Coming Soon

December 27, 2010

The Fighter

The Fighter is the story of a small town boxing "star" who is trying to make his comeback as his brother's trainer. The trailer focuses on the boxing and training aspect, but this film is really a story about family. Mark Wahlberg's character struggles with the craziness of a large, loud-mouthed family and trying to fulfill his dreams. Throughout the movie he works to determine if victory is better with or without your crazy family.

The acting in this film is excellent. Mark Wahlberg, who plays Mikey Ward the younger brother trying to fulfill his own fighting dreams,  looks and acts like a fighter and talks like a rough-around-the-edges Massachusetts native. His character is much quieter than the rest of his family, so Wahlberg's acting has to be done through body movement and gestures rather than dialogue. He portrays this character perfectly! Christian Bale has been seen in a variety of films recently, but this character is much different than the characters he has played before. It is always impressive to watch a film and forget who the actor is that's playing the character. That is exactly what happened when Christian Bale transformed himself into Dicky Eklund, the crazy ex-fighter trying to make his comeback. As the credits run at the end of the film the boxing brothers on which this film is based have a short blip. This solidifies the perfection of Wahlberg and Bale's performances. The real life Mikey is quiet and withdrawn and Dicky is loud and slightly spastic, exactly as the two actors showed them. They clearly did their research!

I have to admit that before it's release I was skeptical about this film. The trailer shows two fighter brothers who are working towards a comeback. It gives a glimpse of the family issues, but does not show the depth of this story. The true beauty of this film is in the family struggle story line rather than the fighting story. This revealed to me how powerful the element of surprise is in films. Everyone hates the movies that reveal all the funny or exciting parts in previews. The best films are the ones that can get you to the theater with the basic plot in previews, then impress you with the surprise of a deeper story that is relatable and emotional. This is exactly what was done with The Fighter. I expected to see a mediocre boxing-hero film and in reality was able to enjoy an excellent story about family and fighting for you dreams.

Overall, I was very impressed with this film. I believe the acting stood out above any other element. However, the story is exciting, hilarious, and emotional. Plus who can't relate to a little bit of family drama. But as award season approaches, I expect to see more individual actor awards rather than overall film awards.These amazing portrayals make a real-life tale come alive on the screen.

See It!

November 19, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

The Harry Potter series is one of the highest grossing film series in history. There is no doubt that the newest film would be any less successful than the previous six. Of course the acting was great. The characters are exciting, relatable, and enjoyable. The directing and writing is just as excellent as the rest. But this film stands out from the rest, because of its intensity. This one is by far the most action-packed film of the series. It also has more heart-wrenching scenes than any other film. There are moments when the whole theater gasps or catches their breath at the same time. A few minutes later the silence of sorrow can be felt in each seat. Then you are back to the downhill-drop back into the action.

I had heard that this film had more scenes focused on the plot line and less about the magic. This is somewhat true. There is a much greater emphasis on the plot line, but that’s probably because of the large quantity of material to fit into these two final films. I don’t think this will hinder any viewer opinions. The die-hard fans will love it, but younger children might have a harder time following the detailed plot.

Overall, I am extremely impressed with this film. We all know any film in this series will be great, but this one really got me excited about the series. I hope it will do the same for others. It is exactly what the final (part 1) of a series should be. It is summing up everything we have been taking part in for almost ten years. I believe anyone can enjoy these films. Even though it is a little bit more difficult if the background knowledge is not there. I believe this two part finale will put the icing on the giant, money-making cake that is the Harry Potter film series.

November 15, 2010

Morning Glory

I had very low expectations for this seemingly typical, lackluster comedy about a young TV producer who tries to accomplish her dreams against all odds. This appeared to be a potential money-maker but nothing special. Throughout the entire film I continued to be pleasantly surprised.

First, the writing was very impressive. The humor in this film was different than the comedy that you see in the usual comedic drama/romance. I cannot quite place what makes this humor so special, but it adds a great element to this film. Perhaps it stems from the fact that it's based on the real life charade that is morning new shows. The quick witted one liners are humorous and realistic, because the ploys used to boost ratings are ridiculous but effective. It seems to be true that ridiculous stories get higher ratings on morning air shows more than actual news. This real life absurdity fuels the creative, unusual writing in this film.

Second, Rachel McAdams plays a character distant from the characters she has played before. This character is well developed and quirky in a way you can't help but love. She demonstrates mannerisms that are very unique, funny, and lovable. She has always been an excellent romantic actress, but this is an enlightening change of pace. Props to her and the writers for creating this character. 

Lastly, the relationship that develops between McAdams' character and Harrison Ford's character is phenomenal. Again, I think this is rooted in reality. It is a masterful mash of father-daughter/mentor-
protégé- type relationship with a mix of admiration tied in. The writer/director added in a romantic interest and storyline also, but I found the McAdams-Ford relationship much more realistic, natural, and fulfilling. This relationship advanced and strengthened the plot more than any romantic bond could have.

Overall, I was again surprised by the witticism and realistic situations integrated into this comedic "drama". I was very skeptical and really enjoyed this film, so I would recommend it for most people. It looks like a chick flick but in reality it is geared towards anyone with a dream or who likes to see the underdog work towards the impossible goal!

My recommendation: See It!

November 13, 2010

Out On DVD

Weekly trips to the theater have left me with limited cash so, I am opting to share my DVD rental recommendations with you this week. I realize there are many people who rent movies more often than actually going to the theaters, so hopefully this helps you with your rental choices!!!

Top DVD New Releases

Shutter Island-Martin Scorsese plays with your mind and Leo gives a great performance
Toy Story 3- probably the best animated film of the year!
Sex and the City 2- they went a little too far trying to create the shock factor but still very entertaining
Date Night- how can you go wrong with Tina Fey and Steve Carrell
The Ghost Writer- interesting drama about a politician with a big secret, it has you full of questions throughout but the ending provides a surprise!
Alice in Wonderland- Tim Burton's twisted mind is evident in this rendition of the classic 
Valentine's Day- romantic comedy about the variety of opinions of Valentine's Day
Brooklyn's Finest- an emotional action movie about three police officers in Brooklyn

Law Abiding Citizen, The Hurt Locker, and Up in the Air are films I think many people missed the first time around. I loved each of them!

November 8, 2010

Due Date

Due Date is the newest film from the director of  The Hangover. While the hype of The Hangover was used to gain viewers, I was skeptical. There's no way another movie could live up to that kind of hype. However, I was surprised at the creativity and humor that this film produced.

My greatest fear was that Zach Galifianakis's character would be too similar to his character in The Hangover. The writers did an excellent job of using Zach's quirky charm and creating a unique character. This provided the right amount of humor without being too similar to the previous character.

Another surprise was the warm and fuzzy moments that were intermingled in with the humor and outrageous antics. This was unusual for a comedic film, but the producers mixed in these heart-felt moments appropriately. It was quite a surprise to see Galifianakis in a role that required this kind of acting also, but he was yet another surprise.

The comedic high jinks were taken to a bit of an extreme, but overall, I was surprised that this movie was not a complete copy of the director's previous success. It was full of many surprises. I would definitely recommend this movie, and it would be a great in theater choice! I think this is one of the best comedies of the year. 

November 3, 2010

Waiting for Superman

Waiting for Superman is a documentary about the sad state of affairs in the public schools in the United States today. It shows the struggles of a handful of families in extreme urban areas as they try to make good education a priority. As an educator I knew this film would be interesting and emotional to me. I thought that I would recommend it to other teachers and anyone interested in documentaries. I have discovered the opposite. Any one who will be living in the US throughout the next 10 years, any one who is planning on raising children in the US within the next 50 years, and any one who cares a tiny bit about the shape of the US in the future needs to see this film.

Most people know that the education system in the US has been less then desireable for sometime now. Many polititians and reformers have said they are going to change this system, but so far each one has come up at a loss. But this problem is much more than most people know. Even I, as a member of this entity, did not fully grasp the horrors that many face when dealing with the education system and the horrors that will come in the future if changes are not made. This film shows the extremity of the problems in our education system and puts a face on it. (Lucky for them that face is a bunch of children that just want to learn and make their lives better).

This film is out on limited release, but it should be in a theater near you. Make the effort to check it out, because the message is very important. As a movie critic, it is also very well made. The directing is well done. The graphics used are perfect to illustrate the information and data shown. And the kids are cute.

I am slightly bias because of my profession, but I would recommend this film to everyone. Wait til Redbox has it if you want, but put it on your list of movies to see.

October 28, 2010

Life As We Know It

Life As We Know It tells the story of a single man and woman that discover they have been chosen to be the guardian for their mutual friends' baby daughter. This is very easily one of the popular movies as I would call it. There is no life changing story line or award worthy acting, but I was surprised at how good this movie was. Movies like this one tend to be highly predictable and completely cliche. This one was pretty cliche, but I was surprised that it wasn't as predictable as others. Katherine Heigl's films tend to fit into this highly predictable category, so I am glad this one branched out a tiny bit. I say a tiny bit, because Heigl's character is the same as many other characters she has played. Alternatively, her co-star Josh Duhamel continues to impress me. I have always wondered how he is not the male lead in every female-oriented, date night movie made right now. He is gorgeous; therefore, I assumed he had very poor acting skills. The opposite was seen in this movie. He appears to have a range of abilities as he showed many different sides of the same character in this movie.

Overall, this is the perfect date night movie. The story has a unique twist to it. The acting is good and the writing provides just the right amount of humor. The underlying message that life doesn't always happen the way you imagined is always a good reminder (and up-lifter in my opinion). If you are going to the movies, this one would be a great choice, especially if you have someone special to go with you.

October 18, 2010


Intriguing, unusual, and sad. That is the only way I can describe this film. This is a documentary about a guy who starts an online relationship with  a family of artists. As you would predict, things are not quite as they seem. The idea that you can't believe everything you see on facebook or the internet is not a shock, but the extreme that this story reaches is rather surprising. 

Intriguing- Throughout the entire film you know that something big and shocking is coming, but you never know quite what it's going to be.  The trailer shows this film as a real-life horror flick. This is completely inaccurate. There was not point during this movie that I thought a mass murderer with a meat cleaver was going to appear.

Unusual- At it's core this film is very odd. The story as a whole makes you wonder what kind of people would act in such an crazy way. The relationship between the main character and the family is weird. The film makers seem to have an odd desire to push their colleague to do out of the ordinary things. Throughout the entire film you are wondering what the real story is with this internet family. It is all just very unusual.

Sad-The reality of the film does come out when the whole story is revealed at the end. The result is very surprising but also very depressing. It's almost sad to watch as the extent of the falsities are discovered.

Overall, this is a weird movie. Most people I know do not like weird movies. I thought it was interesting and don't regret paying for the ticket but I wouldn't recommend most people to see this film in theaters. If you are a nut who really enjoys the quirky, odd-ball films, then get yourself to the nearest theater tonight! Otherwise, you have to determine your personal level of interest, at best I would recommend it as a rental.

October 9, 2010

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

This movie tells the story of a young trader on Wall Street getting involved with a veteran recently out of prison. The story overall is interesting and the cast portrays it well. But it was boring. The Wall Street insights, jargon, and conversations didn't help with this, because I have no interest in these topics. It was more than just these scenes that lacked my interest though. The Wall Street story line was intermixed with an "emotional" deadbeat dad/heartbroken daughter drama story line. This felt very forced though. It was as if the writers included this story line just to appeal to a greater audience or add some depth, but it didn't accomplish either. On top of that this movie felt very long. I would have guessed it was four hours when in reality it was only two.

Don't miss the last five minutes of this film. Because the writers decided they didn't want you to leave disliking Michael Douglas's character. They made an attempt to reconcile what seems like an ended relationship, but they did it in a way that was completely unrealistic for this character. It ended up being a last minute attempt to create a happy ending. Maybe they had a time limit and didn't have time to wrap up the both story lines. I guess the emotional father/daughter drama got the short end of the stick.

If you have an interest in Wall Street and stock market trading, you might enjoy this movie. Overall, it wasn't terrible. But at best I would recommend it as a Redbox/Netflix option (if nothing better is available). There's no need to rush out to see it now or spend the extra money on a theater ticket.

October 7, 2010

The Social Network

Before seeing this film, I knew this was an amazing story that was current and exciting; therefore, I had very high hopes for this film. It had to be done perfectly. Luckily, it was! There were two areas that stood out most. First, Jesse Eisenberg is perfect for the role of Mark Zuckerberg and the writing for this character was flawless. Many critics have noted that this character is socially awkward and ends up being some-what unlikable. This is portrayed in the movie, but the writer puts the perfect spin so that you like the unlikeable character. You are rooting for him while also waiting for him to fail (especially since most people know Zuckerberg had to pay for his actions in the end). This should be the goal of every writer for the antagonist, which was met perfectly in this film through Eisenberg’s portrayal of the character. Second, the productions perfectly created seamless transitions between the “present” scenes showing the legal depositions and the events that are being discussed in said depositions. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this done in a way that requires no identification, no pause in events, and no explanation. It flows perfectly in a way that makes you even more intrigued. The legal scenes set you up to ask questions about the events that caused them. Then the cycle continues to keep you on your toes.

This film gave an amazing portrayal of a story that is so current everyone can relate to it. Facebook is such a major part of current pop culture that it almost feels unreal to be seeing the story on screen already. This alone made this film extraordinary!

Overall, the film used the perfect actors to tell an extraordinary story that is unbelievably current. That sounds like a recipe for success to me! I would recommend this film to anyone and everyone. It has suspense yet evokes so much emotion. It is a story for the ages that just happens to be set in the current age.

September 28, 2010

Director's Cut

I feel that I need to explain a little bit about how I look at and think about movies. I see two different categories that movies fit into. The first is what I call popular movies. These are the movies that appeal to the masses and often make all the money at the box office. I take these movies for what they are. I don't believe the goal of creating these movies is to win awards or make high-quality films. The people involved in these movies are trying to entertain the viewers; therefore, I will look at and judge the quality of these films. But in reality, that doesn't matter. All the matters is how entertained the masses will be.

The other category of movies is the high-quality, life-changing films that are generally (or should be) nominated for awards or recognized for their quality. These films are generally not enjoyed by all people. I look at these films more critically and will mention that they are not made as much for entertainment as they are for quality. I am surrounded by many people who do not enjoy or appreciate most of the movies that fit into this category. That is why I judge all movies for what they are and what the main goal of making them is.

First Recommendation- Iron Man 2
It is Tuesday and new DVD's are released today. The only one I know much about is Iron Man 2. This fits into the popular movies category, so take that for what it's worth. Overall, it has pretty good writing and who doesn't love Robert Downing Jr??? I have been completely sucked into the comic/superhero movie phenomenon. Ever since Marvel Comics became involved with the production of these movies, there has been a great increase in the quality. The plan to make the individual superhero movies leading up to Avengers movies is business genius. I am one of the many who have been hooked and are along for the whole ride. Check this one out if you are looking for some superhero action filled with RDJ's comedic one-liners.

September 27, 2010

Opening Credits

I'm starting this to share my love and serious critique of a variety of films. I have always loved movies and they have become a major part of my life. Everyone that knows me knows that I am the person to ask about popular movies and the films that earn the highest nominations each year. I am going to try to see a movie each week and post my review. I will also be listing my recommendations for movies out on DVD on Tuesdays. This is not the first time in my life I have aimed to see a movie in theaters each week, but it will be quite an endeavor since I now have a full-time job and an actual life to maintain. But I hope you enjoy my reviews and recommendations throughout this time!