Depending upon the time of the year, I have to watch a certain film.  For instance, at Christmas I don’t want to watch It’s a Wonderful Life, I want to watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (Shitter’s Full).  During Halloween I want to watch Hocus Pocus, and anything involving zombies.  During the summer… Well, I’ve got to watch a few films in order for it to feel properly like summer.  In no particular order, my top 5 summer films I watch year in and year out:

1.  Major League

Wild Thing is rocking some slick frames.

I love me a good baseball movie.  (Hey did you hear that the Pirates are above 500 and 1.5 games out of first place?!  It’s been YEARS since they’ve played well.  I’m not a fair weather fan, I watch the Buccos even when the were blowing chunks but it’s nice to go to the game and catch a few wins… anywhoo…BACK TO THE BLOG).  In particular Major League is my favourite baseball movie (though props need to go to The Sandlot  and Rookie of the Year featuring crazy teeth himself, Gary Busey).  Major League features Charlie Sheen as “Wild Thing” (pre Torpedo of Truth days) as well as Wesley Snipes and Bob Uecker as the loveable announcer.  It’s an 80’s movie to be sure, but the gags in it are just as funny today as they were back when I first saw it.  It makes me want to head on down to the ball park and boo the Indians (as a Pittsburgher I have a hatred of all things Cleveland… Never mind the fact that Cleveland swept my beloved Buccos when they in Cleveland back in June  -_-).

2.  Independence Day

How's it sit, pretty cunning don'tcha think?

This is a story all about how my life got flipped turned upside down, it’ll only take a minute just sit right there and I’ll tell you how aliens blew up the White House and the Fresh Prince and Bill Pullman saved the day.  Seriously, how can you NOT want to watch Independence Day?  It also helps that it typically plays around the 4th of July.  We kick some alien booty.  It also is the first time I remember seeing one of my favourite actors in a film.  (Adam Baldwin aka Jayne Cobb from Firefly).  Cookies to the person who can tell me who he plays in the film WITHOUT using IMDB.   Oh, and let’s not forget the always amusing Randy Quaid and Jeff Goldblum.

3.  Meatballs

Released in 1979, I wasn’t even born when Bill Murray was out in the woods in this campy (PUN!) movie.  Murray plays a camp councilor who leads a rag tag bunch of misfits in an Olympic-type game of challenge against a rival camp.  I shouldn’t love this movie but I do.  Heck, I’ll even watch the sequels if they are on TV.  It reminds me of those summers long ago when I went to camp.  I only wish my music camp had been as awesome as this one.  Do kids even go to summer camp anymore?  It was all the rage during my middle school years, now I don’t know any kids who go.

4.  Wet Hot American Summer

Best Counselors Ever.

I know, I know… two camp movies on the list?  Shaddup.  This film is fairly new (it’s only 10 years old I believe) but it’s perhaps one of the best ‘worst’ movies I’ve ever seen.  If you’ve not indulged in watching this gem, it is available on Netflix.  Let me run through the cast list for you:  Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Michael Ian Black, Paul Rudd, Molly Shannon, Ken Marino, Amy Poehler, Elizabeth Banks AND Bradley Cooper.  Oh, and Marguerite Moreau (you might know her as Connie from the Might Ducks films)!  There are too many of them for me to put in all the links but you’ve got to admit that is an ALL STAR cast.   There are so many things I love in this movie.  Michael Ian Black and Bradley Cooper have a ‘commitment’ ceremony on the edge of the lake, and sex in one of the storage sheds.  Paul Rudd though is the best.  He cheats on”Connie  and is an all around douche.  He is busy making out with Elizabeth Banks and lets a kid drown.   I won’t tell you what he does to the drowned kids ‘swim buddy’ you’ll have to watch it and see for yourself.

5.  Jaws

Nothing makes you want to go jump in the ocean more than Jaws does right?  Oh sure, Discovery Channel has bought into the whole ‘sharks are scary awesome’ idea with Shark Week, but nothing is as awesome as Spielberg’s 1975 classic.  Let’s not forget that it also stars Roy Scheider (not to be confused with Rob Schneider) who played Captain Bridger on SeaQuest.  SeaQuest was like crack when I was growing up… I NEVER missed an episode.  Let’s not forget the Jaws soundtrack.  Two notes on a tuba, that’s all it took to make a villain.  DUH-DUH.  DUH-DUH-DUH.

So…  I watched Firefly last night.  A mini marathon if you will.  Why?  Because it was one of many things I would have rather done than write a review of Monte Carlo.  That is what was slated for yesterday’s Sunday post.  In fact, I’ve composed a list of five things I’d rather do than write this Monte Carlo review.

  1.  Write an epic haiku about bumblebees
  2. Attempt to preform brain surgery on myself with a power drill
  3. Pour gasoline over my head and light a match
  4. Learn how to make my own peanut butter
  5. Do the gallon challenge

Fine.  I’ll stop procrastinating and write it.  GOSH.

I should preface this by saying I am often forced to see really, REALLY bad movies.  My sister, who puts up with my requests to see movies she doesn’t necessarily enjoy, in turn forces me to sit through utter crap (ie. romantic comedies and teenybopper films, oh and Twilight *shudder* I DREW THE LINE AT SEEING THE LAST SONG).  That’s not to say I’ve hated everything she’s forced me to sit through (I really liked Letters to Juliet) just that my tolerance for these sorts of films has been waning as I’ve gotten older.   I still have favourites (10 Things I Hate About You, How to Lose a Guy and so on and so forth) and I love campy films.  Films so bad they are good.  Monte Carlo was not campy, it was just two hours of my life I will never get back, and frankly, that just makes me angry.  YOU WOULDN’T LIKE ME WHEN I’M ANGRY.  *hulks out*

BLUCK

Gratuitous picture of Bluck (Blair+Chuck=Bluck). Ed Westwick wears the oddest clothing ever!

The film stars Selena Gomez from Disney Channel, Leighton Meester who plays Blair Waldorf on Gossip Girl and some girl I didn’t recognize.  She was the one who was dating Finn Hudson, Glee’s Cory Monteith in the film, and was basically a step above white trash.  She was a high school dropout who is presumable in her early (I’d say late because I’m mean like that) 20’s who is best friend is a 17 year old girl.  Creepy right?  Do you think it’s even creepier that they are shacking up and going to Paris for a week?  I did.  I didn’t find her “aww shucks, it’ll be okay, life is grand” demeanor to be anything but irritating.  She did wear cute shoes though.  As my college roommate will tell you, shoes will make or break a film.

Anyways, Mommy and Daddy Gomez decided they didn’t trust Selena and Finn’s girlfriend alone in Paris so they send along Selena’s step-sister Blair Waldorf for the week.  If you’ve ever watched Gossip Girl (I’ll admit I have, it’s like a trashy soap opera or a telenovella WHICH I LOVE and am not ashamed to admit) you know that Blair Waldorf has a great big stick up her bum.  Well in this movie she’s basically Blair Waldorf BUT WORSE.  How is that even possible?!   How can that stick get any bigger?  [Insert your own Chuck Bass jokes here].

They get to Paris, their tour sucks, and they bitch and moan and are all “woe is me” because of it.  Apparently they’ve never heard of public transit, taxis or the fact that just because they paid for a tour, they are in no way obligated to ‘tour’ with the bus.  They can do whatever they please as they have a room and it isn’t changing for the week they are there so they don’t need to worry about being left behind in any one local.  SUCK IT UP, BUY A TOUR BOOK AND EXPLORE ON YOUR OWN.  GOSH.  Oh, and did I mention that Blair speaks perfect French?  That makes navigating even easier.  (My own trip to Europe would have benefited from this… I was in a new city every other night so I HAD to stay on my tour bus or not have a place to sleep for the night.  I also didn’t have anyone with me who spoke Spanish or Portuguese).

Well they get separated from their bus, run into a swank hotel and Selena is mistaken for a British

This is what 'Evil' heiress Selena Gomez looked like.

heiress.  She is shipped off to Monte Carlo for the week after deciding it would be fun to play dress up and masquerade as this girl.  Never mind the fact that identity theft is a real crime.  What follows are each of the girl’s stories about how they meet the perfect guy and fall in love.  In the case of Blair Waldorf she meets a scrumptious Australian who teaches her how to remove the stick from her bum.  Selena falls in love with an equally attractive French guy whose father owns the foundation the REAL heiress is making a donation of a priceless necklace too.  Oh… and Texas white trash realizes that the ‘high life’ isn’t for her and Finn is what she wants.  Rachel Berry is not amused.

You would think that with a name like Monte Carlo, you’d be treated to fabulous views of the country, fantastic clothes, the wealthy and elite.  You got very little of that, aside from the hotel room the girls are in for the week.  That would have made the movie at least bearable.  Have I made it clear how much I dislike to movie?  Had it been one girls love story, and had the other two remained the quirky sidekicks, I’d have probably enjoyed myself more.  They just spent the entire film developing three love stories, all in detail, which made the film drag ON and ON and ON and ON.  Oh, and the secret “twist” [SPOILER ALERT] to the film about how they get discovered and why… is that the necklace that is being donated to charity by the witchy heiress gets lost.  They admit what they’ve done and there are no legal ramifications.  In a real world they’d have been locked up for years.  Granted the necklace reappears at the last minute, so they can return it, but it’s still theft and identity fraud!

That’s my rant.  1 out of 5.  There is nothing redeeming about this film.  It’s predictable, slow paced and the whinging of the characters make you want to punch babies in the face.   Note:  I do not condone punching babies in the face.

Addendum:  My sister was very upset that in the Cars 2 review I did not point out that the fishing boat the the beginning of the film that drops Michael Caine’s character off on an oil rig was played by the Deadliest Catch ship captain Sig.  (The boat was also named the Northwestern which is the boat Captain Sig helms).

I have a love-hate relationship with Pixar.  I want to love them, but most of the time hate (well am indifferent, hate is a pretty strong word for this context) the films they create.  That’s right; I’m probably the only person alive who doesn’t like two of their biggest hits, The Incredibles and Wall-E.  I’ve also got a few issues with their other films like Finding Nemo (the opening scene is NOT appropriate for a small child) and Up! (the opening scene is really the only part of this film I loved, I was fairly bored through the rest of it).

So if I don’t really like Pixar films, then why did I go bother to see Cars 2?  Because for each “miss” for me, there is a “hit” and the first Cars was just that.  I was hesitant to see it when it first came out; in fact I waited until it was in its final run at the theater I worked at.  I saw it late at night, with no one in the audience, in one of the smaller auditoriums (#7 for the Carmikers who read this) at the theater I was working at.  I only ended up seeing it because I had a free evening and had seen everything else playing at the time.  Never underestimate the appeal of seeing a movie when you’re not paying for your ticket.

So I sat, I watched and I LOVED the film.  I tried to figure out what it was that made the first film so great and I came up with the following criteria:

  • stunning visuals
  • memorable characters
  • a great soundtrack
  • a story that imparts a life lesson
  • nostalgia

As I sat down to watch Cars 2 (a Sunday matinee on opening weekend, filled with small children… what in the world WAS I thinking, oye!) I was cautiously optimistic.  I had to remember that Toy Story 2 was amazing, heck even Shrek 2 (yes I know Shrek is produced by Dreamworks, shaddup) as far as a sequel went nearly blew the original out of the water.  Surely Cars 2 would get the same careful treatment by Pixar.  I wanted to love this film; I wanted to leave with a smile on my face.  I didn’t however.  I just felt indifferent, as I had after so many Pixar films.

Don’t get me wrong, as a stand alone movie it would have been great.  It however wasn’t a stand alone movie.  It has an established back story that is utterly ignored and neglected in the sequel.  It was a spy movie that was dumbed down so it was suitable for kids, where animated cars were the spies.  No really, that’s basically the synopsis of the film.  If you have a 5 year old, take them to see it, they’ll probably love it.  That being said should I not nitpick it, because I’m not the audience for whom it was intended?  It’s my blog, so I’ll nitpick as much as I want, and frankly, Pixar is known for making films that appeal across the board to children and adults so I figure I’m allowed to complain… I mean critique the film.

If we look at the criteria established above, it only hits 2 of the 5 categories I’ve listed:  stunning visuals and a story that imparts a life lesson.

As always, Pixar films LOOK amazing.  This one didn’t disappoint.  The clever tie-ins to previous films (the restaurant from Ratatouille in Paris) and incidentals you have to really be paying attention to pick up on like the Lassa Tyres signage around the track (the films director is Lasseter) are all there.

The life lesson that is imparted is that you should always be yourself, and be proud of who you are, not change yourself to fit in.  A worthy lesson for kids to learn.  Tow Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) was the vehicle (pun intended) through which this lesson was imparted.  Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) was upset with him for being himself (a crass, country bumpkin) when a more refined image was needed.  Mater leaves the racing circuit rather than embarrass McQueen and he is mistaken for an American spy with his dumber than dirt image being his cover.

So then, what are we missing?  Great characters.  The stand out in the original film was Doc Hudson (aka the Hudson Hornet) who is only briefly mentioned in this film.  Special props also need to go to “The King” voiced by Richard Petty (the actual king of Nascar racing… yes, I grew up in a house that watched Nascar so I can appreciate all the attention to detail that was paid to the ‘sport’ in the first film).  We can surmise that Doc Hudson passed on to that great big dirt track in the sky from what is glossed over in the film.

The cavalcade of other characters (Luigi, Guido, Sarge, Filbert) travel along with Lightning McQueen acting as his pit crew as he competes in three races all across the globe.  Part of the original Radiator Springs crew is left at home however, including Ramone, Flo, Sally and the adorable Red.  We are introduced to two new characters, British spies Finn McMissile and Holly Shiftwell played by Michael Caine and Emily Mortimer respectively.  Mater becomes the featured star of this film, instead of the loveable side-kick.  For people who only found Mater amusing in small doses (myself for instance), making the new story revolve around him was an issue.

All of that aside, we can focus on the last two things that were missing from this film:  the soundtrack and the nostalgia.

I LOVED the Cars soundtrack.  I have it on my iPod and could recognize all the songs (and the artists singing them which is rare for me) as I watched Cars for the first time.  This movie, I didn’t recognize any of the music, with the exception of Brad Paisley singing on the credits with someone else… who I’m guessing is British based on the lyrics?  Music drives a film, and it certainly drove the original Cars.  (Really, these driving puns need to stop).  Couple it with the lack of nostalgia because we are not in the American heartland, looking at great and classic cars (instead we get Gremlins and Pacers and other notorious lemons) and seeing sweeping scenes of the southwest and it’s a disappointment.  I understand that you can’t remake the first movie, that this was probably the natural progression for the film but all the things that made the first film so perfect don’t carry through to the next installment.

My final rating is 2.5 out of 5.  If you have a small child I’d take them to see it, or at least rent the film when it’s available from Netflix or Redbox.  Otherwise this is one to skip.

(I also apologize for my lack of pictures and links in this review, you’ll have to forgive me just this once!  The post was written a few days ago with the intent to add the links when I was on my personal computer.  I got caught up tonight after work… making jam and jelly if you must know (4 types!)… and I just wanted to get it posted by midnight so I didn’t blow through yet another deadline.  Thursday apparently has not been a good day for blogging.  Maybe I need to reevaluate what nights I post, lol!)

I saw X-Men: First Class a few weeks ago and I’m in full agreement with most every other review I’ve read (all three of them), that it is the best entry into the X-Men franchise thus far.  Remember that Green Lantern Review I did, where I gushed about how much I LOVED super hero movies?  Yeah, that doesn’t apply to X-Men.  That’s not to say I hate the X-Men, just that they aren’t my favourite… and don’t even crack my top 5 as far as super heroes go.  It’s probably because I never followed their evolution (PUN!), or that my first exposure to this particularly complex and motley crew was on a band trip.  We were driving home from Florida or Indiana or somewhere else and the first X-Men movie was the DVD that was playing (or VHS tape, DVDs were still pretty new back then).  It was loud and my seat was right under the speaker and it was late and all I wanted to do was sleep.  THERE WOULD BE NO SLEEP.  Sigh.

That being said I sat through X2 and loved it, which prompted me to sit through X3 which I was pretty much indifferent about, which in turn almost made me skip Origins: Wolverine entirely but Hugh Jackman cannot be resisted.  Sadly though, the first Origins was awful, bad CGI claws, even worse acting, Hugh Jackman couldn’t save that travesty (or Ryan Reynolds and his abs of awesome).  This was why I was hesitant to see First Class.  I gave in though when I heard fan boys gushing.  If fan boys, who are notoriously nitpicky loved it then well, it would be worth a trip to yonder Cinemark.

For the most part it was… worth the trip that is.  The film basically gives us the backstory on Professor X and Magneto, which not being overly familiar with the X-Men franchise I appreciated.  I felt this was lacking in the earlier films.  I also loved the ‘look’ of the movie.  Granted it was set in the 1960’s which gave it a great vibe as far as color and feel goes, but the film didn’t feel as sterile as the chrome and leather of the early 2000 versions.  I also loved Magneto at the end of the movie when he is busting January Jones (aka Emma Frost) out of jail, his look reminded me of the comics (as did their black and yellow flight suits). Magneto

For me the stand out stars were Michael Fassbender (Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto) and Nicholas Hoult (Hank McCoy/Beast).   James McAvoy also gets a special nod because I’ve been obsessed with him for nearly as long as I’ve been obsessing over Ryan Reynolds.   (If you haven’t seen The Last King of Scotland go see it… NOW).  The rapport between Fassbender and McAvoy was fantastic.  They played well off of each other, and perhaps the best thing is that you leave the film not knowing who you should be rooting for, the newly formed X-Men or Magneto and his band of mutants.  Magento is the default villain in earlier films.  Instead of being that default ‘baddie’ he now has some much needed depth, and we have the understanding of why he is the way he is.  He’s a compelling leader, just as McAvoy is as Professor X, and more than that you understand why his vendetta against those who won’t accept him or his kind is so strong.

BeastHoult is equally as charming as Hank McCoy.  Smart, awkward, adorable and a mutant.  He shows certain vulnerability that the other mutants lack.  You truly see the transition from McCoy to his Beast-ly personality.  He is not comfortable in his own skin, but must learn how to cope with it and eventually accept it.

All in all it earns a  4.5 out of 5 stars.  I do have concerns about where the franchise will go from here.  The look and feel that I loved cannot be duplicated as the franchise moves on (and our mutants all start to age) because we move into a new era (the 70’s and 80’s were not exactly glamorous).  I only hope that the depth and personality of each character that we got in this installment will carry into future ones.   (Note the lack of commentary on Kevin Bacon.  He’s Kevin Bacon, he’s in everything, now I have yet another movie to play the 5 degrees of separation game with.  That’s really all I have to say about that… oh and I want to watch Footloose and Apollo 13 of and Frost/Nixon as those are my favorite baconater movies, lawls).

Cars 2 review will be up on Thursday!

I totally fail.  I give myself a deadline, then completly miss it?  In my defense the post was actually written for Thursday, I jut forgot to set a ‘publish’ time for it.  I also worked late because of a board meeting, then my aunt came in from St. Louis then I went to wine country and just got back.  EITHER WAY, the post is ready to go… and was written… Sooooo… Enjoy!?

[BEGIN POST FROM THURSDAY]

While I’m not saying that EVERY Thursday will be a Trailer Watch, there is a new Harry Potter trailer out there and clearly if you haven’t watched it you need to.  Go ahead I’ll wait.

AMAZING RIGHT?!?!?!  It was on the front of Green Lantern and I literally had goose bumps as it played.  I tend to freak out anytime I am in a theater and an HP trailer comes on… even if I’ve seen it, much to the chagrin of my sister.  It also makes me incredibly sad that this wonderful journey is coming to an end.  I’ve grown up with these books, these movies, these actors… That being said, yes I’m going to the midnight premier for HP (I haven’t missed a midnight since Prisoner of Azkaban) and that’s not all.  I’ll be in costume… with 40 other people.  The ticket has been purchased.  SO FREAKING EXCITED.

Okay, I’m done geeking out.  There are a few other trailers I want to throw up for you.  Enjoy.

FRIGHT NIGHT

I can’t decide if I’m going to absolutely love this movie (Anton Yelchin/David Tennant/Toni Collette) or hate it (Colin Farrell).  I typically only see one ‘scary’ movie a year because they are not my cup of tea.  I’m not counting this as a true horror mind you, more a suspense/thriller.  I’m also utterly sick of vampires.  Still… I want to see it… if only to mock it when it’s bad, but how can it be bad with Anton Yelchin and David Tennant?!  Between now and August I’ll also be netflixing the original (1980s) version.  Have you seen the original, do you have any interest in this one?  Even though it is a remake, this trailer makes me feel like I’m watching a ‘classic’ horror film (think The Exorcist or Poltergeist or Children of the Corn).  Typically the ‘classics’ are all I ever watch and only around Halloween.  Maybe if Hollywood stops making torture porn (Hostel or Turistas) I’ll start watching more of them.

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO

Have you read the books?  I downloaded the first one on my Nook because it was ridiculously cheap (like $1.99 or something when they put it on sale one week) and because everyone had been raving about the series.  I’ve read about 40 pages… I can’t get through it and frankly have given up on trying to finish it.  That being said I have NO clue what the movie is supposed to be about, but that trailer looks pretty bad ass.  I’m not necessarily a fan of all the quick cuts the trailer looks but the music and the gritty-ness of it means I’ll probably see it when it comes out.  Hey, at least this means that when I do see it, I won’t be able to complain incessantly about how they’ve changed things from the book.

That’s all for today, I’ll be back Sunday with a review of X-Men: First Class.

[/END POST]

ryanreynoldsewAlright, first post is out of the way and it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty and get a review under my belt.  There is one housekeeping thing to address first.  It’s small though, unlike the dust bunnies currently living under your bed and mine.  Posts will be coming to your way twice a week, on Sunday and Thursday.  See, I told you it was small, brief even, but it had to be done.  This way all the haters can berate me if I miss a day.  Damn those haters…  Anyways, on to the abs, I mean the review.

I need to preface by saying that I LOVE super hero movies.   I love them like a fat kid loves doughnuts.  This love has meant suffering through Fantastic Four and Fantastic Four Rise of the Silver Surfer as well as the horrid Tim Allen film Zoom and Sky High.  That’s right, you only have to mention the word superhero and I’ll shell out my hard earned monies to see it, even if it looks (and is) awful.  That being said, I was DYING to see Green Lantern.  In fact, aside from HP7:2 this is probably the film I was most looking forward in the summer line up.  I purchased my tickets a week in advance, buying tickets for a 3-green lantern stubsD show because they had no 2-D shows available.  They added them after I bought my 3-D tickets… the bastards.  My utter hatred of 3-D will have to be saved for another post though.    Anyways, I got my tickets, was excited for it all week, got to the theater early, got my favorite seat… I was set, ready to go, ready to experience a movie featuring one of my favourite (and often neglected) super heroes.   Keep your Peter Parker and your Bruce Wayne, give me Hal Jordan any day of the week.

Need I preface the rest of this with a spoiler alert?  *SPOILER ALERT*  That’s the first and only one you’re getting, so don’t get used to it.

The film wasn’t terrible and it wasn’t great; I’d give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.  (Actually, I’d give it a 2.5 out of 5, but well, Ryan Reynolds abs get a point because I like the man candy… I’ll admit it, will you?!)  The most obvious problems with the film were an utter lack of chemistry between Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, poor dialogue and Peter Sarsgaard and his giant head and receding hair line.   Oh, and the 3-D, was nothing special.  It wasn’t the worst 3-D I’ve seen (that would be Fly Me to the Moon) but it had no real ‘special effects’ added so you felt immersed in the film.  Not worth the extra $$$, it rarely is.

Let me be the first to say I understand how important it is to explain the back story of how a superhero manifests his power, even though it sometimes felt never ending in this movie.  My first inclination is to compare this to Spiderman.   The first Spiderman movie was a wonderful foray into the life of Peter Parker, but the second film blew it out of the water (we’ll not mention the third though, what with the dancing and the weird musical number in the middle).  That’s how I sort of see the Green Lantern franchise.  There is so much confusing back story that NEEDS to be explained.  It can’t be glossed over and still make sense.    Because so much time is spent developing this story, you don’t really get to see our boy shine as the Green Lantern.  It lacks those death-defying fight scenes that I tend to enjoy.  Now that the back story is established we can perhaps see more ass kicking in a sequel.  I’m hoping.  Sure him figuring out that overcoming fear and not actually being “fearless” are what will give him enough strength to defeat the big baddie requires all this back story, but I like explosions… that or I’ve watched too many Michael Bay films.

On to the acting.  I’ll admit I’m a sucker for Ryan Reynolds, and not just because he’s easy on the eyes.  I’ve loved him since his days as Van Wilder and though he has mostly stuck to the comedies, he’s started to show some more depth with Buried and was downright charming in The Proposal.  That being said, I find it hard to find fault with him in this movie.  It wasn’t his fault the dialogue was sometimes awful, or that he had to ‘serenade’ Blake Lively in a bar a la Top Gun.  He did the best with what he was given.

My biggest issue was with Blake Lively, aka Serena Vanderwoodsen of Gossip Girl fame.  She was not a convincing Carol Ferris.  I can’t look at her and believe she’s a fighter pilot cum business executive cum love interest.  She was nothing more than a clothes horse with a bad dye job.  I never felt a real connection between her and Mr. Reynolds, I never felt that there was some unrequited love or lingering issues under all the ‘daddy’ angst Hal Jordan was crippled by as he went about trying to figure out why he was the one chosen to take up the ring and lantern.  Do I have a suggestion for a new Carol Ferris… not really… but how about someone who doesn’t look like they could be blown over by a strong wind.

greenlanternsarsgaardFinally, the one thing I really didn’t like was Peter Sarsgaard.  The giant head, the weird glowing eyes… even before he’s infected by an alien virus he comes off as a creeper.  He’s like the guy who lives down the street and you just know he has dead bodies in his freezer.  You know the guy I’m talking about.  Are we supposed to feel sorry for him because his senator dad doesn’t love him and is ashamed of him, or because he never ‘got’ the girl because someone more handsome was always in the way?  Are we supposed to be creeped out as he’s infected by alien goop then turns into an asshole because he can finally get back at the people who neglected him and over looked him?  I’m not sure what I was supposed to feel… or if he was necessary to the plot at all.  Wasn’t there enough going on that you couldn’t have figured out another way for Hal to realize he had to try and fight to save his planet?  Something?  Anything?  Bueller?  Meh.  All I felt was nauseous, and that was from looking at him.

That aside, I stick by my 3.5 rating (out of 5) because I’m feeling generous.  If you enjoy the ‘magic’ of the big screen and seeing a movie in an audience of people who will geek out with you, you could make a trip to the local cinema for a show.  Frankly though, my recommendation is to rent it when it comes out on DVD.  It’s not the best, it’s not the worst, it’s pretty average but I think the franchise has potential to grow into something awesome.

Now then, who is ready for Captain America!?

in·au·gu·ral

[in-aw-gyer-uhl, -ger-uhl]

–adjective

1. of or pertaining to an inauguration: Harding’s inaugural address.

2. marking the beginning of a new venture, series, etc.: the inaugural run of the pony express.

We are marking the beginning of a new venture.  Inaugural…  It just sounds so austere, so regal…  what movie is worthy of the inaugural post?  There are too many to pick from but I will focus on three, count ’em, three movies.  Three movies that were ‘firsts’ for me.  Fitting for the first post I think?

Movie 1:  The Secret Garden

This is the first movie I remember seeing in a theater.  I was eight or nine years old at the time, and while I think I saw other movies in the theater (Disney movies no doubt) I REMEMBER The Secret Garden.  Why do I remember it?  Not because it was a film of fantastic cinematic quality but because the girl who sold my mother and I tickets, gave me (or my sister… the details are a bit sketchy actually) a promotional pin for the movie.  Those of you who are fans of Office Space might know this as flair.  I still have the pin somewhere in my plethora of childhood mementos.  Looking back on it now, that is why I remember this trip to the movie theater.

I’ve watched the movie more than once since 1993 and it is part of my DVD collection.  I bought it out of the $5 bin at Walmart in a combo pack with the Alfonso Cuarón version of A Little Princess.  (Two movies for $5?!  JACKPOT!)  It’s a fairly faithful adaptation of the book (which I also recently re-read) and the young girl playing Mary, Mary quite contrary was fantastic despite her young age.  Toss in the always amazing Dame Maggie Smith as Mrs. Medlock and the film stands the test of time.  I wish more children’s movies were like this one.  Is anyone else tired of penguins and talking dogs and kung fu pandas or is it just me?

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Side note:  When I first read the Harry Potter books and before Emma Watson was cast as Hermione Granger, I pictured “Contrary Mary” as Hermione in my head.

Movie 2:  Twister

Twister was the first movie I convinced my parents I was old enough to see (I was 11 or 12 at the time) when I really wasn’t.  It was PG=13 for a reason apparently… my frail preteen mind couldn’t handle it.  I saw the movie when I lived in Buffalo, New York with a girl named Tiffany.  Tiffany who had a love of Barbie dolls and ended up with all of my favourite Barbie dolls and my collection of fabulous Barbie clothes which I am still somewhat bitter about today.  I digress.  Tiffany and I went with her parents to see Twister.  I remember having to get up and leave the theater more than once because I was so frightened by the film.  I used the convenient excuse of needing to use the bathroom to save face.  It wasn’t exactly the tornadoes themselves that scared me but the sound, the howling wind the creaking buildings and the breaking glass… oh and the one storm chaser whose forehead met up with a spinning saw was a bit gruesome, but yes, the sheer noise was terrifying.

I’m proud to say this movie no longer terrifies me though.  I can watch it and be amused by the cows and by the fact that Cary Elwes was in it as the “bad guy.”

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My dear sweet Westley will always come for me.  That’s what she said.  No really.  Anyways… on to #3.

Movie 3:  Armageddon

Armageddon was the first movie I saw at a drive in theater.  Another significant first as many kids today have never experienced a drive in.  That sort of depresses me as I find them to be great fun.  I’m lucky to have two drive in theaters with in a half an hour drive where I currently live.  I try and make at least one trip a summer out to see a flick.  Right, back to the world exploding… or well being hit by a massive asteroid. I saw this movie with my friend Shane, her brother and her parents.  We popped up the hood on their minivan and stretched out in the back with some sleeping bags.

stevebuscemiarmageddonI’ll admit that the premise of this film is pretty absurd.  An asteroid can only be destroyed by drilling into its surface and detonating a nuclear bomb.  The only people that can do it are some off shore oil-rig drillers?  Really?!  That’s all you got NASA?  Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck (OH AND STEVE BUSCEMI!) will save the day?  No wonder you’re facing budget cuts.

Still… as absurd as I think the premise is now, I enjoyed the movie when I saw it at the drive in.  I was on the edge of my seat the entire time and I cried when Bruce Willis had a video chat with his daughter (played by Liv Tyler) before signing off for good. To me this is a classic ’90’s film.  Like Independence Day it was a bit ‘out there’ as far as the plot went, but it didn’t matter, it was a summer blockbuster and it was the film to watch and as a middle schooler you watched anything and everything as going to the movie theater was what you did.  It is what was ‘cool’.

Those are my firsts, what are yours?