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Beasts of the Southern Wild

Beasts Poster

Written by: Lucy Alibar, Benh Zeitlin
Directed by: Benh Zeitlin
Starring:Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry, Levy Easterly
Reviewed by: Scott

Shot in Louisiana in a world outside the levees called ”the bathtub” Beasts of the Southern Wild is part fairy-tale part everything.  I had no idea what “the Bathtub” was until the opening of this film and I was on a guided tour of this unique, self-reliant, disconnected community through the eyes of a 6-year-old named Hushpuppy.

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Hushpuppy is strong, because she has to be, she is self-reliant, because she has to be, she is resilient.  The relationship between Hushpuppy and her father Wink is complicated and certainly would not be tolerated in the connected world.  He is a drunk and in no way a good father, as represented by moments of physical and verbal abuse doled out to the 6-year-old Hushpuppy but underneath this is a father who is trying to make his daughter a survivor, forced to raise his daughter alone as the mother is no longer around.  He teaches her to fish with her bare hands and at one moment he pumps her up so much she is yelling “I’m the man” in one of the most touching father daughter moments in the film.

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Life is not easy for Hushpuppy, her father Wink or anyone that lives in ” the Bathtub”but they would not have it any other way.  With a  storm approaching the town readies itself for survival even after dire warnings to evacuate the area. They will not run from the community they call home, regardless of the threats from Mother Nature, the ice caps melting and the return of the aurochs, an ancient creature  that would eat its own family to survive.  As the Aurochs make their way from the polar ice caps to “the bathtub” the tension grows for an inevitable face to face with our main character.

(Quvenzhané Wallis)

First time Director Benh Zeitlin  refused to use a tripod and had very little resources for this film but this does not detract from it too much.  The classic “shaky cam” is apparent but adds a sense of realism to film, shot much like a documentary.  I am not a fan of this tactic but I was surprisingly unaffected by this.  Other special effects include the shots of the Aurochs which were surprisingly well done considering the budget.  Overall the presentation and cinematography are on par with many indie films, you could see that it was shot on a low-budget but the content and acting overshadowed the deficiencies.

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The two main characters, Hushpuppy and Wink played by Quvenzhane Wallis and Dwight Henry respectively are in this film without any prior acting which gave them a raw sincerity.  You as a viewer forget that they are actors and feel as though you are watching their reality unfold before you and that is a testament to the work they did on this film.  The acting is by far the best part of this film and carries it through at its’ weakest moments.

Beasts is magical, plain and simple, it is like someone took a fairytale and put it in the Bayou.  The film is laden with allegory that will be discussed for years to come and probably in some college film classes.  It jumps from fiction to reality seamlessly while not knowing where one ends and one begins.  I give Beasts of the Southern Wild two and half guys.

2andHalfGuys

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Welcome to this week’s review from The Bargain Bin! Danny DeVito! Today, we know Mr. DeVito as “Frank Reynolds” the hilariously demented dad of Dennis and Dee Reynolds on the hit comedy show “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”. Believe it or not, there was a time when Daniel Michael DeVito was, well, just a mere movie star who played second, or yes, even third billing to mega stars like Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. Lets quickly take a brief look at the career of Mr. DeVito. Early in Danny DeVito’s career there were films such as 1973′s not so well known comedy/drama “Hurry Up or I’ll Be 30″ (Petey) and of course the 1976 Oscars dominating film  based on Ken Kesey’s best seller “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” in which Mr. DeVito plays the lovable looney “Martini”, but for most of us, at least for myself, the earliest memory I have of Danny DeVito is his role as the hilariously evil cab dispatcher “Louie DePalma” of the hit comedy TV show “Taxi” (1978-1983). It is safe to say that DeVito’s role as DePalma, although a television role, is the job that may have really helped to launch him into his hugely successful film career that really took off in the eighties with films like this week’s selection from The Bin and other 1980′s hits such as the hit comedies “Ruthless People” (1986) and “Throw Momma from the Train”(1987). Danny DeVito’s wildly successful career in the eighties just kept on rolling through the nineties with hit films like  “Batman Returns” (1992) and “L.A. Confidential” (1997). Now, as mentioned earlier, you have maybe his most beloved character “Frank Reynolds” of the hit television show “It’s Always Sunny in Philadephia” (2005-20013- Frank Reynolds didn’t appear until the 2006 season). Not a bad big and small screen career for the guy from Asbury Park, New Jersey! As you know by now, this week’s review is of the film that you could say began his string of hits in the eighties. This week’s film is the hit action/comedy film also starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner…………..

Romancing the Stone

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Director: Robert Zemeckis
Writer: Diane Thomas
Starring: Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and DannyDeVito.
Reviewer: Joe Sikes

Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner) is a best selling romance/adventure novelist who, you could say, lives a rather conservative lifestyle in relation to her lustful action novels. Miss. Wilder has just completed her most recent, highly anticipated novel and who better than to celebrate the momentous occasion with than her cat “Romeo”. You could say that Joan lives vicariously through her writing as a way to deal with her life that is missing the passion and action that she depicts in her novels. Joan dreams of actually meeting  a man like the hero that saves the day and gets the damsel in distress in her famous novels but her dream has yet to come close to her reality. Little does Joan know that her life is about to resemble her writing in a way that she will not soon forget.

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Joan Wilder’s beloved sister, Elaine (Mary Ellen Trainor) is in trouble and Joan is forced to step outside of her comfort zone and travel to Cartagena, Columbia, to save her abducted sister, much to the dismay of her publicist, Gloria (Holland Taylor). After only a short time in Columbia, Joan winds up in a bus accident that turns into a cross fire battle only to be saved by a rugged gentleman by the name of Jack T. Colton (Michael Douglas). Joan is in quite the bind while being many miles away from where her sister is  held captive by the bickering, humorous  amateur kidnappers Ralph (Dany DeVito) and Ira (Zack Norman). Fortunately, Joan has the money that it takes to pay Jack T. Colton to take her to her troubled sister. Is Jack just a means to Cartagena or the man that Joan has been writing and dreaming about through her novel, in the flesh? Maybe he is both! Check out “Romancing the Stone” and find out! If you like Romancing the Stone, you might like “Jewel of the Nile”, which is pretty much the same movie but not as good.

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To be completely honest, I actually like “Romancing the Stone” very much. I mean, not as much as movies like, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” or “Blade Runner” but, all in all, Romancing the Stone is a film that has its moments of humor and action that make it a movie worth watching for the first time and a movie that is worth watching again. Lets not forget Mr. DeVito who really helps to provide some of the comedy that makes Romancing of the Stone work! I give Romancing the Stone 2 out of 3 Guys. See you next time with another review from the Bargain Bin!

2guys copy

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Welcome to this week’s review from The Bargain Bin! This week’s selection was impossible to pass up for a mere five bucks. There are movies in The Bargain Bin ranging from Ghost Dad to Goodfellas and there are different reasons for not reviewing either of the aforementioned DVD’s. Although I am a fan of Bill Cosby, I just can’t imagine sitting in front of my TV long enough to watch Ghost Dad. I mean, Ghost Dad could be 20 minutes long and still, I couldn’t see myself making it through the first five minutes. Yet, this being The Bargain Bin, you never know if Ghost Dad might make its way into the mix, a long-shot but possible, if only because of the potential for absolute crappiness. Sometimes you have to put your personal tastes second when digging for a movie to review from The Bin. Goodfellas, on the other hand, I think we all know, is a great movie and although I would love to buy Goodfellas for a steal at five bucks, Goodfellas is just too good to review for a segment titled ‘The Bargain Bin!” Reviewing Goodfellas from The Bargain Bin would be like coming across No Country for Old Men in The Bin, which I have, and reviewing it just because No Country for Old Men is such an amazing film. In other words, there are many great movies that cannot be reviewed for The Bargain Bin segment and there are many horrible movies that may be reviewed but whether good movie or bad movie, which of course is a matter of opinion, there has to be a certain rhyme and reason that suits the character of the “It Came from the Bargain Bin!” segment. This week’s pick from The Bin, although a very good movie, it most definitely suits the personality of The Bargain Bin review piece. This week’s review from The Bargain Bin is the 1994 indie film written and directed by Kevin Smith………

Clerks

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Director: Kevin Smith
Writer: Kevin Smith
Starring: Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Jason Mewes, and Kevin Smith
Reviewer: Joe Sikes

Welcome to a day in the lives of Quick Stop convenience store clerk Dante Hicks (Brian O’Halloran) and RST video store clerk Randall Graves (Jeff Anderson). Woken up by a morning phone call from his employer, Dante receives the unfortunate news that his services are needed at the store that day due to an employee who has called out. Dante is assured that his employer will be in by noon, thus still giving Dante the opportunity to play in the hockey game at two o’clock. Although Dante’s morning may be ruined, there is still a chance that the rest of his day will be one of leisure……….so he thinks.

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As soon as Dante’s day begins at the Quick Stop he discovers that it is not the day to be working behind the counter at the store that seems to be a magnet for bad news and happenings that Dante could do without. Luckily for Dante, he has his good buddy Randal working next door at the RST video store. Unfortunately, Randal, as good a friend as he may be, tends to add stress to Dante’s already stressful day. You see, Randal has a hatred for most of the customers at the Quick Stop and the RST video store and he has no problem with expressing his discontent in ways that, although may be hilarious, you could say angers the patrons and in-turn stresses out Dante. Adding to Dante’s anxiety are customers like the chewing gum representative who rouses cigarette customers to the point of a near anti-smoking riot resulting in Dante being pelted with cigarettes and the two loitering idiots who go by the names of Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) who curse out patrons and sell drugs in the parking lot all day. Although indeed stressful, the customers are the least of Dante’s concerns. Dante’s girlfriend Veronica (Marilyn Ghigliotti) soon admits to him that she has sucked thirty six dicks…not including his, resulting in a hilarious argument in the store. Like the news of his girlfriend’s fellatio achievements isn’t enough, Dante also finds out that his ex-girlfriend has passed resulting in a memorable visit to her wake by Dante and his buddy Randal. On top of all of the previously mentioned stresses, Dante also hears that his ex-girlfriend Caitlin Bree (Lisa Spoonauer), whom he still has feelings for, is engaged to marry an Asian Design major from her school. All of these personal tragedies and Dante isn’t even supposed to be at work today! Can a Star Wars conversation, a twelve minute hockey game and wise words from Silent Bob of all people, shed some much needed light on Dante’s day from hell? You will have to watch Clerks and see now won’t you.

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Clerks is the film that launched writer/director/actor, Kevin Smith’s career. Made for a mere twenty seven thousand dollars, Clerks brought in over three million dollars. Not bad for a black and white indie film that was filmed in three weeks and largely paid for through funds that Kevin Smith acquired by selling his comic book collection, maxing out his credit cards, utilizing funds meant to pay for his college education, and the insurance money he received after losing his car in a flood. The film Clerks, much like The Blair Witch Project, is an example of what is possible if you have somewhat decent financial means, family and friends who are willing to be in your film that may or may not succeed, and the talent and know-how to put a movie together. There are a number of laugh out loud moments, mostly provided by Jeff Anderson as Randal and Jason Mewes as Jay but what really drives Clerks is the wit and biting humor of the dialog. I give Clerks 2 and a 1/2 out of 3 Guys. See you next week with another review from The Bargain Bin!

2 and a half

 

 

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Divergent

Divergent

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Director: Neil Burger
Writer:
Evan Daugherty, Vanessa Taylor
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet

 

Plot: In the future we are separated into clans based on silly virtues and forced to live in dystopian Chicago, hiding from no one in particular. Somehow, it is unusual when people are born with more than one virtue and this leads to problems for Tris and her family when it comes to light that she is a multi virtue Divergent.

 

 

 

Rate It: (0 -3 guys)

 

Adam:

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Scotty:

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Griff:

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So what did you think? 

Adam – Well there goes two and a half hours of my life that I will never get back.  This was an epically terrible film.

Scotty - Overall this film was predictable, far-fetched, and ridiculous, poorly acted, poorly written, and a bit infantile but other than that it was pretty good.

Griff – Banal, derivative and utterly forgettable.

 

 

Any thoughts before you saw the movie? 

Adam – Not having read the books I went in with pretty low expectations based upon the lack of patrons and the RT score that I couldn’t help but notice when I checked the showtimes.  Somehow this film managed to be worse than even my low expectations.

Scotty – I was eager to get out and see a film but I was fully aware of what and how this could be.

Griff – If you can’t make a movie look good with the trailer, you can bet you are in for a long couple of hours.

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Did you think this movie was fresh and/or innovative? 

Adam – Dystopian society check, young confused virgin check, out of control government check, training montage check, dreamy potential romance check, yup this film has all the bases covered.

Scotty - No.  This is where the film lacked the most.  If you have seen any dystopian film you have seen this one.  Nothing new to see here.

Griff – This just a rehashed story with an unoriginal script directed in the most boring way possible.

 

 

Did you think the script was well written? 

Adam -  If only they could have figured out a way to fit less action into a longer amount of screen time.   

Scotty – The climax of the film was a bit ridiculous and anti-climactic and to me that is poor writing.  I was waiting for a twist worthwhile but instead it flew off the rails with a silly ending.

Griff - I’m not even sure where to begin. It’s just a bad movie folks.

 

 

Was there a performance you really liked or really hated? 

Adam – Woodley’s hair rocks in this film.  I mean seriously it looked awesome.  Not sure what sort of product she puts in there but I really need to find out and purchase some.

Scotty – Many of the actors in this one seemed overwhelmed and unprofessional.  There were points where I thought the film was funny and not in the way that you want it to be.  The lines were delivered in a way that it almost became a parody of itself, on accident.

Griff - Woodley truly wasn’t bad but she needs to fire her agent. Everyone else was pretty ridiculous. Jai Courtney stands out as particularly terrible for his ham fisted performance as the “bad guy”.

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Do you remember a song from the film?

Adam – Thankfully no, but the way the youths in the Dauntless group ran together and hopped on trains somehow reminded me of the musical Newsies (1992).

Scotty - No, the film is kind of a wash in all aspects.

Griff - I was too busy fidgeting in my seat and trying to stay awake to really notice any music that stood out.

 

 

What was your favorite line? 

Adam – “why does everyone keep saying that” Tris,  This was the only intentional humor in the film that I laughed at.

Scotty – “You wouldn’t shoot me?”

Griff – Whatever the last line of dialogue was in this movie was my favorite because it meant I got to leave the theater.

 

 

What would have made this a better movie?

Adam -  I usually have some advice to improve a film but I don’t even know where to begin with this stinker.

Scotty – I am having a hard time fixing this one.  In an age of dystopian film after dystopian film I would expect a growth in the genre but it just seems like these films are becoming the “new” project in Hollywood with a cookie cutter stencil and unimaginative writing.  There is really no fixing it.

Griff - I haven’t read the book but I am sure it can’t be as bad as this. There needed to be a much better script. Truthfully the whole concept of this film is just ridiculous. Motivations are never really explained. Why would the dauntless leaders help the erudite in first place? This is never explained or maybe I dozed off during that part. For that matter what possible motivation could he erudite have to take over the government? Exactly what about the way they live were they planning on changing? They just felt like they needed to be in power so they decided to kill everybody?

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Is it worth seeing in the theater? Or could you have waited for the DVD/Stream?

Adam - Catch this playing soon on your next cross country flight.

Scotty – No need to see this one in the theater, wait for DVD and be disappointed at home.

Griff – Just wait. I don’t think it will be too long before you can get this on Netflix.

 

 

What other movies would you recommend if someone enjoyed this film? 

Adam -  This film blew chunks but for some good Dystopia check out: Children of Men (2006) Minority Report (2002) and 12 Monkeys (1995)

Scotty – The Hunger Games, Lord of the Flies, Planet of the Apes, Oblivion, The Running Man ect…

Griff - A couple of good coming of age movies with a sci-fi theme? How about War Games (1983), or even Super 8 was better than this.

 

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Any final thoughts on this movie? 

Adam -  Why can’t anyone make a decent Young Adult novel into a film?  Remember when YA adaptations  were things like The Princess Bride (1987), The Outsiders  (1983) and Lord of the Flies (1963)?

Scotty – I know I have been tough on this film and though it is warranted I did enjoy it on some level, what that level is I cannot define.  The film is not good and a retread of what seems to be every film that comes out lately.  The best way to explain this is that Divergent is a Twilight/Hunger Games Hybrid with the worst of both of those films showing their ugly faces throughout.

Griff - Basically what we are dealing with is Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club with a non-sensical dystopian sci-fi theme. I am not sure why all of these modern coming of age stories need to have some supernatural or sci-fi backdrop. Why can’t you just make a good coming of age movie like Pretty in Pink without all the non-sense. I’m not sure what it says about our youth that all there favorite coming of age stories involve teenagers killing each other. It’s odd. I can’t wait for The Giver. It is sure to be awesome…

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