Archive for June, 2009

17 Again

Posted in Movie with tags , , , , on June 17, 2009 by ldw

In this movie Zac Efron plays the 17 year old verson of Matthew Perry’s Mike O’Donnell in this comedy about seeing your life for what it is and loving it even if it isn’t what you thought you wanted!

I think this movie has been made an meager 300,000 times since the creation of moving pictures but it was still cute (and for 75 cents you can’t say no).  So Perry is married to his high school sweetheart because they were pregnant at 17.  He gave up his dream of playing basketball to be with the girl he loved but after two kids and 20 years of marriage he is over it all and blames his wife, Scarlett (Leslie Mann) for his lack of drive in life.

When Mike is overlooked – again – for a promotion, he is fired for getting upset and finds himself wandering through his old high school.  He is met by a crazy janitor (Brian Doyle-Murray) who later puts Mike through a vortex that makes him 17 again (movie title!).

Now with the help of his best friend, Ned (Thomas Lennon), Mike has to figure out why he gets this second chance at life.  In the process he becomes friends with his own son and helps him make the basketball team, helps his daughter see her own worth is not found in boys but in the love of her family and friends, and rekindles his love for his wife (who was about to divorce him).

So he’s in “the big game” once again and has a scout there to watch him play but Mike chooses Scarlett over his dreams.  This releases him from the vortex of life and he returns to his older self.  YAY!

The cheese factor asside, this was a cute movie.  I mean it is obviously about Zac Efron but I thought Lennon was a great supporting role for Efron!  They have a fight scene  that is really well done and fun to watch.  I’m still not sure what blind person desided that Efron is what Perry looked like as a teenager (or vise versa), but other than that is was a good cast that did well.  I even like Sterling Knight and Michelle Trachtenberg in this movie (neither are amazing actors …).

Rating: * * 1/2

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Quantum of Solace

Posted in Movie with tags , , on June 12, 2009 by ldw

This is the newest James Bond movie and Daniel Craig is still hot!  In this movie Bond is out for revenge for the death of his lover from Casino Royale.  But he won’t admit that he’s out for revenge and this makes him a little extra volatile.

There’s something about a group called The Quantum and Bond fights a bunch of bad guys and kills even more and drives fast cars and boats and battles a fire or two.  And on and on goes the action but I don’t really remember the point.   Something about M being attacked and terrorists and a cute girl out for revenge against her parents’ deaths.  I don’t know.  I mean Jame Bond movies have never been one for great story lines and depth of character or plot but I thought this installment was even worse than others.

Daniel Craig is a great James Bond and I love Dame Judi Dench as M (not every role she has is good but this one works for her).

It’s a great action movie that keeps you guessing as the hero and baddies are running through the congested streets or racing in boats that probably shouldn’t be able to go that fast.  The action scenes are built well and are done without the need of “shakey cam.”

I’d watch it again but not because it builds up my spunk for life or vocabulary or anything but because it’s a good movie to watch with friends when you want something simple and fun.

Rating: * * 1/2

Quantum of Solace

Taken

Posted in Movie with tags , , , , , , on June 6, 2009 by ldw

Liam Neeson plays the estranged father of a spoiled girl named Kim (Maggie Grace).  Bryan (Neeson) is a retired government secret operative agent (aka spy) who is trying to reconnect with his daughter.  In order to keep her in his life he goes against his better judgment and allows her to travel to Paris with a friend.  Once in Paris Bryan’s greatest fears are realized when Kim and her friend Amanda are kidnapped by sex slave traders.

Bryan has a 96 hour window to find the kidnappers and save his daughter before all traces of her are gone!  He calls in every favor he has and uses all the skills he’s mastered over a life time as a career killer.  He even shoots a good friend’s wife to get answers!

There are some great car chases and fight scenes that keep you on your toes.  The entire concept of being kidnapped to become a sex slave makes my skin crawl and as a woman I watched the movie thinking “Never will I travel overseas!”  But it was a great movie.

I wish Maggie Grace could do a movie where her acting is more than blubbering and awkward standing … I mean I loved her in LOST (still upset Shannon was killed off!).  Liam Neeson once again performed wonderfully as the doting killer father!

Rating: * * * 1/2

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Rachel Getting Married

Posted in Movie with tags , , , , , on June 6, 2009 by ldw

I was so excited to see this movie because I love Anne Hathaway, but I was disappointed – not in her but in the movie.

This film follows Kym (Hathaway), having just been released from rehab, as she attends her sister Rachel’s wedding and tries to reestablish herself in the family.  If you don’t understand addictions or know anyone who deals with one, this movie wouldn’t really make sense, but for anyone who “gets” addictions this movie was awkward and hard to watch at times.  Addictions take over everyone’s life – not just the individual who is actually dealing with the addiction – and Kym’s family depicts this dynamic perfectly.

Everything has always revolved around her addiction to prescription drugs but when she goes into the live-in rehab facility, her family has a chance to start over and balance out.  When she comes back she assumes the role as the addict – even though she doesn’t want to be that person any more and she fights against that role in the family.  Her father (Bill Irwin) takes back the role as doting father who suffocates Kym with his concern for her.  Rachel (Rosemarie DeWitt) is the only one who refuses to pick back up where they left off when Kym left.  She wants to discuss her hurt and lack of trust and wants to move forward with her new life – and she wants her family to dote on her for one weekend!

Kym’s situation is compounded with the memory of killing her little brother.  She is babysitting high and takes him out to play at the park and looses control of the car and can’t get him out of his car seat before the car sinks in the river.  The family hasn’t EVER spoken about this and so it’s a grey cloud over all of them!

The movie is filmed like a documentary and the colors are very yellow-golden.

I loved the acting and the storyline.  I loved the dynamics between everyone – it seemed real!  I didn’t like the unedited feel or the way the movie felt unfinished.  Maybe I liked those things and just wasn’t expecting them.  It made the story more realistic.

Rating: * * * 1/2

Rachel Getting Married

Religulous

Posted in Movie with tags , on June 6, 2009 by ldw

Bill Maher “hosts” this “documentary on the three world religions.  Really it is an opportunity for Bill to find stupid people to continue his dislike and disregard of the three world religions.

“I know, let’s go to the middle of nowhere America and ask deep theological questions to a group of men in an old trailor converted into a church!  We’ll really get good answers to our tough questions there!”

Bill finds anyone he can to just confirm his theories about religion – from “Jesus” at the Holy Land Experience in Orlando, FL to a “Christian” senator to a Muslim Rapper to a Pot Smoker who believes it brings him closer to “god.”  Bill couldn’t seem to find one single educated person to speak with!

I even personally know one of the people interviewed in this “documentary!”

I was glad I watched it but I feel bad for people in the world who don’t know Christ who watch this and decide that Bill is right.

Rating: * 1/2

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Frost/Nixon

Posted in Movie with tags , on June 6, 2009 by ldw

I have never been much of a Watergate enthusiast but I enjoyed this movie.

It is about the interviews between David Frost (Michael Sheen) and Richard Nixon (Frank Langella).  In these interviews, Nixon admitted to the nation that he was a part of Watergate and all that flowed into it.  These are now considered some of the greatest interviews in the history of the USA.

Sheen was good as Frost, showing us both his nonchalance as well as his professionalism in a way that made it seem effortless.  But the real winner was Langella who was a perfect Nixon.  The only negative I have about his performance is that Langella is better looking than the real Nixon.

There isn’t much that can be said about this movie because it’s based on real life and everyone knows what really happened.

The ensemble cast was magnificent and if it weren’t for Sam Rockwell, Kevin Bacon, Matthew MacFadyen, Oliver Platt, and Rebecca Hall the movie would have imploded on itself with it’s depth and desire for drama.  They kept the movie pushing forward and really explained the point of the real interviews and the movie!

Rating: * * 1/2

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Race to Witch Mountain

Posted in Movie with tags , , , , , on June 6, 2009 by ldw

Dwayne Johnson plays an ex-con on the straight and narrow who is trying to turn his life around as a cab driver.  Unfortunately, his former boss isn’t ready to let him go because he is such a great driver.  During one such encounter with the mob boss’ henchmen (who seem to get beat up a lot in this movie) , Jack Bruno (Johnson) receives two very interesting passengers – who snuk into his cab.

They ask him to just drive in a general direction and it takes the three of them on a long drive into the desert.  As Jack drops the kids off he has a bad feeling about things and ends up following the brother and sister team into the abandoned house and into the crazy basement.  It is here that the kids find what they were looking for and the assassin finds them!

Sara (Anna Sophia Robb) and Seth (Alexander Ludwig) and Jack Bruno race out of the house just in time to miss being blown up by the Siphon (assassin).  They get back in their cab and don’t know where to go now.  They decide to go to see Dr. Alex Friedman (Carla Gugino), the foremost scientific expert on UFOs.  The foursome’s time together is cut short so they seek help from a conspiracy theorist who helps them escape the federal agents after them.

Did I mention that Sara and Seth are aliens?  Sara can move objects with her mind and read the minds of those closest to her (including animals).  Seth can manipulate his molecular density to move through things or to take on great impacts (like being hit by a car).  They need whatever they found in the basement in order to stop the total destruction of earth by their home planet.

Now all they have to do is find their ship and get out of here!

The acting is much better than most kid-friendly movies.  I like Dwayne Johnson as and actor and I love Anna Sophia Robb!  I can’t wait to see what else she can do as she grows and matures as a person and an actor.

The CGI wasn’t bad either – it wasn’t perfect but it worked well.  The car chases are exciting but not too scary for kids.  The action is fun and adventurous.  And the story line is almost deep!

It’s funny and sad and hopeful and just plain old good!

Rating: * * * *

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