Wednesday, December 26, 2012

2012: Week 49: Rise of the Guardians

Rise of the Guardians

Genre: Animation, Adventure

Main Players: Voices of Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Jude Law, Isla Fisher, Hugh Jackman

General Gist: The immortal guardians (Jack Frost, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Sandman, and Santa) try to protect all the children against the evil spirit Pitch.

Tiff's Take:         
We decided to treat the kids to a movie for week 49.  My kids wanted to see this and it looked interesting to me so why not.  And I did enjoy it but I wouldn't say it was anything spectacular.  I've seen a lot better animated movies but I've also seen a lot worse. 

It was an interesting concept and I liked all the characters.  All the great voices helped too.  But I'll admit it hasn't left a lasting impression since I've seen it a few weeks ago.  My kids?  My 7 year old seemed to enjoy it and my 4 year old was only mildly distracted at times.  Pretty good for a kids movie I'd say.

Tiff's Rate: Matinee

Deb's Take: I like animated movies when they have a lot of humor for the adults, at least they are my favorite.  This movie didn't have a lot of "hidden" adult moments.  However, the story was a good concept, and I liked that they combined a group of guardians together that weren't just your traditional characters, (ie: Jack Frost and Tooth Fairy)  The movie kept the kids' interest (mine are 9 and 12) and I think the story was laid out well.  My kids both said they liked it "a lot" (vs a little).  It was good, clean, kid fun!

Deb's Rate: Matinee

Preview: A few reviews in the que.  Only a couple weeks behind.   Whew!

2012: Bonus Review: Wreck-It Ralph

Wreck-It Ralph

Genre: Animation

Main Players: Voices of John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch

General Gist: Wreck-It Ralph is sick of being a bad guy in the video game world.  He leaves his game in search of a way to become a hero.

Tiff's Take: 
This was sort of a throw back to video games of my childhood.  I think that made this movie sort of a draw for the parents who had to watch it with their kids.  It really wasn't much of a draw for me but I was never really into video/arcade games much growing up I guess.          

As far as a kids movie from the perspective of the parents who have to watch them I'd say this one was really slow.  Both Russ and I thought so.  I felt like it dragged on forever.  I heard some good things about it so I was a little surprised I didn't like it better but I really didn't.  I sort of thought it would never end. 

From my kids perspective it rated slightly higher.  My 7 year old said he liked it but my 4 year old got pretty restless.  She's not much of a movie goer yet but this one was a little more difficult for her to sit through then most. This one's probably best as a renter in my opinion.

Tiff's Rate: Rent It

Preview: Another animated movie.  Rise of the Guardians.

Monday, December 10, 2012

2012: Week 48: Silver Linings Playbook

Silver Linings Playbook

Genre: Comedy, Romance

Main Players: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro

General Gist: After a stay in a mental institute, a teacher moves in with his parents and begins to work on trying to reconcile with his wife.  Along the way he meets a young woman with issues as well.

Tiff's Take: 
This movie was sort of crazy.  Crazy in the fact that the characters were a little off (or a lot) and there was so much arguing and yelling and things going on.  This might have been a little too much for some people but it surprisingly was not for me.  I really loved this movie.  

Crazy really worked well for these characters and boy did the actors play the part.  The chemistry between Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence was great and I loved the humor.  There was one scene that got me and Deb so tickled we could hardly stop laughing.  I think people were looking at us funny.  Over all it was a pretty predictable story line but it was so enjoyable that it didn't matter at all.         

Tiff's Rate: Opening Night 

Deb's Take: This movie played up Crazy to a different sort of level.  I think the craziest part, the fact that more than likely there are households like this one in the world for real!  I think I liked this movie because it made me feel a little less crazy. 

I agree with Tiff,  the movie was pretty predictable, and very out there, but there was good character development, good relationship development (even in all it's craziness) and great chemistry.  The movie was funny, (yes Tiff and I were laugh crying at one point, although the full theatre did not seem to find as much humor in the scene as we did) as well as touching.  There was a little disconnect from time to time, however, I think that only enhanced this movie.  All the main actors were great, and I really enjoyed the show.  I don't think it's Academy Award worthy, but worth a good night out.

Deb's Rate: Opening Night

Preview: Movie Mania...we have 7-8 movies we want to see in the next 3 weeks. We'll see what happens.  Our Last Hurray!

Monday, December 3, 2012

2012: Bonus Review: Skyfall


Skyfall

Genre: Action, Adventure, Crime

Main Players: Daniel Craig, Judy Dench, Javier Bardem, Naomie Harris

General Gist: Bond….James Bond

Deb's Take:  
I am not the James Bond fanatic in my home, my husband is, and even more then he, is my brother-in-law.  So, of course this movie was about our men.  We did the whole AMC Cinema Suites, couples night out, babysitter (thanks Kayla) generally, all out for this one.  Gotta love the whole movie experience now a days!

So, really, how could this movie go wrong?  Well, after some discussion with my trusty Bond expert (husband) I have found that it COULD have gone wrong.  I mean, not anyone can play Bond correctly, but Daniel Craig CAN and DID!  Even I could see (with my inexperienced Bond eyes), that he is good!  Now, I have seen some Bond movies, and I agree, I think Daniel Craig was a good pick when they were looking for their next Bond some time back.  Of course, there was the whole “who was your favorite Bond” conversation, and all were in agreement that Craig does exceptional.  This movie will not disappoint, and will most likely be spot on for all those Bond fans.   I did really enjoy this movie.  I liked the action, the stunts, the interactions between the characters, and the progression of the relationships.  I am sure some of the true “Bond” references were lost on me, but my husband enlightened me on some of the little idiosyncrasies.   Great action, Great suspense, Great Night all around.   

Deb's Rate: Friday Night—only because I am not a “true” fan.

Tiff's Take:
I was really looking forward to this movie.  To say I'm a huge Daniel Craig fan would be an understatement.  Ever since I saw him in his first Bond movie I was hooked.  Best Bond yet in my mind.  Let's not worry about the fact that I've only seen Craig and Brosnan Bond movies in full.  I tried to watch Live and Let Die with Russ and it was a little painful.  I'm definitely not a Bond die hard.  However, I do enjoy the newer ones a lot. 

From a purely female perspective (and DC lover) this movie was great.  I enjoyed ever bit of it.  Russ, the major Bond aficionado, thought it was great as well but...it was different.  He tried to explain to me why it was different from all the other ones.  Here's what I got from it. 
  • There wasn't as much action/car chases or enough cool new cars.  I noticed that too but it didn't bother me.  I don't live for car chases like Russ does.  
  • There weren't as many cool gadgets either.  Again, didn't really bother me.
  • He wasn't in a tux as much.  He was a little grittier in this one.  Not quite so smooth.
  • This one told more about his personal life.  I guess Bond is usually more of a mystery?  This was one reason why I liked it so well.  But I'm a girl and we like to know what makes men tick.
So even though Russ thought it wasn't your typical Bond movie he really enjoyed it as well.  Definite hit for us.

Tiff's Rate: Opening Night

Preview:  Some more pre-screenings coming soon.

2012: Week 47: Lincoln


Lincoln

Genre: Drama, Biography, History

Main Players: Daniel Day Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn, Tommy Lee Jones

General Gist: The story of Lincoln’s struggle to emancipate the slaves, during the civil war. 

Deb's Take: 
I am one of the least political person’s out there.  I think I have mentioned this before.  That being said, the first half of the movie was a little slow for me, I didn’t enjoy all the political bantering, games and negotiations.  I know it was all a recounting of our history, and I think that is what kept me interested.  I really was impressed with Daniel Day Lewis and his portrayal of Lincoln.  I will guess that a lot of research was done about Lincoln’s personality, and I feel like the personality came through loud and clear.  The movie was most impressive in that it covers a very short period of time, yet captures an amazing pivotal historical event, and the days around that event.  What a burden that man took on, and what a strategic way of bringing the events into play.  I did feel the acting in this movie was exceptional.  I always like Sally Field, and Tommy Lee Jones was different in this role, not as convincing as some, but good. 

I think this movie would be most suited for those people who love history, love politics and love biographies.  I am not necessarily this type of person, but the greatness of this movie was not lost on me, I know it was exceptional and give it credit, even though it wasn’t my favorite..many of you will love it!

Deb's Rate: Matinee for me, but Friday night for most

Tiff's Take:
This movie was very different from what I expected.  I thought it was more of a war movie but it was so not.  It was really about passing (is that the right term?) the 13th amendment.  It just so happens it was around war time.  So needless to say, this was not an action packed movie.  Yes, it was long and a little slow.  Yes, my dad may or may not have fallen asleep during it.  BUT, it was very interesting.  At least to me.  I'm always surprised to find that political stuff really does interest me more than I think.   

I felt like this movie really captured the behind the scenes of what may have been going on way back then.  It was fascinating to see Lincoln's personality portrayed.  What an amazing individual?!  Daniel Day Lewis totally nailed it.  As Deb said, if you're a history buff you'll probably really enjoy this.  If you're looking for action this isn't your movie. 

Tiff's Rate: Hmm...Matinee or Friday Night.  Why not, Friday Night.

Preview:  More to come as we catch up!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

2012: Bonus Review: Red Dawn


Red Dawn

Genre: Action

Main Players: Chris Hemsworth, Isabel Lucas, Josh Hutcherson, Josh Peck, Adrianne Palicki, Connor Cruise

General Gist: A group of teenagers work to save their town from an invasion of North Koreans

Deb's Take:  This one was one of our Thanksgiving extravaganza of movie seeing.  As many of you know, this movie was a remake, I remember seeing Red Dawn as a teen/tween and always think it’s cool when 30 years later I am taking my kids to see a movie that I grew up on.  This movie followed the same line, with up to date technology and advancements.  There was a lot of action, suspense, and unexpected events.  The acting was adequate, not a movie that I was expecting a whole lot from.  The actors were good at their roles, but really just a whole bunch of kids. It wasn’t bad or anything, just nothing exceptional.  What I enjoyed more was hearing my kids’ reactions.  My daughter doesn’t usually go to movies like this, and she said she really liked it, she seemed to enjoy the suspense.  My son was slightly troubled by the unnecessary death of some of the characters, and several times explained how those deaths could have been easily avoided.  (He is like that!)  All in all it was a fun family event, a little on the violent side, but not too bad for my 16 and 12 year old.

Deb's Rate: Rent it

Preview:  Almost there!

 

2012: Bonus Review: Flight


Flight

Genre: Drama,

Main Players: Denzel Washington, Kelly Reilly, Bruce Greenwood, John Goodman

General Gist: A pilot is able to prevent his airliner from crashing, however, an investigation reveals his troubled lifestyle.

Deb's Take:  My husband and I went to this movie on a pre screening night.  The trailers and promos really played up this movie as an exciting, edge of your seat, type of movie and my husband was really looking forward to going.  Denzel is such a good actor, and I can say he did a good job in this movie, as usual.   I really like Kelly Reilly, she was so convincing as a recovering drug addict and down on her luck sort of gal.  John Goodman was the humor of this show, he brought the humor to this all to serious subject, and Bruce Greenwood did exceptional.  That all being said, the movie was NOT an edge of your seat type of show, rather, after  the first 15-20 minutes the movie was really more about alcoholism and how it rears it’s ugly head in the life of a pilot.  I am not saying the movie was bad, just that the trailers were misleading and really not the story I expected.  Sometimes the unexpected makes for a pleasant surprise, in this case I didn’t feel that way.  If you go, just be ready for something different than what you may have expected.

Deb's Rate: Rent it

Preview:  We are getting caught up, I swear!

Friday, November 16, 2012

2012: Week 46: Breaking Dawn: Part 2

Breaking Dawn: Part 2

Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Adventure

Main Players: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattison, Taylor Lautner:  Plus lots of other really cool actors.

General Gist:  The Final Chapter of the Twilight Series...Nuff said!

Deb's Take:
Ok, so we made it to the 10:00pm showing (8 theatres were sold out for this one in Independence)  The hype of the movie is always so much fun!   SO...if you haven't joined the Twilight world this movie is probably just O.K. for you.  In all honesty, the acting is sometimes cheesy, and the visual effects aren't all that great at times.  BUT...this movie is about the experience, it's the 5th movie and who doesn't want to see how it all ends in real life (vs the book?). 

I have never been a big fan of Kristen Stewart or Robert Pattison, they are depressing to me, when they smile it looks out of character because they never smile and always look sort of bored and irritated.  I know some of it is the movie and their characters, but really I just never really fell for them in these roles.  On the other hand, I love so many of the supporting characters, but have to say Michael Sheen took the cake in this movie.  He does evil so well. Really all the "evil" characters/actors in this film did good, they are believable.  I also like Taylor Lautner, he just fit his role well, and is so darn cute and Ashley Greene, she was spot on.

I don't feel like there is too much to say, but I will put out one little teaser...I read the books, I knew the ending, I have gone to LOTS of movies in my life (well, maybe more then Lots) and this one got me!  Was so not expecting it!....all I can say, you will be surprised.

Great ending for this Team Jacob fan.

Deb's Rate: Opening Night

Tiff's Take: I don't know how many times I can say it.  I love love love the excitement of a hyped up opening night!  All the anticipation, the crazies (the making fun of the crazies) and feeling like you're a part of something fun.  This is probably the only time I can handle going to a movie where you have a very active and loud audience. 

First, let me get this out of the way.  As I was watching the first couple scenes I was cringing just a tad.  It started out a little too cheesy and low budget.  (Is that even possible??)  I thought of my sister-in-law knowing that she would immediately hate the movie.  (Back story:  She's an incredibly hard critic and loved if not obsessed over these books.  Movies never live up to her book standards.  Ever.)  But after it got into the heart of the story I didn't worry about cheesy or low budget any more. 

The characters came back just as good as ever and I loved seeing the introduction of all the "other" vampires.  Most of it was what I would have expected but the ending?!  Wow.  What a great way to change things up without really changing things up.  Bravo movie makers.  Great final installment.  First Harry Potter is over now Twilight.  It's going to be a sad day when all the Hunger Game movies are done.  I'm not sure what I'll do.

Go Team Edward! Ha. 

Tiff's Rate: Opening Night of course.

Preview:  James....James Bond 

2012: Week 45: Argo

Argo

Genre: Drama, Thriller, History 

Main Players: Ben Affleck, John Goodman, Alan Arkin, Victor Garber

General Gist: Six Americans are trapped in hiding in the Canadian embassy in Iran.  In an effort to get them back home, the CIA creates a fake movie as an excuse to get in the country and get them out by saying they are a film crew.  Based on a true story in the late 70's early 80's.

Tiff's Take: 
This movie was based on a true story which I love.  And it has Ben Affleck who I'm always rooting for.  He doesn't have the best track record in my mind as being the best actor in the world but I've always really liked him.  This character really fit him well.  Maybe it helped that he was the director.  Who knows.  What I do know is this story was so interesting.  It makes you wonder what movie will be made 30 years from now about something happening right now that we have no idea about.  That's a little unsettling so maybe we shouldn't think about that.

This was a pretty serious movie with a big emphasis on suspense.  The whole time I was on the edge of my seat wondering if they were going to get out.  Now, if I knew the story from way back in the day I would know the answer to that but I didn't.  I was only like 2 and to be honest I probably wouldn't know too much about it if I was 18 at the time.  Since I didn't really know exactly what was going to happen it was even more nail biting.  And just to give my heart a little break there was comedic relief by John Goodman and Alan Arkin's characters.  Just the right amount.

I really enjoyed this and so did Russ.  Russ thought this would be interesting but I don't think he thought he would like it quite so much.  (I mean it's no James Bond movie but...) Great date night movie.  Both parties will enjoy this one.       

Tiff's Rate: Opening Night
Deb's Take: 
I am not much of a history buff either.  I married a history buff so that he could give me all the details of the things I have missed in life.  Brian said he remembered this, and I don't know if he told me, or I just assumed, but I knew from the beginning they were getting out, so I wasn't in as much of a suspenseful stupor as some, but I agree this movie was suspenseful.

I think Ben Affleck did a great job as both director and actor of this film.  After watching a true story based movie I always go and do a little hunting around to see how the film was different from the real situation.  This movie was good about trying to get the story accurate, while making it "Hollywood".  I, like my sister, am amazed at the things that happen in this world without the general public knowledge.  Well,,maybe not that surprised. 

I really think you will like this movie if you like history, or even if you just like movies that include real life events.  There was plenty of suspense, light humor and action, with enough drama to round it all out.
Deb's Rate: Opening Night
Preview: Skyfall and Breaking Dawn 2 both in the same week.  Oh, and maybe we'll throw a bonus review in the mix as well. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

2012: Week 44: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Genre: Drama, Romance 


Main Players: Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller

General Gist:  A story that follows the school year of a shy freshman boy who becomes friends with two seniors.

Deb's Take: 
I loved this movie!  It felt like the "Breakfast Club" meets "Pretty in Pink".  I have always liked movies about high school.  Everything is so innocent and new.  The thrill (or maybe agony) of becoming an adult, and experiencing so much for the first time.  It's also scary, and lonely and sad for some, but when it's not, its amazing.

I loved the chemistry of these actors. The characters were bizarre, quirky, and perfect!  All three of the actors were great.  I really liked Logan Lerman, what a wonderful job. There were funny parts, sad parts, and happy parts.  All those things that make life...Life, and all those things that shape who we are.  Yes, we all experience life differently, but all in all, everything is a lesson, and if we make it through we learn something about who we are and who we will be become. 

Deb's Rate: Opening Night

Tiff's Take:
Ditto on what Deb said.  Yeah, really great movie.  Although I'm not surprised.  I thought I would like this one from the first time I saw the preview.  It's been out a little while and I wasn't sure if we would get to see it so I'm glad we finally did. 

The basic story line was pretty straight forward.  A boy trying to fit in while finding unlikely friends in two older kids.  But there was a lot more to the back history of the three main characters that made it interesting.  In fact, it makes you want to know more about them.  Parts of it are vague which I think was done on purpose to let you fill in the holes.  That can be annoying at times but worked for this.  I'm guessing the book gets into a lot more detail but the movie worked.

I loved all three of the main actors/characters.  They each had a special charm to them.  I loved seeing Emma Watson do so well in a post Harry Potter movie.  Definitely one of the better movies we've seen this year.

Tiff's Rate: Opening Night 

Preview:  Review for Argo and Wreck-It Ralph coming up. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

2012: Week 43: The Sessions

The Sessions

Genre: Drama, Romance 

Main Players: Helen Hunt, John Hawkes, William H Macy

General Gist: A young man who has been disabled since a young boy, seeks the help of a sexual surrogate to experience sex for the first time.

Deb's Take: 
I was a little surprised at how many older adults there were in this movie.  It was a pre-screening, and I am wondering if it targeted the “senior” population for some reason, because Tiff, my cousin Leslie and I were some of the youngest people in there..(except of course the looney who brought her 4 and 10 year old children, seriously people!  It’s a movie about a sexual surrogate, you think the R rating means nothing? Let them see it in their own home where they can ask questions or something!) 

Anyway, the movie was ok.  I say OK because the whole scenario was set up, characters were just “sort of” developed, and I hated how the ending hit you smack in the face and was anti-climatic in nature.  The movie felt like it wanted to go so much deeper, there was emotions and relationships, but they were all so "unfinished" and choppy.  That being said, I liked the story.  I had no clue what to expect as I have never really thought about a sexual surrogate.  I am actually sort of surprised I haven’t though, considering I am an Occupational Therapist and have worked with many clients who are paralyzed. I have often answered  personal questions about sexual activity and educated patients in options when disabilities are involved. If nothing else, the movie gave me a new perspective of sex and my belief of what is appropriate and what isn’t.

The acting?  Helen Hunt was great, wish I looked like her in my birthday suit, John Hawkes was amazing..what a hard role and character to play! And William H Macy was a funny little addition to the mix.  I think this movie is a good one to ponder and think about, especially if you are in the therapy world, can’t say it was amazing though.

Deb's Rate: Rent It


Tiff's Take:
I guess I thought this was a little better than what Deb thought.  I didn't get too hung up on the character development but it did just sort of throw you into the lives of the people rather than building up background.  The whole idea was interesting though.  And based on a true story so that made it even more interesting.  Who knew there was such a thing as a sex surrogate?!  Sort of a weird concept if you ask me. 

The acting was really good.  I hadn't seen Helen Hunt in anything for a long time.  I really like her.  And I seem to always like William H Macy in anything.  John Hawkes looked like a completely different person.  It was really amazing. 

Yeah, the ending was sort of abrupt and the relationship between Hawkes and Hunt's characters sort of left you wanting more but all in all it was a good movie.  Not great but worth seeing. (And as Deb pointed out, don't bring your small children to this.  Really not appropriate in any way.  Thanks.)

Tiff's Rate: Matinee

Preview:  We're way backed up on our reviews but we have some good ones coming up. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

2012: Week 42: Cloud Atlas


Cloud Atlas

Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi

Main Players: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Jim Sturgess, Jim Broadbent

General Gist: A story about how individual lives affect one another in the past, present and future.

Deb's Take:  
This movie was another one of those “thinker” type of movies.  There is a lot going on with so many characters and so many time lines, the movie can get confusing.  I was a little lost most of the time.  I felt like I needed to watch the movie a couple times in order to really figure out who was who and what was what.  The movie followed the lives of so many different people/past, present and future.  I tried to find the connection in each but know I missed some of it. 

The most amazing part of this movie was how many characters each actor played.  Tom Hanks played 7 different characters, Halle Berry did 6, and most of the others had 5-6 as well.  Not until the credits were running did I see who was who as some of them were so unrecognizable.  There definitely is outstanding acting.  I sort of felt like I was watching a play vs a movie because the actors “acted” so well.

The movie was a little to long and drawn out for me.  I found myself wondering if there was really a point, luckily, things did  have closure..which I like of course.  Wonderful acting, but a little too much bouncing back and forth for my taste. 

Deb's Rate: Matinee

Tiff's Take:
Yeah, this definitely was a thinker.  I too, like Deb, was confused for a lot of it.  I wasn't sure how it was all going to tie together.  I don't think it was until the last 20 minutes of the movie that I had a little ah ha moment.  But I'll be quite honest.  That ah ha moment wasn't a real clear one.  There's still a lot I missed. 

It sounds like I enjoyed the whole journey of it a little more than Deb. I liked the bouncing back and forth between stories and times.  And I liked how some of the stories were more serious then others.  The present day story was especially entertaining and gave a little comic relief. 

The acting was great but more importantly, the makeup was wonderful.  I imagine it was fun for the actors to play all those different parts and be a completely different person for each story.

And yes it was long but it didn't feel too long for me.  The only beef I have is, again, what's up with these bleak futures?   

Tiff's Rate: Friday Night 

Preview: A few more pre-screenings in the works.

 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

2012: Week 41: Looper

Looper

Genre: Action, Sci-Fi 

Main Players: Bruce Willis, Joseph Gorden-Levitt, Emily Blunt, Pierce Gagnon

General Gist: Futuristic movie about a hired assassin from the 2040's (called a Looper) who kills for the mob from the 2070's via time travel.  Things get complicated after he finds out he needs to kill his future self who doesn't want to be killed.  Confused yet??

Deb's Take: 
What an intriguing concept for a movie.  ( I am sure it’s been done before, and there is probably a book out there with this story too, but was new to me.) I am reading an awesome book series right now, “The Outlander” series by Diana Gabeldon.  The book is about time traveling (and a lot more!) and I am always fascinated with the concept.  Due to that fact, I was excited to see how they played out this movie with time travel.   Sometimes in movies time traveling gets too confusing certain scenes are “wrong” in that some little aspect is missed, making the time travel too questionable.  This movie seemed to avoid those two problems, generally speaking.  I enjoyed the way the plot played out.  I liked the chemistry of the characters, Bruce Willis and Joseph Gorden-Levitt seemed to have worked hard to become the same person, and Emily Blunt was likable and convincing.  I think I was most impressed with the son in this movie, played by Pierce Gagnon.  I tried to find his real age but only came up with 5-8.  He seemed on the younger side, yet I am always amazed at the talent of some children.  He also plays/played in a T.V. show and has been in a couple other movies, he was pretty darn good!  All in all the movie had good action, and the story line carried a cool “supernatural” air.   
We got to enjoy company again this week with my husband and my sister-in-law.  Movies just draw a family together!

Deb's Rate: Friday Night

Tiff's Take:    
So, trying to describe this movie does make it sound really confusing.  It really wasn't though.  There weren't a lot of hangups on the whole time travel concept.  It all made sense and seemed like it could really happen.  (But in only 60 years from now??  I'm not sure about that.)

Like Deb said, very interesting concept if not a little unnerving.  Why is it that movies (or books for that matter) portray the future as being so bleak?  Are we really that bad of a species?  I've been reading Lois Lowry's The Giver books so I have bleak future on my mind.

This really was a great sci-fi thriller if you're into that kind of thing.  It was a great concept, sort of intense and great acting by all.  Joseph Gorden-Levitt was fantastic and only annoyed me slightly by his Bruce Willis facial expressions.  One thing to keep in mind though was that it had a lot of blood and guts.  Be prepared and for the love of God don't take your kids to it.  (A facebook friend said they saw kids in the theater when they went.  Seriously people.) 

One thing I really liked about this movie was the unpredictability of it.  I wasn't sure how things were going to get resolved.  The storyline didn't fit this nice little mold.  I liked it.
Tiff's Rate: Friday Night 

Preview: We were thinking about seeing Argo but just got prescreening tickets for Cloud Atlas.  So I guess the free movie wins!

Bonus Review: The Odd Life of Timothy Green

The Odd Life of Timothy Green


Genre: Drama

Main Players: Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton, CJ Adams

General Gist: A young boy appears as an answer to a couple's prayer for a child.

Deb's Take: I actually went to this movie several months ago with my two oldest kids.  It was a pre-editing screening.  The whole experience was pretty cool for my kids.  My son was super excited that he was watching a movie that hadn’t even come out yet, and taking a survey at the end with our opinions made him feel special.


As far as the movie itself,  I felt like the previews really played it up and it was a little bit of a let down.    I was looking for something that would really touch my heart.  Don’t get me wrong, the movie is touching, just not deep in your soul touching.  I felt like all the characters had good chemistry.  There were some funny parts, but it was a little slow at times.  My kids both rated it highly in there surveys though, and I think it was a good family movie.  I think younger kids may get a little bored,  but  11 and up seemed to work.  I have to say from a mom’s perspective, it was a fun night with my kids, but the movie wasn’t what made it memorable.

Deb's Rate: Rent it

Monday, October 15, 2012

2012: Week 40: Taken 2

Taken 2

Genre: Action Drama

Main Players: Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen,  Maggie Grace

General Gist:  A retired CIA and his wife are taken hostage.  The group who holds him hostage is also the same family who kidnapped their daughter. The group is seeking revenge.

Deb's Take:
Well, this movie definitely makes the most sense if you have seen the first one.  I did, and thought the first one was decent, lots of action and adventure, and I loved the premise of how he figured out where is daughter was.  This one is pretty much the same movie, with a slightly different spin.  All in all the same concept, he has to figure out the details in order to get to the bottom of his ordeal.  I still liked all the small, intricate details of how, as CIA, he has tactics to figure out any mysteries of the kidnapping.  I don’t feel like the movie was real deep or meaningful, there was no hidden message, and the relationships were…basically action, violence, car chase and fighting.  Kind of typical of Liam’s roles recently it seems.

We had a larger crew with us this time, Mom, my 15 year old, and a good friend (soon to be neighbor to Tiff).  Thanks for the company guys! 

The actors did well, and it was a good action film, nothing real major or award winning.  Lots of violence for a 13 year old I think. 
Deb's Rate: Matinee
Tiff's Take:
As Deb said, it helped if you saw the first one and I would agree to an extent.  Yes, you sort of knew the premise behind what was going on but in the end it didn't matter a whole lot.  There was a lot of action and suspense and really not a whole lot of story.  Which I think is fine because I think that's what this kind of movie is all about.  That being said, it's not my favorite type of movie.  I enjoyed it alright but it didn't do a whole lot for me.  It was just sort of neutral.
I did enjoy the company though!  And I loved that the two flanking me on either side were jumping and visibly cringing the whole time.  It made me smile to be with such active movie watchers.     
Tiff's Rate: Matinee
Preview: Another trip in our future.  (And I'll tell you since we're posting this one so late, we did manage to get a movie in on our vacation.  I guess we're surrounded by people who love movies just as much as we do.)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

2012: Week 39: The Master

The Master

Genre: Drama

Main Players: Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams 

General Gist:   A troubled WWII veteran comes home from the war and gets caught up in a cult like group called The Cause. 

Tiff's Take: 
Wow.  Where do you even start with a movie like this one?  I hadn't really heard anything about this movie until about two weeks before it came out.  I heard it was going to be an award winner so I thought I better go see it.  Also, my cousin, who's in film school (and obviously much more knowledgeable and cultured in movies then this accountant) said that it was good but warned me that it was weird.  Weird movies don't scare me.  I like a good, solid, weird movie.  This one took weird to a whole other level.

So I'm a little torn with this one. 

The downside of this movie:
  • It was weird to the point of uncomfortable.  There were some uncomfortable scenes and Joaquin's character was just sort of creepy.  It made me feel a little yucky.
  • It was confusing.  You know when you're reading a poem and it doesn't make much sense and you have to dissect every word to find the meaning?  That's what this movie was like but I don't feel like I found the meaning in the end.
  • Any story about a cult/religious group/organization that is controlling in any way is unsettling to me.  It scares me and I don't like it.  Period.     
The upside of this movie:
  • What amazing acting!  Joaquin Phoenix was a completely different person in this movie.  I would be shocked if he isn't nominated for an Oscar.  And both Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams were fantastic.  Amy Adams definitely branched out with this role.
  • Even though I'm not the most creative or artistic person and tend to be more logical, I could still appreciate the artistry in this movie.  Whether I liked it or not.  I can't tell you specifically what it was that made it good but I can tell you that it was extremely well done.  In the opinion of the average layman of course.
So did I like it?  Well, I'm glad I saw it but I don't think I'd want to see it again.

Tiff's Rate: Rent It

Deb's Take:
 I stuggled with this review for many of the reason's Tiff mentioned above.  I am not a totally uncreative thinker, in fact, I have always been a little far fetched in my symbolic thinking, you'll notice I didn't say super intelligent or a master of symbolic thinking, only...far fetched.  So during half of this movie I sat and really tried to analyze the symbolism that obviously I felt must have been taking place, (as I was so totally lost I couldn't imagine any other reason for it).  By the second half of the movie I decided I was intellectually challenged and maybe the last scene of the movie would just sum everything up for me.  WELL...that was a big NO.  Instead, the first words out of my mouth when the movie was done were "I so didn't get that..at all!".   Oh, I got the main concept, that was very apparent, but the storytelling was crazy weird.  SOO...all that being said I went to the following website for "The Master" and read the Synopsis (a very detailed account of the movie and it's scenes.)   AH HA!!  Light at the end of the tunnel. 

Here is the deal, I missed a couple things in the movie, a few points that I took at face value and after reading the synopsis realize the story makes a little (very little) more sense to me.   I feel the movie didn't do that wonderful of a job getting their point across in some of the scenes.  Like for instance...1.) he was dreaming when he was in the movie theatre?!?  REALLY?  so didn't get that!  2.) I know the whole teachings were suppose to do something for his insanity/drunkened/wierd self, but...what were they teaching?  read the synopsis and you will understand a little more. 3.) The support characters always just seemed so random...again, read the synopsis...that guy he beat up was the editor of the book?   Just a few of my "OHHH I get it" moments. It kind of felt like a movie that was a book and the director didn't have enough time for all the details so he just hoped everyone who went would have read the book to fill in the blanks.

I guess what I am saying is, I like a movie was deeper meaning, but I think this movie did a poor job at getting the point across.  Too many details were left out that made the movie seem chopping and disconnected (Disconnected in a movie is a killer for me).    Tiff did mention the acting was amazing. Amazingly weird...but I will give the movie that, these actors did weird very well.

Deb's Rate: Don't bother...read the synopsis, you'll get more out of it.

Preview: Not sure what's in store this week but our mom's in town so we'll have company!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

2012: Bonus Review: The Campaign

The Campaign

Genre:  Comedy

Main Players: Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Sudeikis, Dylan McDermott

General Gist: An unlikely candidate runs for congress against the long reigning congressman for a district in North Carolina with the encouragement of two big time CEO's with an ulterior motive.

Tiff's Take:
I had the pleasure of seeing this with my lovely husband and brother-in-law.  I knew if there was any movie my husband would be happy to see it would be this one.  He's a huge Will Ferrell fan through and through.  That being said, there was no way I was going to go to this movie without him.  Boy was it worth it.   

This movie is classic Will Ferrell.  I mean classic.  It reminded me of some of his earlier movies.  It was crude, vulgar, hilarious and inappropriate.  And adding Zach Galifianakis to the mix only made it that much sweeter.  It doesn't really matter so much about the plot or anything like that because you really only go to this kind of movie for the humor.  With Will and Zach that's all you get.  And props to Dylan McDermott and Jason Sudeikis for holding their own with these two comedian power houses. 

I'm so glad I went with Russ to this because he made it funnier for me.  I like Will Ferrell and I like comedies but I'm not sure I would choose them over a love story or good drama.  If I had gone with anyone else I might not have thought it was so funny.  Russ thought it was hilarious which made it easy for me to enjoy it that much more.  There were times when Russ was laughing so hard that he was crying and couldn't breathe.  He would miss a whole scene because the first part was so funny that he couldn't recover in time.  My brother-in-law seemed to enjoy it just as much too.  Actually, he enjoyed it enough to go the next night with my father-in-law.  (Does this paint a tiny picture of what I married into?)  

Most people either like Will Ferrell's sense of humor or they don't.  Not a lot of in between.  If you don't then by all means skip this one.  It would probably only offend you.  If you like his humor then go.  You'll laugh.  A lot.  But choose your company wisely.
     
Tiff's Rate: Friday Night

2012: Week 38: Trouble with the Curve

Trouble with the Curve

Genre: Drama

Main Players: Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman

General Gist: A veteraned baseball scout gets some (unsolicited and unwanted) help from his daughter when he realizes his eyes are starting to go and needs help keeping his job. 

Tiff's Take: 
So that whole thing about not going to a movie this past week?  Yeah, we lied.  We were both going out of town and didn't really think we'd be able to work one in.  As luck would have it, we were able to work one in AND go with our brother and sister-in-law.  Perfect!

I'll just start out by saying I really enjoyed this movie.  I've always been a fan of Amy Adams.  I think I've liked her in almost everything she's been in.  She sort of comes off as this American Sweetheart type actress but I'm always surprised when she can be a little rougher around the edges.  She had a little bit of that edge in this one.  I can't say whether I really like or dislike Clint Eastwood but he was a good fit for the role of grouchy dad/ baseball scout.  Together, they were spot on.  And Justin Timberlake is always good to me.  I think he is talented and just plain funny.  I liked him as the love interest.

This movie had a little bit of everything.  It was serious (I teared up many times), if was funny, it had love and sports.  How could you go wrong with that?  My sister-in-law, who is sort of picky when it comes to movies, loved it.  My brother said it was good but didn't quite rave like we did.  Take that how you will.    

Tiff's Rate: A very solid Friday Night

Deb's Take:
Well, I guess we are addicted.  Not only did we not miss this week, we actually saw two movies. One was on our verrrryyy long flight to Reno (and Cleveland, and San Francisco) and the other with my brother and sister in law.  After reading Tiff's review there is a little repeat here, but we always knew we are a like.
My husband saw this movie and enjoyed it.   He didn’t say a whole lot about it though.  My brother was only mildly impressed, or mildly unimpressed, whichever way you want to look at it.  With two small girls he and my sister in law don’t get to movies much.  He said it was “predictable.”  My sister in law disagreed, she liked it because there was closure.  At the end, everything was neatly resolved and all situations were how they were intended. 
I agree with both of them, the movie was predictable.  Amy Adams and Clint Eastwood did well as a father/daughter pair.  I enjoyed the relationship, its turmoil and its resolve.  I am becoming more impressed with Justin Timberlake as an actor as well.  He plays the boyfriend role well.  He and Amy Adams seemed to have nice chemistry.  The movie was touching, funny and full of relationship…everything a good Hollywood Movie tries to be…Hence my brother’s lack of excitement  and my sister in laws praise.  Yes, the movie was predictable and ended all tied up in a bow at the end, nothing outstanding but not awful either.  I have to say the highlight was spending time with my family though.

Deb's Rate: Friday Night

Preview: Since we actually had a movie to review we'll post the infamous Bonus Reviews later this week. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

2012: Week 37: Won't Back Down

Won't Back Down

Genre: Drama

Main Players: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Oscar Isaac, Holly Hunter, Emily Alyn Lind 

General Gist: A single mother, living in a poor inner city community, wants to improve her daughter's school by "taking it over" and rebuilding it. 

Tiff's Take:   
This movie touches on a subject that can really get you fired up and wonder how some kids can be so lucky in what they have while others are barely making it.  Don't these kinds of movies make you so mad and sad?  One thing that really got me with this one is that the daughter in it was the same age as my son.  That will do it to me every time.  The easier I can imagine my own kids in situations the more emotional of a movie it is for me.  This was definitely one of those.  I was tearing up left and right. 

Putting the kid thing aside it was also one of those that gets you pumped up about making a difference even when you're the underdog.  Maggie Gyllenhaal, who played the mother, definitely played this role well.  (Even though she sort of had crazy eyes the whole time.)  Viola Davis, who played the teacher, was great as well although I felt like I wanted more about her story and what she was all about.

This was definitely a good one.  Be prepared for an emotional ride though.  

Tiff's Rate: Friday Night

Deb's Take:
I was so happy we went to this movie this week.  Like I had mentioned on a post, we had the choice of two pre-screenings, and this was the one we picked.   On a side note, I purchased 5 raffle tickets that an organization was having, at this movie and won 4 Royals Tickets in the Diamond
seating...cool perk!  Also if you get a chance look up the organization "Variety" in K.C. they are doing some pretty cool things in Independence.   Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming..

I sort of thought this movie was based on a true story,but it wasn't, (it would have been even more cool if it had been!)  The story made me so amazingly aware of how sheltered my life often can be.  I think the most outstanding realization to me when I watched this movie, I felt like this same story may be happening in my city.  I don't even begin to believe I know anything about the Kansas City School District, but if the Blue Springs School District may become a alternate location for the students, I can only imagine what is happening in the schools.  It's sad really, that all schools aren't created equal somehow. 

Anyway, I am not a political person, I just don't like seeing struggles and always want the underdog to win!  So..the movie was an emotional one.  I was so impressed with Maggie Gyllenhaal.  I loved her character in the movie.  She was so spunky, and loving, and motivated.  She was inspiring and real and genuine.  (ha ha, I just read the part about her crazy eyes that Tiff wrote...she was a little crazy eyed!) I can't remember another movie where she played the lead, and I was amazed at her ability.  Viola Davis did a great job as the teacher, her character was more closed off, but she still came through loud and clear for me.  There was a little hint of romance hidden in this film that was touching to me. 

This is the kind of movie that makes you want to go out and make a difference in the world! 

Deb's Rate: Friday Night

Preview: We'll be traveling this week and most likely won't get a movie in (boo) so we're going to post a few bonus reviews that we keep promising.  The Campaign and The Odd Life of Timothy Green. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

2012: Week 36: The Words

The Words

Genre: Drama, Romance 

Main Players: Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Dennis Quaid, Olivia Wilde, Jeremy Irons

General Gist: A writer finds someone else's story and publishes it as if it's his own work.

Tiff's Take:  
This movie had a really interesting concept.  It was like a story within a story within a story.  I should mention it was a little confusing too.  Generally speaking I thought it was a decent movie.  The story was good, the acting was good and the chemistry between the actors were good.  But...I felt like there was information missing here and there.  Or maybe just depth.  I don't know.  It just didn't have that emotional pull like I thought it would.  It left me wanting a little more.  And did I mention it was confusing?  Unnecessarily so.

I thought Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana had great chemistry but Dennis Quaid and Olivia Wilde just didn't seem like a great fit.

So this one was sort of neutral for me.  Not bad but definitely not great.  Probably not worth going to the theater for this one.  

Tiff's Rate: Rent It

Deb's Take:
I really was expecting more from this movie.  The previews were misleading to me.  I expected a love story, intertwined with an authors challenging dilemma.  Well, I suppose that is what it was about,..kind of.  The movie was slow.  I felt like I got lost in boredom at some points.  I wasn't really buying the relationships and the plot was weak.  I feel like the movie could have been good, but it was a story, about a story book, about a story...too many stories.  (lol...side note, I didn't read Tiff's review, as I usually don't, before I wrote mine..sometimes our conversations is just too similar!!)  The worse part was the ending.  Nothing was wrapped up, nothing seemed to be resolved and all in all I was disappointed.

The actors did okay in their parts, but I think it's hard to act a poor movie sometimes.  I also think the premise behind the movie could have been quite intriguing if written better.   All in all I expected more and got less.  I actually don't have a whole lot to say because I just really didn't like it.

Deb's Rate: Don't Bother...read a good book instead!

Preview:   "Won't Back Down" is on the docket this week.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

2012: Week 35: Pitch Perfect

Pitch Perfect


Genre: Comedy, Music

Main Players: Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp, Elizabeth Banks, Skylar Astin

General Gist: A self made DJ/Mixer (??) decides to join an all girls a cappella group, "The Bellas", her freshman year at college to appease her dad.  They try to make it to nationals to beat the favorites, the school's male group.

Tiff's Take:
Last year was the year of Natalie Portman.  This year I'm officially calling it the year of music.  Much to my dismay.  I'll admit that some of them we've seen this year haven't been too bad.  Surprisingly this one has probably been one of my favorite music/musical type movies so far.  I'm actually shocked to say that out loud.

The female actors in this movie are the main reason for liking it so well.  I know I've said it before but I'll say it again.  I really like Anna Kendrick.  It seems like she should be pigeon holed into certain type of roles but she isn't.  Not in my opinion anyway.  I just really like her and her sense of humor, and who knew she could sing?!  (But then again, can't they all?) 

Rebel Wilson.  What can I say?  She is hilarious.  And even though Elizabeth Banks had only a minor role she was equally as funny.  Another one of my favorites. 

On top of the acting, the music was fun and a little more "hip" then the music in some of the other ones we've seen this year.  That always makes things more enjoyable.  Definitely an entertaining movie that keeps you laughing as well. 

Tiff's Rate: Friday Night 

Deb's Take:
As Tiff mentioned, we have hit the year of musicals...or movies with music...I had only seen one preview for this movie, and didn't really know what to expect.  Well, I got more then my expectations.  Unlike Tiff, I am a movie music lover.  Music makes the whole experience better!  I agree, some of them have been..... not so better. I liked this one for a few reasons.

1.)  Anna Kendrick is becoming more and more likable to me with each show she does.  I was rather amazed that she could sing.  I like her easy nature and sort of real personality she brings to the table in her movies.  She seems to find the personality of each of her characters and makes it so her own.  She never seems to be the "same" character but in different movies.  That is impressive to me.  There is a scene in the movie, when she is trying out for "The Bellas"  LOVE IT!!

2.) Rebel Wilson!  She is stinkin hilarious...she makes me laugh out loud.  I love her! ( I think her accent helps)  She really makes the comedy of this movie what it is.

3.) There was some romance, although it was choppy and not really what the movie was about.  But I like romance.

4.) AWESOMENESS in the singing department.  Wow, I do like what music is becoming..the music battles, the overlaying of songs, a cappella singing.  All very cool

Deb's Rate: Friday Night...only because the romance was a little weak.
Preview:   Any suggestions?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

2012: Week 34: Hit & Run

Hit & Run

Genre: Comedy, Action

Main Players: Dax Shepard, Kristin Bell, Bradley Cooper, Tom Arnold

General Gist: An ex-con, who is in a witness protection program, comes out of hiding to help his girlfriend get a job.  They are then chased by his former gang of thieves. 

Deb's Take:
A little set up here.  I watch “Parenthood” , the weekly T.V. series.  I absolutely love the character “Crosby”, played by Dax Shepard.  I hadn’t heard much about this movie, but noticed he was starring in it and thought it looked good enough.   If that wasn’t enough, there was a long long list of cameo performances in this movie, along with a list of just darn right funny people.  I mentioned to Tiff, that following the movie I thought maybe Dax (who also wrote and directed the film) must have just started calling up all his buddies and asking them to play in his movie.  (I looked it up…I was right).  His fiancĂ© (girlfriend, wife, not sure what they officially are) Kristen Bell played opposite him, and..of course it worked.  Duh, they are a couple and they didn’t have to pretend.  Then you have this crazy list of actors you never expect to see..Tom Arnold, Bradley Cooper, Jason Bateman, Joy Bryant (plays Dax’s wife on “Parenthood”), Beau Bridges, and Sean Hayes.  AND…on top of those actors, there were some I didn’t know that cracked me up!
Ok, so as far as the movie…it was pretty much, fast cars, crude/rude humor and roll your eyes stupid funny. The movie covers only a couple day time period, and is pretty much just a car chase.  There is a little relationship stuff, a little nudity, although not the kind you might expect, and a lot of stupid laughs.   Exactly what appears to be expected from Dax Shepard.  ( I didn’t realize he used to play on “Punk’d”)  This movie is not intended to challenge any part of your brain, but rather to allow your brain to fall into the depths of pure jelliness (I am not sure what other word to use).  That being said, if you are in the mood, and not easily offended, go and enjoy yourself with a male friend, he will thank you for the offer.  It is a guys movie, but one this sister really enjoyed.
Deb's Rate: Friday Night

Tiff's Take:
Russ and I use to see Dax Shepard on Punk'd and think he was hilarious.  So it's no surprise I thought this movie was funny beings that it was written and directed by him.  I wish Russ had seen this one with me though.  I think he would have liked it even more than me.  Here's why.  Even though this has a relationship aspect to it, it really is coming from the viewpoint of a man.  Not too mushy and not necessarily the main focus.  Also, cars and driving cars are a big part of this movie too.  Russ would have eaten this up.  I definitely couldn't appreciate it like he would have.  And of course it was funny with some really funny actors.  There were a lot of great cameos. 

My only beef with this movie was that it was a little choppy.  It wasn't quite as fluid as I thought it should be.  I'm not sure if this was the first movie he directed but it sort of felt like it.  But still enjoyable and surprisingly sweet in parts.  I loved all the actors and thought that the chemistry between Dax and Kristen was great.  I always thought they seemed like an odd couple in real life but after seeing this movie I can see how it works. 

Tiff's Rate: Matinee (but on the Friday Night side of Matinee)

Preview: Prescreening of "Pitch Perfect", (no it's not a baseball movie)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

2012: Week 33: Sparkle

Sparkle

Genre:  Drama

Main Players: Whitney Houston, Jordin Sparks, Derek Luke, Carmen Ejogo

General Gist: Three sisters work to form a girl singing group in the 1960's.

Deb's Take:
This movie wasn’t really advertised much.  I had seen a few previews, but had sort of forgot about it until we started looking for a movie for the week.  I was intrigued mostly because it was Whitney Houston’s last project before her death.  I have always really adored Whitney Houston for her amazing singing voice.  I know she has had a rough go of it over the last decade, and I was really hoping to see something amazing in her honor. 
The movie itself was sort of disjointed to me.  The story line jumped around a lot without great character development.  I know the family was suppose to be a messed up group of woman, but beyond that dysfunction, the flow of the movie was off.  I never really felt like there was a beginning and middle, mostly just an end.  I did enjoy the singing, some amazing singers! Unfortunately, I think Whitney’s hard life destroyed her amazing gift and it was sad to hear how all her hardship changed her singing voice.  I also got the feeling that we were sort of watching Whitney’s life on screen even though the story was portrayed through her characters' daughter.

The movie wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great.  A tribute, in a way , to an amazing singer.
Deb's Rate: Matinee

Tiff's Take:
So another movie with a music theme.  It's generally a miss for me when it comes to these but I will admit there have been a few hits.  This one was not one of the few hits. 

The music itself was good with amazing singers but the storyline wasn't well thought out.  I felt like there were actually three different movies all mashed into one.  The only "story" I thought was decent was about the last 45 minutes.  And even then it wasn't an original story that deserved much praise.  I think this was Jordin Sparks' debut movie.  Her acting seemed safe and a little blah.  The other two who played her sisters were much more compelling but again the story didn't quite fit.  And unfortunately Whitney Houston looked a little rough.  Not her most spectacular last performance on the big screen. 

One more music movie bites the dust.   
    
Tiff's Rate: Rent It

Preview: We have a couple bonus reviews to get up.  Really, we do.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Movie Night at Home Giveaway Winner

Thanks everyone for entering our Movie Night at Home giveaway! 

Just to recap...our winner will get 2 bags of Popcorn Indiana popcorn, War Horse and The Smurfs DVD's and a bag of peanut M&M's. 

And the winner is...


Amy M.

Congrats!

Please email me at rtjenki@sbcglobal.net and I'll get these goodies out to you.

2012: Week 32: Hope Springs

Hope Springs

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Main Players: Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, Steve Carell

General Gist: A couple, married 30 years, attends a week long counseling get-a-way in hopes of reviving their marriage.

Deb's Take: 
We had it all planned to see Moonrise Kingdom, then we got a  pre-screening invite to “Hope Springs” and decided free is better, (as was the whole timing of the movie) so we ended up at this movie.  I had wanted to see it anyway and it was a pre-release, I like them the best. 
This movie was not necessarily exactly what I thought it was going to be.  I knew the storyline, but for some reason I thought it was going to be funnier.  Even a bad marriage can be funny right?  Well, this movie was much more about the passage of time and what effects it can have on a marriage.  This movie was much more geared towards an older crowd, their marriage was at the 30 year mark, mine is only at 18.  I do know after seeing this movie I really hope my marriage isn’t anything like theirs, but I always find that I am a great “learn by observation” type of gal so I will take this as a lesson.
As far as the acting… Meryl Streep only gets better with age.  I am not a big Tommy Lee Jones fan, yet he did well in this movie.  I think it was his part that was convincing more than his acting though.  Steve Carell was surpising good in a little more serious role.  Really his role was minimal compared to the other two, but good none the less.
I enjoyed the venue a lot and would recommend a stop at the Armour Theatre in the Northland if you ever get a chance to go

Deb's Rate: Matinee

Tiff's Take:
Like Deb said, this movie was more on the serious side.  There were some funny parts but generally speaking it was more of a drama than comedy.  For me, this worked just fine.  I'm not sure I was expecting as much comedy as Deb so it seemed to fit my expectations.

Even though I was a minority in the theater (the average age was probably closer to 50), I have to say I really enjoyed this movie.  Sure it dealt with issues that I can't necessarily relate to at my age but I still appreciated it.  I liked how honest it was and how vulnerable the characters were.  And speaking of characters, Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones were fantastic.  I was very pleasantly surprised with Steve Carell beings that he didn't have really any funny parts and he played it perfectly.  (Unlike his role in Seeking a Friend...in which I did not enjoy.) 

I do have to ask one question though.  Is there really ever a guy who does not want to have sex?  I mean really.     

Tiff's Rate: Friday Night

Preview: Winner of the Giveaway to be announced.  And a bonus review.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Giveaway: A Movie Night at Home

I've been meaning to do a giveaway for a few weeks now but can't seem to get my act together.  I figured it's about time to get on it. 

I recently found a popcorn company called Popcorn Indiana.  The popcorn flavors intrigued me.  They have different flavors like Buffalo Cheddar Kettlecorn, Bacon Ranch and Movie Theater Popcorn.  This seemed like a perfect thing to giveaway on our blog.  So I thought I'd pair a few bags of this popcorn with a couple DVD's and, because we can't go to a movie without them, a bag of peanut M&M's.  Sounds like the perfect ingredients for a movie night at home, don't ya think?

So here are the details.  One lucky winner will get:
  • Two bags of Popcorn Indiana popcorn (Movie Theater Popcorn and Cinnamon Sugar Kettlecorn)
  • The Smurfs and War Horse DVD's - a little something for the kids and one that everyone can enjoy!
  • A big ole bag of peanut M&M's 

To enter the contest just leave a comment on this post telling us your favorite movie snack.  Ours of course is popcorn, M&M's and a Diet Coke.  (The Diet Coke is more my weakness then Deb's!)  What's yours?

We'll announce the winner sometime after our next review!

Monday, August 6, 2012

2012: Week 31: Diary of a Wimpy Kids: Dog Days

Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Dog Days

Genre: Family, Comedy

Main Players: Zachary Gordon, Robert Capron, Steve Zahn, Peyton List

General Gist: Third movie of this great book series!  This one is about "The Wimpy Kid's" summer.

Deb's Take:
Well, we took the whole gang this week. My family has seen the two prior so we were excited for this one.   The story lines always seem to hit home with each member of our family.  This movie was even more “real.”  I guess the ages of the characters sort of fell in line a little more closely with my kids (the two oldest at least.)  The parents’ characters were pretty hilarious too!  My husband and I laughed quite a lot during this movie, and shared moments of knowing smiles and nods.  All the characters did well,  I will say that the main character, Zachary Gordon, looked a little too old for a 7th grader though.  He is 14 in real life, so not too off, but for some reason I wasn’t convinced.   I think this movie was just a great family show to laugh and enjoy.  My three kids of 9, 12, 15 seemed to enjoy it.  I will be curious what Tiff says her kids thought.  Much younger crowd to please there. 
Deb's Rate: Matinee -Great family time

Tiff's Take:
I couldn't help but draw similarities between this movie and Judy Moody and the Not So Bummer Summer.  My kids for whatever reason really got into that movie so I've seen it at least a bazillion times.  Both story lines are about a kid in their tweens trying to figure out what to do during summer.  I have to say that this movie wasn't nearly as enjoyable.  At least from a parent's perspective.  It was funny but I didn't think it was hilarious by any means.  And I just didn't think it was as interesting.  Also, since my kids are younger (4 and 7) I was very aware of how much they were enjoying it.  My 7 year old said he liked it but my 4 year old started to get restless towards the end.  I don't really think this movie is intended for a 4 year old audience but mine absolutely loves Judy Moody so I thought this might work.   

I really wish I had seen the first two movies.  I see the advertisements for them and think they look hilarious but it's not really something I would go rent for my own benefit.  I'm not sure if seeing them would change the way I felt about this movie.  Most likely it would but as a stand alone movie I wasn't overly impressed.  When we got out of the movie my husband said, "Judy Moody was way better."  Ha. We watch too many kids movies!  

Tiff's Rate: Rent It

Preview: Going to see Moonrise Kingdom.  Not really advertised much.  We'll see how it goes!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

2012: Week 30: Step Up Revolution

Step Up Revolution

Genre: Drama, Romance

Main Players:  Kathryn McCormick, Ryan Guzman, Peter Gallagher

General Gist: The daughter of a wealthy developer wants to be a professional dancer much to her father's demise.  She meets a local boy who's neighborhood is in jeopardy because of her father.  Dancing ensues. 

Tiff's Take:
We chose this movie because my eldest niece begged us to take her to it.  Okay, she didn't beg.  She asked nicely and we said sure, why not.  I mean who doesn't love a good dancing movie?

First, I want to preface my review by giving you a few facts about myself.
  • Me and my family are addicted to watching So You Think You Can Dance (or SYTYCD as they say).  My husband, my kids, all of us.  Seriously.  We love it.
  • I have not seen Step Up 2 or 3 and it's questionable whether I've seen the first one all the way through.  I just don't remember.
  • Unlike Musicals, I enjoy a good dance.  Just leave out the singing and I dig it.
Whether these little tidbits are relevant to my review is up to you.  Let's continue.

The dancing in this movie was really cool.  I'm mean so cool.  A lot of the choreographers and dancers were ones from SYTYCD.  The main girl, Kathryn McCormick, was from SYTYCD so this was her first acting debut.  She did pretty good for being a dancer.  The actual story line was well...did I mention this movie had great dancing?  Okay, so the story didn't do anything for me.  The relationships were a little weak.  You know, it's okay though.  The dancing was entertainment enough and isn't that really why you would go to this movie in the first place?  

Tiff's Rate: Matinee

Deb's Take: 
As Tiff mentioned, my oldest couldn't wait for this movie to come out and go watch. My oldest is a dancer, a good one..  I grew up with my mother who loves to dance.  I remember sporadically my mom just turning on music and breaking out in dance.  She still loves to dance and has passed the passion down. 

This movie was extremely entertaining, and utterly amazing.  I can not believe how good people can dance.  I am amazed at what the human body is capable of doing.  This movie really had some awesome dancers.  I think the thing that amazed me the most though, was that the main male character, Ryan Guzman, was actually a MMA fighter in the past.  I wonder where he learned to dance?  I watched Kathryn McCormick on SYTYCD and it was cool to see her act in this movie.  She too is  a great dancer.

The movie itself was pretty good.  The acting was nothing amazing, the story line was a basic movie plot and simplistic, but I think the movie wasn't meant to be noticed for it's acting as much for it's dancing.  I loved how they "mobbed" the city.  If you like dancing this is a winner.
Deb's Rate: Friday night....a must see on the big screen.

Preview: I guess we better get that popcorn giveaway like we promised huh?