Oz the Great and Powerful

OzGrade: B+

Visually it’s a stunning movie. Regrettably I didn’t see it in 3D – because it’s hard to take peetime notes with those glasses on – but tomorrow I’m going back to see it with the family in 3D. ( I’ll update this review with my 3D thoughts later. )

The set designs were incredible. You get to travel to China Town where the houses are teapots and saucers; the town had been destroyed and the sound the broken china made was fun to listen to. The Dark Forrest was perfectly spooky. I could go on and on about how cool it looked and sounded but you get my drift. It was amazing.

It was a fun story. I thought they did a good job but they had some casting errors. I love James Franco, and he did an admirable job, but I couldn’t stop thinking about how perfect Johnny Depp would have been as Oz. ( I know, Depp can’t perform every wacky role but that won’t stop us from wishing he would. ) Franco had so many of Depp’s mannerisms and facial expressions that I felt like he was channeling the Great and Powerful Johnny instead of Oz.

Where my complaint about casting really comes in is Mila Kunis. She was totally wrong for the part. I didn’t feel anything from her on screen. She played her part with the lifelessness of driftwood. Even the make-up job fell flat on her.

I would like to briefly follow that up with some praise. Rachel Weisz as Evanora and Michelle Williams as Glenda were incredible! Weisz was witty, sarcastic, sexy and diabolical. Williams was angelic, radiant and confident in her role. They were the shining stars.

I would recommend this movie to all my friends and family. Don’t make my mistake though, see it in 3-D the first time.

21 and Over – movie review

21andOverGrade: B+

If you enjoyed *Hangover* then you’re going to love *21 and Over* – they’re both written and directed by the same crew. The difference between these movies is that *The Hangover* barely crossed over the line to become an R-rated film; *21 and Over* goes zooming past that line, and leaves it fading in the rear view mirror.

What I find appealing about both of these movies is that they are more than just the crazy, raunchy antics. Sure, that aspect makes up the bulk of the movie, but the story and character development remains, and pays off at the end.

I loved the movie, and I’d like to encourage people who don’t normally go for this genre of humor to give it a try. However, I feel that everyone should be forewarned that this movie is full of vulgar, racist, and over the top offensive humor. If that doesn’t sound like it’s your bag of popcorn then you should avoid it. You’d probably rather wash your ears out with acid than listen to the funny things these kids have to say.

Dark Skies – movie review

DarkSkies
Grade: C
Dark Skies wasn’t a bad movie but it wasn’t great either. The cast is mostly unknown; Keri Russell was the only actor I had heard of before. While I’m not a big fan of hers I liked her in this flick. She did a decent job with what was a fairly weak script. I saw a bunch of plot holes that really should have been pursued further. Her child shows up with marks all over his body and we didn’t see her go nuts. I’m a Mom and would have freaked out over that.  Also I spotted some rips from other movies. Once the family are all on the same page with whats happening they sit down to dinner. They sit there together and reminisce over good times. Hmmm..is this a Signs moment? There were more but I feel like I’m harping on all the weak parts.  The rest of it was pretty entertaining.
The build up to the major reveal was suspenseful especially because of the movie score. The cast pulled it together and ended on a very strong note.My movie award for what I call “The Movie Star” goes to Dakota Goyo. He plays Jesse, the oldest son. His acting was top notch for someone I’ve never heard of. I hope he does a lot more because the kid has potential.

Another well done aspect of the movie was the pacing. It was the perfect length. They were able to steadily feed you new information giving you just enough to keep the timing right. All in all I would recommend this movie for anyone who just wants to escape their reality for about an hour and a half.

Beautiful Creatures – movie review

BeautifulCreaturs

Grade: B-

Beautiful Creatures did it’s job as a movie. I was entertained for the entire two hours. The cast was awesome. It was visually appealing and it left me wanting more. I knew it was based on a book but I did not know it was a series of four books. I won’t give away anything here for those of you that haven’t read them but the ending of the movie had me scrambling home to download the book and figure out what was up with the ending. That was when I discovered there are three more.

Okay, mystery solved for me. I am a terribly impatient person so I downloaded all of them and shall read them this weekend. I might change my mind about how much I liked the movie once I read the book because lets face it, books are always better than the movie.
I’m super impressed with the cast. Jeremy Irons was great. I’ve only seen him as the villain in movies before and where he is bad in this movie he was bad for all the right reasons.

Emma Thompson has never really inspired me to be all fuzzy inside but she pulled out a pretty respectable performance this time.

The real shining star in *Beautiful Creatures* for me was Alden Ehrenreich. I’ve not had the pleasure of seeing him in anything before but he knocked my socks off. His voice, mannerisms and just plain All American good boy attitude was terrific.
The costumes and sets were amazing. The color combinations that they chose were dead on right. I think I enjoyed the visual aspects of this movie the best. Whether they were filming inside or outside they seemed to pay special attention to complimenting the set with the costumes.
I will be looking forward to the next three just to see how they can improve upon the first.

Identity Theif – movie review

IdentityThiefGrade: B

I just spent the last hour reading reviews on Identity Thief. The majority of them had very unkind words dealing with almost every aspect of the movie. From the way these reviews were written I’m worried that too many people will take those negative remarks to heart and skip this flick.

I saw the movie in a packed theater and I heard a continuous amount of laughter throughout the movie. When exiting the theater everyone was smiling and talking about how funny it was. Definitely not Oscar material but it doesn’t deserve the trash talk many reviewers gave it.

Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy displayed great chemistry. Her carefree attitude mixed with his uptight ways worked for me. I would like to see them do more movies together.

Another negative review commented on how the development of the supporting cast wasn’t up to par. The sub-plots/supporting cast didn’t need to be any more in depth. It would have taken too much away from the Sandy/Diana screen time. There was  just enough of the supporting cast to keep the dynamic duo’s plot rolling along at a nice clip.

It’s a fun little movie. I’m happy I saw it and will definitely buy it when it comes out on DVD.

Warm Bodies – movie review

WarmBodiesGrade: C

I’ve been anxiously awaiting *Warm Bodies* for months now. The trailers had me anxiously awaiting this new spin on zombie movies. It looked like my perfect cup of tea: zombies, humor, romance, and action.

I would like to ask the people who make the movie trailers to stop including every funny scene from the movie in the trailer. You see these trailers and think, *dang that looks awesome!* I wonder what else will be super funny? So, if you’ve seen the trailer for *Warm Bodies* you’ve seen all the funny stuff already. The trailer goblins fooled us again.

I really liked the first twenty minutes. They started it off with R (the zombie kid) narrating what his life is like as a zombie. Then he meets Julie and becomes smitten with her. There were some cute looks and grunts which were adorable in a zombie kind of way. I was loving it so far. Then the movie itself became zombified – lagging – until the last ten minutes.

Rob Corddry added a nice little zip to the movie. It would have been better if they had amped up his role. Speaking of which, I really thought John Malkovich was going to steal the movie as he normally does. I walked away thinking any nameless actor could have pulled off his part. There was absolutely nothing memorable about his character or his lines. I didn’t even like him.

I am not trying to turn anyone away from this movie but I did want to let you know that my expectations for the movie weren’t met. Perhaps due to the volume of movies I see I may have become jaded on this genre. I was expecting too much. If you go in with the thought that you just want to see a movie where zombies aren’t horrible creatures and can be endearing then go for it. Otherwise I’d suggest waiting for the DVD.

Movie review : Texas Chainsaw 3D

TexasChainsaw3DGrade: C+
I was pleasantly surprised with the latest attempt at the Texas Chainsaw phenomenon. Being ruled by the darker side of my personality I find it almost impossible to pass up these movies. I wasn’t expecting much out of this one but I most definitely walked away pleased. Don’t get me wrong..it wasn’t terrific. There were a lot of plot holes and the predictability scale was off the charts. For the first half of the movie the crowd already knew what to expect before we saw it. That being said, the last half of the movie was immensely enjoyable. You know when you’re sitting at the movie and there are characters that you want to see die a heinous death? Well, you’re gonna get that and then some. I always go see these types of movie at the late show because a fairly large percentage of the people present are to say the least, a bit tipsy. So when these characters, that deserve to die for being so incredibly stupid die..as the saying goes, “And the crowd goes wild!!” I love those moments,  I counted five different times that the very large football player looking guy in front of me jumped and let loose with a stream of profanities admonishing the stupidity of the victim. Thinking back on the movie my favorite part was watching the crowds reaction.

The movie itself starts at the end of the original movie and then transitions into this storyline. I liked the way they did it. Luckily I am old enough to remember the ending of the original, I had to explain to my twenty year old daughter that what she was seeing was the original ending from 1974. I may have only been a year old when it came out but I’ve got an incredible memory. I would recommend watching the first one before you see this one. Not that you wont understand whats going on but because it would provide a richer experience.

I’ve read a few other reviews and I’m happy to see that none of them have spoiled the surprising ending. I’m sure that somewhere out there are some spoilers but try and stay away from them. I got tired of researching the movie and plus I’m on a deadline here! Long story short, don’t try and figure out the ending..just go watch it and be surprised.

I just want to add one more thought here. Recently some of my reviews have been picked apart by certain people. This review is just my personal opinion of this movie. I’m not saying I’m right or wrong, it’s just my opinion. Take for instance the underwear I’m wearing right now are super comfortable…on me. That doesn’t mean that my underwear would be comfortable on everyone else out there. Its all about personal preferences.

Movie review : Parental Guidance

ParentalGuidanceGrade: A+

Parental Guidance was the perfect choice for a Christmas Day movie. Of course I had to see it for work but since it was Christmas I took my husband and daughter to see it with me. My husband and I are going to be grandparents any day now so this was a super fitting movie.

As we sat watching this we could totally sympathize with Bette Midler and Billy Crystal’s characters and our daughter could somewhat sympathize with Marisa Tomei’s character. The movie really just boils down to old school parenting or the hip new age style. Both sides think they are right and the other is wrong but in the end they meet half way.

Through out the journey of finding common ground the laughs are plentiful and belly shakers. Billy Crystal brought his A game to this production. The three of us couldn’t find one thing that we didn’t like so really what I’m saying here is this movie will appeal to all ages.

Our theater was packed so I was able to see a bigger audience reaction than I normal. There were at least ten times I can think of that the whole crowd was laughing heartily. This comedy was leading up to an ending that was so well written and acted that I didn’t see it coming.

There is a particular scene towards the end of the movie that had the whole theater hushed. I sat there watching Joshua Rush (Turner) put on a performance that made tears fill my eyes. I look over and my daughter is crying, she is hormonal right now but when I saw my husband crying I knew this movie had just touched each and every individual in the theater.

Each and every actor in this movie, right down to the invisible kangaroo named Carl, did wonderfully. It was a pleasure to watch this movie on such a wonderful day. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all and to all a good night.

Movie review: This is 40

ThisIs40Grade A+

This Is 40 was awesome!! It has made my top ten favorite movies of all time list for sure! I happen to be 39 right now and in a few months will hit the big 40. After seeing this movie I’m totally cool with it. Leslie Mann (Debbie) pulled off such an amazing performance that I think all 39 year old women facing the big 40 would walk away feeling better about themselves. Watching her and Paul Rudd (Pete) on screen together going through the whole marriage thing was so well done that I sometimes forgot I was watching a movie and not home video’s. I know that I’ve gone into the bathroom and have found my husband sitting on the toilet with his iPad. I know he goes in there to escape his life for a while..just like Pete. I also know that only half of what I say he actually listens to..just like Pete. These two may have gone through some bad moments and had some anger issues with each other but they were able to pull it together. In the end the love that they had at first was still there just stronger. That love being made stronger and stronger with each moment of life that they had to deal with in their marriage and the raising of their family.

The supporting cast was top notch. Albert Brooks and John Lithgow as the father’s added a whole other dimension to the movie. They each had their own issue to add which bumped up the already hilarious movie. Then you go and add Megan Fox and Melissa McCarthy as supporting cast and you have even more layers of “Oh my God” funny and helloooo sexy.

I definitely wouldn’t classify this as a chick flick. It’s not all just about the woman in the movie. The guys have their fair share of say so in this too. All in all I would totally recommend this movie to anyone. Married people can relate to it and single people can look at it and decide if that’s the life for them because this movie was dead on right. This is what forty is like.

Movie review : Playing For Keeps

Playing For KeepsGrade: C+

Playing For Keeps was exactly what I thought it would be. A lot of chuckles, a great cast and about as predictable as a calendar. It follows the same formula used since the invention of romantic comedies. Guy has girl, loses girl. Guy wants girl back and stops at nothing to get her. He gets her back. Oops loses her again. Gives up and pouts for about ten minutes and girl now wants guy back.

That being said there were a number of quality moments. In my opinion Dennis Quaid stole the show. He by far had the funniest lines and delivered them with the perfect timing and facial expressions. Even if the movie had been on mute his scenes would have made me crack up. Uma Thurman played his more than nutty wife and really brought it. I wish they would have had much larger parts. It would have improved the movie.

I walked away from this movie with two questions. Why did Catherine Zeta Jones take this roll? My take on it, this role was beneath her. She was just another psycho soccer Mom, with a small twist, hell bent on sleeping with Gerard Butler. Don’t get me wrong. She did a wonderful job but her talent was wasted on this movie. Secondly, did they embalm Jessica Biel for this part? She was so stiff that a mortician could have directed her better. There was zero chemistry between her and Butler. I think that was where the tedious part of the movie came in. I couldn’t understand why he would want her back. He had all these sexy housewives throwing themselves at him and he went for the one that wouldn’t even look him in the eye.

All in all, when it comes out on DVD and you’re cleaning house and want some background noise on, pop this flick in and enjoy yourself. Not theater worthy but defiantly a renter.