I am a huge movie lover - I will see pretty much anything once. Like my book blog, this is a place where I will write reviews of the movies that I see. As always, these reviews are strictly my opinion and I welcome and encourage discussion and debate on my postings~

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Leap Year

Leap Year (2010) - Run time: 100min


Anna Brady (Amy Adams) is a high strung home stager in Boston who wants the perfect life. That includes the perfect proposal from her boyfriend Jeremy. During a romantic dinner, Anna is sure Jeremy is about to propose but when she opens the little black box she finds earrings. Jeremy then runs off to Ireland for a convention leaving Anna wondering about her future. Soon after, Anna decides to take advantage of an old Irish tradition that states a woman may propose to her boyfriend on Feb 29th. After a storm re-routes her plane to a small village in Ireland, Anna must rely on local innkeeper Declan (Matthew Goode) to get her to Dublin on time.


Anyone who has seen the previews for this movie knows that it is the epitome of a "chick flick" romantic comedy. Basically, once Anna meets Declan, craziness ensues and sparks fly. I happen to love cheesy rom-coms so it was right up my alley. I have to say though that the script is a little dry - the funniest parts of the movie are shown in the trailer. Thankfully, Amy Adams and Matthew Goode turn in great performances and infuse the movie with some humour and life. Matthew Goode is actually the best part of the movie - and despite his character's attitude problem, I found him immediately likable (the accent definitely adds to that!). Guys will probably cringe at the mere SIGHT of the movie poster and it won't get much better for them in the theatre. This movie uses all the classic rom-com cliches - boy and girl meet, boy and girl hate each other, boy and girl forced to spend time together, boy and girl don't hate each other quite so much anymore, you can probably guess the end. Oh, the beautiful Irish scenery is also amazing - the perfect backdrop for the sappy love story.

Final verdict? If you are in to cheesy movies where you know the ending before you even get your ticket, then you will love it. If you like plot twists and originality, this movie is probably not for you.

Rating 7/10 - it wasn't the best romantic comedy I have seen but it was pretty good

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones (2009) - Run time: 135min

Plot: Based on the novel by Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones is about 14 year old Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan)who is brutally murdered by neighbour George Harvey (Stanley Tucci) and looks down on her friends and family from her own personal heaven (or the "in-between"). She watches as her family falls apart over her murder - her mother Abigail(Rachel Weisz) can't cope with her loss and disappears to California leaving Susie's father Jack (Mark Wahlberg) and crazy Grandmother Lynn (Susan Sarandon) to care for their other two children, Lindsey and Buckley. Meanwhile, Jack becomes obsessed with solving her murder and quickly suspects Harvey is responsible.


I read this book probably about a year ago and really liked it, so when I heard they were making it into a movie I was excited but hesitant. The book is very disturbing and complex and I was not sure how it would be effectively transferred to the screen. Critically, the movie has received horrible reviews. The thing that I most disliked about the movie also happens to be the thing I found really annoying in the book: the whole "heaven"/"in-between" thing. In the book, when you got to a part where Susie was describing her heaven it was almost like reading an entirely different novel - it really had little to do with the rest of the book. I think having Susie narrate from heaven was a great idea and extremely effective, however there could have been a lot less description of the psychedelic experiences she has in her heaven in between spying on her family. It just felt really out of place. Unfortunately, the movie followed into the same trap. It seems like the director was so busy trying to make Susie's heaven like some crazy acid trip that he did not stop to think about whether the scenes he was including really added to the story (which they didn't). Again, while watching the film, these scenes almost seemed like they belonged in a different movie. Emotions go from happy and carefree to absolutely depressing in seconds and leave you unsure of how you are supposed to be feeling.

While I thought the casting was great and the acting was pretty good, the character development was quite poor, leaving the actors little to work with. Grandma Lynn magically appears with no explanation for her behaviour and then disappears just as fast, only to return later with the same strangeness. Similarly, in the book, the character of Buckley plays a much larger role as he tries to navigate his childhood with a murdered sister, an absent mother, a crazy grandma, and an emotionally distant father. This was pretty much cut out of the film entirely. Same goes for the character of Lindsay, while she plays a larger role in the film, her character still is not really flushed out and it seems like random parts of the book that involve her character were put in simply for the suspense it created - you don't really get to see deeper into Lindsay and how the loss of her sister really affected her.

I have to admit that I wasn't overly disappointed with the film adaptation. There were some things I really didn't like and I think they could have done a much better job overall, but I didn't walk out of the theatre totally let down. I guess you could say I'm ambivalent - I'm not really sure what to make of this film. It certainly does not compare whatsoever to the book it is based on, so for all of you readers out there I strongly suggest taking a go at the book before you see the movie - but I guess I was entertained by the film.

Rating 6/10 - read the book first and take the film with a grain of salt

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Julie & Julia

Julie & Julia (2009) - Run time: 123min

Plot: New Yorker Julie Powell (Amy Adams) challenges herself to cook every recipe in Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" in one year and to blog about it. As her blog grows in popularity, so does Julie's feeling of being somehow connected to Julia. Intertwined within Julie Powell's story is the story of Julia Child (Meryl Streep), her life in Paris, and the years it took her to write her cook book.


Just a note before I begin - it is completely by coincidence that the first two movies I happened to review both starred Meryl Streep. While I do think she is a great actress, I swear it was by accident!

Back to the review - So going into this movie I didn't have great expectations. I expected to be entertained but didn't really think it would turn out to be one of my favourite movies, and I was right. Here's the thing, this movie wasn't bad ... but it wasn't really great either. I sat watching the entire movie just waiting for something interesting or exciting to happen and it never did. I laughed a few times and wasn't bored to tears by the film, but it wasn't overly exciting. Amy Adams manages to make her character quite likable, which is surprising considering her character could have easily been extremely annoying. Somehow she manages to make you smile even when she is whining or being overly obnoxious.

Meryl Streep did an absolutely AMAZING job portraying Julia Child. The hair, the voice - everything about her was just perfect. You really got a sense of who Julia Child was and where her inspiration came from.

Sadly there isn't really a lot more that I can say about this movie. Julie cooks, Julia cooks, people eat - that's about it. I'm glad I watched it but I certainly have no plans to see it again. This is a movie to rent when there is nothing else at the video store you really want to see but you want something to kill some time.

Rating 5/10 - it wasn't really bad but it wasn't really good either

Sunday, January 10, 2010

It's Complicated

It's Complicated (2009) - Run time: 120min

Plot: After traveling to New York for her son's graduation, divorced Jane (Meryl Streep) ends up having an affair with her married ex-husband (Alec Baldwin). After returning home, they continue the affair - meanwhile sparks begin to fly between Jane and her architect (Steve Martin).


While a little over the top at times, overall I thought this movie was quite entertaining. I love Meryl Streep and think Alec Baldwin is hilarious and pairing the two of them in this movie was perfect. Generally, I am not a huge Steve Martin fan. I find he tends to play the same character in every movie that he's in, and his over the top, slapstick style can really get on my nerves. Having said that, I thought he was FANTASTIC in this movie. Not that his performance was overly spectacular, but he managed to make himself immediately likeable and stayed that way throughout the entire film. I actually found myself rooting for him and his sweet, likeable character Adam. Even in a scene where over the top campyness could easily have prevailed (Meryl Streep and Steve Martin getting stoned in her daughter's bathroom during a graduation party for her son), they both did a great job of not overacting and ruining the scene.

Besides the mega stars who carry the film (Streep, Martin and Baldwin), I have to give huge props to two other actors who really held their own in such a star studded cast. John Krasinski plays Harley, Meryl Streep's son-in-law who finds out about her affair early on and tries to keep the secret from his wife. He is extremely good in this role and pulls you right into his character. The utter horror he feels at knowing this secret is absolutely hilarious.

The other breakout star of the movie is Emjay Anthony who plays Alec Baldwin's step-son. This child is HILARIOUS and makes you almost never want to have children!

While pretty predictable, this movie is definitely worth watching. Guys beware, it can definitely be considered a chick flick, although I think that even guys might find this movie at least a little entertaining. Basically, it's the typical rom-com but for my mom's generation - I enjoyed it, there were many laugh out loud moments - my mom LOVED it

Rating 7.5/10