Monday, March 28, 2011

Blog-a-thon 6

Love and Other Drugs (2010) based on a book 'Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman' Starring Jake Gyllenhal, Anne Hathaway, Oliver Platt, Hank Azaria, Judy Greer, & Jill Clayburgh. Plot: Maggie (Hathaway) is a free spirit who won't let anyone - or anything - tie her down. But she meets her match in Jamie (Gyllenhaal), whose relentless and nearly infallible charm serve him well with the ladies and in the cutthroat world of pharmaceutical sales. Maggie and Jamie's evolving relationship takes them both by surprise. Review: Very well acted romance with a lot of chemistry between the costars, but never delves deep enough into their relationship. Too many montages (I counted 3) that should've been replaced with actual scenes and dialogue. Watch with: Sweet November. Rating: "Stamped Out but worth seeing" Watch it once for Anne Hathaway's performance than never watch it again.

The Next 3 Days (2010) Starring: Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks, Olivia Wilde, Daniel Stern, Brian Dennehy, Liam Neeson, Jonathan Tucker, Trudie Styler. Plot: Lara Brennan (Banks) is arrested for murder. When the strain of being separated from her family gets to her, her husband John (Crowe) decides to break her out. Review: A bit slow in parts but it when it hit hard, it hit very hard. Amazing car accident scene towards the end. Banks was amazing. Rating: Stamped out but worth watching." Watch with "Anything for Her"

The Switch (2010) Starring: Jason Bateman, Jennifer Aniston, Jeff Goldblum, Juliette Lewis, & Patrick Wilson. Plot: An unmarried 40-year-old woman turns to a turkey baster in order to become pregnant. Seven years later, she reunites with her best friend, who has been living with a secret: he replaced her preferred sperm sample with his own. Review: Sweet & funny. This movie was nothing new in terms of storytelling, but that little kid was hilarious. Rating: "Stamped Out but worth seeing". Watch with: Baby Mama.

Cannes Man (Con Man) (1996) Starring: John Malkovich, Ann Cusack, Julian Lennon, Dennis Hopper, Kevin Pollak,Benicio Del Toro, Treat Williams, Jon Cryer, Chris Penn, Peter Gallagher, Frank Whaley, Lara Flynn Boyle, & Johnny Depp Plot: Film producer Sy Lerner makes a bet with a fellow film executive that he can turn any nobody into a star at the Cannes Film Festival. A New York cab driver who is visiting the festival is chosen as the test subject to settle the bet and Sy uses his skills of hype and manipulation to try and turn the cab driver named Frank into the talk of the town. Review: I liked the premise, but the low budget really hurt this film. It was poorly edited, directed, written, and acted. What a waste of time. Boring. Rating: "I'd rather stab a pen in my eye than ever watch this again." Watch instead: Bowfinger & Adaptation

The Other Guys (2010) Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Dwayne Johnson, Eva Mendes, Michael Keaton, Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Steve Coogan, Bobby Cannavale, Natalie Zea, Lindsay Sloane, Brooke Shields, Rosie Perez, Anne Heche, & Ice-T. Plot: Two mismatched New York City detectives seize an opportunity to step up like the city's top cops whom they idolize -- only things don't quite go as planned. Review: Very funny buddy cop movie. It felt like a fresh take on an old formula. Rating: Noteworthy. Watch with: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang & Rush Hour

You Again (2010) Starring: Kristen Bell, Jamie Lee Curtis, Sigourney Weaver, Odette Annable, Victor Garber, Betty White, Kristin Chenoweth, Christine Lakin, Meagan Holder, Patrick Duffy, Jenna Leigh Green, Dwayne Johnson, & Cloris Leachman. Plot: When a young woman realizes her brother is about to marry the girl who bullied her in high school, she sets out to expose the fiancée's true colors. Review: A few funny cameo and bit parts, but a painful movie other than that. Bell tries but she can't save this movie. I felt so bad for her character. The popular girl played by Annable, who we're supposed to believe has become a better person, hasn't changed at all and really can't act (the comedic kitchen scene in the wedding dress the exception). The subplot with the mom & aunt is contrived and unnecessary. The grandma subplot, however, looks like it'd make a hilarious movie. Let's make that and forget about this one. Rating: "Rather stab a pen in my eye..." Watch instead: My Best Friends Wedding.

Going the Distance (2010) Starring: Drew Barrymore, Justin Long, Jason Sudeikis, Christina Applegate, Ron Livingston, Jim Gaffigan, Kelli Garner, & Leighton Meester. Plot: A romantic comedy centered on a guy and a gal who try to keep their love alive as they shuttle back and forth between New York and San Francisco to see one another. Review: Cute date night movie that I don't think I would've enjoyed as much had it not been for the cuddle time with my hubby. A few funny scenes with the side characters and a generally realistic look at relationships, but it didn't wow me or really give the 2 leads much to do. Rating: "Stamped out so why bother." Watch instead: (500) Days of Summer.

Summer Catch (2001) Starring: Freddie Prinze Jr., Jessica Biel, Fred Ward, Matthew Lillard, Brian Dennehy, Jason Gedrick, Brittany Murphy, Marc Blucas, Wilmer Valderrama, Gabriel Mann, & Beverly D'Angelo Plot: A rich girl whose family summers on Cape Cod has a romance with a local poor boy who hopes to become a major league baseball player. Review: Baseball movie gets bogged down by romance subplot. No chemistry between Prinze Jr & Biel. Biel surprisingly doesn't act well in this movie. What I liked: Mann manages to deliver the best monologue in the film & Blucas's taste in women. Rating: "Stamped out so why bother." Watch instead: For Love of the Game.

I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell (2009) Starring: Jesse Bradford, Matt Czuchry, Keri Lynn Pratt, & Traci Lords Plot: A guy tries to patch things up with his soon-to-be-married pal after botching things up at his bachelor party. Based on Tucker Max's best-seller. Review: A very funny movie with a lot of promise. Some of the best dialogue in a comedy in a while & a very likable lead. This movie only suffers from an ending that wraps up too quickly and doesn't seem sincere. Still enjoyable for one watch. Rating: "Stamped out but worth watching." Watch with: The Hangover & Wedding Crashers

Conviction (2010) Starring: Hilary Swank, Sam Rockwell, Minnie Driver, Melissa Leo, Bailee Madison, Clea DuVall, Juliette Lewis, & Peter Gallagher. Plot: A working mother puts herself through law school in an effort to represent her brother, who has been wrongfully convicted of murder. Review: An intriguing true story that I wanted to be moved by but wasn't given the chance. The momentum of the film was hurt by choppy editing. I wanted to see a courtroom drama/mystery. I didn't really get either. The mystery was never solved and she was never shown performing in a courtroom. Seems like they could have picked a more interesting true story to make into a movie. Swank, Rockwell, & Lewis were amazing. This film didn't do them justice. Rating: "Kind of like an inkblot test-Might be good to some, but I just didn't see it." Watch instead: The Hurricane.

Country Strong

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Blog-a-thon Part 5

The Book of Eli (2010) Starring Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, Jennifer Beals, Michael Gambon, Tom Waits, & Malcolm McDowell Plot: A post-apocalyptic tale, in which a lone man fights his way across America in order to protect a sacred book that holds the secrets to saving humankind. A biblical tale that didn't even blip on my cheesy meter. Most Christian films tend to be cheesy and not well-acted, but this movie proved that moral Christian films can also be well-produced and entertaining. Rating "Noteworthy"

Machete (2010) Starring: Danny Trejo, Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba, Steven Seagal, Michelle Rodriguez, Jeff Fahey, Cheech Marin, Don Johnson, & Lindsay Lohan Plot: After being betrayed by the organization who hired him, an ex-Federale launches a brutal rampage of revenge against his former boss. Purposely over the top homage to 70's exploitation films, but I still hated it. I laughed the whole movie and not for the right reasons. Watch The Killer Inside Me instead, also an exploitation film, that still manages to take itself seriously. Rating-"Kinda Like An Inkblot Test-Might be good to some, but I just didn't see it."-maybe it's might be good for hard-core exploitation fans.

Catfish (2010) Plot: In late 2007, filmmakers Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost sensed a story unfolding as they began to film the life of Ariel's brother, Nev. They had no idea that their project would lead to the most exhilarating and unsettling months of their lives. Intriquing and unsettling. Very unique documentary that left me kind of depressed by the end. Rating: "Noteworthy"- though I'll never watch it again.

Case 39 (2009) Starring Renée Zellweger, Jodelle Ferland, Ian McShane, Bradley Cooper, & Callum Keith Rennie. Plot: A social worker (Zellweger) fights to save a girl from her abusive parents, only to discover that the situation is more dangerous than she ever expected. More of the same Japanese horror remake. Zellwegger's performance was uneven & Cooper unnecessary, but that little girl creeped the hell outta me and that intro was fantastic. Rating: "Stamped Out so why bother?"

Secretariat (2010) Starring Diane Lane, John Malkovich, Dylan Walsh, Margo Martindale, Nelsan Ellis, James Cromwell, Scott Glenn, & Dylan Baker. Plot: Penny Chenery Tweedy and colleagues guide her long-shot but precocious stallion to set, in 1973, the unbeaten record for winning the Triple Crown. Underdog wins against the odds inspirational film that never had a sense of tension in the entire film. Rating: "Stamped Out so why bother?"

Takers (2010) Starring Chris Brown, Hayden Christensen, Matt Dillon, Idris Elba, Steve Harris, T.I., Jay Hernandez, Zoe Saldana, Johnathon Schaech, Paul Walker, & Marianne Jean-Baptiste Plot: A group of bank robbers find their multi-million dollar plan interrupted by a hard-boiled detective. Convoluted heist film that used all of its budget on the cast and didn't use it on anything else. Very low production value and poor editing. Rating: "Rather Stab A Pen In My Eye than ever watch this movie again"

Easy A (2010) Starring Emma Stone, Penn Badgley, Amanda Bynes, Dan Byrd, Thomas Haden Church, Patricia Clarkson, Cam Gigandet, Lisa Kudrow, Malcolm McDowell, Alyson Michalka, Stanley Tucci, Fred Armisen, & Lalaine Plot: A clean-cut high school student relies on the school's rumor mill to advance her social and financial standing. Obvious rip-off of just about every 80's Hughes movie I've seen. No originality and an unlikeable lead character. Rating: "Rather Stab A Pen In My Eye than ever watch this movie again"

It's Kind of a Funny Story (2010) Starring Keir Gilchrist, Emma Roberts, Lauren Graham, Jim Gaffigan, Zach Galifianakis, Zoë Kravitz, Jeremy Davies, & Viola Davis Plot: A clinically depressed teenager gets a new start after he checks himself into an adult psychiatric ward. Quirky and sweet dramedy that I wished would've followed Galifinakis's character more. Rating: "Stamped Out but worth seeing"

Monsters (2010) Starring Scoot McNairy Plot: Six years after Earth has suffered an alien invasion a cynical journalist agrees to escort a shaken American tourist through an infected zone in Mexico to the safety of the US border. Unusual indie film that knew where to put its money. Fantastic visuals, great chemistry between the leads, and very well-written. Rating: "Noteworthy"

Due Date (2010) Starring Robert Downey Jr., Zach Galifianakis, Michelle Monaghan, Jamie Foxx, Juliette Lewis, Danny McBride, Jon Cryer, & Charlie Sheen Plot: High-strung father-to-be Peter Highman is forced to hitch a ride with aspiring actor Ethan Tremblay on a road trip in order to make it to his child's birth on time. Funny and at times annoying road trip movie that made me laugh every second at Galifinakis but cringe at Downey Jr. who played an unlikeable jerk. Rating: "Stamped Out but worth seeing"-still watch it for Zach.

The Special Relationship (2010) (TV) 5 Emmy Nominations. Starring Michael Sheen, Dennis Quaid, & Hope Davis. Plot: A dramatization that traces former U.K. prime minister Tony Blair's relationships with Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Intriguing to watch and very well-acted though not terribly interesting. Rating: "Noteworthy"

Red (2010) Starring Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, James Remar, Brian Cox, & Richard Dreyfuss Plot: When his peaceful life is threatened by a high-tech assassin, former black-ops agent Frank Moses reassembles his old team in a last ditch effort to survive and uncover his assailants. Very funny. It was nice to see an older cast shine this way, especially Mirren who I could only hope to look like when I get her age. Rating: "Noteworthy".

Adaptation (2002) Won Oscar. Starring Nicolas Cage, Tilda Swinton, Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper, Judy Greer, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ron Livingston, Brian Cox, John Cusack, Catherine Keener, & John Malkovich Plot: A lovelorn screenwriter turns to his less talented twin brother for help when his efforts to adapt a non-fiction book go nowhere. A bit confusing, but poignant film about the creative process Rating: "Noteworthy"