Watch Muscle Shoals Full Movie Stream Online

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Release Date: September 27, 2013 (NY, LA)
Studio: Magnolia Pictures
Director: Greg ‘Freddy’ Camalier
Screenwriter: Not Available
Starring: Aretha Franklin, Bono, Greg Allman, Clarence Carter, Mick Jagger, Etta James, Alicia Keys, Keith Richards, Percy Sledge
Genre: Documentary
MPAA Rating: PG (for thematic elements, language, smoking and brief partial nudity)
Official Website: MagPictures.com

Plot Summary: Located alongside the Tennessee River, Muscle Shoals, Alabama is the unlikely breeding ground for some of America’s most creative and defiant music. Under the spiritual influence of the “Singing River,” as Native Americans called it, the music of Muscle Shoals has helped create some of the most important and resonant songs of all time. At its heart is Rick Hall who founded FAME Studios. Overcoming crushing poverty and staggering tragedies, Hall brought black and white together in Alabama’s cauldron of racial hostility to create music for the generations. He is responsible for creating the “Muscle Shoals sound” and The Swampers, the house band at FAME that eventually left to start their own successful studio, known as Muscle Shoals Sound. Greg Allman, Bono, Clarence Carter, Mick Jagger, Etta James, Alicia Keys, Keith Richards, Percy Sledge and others bear witness to Muscle Shoals’ magnetism, mystery and why it remains influential today.

Movie Review

Have you ever heard of Muscle Shoals, Alabama? Let me rephrase the question – have you heard an Aretha Franklin song? Have you ever grooved to Wicked Wilson Pickett’s Land of 1000 Dances? Have you ever thought “Yes Percy Sledge, that is EXACTLY what happens when a man loves a woman!” Have you ever driven way to fast while the Rolling Stones’ Brown Sugar blasted through your speakers? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you have heard of Muscle Shoals, Alabama or at least you’re heard the Muscle Shoals sound, the subject of the documentary Muscle Shoals from director Greg ‘Freddy’ Camalier.

In the interest of full disclosure, these are my people ya’ll! I grew up just east of Muscle Shoals, also on the banks of the Tennessee River – “The Singing River” to the Native Americans who made their home there for millenia before Rick Hall founded FAME studios. Driven by a need to escape the crushing poverty and overwhelming tragedy that befalls him, Hall is the central figure in the story of the famed “Muscle Shoals sound” – well him and a group of homegrown, white as cotton studio musicians known as the “Swampers”. These men shaped what ultimately proved to be some of the finest rock, soul, and R&B America would ever produce.

Music docs can really go either way, depending on such bureaucratic mundanities as rights and clearances. Muscle Shoals is a triumph, though. All personal bias aside, present day interviews with music luminaries, expertly deployed found footage and stills, and the greatest soundtrack a movie could hope for, all make Muscle Shoals one of the finest music documentaries you’ll ever see. Let the participation of such bright lights as Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Bono, Jerry Wexler, Percy Sledge, Alicia Keys, Gregg Allman, Clarence Carter, and Etta James serve as a testament to the enduring magic that is Muscle Shoals, FAME studios, and that greasy, soulful sound. The only puzzling thing about Muscle Shoals is how this story went so long without being told.

Watch Baggage Claim Full Movie Stream Online

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Release Date: September 26, 2013 (p.m. screenings)
Studio: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Director: David E. Talbert
Screenwriter: David E. Talbert
Starring: Paula Patton, Derek Luke, Taye Diggs, Jill Scott, Boris Kodjoe, Tremaine Neverson, Adam Brody, Jenifer Lewis, Ned Beatty, Lauren London, Tia Mowry, La La Anthony, Christina Milian, Affion Crockett, Terrence J, Rickey Smiley, Thomas Miles, Djimon Hounsou
Genre: Comedy, Romance
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for sexual content and some language)

Plot Summary: Determined to get engaged before her youngest sister’s wedding, flight attendant Montana Moore (Paula Patton) finds herself with only 30 days to find Mr. Right. Using her airline connections to “accidentally” meet up with eligible ex-boyfriends and scour for potential candidates, she racks up more than 30,000 miles and countless comedic encounters, all the while searching for the perfect guy.

Movie Review

I really enjoyed Baggage Claim. The plot moved quickly and kept my interest throughout. Paula Patton did a great job and was involved in every scene, not easy for any actor to do. It was a great cast and a solid romantic comedy with some humor and interesting settings. Airport and airline scenes were realistic with a frequent flier feel to it.

Well written and directed by David Talbert, this romantic comedy left you with a “positive” feeling after leaving the theater that life is not so bad after all. In addition, it talked about marriage in a positive light, where you can meet the right person in life and have a happy marriage. Yes, people do still search for a husband or wife, contrary to what many of the critics said in their reviews.

Adam Brody and Jill Scott were excellent as Paula Patton’s flight crew partners. Brody’s character had a very wry sense of humor and Jill Scott was very funny as the over-sexed flight attendant. Derek Luke also stood out as a rising talent.

The early critics were really off target with their negative views on this movie. As usual, ignore the critics.

Go see this movie. A good story. A great cast. You will enjoy it.

Watch Runner Runner Online Movie Review 2013

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Release Date: October 3, 2013 (p.m. screenings)
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Director: Brad Furman
Screenwriter: Brian Koppelman, David Levien
Starring: Justin Timberlake, Ben Affleck, Gemma Arterton, Anthony Mackie
Genre: Drama, Thriller
MPAA Rating: R (for language and some sexual content)

Plot Summary: Princeton grad student Richie (Justin Timberlake), believing he’s been swindled, travels to Costa Rica to confront online gambling tycoon Ivan Block (Ben Affleck). Richie is seduced by Block’s promise of immense wealth, until he learns the disturbing truth about his benefactor. When the FBI tries to coerce Richie to help bring down Block, Richie faces his biggest gamble ever: attempting to outmaneuver the two forces closing in on him.

Movie Review

Ben Affleck has made three great films in the last few years, all of them starring and directed by the man himself. It’s rather puzzling therefore – after ‘Gone Baby Gone’, ‘The Town’ and ‘Argo’ – what Affleck saw in Brian Koppelman and David Levien’s script or in director Brad Furman to commit to star in this by-the-numbers thriller that arguably adds little to the cred he’s built up so far. Indeed, it’s an odd choice for a multi-hyphenate at a critical turning point in his career when pretty much everyone in Tinseltown was prepared to cast him as a has- been.

In spite of this, Affleck and his co-star Justin Timberlake are about the best things that ‘Runner Runner’ has going for it. The title here refers to a card that either completes a hand or significantly improves one, which is what Affleck’s gambling magnate Ivan Block sees in Timberlake’s Princeton maths whizz Richie Furst at least at the start. But really, fancy titles aside, this is no more than yet another cautionary tale about a young, ambitious up-and-comer who gets way over his head when he is lured into a world of crime and corruption by a smooth-talking, charismatic criminal.

Set against the backdrop of the online poker industry, Furman tries to spin a sleek fast-paced number using the sun-drenched locations in Puerto Rico to stand in for Costa Rica. Just as Block lures Furst into his world of riches, the director best known for his work on the Matthew McConaughey thriller ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ stuffs the screen with lavish digs, fancy cars, cool boats, private jets and stylish beach parties in the hopes of pulling a fast shimmery one on his audience. To his credit, all that glamour does succeed to mask the movie’s flaws during its brisk setup.

And yet as soon as Furst’s giddy ascent into the shady world of Block’s business is complete, what ensues is pretty much a downhill journey. There’s absolutely no surprise that an overachieving FBI agent (Anthony Mackie) will turn up to enlist Furst in order to take down Block, or for that matter the fact that said agent is willing to risk even Furst’s life in the process. Neither is it any less predictable that Furst will fall in love with Block’s right-hand woman Rebecca (Gemma Arterton), further aggravating the animosity between mentor and protégé.

But perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the plot lies in how simplistic Furst’s plan to demolish Block’s criminal empire turns out to be, an utterly predictable chain of events that only serves to cast aspersions on Block’s own intelligence in the first place. Just like ‘Lawyer’, Furman employs a whole lot of snazzy camera techniques to distract his viewer from the plot failings, but even the casual viewer is likely to find the denouement underwhelming. In fact, the same can be said of the entire slicked up movie, which quickly runs out of any smart moves once you see through its bluff.

That is, even as Timberlake tries his darnest to inject the same kind of smarminess of ‘The Social Network’ into his character. The boyishly charming actor exudes enough wide-eyed naivety at the start to convincingly gear-shift into desperation as things go awry, but it is a clichéd role that does him no favours. On the other hand, Affleck underplays his character’s villainy, and though some may find his performance too nonchalant, it is nicely calibrated to surprise when he reveals a dastardly evil hand.

Watch The Grandmaster Online Movie Review 2013

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Release Date: August 23, 2013 (limited)
Studio: The Weinstein Company
Director: Wong Kar Wai
Screenwriter: Wong Kar Wai, Haofeng Xu, Jingzhi Zou
Starring: Zhang Ziyi, Tony Leung, Hye-kyo Song, Chen Chang, Yuen Woo-ping, Shun Lau, Siu-Lung Leung
Genre: Action
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for violence, some smoking, brief drug use and language)
Official Website: Not Available
Review: 6/10 rating

Plot Summary: Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Wong Kar Wai, “The Grandmaster” is an epic action feature inspired by the life and times of the legendary kung fu master, Ip Man. The story spans the tumultuous Republican era that followed the fall of China’s last dynasty, a time of chaos, division and war that was also the golden age of Chinese martial arts. Filmed in a range of stunning locations that include the snow-swept landscapes of Northeast China and the subtropical South, “The Grandmaster” features virtuoso performances by some of the greatest stars of contemporary Asian cinema, including Tony Leung and Ziyi Zhang.

 

Movie Review

 

Wong Kar-Wai’s 10 years-in-the-making of the so-called Ip Man biopic is exquisitely photographed and blessed with some dazzling fight choreography, but THE GRANDMASTER is mostly a scattershot mess of unfocused direction.

When director Wong Kar-Wai first announced the project way back in 2002, I bet a lot of die-hard fans are eager to see how the critically-acclaimed art-house director is going to do a big-screen treatment of the legendary Ip Man. Fast forward to 2013 (after a string of delays and whatnot), THE GRANDMASTER has came and gone with mostly favorable reviews and successful box office runs. However, after finally watching it, I must say that THE GRANDMASTER turns out to be an overrated effort after all.

Likewise, Wong Kar-Wai is always meticulous when comes to distinctive visual flair. Philippe Le Sourd and Song Xiaofei’s sumptuous cinematography is nice to look at, while beautifully framed Yuen Woo-Ping’s fight choreography with such balletic mix of slow motion and various camera speeds. The rest of the technical credits are equally ace — ranging from its elaborate production design to its detailed costume design. On the plus side, the first half is particularly engaging. As for the cast, Zhang Ziyi excels the most as the hotheaded, yet emotionally frustrating Gong Er.

The second half is hastily stitched together, while burdened by terribly inconsistent pace. It’s understandable that Wong Kar-Wai’s movie is always fragmented but this time, THE GRANDMASTER is way uneven yet unfocused. Another biggest problem here is the sudden change of focus from narrating Ip Man story to Gong Er story. If that’s not insulting enough, the introduction of Chang Chen’s The Razor character feels vague and needless altogether. Apart from Zhang Ziyi’s exceptional performance, it’s rather surprising to see the usually-reliable Tony Leung Chiu-Wai doesn’t impress much as Ip Man. Although he is charismatic enough, he fails to expand his Ip Man character with a satisfying emotional center other than looking cool or broods a lot. Popular Korean actress Song Hye-Kyo is sadly neglected in a thankless role (thanks to Wong Kar-Wai for cutting off most of her scenes in the editing room) as Ip Man’s wife, Zhang Yongcheng.

It’s quite sad to see what could have been another classic Wong Kar-Wai movie-in-the-making turns out to be a disappointment. Strictly for die-hard fans.

Watch Instructions Not Included (2013) Stream Online

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Release Date: August 30, 2013 (limited)
Studio: Lionsgate (Pantelion Films)
Director: Eugenio Derbez
Screenwriter: Guillermo Ríos, Leticia López Margalli, Eugenio Derbez
Starring: Eugenio Derbez, Jessica Lindsey, Loreto Peralta, Daniel Raymont, Alessandra Rosaldo, Hugo Stiglitz, Arcelia Ramirez
Genre: Comedy
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for sexual content, thematic elements and language)

Plot Summary: Valentin (Eugenio Derbez) is Acapulco’s resident playboy–until a former fling leaves a baby on his doorstep and takes off without a trace. Valentin leaves Mexico for Los Angeles to find the baby’s mother, but only ends up finding a new home for himself and his newfound daughter, Maggie (Loreto Peralta). An unlikely father figure, Valentin raises Maggie for six years, while also establishing himself as one of Hollywood’s top stuntmen to pay the bills, with Maggie acting as his on-set coach. As Valentin raises Maggie, she forces him to grow up too. But their unique and offbeat family is threatened when Maggie’s birth mom shows up out of the blue, and Valentin realizes he’s in danger of losing his daughter- and his best friend.

 

Movie Review

In a world of big budget blockbusters some of the best movies are the smaller independent films from all over the world. The latest Instructions Not Included is a Spanish/American film from writer, director, and star Eugenio Derbez. While he has made appearances in Jack and Jill with Adam Sandler and stole the TV show ROB with Rob Schneider he is already pretty huge in Mexico, this marks his first foray into directing but does he bring his usual comedy chops along with the ability to create a memorable film?

Instructions Not Included follows a resident playboy in Mexico whose life is thrown upside down when a former fling leaves a baby on his door step. He leaves Mexico for Los Angeles in hopes to find the baby’s mother, but instead finds a new life as a successful stuntman and raises the girl for over six years. But when her mother returns it risks everything they have built together. This is one of those surprising films that really deliver way more than you may expect. Eugenio Derbez has crafted a great film mixed with plenty of humor blended perfectly with a heart-warming touching story. The film is partly in Spanish and partly in English, but blends both perfectly to create a film that works for not only both markets, but also for all audiences even if they don’t like subtitled films. Derbez has everything needed to lead this film with his already established ability with comedy, but carries the emotional aspect needed to bring the rest of this story together effectively. When making a film like this that involves a child actor to be just as integral to the story as the adult lead their performance can make or break the film. Thankfully Loreto Peralta is amazing and is able to hold her own alongside Derbez like a pro, despite this being her first role. Beyond being adorable and having the child innocence, she is able to bring the needed maturity to the role.

This is one of those small films that comes along and will really surprise you. While it has great performances, it lets the story lead the charge and knocks it out of the park. This is a comedy, but be warned this funny man has crafted a film that will not only tickle your funny bone, but also tug at your heart strings.

Watch Captain Phillips Movie Review Online

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Release Date: October 11, 2013
Studio: Columbia Pictures (Sony)
Director: Paul Greengrass
Screenwriter: Billy Ray
Starring: Tom Hanks, Catherine Keener, Max Martini, Yul Vazquez, Michael Chernus, Chris Mulkey, Corey Johnson, David Warshofsky, John Magaro, Angus MacInnes
Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for sustained intense sequences of menace, some violence with bloody images, and for substance use)
Review: 8/10 rating

Plot Summary: Columbia Pictures’ action-thriller “Captain Phillips” stars two-time Oscar® winner Tom Hanks in the true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years. The film is directed by Oscar® nominee Paul Greengrass, from a screenplay by Billy Ray and based upon the book, “A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea,” by Richard Phillips with Stephan Talty. The film is produced by Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, and Michael De Luca.

Movie Review

Hours after the World Premiere of Paul Greengrass’ newest psychological thriller “Captain Phillips,” my heart is still palpating at a hundred beats per minute. Starring the magnificent Tom Hanks in his finest performance since “Cast Away,” this edge-of-your-seat thrill ride lands as one of the best films of the New York Film Festival and the year.

An intricate and precisely executed thriller written by Billy Ray, everything about “Captain Phillips” works amazingly. It’s this year’s “Zero Dark Thirty” in tension and features not one, but two fierce performances from Tom Hanks and newcomer Barkhad Abdi. A loose dramatization and not a fact to fact retelling of a dark day for an American captain, the film takes us through the days Captain Richard Phillips’ cargo ship was hijacked by Somali pirates in 2009. The film unravels itself with a narrative intensity bringing our hero from the day of his departure to the end of his journey. Writer Billy Ray’s detailed and well-structured script provides Greengrass to do exactly what he does best in his directorial efforts. There are definite elements in “Captain Phillips” that remind me of the emotional and gut- wrenching effect that “United 93” had on so many of us nearly seven years ago. While you will have a near heart attack, you will be in tears by the end credits.

I haven’t been this impressed with the work of Tom Hanks in years. Putting every ounce of his charm to good use but digging deep into a character with such raw and emotional fervency. Hanks’ dedication and abilities utilized are the same tools used in his first Oscar-winning performance in “Philadelphia” I assure you. It’s a turn that could make him this year’s Daniel Day-Lewis. As his wife, the beautiful Catherine Keener is regulated to one single scene, at the beginning of our film, where Hanks dominates the conversation. Still a cherry on top if you ask me but not something that many will notice nor remember..

Breakthrough performer Barkhad Abdi is simply sensational. With a snarky demeanor as he calls Capt. Phillips “Irish” – Abdi plays Muse, a Somali pirate that is layered with pride and disdain for the human condition. Billy Ray gives him such a complexity, hinting at a sensitive undertone but not masking the overtly violent rage that embodies his soul; it’s a creative formula that equals an interesting dichotomy. Abdi administers these traits brilliantly.

As you expect any Paul Greengrass film to be, the technical executions are top-notch including the intimate Cinematography by Barry Ackroyd and the tight editing of Christopher Rouse, both sure-fire Oscar nominees for awards season.

One of the amazing things about “Captain Phillips” is the final twenty minutes or so. Pent-up emotion that has built for nearly two hours, our hero’s last moments with the audience are both triumphant and incredibly vulnerable. This is when Tom Hanks shows his true power as one of the finest actors to grace our screens. I admire the man. He captures the real human condition, both in courage and in the face of defeat. How would you react in what you thought could be your final moments on Earth? Who would you think about? What about if you did make it? Would you be so overcome with emotion that you couldn’t focus on the blanket of safety that surrounds you, or would you just crumble into the fetus position, wanting to return to your place of origin? “Captain Phillips” renewed my love of the movies. It’s what breathes life into my daily routine. It fascinates us and which is why, no matter how terrible our lives are, or how the economy falls beneath our feet, cinema still lives. Free as a bird. I’m in awe of all of this. I feel privileged to share those moments. Not to be hyperbolic or put focus on the Oscar race, which is what I do for a living, but “Captain Phillips” showed me what Tom Hanks really means to cinema. Our lives are habitual and ordinary at times, yet someone, every now and again, has the ability to capture those little quirks of our own selves. I think Hanks is this generation’s treasure that will be remembered for years to come. I’m in near tears as I write this now. Paul Greengrass brought me personally into a situation that I will likely never be in and examined my frail and defenseless spiritual nature. Connection. That’s what cinema is about. Few films do this. Many never will.

To get off the somber note, “Captain Phillips” is filled with high- levels of tension. Bring your defibrillator and a bottle of Xanex to make it through the picture as your heart will be beating outside of your chest. In so many ways, it’s the perfect film. Real life, authentic characters, and a cast and crew that show up to deliver some of their finest works. A dynamite lesson of the human psyche.

Watch The Fifth Estate Stream Online

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Release Date: October 18, 2013
Studio: DreamWorks Pictures
Director: Bill Condon
Screenwriter: Josh Singer
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Daniel Brühl, Anthony Mackie, David Thewlis, Alicia Vikander, Peter Capaldi, Carice van Houten, Dan Stevens, Stanley Tucci, Laura Linney
Genre: Drama, Thriller
MPAA Rating: R (for language and some violence)

Plot Summary: Triggering our age of high-stakes secrecy, explosive news leaks and the trafficking of classified information, WikiLeaks forever changed the game. Now, in a dramatic thriller based on real events, “The Fifth Estate” reveals the quest to expose the deceptions and corruptions of power that turned an Internet upstart into the 21st century’s most fiercely debated organization. The story begins as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Brühl) team up to become underground watchdogs of the privileged and powerful. On a shoestring, they create a platform that allows whistleblowers to anonymously leak covert data, shining a light on the dark recesses of government secrets and corporate crimes. Soon, they are breaking more hard news than the world’s most legendary media organizations combined. But when Assange and Berg gain access to the biggest trove of confidential intelligence documents in U.S. history, they battle each other and a defining question of our time: what are the costs of keeping secrets in a free society—and what are the costs of exposing them?

 

Movie Review From IMDb

As you can see from previous reader reviews the Assanginitas are going to be out in force denouncing this dramatization of Julian Assange’s rise and fall. Ignore them. Like all “based on a true story” films people ad incidents were compressed for dramatic purposes. But the story overall is quite true. Benedict Cumberbatch captures Assange’s preening narcissism and raging paranoia perfectly. He’s especially adroit in scenes in which Assange tells lies only to revise them when the truth surfaces. Visually rich and very exciting this is quite different from anything Bill Condon has done before. This is an Alan J. Pakula style dram brought up to date with exceptionally flashy graphics and a breathless pace matching it’s leading character’s seemingly unstoppable drive. Edward Snowden, who was in contact with Assange at some point, is not mentioned. But Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning certainly is. I hope Condon has plans form making a Manning film in the future, cause he’s definitely the director for it.