Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Soundtrack: 90-100

Alright, we got through the first group but in case you missed it, here is the list again:
#100  - Blue Velvet
#99   - One From the Heart
#98   - Beetlejuice
#97   - Nashville
#96   - Above the Rim
#95   - Good Will Hunting
#94   - Planet of the Apes
#93   - The Virgin Suicides
#92   - The Piano
#91   - Hedwig and the Angry Inch
#90   - To Kill a Mockingbird

I will start on the next 10 soundtracks soon. Enjoy!!

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Last Song

Directed by Julie Anne Robinson, Touchstone Pictures, 2010. Starring Miley Cyrus, Liam Hemsworth and Greg Kinnear.
Genre: Drama, Romance

Question: Are you a fan of Miley Cyrus? I will admit she hasn't been high up on my list of favorite actors. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact my children watched every Hannah Montana episode five times each. Drove me batty. But how many parents and kids actually enjoy the same things, at least while the kids are younger than 18? I know I had favorite actors when I was a kid that my parents never understood. It's the parent/child phenomenon called "I can't possibly like what they like!" But my husband and son were watching a movie so my daughter and I decided to watch a movie together -- a good chick-flick. We agreed on The Last Song.

Alright, I will admit I kind of liked this film. It sort brought me back to when I was a bratty 17 year-old thinking I knew everything. Didn't we all have that attitude at one point or another? And maybe it is preparing me for when my daughter reaches that phase.

Well, the story was a typical coming-of-age/summer romance but with a bit more maturity and depth. Also, I was sort of shocked to see a movie mainly about teenagers that was only rated PG. It was perfect for my daughter, 9, to watch a movie about first loves and there's nothing more than kissing. (I sound like an old fuddy-duddy, don't I? Sorry.) She did think there was way too much kissing in it though.

Nicholas Sparks wrote the movie specifically for Miley Cyrus, or at least that is what I remember when they were promoting it. That kind of made me not want to see it, but I simply adore Greg Kinnear and pushed my prejudices aside. Plus, I will admit Liam Hemsworth is a bit...intriguing...okay, okay...he's good-looking. Plus, there is something about the men in Nicholas Sparks' stories. They embody the ideal guy: gentle, sweet,  strong in character, good-looking and when you need it -- a good protector. Liam Hemsworth fit the role he was given in The Last Song well.

The author actually wrote the screenplay before he wrote the novel. I wonder how many times that happens?

The movie was on the slow side but it had a 'real' tone to it. Miley Cyrus' performance of portraying a pissed-off teenager who falls in love for the first time was acceptable. Anyone recall that time in their lives? It is scary, exhilarating, and sometimes too much to comprehend. But on top of that The Last Song takes a family dynamic that had some genuine feeling to it which gave it more than the typical summer romance storyline.

I can't believe I got sucked into this story but it happened. And Nicholas Sparks really should earn an honorary Oscar for making movies that make people cry. Geesh! Even my 9 year-old daughter cried. I only teared-up (really) but it did pull on those heartstrings. So, if you have a rainy afternoon coming up soon, put this one on your queue and grab the kids. This one is for the whole family.

My favorite thing: The house - I want a beach house like that.

My least favorite thing: That it made me cry (I mean tear up!) You are good Mr. Sparks!

Rating: PG
Length: 107 minutes

Random thought: I just looked up Nicholas Sparks' movies and I have seen 5 out of 6. Check out the Nicholas Spark's web page here and see if you seen any sort of pattern to the movie posters.

My daughter gave it a 9 out of 10.

Review: 5 out of 10

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Hangover Part II

Directed (produced and co-written) by Todd Phillips, Warner Bros. Pictures, 2011. Starring Bradley CooperEd Helms, and Zach Galifianakis.
Genre: Comedy.

Question: Did you ever go to an amusement park called King's Island and ride The Racer roller coaster? No? Well, it is a roller coaster with two coasters that start at the same time and go side by side in the beginning and then split off. They travel the same pattern and distance only parallel to each other. One banks right, the other banks left but they end up side by side again with one coming in a little faster. The first time you ride The Racer it is exhilarating but as soon as you get off you run to the other side and hop on to see if it is better.  The second ride is just as fun but always a tiny bit less enjoyable since there is no way to recapture the first time thrill. Well, that is what The Hangover Part II was for me. It was a fun ride with a myriad of funny scenarios but it fell short of being as awesome as the first.

If I were reviewing movies back in 2009,  I probably would have given The Hangover 9 out of 10 or 10 out of 10. What an original concept! The first film had me rolling on the floor with laughter. If I had seen The Hangover Part II without seeing the first I might have scored it a little higher but there is just no way to top the feeling of watching historic storytelling from The Hangover.

The second movie was very enjoyable and very funny, in parts, but it used the same formula. A good formula, I must say, but you kind of feel like you knew what could happen next or at least guess at it. And if you saw a single preview I am certain they probably took away some of the surprise elements of The Hangover Part II story. That is why I did not see a single moment of previews.

The trio (a.k.a The Wolfpack): Zack Galifianakis, Ed Helms, and no-matter-how-bloodshot-they-make-those-eyes-them-baby-blues-they-are-still-beautiful-Bradley Cooper have a chemistry that is untouchable -- a bit of a modern-day Three Stooges. It just works. But Ed Helms stole the show in many scenes; and Zack Galifianakis brought in just enough of his deranged persona to help whatever clue/scenario got them closer to the figuring out what happened to them. They both made me laugh out loud, several times.

There was a decent set-up in the beginning before the mayhem starts. Not the typical --"Let's rush to the funny stuff!"  So, I was pleased with that.  After that the rest of the story was set in Thailand, which was a genius approach to topping a Vegas trip gone awry. Sure there were some hits and misses with the jokes but for making a sequel in less than two years from the original I would say it was success.

My favorite part: (or I should say the funniest): What was hiding in the blanket.

My least favorite part: The monkey.

Did the previews ruin it by showing too much? I would have to say yes but since I didn't see any I really can't say for certain.

Rating: R
Length: 102 minutes

Random thought: The Racer has some TV history to it. There were a few episodes of The Brady Bunch filmed at King's Island and The Racer was in an episode. And I remember these shows especially the one where they had the wrong blueprints. However, I must confess, I grew up about 45 minutes away from King's Island and went there every Summer for most of my childhood.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Friday, May 27, 2011

New Logo

Hello ToP? fans:

Yesterday I couldn't really post a movie review due to a Blogger issue. But I won't complain....Instead, I took the time to really think about Tired of Previews? and how the overall site looked.

When I started my blog I didn't have a really clear vision of how it should look. The type of reviews I wanted to write was fairly clear though, so I focused my energy on that. For months I have shared with you my thoughts on movies in hopes that I have given you just enough information about each film to let you make your own decision about seeing it or not.

I am a visual person but it nagged me that I couldn't design the site better or have a decent logo. Luckily, I had a fan send in a logo idea for me recently -- it was great but looked too much like a specific movie. I showed it to my husband and we both agreed that it wasn't quite right. The logo needed to represent what my reviews stand for. Nothing came to my mind -- again. However, a few moments later, my husband emerged from his office and surprised me with his thoughts on how my logo should look. Voila!


Over the Summer I will be changing a few things around here and adding in this logo. It really sums up my philosophy about movie reviews, don't you think?

Well, today I am scheduled to see a movie that is currently in the theaters. Review to follow. Happy Memorial Day Weekend everyone!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

My Kind of Preview

Sorry for the late posting...blogging issues. Anyway, I don't have a movie to review but I found this and thought it was appropriate, especially for my my blog, to post. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Super 8 - Trailer

I can not wait to see Super 8.  Perfect preview and lots of great buzz coming out now on Twitter and everywhere else I look.
Directed (and written) by J.J. Abrams and produced by Amblin Entertainment (or should I say Stephen Spielberg?) What a great combination of talent! Opens June 10th.

Soundtrack: To Kill a Mockingbird

We have reached #90 on the top 100 Soundtracks with To Kill a Mockingbird. Now every 7th grader and beyond should know this movie. We all had to read the novel and I am pretty certain many of the classrooms around the planet showed this fantastic classic. I must admit I don't recall the music but I will never forget the movie. I might just have to rent this one and maybe re-read the book. It's worth it!

The book was released in 1960 and the author, Harper Lee, won the Pulitzer Prize that year. Two years later the movie was released and won three Oscars: Best Actor, Best Art, Set Decoration (Black & White), and Best Screenplay - Adaptation. It was nominated for five more Oscars.

To Kill a Mockingbird (Original Motion Picture Score) - Elmer Bernstein

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Deadfall Trail

Directed (and co-written) by Roze, Gas Mask Films. Starring Shane Dean, Cavin Gray Schneider, and Slade Hall.

Genre: Horror, Thriller.

Question: Do you ever go searching for your next movie on something like Netflix or ITunes and go by the recommendations on the site? I don't make a habit of it but will occasionally read a little further when I see a movie I never heard of receives high marks from the site. Deadfall Trail was one of them.

I had already returned 127 Hours to Netflix and didn't have another movie queued up or sitting in the little red sleeve but I wanted to watch a movie, of course. I perused the list of new movies that I could stream and saw Deadfall Trail with most of the starts filled in. I clicked on it to read a quick synopsis (three men go on a wilderness survival trip). None of the actors' names sounded familiar nor did the title. But I shrugged my shoulders and hit play.

It started off a little slow and many first clues of what the story was about or why the characters were doing what they were doing didn't seem to get answered -- unless you pay close attention to the answering machine message being played in the very beginning. The story didn't captivate me for about 35 minutes but there was something to it that kept me watching. Also, the music score had a way of keeping me engaged.

By the time the story really unfolded and the action got more intense, I came to see why it had received so many stars. The music got even more fervent and seductive, which fully enhanced the dilemma in the plot. In fact, the composer, Jason Camiolo, did such a fantastic job on the score that I think Hollywood needs to pay strong attention to him. Stunning!!

I recommend this movie even with its slow start. The acting wasn't superb but it was believable enough especially with the help of the cinematographer. Movies like this and reviewing them really make me realize the amount of work (and people) that help make a movie good: writers, directors, actors, music composers, cinematographers, etc...

My favorite thing: The music -- easily.

My least favorite thing: Another urine scene. I really have a weak stomach and must try to make sure my next movie doesn't have a scene involving that substance. (see my 127 Hours review)

Did the previews ruin it or show too much? I didn't watch any before seeing the film but you can see it here. However, I just watched it -- yeah, it kind of does show a bit too much and it is all from the last third of the movie.

Rating: NR
Length: 95 minutes

Review: 5 out of 10


Monday, May 23, 2011

127 Hours

Directed (and co-written) by Danny Boyle, Fox Searchlight Pictures, 2010. Starring James Franco, Amber Tamblyn, Kate Mara, and Treat Williams.

Genre: Adventure, Biography, Drama, Thriller.

Question: We all have had nightmares but you know the ones where you are screaming for help and nothing comes out? No matter what is happening in your dream:  being chased by a monster, falling from a skyscraper, or you just can't open that door -- not being able to get anyone to hear your desperate plead is by far one of the worst nightmares to have. 127 Hours takes that kind of nightmare from a real-life story and totally sucks you in to an unimaginable tale of one man's struggle.

I nearly cried when James Franco, stuck in the canyon on the first day, screams "HELP!" at the top of his lungs. This movie was powerful, emotional almost gut-wrenching at times, and had one of the most cathartic endings in any story on film. We all know the story but if you don't I won't tell you about it. 127 Hours is the true story of Aron Ralston and his survival story. (Based on the book "Between a Rock and a Hard Place", WOW, what literal meaning that has.)

It took me a long time to want to see this movie. Danny Boyle is by far one of the best directors we have today and his previous film, Slumdog Millionaire, is proof of that. But I just had no desire to see this one. Maybe it was the story. I have mentioned I am easily affected by movies and the premise made me feel a little claustrophobic. Also, James Franco is not one of my favorite actors. I know, shocking. I seem to like everyone -- according to my past reviews. There is just something about him that always kind of made me go "eh". Perhaps it is the characters he chooses to play. Who knows?

However, there was no denying 127 Hours was a good movie. All the accolades and awards tossed around did make me think twice. Now that I am reviewing movies I am forcing myself to broaden my horizons and not let any prejudices or preconceived notions get in the way. I am so happy I let me guard down about James Franco. He was fantastic and so was the movie!

The movie started off in an odd way but after you get into the story you soon understand why. We are not alone in this world of six billion people, but when you find yourself in a situation like Aron Ralston did -- it really doesn't matter how over-crowded our world seems.

While I was being totally mesmerized by Franco's performance, I kept wondering why it garnered a R rating. Sure there was an occasional curse word or two, no real nudity or violence against others, but then the scene I was dreading the most happened.  My fingers slowly crept up towards my eyes to help me shield the horror and then I understood the rating choice. How could someone own the ability and courage to do what he did? 127 Hours answers that question -- brilliantly and honestly.

Now if you have not seen this movie yet -- stop reading this review now and go download this or put it on your queue. You won't regret it.

My favorite thing: James Franco. He was truly fantastic in this film.

My least favorite: The urine part. I have a weak stomach.

Did the previews ruin it by showing too much? No!

Random thought: This movie had some wonderful shots of Moab and it reminded me of a friend of mine's Photography: Frank Lee Ruggles. Check out his work on his website or on his fanpage on Facebook. Amazing photographs of America.

Rating: R
Length: 94 minutes

Review: 10 out of 10

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Blazing Saddles

Last night I watched a movie for the first time: Blazing Saddles. I know what you are thinking: Why did I never see this before? There are several reasons. I was too young to see it when it first came out; and I just never tried to watch it when it became available for rent. Then I chose not to see because I felt that I heard every joke. Does that ever happen to you? Not watch a movie because you feel you have heard every punchline? It has happened to me a couple of times. Another movie that took me a long time to see was This is Spinal Tap -- another fantastically funny movie.

Well, last night I finally watched Blazing Saddles. I was playing this weekly game of sorts with my music-loving friends where we try to find songs with themes -- the theme this week was about working. I found the Working Song in Blazing Saddles (on YouTube) and couldn't stop laughing. I stopped playing the game and decided to watch the film, finally, and see what I have missed these past 3 1/2 decades. Oh, did I tell you that my husband and I bought the DVD 12 years ago -- yep, I still didn't watch until last night.

Alright, this is not one of my typical reviews because I assume everyone has seen this movie -- right? At least people my age and above. (Has the younger generations seen this classic? I wonder.) Anyway, I thought it was hysterical but what really got me was the blatant use of words or terms that we consider unusable today. I was in shock. Yes, it was irreverent to make a point and they made it. But how did a movie like this one get made? I am glad it did but do you think it could be made today? My guess is no.

The other thing I thought about: How did Mel Brooks pitch this to Hollywood? I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall for that. Imagine him sitting in an office at Warner Brothers ( I am guessing that Studio because of the end of the movie was on the WB lot) - in the early 1970's - saying,  "Well, we are going to make fun of stupid, ignorant people by using all the stereotypical words, phrases, offensive terms to make our point, but it will be really, really funny?" Thank god, someone knew Mel Brooks had a sense of humor and let him make it.

The question today is: What filmmakers do we have that are like Mel Brooks? My first thought was the Farrelly Brothers and Christopher Guess. Anyone else?

My favorite Mel Brooks movie: Young Frankenstein. This movie came out the same year as Blazing Saddles. 

Blazing Saddles
This Is Spinal Tap
Young Frankenstein

Friday, May 20, 2011

Soundtrack: Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Friday, already? WOW! I haven't watched a movie since Monday and I am feeling a little antsy. However, I do have another soundtrack to share with you. Coming in at #91 (from EW) is Hedwig and the Angry Inch2001. I remember seeing this movie and really enjoying the film but what got me more was the music. Do you like Glam Rock, David Bowie or Iggy Pop style '70's music? Then you will like the soundtrack to this movie.

I can't go into what this film is about or even explain the title. You should find that one out for yourself but if you have an open mind and enjoy an off-kilter story, you will probably like Hedwig and the Angry Inch. It really is a unique story and covers a topic rarely discussed.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) - Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Hedwig and the Angry Inch - the movie.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Women in Romantic Comedies

I don't have a review to post today, but I was sent this video recently and thought I should share it. Pay close attention to the words in the beginning. I always knew there was a pattern to certain genres, but until I watched this video, I didn't realize it was this repetitive. Enjoy!!


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Soundtrack: The Piano

Now this is one I saw in the theaters: The Piano. I remember, in 1993, all the wonderful songs weaving in and out of this movie. The music was vital to this film. Holly Hunter, who plays a mute, preformed many of the songs during the scenes but there was usually a backdrop of an orchestra playing that helped convey the emotions of the film. For a story that didn't have much dialouge the music was an essential part of the movie and couldn't have been as wonderful without it.

The Piano lands at #92 on the top 100 Best Film Soundtracks. (source: Entertainment Weekly)

You might recall Holly Hunter winning the Academy Award for Best Actress; and the little girl: Anna Pacquin (yes, Sookie from True Blood) winning Best Supporting Actress.

Movie Soundtrack Piano Series

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Testimonials

Tired of Previews? has received some comments and praise from new and returning readers. I thought I would share a few with you and let you know how much I appreciate all your comments.

1. Wow, you hooked me – completely. Wanted to see what you’re blog was about and just got sucked right in. Reading your reviews was such a pleasure – your writing style is so conversational that I felt I was sitting over coffee and having a chat.

What a great idea for a blog! Nice! Looking forward to reading more!

3. Thanks for the review - I found your site on a blog hop. I very rarely find a blog that I want to follow on a random hop, but I will definitely follow this one. I'm a huge movie lover and you'll save me some time and money


4. Hi! I got to say I absolutely LOVE your Blog, this will become my before rent stop every time now. Thanks So much!


5. Hey there! I am your newest follower from the weekend blog hop (I am one of the hosts) !! Great blog!! I know where to go to get a review now!!


6. Great reviews I'm so coming back to read more.. I haven't seen that one so it's a must now.


Thank you for all the great feedback. I am here to help you find the next DVD to rent or help you decide to get that babysitter and head to the theaters. Keep the feedback coming and please feel free to let me know if you disagree with a review. Your comments will help others on their decision making process.


Katy

Bridesmaids

Directed by Paul Feig, Universal Pictures, 2011. Starring Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, and Melissa McCarthy.

Genre: Comedy.

Question: Have you had that time in your life (I suppose I am speaking to all the women now) and your best friend has acquired some new friends and you just aren't that happy about it? We all have -- admit it! Well, that is what Bridesmaids is basically about. Yes, we women can do some strange things when we feel threatened by new, beautiful girls. However, someone forgot to tell the storytellers of this film: don't take the joke so far and so long or you will lose your audience (well, you will lose me). We can take funny even if it is a bit on the vulgar side but please don't patronize us with tons of awkwardly dramatic parts just so you think we will keep watching.

I have basically been alive a few years shorter than Saturday Night Live has been on the air. For decades that show has showcased some of the most brilliant comedic minds on the planet, but in the last few years something has happened on that program that basically keeps me away from watching it: telling a joke for too long. And with Bridesmaids, co-written by Kristen Wiig, I should have had some sort of inkling that could happen here.

I was so looking forward to this movie. Lots of great reviews popped up on Twitter and other movie sources, so when my friend asked me to go again to the movies with her I was game. The first thirty minutes or so I will admit I laughed and I laughed out-loud. Then the story took a turn. My first clue that the rest of the movie wasn't going to work happened during a scene where giving speeches turned into a competition. It went on too long and it lost me.

Then the title threw me because I realized the mood of the film wasn't so much about the bridesmaids but the maid of honor, played by Kristen Wiig, who was having the worst time of her life during her best friend's happiest time. No real problem with that but the story went on the dramatic side, which I was not expecting.  And again, no problem with that except that someone forgot to edit the scenes and either the funny or awkwardly dramatic ones went on forever. I got bored.

From time to time some moments looked like the movie was on an upswing but then took too long to get there and I was lost yet again. I did actually see two people walk out of the theater, which was mostly filled with men and us two women. (I found that ratio odd.) Perhaps Bridesmaids was going for The Office and Parks & Recreation type of awkward comedy, which I like a lot, but I don't think it worked well here. I did have some Oh-My-God moments where I put my hand to my mouth and thought: 'They didn't just go there.' Yes, those are the moments of hilarity where it can border on offensive. I didn't mind those moments, at all.

From the previews I thought we, gals, were going to finally have our Hangover or Wedding Crashers movie (it tried) but it is not a film that I liked right off the bat. However, this is just one reviewer's point-of-view. (I should tell you that my friend felt the same way I did about Bridesmaids.)


I do think Kristen Wiig can play funny or dramatic (and I can't wait to see her in something else) but I just didn't think Bridesmaids is all that or what people think it is. I did enjoy Melissa McCarthy's character and she could be one of the funniest actresses not many know about. Her character in Bridesmaids was a little over-the-top but at least one character was a treat to watch throughout. Although during the credits there is a bonus scene you might want to divert your eyes -- that attempt at humor was short but very powerful -- whoa!

I am usually not way off from a lot of other reviewers but this time we don't see eye to eye. Perhaps they need to really think about the film in its entirety, and maybe I need to see it again to see if I missed something. It can happen. I remember seeing Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy and not liking it the first time and now I find it one of the funniest movies of that decade.


My favorite part: The scene with the bridesmaids trying on dresses was pretty darn hysterical.


My least favorite: The airplane scene -- too long and not humorous.

Did the previews ruin it? No, but they did show a much funnier movie than what I saw.


Random thought:  Regarding Melissa McCarthy: Back in 1999, I saw her in Go and had a feeling she would do well -- just from that giggle in a very short scene. I even enjoyed her in Gilmore Girls.


Rating: R
Length: 125 minutes

Review: 5 out of 10

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Switch

Directed by Joss Gordon & Will Speck, Bone Fide Productions, 2010. Starring Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, and Jeff Goldblum.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Question: When you see a movie and it says it is a comedy and a drama (mixed in with romance) you expect something specific, right? The mixture of those two genres usually are a good recipe for an interesting outcome. So, what happened with The Switch and where did it go horribly wrong?

I watched The Switch with my husband earlier this week and both of us were sorely disappointed in the film. I had heard some not so great things about it but I adore Jason Bateman and have watched his career grow ever since Silver Spoons. (I miss Arrested Development but I think there might be a movie coming out soon.) His transition to movies was successful and filled with unique and diverse characters. But when I hear bad things about a movie I don't always hold that at face value.

For Jennifer Aniston I really liked Friends but her movie roles since that TV series ended have left me a little numb. They all are variations on the same character and nothing has wowed me since The Good Girl. But I always holdout hope for her since I think she is a good actress.

The third major role in The Switch is Jeff Goldblum, another TV beginner with Tenspeed and Brown Shoe, (Yes, I watched it.) but his movie roles have been much more interesting to watch (The Big Chill and Jurassic Park) Sadly, he didn't even help this film reach a tolerable level.

The hook of the story is not one many films have attempted so that piqued my interest. Really, not many films have discussed sperm donation quite the same way, but I won't go into too much detail about the story. Here is my guess on why this movie didn't work. It started out as a comedy but after "the switch" happened it became a drama and never went back to the lighthearted feel of the beginning. I have never seen that work well before -- starting out in one style and shifting completely to another. Combing two genre styles can work but a balance is necessary, in my opinion, to keep the audience interested.

Besides the odd transition of style, the main characters weren't that likable either. I didn't develop any sympathy or empathy for any of them. The main characters try to portray really good friends (Bateman & Aniston) but I don't recall understanding why they were or how their relationship worked. No one seemed to have that much emotion one way or the other towards anyone in their life. They were all sort of cold.  In fact, I just kept waiting for some explanation. That is never a good sign. So, in the end, the hook, mixed with the lack of chemistry, and change in style left me not liking The Switch.

I regret sometimes having to write a bad review so I always have to say something nice. I will mention there were a couple of funny scenes/lines in the beginning, and the little boy was adorable to watch in this film. The "lice" scene towards the end was precious. It almost had me liking this film if it had more of that type of emotion. Better luck next time, people.

Skipping over my favorite and least favorite for this one.

Did the previews ruin it by showing too much? No, the previews showed a funny movie with an interesting concept. It made me want to see the movie.

Rating: PG-13
Length: 101 minutes

Random thought: I might have a clue about the change on tone in the movie -- two directors. It's just a hunch.

Review: 3 out of 10


COMING SOON: Bridesmaids

Friday, May 13, 2011

Something Borrowed



Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance.

Question: Was anyone aware that Tom Cruise shaved off 20 years or so to be in this movie? Okay, I am not serious but I couldn't help but notice, and get completely distracted by, how much Colin Egglesfield looks scarily like Tom Cruise -- I mean really looks like him.

I had a friend of mine text me in the morning to see if I would join her for a movie and lunch. The catch was, she wanted to see Something Borrowed. I was game. She was happy. We started watching the movie and for the first few minutes I was interested and then Colin Egglesfield, Dex, came on the screen and I could not stop comparing him to that other actor I just mentioned.

It is so uncanny how much he looks like him but what's worse is that they have similar mannerisms too -- like the look-away talk and then stares right at the person for the last three words to really make his point. TC does that all the time. Or when he raises his eyebrows when he says things like "Okay". There is so much more but I will refrain. I might dwell too much on this, and I admit I know way too much about Tom Cruise's mannerism, but I have been watching him in movies for the past 30 years. One tends to remember people's quirks -- or at least I do.

Anyway, back to the movie. All in all, Something Borrowed is just an okay movie. (It is based on the novel of the same name written by Emily Griffin.) It is neither here nor there. The main character, played by Ginnifer Goodwin, seemed to be the same character she always plays -- the pathetic friend who gets dumped on but tries to do the right thing even when she doesn't want to. Kate Hudson did kind of play a character that isn't her usual but it did remind me exactly of her role in Bride Wars. She is selfish, attention-seeking and thinks the world revolves around her. And these two people are supposed to be best friends?

Don't even get me started on Colin's role -- you know what I think already except to say his character was a bit of a wimp. But I will say the other male role in Something Borrowed, John Krasinski, made this movie tolerable. He was funny, charming, and sweet. I so want to see more of this character and something tells me we might. (fyi: if you see this -- stay through the credits).

My favorite part: John Krasinski. He really did have some funny lines.

My least favorite: I don't get the best friend relationship where one is so full of themselves and the other gets walked on by them.

Did the previews show too much? Yes and no. A lot of the funny lines were shown but not all.

Rating: PG-13
Length: 103 minutes

Random thought: You see how I was distracted by the look-a-like but my friend kept noticing how many different styles and colors Kate Hudson's character's nails were from scene to scene. I didn't notice that. So, we all have things that distract us. Also, maybe you love Tom Cruise and might enjoy the fact that someone else looks and acts like him. Or you love nail polish... So, you might like this movie.

Review: 4 out of 10

Note: Re-published 5-13-2011 due to Blogger error.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Soundtrack: The Virgin Suicides

We are slowly getting out of the 90's of the top 100 movie soundtracks. At #93 is The Virgin Suicides. Now I must admit that I have not seen this movie but I recall when it was out. It was written and directed by Sophia Coppola, who has turned out to be a pretty decent director, in my opinion. The movie stars Kirsten Dunst, Josh Harnett and James Woods.

The soundtrack for this movie is actually two separate albums: the score by the French electronic music duo, Air, or a collection of songs from the 1970's, which include artists like Heart and Todd Rundgren.

The writers who selected the soundtracks for this compilation of albums say they can't decide which one should be on the list of best soundtracks so they say both. Enjoy!



Download soundtrack:
 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thor

Directed by Kenneth Branagh, Paramount Pictures, 2011. Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgard and Anthony Hopkins.

Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy.

Question: How do you convince women to see a comic book movie? Well, cast someone like Chris Hemsworth in it and they will come flocking. I am not kidding. But when they are there, they will discover a really entertaining movie fit for everyone.

Before seeing the movie on Sunday, I really didn't know about the origin or story of Thor. The only knowledge I had about this comic book superhero came from the little girl in Adventures in Babysitting whose hero was Thor. So I was walking in pretty much blind.

I never saw a preview and read almost nothing about the production of the latest Marvel Comics movie. I did know who was in it and I was intrigued. Chris Hemsworth, Thor, was someone I remembered from another movie I really liked a couple of years back. He was in Star Trek. He wasn't in it for very long, but his role was an important one. He gave his character real depth within just a few minutes before he was off the screen forever. Nevertheless, he was a pretty unknown actor to be cast as this movie's namesake. I knew he was cute and could decently perform but not much more.

Then the announcements came for the well-known actors: Anthony Hopkins -- a real favorite of mine. He can do anything and I will see it. Natalie Portman was also cast in it. I will admit that one threw me, and I was even more curious to see it since she didn't strike me as the typical superhero's love interest. (But what do I know? I didn't read comics growing up.)  So knowing the actors who were to be in Thor, I put it on my list for a must see movie.

Well, it finally opened this past week but I was unaware until my husband suggested taking me out to the movie theater for Mother's Day. He mentioned Thor - I smiled, broadly. So, I watched it with my daughter (9), son (11) and my husband and was pleasantly surprised with the movie. Now this is my kind of Mother's Day gift. Seriously!

It started out with a history of Thor's people and their world.  All of that was important but for about the first twenty minutes I kept having minuscule reminders of the movie: Flash Gordon. That's not a bad thing but I was starting to get a little bored with it. Then Thor is cast out to Earth for a big life-lesson by his father, Anthony Hopkins, and then the movie gets good. In fact, it becomes funny, really funny. Something I was not expecting, and then I forgave the beginning part because of how the movie turned out.

Now you know I am not going to tell you anymore about the story, but I will say there is one scene in which Chris Hemsworth shows off his acting chops and makes you realize he isn't just a hunk in a costume. I can't wait to see him play a human again and really see this guy's career blossom. (But I think we will see him again as The God of Thunder in The Avengers out next year -- wait 'till you see the cast -- WOW!)

My only problem with the film was the love story. I wasn't moved by it or completely understand it. Yes, he is cute and she ain't too bad herself but I never really saw the great connection that many on-screen couples portray. Oh well, I am not going to complain about it.

My son's favorite part: The first time Thor used his hammer in the opening of the movie. He gave it 10 out of 10.

My daughter's favorite part:  Well, I should say -- what she thought was the funniest: What Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) kept apologizing for to Thor. She gave it a 9 out of 10.

My favorite part: Discovering there was humor in this film. Well done!

My least favorite part: Not enough of one character, but we will see them again in The Avengers. YAY!

Did the previews show too much? I never saw any -- on purpose!

Rating: PG-13
Length: 114 minutes

Random thought: You should check out who played "Thor" in Adventures in Babysitting. It's kind of interesting. (These are things that never seem to leave my memory but I can't walk out of my house once without forgetting something important.) And if you haven't seen Star Trek yet -- what are you waiting for? It was really, really good!

Review: 6 out of 10. I really want to bump that to 6.5 but I don't usually rate them that way.

Monday, May 9, 2011

All Good Things

Directed (and written) by Andrew Jarceki, Groundswell Production, 2010. Starring Ryan Gosling, Kirsten Dunst and Frank Langella.

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Question: When you have a treasure trove of talented actors mixed in with a compelling real-life mystery, you possess the right ingredients to make a good movie, right? So what happened with All Good Things and how did they miss telling a good story? Honestly, it is a bigger mystery to me than the real story.

Again, I found this movie on my Netflix streaming list and was curious when I saw the list of actors. I like Ryan Gosling and most of the roles he selects, but I don't recall hearing anything about this movie when it was out last year. I really think Ryan Gosling is one of the finest young actors we have today; Frank Langella has proved his tremendous talent longer than I have been a live; Kirsten Dunst has charmed us since her portrayal of Claudia in Interview with a Vampire in 1994. So with this trifecta of talent -- and they were all very good in this film -- why did the movie not work? To be honest, I just don’t know.

All Good Things is a story inspired by true events -- a mystery surrounding a New York real estate family and the unsolved deaths that surround them between the 1970's through the early 2000's.

Ryan Gosling plays David Marks, the son of Sanford Marks - the real estate tycoon, who simply does not want to follow in his father's oppressive footsteps. He meets and falls in love with Katie, played by Dunst, and they begin a life together very removed from his father's. They open a health food store -- called All Good Things. So what is wrong with that story? Nothing. It starts out fine but then decisions are made, minds changed and the story takes us on a path that is undecipherable. So disappointing.

As I said, everyone acted well, very well. However, the director didn't seem to get us to a point where we, the audience, could feel the ride up the big moment where everything is revealed or explained. You are left with more questions than when you started the film. And by the end, you just don't care. 

My favorite part: Ryan Gosling - he did nothing wrong.

My least favorite part: The overall storytelling.

Did the previews show too much? - I never saw any.

Rating: R
Length: 101


Random thought: Did you know that Ryan Gosling was part of the Mickey Mouse Club along with Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera and Brittany Spears? He still sings and performs with his band: Dead Man's Bones. Here is clip to check out. 

Review: 3 out of 10


COMING SOON: Thor

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Soundtrack: Planet of the Apes

Well, it is that time again. We are at #94.

When I saw the next album on the top 100 list from Entertainment Weekly I kind of chuckled: Planet of the Apes from 1968. But after reading how composer, Jerry Goldsmith, was heavily influenced by Bartok and Stravinsky the giggling stopped. I was intrigued.

Interesting fact: He was praised for using "electronic" music but there was no synthesizer or other electronic devices on the album. Instead, Goldsmith used a lot of everyday household items to make the music for the soundtrack. Also, he applied simple techniques on instruments combined sometimes with silence (yes, silence) to fill the scenes with more intensity and emotion. Now I have to hear this soundtrack again.

I have seen this movie many times - mostly on weekends on TV when it was too cold to go play outside, but I really don't remember much about the movie expect some of the iconic scenes. I do recall enjoying these movies as a kid. However, I did not care for the remake done in 2001 with Mark Walhberg and Helena Bonham Carter.

There is another story, an origin, called Rise of the Planet of the Apes, starring James Franco coming out later this year.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Best Worst Movie

Well, it is that time again - Documentary review!

My husband had another one on his list that he wanted to see: Best Worst Movie. I know the name doesn't sound promising but I went with it. We put this one on our online Blockbuster queue with a 'Long Wait' status and it never budged. I mean we waited over six months, at least, for it to come in. So I started to think that this must be a good documentary. As many of you know I switched to Netflix and cancelled our Blockbuster account when my local Blockbuster store closed...anyway. The movie came in the mail last week from Netflix but we didn't get around to it until last night.

Best Worst Movie is a documentary about Troll 2, a horror movie made twenty years ago. It has been labeled as the worst movie in the world. The label is probably correct, however, as with all movies there are usually a few fans. Troll 2 is no different. Over the course of the last decade its fan base has grown and moved the movie to cult status with people roaring with laughter instead of cringing or sheltering their eyes at each viewing.

The documentary is helmed by the leading actor for Troll 2: Michael Stephenson. He tells the story of how the movie came to be made, went straight to VHS tape and quickly forgotten - or so he thought.  Almost two decades later and without any manufacturing by Hollywood, the movie garnered a pretty hefty and surreal fan base. We meet all the actors and how they were embarrassed to admit they were in the movie - to them signing autographs and giving speeches at screenings across the country.

People love this movie - and I mean love! I still don't know why but we all have that one movie that speaks to us - no matter how bad it was. I have one - Xanadu (Hey, don't laugh - I was ten when it came out) and I watched it over and over again. Apparently Troll 2 spoke to a lot of young individuals back in the early 90's. They were just too embarrassed to tell anyone else for awhile. Then it festered like a slow growing weed and pushed it to a huge cult classic a few years back.

I thoroughly enjoyed this documentary. There were even scenes where I laughed out loud. Perhaps I wasn't supposed to laugh. However, Troll 2 was meant to be a horror flick but turned into a comedy, so I think I am allowed. With that said, I am recommending you put Best Worst Movie on your queue - hopefully, you won't have too long to wait.

You are probably thinking: "Is she going to rent Troll 2 now?" My answer is no but I can put money on the fact that my son and husband will be watching it in the near future.

Now, I am going to make a request: Tell me the movie that you love that most people didn't like. Maybe you might find others on here who like it too.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

One Week

Directed (written and produced) by Micheal McGowan, Mongrel Media, 2008. Starring Joshua Jackson, Liane Balaban and Campbell Scott.

Genre: Adventure, Drama.

Question: Have you ever come face to face with your own mortality? I have - it has quite a sobering effect. But the real question I should ask - what would you do if you knew you only had a small amount of time left on this earth?

Joshua Jackson, probably best known for Dawson's Creek and, now, Fringe, stars as the man answering that question. When we first meet him, we see he is a man stuck in his own life due to some early rejections. He never really accomplished anything, including getting his first novel published because of his fear of more rejection. However, after discovering his fate, he jumps out of his shell because he must.

I think Joshua Jackson did a fantastic job with a subject matter not many of us have ever had to deal with. His mannerisms and the emotions he shows with just his eyes - allow you to imagine what he is going through. But One Week doesn't always tell you what he is thinking. This is one reason why I love independent films. They let the audience interpret the story. The writer-director must also get a shout-out for creating such a thought-provoking film.

Death is not something many want to discuss let alone have a debate about, and this film doesn't patronize the audience with its moral standing. In fact, it simply chronicles this man's journey as he rediscovers his own country, Canada, while he tries to wrap his head around the fact that he will probably die. As I watched this movie I saw parts of Canada that were truly spectacular and made me want to book a ticket up there.

I stumbled upon this film on a Netflix instant viewing list and was pleasantly surprised at what a good film it was. Yes, I mentioned I was faced with my own mortality and that probably gave me a deeper appreciation for One Week. But I don't think anyone could watch this and not contemplate about what they would do if they were in this situation.

Just as prevalent as the Canadian backdrop was in this film, the soundtrack intertwines itself into this story with several Canadian musicians and bands. It's a pretty good soundtrack with some cameos by some of the artists themselves. There was also narration, by Campbell Scott, in One Week. I am usually not a fan of a lot narration but it worked well in this story.

This movie begs the question: where would you go if nothing held you back?

My favorite thing: Realizing Joshua Jackson is a pretty decent actor - long way since The Mighty Ducks.

My least favorite thing: Reminding me that my own book isn't published yet.

Random thought: Every time I see Joshua Jackson I think he is somehow related to George Clooney. It is uncanny how many of their mannerisms are alike - even those eyes. Spooky!

Rating: NR
Length: 94 minutes

Review: 7 out of 10