Friday, April 27, 2012

The Pirates! Band of Misfits

Family Faire:  The Pirates!  Band of Misfits  (2012)  In this animated film, Pirate Captain sets sail with the intent of winning Pirate of the Year.  The competition though, is tough this year and it’s going to take something special - like storming the streets of London and taking on the ultimate pirate hater, the Queen of England, to win. This film is from the same animation company, Aardman Animations, that brought us the Wallace and Gromit films and last year's Arthur Christmas. While I like the stop motion animation and the witty dialogue, the kids around me at the screening seemed really bored and uninterested. The film is very complicated and I think it will be hard for kids to understand what exactly is the purpose of the voyages of the Pirates. There are some clever characters in the film that kids will enjoy, like the monkey that uses cue cards to communicate, but I just feel this film doesn't have enough for kids to engage with to make it a good family film.   My Rating:  Cable   The Pirates: Band of Misfits Website
IndiefestDamsels in Distress  (2012)  Lily (Analeigh Tipton) is the new girl on campus at Seven Oaks College. She joins a trio of girls, led by Violet (Greta Gerwig), who are determined to show Lily how to find the right man, even if Lily doesn’t always take Violet’s advice. Quirky and a little strange are the best words to describe this film, as it is full of outrageous dialog and very odd characters. Greta Gerwig is perfect in the role of the headstrong and determined Violet, who delivers lines with such a serious deadpan expression, that you have to believe she is fully behind what she says. Overall the film relies too much on repeat bits and has a tendency to go overboard with its best comedic ideas. This is one of those films you want to love but it just doesn't quite make the experience enjoyable enough for you to do so. My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   Damsels in Distress Website

Indiefest: The Hunter  (2011)  Martin (Willem Dafoe) is a mercenary who has been sent by a European Pharmaceutical company, to Tasmania to track and kill the last remaining Tasmania tiger. The tiger is rumored to have a venom that paralyzes it's victims and the company wants the venom to use in its vaccines. When Martin arrives, he finds things are much more complicated than just hunting down an animal. He must deal with a family who's environmental efforts may have led to the death of their father and a community that devided between big business and the good of the Tasmanian forests. As always, Willem Dafoe gives an intense and multilayered performance and the storyline keeps you guessing on what he will do next.   My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   The Hunter Website
The 50 (A Movie From My Best/Worst Films of All Time)
#22 Best Film
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington  (1939)  This eleven time Oscar nominated picture was directed by Frank Capra, who during the period that this film was made, was at the top of his game.  Jimmy Stewart plays Jefferson Smith, a naive young man who. due to back door politics and his family connections, is appointed to fill a vacancy in the US Senate. He is soon taken under the wing of a political savvy reporter (Jean Arthur), who tries to help him deal with the complexities of the political world. Smith learns that he is being used by a fellow senator (Claude Rains) to push through a bill in Congress that will damage the environment. The film is about how the little man, with enough conviction, can win when he has the people behind him and he believes in himself and his convictions.   Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Info

Forgotten Film: Blood Simple  (1984)  The filmmaking debut of Joel and Ethan Coen, Blood Simple is a celebration of the Film Noir style film where nothing is as it seems to be. A bar owner (Dan Hedaya) hires a private investigator (M. Emmet Walsh) to find out if his wife (Frances McDormand) is having an affair with one of his bartenders (John Getz). The film is shot mostly at night, with darkness covering most of the scenes, as the bartender learns that the affair he is having is just tip of the iceberg of what is going on in this world of deceit and intrigue. Frances McDormand is riveting in the role of a woman that is the key to a story that you understand until the end of the film.   My Rating:  Full Price   Blood Simple Info

In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD): Contraband  (2012)  I did not enjoy this very predictable film of a former smuggler (Mark Wahlberg) who is pulled back into the game when his brother-in-law gets in over his head. I especially didn't enjoy the performance of Giovanni Ribisi, who plays the main bad guy in the film, as I never could figure out what accent he was using, and he is way over the top with his performance.   My Rating:  Cable   Contraband Website

In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I've Only Seen in Trailers but Just Looks Like a Bad Idea): Rock of Ages  (2012)  I realize this film is based on the big Broadway hit musical but it looks to be just an excuse for a bunch of stars, like Tom Cruise or Alec Baldwin, to sing karaoke.   Rock of Ages Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Damsels in Distress: Tap Dancing Foley Artist

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Chernobyl Diaries  (2012)  This film is getting a lot of buzz among horror fans as it deals with a group of tourists who hire an "extreme" tour guide to take them to a town near the Chernobyl Nuclear disaster site. While exploring the town, they soon discover that they may not be alone.     Chernbobyl Diaries Website

Until Next Time!


Friday, April 20, 2012

The Lucky One

My ViewThe Lucky One (2012) Based on the Nicholas Sparks bestseller of the same name, U.S. Marine Thibault (Zac Efron) returns to North Carolina after serving a tour in Iraq. He credits his survival to a photograph he found of a woman he doesn’t even know. He is now determined to find her, the woman in the photograph, his ultimate good luck charm. The film delivers exactly what you think it is going to do, and yes, it’s a little sappy and very predictable, but isn’t that why moviegoers flock to these types of films?  Zac Efron doesn’t do a lot in this film but lift heavy bags of dog food and look cute.  I did like his love interest, actress Taylor Schilling.  This is Schilling's first major film role. She comes off prettier and softer than the trailer made her look, and she has a nice chemistry with Efron.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   The Lucky One Website
My View:  Think Like a Man (2012) Adapted from Steve Harvey’s bestselling book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, the film follows four women who take Harvey’s advice on how to deal with their significant relationships. The men in their lives find out about the book and turn the tables on their women. This film has a very large cast, and I especially enjoyed the performances of Taraji P. Henson, Regina Hall and Jerry Ferrara.  Kevin Hart is the guy everyone will be talking about after the film, though, as his character is the most outrageous of the bunch - a man who is reveling in his divorce.  I liked the film, but it is a little too long and tries to give wrap up the film with everyone in the cast getting a happy ending.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Think Like a Man Website
Indiefest Marley (2012) This is a documentary on the reggae legend, Bob Marley. The film includes archival concert footage and interviews with Marley’s family, friends and former band members and has extensive behind-the -scenes and rare concert footage. You get to see what a great performer Marley was and the influence of his music, especially in his home country of Jamaica. My only complaint about this film is its length of two and a half hours, much too long of a documentary of a man who only lived to the age of 36.   My Rating: Full Price   Marley Website
The 50 (A Movie From My Best/Worst Films of All Time)
#22 Worst Film:
Airport 1975 (1974) Put it this way, Airplane The Movie "borrowed" several of the plot lines from this clunker including the singing nun, the sick child, the person with a "drinking problem" and flying instructions from the tower. A mid-air collision with a small plane kills or injures most of the flight crew. The lead flight attendant (cross-eyed bad actress Karen Black) takes over and flies the plane, but the audience is hoping the plane will crash and just finally end the film.   Airport 1975 Info
Forgotten Film:  Diner (1982) Written and Directed by Barry Levinson, the film is about group of young men who are at a cross-roads in their lives as they transition into adulthood and have to face the responsibilities that comes with it.  The group is reunited at the wedding of one of their friends, and, throughout the film, they hang out at their old haunt, the Diner. This very funny film has an brilliant cast, with Daniel Stern, Tim Daily, Kevin Bacon, Elle Barkin and Mickey Rourke in possibly one of his best roles as the ladies man, Boogie. The film is shown through a series of vignettes, and the dialogue is very free-flowing and natural.   My Rating: Full Price   Diner Info
In Case You Missed it (A Film Just Released on DVD):  Shame (2011) I did not enjoy this film, though I did enjoy lead actor, Michael Fassbender, in the role of a man so obsessed with sex, it takes over his life.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Shame Website
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I’ve Seen Only in Trailers but Just Looks Like a Bad Idea):   What to Expect When You’re Expecting (2012) Jennifer Lopez headlines a cast that includes Cameron Diaz and Dennis Quaid. I have seen the trailer a number of times and haven’t laughed once.   What to Expect When Your Expecting Website

Weird Credits: From the film The Lady: Sign writer assistant 

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouThe Avengers (2012) One of the most anticipated films of the summer as director Joss Whedon pulls Ironman, Thor, Captain America and the rest of the super heroes together to face Loki and his army. Scarlett Johansson is the Black Widow.  You don’t need to show me anymore - I’m there.   The Avengers Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Cabin in the Woods

My View:   The Cabin in the Woods (2012)   Five friends need a break from their hectic life and decide to get away to a remote cabin. Soon, after arriving, they discover there is a secret hiding in the basement – a secret they will regret discovering. The best way I can describe this film is it's like nothing you have seen before - a horror movie with a ton of comedy in it.  As groundbreaking a TV show that Buffy the Vampire Slayer was (Director Drew Goddard and Producer Joss Whedon, were the forces behind that show) this is a cutting-edge and innovative film.  It’s the best film I have seen this year and has a highly inventive plot about which I can’t go into too much detail so I don't give away surprises.  And, there are many surprises in it!  This is one of those films where, after I saw it,  I wanted to immediately buy another ticket and see it again.  My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   The Cabin in the Woods Website
My View:   Life Happens (2012)   Kim (Krysten Ritter), Deena (Kate Bosworth) and Laura (Rachel Bilson) are three roommates living the single life in L.A. Things are going great until, after a one night stand, and Kim becomes pregnant. But, the girls are determined to keep up their lifestyle, even with a baby in the house. Ritter co-wrote the film along with the director, Kat Coiro, and they have done a phenomenal job creating a smart, funny comedy that is a new take on the L.A. dating scene. Bilson (Heart of Dixie) steals the movie as the twenty-something virgin who is constantly taking sexually explicit jobs like with a limo service where she is the driver and has to wear a French maid outfit.  Ritter is adorable as the dog-walker who tries to keep an active social life and raise a baby at the same time.   My Rating: Full Price   Life Happens Website
My View:   Lockout (2012) A man named Snow (Guy Pearce) has been wrongly accused of committing a crime. To get his sentence reduced, he “volunteers” to go on a suicide mission where he must break into a high security prison to save the President’s daughter (Maggie Grace) who was taken hostage during a prison uprising. The catch…this prison is in space. Guy Pearce is the reason to see this film, as he is constantly spouting out great one- liners while killing the bad guys. This is a heavy on the action film that is enjoyable, though the ending wasn’t quite as satisfying as I wanted it to be.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Lockout Website  
Family Faire:  The Three Stooges (2012) In the movie edition, Moe (Chris Diamantopoulos), Larry (Sean Hayes) and Curly (Will Sasso) are back, once again, trying to save their childhood orphanage when they stumble upon a murder plot. But, as with anything the Stooges get involved in, things get crazy, and they just might be the next big stars of reality TV. While this is a Farrelly brothers (There's Something About MaryShallow Hal), it's really a family movie, but only kids under the age of ten are going to enjoy it. The film feels at times like a bad 80’s sitcom, and you get tired, very quickly, of the Stooges poking each other in the eyes. The best thing about this film is Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm) who plays an angry nun. The film has a running time of 92 minutes, but I would swear it’s much longer than that.   My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again   The Three Stooges Website
Indiefest:   Detention (2012) This film is a comedy where the student body of a high school is having to deal with an axe-wielding serial killer named Cinderhella, who is slowly killing off students. Shanley Caswell plays Riley, a not very popular girl at the high school who is secretly in love with popular boy, Clapton (Josh Hutcherson). Riley becomes a target of Cinderhella, but no one believes that she is being attacked because the unwritten rule of slasher films is the popular girl always gets it first. This film has just about everything in it including Spaceships, aliens, time travel and the possible end of the world.  Any film that with a bear boarding a space ship can’t be all bad.   My Rating: Full Price   Detention Website

Weird Credits:  From the credits of The Cabin in the Woods:  Diving Coordinator

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  The Five-Year Engagement ( 2012) Jason Segel and Emily Blunt play a couple whose never ending engagement causes problems. From Director Nicholas Stoller who did Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008) which also starred Jason Segel.   The Five-Year Engagement Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, April 6, 2012


Indiefest:  Boy  (2011)  Boy, an 11 year-old, who lives in Waihau Bay, New Zealand with his younger brother, Rocky (who thinks he has superpowers), and his grandmother, is obsessed with Michael Jackson. His mother died giving birth to Rocky, and Boy spends a good deal of his day thinking about what his long lost father is doing.  Is he a spy, a famous rugby player, a brilliant artist?  Boy’s world is changed when his father suddenly shows up, and he must come to grips with the realization that his father will never live up to the image he created of him over the years.  The director (who also stars as Boy's father), Taika Waititi, gives us a wonderful world of interesting characters, where Boy's fantasies about his father come to life, and cartoon drawings illustrate what Rocky thinks is going to happen when he applies his imagined superpowers.  It's no wonder that this film won the Audience Award at the American Film Institute Festival last year.    My Rating:  Full Price   Boy Website
IndiefestThe Raid:  Redemption  (2011)  A twenty man SWAT team is sent to raid a thirty-story tenement run by a ruthless mob boss. To make matters worse, the whole building is occupied by thieves, murderers and rapists. Soon, it is not about arresting the mob boss…it’s about survival.  This film is non-stop action, with its fast and furious fight sequences so well choreographed that it has quickly become one of the most buzzed-about films on the Film Festival circuit.  But, make no mistake, this is an ultra-violent film where you wonder how many stunt men got hurt during the sequences where you can almost feel bones breaking and necks snapping.  While I did enjoy all the action, the film goes on just too long, and you actually become a little numb to all the violence on the screen.   My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   The Raid: Redemption Website
The 50 (A Movie From My Best/Worst Films of All Time)
#23 Best Film
The Palm Beach Story  (1942)  This is a film that only the brilliant director/writer Preston Sturges could pull off.  It's about an inventor (Joel McCrea) who is in desperate need for an influx of cash to develop his next sure-fire idea.  His devoted wife (played by the beautiful Claudette Colbert) decides the only way that they can raise the money is if she divorces him and marries a millionaire.  This is one of the best of the "screwball comedies" with mistaken identities, fast talking dialogue and numerous twists and turns that come at you at such a  fast pace, the audience is constantly straining to keep up with the each changing plot.  Colbert and McCrea have an easy-going chemistry that makes it easy to believe that these two lovers will eventually end up together.    The Palm Beach Story Info
Forgotten Film:  Time Bandits (1981)  From the creative minds of former Monty Python members Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam, this is film about a young boy, Kevin (Craig Wamock), who takes an adventure with of bunch of time-traveling, treasure-hunting dwarves.  The band of adventurers has "borrowed," (i.e., stolen) a map of the Universes' time holes, which allows them to jump from one time period to another and steal treasures.  During their time travels, they meet some of the most important and historic figures in time, such as Napoleon (Iam Holm), Robin Hood (John Cleese), and King Agamemnon (Sean Connery).  There is a big problem as a number of people are out to get their map, including the Devil/Evil (David Warner) and the Supreme Being himself(Ralph Richardson).  This film is a magical ride across the universe where we wonder if Kevin will ever get back home to his family, or will evil triumph over our merry band of thieves.   My Rating:  Full Price   Time Bandits Info
In Case You Missed it (A Film Just Released on DVD):  We Bought A Zoo  (2011)  I liked, but didn't love this family movie about a recently widowed father (Matt Damon) of two who quits his newspaper job to buy a small, rural zoo in hopes of reconnecting with his children.  I especially liked that the romance between Damon and Scarlett Johansson was not the main focus of the film - the healing of a family was.   My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   We Bought a Zoo Website
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I've Only Seen in Trailers but Looks Like a Bad Idea)Battleship  (2012)  All I have to say about this film is that it's based on a board game and in the trailer, singer Rihanna, is shown shooting a heavy artillery gun (insert your own joke here).   Battleship Website

Weird Credits:  From the film Boy:  Goat Trainer

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel  (2012)  Directed by John Madden (The DebtShakespeare in Love), this film is about British retirees who move to India to live at an exotic retirement community.   The cast is what makes me want to see this film, which includes Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith and Tom Wilkinson.    The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Website
Until Next Time!