2012 Reviewed Movies:
March Movie #1: The Lorax
The Lorax is one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books. I even have a brick that I made with the one word "Unless" in my garden. When I saw that the book was being made into a movie, I was very excited. The previews all made it look very cute. The movie, unfortunately, fell a little flat. I think the moviemakers tried too hard; they hit the audience a little too much over the head with the environmentalist angle. The movie should have ended when the book did - when the Onceler gives Ted the last Truffula seed. Perhaps they could have shown him planting the seed but the whole town backlash against planting the seed - and the reasons why - were absurd. I particularly didn't like when Ted ran over the robotic cat - and then went back to run over its neck. I know it was a robot, and a spying robot at that, but it seemed to clash a bit with the message of the movie - do no harm, respect the environment.
February Movie #7:Journey 2: Mysterious Island (3D)
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Michael Caine, Josh Hutcherson, Luis Guzman, Vanessa Hudgens, Kristin Davis
Directed By: Brad Peyton
Run Time: 1 hour 34 minutes
Journey 2 is about perpetuating the Vernian story/folklore/myth/tale. It feeds off the idea that Jules Vernes' stories were actually based on reality, that the things he wrote about were real.
This movie is not horrible but not great. I think I liked the first one better. If the island gets pulled under every 140 years, how are are thee buildings, which seem to be crumbling when the island goes under, still standing intact? And why are there such bizarre creatures in a world that has to recreate itself every so many years? Liked the peck popping in the trailers - it made me giggle, but it was too much in the movie. Liked that Dwayne Johnson got to high five Michael Caine. Did not care for the forced rivalry between Michael caine's character and dwayne johnson's character. It bothered me that two grown men were sniping at each other. Some of the lines were funny but it was obvious thus rivalry was there for comic relief, that and gabby who grew more and more irritating as the movie went on. Not sure how the safe coast would take longer to get through, considering they ajhad to doe a fair amount of climbing through the short path. Liked dwayne's singing. Cute. Poor kristen Davis, reduced to playing the mom for a few minutes in every movie. The cgi was obvious, like when they jumped on the bees and fell off. Very annoying. Cool submarine, although it looks more like an airplane than a ship, which didn't seem right. Also thought it was odd that they went through the island collapsing under water when it seemed more logical to turn complexly around and just double back when it was safer (like when the island was done being sucked under). Still a decent movie. Don't like that they still don't understand that Paranorman is not a kids movie, just because it's animated (and therefore they need to stop putting it before a kids movie; it's just so darned creepy!).
February Movie #4: Safe House
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Denzel Washington, Brendan Gleeson, Vera Farmiga
Directed By: Daniel Espinosa
Run Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Not really sure what to think about it. Violent. I did like that Ryan Reynolds character wasn't assuming to be a tough guy. He knew he was green. I also liked how when he killed someone, he felt horrible. Of course, after the 5th time of seeing him almost cry, it seemed a little woosy (although I still liked it, oddly). I liked the twist. I figured out the first twist immediately, but quickly dismissed thinking that it was too easy. I placed my bets on a darker, less obvious twist. Turns out the easy twist was the right twist, which greatly disappointed me. Greatly. I did ha e to say that I didn't guess the main twist, which was nice. And I was glad for the main twist. Very well acted.
February Movie #3: A Dangerous Method
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley, Viggo Mortensen, Vincent Cassel
Directed By: David Cronenberg
Run Time: 2 hours
Dangerous method - not sure that I liked it. Not sure that I understood it all. Keira knightly was overacting. Viggo morts son accent kept slipping. Sad movie. Sad ending.
February Movie #2: My Week with Marilyn
Starring: Michelle Williams, Eddie Redmayne, Kenneth Branagh, Julia Ormond, Judi Dench, Dominic Cooper, Emma Watson
Directed By: Simon Curtis (II)
Run Time: 1 hour 36 minutes
My Week with Marilyn is a recount of the behind-the-scenes turmoil between Sir Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe (played by Williams) during the shooting of the movie The Prince and the Showgirl. Olivier (played by Branagh) is frustrated with Marilyn's demands, behavior, approach to acting, and her performance. He enlists the aid of his assistant Colin (played by Redmayne). Colin spends time with Marilyn and gets drawn into her world.
I thought this movie was very good. I was most impressed with Michelle Williams' performance. Her portrayal of Marilyn was wonderful. She embodied Marilyn without mimicking or copying Marilyn, a la Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles in Ray. I think Michelle should have won the Oscar for Best Actress. She was wonderful! I found it interesting how I did not know Emma Watson was in this movie. Her performance is a bit understated, but effectual.
This movie flows well. It's interesting.
Some of my non sequitur thoughts: I liked how they changed the movie title (the one in the movie). It's much more enticing to see the Prince and the Showgirl vs the Sleeping Prince (the original title to Marilyn/Olivier's movie). I didn't know Vivienne Leigh and Olivier were married. Interesting remark Vivienne made: "I'm 43. Pretty soon no one will love me." Huh. I guess I don't have much time left. Also interesting line in the movie: "He's a great actor trying to make this Hollywood movie; you're a Hollywood actress trying to be a great actor. This film won't help either of you."
February Movie #1: The Grey
Starring: Liam Neeson, Dallas Roberts, James Badge Dale, Dermot Mulroney
Directed By: Joe Carnahan
Run Time: 1 hour 57 minutes
The Grey is about how a group of oil workers try to survive after a plane crash in Alaska. While their injuries, the frigid weather, and the lack of food and supplies are all daunting enough, they also must battle a pack of wolves.
This is an incredibly quiet movie. This is done for effect. It helps to pull you into the wilderness, pull you into the waiting, the anticipation of when the wolves would attack. Ears straining to pick up sounds of the predators. I couldn't help but feel cold while watching e movie, hearing the wind howling. Even my movie blanket couldn't help me feel warm. It was strange how much the movie made you feel what they were showing - the cold, the quiet, the fear. I did have issues that the wolves came at opportune moments - when someone had fallen behind or fallen at all. Loved the ending, although oddly, it frustrated me.
I didn't even think that about the fact that this movie is about hunting wolves and wolves who hunt. You'd think that I, the animal lover and vegetarian would have focused more on that when I decided to see this movie. Ah, but the lure of Liam Neeson blinded me to the fact that there would be wolves getting hurt in this movie. There was one scene that bothered me when they cooked the wolf. I get it why they were doing it - both for food and as a message - but it was still disturbing (everything that happened in that scene). I did wonder how the wolves would react if someone was NICE to the wolves instead of fearful - "Hey, puppy! You're a good dog, aren't you?" My time at the cat shelter has taught me that the ones at growl at you react best with kind words. It's amazing. I know they don't exactly understand what you're saying but a little kindness - in a kind, respectful tone - does wonders for a threatened animal. I guess it would have been a different movie if I had been in it...
I thought the letter writing scene was during his survival time, not before. It didn't strike me as sweet or heart-wrenching until the end. Then I got it.
Why is it that there's always that rebel guy who fights the leader? Someone has to lead. Someone has to follow. That's how you survive. I know I don't have survival skills. You would think that those guys would have a better inkling of how to survive in the cold, since they're in the tundra themselves. Apparently they never embraced their environment, like walking zombies. For as cold as it sounded and looked, I did find it interesting the number of times these guys had skin exposed. And the fact that they didn't think to bring extra clothes. Fall in the water, die. A survivalist would know that.
It's a good movie. It plays on your senses well. Not one I'd own but good. I still feel cold.
January Movie #2: The Descendants
Starring: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Mary Birdsong, Nick Krause, Judy Greer, Beau Bridges, Matthew Lillard
Directed By: Alexander Payne
Run Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
The Descendants is about a family who comes together when their mother/wife is seriously injured in a boating accident.
Ah, Oscar season. It makes me see movies that I may not otherwise want to see. The setting - Hawaii - is absolutely beautiful. The premise - a wife who is lying in a hospital dying from a brain injury while her family finds out that she had been having an affair - is not a nice one. Very pretty scenery. Sad movie. So many sad things happened to the family.
One out of place interjection (because I just reviewed Mission Impossible): For as much as I fully felt that Tom Cruise was acting the whole time he was running in Mission Impossible, I did not feel as though George Clooney was acting at all when he ran (which is a good thing). It was a goofy, floppy, bizarre running style.
I thought both daughters did an excellent job, particularly the older daughter (played by Woodley). It must be a bit intimidating acting alongside George Clooney but she definitely handled herself. She played the affected - but yet very much together - teenager well. On one hand she was very immature/just being a teen but on the other hand, she had shades of remarkable poise and wisdom. The little girl (played by Amara Miller) was wonderful as a carefree child, not quite mature enough to grasp what was going on. George was just being George, a great actor but nothing that stretched him to be worthy of an Oscar nom. He should have been nominated for Ides of March, where he played off character (translation: not so likable) and was excellent.
The character of the boyfriend bothered me until I realized he was there for comic relief. The movie needed that otherwise it would have been so dark.
I loved the cozy ending. They definitely were a great family.
January Movie #1: Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
Starring: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Paula Patton
Directed By: Brad Bird
Run Time: 2 hours 12 minutes
After being blamed for a bombing at the Kremlin, IMF operative Ethan Hunt (played by Cruise) is disavowed. He bands together with other disavowed agents to clear his name and prevent another attack.
Can anyone say "live action Incredibles"? (Brad Bird directed that animated movie).
The plot seemed a little 1980s (the big, bad, evil Russians). I suppose the Iran/Afghan/Muslim angle has been done to death.
I liked it. Not as good as the first one, indeed, but that also has something to do with the fact that I appreciated Tom Cruise's acting back then and now I just loathe him (and subsequently steer clear of anything with him in it). Perhaps there is too much hype behind how good this movie is but I expected it to be better. Of course, Tom Cruise is in it so it can't be that good. I detest Tom Cruise and nothing says overacting more than a scene with Tom Cruise running in it. Wow. I could almost hear him think, "act like you're running." I could hear him acting while he was running! Ugh. But I digress. A lot of good action sequences. Very fun. I did not like the emotional backstory to Ethan Hunt with his wife (I missed 2 & 3) but I did like the emotional backstories to the other characters. I really liked Jane - smart, tough, had heart. I loved Simon Pegg but I think they held him back. He can be very funny. I also loved Jeremy Renner. What's not to love?