Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Avengers (2012)

First of all I thought the movie was truly AWESOME! And I'd thought I'd do something fun about helping you decide if its a movie you'd like to see or if you should let your kids see it. Keep in mind it is PG-13 for comic book style fighting...good guys vs. bad guys. I didn't hear any foul words nor any sexual references or jokes. Only a simple kiss between tony Stark (aka Ironman) and Pepper Potts. In fact overall I think we may let our boys see this one, even though we are not allowing them to watch the other ones prior to this. But anyway here's a quick guide to knowing if YOU would like the movie or not.


1. Did you watch Ironman (2008) and enjoy it? If Yes proceed to question 2. If no, just stop you won't really like the Avengers and maybe comic book movies are not for you.

2. Did you watch Ironman 2 (2010) and enjoy it? If yes or no really doesn't matter proceed to question 3. This movie was okay but not relevant to the Avengers storyline really. (FYI Ironman 3 is due out in 2013!)

3. Did you watch Captain America (2011) and enjoy it? If yes proceed to question 4. (Oh Chris Evans...did you know he also plays another Marvel super hero in the Fantastic Four!). Part of this movie is also very relevant to the Avengers storyline. If you answered no but yes to question 1, watch this movie first before seeing Avengers.

4. Did you watch either Hulk movie (2003 or 2008)? If yes or no, whatever both were horrible and neither actor continued to play the Hulk in the Avengers. If you did see it, ignore your dislike or even liking for them and continue to question 5.

5. Did you watch Thor (2011) and enjoy it? If yes, then you are ready to watch the Avengers. This movie sets up the bad guy for Avengers. If you didn't enjoy Thor, maybe seeing The Lucky One would be better.

If most of your answers were yes...then run to see the Avengers! Its fantastic! Fun! Exciting! Perfect for Marvel fans young and old! In fact out of all the movies mentioned above this one is more family friendly for kids who like action style movies. I have to see it one more time to fully give my support to my 6 year old to see it. But 3rd/4th grade and above should be fine for this movie. Really its just the comic book violence that made it PG-13. And kuddos to Marvel Studios (now owned by Disney) for another awesome movie!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

I finally watched this movie on DVD last night. From the Heston to Walberg to Franco, I have enjoyed the Planet of the Apes movies. (the only exception was the old sequel, 'Beneath the Planet of the Apes') I always look forward to hearing the classic line and in this most recent take on the Apes ruling the planet the line was delivered by Tom Felton (best known for playing Draco in all the Harry Potter Films). In this movie we find ourselves in San Francisco where Will (James Franco) is a medical drug researcher trying to find a cure for Alzheimer's to help his own father and the world. He ends up with a baby chimp, Caesar, in his care and finds the drug was past from his mom into the baby and his intelligence soars. Showing the drug is not only to cure bad cells but can enhance intelligence in healthy cells. It takes a lot of the movie to set up the Rising of the Apes, but this movie is more about the back story of another theory or idea given to how the world will eventually be taken over by super intelligent apes. There were parts where you can see small jabs by the Hollywood movie against animal cruelty and medical research. Its subtle but you have to wonder if it was on purpose to make you question things or was it just part of the story to get to the end. After the of the movie I was wondering what Charlton Heston would say about this one. Did you know he was in the Tim Burton version of The Planet of the Apes. (uncredited he played Zauis' father). That one is my favorite, I love Burton, so I guess I'm biased towards it. Back to the movie at hand, the end of the Rise only showed a mild start to the rise, I'm sure setting up a sequel. If I had to give stars I would give it 3.5 stars for simple entertainment. Those who enjoy any and/or all of the Planet of the Apes movies would possibly enjoy this one as well. It stands alone, but its also just another re-make or another take on a story that's already been done before. True originality in movies is rare, but with a classic story you can find many ways to tell it and not kill the original or the whole idea of the movies.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Journey 2: Mysterious Island

There came a point in my children when they decided that cartoon/animated movies were "uncool" and left us with finding family friendly movies that entertain and don't contain things that require explaining or editing for ears/eyes. So, when a movie or line of movies comes out that everyone in our family can enjoy we glad invest our time and money to see them. Journey 2 fits the bill. Like the first one in this series it all starts with the idea that the books by Jules Verne are real and based on real places and adventures someone took to these grand places. In this one we find our adventure in the Mysterious Island. This island is the final resting place of Captain Nemo and the Lost City of Atlantis. Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock, plays the step-dad trying to form a relationship with Sean. Sean lost his dad in the Center of the Earth and in this one searched for his grandpa (played by Micheal Caine). There's lots of adventure, laughs, and family values in this movie. When you watch the regular non 3-D version it is very clearly what parts would have the 3-D effects. However, they aren't overly distracting from the general viewing and enjoyment of the movie. If you have kids who find some tension in an action sequence scary or hard to watch just know there are a couple parts I can see timid child not enjoying it. However overall the movie was clean, good fun, and great for the whole family. If your family enjoyed the first movie or movies like National Treasure, Percy Jackson, etc., then I'm sure you'll enjoy this one too.

You may love the previews if you are a LOTR fan! Hobbit is coming and it looks like it's going to be a great adventure.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Midnight in Paris (warning spoilers if you don't know)

Finally had a chance to watch this movie tonight. Before watching it I only knew the two main actors and the director/writer of the movie. When it first begins there was just too many scenes of Paris shown with the music. Extra long soft intros to movies don't grab my attention easily. But once the movie was over I understood the meaning behind the long soft intro to the city of Paris. This movie is more about how Paris herself throughout history has captured the hearts of people and inspired artists, writers, etc. Although I have never been to Paris I can only imagine how beautiful the city is. Someday I'll go visit (maybe). So back to the movie itself. It was subtle the way you were introduced the time travel Gil (Owen Wilson) would take and how those adventures changed his life. He went back to the same time each night at Midnight and befriend people like Ernest Hemingway and the Fitzgeralds. What I did enjoy is how simple it was for him to simply wait until Midnight to climb into a car clearly from the 20's and suddenly find himself in that era. While he is figuring out his own course of action with his life and the book he is trying to write, his fiancee (Rachel McAddams) thinks his stories of his travels are a brain tumor and crazy. You realize they are not really made for each other and wonder why they are getting married at all. She clearly holds another higher than Gil. (That much I'll leave you to find out). I kept waiting to see it end with him staying in the 20's, but rather I was pleasantly surprised with a sort of unexpected ending that allowed him to continue to hold onto the love of the past and the "Golden Era" without the unrealistic ending that he remain in the past. Now all that to say the movie overall was okay, held most of my attention. I wouldn't say it was Oscar worthy (it has been nominated for best picture...why I have no idea). However, it is a pleasantly enjoyable film to watch with your special someone or even just for a quiet night. Its rare to find such an interesting film without all the added hoopla or foul language or over sexed people for no reason. While you won't see me running out to buy it or even watch it again, I do recommend seeing it at least once.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

I guess I should start this off by saying I don't really like Tom Cruise. There I said it. I am not a fan of Top Gun nor really any of the things he has done. (shocking I know). However the first Mission Impossible I enjoyed. I don't remember the 2nd one and I never saw the 3rd. Yes, this movie fan didn't can't even recall that there was a 3rd one. If you know me, you know I like movies like this, Star Trek, Bond (older and now Daniel Craig ones), Marvel's Avengers Heroes Movies, etc. And yes overall I enjoyed this movie. Simon Pegg really was more of what I enjoyed. I love him! He made the movie more enjoyable to watch. The movie itself plays on the old ideas of cold war tensions with Russia even in our current world. There's always someone trying to get Russia and the US to get into a nuclear war. And in classic Mission Impossible style not everything goes right even with gadgets and smart plans you don't always know about. The most silly thing was the hardest for me to watch as one afraid of heights. Sure Ethan Hunt did that on the tallest building in the world....right. But in general fans of Tom Cruise or Mission Impossible won't be disappointed in this one. And no you don't really need to see any of the others to see this one. However, I had no idea Ethan Hunt got married and lost his wife, guess that was in the 3rd movie. But, if you already saw Sherlock Holmes and need another date night out or movie to see go ahead and see this one you won't leave feeling like the trip to the theater wasn't worth it. Plus, maybe you'll get lucky and see the Titanic 3-D preview (that's a joke people!), but the Avengers preview is fun!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Movies I love

I could review tons of Christmas Movies, after all it's that time of year. Instead I'd just thought I'd share my favorites and why they are my favorites. But, let me start by saying that I personally only watch Christmas themed movies between Black Friday and New Years Eve. It's also the only time I listen to Christmas music. I think saving it for only the actual Christmas season makes them more enjoyable and part of tradition. Otherwise I think the movies (and music) can lose that special touch they bring to all of us. There's a reason everyone (most everyone that is) loves Christmas and we all can't seem to get enough of the Christmas movies and even sappy TV specials. The movies are not listed in any order of favorites but rather the order in which I was inspired to mention them.

National Lampoons Christmas Vacation 1989
Truly the best Lampoons movie ever and quite possibly the best Vacation movie made too! Although I love Vacation and the adventures the Griswold's have getting to Wally World, there's something magical about Christmas Vacation. I think we can all relate to something in the Christmas Vacation movie. For me Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold will forever remind me of my own father. My dad is a wonderful man who loves Christmas, his family, and loves a lot like Chevy Chase. While my dad may just be slightly more intelligent than Clark, I am just reminded of my dad and our own Christmases every time I watch Christmas Vacation. I want to say here too that if you have only seen it on TV, please just buy the DVD or Blu-Ray of it and watch it uncut, the TV version leaves too much out! A family man desiring his Christmas bonus to pay for a swimming pool for his family while also wanting the perfect family Christmas in his home. Of course in classic Griswold style nothing goes right and Cousin Eddie is just crazy as ever. Truly a Classic Christmas movie for teens and adults. Not something for kids!

White Christmas 1954
Bing Crosby tap dancing with Danny Kaye! So classic that even the movie above mentions it. (I left out the bad word Clark used in between Danny and Kaye). I love musicals and Broadway and how can you not love Bing Crosby singing White Christmas. If you don't love this movie you may want to check your pulse and make sure your heart isn't two sizes too small.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966 & 2000)
Animated or Jim Carrey I'll watch either one or both! I love the Who's in Whoville! I know not everyone loved Ron Howard's take on the classic tale with Jim Carrey in crazy yellow contacts and a green costume, but what fun to have a family movie everyone can love and enjoy. I love the heart of the movie that everyone is included for Christmas, even the grinches!

The Ref 1994
This movie shows you my dark comedy side, the side of me that prefers something slightly different than the Miracle of 34th Street movies. Dennis Leary and Kevin Spacey in the same movie with great lines! A fun story all taking place on Christmas Eve. This movie is not for anyone who doesn't like the F word or dysfunctional family fun. This movie is for adults,  not even teens and so not for kids. But if you are like my husband or love the usual suspects and other Kevin Spacey films i think you'll enjoy this movie.

A Nightmare Before Christmas 1993
Tim Burton. I love Tim Burton. I love Danny Elfman (music and Jack Skeleton). I was so glad when my boys were finally able to enjoy Nightmare with me. When this movie came out in 1993 I was there, opening weekend with my good friend Betsy! Instantly I was a fan of the movie of Tim Burton and Danny Elfman. (It's also why I love Mars Attacks, Edward Scissorhands, etc). This stop motion animated movie features Jack Skeleton from Halloween Town searching for something more to his life and stumbles upon Christmas Town. Of course those in Halloween Town who try to take over Christmas don't go a good job of it and Jack realizes in the end he is perfect for Halloween. The songs and music are fantastic. (it is a musical after all!) This is one movie that is the exception to the not before Thanksgiving rule and it allowed to be viewed as early as October for Halloween too.

It's a Wonderful Life 1946
James (Jimmy) Stewart in the classic black and white Holiday Classic. Perfection. Lasso the moon! This is the best one to play while baking cookies, wrapping presents, or snuggling by the fire. I love Jimmy Stewart. He was a fantastic actor with so many great movies, Harvey, Rear Window, Veritgo, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, etc. You know how loved this movie is by all the references and spoofs to it in our culture today in TV shows, movies, etc.

A Christmas Story 1983
To be quite honest when I was younger I thought this movie was an older movie and not one made in my lifetime. For the love of a boy who wants a gun for Christmas. I can't watch it enough! I try to watch it more than once on Christmas Day (thank you TBS!). One of these years I'll actually buy it on DVD to watch whenever I want too. A fantastic movie that has become a household tradition. If for some crazy reason you haven't seen this movie all the way through please for the love of leg lamps and Red Rider BB guns see this movie from beginning to end just once!

Elf 2003
Smiling is my favorite. I loved Will Farrell on SNL but Buddy the Elf makes me want to believe that Santa is real again. I find myself wanting to spread Christmas Cheer by signing loud for all to hear. This is the favorite of my boys and my husband and one of the first movies we watch for the Christmas Season. Syrup on noodles for everyone!

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

When I was younger I would watch Sherlock Holmes with my mom. I can't remember the version or the channel it was on I just remember enjoying it. I've always liked crime drama, detective, hero style shows/movies. A Game of Shadows is a delightful movie with stylized action sequences, intrigue, and of course great banter between Dr. Watson and Holmes. What I love most about the Sherlock Holmes movies is when the camera/action is slowed down to show us the details Holmes sees, the action before it happens, or the action as it's happening.
The camera work, direction, and cinematography add elements that really fit the Holmes movies. It's also nice to see a PG-13 movie without added sexual things when its not needed. No excessive blood in the fighting and barely a bad word. Something I can consider watching with my boys when they are old enough to just follow the story and appreciate the character of Sherlock Holmes.
The story of the movie flows wonderfully, even if you can't truly figure it all out. (We aren't suppose too, only Holmes is to know everything). While I loved the first one, A Game of Shadows had a better plot, more fun, great stylized action, and you truly wondered if Holmes is just an eccentric genius or insane. Those who love Robert Downey Jr, Sherlock Holmes, or just an enjoyable action/intrigue movie will enjoy this movie. I was almost let down at the end, but of course in true Sherlock Holmes style it ended perfectly and (of course) without any hint it did leave room for a third one, please!