Thursday, July 21, 2011

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" - in theaters

This movie came out last Friday, and I've already seen it three times. And this includes a midnight showing and an IMAX 3D showing.

I cried heartily every time, at the exact same spots, even though I knew they were coming.

Don't judge me.

But seriously folks, this movie is EPIC. If you are a Harry Potter lunatic, the way that I am, but treat the movies as their own separate entities, then you'll like this film a lot. If you are a hardcore book fan, and want the filmmakers to adhere to every last detail, then of course you're going to be disappointed.

The movie starts off where Part One ended, and they don't give you any time to breath. You had best be up on your Potter lore, or else you're going to be totally lost. You rejoin Harry, Hermione, and Ron in the quest for Horcruxes, but thankfully, they have a better grasp on where they are, and don't spend most of the movie camping in the woods. It is pretty much straight up action with emotional land mines scatter sporadically throughout that hit you right in the chest, where it hurts. You're transported everywhere, from Gringotts, to Hogsmeade, to the battle at Hogwarts. Beloved characters are killed (but no spoilers here, I promise), others thrive, and the whole time, you just KNOW that Harry is thinking "I'm gonna kill this son of a bitch if it's the last thing I do."

It. Is. Phenomenal.

Many people have stated how sad they are that these films have ended, but I don't feel like I've lost anything. I thought it was a great conclusion, and I don't feel empty now that it's over. If I'm ever feeling nostalgic, I can simply pop in a DVD of my favorite movie or - *gasp* - pick up one of the books, and I feel like I'm chatting with an old friend. Yes, I would love to see them in more adventures, but at the same time, don't these characters deserve a rest? Shouldn't they be entitled to a little monotony in their twenties and thirties? After spending most of my late adolescence and early adulthood with these characters, even I could use a break!

(I also know that if all else fails, and I'm desperate for a new story, there's a great site called that has thousands of Potter stories just waiting to be discovered...)

So on the CWeave scale, I rate this movie a 10 (as if I could give it any other number!). A fantastic conclusion to a spectacular film journey. And did I mention how Neville Longbottom is a total bad ass? If nothing else, see it for that alone. It's incredible.

And don't forget to bring tissues.

Seriously. You'll bawl your face off.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"X-Men: FIrst Class" - in theaters

I've said before how I love me a superhero movie. But I've grown skeptical of the X Men franchise, simply because the third one was just so AWFUL. And although "Wolverine" was enjoyable, it was a bit heavy, and not your traditional summer fare.

Let me tell you something right now: This movie definitely rid me of the bad taste left in my mouth.

I mean, holy crap! It was awesome.

This movie begins in 1944, where you re-live that concentration camp scene from Magneto's childhood. But unlike the first movie, where you were brought to the present day, in this film, you actually saw where Magneto went after that experience. It turns out, he went to see Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), a Nazi doctor who was interested in human mutation. What follows is horrendous, and let's just say that when they fast forward 20 years, you understand why Magneto/Erik (Michael Fassbender) is hunting down every person who was ever associated with Shaw.

Charles Xavier's childhood was quite different. Raised in that giant mansion, one night he comes across Raven/Mystique, stealing food from his kitchen, and invites her to live with him. It's all innocent, seeing as how they're both 7 years old. Now when they fast forward, Charles (James McAvoy) is a student at Oxford, while Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) makes it by as a waitress, and it seems, Charles professional sister.

The plot is quite complex, but needless to say Charles and Erik get together (no, not in THAT way), and become friends and allies, working to stop Shaw from starting World War 3 (or as we now call it, The Cuban Missile Crisis). At that time, mutants were still in hiding, but the CIA, with the help of Charles and Erik put together a team to help stop Shaw. This team includes Dr. Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult), before he turned blue and became covered in hair, Havoc (Lucas Till), Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones, who frickin' rules, by the way), Angel (Zoe Kravitz), Darwin (Edi Gathegi), and of course, Mystique.

Now all the while, Erik is plotting how to kill Shaw (which seems impossible, but whatevs), but at the same time, starts to agree with his ideology. It's a conflict that he struggles with immensely, and it affects his abilities. It turns out, Charles is able to help him unlock parts of himself that allow him to use his metal-crunching powers to their utmost, and I think it's this piece that keeps Magneto from killing Charles later in life.

I'm pretty sure this entry doesn't make any sense. But I can't explain it any better. I do know that if you like hot men, then you will LOVE Erik, because Michael Fassbender is so freaking hot that he'll make your panties melt. Literally. Bring something to clean yourself up with.

On the CWeave scale, I give this movie a 9. I want to see it again so badly, I just might have to make it happen later this week. So to all of you, go see this movie. NOW. And keep your eye out for two cameos which are so awesome, you'll want to scream. Seriously.

"Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" - in theaters

The first "Pirates of the Caribbean" holds my personal record for number of times seeing a movie in the theaters ( - cough - seven - cough- ). I'm not ashamed of it. I swear.

I was more than a little bummed to see that neither Orlando Bloom (my FAVORITE) nor Keira Knightley were going to make an appearance. And all throughout the movie I kept my fingers crossed for some hint of Will and Elizabeth action. But alack! No such thing occurred, so don't even waste your time waiting for it.

I can't really tell you the plot of this movie, because like all of the others in the Pirates franchise, it was a little tough to follow. You never know who is double-crossing who, or which pirate is the most honest. But I can tell you that the story is about Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) trying to find the fountain of youth before Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush, in all of his syphilis-encrusted glory) or Blackbeard (Ian McShane) does. It's not as straight forward as that, and when you add in Angelica (Penelope Cruz) who may or may not be Blackbeard's daughter and Jack's ex-lover, things get a little complicated.

There was a strong showing by newcomer Sam Claflin, who plays Philip, a missionary aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge (not by choice, as Angelica saved his life). Philip preaches how souls can be saved, and in doing so, hopes to deter Blackbeard from doing evil. A fool's pursuit, no doubt. But things change when they capture a mermaid, Syrena (Astrid Berges-Frisbey), and Philip kind of falls in love with her. It's quite a sweet story, and Philip does take his shirt off, revealing that missionaries have got it going on (at least sometimes). But it's still no replacement for the awesomeness of Will Turner. For one, I don't think you ever see Philip pick up a sword. And what good is a hot guy in a pirate movie if he can't fence?

This movie made me wonder if Johnny Depp is ever going to grow tired of playing Jack Sparrow. Remember how in the first Pirates, he was nominated for an Oscar? Crazy!

So on the CWeave scale, I give this movie a 7. It's fun and full of dirty pirates. It may not have the best story line, but you can't ask for more in a summer movie than allowing it to take you away from your own life for a few hours. And that's what this film does.

Monday, June 6, 2011

"The Hangover Part II" - in theaters

I'm going to admit something up front: I didn't pay too close attention during this film to give a good review. Here's the deal: I was in Florida and coming down with some sort of sickness, so the entire time, my body was aching, my throat hurt, and I was FREEZING. The only thing that I could think was, "Please God, let this movie end soon so I can go outside and get warm".

That being said, this movie was so comparable to the first, that it's ridiculous. The main thing in this sequel is that Stu (Ed Helms) is the one getting married, and he's doing so in Thailand. What starts off as innocent, on the beach drinks with Phil (Bradley Cooper), Alan (Zack Galifianakis), Doug (Justin Bartha), and Teddy (Mason Lee), the bride's (Jamie Chung) younger brother, soon finds the "wolf pack" waking up in a dilapidated old hotel in Bangkok. Also with them is Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong), who apparently picked them up in his speedboat at some point during the night.

What follows is pretty predictable: Teddy is missing, so the boys try to piece together what happens the night before using the clues from the things they find in their pockets as well as the people that allegedly saw them the night before. The stuff that went down was CRAZY. Seriously, more so than in the original, but the filmmakers had to go there, or else it would simply be the same film, done twice.

I was surprised by how many different penises showed up in this film. It's somewhat refreshing to see male nudity as opposed to female. But on the other hand, did I really need to see all those penises? I think not.

The character of Alan really went up a notch for this one. The best way I can describe him is as a possessive, childish, douchebag. It's a little ridiculous, and I wish that Zach would have stayed with the original Alan formula, as it was much more endearing.

On the CWeave scale, I give this movie a 6.5. I probably should see it again due to the sickness that was overtaking my body, but I don't think I will. At least, not until it comes out on Netflix. Sorry Bradley Cooper :(

"Bridesmaids" - in theaters

When I first saw the trailer for "Bridesmaids", I almost peed my pants I was laughing so hard. So when I finally went to the theater, I was just praying that all the funny parts weren't in the preview! I hate it when that happens.

But it didn't happen here, thank GOD.

The story is about Annie (Kristen Wiig), a jewelry store clerk who lives with some creepy Brits, has a failed business venture under her belt (the bakery "Cake Baby"), has a scuzzy fuck buddy (Jon Hamm), and a tiny-bit-crazy mother. The one constant in Annie's life seems to be her friend, Lillian (Maya Rudolph), who she has known since she was a small child. But of course, that all changes when Lillian gets engaged, and asks Annie to be the maid of honor.

The other bridesmaids are a motley crew of individuals. You've got Helen (Rose Byrne), whose so perfect you just hate her instinctively. Then there's the cousin, Rita (Wendie McLendon-Covey), whose life with three sons and a husband is just one crusty sock after another. (And if you get that joke, then you've got a sick mind, but I swear, they came up with it, not me.) Ellie Kemper plays Becca, Lillian's co-worker, who is a newlywed as well, and who is much too innocent for her own good. And finally, the holy grail of bridesmaids is Meghan (Melissa McCarthy), Lillian's fiance's sister, who's every word you want to catch because it is just so absurd and ridiculous. She really does steal every scene that she's in, and believe me when I say that you want her in every scene.

As Annie plods through the pre-wedding madness, it's quite easy to see how she hates the way her life is going and envies Lillian's. It changes slightly when she meets Nathan (Chris O'Dowd), a Wisconsin state trooper who keeps pulling her over for issues with her car. Nathan is adorable on about 13 different levels, and the whole time, you just hope that Annie doesn't screw it up.

There are some serious gross-out scenes in this movie. Like, to the point where you can't even look at the screen, it's that disgusting. Then there are the awkward parts, which are also frequent. The toast giving at the wedding shower is perhaps the most uncomfortable 7 minutes on film to date. I'm totally serious.

But overall, this film is charming, and says a lot about the levels of friendship between women. I don't know if the filmmakers were trying to make a point by giving Lillian's fiance NO lines, but it sent a message, saying that this film was for women, by women.

So on the CWeave scale, I give this movie a 9. Seriously, go see it. You'll laugh so hard you'll pee. And then you'll cry because you peed. For real.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

"Thor" - in theaters

I am way behind on posting, so once again, you all must suffer me to post many times in a short time span. But since about 3 people actually read this blog, I'm not too worried about the consequences.

So... "Thor"...

I'll just put this out there: I love me a damned superhero movie. Give me some hot guy who kicks ass and gets the girl, and I am chomping at the bit. It's a bonus when the movie is actually GOOD on top of that. And that is what "Thor" is, much to my surprise.

"Thor" centers around - you guessed it - a guy named Thor (Chris Hemsworth), whose part of a supernatural race of beings who live on Asgard, and act as protectors of the entire universe. They are legends in Norse mythology, who swooped in and saved the Norse people from the Frost Giants back in the day. The king, Odin (Anthony Hopkins), was the one who eventually brokered peace with the Frost Giants, and took their main weapon so that they couldn't harm other realms.

Fast forward to the present day, where Thor is about to take over for Odin, while Loki, (Tom Hiddleston), his brother, watches from the sidelines with a suspicious look on his face. Through a series of events, Thor isn't crowned king, and instead does something incredibly reckless. You see, the Frost Giants broke in to Asgard to try and steal back their beloved weapon, interrupting the crowning ceremony. So Thor decides to get revenge by invading the Frost Giants home and killing as many as possible. Naturally Odin's pissed, and when he finds out, decides to take away Thor's hammer (tee-hee), and casts him down to Earth.

But luckily for Thor, the moment he lands on Earth's soil, he runs in to Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), a physicist who is researching all of the weird aurora-type happenings in the sky. Jane and her team, Erik (Stellan Skarsgard) and Darcy (Kat Dennings), take Thor under their wings, so to speak, especially once they find out that Thor actually came from one of those strange events in the sky.

It goes on from there, and is actually quite complex. I applaud the director, Kenneth Branagh (I know, I know, THAT Kenneth Branagh), for integrating so much of the legend of Thor into the plot, and for trusting the audience to be smart enough to keep up. I loved how he went so easily between the drama of what was happening on Asgard to what was taking place on Earth.

This movie makes me hungry for "The Avengers" for several reasons, and it was a great way to introduce the character of Thor. I almost peed when I saw Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) for a few moments during one of the scenes, and the casual mention of Tony Stark and Bruce Banner just got me all a-twitter.

Yes, I know. I'm a nerd. Get over it.

So on the CWeave scale, I give this movie a solid 8.5. I am serious here - great special effects, a decent show on the acting front, some electric chemistry between the two stars (Chris and Natalie), and a solid story to boot. You can't ask for much more in a superhero flick!

Monday, May 2, 2011

"Water for Elephants" - in theaters

I finished reading the book "Water for Elephants" on Friday. And then I saw the movie on Saturday. Needless to say, the story from the book was quite fresh when I sat down in the theater. Luckily for me, the movie stayed pretty true to the book, so I have very little to complain about on that regard.

The story centers around Jacob Jankowski (Robert Pattinson), a veterinary student on the verge of graduation, when tragedy strikes in the form of his parent's death. It's the Depression, so no one has any money, and when Jacob finds out that all of his parent's assets (the house, the vet practice, the car) are being repossessed by the bank, he does the only thing he can think of: he runs away. He jumps onto a train car as he's walking along the tracks, and come to find out, it's a circus train! And they're in need of a vet!

So before you know it, Jacob is playing doctor with all of the animals in the circus' menagerie. This includes the horses, who are part of an act with the beautiful Marlena (Reese Witherspoon). Marlena is married to the ringmaster/equine director/circus owner August (Christoph Waltz). The only way to describe August is mentally ill. He has some sort of personality disorder that makes him charming one second and absolutely lethal the next. Marlena is good at controlling him, but even she can't on some occasions. Jacob notices this right away, and does his best at protecting both Marlena and the animals.

Back in those days, circuses went out of business, and when that happened, others would pull up and see what they could get off of them. For the Benzini Brothers circus, they picked up Rosie the elephant outside of Chicago. She is to become the main attraction for the show, but when trouble arises in her training sessions, August takes to beating the absolute crap out of her with the bullhook. It's really quite sad, and Jacob and Marlena bond with each other over her plight.

As the movie goes on, things get worse in the circus, in terms of relationship troubles and insubordination. I won't go into too much detail, because that might ruin the fun for you.

Performance wise, everyone did a pretty nice job. It was nice to see Robert Pattinson (or as I call him, Cedric Diggory) out of the "Twilight" scene. While I love Reese Witherspoon, I think she was a bit too old to play Marlena. In the book, it's obvious that Marlena is super young, even younger than Jacob, so Reese wasn't the best choice. But she's awesome, so it's not such a horrible thing. Christoph Waltz is a nutjob, and that's how August should have been. He's been getting a lot of crap for being too cartoonish, but that's how August was. So I tip my hat to you, sir.

On the CWeave scale, I rate this movie a 6.5. I enjoyed it immensely, but there could've been improvements. It's not one that I'll need to own, but it's worth seeing.