#35 – A Walk In The Woods – by Nick Andersen

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A Walk In The Woods is 2015 R-rated adventure comedy biographical film, directed by Ken Kwapis based on the memoir by the same name by Bill Bryson. The film stars Robert Redford, Nick Nolte and Emma Thompson. It follows Bill Bryson, a successful writer in his 60s deciding to hike the Appalachian trail, with his rotund friend Stephen Katz whom unexpectedly contacted him after many years without seeing each other, asking to tag along. The last film that I laughed so much out loud, must have been Ted (2012) and before that it was Pineapple Express (2008). With Ted it was because the humor was for the first time outrageous, and with Pineapple Express, it was hilarious watching two dumb stoners which James Franco and Seth Rogen nailed. A Walk In The Woods’ comedy is nothing like that. It’s honest and doesn’t force absurd or unlikely situations, which I believe has been the mistake many comedy films have made in the past. Reading and thinking now after watching it that it’s a biography, makes it that much funnier. Robert Redford himself said he had never laughed so much from reading a book.

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The film is a fun treat. The long-lost friendship between Redford and Nolte is great and Nolte’s character adds a lot to the story. He is so out of shape and his face is red almost throughout the entire film looking like he’s about to drop dead. He is the opposite type of person to try and hike a 2,000+ mile stretch. The screenplay is the winner here as it is hilariously good! Especially Katz’s remarks and comments to the small moments in each scene. At one point my face literally hurt from laughing so much. This is definitely a feel-good film. Besides the hilarity, the cinematography was stunning. So much forest and for so many miles all over. It was beautiful to see and learn about the Appalachian trail. I will certainly read the book and hope to get a good laugh out of the read as well. I highly recommend this one to anybody who’s looking for a good hour of fun. This biopic film will NOT waste your time.

Thanks for reading my short review!

– Nick Andersen

#21 – What’s Eating Gilbert Grape – by Nick Andersen

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What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? is a 1993 drama film directed by Lasse Hallström and written by Peter Hedges. The film is an adaptation from Peter Hedges’ book of the same title. Its lead actors are Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio and Juliette Lewis. It’s the story about Gilbert, man of the house, who cares for his younger brother Arnie who has a development disability and for his morbidly obese mother with the help of his two sisters. They live in Endora, Iowa, a place where nothing really happens or ever will. It is the life of Gilbert and his dealings with family, work, and love.

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Film Trivia: 21 Interesting Facts About Interstellar

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Here are 21 interesting facts about the extraordinary film: Interstellar.

1. Christopher Nolan cast Matthew McConaughey after seeing his performance in Mud (2012). Nolan recalled, “I didn’t know how much potential he had until I saw Mud. Not just as a leading man, but sheer acting talent.”

2. The screenplay is based on the works of the theoretical physicist Kip Thorne.

3. Steven Spielberg was set to direct the film in 2006 and hired Jonathan Nolan to write the screenplay. In 2012, after Spielberg’s departure, Jonathan suggested the project to his brother, Christopher.

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#18 – Defiance – by Nick Andersen

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Defiance is an R-rated 2008 action drama history film directed by Edward Zwick and written by him and Clayton Frohman. Some of Mr. Zwick’s popular films include The Last Samurai (my review here), Blood Diamond, Legends of The Fall, Glory and Traffic along with many others. The film tells the true story of the Bielski partisans, a group led by Polish Jewish brothers who saved Jews in Belarus during the Second World War. It is an adaptation of Nechama Tec’s book Defiance: The Bielski Partisans. It’s an incredible story of how these brothers rescued and protected so many Jews in the forest from the Germans. I strongly believe that this is Daniel Craig’s best performance of his career. His Bond character vanishes as he completely becomes Polish Jew, Tuvia Bielski, fighting for the survival of his people.

!!! SPOILERS AHEAD !!!

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#17 – The Men Who Stare At Goats – by Nick Andersen

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The Men Who Stare At Goats is a 2009 R-rated drama comedy directed by Grant Heslov inspired by Jon Ronson’s book of the same title. Both Jon and Peter Straughan are the writers for this film. The war parody of the true story behind the New Earth Army, an experimental US army unit of “Warrior Monks” with unparalleled psychic powers. It’s funny at times and entertaining but feels like it stretches or has you lose interest once in a while but then brings you back. Although a good cast, it’s a slightly weird film but with a funny touch.

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#16 – Coherence – by Nick Andersen

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Coherence is a 2013 science fiction thriller indie film directed and written by James Ward Byrkit. It is so much more than what the sypnosis and trailer shows us. I had no idea what I was going to watch. All I knew was that it was a recommended sci-fi thriller. After 15 minutes I was glued to the screen and as the plot developed, I became addicted as the mystery kept growing and feeding my curious mind. What an exciting mind trip! The film has only 8 actors and 95% of the film is inside one house. That leaves the characters to carry the film and wow, they succeeded phenomenally! Truly one of the best science fiction and mind-baffling films I have ever seen. This is the type of film you watch many times, and each time you discover something new.

!!! SPOILERS AHEAD !!!

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#15 – Dances with Wolves – by Nick Andersen

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Dances with Wolves is a 1990 adventure, drama and western film directed by Kevin Costner and written by Michael Blake based off of his novel with the same title. Don’t let the genre, western, make you look away in case you don’t enjoy them. I personally am not interested in the western times, much less films about it. But in Dances with Wolves, it is not centered on the modern day life of the people of that time. It is centered on the way of life of the forgotten Sioux tribe. If you are looking for entertainment, you will not find it in this film. This film teaches many lessons, and is about the bonding of people and the respect towards nature. A simple enough idea to have but ruined by another idea. The idea that one person decides that he/she is superior to others.

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#13 – Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – by Nick Andersen

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Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) is an R-rated 2014 comedy and drama film directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu. The film’s script was written by the director himself along with Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, and Armando Bo. It stars Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Edward Norton, Zach Galifianakis, Naomi Watts, Andrea Riseborough and Amy Ryan. It is the story about a faded Hollywood actor, who once was famous for his iconic role as Birdman, now struggling not to lose his career by adapting, directing and starring in a Broadway play written by Raymond Carver. The film is quite extraordinary. Iñárritu’s one-take illusion is mesmerizingly unbelievable! Michael Keaton’s performance is the winner in this one; truly one of his best. Edward Norton’s was excellent as usual. Whatever is shown to us in movies, whether relevant or not at the time, it is important to keep those things in mind, for if we ignore them, we won’t be able to come up with more than one interpretation in the end and this movie definitely has more than just one!

!!! SPOILERS AHEAD !!!

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#10 – Kingsman: The Secret Service – by Nick Andersen

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Kingsman: The Secret Service is a 2014 R-rated comedy film directed and written — alongside Jane Goldman — by Matthew Vaughn based on the comic books The Secret Service. It stars a wide known cast, but the main actors in this story are Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Samuel L. Jackson and Taron Egerton. To get an idea of Vaughn’s directing, think of films Layer Cake (2004), Kick-Ass (2010) and X-men: First Class (2011). If you haven’t seen Layer Cake or Kick-Ass you cannot appreciate this movie for what it is. Kingsman is its own film genre. It’s satirical, bloody, ridiculously funny, foul mouthed and action filled. It’s almost like watching a Tarantino film. I mean, Samuel L. Jackson is even in it!

!!! SPOILERS AHEAD !!!

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#9 – Deja Vu – by Nick Andersen

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Deja Vu is a 2006 film directed by the late Tony Scott (1944-2012) starring Denzel Washington, Paula Patton and Jim Caviezel. It is based on a story by writers Bill Marsilii and Terri Rossio. You can never go wrong with a movie if Denzel is in it. You are almost always guaranteed an entertaining one or two hours with his performance and he always delivers the best he can be to the particular role of each film. This was Tony Scott’s second Denzel Washington movie (first being Man On Fire – 2004) and went on to direct two more with him (Taking of Pelham 123 and Unstopabble). For a movie before 2010, and from the many others we’ve seen after, Deja Vu stands out with great action and edge-of-the-seat suspense. Throw in a little Sci-Fi and you’ve got a box office hit.

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