February 2012

New 'Avengers' Trailer Drops: Explosions, Bad Guys and Superheroes

Extended trailer offers a much more detailed look at the film

If you asked the average moviegoer to name the most anticipated movies of 2012, chances are, The Avengers would be among them. That's not surprising, seeing as superhero films are still all the rage. 2011 brought some nifty films that included Marvel's team of Avengers, including Thor and Captain America. Can a full-out Avengers movie take things even higher?

Yes. Yes, it can. And a new Avengers trailer definitely supports this idea. It just dropped this afternoon, and it's fantastic!

Five People You Meet in Heaven

This 2004 made-for-television movie is better than the book

One of my favorite movies is Mitch Albom's "Five People You Meet in Heaven". Based on the book of the same name, the 2004 made-for-television movie stars Jon Voight, Ellen Burstyn, Jeff Daniels and Michael Imperioli.  I’m generally not a fan of movie adaptations of good books, as they always seem to fall short of the book. There are those few rare adaptations that are better than the book they are based on, and "Five People You Meet in Heaven" is one of those.

3-D Re-Releases

Hollywood needs to come up with something new

What’s with all of the 3-D re-releases of popular movies lately? Are there no new movies coming out of Hollywood? The movies they are re-releasing in 3-D were good enough the first time around. Let’s be real - the only reason I can see that these movies are being re-released is the greed of the movie studios.

Sure, they’re probably going to attract a new generation of moviegoers.  Sure, the 3-D technology of today is magnitudes above the old 3-D technology of the 1970s. Still, I can’t see the attraction of going to see a movie again just because it’s been re-released in 3-D.

Paranormal Activity

I am a horror fanatic, especially for those low budget B-movies that make you laugh as much as they scare you. When I heard that a movie that had a very low budget that was scaring the pants off of audiences, I assumed it would probably make me laugh. Paranormal Activity did not make me laugh.

This first movie revolved around the plight of a couple that has been discovering strange occurrences in their home. The boyfriend decides to set up a bunch of camera in the house to catch the spirit at work and ends up getting much more than he bargained for.

I won’t go too much into the plot because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but this evil spirit is connected to the girlfriend and things gets steadily worse through the movie. What makes this movie awesome is that it used classic tricks to movie making to create the fear. There are not a lot of computer effects or fancy film work like most other horror movies.

The whole things looks like it was done on handheld and security cameras, which makes it all seem more real. The special effects are simple, but seamless. When you get done with the movie, you are visibly shaken and it has one doozy of an ending.

Robocop Reboot – Better Not Suck!


I loved the original Robocop when I was a little kid.  Man plus metal and lots of big guns equals good fun, especially when you’re 13 years old.  Going back and rewatching the film, I realized that I perhaps gave it a little too much credit.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a fun film to watch, but it just isn’t the marvel of story writing that I once believed it to be.  I guess all illusions fade with age.  When I heard they were rebooting the film, however, I was still excited to see what they might do with it.

Winter's Bone

Country Noir

“Winter's Bone” is an almost flawless movie, and when I say “almost” I'm just being cautious- I can't think of a single thing wrong with it. If you look it up on Netflix, you'll note only two reasons given for any of the negative reviews. Either the reviewer has a short attention span and hates any movie relying more on plot and dialogue than explosions and gunfights, or the reviewer is a spiteful classist who just plain hates rural poor people and any movie about their lives. As these are not valid reasons for disliking a movie, you can disregard the bad reviews completely and trust the good ones, because they've got it right.

"The Descendants": George Clooney's Character Acts Strangely

"The Descendants": I'm not buying the plot line.

Once you get past the basic premise of the plot in “The Descendants,” there are still quite a few flaws within the script itself. The Descendants is the all-too usual story of a man whose wife slips into a coma at the same exact time that he has the responsibility of choosing what to do with his family’s large land trust on the island of Kawaii.

Oscars 2012: Which Movies and Actors Come Out on Top?

Expect few true surprises this year

It's Oscars time, and you know that means predictions. I've decided to go way out on a limb this year and use my murky, dusty crystal ball to determine who I think will win. And no, I'm not doing all categories, or we'd be here all day.

I've decided to limit my own predictions to the so-called "Big Five" Academy Awards categories: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Screenplay -- both adapted and original, so hey that's six but who's counting?

Review: "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance"

Nicolas Cage reprises his role as Johnny Blaze

My husband and I went to see “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” today. I thought it was a pretty decent movie. Based on the Marvel comic book story, “Spirit of Vengeance” is the second film of the “Ghost Rider” series. We saw it in 2-D, and the special effects were pretty amazing, so I’m assuming they are flat out awesome in 3-D.

Nicolas Cage plays Johnny Blaze, a former stunt motorcycle rider who, as a young boy, sold his soul to the devil in order to save his father. Johnny turns into the Ghost Rider, a fiery skeleton on a motorcycle who has great strength and sucks the souls out of the evil-doers. Now hiding out in Eastern Europe, Johnny is asked to save a young boy, and in return, he is promised that his curse will be lifted.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins

When my little girl begged to see Mr. Popper’s Penguins in theaters, we didn’t end up going because we could never find the time nor money. It was during an especially difficult time, and we promised her that as soon as it was available to rent on video we would watch it. Who could blame her with all those penguins, after all; no kid can resist a penguin! I, on the other hand, was dreading Jim Carrey’s usual shenanigans. There are only so many yuck yucks you can take in a lifetime.

New Oz on the Horizon

"Hopefully, Raimi has put together a great story which utilizes all the talents of his cast."

The Oz franchise has been the target of several movies and television series ever since the original Wizard of Oz hit the screens in 1939.  The newest addition to the fable is the Sam Raimi-directed Oz: The Great and Powerful, set to release in March of 2013.  While Sam Raimi has done some excellent work in the past, his more recent creations have been very hit-or-miss, leading me to wonder if this film is a classic-in-the-making or is going to end up being just one more forgettable piece of the attempt to recapture the glory of the past.

Revisiting Wes Anderson

Are his films as good as they make me feel?

I can think of few contemporary filmmakers as divisive as Wes Anderson. No matter who you ask, no one seems to have a neutral opinion on the man. His work is so uniquely stylized as to completely polarize the reactions of those who come across it. Those flat shots, those wry deliveries, those costumes--they all culminate in a precisely branded aesthetic that no other director has managed to approach.

I've always fallen on the "love" side of the love/hate divider when it comes to Anderson's films. Some elicit stronger reactions from me than others--watching The Royal Tenenbaums has become an essential yearly ritual for me, whereas I probably won't ever buy The Darjeeling Limited on DVD--but on the whole, I'm utterly charmed by what he does. Before making the trip out to rewatch The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou at a local indie theater yesterday, I started asking myself exactly why I love Anderson's work as much as I do. Is he really a visionary filmmaker, or am I just inevitably charmed by hipster quirk?

Dawn of the Dead (Remake)

"Romero's original vision was a commentary of the materialistic nature of society."

When it comes to movies about zombies, especially modern versions, you can't help but have an r-rating. The truth is that when you have creatures that need to eat the brains and flesh of the living there is no way to wrap that up in a PG-13.


The remake of George Romero's Dawn of the Dead was pretty faithful to the original story, but made it into an action movie instead of a horror flick. Dawn of the Dead follows Night of the Living Dead and the world is being overrun with zombies. A group of survivors high tail it to a mall and try to live a normal life as the zombie horde tries to break through.

The Breakfast Club

A Cranky Quibble

“The Breakfast Club” was one of my favorite movies as a teenager for its portrayal of kids from completely different backgrounds learning to understand and empathize with each other during a long Saturday of detention. My wife, who is twelve years younger than me, watched it with me a couple of years ago and just couldn't stop laughing at the eighties clothes, hair and dialogue. I had to assure her repeatedly that people actually did look that way and talk that way when I was in high school.

Review: Trust

"The plot of the movie shows how internet predators can be just about anywhere online."

Trust is a movie that I had wanted to see for a while and I finally had the chance to watch it recently. I must say that it is an excellent movie and it is something that is related to what really takes place in our society today and it sends off a nice message.

'This Means War': Critics Panning New Reese Witherspoon Film

Overall, reviews for this one aren't good

Ah, another week, another slew of new movies to go see! With movie ticket prices continuing to rise, a film really needs to be good to make me feel that it's "earned' my money. I had high hopes for the new Reese Witherspoon action/comedy/romance This Means War. Apparently, I'm going to be sorely disappointed.

A quick review of critics' opinions on this one leaves me discouraged. Overall, the so-called "experts" tell me it stinks.


Doctor Who Movie?


Where Doctor Who goes, rumors inevitably follow.  The latest rumor, and one that has resurfaced from time-to-time, is that the Doctor will be appearing in his own big-screen movie.  While many of us fans would be overjoyed to see two hours of Doctor Who on a gigantic screen with a massive budget for special effects, if it wasn’t done right there would most likely be rioting in the streets by angry fans.

13 Ghosts

Thirteen ghosts is one of thise horror movies that's just a never ending thrillfest from the first minute until the very end. A deranged millionaire has trapped 12 ghosts in house with the hopes of using them to open a portal that will allow him to see the future and know all.


He then fakes his own death and leaves the home to his nephew who has recently lost his wife. They move into the strange house and slowly begin to figure out that plan his uncle set out for him. What makes this movie awesome is the ghosts. Each one has a specific name from The Torso to The Juggernaut.

Netflix Queue Night: "Real Steel" Review

Surprisingly, it was a hit at our house

You know those weekends where you just really, really don't want to leave the house for two days? Yeah, I had one of those. Thankfully, I have Netflix and I've been good about keeping my queue pretty updated. But on Friday, when the Real Steel DVD arrived, I'll admit I cringed a little inside.

It's not that I have anything against Hugh Jackman (except for the whole Wolverine movie debacle, but I'm not going there today), but I just wasn't that excited. I wasn't excited when I saw the trailer, so I didn't see Real Steel in theaters. It looked, to me, ridiculous. Fighting robots? Not my thing.

Now I'm admitting something else: I liked Real Steel. And I'm going to try to tell you why.