Bride Wars review

Cast:
Kate Hudson
Anne Hathaway
Bryan Greenberg
Chris Patt
Steve Howey
Rating: PG

This certainly not a good way to kick off the new year.

“Bride Wars” centers around two good friends, Emma and Liv, who’ve both been dreaming of having a perfect wedding. While this is all well and good, their dreams go off the rails when their wedding dates land on the same day.

For this reason, the two become enemies, with each trying to upstage each other to have the better wedding.

This movie was just a trainwreck, and it’s mainly due to its premise. Instead of being a fun rivalry with some wild hijinx, the way the two main characters just turn on each other is just entirely mean spirited.

All the movie has is backstabbing between characters and there’s no charm to make these characters likable.

Additionally, the attempts at humor is either slapstick or comedy based on sabotaging attempts.

The romance isn’t very good in the movie either. The relationships felt forced and didn’t offer any believability.

This was likely due to the films atrocious script which didn’t give either Hathaway or Hudson to do anything spectacular.

“Bride Wars” is an entirely forgettable picture with neither romance or comedy. 1 out of 5.

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Watchmen review

Cast:
Malin Akerman
Billy Crudup
Matthew Goode
Jackie Earle Haley
Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Patrick Wilson
Rated: R

Disclaimer: I haven’t read the graphic novel, just keep that in mind.

“Watchmen” takes place in an alternate 1985. During the World War II era, unlike our timeline, super heroes came to be a mainstay in American culture. This both helped and hurt this alternate timeline, as the extra security provided by American heroes has caused the Russians to take increased precautions, further arming their nuclear weapon stockpiles.

The movie starts off with this tense situation between the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. Right in the middle of that tension is a murder of one of the Watchmen, a super hero team that has been largely splintered over the years.

Right up front, it should be noted that “Watchmen” is not a standard super hero movie. Instead, it’s a character driven drama with social and political commentary told through the perspectives of super heroes. These super heroes range from costumed vigilante to a fully radiated meta human.

With so many character backstories to explore and political subtext to intertwine, it’s really amazing that this movie came together as well as it did. All of the characters are given their due depth, the political commentary is there and the film is driven from start to finish by its ongoing mystery into who killed one of the Watchmen.

Some great examples of this include a funeral sequence featuring flashbacks and another part where the character Dr. Manhatten, the super human, leaves Earth behind to go to Mars.

Speaking of Dr. Manhatten, played by Billy Crudup, his character along with Jackie Earle Haley’s Rorshach stole most of the show. Both performers fit perfectly in their roles, with Crudup as the detached but still emotional Manhatten and Haley as the never compromising vigilante.

Credit also has to go to Jeffrey Dean Morgan for his anarchanistic portrayal of the vigilante Comedian and Patrick Wilson for his acting as the good hearted hero Night Owl.

Giving less than memorable performances, though, were Malin Akerman as the hero Silk Spectre and Matthew Goode who played the genius billionaire crime fighter Adrian. These two felt a bit out of place in the movie and weren’t that convincing in their delivery.

One aspect that made the movie work well was the music. For example, “The Times are Changing” by Bob Dylan in the opening sequence and “All Along the Watchtower” by Jimi Hendrix toward the movie’s climax.

Director Zack Snyder was also able to bring his visionary style to the picture. This occurred both by how the film’s setting captured the gritty atmosphere of a dark graphic novel while also featuring exciting action sequences.

Despite some lackluster performances, “Watchmen” is still largely a fantastic picture. It’s one of the better comic book movies to come out and lends quite a bit of commentary to go along with its action. 5 out of 5.

Knowing review

Cast:
Nicolas Cage
Chandler Canterbury
Rose Byrne
Lara Robinson
Rated: PG-13

Nicolas Cage’s career is going off the rails.

This movie starts in 1959 with a school putting a time capsule in the ground to be opened in 50 years. One of the items in there is a list of random numbers. The film then cuts to the present day with a professor named John (Cage), who’s also a single father to his son Caleb (Canterbury). Caleb just happens to be at the school with the capsule and brings home the list of numbers.

While looking it over, John begins to see a pattern through all of the numbers and realizes that all of the disasters over the last 50 years were prophesied. After this realization, he begins investigating what it all means.

What a mess this movie was. Not only did the movie leave a ton of plot holes and unanswered questions, it also couldn’t seem to decide if it wanted to be a race against time disaster movie or some kind of spiritual adventure.

This is especially true for the film’s final act, one that just spirals out of control in terms of what happens. Without spoiling anything, I’ll just say that it makes zero sense and doesn’t offer anything satisfying.

A really difficult part of the movie was the characters. Despite being in a difficult situation, Cage’s character seems to have no real depth. So much of the movie is spent focused on this prophecy that goes in a stupid direction that his character is just forgettable.

Rose Byrne’s character, meanwhile, is absolutely annoying from beginning to end. She has nothing to do but scream and freak out from start to finish. It gets grating really fast.

While the movie does feature some state of the art special effects, it doesn’t really matter in the end. The movie’s climax is far too ridiculous and the characters are too annoying to sit around for this picture. It’s a waste of time. 1 out of 5.

Monsters vs Aliens review

Cast:
Reese Witherspoon
Seth Rogen
Hugh Laurie
Will Arnett
Rated: PG

It’s classic ginormous monsters taking on alien invaders in this animated picture, setting up a heavyweight bout.

The film mainly centers around the character Susan (Witherspoon), who gets smashed by a meteor and absorbs super powers on her wedding day causing her to grow to 49 feet and 11 inches while also getting enhanced strength and agility. For this reason she’s taken into a government facility with other monsters who are kept for research.

The team of monsters get a chance to get unleashed, though, when an alien species, after the powers that Susan now has, comes to Earth.

“Monsters vs Aliens” is a fun time at the theater, mainly for Susan’s ‘fish out of water’ story matching up with the riff on old 50s monster movies. With that said, the movie didn’t have as much of an emotional core as some other animated films being made these days. For example, the movie isn’t as heartfelt as last year’s Dreamworks picture “Kung fu Panda.”

The characters were a bit hit or miss. Susan, a mad scientist cockroach and the Missing Link, a play on the Creature from the Black Lagoon, were all pretty good on screen. However, the other character B.O.B., based on The Blob, didn’t offer much other than Seth Rogen’s laugh.

Another character out of place was the President, who seemed really out of place and didn’t even interact with the main characters. Colbert has some fun with the role, but it’s unnecessary.

Action was actually a highlight of “Monsters vs Aliens,” with an especially wild sequences taking place in San Francisco.

There are some legitimately good moments in “Monsters vs Aliens” and it makes for a good time at the theater. But it’s not the best animated flick out there. High 3 out of 5.

17 Again review

Cast:
Zac Efron
Leslie Mann
Thomas Lennon
Matthew Perry
Sterling Knight
Michelle Trachtenberg
Rated: PG-13

Not bad Zac Efron, not too bad.

In this twist on a high school comedy, the story centers around Mike (played by Perry and Efron), once a popular basketball star in high school who missed out on a chance to go to college. The film picks up as his life is hitting a rocky point, as he’s in a dead end job, facing divorce and has a bad relationship with his kids.

This changes, though, when he falls into some sort of whirlpool and is suddenly 17 years old again. For this reason, he gets another look at life and a chance to fix his relationships with his family from another angle.

I certainly wasn’t excited walking into “17 Again,” but it turned out to be pretty good picture. The film’s premise has been done before, but the movie actually notes this in its dialogue and riffs on it, too. While the movie does the typical things one would expect from a high school flick, the picture is quite self aware and offers some solid humor.

Most surprising here was Efron, who really had fantastic comedic timing while also displaying some solid emotion from time to time. Once again, I was a bit skeptical because of his background of really only being in Disney stuff, but he had a charming screen presence here.

With that said, the movie’s comedy didn’t always land, with many of the jokes being misses or just plain unrealistic.

Still, “17 Again,” is a fairly fun picture with some good gags and self references that give laughs. High 3 out of 5.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine review

Cast:
Hugh Jackman
Liev Schreiber
Danny Huston
Will i Am
Lynn Collins
Rated: PG-13

Well, it was better than “Last Stand.”

Rather than another sequel, “Origins” serves as a prequel to the first three movies, displaying the backstory of Logan, also known as Wolverine (Jackman). The movie begins with Logan’s youth in Canada where he discovers his powers and runs away from his family with his brother Sabertooth (Schreiber).

After running away, the film follows their lives through various wars before being recruited by the U.S. government for special missions with other mutants.

Most superhero movies, even the “X-Men” films follow fairly standard formulas. “Origins” breaks the trend, which helps and hinders it at times. The problems arise from the movie biting off a little more than it can chew, including everything from how Wolverine got his claws, to how he had a marriage and even a quest for revenge.

This all leads to a movie that feels rather disjointed and incoherent. But with that said, the movie does at least flow as a basic action movie, and Wolverine is the perfect character for that setting. There are some fun moments here and watching Wolverine get to do some fighting with his claws was entertaining.

Jumping off that point, Jackman once again returns as the mutant with metal claws and like always, he nails the role. In all of the movies, Jackman plays the grumpy character with a short temper but a heart of gold to perfection, and here is no different. Despite some issues, Jackman always seems to make Wolverine endearing.

The supporting cast was rather forgettable, though. Schreiber’s Sabertooth was unconvincing, as if he wasn’t taking the role seriously. Plus, Ryan Reynolds is majorly wasted here as Deadpool.

The action was likable here in multiple scenes, with Wolverine able to unleash some carnage. However, the film does feature some lackluster special effects here and there.

This was an OK film that has just enough entertainment value. It’s not the best “X-Men” movie, and it’s not the best comic book movie, but it is an alright action flick. Nothing overly special. High 2 out of 5.

Star Trek review

Cast:
Chris Pine
Zachary Quinto
Leonard Nimoy
Eric Bana
Rated: PG-13

What a great way to kick off the summer movie season.

This reboot of the original “Star Trek” premise opens with the death of James T. Kirk’s (Pine) father at the hands of an unknown enemy. As a result, Kirk has grown up rather rebellious. Meanwhile on Vulcan, a young Spock (Quinto) is also finding a rebellious path in life.

The movie follows both characters’ journey to joining the Federation Star Fleet and how they become stationed on the USS Enterprise. Along for the ride are other members of the classic crew.

This reboot is practically perfect from start to finish. The juggling act it pulls off includes paying homage to the original, reintroducing all the characters, giving new arcs to keep things fresh and providing an exciting sci-fi adventure.

Director J.J. Abrams masterfully pulls this off. As the movie goes through its main plot of the Enterprise’s first mission, audiences get to see how all of the original crew get their positions as well as how Kirk and Spock become who they are.

Watching the characters evolve into their roles and the crew come together as a team made for an endearing picture, making it all the more compelling.

Part of what made this so good were the performances, especially from Quinto and Pine. The two have so much screen presence and a great chemistry with each other. Pine especially nails a balance between the rebellious nature of his character and his leadership qualities.

Credit has to go to the supporting cast, too. Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Karl Urban and Zoe Saldana all fit very naturally into their roles and no one feels out of place. Another solid performance was Eric Bana, who played a vicious, intense villain.

The special effects were another fantastic aspect. The USS Enterprise looked absolutely stunning. The ship is sleek inside and out and watching it fly through space and engage in combat is thrilling.

“Star Trek” is a perfect movie, working both as a smart sci-fi and an exciting blockbuster. The film delivers from beginning to end with very few flaws. This is a 5 out of 5.