Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Look Ahead to 2013


Yet another year of blogging has come and gone, and I can't quite believe it. When I started this thing in 2011, I didn't really know how much I would enjoy it. I mean, come on, what college kid actually wants to write MORE. However, I have greatly enjoyed it, and my hope is that you have as well. So, until people stop reading or I get sick of writing, I'm gonna keep on going.

Sometimes I enjoy doing these odd little posts even more than the usual reviews, because I get to really say whatever I want about whatever I want. But, I do try to make each of them have a purpose, and the purpose of this post is to look ahead to what will be happening in movies and with the blog in 2013. Firstly, there will be no Great Expectations for January, because there are really no new movies coming out that I am planning on watching. In January, I will be focusing on catching up on some movies I have been wanting to rent. However, there may be a review or two, because there are a few movies that I haven't yet been able to watch, due to the busy nature of the Christmas season. Also in January, look for my Notscars list, which should be up early in the month. This list will highlight the worst in movies from 2012 but will be much different (and shorter) than last year's list. My Above Average Awards (I think it clever), which is a list of the best in 2012, will likely be out in early February. I know most people have already forgotten about 2012 by February, but, if I give you that list any earlier, I will feel like it is incomplete, because of the number of movies that I want to watch between now and then. The more movies that I watch, the more accuracy I will have in my list of best actors/actresses/movies.

After I take a nap from all the writing for The Above Average Awards, I will then proceed to review more films, as February and March roll around. Depending on what I do during the summer months (internship?), I may have to take a break from blogging, but I certainly hope not. I gotta keep my people informed! I believe that is all I have for now, so here are a few lists for you (release dates and my excitement are subject to change):

Top 5 movies that I can't wait to see in 2013:

5. This is the End (June 14)

4. The Hangover Part III (May 24)

3. Star Trek Into Darkness (May 17)

2. Elysium (August 9)

1. Man of Steel (June 14)

Other huge films out in 2013:

Warm Bodies (February 1)

Oz: The Great and Powerful (March 8)

Carrie (March 15)

The Host (March 29)

Oblivion (April 19)

Iron Man 3 (May 3)

The Great Gatsby (May 10)

After Earth (June 7)

Monster University (June 21)

Despicable Me 2 (July 3)

The Wolverine (July 26)

Enders Games (November 1)

Thor: The Dark World (November 8)

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (November 22)

Anchorman: The Legend Continues (December 20)

Friday, December 28, 2012

This is 40


Expectations:
As bad as 2012 has been for comedies in general, I was extremely hopeful that This is 40 would be a nice, final addition to the few good comedies that have come out this year. And when I say "few," I mean 21 Jump Street. Seriously though, how many good comedies can you name that have come out in 2012? Maybe I'm becoming overly critical in my old age, because I have now seen an overabundance of R-rated comedies, but this year has been very sad. I decided, however, to place my hope in Judd Apatow, even though he lost me with Funny People. I'm also a huge fan of Paul Rudd, who, although not funny himself, has been involved in many comedies that I have loved. But, the real hook is the kids. I'm a sucker for child actors, whether they be comedic or dramatic. So, me and my overly-critical self (and my girlfriend) went to see This is 40...

Plot:
I must say that the plot was extremely sporadic and never really took shape. There was a lot of arguing and fighting and kid drama and parent drama, but there was absolutely no flow to the story. Maybe Apatow was attempting to show that your life is rarely defined by two hours, as it is in the movies. Nevertheless, I didn't care for that. If he was truly trying to display a real family with parents in their 40s, then he should have made the family more real. As any true southerner would say, "Those kids needed to be beat!". I know it wasn't meant to be a family film, but it's highly unlikely that ANY parent, in that setting, would allow their twelve year old to cuss them out like that. But, oh well, what do I know. 

Characters:
Little did I know, until the credits starting rolling, that the kids in the film were actually Judd Apatow and Leslie Mann's children. So, for Apatow and Mann's sake, let's hope that their children don't cuss them out like that. Regardless, the kids were great, as was the entire cast, providing for some really great moments.

Positives:
Apatow's younger daughter, Iris, stole the show as Charlotte. Her character's innocence and humor really shone among the often dreary family, and anyone would love to have her as a kid. The older daughter, Maude, whose character was named Sadie, also did a great job in her role, however unrealistic it may have been. Her teenage emotions and drama were absolutely hilarious, and her fascination with LOST made the story much more personal for me.... not even kidding. Paul Rudd's performance was as mediocre as usual, but Leslie Mann did a fantastic job, as wife Debbie. This is 40 really felt like it was Debbie's story, and everyone else was just there to screw it up. On top of these main characters, there were many great smaller roles, such as John Lithgow's turn as Debbie's dad, Annie Mumolo's Barb, Megan Fox's Desi, Tim Bagley's Dr. Pellagrino, and Melissa McCarthy's Catherine.

Negatives:
The overall cast was fantastic, but I would say that Apatow missed the mark with a few characters. First, Charlyne Yi's Jodi had way too big of a role, and her storyline with Fox's Desi made the film run an extra ten minutes, at least. Second, the usually great Jason Segal's Jason just didn't really seem like a Jason Segal character. Segal is not a character actor, and that is what messed him up. He is meant to act like himself. Finally, I don't understand why Graham Parker was so freakin important. The excessive amount of characters just spiraled out of control, in my opinion, and this could be the reason that the film had no real flow.

Conclusion:
This is 40 was nowhere close to the same level as 21 Jump Street, but it was the second best comedy with a number in its title in 2012. There were many, many hilarious moments, but the film just never really came together and ran a little too long. Apatow has a great comedic mind, but this was not his best work. It almost seemed like it was forced, due to the lack of storyline. However, the addition of the children really made for some great humor and some good performances, which will not be forgotten. I would suggest This is 40 for any R-rated comedy lovers like myself, mostly because many of the other ones this year have sucked. I give This is 40 2.89 out of 5 stars. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Lincoln


Expectations:
Honestly, I am not a huge fan of history. While I do believe it is important and others should know about it, I don't understand why I need to know about it. Just think how many hours of my life were spent studying random historical facts. This travesty went on from kindergarten to college! Thank God that I am done with that! For you history buffs out there, although I don't get you people, I commend you for caring about history and recording it (so that I never have to). I say all that to prepare you for my expectations, which revolve around Lincoln being a story about a HISTORICAL figure. As I child, was I excited when the history teacher brought the TV into the class room? Absolutely! Would I have been willing to give him $8 for that experience? Probably not. So, while I was scared that Lincoln would be overly historical and a bit boring, the hype was enough to suck me into the theater.

Plot:
Can you really criticize the plot of a movie that is based on a true story? Not so much. So, instead, I will criticize Stephen Spielberg's portrayal of the story. Fortunately for Spielberg, I was pleasantly surprised, and I really, really enjoyed this version of the Lincoln story. While there were some dramatic moments, it was never over the top, and Spielberg did a great job of making Lincoln stand out without the drama. I cannot, however, answer the "Was it historically correct?" question. My expertise, if you didn't figure this out already, does not lie in Civil War history, but it looked true to me! Just like Star Wars!

Characters:
As we have all heard, Daniel Day-Lewis should be given every award ever given for every role he has ever played. I remember last year when they announced that he got the role, and everyone was already prepared to declare him the best actor winner. I really wanted that to blow up in everyone's face. Unfortunately, I agree that he definitely gave one of the best performances of the year. Also, I had no clue how many other fantastic actors were involved with the film, which can be dangerous but was executed well.

Negatives:
While Joseph Gordon-Levitt has often fallen on the positive side of my character critique, I was very disappointed with his performance in Lincoln. I don't know why, but he just didn't fit in the era. Also, he didn't look very invested in his character of Robert Lincoln (Abe's son). Also, David Strathairn, who I usually love, didn't really fit in the era either. William Seward, his character, played a huge role in the film, and I just didn't think he fit.

Positives:
Aside from those aforementioned, the cast was absolutely fantastic. There is no way that I can talk about every character, so I will just hit the highest of the high points. Firstly, and most importantly, I will focus on the big man--Abraham Lincoln! Daniel Day-Lewis was terrific, and the character was brilliantly created by Spielberg, who made me regret my initial desire for him to fail at making this movie. Usually, historic stuff just bores me to death, but Spielberg's Lincoln was able to keep my focus very easily. People are loving them some Daniel Day-Lewis, but they also have fallen hard for 300 year old Tommy Lee Jones, who was great in his role. However, I was even more impressed with Sally Field's turn as Mary Todd, which was absolutely brilliant. Kudos to the make up folks, who made her fit the part, considering she is in the 300 year range with Tommy Lee Jones. Lastly, James Spader's W.N. Bilbo was terrific as well. I'm usually not a huge fan of his, but he did a great job, so I figured I should mention it.

Conclusion:
Well, to be honest, I loved learning more about this historic time in our nation's history. Hopefully, the movie was fairly accurate in its portrayal of Lincoln and the events of the time, but, as I said, I cannot be a reliable voice in that respect. If it wasn't the truth, then please don't tell me. I want to think that it all happened in that dramatic fashion! As far as being a film, Lincoln was just as entertaining as informative. Often, I'm not a fan of movies that are super Oscar-friendly, like Lincoln. Often, I'm not a fan of history. Often, I'm not a fan of casts featuring dozens of characters and stars. Rarely does a movie come along that is able to take each of these elements and nearly perfect them all. Spielberg, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Abraham Lincoln did just that, and I absolutely loved it. I give Lincoln 3.89 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Great Expectations: December 2012

As we head into the busy month of December, I'm really getting excited about the movies coming out toward the end of the month. Unfortunately, we will have to wait a little while. This weekend and next are fairly dry movie-wise, so take a rain check if you were planning on heading to the theater. Go shopping now, and watch movies later. Then, you will beat the crowds (at the stores at least). Just a little free advice from a fellow consumer!

1. This is 40 (December 21)


2. The Impossible (December 21)



3. Les Miserables (December 25)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Perks of Being a Wallflower


Expectations:
If it is possible to be sold on a movie solely because of the song in the trailer, that's what happened for me and The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Imagine Dragon's "It's Time" was one of my favorite songs of the summer, and I was introduced to it by the trailer for this film. (here it is if you haven't heard) Not only did I love this song, but I also downloaded like five more of Imagine Dragon's songs, as they joined Fun. and The Lumineers among my favorites in music from the summer of 2012. And, yes, you did here correctly... I have great taste in music! However, we are here to talk about movies, and I must say that I was moderately excited about seeing Wallflower. Because I live in a small movie market, it took a good while for the film to make its way to my local theater, but I think the wait just increased my desire to watch. Also, my wonderfully sweet girlfriend preferred Wallflower over Cloud Atlas, and it would be wrong to displease her...

Plot:
The plot of Wallflower can be boiled down fairly easily. However, for a simplistic story, there was a TON of depth. There is even a nice twist at the end that I did not see coming at all, which added even more to the depth. Being a book-adaption movie, there is a tendency to wonder whether the story was told as effectively as it was told in the book. Luckily for us, we don't have to even think about this, because the author of the book wrote and directed the film. To all of you "the book's always better" people, you can't criticize this movie in any way. If you want to criticize the author for telling HIS story, then you should be forced to never speak about books or film ever again! Nonetheless, this story was absolutely brilliant, and its execution was flawless. Not only was I interested in the outcome of the story, but I was also totally drawn in to these characters' lives...

Characters:
As I have said many, many times, I am a sucker for young actors. I love kid actors, because of their innocence, and I love actors that are my age (20's), because I can easily relate to them. Why was 50/50 my favorite movie of 2011?... Probably because I could imagine myself in that situation, and it just felt so real. Or in the case of Wallflower, I felt "infinite!" (You'll get it after you watch.)

Negatives:
Although I am a huge American Horror Story fan, which makes this difficult to say, I was not a huge fan of Dylan McDermott in the role of the father of the main character (Charlie). Maybe it's because of American Horror Story or because that's how the character is supposed to be, but I just didn't feel like McDermott's character had a very fatherly feel about him. The only other performance that I didn't care for was Johnny Simmons's Brad, who was the star quarterback at the kids high school. His character becomes hugely important, but I just didn't think his performance was that great, compared to the other, young actors.

Positives:
Where do I begin? How about I start with one of the greatest performances of 2012? Ezra Miller was absolutely amazing as Patrick (the obviously gay friend of Charlie). I'm usually not a huge fan of leading gay characters, because they usually either start off or end up as this huge gay rights social protest. It's not that I have a problem with characters being gay, but I don't pay $8 to watch someone be gay, just because Hollywood loves it. Patrick, on the other hand, was a completely unique character who stole the show, not by being gay, but by being the guy that ANYBODY would love to hang out with. Kudos to Miller for his great performance, and kudos to creator Stephen Chbosky for creating such a character. As great as Miller was, the awesomeness did not stop there. I don't know how Logan Lerman acts in real life, but he did a brilliant job of portraying the troubled lead character, Charlie. Miller may have stolen the show, but Lerman is the one who created the show and gave it the ability to be stolen. Also, give credit to Paul Rudd, who played the coolest English teacher ever.

Conclusion:
Even though I wasn't particularly stoked about seeing The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I can easily say that it was one of my favorite movies of 2012, thus far. The story was great. The acting was great. It just made me feel great. In my opinion, you can tell how good a movie is by how much you think about it the day AFTER you watch it. I was thinking about Wallflower for many days after I watched, and I still can't get the song "Come On Eileen" out of my head because of it. My hope is that each and every person who reads this post will watch this movie when it comes out on DVD. I guarantee that you will not be disappointed (especially if you are my age). I give The Perks of Being a Wallflower 4.02 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Great Expectations: November 2012

November and December are going to be huge, huge months for movies, so get ready! If recent years are any indication, we will likely find our 2012 Best Picture winner in these last two months, especially considering we haven't heard too much buzz about any films that have come out in the first ten months of 2012. How sad is it that we have to wait until November to even think that a movie may win best picture? The answer is "pretty sad." Anyway, here are a few movies that I'm looking forward to this month. Sorry that two of them are already out. I'm a laggard!


1. Flight (November 2)


2. Wreck It Ralph (November 2)

3. Silver Linings Playbook (November 21)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Argo


Expectations:
In the midst of my busy schedule and ridiculously awful semester, it has been so nice to be able to go to the theater and "forget about life for a while" (Piano Man reference). I have been to the movies a few times over the past month, but I haven't had time to blog, so I will be playing catch up this week. Look out for more reviews soon! Because of my current stress, I'm pretty sure that I would love anything that I watched, so my expectations for Ben Affleck's Argo were not super high. If you have seen The Town, which was similarly directed by Affleck, you know that his films have an edgy, dark, dreary feel about them, and Argo looked to be no different. While I don't mind the darkness, it can get old after a while, so I was a little worried about that aspect of the film. However, I was hoping that the interesting and true story would be enough to overcome the feel of the movie.

Plot:
Honestly, it has been a very long time since I have really been THAT into a story. I was seriously on the edge of my seat. Then, I checked my phone to see what time it was, and the movie wasn't even half over! It really was THAT intriguing. Even The Dark Knight Rises wasn't this intriguing, with all the passion I had invested in it. Usually true stories are a tad too predictable, but that wasn't the case with Argo. In fact, although I expected a successful/happy ending, I couldn't figure out whether I was going to get one. Nevertheless, kudos to Affleck and his ability to write a great story. Also, the story was a lot less dreary than The Town, mostly due to the prescence of Alan Arkin's Lester Siegel and John Goodman's John Chambers. These two brought some great laughs, which took the edge off in a very good way.

Characters:
As I said, Arkin and Goodman's characters were brilliant, but they weren't the only impressive ones. Almost the entire cast was amazing, including Affleck, who must really love himself to keep giving himself these lead roles.

Negatives:
While there were very few negatives, I must say that Bryan Cranston was one of them. He is in like every single movie nowadays, and I guess I'm just sick of hearing about him and Breaking Bad, so there. Additionally, I wasn't too impressed with Tate Donovan's Bob Anders. It was nothing but a poor performance.

Positives:
Although I've never been a huge fan of his, Ben Affleck did great in every job that he took on with Argo. I did find his backstory and family situation a bit of an unnecessary addition to the story, but what do I know. Other than that, he was great! Scoot McNairy, who played Joe Stafford, gave the best performance of the hostages that Affleck was sent to rescue, probably because he was given the most screen time of the hostages. I do, also, love to watch Christopher Denham (another one of the hostages). He always intrigues me, because he is so gosh dern freaky. Finally, Alan Arkin stole the show, and should be given some serious award recognition for this role. I absolutlely loved his character.

Conclusion:
Typically, I find that movies stemming from true stories are either extremely sappy and emotional or overly historic and boring. Argo was none of the above. I really loved the way that Affleck was able to create so much drama and suspension with a true story and WITHOUT any action. I actually cannot remember a single action scene, which is very rare. Unlike The Town, Argo never had a single dull moment, and I loved it. I wouldn't be surprised if it was able to garnish some Oscar attention, as awards season quickly approaches. I give Argo 3.35 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Great Expectations: October 2012

While the number of interesting movies coming out in October is small, I am very excited about the two that I plan on seeing. However, if you prefer mass over quality, fret not! Oscar season will be heating up, which means each of our needs will be satisfied by the mass amounts of quality films. I believe that this will be one of the best winters in a long, long time for the movie business, so brace yourself!

Argo (October 12th)


Cloud Atlas (October 26th)


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Looper


Expectations:
In my opinion, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, at the moment, and I am a huge, huge fan of his work. Last year, I even awarded him the high honor of best actor in a dramatic role in my first ever "Above Average Awards." Although I missed out on Premium Rush, which looked a tad bit cheesy, I was super excited about Looper, which looked a tad bit freakin awesome. However, I am not a huge fan of action films that suck men into the theater in an attempt to entertain them by blowing stuff up and killing people. Most guys like that, but I find it a bit shallow. I was a little worried that Looper was going to turn out to be too much action and not enough story, but the cast was great and the storyline intriguing, so I decided to go watch...

Plot:
Heading into the film, I was thinking that the storyline in Looper would have to be good if there was any chance of me liking the film. Oddly enough, I didn't think the story was all that great. The idea itself was very, very interesting, but the execution was mediocre. I just kept waiting for that moment that would absolutely shock me and make me think "didn't see that coming," and it never came. The interaction among the actors really disappointed me as well. In my opinion, Gordon-Levitt's younger Joe and Bruce Willis's older Joe didn't have enough time on screen together. They really only had one scene where they had a conversation. Considering how long the movie felt, I just expected more interaction between the two of them. With all that being said, I was, nonetheless, impressed with the action in this film. Was it mind-blowing? NO... But they never let the action take the focus away from the story, and that is something that is rarely accomplished. Kudos to the filmmakers on that one!

Characters:
As I said before, the character interaction was not always the best. However, there were some very good individual performances, and I really, really enjoyed the smallish cast. The focus was almost always kept on one of the two Joes, which was a huge plus for me.

Negatives:
The one character that screamed negative! to me was Kid Blue, played by Noah Segan. I believe he was supposed to be some sort of comic relief, but I just didn't really understand why he was necessary. As far as I can remember, he is the only character who ever took the focus off of the Joes, and I did not like it when he did. Also, I didn't understand why Paul Dano's Seth was at all necessary in the film. Basically, all he did was show the audience what might happen if Joe did not kill his future self, which, I believe, did not help with the lack of suspense.

Positives:
Without a doubt, Bruce Willis gave the best performance in Looper, but I do believe he was under-utilized. In the final scenes, he had almost no presence in the film, whatsoever. I know that doesn't sound positive, but I wanted to be sure to recognize him for his performance. Gordon-Levitt was nowhere near his 50/50 performance from last year, but he still did a great job.

Conclusion:
While I wasn't overwhelmed by Looper, I did enjoy the differences that this film had compared to your average action film. The ability to tell the story without forcing the action down my throat was very impressive. The story just needed to be better. It was a great attempt, but it just didn't have everything it needed. I do believe, however, that Joseph Gordon-Levitt has cemented himself into a long term role as one of Hollywood's leading actors, and I can't wait to see what he does next. As for Bruce Willis, he is getting old. I would certainly suggest Looper to any guy out there who enjoys a high-action drama. Just go watch this and see how much you enjoy seeing a story told, and I bet you won't even realize that the action was minimal. I give Looper 2.89 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Summer Recap 2012


For those of us in South Mississippi, the summer temperatures are far from gone and anything that we might have written in the sand has been blown away by Hurricane Isaac. My wallet is going to enjoy the fact that the summer movie season has come and gone, but my heart will be yearning for more. This feeling is not an uncommon one, considering this has been my 21st summer on this rock. However, someone like me, who loves going to the movies, can never get enough. While the next two months are going to be a bit slow, the Christmas movie season is looking stronger this year than it has in a long, long time. So, folks, before we jump toward Christmas, let's take a look at some memorable movie moments from the summer of 2012...


Movie That I Just Didn't Get:
Moonrise Kingdom


Funniest Moment:
Hulk smash Loki


Closest to Tears:
When Timothy Green made his exit.


Movie That I Felt Bad for Liking:
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter


The First Ever Musical with GOOD Music:
Rock of Ages


Least Twisty Plot Twist:
Blake is Robin!


Movie That Made Me Feel Good About Life:
Safety Not Guaranteed


Most Surprisingly Good Movie:
Men in Black III


Best Scene:
The C-section in Prometheus


Best Look Ahead to Summer 2013:
The Man of Steel


Movie That I Just Wanted to End:
Snow White and the Huntsman


Movie That I Watched More Than Any Other:
The Dark Knight Rises


Re-boot That Seemed Exactly Like the Original:
The Amazing Spiderman

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Great Expectations: September 2012

As we transition from the movie-filled summer to the not-so-movie-filled fall, it is a bit more difficult to find movies to get excited about. But, I did find a few! Here is a look at some of movies that I am excited about that come out in the month of September.

The Perks of being a Wallflower (September 14)


The Master (September 21)


Looper (September 28)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Odd Life of Timothy Green


Expectations:
The phrase "feel-good story" has been following The Odd Life of Timothy Green around over the past few weeks, and, frankly, that frightened me. While I do enjoy feeling good, many times a PG movie takes that feeling a bit over the top. However, this film looked really good to me. Actually, I have been waiting to see it since I saw the first trailer, which was almost a year ago. In most cases, I would take my iffy expectations right to the tomatometer and go from there, and I did, which wasn't so great at 38%. Nevertheless, my mother and girlfriend wanted to see it bad enough that I was willing. So, last Saturday, we went to watch ol' Timmy Green, and he was sold out! That didn't stop us though! We went right back at it this Saturday and were finally successful!

Plot:
While there certainly was a bit of a dorky, family atmosphere about it, The Odd Life of Timothy Green did a great job of creating an original story. The predictability was there, as were the sappy moments, but the concept was quite great. I even got a little emotional (not quite as emotional as these guys). I did not shed a tear, though, which I am always proud of! The story was very uplifting, and it really makes you appreciate everything that you have been blessed with. There was a small problem with a lack of humor throughout most of the film. There weren't too many laughs from the kids in the theater, and I think this contributed to the overly-emotional ending.

Characters:
My expectations were that Timothy (played by CJ Adams) would be the main character, but his "parents" were actually at the focal point from the beginning. Unfortunately, there were a few points when I felt the characters weren't quite good enough for such an original story. This was probably due to the PG rating but oh well...

Negatives:
First, we have Timothy's love interest, Joni (played by Odeya Rush), who was completely out of place. She looked about ten years older than Timothy, and I don't really understand why she was necessary at all. Second, Timothy's grandfather (played by David Morse) was extremely awkward and did not appear as mean as he was supposed to (PG!!!). He did nothing but give his son motivation to raise Timothy in a better manner. Third, Ron Livingston did not do a very good job of playing the mean boss at the pencil company. He just wasn't mean enough (PG!!!). Finally, Uncle Bub, played by the brilliantly old M. Emmet Walsh, was not quite utilized as much as he should have been. He gave the filmmakers the perfect opportunity to add some laughs, and they failed to do so.

Positives:
I will be honest with you and say that I am a sucker for child actors. They make me remember how, as a child, I was just outside playing in the yard, rather than becoming a Hollywood star. Their talent, at such a young age, easily amazes me. CJ Adams did a fantastic job playing Timothy. He wasn't the greatest ever, but he did better than I could ever do. On top of Adams, I was also impressed with Joel Edgerton and Jennifer Garner. Usually, I'm not a huge fan of Garner, who tends to be whiny and annoying. However, alongside Edgerton, she did a fantastic job. The emotions that I did feel would not have been brought about had it not been for their performances.

Conclusions:
If you will allow me to do so, I want to take a moment to brag on my parents. To my knowledge, they don't read my blog, but only because I've never really made them. As you know, if you've seen the trailer, Timothy Green's parents were unable to have a child, so they got Timothy. It was easy to see how Timothy's parents started living their life solely for Timothy, as soon as he arrived on the scene. As long as I can remember, my parents have done the same for me. If you are as fortunate as I have been, there is no way that you could watch The Odd Life of Timothy Green without getting emotional. It made me realize that no one will ever love me as unconditionally as my parents have, and they think that they are the lucky ones. Maybe I only loved it because it hit home, but, regardless, I did love it. I give The Odd Life of Timothy Green 3.27 out of 5 stars and will continue to wish that it wasn't PG.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Campaign



Expectations:
While there have been a share of good movies this summer, I would have to say that this has been one of the worst times for comedies that I can remember. Sure, Ted and The Dictator were alright, but no comedy has really been able to shine. My hope was that The Campaign would be the comedy that broke through the barrier, but my expectations were not too high. Zach Galifianakis is an absolute genius comedically and has built a reputation that makes it easy for him to sell his characters to almost anyone who enjoys laughing. If that's not enough, Will Ferrell is one of the funniest men of all time, and he already pulled off a very good George W. Bush, so playing a politician shouldn't be much of a challenge for him. Everything pointed towards The Campaign being a great success, and the trailers were absolutely hilarious. Let's just say that I was very eager to laugh...

Plot:
As with most R-rated comedies, the plot lacked any depth at all. However, there were many, many laughs along the way. Galifianakis's Marty Huggins and Ferrell's Cam Brady both pushed the limits in their respective campaigns, easily going beyond any form of realism. Sometimes people just need a good laugh from a totally stupid comedy, and that's what you get with The Campaign. While I didn't mind the stupidity, I did wish for more poking fun at politics and specific political moments. I wanted a Clinton joke or an Anthony Weiner joke or something, but everything was pretty generic. The comedy just wasn't quite clever enough for me.

Characters:
As is with any shallow film, the characters in The Campaign were the only thing that could save it... and they did! Unfortunately, I didn't love every character, but I loved some of them greatly. If only everybody could be Zach Galifianakis...

Negatives:
In my opinion, Will Ferrell was not at his best in this film. While I don't consider him the greatest comedic actor of all time, I have seen him in some really great roles. However, Galifiniakis overshadowed him by so much that there was no way he could really shine, as Cam Brady, in his usual Will Ferrell way. Probably the worst performance was that of Jason Sudeikis as Brady's campaign manager. Normally, I find Sudeikis semi-funny, but he was awful in this film. Also, I was not a huge fan of the "bad guys," the Motch brothers, played by Dan Aykroyd and John Lithgow.

Positives:
As I've already said, Zach Galifianakis is terrific, and I love him for it!!! The character of Marty Huggins was very different from his usual, but he was great! There were other great performances, as well, from a few unsuspected performers. Huggins's kids (played by Grant Goodman and Kya Haywood) were absolutely hilarious. Usually I don't laugh at scenes that I have seen in the trailer ten billion times, but the dinner table scene from the trailer is ten times funnier in the actual movie, because of those kids. Finally, kudos to Karen Maruyama as Mrs. Yao, who did a great job with her voice impressions. They cracked me up!

Conclusion:
There were certainly some low points to The Campaign, but, overall, I thought it was quite grand. I just wanted a movie that would make me laugh, and I got it. The power that is Zach Galifianakis might be growing quicker than any other comedic power out there, which gets me super excited. I, personally, can't wait for The Hangover III (out next summer!). For Will Ferrell, I hope he gets some sort of boost from this film, and I also hope that his next film is a much, much better fit for him. And, for the summer comedies of 2012, well, they certainly got a boost from The Campaign. I'm just not sure if it was enough to break the barrier. We will just have to keep waiting for a great comedy. Who knows what it may be? I give The Campaign 2.89 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Safety Not Guaranteed


Expectations:
Let me start by thanking The Grand Theater in Hattiesburg, MS for bringing a few indie films to us over the summer. I've had the pleasure of watching both Moonrise Kingdom and Safety Not Guaranteed, and I didn't expect to have that pleasure. While many of you have probably heard of Moonrise Kingdom, I doubt that many of you are familiar with Safety Not Guaranteed. If you have not seen a trailer for this film, here is one for you to check out: Click this!!!. As for my expectations of this film, I am not exactly sure what they were. The story, revolving around a time-travelling loon, was semi-intriguing, but I needed more than that to want to go see it. That's where the actors come in. Although I'm not a huge Parks and Rec fan, I do like Aubrey Plaza, and I'm a huge, huge fan of New Girl, so I'm also a huge fan of Jake M. Johnson. On top of these things, the movie just looked like it had a good vibe, so I figured what the heck...

Plot:
While the plot wasn't extremely deep or surprising, it was absolutely fantastic. There are two aspects that this film hit right on the head. 1) Character Development. They really did a good job of making you feel for the characters at hand, and each character had a good amount of depth for an hour and a half long movie. 2) Perfect balance of drama and comedy. I absolutely love movies that can successfully make you laugh and feel. That's exactly why 50/50 was my favorite movie of 2011. Witty humor mixed with emotion isn't an easy thing to create, but Safety Not Guaranteed did a great job of balancing the two, just like 50/50.

Characters:
As I said, the character development in this film was absolutely fantastic. It was obvious that Aubrey Plaza's Darius was going to have a certain amount of depth. The surprising thing was the depth of every other character. Every one of them had some huge revelation. I may not always be a sucker for deep characters (I did LOVE The Avengers), but, when done right, it makes me love a film so, so much more.

Negatives:
There were very few characters in Safety Not Guaranteed, and, honestly, I can't think of one that disappointed.

Positives:
Everybody! Darius (played by Aubrey Plaza) was a terrific leading character with great depth. Next of importance, Mark Duplass gave a great performance as the time-travelling Kenneth. The two really did a good job in their scenes together. On top of these two, there were also two great performances from Jake M. Johnson (as Jeff) and Karan Soni (as Arnau). Johnson was very similar to his character on New Girl, which is terrific, and I will predict that Soni has a very bright future in the world of nerd comedy. Great performances across the board!

Conclusion:
From The Dark Knight Rises to this... A big change! But I must say that the second half of the summer of 2012 may just be saving the summer itself. Safety Not Guaranteed is probably the most surprisingly great film that I have seen all year long. However, the year is still young. Although it has left the theater already, I would certainly encourage everyone to check it out when it comes out on DVD. Also, do not be discouraged by the R-rating. It is nothing that I wouldn't show my mama. Kudos to The Grand Theatre. Kudos to the second half of 2012. And Kudos to Safety Not Guaranteed! I give it 4.12 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Great Expectations: August 2012

To be honest, I am usually not too interested in many movies in August, but, in 2012, that is not the case at all. While May, June, and July all contained big films, August probably contains the biggest mass of films that I was interested in for the summer of 2012. Needless to say, I can't wait for August!


The Campaign (August 10th)

The Odd Life of Timothy Green (August 15th)

Cosmopolis (August 17th)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises


Before I begin this review, I just want to remind everyone to say a prayer for those involved in the shootings in Colorado. I was at the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises, but my memories of the night will likely forever be overshadowed by the evil actions of one man. There is nothing we can do for those lives lost on that horrible night, yet we can always remember to cherish our time here on this planet, because we never know when it might run out.

My review of The Dark Knight Rises is going to be a bit different from my usual reviews, as it will contain some spoilers. I just wanted to warn everyone, just in case you haven't seen it yet. Normally, I don't spoil anything, so do not be discouraged from reading my other reviews!

Expectations:
If you didn't know, I had a long post last week about my expectations for The Dark Knight Rises. You can read the post here.

Plot:
The most disappointing aspect of the film, in my opinion, was the fact that I was required to re-imagine a brand new story. I wish the film would have started where we had left off, at the end of The Dark Knight. While it did help with the introductions of Bain and Catwoman, the plot build-up of the political themes was completely forgotten by the end of the film. What was introduced as a stab at big government, turned into another attempt for Ra's Al Ghul to take a stab at Batman. It wasn't awful, but it could have been much better. If you took the epic nature of the ending and spread it throughout the rest of the film, it would make for a film at least ten times better. As I said in my expectations, I wanted Batman to die... Well, Batman died!... Then he didn't... However, I was ok with it, because we were allowed to feel the emotions that came with a dead Batman. We were allowed to see the praise that was received, the tears that were shed, and the truth that Batman could be anybody. Along with this, we were also allowed a happy ending.

Characters:
While the plot was a bit below expectations, the characters greatly exceeded my expectations. From unforeseen villains to unforeseen love interests, this movie was your typical action flick. The difference was the fact that most every member of the audience was more attached to these characters compared to your average action film. The events that played out weren't just happening to any old character; they were happening to The Dark Knight, who we have come to love.

Negatives:
Let me start with a question. Why in the heck was Scarecrow (played by Cillian Murphy) even necessary to mention in this film? He is by-far the worst of all Nolan-created Batman villains, yet he won't go away! Also, I don't understand why Matthew Modine's Foley (the stupid detective) was necessary. We were already getting an extra cop when Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Blake showed up, and his introduction was ok. However, Foley was trying to act like he had been an integral part of the Gotham police force forever, and we have never seen him. It just angered me. On top of that, I was going to hate on Marion Cotillard's Miranda Tate, but she saved herself at the end.

Positives:
Christian Bale, as Bruce Wayne, is undoubtedly the greatest Batman of all time, and he continued that legacy in The Dark Knight Rises. When remembering this film, however, I will always think of Joseph Gordon-Levitt's great(ly predictable) performance as Blake. Gordon-Levitt is one of my favorite actors, and, while this wasn't his best performance, Blake's character was fantastic. It would be so, so fantastic if whoever took over Batman next just took up where Christopher Nolan left off, with Blake as Batman. While the hero was epic, Bain (played by Tom Hardy) and Catwoman (played by Anne Hathaway) were equally as great in their villainous roles. I was really worried about each of them, but they really were great Nolan-created villains. I even enjoyed Catwoman's not-so-villainous ways. Finally, kudos to Alfred (played by Michael Caine) for almost making me cry four-times thus far.

Conclusion:
Wow! A conclusion it certainly was! While it wasn't Christopher Nolan's best film, it was a satisfying conclusion to one of the best trilogies of all time. Could it have been better? Probably, yes. But, I honestly can't think of how I could have made it better, so I can't be too harsh about that. Nolan gave us so many great characters in these three movies that I hated to say goodbye. I really wish that he would just make a new Batman film every year for the rest of eternity! Doesn't look like that's going to be the case. My only hope is that the director of the next Batman film, whoever that may be, will do half as well as my man Christopher Nolan. Until Batman returns, we will have to be entertained by Nolan's take on Batman, which doesn't bother me one little bit. I give The Dark Knight Rises 3.24 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My Expectations for The Dark Knight Rises


Before I even started this blog last year, I could not wait to be able to talk about The Dark Knight Rises, which, at that point, had no title. I fell in love with Batman when I was like a day old, and he always has been and always will be my favorite super hero. You see, Batman has no super power, and, because of that, he is the most relatable and realistic of all super heroes. While some people agree with me that Batman is the greatest, others believe him to be boring, due to his lack of super-human abilities, and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. The problem, however, lies in the fact that those who disagree with me are wrong, because Batman is THE GREATEST. Period. In addition to my love for Batman, I also have a great love for Christopher Nolan, who is probably my favorite film director. While I love Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, Inception and The Prestige are two of my most favorite movies ever, which should mean a lot to you.

Plot Expectations:
While The Dark Knight is almost every one's favorite Batman film, Batman Begins probably has the greatest storyline of the first two Nolan Batmans. I expect the storyline in Rises to fall somewhere between the two. It looks as if Nolan is going to give this film an extremely political feel, which really intrigues me. However, as a fiscal conservative, I hope he doesn't piss me off too bad. Aside from that, let me tell you what I hope for the most. I hope that Nolan has the intestinal fortitude to kill off Batman. You might ask me why I would hope for such a thing, so let me give you an answer. My hope is for great closure in the series, and an ending that no one is expecting. I have been close to tears in many a movie, then someone would swoop in and save my favorite character from meeting imminent death. For once, just once, I want to be swept off my feet by the ending of a film. Nolan has the opportunity to do that. We will see if he succeeds.

Character Expectations:
Worries:
1) Anne Hathaway as Catwoman.
2) Bane's voice not being easy to understand.
3) The number of big stars in the cast.
4) My ability to keep my focus off of Marion Cotillard's beauty.

Intrigue:
1) Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character.
2) Will Batman make it to the end?
3) Will Alfred make it to the end?

Highest Hopes:
1) That Batman won't make it to the end.
2) Great performance by Tom Hardy.
4) That I won't be too miserable at work on Friday morning.

Overall Expectations:
Christopher Nolan is an absolute genius, and he never makes anything sub-par. Because of this fact, I am not at all worried about the outcome of The Dark Knight Rises. I hear so many people talking about how, without Heath Ledger's Joker, this movie will not be able to come close to The Dark Knight, which is ridiculous. When I love a series of movies, I don't judge each film based on the successfulness of its predecessor. I love every Transformers film, but the first one is obviously the best. I can love every Batman film, even if Rises isn't the best movie ever. My excitement is wrapped up in the fact that I'm going to get a new freakin Batman movie on Thursday! I could care less about anything else!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Moonrise Kingdom



Expectations:
If you don't watch a lot of television that shows a lot of movie trailers then you may have never heard of Moonrise Kingdom. Indie films, such as this, usually don't make a very big impact at the box office and are rarely very popular. It is even more rare that an Indie film makes its way down to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, so I had to give it a try. After watching the trailer, I didn't have high expectations really, but I was extremely intrigued as to how the random clips would turn into a story. Plus, with a cast as star-studded as this, I figured it had to be good. Bill Murray won't even do Ghostbusters 3, yet he will do Moonrise Kingdom? It HAS to be good. Usually, I am not a lover or hater of Indie films and their awkward vibe. But, I never know when one might sneak up and surprise me.

Plot:
In my opinion, anytime a movie revolves around children, there is a 99% chance that I am going to enjoy it. Moonrise Kingdom did revolve around kids (very weird kids at that), and I enjoyed most every scene in which the kids were the focus. It was intriguing, to say the least. While the beginning felt very random and disconnected, the story came together extremely well at the end. The way the movie was filmed, as far as camera angles and such, really helped make it fun to watch. Although I did say that the story came together well, it didn't really blow me away. I kept waiting for a moment that was going to make me love Moonrise Kingdom, and that moment never came. This is not a very good review of the plot, but, if you do watch it, I want you to go in with the same clueless mindset that I had.

Characters:
As I said, I loved the child actors. They really did a fantastic job of acting, to be as young as they were. Wes Anderson allowed them all to embrace their weirdness without sacrificing their childish attitude for dramatic moments. In a way, every situation involving the kids felt very real, as if it could happen to any kid. Usually, when there are kids in a film, the kids' reactions are unrealistic for dramatic purposes.

Negative: Sure, Bill Murray can be one of the funniest men on the planet, but he has to be in his element. He was definitely NOT in his element in Moonrise Kingdom. I felt like they wasted his talent on the rather pointless role of Walt Bishop. Along with Murray's wasted talent was the wasted talent of Tilda Swinton, who was even more pointless as "Social Services." She is a phenomenal actor, but she only had like three lines!

Positives: The two main characters, Sam and Suzy, were brilliantly played by Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward. Were they the best child actors ever? No... But their characters were so, so witty and enjoyably funny that the acting wasn't all that important. In addition to these two main characters, the other kids that were in the film also did a great job. There were just too many to name them. As good as the kids were, I was most impressed with Edward Norton's performance as Scout Master Ward. I have never, ever liked Norton, but he was absolutely brilliant and hilarious in this role.

Conclusion:
While the story was well-rounded and interesting, it didn't exactly blow me off my feet like I hoped. Moonrise Kingdom was not one of those great Indie films that everyone will love, but it would be worth a watch, if you enjoy quirky, weird movies. This is actually the first Wes Anderson film that I have ever seen, so I can't really compare it to his others. The most exciting thing (to me at least) about this movie is the fact that it is playing in Hattiesburg! I wish we could get more Indie films in Hattiesburg, because there are many that look way better than Moonrise Kingdom that I have to wait to watch on DVD. As a business minded person, I know this will never happen, but, as a movie-lover, I can always hope! I give Moonrise Kingdom 2.55 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man


Expectations:
If there is anyone reading this that doesn't love Peter Parker, please just go ahead and click away from this blog post. There is no way that I can share my feelings about Spider-Man with someone who doesn't care, so just go on....... Now, for those that remain, my expectations for The Amazing Spider-Man were extremely, extremely high! While I do love the Spider-Man character, I was not a huge fan of the three Tobey Maguire Spider-Man films. All three films had so many dorky, unrealistic moments that I just didn't care for them, and, yes, I do realize that the whole idea is unrealistic. But, after The Dark Knight and The Avengers set the expectations so, so high for pretty much every comic book movie to come, I really thought that this film HAD to be more real and raw in order to survive the evolution of comic book films.

Plot:
The plot was a bit more realistic than the previous three films, but it still wasn't good enough. The trailer really sold the plot as revolving around Peter's past and his relationship with his family. However, this was not THAT big of a storyline. While it did help tie the plot together, he never really found any answers or gained any confidence concerning his family. This wasn't a big issue plot-wise, but it did dissapoint my expectations a bit. The biggest problem that I had with the film as a whole was the fact that Peter (played by Andrew Garfield) wasn't quite dorky enough. Normally this would be a character issue, but I believe that the plot hurt his ability to grasp that dorkiness. His relationship with Gwen Stacy (played by Emma Stone) was way too easy. He barely had to try to get her to like him. While I'm not a comic book expert, the Peter Parker I know struggles with an extreme case of dorkiness, and the lack of that dorkiness pissed me off!

Characters:
As I said, Garfield's turn as Spider-Man was dissapointing, but it was the fault of the writing. Garfield himself was actually perfect for the character. He played my favorite character in The Social Network and didn't let me down in his second major role. On the other hand, Emma Stone is not my favorite actress. She is usually just so-so (save The Help), and she was so-so in this film as well. Stacy and Parker were obviously the two major characters, and neither of them really stood out. Nevertheless, I have seen worse, so I give them the benefit of the doubt.

Negatives: Richard and Mary Parker (played by Campbell Scott and Embeth Davidtz) were undoubtedly the most dissapointing characters. I really wanted Peter's parents to be important in this film, and, as I said, they just weren't. Also, Chris Zylka's Flash Thompson was a bit of a let down. Peter's lack of dorkiness really took away from Flash's ability to be an effective character.

Positives: As expected, Ben Parker (and all his freakin awesome wisdom) was easily the best of all characters. Martin Sheen's turn as Peter's uncle was very successful, which greatly excited me. To my surprise, Denis Leary's turn as Captain Stacy was also very successful. I thought his character might be a little awkward and sappy, but he turned out to be great.

Conclusion:
I want to apologize for harping on the lack of Peter Parker's dorkiness so much in this review. However, it is the one thing that really ruined the whole film for me. The problem is that I can't think of a way for them to better portray him without taking away from more realistic approach to the story. Peter Parker's character is a nerd and always will be. The times, however, have greatly changed. So many nerdy things have become the norm now (Thanks, Hipsters!), which makes it harder to portray nerds as awkward or unfortunate people. Therefore, I am blaming my problems with The Amazing Spider-Man on.......... HIPSTERS!!! If you are a hipster, then thanks a lot for ruining Spider-Man (just kidding). I give The Amazing Spider-Man 2.98 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Ted


Expectations:
As everyone knows, Ted was sold on the fact that it is the creation of Seth McFarlane of Family Guy fame. Honestly, I am not a huge fan of Family Guy. It is funny, but it has too many stupid, stupid moments for me. However, there is no denying that McFarlane and crew are geniuses when it comes to creating stories and characters. Because I knew of McFarlane's genius, I knew that I would be pleased with the outcome of Ted. The trailer was hilarious... The idea was amazing... And there was even a great cast. The only unsure thing was whether or not McFarlane could create a complete story with some substance over the course of one and a half hours.

Plot:
Much to my surprise, there was a fairly deep plot for a comedy. Actually, it was too deep. There was this huge attempt to establish some sort of emotional connection to the characters, which works in some comedies. However, it did not work with Ted. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't awful, but it would have been much better if they had gone with the straight up raw, dirty comedic approach. It is just so hard to take a talking teddy bear seriously.

Characters:
While the connection or plot between the characters was not so great, the individual characters were, for the most part, decent. The only big problem I had character-wise was that Ted was not quite the center of attention. It really felt like John (Mark Wahlberg) was the main character. I have nothing wrong with Mark Wahlberg, but, when you have a character as great as Ted, you have to run with that 100%.

Negatives: As I have said before, Mila Kunis rarely impresses me (save Friends with Benefits), and she let me down once again, as Lori Collins, in Ted. I don't know why, but I just don't like her! Lori's boss, Rex (played by Joel McHale), was probably the worst character of the entire film. While I don't usually care for Kunis, I find Joel McHale quite funny, so I was a bit surprised. Finally, Donny, played by Giovanni Ribisi, was an extremely low point plot-wise. Donny shouldn't have been in the film at all, but oh well.

Positives: As expected, Ted (voice by Seth McFarlane) stole the show as far as characters are concerned. He was a brilliant creation, and I wish I was half the genius that McFarlane is. Aside from Ted, there were a couple of other performances that I thought impressive. Patrick Warburton, as Guy, and Sam Jones, as himself, added a great amount of comedic relief to the attempt at a serious plot. However, there weren't that many great characters, further proving the need to focus on Ted.

Conclusion:
I just want to say how excited I was to see billions of people at the movie theater this past weekend. While my expectations for Ted were high, I had no clue that it would make $54 million in its first weekend. Kudos to America for almost making me run out of gas trying to find a parking spot! As far as Ted goes, I wasn't completely impressed. Let's just say that, if I would have run out of gas, it wouldn't have been worth it. The movie was funny, don't get me wrong. It just could have been much, much better. With the great amount of money made, I wouldn't be surprised to see a Ted sequel or a similar production from McFarlane and crew. Maybe they will learn from past mistakes and make up for it the second time through. I give Ted 2.77 out of 5 stars.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Great Expectations: July 2012

While June may have been the month with the most to offer when it came to number of interesting movies, July is the month that contains BATMAN!!! I cannot wait until The Dark Knight Rises comes out!!! You just have no idea! Actually, you probably also have this overwhelming emotion toward Batman. So, join me in celebration of Batman, Christopher Nolan, and (the smokin) Marion Cotillard. I promise that you can expect a glowing review of The Dark Knight Rises (after I have watched it at least twelve times). I already have my midnight premiere tickets, and I'm saving for the next eleven tickets! Sure, there are other movies coming out in July, but nobody really cares!!!


The Dark Knight Rises!!!!! (July 20th)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter


Expectations:
Read the film title!!!

Plot:
While I didn't expect much, I was not really let down. Was it Oscar-winning? Heck no!!! But there actually was a story, which is saying something for any slasher film. The most unrealistic aspect of the whole film was the ample amount of blood that flew from each and every individual that was given a small cut. However unrealistic, I actually felt as if they did a good job of not over-exagerating the fact that this was Abraham Lincoln. Sure, they used Mary Todd, the Gettysburg Address, and slavery, but it never felt like they were trying to force it down your throat. They realized that the story was not true prior to telling it, which really helped it along in my opinion.

Characters:
Overall, the character depth was lacking, as would be expected. Aside from Abraham Lincoln (played by Benjamin Walker) and Henry Sturgess (played by Dominic Cooper), there was no story at all for any of the films other characters. It made the movie even more shallow than you might originally expect.

Negatives: Anthony Mackey's Will Johnson and Jimmi Simpson's Speed were two character that really played a large role in the film's storyline. However, I never really felt like they fit. Johnson, Speed, and Lincoln would be casually walking around the White House (talking about vampires of course), and it just wasn't at all plausible. On top of that, I never thought the vampires were quite scary or mean enough to take on Honest Abe and his gang. They were certainly more vampirely than those sissy Twilight vampires, but I wanted them to be downright bad! But they weren't...

Positives: Walker's turn as Lincoln was quite impressive in my opinion. I have seen many documentaries or films that involved bringing President Lincoln to life, and Walker outdid any performance that I have seen before. Was he flawless or Oscar-worthy? Heck no!!! However, it could have been much worse. He might have a bright career ahead of him!

Conclusion:
With my expectations being as low as possible for a movie I would pay $7 to watch, I would say that Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter greatly exceeded said expectations. All it took was a pretty good Lincoln and a so-so story to make one of the worst ideas ever into a so-so movie. Just to warn everyone, this isn't a true story, yet it is a story that can satisfy that guilty pleasure whole in your heart. While I won't be rushing out to buy this film on dvd, I would suggest it for anyone who loves to see excessive amounts of blood shed for no apparent reason. If you don't like those kinds of movies, then just go stare at a penny for a while!  I give Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter 2.36 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Rock of Ages


Expectations:
While there aren't an abundance of musicals out there in the world, I have seen my share, and I have disliked my share. I don't know why, but I can't grasp any positive anything out of a musical in most cases. It baffles me quite a bit, so I try to steer clear of any musicals that attempt to come my way. Then, here comes Rock of Ages! As a guy who loves classic rock (and Russell Brand), this musical was made for me, if there ever was one. Sure, Tom Cruise looks goofy, Mary J. Blige is annoying, and nobody has ever heard of that one kid; but, if the music could carry my senses away just enough, I might forget my subconscious bias and enjoy the show...

Plot:
While you can't expect a musical plot to be too deep, usually there is some underlying theme or message that the musical delivers. Honestly, there was no theme or message for the entire film. Almost every song in the film either teaches a lesson or explains an emotion, and they do so in a very successful way. What was lacking was the ability to tie those songs into a larger, more satisfying story. There may have been too much going on or something, but, regardless, the story wasn't there. I don't know how much the film version deviated from the Broadway version, but I would love to see it one day and be able to compare the two.

Characters:
As I said, there may have been too much going on, and that may have been because of the large cast of characters. There really aren't that many really low points character-wise; I just think the entire film would have been ten times better if more time was spent on each character. It was hard to really care about the characters when they were only on screen for three minutes at a time.

Negatives: In addition to his inability to sing (in a musical), Paul Giamatti, as Paul Gill, got on every last nerve I had. Usually, I am a huge fan of his work, but I wasn't impressed with him here. Also, Constance Sack, played by Malin Ackerman, was completely pointless to the plot of the film. As Stacee Jaxx's love interest, Constance did nothing but take away from Tom Cruise's ability to shine. Finally, Mary J. Blige disgusts me, AS EXPECTED.

Positives: Tom Cruise was not anywhere close to as bad as I thought he was going to be as Stacee Jaxx. Not only did he manage to sing well, but he also cracked me up on multiple occasions. Speaking of cracking up, Russell Brand's Lonny and Alec Baldwin's Dennis made for a hilarious pair that really contained the only surprising aspect of the entire film. However, the best character, by far, has to be Patricia Whitmore, played by Catherine Zeta-Jones, who was absolutely hilarious in every single scene that contained her character.

Conclusion:
While the music made for a nice experience, I still wasn't completely sold on Rock of Ages. I really wish that there would have been more of a story, because, who knows, I might have loved it. Fortunately, while in New York, I was personally given a copy of the soundtrack by the one and only (sort of average) Julianne Hough, during my two seconds of fame on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Though my story may be exaggerative, the soundtrack is fantastic, and I suggest it for anyone who loves classic rock anthems. I give the Rock of Ages soundtrack 4.21 out of 5 stars, and the Rock of Ages film 2.43 out of 5 stars. That means that you should just buy the soundtrack!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Snow White and the Hunstman



Expectations:
After watching nothing but the trailer for Mirror Mirror with Julia Roberts, it was fairly simple to choose which 2012 Snow White movie was for me. I mean, come on Julia! That was just awful! Even with the obvious avoidance of Mirror Mirror, on my part, I wasn't uber thrilled to see Snow White and the Huntsman. The main reason I wasn't excited about the film was the setting. For some unknown reason, I cannot stand movies set in medieval times. Hollywood has been off of the medieval kick for a while now, but they will still throw one at us every once in a while. Maybe it is the appropriate setting for the story, but it's not a setting that I love. And we all know that it's all about pleasing me...

Plot:
To be honest, the plot wasn't too, too bad. This is really where I thought Snow White would fall short of satisfactory. I mean it's hard to make an already famous story MORE interesting in any way possible. However, the entire vibe of the film added a unique, mystical feel to the traditional story. You might ask how a "fairy" tale could become even more mystical, yet Snow White did so by bringing in almost the exact same feel of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. The visual effects were done so well that the story was almost unimportant. I was only focused on how they went about displaying said story for the moviegoers. Was it an Oscar-winning story? Heck no! But it certainly exceeded my expectations.

Characters:
Where Snow White was successful in the story-telling category, they failed to be in the category of creating interesting characters. As usual, Kristin Stewart utilized her no-talking, let's-just-make-distraught-faces acting methods, which I have never enjoyed. Chris Hemsworth is not really a good actor (he was the low point in The Avengers), and that showed yet again in this film. While Charlize Theron's Ravenna was a very good creation, her performance was quite lacking. There were just too many dorky, stupid moments that could have been avoided if a better actress were chosen.

Best Character: I did enjoy the more dramatic, yet still goofy, take on the seven dwarfs. Without having seen them in the previews, I was wondering if they would even appear in the film, so it was a nice relief when they showed up.

Worst Character: Sam Claflin's William is the easy choice for worst (absolutely stupidest) character. I had no idea why he was even a part of the storyline. If you take him away, the movie would be twice as good.

Conclusion:
While it wasn't a complete flop, Snow White and the Huntsman had too many flaws to deserve too much praise. Whoever did the casting should probably be fired. Of course, Kristen Stewart was cast for the purpose of seducing the thousands of mindless teenagers into watching a movie that they would otherwise have no interest in. Those poor, poor girls! The medieval feel was a bit much for me, at times, but the fantastic visual effects made up for that for the most part. I'm sure it was at least 100 times better than Mirror Mirror. I give Snow White and the Huntsman 2.67 out of 5 stars, and urge you to avoid Kristen Stewart at all cost!