Tag Archives: Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Perri’s Coverage of SXSW 2014

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Check out all of my reviews, interviews and event coverage from SXSW 2014 by clicking on the links below …

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Review: The Spectacular Now

The_Spectacular_Now_Poster“The Spectacular Now” swaps storytelling truisms for the natural beat of life and thanks to outstanding performances from Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley, that results in an exceptionally raw and poignant experience.

Sutter Keely (Miles Teller) isn’t a star athlete or class president, but he’s loved by all for being the life of every party. With his equally adored girlfriend Cassidy (Brie Larson) by his side, Sutter is unstoppable. That is until Cassidy dumps him. After drowning his sorrows in alcohol, Sutter wakes up outside, in the middle of someone’s lawn with absolutely no recollection of where he left his car. It could have been all downhill from there, but fortunately for Sutter, there is a silver lining to this episode, and that silver lining is Aimee Finicky (Shailene Woodley).

We’ve seen popular guys abandon all high school social standards to date the quiet, nice girl, but what makes “The Spectacular Now” stand out is that this time, you believe it. Sutter isn’t embarking on some grand adventure that climaxes with an unforgettable senior prom, rather he’s simply living life for a stretch of time as anyone might. The outcome is a film with varying stakes, emotions, and pacing, and also one with a strong backbone of impeccable character development and performances, making it extremely genuine.

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Review: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

If you’re going to make a movie about Abraham Lincoln and call him a vampire hunter, the first order of business needs to be a convincing script. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, step one? A definite failure and that initial travesty sucks the life out of what could have been an intriguing concept. Then again, even if the story had been rock solid to start, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter has so many trouble spots, something would have dragged the production down eventually.

Abraham Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) isn’t just the 16th President of the United States; he’s also a vampire hunter. Even as a young boy, Abe fought for equality. When his free black friend, Will Johnson, is whipped, Abe lashes out at his attacker, Jack Barts (Marton Csokas). When Barts turns his whip on Abe, Abe’s parents step in. While they manage to quell the situation, Barts threatens the family and shortly after, while Abe watches, his mother is killed. However, it isn’t the Barts Abe saw early that snuck into their home late at night; he looked different.

Years later Abe is all grown up, but still carrying around the desperation to avenge his mother’s death. Gun in hand and belly full of booze, tonight’s the night Abe puts a bullet through Barts’ head. But taking down a vampire requires much more than that and, should Abe honor all of his rules, Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper) agrees to teach him the ways of the vampire hunter.

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Review: The Thing

When you’re trying to live up to the standards, or perhaps exceed those set by John Carpenter’s The Thing, you’ve got your work cut out for you. While Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.’s version offers a nice thrill, it doesn’t come close to, well, replicating the elements that made Carpenter’s piece iconic.

It’s 1982 in Antarctica. A team of Norwegian scientists travel across the snowy tundra trying to track a mysterious signal. Upon pinpointing the position of the transmission, their vehicle plummets into a massive abyss and the group uncovers something out of this world.

In comes Dr. Sander Halversen (Ulrich Thomsen). With his trusty assistant, Adam (Eric Christian Olsen), and a newly recruited paleontologist, Kate (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), by his side, he travels to the location to examine the specimen, some sort of creature encased in the ice. With the help of the on-site Norwegian scientists, they dig it up and bring it back to the campsite where Sander takes a tissue sample confirming they have indeed made a monumental discovery. While the group celebrates their newfound fame, the ice thaws and the creature escapes.

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Review: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

On the weekend that every cinematic action hero hits the big screen in just one film, The Expendables, how can moviegoers be expected to accept Michael Cera as just as much of a hero? Thanks to the ingenious filmmaking techniques of Edgar Wright, some may find that Cera is more of a leading man than any of those muscled up stars. Cera isn’t given CGI biceps, but the film adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s comic book series, Scott Pilgrim, is packed with the most fantastic kind of digital effects, ones that actually enhance the film. However, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World isn’t a flick that relies on a sole asset; it’s a success and innovative achievement on every front.

Scott Pilgrim is the perfect role for Cera. He’s a musician, he’s geeky, has lady issues and frequently mumbles amusing nonsense. To his friends’ and sister’s dismay, Scott’s dating “a 17-year-old Chinese schoolgirl” named Knives Chau (Ellen Wong). Scott’s into her, but she’s clearly on the juvenile side. When he invites her to check out his band, Sex Bob-Omb, she becomes their very first groupie. His bandmates, Kim Pine and Stephen Stills (Alison Pill and Mark Webber), and their friend and wannabe Sex Bob-Omb, Young Neil (Johnny Simmons), aren’t thrilled but tolerate Scott’s baggage. Then there’s Scott’s gay roommate Wallace Wells (Kieran Culkin) and snarky sister Stacey (Anna Kendrick) who both insist Scott grow up and ditch Knives.

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