Darren's Movie Reviews & News

New Trailer for “Horrible Bosses 2”
In Theaters November 26, 2014

This Is Where I Leave You

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Starring: Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver, Corey Stoll, Jane Fonda, Rose Byrne, Kathryn Hahn, Connie Briton, Timothy Olyphant, Abigail Spencer, Dax Shepard, Aaron Lazar, Ben Schwartz, Debra Monk

Directed by Shawn Levy

Based on the Novel by Jonathan Trooper

Run Time: 103 min
Rating: R
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Release Date: September 19, 2014

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 43%

My Score: 8 out of 10

Synopsis:

After the death of their father, the Altman children (Bateman, Fey, Driver & Stoll) return home for the funeral and a week of mourning which will put them at each other’s throat as they attempt to adjust living together again.

Review:

This type of movie is always easy to enjoy. You have a big cast of great comedians, a perfect setup for some great jokes to play out, and just a light film that is easy to sit back, relax, and enjoy every second of it. This Is Where I Leave You is the perfect blend of comedy and drama to make you leave the theater feeling good and that you’ve just watched a great film.

The cast is great! Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver and Corey Stoll star as dysfunctional children of Jane Fonda who are brought home for one week after their father’s death, and they all play off each other brilliantly. Apart from that, this is your typical family dramadey where there are moments where you feel happy and sad at the same time, then your laughing hysterically the next. There was nothing terribly new about the jokes, but it was just a fun, light movie that was beyond easy to enjoy, and the cast just made it that much better.

Final Thoughts:

This Is Where I Leave You may be like every family dramadey you’ve seen before, but due to its talented cast this is a comedy that is well worth your attention.

The Guest

Starring: Dan Stevens, Maika Monroe, Brenden Meyer, Sheila Kelley, Leland Orser, Lance Reddick

Directed by Adam Wingard

Run Time: 99 min
Rating: R
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: October 10, 2014

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

My Score: 8 out of 10

Synopsis:

David (Stevens) seeks out the family of a fallen comrade after being discharged from the army. The family takes David in while he gets back on his feet, but strange events begin happening around town that sets their daughter Anna (Monroe) to question if David coming to town is pure chance.

Review:

I walked into an advanced screening of this film not knowing what to expect. The reviews were raving about it, but the film seemed very dark and too simplistic to be thta good. But it was that good!

The Guest rides entirely on Dan Stevens performance as David, a friend of a family’s fallen son, who comes searching for them to tell them how much their son loved them all. But David is hiding a dark secret, and a string of mysterious murders start appearing over town. And Dan Stevens nails his performance right out of the park. Despite him seeing like a nice guy, his performance is very cold and extremely unsettling to the point where you can be sitting their worried that David is going to come for you next. His performance perfectly creates the creepy mood that is needed for the film to succeed.

As for the plot, its simple yet effective. Tension is created very easily, the sounds really add to the mood, and it never gives away enough information to spoil anything. There are lots of laughs in the first half, acting as a sort of red herring to what the movie is actually about, but it sets you in the perfect mood for when things start going sideways. You know something is up, but twists keep coming and with an ending like that, there is a reason this type of film gets good reviews! It refuses to convert to the Hollywood standard thriller and fall apart in the final act, where as The Guest revs up the horror element of the story and leaves audiences feeling extremely uneasy as the last shot of the film is definitely not something you want to see after watching the film.

Final Thoughts:

Different, thrilling and even unsettling for the majority of the film, The Guest is a great thriller that manages to keep you on the edge of your seat and features an excellent performance from Dan Stevens!

New Trailer for “Jupiter Asending”
In Theaters, 3D and IMAX 3D February 6, 2015

New Banner for “Jupiter Ascending”In Theaters, 3D and IMAX 3D February 6, 2015

New Banner for “Jupiter Ascending”
In Theaters, 3D and IMAX 3D February 6, 2015

New Trailer for “blackhat”
In Theaters January 16, 2015

New Trailer for “Big Hero 6”
In Theaters and 3D November 7, 2014

New Concept Art for “The Scorch Trials”In Theaters September 18, 2015

New Concept Art for “The Scorch Trials”
In Theaters September 18, 2015

New Trailer for “The Interview”
In Theaters December 25, 2014

The Maze Runner

Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Thomas Brodie Sangster, Kaya Scodelario, Will Poulter, Ki-hong Lee, Aml Ameen, Blake Cooper, Alexander Flores,  Chris Sheffield, Jacob Latimore, Dexter Darden, Patricia Clarkson

Directed by Wes Ball

Based on the Novel by James Dashner

Run Time: 113 min
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: September 19, 2014

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 63%

My Score: 9 out of 10

Synopsis:

After waking up in a metal caged elevator with no memories of his life prior to this moment, Thomas (O’Brien) finds himself in a strange area known simply as the Glade. Surrounded by four gigantic concrete walls, the inhabitants of the Glade are surrounded by a endless maze that prevents their escape. Each day they go into the Maze looking for a way out, but the deadly Grievers in the maze have prevented them from finding an escape. But with Thomas’s arrival, things in the Glade begin to change which forces the Gladers to make a last attempt to make it out of the Maze alive.

Review:

After tearing through the novel about a month ago, I was eagerly awaiting this movie, but also fearing that it could run a huge risk of not being faithful to the novel. But much to my delight, sitting down in the local IMAX theater last night proved to be a great choice as The Maze Runner is a fast paced action film that is never short of thrills and will keep you glued to the end!

First off, the casting. I thought every actor was well matched for their role. Dylan O’Brien proved to be a worthy action star as Thomas, and his performance grounded the movie by creating a solid lead character that is likable and one that you hope survives all the deadly surprises of the maze. My other favourite was Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Newt, Thomas’s friend in the Glade. Having seen him on Game of Thrones, seeing Brodie-Sangster in a more prominent role was nice, but he was a perfect match for the more mild manner Newt who prefers to weigh options before making rash decisions like many of the other inhabitants of the Glade. Kaya Scodelario was good as Teresa, but I felt like her character was diminished a bit so it didn’t give her much time to shine and her accent kept bleeding through as well. Finally Will Poulter, I wasn’t sure if he would succeed as the villainous Gally, but boy was he great! He sold the character one hundred percent, and will make a lasting impression on the series for sure! I’m happy to say that the series is in good hands with these individuals leading the film.

Plot wise, the movie stuck very close to the book. There was one part where they made a major deviation, and I was literally freaking out in my seat as it nearly sealed the movie to a drastic demise, but they quickly re-worked it so the movie ended at the exact same spot the book did but with a great view of what the Scorch, which was exciting for a fan! The only aspect that they left out was a very important connection between Teresa and Thomas. It’s incredibly important in the second film, so hopefully it gets introduced, because if not they will for sure run into some problems. And unfortunately this problem cannot be fixed by simple re-writes of plot points, its crucial so I’m hoping that it can be addressed as this film was amazing apart from it!

My biggest complaint about the film is the final moments. I loved the sneak peek of the Scorch which you didn’t get in the novel, but my concern is with the treatment of the whole reason for being in the maze. The film gave away far too much, the bare basics were given in the novel, but the film adds more details attempting to explain it better, but it gives away the bits of information that are discovered in the second and third books, which unfortunately takes away from some of the mystery as to why they are in their current situation. But this is all saved very well by Patricia Clarkson in the final scene of the movie which just proves that WCKD is pulling every single string or not, whether the Gladers are aware or not; ending exactly as the book did, pretty much word for word!

The special effects were great. The Grievers were very scary, and the sound editing showed greatly in IMAX, kept you jumping the entire time they came crashing onto the screen out of the darkness. But the most amazing visual of the movie was the maze itself. It has evolved far beyond the book to the point where it was almost a live. Layers of walls of different heights, the maze is a beast all to itself that perils the Gladers even more than it did in the book, which only added to the mounting suspense and excitement of the film!

Final Thoughts:

Whether you are familiar with the book or not, The Maze Runner is one hell of a ride. Featuring a strong cast, an intense story that increasing the action, suspense and thrills, there is a reason for fans of the novel to rejoice and for new audiences to discover the secret that lies within the maze! 

New Poster for Season 2 of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”Premiers on Tuesday September 23 at 9pm

New Poster for Season 2 of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
Premiers on Tuesday September 23 at 9pm

New Poster for Season 3 of “Arrow”Premiers on Wednesday October 8 at 8pm

New Poster for Season 3 of “Arrow”
Premiers on Wednesday October 8 at 8pm

New Poster for “Interstellar”In Theaters and IMAX November 7, 2014

New Poster for “Interstellar”
In Theaters and IMAX November 7, 2014

New Posters for “Interstellar”
In Theaters and IMAX November 7, 2014

New Poster for “Interstellar”In Theaters and IMAX November 7, 2014

New Poster for “Interstellar”
In Theaters and IMAX November 7, 2014