Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Twilight Saga: New Moon

Title: The Twilight Saga: New Moon
Directed by: Chris Weitz
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Ashley Greene, Michael Sheen, Dakota Fanning, Nikki Reed
Genres: Adaptation, Romance, Sequel
Running Time: 2 hours. 10 minutes
Release Date: November 20th, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Review: I've been holding off a few days to write this review (not somehting I normally do), in order to let the film sink in a little bit. And to recover from my up-all-night New Moon hang-over. Because I am definitely hung over. Holy crap! Apparently, I am getting a bit old for waiting in line for hours on end, just to see a midnight showing of a new movie. Not that I needed this morning's hang-over to tell me that. It was pretty clear last night, as I sat there in line, like an idiot, among the gazillion tweens & teens, all of us dressed for the event (I know, I am so ashamed!), our squeals of delightful anticipation growing louder and louder as the clock ticked closer to 12.01 am.

But yes, since I've already confessed, there I was, and it was fantastic! There is nothing quite like seeing a brand new installment of a popular series with a bunch of screaming fans, all decked out in fan boy paraphernalia. There were squeals of delight, running commentary, ooohs & aaaahs, applauds, and laughter. Some people even cried. Of course, if you are not fanboy material, I would advice staying away from the midnight showings, since I can imagine it gets incredibly tedious otherwise. It is definitely one of those "If You Can't Join Them, Avoid Them" cases, hence the absence of the husband. He got enough of screaming fans at the HP midnight extravaganza a few months ago.

So, now to the film. We all know that the Twilight book series is one of my guilty pleasures, but I HATED the first film adaptation. Hated it. Of course I had high hopes that take 2 would produce a much better film, as well as a faithful story adaptation. And 'New Moon' delivered. It is no action film, and I've heard of plenty of non-fanboys who have been less than impressed by the film, but for fans, I do think it is a win. If you are a Twi-hater, obviously avoid this movie. But if you are a Twi-lover, or even a Twi-read-it-and-kinda-like-it, I would definitely see this one in the theater (and then a gazillion times on DVD. Just kidding... kind of....).

Grade: 8

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Blind Side

Title: The Blind Side
Directed by: John Lee Hancock
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw, Quinton Aaron, Lily Collins, Ray McKinnon
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Adaptation, Biopic, Sports
Running Time: 2 hours
Release Date: November 20th, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Review: The Hollywoodized version of a pretty remarkable true story, complete will feel-good sensations that stays around for quite a while after the credits roll. I will admit, I am kind of a sucker for the occasional feel-good sports movie, but it is nothing I go completely ga-ga for. I did, however, see several movies back-to-back today, and this one still managed to stay in my mind afterward. Definitely one I will recommend.

Grade: 8.5

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Law Abiding Citizen

Title: Law Abiding Citizen
Directed by: F. Gary Gray
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Gerard Butler, Colm Meaney, Bruce McGill, Leslie Bibb
Genres: Thriller
Running Time: 2 hour. 2 minutes
Release Date: October 16th, 2009
MPAA Rating: R

Review: I have some quick advice for you, in case you were planning on seeing 'Law Abiding Citizen', not just in the theaters, but ever in your life:
Do not do it. Seriously.

I spent the 2 hours scoffing at the surprisingly appallingly poor acting, the cheap one-liner writing, the numerous and blatantly obvious inconsistencies, the insultingly predictable story line, the "super smart" characters acting like they have an collective IQ of 65, and the all-encompassing FAIL that was the execution of this, although not very original, but somewhat decent idea. Because on paper, this should not be this bad of a film: Jamie Foxx & Gerard Butler, together in a "smart aciton/revenge flick" - sound entertaining, huh? Well, it was not. It reminded me somewhat of last years expectation blow-out 'Righteous Kill', and 'Law Abiding Citizen' will surely follow in the same footsteps come award season. And seriously, both Mr. Foxx's dumb-looking "serious stare", as well as Mr. Butler's ridiculously overused "scowl into the distance" (both of which have kindly been included on the poster...) have both seen better days. Pitiful.

Then again, if you are like a lot of the people out there, who clearly are into really dumbed-down, crappy action flicks (there were plenty of people in the theater clapping in appreciation as the credits rolled), (just check out the yahoo users reviews- over 4000 people collectively gave this film an A-!!!!!!) then this movie is for you.

Grade: 3

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pirate Radio

Title: Pirate Radio
Directed by: Richard Curtis
Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Rhys Ifans, Nick Frost, Keneth Branagh
Genres: Foreign, Comedy
Running Time: 1 hour. 55 minutes
Release Date: November 13th, 2009
MPAA Rating: R

Review: Initially released in the UK as 'The Boat That Rocked', this version, slimmed down for the US short attention span palate leaves the story slightly choppy, but not annoyingly so. I am glad for the 20 minutes shave though, since it does lose it's tempo in a few spots. Being a big Philip Seymour Hoffman fan, and a huge Richard Curtis fan (4 Weddings and A Funeral! Bridget Jones!! Notting Hill!!! Love Actually!!!! - I did say huge fan... I meant HUGE FAN), I did walk into this one with some expectations, which is always unfortunate since it most often leads to disappointment. As it did here. I was thinking PSH + Curtis = AWESOME, and I had the expectations to go along with that equation, but it did fall a bit short.

But the disappointment was not overwhelming, and the film is still pretty good. Solid. It just failed to be a another Richard Curtis film to add to the Favorites-list. But, if you like British humor, charming characters, a big dose of cockups, and a typical Curtis-esque Happy Ending, it is definitely one to add to the Netflix Q.

Grade: 7

Friday, November 6, 2009

Saturday Movie Review - Precious

Title: Precious
Directed by: Lee Daniels
Starring: Mo'Nique, Paul Patton, Mariah Carey, Gabourey Sidibe, Sherri Shepherd
Genres: Drama, Adaptation
Running Time: 1 hour. 49 minutes
Release Date: November 6th, 2009
MPAA Rating: R
Review: The story of 'Precious' is a story of heartbreak, and if watching it does not break your heart, I do not know what will. 'Precious' is a powerful, to the point where I sometimes wanted to close my eyes just to take a break, but couldn't. The story of endurance, abuse, breathtaking injustice and sadness will draw you in and not let go. The performances in this film are so good that you forget that you are not a fly on the wall watching the life of a girl called Precious in all its heart wrenching truth, but just a movie goer watching actors at their craft. And that, my friends, are just what movies are about. Definitely one of the year's Must-See films, and one we will see more of come awards season.

Grade: 8