As my month-long winter break has yielded massive amounts of free time, I've watched plenty of movies. Some of them have been reviewed in previous blog entries and today I have a bunch more for you readers.
The Kingdom - Very well done. The trailer I had seen so many times while seeing other movies in theaters gave me the impression that it was another Muslim/Arab-bashing movie but this film had much more substance. The opening credits are interesting because it gives a lot of background and history about the oil supply in the Middle East and the relationship between those countries and the United States, and I know I just used "interesting" and "history" in the same sentence but hear me out. Jamie Foxx and Chris Cooper are both incredibly talented actors and with Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman thrown in, the cast is full of all-stars. Go rent this movie or find some way to watch it, it's worth it. Final verdict: 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Wedding Daze - Now, I knew what I was getting when I rented this straight-to-DVD movie, but I still wanted to see it anyway. I'm a personal fan of Jason Biggs and Isla Fischer is great looking so I figured it was worth renting. As it turns out, that's exactly what it was and nothing more. Michael Weston, Jason Biggs' best friend in the film and also found in The Last Kiss, was nothing short of spectacular and hysterical as a supporting character which took my mind off of the terrible storyline. The very typical "guy meets girl, they like each other, have a fight over something that wasn't explicitly said, get back together, get married with hilarious twist" plot is enjoyable to a point. This one was okay...at least entertaining for an hour and a half. Final verdict: 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Juno - Absolutely great. Saw this one a couple weeks ago but it was just incredible. Ellen Page was a delight as the main character, Juno, and Michael Cera played what I thought was a more fitting role for him than the one he played in Superbad. Juno's parents were funny
and Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner played very good roles as the couple who would be receiving Juno's baby. I highly recommend this movie and as my friend put it, "This movie will be the next Garden State...every girl will have it in their favorite movies on Facebook for months." He couldn't be more right. Final verdict: 4 out of 5 stars.
The Golden Compass - Fantastic. If you have read the book, go see this movie. I loved every single second of it and couldn't be happier with how the story played out. The cast was incredible by itself, including Daniel Craig, Nicole Kidman, Eva Green, Sam Elliott, and even Ian McKellen as the voice of Iorek Byrnison. Wow, I still can't get over how awesome this movie was. The ending was perfect even though it didn't coincide directly with the book. But, as The Lord of the Rings trilogy has shown, following the books exactly as planned isn't always the best way to make the best movie. If you disagree, you can just look at all the Oscars they won. Anyway, the reason I liked how it ended even though it was in contrast to the way the book ended was because the book ending wasn't exactly conclusive whereas the ending in the movie very much was. The prime example I use of this being successful was the ending of the Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers when Frodo and Sam go off with Gollum towards Shelob's lair but never actually enter it, like they do in the book. The directors on The Lord of the Rings figured out that starting out the final movie with an action packed beginning was going to be much more satisfying to the audience and I think that the directors running The Golden Compass have that same idea in mind and I cannot wait until The Subtle Knife hits theaters. Final verdict: 5 out of 5 stars.
Into the Wild - Incredible. Emile Hirsch does a wonderful job as Christopher McCandless and Sean Penn directs this film to what I would vote as at least an Oscar nominee for Best Picture or Best Director. This movie was phenomenal and really gave a great representation of the book by Jon Krakauer. I read the book after the movie because I loved it so much and loved the book equally as much as the movie. More often than not, one of the two is better but in this case, both the book and the movie were masterfully done and I highly recommend anyone go see it. Final verdict: 5 out of 5 stars.
National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets - Enjoyable. Not quite as good as the first movie but any movie that allows someone like me to enjoy American history has done something extraordinary. And I know, the clues and all that weren't real but can you imagine how much better history would be if it were? Hidden treasure + Nicholas Cage + the guy who plays Riley + that hot girl = awesome. No wonder they made a sequel...that right there is a recipe for success. Final verdict: 4 out of 5 stars.
I Am Legend - Good. Not great, but good. Will Smith is the man. Any movie he is in automatically gets 3 stars, even Wild Wild West. I liked this movie because it was intense and had a very interesting plot where nature is beginning to take back New York City. The ending lacked a little something and I wasn't exactly sure how I felt about the movie immediately after I saw it. I needed some time to assess what I saw and I'm sure you will too. Final verdict: 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Cloverfield - Wow. Very well shot and the acting was stellar. A little bit short for my taste (about 1 hour, 20 minutes) but it was well worth it. On the edge of your seat almost the entire movie and I often don't see these type of thriller/scary movies. Very glad I saw it though...it was well worth the price of admission. Some of the things seemed a little too unrealistic (all three people surviving a helicopter crash from probably about 1,500 to 2,000 feet) but I was able to overlook those types of things because everything else was so great. Final verdict: 4.5 out of 5 stars.
That's all for now...I'll be back with another entry Sunday night to assess the NFL conference championship games and discuss the Super Bowl match up along with my pick of who will win it all.