Film Review: Fury

by Chad Liffmann on October 17, 2014

Aptly titled with a gutsy delivery.

The Furious Five

The Furious Five

It’s hard to imagine much originality stemming from any new or forthcoming World War II movies.  This was my thought back in 2009 before Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds was released, offering audiences a completely new vision of the second world war and delivering never-before-seen perspectives with style.  This isn’t to say that that film revitalized the genre, but it kinda did.  The newest World War II tale, Fury, starring Basterds alum Brad Pitt, offers a focus we haven’t seen much of (tank vs. tank battles), but otherwise a lot of the same gruesomeness and gritty warfare and dehumanized soldiers we’ve seen before.  If it weren’t for a lack of strong character development, Fury could have been a war classic.  Fury is a strong entry into the World War II genre, focusing on a much-passed over yet crucial deadly type of war machine (again, tanks), yet still overtly showcasing the horrors and disturbing nature of war.

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Film Review: St. Vincent

by Gordon Elgart on October 17, 2014

Evidently, a movie can be both completely predictable and completely enjoyable at the same time.

Melissa McCarthy sets up Bill Murray for the best line of the entire movie.

Melissa McCarthy sets up Bill Murray for the best line of the entire movie.

Before seeing St. Vincent, the debut feature from Theodore Melfi, I knew very little about it. I knew that Bill Murray plays a cranky old man who lives next door to a single mother, and he develops a relationship with this woman’s young son. That’s it. I knew it was an indie movie, so I predicted to anyone who’d listen that the movie would definitely have a scene featuring an indie rock song punctuating an important uplifting moment. About this, I was wrong. The song by The National, “Start a War,” is used to punctuate an emotionally sad moment. How predictable was the rest of the film, you ask?

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The Best of Me offers the near-worst in its genre.

Eye candy, yes.  Chemistry, no.  James Marsden look-alike, absolutely not.

Eye candy, yes. Chemistry, no. James Marsden look-alike, absolutely not.

Take a close look at the picture above.  Does Mr. Shirtless look anything like a high school version of James Marsden?  If you answered ‘yes’, then this movie is absolutely the movie for you.  If you answered ‘no’, then you’re completely normal and will understand what I say when I say that the part of young Dawson was completely miscast.  This was the biggest failure of The Best of Me, but there were other failures as well, including a overly complicated third act.  Based on the book by Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook, A Walk to Remember), The Best of Me is obviously catering to the same audiences that have contributed a whopping ton of money to previous Sparks adaptations.  But this movie fails as an inspiring story and fails to provide compelling characters.  I haven’t read the book so I can’t say for sure whether or not it was the source material’s fault.  But either way, its unpredictability and distractions ruin the chance for emotional connectivity.

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GW4

To be honest, I don’t think anything has made me feel older than waiting in line to get into a Gerard Way show, all alone, on a chilly San Francisco night. So many teenage girls with their moms who are closer to my age than they are. All pumped up with teenager energy and hormones. It was overwhelming and energy sucking. I can’t even imagine how Gerard Way must feel, looking at this crowd, when he is a year older than me, married and a Dad himself. It must be weird to say the least. I will say though that at least a lot of them looked like the disaffected youth that would have been the original fans of his former band My Chemical Romance. But now that being weird is normal, who knows if they have the same insecurities and pain that the original “emo” fans of his would have had, like myself. So, what kind of night would it be? Would all that teenage energy turn into something beautiful? Something destructive? Or just throb into something else completely? [read the whole post]

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Haulin-Oats_David-Yearick

Treasure Island Music Festival is coming up this weekend. Which is the best music festival in America. Nonetheless, there are still a bunch of other great shows, too!

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We’ve got three final spotlights from the 37th Mill Valley Film Festival, which closed Sunday night after ten days of showcasing dozens of fresh and exciting titles. Festival highlights, photos, and videos are available at: http://mvff.com. We’ll see you at the Fest next year!

Wild
(USA 2014, 120 min)

Cheryl (Reese Witherspoon) at the start of her long and often arduous journey.

Director Jean-Mark Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club) and writer Nick Hornby have turned Cheryl Strayed’s exceedingly popular memoir Wild into one of the best pictures of the year. Reese Witherspoon gives perhaps the fiercest performance of her career as Strayed, who, in the mid-1990s, hiked the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) solo as a way to cope with several losses in her life. A powerful meditation on grief, healing, strength, and redemption, Vallée’s picture benefits enormously from the emotionally raw performances of is two lead actresses. Laura Dern, as Strayed’s mother Bobbi, seen in flashbacks, is devastating as a young mother whose capacity for hope and love is beyond measure. Shot on location at various points along the PCT, Yves Bélanger’s cinematography is breathtaking, and fittingly accentuates the emotional complexity of Strayed’s story.

Release Date:
– Opens nationwide on December 5th

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Aftershock Music Festival – September 13-14, 2014

October 13, 2014

Across the Midwest and Southeast United States, from the last weekend of April through May 31, were seven Monster Energy Drink sponsored rock music festivals dubbed “The World’s Loudest Month”.  Rock on the Range, Carolina Rebellion, Welcome to Rockville, Fort Rock, RockFest, River City Rockfest, and Rocklahoma collectively entertained hundreds of thousands of hard rock […]

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The Insiders’ Guide to the Treasure Island Music Festival (Updated for 2014)

October 13, 2014

This weekend’s Treasure Island Music Festival has quickly become my favorite musical event of the year. There are no conflicting set times, so you can see everyone on the bill. The size of the festival is fairly small, so it’s easy to get around. The setting in the middle of San Francisco Bay is absolutely […]

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MVFF Spotlights #3: The Imitation Game/Foxcatcher

October 13, 2014

The 37th Mill Valley Film Festival wrapped up last night.  The Festival screened some of this fall’s most hotly anticipated pictures: Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler and Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash, and many more.  We gave you a look at some of the festival’s lesser known independent films, now here’s a quick look at a few of the hot titles (and […]

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Spinning Platters Weekly Guide to Bay Area Concerts: 10/9/14-10/15/14

October 9, 2014
www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoZG28v2WFY

Music festivals, heavy metal canned food drives and Snoop to tha D-o-double G. All this and more in a week of music in the Bay Area

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