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I like posting and getting to know people (in a way). I am very nice, but when you push my buttons, watch out. I am an Irish Taurus--not a good mix. Looking forward to chatting!
Iron Man 2 (2010)
A sequel that surpasses expectations
Being a huge fan of Robert Downey Jr., I naturally want to see everything that he is in. When I found out that he was Iron Man, I was intrigued and excited. I loved the first movie and eagerly anticipated the second one. When it came out, I was worried it would not live up to my expectations.
I needn't have worried; the movie surpassed my expectation. To be honest, I didn't know what to expect. I just wanted the relationship between Stark and Potts to develop more. I liked that there were links to other Avenger characters, such as the mention of New Mexico and a drawing of the Tesseract. At the time, of course, I didn't make the connection because I hadn't seen any of the other Avenger movies. Now that I have, I look for the hints that are cleverly placed in all films.
Robert Downey Jr. once again shines as Tony Stark. You see his vulnerability in this one when he realizes that the palladium heart he uses to stay alive is also what is killing him. Downey, of course, makes Tony real. He makes mistakes and then tries to recover from them. He is arrogant and egotistical, humble and scared. Downey allows Tony to show all of these emotions without making him a caricature. He really is one of the greatest actors of his generation.
Returning as Pepper Potts is Gwyneth Paltrow. As in the first film, Potts does not have a lot to do but still needs to be rescued. Paltrow plays Potts well; at one point I wanted to throw something at her for the way she treats Tony. I get that she's irritated by his behavior, but the fact that he's trying to make amends should count for something yet she doesn't think so. Paltrow is perfect.
Don Cheadle takes over the role of Colonel James Rhodes from Terrance Howard. I really wanted to hate Cheadle; Howard was so perfect as Rhodey. However, Cheadle did a great job and at times, I forgot that Howard didn't return to the sequel. We get to see Cheadle suit up in this one as War Machine and I loved when both he and Stark teamed up for battle.
Academy Award winner Mickey Rourke is Ivan Vankov, a Russian determined to get revenge on Tony for what Howard Stark did to his father. Rourke is convincing as Vankov, carrying the Russian accent perfectly and makes you believe that he really is Vankov. One interesting thing to note is that the beautiful bird that was in the film was at the request of Rourke. He wanted Vankov to have a human side and have love for something, and so the bird was added into the film. This was a risky move that works. Although you know that he's up to no good, you can't help but like him when he requests that his bird is with him when he works.
The rest of the cast is rounded out with Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson, Clark Gregg and Samuel L. Jackson. Of course, each is wonderful in their roles. It was nice to see Jackson and Gregg return as their characters from S.H.I.E.L.D. and introduce us to Johansson as well. There's a bit of a hint as to who she really is early in the film when she takes Happy down in a boxing move, but you have a tendency to forget that until her alter ego of Natasha Romanov is revealed.
Graphics play a huge part in this movie and rightfully so. Tony is an innovator and a step ahead of modern technology. It makes me hope that everything he uses will eventually be in every household in the world. Audi also makes a guest appearance when Tony drives a few of his cars in the film.
Many people were worried that Iron Man 2 wouldn't be as good as the first one, but those worries were quickly put to rest. For a sequel, it is everything it should be. Here's hoping the bar is raised even higher in Iron Man 3.
One night can change everything
I never went to my high school prom. So normally I would avoid a movie with this title like the plague, but as I caught it on TV one night, my interest was piqued. After watching it, I discovered I really liked it. A cute movie about an important rite of passage: senior prom.
The movie stars Aimee Teegarden as Nova Prescott, your typical honor student. She's class president, valedictorian and has won hundreds of awards. She's also chair of the prom committee and is devastated when the decorations are ruined a few weeks before prom. Teegarden gives a believable portrayal of a snobbish good girl who opens her eyes and her heart to the rebel without a cause. She is also very pretty and you feel her pain when Jesse rejects her.
That rebel is Jesse Richter, played by Thomas McDonell. Giving the "who cares?" image, McDonell is perfect as Jesse. He wears the typical leather jacket, drives a motorcycle and doesn't care what others think about him except for Nova. We see him slowly change during the course of the movie and begin caring about prom and the young class president. One of my favorite scenes is when he first sees her in her prom dress. The look on his face is of a man in love. McDonell is perfect in this role and my favorite in the film.
With the exception of these two leads, the rest of the movie is made up of a plethora of different characters. There's the sophomore boy, Lucas, who is in love with his classmate Simone, who wants to go to prom with the biggest jock in school. He, in turn, is a player and courts another woman at the same time. There's the "forever" couple that have been together since junior high, Mei and Justin. Mei has just accepted an offer to attend Parson's for design in the fall, despite her boyfriend believing they are going to the University of Michigan. One person I really enjoyed was Rolo, who goes through the whole movie claiming that his date will be coming to prom, but us never seeing her. While I knew what the ending to that story would be, it was nonetheless enjoyable to watch.
Do not think that this movie does not contain adults; it does and strong role models as well. Jesse's mother is a no-nonsense woman who makes him see the light near the end of the film. Nova's parents want what is best for her and when her father thinks she'll make a decision she'll regret, he intervenes. "I know you thought you were doing what's best for me, but tonight could have been one of those great things," Nova tells him after. While not necessarily right in his assumptions, you can understand why her father did what he did. He is not portrayed as the bad guy in this film, or as a laughable character. He is portrayed as a loving father who wants what is best for his little girl.
Special effects in this movie are minimal; but in a story like this, you do not need a lot of graphics. The dresses worn by the girls at prom were beautiful, but a few looked too conservative for high school. However, this being a Disney film, that was probably a requirement. Another nice change of pace is the lack of swearing that so often accompanies high school students. Again, being a Disney film, swearing is not allowed.
While not the best movie in the world, I found myself quite entertained throughout it and eagerly anticipated the next time I would see it. If you are sick of the typical movie produced in Hollywood today, give Prom a chance. A nice movie without a political message, you will be thinking about it after it is done.
Cowgirls 'n Angels (2012)
I will admit, I wanted to see this movie only for Jackson Rathbone. But because of my interest in him, I discovered a cute movie. Cowgirls 'n Angels is about a 12-year-old girl named Ida who joins a touring rodeo company called the Sweethearts in order to find her estranged father. Along the way, she learns about responsibility and the value of friendship.
Bailee Madison stars as Ida Stanton. She gives a great performance as a girl on her own, not respecting authority who finds friendship where she least expects it. James Cromwell is the owner of the Sweethearts, a female rodeo touring company. I loved Cromwell in this role. He was authoritative when he had to be but also makes time for the girls. You can tell that he loves the Sweethearts with everything he's got.
Alicia Witt is Elaine, Ida's mother. Elaine believes that all people involved with the rodeo are "lowlifes" because her husband was one. She forbids Ida to participate at first, and then changes her mind at the thought of money. Although I liked Witt in this role, I wish that she had more to do. She doesn't really ever understand Ida's desire to know her father, yet does a great job trying to keep her from meeting him. She allows Ida to be a part of the Sweethearts, but I don't believe she ever really understands her daughter.
Dora Madison Burge is Kansas, one of the Sweetheart riders. She is instantly nice to Ida and the two form a bond. Burge shined when she had to make a decision about whether to stay with the Sweethearts or pursue love when it comes calling. Although I did not agree with her decision, I enjoyed watching her in this role and looking at her profile on IMDb, she is in hot demand.
Jackson Rathbone is Justin, Kansas's boyfriend. Rathbone is originally from Texas, so it was no problem for him to speak with his Western accent. Although Justin does not have a lot to do in this film, every time he was on the screen, I smiled. Rathbone brings sweetness to Justin that makes you understand why Kansas chooses him over the rodeo. And with his cowboy hat and beard, Rathbone was very attractive. And I literally swooned when he tipped his cowboy hat.
The rest of the cast also excelled in their roles. I did not find one person out of place and believed that the mean girls really were mean and the men that they met along the way were genuine cowboys. The acting was not over the top from anyone and I hope to see everyone in future roles.
One thing I liked about this movie (besides the horses of course) was that it did not rely on special effects to enhance the story. While some movies nowadays spend millions on effects to make a poor story spectacular, Cowgirls 'n Angels relied on the plot and the acting itself to attract the audience. And of course, horses help too. I was nervous watching the film, worried that a horse would get hurt.
Overall, Cowgirls 'n Angels was pretty good. There were times when I wanted to smack Ida for being so difficult and other times when I wanted to run off with Justin. A simple story with a message, I hope to see this movie again.
Dread the dread
I am not a rabid horror fan. I like horror movies, but most of the ones that come out do not interest me. So when I saw that Twilight star Jackson Rathbone had made a horror movie (during the high point of Twilight's popularity), I knew I had to see it regardless. I give it 6 out of 10 mainly due to the ending.
Dread is about college students who find out about people's innermost fears. One young man, Quaid, saw his parents killed when he was a kid and he's thoroughly messed up for life (understandably). He is obsessed with this project and with getting his way. Shaun Evans stars as Quaid and brings a craziness to the role. You can see his descent into madness after he stops taking his medication. At first, his obsession is small, but as he begins to hurt his friends, you realize he's completely gone. Excellent.
Jackson Rathbone is Stephen, a film student needing a thesis project. He agrees to go along with Quaid and does a fear study, believing that it is just a school project. Rathbone is perfect as Stephen. He is completely convincing as a naive man who realizes Quaid's sociopath tendencies, albeit a little too late. At the climax, when Rathbone goes to Quaid's house near the end, you can tell that he himself has descended into madness. There is a reason why Rathbone is making his mark in the film industry; he has the talent.
Laura Donnelly played Abby, my favorite character in the film. Abby felt discriminated against her entire life because she has a full birthmark on the right-hand side of her body. She hates it and believes it is why she is not beautiful (I beg to differ). During her segment of the fear study, she says that she realized in kindergarten that her birthmark was something to be ashamed of and every time she meets someone new, she returns to that fateful day. She also has a crush on Stephen and believes his rejection of her is because of the birthmark, when it actually is not. We never really find out what happens to her after she tries to remove the birthmark near the end of the film, and I wish we had.
Cheryl Fromm is played by Hanne Steen. Cheryl is also a film student who partners with Stephen to work on the fear study. Steen was very convincing, especially when we learn why she can't stand to look at a piece of meat. I did not find her as attractive as Donnelly, however. She did very well when locked in a room in Quaid's home, although we also never find out what happens to her. I have my assumptions, but it would have been nice to have a concrete answer.
Dread is based on the short story by Clive Barker. When they made the movie, they changed the ending. I know that Hollywood is famous for this, but I wish they had kept the original ending. I think it would have been more fitting to the story. With the ending that we are given, we see some good acting from Rathbone and Steen.
This is another movie that does not rely on effects too much to tell a story. However, there is blood so if you are squeamish, you may want to avoid this. Unlike other horror movies, I did not find the blood count to be too bad in this one. In some films, I believe they go for shock value and try for as much blood and gore as possible. While it is present in Dread, there are only a few scenes that show it.
This movie was effective for me in regards to thinking about your innermost fears. I know mine came to the surface while watching this film, along with a few others. It takes courage to admit what scares you the most, and even more courage to face the demon head-on. This film looks at both those aspects.
I do not know if I will add Dread to my collection as I did not like it that much. However, I am glad that I saw it to show support to Rathbone. As long as Twilight fans continue to support their actors, Rathbone will have a long career ahead of him. Regardless, I will be eagerly watching him.
Criminal Minds: Conflicted (2009)
An outstanding guest performance
Whoever said Jackson Rathbone can't act has NEVER seen his performance on Criminal Minds. It is an outstanding piece of acting and Rathbone is convincing as Adam Jackson. When he becomes Amanda, his split-personality, his whole demeanor changes. Not only does his voice get higher, but he walks like a woman. Men tend to walk from the shoulders and women walk from the hips. As Amanda, his hips were moving. And there was something about his eyes. They were so expressive, I felt that it really WAS Amanda in there. Rathbone has impressed me in his other work that he's done, but my favorite so far is this episode titled "Conflicted."
Yes, I am a Twilight fan and watched Criminal Minds for Rathbone. But, I know good acting when I see it and Rathbone nailed this episode. I am surprised he didn't receive an Emmy nomination for guest actor as it was that good. Rathbone is an up-and-coming actor. We'll see more of him in the future.
Earth never knew what hit it
I have to admit, I only became interested in seeing Thor because of The Avengers. I remember sitting in the theater thinking "that Thor guy is kind of hot." Well, after the movie was over, I knew that I had to see Thor and learn more about the leading actor.
In Thor, the God of Thunder is set to inherit the throne from his father when the castle is attacked by the Frost Giants. In retaliation, Thor and his brother travel to their realm and a fight breaks out. Lives are lost on both sides. As punishment for his actions, Thor's father Odin strips the future king of his title and all honors bestowed on him. He then banishes Thor to Earth.
Thor is now mortal, wandering around Earth but still thinking he is a god. He befriends Jane Foster; a beautiful scientist who is immediately attracted to him. Thor gets into some trouble, but always makes sure to place Jane out of harm's way. When Thor's mischievous brother Loki assumes the throne and lies to Thor about their father's death, Thor sacrifices himself to keep Jane safe during a showdown. This heroic act brings his powers back and Thor returns to Asgard to battle his brother.
Chris Hemsworth stars in the title role. Did I say he was "kind of" hot? My mistake. He's incredibly hot. Not only did I enjoy the visual of him, I enjoyed his portrayal of Thor as well. Hemsworth shines as the God of Thunder. He plays him arrogant, self-obsessive and rude then he changes. We see Thor become sweet and understand that simply killing an entire race just because you want to is wrong. This is brilliantly done as Hemsworth makes Thor likable.
Jane is portrayed by Oscar winner Natalie Portman. Jane is the reason why Thor cares for Earth; he believes there is good on the planet and swears to protect it. Portman shows much emotion as Jane, such as when she thinks Thor has died or when chasing satellites and other scientific things. While her emotions are there, Portman herself has little to do throughout the movie besides running around and drooling over Thor's body.
Tom Hiddleston is Loki, the God of Mischief. One thing that I liked about Hiddleston's portrayal is that he makes Loki sympathetic. I could tell that Loki really did care for his family and wanted his father's approval; he just went about it the wrong way. Hiddleston's descent into madness is brilliantly subtle. You see his change when he realizes he's adopted, then when he takes the throne, then drunk with power. You see even more of that descent into madness in The Avengers. And while he fights his brother, I believed that he would lay his weapon down if Thor would have treated him as his equal. Hiddleston was one of my favorites of this film.
Sir Anthony Hopkins plays the King of Asgard, Odin. This supporting part should have been bigger, but he spends half of it in "Odin sleep." However, if he hadn't been in this, Loki would have had no reason to assume the throne. Hopkins is great at trying to convince Loki that he loves him, even though Loki refuses to believe it. And I liked when Odin snapped Thor's ego back into place when he banishes him to Earth.
Darcy Lewis is played by Kat Dennings. While I have no problem with Dennings, I thought Darcy was completely pointless in the film. Her character was a bit annoying and did not move the plot at all. Had Darcy been eliminated, the story would have continued on. She was not a vital part.
The effects in this movie are alone enough of a reason to see it. Practically all of Asgard is computer generated and the Rainbow Bridge is phenomenal. I especially enjoyed the battle between Thor and Loki, seeing the different effects used with the scepter and the hammer and the effect to create multiple Lokis. Another great graphic is the castle itself; it made me believe that gods really lived there.
Thor is not a great movie; it will not win any Oscars. However, it was fun to watch and a great introduction to a character that gets screen time in The Avengers. I have heard that a sequel to Thor is in the works. I hope that the major characters return, but most especially Loki. He deserves another chance to shine.
Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)
Great interpretation of a classic!
I loved everything about this movie. The acting, the effects, the story; it was a magical ride. I was saddened to hear that this movie was panned when I found it quite entertaining. I think some people get too caught up in original stories and can't let interpretations happen. I liked how they tied the original story into this new adaptation. The huntsman, the apple, the dwarfs are all there; this just creates a different angle.
Kristen Stewart stars in the title role of Snow White. A fan of hers since Twilight, I was eager to see her in a completely different role. While she did display some of her classic deer-in-the-headlights look, she did also show emotion and empathy throughout the film. Some would say she is unattractive, but I find her to be. I thought she was quite beautiful in this, most especially when she wore her white dress.
Chris Hemsworth is the Huntsman. I have only recently discovered this man, having seen The Avengers, and am in love. He is not only attractive; he is a good actor too. As the Huntsman, he does not get to portray a wide variety of emotions, but the ones he does portray were realistic. The Huntsman is angry that his wife has died and wants to join her. He provokes fights because he doesn't care about anyone or anything. He is sent on the mission to bring Snow White to the queen and along the way he begins to warm up to her. His intentions change along with his feelings and Hemsworth shows this. By the end, you are convinced that he is in love with her. Hemsworth does this beautifully.
Charlize Theron is Queen Ravenna and is brilliant in the part. Although I wanted to see SWATH for the budding romance, I was instantly drawn to the queen. I couldn't help smiling when she was on screen as she is the quintessential villain. Theron plays her evilly, yet with empathy. You actually understand why she is the way she is, and in a way, you want her to win. She is perfect when yelling orders (which she does quite frequently) and her scene where she felt her brother's pain was excellent. It is easy to see why this Oscar-winning actress was desired for this role. She emulates the queen perfectly. If someone did not like Stewart or Hemsworth, that person should see this movie for Theron alone. It would be interesting to see a prequel regarding the queen's life prior to Snow White.
Bob Hoskins is almost unrecognizable as Muir, one of the dwarfs. I had no idea it was him until the end credits. His line "you have eyes, Huntsman, but you do not see" wraps up the then-budding relationship of Snow White and the Huntsman. He knew that she was the king's daughter, but he was unaware just how powerful she would be. I believe this is one of the reasons why he fell in love with her. Hoskins' character, of course, already knew it, even though he could not physically see it.
Sam Claflin shines as William. I was not a fan of the love triangle that was emerging in the story; I solely wanted Snow White with the Huntsman. But then I started thinking of how much fun that could be. The two of them could battle for her affections and cause some very comedic moments. In this story, the romance with both of them is pretty subtle; you would miss it if you weren't looking. The only real indication is that William kisses Snow White when he thinks she's dead.
The biggest stars of this movie are the special effects. I was quite blown away by the way they made the queen get to Snow White and how they portrayed the mirror. The music complements nicely and I want to add the soundtrack to my collection. For the most part, it is all instrumental, but the songs that aren't fit perfectly.
In the original story, Snow White's spell is broken by the kiss from a handsome prince. In Snow White and the Huntsman, the spell is broken another way. I loved this because I was rooting for the Huntsman and this gesture proved that HE was her one true love.
My only complaint with this movie regards the white horse that Snow White rides. When he drops into the mud and not able to go on, we are not shown what happened to the horse in the Dark Forest. Perhaps we are to think that he is magic and disappeared right after Snow White ran away. After all, he was just sitting on the beach waiting patiently for her after she escaped the castle. But we don't know that for a fact. I would have liked the horse to have appeared in a scene later, showing the audience that he was okay and letting Snow White know she was the one to "heal the land."
Snow White and the Huntsman is not the best movie of all time, but it is a good time. I enjoyed it and will recommend it to people. It is a new twist on a classic tale and one that can be taken into interesting territory if played right. The end of the movie hints at a sequel and I am excited to see what that will bring. No doubt there will be more depth to the budding relationship between the two leads. Regardless of where they go, they have a franchise on their hands. Snow White and the Huntsman is a fun ride.
Act of Valor (2012)
Our TRUE American Heroes
There's a lot of negativity about the acting in this movie; people are saying that the SEALS are wooden and do not show emotion. To that I say, they are not actors, they are military men. They are not trained to show emotion. They are not trained to be actors. There are no acting classes in boot camp. These are actual Navy SEALS doing a movie. And while the storyline is fiction, the film itself is based on real acts of valor that these men do every day. It did not matter to me if their performances were wooden (and personally, I did not think so). I saw the film for what it was: a pro-military, pro-American movie proudly made by our heroes. And I was proud to be an American while watching it. I cannot get this movie out of my head.
Had Act of Valor not been about our heroes in fatigues, I probably would have given it a miss. There's a huge body count and a lot of action to entertain the male sex, but generally not me. However, since I have seen this movie twice and will many more times, I must say that the violence did not bother me as much as I thought. This could be because this is what the SEALS deal with every day and I felt that I got a first-hand look at a day in the life. Either that or my preferences are changing.
I thought everyone in the movie was fabulous in their roles, including the SEALS. There were times when we laughed and times when we cried out. There were also times when we just cried. The plot kept me engaged and graphics were good. To me, it felt comparable to a high-priced Spielberg movie. The action was wonderfully paced; just when you thought it was safe, something new popped up. It was hard to decipher between the two main SEALS in the movie, but that did not detract from my enjoyment. Be sure to bring your tissues as I guarantee you will tear up at the end. I overheard some men say as we left that they had the sniffles too. And the touching tribute to the SEALS that have died in the line of duty will cause a permanent lump in your throat.
One interesting note is that their names do appear in the credits; however you only see their title and last name. This is no doubt for their safety. And here on IMDb, you do not see them listed at all. I think that was a smart move; I would have been fine if they had not listed their names at all during the end credits. Perhaps they wanted a bit of glory.
The title song of the movie is Keith Urban's "For You" and it fits perfectly. The more times I hear this song, the more I tear up. The rest of the soundtrack is just as good and includes artists like Trace Adkins, Wynonna Judd and Lady Antebellum. The score is also attention-grabbing and dramatic.
I enjoyed everything about this movie and am eagerly looking forward to having it in my collection. For those who love America, you will enjoy this film. Act of Valor is not Top Gun, nor does it pretend to be. See this for what it is; a film made by TRUE patriots who risk their lives every day to protect our freedom. Damn Few.
Love & Distrust (2010)
Likable and Tolerable
Unlike other reviewers of this film, I will not whine about how "bad" it is or ask for my money back. While I agree this is not the best film, it is not the worst. It is a series of five vignettes all tied together under two crucial elements: love and distrust. While the plots of the short stories don't have a direct link, they all share this common ground.
'The Summer House' stars Robert Pattinson in a five minute role. He is a lovelorn boy who desperately wants to get back with his former girlfriend. As with most one-acts, it makes no sense whatsoever. While his performance is good, the rest of the story revolves around the moon landing. I was wondering what the point of the summer house was; why didn't it just focus solely on the moon landing and not on the ended relationship? 'Blue Poles' stars Sam Worthington. He is riding with a woman that he picked up on the road. She is rude to him and he tells her he wants to see the blue poles. They sleep together and she leaves him the next day. Another case of a one-act making absolutely no sense, I found this to be the least intriguing of the five.
'Grasshopper' stars James Franco. He is a young executive who meets this woman on a train. She wears heavy makeup and hooker-like clothing; no doubt a prostitute. He is intrigued by her, but at the same time cautious. He tries to befriend her but she doesn't want that. They both end up in the same motel, right next to each other. A tragedy occurs the next morning and Franco leaves the town he's in, never forgetting her.
'Pennies' was an intriguing look at a woman's desperation to do anything for her daughter. Starring Amy Adams, she receives a phone call reminding her that she owes money and that they have her daughter. Throughout the day, Adams' character waits tables and has enough money by the time limit when a robber comes in and takes it all away again. 'Pennies' is a takeoff of the song "Pennies from Heaven," in which good things can happen from people you least expect it. Throughout the short, Adams' character realizes that people are kind at heart.
'Auto Motives' is about what goes on in peoples' cars. A man tries to pick up women on the streets of New York while a woman in a limo laments about her divorce. The best part of this vignette was Robert Downey Jr breaking into James Cameron's house and stealing his Camaro. Downey's screen time is five minutes, but it is five minutes well spent.
I rented this movie because I am a Pattinson and Downey fan and their names drew me in. However, after seeing it, I can honestly say my favorite vignette was 'Grasshopper.' By far the most serious and depressing, it is also the best written. Franco shines in this role and his co-star, Rachel Miner, reminds me of Kirsten Dunst. While I enjoyed Downey and Pattinson, of course, Franco's performance outshined all of them.
I am glad that I saw this, but it isn't one I will add to my collection.
Paranormal Activity (2007)
The best horror movie I've ever seen
Paranormal Activity is a scary movie. It's not a "how much blood and gore can we incorporate into this movie and get the death count up to one hundred movie." No, it's psychologically scary and therefore is more affective.
I've seen many horror movies that focus on murder and blood (Halloween, Scream, Bleed), that becomes boring after awhile. You lose count of who dies and I generally find that by the end, I don't care at all. Paranormal Activity stayed with me after it was over because my mind was replaying what I had seen. It made me wonder if the paranormal really does exist and for once, I wasn't completely denying that fact.
I first became interested in this movie when I saw Eclipse. The trailer for Paranormal Activity 2 was shown and my interest was piqued. I rented the first, not really knowing what to expect, and was pleased to see it was a low-budget film shot in a director's house. He hired four actors for the film and did not use many special effects. Movies like this are always a gem to find when they work. And it does.
Here is the plot: Micah and Katie have dated for awhile and decide to live together. It wasn't until after they moved in together that she revealed a secret: she has a demon following her. They hire an expert to check the house out for any signs that it is haunted. The expert says yes, it is and the demon wants Katie.
Throughout the movie, you see things happen, mainly at night, to let the viewer know that the demon is alive and well. A door opens and closes by itself, a sheet is drawn back on the couple sleeping in bed, lights turn on and off in a hallway. It's little things like these that are the scariest.
As the movie progresses, more and more things happen and the demon becomes more and more angry. A picture of the couple is smashed with the crack over Micah's face, Katie is pulled out of bed by the demon and Micah has to rescue her, etc. It all leads up to the shocking and unexpected conclusion.
This film pays homage to The Blair Witch Project in that it's shot with a small camera and is documented. Also, the characters are annoying at times. At several points throughout the film, I found myself wishing that Katie would either shut up or be killed by the demon. She really got on my nerves. I could understand her stress and frustration throughout the film, but the way she was acting was completely childish.
That's not to say that the actress herself didn't do a good job. She did. In fact, both of the leads did. I found myself drawn into the story more and their talent is what made the ending so shocking for me. That and the fact that Micah is absolutely gorgeous. I kept wishing he'd dump Katie and go in search to find me. I felt that I would be a better girlfriend than Katie was. And I'm not being stalked by a demon.
The setting is modern-day, in southern California. The house is too huge for Micah's salary and Katie's student status, but what do you expect in Hollywood? In movies, people without money are the ones with the biggest homes. As it is filmed with a hand-held camera, graphics are minimal and there is a bluish hue when filming at night. It does not detract at all; rather remind you that this is a "documentary" and "regular people" going about their lives.
The sequel is what interested me in this movie and now I plan to trek to the theater to see it when it opens in a few weeks. But before I do that, I will rent this again to re-familiarize myself with the characters and pick up on things I might have missed the first time. I hope Paranormal Activity 2 is just as good as the first one. If so, a franchise will be born and two young actors will quickly climb to the A list. And who knows? Maybe there is a hint of truth to the film.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010)
The choice is obvious...this is the one
Being a Twilight fan, I couldn't wait to catch Eclipse, the third installment of the Stephenie Meyer franchise. I sat in the theater, waiting for it to begin, wondering what favorite lines of mine from the book would make it into the movie. I also couldn't wait to see Robert Pattinson's gorgeous face again.
The movie did not disappoint. Just like New Moon, it was pretty close to the book. In this one, Seattle is plagued by unexplained deaths; these are the result of Victoria. She is building an army to take on the Cullens and get to Bella. Meanwhile, Bella is wrapping up things in her human life to prepare for her departure into the world of the undead. She visits Jacob a few times and he tells her he's in love with her. He says he knows she loves him too, but won't admit it. Later, Bella agrees to marry Edward in exchange for him having sex with her after the wedding. After battling Victoria's army and her own inner demons, Bella comes to realize exactly where her heart does lie.
As usual, the three leads are dead-on in their performances. Truthfully, I hated Bella in Eclipse; I couldn't believe she would treat Edward the way she did. Kristen Stewart made Bella likable; even though I still hated Bella, I could understand her point. Except, of course, when she asked Jacob to kiss her. Out of everything that was cut, that made it in. I knew it was important, but it didn't make me any happier. And despite the fact that I'm Team Edward, I do like Taylor Lautner as Jacob. He is probably the stand-out in this movie, getting to fight vampires, kiss the woman he loves, and accept the truth. His final scene is heart-breaking and I almost found myself wanting to console him. Almost.
Robert Pattinson takes Edward to new levels. You can see the pain he's feeling when Jacob keeps Bella warm in the tent and makes his jealousy evident in several scenes. Some say Pattinson's performance is horrible, that he shows no emotion. He's playing Edward as Meyer has advised him to; Edward is supposed to be rather reserved and isolated. This is what makes his emotional scenes so powerful. He also is mesmerizing when fighting Victoria. A truly fine performance.
Another stand-out in this film is Jackson Rathbone. His character of Jasper finally gets his chance to shine when we learn how Jasper came to be. And although several of the best lines from the book are omitted, Rathbone's intensity is not. You feel his pain as he explains "I didn't know of another way" when he joined Maria and his never-ending love for Alice. Though I was irritated that one of the best lines in the entire saga was not present in the movie ("I felt hope"), I was rewarded with a nice Jasper-Alice kiss. And Ashley Greene herself portrays some great emotion when dealing with the visions of Victoria coming to Forks.
The rest of the supporting cast is just as excellent, especially Nikki Reed and Kellan Lutz. Emmett gets a chance to fight and show his humorous side and Rosalie finally explains her dislike of Bella. This helps you understand her more and realize that although she's self-centered, there is still a human there. Bryce Dallas Howard replaces Rachelle LeFevre as Victoria. I really wanted to hate her; I was convinced that only LeFevre could play Victoria. I was wrong. Howard is almost as perfect as her predecessor and shows off some real talent when Edward is goading her. My bias for her dropped during the film and I became glad that she was in it. And there's a new vampire to drool over in Xavier Samuel as Riley. This brings the list of hot men in this movie to one hundred. I can only imagine what Breaking Dawn will have.
Like before, the cinematography is beautiful. There are several shots of the area that they live in and several cool action shots. Costumes are modern and desirable, especially the blouse Bella wears in Edward's home. The soundtrack once again includes music from musicians that I didn't know exist, such as Sia and Beck and Bat for Lashes to the ever-faithful Muse. And, true to form, there is one instrumental on the soundtrack album, one for those who are Team Jacob.
Anyone who is a fan of the Twilight Saga will not want to miss any of the movies, but most especially this one. So far, it is the best in the film franchise.
What makes us unique, makes us beautiful
I must admit, I was a bit put-off by this movie when I heard about it. "A girl with a pig nose?" I thought. "Sounds like a winner." Then I started catching portions of it on television and my curiosity was piqued. Finally, one night I sat down to watch from beginning to end. I fell in love with the movie and it is now one of my favorites.
Penelope is based on the book with the same title. It's about a girl (Christina Ricci) living with a family curse. She was born with a pig's nose and only an aristocrat like her can break the spell when he marries her. Her mother (Catherine O'Hara) loves her very much, but is ashamed of her, thinking that people will find Penelope a monster and run from her. Because of that, she hides her away in their mansion, never allowing her to have friends. And when she turns eighteen, so begins the hunt for a suitor.
This movie focuses on one suitor particularly, Max Campion (James McAvoy). He visits Penelope three times and each visit becomes longer and longer. You see Campion change throughout the movie; he starts as a gambler and ends as a working man, returning to his first love, music. You also see that Campion has fallen in love with Penelope, though it's uncertain why he won't marry her.
Penelope breaks free from her mother and begins life on her own. Eventually, she learns to love herself and the curse is broken. She visits Max, whom she has fallen for herself, and wears a disguise so he thinks she still has the nose. At one point, he pulls her to him and kisses her passionately, never hesitating at the sight of the nose. The kiss that is shared has been the subject of much talk on the internet. It is described as one of the best on-screen kisses ever. It is passionate and romantic and McAvoy pulls it off seamlessly. The movie ends happily, with the two of them in love and Penelope getting the normal life she's always wanted.
Ricci and McAvoy are perfect for the lead roles. You can actually feel Penelope's pain. "For seven years I've been watching them run. Do you have any idea how that makes me feel?" You smile when she breaks free and learns about things on her own. And Ricci wears the nose beautifully. Although Penelope is supposed to be considered "ugly" because of that nose, Ricci's beauty shines through both physically and emotionally. She makes Penelope attractive and is even more so at the end.
McAvoy is absolutely gorgeous as Max. You see the gentleman in him, along with the mystery. Why won't he marry Penelope? Why doesn't he tell her how he feels? Will he return to his music? McAvoy shines in this role and makes me wish more men were like that.
Catherine O'Hara is perfectly annoying as the mother and Richard E. Grant compliments her perfectly as the father. You can see that they love each other, though Jessica is clearly the one wearing the pants in the family. Franklin gets his own digs in, though, at the end of the film.
Simon Woods is Edward VanDerMan, a handsome suitor who only wants to marry Penelope to restore the family name. He is disgusted at the thought of kissing her and quite relieved when she says no to him. And Peter Dinklage shines as Lemon, the reporter who hires Max to take a photo of Penelope. Dinklage makes Lemon real; you don't see him as a villain, you see him as a caring individual. And he tries to push Max and Penelope together after discovering Max's secret.
Reese Witherspoon takes on a supporting role, along with executive producer. She said that she read the script and fell in love with it immediately. "This movie shows that it's okay to be unique." Witherspoon and the rest of the supporting cast brilliantly add to this gem of a film.
Everything about this movie invites you in, from the costumes to the scenery to McAvoy's kiss. You want to learn more about these characters and share in their successes. I think most people can feel Penelope's pain. She doesn't realize that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
I couldn't believe I didn't want to give this movie a chance because of the "pig-nosed girl." I realized my mistake and watch this film every chance I get. I hope that everyone enjoys it as much as I do and walks away with the lesson that is taught: it's okay to be different. This movie certainly is and is definitely a must-see.
Sherlock Holmes (2009)
As a Downey fan, I make it a point to see everything he's done. Although I am not there yet, no way was I missing Sherlock Holmes. I made the trek to the movie theater on Christmas Day, which I do not usually do, because I had to be one of the first to see it. And what a wonderful Christmas present it was.
Robert Downey Jr is, of course, perfect in the title role. There was much controversy about him playing Sherlock and the changes that were made. Every new adaptation has some changes; nothing can remain the same. It is a way of keeping the story fresh. Downey made Holmes his own. He did it without the infamous hat and pipe (although a hat and pipe of some sort are used throughout) and still managed to look sexy while doing it. Like any good actor, he also did his homework. He studied up on Holmes and Arthur Conan Doyle before shooting this film. And his hard work paid off. He captures Holmes perfectly, at least from the standpoint of someone not familiar with the stories. The English accent is spot-on; a few times I thought he was channeling his role in Chaplin. I felt myself grinning the moment Downey appeared on screen and it never faded. I knew I was going to love the film. And I did.
Jude Law is his faithful sidekick John Watson. Watson is engaged and plans to move out of the home that he and Holmes share. He keeps trying to break away from the adventure but is drawn in nonetheless. Law is completely convincing as Watson; there were times when I wanted to smack him for being so arrogant. And other times when I wanted him to smack Holmes. The chemistry between the two leads is intense; you can see the friendship and brotherhood these two men share. Some would argue that there are homosexual undertones. I did not see that, but you will have to judge for yourself.
As Lord Blackwood, Mark Strong is creepy and slimy and PERFECT. He is doing the work of the devil and is out to get Holmes. He defies everyone who thinks he's dead and continues his killing spree; at one point killing his own father. Strong's performance was so good that I would smile at what he was doing, even if it involved heinous activities. I had not heard of Mark Strong before but definitely plan to check his other work out; he has made a fan out of me. That's saying something.
The only one that I wasn't that impressed with was Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler. It wasn't that she was horrible; she just didn't have enough to do in the film to really show her talent. Adler is the only person to outsmart Holmes and he never forgot her. I was given the impression that they were romantically involved in the past. McAdams is gorgeous and sexy but that was all that she had. I hope that if she is in the sequel she will be given more to do. It was a so-so performance.
The setting and costumes are accurate for the time and completely believable. The music rocks and the computer graphics give us the feel of nineteenth-century London. The rest of the cast is convincing in their parts (especially Watson's dog) and I hope to see everyone in the sequel, even Strong if they can make his character come back from the dead.
Sherlock Holmes has been brought into the twenty-first century. I hope that this new adaptation will spark an interest in those who have never paid attention before and they will want to read all Arthur Conan Doyle's work. If a film can do that, then it is successful. And that's just what happened with me.
The Haunted Airman (2006)
The haunted viewer
As a Twilight and Pattinson fan, I was extremely eager to see The Haunted Airman. After it was over I wondered what the hell I just saw.
The film version of the book, The Haunting of Toby Jugg by Dennis Wheatley, is very choppy and confusing. Each scene gets stranger as it progresses and its running length, seventy minutes, is not enough to justify a conclusion. It was as though director Durlacher decided to just end it because he couldn't think of anything else.
Robert Pattinson plays Jugg and he is the best thing in this movie. This was the first non-Twilight film with him in it that I saw that PROVED he is an actor. He is absolutely breathtaking and you can clearly see his descent into madness. He realizes that his lover, Julia, has turned against him and the only person he can trust is himself. This sets off a chain of events that will lead to a tragic end.
Pattinson does very well playing a paraplegic; he drags his legs around convincingly and shows his humiliation when he has to be sponge-bathed by a nurse (Melissa Lloyd). His wheelchair fits the time, the old ones that were run manually and he moves fast! When Toby wants to get away, there is no stopping him. It is a brilliant performance and Pattinson shines.
The second reason, if there are others, to see this short film is Rachel Sterling. She plays the beautiful aunt-in-law of Toby's who starts a relationship with Dr. Burns and pulls away from him. Sterling is gorgeous and you can see the chemistry between them; it is as though they really WERE the characters and the strain of the relationship is evident especially at the end.
Other stand out performers include Julian Sands as Dr. Hal Burns. Although the run time is short, you learn quickly that he is the one driving Jugg slowly mad. He is slime and Sands pulls it off perfectly. When he steals Jugg's letters, I was ready to throw something at the screen. Sister Sally Grant is played by the spectacular Melissa Lloyd. She shines in this role. She appears to be Jugg's friend and confidante, but it's clear whose side she's REALLY on.
I would recommend this movie for the acting but nothing else. It is good to watch near Halloween if you want to feel your skin crawl and jump over every shadow or spider. Pattinson makes this film worth it.
Little Ashes (2008)
Never stop fighting for what you believe in
Little Ashes is a little-known film that was released last year. It stars Javier Beltran as Frederico Garcia Lorca and a pre-Twilight Robert Pattinson as Salvador Dali.
Starting in 1922, we are introduced to Dali as he arrives at a university in Madrid to study art. He is already convinced of his genius and meets Lorca, a writer and poet. The two form an instant friendship and Lorca finds himself attracted to Dali. During this time, homosexuality was frowned on and even illegal, so he has to keep it a secret. There are shots of Lorca in prayer, no doubt trying to purge the 'impure thoughts' of Dali from his mind. At times he even seems like he wants to avoid his friend. This it proved futile and finally, Lorca gives in to his growing attraction.
As the movie progresses, so does their relationship until Dali decides he's had enough of Spain and goes to France, leaving Lorca in the dust. Although he is attracted to him, Lorca's obsession is too much and he feels he must leave. The two meet again a few years later with Dali sporting a moustache. After a passionate kiss, Dali tells his friend that he is attracted to a woman and will stop at nothing to have her. He later watches Lorca and his girlfriend, Magdalena, have sex, the whole time Lorca's eyes never leave his. Dali returns to France and eight years later contacts his friend to start a business deal. Dali realizes that he hurt him by leaving and wants to make amends.
Lorca, by this time, is over him and his politics have changed. He speaks out against Franco and unwillingly signs his death warrant. He meets with Dali, married to a woman named Gala, and Dali promises to start things up again, including a romantic relationship. Lorca is unconvinced, realizing that this is not the same Dali as was at the university and leaves. That is the last time the two friends see each other. Lorca is captured and executed shortly after and Dali cries over his loss. Only towards the end of his life does Dali admit the attraction between himself and Lorca; he kept the memories of his friend quiet for years.
Beltran and Pattinson are fabulous in these roles. Both sport Spanish accents and portray their attraction to one another perfectly. Pattinson captures Dali's craziness and uniqueness, giving him life like we've never seen. Beltran makes Lorca real; you can feel his pain when Dali leaves him without a goodbye. I was crying for him at the end of the film. Marina Gatell is absolutely beautiful as love-struck Magdalena. She knows that Lorca and Dali are close friends, but doesn't realize the extent of their closeness until after she and Lorca have sex. I suspect she saw that he was watching Dali and realized her heart would never belong to him. The two remain friends after that and her unrequited love never faltered. She cries with friends upon hearing of Lorca's death on the radio.
The scenery of 1920s Spain is beautiful. We get to see a part of it when Lorca and Dali go for a bike ride through the country. Several times you see the men walking through the square and the scenery is perfect. There's also a beach where they spend some time talking and getting to know each other. The men also swim in the moonlight and that is when their friendship is taken to a new level. Pattinson is convincing as a confused and tortured Dali who is unsure of taking things farther. He finally does but cannot consummate the relationship. Because of that, he begins to pull away from Lorca and this ultimately causes the downfall of their friendship.
I wanted to see this movie because I am a huge fan of Robert Pattinson. I was sick of people saying "he can't act," so I rented his early work. I must say, I'm glad I did. Pattinson CAN most certainly act and he captures Dali to a T. Every good actor does his or her homework when playing a biographical character and this is no exception. Pattinson's eyes convey Dali's emotions during the sex scene, when Lorca comes to visit him and when he hears of Lorca's death. Nothing has to be spoken during those scenes; his eyes tell us perfectly what he is trying to say. And for those of us who find him quite attractive (like me), there is a shot of Pattinson naked standing in front of a mirror near the start of the film. I almost fell out of my seat when I saw that. Gorgeous!
This movie won a GLADD award for Outstanding Film in Limited Release. It is breathtaking, refreshing, funny and sad. If you enjoy Robert Pattinson's work as much as I do, see this film before judging his acting ability. This proved to me that he is more than a tortured vampire; he is an actor. And that is what it's all about.
The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009)
Awesome continuation of the unforgettable love story
New Moon is the second installment in Stephenie Meyer's blockbuster franchise. Like the first film, it does not disappoint. I was so excited to see this movie; this was the first of the Twilight films that I was able to see in the theater after becoming a fan. Like many, I was at the midnight showing.
This movie is closer to the book than its predecessor; although I did not have a problem with Twilight. In this one, Edward breaks up with Bella to protect her from himself and others like him after she cuts herself at a birthday party and Jasper lunges for her. The Cullens leave Forks and leave her absolutely devastated. After months of numbness, Bella begins to find comfort in her best friend, Jacob Black. She finds out that he is a werewolf when Victoria (a rogue vampire we meet in Twilight) comes to kill her. The Cullens killed Victoria's lover, James, at the end of the first movie and she wants revenge. She is able to out-maneuver Jacob and the other wolves and almost gets her hands on Bella. Meanwhile, Bella has visions of Edward when she does reckless things. One day, she goes cliff diving which sets off a chain of events in order to save Edward's life. At the end of the movie, the Cullens have returned to Forks, Victoria is still on the loose, Jacob is in love with Bella and Edward promises to never leave her again.
Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner are perfect in these roles. Although I am Team Edward, I was glad to see Taylor have more screen time as he is denied this in the first one. There is plenty of sexual tension and chemistry between these two and we get to see Lautner with his shirt off several times during the film. That being said, I hated the almost-kiss between Bella and Jacob. Thank God for Edward interfering!
Robert Pattinson does not get much screen time as Edward leaves Bella, but when he is on screen, he keeps your attention. All I did was stare at him. He also removes his shirt towards the end of the film to the delight of many. He is absolutely perfect as the tortured vampire who doesn't want to leave Bella but does because he thinks it's best for her. He is gorgeous, like Edward is written, and articulate. The chemistry between him and Stewart remains and is even kicked up a notch with several passionate kisses throughout the film. Edward tells Bella that he lied to protect her and he will always love her. The movie ends with him proposing marriage.
The rest of the cast is also great, especially Ashley Greene as Alice. There is not a single person out of place. We are introduced to the wolf pack in this one and will see more of them in the next two films. The cinematography, like Twilight, is breathtaking. The wolves are CGI and completely believable. Music chosen for this installment fits perfectly, especially Possibility by Lykke Li and Monsters by Hurricane Bells. The costumes are modern and classy; the dress that Bella wears in the birthday scene is my favorite piece, followed by the green blouse when she is in Italy. Replicas of these costumes are available for purchase and both are currently hanging in my closet.
The next chapter in the Twilight Saga does not disappoint; at least it didn't for me. It is an awesome continuation of the story and leaves you hanging for Eclipse. Make sure you see it.
Remember Me (2010)
Fingerprints don't fade from the lives we touch; neither does this
Remember Me is an amazingly haunting film. I saw it opening night and am still thinking about it; probably will for days to come. It is one that should be seen by everyone because of the subject matter.
Anyone who says Robert Pattinson can't act needs to do their homework. He most certainly can and proves it in previous films such as The Haunted Airman, Twilight Saga, Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire, Little Ashes and How to Be. These are several different roles that showcase his talent. You don't play Salvador Dali if you can't act. Remember Me is another film that takes his talent to new heights.
He plays Tyler Hawkins, an emotionally-withdrawn young man who doesn't know what he wants out of life. He meets the daughter of the cop that threw him in jail and decides to take her out, sleep with her and then dump her in retaliation. Along the way, however, he falls in love with her. When the truth is revealed, you can see the pain he goes through after Ally leaves him. Pattinson is spot-on during this whole film. I especially liked his protectiveness of his little sister (Ruby Jerins). You can see that she is the only one (at first) that he will open up to. Jerins is amazing and adorable as Caroline; I hope we see more of her.
Emilie de Ravin is perfect as Ally Craig. I will admit, after seeing previews I did not think that the Lost star was that attractive; my opinion changed after the movie. She is not only beautiful, but amazingly real in this role. She won me over.
Tate Ellington plays Tyler's best friend, Aidan Hall, and also provides some of the comic relief. I have not seen this actor before but I have become a fan. Aidan is the one who admits that he's a "prick," but will also go to bat for the ones he loves. You see that at the end of the film with his tattoo. He is a loyal friend to Tyler and Ally and Ellington is great.
Pierce Brosnan and Chris Cooper play the fathers of the leads. Both characters are so different yet also the same. At the end of the movie, you see them come out of their shells and open up more. Brosnan is Charles Hawkins, a high-powered executive who can't make time for his family. This infuriates Tyler and they spend part of the movie fighting about it. After an incident with Caroline, the two make up and reconciliation is on the horizon. Cooper is Neil Craig, the over-protective father of Ally and doesn't approve of her relationship with Tyler. He is an aggressive cop who doesn't do things by the book. Ally and her father grow closer after tragedy strikes them at the end of the film.
I won't ruin the ending for those who haven't seen it, but it was ruined for me. I went in knowing what to expect. Not that it affected me any less; I had tears in my eyes as did much of the audience. In a way, I'm glad I knew what was coming; I was able to pick up on subtle hints and foreshadowing that other people may have missed.
I cannot stop thinking about this movie and I plan to see it several more times in the theater. I am a Twilight fan and that caused me to become a Pattinson fan. I'm glad I took the time (unlike some other reviewers) to see his previous work. I have respect for Pattinson and know he will be around for a long time. Remember Me will make you laugh, cry, cheer and gasp at its intensity. This film will definitely be remembered.
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003)
How to lose your money in two hours
This movie was ridiculous. The plot is completely unbelievable. A woman bets her boss that she can 'lose a guy in ten days.' A man bets that he can make a woman fall in love with him in ten days. What can go wrong? Too much. The movie was not funny. It showed women as catty and men as stupid. There is no reason why he would 'want to keep her' and there is no reason that she 'would fall in love with him.' Granted, they are doing stupid and idiotic things on purpose, but after finding out that they were lying to each other, all is forgiven! And of course the climax is played out in public. Typical Hollywood. In reality, they would be so upset that they lied to each other that they would never see each other again. And any talking would be out of the line of curious ears. But of course, movies are not based on reality.
Kate Hudson is very pretty and Matthew McConaughey is quite handsome. The costumes, especially the yellow dress that Hudson wears at the end, are gorgeous. I do think that Hudson as Andie Anderson and McConaughey as Benjamin Barry did well with their talents, but the movie itself stinks. No matter how talented you are, you cannot save a sinking ship.
I'm sure several people will like this movie and that is fine, everyone has different tastes. I am a romantic, but I pride myself on being a sensible romantic. Movies of this kind are not romantic to me, just wastes of time. If you want a quality love story, go with something else. If you don't mind killing time and wasting your hard-earned money, then this may be the movie for you.
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009)
Not bad for a romantic
This movie is not my type. I like romances, not action films. That being said, I had a good time seeing GI Joe: The Rise of the Cobra. Not enough to add to my collection, but enough to watch on television some night. There is a lot of action in this movie of course, beautiful women and world domination. What man would not love it? It can appeal to women as well as there are numerous attractive men throughout the entire film. And plenty of comedy.
One thing that made this film exciting was the stars that popped out of nowhere to appear in the film. Dennis Quaid, Jonathan Pryce, Marlon Wayans and Arnold Vosloo. Every time a corner was turned, a new celebrity appeared. One thing I noticed was several actors from The Mummy franchise appeared, along with Vosloo. I won't tell you all of the names, you'll have to see it for yourself. My favorite was one who appears on a motorcycle during a training exercise.
A plus about this film was the patriotism. Many people, myself included, feel that America can be a joke at times. The people sworn to protect this country are proud and show it in this movie. It renewed my faith.
Good flick that appeals to men and women alike.
He's Just Not That Into You (2009)
I'm into this movie!
I really wanted to see this movie. Not because of who was in it, but because of the message. And I am glad I did! I loved this movie. Not only did it teach a lesson, but it gives women a sense of freedom and independence.
The all-star cast features Jennifer Aniston, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Connelly, Scarlett Johansson and Drew Barrymore. But my favorites were two actors whom I hadn't seen before. Ginnifer Goodwin plays Gigi, a hopeless romantic looking for love in all the wrong places. She is perfect in this role. She is so pretty and cute and I love her hair. I felt that I could relate to Gigi, especially when she said "there won't be anyone left." At the end, of course, she finds her true love in Alex (Justin Long), my other favorite. A cynical bartender who is used to using women for his amusement, he confesses to her that he "didn't know what it felt like when I fell for one of them." Long is adorable even when he is being a jerk. During their kiss scene at the end, I found myself grinning from ear to ear. Perfect chemistry.
The others in this movie also turn out fine performances. Barrymore's part was smaller than the others, she did not have as much screen time. I was glad to see that not everyone got a happy ending; this is indicative of real life. Not everyone does get the love of their life. Why should they in the story? The costumes are fabulous, stylish and modern. The setting is Baltimore, Maryland. This made me happy as I get tired of seeing New York in every movie. A nice change of pace.
If anyone is looking for a movie with girl-power, see He's Just Not that Into You. A great plot, great characters, great message. Everything you could want in a "chick flick."
The House of Mirth (2000)
An interest has been piqued
I caught this movie on different occasions and always at the end. Finally I was able to watch it from the beginning. And I am glad I did. I have not read Wharton's book of the same title, but plan to now. I have to know the background of Lily Bart and everyone involved in The House of Mirth.
The casting of Gillian Anderson in the lead role was genius. Anderson's beauty is unparalleled and her performance should have been Oscar-worthy. She captures Lily Bart with all the emotion that one can ask for. She is snobby, selfish, sympathetic and sorrowful. You cannot help but want her to win. I was drawn to the movie because I am a fan of The X-Files and I was glad to see the actress who played Scully leaving her comfort zone for a once-in-a-lifetime role.
Eric Stoltz also gives a memorable performance as Lawrence Selden. I could tell immediately that he was in love with Bart, but also knew her too well. He knew that she would never marry for love and so he never proposed. But you can see the jealousy in his face when she is being courted by other men. The kissing scene was marvelously done and kept me wanting more. And his weeping over her corpse at the end of the film is heart-breaking.
Other big names who appear in the movie are Dan Aykroyd as Gus Trenor and Laura Linney as Bertha Dorset. Both are intriguing and fun to watch. Anthony LaPaglia also appears in the film. At times, I found myself almost wanting him to win Bart. Almost.
A period-piece, the costumes are stunning and at times, real. The director had some of them using real clothing from the turn of the century. The women even wore corsets; this helped them appreciate what women went through at a time when they were still considered property.
Wonderfully directed, acted, costumed and everything else, this movie has stuck in my head. I look forward to reading the book and learning more. When a film can draw someone in like that, it is a success.
Go Team Edward!
I saw this movie because I was curious as to the phenomenon; I figured that if I saw it I would understand and not be hooked. I was wrong. I fell in love with the story and immediately read the books. I am now a huge Twilight fan and totally Team Edward.
Unlike some other Twi-hards, I liked the movie. Granted, things were left out, but what movie adaptation doesn't leave stuff out? I also enjoyed the performances of Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. Both bring life to their roles and are very passionate about the characters they play. Stewart is very pretty; she makes Bella's beauty subtle, like it should be. Pattinson, however, is absolutely GORGEOUS! I am 'unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.' Amazing. Some have complained about his performance, that it wasn't passionate enough. When I saw the movie for the first time, without having read the books, I saw Edward as being tortured. That is how Pattinson plays him, like he is tortured over the thought of hurting Bella. You can see how much he loves her and how much he wants her blood. Likewise, you can see Bella's torture of being away from Edward in Stewart. I think that her portrayal of Bella at times seemed 'rougher' than what's in the book, but everyone's interpretation is different.
The film is visually stunning with the cinematography of Forks, Washington. The costumes are modern and appealing to teenagers. Bella's prom dress (lent to her by Alice, Edward's sister) is stunning and Stewart wears it well. The supporting cast is perfect, especially Ashley Greene as Alice and Jackson Rathbone as Jasper. Kellan Lutz as Emmett also deserves special praise, as does Nikki Reed as the self-absorbed Rosalie. Taylor Lautner, although absent from most of the film, gives a fine performance as Jacob. Although I am Team Edward, I like Lautner. Muse, a band which I had never heard of, steals the show with their song, Supermassive Black Hole. Played during the baseball game, it is a toe-tapping good time. And the best one on the soundtrack. Also of interest is the fact that two of Pattinson's songs appear in the movie and Bella's Lullaby, written by Carter Burwell, is absolutely beautiful.
I have watched this film more than I can count and plan to watch it many more times. If anyone is curious about the saga but isn't sure if he or she wants to read the books, I say see the movie. It may whet your appetite for more. That's what happened with me.
Misery loves company
Kathy Bates was completely deserving of her Academy Award. She ( and Caan) shine in this movie. I was in awe that she could change her emotions so quickly: happy one minute, murderous the next. An example is when she tells Paul (after reading that Misery is dead) that no one knows he is with her & no one will come for him; she is purely evil. And then the next scene, she is purely loving! Like Paul said "Crazy bitch." She claims to "love" him, yet smashes his ankles so he cannot leave her. Crazy bitch indeed!
This is a must-see for true movie fans. Bates' Oscar-winning performance is high caliber, Caan is completely believable as the injured Paul Sheldon, & Richard Farnsworth shines as the wise-cracking sheriff, Buster. I really wanted to see more of him in this film. And kudos to the special appearance of Misery, the pig. Although in only one scene, she is a complete ham!
So if you are in the mood for a psychological thriller, give this a try. Bates' performance is completely worth it.
Iron Man (2008)
I am not ashamed to admit it: I love Robert Downey Jr. If you read my other reviews, most of them are about him. I cannot get enough of this gifted actor. He was the reason I wanted to see this movie.
Director Jon Favreau does a great job with this film. The special effects are out-of-this-world. The music rocks. The dialogue is witty & humorous. The suit rocks. And the actors shine.
Gwyneth Paltrow is Pepper Potts, Tony Stark's assistant. Not a Paltrow fan, but she suits this role. I loved her hair color. She is perfect in her conflicting emotions. And absolutely gorgeous in the blue ball gown. Perfect.
Terance Howard surprised me. I have not seen him before, but I am a fan. As Rhodes, Stark's best friend, Howard brings a realness to the character. You cheer him on as he hints towards a sequel.
The villain is played by Jeff Bridges. Amazing. I absolutely hated him. Knowing that he wanted to kill Tony when Tony trusted him made me cheer for Iron Man even more. I suspected him from the beginning. A great job by a great actor.
This movie, however, belongs to Downey. He is perfect as Tony Stark. Talk about hot!! Not only is Downey good-looking in this film, but the shots of his bare, muscular arms sent a tingle through me. And his tight jeans sent more. The best good-looking shot of him is in the tuxedo. I melted into a puddle. Besides his looks, Downey makes Stark human. He can change emotions at the drop of a hat. Watch his eyes: he can tell a story just using them. I've said it before, I'll say it again: he has the best eyes in the business.
The sexual tension between Potts & Stark steams up the screen! You can see how much Tony wants her, & how much she wants to tell him she loves him. I really wanted them to get together. Hopefully in the sequel.
This is definitely the big blockbuster of 2008. I cannot wait to add it to my collection. Be sure to see it. Also, be sure to stick around through the credits for a surprise at the end.
Circle of Friends (1995)
Dreams come true
I was glad to see Chris O'Donnell in this movie. He did this to show the Irish side of him. As an Irishwoman, I loved that. O'Donnell shines as Jack Foley, the good-looking Rugby star who falls in love with Benny (Driver). O'Donnell plays Foley with suavity, sympathy & class. You like him; even when you find out about Nan. He just has a way of making you swoon. And I loved the accent. My favorite scene in this movie is Jack in a tuxedo. Talk about hot! Chris O'Donnell has always been good-looking, but wearing that tuxedo & speaking with an Irish accent made me swoon.
Driver gives a star-is-born performance as Benny, the 'ordinary' girl who dreams of more than Knockglen. You feel her pain as she deals her whole life with not being the beauty Nan is; & cheer when Jack tells her he loves her.
I discovered what a talent Alan Cumming is. His portrayal of Sean Walsh gave me the creeps; yet I kept hoping for more screen time. Geraldine O'Rawe is another breakthrough performance as Eve. She is a loyal friend to Benny & a joy to watch on screen. Her beauty & grace are unmatched in this film.
A very sweet movie & a good addition to anyone's collection. If you are Irish, rent & enjoy this gem. If you are not, rent anyways. It just proves that sometimes the person you want may not be out of reach. Sometimes dreams do come true.