Monday, July 19, 2010

Review: Inception

Finally a movie that lived up to the hype. Inception is 2 hrs and 22 min of intense storytelling. My mind was stretched, but not lost. I walked out of the theater happy instead of confused, which was rather nice. Sometimes I feel that writers try too hard to be original and in the process lose their audience.

Bravo to writer/director Christopher Nolan for creating a beautifully woven story, complete with action and special effects that leave me feeling like I need to watch a making of the movie special so I can figure out how in the world half of it was done.

I would also like to congratulate the casting director. The cast was, in a word, superb. Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ken Watanabe and Cillian Murphy all starred in this film. The only thing that I had trouble with, were a couple of Ken Watanabe's lines, I couldn't understand him. Another thing that needs mentioning is the movie's score. It reminded me of Jaws. Inception has one loud base note that stands out when things get intense. If I ever hear that sound it will be impossible not to think of this film. I don't want to say anything else about the story. It is one you should experience with no preconception. Keep an open mind and go along for the ride.    A

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Review: Toy Story 3

Toy Story     2010 has not made for a strong year at the movies thus far. While all have not been complete busts, there has been a strong sense of being underwhelmed. Just imagine my surprise when the best film of the year so far, was brought to me courtesy of the Pixar/Disney team. Toy Story 3 had everything a good movie should have: action, plot, love, a message, comedy. It was fun from the time the 3-D glasses went on.
     I laughed, I cried (yes, I know it is a cartoon) and I loved it from beginning to end. I think we have a lock for the best animated film category at the Academy Awards. This film showed what it means to come full circle. Andy is all grown up, like many of us, and although we get older and move on to different stages of our lives, there is always another generation ready to play. Buzz, we will always be amigos.   A

Review: Twilight Saga Eclipse

     The franchise is back and better than ever. Finally a movie that closely resembles the book on which it was based. Twilight was a low budget practice run, New Moon was a vast improvement and Eclipse is what happens when the director gets it right. My expectations for Eclipse were high, and fortunately I was not disappointed.

     The music flowed, the cast learned to act, the makeup artist deserves a raise and all the key points of the book were included. All Twilight fans can breathe a sigh of relief. Since there is no need for me to give you a plot synopsis, let me just list a few of my favorite scenes.
1. Jasper's training session with the rest of the Cullen's and the wolf pack
2. The tent on the mountain
3. The night alone at the Cullen's (beware of monkey sounds escaping from the girl sitting next to you)
4. The big fight at the end
                                 5. Rosalie and Jasper's back stories

     The new additions to the series fit in quite nicely. It's a shame Bryce Dallas Howard (Victoria) won't be back. She played the character well. As for Xavier Samuel (Riley), I don't think he will have trouble finding work. Leah and Seth Clearwater were new to the wolf pack and I look forward to seeing both of them again. Now it's time to start waiting impatiently for the fourth and fifth installments. We can only hope the final two films capture the fourth book and all its story. There is, after all, a lot to cover.   B+

Friday, June 18, 2010

Review: The A-Team

I have to ask, how much money did these guys spend on special effects? There was a crazy helicopter rescue set up before the opening title even appeared. The A-Team was better than I expected, but for the most part it was advertised accurately. There were the expected explosions, over the top action scenes and four guys who looked like they were genuinely having fun.

Liam Neeson portrayed Colonel John 'Hannibal' Smith and was as entertaining as ever. He is one of the best actors around. Bradley Cooper, Lt. Templeton 'Faceman' Peck, stood out from the rest and no it wasn't just his abs, although those stood out as well. Cooper is turning into the go-to guy in Hollywood for summer blockbusters. This was a first turn for Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson, B.A. Baracus, but he did well overall. On the plus side he didn't say "I pity the fool," a hundred times like I feared, he let his knuckles do the talking. The only down side to his performance was when he was supposedly a changed man after spending 6 months in jail, he didn't quite convince me. Sharlto Copley, Murdock, was a riot from the moment he hit the screen and kept the laughs coming.

The comedy is what makes this movie better than other action movies. I would also like to mention that Jessica Biel didn't sound as though she were reading her lines. There is a first time for everything. I also enjoyed Patrick Wilson's performance. It was a very different role than that of Raoul in Phantom of the Opera.
Good to see on the big screen for the action, but make it a matinee.   B

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Review: Prince of Persia

Take one part The Mummy and one part Aladdin and you have The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. The special effects are good, but not over done. The plot, luckily there is one, is actually deeper than I was expecting. It's nice to be surprised by a movie; either because the plot takes an unexpected turn or because it's better then you expected it to be. Prince of Persia falls into the latter category. Some of that might be because I have never played the video game it was based on, but I like to think it just turned out well.

Jake Gyllenhaal, who plays moral Prince Dastan, led the movie well and lets just say all those months of training paid off. The accent was nice, among other things, ladies you'll understand. Ben Kingsley was a welcome addition to the cast, as Dastan's uncle Nizam. He is good in every role that he plays and this was no exception. British actress Gemma Arterton played the leading lady Princess Tamina, and based on her performance and her beauty, I would say that this won't be the last we see of her. She has a face made for the big screen.

I don't want to give away plot, I hate it when I know the whole story going in, so I will just touch on it briefly. Three princes, one magic dagger, beautiful princess set to protect the dagger. Dagger falls into the wrong hands and life as they all know it will end. You get the idea. This movie is worth the price of a ticket and I have to admit I was glad it was not in 3-D.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

10 Worst Movies Since 1990

Oh how to choose the worst. Unfortunately there are a lot to choose from. The criteria: no sequels, prequels, spoof movies (i.e. Scary Movie, Meet the Spartans) and nothing that went straight to DVD. Since there will undoubtedly be more to add to this one, let me hear from you.

10. Kazaam (1996) - Shaquille O'Neal stars as a genie in this movie and proves why not all athletes should cross over to acting. Just because you are good at sports does not mean we want to watch you embarrass yourself or appear out of a boom box. Our wish? That you had not made this movie.

9. I Know Who Killed Me (2007) - Dear Lindsay Lohan, how could you? What happened to the long ago days of The Parent Trap? Even though you seem to want to self destruct, why would you sign on for this film? It is a hot mess of pole dancing, limbs being cut off and mistaken identities. In a word, dreadful.

8. Battlefield Earth (2000) - Oh John Travolta how we usually like thee, but not this time. No plot, which is impressive considering it was based on a novel. Usually a novel gives you a built in plot, you don't even have to come up with a new idea for goodness sake! Then there is the bad acting and bad special effects. In this day and age there is no excuse for bad special effects. You know it's bad when people start laughing and it's not meant to be a comedy.

7. Gigli (2003) - Where this film went wrong? Casting Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck as the two main stars. Had this film been made as an independent film and acted out by unknowns maybe it wouldn't rank on almost all worst film lists. Not all main stream studios and actors should try to be deep. Nine times out of ten they can't pull it off.

6. From Justin to Kelly (2003) - There are no words....well actually there are. Just because two people are on American Idol and they happen to be the flavor of the week, that does not mean they should star in a movie. We are not talking about a made for television movie here people, we are talking released in the theater. No acting ability whatsoever. Not to mention no chemistry between the two of them. If you think you are going to watch this movie for a laugh, beware the joke is on you. It is TORTURE!

5. Home Fries (1998) - This movie probably slipped through the cracks for most people, consider yourselves lucky. I can usually find a silver lining in a film with actors that I like even if it's not the best movie ever made, but this one took the cake for me. Drew Barrymore, Luke Wilson and Catherine O'Hara star in this movie about a pregnant fast food restaurant worker who falls for the stepson of the baby's deceased father. I realize it is supposed to be a dark comedy, but it failed. It is a silly mess, not worth the $1 RedBox price tag.

4. The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996) - H.G.Wells probably turned over in his grave at the release of this gem. Although it had a cast worthy of a decent film, it missed the mark. It starts off well enough as a man is transported to an island to learn that the recluse doctor who lives there is conducting strange experiments on animals, but then it spirals out of control. Part of the issue could be that the original director was fired mid-way through shooting (thank you Val Kilmer), and the film was completed by another director, but that isn't all of it. It's just not that great.

3. Showgirls (1995) - Saved By the Bell was a long time ago, which seemed to be what Elizabeth Berkley was trying to prove to everyone during the entire duration of this stripper disaster. The acting, if you want to call it that, is terrible. This looks like a film someone made in their basement. Shame on you Kyle MacLachlan for stooping so low. I expected this from Berkley and Gina Gershon, but not you.

2. Glitter (2001) - Oh goody a chance to watch Mariah Carey's narcissism on the big screen. Not to mention her insanely bad acting. When you can't say anything nice.....

1. Freddy Got Fingered (2001) - Hate the title, Tom Green is annoying and the entire plot of this film is ridiculous. For the people out there who feel that this film is just over some people's heads, that is fine. To each his own, but even though it is hard to gross me out this film did it tenfold. FYI: It is never okay to cut an umbilical cord with your teeth.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Review: Sex and the City 2

It was a good night last night; dinner and a drinks with a friend and then we went and visited our old friends Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda. There's something to be said for familiarity. For all the sadness that took place in the first movie, number two was meant to serve as the yin to that yang.

The girls all have personal things going on, as usual, but instead of just meeting for lunch, this time they get to go on an all expense paid trip to Abu Dhabi. Thank you for that Smith Jerrod; and so many other things. Ladies you know what I mean. Charlotte finally has everything she has ever wanted, but she is learning how hard being a mom really is, and that is with the help of a braless nanny. Miranda is killing herself, and missing her son's life all to try to please a new tyrant of a boss. Samantha is battling menopause with the help of Suzanne Somers and Carrie is well, Carrie. She is trying to find a way to merge her old life with her married one.

During their stay all the girls have their own cars and their own butlers, not a bad way to travel, and don't even get me started on their plane ride. Who knew they even made planes like that? The girls are their usual selves. They play by their own rules, ignoring most of the traditions of the Middle East and they have a lot of fun. Camel rides, karaoke and cheap shoes. Every girls dream.

While in Abu Dhabi Carrie runs into Aidan, and since she is feeling a bit suffocated by married life, drama ensues. She was the most unlikeable one in the film. It was hard to listen to her whine about being married when we watched her go back and forth over Big for years. If he was the screw up in the first film she was this time around. Thanks to her butler and her run in with Aidan, distance really did make the heart grow fonder.

In turn, one of the best parts of the movie takes place when Charlotte and Miranda stay in and have a few drinks and Miranda gets Charlotte to let loose about what is bothering her. Their time together turns into a bit of a drinking game. If there are people in the audience around you laughing, they too are moms. Samantha's time in the desert is eventful. I don't want to give too much away, but lets just say she gets into trouble like only Samantha can.

This movie served its purpose. It was a great excuse to go out with the girls and reminisce. There are plenty laugh out loud moments, even if the beginning starts out a little bit slow. When it's time for the girls to return home the movie gets a little silly, but all is well that ends well. C

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Review: Iron Man 2

Robert Downey Jr. reprises his role as Tony Stark in this sequel to 2008's Iron Man. The first film ends with Stark announcing that he is Iron Man to the world and the second film begins pretty much where the first one left off. Stark is having to deal with the fallout from his revelation to the public about his alter ego. We find Stark on a bit of a downward spiral. His health is in jeopardy and there is more than one person trying to destroy him for reasons of their own.

The villains in the film are refreshing. Mickey Rourke is convincing, intense and up the challenge of playing opposite Downey. Another baddie is played by Sam Rockwell (Frost/Nixon). He serves his purpose in the film as owner of a failing competitor to Stark Enterprises, but he is borderline annoying.

Scarlett Johansson joins the cast this time around as Stark's new assistant. There is more to her than meets the eye, but she fits in well and doesn't take away from the story. Another newbie is the brief introduction of Nick Fury, played by Samuel L. Jackson. People who follow the comics will understand the significance of this character, but the rest of us may not have a full understanding until The Avengers hits theaters in 2012. Don Cheadle was also new to the franchise, but unlike the others, he took over the role of Tony Stark's best friend, Lt. Col. James Rhodes aka War Machine. With all the new faces, the film was very close to crossing the line between fun characters and chaos.

Iron Man 2 is missing something that the original had, (a bit of closeness to the characters maybe), but overall the movie was worth the price of a ticket. The best relationship in the movie is the one between Stark and his assistant/CEO Pepper Potts, Gwyneth Paltrow, so I would have loved a little more of their famous banter. The action is in full swing and Downey's humor is welcome. Iron Man 2 is the epitome of a summer popcorn movie. B

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Review: Robin Hood

After reading a few reviews for this movie on Friday, I have to admit my expectations were average going in, but wasn't it nice for me when I was pleasantly surprised. If you decide to venture to the theater and check out Robin Hood, go into it with the frame of mind that this is a prequel. This is the story of how Robin Longstride becomes Robin Hood.

Let me get my gripe out of the way first. This is the first version of this story where King Richard The Lionheart comes across as very unlikable. He is broke and forlorn from all his time spent away fighting, so it is no loss when he dies. It does make me wonder however, who will take the throne after John is defeated one day.

Now onto the positives. Russell Crowe is Russell Crowe. He is a good actor, plays a strong character and shoots a bow with skill. His gruff voice is hard to understand a couple of times in the movie, but all in all he is the same guy we love from Gladiator. I had my doubts about Cate Blanchett in the role of Marion because the previews were portraying her as frigid, but I should have known that she would deliver because she always does. I like that she portrays Marion as a strong woman and not a damsel in distress. Making Marion a strong woman makes her a better fit for a Robin played by Crowe.

As far as the rest of the cast, I thought that all the roles were filled well. Scott Grimes, ER, and Kevin Durand, LOST, stood out and were likable as Robin's companions Will Scarlett and Little John. There were just enough battle scenes, that luckily weren't drawn out forever, and the PG-13 rating kept the gore to a minimum. The end of the movie leaves this story open for a sequel and knowing Hollywood it won't be a surprise to get one, assuming of course this one makes enough money. For once it might be nice to get a second installment, if for no other reason than to see Prince/King John defeated. He was a real piece of work. A-

Friday, May 7, 2010

Top 10 Favorite Movies From My Childhood

When I look at my son I wonder what movies he will remember from his childhood. There are some movies that make me feel rather nostalgic. I hope you will read this list and smile as you remember some of the movies that impacted you, as the following list stayed with me.

10. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) - Now I was only one when this movie hit theaters so obviously I didn't see it until later, but what an impact it made. I was six or seven years old and I remember crying my eyes out. When E.T. points at Elliot's heart and says, "I'll be right here," I lost it, and continued to cry until the credits were rolling. I remember my Dad hugging me and saying that it was okay, sometimes little girls just needed to cry. That movie still gets me all choked up.

9. The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984) - Yes, I can hear you laughing, but give me a break, I was little! Not that that explains why I own that movie now, but what can I say? I still like it. I know all the songs and it ends with a wedding, in which all the puppets/muppets are in attendance, including all of the characters from Sesame Street, which I should mention I was a huge fan. "Some body's getting marrrrrried...."

8. Annie (1982) - There are quite a few versions of Annie, but the 1982 version starring Albert Finney as Daddy Warbucks is the best. The cast is perfect, including Carol Burnett, Tim Curry, and Bernadette Peters. If you are unfamiliar with this version, check it out. You will not be disappointed.

7. Pollyanna (1960) - One of the first movies that started my love for early Disney movies starring Haley Mills. This movie is one that I have seen too many times to count. I used to watch it with my Daddy and it is still one that we can agree on. Does anyone want to play the Glad Game?

6. The Sandlot (1993) - What makes this film stand the test of time is the story of friendship and the summer memories it triggers in us all. The fun the kids have is what propels the story, all the while dealing with serious issues for the main character Scotty Smalls. The narration and tie up at the end is perfect. "You're killing me Smalls!"

5. Labyrinth (1986) - This movie is crazy. I mean David Bowie people (and a very young Jennifer Connelly). This movie obviously stuck with more than a few people because my husband sings about the power of "who do" and "voodoo" all the time. Is anyone else seeing a pattern? Why are there so many puppets on my list?

4. The Secret Garden (1993) - This is another one of those movies that's been done more than once, but when you are using a story from a popular book it happens. The color in this film coincides with Mary's emotional growth. In the beginning she is a neglected child who loses her parents, only to be shipped off to live with her uncle who is a recluse. As the story unfolds Mary finds herself and reunites a broken family. This is a film that tugs on the heart strings without causing an all out blubber fest.

3. The Goonies (1985) - This is not the first time this movie has made one of my top ten lists, but that just goes to show that it's a winner. The Goonies is lovable because it is an adventure. A group of friends who follow a map to find a pirate ship, complete with crushes and treasure. What more does a kid need?

2. Flight of the Navigator (1986) - Another adventure tale, but this time it concerns a boy and a silver alien spacecraft. The boy, David Freeman, has the power to take the ship anywhere. He goes missing and then returns and eight years have passed. It's okay at first, but then he realizes he misses his family. This is a fun movie that had quite cool special effects in its day.

1. The Neverending Story (1984) - This movie completely fascinated me when I was young. The story begins when a boy named Bastian runs into a bookstore while trying to escape from a group of bullies. While in the bookstore, he is told by the owner that some books are dangerous. Bastian takes a book and runs out of the store only to find that the store owner was right. While reading the book, The Neverending Story, he finds that he is in the story. The land of Fantasia needs a hero to save their world from The Nothing and Bastian turns out to be the hero they need. While saving Fantasia Bastian meets some friends along the way including a boy named Atreju. Falkor is a flying creature that every kid would want as a pet. There was also a black wolf-like creature that gave me nightmares for years. Let's not forget the title song that can be found on Living in Oblivion, The 80's Greatest Hits Volume Two.

*Honorable Mention: A Little Princess, The Moon-Spinners, Heidi

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

10 Most Rewatchable Movies

Recently my friend Doug sent me a link to Paste Magazine's website and on their blog they did a top 10 of the most re-watchable movies. While I agreed with a few of their choices, most were not ones that I watch every time I see them on TV. They decided on movies for the list with a few guidelines; no franchises and no holiday movies. These are movies that are on TV almost every weekend courtesy of TBS, Oxygen, TNT, USA or some other cable channel. Here is a list that I have put together, let me know what you think.

10) A Knight's Tale (2001) - The music that shouldn't work during this time piece somehow does. The band of friends is lovable and Heath Ledger is the main star. This movie is just a fun pick me up with heart. What's not to love?

9) Dave (1993) - Kevin Kline is funny, likable and makes us believe that one right man in the White House can make a difference.

8) A League of Their Own (1992) - I love everything about this story, including the relationship between the two sisters. Tom Hanks is great as always, Madonna finally found a movie that she was decent in and Rosie O'Donnell didn't get on my nerves. There are some very funny moments in this movie, but somehow it always brings a tear. This is a great one hankie film.

7) Braveheart (1995) - For some reason, even though parts of this movie break my heart, I have to watch it when I see it. Determination, love and fighting for what's right make this an incredible film and shows Mel Gibson at his best.

6) The Princess Bride (1987) -One of the most quotable films to date (next to the Godfather movies of course). Fred Savage listens as his grandfather reads him story while he is sick in bed and we all get swept away with him. "As you wish...."

5) Pretty Woman (1990) - The movie that made Julia Roberts a star is timeless. A business arrangement turns into love and watching Vivian navigate the waters of the rich and powerful never gets old.

4) The Goonies (1985) - This movie is what makes being a kid fun. There is an adventure, treasure and time with friends. Every time I see this one on TV, I feel like a kid again. We love you too, One-Eyed Willy.

3) Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993) - This movie is a laugh out loud good time. The songs and jokes make this movie fun, and since everyone is familiar with the story of Robin Hood the plot isn't compromised. This is by far my favorite Mel Brooks film.

2) Italian Job (2003) - This movie has all of my favorite elements; betrayal, love and revenge. What makes this movie great is that it's funny and it's PG-13 rating keeps it from being just like every other shoot-em up movie out there. No other film has ever made me want a Mini-Cooper like this one.

1) Shawshank Redemption (1991) - One of the best movies of all time in my humble opinion. If Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins had never made another movie they still would have been A-listers for this film alone. I can't say for sure what it is that draws everyone to this story year after year, maybe it is something different for everyone, but it always makes me set the remote aside.

* A few films that deserve honorable mention are: Ever After, Swordfish, The Replacements, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and Three Muskateers

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Review: Date Night

What makes this movie work is not the over the top chase scene or the stripper dance that lasts a little too long, it is the relationship between the two main characters. Phil and Claire Foster, played by Steve Carell and Tina Fey, are an ordinary married couple that are in need of some spice in their regular routine.

When their night out does not go as planned and things get a little crazy, this movie never loses sight of what's important. Phil and Claire are in a rut, but they obviously love each other and that is what makes the movie believable. The supporting cast makes the movie fun and keeps the jokes rolling in. Of course with Carell and Fey at the helm we would expect nothing less. B

Thursday, April 15, 2010

10 Great Movies About Having a Baby

This week is baby week. Let's take a look at the top ten movies about having babies/being pregnant. Danielle, this list goes out to you, (but only because you got me thinking about it last week when you mentioned Knocked Up).

10. 9 Months (1995) - This comedy starring Hugh Grant, Julianne Moore, Tom Arnold and Joan Cusack takes a look at how crazy a man can go when an unexpected pregnancy forces him to grow up. Between watching Samuel, Grant, giving up his Porsche and beating up a mascot, this movie is good for a few laughs.

9. For Keeps (1988) - Number nine on the list goes in a completely different direction than number ten. High school students learn how hard it is to make a relationship work when balancing school, a new baby and a loss of youth.

8. Look Who's Talking (1989) - Before the weight loss commercials and the reality show, Kirstie Alley starred as the mother of every one's favorite talking baby. This movie makes it fun to think about what babies must really be thinking.

7. She's Having a Baby (1988) - This movie illustrates how tiring it can be to try and try for a baby. The performances from Kevin Bacon and Elizabeth McGovern are moving, but for me, the soundtrack is what makes this movie memorable. If you have never listened to the song, "This Woman's Work," by Kate Bush, you should download it immediately.

6. Three Men and A Baby (1987) - Watching three clueless men figure out what to do with a baby is humorous, but watching their hearts melt in the process makes us all wish we had three dads.

5. Parenthood (1989) - This movie is made up of numerous story lines that show the ups and downs of parenthood. The all star cast is at their best and includes: Steve Martin, Rick Moranis, Keanu Reeves and Dianne Wiest.

4. Waitress (2007) - Waitress is a different kind of movie about pregnancy. Keri Russell stars a very unhappy woman who wants to leave her husband. Her plans are changed when she learns that she is pregnant, but this movie goes to show that you don't have to stay married or be unhappy when a pregnancy takes you by surprise. Even though the plot sounds less than appealing, this movie is quite charming thanks to Russell and Nathan Fillion (Castle).

3. Knocked Up (2007) - This film is raunchy fun with heart. I liked Seth Rogan before this movie, but I loved him after. His laugh is infectious and Katherine Heigel reinvented her film career. Watching the two of them find an OBGYN is hilarious, because it is so true.

2. Father of the Bride Part II (1995) - There are so many things about this movie that make it fun. Franck, Martin Short, is as over the top and as crazy as he is in the first one. His appearance in the movie makes for the laughs, but really what makes it great is the end scene. When Steve Martin is holding his child and grandchild in the hospital it warms your heart. I also love that the family aspect is so strong. I makes me want to call my parents and say hello.

1. Juno (2007) - I missed this movie in the theater and with all the buzz surrounding it I was hoping not to be disappointed, and I wasn't. The quirkiness of this film helps navigate the serious issues at hand. Ellen Page, Juno, is refreshing. Her character isn't over the top with emotion, she is simply a teenager dealing with things the best way she knows how. The music in the film fits perfectly and the writing......well there is a reason Diablo Cody won the Oscar.

Two movies that would have made the cut had I been going beyond the the top ten would be: Raising Arizona and Baby Boom.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

10 Best Romantic Comedies Of My Generation

This list is for romantic comedies not just romantic movies or the greatest onscreen love stories, that list if for another time. I also just wanted to stick with movies from my generation instead of the best romantic comedies of all time. If I had to take those into consideration too we would be here all day and it would have to be the top 20 instead of 10.

10. The Holiday (2006) I like so many things about this movie, including how lovable Jack Black's character is and the story between Iris, Kate Winslet, and her elderly neighbor Arthur. Every time this movie is on I have to stop and watch it. It's just one of those feel good movies and sometimes it's nice to just feel the love.

9. The Wedding Singer (1998) Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore are the perfect match. They are both just geeky and sweet enough that you find yourself cheering for them to dump the losers that they are with and get together already. The music makes the movie fun and did I mention that Billy Idol makes an appearance? I am not ashamed to say that I like the song Robbie sings to Julia on the plane at the end. Everybody wants somebody to grow old with them.

8. What Women Want (2000) Watching a womanizer get a first hand taste of what goes on in a woman's mind is fun. Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt star in this movie about a guy getting exactly what he deserves and getting a real relationship with a first class lady and his daughter along the way.

7. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003) Two people trying to win two different bets, one has to make someone fall in love with them and one has to push someone away, equals hilarity. Realizing that the two individuals are perfect for each other makes for a romance waiting to happen. Andie (Kate Hudson) and Ben (Matthew McConaughey) light up the screen with their charm and the supporting cast is a lot of fun.

6. Sweet Home Alabama (2002) Reese Witherspoon stars in this rom com that follows Melanie Smooter from the fast lane of NYC back home to Alabama where she is trying to finalize her divorce from her first love. Once home it is clear that there are still feelings for Jake, her first love. It just goes to show that sometimes the love of your life has been there all along.

5. Love Actually (2003) I enjoy British humor and must say that the mash up of all the different story lines in this movie are well done. The star power alone had my attention, but what could have come out as a confusing mess, was pulled off brilliantly. Just to name a few actors starring in this gem: Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Bill Nighy, Kiera Knightley and Alan Rickman - Britain's finest.

4. When Harry Met Sally (1989) Ah the age old question, can guys and girls be just friends? That is the question that fuels the plot for this movie starring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan. It is a movie about being in love with your best friend and it taking you half of your life to figure it out. I also love the snippits during the movie showing other couples that have been together for a long time answering questions about their relationship.

3. Annie Hall (1977) I think part of the reason this Oscar winner is considered to be one of the best romantic comedies is because it is done in such a different way. Woody Allen plays the neurotic comedian who takes a look at why his relationship to Annie Hall, played by Diane Keaton fell apart. Their relationship is looked at through flashbacks and breaks where Allen actually speaks to the camera. It is one of a kind.

2. Sleepless in Seattle (1993) Meg Ryan makes the list for a second time, in this movie about a widower Sam (Tom Hanks) whose son Jonah decides it's time for his dad to find a new wife. It is sweet and has an excellent cast including Tom Hanks' wife Rita Wilson, Victor Garber and Rosie O'Donnell (back when she didn't get on my nerves). What makes this movie interesting, is that the chemistry is undeniable even though the main characters are barely onscreen together. It shows that sometimes taking a chance and putting yourself out there pays off.

1. Notting Hill (1999) This is by far my favorite romantic comedy. I love everything about it. Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts make it so easy to love this movie and believe that the characters are flawed as well as lovely. I also love the music, the humor and the band of friends that play so well off of each other. The story of a clueless guy falling for an actress and actually winning over her heart is easy enough, but it takes more than a little trying on both of their parts (and a speedy trip through the city with friends) to finally get these two together.
"I'm just a girl standing in front of a boy asking him to love her."

Best of the Best

I love "best" lists. Nothing sets up an argument faster, or makes for great conversation the way these lists can since everyone has an opinion. Each week I will post a "best" list and to kick off the new weekly I will count down the 10 Best Romantic Comedies.

Please feel free to weigh in, argue or add any movies that make your best list.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Review: Remember Me

This movie is a prime example of why I want to be a critic. One critic, whose opinion I usually respect, missed the mark on this one. I went into the theater not expecting much and ended up feeling that this was one of the most touching movies I have seen in a long time.

Dealing with loss, or not dealing with it, lays the foundation for this drama. Robert Pattinson (Twilight) and Emilie de Raven (LOST) star as an American couple that help each other when each one needs someone most.

Unsure what to expect from Pattinson having only seen him in Harry Potter and The Twilight Saga, I felt that this role proves that he has staying power. His character Tyler has many sides and the one I loved the most was his relationship with his sister Caroline, Ruby Jerins (Shutter Island). Her performance was touching and brought tears to my eyes more than once.

The cast includes Pierce Brosnan, Chris Cooper and Lena Olin all of whom bring their usual A-game.

This is a one-tissue, compelling drama that is worth the price of admission. A

Review: Hot Tub Time Machine

Okay, first of all I can explain. Originally Emily and I had plans to go see her crush in action in The Bounty Hunter, but when we got there it was sold out. Normally we would have left, but I had free passes that ran out the next week so instead of wasting them....well you know.
For anyone that knows me knows that mindless humor is usually not for me. At least with Hot Tub Time Machine it puts it right in the title. No one is trying to make this movie out to be something that it's not.
If you don't mind raunchy humor, and would like a flash back to the 80's this movie is for you.
One word: Lougle. B-

Review: Alice in Wonderland

I love Tim Burton, Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter so for me seeing Alice in Wonderland was inevitable. Depp starred as the Mad Hatter and he was a perfect combination of mad and lovable. He stole almost every scene he was in. Carter's portrayal of the Red Queen did not disappoint, but it would have been fine with me if she said "Off with his head," less than she did. But of course for that I blame the writers.
If you are curious why I mention the veterans first instead of Mia Wasikowska, who played title character Alice, it is because she is most obviously an amateur compared to Depp and Carter. While she did do a good job I wish she had come across as a little more likable.
The only thing that took away from this movie was the casting of the beloved Anne Hathaway. I love her, I do, but not as the White Queen. Every time she came onto the screen I was pulled out of the fantasy world I had built around myself and reminded hey there's Anne. She just didn't do it for me. Maybe a lesser known actress would have been a better way to go or someone that didn't look like she was trying so hard.
The scenes were beautiful, the costumes extravagant and the loaned voice of Alan Rickman was perfect. All and all I felt that I got my money's worth, which keep in mind is a compliment since I paid for a 3-D ticket. B

Friday, April 2, 2010

3-D Love It or Hate It?

I have now seen two movies in 3-D, Avatar and Alice in Wonderland. There are things about this new phenom that I like, but I'm not sure that they outweigh the things I don't like. For starters, the cost. Fourteen dollars a ticket is no small fee. Think about taking a family of four to see How to Train Your know the kids are going to want some sort of snack, (even I like an Icee), but that is an expensive afternoon out. Not to mention the strange feeling I have after I take the 3-D glasses off after a eyes have to readjust.

Another thing I found is that while I enjoy certain scenes and sweeping views in 3-D, I usually leave wishing I could go back and see the film again in regular old 2-D. At times I find 3-D distracting.

Now onto the things I like about 3-D. The nighttime part of Avatar was beautiful. It made wearing the glasses over my regular glasses worthwhile. Would it have looked as breathtaking in 2-D, maybe not. Then there's Tim Burton, he did a nice job playing up the 3-D aspect of Alice in Wonderland, but then again the look of his movies is always powerful and undeniably Tim. The things about these movies that make the 3-D part work are always the scenery. If I were to see Hot Tub Time Machince again (don't judge me, I can explain), do I think it needs to be in 3-D? No. Do I think Remember Me would be more compelling if Robert Pattinson was in 3-D? No. It really depends on the film.

Avatar, Alice, How to Train Your Dragon, these are just the first to hit the local theater's screens, and there are going to be plenty to follow. Theater owners are scrambling to add more 3-D screens, we can only hope that every movie we see from now on isn't in 3-D. Please Hollywood producers we know it's always about the bottom line, but please choose wisely.


Thanks to some serious nagging from my best friend, I have finally decided to start blogging about movies, my passion. I want to write reviews because sometimes I feel that movie reviewers make reviews too complicated. Am I getting what I paid for? Was it entertaining? If you want to write the great American novel then by all means, but don't try to make a movie review more complicated than it should be. Some of the reviews I write will be for movies that are already out of the theater, but at least you will know what to put on your Netflix list or get from the Red Box in your area.
I welcome comments and know that this is just my opinion so some will disagree, but at least it may tell you something you didn't know.