Thursday, July 21, 2011

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

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

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

Don't judge me.

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

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

It. Is. Phenomenal.

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

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

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

And don't forget to bring tissues.

Seriously. You'll bawl your face off.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"X-Men: FIrst Class" - in theaters

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

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

I mean, holy crap! It was awesome.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, June 6, 2011

"The Hangover Part II" - in theaters

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Bridesmaids" - in theaters

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

But it didn't happen here, thank GOD.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, June 2, 2011

"Thor" - in theaters

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

So... "Thor"...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 2, 2011

"Water for Elephants" - in theaters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, April 30, 2011

"Hanna" - in theaters

When I first saw the trailer for "Hanna", I thought it looked... funky. But in a good way. It seemed to be one of those movies that was too cool for it's own good, but didn't realize it. That's not a bad thing, though. Do you know what I mean?

Anyway, the story starts with Hanna (played by Saoirse Ronan) dressed in furs hunting in the middle of a desolate, cold forest. As she stands over her pray, a man, Erik, (Eric Bana), whom you later find out is her father, comes up behind her, and suddenly they are in a knock-down drag out fight. You soon find out that they have lived in isolation for most of Hanna's life, after her mother was murdered by Marissa Viegler (Cate Blanchett). Marissa works for the CIA, and Erik used to be an asset of hers. One his wife was killed, Erik took Hanna off the grid, where he raised her to basically be a warrior.

While Hanna is a lean, mean, killing machine, she also yearns for a sense of teenage normalcy. She wants to know what music is, and have friends. Mostly, she wants to get out of the woods. So when she flips the switch on a locating device, you're not entirely sure whether she's doing it so she can leave or if she wants to kill Marissa.

So anyway, the government picks up Hanna and take her to a "secure facility" (that's what they're all called, right?), where she demands to speak with Marissa. A false one is sent in, whom Hanna promptly kills, and then escapes. She is calm and efficient as she dispatches guard after guard, mostly without the use of a gun. It's badass.

Hanna's capture and subsequent escape were all of a part of her and Erik's plan. So once she leaves the facility, Hanna must get to their rendezvous point. Along the way, she is taken in by an English family on vacation, where she befriends their teenage daughter. Their friendship is sweet, mostly because it's the first time that Hanna has ever interacted with someone her own age.

I could go on about the plot, because it's quite intricate, but that would spoil your fun if you saw this movie.

In terms of performances, I totally buy Saoirse Ronan as this badass teenager. She has this innocent look about her, and you would never expect her to be able to take you out with her pinkie finger. She's wound so tightly that she'll snap at any second, and it's brilliant. Cate Blanchett is simply devilish as Marissa, with her sweet Southern accent and affinity for shoes.

Another highlight of this film is the soundtrack. It's just... cool. Done by the Chemical Brothers, it alone gives the film that too cool for school edge that was apparent from the trailer.

So on the CWeave scale, I give this film a 7.5. It's hip, it's now, and it's worth the ticket price. It could've used more humor. But then again... what film couldn't?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

"Jane Eyre" - in theaters

I was intending on seeing "Suckerpunch" this weekend, but it was a pleasant surprise to find that "Jane Eyre" was playing nearby. My friend was game, so we made the short trip up the theatre that tends to play the more independent movie set.

That being said, it was a good choice.

"Jane Eyre" is the story of Jane (Mia Wasikowska), an orphan raised partially by her aunt (Sally Hawkins), who then expels her from the house to a hard school for girls. She is there until she receives her first posting, at an estate called Thornfield. Thornfield is in the middle of nowhere, her boss, Mr. Rochester (the delicious Michael Fassbender), is largely unaccounted for, her pupil is French, and the housekeeper (Judi Dench) is a busybody who is desperate for companionship. Clearly the dream situation for a young girl in 1800's England.

But Jane doesn't mind. She enjoys her work and the quiet it brings. She's very passionate about life, learning, and experience, which is part of the reason why she was expelled from her aunt's house. But this passion shines through during her infrequent conversations with Mr. Rochester. I think that what he sees the most in her is potential. More to the point, he sees that he could be happy with her in a way that he was never happy before. And it's these sweet moments when you can see him beginning to believe that, that really make the movie.

But of course, things are not all that they seem. I won't go into it, but just know that Jamie Bell (love him!) makes an appearance and helps Jane out in a time of need. If I told you what happened, that might ruin the story, and we don't want that, do we?

The story has a spooky angle, which I wasn't expecting. I haven't read the book since high school, and so had to be reminded of a few key plot points, but the filmmaker does a fine job of making Thornfield both inviting and menacing at the same time. You can tell that Jane never feels 100% safe some of the time, and neither does the audience. Plus, I'm pretty sure I jumped more during this movie than I did during "The Sixth Sense", hard as that is to believe.

Mia Wasikowska does a great job as Jane. It's hard to make her appear "plain, at least physically. Once you see her personality shine through, there is nothing plain about her. Michael Fassbender, whose voice could literally make my underwear melt off, is fantastic as Rochester. He's a hard ass one minute, then sweet as a kitten the next. And the way he looks at Jane just makes me wish that a man would look at me that way, you know what I'm saying?

So on the CWeave scale, I rate this movie a 9. Great performances and a great storyline. This is one I will own, and probably watch a million times. And I suggest that you all do the same.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

"Beastly" - in theaters

I remember first seeing the trailer for this movie last summer. It was supposed to come out in August, but was then pushed further back. After seeing it, I understand why. It would've been lost in the blockbuster, summer action movie market. Given that, even though it was released in the March doldrums, it still isn't widely available. I had to travel to another freaking state to see it.

That being said, "Beastly", was well... beastly. But kind of in a good way. The story is Beauty and the Beast, set in modern day New York. I don't think I need to rehash the plot here. However, I will go over some of the highlights.

1. Neil Patrick Harris: Oh NPH and the movies you do. He plays Kyle's (Alex Pettyfer) blind tutor, who has witty, sort of dry sense of humor. He's also cute as a button, and steals the scene whenever he's on screen.

2. Mary Kate Olsen: She plays the witch and I was skeptical before seeing it. The preview made her look absolutely ridiculous, not to mention a poor actress. She was quite the opposite on screen. It's weird to think that she was the seasoned veteran of the young cast, but you can tell that she has experience acting in movies NOT made for just the Disney channel (I mean, hers can be found showing on ABC Family, duh). She was a tad nasty and cutthroat, and had a pretty amazing gothic wardrobe. I dug her role.

3. Vanessa Hudgens: She's on this list simply because she curses. It's weird to see Gabriella from "High School Musical" say 'shit'. It just is.

4. How they did the Rose: You know in the cartoon that when the final petal is off the rose, then the beast's time is up? In this version, Kyle has a pretty killer tattoo on his arm which changes as the time passes. It was an innovative way to do it, and I liked it.

So on the CWeave scale, I rate this movie a 5.5. It was definitely entertaining, but nothing to shake a stick at. Hopefully Vanessa's next outing, "Suckerpunch" packs more of a wallop.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"Red Riding Hood" - in theaters

Catherine Hardwicke tried so hard to make another "Twilight" with this picture. I think she also tried too hard to be like Tim Burton. The result was a superficial copy of greater films. But don't get me wrong - it was entertaining.

The twist on this Red Riding Hood tale is that the Big, Bad Wolf is actually a werewolf. And it likes to terrorize a small town that no one knows the name of back in a year that they never actually mention.

Now, Amanda Seyfried plays Valerie, the daughter of a woodcutter (Billy Burke, aka Charlie Swan [Team Charlie, baby!]) and his wife (Virginia Madsen), who is promised to Henry (Max Irons), son of the wealthiest family in the village. But alack the day! Valeria is in love with Peter (Shiloh Fernandez), a woodcutter like her father and hence, isn't too keen about marrying Henry. Then there's Grandma (Julie Christie), who lives in a house in the woods outside the village limits, and if truth be told, is a tad frightening. You never can quite figure out what her deal is.

When the wolf kills a human for the first time in 20 years, the village flips out and calls in Father Solomon (Gary Oldman), who is a renowned evil hunter. He's actually quite the lunatic, not to mention religious zealot, who will hurt anyone and anything to kill evil. Which really doesn't make sense. He also has these silver fingernails, which are so disgusting that it made me gag slightly. Father Solomon makes matters worse, by announcing that the wolf is someone in the village, and the witch-hunt begins.

I must admit that the filmmakers do a good job of keeping you guessing who is the wolf. The only thing for certain is that it is NOT Valerie, mostly because she comes face to face with it.

As one can imagine, the acting is pretty terrible. But at least the actors are nice to look at. Max Irons is so cute you just want to pinch his cheeks, while Shiloh Fernandez is very intense, and looks so much like Joaquin Phoenix it's disturbing. And Amanda Seyfried talks breathlessly through the movie, batting her giant blue eyes at everyone.

So on the CWeave scale, I rate this movie a 6.5. It's funny, but as I read back through this, it seems like I hated the movie, when in fact, the opposite is true. I quite enjoyed it. And in fact, I'll probably own it when it comes out on DVD. No one's mad about it.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"I am Number Four" - in theaters

This movie has a horrible title. It should have simply been called "Number Four", dropping the "I am" bit. Alas, the filmmakers didn't get in touch with me before naming it.

Well... that, and it's based on a book of the same title. But I digress.

I had extremely low expectations for this movie, based on reviews that I read before viewing it. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Yes, the acting was bad, and the special effects were so-so, but it still had teen romance, action, and a supernatural element. That's all you can ask for, really.

The story revolves around "John Smith" (Alex Pettyfer), one of nine regal aliens from a destroyed planet (much like Superman). They're being hunted down one by one by these really evil things called Mogadorians, who are super tall and have gills on their faces. They also have sick senses of humor, something I didn't expect, which was sort of fun, in a twisted way.

Anyway, John lives with Henri (Timothy Olyphant), whom everyone believes is his father, but actually is more like his bodyguard. Henri keeps them moving and off the radar. They end up in the small town of Paradise, Ohio after an "incident" in Florida. Henri has several motives for going to this town, but doesn't feel the need to share them with John.

John starts at the local high school and meets Sam (Callan McAuliffe), a nerd who believes in the fantastic, and Sarah (Dianna Agron), a popular girl-turned photog loner, who is intrigued by John. Needless to say, they get together. This is technically a spoiler, but since you see them make out in the preview, I don't think it's that big of a deal.

As they go about living their lives in Paradise, the Mogadorians are coming closer and closer to finding John. Because they've killed the first three aliens, and John is number four. Meanwhile, a mysterious blond chick is also hunting for John and Henri while evading the Mogadorians as well. It's all more complex than it needs to be.

Like I said before, the performances are somewhat stilted, but hey! This movie is basically "Twilight" with aliens, so I'm not complaining. Plus, I LOVE me some Timothy Olyphant. I'll pretty much see any movie he's in as long as it's not horror. I might be the only person who watches "Justified", and based on that alone, I know that he could charm my pants right off.

So on the CWeave scale, I rate this movie a 6. Not horrible, but not fantastic. However, it did make me want to read the book series. And plus, the ending leaves it open to a sequel, which I'm not opposed to.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"The Eagle" - in theaters

"The Eagle" is the story of Marcus Flavius Acquila (Stockard "Channing Tatum" O'Neal), a newly minted Roman commander who is stationed in crazy wild Britain. But the plot thickens, because Marcus asked to be posted there. His father was also a Roman commander, and marched into northern Britain/Scotland with Rome's coveted Eagle - basically a gold statue that they carried around on a stick. He took 5000 soldiers with them and none of them came back. And alas, the Eagle was lost.

So Marcus feels like he could make a difference in Britain, including regaining his family's honor. And he's doing a good job of it, until he gets himself injured. Because of his injury, he is sent to his uncle's (Donald Sutherland) house to heal and is also honorably discharged from the military. This is a crushing blow to Marcus, as the military is the only life he's ever known.

While he's healing, his uncle takes him to the arena to watch some gladiators kill each other, like ya do in ancient Rome. There he comes to find Esca (Jamie Bell), a slave who is fighting in the arena. Fighting is being generous; for the most part Esca is taking his beating and refusing to fight. Apparently Marcus sees something in Esca, because he prevents Esca's death. So then his uncle buys Esca for him. And hence, Esca is his slave.

The two of them seem to have a grand ol' time. They hunt, they hang out, and then Esca serves Marcus dinner. All the while, Esca says about 8 words. Then some pompous old Romans come to dinner, and start saying that some tribe native to Britain has the Eagle, way up in the north. The army doesn't want to send anyone, but Marcus volunteers himself and Esca to undertake the quest.

So they head north of Hadrian's wall, with Esca as his guide. They come across many native Britons, and Marcus steers clear while Esca speaks to them. It all seems to be going well, until they get captured by a tribe whose men paint themselves blue all over, and who know the countryside like the back of their hands.

There was a real grit to this picture. It was more "Gladiator" than I had expected, and I dug it. It was also fast-paced and full of action and suspense. I also dug Channing and Jamie; they worked well together. And let's face it: Jamie Bell is the shit. I mean, he was Billy Elliot for crying out loud! Not to mention that he wears the lowest slung pants I have ever seen a man wear. And I didn't hate it.

So on the CWeave scale, I give this movie a 7.5. Not an Oscar contender, but a fine addition to the gladiator motion picture collection.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

"The Mechanic" - in theaters

I really wanted to love this movie.

But alack! I was disappointed.

"The Mechanic" is the story of Arthur (Jason Statham), an assassin for hire who is the best in the business. That is, until his company tricks him into killing his only friend, Harry (Donald Sutherland). Harry is Arthur's handler, and the company tells Arthur that Harry is into some dirty stuff. Without checking into it, Arthur shoots Harry in the chest. But unlike his other kills, Arthur feels guilty. So when Harry's son, Steve (Ben Foster), comes back into town to deal with Harry's affairs, Arthur takes him under his wing.

See, Steve has some serious anger management problems. He is a psychopath, hell bent on hurting anyone having to do with Harry's passing. But it's more than that. He just likes to hurt other people, which Arthur recognizes and tries to harness.

So it goes on with Arthur and Steve killing more people for money until they decide to go after the guys that wanted Harry dead to begin with. It's a lot of action and some brutal fight scenes, not to mention some sex scenes as well (which really have no place in the plot). Normally I dig this, but this film was grim. Hardly any laughter, and I don't think Statham smiled more than twice the entire time.

Ben Foster is absolutely disgusting as Steve. He's an angry, sleazy dude with a scuzzy beard, and he kind of makes your skin crawl. It's almost as if he was channeling his character from "3:10 to Yuma" but forgot that this wasn't the old West. Blegh.

On the CWeave scale, I rate this movie a 5. I really have no desire or need to see it ever again, even if Jason Statham kicks butt. I'd rather see him as Handsome Rob from "The Italian Job" than this joker.

Monday, February 7, 2011

"The King's Speech" - in theaters

This movie is receiving accolades out of the wazoo, and, in my opinion, deservedly so. Each of the principal actors have been nominated for Academy Awards, not to mention picking up noms for best director, original screenplay, and best picture of the year.

The story is set in England in the 1930's, and focuses on Colin Firth's character, the soon to be King George VI. But the movie begins before he assumes the throne, and we get to see a little of the history behind his ascending to the crown. When his father dies, George's older brother becomes King Edward VIII (played by Guy Pearce). But Edward has a taste for "scandalous" women, and when he takes up with an American divorcee, the entire British government loses their shit. So Edward abdicated, leaving George to become King.

But the thing is, George has a stammer that has hampered him his entire life. You can really see how it brings him such shame, because he cannot, in his own view, be a great leader and speaker with the stammer. So his wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), takes it upon herself to find him someone who can help eliminate the stammer. The methods that some of the doctors use are absolutely outrageous (like the one guy who suggested that George should smoke because it relaxes the throat muscles), and George gets very frustrated by it all.

And then, Elizabeth finds Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). Logue is an Australian-born speech therapist with a passion for acting. His methods are unorthodox, and it takes the king quite a while to get used to them and become comfortable practicing them even when in Logue's office.

Now, while that's all well and good, this movie isn't really about the stammer. It's about a friendship that forms between two men. It's about George finally realizing with a little help from Lionel, that he can be a great king in the fact of the horrors of Hitler and war.

The actors are all nominated for Oscars, so that really speaks for itself. I find it resplendent when Helena Bonham Carter plays someone not totally insane, and here she is so mild-mannered and a truly loving wife and mother. It's fantastic. And the way that Colin Firth transformed himself into this character is astonishing. I was obsessed with watching how he made his throat struggle whenever he spoke. Not to mention Geoffrey Rush, who is just a working class man trying to help another man overcome a disability. And he makes you laugh while he does it.

On the CWeave scale, I rate this movie a 10. Seriously. Go see it. It is funny, touching, and heartbreaking all at the same time. All jokes aside, this movie is the real deal.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

"True Grit" - in theaters

Oh how I love Matt Damon. Let me count the ways...

I remember when the news first broke that the Coen brothers were going to be remaking "True Grit", and their insistence that it was NOT a remake. It was simply another adaptation of the book. So don't expect Jeff Bridges to do an impression of John Wayne, etc., etc.

I've never seen the original, but according to my father, it was quite campy due to the fact that Glen Campbell was in it, and you couldn't see him as a character; you could only see him as Glen Campbell. So I will give credit to the Coens that this new version is NOT campy.

The story revolves around Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld), a 13-year-old girl whose father is murdered by Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin). She hires a U.S. Marshall by the name of Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) to help her track him down. In the meantime, a Texas Ranger by the name of LaBoeuf (Damon), no relation to Shia, hears of this venture and teams up with Cogburn because he too is looking for Chaney.

Rooster was chosen by Mattie because he displays what people believe to be "true grit", when in fact it's Mattie that embodies that characteristic. You wouldn't think that a 13 year old girl, especially in those times, could do what Mattie does throughout the film, and she is so determined, so focused on nabbing Chaney and bringing him to justice, that she cares about nothing else. She doesn't care that she's sleeping outside or that her mother is home alone with her younger siblings. She bargains with a salesman to return horses that she no longer needs, carries a gun, and isn't afraid of making her horse swim across a deep river with her astride. You can really see why Steinfeld was nominated for an Oscar for her performance, because it is seriously bad ass.

There were more humorous moments in the film than I thought there was going to be, which is always pleasant. Jeff Bridges is, of course, awesome in the role, and Rooster is someone I wouldn't mind having in my corner. LaBoeuf is a little slimy and devious, but in the end has Mattie's best interests at heart. Brolin is hardly in the picture, but when he is, he's so disgusting that you just want Mattie to shoot him and get it over with.

So on the CWeave scale, I give this movie a 9. I must say that this was a Coen brothers movie that I enjoyed. It almost makes me forget about "No Country for Old Men". Almost.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

"The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" - in theaters

Despite the apparent Christian undertones, I really do enjoy the Narnia films. While they also tend to drag, they remain so true to the books that it's a little unbelievable. It's a rarity for a movie to do such a thing, so I admire the filmmakers for their actions.

The third installment of the series finds Lucy (Georgie Henley) and Edmund (Skandar Keynes) living in England with their aunt, uncle, and annoying cousin Eustace (Will Poulter), while Peter (William Moseley) and Susan (Anna Popplewell) are in America with their parents. Peter and Susan make an appearance for about a minute throughout the entire film, and this is as it should be. For the adventure in Narnia belongs to Lucy, Edmund, and Eustace this time around.

They get to Narnia through a painting, where they end up floating in the ocean and picked up by the Dawn Treader (a boat), captained by Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes). They're off looking for some of Caspian's dad's friends who disappeared when things got rough. There also seems to be some evil green smoke running amok, and the only way to get rid of it is to bring all 7 swords back to Aslan's table. And wouldn't you know it, but the Caspian's dad's mates each have one!

From there, there is all sorts of adventure to be had, including battling a dragon and getting sold into slavery. While it all seems dangerous, this is a family friendly flick, so the danger is very superficial. There is never any doubt that they're all going to make it out of there alive.

As the kids get older, they get less annoying. Eustace really should get on your nerves, but he doesn't. I think it helps that he reads out passages of his diary and they're so hilarious that you don't care that he's judging everyone. Lucy is struggling with wanting to be beautiful like Susan, which is a tad ridiculous. Apparently she doesn't remember how she already grew up once before in Narnia, and that she was an attractive woman, so there's really nothing to worry about. But then again, we all have our insecurities.

So on the CWeave scale, I give this movie a 6.5. It could've been funnier in several places, plus Eddie Izzard, who was the voice of Reepicheep in "Prince Caspian" was replaced by Simon Pegg in this one. Though I love Simon Pegg, Eddie did a much better job, and I went into the theater thinking that I was going to hear his voice again. And plus, King Peter is hot, so I was sad that he wasn't in more of the film. Because yes, I'm shallow like that.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

"Black Swan" - in theaters

Holy balls, this movie was insane.

And really, that's all I have to say about this film. I wasn't too thrilled about seeing it in the first place as I'm always a little wary of psychologically dark films, afraid that I just might not "get" it. Plus, it's the type of movie that gives me weird dreams, which I am keen to avoid.

That being said, this movie was still worth watching, if only to see Natalie Portman in her soon to be Oscar winning role. It is twisty, dark, and scary, as Natalie's character, Nina, slowly succumbs to her paranoia as the stress from her new starring role starts to get to her. At the beginning of the film, it is easy to see that Nina is a weak woman. She still lives with her domineering and controlling mother (played by a CREEPY Barbara Hershey), doesn't have many friends, and has been in the background of her profession for many years. Her break finally comes when her director (Vincent Cassell) casts her as the Swan Queen in a new production of "Swan Lake".

And thus begins Nina's descent into madness.

To be honest, I can't really give a good description of the film's plot, mostly because that'll give a lot of the movie away and I don't want to spoil anything for those who haven't seen it.

I will say that the performances are fantastic. Again, Natalie will win the Oscar, because of both her physical transformation and the depths of the psychological damage she portrays. Not to mention that pretty much every cast member touches her crotch, and when it's touched that much in a movie, an Oscar is pretty much guaranteed. Mila Kunis, who plays a rival ballerina, is the one touch of normalcy to the film. She represents the level of mental health that Portman should have had.

Winona Ryder is the ballerina that Portman ousts when she gets the lead role, and she turns to booze to deal with her problems. There is an especially scary scene that involves her in a hospital room, and I think Winona really had some fun with this role.

On the CWeave scale, I give this an 8.5. I like a little humor in my films, and this was devoid of any. I'm glad that I saw that, but I really have no desire or need to see it again.

Monday, January 31, 2011

"The Fighter" - in theaters

I spent a lot of time giggling with my sister during this movie, because the sisters of Irish Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) are some of the most ridiculous creatures on Earth, both in physicality and behavior. Horrible, I know, but movies are supposed to be entertaining though, no?

"The Fighter" revolves around Micky trying to make it into the boxing world. He's had some fights in the past that haven't exactly been to his advantage, mostly because his mother, Alice (Melissa Leo) and his brother Dicky (Christian Bale), have been persuading him to fight for the money, even if it meant getting his ass kicked.

The film is really about the relationship between Micky and Dicky, as Dicky tries to relive his glory days through Micky. He too was a boxer, but then he became good friends with crack, and everything went down the toilet. Alice is oblivious to Dicky's drug problem, and only sees what's good about him. In the process, she ends up overlooking the fact that she's also Micky's mother.

Amy Adams is so bad ass as Charlene, Micky's girlfriend in the film. She's a bartender who lost her high-jumping college scholarship because she partied too hard. What's great about her is that she doesn't take any crap from anyone, including Alice and all 4 million of Micky's sisters. She is also fully in Micky's corner, which is something that Micky's depends on. In fact, Micky has quite a few people who are truly looking out for his best interests, even when his mother and brother are not. The viewer is able to see how Micky was able to carve out a sort of surrogate family for himself when he couldn't depend on his own.

The performances in this movie are spectacular. Mark Wahlberg is all stoic and hard working as Micky in contrast to Dicky's drug-induced, narcissistic mania. Christian Bale is winning every award out there for this role, and it's well deserved. He is trans-formative in the role and it's great to see those award-givers taking notice. The other standout is Melissa Leo as the matriarch of the Ward clan, who tries hard to be there for everyone, but in the end, is really there for no one.

So on the CWeave scale, I give this movie a 9. Great performances, crazy family drama, and some good boxing all combine for an entertaining night at the cinema.

Monday, January 10, 2011

"The Tourist" - in theaters

I saw a lot of movies while I was home in Michigan over the holiday break, so you'll see several posts in the next few days as I get caught up.

Let me start off by saying how I don't understand how this movie got so many Golden Globe nominations. I mean, seriously Hollywood Foreign Press? Did Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp sleep with ALL of you to score those nods? I'm just wondering.

While I was sitting through "The Tourist", I wasn't always entirely sure what was going on. The story revolves around Elise (Jolie), an apparent socialite who is being watched by the authorities because of her involvement with a now notorious thief and tax evader whose name I can't remember. But this guy, let's call him Tom, sends her a note with instructions to get on a train and pick out someone who has his build and befriend him. The point of this is to make the authorities believe that this "tourist" is really the Tom, and hence Elise and Tom can go off while the tourist pays the price. The tourist that is picked is Frank Tupelo (Johnny Depp), a math teacher from the Midwest on holiday in Italy.

The film goes on from there with Jolie semi-seducing Johnny Depp so that he checks into a hotel with her, escorts her around town, blah blah blah. And of course, not only are the authorities searching for Tom, but also so is the criminal that he stole from. All in all, there are a lot of people trying to shoot him.

I think this film tried to be too many different things, and in the end, it didn't work out. It tried to be romantic, but let's face it: seeing Johnny Depp in a "normal" role was just too weird. Not to mention that there wasn't a ton of chemistry between the two leads. It tried to be an action movie, but it didn't allow Angelina Jolie to kick ass. I was sitting there the whole time thinking, "When is she going to drop kick that guy across the room?" It also tried to be a buddy action flick, which failed miserably. Again, if Depp had a sword in his hand, it might have been a different story.

My favorite character was played by Paul Bettany, who was the Interpol officer assigned to find the illusive Tom, and he took his job seriously to the point of obsession. I always enjoy Paul Bettany and think that he gets the short end of the stick at times. Remember how he was Chaucer in "A Knight's Tale"? Quality shit.

So on the CWeave scale, I give this movie a 5. Maybe it'll improve on second viewing, but I really don't intend to find out. So if you see this movie, see it for Paul if nothing else. Because Johnny Depp as normal doesn't really work.