Friday, October 29, 2010

"Morning Glory"

This film had a really good cast, including three "big" A-listers, and I was expecting it to be great. Although it slowed down near the end, for the majority of the movie we are thrust into the fast-paced world of morning news, and it is this hectic atmosphere that makes the movie so enjoyable to watch.

Becky Fuller (Rachel McAdams, "Sherlock Holmes") has just been fired from her job at a New Jersey news station, when she thought she was going to be promoted. She takes a job at "Daybreak" in New York City, ranked 4th (out of 4) for NYC morning news programs. The anchors (Diane Keaton, "Mad Money," in the female role) are notoriously hard to work with and everyone expects the show to fail soon. Becky, however, has big dreams for the show, and is determined to make it succeed. She fires the male anchor and immediately hires Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford, "Extraordinary Measures"), a veteran news anchor who is used to doing more serious news stories. Becky tries to balance work with her new relationship with Adam (Patrick Wilson, "The Switch"), who also works in news, but she has never been good at putting relationships first and work second. When her boss tells her that "Daybreak" is going to be canceled unless the ratings improve, she goes on a mission to save the show, and she tries to air more and more creative stories to give their ratings a boost.

Friday, October 22, 2010

"Tangled"

Usually a trailer for a movie ends up making the movie seem better than it actually is, but the trailer for "Tangled" actually doesn't do it justice. We get that it's going to be a story about Rapunzel, and that it's Disney so it's probably going to be good; the actual story, however, was much more complicated, and the movie was much better than I thought it would be.

Rapunzel (voiced by Mandy Moore, "License to Wed") is about to turn 18 years old and has lived in the same tower with her "mother" (voiced by Donna Murphy, TV's "Trust Me") her entire life - or for as long as she can remember, anyway. Every year on her birthday she sees mysterious flying lanterns from her window, and so for this year, on her 18th birthday, she wants to go outside and see them in person. Her "mother," however, tells Rapunzel that the world is not safe and that she will never be allowed out of the tower. When Flynn Rider (voiced by Zachary Levi, TV's "Chuck") climbs the tower in order to hide from some people that are chasing him, he meets Rapunzel, and she blackmails him into taking her outside and being her guide so that she can reach the lanterns. There is a lot she doesn't know, however, and she's about to discover everything she's been missing out on.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"Hereafter"

"Hereafter" was definitely not what I expected. It's not often you see Matt Damon in a non-action role (save for his recent guest star role in TV's "30 Rock," which has been great so far), and to top that off, he's in a movie directed by Clint Eastwood directed. I also noticed that Steven Spielberg was listed as an executive producer. Combining these three elements, you would expect a great movie - and, in its own way, "Hereafter" is interesting - however, I found it to be a bit lengthy.

George Lonegan (Matt Damon, "Green Zone") has the ability to talk to the dead - a curse, as he sees it, but his brother Billy (Jay Mohr, TV's "Gary Unmarried") says it's a gift. He used to have a lucrative business in which he practiced this "talent," but he soon got sick of it - "A life about death is no life at all," he says, to paraphrase - and he stopped doing the readings and is now a factory worker. At the same moment in time, two other plots are unraveling around the globe: in London, a twin loses his brother in a car accident, and, in some undisclosed tropical location, a French woman (Cecile de France, "A Butterfly Kiss") almost drowns in a tsunami. These three stories end up converging at the end of the film, and the paths that lead them to their convergence are interesting.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"Conviction"

I had heard mixed reviews going in to see this movie, but I figured that a movie with Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell in it was bound to be good. Luckily, the movie did not disappoint.

Kenny Waters (Sam Rockwell, "Iron Man 2") is convicted of murder in 1983 - unjustly, his sister Betty Ann Waters (Hilary Swank, "Amelia") believes. She decides to get her GED, then her Bachelor of Arts degree, and finally a law degree, so that one day she may possibly be able to exonerate Kenny. She is the oldest person in her law school class, besides Abra (Minnie Driver, "Motherhood"), who becomes her friend and helps her find evidence that could free Kenny. Betty Ann knows that the chances of her first finishing law school and then helping free her brother are not great, but she is determined to try anyway.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Ann Arbor goes Hollywood for a night

By: Liz Parker
Pictures by Elyssa Pearlstein, A2-4U
[via FORMzine]


Me with actor Chris Gorham at the "Answer This!" afterparty

















If one was walking down Liberty Street in Ann Arbor this past Friday night, they might have mistaken it for Hollywood. The Michigan Theater hosted the world premiere of “Answer This!” and featured a red carpet, limos out front, and a few celebrities as well, including Chris Gorham (TV’s “Covert Affairs”) and Arielle Kebbel (TV’s “Life Unexpected”), two of the main actors in the film. The film was produced by Mike Farah and directed and written by his brother, Chris, both of whom are native Ann Arborites, and it was shot entirely in Ann Arbor; to have the premiere at the Michigan Theater, then, made perfect sense. Tickets were available to the general public for $10, and since the 7:30pm screening sold out, a 10pm screening was added – indeed, when my photographer and I left the theater after the 7:30pm show, the line to purchase tickets for the second screening snaked down the street, almost ending at the corner of Liberty and State.

As press, we were invited to attend the VIP party, which was held at the theater before the 7:30pm screening; the screening itself; and the after-party, held at the Michigan League. The VIP party was invitation only, so we used that opportunity to talk to and take pictures of some of the major actors in the movie. Ashley’s (restaurant) was in attendance and giving away free beer, as they are featured prominently in the movie, and there was also a nice array of appetizers, such as chicken kebobs and fruit. The after-party featured more appetizers, although the food lines were pretty long, and a cash bar, and anyone who had attended the screening was invited, although they didn’t make an announcement about it at the screening.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

"It's Kind of a Funny Story"

I was originally going to see the screening of "Never Let Me Go" yesterday, but the screening of "It's Kind of a Funny Story" was at a theater a lot closer to me, so I decided to see that instead. It definitely exceeded my expectations, and there are a lot of good things to say about the movie, but overall I was not that impressed.

Craig (Keir Gilchrist, TV's "United States of Tara") has been feeling suicidal and decides to check himself into a psych ward; however, he doesn't realize that they are going to keep him as a patient for the entire week. He meets a variety of characters there, including Bobby (Zach Galifianakis, "Dinner for Schmucks") and the beautiful Noelle (Emma Roberts, "Valentine's Day"), and although Craig doesn't t think he belongs there at first, he soon finds himself getting acclimated to the ward and its crazy inhabitants.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"Red"

"Red" reminded me of a kid hopped up on sugar and adrenaline - just when I thought the movie couldn't get any crazier, it did. It is also one of those rare action movies that manages to be funny throughout as well. When you combine that with an all-star cast, you get this movie, which was great and definitely fun to watch.

Frank Moses (Bruce Willis, "Surrogates") is a retired CIA operative who now has a hit on him. He soon figures out that many of his old CIA friends are on the same hit list, and he decides to find them and gather the gang back together - including Joe (Morgan Freeman, "Invictus"), Marvin (John Malkovich, "Secretariat"), and Victoria (Helen Mirren, "Love Ranch"). Also traveling with him and his friends is Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker, TV's "Weeds"), definitely the youngest of the bunch, on whom Frank is trying to make a good impression.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

"Life As We Know It"

"Life As We Know It" is yet another fluffy/so-so movie that puts most of its funny moments in the trailer. I was hoping that this would be a funny film, since I like both of the main stars in it (Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel), but it ended up being another case of a comedy that looks funny in its trailer, but turns out to be only mediocre in its entirety.

Holly (Katherine Heigl, "Killers") and Eric (Josh Duhamel, "When in Rome") don't particularly like each other, but they try to get along since they are the godparents to Sophie, daughter of their best friends Alison (Christina Hendricks, TV's "Mad Men") and Peter (Hayes MacArthur, "She's Out of My League"). When a tragic car accident leaves Sophie orphaned, they soon find out that Alison and Peter wished them to have custody of Sophie - together. Although they dislike each other, they try living together for Sophie's sake, and they soon find out that maybe they originally judged each other too quickly after all.