Coming Soon

December 17, 2011

Sherlock Holmes: Game of Thrones

This is the second Sherlock Holmes film. While I always have big concerns about sequels, this is somewhat different than other sequels. The best aspects of the first Sherlock Holmes films were kept intact for this second film. The wit and intrigue continue in The Game of Thrones.  Robert Downing Jr. and Jude Law make an excellent duo. The only complaint I have is this film did not keep me involved in the mystery.

The best part of Sherlock Holmes is the humor and wit that the main character brings to the story line. Clever disguises, laughable one liners, and some hilarious physical humor make a great comedy! Robert Downing Jr. brings them all to this movie. I even heard another viewer in the theater say, "The humor was the best part." at the end of the film. Without Robert Downing Jr. I think these films would be nothing. He perfectly portrays this meticulous and detail-oriented character. The biggest upgrade from the original film was the viewer's entrance into the mind of this crazy character. The scenes were often slowed down to show us, the regular people, what the methodical Sherlock Holmes was seeing or thinking. This was an amazing addition that was not as strong in the first film. Jude Law plays Watson, Holmes's sidekick, wonderfully also. He is so calm and collected throughout all the chaos that bestows the pair.

The only downfall of this film, especially compared to the first one, was the lack of clues for the audience to see. I did not feel like I was trying to solve a mystery at all. Holmes discovers the mastermind villain at the beginning of the film, so there's not much to solve. He was just trying to figure out what was going to happen next. This does not bring the audience into the film very well. It is the difference between watching something happen and being involved in what's happening. I felt very outside of the action rather than involved in it like an audience should be.

Overall, I loved Sherlock Holmes: Game of Thrones. It was witty and humorous with two excellent actors. I miss Rachel McAdams's character a bit, but she didn't fit into the majority of this plot. If you liked the first Sherlock Holmes film, you definitely need to see this one!


October 16, 2011


While I have not seen the 1984 version of Footloose, I feel as though I got the gist by watching the 2011 version. It appears that this remake is quite similar to the original. This can be great for a great story line, but terrible for outdated clothing, dialogue, and scenarios.

Going into watching Footloose I did not have high hopes. I had heard about the struggles the makers had when trying to find a male lead. When Zach Efron and Chase Crawford both turn down the role, you probably aren't going to get a top-rate actor. While Kenny Wormald, the lead that decided to make this his big break, does have the moves and the looks for this lead role, a bigger name star would have made Footloose more of a box office hit. While the casting troubles did cause the film to loose marketing power, the film is not a total shamble. It is enjoyable, entertaining, and even funny! With that said if you are male or over the age of 17, I don't think you'll get much more than a few chuckles from this classic remake.

The acting is average. The story line is out of date. I respect the creators for trying to recreate some classic scenes, but when you put an adorable Julianne Hough in a 1980s dress, you fail to keep me engaged in a 2011 movie. Overall, I would recommend this film if you loved the original and want to see another take on it or if you are a High School Musical fanatic. If you are looking for a cheesy dance movie to finish off a girls' night, this would be fitting also. It would be worth seeing it for a dollar or two if you feel inclined, but it's not worth the $10 a movie ticket costs.

Maybe Redbox It

October 8, 2011

The Ides of March

The Ides of March is a political story about a democratic campaign team as they work in the Ohio preliminary. It features an allstar cast and an interesting, relevant story with a few twists. I had very high hopes for this film and I have to admit it didn't quite measure up. It felt a little slow-paced and there was not enough character development to make me feel strong effects when the twists came into play.

The best thing about this film was the great cast: George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. These are excellent actors and they show that off once again. The story is a strong point also. Politics always create an opportunity for a great story, because of the deception, emotion, and personality invovled.

With a great cast and a good story, you'd think this would make an awesome movie. Something didn't quite add up this time though. The beginning of the movie seemed very ordinary to me. It consisted of scene after scene of regular campaign work. We were getting to know the characters, but most of the character traits were hinted at through a couple comments rather than fully developed. This created a feeling of slow pace and lack of connection with the characters. Things improved somewhat when the political twists shook things up, but even these were portrayed through a sequence of simple scenes. A little more ups and downs in the plot or a clear climax would have added a lot to this movie.

Overall, I enjoyed this film because it was a good story and some great actors. However, my high expectations were not met. The plot was a little slow paced and lacked some solid character development. It was a good movie but didn't have to fighting power that is expected with so many big name actors.

Netflix/Redbox It!

September 24, 2011


Moneyball tells the story of the Oakland Athletics's General Manager as he tries to create a successful team on a fraction of the budget of his opponents. This is an excellent story that incorporates the intensity and emotions of baseball. Brad Pitt shows us once again how great he is at acting. The producers and director used great creative in their filmography also.

This story is excellent! It is a incorporates the great intensity that baseball fans love and the behind the scenes drama brings you into another realm. It is exciting and keeps you hooked, especially if you are a baseball fan already, but non-baseballs will enjoy it too.

It's been a little while since we heard anything about Brad Pitt that wasn't just family drama. He shows off his excellent acting skills once again in this movie. Also, the producers and director did a great job using a lot of creativity in the filming and scenes.  This creativity added another element of depth to make this not just another sports movie.

Overall, this was an excellent movie. I expect it to be a box office big hitter! Pitt does some great acting, the story is riveting and emotional, and the extra creativity gives it something different.


September 17, 2011


Drive is a film about a stunt driver who works also as a getaway car driver until he gets involved with some serious criminals. Ryan Gosling plays the main character amazingly! The story and directing are very exciting and unique! I even love the 80s soundtrack giving it a perfect flow. The only negative I have is that it was extremely, extremely, extremely violent! You may think three extremely's is too much, but this is more gore and violence than I have ever seen in my life.

By far the best part of this film is Ryan Gosling's acting. He has really shown himself in a variety of roles throughout his career. It if very impressive that he can create so many different characters and do it in a believable way. Again in this film he created a very different character perfectly. In Drive he talks very little and performs his acting through his body language. The fact that he can portray a introverted, caring, and aggressive character with minimal talking is evidence that yet again he deserves an Oscar nomination!

The story and directing are very unique. Nicolas Winding Refn has become known for his violent and award-winning direction. He continues with the violence and I think this time he will be winning some bigger awards. The story is riveting! I was at the edge of my seat (when I wasn't covering my eyes) for much of the film. It is difficult for me to explain what exactly is different about this film. I think it is the use of silence and body language to portray real emotion rather than making the film wordy. Overall, I am not a fan of the gore but I am impressed with the creativity in directing.

The final part I liked was the soundtrack. The font used in the film and the music both have an 80s film. You would think this would make the film seem less modern, but I really think, the music at least, added to the emotion of the film. The font didn't influence the film much but was unusual.

The only part I did not like was the violence, but apparently it is common for this director. This does involve serious mob/criminal drama, and in real life I'm sure people are this violent, but I don't need to see this at the movies. I don't really think it added anything to the movie. Take this as a fair warning if you are squimish, be prepared to cover your eyes.

Even with the violence, I think this was an excellent film. The directing and the acting are the strengths and deserve some award nominations. I like the story line, which keeps you guessing. I have heard there is some Oscar buzz already and I think it will continue. I am not sure if Drive will be on the Best Picture list, but I wouldn't be disappointed if it was.

SEE IT!!!!

August 19, 2011

One Day

One Day tells the story of two friends through accounts of where they are on the same day each year. It is based on a book by David Nichols, which is usually a good sign. However, this film was not at all what I expected. It has two actors who I love that acted well, but I was not impressed with the plot or the writing. It is fair to say that I was quite disappointed.

The previews for this film make it seem like a whirlwind romance between two people who are destined to be together. This is somewhat true in the film, but it all kind of gets lost in the shuffle. We don't get much background story since we only see the characters on one day out of the year. There is almost no attempt to fill the audience in on what has happened the rest of the year. There was no build up to make it feel as though these two were meant for each other. There was no climactic, romantic scene when they make an advancement in this relationship. It was just all flat. Then out of no where one thing changes the whole path of the film. After this everything becomes depressing, but then the plot finally gets a bit romantic in the last few scenes of the film. It was all just a mess.

I do love Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess who both did a good acting job. But the writing was awkward and choppy. The plot didn't really flow because we didn't get any hints into what happened during the days of the year we weren't seeing. The biggest problem, though, was it was very slow. I have not been bored in a movie in a loooooooong time! I kept talking to my friends sitting next to me, because most of the movie was not keeping my attention. If I had watched this movie at home, I definitely would have fallen asleep.

Overall, I like the concept of this film and the actors could make it great. But we did not get enough information to feel anything for the characters or fully understand their relationship. There was a little bit of romance towards the end of the film, but this just didn't measure up to expectations.

It's hard to say don't see it, but don't be sad if you miss it.

August 10, 2011

The Help

The Help is the story of a young female journalist in Mississippi in the 60s who decides to write a book about stories told by "the help," mainly the black maids and caregivers of white families. This, of course, is an emotional and strong subject which is felt greatly in this film. But The Help has some amazing acting, great writing, and an overall perfect portrayal of the struggles faced by many during this time period.

This movie was serious and emotional, but it was also hilarious!!! I have not been to many movies where an entire audience bursts into laughter multiple times during one film. The "sassy" oneliners from a couple of prominent characters and the karma that comes back to bite some asses creates so many funny moments!! This is one of its strongest characteristics. We can only take so much intensity. The break-up of comedy gives this movie a great dynamic.

The acting was excellent! Emma Stone, who plays the young journalist, once again is kind of broadening her repertoire. She portrays this strong-will girl who doesn't quite measure up to the usual beauty queens of the south.  She has the look, the acting ability, and the subtle comedy to support the other great actors in this film. I was really impressed with Octavia Spencer, who plays one of the maids. She had an amazing character written for her, but she could not have acted better! Her character was the source of the majority of the humor and she executed it all perfectly! Throughout the movie I was continually impressed by her performance. The rest of the cast was great. They set the scene and created the characters wonderfully, but I was most impressed with Spencer and Stone.

The biggest pull of a film like this is it gives us a peek into the past. This was such a volatile time in history and has been represented in a variety of medias. But The Help shows a more personal perspective. It puts you in the homes and lives of people living during this time and people trying to challenge the current system. Emma Stone's character's mother at one point says,  "Courage sometimes skips a generation." This referred to her feelings about her daughter trying to challenge these negatives systems in society when she was unable to. I just wondered how many parents at this time felt the same way. The idea that my great-grandparents or others living during this time could have thought that way makes the depth of the film intensify.

Overall, this was a moving, emotional, and funny movie. It shows a great picture of the struggles of inequality during the 1960s, but it's not just about a societal issue or history. It is so much more than that. Plus it was really fun to watch. You feel connected to the characters, because you watch their emotion and struggles play out. The majority of the audience tonight was women and older couples. I think it will resonate most with this audience most, but I would recommend this film to everyone!


August 5, 2011

The Change-Up

The Change-Up is a cookie cutter comedy about two friends who magically switch bodies, a new version of Freaky Friday. It stars Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds who both found their niche in this genre! It was very funny, but included a lot of what I would call "guy humor." I didn't realize it was R rated, so the nudity surprised me! Overall, it is a typical comedy, nothing too unique, but it was funny!

The best part of this movie was the acting! I love Jason Bateman. He can do no wrong in my book, but he is perfectly suited for this type of movie. He plays a workaholic lawyer with three kids who sped through life to climb the corporate ladder as quickly as possible. Ryan Reynolds plays his life-long best friend who is the exact opposite. He is the slacker ladies man who never finishes anything, cusses incessantly, and spends his time with "quite a few lovely ladies." Reynolds has not always been the strongest actor, but this role really suited him. He played the lazy bachelor well and was believable as the slacker trying to act like a business man. I think these two were perfect together!

The movie was very funny, which is what you expect from a comedy. The plot is very predictable. Everybody realized that what they have is really great and the people close to them reveal telling information that makes them want to better their lives. The plot will not shock or surprise you, but it will make you laugh! As I mentioned a lot of the humor is "guy humor:" poop jokes and babies playing in the kitchen (which was giving me a heart-attack). It was funny, but some of the humor was immature or male-oriented. This plus the boob-action leads me to believe the execs were shooting for a male audience.

Overall, this was a funny comedy. Again, no one is going to be getting a call during award season, but I don't think that's what they were aiming for. It's a cookie cutter format that works (the theater was full!). It is funny. It has a bit of a twist to make it slightly different than similar movies. It's a fun movie and even throws in a little romance! It'll make you laugh and hopefully reflect on how great your life really is. I don't think you need to run out and see it right away, but it's worth a dollar!

Redbox/Netflix It!

July 29, 2011

Crazy, Stupid, Love

Crazy, Stupid, Love is a romantic comedy about a variety of individuals as they embark on their own struggles with relationships and mostly love. There is some great acting, hilarious one liners, and a few hopeless romantics. It is very idealistic, a little over the top at the end, but I really enjoyed it!

This was definitely a comedy. It was really funny with lots of one liners to keep you laughing! It is also very romantic, you are striving for these couples to make it through. But it was very different from other romantic comedies. This is mainly because the story is told from the men's perspective. The men are the ones  cheated on and damaged trying to pick up the pieces. This made the whole dynamic of the movie very different. It also was not happy-go-lucky through most of the movie. There was a lot of down-in-the-dumps moments, but yet again, somehow misery is hilarious!

My favorite part was the acting! Steve Carell perfectly portrays a 40-something man who's let himself go a bit. He hilariously shows this character that is downtrodden and the opposite of hip trying to turn his life around. His chemistry with Julianne Moore is questionable at times, but I think you are still fighting for these two throughout the movie. Ryan Gosling was also perfect as the confident, studly, womanizer who takes Carell's character under his wing. These two have great chemistry perfectly showing a man's perspective of relationship struggles. The casting of these two is great for a movie centered on the men! Emma Stone did a great job also. Her chemistry with Gosling was believable and romantic. This is a more mature role for her. She plays a mature woman about to begin her law career, much different than a high school hottie.

This movie, like many romantic comedies, was very idealistic! Everything is grand gestures and ends conveniently. But we have our own lives for depressing story lines, a little idealism won't hurt while we are at the movies. The ending is over the top. I do think it could have been wrapped up in a way that was a little more believable. I don't like to reveal too much, so that's about all I can say about that.

Overall, I had fun watching this movie. It was funny! It had some great acting and hilarious lines and moments. It is idealistic and doesn't have the best ending, but all this is forgivable. It claims to be the best comedy of the summer, which I don't think it quite achieves. There have been a lot of comedies this summer, and a couple really good ones. But I enjoyed it a lot!

Redbox/Netflix It!

July 26, 2011

Captain America: The First Avenger

Captain America is the next individual superhero movie leading up to the Avengers movie in May 2012 (which we got to see a preview for at the end of Captain America). It is much different than the superhero movies we have seen recently. It is set in the 1940s which creates a completely different context that effects almost every part of the movie. This added to the fact that this is a superhero movie resulted in an overload of cheesy moments.

This movie reminded me of the Batman and Spiderman cartoons I used to watch as a kid. There is lots of slow motion running with explosions all around, anticipatory music to create a mood, and the villain escaping last minute with a quick remark. It is not as modern as the previous superhero movies released lately. This is not necessarily a negative, but it made me shake my head and chuckle often at the cheese-fest that occurred for the majority of the movie. I would not have been surprised if POW and BOOM action bubbles flashed across the screen at any time, luckily they left that to the original comic books.

I was a little worried about Chris Evans' portrayal of a superhero, especially one as iconic as Captain America. He did a pretty good job representing this little guy turned to super soldier. He also fits in well to this cheesy-type movie. He doesn't really have the swagger of Robert Downing Jr., but that's not what's needed for Captain America. I give him props on this one.

Overall, I enjoyed the film. The combination of a 1940s setting and the fact that it is a superhero movie should have made me expect the cheesy-fest that ensured. I think it outranks Thor, as I expected, but does not compare to Iron man in any way. For most people I would say wait and Redbox/Netflix this one. But if you are a comic fan already or hooked into this Avengers saga like I am, then SEE IT! And make sure you wait until after the 20 minutes of credits to see the amazing preview for The Avengers movie!!!!

Redbox/Netflix It!

July 23, 2011

Friends with Benefits

Friends with Benefits is a romantic comedy about two friends that decide they want a sex-only, emotionless relationship. I am sure you are probably thinking, "I've seen that movie already. " My thoughts exactly when I first heard the premise, but don't let the plot fool you. Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis star in a very funny spin on the usual friends with benefits story. The characters are great and these two actors portray them perfectly. Add in the R rated humor and you have the perfect romantic comedy!

As a female who was on the Nsync side of the best boy band debate in middle school, the highlight of this movie is Justin Timberlake. However, if you were on the Backstreet Boys side or avoided boy bands all together, I have a feeling you will still be impressed with comedy and charisma that Timberlake and Kunis bring to the screen in Friends with Benefits. These two have great onscreen chemistry and I don't think anyone will mind seeing both of their backsides. Kunis has proven her acting abilities, but she really shows off her comedic ability in this film. (I even heard Timberlake compliment her on her comedic timing in an interview on Ellen).  The duo takes this cliche plot and make it something current and special.

The writers created two characters that are classified by their exes as "emotionally damaged" and "emotionally unavailable." I think most people in the world can fit into some kind of emotionally dysfunctional category.  Relateable characters make each viewer really put themselves into the shoes of the character that they relate to most! I'm sure every woman, and some guys too, could see their reflection a little bit when they watch this movie.

Ratings can always put an interesting twist on a movie. An R rating saved this movie from revealing it's best moments in the previews. I mention this often, but this is the ultimate downfall of a movie, especially a comedy. Many hilarious moments were in the previews, but many of the funniest moments would probably not be approved by most networks! The R rating was necessary and perfect for this movie!

Overall, this is a romantic comedy. It's not a deep, life-changing plot. Its writers are not going to be holding their breathe when Oscar noms are announced. But it is funny and cute and fun to watch! I was really concerned that this would be a repeat of a similar movie I saw at the beginning of the year, but I think Friends with Benefits outdid similar movies! It has many funny moments, a great mix of 90s throw back jams and some recent pop hits, and entertaining actors! It's one of those movies that you laugh throughout and at the end think, "That was fun!"

See It!

July 16, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

This is the final film in a decade long series. The movie is emotional, exciting, and action-packed!. I thought it was a great movie, but actually enjoyed Part 1 more than Part 2. It felt like it should have been more epic and final. Everything technically about the film is, of course, spectacular! The emotion that is portrayed, and felt by the viewer, is perfect for the final film. We have spent a whole decade with these characters and longer if you read the books before. There is a lot of emotion associated with that much time. The story is also great! The ending to this journey brings everything to a close!

With all this said, I did feel some changes could have been made to make this movie really monumental. Part 1 created the feeling that something huge was coming, the ending was going to be far beyond what we could have imagined. The final scenes of Part 2 just fell flat. There was no strong feelings whatsoever. It was just finished.  (I have already hear many book-readers were disappointed with some changes that were made. I didn't read the books, so I can't attest to this. But I'm sure those die-hard Harry Potter book readers will be frustrated by this.)

Overall, I loved the movie. I have loved everyone of the movies in the series, but I think it could have been a little bit more; more exciting, more emotional, more imaginative. I would definitely recommend it. It's a great movie!


July 10, 2011

Horrible Bosses

Horrible Bosses is a comedy about three friends who decide their lives would be better if their bosses were dead. It has an all star cast featuring Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Jaime Foxx, and Kevin Spacey. It is a hilarious and surprising story with great acting and some hilarious moments! My only complain is that, like many comedies, most of the funniest moments are in the previews.

The best thing about Horrible Bosses is the cast!!!! I love every one of these actors and each of them does an amazing job! Bateman, Day, and Sudeikis have a wonderful dynamic and enhance each other's performance. It appears that they had a blast making this film and that comes across clearly onscreen! Aniston and Foxx are in roles that are different than we've seen them recently. Aniston is still working to get rid of her type cast in a Rachel-type roles. This movie was perfect for her!!! She plays a ridiculously crude boss who harasses her employee (Day) constantly! She looks great and portrays the character perfectly. Foxx does a great job also. He is a thuggish con-artist who is also hilarious! Great acting all around!

The story is funny and entertaining. There are no complains there. The concept of hating your boss and imagining them being killed is very relatable. However, most people probably don't actually try to go through with it. It is a bit outlandish in that way, but we don't go to the movies to watch something realistic.

My only complain is one of the biggest downfalls of a comedy film. The previews for a movie look hilarious. You go to see the movie and all the funny parts in the whole movie were in the preview. Maybe I see too many previews and watch lots of interviews, but most of the funny parts were in the previews. There were some other funny parts in the movie (ones that could not be put on regular television). But the funniest parts were all in the previews. Except! I think the funniest part was the credits at the end of the movie! Between outtakes and some ad-libing, I didn't stop laughing for the last ten minutes!

Overall, this is an amazing cast portraying a hilarious plot. Most of the funny moments were seen in the previews, but there were a handful of surprises held back. I have very mixed feelings about a recommendation for this movie. Other viewers were laughing a lot more than I was, so maybe I'm just being a little harsh. I would say Redbox it, but you probably won't be disappointed if you spend the money to see it in theaters. I believe it was the best release this week, but most of you don't see a movie each week like I do. There are plenty of other movies to see in theaters before you see this one.

Redbox/Netflix It!

July 2, 2011


Bridesmaids is the hilarious story of what happens in a world where Kristin Wiig and Maya Rudolph are best friends and planning a wedding together. These SNL veterans are hilarious together and I will probably love any film/skit/performance that they do together! Rudolph and Wiig play childhood friends who struggle with their relationship as they plan Rudolph's character's wedding. The acting is great! The writing is hilarious! The story is a little depressing at times, but I've discovered there must be something funny about misery (almost every comedy film includes plenty of it).

Overall, this is a film that can only be described as over the top, crazy, and  .... the only word I can think of is hilarious! There is no other word to describe it. Wiig's character, Annie, thinks she's at the lowest point in her life when her pastry business goes under, but things only get worse! This adds a lot of humor to the plot, but also made me depressed. Then again it made me feel a lot better about my life, so maybe that was Wiig's goal (she was one of the writers). I am pretty late in seeing this one, so most of you already know it is hysterically funny! It is a bit over the top, but only in true SNL style! If you are one of the few who have not seen this film yet, grab a good friend and buy your tickets now!


June 29, 2011

Bad Teacher

Bad Teacher is a comedy about a middle school teacher who is not at all equipped to be a teacher. Her main goal is to find a wealthy man to take care of her. Cameron Diaz does an amazing job portraying this gold digger. A strong, hilarious cast supports her well also. It is a very funny film! (Although, I am slightly biased as a teacher). It's a funny movie with a shallow, but funny story and some great comedic writing!

The strongest point is the comedy. This is a full on comedic movie! Granted I saw it with a group of teachers, but we barely stopped laughing the whole time. The writing was great with hilarious scene after hilarious scene. The acting perfectly created theses scenes and quotes. Unlike some other comedies, Bad Teacher has less one liners and more physical humor. This is a testament to the strength of the actors! The writing was well done also.  I absolutely hate when comedies get really serious with an underlying message after they have made you laugh for at least an hour. Bad Teacher did it perfectly! There was an underlying message about being less superficial, but it was not corny or overly sentimental! Loved it!

I was a little disappointed with Justin Timberlake's performance.  I am a huge Justin fan, but this character was not quite right from him or he didn't portray it well. I'm not sure which was the issue, but it didn't sit right with me.  The story is not spectacular or deep, but that's not what a comedy is supposed to be.  I worry that others will not be able to relate to the film as well as teachers do. Hopefully it will make you laugh though.

Overall, I loved this movie! It has good comedic acting and writing. It is not life changing, but it does make you laugh. That is all a comedy is supposed to do!


June 17, 2011

Green Lantern

Green Lantern appears to be DC Comics' attempt to compete with Marvel Comics in creating a series of major superhero blockbusters. This attempt is falling short in creating interest in the superhero theme again and I'll predict that it will fall short in making a profit also. However, much to my surprise, Green Lantern was a valiant effort by DC to create a modern movie based on a comic book superhero. There were quite a few weaknesses, but I didn't check the time or shake my head in embarrassment once.

Watching the trailers I expected this to be one of the worst films I had ever seen. My major concern was what appeared to be very weak and superficial casting. I would consider the acting to be the biggest weakness of this movie. Ryan Reynolds may have the look of a superhero, but he is much better suited for a romantic comedy than an action flick. Similarly, Blake Lively looks like the perfect superhero love interest, but in this movie she was also supposed to be a serious business-type woman. She did not pull this off well.

Aside from the acting, there were only minor problems. The effects were sub-par at points but didn't take away from the plot. I felt that there was too many story lines playing out at once. I understand it is necessary to set up a lot of background in a short amount of time, but as a viewer, I felt like I was jumping from one story to another to another until they somewhat came together 3/4 of the way through the movie. I could have done without one or two of the story lines. At the same time, there was so much focus on setting up the background of the Green Lanterns, the history, and the villain that the background of the main characters was lacking.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised. The acting was not great. The effects could have been stronger and I would have been satisfied without so many storylines. But I enjoyed seeing the film and do not think it was one of the worst films I have seen. I think it will fall in the wayside of many other major summer movies, but Redbox it if you are in the mood for another good superhero adventure!

Redbox/Netflix It!

June 11, 2011

Super 8

Super 8 is a film about a group of kids that witness a catastrophic train wreck outside their small Ohio town. When unusual things start happening throughout the town, these kids investigate to see what is causing all the strange occurrences. This is Steven Spielberg's newest film, joined by J.J. Abrams as writer and director. Like most Spielberg films, it has a unique story and lots of surprises. It is very well written. The acting was great! It definitely had me hook for the entire 112 minutes. There were a few weaknesses, but overall it does not disappoint.

The story in this film is very Sci-Fi and out of this world. There was a few moments that I could not quite accept the crazy occurrences that were happening. When electronics and pets are going missing throughout the town and people are being dragged away by an unknown force, I began to think this was a little too outside the box for me. However, Speilberg and Abrams changed my thoughts when they slowly began sharing information about these mysteries, a little at a time. Letting the viewer in with bits and pieces keeps you guessing.

My only other disappointment was the similarities between this film and other films (most of which involving Speilberg). I would describe Super 8 as a cross between Transformers, E.T., and The Goonies. This film was rumored to be Speilberg's next great film. I wish the writers and Speilberg could have come up with something that didn't nearly copy previous films.

Aside from a moment of frustration about a lack of knowledge shared with the viewer and some repeat of material, this was an excellent film. With a cast of mostly young actors, you have to wonder how well the portrayals will come across on screen. These young actors were super! I thought the story was good, the effects added to the story, and there is definitely excitement from start to finish. I am not sure that Super 8 will go down as one of Speilberg's greats, but it's definitely good.


June 4, 2011

The Hangover: Part 2

The Hangover Part 2 chronicles the disaster that ensues when the Wolfpack is reunited in Thialand for Stu's wedding. It has the same characters and similar catastrophes as the first Hangover film. I was very concerned that it would be a total flop, because The Hangover was so great and unique that it cannot be repeated. However, the executives did a great job of keeping the same actors, staying true to the characters, and creating new adventures for our favorite best friends to go on.

The best aspect of The Hangover Part 2 is the fact that all the original actors were part of this film too. It would not have been the same if they would have changed, as often happens with sequels. Also, the writers stayed very true to the personalities of these characters. Again, many sequels go too far to create humor and completely change the characters. These writers perfectly kept the uniqueness of each character and created new situations for them to experience.

The writers also did a great job of creating similar, hilarious activities without repeating those that happened in the first Hangover.  From bar fights to mistakes with prostitutes, The Hangover Part 2 created all new disasters to make you laugh.

Overall, The Hangover is film that cannot be repeated, but The Hangover Part 2 kept the best parts of the original without copying it completely. It is unrealistic that such shenanigans would occur twice, but we don't go to the  movies to watch something realistic. Part 2 is hilarious in it's own way. I don't think any comedy with measure up to  The Hangover, but The Hangover Part 2 comes very close.


May 23, 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

On Stranger Tides is the fourth film in Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean  series. It tells the story of Jack Sparrow, Captain Blackbeard, and Captain Barbossa was they each try to make their way to the Fountain of Youth. On Stranger Tides  is missing Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom but adds Penelope Cruz for a new twist. The plot pretty much follows the same recipe as all the previous fills. It is the first on the series in 3D so that is another added bonus. Overall, it's the same recipe with some updated twists.

Disney and the Pirates writers created a great formula for a box office hit action film based around the life of pirates. This has been repeated for a fourth time excellently. On Stranger Tides has action, the usual sword fights, a little romance, and some extraordinary Captain Jack escapes. The context and goal of the escapades change along with the swapping of a few cast members, but the rest is the same. While this seems boring and weak, the film uses the recipe perfectly and creates another new and entertaining movie. On Stranger Tides brings the viewer into the the Pirates' world and takes them on an imaginative journey.

The biggest change for this film is the loss of Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Swan and Orlando Bloom as Will Turner. They were two of the main players in the first three films, but On Stranger Tides brings in Peleope Cruz as Angelica, Captain Blackbeard's daughter. She replaces Knightley as the pretty lady and love interest who's also tough and a little rough around the edges. I was a little skeptical about this casting change, but Cruz fits in well and very accurately portrays this tough yet beautiful woman. It brings a nice twist that fits with the elements of the previous films but creates just enough change so that this film isn't another boring sequel. Another nice addition is the 3D element. This is well done to enhance the film rather than  make it cheesy. It also keeps the film up to date with the other big films of the summer.

The most impressive aspect of On Stranger Tides is the plot. It again follows the same theme as the previous three films, but this one creates a completely new story that is interesting and unique. It tells the story of how three different groups work to find the fountain of youth. The difficulty comes when the unique ritual of the fountain comes into play. This creates a fantasy world the can only be believable in the Pirates' world.

Overall, there are just enough changes to keep an audience interested in a sequel. I absolutely hate most sequels, but these writers have found a way to create multiple films that work without being boring or trying too hard. On Stranger Tides does the job again! And I hear there are already rumors of Pirates 5. These writers created an amazing character in Jack Sparrow. As long as Johnny Depp stays on board, I think we will see the Pirates series continue.

See It!

May 6, 2011


Thor is the most recent of Marvel Comic's superhero movies. It tells the story of a king's son from another realm who is banished to Earth because of his arrogance and hostility. Thor is a member of the future Avengers, along with Ironman, the Hulk, Captain America, and a few others. Because of this relation it is difficult not to compare Thor to the other Marvel movies that have been released recently (Ironman and The Incredible Hulk). Thor is the first of these installments to be in 3D which is a major benefit. It is very mythical which is a major difference from the other films and  the story seems weak compared to the other films.

First off, from my experience, any time Marvel Comics is involved in making a comic film, it is a much better quality than without Marvel's involvement. Thor continues this theory. It has great quality, clearly a budget was not skimped or limited. The 3D is pretty consistent throughout the film and used to enhance the film rather than provide a few fancy pop-outs or effects like some other 3D films. I think this 3D brings an element that the other films were missing and keeps up with the times as well. Based on overall quality, Thor  is up to par.

A big difference in this film is the mythological elements of this background story. The previous superhero films have more of a science fiction feel. The story of Thor  is based in a world made up of 9 realms with a wormhole, of sorts, to travel in between. This is not a positive or negative, but just an element that makes Thor seem as though it doesn't quite fit with the previous, Ironman and The Incredible Hulk, and the future, Captain America. 

The weakest part of Thor is the overall story in this specific movie. Once you are halfway through and the background story is finished, there's not much to get excited about. There's a few family problems, a couple more fight scenes, and a sad closing scene that sets up the future films in this installment. The background story is very interesting, but the rest leaves you checking your watch, which is the worst sign for a movie. I think this is a weakness in all comic films as the writers have to choose one story for the superhero from what is originally made as a series. The emphasis is placed on the background story to support the future films, but this causes a major loss in interesting plot.

Overall, the quality of this film is great. The 3D is used to make this a superior-quality film. Marvel does a great job of keeping their work at a high standard. While I am a 100% proponent of this series of films leading up to the Avengers film next summer, I am predicting that Thor will be the weakest part released before the Avengers. The same humor and action are incorporated that were used the create the success of Ironman, but the plot is not as interesting. If you are sucked into this series like I am, I would definitely recommend it in theaters. This will be the only way to get the full 3D effect. If superhero comics are not your thing, wait until it comes out on DVD. But Thor is definitely a film to see.

See It!

April 28, 2011

Crazy Heart

Crazy Heart was released in 2009 and Jeff Bridges won an Academy Award for it in 2010. Crazy Heart tells the story of Bad Blake, an aging country music artist who struggles with alcoholism. It is an emotional story and Jeff Bridges gives an amazing performance. But I can see why it was not nominated for best picture. The story is interesting and relatable, but I think it could have been much more emotional. Most of it was not dramatic or intense, but rather almost apathetic. It's a great movie! But Jeff Bridges' acting outshines the story, other actors, and directing. I can see some people feeling this film is almost boring. It is not very fast paced and lacks the ups and downs that we generally see in films.

See It

April 25, 2011

Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants is the story of a veterinary student who leaves school to join the circus after his parents are killed. He bonds with the ringmaster's wife over their mutual love for animals and becomes part of one of the most well-known circus debacles in history. This is based on a best-selling novel, which usually is a recipe for success; however, I was concerned that the casting and uniqueness of this story might make the on screen representation weaker than the novel. Much to my surprise, the acting is impressive and the creation of this unusual world is very creatively presented.

First, Robert Pattinson plays the lead character, the former veterinary student. I was very skeptical, because Pattinson's most well-known role has been in the Twilight series. While I love this series, it does not increase his credibility as a quality actor. Contrary to my expectations, his acting was deep, believable, and perfect for this role. His character is a shy, young man who has fallen into the circus world after a tragedy in his life. Pattinson perfectly creates a reserved and educated man, who is also torn and passionate. My other concern was the on-screen relationship between Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon. These two seem to be in a different generations of actors that would make a romance unnatural or unrealistic. I was pleasantly surprised that their on-screen chemistry was very good. Their relationship and flirtations were believable, but the intimate scene between the two was a little uncomfortable, for me at least.

This story is set in the 1930s and follows the life of a circus crew. This is a very unique world, that was seen as luxurious and fabulous during this time. I was a little concerned that this world would not be created as well on screen as it can be created in the individual minds of readers. Again my expectations were put to shame by the realistic and imaginative representation of this film. The world of luxury and excitement was created perfectly, while still incorporating the darkness and hard work that was also part of this world. The lead character is able to experience and move back and forth between these two aspects of the circus life. This unusual life is portrayed with no cheesiness or artificial feelings. 

This film had the potential to be very successful, because of the creativity of the novel. This potential was met despite all of my skepticism. The acting is impressive and very well cast. This unique story was brought to life in a creative and realistic manner. While this film is very much geared towards women, it can be a pleasant surprise to most audience members. It makes you apart of a world that is completely different and unknown to us today. If you are looking for a whimsical story of illusion and survival, Water for Elephants is the film to see.

See it!

April 23, 2011

The Conspirator

You may not have heard about The Conspirator, because it has not been advertised as much as other recent releases. It tells the story of Mary Surrat who is charged with conspiring with others, her son included,  to assassinate Abraham Lincoln. This happens in the heat of the Civil War, so the Union is looking for a scapegoat to ease their pain and help end the war. One lawyer, a former Union soldier, is convinced to represent her and try to save her life. The directing, story, and acting are great, but I doubt this one will be remembered for long.

It is very unusual to watch a film from the Civil War time period, since we rarely see films set in this time period oriented towards the general public. It takes a minute to adjust your mind set from the 21st century to the 19th century. Even once adjusted, films set in this time can feel cheesy or unrealistic.  However, Robert Redford as director does a great job of making all aspects of the film relatable, understandable, and authentic.  I question a few aspects of the film for it's authenticity, but I have to agree that some things will have to be changed a tiny bit for audiences to relate to and enjoy the film.

The story is an amazing one! Before Surrat no woman had been hanged for their crime. This creates a controversial decision for the coalition deciding her verdict. This was a heated time in the history of our country. As the emotions rise, so does the drama. Surrat's trial also led to major changes in the rights of Americans that we value today. The whole story is a debate of loyalty and ethics. How do you put your North/South alliance aside to do the right thing for one woman?

The acting in this film was very impressive. It has to be very difficult to change the way you act so greatly to represent a person from a very different time period. James McAvoy plays the lawyer that must represent Mrs. Surrat. He is very debonair, as men of this time appeared to be. He perfectly portrayed a man torn by this loyalty to the country he fought for and his duty as an attorney. Robin Wright plays Mary Surra,t the meek woman being charged with a hefty crime.  She transformed herself greatly from the modern woman she is to this frail mother trying to stay alive while also protecting her family. Both of these actors created such accurate portrayals that bring you completely into their story.

Overall, the acting and story really sucked me in. It took a moment to get fully on board with the authenticity of the time period representation. But Redford made me look past the time period and the acting and intense story took over. As mentioned, I don't think this film will be turning heads or talked about this time next year, but I would definitely recommend it. It is well made, enjoyable, and dramatic. But you don't need to see it in theaters.


March 22, 2011

The Lincoln Lawyer

The Lincoln Lawyer is about a defense lawyer who uses the back seat of his Lincoln as his office. This is not the only aspect of his work that is a very unconventional. This film tells the story of one particularly twisted case that Mick Haller is involved in. The Lincoln Lawyer brings in the mental excitement of law and the physical excitement of criminal activity and drama. Matthew McConaughey gives a great performance as the suave, street-wise lawyer. This is the best (quality)  McConaughey film I've seen in years.

The biggest draw of this film is the action and drama. This starts with some courtroom drama as we are introduced to Mick Haller's style. But as the film continues the drama moves from mental intensity to edge-of-your-seat action. This twist between mental and physical drama keeps the viewers engaged in many different ways.

The other positive aspect of this film is McConaughey's acting. He is usually a part of light-hearted, shallow films. This film is much more in depth and powerful than other films he has been in recently. He perfectly portrays this smooth lawyer that has very unconventional methods of bringing his clients to justice. He also struggles emotionally in this film with making sure the guilty are punished and the innocent are vindicated. This film could have been severely weakened with poor acting in this role. The Lincoln Lawyer would have been a poor film without McConaughey's believable and impressive performance.

Overall, I don't think you are going to see The Lincoln Lawyer on the list of best films of 2011. However, it is very dramatic, mentally and physically, emotional, and has great acting. I would definitely recommend it. I struggle to determine if it's necessary to see it in theaters. Right now it is probably the best films in theaters. If you are looking for a quality film on your night out, this would be a great choice.

See It!

February 19, 2011


Unknown is the story of a man who appears to have his identity stolen after he is in a car accident in Berlin. I would explain it as a cross between Taken, with Liam Neeson is a badass fighting European scum, and the Bourne Trilogy, with the lose of identity. It has all the action packed scenes of both of these films and, as mentioned, Liam Neson is great as the guy who nobody wants to mess with.

This movie is a thriller! There are car chases and foot races and a few make-you-jump moments to keep you focused. This has any and all kinds of action that you would like to see!

The best part, of course, is Liam Neeson. Yes, he is somewhat type-cast into this role, but he does it so well. Just as he was in Taken, in Unknown he is a hardcore American who is being chased around a European city by people trying to kill him. He, yet again, turns out to be the man no one should have messed with, because he can outsmart and overpower anyone!

I was a little let down by one plot twist towards the end of the film. Liam's character is not quite what he seems throughout the majority of the film. This was a little disappointing, but I won't go into much more detail for fear of adding spoilers...

I think Unknown will be a very popular theater film. It has great action, one extreme main character, and a some plot twists.  I would recommend it. Unknown is a great action flick for everyone, so it would make a great date movie if your man doesn't like to see the chick flicks when he takes you out.

SEE IT!!- especially if you like action movies!

February 13, 2011

The Company Men

The Company Men tells the story of how three business men are affected by a major downsizing of their large transportation company. This turns into an emotional rollercoaster as their lives seem to end when their jobs are over. It is enlightening and thoughtful with a few kinks along the way.

I'll start with the positives- The Company Men is a great story, especially with our current economy. Many people are going through this situation or similar ones. This is also very emotional. The writer, John Wells, created some great characters. Each of the three men are at different levels of the corporate ladder and different periods in their life. But on top of the emotion, it also sheds a positive light on this very depressing situation that many people have experienced. The film brings life to the message that there are positives aspects to each situation and you just have to find them.

And just a few negatives- The plot was a little slow at times. This is a great story with great characters, but depressing, unemployed life can be slow moving at times. Also, while the characters are relatable and diverse, they are not developed very well. I was often confused which business man was with which woman and which house and which expensive car. Maybe this is because all of the wealthy, now jobless men and their belongings look the same.

Overall, The Company Men portrays a great story with great characters that is a little slow and could use some more character development. I think it’s a great film with great actors, but you don’t necessarily need to spend the fortune that a movie ticket costs these days to see it.

Redbox/Netflix IT!!!

February 5, 2011

The Rite

I was very reluctant to see this film, because it did not look like a quality film and the religious emphasis always seems like a risky idea to me. As the top box office film, I felt I had to give it a shot. However, I don't have much to say.

The Rite is the story of a man studying to be a priest who is sent to Rome to learn how to do exorcisms. This films is essentially a newer version of the Exorcist with a little twist. It has its make-you-jump moments and some thrill throughout the film. This does provide the fright that a movie goer would look for in a horror type film. And the plot is not terrible. Anthony Hopkins brings his usually terror to this film. With all of that said, there were some slight set issues and mediocre acting and writing.

Overall, it is not as terrible as I expected. It does have the scary moments that you would like in a horror film, but I don't think it will compare to any of the classic horror films. It shakes you up and puts you on the edge of your seat more than anything else. If you are a horror or fright film lover, check it out! Otherwise, I would call this film missable.


February 2, 2011

The King’s Speech

I have FINALLY made it to see The King’s Speech. I have had very high hopes for this film as it seem to be one of the best movies of the year according to many different critics and groups. Usually with such high expectations, I am disappointed. But every once in awhile a film comes along like The King’s Speech that lives up to its hype! This story is so incredibly human that everyone can relate to it and sympathize with the main character. The directing and writing perfectly creates the portrayal of this story. And the acting puts all other aspects to shame!
First, the story… This film tells the story of King George VI, before he’s king, as he struggles with a speak impediment. This is a story of friendship, family struggle, compassion, loyalty, and, most of all, confidence. This is such a relatable, human story of a person in a position that is often seen as divine and perfect. This film shows the real-life struggles of a king which are similar to the problems of “commoners.”
Second, the writing and directing of this film are clearly worthy of award. This film has been nominated for 12 Academy Awards, more than any other film this year. This is accredit to many people, but most of all director Tom Hooper and writer David Seidler.
But none of these awards and honors would have been possible without the phenomenal cast. Colin Firth is nearly perfect as the stammering future king. How he managed to stutter throughout all filming is beyond me. This is, I assume, the work of an excellent voice coach. (Through my curiosity I discovered Firth’s voice coach was actually his sister, Kate, who he described as “jaw-dropping” in her abilities. ) There is no doubt that Firth should win all awards for leading actor! Helena Bonham Carter has been seen in many interesting roles, but this one is much more normal, for lack of a better word, than her other roles. In The King’s Speech she plays the supportive wife of the future king of England. I don’t believe anyone else could have portrayed this character better, because Bohnam Carter brings her own quirkiness and the seriousness of a very talented actor. Both characteristics are necessary for this queenly role. Geoffrey Rush also gives an excellent performance as the future king’s speech coach. This character has to flirt with the lines of inappropriateness and delve into the fears of the king. Rush perfectly shows this daring character while also showing the compassion and friendliness needed to win over the audience, and his patient the King.
Overall, this film tells any amazing story about a king that needs a friend who can provide some compassion and confidence. The writing, directing, and acting are exceptional! I expected this film to undoubtedly be my choice for best film of 2010. While it is definitely one of the best, I am not sure if I would give it my best picture vote. Regardless, it is an excellent film and I suggest you see it.

January 31, 2011

Best of 2010- The Burnies!

Now that award season is in full-swing I have had time to think about my choices for the best movies of the year. I had a lot of trouble choosing just one film for different categories, such as drama or comedy. Instead here is my list of the best films of the year overall, in no particular order. It is clear that dramas dominated the movie scene in 2010. I had a lot of trouble finding a great comedy for the year. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association chose The Kids Are Alright for their best comedy. I think this was a great story to tell but was rather serious to be a comedy and not as memorable as other films this year. Most of these have been reviewed on the blog, so you can check those out for more details.

Toy Story 3
Social Network
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
Shutter Island
The Town
The Fighter
True Grit
The Kids Are Alright
King's Speech
Black Swan

January 25, 2011

Oscar Nominations Announced!!!

The 2011 Oscar Nominations were announced today. This begins the most exciting time of the year for movie lovers. There were a few surprises, but for the most part it was much as I expected.

Two Thumbs Up!!!
True Grit received 10 Oscar nominations even though it was completed snubbed by the Hollywood Foreign Press at the Globes.
Hailee Steinfeld was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in True Grit. I am so glad this amazing young actress getting some recognition. I doubt she will walk away with an award, but it's great to see such a deserving performance receiving critical acclaim.
King's Speech received 12 nominations!!!
The Social Network and  Inception received 8 nominations each!!!
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I received nominations for art direction and visual effects! It's nice to see high quality popular films receiving some recognition also!

Surprise Surprise
Annette Bening was nominated for her role in The Kids Are Alright; however, her co-star Julianne Moore did not receive a nomination.
I am a bit surprised that 127 Hours received 6 nominations. This one created a buzz before it's release but has flown under the radar since then.
The Kids Are Alright received 4 nominations including best supporting actress and actor and best picture. I agree that the acting was strong, but I didn't fell it was as strong overall as many other films this year.

For a complete list of this year's nominations, go to

January 23, 2011

Black Swan

Black Swan is a psychological thriller about a ballet dancer trying to create the perfect swan queen in Swan Lake. This film gives a whole new meaning to the term psychological thriller. It has you on the edge of your sit throughout the entire film. Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis show their amazing talents as actors. The writers created a unique, twisted plot and the director executed it perfectly. This is by far one of the best films of 2010!

The acting in this film is phenomenal! Natalie Portman is enveloped in this delusional character who is torn between her perfect White Swan personality and the wicked Black Swan personality. It is amazing to watch as her character struggles and transforms throughout the film. One remarkable scene at the end of the film shows Portman's character in her dressing room preparing for the final act in Swan Lake that will send a chill down your spine. Mila Kunis's performance is very memorable also. Her character is a free spirit, natural Black Swan who appears to befriend Portman's character. Kunis's acting helps create the on edge feeling throughout the film. You always feel that this character is going to pop in with a back stabbing move.

The most amazing aspect of this film is the story and the way it is presented. Anyone who can create a plot that is this psychological and frightening is amazing! This story is slightly confusing because of the mix between what is real life and what is part of the delusions of the main character, Nina. However, that is what makes the film so frightening and thrilling. Throughout the film you are guessing what is real and what is the delusions.  Along with this the directing in this film is exceptional! The use of mirrors is always a great way to create thrill and tension in a film. Director Darren Aronofsky took this even farther by creating the feeling that each viewer is in Nina's position as she walks through the dark city streets. This is done through flashes through scenes and bouncing movements as she's walking. To some this may seem undesirable, but I think this is what makes the film so great. This creative movement makes the thrill and creativity of this excellent plot come alive.

Overall, I am having trouble finding a film that is better than the film Black Swan this year.  The acting, directing, writing, and editing are beyond any I have seen in other films this year. If you haven't seen it yet, go see it now.


No Strings Attached

No Strings Attached is the story of two friends that decide to use each other for sex rather than have a full, committed relationship. Natalie Portman plays a medical resident who has trouble showing affection. Ashton Kutcher plays a former actor's son who has had a rough relationship with his father. This is yet another romantic comedy with a cookie-cutter plot, but it will make you laugh!

I had very low expectations for No Strings Attached because it seemed to be the story that has been told in one episode on every sitcom ever written and has been intertwined within many other films. This did not seem like a story that could fill two hours without getting drawn out. The couple would make the decision to use each, one would fall for the other, and in the end they would live happily ever after. I was correct about the overall story line, but, impressively, the writers found a way the mix in enough comedy to keep you entertained for the full 110 minutes. On top of that, there is enough cutsie romance to make for the perfect date night movie. Comedy to make you laugh and romance to cheer up any romantic girl.... sounds like a romantic comedy to me!

Natalie Portman shows her range of acting abilities by having two extremely different films in theaters at the same time. I was thoroughly impressed with her ability to drop the comedic one liners and portray a unaffectionate woman who's fallen in love realistically. Comparing this to her award-winning role in Black Swan made her abilities even more impressive.  I cannot say the same for Ashton Kutcher. He has a great face and is great at comedic acting. However, each serious, romantic scene he was in became unrealistic and uncomfortable. 

Overall, this is the perfect date night or girls night movie. It has some great comedic moments and brings in the romance that most ladies love to see. If you are looking for a light-hearted romantic comedy, this is a great choice. 

January 3, 2011

Little Fockers

The third film in the Meet the Parents series keeps the same realistic family humor and the characters that we all love, but doesn’t quite measure up to the original.
You can’t doubt that the writers of Meet the Parents created incredible characters that nearly every person in America can relate to. They also created a story line that is hilarious and again something nearly everyone can relate to. Both of these can be said about the most recent film in this series, Little Fockers. They were very lucky to bring back all the original cast members once again and use the humor we love in a whole new way. This time Deb and Greg Focker have a family of their own and the grandparents are coming to visit.
The storyline and characters stays true the theme of the previous two films, but the predictability and craziness are there also.  This is the only downfall of Little Fockers. The ending, as with the previous films, displays excessive insanity and complete predictability.
With both of these things in mind, I was not disappointed by Little Fockers. I always worry that sequels will be complete failures, but this film created a whole new plot with the same characters we have loved from the previous films. It is not an attempted to repeat the original. It does not use a bad storyline to make some extra dough off a overtold story. That is the best you can ask for in a sequel in my opinion. If you are in love with Jack Byrnes and the Focker crew, get yourself to a theater now. If not, save your money and Redbox it!
Redbox It!

January 1, 2011

True Grit

If someone would have told me I would be seeing a humor-filled, interesting, modern western in 2010, I would have never believed it. But this unreal idea became a reality in the remake of True Grit.

True Grit is the most recent film from the Coen brothers. It tells the story of a stubborn young girl in the Old West as she journeys to track down her father’s murderer. She enlists the help of the toughest US Marshall, but demands that she join the Marshall on this quest. 

 It cannot be denied that this film is a western.  This includes the Old West setting, gun fights, horse riding, unique trading, and polite humor, but this film does not feel like the old time westerns you might be used to. It is modern, fast-paced, and very entertaining!

The most impressive aspect of this film was how modern the film felt. The increased technology and high quality of the film help make this film feel different from the first scene. It is the fast pace of the plot and dialogue help make this storyline feel more relatable to our culture of constant motion and multitasking. Taking all of the usual western elements and transforming them into a film that is relatable to today’s audiences is no easy feat, but it was achieved in this film.

After watching the film I was able to do some research about the original. Another remarkable aspect is the similarity between the dialogue of the original and the remake. Many of the classic lines from the original were used (and implemented well) in the remake. Today the sincerity and uniqueness of original films are often lost in remakes. It is amazing that the Coen brothers can take these age-old oneliners and alter them in a way that makes the lines humorous today also.

The casting for this film is phenomenal. Jeff Bridges proves himself as an acting heavy hitter yet again. He transforms himself into this role and makes every word of dialogue, gesture, and movement believable. I was skeptical of Matt Damon in his role as a half-witty, yet cocky, Texas Ranger, but he also appears to have morphed himself in to this character to make it fully believable. His performance/character is also very humorous. He is very clearly the less intellectual of the main characters, but he is immensely loveable. Josh Brolin comes in later in the film to accomplish a great performance as the Old West’s “villain”, but this is highly overshadowed by the excellent performances of the main characters. None of these compare to the performance of Hailee Steinfeld as the hard-headed, witty young Mattie Ross. She appears to be fairly new to acting focused mostly in film shorts and television movies. She perfectly portrays this young girl who will not back down to anyone she encounters.

Overall, this film was excellent. It takes the classic story of a western, keeps some of the age-old elements, but adds some modern twists to make it relatable and enjoyable to today’s audiences. While it does contain clear evidence of the Coen brothers’ brutality and wit at times, I think this film can be enjoyed by everyone (even those who have not enjoyed previous Coen films).