Category Archives: Movies

Gary Marshall Has Love Actually Envy

Director Gary Marshall has made some great movies over the years (i.e. Pretty Woman – come on, it’s a classic). But I can’t understand why he keeps trying to make these terrible ensemble movies: Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve and now to a different extent – The Big Wedding. Generally speaking I’m a fan of an ensemble cast – celebrities aplenty, never knowing who will make a cameo or who will pop up next as a potential costar. But these types of films are only as good as their story, their plot, and their heart. Having seen Valentine’s Day, and New Year’s Eve (two of the worst holidays) were missing all three.

These movies seem to be trying to recreate the strength and heart of one of my favourite ensemble and holiday movies: Love Actually. I remember going to the theatre with friends when it came out in 2003, there was nothing quite like it. Such strong performances, tales of celebrated and wildly excited love, silent heartbreak and pain – issues that pulled you and made you feel invested. My heart broke for Laura Linney’s complex family situation and Emma Thompson’s devastating revelation. These painful, cutting scenes played just as sincere and true as the happier ones. I cheered for Hugh Grant’s Prime Minister as he one-upped creepy US President Billy Bob Thorton and I reveled in the joy of Kiera Knightley’s wedding – particularly when the band started to play. Liam Neeson and his little step son waxing philosophical on the validity of true love was touching and truly special. Love Actually really has something. I’ve watched it many times and it still has the ability to make me laugh and tear up at the same time.

Love Actually is a beloved film, (especially among women) and it stands to reason that Gary Marshall would want to recreate the magic – except he hasn’t. Valentine’s Day had some small, cute moments, but the stories did not feel genuine, the characters didn’t connect with the audience. As much as I wanted to buy Julia Roberts as a US solider coming home to see her son for just 24 hours – it just wasn’t believable. She was too polished, too perfect (as she often is) and it just didn’t compute. Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner as a high school couple in love were very annoying, all the time and the list goes on. But Valentine’s Day I’d watch ten times over, before watching New Year’s Eve ever again.

Only earning a mere 7% on Rotten Tomatoes, New Year’s Eve seemed to throw as many celebrities into one movie as possible – at the expense of the story. People falling in love in what felt like five minutes, Bon Jovi unconvincingly trying to win back Katherine Heigl (who was even more unconvincing as a professional chef). Hilary Swank as a wide eyed idealist in charge of the Times Square balling dropping – there’s something about her face I’d just like to punch.

In fact the best thing to come out of New Year’s Eve was the parodies. Saturday Night Live did a particularly great one, which I can’t find a link to because I live in Canada. However! 30 Rock also brought the hilarity as usual:

So now it looks like The Big Wedding is the newest Gary Marshall movie that’s sure to bomb. Allow me to break it down for you. A long-divorced couple: Robert DeNiro and Diane Keaton must pretend they are still married for their adopted son’s Alejandro’s wedding. Why? Because his birth mother is coming from Columbia for the wedding and believes divorce is a sin. You know that old story…right? Talk about your ridiculous plot lines, what year is this? Not to mention that Robert DeNiro’s character now lives with a fun loving Susan Sarandon who, angered by the current situation, looks to stir the pot. Alejandro is marrying Amanda Seyfried, Robin Williams plays a priest, again. Katherine Heigl and Topher Grace co-star as Keaton and DeNiro’s other children. Hilarity ensues, I’m sure. See it for yourself below and ask yourself – why?

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The Dark Knight Rises: A Perfect Ending

I can’t remember the last time I waited for a movie with such anticipation as I did the Dark Knight Rises. Sure, I remember waiting anxiously for the Dark Knight when it came out four years ago, but something about the final movie in a trilogy that’s been done so brilliantly, really had my interest to piqued (to say the least).

There were so many aspects I worried about: its set eight years in the future? Anne Hathaway is Catwoman? How will anyone understand Tom Hardy in that Bane mask? After having seen the film twice on its opening weekend, I see now there was no reason to worry – with Christopher Nolan there almost never is. The movie was brilliant – dark complex, and enthralling. Look out for a few familiar faces too. Never before has a trilogy seemed so circular and complete to me.

Everyone is at their best.

Christian Bale is as emotionally and physically tormented Batman as he’s ever been before. His desperation to save his city only drives him further. As John Blake, Joseph Gordon Levitt brings a new, young cop’s perspective on Gotham’s dire situation wrapped in a determined, tough and likable character. But Anne Hathaway deserves serious recognition for this film. Never before has Selina Kyle been exciting and more interesting. She is morally ambiguous – continually straddling the lines between right and wrong, never quite sure where she falls. Anne Hathaway’s ability to change Selina’s body language and attitude on a dime prove true to her conning ways. While she also deserves credit for the physicality of the role (and that suit!) it’s the emotional, inner torment that makes her such a strong, complex and relatable character. Tom Hardy’s Bane is a much more reserved villain compared to Heath Ledger’s Joker.  But despite their differences in attitude and personality, they are equally cunning and delightful villains. Tom Hardy is excellent as Bane. Not only was his physical appearance remarkable (his arms are HUGE) but he conveys so much through his only means of facial expression -his eyes. It really is a testament to Hardy as an actor that he was able to do so much with a character we so little facial expression from.

Without giving away plot or story, I will simply say that you must go and see this movie. I even offer to babysit your kids so you can go – you won’t be sorry. I know I’ll see Dark Knight Rises again for a third time at least – before it leaves theatres, and I honestly cannot remember the last time I saw a movie in theatres that many times. Some people may have issues with the ending, but I didn’t – I thought it was strong, well done and quite a fitting end to Christopher Nolan’s outstanding trilogy.

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This is my Spiderman

Every Saturday morning as a kid in the 90’s I’d watch Spiderman and Batman the animated series’ and loved them. Today, I still love them and my beloved superheroes have of course, been given the movie (and re-boot) treatment. I never loved the Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher Batman franchise. I liked Michael Keaton, but all in all it just didn’t feel right. But when Christopher Nolan came along seven years ago with Batman Begins, my mind was blown. It was like I was seeing the story again for the first time in the way I’d always imagined it.

It’s curious that something similar has happened with the Amazing Spiderman. I always loved Spiderman’s easy humour and sarcastic commentary in the animated series, which was something the previous franchise starring Tobey Maguire really lacked. Tobey Maguire was never my Spiderman -through no fault of his own, he just wasn’t what I pictured and much too old. Kirsten Dunst lacked the sassy pizzazz (and the natural red hair) of my Mary Jane Watson. Despite James Franco and Willem Dafoe being well cast, with each sequel the movies got worse and worse.

Now, only a handful of years later – comes Andrew Garfield to take on the role of Peter Parker/Spiderman.  I loved it, I really did. It didn’t have the epic quality that can only be found in a Christopher Nolan Batman film, but it was a really great superhero movie.  Andrew Garfield was what I always imagined Peter Parker to be. Cute, smart, flawed, sarcastic, funny – but also angry and conflicted, we saw it all on Garfield’s face and he laid it bare for the audience to see. His torment over the loss of his parents, his guilt over the loss of his uncle, he embodied the character of Peter Parker honestly and completely.

Not to mention the outstanding chemistry between Garfield and real life girlfriend Emma Stone – it was off the charts. Stone’s Gwen Stacy was smart, brave, strong willed and a typical teenager in love – but let’s be honest, those knee socks were ridiculous. Obviously the producers were going for the sexy scientist look here, it just seemed a tad unrealistic to me. Socks aside, I really enjoyed Gwen’s character and bravery, her willingness to save others over herself and be a confidant for Peter.

Rhys Ifans was a flawed but sympathetic villain, as a scientist who wanted his other arm back and went about it the wrong way. Who knew Hugh Grant’s roommate from Notting Hill could be so evil and dark? I love Martin Sheen in everything and this movie was no exception. The casting was all very well done.

My only major criticism would be the rallying of the cranes to help Spiderman reach Oscorp. It was reminiscent of the New York subway scene in Spiderman 2, (the Tobey Maguire franchise) and it just seemed unnecessary. It didn’t advance the plot and there was nothing to be gained from it. We already know some people love Spiderman and some people don’t – so what was the point?

Andrew Garfield carried this film on his shoulders and the success of it should be largely if not totally attributed to him. He was the perfect choice in casting, a fan playing the superhero they grew up loving. From the Social Network to Spiderman, I just can’t wait to see more movies (Spiderman, and otherwise) from him.

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Seeking A Friend At the End of the World, Looking at Life in a New Perspective

What would happen if the world was going to end? That is the basis for “Seeking A Friend at the End of the World.”  The film is based around main character, Dodge Peterson (Steve Carell) who, along with everyone else – discovers the world will end in three weeks time due to impending asteroid. All scientific theories and space travel missions to deter this outcome have failed. There is no solution except to accept this particularly grim fate.

Dodge and his wife, Linda hear the news in their car radio and she promptly exits, leaving him for good. Others react with angry mob scenes complete with death and destruction, while some continue their daily routines like going to work or mowing their lawns. This seemed a very real and arguably accurate depiction of what life would turn into if we all found out today the world was going to (legitimately) end in a few weeks time. It also brought about the issue of a person’s level of happiness in life – what they are willing to settle for and why they do so.  Why some people stay in unhappy marriages, why they cheat, why they marry (i.e. people who don’t want to die alone versus waiting for the right person).

After realizing his regular day-to-day routine is no longer necessary, Dodge stops going to work and has a chance encounter with a distraught woman from his building named Penny (Kiera Knightley). They become somewhat friends while Penny explains she is enduring a recent break up with an unemployed guitar player named Owen (spoiler alert, it’s loveable Adam Brody under that beard!)

The next day, when an angry mob starts to riot outside their building, Penny and Dodge take off together determined to make their destinations by world’s end. Hers: to London to be with her family. His: to track down his high school love aka the one that got away.  As is the case of most journey stories, the film is more about the journey and the people (a lot of great cameos) they encounter than the destination.

Together Dodge, Penny and little adopted dog Sorry, drive in search of their perspective destinies and find what they are looking for changes on the way. Performances by Carell and Knightly are both equally and exceedingly strong. I’ve always been a fan of Steve Carell, whether the role is hilarious (Anchorman) or more serious and heartfelt (Crazy, Stupid Love) so I maybe biased but he is just a guy I can’t help but warm up to.

Dodge and Penny are a charismatic albeit odd pairing, defying many onscreen duo/couples clichés and drawn out scenarios – there was literally no time for that. Knightley as evokes such instant, significant emotion that as a viewer I felt what she felt and teared up when she did.

I particularly loved both actors’ scenes with Martin Sheen, I won’t give away the context for sake of not spoiling for those who haven’t seen it – but he is another actor I love, I mean West Wing? Come on! And although his role is small, the relationship between him and Dodge is as rich in its complexity as it is in its emotion.

I wondered how this storyline would play out until the very end and I was not disappointed. I felt the ending was a satisfying one, true to the story and not the cop out I was almost certainly expecting. This film doesn’t try to be something more than it is. It underlines the key themes of love, fate and the unexpected, although the subject matter is particularly emotional and heavy – I really loved this film.

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Snow White and the Huntsman, A Long but Interesting Journey

After seeing the first trailer for Snow White and the Huntsman my interest was piqued. It was dark, and visually compelling, complete with an evil-eyed Charlize Theron as the Queen. Rounding out the cast was Chris Hemsworth (aka Thor) and Kristen Stewart – most notoriously known for her role as angst riddled Bella Swan in the Twilight film series. I’m a huge fan of Theron and Hemwsorth – not so much of Stewart but I decided to take my chances.

Last night I had the good fortune to attend an early screening of the film, and the trailers were true to the film’s character. Very dark, at times even somewhat grotesque (when Theron crawls from the black ooze was particularly stomach turning), the Queen’s costumes, her castle, her magic – all very well done. Visually this movie stuns and accurately creates a world for this good versus evil battle to take place. They give Stewart very few lines in the first hour of the film, which actually kind of worked for me and Chris Hemsworth was endearing, even comical at times as the drunken Huntsman sent into the words after Snow White.

Of course, after finding Snow White successfully the Huntsman discovers via the Queen’s super creepy brother Finn, (Sam Spruell, who I thought at first was Paul Bettany) that in fact the Queen lied to him and wouldn’t give him what he asked for. Why didn’t Finn wait until after the Huntsman had handed over Snow White to tell him that? Good question.

After shaking off the Queen’s men, the Huntsman agrees help get Snow White to the last of her belated father’s army. The Huntsman and Snow White flee the forest and start towards their destination. This is where the movie started to wane for me. First, when the Huntsman started getting smacked around by a troll and Snow White is able to calm it down with a scream and a dreamy look – give me a break! This, I assume is attributed to her ‘power’ as the embodiment of all things ‘good,’ a fact that was belaboured a little too hard for me.

I really liked when they went to the village that was full of scarred women and children and the reason why, and meeting up with the dwarves was a cute and interesting encounter – particularly when one dwarf was Bob Hoskins and another, Nick Frost (aka Ed, from Shaun of the Dead) – but the journey seemed long and some points unnecessary. When Snow White wakes up and follows the weird CGI baby creature things (I don’t even know what to call them, they creeped me right out) to this CGI big antlered animal, it was drawn out and pointless especially given what transpires next. It just seemed like they had to keep telling us over and over how Snow White was good, how she was going to heal the kingdom because her character wasn’t given enough to do to prove it or enough dialogue to truly prove it – which wasn’t even Stewart’s fault.

I liked the addition of William working his way back to his childhood friend and possible love and how that all unfolded. But it was confusing as to who Snow White is supposed to be in love with: William or the Huntsman. She kisses William (or so she thinks) at one point, but the Huntsman’s tear-filled speech and the subsequent result, made me wonder who heart really belonged to – which is a resolution we don’t get and I wish we had.

Snow White’s speech to unite the people and bring them to battle against the queen didn’t hold much weight; it wasn’t impressive and didn’t feel as emotional as Stewart was trying to make it be. It didn’t move me the way Hemsworth’s earlier speech did.

But never the less, the battle was interesting and full of action, but the final draw between the Queen and Show White wasn’t as exciting or even as fun to watch as I hoped it would be. I also didn’t really understand the back story of the blood spells binding the two women and being able to undo it, it just seemed kind of glossed over without much detail.

The end also lacked luster, Stewart is crowned the Queen while William and the Huntsman (in the background) look on, what does it mean, now that both men seem to be in love with her? We never find out, she also looks a bit unsure under that crown, which didn’t seem to inspire much confidence. As they slowly (painfully slowly) panned out and faded to black for the end of the film, I honestly kept expecting something more to happen. It just didn’t seem like a proper finish, I wanted more resolution.

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The Avengers: Better Than I Bargained For

Well played, Avengers. well played. This weekend I joined the swarms of ticket holders to experience the full hype of the Avengers. As someone with more of a preference for DC, particularly Batman, my interest in this film was mild – but superheroes are always fun to watch no matter who they are and Joss Whedon has proved his awesomeness via Buffy numerous times before. I have to admit; walking out of the theatre I realized how much I liked it. In fact, I’m already planning to see it again. This is definitely a film with a lot going on.

First we have the reappearance of Loki (Tom Hiddleston) on Earth, the evil adopted brother of Thor who was presumed dead by his family. Alas, he is alive and wonderfully evil as ever, hell bent on taking over the Earth and enslaving the humans. Basically he’s feeling inadequate next to his hunky brother. As Loki quickly wreaks havoc on Earth, turning Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) and Clinton Barton (Jeremy Renner) into his man slaves, they break out of the lab stealing the tesseract, which opens the portal between earth and space.

Cobie Smulders, our beloved Robin, from How I Met Your Mother was simply not given enough to do in this role as a member of SHIELD who tries to stop them, but as the SHIELD headquarters starts to implode in a particularly awe-striking sequence, the bad guys get away as they often do. Samuel L. Jackson aka Nick Fury decides the threat they are facing is so great, it’s time to rally up the superheroes. With the help of Natasha Romanoff also known as Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), they rally the troops: Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), and a new version of the Hulk in Mark Ruffalo – whose subtle yet understated performance particularly impressed me. He’s soft spoken and appears almost delicate, but that scene where he slams his fist down on the table made me jump at his edge, the hardness, the ever so slight indication of the bubbling rage he is always carrying with him – he was awesome. My only question about the Hulk was, why did he attack Scarlett Johansson (his first incident in over a year) on the plane and then have the sense of mind to cooperate and help them later on?

As Iron Man, Captain America and Black Widow seek out Loki and eventually capture him, Thor shows up literally falling from the sky – to join the party. After some disagreements between Iron Man and Thor, they all return to the giant SHIELD invisible plane/submarine to figure things out, while Loki is locked up super tight.

One of the things I liked most about this film was it’s ability to poke fun at itself, and this of course has to be attributed to Joss Whedon and his particularly sassy style. Robert Downey Jr. fired off the best lines continuously throughout the film. Comments about Legolas, schwarma, and his own brilliance are just a few that come to mind. Other things like Hulk – smash and the Hulk flicking Thor away with a flick of his finger brought back a sense of a humour that is prevalent in the context of comic books, and allows for the movie – while full of dramatic fight sequences and flaring tempers – to also allow a laugh from time to time.

Loki is an excellent, cunning villain. Both in dialect and expression, he is diabolical but in a way that you almost admire his determination. Ruthless, unafraid to hurt anyone in his path, including his own brother and suffering from some serious bouts of over confidence and crazy mouth – I just can’t say enough about him as a villain. My biggest and perhaps only complaint about this movie though, is that crazy horn helmet they make Loki wear multiple times. Could he look any more ridiculous? When he came on screen wearing it, I actually had to physically cover my mouth to contain my laughter. Talk about some interesting wardrobe!

Things start to go awry aboard the SHIELD plane; Loki escapes and as the portal between Earth and space is open, in comes the alien army to the streets of Manhattan.

Barton’s turn to the dark side due to Loki’s scepter spell made Jeremy Renner a formidable villain. He really worked his knowledge and cunning to gain the upper hand over his former friends and cause quite a bit of destruction in his wake. His fight scene with Scarlett Johansson was one of the most interesting in the film and he still managed to come off as likable and sensitive when he recovers from his injuries and realigns with the Avengers. The relationship between him and Romanoff seemed genuine, playing the soft side as well as his physical strengths; frankly I could have watched him shoot those awesome arrows off of that rooftop all day long. The guy is hardcore, tough and owned that part.

Of course the Earth was saved, as we knew it would be, but Loki still lives and I’m hopeful we’ll see him again. But there were a lot of awesome fight scenes and clever dialogue that got us there, and that’s what made Avengers such an enjoyable ride – it’s so damn entertaining – which begs the question, will they make a sequel? The scene that popped up during the credits seems to indicate yes, the Avengers will be forced to battle Thanos next. Interestingly, Alexis Dernoff is credited with that role. He was Wesley in Joss Whedon’s Buffy and spinoff, Angel. So will Joss Whedon be back? If not, will it be as good? Without him, I seriously wonder if the sequel would be as well done as this one.

Was the Avengers everything you expected? Did it live up to the hype? Will you see it again?

The Five Year Engagement Gets Real

Warning, spoilers ahead!

The Five Year Engagement wasn’t what I expected.  As a newly married person with only one anniversary under my belt, I thought the film would focus on the horrors and pitfalls of the wedding planning process: pleasing everyone, cost, details, etc. Basically I expected it to be in the same vein as Bridesmaids, but with its own voice of course. But what it actually dealt with was change and challenge in relationships, of course peppered with hilarious comedic moments, but the heart of the film was rather poignant and somewhat serious.

The film starts off with Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet (Emily Blunt) getting engaged. They live in San Francisco where Tom is a Chef and Violet is anxiously awaiting replies from Universities where she can teach. After being denied by her first choice, she is accepted at the University of Michigan….which means she has to move to Michigan. They decide to postpone their wedding plans and they pack up for Michigan. Tom quits his job at a popular restaurant and agrees to stick it out for two years in the cold winters until Violet’s career can take her elsewhere…or at least that’s the plan.

Once in their new life, Tom struggles professionally and personally. Working as a sandwich maker at a popular deli and hunting in the woods with some hilarious oddball friends in his off time, he begins to lose his sense of self, becoming unhappy and resentful which in turn strains his relationship with Violet. This strain continues when Violet is offered to stay in Michigan for another 3 years, derailing wedding plans once again. Every time they postpone the wedding further, a grandparent seems to die – initially I found this funny, but after the first couple, I started to find it morbid.

Also, in a weird but hilarious twist, Tom becomes increasingly obsessed with hunting – serving venison meat and hanging deer in his back shed while sporting a yeti -like appearance. Meanwhile Violet is thriving work wise and warming up to her co-workers, especially Winton (Rhys Ifans). They strike up a close friendship that immediately made me suspicious of his intentions.

A few weeks later, Tom and Violet make another half-hearted attempt at wedding planning in which they decide to just roll with their situation: rehearsal dinner and wedding reception at pork restaurant, a previously canceled, Japanese wedding cake, etc. Things are looking grim for the starry-eyed couple we met at the beginning of the film who met one night by chance at a ‘make your own super hero’ New Year’s Eve party. She dressed as Princess Diana (because she doesn’t require a super power) and he as a self made ‘Super Bunny’ in a pink bunny costume.

At the rehearsal dinner, Violet confesses Winton kissed her a few weeks earlier and things unravel. Tom pursues Winton, not realizing Winton is taekwondo trained and apparently able to do parkour over fences – he eventually retreats. Tom is feeling low and happens upon a fellow co-worker from the deli which leads to one of the weirdest encounters I’ve ever seen. I wouldn’t call it sexual and I wouldn’t call it romantic, I’d just call it weirdness with egg salad that I will never unsee.

After sleeping pants less and drunk in the cold, Tom wakes in the hospital sans one toe and a crying Violet by his side. They part ways, and Tom moves back to San Francisco. While I understand why this was necessary to the story of Tom and Violet’s relationship, the next few scenes made me kind of mad. About a year later, Violet is seeing Winton and Tom is dating a 23 year old ditzy girl named Audrey. Frankly, I couldn’t understand why being with Audrey benefited Tom at all.  They didn’t seem to have similar interests or a particularly satisfying sex life. it just seemed sort of lazy. I understand why Violet gravitated towards Winton as well, but personally I think I’d always feel a bit guilty towards Tom for her initial encounter with Winton while she was still with him, but I guess that’s just me.

It takes convincing from Tom’s parents and the death of yet another grandparent, this time Violet’s – for Tom to travel to the funeral to see her. She is happy to see him as well, having recently learned she was only advancing to an Associate Professor position due to her relationship with Winton. Not cool, Winton!

Tom and Violet happily reunite but as she is supposed to return to Michigan and he is now running a successful taco business via ambulance turned restaurant, they find themselves with only a few weeks together. On the day Violet is set to go to the airport, they both unknowingly have planned to re-propose to each to her. To me, this was the sweetest and best part of the film. Their ability to say yes to each other once again and the spontaneous wedding sequence to follow. Violet set up an elaborate sequence of choices: tuxes, band, type of officiant, etc. and they finally get married.

As the central issue for this couple was largely based around living location, I was surprised that they didn’t explain exactly how Tom and Violet would manage their living problem. It seemed to me Violet would have to go back to Michigan, and Tom could open up a restaurant there? Surely the ambulance taco stand idea wouldn’t fare as well in the land of low temperatures? But I’d like to see how it was resolved, because that’s the problem they’ve been trying to solve for the duration of the film.

Despite the more serious content, there was a great deal of laughs in this movie – largely attributed to Chris Pratt’s character Alex, Tom’s best friend and Chris Parnell as hunting friend, house wife and sweater maker, Bill – who was one of my favourite characters. Emily Blunt was lovely and likable – I really felt for her character and the problems she was facing. Jason Segel continues to impress with his comedy and his ability to strike a chord but showing a more serious side -but I must admit I’m bias where he is concerned. I thought this was a really good film, the problems and feelings of the characters were more complicated and real than I had anticipated.

The Avengers are Coming …with Batman?

In just over a week the highly anticipated super hero collective, the Avengers will be released in theatres. It is expected to make a killing at the box office, boasting the super hero celebrities we’ve grown to love from their individual franchises: Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, etc. They’re coming together to save the world and people are excited. I have to admit, having seen Thor and Iron Man 1 and 2 – I have my doubts. These are big stars with big characters and big stories who will have to vie for screen time, how will it turn out? My faith was somewhat restored by the director, the man all of us nerds love – Joss Whedon. Obviously famous for the Buffy series which is still beloved to this day, I think I speak for a lot of comic book/super hero fans when I say that he seems to understand us and frankly, who couldn’t benefit from a few hours of escapism? I’m sure I will enjoy Robert Downey Jr.’s sassy dialogue, Chris Hemsworth’s hearty laugh and pretty face and I’m sure guys everywhere will love Scarlett Johansson in tight black leather. However, none of these details are the reason that I will rush to the theatre on May 4th. My loyalty and attention will belong to another, the Dark Knight.

The internet became a buzz late last week with rumours that were later confirmed: there will be a new Dark Knight Rises trailer that airs before the Avengers. Now sure, I was interested in seeing the Avengers eventually, at some point – but dangle some Dark Knight in front of my face and I will surely be there. Despite the conflicting companies: DC vs Marvel, Warner Brothers vs Sony – I think this is an incredibly smart move and one that will mutually benefit all of these companies all around. Loyal Dark Knight fans will flock to the theatres to see the trailer and therefore give the Avengers and even bigger opening weekend than anticipated. Subsequently, hardcore Avengers fans who may be living under a rock and not seen the incredible trailers release so far for Rises, will get a change to be persuaded to see that as well . But I mean, come on – does anyone really need to be persuaded at this point?

Director Christopher Nolan restored the Batman franchise to me, the way it always should have been. Always a fan of the 90’s cartoon series but less so of the films (particularly Batman Forever and Batman and Robin, ick) – Batman Begins was like a breath of fresh air into my nerdy universe. Seeing it multiple times in theatres and wearing into my DVD copy, I differ from others whose favourite has become the Dark Knight. For me, Begins opened us up to a new world and told re-told the story of Batman’s origins in a visually stunning and compelling way. Not to say that Dark Knight wasn’t amazing – it obviously was. Heath Ledger’s performance of the joker was beyond what anyone anticipated and his acclaim was much deserved. Even as I go back and watch it now it amazes me how completely he becomes the Joker. Tom Hardy will have some prolific shoes to fill as the new villain in Gotham City, Bane.  I like both Hardy and his fellow co-stars, Anne Hathaway and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as actors and it only increases my intrigue that they have been cast in this film.

Which brings me back to my original point: combining the Avengers release with the new Dark Knight Rises trailer is genius. Yes, I will go see the Avengers just for that reason, but I’m sure I will enjoy the Avengers on some level as well. I wasn’t a fan of the acting or dialogue of Thor and I liked the first Iron Man film much more than the second. But I like Loki as a villain, I like Jeremy Renner and I also really like how Robert Downey Jr. portrays Tony Stark, so this could still be a good film. I don’t know if it will be the great film that everyone is anticipating, but I’m sure there will be a lot of ass kicking, both on screen and at the box office.

From Book to Movie: Does it Ever Work?

Last weekend I went to see the Help with my Mom. We’d both read the book and really loved it, so we had an obvious interest in the movie. While it was good, and the acting really well done, the seriousness, scandal and sacrifice (alliteration aside) just didn’t translate to film for me. The movie felt like a light hearted version of the actual story.

So many times I set out to a movie, based on a book and find myself disappointed and feeling like something is missing. While I realize that a screenplay cannot be expected to be an exact adaptation of the book itself, sometimes what gets left behind is what makes these books so good. It’s the small details, the intimacies of character relationships and character development that a book allows time for that a movie often does not. Some disappointing books to movies that I’ve read/seen are:  the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, Something Borrowed, Twilight (all of them – the acting is SO bad), the Nanny Diaries, the Da Vinci Code and the Harry Potter films – some were done well, but not all – particularly Half Blood Prince.

So why do I keep going to see these movies? I always go hoping that the movie will in fact do justice to it’s written form and there have been a few occasions where I’ve been left satisfied. Some movies that translated well: Circle of Friends, Anne of Green Gables, Into the Wild, the Lovely Bones, the Devil Wears Prada, the Notebook, the Reader, and Dolores Claiborne

This weekend, One Day opened in theatres. This movie is an adaptation of the David Nicholls novel. I’m anxious to see it as I enjoyed following the lives of Dexter and Emma, but the reviews so far have been less than stellar. So I guess we’ll see.

This Christmas the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo will be in theatres and I have hope that this will turn out well. The trailer looks amazingly dark. I think Daniel Craig as Blomkvist is a very interesting choice and with Trent Reznor’s dark score, I think it’s going to be really well done.

What books to movies have you loved? Or hated?

Remakes and Sequels – Why?

I love movies, I love to watch and judge and re-watch and judge some more. Chick flicks, super heroes, action, drama – I love it all. But you know what I don’t love? Sequels and remakes. Why why why? And how often are these ideas actually successful? Now I’m sure sequels often fair better than remakes, but lets examine both.

Sometimes – and only sometimes sequels can work. The Godfather Part 2, the Dark Knight, Toy Story 2 & 3, Karate Kid II, Mission Impossible II & III (I liked them!) but I honestly have a hard time and have to seriously consider which sequels I’ve actually enjoyed. But then I think about the ones that haven’t and my mind can’t stop going – the Hangover 2, Bridget Jones 2, Sex & the City 2, Clerks II, Oceans Twelve, Speed 2, any Joel Schumacher Batman, – in many ways I feel these sequels to a disservice to their originals.

Then there’s sequels many years later, that you know are only being made because the people involved need the money – recently announced coming sequels will be: Austin Powers 4, Jurassic Park 3, Bridget Jones 3, Ghost Rider 2 (I mean, really?!) There’s no need for any of these movies to be made, (or for anyone to keep giving Nicholas Cage a job) especially since it’s been quite a few years since we’ve even seen an Austin Powers or a Bridget Jones in action.

Now for the remakes. Past awful remakes include: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (sorry Johnny Depp, even I couldn’t love you for this), Get Smart (sorry Steve), and as of late a new version of Footloose has been made. It’s the exact same story, same music, same character names – they are even re-creating the Kevin Bacon-tan top-dance sequence. This movie was (at least somewhat) a reflection of the time in which it was made. Looking at it now, it just doesn’t work. It looks like that movie Step Up where dancing is illegal. I hope Kevin Bacon was wise enough not to have a cameo in this.

This week it was announced a remake of Dirty Dancing has been green lit. Didn’t Dirty Dancing – Havana Nights do enough damage? At least it had a Patrick Swayze cameo! No offence to Jennifer Grey, but if she gets the cameo with her nose job and all – it’s just not the same.

What are they doing to our beloved originals? It perverses these movies and why we love them. Are we out of original ideas that we are doomed to a life or continuous recycling? Why do we need them? DO we need them?

Also set for release this Christmas – A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas. Come on.