Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Shawshank Redemption

So, I didn't really watch any new movies this weekend - instead, I found myself watching a marathon of The Shawshank Redemption.  I can't believe how many people have never seen or have never even heard of this movie!  It's one of my all-time favorites and really can watch it over and over again.  I see something new every time!  It’s based on a Stephen King novel, but isn’t like what I normally think of when I think of his books – it really surprised me.  Andy Dufresne is a banker accused of killing his wife and her lover and is sentenced to life in prison.  He also claims his innocence from the very beginning.  Most of the movie centers around the friendship of Andy (Tim Robbins) and Ellis "Red" Redding (Morgan Freeman) while in prison and takes you through many ups and downs through their almost 20 years of serving time together.  It's a completely different life than Andy is used to and he must learn to adapt if he's going to make it all work for him - and adapt he does!  Just when you think you have it all figured out, there are HUGE twists and I still remember the first time I saw it - I had NO idea what was going to happen after one of them!  I wish I could write about all of them, but don't want to have spoilers for anyone who hasn't seen it yet.  It's not fancy, nothing blows up, there aren't any big special effects - it's just a smart, incredibly powerful movie about hope and not giving up.  As the tagline says, "Fear can hold you prisoner.  Hope can set you free."

The Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank Redemption was a very powerful movie like Eric said.  When I watched it, I didn’t know what to expect but it surprised me!  It is a tough movie to watch and as the story goes, Andy is in a rock hard penitentiary for murder.  He has to fight for every bit of humanity and peace of mind just to survive, but along the way he makes friends and eventually that is what the movie is about.  A friendship that lasts and endures all the trials and tribulations life can throw at them.  Even though it’s a movie full of horrible things that happen in life – it’s also a story of determination, hope, and a life made stronger because of the journey. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Lincoln Lawyer

Matthew McConaughey, Ryan Philippe, Marisa Tomei, William H. Macy, Michael Pena, John Leguizamo and Josh Lucas . . .if these names catch your eye it’s for a good reason.  They made a great film called, “The Lincoln Lawyer”.  This movie is a legal thriller and Matthew McConaughey plays a very slick defense attorney named Mick.  His character is the go-getter of the court room and for a price – he will take any case and he is convinced he can win.  He somehow gets involved in a very high profile case where a wealthy young client, played by Ryan Philippe, is accused of a heinous crime.  Where it goes from there is a thrill ride a minute!!  This film is smartly done and smartly acted!!  I really enjoyed Matthew McConaughey playing this character and would love to see him reprise this role.  It was very entertaining and it kept me on the edge of my seat and had a few surprises that I never saw coming!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Company Men

I thought The Company Men was alright – although it did seem more depressing than I was expecting.  It was a good, “solid” movie – just not a whole lot of fun – which is still OK.  I have always liked Tommy Lee Jones, Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, Maria Bello and even Craig T. Nelson.  Kevin Costner also made a few appearances and got more involved toward the end – I think the movie could have used a lot more of his talent.  It was mainly how different workers from the bottom all the way up to top management were dealing with being cut from their jobs in a major downsizing and how it was affecting their personal lives and their standards of living, along with what they were willing to let go of and cut back on, while having to find new ways to live - and maybe realizing what was really important in their lives.  Some could handle it, some could not.  They thought their years of service should matter and their friendships in the company would protect them - and neither did - at all!  It all comes down to the money...  Like real life sometimes, I guess. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I Am Number Four

I am not one – most of the time anyway – for a heavy film.  I like to go to the movies to escape the news, the despair, and just life sometimes.  So for me, a light-hearted movie is just my style . . . I am Number Four was just the movie to fit the bill.  The movie itself is from a young adult book – so it might appeal more to the youth but I enjoyed too.  It took awhile to get into the movie but once you got on – it took you for a ride!  Alex Pettyfer, (Beastly), is an alien who is hiding on earth to escape his death.  Three of his friends have been killed by their enemies and he is marked as he is number four and they kill in order.  His protector, played by Timothy Olyphant (Justified and The Perfect Getaway), must save him from his enemies as well as himself sometimes.  They move to a small town to hide and Alex’s character, John, falls in love with Sarah, who is played by Dianna Agron of Glee.  This isn’t the whole story as the plot thickens, death comes to the family, the enemies find where they are hiding, and all “h-e-double toothpicks” breaks loose.  Lots of action, super-hero stunts and just enough of an open ending to think they might make this into a series.  No serious stuff here – just fun.

I Am Number Four

I really liked this movie!  Had no idea what it was, hadn’t read the book, hadn’t seen any previews, and was pretty much just going by word of mouth with people saying how much they’d enjoyed it.  Well, I did too!  There wasn’t that much to “buy into” as far as a sci-fi/fantasy movie normally goes.  It seemed perfectly normal that John was from another world and had special powers and was being hunted down by his enemies.   I guess I felt like I was learning things about his situation at the same time he was, so felt like we were kind of in it together.  He doesn’t seem to like hiding who he really is and wants to be like a normal teenager – go to school, go out and have fun, go on dates – all that stuff.  But, if he allows himself to be too “public,” the risks are just too great for everyone involved.  It really sucked me in – and it was definitely left open-ended for another movie – and I can’t wait!!!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Season of the Witch

I wasn’t really sure what to expect going into this movie.  Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman play 14th-century knights who seem to have had an epiphany during one of their battles and decide to change their lives, stop their senseless violence and killing, and return home.  Along the way, they find town after town that has been overtaken by the Black Plague.  Not knowing the cause of the illness, a woman suspected to be a witch is charged with causing all of the sickness and needs to be transported to a remote location where a ritual can be performed in hopes of stopping the power of her spells.  Enter the knights to lead the mission.  Nobody is really sure what she is capable of or if she is even a real witch, but they don’t want to take any chances.  This makes for a very interesting journey for all of them – and a conclusion they could never have imagined!  I’m not really into witches or demons or sorcery, but found myself pulled in by the story and had finished the movie before I even realized how far along it was.  It’s not a “great” movie or a “classic” by any means, but I didn’t think it was nearly as bad as some of the reviews I’d seen before watching it.  It was alright.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Beastly

A fairytale retold for a modern generation.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I started watching Beastly, but shortly into it I saw the connection with Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.  A popular, hunky, stuck up high school student played by Alex Pettyfer, (I am Number Four), gets a lesson in life he won’t soon forget.  He has it all - as far as earthly things matter, but he forgot what it meant to be compassionate, caring, and kind.  Enter the role of the witch, played by Mary-Kate Olsen, who is out to teach him a lesson.  She casts a spell on him which changes the most popular guy in school into a scarred, freak of nature.  No longer the pretty boy he must find someone to say “I love you” before the year’s end or remain beastly forever.  So begins the love story . . .the girl of his dreams, played by Vanessa Hudgens, is the one that can see past his outward appearances and helps him find again what matters most in life.  It’s a pretty generic movie that could’ve been so much more powerful – but it lacked good writing and without a script, even the actors fell flat.  It’s not a leap of faith to watch the movie nor was it filled with in-depth characters or much of a storyline for that matter.  I wouldn’t say it was a waste of time –but it just reminded me of a made for television movie of the week and that left me disappointed.