Sunday, June 29, 2014

2014: Week 26: Begin Again

Begin Again

Genre: Drama, 

Main Players:  Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Adam Levine

General Gist:  A music executive down on his luck discovers a musician who is ready to leave the country after she is jilted by her pop star boyfriend.

Tiff's Take:
Oh boy.  Another movie with music.  This is becoming a common theme.  Going into this one, I didn't realize how much music was actually going to be in the movie.  If I had known I may have been less enthusiastic to go.  But I didn't and I was really looking forward to it.  

Even though Adam Levine, who is pretty darn mainstream, was in this, I wouldn't say this was a mainstream kind of movie.  I like that.  This movie was a tad on the quirky side.  Just a little.  And I like that as well.  It was based in NYC which I love.  It had interesting, unpredictable characters which is always refreshing.  I mostly love Keira Knightley in anything she's in a I like Mark Ruffalo as well.  They were both great in this.  Adam Levine was okay but honestly he didn't have a huge part so it was hard to say whether he was bad or good.  I can't say I'm a huge fan of Adam like my dear sister so he was just sort of neutral for me.  Actually, his character was on the annoying side but I think that was intentional.      

Despite all the singing (which if I'm being honest, I liked in this one), I really enjoyed the characters and the less conventional story.  It seems like the bad movie streak has finally ended.

Tiff's Rate: Friday Night

Deb's Take: 
I love movies with music.  This one was different because it wasn't a musical per se, it was more a movie, about music with music.  Totally different but perfectly conducted.  

Adam Lavine's movie debut, that in itself was enough for me.  He is quite a man, not to mention I like his music A LOT.   Ok, that being said, Adam was amazingly good in this movie.  Maybe because he is a singer/star playing one was pretty much like being himself, but he was extremely natural and never once did I feel like he was struggling to pull off the acting gig.  This was especially important because he was playing opposite Kiera, who was phenomenal.  Ok, her singing was decent, by no means was I floored, but the music fit her.   Mark Ruffalo did great as well.  Really not one person was disappointing in this movie.  The chemistry between all the characters was spot on.  

This movie had everything I love, relationships with deep meaning, conflict, heart, emotion, heartbreak, get it.  I pretty much just melted into my seat and got lost in the story.  I liked that it wasn't a cookie cutter story, I loved the music, and I appreciated the emotions.  What a great film.   I will be going again!  Something I rarely do.  

Deb's Rate:  Opening Night

Preview: Travel might get in the way of both of us being able to go to the movie next week.  But you never know.  We have a way of making it work.  We shall see.

2014: Week 25: How to Train Your Dragon 2

How to Train Your Dragon 2

Genre: Animation

Main Players: Voices of Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Cate Blanchett and Jonah Hill 

General Gist: The Train Your Dragon sequel where Hiccup and his crew take on an evil dragon collector to keep the peace between humans and dragons.

Tiff's Take:
For this week only one sister was able to make it.  It does happen occasionally believe it or not.  When it happens usually the kids luck out because who else am I going to go to the movies with?!

I took both my kids to this movie.  My 9 and 6 year old.  My 9 year old was much more interested in seeing this but the 6 year old will never miss an opportunity to go to a movie and get popcorn and treats.  

I enjoyed the first one so I thought this would be equally as good.  And it was.  There was a lot of action and it was fast paced which is always good for kids.  And both my kids enjoyed it.  My 9 year old probably liked it better and I think it was a little more appropriate for him as well.  I wouldn't say that this movie was really on the violent side but it definitely had some more serious subjects that were a little too heavy for younger kids.  Empathy is not really a strong attribute of my 6 year old but there was a point where she thought the movie was sad.  If you do have kids that are sensitive to emotions then you might want to think about whether you should take them to this.  

But for me and my kids it was a hit that we all thoroughly enjoyed.

Tiff's Rate: Friday Night

Preview:  Pre-Screening of Begin Again with Adam Levine and Keira Knightley

2014: Week 24: Jersey Boys

Jersey Boys

Genre: Drama, Musical, Biography

Main Players: Vincent Piazza, John Lloyd Young, Michael Lomenda, Erich Bergen

General Gist: The story of the 4 young men who formed the 1960's group The Four Seasons

Deb's Take: 
I was fortunate to see this show as a stage play last year.  I am a lover of musicals, drama, and biographies, so this was a no brainer.  I think the downfall was that I DID see the stage performance so I found myself comparing the two frequently.

First off, the story of The Four Seasons is intriguing.  I have always been fascinated with how people become stars.  I am even more fascinated when they become stars through their own work and sweat.  The movie did a wonderful job of expressing the relationships between the characters and leaving a feeling like you really knew what each character was about.  I liked the heart and soul of the movie, the drama and the story.

Secondly, I did feel like the actors did an amazing job.  Not one actor seemed out of place or misrepresenting.  I was impressed with the singing, (although not as impressed as I was with the stage performance).  I loved the music, a good movie must have good music...period.

Lastly, I felt like the movie was simply me watching four friends' lives unfold and play out.  I was lost in the movie, which is always a plus for me.  Definitely a movie worth seeing.

Deb's Rate:  Friday Night

Tiff's Take:
It's not a big secret that I'm not a huge fan of musicals or a movie that is heavy with music.  It's a little odd to say that because it's not like I don't like music in my life.  I do.  A lot.  But the acting/music combo is just a little boring to me.

This wasn't a musical so much as music in a movie.  So I didn't mind it.  It also helped that I really like music from the 60's.  The story itself was pretty fascinating too.  Although when I watch movies that have any sort of mob connection it always makes me nervous.  Does it for you?  Am I just weird that way?  I always worry someone is going to make the wrong move and get themselves killed.  

So the actors were good and talented and all that but honestly none of them really stood out to me.  And even though the story was fascinating, the movie was a bit too long.  I felt like it dragged out a little too much.  In the end, I would say I liked the movie but didn't love it.

Tiff's Rate: Matinee

Preview:  Kids movie coming up.  How to Train Your Dragon 2.

2014: Week 23: The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars

Genre: Romantic Drama

Main Players: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Laura Dern

General Gist: A 16 year old with cancer meets a fellow cancer survivor at a support group and a relationship ensues even with an unpredictable future.

Tiff's Take: 
You all know I am a huge fan of the book to movie phenomenon.  I get pretty excited about seeing a movie when I've read the book.  Especially when it's a book I loved.  And I loved this book.  I'm also pretty forgiving when the movie doesn't quite live up to the book.  Which is most of the time but I still enjoy the excitement leading up to going to the movie.

I thought this movie was a really good adaptation of the book.  Of course there were things that were left out but overall it really stuck to the book.  I thought the casting was great too.  Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort were perfect in their roles.  Like the book, it was funny and sad at the same time.  There was lots of crying in the theater.  And a lot of mothers with their tween/teen daughters.  I think the only guys that were there were coerced by their girlfriends to go.

If you liked the book I think you will like the movie too.  If you didn't read the book and think you will like the movie.  Basically, you will like this movie.  I loved it.    

Tiff's Rate: Opening Night

Deb's Take: 
Like Tiff, I enjoy a book to movie film.  I do have my qualms as I have never seen a movie that was better than a book, I mean really, that isn't possible.  That being said, some movies just do it better than others when it comes to depicting the book.  This movie was one of them.  I had just finished this book a couple days before I saw the movie, which always is a little bit of a risk as the details are so fresh in my head and I HATE missing out on details, even though I know a movie can never really get it all, I am still always just a little disappointed.  This book seemed perfect though.  The detail in the book seemed doable for a movie.  There wasn't so much inner character dialogue that got lost, and this movie actually shared some of that dialogue along the way.  Kudos!    I am often disappointed in the choice of actors to play certain parts.  I was not disappointed this time.  The actors did so well.  I felt like Shailene was great,  and Ansel was a charmer.   I didn't feel like the actors overplayed their parts and they all seemed natural, which I too like.

I can't give this movie an Opening Night however, I do feel like there was some lacking of emotion and deep connection that I got between the two main characters in the book, and didn't get in the movie.  Probably not the fault of the movie/directors but rather just a side effect of making a movie from a book.   I will say that this movie was probably one of the best book to film movies I have watched and if you liked the book, you will enjoy the movie as well.

Deb's Rate: Friday Night

Preview:  Pre-Screening of "Jersey Boys"

Thursday, June 12, 2014

2014: Week 22: Maleficent


Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Family

Main Players: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, Sharlto Copley

General Gist: A twist on Sleeping Beauty, from a totally different point of view.

Deb's Take:
I'm a sucker for fairy tales.  I think 2 years ago a handful of fairy tales told from a different point of view flooded the screen.  I liked them, so I figured I would like this one too. 

I have never been a real big fan of Angelina Jolie and her acting abilities.  Whenever I watch her I always just get more of a feeling that she is a presence more than an actor.  She doesn't have many lines in the movies I watch her in.  I was a little nervous she might ruin this one for me.  Luckily, her role required more of a "presence" and not much talking, so she fit it perfectly.  I was impressed with the makeup work on her (or digital work as it may be).  I liked how this played on the fantasy, and told a pretty good back story.  I liked Sam Riley's character, and felt like he was Angelina's other side.  Almost like he had the words she didn't.  Elle Fanning was very princess like.  This movie was quite enjoyable.   I'm not sure how younger kids would do with it however.  I know it's a Disney movie, but a few parts may be on the scary side for those 5 year olds, but all in all it had all the things a good Disney movie needs.

Deb's Rate: Matinee

Tiff's Take:
I too have been enjoying the twists on the old fairy tale classics.  This one had an interesting point of view.  Obviously more depth to it then the original Sleeping Beauty.

I don't necessarily love Angelina Jolie but I don't really dislike her either so I didn't go into this one with as much skepticism as Deb.  And I wasn't really surprised at how well the role fit Jolie.  The other actors were good and got the job done.  Overall, it was a good movie but not sure what demographics it was trying to pull in.  I thought about taking my 6 year old but glad I didn't.  I'm not sure it was "young" enough for her.  And my 9 year old didn't have any interest in seeing it although he probably would have liked it better then he thought.  (Not too princessy)  But as a thirty something women who likes fairy tales it was worth watching.

Tiff's Rate: Matinee

Preview: We both finished the book "The Fault in Our Stars" so we took our posse (ok two others who also finished the book and a few more who didn't read it) with us!

2014: Week 21: X-Men: Days of Future Past

X-Men: Days of Future Past

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Main Players: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence (and a whole crew of others)

General Gist: Wolverine travels to the past to try and change the fate of humans and mutants.

Deb's Take: 
I think I have mentioned recently that I haven't always been a big "superhero" movie fan.  Over the last year or so Tiff and I have been to a lot of these movies.  The Marvel/Superhero genre has been on a big upswing, or so it seems.  I have found myself much more inclined to going and more impressed with what I see.  I will always be a drama, romantic girl at heart, but I have an open mind and find these movies quite entertaining as well.  As far as X-men, I was introduced to these characters about 20 years ago.  There was a Saturday morning cartoon that came on and my husband always got up to watch it..(even before kids!)  I took an interest and was intrigued. 

I liked this one!  There was a different twist.  This one had a lot of Hugh Jackman, and he's a fine man to see a lot of.  The movie kept my attention with all the action, and the characters played their parts well.  James McAvoy was impressive in his role.  I liked all the actors quite honestly.  It's a superhero movie so the ending is pretty predictable, but after two weeks of boredom this movie hit the spot. 

Deb's Rate: Friday Night

Tiff's Take:
I never make going to X-Men movies a priority but I'm not sure why.  I've seen enough of them so far to realize that I thoroughly enjoy them.  I don't think there's been one I haven't liked.  This one was no exception. 

Hugh Jackman does an amazing job as Wolverine and I'm always majorly impressed with how he can bulk up for this role.  I know he's not super old but he's no young buck either. The fact that he can get so ripped is, well, impressive.  And easy on the eyes. 

I am a huge fan of Jennifer Lawrence so she can really do no wrong in my eye.  I liked her as Mystique.  Like Deb, I liked all the actors.  They all were great in their roles and this movie was entertaining in every way.  Can't go wrong with an X-Men movie.  One of these days I'll remember that.

Tiff's Rate: Friday Night

Preview: Maleficent