Friday, May 25, 2012

Men In Black 3

My View:  Men in Black 3  (2012):  The MIB are back!   Agent Zed is dead, and a new agency head is taking over, Agent O (played by Emma Thompson).  Agent J (Will Smith) must travel back to 1969 to stop the death of Agent K (Josh Brolin) by an alien assassin. If Agent J isn’t successful, it could be the end of Agent K, the Agency and, even possibly, Earth.  Tommy Lee Jones makes an appearance at the start of the film, but this is Josh Brolin's film, and he does a fascinating job as the young agent K, perfectly mimicking Tommy Lee's  performances in the earlier films. This a clever film, but it's not a  great one.  It's still a fun ride on another adventure with the MIB gang on a mission to save the world. By the way, MIB3 was not shot in 3-D, so no need to see it in 3-D. My Rating:  Full Price   Men in Black 3 Website
IndiefestGirl in Progress (2012) Eva Mendes plays Grace, a single mom who is working two jobs while trying to raise her teenage daughter, Ansiedad (played by Cierra Ramirez). Grace is always making the wrong choices, sometimes, at the sacrifice of her daughter, especially when it comes to men.  Currently, she is having an affair with her employer, a married doctor (played by Matthew Modine), whose house she cleans. While her daughter, Ansiedad, is fueled by the teachings of her English teacher, she decides that, to gain independence and get away from her mother, she must follow the ideas in all the coming-of-age stories that she has either read or watched in movies.  This is one of those films that you really want to love, but it just misses the mark, and you end up not even really liking it. I like the cast, especially, Cierra Ramirez but I felt that Eva Mendes just wasn’t quite up to the task of giving us the warm and complicated woman that this film needed. The script should have been a little more clever, especially with the ending, which seemed to happen much too easily. My Rating: Cable   Girl In Progress Website   
IndiefestBernie (2012) Based on a true story, Jack Black plays Bernie, an assistant director of a funeral home in a small east Texas town. Bernie is the most popular man in town, and he is great at his job.  He is also kind and generous with his time and money and is perfect with the widows in the area. Bernie becomes involved with “the meanest woman in the town," a wealthy widow, Marjorie Nugent (Shirley MacLaine). At first, the relationship is beneficial to both.  They travel, are good company for each other, and seem to have the same interests. But soon, Marjorie becomes obsessed with Bernie, cuts him off from his friends and family and makes him her virtual servant. The big question is, can Bernie survive in Marjorie's world?  Writer/Director Richard Linklater (Slacker, The School of Rock) does a masterful job of capturing the life of a small Texas town, especially showcasing all of the townspeople who are willing, at the drop of a hat, to give their opinion. Jack Black is fun to watch as the very effeminate, but earnest Bernie, and Matthew McConaughey, in one of his best performances in recent years, shines as the tough as nails, baseball bat wielding district attorney. This is one of those films that hits just the right notes and makes it fun to go to the movies.  My Rating: Full Price   Bernie Website
The 50 (A Movie From My Best/Worst Films of All Time)
#20 Worst Film:
Lost Horizon (1973) This film, based on the 1937 Frank Capra masterpiece of the same name, stars Peter Finch, Liv Ullmann, Sally Kellerman and Michael York. Considered one of the worst musicals of all time (with original music by Burt Bacharach), it’s also considered one of the biggest promotional flops. Not only did the soundtrack bomb, the line of “Lost Horizon” clothes, perfumes, and home paint (yes, you could make your den into virtual “Shangri-La”) died as well. During the film, if you look carefully, you can see that a number of the books in the “Greatest Library in the World” are from the Readers Digest Condensed Books series. If only the film had been condensed.   Lost Horizon Info
Forgotten FilmOctober Sky  (1999) Homer (Jake Gyllenhaal) is the son of a coal miner in a small West Virginia town in 1957 and is destined to follow in his father’s footsteps. With the launch of the Russian satellite, Sputnik, Homer becomes inspired and decides he will design and build a rocket to send into outer space, a project that Homer’s dad and townspeople feel is a waste of time. But, with the help of a few friends and a high school teacher (Laura Dern) , Homer begins the process of building a rocket that could lead to a college scholarship and a way out of the coal mines. Based on a remarkable true story, this film makes you believe when you put your heart and soul into something, you will be rewarded.   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   October Sky Info
In Case You Missed it (A Film Just Released on DVD): The Secret World of Arrietty (2011) I enjoyed this animated family film based on the beloved children’s book, The Borrowers.  It's about a family of four-inch tall people, who live in secret and take just what they need to survive from the Beings living in the big house above. It’s a beautiful film, and it doesn’t hurt that the cast is full of talented actors like Will Arenett, Amy Poehler and Carol Burnett.  My Rating: Full Price   The Secret World of Arrietty Website
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I’ve Only Seen in Trailers but Just Looks Like a Bad Idea)Madea’s Witness Protection (2012) I think the cast speaks for itself: Tyler Perry, Denise Richards, Tom Arnold, Doris Roberts. Can I get into the program so I don’t have to see this film?    Madea's Witness Protection Website

Weird Credits: From the credits of Bernie: Armadillo Handler

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouThe Bourne Legacy (2012) After three films as Jason Bourne, Matt Damon has decided to pass the reins to the Robert Ludlum novel based "Bourne" series to Jeremy Renner.  I think the series will be in good hands.   The Bourne Legacy Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, May 18, 2012


My View:  Battleship (2012): When a distant planet is discovered to have the same conditions for life as Earth, the government begins a project to contact the planet.  Five years later, Alien ships arrive.  One crashes into downtown Hong Kong, and the other four land just outside the Hawaiian Islands.  Now it’s up to the U.S. Navy, commanded by Admiral Shane (Liam Neeson), to stop the Alien invasion. Taylor Kitsch plays Lieutenant Alex Hopper, a headstrong, always in trouble, junior officer who just happens to be dating the Admiral’s daughter (Brooklyn Decker). You know you have a film that just isn’t going to work when a former Sports Illustrated swimsuit model (Decker) has more screen time than your biggest star (Neeson).  I did enjoy Rihanna as a kick ass Petty Officer who likes blowing up things, but the film made it look like she was the only female serving in the Navy.  This film’s plot is so full of holes and asks you to believe so many unbelievable things that the audience whom I saw the film with was laughing at almost every twist and turn. It's a big mess of film that thinks it can just put some cool looking alien spacecraft in front of you, and you will be happy with it.   If you do make it to the end of the film, and I am not sure you will, there is a bonus scene at the end of the final credits.  And, by the way, no one ever says, “You Sunk My Battleship,” but maybe they should have.    My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again   Battleship Website
My ViewThe Dictator (2012): Sacha Baron Cohen stars as Admiral General Aladeen in this film about a ruthless dictator of a fictional North African country. On a visit to New York City, his life takes an unexpected turn, and he has to survive on his own in the Big Apple. This is a film that you are either going to love or hate. As with all the Sacha Baron Cohen movies, he goes too far with almost all his jokes. I did not like this film mostly because his character is an extreme racist who makes derogatory comments about everything and everybody, and I became almost numb to them.  I felt that, too often, he went for the easy joke - the easy pratfall.   And, poor Anna Faris, who plays his love interest in the film, is just wasted in this role as an environmental, loving, hippy manager of a health food store.  While I didn’t find this movie offensive (though some people will), I just thought it wasn’t very funny.  
My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again   The Dictator Website
Indiefest:  Darling Companion (2012): On her way back from taking her youngest daughter and grandchild to the airport, Beth (Diane Keaton) finds a dog by the highway.  Against the objections of her husband. Joseph (Kevin Kline), she adopts the dog. While out on a walk at their mountain vacation home, Joseph loses the dog and possibly loses his wife’s love and respect. Though I didn’t love this film, I did enjoy the way that the story-line developed with its very witty writing and strong characters. This is a dog lovers movie and shows the importance of the bond between people and man’s best friend.   It's also a film about relationships - new and long term.   My Rating: Full Price    Darling Companion Webiste
Indiefest Mansome (2012): This Morgan Spurlock (Super-Size MeThe Greatest Movie Ever Sold) documentary is about what it's like to be a man in today’s metrosexual, manscaping, modern day world.  Jason Bateman and Will Arnett, in a sort of bumper between segments of the film, are hilarious as they spend a day at a spa discussing all the trials and tribulations of what it means to be an man in today’s society...while they are getting facials and manicures.   Judd Aptow, Adam Carolla and Zach Galifianakis are all interviewed on various subjects like the pros and cons of beards /mustaches and if grooming products are for men.  It's not one of Spurlocks best, it’s still a fun ride through the world of manliness.   My Rating : Bargain Matinee    Mansome Website
IndiefestFirst Position (2012): This documentary film follows six young ballet dancers (ages 9 -16) as they train and compete at the Youth America Grand Prix, one of the most prestigious ballet competitions and a competition that draws thousands of dancers from across the world. This is an interesting look at the dedication it takes from the young dancers and their families.  All the dancers are worth rooting for, but it’s especially true for Michaela, who was adopted from the war-torn country of Sierra Leone when she was five, and Joan, a teenage boy who is training in New York thousands of miles away from his family in Columbia.  This is a marvelous film that celebrates the joy of dance but lets you see the tears and hard work that make it possible.  My Rating: Full Price    First Position Website
Forgotten Film:  Our Man Flint (1966) When this film was released, four films about the British spy, 007 James Bond, starring Sean Connery, had already been released, so it was decided that America needed an answer to the super spy, and thus Derek Flint was created. Flint (played by the charismatic James Coburn) comes out of retirement to stop a group of mad scientists who use a climate-control apparatus to cause earthquakes, volcanoes and storms. This film is shot with its tongue firmly in cheek as Flint would rather spend time with his “playmates” than break a sweat, but he is willing to save the world if it doesn’t take too much time. Coburn is perfect in the role as the suave, ever cool Flint, and the film pokes fun several times at the 007 franchise. This is a film that never takes itself too seriously.  Flint just wants to have a good time while saving the world.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Our Man Flint Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of The Dictator: Physical Comedy Consultant 

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Prometheus (2012) A Sci-Fi film about a team of explorers who journey to the outer limits of the universe only to discover that they may be facing the end of mankind.  Hey, any Sci-Fi film directed by Ridley Scott (AlienGladiator) and staring Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender and Charlize Theron has got to be interesting, if not great.   Prometheus Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Dark Shadows

My ViewDark Shadows (2012) In 1752, playboy Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) breaks the heart of a witch (Eva Green) and, to get back at him, she turns him into a vampire and buries him in a grave. In 1972, his grave is uncovered, and being undead, he returns to his mansion to discover it in ruins.  Its current occupants are his descendants, but they aren’t quite living up to the Collins name. This film has no idea what kind of film it is.  Is it a comedy, a dark comedy, a drama, a horror film?   It just doesn’t know, and the audience that I saw it with didn’t know either.  It’s like the director Tim Burton and Johnny Deep just threw ideas against a wall and kept what stuck. I thought the appeal of vampire movies was that they were sexy, but there isn’t anything sexy in this film.  And, Johnny Depp's makeup makes him look dead. The film has a great cast with Michelle Pfeiffer, Jackie Earle Haley, Chloe Grace Moretz, and Helena Bonhman Carter, but most of this talent is wasted on characters that seem to be just that - characters. The film is too long (almost 2 full hours) and feels like it could have used a couple of editing sessions to tighten up its pacing.   My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again   Dark Shadows Website
IndiefestThe Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012) A group of British retirees travel to India to move to, what they believe, is a world class resort hotel. When they arrive, they realize that it’s not exactly what you would call “World Class,” and it’s nothing like what they expected. Some of the new residents, though, find joy and enlightenment in their new home. The film is fun to watch, India is beautiful to look at, and the cast, which includes Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, and Bill Nighy, looks like they had a blast making this movie. This is the type of film that audiences have been looking for - a smart, intelligent film that has warmth and humor.   My Rating: Full Price   The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Website
IndiefestSound of My Voice (2012) A couple (Christopher Denham, Nicole Cicius) who are making a documentary film try to infiltrate a secretive cult led by a charismatic woman (Brit Marling) who claims she is from the future, the year 2054. Will the couple accomplish their task, or will they be sucked into the culture of the cult? This is an interesting character study on how people get involved with cults and start doing things they normally wouldn’t do. Brit Marling is perfect in the role as the leader and helps you understand how someone would be controlled by a cult. While not a perfect film, it is an interesting one.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Sound of My Voice Website
The 50 (A Movie from My Best/Worst film of All Time)
#21 Best Film
Pulp Fiction (1994) Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) and Vincent (John Travolta) are hit men who are sent to retrieve a mysterious suitcase held by a mob boss (Ving Rhames). That’s just one of four stories that magically intertwine to make up a crazy ride of a movie. This film has an incredibly cast which also includes Uma Thurman, Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer, and Bruce Willis.  What makes this movie work, though, is the creative dialogue that Writer/Director Quentin Tarantino brings to  the screen with his wry sense of humor.   Pulp Fiction Info
Forgotten Film: Cinema Paradiso (1988) Winner of the 1989 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, this film is about a successful film director who, in flashbacks, remembers his childhood when he developed a friendship with a projectionist at a local film theatre. The projectionist serves as a father figure to the young boy and teaches him about the magic of film. This film is a celebration of the movies and they can touch our lives.  It’s also a moving coming- of-age tale of a young boy who has lost his father in a war and needs a man to help shape his life.   My Rating: Full Price   Cinema Paradiso Info
In Case You Missed it (A Film Just Released on DVD): The Vow (2012) A newly married couple (Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams) are in a car accident.  When the wife comes out a of coma, she does not remember what has happened over the last few years, including all her time with her husband. I did not like this film mostly due to the fact that Tatum is not up to carrying the movie in his lead role.   My Rating: Cable   The Vow Website
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I’ve Only Seen in Trailers but Just Looks Like a Bad Idea):  G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2012): Yes, the film has Bruce Willis, but it also has Channing Tatum and The Rock (Dwayne Johnson).  Do we really need to Go Joe?   G.I. Joe Retaliation Website

Weird Credits: From the credits of Dark Shadows: Hair Artist for Mr. Depp

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouBrave (2012) Pixar’s summer animated film finally brings us a movie about a female hero, a young girl named Princess Merida, who must rely on her skill as an archer and her bravery to save her kingdom from a curse.   Brave Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Avengers

My ViewThe Avengers (2012) Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) puts together a team of Ironman (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), to form The Avengers. They join to face the evil Loki and stop his plan to take over the world. Writer/Director Joss Whedon has done an astounding job creating one of the best action adventure films in the past ten years. The film is not only full of incredible action sequences, but it also has a surprising amount of humor, and audiences may have to see the film twice to catch all of the funny deliveries. Downey is the main force behind the storyline, but all the superheroes get their moment in the sun, with the Black Widow and The Hulk characters particularly standing out.  I especially enjoyed The Hulk, who smashes everything in sight, in the final battle sequences.  When you see this film, make sure to stay through the final credits, as there is a special scene (the scene was filmed by the cast while at the LA premiere last month).   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   The Avengers Website
IndiefestMonsieur Lazhar (2011) This film was Canada’s entry to the Best Foreign Language entry into last year’s Oscars. After an elementary school teacher commits suicide in her classroom, Monsieur Lazhar, an Algerian immigrant, is hired to take over the class in a Montreal suburb. While helping the children get over the loss of their teacher, Lazhar tries to get political asylum, which would allow him to stay in the country he has come to love. This is a powerful film about healing, dealing with the past and the great influence that teachers have over their students. Mohamde Fellag as Monsieur Lazhar gives a multilayered performance of a man who is trying to reach his students as he deals with the horrors of his past.   My Rating: Full Price   Monsieur Lazhar Website
The 50 (A Movie From My Best/Worst Films of All Time)
#21 Worst Film:
The Lonely Lady (1983) Based on a Harold Robbin novel, Pia Zadora stars as Jerilee Randall, a schoolgirl who dreams of being a famous writer. While at a party, she is raped (with a garden hose, yes, a garden hose) by one of her friends' buddies. She is rescued by the owner of the house, Walter (Lloyd Bochner), a big Hollywood screenwriter. Walter, even though he is at least 30 years older than Jerilee, falls in love with her, and they eventually get married. Cut to the chase - Jerilee leaves Walter and sleeps her way to the top, getting writing jobs as she seduces executive after executive, and eventually gets nominated for Best Screenplay at the Oscars. Living through the character of Jerilee is the only way Pia Zadora will ever get close to an Oscar.   The Lonely Lady Website
Forgotten FilmNight of the Comet (1984) Two high school sisters (played by Catherine Mary Stewart and Kelli Maroney) wake up to find that most of humanity has been turned into dust by a comet. What is left is a few survivors and zombies, zombies that are out to kill the girls. While a little dated, mostly due to use of 80’s slang and hair-dos, the film is a fun ride when the girls take on the zombies with machine guns in one hand and hairspray in the other.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Night of the Comet Info
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD)Haywire (2011) I really enjoyed this film about a rouge agent who is out for revenge.   The action sequences that former Mixed Martial Arts star Gina Carano did so realistically is what I loved most about this film.  But I do wonder how many stunt men were injured in the making.  My Rating: Full Price   Haywire Website
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I’ve Only Seen in Trailers but Just Looks Like a Bad Idea)LOL (2012) This film is about high school romance in the age of social media and stars Miley Cyrus.  It's apparently so bad that it's only being released to theatres in a few cities to satisfy some legal terms. Let’s hope you’re lucky, and it doesn’t come to your local Cineplex.   LOL Website

Weird Credits: From the credits of The Avengers: Street Signage Placement Coordinator

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouRuby Sparks (2012) From the same team who brought you Little Miss Sunshine, Ruby Sparks is a film about a struggling novelist (Paul Dano) who, after suffering a serious bout of writer's block, suddenly gets the inspiration to write about a romance between a fictional girl and him. Everything is going great until the fictional girl (Zoe Kazan) suddenly appears in the flesh.   Ruby Sparks Website
Until Next Time!