Friday, July 15, 2011

What Harry Means to Me

Instead of writing a review of how great Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II (because it's obvious how awesome it is), I thought I would share why myself and so many others are both psyched out of our minds and extremely depressed about this movie.

While many people may not understand why me and so many others are upset at this movie, here are some the reasons I’ll miss Harry Potter:

  1. I grew up with Harry. I started reading the books when I was about 11, the same age as Harry, and continued to grow with him as the books progressed. At the end of this movie, Harry and I will actually be adults and have to move on with our lives.
  2. The characters. J.K. Rowling created some of the most memorable and rich characters that I’ve ever read. I long to be a member of the Weasley family or go into hiding with Sirius Black. And the villains? I mean, how much of a badass are you when people don’t even speak your name? Don’t forget about Snape - the most complex and interesting (perhaps underrated) character of the whole series. You have no idea whose side he was on or what his motivation is until the very end. Well played, Jo.
  3. The Potter Universe. What amazes me the most about the Harry Potter series is the incredible depth of the world Rowling created. It reminds me of Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings series in only that both authors managed to create a whole new world with enough history and culture to make it seem realistic. I may sound like a crazy person when I try to explain to a lay person, but to me, it makes total and complete sense.

It will be a long time before a book or a movie franchise will captivate a generation like Harry Potter did.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Movie Review: Green Lantern

Last night, I went to a screening of Green Lantern, and let me just say, I’m glad I got to see it for free. Since I wasn’t impressed with the trailer, I didn’t expect much from it and it didn’t exceed my expectations, like X-Men: First Class did.

For those of you, like me, who know nothing about the Green Lantern, here's the official synopsis:

"In a universe as vast as it is mysterious, a small but powerful force has existed for centuries. Protectors of peace and justice, they are called the Green Lantern Corps. A brotherhood of warrior sworn to keep intergalactic order, each Green Lantern wears a ring that grants him superpowers. But when a new enemy called Parallax threatens to destroy the balance of powers in the Universe, their fate and the fate of Earth lie in the hands of their newest recruit, the first human ever selected: Hal Jordan."

Still with me? That's the major problem I had with this movie: too much strange back story. With most superhero movies, the story's pretty straight forward: Peter Parker gets bit by a radioactive spider and boom! he's Spiderman; people are born with a mutant gene and boom! X-Men; Bruce Wayne gets all his gadgets and, well you get the picture. Hal Jordan's story is so convoluted and strange that it just doesn't work on a general audience. Aliens harnessing willpower into a fancy ring that needs to get recharged from a lantern? Not working for me.

The only saving grace for this movie is Ryan Reynolds. Although he may not make the best movies, I love him. He brings a great sense of humor to every role and is incredibly charming (not to mention easy on the eyes). He's the perfect superhero type. I just wish he had picked a better superhero to portray.

I would not recommend this movie for anyone who isn't a fan of the comic or under the age of 15. You will not enjoy it.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Movie Review: X-Men: First Class

I had some high expectations going into X-Men: First Class. Everything I heard about it was good, and it got 87% on Rotten Tomatoes. Usually, when I have such high expectations for a movie, they fall a bit short. But that isn't the case with X-Men.

I'm a big fan of the whole X-Men franchise (not so much Wolverine) and this one is definitely my favorite of the series. Directed by Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass), the movie is sort of a prequel in that it takes place before the other X-Men movies but doesn't really follow its timeline or plot lines.

The story focuses on the beginning of the relationship between Professor X and Magneto, along with the development of the first X-Men team. I love learning the backstories of all the characters, although I am surprised at some of them. Mystique and Professor X grew up together? Mystique and Beast almost hooked up? (I was totally rooting for them. Blue people have to stick together.) Beast tried to make a mutant cure? Huh, that's interesting.

I also love the 1960's setting and the James Bond feel of the movie. I half-expected Kevin Bacon to be stroking a fluffy, white cat. The casting is great, with the exception of one which I'll discuss later. Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy as Magneto and Professor X, respectively, are perfect choices for these roles. Fassbender works a great balance between the badassness that is Magneto and the pain and sadness that unleashes his power. McAvoy is able to pull off Professor X's optimism and hopeless idealism without coming off as artificial or hollow. They have some big shoes to fill (Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart) and these guys did a great job.

One actor who does not live up to her awesome character is January Jones, who plays Emma Frost. Frost can read minds, has diamond skin, and is Sebastian Shaw's (Kevin Bacon) right-hand lady. She should have been a hot mega-bitch with awesome one-liners, like Mystique in the other X-Men films. Instead, she is so boring. I shouldn't be surprised since Jones adds little to Mad Men, but it is quite a disappointment. So I have to agree with Damon Lindelof and say that Jones "sucks at acting." She's just a prettier Kristen Stewart.

Overall, the movie definitely exceeded my expectations: great plot, great action, great characters, and great actors. Vaughn gives all of the mutant characters enough time to develop, unlike X-Men 3, which totally dropped the ball. I recommend seeing this in theaters, but don't expect a treat at the end of the credits like the other Marvel movies. There's nothing to wait for.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Everyone Gets a Character Poster

Yesterday, MuggleNet published a whole slew of new character posters for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. Everyone's got one: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Voldermort, the twins, Bellatrix, Snape, Neville, the Weasley twins, Draco, Professor McGonagall, and even Griphook. Countdown to release: 35 days!!! In the meantime, check out the posters below. Which one is your favorite?

I also discovered this little gem on Tumblr today: some naughty business going on in Hogwarts???

Saturday, May 14, 2011

AMDB Summer Movie Preview

It's May and you know what that means? Summer movie season begins! While most years I get pretty pumped for the summer movies, this year's line-up of sequels and superhero movies leaves me wanting. But here are my top picks:

Bridesmaids (opens this weekend)
It's The Hangover, but for ladies! I'm pretty excited that Kristen Wiig has a starring role because I think she's pretty hilarious when she's a normal person and not some ridiculous character. There also seems to be a lot of potential in the supporting cast (Rose Byrne, Maya Rudolph, Ellie Kemper, and, of course, Jon Hamm). It's great to see a strong female cast in a comedy, a genre usually dominated by the frat boys. This is the one comedy this summer that I am looking forward to.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (May 20)
I was debating whether to include Pirates on the list, but I have to say, I am curious about it. This movie has the potential to be great: it's been said that new director Rob Marshall is bringing the franchise back to it's former glory as a focused standalone story mixing action, adventure, and comedy. Let's hope this one follows the pattern of the first movie and not the last two.

X-Men: First Class (June 3)
I'm not big on the superhero movies, but I have always been a fan of X-Men. My brothers and I used to watch the cartoon years ago, so I'm pretty excited about a new movie coming out (especially after the disappointment that was Wolverine). While I'm usually not a fan of prequels, this one could work well. I'm particularly interested in seeing how Magneto and Professor Xavier met, became friends, and then became enemies. Also, it stars James McAvoy, who is amazing.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II (July 15)
Do I even need to say why I want to see this movie? Last movie of the series. Final showdown between Harry and Voldermort. Huge battle at Hogwarts. This movie is going to be freakin' awesome!

Winnie the Pooh (July 15)
The little kid in me is dying to see the new Winnie the Pooh movie. The new movie reverts back to the old storybook format and features music by Zooey Deschanel. Warning: this movie could lead to an overload of adorableness.

The Help (August 12)
Based on the popular book, The Help is a welcome break from the explosions and action present in the majority of summer movies. This definitely looks like one that I'll see with my Mom on one of our girly days. I have to say, I am loving Emma Stone lately. She's making some really great movie choices. Plus, she's got that sarcastic, sassy sense of humor that I love. This movie looks like a great balance between comedy and drama.

So those are the movies I'm looking forward to this summer, and I hope they live up to my expectations. Of course, there's always some dark horse that becomes the big hit of the summer, like Inception or 500 Days of Summer. I wonder what this year's will be.

What are you looking forward to seeing this summer?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Star Wars Propaganda Posters

I found this little gem on the Internet today: a collection of Star Wars propaganda posters. Although this isn't part of the publicity campaign, I absolutely love when movies include some kind of faux-vintage element to the campaign. Disney created 1980s-inspired commercials for the toys in the movie and for X-Men: First Class, the cast did a series of vintage Total Film magazine covers.

Here are the posters for both the Empire and the Rebellion.

Photo credit:

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Return of the King: Peter Jackson's Hobbit Video Blog

Usually, I'm not a fan of those pre-release Behind the Scenes video blogs. When I go into a movie, I like to see it fresh. I don't even like trailers that give away too much of the movie. What's the point of investing $10 if I already know the story and heard the major laugh lines? (Here comes the exception...)

BUT, I did cave and watch Peter Jackson's video blog from the first day of shooting The Hobbit. I am so freakin' excited about this movie that I couldn't wait two years to get a sneak peek of it. Luckily, Jackson was good about giving fans a sneak peek without revealing too much.

Jackson was an adorable narrator as he showed fans the costume design process, blocking one of the scenes, and a couple of the sets, some from The Lord of the Rings series and some new to The Hobbit. It also featured an opening day ceremony with speeches by Martin Freeman (Bilbo), Andy Serkis (Gollum), and Jackson.

This video has gotten me so pumped for the movie! Grrr why must I wait so long, Peter Jackson!??!

Video is below. You can also check it out on Jackson's Facebook page.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

His and Hers Netflix

Let me tell you a little about my Netflix situation. I share an account with Boyfriend because he's got the money and I've got great taste in movies. However, since I sometimes let a girly movie slip into the queue, we've decided (well he decided) to get two at a time -- his choice and my choice. This has provided some interesting match-ups. Last weekend was Glory and Love and Other Drugs and this weekend was The Last Castle and The Goodbye Girl.

Love and O
ther Drugs, and The Last Castle were delightful surprises that exceeded my expectations. I was dying to see Love and Other Drugs since it has two of my favorites in it -- the beautiful Jake Gyllehaal and Anne Hathaway. The two had great chemistry, providing both great laughs and heart-breaking drama. Also, the sex scenes are probably the best I've seen in any romantic comedy, toppling my old favorite The Notebook.

The Last Castle was also great, although very different from Love and Other Drugs. A heavy drama about a military prison and a showdown between the warden (James Gandolfini) and a prisoner (Robert Redford). Fantastic and clever. I highly recommend this for your queue.

I expected
Glory to be great although I was disappointed that it didn't have a more epic feel a la The Patriot or Braveheart. The acting was amazing, particularly Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman.

Finally, I'm going to dedicate a whole post to
The Goodbye Girl, since it is one of my all-time favorites, so keep an eye out for that one :)

All in all, I love the fact that Boyfriend and I have such different taste in movies because then I get to see movies that I wouldn't normally pick, like
The Last Castle. I can't wait to see what next weekend will bring...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Movie Review: The Conspirator

So the other day I got to go to an advance screening of The Conspirator, which stars James McAvoy, Robin Wright, Tom Wilkinson, Kevin Kline, Jonathan Groff (LOVE), Alexis Bledel, and a random Justin Long. The movie is about the trial of the people involved in the assassination of President Lincoln, specifically Mary Surratt, and focuses on her lawyer’s struggle to defend her in an atmosphere of fear and vengeance.

Directed by Robert Redford, it’s the debut film of the American Film Company. This film production company was founded in 2008 on the belief that real life is often more compelling than fiction and plans to produce films about America’s past. Some of its other productions besides The Conspirator are The Arsenal, about John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry, and Midnight Riders, about Paul Revere’s midnight ride. I look forward to both of these films, especially if they’re as good as The Conspirator.

If you’re a fan of courtroom dramas or history, you will love this film. It tells a story that you don’t offer hear in the classroom. The film also provides some interesting parallels to the post-9/11 climate of fear and a suspension of the law. In fact, some of Secretary of War Edwin Stanton’s dialogue (spoken by Kevin Kline) could have said by Dick Cheney today.

AMDB Rating: Go see in theaters. It comes out April 15th, the 146th anniversary of the death of President Lincoln.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Netflix Recommendation: The Game

A great movie that I just rediscovered this weekend is THE GAME, starring Michael Douglas and Sean Penn. I don’t want to give away too much, but if you like psychological thrillers (or films by David Fincher), you should definitely add this to your queue. It will keep you guessing until the very end.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Favorite Movies: Moonstruck

When people ask me what my favorite movie is, it’s very difficult for me to answer. I have seen so many movies and love so many of them. However, one of my favorites is Moonstruck. This movie is so great that I’ve watched it twice in one week. Here are some reasons why it should be your favorite too:

1. By far, it is Nicholas Cage’s best movie role. If you don’t believe, you need to watch this scene: So overly dramatic, but in a fantastic, hot way.

2. Cher. I don’t need to say more, but I will. I think her character, Loretta, is one of the most realistic portrayals of women in a Romantic Comedy I have seen. She’s so pragmatic and realistic, and provides the perfect complement to the hotheaded, passionate Nicholas Cage character.

3. This movie features one of my favorite character actresses, Olympia Dukakis. She plays Cher's mother and has some of the greatest lines in the movie. One of my favorites: “Old man, you give those dogs another piece of my food and I’m gonna kick you ‘til you’re dead.” I also love her search for an answer to the timeless question “Why do men chase women?”

4. I have a slight obsession with Italian-American culture, and I’m not talking about Jersey Shore. I’m only part Italian (a very small part) but I just love their emphasis on the family and eating. This movie is so Italian, it makes me wish they would adopt me into their family. It’s also not a fake, overly Italian portrayal. It’s very authentic and realistic.

If you haven’t already, you NEED to watch this movie. Rent it, buy it, catch it on AMC (they’re playing it constantly). Just do whatever you need to do to partake in this cinematic delight.