Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Title: The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Directed by: David Slade
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Ashley Green, Jackson Rathbone, Nikki Reed, Kellan Lutz, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Dakota Fanning,
Genres: Drama, Romance, Adaptation, Sequel,
Running Time: 2 hours. 4 minutes
Release Date: June 30th, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Review: Once again I thought I would find myself in an unbearable crowd of screaming Twi-hards for the midnight premiere of 'Eclipse', but thankfully, for the 3rd installment of the Twilight Saga my local movie theater have started with "VIP" movie watching passes, which effectively removed the entire pain-in-the-ass aspect of catching that very first, frantic, middle-of-the-night screening (Thanks again, F!). To make the deal even sweeter, they also screened the previous two installments of the saga before the midnight premier. This whole "VIP" passes might be the best improvement to movies since popcorn!

So what about the movie?!? Anticipation has been high for this one, and both Twi-hards & Twi-haters has dubbed it with record-breaking labels. So, where did it fall? Was it "The Best Twilight So Far"? Or was it "The Worst Movie EVER"? For me, it was the best Twilight movie in the series so far, but that does not say much, since its predecessors were not exactly Oscar-worthy.

Some positives: 'Eclipse' is funnier than its prequels, thanks to the addition of witty, self depreciating quips to the dialogue. It is nice to see that these particular Twi-creators do not take themselves too seriously. Jacob and Charlie, in particular, were quite snarky. Also, the increased character development of some of the saga's supporting roles adds a lot of interest to the story. Another addition, that previously has been completely ignored, is the actual dialogues from the book. Both in 'Twilight' & 'New Moon' you see a lot of soundless lips moving while music plays, instead of hearing the actual conversations between the characters. This is something that has annoyed me throughout the film-series, since a lot of these conversations were very important for the story development, and outlined in great detail in the books. Finally the audience actually get to hear these conversations, instead of just seeing them play out silently.

Some of the negatives: One of the biggest negatives of 'Eclipse' is the lack of a decent soundtrack, which has been one of the notable strengths of the franchise in the past. 'Twilight' started things off decently, and the use of music in 'New Moon' defined the whole film. In 'Eclipse', however, the music is a non-participant, and that really subtracted significantly from the over all experience. Another pet-peeve were the wolves. While the face-colorings have improved in this installment, the general appearance and movement of the wolves has decreased, and their awkward lopes bugged me throughout the film. Then there is the [huge] issue of the creative eye of director David Slade; I can't say that I am a fan of the look that he choose for the film, and compared to 'New Moon' we're definitely moving backwards. The same goes for Slade's territory-marking efforts of altering previously set details, in his efforts to make the story his own.

Overall, though, I was generally pleased with the film. The alterations to the storyline were generally to improve the film-experience, and most of them worked well. All in all, 'Eclipse' doesn't disappoint, and it should do extremely well at the box office.

Grade: 8.5

Friday, June 25, 2010

Grown Ups

Title: Grown Ups
Directed by: Dennis Dugan
Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Rob Schneider, Salma Hayek, Maria Bello, Maya Rudolph
Genres: Comedy
Running Time: 1 hour. 42 minutes
Release Date: June 25th, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Review: Those who are comedically compatible with Adam Sandler may love this film. That is not me, however, and I certainly did not love 'Grown Ups'. It has some funny moments, some even hilarious, but mostly they are overshadowed by the tired Sandler-esque jokes, the mere presence of Rob Schneider, and the over-used gross-out factor. I walked into this one knowing it would not be my flavor of funny, and I was right. That doesn't mean people who are into this type of comedy won't like it.

On a side note; I was kind of delighted to recognize the lake house in this flick as the very same lake house that was used in 'Dan in Real Life'.

Grade: 4.5

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Knight and Day

Title: Knight and Day
Directed by: James Mangold
Starring: Tom Cruize, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard, Jordi Molla (II), Viola Davis
Genres: Action/Adventure, Romance
Running Time: 1 hour. 50 minutes
Release Date: June 23rd, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG - 13

Review: 'Knight and Day' is precisely what you would expect form a popcorn summer blockbuster starring Tom Cruise; funny, charming, dumb, and full of break-neck-speed action. Adding Cameron Diaz to the mix brings some verging-on-age-inappropriate flirty smiles and skimpy outfits (Cameron is really getting old, and starting to look it!). The end result is perfect for some light entertainment, if you are into that sort of mindless bubble-gum enjoyment. It is not normally my cup of tea, but since it came with AC in the scorching summer heat, it was definitely worth the ticket price.

This is the seconds release this summer with a similar concept, 'Killers' being the first. These movies are different enough that if they weren't released within weeks of each other, they probably would have been able to avoid being compared. As it is, however, I cannot help but to measure the two against each other. I would say 'Knight and Day' outdoes 'Killers' in every single way, and thus, it scores half a point higher than the previous.


Friday, June 11, 2010

The A-Team

Title: The A-Team
Directed by: Joe Carnahan
Starring: Corey Burton, Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson, Jessica Biel
Genres: Action/Adventure, Comedy,
Running Time: 1 hour. X minutes
Release Date: June 11th, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Review: I am glad the 'A-Team' TV show was before my time, because I saw how disappointed the husband was with film, which for him, was a remake of a beloved childhood series. For me it was just another dumb, sometimes entertaining, frequently boring, action flick. The story line is thin, predictable, and clearly just a means to fire off one-liners and blowing stuff up. A waste of time.

Grade: 3

Friday, June 4, 2010

Get Him To The Greek

Title: Get Him To The Greek
Directed by: Nicholas Stoller
Starring: Jonah Hill, Russel Brand, Elisabeth Moss, Sean 'Diddy' Combs, Rose Byrne
Genres: Comedy
Running Time: 1 hour. 49 minutes
Release Date: June 4th, 2010
MPAA Rating: R

Review: If you saw this in a theater in my local area on opening day, and you were unfortunate enough to have The Woman with the Loudest Laugh Known to Man (me) in your theater, I do apologize, but I could not help myself; 'Get Him To The Greek' is almost too funny to see in public! I spent the entire movie either tigh-slapping-laughing, wheezing from laughter-related-oxygen-deficiency or having a cramp in both my cheeks & abs from laughing too hard for too long - all of which were extremely loud and surely obnoxious.

'Greek' is a home-run reminiscent of 'Pineapple Express' and 'The Hangover', and if you enjoyed either of those (or their equals) you will enjoy this one. The entire cast is perfect and hilarious, and Sean 'Diddy' Combs can surprisingly keep up with the rest of them. The party scene with the adrenaline shot is particularly memorable. 'The Greek' is good enough for DVD purchase - one I predict will be used quite a bit. This one will definitely make the Best of the Year list. Highly recommended to those that are comedically compatible.

Grade: 8.5


Title: Killers
Directed by: Robert Liketic
Starring: Ashton Kutcher, Katherine Heigl, Tom Selleck, Catherine O'Hara, Katheryn Winnick
Genres: Action/Adventure, Thriller
Running Time: 1 hour. 40 minutes
Release Date: June 4th, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Review: 'Killers' is pretty entertaining for being a pretty typical Rom-Com (which is really what it should be categorized as). Both leads are suitable for this kind of work. The flick is action-packed, predictable, cutesy, and slightly funny on occasion - typical fare of the "American date movie" type. If that is what you are looking for, it shouldn't disappoint.

Grade: 6