Thursday, September 21, 2017

Tag: Nat Wolff

Home Again (2017)

Title: Home Again
Rating: PG-13
Directed by: Hallie Meyers-Shyer
Written by: Hallie Meyers-Shyer
Starring: Nat Wolff, Reese Witherspoon, and Lake Bell
Release Date: 9/8/2017
Running Time: 97 minutes

IMDb
Buy on Amazon

What did you think of this film?
Life for a single mom in Los Angeles takes an unexpected turn when she allows three young guys to move in with her.


Are There Any Extras During The Credits? No

Are There Any Extras After The Credits? No

Memoriam: In loving memory of our pal Indy.


In Dubious Battle (2016)

Title: In Dubious Battle
Rating: R
Directed by: James Franco
Written by: Matt Rager
Based on the novel by: John Steinbeck
Starring: Nat Wolff, James Franco and Vincent D’Onofrio
Release Date: 2/17/2017
Running Time: 110 minutes

IMDb

What did you think of this film?
An activist gets caught up in the labor movement for farm workers in California during the 1930s.


Are There Any Extras During The Credits? No

Are There Any Extras After The Credits? No


Ashby (2015)

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Title: Ashby
Rating: R
Directed by: Tony McNamara
Written by: Tony McNamara
Starring: Mickey Rourke, Nat Wolff, Emma Roberts and Sarah Silverman
Release Date: 9/25/2015
Running Time: 100 minutes

Official Site
IMDb

High-school student Ed Wallis enters into a friendship with his neighbor, Ashby, a retired CIA assassin who only has a few months left to live.


What did you think of this film?

During Credits? No

After Credits? No

In Memoriam: In Loving Memory of Steve Smith


Paper Towns Review – 1 out of 5 Stars

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Paper Towns is to the young adult adaptations what Man of Steel was to the comic book adaptations. Both of these movies feature unrealistic and uninspired stories as well as weak characters and a general sense that the people behind it all cared very little about doing service to the original material. As Man of Steel did two years before, Paper Towns decides to compensate for its laziness by acting like all that it says is a work of art despite it saying absolutely nothing. The movie throws hollow quirky nonsense and embarrassingly pretentious dialogue at you in the hopes that you’ll somehow come out of this thinking you have just looked at something that is absolutely brilliant. This movie not only fails to trick its audience but it also makes the experience that much more nauseating. An empty, uninspired movie is one thing but to then act as though it just painted the Mona Lisa is an arrogance that exists on a whole other level. I can’t think of anyone who won’t be able to at least at some level look through the cheap smoke and mirrors act Paper Towns puts on.

To the films credit, with a basic storyline like this one, I can’t imagine it was that difficult for the directors and writers to stoop into pretension. Q (yep, that’s what they call him) is a teenage boy whose about to head out to college. He always does the right thing and he wants to get good grades instead of slacking off. I know right, what a terrible person. The movie clearly wants him to be more like his next door neighbor Margot, a rebellious and mysterious girl who he rarely gets to talk to. She always goes missing and she always leaves behind these cutesy little clues for the people she wants to find her. One time she goes off to the circus and another time she leaves behind clues using alphabet soup. Are you curious how she managed to do those two things? Be prepared for a lot more of this flashy nonsense that we’re supposed to be impressed by without taking any further looks.

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After years of not talking to each other, Margot needs a getaway driver to help her perform a series of ridiculous, nonsensical revenge plots. They share a night of dancing to elevator music at the top of a building, performing of series of pranks that they would’ve definitely gotten caught for in real life and making “profound and enlightened” statements that would make even the hipster at the back of a Barnes and Noble vomit. In the days after, Margot goes missing again and Q has to find her with the help of his stereotypical friends with the help of some clues she leaves behind. In the process, “lessons” are learned and an “adventure” is had.

For those who weren’t able to pick it up from the brief synopsis, Margot (Cara Delevingne) is the ultimate manic pixie dream girl. She also happens to be one of the most laughably awful characters I’ve seen in recent years for a film. Her entire personality is made up of these tiny little quirks that are only there to make her look hip. She leaves little clues, she has a giant record collection, she highlights parts of her Walt Whitman book and she has to take part in painfully bad lines that comes off less as bold, thought provoking statements from an experienced artist and more as the kind of vapid trash you would expect from a really smug fifth grader. Most of her dialogue feels like it’s built so that it could be posted with quotation marks by a pre-teen on Facebook. There’s never a moment where she says anything that feels like what a real person would say in that situation. Watch (or don’t) as Margot states that there town is a paper town with paper people in it. Note in this moment how the music, the performance and the reaction from Q clearly show that we are supposed to find her magical and filled with the wisdom of Gandhi and Martin Luther King combined. Everything about her screams of a director trying as hard as he can to look cool and relatable to a youth audience. She’s the heart of this coming of age teen film and yet this teenage girl feels less like an honest teen and more like the human equivalent of the ukulele music that plays in Geico and McDonald’s ads, it’s an obnoxious failed attempt by a corporation to appear relatable.

Q (Nat Wolff) also happens to be a really bad character but for a whole different reason. If Margot was the film screaming for you to look at it, Q is the quiet and lifeless person who just happens to be there without a true purpose. There’s a difference between making your character shy and average and making your character simply vague and non-existent. Having just watched a movie where he was the main protagonist, I learned nothing about his personality and I learned nothing about him besides the fact that he’s supposed to be smart and he’s supposed to be caught up in the mystery of who Margot is. I can’t say anything else about him, he’s just there stating the story and acting as the straight man to wacky characters in an already very watered down comedy. I guess we’re supposed to see him as this guy who lives too close within his comfort zone but that never seems like a real problem for him that he comes to terms with at the end, it’s just another thing Margot can state about Q to make the film come off as that much wiser. Besides, if that was even supposed to be the true conflict of the film, Dope already handled that subject excellently earlier this summer.

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All of the supporting characters live up to the pathetic attempts made to create the two leads. Q has two friends; one of them is Radar (Justice Smith), a bland carbon copy of the personality of Q and the other is Ben (Austin Abrams), an irritating attempt at having comedy in the film. Almost every line Ben has is unfunny and it makes you want to see him get punched. Everyone else who I haven’t mentioned already is just as forgettable and bland in there so called personalities.

I’m failing to come up with more words to say the same thing. Everything I said about Margot can be said for the whole movie. The movie isn’t meant to reflect on the feelings and events that real teenagers have but instead pander to them. The movie has nothing to say about life but it impresses through the usage of these empty, nonsensical moments that are only brought up to make it look modern. The characters take the time to sing the Pokémon theme song and it comes off as this incredibly false reference that adds nothing to the characters. The soundtrack of the film does a good job of showing this attitude as well. Take Dope for example with its soundtrack. That movie did a great job mixing new and old music to tell the story. The entirety of the soundtrack of Paper Towns feels like the director looked up popular new songs of the moment and threw them in there to come off as impressive and modern. I enjoyed some of the music the film decided to play but it all felt patronizing to me, as though the film used its soundtrack to talk down to me.

The movie takes these themes from previous coming of age dramas and mixes them together at random with little effort put into any of them. I have no idea what this film was trying to say; overall the message would probably be something along the lines of you only live once. In the end, none of that matters because the directors and writers clearly had no interest in presenting some bigger message. Paper Towns could be summed up in one word as fake. The half assed wisdom from Margot is fake. The random references are fake. The unrealistic events the characters go through are fake. There is not a single moment of this film that felt sincere and instead of offering true advice, they decided to exploit their audience in the cheapest way possible. At its core this is an ugly movie and I look forward to never having to discuss it ever again.

Rating:(1/5)

Review by: Ryan M.

Release Date: 7/24/2015

Rating: PG-13

Cast: Nat Wolff, Cara Delevingne, Austin Abrams and Justice Smith

Directed by: Jake Schreier

Screenplay by: Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber

Based on the Book by: John Green

Paper Towns (2015)

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Title: Paper Towns
Rating: PG-13
Directed by: Jake Schreier
Written by: Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber
Based on the novel by: John Green
Starring: Nat Wolff, Cara Delevingne and Austin Abrams
Release Date: 7/24/2015
Running Time: 109 minutes

Official Site
IMDb
Amazon

A young man and his friends embark upon the road trip of their lives to find the missing girl next door.


What did you think of this film?

During Credits? No

After Credits? No


Behaving Badly (2014)*

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TITLE: Behaving Badly

RELEASE DATE: 7/1/2014

RATING: R

Teenager Rick Stevens, has a crush on Nina Pennington, they form a friendship and embark on a rock n’ roll journey together while Nina deals with her overbearing boyfriend, Kevin.

What did you think of this film?


Amazon

IMDb


During Credits? Yes

Click to see whats: during the credits

 

After Credits? Yes

Click to see whats: after the credits

Is this stinger worth waiting around for? Vote UpVote Down (-2 rating, 2 votes)

NOTE: For Paige.

Special thanks to Frank S. for this submissino

Fault in Our Stars, The (2014)

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TITLE: The Fault in Our Stars

RELEASE DATE: 6/6/2014

RATING: PG-13

Hazel and Gus are two teenagers who share an acerbic wit, a disdain for the conventional, and a love that sweeps them on a journey. Their relationship is all the more miraculous given that Hazel’s other constant companion is an oxygen tank, Gus jokes about his prosthetic leg, and they met and fell in love at a cancer support group.

What did you think of this film?


Official Site

Amazon

IMDb


During Credits? No

After Credits? No

The Fault in our Stars Review – 3 1/2 out of 5 Stars

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I had little clues as to what to expect from the film adaptation of John Green’s young adult novel The Fault in Our Stars. I have not read the book but I know that the novel has grown a fairly huge fan base. This wasn’t one that I was really that interested in seeing at the Seattle International Film Festival but the film is getting a wide scale release and its debut was at this year’s SIFF. It wasn’t that I was openly expecting to hate it, I wouldn’t have been surprised if the film turned out to be as good as The Spectacular Now but I also wouldn’t have been that surprised if the film turned out to be as bad as Safe Haven. However, the film did turn out to be a surprisingly enjoyable film for many different reasons.

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Hazel Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) is terminally ill with cancer. In her life, she has always felt as though there is no purpose as she will die at a younger age. That is until she meets Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort), he used to have cancer but after an amputation, it has all cleared up. There interactions with each other create a passionate romance and changes Hazel’s entire outlook on existence.

First off I think all of the performances are great. Laura Dern adds dimension to her portrayal of Hazel’s mom. The character was very sympathetic as they showed her as trying desperately to keep light on all situations even as the thing she loved the most was on the edge of life and death. Another standout in the supporting cast was Willem Dafoe as Peter van Houten, the crazed author of Hazel’s favorite novel. The character is a sort of eccentric loner who can be bitter and at times kind. Willem Dafoe plays this part perfectly and he steals all of the scenes he is in whenever he appears.

Then we have the two lovers played by Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort. Luckily for the emotions and themes the film tries to achieve, both of them give the best performances of the film.

Shailene plays Hazel with the right amount of angst and realism. She seems both depressed and happy in different points. She works off of every actor in the movie and finds a way to genuinely deliver all of her more dramatic scenes. The portrayal and the character both are filled with an honest and genuine respect towards presenting what appears to be an interpretation of teen angst. She deals with heavy problems in a way you would expect a normal person to react. Shailene Woodley I believe has always had a great ability to give very down to earth performances whether it is as the coping daughter in The Descendants, the shy, nerd in The Spectacular Now or the refreshingly downbeat protagonist of Divergent. The Fault in our Stars gives her a character she is the perfect fit for and I think it is pretty clear by the car scene in the end that this is her best performance since her should’ve been nominated role in The Descendants.

I didn’t expect much from Ansel Elgort as Augustus and mostly I thought he would just be giving a forgettable, bland and weak teen romance performance as you would expect to see in a Nicolas Sparks adaptation. Much to my surprise, Ansel does a very solid job and almost matches his counterpart. The first thing he does well is that he knows how to bounce off of what Woodley says which made for some very touching chemistry between the two. Secondly and most importantly, whenever the script asks for him to do something that is supposed to be a huge heartfelt moment, he does a great job with what he is given. Shailene still gives the better performance of the two but I think he has a lot more standout moments in his portrayal than she does.

Josh Boone’s direction is good; I don’t think it’s anything to write home about but he does a fine job nonetheless. His modernized and well shot style is certainly a step up from the direction of other teenage novel adaptations we’ve seen of late.

The only technical standout for me was the great soundtrack. The film uses a wide variety of modern alternative music without it ever feeling likes it pandering to its audience. It isn’t like The Amazing Spider-Man 2 where suddenly in one scene Peter Parker will randomly be listening to Home by Philip Phillips. The music is well placed and adds to the mood of the scenes as well as the emotions and personalities of the characters. An impressively high amount of the soundtrack was also written for the movie so if you want to expect The Fault in our Stars for an Oscar nomination, best original song is the best place to predict as of right now.

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The film impressed me again with how well the film captured the problems of the teen protagonist. From a writing standpoint, it never seemed to me to be overly melodramatic. None of the characters seemed to be simple stereotypes, much rather the film uses a wide array of interesting and likable supporting characters. The relationship between the two leads in the performances and in the characters is constantly funny, heartbreaking and inspiring, sometimes all at the same time.

Hazel is shown to be covering herself from the world. She is afraid to break hearts and have her heart broken. She wastes her days away in fear of standing face to face with the tragedies that will eventually face us all. Throughout the film, we successfully get to see her slowly evolve as she realizes that perhaps we must all face the world even if it may hurt us. Things may be painful but that is one of the great experiences that make us human. The film sometimes falls into pretty stereotypical territory to get this point across but the film is actually quite excellent at presenting us with this lifestyle through the tragic and complex relationship between the two main characters.

There were a few problems I did have with the film. As I said above, there are times where it does fall into a couple of stereotypes along the way in terms of what you would expect from a tragic romance. For the first part of the movie, the editing feels a little rushed and choppy in presenting the storyline but this flaw eventually stops as the story settles in. A problem many book adaptations can face is how to pace the story. The film slows down after the jagged opening part and I was never bored for the two hour and six minute runtime. That being said, there are a couple of moments where huge details of the story are presented out of nowhere with very poor execution and for many of these cases, there was a little bit of whiplash. The film flows fine throughout but some of the plot points felt thrown in like a boulder.

Beyond a few critiques I had with errors in storytelling and clichés scattered throughout, The Fault in our Stars is a touching coming of age story with heartfelt dialogue, interesting characters and great supporting and lead performances. We live in a scary and unpredictable world, but on the flip side this world is also exciting and poignant.

Rating:(3.5/5)

Review by: Ryan M.

Release Date: 4/4/2014

Rating: PG-13

Cast: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff, Willem Dafoe and Laura Dern

Directed by: Josh Boone

Screenplay by: Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber

Based on the Book by: John Green


Admission (2013)

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TITLE: Admission

RELEASE DATE: 3/22/2013

RATING: PG-13

A Princeton admissions officer who is up for a major promotion takes a professional risk after she meets a college-bound alternative school kid who just might be the son she gave up years ago in a secret adoption.

What did you think of this film?


Official Site

Amazon

IMDb


During Credits? No

After Credits? No


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