I was hesitant to watch this movie because of the movie, Maleficent. But unlike maleficent, it was a traditional re-telling of the story. I have the original story and I really like how Disney went back to the basics instead of having villians that were misunderstood, complicated back stories, or forced and unnecessary plot lines. For that reason, this story was a breath of fresh air. I think Lily James is everything Cinderella should be she is innocent, optimistic, kind, sympathetic and yet very determined. She even looks the Cinderella that was drawn in my book I had when I was a kid. Cate Blanchett was perfect for Lady Tremaine, since she was every bit mean and vile as a Disney villian should be. Nothing will replace the orignal, but this was the best live-action story I have ever seen to date.
Not a single movie has made me cry but multiple books have. Until now. I could tell from the previews that it was a gamble for both companies. But I think it was so well made it is on the level of UP and Wall-E. This isn't a sad movie, or a depressing one, but it a deeply touching one. It is also very much an adult, intelligent, introverted movie. If you enjoy intelligent and heartfelt films go see it. You will probably deeply enjoy it, and might even feel yourself changed for the better.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Movie was amazing. Most of the hate seems to be coming from prequel fans and people who think too superficially. I love it was filmed in 35mm rather than fully digital to preserve as much of the feel of the original trilogy as possible. That had a noticeable effect to me. The prequels were done digitally and while they looked super Movie was amazing. Most of the hate seems to be coming from prequel fans and people who think too superficially. crisp and clean, that gave them a 'newer' look than the originals. The Force Awakens looks visually stunning by being shot on film, and mirrors the look of the original. The bad guys are different. Still bad guys, but not quite as disciplined at Darth Vader. There is more raw emotion and internal struggle from Kylo Ren. I think that Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, who played Rey and Finn both did a nice job especially when expectations were high.
Letters to Juliet
Super predictable and very cheesy. I think the scenery of Tuscany saved this film. However, it contains very little action and was a bit longer than it needed to be. My only other criticism is that the ending is predictable, absurd, and almost spoiled the story for me. But more importantly there was no chemistry between the actors and that caused a disconnect between me and them and ultimately the movie. The storyline was very predicable and lacked depth. Again, the scenes and landscapes of Italy were beautiful.
One of my favorite movies ever. This is a charming comedy with a message: value your life, family and friendships. And is seriously not a chick flick as the picture on the front may suggest, it is a deeply moving family/love/life film. The acting is fantastic and I quickly found myself caring about the characters. There were scenes throughout the movie that were so clever, I found myself laughing out loud. You might go into it expecting the movie to be a romantic comedy - on the surface, it is. Really, though, this movie is a message to relax and enjoy life, finding the bright side of every situation and cherishing those around you while you are lucky enough to have them. It's a philosophic musing on time and life at the core. Don't pass this movie up! You will not regret watching it!
Into the Woods
I didn't care for this movie. Disney gutted the ending probably because they wanted to make it realistic or something. They took so many scenes from the musical out that it felt forced and rushed. I wanted to watch it because I love musicals and theatre. Most of the characters were not very likeable. I don't know if that was meant to be or if it was just the actors not understanding their characters.
If I Stay
I didn't love this movie. I believe the emotional connection and felt the chemistry between the two leads was a total miss. I liked the story and wish I had read the book instead. This movie was slow, but more than that, it was just boring and very predictable. I liked the portrayal of the parents, the support they gave their daughter and felt they saved this movie. The "Or Not" in a lot of these reviews is in reference to something the mother says to her daughter in the movie. I didn't hate it, but was glad when it was over. I don't recommend this one, but if you enjoy this type of movie, I would recommend any of Nicholas Sparks films over this movie.
Mockingjay Part 2
This is a rare occasion where the movie is better than the book. To begin the movie had problems already: it's based on the weakest book in the series and cutting it into two different movies will create pacing problmes.This is the weakest of the Hunger Games quadrilogy, but worth seeing to watch it all come to an end. Perhaps its slavish devotion to the book was at fault. When you split a book into two halves, you are going to run into pacing problems. It wasn't as noticeable in the Part 1, but here, the story didn't have any kind of natural flow. I felt the book had the same problem, there is a climax to the overall story and then the resolution kicks in. But, then there is another climax, followed by another resolution. This isn't unheard of and is in fact quite common: You kill the monster in a horror movie and it comes back for one last try, is one example. But after the initial climax, what follows seems too long and strung out. It just felt like it went on and on. It was a decent film overall, just a bit of a disappointment. The first two movies in this series set a really high bar and the last two didn't reach those heights of greatness. But if you are invested this far into the series, you will watch this and be moderately satisfied that, at least it wraps everything up.
Captian America: The Winter Soldier
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is not only a great sequel but perhaps the best standalone Marvel Studios film to date. Trust me, I don't say that lightly. I wasn't overly fond of the Captain's first feature, and my reaction to most of the Marvel Studios films has been mixed. With that in mind, coming out of the theater I have to say 'The Winter Soldier' isn't only a great superhero movie, a great standalone Marvel Studios film. Chris Evans really upped his level of heroism and expertise in donning the infamous shield with honor. Samuel L Jackson I feel did a lot better portraying Nick Fury than he did in the previous Marvel movies. And I definitely commend Marvel for making the decision to include Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon. He was definitely well suited to play the character and I do hope we see more of him in the future. Scarlett Johansson's role as Black Widow was just as good; the scenes she and Captain America share make me wonder will they fall in love, or are they already there? And finally to our two forms of evil, one being acting great Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce. While I would definitely like to see Redford in other movies, he had a wondrous outing as Pierce. And finally, Sebastian Stan is the right guy for the Winter Soldier. Not only does he handle the job well, but he puts fear and panic into the minds of all those determined to stop him. Impressive job by all the actors.
Among dystopian movies this one should be placed in the bottom half. Not the worst but doesn't add anything to the genre. The society is ordered as I imagine many 12 year olds believe the world is organized, nerds, tattle tails, nice people, and tough guys. I was doing okay and playing along with the writers logic until I saw people whooping and jumping off trains. I'm fine with the teeny message of finding yourself instead of letting others define you, however the execution of this message was shallow and sloppy. The movie was ok but I'm glad I rented it and didn't buy it. It was slow and took way to long to get to any action or the main purpose of the plot. The way society was portrayed didn't seem viable; what purpose did having 20% of the population be "candor"? Speaking the truth doesn't seem like an occupation, they didn't seem to have any connection with the government. Who manned the stores, picked up the trash, who were the doctors? Being ex military the training seemed very wasteful in that 20% of all recruits had to fail and be thrown out in the waste pile on non factions? What society can afford to waste so many young adults? Too much of the movie was spent on brutal training that didn't add anything to team work and seemed destined to kill some of the recruits. There was no explanation about why the Mom changed factions, why the brother selected a different faction, the movie didn't make any sense.