A Must See Movie of 2014 – The Monuments Men

Monuments-Men

Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group

It’s been a long time since any of us have posted something on the EftRoU website, so I thought I would try to make up for this with three different posts. See the added links at the end of this post.

Also I wanted to let you all know I am in the process of working with the rest of the crew to see if we can start producing the podcast again. If you would like to see us bring that back just leave a comment or two below. Or you can send me a tweet @aka_q.

Now for my first of three reviews within 30 minutes…

Ever since I saw the first trail for “The Monuments Men” I was hooked. I know it is based on a true story from WWII, but that didn’t stop me from wanting to see it. It also reminded me a bit of “Ocean’s Eleven”, which made me even more excited.

If you haven’t heard about this movie here is a little background. “The Monuments Men” is a true story of the greatest artifact hunt of modern time. Its focus is on an unlikely World War II squadron, which goes into Germany to rescue artistic masterpieces from Nazis and return them to their rightful owners. The question is, while they need to go behind enemy lines, how are these guys (seven museum directors, curators, and art historians) all more familiar with Michelangelo than with weapons possibly have any hope to succeed? They will risk their lives to protect and defend mankind’s greatest achievements.

Well now I have seen it, and I am still in. It was a great movie with a good story. I have so many positive things to say, the acting, the story telling, the directing, the humor and the pacing, they’re all good things.

I am not sure where I should start… okay I got it. Although this is a dramatic movie with a very serious tone I can’t help but enjoy how the script and the acting made it fun. The one-liners given by Bill Murray, George Clooney and John Goodman are placed at just the right time to lighten the mood and create a greater connection to the characters.

As for the cast, first; George Clooney is all over this movie. He helped produce this movie and write the screenplay. He’s also one of the stars and the director. I would think he was quick busy and passionate about this film, and his passion shines through. Let’s just run through the cast. The star studded cast includes the following: Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Hugh Bonneville, and Bob Balaban. Each of these actors are great on their own, and as an ensemble they work wonderfully together. What I liked about each performance was how they pulled me into a moment where I felt alone with each person, it made me want to learn more about each character. In addition each actor did not pull focus from the other, they provided just the right amount of support and it is fantastic. I wish this movie was not so early in year, I am afraid it will be forgotten by the time award season comes around.

I went to see this movie with my dad, and what felt really odd was that he and I appeared to be the youngest people in the theater. That brings me to the fact this is a true story of men who truly believed in preserving the rich history of mankind and the accomplishments we made. I really liked the story telling and how it was portrayed on the big screen, when the movie ended the audience clapped. In my mind that is a good sign as this filmed appealed to an older audience as well as to myself. I can’t wait to see this movie again. I may even have to do some more research to learn more about what happen during this time and the art before I see this movie again.

Although this is not a big action movie with a lot of special effects or visual effects I say go see it in the theater. As I mentioned before the acting is great, the story is enlightening and this film has real heart. I even found myself choking up a few times.

I give this movie 4.75 ‘size 11 boots’ out of 5. Please support the arts and go see this movie.

As I mentioned above this is one of three movies I saw over the weekend. Check out my review of the classic Kevin Smith joint, ‘DOGMA’ and the new release ‘The LEGO Movie’.

A Movie with a Message Worth Seeing – The LEGO Movie

Lego-Movie

Warner Bros. Pictures

As I mentioned in the post [A Must See Movie of 2014 – The Monuments Men] I would be posting a few reviews.  Check out the other reviews by following the links at the end of this post. In this review I will be sharing some thoughts about another new release that came out the weekend of 7-Feb-2014, “The LEGO Movie”.

The LEGO Movie is a computer-animated story that follows a LEGO (registered trademark) dude named Emmet. He is just an ordinary, rules-following, perfectly average LEGO minifigure who is mistakenly identified as an extraordinary LEGO dude. Emmet is drafted into a fellowship of outsiders on an epic quest to stop the evil Lord Business. It turns out to be a journey that Emmet is hopelessly and hilariously under prepared for.

In this animated film there are some great voices to listen for and that you will recognize right away. Check out this featurette called “Behind the Bricks” to see how they have some fun with this.  Character voices include Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, and Jonah Hill.  Chris Pratt is perfect to voice the lead, of Emmet, and plays the perfect empty-headed character. Elizabeth Banks plays counter to Pratt as the wise cracking and super confident heroine.  And as the featurette points out Morgan Freeman can read a phone book and make it sound good. In this movie, as LEGO minifigure he delivers his voice performance brilliantly.

This movie is your typical heroes journey, and I don’t care if it is the same old, same old. There is just the right amount of humor for adults and kids. I must say the animation is unreal, I mean it is so unreal I couldn’t tell if the figures were animated using stop motion or if it was CG. It was super awesome animation and I really dug not knowing if they were real LEGO or not. This movie is not heady in any way and that is what makes it so great. It is just a fun movie to watch that doesn’t require any thinking.

You need to know I am a big FAN of LEGO. I used to build and play with them as a kid and into my teens. I am still a fan and I started buying different sets again as an adult. The little twist in this film made me think that I am doing it wrong. I need to take more time to tap into my imagination and really enjoy LEGO again as an adult instead of just building them. There is a message behind this movie as most animated movies have. What was so great about this animated movie is I didn’t care about the hidden message and I will see it again. When this movie comes out on video streaming or DVD I will be renting it so I can catch the little details that I most likely missed.

Bottom lines, if you have kids… go see this movie, if you are a fan of LEGO, go see this movie. As I mentioned before this is not a heady movie and some might even find it a little corny.  I don’t care what those people think. It should not stop you from finding time in your busy schedule to go see this movie.

I give this movie 4 out of 5 metal beards.

As I mentioned above this is one of three movies I saw over the weekend. Check out my review of the classic Kevin Smith joint, ‘DOGMA’ and the new release ‘The Monuments Men’.

A Classic Worth Seeing Again – DOGMA

Dogma

Miramax Films

As I mentioned before in two previous posts (see links below) this is the third review from the movies I watched this weekend. I had some time on my hands, so I decided to see a DVD that a work associate let me barrow. It was a Kevin Smith classic “DOGMA”.

Just in case you have never seen “DOGMA” let me share the following synopsis with you. The eternal war between Good and Evil comes to New Jersey, go figure right; it is a Kevin Smith joint. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck play two fallen angels that attempt to derail the entire cosmological system, unless a shabby group of misfits can stop them from turning the whole apple cart over. It’s up to Bethany, played by Linda Fiorentino, to save the day and keep the fallen angels from entering into heaven through a loophole.

Okay, there is not a lot of new analysis I can add to this movie review. So all I can I really say is I think this is my favorite Kevin Smith movie out of all the things he has done. I like how the story moves along and the fact that I get a bit of education.

I am big George Carlin fan as well. He could be a big part about why I like this movie so much. In addition if you have every listened to our podcasts you probably know that I am a big fan of the movie ‘Vision Quest’. As a young middle school student I had a huge crush on Linda Fiorentino and I that memory is still with me. I think that memory helps provide the soft spot I have for this movie as well.

I watched this movie the same day I saw “The Monuments Men” so it was really weird for me to see Matt Damon without grey in his hair.  I must say his performance in Monuments was a lot more subdued than his hyper active Loki character.

In my mind there are two stand out performances in this movie that keeps me coming back, Salma Hayek and Alan Rickman. When we first meet Rickman’s character, Metatron, I laugh. I don’t know why but that fake mid-section just looks so fake, I can’t help myself. Although Smith had more of a budget for this movie you can still tell the Ken Doll look is not real. As for Hayek, her hot and saucy Serendipity character is intelligent and tough. She was a well proven actress by the time she appeared in DOGMA and that brought some real credit to this movie, at least in my opinion.

If you have not seen this movie, please do. The majority of the humor does not grow old although there are some jokes that are dated, and that is okay. If you have seen this movie before it’s time to see it again.

I give this movie, 4 train rides out of 5.

As I mentioned above this is one of three movies I saw over the weekend. Check out my review of ‘The LEGO Movie’ and ‘The Monuments Men ’.

Review of Skyrim’s DLC: Dawnguard

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was released last November and is one of the most amazing games I’ve ever played.  Many gamers can back me on that I’m sure since it won game of the year.  It’s a role-playing game, filled with action and many interesting enemies to kill.  It takes place out of this world with archery, swords, battle axes, and a lot of magic.  When you turn on your XBOX or other gaming console and dive into Skyrim, you may forget that you have a real life.  Everything you could ever need in life is in Skyrim.  You go out into the world and explore, do whatever you want, and at your own pace.

Skyrim is the fifth of a series of games.  I have only played this and the game before this, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.  Oblivion’s story line was about defeating the gates of oblivion that were taking over the land.  Skyrim is a distant land from Oblivion’s Cyrodiil, and has two story lines that intertwine at times involving a war between people and another one with dragons.  I never thought I would enjoy a story line with dragons as much as I do in Skyrim, but Bethesda did a very good job with it. They always impress me with their work in making video games.  These games make you feel like you have chores. You feel you have accomplished something, and you have a huge purpose in life!  Everyone is relying on you to save the land, even if they don’t know it!

Skyrim

Skyrim Dawnguard Castle Volkihar

Bethesda’s newest excitement in Skyrim is the first DLC expansion called Dawnguard.  You have to make a choice of who you are going to fight for, and depending on that choice you will be given quests to help the side you choose.  This story line includes vampires, which also proves that I am a nerd because it makes me giddy.   Just like most expansions, you’ll be introduced to new characters and new places.  I loved the new adventures.  Very creative and explorative.  Even a dragon makes an appearance.  Not too many puzzles or traps that are overly difficult either.  You may want to play this expansion twice in order to experience the quests you will miss out on the first time.  It would be interesting to see how the game plays differently when playing the alternate route.  Some people have experienced some problems with the expansion. By that I mean glitches and bugs.  Be sure to save often!  Sometimes random things happen in the game that are not supposed to happen.  I play this game on the XBOX, so I don’t know about any glitches on other consoles.  My game has frozen once or twice since I started playing the expansion.  Unfortunately, every game and game expansion comes to an end.  The ending means everything about the story.  So was it a good ending?  For the route I took in the game, I was satisfied with the story’s ending.  You have to make a decision about something and I am usually trying to find a way to keep a peace but some characters just don’t want that.  You won’t end the expansion without gaining some new weapons and perks.  It was a fun expansion, and I didn’t want it to end.  I would say this expansion was definitely worth the download.  Hope you check it out if you’re a gamer, and if you haven’t played Skyrim at all, you should highly consider it!

 

QQR – Review of The Artist on DVD…

In this Q’s Quick Review – Q shares some thoughts about The Artist. Check it out on DVD now. Let us know what you think of this DVD by leaving a comment below.

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Until next time…