Identity Thief, Worth It

Last Saturday I saw Identity Thief, starring Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy and Amanda Peet.

The plot? Sandy Patterson is a hard worker, supporting a family with a third child on the way. When his boss, the prickly Mr. Cornish, asks Sandy to cut bonus checks for all of upper manager, it’s the last straw for several employees, who then decide to start up their own business. The opportunity promises Sandy a hefty promotion and increased salary. Unfortunately, that’s about the time Diana decides to start raking up credit cards under his name. Sandy starts getting phone calls regarding his purchases and then is arrested. After convincing the cops his identity was stolen, they inform him that catching the person behind the crime could take up to a year to fully handle. With his recent job change and his families financial stability at risk, Sandy decides that’s too long and heads to Florida to convince Diana to return with him and clear things up. Of course, things go completely awry and the audience gets to know how Diana became so crazy.

I’m not going to lie, this movie is not some intellectual piece with a change your life type feel, it does not have (many) Michael Bay explosions, and it doesn’t have an epic Jerry Bruckheimer soundtrack.

But, if you are looking to be completely entertained for two hours, or to nearly spit your soda on the person in front of you, watch this movie.

I found it hilarious, and surprisingly, I thought the story was great. Melissa McCarthy’s character was crazy, oddly likable and infuriating at the same time. Jason Bateman, well I always like watching him, he is one of those people who has great timing, you know, he can say the most normal sentence in such a way that it comes off like a punch line.

I’m going to buy it when it hits DVDs, and set it next to Horrible Bosses.

Then, I’m predicting here, I’m going to put The Heat next to those two. I’ll start a weird semi grungy Jason Bateman/Melissa McCarthy –Hangover type adventure section in my movie collection. Anyone have any other additions to this comedic / occasionally terrifying (see Horrible Bosses Colin Farrell) snowball adventures collection?

Silent Hill: Revelations, Best Left Silent

Last night I Red Boxed Silent Hill: Revelations 3D

I was really excited to see this movie and a little sad I missed the 3D theater showing. However, after seeing the movie I am happy I didn’t waste more than 2 bucks on it. It was not terrible, but certainly a disappointment.

Heather f.n.a. Sharon a.k.a. Alessya has moved with her dad to a new town, again. She believes they are running from the police because her father killed a man, but her visions, dreams and waking nightmares haunt her. Vincent, a fellow classmate, also new to town attempts to befriend her even after she makes a speech about how she’s not worth wasting any time on because she’ll be on to the next school before anyone learns anything about her anyways. After running into a PI several times and a nightmarish experience, Vincent walks her home, only for her to find her dad missing and a bloody message on the wall, calling her back to Silent Hill. Through her fathers notes and articles she starts to learn her real identity and past and must decide to either heed her fathers warning and stay away from Silent Hill, or try to find him in the place she thought was only a dream. Of course, she returns and discovers even more about herself.

I really enjoyed the first Silent Hill movie, so my expectations may have been a bit revved up by the excitement that they made another. That aside I still think the movie lacked.

The plot jumped right in, and in this case it was a little too fast. I would have liked a bit more build up and anticipation in many areas. So the pace of the movie was just off in general. Vincent was annoying. Heather was a solid character, even if her script lacked a bit so in so made her likable and convincing.

The monsters were not very scary. It seemed that there were only 2 that I whispered, “oh cool” to when they appeared. Maybe because it was a 3D geared movie they toned down the creatures as a scare tactic balancing act, so that a really creepy monster didn’t nearly hit you in the face and make you want to have a heart attack.

And the climax was not very climactic.

Also, just a personal preference, but I don’t care for nor do I find scary, clowns. The amusement park, fair type setting in part of the movie was very blah. I feel like they thought it was this great idea to have a carousel engulfed in flames sink into the ground. It wasn’t. Visually stunning, nope. Concept, (again personal preference of carousels speaking) lame.

Where the movie did well was in a couple areas. I liked Heather’s character (already mentioned that). Everyone, aside from Heather/Sharon/Alessya, reprised their roles. And I don’t think it was bad decision for Jodelle Ferland to not play the character. I liked Adelaide Clemens though it caused a bit of confusion. I liked Ferland in the original also, but when I looked up pictures of her she still looks pretty young, she could pass for 18, but to me she looks no more than 16.

Or maybe she read the script and said no. (I’ll have to research that).

There were a couple monsters I did like. The whole room of mannequins was creepy and I liked the upped version of the Toy Story crawling baby head. Also, pyramid head had a cool role. Other than that, creepy clowns and tons, probably literally tons of saran wrap do not make great creatures.

And lastly, if you’ve played Silent Hill Downpour, you’ll enjoy the nod to the game at the end. That was a fun inclusion.

Warm Bodies, a Zombie Love Story

Over the weekend I was able to go to the movies 🙂 the choice was Warm Bodies, the zombie love story.

When I watched the trailer for this movie months and months ago my thoughts were “oh this looks funny, but cheesy and it will probably be a let down.

It was not a let down. In fact, since I had moderate to low expectations for the movie I was pleasantly surprised.

Was it cheesy? Yes, it was still cheesy, but it had a very comedic delivery. It was one of those movies that knew what their audience would think after each scenario and so they played to it. If the scene made you think “Oh God, seriously?” a character would say that exact thought out loud and that made it pretty darn funny.

I guess I should give you the whole synopsis though.

R is a zombie, named such because he cannot remember his name. He just knows it started with R. He does normal zombie things like walk and grunt and eat, but he also collects items- a whole airplane full, very Ariel’s grotto like with thingamabobs, woozits and a record player. Life as a zombie was dragging, but then out on a food run (walk) he sees Julie a blonde, shot gun wielding living girl and decides he likes her, so he takes her to keep her safe and into his plane of collections she goes. They are forced to spend some time together and he saves her life a couple times. she begins to realize how unlike a zombie he seems, but she wants to go home, a military guarded place her father runs with a giant wall built around.

As she tries to make her way back other zombies notice she is living and R comes to the rescue. When the zombies realize what R is doing something in them starts to change, to remember being human, but this change attracts the attention of “bonies,” the completely fleshless and ruthless versions all zombies turn into eventually.

So, yes, it was weird and cheesy and the romance strange, but with the way the movie was handled, the script and the delivery , it all worked successfully. It was funny, and those “boney” zombies were pretty creepy. R’s character was hilarious.

This is one that, if you think it’s going to be lame, just give it a chance anyways. No matter your humor, you’ll laugh at least once.

One last thing, this love story between R and Julie has the undertones of, yep you guessed it, Romeo and Juliet, complete with a balcony scene. With all the recent classics gone fantasy, this one is a nicely subtle addition. It strikes the key notes of the classic but does not fully orchestrate the plot, which is enough to tickle the literature fans, but not quite enough to annoy the R and J haters, and leaves the teasing thought that these two might actually die by the end.

The Silver Linings Playbook, a Review

Last night I watched The Silver Linings Playbook. I had been wanting to see this movie since I first saw the trailer but I never got around to it. I was interested because it seemed that Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence both played pretty messed up characters and I wanted to see how they did with roles like that.

I didn’t expect the story to be so good. Nor did I expect their roles to be characters I enjoyed so much.

Pat (Cooper) just got released from a mental hospital, under the conditions of continuing to take his medication and attending his therapy sessions. The trigger for his mental breakdown and continued struggles with flashes of rage was walking in on his wife cheating on him and consequentially beating the man she was with near death. While he tries to deal with his wife’s abscence, trying to win her back, a father with similar anger issues and family and friends who treat him like he is crazy he finds a friend in Tiffany (Lawrence). Tiffany expierences similar moments of fury and has her own struggles after the death of her husband.

Though the center of the story is Pat and Tiffany helping each other and coping together, all of the other people around them are well defined, interesting and deep enough to see that they are struggling with their own issues as well.

I knew there was a lot of hype surrounding this movie, but it is well deserved, the movie is funny, emotional and smart.

The movie dealt a lot with judgement and acceptance and I think just seeing it for that message is worth it; People judging others, judging themselves, learning to accept others and certainly learning to accept yourself. It’s a very realistic display of reactions of people in situations or people around others in situations that require a lot of healing, time and patience.

Gone Girl and Two Movie Review Updates

Before I start my review of Gone Girl I would like to take a moment to review the movies I saw over the weekend. I gave my predictions of both Mama and Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters last Friday, and they both deserve an update.

I really enjoyed Mama. My prediction was fairly correct in that it did not haunt my dreams afterward, however it provided nice jolts throughout and the acting was great on most accounts. There was one thing (I won’t give anything away) that I did not like regarding a vision, but one fault in a horror is about as good as it gets. The ending (again no spoilers, I hate spoilers) was unexpected, but very much Guillermo del Toro style. I had my own idea of what was going to happen (something that tied into some information you get earlier on) and when it didn’t end that way I felt like it was a not the perfect ending. On the flip side I can’t say I was exactly disappointed either, it may not have been perfect, but it was the next best conclusion. Also, I have to say visually, it was disturbing, earthy and beautiful, again very del Toro. I change my rating to a 9/10.

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters was better than I expected. It definitely had The Brothers Grimm feel, but the story was really good and the one liners were funny. I walked in thinking the movie was PG-13, so half-way through you see girl butt and a boob and all I thought was “Can they do that in PG-13 now? Well alright.” Then came a series of head squishing and blood spurting, and I thought “No, no this has to be R.” It was funny how it took a lot to convince me it was R because the commercials, the witches character design, even the cast seemed to be lending to a PG-13 movie. Well, anyways (I just thought that was funny) the way they did the movie was a success. I think if any element was done differently the movie would have been how I predicted, not bad but nothing to get too excited for. I change my rating to an 8/10.

Ok now onto Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

It’s hard to give a summary of this book without giving too much away. So we’ll go with this:

On his 5th wedding anniversary, Nick has breakfast with his wife, Amy and then leaves for work. He later finds the front door to his house wide open, the cat outside, and the living room a mess. His wife is gone. Who took her? Is she still alive? Was Nick actually involved? The cops seem to think he may be, especially as the investigation continues.

Like the synopsis? I know it doesn’t really give you anything to go off of besides “it’s an investigative thriller” so hopefully my spoiler-free review will.

I cared very little about the plot of this story. I did not care what happened in the story, it could have ended in any way and I wouldn’t have cared more one way than the other. That’s not to say the book was bad, in-fact I loved this book and the ending as well. I enjoyed what happened, how it progressed and all the twists, but I was too much enveloped by the characters to care what happened to them. I know that sounds weird, you’d think if I was so enveloped with the characters I would only care more about what their fate had in store, I know and I can’t really explain.

But I can try.

In many books, a bad plot is often waived by amazing characters, or terrible characters are only bearable because of the gripping plot. Don’t get me wrong, the plot for Gone Girl is great, no doubt, but when a good plot is so overshadowed by characters, characters that are literally fun to be around, you no longer care where they go, just as long as they keep going.

It wasn’t just Nick that was enthralling, every character, Amy, his sister, Go, the cops, the neighbors, the parents, every person was so concrete that you pictured this Mississippi Riverside town vividly.

But what made these characters so enriched? Well, to start the writing was solid. Each character was his own. All were convincing but the best thing about the characters was not one of them was perfect, and all of them were in some way very messed up.

I love messed up characters, especially ones as conniving, low, and downright crazy as the ones in Gone Girl. It makes you love them, it makes you hate them, it makes you not care what happens to them and love everything that does, all the good and all the bad they run into through the story… And there was a lot of bad!

So, if you want great characters that will stick with you, a twisting, deranged mystery that deepens as the story continues, pick up Gone Girl.

Also, one little thing I found interesting: in the acknowledgements Gillian Flynn talks about her son whom she simply calls Flynn. I think that for an author, who for whatever reason they may have, wants to not display their child’s name, simply calling them by the surname is kind of genius- and if I have a child I may do that someday.

Mull Over Movies: Wreck-It Ralph

I know this one has been out now for a bit, I probably should have done the review a couple of weeks back, but here it is anyways.

Wreck-It Ralph is about Ralph, the bad guy from a video game who wants to not be the “bad guy” any more. He ends up going into different games trying to earn a hero’s medal to prove he can be the good guy. Through his adventure he meets a glitch named Vanellope, a quirky little race girl and he begins to understand what really matters.

I loved this movie. It has great moments of nostalgia. You will find yourself pointing at the screen, recalling different video game characters you recognize. Beyond nostalgic, the movie offers a solid and very funny plot. It’s one of those rare movies that the humor can be appreciated by anyone of any age, not separate adult humor hidden behind subtle innuendos that make movies like Shrek and Toy Story popular. I highly recommend, whether you see this movie by yourself, with a 5 year old, or a group of friends, you go see the movie.