Saturday, March 27, 2010

"The Last Song"

I have read the book The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks and liked it. Sparks co-authored the screenplay for this movie, therefore I was hoping that the movie's script would be excellent; unfortunately, parts of it were very clich├ęd.

Ronnie (Miley Cyrus, TV's "Hannah Montana") and her brother Jonah are being sent from their home in New York City to live with their father (Greg Kinnear, "Green Zone") in Georgia for the summer. Her mother (Kelly Preston, "Old Dogs") warns her dad that Ronnie has been difficult to deal with lately, and we see this ourselves as she stomps along the beach in her combat boots, drawing curious stares from the bikini-clad girls. Ronnie soon meets Will (newcomer Liam Hemsworth) and her summer starts to look up, although she at first refuses to warm up to him—she's not looking for a "summer romance," she says. In addition, Ronnie has been accepted to Julliard, as she has been playing the piano all her life, but she is not planning on going because she hasn't played since her parents divorced and her dad moved back to Georgia. There are other complications in the movie as well, and it is an interesting mix of story lines.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Hits and misses at the box office

It's Monday morning, which means we have a whole slew of new box office figures for movies we've recently reviewed. In its first weekend, "The Bounty Hunter" earned $21 million according to Rentrak. That's an impressive opening-weekend figure, especially given Liz's negative review.

The love/family story "Remember Me" has been in theaters since March 12, but has attracted just $14 million in ticket sales. Perhaps that controversial ending is dissuading moviegoers.

And finally, did you know that "Avatar" is still playing at over 1,200 theaters nationwide? The film has now grossed over $736 million nationally—that's without counting overseas ticket sales!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

"Remember Me"

I thought this movie would be a love story, but it turned out to be more of a family story, with the love interest angle thrown in. Still, Robert Pattinson does a great job acting here—more so than in the "Twilight" movies, in my opinion—and the acting and storyline are decent overall.

Tyler (Robert Pattinson) is drifting through life. He shares an apartment with his roommate, audits classes at NYU, and works part-time at the Strand bookstore. One night, he tries to break up a fight, but instead ends up getting punched by one of the cops at the scene (Chris Cooper, "The Kingdom"). His roommate then finds out that the cop has a daughter, Ally (Emilie de Ravin, TV's "Lost"), who also goes to NYU, and decides that Tyler should woo and then dump her. It starts out as a game of revenge, but when Tyler ends up falling in love with Ally, it becomes much more.

Friday, March 19, 2010

"Green Zone"

From the trailers and hype, you might guess that “Green Zone” is actually “The Bourne Identity 4.” After all, you have the same director (Paul Greengrass) and Matt Damon reprising a role as the rebellious anti-government agent. But don’t assume that means this is a stale, rehashed plot. “Green Zone” is actually very good.

We arrive in Iraq a few months after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Matt Damon stars as Officer Roy Miller, who leads a team checking out potential sites of weapons of mass destruction. Of course, he’s not actually finding any WMD at the sites, just empty warehouses. On a tip from a local, Miller and his troops stumble across an Iraqi Army meeting and almost capture General Al-Rawi—one of Saddam’s closest allies. Soon Miller’s on a mission to find Al-Rawi and figure out why he can’t find any WMD in Iraq.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

"The Bounty Hunter"

I am sick of seeing bad movies, and based on the trailer "The Bounty Hunter" looked like it was going to be really cute. However, as with most movies I've seen lately, it didn't end up entertaining me as much as I'd hoped.

Milo (Gerard Butler, "Law Abiding Citizen") is a cop turned bounty hunter, and when a warrant comes up for his ex-wife, Nicole (Jennifer Aniston, TV's "Friends"), he gleefully agrees to bring her in. However, the reason Nicole skipped bail in the first place is that she is a journalist who is working on a major story about a cover-up, and she doesn't have time to go to jail. When Milo finally finds Nicole and attempts to claim his bounty, the bad guys from Nicole's cover-up follow the pair and try to kill them.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Should movie theaters offer healthier snacks?

Going to a movie means buying a bladder-busting soft drink and diabetes-inducing snack, right? Well, Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton thinks that habit needs to stop. He's calling for movie theaters nationwide to offer healthier snack choices.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Alice in Wonderland scores at the box office

We've reviewed them, but what do moviegoers think? This weekend's box office figures are out, and Tim Burton's re-imagined "Alice in Wonderland" topped the charts.

According to industry researchers Rentrak, "Alice" raked in $62 million over the weekend. That brings the film's cumulative box office receipts to over $208 million.

As for films that opened last Friday, the second highest-grossing film over the weekend was "Green Zone", of which we'll have a review later this week. The Matt Damon film earned $14.5 million.

"She's Out of My League" managed to rake in $9.6 million over its opening weekend.

In spite of its unoriginal premise and lack of plot, "Our Family Wedding" earned $7.6 million.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

"Our Family Wedding"

Before I arrived at the theater to see "Our Family Wedding," I checked its "freshness" rating on RottenTomatoes.com and saw the movie was rated a horrible 0 percent. The rating didn't completely discourage me from seeing the film, but it did make me a bit wary—and that wariness turned out to be right on the mark.

America Ferrera (TV's "Ugly Betty") and Lance Gross (TV's "House of Payne") star as Lucia and Marcus, a Latina/African-American couple who are finally ready to tell their parents that they're engaged. They want to drop a few other secrets, too, like Lucia dropping out of law school to be a volunteer teacher. Like all interracial couples, Lucia and Marcus hope their families will somehow get along, but of course that would make for a boring movie. The two fathers hate each other on sight because Lucia's mechanic dad had towed Marcus's dad's car only a few days earlier.

Friday, March 12, 2010

"She's Out of My League"

"She's Out of my League" is one of those rare comedies where the actual movie is in fact funnier than its trailer. I went to see this movie with low expectations, but it turned out to be a sweet and hilarious film.

Kirk (Jay Baruchel, "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist") works as a TSA agent with his buddies Stainer, Jack, and Devon. After a failed attempt to win back his ex-girlfriend, Marnie (Lindsay Sloane, "The Accidental Husband"), he isn't looking for love. Predictably, love finds Kirk when he least expects it, in the form of hot girl Molly (newcomer Alice Eve), who accidentally leaves her iPhone at the TSA check-in station. When Kirk returns the phone to Molly the next night, the two hit it off. One problem: she's a "hard 10" and he's at best a "5", and Kirk's friends express disbelief that "a 10 could ever go for a 5." The movie goes on from there and has a lot of hilarious moments throughout it.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"Alice in Wonderland" movie review

After all the hype, "Alice in Wonderland" was not as good as I had hoped. However, the 3D and visual effects are stunning, and these help to bolster the movie into one that is at least semi-interesting.

Nineteen-year-old Alice (Mia Wasikowska, "Amelia") is in front of hundreds of people at a party when she sees a white rabbit wearing a waistcoat run past. Alice decides to follow the rabbit, which leads her down the "rabbit hole" to a place that she remembers only in her dreams—Underland, but which she refers to as Wonderland. Here Alice meets such people and animals such as Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp), the evil Red Queen (Helena Bonham-Carter), her faithful servant (Crispin Glover, "Hot Tub Time Machine"), the more virtuous White Queen (Anne Hathaway), the Cheshire Cat, and many other crazy characters. The future has been foretold, and it will be Alice's duty to slay the gigantic Jabberwocky. All of the characters remember Alice from when she was in Wonderland as a little girl, but she only recollects her experiences from then as dreams, and therefore must re-learn everything (kind of reminiscent of Robin Williams's character in "Hook," actually).

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Oscar results - some big surprises!

Back in February, we made some educated guesses about which films and actors would win big at the Oscars this year. In some cases we were right; in others, not. The big surprise is that Kathryn Bigelow's "The Hurt Locker" walked away with a ton of awards. Kathryn Bigelow beat out ex-hubby James Cameron not only for Best Director, but also for Best Picture! She is also now the first female ever to win Best Director.

Our friends over at That's Entertainment have the full scoop.

Monday, March 8, 2010

"Kick Ass" movie review

I wasn't expecting much from a movie with a name like "Kick-Ass," but it turned out to be exactly that—kick-ass! The script was funny, there were tons of incredible action scenes, and the movie moved along at such a fast pace that it made its 1:49 run time feel like half that.

Relative newcomer Aaron Johnson plays Dave Lizewski, a nerdy high schooler and avid comic book reader, who comes up with the idea that regular people can be superheroes too. He orders himself a green wetsuit from the internet, and his new alter ego, "Kick-Ass," is born. Things are kind of rough for Dave at first, but soon a video of him fighting crime on YouTube makes him famous.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Top 10 most-famous movie hotels

Everyone gets a kick out of seeing a film shot in a location they recognize. I loved watching “The Transporter” drive through Cannes, France because I’d visited Cannes, and I recognized Detroit Metro Airport in scenes from “Up in the Air.” What’s even cooler is staying in the same hotel that film protagonists use. TripAdvisor put together a list of the hotels most commonly featured in big-name films. Which ones have you stayed in?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

"Hot Tub Time Machine" movie review

Let me start this off by saying that "Hot Tub Time Machine" was much better than I thought it would be - the trailers (yes, multiple ones - the regular one and the "R-rated" one) made it look like it would be very fluffy without much substance. However, it could have been better had they left out the projectile vomiting and other assorted grossness.