Check Out The Half Popped Review Movie Awards For 2014!


Okay, one last precursor for tonight.  The Half Popped Reviews Year End Movie Awards were voted on by a group of dedicated film bloggers and they’re important to me because I was one of the voters!  You can check out the full details of the voting by clicking here and I suggest that you do because I am quoted all through the article!

(And, incidentally, I would recommend that all of my fellow movie bloggers check out the Half-Popped website.  It’s a good way to see what other smart and witty people are saying about the movies and it’s also a good way to gain exposure for your own work.)

Here are the winners!

Favorite Comedy: The LEGO Movie (runner up: 22 Jump Street)

Favorite Thriller: Gone Girl (runner up: Nightcrawler)

Favorite Horror Flick: The Babadook (runner-up: Under The Skin)

Favorite Sci-Fi: Interstellar (runner-up: The One I Love)

Favorite Drama Movie: Boyhood (runner-up: Locke)

Favorite Action Movie: Edge of Tomorrow (runner-up: The Raid 2)

Best Sequel: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (runner-up: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes)

Worst Sequel: Transformers: Age of Extinction (runner-up: The Amazing Spider-Man 2)

Super Hero of the Year: Star-lord (runner-up: Lego Batman)

Best Adaptation: Gone Girl (runner-up: Guardians of the Galaxy)

Worst Adaptation: The Legend of Hercules (runner-up: Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For)

Most Disappointing Movie: The Monuments Men (runner-up: Transcendence)

Most Surprisingly Good Movie: Locke (runner-up: Chef)

Best Visuals: Interstellar (runner-up: The Grand Budapest Hotel)

Best Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for Birdman (runner-up: Richard Linklater for Boyhood)

Best Actress: Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl (runner-up: Scarlett Johansson in Under the Skin)

Best Actor: Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler and Enemy (runner-up: Tom Hardy in Locke and The Drop)

Best Picture: Boyhood (runner-up: Under the Skin)

Most Enjoyable Movie: Guardians of the Galaxy (runner-up: The LEGO Movie)

Most Anticipated Film of 2015: Star Wars Episode VII (runner-up: Avengers: Age of Ultron)

Here Are the St. Louis Film Critics Nominations!


The Golden Globes weren’t the only precursors to be announced today!  Here are the St. Louis Film Critics Nominations.  One thing that I like about the St. Louis Film Critics is that they give out an award for “best scene.”  Personally, I would vote for the prison break from Guardians of the Galaxy.

Here are the nominees:

(h/t to awards circuit)

Gone Girl
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game

Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
David Fincher, “Gone Girl”
Alejandro Inarritu, “Birdman”
Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”
Morten Tyldum, “The Imitation Game”

Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game”
Jake Gyllenhaal, “Nightcrawler”
Tom Hardy, “Locke”
Michael Keaton, “Birdman”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”

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

Josh Brolin, “Inherent Vice”
Ethan Hawke, “Boyhood”
Edward Norton, “Birdman”
Tony Revolori, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Mark Ruffalo, “Foxcatcher”
J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”

Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”
Jessica Chastain, “A Most Violent Year”
Carrie Coon, “Gone Girl”
Mackenzie Foy, “Interstellar”
Kiera Knightley, “The Imitation Game”
Emma Stone, “Birdman”

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Gone Girl
Guardians of the Galaxy
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything

Gone Girl
The Grand Budapest Hotel

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Guardians of the Galaxy

Gone Girl
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Mr. Turner
Under the Skin

Gone Girl
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Inherent Vice
Under the Skin

Begin Again
Get On Up
Guardians of the Galaxy
Into the Woods

Force Majeure
Human Capital
Two Days, One Night

Big Hero 6
The Book of Life
The Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2
The Lego Movie
Penguins of Madagascar

Finding Vivian Maier
Jodorowsky’s Dune
Life Itself
Red Army
Rich Hill

22 Jump Street
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Guardians of the Galaxy
Obvious Child
St. Vincent

The Grand Budapest Hotel

22 Jump Street – End Credits
Birdman – Times Square
The Guardians of the Galaxy – Prison Break
Selma – Church Bombing
Whiplash – Finale drum solo
X-Men: Days of Future Past – Quicksilver Pentagon Escape


Trash Film Guru Vs. The Summer Blockbusters : “22 Jump Street”


I know, I know, go on and say it — I’m getting to the party pretty late with this one and anyone who wants to see 22 Jump Street has probably already done so.  Fair enough. But, see, that’s the reason I’m getting to it so late — I had absolutely no interest in catching this flick three  years from now on a boring Saturday afternoon in the middle of winter, much less paying to watch it on the big screen, but last weekend my brother wanted to go see a movie, this was playing at the local discount house up the street (the historic Riverview on 38th Street in south Minneapolis), and so we went. Better late than never, right?

Actually, um, no. I admit I wasn’t expecting much from this flick, but even by the admittedly dire standards of the Hollywood “bromance comedy,” this is atrocious, unfunny, subpar stuff with absolutely nothing going for it.

Let me qualify that statement, though, for the sake of fairness — it has nothing going for it unless you’re into movies loaded down with self-referential “in-jokes” that make fun of the production itself on a “meta” level, or movies with tired-ass “say no to drugs” messages, or movies that make incompetent cops look like harmless nincompoops rather than walking, breathing weapons of potential mass destruction (ask the folks in Ferguson if inept, bungling, cover-your-ass policework is a laughing matter), or movies loaded with lowest-common-denominator racial and sexual “humor” designed to already divide a fractured society along cultural fault lines under the thin veneer of “uniting us in shared laughter.” If you enjoy any — or all — of that bullshit, then I’m sure you’ll find 22 Jump Street a rollicking good time, even if half (or more) of the jokes fall completely flat even under the risible set of circumstances I just outlined.


Anyway, here’s the deal, plot-wise : Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are back as undercover 21st-century Keystone Kops Schmidt and Jenko,  respectively, Ice Cube is back as their boss in another role poking fun at his formerly-bad-ass-image, and this time his two charges are headed off to college to bust up a new “designer drug” ring rather than doing it in high school again like, I take it, they did in the first film (which I haven’t seen). Stupid shit happens, Jenko ends up on the football team, Schmidt ends up fucking Ice Cube’s daughter (played by Amber Stevens), and just when you think this steaming pile of racist, misogynist dogshit is over, they tack on about another half-hour to send the gang down to spring break in Mexico, and set this film’s place in history as the only spring break movie ever without so much as one naked female breast on display.

That’s about it as far as restraint goes, though,  in this little opus from co-directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (who, I take it, helmed 2012’s 21 Jump Street as well). Subtle is just not a word in these guys’ vocabulary. Shit, even at the end they keep piling it on as the credits roll, showing us one purportedly “funny” undercover scenario after another for our two “heroes,” wearing out the gag’s welcome to a degree that anyone with two functioning brain cells would consider cruel.

And then it hit me — the “two-functioning-brain-cells” crowd isn’t who flicks like this are made for. Nor is that the “target audience” for anything coming out of Hollywood’s blockbuster comedy machine these days. Dear God, there’s an entire generation of comedy “stars” who would be flipping burgers or digging ditches for a living if the public at large had any taste. Roll call : Johan Hill, Channing Tatum, Seth Rogen, Seann William Scott, Andy Samberg, Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller, James Franco, Danny McBride, Owen Wilson, Zack Galifianikis, Melissa McCarthy, Steve Carrell, David Spade,  and the worst offenders of all, the wretchedly untalented Vince Vaughn and Adam Sandler.

Whew! I’m exhausted just from pouring out that list, and I’m sure it’s not even a comprehensive one. Point is : none of these people are funny, they never have been, and they never will be.


Look, I have no desire to sound like a curmudgeon (whoops, too late!), but we’ve got to face facts here : the state of the Hollywood comedy is no laughing matter. We’re in deep trouble. This shit is stupid, these supposed “A-listers” can’t carry a film, and the “demographic” they’re pitching this crap to is, plain and simple, the idiot crowd. If a truly inventive and talented comic performer like Bill Murray, or Richard Pryor, or Gene Wilder,  or the late, great Robin Williams came along today, Hollywood wouldn’t have  the first idea how to utilize their talents. “Come back to us with some fat jokes or fart jokes and we’ll see if we can’t find you some work. Oh, and do you know how to make fun of Mexicans? That’s always good for a laugh.”



Honestly, news coverage of wars or humanitarian disasters is funnier than tripe like 22 Jump Street. Just because a film is openly aware of its own absurdity doesn’t make it instantly less absurd in and of itself — in fact, quite the reverse, because it gives lazy filmmakers a crutch — “let’s admit we’re stupid so we can spend the whole rest of the movie making fun of how stupid we are.” The most talented folks in the comedy game have always understood how to point out and lampoon all of life’s admitted absurdities without insulting the intelligence of their audience. This new crop today? They think you’re such a lame-brained asshole that they can spend two hours calling you a lame-brained asshole to your face and you won’t even get upset because, hey, they’re saying that they’re lame-brained assholes, too!

If you want to keep playing along with this ruse, that’s your business, but I’m through with it. This is the last mainstream Hollywood comedy I see — even at discount prices — until they get their shit together.

Arleigh’s Top 9 Films of 2014 (Front End)

We’re now past the halfway point for the film season of 2014. The year has seen it’s share of hits, bombs and surprises. Many look at the box-office numbers some that these films generate as a sign of their success. Others look at how the critics-at-large have graded these films as a way to determine whether they’ve been successful.

I know some people would list nothing but independent arthouse films as their best. They look at genre and big-budget films as not being worthy of being the best of the year, so far. It’s that sort of thinking that limits one’s appreciation of film, in general.

Does having a 150 million dollar budget mean that a film cannot be one of the best of the year. Past history will suggest that’s not the case. Yet, there are cinephiles out there who will dismiss such films because they consider it as being too Hollywood. The same goes for people who look down upon genre films like horror, scifi, westerns and many others that do not fit their slice-of-life drama study. They’re not existential enough for some.

I’ve come to look at all the films I’ve been fortunate enough to see through the first six months of 2014 and picked 9 of the best (I picked a random odd number since Lisa Marie already does the even numbers thing) no matter their genre, type of film and budget. I’ve picked a couple of scifi films, a documentary, an action-packed blockbuster sequel, a wonderfully made 3-D animated film (itself a sequel), a neo-noir Western, a brutal crime-thriller, an indie horror-thriller and one of the best comedies of the last couple years.

In no special order….

noah-banner222Noah (dir. by Darren Aronofsky)

capawsmovarthc-cvr-a91f8Captain America: The Winter Soldier (dir. by Anthony and Joe Russo)

cold_in_july_ver2_xlgCold in July (dir. by Jim Mickle)

HTTYD2How To Train Your Dragon 2 (dir. by Dean DuBois)

JodorowskysDuneJodorowsky’s Dune (dir. by Frank Pavich)

the-raid-2-berandal01The Raid 2: Berandal (dir. by Gareth Evans)

Snowpiercer (dir. by Bong Joon-ho)

GrandPianoGrand Piano (dir. by Eugenio Mira)

22JumpStreet22 Jump Street (dir. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller)

My honorable mentions: All Cheerleaders Die, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Joe, Edge of Tomorrow, Lego: The Movie, Blue Ruin, Locke, Under the Skin, Only Lovers Left Alive, The Sacrament

Trailer: 22 Jump Street (Red Band)

One of the biggest surprises for 2012 was the fact that a remake of an 80’s TV show on the fledgling Fox Network ended up being a major hit for the year. The show was 21 Jump Street and the film that stared Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill was a laugh riot from beginning to end.

So, just like any hit that comes out of Hollywood there’s bound to be a sequel and the producers were quick to make it happen. This is why in the summer of 2014 we will get the sequel to 21 Jump Street which will be called 22 Jump Street. It would seem the Korean Catholic Church being used in the first film was sod so now they move across the street to the abandoned Vietnamese Catholic Church on 22 Jump Street.

Will this sequel catch lightning in a bottle once again? Will Channing Tatum finally realize that his true calling is to be a comedic action star?

22 Jump Street will answer all these questions and more you probably didn’t realize you had on June 13, 2014.