Movie Adventures

I love movies. Going to the theater, throwing a DVD in, streaming on the internet. Doesn’t matter to me, I just love to watch movies. Unfortunately, the last few months have been very chaotic in my personal and work lives (yes, I separate those!) and I haven’t had much time to enjoy movies in my favorite form: the big screen.

Aside from worrying about being stuck next to a sniffler, screaming tweens, or perhaps the universally-feared chatterbox, actually GOING to the movies is almost always a great experience. This week I was able to see not one, but two movies in the theater!

So, what did I see, you ask? The top two grossing movies out right now — duh! Sunday was a espionage afternoon with Skyfall and today was a matinee full of vampires and werewolves in Breaking Dawn Pt. 2.

Overall my movie-going experience both days was fantastic. I thought I’d share some brief thoughts on the films in case you too are debating taking the $20+ plunge of going to the theater.

First up, Bond. James Bond.

I am personally not a huge 007 fan. I know, I know… that’s a crime! Well if you can forgive me for that, I will say that I REALLY enjoyed Skyfall. As a stand alone movie (for someone who hasn’t seen all the James Bond movies) it was easy to follow and just as intriguing as say the Bourne series (one of my favorites). I thought they did a great job at keeping twists and turns in the movie without simultaneously losing my interest by confusing me.

The most impressive part about this film: Javier Bardem. He played the most creepy, freakishly smart, and crazy ex-agent ever: Silva. Oh the goosebumps! His bleach blonde hair, removable face implant, and über freaky laugh really made you believe he’d gone off the deep end.

Second best part: Daniel Craig. Enough said. :)

Overall, I give the movie an ‘A’ for being intriguing, suspenseful, and having a very handsome leading man who can kick butt all day long without breaking too much of a sweat (even for an “old” guy).

Next: the end of an era Saga

I don’t know about you, but when I’ve invested time in a TV show, multi-movie franchise, book series, etc. I tend to stick it out even past its expiration date, just because. Prime example: One Tree Hill. I watched that show like it was my job from the first to last season because after the first few seasons I felt committed enough that I couldn’t NOT find out how it ended… it was hardly the same show after 9 seasons.

Same story with Twilight. I couldn’t give up after the New Moon debacle (that movie was a challenge to sit through!). It really was too bad that the movies didn’t do the books justice because they had so much to work with. Fortunately, these last two (Breaking Dawn Pt. 1 & 2) were both really well done. Although the acting of Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson didn’t necessarily get better, I think the directors were able to help them out a bit.

So, I’ve now officially seen all 5 movies (and yes, read the 4 books) and can honestly say this last one was the best of them. The cheese-factor was far less than the prior installments. Even the visual effects were impressive — those wolves almost look real. However Renesmee’s (Mackenzie Foy) digital face on various ages of children was a little creepy, but they did the best they could given the fictional nature of the character.

Anywhoo, it was definitely a great ending to a so-so movie saga. They stuck to the book well enough that I didn’t see any major reasons for complaints, the acting was improved, and the overall feel of completeness of the series (and the characters) was there — something I can say is often lacking in long-lived television shows. I’d give it an ‘A-‘ and say it is definitely worth seeing if you have any remote interest in the story because it repents for the past films that were less than stellar.

There you have it folks, my take on the top two movies of Thanksgiving week. As for what else is coming out that I want to see, the list is quite lengthy after having seen about 10 trailers in the last few days. Costco movie tickets, here I come!

Movie Review | The Lucky One

“How do you explain something that you can’t even understand yourself?”

click the picture to watch the trailer

As promised, I went and saw “The Lucky One.”

For starters, here’s the plot summary (from Apple trailers):

U.S. Marine Sergeant Logan Thibault (Efron) returns from his third tour of duty in Iraq, with the one thing he credits with keeping him alive-a photograph he found of a woman he doesn’t even know. Learning her name is Beth (Schilling) and where she lives, he shows up at her door, and ends up taking a job at her family-run local kennel. Despite her initial mistrust and the complications in her life, a romance develops between them, giving Logan hope that Beth could be much more than his good luck charm.

Overall, the movie was pretty good (I’d say a 7 out of 10).  Zac Efron did a great job playing the sexy, sensitive guy.  Question, do those actually exist?  Doubtful….darn you Nicholas Sparks for setting my expectations so high! Anyway, the chemistry between Efron and his co-star Taylor Schilling was a little less than spectacular.

For those of you who have a love of all things Nicholas Sparks (like I do), you probably think love should be as amazing as Noah and Allie in the Notebook.  Beth and Logan (Schilling and Efron) just don’t possess that same, gotta-have-one-another magnetism.  I personally think that Schilling is just a little old for Efron. I can’t recall from the book, but I don’t believe that the character of Beth was supposed to seem older than Logan.

As always, the characters are relatable and have great back stories.  Beth is a teacher with ex-husband issues, who is a loving mom, and caring granddaughter.  Logan is a marine who feels every day is a gift and simply wants to make everyone’s lives better.  An added bonus in this movie is the mass number of adorable doggies, including Logan’s dog Zeus.

I would definitely recommend this movie to those who are interested in seeing your average rom-com, and who happen to love the overly-perfect endings of a Nicholas Sparks book, but if your expectations are still on Notebook and A Walk To Remember levels, then you might be a little let down.

Movie Review | 21 Jump Street

“I really thought that was going to explode.”

Do you like funny movies? Of course you do! :)

So…you need to see 21 Jump Street. I could not stop laughing the entire movie (nor could anyone in the theater).  If you need proof, just look at the ratings.  It was the top grossing movie this weekend, and if you’ve seen it, you know why!

If you’ve been hiding under a rock lately, and have yet to even see the preview, check it out (click the picture).

Click on the image to go to the trailer.

 

Who would have known that Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum would make a great duo?! Personally  love all things Channing Tatum… just ask my friends, I’ve been obsessed with every movie he’s been in for years (i.e. Dear John, The Vow, Step Up, She’s the Man, Stop Loss, just to name a few).

Until this point, I hadn’t really enjoyed Jonah Hill as an actor, but I was really impressed — he’s definitely moved passed his Superbad days.

Having been a mere infant when the original 21 Jump Street ended, I obviously have no comparison to what 80’s TV-aholics believe to be one of the best shows ever created, but as a stand-alone movie the 2012 version was amazing.

The basic plot line, for those of you who don’t know, is two somewhat pathetic cops (Hill and Tatum) are put undercover and thrown back into high school, in order to find the supplier of a new drug.  Tatum’s character was a high school jock in his day, and expects to be right back in that BMOC (big man on-campus) position.  Little does he know, the new cool kids are the environmentally-friendly, smart kids who are getting into Berkeley and saving the planet, one Prius at a time.  Hill’s character, the once “not-so-slim-Shady” is now realizing what it was like to have the adoration of high school pupils.

The whole movie will have you bursting at the seams laughing.  The timing is right, the characters were well cast, and there are definitely a few surprises lurking around corners that audience members, like myself, definitely don’t see coming!

A small warning to those of you who may be a bit sensitive, it is definitely an R-rated movie for a reason.  Throughout the film, there is a lot of profanity, but unlike the aforementioned Superbad (which I couldn’t sit through due to the horrible sophomoric humor), it didn’t hit you in the face quite so obnoxiously.

Overall, I absolutely loved this movie, and would suggest it to anyone who just needs a really gut-busting laugh.

Top 5 of 2011

2011 has been a great year for meganeilers.wordpress.com and it is all because of you!

yes, YOU.

the mass amount of visitors who check my blog out each day are the real reason I love blogging. so while reviewing my awesome report from wordpress about just how successful the site was this year, I decided I’d show all of you which posts were the most visited.  clearly, my obsession of the week posts were popular!

In case you haven’t read these posts yet, I provided links to the top 5 posts of 2011 :)

Continue reading

Movie Review | The Debt

“What if we could go back. Would it be different?”

Oh boy, have I got a movie recommendation for all of you! This weekend I went to see the movie “The Debt” stars Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington, Jessica Chastain, Jesper Christensen, Marton Csokas, and Tom Wilkinson, among others.  The film is about a trio of secret agents whose mission is to hunt down the surgeon of Birkenau–“a man whose sadistic experiments left thousands disfigured or dead.”

Personally I love films that jump between present day and a time long ago (or in this case the 1960s).  The side-by-side plot lines intertwined excellently, showing how the relationship of Stefan, Rachel, and David unfolded during and after their time in Soviet-controlled East Berlin.

The film was a great combination of action, romance, and mystery simply due to the nature of the mission these young agents were on, and the ways in which they so seamlessly integrated themselves into society in order to not draw attention to themselves.

young Rachel, David, and Stefan training in their apartment

After the initial mission fails, the three struggle to keep their hostage alive in the confines of their small apartment. During the surgeons “feeding times” the bond between the three agents begins to wear thin, and his messages to them begin to infiltrate each agent’s mind, subsequently driving them mad.

When the film returns to “modern day” (1997) we see how drastically life has changed, and how secrets are much harder to keep than anyone could have anticipated.  After a member of the trio ends his own life, the mission restarts and the desire to rid the earth of the surgeon begins once again.

This film was an excellent emotional roller coaster.  I really loved that it wasn’t a typical film in the way that one can anticipate what is lying around every turn.  The way in which the movie was actually filmed was also really interesting to me.  The filters and angles used really gave the film some intrigue, even before the actors start talking.

Interestingly, I had not heard of this movie when I went to see it at the theater.  I simply was surfing the movie listings and saw the title and gave the trailer a quick preview.  So, for any of you who did see it already (despite its lack of advertising) what did you think?  Is anyone else as refreshed as I was to see a film that isn’t highly predictable like most movies these days? What are your thoughts on how semi-newbies Sam Worthington and Jessica Chastain did at portraying Mossad secret agents? Let me know in the comments section!

Movie Review | The Help

“Courage isn’t just about being brave, it’s about overcoming fear and daring to do what is right for your fellow man.”

It’s that time again: movie review time!  This review is for the film: The Help. Before I give a summary of the movie let me just tell you, this may be the movie of the year for me.  The acting was phenomenal, the cast was extraordinary, and the story (based on the bestselling book) was life-changing. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can check out the trailer here: The Help Trailer.

The Help is set in Jackson, Mississippi during the early days of the civil rights movements.  Of course, the southern United States in the 60’s was not accepting of diversity, and the white population was not concerned with providing African-Americans with safe and/or healthy living and working conditions.  The Help provides an in-depth look into the world of an African-American maid, her responsibilities, and her hardships, while also highlighting the inner workings of the southern, white female social circles that were so prevalent at the time.

The film focuses on two maids, Aibileen Clark (played by Viola Davis) and Minny Jackson (played by Octavia Spencer) who have spent their lives raising white children and cleaning the homes of upper middle class white families, while having to face extreme racism and poverty.  The maids, referred to as “the help,” are so disliked (despite being relied upon so heavily) by their employers that a movement to create separate bathrooms for them spread like wildfire through the city.

Recent ‘Ole Miss graduate, Skeeter (played by Emma Stone) realizes the injustice being done to these women and desires to bring awareness to the issues by taking her views and the maids’ testimonies to create a book.  By bringing light to the terrible treatment of the help, it empowers the women to break free from their silence.

Skeeter, Minny, and Aibileen

Overall this film was completely spectacular.  The transformation that all the actors made in order to become true to the characters, each with their own style and attitude was simply unbelievable.  Although I have not actually finished the book (something I plan to do in the next week), I can see the continuity with the story line, and how well the characters in the book were brought to life.

Despite the fact that the film lasted almost 2.5 hours, my friends and I were thoroughly engrossed the entire time.  Emotions ran the whole gamut. There were tears of happiness and sadness, along with gut-busting laughter.  The character development was so excellently executed that I truly felt I knew each character by the end of the film.

One additional aspect that is vital in the differentiating of a good film from an excellent film in my opinion is: the music. The Help receives an A+ in my book for the soundtrack.  The trailer alone gives me goosebumps with the song, “Change the World” feat. Taylor Dayne, which is unfortunately not available in iTunes in the U.S. quite yet. :( Instead of using top 40 pop music that so many movies use today, the songs were perfectly selected for giving off the right vibe in each moment in the movie.  Everybody should definitely check out The Help!

Let me know if you’ve seen it (or read the book) and give me your feedback in the comments section. Also, let me know how you like this movie review. What changes should I make to create a better review?

**Please note I was not paid to endorse The Help or any associated products/websites.

Movie Review | Crazy, Stupid, Love.

“Seriously? It’s like your photoshopped!”

Hi there everyone!

I’ve decided to add a new category to my blog: movie reviews!  You may be wondering what authority I have in reviewing Hollywood’s shining (and not so shining) stars out there, and here it is: I’ve watched them! I am a total movie buff and as you well know if you are a follower of my blog I love to give my opinion about just about anything, so it was only obvious that I should start posting movie reviews.

Yes I know, not exactly a Roger Ebert level reputation, but if you want a brief synopsis along with some witty commentary–something I have in bulk–this is the place you will want to come for movie reviews.

First up: Crazy, Stupid, Love.  If you haven’t heard of it or haven’t seen the previews, check them out.  These alone should draw you in to want to see the movie, but if you still aren’t convinced, read on :)

Of course, first things first: the cast.  Who doesn’t love a good dose of Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Julianne More, Marisa Tomei, and Kevin Bacon.  Being 21 my favorite piece of this cast was definitely Mr. Gosling–the line about being photoshopped is directed at his beyond beautiful body.  Obviously Carell, Moore, and Stone are all actors who are well known for their funny characters in other movies, and this film only helps their filmography lists.

The plot was definitely interesting, a few more twists than one may expect (don’t worry, no spoilers here).  The best part about the film was the fact that it didn’t follow in every bad rom-com’s footsteps. The drama was far more intense, making it an “adult” romantic comedy (nothing raunchy, I promise), but it stirred emotions of all varieties, not just fairy tale endings.

Overall the moral of the movie was a good one, basically: stick up for what you love, no matter the obstacles.  I would highly suggest seeing the movie, but if you are like me and don’t enjoy spending $12.00 for a movie ticket at the theater, this would be an okay movie to see on DVD in a few months.  I have to say though, that if you are like me in another way, seeing Ryan Gosling’s abs on a movie theater-sized screen is a pretty wonderful experience.

I know this was a rough version of a movie review, but I promise they will only improve with time.  In the comments, let me know what kind of details you would like to see in future reviews. Happy viewing!

**Please note I was not paid to endorse Crazy. Stupid. Love. or any associated products/websites/actors.

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