Monday, March 11, 2013

Movie Review - Oz: The Great and Powerful (PG)

In the movie Oz: The Great and Powerful, we learn the story of how the Wizard of Oz came to be (Note: the movie has nothing to do with Wicked). Disney tackled a prequel for one of the most famous movies ever, and they did fantastic. The first 20 minutes of the movie was in black and white, which was a nice touch. Oz explains everything you were wondering. Why did the munchkins fall for a fake wizard? What was the story behind the witch that died under Dorothy's house at the very beginning of The Wizard of Oz? Why is the Wicked Witch of the West so sensitive to water (Actually, we never do learn that)? Although the movie is very predictable, it's still entertaining for kids and adults alike. But, it could have been a lot better. While it's still worth seeing in theaters, Oz: The Great and Powerful falls a bit short of the Disney standard. The humor in the movie had everyone in the theater chuckling more than laughing (kind of like reading a joke online and not actually laughing but thinking in your head that it was really funny). I enjoyed the movie for what it was. A simple prequel to The Wizard of Oz that had amazing visuals.

Note to parents: Disney stepped a bit over the line with the jump-scares and frightening images with this movie. Might be too intense for kids under 10.


Oz: The Great and Powerful on Rotten Tomatoes
Oz: The Great and Powerful on IMDB
Get tickets here.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Movies' Biggest Night

On February 24, 2013, movie lovers across the nation will gather around their televisions once again for The Oscars, the biggest night in Hollywood. For its 85th annual awards, The Academy has nominated 53 features and short films in 24 categories. Many films, short films, and actors have received numerous and well deserved nominations for their excellence in 2012, and The Academy will recognize the best of the best. 

This year’s Best Picture nominees include box office hits such as Les Misérables, Lincoln, Life of Pi, Argo, Django Unchained, and Zero Dark Thirty, but more often than not the most popular movies of the year never win Best Picture. If box office revenue determined Best Picture, Marvel’s The Avengers would win by a huge margin as it made over 600 million dollars and made more money than any other movie released in 2012. Yet The Avengers only received one nomination for Best Visual Effects.

According to various websites and discussion forums online, either Lincoln or Argo will win Best Picture. Most of the time The Academy does not award Best Picture to a film unless its director was also nominated for Best Director. Ben Affleck (director of Argo) did not receive a nomination for Best Director, whereas Stephen Spielberg (director of Lincoln), did. Also, Lincoln received more Oscar nominations than any other film this year. 

Many speculate that Daniel Day-Lewis (from Lincoln) will win Best Actor in a Leading Role. In fact, he has already taken the title twice before in 1990 and 2008 for his performances in My Left Foot and There Will Be Blood, respectively. To confirm suspicion, he has already won 16 “Best Actor” or similar awards outside of The Oscars for his phenomenal portrayal of Abraham Lincoln.

Daniel Day-Lewis
Quvenzhané Wallis, who played Hushpuppy in Beasts of the Southern Wild (nominated for Best Picture and three other awards), is the youngest ever actress (just 9 years old) nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role. She gave an incredible performance in Beasts at just six years old. When asked “If you had caused the end of the world, what would you do?” Wallis answered “I would try to fix it; I would go to bed on time and brush my teeth.”

Nominees for Best Animated Feature are Brave, ParaNorman, The Pirates! Band of Misfits, Wreck-it-Ralph, and Frankenweenie, but The Academy missed a key gem from 2012’s animation lineup. Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, a film that made nearly twice as much money as ParaNorman, The Pirates! Band of Misfits, and Frankenweenie combined, did not receive a single nomination. Although The Lorax contained beautiful animation, great music, and stellar voice talent, The Academy did not recognize this wonderful film.

Paperman, a short film that Disney released theatrically before every screening of Wreck-it-Ralph, received a well deserved nomination for Best Animated Short Film. It has an odd animation style, which made it very intriguing. Disney blended computer animation with two-dimensional pencil animation beautifully. This film deserves an Oscar for its ability to communicate raw emotion and deep thoughts with animated characters and no dialogue in just over six minutes. 

February 24 should provide an ample amount of entertainment to movie lovers across the nation. This past year contained some of the greatest films ever made, and The Oscars will recognize the ones that have put themselves on the top of the totem pole.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Movie Review: Brave (PG)

Movie Review: Brave (PG)

Disney/Pixar's latest film is sure to be a hit. Any movie with the Pixar logo above it's name is sure to make millions. That being said, Brave is no exception. Pixar's twelfth movie, Cars 2, was the lowest rated Pixar movie of all time. Brave came next, and Pixar redeemed themselves. I must note that every preceding Pixar movie hit #1 at the box office. I don't doubt that Brave will do the same.

Pixar has only made one other movie that focuses solely on humans (The Incredibles). We follow the story of Merida, a Scottish princess who doesn't want to be a princess. A bit of a tomboy and rebel, Merida runs across a witch and gets the opportunity to "change her fate". When magic and destiny tear her and her mother apart, Merida must learn to be humble and selfless to change her fate. Sound cliché? It's a classic Disney plot, not quite what I expected from a Disney/Pixar movie. But nonetheless, Brave offers enough heart, humor, and action to keep this movie-goer entertained. Not the best Pixar movie, but certainly not the worst. And besides, when has Pixar ever made a "bad" movie? Pixar movies are always classified under one of two categories: Good, and Great.


Stunning (and I mean stunning) visual effects. Merida's hair looks fabulous. After about ten minutes, you forget that the film is animated

Hysterical physical comedy; the movie is funny... really funny

Two words: Kelly Macdonald. She voices Merida, and is a joy to listen to. As an American, I found the accent awesome.


Predictible plot, cliché story line (the action and humor made up for that, though)


Please go see Brave while it's in theaters. You'll be glad you did. It's a rare movie that's actually entertaining for adults and kids alike.

My review: ★★★★✯ (4.5/5)

IMDB: 7.5/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 6.9/10

(IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes scores as of 6/23/12)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Movie Review: Snow White and the Huntsman (PG-13)

Hollywood's done it again. Yet ANOTHER remake of a classic story, and audiences are sick of it. Let me tell you why this particular fairy tale twist is worth the trip to your local theater.

In the movie Snow White and the Huntsman, director Rupert Sanders tackles his first film, and he's off to a good start. The main thing that sets this story apart from the classic tale is all the action. LOTS of action. And of course, the seven dwarfs are present, and serve as a comic relief. The Huntsman, played by Chris Hemsworth (Thor, The Avengers), is hired by the evil queen Ravenna, played by Charlize Theron (Hancock, The Italian Job), to hunt (go figure) for Snow White, played by Kristen Stewart (The Twilight Saga). Though it's hard not to think about Thor and Bella in this movie, I still managed to see different characters altogether. Snow White and the Huntsman contains just the right amount of twists and turns to add a slice of unpredictability, without butchering the original story.


A stellar performance from Kristen Stewart. Many people think of her as the emotionless girl from Twilight, but don't worry. You'll see expression on her face in Snow White and the Huntsman

Spectacular costumes. I don't typically pay close attention to character's attire in the films I watch, but something stood out to me in this movie. The costumes were fantastic.

Plenty of action and scary moments. The sword fights were great, and the sequences of Snow White traveling through the Dark Forest are creepy enough to make this a non-kiddie flick.

A great rendition of the Mirror.

Ravenna, the Evil Queen, was indeed, evil. Full of menace, vengeance, and pure anger, she made the perfect villain. The filmmakers made sure that you loathe her with a burning passion.


Not enough character development for Snow White. It's very difficult to read her mind.

Inevitable elements of predictability.


Snow White and the Huntsman is an action packed, visually stimulating movie that's sure to be added to my DVD library in the future. Be sure to catch this one in theaters.

4/5 stars

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Movie Review: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (PG-13)

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (PG-13)

Directed by Stephen Daldry, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is the story of a nine-year old inventor named Oskar (Thomas Horn). Oskar and his dad Thomas Schell (Tom Hanks), have a very strong relationship. Thomas sets up games for Oskar, so that Oskar has to find clues to lead to a reward. Oskar is a brilliant little kid, and uses words I don't understand throughout the film. Unexpectedly, Oskar's dad is killed in the 9/11 terrorist attack at the World Trade Center. Tragedy sets in upon Oskar and his mom, Linda (Sandra Bullock). After a year of mourning and devastation, Oskar builds up the courage to enter his dad's closet, which hasn't been touched since "The Worst Day." Oskar finds a key, and spends the rest of the film trying to find out what it belongs to. He is convinced his dad left it for him, and wants him to find it. Oskar talks to numerous people around New York City, meets new friends, and has the biggest adventure of his life.

9/11 was an event that brought catastrophe to America. Few films have been made about it. On September 11, 2001, I was only four years old. Far too young to remember it. My mom says she remembers it like it was yesterday. The theme of the film is close to many's hearts, and many decide not to see a film about 9/11. It's a dangerous field for filmmakers; it's such a sensitive topic. I witnessed many people crying during the film, and if I were old enough to remember 9/11, I would have caused a flood. The movie is that powerful. That being said, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close draws most of the audience's attention to the story of a fictitious character, rather than to the attack itself. It was a well made movie, with great acting, cinematography, plot line, and characters. But the fact that it's about 9/11 can make or break the movie depending on your point of view. Please note that it's not an appropriate film for education about September 11. Again, the story focuses mostly on a fictitious character, and not much on the attack.


Extremely powerful, portrays 9/11 from a child's perspective.

Portrays the tragedy that occurred in our country in a powerful way

Isn't explicitly descriptive on the attack itself; there's no need to be, and the filmmakers knew that

Had the right dose of humor, and didn't stay super serious throughout the whole movie (That being said, none of the humor was related to 9/11 in any way)


Oskar has a foul mouth in the film. We hear a couple of obscenities roll off his tongue, one of which is in direct anger to his mother.

My review: ★★★★☆
IMDB: 6.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 5.7/10

Reviews from and as of 2/5/12

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Movie Review: The Muppets (PG)

The Muppets are back! In the same style of the old Muppet shows, Disney brings us an all new movie in theaters just in time for Thanksgiving. Lovers Mary and Gary venture off to Los Angeles for their 10th anniversary. Gary brings along his brother, Walter (who happens to be a puppet), so he can visit the original Muppet Studio. But here's the catch: The Muppets haven't been together for years, and the studio is abandoned. Walter is determined to get the gang back together and restore the studio. They must raise $10M or else an evil oil driller will tear down the studio and get oil. Can the Muppets raise enough money? Or will the studio be torn down for good?

Filled with plenty of Muppet style jokes, songs, and action, Disney puts together a film that many will enjoy. As for me however, the cons well outweighed the good parts. I love Amy Adams, and have fallen in love with her through movies like "Enchanted" and "Leap Year." In "The Muppets," however, I don't think she got enough screen time. She has such great charisma and charm about her, and Disney didn't give her enough time to show it off. She does get a solo song, though, which was very enjoyable. Jason Segel gives a very lacking performance. His character (Gary) had zero chemistry with Mary. As I watched the dialogue roll off their tongues, I cringed as it seemed like they were reading a script. For something as professional as Disney, I was very disappointed with Jason Segel's performance.

As a Muppet fan, I had high expectations for this movie. I went to go see a matinee showing on Thanksgiving Day, 2011.


Fun songs to get your feet tapping
Great puns and jokes for the adults in the audience


Poor plot
No chemistry between main characters (except Miss Piggy and Kermit of course)
Very poor performance from Jason Segel
Got boring at points
One of those movies you keep expecting to get better, then never does


It's worth a $1 rental from Redbox, but not a $9 purchase from your Box Office. If you're a diehard Muppet fan then you'll probably like it. As for the rest of us, it was okay.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Movie Review: Puss in Boots (PG)

Dreamworks presents "Puss in Boots" and it's NOT Shrek 5. Some may say the company is milking the Shrek phenomenon for all it's worth, "Puss" however is a whole new movie. No references to our favorite green ogre are made. Antonio Banderas pulls off the perfect voice for our feline friend known as Puss... IN BOOTS! As he and his friends Humpty Dumpty and Kitty Soft Paws embark on a magical journey to steal the magic beans from outlaws Jack and Jill, they find that humor, love, and forgiveness goes a long way. Dreamworks did a fantastic job with the humor, timing, and characters. 

No Shrek references
Charming and funny

Little over the top with bathroom humor, but not too bad. It made the smaller kids in the theater laugh, but that's all.