Guardians of the Galaxy Jul30

Guardians of the Galaxy

The Guardians of the Galaxy are basically the Marvel universe’s weird cousins. They are mostly castaways from a much more obscure comic book series playing second-fiddle to the likes of the X-Men, Captain America and Iron Man. But anyone with weird cousins knows that at the family reunion they are usually the ones you have the most fun hanging out with.

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Jul10

Dawn of the Planet o...

Rise of the Planet of the Apes was my #1 movie of 2011. I was stunned by its mix of B-movie gusto, special effects and general whimsy. It was even enough to overcome a clunky script and sleepwalking James Franco. Problems aside, the film was a stark reminder of the power of the Hollywood blockbuster (one that we see less and less of these days.)

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Tammy Jul02

Tammy

Count me as a Melissa McCarthy fan. I have a soft spot for her particular brand of loud, brash comedy. Considering the cast she has assembled for Tammy I would say she has a few fans in Hollywood as well.

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Edge of Tomorrow Jun05

Edge of Tomorrow

Edge of Tomorrow is going to yield a ton of Groundhog Day comparisons and I suppose that’s fair. The film’s main conceit involves repeating the same day over and over as the protagonist gains more knowledge of his ultimate purpose

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X-Men: Days of Future Past May22

X-Men: Days of Futur...

I guess everyone has their superhero. And while I’ve written endlessly for two-years about my superhero fatigue I’m allowed to enjoy this crap every once in a while. Maybe it’s dumb luck to have such an inconsistent series like X-Men find its stride again.

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Godzilla May15

Godzilla

1998 Godzilla is an abomination. It was directed by world-class hack Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, 10,000 B.C.) and starred Ferris Bueller and some other people. Emmerich was rolling in ID4 money and Jurassic Park momentum which helped him bankroll that nightmare behemoth.

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Transcendence Apr17

Transcendence

Transcendence is a seriously frustrating sci-fi enterprise. On the one hand the film is chalk of full of interesting (albeit well tread) ideas – technology vs. humanity, free will vs. destiny etc. etc. On the other hand the film is stupendously dumb and has very little to say about any of said ideas. Its true camp of the highest order with a serious bit of Hollywood gloss smeared on the lens to distract us from the true lack of substance.

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier Apr03

Captain America: The...

Captain America is a depressing and tragic character when you really break it down. He was a diminutive man with a huge heart, dedicated to serving his country even when his body wouldn’t allow it. His voluntary inclusion in a super soldier program made him a monster of a man and a marketing ploy to sell war bonds in the 1940’s.

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Noah Mar31

Noah

In the book of Genesis, Noah’s motivations are never abundantly clear. We are given clear reasons for God’s intentions – man’s wickedness has scorched the earth and it’s time to push the reset button.

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Enemy Mar22

Enemy

No one will accuse Enemy of lacking ideas. The new film from Director Denis Villeneuve is chalk full of them. His tendency to indulge in these ideas is also on display. For better or worse Villeneuve uses Enemy as a playground for the human condition – leaping between reality and pseudo dreamscapes to ratchet up the tension.

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The 2014 Academy Awards Feb28

The 2014 Academy Awa...

One great thing about having your own movie website is that you can write your top ten of the year in early January – a celebration of the wonders of cinema – and then go silent from January – March as studios dump their most horrific mutants into theaters…

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Top Ten of 2013 Jan10

Top Ten of 2013

Let’s get the general platitudes out of the way. 2013 was a stunning year at the movies. To narrow a “best of” down to 10 films is a fun exercise but this could easily be 20 films long this year.

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The Wolf of Wall Street Dec25

The Wolf of Wall Str...

The Wolf of Wall Street is debauchery with a studio budget. It meanders, slinks and plows through its 3-hour runtime like a Wall Street lackey on a cocaine bender. This is lavish, gutsy filmmaking from the legend Martin Scorsese.

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Her Dec24

Her

Spike Jonze is Hollywood’s most wonderful enigma. He hasn’t made a feature film in 4-years (the ethereal Where the Wild Things Are) but continues to actively work in short form and the occasional cameo (look for him in The Wolf of Wall Street.)

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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Dec13

The Hobbit: The Deso...

I was not exactly enthusiastic about last year’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Sure, it had all the markings of a Peter Jackson – middle earth epic but none of the soul. Jackson had seemingly succumbed to his darkest tendencies – leaning too hard on his masterful CGI teams and less on the classic source material.

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Frozen Nov26

Frozen

Frozen – Disney’s new animated feature – feels like it comes from a company resigned to its fate. They’ve invested millions into development of action-adventure movies, high-concept family comedies and other silly ventures. Frozen is Disney’s bread and butter.

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The Book Thief Nov21

The Book Thief

A snow-speckled landscape outlines a beautiful cobble stone street. Children rush to school in their winter uniforms as their parents open storefronts and fritter away the day with chores and errands. It’s a setting saved for post cards and snow globes. And I know what you’re thinking…Nazi Germany right?

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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Nov19

The Hunger Games: Ca...

One thing we can all be sure of, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is a sure thing. Make no bets to the contrary; this movie is going to be a box office monster. Luckily for most viewers who haven’t read the books this is a series with actual substance.

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Thor: The Dark World: really? Nov08

Thor: The Dark World...

Thor: The Dark World is kind of like a Syfy “original” with a thin layer of faux Whedonisms and a crack design team. It’s an exercise in wasted talent.

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The Counselor Oct25

The Counselor

What went wrong here? With a project like The Counselor I think it’s ok to expect a lot. The pedigree on paper is impressive. An A-list Director who’s been wowing audiences consistently for 40+ years? Yep. America’s greatest living author penning his first screenplay? Check. A cast of the finest actors working today that most crews would only dream of? You bet.

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Carrie: the unnecessary update Oct18

Carrie: the unnecess...

Carrie 2013 is a terrible movie. But I really liked it a lot.

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Machete Kills: . . . kind of Oct11

Machete Kills: . . ....

If your idea of a good time is a live action Warner Brothers cartoon with titty machine guns and not one but two deaths by helicopter blades, Machete Kills is the movie for you.

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It’s Alive! co...

Welcome, drunksunshiners, to a new series: Stuff You Should Know About. Under this rubric you’ll find an eclectic, if not bizarre, array of stuff we love, and that we insist our friends love too.

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Gravity Oct03

Gravity

It’s going to be hard to write about Alfonso Cuaron’s new film Gravity without constantly slipping into hyperbole. I’ve heard everything from, “best movie of the year” to, “best movie I’ve ever seen” and frankly it would be hard for me to argue with either of those sentiments.

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Rush Sep27

Rush

Rush is a damn good sports movie. In fact, it’s easily the best sports movie since Friday Night Lights nearly a decade ago. That’s quite a void, luckily Ron Howard’s latest (and possibly best) film is an adrenaline filled 2-hours that easily eclipses every car racing film ever…no I’m not counting Fast & Furious (nothing eclipses the Diesel.)

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Don Jon Sep26

Don Jon

Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s passion for film is admirable. Since emerging from his teenage years on the great sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun he has starred in a myriad of independent films (Brick, The Lookout, Hesher) and blockbusters (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises, Looper.)

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Prisoners: unfulfilled promises Sep20

Prisoners: unfulfill...

In Prisoners, two families come up a couple daughters short on Thanksgiving day when the girls, Annie and Joy, fail to return from an errand between the two neighboring houses. The aftershocks of their abduction spread outward in violence and tragedy.

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Figgy Lamb Sirloins ...

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Ain’t Them Bodies Saints Aug23

Ain’t Them Bod...

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints feels like a relic from another era, a lost film stored away in a vault from the ‘70’s. It also contains a rare, timeless quality that leaves the setting feeling modern and nostalgic. After debuting at Cannes earlier this year the film has gained buzz on the festival circuit and has finally garnered a nationwide release.

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Drinking Buddies Aug17

Drinking Buddies

This week I had the pleasure of spending just under two hours with actual humans. There were no capes on screen, no spandex visible either. The stories morality was not black and white, good vs. evil but rather complicated and messy. There were no visible special effects or final action sequences.

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We’re the Millers Aug06

We’re the Mill...

The previews for the new comedy, We’re The Millers, look canned at best. A lot of camera mugging from aging A-listers and SNL alum. It’s fairly clear why this is on precisely no one’s radar. It’s story arc is canned and all the crucial plot points are telegraphed. Even the characters are tired movie tropes. Than why, against all odds, did the Millers make me laugh harder than any other movie this summer?

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Ladies Love Crab Cak...

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Only God Forgives Jul25

Only God Forgives

Let’s get something straight out of the gate: Only God Forgives is not Drive 2: Electric Bugaloo…not even close. Upon reflection it’s really hard to say what OGD is at all.

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Pacific Rim: Rock ’em Sock ’em Blockbuster Jul11

Pacific Rim: Rock ’e...

Pacific Rim, the first notch on Guillermo Del Toro’s directorial belt since 2008’s Hellboy II, is a straight-faced pastiche of all the oversized CGI scifi behemoths you’ve ever seen.

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Raw and Cold: Juicin...

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The Lone Ranger Jul02

The Lone Ranger

The Lone Ranger has some issues, the main one being he hasn’t been relevant or in the public consciousness since prior to color TV being invented. He’s also a weirdly regressive character, one who leans on aggressive stereotypes and broad slapstick comedy for laughs and a sidekick who is too ridiculous to be offensive.

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RIP Richard Matheson...

Richard Matheson, who died yesterday at 87, was a master of dystopian paranoia, but always managed to imbue his stories with a streak of hope and heroism.

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World War Z Jun20

World War Z

Brad Pitt survives a lot of shit in World War Z…ya know, besides the zombie apocalypse. We’re talking plane crashes, helicopter crashes, an impaling, human stampedes and even a terminal illness. Pitt, known here as Gerry Lane, is an indestructible force for good. A man so hell bent on finding a potential cure he wills his own survival.

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…and Then You ...

You make one lousy mistake—hide one lousy body from the cops and drive off in his car—and there she is, like an avenging apparition materialized from a roadside dustdevil: Retribution in heels.

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Man of Steel Jun13

Man of Steel

Remember when Superman returned in 2006? Neither does the rest of the world. Brian Singer’s adaptation was greeted with a general thud when it attempted to reboot the franchise 7-years ago. It’s not a terrible adaptation but the slavish commitment to the Christopher Reeve era (all the way down to casting a lookalike) left the film feeling more like an homage than an original take. Also, every action scene was Superman lifting something, which got boring…fast.

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This is the End Jun12

This is the End

Stoner comedies are a wonderful sub-genre. Since Caddyshack I’ve giddily waited for the next installation of puffs of smoke and increasingly silly adventures. It’s a sub-genre that must be enjoyed with no pretensions since often these films are smarter than their given credit for (even if said smarts are exposed between dick jokes.) This is the End from Directors Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg is unabashedly part of the stoner comedy cannon. It’s a worthy addition too from the funniest writing (now directing) duo in Hollywood and is easily the best movie of the summer so far.

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Morels in Cream Sauc...

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Best Show on Netflix? “Top of the Lake” [Streamers] Jun06

Best Show on Netflix...

The great Jane Campion (The Piano, Angel at My Table) has created a stunning piece of longform storytelling. Robin Griffin (Mad Men’s Elizabeth Moss, with a flawless NZ accent) is a young detective on leave. . . .

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After Earth Jun01

After Earth

First of all, do not mistake After Earth for a M. Night Shyamalan movie. It bears no resemblance to his past (save for a few signature camera angles.) He is clearly a hired gun, being used to spin a basic yarn about a father and son overcoming their differences to conquer overwhelming odds. Hell, his name was even left out of nearly all marketing materials. There was an audible chuckle in the audience when his name graced the screen after the final frame. All this being said, the movie still sucks and it’s not even Shyamalan’s fault. Now that’s a twist.

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Trailer Trash: ̶...

I really wanted to like this movie. I read a brief interview with the director, Louis “The Terrier” Le Terrier, in which he described his impatience with being known as an “action” director (two Transporter movies, Clash of the Titans) and his patience in awaiting his chance to direct a movie that would show his real strengths as an artist. Well this ain’t it. At least I hope not. If Now You See Me turns out to be anything like the trailer portrays it, I hope for Le Terrier’s sake—for all our sakes—that he still has better stuff ahead of him.

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Welcome to DrunkSunshine! May24

Welcome to DrunkSuns...

When we decided the world needed another arts and culture blog, the first challenge instantly presented itself: what would we call it? Could there possibly be any URLs left that would label our project as an arts and culture blog without saying “Arts & Culture Blog”?

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Copper River Salmon ...

Some girls scream for ice cream, the Nordstrom half-yearly sale or the new Channing Tatum full-length shirtless feature film, but I get fired up for Copper River salmon time. Although I do prefer my salted caramel ice cream, 40 percent off designer pumps and my Tatums disrobed, Copper River salmon season is so short and precious, it needs to be celebrated, cashed in on and consumed.

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Fast & Furious 6 May23

Fast & Furious ...

When the original The Fast and the Furious was released in 2001 I definitely thought that Universal Studios would make 5 more. But in all seriousness I definitely didn’t think that. As far as film franchises go you’d be hard pressed to find a more consistent one than FAF. It delivers precisely what it sets out to deliver. Babes? Yep. Fast cars? Damn right. Stunningly bad acting? There is so much of this that nearly every scene is unintentionally funny (thanks Paul Walker for existing as you’re the only one who still seems is not in on the joke.) Oh…The Rock is in it too in his quest to be in every movie while wrestling and making television shows.

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The Hangover Part III May23

The Hangover Part II...

The Hangover Trilogy…let that sink in for a minute brosef. I’m sure the executives at Warner Bros. knew this phenomenon was coming when they gave the Director of Old School a modest budget to make the original. Now 3-movies and $1 billion later this comedy juggernaut about 3-buffoons who will seemingly ingest whatever is put in front of them is the most successful comedy franchise of all time. That doesn’t mean the trilogy has even been any good but after the abomination that was Part II the Wolfpack’s sendoff had nowhere to go but up.

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Iron Man 3 May02

Iron Man 3

Following the 2012 barrage of Chronicle, The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spiderman, Dredd, Ghost Rider and Lincoln it’s safe to say superhero fatigue was in full effect. It’s a genre that follows the same template, reaches for the same symbolism and yields markedly similar results across franchises. So naturally after a banner year for spandex and capes what does Hollywood do? Make 10-more superhero movies of course! Thank goodness Marvel Studios handed the reins of the Iron Man franchise to savvy veteran Shane Black. The results are remarkable leaving me to ponder whether this whole superhero thing does have something left in the tank. Or maybe I just like Robert Downey Jr.

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Pain and Gain Apr26

Pain and Gain

Oh, Michael Bay…I should’ve known. I should not have trusted the kinetic energy of the trailers for Pain and Gain. I should not have trusted the casting of two of my generation’s best action stars and some inspiring choices for small character roles. I should not have trusted the unique, disturbing and true source material that was begging for a big screen adaptation. But I did. I gave in to the hype.

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Murray’s Chees...

The culture of Lower Manhattan’s Greenwich Village has expanded into the greater Seattle area. Although we might strictly be speaking cheese, the legendary Murray’s Cheese has joined forces with The Kroger Co. (better known to Northwesterners as Fred Meyer and QFC) and is offering their elite selection of cultured cheese across the city.

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Roger Ebert: 1942 – 2013 Apr05

Roger Ebert: 1942 &#...

Roger Ebert was wrong about a lot of movies. But he was right about *movies.*

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Game of Trailers: dr...

At this point in the seasons of television, the anticipation of Game of Thrones is at a fever pitch. Most of us fans have watched and rewatched the first two seasons so many times that we can no longer deny, even to ourselves, our complete surrender to geekdom. Luckily for us, the universe has aligned itself so that, just as I find myself reciting accidentally memorized dialogue in that crepuscular slide from conscious to unconscious, trailers for season three have begun to appear.

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The Sexton’s Souther...

Titled and decorated in honor of owner Amber Sexton’s southern ancestors, the restaurant/bar leans on their focus of bourbon, braising and their own brand of music decor through pounding jams of their choosing and a mixed tape cassette lined bar top.

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Ray’s Boathouse and ...

A Seattle institution provokes classic pairings by matching red wine with seafood.

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Yippie Ki Yay Movieg...

The Western is how America has chosen to tell its story, first to ourselves and then to the world. It is America’s contribution to world mythology, and like all mythology it is partly the truth, and partly a lie.

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Trailer Trash: Much ...

There are certain people in our lives we must learn to trust. Our doctor, our spouse, our pot dealer—but none as much as the people who make our movie trailers.

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Oz the Great and Powerful Mar08

Oz the Great and Pow...

It’s now painfully clear when Disney executives get bored they pitch prequels, reboots and rehashes (because original ideas, who needs em?) Oz the Great and Powerful is the latest in a string of these lazy ideas. What gave many in the internet film nerdery hope was the attachment of Evil Dead Director Sam Raimi. THE MAN MADE The Evil Dead. Surely he can save us from another CGI-laden, Johnny Depp dancing monstrosity! Right?

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Betty Restaurant �...

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