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The Watch (2012)
With a ridiculously talented comedic cast, I expected far more laughs than I got out of this film. Vince Vaughn had a few enjoyable lines and snarky moments, and it was enjoyable to see him cast as a father-figure, but the moments were few and far between. Jonah Hill was afforded the same minimal time to show his talents, which is truly disappointing. Ben Stiller leads the cast, and while he's afforded ample screen time and is the narrator, it does not play into his strengths and leaves you wanting more.
*Spoiler Alert* While the addition of aliens could have added to the supposed hilarity of this movie, it only managed to thwart any attempt at humor. The jokes became even more predictable and benign, and I found myself counting the minutes until the movie was over. While I'm glad I never wasted my hard earned money to go see it in the theater, I'm still a bit irked that I even spent $1.50 for the Redbox BluRay rental. I would suggest you save yourself the money, don't even bother with the $0.99 DVD rental and read the Wikipedia synopsis, you might laugh more than as if you were watching the actual movie.
Suspenseful but not typical Stone
Overall I enjoyed the film, it had enough action and suspense to keep one on the edge of your seat. However had I not known it was made by Oliver Stone, I would not have had such high expectations. I expected a lot more from the man who brought us such gems as Reservoir Dogs, Platoon and Natural Born Killers. This would not be one that I would hold up against those in comparison as it would be trampled by it's brethren. Either Olly is trying to fit in with the new changing world, or he's gone soft in his old age. This lacked depth, which may have helped the ridiculous story line and lackluster casting. While some great casting was made in certain roles, Benecio Del Toro is fabulous as always, extra creepy in this one, (but the hair is a bit over the top), Salma Hayak is great as the ruthless villain, however John Travolta doesn't turn in his best performance. *Spoiler alert* The ending confused me, and I did not like the dual ending approach. Neither ending that he proposed is one that I expected out of Stone, and neither one left me feeling satisfied. There were some great moments of grit and reality of the drug-fueled violence that is plaguing Mexico, but the movie could have been done much better. Overall I'm glad I waited for it to come out on DVD to watch it, and while I was entertained, I feel let down by Oliver Stone.
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Excellent Character Study
This film was excellently written and had solid performances by the cast. Bradley Cooper did a fantastic job in this role and is one of his best performances in my opinion. Equally matched by the stellar young Jennifer Lawrence this showcased her exceptional acting skills. I found myself drawn to the characters and emotionally invested in their outcomes. It is not a film for everyone with the heaviness of the content however for those who appreciate fine cinematic experiences then I would highly recommend you see the film. Chris Tucker added a lightheartedness to the film that showcased his great comedic timing and depth that I have not seen from him before. Robert De Niro just seems to keep getting better with age and this film showed sides of him that we don't get to see too often. David Russell did a phenomenal job of directing such strong players and from the man who last brought us The Fighter I would expect no less. He seems to have a talent in allowing the actors to stretch the bounds of their normal comfort ranges and elicit amazing and heartfelt performances that we just don't see elsewhere. Overall this exceeded my expectations and I wouldn't be surprised to see some nods come awards season.
Jack Reacher (2012)
Wait for the DVD
This was actually a pretty fair performance by Tom Cruise, however the plot and screenplay played to Tom's strengths. Newcomer Jai Courtney is an excellent adversary for Tom's character, equally smart and creepy, his performance is excellent. The writing was fairly enjoyable, enough twists and turns to keep one interested, and the dialogue was well written (with a few ill-fitting remarks). The story-line progresses at a nice pace, with enough action and suspense to keep the average male on the edge of his seat. There were some nice comedic moments, especially with the addition of Robert Duvall. Overall it was an enjoyable film, although I don't think I would have spent $40-50 to go see it in the theater. This is one that I would recommend waiting for it to come out on DVD. Unless you are a huge Tom Cruise fan, then you will probably enjoy it more than most.
Parental Guidance (2012)
Great Family Movie
This was an excellent family movie, had plenty of laughs and some really heartwarming moments. Billy Crystal and Bette Midler made a great pairing, I don't know why it hadn't been done before. Crystal brings his great acerbic wit combined with Midler's warm demeanor and the great comedic timing of both makes for gold medal hilarity. Marisa Tomei is great as a new-age parent with high anxiety when it comes to allowing her parents into her automated life. Bailee Madison is a little fireball, and she is one to keep an eye on. With her innate acting ability she will have you on the edge of tears one moment and laughing till you pee the next. Madison is an absolute joy to watch and it was great to see her paired up with classic comedic talent like Crystal and Midler. The writing is fair, but luckily with such a well-placed cast you hardly notice those short-comings. This is definitely one I would take the whole family to, it's got enough for all to enjoy. I highly recommend it for the holiday season, it will have you walking out with a smile.