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Dog with a Blog (2012)
Dog With A Blog stumbles onto Disney Channel as yet ANOTHER drab, unoriginal, and lifeless Disney Sitcom of the 2010+s. The show centers around a blended family and their dog. (Stan. Even the name irritates me, but that's beside the point.) Surprise surprise: The dog talks.. Oh. & Only the kids can hear him. *Yawn* The parents, as in most Disney shows, are both clueless. They also have ZERO chemistry together. The littlest child, although cute, is slightly too old for her part of the show, considering they're using her as the annoying kid sister who pops out here and there just to be "cute." She'll quickly outgrow that role, much like the girl in Life With Derek. The oldest boy is the stupid one, because there always has to be a stupid kid in the family on every single new Disney show. The middle daughter is the smart/uptight/rule follower. Both older kids, although they DO have talent and could make it in the Disney industry, need some serious acting lessons. (And some GOOD writing content wouldn't hurt either!) Both are extremely over dramatic and struggle with comedic timing. It's just not natural and it is painful to watch every over-exaggerated line, hand motion, & facial expression. The entire cast is altogether very awkward to watch as a whole. They are all still very rigid around each other and don't seem like a family AT ALL. Nothing like the Good Luck Charlie family, which is sadly, the only good show left on Disney.
Disney used to be able to produce watchable, good family friendly shows. Not so much anymore! They need some new ideas to bring the channel back to its roots. Some people complain that "everyone bashing on these new shows are just adults who don't understand kid shows!!" Not true. Walt Disney himself always said, "Adults are just kids grown up." If you aim only at kids, you won't be successful. Just look at HIS amazing work. Kids and adults alike are captivated by it. Not this crap. All in all, some kids might enjoy this show. It IS more kid appropriate than Shake It Up, I will give it that. It's been renewed for season 2, because, well, Disney is obviously struggling with creativity right now. Once they come up with a new show premise, this one will be canceled.
The Help (2011)
This Movie SHINES!
Based on the book by Kathryn Stockett, The Help takes place in the deep south (Mississippi) in the early 1960's. A well-educated, White college graduate, Eugenia aka Skeeter, (Emma Stone) comes home from college to find her beloved "maid, or nanny," Constantine is nowhere to be found. She comes home with a new perspective of her other high-class socialite friends and family, and begins to take notice of how "the help" or the African American maids are treated. After getting a job at the local newspaper, Skeeter decides to write an article that is in the point of view of "the help," that becomes a book and turns the whole town into a frenzy. Although Skeeter is technically the "main character," the maids (Led by Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer) are what make this movie magical. Their portrayals are intimate, and emotional. Their stories are touching, beautiful, sorrowful yet so profound. The picture painted of the South is not a pretty one, when integration was a new concept, and the lines drawn between whites and blacks were thick. When ignorance was at its peak, and hatred was hiding behind every corner. Still, somehow, these beautiful African American women had hope for a change & for a better future, and courage enough to make a difference.
The best movies, in my opinion, make you laugh, cry, and leave you with a morsel of wisdom or inspiration when the credits begin to roll. The characters are so real, so honest that you sincerely FEEL for them, and your heart aches or jumps for joy at their every sorrow of victory. When you leave the theater, you are left thinking about it long after it is over, and you are enriched.
The Help was one of those movies. The film was well organized. I was transfixed within the first scene, and it gripped me to the very end. The characters have so much depth and insight, that you sincerely love them, or in some cases, hate them. There were numerous times that I laughed out loud, and other tender moments that made me shed a tear. The actors did such a wonderful job in making their characters real, that their emotions were dripping from every scene. The wisdom the maids carried with them resonated in my mind, and I am still thinking about it. All in all, this is a wonderful film. I can't think of one thing to criticize about it. It is a movie needed even today, that everyone, regardless of race, deserves love, respect, and equality. Please, do yourself a favor and see this movie!
Mr. Popper's Penguins (2011)
Sweet, funny, & charming!
OK. I loved the classic book, Mr. Popper's Penguin's when I was a child. Just by seeing the previews, I knew that this movie would not go by the book much at all. With that mindset, I just sat back and enjoyed the story. I really liked this movie! It was great!
First of all, I can't believe people rating and reviewing this movie are upset that the humor was not rude and crude enough for them. This is a family/children's film, rated PG. When watching & reviewing, you should always keep this in mind. If you're an adult and can't stand a pg movie, you should probably stop watching them. Family & kids movies are typically light-hearted and predictable, and this one is right in with them. Its charm keeps it fresh though!
Quick Synopsis-- A divorced father and business man, Mr. Popper, has a stressed relationship with ex-wife and kids. We get a flashback of Popper's childhood and see that his own relationship with his father was strained, if even existent, as he was always away traveling to far away places. Now, 30ish years later, Popper finds out his father has passed away, and leaves him a "souvenir." A few days later, a penguin shows up, and the antics go from there! Throw in a 'bad guy' zoo keeper, and you pretty much get the whole movie. Popper learns the value of family through a group of cute little penguins, and that being a father is more important than a big, important job.
Yes, Jim Carrey was toned down... but it worked well. The movie was funny enough to keep an audience interested, but not so funny that it overshadowed the heart of the story. This is a pg rated Fox film, so poop and fart jokes are expected. Without those, this movie would have been even better and more charming. Despite that, I still loved the movie (and that's saying a LOT for me. I usually hate a movie as soon as poop/fart cheap jokes come out)
The penguins are absolutely adorable, even if computer animated in a lot of scenes. Carrey has awesome chemistry with the other characters in this film, and his charm shines right through the screen until you can't help but root for him! He's a true gem. I also loved seeing Angela Lansbury again. She was fantastic!
All in all, this is a sweet film that is great for both adults and children. It has the heart warming factor along with humor--- perfect combination!
Shake It Up! (2010)
Review from an adult's stand point
I'll start with something positive. The show does have some catchy songs and fun dance sequences. That's about all I can think of.
Now, as an education major, and someone who has spent the last 8 or so years teaching children, I have to say, this is a whole new "low" for Disney programming.
For starters, the show has 2 cute, fairly talented young girls for lead actresses, and the foundation for what could have been a great children's show. However, the characters are not likable, and it doesn't help that the writers do not give them much to work with. They are whiny, annoying, complaining, self-centered little girls. Plus, being a show for a wealthy company on a popular channel, I'm confused to why these teen actors were not given acting lessons. The acting is not good, my friends. It only grates on the nerves of the viewers (especially adults.) Next, this show does not have a real point to it. Yes, the actors sing and dance, and there's a loose plot... but that's about it. Most children's shows, especially on Disney have (or should have) a moral or lesson (underlying) for each episode. Miley in Hannah Montana lied to her father, got herself into a sticky situation, received a consequence, and learned a lesson. It happened over and over, but the writing was generally good, the acting pretty good for a kiddie show, and each episode had it's funny and sentimental moments. (You can disagree, but compare Hannah to SIU and it's like night and day.) The same goes for Good Luck Charlie and Wizards, the only 2 shows left that are worth families watching on Disney in my opinion.
Shake It Up, is teaching kids what, to be sassy and disrespectful to their parents, or all adults to that matter? Sneak out at age 12, to a big party, and pretend to be 16 to meet boys? That's a GREAT idea, Disney. Great role models! *sarcasm* The girls have serious attitude problems, and the show glamorizes the fact that the kids are smarter than the parents, because the parents are always clueless. The teachers at school aren't seen all that often, and when they are, the main characters are being disrespectful to them, or behaving badly in order to be cute or funny.(neither work) The show COMPLETELY sends the message that school and homework="bad & uncool." The characters are always degrading the importance of education (Why would you want your child to think like that?) The main characters are not charming, and kids watching do not really learn anything of value. The little brother of one of the girls is a smart-mouthed little brat (the opposite of how you would want your child to act) who really needs a good spanking (if you disagree with spanking, then a time-out, and a quiet talk with his mommy). The comedy is just silly, even for a kids show. All around, I would not recommend letting your child watch this, unless you want to encourage back-talk, bad behavior, and sassy attitudes.
Come on, Disney. Cancel this show, and bring on something of value!
I'm a huge fan of the "Pirates" series, and although I had my doubts, I must say that "On Stranger Tides" was wonderful. The movie had a COMPLETELY different "feel" to it, and the story is new, with lots of new aspects, but it actually worked once you got used to it. It will be very easy to add on to it, with a more broad open-ended story. The cast, although with many additional characters, worked very well together. Johnny Depp was phenomenal as Jack Sparrow as usual. He wasn't necessarily the strongest character of the movie, but his humor, wit, and acting style were just as great as in the last 3 movies. After seeing the first three, his audience feels like they know his character, so even little personality quirks are hilarious without him even trying. He truly shines as good ole Jack!
The plot was not as complicated as in "At World's End," but it was interesting none the less. I feel like the movie definitely could have been EVEN better if the newer characters were given a little more depth, or even given the chance to show more of their on-screen chemistry with each-other. Sometimes, the motives of each character to get to the Fountain of Youth was a little blurry, and in a couple of scenes, the characters talked VERY quietly, or mumbled/spoke too quickly to understand what they said.
I absolutely LOVED the scenes with Jack and Barbossa together-- SUCH good chemistry + hilarious! Blackbeard was a good addition as a villain, although he wasn't near as "mean/cruel/wicked" as Davy Jones was. The characters of Philip and Syrena were a little on the weak side. Philip needed much more to his backstory to make me feel attached to him, but he still did a great job.
All in all, the movie was GREAT. I loved it, and it went above and beyond my expectations. I will forever love CAPTAIN Jack Sparrow!! Go see it if you liked the others!
I'm seriously confused.
OK. After seeing the previews of this movie, it was added to the list of movies I did NOT have any intentions of seeing. However, I heard so many great things about it, I decided to give it a try. Let's just say, my gut feeling was correct. I have NO idea what so many people found so amazing about this movie.
It's not that funny. Yeah, there were a couple of scenes that I found humorous, and chuckled. However, most of the "funny" scenes were either involving sex, about sex, about poop/vomit/farting/burping, or a lame attempt at slapstick humor. Lots of predictable cheap shots. Seriously, no sophisticated or classy humor... the whole film made me feel trashy, honestly. I get that it's rated R, but still. I felt like I was in an adult version of an equivalent to Spongebob at times.
Small plot. This movie is slowly stretched out for over 2 hours, with a plot that could easily be explained entirely, with all important scenes, in about 30 minutes. There were SO many long scenes that seem to be thrown in just so Kristen Wiig can score another laugh, yet they don't progress the story. Quite a few plot holes, and there were many scenes where I caught myself rolling my eyes, thinking, "really?"
The greatest movies develop their characters so much that you literally feel for their outcomes. I left the theater with no regards to any of the characters in this movie, because they were all so distant and under-developed. The plot was so weak and rushed for the next pointless comedy spiel, that they didn't give the characters any depth, except maybe the lead of "Annie." I can think of 2 memorable scenes right now from this film, and I saw it last night. Yeah, there were some funny scenes, but nothing worth raving about in my opinion.
I do have to give "Bridesmaids" some credit. An all-female leading role movie is very new in show-business, especially in comedy. Sadly, these women made the "Hangover" equivalent instead of raising the bar, but they get Kudos for the efforts. There were some sweet moments in the movie, that for me, held the film from turning into a complete waste of money. I do like comedy, but I prefer classier, witty humor instead of the easy, thoughtless humor. I would much rather watch a movie that evolves a character so much that the cheap shots aren't needed for laughs. If you liked "The Hangover," then you'll probably enjoy this movie..