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Saturday, December 25, 2010

REVIEW: Gulliver's Travels (2D)

MOVIE
Gulliver's Travels

CAST
Jack Black, Jason Segal

RATING
PG

RELEASE
December 25, 2010

DIRECTOR
Rob Letterman

STUDIO
20th Century Fox

RUNNING TIME
1 hour 25 minutes




GRADE
A- (90)






STARS
***1/4











REVIEW:

Ah, Christmas: what a lovely time for Jews. Instead of getting a whole load of presents, we get movies and Chinese food. That's what I did today, my 13th Christmas; go see a movie and eat some Chinese food afterwords. The movie that my grandmother, my sister, and myself chose to see is Jack Black's latest family movie, Gulliver's Travels, which is based on the Jonathan Swift classic, about a man who comes into the tiny world of the Lilliputs, in which he makes a living for himself until he figures out how to get home. Now with all recent Jack Black films, you can't help but think that this will not be a good movie. Well let me be here to tell you that for those who don't like Jack Black films with absolutely think it sucks. Those who only like raunchy PG-13+ Jack Black will hate this movie. But people who like Jack Black no matter what, and families who are desperate for something to see other than Tangled or Yogi Bear will enjoy this movie. Luckily, I am one of those no matter what Jack Black fans, which means that I, believe it or not, actually enjoyed Gulliver's Travels.

SYNOPSIS: (Courtesy of iTunes Movie Trailers)
In a contemporary re-imagining of the classic tale, Jack Black stars as Gulliver, a big-talking mail room clerk who, after he's mistakenly assigned a travel piece on the Bermuda Triangle, suddenly finds himself a giant among men when he washes ashore on the hidden island of Lilliput, home to a population of very tiny people. At first enslaved by the diminutive and industrious Liliputians, and later declared their hero, Gulliver comes to learn that it's how big you are on the inside that counts.

Now with all movies that I see, I go in with an open mind. But after hearing negative to mixed buzz on this movie, I was wondering if I should see this or not. The theaters around me didn't offer the 3D option, so we had to stick with 2D, which made me even more turned off. But luckily, I was not disappointed with it. First off, it's a fun, kiddish, family-friendly movie. With the exception of seeing Jack Black's crack, (see what I did there? I should make a rhyming book) and a situation where Jack Black pees on a burning building, this is nothing more than a Jack Black kiddie version of Ben Stiller's hilarious Night At The Museum series. Second off, the 3D option is put out there to make more money, with the exception of movies like Avatar and Tron: Legacy. Although, I did see a 3D trailer of this movie with Narnia, so I thought it might actually look good. But honestly, the movie was fine for being in 2D.

Now getting onto the story, I thought it was incredibly predictable and not well thought out. The story felt as if I could write it, even though it's based on a classic book written almost 300 years ago. The movie itself is only a meager 85 minutes, including the credits, which is quite disappointing for a movie that could've elaborated more into the story. But still, the movie kept my attention, feeling timeless and longer than you'd think it is. So the story may not be the best thing in the world, but it's still fun to see this little world and Jack Black being stuck in this tiny world, where everyone acts like they are in The Princess Bride, in which they don't do anything to actually save themselves.

So is Gulliver's Travels a good movie? Actually, I enjoyed it more than Little Fockers, one of the two other big Christmas releases. (the other one being the teriffic True Grit) This one yopu could compare to Little Fockers since Ben Stiller was in a similar movie to this, Night At The Museum. Plus, both movies do have some language and bathroom jokes. I'm not saying that this is the absolute best family movie to see during the holiday break. It is if you're family has already seen the teriffic Tangled and the supposed crappy movie Yogi Bear. This won't do teriffic at the box office, but it's a nice way to kill time and have some laughs with your kids.

So if you've seen every teriffic family movie and every crappy family movie out there, you have no choice but to go see Gulliver's Travels. Luckily, you might just be surprised by how much fun it is. So should you go see Gulliver's Travels in 3D? You don't have to. So should you just see Gulliver's Travels in general? I think you should, and I think you will be surprised by it. So if you want to spend a short amount of time in a movie theater with your kids and either watch the movie or watch your kids reactions to what's going on, take the risk and go along with your family and Jack Black in Gulliver's Travels.





PREVIEWS YOU MAY SEE:

Rio


Mars Needs Moms


IMAX: Born To Be Wild 3D


Hop


Kung Fu Panda 2


Zookeeper



REVIEW: Little Fockers

MOVIE
Little Fockers

CAST
Robert DeNiro, Ben Stiller

RATING
PG-13

RELEASE
December 22, 2010

DIRECTOR
Paul Weitz

STUDIO(S)
Universal Pictures,
Paramount Pictures

RUNNING TIME
1 hour 38 minutes





GRADE
B (84)




STARS
**1/2









REVIEW:

Is it just me or am I seriously "focked" up? Yes, Jack Brynes and Greg "Gaylord" Focker are back for more mischif in Little Fockers, the third installment in the Parents/Fockers series. But believe it or not, this was a disappointment for me. Ok I can admit that this movie was indeed funny, but it mostly relied on tons of sex jokes to occupy a 100 minute running time. But still, the movie was still funny enough for me to slightly recommend it. It's not as hilarious as Meet The Parents or Meet The Fockers, but itis still nice to see these characters back again, along with some new but uninspired characters.

Little Fockers takes us to approx. 6 years after we last saw the Byrnes/Fockers cause shenanagins. Now Greg and Pam have finally settled down with two adorable little twins of there's, while everyone else is the same old same old. We are now celebrating these twins turning five, but it's theplotline between Greg and a new sex drug client he has that sets the sparks off for Jack Byrnes, the always retired CIA agent. Now Greg and his family must deal with their families possibly one last time before Greg suceeds Jack into becomming "The God-Focker."

Now like I said this movie isn't nearly as good as the first two. Let me tell why this is. First off, the story was a bit predictable and uninspired. I understand that in the 2nd movie, Pam becomes pregnant, but they could've at least made the kids a little more interesting. Second off, all of the new characters I believe were not good at all. Jessica Alba, lovelyas always plays a spokesperson for a new Viagra like pill, and she has a thing for Ben Stiller's character. Now if it's an attractive woman sponsering a sex drug, you can tell what's going to happen. The other characters in this movie, including Laura Dern and Harvey Keitel had very small roles for their big names. Ifelt that we should've explored these characters more insteadof just them being there.


Now with the original characters, they are all basically the same as they were in the original two, instead of expanding their boundries. arbra Streistand and Dustin Hoffman, who play Ben Stiller's parents, had very small roles for being on the poster. I felt that both Streistand and Hoffman should've had bigger roles, instead of being seen for only 20 minutes total. Other than that, all of the original characters, especially Owen Wilson's character Kevin were hilarious for what they were, which was fine with me, just in case you were wondering.

So overall, Little Fockers did not live up to my expectations. I mean, it was a funny movie when it wanted to be funny, but the movie was just a bit too mature to be PG-13, like Dinner For Schmucks, for example. Actually, what both the "Schmucks" and the "Fockers" have in common with teachother is that they were both directed by Jay Roach, who also directed the Austin Powers series. Actually, he didn't direct this movie, Paul Weitz did, which kind of explains why this didn't live up to the original two. But it's because of the jokes and the fact that we get to see these characters once again for me to recommend this movie. But this is NOT a theater movie at all; it's more of a redbox rental when you're bored type of movie. But I can't prevent people from seeing this movie in theaters, I can only share my opinion. Some may like this movie, others will hate this movie. Me, I'm in the middle of all of those people. So would I go to meet the Little Fockers? Only on a DVD rental.






PREVIEWS YOU MAY SEE:

The Dilemma

Just Go With It

Hall Pass

Rio

Fast Five


Friday, December 24, 2010

REWIND REVIEW: Flipped

MOVIE
Flipped

CAST
Madeline Carrol, Callan McAuliffe

RATING
PG

RELEASE
August 6, 2010

DIRECTOR
Rob Reiner

STUDIO
Warner Bros. Pictures

RUNNING TIME
1 hour 30 minutes




GRADE
A+ (99)





STARS
****








REVIEW:

Stand By Me, When Harry Met Sally, The Princess Bride. What do those movies all have in common? Rob Reiner, of course! Of all of those classics I mentioned, the only one I saw was The Princess Bride, and I barely remember it. I haven't seen the other two for one deadly letter: R!! So in the meantime, I managed to watch my first emerable Rob Reiner movie, that combines the setting of Stand By Me, and the reality of "boy metts girl" situations. This movie is called Flippped, which is based on the acclaimed book from a few years back. And my g-d, this was an outstanding!

When the first time Bryce Lasky and Julie Baker, they both had oppiosite feelings for eachother. Bryce nearly despises this mysterious creature, while Julie is lovestruck by Bryce's big eyes. As the years go, they both have the same feelings towards eachother, but it's in 8th grade that changes everything. 8th grade is when everything in the world is "flipped" over, and very few things can change back.

In times when boys like me are experiencing hormonal changes in life, here comes a movie based on an acclaimed book that talks about the experiences both young boys and girls have when they experience their first crushes. Flipped captures exactly what reality is for adolescent boys and girls, also including pointers for the adolescents watching this movie. I personally believe that ALL teens should watch this movie with a big and open mind, and not judge it from the trailer. (attached below) This actually brings me to a big point in teenage lives:

Kids in my middle school, including some of my closest friends have already started dating as early as 6th grade. I really don't get how you could date at all in middle school. I mean, how do you possibly get around to places. Perhaps the kids in my school and the other middle school in my town feel that dating isn't really much and don't really understand the purpose of actually dating, which is two people who like eachother and want to test out a relationship between themselves. I know that whoever I know from either school might bash on me for saying this, but it's the honest to goodness truth: If you really want to start dating right, instead of announcing to the school that you're dating which is merely talking in hallways and hanging out at their houses after schools, wait untill high school, so you can experience the power of dating and love when the time comes.

Getting back to the movie, this is personally one of my 10 favorite movies of the year. I have never seen a more moving and realistic movie like this before, unless it was a reality-based movie. Almost everything in this movie was just perfect to see. The cast was perfectly chosen, the setting was beautiful to look at at parts, and Rob Reiner is the perfect director for this movie. The one bad thing about this movie that I can complain about is the running time. The movie is only a mear 90 minutes, which is really disappointing since this movie could've been longer. But the best thing about this movie is that each scene in this movie is described from the point of view from either Bryce or Julie, which basically shows us the same scene from the previous one, but from the point of view of either Bryce or Julie. That is just one of the many things that makes Flipped so flippin' good.

So overall, and I can't stop saying this, Flipped is a teriffic movie. I loved how Rob Reiner could take the basic teenage life and mold it into a work of art, with the help of the book for which the movie is based on. After seeing this, I want to rush over to my local library and get a copy, then compare the book to the movie. I would strongly recommend anyone, especially teens like me to see this movie, because it shows the troubles, ups, and downs of the average teen's life, both socially, mentally, family, and school related. So to all of my readers, what is it like for you to get "Flipped"?







Thursday, December 23, 2010

REWIND REVIEW: Charlie St. Cloud

MOVIE
Charlie St. Cloud

CAST
Zac Efron, Charlie Tahan

RATING
PG-13

RELEASE
July 30, 2010

DIRECTOR
Burr Steers

STUDIO
Universal Pictures

RUNNING TIME
1 hour 39 minutes





GRADE
B (85)





STARS
**1/2











REVIEW:

La la la la la, oh wait, this isn't High School Musical? Believe it or not, Zac Efron 'graduated' from East High 2 years ago. But after his modest hit 17 Again from April 2009, Mr. Efron wanted to establish himself as a serious actor in Charlie St. Cloud, the story about a man and second chances in life. Now this isn't nearly as good as the High School Musical series or Me and Orson Welles, but it's nice to see Mr. Efron making smart decisions for himself to establish himself as a full fledged actor.

Charlie St. Cloud is a sailor who has a loving family, a scholarship to Stanford, and a love and passion for sailing. One day when driving with his brother, Charlie gets into a major car crash that takes his younger brother's life away. The paramedic could only revive Charlie, thus making him have seen the light and had a near death experience. The one thing that Charlie gained from the experience was that he could communicate with his dead brother's spirit and play catch with him, which was a promise they made to each other before the crash. Five years pass, and Charlie gave up his life to spend time with his brother everyday, while running the local cemetery. But it's this year when he meets the possible girl of his dreams. So Charlie must decide to be with his dead brother, or move on with his life.

From the preview of this movie, (see below) this movie looked pretty interesting. Now after seeing the actual movie, I think that the trailer is much better. But that's not saying that the movie was bad. I just thought of it as an OK movie. The movie made me think about movies like The Sixth Sense and Ghost, though I bet those movies are better than this one. This movie won't win any awards, whether they're Oscars or Razzies. I just think that this movie isn't the best movie or the worst, this just falls directly in the middle, being ranked Average. Let me tell you why this movie was just an Average Joe.

First off, the story was just a bit too predictable. I mean just from the trailer, you know what will eventually happen to most of the characters, yet something might want you to think otherwise about it. Another average thing in this movie was the acting. When Zac Efron cries in this movie, you just can't help but giggle at it, finding it incredibly unbelievable. The rest of the actors in this movie just aren't that believable, other than Efron at times. I can see a bright future for Zac Efron in the acting industry, being able to perfect his profession by being a better actor. Who knows, maybe in the next 10 years, Zac Efron will win an Oscar, or just be nominated. But who can predict the future?

So was Charlie St. Cloud a must see movie? No. Will it win any awards? No. Is it even the slightest enjoyable? Yes. Even though the acting was a bit sloppy, and the story was pretty predictable, Charlie St. Cloud makes up with it's nice scenery, interesting plot, and Zac Efron's acting to call it an average movie. So it won't kill you not to see this movie, but it's good for what it is, and a nice way to spend about two hours when you're bored. So if you're a Zac Efron fanatic, and like sappy, sad, and dramatic romances, then Charlie St. Cloud is your weekend's must see with your gal-pals.












Wednesday, December 22, 2010

REVIEW: True Grit

MOVIE
True Grit

CAST
Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld

RATING
PG-13

RELEASE
December 22, 2010

DIRECTOR(S)
Joel & Ethan Coen

STUDIO
Paramount Pictures

RUNNING TIME
1 hour 50 minutes






GRADE
A+ (97)





STARS
****









REVIEW:

On the night of December 15, 2010, there were two movie screenings brewing up in center city Philadelphia. The first, was the Reese Witherspoon comedy 'How Do You Know'. The second screening was Jeff Bridges' 'True Grit'. Guess which one I chose? Yes, I did pick True Grit, in case you were curious is I spent my night watching Reese Witherspoon in strings of relationships. Now I personally was a bit skeptic on seeing this movie, since I really never saw a Western movie before, (does Back To The Future Part III count?) so I didn't know what to expect, other than cowboys and guns. But this is more than a western movie, this is a brutal, funny, disturbing, and serious movie that is surely to be hailed as one of the best movies of the year. Luckily, I agree with all of the critics who've reviewed the movie so far: True Grit really is one of the best movies of the year.

Mattie Ross' father got shot in cold blood by the coward Tom Chaney, and she will not rest until she sees Chaney dead. But in order to kill Chaney, she needs to hire a man who has what they call "True Grit". So the man she hires is the drunken, messed up Rooster Cogburn, who also happens to have killed tons of people. So the two set out to find Chaney, but soon become a threesome when a Texas ranger named La Beouf tags along to find Chaney, but for his own personal reasons instead.

Now this movie's been getting a lot of speculation lately, mainly because nobody likes a remake of a classic movie. Well I never saw the original 'True Grit' with the late John Wayne, but I will surely try to see it during my free time in the coming weeks. People have been telling me that John Wayne cannot be replaced or have one of his movies become remade. But from what I heard and saw, Jeff Bridges brought his own sense of originality to the role of the Drunken Cogburn that is surely one of the best played roles to be seen in film this year, which actually brings me to my next paragraph.

So what made this movie click was the two main performances from Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld.Well there are two words that can only be said about these performances: OSCAR NOMINATION! Yes that's right, I said it. Jeff Bridges nails the part of a drunken US Marshall with both serious and comedic terms that made the whole theater laugh out loud at some points. Unfortunately, I haven't seen movies like The King's Speech or 127 Hours this year, (rated R) so i don't know if Jeff Bridges will win the Oscar this year like he did last year with the acclaimed Crazy Heart, but this movie definitely gives him a sure-fire nomination. In fact, I wouldn't mind seeing Jeff Bridges getting a two for one nomination for this movie and Disney's TRON: Legacy. But the performance I believe should WIN is Hailee Steinfeld in the Best Supporting Actress category, where she was spot on as Mattie Ross, whose character is basically a 30 year old woman trapped in a 14 year old's body, hypothetically speaking. Out of all of the characters in this movie, Ms. Steinfeld here should be the one to take some gold this year. The rest of the main players were teriffic in this movie, but nothing compared to Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld's performances. You have to see it to believe it.

There were many ups for me seeing this movie. 1.) It was my first Coen Brothers movie ever: 2.) this was my first Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, AND Josh Brolin movie in theaters, which all the more made the movie more enjoyable: and 3.) the movie was FREE! I'm glad that this movie was my first Coen Brothers movie, since the movie was both gritty and terrific for what it was. I'm actually glad this was my first Coen Brothers movie mainly because this is a supposed different turn for them, so I'm glad I was apart of a bunch of college kids/adults to see it. I would also like to point out that this movie was enjoyable because it had incredibly disturbing/disgusting parts involving gun-shots, severed body parts, pulling teeth out of a mouth, etc. I had to turn away at these parts since they were so hard to watch. But overall, True Grit was truly good.

So what is to say about True Grit? I mean, calling this movie a Western won't do this movie enough justice, even though it's main genre is Western. I'd call True Grit the following: a Comedy, Brutal, Disturbing, Bloody, and a Western, or A.B.B.C.D.W. for short. For those who like any of the giving words mentioned, True Grit is the perfect choice for a Saturday night. But I would like to mention, and this is a rarity to me, this movie isn't really something to be seen over and over again, sort of like Inception. One viewing was good enough for me. Surely I would be curious to watch it when it comes on TV, but that's about it. But overall, True Grit is one of the must see movies of the holiday season, an excellent film, and something that I think the late Wayne would've been proud of. So, do you have True Grit? You tell me.

Friday, December 17, 2010

REVIEW: Tron: Legacy in Disney Digital 3D

MOVIE
Tron: Legacy

CAST
Garrett Hedlund, Jeff Bridges

RATING
PG

RELEASE
December 17, 2010

DIRECTOR
Joseph Kosinski

STUDIO
Walt Disney Pictures

RUNNING TIME
2 hours 4 minutes





GRADE
A (95)




STARS
***1/2











REVIEW:

After 28 years in the making, Disney has finally released their anticipated movie, Tron: Legacy, bringing back some of the original actors including Academy Award winner Jeff Bridges as the protagonist from the 1982 cult classic, Kevin Flynn. Except instead of Jeff Bridges going into the game world, he's stuck in there and his son needs to get him out. Now from the minute I saw the test Comic Con trailer 2 years ago, I was absolutely excited for this movie. My anticipation for this movie was even higher than Avatar! Well, anticipation was well waited as Tron: Legacy is the biggest 3D movie spectacle we've seen all year, and one of my favorite movies of the year.

It's been almost 30 years since audiences traveled with Kevin Flynn and Tron into the world of computer programs. Fast forward to today, and Kevin Flynn has been missing for 20 years, no one knowing where he is. As it turns out, before Kevin Flynn disappeared, he had a son named Sam, who grew up to be a 27 year old tech savvy, but slacking adult. One night, an old friend of his dads receives a page from Kevin Flynn's old office, which causes Sam to go to his dad's old office to see what's up. In the office, Sam soon finds his way into the computer world, which has now evolved into a city-like atmosphere, filled with dangerous games, bars, and a controlling leader named Clu, who plans to get into the real world and take over the universe. Will Sam find his Dad in the computer world, (Yes) and will they get out of the digital world before the door between this world and the digital world closes forever?

Now from that lengthy plot I just gave you, I'm guessing you can already guess what will happen in the end. BUt this movie isn't about story, it's about the awesome 3D!!! The 3D in this movie is absolutely incredible to watch, and enhances the movie watching experience for the audience. I can personally compare this movie a lot to Avatar. Great 3D visuals, but weak/slightly predictable storyline. But believe me, this movie is no Avatar. Yes, the 3D was used a bit better in this movie than they used it in Avatar, but Avatar had a decent storyline and better yet, an original storyline. The movie ran its course, even for its 2 hours 42 minute running length, but it was still fun to watch. Tron, on the other hand is a campy movie. Sorry, campy isn't the right word. A better word could be fun and bright, even with the dim glasses.

Like I said, the story was pretty weak. But don't let that stop you from going to see this movie. Jeff Bridges is great as always, which basically proves that he can play any character he wants to, even if he doesn't want to play the character. The other actors and actresses are good in this movie, since they're acting is meant for this type of movie. None of the actors, including "The Dude" will win Oscars for this movie, let alone get nominated at all, since the acting was just average, c'mon, who would expect Oscar nominations for acting on these type of Disney films? I know I wouldn't, so you decide on it.

So overall, Tron: Legacy is fast, fun, and a whole lot of 3D cookin' for you. On the other hand, the story is slightly predictable, the acting is okay for what it was, and it's probably not going to be a memorable movie at all. This movie was really made for die hard Tron fans who love the original, and can pin point some of the hidden scenery objects in this movie that come directly from the original film that will make fans (including me) giggle and get excited in their seat. So just to sum this up, go see Tron: Legacy in 3D or IMAX 3D this holiday season, for the inner die hard fan in yourself, and the 3D lover you are. I would like to point out that if you have the means, try to see this movie in IMAX 3D, even though I enjoyed it when I saw it in my local 3D theater.



PREVIEWS YOU MAY SEE:

The Green Hornet


Mars Needs Moms


Cowboys And Aliens


Green Lantern


Thor


Pirates Of The Caribbean:
On Stranger Tides


Sunday, December 12, 2010

REVIEW: The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader in 3D

MOVIE
The Chronicles Of Narnia:
The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader

CAST
Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes

RATING
PG

RELEASE
December 10, 2010

DIRECTOR
Michael Apted

STUDIO
20th Century Fox

RUNNING TIME
1 hour 52 minutes




GRADE
A (96)





STARS
***1/2









REVIEW:

Tired of seeing Harry Potter for the 10th time? Can't wait for TRON: Legacy? Do you miss the feeling of 3D, but don't think Tangled will satisfy your appetite? Well if you're a fan of Narnia, the latest and possibly final movie, The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader will definitely satisfy your appetite and keep you occupied before the big Holiday fiasco emerges come December 17th. It's not even that it will satisfy you, it's also possibly the best Narnia entry in the entire series. Well, it's definitely better than Prince Caspian, for sure.

Edmund and Lucy Pevensie, the youngest of the Pevensie children, hate living in the shadows of their older siblings, Peter and Susan. So while they're stuck in England during WWII with their snooty cousin, Eustance, the three children get transported back into Narnia, happy to greet the now King Caspian. But to their surprise, they all have no idea what brought them back into the magical land. Now the children along with their old friends must find who or what called them back, and stop it before it destroys the light and goodness in Narnia itself.

I was always a fan of the Narnia series, yes, I even slightly enjoyed Prince Caspian. This one however, was the best one to be brought in the series. Disney probably made the worst decision for a movie's quality, yet probably made a good financial decision. Yes even though the Narnia series are good movies, it seems that the people grew out of it only after the first movie, which I think is really disappointing. The reason why Narnia isn't as popular as it was five years ago is because the US isn't interested in revisiting these four british childrenin a magical land, which is basically a combination of Oz and the world of Harry Potter, with a light dash of Lord Of The Rings blended into it. So if you're a fan of any of those movies I mentioned, which I know you're a fan of, then take the Narnia series for a spin and see how well it fits for you.

I'm making this review short and sweet: this Voyage has fun characters, beautiful scenery, nice CGI, and awesome 3D. This wouldn't be a Voyage I would go on more than once, but it's fun while it lasts. It's also pretty fun as a side-choice to something more dark like Harry Potter and the Lord Of The Rings. Plus also if you are planning on seeing this, try to watch the first two (Disney released) Narnia movies in the series, since they are both family friendly, has just the amount of frights, and are just plain fun. So if you want to escape this world this holiday season, then you might want to travel to Narnia once again, this time on the Voyage of the Dawn Treader.





PREVIEWS YOU MAY SEE:


Gulliver's Travels


Hop



Rio



IMAX:
Born To Be Wild 3D



Transformers:
Dark Of The Moon




Arthur Christmas



Friday, December 3, 2010

R.I.P. Leslie Nielson 1926-2010; R.I.P. Irvin Kershner 1923-2010

It's tough when celebrities die. But it's even harder when the celebrities have created a lifetime supply of memorable movies. That's exactly what happened earlier this week when Leslie Nielson, of Airplane! and The Naked Gun series, and Irvin Kershner, thew director of one of the most celebrated sequels of all time, The Empire Strikes Back passed away, leaving behind so many great movies. For those who didn't know, Leslie Nielson was a serious young actor in the 50s, starting with the sci-fi film 'Forbidden Planet.' It wasn't until 1980 that he got his comedic shot as the doctor in Airplane!, which happens to be one of my favorite movies of all time. Then in 1988, Mr. Nielson got his big star break as Lt. Frank Drebin in The Naked Gun: From The Files Of Police Squad, another one of my favorite movies. Those movies will ber the main reasons why Leslie Nielson will be remembered. As for Mr. Kershner, the only other big things he's directed was the james Bond movie, 'Never Say Never Again', and 'Robocop 2', both of which I haven't seen. But Mr. Kershner will be remembered dearestly as the director o "the greatest sequel of all time," The Empire Strikes Back. The one death I'm really sad about was Mr. Nielson, mainly because I wanted to meet him personally and tell him how much of a fan I am of his movies. Oh, well, now I'll never be able to. I give my sincere condolanses to both families, and hope that their family member, from both families had a great life. Rest in peace, because the two men who were apart of defying the 80s are now gone, with generations and generations to hear "Don't Call Me Shirley" or "Luke, I'm Your Father" and still be able to enjoy the timeless classics.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

REVIEW: Tangled in Disney Digital 3D

MOVIE
Tangled

CAST
Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi

RATING
PG

RELEASE
November 24, 2010

DIRECTOR(S)
Nathan Greno, Byron Howard

STUDIO
Walt Disney Pictures

RUNNING TIME
1 hour 39 minutes






GRADE
A++ (102)






STARS
****1/2











REVIEW:

The Disney Coperation is probably more famous for their Disney Princesses than Mickey Mouse himself, believe it or not. With notable princesses like Cinderella, Belle, and Ariel, Disney has had an easy time leading studios in the animation business, not even including PIXAR. So when Disney announced that they were bringing back princess movies, there was a little bit of controversey brewing around it. And then The Princess and the Frog came out, and surprised everyone, including me, but mine was in a good way. Now almost a year after their triumphant return to the princess genre, Disney is releasing another princess movie, now based on the classic story of Rapunzel. But the one difference between this princess and the others is that is one is computer generated, instead of hand drawn. After seeing the movie, I feel completely shocked from it: it is a flawless and nearly perfect animated film!!!

SYNOPSIS FROM Movies.com:

When the kingdom’s most wanted—and most charming—bandit Flynn Rider hides out in a mysterious tower, he’s taken hostage by Rapunzel, a beautiful and feisty tower-bound teen with 70 feet of magical, golden hair. Flynn’s curious captor, who’s looking for her ticket out of the tower where she’s been locked away for years, strikes a deal with the handsome thief and the unlikely duo sets off on an action-packed escapade, complete with a super-cop horse, an over-protective chameleon and a gruff gang of pub thugs. In theaters this holiday season in Disney Digital 3D™, “Tangled”is a story of adventure, heart, humor and hair—lots of hair.

End of SYNOPSIS

I had no idea that Disney could pull something like this off on their own until I saw this movie. What I mean by this is, Disney has always made genuine classics, Pinocchio being one of my favorite movies of all time. But recently Disney hasn't been hitting out-of-the-park grand slammers out of their animated movies. The closest ones for me were movies like 2002's Lilo & Stitch, and 2007's Meet The Robinsons. Plus, I was never fully into the princess movies throughout my life, so this movie wasn't on my must see for the holiday season. The previews didn't even do much for the movie either. But that's the thing: the trailers won't do the movie enough justice. Yes, I get that Disney was trying to get a male audience for this movie, which it does, but next time, get a better marketing campaign. They also should've tried to mention that this is a musical, a good one too. It's not really such a big deal, since all Disney princess movies are musicals, but Disney could've mentioned that this was a family musical, which could increase the audience for the holiday season. Hey, musicals do add to the 3D movie experience after all.

Another thing that Disney didn't manage to do, which was actually smart so they could get the male audience into the movie, was mention the fact that this movie is a musical. Alan Menkin really provides the audience with catchy and fun songs, along with a great score. I usually don't listen to the scores in movies, but Disney scores have something that just draw the viewer into the movie. Although, I don't know many 10-14 year olds who enjoy movies/musicals like I do, so I don't know what will happen when they find that little fact out. But whether they see it or not, they'll be bound to get an fun action movie they were promised from the commercials. Come on, who doesn't know a man who's a fan of sports and action packed movies? So to all guys who aren't into the Disney genre, you might want to lose your macho/suave/charismatic character you have everyday in school for two hours, and just sit back and watch what you may be surprised about as being a really good movie.

Like I said before, this is Disney's first CGI princess, which also means that this is Disney's first 3D princess. Like most 3D released Disney movies, this one was made for the extra dimension. The entire movie isn't meant for the 3D effect, but there's one scene involving floating lantern lights that's so eye-popping, that it makes you're eyes hurt in a good way. Other than that one scene, there are a few dimensionalized scenes that can be interesting to look at in 3D, but isn't that why 3D was created? Sure, you can go a long way with pop out scenes, but it's the depth in the movie that makes a movie worth the extra cash. So what I'm saying is, if you're going to see Tangled with your family, pay the extra cash and go 3D. Some may not think it's worth it, but for the one floating lantern scene, I'm sure they'll agree with me.

So how much did I enjoy this movie overall? Well you, as moviegoers may be surprised by this as to me saying this statement: I thought this movie was better than Toy Story 3, making it my favorite movie of the year so far!!!! WHAT, you may be thinking. How can something like Tangled be better than Toy Story 3? Well the main reason for me was that I enjoyed myself more in this movie than in Toy Story 3, even if I saw TS3 at the world premiere. Believe me, Toy Story 3 is an excellent movie, and deserves all of the Oscar nominations/wins it will probably get, but I personally thought Tangled was a better movie. So should you see Tangled? In my opinion, ABSOLUTELY!!! Should you see it in 3D? Yes, because it will enhance a lot to the movie when you see it. Will you enjoy it as much as I did? Maybe, You never know. What I'm saying is, who's the only one that can top Disney at what they do? Disney, of course! So prepare to get Tangled as you put on your 3D glasses, because Tangled IS the best movie of the year so far!!!




PREVIEWS YOU MAY SEE:


The Chronicles Of Narnia:
The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader


Yogi Bear


Justin Bieber: Never Say Never


Mars Needs Moms


Cars 2


The Smurfs Movie






video

Saturday, November 20, 2010

REVIEW: Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1

MOVIE
Harry Potter
And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1

CAST
Daniel Radcliffe,
Rupert Grint, Emma Watson

RATING
PG-13

RELEASE
November 19, 2010

DIRECTOR
David Yates

STUDIO
Warner Bros. Pictures

RUNNING TIME
2 hours 27 minutes




GRADE
A+ (99.5)







STARS
****










REVIEW:

From the first glimpse of the literally "deforming" Warner Bros. logo, to the film's climatic cliffhanger of a conclusion, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, the first of the final movies in the series, never loses its steam. The movie, which is part 1 of "The Deathly Hallows," which is the seventh and final book in the Harry Potter series is basically the back story to what's going to happen in Part 2, come July 15th. I was expecting a lot from thi movie, since I'm not a fan of "The Order Of The Phoenix" and thought that last years "Half Blood Prince" was more of a comedic rom-com than the typical Potter film. But my oh my, Harry Potter once again went high above my expectations.

In their supposed 7th year at Hogwarts, Harry, Ron, and Hermione decide to leave Hogwarts to complete a mission started originaly by Dumbledore. This mission involved defeating the evil Lord Voldemort once and for all. But in order to do this, the trio must find and destroy seven Horcruxes hidden throughout the magical world. A Horcrux is a split piece of a person's soul that keeps a human or wizard alive no matter what. At the same time, the trio learns about The Deathly Hallows, three different items that combined together, the wizard possesing all three would be unbeatable.

One of the main reasons why I absolutely love this movie is because it is completely different from any of the others in the series. Yes, the trio isn't attending school anymore, but it's not just that. It's mainly because in some ways, you get to see different sides of the characters. For example, in one scene, (SPOILER) while Ron is wearing one of the evil Horcruxes, he gets very agressive at Harry and eventually leaves the trio for quite some time. (END) That's only one of the great things about this movie's difference from the others.

Another great thing about this movie is that it explains more than it does in the other movies. You get reintroduced/introduced to characters mentioned in the books and movies, plus you get more information about anything than you could've in the previous entries in the series. This movie is about 2 and 18 minutes, not including credits. Without including credits, this movie is around the total running time as Order Of The Phoenix, the shortest/my least favorite film in the series. What's good about this is that this is ONLY part 1. The movie may feel slow at times, but it's that kind of pacing that shows that Warner Bros. really thought about splitting the final book into two movies, instead of thinking about it for the $$$. Yes, this movie WILL make a lot of money, but story, visual effects, and acting are the other reasons why people go to see the "Potter" films.

Speaking of acting, all of the actors in this movie do a superb job as usual. Most are quirky and funny at parts, but it's the darker characters that are indeed, dark. As it turned out, every player in this movie other than the three main leads have very miniscule roles in this movie. Most are only in the movie for 1-2 scenes, and thats about it, until Part 2 at least. But other than the small roles, the three main actors are all fantastic. The one main praise I can give from the trio is Rupert Grint, who plays Ron Weasley in the series. I was never really a fan of him aside from the 1st and 2nd movies, since he never really played anything other than an angry, scared, or humerous guy. He's like that in this movie, but he really steps up his A game in this movie, especially with his intensity in one scene of this movie. But not just him, all of the main actors have really aged and matured over the past decade, and I can't wait to see the trios final role in the series next summer.

This movie is rated PG-13, and for a good reason, too. This is probably the most intense movie in the series, because a lot of frightening scenes, one in paticular involving voldemort's pet snake. Potter readers, you know which scene I'm talking about (Godric's Hollow). Not just that, but there are a lot of shocking deaths in this movie, and a intense torture scene that even had me turn away for a second or two. Along with that, there's one intense scene involving Ron attempting to destroy a Horcrux in the forest, along with Harry being choked underwater by this same Horcrux. So whether or not you're kid's a huge Harry Potter fan, this is more for either kids who have read/seen all of the books and movies and are slightly fearless enough to handle this, or kids 11 and over. End of story.

So overall, "Part 1" isn't the absolute best movie of the year, but it's in my top 10 for sure. With some quirky and funny moments throughout, and many intense and frightening scenes, this is one of the more enjoyable movies of the year, other than some stinkers from earlier in the year. Who would've thought that the creation of a down on her luck writer who started writing the first book in a coffee shop turn into a quote on quote "Worldwide Phenomenon"? I know I probably wouldn't have thought this, if I was old enough to see the movies when they originally came out. So if you have the means, this is one of those movies that is an absolutely worthwile theater experience. So do you want to see a good movie this holiday season? Well then you might want to travel with Harry, Ron, and Hermione to search for "The Deathly Hallows", Part 1.


PREVIEWS YOU MAY SEE:


The Chronicles Of Narnia:
The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader



Tron: Legacy



Yogi Bear



The Green Hornet



The Green Lantern



Red Riding Hood


Kung Fu Panda 2:
The Kaboom Of Doom


Cowboys & Aliens
video

Sunday, November 14, 2010

REVIEW: Unstoppable

MOVIE
Unstoppable

CAST
Denzel Washington, Chris Pine

RATING
PG-13

RELEASE
November 12, 2010

DIRECTOR
Tony Scott

STUDIO
20th Century Fox

RUNNING TIME
1 hour 38 minutes






GRADE
A (96)







STARS
***1/2











REVIEW:

Trains, trains, more trains, action, comedy, suspense. These are the words I first thought of when I first saw the trailer for Unstoppable, the 5th collaboration between Academy Award winner Denzel Washington, and acclaimed director Tony Scott. From the trailers, I wasn't so enthusiastic about this movie, since it looked like any other action thriller. In fact, this was only my second Denzel Washington movie in theaters, and my first one for Tony Scott , so that was a slight plus for me. But boy, was I surprised by this movie. It's not going to win any Oscars I bet, but this movie is surely one hell of a good time!

So here's the basic plot: Two men are working on a railroad, both of whom don't like each other. Then an idiot accidentally lets a train go 60+ miles heading to destroy many towns and cities. Now it's up to these two men to eventually thin of a plan to stop the train from destroying/killing towns and citizens. Pretty basic, right? Just from that simple plot you can already tell what happens in the end. But it's not the story that drives the movie, it's everything else in the movie that drives it.

One of the main things that kept driving this movie was the acting. I don't think that there has ever been a bad Denzel Washington movie that I've seen. The same goes for Chris Pine, but his other main starring role was in the superb 2009 hit Star Trek. Rosario Dawson and Kevin Dunn both are good as the supporting characters. But I was the most impressed with Kevin Dunn's performance as the guy who doesn't want to risk his job for anything. This is a step for Kevin Dunn who is probably best known to me as Shia LaBeouf's father in the Transformers series. Chris Pine has a lot of charisma that will surely take him to super-stardom. As for Mr. Washington, he should just keep doing what he's doing.

Teens may not think that this movie looks appealing, but believe me if your kid really enjoys lots of action and suspense, with lots of your daily dose of "Boom, Boom, POW!" then this is their kind of movie. I'm rarely into these kinds of movies, since their mostly just lots of explosions nonstop, but with it's charismic charm and great acting, I enjoyed just as much to get into my top 20's of the year. But overall, Unstoppable is a fast paced, action packed thrill ride that may keep you on the edge of your seats until the ending. So if you like to spend 2 hours watching action packed movies with Denzel, then your mind may just be surprised by Unstoppable. And a quick point out that this movie IS a theater experience, not a DVD rental on a cold Sunday afternoon. So in truth, Unstoppable is a nearly superb movie.






PREVIEWS YOU MAY SEE:


127 Hours



The Next Three Days



Love And Other Drugs



Season Of The Witch



Unknown




Sanctum



Battle: Los Angeles

Saturday, November 13, 2010

REVIEW: Megamind 3D

MOVIE
Megamind

CAST
Will Ferrell, Tina Fey

RATING
PG

RELEASE
November 5, 2010

DIRECTOR
Tom McGrath

STUDIO(S)
DreamWorks Animation,
Paramount Pictures

RUNNING TIME
1 hour 33 minutes




GRADE
A+ (97)




STARS
****







REVIEW:

Dreamworks Animation has been having a solid year so far. With successful movies like How To Train Your Dragon on their bill this year, they're going to have a hard time topping something as heartwarming and funny as "Dragon." With their latest movie, Megamind, they fail to give a touching and heartwarming story for Academy members to notice, but they sure as heck give the audience a smart and hilarious animated movie that is surely one of the funniest movies of 2010. Most of it is thanks to the voice acting. It can also be because of the animation and its use of 3D, but whatever it is, this is an incredibly funny movie that should be a must see for audiences everywhere.

SYNOPSIS (Taken from Moviefone.com)
BE WARNED THAT THIS SYNOPSIS HAS SPOILERS, SO WATCH OUT!

From the studio that brought you Shrek, Madagascar, and Kung Fu Panda, Megamind is the most brilliant supervillain the world has ever known. And the least successful. Over the years, he has tried to conquer Metro City in every imaginable way. Each attempt, a colossal failure thanks to the caped superhero known as "Metro Man," an invincible hero until the day Megamind actually kills him in the throes of one of his botched evil plans. Suddenly, Megamind has no purpose. A supervillain without a superhero. He realizes that achieving his life's ambition is the worst thing that ever happened to him. Megamind decides that the only way out of his rut is to create a new hero opponent called "Titan", who promises to be bigger, better and stronger than Metro Man ever was. Pretty quickly Titan starts to think it's much more fun to be a villain than a good guy . Except Titan doesn't just want to rule the world, he wants to destroy it. Now, Megamind must decide: can he defeat his own diabolical creation? Can the world's smartest man make the smart decision for once? Can the evil genius become the unlikely hero of his own story?

It's hard to describe the complexity of Megamind for me. No, not really, since this movie doesn't have a bit of originality, other than Will Ferrel's hilarious voice as Megamind. I'm not saying that this was a bad movie, far from it, but every movie needs some originality, doesn't it? Other than little sense of originality, Megamind exceeds in expectations. Like every DreamWorks movie, the animation is stunning. The creation of Metro Man can make you sort of give you a sense of imagination of what Brad Pitt looks like as a superhero. That's both funny to the kids, but funnier to the adults as well. Megamind, as a movie proves that Will Ferrell can do any role he wants to, as long as it's in comedy. But believe it or not, Will Ferrell isn't the only perfect voice casting in this movie.

It's not just Will Ferrell that takes the spotlight in Megamind, it's most of the ensemble cast that have their own spotlight moments in the movie a few times as well. One of the funniest characters in this movie happened to be David Cross as Megamind's evil assistant, Minion. I've never been a fan of David Cross, since all I've seen him in were villain roles in the Alvin and the Chipmunks series, and Year One with Jack Black. But hearing his slightly calm voice in such a huge and monstrous looking creature was the only role Mr. Cross could be in for this movie. Another funny voice in this movie belongs to Jonah Hill, who plays an ordinary camera-worker turned superhero named Hal/Titan in this movie. Although Jonah Hill plays the same character, (Just like his Superbad costar, Michael Cera) he is just flat out hilarious as this supervillan wanna be, who has a crush on Tina Fey's character, Roxanne Ritchi. (Who doesn't have a crush on Tina Fey, anyway?) So basically, it's just Jonah Hill playing a muscular Jonah Hill in tights. That may seem annoying, but it's one of the biggest reasons why Megamind is just a whole lot of fun.

Whether you're a hug fan of one or two of the cast members, enjoy DreamWorks movie, or are taking the kids to see a movie, Megamind, from the moment it begins, is a funny, lighthearted, and visually amazing movie. I doubt it will achieve the greatness of How To Train Your Dragon and Pixar's Toy Story 3, but it's still a funny and harmless the whole family will love. This is also a good movie for parents who want to expose their kids to A-List PG-13 stars like Will Ferrell and Brad Pitt. But isn't that why Dreamworks are made, to expose younger kids to adult, PG-13 A-Listers? Well with this kind of cast, this is a movie not to miss. So when you're walking out of the movie (try to catch it in 3D, by the way) well surprised by what you saw, you'll know then that you had a "Megamind" for going to see Megamind that day.








REVIEW: Life As We Know It

MOVIE
Life As We Know It

CAST
Katherine Heigl, Josh Duhamel

RATING
PG-13

RELEASE
October 8, 2010

DIRECTOR
Greg Berlanti

STUDIO
Warner Bros. Pictures

RUNNING TIME
1 hour 54 minutes




GRADE
B+ (89)





STARS
***







REVIEW:

Wait a minute, haven't we seen a romantic comedy with a baby before? We probably did, but I don't remember a baby involved movie other than Tom Selleck's classic Three Men and a Baby. But now Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel of Knocked Up and Transformers fame decide to star in this completely predictable chick flick. Now me, I'm a sucker for chick-flicks, and once again, a movie like this did not disappoint for me. Yes, this movie is very dumb, predictable, and just flat out was never needed to be made. Yet, if you're a guy like me, or a dude who's forced by his wife or girlfriend to see this with her, there's a possibility you might be suprised by the turnout.

Holly Berenson and Eric Messer are nothing alike. Holly is the typical neat freak, strict like girl making delicious sweets for a living. Eric Messer is a free living guy working as a camera controller for basketball games, plus hooking up with women every night. The one thing that they both have in common with each other is their best friends, whom the latter are married to each other. But as fate would happen, Holly and Eric's best friends seemingly died in a car accident, leaving behind their 1 year old daughter Sophie in the care of the two. What will happen to Eric and Holly as they must take care of the one year old girl? For them, "life as we know it" will never be the same for them.

There isn't much to talk about other than this movies is predictable and dumb, but also sweet and heartwarming, filled with plenty of belly-laughs for the family. Other than language and some sexual content, this is a perfect family film. Kids around 9 and up will enjoy it, as well as parents desperate for a good time. One can actually compare this movie to Three Men and a Baby, which I enjoy more than this. But this movie still is just as lighthearted, but not as language filled as the other. So if you're with someone who needs a funny and somewhat heartwarming movie with a baby, then you're sure to enjoy Life As We Know It.





PREVIEWS YOU MAY SEE:


How Do You Know


Gnomeo And Juliet


Love And Other Drugs


Hereafter

Friday, November 12, 2010

REVIEW: The Social Network

MOVIE
The Social Network

CAST
Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield

RATING
PG-13

RELEASE
October 1, 2010

DIRECTOR
David Fincher

STUDIO
Columbia Pictures

RUNNING TIME
2 hours 0 minutes







GRADE
A+ (100)








STARS
****








REVIEW:

For those who frequently go onto the Internet, they are bound to have a facebook account. However, for anyone who doesn't know what facebook is, this social networking site is an online website in which you can create a profile and communicate and socialize with friends, plus keep up with daily life in sports, entertainment, and your friend's lives. It is currently one of the biggest trends happening in the world. And it all started because of a very gifted college student when he created it. The Social Network is the story of the creation of Facebook, and the tragedies that went with it, and as it turns out, it is a smart, well written, and funny movie that is one of the best movies of 2010.

Mark Zuckerberg is possibly one of the smartest people out there. He can hack into Harvard's system, create a website, and eventually get the site to crash within a matter of hours. But after a sad breakup with his girlfriend, Mark has a breakdown which leads to the creation of a website within Harvard's system where college kids can socialize with friends, post photos, and basically take the entire experience of college and put it online. He called it "The Facebook." But before Mark knew it, The Facebook became the most talked about thing on campus. But with the help of a few people, The Facebook became one of the most talked about things in the world. The Social Network explores the creation of facebook and the troubles Mr. Zuckerberg would get into along the way.

Like I said, this is one of the best movies of the year. One of the many contributors to making this a great movie was the amazingly well written screenplay. Aaron Sorkin, who wrote this funny and dramatic movie deserves an Oscar nomination for this cleverly written script. Despite being mostly based on the real life events of Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook, the movie feels like it's its own original story. Aaron Sorkin only loosely based the information off of real events, so in a way, this really is an original story of sorts. And that's just one of the many reasons why The Social Network is near perfection.

Another contribution to the perfection of The Social Network is the actors of the movie. All of the actors are doing their characters justice, and are performing them very well. Jesse Eisenberg, who plays Mark Zuckerberg might even get a Best Actor nomination this year due to his performance. But the one performance that I personally deserves it all is Justin Timberlake as wise-cracking, cocaine-addicted Sean Parker, whose contributions to Facebook eventually tear everything apart. Overall, the acting in this movie is flat out superb and mostly unforgettable.

I would like to point out, though, that this IS NOT a kids movie. Despite being about Facebook and its creation, the main setting is in college, in which it shows the sexual and alcoholic side of college everyone has heard about. This movie is more for mature 13 year olds and up, but could also be for ages 15 and up since the movie, despite being a mear 2 hours at length can get a bit draggy for those who can't handle slow and thinking movies. But overall, for those who are very mature and can handle movies like this, then they will enjoy seeing The Social Network.

I can keep going on praising The Social Network all day if I wanted to, but for this review, I wanted to just share the main keys of the greatness of this movie. David Fincher will also be a shoe-in for a Best Director nomination, since he was the main reason of how this movie became possible. This movie is unlike any of the other blockbusters this year like Toy Story 3 and Inception, yet it still has that blockbuster movie feeling despite the serious looking trailers. But just to sum everything up, The Social Network is one of the must sees of the fall movie season. So if you like facebook, have a great taste in movies, or just enjoy dramedies, then you might want to log on to The Social Network.





PREVIEWS YOU MAY SEE:


Hereafter


The Tourist


The Next Three Days


How Do You Know?


True Grit

Saturday, October 16, 2010

REVIEW: RED (Unfinished/Very Advance Cut) Updated With Thoughts On Final Cut!!

MOVIE
RED

CAST
Bruce Willis, John Malkovich

RATING
PG-13

RELEASE
October 15, 2010
(2 months from when I first saw this)

DIRECTOR
Robert Schwentke

STUDIO(S)
Summit Entertainment, DC Comics

RUNNING TIME
(My Screening's Cut/Final Cut)
1 hour 51 minutes



GRADE
A (95)





STARS
***1/2









REVIEW:

Even though it was a rough cut and has two months to be edited before its official release date, Summit Entertainment was kind enough to provide people with passes to see their newest film, RED. RED is based on the Warren Millis graphic novel and starring A list stars like Bruce Willis and Morgan Freeman. This very special advance screening, which was secretly held in Philadelphia and in other major cities in the country was shown not one, but two (yes, I said two) months before its official release. I was one of the lucky ones to snag a couple of passes to see it. And all I really need to say about it is, and pardon my french, its a kick-ass movie!

Frank Moses is a retired CIA agent who, after a couple of years of not working is still trying to adjust to it. But since he knows to much about the CIA's secrets, Frank's identity has been compromised, has been targeted as a threat to the agency, and is being hunted for assasination. And even worse, he has put the love of his life, Sarah in grave danger. Now Frank must recruit his old CIA team Joe, Marvin, and Victoria in a last effort to survive before his job finds and kills him.

Who would've thought that A.) Helen Mirren could handle a shotgun so beautifully and B.) John Malkovich could be so insanely funny. This is an action film that doesn't take itself seriously at all and a comedy film that is just funny to begin with. I did also enjoy the supporting actors, including Star Trek's Karl Urban, the sensational Richard Dreyfuss, and old-timer Ernest Borgine. All of the main actors in this movie each have their shine in the comedic side of the film, but the one actor that stole the show was, in fact, John Malkovich. He knows how to kick some serious *ass* and be the cherry on the strawberry ice cream sundae. I would like to point out that the most disappointing thing in this movie to me is that (SPOILER) Morgan Freeman was only in the movie for approxamitely 20 minutes, thus making him the smallest character of all of the A list stars. (END OF SPOILER)

The director of this movie, Robert Schwentke, who has directed movies like Fightplan and the poorly recieved The Time Traveler's Wife certainly seemed like he had a fun time making it, not to mention that this movie was welly made. Any other director probably would've made less comedy and more blowing up. Thank goodness Michael Bay wasn't attached to make this, not that he wouldn't have a decent flick. I would like to admit that the violence in this movie can be pretty brutal for a PG-13 movie. Probably not as brutal as something like 300, but still pretty intense. But with every film, there is a surprise thrown in, but this surprise isn't the one you'd expect from one of my reviews.

The one thing that did surprise me was the fact that I didn't see the final cut of the film. They did announce that some of the special effects weren't complete, but nothing made me surprised when I heard that... the screening I saw was going to be cut down into a 90 minute film, which is taking 40 minutes out of what I saw. Although, I can't believe that because the version I saw was the same print reviewed by the MPAA, whom gave it the well deserved PG-13 rating. So when the movie officially comes out or I get invited to another screening a few days in advance, I'm going to see it and review it again so I can compare the different prints. Who knows, maybe they'll keep it the way I saw it. (hopefully)

UPDATE: After seeing the final cut of the movie, there's only one thing I can say: They didn't change a thing!! They kept everything in tact and added all of the remaining unfinished special effects. I was both surprised and disappointed by this, mainly because I wanted to point out what had been taken out. Also, the only thing that they did add was a slight scene before the credits that's only about 20 seconds long, which kind of made me disappointed. But all in all, my slight disappointments shouldn't stop you from having a worthwile time at the movies, especially if you bring your parents or grandparents to this movie. Believe me, they'll have just as much fun as yourself.

But overall, cut or uncut, RED is a fun time at the movies that'll keep you wanting until the end. If I have to summarize, I'd say that RED is fast, action-packed, and a crap load of fun. Try to remember this movie in October, since it'll be in the competition of films like Saw 3D, Jackass 3D, and The Social Network. These actors, except for Bruce Willis and Morgan Freeman are the unusual, but perfect choices for their roles in this. I never read the graphic novel before, but after seeing this, I have to put it on my list of graphic novels to read, behind Watchmen and Kick-Ass. So if you want to have fun on Halloween at the movies, then you might want to paint your car or Jack-O-Lantern RED.



PREVIEWS YOU MAY SEE:

Fair Game

Due Date

The Debt

The Dilemma

The Green Hornet

Drive Angry






NOTE: * * means highlight in between the stars.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

REWIND REVIEW: Me And Orson Welles

MOVIE
Me and Orson Welles

CAST
Zac Efron, Claire Danes

RATING
PG-13

RELEASE
November 25, 2009

DIRECTOR
Richard Linklater

STUDIO
CinemaNX (Warner Bros. Pictures)

RUNNING TIME
1 hour 54 minutes





GRADE
A (96)




STARS
***1/2









REVIEW:

I'm guessing that you have seen a Broadway show, musical production at school, or even a church play of the life of Jesus. But have you ever wondered what it's like before the curtains come up? Before the final curtain call? Or even before casting takes place? Well thanks to Richard Linklater and the book it's based on, Me and Orson Welles provides the viewer with what goes on before opening night, and also provides a story about love, affairs, and the power of theater. And, like Mr. Linklater's popular movie School of Rock, is surprisingly a well thought out movie with great acting from the well thought out cast.

In 1937 New York, Orson Welles is preparing to put on the stage version of Julius Ceaser, Broadway's first Shakespearean production at the Mercury Theatre. At the same time, an up and coming actor named Richard meets Welles and is offered a role in the play. At the same time, Richard is getting affections for Sonja, a woman who works at the Mercury theatre. Richard soon learns that sometimes one week can change the rest of your life.

I had heard teriffic things about this movie, so I had no choice but to see it. And I am sure as heck glad I did. This is one of the most artistic and literary movies about entertainment I've seen. Orson Welles was probably best known for his movie Citizen Kane and his frequent radio performances. I personally have never seen Citizen Kane or any of his movies. But I do want to now learn more about Mr. Welles' personal life, like the affairs he supposedly had. I also did enjoy the plot of the movie that revolved around the stepping stone in Orson's career.

I would also like to give a shout out to the actors in this movie. Zac Efron, who is best known for his teen comedies and musicals like 17 Again, Hairspray, and of course, the High School Musical series takes a smart but dramatic step into actual acting, and is actually one of the best parts of this movie. He kind of reminds me of a young Leonardo Dicaprio when he made teen hearthrob movies like Romeo+Juliet and the Oscar winning Titanic. I can see Mr. Efron going great places in his career, although I didn't get to see his most recent Charlie St. Cloud. But probably the best performance in the movie comes from newcomer Christian McKay as Orson Welles. He, of all of the performers has the most convincing and most dramatic role in the movie. I do wish he could've gotten a nomination at the Acadamy Awards this past year; He was that good.

Despite having Zac Efron, this movie is not suitable for the younger kids. It's much more suited for the Middle Schoolers, since adolescents my age could both enjoy and understand this movie well. Another reason is because this movie can have some foul language and sexual candor between Efron and some of his friends in the show. So for the parents who Netflix or Redbox this movie thinking it's family friendly, think again.

To summarize, Me and Orson Welles is a must see for both film and theater students, as well as Orson Welles fans. It is just a well made movie from a very talented cast and director. I totally would recommend this movie to theater fans as well as those who grew up in the Orson Welles generation. So to clear up, if you enjoy theater and want a good rental for you and/or lady friend or wife, this is that perfect movie to kill two hours with. Trust me, you will be surprised by the story 0f Me and Orson Welles.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

REVIEW: Easy A

MOVIE
Easy A

CAST
Emma Stone, Penn Badgley

RATING
PG-13

RELEASE
September 17, 2010

DIRECTOR
Will Gluck

STUDIO
Screen Gems (Sony)

RUNNING TIME
1 hour 35 minutes





GRADE
A (96)




STARS
***1/2








REVIEW:

There are many different types of the well known movie genre "Comedy." These what I call, "genres within genres," can include "rom-coms," "dark comedies," and "raunch-fests." But Emma Stone, who is known for her supporting roles in movies like Zombieland and Superbad, with the help of director Will Gluck, makes the world's first "sexless sex comedy." This new genre is formed into Easy A, a smart, sexy, and often very funny movie filled with heart and talent throughout. It's still hard for me to decide who was the best character or which was the best part.

Olive Penderghast was just a regular unknown teenager with loving parents and a best friend who slightly cared for her. Her life was going peachy keen until she lies about spending a weekend with a college student and supposedly lost her virginity. In case you little kids out there don't know what virginity means and are reading this, don't ask about it until you reach middle school. So as the rumors spread, Olive becomes a bit more noticeable out of all of the social outcasts she used to be a part of. Coincidently, she is studying The Scarlet Letter in school, which is about a woman who has an affair with a minister and is sentenced to wear a red "A" for the remainder of her life. So Olive, knowing the trouble she'll get in, changes her entire look and becomes the school's "slut" and fakes "doing it" with a bunch of social outcasts. You can probably see the outcome of what's going to happen next.

As much as the movie looks like a raunchy sex teen comedy, Easy A is much more than that. I can admit that this movie is pretty raunchy with frequent mention of sex, but in between all of that, Easy A has a heart that can warm you up at times. Also, this movie does teach a lesson to teenagers out there: never attempt to spread rumors, because you never know where they can lead. This is a lesson that kids of all ages should think about, but this movie was just an add on to that message.

Another helping factor to the movie's magic is the casting. Everyone is casted perfectly, as if they were born to play those roles. For example, Amanda Bynes after a 3 year hiatus plays a Christian-strict clasmate that can be either be your best friend or worst enemy at times. Another set of actors I can say were also perfectly cast, and probably the funniest of the ensemble cast were Stanley Tucci and Particia Clarkson as Olive's mellow, cool, and very funny parents. But the one actor in this movie that shines brighter than the rest is none other than Ms. Emma Stone. After this movie, I can see a very teriffic career ahead of her coming really soon. She helps put the spark into the movie, which can really help to a movie. But she's not the type of "spark" Megan Fox was to the Transformers movies; she is an up and coming actress whom, whatever she's in adds something to the movie. Up and coming actors should't try to get into main leads so fast. This girl had to wait a few years to become a main lead. But it was well worth the wait. So I say to Ms. Stone, welcome to the show.

I must say, though that even though this was given a well deserved PG-13 rating, this movie pushes the boundaries at times with talk about sex, high schoolers pretending to have sex, etc. This isn't a kids movie one bit. My little sister really wanted to see this due to seeing the previews and commercials. I told my parents I'd go to see if it is inappropriate at all. As it turns out, it was even inappropriate for my age level, and I'm a mature 13 year old. So for those parents who want to take even their middle school kids, tell them to wait until high school when the candor in this movie is more understandable. So believe it or not, Easy A really is a high schoolers movie.

So overall, Easy A is a well made teen comedy for the teens and the teens at heart. This movie is basically an hour and a half long episode of Degrassi with more comedy, less drama, not to mention this movie is probably better than Degrassi in the first place. It's really hard for myself not to admire of how much people can do with low budgets and a slightly original storyline. After seeing this, I can't wait to read The Scarlett Letter in high school. But to those who want to read the book and know nothing, DON'T see this movie, since it spoils the entirety of the book. So all in all, once you see Easy A, I'll guess that some who read this will give Easy A and "Easy A."





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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

REVIEW: Takers

MOVIE
Takers

CAST
Matt Dillon, Paul Walker

RATING
PG-13

RELEASE
August 27, 2010

DIRECTOR
Jason Luessenhop

STUDIO
Screen Gems (Sony)

RUNNING TIME
1 hour 47 minutes






GRADE
C (74)





STARS
**








REVIEW:

Ever since I saw the preview for Takers with The A-Team back in June, I've been anticipating it as a fun heist movie. Even after the lukewarm reviews I read and all of the hoopla about this movie being delayed because of T.I's arrest, I still had high hopes for this. But for the first time this year, I left the movie theater with a sour taste in my mouth, and it wasn't because of the popcorn that I brought from home. I've never been so disappointed with a movie starring actors like Paul Walker, Matt Dillon, and Hayden Christenson. So all the Takers really do instead of giving you good entertainment is taking your money and two hours of your life away. I don't really know how to explain the plot, so I'll try my best to do so.

In the world of notorious criminals, there are the Takers, a high elite group of robbers who are the best of the best. But when their old leader is let out of jail early, he comes back to them with the ultimate heist, a heist worth a lot of moolah. So as the Takers accept this offer, the police are investigating who they are and what they're up to, like what most cops would do. Not much more to the plot than that.

I always go into a movie with an open mind, which can explain why I love so many of them. But this one was on the edge of not being one of my open minded movies because of the many mediocre reviews. But I went and saw and realized I should of either waited for it on DVD or listen to the critics. I have never seen a movie acted out so poorly and the story so thin. I expected so much out of a bank heist movie with an ensemble cast like T.I. and Chris Brown. The script is written so poorly, it can make a 2nd graders story about an elephant going to the zoo sound like Gone With The Wind. Imagine a bunch of men talking about bank heist with a bunch of unnecessary but sometimes cool action stunts with the cops chasing them. I just saved you $10.00 for a ticket and 2 hours of your life are now spared to do something better.

Now lets get back to the cast. Believe it or not, there's only one thing in this movie that I actually enjoyed and it was the casting of Matt Dillon and Jay Hernandez as the cops who are tracking down the takers. I would of love to have seen a lot more of them in the movie than the Takers themselves, because the cops backgrounds were both very interesting and very intriguing to watch. Despite being a movie called Takers, the takers were actually quite a boring sight. None of them were likable, or watchable as soon as T.I. came on the screen. Speaking of T.I, he was one of the weakest points of the movie. His acting was the weakest of all of the actors, not to mention that the movie's release revolved around his own jail sentence. The only good contribution T.I. has with the movie is the song "Yeah Ya Know," which I find to be quite a good song. I would also like to ask: who the #^%$# is Idris Elba?!?!? Apparently he's some big British star that's been in Obsessed and The Losers. Other than that, if anyone can give me a good explanation of who he is, please tell me, since he was also a very weak point in the movie.

If the movie was released about two years ago, before T.I. was arrested, I might have enjoyed it a lot more than I did now. But for now, I'm giving it the slot of worst movie of the year so far on my list. This movie isn't even worth a movie ticket, let alone a rental. I might check it out in 5 years from now, when I ask myself why I hated the movie so much, but for now I'm saying that this the most disappointing movie I've seen this year, and that if it added a little bit more to the police story, replacd ALL of the Takers, and added one or two more stunning chase sequences, and they would've made a better movie. So what do Takers really do? Thet take away both the right to see good movies and they take away your money! If you want to see a good heist movie, I heard Ben Affleck's The Town is supposed to be an Oscar worthy movie.



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N-Secure


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