question how the film was going to wrap up, but nothing that took away from the all-around entertainer that was The Lego Movie.

Bottom Line –
See it with your family for a good time.
Don’t see it if all you are hoping for is a cheesy animated type film

BO Expectations – The movie should open number 1 this weekend, as Monuments Men looks like it may suffer from Luke warm reviews.

This Weeks NFD!

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