Highly Suspect Reviews: Page 2

Hosts: An Ever-Rotating Lineup of OOU.Net’s Unusual Suspects

That’s right, your favorite geek conglomerate website is now doing audio movie reviews! The cast of reviewers is subject to change even movie to movie, we have a whole rogues gallery of cinema outlaws, but one thing you can always count on is that these funny and insightful film reviews will always be, in some way, Highly Suspect.

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Let’s face it, at some point, we will all live inside the internet. We want to pilot our own Flappy Bird, we want to be able to throat-punch certain people on Facebook, and I’m not even gonna touch upon the revolutions this would represent for the internet porn industry.

In Transcendence, Johnny Depp plays a scientist who uploads his consciousness into a computer. No, he’s not playing Arnim Zola…although it is funny that The Winter Soldier JUST beat Transcendence to the punch. Given the fact that Transcendence is the directorial debut of cinematographer Wally Pfister (longtime Christopher Nolan collaborator), anticipation was running high. Would the film be able to handle the anticipation bandwidth or would it crash, forcing us to reboot our expectations?

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HSR_371_CubanFuryCuban Fury

One thing the Unusual Suspects love to do with pretty much every minute of spare time they have, is dance. Ashley is, of course, world famous for her touring interpretive ballet based on the life of comics writer Jeff Lemire. Beau is always a hit at parties with his tap routine designed and named after Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps. Brian choreographs and sometimes performs with a knock-off act called The Blu Man Group. And Chris….sometimes snaps his fingers in rhythm while getting off the couch. So you can see why a movie all about a passion for dancing would really resonate with our crew.

Nick Frost is the passionate guy in question, for whom long ago, salsa dancing was his entire existence. When he was made the target of ridicule for cruel kids, he threw it all away. Now, he’s the workplace shlub, regularly picked on by the office bully (Chris O’Dowd) and without much hope of joy or love…until the new office manager (Rashida Jones) comes into his life. When he discovers she loves Salsa dancing, he re-dons his sequined shirts, seeks out his old trainer (Ian McShane) and learns to love life again. And maybe Rashida. We ain’t spoiling that one.

And hey, after you listen to the review, watch Brian’s video interview with Mr. Frost! Sadly, they don’t tango together as we specifically requested.

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HSR_371_Rio2Rio 2

Don’t say we never do anything for you. Chris and Beau actually roused themselves early on a Saturday morning (!) to go see the latest factory product ground out by Blue Sky Studios, a sequel to 2011′s hit film (sigh), Rio. When you make almost 500 million, you’ve pretty much GOT to make another film these days I suppose, and the better part of the whole gang from last time is along for the ride again in what I can only hope is ‘contractual obligation’.

Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway are back as the rare blue macaws, Blue and Jewel, who since we saw them in the previous film, have “gotten it on,” as it were, and produced three annoying offspring. Despite Blue’s protests, a trip to the Amazon rainforest gets complicated when it turns out Jewel’s whole family, who she presumed were dead, actually live there and don’t really care for the domesticated Blue all that much. Add to that evil loggers, a revenge driven cockatoo (Jemaine Clement), a host of other subplots, and you’ve got Rio 2. Such as it is.

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The ghost story has gotten quite a workout in the last few years, largely thanks to the huge financial success of Blumhouse Productions’ Paranormal Activity series and all their imitators. As if that wasn’t enough, they doubled down with successes on new franchises of the nether-realm in Insidious and Sinister. Now, this latest entry into the game picks up the board and shakes it so hard at least some of the pieces fall off. There’s a new ghost in town and it’s, um, a mirror?

Karen Gillan plays Kaylie, a woman obsessed with the past, when her younger brother shot and killed their father, who himself had murdered their mother. Her brother (Brenton Thwaits) is freshly out of the psychiatric institute and “cured,” but here comes Kaylie with an elaborate plan to destroy the evil that came from an old cursed mirror, despite her brother having come to terms with said evil just having been in his imagination.

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HSR_371_--Captain-America--The-Winter-SoldierCaptain America: The Winter Soldier

We’re over the half-way mark in Marvel’s Phase two leading up to the second Avengers film, and I’d say none of the films has been so anticipated as the sequel to Captain America: The First Avenger. Not just because the success of the original, but because the sequel is based on one of the best superhero comic runs ever, that it has the Black Widow as a main character (rowr), and that it introduces Anthony Mackie as the BEST Cap side-kick ever, The Falcon.

But will all this pedigree lead up to The Winter Soldier actually being as good as some are saying? Will directors Anthony and Joe Russo, who have more experience in TV, be able to cut it as the helmers of a huge Marvel action flick? Fear no more, as the Unusual Suspects are here to dish the dish. Richard, Chris, Brian and Beau fanboy up on our review of Cap 2.

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The studio decreed from on high, “Thou Shalt Not Have a Noah Press Screening.” The heathens known as The Unusual Suspects, decided they were going to see the film anyway and deliver you all from a lack of review. Still, apologies for the tardiness of the posting.

Darren Aronofsky takes on that classic biblical story: The Old Man & The Sea. Starring Russell Crowe as the old man and digital effects as the sea. Brian is joined by Mr. William Goss and, believe it or not, Luke Mullen makes his HSR debut to testify as to the strengths and shortcomings of Aronofsky’s epic. Will it float their boats or just tread water? Thou Shalt ALWAYS Make Puns.

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Director David Ayer is known for gritty, dark, intense crime thrillers like Training Day and End of Watch. Screenwriter Skip Woods is known for garbage like X-Men Origins: Wolverine and A Good Day to Die Hard. Between them, can Sabotage turn out okay? It’s hard to say, but we’re pretty sure throwing in Arnold as a DEA agent running a team of scummy and corrupt officers versus the Cartels isn’t ideal casting.

Nevertheless, Arnie has to deal with his own crazy team, the watchful and suspicious eye of his superiors at the agency, a troubled past and someone who is brutally killing off members of his team, as well as a troublesome accent from Olivia Williams, playing a local cop investigating the murders.

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HSR_371_Bad-WordsBad Words

Jason Bateman has had it up to HERE with your shenanigans. He’s sick and tired of being the nice schlub that has to deal with some obnoxious ass coming into his comfortably square life and ruining it. In fact, he’s so done with it, that he’s not only starring in this film, he’s directing it! He plays Guy Trilby, a 40 year old man who has decided he’s going to enter the national spelling bee contest and win! Problem, is it’s really intended for kids. That doesn’t stop Guy, who foul mouths his way hysterically through legions of angry parents determined to prove a point. But what is that point? And will he be able to keep his ire up at all costs when a plucky young contestant befriends him?

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You young adults, I swear. First you wanted more boy wizards, then it was angsty gothy teens, now you want chicks fighting fascism, when I was your age….oh, but look at me. Going off on my childhood when we should be talking about kids being forced out of childhood. That’s what all this YA stuff is about, right?

Like in “Divergent” with Shailene Woodley being forced by society to choose her own identity, only to find out she doesn’t fit into one of the neatly shaped holes that are provided for her, and must make adult decisions or be discovered for being the freaky deaky individual she is. Or something like that. And will she be able to make like rabbits with the hunky leader of her group? OH MY GAWD, I GOTTA KNOW.

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HSR_371_Muppets-Most-WantedMuppets Most Wanted

Nostalgia notwithstanding, let’s face it: The Muppets are, and always have been, awesome. The best stuff that ever came out of the Henson camp was always the shows/films that knew how to appeal to both children and adults in equal measure. Certainly the return of the felted friends to the big screen in 2011 with “The Muppets” film largely seemed to please most demographics.

But what now? Jason Segel and Amy Adams have left and a brand new set of humans (Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, amongst others) is interacting with Kermit and the gang. Will it be the same? Will it compete with the original? Or the ORIGINAL original? Or the sequel original original?

Our team of highly trained, highly unusual suspects are here to crack the case. Join Martin, Brian, Beau and Ashley as they investigate the latest muppet madcappery.

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HSR_371_Veronica-MarsVeronica Mars

Rob Thomas directs the Veronica Mars theatrical film, released some seven years after the untimely demise of the cult tv show starring Kristen Bell as the lovably snarky Nancy Drew-ish gumshoe. But how does this work for folks who aren’t slavering Mars fanatics?

Well, you won’t find out on this podcast. Beau and Chris, both dedicated followers of the Mars cult, are joined in their worship by two folks from the Infinite Variations spaceship (and the old LEOG show, to boot), Harris and Cat O’Malley. Much fandom is indulged in while talking about Veronica’s latest adventure in the city of Neptune, CA. If you’re one of this specific US, give it a listen. You’ll be rushing to give a VOD choice your credit card number, I suspect.

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HSR_The_Raid_2_371The Raid 2

There ain’t no electric boogaloo going on in this highly anticipated sequel to the 2011 action film that took the martial arts world by storm, just lots of ass-kickery. I mean, like seriously, all over the place. Making practically every other action film look like My Little Pony by comparison. Even the original film.

I can’t make this stuff up. If you don’t believe me, check out the Unusual Suspects who all get REAL excited for the massive amounts of blood flowing out of this Indonesian thriller (in fact, maybe we do need to talk to a therapist, this is probably not how humans are supposed to react to this much death). Check out what Chris, Brian, JC and Martin have to say…and then you should probably call the police.

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HSR_371_The-Grand-Budapest-HotelThe Grand Budapest Hotel

Any new release by Wes Anderson is a cause for celebration for some, for skulking about issuing cynical remarks about all that is good and pure in this world for others (I might be biased). Surprisingly, one of the biggest Anderson nay-sayers on our crew, Martin, might be the Unusual Suspect who liked this new film the most. You’ll have to hear it to believe it.

Chris, Ashley, Beau, and the aforementioned Martin all take turns digging into this period piece comedy starring Ralph Fiennes as the perfect hotel concierge who finds himself in way over his head when the death of a beloved patron leads to strife with her family. Wackiness ensues….

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HSR_371_Need-for-SpeedNeed for Speed

The Unusual Suspects have their work cut out for them on this one, as Touchstone Pictures (re: Disney slumming it) tries to speed past the Fast & Furious franchise by grabbing a popular video game brand and putting a recognizable star behind the wheel of high performance cars.

Ok, so why that recognizable star is Aaron Paul we have no idea either. Not exactly the career jump we expected after his amazing performance on “Breaking Bad”. Even if they do have him going up against the likes of Dominic Cooper, who surely could be doing better by now himself.

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HSR_371_mr.-peabody-&-shermanMr. Peabody & Sherman

Mr. Peabody is a dog. Mr. Peabody is a time traveler. Mr. Peabody has a human son. I’m betting drugs were involved when the creators of Rocky and Bullwinkle came up with Mr. Peabody and Sherman in the 60′s as an accompanying short to their show.

Flash to decades later and here we are, a dark dystopian future where no brand is safe from a family friendly re-imagining and the dark lord Dreamworks has hatched a nefarious plan to hoist upon the planet’s unsuspecting populace a new evil, from the past, reshaped into the monster that is…Mr. Peabody and Sherman.

Or, alternately, it might actually be really cool. Only Ashley, Beau and Chris know for sure. Better find out before this whole time-space continuum gets all wibbly-wobbly.

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HSR_371_300_Rise300: Rise of an Empire

From the get-go, there are several things you might find highly suspect about 300: Rise of an Empire. Maybe you’re hesitant to approach a sequel to a film nearly a decade after its predecessor was released. Or maybe you believe 300 was so inextricably linked to Zach Snyder’s style that there’s no way it can work under a different director.

Whatever the case, it’s time to unwad your loincloth and let the professional scallywags known as The Unusual Suspects give you the lowdown. They deconstruct this new 300 by the numbers, and all without barbaric war cries or slipping into unnecessary slow motion.

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The Wind Rises

The dreaded day has finally arrived; the day that one of the greatest living storytellers hangs up his brushes. Hayao Miyazaki, who brought the world such unforgettable creations as My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononokeand Spirited Away has retired. But as a farewell, he has left us with one last parting gift, the historical fable of a young man with dreams of flight, The Wind Rises.

And did I mention he’s designing Japanese fighter planes during WWII?

Okay, so, awkward.

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Sometimes movie titles succeed in not only describing the plot of said cinematic offering, but also in characterizing the career  of its headlining star at that particular moment in time. Such is certainly the case with the film Non-Stop, and its star, dynamo of kinetic box office energy that is Liam Neeson.

But would Neeson be able to bring his violent brand of magic to this Die-Hard-on-a-plane? Or would this vehicle face a catastrophic disaster before landing? The Unusual Suspects were willing to secure boarding passes and climb aboard Non-Stop to let you know whether the skies were friendly enough (or rather if they were unfriendly enough, it is Neeson after all).

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HSR_371_3_Days_to_Kill3 Days To Kill

Kevin Costner is making 2014 his year to play tired old spies. In this latest outing, he’s plays a dying CIA agent, determined to mend fences with his daughter, played here by Hailee Steinfeld. Unfortunately, he’s got more on his plate than familial friendliness, as he has to agree to one last mission in order to retire and possibly even obtain a cure.

Amber Heard and Connie Nielsen also star in this McG (uh-oh) led thriller that may not have actually been all that thrilling. What did our intrepid team of Unusual Suspects think? Martin, JC, Elliot and our newest member, William Goss, deliver the intel.

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Kit Harrington (you know him as Jon Snow from Game of Thrones) gets his Conan on in this historical disaster film from Paul W.S. Anderson. No, not the Boogie Nights Paul Anderson.The Resident Evil/Death Race Paul Anderson. So, fair warning.

Sadly, Brian and Chris heeded not this warning and plunged into the caldera of cinema. They died a little inside so that all of you could laugh. Laugh at their pain. Or was it giddy joy? I mean, it did have the amazing Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (just don’t ask them to say his name out loud), the accomplished Jared Harris, and the beautiful Emily Browning….oh wait, it also has Keifer Sutherland. Never mind.

Check your minds at the door for this review by the Unusual Suspects. Warning: Puns ahead. We really had no choice.



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