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.

Monday, March 14, 2011

‘Rango’ is Not the Typical Animated Film

The Nickelodeon animated movie “Rango” is about taking charge of your own destiny and making yourself a hero.

"Rango" advertisement

The lizard, talents of Johnny Depp, is a no name at the opening of the film. He believes he is an actor and creates scenes where he is beloved by everyone, when in actuality his only friends are inanimate objects. 

Not by accident, the innominate lizard is dumped into the desert and forced to interact with others. He views this as an opportunity to create himself and “blend in” by pretending to be a gun-slinging adventurer. 

The citizens in the town of Dirt buy into his disguise and Rango is finally accepted. His life is just as he wants it to be until he is forced to live up to the character he has built.

Scene from "Rango"

The lizard tries to run away from his identity as Rango, fearing that he will fail his friends. The “Spirit of the West” (who strongly resembles Clint Eastwood) interferes and tells Rango that he has what it takes to save the town of Dirt. 

Rango takes on his identity and saves the day, earning the love of his friends. 

Johnny Depp was surprisingly successful at pulling off the Western style and attributed to the film.

Johnny Depp

The film was a great lesson of self-invention and a refreshing change from many of the recent animated films. However, as a film directed at children, I am not sure that children would like this movie because it is not the stereotypical animated movie. For those reasons, “Rango” deserves a 4 out of 5 rating.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

'The Voyage of the Dawn Treader': Movie vs. Book

A reader of The Chronicles of Narnia books, I thought the film was fairly good and similar to the book.

The plot opens with Edmund and Lucy east of the Atlantic, while the rest of their family is in America. They are waiting to join the other Pevensies, but are prevented by the war (World War II). Edmund and Lucy are staying with their uncle, but they feel their welcome is wearing out, especially with their know-it-all cousin, Eustace.

Eustace Scrubb

While disappointed at receiving news that they will have to remain at their uncle’s a while longer, they are rescued by a painting that takes them to Narnia. They are relieved to be away from most of their troubles, but Eustace has unintentionally joined them and they must take the “wet blanket” along on their adventures.

The Pevensies are not sure why they have been called to Narnia, but they tag along on King Caspian’s voyage to visit the farthest points of his kingdom and seek out some of his father’s lords.

Eustace, Edmund, Lucy, Caspian

The first island they come to is no longer loyal to Caspian, but a mysterious green mist. They have turned to kidnapping and slavery to satisfy the mist and keep it at bay.

While there, they discover one of the men that Caspian is searching for. The lord gives Caspian a sword and sends him to find six other matching swords.

On their next stop, they learn that placing all seven swords at Aslan’s table will stop the evil mist. Caspian, Edmund, Lucy, and the crew make it their mission to defeat the green mist and travel toward the east.

The Dawn Treader

They face struggles and temptations throughout their journey, but Aslan helps them through their trifles and teaches them all something new. He also gives them people to help them succeed in overcoming the green mist.


Rejoicing at their victory is halted when Edmund and Lucy realize that they will not be returning to Narnia. Eustace, however, will have more adventures there.

The movie, as well as the book, is very fantastical, but also Biblical. This book was written by C.S. Lewis to aide people facing sin and temptation.

The Book

Will Poulter, the actor who played Eustace, was phenomenal. That being said, some of the actors were cheesy, and the style was different, but overall I thought it was entertaining. 

While the movie was comparable to the book, I had a hard time with the fact that the movies are in a different order than the books. 3.5 out of 5.

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Unconventionally 'Sweet Home Alabama'

“Sweet Home Alabama” is a romantic comedy that is a far cry from predictable. This fresh love story makes the movie genuinely picturesque. 

"Sweet Home Alabama"

The film premiered in 2002 and includes many big names. Reese Witherspoon plays the main character, Melanie. Patrick Dempsey plays her charming fiancé, Andrew Hennings. Melanie’s mule-headed husband, Jake Perry, was performed by Josh Lucas.

Melanie Carmichael is predicted to be the next big fashion designer and her rich and famous boyfriend has just proposed to her. Sounds perfect…except she is already married! 

Patrick Dempsey, Reese Witherspoon, Josh Lucas

Melanie goes back to her hometown of Greenville, Alabama to force her estranged husband to sign their divorce papers, and her history unfolds. The audience learns that Jake is her redneck high school sweetheart, whom she has deserted.

Melanie left Alabama to become a fashion designer and to escape rural poverty and becomes a highbrow fake. She accuses Jake and her high school friends of being a nobodies going nowhere, as they try to make her proud of her background. Her high school friend says, "You can take the girl out of the honky tonk, but you can’t take the honky tonk out of the girl."

Finally, Melanie’s past is exposed and the audience learns that she and Jake were pregnant and that she lost the baby. Melanie is not only surprised that Jake signs the divorce papers, but also because Jake secretly chased her to New York and has a blooming glass company. 

Hometown Party

While Melanie is walking down the aisle to marry Andrew, her lawyer intercedes to announce that in the struggle to get Jake to sign the papers, she has forgotten to do so herself. Melanie realizes that this is her chance to be honest, and leaves Andrew at the altar. 

Andrew and Melanie

She discovers Jake on the shore in a storm, waiting for lightening to strike and make glass. The beginning of the film is reincarnated and Jake asks, “What do you want to marry me for anyhow?” Then the famous line, “So I can kiss you anytime I want.”

Jake and Melanie

“Sweet Home Alabama” breaks through the standards for a romance and makes its own way. I admire that the film allowed the audience to love both Jake and Andrew, rather than making Andrew out to be a monster.

Despite the clever plot, the acting was imperfect. A few of the actors went too far with the southern accents and mannerisms. That being said, I believe that Patrick Dempsey and Josh Lucas were sensational. The southern love triangle, “Sweet Home Alabama”, gets a rating of 4 out of 5.