Beautiful Creatures is a movie in the Twilight vein – a teen paranormal romance based on a popular novel. The difference here is that the ‘normal’ main character is the guy and the supernatural creature is the girl – she’s a spellcaster. It takes place in the American South which means Civil War re-enactments and hilarious accents play into it along with the usual teen angst and parent drama. Plus there’s also an interesting choice vs destiny element. I really liked Beautiful Creatures, but my friend the Twilight fan hated it, so take from that what you will and read my full review for more.
I forget how I ended up seeing this movie in theaters. I think it came out on a week where there was either nothing else or everything was worse. It’s your typical terrible action movie, with a ridiculous, unbelievable plot (an escaped Mexican drug lord steals a fancy car and can only be stopped by the sheriff of a small border town) numerous clear violations of the laws of physics, moronic one-liners, and people who can’t act their way out of a paper bag (hello again, Arnold). If you like that sort of thing, great! Buy it. If you’re actually intelligent, read my full review and laugh at this movie some more.
Parker is yet another uninspired action movie, this time starring Jason Statham as a robber/assassin with a code of honor, which is a character he’s played before. When he’s shot and left for dead by his pals after a heist (a plot device used in half of all action movies made in this decade) he decides to get revenge on them (also not original). What follows is a lot of shooting and an alliance with a real estate agent played by Jennifer Lopez who paradoxically turns out NOT to be a love interest. As such this movie is really only going to be appealing to fans of Jason Statham.
People who read the blurbs for this movie or watch the trailer and think that the idea of a psychiatrist investigating a psychiatric drug that might turn patients into sleepwalking murderers sounds intriguing should remind themselves that this is a Steven Sodgerbergh thriller and Steven Soderbergh was responsible for the disjointed, unthrilling thriller Contagion. Side Effects is the kind of movie that most critics like and most normal people hate. It’s full of plot twists and turns, most of which will feel cheap enough to make you angry. I’d just skip it if I were you.
On Thursday, the Powers That Suck at Empire Theaters decided to start the midnight showing of Star Trek Into Darkness at 8pm. I can only assume that after the midnight showing of Avengers, swarms of geriatric nerds wrote to the company asking for a show they could watch before their 10pm bedtime, because Iron Man 3 was the same way.
Anyway, since I didn’t get off work on Thursday until a half hour into the movie, I had to suffer though my Mom texting me about how awesome it was. Then I had to leave for Girl Guide camp right after work on Friday, so I have to wait until Monday night to see Into Darkness, which means YOU have to wait until next Sunday for the review. I’d much rather review the movie for you than freeze my a** off sleeping in a puddle of half-frozen rainwater for four days, but what can you do? (And no, I am not exaggerating – for three years running there’s been frost on the tents in the morning)
While you’re waiting for me to thaw, you could:
a) Write emails to Empire Theaters asking them to bring back the midnight show (for cool people!)
b) check out these hilarious Star Trek related videos:
J.J. Abrams made a Star Trek sequel! Yaaaaaay! It’s coming out on the weekend where I have to spend four straight days in the woods with my Girl Guides. Noooooooooo! Sorry, but you’ll have to wait until next week for my review of this. If it had only come out at midnight on Thursday… but nooo, the powers that suck decided to start the show at 8pm, so I’d have to miss the first half hour. A pox on all their houses, because this movie looks awesome. I don’t even mind (much) that Trailer #1 = no plot at all, then Trailer #2 = gives away entire plot. I won’t see it in 3D no matter how much they insist that it was made for movies like this, and the fact that Chris Pine calls it ‘relentless’ worries me a little – some of the best parts of the last one were the quiet character moments – but obviously I’m going to be holding my breath all weekend waiting to get back into town and see it. The last one was that awesome.
So Matthew McConaughey, you are the only one who is fool enough to go up against Star Trek? Well I regret to inform you that no matter how often you take your shirt off, you cannot compete with spaceshipsplosionawesome. Especially not since this seems to be a modern remake of that part in Great Expectations where Pip saves a convict, only this time there’s two boys for the convict to vaguely perv on.
I almost loved this movie. It’s a sweeping epic that interweaves a collection of characters through stories set in six different times. Each story is a different genre (adventure, drama, thriller, comedy, sci-fi, and post-apocalypse) and features the same thirteen actors in different roles, sometimes disguised so well you can barely recognize them. My only problem with Cloud Atlas was that I felt blah about one of the storylines (Halle Berry investigates nuclear secrets) and outright hated another (Tom Hanks as a post-apocalypse radiation hillbilly). Do check it out though. The other stories are fabulous.
I adore Top Gear – a British car program that’s funny and unique enough to attract even people who don’t like cars (people like me). Most of the seasons aren’t worth their $20-$30 price tag, as they only contain about 6 episodes. This one, however, is, because it’s one of the few that include an epic two-hour adventure. In this one, they drive station wagons across Africa looking for the source of the Nile. Other challenges worth buying the DVDs for include designing a car for seniors, pitching the world’s smallest homemade car to Dragon’s Den, and the epic train vs car race to Italy. Check it out – you’ll love it.
This is a sequel to Texas Chainsaw Massacre and it was released in theaters in 3D (though not screened for critics, which is not surprising). It takes place after a mob has lynched the family responsible for the original massacre and a distant relative comes in from out of town to claim the estate which (surprise!) contains Leatherface. Beyond that it’s your typical, predictable gore fest, with limbs and blood splatters flying everywhere and characters making the same bad decisions and dying in the same predictable order. This is something to put on in the background of a Halloween party and not watch.
Even though I studied history in college, I know very little about America in the 1920s (they weren’t at war with anyone – yawn) so I never had any desire to read The Great Gatsby. As far as I was concerned, I got enough from the 10 Classics in 10 Minutes version to make reading the book unnecessary. The trailer for the movie version didn’t really dissuade me from this view.
A group of frivolous young people in the 20s revolve around a mysterious rich man who throws extravagant parties, drinks too much, and spends money like water.
But now that I’ve seen The Great Gatsby I realize that there’s (slightly) more to it than “Let’s have a drink!” (the most oft-repeated phrase in the one minute audio version). Even though the rest of the characters are exactly as fake as they seem, the frivolous spender is only the surface layer of Jay Gatsby, which made him sympathetic enough for me care about.
I’ve never been particularly interested in The Great Gatsby – the exploits of a bunch of partiers drinking their way through the 1920s just never caught my attention. That was before Baz Luhrmann got ahold of it, though. When you think about it, who better to capture the extravagance and unbelievability of the Roaring Twenties better than the guy who did Moulin Rouge? I’m still not that interested in the story, but maybe the crazy visuals will be enough.
Sometimes I wonder if Tyler Perry has a time machine. I can’t think of any other way he could manage to make as many films as he does, unless he’s actually just slapping his name onto movies that are mostly other people’s work, like James Patterson and Tom Clancy seem to be doing with their books and assorted other media franchises. But if he DID have a time machine, you think he’d take a little more time to make his movies actually good. This one looks like a combination of Father of the Bride and every other Tyler Perry movie ever made (well, all the ones that weren’t depressing, anyway).
Not a bad story. Bullying, juvenile prisons, and school shootings are all hot button topics, but it seems like they’re probably explored better in books like Hate List or movies like Bowling for Columbine. The trailer for this movie really didn’t impress me – especially the acting. Too stilted.
I’m a big fan of the Lee Child novels this movie is based on, so I had some pretty big doubts about whether this movie would turn out to be good, especially since the titular character is supposed to be a 6’5” blonde silent-but-deadly type. But I have to say, Tom Cruise really pulled it off. They managed to compress the plot, which is about a former military cop getting called in to investigate a sniper terror attack, into movie form without losing anything important. Check it out if you get a chance or read my full review for more.
I hate Nicholas Sparks sapfests, but I almost went to this one in theaters because of Josh Duhamel. Good thing I didn’t, because it’s the same tripe Sparks is always trying to shove down our throats. Ooooh I have a mysterious tragic background but ooooh everyone in town is just so ATTRACTIVE and WELCOMING. You got your standard romance with the sensitive heartthrob, your standard adopting of someone else’s sickeningly adorable children, and the obligatory friend/neighbor/old woman. If you don’t feel like you’ve seen this movie before, you probably don’t get out much.
This movie isn’t exactly well known but it’s got several things going for it. First, it stars Jessica Chastain (from Zero Dark Thirty) and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (from Game of Thrones) and they’re both great. Second, it’s got a really interesting/not ridiculous premise: they adopt two little girls who have been living in the woods and some creepy thing they call ‘Mama’ follows them home. Third, the movie understands effective use of tension and scaryness vs startles and gore. They don’t plaster the monster all over the screen – they let you imagine the worst. Check it out for sure.
Until 2008, I didn’t have a thought to spare for Iron Man, probably because until I’d only seen the suit. Then Iron Man introduced me to Tony Stark, and all of a sudden I’ve got a new favorite superhero. I mean, how can poor gloomy Bruce Wayne compete with a guy who’s as hilarious and intelligent as Tony Stark? Iron Man 2 was a bit of a letdown for me because Tony wasn’t as funny, but of course that didn’t stop me from rushing to the theater to see this one.
After an international terrorist blows up Tony’s house, he finds himself without his iron suit or Jarvis as he plots his revenge.
Because of Iron Man 2, my biggest worry was that Iron Man 3 would be too convoluted and not funny enough. Now that I’ve seen it I’m delighted to report that the plot is simple and linear (but not always obvious) and that it might have been even funnier than Iron Man. Go at once, I tell you!
OMG Iron Man! I love Iron Man. He’s hot and he’s funny AND he dresses up as a jet plane to blast people with lasers. The first movie in this series is one of my favorite films ever and Iron Man 2, which I recently re-watched, seemed like less of a confused mess the second time around. Third installments of big budget action movies have a tenancy to try and pack about four movies worth of plot into two and a half hours (I cite Spider-man 3 and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End as two of the most egregious offenders). But Dark Knight Rises pulled back from the drowning-in-plot cliff that Dark Knight was in grave danger of plunging over, and the trailer looks good, so I have hope, even though they’ve switched directors. Switching directors before the last movie is shades of X-Men: The Last Stand, so you understand why it has me worried. Fingers crossed for Tony Stark’s continued awesomeness.
Man, I remember reading this book in school. There was something simultaneously awesome and insane about a bunch of guys sailing a bundle of sticks tied together across a whole ocean just to prove it’s possible. It’s such an obvious setup for an adventure movie that I’m surprised no one did it earlier. I’ll totally watch this, especially since I don’t even have to watch a subtitled version if I don’t want to – they filmed it simultaneously in English and Norwegian.
THE COMPANY YOU KEEP
The synopsis for this movie on my theater’s website is both too long and describes the plot of the entire movie right up to the final confrontation. That’s not necessary. In fact, it’s detrimental. People see a huge block of text and they hiss, making the sign of the cross to fend off the dreaded devil: READING. The trailer did a much better job: focus on the drama. Dramatic string music. A twerpy little reporter digging up dirt on an old radical… what are the secrets this guy holds? HA HA WE’RE NOT TELLING YOU GO WATCH THE MOVIE. That’s what sells tickets. I might buy one if this wasn’t Iron Man 3 week…. and it didn’t star Shia LaBeouf.
Some movies get a lot of attention from critics because they’re boring and pretentious, but sometimes they get attention because everybody genuinely enjoys them. Silver Linings Playbook is one of those movies. Regular people like it because it’s a cute romantic comedy starring adorable people (Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper) and critics like it because it takes on ‘deep’ issues like mental illness, addiction, compulsive gambling, and dysfunctional relationships. One of my friends went to it 5+ times in theaters, but you’ll probably be fine with once on DVD.
The whole dirty cop thing is a popular theme, but unlike the rest of the dirty cop thrillers, this one wraps up the cop part early and moves on to private eye (not a huge leap, I know, but it’s something). Mark Wahlberg plays the aforementioned dirty cop who kills a rapist and then gets sucked into a big dirty political mess involving the candidates for the mayoral election. Like most thrillers, it relies on revelations of who met whom for what reason for its tension, but the tension is damaged by the fact that the scandal is a pretty standard one that’s easy to figure out. I wouldn’t bother with it.
I don’t like Seth Rogan at the best of times, but put him in a cliched and unfunny road trip movie with Barbara Streisand and I’d drive across the country just to avoid it. The plot (such as it is) centers around Rogan’s character as a cleaning fluid salesman driving across the US to peddle his product. His mother invites herself along to work out their issues and reunite with an old lover. A road trip movie’s success relies on character/actor chemistry, and unfortunately theirs just doesn’t do anything for me. For a really funny road trip comedy you haven’t seen, try the Australian film Thunderstruck.
This was released in a limited number of theaters last week, but the DVD is what you really want. At $15, it’s the same price as an IMAX ticket and you get special features with it, including a documentary, an audio commentary, and a gag reel. The actual content is movie length – a full two-part episode arc featuring Captain Picard’s capture and assimilation into the Borg collective – and is remastered to look good in HD (though the aspect ratio remains full screen). Not worth it if you have the full season set, but a good nostalgic investment if you don’t.