New To Blu: 5/13/14

Don't know what to get at Blockbuster Video (they don't exist anymore) or Redbox (if they even have any copies)? Check out our New To Blu reviews right here, ya drangus!

"So, yeah....they told us this
was the Three Stooge reboot....."
That Awkward Moment
This week sees the Blu Ray release of That Awkward Moment, a comedy that takes the standard relationship drama/comedy and turns it on its head with awesome chemistry between its three male leads.
It's a far cry from being a perfect movie, but between the excellent soundtrack, the comedic delivery, and the commentary on modern relationships, That Awkward Moment is above and beyond most of the brain dead comedies we've seen the past couple years.
Going in with lowered expectations, it was pleasing to see Zac Efron break free from his standard mold and finally do something with heart. To say that he's a great actor would be a bold statement, but he's finally heading in the right direction and taking roles that will change his career for the better. Michael B. Jordan moves away from his dramatic portrayal in Fruitvale Station to offer up the most endearing performance of the movie as Miles Teller (in usual fashion) backs up the trio with several laugh out loud (awkward) moments. Yet, none of them steal the show. This is a team effort in which they all play off each other with perfect timing and delivery.
What really struck me about this movie was its reminiscent tone. That Awkward Moment is the first time in ages that a relationship comedy brought me back in time to similar movies from the 80's. Certain moments had a feel that could have easily been stripped from the original About Last Night or St. Elmo's Fire. There's just something about the pairing of these three actors and the soundtrack that pulled me in, reminding me of what these types of movies used to be like.
I'll be the first to admit that I'm extremely hard on comedies. It takes a lot to impress me. For the first time in ages, there was a connection made between myself and the characters on screen and the story being told. It pulled me in hook, line, and sinker. Or maybe I'm just a sucker for good story telling. Either way, this is an above average movie about friendships and love. See it with your friends or significant other. It'll make you laugh. Who can complain about that?

-Review by Chris George

"I'll jump. I swear to god!!!
I'll do eeeeeet!!!"

The team up of Jonze and Joaquin proves to be a masterful one with Her, now on Blu Ray.
Spike Jonze is in the rare breed of directors that can take an artistic idea and translate it to the screen with subtlety and grace, always staying true to his vision and never sacrificing for anything stagnant or expected. Her defies all preconceived notions of science fiction or romance. It's a vision of the near future when romantic relationships are suddenly being founded on operating systems that are fully interactive and are strangely human in their method of communication.

Jonze has always been an eclectic director full of ingenuity. Her is his most heartfelt and profound work. Not only is it a commentary on where society and its obsession with technology is headed, its a passionate piece that speaks volumes for failed relationships, broken people, and the emotional wreckage they leave behind.

Something about Her touched me on a level I've not felt from a film in years. It's a journey through the eyes of a man lost then found again ....when he finally finds true love with a non-human entity. The premise sounds strange but the film features an impactful social message while manipulating you (the viewer) to fall in love with an interactive operating system named Samantha, voiced by Scarlett Johansson.

After his 2010 stunt film, I'm Still Here, Phoenix has come back stronger than ever before. His performance in Her is absolutely heartfelt and deeply mesmerizing. He transforms himself into a lost soul with such precision that you quickly forget you're watching the actor that put his career on the line for a pet project. It's with knowledge of his resume that I say his transcendent performance in Her is the role of his lifetime. Phoenix finally lays all his cards on the table and distinctly sets himself apart from every other actor of his generation by offering something no one else will: honest to goodness unquestionable emotion that made me forget anything and everything he's ever done in the past. I no longer saw Joaquin on screen. I saw a sad lost soul named Theodore, a man yearning for the true love of a soul mate. If he doesn't win an Oscar for this role, I'll be shocked, saddened, and totally amazed.

Her sits atop the list of the best films of 2013. It's premise will force audiences to think hard about their relationships, past and present. It's a near perfect romantic vision brought to you by a director that never sells himself short of greatness. The music is beautiful. The mildly futuristic set design is perfect. And the tone is masterfully set in stone with performances from an eccentric and diverse cast of today's most adept actors. As a closing piece to 2013, Her will stand out as one of the best films of this decade. It's definitely worth a purchase.

IX -Review by Chris George

I, Frankenstein
"First I was dead.
And now I am ripped!
Make sense?
Didn't think so." 
I just spent an hour and a half wearing 3D glasses in an Imax theater. Despite the ground shaking bass and occasional decent action scenes, I have never been as disengaged in a movie as I was with I, Frankenstein.
I did not go to this movie expecting anything but a decent popcorn movie. But this movie fails at every aspect of movie making that I'm aware of. Plot? I'd say it was silly, but it was never established enough to even call it that. Apparantly, the Gargoyles that exist in architecture are fighting a battle vs. Demons that's been going on for centuries. Somehow Frankenstein's monster finds himself in the middle of it. Well, kind of. That aspect of the movie, like all the rest, comes and goes.
He's his own being, according to his speech to the heavenly gargoyles, and doesn't want to get involved in their war. Then, all of a sudden, seems to exist only to kill demons. Oh yeah, he spent a couple hundred years "at the corners of the earth" in between the beginning sequence and the last 85 minutes of the movie. Apparantely, he studied kung fu sometime during his stay in the corners, but that's never actually established.
I was never given any opportunity to care about or get an understanding of any character's motives, beyond two vague and short speeches. Aaron Eckhart plays Adam, presumably because he was bored. He makes one face - one - in the entire movie. For god's sake, they even screw up the makeup. Sometimes his scars are dark and protruding, other times you can barely see them at all.
The few times we're given a character's motive for taking any action whatever, it's always the most inane, insulting, inexplicable reason you could possibly think of. Wait, the hot scientist chick is helping the bad guys to try to bring WHO back!? We're spoiler free, so I can't tell you who it was. Believe me, it's better you don't know.
Perhaps it seems like I'm piling on a movie that was never meant to be taken seriously. If only that was the case. Writer/director Stuart Beattie, in only his second turn as a director, actually tries to present this as a serious film. There are no attempts at humor anywhere. None. He wrote GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra. If he had made I, Frankenstein, in that in the same vein, at least I could say that it has some camp value.
This film has no redeeming qualities. It never slows down enough to be a drama, it never speeds up enough to be an action film. It's caught in movie limbo. It never should have existed.
I'm searching my memory banks to find a movie that I've seen that was this bad. The problem is, any time I came across a movie so utterly disengaging in the past, I left to do something more fun like go on message boards and talk about how awesome Microsoft is. Unfortunately, I had to sit through this to the end, where our hero makes the most baffling statements of all, just to leave room for a sequel.Avoid this movie. If someone tries to convince you that the Blu Ray is worth seeing for 1080P goodness or special effects, they're mentally unstable. Leave this one alone.

-Review by Tom McDaniel