Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Hand-to-hand combat sequences were done well
(Synopsis) Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) is a 16-year-old girl living in the wilderness of Finland with her father (Eric Bana), an ex-CIA agent in hiding. Hanna is exceptional in that she has the strength of a man, the stamina of a wolf, and the intelligence of a hunter. Her father has been honing her innate skills her entire life to become the perfect assassin. Hanna is finally sent into the new world on a mission to eliminate her first human target. Hanna's appearance brings her to the attention and focus of intelligence agents who begin hunting her down to stop her before she completes her mission.
(My Comments) Reading the synopsis you would think this would be an intriguing storyline. Well, you would be wrong. The movie starts off with a great opener, but it goes downhill fast. The storyline is all over the place. You will not develop any feelings for the characters. It would have been better to let the audience in on the secret earlier so we would understand the plot. Actually, that might not help the writing. Some of the actions that were done in the movie were simply stupid such as letting your target know where you are, and that you are come for her. The only thing that was done well was the hand-to-hand combat sequences. Overall, you can wait for the movie to come on TV and see it for free. (Focus Features, Run Time 1:51, PG-13)(4/10)
Soul Surfer (2011)
Inspirational film and amazing story
(Synopsis) This is the true story of Bethany Hamilton, a 13-year-old female surfer who lost her left arm to a 14-foot tiger shark. Instead of giving up surfing over the loss of her arm, Bethany was determined to get back on her board several weeks later and prove that she is truly a soul surfer.
(My Comments) Soul Surfer is an inspirational film for the whole family and an amazing story about a young girl who overcomes overwhelming obstacles and turns a traumatic tragedy into an achievement and triumph. The movie presents Bethany's family and their Christian faith that caries them through this life altering event. Bethany has become a positive role model for others that have a disability and have lost their faith. AnnaSophia Robb delivers a powerful and riveting performance as Bethany that is sure to win your hearts. Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt's performances were very believable and real. You will actually begin to care for each of these characters, and the reason may be that you know that the story is based on real life events. You don't have to worry about the shark attack, because the scene was done quickly and not drawn out. Stay for the credits to see actual pictures. You will leave the movie feeling very good and upbeat. (Sony Pictures, Run Time 1:46, PG-13)(8/10)
Battle Los Angeles (2011)
What was Hollywood thinking?
(Synopsis) Los Angeles and other cities around the world are being bombarded by meteors that seem to be slowing down once they hit the earth's atmosphere. The earth is suddenly being invaded by space aliens that have landed off the shore of LA, and who begin killing everybody along the beach. The military is ordered into action. Marine Staff Sergeant Nantz (Aaron Eckhart), who was about to retire, is reassigned to a new platoon. The platoon, flown by chopper to the forward operating base at Santa Monica Airport, is being led by a new 2nd Lt. Martinez (Ramon Rodriguez). They are sent on a mission to rescue some civilians who are trapped at the police station within alien territory. They only have 3 hours to complete their mission and get out before the Air Force bombs that zone.
(My Comments) This movie is badly made and has an unbelievable storyline. One of the first things our marines learn is that the aliens who arrive from outer space don't have air support! How ridiculous is that? Next, the aliens are metal-clad bionic soldiers that are hard to kill unless you hit them in a specific spot. You would think the aliens would protect that spot going into battle. These intelligent aliens have advanced laser weapons, but they can hardly hit their target (marines in this platoon), whereas our marines were killing them left and right. This one platoon does more damage than all the marines at the airport. One thing I hated the most was all the shaking camera shots. The worst story assumption that was made by the whole platoon was that Sergeant Nantz is a coward. A marine with a Silver Star medal is a coward, how absurd. The writing was just terrible. You can forget about seeing this bad movie, unless you want to see what spending over $100 million will get you in Hollywood. (Sony Pictures, Run Time 1:46, PG-13) (2/10)
Red Riding Hood (2011)
Grandma, what a bad movie your in
(Synopsis) Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) is a young woman living in a small village whose parents have arranged for her to marry Henry (Max Irons), the successful village blacksmith. However, Valerie grew up with Peter (Shiloh Fernandez), and she has been in love with him most of her life. They are planning on running away together, when her sister is killed by the wolf that has been terrorizing the village. For many years, the wolf has not attacked the village people as long as they provide him food on a full moon. But under a blood red moon, the wolf has now killed a human. The villagers have had enough of this wolf, and they band together to hunt him down and kill it. They are not successful, so they call in Father Solomon (Gary Oldman), because this is no ordinary wolf. Father Solomon warns the people that this wolf takes human form by day, and the wolf could be one of them.
(My Comments) Everyone knows the fairy tale story of Little Red Riding Hood and the big bad wolf. Well, this is not it. The writers have turned that story into a modern werewolf story to capture the teenage audience, who seem to love werewolves. If you saw the movie trailers, you would think this was a scary movie. I don't think you will jump out of your seat once. The acting was below average, and the special effects of the wolf were marginal at best. The only mystery or surprise of the movie that was held to the end was the person who was the werewolf. But by that point I didn't care; actually, by that time, I wanted the werewolf to kill the main cast and end the movie. The actual ending was anti-climatic. If you see this movie, you are most likely to leave the theater disappointed. (Warner Bros. Pictures, Run Time 1:40, PG-13) (3/10)
Mars Needs Moms (2011)
Everybody Needs Mothers, Even Mars
(Synopsis) The Martian Supervisor (voice - Mindy Sterling) is searching for another Earth mother to abduct to help raise Mars children. After checking several Earth candidates and rejecting all of them as not being proper moms, they finally choose Milo's mom (voice – Joan Cusack) as the one to bring to Mars. They see that she is raising and disciplining her son Milo (voice – Seth Green) the way they want their children to be raised. They come to Earth and put her on the spaceship, but they don't know that Milo is a stowaway onboard. Once they arrive on Mars, Milo is helped by another Earthling, Gribble (voice – Dan Fogler) who also tried to save his mother. Milo will do whatever it takes to save his mother.
(My Comments) This is a story of Martians kidnapping moms from Earth so they can program their nanny-bots to raise the Martian children. This movie has elements that include science fiction, fantasy, action, and motherly love. The main point of the story is whether Milo will be able to save his mother before the Martians execute their plans? This is really a CGI/animation/human adaptation movie where the people are fitted with special sensors and all of their movements are captured and digitized onto a computer. The action that you see is actually being done by the actors. You will be able to recognize Joan Cusack at the very beginning, and eventually Dan Fogler, but Seth Green is a little different. The acting and animation are quite good once you understand that real people were doing the acting and not just the voice. One thing that I enjoyed was watching the credits at the end, because you get to see the actor's movements with the sensors on and green-screen for the special effect shots. The moral of the story for children is that they all should appreciate their mothers. (Walt Disney Pictures, Run Time 1:28, PG) (8/10)
The Adjustment Bureau (2011)
It may be your destiny to see this movie.
(Synopsis) Congressman David Norris (Matt Damon) is a charismatic and highly motivated politician running for the U.S. Senate. He is on the brink of winning the Senate seat when he meets the beautiful ballet dancer Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt) in the hotel bathroom while preparing for his speech. David looks into the captivating eyes of Elise, and the two fall in love simultaneously. Once David realizes that he has fallen for Elise, he is contacted by some mysterious men wearing hats from The Adjustment Bureau who have orders to do anything in their power to keep them apart. They must do this because Elise is not part of his written plan and his destiny to be with her.
(My Comments) This is a story that has a combination of elements that includes science fiction/fantasy/action/suspense with a spiritual and romantic side all thrown into one. The main point of the story is do we have free will or is it our fate to be who we are? The movie ask the question of what would you do if you had to choose between love or professional success? If it were our fate, we don't have a choice. The on-screen chemistry between Matt Damon and Emily Blunt was done so well that you may think this movie was a romance rather than a science fiction story. Matt's performance in his first love interest movie was done very well. Emily Blunt was mysterious and delightful with her snappy wit and sophisticated repartee. After the movie is over you begin to think about is our life predetermined for us, and maybe we don't have a choice about what path we should take. I know that you will be very suspicious of men who wear hats after seeing this movie. (Universal Pictures, Run Time 1:45, PG-13) (7/10)
I Am Number Four (2011)
Your typical teenage with special powers
John Smith (Alex Pettyfer) and his guardian Henri (Timothy Olyphant) escaped to earth from the planet Lorien. For years they have been trying to stay off the grid, because the Mogadorian hunters are searching to annihilate the last of his people. They must continually move from town to town and change their identities to stay one step ahead of these skillful and vicious killers. Three of his kind have already been killed, and he is their next target. As a teenager, John is just now receiving his special powers that he can use to protect himself from his enemies.
From what I knew about the story and from the trailers, the movie was a big letdown. Even though this movie targets teenagers, the story itself flows all over the place. You have your typical teenager being the new kid in school, meeting a pretty girl, and getting picked on by school bullies. The only difference is that John is from another planet with amazing powers and being hunted. The movie started off with an action scene that grabs you and gets you interested in the story; however, for the next hour the movie will almost put you to sleep. The dialogue was dreadful and the performances were awful. It got to a point that I didn't care if the Mogadorians killed all nine of the Loriens that came to earth, because the movie would then be over. By the end of the movie, you finally get to see the special effects that you have been waiting for. The action and fighting is pretty good, but it is over before you know it. This movie is more like a TV episode of Superman than a major film. Wait until it hits TV to see it for free. (DreamWorks, Run Time 1:50, PG-13)
The King's Speech (2010)
(Synopsis) "The King's Speech" is the story of the speech impediment that King George VI (Colin Firth), the father of the present day Queen Elizabeth II, struggled with his entire life. George dreaded any form of public speaking, and because he was second in line to the throne, he did not have to worry about becoming King. However, when his brother abdicates, he must assume the throne and begin giving speeches on the radio. George has engaged the help of an Australian speech therapist named Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). Logue doesn't have a medical degree, but he has worked in the theater and with shell-shocked soldiers after World War I. Using unorthodox techniques and hard work, George learns to speak through his stammering to deliver a flawless speech heard by millions of people around the world.
(My Comment) Everyone knows someone who has had a stammering problem, and how we try to help them when they struggle to get their words out. We feel their pain, and that is why this is one of those stories that we want to end well. Since the movie is based on a true story, we know it did, and we can root for the little guy who became a hero and his friend. Geoffrey Rush's amazing and outstanding performance as the speech therapist was brilliant. Colin Firth's astounding performance as the stuttering King George VI was just right and wonderful. This is a powerful and deeply moving story that will win many Oscars. (Weinstein Company, 1:58 Rated R) (10/10)
The Mechanic (2011)
Professional hit men at their best
(Synopsis) Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) is the "mechanic," which actually means professional assassin for hire. Bishop is the best in the business of eliminating targets, and making it look like an accident, meticulously setting up every detail of the hit. The hit is perfect when no one knows that he was ever there. Bishop's mentor and friend Harry McKenna (Donald Sutherland) dies, and Bishop takes Harry's son Steve (Ben Foster) under his wing to teach him the business. Together, they are one force; you don't want to be within their gun sights!
(My Comment) This is a story of professional killers in action, and in this movie you will get plenty of action sequences and explosions. Usually Bishop is detached from his assignment, but when he goes after the people responsible for Harry's death, all he wants is vengeance. Jason Statham's outstanding performance as the cool killing machine was right on target. Ben Foster's character of killing his target is a little more complicated than killing someone the easy way. There is a lot more brutality; however Steve pays the price for not following what Bishop taught him. In one scene where Bishop questions a body guard at his home to get his boss' address, he goes way over the top. Overall, I liked this action packed movie, but it is over before you know it. (CBS Films, 1:32 Rated R) (8/10)
The Company Men (2010)
Don't take your job or this movie for granted
(Synopsis) When the GTX Corporation must cut jobs to improve the company's balance sheet during the 2010 recession, thousands of employees like Bobby Walker (Ben Affleck) will take the hit. The company really doesn't care about their employees who have given many years of loyal and faithful service. To the company they are not faces, but only numbers. Bobby learns the real life consequences of not having a job. Not only does he see a change in his family lifestyle, and the loss of his home, but also his feelings of self-worth.
(My Comment) This is a story of what many workers in the U.S. are enduring during the present economic crisis. Many companies are cutting jobs by the thousands to placate their shareholders by reducing the company's employee overhead and hopefully driving up their stock price. Actually the movie shows the hardships and what can happen to anyone, including people in management, when they no longer have a job. It first affects them internally, then their families, and finally the communities they live in. Out of work people first resist changing their lifestyles, then they go into denial, and finally acceptance of the hand they have been dealt. Ben Affleck's outstanding performance of enduring disappointment of not finding a job and worry for not providing for his family proved this point. The moral of the story is that we should not take our jobs for granted. (The Weinstein Company, 1:49 Rated R) (7/10)
The Fighter (2010)
Most of the fighting takes place outside of the ring
(Synopsis) "The Fighter" is based on the real life story of Light Welterweight boxer "Irish Micky Ward" (Mark Wahlberg) on the road to the WBA Championship title fight with Shea Neary in 2000. Micky's trainer is his half-brother, former boxer Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale), who fought Sugar Ray Leonard. Micky must live up to his brother's famous fight, even though the brother lost the fight, served time in prison, struggles with drug addiction, and is not a very good trainer. With the help of his girlfriend (Amy Adams) and another trainer, Micky finally begins to win fights and gets a shot at a title fight.
(My Comment) This is your typical fight movie where the underdog, just like Rocky, gets his chance at being the champion. Micky must not only struggle with sparring with his brother, but he must overcome his manager-mother, who gets him fights he can't win. Micky's family is his biggest opponent and obstacle, because most of the fighting takes place outside of the ring. The story focuses on his relationships that hurt and harm him, and the journey he takes to the title fight. This is a strong boxing film that will be a contender when awards are announced. Remember, this is a realistic fight movie, and therefore it is a violent one. (Paramount Pictures, Run Time 1:55, Rated R)(10/10)
The Green Hornet (2011)
The Green Hornet as a comedy
(Synopsis) Playboy Britt Reid (Seth Rogen) becomes the new publisher of Los Angeles' "The Daily Sentinel" after the sudden death of his father. Britt's party life is about to change when he and his driver and kung fu expert, Kato (Jay Chou), stop a robbery. Britt gets an idea how he can finally do something meaningful with his life. Britt gets Kato to build "The Black Beauty," an indestructible car with every weapon a car can hold. With the help of Kato, Britt starts a new career of fighting crime as the masked superhero "The Green Hornet".
(My Comment) The first thing about this version of the Green Hornet is that it was written as a comedy. Why they did that is beyond me. The storyline of the Green Hornet as a masked superhero was fine without changing it. The movie opens with a fascinating, but silly storyline. The evil villain Chudnofsky, played by Christoph Waltz, is the criminal mastermind. This part will only make you laugh, because he tries to make himself scary, and if you are not scared of him, he will kill you. The movie gets going once Britt and Kato join forces to fight crime. However, there is a competition between them for the attentions of Lenore Case (Cameron Diaz), Britt's secretary. But Cameron's role was only a small part. The best scenes were those with the cars and gadgets used by Kato. The storyline seems lacking, but as a comedy, you will laugh during the movie. (6/10)
The Tourist (2010)
You can't get out of death & taxes, but you can skip seeing this film
(Synopsis) Elise (Angelina Jolie) randomly sits next to an American tourist, Frank (Johnny Depp), on a Venice-bound train. The police have been following Elise for over two years waiting for her to contact her lover, who embezzled over $2 Billion from a mobster. The British Economic Police want to collect its share (taxes) of over $775 Million to be paid on this money. Frank, a math teacher, and Elise must evade the police, and also the mobster who's money was stolen.
(My Comment) This movie is unlike many that Angelina Jolie has played in, in that she is involved in very little action. Johnny Depp has a few minor action scenes. Most of the time Angelina walks around looking beautiful, and Johnny is like a lost puppy, almost as if they phoned in their parts. It isn't a totally bad movie; because it only has a little action and a poorly written dialogue for these talented actors. The storyline is not complicated; the mobster's money man steals a large amount of his money, and he is now on the run for his life, plus the police want him too. The movie contains some beautiful panorama scenery of Venice. Overall, the movie is not what you would expect, but it kept my attention, and it is a little entertaining. By the way, there is a story twist that you may figure out for yourself before the end. (Sony Pictures, Run Time 1:45, Rated PG-13) (4/10)
The real Rock is back in action
(Synopsis) After serving 10 years in prison for bank robbery, Driver (Dwayne Johnson) has only one mission in life, to avenge the murder of his older brother who was killed when they were double-crossed after the heist. Now a free man with the names and addresses in hand, there is nothing on earth that can stop him from killing all of them. However, two people are in the hunt to stop him, veteran cop (Billy Bob Thornton) only days from retiring, and a young hit man (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), both on Driver's trail. The race is on, and there can be only one winner.
(My Comment) The story is simple and straight to the point, Driver wants revenge. Driver gets out of prison after 10 years, and he starts hunting down the criminals who were responsible for killing his brother. However, things get complicated when a hit man comes after him. Not only does he have to avoid the cops, but now he is also a target. Physically, the Rock is imposing in this film, but he only speaks about 2 dozen words in the whole movie. The Rock does not have much dialog, but his tough mannerisms and cold blooded killer facial expressions are enough. Billy Bob Thornton's performance as the sleazy cop is excellent. If you want to see an action packed revenge flick, this is a good one to see. (CBS Films, Run Time 1:35, Rated R)(8/10)
Disney's animation is just spectacular
(Synopsis) After receiving the healing powers from a magical flower, the baby Princess Rapunzel is kidnapped from the palace in the middle of the night by Mother Gothel. Mother Gothel knows that the flower's magical powers are now growing within the golden hair of Rapunzel, and to stay young, she must lock Rapunzel in her hidden tower. Rapunzel is now a teenager and her hair has grown to a length of 70-feet. The beautiful Rapunzel has been in the tower her entire life, and she is curious of the outside world. One day, the bandit Flynn Rider scales the tower and is taken captive by Rapunzel. Rapunzel strikes a deal with the charming thief to act as her guide to travel to the place where the floating lights come from that she has seen every year on her birthday. Rapunzel is about to have the most exciting and magnificent journey of her life.
(My Comment) Tangled is the retelling of the Rapunzel fairy tale. Disney's storytelling version is fantastic and the animation was just spectacular. Rapunzel's long golden hair looks incredibly realistic, and all the characters in the movie are cute and extremely lovable. The animals involved as part of the story were given great personalities (even though they did not speak a word), and the horse Maximus stole all the scenes he was in. There are many tender and touching scenes throughout the movie. Disney's usual touch of magic makes this movie a home run. The movie has romance, humor, and action that will please a wide range of audiences. Both children and adults will enjoy this new Disney classic. (Disney Pictures, Run Time 1:40, Rated PG) (10/10)
Due Date (2010)
Comedy that pushes decency way over the top
(Synopsis) Peter Highman (Robert Downey Jr.) must get to LA in five days to be at the birth of his firstborn. He is about to fly home from Atlanta when he is tasered by the Air Marshall, and he is put on the "no-fly" list. With no luggage, money, and ID, Peter has really hit rock bottom. Desperate to get home Peter is forced to accept the offer of Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis) to hitch a ride with him cross-country to Hollywood. For the next several days, Peter is going to regret his decision, because he will be harassed by endless personal questions from Ethan, and embarrassed by Ethan's comic antics and offensive behavior. Peter is about to have the most terrifying and agonizing journey of his life.
(My Comment) The road trip itself is a collection of pratfall scenes that uses accidents, hijinks, disasters, pain, death, family, friends, and drugs to make you laugh at their expense. Robert Downey Jr. plays a smart architect who's life is great and going his way, whereas Zach Galifianakis's character has never achieved anything in life, but after the death of his father, he wants to make it big as an actor in Hollywood. Both men seem to be growing up during their road trip and seeing life in a different light. Ethan's actions are so outrageous at times, that you don't blame Peter for wanting to kill him. There are several crazy scenes that push decency way over the top, and you just want it to stop, even though you are laughing while it is being shown. There were many lines that were used only for shock value to get a laugh. The storyline seems lacking, but it is a comedy, and you will laugh during the whole movie. (Warner Bros. Pictures, Run Time 1:40, Rated R) (6/10)
Hereafter is not a great movie, but it is an interesting one
(Synopsis) "Hereafter" follows the lives of three strangers who have a connection with death and spirituality. The first person is Marie (Cecile De France), a French TV journalist who drowns in a Tsunami in Thailand, and is brought back to life by CPR. Marie's near death experience causes her to have a life altering awakening of life after death. The second is George (Matt Damon), a psychic who can actually communicate with the dead through touching the hands of the living. George believes that having this ability is not a gift, but a curse, and for several years he has closed his eyes to help people in their grief. The third person is Marcus, a London schoolboy who loses his twin older brother Jason in a fatal truck accident and tries to overcome his death by communicating with his spirit. Their lives will come together and eventually interconnect with the hereafter.
(My Comment) "Hereafter" is a different type of film from director Clint Eastwood. Clint's thoughts on life after death may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it is an unusual and gripping story. The storyline doesn't deal with religion as a part of the topic of life after death. The movie is not a great movie, but it is an interesting one. The Tsunami special effects scene was done so well, that I could feel the power from the water destroying everything in its way. The performances of Matt Damon and Cecile De France were superb. However, the acting from the British boys (George and Frankie McLaren) was rigid and emotionless. The entire movie moves at a very slow pace, and by the end we learn something about our own mortality. (Warner Bros. Pictures, Run Time 2:09, Rated PG-13) (6/10)
An inspirational true story of commitment & life's struggles
(Synopsis) Conviction is based on an inspiring true story of Betty Anne Waters (Hilary Swank), a high school dropout who over 18-years put herself through law school to represent and hopefully overturn her innocent brother's, Kenny Waters (Sam Rockwell), murder conviction. Betty Anne is a working mother of two boys who believes that her brother was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to life in prison for a 1980 bloody murder of a woman living in a trailer next door to him in Ayer, Massachusetts. Kenny's ability to appeal his conviction using public defenders has been exhausted and without a lawyer, he will die in prison. That is when Betty Anne decides to dedicate her life to save her brother. With a newly earned law degree in hand, she hopes to exonerate her brother with new evidence and the new science of DNA.
(My Comment) This is a story of what a devoted and inseparable loving sister can do for her brother when he needs her most. Their family bond for each other, while growing up on a farm, is stronger than any prison can break. The movie shows Betty Anne Waters' commitment in freeing her brother as the only thing that will make her life complete. The struggles she endures to become a lawyer, and her willpower to save her brother from any further pain is inspirational. The bond between Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell seems very real, including the steps that she takes as an obsessed lawyer to set him free. Their performances were brilliant, and I believe that both of them will be nominated for an Oscar. This is a movie to see. Footnote: The Innocence Project using DNA matching since 1989 has freed over 254 innocent people from prison in the United States. (Fox Searchlight Pictures, Run Time 1:46, Rated R) (8/10)
You Again (2010)
What happens in high school should stay in high school
(Synopsis) Marni (Kristen Bell), a new Vice President of a large Public Relations Agency, is returning home for her brother Will's (James Wolk) wedding. Marni discovers that his bride Joanna (Odette Yustman) is her former arch nemesis in high school who made her life a living hell. Joanna is now an angel in her brother's eyes, absolutely not the memories that Marni has of her tormentor. All of this is compounded by the fact that the bride's wealthy Aunt Romona (Sigourney Weaver) flies into town and comes face to face with Marni's mother Gail (Jamie Lee Curtis), who it turns out has an old high school score to settle with Gail. Marni must protect her brother by showing him Joanna's true colors before he makes the biggest mistake in his life. The claws are about to come out.
(My Comment) The movie itself is not that appealing as a romantic comedy, but it had a great female cast. The storyline is based on a small premise that what happens in high school lives with you forever which is absurd. Kristen Bell's performance as the pathetic pimply face girl with low self esteem, pressed into getting revenge, was right on target, and Odette Yustman as her rival was also good. I think the writers wasted the great talents of Sigourney Weaver and Jamie Lee Curtis. However, Betty White steals every scene she is in. Patrick Duffy and someone else (I won't say) make a cameo appearance. After about 45 minutes, the story was a little boring, but it picked up by the end. The lesson that is taught by this story is that you must learn from your past and everyone is entitled to a second chance, "maybe"? (Touchstone Pictures, Run Time 1:45, Rated PG)(4/10)
The Town (2010)
Take a trip and visit The Town
(Synopsis) Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck) was born and raised in Charlestown, a blue-collar neighborhood in Boston, where crime is a part of life. Charlestown is the world's capital for carjacking, kidnappings, and armed robberies. The tricks of the criminal trade are passed down from father to son. Doug is the brains and ruthless leader of a gang of bank robbers who have been able to get out clean after each bank robbery. But Doug knows that his luck will not last forever, and he is looking for one last big heist that will give him the chance to leave the town in his rear-view mirror. But no one will let him, especially, his right-hand man Jeremy (James Coughlin); because he believes that it would be a personal betrayal to him, and he is not going to allow that. In a recent bank job, Doug forced the bank manager Claire (Rebecca Hall) to open the safe, and then took her hostage as leverage for the getaway, eventually setting her free unharmed. Doug knows that he should leave Claire alone, but she only lives four blocks from him, and he can handle it, but he begins to fall for her. Their romantic involvement is about to take them down a perilous path.
(My Comment) Ben Affleck, who directed and co-wrote the movie, was also the lead actor in "The Town." The story traces the exploits of 4 Irish bank robbers in Boston who symbolize the criminal working class growing up in Charlestown. The three main characters of Doug, Jeremy/Gem, and Claire were interesting and developed so well that the audience is drawn in and can understand their plight. Even though Doug (Ben Affleck) is a criminal you can still root for him to succeed. The performance of Rebecca Hall as Claire was outstanding, because she was able to make you feel her anguish and torment after the bank robbery. James Coughlin as Gem portrays a bank robber who is out of control, and you know that by the end of the movie, he is the one who will eventually get them caught. The action packed heist scenes are all great, especially, the last and biggest robbery. I believe that Ben Affleck will receive several Oscar nominations for his work. The film is brutal yet it also rips at your heart. This is a good movie to see, but it is not for children. (Warner Bros. Pictures, Run Time 2:00, Rated R) (10/10)
Going the Distance (2010)
A comedy in disguise
(Synopsis) Garrett (Justin Long) has always had a problem with commitment and understanding what women want. He seems to be doing everything right until he learns the hard way that he cannot speak the female language when his girlfriend drops him. That night, his friends want to brighten up his spirits by taking him to a bar. He meets Erin (Drew Barrymore) playing a game and ends up buying her a beer, then winning at bar trivia, and having breakfast with her the next morning. Erin is only in New York City for the summer, and will be returning to grad school in San Francisco in six weeks. They start a no-strings-attached summer fling relationship that turns into a seriously meaningful love affair. They realized that they were meant for each other, but when Erin returns home, will their love survive the distance, between New York City and San Francisco?
(My Comment) Going the Distance takes a look at long distance relationships and the difficulties that are encountered by going down this long complicated road. The issues of true love are explored from opposite sides of the country. The movie looks like it is a Romantic Comedy, but it really is only a comedy in disguise. But that is not a bad thing, because there are a lot of laughs with jokes, sight-gags, hilarious situations, and one-liners. Drew Barrymore and Justin Long as the lead characters were unconvincing of showing real emotions for each other. They showed a level of chemistry at points in the movie, but the script seems lacking. The storyline is pretty much straightforward and fairly predictable. There were parts of the movie that were cute. If you are surprised by the R rating, the reason is that Garrett has some crazy sidekicks, and there was one dining room scene with Christina Applegate that was the funniest in the movie. I found that the ending was very weak, and did not have that explosive punch. (Warner Bros. Pictures, Run Time 1:37, Rated R)(5/10)
Don't take this to the bank
(Synopsis) A group of five exceptional bank robbers have been able to successfully rob several banks with such perfect execution that the police do not have a single clue to capture them. These criminals treat each robbery as a business plan that works. First, they plan each job with clockwork precision and are extremely careful in not leaving any evidence behind. Second, they fence the money to get it clean. Third, they all lay low for one year between jobs to not bring any attention to themselves. They decide to pull off one last heist that will be their biggest score, by taking out an armored-car. Their meticulous planning of robbing banks is thrown out the window, because of the short time frame to do the job, and the large amount of cash they will split. This may be the break the police have been waiting for, when this band of thieves finally makes a mistake.
(My Comment) The bank robbers were Hayden Christensen, Michael Ealy, Idris Elba, Paul Walker, and singer Chris Brown. The police were Matt Dillon and Jay Hermandez. As you can see, there are some good actors playing the main parts in this movie. That being said, the script is the biggest problem with this movie. All of the actors did a fine job of acting, but most of the writing was a waste. The armored-car robbery was just so unrealistic and stupid. You would think that you would have someone to root for in the movie, but you would be wrong, because I didn't care what happened to any of the characters. There were some good chase scenes during the movie, but that was about all that I liked. The stunt work was amazing, and the pace was fast. However, this is one movie that you can wait for the DVD. (Screen Gems, Run Time 1:47, Rated PG-13) (4/10)
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)
Scott Pilgrim may be the beginning of a cult film
(Synopsis) Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) is an unemployed 23-year-old bass guitarist in an up and coming garage rock band who is dating a cute 17-year-old high school girl, Knives Chau (Ellen Wong). He is having fun in life and rolling along at a nice even tempo until one day Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) rollerblades into his life. Ramona moved to Toronto from New York City to find peace and quiet and leave her past behind. No one knows what her past is, but Scott will find out very soon as he tries to make Ramona his new girlfriend. Before Scott can begin dating Ramona, he must prove himself by defeating the league of her seven exes who controls her love life. They will do anything to get rid of and destroy any new boyfriend Ramona may consider. If Scott wants to find true love with Ramona, he must defeat all seven, before the game is over.
(My Comment) Scott Pilgrim is a comic book/video game and love story fantasy/comedy all in one movie. Scott is kind of a geek who falls in and out of love with many girls and Ramona has commitment issues. Putting them together only made for an incredibly funny experience with many laughs at one-liners and sight gags. The movie has a lot going on, with a love story, outrageous fight scenes, to awesome music, and visual effects with points and coins when Scott wins. The fight scenes are non-bloody and you don't have to take them too seriously. Each fight scene is more outlandish than the last one and some of them are used just for comedy. I was surprised to find myself enjoying the movie, because I am not the target audience for this. This is definitely worth watching, but I'd recommend it for the younger crowd (20's & 30's), it may even become a cult film. (Universal Pictures, Run Time 1:52, Rated PG-13) (8/10)
The Karate Kid (2010)
A story worth seeing again
(Synopsis) Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) is a 12-year-old living in Detroit when his mother Sherry (Taraji Henson) gets a job in China. Once in China, Dre misses home and wants to go back to the US. His mother tells him that China is home now, and he must learn to accept his new home. Dre begins to like China when he falls for his classmate Mei Ying (Wenwen Han). Dre's feelings for Mei Ying are seen by Cheng (Zhenwei Wang) the class bully who is out to stop it. Cheng puts Dre to the ground with ease using his Kung Fu training. Dre doesn't have a chance using the little karate that he knows, and Cheng proves it the next time he sees Dre. Dre is getting beaten badly when Mr. Han (Jackie Chan) the maintenance man, secretly a Kung Fu Master, stops the fight. Dre persuades Mr. Han to teach him Kung Fu. With this knowledge, Dre must now face down Cheng in a fight to win his respect in a Kung Fu tournament.
(My Comment) This is somewhat of a remake of the Karate Kid. The script brings an international flavor to the screen in this bully-victim who turns martial arts expert and eventual hero. The storyline is the one where the underdog must fight to prove himself, and in the meantime everyone learns a lesson about life. The film belongs to Jaden Smith, the son of Will Smith, who dominates about every scene of the film. His screen presence is simply amazing for such a young person. Jackie Chan's portrayal is rather awesome as Dre's teacher. The film can stand on its own, because the setup is totally different than the original. All mothers will love it when Dre learns to hang his jacket up and not leave it on the floor. There are some beautiful mountain and Great Wall of China scenes that are used in getting Dre into shape. You almost begin to wonder if the story was changed, and Dre may not be able to finish the match by the end of the movie. The film was simply fun to watch with some touching moments and the Kung Fu was outstanding. This is a go to movie. (Columbia Pictures, Run Time 2:06, Rated PG) (8/10)
An experiment in movie making that has gone horribly wrong
(Synopsis) Clive Nicoli (Adrien Brody) and Elsa Kast (Sarah Polley) are two young scientists who have been given the job of running a genetic laboratory at a large corporation to develop a protein using animal gene splicing from several different species. To speed up the process, they secretly take a chance and add human DNA to the experiment. What they get is a new organism which Clive wants to destroy, but Elsa convinces him to let it live a little longer. As the creature grows bigger, you begin to see a new animal species. The creature looks like a human female, but it has many features of several animals. The creature has wings, a stinger, can breathe under water, and can communicate with Elsa. They begin to bond with the creature and name her Dren (Delphine Chaneac). Their little experiment has gotten out of hand, and it could be the end to their careers if it got out that they created an animal/human hybrid. They move Dren to Elsa's farm in the country where Dren continues to transform into something stronger. Clive and Elsa finally learn the reason why they shouldn't play with Mother Nature.
(My Comment) "Splice" is a monster movie that tries to package itself under the sci-fi/genetic engineering tale. The movie began with a serious story line that turned into an unbelievable and ridiculous plot. Instead of horror film, we got a comedy. There are several serious scenes in the movie where we were just laughing at it. The story's premise is on target with what science is doing today with DNA, but it was wasted on this movie. The actors' performance was OK, but that was about all. The CGI of Dren was pretty good, but it was also a waste. I thought about getting up and leaving the movie several times, but I didn't because it had to get better, but I was wrong. My advice is to skip this movie and save your money and time. (Warner Bros. Pictures, Run Time 1:44, Rated R) (2/10)