Posts tagged 2014
MOVIE CLASSROOM: Updated archive on YouTube channel

In returning to my "Movie Classroom" series of interactive whiteboard video reviews with new vigor, new skills, and new tools, I wanted to bring back and upload my old video attempts to my Every Movie Has a Lesson YouTube channel.  In a massive file drop, I recently uploaded 29 of my past Movie Classroom videos from 2014, including winners like Whiplash and Birdman.  Head over and reminisce on some fine films and commentary by yours truly.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Beneath Disheveled Stars

Kevin Baggott’s darkly comedic film “Beneath Disheveled Stars" was a favorite of the Cork Indie Film Festival and Brooklyn Underground Film Festival.  The film recently opened the 2nd annual Irish American Movie Hooley at the Gene Siskel Film Center in downtown Chicago.  As a self-made film from a self-made man, there are qualities to appreciate from this quixotic wild goose choose.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et la Bete)

All eyes are on the hotly anticipated live-action "re-imagining" of Walt Disney Pictures' enormously successful "Beauty and the Beast" from 1991.  That March 2017 sure-fire blockbuster will garner tremendous attention in its attempt to honor the animated Best Picture Oscar nominee and double Academy Award winner.  In the meantime, the fairy tale's home country of France throws down its own gauntlet to give Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve's 1740 original story and Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont's abridged 1756 standard the grand, epic big-screen treatment it warrants.  Let's just say the French sure know what they are doing.  

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MOVIE REVIEW: BFFs

While watching a film about dysfunctional relationships, regardless of its drama or comedy slant, one cannot help but measure their own relationship against the examples they are observing on screen.  The judgmental reactions, either spoken or unspoken, cannot be contained.  To capitalize on that drawing power without going to far, frankness and believability become key.  Debuting on VOD on June 3, the film festival favorite "BFFs" can call those two storytelling essentials allies and welcomes the fun of esteem-boosting judging.

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COLUMN: The 10 Best Films of 2014

Getting into the numbers, I reviewed twenty four-star films and twelve five-star gems.  That means my final "10 Best" list are all champs with two that had to be bumped to lead the next ten.  From there, my four-star reviews were ranked from 12-20 and then honorable mention.  In keeping with the hook of my website, each of my "10 Best" are presented with their best life lesson and linked full reviews.  Enjoy! 

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COLUMN: My Worst Films of 2014

Here are three lists of the worst movies of the 2014, as ranked by Every Movie Has a Lesson and fans of the website.  Enjoy and Happy New Year!  Let's turn the page to a new year.  

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MOVIE REVIEW: Tracks

In 1977, a single woman named Robyn Davidson, along with her dog and four camels, decided to trek on foot across that barren desert landscape from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean.  The route was over 1,700 miles and would be about the equivalent of walking from Omaha, Nebraska to the Pacific Ocean.  In this country, that's a matter of following a few highways and crossing all sorts of populated areas.  In Australia, that journey is unmarked, dangerous, isolated, and devoid of almost any human help or settlement.

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ADVANCE GUEST CRITIC: The Judge

As busy I get from time to time, I find that I can't see every movie under the sun, leaving my friends and colleagues to fill in the blanks for me.  As poetically as I think I wax about movies on this website as a wannabe critic, sometimes a simple sentence or two from a friend says it all.  Sometimes, it inspires me to see the movie too and get back to being my circle's go-to movie guy.  Sometimes, they save me $9 and you 800+ words of blathering.  In a new review series, I'm opening my site to friend submissions for quick-hit movie reviews.

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GUEST CRITIC: Charlie's Angels

As busy I get from time to time, I find that I can't see every movie under the sun, leaving my friends and colleagues to fill in the blanks for me.  As poetically as I think I wax about movies on this website as a wannabe critic, sometimes a simple sentence or two from a friend says it all.  Sometimes, it inspires me to see the movie too and get back to being my circle's go-to movie guy.  Sometimes, they save me $9 and you 800+ words of blathering.  In a new review series, I'm opening my site to friend submissions for quick-hit movie reviews.

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MOVIE REVIEW: The Zero Theorem

All of this plot in "The Zero Theorem" operates in the wholly imaginative and tremendously trippy world that we expect from Terry Gilliam, which is just as it should be, in a way.  I wasn't expecting anything less than his previous surreal creations.  It's got that quirk going for it, but it's not used efficiently, outside of the fact that the film kept its dreary magic carpet ride at under two hours.    

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MOVIE REVIEW: The One I Love

“The One I Love” is a thinking film that skews much closer to the romantic comedy vein of its trailer, but offers just enough icy and sobering implications to get that hamster wheel moving in your head that will nudge you ever so slightly to the edge of your seat.  You won’t be gripping your arm rest or partner’s hand in tension.  Rather, you’ll be retreating to crossed arms of curiosity and chin-rubbing intrigue and attention.  Clever smiles outnumber dropped jaws.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

After taking in "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For," the second collaboration between legendary graphic novel creator Frank Miller and virtuoso technical filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, I feel like coining a new term.  "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" is a "genre-buster," meaning that it is a film that pushes far beyond the boundaries of its generally assigned category.  In my opinion, to be a genre-buster, you have to break the confinements of at least three genres.  Two isn't enough.  Two is an "action comedy," "romantic fantasy," or etc. and those are plain as day and too easy.  You've got to mix three and do it well.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Guardians of the Galaxy

"Guardians of the Galaxy," on paper, was supposed to be that movie that tested the studio's resilience and ability, yet it's aiming to be the big August hitter for the summer of 2014.  Ladies and gentlemen, it will win that title and then some.  As out-there as it is, this is the most flat-out fun a Marvel movie has ever been.  "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" might be the better overall film and "The Avengers" will always be the first cornerstone off this combined universe's monumental success, but "Guardians of the Galaxy" might be the movie you keep watching year after year as a new favorite.  The catchy and entertaining trailers nearly don't do it justice.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Magic in the Moonlight

Woody Allen has the Midas touch of artistic credibility.  Non-actors become notable presences.  No-name actors become discovered somebodies.  Name actors look better than they normally do and great actors get even greater, even when the films aren't that great.  In his latest film, "Magic in the Moonlight," Allen bestows that touch on one great actor and one name actress with Colin Firth and Emma Stone as his leads. 

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MOVIE REVIEW: Sex Tape

If you've seen that trailer, then you've seen 90% of the best that this movie has to offer.  As is often the case when a 2-3 minute trailer is better than a 90-minute-and-change movie, something I call "The 'Nacho Libre' Effect," the filmmakers had a really good pitch, premise, and starting idea, but couldn't develop it right from there.  The wandering cliches pile on and they start to lose their sense and value by the time we get to the necessary end.

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MOVIE REVIEW: 22 Jump Street

Disclaimer:  I pulled this trick out a few years ago in comparing “The Expendables” with “The Expendables 2” where, because of the incredibly repetitive scenarios between the original and the sequel, I literally wrote on top of the first review for the review of the second movie.  After seeing “22 Jump Street,” a movie that intentionally aims to copy its first effort, I knew this was a good chance to have a little editor’s fun again.  Follow the strike-throughs below for edits and the bold writing for new language inserts.  Other than that, the review for the first film might as well be the review for the second film.  It’s that similar.

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COLUMN: 2014 Late Summer Movie Preview

With the end of June, we've come to the halfway point of the traditionally long four-month summer movie season.  In my opinion, even though the box office receipts keep rolling in here and abroad, May and June brought more disappointments than winners.  The offerings of July and August aren't usually as strong as May and June, but maybe this year will be different.    

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EDITORIAL: The Best of 2014 (so far)

Here are my picks for the "Best of 2014 (so far)" with a halfway count of the five best instead of the full ten.  It must be said, that I have far from seen every possible 2014 film entry.  Plenty of mainstream and arthouse films have eluded me and my busy schedule, but there is enough to talk about here.   As always, in matching with the theme of my website, I couple the best-so-far selection with the film's best life lesson.  Enjoy!

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