Last week, I was able to catch an advanced screening of This is the End with a select group of people at AMC. Prior to the screening, I had seen the trailer a handful of times and my general feelings towards the movie were positive. My only concern was that all of the actors and celebrities in the movie were going to be playing themselves and that had me a little nervous. However, I am glad that the studio execs allowed James Franco, Seth Rogen, etc. to play themselves in the movie. This is the End is the best comedy of the 2013 (by far) and one of the best comedies in the past few years.
There have been a number of adaptions (plays, musicals, TV shows, movies) over the years that have featured Leo Tolstoy’s famous novel. Though, this marks the first time that Anna Karenina has truly been brought to the big screen and been given the respect and attention that the 19th century critically acclaimed novel deserves.
If you are looking for a movie that is original and inventive, then Upside Down is your movie. I can honestly say that there has never been a movie quite like this one. Upside Down features two identical worlds that are connected through gravity and the company Transworld. Even if you walk away from this film unsatisfied, you still have to appreciate the world that director Juan Diego Solanas has created. The premise and concept of the film is entirely new and leaves you wanting more films like this.
**Note** If you haven’t seen Side Effects and are thinking about going to watch it, then I would advise you to wait and read this review after you have already seen the movie.
Steven Soderbergh has established had quite the resume over his 35 films that he has directed. To many movie critics he is beloved and held as one of the top directors working today. However, I have noticed the general movie fan has mixed feelings when it comes to his career. Overall, I am an avid fan of Soderbergh’s work. I loved the Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve and Thirteen; I enjoyed Out of Sight, Haywire and The Informant; and I didn’t care too much for Contagion. Since 2005, there have only been 3 out of the 11 movies that Steven Soderbergh directed that audiences have liked more than the critics have like on RottenTomatoes. That being said, I believe that both critics and the general audience will find Side Effects to tense and exciting.
I did not know much about Get the Gringo before watching it. In fact, I only watched this movie after hearing Anderson Cowan rave about it on the podcast The Film Vault. Adiran Grunberg made his directorial debut and Mel Gibson help write the film alongside Grunberg. I do not suggest watching the trailer for this movie, but you will need to know some background information to make the film more enjoyable. The prison featured in the film is based off a real prison called El Pueblito that closed down in 2002. Throughout the film, you will see drugs, guns and families present in the prison. So, if you had enough money, your family could move in with you while you were serving your sentence.
Martin McDonagh has only directed two feature length films, but he has quickly established himself as one of the best directors in the dark comedy genre. In 2008, In Bruges marked McDonagh’s directorial debut. The movie did not perform all that well at the box office, only $33 million worldwide, but was well received by critics and became a cult favorite on DVD. Seven Psychopaths follows the same type of black-dramedy style that made In Bruges so good and improves on it.
With Argo, Ben Affleck has now established himself as one of the premiere directors in Hollywood. Argo marks the 3rd film that Affleck has directed and it every bit as good as his previous two, Gone Baby Gone and The Town respectively. Actors tend to have limited success when they take the director’s chair. Fortunately, Ben Affleck has been immune to that and had has once again directed one of the best movies of the year.