Friday, December 28, 2012

Silver Linings Playbook (2012): Review

Tonight for my Friday Night Movie, I went and saw Silver Linings Playbook and loved it.  It has been a while since I enjoyed a drama as much as this one and was really excited after watching a non action movie. Action has seemed like it has been the attention grabber go to, of movies this year.
Silver Linings Playbook follows Pat, played by Bradley Cooper, and Tiffany, played by Jennifer Lawrence, as they build a relationship, while struggling with their mental illness and personal issues.  Pat has just been taken out of a psychiatric hospital by his mother, after he physically assaulted the man who he caught having an affair with his wife and Tiffany is dealing with the accidental death of her husband.  Pat is convinced that he is fine and is trying to prove that he will fix the relationship with his wife, who has a restraining order against him. Pat and Tiffany form a relationship in which they start out using each other and as they move through this process they discover that they have come to rely on and support each other.
This movie was barely controlled chaos and shows all of the characters flaws as they struggle with their own difficulties and denial.  It was such ridiculousness that it was awesome. My attention was kept throughout the movie and I just wanted to see what was going to added to the mix next. I was pulled into the struggles of the characters and the genuine quality of Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence and they went back and forth with each other.  They played well off each other and I found myself rooting for them, especially because they were so damaged and just needed to connect with someone.  As a counselor, I wasn't distracted by how they played the mental illness and I like that it wasn't taken too far or seriously caricatured.  There were moments of humor and cinematic license but I think that it worked for the overall effect of this movie.  Like I said, I really enjoyed this movie and look forward to seeing it again, in order to be able to better pay attention to the nuances of the characters and their interactions with each other.

My Rating: 3+

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Les Misérables (2012): Review

Staring: Hugh Jackman (Jean Valjean), Russell Crowe (Javert), Anne Hathaway (Fantine), Amanda Seyfried (Cosette), Sacha Baron Cohen (Thénardier), Helena Bohen Carter (Madame Thénardier), Madame Thénardier (Marius), and Samantha Barks (Éponine).

Les Misérables is set during the French Revolution and follows Jean Valjean through the course of sixteen years.  It weaves in and out of the connected lives of the main characters.  Prior to watching Les Misérables today, I had not seen the musical and was unfamiliar with more then the general story.  I went in not knowing what to expect but knowing that there are many people who have been anxiously awaiting this production.
It took me a while to get into the story and figure out the relationships of the main characters. I found the movie hard to follow, it would jump around, introducing characters that I was unfamiliar with, and expect me to know what was going on.
As a whole, my feelings toward this movie are conflicted, as I wanted to like it more but I just didn't.  I was able to emotionally connect to some of the characters and felt their hardships but, at times I was distracted and not pulled into the world of the movie.
I was disappointed in Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe, who were the two characters at the heart of the story. Neither of them felt like they embodied their characters, and when there were alone on screen, I had difficulty connecting or caring about either of them. I found myself wanting to see more of the other characters.  Although, the two male leads were disappointing the female leads were fantastic, especially Anne Hathaway.  They brought me into their experiences and I was definitely rooting for them to succeed and sad when they suffered.
Throughout the movie I felt claustrophobic and I was disappointed that many of the scenes where shot very close into the actors, at times I really wished that the camera would just back up and let me see what was going on, not just the face of the actor singing.  The location within France could have been used and the set pieces had the appearance of being big but were not shown or highlighted.
Overall, it was fine but no where near as special as it could have been or what I wanted.
This is a movie to be seen only by people who like musicals and period pieces and is not for everyone.

My rating: 2-

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Jack Reacher (2012): Review

This morning I went with the family to see Jack Reacher.  Jack Reacher, played by Tom Cruise, is an ex-army investigator who drifts around off the grid.  As he states in the movie "it started as an exercise, it became an obsession" for him to roam around where no one can pinpoint him. He surfaces when an ex-soldier is charged with being the sniper who killed five innocent people.  Rosamund Pike plays Helen, the lawyer trying to make sure her client gets a fair trial.  As with all investigator stories, there are a few twist and misdirections as Jack hunts down the individuals who were involved in this set up and frame.
For a investigatory story, this one was fairly predictable and followed the normal process to find those responsible for the set up. It is slightly different because the audience knows, from the beginning, that this was a set up and therefore there is little suspense  as the story pays itself out.
Although the movie had a fairly predictable plot, it was enjoyable to watch and overall keep the pace going. The was good chemistry between Cruise and Pike, this was interesting to watch and their interactions stood out as the best things in the movie.  The action scenes were not too choppy and there were a several humor gags thrown in, which elicited a few giggles.
Overall it was a good but not outstanding action movie.

My Rating: 2

Friday, December 21, 2012

Monster's Inc 3D: Review

Tonight I went to see Monster's Inc 3D which is the newley released 3D version of the 2001 movie staring the voices of John Goodman as Sulley, Billy Chrystal as Mike Wazowski, and Steve Buscemi as Randall.  The movie follows Sulley, the top scarer at Monster's Incorporated, and his best friend Mike.  Sulley and Mike get caught up in the diabolical plot of Randall to kidnap children, who's screams are used power the city. Sulley and Mike unwillingly become the protectors of Boo, a human child, who is targeted by Randell's to be his first test subject.
I first saw Monster's Inc back when it came out in 2001 and really loved it and it was a common occurrence for me to watch this movie throughout my time in college. I even had a remote controlled Mike Wazowski, which I gladly ran up and down my dorm hallway. I have been excited for the 3D version of this movie since I first heard it was coming out in 3D, as it meant that I would be able to see it on the big screen again. All I have to say is that I think I enjoy this movie more and more every time that I see it
The 3D was a little distracting as the movie started in with the into, and the animation was a little dated. But as the movie started to really get going, I was drawn into the world of Monstropolis. To me, it seemed like the 3D added a lot of depth to the movie landscape and this was used to great effect during the door chase scene. The large scope of the storage room seemed extremely vast and was improved upon with the use of the 3D. On the big screen I was able to noticed details that I had not in the past, such as Mike has freckles, and the ridiculously complex intricacy of Sulley's computer generated fur. 
I would recommend anyone who had a joy for this movie to go see it again in 3D and to any family's with younger children.
Monster's Inc. remains one of my favorite Pixar movies.

My rating: 3-
My nostalgic rating: 3+

Monday, December 17, 2012

Star Trek: Into Darkness: Trailer 2 Released

The last few weeks have been very exciting for Star Trek fans, the first poster for Star Trek: Into Darkness was published, the initial teaser trailer was released, a nine minute prologue was shown, and now the second teaser trailer has been released.

Watch below

So what do we know; we know that at some point Captain Kirk will be making choices that may or may not result in a crew members death ("everyone under your command killed"). We know that all of the main cast members are featured in moments of strife and are struggling to get through some type of destruction. That there will be space battles, a volcano planet, and sexual tension between Spock and Uhura.
There is continued debate over who the villain will be. There are hints that it will be Khan ("you think you're're not") but there is enough will it be/ wont it be that you cannot be sure. There has even been more options added to the mix. I am hoping for Khan, because that would be awesome!

I know that I am getting seriously excited and do not want to wait until the movie's release on May 17, 2013. But I will have to wait while trying to decipher the bread crumbs, the J.J Abrams will be sure to leave, to discover what is really going to happen.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Spotlight: White Christmas (1954)

Tonight I went to see White Christmas at The Motor City Theatre Organ Society's Redford Theatre and it was a joy to see on the big screen.  White Christmas follows Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) and Phil Davis (Danny Kaye) a preforming duo who become involved with Betty (Rosemary Clooney) and Judy Haynes (Vera Ellen) in a plot to bring business to a remote Vermont inn owned by Wallace and Davis' retired army general (Dean Jagger). Although it was not the first movie where White Christmas the song was sung, it is the movie that made it a household favorite.
White Christmas has been a Christmas staple in my family and it is tradition to watch as we put up and decorate the Christmas Tree.  Whenever I watch this film, it remind me of the joy of family and spending the holiday together. Although this movie is dated and obviously set in a post WWII era, it demonstrates the importance of coming together and being there for those we care about and helping a friend in need.  This is a film that I enjoy watching over and over and helps me into the Holiday Spirit. I recommend that anyone who has not watch this to make a point to see it, especially if you enjoy the schmaltzy Christmas movie.
The experience of watching this on the big screen allowed me to see the little things that I had not noticed before and the nuances of the acting displayed by the actors specifically Danny Kaye. His facial expressions and physical accents add to the overall awesomeness of this movie.

My Rating: 3


Friday, December 14, 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey 3D (2012): Review

For my Friday Night Movie this week I went and saw The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and although Bilbo Baggins embarks on an unexpected journey, I did not experience the unexpected  this movie.  Overall, I saw what I expected both positive and negative, but there were a few gems that I really enjoyed.
The first installment of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy follows Bilbo Baggins, played by Martin Freeman, as he is chosen by the Wizard Gandalf the Grey, played by Ian McKellen to be the last member to join a company of Dwarfs. This company is seeking to take back their home which was destroyed and then occupied by a dragon.
As a person who has not seen the Lord of the Rings (LOTR) Trilogy but thought she had a general idea of the main story points, I found myself confused and struggling to understand the beginning of the movie and things that may have been obvious to LOTR fans.  There was a lot of set up for the story and at times I just wanted it to get on with it.  The story line picks ups about two thirds of the way through and I really enjoyed  if after that.
The big nugget that I really enjoyed was the main scene between Bilbo and Gollum The dynamic of Gollum's two personalities and Bilbo really seemed to work and helped to turn the movie in a more favorable light.
The cinematography through out the movie was everything that I could have expected and was beautiful to watch.  The spanning landscapes  were able to capture the epic nature of middle earth and the land of Lord of the Rings.  The actions scenes were kept in the wider shot, which I found to be a breath of fresh air in a world of tight, clippy action. 
The music seemed to weave in and out of the movie and fit with the different moments and scenes.  I liked how every time the traveling company had their own music which would fade in and out as they had group scenes.
When The Hobbit started I was not sure that I would enjoy the experience of watching the film and that it would be a complete drawn out affair that was focused on just setting up the next two installments, but by the end I was drawn in and plan to see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug when it is released next December.

My Rating: 2-

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Superman: Man of Steel Trailer 2 Released

The new trailer for Superman: Man of steel has been released.


This new Superman reboot is being directed by Zack Snyder and stars Henry Cavill as Clark Kent/Superman.  It seems that this movie, like several of the more recent movie franchise reboots, is starting from the beginning and moving forward as the hero struggles to find himself and embody the hero we have all grow up loving.  I am not certain how excited I am for this movie, because I was extremely disappointed in Superman Returns (2006) which was not good at all.  I am hoping that Man of Steel will be much better and turn out to be a movie deserving of Superman. A man who is strong, dedication and who I can believe would stop a speeding bullet to save my life, while at the same time, mesmerizing me.
This trailer shows that the movie has promise and that if taken correctly, will be able to emotionally connect with the audience and the struggle of a man who is becoming a legend.  I hope there will be enough action to keep the movie interesting, there are hints at this action in the trailer.  And that there will be a connection between Superman and Lois Lane (Amy Adams) as the Lois/ Clark relationship, in my opinion, is vital to the Superman dynamic.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Star Trek: Into Darkness Teaser Trailer Released

I am super excited about the Star Trek: Into Darkness teaser trailer.  I am a huge Star Trek fan and have been waiting for the second movie to come out since I watched the first Star Trek Reboot film. J. J. Abrams did a fantastic job with the last movie and it is one of my favorite sci-fi films.  I wish that I didn't have to wait until next year to see the movie but am glad that there is finally official footage being shown.
You can watch the clip following the link below.

So far we do not know who the villain of into the darkness will be, but the main speculation is that it is either Khan or Gary Mitchel. From what I have heard of the first nine minutes of the movie, which will be shown before the Hobbit will not reveal who the villain will be only that it will wet the appetite of Star Trek fans for the new movie to come.

I don't know about you, but it is starting to get hard to contain my excitement.

UPDATE: Please note that you can only see the first nine minutes before the IMAX 3D version of the Hobbit, not the regular 3D or 2D versions.

I made the mistake of seeing the Hobbit in regular 3D and am quite upset that I didn't realize I wouldn't get to see this teaser.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Lincoln (2012): Review

Tonight for my Friday night movie I saw Lincoln, which follows President Abraham Lincoln, played by Danial Day Lewis, from his re-election in 1864 through the vote of the 13 amendment into the Constitution of the United States.  I was excited to see this movie and had been waiting a couple of weeks since its release to see it.  I hate to say that I was disappointed throughout the film and at several points was bored.  I kept waiting for the movie to get going and have something that keep my attention within the story.  There were several places that could have gone somewhere interesting that would have made the movie more entertaining to watch, as the basic story line had lots of promise. This movie should have been slightly shorter with less focus on so many supporting characters.
The bright spot in this movie was Danial Day Lewis, who transformed himself into President Abraham Lincoln.  His character was developed and interesting to watch.  At times, I found myself caught up in his stories, only to be disappointed once again as the movie moved away away from Lincolns experiences.  Mr. Lewis was able connect on scene with his children and I found myself seeing the interpretation of a father during scenes with his sons, but felt that the relationship between him and his wife Mary (Sally Field) could have been more natural.
Overall, I was disappointed in a film that could have been great, if it moved at a better pace.  The cinematography was well done and visually it felt true to the grit of the time.

My Rating: 1+

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Skyfall (2012): Review

Thus far I have watched Skyfall twice and I enjoyed it the second time as much as the first time.  In Skyfall, Daniel Craig plays James Bond who is struggling with his humanity.  Daniel plays a brilliantly damaged James Bond who isn't certain if he is up to the challenge of being his legendary self, but it trying anyway.  In this movie, Daniel Craig definitely has the Bond character down and embodies the modern day Bond. Although Skyfall continues to center Bond in the present, it sprinkles in references to James Bond Past. References that would delight the Bond fan like myself and keep interest in trying to find them all.
As I watched this movie, it had all of the Bond aspects that I expected but with a few twists thrown in.  The main fail, is the lack of romantic interest that I expect in a Bond film, although it was not missed completely.  As the film closed, I was excited for the next chapter and want to see where it would go.

My Rating 2+

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Rise Of The Guardians (2012): Review

The most recent new movie I have watched is the Rise Of The Guardians. I watched this movie over the weekend and I loved it.  It kept me entertained and had me rooting for the the main characters, specifically Jack Frost. Which was the point.  I would recommend this movie to anyone who likes a good family story with a bit of whimsy, and takes you back to the joys of childhood, where you believed that St. Nickolas, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny. As I watched this movie I was pulled into the struggle of Jack, his desire to discovery who he is and his struggle over what is the the correct thing to do. This is a children's movie and although it kept me interested there was minimal terror and expected plot points.
Although the story was predictable the visual effects and music were spectacular.  I watched this in 3D and just for the snowflakes, it was worth it.

Movie Summary: In the Rise Of The Guardians, we follow Jack Frost as he reluctantly joins the guardians of children, St. Nickolas, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and the Sandman, to protect the world against the Boogieman.  He is a young man striving to find his place in the world, while others are relying on him for help.

My Rating: 3