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

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...

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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


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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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)