Category Archives: Movie Reviews

Blu-Ray Review: New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve available on Blu-ray Combo pack, DVD and for download 5/1

Synopsis from Warner Bros: Ingrid (Pfeiffer) is a woman looking for her purpose in life, helped along the way by Paul (Efron). Tess (Biel) and Griffin (Meyers) are in a race against the clock to have the first baby of the New Year. Randy (Kutcher) and Elise (Michele) are trapped in an elevator, one desperate to get out and one not eager to leave. Claire (Swank) is the in charge of making sure the Times Square ball drops at midnight but she runs into a major problem.

Following the converging stories of dozens of characters, “New Year’s Eve” tells these stories and more, showcasing love, hope, excitement, sadness, joy, laughter and sorrow on the most exciting night of the year.


Much like the movie Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve follows many people’s lives for one day, some whose lives intersect in unique ways. New Year’s Eve isn’t just about love though. They push the message several times to self-reflect and to do more, love more, and experience more. And while it’s mostly a feel-good movie, there are some tear-jerker performances by Robert DeNiro, Halle Berry, and Hillary Swank. With plenty of humor, romance, drama, and a plethora of familiar faces – this gathering of fantastic actors and actresses is fun and entertaining. Unfortunately, both Bon Jovi and Lea Michele’s musical performances fall flat and don’t add anything to the film. In fact, I finally had to fast forward through some of the songs as I was either cringing or bored. While the holiday isn’t one that most people care or get excited about, it certainly makes the party in Time Square seem like quite the event, instead of the crowded chaotic mess it looks like each year on television. Fast-paced, humorous and heart-warming, I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed all of the separates stories and the final, climactic ending.

Blu-Ray Combo Pack Includes:
• Dual-Format Disc
• Blu-ray Side
o Theatrical film
o Special Features:
– Commentary by director Garry Marshall
– Gag Reel
– Magic of Times Square
– New Year’s Eve Secrets of the Stars
– Jon Bon Jovi & Lea Michele Rock New Year’s Eve
– Deleted Scenes with Garry Marshall
• DVD Side
o Theatrical Film
• UltraViolet Digital Copy

DVD Version Includes:
• Theatrical Film
• Special Features:
o Commentary by director Garry Marshall
o Gag Reel
• UltraViolet Digital Copy

Continue reading Blu-Ray Review: New Year’s Eve

Fantasy Movie Review: Dorothy and the Witches of Oz

Also titled the Witches of Oz, the director’s cut was renamed Dorothy and the Witches of Oz for the film’s release in select theaters. The story follows Dorothy Gale (Paulie Rojas), a children’s author continuing the Oz series. After her uncles death back in Kansas, Dorothy discovers that her stories were not from her imagination but from her own experiences in Oz. Now, the evil witches are in New York and looking for a key that Dorothy hid as a child. Only Dorothy and her friends can stop the Wicked Witch of the West from destroying both Oz and this reality.

Based on L. Frank Baum’s books not the popular film starring Judy Garland, fans will notice the additional characters right away. And Dorothy’s slippers are silver not Garland’s ruby red. Christopher Lloyd as the Wizard was my biggest reason for seeing the film. He was fantastic. But I was happy to see other known faces as well such as Sean Astin and Ethan Embry as the cute, funny, and miniature Frick and Frack. And Jeffrey Combs has a brief but memorable performance as Dorothy’s heartbroken father. Paulie Rojas as Dorothy is a bit wooden, but her sweetness and innocence is believable. And Eliza Swenson as Billie Westbrook was pure fun to watch in her complex role.

At first I was confused about the target audience. The mood seemed darker and suddenly violent, until I realized all of the action and fight scenes were stylized. Some of the monstrous creatures might be a bit scary for young children, but it’s still only rated PG and is certainly a family movie. The (director’s cut) special effects are clever and most of the evil creatures look like something out of a campy 70’s or 80’s film, which I think adds to the charming storybook feel. At times the movie reminded me of a favorite show ABC’s Once Upon a Time – with the campy feel meets the real world. Yet Dorothy and the Witches of Oz is much more family friendly and light-hearted. Full of adventure, magic, mystery, and colorful characters – this film was unexpectedly heartwarming and a bright homage to the classic Oz books.


The official site can be found here:
http://dorothyandthewitchesofoz.ning.com/

And the official trailer can be viewed here:
http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/independent/dorothyandthewitchesofoz/

SciFi Movie Review: John Carter

John Carter

Former Confederate Civil War soldier, Captain John Carter has nothing left to fight for when he finds himself transported to a desert planet. Suddenly among a warrior tribe of four-armed aliens and a beautiful princess, Carter ends up in the middle of another war. But when faced with the chance of returning home to Earth, Carter may have found a cause worth fighting for in Princess Dejah and the people of Barsoom.

Taylor Kitsch stars as John Carter, the bitter and destitute man who cares for nothing but his found cave of gold. Kitsch has a young face and stoic countenance, perfect for the role of the ageless John Carter. He’s a believable fighter and a great straight man to plenty of humor. Princess Dejah is played by Lynn Collins, who has terrific chemistry with John Carter, and is just as strong and smart as her male counterparts (if not more). Mark Strong and Dominic West are fantastic villains, especially West as a surprisingly charming and attractive (though naïve) despot. And my favorite characters in the novel (Princess of Mars) as well as the film were the Tharns (the green-skinned, four-armed aliens), played by Willem Dafoe, Thomas Haden Church and Samantha Morton. Though CGI, the characters still brought depth, emotion, and humor and successfully brought Burroughs’ characters to life.

Based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic Princess of Mars (published in 1917), John Carter is a surprising and exceptional retelling. I recently read Princess of Mars in anticipation for the film. And though the film doesn’t delve into the depth of the Tharns’ stories as I would have liked, it still captures the spirit of the novel. And the natives of Barsoom get an impressive technology upgrade, and the science is updated for the awe-factor in the film.

I had my reservations after seeing the official trailers. But I was happy to see that the screen writers and director Andrew Stanton knew what they were doing, even if the marketing was off. This fan was captivated from beginning to end and loved every minute of this epic adventure. Full of fascinating characters, life-like aliens, and advanced technology – science fiction fans will certainly enjoy John Carter. But the action-packed thrills, suspense, drama, romance, and incredible story will appeal to a wide range of new fans – of all ages. It’s heart-warming, inspirational, and highly entertaining. Don’t miss this one.

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Movie Review: Cowboys & Aliens

Cowboys & Aliens

A man awakens in the desert to complete memory loss. The only clue to his past is a picture of a young woman and a metal contraption locked around his forearm. When he arrives in a nearby town of Absolution, trouble isn’t far behind. But when strange lights from the sky arrive and begin shooting up the town and abducting its residents, the survivors decide to risk all to hunt the kidnappers and find their loved ones.

Daniel Craig plays the amnesiac who comes to be known as Jake Lonergan. Craig is a stoic, hard man with a soft heart. When his past is revealed it’s a bit of a shock, since it seemed to be against his nature. Harrison Ford also stars as Woodrow Dolarhyde, a tough war veteran, now rich and feared by the town and his employees. Sam Rockwell is Doc, a saloon owner who tries to toughen up to save his wife from abduction. And Olivia Wilde is the mysterious and beautiful Ella who seems to know something about Jake. The acting is solid and believable. Each character stands out and made the film worth watching.

The characters and their stories are really what made the film. While the men had rough and tough exteriors, there was still plenty of heart. The feel was definitely a Western meets Alien, with plenty of violence and intense suspense and action. Clever one-liners throughout gave the film some much-needed laughs and light-hearted moments. Fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat excitement from beginning to end, Cowboys & Aliens certainly lives up to the hype.

The story is only roughly based on the original graphic novel. This is a different story, yet still has riveting characters, a mystery, and non-stop adventure. This was the film I was looking forward to most this summer. And I’m happy to say I wasn’t disappointed. The Old West setting was charming yet gritty. And the aliens are brutal and extremely powerful, but underestimate humans, so it’s not a completely hopeless situation, nor silly. Both genres are treated with respect. Flawlessly blending Western action and gun-slinging with a high-tech alien invasion, this summer blockbuster is completely unique and altogether fantastic.

Movie Review: Captain America: The First Avenger

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Captain America: The First Avenger

During World War II, Steve Rogers is eager to enlist to serve his country and defend it against invaders. But Steve is a scrawny 95 pound young man with asthma and a weak heart. But a doctor sees Steve’s eagerness and determination and decides to give him a chance in a special experimental division of the army. There, Steve proves himself worthy and brave enough to be the first test subject for a super-soldier serum. Meanwhile, a Nazi scientific faction called Hydra has found a remarkable substance that just may change the course of the war.

With extraordinary special effects and CGI, Chris Evans begins the film as a small, weak man. His transformation to Captain America is worth the price of admission alone. Evans completely embodies both Steve Rogers – the brave but bullied weakling to the strong super-soldier. Tommy Lee Jones plays Captain America’s commanding officer to scene-stealing perfection. And supporting roles by Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter), Sebastian Stan (‘Bucky’ Barnes), Dominic Cooper (Howard Stark), and Stanley Tucci (Dr. Erskine) added humor and heart to the film. Hugo Weaving was chilling and brilliance as Johann Schmidt, the evil mastermind behind Hydra.

The story takes place almost completely in 1942, with beautiful settings and Stark-infused technology and fun gadgets. With plenty of action, adventure, suspense, and laughs – fans of all ages will enjoy this fantastic re-imaging of an iconic super hero. It would have been easy to make this a simple action/adventure film, but the writers did an amazing job of infusing drama, patriotism, and light-hearted humor to balance the story. This comic book fan had high hopes and was not disappointed. Intrigue, excitement, and romance – the film is riveting from beginning to end.

Latest-Captain-America-Movie-Poster

Movie Review: Thor

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In the remote realm of Asgard, young Thor is heir to the throne, but is arrogant with a quick temper. When Thor’s misguided actions cause the end of an unsteady peace between the Asgard and Frost Giants, King Odin banishes Thor to Earth. Thor is found by scientist Jane Foster who studies the skies. Without his powers, Thor is forced to live as a mortal and learn what it means to be a true hero.

Chris Hemsworth takes on the iconic role of Thor, the god of thunder. Hemsworth not only looks the part of the blonde-haired, blue-eyed Nordic god, but he plays the part of haughty, spoiled young prince to perfection. Unlike most other superhero origin stories, Thor doesn’t go through much physical change. Instead, he grows as a man and a champion for others, learning humility and self-sacrifice.

They couldn’t have found a better actor to play Odin. Anthony Hopkins shines in whatever he does, and as Asgard’s wise and benevolent leader is no exception. And Thor’s malicious and manipulative brother Loki is played by Tom Hiddleston to creepy perfection. Natalie Portman costars as Jane Foster, Thor’s human love interest. I was skeptical at first, but the two did have great chemistry. And Jane’s small team of scientists including Stellan Skarsgard and Dr. Selvig and Kat Dennings as Darcy added a fun dynamic of humor and simplicity. Whereas, Thor’s friends from Asgard are a bit cartoonish and over-the-top.

The main story takes place on both present day Earth and on Asgard, moving at a steady pace. At 1 hour 54 minutes long, I expected there to be some slower scenes or the story to be drawn out. Instead, it felt like the movie flew by, and it was suddenly over too soon. The action scenes were intense, with incredible special effects. The drama was balanced well with humor. Full of mystery, suspense, adventure, and a bit of romance – I loved every minute of Thor. Comic book and superhero fans of all ages will enjoy this cosmic adventure. I saw this sneak preview on a regular screen, but in 3-D. I highly recommend the 3-D experience, with the fantastic special effects; it really pulls viewers into the action scenes. Though, I do wish there were a more comfortable option than those annoying plastic 3-D glasses. I’ll definitely be seeing this one again in the theaters, most likely on IMAX next time.

And like other Marvel comic book films, don’t forget to stay through the credits to see the extra clip!

Movie Review: The Green Hornet

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The Green Hornet

After his father’s sudden death, slacker and playboy Britt Reid inherits his late father’s media empire. But Britt finds a new purpose in life when he teams up with his employee and martial arts expert Kato to fight crime, disguised as villains.

Writer and star Seth Rogen plays the slovenly, arrogant Britt/Green Hornet. While Brit is not always a likeable person, he’s funny and genuinely wants to do the right thing. On the other hand, Kato (played by Jay Chou) is brilliant, talented and cute – the complete opposite of Britt. Which may be what makes the duo work on screen. Christoph Waltz plays the villain Chudnofsky, who unfortunately is as dull and two dimensional as they come. Still, the dialog is witty and saves his scenes. The PG-13 rating is warranted for language and plenty of stylized violence that usually involves Chudnofsky.

I had extremely low expectations going in, as Seth Rogen’s other films have never appealed to me. But I ended up more than pleasantly surprised with the clever dialog, fantastic special effects, and a decent story. And the car, Black Beauty, just about stole the show with her endless gadgets and impossible (see recent Mythbuster’s episode) abilities. If you’re looking for a light-hearted action flick with lots of laughs, look no further. The Green Hornet is certainly buzzworthy.

The Green Hornet releases January 14th in theaters everywhere.

Movie Review: R.E.D.

Red Movie

Frank Moses lives a simple life, living off pension checks – that he tears up each month to have an excuse to call a certain female in pension services. But when the CIA targets Moses, everyone he’s been in touch with is in danger too. Moses seeks helps from several friends (and old enemies) all now Retired and Extremely Dangerous.

This all-star cast and team of retirees is led by Bruce Willis (Frank Moses – the agency’s most effective black ops agent ever), Morgan Freeman (Joe Matheson – former handler living out his golden years in a nursing home), John Malkovich (Marvin Boggs – highly intelligent and clinically insane), and Helen Mirren (Victoria Winslow – ruthless killer with plenty of class). Mary-Louise Parker was also fantastic as Sara Ross, Moses’ love interest who dreams of romance and adventure. And Karl Urban (of recent Star Trek fame) plays William Cooper the CIA assassin in charge of taking down Moses.

With the actors alone, I knew I’d love the film. But I didn’t expect how funny and charming it would be. The action and suspense is non-stop. And a few clever schemes gave it a slight feel of Oceans 11 or A-Team. This was the prefect summer flick – fun, light-hearted, and full of excitement. If you like lots of explosions and laughs, I highly recommend it.