Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tuesday's With Movies: 7/23/13

Trance: This looks pretty darn trippy. I like James McAvoy and Vincent Cassel and the trailer looked pretty decent. I think I will give this one a try.

Ginger & Rosa: A couple of best friends in London during the Cuban missile crisis. That is pretty much all I got from this movie - though it stars a Fanning. Probably skipping it.

Welcome to the Punch: Two McAvoy DVDs being released in the same week. Wonder which one will be better? Guess I will have to watch it to find out.

Detour: A man gets trapped inside his car by a mudslide - and he's pretty much on his own to get himself out.

Love and Honor: The other Hemsworth is a soldier in Vietnam who gets dumped by his girlfriend - so his and his friends go AWOL to return home and win her back.

Vehicle 19: Paul Walker accidentally takes the wrong rental car and that ties him to a bunch corrupt police officers.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tuesday's With Movies: 7/16/13

42: As a sports fan, and sports writer, the story of Jackie Robinson is ingrained into you. What he must have went through is difficult to understand. Hopefully, this movie is able to at least show a little bit of that. I have no clue who the guy portraying him is, but the films looks like it has a strong supporting cast. I have heard mixed reviews from people - but of course I am going to have to check it out. Hopefully it did him justice.

Evil Dead: Not too many remakes get decent grades, especially these horror films that continue to be remade. But, this one did pretty well. Still have no interest in seeing it, but thought I should mention it.

Bullet to the Head: I honestly like that the action stars of the 80s and 90s are coming back with more action films. This one was considered mediocre by critics, but I am sure there are some things about it I will enjoy. Plus, as I mentioned in last week's edition, I like Christian Slater and he is back in this. Definitely looking into it.

End of Love: A struggling actor is thrust into fatherhood and must learn to grow up after the mother of his son passes away. Sounds a bit depressing, but it has a ton of comedic actors in it, so a bit confusing. Not really on my radar as of now.

Erased: Two-face (Aaron Eckhart) and his daughter are both erased from existence by his employer and they both are on the run as they are both marked for termination. Kind of intriguing - but not enough to grab me yet. Perhaps sometime in the future.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

50x3: Erika's Picks

First, let me explain. When I first decided to do this I originally wanted to do a film from each person's list and write a review on each, and so on.

But, I found myself with a bit of a block on writing larger reviews - so I decided to watch all 10 of a person's selections and do one larger post (sort of like my Quick Shot posts). Hope that explains it. Anyway - here is the first set.

Title: Rent.

Starring: Anthony Rapp, Rosario Dawson, Jesse L. Martin, Adam Pascal, Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Idina Menzel, Tracie Thoms, Taye Diggs.

Original Post: Read It Here

Title: The Notebook.

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Kevin Connolly, Rachel McAdams, Heather Wahlquist, James Garner, Gena Rowlands

Original Post: Read It Here

Title: P.S. I Love You.

Starring: Hilary Swank, Gerard Butler, Lisa Kudrow, Gina Gershon, Kathy Bates, Harry Connick Jr., Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Dean Winters.

Synopsis: Holly (Swank) and Gerry (Butler) get married despite their families not quite agreeing. They fight quite a bit, but there is definitely love there. Gerry, though, dies of a brain tumor and Holly soon realizes just how much she did love him. After withdrawing from her family and friends, Holly is pulled out of her apartment on her 30th birthday when she begins receiving notes from her dead husband - and is forced to get out of her doldrums. Holly's mother (Bates), doesn't agree with her daughter continuing to live in the past, but she grants Gerry's wishes. Soon, Holly is out living her life again - and has the ability to finally move on.

Opinion: This wasn't an amazing movie, but I think I liked it a lot more than I was expecting to. Though I think most of what Gerry did was sort of selfish, he knew his wife and it ended up working for her. If that ever happened to me, reliving everything about my loved one would tear me apart, and I don't think it could help me move on. Though, I did love seeing Ireland - I really want to go there sometime.


Title: Waitress.

Starring: Keri Russell, Nathan Fillion, Cheryl Hines, Jeremy Sisto, Andy Griffith, Eddie Jemison.

Synopsis: Jenna (Russell) works as a waitress at a small diner and is a wizard at making pies. She is also in an abusive marriage with Earl (Sisto). She is looking forward to a pie contest in a nearby town with a top prize of $25,000 and with what she has been stashing away - she hopes to flee town and get away from Earl. But, she gives into her husband one night and has sex - and gets pregnant - and has no feelings toward her baby. So, her plans sort of change - but she is still determined. She meets her new physician, Dr. Pomatter (Fillion) and the two hit it off. Despite the two of them being married an affair begins.

Opinion: I have never wanted pie so much in my life than after watching this movie. There were many that she made that I would never even think of eating, but boy I was craving some. The movie was actually pretty good, but honestly I don't think there was a single good person in this movie. Jenna's husband was horrible and everyone else was having affairs or being stalkers. But, somehow you still like them - except Sisto's character. He was just horrible.


Title: Elizabethtown.

Starring: Orlando Bloom, Kirsten Dunst, Susan Sarandon, Alec Badlwin, Bruce McGill, Judy Greer, Paul Schneider, Jessica Biel, Paula Deen.

Synopsis: Drew Baylor (Bloom) has been working his tail off on a brand new sneaker that will change the world, and has been reaping the benefits with a new girlfriend, Ellen (Biel). But, before the shoe even hits it is deemed a flop and Baylor is fired. As he is about to kill himself he gets a phone call that his father has died in his hometown of Elizabethtown, Kentucky. Baylor flies in to bring his father back - on the flight he meets a flight attendant, Claire (Dunst) and she makes an impression. So much so that he hangs out with her while in Elizabethtown - and also learns about the other side of his father.

Opinion: There is an Elizabethtown that is not far from me - when this first came out I was saddened it wasn't about that town. Odd it took me so long to watch it, but I am glad I did. What happened to Bloom? He should be a much bigger star now - even I thought he looked good in this movie. Hopefully he gets another chance to return to the A-list with The Hobbit trilogy. As for this movie, I actually really enjoyed it. Again, I was not expecting to - I think it might have something to do with Bloom's performance.


Title: The Crow.

Starring: Brandon Lee, Ernie Hudson, Michael Wincott, Bai Ling, Rochelle Davis, David Patrick Kelly, Sofia Shinas.

Synopsis: On Devil's Night - or the night before Halloween - Detroit becomes a scary town and Sergeant Albrecht (Hudson) is at a crime scene involving a woman, Shelly (Shinas) who has been beaten and raped, and her fiance Eric (Lee) who was stabbed, shot and tossed out a window. Sarah (Davis) is a young girl that has been neglected by her mother and was taken care of by Shelly and Eric - and Albrecht takes over that role. A year later, Eric awakens at his grave and takes it upon himself to track down the gang that killed him and his fiancee.

Opinion: Wow. I definitely should have watched this before. It was probably the real death of Lee that might have kept me away. It is too bad too, because he was truly outstanding in this movie. He could have done big things. I was also very impressed with Davis - though her acting career sort of stopped after this movie until recently. I have read that she took Lee's death hard - which I understand with her being so young. Great film, very dark - and very exciting right from the start to the end.


Title: The Help.

Starring: Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, Octavia Spencer, Jessica Chastain, Allison Janney, Anna Camp, Chris Lowell, Sissy Spacek, Mike Vogel.

Synopsis: Set in the 1960s, Skeeter Phelan (Stone) who has just moved back home after graduating from Ole Miss and finds out that her childhood maid Constantine 'quit'. Skeeter isn't like many women in her neighborhood, and wants to begin a career as a writer. One of her 'friends' Hilly (Howard), is a local housewife who treats her black staff like they have the plague - and even believes that she can get diseases. Fed up, Skeeter tries to get a few of the maids to tell their story and she can write a book. Reluctant at first, Aibileen (Davis) is the first to begin her story and soon Minny (Spencer) joins. After awhile, a lot of the maids join in to get their story published.

Opinion: I had a feeling I would like this movie, and after seeing it I was correct. Knowing that it was based on a true story only helps that fact. I felt both Davis and Spencer were great, and Stone continues to impress. I have also liked Howard in most of her movies, and she seems to play the villainous bitch rather well. I really don't think I have seen Chastain in very much, but I really came away liking her here. I truly touching story about race in the 60s that I am glad I finally watched.


Title: Memoirs of a Geisha.

Starring: Zhang Ziyi, Gong Li, Samantha Futerman, Ted Levine, Paul Adelstein, Kaori Momoi, Michelle Yeoh, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Ken Watanabe.

Synopsis: Chiyo (Ziyi) and Satsu are sisters whose father sells them into a life of servitude. Chiyo ends up in a geisha house and tries to escape on multiple occasions to track down her sister. She was chosen to attend geisha school, but is soon removed by her Mother (Momoi) after her continuous disobedience. But, after meeting the Chariman (Watanabe) and his geisha companions she changes her tune and tries to get back into geisha school. Mameha (Yeoh) takes Chiyo under wing and soon she becomes one of the most popular geishas - and gains the attention of many high-profile men.

Opinion: So glad this was not a subtitled film. As much I liked City of God I think I would have liked it even more if I didn't have to read it. I enjoyed Memoirs but it wasn't outstanding. I liked the look into a culture I am not very aware of. It was very interesting.


Title: Ella Enchanted.

Starring: Anne Hathaway, Hugh Dancy, Cary Elwes, Aiden McArdle, Lucy Punch, Minnie Drive, Eric Idle. Vivica A. Fox.

Synopsis: Ella (Hathaway) was given the 'gift of obedience' by a fairy named Lucinda (Fox). The gift doesn't really work out well for Ella as she must do absolutely everything that anyone orders her to do. After her mother passes away, her father remarries and brings in two horrible stepsisters, Hattie (Punch) and Olive. Hattie is in love with the prince, Char (Dancy), who will be king soon after the death of his father. He is taken care of by his uncle, Sir Edgar (Elwes). Char, though, soon falls for Ella, who calls him on his crap - but Hattie is jealous and figures out Ella's 'curse'. In order to get her life back, Ella sets out to find Lucinda to rescind her gift.

Opinion: This was a cute movie, but nothing truly special. It was nice to see Eric Idle as the narrator. I felt they were trying to recreate A Princess Bride, heck they even brought Elwes into it. But, it didn't quite have everything that Princess Bride did.


Title: Marley & Me.

Starring: Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston, Eric Dane, Alan Arkin, Kathleen Turner, Clarke Peters.

Synopsis: John (Wilson) and Jenny (Aniston) move from Michigan to Florida to get out of the horrible winters. John takes a job at the Sun-Sentinel after being recommended by his friend Sebastian (Dane). Sebastian is the writer John wants to be, heading to different countries and getting front-page stories. John, not ready for children, is sensing Jenny might be ready - so he gets her dog and they name it Marley. Marley, though loved by the both of them, is a difficult dog that never truly was trained correctly. But soon, Jenny is pregnant with their first child - and they realize that having a dog helped prepare them - then she became pregnant with their second child and she decides to quit her job and stay at home. John takes a job as a columnist at his paper and doubles his salary. Though not what he wanted to do with his life - and Jenny begins experiencing postpartum depression, and grows impatient with both John and Marley.

Opinion: That is not really the entire synopsis, but it is good enough. The film itself is not really about Marley, its more about the family and how they learn to deal with all the things that come out them - including marriage, loss of a pregnancy, having children, moving and accepting new jobs. Marley is the one constant, however, and he grows old with the family. My wife had read the book and I knew what was going to happen, but it still pulls at your heartstrings. If you're a pet person, it definitely will.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Theater Review: Man of Steel

I don't usually talk about my theater experience, but this was a bit different for me so I will start out with that. I live in a small town - it is very rare when a theater is even half full when I finally get out to the movies. I like the intimacy though - it bothers me when I am near anyone really, unless I go with someone.

Well, I went and saw this movie in a larger area - and the theater was packed. We had to sit in the front portion of the theater, which I am not a huge fan of. But, despite being so close and not having the greatest view of the screen, the movie itself went off without a hitch. Until, the theater received a power surge and we lost sound for a key part of the movie. But, I got over it - then the movie shut off completely. Finally, they restarted it (not completely but about 10 minutes before the sound went out) - I used this opportunity to use the rest room, then finished the movie. To my surprise - as we departed we got free movie tickets - not bad for a few minutes of problems.

Now onto the actual movie.

Man of Steel is yet another reboot of the hero Superman. After four Christopher Reeve-helmed films in the late 70s and part of the 80s (not to mention many other versions like Dean Cain's on 'Lois & Clark' and Tom Welling's on 'Smallville') we received the new Superman Brandon Routh in Superman Returns - and although it did extremely well box office wise, it bombed with critics and fans alike.

So, seven years later, we get yet another reboot.

After the success of the Marvel films and Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy it was only logical for DC to get its favorite (possibly second) hero back onto the big screen - and we got him in the form of Henry Cavill.

I have to admit, I have only seen the original Superman film starring Reeve, and it wasn't until a few years ago. Honestly, I wasn't that big of a fan. So, the reboot is pretty much my first real look into Superman.

Krypton is about to explode because of  years of depleting natural resources. For years, the only children born on Krypton have been manufactured - except the brand new baby of Jor-El (Russell Crowe) and Lara (Antje Traue). In order to maintain the race - and save their son - they infuse his cells with a codex of the entire Kryptonian race and ship him off to planet Earth.

General Zod (Michael Shannon), though, was banished from the planet along with those who worked with him and was able to survive the destruction of the planet. And, he promises to remake Krypton and track down Kal-El.

Kal-El, renamed Clark Kent, is raised as a regular child by Martha (Diane Lane) and Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner). Because of the sun, Clark becomes extremely powerful and needs to learn to control those powers in order to blend in.

But, after his Earth father was killed and Zod has located him on the planet, it is up to him to protect his adopted planet before it gets destroyed.

This movie was far from perfect, but it was pretty darn entertaining - and the absolute best Superman film I have ever seen. It is also a great starting out point - I can definitely see how this film sets up so many more great films in the future.

It was a pretty good origin story, but that is the problem with new movies, the origin story - most people already know how Superman came about, but it still must be told to reboot the franchise. And, it was done well - and as much as I enjoyed it and was entertained, I do think the next set of films will be even better. Including the much anticipated Justice League film.

I actually thought the acting in the film was pretty great. Crowe and Costner stand out, and Shannon was great as Zod. Cavill is pretty new to me - but I thought he looked the part of Superman and balanced his strengths with his struggles. Even the secondary characters were great - with Christopher Meloni, Harry Lennix, Laurence Fishburne and Richard Schiff all being great actors.

I have really come to like Amy Adams, and I feel she will be a great Lois Lane, but I felt in this movie she just wasn't given that much to do. And, honestly, the romance between her and Superman felt sort of forced.

Tons of action. I mean tons. Which in a Superman film about an almost unstoppable alien race fighting on Earth, that should happen. And it was great.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tuesday's With Movies: 7/9/13

Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor: This is a new film from Tyler Perry - but it's not in the Madea collection from what I can tell, nor do I think Perry himself stars in it. This one has a pretty different feel to it, more of a dramatic movie. Even if I was interested, which I am not, the involvement of Kim Kardarshian is a complete 'stay away' for me.

The Host: This is the follow-up from Stephanie Meyer, or that lady that wrote the Twilight saga. This one looks far better than the Twilight films, but still not particularly great - which stinks because I like Saoirse Ronan. For he alone I think I might give this a shot.

Admission: Tina Fey and Paul Rudd together immediately had me interested. Looks like it could be pretty funny, so I will definitely be checking it out.

Spring Breakers: A bunch of teeny bopper, Disney ladies run around in bikinis looking to shed that goody-to-shoes persona that they have developed. The movie itself, though, is much different than what people may believe it is - from what I have heard from others. I will most likely look into this.

Dead Man Down: Colin Farrell is an uprising gang member and the right-hand man of the kingpin. Honestly, even after reading about what this is about - I am still sort of confused. Sometimes that might be a good thing, here I don't think it is.

Boy: Strange this is now getting released on DVD - it was made in 2010. This is about a boy and his father, who returns into his life after being away for many years. Probably not something I will look at.

Power of Few: Christopher Walken, Christian Slater and Juvenile? A film told from multiple perspectives sort of like 11:14 or Vantage Point. I have always liked Slater, and Walken is, well, Walken. Not sure, perhaps I will check it out at some point.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tuesday's With Movies: 7/2/13

Wow, pretty slow week in terms of releases. Hadn't heard of any of these until I looked them up.

Inescapable: A man returns home to Damascus for the first time in 20 years after his eldest daughter goes missing. Marisa Tomei and Joshua Jackson are the lone names I recognize in the cast.

6 Souls: Julianne Moore stars as a psychiatrist is working with a patient with multiple personalities - all of who happen to be murderer victims. Sort of sounds a little bit like Identity to me.

The Employer: Five people are interviewed for a highly coveted job at Carchias Corporation - a company whose business is shrouded in mystery.