Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I Am Number Four

Okay so it's taken me a while to see this movie. Some movies I want to see in a theater and others I wait for DVD. This time it was from RedBox (movie rentals for $1). That's just the way I see it. Anyway, I am a fan of Glee and wanted to see Diana on the big screen. Pettyfer has been in a few films that I have yet to see but one thing is for sure, he's a looker. Or maybe I just like his curly blond hair. Who knows. Acting ability? Yet to be tapped. I think he has some star quality. He just needs a role that gives him more to work with than  the pretty bad boy role. Or maybe not ;)

Pettyfer plays an alien. I'm sure we've all felt like that in HS. To hide his real identity, his protector gives him the name "John Smith" but he's really "Number Four". He enters yet another new school, but this time falls for good girl photographer, Agron, while being chased by the school bully and bounty hunters from another world. Bounty hunters who can apparently count, since "Number Four" is next to be annihilated. With the help of "Number Six" and the school nerd, "Number Four" fights for the planet and a place to call home.

Special effects were interesting. I liked the whole light shooting from his hands thing and the guns, reminiscent of X-box games. The circles on his leg reminded me of a teen TV show, Roswell. Anyway, Pettyfer and Agron had chemistry but everything was hurried, I guess, to get the action in. But I expected this movie not to have a lot of depth since it was an action Sci-Fi flick with pretty characters to capture the teen audience and the rest of us who like to relive HS without really reliving HS.

Worth the money rating: $$$ (Rating is if I saw it at the theater and paid full price. RedBox was a buck so definitely got my money's worth. I'll be writing more reviews of movies I see for a buck. Stay tuned.)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 2

The end :(  In LA, some theaters ran Part 1 and Part 2 back to back. That's the way I would have wanted to see it. Other people told me that they watched Part 1 and then went to the theater to see Part 2. I saw Part 1 last year. And now Part 2. No matter what path you took to get there, just get there to see the ending.

It was a dark ending with light at the end of the tunnel. A long voyage for Harry. A lonely one too. We all know how it began and if you read the books like I did, you know how it will end. This movie starts with the continuation of Harry and his besties hunting down the last of the horcruxes in order to weaken Voldemort enough to finally destroy the SOB. At Hogwarts, classmate and teachers defend themselves against the Voldemort's legion as Harry and gang hunt down and destroy horcruxes. Some friends we've grown with through these movies die. Some find new strength and conviction. In the end, it's kill or be killed. I cried. I giggled. I cringed. I gasped. But most of all I believed. All things I want to do when watching a movie.

Some friends said the movie was to short. I don't think it was, but I agree. I always want to see more. I saw some really young kids at this film with their parents. And sorry parents, but 5 year olds shouldn't be watching this. Much too violent. The kids in the story have grown up. The youngers should stick to the first few movies.

Worth the money: $$$$ 1/2

X-Men: First Class

This was awesome. Well, more awesome than TRANSFORMERS. Okay, much more awesome than TRANSFORMERS; mainly because there was an interesting plot plus great special effects.

So where do you start the story? At the beginning, of course. I'm not a comic book reader, so having the prelude to the movies not only filled in the background for me but also made me appreciate and love the previous X-Men movies more.

James McAvoy was charming as Professor X. Michael Fassbender was that great mix of good guy with a vengeance as Magneto. Together, with a cast of young characters wrestling with their ability to fit in, this movie takes you on a fun, action-packed ride. I loved seeing what made these characters who they are today, especially seeing the more human side of Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence's character formerly played by Jerry O's wife, Rebecca Romijn). It was also fun to see Mad Men's January Jones and Kevin Bacon as villains.

I won't ruin this movie for you. It's a must see in the theater. Turn up the sound. Sit back. And be amazed.

Worth the money: $$$$

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Director Michael Bay doesn't disappoint with this film. Even the concession stand guy said this movie made up for the last. I totally agree.  I have to admire Michael Bay for this one. The action sequences were amazing. And I kept wondering how all of those scenes were orchestrated to pure perfection.

The movie opens with the US and U.S.S.R. space race to the moon, and Sam doing something down to earth, trying to get a job. Yes he's saved the planet twice, but he's far from the corner office. Malkovich plays a funny employer and his model girlfriend, Victoria's Secret model, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley adds eye candy. Megan Fox's absence is explained in one sentence by Sam's parent's, but I actually missed seeing her. I like having the same actors in sequels but truth be told, I really came to see the Decepticons and Autobots fight for the planet.

As you probably guessed from previews there's something about the dark of the moon that is revealed. That's pretty much the main plot with subplots of Sam and his girlfriend and her boss played by Patrick Dempsey. Dialogue wasn't a scene stealer but it never was in Star Wars either. When it comes to films like this, it's not something you're really looking for. Great effects and supreme sound kept this moving pumping. Some teenage guys in the theater clapped when it was over. Haven't seen that in a long time.

Fun summer movie. Bring a friend. Share some popcorn and enjoy the ride.

Worth the money: $$$$

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fast Five

If you're a fan of the Fast and the Furious, this movie won't disappoint. Fast cars, great action sequences, hot actors = a great few hours.

I won't bore you with the plot. After all, we all know what we're going to get here. How we get it had some surprises. So be sure to stay after the credits roll to get a sneak into "Faster Still Six"? Yes, I just make up that name. Perhaps they will name it after the location they choose again like Tokyo Drift - well hopefully not - that was the worst of the 5 movies for me. Though I really liked the "drifting" scenes. And I'm not a car junkie.

Anyway, onto the actors. Paul Walker hasn't gained any acting ability but he's still hot. And Vin Diesel, what can I say - he's the man. Jordanna is still beautiful. In fact, one of the scenes between Vin, Paul and Jordanna's characters was surprisingly sweet and touching. Who knew you could get that into an action movie?! I won't ruin why for you. But I'm sure you can guess after the first 15 minutes of the movie. The movie also brings together past characters from other F&TF movies. So that was fun to see. Although, they don't explain how they're bringing back the dead Asian guy from Tokyo Drift but in the end I didn't care. They could have put in 5 more rap stars and I wouldn't have thought twice about it.

See this on the big screen. There's HD TV flatscreens but the sound and action is best for the big screen even if it goes to DVD and streaming within 2 months instead of 3 after theater release.

Worth the money: $$$ 1/2

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Source Code

When I went to this, I thought Hollywood keeps spitting out these Sci-Fi movies without substance and why can't they think of anything new? Anyway, I was surprised at how good this movie was based on concept, filming and acting. Its a winner.

So the basic premise of this movie is: a guy is trying to save a girl by changing what's happening in the time continuum or in parallel universes. (As though, that's possible.) Jake Gyllenhaal plays a soldier sent back in time over and over again to figure out who is bombing a commuter train headed to Chicago. Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air) is also in this film playing his contact to the military world. Every time he is sent back, he finds more clues to who the bomber is and how to stop the incident from happening. He also isn't himself, he's in another guys body and he falls for the girl who sits on the commuter train with the guy's body he's inhabiting. Well, it makes sense when you watch it. Not sure how there's always time to fall in love and all that stuff during a mission but apparently men make time? Hmmm. Mystery unsolved.

What I'm trying to say is that there are some idiotic things to movies like this but 3/4 of it was so good that I over looked it. And if you have a friend who talks through movies all the time, you'll be happily surprised how captivating this film is. No one in the whole theatre spoke, made a joke or took a phone call, text, tweet.

Worth the money: $$$$


Hmmm. I love Bradley Cooper. He's a hottie. Well, not at the beginning of this movie for sure. Picture an uninspired writer, who looks like crap, feels like crap and doesn't write worth a crap who on a crappy day walks outside and runs into an old friend. This friend gives him a magical pill that gives him all the possibilities in life his brain has to offer catapulting him from down-on-his-luck-guy to on-top-of-the-world-super-bad-ass financial, genius. Too good to be true? True. Fun to watch, definitely. Except the violence just wasn't needed. The dark side should be represented because who really gets a free ride in life? Then again, it's just a movie so I think it should have been left on the cutting room floor. And I'm still pondering how a loser guy can have such a great girlfriend. But that's for another blog.

Worth the money: $$$

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

No Strings Attached

Did I think this would be a good film? Not really. Did I think it'd be as boring as it was - no. I really love Natalie and Ashton as actors. This film didn't do either of them justice. It was so predictable that I nearly walked out of the movie. It wasn't funny. There were no "real" moments. I did like the Indian roommate  of Natalie's character. It probably would have been a better movie if it didn't have the revelation by Natalie's character.

This is one of those movies where you think, I saw it all in the previews. This time you really did. I actually liked Ashton better in Killers with Heigl. At least it had a few action scenes. These two just didn't have any chemistry on screen. Oh well. Guess it's a good thing there were no strings attached. I would have cut them and run for life.

Worth the money: $

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Love and Other Drugs

The proper title of this movie should have been "Sex and Other Drugs". Basically Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal are partially naked the whole film. Not that they aren't pretty people, but it distracted from the heart of the movie.

The story is a love story between Jake's character, Jamie, and Anne's, Maggie. She has early stage Parkinsons. They meet while Jamie is trying to peddle pharma drugs to a doctor played by Hank Azaria. Jamie  is only thinking about making money and landing hot women. Maggie, who's a waitress, basically sleeps with doctors for the drugs she needs that are highly expensive. Meanwhile, a new drug is introduced to the market - Viagra. And Jamie sets his heart out on being the winning rep of this drug. It could take him to the next level of his career. After having sex many times with Maggie, he starts to fall for her. He then has to face the fact that she has Parkinsons and if he stays with her, he'll have to take care of her for the rest of his life. Can love be the ultimate drug? Watch to find out.

The dialogue in some of the scenes was interesting and fun. I haven't read Jamie Reidy's memoir Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman that this movie was based on, but it's on my list now.

Worth the money: $$ 1/2


I first saw Garrett Hedlund in Georgia Rule with Linds back in 2007. He played a good, country, Idaho guy vs Lohan's bad, city girl. Not sure I noticed his talent but he sure was cute. So now he's starring in TRON, a movie about special effects more than substance. Still can't make out his acting ability but he does have a nice body. I didn't see Friday Night Lights (It's on my Netflix que) so I reserve judgment. Needless to say, we'll definitely see him in more plum roles - like in Country Strong. He's kind of eating the microphone which Justine Batemen did in Satisfaction from the 80's. But I'll give this guy a break. His eyes sure do sparkle. And I think he's going to be a big star. He certainly has steady work.

Back to the movie. TRON. Jeff Bridges, Kevin Flynn, plays a father who discovers a new world through a video game. One he creates and gets lost in mentally and physically. He tells his young son about his discovery and the principle characters in that world, then disappears leaving Sam in charge of a big high-tech business. One he's not terribly interested in. Then Kevin's old friend receives a text from Kevin and urges Sam to reconnect with his father. He believes that Kevin is alive. Sam pursues this notion and discovers the world of TRON. A digital world unlike any I've ever seen. It blew me away. Visually stunning, it captured your interest at every gladiator game and with almost-human, virtual characters who had evolved to build of world of not so fun and games.

Olivia Wilde from HOUSE, M.D. plays Kevin's right hand woman who holds the key to the world he loves. As the three- father, son and friend- try to outrun the dangerous world of digital chaos, we find the truth that can end one world and propel the other into a new age.

It was a fun ride. I highly recommend seeing it even though the story line could have been better. But oddly enough it fit the digital world - not quite 3 dimensional but imaginative.

Worth the money: $$$

The Tourist

Angelina and Johnny. Quite a combo, one would think. I actually liked the slower pace of this movie - more Bond-like vs action-packed. Although it was predictable, A & J had some chemistry and in places it was a charming film. Did I believe that Angie at what 95 pounds could be a member of Interpol? Or Johnny was a school teacher when he's so intelligent? Not really but it's a movie. And I did like her wardrobe and her British accent.

Here's what I do believe they pulled off. A charming scene on the train when Angie instructs Johnny on how to ask her to dinner. It made me want to try it in real life. And the locations were romantic. Who wouldn't be swept away? I'd say more about this film but the previews said it all. There wasn't much more than that unfortunately.

I think Angie was better in SALT but this was nice too. I wish Johnny would have had more going on in this movie but Angie was clearly the star. Next time? Well, Johnny has Pirates of the Caribbean coming up so we won't have to wait long.

Worth the money: $$$

Country Strong

Leighton Meister branches out from Gossip Girl to sing in this movie with Gwyneth Paltrow.
I already knew that Leighton could sing, but country? She did alright. I'm not a country music fan, but I've heard enough of it to know that these two women didn't really pull off country music. Sure Gwyneth is a pretty good singer, her accent, however, I'm still debating.

It was interesting to see Gwyn as a failing, alcoholic, country star trying to make a comeback. Gwyn herself is trying to do that with Glee and now this movie. It's hard to be out of the limelight for over 5 years and then try to come back. So I was routing for her. There were little surprises in this film to put her back on the map. Even the ending was guessable. So, I don't want to ruin what little charms there are in this move for you.

Basically it's a love story about one star falling and another star rising. Should you choose love over fame? What's really important in life? I'll leave that up to you to decide.

Worth the money: $$ 1/2