Afterlife 2009, **1/2, R

November 22nd, 2010

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Starring: Christina Ricci, Justin Long, Liam Neeson

 

By Meredith A. Iager

 

Christina Ricci and Justin Long star in this lifeless and frustrated, cold movie about unfinished business and turmoil that could happen to us when we pass on. 

 

School teacher, Anna Taylor (Cristina Ricci, “Pumpkin,” “Casper”) is caught between life and death, after fight with her boyfriend Paul Coleman (Justin Long, “Accepted,” “Jeepers Creepers”). 

 

She storms out of the restaurant and immediately gets into a fatal car accident, and ends up in the basement of a funeral parlor, here mortician, Eliot Deacon (Liam Neeson, “Taken,” “Batman Begins”) begins to explain to her she has died, and he is fixing her up to look beautiful for her funeral.  He tries to calm her of her worries, and explain that she is moving on to another life.

 

Distraught by the events, her boyfriend Paul is told by one of Anna’s students, a young boy named Jack (Chandler Canterbury, “Knowing,” “Repo Men”), that he saw Ms. Taylor walking around upstairs in the funeral parlor.  Paul soon believes that possibly Mr. Deacon (Liam Neeson) is really keeping her alive in the funeral home. 

 

This film is very emotional, and very uneasy.  It is horrifying to believe that once we pass on, we could be in severe distress, and not move toward what many believe is the “light.”

 

I think this film isn’t for everyone.  I think you have to have some what of a grip on life and death, and it would be very emotional for many people to view this.  The film does have a nice twist; however, it does have similarities to films like “Ghost,” and “White Noise.”

 

I liked this film because Christina Ricci is one of my favorite actresses and she really does an excellent job of getting into her roles.  Over the past 3 years, I have watched more Liam Neeson films, and really have noticed his wide range of roles.  This film portrays him as an actor of substance and you cant tell which way his character of Mr. Deacon is going in this film.  It’s a movie you have to watch with close intent on understanding what’s going to happen next.

 

Only watch this film if paranormal and after death experience, don’t upset you — because this film will leave you, uneasy.

 

Charlie St. Cloud, 2010, ****1/2, PG-13

November 21st, 2010

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Starring: Zac Efron, Charlie Tahan, Kim Basinger, Amanda Crew, Ray Liotta

 

By Meredith A. Iager

 

I knew this would be one of my favorite dramas when I saw the trailer and I don’t have that happen often.  This is one of the more powerful movies in the past 3 years, and is truly outstanding, yet a tear-jerker.  Everyone should see this movie.  It connects life, death, what you’re passionate about, and how to move on from unexpected tragedy, and seeing things for what they are.

 

Off the coast of Maine, in a small boating town, life’s about taking the second chances God gives you, and going with your gut, in this drama-slice-of-life film.  Charlie St. Cloud (Zac Efron, “High School Musical”) is an avid wind-surfing champion along with his brother.  Tragically, soon after they win the race, Charlie and his brother Sam (Charlie Tahan, “Nights in Rodanthe”) get in a horrific car accident, and Sam dies, and Charlie flat lines, but is brought back to the living by EMT Florio Ferrente (Ray Liotta).

 

Before Sam passes on, Charlie promised him he would train with him 1 hour a day baseball lessons.  Sams’ passion in life was collecting baseball cards, and learning how to be a pro. And he continues his promise even when his brother is in limbo between earth and seeing the light and passing on.

 

As Charlie begins to play baseball with Sam, he starts to take a liking to an old classmate Tess (Amanda Crew, “She’s The Man”).  He starts to forget about Sam, and Sam slowly disappears.  But there are larger complications to the story that will make you baffled, but wanting to understand more of the story.  Just get it and watch the new Blu-Ray!

 

We defiantly get a flavor of more things to come from actor Zac Efron, and I’m more excited to see new projects from him in the future, now that his “High School Musical” teeny-bopper smash hits have subsided.   I also must note Charlie Tahan (Sam) and Amanda Crew (Tess) are also excellent in this film, and really make it special. 

 

Put this DVD on your holiday check list.  This is a keeper and one to watch at least once a year, to keep you in check of what you need to do in life.  Never forget your passions, never forget your dreams, and no matter what, after tragedy, life will move on, greater than it did before.

 

The Haunting of Sorority Row, TV-14, 2007, **

November 13th, 2010

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Starring: Leighton Meester, Kailin See and Lisa Marie Caruk

 

By: Meredith A. Iager

 

Being a part of a sorority is much more than meets the eye in this ridiculously cliché horror movie.  Sorority life is very sinister, and some people only wanted to “fit in.” 

 

New pledger Samantha Willows (Leighton Meester CW’s “Gossip Girl,” “Date Night”) wants to become apart of a new experience.  She’s a freshman, away from home, and at college for the first time.  Sam is also still with her geeky-cute-trustworthy, and (very much into the paranormal) high school boyfriend Oliver (Adrian Petriw), but feels as though she needs to experience sorority life. 

 

Soon enough random spooky events begin to occur in the house, (temperature drops every early AM, strange dreams about her new roommate, Jane (Kailin See) etc).  This still doesn’t frighten Sam, however, she consults her boyfriend who is a believer in ghosts and what-have-you.  She begins to suspect something terrible might have occurred in the house. 

 

Everything turns very south when previous years of sorority sisters have tragic deaths and all the new pledges in the house start to wonder, “What the hell is going on?” Apparently, a year before something happened while one of the new “sisters” was pledging, and the 4 main gatekeeper sisters of the house decide to keep everything sworn to secrecy.

 

This is of course a goofy horror movie for teens, but I had to watch it, Lifetime movies are always somehow enticing, and interesting.  The acting is crappy, more like a sit-com with some spooky effects.

 

The Last Song, 2010, *** PG

August 19th, 2010

 

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Starring: Miley Cyrus, Liam Hemsworth, Greg Kinnear, Kelly Preston

 

I can never have enough of Nicolas Sparks and his beachy love and life drama-romances.  His latest novel turned movie is simply excellent, however, it seemed like it went by very fast.  I no sooner hit “buy” on the On Demand service, and boom, the movie was almost over.  I think I just enjoyed it so much, it flew by! 

 

Ronnie Miller (Miley Cyrus, “Hannah Montana: The Movie”) is driven down by her mom (Kelly Preston) down to her father’s (Greg Kinnear, “Godsend,” “The Matador”) home on the shore in Georgia for the summer, along with her younger brother Jonah (Bobby Coleman, “Post Grad,” “Martian Child”).  Her relationship with her father hasn’t been too great since her parents divorced and he headed south, not to mention, they are very similar in personality, and both share the gifted, musical gene of playing the piano. 

 

Soon after Ronnie arrives she starts falling for a local rich boy (Liam Hemsworth, “Knowing”) and they start becoming an item in town; making all the ex-girlfriends of his very jealous.  The boy-thing sure helps Ronnie out, and making her relax more, start to talk with her father, and have a fresh slate for their relationship.

 

The film takes a downward spiral when she learns her father’s health has been compromised for some time.  This is probably the most heart wrenching part of the movie, and some great acting by Bobby Coleman (Jonah, Ronnie’s younger brother).

 

You need to watch this film, it’s a good one.

Remember Me, 2010, ****, PG-13

August 16th, 2010

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Starring: Robert Pattinson, Emilie De Raven, Chris Cooper, Pierce Brosnan, Lena Olin

Meredith A. Iager

Remember Me,” is not just a movie about a first real love, its about coping with life when tragedy happens, and dealing with parents as a teenager.  It also reminds us of the horrific day we remember as September 11th; something I believe is a good reminder for those individuals who seem to forget what these terrorists are capable of, and why we are at war. The film takes place in New York City.

The film centers on Tyler Hawkins (Robert Pattinson, “The Twilight Saga” Movies, “Little Ashes“) a teen distraught by the loss of his brother, and the lack of his father (Pierce Brosnan, “The Matador,” “The Thomas Crown Affair“) big wig lawyer.  He’s a good brother for his younger sister, the protector type, and wants his father to be aware that he has children, and be more involved in their lives.

Hawkins meets Ally (Emilie De Raven) on purpose, and his goofball room-mate thinks its a good idea.  Soon, the pair are inseparable, and fall in love.  They both have similar trust issues, and seem to click together and make a balanced couple.

This film is sad, and shows how people develop certain fears, and why the world is such a different place than it was for the baby boomers.  I think it is a film that you will learn from, and is what I call a slice-of-life romance.  This is an excellent film.

Pattinson really shows his talent in this one.  Only watch this if you are in a drama genre mood.

Kick Ass – 2010, 0 stars, R

August 9th, 2010

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Starring: Nicolas Cage, Christopher Mintz-Plasse

This movie is not what I expected at all.  I wonder why, the marketing for this movie makes it look like a funny kid, super hero movie.  Well, it’s funny to those that think microwaving a man, or a 11 year old girl with a bazooka is cool.

I am not a parent, but there were some things in this movie that don’t belong.  I am a huge fan of action movies, shoot em ups, good guy gets bad guy, etc.  But, I am not for dark humor that has children intertwined in this level of violent acts.  And we wonder why children are getting killed at school.  I’m not blaming Hollywood, however they do hold some responsibility for marketing that is actually marketing the movie, the real movie.

I don’t care if this was based off a comic book.  A motion picture is more impressionable on children because as we know, they watch a lot of TV.  A comic book still has some words on the page, and most of the children out there today, don’t pick up reading material easily; even a comic book.

Roger Ebert says it all, the film is “morally reprehensible.”  I concur.  I guess I am just more conservative for most of the audiences today.  Call me old fashioned, but this film is ridiculous.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, 2009, ****, PG

July 22nd, 2010

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Character Voices:  Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Andy Samberg (yes-the “Jizz in My Pants” and “I’m on a Boat” video dude / comedian)

 

This inspired movie from a children’s book, is one fun-foodie loving animation!  I think it’s every kid’s, and maybe even some adults dream to have their favorite food fall from the sky at an given second of the day.  Let the stress go, and watch this animated flick.

 

Inventor, Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader, Voice, “Year One,” “Night at the Museum: “Battle of the Smithsonian”), thinks he’s a genius, however nothing seems to work out quite the way he wants, until one day in his sardine selling town has tons of food choices, and all because of a mishap on Lockwood’s part—he somehow came up with a machine that turns water into food.

 

Now, this might seem awesome to everyone at first, then the invention gets unruly and the food gets larger than expected, making turmoil for everyone, especially the reporter, turned weather lady, Sam Sparks (Anna Faris, Voice, “Scary Movie” Series, “House Bunny,” “The Hot Chick.”)

 

This is a great animated movie, and for everyone!  It’s simply irresistible like a nice juicy cheeseburger, and some of your favorite ice cream for dessert! Check this one out today, on DVD via Netflix or Pay Per View.

Jennifer’s Body, 2009, ***, R

July 21st, 2010

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Starring: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Adam Brody, J.K. Simmons

 

From the writer of Oscar winning “Juno” (Diablo Cody) compiles this horrific seduction of a monster movie, “Jennifer’s Body.”

 

Jennifer (Megan Fox, “Transformers”) is a sexy-slick operating cheerleader who becomes the victim turned villain in this gruesome horror film.  Jenn and her dorkier better half-best friend Needy(Amanda Seyfried, “Dear John,” “Letters to Juliet”) attend a rock concert in their small town, the local pub burns down, and Jenn goes off with the band and lead singer Nikolai (Adam Brody) leaving her friend behind. 

 

Hours later Jenn visits Needy at her home and all hell breaks loose, literally.  The next morning at school, Jenn acts as if nothing happened, and is completely insensitive to the mourning of students burned to death in the local pub fire. Needy is trying to figure out what has happened to her friend, meanwhile other students start getting murdered; ripped open and eaten to death.  She tries to uncover the truth, save the town, and keep her boyfriend Chip (Johnny Simmons, “Hotel For Dogs,” “Evan Almighty”) away from her “changed” friend.

 

Every year these horror movies get more intense, more violent and gorier than the last.  There is some dialog that screams Diablo Cody because it is so goofy, and doesn’t really sound like something a high-schooler would say, unless they all talk in a bizarre code.

 

 

Dear John, 2010, ***1/2, PG-13

July 20th, 2010

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Starring: Channing Tatum, Amanda Seyfried

Another Nicolas Sparks novel is adapted’ directed by Lasse Holstrom (“The Cider House Rules,” “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”). They seem to be a regular thing now, about every 2.5 years… This is definitely not a bad thing! The aftermath of 9/11 sent US Troops to war with Afghanistan and other Middle Eastern countries. This has created many families, and other relationships to crumble or thrive on the separation makes the heart grow stronger, or to whatever extent you might believe in…

John Tyree (Channing Tatum, “Fighting,” “Step Up”) is a solider in the US Army. He is home on leave with his father (Richard Jenkins, “Step Brothers”), in Wilmington, N.C. He randomly runs into a College bound Savannah Curtis (Amanda Seyfried, “Jennifer’s Body,” “Mean Girls”) on the beach one afternoon, when her purse falls off the pier, and he dives into save it. (I think it would have been better if she got knocked off the pier and he saved her — now that would have made the story more believable (he saves her life, they fall in mad love) ..don’t you think?

Basically, this love-sick saga is through the powerful tool of pen, paper, and a stamp…over a year they write back and forth, then she tells him some bad news, and you think their romance is over… Well I guess you’ll have to find out.

I gained a lot more respect for Channing Tatum as an actor in this film. He has done mostly kiddie type movies, but I guess everyone has to start somewhere. He’s a good looking guy, ripped, and really shows he can pull off the emotional part of the script, well.

Check this one out on DVD, today. This is a must buy for Sparks movie collectors.

Twilight, 2008, **, PG-13

July 15th, 2010

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This flick is based on the Stephenie Meyer series, “The Twilight Saga.”‘  It is a very mundane teen vampire romance-drama, that somehow despite it’s lack of true vampire-ism, it grows on you, and you learn to love it!   It might dissapoint if you are unfamiliar with the books, and you are a vampire movie connoisseur.

Bella, (Kristen Stewart, “The Messengers,” “Into the Wild”) who moves to Forks, Washington to live with her father, town Sheriff (Billy Burke). Her new high school classmates all have different agendas, especially one particular group of siblings, the Cullen’s. She takes a particular hot and heavy interest in the suave, yet awkward and perfect Edward Cullen (Pattinson, “Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire”).  He takes a deep interest in her as well, and she soon realizes the kid is a tad freaky, and definitely has a secret. Women—curiosity killed the cat.

“Twilight,” is essentially a teen flick that provides no depth to the subject of vampire-ism, but offers a new twist: vampires sparkle in sunlight. Also, Robert Pattinson looks too feminine.  Something a bit different–vamps playing baseball, awesome music by British band Muse.

This is one for teen flick and vamp lovers only.