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The Crown (2016)
Long Live The Crown
If you are looking for a fantastic historical drama about what it means to be a (British) royal, look no further than The Crown. But be warned: if you are looking for a series that gushes over the royal family, I implore you to look elsewhere, for this is not that show. Whilst being a royal looks glamorous on the outside, it is quite a different story behind the glitz. I will just say this: prior to watching The Crown, I was a supporter of the British monarchy; now, not so much.
Like any family, the British royals have weathered trials and tribulations, which is exactly what is at the heart of The Crown. The actors perform the stories stunningly, as do the sets, costumes, etc. Her Majesty herself, Claire Foy, embodies the role perfectly, though is a bit subdued compared to most of the other characters. Jared Harris is a joy to watch as King George VI. The real star of the show, however, is Matt Smith. He steals every scene he appears in and breathes life into an otherwise (but understandably) stuffy show.
The Crown would get 10 stars from me if not for two things: the first being that finale isn't as climactic and interesting as previous episodes; the second is the casting of Winston Churchill. John Lithgow puts in fine work here and a good accent to boot, but that does not negate the fact that he is an American and Churchill was most certainly NOT. Being as unnecessary as it is, this casting choice borders on unforgivable.
At the heart of The Crown is fascinating insight into what Queen Elizabeth II and the royal family were like as people behind closed doors (50+ years ago); it doesn't take long to realize that these people, despite their titles and lifestyles, are as human as any of us.
Texas to a "T"
I would like to start off by saying I didn't much care for Jack Black prior to Bernie. I am now a huge fan.
Being a resident of Texas, I was instantly intrigued by this movie. When I heard all of the positive chatter, I knew I had to give it a watch. No regrets whatsoever.
The cast and directing make for a fantastic combo. Black's performance as the title character, Bernie Tiede, is unquestionably deserving of recognition. Shirley MacLaine is wonderfully wicked and Matthew McConaughey is pure, unadulterated perfection in what little screen time he is given.
Richard Linklater captured Texas perfectly, particularly small-town Texas. One of the best bits of the movie is the different "states of Texas," which could not be more accurate. However, I only rated it as high as an 8 out of 10 because the pacing is not so hot and there really wasn't much of an effort to take the audience back to the 90s.
A must see for all Texans, especially those born and raised.
Phineas and Ferb Strike Again
Going into it, I figured this movie would be pretty decent, seeing as it's Phineas and Ferb. But alas, I was wrong. It was GREAT. 'Across the 2nd Dimension' stayed extremely true to the show. It has the same fun, wild, free spirit and takes you for one heck of a ride. You get to experience an entirely new dimension of the Phineas and Ferb world, one where Doofenshmirtz isn't so doofy. At first it seems cool, but the gang later realizes how grateful they are for their own dimension-and their platypus.
Spoil anything I will not, so give this one a watch. Trust me, you won't regret it. It will have been well worth your time.
A must see for die-hard fans and casual fans alike. A solid 10/10.
An Absolute Joke
This movie is so bad that it left me speechless when it was over. All I keep asking myself was WHY WHY WHY? Some films are so bad that all you can do is laugh. "A Fairly Odd Movie" is not one of them. I just stared in utter horror the entire way through. Everything about this movie was wrong: making it live action, Timmy's casting, the script...everything. How they got Jason Alexander to sign on I'll never know.
Most of all, this heaping pile of poop is a disgrace to "The Fairly Odd Parents".
"A Fairly Odd Movie" was just so unnecessary. The moron who green-lighted it needs to be fired. Nickelodeon should be ashamed.
Small Soldiers (1998)
A Solid Answer to Disney/Pixar's Toy Story
Let's be honest, the concept of Small Soldiers(toys coming to life) came from Toy Story. However, DreamWorks came up with a MUCH different plot and the result is a great-and grossly underrated-family movie/action flick with top notch CGI.
I'm sure many say DreamWorks is a poor man's Disney/Pixar, and I agree, but this one movie in which DreamWorks shines. One might argue that the Commandos are glorified G.I. Joes, but I will gladly look past that because, c'mon, they're awesome.
Small Soldiers is a fine piece of entertainment and some of DreamWorks' best work to boot. I am begging you, don't pass it up. You won't regret giving it your time.
Mortal Kombat (1995)
An Immortal Classic
Mortal Kombat is, in a word, awesome. It is one of the few video game adaptations that doesn't suck so bad you want to cry. No, it gets the job done-the right way. The fight scenes are beautifully choreographed by none other than Liu Kang himself-Robin Shou. It is also very well cast and decently acted. Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa is fantastic as Shang Tsung, the designated 'bad guy' of the Mortal Kombat world.
There's not much more I can say about this movie except that it will always be a classic in my eyes. Maybe the effects are a tad cheesy, but who cares? That just makes it all the more fun. I urge all Mortal Kombat fans to give this movie a chance-I promise, you won't regret it. The constant flow of action will keep you immersed the entire time. This one will not disappoint.
Water for Elephants (2011)
One Spectacular Show
Readers, fear not. This is one adaption that lives up to the book.
Water for Elephants is pure beauty. Despite the fact that it takes place during the Depression, it makes you almost wish you lived during the '30s.
One reason is the costumes. They are wonderfully done, as well as the makeup. Another is the eye candy. No, I'm not talking about Robert Pattinson(though he looks as gorgeous as ever). I'm talking about the breathtaking cinematography, courtesy of Rodrigo Prieto.
While the leads(Robert Pattinson, Reese Witherspoon, Christoph Waltz) all turn in GREAT performances, the real star here is Tai the elephant. She plays Rosie, the newest addition to The Benzini Bros. Most Spectacular Show on Earth, who is brought in in hopes of taking The Benzini Bros. circus to a new level(particularly to the level of Ringling Bros.).
As per usual, there are quite a few changes that may or may not irritate the readers. It all depends on the person. One that I felt was an improvement upon the book, however, was the combining of August and Uncle Al. I honestly didn't miss Al one bit.
Water for Elephants is a beautiful, enchanting, mesmerizing must-see.
Embrace the Suck
Nine months I have waited for this movie. Nine whole months. Boy, was it worth it.
Charming, witty, and everything you could want in a teen flick, "Beastly" modernizes an age old tale, and it does it right. Neil Patrick Harris steals every scene he's in as Kyle's blind tutor Will, and Mary-Kate Olsen shines as Kendra the witch. The film's leads, Alex Pettyfer and Vanessa Hudgens, lack in neither chemistry nor the acting department. While Vanessa Hudgens is clearly the weak link of the bunch, even her performance could have been much worse.
The strange thing about Alex Pettyfer is that he always comes off as so sweet and sincere in his movies, but in real life he seems a tad full of himself. In all honesty, it saddens me. I'd be lying if I said I didn't wish he was like the characters he plays. That's actors for you, I guess.
"Beastly" is utterly beautiful. In the beginning, Kyle is a shallow, egotistical jerk. But when he's served a piping hot slice of humble pie, compliments of Kendra, he becomes Hunter, the guy he he should have been all along. Perhaps one of the best parts of the movie was watching him try to woo Lindy. When his attempts to buy Lindy's love fail, Hunter stomps his feet and whines like a child. It's so adorable that you can't help but smile.
With that said, there ARE some predicaments from which "Beastly" suffers. If you liked the book, you'll probably be disappointed to know that the library was ultimately traded in for the greenhouse. My heart nearly broke in half at this realization. However, I eventually got over that, as there is an even bigger problem: the ending. Simply put, the book's ending is 10 million times better. The ending in the movie is not nearly as powerful, and, at the end of the day, lackluster.
Aside from some slightly irritating name changes(i.e. Kingsbury to Kingson, Adrian to Hunter, Magda to Zola), the only other issues I had with the film were Kendra's role being downsized and the omission of the magic mirror. As for the re-shoots, you obviously couldn't see the difference in Alex's appearance when he was in full prosthetics, but his physical maturation was definitely noticeable at the end.
Don't let the name deceive you, "Beastly" is anything but.
A Show Worth Cheering About
As of late, Vampire Diaries is the highest rated show on the CW, averaging 3-4 million viewers each episode. But me? I'd rather watch a show about competitive cheerleading ANY DAY.
I have been itching for a TV series about cheerleading ever since I saw Bring It On, and as a result I had high hopes for Hellcats.
Said hopes were pretty much blown out of the water.
Hellcats is not only quite well written, but well acted to boot. Many criticize Aly Michalka's acting, but I feel that she holds her own along side the other actors.
However, the real star to keep an eye out for is the lovely Heather Hemmons. Hemmons adds real depth to the role of Alice Verdura. Every week we find another layer to peel away, and another reason to love both Heather and her character.
The entire cast is gorgeous, and the gentlemen are no exception. Jeff Hephner, Robbie Jones, Matt Barr, Ryan Kennedy, (and did I say Jeff Hephner?) all very nice eye candy.
Everything about Hellcats works, and that's part of what makes it so great.
Shows like this just don't come around every day.
The Social Network (2010)
The best film I have ever seen.
Let me begin this review by saying, this film is NOT about Facebook. No, this film is about one Mark Zuckerberg and his tumultuous journey to success in becoming the youngest billionaire in the world.
Firstly, the performances. The entire cast was phenomenal. Each and every actor gave it their all, and not one of them came up short. Even Justin Timberlake gave a very strong performance. Brenda Song, though she didn't have a large role, was surprisingly solid as well. There is a lot of Oscar Buzz surrounding these young actors, and I truly hope both Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield receive nominations.
Next, the writing. Aaron Sorkin's screenplay is nothing short of ingenious. He should win an Oscar for conceiving the words 'Seanathon' and 'Winklevai' alone.
Let's not forget the score. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross composed a score that is beyond words. These two gentlement deserve nothing less than an Oscar.
A cinematic masterpiece, 'The Social Network' defines our generation and deserves every award it can get.