Kicking off the unnecessarily slow march to the series’ conclusion, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 begins to conclude the story of child-gladiator-turned-reluctant-insurgent-figurehead Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence. In this, the first of two installments adapting the novel of the same name, Katniss learns how propaganda is made, navel gazes a whole hell of a lot and has the lamest nightmares ever.
In Alejandro Gonzales Innaritu’s Birdman, Michael Keaton plays a washed-up movie star known for his portrayal decades ago of a caped crusader known as … Birdman. He’s attempting this creative comeback on the Broadway stage, a notoriously unwelcoming venue for non-serious actors. It’s a meta hook in of itself, what with Keaton famously playing Batman in Tim Burton’s two directorial efforts in the early ’90s, but Birdman has more to offer than this wink of a premise. In addition to a woeful toupe, a possibly pregnant co-star and a feud with an antagonistic, self-important actor (also played in meta fashion by Edward Norton), Keaton’s Riggan has existential problems to contend with too. For starters, he’s possibly a superhero after all, moving things with his mind, levitating and even flying. He also is haunted by his former onscreen persona, Birdman himself, who coaxes Riggan in Christian-Bale-Batman voice with increasing effectiveness toward madness. Or transcendence. Or something.
It’s Interstellar, the latest from superstar director Christopher Nolan and one of the most widely anticipated films of the year. Hopefully now that it’s out, Ryan will stop babbling about it! Matthew McConaughey plays Cooper, a NASA-pilot-turned-farmer who’s convinced to lead a desperate mission to save the human race.
WARNING: Spoilers flow freely in the following review.
Clearly the boldest attempt yet to reboot the X-Men franchise, Nightcrawler re-imagines the furry teleporting mutant as an antisocial creep who … wait, what?
… Okay, I’ve just been informed that Nightcrawler is not, in fact, related to the X-Men character of the same name. I apologize for any confusion. In any case, Jake Gyllenhaal appears as an antisocial creep who delves into the seedy, ethically-compromised world of freelance news photography. And no mutants!
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In David Ayer’s Fury, Brad Pitt returns to World War II as “Wardaddy,” the commander of a tank name “Fury”—hey, that’s the name of the movie too!—and its crew (Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lehrman, Michael Pena, Jon Bernthal) battling its way across Nazi Germany in 1945.
Ryan: Did you know that war is terrible?
Robert Downey, Jr. and Robert Duvall star in The Judge, a legal drama in which one of these celebrated actors plays the other’s father. See if you can guess which is which!
Rebecca: The Judge begs the question: How much Robert Downey, Jr. is too much Robert Downey, Jr.?
The following review contains all of the spoilers for Gone Girl. Seriously, all of them! If you are at all interested in seeing this movie, we strongly encourage you to do so first, then read what we have to say.
An adaptation of the 2012 bestseller of the same name, Gone Girl is the story of a Missouri housewife (Rosamund Pike) who goes missing under suspicious circumstances, while her husband (Ben Affleck) attempts to piece together what happened … unless he did it OH MY GOD DRAMATIC MUSIC
Ryan: So, Gone Girl sure is a thing, isn’t it?
Rebecca: Finally—a dystopian sci-fi teen flick that gets rid of pesky girl power, goofy costumes and cheesy love triangles! If you took The Hunger Games and removed all the drawn-out anticipation of the games, the complex relationships and internal conflict, all the world building and scope, what remains is The Maze Runner, a male-centric fusion of Lost and Lord of the Flies that, while extremely derivative, perhaps is not altogether without merit. As directed by Wes Ball, the film is cleanly shot and quickly paced, focusing on an excellent cast of young actors.
2014’s Summer Superhero Gauntlet comes to an end with Guardians of the Galaxy, the 10th installment in the Unstoppable Marvel Cinematic Homunculus. Approximately three-fourths of the Chris Pratt we all knew from Parks and Recreation stars as Peter Quill, a space-faring outlaw who teams with a group of alien misfits (Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, a tree and a raccoon) to stop a fanatic (Lee Pace) from causing mayhem throughout the galaxy.