Sunday, December 30, 2012

Review: Les Miserables

Release Date:  December 25, 2012
Running Time: 157 minutes
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Borat, Helena Bonham Carter
Who to see it with: Someone who likes musicals and is very forgiving


I only started playing sports 8 or 9 years ago.  I really wanted to be great and put a ton of effort into training, practicing, eating right, and getting better.  I definitely improved and became faster and more coordinated.  But, as hard as I tried and wanted it, I was only ever a reserve player.  Try as I might, I was never going to be very good.  That's how I feel about the singing in Les Mis.  The acting and sets are phenomenal.  The cinematography is great.  The actors do an admirable job and I imagine they put in a lot of time and effort into this movie.  But this is a musical, and in a musical the singing should be amazing.  It should take your breath away and be so big that it fills the theater.  There was never a moment in Les Mis where that happened for me.  Anne Hathaway came very close with her rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream," but again, the acting was superb but the singing wasn't. 

Don't see it.  Go see the musical. 


I haven't cried so much since I saw Evita in 9th grade. Apparently I'm a sucker for musicals. That being said, part of my crying was due to Hugh Jackman nearly ruining one of my favorite characters and Russell Crowe running a close second in that race. When those two weren't trying to ruin everything, I absolutely loved the movie.  Anne Hathaway stole the show with her portrayal of Fantine- which is not something I was expecting. I'm not sure if this movie just made me nostalgic for the times I've seen Les Miserables the play but it definitely has me wanting to see it again.

See it. See the musical. Don't let Susan Boyle be your point of reference for this amazing musical.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Review: Jack Reacher

Release Date:  December 21, 2012
Running Time: 130 minutes
Starring: Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins
Who to see it with: Someone who likes Tom Cruise movies


Tom Cruise is a really good actor and I generally like his movies.  But, this film was almost so bad it was good, yet it didn't quite make it over that ledge.  It's an interesting investigation / action movie that is entertaining enough, but the amount of bad lines and overall corny-ness hurt the overall experience.  I liked the story and the fight scenes are definitely well done.  The fights had a batman-esque aspect to them; kind of a gritty, more realistic type of fighting.  If you like Tom Cruise or are hoping for a little more investigation in your action movies, you will probably see it.  But for everyone else, I would 

Rent it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Review: This Is 40

Release Date:  December 21, 2012
Running Time: 134 minutes
Starring: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Jason Segel
Who to see it with: Your old friends who you saw Knocked Up with


This film was alright.  It had a lot of funny gags and some genuine laugh out loud moments but it really dragged on.  I started looking at my watch an hour and a half in and really felt the last 40 minutes of it.  Also, it didn't really come to a satisfying end, just kind of petered out (but maybe that's a metaphor for old age... ).  Either way, funny, but definitely

Rent it.


I've never been so afraid to grow old. I liked a lot of Judd Apatow's other stuff but this one just seemed really long, and while it had its funny moments, just kinda sad. Might be better for an audience who already has kids and can related a little more.

Rent it. Or not.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Review: Promised Land

Release Date:  January 4, 2013
Running Time: about an hour and forty five minutes
Starring: Matt Damon, John Krasinski, Frances McDormand
Who to see it with: A Matt Damon fan, someone from a small town, or environmental friends


I really wanted to like this movie.  It is a great premise, has solid acting, interesting characters, and some very compelling themes.  I would say about 90 percent of the movie is great.  I was completely on board with this until the main plot twist.  It feels too convenient and contrived to make the movie wrap up instead of continuing the natural progression of the characters.  Sad thing is, I even liked the end but the plot twist just fracked it up.  I still think you should see it but it's not a definite recommendation.

Rent it.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Review: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Release Date:  December 14, 2012
Running Time: 169 minutes
Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage
Who to see it with: Your Tolkien and / or fantasy loving friend or anyone who likes a good adventure!


Disclaimer: I read the Tolkien books in 7th and 8th grade and absolutely loved them.  So, no bias, but this movie is great.  I loved seeing the added scenes and extra backstory.  If you are not a fan of the series or the type of movie in general (ask yourself, did you like the Lord of the Rings movies?) then you might not like it, but I absolutely loved it.  The three hours passed quickly.

See it!

3D / 48 frames per second note: Worth it. 

I saw it in 3D with the 48 frames per second film.  The higher speed made the action scenes smoother and made the vistas and landscapes breathtaking.  I definitely think it was worth it.  It was not distracting like some high end TVs can get when watching 24 or 30 fps content.  This looked and felt great.  The 3D was well done and really showed in some of the indoor scenes.  

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Review: Codebreaker

A.k.a: Britain's Greatest Codebreaker (Original Title)
Release Date:  2011 original air date in Britain, but now being screened in America.
Running Time: 63 minutes
Starring: Ed Stoppard, Henry Goodman, Paul McGann
Who to see it with: Everyone! (or your computer science loving friends)


It's a great documentary of one of the truly under-appreciated geniuses of our time.  Go to and request a screening in your area!

See it! 


I'm a sucker for hearing about the personal side of... anything. Make it a true story and I'm all in. It's heart breaking to hear how this guy was treated but I'm glad his real genius is being appreciated now! 

See it.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Review: Warm Bodies

Warm Bodies Poster

Release Date:  February 1, 2013
Running Time: 97 minutes
Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, John Malkovich
Who to see it with: A Teenager Going Through Twilight Withdrawal


Vampires are so hot right now, so why not make a "Twilight" zombie movie.  Problem is, zombies lack the sparkle of vampires.  There were lots of things I really liked about the movie--plenty of funny little zombie gags here and there.  But, they had to make too many concessions to make the "romance" part of the movie work.  Overall, premise didn't come together as much as I would have liked.

Rent it.


About as good as a Rom-Zom-Com is going to get. I wasn't thrilled about seeing this one, but didn't hate it.  

Rent it. And maybe fall asleep on the couch.