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Showing posts from July, 2011

"The Smurfs"

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I would like the hour and fifty minutes or so of my time I spent watching The Smurfs back, but surprisingly a lot of others did not feel that way. The Smurfs themselves are very cute, and admittedly I have never seen the TV show, so I wasn't going to see the film for the nostalgia, but by the end of the film I was practically sleeping in my seat because I was so bored. As one of the children behind me said to his mother, "Take me out of here, please!"

The Smurfs live a life of relative contentment in their mushroom houses in the forest. However, the evil Gargamel (Hank Azaria, "Love and Other Drugs") wants to steal them so he can harness their power and become one of the greatest wizards of all time. In their hurry to avoid him once he finds their village, the Smurfs end up accidentally running into a portal, which takes them to New York City. They must find a way back to their village while at the same time avoiding Gargamel and his cat, both of whom are on the…

"Sarah's Key"

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Sarah's Key is one of the best, and also the saddest, movies I have seen in quite a while. Readers of the novel on which the film is based say that it's fantastic, and so I had high hopes for the movie as well. I was not disappointed.

Sarah Starzynski (Mélusine Mayance, "Ricky") and her family live in Paris, and are Jewish. In July 1942 they are rounded up with the rest of the French Jews and sent to a detainment camp. Her parents are sent on to a concentration camp, but for some reason the children are left behind for an additional week. Sarah and her friend are able to escape, and they take refuge with a French couple in a village, who later ends up raising Sarah as one of their own. Sarah must first return to Paris, however, to rescue her brother Michel, whom she locked in a closet in her family's apartment, in the hopes that he would be saved and not included in the round-up.

Meanwhile, in the present day, Julia (Kristin Scott Thomas, "Nowhere Boy"…

"Cowboys and Aliens"

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Cowboys & Aliens is receiving mixed reviews, but I liked it a lot. A few people I knew who also went to the screening complained that it was slow-paced, but I am usually the first to jump on the "This movie is tooooo slow" train, and I didn't feel that way this time. They will also say that they expected more from it; but really, with a title like Cowboys & Aliens, how much can you expect in the first place?

Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig, "Quantum of Solace") wakes up in the middle of cowboy country (New Mexico, late 1800s), not knowing who is he or how he got there. He has a mysterious techy-looking bracelet on his arm that won't come off. A band of men on horses see him and aim to take him in, in case he's wanted for something, but he disarms them all easily, and that is the first time that we get an inkling of his past life and who he was in it. Jake finds himself in the town of Absolution, where he eventually sees an old foe, Woodrow (Harrison…

"Crazy, Stupid, Love"

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I had wanted to see this movie for a long time based on the trailer and the A-List cast - Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, and Emma Stone, just to name a few. The film ended up being funny but also surprisingly serious in parts; it could have been funnier, but it's definitely still worth seeing.

Cal (Steve Carell, TV's "The Office") is devastated when his wife Emily (Julianne Moore, "The Kids are All Right") tells him that she wants a divorce. He spends a few days moping around at a local bar, where he eventually meets Jacob (Ryan Gosling, "Blue Valentine"), a "ladies' man" who decides to give Cal a make-over. Cal met Emily when they were in high school, and they married at 17, so Cal has never been with other women before. Jacob's make-over gives Cal the confidence he needs to go back to the bar and meet new women.

At the same time, his son Robbie (Jonah Bobo, TV's "The Backyardigans") has a major crush …

"Captain America: The First Avenger"

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Captain America: The First Avenger is the fourth comic book-inspired movie to come out this summer, joining the ranks of the great (Thor, X-Men: First Class) and the not-so-great (Green Lantern). While Captain America ended up not being as good as I expected, it's still entertaining, and worth seeing in the theater.

Steve Rogers (Chris Evans, "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World") wants to do his part and help fight the war, but he has numerous health problems and is too skinny to join up. He tries to be recruited multiple times, but it never works, until Dr. Erskine (Stanley Tucci, "Burlesque") chooses Steve to be one of his science experiments, as he is on the quest to make American "supersoldiers" to fight the Nazis. The experiment works on Rogers, who immediately becomes more muscular, taller, faster, and powerful, but the serum is destroyed, and so he will be the only "supersoldier." When Steve finds out that his friend Bucky (Sebastian Stan, …

"Friends with Benefits"

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From its plot summary, Friends with Benefits sounds very similar to No Strings Attached, which came out in theaters this past January. From the posters, it looks like the only difference is that Justin Timberlake replaces Ashton Kutcher, and Mila Kunis stands in for Natalie Portman. The actual difference between the two movies, though, is that NSA was cute but not great, in my opinion, and FWB ended up being hilarious and a lot better than I thought it would be.

Jamie (Mila Kunis, "Black Swan") is a headhunter who is looking to recruit Dylan (Justin Timberlake, "The Social Network") to work as the art director for GQ in New York. He's an LA boy, born and bred, and isn't too keen on moving all the way across the country just for a job. Jamie shows him how fun NYC can be, however, and he decides to take the job. They become friends and one night, Jamie complains to him about how sometimes she misses sex, but she doesn't want to start a relationship becaus…

Interview with Don Jeanes, "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" actor

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Don Jeanes is an up-and-coming actor who has been in quite a few sci-fi pictures so far, including Transformers: Dark of the Moon, in which he plays Neil Armstrong. I recently got to talk with him via phone for The NYLA Report about his role in the movie and his upcoming films.

Liz Parker:So how did you hear about the Neil Armstrong part in Transformers 3 - were you asked to audition?

Don Jeanes: Yeah - it was kind of classic Hollywood at work! There was a call for Neil Armstrong look-alikes and my cool agent sent in a copy of my headshot and resume and I got called in. What was a little funny was that I didn't really know it was for Transformers - they were kind-of secretive about the whole audition process. What first tipped me off was when I got to the audition and I got the sides and it said "man falls away from a giant robotic space," and I was like "Hmm, this might be something bigger than a commercial!" I read once to the casting director and she said &qu…

"A Better Life"

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I didn't know much about A Better Life before seeing the movie, except it had about an 85% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which is pretty good. It turned out to be a heartbreaking, sad movie, but with characters that you will think about long after the movie has ended.

Carlos Galindo (Demián Bichir, TV's "Weeds") is an illegal alien who has lived in the U.S. for a while now, and his son Luis (newcomer José Julián) was born in this country. Carlos works as a gardener in the hopes that one day, he and Luis can move out of their unsafe Los Angeles neighborhood, and Luis can go to a better school. Carlos has no form of transportation, and when his friend goes to sell his truck, complete with gardening tools, he asks his sister for a loan, in the hopes that he will have his own gardening business. His first day with the truck, he hires another illegal, Santiago (Carlos Linares, "Where the Road Meets the Sun"), to work for him; however, when he is climbing a palm tre…

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2"

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I started reading the first Harry Potter book back in 1998 or 1999, when it came to the US, and I loved it. The last book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was released in 2007, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 was released in theaters near the end of last year. The movie we've all been waiting for, however - the climactic end to the series, and to an era, really - was this one, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, and it definitely does not disappoint.

The other films in the series gave a bit of background information on the characters, but DH Part 2 skips all that, immediately picking up where the last movie left off: Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) is in possession of the Elder Wand, which makes whomever owns it the most powerful wizard in the world. Meanwhile, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson), and Ron (Rupert Grint) are still at the beach house where Dobby died, looking for Horcruxes. They think that the final Horcruxes will be at Hog…

"Zookeeper"

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I like Kevin James, and I like talking animals, but I did not like Zookeeper because I was bored throughout most of it. The talking animals are definitely the highlight, as they all have unique voices - voiced by quite a few stars. The animals are funny, and I feel that if the movie focused more on them, it would have been more interesting.

Griffin (Kevin James, "The Dilemma") works as the Head Zookeeper, and has been there for eight years. Five years ago, he proposed to his then-girlfriend, Stephanie (Leslie Bibb, "Iron Man 2"), and was harshly rejected; he has been wary of women ever since. At his brother's engagement party, Griffin runs into Stephanie again, and she tells his brother's fiancee that he has such potential. Griffin remembers, however, that the reason she didn't want to marry him the first time was because he works in a zoo, and he decides to quit and work for his brother at his auto dealership. The zoo animals, however, don't want t…

"Horrible Bosses"

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I had high expectations for this movie, because along with a big cast of A-listers, the trailer looked hilarious. Although my expectations weren't fully met, Horrible Bosses did have many funny scenes, and I would still recommend seeing it.

Nick (Jason Bateman, "The Switch"), Dale (Charlie Day, TV's "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia"), and Kurt (Jason Sudeikis, "Hall Pass") all have a problem: they hate their bosses. Like really, REALLY hate them ... so much so that they consider killing their bosses just to make their lives easier. Of course, they know nothing about the business of killing, and so they drive to the seediest bar they can find to find themselves a killer for hire, where they meet Motherf**cker Jones (Jamie Foxx, "Due Date"), who agrees to be their "murder consultant." The guys agree with him that the least conspicuous way of going about this would be for each of them to kill one of the other's bosses, s…