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Sean Hill

Sean Hill’s Greatest Films of All Time #11 SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER

 

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“You know how many times someone told me I was good in my life? Two! Twice! Two times! This raise today and dancing at the disco!”-Tony Manero

I know what you’re thinking, SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER?!! That disco movie?!?! Has he lost his mind??! No, I am happy to report that I am perfectly sane and yes SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER is a great coming of age story. Yes it has disco music but it is not is a disco movie. THANK GOD IT'S FRIDAY is disco movie. Before I begin my discussion keep these things about the film in mind.

What Does The Success Of Straight Outtta Compton Mean For The Future OF Black Films?

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The hip-hop group N.W.A(Niggaz Wit Attitudes) consisting of  Eric Wright (Eazy E) O'Shea Jackson (Ice Cube), Andre Young (Dr. Dre), Lorenzo Patterson (MC Ren) and Antoine Carraby (DJ Yella), managed to merge the things they saw going on in their neighborhood into the revolutionary music they created.  Their biopic STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON chronicles their rise to fame and how they became the world’s most dangerous group. It is an exceptional entry into the biopic genre and is also one of the best films of 2015. As September 3rd 2015 STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON has been #1 at the box office for three weeks in a row.

Sean Hill Reviews EVEREST

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On May 10, 1996, Rob Hall (Jason Clarke), the safety-conscious and leader of climbers Adventure Consultants, and Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal) leader of another group of climbers, Mountain Madness, led their teams on an ascent toward the highest point on Earth: the summit of Everest, 29,029 ft. above sea level. This is essentially the cruising altitude of a 747.

Quick Take-Chloë Grace Moretz Takes on Aliens in THE 5TH WAVE

 

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In the new film The 5th Wave, four waves of increasingly deadly attacks have left most of Earth decimated.  Against a backdrop of fear and distrust, Cassie (Chloë Grace Moretz) is on the run, desperately trying to save her younger brother.  As she prepares for the inevitable and lethal 5th wave, Cassie teams up with a young man who may become her final hope - if she can only trust him.

Like most filmgoers Chloë Moretz came into my radar based on her performance as the foul mouthed Hit Girl in 2010’s KICK-ASS. She followed up that performance with another good role as Abby in the criminally unseen teen vampire film LET ME IN. Both films were released in 2010 and show how much range she has as an actress.

I WOULD DIE 4 REISSUES: LOOKING 4 THE PURPLE BANANA

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As of 4/18/14 Prince is in the news again and not for a name change or wearing assless pants on TV. He is in the news for his music. More specifically, his music from the 80’s. It was announced today that Prince will retain ownership of his master recordings he made for Warner Brothers. Warner Brothers retains the right to digitally remaster and re-release his old catalogue. Being a hardcore fan since 1983 this should be sending thoughts of Little Red Corvette’s and Purple Rain dancing in my head, however I am holding in a wait and see mode.

SEAN HILL REVIEWS JURASSIC WORLD

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JURASSIC PARK released in 1993 and directed by Steven Spielberg is one of the most successful films of all time. For those that are unfamiliar, the film centers on the fictional Isla Nublar where a billionaire philanthropist and a small team of genetic scientists have created a wildlife park of cloned dinosaurs. The film featured ground breaking computer-generated imagery by Industrial Light & Magic and with life-sized animatronic dinosaurs built by special effects wizard Stan Winston and his team. To showcase the film's sound design, which included a mixture of various animal noises for the dinosaur roars, Spielberg invested in the creation of Digital Theater Systems (DTS), a company specializing in digital surround sound formats. The film went on to gross $900 million worldwide during its initial theater run and was the highest grossing film until 1997’s TITANIC. A film that successful will most certainly bring a sequel and in this case two sequels THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK and JURASSIC PARK III. Both of which were box office successes but received mixed critical responses. Now fourteen years after the last entry, comes full circle as the park that was only a promise comes to life. The park is now open. Welcome to JURASSIC WORLD.

SEAN HILL REVIEWS AMERICAN ULTRA

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Mike Howell (Jesse Eisenberg) spends his time getting stoned, working at the Cash & Carry and writing a graphic novel about a superhero monkey. He and his bail-bondsman his Phoebe (Kristen Stewart) are a match made in Heaven. He’d like to take her to Hawaii but whenever he tries to leave the city limits he experiences panic attacks. What Mike does not know is that he is actually a sleeper agent created by the CIA. I swear I am not making this up.

SEAN HILL REVIEWS STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON

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During the late 1980’s the streets of Compton, California were some of the most dangerous in the country. The plague of crack cocaine was growing at an alarming rate as the violent gang drug business propelled its use. The LAPD specialized gang unit were leading the charge on the war on drugs that left residents of the Southern California community distrustful of authority. Rising from all this was the hip-hop group N.W.A(Niggaz Wit Attitudes) consisting of Eric Wright (Eazy E) O'Shea Jackson (Ice Cube), Andre Young (Dr. Dre), Lorenzo Patterson (MC Ren) and Antoine Carraby (DJ Yella). As a group, they manage to merge the things they saw going on in their society into the revolutionary music they created. Their biopic STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON chronicles that rise to fame and how they became the world’s most dangerous group. It is and exceptional entry in to the biopic genre and is one of the best films of the year.

Ricki and The Flash Review

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Meryl Streep is without question the greatest female actress of all time. She made her screen debut in the 1977 television film THE DEADLIEST SEASON and made her film debut later that same year in the film JULIA. She received the first of her 19 Academy Award nominations with her second film appearance, THE DEER HUNTER, in 1978. Currently she has more Academy Award nominations than any actor or actress in history and has won Best Supporting Actress for KRAMER VS. KRAMER (1979) and Best Actress for SOPHIE’S CHOICE (1982) and THE IRON LADY (2011). Some of her other nominated roles include THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT’S WOMANT (1981), SILKWOOD (1983), OUT OF AFRICA (1985), A CRY IN THE DARK (1988) THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY (1995), THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA (2006), and INTO THE WOODS (2014). Streep has also received 29 Golden Globe nominations, winning eight. Now Streep is back on the big screen and she takes on a whole new gig as a hard-rocking singer/guitarist in RICKI AND THE FLASH.

Sean Hill Reviews The Fantastic Four

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The Fantastic Four were created by comic book legend Stan Lee and made their comic book debut in Marvel Comics in 1961. The four people who gained their superpowers after being exposed to cosmic rays are Reed Richards known as Mister Fantastic who is the leader of the group and gained the ability to stretch his body to various length and shapes; Sue Storm known as the Invisible Woman who as her name suggests can render herself invisible; Johnny Storm, known as the Human Torch, is Sue's younger brother, can generate flames, surround himself with them; and Ben Grimm known as The Thing , who possesses superhuman strength and endurance due to the nature of his stone-like flesh. The Fantastic Four stories are about characters who did not have to wear masks, and who sometimes clashed with each other. The comics were set in the real world so readers could identify even more with the Four. This will be the fourth film appearance of the four with the first film in 1994 never being released via theaters or home video but is available via bootlegs. The first released film was in 2005 and not well-received by audiences or critics. Despite the lackluster performance a second film was made RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER which was another disappointment. The franchise has been rebooted yet again and the results are less than that….fantastic.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier REVIEW

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I am not a comic book geek. That statement is in no way in disrespect for those who label themselves as such. It takes a certain level of dedication to know every nuance and minutia of their favorite superhero. I say this in an effort of full disclosure as my review is based solely on the film alone and not based on any prior knowledge of preconceived notions. My first deep exposure to Captain America was not in the first CAPTAIN AMERICA film but THE AVENGERS. Yes I know blasphemy to some but I just never had an interest in seeing the film. Even in THE AVENGERS I found him to be a pretty bland character. I attributed that to a combination of his role in the film as and the actor who portrays him Chris Evans. And hold on to your hats geeks, I only saw CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER until a day or so before I saw the sequel. I did not find that film all that enjoyable. In fact I thought it was somewhat cheesy. I did not have very high hopes for the sequel and despite the early good buzz for the sequel I was not expecting to like the film very much. I was wrong.

The film takes place two years after “the event in New York” and finds Steve Rogers AKA Captain America still working for S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division) and trying to find his place in a world that has literally passed him by. This is an interesting aspect of the character but the film barely  devotes anytime delving into this. There is a brief sequence in which he visits The Smithsonian and sees an exhibit of Captain America’s history. The main purpose of this sequence is to set up events that will occur later in film. That is about all the time the film has for character development. The film is more concerned with action and intrigue and it delivers on both.

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The first action set piece is very well made. He and fellow agent Natasha Romanoff AKA The Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) are assigned to a rescue mission to a save a S.H.I.E.L.D. vessel from pirates. This sequence shows both Rogers’ and Romanoff’s fighting skills and the whole sequence is very well staged. I also noticed a lack of CGI in this sequence. The next big action sequence is one of the film’s best. It involves and ambush and assault on Nick Fury (Samuel Jackson) while he is enroute to a rendezvous. The sequence involves a high speed car chase, a shootout, and high-tech battering ram. The effects are done in camera and it at least to my eye was not aided by CGI. It is all very realistic and grounds the film in reality. The sequence ends with not only the best vehicle flip since the truck in THE DARK KNIGHT but also introduces the film’s villain, The Winter Soldier.

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There is a great deal going on in the film plot wise. It is more a spy thriller/action film rather than  a superhero movie. The plot is bit talky and complicated but I was able to follow it. However the film seems to be more  concerned with advancing the Marvel Cinematic Universe than being a complete stand-alone film. That is not to say that is not good entertainment. The definite strength of the film is the villain. As with all action pictures they are only as good as their bad guy and this film has a winner with The Winter Soldier who may remind some viewers of The Terminator. He is virtual no talk all business and seems to possess the same strengths as Captain America. Though they are fundamentally opposite they are physical equals. Another of the film’s strength is the limited use of CGI in the films action set pieces which are mostly car crashes/chases and shootouts. Similar to THE DARK KNIGHT the action sequences are shot on real city streets and aids in giving those set pieces a realistic look. These are some of the best action sequences I have seen a quite a while. The film’s biggest weakness.enough Winter Soldier. I have a theory as to why there is a lack of screen time for the villain. His identity is supposed to be a surprise to the character and I believe the audience. Well at least a surprise to a novice like me. He is not one of those “talky” villains as he speaks thru his actions. Like The Terminator he has very little dialogue in the film. Another weakness is the film is overstuffed with characters that may or may not play future roles in future Marvel movies. Will Rogers’ new found friend Sam AKA Falcon (Anthony Mackie) join him for future adventures? I certainly hope so. Then there are the characters played by film legend Robert Redford and television star Emily VanCamp. Sometimes you need a flow chart to keep it all straight. Sometimes Rogers feels like a supporting character in his own film but the action sequences make up for the time that spent on exposition.

Overall this is a really good film. The action sequences are first rate though I would have like to have seen a little more insight into the Steve Rogers/Captain America character. I would also liked to have seen more of the villain do his thing as well. The film is not very “super” which is an aspect that I liked. Fans of course will eat this film up though there is lot for non-fans to enjoy here as well. Though you might want to brush up on your Marvel knowledge before seeing this. I am sure I missed a few in-jokes and references but hey as I said I am not a comic book geek. Any film that has a sequence that has a montage set the Marvin Gaye’s TROUBLE MAN will always get a Thumbs Up in my book! As the end credits say “CAPTAIN AMERICA Will Return in THE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON. In the meantime can we get a Black Widow movie? Please!

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Sidenote:

As Marvel fans know, stay for the credits. I will say no more.