Thursday, February 28, 2013

21 and Over: Trailer

I had posted the trailer for the upcoming movie 21 and Over, being released on March 1st, because it is one of those stupid comedy movies that I think I  might see.  If you know me, you know that I tend to favor action movies and romantic comedies but this one looks like it might be worth a viewing.  Let me know if you think I should actually see it.

It is basically three young men on one of their 21st birthdays.  It seems to follow them through the night as they get drunk and into a lot of nonsense.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Battle of the Movies: Other Worlds

In the next two weeks there are two movies coming out that involve journeying to other worlds, they are Jack the Giant Slayer, being released March 1st, and Oz: The Great and Powerful, being released March 8th. I am super excited for both of these movies, but I am trying not to get too excited because the magically focused fairy tale type movies which have come out recently have been disappointments.  One of the positives is neither of these are my fav favorite stories, so there is not as much that they have to live up to.

Jack the Giant Slayer

Jack the Giant Slayer stars Nicholas Hoult as Jack.  Hoult most recently stared as zombie R in Warm Bodies (review available in archive) and was surprising charming and entertaining as a coming back to life zombie and I am looking forward to what he will do with Jack.  I like that from the get go of the trailer it says that they will be mucking around with the story of Jack and the Beanstalk so I will not be looking for much similarity to the English folk story. It seems that Jack meets the princess Isabelle, played by Eleanor Tomlinson, who in some way gets kidnapped by Giants who are planning on taking over the world (Giants live in a land in the sky which you can reach by climbing giant beanstalks from magic beans).  He must somehow save the princess and defeat the giants and I am hoping find wealth of some kind to keep in line with the basic story.  This movie also stars Ewan McGregor and Stanley Tucci, resulting in me thinking that it will be a better movies because of the three male leads.
I am expecting a lot of over the top fun and shenanigans with this movie.

Next up coming out a week later is Oz: The Great and Powerful

Oz: The Great and Powerful is a prequel to The Wizard of Oz (1939).  I am a bit more dubious about this movie the Jack the Giant Slayer, because it seems to be tyring to promote a serious film.  It starts James Franco as a unsuccessful magician who gets transported in his hot air balloon to the land of Oz. There he meets three witches played by Milla Kunis, Rachel Weisz, and Michelle Williams.  It has been identified that Michelle Williams plays Glinda and I believe the Milla Kunis plays the Wicked Witch of the West (imdb), so I assuming the Rachel Weisz is the Wicked Witch of the West.  I do not know much about this movie's plot other then it is about how the this loser of a magician from Kansas becomes leader of the Emerald City and the exalted Wizard of Oz.  I hope that this movie is able to pull everything together, as the Wizard of Oz is a classic and a lot to live up to.  If it doesn't conclude as if the next movie is ready to start (or at least a good lead up to) I will be quite disappointed.

We will see which one wins out and review will be available to ready shortly.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Snitch (2013): Review

This weekend the new Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson movie Snitch came out. In this movie, Johnson continues to leave his wrestling moniker behind and seeks to play this role very dramatically but without theatrics.  Overall I think he was successful and at times, he seemed to morph into the role, but he continues to be "The Rock" to me on screen, overacting and being very dramatic when a little more subtle would have been better.
In the Snitch, Johnson plays John Matthews, a father who's son has been sentenced to ten years in prison due to the minimal sentence law for drug dealing and his decision not to set up anyone to reduce his sentence.  To help save his son, who's behavior he blames himself for, Matthews enters the world of drug transportation to take down the drug cartel.  To do so, he involves ex-con Daniel James, played by Jon Bernthal to provide the in into the drug transportation world.  Through this Mathews and James encounter the danger of trying to keep their families safe while taking down the drug Kingpin played by Benjamin Bratt. Also starting Susan Sarandon as the women who controls the fate of Matthew's son.
Overall this was an alright action movie but with a focus on the drama and emotional turmoil of the main characters.  At times it was a little slow, but the action scenes had lots of stuff getting destroyed and shot up.  I liked the interactions between the characters but there wasn't anyone that took of the role of villain who evokes fear in the audience.  There were moments of overacting but this wasn't that bad an action movie and there was use of the tight shot of characters and action moments, which I continue to complain about.
Although this movie was good for an action movie, the main struggles I had with this movie, I brought into it because of what I do. I am a counselor who works with a criminal population involved with drug use and I found myself getting exasperated when the parents particularly Johnson's character kept taking all of the blame for the son's decision to get involved with drug trafficking and took on the responsibility of fixing it for him.  Even the son stated that he knew he shouldn't have done it but no one puts any blame there.  I know it is necessary for this to happen as a quick way to get the action going and to develop motivation for Johnson's character to enter into this fray but I would have liked it better if it was more of a forced choice then a taking on all the responsibility choice.  I also didn't like that they referred to the behavior as being a snitch, because it was more a set up for the drug dealers/ cartel then snitching.  Again I think this only bugged me because of my daily contact with this type of language.
Again overall it was a good action movie, very predictable but worth seeing for anyone who tends to favor the action genre.

My Rating: 2

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Safe Haven (2013): Review

Safe Have is the newest Nicholas Sparks book to movie adaptation and it had a lot to live up to. It follows Katie, played by Julianne Hough, as she seeks to run away from her abusive past by settling in South Port, NC.  As she starts to make a new life for herself she meets Alex, payed by Josh Duhamel, a widower with two small children.  As they develop a relationship with each other they are tested and put in danger when Katie's past catches up with her.
Going into this movie, I was hopping for lots of sap and romantic gestures, a classic romantic cliche, this is what the movie seemed to go for but it never really got there.  The chemistry between Julianne and Josh was lackluster and I never really felt they were connecting or really simmer with sexual tension.  It seemed very forced and their interactions seemed more awkward them smouldering.  I think that this movie just didn't comment to the romance factor as if kept bringing in the thriller aspect with the hunt for Katie's character.  With not really committing to either one, or both of these, factors I never really emotionally connected with the love story or felt really attached to the thriller.
Besides these, it was an okay movie that had some characteristic scenes.  There was a rain scene but no kissing in the rain (I have come to expect and want this in a Nicholas Sparks movie) and it ended with a slightly tearful moment where I found myself feeling for Alex's kids. 

My Rating: 1+

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Beautiful Creatures (2013): Review

Going into watch Beautiful Creatures I was hoping that it would satisfy my internal teenage girl and I am happy to say that it did. This movie took me through the emotions of I like it, I like it, I love it, I hate it, and then I love it again. When I am looking for these mystical teenage lit movie makes this is the type of movie I am expecting and that I love these movies to be, it included the standard you’re are a teenage and so much in love, but with the awkwardness of youth thrown in.

The first thing I discovered going into this movie, is that the perspective is not so much through Lena but through Ethan. It was refreshing to get to see this type of movie from the boy’s perspective, although the main story is about the girl. This movie centers on Lena who is a caster (this movie's term for witch) who is fast approaching her sixtieth birthday. The importance of this date is that on this date she will be claimed for either the light or the dark depending on her true nature. Her family is torn apart between those who want her to take control of her own destiny and choose the light and those who are hoping that she will be claimed for the dark. As this is happening, Lena is learning about the curse that surrounds the females in her family as well as her feelings for Ethan.

Like I stated before I really liked this movie, but it is what it is, a teen lit adaptations that focuses on the supernatural. I liked the relationship between Lena and Ethan and I liked that both of them are a little awkward within their relationship. I could have done without all the stereotypical small town Christian characters who are all "my mamma says" and "going to hell" as I do not think that this was needed and it could have easily put Lena and family as the outcasts without this. I found myself rooting for Lena and Ethan as well as wanting Lena to find her good through this relationship.

This movies starts with a voice over from Ethan and I think that I have had enough of voice overs in movies as a easy way to give set up, but it is not too bad in this movie. It is also full of the melodrama expected in this type of movie.

I recommend anyone who usually goes for this type of movie to see it because I think that it was well done and like I said my internal teenage girl loved it.

My Rating: 3

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Good Day to Die Hard (2013): Review

I have been looking forward to this new Die Hard movie, that it was the one of the four Valentine releases that I choose to watch at the 10pm premiere.  I was really excited going into but I was trying not to get too excited because it seems lately the movies I am really looking forward to have been alright, and the ones that I'm more kinda interested in have turned out to be quite good.  A Good Day to Die Hard has followed this trend, and it was okay but not really that great.
In A Good Day to Die Hard, Bruce Willis is back as John McClane who is once again thrown into a situation where he is responsible to play the hero and kill the "scumbags." This one is set in Russia, When McClane goes to find his son who he believes to be in trouble but later discovers he is working for the CIA doing spy shit.  He is striving to reconnect with his son because they have had a strained relationship.  As they get thrown into a situation where they have to take care of business, standard Die Hard action ensue with some seriously set up destruction scenes.
The main good point of this movie is Bruce Willis back as John McClane.  He brings that lovable grouch of a character back and there are many moments where he has that twinkle in his eye and that is how I love to see Bruce Willis.  I thought there were some nice moments between father and son and the action scenes were over the top Die Hard scenes.  When I say that I mean completely unrealistic with lots of collateral damage.
The bad part of this movie was the ridiculous set up and plot.  I wasn't expecting a lot and really I didn't need much in the plot department, but with this movie, it took a while to get going and I could have done without the half hearted attempt to go into detail with the bad guys and how they kept trying to fed info about them but without really giving anything you cared about.  it would have been better if they stuck with something simpler and the could have still had a few twists with it.  I found the most annoying part to be the main guy who is after the McClanes because there was noting really sinister about him and he just acted weird, but in a not entertaining way.
This movie continued in the trend of having extreme close ups which as I have stated in the past I will complain about until directors stop it and also used a lot of shaky cam work.  This wasn't that bad after the movie got going, but in the beginning was slightly annoying.
Overall, I liked the classic Die Hard moments and the relationship development between father and son, but it could have had less nonsense in the plot.

My Rating: 1

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Battle of the Movies: Valentine's Day

Later this week is Valentine's Day and it is a movie release extravaganza.  There is a movie coming out that will meet anything that people are interested in seeing.  There is a classic romance, a big budget action, a fantasy young adult adaptation, and a children's movie.  Like I said, there is a movie coming out this Thursday that will meet anyone's Valentine's wants.  It will be hard for me to decide which one I don't want to see as much, because I want to see them all (I think I will end up seeing all of them over the long weekend, but only if I can find the time).  I am listing them in my expected order of viewing and excitement, but all of them look entertaining and would be a great choice.

The Action Movie:
A Good Day To Die Hard

This is the fifth installment of the Die Hard Franchise and I am super excited to see it. If you know me, you know that I live action movies, and that i love Bruce Willis in action movies so if this movie doesn't like up to my expectations I am going to be seriously annoyed.  A Good Day to Die Hard, follows John McClane, played by the fantastic Bruce Willis as he once again is thrust into circumstances where he has to kick but and take names.  This time in Russia against some type of terrorist.  The trailers don't really focus on the villain and to me he is not that important because no one will ever be as amazing as Alan Rickman in the original Die Hard, but it looks like they somehow are going after Jack McClane, John's CIA operative son.  I like that this movie brings his son, played by Jai Courtney, into the mix as the last installment has some focused on the strained relationship between McClane and his daughter.  I think that this is a must see for any action buff.

Supernatural Teenage Book Adaptation:
Beautiful Creatures

Beautiful Creatures is the most recent movie adaption of teenage literature aimed for the female populations.  The book was written by Kami Garcia and the movie stars Alice Englert, as Lena.  Lena is a young women who is fast approaching her sixteenth birthday.  As she is from a family of casters (witches) she is not having a normal transit into womanhood, on her sixteenth birthday she will be claimed either for the dark or the light.  Per usually her journey is not just the normal one, and the dark side is hoping to claim her because she is destined to be the most powerful caster and determine the fate of humanity.  During this struggle she meets a young boy who she develops feelings for and teenage drama and angst is bound to be galore.  I am expecting this to be pretty standard in format for this type of movie, but I am hoping that it will satisfy the teenage girl who will forever be in heart.

Classic Romance:
Safe Haven

It is definitely Valentine's Day with a new Nicolas Sparks movie and Safe Haven is this years release.  I usually like Nicolas Sparks movies, but they tend to be hit or miss for me.  This one starts Julianne Hough as Katie, a young women who is trying to get away from her past, and i suspect abusive stalker, so she settles in the quite town of Southport, NC just trying to blend into the background.  While she is there she meets the young widower Alex, played by Josh Duhamel.  They keep bumping into each other, but of course the building of their relationship is disrupted when Katie's past shows up looking of her.  Because this is a Nicolas Sparks movie adaption, I am expecting some type of kissing in water scene and some type of tear jerker moment.  I hope this is one of the better Sparks adaptations as I am ready for a good Romance movie to get me through this most romantically focused holiday.

Children/Family Fare:
Escape From Planet Earth

This is the option when having a more family friendly of kid focused movie excursion this weekend.  Escape From Planet Earth follows Scorch and Gary Supernova, alien brothers who are hero team.  One the brawn and one the brains.  When Scorch gets trapped and captured on Planet Earth, it is up Gary to try and save him.  Looks to be an enjoyable movie, with enough references to at least keep adults entertained.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Side Effects (2013): Review

Tonight I went and saw Side Effects and it was not what I expected but in a good way.  It stars Jude Law as Dr. Banks a New York psychiatrist and his patient Emily Taylor, played by Rooney Mara.  Emily becomes a patient of Dr. Banks and is placed on a new medication to help with her depression. She has been dealing with life after her husband, Marin, played by Channing Tatum, is released from prison.  Emily deals suffers from side effects from the drug and ends up in a predicament of did she kill this person or is she just a victim of the medication.
Being a therapist myself, I wasn't sure how i was going to like this movie, as I am extremely critical to how movies present mental illness and therapist/psychiatrist. I find myself analyzing the performances to see how realistic they are and Jude Law and Rooney Mara did a great job.  Rooney plays the depressed patient who appears confused and struggles with the situations she is in, and Jude is more of the secondary person who just happens to be a psychiatrist.  There are some moments of therapy and diagnosis, but it is more focused on Emily and her experiences.
Throughout this movie, there was lots of twists and turns and I was so caught up in the experience of watching the movie, I didn't see all of them coming.  It kept me interested and intrigued throughout and after seeing it, I could look back and see some of the misdirection and enjoy the thought that was put into the story telling.
There some things that I didn't like, there was nudity thrown in that was unneeded and seemed to be there just to have a naked women on screen for a few seconds, and they tied everything up a little too neatly at the end.  Although they had these things, it did not detract from my interest in the film and how it was a film that encouraged me to use my brain, not just be entertained by action scenes.  It was one of the better psychological thrillers I have seen in a while.

My Rating: 3

Friday, February 8, 2013

Warm Bodies (2013): Review

Tonight I went to see the Zombie Romance, Warm Bodies and I quite enjoyed it.  It was interesting to watch and although it was a zombie movie, it focused on the connections between the characters and what it means to be human.
Warm Bodies, stars Nicholas Hoult as R, a zombie who doesn't remember his life before becoming and zombie or even how he became a zombie, but he knows he wants more out of his existence.  He is striving to make connections with others but isn't able to do so, because as a zombie he cannot really articulate his thoughts.  He is going through the motions, but is seeking humanity, which is shown through him collecting nic-nacks and his fondness for music on vinyl.  As he is going about being a zombie, he comes across Julie, played by Teresa Palmer, and finds that instead of wanting to kill her and eat her brains, he is attracted to her and wants to be around her.  He saves her from being killed and convinces her that she has to stay with him, in hopes of forming a connection.  The problem being, the evil, corrected zombies, called the bonies discover the change in him and want to destroy them, and the other zombies discovering that there is live meat around.  As this is going on, Julie discovers the humanity in R and wants to help him as he helped her.
Although the plot of this movie is simplistic, it has enough to keep it going, but the pace is slow.  It seems to pace the movie with the pace of the zombies, who seem to shuffle very slowing when doing anything.  At times, it gets very slow, but not enough to really bug me.  This slowness allows a chance for the main focus to be the interactions between R and Julie, some of which are awkward, while others are sweet.  I don't know how, but I find myself emotionally connecting with R and wanting him to succeed in forming a relationship with Julie.
The movie, starts with R giving a voice over, and this continues throughout the film, but seems to be the way to connect with R and his "inner voice" as it is presented as more his internal dialogue and struggle with not being able to express himself.
Although this movie is not for everyone and was definitely not an award winner, I find that I did enjoy the process of watching it. I have to say that I liked it and think it is worth seeing, but you need to like the quirky to get enjoyment out of it.

My Rating: 2

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Fast & Furious Six Trailer

The new Fast and the Furious movie trailer has been released and it is upping the anti in car chases.  See Fast and Furious Six Trailer below:

In Fast Six you have Dom, played by Vin Diesel enlisted by Agent Hobbs, Dwayne Johnson to bring down a new car robbing crew.  This new crew has been doing jobs in Europe and has created enough havoc to enlist Dom and the rest of the crew, including Paul Walker and Tyrese Gibson to bring down this crew.  It also reintroduced Michelle Rodriguez's Letty who was thought to be killed off in the fourth installment of the series (Fast & Furious).  Based on the trailer she is not ready for the lovely dovey Reunion with Dom that he would like but as he states "you don't give up on family.

Fast Six comes out on Memorial Day and I am very excited for this new installment.  It has been a serious that I have always loved, especially if you ignore the third installment, Tokyo Drift, which I do not count to be a real Fast and Furious movie.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Bullet to the Head (2013): Review

When I watched Bullet to the Head I got what I was expecting and it was entertaining. Bullet to the head is the most recent Sylvester Stallone movie and is the first leading role he has taken outside of the Expendable franchise that brought him back as an action star.  With Bullet he is the main action draw and is not utilizing the nostalgic feel of a group of older action guys, all of who have had they hay day and deserved the homage. I ended up liking how this movie was played with no real allusions to Stallone's past work and that it took a very, this is just a great action movie approach.
In Bullet to the Head, Sylvester Stallone plays Jimmy, a career criminal who has been hired to kill someone.  After the deed is done, he is double crossed by those who hired him and his partner has been killed.  He goes out to get the people who set him up, while simultaneously been sought by the same men.  During this he encounters and begrudgingly works with Tayor Kuan, a DC cop (they are in New Orleans), played by Sung Kang.  Their main adversary is the mercenary Keegan, played by Jason Mamoa.  Also drawn into the mix, is Jimmy's daughter Lisa, played by Sung Kang. There is also cover ups and dirty cops along the way to create some type of a plot.
I liked that there was a basic plot and worked in some basic background for the key players, but it was just enough to keep the movie going and fill up the time between fight scenes.  Overall. I liked this action movie, it kept the pace going, had big musclely guys fighting and shooting each other and lots of excitement.  There were moments of humor through in, which were basically one liners, but I liked them and they didn't take away from the movie or what was going on at the time.  The major dislike I had with this movie, which is something that is very prevalent in films today and something that I will continue to complain about it is no longer used as a crutch, was the tight focus of the fight scenes.  The extreme close ups and jumping around of film angles.  Although this movie used these, it wasn't as bad as some and it was superimposed with wider shots of the overall space, which made it less annoying from my end.
This was a good action movie, but that was all that it was.  A basic storyline with lots of action throughout.  Anyone who likes action movies will enjoy going to this one.

My Rating: 2