Most Anticipated: Catching Up part 2!

It really is good to be back writing again - I feel a sense of anticipation when I come to sit down and put my thoughts down on the ol' keyboard. If ya missed it, here's part 1 of my catching up reviews. Part 2 is after the break and it's pretty hefty!

Battle: Los Angeles (PG-13) - Runtime: 116 minutes
Starring: Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez
Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Original Ranking: 17

The ranking is still appropriate - this was a great alien invasion film. The best thing about this movie was it never left the platoon's (unit's?) perspective. It was all from their eyes how events unfolded and that made for a wonderful story. Forget Will Smith's cocky-ass marine from Independence Day, Aaron Eckhart is the real deal here.
Rating: Rent It!

Thor (PG-13) - Runtime: 115 minutes
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman
Director: Kenneth Branaugh
Original Ranking: 14

A solid, by-the-books superhero movie. The movie did a good job of not getting bogged down in its own mythology. There was just enough exposition to set things up. And largely this movie serves as a prologue to the epic Avengers movie coming out next year. If you love Marvel, you need to own every one of their "Avenger" movies and this in no exception.
Rating: Own It!

Something Borrowed (PG-13) - Runtime: 112 minutes
Starring: Kate Hudson, Ginnifer Goodwin
Director: Luke Greenfield
Original Ranking: 11

Although the story may sound like the most unoriginal and cliched romantic comedy, this one is special. The characters are well written (it doesn't hurt that the book is pretty phenomenal) and it has quite a few laughs, too! The movie is nearly perfect and sets up a sequel (the book had a proper and necessary sequel, so I can only hope!) for more gooey romantic goodness. Yes, I am a sucker for these movies. 
Rating: Rent It!

Bridesmaids (R) - Runtime: 125 minutes
Starring: Kristen Wiig, Rose Byrne, Maya Rudolph
Director: Paul Feig
Original Ranking: 9

I knew this movie was going to be special. And what a huge surprise at the box office, too! It's already pulled in more than $160 million. And it's due in large part to the comic sensibilities of this phenomenal and talented cast. The writing's sharp and the characters are authentic - Wiig outdoes herself here and Rose Byrne is great as the arch-nemesis to Wiig.
Rating: Own It!

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (PG-13) - Runtime: 136 minutes
Starring: Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz
Director: Rob Marshall
Original Ranking: 16

The movie has accumulated more than a billion dollars worldwide and only a paltry 25% of that is America, for good reason. The movie is just alright - the problem is Captain Jack is comic relief and more of a supporting role than a hero. But this movie is all about Jack Sparrow and it's just too much at times. Plus, it treads the same ground as the previous movies - and I loved all three of them! If the next movie is all about him you can count me out.
Rating: Not Worth Paying For!

The Hangover, Part II (R) - Runtime: 102 minutes
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Zack Galifinakis, Ed Helms
Director: Todd Phillips
Original Ranking: 4

While definitely another fine R-rated comedy, Part II just doesn't deliver the same amount of insanity as the first one did. Of course there were some awesome and ridiculously funny moments, but it all seemed a bit stale - it was a fill in the blanks movie - just follow the same recipe from the first. That's not a bad thing as the first one was spectacular, it's just Part II doesn't feel as special.
Rating: Rent It!

X-Men: First Class (PG-13) - Runtime: 132 minutes
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Original Ranking: 6

By far the best X-Men movie to date, First Class is a great story and is very powerful and emotional. But it also kicks ass! The cast is great, the story is poignant and the setting and metaphors they invoke are meaningful without being too heavy handed. A brilliant directing effort by one the most underrated directors right now, Vaughn knocks this movie out of the park.
Rating: Own It!

Super 8 (PG-13) - Runtime: 112 minutes
Starring: Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler
Director: J.J. Abrams
Original Ranking: 18

This is by far my favorite movie this year. Abrams manages to create something magical on screen. This film is largely a coming of age tale with a teen coming to terms with a new reality after his mother's death. It's poignant and strikes the right emotional chords. Oh and there's some awesome sci-fi alien stuff happening to push the narrative forward. Kyle Chandler is probably the best dad ever, BTW.
Rating: Own It!

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (PG-13) - Runtime: 157 minutes
Starring: Shia LeBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley
Director: Michael Bay
Original Ranking: 23

Transformers 2 just plain sucked. But Dark of the Moon has at least redeemed the franchise. It's a fun movie and takes a much more serious and darker approach to the series and comes out with better results. It's almost three hours long, but it sure went by fast. This is what summer blockbusters are all about and Michael Bay delivered.
Rating: Rent It!

Red Riding Hood (PG-13) - Runtime: 100 minutes
Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Lukas Haas, Gary Oldman
Director: Catherine Hardwicke
Original Ranking: 36

I do not know what I was thinking with that ranking. This movie was pretty much a stinker. Besides being utterly predictable and boring, the movie chugs along very slowly. The characters are nothing more than place cards in a setting. You never actually care for anything that happens in the movie. Dull, dull, dull.
Rating: Avoid Like the Plague!

Unknown (PG-13) - Runtime: 113 minutes
Starring: Liam Neeson, January Jones, Diane Kruger
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Original Ranking: 42

A decent, if very predictable thriller. Liam Neeson is a great actor and it seems like he's just collecting a paycheck in this movie, though. And the German actress Diane Kruger plays an illegal immigrant in Germany (as Maggie pointed out). Bizarre, as is the case with some of this movie. It's fun while your watching but you'll probably forget it exists after a couple of weeks.
Rating: Not Worth Paying For!

The Eagle (PG-13) - Runtime: 114 minutes
Starring: Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell
Director: Kevin Macdonald
Original Ranking: 32

A solid period action piece, although this is no Gladiator. I really did enjoy this movie but it is a bit slow and the ending, while appropriate, I couldn't help but laugh and shake my head. Marcus (Channing Tatum) and his slave Eska (Jamie Bell) are leaving the court and Eska asks Marcus, "What shall we do next?" and Marcus replies "I think it's your decision!" and they smile and walk into the sunset. It's soooo cheesy and weird - like I can hear an old-timey tinney radio voice from the 1930s doing a voiceover: "Stay tuned next week for the next thrilling adventures of Marcus and Eska! What excitement awaits them - dangerous polar bears and a viking hoard hell-bent on their destruction? Eagle ho!"
Rating: Rent It!

I Am Number Four (PG-13) - Runtime: 109 minutes
Starring: Alex Pettyfer, Dianna Agron, Timothy Olyphant
Director: DJ Caruso
Original Ranking: 50

Not only does this movie have a really dumb title, the plot itself is kind of dumb. Or at least some of the characters. They're being chased by the police and aliens and they decide to take a detour at the high school so the artsy fartsy bitch can develop her photos! Huh? It was just an excuse to have the climax of the movie at the high school and to shoehorn in a romantic kissing scene. It's an alright movie but it could have been way better - the ending sets up a sequel, which actually sounds alright - I just wouldn't pay to watch it.
Rating: Not Worth Paying For!

Horrible Bosses (R) - Runtime: 98 minutes
Starring: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day
Director: Seth Gordon
Original Ranking: 38

This is the year for R-rated comedies. It seems like there's been one or two big time releases every month and they're all at least good, if not downright hilarious. I'd have to say this falls in the latter category. It's an easy idea to get around and the whole cast is spot-on with their roles. Especially Spacey and Farrell as two of the bosses. They're not just bad bosses, but they're just awful human beings which makes it easier to want to kill them. The jokes are fast and furious and I laughed hard throughout. Great stuff.
Rating: See It!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (PG-13) - Runtime: 130 minutes
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson
Director: David Yates
Original Ranking: 8

I love Harry Potter. It's a genius work of fiction and unlike George Lucas with Star Wars and his prequels (or the TV show Lost), J.K. Rowling knew exactly how the whole story would work itself out. The movies have been just as good for adaptations and this one is great. It's too bad the Academy won't recognize this film for how awesome it is, but it's definitely my generation's version of Star Wars.
Rating: See It!

Captain America: The First Avenger (PG-13) - Runtime: 125 minutes
Starring: Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Tommy Lee Jones
Director: Joe Johnston
Original Ranking: 15

Another solid superhero movie - this one was more fun than Thor. A lot of it was cheesy, but this is what these comic book characters are all about. It was great to see him dress up and do war bond tours before the real action started - it was if the movie was winking at the audience, knowing full well how campy it is. And of course the end of the credits is a teaser for the Avengers movie, which looks like it's going to be all sorts of crazy! 2012 cannot come sooner!
Rating: See It!

No comments: