Movie Review: Midnight In Paris (2011)

Bonjour,

Today’s review will focus on one of my new favorite movies: Midnight In ParisI hope we have some literature fans in the audience for this one! The movie was written and directed by the infamous Woody Allen and stars Owen Wilson, Marion Cotillard, and Rachel McAdams.

The plot focuses on Gil, an aspiring novelist who travels to Paris with his stuck-up fiancee and her parents. Frustrated by being unable to fit in with her family, Gil wanders off alone for a midnight stroll and is taken back into the 1920’s, the Golden Age of Modernism. In the 1920’s he is able to meet his artistic idols: Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Stein, Picasso, Dali, etc.

One of the main reasons I loved the movie is because I am exactly like Gil. I am a nostalgic dreamer obsessed with Modernism and the famous writers of the period. I am also a writer and, like all writers, a little weird and different from everyone else. The film was very identifiable and relatable for me.

The acting was great. I read that Woody Allen rewrote the roles specifically for some of the actors. Wilson was great as Gil. McAdams succeeds in venturing from her normal nice girl role and into a mean, materialistic woman. Also, the recreations of the literary idols were great as well. Kathy Bates shined as Gertrude Stein.

I did not like the way the writers quoted their own works as if they really spoke that way. I especially saw this in Hemingway. It seemed scripted and unnatural. However, Gil told Hemingway he though all contemporary literature derived from Twain’s Huck Finn. That was hilarious considering that is one of Hemingway’s most famous quotes.

The cinematography was awesome. The first 2-3 minutes of the movie shows scenes of Paris, one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Rated PG-13

You really need to check this one out. It is truly amazing, especially if you enjoy literature, art, or Paris. Also, if you are nostalgic for the past, like I am, you will find this movie exhilarating. I give it a 4.6/5.0!

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Movie Review: Everything Must Go (2010)

Hey everyone,

This review will focus on Everything Must Go, a film based on Raymond Carver‘s short story “Why Don’t You Dance?” This is one of my favorite stories from Carver short story cycleWhat We Talk About When We Talk About Love.  Here is the link to the story: Why Don’t You Dance? I would suggest reading it before continuing because it is awesome!

 

Rated R

The movie, directed and written by Dan Rush, stars Will Ferrell as  Nick Halsey. The story follows Halsey as his life falls apart. When he relapses causing him to lose his job and wife, he attempts to sell his belongings in a yard sale.

Ultimately, the film kept my attention. It made me laugh and also made me a little sad. Though I would have written the film a little differently, being more faithful to the short story, Rush did succeed in bringing to light the important symbols and themes of the story.

I give the movie a 3.o/5.0. As of right now, it is available on Netflix! Go check it out.

The movie was not an amazing adaptation of the story, which was disappointing. But it ultimately captured the symbolism and the tone of the story, which was great. Though the changes that were made let me down a bit, the movie was still okay.

Will Ferrell did a fantastic job portraying an alcoholic man trying to put his life back together. The other actors were great as well, most notably the neighbor, Samantha, played by Rebecca Hall.

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Movie Review: Young Adult (2011)

Hello!

I just finished watching Young Adult with my family. I have to say I was not that impressed. The movie follows Mavis Gary, a successful young adult writer who returns to her hometown hoping to rekindle a romance with her ex-boyfriend, who is now married with a newborn child. The film stars Charlize Theron and Patton Oswalt and was directed by Jason Reitman.

Reitman who has seen success with his previous movies, Up in the Air and Juno, misses the mark with Young Adult. The first hour of the movie was very slow and uncomfortable. I thought about turning it off more than once instead of suffering through the last 30 minutes. My sister also thought about giving it up; she said, “If Charlize Theron wasn’t so pretty, I would have turned this off a long time ago.”

However, though the first half was slow and boring, the last 30 minutes were not too horrible. Charlize Theron really pulls off the crazy, immature, and psychotic woman when she arrives at a party and tries to win back her high school boyfriend. The movie is marketed as a comedy, but it seemed like a depressing indie drama with a few comedic moments. Theron was funny with her sloppy clothes and funny facial expressions but the movie, which has so much potential as a comedy, ultimately fails.

Rated R

Theron does a great job bringing her depressed and psychotic character to life and the premise of the story is believable and funny, but, overall, the movie let me down. Maybe it was because I expected a comedy and, instead, got a depressing and uncomfortable drama.

I give the movie a 2.8/5.0. Hopefully Reitman’s next film will make up for this.

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Movie Review: The Hunger Games (2012)

Rated PG-13

Hello again,

So I just got home from seeing The Hunger Games and I have to say I was quite impressed. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Here is some background information to begin with.

The Hunger Games is the first of three (possibly four, if they break up the final part) movies that are based on Suzanne Collin’s Young Adult series. The movie is directed by Gary Ross and stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Stanley Tucci, and Elizabeth Banks.

The story revolves around Katniss Everdeen as she is chosen, along with Peeta Mellark, to be a tribute for the 74th Hunger Games. The movie is set in a future world in which two children are chosen from each of the twelve districts and forced to fight to the death in an arena where there can only be one victor.

For the most part, the film was a fairly faithful adaptation. Although the book was better, the movie still exceeded my expectations. It’s all star cast–especially Jennifer Lawrence, who we have seen before in Winter’s Bone (reviewed here: REVIEW)–made this movie amazing. The cinematography was fantastic and the costumes were perfect.

The movie was very quick paced and featured a lot of quick cuts and some wobbly camera movements in the fight scenes. That got annoying at parts because I felt like I was missing things and I couldn’t keep up.

I highly recommend that you read the novel, if not the whole series, before seeing the movie. There was a lot of important background information that needed to be addressed that was left out. It is nice to have a deeper understanding of the characters and to why the Hunger Games occur. Also, the changes the movie made were not ideal. Especially the end scene of the novel, which really leaves you hanging and in anticipation.

This series is simply phenomenal; I consider it a close second to Harry Potter. It has an important message and deals with serious subject matter that is light enough for younger viewers, yet still makes them question society.

I am giving this movie a 4.0/5.0! Good stuff. I will also give the book series a good 4.8/5.0. It’s that good, people! Put down your Twilight books and get started on The Hunger Games!

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Movie Review: Another Earth (2011)

Hello again,

I am back! Quick recap of what I have been doing for the last year since I made my last post. I have been extremely busy with work and school. Too many papers to write and books to read! BUT I have finally graduated with a B.A. in English and a minor in Writing and Linguistics. But anyways, I am back now–hopefully for good–and am going to start reviewing again!

First up is Another Earth. I heard about this film from my screenwriting teacher, Adam Davies, who mentioned hat he went on a date with the lead actress and co-writer, Brit Marling. She told him about her idea for this movie and a short time later it was winning awards at Sundance. It’s truly an amazing story.

The movie is wonderful. It is hard to fit it into a certain genre, but I guess we will call it Science-Fiction Romantic Drama. The story revolves around Rhoda Williams, an ambitious young woman who makes a tragic mistake which costs John Burroughs the life of his wife and child. On the night of this tragic accident, a duplicate of Earth is discovered and creates an opportunity for second chances. The film deals with themes such as forgiveness, regret, death, love, and hope.

The movie was beautifully written. Brit Marling has really made a name for herself in this movie. The plot flows really well and the characters are identifiable and lovable. Though there are some slow points, the ending makes up for it. This is one of those films that makes you think. When I finished watching it, I literally sat in bed repeating the words “wow” and “incredible” over and over again for forty-five minutes trying to comprehend what I just saw.

If you are a logical person who lives off of facts and hates movies that take advantage of creative freedom, then you might want to skip this one. The idea that another Earth is able to come so close to our planet is impossible. I don’t know the science behind it–something about gravitational pulls and tidal changes. However, if you can look past the fact that this plot doesn’t address realistic aspects of science, then indulge yourself with this masterpiece.

The films soundtrack is also very unique and beautiful. I have never heard of a saw being used as an instrument, but wow! It’s amazing. You can check out the musician behind the soundtrack at twitter.com/sawlady .  Or check out her website at www.sawlady.com.

Another Earth is truly one of the most powerful films I have seen in a long time. Honestly beautiful and deals with important human emotions. Check it out! I give it a 4.5/5.0!

Image Rated PG-13

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Movie Review: Stay Alive (2006)

Hey Everyone,

Last night, my roommate traveled down to visit and free me from my boring life as a recluse. Considering I live alone and am too afraid to watch horror movies by myself, we decided to check out a couple of scary flicks. First up was Stay Alive. The story revolves around a group of young adults as they play a mysterious and creepy video game. They soon realize that if you die in the game, you die in real life. The movie stars Jon Foster, Samaire Armstrong, Frankie Muniz, and Sophia Bush.The story is based on a ghost story in which an aging woman, who inhabits the video game, drinks the blood of teens to stay young.

Overall, the story was interesting and well executed. However, when I watch a horror movie, especially ones where the characters are brutally murdered, I expect to see more gore and disgusting images. The movie was made for an estimated $9,000,000, which is not horrible, but not enough to make a decent gore film. I think they gave most of the budget to hiring actors and providing eery set locations. Some of the death scene were not even shown, which left a lot up to the audiences imagination.

However, there were quite a few scary moments. Some involving the ghost of the woman trying to kill them. Another one, the scariest in my opinion, involved a creepy Grudge-like girl, who is crawling on walls and attacking the characters. I might have screamed out loud. Also, like I said, I feel like a good portion of the budget was spent on cinematography. The sets were great and involving old, broken down houses or warehouses. It gave the film a dark, creepy feeling.

Overall, the movie was fine. It did not blow me away or scare me enough to keep me up all night. It did, however, have a few scenes where I jumped or tried to cover my eyes. Also, looking at Sophia Bush for half the movie makes the lack of horror a little better. I recommend the Directors Unrated Version. Unrated versions of horror films are always a bit more graphic and violent, which is what most horror film viewers want to see.

I give Stay Alive: Directors Cut a 3.2/5.0! It is definitely no The Exorcism of Emily Rose, but it is better than other crappy horror movies.

Rated PG-13

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Movie Review: Killers (2010)

Hello again,

As you can tell I have had a really slow weekend. Since my roommates went home for the summer, all I can do to entertain myself is watch movies! I will say that when the film was released in theaters, I was a bit hesitant to see it. IMDB.com rated it 4.9/10 and I hate wasting my time on bad movies when there are so many good ones that need to be watched. Even so, I put it in my instant play queue. Then, last night my friend Nicole suggested I watch it. I am so glad I did.

Killers was actually very funny! The story was fun and creative, but it did drag on a bit in the beginning and took a while for the actual plot to start. That does not mean it was boring though. The story revolves around Spenser and Jen, played by Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl. Jen is vacationing in Nice, France when she meets Spenser, a soon-to-be retired CIA spy and assassin. Flash forward three years later and Spenser, who has never mentioned his past to Jen, is a target with 20,000,000 dollars on his head. The two must battle the enemy as well as relationship problems. Kutcher steps out of his usual “I’m stupid and goofy” role and takes on a more serious and mature attitude as Spenser. Heigl is cute and witty.

The film also stars some well-known actors such as Tom Selleck, Catherine O’Hara, and ex-SNL cast member Casey Wilson. In my opinion, O’Hara got the most laughs as the alcoholic and quirky mother. Wilson also had a some great one-liners which made me laugh out loud. Most pieces of dialogue between these two seem improvised as both are professionals in that field and it really works! They are sure scene stealers.

Though the storyline was fun and light-hearted, it did start off a bit late for a normal screenplay. Screenplay format usually has the end of Act one, or the “big change” on page 25, or minute 25 on-screen. It took Killers almost 45 minutes to get the plot rolling. This delay wasn’t bad because there were many funny  scenes and crucial embeds within the first half. But if you are wanting to see high-paced action throughout, you probably won’t find it in this film.

Overall, I really enjoyed this movie. Opposite to Kick-Ass, which I reviewed yesterday, I continuously laughed out loud. The acting was good for a comedy, no Oscar-winning performances, but still good! I just wish more people have seen it because there are so many great one-liners and funny moments that need to be seen/heard! I give this film a 4.0/5.0!

Rated PG-13

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