Pretty Good...Hopefully the Sequels will be Even Better!
I have read almost all of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books. The first few books in the series were definitely the best (I have not read the last one as yet...I just can't whip up enough enthusiasm for it). The best thing about the books is definitely the wise cracking humor. The movie had a little of it, but I wish it had more of it.
That having been said, I think Katherine Heigl is just fine as Stephanie Plum. I've always liked her as an actress, even in some of the terrible movies she's done in recent years. I thought she was believable as a Stephanie Plum the bounty hunter who is just a big marshmallow inside. My problem with the Stephanie Plum of this movie is her wardrobe! She was wearing fancy suits way too much. In the book, much attention is paid to the fact that Stephanie is usually wearing jeans and T shirts. O'Mara grew on me as the film went on. I had pictured him as a lot bigger and a little more Italian (as he is in the book...after all, his name is Morelli!!) But he and Heigl have chemistry. I appreciate that the sexual tension between the characters is left unfulfilled as it is in the book. I really liked the casting of Debbie Reynolds as Grandma; wish they'd gone a little more into Grandma's love of funerals. In the book, that's what gives us lots of laughs and lets us see more of Stephanie's relationship to her Grandmother. Ranger (Daniel Sunjata) was well cast as Ranger. Sherri Shepherd was just about perfect as Lula, but they didn't give her enough laugh lines.
Overall, the movie stayed fairly true to the book, but it could have been funnier. I am hoping that there will be sequels and that there is a bit more humor in them. Not that this movie was completely without humor; it just could have included a bit more of the wise cracking stuff that's in the book
Jane Eyre is my absolute all time favorite book. I have seen many different film versions of this over the years. I loved the Orson Welles version, the Timothy Dalton version, and the Toby Stephens version. I was not too crazy about the Ciaran Hinds version (although I do like Hinds as an actor in other films), and absolutely HATED the 1996 version which starred William Hurt. That particular film managed to change the characters so much that they were unrecognizable. Besides, it's just blasphemy to have an American playing Mr Rochester!!
I was nervous about this version of the film, as generally, the story is too long and complicated to be told in a two hour format. Those who are extremely familiar with the story may find this film to be lacking their favorite bits of the story. I can understand that. I did find a bit of that in this film. Parts of it seemed rushed as many of the scenes were combined or cut short in the film as compared to the book. One aspect that seemed odd was that Grace Poole's character is nearly non-existent in this film (she does appear briefly in the scene which finally reveals Mr. Rochester's deep dark secret). Having to leave out parts of the book is to be expected when making a Jane Eyre movie, and for the most part, the film stayed true to the essence of the book.
Mia Wasikowska, as Jane, has captured the fiery spirit of the character as portrayed in the book. Michael Fassbender is a fine Rochester, not being particularly handsome (as in the book), he is charismatic yet brooding. Judi Dench adds much in her role as Mrs. Fairfax (of course), and Jamie Bell makes a severe St. John Rivers.
Overall, I enjoyed this version of Jane Eyre very much. It managed to stay true to Bronte's characters while telling a compelling story. I liked the flashback vehicle of telling the story (this was also used in part, in the BBC version which featured Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson).If I want the whole detailed story, I can still watch the 1984 BBC version which featured Timothy Dalton. To this day, that version, while leaving a lot to be desired in production value (cheesy sets, make up, etc)tells the story that is most complete.
**A bit of a spoiler follows** One thing that annoyed me about this film is that the Rivers family in the book is revealed (to Jane's happiness) to be Jane's cousins; her mother and their father were siblings. That they were truly cousins was left out of this movie, instead the Rivers agreed to "adopt" Jane into their family; make her their "honorary" sister. This made little sense and seemed silly to me. Part of the appeal of the story is that poor Jane thinks she is utterly alone in the world and then turns out not to be. Family connections are very important to Jane Eyre, and for her to find that she indeed has family who love her is one of my favorite parts of the book! I don't know why the screenwriter chose to leave the cousin aspect out of the film. *(The squeamishness of marrying cousins was also in the previous BBC version (Toby Stephens/Ruth Wilson), where Jane in that film exclaims that she and St. John are "half cousins"...What??? Her mother and his father are siblings...that makes them FULL cousins, doesn't it???) IT seems to me that the custom of first cousins marrying in times past is well known and to pretend it didn't ever happen is to rewrite history.
Another aside: another reviewer expressed dismay that Jane is made an heiress in this film. Go back and read the book! It's in the book and also included in many previous versions of the film.
First off, this is NOT a kid's movie and shouldn't be marketed as such. The showing I attended consisted of at least 50% children, and I heard no laughter from them. In fact, I am not sure WHO this is for because the first half of the film d r a a g g g e e e d on and on and on and by the time the action picked up, I really just wanted it to be over. Ugh. What a mess this was. I don't even know where to begin with the criticism.
Let's see. First off, a line of dialog says that the setting is the "Mojave Desert". As a former (and hopefully future) resident of the Sonoran Desert (which is located in much of Southern Arizona and Mexico)I know for certain that Saguaro Cacti (the tall ones with the big arms) only grow in the Sonoran Desert. Fact check, anyone? Why not be true to your dialog? How hard would it have been to change that line to "Sonoran"?? And another thing. What the HECK were those animals supposed to be? There was an extremely ugly flob nosed thing...(actually several of them) that was virtually unidentifiable. It had humanoid disgusting yellowed teeth and was difficult to look at. It seemed to me that the animators were trying to create the ugliest, scariest characters they could with no regard to any animal that exists in nature. The Sonoran Desert is FULL of fascinating creatures! Why not animate REAL animals. Study them (as the great animators do) and portray them with their real characteristics. Why on earth, for instance, would you have a venomous snake squeeze its prey? Most 5 year old boys know (and girls too, if they like snakes) that there are two kinds of snakes! Constrictors squeeze, venomous snakes bite! The dialog seems to be aimed at adults, and there were lots of references to pop culture movies (many of them, such as Brokeback Mountain were rated R!) that would just fly right over most kids' heads. My husband and I were bored silly during the first half. I must have checked my watch 5 or 6 times.
In the Sundance catalog, this was made to sound like a drama/romance. It was more like a psychological thriller; I'll admit up front, this is NOT the kind of movie I enjoy, so perhaps I am not the best person to review...however, here I go anyway. The story involves an epidemiologist (Eva Green) and a chef (Ewan McGregor) who, when we first meet them on screen, are both cold and distant. They do nothing in the film to change our image of them, and truly, I didn't see any chemistry between the two. Sure, there's a physical relationship, but apparently, they just get on each other's nerves and have sex.
Green's epidemiologist is apparently fighting a worldwide epidemic illness that causes people to lose their senses. First it's the sense smell, then taste...and then, well, you get the idea. Each episode of loss is preceded by emotional breakdowns (first grief, then anger, then more anger, then more anger...oh, and finally, a sense of peace...well thank goodness for that!) I know the director was going for horrific, but I found myself laughing when people started eating everything in sight. It was also quite repulsive to watch those scenes. I was thankful nausea didn't follow (at least on screen). Green's character apparently isn't very good at her job because she doesn't ever find out a single thing about the disease, just that everyone in the world is going to get it. Everyone's DOOMED.
Mercifully, the film was short. At the end, I supposed we were to come to the realization that the "perfect sense" is our sense of feeling/emotion. Yawn. McGregor performed well, as usual, but his performance did not make the movie worth seeing for me.
See also Rachel Gordon's review; she says what I was thinking but in a much better way than I did: http://www.filmcritic.com/reviews/2011/perfect-sense/ (if the link is broken, it's at filmcritic.com)
Surprise, surprise, the Christian Fundamentalist turns out to be evil...
Out of the 10 films we screened this year, this was our least favorite. The film opens with scenes of a police detective (Terrence Howard) finding out he's sterile, which sends him into a tizzy since he "has" two children. He then reports to work where he is assigned to a jumper (Charlie Hunnam) who plans to jump at noon or someone else will die.
We then find out about his story via flashbacks. He's living next door to a religious fundamentalist (Patrick Wilson) and his wife (Liv Tyler). Turns out the wife used to be a hooker/drug user till she met her husband. Wilson's character is a cardboard extremist, and Tyler is a limp rag who is only married to him because he rescued her from her horrible life. Of course Hunnam's and Tyler's character proceed to have an affair and eventually things lead to Hunnam's "having" to kill himself. Howard's storyline is also ludicrous and silly and unbelievable. Then there's the gay roommate of Hunnam's character, who seems to be thrown in there for good measure.
I didn't care about ANY of the characters in this film. They were all stereotypes and the story is extremely one-sided. It's as if the director never knew a Christian in his life. At the Q and A, he said that he'd talked to "lots" of them. Perhaps, but it's apparent that he never really listened to any of them. This movie wasted 2 hours of my life, and I don't recommend it to anyone.
After listening to and reading many, many negative reviews from (of course) male movie critics, my expectations for this film were extremely low. The same critics who loved Borat and Knocked Up and Superbad are now complaining that THIS movie is "too crude". Since no one brought excrement to a dinner table in THIS film, I am thinking that this one isn't nearly as disgusting (or mean!!) as Borat (which I will admit I haven't seen...after hearing about that scene, I didn't want to). But I digress. The other reviewer who mentioned that certain critics just can't handle mixed genre films must be right...my view is that it's okay (to the male critics) for "guy" movies, or movies sold as straight comedies (The Wedding Crashers comes to mind) to have crude language, but if a "chick flick" has bad language, then it's disgusting. I don't get it. I DID think much of the dialog in this movie was unnecessarily crude. However, I didn't think it was the worst film I've ever seen. I do think I enjoyed it more than "The Proposal". I am a fan of Katherine Heigl (I loved 27 Dresses), and Gerard Butler. Another wee criticism I have for this movie is that I just don't understand why they felt the need to HIDE Butler's accent. Why not just let him be Scottish? It was distracting to hear him slip into his natural dialect. I found myself wishing they'd just had him speak in his normal voice. I also enjoyed this film a lot more than I thought I would.
This was one of the movies we saw at Sundance 2009. We found it to be an interesting portrayal of the relationship between a live-in maid and "her" family. The family portrayed was from Chile, and reflected the writer/director's actual family.
The maid shown in this film truly runs the household and has a strange power over the family. She knows what happens to everyone and how to sabotage them if need be. She has a love/hate relationship with most members of the family, some of it closer to hate more often than not. She also will not allow another maid to share "her" household, until she meets a certain someone. Since this is a realistic portrayal of Chilean family life, we found it fascinating to watch. Good job to all of the actors!
Tom DiCillo did an excellent job finding unseen footage of the doors. This film was "his baby", and it shows that he loved the subject matter. Clearly he is a big fan of the group and there's a religious respect that he feels for these people.
Unfortunately, there is really nothing new in this movie. Most of this stuff is well known. The group is iconic, after all, and there HAVE been other projects. What I was hoping for, since the remaining members of the group are still alive, is some "talking head" interview type things, or some interviews with other members of Jim Morrison's family, or of Pam Courson's family. Some new angle, perhaps, that was before unknown.
Not a total waste of time, but unfortunately, nothing new here, either.
This was one of the first movies we saw at Sundance, 2009, and one of the most disappointing. It follows the story of a young black man in Germany in the 50s (or possibly the 60s), and a rich white girl. They fall madly in love, and that should have been enough for a good story. But the girl's mother is a loony Nazi sympathizer who brings in a "Dr. Mengele" type to drug the girl. Just seemed weird weird, weird. The actor who played the lead did a good job with what he was given, but his English accent was awkward (he is British, we found out afterward, which would explain that).. Some people from Germany sat behind us and said that the movie was much funnier in German, so either, something needs to be done about the subtitles, or a reworking of them might help.
This is not a "feel good" movie, but its feelings are true. The story follows a family (mother, father, brother) of a young man killed in a car accident in the first scene of the movie. Their lives are jumbled up by the introduction of the son's (brother's) girlfriend. I thought all of the actors turned in fine, powerful performances. Even more impressive is that the writer/director of the film was a first time filmmaker. That she was able to get such a marvelous cast in her first film is amazing. This movie reminded me of "Ordinary People," updated for today. Of course there are differences, but it's the same genre.
Although I recommend the movie, know that it's kind of a downer. I have a feeling it won't do well because these days people want movies that are more of the "feel good" variety.
Once again, I listened to the (mostly male) reviewers and almost didn't go to this movie. I expected it to be horrible, but since it was Valentine's Day and I wanted to see a "chick flick," this seemed to be the best bet, since the rest of the choices got even worse reviews.
I never read the book on which the movie is based, but I was mildly interested. I may now read it, since I enjoyed the movie. The intertwined stories were not as predictable as you might think, and not everyone gets a happy ending. The ending, however, is satisfying. I loved all the leads in their roles, but particularly enjoyed Ginnifer Goodwin and Justin Long (made me nostalgic for the days when I watched "Ed" and enjoyed them on that show). It's about time Justin Long got to play an adult!! Jennifer Aniston and Ben Affleck were also excellent, and Scarlet Johansen and Jennifer Connolly were great as well.
I am glad that I chose to see this movie, and I recommend it.
Go ahead and go, a few tears aren't going to make you melt!
Since I am a "dog person", I knew I HAD to see this movie, and thought my kids (ages 13 and 18) wanted to see it as well, but it was a hard sell. They knew the inevitable ending and didn't want to sit through that. But, as you know this is actually how ALL life ends...death. Just go in, knowing that Marley does not turn out to be the only dog in the world who never dies! There! I said it. Hope I didn't spoil it too badly for you.
I haven't read the book on which this movie is based, but I think I will now! The way John Grogan and his wife are portrayed in the film is quite real. I appreciated that the two of them arrive in Florida in an old rusty Honda (they were from Michigan, after all, where all the old cars have rust on them), and it takes a few years for them to be able to afford a home in a decent neighborhood.
Of course, when the credits roll, you would have to be a completely cold person to not be sniffling. Just be sure you have plenty of Kleenex. It would have been nice on the part of the theater if they'd left the lights down until all the credits had rolled...just so we could all collect ourselves! But seriously, as a whole, this was a wonderful movie. I don't think small children would enjoy it, but for older elementary aged kids and teenagers, I highly recommend it.
Heck, they don't make MOVIES like this any more. This series was patterned after great mystery movies of the 30s and 40s. I love the look of it! Starting with the Remington Steele Detective Agency's office, Remington's art deco apartment, Laura's loft...those sets were classic and fun to look at. Kudos to the set designer, whoever he was. Also, the look of the series...from the way the scenes dissolve to the freeze frames at the end of each episode, it brings back the Nick and Nora Charles type mysteries. The creators of the show were smart enough to keep things platonic between Remington and Laura until the very end. They knew exactly why viewers kept tuning in week after week, and if they'd "consummated" things, then they would have lost their audience. The dialog was witty, the scripts well done ( there was actually a mystery, at times quite complicated,to be solved during each episode!). I even like the first season, with Murphy and Bernice, but after Mildred Krebs was introduced at the beginning of the second season, the show began to hit its stride. Remington Steele aired during the 1980s, starting in 1982, and ending basically 4 seasons later (they made 2 "made for TV" movies after the end of the 4th season, which they call the "5th season") still with the high quality of the earlier shows. I am glad they wrapped things up in the "5th season," but I can't help wishing they'd been given more chances at a real 5th season.
25 years later, I just bought the DVD sets and I just love them. I had previously purchased the Moonlighting series, because I remembered loving that show, but this one managed to keep its integrity year after year. Moonlighting went downhill quickly after David and Maddie "got together." I have to say this series has the edge over Moonlighting in my book, but at the same time you can see that Glenn Gordon Caron had a part in its first season (Remington and Laura even have overlapping dialog, although Maddy and David did it more successfully) before he had success with Moonlighting.
I can't totally pan this movie. I also can't heartily recommend it. It has its moments. The cast is spectacular (gotta love Bob Hoskins, Brenda Blethyn, Kevin Spacey, John Goodman...) and I was amused and impressed by the dance numbers. Kevin Spacey can carry a tune, but he just isn't Bobby Darin (but then, no one is...). I was listening to "Bobby Darin Swings" a couple of weeks ago and decided to go ahead and see this, even though I think I was talked out of it by its bad reviews in 2004.
Well. The story was rather hard to follow because of the plot device used (adult Bobby keeps in touch with his younger self throughout the movie..to the point where it was impossible to know things like (SPOILER)how old was young Bobby when his mother died? We don't know for sure because both the adult Bobby and the kid Bobby were at the funeral. I know, it's supposed to be artsy. IT's not meant to be a truthful retelling of the story, just kind of an image of kind of what happened...in a roundabout way that leaves the audience going "HUH?" IF that was Spacey's intent (he directed and wrote this, I think), then he succeeded. It was all just a bit weird.
Where this film (SPOILER) really goes off the rails is its portrayal of Mr. Darin's descent into wacko war protestation as some kind of heroic time in his life instead of what it was. It seems to me that that was the low point of his life and career, yet this film would have you believe that he was triumphant in his career as a result. It just doesn't seem that way to me, and probably to most rational people.
This was a mixed bag for me. It could have been good but instead was an okay flick with some cringe inducing scenes that were painful to watch. See it if you love Bobby Darin. At least there's some nice music and you'll want to come home and listen to the real thing!
Mean Girls is one of my favorite movies, and I have come to respect and admire Tina Fey. When faced with a choice between three movies (all of which had received mediocre or worse reviews), I chose this one. The good news, for me, is that I don't think the other two would have been better.
This wasn't a horrible movie, but it annoyed me. The plot was a bit convoluted (there are some twists that I don't want to give away). I didn't absolutely hate the movie, but it won't be one I buy for my DVD collection, but I didn't walk out of it thinking that I had wasted 2 hours. It was just an okay way to spend some time, but I think everyone involved could make a better, funnier movie.
This feature was filmed in Azerbaijan. This is remarkable since the main theme of the story involves sex, and in a Muslim country, this type of movie is definitely frowned upon. The story surrounds a young couple, Ava and Temelko. They are madly in love and have been told by her fortune-telling grandmother the night they may consummate their relationship. However, before the special night arrives, they run into problems as the lazy men of the town they inhabit have not performed any maintenance on the town's water pipes and they have broken. The women are fed up with having to do without water and go on "strike"...no water, no sex. The movie reminds me a little of "The Gods Must Be Crazy;" silly and slapstick humor along with a little more subtle humor underneath. The performances of Kristyna Malerova and Max Mauff were sympathetic and amusing.
To the reviewer below, I got my "facts" from the director of the film at the screening I attended...I was just repeating what I heard. I took the man (and the others involved in the film who agreed with him) at his word, and I think you are taking this commentary just a tad too seriously.
We saw this at Sundance and it was one of our favorites. The story of 2 women, both mothers and down-and-out. Melissa Leo portrays a 40-something mom raising 2 boys and dealing with a gambling-addicted husband. Her goal in life is to buy a double-wide, which to her seems luxurious. Her husband has taken off with their meager savings, however, and the goal is out of reach. Misty Upham plays a Native American mom who is dealing with problems of her own. The two team up to smuggle aliens across a frozen river. The story is exciting and well-told. Ms. Leo is a stand out in her portrayal of Ray, and Misty Upham's performance is very good as well.
Another Movie for Which You Should Ignore the Male Critics...
This movie has been getting much worse reviews than it deserves. My husband and I went to it last night and we both enjoyed it. It's not going to win any awards, but it tells a nice, engaging story without too much explicit sex, language or violence. I didn't find it to be slow-moving at all, and I especially enjoyed the montage of ugly dresses that Ms. Heigl models for James Marsden's character about half way through the movie. This movie had a strong cast, from Ms. Heigl and Marsden to Judy Greer and Brian Kerwin, and others. This one will definitely be added to my DVD collection when it comes out. I have 3 daughters and we have quite the "chick flick" collection. This one is better than most I have seen lately.
This was the only documentary we had a chance to see this year, and we picked well! I found myself getting so absorbed in the stories of these 4 mid-western teenagers that I forgot temporarily that they were actual people. It is unbelievable that the director was able to catch these kids on camera saying and doing the things they did. One of the characters was so unsympathetic that we wondered why on earth she would act the way she did. I can't help but wish the director had included a "what are they doing now" note at the end. These kids are the same age as my oldest daughter, and perhaps that's why I felt connected to them, but I truly do want to know if they followed through with their plans. We also enjoyed the occasional lapse into animation the film included; some were funny, some were disturbing, but we felt they were well done, if a bit slick. This was by far our favorite movie of the 10 we viewed at Sundance this year. I wish the director had been able to come for Q&A.
This was the first movie we saw at Sundance this year, and we really did enjoy it. It's not a laugh riot from beginning to end, but its gentle humor amused us, and we were interested enough in the characters to care about the story. This was actually 4 vignettes tied together by a common location. We actually were disappointed that some of the stories were left hanging, so to speak, and we were left to wonder about their characters. Another picky-picky complaint (and perhaps this was just our theater), was that the subtitles got lost in the white counter tops at the bottom of the screen. They were very difficult to read at times. Perhaps a different color font should have been used.
We saw this at Sundance, and we sort of enjoyed the story of the underdog Napa Valley winery in the 70s competing against the "world dominating" French wineries, but it almost felt too silly to be real. The film is based on a true story, but is a bit too "Hollywood." It has a great cast; Alan Rickman stood out as the snobby British wine "educator" who started a competition between the California and French wineries, reluctantly. He is always a joy to watch, but the story loses steam when it focuses on its young "hippie type" characters who are the children of the people who run the California vineyard. I never quite felt sympathy for the Chris Pine character. As an aside, I think the "romance" story would have been more interesting if it had continued down the path it started on instead of switching to the more conventional one it ended upon. I really wanted to like this, and I didn't hate it, but I must just say it was so-so...sorry, it's no "Sideways."
This was one of our choices to see at Sundance this year, as it sounded like a charming story. It was a disappointment to us. The story moved quite slowly and meandered into strange dream sequences that were not far enough removed from the main character's real life to differentiate them from it. The main character was never quite sympathetic enough for me to care what happened to him, so this was a film that had me checking my watch quite often. It's only 90 minutes or so long, but it felt much, much longer. This was not one I would recommend.
Apparently, I must continue as the above comment is not long enough. Feel free to skip this part.
We saw this at Sundance 2008, and found it to be deliberately slow, but also quite thoughtful as it told the story of a man whose twin brother's suicide devastates him. The story extends to the dead man's ex wife and son and explores the aftermath of the suicide and its effects on these three characters. What makes this film impressive is that the actors involved in almost every role had never acted before. The director revealed to us at the Q&A session that he had gone to churches in the Mississippi Delta and recruited people to be in his film. Also notable is the sound, or lack thereof. Instead of a busy, noisy soundtrack, this was a quiet film with very little music, relying instead on the ambient noise of the area in which it was filmed. We enjoyed the film and wish the director and the actors much success.
This movie tries to be introspective and thoughtful, but I just found it dull. It follows the story of a lonely woman who wins a trip for two to the beach and must find someone to go with her. She apparently knows no one except her selfish sister, so she asks a man she runs into (at random). The man says he remembers her from high school, but she doesn't remember him at all, but no matter...she wants to go to the beach with someone. After the first 30 minutes, I checked my watch every minute or so. The story just crawled along and didn't really have anything to say. Perhaps I found it slow because this was the 9th of 10 movies we saw at Sundance this year, but the movie we saw afterward was pretty good, and I didn't look at my watch once, so I don't think so. What clinched my low rating (spoiler) was the scene with masturbation. The two main characters are sad and lonely and to illustrate, we have the gratuitous masturbation scene. Yuck. What's wrong with a little allusion? This is the first time I've ever skipped a Sundance Q & A session because I didn't like the movie. Yikes.
It was really hard to know how to rate this movie. Had I not read lots of reviews and known that it was going to end up being a somewhat good movie, I may have left early. The first 30 minutes or so of the movie attempts to cram in as much offensive language as possible. The pornography references truly, truly offended me. However. Beneath all the shocking language, there truly is a heart. I found this movie to be surprisingly touching and sweet. They did "go" a few places I wish they hadn't. Every time I think I've seen it all, Hollywood adds in something new and more offensive than I've seen before. I can't help but wish they'd toned down the porn stuff and the language. Without it, there is still enough funny material for a good movie. So, I do recommend this to people who can get past the offensiveness, as I said, after the first half hour or so, it improves somewhat and there really is a nice story and a (gasp) good message in there.