Friday, April 29, 2011

"Prom"

Shortly before graduating from high school in 2005, I went to my prom, even though I didn't have a date. I went with a group of friends, and we rented a limo (which actually turned out to be a party bus) which took us to the Roostertail in Detroit, where prom was being held. The prom itself wasn't that great; what I remember most from the night was hanging out with my friends afterwards and driving home wearing flip flops at 3 AM. The kids in Prom, however, are determined to make this night the most magical of their entire high school careers, and although the movie is very "Disney" (cutesy, no bad language, etc.), it does have some "magical" moments.

Prom focuses on a few couples who are counting down till the "big day," and a few that aren't typical. Nova (Aimee Teegarden, "Scream 4") has been working very hard to make sure that prom is everything she and her friends want it to be. It's a night where "people can just forget about who they were in high school, and all come together in the moment," she says. She is hoping that her fellow coworker on the prom committee, Brandon (Jonathan Keitz, TV's "Entourage"), will ask her to go with him, but he hasn't asked her yet, and prom is fast approaching. Also on the committee are Rolo (newcomer Joe Adler) who insists that he is going with his girlfriend, a Greek Canadian, and Mei (Yin Chang, TV's "Gossip Girl"), who plans to go with her longtime boyfriend Justin (Jared Kusnitz, TV's "Surviving Suburbia"). The film also follows the soon-to-be prom king and queen, Tyler and Jordan (DeVaughn Nixon, "Monster Heroes," and newcomer Kylie Bunberry, respectively), whose relationship is currently a little rocky; Lloyd (Nicholas Braun, TV's "10 Things I Hate About You"), who is desperately seeking a date for prom; and good buddies Lucas (newcomer Nolan Sotillo) and Corey (Cameron Monaghan, TV's "Shameless"), sophomores who have been friends forever but whose friendship is drifting apart, as Lucas pursues a sophomore girl he is interested in (and whom another senior wants to ask to prom). The film could have been less complicated if it had dropped some of these stories - for example, by the time Rolo appeared again I had almost forgotten about his story - but they all are related to each other, and so I can see why they are all there.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, John Krasinski spotted in Ann Arbor

photo from JustJared.com
According to AnnArbor.com, the cast of "The Five Year Engagement" (and the husband of cast member Blunt, John Krasinski) have been spotted in numerous locations in Ann Arbor over the weekend. Filming was to start today at the MGM Grand in Detroit, but it looks as if the cast and crew have been busy exploring Ann Arbor in the meantime.

Read more at my article on Examiner.com.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

"Timer"

So I don't normally do blog posts about movies that have been out for a while, let alone movies that have been out for almost a year, but for this movie, I will make an exception, because I found it to be so interesting. Timer premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival (NYC) in 2009, and is now available through Amazon Video-on-Demand for $2.99 for 3 days. I had a $6.00 credit I received through Amazon and Twitter, and so I decided to rent Timer, which I had seen trailers for last year, and I'm very glad I did.

Oona (Emma Caulfield, TV's "Gigantic") has had a Timer for a few years now, but the countdown on hers remains frustratingly empty, which means that her "One" doesn't have a Timer. Her sister, Steph (Michelle Borth, TV's "Hawaii Five-O") has the same problem. Oona tries to convince all of the men she dates to get a Timer, and when they do, her fate remains the same: their Timer doesn't match up with hers, and she has to start from square one. She meets a grocery clerk, Mikey (John Patrick Amedori, TV's "Gossip Girl") whom she really likes, but he doesn't have a Timer, and doesn't plan on getting one anytime soon - he thinks that they are stupid. She likes hanging out with Mikey, but she needs to know for sure that he's "The One," and the uncertainly slowly begins to drive a wedge between them.

Friday, April 15, 2011

"Rio"

"Rio" is a rare bird indeed: a movie that can entertain both the children who it is geared towards, and the adults that take them to the theater (or, in my case, an adult who likes 3D and animated films). Although its trailer is a bit vague, "Rio" ended up being really cute, and it's a movie that anyone can enjoy.

Blu (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg, "The Social Network") lives in the South American rainforest until one day he is captured by a rare bird company. He is shipped to Minnesota, but falls out of the shipping truck mid-transit, where he is found by a little girl, Linda (voiced by Leslie Mann, "Funny People"), who decides to take care of him. She and Blu make a great pair, and he continues to live with her as she becomes an adult, and owner of a bookstore. A scientist from South America, Tulio (voiced by Rodrigo Santoro, "Post Grad"), visits the store one day and informs Linda that Blu is one of the last of his kind, and that he wishes to bring him back to South America so he can mate with Jewel (voiced by Anne Hathaway, "Love and Other Drugs"), the last female blue macaw in existence. She is hesitant at first, but eventually agrees, and she and Blu make the journey to Rio de Janeiro. Once there, however, Blu and Jewel get captured by smugglers, and must work together to free themselves, even though Jewel hates Blu at first. They meet a variety of other birds along the way, who will later help them try to escape, and eventually Jewel starts to warm up to Blu, who has a bit of a flight problem.

"Meet Monica Velour"

"Meet Monica Velour" was not the movie I thought it would be, but it still has some humorous parts in it. It plays more like a "slice of life" movie, which I don't always enjoy, but which may be some people's "cup of tea."

Tobe (Dustin Ingram, TV's "Unfabulous") is obsessed with Monica Velour (Kim Cattrall, "Sex and the City"), who worked as a porn actress in the 1980s. He has all of Velour's movies (on VHS, of course), posters, and even a scrapbook devoted to her. No one has seen or heard from her recently, however, and so she is a bit of a mystery. When Tobe hears that she will be performing all summer at a strip club in Indiana, he HAS to go meet her; it works out that a man who wants to buy his hot dog stand/truck, the Weenie Wiz, lives in Indiana as well, and so he decides to take a road trip there. What Tobe finds, however, is not the Monica Velour of his dreams, but rather an old and washed up version, who lives in a trailer, has co-custody of her young daughter, and is trying to find a way to make ends meet. Tobe is still dazzled by her, though, and they soon become friends.

Friday, April 8, 2011

"Soul Surfer"

"Soul Surfer" is based on the true story of Bethany Hamilton, who was 13 when a shark bit off her left arm while surfing. Not only did she survive this traumatic accident, but she re-learned how to surf with one arm. The film was very inspirational, although a bit sappy, so it may have been better off as a Hallmark or Lifetime TV movie; however, I did enjoy it, for the most part.

Bethany (AnnaSophia Robb, "Race to Witch Mountain") has just won a surfing competition and has qualified for the Nationals. But when a shark bites off her arm while surfing, Bethany must relearn simple things that most of us take for granted, like cutting vegetables, putting her hair up in a ponytail, and learning how to put on a swimsuit. She is adamant, however, that she wants to surf again, and her parents (Helen Hunt, "Then She Found Me," and Dennis Quaid, "Legion") vow to help her succeed. She knows that it is going to take a lot of work on her part, but she is ready and willing to put in the time, as she cannot imagine a life without surfing.

"Arthur"

The original "Arthur" movie premiered in 1981, and the 2011 remake follows the same premise: a wealthy bachelor must marry a woman his mother has chosen for him, or he will lose all of his money. I have not seen the original, but this "Arthur" was done very well, and I can't imagine anyone other than Russell Brand being able to play the whimsical and childish main character.

Arthur (Russell Brand, "Hop") lives the ideal life: he doesn't work and he lives off the money from his mother's corporation, in a giant mansion, with his nanny Hobson (Helen Mirren, "Red"), who attends to his every need. When he and his "butler" of sorts, Bitterman (Luis Guzman, "The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3), crash his Batmobile, however, his mother Vivienne (Geraldine James, "Alice in Wonderland") gives him some bad news: no one wants to invest in the company anymore because of his unsavory reputation. She proposes a solution: Arthur will marry Susan (Jennifer Garner, "Valentine's Day"), one of her most valuable employees, who will then run the company. If Arthur declines to marry her, he will be penniless, as she will take away his fortune. Arthur is fine with this, until he meets Naomi (Greta Gerwig, "No Strings Attached"), and finds himself falling in love with her. He will soon have to choose if he wants to be with the love of his life and be poor or marry Susan and be unhappy forever.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Arthur (1981) vs. Arthur (2011)

Dudley Moore (1981) and Russell Brand (2011)
"Arthur," based on a remake of the 1981 film of the same name, will arrive in theaters next Friday - check back then for my review. I'm not allowed to divulge specific details until then, but in the meantime, however, I've just recently watched the 1981 film. Here is a comparison between that and the new film, without giving away any spoilers.

The rundown:

Plot: About the same. A rich playboy (Arthur) must marry a person of his parent's choosing, or else he will lose his $750 million inheritance. However, he meets someone that he could truly see falling in love with, and then he must decide whether he wants to enter a loveless marriage, or renounce his money for true love.

The "evil" parent: In 1981 it was Arthur's father who controlled him, but in the remake it's his mother, head of the multimillion Bach Corporation, that demands he must marry.

The nanny/butler: Named "Hobson" in both, but in the remake it's Helen Mirren, as Arthur's nanny. In the old version, it's a man, who is more of a butler to Arthur; his sense of sarcastic humor made him like him even more than Arthur, actually.

The woman he must marry: In the updated version, it's Jennifer Garner, who has a lot of scenes w/ Russell Brand (Arthur). In the '81 version, it is a woman who kills Arthur with kindness, even though he repeatedly tells her that he doesn't love her. Both are named Susan.

The woman he actually loves: In 1981, it was Linda Morolla, played very well by Liza Minelli. In 2011, it's Naomi, played by Greta Gerwig.

So while you are waiting for the new "Arthur" to come out in theaters, check out the 1981 version, and let me know what you think of it.

Friday, April 1, 2011

"Hop"

"Hop" takes us into the magical world of the Easter Bunny, which is admittedly similar to Santa's Workshop, it seems: there is a gigantic factory where the candy is made, and then the Easter Bunny delivers it to the children of the world on Easter. What some may not know, however, is that the rabbits behind Easter can talk, and some even have ambitions to be more than "just" the Easter Bunny.

E.B. (voiced by Russell Brand, "Get Him to the Greek") has known ever since he was a young rabbit that he will one day take over as Easter Bunny from his father (voiced by Hugh Laurie, TV's "House"). When the day actually arrives, however, he doesn't want the "crown," so to speak; he loves drumming and wants to one day be a drummer in a band, which he can't do if he has to take on the responsibilities of the Easter Bunny. Therefore, E.B. takes an unscheduled trip down the rabbit hole to Hollywood, where he knows he may have a chance to make it big. Unfortunately, he gets hit by a car, driven by Fred (James Marsden, "Death at a Funeral"), who almost has a heart attack when he realizes he has just hit a talking bunny. Fred is currently unemployed and house-sitting a Beverly Hills mansion for his sister, Samantha (Kaley Cuoco, TV's "The Big Bang Theory"), whose boss is out of town, and E.B. asks if he can crash there for a bit while he tries to find a drumming job. Fred has no choice but to let him, and thus begins their friendship of sorts.

"Source Code"

With some movies, if you try analyzing the science behind them, you'll find that it may not match up with "rules" the movie has previously set for itself. "Source Code" is one of those films, but it still manages to provide a detailed story that will not fail to entertain its audiences.

Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal, "Love and Other Drugs") wakes up on a train in the body of someone named Sean. A woman called Christina (Michelle Monaghan, "Due Date") is sitting across from him, and appears to know him. Stevens has no idea what is going on. Eight minutes later, the train blows up, and he is bounced back to "reality," a small, confined space where a woman (Vera Farmiga, "Up in the Air") is asking him how his mission went. He is soon told that this train blew up at 7:30am CST this morning near Chicago, and a second attack is imminent; they need his help to go into the "source code" that a scientist (Jeffrey Wright, "Cadillac Records") has created and find both the bomb and the bomber. The train bombing itself cannot be prevented but the next attack might be, if he can find the bomber in time.