Admission – movie review

AdmissionGrade: C

Tina Fey (Portia) and Paul Rudd (John) didn’t have the best on screen chemistry and the story has been done time and time again.

The movie isn’t bad; it’s just bland. The best parts of the movie were the scenes with Lily Tomlin as Portia’s mother. If they could have found a way to double her screen time I’d be tempted to give this movie a B; as it is I can’t give it anything other than the middle of the road C.

The Call – movie review

TheCallGrade: B

I’ve been waiting to see this movie for months and it was well worth the wait. Halle Berry and Abigail Breslin both display great range as actors across a spectrum of emotions.

It can be argued that the plot is implausible; a 911 operator receiving two different calls from the victims of the same psycho doesn’t happen every day. But it isn’t impossible and no one writes stories about the serial killer not getting caught. That’s not good entertainment. One way to tell a great story is to take average people and put them in implausible situations and see how they react. That’s what we have in this movie.

The ending is one of the best I’ve seen in this genre. It was surprisingly satisfying. Totally worth the price of admission.

Safe Haven – movie review

SafeHaven

Grade: C-

The movie starts with Katy running for her life from what? We don’t know. She takes a bus and ends up in a bucolic seaside town. There she manages to get employment and a place to live within 24 hours. Really!

She immediately finds a guy who wants to love and take care of her. Really!

But she has dark secrets that could place him and his kids in harms way but this doesn’t keep her from moving in. Really!

And her dark secret does find her and yes, everyone is put in harms way – which surprises no one. The movie was about 45 minutes too long and only the last 5 minutes gives the audience an eyebrow raising moment that is only slightly more inconceivable than finding a job in a ocean front town.

Since today is Valentines Day I’ll be generous and give it a C-.

Side Effects – movie review

SideEffectsGrade: B+

It’s difficult to write a through review for this movie for fear of giving anything away. There are so many twists and turns in Side Effects that one wrong word or expression could give away an important detail.

That being said I will tell you it’s a great movie that will keep wondering till the last moment when everything comes together.

There’s a good bit of psychiatric and pharmacological jargon but I think the public has been so educated by television and the internet that we’re not left with any confusion over the dialog.

The acting and directing is spot on.

Stand Up Guys – movie review

StandUpGuysGrade: A-

The target age group for this movie is the 40+. The younger set would find Stand Up Guys slow and tedious. I’m in the 60+ age group and I loved it. When you have Walken, Pacino and Arkin together it’s going to be a hit in my book. These guys can take any script, put their spin on it, and make you laugh, cry or sit on the edge of your seat.

There was a little action befitting three guys age 65+ without looking cheesy or overdone. However, the movie focused on the characters and their relationships which provided plenty of laughs and a few tender moments.

Alan Arkin didn’t have a lot of screen time but he added just the right ingredient to make the movie sparkle.

The ending was pulled right out of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and made me leave the theater with a big smile on my face.

Movie Review : Django Unchained

DjangoUnchainedGrade: A+

Django Unchained is Pulp Fiction on horseback.

Quentin has rocked it again. It’s bloody, crude, and funnier than any other movie I’ve seen this year. The two hours and forty seven minutes passed quickly. The movie never dragged.

Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz both provide magnificent performances that will likely be remembered as their most iconic roles. I would be disappointed if Foxx does not get an Oscar nomination out of this.

I could go on gushing about the movie but it would serve little purpose. I loved it so much that I wanted to go back and see it again Christmas night. If there is anything negative to say it would be that this movie isn’t for everyone. It’s rated R for a reason. There is blood and violence aplenty. Again, Pulp Fiction serves as a good measuring stick. If you saw that and remember the violence more than the humor and acting then *Django* may not be for you.

Movie review: Rise of the Guardians

Rise of the GuardiansA visually stunning movie that is destined to become a holiday classic along with Rudolph and The Grinch. The overarching theme of *The Guardians* revolves around Jack Frost finding his identity and how important beliefs are in shaping reality.

The importance of “finding your center” is explored my multiple characters. It’s a message that young children may not grasp but may resonate with some preadolescent children. The movie and it’s concepts could be used as a stepping stone to a thought provoking discussion with your children afterwards. Much the same way that *Rudolph* can lead to a discussion about how everyone feels like a misfit sometimes. And yet that trait that makes us feel like a misfit may later become a source of strength.

While *Guardians* might have it’s greatest appeal for preadolescent children its really a movie for all ages. Its silly humor will appeal to younger children and of course it has humor aimed specifically at adults as all good animated movies have.

Movie review: Lincoln

Grade: A+

Spielberg has given us a three dimensional  insight into the last few months of our most beloved leader. In *Lincoln* we see him not only as the President during the most difficult time in our nations history but also in an equally demanding role as husband and father.

Make no mistake, this is not a movie about the Civil War per se but, just as important to our country’s future, the passing of the 13th amendment. It’s more of a court room drama than an early version of Saving Private Ryan.

In the opening scene we see 30 seconds of  battle field action followed by two hours of a battle fought by lobbyists, politicians other nefarious characters.

Along the way there are brief detours into the private life of Lincoln and his family. Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Fields and Tommy Lee Jones are definite Oscar contenders, but they were not the only stellar contributors to the movie. James Spader provided much needed comic relief in this intense film. The bar has been set very high for presidential biographies.

Movie review: The Perk of Being a Wallflower

Grade: A+

To say that this was a sweet, coming of age movie is about as accurate as calling the Mona Lisa a nice snapshot.

I haven’t been a teenager for about 50 years but I found myself becoming a part of the movie rather than just sitting in the audience casually observing the actors reciting their lines.

The acting was extraordinary, especially by the kids: Charlie, Sam and Patrick played by Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller respectively. These are all fine young actors and the director – Stephen Chbosky – deserves some huge props for helping the cast really expose some terrific emotional scenes.

This is Stephen Chbosky’s first real directing gig but you can bet that I’ll be keeping an eye out for his future projects.

Movie review: Here Comes the Boom

Grade: B

A sweet and inspiring story. The actors did a great job of creating characters that are enjoyable and sympathetic in an otherwise predictable movie.

If you want to go sit in a theater, have a good time, and not have to think about anything *Boom* fits the bill. There were a few chuckles and a couple of tender moments.

There was no profanity so you can take the kiddies and have a pleasant evening.