Category Archives: Louie’s Corner

Furious 7 Runs Out of Gas

If you would have told me back in 2001, that the new high-octane muscle car movie, The Fast and the Furious, would spawn an additional six films and create a highly successful movie franchise- I would have thought you were crazy. Nonetheless, here we are and with the seventh installment- the Furious franchise has never been more popular and successful, and more likely than not this trend will only continue. Die-hard fans and even causal fans of this franchise will be lining up to see this movie, and most of them if not all of them will absolutely love how this film turned out. However, for the rest of us, we are probably thinking that this franchise has already reached its peak and Furious 7 is the first sign of a downward spiral.

Paul Walker in Furious 7

Paul Walker in Furious 7

Furious 7 sees the return of all of the familiar faces this time mixed in with a couple of new faces (Kurt Russell & Jason Statham) showing up in places around the world. The Furious gang that we all came to love is in the midst of a global war thanks to the prowess of Deckard Shaw (Statham) who vows to get revenge on the gang because they defeated his brother Owen.

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Still Alice is Unforgettable

In 2007 neuroscientist turned writer, Lisa Genova, self-published her debut novel, Still Alice. The novel followed a Harvard professor, Alice, who begins to suffer from early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Although the initial release was limited in size, Genova’s novel gained great popularity and praise from reviewers and publications. In 2009 the book was rereleased and became an instant bestseller and appeared on The New York Times bestseller list for more than 40 weeks. Fast-forward to 2013 and the Lookingglass Theater Company adapted the book for the stage and was in production in Chicago from April to May of that year. Shortly thereafter, screenwriters Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland decided to adapt it for the silver screen.

Julianne Moore in Still Alice

Julianne Moore in Still Alice

The film adaptation of Still Alice follows Dr. Alice Howland (Julianne Moore), a renowned professor of linguistics at Colombia University. She is happily married to John Howland (Alec Baldwin), who also works at the university, and together they have three grown children.

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A Most Violent Year is Mostly Mediocre

Coming off his critically acclaimed sea adventure All Is Lost, writer and director J.C. Chandor follows  it up with a modest, compelling crime drama set in New York City. A Most Violent Year follows Immigrant Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac) as he tries to capture the American Dream while trying to build his own business empire. Things do become complicated when he realizes he is surrounded by corruption and moral decay. With pressure from his wife, Anna (Jessica Chastain) and several business associates, Abel must decide what is more important in life: his business’ success or his moral consciousness?

Oscar Isaac in A Most Violent Year

Oscar Isaac in A Most Violent Year

A Most Violent Year is a well made film that feels and looks authentic in its style and approach. Set in 1981, J.C. Chandor has inspired to capture the same spirit and grit of the quintessential New York crime films made popular by Sidney Lumet and others in the 1970s.

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American Sniper Takes an Admirable Shot

American Sniper, which is based on Chris Kyle‘s autobiography, American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History, recounts the tragic yet triumphant moments of Chris Kyle’s career with the SEALs and his eventual struggles with returning home. Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) is a native Texan and patriot at heart who wanted to make something of his life. He wanted to make a difference, and after the tragic events of September 11, 2001, he knew what he wanted to do. Kyle eagerly joined the fight against terrorism and became a member of the SEALs where we would be the most productive sniper in history. After four tours of Iraq, Kyle became a legend in the military; however, his real battles were only just beginning. Upon returning home, Kyle’s relationships with his wife, Taya (Sienna Miller), and kids began to wane. Kyle’s everyday life became difficult to manage as he finds out that he simply cannot leave the war and his fellow soldiers behind.

Bradley Cooper in American Sniper

Bradley Cooper in American Sniper

At 84 years young, film legend Clint Eastwood is still working at a prolific rate and is still making films that are stark and unwavering. With his latest effort, American Sniper, the great Eastwood has made an unflinching, tense film that depicts the heroism and sacrifices military men and women must make year after year.

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Inherent Vice is an Unforgettable Trip

Following some of his most earnest and darkest films (There Will Be Blood & The Master), writer and director Paul Thomas Anderson’s seventh feature film, Inherent Vice, is much lighter in tone and material. It’s wacky, goofy, and has plenty of moments that are just plain out there. However, that is not to say that this film lacks ambition and Anderson’s distinctive direction. Despite the fact that Inherent Vice might be Anderson’s most bizarre project, it still is one of his most ambitious. Adapting from acclaimed novelist, Thomas Pynchon, Anderson channels Pynchon’s dense material into an eccentric adventure that spoofs the noir detective genre. Its clever, compelling, and boldly ridiculous. Like most Paul Thomas Anderson’s film, Inherent Vice, will definitely divide audiences. Even so, there is still a rewarding experience to be found.

Joaquin Phoenix in Inherent Vice

Joaquin Phoenix in Inherent Vice

Inherent Vice follows stoner and private investigator, Larry “Doc” Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix), as he navigates through the psychedelic and free loving era of the 60s and 70s. One day he is startled when his ex-girlfriend, Shasta (Katherine Waterston), stops by his house and has a job for him to do. She wants his him to investigate the potential kidnapping of her billionaire boyfriend. Sportello nonchalantly accepts, and embarks on a wild adventure that has him come across strange people and even stranger circumstances.

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Foxcatcher Wrestles with Emotions

At one point in Bennett Miller’s poignant and powerful Foxcatcher, John du Pont declares the importance of a coach, “A coach is a father, a coach is a mentor, a coach has great power on an athlete’s life”. While these words definitely sum up what your typical coach/athlete relationship is like, this film does more than enough to separate itself from the traditional sports drama. In this moment, this quote really sums up du Pont’s greatest delusion. Foxcatcher is a chilling tale of people hoping for greatness. They desire to be heroes, winners, and champions, but in the end no matter how much they give they feel like it will never be their best. This constant feeling of failure looms large for du Pont and his athlete, Mark Schultz, and it is ultimately the start of their own self-hatred. Led by terrific performances by the three leads Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, and Mark Ruffalo, Bennett Miller has created one of the best films of the year that shows you the pain of two disturbed and lost individuals.

Steve Carell in Foxcatcher

Steve Carell in Foxcatcher

Foxcatcher, which is based on true events, follows the unlikely relationship between Olympic Gold Medal winning wrestler, Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum), and the multi-millionaire heir to the du Pont estate, John du Pont (Steve Carell). When John du Pont invites Mark to his estate in order to offer him the chance to prepare and train for the 1988 Seoul Olympics, Mark eagerly accepts the offer. The two develop a special relationship that is driven by the need to win. Mark hopes to step out of his brother’s (Mark Ruffalo) shadow, and du Pont is motivated by wanting to be respected by all, especially his disapproving mother. However, their relationship soon turns toxic and not even winning Gold can prevent a tragic outcome.

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Exodus: Gods and Kings Movie Review

Earlier this year, we had a great biblical epic in the form of Darren Aronofsky’s Noah. In that adaptation, Aronofsky was able to recreate the story of Noah by inserting his own unique spin on it. The film was extremely personal, ambitious, and was filled with imagination, emotion, and heart. So, with Ridley Scott joining the Biblical genre with his own film and all-star cast, there has been obvious comparisons. Unfortunately, that is where the comparisons need to end. Exodus: Gods and Kings is no Noah. In fact, it is painfully underwhelming.

Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings

Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings

Exodus: Gods and Kings is an epic adventure that tries to give a new modern spin to one of the most well known stories in the Bible. The film follows the courageous military leader Moses (Christian Bale) as he learns of his true past and is guided towards his destiny. After seeing the excessive Egyptian lifestyle and the horrific conditions the 600,000 slaves live and work in, Moses must fulfill his prophecy and rise up against the Egyptians. This leads to the monumental escape from Egypt and the journey to reach the Promise Land.

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 is not what you would come to expect from The Hunger Games franchise. In fact, this final chapter, which will be split up into two films, has separated itself from its predecessors. Unlike other franchises, Mockingjay Part 1 does not follow the same formula it established for itself. It is wholly unique from the first two installments, and is a breath of fresh air because it wisely takes the annual Hunger Games out of The Hunger Games film.

Jennifer Lawrence and Julianne Moore in The Hunger Games Mockingjay - Part 1

Jennifer Lawrence and Julianne Moore in The Hunger Games Mockingjay – Part 1

Mockingjay Part 1 follows the aftermath of the 74th annual Hunger Games and the costs of the rebellion movement. The heroic Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) finds herself in District 13 after she helped shattered the force field. Now, under the guidance of Plutarch Heavensbee (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) and the stoic President of District 13, Alma Coin (Julianne Moore), Katniss is in the position of finally becoming the symbol so many has hoped she would become. Can Katniss come to terms with this and help advance the rebellion movement, or will her fears and concerns of others, especially Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), get in the way?

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Nightcrawler

Within the opening minutes of the film, a desperate yet determined Louis Bloom states his motto to a potential employer: “If you want to win the lottery, you have to make the money to buy the ticket.” While these words might get overlooked thanks to the playful manner in which Bloom states it, this motto goes onto speak volumes about the moral ambiguity that lies ahead. “Nightcrawler” is a brilliant and unsettling character study of a man that is as twisted as he is persistent. As the film progresses, we get to see the disturbing transformation that Bloom undergoes. Bloom starts out a creepy loser who has to steal to stay afloat, and days later becomes a monstrous go-getter that will stop at nothing in order to become the success story he has dreamed about. The story of Louis Bloom just might be the most unconventional rags to riches story we have seen.

Jake Gyllenhaal in "Nightcrawler"

Jake Gyllenhaal in “Nightcrawler”

Making his directorial debut, writer Dan Gilroy brilliantly serves up a slow-burning thriller that is consistently intriguing and cynical. Gilroy offers an adept commentary about the media’s exploitation of violence. He superbly captures the all too familiar nature of local news, and shows how far some might be willing to go in order to achieve his or her goals. It is parts black comedy mixed with horror. It will make you laugh and then moments later it will make you flinch and squirm in your seat. Gilroy also showcases his talent for style and flair. It is shot with such ease and calmness that Gilroy’s piercing execution emphatically puts you into a hypnotic daze. With his beautiful backdrops and vivid images contrasted with pulse-pounding car chases, black comedy, and Lou’s willingness to do anything, “Nightcrawler” just gets under your skin. The film stays with you long after you view it, and it will make you hold a mirror up to our society and its media. 

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Annabelle

Last year saw a return of the classic horror film thanks to the creepily nostalgic, “The Conjuring”. Director, James Wan, created a horror movie that was bone-chilling, well-designed, and all around convincing. One of the many reasons why “The Conjuring” was so well-received was because of the many old school scare tactics that were used throughout the picture. The success of “The Conjuring” only means that there will be more opportunities for Hollywood to return to the world that James Wan and company created. The first opportunity is arriving this weekend and is showcasing the story of a possessed doll, Annabelle, which was featured in the opening minutes of “The Conjuring”. Can “Annabelle” continue what “The Conjuring” started, or will it be another example of an unnecessary prequel?

"Annabelle"

“Annabelle”

Annabelle” follows the creepy Annabelle a year before she comes face to face with the Warrens. Before “the Conjuring”, the rare Annabelle was a gift from a husband to his expecting wife, Mia (Annabelle Wallis). Mia falls in love with Annabelle’s beauty; however, the love for the doll soon turns into fear. One night Mia and her husband’s house is invaded by a satanic cult. The cult attacked the couple and summoned up an evil entity that is now possessing Annabelle. Can the couple survive, or will Annabelle be too much for them?

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