Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Movie List - May 2011

I have a feeling these lists are going to get longer and longer the hotter it gets outside. Following are the movies I watched in May. Let me know if you want to know more about any of them and I’ll do my best.

1) Fever Pitch
2) Away From Her
3) Hope Springs
4) Original Sin
5) Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
6) A Secret Affair
7) Thor
8) Burlesque
9) Something Borrowed
10) The Back-Up Plan
11) Fast Five
12) Jumping the Broom
13) Love and Other Drugs
14) Life As We Know It
15) End of the Spear
16) The Hiding Place
17) Twilight
18) New Moon
19) Eclipse
20) Priest
21) X-Men
22) X2
23) Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
24) She’s All That
25) A Cinderella Story
26) Hitch
27) Our Family Wedding
28) The Mistress of Spices
29) Something New

Monday, May 16, 2011

Priest

I didn’t bother looking at the weekend box-office numbers for Priest because I didn't want it to sway my opinion one way or the other. I discovered right before the movie started that this must not have done well at all. There were only three other people in the theater. At 7:30. I would give it the benefit of the doubt and say that many people who might have been there probably had other things going on but I think that’s a bit of a stretch. Though it’s definitely NOT going to make any nice top 10 lists it did go by rather quickly. Thank goodness for that.

Let’s see what IMDB had to say about it.

“PRIEST, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller, is set in an alternate world -- one ravaged by centuries of war between man and vampires. The story revolves around a legendary Warrior Priest from the last Vampire War who now lives in obscurity among the other downtrodden human inhabitants in walled-in dystopian cities ruled by the Church. When his niece is abducted by a murderous pack of vampires, Priest breaks his sacred vows to venture out on a quest to find her before they turn her into one of them. He is joined on his crusade by his niece's boyfriend, a trigger-fingered young wasteland sheriff, and a former Warrior Priestess who possesses otherworldly fighting skills.”

Wow! That’s a mouth-full of adjectives, isn’t it? And who doesn’t just love to be able to describe something as post-apocalyptic? I know I do. But yes, that is how it was set up. Not only that. It was post-apocalyptic wild west. Yee-Haw! And I’m really glad they mentioned that the vampires were murderous because otherwise I would have thought this was Twilight all over again. Oh wait. I’m supposed to be talking about the movie and not the description, aren’t I?

Believe it or not you’ve seen this movie before. Or at least bits and pieces of it in many different movies. And parts of it in real life. Let’s make a list of all the types of movies they borrowed from, shall we? Let’s see…Cathedral City is from pretty much every post-apocalyptic (there…I got to use it) metropolis you’ve ever seen. The Wastelands can be seen in any of the Mad Max movies along with several wild west films. The main vampire is Wild West Clint Eastwood. No, not THE Clint Eastwood. But he was trying really hard to be. At one point I thought we were going to hear the cliché gunfight music. You know what I mean. Doo-ee-oo-ee-oo. Wah wah wah. The vampires’ guardian reminded me of the ginormous monster in Thor. The vampires themselves made a clicking noise like aliens in some movie I know I’ve seen but can’t remember at this time. If you do go see this movie please tell me what that sound reminds you of. It’s going to really bug me. This film had gunfights, explosions, blood, grody monsters, heroes in tight clothing, small-town peddlers, pod “people”, romance (but not much), cool motorcycles and Matrix-like fight scenes. This movie had it all. Crammed right in there together.

As to the way it reflects real life…the Priests are trained for one thing and one thing only. To fight to protect citizens from the vampires. Once the vampires are supposedly locked away in reservations the Priests are no longer needed and their Orders are disbanded. They are thrust in to the world they were taught to protect and cannot find decent work because what they were trained to do isn’t needed in that world. If you don’t understand how this is similar to real life then you have neither been nor been related to a soldier trained specifically for war. And Cathedral City had shades of Hitler roaming throughout. Kinda creepy.

One of the things I found amusing was that a couple of the actors who played humans in this movie are well known for their roles as vampires. If any of you have ever seen the HBO series True Blood then you know who Stephen Moyer is. He plays one of the main, somewhat good, vampires in the series. If any of you have ever seen Twilight then you know who Cam Gigandet is. He plays the vampire tracker James. Let me rephrase. He plays the vampire who is also a tracker. And he’s one of the bad guys. In this film they both play humans. Stephen plays the part of the dad and Cam plays the part of the vampire hunter. Phrased correctly that time.

Stephen isn’t in the movie for very long at all but Cam is. He does a good enough job for the most part but at one point you just want to smack him. Didn’t I smack someone in my last review? Oh well. Sometimes they just need it. Cam plays Hicks, the boyfriend of the Priest’s niece, Lucy. Confused? No? Good. As mentioned earlier, Lucy is kidnapped by not just vampires but murderous vampires. Hicks and Priest set out to rescue her and in one scene they discuss the possibility that she could have been infected already. At this point Hicks tells Priest that even if she is infected he will do ANYTHING to stop Priest from killing her. Really? I’m sorry, Lucy, but if I were riding alongside Priest and you show up sporting fangs? You’re history. Enough said.

Paul Bettany plays the part of Priest. I’ve liked him since A Knight's Tale. I never really pictured him as an action star but he definitely changed my mind in Priest. Although, it does seem kind of type cast for him. Or he for it. Whatever. I can’t imagine him in muscle type action films though. Sorry Paul. He definitely fits the picture of a priest but then he starts to kick tuckus and it’s equally believable. Well, as believable as a vampire movie can be. I just found out that he’s married to Jennifer Connelly. Who knew? They probably did...but who else?

Lily Collins plays the part of Lucy. If you’ve ever seen the movie The Blind Side then you’ve seen her before. She plays the part of…ummm…Collins. Funny how that worked out. Lily has that “doe-eyed dear” look about her that could put her dangerously close to Natalie Portman territory. So far, though, she doesn’t appear to be just a whiny victim. Yea! She even attempts to kick some vampire tuckus in this movie. Stick to your guns, Lily, and maybe take a “damsel in distress” role or two but please please please hold out for the girl power movies.

The other strong female role is played by Maggie Q. She plays the part of…wait for it…Priestess. I know what you’re thinking. The writers must have been up night after night trying to come up with fitting names for these characters. Three of the other priests are named Brave Priest, Strong Priest and Bold Priest. There’s even a Flashback Priest (whose real name happens to be Austin Priester. Ha!). I just don’t know how they do it. Anyway, Priestess doesn’t just attempt to kick some major tuckus. She succeeds. I especially like the motorcycle scene. You go girl.

I’m still not 100% on board the 3D express but I really liked it in parts of this movie. I can’t tell you which parts because it would just take too long to describe and ruin parts of the movie for you. And parts is parts. I have a feeling the producers of Priest thought it would do well based on special effects alone. Judging by attendance this evening, they were wrong. Some of the effects were pretty darn cool and some just completely missed the mark. And yet again we have a movie full of cheese. One of these days I’m going to post a list of movie lines that make me just cringe. And they’re in movies that I love so I either have to fast forward past those lines or just plow through.

Now let’s break it down. Violence? Yes and lots of it. And, in some cases, graphic. Sex and nudity? None. This is one priest who sticks to his vow of celibacy. Don’t think he isn’t tempted though. Cursing? Yes. We even get the F-word just because. Drinking and drugs? I didn’t see any drugs. One of the bishops drinks something out of a can but you’ll just have to assume one way or another. Priest received the following rating:

“Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, disturbing images and brief strong language.”

Despite its rating I am positive that Armat and PaPa would think twice before taking P.T. to this film. Since this does have its origins from a graphic novel she’d probably want to see it anyway. I did like the effects enough that I would probably watch this again but I’m weird like that. I would like to warn you that just about the time you think things are really getting started, the movie ends. And I’m not sure I could stand a sequel. I’m not sure they’d be able to make a sequel. Oh, of course they could. It would just require lots of action and really bad lines.

P.S. You don’t need to stay through the credits. You almost don’t need to stay through the film.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Fast Five

I think this was, quite possibly, the best movie of the entire Fast and Furious franchise. I say "quite possibly" because, for some reason, I haven't yet seen Tokyo Drift. I definitely liked this movie because of the action but there were three other big reasons:

1) Dwayne Johnson – do you really need a list?
2) Vin Diesel – cute, bald, with a voice I could listen to for hours
3) Paul Walker – even on the lam he comes across as the boy next door

The action scenes were fun, though not always believable. The dialog had some major cheese factors and sadly most of the cheddar was delivered by Dwayne Johnson. Such as these gems:

Member of team: “I have good news and bad news”
Dwayne: “You know I like dessert first”
Member of team: Gives him the good news
Dwayne: “Now give me the veggies”

There were more but these were some of the first that were heard. A couple of lines that I thought were hi-larious were as follows:

“When are you gonna give Martin Luther King his car back.”
“The same time you give Rick James his jacket back.”

Hardy har har.

Other than the cheese this was a good movie. I will definitely go see this again. I don’t think I’d recommend this to P.T. or other kids her age (13). There is quite a lot of violence with the worst of the blood contained to one scene. We even get to hear a couple of necks snapped. Yuck! As you can imagine there is quite a bit of cussing. There is no sex or nudity unless you count the girls’ booties hanging below their dress lines in the race car scenes. Note I didn’t say “race scenes” because this was just a teaser. We got to see all the people checking out each others’ cars before but we didn’t actually get to see the race itself. Don’t be discouraged though. There were a couple other race scenes. As far as alcohol and drugs, there was a lot of beer drinking by pretty much everyone except the person who shouldn’t have been.

The one thing that I really wanted to see in this film I think they went to great lengths to avoid. We never see Vin & Dwayne standing next to each other. I wanted to see which man is bigger. They do have a fight scene in which they beat the stuffings out of each other (and the marks miraculously disappear) but you still can’t get a good idea. I think the movie folks were intentionally trying to make Dwayne the biggest person in the film. They gave him a shirt that was obviously too small while Vin got shirts that were too big. Sorry, Paul, but you don’t even rate in this competition. And you’ve got to already know that.

If you like action flicks and/or you like the rest of this franchise I would definitely recommend it.

P.S. Stay through the credits.

P.P.S. I got my answer regarding which man is bigger. I went to IMDB and found a still pic from the movie. Dwayne wins. But Vin is not too far behind. And Dwayne is 4 inches taller. I think that must count for something.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Something Borrowed

I read this book a couple years ago and was happily surprised to hear they had turned it in to a movie. Here’s the storyline straight from IMDB:

“Friendships are tested and secrets come to the surface when terminally single Rachel falls for Dex, her best friend Darcy's fiancé.”

If you haven’t read the book yet this little blurb will have you on Darcy’s side before you even walk in to the theater. You will quickly change your mind soon after the movie begins. Unless you are a Darcy. Then you won’t understand it at all. I’m just saying. We very quickly discover that the world revolves around Darcy and that Rachel and well, pretty much everyone else, are just tiny little planets basking in her glory. Wow! That sounded mean. Even to me. But I’m sticking by it.

I loved the scenery throughout the movie. Loved loved loved Rachel’s apartment. She must be a pretty good lawyer to have a space that big. No, it’s not huge but it’s not teensy either. Hated Darcy’s apartment. It was an homage to Darcy. Blech! Love the house in the Hamptons. Actually, the things I loved most about it were the porch and the beach. Gorgeous! One of my favorite lines in the movie mentioned the Hamptons being “A zombie movie directed by Ralph Lauren.” Ha! And New York was apparently thoroughly scrubbed down before filming because there was only prettiness to be seen. And there was a burger stand that was heavily endorsed in the film. It’s called the Shake Shack and I think I had previously heard about it on the Food Network. Kudos to you for the major publicity. I swear the movie had nothing to do with my wanting to go there when I visit New York.

This movie hit close to home because a few of the characters were so much like people I know. Let’s begin with Rachel. Actually, I know several Rachels. Ginnifer Goodwin did an excellent job as Rachel. She is almost exactly what I pictured from the book. She is the fresh-faced good girl counter-acting Darcy’s sometimes haggard looking (yes, I said it) party girl. Rachel is the best friend, foil, bearer of burdens, etc. for Darcy. She knows Darcy so well that all the bad stuff is not noticed – for the most part – because she knows about the good too. She seems to have always easily pushed aside any negatives and enjoyed the positives. Yes, most people would consider her and people like her to be a doormat. Sad, but true. If this turns you off going to see this film then think again. I promise it gets better. At one point in the movie she says, “I want to be someone’s first choice.” You said it, sister! And on a side note. I want Ginnifer Goodwin’s hands. Not in a box or anything. Let me rephrase. I would like to have hands like Ginnifer Goodwin. So pretty.

I most definitely know a Darcy. I am actually related to a Darcy. She is not in my immediate family so Armat, you shouldn’t be offended. Her narcissistic tendencies are screamed at you through the entire film. Darcy must be the center of attention. At. All. Times. Even if it’s one on one time with a friend or fiance’. If someone pays attention to anyone other than her she fights to gain control. The movie opens on a surprise party that Darcy has thrown for Rachel but which is quickly turned in to a Darcy Fest. By Darcy. And she big time schmoozes those she considers “the better people”. Rachel does have Darcy’s “attention” part of the time. Until someone else shows up. I did really enjoy the Darcy/Rachel slumber party scene. It’s about the only time in the movie we get to see them as equals. Sorta. And young Armat would LOVE the quilt in this scene. Kate Hudson did a great job as Darcy but if I were a guy…and I’m not…I would definitely pick Ginnifer’s Rachel over Kate’s Darcy.

Omigosh this is becoming a very long review and I’m only a few characters in to it. I’ll try to make the rest short.

Colin Egglesfield plays the part of Dex, Darcy’s fiance’. He’s awful cute (and has beautiful eyes) but he’s so stinkin’ wishy washy you just want to smack him. Especially when he starts to cry and you just know what he’s about to say. Smack smack smack! Despite that, Darcy did NOT deserve him. On occasion we saw the Dex we were rooting for and even more so when he grew a back bone. When he said, “You are home for me.” I didn’t want to smack him so much.

John Krasinksi plays the part of Ethan, Rachel’s male friend. I would say he was Rachel’s other best friend but Darcy would never have allowed it. In fact, Darcy is down-right hateful to Ethan and I have a feeling the main reason for it is that Rachel likes both Darcy and Ethan and that just shouldn’t be done. I want to marry Ethan. He is Rachel’s confidante but also, to some extent, her defender. He does eventually reach his limit and, even though I wouldn’t want his ire aimed at me, I liked him all the more for it. And he knows how to say, “I’m sorry.” Boys…take note.

There are two main supporting characters in this film. Does that even make sense? One I loved and want to see in many many other movies. One I wouldn’t mind never seeing again. Ashley Williams plays the part of Claire. She is head over heels for Ethan and shows it in very odd ways. She is the comedy part of this Rom-Com. Ultimately her craziness is the catalyst for Rachel bucking up. I love love love Claire. I would be Claire if I weren’t such a shy baby. I’ve had the feelings but never acted on them the way she does. She definitely needs to be in more Rom-Coms.

The second “character” is Steve Howey. I knew I recognized him but couldn’t remember from where. He played the son-in-law on the TV show Reba. I liked him way better on TV. Steve plays the part of Marcus. I have most assuredly known a Marcus. And the Marcus I know…we’ll call him J…probably wouldn’t see himself as a Marcus. Go figure. Anywho, Marcus thinks he’s a ladies man. He’s rude, lude and socially unacceptable. And the ladies…they do NOT love him. He’s so immature you want to throw him in day care so the kids there might teach him how to grow up. For now I never ever never want to see him in another movie. Unless he plays a more mature, sane person. Then I might give him a chance. It’s not you, Steve. It’s the character. I promise. I hope. I felt the same way about Christian Bale in The Fighter.

Now for the extras. Cussing. There was a little and Kate did drop the F-bomb. I’ve decided she must have that written in to all her movie contracts. “Kate must be allowed to be profane in at least one scene”. Sex. Yes, there is sex, or rather, implied sex. You see them head there and you see them after but you don’t see the “during”. HOWEVER…you do get to hear Darcy having sex. For longer than necessary. Nudity. Not really but only thanks to a well-placed blanket. And since the character was moving so quickly I did look to see if maybe there wasn’t a quick peek somewhere. There didn’t seem to be. Drinking and drugs. Lots of drinking and at one point Marcus pulls out a joint. Violence. None. Unless you count my stomach’s reaction to Marcus.

This is going to sound funny after all the character bashing but I really did like this movie and will watch it again. Just never when I’m in the middle of a mood swing. That won’t be pretty for anyone. I definitely do NOT recommend this for children. I wouldn’t even recommend it for P.T. or “kids” her age. As I said before, I read and liked the book and the movie certainly did it justice. Only a few things were left out and they were minor. It ended the way the book did so I was happy about that. If you’re in to Romantic Comedies I would recommend this movie. If you’re not then I wouldn’t.

P.S. Stay through the beginning of the credits. There’s no reason to stay through them all because the only thing you see happens halfway through.

P.P.S. Real people do NOT wake up beautiful in the morning after what we’re assuming was a very good night. And, considering how much they’d been drinking, they definitely cannot safely talk face to face without cringing from monster morning breath. Not in my world anyway.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Thor

Many moons ago when I was just a young pup I read Thor "comics" and just knew that one day I would grow up and marry him. Who cares that he was just the product of ink and paper. He would be mine. Oh yes. He would be mine.

As you can probably guess I've been a little excited waiting for this movie to come out. P.T. has been every bit as excited but she never had the "history" that Thor and I did. I was worried, though, that maybe...just maybe...the movie wouldn't live up to my expectations. It very much did.

I went home from work yesterday and slept a couple of hours so I could get up and out to Quail Springs for the 12:01 a.m. showing. And as I sit here looking at the time I'm thinking, "I hope I make it through the rest of the day without falling asleep." Will it have been worth it? Definitely. Fortunately I bought my ticket ahead of time so I was able to just walk on in. I had to stand in line outside the theater for just a little bit but was soon able to head in and straight to my favorite place to sit. Top center. I sat there for an hour listening to all the other nerdlets around me who were just as excited as I was. It was so nice to be among my people.

Judging from what you've read so far you probably get that I liked this movie a little. There was one thing I didn't much care for. Why on earth would the movie peeps put things in the trailer that aren't in the movie? I don't get it. Other than that I was happy.

The Asgard set was absolutely stunning. I want to live there. And be tall, skinny and pretty. What? The Earth set was Earth. Nothing too exciting there. Except for the fact that a "tornado" ran through the middle of town and all of the buildings survived. Neat trick.

Since this just came out and most of you haven't seen it yet I'll keep talk of the movie itself to a minimum and focus on the actors. Chris Hemsworth is all kinds of pretty anyway but add the Thor costume and he's just one big hunk of man. I love to check out imdb to see what else these actors have been in and I just discovered that Chris is the actor who played George Kirk in the latest Star Trek film. Huh! Too bad they killed him off early on. In Star Trek...not Thor. And if you haven't seen Star Trek yet then oopsy. Chris did a great job as Thor. I have to admit that I liked him better when he got knocked down a peg or two but he did play arrogant well. Does he remind anyone else of Heath Ledger in A Knight's Tale? No? Okay then.

I like Natalie Portman again. Yea! I don't think I could have handled it (well, yes I could) if she'd been the whiny victim she plays in most of her movies. But! She didn't! She actually had some back bone. I think she and Thor fell in love too quickly but who am I to judge? I would have said that was a spoiler alert but if you saw the previews you already knew. And if you didn't...sorry. Thank you, Natalie, for not being a big baby. It was quite a relief after Black Swan.

I have liked Anthony Hopkins for years. He's played characters ranging from the English butler to the psycho cannibal and played them well. He was just so cool as the super hero and king of Asgard, Odin. And he was ginormous! Rene Russo played the part of Odin's wife and Thor's mom, Frigga. She was beautiful as always but also a force to be reckoned with. Do NOT mess with her man!

This movie was definitely about strong men but it was also very much about strong women. Case in point is Jaimie Alexander who played Sif, a female Asgardian warrior. She kicks some serious tuckus in this movie. And she's pretty too. It does bother me that she can take part in these major battles and when she's finished not a hair is out of place. There's something very not right about that. Jaimie seems to have been in quite a few TV shows but not many movies. Hopefully the casting directors will take note.

These were all my favorite characters. I'm sure you'll have your own favorites. The rating is PG-13 and I sort of agree with that but not whole-heartedly. Yes, there are battle scenes with lots of violence but really very little blood. Nothing graphic by any means. There were a few cuss words but not the major ones. I only actually took note of one cuss word but I'm pretty sure there had to be more. Maybe? There are no sex scenes or any nudity unless you count Chris with his shirt off which, as you know, I do. There is one drinking scene and they drink beer and Boiler Makers and I’m not quite sure what those are exactly.

I have no problem whatsoever with parents taking their kids to see Thor if they already take them to see movies like Transformers, etc. Not that it matters if I have a problem with it or not. I'm just sayin'. I would like to point out that I didn't see any children at this showing. They could have been there but they weren't around the area in which I sat. Yea for responsible parents!

I will definitely see this movie again. Probably at the theater. And then I'll buy it when it comes out on DVD and wish I had a big screen TV so I could get the full affect. I mentioned at the very beginning that I was in love with Thor when I was young. That still holds true except now I'm too old for him. And he's fictional. But other than that...

P.S. Enjoy the songs during the credits and stick around after. There's more.

P.P.S. I was informed today that I missed a funny. Pay attention to what's on the water tower. Ha ha ha.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Audition

Spike is big on Japanese suspense and/or horror films so we watched "Audition" this past weekend. To put it mildly...I did NOT like this movie.

Following is the description as was posted on www.imdb.com:

"Widower takes an offer to screen girls at a special audition, arranged for him by a friend to find him a new wife. The one he fancies is not who she appears to be after all..."

Now for the list of reasons for my dislike:

1) The acting is not good. At all. Period.

2) In several scenes you notice a cute little beagle (whose translated-to-English name is Gang) running around inside the main character's house. Even without watching the film do I really need to tell you what happens to said puppy?

3) The girl who is chosen is just creepy looking. Even Spike thought so. We thought she'd be this beautiful woman a man couldn't help falling in love with but...not so much.

4) I think the producers realized that nothing very scary or confusing had happened in the first 7/8 of the movie so they decided to make up for it in the last 15 minutes. I only had to cover my eyes during one part of the movie. Give me a break! It looked like she was sticking long pins in to the eyes of the main character. Ouch! Turns out I was wrong. She was only sticking them in to the flesh underneath his eyes. So much better. Or not. One part even had a "Misery" feel to it.

And the plot went completely haywire. We just couldn't keep up. I still am a tad confused about how the movie actually ended.

I'm sure there were a lot more reasons than that but isn't that enough? I do NOT recommend this movie to anyone. Okay, if I had to choose I would recommend it to confusing Japanese movie loving types. That's the best I can do. And just because I mention this in other posts...Nudity...yes, there is some. Cussing...there might be but it's not translated to English. I guarantee that if I were having my foot sawn off with a wire I would let loose a phrase or two. Violence...well, yeah. Please don't ask if children should be allowed to see this movie. Adults shouldn't be allowed to see this movie.

Movie List - April 2011

Yes, I did see one of the movies twice but the second time was because it was one of the three movies showing opening night at the drive-in.

1) Soul Surfer
2) Insidious
3) Cadet Kelly
4) Her Best Move
5) H.P and the D.H. part One
6) Tron: Legacy
7) In the Cut
8) Driving Lessons
9) Hop
10) Soul Surfer
11) Battle: Los Angeles (well…half of it anyway)
12) Audition