Wednesday, December 11, 2013

12 Movies, Because I'm WAY Behind

I know my blogging has been lackadaisical lately.  I blame the fact that I have two jobs (sorry).  But I noticed that my movie blogging was even more behind.  I’ve seen plenty good movies, just haven’t posted about them.  Get your slushies ready!  Here it goes...

#35: Side Effects

The film starring Channing Tatum and Rooney Mara as married couple Martin and Emily Taylor dealing with his release from prison for insider trading.  Emily is struggling with depression and goes to Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law) for help.  She continues to struggle and continues taking a variety of medications, the most recent that gives her problems with sleepwalking. Banks then consults with Dr. VIctoria Siebert (Catherine Zeta-Jones) on Emily’s past issues and how he can make progress with her.  The side effects of her medication become the main question of the film.  I give it a 8.5 out of 10.  The movie had amazing cinematography and an absolutely fantastic main cast.  The thriller aspect of the movie was done so brilliantly that when the film was often obvious, it still wasn’t. Absolutely fantastic film, I deducted 1.5 for some easily guessable moments and the small amount of time Channing Tatum was on screen.

#36: For a Good Time, Call...

While I might be buzzed off my gourd writing this, but the film is awesome. Katie (Ari Graynor) and Lauren (Lauren Miller) are old college frenemies who find themselves in difficult positions and forced into living with each other. Katie operates on a sex line, which Lauren soon discovers. Eventually Lauren convinces Katie that they could operate their own line and make it a profitable business.  The film is witty and hilarious. I give it a 9.5 out of 10.  There were a couple moments which to me could have been done better and the length was short, but overall the film was a joy to watch. And kept me in stitches from laughing. Even though the film is about a phone sex line, it has an amazing message about sex.

#37: Man On Fire

This film is about a bodyguard Peasey (Denzel Washington) who gets hired by a family to protect their daughter Pita (Dakota Fanning).  The family resides in Mexico City where abductions are abundant and return of life low.  One day as Pita is coming out of her piano lesson, she is snatched.  The family tries to ransom for her, but when things go south, Peasey goes on the warpath.  Had I not known the film wasn’t directed by David Fincher (director of Se7en and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), I would have believed it was his work.  The cinematography was fantastic.  I give the film an 8.5 out of 10.  The pace of the film dragged far too much for my liking.  Clocking in around two hours, the film could have cut at least twenty minutes out and made it far more bearable.  This is what Taken with Liam Neeson would have been, if Liam Neeson liked to take things slow.  Overall great story, but takes some time getting around to the action.

#38: Iron Man 2    

I hadn’t seen this movie for a really long time, and then fortunately one night while working on homework the first Iron Man was on followed by the second.  The sequel continues on Tony Stark’s life as Iron Man and his ego the size of his house.  Someone else has harnessed the power that he possesses and his planning to use it against him.  Two villains are featured in the story including the aforementioned Ivan Vanko (evil scientist also known as Whiplash, played by Mickey Rourke) and Justin Hammer (played by Sam Rockwell).  Not to mention, Stark is dealing with some health concerns that could derail him as Iron Man forever.  Overall, I give the movie a 7 out of 10.  It didn’t hold my attention as much as the first movie.  And I felt Sam Rockwell was underused as a character.  He’s a fantastic actor and I wish he could have been given more time in the film.

#39: Iron Man 3    

I was very excited to see this film in theaters, and I was not disappointed.  Tony Stark’s story continues as a terrorist called the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) is wreaking havoc, and that havoc lands on Iron Man’s own doorstep.  A guy from Pepper’s (Gwyneth Paltrow) past reemerges with new technology he’s keen on sharing.  Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) is messing with some serious firepower, and Pepper could be at risk.  Tony’s life is upended and he is reminded how much of Iron Man is about his wealth and how much is about his heart.  I give the movie an 8 out of 10.  The film was genuinely funny.  I spent so much of the movie cracking up.  I’m fairly certain that the release for the film got pushed back because the release was in May, but the film had so much Christmas in it.  There were things that could have been done differently, but overall, it was a great addition to the franchise.

#40: The Host     

While I may get crap for having read Twilight, the Host, Meyer’s more adult novel, is markedly better in my opinion than her more popular series.  The book is about an invading race of aliens that believe they need to take over the world because humans are too violent and are killing themselves as a species. Melanie (played by Saoirse Ronan) has just been inserted with one of the aliens, and that entity, self named Wanderer, is tasked with finding a pocket of rebel humans trying to get away from the invasion.  Melanie is torn between the resolve of the alien and her own personal love for her boyfriend Jared (played by Max Irons).  When she makes it to her human community, it becomes an internal struggle between the two souls.  Overall, I give this movie a 7 out of 10.  Since the book is mainly an internal debate, that is hard to translate to film.  There were pivotal parts that were missing.  But as the wise uncle Jeb, William Hurt is phenomenal. It’s a decent representation of a decent book.

#41: Star Trek Into Darkness   

I’ve always been more of a Star Wars gal, but when I saw the first Star Trek, I was pretty twitterpated.  I can’t wait to watch some original ST, but since I have so many other shows to watch, I had to settle for the films instead.  The original gang is back, including Captain Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto), Sulu (John Cho), Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Bones (Karl Urban), and Chekov (Anton Yelchin).  An internal threat brings destruction on the Federation, and the Enterprise is charged with bringing him to justice.  John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a mystery that Kirk and his crew are about to unfold, but what will happen in the process? Since I haven’t seen the original, I don’t know how well it compares.  I give it an 8 out of 10.  I thought it was fantastic and the cast was brilliant.  The only downside to me is that sometimes the story seemed weird or off or something.  Probably just me. But I thought Benedict was amazing! And would watch it over and over again just for him.

#42: Friends With Kids

This is a great story of how a group of friends copes with changes.  One couple has just gotten pregnant, another couple is newly married, and the two remaining individuals are still dealing with singledom.  This ensemble cast includes Maya Rudolph, Chris O’Dowd, Kristen Wiig, Jon Hamm, Jennifer Westfeldt, and Adam Scott.  As both the first two couples are immersed in responsibilities with children, the two singles decide to revolutionize relationships and parenthood.  They decide to have a child together even though they aren’t together.  As time goes on and relationships are altered, you find out which relationships are solid enough to make it.  I give the film 7.5 out of 10.  The ensemble is what made this film.  These actors work so well together.  But at the same time, the film gets predictable.

#43: Safety Not Guaranteed  

While this movie is not perfect, it contains so much poignancy that it almost is.  Kenneth (Mark Duplass) is trying to go back in time to change something, and he takes out an ad in a magazine to find a companion.  Employees at the magazine (Jake Johnson, Aubrey Plaza, and Karan Soni) get sent to find out his story and see if he’s really a nut job or if there is more than meets the eye.  The amazing story unfolds and leaves the most thoughtful point: you cannot move forward if you live in the past.  I give it a 9 out of 10.  The movie is amazing but has moments that could have flowed a bit better.  Overall, an amazing film that leaves you with a nice profound appreciation for your life.

#44: Bachelorette  

This movie is a great illustration of how karma is a bitch.  Regan (Kirsten Dunst), Katie (Isla Fisher), and Gena (Lizzy Caplan) were the mean girls in school.  They pretended to be friends with and toyed with Becky (Rebel Wilson) all through high school.  Becky has asked them to be her bachelorettes for her wedding.  As the girls head to NYC for a bash, all the things that could go wrong for the girls do go wrong.  Karma really takes over and tries to teach the girls a lesson about how you should treat people.  I give it a 7 out of 10.  It was interesting to watch and had a more original concept than some films out today, but it wasn’t phenomenal.  A good movie to Netflix on a girls night in.

#45: Sideways

I had wanted to see this movie for a while because it is about wine and has a great cast.  Jack (Thomas Haden Church) is about to get married and his best man Miles (Paul Giamatti) decides to take him for a wine tour for his last hurrah.  While Miles is content to taste wine and enjoy the country, Jack wants to sow his wild oats...yeah.  Miles and Jack end up meeting up with two waitresses Maya (Virginia Madsen) and Stephanie (Sandra Oh).  Miles already had a crush on Maya, but Jack immediately hits it off with Stephanie.  I give the movie a 6 out of 10.  I was slightly buzzed off wine when watching it, but I felt the movie was far too long and I don’t see why it was so acclaimed.  The two main male characters are kind of assholes. There were certainly moments, but it was only ok.

#46: Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet is my least favorite Shakespeare work I’ve ever read.  But since I’d never seen the Baz Luhrmann edition, I thought I would give it a try for the sake of my friend who really likes Baz. Leo DiCaprio and Claire Danes play the elusive lovers, supported by an amazing cast including Pete Postlethwaite, John Leguizamo, Harold Perrineau, Paul Rudd, and Brian Dennehy.  While I admit that you can tell it’s a Baz Luhrmann film through and through, it’s still Romeo and Juliet, so it still sucks.  I give it a 5 out of 10. I can handle the cinematography and the cast, but not the story. I really can’t do it.

I’ll hopefully have a Catching Fire movie and book review up soon, so enjoy that popcorn and stay tuned!

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