#12: The Hangover

January 30, 2011

Yes, I did watch this hungover.

So what’s it about?: Three guys wake up in Vegas after a crazy bachelor party having lost the groom and all of their memories of the chaos that ensued the previous night!

The Good: This movie is both hilarious and amazingly well structured.  And of course has the key ingredients of any classic raunchy comedy: 1 part quotable one-liners, 1 part hilarious pratfalls, and 1 part actual plot.  Not to mention the comedic combination of Zach Galifinakis, Ed Helms and Bradley Cooper is just inspired and GOLDEN.

The Bad: After watching it again, parts of this film do drag on a bit, but only to pick right back up again!

The Verdict: One of the classic comedies of a generation.  This is one of those films people will still be watching, and still be trying to copy, for years to come.  Do yourself a favor and watch it.


#11: 17 Again

January 30, 2011

So what’s it about?: A grown man gets a second chance at high school and all the chaos that ensues there when he wakes up to realize he’s 17 Again!

The Good: Okay, so this may be 13 Going on 30 reversed (which is really just Big with different genders…) but it’s still a fun, funny film and an entertaining 90 minutes.  And Zac Efron does a good job breaking out from the musical genre and stepping into this comedy.  Now if only he could stay away from those soapy teen dramas…. –cough- Charlie St. Cloud –cough-.

The Bad: So, yes, this does get a bit over-the-top, cheesy and predictable, but, hey, sometimes that’s exactly what you want in a film!

The Verdict: If you want some a nice, fluffy comedy than this is a respectable pick.


#10: Stardust

January 18, 2011

So what’s it about?: A boy goes into the magical land across the wall on a quest to bring a falling star to his dream girl.  Chaos ensues… with witches, pirates and princes!

The Good: It’s really refreshing to see a kid’s live action adventure flick that has heart and a story rather than a bunch of immature jokes and incredibly painful overacting.

The Bad: There’s A LOT going on in this film.  Our main hero, on his journey, meets so many characters with their own sub-plot lines that after a while it can be a little much to take in.  On the other hand, this film jumps around a lot, so it’s perfect if you have a short attention span!

The Verdict: While not nearly as great as the family films of the 80s (Gotta love some Princess Bride, Neverending Story, etc.) it’s still a great live action adventure fun for the whole family, and definitely one of the best of the last decade!  Worth a view for sure.


#9: Magnolia

January 14, 2011

So I pretty much spent a good part of my later childhood listening to this soundtrack, so I figured I may as well watch the movie.

So what’s it about?: That’s a good question… but I do know some chaos ensues!

The Good: The acting is great.  I mean, seriously, what the hell is up with this cast?  Julianne Moore, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, John C. Reilly, William H. Macy and Tom Cruise at the best I’ve seen him (and considering this is 1 of about 3 films I can even stand him in, that’s saying a lot!)  The list goes on, but they are all great!  And the soundtrack… well, it’s what drew me to the movie, and it is probably one of the greatest.  And any movie that does a character sing a-long (which isn’t many… this and the Skins season 1 final?) is good in my book.  And being a huge fan of coincidental urban legends and whatnot, I loved the opening.  Granted, I’ve heard all three stories, but it was cool to see them again… and with reenactments!  And I love, love, LOVED the last shot of the film.

The Bad: Okay, so this film didn’t quite make sense.  Usually frame stories have a common theme.  Like Crash is very clearly about racial stereotypes and The Breakfast Club is very clearly about high school stereotypes… but this?  No clue.  For a movie that appeared to be about coincidences, it didn’t really have a lot amongst it’s eclectic conglomerate of characters (I mean, I hear about better coincidences and “It’s A Small World…” moments all the time that actually have happened).  And then there’s the thing with the frogs…

The Verdict: This movie will hands down make you think, and think, and scratch your head and go WTF?  But if someone could please explain to me what the hell it was about, that would be greatly appreciated!


#8: Saw

January 14, 2011

Yeah, so somehow I managed to see the third one, but never saw the movie that started it all!

So what’s it about?: Two strangers wake up on opposite sides a room, padlocked to pipes, and a dead guy in the middle of the floor.   As the two set out to play the game they’ve been forced into by an unknown outside party known only as the Jigsaw killer, chaos ensues.

The Good: Okay, so this film is actually not horrible.  The idea of such a creative serial killer who gives his victims a chance to fight for an escape is actually kind of cool.

The Bad: Well, sure, the acting is over-the-top, but that’s to be expected.  My biggest qualm was that the coolest things about this franchise are the traps, and there really aren’t many in this film!  Though that does give the movie a plot instead, which is definitely better in the long run.  Ah well, the price we pay for a story.

The Verdict: As far as slasher films go, this is actually okay.  It’s not scary, it won’t stick with you, but it will entertain you with enough blood and gore and thrills for a whole 90 minutes without you groaning over how intensely bad the production is.


#7: Blue Valentine

January 14, 2011

First film in theaters!  Followed by many more to come.

So what’s it about?: Split between their present and the much more blissful past, Blue Valentine chronicles a single couple as chaos ensues to bring them together and tear them apart.

The Good: Many films in recent times have been about couples breaking up, because movies about finding Happily Ever After just aren’t cool anymore.  But this is by far the most heartbreaking, realistic of them all, especially with the pitch perfect acting from both Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling.

The Bad: Yeah, so it’s a good film, but the problem with the sad, realistic films is that they don’t have a rewatchability factor.  Because at the end, you kind of just feel shitty and jaded and there’s no point in the film where upon exiting the theater you think to yourself “OMG, I loved that part!  I really want to see it again!”  And that’s what helps to make a good film into a great film.

The Verdict: Yes, this is the most heartbreaking break-up film I’ve ever seen, but let’s be honest, (500) Days of Summer did the break up better, and made you feel good in the end.


#6: Meet Me in St. Louis

January 14, 2011

Yeah, okay, I was on a musical kick, and ever since that song has been stuck in my head since watch the first Sex and the City film, I’ve wanted to watch it!  Again, thank goodness for Instant Streaming!

So what’s it about?: A traditional little family lives in good ole St. Louis, where they fall in love, play pranks on the neighbors, and get all excited when the World Fair ensues chaos on their quaint little lives!

The Good: Ah, Judy Garland is always a sweetheart and St. Louis is no exception.  And it kind of makes you want to live in a small mid-western neighborhood in the 1900s… until you realized they didn’t actually do anything and couldn’t go see movies all the time.  But the songs are fun!

The Bad: Yeah… so this musical is kind of not about anything.  There’s a kind of half assed love story in the middle of it and maybe a smidgen of conflict, but really, NOTHING HAPPENS.  It’s like someone found an old diary and decided to write a script from it and add a couple of songs.  Only the diary was from the most mundane family in the world.  I mean, geeze, if you’re going to make a movie based on a diary at least make it from someone interesting… like Anne Frank!

The Verdict: If you’re a fan of classic musicals and movies about nothing, give this film a go.  However, if you like classic musicals with a little more substance, stick with good ole Sound of Music and West Side Story.  (And if you just like movies about nothing, may I introduce you to Sophia Coppola.)