Friday, July 27, 2012

Step Up Revolution


Step Up Revolution is the fourth film in the Step Up series, of which Channing Tatum and other prominent dancers are alums. The movies are known for having poor story lines but fantastic dancing, and Step Up Revolution might actually be the best film yet in the series dance-wise. The plot is "fluffy," yes, but if you take Step Up Revolution at face value - as a dance movie - you will be pleasantly surprised, because the dancing in this film was intricate, definitely well-choreographed, and even sizzling in some scenes.

Sean (newcomer Ryan Guzman) works as a waiter at a hotel. After his shift is over, though, he hits the hotel's beach club with his friends to work on his dance moves. It's there that he meets Emily (Kathryn McCormick, TV's So You Think You Can Dance), who proves that although she's classically-trained, she can definitely keep up with him on the dance floor. Sean is a member of "The Mob," who does dancing flash mobs all over Miami, and Emily wants in to the group. Soon, however, her father (Peter Gallagher, TV's Covert Affairs), a real estate mogul, announces he has decided to "beautify" an older area of Miami; the people who rent in that area - who live there and own businesses - will all be evicted. Sean's sister and niece lives there, and Sean and The Mob decide to change their flash dancing into "protest dancing" in the hopes that the city council won't approve Emily's father's plans. Emily wants to participate in this, but to do so she will have to lie to The Mob and not tell them who her father is.

The Watch


I made the mistake of watching the red-band (rated R) trailer for The Watch before the regular trailer, and due to its content I had very low expectations going in to the movie. Save for a few funny one-liners here and there, the movie failed to beat my expectations and was one of the more bizarre movies I've seen in the theater lately.

Evan (Ben Stiller, Tower Heist) is the manager of a local Costco in his small Ohio town. One night, he says goodbye to Antonio (Joe Nunez, Free Samples), the night watchman at Costco, and when Evan returns the next morning, he finds tons of cops swarming the building; someone had murdered Antonio during his shift. Evan decides to start the Neighborhood Watch, and he gets a diverse group of guys to sign up for it: Bob (Vince Vaughn, The Dilemma), who is looking for a group of "bros" to hang out with; Franklin (Jonah Hill, 21 Jump Street), a police academy reject who is looking to join a "vigilante squad," as he puts it; and Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade, Bunny and the Bull), a very polite guy with a British accent looking to make friends. The four of them must patrol the neighborhood for anything that looks suspicious, and Evan wants to try solving the mystery of Antonio's murder as well.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Introducing my BlogHer sponsor, BuildASign.com

I was recently contacted by the website BuildASign.com with the possibility of sponsoring some promotional materials for Yes/No Films for the upcoming BlogHer conference, and I gladly accepted. BuildASign helps you create banners, signs, bumper stickers, business cards, and more, and I decided to create a magnet for my website, since I definitely have enough business cards already for the conference.

I received the magnets in the mail today and it came out exactly how the proof had appeared online! BuildASign lets you either upload your own custom design or use one of their templates; I decided to use one of their templates but customize it. Take a look!



BuildASign also has a sister site, EasyCanvasPrints.com, where you can create custom canvases based on your own photos or photos/paintings/etc. that you like.

I would definitely use BuildASign again if I needed magnets or signs for my site, or if I wanted to make a bumper sticker. If you see me at BlogHer next week, ask me for one of my magnets! If I have extras after the conference, and you see me in line for a local movie screening, feel free to ask as well.

Thanks again to BuildASign.com for providing me with some sponsorship for BlogHer '12!

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises


The Dark Knight Rises is visually pleasing, as Nolan once again creates a Gotham that seems to be a mash-up of a few major cities. Unfortunately, the film doesn't explain a lot of its new characters' backstories until near the end of the film, and Bane is very difficult to understand because he always speaks with a mask covering his mouth. For all of its faults and positives, however, I still recommend seeing the film, and it creates a fitting end for The Dark Knight trilogy, started in 2005 with Batman Begins.

At the end of The Dark Knight (2008), Batman (Christian Bale) and Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) have decided that Batman will take the fall for Harvey Dent's death; Harvey (Aaron Eckhart) had become the villain "Two-Face" and had tried to kill one of Gordon's children, but Batman and Gordon realized that the city still needs a hero. TDKR picks up eight years after his death, when Dent Day is being celebrated. Gotham has been mostly crime-free for the past eight years, and Bruce Wayne (Bale) has become a recluse, languishing in Wayne Manor and rarely seeing visitors, with the exception of his butler Alfred (Michael Caine) and Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), who heads up Wayne Enterprises. On the night of a charity gala at his mansion, however, a maid sneaks up to the East Wing where Wayne resides, and Wayne realizes she has stolen his mother's pearl necklace - from a safe that was supposed to be uncrackable. The maid, actually Catwoman (Anne Hathaway, One Day), disappears out of his window after talking to Wayne. Intrigued, Wayne follows her using the tracking device in the necklace, and finds that she disapproves of the way he and his rich one-percenter friends live.

Meanwhile, there's a new villain in town - Bane (Tom Hardy, This Means War), who wants to "take back Gotham for the people." Wayne realizes that Batman must make a comeback to fight this villain, but he soon finds that Bane is a lot stronger than him. Bane takes control of the city, warning that if anyone leaves he will blow the city up, and after their fight he deposits Wayne in an underground community of sorts where Bane used to live; the only way out is a huge hole which only one person has ever escaped from. Wayne must build up his strength again so he can get out of the hole and save Gotham before Bane destroys it.

Friday, July 13, 2012

BlogHer '12: NYC


In lieu of a new movie review today (the only thing new in theaters here is Ice Age: Continental Drift ...), I have for you a little post about BlogHer '12, which is fast approaching, and is my first time attending a blogging conference.

About 4,500 bloggers, mostly women, are attending BlogHer '12, and this year it's in New York City, where it was also held in 2010. In 2011 it was in San Diego; I was thinking of going but airfare from Detroit to San Diego is a bit more than Detroit to NYC.

Coney Island, 2010
This will also be my sixth time in NYC but only the second staying in a hotel. My first introduction to the city was in 2007, when I was visiting a then-college roommate in Pennsylvania. We took the bus to the city, ran around all day, then took the train to one of her friend's houses in New Jersey to sleep there for the night. The next day, we took the train back to the city, then the bus back to PA at the end of the day.

It was crazy! The city was too big, too loud, and too crowded for my taste.

The next summer, I was originally going go to Ireland for study abroad, but ended up declining. Instead, I took a few vacations, including a 5-day trip to D.C. - my first and only time there thus far, though I hope to visit again one day - and then another two-day trip to NYC, with friends. It was definitely more comfortable staying in a hotel, and I began to enjoy NYC a bit more that trip.

In 2009, 2010, and 2011, a good friend of mine lived in NYC, and I was able to take longer vacations there, about 5 days each. I found that the city runs at whatever pace you want it to be - we would run around all morning then take quick naps in the afternoon - and I found myself enjoying it a lot more than on my previous trips.

Before a Broadway show, 2011
Which brings me to this, my SIXTH time here! Wow. I'm looking forward to learning ways to improve this blog and also my book blog, as well as networking with some bloggers and meeting others IRL (in real life) whose blogs I have been reading for a while online. I'm also looking forward to the parties - BlogHer has a number of "official" parties, and then there are the "unofficial" ones, some of which I've been invited to and some of which I am still on the waitlist for. I'm also going to try to fit in a bit of sightseeing; I haven't been to Central Park since 2010, and finding a good cupcake is always a priority for me when in NYC (and trust me, it's not hard!).

I'll be rooming with Jenn and Kailee, both of whom are also BlogHer newbies. I've already booked tickets to see Harvey, with Jim Parsons (aka Sheldon, from Big Bang Theory!) for my first night in the city, and my Google Calendar is getting filled with fun events, seminars, and parties.

See you in New York, bloggers!

For those who have been to BlogHer before: what was the best thing you "took away" from it? And how has your blog improved since then?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Oz: The Great and Powerful trailer released today

Oz: The Great and Powerful was filmed in Michigan at Raleigh Studios last summer, and the first trailer for it is finally out. The movie will be in theaters on March 8, 2013 and stars James Franco, Mila Kunis, Zach Braff, Michelle Williams, and Rachel Weisz, among others.

Synopsis of the film, from the press release:
Disney’s fantastical adventure “Oz The Great and Powerful,” directed by Sam Raimi, imagines the origins of L. Frank Baum’s beloved character, the Wizard of Oz. When Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot—fame and fortune are his for the taking—that is until he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity—and even a bit of wizardry—Oscar transforms himself not only into the great and powerful Wizard of Oz but into a better man as well.

When small-time magician Oscar Diggs (James Franco) pulls one flimflam too many, he finds himself hurled into the fantastical Land of Oz where he must somehow transform himself into the great and powerful Wizard—and just maybe into a better man as well.


What do you think of the film? It reminds me a bit of Alice in Wonderland (the newest one) imagery-wise. Looks great!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

New TV spot: Disney's The Odd Life of Timothy Green


I am hoping to see a screening of this film when I'm at BlogHer in New York City next month - Disney is doing a screening and then a cocktail party afterwards. I love Jennifer Garner, too, and she's rarely on the big screen anymore!

The Odd Life of Timothy Green will be in theaters on August 15th.

Full synopsis:

Academy Award®–nominated director/writer Peter Hedges (“Dan in Real Life,” What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”) brings enchantment to the screen with “The Odd Life of Timothy Green.” It’s the inspiring, magical story of a happily married couple, Cindy and Jim Green (Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton), who can’t wait to start a family but can only dream about what their child would be like. When young Timothy (CJ Adams) shows up on their doorstep one stormy night, Cindy and Jim—and their small town of Stanleyville—learn that sometimes the unexpected can bring some of life’s greatest gifts. Disney presents “The Odd Life of Timothy Green,” with Ahmet Zappa, Scott Sanders and Jim Whitaker producing, story by Ahmet Zappa and screenplay by Peter Hedges. “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” is slated for release on August 15, 2012.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)


I am not a fan of reboots of series that are still fresh in my mind, so I knew that The Amazing Spider-Man was going to have to be good to merit a positive review from me. The cast of Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, and Martin Sheen was enough to draw me to the theater to see it, and I'm glad I did, even though it's a bit different than its 2002 predecessor.

The beginning of the film plays out much like the '02 version, in that Peter Parker (later played by Andrew Garfield, The Social Network) is mysteriously dropped off at the house of his aunt (Sally Field, TV's Brothers & Sisters) and uncle (Martin Sheen, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World), after his parents fear for his safety. His parents later die in a plane crash, and Peter never gets to find out why they were so anxious to clear out of the house. Peter is raised by his aunt and uncle, and he's currently a teenager attending high school in New York City. He's always been interested in science, much like his dad, and when he finds some of his dad's old papers, he decides to revisit an old colleague of his, Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans, The Five-Year Engagement). Peter helps Connors figure out an equation that Peter's dad was working on, not knowing that Connors is going to use it for evil.

Meanwhile, Peter is kind of a "dork" at school (which in real life would never happen, by the way, because Andrew Garfield is gorgeous), and he has a crush on Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone, The Help). Gwen happens to work at Oscorp as an intern, and she sees him there when he is trying to blend in, passing himself off as a new intern. Peter finds himself in a room filled with intricate spider webs, and he can't resist touching one of the strings in the webs, which is the catalyst for the rest of the movie, and the reason for how he acquires his "superpowers."

Friday, July 6, 2012

Savages


Directed by Oliver Stone, Savages is a "shoot 'em up" movie, plain and simple, though it's masquerading as a story about the marijuana industry. The film will captivate your attention from its opening scenes and hold it until the very end, and the acting in the film benefits from a strong ensemble cast. The movie is definitely not for the younger set, as it's a VERY "hard R," but adults will enjoy its fast-paced story.

Ophelia, who goes by "O" (Blake Lively, TV's Gossip Girl), has a relationship with both Chon (Taylor Kitsch, Battleship) and Ben (Aaron Johnson, Kick-Ass), who are partners in a lucrative business growing and selling marijuana. Chon and Ben live in a ocean-view house and share O, and life is good; that is, until the Mexican drug cartel wants in on their business. When they decline a business offer, the angry Mexicans decide to retaliate by kidnapping O. Their leader is Elena (Salma Hayek, Puss in Boots) but her henchman is Lado (Benicio del Toro, The Wolfman), a particularly screwed-up man who enjoys causing others pain. Chon and Ben must pony up $13 million to buy out O before Elena's group hurts her, and also continue their business deal with the Mexican drug cartel; instead, however, they decide to take matters into their own hands.