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.