There is something inherently intriguing and entertaining about watching people do foolish, and yet exciting, things in the movies. There is something, dare I say, magical about watching characters do the unthinkable, about watching situations slowly spiral out of control. This all applies to Project X, a ridiculously over-the-top party movie which, while far from artistic, succeeds through its commitment not to the usual narrative beats, but through its absolute insanity.

Directed by Nima Nourizadeh from a screenplay by Matt Drake and Michael Bacall (who co-wrote Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), Project X is a curiously executed found footage film, which at times seems to completely abandon this premise, but at the same time isn’t afraid to embrace its potentials. (Much of the proceedings are filmed by the group’s mysterious friend, Dax.) The film follows high-school friends Thomas (Thomas Mann), Costa (Oliver Cooper), and JB (Jonathan Daniel Brown) as they throw a birthday bash for Thomas, whose parents (played by Caitlin Dulany and Peter Mackenzie) go out of town for the weekend.

Costa is gleefully crass and unapologetic in his insistence on throwing the largest bash imaginable – despite Thomas’ parents insistence not too – and proceeds to invite seemingly all Pasadena to what he is advertising as the most epic party of all-time. Now Thomas, Costa, and JB won’t exactly win popularity contests, so they’re not all that surprised when evening rolls around and nobody has showed up – save for Thomas’ friend and inevitable love interest, Kirby (Kirby Bliss-Blanton) – yet just as they are about to give up hope, the crowds begin to arrive.

Thomas is extremely (and justifiably) worried; the crowds continue to roll in, as Thomas’ backyard begins to fill. A party bus even arrives carrying Miles (played by the hilarious Miles Teller), who is apparently an ex-baseball star at their high school. The alcohol begin to flow, the music begins thump, and the party is officially out of control. The trio even hire two young neighborhood kids as security to keep Thomas’ house out of ruins, and of course be on the lookout for neighbors and cops. Yes, the premise and execution are completely ridiculous, but its the fact that the filmmakers embrace this so much that the film succeeds. With an excessive amount of lewd behavior, partying that never stops, and the gleeful way in which the party slowly spirals out of control, Project X is everything you’d fear could go wrong during a party – and it’s entertaining as hell.

From an angry drug-dealer seeking revenge, to an abusive little person (Martin Klebba), and even an angry and violent neighbor attempting to shut down the party, there is never a slow moment. Project X moves at a frantic pace, capturing every aspect of this party through the documentation of Dax and other present cameras. Soon the party generates an unstoppable life of its own – how did the party get so big? “It’s plus one.” – as nobody, not even law enforcement, can put a stop to it.

At the center of this movie is it’s use of music. It would be hard to think of a movie released in recent months that uses its soundtrack so much to its advantage. The soundtrack, which includes tracks from Kid Cudi, Tyler the Creator, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Nas, and more, masterfully dictates the pace and rhythm of each scene. When coupled with the sleek camerawork, which incorporates an impressive amount of slow-motion and interesting angles, the soundtrack breathes all life into the movie.

While “found footage” is usually used to ground a movie in reality, the climax eschews so far from it that the gimmick at times feels entirely useless. Like a continuous Jackass stunt gone-wrong, Project X never ceases to entertain as a party-movie on steroids, taking the good and the bad from such a premise and spitting out an absolutely insane 90 minutes of cinema.

Grade: B

Rated: R (for crude and sexual content throughout, nudity, drugs, drinking, pervasive language, reckless behavior and mayhem – all involving teens.)

Project X opens nationwide on March 2nd.

Disney’s released a minute-long clip from Beauty and the Beast, and it’s a great one: Emma Watson performing “Belle.”

Belle skips around town as the townspeople observe the “funny girl” in this uplifting sequence from the movie. You can’t help but get excited for Beauty and the Beast after watching this, and Emma sounds great!

Read full article

Disney’s released a minute-long clip from Beauty and the Beast, and it’s a great one: Emma Watson performing “Belle.”

Belle skips around town as the townspeople observe the “funny girl” in this uplifting sequence from the movie. You can’t help but get excited for Beauty and the Beast after watching this, and Emma sounds great!

In related news, the cast and crew kicked off their press tour today in Paris. Disney released the following adorable photo of Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Josh Gad, Luke Evans, director Bill Condon and composer Alan Menken as they start publicizing the movie, which opens in theaters March 17:

Can’t wait to see it!

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 brings the L.M.D. storyline to a truly wild end. Here’s what to expect from “Self Control”!

You don’t know what’s coming

Yeah, there’s a synopsis for “Self Control” — “Suspicion turns to paranoia when the team doesn’t know who can be trusted as more LMDs infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D.” But that’s the equivalent of saying that Iron Man is about a goateed man who can fly.

Sure, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 answers a lot of questions about who is and who isn’t a robot. More profoundly though, the episode goes in for a final knead and punch of the ideas that have been floating around all season.

Read full article

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 brings the L.M.D. storyline to a truly wild end. Here’s what to expect from “Self Control”!

You don’t know what’s coming

Yeah, there’s a synopsis for “Self Control” — “Suspicion turns to paranoia when the team doesn’t know who can be trusted as more LMDs infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D.” But that’s the equivalent of saying that Iron Man is about a goateed man who can fly.

Sure, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 answers a lot of questions about who is and who isn’t a robot. More profoundly though, the episode goes in for a final knead and punch of the ideas that have been floating around all season.

Free will and humanity. Sacrifice and love. The nature of reality — and even of life itself. Beneath the plot, surprises, and pain, that’s what’s really going on in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spring finale.

That, and the characters who get caught in the middle.

Jed Whedon is Not. Playing. Around.

Executive producer and showrunner Jed Whedon is the man behind the pen and the camera in “Self Control,” and he’s there for a reason. Whedon’s first try at the director’s chair on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is operatic, incisive, and perpetually gut-clenching.

Yes, there are lovely and disturbing vistas, an artistry that comes from a deliberate and careful eye. But more important is the unshakable Whedon impulse that animates Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15, that builds through the episode like a cresting tide.

You know that unmistakable sense that someone is laughing behind the scenes? Yeah. That’s why Jed Whedon is here.

What’s next?

Well, that’s a very good question. “Self Control” leaves us with a few razor-like possibilities, all of which lead down spiky corridors of questions. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 is here to leave us thirsty for the season’s final seven episodes, and that’s exactly what it does.

Oh, and to answer your next question…

Cliffhanger?

Uh, yes. Cliffhanger.

Oh boy, cliffhanger.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15, “Self Control,” airs Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 10:00 p.m. on ABC.

What are your top theories for ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ 4×15?

Have President’s Day off? Here are some movies, TV shows, and soundtracks with which to celebrate President’s Day.

‘Hamilton’


Even if you were somehow lucky enough to have already seen the musical, you might as well celebrate today with another listen to the soundtrack. In case you have been living under a rock, Hamilton is a hip-hop, rap, musical about Alexander Hamilton. Yes, Hamilton never became president, but the musical does include multiple would-be presidents. Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and even birthday boy himself George Washington are heavily featured in Hamilton. Based on the biography by Ron Chernow, you can get a history lesson while you listen to great music.

Read full article

Have President’s Day off? Here are some movies, TV shows, and soundtracks with which to celebrate President’s Day.

‘Hamilton’


Even if you were somehow lucky enough to have already seen the musical, you might as well celebrate today with another listen to the soundtrack. In case you have been living under a rock, Hamilton is a hip-hop, rap, musical about Alexander Hamilton. Yes, Hamilton never became president, but the musical does include multiple would-be presidents. Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and even birthday boy himself George Washington are heavily featured in Hamilton. Based on the biography by Ron Chernow, you can get a history lesson while you listen to great music.

‘Liberty’s Kids’


Liberty’s Kids aired in the early 2000s on PBS. Liberty’s Kids follows three teenagers from varying backgrounds throughout the American Revolution, mentored by Benjamin Franklin. It is geared for children but is still pretty enjoyable for adults. In each episode, the teenagers encounter a significant person or event from the revolution, giving a concise and entertaining history lesson. The show features many important figures throughout the revolution, showing even more presidents than in Hamilton. As one can imagine, Washington is among these.

‘Lincoln’


Lincoln is a 2012, Oscar nominated movie, directed by Steven Spielberg based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s biography of Abraham Lincoln, Team of Rivals. Instead of a biopic of Lincoln’s entire life, Lincoln is specifically about his passing of the 13th amendment. Essentially directed between each of his science fiction blockbusters, Spielberg also made many significant historical movies, Lincoln among them. Lincoln not only shows his power as a president, but also humanizes him through an Oscar winning performance by Daniel Day-Lewis.

‘1776’


Hamilton is not the first musical about American history. Thankfully, though, because this way there are other options, one of which is 1776. Even more conveniently, the musical 1776 was adapted into a movie in the early 1970s. Heavily implied by its name, 1776 is about the signing of the Declaration of Independence. 1776 definitely has a more classical musical theater vibe than Hamilton. The strange combination of American history and musical theater allows for a humorous yet educational experience. However, as reflective of the history of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Washington is not a character in the musical; yet, it obviously includes many other significant historical figures.

‘The West Wing’ or ‘The American President’


Unlike the other items on this list, these two are about fictional presidents. But it would be nice if they were real. Of the many politically charged movies and television shows by Aaron Sorkin, these two are specifically about presidents. If you have the day off and want to attempt to binge watch seven seasons, then you may want to check out The West Wing. The West Wing follows President Bartlet and his staff and advisors during their time in the White House. If you want a movie to help you transition between Valentine’s Day and President’s Day then The American President is worth watching. It is a romantic comedy about President Shepherd, who falls in love with a lobbyist.

How else will you celebrate President’s Day?