Movie Valley
November 2010 Movie Reviews
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Starring: Cher, Christina Aguilera, Stanley Tucci, Eric Dane, Cam Gigandet, Julianne Hough
Directed By: Steven Antin
Run Time: 1 hr 40 minutes

Ali is a small-town girl with a big voice who escapes hardship and an uncertain future to follow her dreams to LA. After stumbling upon The Burlesque Lounge, a majestic but ailing theater that is home to an inspired musical revue, Ali lands a job as a cocktail waitress from Tess, the club's proprietor and headliner. Burlesque's outrageous costumes and bold choreography lure the young wannabe into the world.

Jeff told me that a review stated that this movie wasn't as good as Chicago but it wasn't as bad as Showgirls. Well, I don't think either of those movies should be compared to this. Chicago is probably close because they're both musicals but Burlesque is not Showgirls. There is no nudity and the plot isn't as intricate. Burlesque is simply fun. It's a showcase for Christina Aguilera's pipes and occasionally gives us wonderful performances by Cher.

A side note about two characters: I absolutely do not know why two regular blondes were dyed brunette for this movie. Kristin Bell and Julianne Hough were virtually unrecognizable as brunettes! I did not realize that Georgia was played by Julianne Hough until the credits (of course, since I don't watch Dancing with the Stars, that may account for that). Did they think that if they made others blonde, that would detract from Christina Aguilera (and even her blonde hair, although probably a more natural color, was distracting because it was so not her... and I didn't understand why they didn't change it because it was horrible hair)? I just didn't get it.

I did like this movie. It was fun. I loved the song numbers. Christina Aguilera really does have an amazing voice. Her acting, particularly the moments she wasn't speaking but had to convey a scene with movements was high school level (like the scene where she was new to LA, walking down the street and trying to find the address of her next job interview... and was lost). Her acting coach must have told her, "To convey uncertainty, look left, then right, and then left again, tilt your head, and then put your finger to your lip in a coy, but dumb, manner." Ugh. But when she was singing, she was very, very good. I did have issues with her way too perky, life-can't-get-me-down upbeat attitude. It never waned, even when Tess (played by Cher) told her over and over again, "Get off my stage." I really expected Ali to burst out with a "Golly!" or "Gee whiz!" ala Shirley Temple.

The main reason I went to this movie was Stanley Tucci. I think I've seen every movie he's done for the past three years. We even almost went to see a show he was directing on Broadway, just because I wanted to say "Tucci" and giggle while we we sat in the audience... which is probably why Jeff didn't want to go see it. Anyway, Tucci did not disappoint. He was fun and intuitive and warm in a gentle sort of way.

When Alan Cumming's face filled the screen, I gasped. I had no idea he was in this movie! And the notion that he, who starred in Cabaret on Broadway (with Natasha Richardson, by the way), was in a movie about a cabaret made me laugh. But sadly, he has two teeny scenes. His second is to die for. He made his two minutes on screen incredibly memorable and was probably one of the best non-singing numbers. Loved it. True cabaret.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint
Directed By: David Yates
Run Time: 2 hrs 30 minutes

Harry, Ron and Hermione set out on their perilous mission to track down and destroy the secret to Voldemort's immortality and destruction -- the Horcruxes.

I don't have much to say about this one. Part of me is glad they split the last book into two movies. So much happens that it will be nice that they didn't cut anything out. But on the other hand, nothing really happens in this one. I think they cut a lot out... I don't remember the opening scene being so short. I remember it being much more intense. And just as the movie gets good, it ended... leaving us hanging for another year. Even though the book is, what, seven hundred pages long, I probably should have re-read it just to refresh my memory as to what is supposed to be happening. I do think they cut a lot out. The story just didn't congeal. There seemed to be a lot lacking. And it was slow.

This movie is incredibly dark, both visually and storyline. The scene where Ron imagines Harry and Hermoine together is just plain creepy... but that could be because I'm still envisioning them as wee ones.

The acting, as always, is good. Emma Watson is really coming into her own as an actress.

I'm looking forward to the next installment. I am curious to see them age (at the very end).

Morning Glory
Starring: Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton, Jeff Goldblum, Patrick Wilson
Directed By: Roger Michell
Run Time: 1 hr 42 minutes

When hard-working TV producer Becky Fuller (played by McAdams) is fired from a local news program, her career begins to look as bleak as her hapless love life. Stumbling into a job at "Daybreak" (the last-place national morning news show), Becky decides to revitalize the show by bringing on legendary TV anchor Mike Pomeroy (played by Ford). Unfortunately, Pomeroy refuses to cover morning show staples like celebrity gossip, weather, etc.

Omg. Did not expect to like this movie, after all it is a chick flick, but i really, really did... Almost loved it. I especially liked the ending. I felt a little vaclempt. Loved Rachel McAdams. Not sure i liked Harrison Ford with his gravely voice but it grew on me at the end. I liked how Becky was strong, tough, and passionate about her job. probably should have been a producer ,myself, in hindsight. Wonder if Harrison Ford has the start of Parkinson’s. Interesting character.

Starring: Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, David Cross
Directed By: Tom McGrath
Run Time: 1 hr 36 minutes

Megamind is the most brilliant super-villain the world has ever known... and the least successful. Over the years, he has tried to conquer Metro City in every imaginable way -- Each attempt, a colossal failure thanks to the caped superhero known as "Metro Man," until the day Megamind actually defeats him in the throes of one of his botched evil plans. Suddenly, the fate of Metro City is threatened when a new villain arrives and chaos runs rampant, leaving everyone to wonder: Can the world's biggest "mind" actually be the one to save the day?

This one started off a little blah. The preview plot is wrong/very misleading. The previews make it seem as though Metro Man steps down as the town's superhero so Megamind decides to take the postion of superhero, after all the years of being thought of as bad but really he's good. At least, that's what I thought the previews were saying this movie is about. That's not it at all. There's a much different plot. I actually liked the movie as it really was (not as the previews portrayed it... or how I thought it was in my mind). It took me awhile to grasp that the previews were wrong, though. I kept thinking, "But Megamind retires. When do we see that? And Megamind is good." But Megamind isn't good. He is a villain and he likes being a villain... or at least he wants to rule Metro City. When someone else steps in and prevents him from doing that, he has to put a stop to that.

It's an interesting movie. Some lines had me REALLY laughing. It's smart. Liked how good hearted Megamind really was. Liked Minion, although I couldn’'t help but wonder about how much Despicable Me stole their minion thunder. I wanted to like Megamind’s “attack bots” more (and, in that respect, I liked Despicable Me's minions so much better).

I liked this movie but I may not buy it, which says a lot. I loved Will Ferrell... which is also saying a lot because I often (in other movies) find him a little too much. He had a good evil voice.

I laughed a lot in this movie. It was smart. It was fun. It was just missing that something extra, that oomph, to make it really good.

Due Date
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Zach Galifianakis
Directed By: Todd Phillips
Run Time: 1 hr 40 minutes

Peter Highman is an expectant first-time father whose wife's due date is a mere five days away. As Peter hurries to catch a flight home from Atlanta to be at her side for the birth, his best intentions go completely awry when a chance encounter with aspiring actor Ethan Tremblay forces Peter to hitch a ride with Ethan--on what turns out to be a cross-country road trip that will ultimately destroy several

Ugh. When I told Jeff I went to this movie, he asked me why. I wasn't a boy so I wasn't going to get this movie. If he had said this before I saw it, I would have taken offense. Since he said it after I saw it, the movie was still fresh in my mind and it suddenly became clear to me: It really wasn't a movie for me. I was not their target audience. I'm not sure this is a boy movie, either. This movie is for people who don't like funny things. This movie is not funny. I did not laugh the entire time.

I don't like movies where absolutely everything that could go wrong does. Cue Meet the Parents, another movie that strung together way too many disastrous events in such a short time period. I thought some of the scenes/moments were far fetched, particularly the little things. If you're stuck in a situation with someone, regardless of how much you loathe the person, I would think most people would bite their tongue and be civil. In theory, Peter was never going to see Ethan again after their cross-country road trip so why bother trying to change someone who really doesn't seem like he'd ever change? Just smile, nod, and change the topic when someone's making absurd comments. Or go with the flow. Why make a bad situation worse? But, as Jeff likes to tell me, that wouldn't be a good movie.

This movie was just a horrible movie with a few redeeming qualities. The ending was redeeming, I'll give it that. It was sweet. But that's probably because we finally see Peter's wife (and she makes the moment sweet).

For all my poo-pooing, I did think the acting was good (both Robert Downey, Jr. and Zach Galifianakis). Robert Downey, Jr. was great with the deadpan.

Even if you're stuck on a plane for twelve hours and you've watched every other movie option, watch one you've already seen again. Skip this one. It ain't funny.

Tamara Drewe
Starring: Gemma Arterton, Roger Allam, Bill Camp, Dominic Cooper, Tamsin Greig, Luke Evans
Directed By: Stephen Frears
Run Time: 1 hr 49 minutes

After her mother's death, Tamara Drewe (played by Arterton) ventures back to the village where she grew up... and life for the locals is thrown upside down. Next to her mother's house is a writer's retreat, headed by a best selling author who has a rather large ego (and who once rebuked Tamara terribly) and filled with others who are trying very hard to be writers. Tamara is a journalist, is quite successful, very young, and thanks to a nose job, very beautiful. Her presence is distracting for everyone and jealousies and lust arise.

This is an independent movie that takes place in England (those two notions may explain why you've never heard of this movie). After watching so many bad for me movies (and just plain bad movies), I thought a little "artsy" movie might do me good. From the preview, I deduced that Tamara was supposed to be a muse for many of the writers in the colony. She's not. She definitely has her siren ways but they don't really concern the writers.

Tamara was a bit of a beautiful soul overshadowed by a huge nose. The ego-maniac best selling author is incredibly cruel to her as a teenager (and he a grown man). Now with a beautiful face and more darkened soul, Tamara taunts those that once rejected her. I'm not quite sure I got a good handle on why she did the things she did. She didn't seem to be taking revenge; she did seem to have a conscience. I really did not understand her relationship with the ego-maniac writer, particularly after how he treated her as a teenager and especially because he seemed so icky. He was not good looking, he was not charming, and he was a jerk. It just didn't seem to me that this character would embark on that relationship. That was one thing that really kept me from really liking this movie - understanding why Tamara did the things she did. She seemed stronger, better, and nicer than all of that. Of course, Tamara's relationship with Nicholas (the writer, played by Allam), was the much needed catalyst for karmic events.

This movie is about changing who you are on the outside, how it affects how people treat you, and therefore how you act. It was enjoyable. It certainly was funny. It was interesting. It was different. If you're ready to take a break from the cliched (and therefore predictable) Hollywood movies, see this one. It certainly isn't predictable.