I don't presume to tell you whether or not you're going to like a movie or not--people have different tastes and like different things. The main purpose with the ratings given for movies here is to give you an idea of whether or not you should see it in the theater, wait for it to hit DVD, or skip it altogether. So if you want to break it down...

*****: AMAZING! Everyone should see this as soon as they possibly can!
****: GREAT! Worth every cent to go see it in the theater.
***: GOOD! May or may not be worth seeing in the theater, but definitely a solid choice for a rental.
**: DECENT. Not a horrible movie, but it's not a bad choice for a rental.
*: BAD. Do not watch this movie. Well, you could, but I wouldn't advise it.

24 October 2011

The Three Musketeers (2011)

RATING:*** (3 stars)

The hot-headed young D'Artagnan along with three former legendary but now down on their luck Musketeers must unite and defeat a beautiful double agent and her villainous employer from seizing the French throne and engulfing Europe in war.

Despite what you're hearing from a lot of critics out there, The Three Musketeers is actually an enjoyable movie. The twist this time around is that we are taking the characters we are familiar with and adding a touch of steampunk to the world--most notably in the form of airships.

Expect to see a number of familiar faces as some amazingly well choreographed action scenes, but don't go in expecting a textbook adaptation of Dumas' original story and don't expect a story that will make the short list at the Oscars in February. This film is a fun ride that will entertain you--whether you catch it in theaters or wait for it to hit DVD is a purely personal choice on this one.


15 October 2011

The Thing (2011)

RATING:**** (4 stars)

At a research site in Antarctica, a team of scientists are elated at the finding of both an alien craft and a specimen frozen in the ice... until it wakes up and they realize that one of them may be the creature in disguise.

If the title didn't already give it away, the plot should indicate a strong similarity to John Carpenter's The Thing (1982)--and rightly so as this film is being billed as the prequel to the 1982 classic. I can also proudly say that if you enjoyed John Carpenter's adaptation of the short story "Who Goes There?", then you'll love this prequel as well.

Similar to what I would call the best horror films out there, more emphasis is put on suspense than on actual violence. Which isn't to say that you won't see the alien in about a half dozen different shapes and forms as it lays waste to Norwegians and Americans in equal measure, but you have to give props to Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.
for a great job of directing and for the amazing sound crew. Not much for recognizeable faces among the actors, with the notable exception of Joel Edgerton who was most recently in Warrior. Fellow cinephiles should also recognize Mary Elizabeth Winstead from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World last year. Both give solid performances, but nothing you'll hear tale of at the Academy Awards.

All-in-all you're looking at a great film that remains true to the spirit of its predecessor and one that shouldn't disappoint.


14 August 2011

The Help

RATING:***** (5 stars)

Jackson, Mississippi circa 1961. A young woman returns home from college with aspirations to be a journalist and a writer to realize just how bad the lives are for the black women in the segregated south who take care of white families.

For lack of a more succinct way to put it, The Help is the emotional Oscar-contender for late summer. At varying parts you will be smiling, laughing, and even crying. While Emma Stone and Bryce Howard are convincing, be on the lookout in a few months to see Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer on nomination lists for their simply amazing performances.

In a summer lineup of action, comic books, and sequels, The Help is a drama that we've been yearning for, and the fact that it's centered around a time and place that many of us can relate to (even for those of us not actually alive yet) just makes it all the more powerful. If you need a little more reason to see it in theatres before it hits video, rest assured that this is one of those movies that once it hits DVD will be rented out for weeks on end. So stop reading and go see it!


11 July 2011

Horrible Bosses

RATING:*** (3 stars)

Reaching a turning point in their lives, three friends decide they need to kill their bosses if they are going to be happy.

What should have been a funny and raucous popcorn comedy flick this last week turns out to be a kind of funny popcorn movie that just... seems... to... keep... going. Seriously, I checked my watch at least a half dozen times during this film, eacy time with the same thought, "How much longer do they need to wrap this up?"

With a dynamite cast that is more than capable of grabbing laughter and running with it, Horrible Bosses fails on an epic scale due to its pacing. The runtime claims the film is only 100 minutes--which seems conservative considering that this film really should have been much closer to that 75 minute mark. The slapstick comedy is there, but the story itself seems to plod along so often that you begin to wonder how long they plan to milk particular scenes before moving on.

All-in-all nothing fancy here, and if you can handle the slow pace of the film it makes a solid matinee to catch for some laughs and to escape from the summer heat.


21 June 2011

Green Lantern

RATING:**** (4 stars)

When test pilot Hal Jordan is granted a mystical ring, he is given the honor of being a member of an intergalactic peacekeeping organization--but he is not sure if he is up to the task.

Green Lantern is one of the few movies that you can say with reliable certainty could not have been made even a decade sooner because the technology simply wasn't there. For those unfamiliar with the character, his powers are fairly unique and all-encompassing: he can fly (#1) and he can create LITERALLY ANYTHING HE CAN IMAGINE if he concentrates hard enough (#2). So as you can imagine, there is a fair bit of CGI in this film because without it the movie would be an animated picture instead.

If you look around, you have probably heard a fair number of bad or so-so reviews for this film already, and here is my assumption as far as why that is: over-hype. Yes, Green Lantern is a big-budget comic book movie; that does not make it the Iron Man of 2011. What we do have, however, is a very solid action movie that is very much worth the money to go and see in theaters where you can take full advantage of all that CGI. Whether you spend the extra cash for 3D is your option--it is available in 2D as well.