Monday, April 25, 2011

‘Easy A’ Earns a B in my Gradebook





As an updated version of The Scarlet Letter, “Easy A” takes a look at ruined reputations and how valuable it is to be you.

Olive is the not-so-typical high school girl with a squeaky clean rep. She entangles herself in a lie and it leads to self-destruction.

"Easy A" Movie

Olive is desperate to get out of going on a trip with her best friend’s awkward family and quickly fabricates a story about a date she has already planned. The best friend assumes that Olive is sleeping with this mysterious date and starts the rumor mill.

Olive and Her Best Friend, Rhiannon

After befriending a gay guy who is suffering from bullying, Olive decides to protect his reputation by spreading word that she has slept with him. Because Olive’s reputation is on the line, she demands payment. 

Word spreads among the distressed in the school and one-by-one they ask Olive to risk her esteem for the sake of others.

Olive's Fake Identity

The lies get out of hand and “The rumors of [her] promiscuity have been greatly exaggerated.” Consequentially, Olive is pressured into ruining her life to shield a secret relationship between a school counselor and a student. 

Olive refuses to keep up the façade because she realizes that she has lost herself along the way. She begins to tear down the monster she has made because she is “not proud of this.” Olive learns the hard way that you must save yourself before you can rescue others from their problems. As custom in any teen movie, she finds a guy worth dating on her road to recovery.

Todd, Olive's Love Interest

Easy A” is only suitable for mature audiences because of its content and humor. The cast includes Emma Stone as Olive, Penn Badgley as her sweetheart, Amanda Bynes as her foe, and Aly Michalka as her gossiping best friend. Emma Stone's sarcastic personality was showcased through Olive and she was by far the most talented in the film.

Emma Stone Narrating as Olive

There were a few aspects of “Easy A” that I disliked. First, many of the sexual references seemed to be placed in the movie with the motive of attracting attention from the audience, but were unnecessary and shallow. Also, a few of the scenes were overly dramatic, which is expected of a teen film. Finally, some of the acting was outrageous and fitting for a soap opera.

Although I had some complaints, “Easy A” earns a 4 out of 5 star grade. I admire the film’s allusions to the classic novel The Scarlet Letter and its moral lesson learned by the protagonist by the end.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

‘Father of the Bride’ is a Love Story from an Unexpected Angle

This 1991 film is a remake of a 1950 film starring Elizabeth Taylor. This update features actors Steve Martin, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, and Diane Keaton as the Banks family.

The Original

Kimberly Williams-Paisley’s sweet countenance was fitting for the part of Annie, the sweet-hearted, beloved bride-to-be.

George is Annie’s frugal father who still views her as a “six-year-old”. George’s character is complex, involving both sentimental and comical aspects. Steve Martin took on the character of George with success. 

Nina is Annie’s mother, played by Diane Keaton, who is supportive of Annie’s unexpected decision to get married. She does her best to make her husband George trust his daughter’s judgment. 

Meeting Bryan

Annie comes home, after months of studying abroad, to a family who expects all of her time and attention. She abruptly announces her engagement to a man they have never met. The Banks family is suddenly flung into over-drive in order to prepare for a “small-ish” wedding in only a few months.

Planning the "Big Day"

As expected, Nina and Annie are giddy about planning a dream wedding. George, though, is not sure if he supports the amount of money being spent on the wedding or his daughter’s relationship with Bryan. He says, “I used to think a wedding was a simple affair.”

Father of the Bride” is ultimately a story of crossing fingers and hoping kids were raised well. George learns to let go of his only daughter through a series of situations which evoke emotion and laughter from the audience. He finally understands that, “She'll always love me, of course, but not in the same way. I was no longer the man in my little girl's life.”

George and Annie

I enjoyed this movie because it was a romance told from an often neglected perspective. That being considered, I would have ended “Father of the Bride” differently if it had been up to me.

I kept wishing that George and Annie would have one last heartwarming, and maybe even cheesy, encounter. I was disappointed that Annie left for her honeymoon after only telling her father good-bye over the telephone. That is why I say this movie deserves 4 out of 5 stars.


Friday, April 15, 2011

The Prime of the Series: 'Toy Story 3'

This is one animated series that has remained entertaining and focused through the years.

"Toy Story 3" Poster

Toy Story 3” opens in tragedy, as Buzz, Woody, and the gang are struggling to get Andy’s attention. They are disappointed when they realize that Andy has more important things to worry about, particularly college.

As Andy is sorting through his belongings, he decides to keep the beloved toys in the attic together. Everyone would be sticking together, except Woody, who would be going to college with Andy.

A mix up occurs and the toys accidentally end up as donations to a daycare, and Woody, attempting to rescue his friends, is separated from Andy.

The Toys Arriving at the Daycare

Let down and hurt from not getting chosen to go with Andy, Buzz, Jessie, and the others decide to embrace their new life at the daycare and are anticipating more play time than they’ve had in years.


After a clash with Jessie and Buzz, Woody turns toward home. On his journey back, he learns that the Sunnyside Daycare is a prison.

While Woody is making plans for a jailbreak, his friends are attempting escape. They make new friends who help them stand up against a toy mafia.

Attempting to Escape

Andy’s toys realize that they are supposed to be there for him, even when it gets tough. After Andy is reunited with his childhood toys and cherished friends, he begins to understand that he should give his toys to someone who can use them. He gives them to a girl at the day care, telling her, “Now, you gotta promise to take good care of these guys. They, mean, alot to me.”

The audience holds back tears as they watch a mature Andy say good-bye to the toys who helped him grow up.

Andy, Woody, Buzz

Toy Story 3” is a phenomenal children’s film for parents and children alike.

This movie stars the voice talents of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, and Joan Cusack. The cast pulls the audience’s heart strings through the characters. The new characters which were added to this third film brought in comic relief, as well as tension.


A touching story of growing up, “Toy Story 3” is a sentimental family film. Of course, talking toys aren’t very realistic, but probably symbolic of parents letting their children “leave the nest”. However, there was some confusion for me at the conclusion of the movie because it seemed that the toys had finally decided on their loyalty to Andy, then Andy determines that he needs to let them go. “Toy Story 3” scores a 4.5 out of 5.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Surprise Turn in 'Anger Management'

Featuring the unlikely pair of Jack Nicholson and Adam Sandler, “Anger Management” is distinct. The film takes a psychiatric look at people who are implosively and unnoticeably angry.

Dave, Adam Sandler’s part, is letting people walk all over him and his anger is building up. Dave goes through a few incidents which land him in anger management.

"Anger Management" Advertisement

 Buddy, Jack Nicholson, is Dave’s anger management therapist who is widely praised…and INSANE!

Buddy invades Dave’s life in order to help him manage his “anger monkeys”. Dave is certain that Buddy is out to ruin his life, humiliate him, and split him and his sweetheart up.

Marisa Tomei

 Dave thinks he is the last person to be in anger management, but Buddy wants to work on his implosive anger. He says, “Implosive is the cashier that takes the coupons day after day then one day pulls out a gun and starts shooting... you’re the cashier.”

Adam Sandler

Digging into Dave’s past, Buddy uses almost inhumane methods to force Dave to confront his grudges. Dave learns not to bury his fury inside, but rather express it. It turns out that Buddy is a psychiatric genius, and makes Dave a better person by teaching him to take charge of his life.


Dave learns to pronounce his feelings for Linda, Marisa Tomei, and proposes in front of everyone at the Yankee Stadium. There is a bombshell at the denouement of the show when Dave discovers that Linda was responsible for assigning him to anger management therapy because she wanted him to be content.


The acting by all three lead roles was meritorious. Every scene was packed with hilarity and the movie was based on an intriguing idea. The only short-coming in “Anger Management” was the final scene. The singing and dancing was overly cheesy and not fitting for many of the actors, particularly Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson.

This movie is suitable for a movie night with friends and will have you in stitches.

Sadly, this movie deserves a 4.5 out of 5 star rating. “Anger Management” barely misses perfect.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Guest Post Featuring Mary

Hello followers of the wonderful Erica! It's Mary from Mary Quite Contrary
I'm doing a guest post today and I figured I'd just do my top ten favorite movies. Considering Erica's blog is reviews about movies!

I'll just start with number ten and work my way down. (these are not in order by preference. Just thought I'd be original and number backwards)
TEN. Letter's to Juliet

"Letters to Juliet" Scene

NINE. The Perfect Man

Stars of "The Perfect Man"

EIGHT.The Last Song

"The Last Song" Featuring Miley Cyrus

SEVEN. Dear John

The Couple From "Dear John"

SIX. Fever Pitch

"Fever Pitch" Duo

FIVE. Princess Bride

The Princess and Her Hero From "The Princess Bride"

FOUR. Twilight

The Famous Pair From "Twilight"

THREE. New Moon

A Clip From "New Moon"

TWO. Eclipse

The Third Part of the Series: "Eclipse"

ONE. P.S. I love you

The Romance of "P.S. I Love You"


I recommend ANY of these movies. They are all pretty much romance stories though, so just forewarningg. I have many favorites these are just the ones that popped to mind. (:
You guys are awesome and continue following Erica!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

'Knowing' Plot Twisted Beyond Apprehension

This film was advertised as a horror film, but it seems that the producers get mixed up in the process. About the first hour of the “Knowing” was decent for a scary movie, but during the start of the second hour the movie made a transition to more of a science fiction film. 

"Knowing" Poster

Starring Nicolas Cage, “Knowing” was intriguing because of the intense advertisements. The story is based on the theory that there is a code which predicts cataclysms and forewarns the end of the world.

John Deciphering the Code

John and Caleb Koestler, father and son, witness the opening of a time capsule at Caleb’s school. In the capsule is a number code which reveals the date, location, and time of natural and human produced disasters. After they stumble upon the code, they notice that strange things begin to happen, particularly to them. 

They are frantic to stop the inevitable and use the code to their advantage. While they try to figure out how to stop the apocalypse, there are mysterious agent-like men stalking them.

Chandler Canterbury as Caleb

Sounds action-packed and alluring, right? As soon as the story reaches its peak, it switches gears and drops the audience.

It turns out that the eerie stalkers are actually angels. These angels have come to Earth to take two perfect children away, one boy and one girl, as the world experiences its Armageddon. 

Angels

The boy that has been selected is sadly Caleb Koestler. After realizing that this is the only way for his son to live, John gives him up. Caleb and the girl will be taken to a new, untarnished planet to start over.

“Knowing” is a poor revamp of the Noah’s ark story.

"Knowing" Finale

The acting was only average. Nicolas Cage usually has effective roles, but didn’t impress this time around. Chandler Canterbury, who played Caleb, was also only mediocre.

The plot was horrendous. I was really hoping for a successfully scary film, but this was not one. “Knowing” turned out to be an oddly written sci-fi, alternative movie.

2 out of 5. I will never watch this movie again.


Friday, April 1, 2011

'Yes Man' is a Tactful Comedy


"Yes Man" Advertisement

As expected of any movie starring Jim Carrey, “Yes Man” is humorous.

Carl Allen is not enjoying life to the fullest and is miserably stuck in his everyday routine. After listening to a motivational speaker, Carl is committed to take every opportunity that is available to him.

Carl and the Speaker

Carl is reluctant about trying new things, but realizes that taking chances is what makes life interesting. His new life style has gained him memories, friends, and a new girlfriend.

Zooey Deschanel as Allison

He has been scared of putting himself out there since his marriage ended. He learns through saying yes in every situation that he can enable himself to move on and take charge of his life.

Jim Carrey was a perfect match for Carl and allowed viewers to identify with a character who needs to live life. Zooey Deschanel as Allison, Carl’s new love interest, was also entertaining, funny, and well picked for her part.

Jim Carrey and Zooey Deschanel

A few of the scenes in the movie were tacky, though. While they were intended to be farcical, I was repulsed by the tasteless humor.

“Yes Man” did make me think about what opportunities I did not want to miss out on. Worthy of a 3.5 out of 5 star mark, this film is fitting for a movie night with friends.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

'Runaway Bride' is a Romance With a Point

“Runaway Bride” is a love story for people who aren’t interested in love stories. Maggie Carpenter is not the average girl looking for love, in fact she runs from it. She has jilted three men at the altar and is engaged to yet another love-struck man.

"Runaway Bride" Poster

Ike Graham is a reporter from New York City whose specialty is writing about the flaws of women. He finds Maggie’s love life interesting and decides to make her out as a man-eater. Ike fabricates a few details in his article about Maggie and gets fired for it.

Under the impression that his article about the infamous heart-breaker can salvage his career, he goes to meet Maggie. He bets his journalism career on his presumption that Maggie will once again get cold feet.

Maggie and Ike Arguing

Maggie is furious that Ike is making news out of her reputation and strives to prove him wrong. She allows Ike to follow her around as she prepares for the wedding in exchange for a large payment. He accepts, gambling to regain employment.

Naturally, they grow fond of each other as a result of spending so much time together. She breaks her fiancée’s heart and plans a wedding with Ike.

Maggie and IkeTogether

Although they are sincerely crazy about each other, Maggie bails on Ike at the altar. She discovers that her fear of marriage stems from an uncertainty about her identity. She admits, “When I was walking down the aisle, I was walking toward somebody who didn't have any idea who I really was. And it was only half the other person's fault, because I had done everything to convince him that I was exactly what he wanted.” Maggie must learn who she is before she can have a thriving relationship.

The lesson in “Runaway Bride” rings true; a person cannot learn to love someone else unless they love themselves. 

Julia Roberts

The advice presented in the film is imperative in romance; however, some of the lines and acting were cheesy and cliché. 

Julia Roberts played Maggie Carpenter, who was charmingly quirky. Christopher Meloni performed the part of Coach Bob Kelly, her hopeful fiancé.  Richard Gere fit into the role of the man she falls in love with.

Richard Gere

Richard Gere was more attractive while he was still picking on Julia Roberts’s character and before he got predictably cheesy. 
“Runaway Bride” is ranked as a 4 out of 5 film. This movie is fitting for a date or watching with friends, because even though it’s romantic, it is also comical.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

'3:10 to Yuma' Evokes Mixed Emotions

"3:10 to Yuma" Poster

I couldn’t decide if I liked this 1957 Western remake or not, but I realized the only thing that bothered me about “3:10 to Yuma” was that the good guy didn’t win in the end. I have decided that this ending made the film better, although it disagreed with my expectations.

Dan Evans is struggling to keep his ranch, make money, and save his sick son. He opposes the big shots in town who aim to put a railroad through his land and take everything he has.

Logan Lerman and Christian Bale

He takes a job to deliver a criminal to a train station, and send him to his condemnation. The criminal, Ben Wade, is as mean as the devil himself and Evans is expecting a large payment in return for this risky service.

A team of men start their trek to the Yuma train station, but experience interference from Wade’s party. Ben Wade’s gun curses the men who are trying to have him hanged, and they are murdered one by one.

Evans understands that people usually don’t take responsibility for commitments and intends on completing the task, even when success is improbable. He reflects on his journey to Yuma, saying, “When you think about it, which I have been lately, they weren’t paying me to walk away, they were paying me so they could walk away.”


Because he is the underdog, the audience roots for Dan Evans to be the one to transport Ben Wade to the station.

Yuma Train Station

The ending goes against the human protocol of seeing the hero prevail and leaves the audience numb with a flood of emotions.

Christian Bale, Russell Crowe, Logan Lerman, and Ben Foster had commendable performances and tugged on the audience’s heart strings. Christian Bale was well-suited to play the maltreated, unlikely hero, and Logan Lerman was befitting for the role of his head-strong son. Russell Crowe portrayed the cold villain, with and unlikely soft spot, impeccably. His sidekick, Charlie, was performed by Ben Foster, who made the audience believe that he was ignorantly loyal.

4.5 stars for “3:10 to Yuma” in consideration of its full range of emotions and great acting talents.

"3:10 to Yuma" Cast

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Acting, Script Poor in ‘Prince of Persia’

Based on a video game by Jordan Mechner, “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” is a fantastical adventure.

I am impressed that Disney is picking up adventure films such as this. The idea behind “Prince of Persia” is unique and easy for the audience to get into.

"Prince of Persia" Poster

Dastan is on a quest to save his father’s kingdom and discover the truth. This beggar-turned-prince is determined to earn his place and prove his worth.

Dastan leads an attack on a sacred village, Alamut, believing that they are holding weapons. He soon realizes that he has been wrongly informed and that there is a hidden agenda by a trusted advisor of the king. 

Nizam, Dastan, and Tus

A treasure has been stolen from Alamut, “the one place the dagger can be hidden safely,” and Dastan makes it his objective to reveal the traitor and return the holy dagger to the princess, Tamina.

Dastan and the Dagger

Tamina joins Dastan in his mission, teaches him about her divine treasure, and ultimately convinces him to become a better person. They race against time to prevent an antagonist from ruining both of their kingdoms, and save the people who mean the most to them.

While the movie is intriguing and fast-paced, the acting and script were lousy. A few actors used over-exaggerated accents, probably for dramatization, but it didn’t seem natural. Also, some of the acting seemed like it belonged in a soap opera, rather than an adventure film. 

Dastan and Tamina

Some of the poor acting may be due to awkward lines in the script, especially between Dastan and Tamina. In my opinion, Tamina’s character was melodramatic in a few scenes.

Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, and Ben Kingsley, this movie is great for quality time with family. “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” has a grade of 3.5 out of 5. 


Thursday, March 17, 2011

'My Best Friend's Wedding' is Flawless

One of my favorite movies, “My Best Friend’s Wedding” is an ingenious story.

Made in 1997, the film features Julia Roberts, Durmot Melroney, Cameron Diaz, and Rupert Everett.

"My Best Friend's Wedding"

Roberts made her character (Julianne Potter) loveable, despite her maniacal schemes, through her great acting. Mike, her long-time best friend whom she is in love with, is played by Durmot Melroney. Melroney made his character overly friendly and uniquely alluring. Everett played Julianne’s new best friend, George. He served as comedic relief and the ultimate comforter. Diaz plays Mike’s fiancé, Kimberly, who is “irritatingly perfect”. 

Julianne, Kimberly, and Mike

Julianne is on a mission to split up the wedding between her best friend of nine years, Mike, and his surprise romance, Kimberly. Julianne is used to being “the woman” in Mike’s life and wants to keep it that way.

Mike has fallen in love with the typical debutante, which is unlike him. Julianne is sure that she is the right girl for him.

Julianne and Mike

George stirs Julianne to make Mike hate Kimberly. She tries to pick out Kimberly’s flaws, but discovers that she and Mike are determined to make it work.

Julianne and George

Under pressure from a time crunch and fierce emotions, Julianne turns to desperate measures. She tries to frame Kimberly’s father by writing an e-mail to get Mike fired from his dream job. The e-mail gets sent accidentally and everything unravels.

Julianne tells Mike the truth and that he must choose between her and Kimberly.
 

Of course, I won’t reveal the ending because I really think this movie is a must-see. 

“My Best Friend’s Wedding” is suspenseful, emotional, and sprinkled with humor. Although the music and fashion is outdated, the story is timeless. This movie rightfully receives a rating of a perfect 5 because it is a great story of making mistakes right and moving on.