Monday, July 18, 2011

Movie Survey: July 2011! must be summer. Finally I have a chance to see ALL of the movies playing in theaters! Reviews as follows:

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: PT. 2 My husband insisted that we see it at midnight- especially after a decade of his having appreciated the films. Having seen all the movies, and read all of the books however (and the seventh one most of all) I have to admit I was a bit disappointed in the lack of the Dumbledore plot-line. The effects won me over in the end, (as well as Neville's valiant Last Stand) and the epilogue as well (even though I spent most of my time staring at the aged make up.) See it in theaters and buy it on DVD. 

2. Horrible Bosses: The funniest movie of the summer. Go see it this weekend. Spacey, Aniston and Farrell all created the perfect villains and the comedy of the three male leads (especially Jason Bateman) is so tummy-crunchingly painfully amusing you might need to take a friend along. Watch for Jamie Foxx: scene stealer! (Rated R) See it in theaters.

3. Monte Carlo: I was hoping Monte Carlo would have a little substance (a far stretch-I know) but in the end it was a carbon-copy of every teenage "Princess" story, normal girl, princess for a day (or a week), gets the cute guy in the end because she is "deeper" than other girls. It grew tedious by the halfway point. Skip it (unless you are babysitting your young niece).

4. Midnight in Paris: Surprisingly charming! ...Maybe not 'charming' for it's couple-goes-sour plot-line, but for the imagery of the 1920's Paris Owen finds himself magically in, and then later the 1900's. Meeting famous painters and writers (most notably Ernest Hemingway and Pablo Picasso) Owen copes with his own novel getting advice from history's Greats. Rent it for a date night.

5. T3: Dark Side of the Moon. The Transformers are back! Surprisingly the best of the series, T3 starts off with our lead Sam Witwicky going on job interviews as even his secret "American Hero" status can't get him a job in this Recession. Poignant to the times, and heartfelt by most of the audience, Sam has to put himself in the line of fire to be heard by the government again, and to have a place fighting by the sides of Bumblebee, Jazz, and Optimus Prime, and more transformers again against the greatest invasion of our time. Michael Bay's effects in this film beat out any other contender in history for Best Special Effects of all time, sorry Jurassic Park, Independence Day and L.O.T. R. Advice: See it in theaters and buy it on DVD.

6. Bad Teacher. I wanted to like this movie...and it was funny, but also grossly irritating and superficial, playing off of the classic stereotypes of a 'bad teacher' and Diaz's Halsey only gets rewarded for slacking off, cheating, and committing fraud. The only redeeming quality of the movie was the much under-viewed Jason Segel (the comedic foil to Justin Timberlake's awkward and uncomfortable character). Jason stole every scene he was in. Advice: Netflix it as a view instantly when there's absolutely nothing else to see. 

7. X-Men: First Class: This movie was perfectly cast with James McAvoy as a young Xavier & Michael Fassbender as a young Erik-Magneto. (With the exception of the awkward blond, and Academy Award Winning Jennifer Lawrence, who made absolutely no sense as and bore no resemblance to Rebecca Romijn's older version of Mystique.) With the interesting Cuban Missile Crisis as the background of the plot events, viewers get wrapped up in the beginnings of the X-Men and of Xavier's school. We are treated to seeing new (and old) mutants and to a movie that was exceptional. Advice: Catch it in theaters before it leaves! 

8. Green Lantern. Ryan Reynolds is mostly known as a comedic actor, so it wasn't without some hesitance that I saw him as the Green Lantern in DC's latest revamp. Clearly DC is trying to catch the Marvel train with their reboots (a new Spiderman comes out later next year) but Marvel has hit fast forward with Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, X-Men First Class, Wolverine Origins, The Wolverine (2012), Captain America, The Avengers and it seems DC dropped the ball this time. The movie is enjoyable, especially with the sassy-smart jet fighter pilot and J.R. CEO Blake Lively plays, and it definitely worth renting. Advice: Rent it. 

9. Captain America! I've been itching to see this flick for a while now (although I do feel like this is another extremely long trailer for The Avengers) but basically here's the run down: (1) I felt proud to be an American for an hour and a half watching us in our best hour defeat the monsters of the Holocaust-era 1940's. (2) I appreciated the glamour, costumes and basic etiquette skills now lacking in a constantly mindless download of social media. How often do I see cell phones at tables in restaurants? Look around. It's frightening. (3) I was really glad "a good guy" deep down was able to reach the level of hero that Captain America reached. I'm tired of all of these barbaric arrogant action heroes. (That was a lie: I loved Robert Downey Jr, Shayne West, Jason Momoa, and Chris Hemsworth.) So let me try to rephrase that: it's nice to see a scrawny kid from Brooklyn become such a nice guy hero. Advice: See it in theaters with the kids and the grandparents.