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Drop everything and go see Interstellar

Seriously.

Although I’m contradicting myself by even writing a review for Interstellar because the thing that has pissed me off the most this last week is how everyone has heard from their friends or movie critics or their mom’s uncle’s goddaughter that it was actually a terribly overrated movie with no plot and just pretty pictures so they didn’t go see it. Big. Mistake.

I’m not guaranteeing that you’ll love it. Clearly a lot of people haven’t. But please, please just go see it for yourself and make your own opinions on the matter. Because if I had listened to all the critics and friends of friends and boss’s girlfriends, I never would’ve seen this movie and I would’ve missed out on my favorite movie of the last 5 years.

So please. Go see it! It was enough to bring me out of a blog hiatus to write this review.

I should preface this with the fact that I did see this in IMAX which added a lot to it, but I still stand by my previous argument that this movie has so much more than just beauty. The plot is intense. It’s very emotional. It makes you think throughout the entire thing. You’re begging for more even after 2 hours and 50 minutes, but there’s just the perfect amount of closure.

The basis of the story is a interesting mixture between a post- and pre-apocalyptic world. Billions of people have already been wiped out from the Earth from lack of food, a terrible drought and presumably other variables. The military no longer exists. Blight is overtaking the planet leading to a higher demand for farmers than college-educated scholars. But thing are about to get much worse.

The entire country has been thrust back into the Dust Bowl era and will soon die out as planet Earth rejects them. Cue Matthew McConaughey, a former astronaut and engineer, who comes out of retirement at the request of what’s left of NASA to find another world that could possibly be habituated by the human race. The only problem is these worlds don’t exist within our solar system or even galaxy. However, a rare worm hole near Saturn makes traveling to these potential new homes possible.

What ensues is a dramatic journey through space and time that will test your mind to grasp the theory of relativity and the very concept of time and gravity. The visuals are obviously stunning. Even the beginning exposition that takes place in a middle America dust bowl state is beautiful through Christopher Nolan’s vision and 70mm IMAX photography.

The acting is perfection. Matthew McConaughey continues to impress me over the past few years and Jessica Chastain is flawless. The drama is intense. You will be on the edge of your seat, pupils fully dilated, trying to take in every moment as the plot powers on.

So stop everything now, drive to a theater right now and go see this movie. Nolan borders on perfection in Interstellar as he expands the universe in front of your eyes and expands your brain to grasp everything that is the theory of relativity and space travel. So go see it now because you will kick yourself forever if you miss out on the opportunity to see this beautiful masterpiece on the big screen.

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The Heat: Movie Review

So I’m not really a comedy kind of person. At least not of the kind of comedy that is being spewed out of Hollywood lately. The so-stupid-it’s-funny just doesn’t cut it for me. Napoleon Dynamite, Borat, basically anything Will Ferrell (besides Elf of course), no thanks. I’m just more of an action/adventure/suspense/drama/anything else kind of person. But there are definitely some major exceptions.

The Heat is one of those exceptions that can now be added to my list.

I was very skeptical seeing trailers for this movie. It seemed like the kind of comedy that would only get its laughs from its high ratio of F-bombs to lines of dialogue. Don’t get me wrong, the ratio is in fact incredibly high  (I think Melissa McCarthy says the F-word more than any other word in the English dictionary combined), but The Heat doesn’t rely on that alone to get its laughs. The dialogue in this script is comedy gold and had me laughing from start to finish.

The Heat tells the story of Special Agent Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) an FBI agent who is all about the job and the rule book. Because of this she hasn’t made many friends in her department or anywhere for that matter. She’s vying for a promotion but her boss sends her on a mission to catch a drug lord in Boston as one final test to prove that she deserves it. Enter Detectice Mullins (Melissa McCarthy), a crass, foul-mouthed, larger than life detective for the Boston PD. Mullins and Ashburn are complete opposites who clash throughout the movie. Mullins has absolutely no respect for the rules, but she does care about catching her bad guy, even when it’s her own brother who’s gotten mixed into the wrong crowd.

McCarthy and Bullock are perfect together. Every single thing that came out of McCarthy’s mouth had me doubled over laughing. And Bullock’s transformation throughout the movie from uptight FBI agent to well, you’ll see, was brought to life beautifully. And these two ladies managed to throw in just the right amount of sincerely touching moments that made you truly care for their characters right before they had you doubled over laughing once again.

I would have liked to see more of Boston played out in the movie, but you’ll definitely recognize a lot and McCarthy’s character’s family is classic Boston white trash that will have you practically crying from laughter anytime they’re on screen together. “Are you a nahc?”

The ending was pretty predictable and there were definitely some, errr, strange moments in the script, but overall this was a highly entertaining comedy with an actual plot and characters that you truly care about that will keep you laughing your ass off every couple of minutes.

I highly recommend this movie if for nothing but to make you feel better after a long, rough day. I promise you’ll leave the theater still laughing for another half an hour.

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Les Miserables

Traditions.

Every family has them and it always interests me to see what other people do, especially around the holiday season. Our Christmas tradition for the last several years has been to go to the casino on Christmas Eve (you’d be surprised how many other crazy people do the same thing) and stuff our faces at the buffet and then lose all our money. Good times! Then we come home and religiously track Santa on Norad until he passes over our house (when we instantly pretend to be asleep) and then we each get to open one present.

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On Christmas morning, we aren’t too crazy. Of course when I was little I would get up crazy early and bug my mom until she was up, but now we’re both pretty content with sleeping in. I was up first this year which is actually very rare. We make some hot cocoa and coffee and then open presents with our Yule log playing on the television.

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And then we have to go see a movie.

This year we saw Les Miserables after months of anticipation.

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And man, oh man, that was probably the best part of all of Christmas.

Guys seriously, this movie is really good! If you like musicals and you haven’t already seen this movie than I have no idea what they heck you’re waiting for! It lived up to all the hype and high expectations.

I’ll admit that I had no idea what the story even was before I saw it besides the fact that it had something to do with the French Revolution and somebody sings “I Dreamed A Dream.”

But I think if you have seen the musical at the theater before, you will surely not be disappointed. And I think the film brings so much more drama than could ever be conveyed on a stage. The cinematography is phenomenal as you are right in the faces of the each character during their arias. Anne Hathaway’s performance of “I Dreamed A Dream” will blow you away. As well as several other powerful scenes throughout the movie that made me tear up.

The ending was also astounding. I could not have been more happier with how they ended it and I truly had goosebumps all the way into the credits.

I know this isn’t much of a detailed review, but there honestly isn’t much more that I can say about it other than it was fantastic! I highly, highly recommend it and can’t wait until I can see it again!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and that Santa was good to you all. Have the happiest of New Years as well!

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Wreck it Ralph: Movie Review

I have been on a movie roll lately! I feel like I’ve finally gotten to see everything I want to see (except Skyfall, which I’m going to see with my mom over Thanksgiving Break) AND I’ve been tearing through my Movies I Need to Watch List.

I’ve been watching at least 1 movie a night, sometimes 2 if I’m not tired. Now that I’ve finished the Harry Potter series, I need to fill my life with something meaningful again. Oh, don’t even call me dramatic! Those books changed my life and I’m about THIS close to reading them over again already.

So the other night I finally watched Blue Valentine. And it was so depressing that I just had to watch a happy love story and I came across A Walk to Remember for free on Amazon and thought to myself ‘Hey, that’s happy! They actually love each other through the whole thing!’ Except remember that tiny little detail about her DYING at the end??? So yeah, I bawled my eyes out. At two movies in a row.

So then I went to see Wreck It Ralph! And it was allll better.

When I saw trailers for this movie, I though it looked “kind of cute” but nothing special. So I was pretty surprised when it started getting really good reviews. Including an A+ from one of my favorite movie bloggers! Needless to say, I decided to add it to my Need to Watch List and pray that Disney wouldn’t disappoint me.

And I must say, I was pleasantly surprised. I wouldn’t say it was a fantastic movie because it just felt like something was missing. I’m not sure what, but it just needed a little more to keep my attention. Maybe more back and forth between the different plot lines?

But anyway, Wreck It Ralph is about the bad guy in a video game called Fix It Felix Jr. Ralph, voiced by John C. Reilly, destroys the building while Felix storms in to save the day and fix the building so all the people living in it are saved. Then Ralph is thrown from the building. And things don’t get much better for Ralph after the arcade closes. While his fellow game characters party it up in their penthouse suite, Ralph is forced to live in the dump without any friends. Despite his many meetings at BadAnon (an Alcoholics Anonymous-type group for video game bad guys), Ralph really doesn’t want to keep living his life the same way anymore. He thinks that if he wins a medal like the one Fix It Felix Jr. wins at the end of every game, the other characters will except him.

Thus begins a journey through several other video games in the arcade as he tries to win and then retrieve a medal that will make everyone else like him. He encounters Jane Lynch‘s badass character in the game Hero’s Journey. And then the sassy, hilarious and adorable Vanellope Von Schweets, voiced by Sarah Silverman, who becomes his ally and only chance of retrieving the much-coveted medal.

Vanellope is a glitch in the game Sugar Rush, a racing game set in a world full of candy everything! In order to win back Ralph’s medal, she needs to win the next race. Unfortunately, the rest of the characters don’t like Vanellope because she’s  a glitch and tends to pixel out from time to time. They fear that if they let her compete in a race, the arcade-goers will see her glitch out and think the game is broken, causing them to be unplugged and homeless.

The concept for this movie is actually kind of brilliant! The way the characters travel back and forth through different games (through the surge protector) and take on whatever animation that game has (ie. pixelly for Fix It Felix Jr., simple, bright and happy in Sugar Rush, and 3D super realistic in Hero’s Journey) is genius!

The actors who voice this movie are brilliant as well. Sarah Silverman was born for this role. I knew immediately that it was her! Jane Lynch also brought an awesome badass element to the movie with her no-nonsense attitude.

I only wish that we could have seen more of her side plot. The movie occasionally shows her adventures through Sugar Rush to save the entire arcade (which is a pretty important aspect of the movie), but spends a huge percentage of the time on Ralph. I think it would’ve added a lot more suspense and excitement to that movie and give it that little extra something that I thought it needed.

On top of how clever this movie was, it was absolutely hilarious! Yes, the kids will enjoy this, but they won’t understand half of the jokes. It was just pun after pun after pun. Some of which you need to pay close attention to to overcome. The dialogue was just brilliant. So yeah, while it’s not my favorite animated movie as of late, I thoroughly enjoyed it and Disney has not let me down.

Looking for a movie to go see tonight? Or this weekend? Take the kids to see Wreck It Ralph and enjoy the witty, hilarious dialogue for yourself! I promise you’ll all be thoroughly entertained!

It was definitely a nice break from Blue Valentine and A Walk To Remember. No crying here!

Just plenty of laughs!!

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Looper: Movie Review

So I know it came out over a month ago, but I just finally got the chance to see Looper!

 

I had heard that it was about time travel and the present and the future crossing paths, and I’ve even heard people refer to it as the Inception of time travel. So needless to say, I was worried that it was going to be really complex and impossible to follow.

Luckily this was not the case at all! It was a pretty complex plot, but it was written perfectly so that you could follow it without getting confused! It’s also an excellent and unique idea for a story.

The year is 2044. A genetic mutation has led to about 10% of the population being telekinetic (“TKs”), which basically just means that they can float quarters a few inches above their hands, a running joke throughout the movie. Thirty years in the future (2074) time travel has been invented, but was immediately illegalized. The economic situation isn’t good and organized crime has taken over. However, it is almost impossible to dispose of dead bodies because of tracking technology. So mob bosses are using time travel to dispose of bodies. They put hoods on and tie up their adversaries and send them back 30 years into the past where their “Loopers” are waiting to kill them and dispose of the bodies.

Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is one of these Loopers. He goes to a designated spot at a designated time, gun ready, and instantly shoots the hooded men. They have silver plates strapped to their backs for the Loopers to take to live their life with. Joe has been spending half of his silver on clubbing and doping up on a drug that is taken through eyedrops and saving the other half in a safe in his floorboards for 30 years of retirement in France. See, eventually the mob bosses have to get rid of their Loopers so that they can’t be used as evidence against them in the future. Eventually all Loopers will have to “close the Loop.” Their old selves will be zapped back to the past for their present selves to kill without knowing it’s really them until they see the gold strapped to their back instead of silver. They then are automatically retired, can cash in their gold, and live out the next 30 years of their lives however they choose.

A pretty genius idea.

The film does an awesome job of exploring the idea of time travel and using it to do some pretty cool things (for lack of a better adjective).

For example, Joe’s best friend, Seth (Paul Dano) is all set up to do another kill as usual when the target appears from the future singing a song that Seth’s mother had sung to him as a child. He knows immediately that it is his future self and can’t bring himself to kill him, so he let’s him go. He then goes on the run because he knows “Gat Men” (the men from the future who live in the past to regulate the Looper program) will be after him for not closing his loop. When the Gat Men capture the present-day Seth, they use his body to track down future Seth who is still running around in the present. We see old Seth starting to notice scars appearing on his arms giving him directions on where to go. When he doesn’t, he starts losing fingers one at a time, but they are just old stumps because they have been cut off 30 years ago as present-day Seth is being tortured. (They can’t just kill him because that would cause too many ramifications on the future). So eventually future Seth has no choice but to go and he is immediately killed as we see present-day Seth, now missing several body parts, attached to a ventilator to be kept alive for the next 30 years.

I thought the scars, missing fingers thing was just so clever! It’s a really cool idea to explore throughout a movie, we don’t realize what kind of horrible things would come from time travel.

Nevertheless, the same thing happens to Joe when he is all ready to do another kill, but a man appears who is not tied up or masked and he realizes that it is his future self (Bruce Willis). He still tries to kill him, but his future self deflects the bullet with the gold on his back, knocks present Joe out and runs for it. When present Joe comes to, he finds a note from future Joe telling him to run, but instead he goes back to his apartment where the Gat Men come to investigate. He gets knocked out by them and we flashback to present Joe successfully killing his present self this time, and get to see how he lived out his 30 years of retirement. He falls in love and gets married, so that when his time comes he’s not ready to die. He escapes the mob and goes into the time machine without the hood and ties and we see him again zap back and overcome present Joe.

The rest of the movie is an intense battle of who will get there first, as present Joe tries to close his loop and future Joe tries to change the past so that he can keep on living with his wife. There are some hilarious scenes between these two characters, the same man in different times of his life, who hate each other. Gordon-Levitt and Willis are hilarious!

This movie will challenge your mind and force you to think about things that you wouldn’t ordinarily consider. I found it an extremely interesting look at time travel and how people will turn out in the future based on their past.

It is very violent, however, so if that’s not your thing, this probably isn’t the movie for you. (It’s not really bloody and gory, although there are a few brutal moments, but there’s a lot of death and shooting).

Emily Blunt and her son in the movie (Pierce Gagnon) also give excellent performances as they try to protect present Joe from the people trying to hunt him down and help him find his older self. The kid is so good! He’s only 4 years old, but does a wonderful job! The scenes between him and Gordon-Levitt are some of my favorites. Although I hope his parents in real life didn’t let him watch this movie! Haha you’ll see what I mean if you watch it.

So if you like movies that challenge your mind and explore new concepts (and can handle a little violence), I think you will really enjoy this movie. I know I did! And you definitely won’t get confused. From someone who gave up on Inception halfway through and had no interest in trying to watch it again, trust me when I say this movie is nothing like that. It may seem complicated, but it’s followable and definitely worth seeing! Spend the $1.29 at Red Box when it comes out, or try to catch it before it goes out of theaters if this wasn’t the last weekend and you won’t regret it!

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Argo: Movie Review

Man, has it been a long time since I’ve gone to the movies (I believe The Dark Knight Rises was the last one I saw). Probably my longest stretch. There has just been absolutely nothing good out in so long. And now all of a sudden there’s a million things out at once and I just might go broke in the next month trying to cram them all in. I really want to see Looper, Seven Psychopaths, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Paranormal Activity 4 (Don’t judge me….have you seen the second one?? I’m convinced all the even-numbered ones are going to be really good. Don’t ruin this for me.)

At most importantly….I reallyreallyreally wanted to see Argo!

Yay Ben Affleck!

I really wanted this movie to be amazing. I’m not the biggest fan of Ben Affleck as an actor (I’ve just generally not been interested in the movies he’s in), but I did love The Town, and Good Will Hunting is one of my favorites. Okay, so maybe I’m just biased towards Boston movies, but no it’s just a coincidence.

He definitely proved his talent with The Town, but Argo is some of the greatest directing I’ve seen in a long time.

This movie had my eyes locked on the screen, darting back and forth to take in everything, for the entire 120 minutes. It was definitely a story that needed to be told and it blew me away. It’s crazy to think that all of this happened only 30 years ago. Just the history of this movie alone was enough to get me very involved and angry/shocked/horrified. To see what these Americans went through because their government had to get involved in everybody’s business is just awful.

Affleck does a superb job of portraying this crisis on film and the tension created in the theater was incredible. I had goosebumps several times throughout the film, including the entire final half hour.

If you don’t know the premise of the story, you should first watch the trailer because it does an excellent job of portraying what the film is exactly about. And it gives you a preview of the tension and suspense that engulfs this film.

But here’s the gist: During the Iranian hostage crisis, while the Iranian people stormed the embassy and took 50 Americans hostage for what would end up being a total of 444 days, six of the embassy workers managed to escape out a back door. After being turned down by several other countries, the Canadian ambassador agreed to allow them to hide out in his house, knowing that the entire Revolutionary Guard would be going door to door to find these Americans once they realized that a few had escaped.

Ben Affleck’s character Tony Mendez develops a scheme to produce a fake movie with John Goodman and Alan Arkin as a cover for the six escapees. They acquire the script for Argo, a sci-fi thriller that needs to be filmed in an exotic dessert-like location. Enter the need for a 7-person film crew (Affleck and the 6 escapees) to fly to Iran to scout for locations. Affleck is to arrive alone, meet up with the other 6 and get them on a plane back out of the country while eluding the Revolutionary Guard, adapting entirely new identities, and not hoping they don’t crack under fear and pressure.

Argo expertly transitions between the many different locations of the film, showing the progress of the Iranians of figuring out that six had escaped, the Revolutionary Guard going door to door, the Canadian ambassadors house where the escapees are hiding among an increasingly more suspicious Iranian housekeeper, Goodman and Arkin’s comedic escapades in Hollywood, and very real images of the streets of a country who despises the American people more than any of us could possibly fathom.

You will be on the edge of your seat and it is made infinitely better by the fact that this all actually happened. Stick around for the credits to see how the real footage corresponds with the movie. I was amazed. Affleck did an incredible job of sticking true to events and accurately portraying the horrors of Iran and the chaos back home.

The accuracy was spot on. The emotions were high. And the acting was great.

Affleck and crew did a great job, but my favorite acting of the movie belonged to Bryan Cranston. He doesn’t have a huge part, but he adds a LOT to this movie. He ups the tension and ties the entire ending sequence together. I loved him.

So yeah…what are you waiting for? Go see it! And let me know what you all think about it! And all the other great movies that are out right now!

Have a fantastic week!

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The Amazing Spiderman: Movie Review

I still don’t understand why this movie even had to be made. Are people really running out of movie ideas so bad that they have to remake a trilogy that’s not even a decade old yet?

Seriously.

I had no intention of even going to see this, but alas, a bunch of us were heading to the movies and it was the only decent-looking thing playing (except Magic Mike, but we had males with us so that was out of the question). And why is Seeking A Friend for the End of the World already out of theaters?? It just came out a couple of weeks ago! Was it really that horrible? Because I really wanted to see it!

But anyway…Spiderman it was. And it lived right up to my low expectations. It was a good movie. It had excellent special effects and a nice actiony plot that kept you engaged until the very end. But that’s about all it had going for it. Everyone knows the plot by now. Boy lives with uncle and aunt after his father has to run away after his experiments become dangerous. Boy gets bit by spider. Boy becomes a vigilante superhero in a red and blue spandex suit. Uncle dies. Boy sets out to avenge his death while also trying to stop a new mutant monster that’s terrorizing New York.

Perhaps the biggest problem I have with this movie is that the main character’s main desire is never resolved. After Uncle Ben’s death, Peter vows revenge on the dirty crook who killed him. Slight spoiler alert here: he never catches him! And after a point in the movie he just stops even trying. You can’t have the driving force for you main character just disappear halfway through and then never be resolved. That’s something you learn in Screenwriting 101. Come on, now.

Another thing I couldn’t get past was the chemistry between Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield. Yes, the whole awkward kid trying to ask out the hot blonde thing is funny. Up to a point. Some scenes just took it too far. It was just painfully awkward and there was no chemistry at all. I love Emma Stone to death, but not her best work in my opinion. And I wasn’t too impressed with Andrew Garfield either. I’d take Toby McGuire any day.

So as a movie, it wasn’t bad (except for that one beef I have with avenging Uncle Ben’s death), but it just wasn’t spectacular. And if you’re going to remake a movie so soon and tack the word “Amazing” onto the title then you better make damn sure that it’s absolutely amazing. And this fell short for me.

It’s very entertaining, but nothing we haven’t seen before. And prepare yourself for some pretty painfully awkward scenes between Ms. Stone and Mr. Garfield.

What’s next? Are they going to start remaking the Harry Potter movies all over again now?

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