Monday, September 10, 2012

No Time and No Computer

Sorry about the long break between postings. I've been pretty busy between class, my old job, and then my new job. About the time things finally slowed down enough to start watching movies again, my laptop died.
It has been a while, but now I'm back with a "new to me" laptop, a little spare time for movies, and I really want to get started on doing this again. I don't think I will be pushing them out as fast as I was, but I will be back, and I will be watching and writing.


PG-13 (2012)
(Violence and terror, some sexual material, brief language and drug references)

Two years after her own kidnapping, Jill's sister goes missing in the middle of the night. Jill is convinced that the same man who she escaped from has come back for her and taken her sister instead. When the police don't believe her, she begins the search on her own.

4 out of 5

When I first saw Amanda Seyfried, I would never have imagined the career she has made for herself. Her role in mean girls was funny, but small and not all that flattering. Only a few years later she was absolutely amazing me in Mamma Mia. She's done ditsy, dorky, shy, scary, determined and in love, all of them done well.
Gone was no exception. A tense, on the edge of your seat movie. Well written, well filmed, and very well acted.

Friday, May 25, 2012


R (2011)
(For language, sexual content, and drug use)
Inspired by a true story, a 27 year old man learns he has cancer. This is the story of his fight to survive... and live.

5 out of 5
 The language (read: Seth Rogen) was probably the most disturbing thing in this movie. To me the drug use (medicinal marijuana) was situational and therefore appropriate.

Wow... just wow. I'm not going to lie, this movie hit close to home. It made me realize that I need to rethink a few things in my life. I've watched cancer from the outside, I think this movie brought me a little closer to seeing it from the inside. With most movies I have opinions on something in the movie other than just the storyline (actors, plot holes, cinematography, etc.), I didn't even notice those things.
I'm sure that 50/50 earned its R rating, but in some cases I think that the rating system doesn't actually determine the "worth" or "worthiness" of a movie. To me this is definitely one of those movies.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Box Office Rules

Over the past few weeks there has been HUGE buzz over the box office totals. First The Hunger Games and then The Avengers (mostly The Avengers) have taken the box office by storm.
The Avengers has completely blown away all former box office records. I doubt it will be in the running for many Academy Awards (except, of course, Special Effects, there it has a shot) but sales like this are unheard of.

One thing many of the articles I have read have brought up, is that these two movies are killing ticket sales for any other movies that are out. Normally when one movie does really well, it gets people out to the theaters, and as a result ticket sales are up across the board. So while coming out the same week as a Harry Potter or a Twilight might mean you never hit #1 for the week, it will bolster ticket sales... perhaps increasing the income of a lower performer. This is not happening now. The Avengers and, to a lesser extent, the Hunger Games are blowing the competition away. Ticket sales on most of the other movies out right now are ridiculously low. Critics are blaming these two blockbusters.... but I don't think they are to blame.

The economy is still such that, while people are more willing to spend, we are careful where our money goes. I know that I, for one, have had it in my budget for months to see those two movies in theaters... I may spring for one more this summer, but that will be it. I can't justify spending between $6 and $15 (depending on geography and the theater) on a single ticket for a one time viewing, when I can wait 6-10 months, buy it on DVD for $17 to $20 (Blu-ray for $25-$35) and watch it all I want with all my friends. Very few movies have the drawing power to get me out and to the movie theater. I think many Americans, and Earthlings for that matter, feel the same way I do.
I also think that if either of these movies came out against another anticipated movie it wouldn't be as drastic. Put them up against each other, a Harry Potter, a Twilight movie, even a new animated Disney movie, and there would not be as big a gap. But with movies based on board games (I'm looking at you Battleship), Sacha Baron Cohen playing the same role yet again (The Dictator), and a movie based on a fairly unknown 1960s TV shows (Dark Shadows), and what do we really expect? (And yes, those are #s 2, 3, and 4 this week in box office.)

Within the next few weeks movies are coming out that I think will easily turn the box office tide. While none will measure up to The Avengers in overall ticket sales, one of them should be able to knock it out of the #1 spot for the week. Men in Black III (Will Smith) comes out this next week, and will be followed in the next few weeks by both Snow White and the Huntsman (Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, and Chris Hemsworth of Thor and The Avengers) and Prometheus (Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, and Guy Pearce). Given the movies for the rest of the summer, I think we will still see dominance by a few movies more than a spread in sales.

The Avengers

PG-13 (2012)
ntense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout, and a mild drug reference.

Nick Fury finally gets what he wants when he uses all of his S.H.I.E.L.D. resources to bring together the team he has been dreaming of. When Loki brings his feud with Thor to Earth, there is nothing that can stop him and his friends, except The Avengers... that is, if they can ever get their act together.

5 out of 5

This movie easily takes the best of each of it's predecessors... and makes them look like boring snooze fests.
There are three ways to see this movie. Without seeing any of the other movies, having seen some of the other movies, and having seen all of the other movies. As I stated in a previous blog, I made an effort to see the movies I hadn't before getting to the theater. Although this movie would have been amazing under any circumstances, I think having seen the other movies really helped understand the characters and where they are coming from. Iron Man, Thor and Captain America are all must see movies, whether before or after seeing The Avengers. They make it a better movie. (Personally I think Edward Norton's The Incredible Hulk is miss-able. If you need background on the character I would suggest the slightly, and I do mean slightly, better 2003 Hulk, with Eric Bana, instead.)
The special effects were top shelf. (I do need to say I did not see this movie in 3D. I am not a fan of 3D movies, and while I may need to just try it again, I haven't liked one since Disneyland got rid of Captain Eo.) From the somewhat smaller scale special effects used for characters such as Hawkeye, Captain America, and Black Widow, to the all out CG used for The Hulk and... well I can't give everything away. But seriously, the special effects were amazing, they fit seamlessly into the live action filming.  
When it comes down to it, the interactions between these very unique characters are what really made the movie. Captain America from the 1940s and Thor from Asgard have to find a way to communicate. Bruce Banner has to find a way to control The Hulk while dealing with Tony Stark, but bring him out to help Iron Man. Hawkeye, Black Widow, Nick Fury, and Phil...
See the movie already!!!


PG-13 (2011)
Intense sci-fi action and violence

On Asgard, Thor, son of Odin, is arrogant and foolhardy. On the day he is to be made King, Asgard is invaded. Thor leads a counter attack even after being commanded not to. For this, he is cast down to Earth and stripped of his powers. Not until he is worthy will he regain what he has lost.

4 out of 5

I have absolutely no prior knowledge of the comic book lore related to Thor, and only a minimal knowledge of the mythology. As such I went into this movie with a clean slate.
The bleached eyebrows were a bit much for me, but on the whole I really liked this movie.
Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan SkarsgÄrd, and of course, Stan Lee, were all great additions to the movie.

*I need to watch this movie a second time, I waited to long to finish my review and can't remember the details.  I do plan on updating this entry again later, but I wanted to get this posted.*

The Incredible Hulk

PG-13 (2008)
Intense action violence, some frightening sci-fi images, and brief suggestive content

Bruce Banner is hiding from the government in the slums of South America. Thinking he may have found someone who can help him find a cure, he exposes himself. Meanwhile the officer after him tries to duplicate the experiment that created The Hulk, and creates something much, much worse.

2.5 out of 5

Edward Norton may be a great actor, but he is not a great (or even good) Bruce Banner. I have never, in any version of "The Hulk" know Bruce to not be a sweet guy (lets face it, the whole Jekyll and Hyde style dichotomy is based on the fact that they are polar opposites) and Norton just doesn't quite pull of the boy next door.
Now I will admit that not all of the fault of this movie being crap was lies with Norton. Writers, director, Liv Tyler.... yeah... bad news. When you have a Banner who transforms in The Hulk based on heart rate rather than anger it changes the game completely, and not in a good way. Now not only can he not get angry or be afraid, he can't go for a run, can't enjoy anticipation, and can't, well, get excited...
Overall, this is my least favorite of the movies in the Avengers Saga, and not really a good movie at all.