How Do You Know?...Thumbs Down

I have to apologize for the lag in movie reviews...the holiday season really had me held captive and I couldn't manage to get to the movies or sit down long enough to see an older movie.  So again I apologize to all my avid readers out there ;)  Anyway I'm back now and I am ready to talk movies with you again!!

Most recently I went to the movies to see How Do You Know.  The previews made this film look promising, a feel-good film for the holiday season, that may even be what the previews promised and what the film was marketed as.  Unfortunately, this was not the case, and I am so upset that after my month-long hiatus, I had to return with a film that was less than satisfactory to review.  To think this film beat out The Fighter for what I should review this week.  Wrong choice...very wrong choice.  

So many things went wrong with this movie, where do I even begin?  About 15 minutes into the movie I looked around and let out a sigh that I would have to endure about an hour and half more of sheer boredom.  However, I will say thanks to Paul Rudd, I was able to stay awake.  He kept me laughing in his quirky, sort of comedic timing way.  His dialogue matched his delivery and his facial expressions were priceless.  Although that wasn't enough to carry the movie, it was enough to keep me from leaving.

One thing that went wrong from the beginning was the professions that the writer and director, James L. Brooks, gave the characters.  Reese Witherspoon's character, Lisa, was a USA softball player who gets cut from the team...a softball player...really?? In a movie that has nothing to do with baseball and doesn't move the story along at all or contribute to the storyline whatsoever, was not smart and only confuses the viewers as to what the point of it all is.  Paul Rudd's character, George, was no better suited with George being a corporate executive under scrutiny by the government.  The fact that Owen Wilson and Jack Nicholson didn't really do much for the movie is also very unfortunate and further validates what poor excuse for a movie this really was.  Sadly, it's harsh but true.

The problem is, this story is one we've all seen before, except in an over complicated way.  Whenever George was facing his troubles with  the law it was so annoying to watch and it over-complicated the plot. And to think James L. Brooks, is the same person who brought us As Good As It Gets, an amazing movie in my book.  I hope that wasn't as good as it gets Mr. Brooks because How Do You Know did not match up in the least.

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For Colored Girls: An Emotional Rollercoaster

Tyler Perry has done it again, but this time a little differently.  In his first rated-R film which he wrote, directed and produced, Tyler Perry has brought Ntozake Shange's play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf, to the silver screen and trimmed the title to simply, For Colored Girls.  The movie has an all-star cast which includes Whoopi Goldberg, Thandie Newton, Loretta Devine, Kimberly Elise, Kerry Washington, Janet Jackson, Anika Noni Rose, and Phylicia Rashad each portraying a different black female voice.  

This film is dra-mat-ic (to say the least)! If you are like me and you had never seen the play and had to rely solely on the previews for the film to clue you in, you will be surprised at what you find once the movie begins.  Each one of the women are living amongst their own issues and battling with their own conflicts as black women in New York City.  I must say this is an interesting story enveloped in some really tough issues for Perry to develop and I think he did a fine job doing so. 

Because it is based off of a "choreopoem", there are times within the film where the actors will break off and deliver a poem in a monologue.  I cannot say that I cared for that particular delivery, because it was then that I became disconnected from the film.  When a poem was delivered in a voice-over with the scene or a montage of scenes continuing to go on, I was then able to stay connected and focused on the characters and what was being said by them, while also being able to take in the poem.  Some of the ways in which the poems were delivered is the only gripe that I have with the film, but in this case it is to each's own, whether this bothers you or not.

Loretta Devine did a great job in the movie!  I love Loretta Devine anyway, but she just reaffirmed her talent in her role as Juanita.  She is such a breath of fresh air and serves as the backbone along with Phylicia Rashad in the movie.  Devine conveys, what I believed to be the most powerful poem in the film "Someone Ran Off With All My Stuff".  That poem is so poignant and placed perfectly within the script that it it will resonate with you after the movie is over.

The film takes you on a roller coaster ride of emotions and it is something quite like a puzzle that you sit and piece together as the movie progresses.  I would say see it for yourself and see what all the talk is about.  I have a feeling we will be seeing Perry among the nominees come Oscar time and I wouldn't be surprised if there are a few cast members sitting right beside him for the stellar performances in this work of art.

Check out the trailer :

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Conviction: Oscar Worthy Performances!

I was finally able to see Conviction last night after waiting, for what seemed like forever, for it to be in wide release.  I only had to see the trailer once to know that this was a movie that I had to see!  I love movies that are based on a true story and especially incredible stories like this one... 

Conviction is based on the true story of Betty Anne Waters, played by Hilary Swank, whose brother, Kenneth Waters, played by Sam Rockwell,  is convicted of murder and sentenced to life without parole.  To defend Kenny, Betty Anne pushes herself to the limit and gets her GED, a B.A., puts herself through law school and finally passes the bar, all while raising two boys.  She ultimately dedicates her whole life to making sure her brother, who she believes has been wrongfully convicted, is acquitted and set free.  This story is an incredible testament to the power of love and the unbreakable bond between a brother and a sister.  It is a love story unlike the usual romantic comedies and classical romances that I am used to.  This is a love story where family comes first, and there is nothing else without it.  This movie displayed how truly amazing love is! While it can make you do crazy things, it can also push you to places where you never thought you could go and achieve what you thought was unachievable.

The screenplay was well written and wonderfully delivered! The performances in the film were unmatched and the dialogue was superb! Simply extraordinary portrayals by Hilary Swank, Sam Rockwell, Minnie Driver and Juliette Lewis! These actors really played their parts and they played them well! They made you believe every word that came out of their mouths and feel the emotion behind those words.  I am quite sure that we will see these actors at the Oscars, nominated for the roles that they comprised in this film, and I will not be surprised if they all turn out to be winners! 

This was really a heart-warming adaptation of such a touching story.  It is one of those movies where you will like and root for Betty Anne from the very beginning until the very end.  Get your tissues handy, because you will need them. 

Watch the trailer here:

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Life As We Know It- You'll Love It!

Life As We Know It is a beautiful story picturing what would happen if you were named a godparent of your best friend's child and you suddenly had to fulfill that role, having never parented before and needing to abruptly give up your whole life.

Holly, played by Katherine Heigl, and Messer, played by Josh Duhamel, must do just that.  They each give up their individual lives to raise their best friend's child, Sophie,...together.  Here we have two people who within the first 20 minutes have made it quite obvious that they strongly dislike the company of the other, and now they have to pull together, living under the same roof, to raise Sophie.  This movie was both heart-warming and fun, to say the least.  Oh how I really love Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel!  Their on-screen chemistry is absolutely delightful!  I think this movie really showcased their acting chops, especially in the case of Duhamel where we really haven't seen him many places, aside from the popular Transformers saga.

This movie was both genuine and refreshing.  For me, it was a wonderful time at the movies.  One of those times when you are happy to say you came.  A feel-good script that will leave you with a smile on your face.

Check out the trailer and see it!  You'll be happy that you did : )

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Wall Street & Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

It's twenty years later and we're back on Wall Street, Oliver Stone's Wall Street that is, but this time it's a little different.  Gordon Gekko has just been released from jail and is seemingly broke.  He finds himself riding the subway instead of getting chauffeured from place to place; a change that Gekko is definitely not used to.  We then meet Gekko's daughter, Winnie played by Carey Mulligan, and her boyfriend, Jake played by Shia LeBouf.  Jake is a Wall Street exec himself and Winnie is the complete opposite, wanting nothing to do with finance or her father who longs to build a relationship with her and looks to Jake to help him do so.  The question you will ask yourself is whether Gekko has changed or if the saying holds true that "you can't teach an old dog new tricks".

What is lacking from Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is the fast-paced nature that I loved in Wall Street.  In Wall Street, as some of you might remember, there was a sense of urgency to the script.  The audience was on the edge of their seats, waiting for what would happen next and if  Bud Fox's actions would catch up to him.  

It was nice, however, to see Charlie Sheen make a cameo in Wall Street 2 but that wasn't enough for the movie to make a lasting impression on me.

This is one sequel that I could have waited to see on dvd.  It took me quite a while to finish this commentary, considering I saw this film on opening night, but I was just not compelled to write on the movie.  It wasn't just is what is...not really worth the time.

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"Fall" for Movies!

As the leaves begin to change and we uncover our jackets...the fall brings us more than just the cool weather.  This fall is going to bring us some serious heavy hitters! Get ready for it!

Here are some of the ones I'm looking forward to and some that I think may be a flop:

Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps
September 24th

Who doesn't love a sequel? And Shia Labeouf? ...Enough said.

Check out the trailer here:

Now a movie that I'm not so sure about:

September 24th (limited release)

Ryan Reynolds is trapped underground with only a cell phone and a lighter as co-stars.  This movie has been heralded as "for the suspense-lover" but "not for the claustrophobic".  An interesting concept, but whether the movie itself will actually be interesting is yet to be seen.

Watch the trailer for yourself...

I hope this is good:

The Social Network
October 1st

A movie about the most popular social network on the planet.  Facebook has grown into a multi-million, or should I say billion, dollar phenomenon. Now we can watch and see how it all began, the ins and outs, the ups and downs, and Justin Timberlake : )

I'm sure these last three will be great:

October 15th

As the tagline says, "The incredible story of Betty Anne Waters", and oh what an incredible story it is!  After just only watching the preview, I cannot wait to see this movie!  I already know that I will have to wait to see it until October 17th, but please check back on the 18th for my comments.  This movie looks like it has Academy Award written all over it!  Hilary Swank plays Betty Anne Waters, a working mother, "who puts herself through law school", to defend her brother, played by Sam Rockwell, who is convicted for murder.  This movie promises to be gripping and smart.  A must see...I can feel it!

Check out the trailer for yourself:

The Company Men
October 22nd

The Company Men is the first film adapted, covering the current economic climate.  Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Costner are just some of the names in this film.  Whether you've been there, or are still there now, I'm sure this film will be relatable.

Welcome to the Rileys
October 29th

After the death of their teenage daughter, Doug Riley, played by James Gandolfini, takes a business trip to New Orleans where he meets a teenage prostitute, played by Twilight's Kristen Stewart, and attempts to care for her as his own daughter.  I am excited to see a harsher side of Kristen Stewart and a softer side of James Gandolfini in this touching drama.

These are just a few films that I can't wait to see! Which of these will you be going to see? Choose your favorite in the poll on the right, under the "Blog Archive" section.--->

Check back for my opinion of these fall films!

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Takers: A Summer Letdown

I had been patiently waiting to see Takers for a while, having seen an early preview a couple of months ago, and was disappointed, noticing the release date as August 28th.  I finally got to see it this past weekend.  To my utter dismay, it was far from what I expected.

At about 15 minutes in, I had to tell myself not to panic, that it would get better, and that it just started.  I waited for it to get better.  When the credits rolled at the end, I realized, it was over, and that the moment I had waited for never came.  You would think with Michael Ealy, Idris Elba, Hayden Christensen, Paul Walker, Jay Hernandez, Matt Dillon, Chris Brown and T.I. (okay maybe not Chris Brown and T.I. in terms of acting, but you never know, it could happen) that we had a movie.  Not so.  Not so at all.

I read somewhere that if you liked Ocean’s 11, you’ll love Takers.  Did that person see Takers?   I can only imagine that this person only saw the trailer and was as misguided as I was, because if they saw the movie there is no way such a comparison could have been made.  And I can’t just blame the writers for lack of a compelling story, because the acting was bad too.  It was almost as if this was an hour and forty-seven minute amateur film and that these actors had just graduated from the academy.  Idris Elba, for example, who naturally has a British accent, kept switching back and forth between his British accent and the American accent that he typically uses when playing in films.  Did Idris Elba forget what role he was playing? Did the director not notice this? Or did he just figure no one else would notice? Because I did, and I’m sure I was not the only one.

I spent most of the time asking myself three questions:  How long have I been here? What do I have to do later? And, when is this over?  There’s always one sure-fire way to tell if you’re enjoying yourself or not.  If you ever have to ask yourself what time it is, you’re not, especially in a movie.  In a movie you’re supposed to get lost in the story and you’re supposed to be on their time, following the characters every move, going where they go and forgetting that you’re seated in a theater amongst 600 others.  When you watch a good movie and you feel like it might be ending soon, you might find yourself getting sad because you’re soon going to have to say goodbye to these people that you have come to know and go back to your own reality.  It is very hard to do if your mind won’t let you rest because it is so concerned with the time.  And when you become unsure of whether you are watching a comedy because everyone seated around you is laughing, at what I’m sure was not supposed to be funny, or T.I.’s incredibly annoying voice which will make you want to claw your eyeballs out.  At that point, you’ll wish this was a joke and that you could get your money back.

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Wit: Play turned Film

Margaret Edson's Pulitzer Prize winning play Wit was turned into an HBO movie in 2001.  Wit is a play about one woman's battle with cancer.  The Day That Changed My Life is a play comprised of 14 different battles and connections to cancer.  Did I mention that I wrote The Day That Changed My Life? I didn't? Well there you go. (Shameless plug, I know) But check it out...

My initial reason for ordering Wit from Netflix was to do some research.  Seeing as this play was about cancer and started Off-Broadway like The Day That Changed My Life, I thought it would behoove me to watch it. And I was so right!  Wit became the success as I can only hope The Day That Changed My Life will become. 

I thought this movie, although tough to watch, was great! And I must emphasize that it is VERY tough to watch, especially if you have lost anyone to cancer, as I have, but it is well worth your time and energy.  
As you follow Vivienne Barring's story you will be blown away by Emma Thompson's portrayal. 

Vivienne is a professor who has relied on her craft, her whole life, and it seems has never developed relationships outside of it.  Vivienne talks to you as though you are in the room with her.  She recounts her life with you and pulls you into her current struggle. She has stage four ovarian cancer and as she says, "there is no stage five".  Emma Thompson delivers an impeccable performance!  You will hang onto her every word and you will feel for her like she is your very best friend, wishing that this wasn't happening to her, and that there was something you could do, if only to just be there with her.

I suggested to the actors to get their hands on a copy because it will definitely be beneficial for them, as it was for me, to watch.  This film was nominated for and won many awards-well deserved.  Get it off of or order it from for $5.99.  Just watch it, you won't be sorry you did, and let me know what you think.

If you've seen it already, what did you think?

Here's the trailer:

*WARNING* this montage of scenes gives you more to watch, but GIVES A LOT AWAY:

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Eat Pray Love-From Elizabeth to Julia

Just got back from seeing Eat Pray Love! After reading the reviews for the movie, I was a little worried as to what to expect.  There was so much buzz surrounding the movie up until the release on August 13th. Since then I haven't heard much news about people actually going to see it.  I remember watching The George Lopez Show one night as he made jokes about the movie, insinuating that, with a running time of 133 minutes, it was both boring and long.  E! Online's Dezhda Gaubert is quoted saying "most of what made the book connect with so many is entirely missing here."
Despite the comments, I still went in with high hopes, having read the book, the lead actress being Julia Roberts and the director being Ryan Murphy (co-creator of GLEE) and I was not disappointed.  I'm sorry Ms. Gaubert but I have to disagree with you.  I think the movie stayed true to the book. What was left out of the film was not missed and is completely understood.  Remember, the movie is taking viewers to Italy, India, and Bali, some things are bound to be left out for the sake of time and some things simply do not translate on the big screen.

The movie highlights Elizabeth Gilbert’s travels and illuminates the friendships she made and the relationships that were built and broken.  I have to say, the movie really makes you feel for her husband Stephen, much more than the book did. That’s great acting Billy Crudup!

Julia Roberts does a fine job as Elizabeth Gilbert. She pulls us in with her emotion and her like-ability.  Julia Roberts is still Julia Roberts! She's amazing and I think she did Elizabeth Gilbert proud. 

Books turned into movies are wonderful! I love to see if the way I envisioned things while reading, are actually how they will appear onscreen.  That’s the way a lot of screenwriters feel too I bet, thinking “Hey! That’s not the way it’s supposed to be. That living room is not supposed to look like that.”

Eat Pray Love will make you want to travel the world! It’s a trip to Italy, India, and Bali for $11.50, I’d say that’s money well spent.  If you’ve read the book definitely see it!

Have you seen the movie yet? Read the book? What did you think? Do you agree or disagree with the critics?

Elizabeth Gilbert and Ketut Liyer

Check out the trailer:

***Also, check out an update on Eat Pray Love from Elizabeth Gilbert's website.  Richard from Texas has passed away.  Elizabeth writes about him here:

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Step Up 3-D & 3-D Movies

Dance!?!  In 3-D!?!  Even better!  Hip-hop and dance go together like peanut butter and jelly, and when you add in a 3 dimensional twist...well let's just say, you have what I would call a recipe for success.  Not to mention, you've just reached entertainment bliss.  There is a little bias here though, being that I love any and all things hip-hop, and aside from the fact that I have seen Step Up and Step Up 2: The Streets when both of those came out.  Naturally, going to see Step Up 3D on the day it was released, was a given.  Although I've seen them all, I hated the first one, loved the second one, and felt the third one was just...okay.  However, the 3D aspect of it all made up for the story itself being just...okay. You have to hand it to those dancers that defy the laws of gravity and move effortlessly from tabletop to blacktop in a blink of an eye. And for all those who want a seat way up in the front, this movie is it!

The dance sequences were literally in-your-face and jaw-dropping! My favorite? When Moose wets the stage and they dance in the water...Amazing! 

So I would say see it for yourself and tell me what you think.

On another note, I have to say I am not a big fan of the recent surge in 3-D movies. To me, it is more of a distraction where you’re fighting the urge to pull the glasses off of your face and just watch the movie without them, unable to completely focus on the movie.  I can’t help but wonder if it is a distraction put in place to keep us from noticing the lack of content by impressing us with special effects. Take Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs and Toy Story 3.  

I’m guessing that Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, having seen it in 3-D on IMAX, probably would not have done as well without the food falling down in your face because there was less of a story to be found there.  On the other hand, I think Toy Story 3, having seen it in 2-D, held up on its own without the need of 3-D 
technology.  What happened to the days when seeing a movie on a 50
foot screen was enough?  These days, it seems to take so much more to entertain us.  Not only that, but with a 2-D movie costing $11.50, where I’m from, you can imagine my surprise when I got to the window and paid $15.50 to see Step Up 3-D.  $15.50!?! Is it worth it?  Or, is this the movie industry's way of continuously trying to rob us of what little money we have, knowing we will continue to pay?  In this economy, one industry that continues to thrive is the movie industry. Don’t get me wrong; it is a fun experience, depending on the type of film, (see above concerning Step Up 3D).  I think it’s getting a little out of hand (there is news buzzing about upcoming 3D movies).  I guess it's to each his own.

What are your thoughts on 3-D movies? Do you love them or hate them?

Who am I to talk though, I hope to see my movie on the big screen one day and hope you will pay the money to see it.  Will it be in 3-D?  Probably not. : ) 

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