26 – And Popcorn for Black Friday

This week we review Mockingjay Part II, Victor Frankenstein, The Good Dinosaur, and Creed. We continue our countdown to The Force Awakens by talking about the movie that started it all: Star Wars – A New Hope.

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Mockingjay Part II – It’s the final Hunger Games movie! Everyone gets a moment to shine. We forget Jennifer Lawrence can actually act. You finally won me over, Josh Hutcherson. Veteran actors Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Donald Sutherland, Julianne Moore all shine. Has too many almost endings — like Return of the King. 7.5 out of 10.

Victor FrankensteinThis cast could read the phone book and it would be entertaining. They should’ve stuck to reading the phone book. More style than substance. Why was this released at Thanksgiving instead of Halloween? 5 out of 10.

The Good DinosaurIt’s a “A Boy and His Dog” movie. Except with a dinosaur and the dog is a little human. Jaws references. It turns into a Western with Sam Elliot. Sure to be a crowd pleaser but Pixar is usually capable of more than just pretty animation and a good story. We expect more. Andy gave it 8.5 out of 10 and Adam gave it 7 out of 10.

Creed – Watch this review by Scott Stapp of Creed.  It’s a Rocky movie! And almost exactly what you’d expect. Maybe a little long. Maybe too many training montages. But the last few minutes are amazing.

And why we love the original Star Wars.

25 – Oscarbait for Thanksgiving

This week we review Secret in Their Eyes, The Night Before, and Spotlight. Then we begin our countdown to The Force Awakens by talking about all three Star Wars prequels. We also apologize for not seeing Mockingjay Pt 2.  Thanks, Obama!

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Secret in Their Eyes – A counter-terrorism taskforce in LA post 9/11 is shaken by the rape and murder of Julia Roberts’ daughter, and the guy who likely did it slips away for various reasons. 13 years later, still haunted by this, Chiwetel Ejiofor thinks he has tracked him down and they’re going to get him this time. The story unfolds on two tracks, brilliant storytelling, and a great ending. Even better acting. A romantic subplot between Ejiofor and Nicole Kidman. 7.5 out of 10.

The Night Before – a crazy, raunchy comedy from Seth Rogen which includes shenanigans and cameos. Do not take your children to go see this. Fun holiday movie otherwise. 7.5 out of 10.

Spotlight – the true story of how The Boston Globe’s investigative team “Spotlight” uncovered the  truth about the priest sex abuse scandal in Boston. All the acting! The Michael Keaton renaissance. Great script.  Comparisons to All the Presidents Men.

We neither bash on nor are apologists for the Star Wars prequels.  We can point out calmly and rationally what we like and dislike. How the novelizations ruined us. George Lucas needs someone to tell him no.


24 – The 33 All-American Reasons to Hate the Coopers

This week we review The 33,  My All-American, and Love the Coopers. They’re. . .moving pictures! (Barely) Content warning: This episode may contain graphic descriptions of a horrible Christmas movie and includes Christmas music. . . luckily all by Stephen Colbert. Also, if you hate the Texas Longhorns football team. . .or coal mining. . . you have been warned.

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Love the Coopers – a Christmas movie about a family. And they’re all “wacky”– no, they’re just awful. And the dog narrates it? 0 stars. 0/10. The worst movie of the year.

My All-AmericanPlays more like a made-for-tv movie they would show to people to try to recruit them to come to the University of Texas football program. From the writer of Rudy and Hoosiers, so you can guess where this is going. Andy re-enacts the opening scene featuring a doe-eyed reporter from The Daily Texan student newspaper and old coach Aaron Eckhardt in old man makeup. We hate to call your life a cliche, Freddie Steinmark, but. . . Still, not terrible. Just not great. 4/10.

The 33 – True story of the Chilean miners trapped below ground. Should’ve been more heroic, but was mostly just boring. There’s still a few good things in here. 5/10

We don’t have any recommendations, except to go back and listen to last week’s episode. Because James Bond.

23 – The name is Brown. Charlie Brown.

This week we review The Peanuts Movie and SPECTRE, plus give our recommendations of other James Bond movies we like even more.

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The Peanuts Movie – It’s certainly a Peanuts film. Totally nail the vibe, the characters, the voices, and even how disconnected a lot of the little vignettes are from one another.  Inclusion of two modern songs is jarring and out of place. Otherwise a lot of fun for folks who like Snoopy and Co. Adam gives it 7/10, Andy gives it 7.5/10 and a more full review here. 

SPECTRE – This is Bond’s 24th outing, and possibly Daniel Craig’s last. Can basically be summed up as: “Not as good as Skyfall.” Andy enjoyed all of the homages to previous Bonds. They basically failed to really develop any of the villains. But dem Bond girls, tho. Adam give it 5/10, Andy gave it 7.5/10 and you can see a more full review here.

Better know a Bond movie:

Adam chose Goldeneye. It was his first Bond movie, plus that epic N64 game! Sean Bean as the villain. Famke Janssen as Xenia Onatopp.

Andy chose Skyfall because penance– his original review was ho-hum about it, but he blames having had to watch an internet screener on a tiny laptop. But he came around, including it in his top 10 movies of 2012 after seeing it on a big screen multiple times. IMAX. That theme song.

33 – Our Brand is Boring, Burnt Crisis

This week we review Burnt, Our Brand is Crisis, and Truth. They’re all a little bit boring, so we recommend better movies of the same type: Wag the Dog and Primary Colors.

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Burnt – Bradley Cooper channels Gordon Ramsay, and you would’ve been better watching 2 episodes of Hell’s Kitchen. This is instead like the food it’s about: overwrought and fussy, rather than being bold and powerful. Andy has a more full review here, but [spoiler alert] he gives it a 4/10.

Our Brand is Crisis – In a movie about politics being a fun, contact sport, why you gotta be so boring and uptight? We need more Billy Bob. Spoilers about the ending, but mostly that the ending is awful. Andy’s more full review here, he gives it a 5/10, Adam gives it a 3.5/10.

Truth – If you’re going to call your movie “Truth”, you better bring it. This did not. Don’t cast Robert Redford as Dan Rather. Don’t make a movie about such an interesting event and make it so boring. Don’t take such a talented cast and make them boring. Just don’t. Andy’s more full review here, but he gives this a 3.5/10.

All three of these movies are a little bit boring, so we recommend better movies of the same type: Wag the Dog and Primary Colors,  both of which came out within a year of one another and are both kinda sorta about Bill Clinton era politics.