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