Tuesday, January 31, 2012

HOT: The Money Pit

I know this movie. I know pretty much everything about this movie, but for some reason I think this may have been the first time I have watched it all the way through in one sitting.

Something about it turned me off a bit back when I first may have been watching it - not sure what it was.

Anyway, The Money Pit stars Tom Hanks as Walter Fielding, Jr., an attorney who is currently seeing Anna Crowley (Shelley Long), a violinist in a symphony.

While sleeping over at Crowley's house, a man enters their bedroom and Fielding finds out that Crowley is in fact living in her ex-husband's Max (Alexander Godunov) house.

Forced to move out, they begin searching for a place to stay and find this huge, gorgeous house being sold by Estelle (Maureen Stapleton). Apparently Estelle's husband is in trouble overseas and she must sell the house quickly and cheaply to go and help him.

Thinking they got a steal, Walter and Anna scramble to find the $200,000 for the mansion and move in together.

Then, everything begins to fall apart - in both the house and their relationship.

The house is a perfect metaphor for a relationship. As one thing begins falls apart another behind it comes down soon after. As the house begins to drive the couple apart, and the repairs continue to mount up, Anna tries to sell some paintings to Max that she was awarded in their divorce. She ends up getting drunk and wakes up in her old bedroom.

This appears to be the last straw as Walter believes she has strayed from him.

But, will the house be repaired? And if so, at what cost?

After finally getting through the entire film, I still don't understand why I never finished it before. The house/relationship metaphor I felt was outstanding and oh so true. It's amazing how strong a relationship can be and yet still begin to crumble when outside factors get in the way.

This was a perfect way to tell that story. And, I finally enjoyed it.


Tuesday's With Movies: 1/31/12

Drive: Not only does this film look amazing, but it has actually been getting some praise by award shows and critics. I've been looking forward to checking it out - ad of course continuing the year of Gosling.

In Time: This was one of the films that when I saw the trailer I was very intrigued with. But, it appears to have gotten some flack out there. That never really turns me away from a film because I always try to form my on opinion. I am actually still very interested in seeing it.

The Thing: Not really sure about this one, but from what I am told I don't think this one is for me. Also, I find it odd that a film that is supposed to be a prequel has the same name as the original - not sure why.

The Big Year: I am not really sure what to think about this one. I have always enjoyed Steve Martin, and Owen Wilson/Jack Black every so often. But, a bird watching movie? Not sure.

The Double: This one sort of went under the radar. I think I may have heard of it way back when it was first announce, but then nothing again until the DVD release. I like Topher Grace so I may give this one a try.

Dream House: Again, one I will run out and get right away.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

10/50x2: Point Break

Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) is a former Ohio State quarterback that leads a bunch of rag-tag players to victory......oops, that was The Replacements.

Anyway, Reeves plays yet another former Ohio State quarterback in Point Break. Here, instead of heading back to the gridiron, he becomes an FBI agent.

Utah is a rookie agent that teams up with Angelo Pappas (Gary Busey). Pappas has been tracking a string of robberies in the area by a gang known as the "Ex Presidents" because they each wear a mask of a former president to protect their identity.

Pappas has a theory that this group is a bunch of surfers, and following that theory Utah goes undercover as a guy wanting to learn to surf. He befriends, and lies, to a former orphan Tyler Endicott (Lori Petty) to help him become a better surfer - and also get him in with some of the other surfers.

He is welcomed into a group of surfers led by Bodhi (Patrick Swayze). The group is extremely close and appears to do everything together - but has Utah stumbled upon the correct gang?

The above is really just the beginning. Pappas and Utah do some serious investigating and staking out to track down the "Ex Presidents".

Just a fun ride. Reeves and Swayze are very good in this movies as friends and possible enemies. Petty was also really good as Tyler, a person who Utah lies to and falls in love with.

I have been told to watch this forever, and it has been recommended to me a bunch of times. I now see why. It was a very good, fun movie.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

HOT: Every Time We Say Goodbye

As you can tell by me actually doing a Hanks-O-Thon, I am a pretty huge Tom Hanks fan. He is my favorite actor of all time.

So, it is pretty odd when researching Hanks' films that I find some never even heard of.

Every Time We Say Goodbye is one of those films. Hanks stars as David Bradley an American pilot that joins World War II fighting for the Royal Air Force before the United States entered the war.

Bradley's plane gets shot down and he is sent to Jerusalem to recover from his injuries.

While there he meets Sarah Perrara (Christina Marsillach) a Jewish girl of Spanish descent when he is dragged to a party by his friend.

They immediately hit it off, but she pulls back because Bradly does not come from a Jewish background. She feels that it would be frowned upon in her community and more importantly her family.

Even though they separate, they continue to run into each other in the small town - and eventually give into their temptation. But will it be able to last once her family discovers it?

The film, like so many, reminded me a bit of Romeo & Juliet. It's under different circumstances, but ultimately it is two people who are in love that cannot be together for reasons outside of their control.

Was the movie good? It was okay. Hanks was great and even Marsillach, who hasn't been in a ton of movies, was good as well.

I know the movie was made in the '80s and it was a movie about the '40s, but it felt even more dated to me - just the look of it.

Overall it was good for a one-time watch, but unlike most of Hanks' films I probably on't be rewatching this one any time soon.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

9/50x2: The Fighter

I am a sports writer by trade, but there are a few sports out there that just don't really appeal to me. Some of those sports are those involving hand-to-hand combat. Boxing, MMA - heck even hockey - are just a few sports that I really have no desire in ever watching (except the occasional Pens game).

That being said. Why is it that boxing seems to almost always make a great movie?

The Fighter is based on a true story about Mickey Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and his rise in the boxing world. And, may be to an even bigger extent, his brother Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale).

Eklund is Ward's trainer and former boxer himself. His claim to fame is that he once knocked Sugar Ray Leonard to the mat during a televised match. Since then he has found himself getting addicted to drugs and spending time in jail.

Mickey is also being managed by his mother, Alice Ward (Melissa Leo), who despite Mickey's talent and being an all-around decent person, still treats brother Dicky like her favorite.

Dicky also happens to be filming a documentary on what he is claiming as his comeback attempt into the world of boxing.

Mickey values and loves his family, and that may have been what kept him as what some people claim as a punching bag for other fighters as they make their way up through the ranks. He is saddled with a manager/mother who seems content with keeping him nearby and not allowing him to flourish - and a trainer/brother who would much rather be getting high than spending time in the gym helping his brother get better.

Mickey, however, gets involved with Charlene (Amy Adams) who sees the greatness in him and what his downfall has been - his family. She encourages him to sign with a place in Las Vegas that will pay him as he trains. The lone stipulation is that Dicky must not be allowed to help him.

Just a great film filled with tons of amazing performances.

Bale continues to impress with the way he can transform his actual body image for a film, and then throw himself into that role. Leo has proven just how good of an actress she can be, and here is no different. Adams was amazing as the girlfriend who helps push Mickey in the right direction (and she wasn't too hard on the eyes either). All three were recognized for the effort with nominations for Academy Awards, with Bale and Leo both winning in the Best Supporting category.

The one who wasn't nominated was Wahlberg. I feel the guy gets a bum wrap for the most part - perhaps because he was once known as 'Marky Mark'. I don't know, but I thought his performance in this film was outstanding - and he continues to improve as an actor. His struggle between what he wanted and what he thought he wanted was amazingly portrayed. I felt he deserved some recognition as well.

You've all heard that The Fighter is a great movie - and I can tell you for a fact it was. Again, not a fan of boxing, but they sure do make great films. Check it out if you haven't yet.


Tuesday's With Movies: 1/24/12

50/50: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, in my opinion, has become one of the best actors in Hollywood today. Surprising that the little kid from '3rd Rock from the Sun' has come so far. As I have said before, a little Seth Rogen can go a long way - but I have heard he is good in this film. It looks fantastic and I have been waiting to see it.

Real Steel: I have to admit when I saw the first trailer for this I couldn't believe that this film was even getting made. It just sounded insane - which is why I think it has gained the other title of the Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots movie. But, apparently this movie has heart and looks like it may be somewhat decent.

Paranormal Activity 3: Gonna run right out and get this one.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tuesday's With Movies: 1/17/12

Courageous: This is apparently the next big religious movie, much like Fireproof from a few year's ago. I have no issues with these movies being made, there is obviously an audience for them - but they're not for me. Sure, I believe there is a higher power, but I really don't need to continue to be preached to.

The Ides of March: Man of the year Ryan Gosling - he appeared to be in almost every movie this past year. Here he teams with George Clooney in a film about dirty politics. Looks like it may be interesting - so this one I will check out.

Abduction: That Twilight star - or as I know him that Cheaper by the Dozen 2 star - takes on the action star role. Apparently a horrible film, but I absolutely must check it out to see for myself.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tuesday's With Movies: 1/10/12

This was supposed to be up last night, started it and never posted it.

Moneyball: Not my favorite sport. In fact out of the major four this one is pretty close to hockey as my least favorite. But, the moneyball craze has been very interesting and from what I have heard the movie itself is pretty amazing. So, I am down with this as soon as I can.

Killer Elite: For some reason these Jason Statham keep flying under the radar. I guess there is just nothing about these films that have any real substance, but for an action flick it may be decent. I don't know, possibly may check it out.

What's Your Number?: This looks interesting. Not sure if it will be, but I think I will give it a try. It's got Captain America and Anna Faris - who will no doubt end up hooking up in the end - but I will see how they get there anyway.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Does Parenthood Change Your View?

As most of you know I have a 5-year old son. He absolutely loves movies and I have been slowly introducing him to some of my favorite (and my wife's favorite) films.

We have gotten through most of the superhero films that I allow him to watch, the Pirates franchise, Star Wars, Wizard of Oz, etc.

Obviously, some of those will have to wait until he is older. Although I am not a fan of censorship, I believe censorship via parenting is extremely important.

Before my son was born (and now too I guess) I was pretty much a kid at heart. I loved watching some of the films geared towards children, like the Pixar/Disney movies, Shrek, the Muppet films, etc.

But, has being a parent also changed me into liking some of these films, especially those I probably would have never watched unless I had a child, more than I usually would?

This past weekend my family watched The Smurfs together. Now, in the past (before my son) I don't think this would be a film I would watch. Sure, I watched the cartoon as a child, but nothing in it screamed to me that I had to see it.

And, I not only watched The Smurf, but I actually enjoyed it to an extent (review coming in the future).

I follow a lot of other blogs about films, some with children and others without. I am not sure if being a parent has changed their viewing habits, or their likes at all. This is just something I have noticed with me.

In the past year I have watched Alvin & the Chipmunks (both of them), Gnomeo & Juliet, Rio, Alpha & Omega, Cars 2 and I am sure many others. The lone exception on this list that I probably would have watched alone is Cars 2 because, as I said above, I was a Pixar fan even before I became a father.

I did not hate any of the above films I listed. Sure, they weren't groundbreaking, Oscar level films, but each of them had something that made me at least somewhat interested. In fact, I have watched Rio twice already - and I am sure to watch Cars 2 a ton more times as my son loves it.

Don't get me wrong, I still watch a ton of different-type of films. And I have even branched out a bit beyond my own comfort zone and watched films that others have deemed good, despite my distaste for gore (I got through Zombieland (again, review coming) and I will eventually give Tucker & Dale vs. Evil a try). That is not the type of change I was talking about.

I guess I am watching a bit more kid-oriented films than I would have in the past. And, I am enjoying them a lot more than I thought I would. I guess I have my son to thank for that.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

8/50x2: A History of Violence

So, Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) is a family man that runs a local diner. He is married to Edie (Maria Bello) and has a son Jack (Ashton Holmes) and daughter Sarah (Heidi Hayes).

This is the premise of A History of Violence.

His life appears to be great. He has a great relationship with his wife and the members of the town love him.
One night at the diner two robbers attempt to rob the place and also kill one of Tom's employees. Out of nowhere Tom appears to go ninja and takes down both robbers, saving his employee and the diner.

News spreads fast and Tom's face is plastered all over the news and newspapers.

One day at the diner a man Carl Fogarty (Ed Harris) shows up claiming that he knows Tom, but not as Tom, instead as Joey Cusack - an Irish mobster from Philadelphia.

Tom of course refuses this accusation - but for some reason Fogarty and his gang just will not let it go.

One night Tom and Jack get into an argument and Jack runs off - only to get kidnapped by Fogarty. Fogarty uses this to get some face time with Tom.

The rest of the film is basically Tom, who has been living a new life, trying to fix his previous life to get back to the one he is living. But, now that his family knows the truth has the damage already been done?

This was a pretty decent film. The action scenes may have been few and far between, but they were good when they were there. Mortensen and Bello really stood out in the film for me. I haven't seen too many Mortensen films outside of Lord of the Rings, but I respect him as an actor.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

7/50x2: Smokin' Aces

I first wanted to see this film when it was in theaters. There was just something about the trailer that drew me in, perhaps it was that it starred a bunch of well-known actors, or because it looked like an action film on steroids. Either way, I wasn't able to check it out in the theaters. Then, I waited patiently for it to come via Netflix - and the disc wouldn't play in my player.

So, almost five years later I finally got see Smokin' Aces. And although it was a decent flick, it wasn't something I needed to wait five years to see.

Buddy 'Aces' Israel (Jeremy Piven) is a magician in Vegas, but also has his webs inside the mob somehow - which has made him filthy rich.

Well, in order to save his own ass he has agreed to turn over evidence against the mob - which makes him the No. 1 target for Primo Sparazza - so the FBI, believing Sparazza will go after Israel - use him to bring the entire operation down.

But, there is a huge hit out on Israel and every hit man (and woman) in the Vegas area are out to collect on the hit and take down Israel.

So, here is a bit of a rundown of those targeting Israel. Lazlo Soot (Tommy Flanagan), a master of disguise. Sharice Watters (Taraji P. Henson) and Georgia Sykes (Alicia Keys), a team of hitwomen, Pasquale Acosta (Nestor Carbonell) a torture expert, and the Tremor brothers, Darwin (Chris Pine), Jeeves (Kevin Durand) and Lester (Maury Sterling).

Oh, and a trio of bail bondsman, Jack (Ben Affleck), Pete (Peter Berg) and Hollis (Martin Henderson), who have been hired to bring Israel back into custody.

And finally, he is being protected by the FBI team of Stanley Locke (Andy Garcia), Richard (Ryan Reynolds) and Donald (Ray Liotta).

Talk about a bunch of heavy-hitters. And not to ruin anything, but a lot of the names above have a brief cameo or very little screen time at all.

The best part of this film has to be the Tremor brothers. They are insane and truly funny. Plus, I liked the relationship between Reynolds and Liotta, very father, son like.

There was at on of action, which I liked - but it wasn't an amazing film. It was just a decent, fun watch.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Quick Shots 13

Title: Morning Glory 

Starring: Rachel McAdams, Diane Keaton, Harrison Ford, Patrick Wilson, Jeff Goldblum. 

Brief Synopsis: Becky (McAdams) is a TV show producer, but gets fired. She gets hired by Jerry (Goldblum) to try and resurrect a struggling show called Daybreak. In order to keep her job and possibly save the show she has to make some drastic changes, including firing the main host and hiring long time curmudgeon, Mike Pomeroy (Ford) and pairs him with Colleen Peck (Keaton). 

Opinion: It was a pretty cute film. McAdams is pretty impressive and also fairly cute in this movie. I love Goldblum and Ford, and I was able to handle Keaton. Overall a nice little watch.


Title: Alpha and Omega

Starring: Justin Long, Hayden Panettiere, Dennis Hopper, Danny Glover, Larry Miller.

Brief Synopsis: Kate (Panettiere) and Humphrey (Long) have been life long friends. Apparently in wolf communities there are to type of wolves, Alphas and Omegas. Kate is destined to be an Alpha while Humphrey is an Omega. Despite enjoying each other, Kate is forced to accept an arrange marriage with another Alpha with another pack of wolves to bring the two groups together. But, Kate and Humphrey are captured by humans and released in another park to repopulate the area.

Opinion: It was a different type of movie. Not the premise really because the two opposite track lovers seems to be done quite a bit. Anyway, watched it with my family and it was a nice watch - probably not one I would watch over and over though.


Title: Bridesmaids

Starring: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Ellie Kemper, Melissa McCarthy, Rose Byrne, Wendy McLendon-Covey.

Brief Synopsis: Lillin (Rudolph) is getting married and has asked her best friend for life, Annie (Wiig), to be her maid of honor. Lillian and Annie have been life long friends, but Lillian has become close with a wife of her husband's boss, Helen (Byrne), who somehow seems to take over the planning of the bridal shower and this makes Annie begin to lose her mind.

Opinion: Nice to see this type of film from the female perspective. It reminded me a lot of last year's breakout hit The Hangover, but all about the females. Wiig and Rudolph were great, Byrne was a nice bitch, and the rest of the bridal party - especially McCarthy - were hilarious.


Title: Bad Teacher

Starring: Cameron Diaz, Lucy Punch, Jason Segel, Justin Timberlake, Phyllis Smith, John Michael Higgins.

Brief Synopsis: Elizabeth (Diaz) is a teacher finishing her first and only year at school. She is about to marry a man for his money, until his mother steps in and breaks it off. So, she must return to school and figure out her next step to find a man to take care of her for life - enter Scott (Timberlake), a substitute teacher who happens to be related to a rich family. Elizabeth believes she can get him if she can get a boob job, and does all she can to raise the money.

Opinion: Going in I was expecting to hate it. I had heard some horrible reviews from a ton of people, but I actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would. No, it doesn't live up to some of those other raunchy comedies that have been out there, but it was ok. It was pretty darn predictable though, because I knew what would happen by the end from the get-go.


Title: Gnomeo & Juliet

Starring: James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Michael Caine, Maggie Smith, Jason Statham, Ozzy Osbourne, Ashley Jensen.

Brief Synopsis: The classic retelling of Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet through garden gnomes. This movie pits blue versus red - two sides of the fence. Juliet (Blunt) is on the red side when she discovers a beautiful flower that would help her garden - there she meets Gnomeo (McAvoy) and the two hit it off - before realizing they are from rival sides of the fence. The rest of the film is their hidden love and if they will meet the same fate as their 'namesakes'.

Opinion: A few decent laughs in this one. Pretty well done. A ton of great voice talent here and it was done pretty well. I enjoyed it, but again not a watch it a lot type of film.


Tuesday's With Movies: 1/3/12

Last week a bunch of horror films I will never see came out and I had no reason to post this weekly post. The same thing could be said about this week, but there were a few that I may be interested in - plus it's the first post of the new year. So, here you go.

Contagion: This was supposed to be the new Outbreak I guess. It has a star packed lineup, but a lot of what I am hearing is it might not be the greatest of films. But, I will at least give it a try.

The Guard: I have seen very little on this so I am not exactly sure what it is about. It does star Don Cheadle, though, who does pretty well for himself. Looks to be a mix of two different personalities being teamed up to take down a drug ring. It's been done before, but I may give it a try.

I Don't Know How She Does It: How do some of these movies get made? I really have no idea who is rushing out to see a Sarah Jessica Parker film not named Sex in the City. Plus, why does Greg Kinnear keep doing these films? He is way better than this.

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark: Yet another horror film. I swear they turn these out a dozen at at time. This one is about a young girl who moves in with her father and his girlfriend, but apparently there are creatures living in this house that want to make the little girl one of their own.

Shark Night: A bunch of people go on vacation and get attacked by sharks. Sounds like fun.