Archive for the ‘Fantasy’ Category

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

Sunday, 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.

 

Jennifer’s Body, 2009, ***, R

Wednesday, 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.

 

 

Twilight, 2008, **, PG-13

Thursday, 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.

The Time Traveler’s Wife, 2009, ****, PG-13

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

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“The Time Traveler’s Wife,” This movie is better than “The Notebook,” you know why?  It adds the Sci-Fi element of time travel that really makes your mind wander around the idea of it actually happening.  Not to mention Eric Bana is like one of those hunks on a Harlequin romance novel. 

 

Claire (Rachel McAdams, “The Notebook,” “The Wedding Crashers”) met Henry (Eric Bana, “Hulk,” “The Nugget,” “Troy”) in the field on her childhood home when she was about 9.  Through the years she kept a diary of the times she saw him, and kept the hope of one day being with this love of her life. 

 

The film centers around Henry’s disappearing act (time travel).  His travels are explained as some sort of genetic disorder.  He began appearing and disappearing after a car accident that left his mother dead, and him being thrust back into different years and places for no apparent reason, one place happening to be Claire’s yard; he appears as a 40-something year old man.

 

I must say, the movie starts out slow, but it is totally worth the watch.  It’s a love story that you won’t forget.  Sometimes love is worth waiting for, over and over again.   

 

The Lovely Bones, 2010, ****1/2, PG-13

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

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Starring: Mark Whalberg, Stanley Tucci, Saoirse Ronan

 

Director Peter Jackson does an outstanding job on this film adaptation of Alice Sebold’s novel. 

 

In the 1970s, Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan, “City of Ember,” “I Could Never Be Your Woman”) is a young teen full of life and in the midst of running after a love, until one afternoon her life is taken away; brutally.  Her parents, Jack (Whalberg) and Abigail (Rachel Weisz) are destroyed emotionally when she doesn’t return home from school, and the hours become days, and weeks and no evidence other than her crochet hat are found.  Jack and Abigail become separated emotionally and Abigail goes off to another county to cope with the loss, while Jack continues to search for clues, and take care of his other two children with the help of his mother-in-law, (Susan Sarandon).

 

This film is very powerful and moving, and the best murder mystery I’ve ever seen.  The story is so profound with the images of what Susie Salmon’s heaven looks like, and her trying to communicate to her father to let him know she’s okay.  The divide between the living and afterlife have such an emotional connection with the viewer, and makes you want to help Jack find out his daughters murderer.

 

The moral of this story is always go with your gut; if someone seems a tad sketchy, even if he has been friendly with your parents, don’t get trapped, literately.  This film is too deep for young children, and probably even high school kids, but then again, they might learn to stick to their guns and stay away from “strangers.” 

 

Young actress, Saoirse Ronan, is someone to definitely watch.  She played an excellent part in this film, and is going to lead the next generation of stars, Dakota Fanning, lookout!

Knowing 2009, **3/4, PG-13

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

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Starring: Nicholas Cage, Rose Byrne

 

“Knowing,” is like “The Day After Tomorrow,” meets the hit 90s series, “X-Files.”  Another version of the end of the world is the Sun approaching close enough to Earth that it is incinerated.  All life as we know it would burn up, and end.  This is quite frightening.

This film is very disturbing and unsettling.  It really makes you wonder if everything is pre-determined.  

 

In the 1950s in a small Massachusetts town, an Elementary school teacher (Danielle Carter) has her students draw a picture of what they think the future is like.  One particular student writes down an entire page of numbers.  The teacher put the pages in a tube and says they are creating a time capsule.

 

Cage (“Con Air,” “Adaptation,” “Vampire’s Kiss”) plays John Koestler a High School science teacher who is skeptical that everything is pre-determined for the future of the planet.  However, when John’s son Caleb (Chandler Canterbury, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “Powder Blue”) son receives the page full of numbers at the unveiling of the 50s time capsule, he begins to think otherwise. As expected John attempts at solving this numeric mystery, which turns into much more than anyone could or would want to imagine.  

 

I think this is one of Cage’s better films, including my favorite, “Con Air.”  I also think this movie is more interesting than his National Treasure adventures.  If you love Sci-Fi you may want to check it out on DVD, at least once. 

Drag Me To Hell 2009, **1/2, Un-Rated Directors Cut

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

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Starring: Justin Long, Alison Lohman, Lorna Raver

 

This is perfect for these economic times, however, I don’t think anyone will want to work as a loan officer after seeing this horror flick.

 

Most of us have seen the creepy trailer before.  Essentially, Mrs. Ganush (Lorna Raver, who has done many character actor parts in TV dramas and crime shows, “Bones,” “Boston Legal,” “CSI Las Vegas”) is in need of an extension on her payment, for the third time.  Christine Brown (Alison Lohman, “Matchstick Men,” “Flicka”) has to make the ultimate harsh decision of saying no, I’m Sorry, but we just can’t help you out this time. 

 

Brown is trying to becoming assistant manager at the bank, in competition with a new employee that just might get the spot.  Needless to say, sometimes doing the right thing can get you in a massive pickle you can’t get out of.  Mrs. Ganush tells her, “You shamed me” over and over again, and says some curse over Brown.

 

Over the next 3 days some of the most outlandish, bizarre events occur, and Brown and her boyfriend Clay (Justin Long, “Accepted,” “Jeepers Creepers,” “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story”) to and get help from a fortune teller.

 

I liked this movie because of its original storyline.  However, there were some really grotesque parts that some people might not be able to handle.  Some of the special effects were pretty goofy, (but you have to remember, Sam Raimi is the guy that brought us the classic horror/spoof/comedies – The Evil Dead movies) so this was kinda expected.

 

If you want to be spooked or watch a decent horror flick, get this one on your list to rent for Halloween night.

 

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse 2010, *** 1/2, PG-13

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

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Starring: Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner, Billy Burke, Dakota Fanning

 

 

The Saga continues.  More vampire sightings, more fighting scenes, and more protecting and fighting over, Bella (Kristen Stewart, “The Messengers,” “Panic Room,” “The Runaways”).   

 

I think this is the best screen version so far.  There is more action, more humor, and more back and forth between Jake (Lautner, “Valentines Day,” “The Adventures of Shark Boy & Lava Girl”) and Edward (Pattinson, “Remember Me,” “The Haunted Airman”), and my especially favorite scene is the “Tent” one; conversation between Edward and Jake.  Great stuff!   I also really like how some of the Cullen Clan share how they got to the Vamp stage in their life; trying to give Bella some insight on what she would be giving up, once she “changes.”

 

Check this one out in the theatres now, but I’m sure you don’t have to hurry, since it just came out on Wednesday, June 30th.   This is a for sure, must buy Christmas DVD.

 

 

The Twilight Saga: New Moon 2009, **1/2, PG-13

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

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Starring: Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner, Robert Pattinson, Billy Burke, Dakota Fanning

 

This is the second installment of the Twilight series, which centers on Edward (Pattinson) leaving town, and Bella (Stewart) and Jacob (Lautner) becoming more than friends.  This relationship grows to new levels, however, Bella is still very love sick over Edward leaving her, to “protect her from himself.”   If you want more Cullen, you should just skip this movie, its all about Jacob and the wolf pack.

 

The film was very slow to start, lots of mindless chatter and horrible dialog, but does finally pick up 35 minutes into the movie.  The action of the werewolves really gets this flick into fun-mode for the viewer, which of course is all computer generated, but very cool to watch, compared to the werewolves in “Van Helsing,” and “Underworld” films.

 

Buy it on DVD now, if you are a fan of the Stephenie Meyer books.