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Forever is only the beginning..ain't that the truth?
Roger Ebert, one of the most widely beloved film critics once had a quote about the infamous Larry Bishop gangster spoof Mad Dog Time. That quote went "''Mad Dog Time'' is the first movie I have seen that does not improve on the sight of a blank screen viewed for the same length of time." That's how I ultimately feel about The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part 1. It is a terrible film that, despite its best efforts, turns into a big pile of nothingness. What did the filmmakers want to accomplish here? Well, there are a couple thing such as money, cabbage, and oh yeah, dough. This film was made on the assumption that millions of teenage girls are going to throw down their allowance to go see it. As I went to a public theater to see this and not an advanced screening, their assumptions was right. I was the only male in the theater. No boyfriends, husbands, males by themselves, ETC. May I also mention that there was a very limited range of females under 16 in the theater. Seriously, who thinks of this crap? This film can be summed up in a simple, short explanation-it's a soap opera made for young women instead of middle aged women. I'm not trying to sound sexist or derogatory but this is the way the world works..movies are made specifically for teenage girls to throw their allowance down. Unfortunately, this one, like most of them is petrifying to watch.
Jack and Jill (2011)
Sandler & Sandler
Jack & Jill is a film about nothing. It doesn't have a consistent plot. It is just an assortment of stupid jokes revolving around Adam Sandler getting annoyed with Adam Sandler in drag. They said the apocalypse was coming..and perhaps it is. Why do I say that? I kind of want you, the reader to watch Jack & Jill so you can see why I'm just rambling on and saying the apocalypse is coming. It is a film that has to be seen to be believed, and an unshakable experience. Neither of these things are meant in a good way. As someone who goes to a couple hundred films a year, it is, personally, the closest I have been to walking out of a theater in at least two years. Al Pacino, an Oscar winner and Michael Corleone is in this. Pacino is the best part of the film, and he's terrible in it for crying out loud. Pacino, one of the greatest actors of all time is in Jack & Jill. You thought De Niro in Little Fockers was bad? Wait until you see Pacino in this. I really wish I could like this film, or at least not consider it one of the worst films ever made. Sandler's actually a really funny guy when he wants to be. Don't believe me, watch Happy Gilmore. Sandler is also a pretty good dramatic actor. Don't believe me, watch Punch Drunk Love. With this in mind, this film involves Sandler screaming and talking in a weird lispy voice that's his interpretation of a woman. Jack & Jill is the worst film of 2011 so far. It is more dreadful than you could ever imagine. In other words, Jack & Jill doesn't go up a hill, but rather goes down one right when it starts.
The Descendants (2011)
About Matt King...
Alexander Payne is a director who has done four very good films...About Schmidt, Sideways, Election, and the little known Citizen Ruth. Add The Descendants to that list. The Descendants is a film about a man named Matt King (George Clooney), a man living in Hawaii whose business happens to be very successful. After his wife, who he has been supposedly very distant with gets in a boating accident, Matt has to take care of his daughters. Thus begins yet another very realistic film from director Payne. The Descendants is touching and well acted, but rarely ever funny, and that's a good thing. The seriousness of this film is really what works. Sure, Sid, daughter Alexandria's friend has some very funny moments, but even he's a serious, complex character. Payne does a good job here of taking all the actors, veterans or newcomers, and getting them to shine. Also, as with his other four films, Payne shows a real life situation and shows us what happens in everyday life. Clooney is great here, tugging at our heartstrings and touching us without going over the top. Also, actors like Shailene Woodley and Nick Krause, who are not used to being the dramatic types are excellent here. All that's left to say is see The Descendants..it's not a perfect film, but it's a really good one.
Happy Feet Two (2011)
Admittedly, I did not like the first Happy Feet. Now, there's Happy Feet Two, with more dancing penguins and another story involving one of the penguins. I'm not even going to go into the plot because I run the risk of sounding childish or cliché. I will, however, say that this is one of the most puerile films of the year so far. Nothing in Happy Feet Two works, and I mean nothing. The story is not only childish, but it's also all over the place. The voice actors, led by a very questionably talented cast are awful. Also, just like with my Puss In Boots review, I saw this at a legit I max 3D theater, and the I max added nothing to the film, and the 3D just made the film look worse. This is not to blame the theater for, but the film for. The fact that this is a film about dancing, singing penguins, I guess I should have expected not to have an awesome I max experience, but I at least expected a little something to be added. With all this hate I seem to have for Happy Feet Two, you would think I thought this was a terrible film. With this being said, it's not. Happy Feet Two will certainly amuse its target audience-kids, but it's the parents who'll have to take them to it I'm worried about. No one will accuse Happy Feet Two of being one of the worst films of the year, but even more so, they won't accuse Happy Feet Two of being one of the best films of the year.
Tower Heist (2011)
Ben Stiller & Eddie Murphy conduct a "Tower Heist"
Tower Heist is like sushi...it's something that I can see why people like it, but I don't. The film starts out with a friendly manager named Josh (Ben Stiller) who finds out that a rich resident of the building he manages is being arrested. This resident is Arthur (Alan Alda), and he has stolen all the worker's money. Tower Heist then goes into an unfunny, non-thrilling comedy/crime caper in which Josh and crew decide to get their money back. Josh hires a criminal named Slide (Eddie Murphy) to help him steal this money. Now, before you blast me for not explaining myself why I found this film to be extremely lame, let me do so. First off, Alan Alda is the only one among a very talented cast who is actually good. I mean, you got Matthew Broderick, Eddie Murphy, Ben Stiller, Michael Pena, Casey Affleck, and Tea Leoni among others, and Alda is the only one who's good. Second off, Murphy did not need to be in this movie because he adds nothing to the heist except to get them started. Third off, I did not laugh once and was not thrilled by any of it. Fourth off, and finally, Alda is so good that you almost wish Tower Heist was a movie all about Arthur rather than a film just simply revolving around Arthur. I did not like Tower Heist, but if you're still interested in seeing it, check it out, you might end up liking it, I just didn't.
Puss in Boots (2011)
Spoiler: Shrek's not in this one
Puss In Boots follows the origin story of, well, Puss In Boots (voiced by Antonio Banderas) and how he became who he was in the Shrek films. I've always liked Puss In Boots as a character and was really exciting to have fun with this film. That being said, this film is like mediocre Chinese food...it's just alright when you're experiencing it but after an hour, you'll feel as if you experienced nothing. This film feels like a lot of movies I've seen this year where one scene is set up just to provide balance to another scene. Also, the whole relationship between Puss and Humpty Dumpty is simultaneously confusing and stupid. I may be sounding cynical here, but the film does have a very funny moments and even a touching moment, but it's just not worth paying ticket prices for. Speaking of which, I saw this film as an Imax 3D experience, and the film is mostly dialogue, so the Imax didn't work, but the 3D was some of the better 3D I've seen in a while. Although I tend to write as long a review as possible, I really have nothing to say about this film except the film's best for a night when you want to distract your kids or you don't mind watching a very mediocre film to please yourself or your kids.
Real Steel (2011)
The director of "Big Fat Liar", and "Just Married" takes on "Real Steel"
Shawn Levy is a director, who despite making some really bad films, has nevertheless managed to entertain me. Now, in the midst of fall, when the Oscar films are dropping, he takes on Real Steel. Real Steel is about a sleaze ball named Charlie (Hugh Jackman) who trains fighting robots. One day, his son, Max (Dakota Goyo) decides to travel with him through a series of tournaments involving the fighting robots. Now, I must say, Shawn Levy has had his first real big disappointment with this film. I feel like I might be in the minority here, but I felt it was a long slog for nothing. That's not to say that Real Steel doesn't have its fair share of really cool, and even touching moments. That's just to say that Real Steel goes on for over 2 hours and it doesn't ever really feel like anything was worth sitting through over 2 hours for. I might have been more pleased with the film had it been ninety minutes or so. That way, it wouldn't have felt so long, and therefore wouldn't have been such a long haul. Also, at ninety minutes, a lot of the unnecessary stuff could have been cut out. With all this being said, Real Steel is good enough movie, it just could have been so much better, and so much less of a chore to sit through some of it.
What's Your Number? (2011)
What's Your Number stars Anna Faris as Ally, a woman who's tracking down her exes, and Chris Evans as Colin, who's helping her track down her exes. These are two very talented and funny actors, and I was hoping for something amusing when these two were put together on screen. Without further ado, I have to say that What's Your Number is lowest common denominator garbage. The film has only reprehensible characters and only bad things to say about them. It's the type of movie where no one person can have a conversation without talking about some sort of sexual activity. Humorist Erma Bombeck once had a quote that went "There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt." Unfortunately, What's Your Number is only the latter. This film feels like it doesn't even care, and therefore doesn't even try to get any laughs, and it doesn't. Not one laugh is presented in this film, not one smile is earned in this film, and a lot of anger is deserved in this film. What's Your Number goes through the cliché cycles that every other romantic comedy has been through this year. What's the point to all of this? Why waste millions of dollars and talented people to just make the same old same old? Why do movies like this get green lit? These are all questions that should be asked from studios after having seen What's Your Number.
Definitely not a split decision on 50/50
50/50 is a comedy about cancer. Yes, now breathe that in for a second. It has Seth Rogen, an actor mostly known for playing a wacky party dude (as he does in this film) and it's supposed to make you laugh. 50/50 is also, by every stretch of my imagination, a masterpiece. It is a film with everything right about it and nothing wrong about. The person with cancer is not Kyle (Rogen), the wacky party dude, but his friend, Adam (Joseph Gordon Levitt), a man who has done nothing in life to provoke cancer, but somehow gets a rare type of it. Levitt puts a lot of charisma into his role, and Rogen is flat out hilarious. Adam soon visits a therapist named Katherine (Anna Kendrick) who is not very experienced in the world of therapy, and the audience questions if she's a good match for him. Now, you may be asking yourself..what's so funny about cancer? The answer is nothing, but the way the characters react to cancer in 50/50 and the way that they learn to cope with it is both laugh out loud funny and touching. 50/50 is incredibly acted as well..everyone puts their all into their roles. 50/50 is not a cringe- inducing mockery of cancer like it could of potentially been, but is instead a comedy that makes my list of the best films of 2011 so far, and it may even be on the top.
Statistics VS. Raw Talent In "Moneyball"
Professional baseball player Rocky Bridges has a famous quote that says the average man believes he can do three things...build a fire, run a hotel, and manage a baseball team. This quote, although I summarized it, describes Billy Beane in more ways than one. Moneyball is based on a book that is based on real life events and stars Brad Pitt as the one and only Billy Beane. Moneyball was the type of book no one would ever thought could be made into a movie, but it was and it is.
Now, before I go into depth about what I thought of Moneyball, the first thing I have to say is that this is Brad Pitt's best performance to date. With one of my least favorite movies of the year, The Tree Of Life being released this year, I was not looking forward to seeing Brad Pitt in another film, but I am surprised to see I absolutely loved him in this film.
Now, as for the movie itself, it's fantastic. The whole statistics vs. raw talent idea is smart and the movie is both funny and touching. It gets very funny when there is dialogue between Beane and Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), they park an irresistible and funny charm, and it is touching when Beane and his daughter, Casey interact. I also loved how the film balances these two plots with pinpoint perfection.
Moneyball is great from the first second to the last, and one of my favorite films of the year so far..so go check it out.