based on a book, film, Nicholas Sparks

Movie Review: The Lucky One

An already sappy Nicholas Sparks book turned into an incredibly sappier movie. I watched this movie shaking my head pretty much the entire time going “Ok what are the odds of this?” I’ll give you the answer: ZERO! Reality and cute gagging out of the way, this 2012 film is not too bad (not great but not terrible) compared to the other Sparks films with some decent acting and an actually interesting story. Spoilers ahead as usual. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

US Marine Logan Thibault (Zac Efron) is serving in Iraq and first hand sees the horrors of combat, including the deaths of his friends. One day he finds a picture of a beautiful woman by a lighthouse just before an attack and he survives. After failing to find the owner of the picture he keeps it and miraculously (and this is when my head starts spinning) keeping the picture keeps Logan alive. Returning home to his sister and nephews in Colorado Logan begins experiencing PTSD and survivor’s guilt and decides to search for the mystery woman, having discovered a clue about the lighthouse in Louisiana. He and his dog Zeus walk to Louisiana (yeah Colorado to Louisiana walking) and shows the photo around town before he finally gets an answer. The woman is single mom Beth Green (Taylor Schilling) and she is just as pretty in the picture as she is in real life for Logan. Believing he is there to apply to be a hand on her home Beth’s grandmother Ellie (Blythe Danner) hires him, much to Beth’s annoyance in not asking her. However Beth begins to warm up to Logan after getting to know him, as does Beth’s son Ben (Riley Thomas Stewart) who is glad to have a positive male role model after the death of Beth’s brother (yep probably not hard to figure out from there). Beth’s former husband, the sheriff deputy and son of the town judge, Keith Clayton (Jay R. Ferguson) does not like Logan hanging around Beth and Ben and constantly threatens to take Ben away from Beth. It doesn’t stop Logan and Beth from falling in love, however when the real reason of Logan being there is revealed things may change. Again probably not hard to figure out the story, but I am gonna stop here before giving away the rest of the movie.

Now this is not the best Sparks book to film adaption, but it is far from the worst. Zac Efron is pretty good as Logan; showing his more romantic side and if I may say he looked good in uniform. Before she was in Orange in the New Black Taylor Schilling was awesome as Beth who had some fascinating character development as she deals with her ex, her brother’s death and falling for Logan. Finally Blythe Danner as Ellie was the highlight for me as she liked Logan immediately and was the only one on his side after the truth comes out. If you like sappy Sparks movies then this is one to watch, otherwise this might not be on your need to DVR or rent list.


Movie Review: The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course

You guys might remember a few blogs back that I am a huge fan of the late Steve Irwin aka The Crocodile Hunter and how happy I was to hear that his family would be returning to Animal Planet (if not you can check it out here). I used to watch Steve all time time when I was a kid and so when I heard that he was doing a feature length movie in 2002 there was NO WAY my family was gonna miss out on it. Spoilers ahead as usual. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

While Steve and Terri Irwin (playing themselves with their dog Sui) are filming a documentary about the Australia wildlife’s less known creatures a piece of a US owned satellite breaks off; landing in Australia where it is promptly eaten by a crocodile. CIA Agent Buckwhiler (Ron Young) and Deputy Director Reynolds (Steve Bastoni) tell CIA agents Robert Wheeler (Lachy Hulme) and Vaughn Archer (Kenneth Ransom) to Australia to find the beacon, saying in the wrong hands the world would be at stake. Meanwhile Department Director Ansell (Steve Vidler), wanting to capitalize on the opportunity and take the Deputy Director position sends another agent, Jo Buckley (Kate Beahen) to find the beacon first. Meanwhile the same crocodile who swallowed the beacon has been giving trouble for cattle station owner Brozzie Drewitt (Magda Szubanski) as it keeps eating her cows. Brozzie tries to kill the croc, which is illegal as one of the workers for the Department of Fauna and Fisheries Sam Flynn (David Wenham) keeps reminding her, but she won’t listen. Flynn hires Steve and Terri to re-locate the croc and they unknowingly get caught in the CIA’s cross-hairs; Steve believes he’s in the middle of a poaching war while the agents believe he will use the beacon to pay for the Australia Zoo’s multi-million dollar expansion. About as far as I can go without spoiling the rest of the movie.

Interesting fact about this movie: Steve and Terri improvised everything (as they do on their show) and when the other actors would interact with Steve only then would the Irwins know what was going on so they could ad-lib. From what I remembered about Steve and Terri this did not surprise me one bit. Now I will admit this is very cheesy when we aren’t with the Irwins, but that is what makes the movie fun. Whenever this airs on TV, and we haven’t watched it recently, I always DVR it. It is still just as funny as I remembered watching it when I was a kid, but there is still a twinge of sadness I feel when I watch Steve knowing he is no longer here. While I never met Steve, nor probably won’t be traveling to Australia anytime soon to meet the rest of the Irwin family, I’d like to think he is proud of his family and what they are doing. I will always watch this movie, and I recommend you do as well, and I will of course be watching this fall when the Irwins return to Animal Planet.


Movie Review: Penelope (2006 film)

Haven’t heard of this movie, don’t worry not too many have, but I still found this to be very cute. The reason why I have to place 2006 in the title is because while I don’t think there are other movies called Penelope yet you might mistake this for a movie staring someone named that. Now while the film is not perfect it is far from one of bad (at least in my opinion) given the fantasy complex. Spoilers ahead as usual. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

The Wilhern’s seem like one of the nicest and richest families in England, but there was a legend surrounding them. Many years ago one of the Wilhern men had an affair with one of his servants, but was talked out of marrying her by his family. After he wed someone more to his families blue blood standards, the heartbroken and pregnant servant killed herself. The girl’s mother, the town witch, cursed the Wilhern’s that the first daughter born would have the face of a pig and only when someone of their own kind loves her for who she was would the curse be broken. For many years only sons were born, until Jessica and Frank Wilhern (Catherine O’Hara and Richard E. Grant) had Penelope (Christina Ricci). Throughout her childhood Penelope was kept hidden from the world, despite reporters trying to take pictures of her. When she reached 18 Jessica along with a match maker Wanda (Ronni Ancona) try to find a suitable blue blood match for Penelope, however when any of the guys they pick see her, they run forcing the family butler Jake (Michael Feast) to stop them and make them swear not to tell anyone about Penelope. One man, Edward Humphrey Vanderman III (Simon Woods) gets away before Jake could catch him and is laughed at by the police. However one person believes him: a reporter named Lemon (Peter Dinklage) who lost his eye trying to get a picture of Penelope when she was a baby. Needing proof Lemon and Edward hire a man they believe is Max Campion (James McAvoy), a blue blood with a serious gambling problem, to try and take a picture of Penelope. However Max is caught off guard by how sweet Penelope is and the two begin to bond. When she does reveal herself he is not disgusted by her, but flees when the camera goes off making Penelope think he ran from her face. Max destroys the camera before giving it to Lemon, but when Penelope asks him to marry her just to break the curse he tells her he can’t, leaving her heartbroken. However inspired by Max’s talk of the outside world Penelope leaves her home for the first time, wearing a scarf around her nose and mouth to keep herself hidden, much to the horror of her mother. She meets Annie (Reese Witherspoon) who becomes her mentor and friend. When Penelope decides to expose herself to the world there is a lot of good that comes with it, but there may also be a big cost her herself. About as far as I should go without giving away the rest of the movie.

Like I said this film is not fantastic but I highly doubt it will be the worst thing you see. Christina Ricci, James McAvoy and Reese Witherspoon are my favorite parts of the movie as they all accept each other for who they are, which is what we want in the people we choose to love. While I think Catherine O’Hara is good in the movie let’s just say Penelope’s mom is not exactly mother of the year, although Simon Woods’s character can give her a run for her money. If you like cute fantasy movies then Penelope might be a cute movie for you, otherwise this is probably a skip.

based on a book, classic, film

Movie Review: The Graduate

I have often told you guys, and I’m sure other people in your life have said “Oh you have got to watch this movie asap”, or “You haven’t seen this movie, why not it’s great?” No movie have I heard this more than this 1967 classic, based on the 1963 book by Charles Webb. Now don’t get me wrong I get why people like or even love The Graduate, but for me I did not like it as much as I thought I was going to. Spoilers ahead as usual. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

Recent college graduate Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) has no idea what he is going to do in life. His parents share his accolades and at his graduation party many try to offer him advice, although it is obvious he is uncomfortable. Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft) insist Benjamin drive her home after the party as her husband, Benjamin’s dad’s partner at his law firm, neglects her again. She invites Benjamin in for a drink and he soon realizes she is trying to seduce him. He tries to calmly reject her, but after his parents continue to pressure him he gives in to Mrs. Robinson’s advances. Benjamin’s parents and Mr. Robinson encourage him to spend time with Elaine (Katharine Ross), Mr. and Mrs. Robinson’s daughter, but Mrs. Robinson tells Benjamin not too. However after discovering he has more in common with Elaine rather than Mrs. Robinson, Benjamin becomes conflicted between the woman he loves and the woman he is sleeping with. About as far as I should go, but the ending is kinda famous.

I finally DVR’d this movie about a year or two ago because many adults I know were pestering me to watch the movie. As I stated before I get why people like the movie. The writing, acting, directing (as it won the Oscar) and cinematography are fantastic and I do not deny that for a second, but maybe it is because I already knew what was gonna happen or the story bothered me when I first heard about it; either way I did not like this movie as much as thought (or others thought) I would. Without a doubt this might be the best roles or at least the roles most identified with the careers of Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft as well as the start of a set of films where not a lot was left to the imagination. Many people who have watched the movie told me this was the start of more “sexy” movies. While I am positive there were real life stories not in the public eye, this might have been the star of the older women with younger men becoming more obvious, but don’t take my word for that. The Graduate has become an iconic film, it has been placed on the American Film Institution’s lists multiple times as best films, love stories, songs and at least two quotes on the best quotes of all time: “Mrs. Robinson you’re trying to seduce me” and “Plastics”. While I did not like the film too much if you were to ask me would I recommend The Graduate; while not must see without question yes.


Movie Review: Nancy Drew

Everyone’s favorite teen detective finally got the on-screen treatment in 2007, but it may not have been the way people expected. Loosely based on the many novels, the film did pretty well at the box office and critics were mixed on a few matters, but I personally liked the movie. Spoilers ahead as usual. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

Teen detective Nancy Drew (Emma Roberts) and her widowed father Carson Drew (Tate Donovan) temporarily move from River Heights to California when Carson gets a temporary job; much to Bess (Amy Bruckner) George (Kay Panabaker) and Ned (Max Thieriot) who is obviously crushing hard on Nancy and vice versa. Carson asks Nancy not to solve mysteries while there, instead he wants he to act like a normal teenager (I think even if you are a little familiar with Nancy Drew that is impossible for her). Unbeknownst to Carson when picking out houses to live in Nancy chose one with a mystery; the death of Delia Draycott (Laura Harring) an actress who disappeared for months and then on the night of her comeback was murdered. Nancy does her best to act like a normal teen, but with her 50’s outfits and personality many of her classmates think she is odd; two in particular Inga (Danielle Monet) and Trish (Kelly Vitz) make fun of her when given the chance. Nancy soon begins to investigate Draycott’s death, with some help from Ned, who visits for Nancy’s birthday, Inga’s little brother Corky (Josh Filter) who develops a crush on Nancy, John Leshing (Marshall Bell) the groundskeeper on the estate who worked for Draycott (he begrudgingly helps Nancy in order to find out what happened to Draycott) and Dashiel Biedermeyer (Barry Bostwick) who once managed Draycott. Nancy soon discovers a woman named Jane (Rachel Leigh Cook) and her daughter Allie (Kaitlyn Van Item) and their connection to Draycott, but also realizes someone does not want her to solve the case; and they are willing to do anything to stop her. Can’t go into more without spoiling the movie.

Now I won’t lie and say the movie isn’t cheesy in a few parts, but overall I still find the movie very adorable. While there were a few other people I saw could have been I cannot see anyone other than Emma Roberts as Nancy Drew. She really captured Nancy’s pureness, curiosity; basically everything I think about the teen detective (on a side note I really want that coat she has throughout the movie). I also like Tate Donovan as her dad. I understand where he is coming from in not wanting Nancy to sleuth, but even when he finds out he isn’t disappointed for long. I also may or may not have developed a crush on Max Thieriot after the movie after his performance as Ned, and since he is on SEAL Team on CBS it has since reignited but that is for another day (if you have seen him you can’t blame me). Josh Filter is adorable as Corky as he tries to get close with Nancy, but he is way too young for her. I liked the rest of the cast as well, but those were my stand-outs. While I did enjoy Nancy Drew I would say unless you read the books or are familiar with her this movie is not really worth the watch.

film, James Bond, must see

Movie Review: Skyfall

Now we are getting into the Bonds I began to like once I caught up with the rest of the series. This 2012 Bond film has also been seen on many top 10 Best Bond films of all time (admittedly not high probably 7 or 6 tops). Skyfall is in my opinion the best performances of not just Daniel Craig, but of Dame Judi Dench and without question one of the best villains in the Bond franchise in a long time. Because it is unavoidable, spoiler alert. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

James Bond (Daniel Craig) and field agent he later learns is named Eve Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) are after a mercenary, Patrice (Ola Rapace) who has stolen files of the real names of undercover agents. Bond and Patrice fight on top of a train and M (Judi Dench) orders Moneypenny to take a shot. She hits Bond instead and Patrice escapes; Bond is assumed to be dead. A few months later M is being pressured into retiring by Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fines) the chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament, but then MI6 gets hacked and the headquarters blows up, not before M receives a message taunting her. Bond returns to help M and despite his failing physical and psychological tests, M clears him for duty. After receiving gadgets from the new Q (Ben Whishaw) Bond sets out to discover who is after M. With a little help from a woman named Severine (Berenice Lim Marlohe) Bond soon meets the man responsible: Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem), a man from M’s past she disavowed after he hacked the Chinese government without her permission and was taken prisoner. Bond takes him prisoner, but soon realizes that was what he wanted; however he escaped before Bond catches on. Bond takes M to Skyfall, his parents’s house in the Scottish Highlands, but tells Q to leave a trail for Silva to follow, ready to end this. Bond, M and the Skyfall keeper Kincade (Albert Finney) fight off Silva and his men, Bond eventually killing Silva, but M is wounded in the fight and dies in Bond’s arms. At the end of the film Bond returns to the field, Moneypenny becomes a secretary and Mallory becomes the new M.

As far as Bond films go this is one of my favorites. Everything from the writing, acting, action and some very incredible cinematography was just perfect. Daniel Craig really shined as 007 in this movie, I’m glad we got Moneypenny and Q in here after a lengthy absence, and while Naomie Harris and Ben Whishaw are good they do not hold a candle to the likes of Lois Maxwell and Desmond Llewellyn respectively. For me at least two performances really stand out from the movie and that is Javier Bardem as Silva and Judi Dench as M. While Le Chiffre was a fantastic villain in Casino Royale he wasn’t the main bad guy which is why Silva for me is the best Bond villain in the Daniel Craig Bond franchise. He is not only scary, bu is wicked smart and is willing to do whatever it takes to kill M, no matter who is in his way. While Judi Dench has been M for many years it was her final turn as the character where I thought she did her best work; while M was always a big player in the franchise we hadn’t really know much about the character or had a movie focus on someone other than Bond until Skyfall. I was a little sad when she died, but I think Mallory will do a good job with the role of M but that is a story for another day. On a final note while I haven’t mentioned the songs in the other films I did like them however I LOVE “Skyfall” by Adele; it also won the Oscar for Best Original Song. I think if you like the Bond franchise or are just starting out then put Skyfall on your must watch list right now.

DC Films, film

Movie Review: Batman: Mask of the Phantasm

This is the Batman movie that the other ones are all measured up against, yes the live action and animated as well. I know that seems odd, but it is true; whenever I look up best Batman movies this 1993 movie based and using animation and voices from the very successful animated series is always in the top 5, usually in third or even first place. Despite it being a box office bomb, the decision to put in in theaters was kinda last minute, the critics loved it and thankfully it was still a success. If for some reason you haven’t seen the movie spoiler alert as always. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

Batman (Kevin Conroy) has been accused of killing crime boss Chuckie Sol, but in actuality it was a mysterious person dressed in a very creepy outfit, the Phantasm. Corrupt City Councilman Arthur Reeves (Hart Reeves) demands the capture of Batman, much to Commissioner Gordon’s annoyance (Bob Hastings) but Detective Bullock’s (Robert Costanzo) delight. Bruce decides to clear his name by investigating Sol’s death, but when Buzz Bronski another gangster is murdered by the Phantasm, he finds there is a connection between them involving another gangster, Reeves and Andrea Beaumont (Dana Delany) a woman from Bruce’s past that in a way forced him to become Batman. I probably shouldn’t say too much more other than The Joker (Mark Hamill) is involved.

It was definitely interesting seeing this movie for the first time when I was younger, if you may recall my brother loves Batman. Seeing Bruce at a point when he thought he had life figured out and then here comes this woman who changed everything for him. We almost would not have gotten Batman if this woman did not break his heart, possibly. The writing and voice acting in here is incredible, which did not surprise me as Batman the Animated Series is considered to be one of, if not the, best superhero series (animated or live action) of all time. If you like Batman, or the animated series at least, this movie has to be on your watch list. It is not must see, unless you absolutely love Batman, but I would say watch this movie if given the chance.