Sunday, February 23, 2014

3 Days to Kill (2014): Review

3 Days to Kill is the new Kevin Costner movie with him taking the lead role.  It seems like the first part of this year has a resurgence of Kevin Costner and I am happy to see him taking more of the lead role in movies again.  I really liked him in the nineties and have been looking forward to seeing this movie and it was a solid film, there was nothing really special about it but it had some good interactions between the characters and spent time to show their relationships between each other.  That being said the plot wasn't really there for me and there were some side characters that were brought in, focused on for a little while but then faded away or were eliminated without any real closure or enough development to really care about them.
3 Days to Kill stars Kevin Costner as Ethan, a CIA agent who is known for killing the assignments that he has without a problem.  He discovers that he is dying so decides that it is time to reconnect with his estranged wife Tina and daughter Zoey, played by Connie Nielsen and Hailee Steinfeld.  While Tina goes on a weekend work trip Ethan takes on the role of dad to Zoey as he tries to repair his relationship with her. Some problems start to arise when CIA agent Vivi, played by Amber Heard, offers Ethan a deal.   He will help her hunt down a target of hers who Ethan has had past dealings with and she will provide him with an experimental medical treatment which may extend his life.
This movie is a pretty standard action flick but does a lot of the type of shots that I don't like and that is the tight in action sequences and fights.  These were done a lot and I found it really distracting, I just wanted them to back up the camera and stay with a shot for a while without cutting back and forth.  This movie is worth seeing if you like standard action movies and are not expecting it to have anything unique or groundbreaking.  It is PG-13 and it keeps within that zone so it would be an action movie that would be fine for younger kids to watch.  There is a lot of killing in it but the violence is minimal and there is almost nothing in reference to sex.  There are some allusions at nudity but that's it.  
This film is more of a watch on DVD later movie and is nothing that has to be seen but I did enjoy seeing Kevin Costner back in the drivers seat of a movie.

My Rating: 2

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Drinking Buddies (2013): Review

This weekend my sister wanted to watch the 2013 movie Drinking Buddies and I decided to watch it with her.  This movie is about four people but focuses mainly on Olivia Wilde's character Kate.  Kate works as the officer person at a brewery where her best friend at work is Luke, played by Jack Johnston.  It is common for these two to have lunch together and then go out after work with the other guys from the brewery and have a few beers.  Also in the mix is Luke's long term girlfriend Jill, played by Anna Kendrick, and Kate's newer boyfriend Chris, played by Ron Livingston.  This movie has an indie feel and before I watched it with my sister I had never heard of it before but it was worth the watch.  
Like I said this movie has the indie feel and therefore it doesn't really go anywhere, it just focuses on the short snapshot of these people's lives that it shows during the film.  It starts by introducing the characters and their established relationship prior to the movie starting.  It continues with Kate, Chris, Luke, and Jill going on a weekend trip together to Chris' family cabin and showing there are some cracks and bonds between the characters.  It shows how relationships can be tested, strained, and they possibly realign as the people continue on their lives.  All surrounded by the drinking of beer.

This is a quality indie film and worth watching for anyone who likes these types of indie dramas that question the established relationships of people within their world.  Be prepared, you will want to have a beer while watching the move (this coming from a person who inst really a beer drinker) or at least have one after so be prepared, and remember to drink your beer out of a glass not the bottle, as the characters mainly do in this movie.

My Rating: 2+

Monday, February 17, 2014

Labor Day (2014): Review

I have been looking forward to seeing the movie Labor Day since I saw the first trailer for it because it has been a while since I have seen a romance movie that is just that a drama romance about the characters and their relationship to each other and little else.  Plus this movie stars Kate Winslet and she is one of those actresses that is just fantastic and can get me to easily be on her side and fascinated to watch the journey she goes through. This movie kind meanders through the story like a Sunday afternoon and I mean that as a good thing.  It is an enjoyable movie that sucked me in, it is a movie where not a whole lot happens and it takes its time going through the story but it didn't feel slow.
Labor Day is a movie adaptation of the 2009 Joyce Maynard book of the same name and although I consider this movie to really be about Kate Winslet's character Adele it is shown through the perspective of her son Henry, played by Gattlin Griffith, who narrates the movie as if he is recalling the events of the main story which occurred over labor day weekend before he starts seventh grade. The movie spends most of its time with the main story line which occurs in the nineteen eighties but flashes back to the earlier back story of Frank, played by Josh Brolin, but ends with showing you the story ends in the time after this faithful weekend.  This main story is about how Adele suffers from mental health issues making it difficult for her to interact with the world around her and leave her house. While she is out for her monthly shopping trip with her son Henry, they encounter Frank, an escaped convict from the local prison.  He gets Adele and Henry to take him back to their house where he develops a relationship with them over the course of the Labor Day weekend.  During this time Adele, Frank, and Henry have to come to terms with their own demons and deal with the obstacles and danger that Frank brings with him.

I really enjoyed this movie and liked how it was just focused on the relationships between the characters and focused on the small scope of their lives and interactions.  It was refreshing to have it focused on the acting and story and had a script that the actors were able to work with.  It goes at a sedate pace but this fit the overall feel of the movie and how it set in the hot days of late summer.  It is a movie that I would recommend for people who like dramas and romances that are not over the top or flashing.  It reminds me of the good movies that I grew up watching that were about the people and situations they are in, not relying on fancy sets or special effects to keep the audience interested.

My Rating: 3

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Winter's Tale (2014): Review

Tonight I went and saw a double feature and because it is Valentines Day weekend I wanted to see something that was romance based and I am glad to say that overall I liked Winter's Tale.  Going in I wasn't really sure what to expect as the previews were a little confusing, and although I liked the movie overall you have to let go of some of the gaps and just go with it.
Winter's Tale is a movie adaptation of Mark Helprin's 1983 book of the same name.  It stars Colin Farrell as  thief Peter Lake, a man who was brought to New York City as a baby and grew up on the streets being mentored by Pearly Soames, played by Russell Crowe, who is a demon trying to stop humans from using their internal miracles to save the people around him. In 1915 as Peter is trying to lay low from being pursued by Pearly and his men he meets and falls in love with Beverly Penn, played by Jessica Brown Findlay.  This book jumps back and forth between present day 2014 and 1915.  In 1915 Pearly is trying to prevent Peter from saving Beverly who is dying of Consumption and 2014 where Peter doesn't know who he is and trying to find out why he is still wandering the streets of New York City.

Like I said overall I liked this movie but it is a movie that you have to let go and go with the story.  There are some jumps that you have to do as a audience member and not get stuck with wanting everything to make sense.  This movie that takes a while to get going and also sorta ends quickly and wraps up when I would have liked it to take a bit longer to get there and given me a bit more.  Although this story happens at two different times, there is much more time spent on the 1915 timeline and doesn't really spend much time of the present day.  I think this bugged me a bit more then it could have because the previews of this movie away what happens in the 1915 story and therefore there was all this screen time spent on the part of the story that I knew what was going to happen.  I know that this movie was made out of a book, but it wasn't a book that the story is common knowledge so they could have held back with what was going to happen so I was more engaged during that part.  This being said I really liked the connection between Collin Farrell and Jessica Brown Findley and think that they worked very well off of each other.

Although this movie was released on Valentines day and has the love each other with their whole being thing between the Peter and Beverly, this movie is more about seeking destiny and the fantastical.  I did enjoy this movie and think it is worth watching for those who like movies that are about fantasy and seeking out destiny.  It is more of a family film but also has some dark elements to it without being scary.

My Rating: 2+

RoboCop (2014): Review

I have been excited for the remake of the 1987 RoboCop movie and I am happy to say that it met my expectations and that I really enjoyed it. Anyone who is a fan of action movie will like this movie as it keeps movie, gives enough into the story to be pulled in but focus on the coolness of the RoboCop.  It continues to push the don't trust machines as they will take over the future stuff but the bad guys in this movie are still the people pulling the strings. 
RoboCop is a remake of the 1987 movie and stars Joel Kinnaman as Detroit Police Office Alex Murphy a cop who is trying to hunt down the corrupt in Detroit and ends up being blown up in a murder attempt against him.  Much of his person is damage so he is chosen by OmniCorp to be the new product to keep the American People safe.  OmniCorp has been trying to get the United States to approve having their machines take over the job of policing the streets as they have been doing in others areas of the world.  Alex has to come to grips with what happens to him with the help of Dr. Dennett Norton, played by Gary Oldman, while the OmniCorp execs try to use him for their own purposes.  The OmniCorp execs are owner Raymond Sellars played by Michael Keaton, Liz Kine played by Jennifer Ehle, and PR manager Tom Pope played by Jay Baruchel. The movie is narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, who plays Pat Novak, a televsion host who is helping OmniCorp push the agenda of having machines on the streets.
This movie was the type of action movie that I really like.  There is enough of a story and character interaction to keep me interested, there are characters that work together but it is easy to differentiate between them and keep everyone separate in my mind.  Yes many of the supporting characters are one dimensional but this is fine as they are just that supporting characters. I think that overall it was a good cast and they acted in a way that went went each other and the general feel of the movie.  The pace is good and their is a good mixture of different action sequences.  There were some moments when the battles were a little video game but as these type of graphics are getting really good this didn't bother me.  I liked the overall feel of the movie and how it was shoot, but there were some parts where they did the thing I don't like with the shaky cam and tight shots, overall this was fine.
This was an action movie, which meant that I was primed to like it and it was also set in Detroit, Michigan and as a Metro Detroit gal myself I really liked this.  I liked the little Detroit touches and references to the areas around it.  I did notice that they got something wrong with their Detroit references when they talked about pooling inmates at the Ryan Correctional Facility because I work with a criminal population and know that it now the Detroit Re-entry Center. 
Basically this is a good action movie and anyone who likes action movie will like this and I recommend that you see it.  

My Rating: 3-

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Vampire Academy (2014): Review

Vampire Academy is the most recent teen lit paranormal movie adaption from a book series of the same name.  The Vampire Academy series was written by Richelle Mead and turned into a movie.  I believe they were aiming for the same success of the series before them and although this movie is fast past and kept my interest it did not have the pull in that others do.  This movie was exactly what I was expecting and for anyone who decided to go see it because they like this teen lit vampire movie will enjoy it but it isn't something that I would recommend for people who don't favor these types of movies.
The background of this movie goes into explaining all of the specific names that are used in this series, and one of the good things that I liked about this movie it is explains all of it in an obvious way so I was able to follow what happened.  Basically it follows Rose Hathaway, played by Zoey Deutch, who is from a race that guards the good vampires and is best friends with vampire princess Lissa Dragomir, played by Luch Fry. Prior to the movie starting Lissa's family had been killed and Lissa and Rose were on the run trying to keep Lissa safe.  These two are best friends and share a bond where Rose can sense Lissa's emotions and see what she is seeing. They are found by guardian Dimitri, played by Danila Kozlovski, and brought back to vampire academy where Rose and Lissa are suppose to be safe and recieve the training they need as teenagers. While there they continue to experience strife and have to discover who is targeting Lissa.  Also involved is potential love interest for Lissa Christian, played by Dominic Sherwood.  New friend Natalie Dashkov, played by Sarah Hyland, and old friend of the Dragomir's Victor Dashkov, played by Gabriel Byrne.

This movie is very fast pace and keeps the story going. There inst anything that is really shocking and seems to combine lots of different things together.  There is the petty squabbling of the high school atmosphere.  There is the danger of the evil vampires that are the real reason the guardians are there to protect the royal line. There is the drama filled loved interests between Lissa and Christian and Rose and Dimitri. The mystery of who is after Lissa. And the mystery of what happened to former Vampire Academy teacher Ms. Karp, played by Claire Foy.
Like I said this movie is exactly what you would expect from this type of movie and although there is nothing particular special about it there is nothing that bad.  The cast could have been better and less melodramatic but the overall feel of that, the filming, and the mood of the film all go together.  I don't really like the connection between Rose and Dimitri but it fits with the story and it may be more to the fact that I didn't find anything that alluring about Dimitri.  Lately I have found that I am more judging of the characters that I am suppose to be attracted to as the female audience and I want them to be actually someone that you would want to do a double take and really objectify. 

Like I said go see this movie if the trailer interested you because this movie is basically a full film version of the trailer.

My Rating: 2

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Monuments Men (2014): Review

Tonight for Friday night movie night I went and saw the new George Clooney and Matt Damon movie The Monuments Men and it was interesting, somewhat entertaining and a pretty good drama with a hint of humor.  The main positives of this movie is the charisma of the actors as they were enjoyable to watch but the movie struggled with its overall flow.
The Monuments Men is a movie based on the book of the same name by Robert M. Edsel. It focuses on the story of a group of soldiers during WWII who are tasked with searching out and trying to return art work, mainly paintings and sculptures, that were taken during the war and returned.  They are trying to preserve the artistic expressions of culture and show that there is importance in maintaining historic pieces of art from war. Although the cast was led by George Clooney as Frank Stokes, and Matt Damon as James Granger, this movie is very much an ensemble cast.  This monuments men platoon also consists of Bill Murray as Richard Campbell, John Goodman as Walter Garfield, Jean Dujardin as Jean Claude Clermont, Bob Balaban as Preston Savtiz, Hugh Bonneville as Donald Jeffries, and Dimitri Leonidas as Sam Epstein.  Also part of the cast is French art curate Clair Simone played by Cate Blanchett.  To me the plot of the movie is what all the characters were doing and working towards together but their interactions between each other and all the other side characters is what the movie was about. 
This movie definitely falls into the category of drama and if you are looking for action you will not find it in this movie, it is very story driven but has some moments of humor in it and I laughed multiple times throughout the movie. Although I liked this movie there wasn't anything that was specifically memorable about it or exciting about it, it did move at a slow pace and just meanders along. There was some time uncertainty for me watching it and although it tells you where and where the characters are, as well as mentioning time it seems as if it jumps around.

I really liked how all of the characters worked together and think that anyone who likes dramas with a hint of humor will like this movie.  It is not for anyone who easily gets bored in movie as there is no real action or suspense.  It was fair but lackluster.

My Rating: 3