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Posts Tagged: Drama

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Movie Thoughts: The Judge

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Movie Thoughts, Rated R, Review1 Comment

The Judge

Official Movie Poster

Title: The Judge (Official Site)
Tag Line: Defend your Honor.
Release Date: 10 October 2014
Rating: R
Runtime: 141 min
Genres: Drama
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Where Seen: Movie Screening
Production Company: Warner Bros.
Distributed By: Warner Bros.
Director(s): David Dobkin
Writer(s): Nick Schenk (screenplay & story), Bill Dubuque (screenplay), David Dobkin (story)
Stars: Robert Downey Jr. (Hank Palmer), Robert Duvall (Joseph Palmer), Vera Farmiga (Samantha Powell), Billy Bob Thornton (Dwight Dickham), Vincent D’Onofrio (Glen Palmer), Jeremy Strong (Dale Palmer), Dax Shepard (C.P. Lennedy), Ken Howard (Judge Warren), Emma Tremblay (Lauren Palmer)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


The Judge1The Judge is one of those movies that I knew I had to see the moment I learned who was in it. I have been a big fan of Robert Downey, Jr’s for years and I was excited to see him in something that would stretch his acting chops a bit. His performance in The Judge is nothing short of stellar and I loved his interactions with Robert Duvall who plays his father. The story focuses on Hank Palmer (Robert Downey Jr.) who returns home after many years away to attend his mother’s funeral. There is some bad blood between Hank and his father (Robert Duvall) and the tension between the two is palpable. Your heart aches as these two appear together as you can see that under all the anger an ill words that there is a lot of hurt and pain. Before Hank can leave town his father, a respected judge, is accused of murder and he feels like he has to stay in order to defend him.

The Judge is a slow moving, character driven film and if you are looking for bells and whistles you will want to check out the action movie in The Judge 2the theatre next door. This is a movie that finds its strength in quiet moments and dialogue scenes as all the characters try to find their way back to each other. The Judge is a serious film but there are also moments of laughter and scenes that will make your heart ache at the touching moment that is happening on screen. I do think that Vincent D’Onofrio and Jeremy Strong were under-utilized as Hank’s brothers Glen and Dale and wish that they had more time with RDJ and Duvall. 

Billy Bob Thornton does an excellent job as the prosecutor and really enjoyed all the courtroom scenes in this film. I also loved the moments that Thornton and RDJ shared on screen as they both tried to fight the best case they could. The Judge was a powerful film andThe Judge 3 its one that I hope will earn some of its cast members an award nomination or two. Its a movie that just sucks you in and makes you a part of the small Indiana town where its set. You feel like you are a part of the Palmer family and you are sitting right there in the courtroom hoping that RDJ can work his magic as he tries the hardest case of his life. 

All the characters in The Judge go through tremendous growth throughout the course of the movie and who they are at the start is not who they are at the end. TheThe Judge 4 Judge is a movie that will touch your heart stings and one that I am glad that I saw. Its filled with so many nuances and a great soundtrack and one that I don’t think you will regret seeing.

My recommendation: Worth seeing in the theatre but will also be a great DVD rental.




The Judge Banner2

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Movie Thoughts: If I Stay

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Movie Thoughts, Rated PG-13, Review5 Comments

if_i_stayTitle: If I Stay (Official Site)
Tag Line: Live for love.
Release Date: 22 August 2014
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 106 min
Genres: Drama
Series or Standalone: Series
Where Seen: Movie Screening
Production Company: DiNovi PicturesMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)New Line Cinema
Distributed By: Warner Bros.
Director(s): R.J. Cutler
Writer(s): Shauna Cross (screenplay), Gayle Forman (novel)
Stars: Chloë Grace Moretz (Mia Hall), Mireille Enos (Kat), Jamie Blackley (Adam), Joshua Leonard (Denny), Liana Liberato (Kim), Stacy Keach (Gramps), Gabrielle Rose (Gran), Jakob Davies (Teddy), Ali Milner (Liz), Aisha Hinds (Nurse Ramirez), Gabrielle Cerys Haslett (Young Mia), Lauren Lee Smith (Willow), Christine Willes (Nurse Davis), Chelah Horsdal (Liddy)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

As a book I wasn’t overly fond of If I Stay there was just something about the writing and how some of the scenes played out that just turned me off. So much so that as of writing this, If I Stay is the only Gayle Forman book that I’ve read despite so many people telling me how much I NEED to read her If I Stay1others. When I first heard that If I Stay was going to be turned into a movie I may have sighed and though but what about <<insert other book titles here>>. THAT one would make a far better movie and while I do still think that there are other realistic contemporary young adult books that should be made into movies I’m not as ambivalent to If I Stay as I once was.

The previews didn’t wow me for this movie and if it wasn’t for recieving screening passes then I probably would have waited for this one to stream on Netflix before I watched it. But if I had then I would have missed out on something special. If I Stay is one of those rare instances where the movie is better than the book. Chloë Grace Moretz really shines as Mia and she just took my breath away with the range of emotion she managed to convey. Mia’s role isn’t an easy and Moretz does a fabulous job bringing the before and after Mia to life. The supporting cast was also super excellent and I loved every one. The only actor that I had issues with was Jamie Blackley who played Adam and often came across as stiff If I Stay2on screen. Some of this though might be projection to some of the idiotic things that the character of Adam does in this story. There is so much push and pull between these two as they each try to hold on to each other while also trying to follow their dreams that it really tugs on the heart strings.

Another thing that this movie did really well was how it wove in Mia’s past with her present as she wandering about the hospital trying to figure out what she should do next. I was engrossed in this movie and got so caught up in the story that the world around me mostly fell away. I say mostly because I couldn’t seem to stop thinking about how Mia in the now was barefoot for all of her scenes. I keep thinking that poor actress and can someone please give her some shoes as those floors have to be cold! But those moments were fleeting and I mostly just sat there engrossed. My heart aching as events moved forward and we got to see all the various hurts and all those wonderful family moments that you almost wanted Mia to leave. Though at the same time there was still so much left for her to stay for that you are really torn on what choice you want her to make.

If I Stay nearly brought me to tears as well. Ok, there were some tears but just before this movie made me want to ugly cry (as others in the audience did) it moved to a past memory that was so If I Stay3heart achingly perfect that you can’t help but smile and laugh and want to freeze time right there. Right at that perfect moment so that the accident and nothing bad happens and these characters can just stay with each other forever with no hard choices needing to be made. Sadly though you can’t freeze time and bad things do happen and somehow you have to find the strength to pick yourself up and move on.

The soundtrack for If I Stay was also one of the best film soundtracks that I can recall in a very long time. Each song chosen and every note of the musical score was just perfect for the scene that it was in. Its a soundtrack that makes you want to immediatly run out to buy it just so you can relive all those moments in the film. And the storyline of the story along with how it ends makes me want to read Where She Went for the first time. I want to know more about these characters and what happens next. Though I think I am more fortunate than If I Stay 4some in the theatre as I know there is more story to tell. There were several gasps in the audience at the final seen and I heard a couple “That’s it?”, “That can’t be how it ends”, and “What happens next?”.

If I Stay was a movie that I was on the fence for but its one that I am so glad that I went to see. I think those that loved the book and those who, like me, didn’t care for it as much will like this movie adaptation. This is how Hollywood should adapt books into film and I hope that they decide to turn Where She Went into a film as well. As I almost would prefer to experience that story on the screen than in print.








Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Movie Thoughts: The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug (3D)

Posted by Irish in Movie Thoughts2 Comments

The Hobbit 2Title: The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug ()
Tag Line: Beyond darkness…beyond desolation…lies the greatest danger of all.
Release Date: 13 December 2013
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 161 min
Genres: Adventure | Fantasy | Drama
Series or Standalone: Series
Where Seen: Theatre (Screening)
Production Company: New Line Cinema, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), WingNut Films
Distributed By: Warner Bros. Pictures
Director(s): Peter Jackson
Writer(s): Fran Walsh (screenplay), Philippa Boyens (screenplay), Peter Jackson (screenplay), Guillermo del Toro (screenplay), and J.R.R. Tolkien (novel)
Stars: Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins), Richard Armitage (Thorin Oakenshield), Ken Stott (Balin), Graham McTavish (Dwalin), William Kircher (Bifur), James Nesbitt (Bofu), Dean O’Gorman (Fili), Aidan Turner (Kili), John Callen (Oin), Peter Hambleton (Gloin), Jed Brophy (Nori), Mark Hadlow (Dori), Adam Brown (Ori), (Legolas), (Tauriel), (Thranduil), (Smaug, Necromancer), (Radagast), (Bard, Girion), (Azog), (Bolg)

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The Hobbit Series Order
Film 1: An Unexpected Journey
Film 2: The Desolation of Smaug (13 Dec 2013)
Film 3: There and Back Again (~Dec 2014)

Prior to attending a screening of The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug I had not seen very many previews for it but the ones I did see made me very excited for the movie. As one would expect from a single book that was broken up into three parts, The Desolation of Smaug, picks up not long after An Unexpected Journey ends. Things are still a bit dire for our Dwarf and Hobbit friends as they continue to be stalked by the orc Azog and things don’t get better when Gandalf is called away to the south. This means that the Dawarves and Bilbo have to enter Mirkwood Forest on their own.

This is the part of the movie that I liked the least as it was the scene with the spiders. I am not a fan of spiders. The only thing worse than spiders are GIANT spiders. And in 3D when those spiders come flying at you…well, that was just not cool. Not cool at all. I didn’t scream but I most certainly did jump! But then it was over and there was Legolas! Oh sweet Legolas, my favorite character from the LOTR books and oh so pretty in the LOTR films and who totally shouldn’t be in the Hobbit movie but I don’t care because I adore him so.

I loved getting to see the home of the Mirkwood elves and I loved how Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh worked Legolas into the story and made it believable. I also liked the addition of Tauriel who is a totally made up character but one who fits in so seamlessly into the story. Tauriel is different from other elves that we’ve seen, or at least the female elves. She isn’t of high rank and so wears more practical clothes and she is a mean son of a gun when it comes to wielding a bow and arrow. She totally rivals Legolas in every way and I think I have developed quite the girl crush on her. I liked her story and I liked the slight romance that seems to be brewing between her and another character and I look forward to seeing where that might go.

But the thing that I loved most about The Desolation of Smaug was Smaug himself. Boy oh boy this the effects department do a good job with bringing this dragon to life. And in 3D everything was just so real and vivid and just totally took my breath away. I was on the edge of my seat during the scenes between Bilbo and Smaug and I probably held my breath a time or two as well. The action, once it started, was fierce and fast paced and it just rushes along until before you know it the credits are rolling and you’re left blinking wondering how on earth did 2 hours just pass as it feels like mere moments.

For me, The Desolation of Smaug has more of a cliff hanger ending to it than An Unexpected Journey and it means that There and Back Again will most like be filled with nonstop craziness. As with many middle of anything The Desolation of Smaug has that incomplete feel and I do still think that The Hobbit as a whole would have been better told in just two films instead of three. But the uber geek in me just loves that there will be another film. That its not time to leave Middle Earth yet and that there is still new and amazing things to discover.

Like where Gandalf went when he left the Dwarves and Bilbo. Oh you get to see some of that in Desolation of Smaug but there is still more of that story to be told and I for one am looking forward to it. I thought that I might be upset at some of the additions that Jackson was making to the story but as a whole I am loving what he has done so far. You can tell that Jackson is a huge fan of this world and that all that he’s added has only enhanced the story of The Hobbit and done nothing to take away from it.

The special effects are stunning (as one would expect) and this is one film that I will be recommending that people see in 3D. Normally I don’t see a ton of difference between 2D and 3D viewing. Oh 3D does make things pop but it doesn’t really change the movie viewing experience for me. The Desolation of Smaug on the other hand just seemed so much more because it was in 3D. Smaug literally floated off the screen and was just so very impressive. I really can’t say that enough. I am just in complete and total awe of the dragon.

The Desolation of Smaug is more serious than An Unexpected Journey but it wasn’t without its light hearted moments. There were lots of laughs throughout the theatre mixed in with a few gasps at some of the action scenes. Especially those action scenes that involve Legolas and Tauriel. Desolation of Smaug didn’t feel like it was almost 3 hours in length. I was lost in this story and I hated for it to end. I think I could have happily sat for another 3 hours just to have more of this rich and amazing world. Alas, I will have to wait a whole year for that. But if 2013 is anything to go by There and Back Again will be here in a blink.

My Recommendation: Definitely one to see in theatres and I highly recommend viewing it in 3D as well.



Friday, November 22, 2013

Movie Thoughts: About Time

Posted by Irish in Movie Thoughts5 Comments

About TimeTitle: About Time ()
Tag Line: A new funny film about love. With a bit of time travel.
Release Date: 08 Nov 2013
Rating: R
Runtime: 123 min
Genres: Comedy | Drama | Sci-Fi
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Where Seen: Theater (screening)
Production Company: Working Title Films, Translux
Distributed By: Universal Pictures
Stars:  (Tim Lake), (Mary), (Dad), (Mum), (Kit-Kat), (Uncle D), (Rory)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I’m not sure what I thought when I first saw the previews for About Time, I knew that I loved Love Actually, Notting Hill, and Four Weddings and a Funeral. But I also feared that it would be less comedy and more like The Time-Traveler’s Wife. After seeing the movie I really can’t tell you what it was about other than it wasn’t Time-Traveler’s Wife. About Time is a movie that does have a real plot and as a result it just felt long even though it was an average length (2 hours) for a feature film. This is a movie that I found myself sneaking peeks at my phone to see the time wondering when it would end.

When Tim learns that the men in his family can travel through time he embarks on a series of jumps that allow him to correct mistakes and missed moments in his life. During this he meets Mary, loses her, and then goes about trying to meet her again. If you learn anything from this movie you learn that life is messy and filled with mistakes. But there are also beautiful amazing moments that you might miss if you worry too much about trying to correct the past. And that if you spend all your time correcting past events to try to change the outcome then you might just change (or erase) some really good moments that happened as a result of the bad. There are good lessons in this movie but I just feel as though it could have been shorter and still delivered the same message.

The cast is superb and I really enjoyed all of their on screen chemistry. But they weren’t enough to bring a spark to this movie as it just dragged on and on. I did laugh in this movie but it didn’t have the same emotional punch as some of Richard Curtis’s other films. There was just something missing in this story and I can’t quit put my finger on it. I just know that I never got fully lost in the story being played out on screen. There was always something holding me back and keeping me from enjoying it fully. There was a lack of magic and depth and I was glad when this one was over.

My Recommendation: Grab this one from Redbox.



Thursday, October 31, 2013

Movie Thoughts: The Book Thief

Posted by Irish in Movie Thoughts3 Comments

bookthiefTitle: The Book Thief ()
Tag Line: Courage beyond words.
Release Date: 08 Nov 2013
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 130 min
Genres: Drama | War
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Where Seen: Theater (screening)
Production Company: Fox 2000 Pictures
Distributed ByTwentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Writer(s):  (novel),  (adaptation)
Stars:  (Liesel Meminger),  (Hans Huberman),  (Rosa Huberman),  (Max Vandenburg),  (Rudy Steiner), Roger Allam (Death)

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

The Book Thief  by Markus Zusak (my review) is one of my all time favorite books. Its a story that made me ugly cry and one that has really stayed with me over the years. So when I heard that Hollywood was going to turn this beloved story into a movie I was worried. Sitting in the theatre waiting for the film to start I was a bundle of nerves as Hollywood usually doesn’t have the best track record with book to movie adaptations and as I said this is a book that I love beyond words.

During the opening moments I let out a sigh of relief as one of the best and most unique of characters in the book was present, that of the narrator, Death. For me, there would be no Book Thief without this narrator and while I liked Roger Allam in other things he’s done I don’t think he was the right fit for this movie. Death has such a strong voice in the book that Allam never quite captured. Although this could be due to the fact that they really under-utilized Death in the movie. I also don’t think he was ever named as such and so if you haven’t read the book then you might miss this key point. And since Death wasn’t in the movie as much as in the book some of my favorite lines were missing.

The lack of narration was missed but the other cast members really took up the slack and brought the characters to life.  was the perfect Liesel all wide-eyed and curious. She had such great onscreen chemistry that it was hard to look away.   as Rudy was so adorable, he too was the perfect choice for this role and he’ll make the viewer laugh and cry. Liersch and Nélisse really mesh well on screen and I loved all of their scenes together. As expected,  is outstanding as Hans Huberman but it was  as Rosa that would steal the show. She plays that thunderstorm of a character so amazingly well that I hope she earns some sort of nomination for it.

As with all book to movie adaptations, there were changes to the movie. Some events and characters were cut out or minimized but all the key moments in the book where there. John Williams does a fabulous job with the musical score though I don’t think its one of his strongest works. For me, there was just enough missing – be it the lack of narration, the score, or the things that were cut out – that I didn’t fall head over heels with this story. I didn’t ugly cry as I did with the book although I did tear up a little. There was just not as much heart in the movie as there was in the book and I think by not having as much narration that some of what makes the book so great is lost. This is just my thoughts though as there was someone behind me who totally ugly cried and looking around the theatre there were few dry eyes at the end.

The book had this magical prose that made you get lost in the words and while I did become immersed in the movie it just wasn’t the same. I don’t regret watching the movie though and it is among my favorites viewed this year. As a book to movie adaptation I think that Hollywood did a good job and now I am itching to read the book again. Last night, after I came home from the cinema I dug out my copy and flipped through it re-reading some of my favorite scenes and was pleased how certain ones were brought to life on screen.

My Recommendation: Totally worth seeing on the big screen if you are a fan of the book.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Movie Thoughts: The Mortal Instruments – City of Bones

Posted by Irish in Movie Thoughts, Rated PG-137 Comments

city of bonesTitle: The Mortal Instruments – City of Bones (Official Site)
Tag Line: There is a world hidden within our own
Release Date: 23 August 2013
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 130 min
Genres: Action | Adventure | Drama | Urban Fantasy
Series or Standalone: Series
Where Seen: Theater
Production Company: Constantin Film Produktion, Don Carmody Productions, Unique Features
Distributed By: Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions
Director(s): Harald Zwart
Writer(s): Jessica Postigo (screenplay), Cassandra Clare (based on the novel by)
Stars: Lily Collins (Clary Fray), Jamie Campbell Bower (Jace Wayland), Robert Sheehan (Simon Lewis), Kevin Zegers (Alec Lightwood), Jemima West (Isabelle Lightwood), Lena Headey (Jocelyn Fray), Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Valentine Morgenstern), Aidan Turner (Luke), Godfrey Gao (Magnus Bane), Jared Harris (Hodge)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The Mortal Instruments Series Order (assuming based on books)
Film 1: City of Bones
Film 2: City of Ashes (~2014)
Film 3: City of Glass
Film 4: City of Fallen Angels
Film 5: City of Lost Souls
Film 6: City of Heavenly Fire

I am always a bit afraid when Hollywood announces that they’ll be turning a book that I enjoyed into a movie.  The Mortal Instrument Series (or at least the first three) are what I fondly call book crack and I blitz read them all. They aren’t perfect but there was just something about them that made it so I couldn’t stop reading. As a movie adaptation I think that the writers and director did a good job in bringing this complex world to life. Its hard to cram an almost 500 page book into a 2 hours movie but they managed to do it without destroying too much of the source material. Though, I will admit that things did feel a bit rushed at times but that could just be because I knew all the other little tidbits that should have been included.

I did notice that there were characters missing, notably Alec and Isabelle’s parents, and while I missed them I wasn’t crushed by their lack of appearance. I thought that Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower did a really great job as Clary and Jace. Jamie nails that cocky behavior that is the essence of Jace but also is able to show his vulnerability as well. He also excelled at Jace’s one liners and would often get me to laugh at all the right moments. I did feel that Kevin Zegers appeared too old to be Alec and it was always a bit weird to see him trying to be a teenager. And Godfrey Gao was totally underutilized as Magnus Bane there could have been so much more done with this character. His one screen appearance wasn’t as flamboyant and over the top as I’d have expected and as my friend kept saying after, “where were the blue sparks?”

As for Valentine, I think that Jonathan Rhys Meyers did a good job in the role but he just looked so young for it. Though I did love how when it was revealed that he was Clay’s dad that an audience member gasped very very loudly. My friend and I had a really hard time keeping it together when it happened as we just burst out into laughter. Which totally wasn’t appropriate for the drama unfolding on screen. But that’s part of what I love about movie adaptations, they’ll bring in people who haven’t read the books and so they have those surprises ahead of them. Its like reading a book for the first time, though not as good, and its something that is lost when you already know the story.

Where City of Bones lost me, was at the end. I was all into the movie and the world and didn’t mind the early on changes because the effects were so well done. And the essence of the book were all still included. But the end just felt off. It wasn’t just that where the big climatic battle happened was different than in the book but it didn’t feel natural or real. Many of the lines felt so forced and I hated that one of the bigger plot twists in the books was completely outed in a very poorly acted scene. I get the why of it but still didn’t like it. Overall though I did enjoy this movie and don’t feel like I wasted my money to go see it. The time passed really quickly and it didn’t seem like I was there for 2 hours.

My recommendation: Worth it to see in theatres, but would make a great DVD rental as well.

*Images are not mine, they are official movie stills found using google.


Friday, June 21, 2013

Movie Thoughts: White House Down

Posted by Irish in Movie Thoughts, Review3 Comments

Title: White House Down (Official Site)
Tag Line: It Will Start Like Any Other Day.

Release Date: 28 June 2013
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 131 min
GenresAction, Drama, Thriller
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Where Seen: Theatre (Screening)
Production Company
Mythology Entertainment, Centropolis Entertainment, Iron Horse Entertainment

Distributed BySony Pictures
Director(s)Roland Emmerich
Writer(s)James Vanderbilt
StarsChanning Tatum (John Cale), Jamie Foxx (President James Sawyer), Maggie Gyllenhaal (Carol Finnerty), Jason Clarke (Emil Stenz), Richard Jenkins (Eli Ralphsen), Joey King (Emily Cale), James Woods (Martin Walker), Nicolas Wright (Donnie Donaldson)

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I don’t watch a lot of live tv these days and so I haven’t seen any previews for White House Down so I didn’t know a lot of what this movie was about before going to a screening of it. What I did know was that it was an action film directed by Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow – both of which I love) and that it had some good eye candy to it. It may be totally shallow to admit that but its the truth and I am not ashamed to do son. 

White House Down is a movie that won’t have a lot of surprises to it. Its a formulaic action film where good triumphs over evil. Its like reading a romance novel or a mystery. You know the ending going in so it becomes more about the journey. And boy does White House Down deliver. The set up of this movie is well paced and the action sequences hit all the right notes of drama, explosion, and snappy one-liners.

Jamie Foxx was excellent in his role as President Sawyer, as a viewer you know that he is capable of being a bad ass but in this film he’s not the action hero. He’s a strong, capable character but he’s also a tad bit nerdy and inexperienced when it comes to fighting and he pulls it off well. Beside him he has Channing Tatum as John Cale who is all you could ask for in an action hero. He’s got the looks, the smarts to think on his feet and he and Foxx really play well off of each other. But its Nicolas Wright who really steals the show in this one as the comic relief tour guide. He’s both ultra nerdy, filled with heart, and finds the strength to do what he needs to at just the right moments. Joey King who plays Emily Cale also gives a good performance as the moody pre-teen daughter of John Cale who is also pretty darn tough.

White House Down is a wonderful action film in that it has lots of explosions and good effects but its not filled with blood and gore. Thereby making it safe for younger audiences. Though there are swears and such, as you’d expect, so parents should use caution (and their own best judgement) when bringing their child to this one. What bothered me most with, White House Down, was the ending. Oy with the poodles was it just a tad bit on the cheesy side! I admit that I did roll my eyes a bit but then we got over that small hump and managed to end it on a decent, if not spectacular note. Cheesy ending aside though I really enjoyed this movie and the two hours passed in a blink. I laughed and jumped and there were just enough twists to keep things interesting. 

My recommendation: See this one in theaters. 


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Movie Thoughts: Beautiful Creatures

Posted by Irish in Movie Thoughts4 Comments

Title: Beautiful Creatures ()
Tag Line: Dark secrets will come to light

Release Date: 14 February 2013
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 124 min
Genres: Drama, Fantasy Romance
Series or Standalone: Series (assuming)
Where Seen: Theatre (screening)
Production Company: Alcon Entertainment, Warner Bros. Entertainment 

Distributed By: Warner Bros. Entertainment 
Writer(s): Richard LaGravenese (screenplay), Kami Garcia (novel), Margaret Stohl (novel)
Stars: Alden Ehrenreich (Ethan Wate), Alice Englert (Lena Duchannes), Jeremy Irons (Macon Ravenwood), Viola Davis (Amma), Emmy Rossum (Ridley Duchannes), Emma Thompson (Mrs Lincoln/Sarafine)
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Castor Chronicles Series Order (assuming based on book series order)
Film 1: Beautiful Creatures
Film 2: Beautiful Darkness
Film 3: Beautiful Chaos
Film 4: Beautiful Redemption

These days it seems like any popular young adult novel is bound to be turned into a movie and while there are times in which I love the idea there are others where I’m just not entirely sold. Beautiful Creatures is one of those movies where I wasn’t entirely sold because I have yet to be able to finish the book. I’ve started it numerous times but was never able to get into it. Though this is one case where I was also almost glad for the movie as it is a very long book and movies always cut things out in an attempt to make things more cohesive in the time allowed. 

I was surprised at how entertaining this movie was as I was expecting it to be pretty serious throughout. But there were lots of moments where I, and the audience, were all laughing out loud. I am a sucker for a good one liner and Beautiful Creatures was filled with them. However, these moments were often overshadowed with overly cliched scenes/soundtrack overlays that would sometimes have me rolling my eyes. However, I felt that there was a severe lack of a decent soundtrack to this movie and the whole thing could have been made better with a different score and actual use of some pop culture music. 
The acting was all really well done by everyone in the main cast with notable nods to Alden Ehrenreich (Ethan),  Jeremy Irons (Macon), and Emma Thompson (Mrs Lincoln/Sarafine). Emma Thompson alone is almost enough of a reason to pay theatre prices to go see this movie. She is exceptional in her role and stole almost all of the scenes that she was in. The biggest disappointment came from Alice Englert (Lena) who was often a bit lifeless on screen. There where some pretty intense magical type scenes and her face would just show no emotion. It was hard to get behind her as a person and care about if she turned light or dark. It was also hard to believe that she was in love with Ethan as much as he was in love with her. 
Overall, I enjoyed Beautiful Creatures and watching it on screen has made me want to try the book one more time to see if this time is the one in which I make it through until the end. I’m curious to know where all the changes from book to screen where made. Though according to the friend I went with they did change the ending up a bit and merge a couple of characters together. Knowing that, I am not sure how fans of the book will react to the adaptation but I think those unfamiliar with the story will enjoy it for what it is. 

Final Verdict: A good movie but might be one to rent on DVD.


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Movie Thoughts: Les Misérables

Posted by Irish in Movie Thoughts9 Comments

Title: Les Misérables (Official site)
Tag Line: Fight. Dream. Hope. Love.
Release Date: 25 December 2012

Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 157 min
Genres: Drama, Romance, Musical
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Where Seen: Theatre
Production Company: Working Title Films, Cameron Mackintosh Ltd.Distributed By: Universal Pictures
Director(s): Tom Hooper
Writer(s): Claude-Michel Schönberg (book), Alain Boublil (book), Victor Hugo (novel), 
Herbert Kretzmer (lyrics), and William Nicholson (screenplay)

Stars: Hugh Jackman (Jean Valjean), Russell Crowe (Javert), Anne Hathaway (Fantine), Sacha Baron Cohen (Thénardier), Helena Bonham Carter (Madame Thénardier), Eddie Redmayne (Marius), Aaron Tveit (Enjolras), Samantha Barks (Éponine), and Daniel Huttlestone (Gavroche)

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Growing up one of my favorite things to do was to go to the theatre with my mom and my sister. Oh I loved the movies but there was just something magical about seeing a musical on the stage. My mother would take weekend trips to NYC with my sister and aunt and they’d come back all aglow with the latest show they’d seen and I couldn’t wait until I was deemed old enough to go with them. But I wasn’t theatreless as my mom would often bring us to see musicals at the Providence Performing Arts Center and while not as grand as a NYC Broadway production they were still really good shows. These visits to the theatre sparked a life long love for me for the musical performance and they remain my preferred stage production. Its been a long time since I’ve seen the live version of Les Misérables but you can imagine my excitement when I heard that it was being made into a movie. 

At first I was a little wary when I heard about the star studded ensemble cast that would populate this movie but once I saw the first previews I knew that my fears were in vain. In my opinion I think that all the actors did a wonderful job in their roles. Especially Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne who brought tears to my eyes with their versions of I Dreamed a Dream and Empty Chairs at Empty Tables. I also loved Daniel Huttlestone in every scene that he was in. Huttlestone was really talented and I think he has an amazing stage and screen career ahead of him. 

I liked how the movie contained almost all of the songs in the stage version of Les Misérables but I was disappointed in how they shortened most of them and then didn’t include them in the order that they appeared on stage. Though as the movie was already clocking in at almost 3 hours I do understand why many of the songs were shortened. Because while a stage production might get a nice intermission for the audience to stretch and take a break movie goers have no such luxury. And if I am honest I was a little stiff by the end of the movie. But I was also lost in the magic of the production for Les Misérables was visually stunning and I forgot that I was sitting in a theatre as I watched. 

For me, I was able to see some flaws in the stage to screen adaptation of Les Misérables but they weren’t enough to take away my love of the film for what it was. This is definitely a movie that I would recommend seeing and I think that most who know the stage version will enjoy it as well. Although I do know of a few people who really did not like it but as with books that is what makes us all human. I really loved this movie and I can’t wait until its on DVD and I can see it again. Until then though I’ll have the soundtrack to sing along to.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Review: If I Lie by Corrine Jackson

Posted by Irish in Review1 Comment

Title: If I Lie (GoodReads)

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Source: Library
Publication Date: 28 Aug 2012
Series or Standalone: Standalone
ISBN: 144245413X
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 280

The Author on the Web:
Place(s) Traveled to: Sweethaven, North Carolina

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

First Line(s): “Carey Breen is MIA.”

Buy the Book:  


When I first started to think about reading If I Lie by Corrine Jackson I was excited to find out that so many of my fellow readers loved this book. Its always nice when like minded people enjoy a book because then the odds increase that I’ll like it too. Sadly though I found this one really easy to put down and no burning desire to pick back up again. I mainly finished it because its due back at the library and I didn’t want to go through the hassle of re-requesting it. The main thing that I kept thinking about while reading If I Lie was how much it reminded me of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. Not in the whole star-crossed lovers everyone dies way but in the fact that if people just TALKED to each other then the whole entire plot of the book could have been avoid. Granted there would be no story which defeats the purpose but seriously…communication…its a good thing. 

The whole premise of If I Lie deals with the martyr Sophie Quinn who to the eyes of her town has followed in her mothers footsteps and so everyone has turned against her. Including her own father. Her life is miserable and she whines about just how horrible it is all the time. She could easily clear everything up but no she decides to keep quiet. There are two others who could clear things up but they stay silent as well but that’s more to protect themselves because the truth is ugly and reputations would be tarnished so its much better to let Quinn take the fall instead. Although in Carey’s defense he supposedly doesn’t know the treatment that Quinn is receiving back home but I find that hard to believe. I grew up in a small town where everyone is always in everyone else’s business and you can be sure that there would be people would would delight in writing to Carey and telling him all about what horrible things Quinn was up to. Or heck, they share a best friend who knows all about Quinn’s shunning and yet not only doesn’t he do anything but he doesn’t say anything to Carey. Seriously? I just don’t buy it. Again, communication, is lacking throughout this book.

On a plus note, I thought the writing was really well done. The pacing for the book was, for the most part, really spot on. I liked how the past was told in flash backs and the transitions were all done well. There were only a few times when they seemed forced or cliched. But I did find lots of unnecessary repetition of events and how a military town works/behaves. There seemed to be a lot of justification for how Quinn was being treated by those in the town and mostly coming from Quinn’s own internal monologue. Which is part of why I believe that despite what she told herself she enjoyed being a martyr. And then the book just sort of ends and to me it feels incomplete. I wish that there had been just a little bit more to the story.

Once I sat my butt down to focus on If I Lie the pages did fly by even with the eye rolling I would sometimes do. And if the characters could hear me then someone them would have had quite the talking to as well. If I Lie isn’t a bad book and I can see how so many people love it. There are a ton of people out there who love Romeo and Juliet as well. I’m just not one them. I just hate to see a whole plot based on something so small and so easily fixed and yet its the biggest elephant in the room that everyone ignores. I am in the minority here though so chances are good that you will enjoy this book. Its a good, solid, standalone contemporary novel and as there aren’t a ton of those out there it should be embraced and loved. For me, I’m happy to return this one to the library but will be looking forward to other writings by Corrine Jackson as she is a debut author to watch.