Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Preview: The Moth Diaries

I wasn't really going to post this preview but I am a sucker, no pun intended, for any vampire story. But I know many are sick and tired of them. But, I watched The Moth Diaries and this one looks "slightly" different so I thought I would share it. Not sure about it but will give this one a shot. Due out in April 2012.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Academy Awards

Well today is one of my holidays: The Academy Awards. I know many don't like the competition aspect of this show, and I will admit I really don't care who wins the golden statue. The Academy Awards, to me, is about celebrating my favorite art form. MOVIES! (and I do kind of like seeing what people wear....) You all know I love movies and I can watch nearly anything that honors it. Usually I only watch the Golden Globes, The Independent Spirit Awards and The Oscars - but I have been known to watch The Golden Raspberry Awards, The SAG AwardsCritic's Choice Awards, and I sneak in a glimpse of MTV movie awards and The Scream Awards. Yes, I am a film junkie.

However, since I can remember I have watched every Academy Awards show, and I always stay up until the very end to see which film wins Best Picture. Usually I do not even come close to seeing every film that is nominated for an award. However, this year I think I got really close. So I thought I would list some of the nominations here for you all; and I am too antsy to watch and review a film while waiting, not so patiently, for the red-carpet festivities to begin.

And the Oscar goes to....

Up for Best Picture:
The Descendants
Extremely Loud and Incredible Close
The Help
Midnight in Paris
Tree of Life
The Artist
The War Horse

Up for Best Actor in a Leading Role:
George Clooney - The Descendants
Brad Pitt - Moneyball
Demain Bichir - A Better Life
Gary Oldman - Tinker Tailor Solider Spy
Jean Dujardin - The Artist

Up for Best Actress in a Leading Role:
Viola Davis - The Help
Rooney Mara - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Glenn Close - Albert Nobbs
Meryl Streep - The Iron Lady
Michelle Williams - My Week with Marilyn

Up for Best Actor in a Supporting Role:
Jonah Hill - Moneyball
Christopher Plummer - Beginners
Max von Sydow - Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Nick Nolte - Warrior
Kenneth Branagh - My Week with Marilyn

Up for Best Actress in a Supporting Role:
Jessica Chastain - The Help
Melissa McCarthy - Bridesmaids
Octavia Spencer - The Help
Berenice Bejo - The Artist
Janet McTeer - Albert Nobbs

I do plan on seeing and review most of the films that have been nominated that I haven't seen yet.

Enjoy The Academy Awards tonight and see you all at the movies!

 Click on posters below:

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Thursday, February 23, 2012

How Beer Saved The World

It has been awhile since I watched a documentary. I have nothing against this style of film-making but it is just not my go-to genre. I adore movies for the escapism ride that only a fictional tale can take me on. So when I watch a non-fiction film it has to be in an area or a topic that interests me. Many things interest but movies and music are right there at the top; however I have another thing that makes me smile: beer! Now do not misunderstand me. I do not like to get drunk; it does happen sometimes and I usually say (or moan), "I am NOT doing that again". For me, imbibing the malty beverage usually coincides with a happy social aspect like dinner with friends or gabbing with the gals. Sure, I could have a cocktail but liquor and I don't like one another too well so I usually stick to wine or, more often than not, a Guinness.

I divulge all this information about my alcohol drinking habits because I just finished watching one of the most fascinating and educational documentaries I have ever watched: How Beer Saved the World. Yes, you read that right. The title certainly piqued my interest, to say the least, but what I learned about the ancient drink really shocked me. 

This documentary came out last year on The Discovery Channel but I found it on Netflix Instant Play list. It sat in my queue for a few weeks but finally decided to watch it in the middle of a Tuesday afternoon - oh wait, it is Fat Tuesday. That is why I decided to watch it...haha...and no I did not have a beverage, unless you count water, while watching it; but it did make me really want one especially after I learned about what beer has done for modern civilization.

Let me list a few of the accomplishments that beer provided for the human race that you may not know. I certainly did NOT know any of this. If it weren't for beer we may still be living in caves and living a nomadic lifestyle. The accidental discovery of beer around 9000 BC started the following:
  1. Agriculture
  2. Writing
  3. Mathematics
  4. Social Networking
Later it helped build the Great Pyramids of Egypt, helped mold modern economics, became the basis of  health care and helped end the Dark Ages, it shaped American history, spurred on better business ethics with helping get rid of the abusive labor of children and we probably would not have the refrigeration capabilities if it weren't for beer. And most of this happened when people consumed six times the amount of beer as compared to what we consume today.

As I read the list of what beer did for us as a society I still can't believe it. However, the documentary used the following professionals to prove these theories: Anthropologists, Egyptologists, Historians, Microbiologists, Fermentation specialists, Professor of Assyriology, and Economists. 

I want to leave you with a quote from one of America's greatest historic figures (who happened to be a brewer) that was mentioned in How Beer Saved the World:

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy". - Benjamin Franklin


Click on film poster below to watch instantly:

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Preview: Damsels in Distress

I am always looking for something with a little off-beat humor. It takes major talent to create an irreverent comedy these days, I believe. So when I stumble upon a trailer that hints at this type of film I find I must share it. Today you are in luck: Damsels in Distress. Due for release April 2012.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Safe House

Directed by Daniel Espinosa, Universal Pictures, 2012

Starring: Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Vera Farmiga, Robert Patrick, Sam Shepard, Liam Cunningham and Brendan Gleeson.

Genre: Action, Crime, Mystery.

Question: Do you like action packed movies?

Well, Safe House might be the exact movie for you. However, there wasn't much more to the film, which was a disappointment since it stars one of our greatest actors, Denzel Washington, and a decent actor on his own right, Ryan Reynolds.

I know, I know. This review cuts to the bone a little bit, but I found myself sitting in the full theatre on opening day confused. Not with the number of people in the theatre but why such a predictable story-line was produced with some top-notch actors. And let me put it this way - one person left after about twenty minutes and four people left with about ten minutes to go in the film. I have never walked out of a movie, turned one off but never walked out.

Back to my question: Do you like action packed movies? Well, if you do, and can put aside the predictable story, then I say watch Safe House because it is nearly non-stop action. I am not accustom to watching Mr. Washington in such a physical role, and he did a decent job as a rouge CIA agent on the run, but I suppose I prefer his more cerebral roles. He can manipulate anyone and their actions usually with his words or facial expressions; and he had some of that in Safe House. However, most of the film was filled with car chases, men beating the crap out of one another and gun fights.

Now there is nothing wrong with a movie loaded with non-stop action sequences, do not misunderstand, but the Safe House preview displayed a different movie in my mind. I thought it would have more depth. Once the film started it was sort of obvious, though, that either the film-maker was inexperienced or perhaps they wanted to make the film in a Jason Bourne-style. One thing wrong with that is that Jason Bourne is an interesting, complex character that you want to know more about; however, neither the rouge CIA agent (Washington) or the CIA agent manning the safe house (Reynolds) were not developed enough to care about.

With all that said, the acting was still pretty good. Seriously, did you think you would ever read that Denzel Washington did a bad job? He simply cannot, unfortunately, the script was just not up to his acting caliber. Shame.

My favorite thing: Let me think on that for a bit....oh wait, there was a scene where Denzel Washington's character walks across the hallway and what he did and how he did it made me grin. It's brief but I wasn't expecting it.

My least favorite thing: That the person behind me was overly vocal when all the actions scenes went on. Annoying.

Rating: R
Length: 115 minutes

Review: 3 out of 10

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Preview: The Hunter

You know me - I am always looking for a good story and I stumbled upon another that has some potential. And based on some research this film looks quite intriguing. The Hunter 

Stars Willem Dafoe and Sam Neill. Due out in April, 2012.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Preview: Return

I watched a preview for Thin Ice - which looks interesting - on YouTube but didn't feel like sharing it though.  It just showed too much. However, when I looked on the right-hand side on the YouTube page I saw a preview for Return. Perfect way to show a preview - check it out.

Stars Linda Cardellini (from ER), Michael Shannon (The Runaways) and John Slattery (from Mad Men)

For movie reviews visit more of this site or on  Expats Post.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Big Miracle

Directed by Ken Kwapis, Universal Pictures, 2012.

Starring: Drew Barrymore, John Krasinski, John Pingayak, Kristen Bell, Time Blake Nelson, Stephen Root, Dermot Mulroney, John Michael Higgins, Kathy Baker and Ted Danson.

Genre: Drama, Romance

Question: Do you have that one animal that you absolutely adore? Perhaps you collect chachkes, always gravitate towards greeting cards with their pictures on it; or you have some other form of devotion like a certain wildlife conservation project you support. I would say dogs are my favorite animals but whales come in at a close second.

Quick explanation of why I like whales: When I was three years old I went into a toy store and apparently demanded this particular stuffed animal. According to my mother I had a tantrum and wouldn't stop holding it and saying, "Mine, mine, mine!" It was a stuffed whale. My parents gave in and bought it for me. I named him Herman and to this day I have no idea why I named him that. Neither do my parents. It's not like I had read Moby-Dick yet. Soon after receiving Herman, my father told me "Herman the Whale" stories at bedtime, sometimes to comfort me or to teach me life lessons. I loved them. Listening to those stories and holding Herman are some great memories; and from that point on whales have always had a deep place in my heart.

So when I saw the previews for Big Miracle I secretly knew I would end up seeing that film. Was I expecting greatness or an unbelievable tale? Not really. I thought the film would go overboard in the sentimentality and sappiness that often surrounds stories like this. However, I ended up really enjoying Big Miracle - more than I thought I would.

John Krasinski plays, Adam Carlson, a reporter in Barrow, Alaska; and he seems somewhat content in the remote frozen town although he dreams of going to a big network station. While trying to find another topic to report on, he witnesses three gray whales surfacing about a 100 yards away to get air and to keep the ice hole open. The family of whales is stuck there because the ocean was freezing over quicker than normal. They had missed their chance to start their migration south.

Now for the rest of the tale, it's pretty predictable but I didn't care. I was too content. Politicians, Greenpeace, oil-tycoons, native Eskimo tribe, swarms of new crews and mix in a love story or two all have one thing in common: three stranded gray whales. That's Big Miracle. There was decent acting by all and the story was well told and it had whales in it. As you can see above, there was also a large amount of well-known cast of actors for Big Miracle, which sort of surprised me.

However, there was one thing that surprised me more about this film - that it was a true story. Throughout the whole movie they showed real broadcasts with the top network anchors: Brokaw, Jennings and Rather. Plus there were others that I recognized like weekend anchors and reporters. I personally don't recall this story but I had just started college that fall (1989) and didn't have a TV, and I was too busy...umm...studying. Yeah, that's it.

Since it's my rule to stay vague with these reviews I am stopping here, but I hope you get a chance to see this movie. It was a charmer. Big Miracle is a great family film and for anyone who wants a feel-good story. Oh, and I did get pretty teary-eyed at a couple of parts but I am soft-hearted, as you guys should know by now.

Based on the book Freeing the Whales How the Media Created the World's Greatest Non-Event by Tom Rose

My favorite part: That I was pleasantly surprised with the film.

My least favorite part: Can't say. I will give too much away.

Rating: PG
Length: 107 minutes

Rating: 7 out of 10

 Click on film poster below to watch instantly:

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Monthly Wrap-Up January 2012

It's that time again - Monthly Wrap-Up. There were some real treats this past month especially with the Sherlock Holmes sequel and two wonderful indie films I stumbled upon on NetflixCertified Copy (foreign) and Forget Me Not.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - 8 out of 10
Dog Soldiers - 5 out of 10
Forget Me Not - 7 out of 10
Small Town Saturday Night - 4 out of 10
Funny Games - 7 out of 10
Insidious - 4 out of 10
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows 8 out of 10
Certified Copy - 9 out of 10
Paul - 4 out of 10
Cave of Forgotten Dreams - Documentary

Non-review posts:
Songs that become a part of our soundtracks
This is the BEST!

In case you missed last month's Monthly Wrap-up - December 2011 Also, don't forget to go to Expats Posts for more of my reviews. Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Tired of Previews' movie reviews now on Expats Post

Hello everyone:

I wanted to inform you that on a routine basis I will post some movie reviews exclusively on another site: Expats Post. This is a new site that will be launching officially very soon, but I have already posted a few reviews on there that have not appeared on here.  I will let you know on a regular basis when a new review is up on Expats Post.

I am very proud to be a part of Expats Post and encourage you all to take a gander around the rest of the site. Short stories, political editorials, poetry, humor articles and many more articles help make up Expats Post. I am honored to be there and hope you all enjoy discovering some wonderful writers and their talents.

My column is called Tired of Previews but here are the direct links to the reviews that can only been seen on there.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Fermat's Room

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Preview: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Saw a couple movies in the last few days and they weren't that good. Oh well. However, I will post a review or two soon, but I have to share with you all one thing. Before one of the movies this trailer came on. I watched the ENTIRE thing - yes, ME!! :-)

UPDATE: Review of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Saturday, February 4, 2012


Directed by Josh Trank, Adam Schroeder Productions, 2012.

Starring: Michael B. Jordon, Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell, Ashley Hinshaw, and Michael Kelly.

Genre: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi.

Question: If you could have one superpower what would it be? Well, what if you were a teenage boy and you and 2 other boys all obtained the same ability and didn't have the maturity to fully handle that power? Yep, that's Chronicle.

I have often thought about what superpower I would enjoy most: flying, reading people's minds or going invisible. I'd image all the possibilities and what would happen; where I would go high up in the air; what I could learn what people really thought; how I could just disappear when it all got too hard.  But something always pops up to make me realize I am better off remaining merely human, because it's not what special ability I could possess that will make me special or great. It's the good choices I should and can make with the gifts I was born with that will prove I am special. That's all we really want, right, to be noticed and considered special?

Chronicle starts off with a high school student in his house setting up a video camera. It is present day. Suddenly there is a loud knock (pounding) on the door and a father yelling at him. The conversation that takes place just made my heart tighten and I knew how this movie would end. Anyway, the kid starts documenting his life, and for the rest of the movie we see everything through his camera or a few others. It was an approach that has been used before - "lost footage" cinematography or at least that is what I call it.

After a few scenes of seeing life from his perspective with talks with his cousin, the bullying he endures and how he is a loner, the story takes a sudden turn because he and 2 other boys receive an extraordinary ability. For the next hour or so it is just typical teenage boy stuff playing around with it, but the momentum of how one handles this sudden gift starts leaning towards the dark side. That's it - no more details.

This film is a cautionary tale as many stories are that are about teenagers. As Peter Parker was told by his uncle, "With great power comes great responsibility." But Peter Parker was awarded with a gift of compassion and he was raised by loving, caring people to help veer him in the right direction even when temptation or dark thoughts creep in - as they almost always do. So what happens when you are 17 years-old you are not fully capable of handling a sudden extraordinary ability and no one is around to keep you grounded? Yep, it's not good.

Chronicle surprised me. I wasn't expecting to like it as much as I did. The story was cohesive and had just enough special effects mixed into to real life situations that it felt genuine. I will say the storyline was a bit predictable, as I mentioned in the beginning of this review, but the ride Chronicle takes you on is worth taking. It has been a while since I was a lonely teenager searching for peace and understanding, but this film forces you to remember all the awkward moments of those years and allows you to empathizes with the characters. Well done.

My favorite thing: A unique concept that was fully executed.

My least favorite thing: The father/son relationship.

Rating: PG-13
Length: 83 minutes

Review: 7 out of 10

Click on film poster to watch instantly or purchase DVD: