Movie Reviews

 

I've read the book, seen the movie, and I'm still fuzzy about what's going on. –Xander, "I Only Have Eyes For You", Buffy the Vampire Slayer



Not sure what movies to check out? Well, courtesy of my bro Bryan, you need look no further! Here are his reviews of the current movies to help you make your decision.


Signs


         From the opening credits of M. Nigh
t Shyamalan's "Signs", fear fogs into the theatrical air with promise of scenes that will be spine-tingling and a journey into the realm of the unknown and unwanted. Reminiscent of Hitchcock, Shyamalan delivers an edge of the seat, pulse-pounding fright-fest without the use of over-exaggerated Hollywood gore and elaborately violent villains who never seem to die. Instead, what you get is a movie that scares you with the unknown. The camera glides across the scenes revealing a subtle importance of each scene. Everything seems so slow, and that makes the thrill more deceptive. The slight hum of the breeze in the corn fields, the barking of a dog, those are the elements that cause you to slide to the edge of your seat prepared to be frightened, only to be scared by nothing. The intent listening, only to hear nothing, helps this movie succeed. Pure silence could never be so thrilling.          

        But the brilliance of the movie lies not in the terror of the possibility of aliens existing in the corn fields. The appearance, or perhaps lack of, aliens becomes forgotten and is dismissed as the true point of the movie. Instead you find Mel Gibson's character battling himself and the loss of his wife, in a performance as completely opposite anything Gibson has ever done, but just as profound. The movie becomes about his character and his faith, or the loss of it. Shyamalan uses Gibson's character, a former priest, to question faith, whether or not there exists a need for it. The possibility of the existence of other life in the universe seems to be the basic question of the movie. But rather what is shown on the screen is the development of faith in the time of fear. There is nothing shocking in the movie, except the way you leave. Thinking about the unexpected humor in the movie, and the fear resonated by simple instances. But what makes this work a success, we leave the theater thinking not about the extra-terrestrials, but about something that is alien to many people.          

        This movie gets 4 1/2 out of 5 stars. A must see for everyone except the lil' tikes. By far it is the most thrilling movie that will come out this summer and possibly the year.


 

Austin Powers in Goldmember

         Yeahhhh, babbyyyy!!! Austin Powers is back and he's going to the seventies. Put on your purple suede suit, matching fur and some disco and let's get ready to party. In this third installment of Mike Myers' groovy swinger chick magnet, Austin Powers, we find more proof of just how crazy Mike Myers really is, and how his greatness as a comedian will forever be enshrined. This time around, Austin must go back to the seventies because the villainous Goldmember (played by Myers) has kidnapped Austin's father. This movie is filled with the same humorous jokes as the first two, and brings some of the old characters along for the ride. Dr. Evil once again is up to his evil-empire ways, but Scott (played by Seth Green) is trying to regain his father's love and take Mini Me's place along side the doctor of pure evil. With the appearance of sharks with "friggin" laser beams, the movie seems to complete the others until Myers decides to have more chaotic fun and create some unexpected twists of evil plotting. 

        What this movie seems to lack, however, is a coherent destination and point. At times it seems as if it is a great big advertising agent for pop-culture products. Those not familiar with the previous two movies might find the movie pointless and random. But with numerous cameos from several Hollywood stars, the movie has moments that will make even the most uptight uninterested person roll on the floor crying. Fans of the shagedelic Powers will find this plenty delightful and appetizing to satisfy the yearning for more of Myers crazed illusions of "mojo" grandeur. 

        This another must see summer movie. For non-Powers fans, this movie gets a 2 1/2 out of five stars. For fans it's a 4 out 5. This is definitely one groooovvvyy movie!!!


 

 

Well, Bryan has been extremely busy this semester with school.  I wrote a few reviews for my WOSIB Literary group, so here they are!  I have a few book and concert reviews in here as well.

 

 

How to Lose A Guy In 10 Days

        This is my first movie review, but I loved this movie and had to share!  This is a wonderful romantic comedy starring Kate Hudson (Almost Famous) and Matthew McConaughey (The Wedding Planner). Hudson plays the resident "How To" girl Andie Anderson for Composure magazine, and McConaughey plays Ben, who is in advertising and out to win his biggest account with DeLauer Diamonds. In an effort to save her friend from embarrassment, Andie's next assignment becomes "How to Lose a Guy In 10 Days." She will pick up a guy, then drive him away using the "classic" mistakes that females tend to make. To win the DeLauer account, Ben makes a bet that he can find a lady and make her fall in love with him in 10 days. They wind up at the same bar, and
they hook up, each thinking to use the other to their own advantage. Chaos ensues as they each try to endure the 10 days. This movie is light and refreshing: there is minimal vulgarity, and the characters can be sexy without having to be overly sexual. Sparks fly between the two characters, and the characters are ones you can really get to know and feel for. Humor adds flair to this movie, and it is done in such a way as to not make things
get too sappy or cheesy. The characters are well written, and the movie moves at a steady pace. Things never get too comedic or too romantic: there is a great balance between the two. I am a huge fan of romantic comedies, and this one goes to the top of my list! It's a movie that both men and women will enjoy. I definitely recommend it.

 

 

A Walk to Remember


        Before I read this book, I heard a lot of buzz surrounding the movie. Everyone told me what a great movie this was, but originally I never got the chance to see it. One day I was in Target and happened to run across this book. Curious, I decided to pick it up to see how good the story was. I figured I'd be better off reading the book first. Let me tell you, this book blew me away! It's a slow moving story, but it captures your emotions and doesn't let you go. The story starts out in the present day, but it goes back to the 50s as the main character (Landon) reminisces about the best years of his life. Landon Carter is a troublemaker and just looking to slide by in life. His life suddenly changes when he meets Jaime Sullivan, the daughter of the town's minister. Jaime is shy, quiet, and not afraid to be herself or believe strongly in her faith. Her strong Christian faith is interwoven in the plot, but it doesn't end up making the book too preachy. The religion is part of the main character that works well. When Landon signs up for drama to help "pad" his schedule in his last year of high school, her quickly realizes he's in over his head. He ends up asking Jaime for help, and she ends up giving him a lesson on life. In the process of falling in love with the last person he would have chosen, Landon learns that there's more to life than goofing off and having fun. This book is sentimental and touching, and it will make you laugh and cry before you're through. Readers learn a lot and come away with a new appreciate for life. The book is at a perfect length: long enough to explain all the details, but shortly enough without bogging the reader down with too much "excess". (I'd explain more, but I don't want to ruin it!) 

         As soon as I finished the book, I knew I had to get a hold of the movie. My brother came to visit for Christmas, and he had the DVD. I watched it 3 nights in a row and I still couldn't stop watching it! I loved the movie just as much as the book, even though there were some major differences. The movie takes place mainly in the present day, and only at the very end do we move slightly ahead in the future. Some of the main sequences from the book had to be updated so they worked with the movie. The religion is toned down in the movie to make it more widely appealing, but Jaime still retains much of her religious views; they just are more understated. Sometimes it drives me crazy on how much the book differs from the movie, but in this case I think the movie actually works better how it is written than if they would have been directly from the book. The movie is a bit faster-paced, but it retains the same essence of the book. This movie is both touching and refreshing, touching because it can get dramatic without getting cheesy and refreshing because it lacks the violence, vulgarity, and sexuality that pervades many movies these days. You get to see a poignant love story that is told without the "outside pressures" of the movie business. This movie is for the whole family, and the type of "chick flick" that guys will want to watch as well. I highly recommend both the book and the movie!

 

The Matrix: Reloaded

This movie was awesome! I saw it opening night after much anticipation. I was not let down. It stars Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne, and Jada Pinkett-Smith. It was as easily good as the first movie. This movie begins where the first leaves off, with Neo as "The One" to free everyone from the Matrix. It rejoins our crew in their quest for freedom. This movie goes back and explains many of the details from the first movie. This theory helps us understand a little more on what's happening, but it leaves us with still more questions (to be answered in the third movie.) As much as the theory is needed, it brings the movie to a few slow points. This falls into the same pattern that many movie trilogies deal with (ie, Star Wars). The only drawback that I saw was that sometimes the theory got too deep, enough to confuse the audience. (Then again, this may have been part of the design.) The fight scenes and special effect more than make up for the slow parts. Simply put, they are mind-blowing. The same type of cutting-edge techniques that were used in the first film are once again used the the second. They definitely made movie magic! The story is intriguing and well thought out. The sci-fi element brought a refreshing change to movie theaters. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and recommend it for a definite thrill ride!

 

 

Chicago

 

Chicago is a dazzling musical. The main plot is how one woman is in jail for murder, and how she uses publicity to help gain support and her freedom. When another woman commits accidental murder, she tries the same tactics and steals the spotlight. Jealously and drama ensues. I've never seen the stage show, but the movie blew me away. I had no idea that any of the actors could sing and dance, and they did a phenomenal job. Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere, Renee Zellweger, Queen Latifah, and John C. Reilly star. Each of the dance numbers brings something fresh and new with the style ans sequence of events. The story is told mainly through Roxie Hart's point of view; through her flashbacks and fantasies, much of the story is told. The flashbacks can be a bit confusing at times, but I enjoyed this storytelling element. The movie has several underlying themes, and each one is brilliantly played out. This is an innovative storyline tha's told in a new and different light. There was much skepticism about this movie in the beginning, but it blew all of its critics away! There are not that many musicals out there, and this one is definitely a must-see! The movie has a phenomenal soundtrack as well. The movie will make you want to jump up and start singing and dancing. 

 

 

X-Men 2

 

X-Men is about the "mutant" population. It focuses on a core group and how they try to figure out who they are and how to fight for their rights and defend themselves. This stars Hugh Jackman, Anna Paquin, Ian McKellen, Alan Cummings, Patrick Stweart, James Marsdan, Rebecca Romijin-Stamos, Famke Janssen, Halle Berry and even more characters. Now, I never really paid attention to the whole X-Men comic book series. I didn't have a clue as to the characters or the plot when I walked into the theater. (I have since seen the first movie, and the sequel is as good or even better than the first.) Why did I see it? The movie looked very intriguing in the previews, and I wasn't let down. I enjoyed the movie without knowing all the details behind it. It blends human storylines with a sci-fi element and an intriguing plot. This movie also had a lot of great special effects and kept me on the edge of my seat. The pace kept up pretty well, and piece by piece you start to learn and understand the details. (Even amidst my asking, "Isn't he evil? Why is he helping them?") The characters are believable, even with their supernatural elements. I had a great time watching this movie, and I would definitely say to see it!

 

Finding Nemo

 

I have been waiting to see this movie forever! I'm a huge Disney fan, and Pixar never lets us down. The short film in the beginning was hilarious! The movie was excellent! I want to be an animator, and I know cutting-edge animation when I see it! The movie is about a father fish, Marlin, who must search for his son, Nemo, in the vast ocean. (Nemo has been captured in a fishtank.) Marlin meets up with a number of colorful characters on his way: Dory, a fish with a memory problem; Crush, the "surfer" turtle; Squirt, Crush's son; Bruce, a shark who's vowed not to eat fish; and Nigel, a pelican who's seen Nemo (among others.) The characters are very likable and funny. The colors are beautiful, and the animation is flawless. I have not seen computer animation yet that has looked this good. This film blends comedy, drama and adventure together to come up with a wonderful family film. This movie not only apeals to kids but to adults as well. (My husband, who I normally have to drag to Disney movies, was actually looking forward to seeing this.) The story is a fresh and lively one, which teaches many different themes by gently interweaving them into the plot. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Definitely go see this one, even if you have to bring yourself! 

 

 

Red Hot Chili Peppers: In Concert

 

I've been a fan of the Chili Peppers for a while, but I've never been a "die-hard" fan. My husband was dying to see them, so we went with a friend. This concert was great, and I truly enjoyed myself. Snoop Dogg was the opening act, and he was pretty cool. (Originally I had to sit and think on why a rap artist would open for a rock band...but oh well.) I'm not much of a Snoop fan, but I did enjoy the performance. The Peppers finally came on, and they rocked the stage with their high energy level throughout the whole concert. They were constantly dancing and involving the crowd. They made a point several times in the show to give gratitude to the fans and let them know how important they are to the band. They were awesome with their instruments, and they played several very dynamic and elaborate solo pieces. They played all the crowd favorites and spanned their material from the present to the beginning of the band. The lights and effects were fun and elaborate (strobes and a video screen behind them, alternately showing images, abstracts. and videos of the band.) This was a fun and upbeat concert, and I would definitely see them again.

 




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