MUST SEE MOVIE OF THE MONTH: March 2012 - 21 JUMP STREET
Published: March 31, 2012 - 2:58pm
At the end of each month we'll fill you in on which recently released film we feel most deserves the cost of admission. Also included are two runners up, just in case our top selection doesn't grab your interest or you've already seen it.
"Like many comedies in this post-Apatow world, the movie is a vulgarity-laced bromance story. But Bacall’s script accomplishes much more than that, making it far more appealing than most films in this overloaded genre. It’s just as heavily steeped in John Hughes, using the high school setting as a playground to break down clichés. And while all of the old standbys are there (jocks, Goths, geeks, etc) the storyline updates the list bringing in newer stereotypes, like the progressive, eco-friendly cool kids. The film has a ball looking at the generation gap between the 1980’s and today, painting high schools as an alien mirror world to Hughes’ normalized universe.
"Of course, in addition to the surprisingly sharp humor, there’s some good old-fashioned slapstick too, and the cast really nails it. Jonah Hill is an old hand at this by now, so he’s expectedly hilarious with perfect delivery. But the real surprise here is Channing Tatum, who usually sticks to dramatic or action-oriented roles with little success. But his knack for humor is wonderful, using his meathead frame for brilliant physical comedy. Together, the guys have excellent chemistry, making Schmidt and Jenko one of the finest on-screen comedy duos in years. And as a bonus, throw in Ice Cube as the self-proclaimed “angry black captain” barking out dementedly vulgar insults, each one funnier and more bizarre than the next." - Giovanni Colantonio [Full review HERE]
In the action-comedy 21 Jump Street, Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) are more than ready to leave their adolescent problems behind. Joining the police force and the secret Jump Street unit, they use their youthful appearances to go undercover in a local high school. As they trade in their guns and badges for backpacks, Schmidt and Jenko risk their lives to investigate a violent and dangerous drug ring. But they find that high school is nothing like they left it just a few years earlier – and neither expects that they will have to confront the terror and anxiety of being a teenager again and all the issues they thought they had left behind.
Directed by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller and starring Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Brie Larson, Dave Franco, Rob Riggle and Ice Cube, 21 Jump Street was released in theaters on March 16th, 2012.
Runner Up #1: The Hunger Games
"Though at times off with pacing and lacking a bit of adrenaline-fueled action beats, The Hunger Games appears to be the best cinematic interpretation of the popular novel we could have gotten. Deep yet whimsical characters play in a dystopian landscape of rich colors and suspenseful drama to create a wonderful mythology that opens the summer movie season with gusto.
"It offers its fair share of thrills -- but keep in mind if you're coming here for non-stop action you will be sorely disappointed -- while exemplifying its character driven story. A fantastic entry for the upcoming franchise, this film is sure to entertain while captivating the imagination of young women who could use a strong female role model." - Pietro Filipponi [Full review HERE]
THE HUNGER GAMES chronicles a dystopic Capitol which requires its twelve subjugated districts to pay tribute in the form of a teenage boy and girl, forced to participate in the annual “Hunger Games,” a fight-to-the-death live televised event. Katniss Everdeen’s little sister is chosen in the lottery to participate and Katniss volunteers to take her place. Although persevering through hardship is commonplace for Katniss, she must start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love in order to win the games and return home.
The Hunger Games cast includes Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Wes Bentley, Paula Malcolmson, Woody Harrelson, Lenny Kravitz, Toby Jones, Amandla Stenberg, Dayo Okeniyi, Leven Rambin, Jack Quaid, Ian Nelson, Kalia Prescott, Ethan Jamieson, Tara Macke, Chris Mark, Jackie Emerson, Ashton Moio, Kara Petersen, Jeremy Marinas, Dakota Hood, Sam Ly, Leigha Hancock, Imanol Vepez-Frias, Annie Thurman, Samuel Tan, Mackenzie Lintz, Alexander Ludwig, Isabelle Fuhrman, Latarsha Rose, and Brooke Bundy. The film will be directed by Gary Ross and produced by Nina Jacobsen and Color Force. The film hit theaters on March 23, 2012.
Runner Up #2: Jiro Dreams of Sushi
"Too often, people feel they have to compromise their dreams just to survive. The result is a slew of people working jobs merely for a paycheck, feeling entirely unfulfilled by their profession. Jiro Ono is not one of those people. When he was young, Jiro wanted to make sushi for a living. Now at age 85, he’s considered one of the best sushi chefs in the world, running a highly successful and critically acclaimed restaurant. Sometimes dreams do come true.
"One particularly interesting element to the documentary is the pairing of a 75-year master and first time feature filmmaker. Jiro is a fitting subject for Gelb to follow as he begins his career. Of course, he’s far from perfect on his first outing. He stretches for story elements towards the end, awkwardly plopping in an environmental message out of left field. But he’s off to a very strong start with Jiro Dreams of Sushi. If he follows the wisdom Jiro has imparted onto him, Gelb could easily become a master of the documentary." - Giovanni Colantonio [Full review HERE]
JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI is the story of 85 year-old Jiro Ono, considered by many to be the world’s greatest sushi chef. He is the proprietor of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a 10-seat, sushi-only restaurant inauspiciously located in a Tokyo subway station. Despite its humble appearances, it is the first restaurant of its kind to be awarded a prestigious 3 star Michelin review, and sushi lovers from around the globe make repeated pilgrimage, calling months in advance and shelling out top dollar for a coveted seat at Jiro’s sushi bar.
For most of his life, Jiro has been mastering the art of making sushi, but even at his age he sees himself still striving for perfection, working from sunrise to well beyond sunset to taste every piece of fish; meticulously train his employees; and carefully mold and finesse the impeccable presentation of each sushi creation. At the heart of this story is Jiro’s relationship with his eldest son Yoshikazu, the worthy heir to Jiro’s legacy, who is unable to live up to his full potential in his father’s shadow.
The feature film debut of director David Gelb, JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI is a thoughtful and elegant meditation on work, family, and the art of perfection, chronicling Jiro’s life as both an unparalleled success in the culinary world, and a loving yet complicated father.
The film is now playing in select theaters internationally.