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Showing posts from 2011

Worst and Most Surprising Films of 2011

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2012 is upon us, and I originally wanted to do a "Best of" list for 2011; however, that's not very original, and if you've been reading my reviews, you can most likely tell what my favorites were for the year.

Instead, we have something much more fun: a "Worst of 2011" list and also, for variation, a "Most Surprising Films" list.

Click here to read the rest of the article at my Examiner.com page.

The Darkest Hour

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Oh, Max Mingella. What are you doing in a movie like Darkest Hour? Emile Hirsch, you're in it for the paycheck, I get that - you haven't done a ton of movies recently - but Mingella is fresh off such hits as The Ides of March and The Social Network. Mingella and Hirsch are two actors I like a lot, so I was happy to see that they were in this movie ... until, of course, I actually viewed it.

American friends Sean (Emile Hirsch, Taking Woodstock) and Ben (Max Minghella, The Ides of March) have traveled to Moscow to present an idea for a new social network, which they are hoping to expand to Russia. It turns out, however, that a Swede named Skyler (Joel Kinnaman, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) has stolen their idea and is ready to present it to the Moscow company. Ben is in despair over this, and he and Sean go for a few drinks at a club, where they meet fellow Americans Natalie (Olivia Thirlby, No Strings Attached) and Ann (Rachael Taylor, TV's Charlie's Angels). They …

The Artist

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With the focus on big-budget special effects, 3D movies, and Blu-Ray movies, it's somewhat anachronistic to see a silent movie in 2011. Nonetheless, The Artist tells a story about the film industry in the 1920s, as "talkies" first arrived on the scene. Although there are a few modern actors in it that you may recognize, the two main actors are foreign (French and Argentinian, respectively), so most Americans probably won't know them by sight.

The year is 1927, and silent film star George Valentin (Jean Dujardin, A View of Love) is enjoying a lucrative and successful career. By chance, he meets Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo, Prey), and pictures of the two of them are splashed on the front page of Variety the next day, to the chagrin of Valentin's wife. He later has a run-in with Peppy again, as she has auditioned for and been cast as a dancer in his new movie. Two years later, however, in 1929, the "talkies" start production, and studio exec Al Zimmer (Joh…

War Horse

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War Horse is directed by Steven Spielberg, and distributed by Disney/DreamWorks effort, which gives you one reason right there to see it. From the trailer the film looked a little sappy, and it was, but overall it was an interesting film, if a little long.

After his father (Peter Mullan, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1) overpays for a horse at auction, Albert (newcomer Jeremy Irvine) gets to train the horse. Albert names it Joey, and he must train him to till their fields, since his family is now in debt to their landlord since they spent so much on the horse. Joey will not be tamed easily, but Albert gives him love and respect, and soon the fields are ready for planting. After an ugly storm, however, their crops are ruined; in addition, World War I is upon England. Albert's father sells the horse to the English army, amidst Albert's protests, so that they will not be homeless, and the officer who will take Albert as his own horse (Tom Hiddleston, Thor) promises to…

The Adventures of Tintin

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The Adventures of Tintin is based on a European comic book series written by an author who uses the pen name Hergé, and at the beginning of the movie we see a poster of one of the book's covers on the wall of an apartment. Just like the books, the film follows Tintin, a reporter, and his dog, Snowy, as they uncover wrongdoings and have many adventures. There are no cell phones or internet searches here, just "old fashioned" sleuthing; in a way, Tintin reminded me of Nancy Drew, but with a male protagonist.

Tintin (voiced by Jamie Bell, Jane Eyre) and Snowy are browsing at a market one day when he comes across a miniature ship model that he has to have. Immediately upon buying it, a shady-looking man approaching him and offers to pay him twice what he paid, but Tintin refuses. Another man, too, comes up to him and offers to buy it, but Tintin takes the ship and brings it home. Later, Snowy gets into a fight with a cat in Tintin's apartment, and the ship's masthead…

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

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A Game of Shadows is the sequel to the 2009 Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. Although the new film features a lot of action sequences and intrigue, I still prefer the first Sherlock Holmes movie, and you must watch the first film before the second in order to understand the characters and motivations in A Game of Shadows.

Dr. Watson (Jude Law, Contagion) is about to get married, and he is counting on his friend and comrade Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr., Iron Man 2) to throw him a "stag" (bachelor) party. However, Holmes needs Watson's help on an unfinished case. It turns out that Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris, TV's Fringe) has been stockpiling weapons and bandages and has become involved with specific events that he hopes will turn France and Germany against each other, thus resulting in a war for which Moriarty will be able to meet the demand for supplies. Moriarty sends assassins to kill Watson and his new bride (Kelly Reilly, Sherlo…

Young Adult

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There has been lots of buzz that Young Adult could be a "dark horse" Oscar contender, and I was interested to see it, especially at an early screening. I generally like director Jason Reitman's movies a lot (Juno, Up in the Air, Thank You for Smoking, etc.), and he worked with writer Diablo Cody on Juno, which is one of my favorite movies. Unfortunately, Young Adult ended up not really being "my cup of tea," though perhaps others will like it better.

Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron, Hancock) is a ghostwriter of a young adults series, Waverly Prep, which has just been canceled. She needs to write the last book in the series, however, and she has no inspiration for it. Sick of the random guys with whom she's been having one-night stands, she convinces herself that her high school sweetheart, Buddy Slade (Patrick Wilson, TV's A Gifted Man), is the one she is meant to be with, even though he is married with a newborn daughter, and so Mavis returns to her hometo…

New Year's Eve

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New Year's Eve is the newest film by director Garry Marshall, and is sort of a follow-up to last year's Valentine's Day. Unfortunately, even though the formula was basically the same, NYE's script was not half as good as its predecessor's. On top of that, the movie is far too long, clocking in at 117 minutes ... and you know there's a problem when I enjoy the bloopers in the credits more than the actual movie. I would normally say that the problem was cramming too many characters into one movie; however, Valentine's Day managed to do that and make itself interesting too.

It's New Year's Eve in New York City, and everyone is getting ready for the ball to drop. Claire (Hilary Swank) is in charge of the ball-dropping spectacle herself, but she has somewhere urgent she needs to be at midnight. Tess (Jessica Biel) and her husband Griffin (Seth Myers) are waiting to have their first child, and they just found out that whoever gives birth at their hospital…

Holiday movies: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

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The holidays will soon be upon us, and as the weather gets colder here in Michigan, it's a great time to curl up at home with a glass of hot cocoa and a movie.

Here are my top five best holiday movies, and a few "worst" ones as well.

Best:

1) Love Actually, 2003. 135 minutes, rated R.

From IMDb: Follows the lives of eight very different couples in dealing with their love lives in various loosely and interrelated tales all set during a frantic month before Christmas in London, England.

There are a lot of movies out nowadays that use this format - lots of stories, but they all relate to each other in some way (see: Valentine's Day, and New Year's Eve, out in theaters soon). Love Actually has a stellar cast as well: Keira Knightley, Bill Nighy, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Laura Linney, and others. It's one of my favorite Christmas/holiday movies, and I own it on DVD so I may watch it again this season.

2) Bad Santa, 2003. 91 minutes, rated …

Palladium to host canned food fest on Dec. 8th

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If you're looking to see a movie in December while at the same time being charitable, check out the Uptown Palladium's "Filmanthropy" festival. The first 1,000 people who show up between 6pm-9:30pm on December 8th with three canned goods each can see any "first run" movie of their choosing, except for those in 3D. Metro Times, the Palladium, and 93.9 The River are sponsoring the event, and the canned goods will go to Gleaners Food Bank of Southeast Michigan.

From 93.9 The River:

This is an opportunity for individuals and families to give back to the hungry in their communities while having a fun night out together during the holidays!

It is recommended that guests arrive early as Film-anthropy is only open to the first 1,000 attendees. Donations that consist of quality canned goods that are not expired nor will expire within the upcoming months are preferred.


I'm planning on seeing Happy Feet 2 (in 2D), since I missed the screening of that movie. What w…

My Week with Marilyn

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"Biopics" are generally hit or miss movies. If the actor has done a good job studying the mannerisms and history of the actor they are portraying, then the film is successful. If they have not, or play the part too differently (especially if it is a person in recent history, that some may remember), the film is generally less successful. As Marilyn Monroe, Michelle Williams captivates the audience from the minute she opens her mouth during the film's opening scene, and My Week with Marilyn is a great movie because of her, as well as her supporting actors.

The film is from the point of view of Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne, The Other Boleyn Girl), a 23-year-old who has just secured himself a position as 3rd assistant on a Laurence Olivier film. He has heard a lot about Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine), as she is the lead actress in the movie, and when she finally arrives in England, he gets to meet her. She is much more fragile than he would have thought,…

The Descendants

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A good movie is one that makes you care about its characters, and The Descendants fulfills this on all counts. The performances by all of the actors are great, especially Clooney's and his daughters', and the Hawaii setting is gorgeous, even though the movie shows that living in paradise doesn't always equate to having a perfect life.

Matthew King (George Clooney, The Ides of March) is a lawyer who works a lot of hours, and he doesn't spend as much time with his wife and two daughters as he'd like. When his wife (newcomer Patricia Hastie) goes into a coma after a boating accident, Matt has to step up and become the "main parent" for 17-year-old Alexandra (Shailene Woodley, TV's The Secret Life of the American Teenager) and 10-year-old Scottie (newcomer Amara Miller). Alex, the more rebellious of the two, had been off at boarding school on one of the other Hawaiian island, and Matt and Scottie must retrieve her from school, since her mother doesn't…

Free screenings of The Departed and The Aviator at Emagine Novi this weekend

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In honor of Hugo's release, Emagine Novi is doing free screenings of Martin Scorsese movies! Today and yesterday was Goodfellas, and you can see The Departed (2006) on Friday and Saturday, and The Aviator (2004) on Sunday. All screenings are at 10am and are first-come first-serve for seating, so I would recommend getting there early.

Here are the synopses for both movies, from IMDb:

The Departed:

Two men from opposite sides of the law are undercover within the Massachusetts State Police and the Irish mafia, but violence and bloodshed boil when discoveries are made, and the moles are dispatched to find out their enemy's identities.

The Aviator:

A biopic depicting the early years of legendary director and aviator Howard Hughes' career, from the late 1920s to the mid-1940s.

Both films are great with fantastic casts (I've seen both), and it's always nice to see a FREE movie!

Emagine is located at 44425 W. 12 Mile Road in Novi.


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Trailer for Beauty and the Beast 3D just released

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It's a tale as old as time, and one that needs no introduction, I'm sure. Disney has selected a few movies from "the vault" that they will be re-releasing in 3D, since The Lion King did so well, and Beauty and the Beast 3D is the next to appear in theaters (on my birthday, January 13th!). Disney has made a new trailer for the movie, and you can see it below.

Will you be seeing Beauty and the Beast 3D when it hits theaters on January 13, 2012?

Arthur Christmas

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There were two previous screenings of Arthur Christmas before this one, and it had been getting mixed reviews from its attendees. However, it had about 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, so I decided to "take a chance" and see it. I am very glad I did, as it ended up being one of the zaniest movies I have seen recently, and was hilarious throughout. It also has some major actors voicing its various characters, which I didn't find out until later, as their voices are not easily recognizable during the film.

Arthur (voiced by James McAvoy) is one of Santa's two sons, and his job at the North Pole is to answer letters that children send to Santa. Santa's other son, Steve (voiced by Hugh Laurie), is in charge of operations, and especially Operation Christmas, in which more than a billion presents are delivered to kids around the globe on Christmas Eve. Santa has been at his job for the past 70 years, and Steve fully expects him to retire this year, leaving him the "reins,&…

Hugo

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Before seeing Hugo, I didn't know that not only is the film based on a book, but that Georges Melies, the character that Ben Kingsley plays, is an actual person. Even if you treated the movie as pure fiction, however, it was a great film, and the fact that it is based on real life people and events only serves to make it more interesting.

Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas) lives with his father (Jude Law, Repo Men), a clockmaker, until an accident makes him an orphan. His uncle (Ray Winstone, London Boulevard), who maintains the clocks in the train station, takes him in, and puts him to work. Later, however, his uncle abandons Hugo and his job as timekeeper, forcing Hugo to continue maintaining the clocks so that he can continue to live in the small living quarters inside the clocks without suspicion. Hugo lives life under the radar, and steals food and also mechanical parts from the businesses and people in the train station, as he is working on an &quo…

The Muppets

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Full disclosure: the Muppets aren't really my thing. Yes, they're cute, and when I was little, I was a fan; I should be a fan, because I grew up in the '90s. Spontaneous singing and dancing can be fun, too, especially when the creatures doing the singing and dancing are cute. However, contrary to the views that make up the 100% on Rotten Tomatoes the movie currently has at the time of this writing, I thought the movie was cute but still not really my thing. I fully expect staunch Muppets fans to gasp in horror at this, and perhaps throw rotten tomatoes at me. Disney hopes there are enough Muppets fans around (or that they can make new fans of it) to fill the theaters for this movie, and fans of the Muppets will probably like this film and still see it anyways, regardless of this review.

To celebrate their ten year anniversary, Gary (Jason Segel, Bad Teacher) takes girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams, The Fighter) on a trip to Los Angeles. However, he can't leave his little brot…

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1

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The current Rotten Tomatoes rating for Breaking Dawn Part 1 says it all: 26% of critics enjoyed it, and 92% of audiences. This is not going to be an Oscar-winning movie by any means. However, it will be entertaining to fans of the series - either the movies or the books - and that is really all you can ask for with a global phenomenon like Twilight.

The latest installment drops us back into the Twilight world with no backstory, as is common with the series; it's counting on its fans to know the backstory. It opens with the wedding of Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson), and Bella has wedding day jitters. Her dad, Charlie (Billy Burke, Red Riding Hood), walks her down the aisle, and as soon as she sees Edward her fears go away. During the wedding reception, some of the werewolves show up (in human form), and there is a bit of trouble, but nothing major. After the reception, Edward whisks Bella off to a secret location for their honeymoon, which ends up being an is…

Have a Little Faith

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I had the privilege of attending the VIP premiere of Have a Little Faith this past Wednesday at Emagine Royal Oak, and I wasn't quite sure what to expect from the film, which was made for TV. I have not read the novel, although I now own an autographed copy (all attendees received one), and I've read some of Mitch Albom's other books such as Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven. The movie ended up being a pleasant surprise, and I highly recommend seeing it on ABC when it airs nationwide on November 27th.

There are two parallel stories going on in the movie. In the first, Mitch Albom (Bradley Whitford, TV's The West Wing) returns to his hometown in New Jersey to help his former rabbi (Martin Landau, Mysteria) who has asked Mitch to write his eulogy, even though he is not sick or dying. Mitch is Jewish but hasn't been to synagogue/been religious for quite some time, yet his rabbi greets him with open arms, sing-talking "Hel-lo, Mitch-chell…

Battle of two Snow Whites

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There are two Snow White movies coming out in 2012, but their trailers look VERY different. Snow White and the Huntsman, starring Charlize Theron, Kristin Stewart (Bella!), and Chris Hemsworth (Thor!), is out in theaters on June 1, 2012, and looks like its going to be action-packed, with Theron playing the super-evil queen. On the other hand, Mirror Mirror stars Julia Roberts as the evil queen, and Armie Hammer (The Social Network) as the prince, and looks like it might be more of a comedy. Mirror Mirror will be in theaters on March 16, 2012, just a few months before the Snow White and the Huntsman.

Check out the trailers below - which version looks like it will be better? (and is it even fair to compare, since they look so different?)



Trailer for Disney's Brave released

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Disney's film Brave, in digital 3D, will be in theaters on June 22, 2012, and the full-length trailer has just been released; check it out below. The film will have a strong (Scottish) female heroine, Merida. Here's a synopsis of the film from Disney:

Since ancient times, stories of epic battles and mystical legends have been passed through the generations across the rugged and mysterious Highlands of Scotland. In “Brave,” a new tale joins the lore when the courageous Merida (voice of Kelly Macdonald) confronts tradition, destiny and the fiercest of beasts.

Merida is a skilled archer and impetuous daughter of King Fergus (voice of Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (voice of Emma Thompson). Determined to carve her own path in life, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the uproarious lords of the land: massive Lord MacGuffin (voice of Kevin McKidd), surly Lord Macintosh (voice of Craig Ferguson) and cantankerous Lord Dingwall (voice of Robbie Coltrane). Merida’s actions inadve…

Have a Little Faith premieres at a sold out Emagine Royal Oak

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Have a Little Faith, the made-for-TV movie based on Mitch Albom's bestselling novel, premiered yesterday at Emagine Royal Oak. The entire theater complex was reserved for the premiere, and the VIP party started at 5:30pm with food and drinks. Albom and some of the cast, including Laurence Fishburne, Martin Landau, and Bradley Whitford, arrived on the red carpet around 6pm, and the movie started playing at 7pm.

All of the proceeds from the event went to the A Hole in the Roof Foundation and the Rabbi Albert Lewis Fund. Albert Lewis was the rabbi in the movie (and in real life) with whom Albom has a close connection, as he was the rabbi of the synagogue in his hometown. Albom presented the charities with two $30,000 checks at the screening, a result of the monies raised from the VIP premiere ($125/ticket) and general admission tickets ($35/ticket), and Emagine Royal Oak provided the food and drinks at the premiere for free.

I got the chance to chat with Bradley Whitford before the s…

Win "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2" on DVD!

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The last epic installment of Harry Potter is out on DVD/Blu-Ray today, and I have one DVD to give to one of my lucky readers!

This series needs no introduction, I'm sure ...

The contest is being hosted on my Examiner.com page - to see the contest rules and find out how to enter, clickhere.

Good luck!

"Jack and Jill"

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I am pretty sure that one day Adam Sandler woke up and said "I'm going to make a movie about myself and my twin sister, and I'll play both parts! It'll be hilarious!" He then roped as many celebs as he could into playing cameos (which were admittedly funny, for the most part) in order to boost the star power in the film, and then marketed it as a comedy that was sure to be hilarious. Unfortunately, Jack and Jill was far from hilarious, and I spent most of the movie wishing that it would end.

Jack Sadelstein (Adam Sandler, Just Go With It) dreads the holiday season because for him it means one thing: his twin sister, Jill (also Sandler) comes to visit. Jill is loud and obnoxious, but luckily lives across the country in New York, so she only comes to visit once a year. Jack's wife (Katie Holmes, The Romantics) and kids love seeing Jill, but unfortunately Jack does not. Jack is a PR exec, and while Jill is in town, he is trying to recruit Al Pacino for a Dunkin&…

"Like Crazy"

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The mark of a good movie is if you are still thinking about it and its characters the day after you see it. While I was still thinking about the two leads in Like Crazy the day after I saw it, it was a very slow-moving film and could have been better.

Jacob (Anton Yelchin, Fright Night) meets Anna (Felicity Jones, The Diary of Anne Frank) while they are in college together in Los Angeles. Anna is British, and she in the U.S. on a student visa, which will expire soon after she graduates. Anna is intrigued by Jacob and leaves a note under the windshield wiper of his car expressing her feelings for him; soon after that, they become a couple. Jacob is a gifted furniture maker, and he gives Anna a chair that he makes for her, to replace the rickety desk chair that she was using. By the end of the school year, they are very much in love; however, it will soon be time for Anna to return back to England. She will be able to procure a work visa after a few months, so then she will be allowed b…

"Pitch Perfect" currently filming in Baton Rouge, LA

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The other day, I saw a tweet that Elizabeth Banks had posted, asking for extras for her new film Pitch Perfect, which is currently filming in Baton Rouge. A friend of mine lives there, so I forwarded her the tweet, and she emailed and was accepted as an extra! She spent about 10 hours on Wednesday as an audience member for a few scenes in the movie.

According to IMDb, the film is "a comedy set in the world of college a cappella singing competitions." Anna Kendrick, Elizabeth Banks, Brittney Snow, Anna Camp, and Rebel Wilson star in it.

Here's some pics from the set:







"Have a Little Faith" to premiere 11/16 at Emagine Royal Oak

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The Detroit-filmed movie Have a Little Faith, based on Mitch Albom's bestselling book, will be hosting its world premiere on Wednesday, November 16th, at Emagine Royal Oak. Albom, director Jon Avnet, and stars such as Martin Landau, Laurence Fishburne, and Bradley Whitford will be in attendance, and a Q&A will be held with the actors after the film.

Click here to read more at my Examiner.com article.

"Martha Marcy May Marlene"

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Fox Searchlight has been promoting Martha Marcy May Marlene for months now, and it has very positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes as well. It definitely is a movie that will leave you thinking about it, but it could have been a much better film, and the ending is abrupt and had audience members at the screening I went to thinking that the projector had broken (yes, seriously), since the screen goes black after the end scene.

Martha (newcomer Elizabeth Olsen, sister of Mary Kate and Ashley) has lived in a cult for the past two years or so, though the word "cult" is never used. They're one big happy family - they all share chores, including child-rearing - oh, and all the women have sex with the leader of the cult, Patrick (creepily played by John Hawkes, Contagion) to "cleanse" themselves, and they also have mass orgies with the male members of the cult with him watching. You know, all the stuff that "normal" families do. When Martha first joins the cult…

"Tower Heist"

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I didn't know much about Tower Heist before seeing the film except that it had assembled a team of highly successful actors for the project. The movie ended up being a little like Ocean's Eleven, and it is probably one of the funniest comedies I have seen in quite a while.

Josh Kovacs (Ben Stiller, Little Fockers) is the building manager at The Tower, a high-rise building in NYC that is home to some of the wealthiest people in the city. Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda, Flash of Genius) is one of those people, and he is currently being indicted for embezzling from his clients. Unfortunately, Josh had placed the Tower employees' pension money into Shaw's hands to invest, and the money is all gone; needless to say, the Tower employees are not too happy with Josh. Shaw denies any wrongdoing, but the FBI knows he did the crime, and agent Claire Denham (Tea Leoni, The Smell of Success) convinces Josh that Shaw did, in fact, steal Josh's money and the rest of the employees.' S…

"Puss in Boots"

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You may know the illustrious Puss in Boots from the Shrek series, where he simultaneously managed to steal and also charm with his wide, innocent-eyed look. Now, he has his own movie, and while I thought I would miss Shrek and the gang, Puss brings along a new set of characters that are just as funny and enthralling.

The back-story of Puss (voiced by Antonio Banderas, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger) has never been revealed until this film, but soon he has cause to share it with us. He grew up in an orphanage in the small town of San Ricardo, taken in by his "mama" (voiced by Jessica Shulte, Megamind), and it was there that Puss met the boy who was soon to become his best friend: Humpty Alexander Dumpty (voiced by Zach Galifianakis, The Hangover Part II). The two of them plotted to leave the sleepy little town as soon as they were of age, and they played a few small tricks on people when they were younger; however, when they became older, Humpty began to escalate his crim…

"In Time"

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I love dystopian books and movies - those set in the future with a corrupt or unfamiliar government/life system - and In Time fits the mold exactly. I had been wanting to see this film ever since I first saw its trailer, and luckily it did not disappoint me.

Will Salas (Justin Timberlake, Friends with Benefits) lives his life on a day-to-day basis in the impoverished city of Dayton. When he wakes up each morning, the first thing he does is check his arm to see how much time he has left that day. Between rent and food payments, he and his mom (Olivia Wilde, Cowboys and Aliens) barely have enough time to get through the day. In the future, time has replaced money as currency. Want a cup of coffee? That will be four minutes. It was three minutes yesterday, but today is four, due to inflation. Today is Will's mother's 50th birthday, and also the day that his life is going to be irrevocably changed, though he doesn't know that yet.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Sylvia W…

"The Rum Diary"

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The Rum Diary is based on the novel of the same name by Hunter S. Thompson, and is considered a prequel of sorts to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998), also written by Thompson. I haven't read the book, and thus have no basis for comparison, but the movie was 120 minutes of drawn out, pointless scenes, save for the beautiful scenery and the outfits worn by Depp and his cohorts. The film was shot a while ago and has been shelved for a few years, though Johnny Depp looks timeless as always, and it makes me wonder why the studio execs finally decided to drag it into theaters. The movie wasn't really a drama, and wasn't really a comedy either - though it certainly tried to be - and it leaves the audience wondering exactly what it's trying to accomplish.

Kemp (Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean) has just moved to Puerto Rico to work for The San Juan Star. His boss, Mr. Lotterman (Richard Jenkins, Let Me In) hardly runs a tight ship, and Kemp has the time to pursue oth…

"Chimpanzee" to be released in theaters April 12, 2012

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I received the one-sheet from Disney Nature today for this and had to share - the chimp on the poster is SO cute!

Movie Details:

Disneynature takes moviegoers deep into the forests of Africa with “Chimpanzee,” a new True Life Adventure introducing an adorable baby chimp named Oscar and his entertaining approach to life in a remarkable story of family bonds and individual triumph. Oscar’s playful curiosity and zest for discovery showcase the intelligence and ingenuity of some of the most extraordinary personalities in the animal kingdom. Working together, Oscar’s chimpanzee family—including his mom and the group’s savvy leader — navigates the complex territory of the forest.

The world is a playground for little Oscar and his fellow young chimps, who’d rather make mayhem than join their parents for an afternoon nap. But when Oscar’s family is confronted by a rival band of chimps, he is left to fend for himself until a surprising ally steps in and changes his life forever. Directed by Ala…

"The Three Musketeers" (2011)

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There have been numerous reincarnations of The Three Musketeers over the years, but the newest version is likely the most fun. You have Orlando Bloom and Milla Jovovich as villains, and a motley crew of others representing the good and the bad people of France. Add some 3D effects, which means swords clashing in your face, as well as giant ships used for "air travel," and voila! You have yourself an exciting, action-packed film.

The Three Musketeers (Luke Evans, Matthew Macfadyen, and an almost unrecognizable Ray Stevenson) are no longer in their prime, and thus spend most of their time moping around. The young D'Artagnan (Logan Lerman, Percy Jackson and the Olympians), a wannabe Musketeer whose father was one, travels to France to meet them. Instead, he stumbles upon each of them individually, not knowing they are Musketeers, and manages to anger them all. He challenges each to a duel, and when they all meet in the town square they reveal that they are Musketeers. The g…

Win "Winnie the Pooh" on DVD/Blu-Ray!

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You can win a copy of Winnie the Pooh, which is out on DVD and Blu-Ray on 10/25, over at my Examiner page! The contest ends on Sunday, October 30th, at 7pm EST, so check it out before then. To enter is easy, all you have to do is "like" the contest post and then send me an email.

Here's the link: Winnie the Pooh contest.

"Answer This!"

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I was fortunate enough to attend the world premiere screening of Answer This! at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor last October, and since then I have been waiting for the film to be picked up for wider distribution. Wrekin Hill Entertainment has picked up Answer This!, and to celebrate that, there was another red carpet premiere screening at the Emagine Royal Oak this past Thursday, October 13. I was interested in seeing if the distributors had made any changes to the movie, and if they had, they are little; however, the movie was just as good as I remembered it.

Paul Tarson (Christopher Gorham, TV's Covert Affairs) has lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan his whole life. He grew up there, went to the University of Michigan as an undergrad, and has spent the past eight years there working on his thesis in graduate school. His father, Elliot (newcomer and former UM professor Ralph Williams), is a Bible Studies professor at UM, and has just told Paul that he needs to finish his thesis this…

Ann Arbor plays itself in "Answer This!"

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As a University of Michigan alum, part of the reason I really liked the feature film Answer This! was because most, if not all, of it took place in Ann Arbor, and locations were easily recognizable.

The locations in Answer This! included:

University of Michigan locations:
-The Cube (see above poster) - near the Union on campus.
-School of Natural Resources and the Environment - where English 401 classes are held. Paul (Chris Gorham) and Naomi (Arielle Kebbel) meet in the Diag (center of campus) right outside this building; she is trying to find the building, which, of course, is right in front of her.
-Angell Hall - Paul's English 401 discussion class is held here.
-Rackham School of Graduate Studies - a memorable scene with Paul and Naomi was here. What was pretty funny was that they enter the front doors of Rackham, and walk through a library's reading room - actually the fabled Law Library reading room - and then end up in the stacks, which are actually in the Graduate Libra…

"Answer This!" premieres to sell-out crowd at Emagine Royal Oak

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The cast and crew of Answer This! returned to Michigan yesterday for a red carpet premiere at Emagine Royal Oak. In attendance was Arielle Kebbel, one of the stars of the show, and Chris and Mike Farah, the writer/director and producer of the movie, respectively. Ralph Williams, the former UM professor who plays Chris Gorham's father, was also in attendance; Chris Gorham, unfortunately, was in Europe filming Covert Affairs.

For the general audience, the movie started at 8pm, but for those who had purchased the $75 VIP tickets, to benefit local charities, the party started at 6:30, on the 2nd floor of the theater. Dinner and drinks were served, and Motor City Trivia was in attendance as well to get the party started with some one-on-one trivia. Arielle Kebbel arrived later, around 7:30, to mingle with the crowd, and the Farah brothers were in attendance there as well.

Before the movie started, Ralph Williams came to the front of the room to introduce the film, and Chris and Mike Fa…