Tuesday, December 14, 2010

"Burlesque" - in theaters

"Burlesque" is another film not getting a lot of love with the critics. A lot of the complaints stem from the mediocre plot line and the performance of Christina Aguilera. While I agree that the plot line is a bit lacking, it doesn't mean that the film isn't anything less than a whole lot of fun.

The film revolves around Ali (Christina Aguilera), a small town girl with big time dreams, who leaves behind her crappy life to make a go of it in Los Angeles. There, she stumbles upon a burlesque club, owned by Tess (Cher), who is soooooo not interested in hiring her for anything. But the bartender, Jack (Cam Gigandet), takes pity on her and hires her as a waitress.

The story is very "Coyote Ugly" from there. One of the girls has to leave the club, so Ali auditions and nabs a spot as a dancer. Of course, there's the headliner, Nikki (Kristen Bell), whose arrogant and an alcoholic who eventually tries to foul up a performance of Ali's by knocking out the sound system. Because the girls don't actually sing at the club; they just lip sync. But when Ali starts belting out the song from memory, everyone goes ballistic, and Tess decides to revolve the whole lineup around Ali.

There's a subplot where Tess is behind on her bank payments, and Marcus (Eric Dane, playing the ever-present slimeball) wants to buy the club and blah blah blah.

Stanley Tucci is also in this film, and let's face it, he is the most fabulous thing about it. He plays Tess's go-to gay guy who handles everything from costuming to shepherding the performers.

You don't go to see this film for the plot. You go and watch it to see the singing and the dancing and the pretty costumes that only .0001% of women can wear. And apparently that's enough to garner a Golden Globe nomination!

So on the CWeave scale, I give this movie a 6. It's frothy, fun, and light, and the characters' problems aren't so much problems as they are cracks in the sidewalk. And amidst the award season offering of films with heavier fare, I found this to be more refreshing than I expected.

Monday, December 13, 2010

"Love and Other Drugs" - in theaters

This movie isn't getting as much love as I thought it would. The critics are saying that it's just "okay", and I find myself disagreeing with them. But of course, I like pretty much every movie that I see, so this isn't too big of a surprise.

The film centers around Jamie Randall (Jake Gyllenhaal), who when we first meet him is a salesman at a small electronics store. He's also banging his manager's girlfriend and when he gets caught, is chased out of the store with his pants down. Later that day, he goes over to his parents' house for dinner, where we find out that his two other siblings are wildly successful, while Jamie is an ADHD-diagnosed, med school drop out. When his younger brother, Josh (Josh Gad), suggests that Jamie become a drug rep, Jamie enrolls in a program quickly.

He's assigned to a Midwestern area, where his supervisor Bruce (Oliver Platt) tries to give him some tips on how to get doctors to use the drugs (in this case Zoloft) that they're pimping. The main guy they're trying to woo is Dr. Stan Knight (Hank Azaria), whose the big man in town. It is during one of the visits to Knight's office when Jamie first meets Maggie Murdock (Anne Hathaway), a new patient, who is in dire need of some medication for her early onset Parkinsons (and don't worry, because this is hardly a spoiler as you find out about this in the first scene with Hathaway).

From there, the two begin to have a very physical affair, until Jamie, surprise, surprise, starts to have feelings for Maggie. It's a basic formula for a film, but when you throw in the whole disease angle, it gives a fresher feeling.

Both Gyllenhaal and Hathaway spend an extraordinary amount of time without their clothes on, which really gives them a chance to flaunt their perfect bodies in your face. But their relationship is far from perfect, so that makes us ordinary Joes feel a bit better about ourselves.

The performances were pretty good. Jake and Anne have great chemistry (and they've worked together before, which helps), but I thought that the relationship between Jamie and Josh was the most interesting. My roommate believes both of them to be sex addicts, so to add that spin on things really makes their relationship even more twisted than it should be.

So on the CWeave scale, I give this movie a 7. Not the best, but definitely not the worst. I laughed, I cried, I cringed - all the ingredients for a good cinematic experience.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

"Tangled" - in theaters

"Tangled" is Disney's version of the fairy tale of Rapunzel, a girl with golden hair that is a zillion feet long and undoubtedly full of split ends. This Rapunzel (voiced by Mandy Moore) is actually a princess, whose hair is magical, her mother having been imbued with a magic flower during pregnancy, and if her hair is cut, it turns brown and isn't so special anymore. The magic in question involves Rapunzel singing, causing her hair to glow, and anyone whose injured/old/etc. and holding it to be healed. Not bad, eh?

So Rapunzel's locked in her tower by an evil witch (whom she thinks is her mother and is voiced by Donna Murphy), and on her 18th birthday asks her mom if she can leave so she can go see the "floating lights". These lights are actually lanterns that are released every year on the missing princess's birthday, signifying that she's still gone, but Rapunzel does not know this. Of course, Mom says no, and then heads out for the day (by way of Rapunzel's glorious locks). That's when a thief by the name of Flynn Rider (voice of Zachary Levi) happens to hide in Rapunzel's tower because he's on the run from the king's guards. Of course, Rapunzel knocks him unconscious, hides the crown that he stole and then strikes a deal: if Flynn takes her to see the lights, she'll give him back the crown after he delivers her safely back home.

They set off, and all sorts of circumstances befuddle, delight, and terrify them. Disney has this way of mixing in all sorts of innuendo that will pass over kids' heads, but makes the movie more enjoyable for the adults. They don't disappoint here.

Personally, I was really excited about this film. I've actually seen it twice. And you can judge me for it. Whatever. But I laughed out loud at a lot of different points, the songs are cute and fun, and the horse, Maximus, really steals the show. So judge away, folks. Judge away...

On the CWeave scale, I give this movie a 9. It really was a lot of fun. Of course, I'm a little biased, because let's face it: I really like both Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi. The movie may or may not have gotten a little budge up on the ratings scale for that...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1" - in theaters

First of all, let me say this. I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan.


So needless to say, I was at the midnight showing, and have seen it again since that time.

The Harry Potter films have become increasingly more dark since the first one was released, and this is as it should be. By the first film installment of the seventh book, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson), are preparing to set off on their search for the Horcruxes (artifacts that contain a piece of Voldemort's soul which must be destroyed before he can be killed). The filmmakers did a great job at sticking to the book's story. Of course, it lacked the detail that the books do, but it would be impossible to fit everything that you needed to fit in within the confines of a two and a half hour movie. (Although, if they made an 8 hour installment, I would totally go and see it. Twice.)

I had dubbed the first half of the seventh book, "Harry, Ron, and Hermione Go Camping", and the movie really sticks with that theme. They spend an awful lot of time in that tent of theirs, and it makes both them and the audience desperate for some form of action. But I think that's the point. They're at their wits end, and so are you and it makes you feel a connection with them. It's good stuff.

There is only one added scene that was not in the book, and it was when Harry is trying to cheer up Hermione by having her dance with him. The first time I saw it, my friend whispered in my ear, "Oh my God! They're gonna make out!" And I have to admit, I agreed with her. There was sort of an odd sexual tension between the two of them. But then I saw it a second time, and the sexual tension disappeared, and all that was left were two friends trying to make it without the presence of a third.

There were a few times when I questioned the director's decisions. For one, Harry never uses his Invisibility Cloak, which is not only totally idiotic, but also very annoying. I doubt that Harry would be dumb enough to walk through the Ministry of Magic without a disguise, and yet he does so in the film. Not to mention that the Invisibility Cloak's origins are a key part of the entire plot, so you'd think it would get a little more screen time.

And don't even get me started on the use of Polyjuice Potion, or should I say lack of use, during the Godric's Hollow scene. WHATever.

Like the other films, the performances in this part have improved. I was happy to see that the Weasley twins had a bit more to do in this part, even if it was confined to the beginning of the film. Ginny definitely got the shaft, but then again, she's only in the first and last portions of the book. But you know who got the worst of it? Dean Thomas. Once again, the poor bastard gets cut out of pivotal scenes, probably because the filmmakers didn't want to have to explain why he was there. I was disappointed, because I have a soft spot for Mr. Thomas, and the fact that he got overlooked yet again (because in the other films, he has had, at most, 2 lines) is upsetting.

But I digress.

The baddies really take the cake in this movie. They aren't featured often, but when they are, your skin crawls. Helena Bonham Carter makes an excellent Bellatrix because she has that psycho-adoring stare down pat. And Ralph Fiennes made his appearances count. And even though you don't see him often, you feel his presence throughout the film, and it gives every scene a menacing quality.

So on the CWeave scale, I rate this movie an 8.5. Not my favorite Potter movie (number 3 holds that title), but it does take the prize of best adaptation so far. It also leaves me hungry for the next film, which should be a bona fide action movie from start to finish. How many days until July??

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"Unstoppable" - in theaters

Tony Scott is having a love affair with Denzel Washington.

Or so it would seem.

"Unstoppable" marks their 5th collaboration, and I gotta say, it's kind of awesome.

I went into the theater expecting the worst. I thought for sure the story would revolve around some terrorist organization that hijacks a train loaded with chemicals in order to annihilate some mid-sized city, and that it was up to some ballsy train conductor to stop it. That was not the case. In fact, the train gets going because some moron made a mistake at the train yard. It was merely a happy coincidence that the train was full of hazardous waste.

Meanwhile, Frank (Denzel), a weary engineer is paired that morning with up and comer, who is also a little down on his luck, Will (Chris Pine) for training that day. They were just picking up their load when they got the notice that there was a runaway train. They narrowly avoid getting bombarded by it, and then make the decision to chase it down and try to stop it.

It's actually all very straight forward.

My favorite character was Connie, played by Rosario Dawson, who monitored the trains on that stretch of track. She's the person that Frank and Will communicate with throughout the film, getting updates on the runaway and relaying stuff to corporate. Connie is a strong woman, who is great at her job and not afraid to yell at the Director of Operations. Needless to say, every time she was onscreen, she seemed to steal the show.

Come to think of it, every actor brought something to their character, whether it was Frank's steadfastness or Will's hotheadedness, it all comes together for a highly entertaining action film. There were times when I was on the edge of my seat, or clutching my friend next to me. And it totally took me by surprise.

So on the CWeave scale, I rate this an 8. Again, it was a fun action film, and with the current award hopefuls being released, a welcome relief to the high drama that those films contain. And definitely worth a trip to the theater for. I don't think it's going to look the same when it's on the small screen...

Monday, November 8, 2010

"Due Date" - in theaters

I had high hopes for this film, mostly because the previews were downright hysterical. Not only that, but the advertisers totally sold the movie by the director, Todd Philips, who also did "The Hangover".

But this movie was no "The Hangover".

It centers around Peter Highman (Robert Downey, Jr.), an expectant father who was on business in Atlanta when an unfortunate run-in with Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis) caused him, through a series of mishaps, to be put on the no-fly list. With his wallet and bag left on the plane, all Peter has is his cellphone. That is, until Ethan comes along and offers to drive him to LA.

What happens from there are the sort of things that you expect in a road trip movie: a violent confrontation with a disabled veteran, stopping off to buy drugs at a dealer's place in Alabama, a run-in with Mexican law enforcement, a gross-out masturbation scene, and the piece de resistance - a trip to the Grand Canyon.

Overall, while the movie was funny, it wasn't hysterical. A lot of the funny bits were in the trailer, which was disappointing. Also, Peter is an extremely dis-likable character. He has a serious anger problem, not to mention his own ego is the size of a rhino. He believes himself to be so perfect that no matter what Ethan does, it is seen as sub-standard.

Galifianakis is playing the character that he always plays - the slightly stupid, do-gooder, who can't seem to do anything right. I would love to see him do a comedic role where he is still able to show his talents, but he doesn't have to play the "dumb" guy. In "It's Kind of a Funny Story", we got to see a small piece of that. So now, Zach, I plead with you: DO MORE OF THAT!

Jamie Foxx plays Darryl, Peter's friend from college who is a little too attached to Peter's wife (Michelle Monaghan). It's creepy, but also quite funny. But Darryl offers a little insight into Peter's past life, and how he functions as a human being, which I found refreshing because otherwise he is just a giant douchebag.

So on the CWeave scale, I give this movie a 6. Again, it wasn't hilarious, but I laughed out loud in a few spots. Even the stuff that was from the trailers was still funny when placed in context. And though Peter rubbed me the wrong way, I enjoyed the other characters far more.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"RED" - in theaters

I had the pleasure of seeing this movie in a theater that was totally empty save for me. I've never had that happen before, and it was quite exciting. (Pathetic, I know, but it's the little things...)

"RED" stands for Retired, Extremely Dangerous, and it's in reference to retired operatives of the CIA, FBI, and pretty much every other government agency that has a black ops division. Bruce Willis plays Frank Moses, a retired CIA "analyst" (*cough* yeah right *cough*), who is living a quiet life in some nondescript Midwestern town. He spends his days talking to Sarah Ross (Mary Louise Parker) at the pension office in Kansas City where he pretends that he isn't getting his pension checks so he can chat her up. All is going well until one night when a team of agents comes into Frank's house, intent on killing him. Needless to say, that doesn't go over too well, and Frank takes them all out.

Not knowing why he's being hunted, he heads to Kansas City, sort of kidnaps Sarah (because she's being hunted too, even if she doesn't believe him), and then heads to New Orleans to talk to Joe Matheson (Morgan Freeman). Joe seems to have his finger on the pulse of what's going on and soon discovers the reason behind all these attacks. In the 1980's there was an operation in Guatemala involving a person high in the government going slightly berserk, and now everyone who helped clean up the mess is getting killed. The reason is because a reporter began to uncover the details behind this operation, including a list of names of the people involved. Needless to say, everyone on that list was dead, save for the few RED members.

Frank and Sarah pick up Marvin (John Malkovich) and Victoria (Helen Mirren) along the way, as well as enlisting the help of a Russian agent, Ivan (Brian Cox). This motley crew then works to figure out who is trying to kill them and how they're going to stop it. Karl Urban is the guy that's hunting them, and I always enjoy when he shows up in films. I fully support all of the "Lord of the Rings" actors.

This film is ripe with dark humor and subtle romance. You can tell that all of the actors are having a lot of fun. And it's also safe to say that Bruce Willis could still kick your ass, and not in a "Die-Hard" kind of way that's completely ludicrous. Not to mention that Helen Mirren is totally badass when she's shooting a gigantic gun.

So on the CWeave scale, this movie rates a 7.5. It's no Oscar contender, but it's a helluva lot of fun. And it just adds further evidence to the fact that older people are awesome.

Monday, October 25, 2010

"The Social Network" - in theaters

Jesse Eisenberg certainly plays one hell of a nerd.

In "The Social Network", he plays Mark Zuckerburg, better known as the creator of Facebook. The movie, based on the book "The Accidental Billionaires" follows how Facebook started off as nothing more than an idea.

What I enjoyed about this film was that it wasn't straightforward. The story is told through the depositions of two separate, but concurrent lawsuits that were filed against Zuckerburg by Eduardo Saverin (Mark's best friend, played by Andrew Garfield), and the Winklevoss twins. The Winklevosses (or Winklevi, as they are referred to by Zuckerberg) are accusing Mark of stealing their idea, because during their time at Harvard, they had approached Mark with an idea for starting a site called Harvard Connection. This site would have had the same rudimentary features as Facebook, but it was only for the elite harvard.edu email address. While Mark kept postponing the work on the Winklevoss site, he created Facebook.

Saverin had a much better case against Zuckerberg, as he was pretty much screwed out of his share of the company. He was the first CFO, Mark's only friend, and the first financial backer that Facebook had. But for some reason, Mark fell under the spell of Sean Parker (played by Justin Timberlake), and Parker never seemed to care for Saverin. Needless to say, Parker got his way, and Saverin got worked over.

The real Mark Zuckerburg has publicly denounced the movie, saying that he didn't create it to get back at some girl, but really, who cares? Movies, whether we like it or not, are for our entertainment, and this movie, with it's tense soundtrack and even more intense performances is very entertaining.

I think it will be interesting to watch Andrew Garfield over the next couple of years. He has a lot of poise and class, and I hope that good things come out of it for him.

The Winklevi, played by Armie Hammer, were found to be unsympathetic. They were the golden boys - on the varsity Crew team, coming from money, perfect looks - and the reason for their lawsuit seemed petty. Zuckerberg pretty much nails them in the deposition, and for that scene alone, I think Jesse Eisenberg should be nominated for an Oscar.

I couldn't stand Sean Parker, which is I think how he was supposed to come off. He represented the cool guy that Zuckerberg wanted to be, but wasn't, so he was happy to just bask in his shadow. Timberlake did a pretty nice job, and it's nice to see him get recognized for his performance.

So on the CWeave scale, I give this movie a 9. It's the generation of the Nerd and this movie just proves that they're here to stay. It just makes me wish that I had taken more computer classes in undergrad...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

"It's Kind of a Funny Story" - in theaters

The previews for this film really set it up as a comedy. Some over-stressed kid checks himself into a psychiatric facility for a few days and meets a cast of characters that includes Zack Galifianakis and the lovely Emma Roberts.

That's not really the case.

The story centers around Craig (Keir Gilchrist), an overachieving high school student with his fair share of problems: pressure from his father, asshole-ish friends, unrequited love, and a tendency towards depression. He has dreams of jumping off a bridge, and finally, one Sunday morning, he decides to do something about it by checking himself into a hospital. He is reluctantly admitted by the hospital staff, and by the time they tell him that not only is the teen ward under construction but that he will be sharing a room with an Egyptian man who hasn't left said room in 2 months, he's all ready to get out of there. Unfortunately they have to keep him for 5 days, so Craig prepares himself for the worst.

What happens is that he meets Bobby (Zack Galifianakis), who takes him under his wing by showing him around and introducing him to some people. Bobby is more concerned about Craig's welfare than his own at points, and Galifianakis is so understated that it's incredible. Gone is the wild guy from "The Hangover"; rather, he is presented here as a legitimate, controlled actor. It was great to see him in this type of role. And guess what? He's still funny!

Craig also meets Noelle (Emma Roberts) a teen whose been there for 21 days for cutting. He notices her right off, but is hesitant because he still feels that he has the hots for his best friend's girlfriend, Nia (Zoe Kravitz). But of course, you find out that Nia pretty much blows, as does his best friend, Aaron (Thomas Mann), and that the people that he's meeting in the psych ward are more authentic than he could have ever hoped.

Viola Davis plays Craig's therapist, and to be honest, she didn't bring much to her character. I agree with Entertainment Weekly's conclusion in that a lesser known actor should have been brought in to add some zest to the role.

So on the CWeave scale, I rate this movie a 7. It's very funny in some places, and heartwarming in others. It also makes me wonder if a psych ward isn't such a bad idea for a vacation spot to gain some perspective on life. I'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"You Again" - in theaters

I think Betty White can get away with just about anything these days. For one, she's the last Golden Girl left, and two, she's funny as hell.

Unfortunately, she wasn't used to her full potential in "You Again", quite the generic wedding/revenge movie.

The main character is Marni (played by Kristen Bell), an ugly duckling in high school (mostly because she had bangs, braces, glasses, and acne, because you know, that equates to ugliness), who morphed into a PR goddess after college. She was tortured in high school by J.J. (Odette Yustman), the head cheerleader, prom queen, popular girl, and perhaps the nastiest girl in school. Marni's older brother Will (Jimmy Wolk) did his best to protect her, but was oblivious to this torment.

Cut to 8 years later and surprise, surprise, Will is getting married to Joanna, who is none other than J.J. When Marni finds out, she is upset, but determined not to be bothered. That all goes out the window when she gets to her parent's house, finds out that Joanna has basically replaced her as a daughter, and claims that she doesn't remember Marni at all from high school. Tough times.

And then, Aunt Mona (Sigourney Weaver) comes into the picture. She's the only family that Joanna has, and wouldn't you know it, but she and Marni's mom Gail (Jamie Lee Curtis) used to be best friends until Gail went to the senior prom with Mona's crush.

From there, you can basically guess how it all goes down. Both sets of women try to outdo her nemesis, and in the end, each makes a mistake that hurts other people.

Kristen Bell is pretty charming, but I thought she was trying a little too hard. Odette Yustman really plays a bitch well, so kudos to her. Again, Betty White should have been utilized so much more, but the comedic responsibilities fell to Curtis and Weaver, who do a fair job at attempting to upstage the other. Jamie Lee Curtis also made the mistake of trying to hard, which makes Sigourney Weaver's character all the more believable.

So on the CWeave scale, I rate this movie a 6. It wasn't really anything to write home about, but it was a decent chick flick. I laughed quite a bit, which is always a plus, but it's not like I didn't know what was going to happen in the end.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"Easy A" - in theaters

This movie rocked. Hardcore.

It was funny, touching, sarcastic, romantic, and overall, extraordinarily sex-positive.

The story revolves around Olive Pendergast (Emma Stone), your average high school virgin. That all changes when she accidentally starts a rumor about herself losing her V-card. It spreads around the school like wildfire, and before she knows it, she goes from being invisible to being labeled a slut. It is because of this that her friend Brandon (Dan Byrd) pays her to pretend that they had sex. You see, Brandon's gay and is positively tormented at school, so an imaginary fling would do him good.

And before she knows it, Olive is open for business. Nerds from all corners of the school pay her with gift cards just to say that she fooled around with them. Unfortunately, the Christian group at the school (headed by Amanda Bynes) has decided to ostracize Olive, calling her all sorts of names, and comparing her to Hester Prynn, the heroine of "The Scarlet Letter". So Olive decides to live up to the part. She buys about 2 dozen bustiers and embroiders the letter A onto all of them.

Meanwhile, her best friend Rhi (Aly Michalka) sort of turns on her because she thinks Olive is lying and that she's really having all of this sex. There's also Todd (Penn Badgely) the guy who Olive genuinely cares for and whose affections he returns. Todd is the guy that every girl wants, but actually doesn't really exist. I'm sorry, but NO ONE in high school is that sincere and unconcerned with what other people think.

The best part of this movie are Olive's parents, played by Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson. They have a fantastic relationship with their children, including their daughter, who actually speaks to them about important matters (a rare occurrence nowadays). They're also very funny, and you find yourself thinking that if you were in high school, you wouldn't mind having parents like them.

So on the CWeave scale, I give this movie a 9. I know it's advertised as a teen comedy, but frankly, I think everyone would find something to like about this movie. The acting is sharp and the dialogue witty. Plus you get to see Thomas Hayden Church rap. Total bonus.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"The Town" - in theaters

Surprisingly (or maybe not surprisingly), I found that I really enjoyed Ben Affleck's first foray into direction, "Gone Baby Gone". I thought it was gritty and suspenseful and very wonderfully acted. So I was eager to see his latest effort, "The Town", and was pleasantly surprised when my roommate decided that we should go on opening night.

"The Town" revolves around a group of bank robbers in the neighborhood of Charlestown in Boston. This group includes both Ben Affleck and Jeremy Renner, who grew up together in the neighborhood and have pulled off many heists.

The opening scene is taut and intense, as it starts off with a bank robbery where the four guys wear Skeletor masks and hold AK-47s to the poor bank employees' heads. The bank manager, played by Rebecca Hall, is forced at gunpoint to open the safe, and then is taken as a hostage. They blindfold her and leave her at the edge of the ocean, physically unharmed, but psychologically damaged.

The story revolves around the fear that this bank manager saw something that she shouldn't have. So Ben Affleck's job is to check to make sure. Instead, he ends up falling in love and starting a relationship with this woman, while at the same time, still robbing banks but desperate to get out of Boston.

And did I mention that the FBI is on their tail? Jon Hamm, who really plays a giant prick for the most part, is the head of the FBI task force responsible for bringing these criminals to justice. And he'll do it by any means necessary.

You find yourself really rooting for Affleck here. I mean, I really didn't want him to get caught, because I felt like he's trapped in this situation that's out of his hands and he just wants to take control of his life. And he can only do that by NOT getting arrested and leaving Boston.

The performances here were fantastic. Affleck was great, putting on his native Boston accent and playing someone reminiscent of his "Good Will Hunting" character. Jeremy Renner was terrifying and at points, really funny. Just the way that he looks at you makes you feel as if he's going to explode at any second and blow your head off. Blake Lively was also great as Renner's younger sister and Affleck's ex, who's so high on coke and Oxycontin for most of the movie that she can't really tell what's going on. Rebecca Hall was solid as the new girlfriend, and was great at conveying a little bit of uneasiness around law enforcement, almost as if she was rooting for the robbers. But clearly, she wasn't. The performance was just THAT complex.

It's just so good.

So on the CWeave scale, I give this movie a 9. It's full of action, blood, f-bombs, and a little romance as well. I think that Affleck has really proven himself both behind the camera and in front of it, so much so that we're all asking ourselves, "'Gigli' who?"

Thursday, September 16, 2010

"Machete" - in theaters

I don't know if anyone who reads this blog saw the double-header film "Grindhouse", but if you did, then you should already be somewhat familiar with the title character of the current film. "Machete" was a fake trailer before the first film, "Planet Terror", and it was centered around an ex-Federale who was framed for trying to assassinate a U.S. Senator. The gist was that Machete, the character, was deadly to his enemies, irresistible to women, and focused on his mission.

The new film "Machete" takes the trailer, and basically expands upon it. You see some scenes from the trailer right in the film, which I always appreciate (because sometimes stuff is in the trailer that isn't in the film, and I find it really annoying), not to mention a whole lot more gratuitous violence and nudity.

Machete, played by Danny Trejo, moves around the screen with concentrated purpose. His scarred face never breaks into a smile, even when he's hooking up with hot chicks like Michelle Rodriguez and Jessica Alba. Rodriguez plays a woman running a taco truck and also an underground organization called "The Network" which helps illegal immigrants get settled into the U.S. Alba plays an Immigration agent investigating the Network, and somehow gets caught up in what Machete is doing.

Machete himself is picked up by Jeff Fahey one day, expecting to do some gardening work, when actually Fahey wants to hire him to kill a Senator (played by Robert DeNiro). When Machete goes to do the deed, there's another shooter, intent on putting a bullet into the Senator's leg and into Machete's head. A picture of Machete ends up on the news, and thus, the fox hunt begins.

The film has some political undercurrents with regards to illegal immigration, but the concept is so blown out of proportion that it doesn't feel preachy. But at the same time, I also felt that the ideology presented wasn't too far-fetched, and that's frightening.

This film also made me wonder whether or not Machete was the same character from the "Spy Kids" movies. Not only does he have the same name, he's also played by the same actor. He was a bit more friendly in the "Spy Kids" films, but he still had the same history. I guess I'll never know.

So on the CWeave scale, I give this movie a 7.5. Overall, I really enjoyed this movie. It could have had more laughs, but it was still ridiculous violence at its best. Bonus points go to Lindsay Lohan for rocking a nun's habit, and to Michelle Rodriguez for doing the same with an eye patch. I can only hope that I could do so well.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

"Takers" - in theaters

I swear that I've seen this movie advertised for over a year. I think it was supposed to come out last winter, but since one of the stars was accused of beating up his girlfriend, I understand the studio's hesitation.

"Takers" revolves around a group of bank robbers who are very good at what they do. Each has their own specialty, much like the gang from the "Italian Job" (which they reference), and each has his own "Come what may" attitude.

That all changes when one of their old friends gets out of prison. Ghost, played by T.I. (at his sleazy best), took the fall for the group a few years back, and didn't turn them in. And now that he's out he wants to pull a multi-million dollar heist in the span of a few days. The rest of the crew is hesitant, seeing as how Ghost is so eager. They're also wary seeing as how Ghost could still send them up the river if he felt like it.

Michael Ealy's character, Jake, is now engaged to Ghost's ex-girlfriend Rachel (Zoe Saldana). He has a day job of running an old-school, 20's gangster-like nightclub, and mostly uses his bank money to support that. His kid brother, Jesse (played by the infamous Chris Brown), is following in his brother's footsteps, and his character isn't developed much beyond that.

For once, I found myself actually liking a character that Idris Elba plays. His story arc involves taking care of his sister who is in rehab for drug addiction. It was very redeeming, the idea of a bank robber with a conscience.

I'm not entirely sure what Paul Walker's character's role was, but he walked around in expensive suits and talked on his Bluetooth to the crew, so I have to assume he was important. Mostly, he's just pretty to look at.

A lot of people hate on Hayden Christensen, but I gotta say, his character was somewhat awesome for a few simple reasons: 1) he didn't whine, 2) he was covered in tatooes and tended to wear tight white tanktops, 3) he kicked ass, and 4) he played the piano. You can also tell that he had a lot of fun making this movie which in turn helped his performance.

So on the CWeave scale, I rate this movie a 6.5. While individually I enjoyed most of the characters, as a group there wasn't much of a spark. If more of the actors had loosened up, I think that this could've been a really fun, really enjoyable heist movie. But oh well. After all, hindsight is 20/20.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

"The Switch" - in theaters

I kind of feel bad for Jennifer Aniston, because she tries so hard to make fun romantic comedies, and most of them kind of fall flat.

While I would like to say that "The Switch" is the exception to that rule, I can't. While it had it's funny and touching moments, for the most part, I kept wondering when the film was actually going to be getting started. Based on the previews I knew that the story revolved around the friendship between Aniston's character, Kassie, and Jason Bateman's character, Wally, and how Wally switched out some sperm from Roland (Patrick Wilson) at Kassie's insemination party (because, oh yeah, people apparently have those in real life). But for some reason, I thought that there would be more to the plot then what was depicted. I was sorely mistaken.

I enjoy Jason Bateman quite a bit, but found his character in this movie to be somewhat annoying, and it amazed me that Kassie would've fallen in love with him. For the most part, he just seemed to annoy her and/or make any situation in which they were involved in worse.

The best character was the little boy, Sebastian, played by Thomas and Bryce Robinson, who was so eccentric that it was adorable. He walked around half the time worrying if he had some outlandish disease, and had no qualms about telling someone that he hated him/her. I found it charming and refreshing.

Jeff Goldblum plays Wally's co-worker, Leonard, and I also found him to be enjoyable. I think that Goldblum, while he enunciates most of his lines the same way for pretty much every role, has some comedic talent, and he and Bateman played well off of each other.

So on the CWeave scale, I rate this movie a 5. I was glad that I only payed 5 bucks for it, but I got my money's worth when it came to the supporting cast. I only wish that Bateman and Aniston had stepped up their game a little.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"The Expendables" - in theaters

According to the advertising campaign for this film, I was promised a "man-gasm" if I saw it.

I didn't have one.

The story centers around this group of mercenaries for hire, led by Sylvester Stallone. They're all hardened guys who have seen a lot and have undoubtedly done many bad things. They call themselves, you guessed it, The Expendables, meaning that if one of them dies, no one would really notice.

The story takes off when Bruce Willis hires Stallone and his merry band of men to go to this island (which is God knows where) to kill a general who has basically enslaved his people and stole their livelihoods. But wouldn't you just know it, there's actually a hidden agenda in the form of Eric Roberts who is really the bad guy. It's making a statement regarding how America is bastardizing and exploiting other countries purely for resources, and it isn't entirely lost on the audience. But mostly it's just ridiculous.

There are explosions and fights galore. The Expendable crew includes Stallone, Jason Statham (so hot, seriously), Jet Li, Terry Crewes, and Randy Couture. Couture's style of fighting might have been my favorite. He would basically punch someone and then pick them up and slam them into the ground. Not the most elegant style, but effective nonetheless. Mickey Rourke plays a tattoo artist who used to run with Stallone's crew, but now just tends to get them jobs. And Dolph Lundgren plays an Expendable gone bad, who attempts to kill poor Jet Li multiple times.

So on the CWeave scale, I rate this movie a 6. No man-gasm, but I really like Statham, Li, and Couture. And I'm sorry but I just don't buy Stallone as a badass anymore. I think it's time he hung up his kick-ass pants for good. And I was also annoyed that Jason Statham, the ONE guy that I would like to see without his shirt on, kept it on the whole time! But Rourke and Stallone went topless. Entirely unnecessary.

Monday, August 16, 2010

"The Other Guys" - in theaters

I always love a good Will Ferrell movie. Even if the plot is total crap, I'm usually guaranteed a few good laughs along the way.

I was pleasantly surprised watching this movie, as not only was it pretty good, and pretty funny, it wasn't your typical Will Ferrell vehicle. He was very reserved throughout most of the film, which I found refreshing.

The story centers around two cops, Allen (Ferrell) and Terry (Mark Wahlberg), who aren't given too much responsibility around the police station. While Allen is content to sit at his desk and do paperwork, Terry is itching to get back into some tough police work. The thing is, Terry is a hated man in New York City (where the movie takes place) because he shot Derek Jeeter in the leg during game 7 of the World Series, causing the Yankees the championship. He can't seem to live it down, no matter how hard he works.

Things turn around for the two of them when another pair of hotshot detectives die in the line of duty. Terry sees this as an opportunity to step up, and basically drags Allen along for the ride. Through a series of mishaps, they get involved in something much bigger than what they were expecting, and of course, chaos and laughter ensues.

The pair are bumbling and stumbling through their big "case", and you can see that Wahlberg is having a lot of fun playing this character, given that's it pretty different than anything else he's done. Eva Mendes plays Ferrell's "plain Jane" wife, and she has some pretty hysterical moments. I hope that in the future she does more comedy because she really has the chops for it.

Steve Coogan plays the sort-of villain, a Bernie Madoff type character looking to pay back some clients with other people's money. He wasn't used to his best effect, but he did portray a slimeball pretty convincingly.

I also found that Allen's Toyota Prius was a character in and of itself in this film. It represented what Allen was made of, and it was used very intelligently.

So on the CWeave scale, I rate this movie an 8. Adam McKay (the director) could've used Coogan better, but the chemistry between Wahlberg and Ferrell is pretty fantastic. Not to mention that any time you get Mark Wahlberg to dance, you get bonus points in my book.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

"Dinner for Schmucks" - in theaters

I was hesitant about seeing this movie, because to be honest, the premise was a little unappealing. I'm not a fan of people thinking that they're better than others and mocking them to their face, so I was a little surprised by how much I enjoyed this film.

The story centers around Tim (played by Paul Rudd) a financial analyst looking to make a move for the better within his company. The opportunity arises, and he seizes it, but there's a catch. Apparently, the big wigs at the firm (played by Bruce Greenwood, Ron Livingston, and Larry Wilmore, among others) like to have dinner once a month where they invite "idiots" to attend, make fun of them, and award the biggest idiot a prize at the end of the night. Tim is a little appalled, but again, wants to get ahead, so he agrees.

Just as Tim struggles to find someone to bring to dinner, he runs into (literally... like with his car) Barry (played by Steve Carell), an IRS agent/mouse taxidermist who has very little common sense or social awareness. As Tim starts prepping for this dinner though, he finds out Barry's story, which is quite sad, and begins to feel like an ass for using him this way.

Again, I wasn't a huge fan of the plotline, but I laughed a lot, which is always a plus. Paul Rudd plays a great everyman, blundering his way through his job and relationships. Steve Carell's character reminded me a great deal of Michael Scott, his character from the office, in the social awkwardness category. My favorite character was Jemaine Clement (of "Flight of the Conchords" fame), who plays an artist working with Rudd's girlfriend. He was hysterical, and the fact that people thought he had such animal magnetism was fascinating. Plus, at one point, he was dressed as a satyr, which is always a bonus.

So on the CWeave scale, I rate this movie a 6. Probably not going to be one that I own, but it was definitely enjoyable. I was glad that I saw it during the discounted times at the movie theater though. I don't think I would have wanted to pay full price for it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"Step Up 3D" - in theaters

First off, I saw this movie in 3D. I mean, how can you not? Especially considering that as you go into the theater, you just KNOW that the filmmakers are going to use every cheap 3D ploy in the book, considering it's a frickin' dance movie and not Harry Potter.

And it's true. Whether it was water, bubbles, or balloons, that "spectacular" third dimension was in full effect.

The Step Up franchise is really all about the dancing, so the plot is of little importance, and in the case of this film, extremely ridiculous. I enjoy a movie with plot holes that you can drive through, and this didn't disappoint. It centers around a group of dancers who all live together and run a club in New York City (right, like that's believable). They're all training for this huge dance battle, which will win them $100,000, and at the same time, get the bank off of their backs about their late mortgage payments.

This bothered me, considering that even though they were behind on the mortgage, they could still afford to buy zillions of pairs of shoes, film-making equipment, and video games. I mean, responsibility? Hello?

But I digress.

There are basically two main couples that the movie focuses on. Moose (played by Adam G. Sevani), who featured in the second Step Up, and his friend Camille (Alyson Stoner, from the first film), enroll in NYU for their freshman year. Moose's parents have made him give up dancing, but wouldn't you know it? He just can't stay away. Him and Camille are BFF, but you can tell that there's a little something else there as well. As Moose focuses more on dancing, he spends less time with Camille, not to mention his classes. But don't worry. This storyline gets wrapped up with a bow on top.

The second couple is comprised of Luke (Rick Malambri) and Natalie (Sharni Vinson). Luke is the head of the House of Pirates (no joke, that's their name) which is the dance house mentioned earlier. Natalie is somewhat a mysterious figure who joins the House out of the blue, and who kind of has a shady agenda. But of course, they fall in love. And she inspires Luke to finish his amateur film (which is where all that film equipment comes into play), and blah blah blah. What I found to be interesting about Natalie is that she almost looks exactly like the girl from "Step Up 2", down to the way she dances, dresses, looks, and talks.

But this movie isn't about the characters. It's about the dancing. And the dancing, for the most part, doesn't disappoint. My favorite is Twitch, from "So You Think You Can Dance" because that guy can MOVE. I also loved the robot guy, and if you see the movie, you'll know who I'm talking about.

So on the CWeave scale, I give this movie a 6.5. Bonus points for all the sweet dance moves, but points off to the Luke, mostly because he DOESN'T DANCE. At least, not the way that Robert Hoffman (from "Step Up 2") or Channing Tatum (from "Step Up") did. It's disappointing to watch the credits scroll by and see that he had a stunt double for everything. Not cool, man. Not cool.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"The Kids are Alright" - in theaters

Based on the television commercials that I saw that advertised this film, I expected it to be a lot funnier. However, much like "Lost in Translation", the laughs were somewhat few and far between.

Don't get me wrong though, I really enjoyed this film (unlike the film mentioned above, ugh). It centers around two women, Jules, played by Julianne Moore, and Nic, played by Annette Bening, and their two children, Laser (no joke, that's his name) played by Josh Hutcherson, and Joni, played by Mia Wasikowska. Now, Joni and Laser (seriously, who names their kid after a beam?) are curious about the man who inseminated each mom in turn, so since Joni's 18, she looks him up. The sperm donor is none other than Mark Ruffalo, at his scruffy, charming best, and he soon folds into their lives like a cheap suit.

At first, Mark Ruffalo's character Paul is very charming, and you really dig him. But as he continues to develop relationships with each of these family members, I find him to be less so. At one point he begins to have an affair with Jules, which eventually, the entire family uncovers. I guess what's so icky (for lack of a better word) is the way that Paul behaves and how he weasels his way in to everyone's lives. He's quite a sleazeball when you think about it more, and it sort of makes my skin crawl.

And skeezebag though he may be, Mark Ruffalo does an excellent job at it. All of the cast should be commended on their performances, as they were all very believable, and they all make you care about what happens to this family. It's surprising that this movie came out during the summer as opposed to making a winter Oscar run, but hopefully at nomination time, it won't be forgotten.

So on the CWeave scale, I give this movie an 8. Points off for lacking humor, but bonus points to Josh Hutcherson, who shows a lot of potential.

Now, as a sex educator, I have to throw in my 2 cents. I understand how this movie could spur some controversy given that the main character identifies as a lesbian, yet has an affair with a man. Personally, I don't find this horribly upsetting, because I think that you're attracted to who you're attracted to, and that can't be helped. Labels are just labels, and they shouldn't define every feeling or behavior that occurs. I prefer to think of sexual orientation as fluid, which allows for change and deviation. But again, that's just my opinion...

Monday, August 9, 2010

"Salt" - in theaters

I totally buy Angelina Jolie as an action star. For me, there are some women who can pull off the action movie, and some who can't (sorry Mila Kunis, but you should stick to comedy).

First of all, Jolie kicks some serious butt in this film. I can't describe the plot too well without giving too much away, but I will tell you this: it really keeps you guessing from start to finish. It starts out with a Russian walk-in to the CIA saying that an agent named Evelyn Salt will kill the Russian president the next day at a funeral. And guess who Evelyn Salt is? Angelina, of course. So, she kind of goes all panicky and runs for it. It's at this point that the movie really takes off, and it doesn't take that long to get there. I appreciated that.

I found the supporting cast to also be terrific. Liev Schreiber plays Salt's co-worker/boss at the CIA and their relationship is very brother/sister. You get the sense that over the years Evelyn Salt derived a lot of comfort from that. Chiwetel Ejiofor plays the FBI agent brought in to oversee things, and I enjoy whenever he pops up in films. Maybe it's because he was in "Love Actually" and who DOESN'T love that movie?

So on the CWeave scale, I rate this movie a solid 7. It could have used more humor (I do enjoy a good action comedy), but the acting was steady, the action harrowing, and again, Jolie was a total badass. And bonus points for her, because at one point, she disguises herself as a man! Woot!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

"Despicable Me" - in theaters

I love going to see animated movies as an adult. You get to pick up on all of the subtle references that you fly over your head when you're younger.

That being said, "Despicable Me" didn't disappoint. I pretty much laughed throughout the entire film (including one part where I was the only one laughing, as my friend pointed out, because it was somewhat inappropriate, but whatever), and I even shed a tear or two towards the end.

The story centers around Gru (voiced by Steve Carrell), whose an aging supervillain looking to get back in the game in a big way. His big idea is to shrink the moon and then steal it. Sounds easy right? The only problem is that the shrink ray that Gru needs to use gets stolen from him by Vector (voiced by Jason Segel), an up and comer whose out to prove himself. To get the shrink ray back, Gru has a somewhat brilliant idea to use three orphaned young girls who sold cookies to Vector. So, Gru adopts these girls, just so that he can put cookie-sized robots into the boxes that will steal back the shrink ray. Of course, once he has used the girls for this purpose, he fully intends on abandoning them.

But, inevitably, Gru falls in love with these three children, and finds parting with them to be somewhat harder than he thought.

There are several parts of this movie that I enjoyed beyond belief. The first is when the line "It's so fluffy!" comes into play. The second is any part that involves the minions. The minions live to serve Gru, and they speak a language that only they and Gru seem to understand. They're also funny as hell, and tend to giggle a lot. I was sold on them during the preview.

So on the CWeave scale, I give this movie an 8. I admit, it was probably awesome to see in 3D, but again, I didn't shell out the extra $4 to see it. But, this movie had heart, humor, and a little sadness mixed in. Overall, a great cinematic experience.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

"Inception" - in theaters

I would love to spend a day inside the brain of Christopher Nolan. Seriously.

To steal a turn of phrase from Kathy Griffin, I'd just like to say that this movie delivered like Domino's.

I mean, holy crap.

I've seen it twice, which I think has to be a must. I caught so many things the second time around that I had missed in my first viewing, not to mention that the anti-gravity fight scene is worth seeing again.

The story of "Inception" revolves around Leonardo DiCaprio's character (and really, can Leo do no wrong?), Cobb, who is a very specific kind of thief. He and his team specialize in entering your dreams and stealing your secrets. Cobb's back story is also quite sad - his wife (Marion Cotillard) committed suicide, but Cobb is being blamed and hence, can't go back to America nor his children. All he wants is his name cleared, and when Ken Watanabe's character, Saito, offers just such a thing, Cobb jumps at the chance.

What Saito wants is for an idea to be planted in someone's head, which is what they call Inception. The problem is that to do that, the dream thieves must go deeper into the dreamer's subconscious than is safe.

It's all somewhat confusing to write about, but on film, it isn't as challenging. Trust me, I was worried when I saw it that I wouldn't understand what it's about. It was needless.

What makes this movie is the team of thieves. First there's DiCaprio, all brooding and heartsick. Then there's Arthur, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who is all cool and collected (not to mention smokin' hot). The British guy, Eames, played by Tom Hardy, was my favorite. He added the little bit of humor that the film needed, and his bickering with Arthur is adorable. Then there's the architect, Ariadne, played by Ellen Page. She's all doe-eyed and eager, but at the same time, has a handle on what Cobb is going through and worries about the rest of the team's safety.

Cillian Murphy plays Robert Fischer, in whose head the idea needs to be planted. I really enjoy Murphy as an actor. He has a natural grace in the way he speaks that I find appealing.

So on the CWeave scale, I rate this movie a solid 9. I was a little disappointed that everyone's dreams were so realistic. I was waiting for a unicorn to walk across the screen at some point, but alas, it didn't happen. I'm awarding bonus points to Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who did almost all of his own stunts, including the anti-gravity fight scene. Which he does while WEARING A SUIT. Spectacular. Period.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

"Toy Story 3" - in theaters

I love going to see animated movies because often times they have the funniest lines and sweetest moments. I wasn't disappointed with "Toy Story 3", for it had both.

It's been quite a number of years since the last Toy Story, and not only has the audience aged, but Andy has as well. He's about to go off to college, and our favorite group of toys spends their days in Andy's old toy box, using every trick in the book to try and get Andy to play with them. But it doesn't work.

Due to a mix-up, our favorite misfits end up being donated to Sunnyside Day Care, where everything really isn't all that sunny. Woody tries to convince everyone to go back home, because life in the attic isn't all that bad, and anything beats Sunnyside. But alas, the other toys don't listen, and choose to stick it out. Woody (voice of Tom Hanks), through a series of events, ends up going home with a little girl whose mother works at Sunnyside, coming back to Sunnyside, and then orchestrates a jail break.

Overall, I found the movie to be very sad in many ways. All those toys wanted was someone to play with them, and it breaks your heart to watch Andy toss them aside in the beginning of the movie. But on the flip side of the coin is the moment when Andy discovers that those toys would be of more use belonging to someone who can appreciate them. And it still makes you cry.

I loved a lot of things about this film. I loved the toys that belong to the little girl that Woody goes home with. They're like a group of improv actors who praise Woody for his "natural" ability. I love when Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) goes into his Spanish mode and seduces Jesse the Cowgirl (Joan Cusack) with his dance steps and swaying hips. I love the beginning play sequence when you see a zillion Troll dolls playing "the orphans".

In the end, this movie is both heartwarming and heart-wrenching, and I cried my face off.

So on the CWeave scale, I give this movie a 10. It's everything you come to expect from a Pixar film with characters that feel like old friends. It made me yearn for the day when I would play with my Barbies or my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for hours on end. When there were no video games or DVDs to watch, and all you had was your imagination.

Monday, July 5, 2010

"The Last Airbender" - in theaters

There are some movies that when I watch the preview for, I know right off the bat that it's going to be horrible. Generally I avoid those movies because usually my money is wasted.

I didn't avoid it this time.

I was convinced to see this movie on Student Day at the theater, which meant it was cheaper, but I still paid too much. Not to mention that we saw it in 3D, which always makes it more expensive. And again, I don't really understand the whole "let's put everything in 3D" notion that has been plaguing Hollywood lately. Personally, I like 2D. But whatever.

So anyway, this film is based on the cartoon series named "Avatar", but surprise, surprise, they couldn't name the movie that because of frickin' James Cameron. It focuses on the story of Aang, who emerges from an ice bubble with these tattoos all over his head, signaling that he's an Airbender. Don't know what that means? Well, apparently the earth is divided into four nations: the water nation, the fire nation, the earth nation, and the air nation. These nations were kept peaceful by the Avatar, who communicated with the Spirit world, and was very wise and what not. Well, 100 years previously, the Avatar disappeared and the fire nation went on a power trip, conquering all of the other nations, and exterminating the entire Air nation because the next Avatar was supposed to be one.

So that's why Aang's airbending tattoos are such a big deal.

Now, Aang befriends two people from a Water tribe (Jackson Rathbone of "Twilight" fame, and Nicola Peltz), who swear that they're going to look after him. Easier said than done when the Fire nation's King's son, Prince Zuko (Dev Patel) want to capture him to reclaim his honor.

It's all way more complicated than it should be. And apparently, this movie is just one of four that can be made, which kind of makes me want to weep. Because here's the thing: while the special effects were pretty awesome (but there's really no need to see it in 3D), the dialogue and acting are atrocious. And no, I'm not being harsh. I'm pretty sure M. Night Shamalan was like, "Okay, here's the dialogue. There's no need to act." It's amazing to me how he gets funding for his films anymore, considering that they've all gone down the crapper recently.

The only person who does a decent job is Dev Patel, but his acting is so over the top (which, according to my friend, is how the character acts in the cartoon) that it seems ridiculous. He took it to an extreme while the others didn't take it anywhere.

So on the CWeave scale, I rate this movie a 4.5. It only gets that high because of the effects, because let's face it: it's short on acting and on humor. Apparently the cartoon is quite funny, but it seems M. Night decided to suck the fun out of the film version. Shame on you, dude. Shame. On. You.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

"Eclipse" - in theaters

I'm not proud to say that I saw this movie at midnight. But again, I thrive on all of that teen vampire angst and all-consuming love that how could I NOT go to the midnight showing??

That being said, I must admit that I thought "New Moon" was better.

Now, you can call me shallow, but I couldn't really get past the fact that Bella (Kristen Steward), Edward (Robert Pattinson, or as I like to call him, Cedric Diggory), Jasper (Jackson Rathbone), and Rosalie (Nikki Reed) all looked HORRIBLE. Bella's wig was wretched and never seemed to be brushed. Edward needed some serious manscaping on those eyebrows of his. Jasper just looked creepy, but worst of all was Rosalie. Couldn't they have at least TRIED to make her look like a natural blond? Speaking as one myself, I was really offended with her pitch black, really high-arched eyebrows. Plus, her skin looked gray like a zombie's, not white like a vampire's.

Jacob (Taylor Lautner) looked hot as shit though, and I was pleased that the girls screamed when he came on the screen but didn't for Edward.

But I digress.

As for the plot, I haven't read the book from start to finish in quite a while, but for the most part, the storyline ran parallel. In the movie they focused a lot on the creation of the vampire army, which I really enjoyed. And like the book, pretty much all Bella and Edward talked about was how much they loved each other and whether or not Bella was going to be changed and when. You feel for Jacob, hardcore, because he is SO the better choice, which even Edward recognizes, but Bella has her personality and life so tied in with Edward's that it's no contest.

This is why I find Bella Swan to be an appalling role model. A woman shouldn't lose her autonomy in a relationship, and Bella loses herself so completely in Edward, that when he leaves (like in "New Moon") she doesn't know how to cope, and simply becomes a shell. This is the definition of an unhealthy relationship.

That's my inner feminist talking.

So on the CWeave scale, I rate this movie a 6. Points off for the bad wig and overgrown eyebrows, but bonus points to Lautner, who has really matured quite a bit and is becoming quite the little actor. And he hardly ever wears a shirt. BONUS.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

"Knight and Day" - in theaters

Even after seeing this movie, I still don't get where they derived that title. Part of it makes sense, but the other piece is lost on me...

Anyway, even though I know that Tom Cruise is banana sandwich in real life, I usually like his movies. He's got charisma, and in this particular film, it's practically oozing out of his pores. Cruise plays covert agent Roy Miller, who runs into Cameron Diaz's character, June Havens, at the Wichita airport. June owns a garage in Boston (which I thought was pretty rad), and was in Kansas finding parts for a car she's restoring to give to her baby sister as a wedding present the following weekend. But wouldn't you know it? June gets mixed up in Roy's business, then all of a sudden, they're in a plane crash, then June is being questioned and kidnapped and Roy is saving her, and it's all very action-packed and entertaining.

I'm pretty sure that Tom Cruise made an arrangement with Scientology so that he never ages, because he looks great in the movie. He and Diaz have pretty rockin' chemistry, which drives a large portion of the film. I was disappointed in the sense that a lot of the action scenes are blurred over, seen from the perspective of June, who Roy seems to keep drugging to protect her.

Roy's mission is to protect Simon Feck (played by Paul Dano, who is fabulous in the pathetic nerd category), who invented the everlasting Gobstopper of batteries. This battery is now wanted by every major arms dealer, not to mention Roy's ex-partner (Peter Sarsgaard, who always adds that sketchy element to any bad guy) who double-crossed him and made Roy look like he had gone rogue. Which always seems to happen to Tom Cruise, doesn't it?

Much in the same manner as "The A-Team" this film was light, entertaining, summer fare with pretty backdrops and quality action. So on the CWeave scale, I give this a solid 6.5. I'm too curious for my own good here, so minus points for the breezed over action sequences, but bonus points to Tom, who seemed to do all of his own stunts. I mean, seriously, the guy does NOT age.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

"The A-Team" - in theaters

I believe that I'm too young to have been a fan of the TV show "The A-Team", but I did know that Mr. T played B.A. Baracus, and that pretty much sold me on the idea of a film version. I mean, anything involving Mr. T has to be great, right? (Please note the sarcasm...)

I don't know how much this film complemented it's television predecessor, but I will say that it was one heck of a fun ride.

You meet the first of the A-Team in a dilapidated warehouse in the middle of Mexico. Hannibal Smith (Liam Neeson) is handcuffed to a chair, getting the snot kicked out of him. He's in Mexico to rescue his comrade, Face (i.e. Bradley Cooper) who recklessly went after a Mexican general on his own. After Smith escapes the handcuffed chair (and why wouldn't he?), he runs into B.A. Baracus (Quinton "Rampage" Jackson), basically carjacks him, rescues Face, then goes to a mental hospital to spring Murdock (Sharlto Copley), an insane pilot. And thus, the four become a team.

Fast forward 8 years, and they're all in Iraq in the last days of the occupation. Suddenly, they get a mission that everyone is telling them not to do, but non-verbally telling them to do it. So they do, then get framed for murder and sent to jail. With the help of Agent Lynch (Patrick Wilson) of the CIA, they bust out in pursuit of vengeance. And this is all within the first 45 minutes.

Needless to say that this movie is filled with action, most of which is pretty spectacular. The only time when I was sort of "meh" about the effects was during the L.A. dock scene that concerned all of the steel cartons. If you see the film, you'll know what I'm talking about.

But even more than the action, I really appreciated the characters. I thought they were all done very well. Liam Neeson is a totally believable action hero, with his cigar and croaky voice. Bradley Cooper was all sorts of tan and very muscular, with a penchant for not wearing his shirt. He was also cocky as hell, and had some of the best lines. Jackson was tough, and I really wouldn't want to cross him, but he's also vulnerable, being very open about his fear of flying. And Sharlto Copley was hysterically funny as a mostly sane man with slightly insane flying techniques.

The only character that I could have done without was Jessica Biel's character. She was purely one-dimensional and peripheral, and whose only purpose seemed to be to give Face some romantic credibility.

So on the CWeave scale, I rate this movie an 8. Good action, lots of laughs, and a shirtless Bradley Cooper. And that's really all I need in my life.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"Get Him to the Greek" - in theaters

I read a review of this film in Entertainment Weekly before I saw it, and I must say that I agree with the writer's statement regarding the health of it's star, Jonah Hill. He is seriously unhealthy, and there were times when I couldn't concentrate on the film because I was so focused on that. Not good.

Overall though, this movie was very entertaining, although not as funny as I hoped it would be. Don't get me wrong though, this film will totally make you laugh out loud in certain places.

The main character is Aaron Green, played by Jonah Hill, who is a lowly assistant to Sergio (P. Diddy), the head exec of a record company. When sales are down, Green comes up with an idea to have a concert where Aldous Snow (Russell Brand) will perform. The only issue is that Aldous Snow is a drunk, drug-addicted narcissist who hasn't had a hit song in over 3 years. But Aaron, a true fan, is determined to get him to the theater.

Needless to say, hi-jinks ensue, some of which are hilarious (like when they stop in Vegas and Jeffrey shows up), some are touching, and some are somewhat disgusting (threesome anyone?). You feel bad for Aaron, who pretty much has to do anything Aldous wants him to, not to mention an emasculating doctor girlfriend (played by Elisabeth Moss) who wants to move to Seattle and with whom Aaron just had a major fight with.

The cameos were fantastic but I was a little disappointed that Jason Segel didn't show up. After all, Aldous is a character for Segel's screenplay "Forgetting Sarah Marshall", so I had my fingers crossed for him to appear.

So on the CWeave scale, I rate this movie a 6. It's pretty funny, and it might get funnier with another viewing, but that won't be happening any time soon. I had to take points off for Jonah Hill and my concern over his health, but extra points for P. Diddy, who was frickin' hilarious.

Monday, June 14, 2010

"Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" - in theaters

I soooooooo wanted this movie to be spectacular. My thought process went as follows: Oh, it's Disney. It's Jerry Bruckheimer. It's going to be like Pirates of the Caribbean all over again!

But alas, this movie fell short.

The story revolves around Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal), an orphan boy of Persia who by happenstance gets adopted by the King, and spends his adolescence fighting with his brothers instead of against starvation. But anyway, all three brothers and their uncle (Ben Kingsley wearing entirely too much guy-liner) are hanging with the army when they decide to attack one of their more religious cities, based on some shoddy information if you ask me. However, they attack, and Dastan gets his hands on a dagger that seems to be very important to the princess of the city, Tamina, played by Gemma Arterton.

Come to find out, this dagger can turn back time. And before you know it, Dastan is framed for his father's death, and his brothers are hunting him and the princess down. Their adventures take many turns, but the most entertaining is when they enter the Valley of the Slaves (at least that's what I think it's called), and come across Sheik Amar, played by Alfred Molina. The audience always loves a gambler and degenerate, and Molina delivers on that note.

Personally I was a bit confused as to what happened during the film's climax, but of course, everything turns out the way it should in true Disney fashion.

Overall, the effects were cartoony (which was a real disappointment, given the director was Mike Newell, who helmed "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince), and the acting, save for Molina, was sub-par. I was expecting a lot more, especially out of Gyllenhaal, but I was disappointed. His hair was quite gross, and considering he lived in the frickin' desert, a trip to the tanning salon wouldn't have been out of order. Not to mention his accent sounded ridiculous. I mean, I'm just sayin'....

So on the CWeave scale, I rate this a 5.5. And let's be honest here: it would've scored higher if Jake had his shirt off more. But I'll tell you one thing: although it was no "Pirates", it sure was better than "Sex and the City 2".

Sunday, June 13, 2010

"Just Wright" - in theaters

I was eager to see this film, mostly because I really like whenever Common is in a movie (i.e. "Smoking Aces", "Date Night", etc.). I also enjoy Queen Latifah, so needless to say I was sold from the get-go.

The focus of the film is on Latifah's character, Leslie Wright, an unlucky-in-love physical therapist, who just bought a fixer-upper house, has loving yet meddling parents who live close by, and a cousin (Paula Patton) who is taking advantage of her hospitality. Leslie is a self-proclaimed Nets fanatic, and one night after driving home from a game, she meets the star player, Scott McKnight (Common) at a gas station. They exchange banter and he ends up inviting her to his birthday party. She brings Morgan, the cousin (whose goal in life is to become a ball-player's wife), and before you know it, Morgan and Scott are engaged.

Things go great for awhile, but then McKnight gets injured, and the Nets might not re-up his contract if he's not in shape for the play-offs. Morgan decides that Leslie is just the person to fix him up, haves her move into their house, and then Morgan promptly leaves Scott because she "just can't take it anymore". So not only is poor Common injured, he's also a jilted lover. It's a bad head-space to be in when you're trying to recover from surgery.

The rest of the movie pretty much goes as planned for a romantic comedy, but the movie itself doesn't feel generic. I think I liked this movie so much because I personally identified with Queen Latifah's character, so I was really rooting for her. Plus, she was a strong, independent woman who was still open to the possibility of love, which is tough to find in today's cinema. She made you think that even if she didn't find somebody that she would still be okay. And I really appreciated that message in today's romantic comedy market.

So on the CWeave scale, I rate this movie a solid 8. It was funny and heart-warming, and I don't think that it's getting the credit that it deserves.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"Sex and the City 2" - in theaters

Right off the bat, I'm going to disclose that I did NOT want to see this film. Unfortunately though, when you're having a college reunion, the majority rules, so I went, kicking and screaming, to the theater.

The reason I didn't want to see this movie exists on a few levels. A. I wasn't a huge fan of the show, mostly because I didn't have HBO. I've seen most of the episodes, but I was never too impressed. And B. I saw the first movie and thought it blew.

That being said, I found this movie to be more entertaining than the first, but overall, it kind of stunk. The show of Sex and the City focused on four women: Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall), Charlotte York (Kristen Davis), and Miranda Hobbs (Cynthia Nixon). (And can I just say that I should get bonus points for knowing their first AND last names!) All of these women had different careers and love lives, but the heart of the show revolved on the friendship that existed between these women.

The second film in this franchise did these women a disservice. First off, Samantha is OBSESSED with being younger to the point where she's taking all of these hormone supplements (which, as a breast cancer survivor [and oh yeah, they never mention that] is totally unbelievable), trying her best to delay menopause. I found it to just come off as shallow. Charlotte is having trouble with motherhood even though she has a full-time live-in nanny. Carrie and Big (who I think to be a total douche-bag) have hit a slump, and Miranda hates her job. Suddenly Samantha gets an all expense paid trip to Abu-Dhabi (because that happens to everyone!), and they're all whisked off for fun in the desert. Once they get there, it's all indulgence all the time, and wouldn't you know it, but Carrie runs into Aiden while simultaneously losing her passport?

Out of all of that crap, I found Miranda's story to be the most relate-able. She also had some great ensembles that she sported. Not all of them, but when she rocks the green dress at the nightclub, it is fabulous!

However, most of the clothes were WRETCHED. Seriously. At one point, Carrie is wearing acid-washed parachute pants. When has that EVER been okay???? WHEN??


Bottom line: it's all glitzy and fabulous and has absolutely no relevance to 99.9% of the women that will go to see this film. So on the CWeave scale, I rate it a 4. It had a few laughs, but I couldn't get past some of the character flaws, not to mention the 2 hour and 25 minute running time.

Monday, June 7, 2010

"Robin Hood" - in theaters

I saw this movie quite a while ago, so some of the details may be fuzzy. (And the reason I didn't write a review is sheer laziness. I've got two more to do after this one!)

First off, I'll say that this movie COULD have been spectacular had it been rated R. But it wasn't, and I'm guessing it's because Hollywood finds that PG-13 movies are more widely attended than R-rated ones. Needless to say that this "Robin Hood" was a watered-down version of what it could have been but I still found it more than enjoyable. It was also extremely long, but Ridley Scott (the director) does a fairly good job at intertwining action sequences with dialogue and other filler scenes.

Russell Crowe takes the mantle as Robin Longstride, an archer in King Richard's army, butchering their way back across France in attempt to get home after 10 years fighting a Crusade. In a series of circumstances, Robin and his motley crew end up carrying the King's crown home (because apparently, King Richard dies in this version of Robin Hood), and carrying a dead knight's sword home to his father. And wouldn't you know it, but the dead knight's name is Loxley, and his wife is Marianne (played by the fabulous Cate Blanchett).

The motley crew is composed of Will Scarlett, Little John, and some other bloke that I can't remember the name of. Little John is played by Kevin Duran, whose characters are usually more threatening so it was refreshing to see him play a good guy. Friar Tuck also makes an appearance, and yes, he's as drunk as ever. Mathew McFayden plays the Sheriff of Nottingham, who is DISGUSTING, but not overly evil or threatening. Considering this movie acts as a prequel, I'm sure there's plenty of room for him to grow in his vileness. It's a shame too, because I love Mathew McFayden, and this movie kind of ruined him for me.

Anyway, after Robin delivers the crown, effectively making Prince John KING John, he goes to Loxley's place where he's given a warm welcome by Loxley's dad, and a not so warm welcome by Loxley's wife. Sir Loxley decides that Robin better pretend that he's his son, otherwise Marianne will lose the land, and Robin slips into the character with great ease.

There were many plot points to this film, including how all the orphan boys of Nottingham live in the forest, running wild because their dads are all gone, and then there's the threat of a French invasion, and then there's civil unrest in the north of England, all of which culminates in a final battle on the beach.

Oh, and Robin and Lady Marianne fall in love (duh). And they're named outlaws because King John is pissed that the people like Robin better than they like him. Seriously. That is his reasoning.

Ah, the twelfth century. Good times.

So, on the CWeave scale, I give this a 6.5. Points off for the non-R rating (I really would have loved more gore, you know?) and the length of the film, but bonus points to Russell Crowe, who still looks good without his shirt on. Bravo sir. Bravo.

Monday, May 17, 2010

"Letters to Juliet" - in theaters

When I went to see this movie I was in dire need of a chick flick and this totally fit the bill.

Before we begin though, I would like to state for the record that the premise of this movie is somewhat ridiculous. The story goes that desperate women in need of romantic advice pen notes to Juliet (of Romeo and Juliet fame) asking for her help. This is ludicrous simply because Juliet is probably the last person that I would turn to for romantic advice. Sure, she found her true love and got married, but less than a week later, she kills herself. How is that a healthy display of what love should be, huh? I don't get it...

However, I did enjoy this movie, that obvious annoyance aside. The film revolves around Sophie (played by Amanda Seyfried), a fact-checker who wishes she were a writer for the New Yorker, who travels to Verona with her chef/restaurant-opening fiancee Victor (played by Gael Garcia Bernal) on a pre-honeymoon. But alas, Victor is too preoccupied with the copious amounts of fantastic food and wine to pay too much attention to Sophie, who wanders aimlessly around the city. By a lucky happenstance, she volunteers with the Secretaries of Juliet, who answer all of the letters that the unfortunate romantics leave at Juliet's family home. It's there that Sophie finds a 50 year old letter, written by Clare, whom she decides to write back.

Due to the nature of the letter, Clare (Vanessa Redgrave) comes over to Italy with her grandson Charlie (Christopher Egan) in order to find her lost love, and Sophie ends up tagging along on the journey. And who would have thunk it, but sparks fly between Charlie and Sophie, who grapples with a guilty conscience about Victor but can't ignore the pull of her heartstrings.

Sounds disgusting, right? But disgusting in an awesome way.

Vanessa Redgrave made this movie. She was incredibly charming and vulnerable, and Italian men simply flocked to her in a manner that was a little insane. Christopher Egan was uptight in the beginning, as he was supposed to be, but by the end, he was a British teddy bear. I didn't care for Victor, who was a total douche, but was supposed to be, so well played by Gael Garcia. And I've been a fan of Amanda Seyfried since "Veronica Mars", so it there's really no argument that I enjoyed her performance here.

So on the CWeave scale of 1 to 10, I would give this movie a 7.5. I got the warm and fuzzies while watching, but there could have been a little more heat between Charlie and Sophie. Needless to say, I'll probably own this one when it comes out on DVD.

"Iron Man 2" - in theaters

I saw this movie twice on opening weekend. I went once with friends, and then again on Mother's Day because my mom wanted to see it in IMAX. And who am I to refuse a free movie?

To start off, I'll say this about "Iron Man 2" - it was NOT made to be in IMAX theaters. Apparently it is quite popular these days to simply reformat a movie after it's been shot to play in an IMAX theater rather than shoot the movie with IMAX cameras. This is a ripoff, in my opinion, that compares to reformatting a film to be in 3D. I think it's the movie industry's way of trying to squeeze a few more dollars out of paying customers.

With that said, while the film was enjoyable to watch in IMAX, I wouldn't have bothered if it hadn't been free. I had a similar experience in the normal theater.

As for the movie itself, I found Robert Downey Jr., once again, to be spectacular as Tony Stark. His cockiness and narcissism is somewhat endearing because while yes, Tony Stark is all about Tony Stark, he IS fighting evil too. And frankly, if I had invented the Iron Man Suit in addition to all of the other gadgets that Tony rocks in this film, I'd be a bit full of myself as well.

Surprisingly, I found Scarlett Johansson's character, Natalie Rushman, aka The Black Widow, to be a total bad ass. And I was incorrect in assuming that she was a villain prior to seeing the movie. She's actually one of the good guys, and has some frickin' amazing martial arts moves. So I give major props to Scarlett.

Gwyneth Paltrow reprises her role as Pepper Potts, who gets promoted to CEO of Stark Industries, and hence has to clean up all of Tony's messes, while Don Cheadle takes over the role of Colonel James Rhodes who has the unfortunate duty of being Tony's friend/liaison to the U.S. military. To be honest, I could've done without Don Cheadle. And the same goes for Terrence Howard who played Rhodes in the original. Maybe it was because Rhodes is always attempting to procure the Iron Man technology for the military, or that he just plain wasn't much fun, but either way, Rhodes' role could have been minimized further.

Mickey Rourke and Sam Rockwell had the distinct pleasure of playing the villains. Mickey Rourke was absolutely foul as a Russian physicist out for vengeance (and as my mother commented, "Are all of those tattoos real? Because if they are, that is disgusting."). I have always found Sam Rockwell to be fantastic in pretty much any role, and he doesn't disappoint here. And he dances, which is always fantastic.

There was a lot going on in this film, and while yes, it got kind of hectic, I also thought it was entertaining as hell. So on the CWeave scale of 1 to 10, I give this film a 7. It wasn't as good as the original, but the performances really drive the film, as long as you can stomach the fact that Jon Favreau gave himself a much bigger role the second time around, and you would rather that he didn't.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

"The Losers" - in theaters

I was pretty excited to see this movie (though looking back on it, I'm pretty excited to see every movie), because I enjoy a good action/comedy. And that's what I found "The Losers" to be: pretty darn good.

The story centers around a group of covert ops soldiers who knew too much and had to be eliminated. Of course, the elimination didn't go as planned, and what really happened was that they all got ticked off (not to mention stuck in Bolivia). Then all of a sudden, Zoe Saldana shows up, claims she can find the guy who set up them (named Max, played by Jason Patric) as long as in the end, Max meets his maker.

The leader of this rag-tag group of soldiers is Clay (played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan). It's tough to figure out Clay's MO throughout the film, other than the fact that a lot of his actions seem to be guided by his penis. The romance that blossomed between his character and Zoe Saldana's was somewhat unbelievable. I mean, why pick a guy with gray streaking his hair, when Chris Evans is available to you? Maybe it's just me though...

What I particularly enjoyed about this film was the chemistry between the four of the five soldiers, and more specifically between Pooch (Columbus Short) and Jenson (Chris Evans). Chris Evans' role was probably the most fun character, what with his obsession with his niece's soccer team and the fact that he was probably the buffest computer nerd on the face of planet Earth. He also held up the comedy end of this film almost single-handedly. The soldier that I didn't enjoy was Roque, played by Idris Elba. He was basically a whiny bitch throughout the movie's entirety, and I find it difficult to develop a liking for characters like that.

And I'd also like to point out that if I were ever to go into a war-like scenario, I would take Cougar (Oscar Jaenada) as my wingman. He seriously has your back.

So on the CWeave scale of 1 to 10, I give this movie a 7.5. It had action, comedy, bastards (for real, Max is a PRICK), and lots of men. Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

"Kick Ass" - in theaters

This movie rocked my balls off.

Or at least, it would've if I had any balls.

But seriously, this movie, like the title proclaims, kicks ass.

Personally, I found "Kick Ass" to be a more fun version of "Watchmen". The idea of everyday people dressing up as vigilantes and delivering justice with a side of sass isn't a new concept, but in this particular film, it was done with flair.

The standout performance goes to the 11-year-old sociopath by the name of Hit Girl (played here by Chloe Moretz, who also did most of her own stunts, believe it or not). Every review of the film that I have read describes her as a foul-mouthed, butt-kicking machine. While she didn't disappoint on the butt-kicking front, the foul-mouthed description was a bit off. Yes, she did have her colorful moments, but not as many as I expected. Those that she did have were executed brilliantly though and frankly, I wasn't too offended to hear that language coming out of her mouth. If you kick ass the way she does, I reckon you would talk like that too.

Hit Girl's dad, "Big Daddy" (played by Nicolas Cage) is an ex-cop who was wrongly incarcerated by one Frank D'Amico (Mark Strong, who is just so damn good at playing the villain). It is now Big Daddy's greatest wish to take down Frank and every single one of his goons, not to mention steal all of his money in the process. I loved Nicolas Cage in this role because you could see how much he relished being able to put on a superhero costume and kick butt. He LOVED it, you can just tell.

It is into this web that Kick Ass (played by Aaron Johnson) soon becomes trapped. It's a shame for him, because he started off wearing his masked avenger outfit simply to help out all of the underdogs of this world. But a case of mistaken identity, and a trap laid out by Red Mist (played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse, i.e. McLovin'), who happens to be the son of Frank D'Amico, and you've got the recipe for a kick butt finale full of blood, bullets, and a bazooka. Seriously, a bazooka!

There's also a love story mixed in, with Kick Ass lusting after a schoolmate who actually thinks he's her gay BFF. Ah, another case of mistaken identity.

So, on the CWeave scale of 1 to 10, I give this movie a solid 8.5. Action, romance, revenge, and a touch of ridiculousness go a long way in my book. And this movie had all four. A combination such as this make for one hell of a good time at the multi-plex!

Monday, April 12, 2010

"Date Night" - in theaters

As I was watching this movie, I half expected Tina Fey to bust into her Sarah Palin impression while in the midst of a high-speed chase, but alas! No such luck.

The premise of "Date Night" is based on the relationship of the Fosters, played by Fey and Steve Carell. They are the typical upper-middle class family from New Jersey whose marriage has gone according to plan, even if it is a little boring and predictable. Their relationship is in a rut, i.e. the bed is not a'rockin' so the kids always come knockin'. When close friends of theirs disclose that they're getting divorced, the Fosters attempt a date night shake-up. Instead of going to their usual "Texas Roadhouse" style restaurant, they head into New York City to dine at a new Manhattan seafood restaurant called "Claw". (Seriously, when they answer the phone they say, 'Claw. You're welcome." It's fantastic.) They don't have a reservation, and on an impulse, they steal a no-show's. And then, of course, mistaken-identity-corrupt-official-chaos ensues.

There were some super funny moments in this movie, mostly due to the awkwardness of Fey and Carell. Mark Wahlberg shows up as a past client of Mrs. Foster who helps them out, and does it with a certain sense of shirtless flair. But the standout bit part goes to William Fichtner, who plays a DA with an appetite for loose women, both feminine and androgynous.

I could have used a little more humor with the two "cops" that were chasing the Fosters. They were a little too serious about hunting them down than they should have been given the type of movie that "Date Night" proclaims to be. I enjoy Common (who played one of those cops) and wish he had been given juicier material.

I also have to say that some of the highlights were the previews beforehand. It seemed every action-comedy that was coming out this summer previewed before "Date Night", and they all seemed pretty funny. Plus, I've got to admit that the previews are always my favorite part.

So, on the CWeave scale of 1 to 10, I rate this movie a 7. I seem to be giving out a lot of 7's lately, and no, it's not a conspiracy. I just keep enjoying every movie I go to see. This was no exception.

Monday, April 5, 2010

"Clash of the Titans" - in theaters

I love springtime. It means sunshine, warmer weather, leaves on the trees, and above all else, the start of the movie blockbuster season.

I qualify "Clash of the Titans" as the start of this season. It's the first big effects movie of 2010, and it's one heck of a ride.

While this movie is also playing in 3D, I opted for the 2D version for a few reasons. One, I don't think that every movie needs to be made in 3D. I don't need to see Krakken tentacles lash out at me while I'm enjoying my pretzel bites. The second reason I opted for the 2D version is because it was less expensive. I think it's a cheap ploy by the movie industry to charge more for 3D films. And third, I heard that the effects for this film were totally shit in 3D, so I didn't want to waste the money.

But I digress.

Like I said, this movie is one heck of a ride. I found it to be wildly entertaining, and that's not just because every man was pretty much wearing a short dress (I swear, you could tell what someone had for breakfast in some scenes, if you know what I mean).

The story revolves around Perseus, played by the oh-so-delicious Sam Worthington, who is a bastard son of Zeus, raised by a fisherman and his wife who are later killed by Hades. Now, Hades (played by Ralph Fiennes), really wants to get back at Zeus (played by Liam Neeson) for sticking him in the Underworld all those years ago. He plans on doing it by scaring the men of Earth shitless so that they pray to him instead of Zeus, thus making Hades stronger. The Krakken comes into play because Hades tells the kingdom of Argos that if they don't sacrifice their princess to the Krakken then the kingdom will be destroyed. And it falls to Perseus to save the kingdom even though all he wants to do is kill Hades. It's all quite confusing and the film doesn't do the greatest job at explaining things. I was glad to have read the Percy Jackson series because it gave me a "background" in Greek mythology that I otherwise would have lacked.

I never saw the original "Clash of the Titans" in it's entirety so I can't comment on how the two compare. The only thing I can say is that I enjoy Sam Worthington much more than Harry Hamlin. Oh, and there's a mechanical owl in the film for about 10 seconds and that's it.

There was action galore, a black Pegasus, giant scorpions, two crazy hunters, the villain from "Casino Royale", the chick from "Quantum of Solace", a confrontation in Medusa's lair, and a guy that looked like he was made out of driftwood with blue LED lights for eyes. And let's put it this way: it's not going to win any Oscars for acting, writing, or directing, but the most entertaining films usually don't.

So on the CWeave scale of 1 to 10, I give this film a 7. I'll probably own it when it comes out, and since honesty is the best policy, I've got to admit that I would watch Sam Worthington do just about anything. Even if his acting is a bit stiff...

Friday, April 2, 2010

"The Last Song" - in theaters

I'm not going to lie.

I was REALLY excited about seeing this movie. Like... for MONTHS. When I first saw the preview, back in November or December, I got jacked up. And here's why: I love Miley Cyrus. I'm not the biggest fan of Hannah Montana (although I saw that movie in theaters [again, not going to lie]), but I love Miley's music. And I'm not afraid to admit it. I'm also a closet Nicholas Sparks fan. I enjoy all of the movies based upon his books. I was so excited for this movie that I went out and bought the book a few months ago. And read it in 3 days. Pathetic, I know. But I can't help myself. It's like emotional cocaine.

My friend Meghan was also pumped about this movie, so of course we HAD to go opening night.

I reviewed "Dear John" as one of my first posts, and in that I described what to expect from a Nicholas Sparks' film. The same formula applies here. Plus, since I had the novel, I already knew what was going to happen. And I still cried like a little girl...

Needless to say, Miley, and Nicholas Sparks, did not disappoint.

Anyway, the story revolves around this girl named Ronnie (short for Veronica), whose mother (played by Kelly Preston) ships her and her 10 year old brother down to their estranged father's for the summer. At first, Ronnie is all angsty and rebellious, but soon meets Will, a good-hearted Southern gentleman who sweeps Ronnie off her feet. Before you know it, they're in love, and Ronnie and her father suddenly get along. There's an entire subplot about arson and a church, but it wasn't developed well in the film. For the better story on that end, read the novel. But even then, it's not really a good storyline. There is also a subplot of Ronnie getting arrested for shoplifting back in New York City, and then gets framed for it in her dad's town, but again, it wasn't well developed for the screen. This movie was primarily a love story between Ronnie and Will, and a bonding story for Ronnie and her father.

Greg Kinnear plays the dad, and I liked him in the role. In the book, Steve (the dad) is really mellow and Kinnear really stepped into the groove of that. Jonah, Ronnie's 10-year old brother (played by Bobby Coleman), was absolutely adorable in this film, and was easily my favorite character.

And then there's Ronnie (Cyrus) and Will (Liam Hemsworth). Miley did an okay job at Ronnie. Ronnie herself goes through a lot of changes, and though Cyrus lacks some acting finesse, she did a credible job of riding the emotional rollercoaster. Hemsworth was pretty charming, and often shirtless, but for being a good ol' Southern boy, he certainly lacked the accent. He spoke as if he was from Wisconsin. I can forgive him for that, because he's Australian and hell, probably just doing the American accent is tough enough. But he was charming, and had great chemistry with Cyrus. It's easy to see how they're an offscreen couple as well.

So, on the CWeave scale of 1 to 10, I give this a 7. It gets a rating boost because I'm an emotional sap and will cry at just about anything, not to mention that the love story is so sweet it might even give you a cavity. All in all, a great time at the movies.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

"Repo Men" - in theaters

I wanted to see this film after viewing the trailer a couple of months ago. And after seeing the film, it really wasn't what I expected. The trailer indicated that there would be frequent splashes of humor throughout the movie, but just like a bad romantic comedy, all the funny bits were in the preview.

This movie was violent and bloody, which I don't mind so much. What I DO mind is when you can't understand the characters when they speak. This happened a lot, with the culprit usually being the fact that the actors spoke in voices that were too low, or their speech was slurred because they were talking too fast and failed to enunciate properly.

The film itself revolves around Jude Law's character, who is a Repo-Man for "The Union". This company seems to pedal everything from new livers and eyes to newfangled sensory machines that claim to be the ultimate experience for your brain. Anyway, "The Union" tends to promise things to it's customers, like an easy to follow payment plan for your new esophagus. What they fail to tell you is that if you fall behind on payment, the way most people do, Repo-Men, like Jude Law and Forest Whitaker, will break into your home in the middle of the night and rip said esophagus out, leaving you bloody and gasping on the floor, and inevitably dying a grisly death. But everything goes wrong when Jude himself gets a new heart courtesy of "The Union" (albeit against his will) and starts falling monetarily behind himself. Suddenly he has a conscience, and can't do his job, and hence, can't pay his bills.

This movie attempted social commentary, comparing purchasing a new set of lungs to the crumbling housing market and credit crisis that has recently befallen our country, but it sort of falls flat. It's really more of an action movie where Jude Law can take a couple of knives and slice some people to bits. There's also a love story that comes about with Law and a newly sober drug addict (who has more fake parts in her than real ones I think) that leads to an interesting scene at "The Union" HQ at the film's climax, but the focus is more on their attempts to get their names out of the system.

So, on the CWeave scale of 1 to 10, I give this film a 6. And let's be honest here: it only gets that high of a rating because Jude Law is shirtless throughout much of the film, and I'll give him credit for buffing up. Plus, I'm a shallow creature, and it takes little to make me happy. A shirtless man with nice abs is the way to go.