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DEADPOOL – Movie Review – Having already broken numerous opening weekend records, DEADPOOL is on its way to revolutionizing the way superheroes are presented on the big screen. The fact is, hard-edged, R-rated superhero movies generally don’t work. THE PUNISHER, DREDD, WATCHMEN; all of which are fun (sometimes excellent) movies, but they simply didn’t make the money necessary to change anything. Fans of these stories like going to the theater and seeing their favorite “heroes” the way they were meant to be seen. The problem is, not many people other than the die-hard fans were paying for their ticket. That is, until this weekend.

Deadpool is about as much fun from a superhero movie as you can get. It’s action packed, violent, hilarious, and even sexy. All of this is tightly bundled up in a nice R-rating. That means you actually get to see the violence, the jokes aren’t dumbed down for kids, and the sexy stuff is… what it is. If you’re not into blood and cursing, perhaps you can rent the new Fantastic Four movie from the Redbox.

That being said, it is an origin story. Sure, they’re always necessary, but usually they’re drawn out and boring because who doesn’t know that Peter was bitten by a radioactive spider?! However, Deadpool switches it up a little bit. We’re fed the back story of how he came to be this mutant anti-hero through clever fourth wall breaks and intermissions from the current narrative. It was really fun actually and kept the pacing tight and interesting. My only problem is that the origin out did the narrative. What I mean is, the movie as a whole was really interesting, but when looking back at it, I didn’t really care about the villain or Deadpool’s fight for revenge. I think it did its job in setting up subsequent movies and crossovers, but as a single story I thought it lacked the stakes I wanted to see.

Of course the entire movie pokes fun at itself and realizes that his plight is incredibly self-centered and ridiculous. These fourth wall breaks and self-conscious jokes are what made this movie so memorable and authentic. Deadpool knows he’s in a movie. He references characters from other movies, he talks about the studio, he even comments on Ryan Reynolds and his unfavorable past work. This is exactly in line with the comic book character so many people have grown to love. That’s exactly why Deadpool is breaking so many records. Finally, fans were given a movie that felt like the comic book it’s based on. It’s rated R because that’s what the source material called for. It’s edgy and over the top because Deadpool as a character is edgy and over the top.  And it acts as a sentient work of art because that’s how the comics became popular enough to make a movie in the first place!

So, if you enjoy action movies that aren’t watered down with quick cuts and mild swear words, check Deadpool out. You don’t need to be a fan of the character to enjoy the movie. It’s probably the most purely fun superhero movie that’s been released since GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY.

 

4 out of 5 Stars

 

DEADPOOL – Dir. Tim Miller

Run Time: 108 Minutes

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Ed Skrein, T.J. Miller, and Morena Boccarin

ROOM Movie Review, based off of the National Best-selling novel from Emma Donaghue, is a heart-wrenching new film about a young boy and his mother finally escaping from the hands of their captor, allowing the boy to discover the outside world for the first time. Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay as ‘Ma’ and ‘Jack’ respectively, each give performances of a lifetime (which is kind of saying a lot, given both of their incredibly young ages) in director Lenny Abrahamson’s first film after the independent smash, FRANK. Donaghue returns to pen the screenplay from her own novel, giving the film a very complete and fresh feel unlike many book adaptations we’ve become accustomed to. So, as you can see, Team Room is fairly stacked in regards to young talent.

The first thing I need to reiterate is how amazing Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay are in this film. Larson has already won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Leading Role and is a strong contender for the coveted Best Actress Oscar this year. Both of which are very well deserved. She managed to portray a vulnerable, yet strong mother just trying to take care of her son in the worst possible conditions. Jacob gave the best performance from someone under the age of fifteen since Sean Astin in THE GOONIES. Actually he was far better than Sean Astin has ever been (that was harsh, I’m sorry). It’s rare to find a young actor knock such a difficult role out of the park, but some amount of credit has to be given to both Abrahamson’s direction as well as Larson’s counter performance. Regardless, I’ve never seen such wonder and enthusiasm in a performance, especially from a nine year old playing a five year old.

The emotional core of Room comes from Ma’s love and protection of Jack. It’s apparent from the first scene that he’s the only ray of light in her horrific life and that she’s willing to do anything to keep him happy. Unfortunately that means keeping him unaware of the reality beyond “Room”, leaving him unable to be hopeful for their futures. This idea is the main focus of the first act of the film. What is outside? Who can go there? What will happen when we leave Room? What does happen is that Jack learns about everything that was kept hidden from him for his first five years of existence. Some things are amazing and even magical, while others are cruel, scary, and make him miss his old home.

As you can expect, Room plays with your emotions a little bit. Or a lot. I’m not going to say that I left the theater with red, swollen eyes, but I definitely wasn’t too chipper about the experience. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a wonderful story that is beautifully directed and expertly acted, but it’s draining. Throughout the 2 hour run time, you’ll feel severe anxiety, crippling sadness, elated joy, and a smidge of anger. So basically it’s like watching INSIDE OUT!

All in all, Room deserves every award it has won or been nominated for. I’m still working my way through all of the Oscar nominated films this year, but I’ll honestly be surprised if Brie doesn’t snag the Best Actress statue. She and Tremblay had contagious chemistry together that I’ve been thinking about all weekend. Room may not be the best date movie, but if you get the chance to see it in a theater, I highly recommend the experience. After all, who doesn’t enjoy crying with a room full of strangers?

4 out of 5 Stars

ROOM – Dir. Lenny Abrahamson

Run Time: 118 minutes

Starring: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen, William H. Macy

Do you love watching movies and TV?  Are you a mega fan that can never miss a show?  Are you terribly busy and find it hard to watch your favs when they air?  The struggle is real, we get it!  So to help out, check out this list of the best streaming devices to watch TV your way, on your time.  Most of these devices have a long list of apps, including Netflix, Hulu, and other favorites.  But each has it’s own perks and exclusives, so choose wisely.

Roku 3

The third incarnation of Roku’s flagship streamer is the most comprehensive to date, sporting more than 2,000 channels, an intuitive cross-platform search utility, and an excellent user interface.  The puck-sized device is attractive and subtle, and equipped with nonskid rubber and enough weight to prevent it from getting shuffled around in your entertainment center.  The remote is simple, but allows snappy navigation of Roku’s extremely intuitive channel-based interface, and best of all, features a built-in headphone jack for wireless listening when turning up the TV volume is a no-go.  Wi-Fi is built in, but an Ethernet port is available if a faster connection is needed.  A microSD slot for additional app and game storage is a feature unique to the Roku.  The Roku 3 retails for $100 and can be purchased at Amazon, Walmart, and major electronic retailers.  Learn More

Apple TV

The Apple TV is getting a little grey — But there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Apple has announced a new model (coming soon) that boasts the best user experience, including the Siri remote.  The current Apple TV still remains one of the best offerings on our list— especially if you’re already heavily-invested in any of Apples other devices or services.  While most essential services are supported,  it is Apple Airplay and apps like iOS Remote that makes the Apple TV’s user experience unique.  You can easily beam any content you’ve previously purchased or rented through the iTunes Store to your TV straight from the cloud, freeing your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad up to do other things.  Sharing personal photos and videos from iOS devices is easiest with the Apple TV.  It may be a little old, but the Apple TV is still going strong.  The Apple TV retails for $70 (future model est. $149) and can be purchased at Amazon, Apple Store, Walmart, and Major electronic retailers.  Learn More

Amazon Fire TV

Amazon’s first go at a streaming set-top box instantly became a hit among members of the company’s Prime service, which delivers tons of free streaming movies and TV shows and a handy voice-search feature to get at them more easily.  But the super-slim and speedy box will appeal to anyone with subscriptions to other services like Netflix and Hulu.  Amazon also made the device compatible with a dedicated video game controller (sold separately at $40), which is designed to work with a wide array of mobile games such as Minecraft and Grand Theft Auto III.  As the devices on this list go, the Fire TV is the most versatile and well-supported, it even plays 4k video content.  To get the most out of this device it is best to have a Prime membership.  The Amazon Fire TV retails for $100 and can be purchased at Amazon and Walmart. Learn More

Google Nexus

After canning its first attempt at a streaming media player, Google returned to the set-top box field in the fall of 2014 with the Asus-made Nexus Player.  It offers similar capabilities to Amazon’s Fire TV, allowing for voice-activated searching and personalized recommendations, along with integrated gaming if you decide to opt for an optional gaming controller.  The Android-powered and Google-backed device has been slowly but surely adding apps, and Chromecast-style “casting” ability makes it easy for friends and family to share content from their smartphones and tablets.  The only downside is no Ethernet port, which seems like an odd omission for a set-top box.  Still, for the Google (Andriod) lover this is a no brainer.  The Google Nexus retails for $170 and can be purchased at Amazon, Asus, Walmart, and Major electronic retailers.  Learn More

Consoles (Xbox One, PS4, WiiU)

Did you know that game consoles do a lot more than just play games these days.  Video game consoles rank as the most popular devices for streaming content to your TV.   The systems have quickly become a jack-of-all-trades media centers, conveniently giving you access to scores of programming from the likes of HBO Go, NFL Network, Netflix, and Hulu. Several other devices on our list provide gaming, but as you might expect, the next-gen consoles blow all mobile games out of the water in terms of graphics resolution and playability.  The downside?  These are much more expensive option with the Xbox One retailing for $349, PS4 for $399, and the WiiU for $299.  Consoles can be purchased at Amazon, Walmart, and Major electronic retailers.