movie review

Review: Hugo

Chick 1 says:hugo

I really didn’t know what to expect from this adaptation of a children’s book by Martin Scorsese.  It looked beautiful and it was, after all, Scorsese.  It had the fantasy appeal I love.  But the first ads didn’t capture me.  It looked void of real heart.  But after some good reviews, I decided to give it a try.  And boy was I wrong.

The Basics: Hugo is a boy living in a Paris train station in the 1930s and keeping the clocks on time.  When a notebook that is precious to him is stolen, he enlists a young girl to help him. Read more

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Review: The Muppets

Chick 1 says:themuppets2

The Muppets are back and I’m happy to say, they are still the Muppets.

The Basics: Does it really matter?  They’re the Muppets.  Let the shenanigans begin!

OK, maybe the basics do matter.  The writers (star Jason Segel and frequent collaborator Nick Stoller) wisely chose to keep the original spirit of the Muppets by creating a world (our world in fact) where cynicism has left the Muppets behind.  They’ve broken up  and Kermit now lives alone in a run down mansion in Hollywood.  Naturally, events unfold that force the gang to get back together (by Montage!). Read more

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Review: The Prestige

Chick 1 says: theprestige

I saw this when it first came out in 2006, one of two dueling magician movies; the other one being The Illusionist.  It stars Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman as competing magicians themselves in Victorian London and is directed by Christopher Nolan, post-Batman Begins. Saw it again recently so it’s time for a review.

What I Liked:

Christopher Nolan is as Christopher Nolan does.  (Sorry, Forrest)  And this story has all the marks of this great director: non-chronological narrative, story within a story…within a story (wasn’t there a Simpsons episode like that?), and complex themes.  Read more

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Review: X-Men – First Class

Chick 1 says:x-men-first-class

I’m not a huge X-Men fan. I’ve seen all the movies and they’re alright.  (Except X-Men 3. That Famke Janssen scared the crap out of me!) Other than that, never read the comics or watched the cartoons. So I came to this movie with few expectations. That usually helps me enjoy a movie more and this was no exception.

The Basics: It’s really back to the beginning with this origin story. Charles Xavier (Professor X) is a young Oxford grad student studying mutations. After being contacted by the CIA, he begins to track down other mutants including Erik Lensherr (Magneto). Of course, nothing’s that easy and pretty soon prejudice, fear, and manical baddies complicate things. Read more

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Review: Super 8

Chick 1 says:super_8

Is JJ Abrams the new Steven Spielberg?  Possibly.  He is certainly an outstanding storyteller.  He can come up with fantastic concepts (Lost, Alias).  He can take us on heart-pounding adventures (Mission Impossible 3) that still resonate emotionally (Star Trek).  And in the tradition of Spielberg, all his great characters have daddy issues.  (He even used that as an episode title.)  So Super 8 is poised to be this generations E.T.  Did it succeed?  The jury’s still out.

The Basics:  In 1979, a group of young teens accidentally capture the crash of a U.S. Air Force train on film while shooting a zombie flick.  In the aftermath of the crash, bizarre events and missing person cases spread like a plague around the small town while the military takes over without offering any answers or help. Read more

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Review: The Illusionist

Chick 1 says:the-illusionist

No, this isn’t the Edward Norton/Jessica Biel period romance.  (Liked that one, though.)  This is an animated film fromSylvain Chomet, the director of The Triplets of Belleville.  (Another one I liked.)

The Basics:  This French (though largely without dialogue) animation follows the relationship of a lonely travelling magician and a young girl.

What I Liked:  The movie is really beautiful.  The animation and landscapes are enchanting.  There are some fun and quirky characters, my fav being the tipsy Scotsman.  And there was a sad, sweet quality to the story.

What I Didn’t Like: I really wanted to like this movie, and while there were many nuances that were fascinating,  I found it difficult to really follow what was happening.  The Triplets of Belleville had a similar problem of communicating without words but there was much more action (and comedy) to that movie.  The Illusionist has a decidely more meloncholy feel.   And that feel made it difficult to understand what was happening without dialogue.

Bottom Line: This is a really gorgeous movie in look and feel but I had a hard time following the central relationship.  Add to that the downer ending (rarely to my liking) and it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

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Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Chick 1 says:on_stranger_tides1

The fourth installment of the Pirates franchise has Johnny Depp & a few minor characters returning while picking up a lot of new players.  Have they been able to capture the magic again?

The Basics: Let’s start with a rundown of the previous Pirates movies.  I really enjoyed the original, The Curse of the Black Pearl.  Sure, it had some script/pacing problems in the third act.  But at its heart it was a pretty good mindless action movie.  Then adding Johnny Depp’s serendipitous turn as Jack Sparrow (that’s Captain Jack Sparrow) turned it into a blockbuster and a blast!  Read more

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Review: Kung Fu Panda

Chick 1 says:kung_fu_panda

I can’t believe I’ve never reviewed this movie. I adore it!

What I Liked: Obviously, most everything. This movie has what most great movies have going; it’s strengths are spread evenly across several areas. First, a fantastic script. It’s funny, well-paced, irreverent, and at its heart, wise & sweet-spirited. Read more

Posted on by Chick 1 in Reviews, The 2000s Leave a comment

Review: Inception

Chick 1 says: inception

This has been one of my most anticipated movies of this year (and that includes Iron Man 2).  The first trailer was so intriguing, and considering director Christopher Nolan’s ability to beautifully weave intricate plots with complex themes, when the big marketing push started a few weeks ago, I purposely avoided the new footage so I wouldn’t figure anything out.  I’m glad I did but turns out, it didn’t matter. Read more

Posted on by Chick 1 in Reviews, The 2010s 4 Comments

Review: Iron Man 2

Chick 1 says:iron-man-2b1

Yay!!!!  It’s time for Iron Man 2.  Can they repeat their success with even more moving parts?  Let’s see!

The Basics:  After outing himself as Iron Man, Tony Stark now has to deal with the added pressure & publicity, the US Government, and a new development with the arc reactor in his chest, and naturally a new round of villains.

What I Liked:  The original cast return with extras and are still having a blast.  Of course, Downey Jr is a hoot whenever he’s onscreen and excels at playing the arrogant ass that is also vulnerable and likeable.  And while I liked Paltrow in the 1st movie I thought she was the weakest part of the original.  But here she is hysterical, even stealing a couple of moments from Downey, not an easy feat.  Cheadle does just fine as the replacement Rhodey and has great chemistry with his co-stars.  Our villains are on fine form too; Sam Rockwell as the cheesy Justin Hammer & Mickey Rourke as the brooding Whiplash.  And even Jon Favreau gets a piece of the action.  The first & third acts move along nicely and the movie never takes itself too seriously.

What I Didn’t Like:  The second act, which was the best part of the original, is actually a little slow in places, even when RDJ is onscreen (which seems impossible).  Scarlett Johanson is stiff and cold and that works for her character sometimes but also feels one dimensional.  There was also one scene in particular that I couldn’t tell if it was supposed to be serious but came off as funny.

Bottom Line:  There’s action, comedy, drama, and a bit of romance; the perfect blend for a summer flick.  (Did I mention how cute RDJ looks?)

Posted on by Chick 1 in The 2010s 3 Comments