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Showing posts from 2010

Happy holidays from Yes/No Films!

Merry Christmas and happy holidays! Yes/No Films will return with more movie reviews in 2011.

Here's a selection of films premiering in 2011 that I'm looking forward to:


Jan. 7: Season of the Witch
Jan. 14: The Green Hornet, The Dilemma
Jan. 21: The Company Men, No Strings Attached
Jan. 28: The Mechanic

Feb. 11: Gnomeo and Juliet, Just Go With It
Feb. 18: I am Number Four

Mar. 4: The Adjustment Bureau
Mar. 18: The Lincoln Lawyer

April 1: Hop
April 22: Water for Elephants
April 29: Prom

"Gulliver's Travels"

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I was a bit wary of this movie because the trailer did not look great, and movies with Jack Black in them can often be hit or miss (though I do like most of his movies). "Gulliver's Travels," however, ended up being kooky, zany, and not half bad.

Lemuel Gulliver (Jack Black, "Year One"), or "Gulliver" to his friends, had worked in the mail room of a New York magazine for the past ten years, and has no hopes of ever being promoted. He has a crush on the magazine's travel editor, Darcy (Amanda Peet, "Please Give"), but is too shy to ask her out. Because of this shyness, Gulliver soon finds himself promising to write a travel piece, and Darcy sends him to investigate the Bermuda Triangle. After being caught in a storm, however, he finds himself on the island of Liliput, where he is gigantic compared to the rest of the people there. The townspeople originally label him "Beast" and chain him in a jail cell, but after he saves them fr…

"True Grit"

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I am not a big fan of Westerns, but there have been some in the past that I have enjoyed. "True Grit," a remake of the 1969 film starring John Wayne, looked like one of those that I might like, but unfortunately it moved way too slow for my taste. It did, however, have a lot of witty banter, and without this, the film would have been far more dull than it actually was.

Fourteen-year-old Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld, TV's "Sons of Tucson") seeks revenge for her father's death. Her goal is to find his murderer, Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin, "Jonah Hex"), and bring him back to her city for a trial and then to see him hanged. She will need a bounty hunter to help her, however, and she turns to Federal Marshall Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges, "Tron Legacy") to escort her into Cherokee territory. The Texas Ranger Mr. LaBoeuf (Matt Damon, "Hereafter"), though, is also looking for Chaney, as he killed another man in Texas, and he wants to br…

"Tron Legacy"

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I have seen the original "Tron," albeit a while ago, but I remember that I watched it in my 7th grade computer class. My teacher wanted to show us the movie because when it came out in 1982 it was new and exciting, in that it was the first computer-animated movie of its kind. I know Jeff Bridges was in it as well, but other than that, I don't remember much about it; after seeing the dynamic "Tron Legacy," however, I am going to have to re-watch it.

Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund, "Country Strong") idolized his father Kevin (Jeff Bridges, "True Grit") - until the night he disappeared, when Sam was twelve. His father was a technological genius who used to disappear into a computer game called "Tron," and he used to tell Sam how one day he would take him with him to "the Grid," where Tron was played. Fast-forward to fifteen years later, when Sam is twenty-seven, and the main shareholder of the company his father once led, now a …

Golden Globes nominations announced today

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The Golden Globes, hosted this year by Ricky Gervais, will air on Sunday, January 16th, from 8pm-11pm EST (5pm-8pm PST). The nominations this year were very surprising, in my opinion, because there were a lot of actor/actress nominations for movies that I thought were just so-so (and the individual performances, in my opinion, were not exceptional either).

Here's my picks for who and what will win, in the film categories:

Actress in a Motion Picture, Comedy, or Musical:
Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right)
Anne Hathaway (Love and Other Drugs)
Angelina Jolie (The Tourist)
Julianne Moore (The Kids Are Alright)
Emma Stone (Easy A)

This could be a tough one. I would love to see Emma Stone win, as her performance in "Easy A" was hilarious, but I am thinking that the critics are going to pick Bening or Moore for their performance in "The Kids are All Right." I didn't much care for that movie but it was definitely a critics-pleaser. Hathaway did have a good perfo…

"How Do You Know"

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This film has four A-listers in it, and I usually like movies by all of them, so I had high hopes for it. My parents saw a screening of it the day before, and cautioned me that it was boring, but I didn't listen to them, and so I trekked across town (a few towns, actually) to see it. Alas, the movie was very slow and actually didn't feel like a movie at all, more like various scenes put together, and it definitely did not measure up to my expectations.

Lisa (Reese Witherspoon, "Four Christmases") is a 31 year-old Team USA softball player who just found out that she didn't make this year's team. She's currently kinda/sorta dating Matty (Owen Wilson, "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian"), but has recently started hanging out with George (Paul Rudd, "Dinner for Schmucks"), who has just found out that he may be indicted for fraud, even though he's innocent. That's the basic plot of the film, but from there the movie fli…

"The Tourist"

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I knew "The Tourist" would be good (you can never go wrong with Angelina or Johnny, and when you put them together in a movie there's so much star power that you may actually need sunglasses), but it surprised me by pulling out a twist at the end. I then went over the entire movie in my mind and tried to figure out what clues I missed, but I may have to see it again to fully put my mind at ease.

Elise (Angelina Jolie, "Salt") is going to Venice to reunite with a con man ex-boyfriend, Alexander, and he sends her very specific instructions: take the 8:22 train to Italy, and find someone with his height and build to befriend, so that the authorities think he's me. She chooses Frank (Johnny Depp, "Alice in Wonderland"), an American community college teacher from Wisconsin, but they part ways after they leave the train. The U.S. authorities, led by Inspector John Acheson (Paul Bettany, "Legion") have already figured out Frank is not Alexander,…

"The Fighter"

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I will preface this by saying I am not a boxing fan; all that punching and fighting is not really what I want to see when I sit down to watch TV. However, I like movies based on true stories, and sports movies that make me forget that I am actually watching a movie, and "The Fighter" does just that - by the end of it I almost felt like I was watching a boxing match, but this was an exciting match that I wanted to see.

Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg, "The Other Guys") has been a boxer for a while now, and he trains with his brother Dicky (Christian Bale, "Public Enemies"), a former boxer who once defeated Sugar Ray Leonard, in their Lowell, MA gym. When Dicky gets sent to jail, however, Micky realizes the bad effect his family and Dicky are having on his boxing, and he wonders if he should go elsewhere. At the same time, he is dating Charlene (Amy Adams, "Leap Year"), and still training for fights under the tutelage of a local police officer and his fa…

"The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader"

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I have seen the first two "Narnia" movies, but have not read any of the books. However, I have heard that they have condensed five of the books into the three movies, so I am assuming that they are not very similar. I enjoyed the first two "Narnia" movies greatly so I was hoping this one would be the same; unfortunately, it tends to drag a lot more and the plot was not as interesting.

Edmund (Skandar Keynes, "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian") and his sister Lucy (Georgie Henley, "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian") are staying with their dreadful cousin Eustace (Will Poulter, TV's "School of Comedy") and their aunt and uncle while their parents and older siblings are abroad in America. It looks like their time there is going to be awful, until they are all transported back to Narnia, where they meet up with King Caspian (Ben Barnes, "Dorian Gray") who is on a quest. People have been disappearing, and he mus…

"Black Swan"

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NYC magazine editor and fellow blogger Rachel Zar was able to see a special early advanced screening of "Black Swan" in New York City about a month ago. See below for her thoughts on the movie.

A dancer myself, I’m always first in line for a new dance movie. “Center Stage” fans be warned, however, as “Black Swan” is nothing like the sappy love stories you’ve seen in the past. This movie will keep you guessing until the end, and seriously questioning your grip on reality; I certainly never stopped gripping my seat. In true Darren Aronofsky form (think “Requiem for a Dream”), the film, at times, goes over the top with disturbing, bloody scenes, but juxtaposed with stunning ballet choreography by New York City Ballet’s Benjamin Millipied, you won’t be able to keep your eyes covered for long.

The story is of sheltered ballerina Nina (Natalie Portman), who struggles to embody both the innocent White Swan and sensual Black Swan characters in a fictional NYC ballet company’s produ…

"Love and Other Drugs"

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Even though I had heard that this movie was only so-so, I was expecting more from it, maybe because it has two major A-listers starring in it, but also because the trailer looked really cute. Unfortunately, although the movie has its moments, it ended up just being another ho-hum romantic movie - not even a romantic comedy, actually.

The year is 1996, and Jamie Randall (Jake Gyllenhaal, "Prince of Persia") has just quit his job as salesman at an electronic company, and is looking for something new. His brother, Josh (Josh Gad, TV's "Woke Up Dead"), has a contact at Pfizer, so he hooks him up with a job as a Pfizer sales representative. Jamie is already charming, and he soon puts his charms to work, coaxing nurses and doctors alike to stock the shelves with Pfizer's products, especially once Viagra is released. He soon meets Maggie (Anne Hathaway, "Alice in Wonderland") at a doctor's office, however, and although they both swear that they aren&…

"Faster"

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Throughout most of this film, I was contemplating giving it a "Maybe" rating, because although it had a lot of nice cars and "shoot 'em up" scenes in it, overall it was just a so-so movie. The ending, however, changed all that, and immediately made me reconsider my decision.

Driver (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, "The Other Guys") has just completed a ten-year jail sentence and he's looking to kill the men who left him for dead and killed the rest of his bank robbery crew. What he doesn't know, however is that Killer (Oliver Jackson-Cohen, "Going the Distance") has been hired by one of these men to kill him. In addition, after Driver starts murdering people, Cop (Billy Bob Thornton, "The Smell of Success") is hot on his tail, trying to catch him. The three characters won't come face-to-face with each other until the end of the film, but when they do, the result is epic.

"The Art of Power" premieres in Ann Arbor

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By: Liz Parker
Pictures by Erin Gong, FORMzine
[via FORMzine]


On Saturday November 22nd, the premiere of the film “The Art of Power” was held at the Michigan Theater. There was a VIP party held at the theater starting at 6:30 P.M., which included a small buffet, drinks, and desserts, and the movie started at 8:00 P.M. There was also an after-party held at Sava’s on State Street. The movie is produced by First Element Entertainment, which is a Detroit-based film company, and Ann Arbor was the first to see the film in a theatrical setting. Adrian Walker, the founder and CEO of First Element, is a 2006 University of Michigan graduate with a B.S. in Engineering, and he started the company in 2009. He also is the writer and producer of “The Art of Power.” The film takes place in D.C. and follows Wesley (Scott Norman) as he embarks upon a relationship with a girl he meets at a club (Erin Nicole). He doesn’t know that the girl, Alexis, is friends with his sister, Sienna (Marisa Stober, “Jingle…

"127 Hours"

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Going in to see "127 Hours," I knew that James Franco would be carrying almost the entire movie, and that it was directed by Danny Boyle, who also directed the hit movie "Slumdog Millionaire." I also knew that it is based on a true story. The film, however, ended up surprising me, and not really in a good way.

Aron Ralston (James Franco, "Eat Pray Love") is a solo adventurer. He decides to go "canyoneering" in the mountains by himself, and unfortunately he didn't leave a note at home or tell anyone the location to which he was going. When he climbs down into a particularly narrow part of the mountain, a boulder falls on his arm, and it pins his arm and his hand to the wall. Aron tries everything he can think of to unpin himself from the boulder, but unfortunately, his best efforts aren't working. As days start to pass by and his supply of food and water starts to rapidly dwindle, he must do the unthinkable in order to survive.

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1"

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Full disclosure: I am a big Harry Potter fan: I have read all the books, and seen all of the movies. However, the last movie was a year ago, in July 2009, and I last read the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows when it was released, in July 2007. Therefore, I tend not to compare the movies to the books. This Harry Potter film, part 1 of 2 that covers the last book, was definitely a lot darker than the past six movies, which is why it deserves its PG-13 rating; however, although the film was good, it ended up being my least favorite of all the Potter films.

Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and his friends Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) are still recovering over Dumbledore's death (as seen in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," the previous movie). Voldemort has assembled his minions and they have already taken over the Ministry of Magic; all "good" witches and wizards, then, are in fear for their lives. Harry and his friends must find and de…

"Burlesque"

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I had wanted to see "Burlesque" ever since I saw its trailer, and so I was pleased when a Detroit-area screening became available approximately two weeks before it comes out in theaters. I expected that the combination of Cher and Christina Aguilera would be explosive, and it turned out that I was right.

Ali (singer Christina Aguilera) is working a dead-end job at a restaurant in her Iowa hometown when she decides to hop on a bus to Los Angeles, where she hopes to make it as a singer. She goes to a few auditions and then she sees a burlesque club, and decides to venture inside. She is amazed by the dancing and singing, and tries to get a job there; however, the proprietor of the club, Tess (actress/singer Cher, "Stuck on You"), says that she'll have to wait for auditions. Instead, she just picks up a tray and starts waitressing, and eventually Tess hires her as a waitress and, after they need a replacement dancer, a burlesque girl. Meanwhile, she's living wi…

"Skyline"

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It's lucky I didn't write this review last night, because I was so tired from doing a double-header of both "Burlesque" (at 7 p.m.) and "Skyline" (at 11 p.m.) that I might have given my synopsis of "Skyline" as "Cher and Christina Aguilera get abducted by aliens in L.A." (thus combining the two movies). However, I am now rested and coherent, and I can say that although "Skyline" was better than I thought it would be, it was ultimately not fulfilling, and left many questions unanswered at the end.

Jarrod (Eric Balfour, TV's "Haven,") and his girlfriend Elaine (Scottie Thompson, TV's "Trauma") are going to L.A. for the weekend to visit his old friend Terry (Donald Faison, TV's "Scrubs"). The first day they are there, they have a huge party at his luxury apartment, and then around 4 a.m. the next morning, they are awakened by strange lights. Jarrod is drawn to the lights and almost gets suc…

"Unstoppable"

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The screening I went to for "Unstoppable" was actually the third Detroit-area one (a previous one was at 2 p.m., which didn't work for me, and I was busy on the day of the other screening), but it was surprisingly packed. Perhaps it was because Denzel was in this movie, and movies with Denzel in it are usually good, or maybe it was Chris Pine, but whatever attracted moviegoers to "Unstoppable" proved to be a winner, as the movie was one wild ride.

Frank (Denzel Washington, "The Book of Eli") has been working for the same train company for the past 28 years. Will (Chris Pine, "Star Trek") is a newbie conductor who still needs to ride with an engineer (Denzel's character) before he is allowed to pilot a train on his own. On this particular day, however, it's a good thing that Frank is with him, as they soon find out that there is a runaway train - with no conductor - on the same track as them; in fact, it's heading straight towards …

"The Next Three Days"

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This movie's title kind of confused me - for a while, I was calling it "The Last Three Days" by accident, and I don't think the title actually ever appears during the movie. The film starts in the present, and then a subtitle saying "The Last Three Years" comes up; later in the movie, time shifts to "The Last Three Months" and eventually "The Last Three Days," which probably didn't help my perception of the title. Rest assured, though, the movie is called "The Next Three Days," and I liked it, but others who saw it with me said that they thought it moved a little slowly.

John Brennan (Russell Crowe, "Robin Hood") has an ideal family life with wife Lara (Elizabeth Banks, TV's "30 Rock") and their young son, Luke (Ty Simpkins, "Insidious"). All of that changes, however, when Lara is arrested for the murder of her boss. She is convicted and sent to jail, and John continues to raise their son wi…

"Megamind"

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I will say it now: I am a sucker for 3D movies. Even if a movie was called "The Most Boring Movie Ever 3D," I would probably see it. So I was excited to see "Megamind," being that the last "kids' movie" I saw, "Tangled," was not in 3D. However, the story was very predictable, and it didn't hold my interest throughout it's 96-minute runtime.

Megamind (voice by Will Ferrell, "The Other Guys") has been fighting with Metro Man (voiced by Brad Pitt, "Inglorious Basterds") his entire life. Originally, Megamind wasn't a bad guy, but after years of being picked on and never measuring up to Metro Man, he decided to turn bad in order to keep things interesting. Megamind enjoys fighting with Metro Man and has devised a plan to kill him; he is surprised, however, when it actually works. With the city under his control and without anyone to fight, he gets bored, and so he decides to take some of Metro Man's DNA and crea…

"Due Date"

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From the trailer for "Due Date," I was guessing that the film was either going to be really stupid or really funny. It ended up being a mix of the two, though luckily its humor was more on the funny side.

Peter Highman (Robert Downey Jr., "Iron Man 2") is supposed to be flying home to L.A. from Atlanta so that he can make it back in time for the birth of his first child. When he meets the flaky Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis, "It's Kind of a Funny Story"), however, an incident between them on the plane causes him to be put on the No-Fly list, and he will have to drive back to L.A. from Atlanta. The only problem is that his wallet with his license and all his cash and credit cards was left on the plane; when Ethan asks if he wants to share his rental car, he has no choice but to accept. What then ensues, of course, is nothing short of disaster.

"Morning Glory"

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This film had a really good cast, including three "big" A-listers, and I was expecting it to be great. Although it slowed down near the end, for the majority of the movie we are thrust into the fast-paced world of morning news, and it is this hectic atmosphere that makes the movie so enjoyable to watch.

Becky Fuller (Rachel McAdams, "Sherlock Holmes") has just been fired from her job at a New Jersey news station, when she thought she was going to be promoted. She takes a job at "Daybreak" in New York City, ranked 4th (out of 4) for NYC morning news programs. The anchors (Diane Keaton, "Mad Money," in the female role) are notoriously hard to work with and everyone expects the show to fail soon. Becky, however, has big dreams for the show, and is determined to make it succeed. She fires the male anchor and immediately hires Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford, "Extraordinary Measures"), a veteran news anchor who is used to doing more serious news…

"Tangled"

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Usually a trailer for a movie ends up making the movie seem better than it actually is, but the trailer for "Tangled" actually doesn't do it justice. We get that it's going to be a story about Rapunzel, and that it's Disney so it's probably going to be good; the actual story, however, was much more complicated, and the movie was much better than I thought it would be.

Rapunzel (voiced by Mandy Moore, "License to Wed") is about to turn 18 years old and has lived in the same tower with her "mother" (voiced by Donna Murphy, TV's "Trust Me") her entire life - or for as long as she can remember, anyway. Every year on her birthday she sees mysterious flying lanterns from her window, and so for this year, on her 18th birthday, she wants to go outside and see them in person. Her "mother," however, tells Rapunzel that the world is not safe and that she will never be allowed out of the tower. When Flynn Rider (voiced by Zachar…

"Hereafter"

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"Hereafter" was definitely not what I expected. It's not often you see Matt Damon in a non-action role (save for his recent guest star role in TV's "30 Rock," which has been great so far), and to top that off, he's in a movie directed by Clint Eastwood directed. I also noticed that Steven Spielberg was listed as an executive producer. Combining these three elements, you would expect a great movie - and, in its own way, "Hereafter" is interesting - however, I found it to be a bit lengthy.

George Lonegan (Matt Damon, "Green Zone") has the ability to talk to the dead - a curse, as he sees it, but his brother Billy (Jay Mohr, TV's "Gary Unmarried") says it's a gift. He used to have a lucrative business in which he practiced this "talent," but he soon got sick of it - "A life about death is no life at all," he says, to paraphrase - and he stopped doing the readings and is now a factory worker. At the s…

"Conviction"

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I had heard mixed reviews going in to see this movie, but I figured that a movie with Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell in it was bound to be good. Luckily, the movie did not disappoint.

Kenny Waters (Sam Rockwell, "Iron Man 2") is convicted of murder in 1983 - unjustly, his sister Betty Ann Waters (Hilary Swank, "Amelia") believes. She decides to get her GED, then her Bachelor of Arts degree, and finally a law degree, so that one day she may possibly be able to exonerate Kenny. She is the oldest person in her law school class, besides Abra (Minnie Driver, "Motherhood"), who becomes her friend and helps her find evidence that could free Kenny. Betty Ann knows that the chances of her first finishing law school and then helping free her brother are not great, but she is determined to try anyway.

Ann Arbor goes Hollywood for a night

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By: Liz Parker
Pictures by Elyssa Pearlstein, A2-4U
[via FORMzine]



















If one was walking down Liberty Street in Ann Arbor this past Friday night, they might have mistaken it for Hollywood. The Michigan Theater hosted the world premiere of “Answer This!” and featured a red carpet, limos out front, and a few celebrities as well, including Chris Gorham (TV’s “Covert Affairs”) and Arielle Kebbel (TV’s “Life Unexpected”), two of the main actors in the film. The film was produced by Mike Farah and directed and written by his brother, Chris, both of whom are native Ann Arborites, and it was shot entirely in Ann Arbor; to have the premiere at the Michigan Theater, then, made perfect sense. Tickets were available to the general public for $10, and since the 7:30pm screening sold out, a 10pm screening was added – indeed, when my photographer and I left the theater after the 7:30pm show, the line to purchase tickets for the second screening snaked down the street, almost ending at the corner of Libe…

"It's Kind of a Funny Story"

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I was originally going to see the screening of "Never Let Me Go" yesterday, but the screening of "It's Kind of a Funny Story" was at a theater a lot closer to me, so I decided to see that instead. It definitely exceeded my expectations, and there are a lot of good things to say about the movie, but overall I was not that impressed.

Craig (Keir Gilchrist, TV's "United States of Tara") has been feeling suicidal and decides to check himself into a psych ward; however, he doesn't realize that they are going to keep him as a patient for the entire week. He meets a variety of characters there, including Bobby (Zach Galifianakis, "Dinner for Schmucks") and the beautiful Noelle (Emma Roberts, "Valentine's Day"), and although Craig doesn't t think he belongs there at first, he soon finds himself getting acclimated to the ward and its crazy inhabitants.

"Red"

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"Red" reminded me of a kid hopped up on sugar and adrenaline - just when I thought the movie couldn't get any crazier, it did. It is also one of those rare action movies that manages to be funny throughout as well. When you combine that with an all-star cast, you get this movie, which was great and definitely fun to watch.

Frank Moses (Bruce Willis, "Surrogates") is a retired CIA operative who now has a hit on him. He soon figures out that many of his old CIA friends are on the same hit list, and he decides to find them and gather the gang back together - including Joe (Morgan Freeman, "Invictus"), Marvin (John Malkovich, "Secretariat"), and Victoria (Helen Mirren, "Love Ranch"). Also traveling with him and his friends is Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker, TV's "Weeds"), definitely the youngest of the bunch, on whom Frank is trying to make a good impression.

"Life As We Know It"

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"Life As We Know It" is yet another fluffy/so-so movie that puts most of its funny moments in the trailer. I was hoping that this would be a funny film, since I like both of the main stars in it (Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel), but it ended up being another case of a comedy that looks funny in its trailer, but turns out to be only mediocre in its entirety.

Holly (Katherine Heigl, "Killers") and Eric (Josh Duhamel, "When in Rome") don't particularly like each other, but they try to get along since they are the godparents to Sophie, daughter of their best friends Alison (Christina Hendricks, TV's "Mad Men") and Peter (Hayes MacArthur, "She's Out of My League"). When a tragic car accident leaves Sophie orphaned, they soon find out that Alison and Peter wished them to have custody of Sophie - together. Although they dislike each other, they try living together for Sophie's sake, and they soon find out that maybe they orig…

"Let Me In"

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I didn't expect that "Let Me In" would be my cup of tea - Fandango.com says that it's rated "R" for "Strong bloody horror violence." However, the film ended up surprising me, in that its actual content - when one looks further than the bloodshed - told an interesting story, and one that we all might be able to relate to, even as humans.

Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee, "Matching Jack") doesn't have a lot of friends and is being bullied by his fellow classmates, so when Abby (Chloe Moretz, "Kick-Ass") moves in across the hall from him, he is happy to be able to make a new friend. From the very start, however, something is off about her - she tells him that they can't be friends, and she doesn't wear shoes while walking in the snow, even though she says her feet aren't cold. Abby lives with a man Owen presumes is her father (Richard Jenkins, "Eat Pray Love"), and they pretty much keep to themselves. Soon, against…

"Secretariat"

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I told people yesterday that I was "finally" going to get to see "Secretariat," which is a little ironic because it won't be out in theaters for another two weeks. However, my parents had seen it at a Livonia screening two weeks earlier, and there was an earlier Southfield screening that I hadn't been able to go to. Luckily, Jackie from Free Is My Life was able to hook me up with a ticket to this one, and we definitely go the VIP treatment, as the tickets were set up through Disney: we got to skip to the front of the line and had reserved seats. I was prepared to like "Secretariat" after the rave reviews I had heard, but it actually ended up surprising me—in a mediocre way. It was a bit slow for the first half or so, but then it picked up rapidly during the second part of the movie.

Penny Chenery (Diane Lane, "Nights in Rodanthe") is called home for her mother's funeral, and she learns that two of her mares are pregnant by one of the…

"You Again"

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I had tickets to see "the owl movie" last night (aka "Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole") but when I won tickets from The Oakland Press to see "You Again," I of course decided to see that instead. The trailer looked funny and it was a movie I had been wanting to see for a while. The movie was cute overall, but unfortunately after starting out very funny, the humor level deteriorated during the rest of the film.

Marni (Kristen Bell, "When is Rome") is flying home for her brother's wedding, when she finally hears from her mom (Jamie Lee Curtis, "Beverly Hills Chihuahua") whom her soon-to-be sister-in-law is: Joanna (Odette Yustman, TV's "October Road"), aka JJ, aka Joanna's "arch nemesis" from high school. Needless to say, even though it has been eight years since she graduated, she is not too pleased about this, and it gets even worse when she meets Joanna, who pretends not to remember he…

"Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps"

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I was excited to see this movie. The trailer looked great, and after seeing the original "Wall Street" (from 1987) on DVD a few months ago, I was happy to see Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas's character) making a comeback. After the sequel droned on for over two hours, however, I was definitely reconsidering my excitement.

Jacob Moore (Shia LaBeouf, "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen") has a great job on Wall Street working for his mentor, Lewis Zabel (Frank Langella, "The Box"). When the crash of 2008 starts to hit his company, though, Jacob suddenly finds himself on the brink of unemployment. When Bretton James (Josh Brolin, "Jonah Hex") offers him a job at his rival company after Jacob makes his stock almost crash (he's impressed with Jacob's skills, apparently), he takes it, so he will have the opportunity to enact more revenge on Bretton. Jacob's girlfriend, Winnie Gecko (Carey Mulligan, "An Education"), tries not t…

"The Town"

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"The Town" is the second major feature film directed by Ben Affleck, and although I haven't seen his first, "Gone Baby Gone," I had heard good things about it. The trailer for "The Town" looked great and I was hoping the movie would live up to it; in fact, the movie actually ended up surpassing my expectations.

Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck, "Extract") has been robbing banks with his crew for a while now, but this is the first time he and his buddies take a hostage - bank manager Claire Keesey (Rebecca Hall, "Please Give"). They release her unharmed but she is still traumatized. When his buddy James (Jeremy Renner, TV's "The Unusuals") suggest that one of them checks up on her to make sure she doesn't have any info that could jeopardize them, Doug volunteers for the role; what he doesn't know, however, is that he will soon fall in love with her, even though she has no idea he was part of the bank robbery. Meanwhile,…

"Flipped"

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I had wanted to see "Flipped" at the advance screening back in August or so, but it was too far for me to drive. It was then announced that although the release date for some cities (mostly major ones, like NYC, LA, etc.) would be August 27th, "Flipped" had no release date yet for Michigan - rather ironic, since much of it, if not all, was filmed in Ann Arbor, and many area residents allowed their classic cars to be used during filming. "Flipped" was finally released in Michigan this weekend, and although it didn't fully live up to my expectations, I am glad I saw it.

When Bryce (newcomer Callan McAuliffe) moves to a new neighborhood as a young boy, he is promptly greeted by Juli (Madeline Carroll, "The Spy Next Door"), who immediately wants to become friends with him. He is of the age where boys are made fun of for hanging out with girls, however, and so Bryce does his best to avoid Juli. This goes on until about the 7th or 8th grade, when, …

"The Social Network"

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When I joined Facebook in March 2005, before the end of my senior year of high school, I didn't really know what it was. I had received an email invite from a friend, and when I logged on it turned out there were about five people (out of 500 or so) from my graduating class who had also registered for it. The profiles looked a little something like this and the concept was simple - upload a profile picture and some information about yourself, including your school, relationship status, and interests. Over the last five years, Facebook has evolved in many ways, and now it's not just about sharing information - there is a Marketplace where you can list your apartment to sublet, a Games section, and tons of ads and other things to keep one occupied. The profiles have evolved from something slightly more complicated than the original to something that now has multiple tabs for your Wall (where friends can leave you messages), photo albums, and other information. I knew the site ha…

"Easy A"

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First off, it is refreshing to see a movie that is actually funnier than its trailer. I had seen the trailer for "Easy A" several months ago, and I remember thinking that it looked hilarious. I had tickets to see "Secretariat" last night, but since that is not coming out until October 8th, when tickets for "Easy A" became available I decided to see that instead, and I'm glad I did.

"Easy A" is about Olive (Emma Stone, "Zombieland"), a typical high school girl. Her friend, Rhiannon (Aly Michalka, TV's "Phil of the Future"), is always probing for details of Olive's non-existent love life, so one day Olive makes up a story and says that she had a one-night stand with a college guy. The class "bible-thumper," Marianne (Amanda Bynes, "Sydney White") happens to overhear, and the news spreads like wildfire. Soon, Olive is branded a "slut", which is ironic since she is actually still a virgin.…

"Machete"

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First of all, this screening was at 5pm, which was a little early. From the trailer I could see it would be a "slice 'n dice" movie but it had a pretty good cast, so I decided to go see it. Lindsay Lohan, Steven Seagal, Cheech, and Don Johnson, I could see why you were in this project - you needed the money, I get it - but the rest of you? DeNiro, Jessica Alba? You could have much better than joining this cast.

Machete (Danny Trejo, "Predators") is hired by Booth (Jeff Fahey, TV's "Lost") to kill the infamous Senator McLaughlin (Robert DeNiro, "Everybody's Fine"), who has taken a hard stance against illegal immigration in his bid for re-election. What Machete doesn't know, however, is that Booth actually works for McLaughlin, and is trying to generate publicity for him. Meanwhile, Immigrations officer Sartana (Jessica Alba, "Valentine's Day") has been tracking the immigrants in the area for a while and notices Mache…

Business cards

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I went to the Michigan Bloggers Meet-up at Roosevelts in Farmington Hills tonight, which was sponsored by the Michigan Bloggers Network on Facebook. I got to network and meet a lot of other area bloggers, and there was one thing they had that I did not: business cards! Two of the bloggers had very cute "mini" cards from moo.com, and vistaprint.com was also recommended to me by fellow blogger and co-worker Intense Auburn. I looked at both sites when I returned home from the meet-up and although Moo has more choices, I opted to go with Vistaprint - Moo was about $25 for 100 mini cards with shipping, and Vistaprint is giving me 250 free cards, with about $5.60 for shipping (21 day shipping, but still). I am very pleased with the result and I thought I would share it all with you here - comment if you have an opinion on it. I liked the black and white and also that it reminded me of something out of a movie (someone driving somewhere), and Vistaprint gives you a surprising amoun…

"Going the Distance"

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I should tell you beforehand that I am biased when it comes to Drew Barrymore movies, as I am a huge fan of hers. I met her in person at the Birmingham, MI screening of "Whip It" last year, and she seemed as nice in real life as most of her characters are in her movies. Therefore, I was hoping that I would be able to give this movie a good review, and luckily it seems that I can.

Erin (Drew Barrymore, "Everybody's Fine") and Garrett (Justin Long, "After.Life") meet in New York City while Erin is there for a summer internship. They instantly like each other but Erin cautions Garrett that their relationship can only last throughout the summer, as she is returning to San Francisco in August. After they part ways at the airport, however, they realize that they like each other too much for it to just be a "summer fling," and they decide to try having a long distance relationship together. Airfare is expensive, however, and they soon find that when…

"Mao's Last Dancer"

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Before seeing this film, I had seen the trailer and had also read that it won awards at the Toronto Film Festival; besides that, though, I did not know much about it. The movie, however, ended up being a very pleasant surprise.

Li Cunxin (newcomer Chi Cao, as the adult Li) is selected at a very young age to leave his village in rural China in order to train as a ballet dancer in Beijing. Eventually, he is chosen to go to U.S. and be a guest dancer with the Houston Ballet. It is when Li is there that he finally realizes the oppressiveness of the Chinese government, and when his visa expires three months later, he refuses to go home. The Chinese Consulate will not grant him more time in America, however, a decision which Li and his friends and co-performers try to fight.

"The Switch"

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I had hoped "The Switch" would be funny, because its trailer was pretty good. By now we all know the cardinal rule about comedy movies, though: unfortunately, the funniest parts inevitably get put in the trailer, and the audience ends up being disappointed by the rest of the movie. "The Switch" was cute but it was definitely just another "fluffy" summer movie.

Wally (Jason Bateman, "Couples Retreat") is best friends with Kassie (Jennifer Aniston, "The Bounty Hunter"), who constantly hears her biological clock ticking; unfortunately, she's not married, and doesn't even have a boyfriend at the moment. She decides to become pregnant via artificial insemination, and she wants to actually meet the donor, so she chooses handsome Roland (Patrick Wilson, "The A-Team). Her friend Debbie (Juliette Lewis, "Whip It") throws Kassie a "I'm getting pregnant!" party, in which she will be artificially inseminated af…

"The Expendables"

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Before anyone criticizes this review, let it be known that yes, I had seen the trailer for the movie before viewing it; yes, I knew it was going to be a "shoot 'em up" movie; and yes, I was aware that those types of movies generally don't have much plot. But is it so much to hope that perhaps it does have a decent plot, or at least one that doesn't have so many holes in it? With "The Expendables," apparently yes.

Barney Ross (Sly Stallone, "Rambo") heads the group called the Expendables, which includes Lee Christmas (Jason Statham, "Transporter 3"), Ying Yang (Jet Li, "Ocean Heaven"), Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren, "Icarus"), Toll Road (Randy Couture, "Redbelt"), and Hale Caesar (Terry Crews, "Middle Men"). They are a group of rogue henchman who will take on any assignment, for a price. When a "Mr. Church" (Bruce Willis, in a cameo appearance) pays Sly and his gang $5 million to assas…

"Scott Pilgrim vs. the World"

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When I first saw the trailer for Scott Pilgrim a few months back, I immediately disliked it. It was confusing and there was too much going on in it. Once a friend explained to me that it's based on a comic book series, it made more sense; still, it wasn't a movie I was dying to see. When I won free passes to see it, however, I was hoping that it would be good, since I am a big Michael Cera fan. Luckily, I was not disappointed.

Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera, "Youth in Revolt") is 22 years old and lives in Toronto. He has a band called the Sex Bob-ombs, and he is now dating a 17-year-old high school girl named Knives Chau (newcomer Ellen Wong). When he meets Ramona (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, "Live Free or Die Hard"), however, he knows that he's in love. They start dating, but there's a catch: he must defeat her seven evil exes ("not ex-boyfriends, but exes," she constantly reminds him) before he can really be with her. The exes show up everywhe…