Showing posts from May, 2012


Bernie was not at all what I thought it would be, even though I read a few reviews and what some might consider "spoilers" online before seeing it. The movie is based on real events that happened in Texas in 1996, when the companion of a wealthy elderly woman (Marjorie Nugent) shot her four times in the back. He then hid the body and pretended that she was still alive for the next several months until people eventually became suspicious and the police searched his home and found Marjorie's body. The story itself is fascinating, but unfortunately the movie, in my opinion, falls a little flat.

39-year-old Bernie Tiede (Jack Black, The Big Year) is a pillar of the community in Carthage, Texas, the small town where he resides. He's the assistant funeral director at the local funeral home, and he always follows up with the grieving widows afterwards to make sure they are doing okay. He sings in the church choir and everybody in town loves him. He eventually meets 81-year…

Men in Black III

It's a surprise to see a new film in the Men In Black franchise, given that the last movie, Men in Black II, came out ten years ago. However, the premise for this one seemed interesting, and although it slows down in the middle of it, overall it's a fun film and worth seeing.

Agent J (Will Smith, Seven Pounds) and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones, The Company Men) have been partners for a while now, but K still has secrets he's keeping from J. When they meet Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement, Rio) and K seems to have a past with him, J is not surprised. What does surprise J, however, is when he wakes up the next day and goes to work, and no one even remembers who K is. Agent O (Emma Thompson, Nanny McPhee Returns) tells J that Agent K was killed in Cape Canaveral, Florida, over forty years ago. J deduces that something happened in the past that did not happen originally - originally, K shot off one of Boris's arms and was able to establish the ArcNet, which protects Earth fr…

Cowgirls 'n Angels

I was invited to an online screening of Cowgirls 'n Angels, and when I saw that Bailee Madison (Just Go With It and TV's Once Upon a Time) and Jackson Rathbone (the Twilight series) were in the film, I immediately accepted. Though I missed out on the live Q&A with Madison and Rathbone, I was able to watch the screening online at my convenience, and the movie started off well, with a first-person narration by Madison's character. As the film goes on, however, it starts to become a little cheesy, though it's not a bad choice overall as compared to other "family-friendly" films currently in theaters.

Ida Clayton (Bailee Madison) loves the rodeo, although her mother (Alicia Witt, TV's Friday Night Lights) hates it because it reminds her of Ida's dad, a rodeo man who left them before Ida was born. Ida tries to teach herself how to ride a horse, and rodeo expert Terence Parker (James Cromwell, The Artist) sees her passion for rodeo and offers her a sp…

Michigan Theater announces 2012 Summer Classics Film Series schedule

The Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor announced its summer classic films line-up today, and it includes many popular movies. The series will feature fifteen films, starting on June 3rd with Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), now in 3D, and ending on September 3rd with Casablanca (1942), which is free for students. Mash (1970), on July 1st and 3rd, is free for veterans, as are all regular films at the Michigan on July 4th.

Prices for each vary, and can be bought online at the Michigan Theater's website.

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Pixar favorites returning to select AMC Theaters over Memorial Day Weekend

I just received a press release saying that a few Pixar family favorites will be returning to the big screen this weekend, at AMC Theaters. Toy Story 3, Ratatouille, Up, and Wall-E will be playing, and tickets are $6 but vary per location.

In the metro Detroit area, the following theaters will be participating:

AMC FairlaneAMC ForumAMC GratiotAMC Great LakesAMC Star John RAMC LivoniaAMC Southfield
The films will also be accompanied by a "behind-the scenes look" at Pixar's newest movie to be released next month, Brave.

From the press release:

With the summer movie season heating up, four popular Disney•Pixar movies are returning exclusively to AMC Theatres for the Memorial Day holiday weekend. From May 25 through May 28, “Toy Story 3,” “Ratatouille,” “Up” and “WALL•E” will be featured at AMC locations around the country. Each film will be accompanied by a classic Pixar short film and an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the upcoming movie, “Brave.”
“There are some great f…


What's funny about the movie Battleship is that I really liked the beginning and the ending; but the middle part of it, where the cast is literally playing the game Battleship with the so-called harmful aliens, was just so-so, minus the cool special effects. At the beginning, we meet our slacker, who will, of course, later turn into a hero, and the dialogue is pretty funny - I was thinking at that point that this would be the first blockbuster of the summer. Unfortunately, the dialogue later in the film becomes dumb and insipid, and although the action scenes will keep you interested, the movie starts to feel long (which it is - it's 2 hours 10 minutes, approximately) and wear out its welcome, until the very end.

Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch, John Carter) is a bum who lives with his brother Stone (Alexander Skarsgard, TV's True Blood), a Commander in the Navy. When he meets a cute girl (Brooklyn Decker, What to Expect When You're Expecting) at a bar, Alex is willing to…

What To Expect When You're Expecting

One thing I will say of What to Expect When You're Expecting is this: most of its comedic moments were very funny. Unfortunately, many of the best gags were revealed in the trailer, and there were plenty of others that fell flat with the audience. As a result, WTEWYE is better off being seen at a matinee or on DVD.

WTEWYE is in the vein of other movies like Valentine's Day or New Year's Eve, where it follows a few couples who are all connected in some way or another. Jules (Cameron Diaz, Bad Teacher) is a celebrity fitness guru who has her own show, and the film opens with her and her dance partner, Evan (Matthew Morrison, TV's Glee) on Celebrity Dance Factor, a TV show similar to Dancing with the Stars. She and Evan win the competition, and receive a big trophy ... which she promptly vomits into. Could she be pregnant, perhaps?

Holly (Jennifer Lopez, The Back-up Plan) and her husband Alex (Rodrigo Santoro, Love Actually) are looking into adopting, and the counselor …

First Position

The last dance film I saw was Pina, which was a bit too "artsy" for me, though the 3D in it was great. First Position is completely different from that type of movie, as it follows six ballet students as they vie for a spot in the finals of the Youth America Grand Prix competition. The film was a lot better than I thought it was going to be, and I would recommend it to anyone, even if you are not interested in movies about dance, as the movie was really about these kids and the sacrifices they make every day so they can pursue their passion.

The six dancers that the film follows are from all over the world. Aran lives in Italy with his parents, and he is American but his dad is in the Navy, so they move around a lot. He commutes two hours to Milan with his mother so that he can take dance lessons. He also has a friend, Gaya, from Israel, who is an intense little girl who loves ballet and is competing in the YAGP (Youth America Grand Prix) as well. The Fogarty children, Mik…

Dark Shadows

The TV spots for Dark Shadows make it seem like it's going to be a comedy, but in reality, it's more like a drama with some laughs thrown in; an extremely campy drama, too, although the TV show upon which it is based was supposedly very campy as well. The show ran from 1966 to 1971, and Johnny Depp himself wanted to bring it to the big screen. The performances in Dark Shadows are all spot-on, but unfortunately the movie tends to move slowly and wear out its welcome at times.

Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp, The Rum Diary) lives in the 1700s and has found his one true love; before finding her, however, he had the misfortune of fooling around with one of the family maids, Angelique (Eva Green, Casino Royale), who is actually a witch. Angelique decides that if she can't have Barnabas, no one can, and she puts a curse on his beloved, who throws herself off a cliff. Barnabas does as well, in order to save her, but then realizes that Angelique has turned him into a vampire. Ange…

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a Fox Searchlight film with many actors whom you will recognize, regardless of your age: Maggie Smith (from the Harry Potter movies), Bill Nighy, Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, to name the top few. It also has Dev Patel, from Slumdog Millionaire, as an entrepreneurial young man who is trying to run the Marigold Hotel - or, to use its full title, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly and Beautiful. The movie has a lot of heart, as well as great music and cinematography, but it tended to run a bit slow throughout.

All of the above characters end up staying at the Marigold Hotel, but all for different reasons. Muriel (Maggie Smith) needs a hip replacement, and if she doesn't fly to India to get one at a fraction of the price, she will be on a long waiting list in the U.S. instead. Douglas (Bill Nighy, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End) and his wife Jean (Penelope Wilton, TV's Dr. Who) are broke, and go to the hotel instead of livi…

The Avengers takes in $200.3 million in U.S. debut

I just received this press release from Disney today, and all I have to say is WOW. The Avengers took in $200.3 million its opening weekend here in the U.S., which gives it an estimated $641.8 million cumulative box office gross (here + overseas) for the 12 days it's been in theaters. I guess there are more fanboys and fangirls out there than Harry Potter fans, because to become the #1 movie (with the biggest opening weekend EVER), it beat out Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, which took in $169.2 in its U.S. opening weekend.

Sequels to Captain America: The First Avenger and Thor now have expected release dates, as well as Iron Man 3. Captain America will be released on April 4, 2014; Thor 2 on November 15, 2013; and Iron Man 3 in a year's time, on May 3, 2013.

Are you planning on seeing The Avengers now that's it's broken box office records? Or have you already seen it? (perhaps multiple times?)

Here's the full press release:

The Walt Disney Studios anno…

Review: Timeless Family Classics DVD set

I did a giveaway about a week ago for a boxed set of Timeless Family Classics, which includes 50 DVDs of various family-friendly films, and this weekend I received a copy for myself for reviewing purposes.

Some of the actors and actresses in the movies on the collection will be instantly recognizable - John Wayne, Shirley Temple, and Charlie Chaplin, for instance - and some are a little more obscure. I watched Jane Eyre (1934) from the collection, and it starred Virginia Bruce as Jane and Colin Clive as Mr. Rochester, two actors that were highly successful and popular in their heydays. Although the box said it was in black and white, it was actually in color, which was nice; it is possible that the color could have been added afterwards, as such older films are prone to have done.

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The Avengers

The Avengers is the first big movie of the summer blockbuster season, and there was a lot of hype leading up to its release. Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America have already had their own movies, and you can say that The Hulk has as well (though not played by Mark Ruffalo then), all of which premiered to much box office success. The Avengers will most likely smash these records, and the numbers already coming in from its international premiere show that it's off to a good start.

Thor's brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston, War Horse), comes to Earth to retrieve the Tesseract, which has enough energy to blow up the continent, if used improperly. He tries to take out Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson, Captain America: The First Avenger) and his crew, but Nick has a better plan, and assembles The Avengers to try and capture him. The Avengers consist of Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Natasha Romanoff, aka The Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson, We Bought a Zoo), Tony Star…