The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game Benedict Cumberbatch 1

Here’s a true story of code breaking if I ever I saw one! Benedict Cumberbatch delivers a heart pumping performance that is sure to leave you riveted! Make sure you can stomach the non-layman terms his character uses though.

Movie Title: The Imitation Game

US Release Date: December 25, 2014

Run time: 1 Hour & 54 Minutes

Rating: PG-13

Average Film Score: 8.76

The Imitation Game Benedict Cumberbatch Proposes

Here’s one I wished I had seen in the theater. Benedict Cumberbach, the man with the really cool and strange name, in one the many roles he was born to play…a prominent mathematician that is enlisted by his Majesty’s government to crack a Nazi Code Machine all the while working out his inner demons.

What’s it about?  Cumberbatch plays Alan Turing, a pioneer in the field of Computer Programming. Yes, you heard right. He was mostly influential in the building of the world’s first computer but not as we know it today. The British government approaches Turing, because of his obvious skills, to crack a particular type of code generating machine known as the Enigma. This machine was developed by the Nazi’s during WWII to send out communications that were encoded only for other Nazi’s to translate.

Turing is somewhat of a loner and doesn’t like to accept help from anyone and thus make people dislike him. However, he must work with a team to crack Enigma because the machine resets itself every day so the cipher it uses also changes. While Turing and his team work laboriously to solve this “Enigma” (like what I did there?) he must also deal with certain emotions that will ultimately cost him.

What I liked! Cumberbatch’s performance is stellar and the way the story brings you in is awesome! I also loved how the Director was able to retell a story with such emotion.

What didn’t I like? The secondhand acting from the bit players and the special effects during the battle scenes were atrocious.

What’s the Bottom Line? If you love a good War Movie back story and it involves code breaking and good acting then this is for you. If not, then toss off!

The Imitation Game Benedict Cumberbatch

Best Line in the film:

Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch): Do you know why people like violence? It is because it feels good. Humans find violence deeply satisfying. But remove the satisfaction, and the act becomes… hollow.

Breakdown 

  •       Directing: 9
  •       Set Direction: 9.5
  •       Costume Design and/or Direction: 9.5
  •       Music: 8
  •       Lead Actors: 9.6
  •       Supporting Actors: 8.5
  •       Cinematography: 7.6
  •       Sound: 9.3
  •       Effects: 7
  •       Story: 9.6

Average Film Score: 8.76

Fifty Shades of Grey

50 SHADES

If you’re looking for a romantic and sensual movie to watch with your spouse or alone then DON’T WATCH THIS MOVIE!! No…seriously, don’t see this movie. It’s absolute and utter schlock.

Movie Title: Fifty Shades of Grey

US Release Date: February 13, 2015

Run time: 2 Hour & 5 Minutes

Rating: R

Average Film Score: 3.8

50 SHADES Girl

So, I took my Fiancée to see Fifty Shades of Grey because she like so many other women around the globe was salivating for it. Nah, just kidding…she wanted to see it but not that bad. Every other women was going nuts standing in line for it.  

What’s it about?  Anastasia Steele is a lonely type of girl that goes on a journalistic interview for her friend and ends up getting all gushy over the interviewee. Who is this dashing man you ask? His name is Christian Grey and he is rich, good looking and somewhat enigmatic playboy. Anastasia falls for him instantly but Christian says that they shouldn’t be together.

Later we learn that Christian may indeed have the hots for her but she needs to sign a contract if they are to see each other. Anastasia of course finds this wildly interesting but at the same time doesn’t know what to make of it. We learn that Christian has some deep underlying psychological issues where he mixes sex and pain. He wants a bizarre physical relationship with Anastasia but not in the typical sense that we, the regular people have.

What I liked! The idea of the story is interesting but that isn’t what interested me. I was more interested in the fine cars, fashion and locale scenes. Yup, that’s about it.

What didn’t I like? Everything else. Before I went into the theater I overheard this gal in front of us talking about the movie so I asked her if she’d seen it and she said that she had only read the book and if the movie was anything like the book then we were all in for a treat! She said it is borderline S&M mixed with a really good Porno. Yeah, it was like a Hollywood version of a really bad porno.

What’s the Bottom Line? If you are fascinated with beating up the partner of your dreams during sexual exploits then there are Fifty more reasons to watch this. Otherwise, this movie was absolutely garbage. 

50 SHADES Sexy

Best Line in the film:

Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan): [to Anastasia] I don’t make love. I f@#k… hard.

Breakdown 

  •       Directing: 4
  •       Set Direction: 6
  •       Costume Design and/or Direction: 6
  •       Music: 2
  •       Lead Actors: 4
  •       Supporting Actors: 2
  •       Cinematography: 3
  •       Sound: 5
  •       Effects: 5
  •       Story: 1

Average Film Score: 3.8

Jupiter Ascending

Jupiter 1 Channing Kunis

The Wachowskis bring us an epic (sort of) space war that is sure to go down as one of the worst in their filmography. There’s some cool effects but I wouldn’t hold my breath for any good story or acting.

Movie Title: Jupiter Ascending

US Release Date: February 6, 2015

Run time: 2 Hours & 7 Minutes

Rating: PG-13

Average Film Score: 7.23

Jupiter 1 Channing Redmayne

The Wachowski Brother & Sister drive it hard to audiences the point of making a space battle for the fate of mankind (yet another fate of mankind movie) and miss the mark completely.

What’s it about?  Mila Kunis (what a cutie) plays Jupiter Jones, a kid that grows up without a father put apparently is the long lost descendant of an heir to a throne that commands worlds.

She is scooped up by Caine Wise (Channing Tatum), a warrior that has been modified genetically, and must be delivered to her family so that her inheritance can be properly retrieved. In this sci-fi element she is told that all life forms on planets owned by her and her family are harvested for an essence that rejuvenates their health and life. Jupiter must decide what to do with her inheritance, EARTH. 

What I liked! The special Effects were awesome and the story is interesting at best but not original.

What didn’t I like? The dialogue was moving too much as was the action. It was very hard for me to follow everything and with the fast talking. The story was, like I said interesting but, not original and the biggest problem I had was Eddie Redmayne. He was so hard to understand. He sounded like Bob Dylan smoked way too many ciggys.

What’s the Bottom Line? The Wachowskis tried but failed to wow us with a sci-fi movie that was meant to be epic but just felt stupid. I want my money back.

Jupiter 1 Channing Tatum

Best Line in the film:

Caine Wise (Channing Tatum): It can be difficult for people from underdeveloped worlds to hear that their planet is not the only inhabited planet.

Breakdown 

  •       Directing: 7.5
  •       Set Direction: 6.5
  •       Costume Design and/or Direction: 9
  •       Music: 8
  •       Lead Actors: 8
  •       Supporting Actors: 7
  •       Cinematography: 6
  •       Sound: 6
  •       Effects: 9.3
  •       Story: 5

Average Film Score: 7.23

Sunday Dumb Day’s 2015 Academy Award Predictions

Oscars collage

I can’t believe the Oscars are already here! Hopefully the academy picks the right films, actors, actresses and everything else because I certainly do not know which movies will be chosen, the only thing I can do is give you my predictions. I may not have reviewed every one of these movies on my site yet but I have seen all the contenders in some fashion. Based on what I saw these are my picks. The nominated movies are under each category and my pick for the winner is in RED. Enjoy!

BEST PICTURE

  • American Sniper
  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
  • Boyhood 
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel 
  • The Imitation Game 
  • Selma
  • The Theory of Everything 
  • Whiplash 

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

  • Bradley Cooper (American Sniper)
  • Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game)
  • Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)
  • Michael Keaton (Birdman)
  • Steve Carell (Foxcatcher)

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

  •  Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything)
  • Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
  • Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night)
  • Reese Witherspoon (Wild)
  • Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

  • Edward Norton (Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
  • Ethan Hawke (Boyhood)
  • J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
  • Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher)
  • Robert Duvall (The Judge)

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

  • Emma Stone (Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
  • Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game)
  • Laura Dern (Wild)
  • Meryl Streep (Into the Woods)
  • Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

  • Big Hero 6
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2
  • Song of the Sea
  • The Boxtrolls
  • The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
  • Ida
  • Mr. Turner
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Unbroken

COSTUME DESIGN

  • Inherent Vice
  • Into the Woods
  • Maleficent
  • Mr. Turner
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel

DIRECTING

  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
  • Boyhood
  • Foxcatcher
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

  • CitizenFour
  • Finding Vivian Maier
  • Last Days in Vietnam
  • The Salt of the Earth
  • Virunga

DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT

  • Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
  • Joanna
  • Our Curse
  • The Reaper (La Parka)
  • White Earth

FILM EDITING

  • American Sniper
  • Boyhood
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Whiplash

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

  • Ida
  • Leviathan
  • Tangerines
  • Timbuktu
  • Wild Tales

MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING

  • Foxcatcher
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Guardians of the Galaxy

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Intersteller
  • Mr. Turner
  • The Theory of Everything 

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)

  • “Everything is Awesome” from The Lego Movie
  • “Glory” from Selma
  • “Grateful” from Beyond the Lights
  • “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me
  • “Lost Stars” from Begin Again

PRODUCTION DESIGN

  • Intersteller
  • Into the Woods
  • Mr. Turner
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game

SHORT FILM

  • A Single Life
  • Feast
  • Me and My Moulton
  • The Bigger Picture
  • The Dam Keeper

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)

  • Aya
  • Boogaloo and Graham
  • Butter Lamp (La Lampe au Beurre de Yak)
  • Parvaneh
  • The Phone Call

SOUND EDITING

  • American Sniper
  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
  • Intersteller
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
  • Unbroken

SOUND MIXING

  • American Sniper
  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
  • Intersteller
  • Unbroken
  • Whiplash

VISUAL EFFECTS

  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Intersteller
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past 

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)

  • American Sniper
  • Inherent Vice
  • The Imitation Game
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Whiplash 

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)

  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
  • Boyhood
  • Foxcatcher
  • Nightcrawler
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel

Birdman

Birdman 2

Michael Keaton delivers the a stellar performance in Birdman, an experience of the mind, soul & stage. Keaton’s alter ego Birdman sets the true stage for a down and out actor trying to make a comeback into the hearts of those that remembered him.

Movie Title: Birdman

US Release Date: November 14, 2014

Run time: 1 Hour & 59 Minutes

Rating: R

Average Film Score: 9.07

Birdman 1

Number five on my Oscars Must See List is Birdman, a stellar performance by long time actor Michael Keaton who always gives us his all. Keaton has brought such imagination to his characters such as Dogberry from Much Ado About Nothing, Bruce Wayne/Batman in Batman, Jack in Mr. Mom and even Beetlejuice! But in Birdman Keaton pulls out all the stops and drops a performance so powerful that it could choke the Hulk to death.

What’s it about?  Keaton plays Riggan, a washed up down and out actor that has poured all remaining resources into a play called, “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love”. Riggan was made successful back in his earlier heyday by his powerhouse persona Birdman. A blockbuster franchise that put Riggan on the map. 

Of course all actors at some point experience some down time and Riggan is definitely experiencing that. His life is a shambles, his daughter (played by Emma Stone) can’t stand him but stays working for him and his love life is shattered. He is one step away from losing everything. And the thing that drives him the most crazy is his alter ego Birdman. 

He tries to hang on to reality even when Birdman tells him that “You’ll glimmer on thousands of screens around the globe. Another blockbuster. You are a god.” Can Riggan truly hang on or will finally lose his mind?

What I liked! Keaton’s performance was awesome to watch and some of the monologues between Keaton and Emma Stone were a delight and even at times Edward Norton’s monologues seemed interesting.

What didn’t I like? The movie felt too much like a David Mamet play and dulls the senses to the point that the only thing you can focus on is Keaton’s performance. 

What’s the Bottom Line? If intense monologue films are your thing then Birdman is for you. Otherwise, you should just watch this movie for the outrageous acting from Keaton. I feel like the hype didn’t match the show. 

BIRDMANNNN

Best Line in the film:

Sam (Edward Norton): Do you really think you’ll be ready for opening tomorrow?

Riggan (Michael Keaton): Yeah, yeah. Yeah, well, I mean, previews were pretty much a train-wreck. We can’t seem to get through without a raging fire or a raging hard-on. I’m broke. I’m not sleeping like, you know, at all. And um, this play is kinda starting to feel like a major deformed version of myself that just keeps following me around, hitting me in the balls with a tiny little hammer. I’m sorry, what was the question?

Breakdown 

  •       Directing: 9.2
  •       Set Direction: 9
  •       Costume Design and/or Direction: 9.5
  •       Music: 9
  •       Lead Actors: 9.8
  •       Supporting Actors: 9.2
  •       Cinematography: 9
  •       Sound: 9
  •       Effects: 9
  •       Story: 8

Average Film Score: 9.07

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Hobbiton

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is the final conclusion to the The Hobbit series and boy what a series it was! Let’s see if they hold up to the test of time like Lord of the Rings.

Movie Title: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

US Release Date: December 17, 2014

Run time: 2 Hours & 24 Minutes

Rating: PG-13

Average Film Score: 7.99

Gandalf

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies makes it onto my Oscars Must See List if you can believe it. I have to say that after I saw the first installment I was really hesitant to see the second one. After the second was I was bored but low and behold…I got the chance to see this one at the $1 theater! That was a dollar well spent.

What’s it about?  Bilbo Baggins and the rest of his merry men continue on their journey and fight their way against Orcs, Humans, Elves and Dragons. Oh yes, all in the hopes of finding one particular Stone. There is tons of fighting and wizardry and some gallantry to boot.

After lots of fighting and plenty of hours for the poor audience we finally get to see the conclusion.

What I liked! The story finally ended. Hahaha, that and the dragon sequences were kinda cool.

What didn’t I like? The special effects were no better than when Lord of the Rings came out and nothing technologically better. The main fact that these three movies could have been made into ONE MOVIE TO RULE THEM ALL.

What’s the Bottom Line? Watch the cartoon and you’ll be pleasantly satisfied.

Bilbo

Best Line in the film:

Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman): One day I’ll remember. Remember everything that happened: the good, the bad, those who survived… and those that did not.

Breakdown 

  •       Directing: 8
  •       Set Direction: 7.9
  •       Costume Design and/or Direction: 9
  •       Music: 8.2
  •       Lead Actors: 7.1
  •       Supporting Actors: 6
  •       Cinematography: 9
  •       Sound: 7.5
  •       Effects: 9.3
  •       Story: 7.9

Average Film Score: 7.99

Gone Girl

Gone Girl Ben Search

A man convinced his wife is missing, the police convinced that he killed her and the people against him. What happened to his wife? The twist will make you want to beat your head against the wall.

Movie Title: Gone Girl

US Release Date: October 3, 2014

Run time: 2 Hour & 29 Minutes

Rating: R

Average Film Score: 9.04

Gone Girl Ben Affleck

Number four on my Oscars Must See List is Gone Girl, a take on a missing persons story to the likes I have never seen. 

What’s it about?  Ben Affleck is Nick Dunne, a man that seems mild mannered and yet very happy with his wife Amy. Nick & Amy were in love with each other from the first moment they met each other. One day, Nick gets ready for the day and realizes his wife is not home and some furniture is broken. He heads to the police station and almost immediately he is placed as the the #1 suspect.

Nick has a big problem, he doesn’t look all that shook up about Amy’s disappearance and that makes things worse for him. Oh yeah, Nick also has a mistress! There is a twist (which I can’t reveal) that brings the whole story to its knees. Things get crazy for a while and just when everything starts getting even more crazy the gosh darn plane crashes into the mountain. Not really, that was just a line from another movie. But things get out of control. 

What I liked! Ben Affleck plays his character well but Rosamund Pike plays her’s even better. The whole movie has a sort of eeriness to it that makes me shiver a bit. Kind of like that old school Psycho feeling. The Director (David Fincher, one of my favorites) really brings you right into the mood of the film. The music was great and the story line kicked ass.

What didn’t I like? There was a this editing issue that didn’t seem to make much sense from time to time and some of the police actors felt very out of place. Maybe some better casting was needed in that regard. The sound was a little low for my taste as well.

What’s the Bottom Line? An excellent movie that was passed up for Oscar Nods (except for Rosamund Pike), and it is definitely a movie I would own just for the acting and the twist.  

Gone Girl Rosamund Pike

Best Line in the film:

Nick Dunne: (Ben Affleck) When I think of my wife, I always think of the back of her head. I picture cracking her lovely skull, unspooling her brain, trying to get answers. The primal questions of a marriage: What are you thinking? How are you feeling? What have we done to each other? What will we do?

Breakdown 

  •       Directing: 9.5
  •       Set Direction: 8.5
  •       Costume Design and/or Direction: 8.8
  •       Music: 9.5
  •       Lead Actors: 9.8
  •       Supporting Actors: 8.4
  •       Cinematography: 9.2
  •       Sound: 7.5
  •       Effects: 9.5
  •       Story: 9.7

Average Film Score: 9.04

Nightcrawler

Jake Nightcrawler

I don’t think I’ll ever watch this movie again. Nightcrawler is an in your face wake up call to your senses. Jake Gyllenhaal delivers one of his best performances in years and does so with such ferocity that even my popcorn shuddered.

Movie Title: Nightcrawler

US Release Date: October 31, 2014

Run time: 1 Hour & 57 Minutes

Rating: R

Average Film Score: 9.15

824A1334.CR2

Number three on my Oscars Must See List is Nightcrawler, Jake Gyllenhaal’s newest and boldest performance I have ever seen.  

What’s it about?  Jake plays Louis Bloom, a kind of bum/ego-maniacal genius that starts out stealing and beating people up to getting involved into Crime Journalism. He starts off slow and realizes quite quickly that in order to make it in this big world you need to get a little nuts. 

It isn’t before long that Bloom gets his hands dirty and all for the glory of becoming one of Los Angeles’ biggest video crime journalists. The problem is he may have stepped over his some boundaries that you cannot step back from.

What I liked! Gyllenhaal is truly scary in this role and I haven’t seen this kind of acting from him since Donnie Darko, Jarhead or even Prisoners. The cinematography was really well done and the story was far out but so realistic. Gyllenhaal’s Bloom was so frightening of a man that it was hard not to watch.

What didn’t I like? There was a little too much blood for a film that shows such a realistic story. But since it is from the eyes of a sociopath it makes sense. Here is where it gets difficult for me on this review, I loved how well Gyllenhaal played the character but I absolutely hated the character. The acting from Rene Russo felt forced and the rest of the cast felt flat to me. The music was also a little less than I expected from a composer such as James Newton Howard.

What’s the Bottom Line? A very hard movie to watch as it was so in your face and left you with a very sour feeling in your stomach. I would never watch this movie again because of how much I abhorred the Louis Bloom character but the acting and story of it makes it worthwhile and maybe after a period of time I may get around to it again. 

Nightcrawler Skinny Crazy Love

Best Line in the film:

Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal): I feel like grabbing you by your ears right now and screaming, “I’m not fucking interested!”. Instead, I’m going to drive home and do some accounting.

Breakdown 

  •       Directing: 9.7
  •       Set Direction: 9
  •       Costume Design and/or Direction: 8.5
  •       Music: 8.5
  •       Lead Actors: 9.7
  •       Supporting Actors: 8.6
  •       Cinematography: 9.8
  •       Sound: 9
  •       Effects: 9.2
  •       Story: 9.5

Average Film Score: 9.15

American Sniper

American Sniper Bradley Cooper Trials

American Sniper is based on real life U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. Bradley Cooper shines at his best to provide a true in depth look at this American Hero. Clint Eastwood may just have delivered his best film to date as well.

Movie Title: American Sniper

US Release Date: December 25, 2014

Run time: 2 Hours & 12 Minutes

Rating: R

Average Film Score: 9.59

American Sniper Bradley Cooper Under Fire

Number two on my Oscars Must See List comes American Sniper. Based on real life U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. Although some have said that this movie is all about propaganda others will say that it accurately depicts a man who believed in nothing less than the freedom of his Country. 

What’s it about?  Bradley Cooper plays U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, but not at first. Chris starts out as a young Rodeo champion in Texas just trying to enjoy life with his younger brother. Once he see the 9/11 tragedy on television he decides that keeping America safe is his primary objective. After extensive rifle training from his Father growing up he knows what he has to do.

The film takes us through his SEAL training and the harshness of reality he must endure when he goes to war. His only mindset is Freedom for his country and the loved ones he has sworn to himself to protect. Unfortunately, his servitude goes much further and the realness of war changes his demeanor and outlook on life back home and he must contend with that somehow.

What I liked! The reality of being plunged into war and having the strength to endure the stresses of being a sniper was just thrown right into my face. It was actually much more surreal as I know I will most likely never see war through the eyes of such a man. Clint Eastwood brought that to me in such a superb and awesome way.

What didn’t I like? There was very little shaky camera work that it did not bother me too much but the use of low special effects on things like the blood or far away shots left me a little disheartened. All together it was very fluid with very minor flaws.

What’s the Bottom Line? A difficult movie to watch at times due to the graphic nature of the film but it reminded me so much of the reality of war very similar to how I felt when I saw Saving Private Ryan for the first time. I know this will be a heavy contender for Best Picture.

American Sniper Bradley Cooper Take a Breath

Best Line in the film:

Taya Renae Kyle (Sienna Miller): If you think that this war isn’t changing you you’re wrong. You can only circle the flames so long.

Breakdown 

  •       Directing: 9.8
  •       Set Direction: 9.8
  •       Costume Design and/or Direction: 9.6
  •       Music: 9.6
  •       Lead Actors: 9.7
  •       Supporting Actors: 9.4
  •       Cinematography: 9.5
  •       Sound: 9.5
  •       Effects: 9.3
  •       Story: 9.7

Average Film Score: 9.59