Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

When I first heard about these books being turned into movies, I was a bit leery to watch. I thought it might be a bit intense, and I knew the rape scene was in the movie, which just kinda freaked me out. I certainly didn't wanna see that. But, the trailer was extremely enticing, and I love a good mystery thriller that really makes you think. A lot of Oscar hype has been swarming around this movie, which usually means it will at least have a good storyline and characters. David Fincher, who directed The Social Network last year, is a phenomenal director. Rooney Mara just looked exciting and intriguing with the hair and piercing thing going on. Now that I have named all of this stuff, I don't understand why I doubted myself in watching The Dragon Tattoo...

As I said, I love a good, thrilling mystery, which is what I expected with this movie. The entire movie revolved around the Vanger family, that had a family member who was murdered like thirty years ago. The family was at odds with one another, so Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer) hired an investigative journalist named Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) to settle the mystery of the murder and figure out who the murderer was. The main storyline revolves around Mikael, and eventually Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), investigating the Vanger family and the murder. Now, I certainly enjoyed the storyline and the investigation, but I felt like the ending to the investigation was a bit boring. I wanted to be blown of my feet, and I just felt like I was watching a good episode of CSI or something, which was very disappointing.

Best Scene: There is a scene where Lisbeth gets back at the man who rapes her, and it is serious and funny at the same time. She is extremely clever. I wouldn't mess with her.

The characters in this movie absolutely made the movie. Daniel Craig was great as Mikael, and, of course Mara was extremely great as Lisbeth. There were also many good actors that played members of the Vanger family, such as Plummer and Stellan Skarsgard. The relationship between all of the characters was very good, especially between Lisbeth and Mikael. Their relationship was very unpredictable and awkward at times, but they were just so much fun to watch.

Best Character: Lisbeth Salander, played by Rooney Mara, was the obvious choice for best character. Although I didn't expect it, Mikael was kind of the main character. He was great, but the movie was at it's best only when Mara was on screen. Most times she didn't even have to say anything. She was just that mysterious and intriguing.

Worst Character: Bjurman, played by Yorick van Wageningen, was the man who raped Lisbeth. He was her assigned state employee, who dealt with getting her money, because she was declared mentally incompetent. He wasn't awful, but he just didn't quite seem creepy enough or something.

I certainly don't know how the movie is compared to the books, because I don't read, but I do know that you can't really blame the lame ending to the investigation on director David Fincher or the screenwriters. Aside from that lame ending, this movie is phenomenal. Great characters and great mystery makes for a great movie. The relationship between Mikael and Lisbeth becomes a great focus in the movie and really is intriguing, which adds an extra element to the film. The rape scene was very intense, but it was necessary in building the character up, in my opinion at least. I don't think this movie is a best picture kind of movie, but I enjoyed it. I really do want to know what happens next, but I doubt I will make the effort to read the books, due to my literature laziness. I give The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 3.56 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Sitter

Well, it seems like the movie industry is never satisfied with the amount of R-rated comedies in the world. I guess I probably shouldn't be talking though, because I do watch most all of them. Anyway, The Sitter looked like another mediocre comedy that probably wouldn't pull in much cash. It is Jonah Hill's first film as the one and only lead character. Also, this is probably his last film before he will start looking unhealthily skinny and no longer funny. I do love a good laugh, and usually kids are way funnier than adults, so I was looking forward to see how raunchy and funny these kids were actually going to be. Jonah Hill is usually very funny and has come a long way in his acting career. With all that being thrown in the hat, I expected to laugh a little, but not too much. Unfortunately, there isn't much else in the theater at the moment, so I chose to watch The Sitter...

Well, it was interesting to say the least. As is obvious in the previews, Noah Griffith (Jonah Hill) ends up baby sitting these three children. Noah goes on an adventure of the insane kind and, of course, brings the children along with him. I really thought the idea was awesome, but the execution was awful. Honestly, the movie just progressively became boring as it went along. There were certainly many funny parts, but I never really felt like the plot was organized. I believe random and repetitive are the words that should be used to describe this film. To cap off the poorly written body of the film, the end was probably one of the worst since No Country for Old Men (and we all know how horrid that was). The movie got all emotional and started teaching me lessons about life. Excuse me? I thought this was an R-rated comedy in the 21st century???

Best Scene: Noah goes to a bar to retrieve his stolen minivan, which leads to much hilarity.

The truth is that it is nearly impossible to go wrong with child actors. You can't blame their acting, because they are only children, which means they will either be great or ok (never bad). The kids in The Sitter weren't that great, but they were put in funny situations. They certainly provided many laughs, even though they contributed a good bit to the "life lessons." Noah Griffith was just the kind of guy that you hope your kid never turns out to be. His quest for his whore of a "girlfriend" was extremely unrealistic and kind of dumb, but we needed to laugh. Also, the villain, Karl (Sam Rockwell), was extremely annoying and very very strange. I don't believe he was meant to be understood, or I hope not at least.

Best Character: There was this gang of black folks that Noah meets at a bar. Every single one of them cracked me up, and they actually became a big part of the plot, which was awesome.

Worst Character: Julio, played by J.B. Smoove, was just awful. J.B. Smoove is one of the funniest men alive, so I don't have any clue how they managed to ruin him in this movie.

The biggest problem with this movie was that it couldn't decide whether it REALLY wanted to be an R-rated comedy. It starts off in a very dirty manner, but, from then on, it really never felt like it was a bad movie. Sure, there was some language, but the emotional lessons ruined any hope of this receiving a high rating from me. I don't enjoy the dirty comedy solely because it is dirty, but we all know that dirty=funny, whether you are a college kid or a soccer mom. I thought Jonah Hill did fine in his first lead role. It just was unfortunate that the film wasn't better. I think I may be coming off a little harsh on this movie,becasue it really wasn't THAT bad. It just wasn't what it should have been. I give The Sitter 2.39 out of 5 stars and remind you to be careful who you leave your child with!

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Look Ahead to 2012

The first half year or so of my blogging has gone extremely well, and I just wanted to thank everyone for reading. I have enjoyed being able to express my opinions on the movies I watch, and I hope that I have provided valuable information to either encourage or discourage your desire to watch certain movies. As always, if you ever have any suggestions on how I could make the blog even better, please let me know!

With 2011 coming to a close, I just wanted to give you a little taste of what's to come in 2012, for the blog and movies in general. I'm sure I will be making constant changes to the way I write the blog, but, if I ever do something that you don't like, do tell me. While I do write the blog for my pleasure, I mostly write to be heard, and I want to give you what you want to hear. In late January, I will be giving you a list of nominees and winners of the first ever "Notscars." This will be an opportunity for me to let you see the worst of 2011 movies. It will be a fun read, as I will be hating on many actors, actresses, and movies. If the crappy movies make you sad, do not fear. In February I will bring you my version the Oscars, giving you a list of nominees and winners from what I believe to be the best of 2011. The real Oscars will air at the end of February, so my lists will be out before theirs, to secure that they are not influenced by the real Oscars.

I will continue to give you a monthly list of movies that I want to see (Great Expectations). This simply allows me to get the word out about which movies are coming out each month, for those of you who don't keep up with it like I do. If you didn't notice, I cut out the Movie News segment of the blog, mostly because I didn't have time to keep up with it. If you do want to keep up with what's going on in Hollywood you can check out IMDB's news section or go to FirstShowing.net. I don't have any marvelous new ideas for the blog, but, if I do come up with one, I will certainly go with it. Along with the special Notscars and Oscars, I will probably do a summer movie preview in April or May and a summer movie wrap up, like I did this past August.

I believe that is all that I myself have for you. For those of you who can't wait for next year, here is a list of big time movies coming out in 2012:

The Woman in Black (Feb. 3)

The Hunger Games (March 23)

American Reunion (April 6)

The Avengers (May 4)

Men in Black III (May 25)

Brave (June 22)

The Amazing Spiderman (July 3)

The Dark Knight Rises (July 20)

The Bourne Legacy (Aug. 3)

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 (Nov. 16)

Les Miserables (Dec. 7)

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Dec. 14)

Life of Pi (Dec. 21)

World War Z (Dec. 21)

Django Unchained (Dec. 25)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Muppets

I absolutely love The Muppets! I spent like a billion hours, as a child, watching Muppets Treasure Island over and over and over again. To be honest, I never thought there would be a large renewal of interest in The Muppets. The world revolves around digital everything, and Pixar has redefined PG animation. Who would have thought that a bunch of puppets could pull in almost thirty million dollars on opening weekend? Certainly not me. Regardless of my surprise, I had great expectations for The Muppets. Jason Segel is one of the funniest men alive, and Kermit is one of the wisest. That combo is destined for success, as far as I am concerned. So I figured it was "time to see The Muppets".....

Well, amazingly enough, the storyline for the new Muppets was quite good. Segel did a great job of using the classic Muppet storylines, characters, and themes. Obviously, it is much easier to make a remake with puppets rather than people. You don't have to worry about finding the right actor. You just take them out of the closet and turn a camera on. The Muppets were trying to get back together, after having all gone their separate ways. It was very realistic. I'm just glad they didn't start at the beginning or just act like there was never any kind of break or anything. It was sort of goofy and kidsy, but that's what you have to expect with a show about puppets.

Best Scene: The singing of "Rainbow Connection" will make anybody smile.
Gary, played by Jason Segel, and his brother Walter, voiced by Peter Linz, are the main characters in the story. The two head off to Hollywood with two very different intentions. Walter eventually sets the whole plot into motion, and his character was great in the lead. You really wanted his wishes to come true, even though he was only a puppet. Segel certainly wasn't his normal kind of funny, which absolutely dissapointed me. I know that he tends to be crude, but I believe they could have made him more funny and less serious/dorky, even without losing the PG rating. Amy Adams was a little annoying as the female lead, but that is her job. There were multiple actors who popped in for a scene or two, making for a very nice surprise. It's sort of hard to go wrong with puppets.

Best Character: I thought that what they did with Animal (voiced by Eric Jacobson) was absolutely brilliant. He was sort of recovering from his past, which certainly made for the most interesting plotline for any of the puppets.

Worst Character: I will never EVER say that Kermit the frog is the worst character in anything, but I really hated his storyline in this new Muppets movie. They made Kermit look weak and emotional, which is absolutely false. He is supposed to be the one who has it all together!!! You just don't know how much this pissed me off!

I honestly did not care for this movie. Everybody I talk to says how much they loved it, which probably means that none of you will agree with me. Maybe my expectations were too high, or maybe I just loved Arthur Christmas too much to appreciate anything soon after. Nevertheless, that's my opinion. While I do like the traditional Muppet toons, I usually dislike movies with a lot of music worked into the story. The music certainly could have been the reason why I didn't fully appreciate the movie. I really didn't care for any moment when humans were on screen. The puppets were fantastic, but Segel and Adams just got in the way most of the time. Now that I have vented, I will give The Muppets 2.47 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Great Expectations: December 2011

The final month of 2011 will be screaming Oscar, which may discourage many of you. Here are the three movies that I am most looking forward to this month:

1. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
    (December 9th)

3. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
    (December 21st)

2. We Bought a Zoo
    (December 23rd)

Arthur Christmas

While I do love Christmas and animation, I must admit that I was not impressed by the trailer for Arthur Christmas. There were just really no laugh out loud moments in the scenes I had seen prior to watching the film, which had me a bit worried. If you haven't realized, 2011 has been a horrific year in the genre of animation, and I really expected Arthur Christmas to be yet another mediocre kids film. We've all seen movies that somehow involved Santa's son and his taking over the job. The storyline has been run into the ground. Nevertheless, I was curious of how funny Arthur would actually be and longing for another new Christmas movie. So I decided to watch Arthur Christmas...

As I said in the intro, the story of Santa and his child/children is a bit old and over-used, but Arthur Christmas did a good job of at least making it interesting. Unfortunately, the movie was a bit predictable, but it made up for its predictability in its hilarity. You can't expect animation to have many great plot twists, but funny is a requirement, particularly for children, and that's what Arthur did best. Along with the funny, Arthur Christmas also had a nice, deep story about Christmas and what it should mean to everyone. Also, it was the most believable explanation of Santa Clause I have ever heard. Using one simple thing, they made the story simple, and that thing was technology. This is the Santa story I want to tell my child one day, mostly because it's almost flawless! I think, for you parent's information, the comedy was a bit grown-up. It certainly wasn't vulgar, just probably difficult for really small children to understand.

Best Scene: Basically any scene with an elf in it.

The coolest aspect of the entire film was undoubtedly the fact that everybody had a Scottish accent. Now, this may seem a bit funny for the main characters, but the Scottish elves are really what made the difference I believe. Arthur, voiced by James McAvoy, was very goofy and likable. His brother Steve, voiced by Hugh Laurie, was probably the least evil villain in the history of animation. While he certainly was causing the trouble, he never did that greatly bad deed like most animated villains tend to do. I really liked that he was not looked at as an awful person. I think, for the kids that do see the film, there will be a sort of "family should always be loved" feel about Steve, which is very good! Grandsanta, voiced by Bill Nighy, was also freakin hilarious as an old geezer who didn't like technology. He ended up teaching a valuable lesson too! There were really no bad characters in the entire movie, which is very very rare.

Best Character: Bryony, voiced by Ashley Jensen, was certainly the coolest Scottish elf of them all. I really loved how funny the elves were and how many of them there were. Bryony was a gift wrapping expert, and her abilities came in handy as the story went along.

My expectations of Arthur Christmas were absolutely shattered! This film was amazing, certainly taking the best animated picture of the year, in my book at least. I haven't laughed at a movie this much in a while, and I certainly enjoy laughing. Although I did know the entire storyline after five minutes of watching, I never lost interest. Even with the predictable storyline, the filmmakers did a good job of giving the story a nice, uplifting message that is certainly needed during the holiday season. After thinking about it, I will probably be picking this one up on DVD when it hits stores next year. Even if you don't like Christmas or animation or Scottish people, I promise that you will laugh your butt off at this movie. I give Arthur Christmas 4.01 out of 5 stars and wish you a Very Merry Christmas!

Friday, November 18, 2011

J. Edgar

Normally, a film based on the historic life of anybody screams "Oscar," but J. Edgar was certainly not popular with the critics in its first week. This worried me, considering critics usually like this type of movie WAY more than an average guy like myself, but, nevertheless, it intrigued me. Heading in, I knew very little historic information about the actual life of J. Edgar Hoover, aside from knowing he had issues. So, I knew it would be difficult for me to pick apart any pitiful portrayals on the part of Eastwood and DiCaprio. That being said, I know that DiCaprio can act, considering two of his movies made my "Best of 2010" (Inception, Shutter Island), and, if you have a good actor playing a historic character, the results tend to be awesome. Hence my watching J. Edgar...

The plot was based on history, so it is difficult to criticise, if you see where I'm coming from. Hoover was a greatly strange individual,w ho lived in his own little world. People like this are fascinating, but, unfortunately, the movie did have a weird feel about it. It was not your traditional history story. If any of you have ever seen Public Enemies, it was sort of like that. Weirdly historic.

Best Scene: There is a scene where Hoover reacts to the death of his mother. This is the one and only time he acted like a real person.

The cast was very star-studded beyond Leonardo DiCaprio. Naomi Watts plays Hoover's secretary, Helen Gandy; Judi Dench plays Hoover's mother, and Armie Hammer plays Clyde Tolson, Hoover's right-hand man/love interest. His relationship with Clyde was very strange. He obviously had a thing for him, but he never actually admitted it. He had a great amount of respect for his mother and Ms. Gandy, and they played important roles in his life. Hoover really was an interesting character in our nation's history, and he had more power than you might realize. Criminal justice was very much lacking before he entered the scene. This means that there would have been no CSI without J. Edgar Hoover, for all of you crime drama freaks. With that being said, I just didn't buy DiCaprio in the role. I honestly can't put my finger on the problem, but there definitely was one.

Best Character: Charles Lindbergh, played by Josh Lucas, was probably the most interesting part of the movie. His piece in the puzzle of our nation's history was much larger than you might realize. I found that very interesting and was glad that he was included.

Worst Character: Bobby Kennedy, played by Jeffrey Donovan, was one of the weirdest characters in the show. They played him up a little much, but mostly the acting was just awful.

There is only one word to describe J. Edgar.... WEIRD!!! The movie was not that badly put together, as you can expect with Eastwood directing, but the film had an overall weirdness to it. I didn't care for it. They did a good job with DiCaprio's make up, but I think they should have let an older man play the part, because the make-up seemed a bit over done. While DiCaprio's make up was good, Armie Hammer, on the other hand,  looked like he had just participated in a whip cream pie war. It was AWFUL! I have had great trouble writing this review because, as I said, there is nothing I can particularly describe that made the whole movie bad, but, nevertheless, I didn't care for the whole thing. I don't suggest that you watch this movie. Just look J. Edgar Hoover up on wikipedia! I give J. Edgar 2.57 out of 5 stars.

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas

I don't know about you, but I love Harold and Kumar. They are undoubtedly the funniest potheads, this side of Cheech and Chong. But, even more than that, I freakin love Christmas movies. It is certainly a weakness of mine. Now, what could make Harold and Kumar better than a little bit of Christmas cheer? The answer: a little bit of dirty, Christmas hilarity. As I said, I do love these guys, but I was a little skeptical of how far they could really take the series of films. Sure, people watch, but Harold and Kumar aren't as important to society as people like The Hangover guys. Nevertheless, they press forward, using a brilliantly creative theme.... CHRISTMAS!!! I didn't expect this movie to be the greatest of all time, but I really wanted to see how much they could pick at traditional Christmas movies and 3D.

The biggest surprise of the entire movie was the fact that there actually was a plot! If my blog would have existed when the first two films hit theaters, this entire section would be empty. The first two films were filled with random, funny, dope-smoking moments that somehow became a movie. This film actually taught a lesson: don't forget the people who mean the most to you in your life. You might would expect this from any other Christmas film, considering the holiday season brings families and friends together, but you wouldn't expect that to coincide with these crazy characters. Regardless, it happened, and I was shocked. Of course, there were many jokes that would offend sensitive Christmas lovers. Also, make sure that you don't watch this film with your kids or parents.

Best Scene: Harold shoots Santa Clause (Richard Riehle) out of the sky. That was pretty funny. But, knowing that was in the previews, I don't want to discourage you. There were many other funny parts that the trailer doesn't show.

The characters obviously drive the plot along, with their name being in the title and all. Harold (John Cho) has finally grown up and become more mature, but Kumar (Kal Penn) continues to struggle with his life. The two have been separated, and a little Christmas magic reunites them in an unpeaceful way. The pair, as usual, encounter a few crazy individuals along the way. Neil Patrick Harris is crazy as himself, and both Harold and Kumar have replaced one another with new friends Todd (Tom Lennon) and Adrian (Amir Blumenfeld), who turn out to be rather hilarious. Overall, the cast was great and funny.

Best Character: Ava, who was Todd's baby daughter, was undoubtedly the funniest character in the movie. Played by Ashley, Chloe, and Hannah Cross, Ava was always getting into some sort of illegal substance. While this may sound a bit rough, it is. But it's freakin hilarious!

Worst Character: Kenneth Park, played by Bobby Lee, was the most useless addition to the cast, hence his landing in the worst character spot. You might know him as the guy in the trailer that points at the screen and says, "It's gonna be amazing!" That's about all he does.

I was very pleased. I think the addition of a plot really helped this movie avoid being just stupid-funny, not that it didn't have those qualities. Also, the 3D was rather cool at times. It did what 3D is supposed to do, by jumping out at the screen and having stuff fly at your face. If I wanted to look at a person walk around in 3D, I would just go to the mall. The characters were hilarious as usual, and I wouldn't be surprised if we see a fourth installment in the Harold and Kumar series. It was a nice start to the Holiday movie season. I give A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas 2.81 out of 5 stars and ask you to be patient, as Arthur Christmas is on its way!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Great Expectations: November 2011

Here are the three movies that I am most excited about this month and a trailer for each:

1. A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas

2. J. Edgar

3. The Muppets

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

In Time

Three whole weeks without going to the movies! That has to be some sort of record for me. Sorry I haven't had anything to write about, but I promise there are a ton of great-looking movies coming out in November and December. So, prepare yourself for the rush of reviews and the desire that you will have to go to the movies or neglect them, following your reading of my thoughts. As far as In Time is concerned, I wasn't particularly excited to see this movie. It looked ok, but movies like this always seem to let me down. Justin Timberlake has never been successful in a lead role, but this concept looked really cool and unique. The movie did not have a good rating on the Tomatometer, which certainly worried me. Nevertheless, I give you a review of In Time...

The plot was very different from a traditional, boring action movie. Usually movies are predictable. The aliens aren't going to completely take over the world. The hero is always going to win. But, with In Time, the movie was simply about survival of the fittest, and that's something that we aren't used to seeing in movies. The concept was really quite cool, and I sat there amazed at some of the puns they used. They were quite clever. Justin Timberlake played Will Salas, the main character, who was almost like Robin Hood. Therefore, the story was a lot like that of, you guessed it, Robin Hood. The problem was that the lesson they were trying to teach was a little too obvious. They turned money into time, which was actually the currency (if that makes sense at all). This completely defeated the purpose I believe, but I give them an A for effort. The story really was very truthful in its analogy, but I wanted to be entertained a bit more.

Best Scene: There was a scene where Will was introduced to a man's family. The man introduced his mother-in-law, wife, and daughter, and they were all 25 years old, which was very cool.

As I said, Timberlake plays the lead character, and, once again, he kind of sucked it up. He really should stick to comedies in my opinion, but I'm not his agent. Sylvia Weis, played by Amanda Seyfried and her awful hair, was this awkward love interest. She was necessary to the plot, she just really sucks at acting. The cast, as a whole, pretty much struggled. A cool addition was Olivia Wilde, who played Will's mother. Everyone stops aging at age 25, which probably made casting a lot easier. Too bad they still couldn't find the right folks.

Best Character: Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory) played Borel, who was Will's best friend. Galecki did a phenomenal in the dramatic role. It kind of made me think that they should have put Timberlake on The Big Bang Theory and let Galecki play the lead in In Time.

Worst Character: Raymond Leon, played by Cillian Murphy, really was just awkward. Murphy is a weird actor, who is only suited for certain roles in my opinion. This was not one of them. He played a "timekeeper," which was basically like the time police. He was like a movie version of Horatio Caine.

Overall, the concept was great, but the execution was certainly lacking. Timberlake was bad and, as I said, should stick to comedies. I enjoyed the movie, particularly the puns. If you go to the movies as much as I do, then go watch this, but, if not, you would be better off renting In Time. As I said before, November and December each have very promising line ups, and it all starts next weekend with Harold and Kumar! The holiday season will be great for movies, but this was not the kickoff of that season, unfortunately. I give In Time 2.45 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Ides of March

In case you haven't heard, there is a lot of Oscar hype over The Ides of March. I personally think it's just because this has been such a bad year for movies in general. Many of you may be of the mind that the Oscars only ever like stupid movies that no one watches, and you are certainly entitled to your own opinion. I would personally like to encourage you to watch the movies that are Oscar-worthy this year. Don't complain about no one watching them if you are one of the ones that is not watching them. With that being said, I went to watch this movie because I wanted to see whether it really was Oscar-worthy. The cast is obviously star-studded, and, with Clooney directing, it promised to at least have a brain. The Oscar hype set my expectations high.

The trailer made it clear that there was some kind of something that was going on behind the curtains with The Ides of March, but I must say that I was surprised at how much this changed things. I thought this was just going to be a simple story. Turns out, I was very very wrong. I certainly didn't see all of the twists and turns coming. The plot is very complex and really shows how screwed up politics can be (In case you didn't know, they don't always tell the truth). There were a few awkward moments in the film, but, overall, it was complex, original, and fun.

Best Scene: There is one giant twist in the movie that sort of lights ten billion small fires. I obviously won't tell you what happens, but it's pretty cool.

The cast of this film was amazing. It was very hard for me to find glitches as far as the cast is concerned. Clooney did a great job of directing, but he did an even better job of letting the rest of the cast take the spotlight. The movie wasn't really about the presidential candidates, but rather the people behind the scenes. I am a huge West Wing fan, and this movie is kind of like the drama of that entire series rolled into two hours. If you are pretty dumb in the area of politics, you might think these characters a bit dramatic. Unfortunately, politicians have many secrets and plenty of drama, so do not be fooled. Phillip Seymour Hoffman redeemed himself after a horrible performance in Moneyball, and Paul Giamatti was great as well.

Best Character: Ryan Gosling was brilliant as Stephen Meyers, a smart, savvy, young campaign manager. It wasn't obvious in the previews, but Gosling is THE main character. I rarely think that the main character does a good enough job to be recognized, but Gosling did phenomenal.

Worst Character: The only character that seemed out of place was this random intern that they threw into the end of the movie. I think she was supposed to be a symbol of how easily people can be replaced, especially in politics. I'm not big on having to interpret what's going on in a movie, so I didn't much care for that.

This was one of the most unpredictable movies that I have seen in a long time. Also, it has been a while since I have seen a performance as good as that of Ryan Gosling's, in a lead role at least. The problem is that I didn't get an Oscar feel while watching. If you haven't noticed, 2011 has been a year lacking in Oscar-worthy movies. I think people are just so anxious to see a good, smart film that they got all worked up over this one. Don't get me wrong, it was very good, but I don't think it deserves an Oscar nom. It did not greatly exceed my expectations, but it didn't disappoint. If you like politics or know nothing about politics, go watch this movie! You will either be entertained or learn something or both. I give The Ides of March 3.57 out of 5 stars.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Great Expectations: October 2011

The three movies that I am most excited about, in order of release date:

The Ides of March (October 7th)

Margin Call (October 21st)

In Time (October 28th)

Sunday, October 2, 2011


From the first time I saw the preview for 50/50, I knew that I would love it. I love funny movies with a serious storyline, and that's what I expected from 50/50. Seth Rogen is rather hilarious and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a very good actor and, in the preview, it looked as if they would compliment each other quite well. There is no doubt that cancer is a sensitive subject for many, so I was very interested in seeing how they would balance the funny and serious moments throughout the film.

50/50 had a weird vibe about it in the beginning. I didn't quite feel the emotion of the serious moments until about half way through, but, looking back, I can see how that really mirrored the emotions of Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). There were some very very funny parts, but I felt like the movie was more serious than funny overall. There was a little bit of a relationship story going on with Adam, and I felt like the approach to that was very good as well. To know that this was based on the real life story of one of Seth Rogen's friends really made me get more attached to the characters. It really was very real, and I felt like this could seriously happen to me, which had me really anticipating knowing the end of the story.

Best Scene: I don't want to give anything away, but there were two scenes that almost made me cry. One is when Adam is about to have surgery, and one is when he is driving Kyle's (Seth Rogen) car. I won't say anything else, but be on the lookout for these scenes, if you go watch the film.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt did a phenomenal job playing Adam, but, regardless of the actor, the character was really easy for me to connect with, being a guy in his 20s. Unfortunately, I kind of thought that Kyle and Adam were not exactly the ideal friends for this kind of movie. Adam seemed completely alone for the most part, when I expected Kyle to kind of be the guy that supported him throughout. This relationship matured toward the end of the movie, but it still wasn't what I expected. Nevertheless, Seth Rogen was hilarious as usual. Anna Kendrick was a good addition to the film, and I think they gave her just enough screen time. Adam's mom, played by Angelica Houston, was really a great character that helped you get even more attached to Adam and his problems.

Best Character: Alan and Mitch, played by Philip Baker Hall and Matt Frewer, really were a phenomenal, unexpected addition to the cast. They were older men who went through their chemo with Adam, and the friendship among the three of them was really neat to watch.

Worst Character: Rachael, played by Bryce Dallas Howard, was really the only bad part of the entire film. The character was necessary and really made for an interesting story, but I don't think Howard did a good job at all. It was very awkward when she was on screen.

This was a GREAT movie. I have only cried during two movies ever in my life, but this one had me as close to tears as you can get. There is no way that a young person could watch 50/50 and not be affected by the story. The cast was brilliant, there were some hilarious parts, and the story was real. I don't know what else you could ask for in a film. I could not imagine going through what this guy did, and I really hope that I never have to. I keep trying to imagine myself in his place, and I just can't make myself. If you want to appreciate life more, go watch this movie! I give 50/50 4.2 out of 5 stars and warn you to grab some tissues.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


While this may surprise you, I have read the Moneyball book that the film is based on. Actually, I don't want to lie. I read the first half of the book, found out they were making a movie, and then saw no point in finishing the book. Anyway, the book was interesting and had a business feel too it, so I figured I would love the movie. Also, just in case you don't know, I am a baseball fanatic, and my dream job is to be a general manager of a Major League Baseball team (that's what Brad Pitt plays). I have been waiting and waiting for this movie, and I was really hoping it would not let me down. A movie that combines numbers and baseball kinda makes me wanna pee my pants. In excitement that is.

It is really hard to criticize a plot that is based on a true story. I mean, it's not like they could change it or anything. Nevertheless, there were a few things that I believe could have been changed to make the movie flow better. Throughout the first half of the film, Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) is flashing back to his past every little while, and it really helps to show why he is so passionate about his job. I just wish they could have organized that better to where the outcome of that flashback is sort of surprising and is revealed throughout the entire movie. Also, I don't think they did a good job of embracing Beane's personal life. They did include his daughter in the film, but it didn't really fit in with the story. Overall, the story is very good and interesting. There were a few dull moments, but I never felt like they were wasting time.

Best Scene (This is new!): The final few minutes of Moneyball were really the best, in my opinion. There was one point where I thought that they should have stopped, but then I was surprised. The final scene really shows how life is full of choices, and it is hardly ever easy to chose.
While I'm not a huge fan of Brad Pitt's movies, he is a fairly good actor and did a fine job portraying Billy Beane. His character was very easy-going at one moment and throwing things the next. He was certainly convincing at all times. The thing that really amazed me was how well he and Jonah Hill accented each other. They were funny and believable and just downright good. As I said earlier, Beane's daughter Casey (Kerris Dorsey) had an awkward role at times. I just think it could have been done better. The role of Art Howe as manager was necessary, but Phillip Seymour Hoffman didn't do as well as you would expect from such a great actor. His body language just didn't seem to fit his hard-headed role. David Justice (Stephen Bishop) was a character that was very important in showing how Billy Beane really was doing things different. I thought he had the most well used storyline in the film.

Best Character: I never thought I would say this, but Jonah Hill was very good in a dramatic role. He played Peter Brand, who really was the brains behind Beane and his crazy ways. Hill was still funny at times, but he was very convincing and, as I said, really accented Pitt's character.

Worst Character: Chad Bradford, played by Casey Bond, was one of the players that had a major role in the film. Unfortunately, he really had no storyline at all. He was the only character that I felt was unnecessary.

Moneyball is a great sports story, and it is very different from most sports stories. The numbers and the game are married in a most splendiferous kind of way, but I avoided peeing my pants. Because it is so different, I'm just glad that this story got told, and that I didn't have to finish reading the book. I can only dream of one day becoming as influential as Billy Beane has been to the game of baseball. Hopefully any kids that watch this film will realize that they are not restricted in the sports world if they lack athleticism. I could probably go on forever talking about my love for the game, but I will shut up. I give Moneyball 3.76 out of 5 stars.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Movie News for the Week of September 23, 2011

Unfortunately, this was a very slow week in the world of movie news, so I apologize for the brevity.

1. Chris Evans announced this week that he did not expect a Captain America sequel to be ready until 2014. Most people believed that the sequel would be out in 2013 along with Iron Man 3 and Thor 2, but it looks like we will have to wait a little longer until we get another good Marvel film.

2. Universal announced this week that they are working on a new Scarface movie. The studio says that the new film will be neither a sequel or a remake, but will just involve many elements of the Al Pacino version.

3. Future Hunger Games star Liam Hemsworth has signed on to be a part of The Expendables 2. I don't quite understand what his role will be alongside all of the old men, but maybe it won't suck.

4. Disney announced this week that they will be adding a new attraction to their Disney World theme park based on.......... Avatar! "Avatar Land" will be inside of the Animal Kingdom park and will be about 12 acres in size. I have never been to Disney World, but Avatar was the coolest 3D thing ever, and I can only imagine how great the rides will be.

Here he is........... THE DARTH KNIGHT!!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Movie News for the Week of September 16, 2011

1. Earlier this week, Mel Gibson announced that he would be developing a film about Judah Maccabee, a Jewish warrior. As you can only assume, many Jewish organizations are throwing a fit about Gibson being involved in anything Jewish, but he has yet to remove his name from the film.

2. It has been announced that both Top Gun and Ghostbusters will be returning to theaters in the coming months. In other, Ghostbuster-related news, John Hodgman has really stirred the pot with some of his comments this week. The "PC guy" implied that he was offered a large role in a third Ghostbusters movie. He also added in his comments that Bill Murray would not be a part of the film, which would certainly be huge. No one knows if this is true or not, but we will certainly wait and see.

3. For the theatre lovers out there, some big news about the film version of Les Miserable surfaced this week. Both Helena Bonham Carter and Russell Crowe have signed on to star in the film. Also, there have been rumors floating around that the movie may be shot in 3D, which, if you ask me, is absolutely pointless. IT IS A MUSICAL. If there was like 3D music, now that would be cool.

4. The creators of HBO's recently completed Entourage say that they will be making an Entourage movie. The only question right now is when the movie will be made.

5. The popular Broadway show The Book of Mormon will be turned into a movie. The creators said that they would let it run its time out on Broadway and go touring before making the movie, but they seem very convinced that a movie will eventually happen.

6. Jake Gyllenhal's Source Code will likely be turned into an hour-long drama on CBS. There are few details on the project as of now. There is no one in talks to take over Gyllenhal's lead role, but you can expect to hear more in the coming months.

7. For all you Star Trek fans waiting for the sequel, wait no longer! J.J. Abrams signed on to direct the film this week and he says that he wants to get the project moving quickly. The script is expected to be finished by the end of the month and Abrams wants to begin filming this winter.

With the controversial Star Wars Blu Ray coming out this week, I decided to show you a few cool Star Wars things I have found recently. Enjoy!
1) Han Solo Ice Trays
2) Bill Murray as Han Solo
3) A building design based on the sandcrawlers from A New Hope

Sunday, September 11, 2011


While most virus movies turn people into monsters or zombies, Contagion dared to be different. This difference was the main reason that the film interested me. Another reason was that the trailer told very little about the plot. I love it when trailers leave you hanging... a lot. Even with these two positives, I sort of expected Contagion to be subpar. Virus movies tend to be really good or REALLY bad. The trailer did very little but flash big Hollywood faces one after another, which kind of made me think that this movie may just try to hook audiences with its actors and ignore the importance of plot all together. Let's face it, movies with many big names usually suck. That's just how it is.

Overall, the plot differed greatly from previous virus movies that I have seen. The coolest thing early on was how you sort of followed the virus, watching how people touched something, then sneezed on this person, who shook someone's hand. It really made me feel like this could seriously happen tomorrow. The story was very very real and lacked the usual predictable plot lines. Everyone in the movie reacted to the situation just like I probably would have. There was no random action scene here or awkward love scene there. There were a lot of different plot lines, but they never made it a point for everyone to meet up coincidentally or anything like that. In my personal opinion, if movies like this freak you out, don't go watch it!

As I said, I was a bit worried about the fact that so many stars were in the film, but this really never bothered me while I was watching. There were even more familiar faces that completed the cast, but I didn't find them out of place either. Laurence Fishburne and Matt Damon had the largest roles, in my opinion, but the focus was really distributed well among the stars to make each of their roles important. Jude Law kind of gets on my nerves. Just thought I would throw that out there.

Best Character: Dr. Ellis Cheever, played by Laurence Fishburne, was probably my favorite character, but it was very hard to choose. Fishburne played a bit sensitive, compared to his usual tough-man self. I thought he did a great job and was very relatable if you put yourself in his shoes.

Worst Character: Dr. Leonora Orantes, played by Marion Cotillard, was completely irrelevant to the entire film. Her goal was to figure out where the virus originated, which you would think might be useful. But there is a twist in her plot that was really the only weakness in the entire film, which is a bit disappointing considering how awesome her voice is.

Contagion certainly wasn't my favorite film of 2011, but it was one of the biggest surprises of the year, for me at least. The cast gelled well because they didn't interact very much, and the plot was very unique, which is a rarity these days. If you take Marion Cotillard out of the movie, it nears perfection as far as plot lines go. Because it really falls under no category, I have waited until now to tell you that the ending kind of sucks. My reaction was not really "that makes no sense" or "why did I just waste my time on this movie." Instead, it was "surely they could have figured out a better way to tell me this." I hope that explanation makes sense. With that being said, I assure you that the movie is worth your watch, regardless of the ending. I give Contagion 3.1 out of 5 stars and remind you to go wash your hands.... NOW!!!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Movie News for the Week of September 9, 2011

It was a fairly boring week in Hollywood, so I apologize for the brevity.

1. To many people's surprise, the chosen one to host The Academy Awards is none other than..... Eddie Murphy? There was much talk about Billy Crystal possibly returning to host the Oscars this year, but it was officially announced this week that Murphy will be the one to take the stage in 2012.

2. Singer Adele announced this week that she will be heading back to the studio in November to record a theme song for the new James Bond film. I personally am not a fan of Bond or Adele, so I'm good with their joining together.

3. A young writer has convinced Warner Bros to let him script a Beetlejuice sequel. There are very few details out yet, but they have said that this will not be a remake but, instead, will further the original storyline.

4. Director Ridley Scott has found writers for his once-failed Monopoly film. Board games turned films were quite the rage last year, but the hype soon turned to disgust, slowing down the production of many films like Monopoly.

5. Seth Rogen announced this week that he will not appear in the Knocked Up spin off. Much of the original cast will be appearing in the film, but Rogen himself did not want to confuse the audience with a surprise appearance.

Ben & Jerry's announced this week that they will have a new ice cream flavor out soon, inspired by one of SNL's most famous sketches of all time. Check it out:
Also, for you Harry Potter fans, here is a trailer for a new Daniel Radcliffe film called The Woman in Black. It looks rather freaky, if I might say so myself.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Movie News for the Week of September 2, 2011

1. A reboot of The Grudge is now being developed. There is a chance that this movie might go straight to DVD, like The Grudge 3. We will just have to wait and see.

2. There is now a writer for the new Sin City sequel, which means the movie will likely be getting underway soon. I personally hated Sin City, so this is very sad news in my opinion.

3. A potential title has been mentioned this week for the new James Bond film. The name Carte Blanche is being tossed around, which is the title of a Bond book, as was Casino Royale.

4. Bruce Boxleitner, who plays Tron in the Disney series, told reporters this week that a third installment of Tron is a "done deal." He also mentioned that the film would be coming out in 2013. Disney has a new Tron animated series in development, and Tron 3 will probably be dependent on the success of the animated series.

5. The Coen brothers recently announced that their next film will revolve around a struggling 60's folk musician. As a huge fan of the Coen brothers, this is very exciting news about a movie that could include a soundtrack similar to that of O Brother, Where Art Thou. The film will be called Inside Llewyn Davis.

6. Rumors have developed that Anne Hathaway might be joining Hugh Jackman as a part of the cast of Les Miserables. Russell Crowe, Amy Adams, Miranda Cosgrove, and Geoffrey Rush are a few other stars that are being courted to play in the big screen version of the classic musical.

7. It is basically official that Orlando Bloom and Elijah Wood will each make some sort of appearance in The Hobbit films. While it is not likely that their roles will be large, this is still very exciting news for Lord of the Rings fans.

This is the first trailer for The Hunger Games, which was revealed at the MTV Video Music Awards. It looks sort of dumb to me, but we will just have to wait and see.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Great Expectations: September 2011

Starting this month, I am going to share with you the three films I am most excited about each and every month. Hopefully I will have a chance to review each of the three films and more each month, but it is hard to promise because I do have a real life that might get in the way. My hope is that, by seeing a trailer for the three films, you will have an interest in the same movies as me. The movies are listed by release date. Hope you enjoy!

1. Contagion (September 9th)

2. Moneyball (September 23rd)

3. 50/50 (September 30th)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Our Idiot Brother

I personally think that Paul Rudd is a brilliant actor, just not a comedic actor. I don't understand why guys like him and Jason Bateman, for example, waste their talent in comedies. Rudd and Bateman always play the normal guy alongside the stupid, funny guys. When you aren't funny, you shouldn't be in a comedy, period. With that being said, I really thought this might be a role that Rudd would use to break out of his normal guy spell. Any title that contains the word "idiot" certainly has potential to contain one goofy character, and this time it was supposed to be Rudd. I didn't expect too much with the movie, but I missed the movies dearly so I needed something to watch this weekend.

In the opening scene, Ned (Paul Rudd) is arrested for selling weed to a police officer, which is certainly an idiotic thing to do. You are then taken to the day he gets out of jail several months later. Then you find out what is going on in one of his sister's lives. Then the next sister. Then the next sister. Then him. Then all of them together. Then one sister. Then one sister. What I'm trying to show is that the plot was way WAY too busy early on. Eventually, each of the sister's lives are influenced by Ned in a negative way. This really was a good way to show how Ned could easily screw things up, but the plot as a whole lacked laughs. Don't get me wrong, there were funny parts, but I just didn't feel like the movie was meant to be funny. It turned out to be more about family, which is a great thing. It just wasn't what I expected.

Of course the main character was Ned, but he didn't really have enough of the movie's focus, in my opinion. The sisters, Miranda (Elizabeth Banks), Natalie (Zooey Deschanel), and Liz (Emily Mortimer), really were the focus of the movie. Each sister had her own little plot, which stole from Ned's ability to be the focus of the film. I don't know if that makes any sense, but it does in my head. Ned's biggest problem was that he was too nice, a result of his living at a peaceful, hippy, dope-smoking farm. While he did make dumb decisions and do funny things, I was expecting him to be completely oblivious to the world around him. It turned out that he made the world just a little bit better with his idiocy. He just didn't seem quite dumb enough for me.

Best Character: Billy, played by T.J. Miller (She's Out of My League), was probably the funniest character in the movie. He was one of the guys who lived on the hippy farm where Ned originally lived. I really thought that Rudd's character was going to be more like Miller's. The movie probably would have been better if Billy were the main character rather than Ned.

Worst Character: Jeremy, played by Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation), was the only real mismatch in the plot. As I said, each sister had their own plot, but Jeremy really gave Miranda a second plot as her love interest. He was funny, but I just didn't see why he was necessary.

I thought that maybe, just maybe, Rudd might be a bit goofier than normal and make this movie funny. While this was not really the case, the movie didn't turn out as bad as you might expect. The story really showed how important family is to everyone, including the idiots. It really made for a nice story, just not the one I was expecting. In my opinion, the movie really should have been called "My Three Idiot Sisters," but I don't get to choose. The cast was very good, and there was only the one out of place character, as mentioned above. Paul Rudd remains unfunny, as I give Our Idiot Brother 2.39 out of 5 stars.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Movie News for the Week of August 26, 2011

Just in case you missed it last week, movie news has moved to Fridays. So be on the lookout for great news to share with your friends each and every weekend.

Also, the first trailer for The Hunger Games will air this Sunday, during the Video Music Awards. Be sure you check that out!

1. A writer named Sean Hood has submitted a screenplay for yet another Rambo film. He reportedly had some help from Sylvester Stallone while writing the script, which makes this something that very well could happen in the near future.

2. The Last Exorcism, made for just $1.6 million, has grossed $67 million since last year, which means there imminently will be an sequel. Production for the sequel is set to begin in the fall, and yet another "Last/Final" movie has failed to wrap up a series (I'm talking to you, The Final Destination).

3. In an interview with Denis Miller, Dan Akroyd revealed that Ghostbusters 3 was definitely happening and hopefully will include Bill Murray, who hasn't been keen on making a third film. Akroyd said that the classic ghostbusters would be passing the torch on to younger stars. Also, Matthew Gray Gubler (Criminal Minds) was mentioned by Akroyd as one of the younger stars that he had in mind.

4. Chevy Chase announced this week that he has scripted a new Vacation movie, without the National Lampoon tag. The story would revolve around the original characters, who would jump off of their cruise ship, thinking that the boat was on fire. The Griswolds would wash up on an island, where good ol' Randy was left after a season of Survivor. Sounds like a funny plot to me.

5. While it has been known that a Popeye movie is on the way to the big screen, this week it was rumored that Jim Carrey will voice the sailor man. Also rumored, Amy Adams will voice the character of Olive Oyl.

6. Although very little detail is known at this point, it has been reported that the Scary Movie franchise will get a fifth installment. No actors or directors have been linked to the film, but the studio wants it out next summer. They better hurry up!

7. There will be an additional bonus when you go watch The Muppets this November. Disney announced this week that a Toy Story short entitled "Small Fry" will play before you see Kermit and crew return to the big screen.

8. Along with the Toy Story news, Pixar made even bigger news this week when they announced concepts for two new films. The first film will be out in November 2013 and will take place in a world where dinosaurs never became extinct. The second film will be out in May of 2014 and will go "inside the human mind." Both of these sound interesting to me, and I cannot wait to trailers.

This is a compilation video that somebody made, and it contains the 25 Greatest Unscripted Scenes in Film. Some of them really surprised me. I think it's definitely worth a look.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Movie News for the Week of August 16, 2011

With school starting back up next week, the blog will be forced to conform to my schedule. Because of this, movie news will be moving to Fridays, starting next week. Just wanted to let everyone know, because I know you would just be worried to death next Tuesday. Also, there has been a lot of news this week so enjoy!

1. With the great succes of the first Smurfs film, Sony pictures has already ordered a sequel. They have set the release date for August 2, 2013, making this the first film to lock up an August release date in 2013. I have my own opinion about a sequel, which you can read on my review of the Smurfs.

2. Mila Jovovich has committed to a fifth Resident Evil film. She has tweeted that the film may be called Retribution, but this has not been confirmed.

3. Bruce Willis is in talks to appear in the next G.I. Joe film. The actor would play the character of original Joe, which I imagine is just an old G.I.Joe.

4. Casting is underway for a third Riddick film, and Vin Diesel has already committed to returning as Riddick. The studio has promised that the third film will be on a smaller scale, much like Pitch Black, rather than a large scale like The Chronicles of Riddick.

5. Justin Lin, the director of Fast Five, is becoming more and more popular each and every day. He has officially signed on to direct the sixth Fast and Furious film and is also being associated with a new Terminator film. Lin himself has said that he has met with Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Cameron about making a fifth film in the famous series. Cameron has said that he will not produce if the film is made, but Lin has been very appreciative of Cameron's input. 

6. Earlier in the week, Paramount announced that it would be releasing World War Z, a zombie takeover film, on December 21, 2012. This was a bit confusing, because this was the same date as The Lone Ranger and Life of Pi were due out, but, on Saturday, Disney shut down production on The Lone Ranger. The film, starring Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer, was going to cost over $250 million, which Disney thought was a bit much for western-like remake. The Lone Ranger very well may get made eventually, but the price tag will have to be lower for director Gore Verbinski. I am super pissed about this, because I was really looking forward to this movie.

7. The Lincoln Lawyer, starring Matthew McConaughey, was not the biggest movie of 2011, but TV Land has decided to turn the film into a TV series. It is highly unlikely that TV Land would be able to afford/convince McConaughey to reprise his role, but nothing has been announced yet as far as casting goes.

8. A third Bridget Jones Diary film is being made, which mean more eyes are going to burn out after looking upon the face of Zellweger!

9. Earlier in the week, it was reported that Michael Myers is officially on board for a fourth Austin Powers movie. This turned out to be a false report, but Myers has said that he is interested in making another Powers film, so we will just have to wait and see.

The Batplane has reemerged in the streets of Pittsburgh. No one knows if the new Tumbler will transform into the Batplane or if the plane is its own accessory, but here is a clip:

Sunday, August 14, 2011

30 Minutes or Less

The summer of 2011 was full of mediocre comedies and included a few great laughs like Horrible Bosses and The Hangover: Part II. While I do love Jesse Eisenberg, my expectations for 30 Minutes or Less leaned more towards the mediocre side. The previews were certainly funny, but it seemed that those may be the only funny parts. My expectations were really lowered when I found out that this film was derived from true events. It was such a good idea, but knowing that it wasn't an original idea really made it seem less funny for some reason. Also, the guy in the true story died, which is pretty rough and not funny.

As the previews show, a pizza delivery guy, Nick (Jesse Eisenberg), is kidnapped and has a bomb strapped to him. The kidnapper, Dwayne (Danny McBride), needs $100,000 to hire someone to kill his dad, so he can have his inheritance. They decide to rob a bank, using a kidnapped pizza boy. I won't reveal the rest of the plot, but I will tell you one thing that really pissed me off. The pizza boy is given something like nine hours to rob the bank. I don't know about you, but I wanted to see him do it in thirty minutes. Maybe that really isn't important, but I think they should have focused more on the pizza side of things than they did. The title is 30 MINUTES OR LESS, they could've thrown a few pizza jokes in there somehow. Overall, the plot was rather predictable and simple, but there were plenty of laughs along the way.

Jesse Eisenberg was his usually great self, which made me want to see more of him and much less of Danny McBride. Don't get me wrong, McBride was very very funny, but I thought the movie should have focused almost totally on the delivery guy. Nick's friendship with Chet (Aziz Ansari) was actually very intriguing. They had stabbed each other in the back a few times in the past, which provided many laughs. Eisenberg is very good at making you care about his character, which makes this friendship seem very personal in just an hour and a half of watching. You really feel like these two are true friends.

Best Character: Chango, played by Michael Pena, is the man who Dwayne is going to hire to kill his dad. He is, by far, the funniest character in the movie, and Pena really does a great job playing the role. Also, Chango provides the only real plot twist, which is an added bonus.

Worst Character: Travis, played by Nick Swardson, was Dwayne's best friend and fellow kidnapper. Personally, I thought he was absolutely unnecessary. Swardson is very very funny, but he really distracted from the focus of the film.

30 Minutes or Less definitely falls into the mediocre comedy category. There were many laughs and a funny storyline, but I don't think there was ever too much potential with this film. The cast was full of great, funny comedic actors and, of course, the great Eisenberg. Aziz Ansari really surprised me, because I usually don't find him very funny. The entire cast really gelled well together, and I think the problem may have been that there were too many great actors. I wanted the movie to focus on each of them a bit more, but that just couldn't really happen. I'm still bitter about the fact that the pizza had very little to do with the movie, but I will get over it. I give 30 Minutes or Less 2.32 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Movie News for the Week of August 9, 2011

1. In an attempt to grab a best picture nomination, Warner Bros. is launching a huge Oscar campaign for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. They believe the nomination would mean so much to the series as a whole. Up to this point, Academy members have had mixed opinions on the film being nominated.

2. As I have reported before, a Green Lantern sequel is in the works. But, due to the struggles Green Lantern had this summer, the script is going to be completely changed and rewritten. Warner Bros. has promised an edgier, darker sequel. I have already said how I feel about a sequel. If you want to see what I said, go read my review of Green Lantern.

3. There has been a lot of racial tension in the comic book world. First, Peter Parker was killed of in a Marvel comic book series, and his replacement was a black guy. Now, Laurence Fishburne has been named as the actor who will portray Perry White in The Man of Steel. Many people do not like that a black actor will play the role of a usually white character, but who really cares.

4. Disney has locked up three big release dates for the summer of 2014. Two of these dates will be given to unknown Marvel movies, and the other will go to Pixar. It was recently reported that Marvel is working hard on a Dr. Strange film, so many believe that one of the two Marvel slots will go towards that film. Other rumors include a possible Captain America sequel, which would be awesome.

5. Sony has already set a May 2014 release date for a sequel to The Amazing Spiderman. In my opinion, these people plan way too far in advance.

6. The Hunger Games sequel, Catching Fire, has a release date set for November of 2013. The first Hunger Games film is due out in March.

7. As the release of the Footloose remake is not far away, news has now come out that there will be a remake of Dirty Dancing. Kenny Ortega, who directed High School Musical, is heading up the project. What makes this seem like a sure things is the fact that Ortega was the dance choreographer for the original Dirty Dancing film.

This is a first look at Anne Hathaway as Catwoman. Many people are disappointed in the suit, but we must trust in Nolan. I've also included the first picture of Henry Cavill as Superman.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Summer Recap

In my opinion, last Friday was the final big release date of summer 2011 with The Smurfs and Comboys & Aliens tying atop the box office. I am not a big fan of the Planet of the Apes series and The Change-Up just looked dumb, so I chose to write this rather than wasting my time at the movies this weekend, but don't worry, next week I will have a review of 30 Minutes or Less.

The past three summers have brought some of my favorite movies of all time. There was The Dark Knight and Iron Man in 2008. There was Star Trek, District 9, and The Hangover in 2009. And everybody loved Inception and Toy Story 3 in 2010. With those films in mind, the summer of 2011 seems very very weak. Maybe it's not fair to compare these, but the truth is that this was just a bad summer for movies. Many people whined about the abundance of super hero movies, but I don't think this was the problem. Sure, Green Lantern really sucked, and Thor was just ok, but X-Men and Captain America were each high points in a low summer. Many people whined about the abundance of sequels. Once again there were lows such as Pirates 4, but there were many sequels loved by many. I personally loved The Hangover Part II, Transformers 3, and once again X-Men. Harry Potter, Fast Five, Kung Fu Panda 2, and Cars 2 are other sequels that many people loved. So what do we blame the aweful summer of 2011 on?

The problem with the summer of 2011 is the lack of big, original movies. Every movie that I mentioned from previous summers, except Toy Story 3, was a movie that really made itself or its series famous. The two biggest money making movies of 2011 will undoubtedly be Transformers 3 and the final Harry Potter film, but both of these were sold by the success of their previous films. A lot of critics don't care for summer movies because they aren't very Oscar worthy, but, in my opinion, the problem is the lack of original storytelling ability in the film industry these days. My favorite movie of the summer was Super 8, a movie that did a great job of being itself. The biggest surprise of the summer was definitely Horrible Bosses. It may not have been as good as The Hangover, but the storyline really made for many many laughs. Each of these films were certainly original stories, furthering my point.

If you are one that hated the super hero movies or the sequels, you will also be hating the summer of 2012. The biggest films of 2012 will be The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers, and The Amazing Spiderman, all of which fall into those two categories. But, there is still hope for next summer to be a good summer for movies. The best thing it has going for it? It will be compared to the summer of 2011.

This has been a great couple of months of blogging for me, and I have really enjoyed letting people know how I feel about each film. If there is ever anything that you think would better the blog, just let me know. I am very open to suggestions. I want to thank each of you for listening to what I say, and I ask you to please continue reading.