Sunday, July 31, 2011

An Action Movie for the Whole Family

Captain America Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, Hayley Atwell
My Grade: B+
This was one of the best movies for the whole family that I have seen in a while. If you like comic book movies and their story lines then this is a movie you will thoroughly enjoy. Joe Johnston pulls an interesting and highly effective tactic to make Evans look like a scrawny helpless boy. The movie opens with this pitiful looking Evans wanting badly to enlist but continuously getting rejected. Enter the sci-fi doctor, and this poor excuse for a solider turns into what we know as Captain America. I think Evans has come a long way from his days in "Not Another Teen Movie", and even though this role didn't require a lot of depth, Evans performed his part to perfection.
This movie contained everything you want in a well balanced film. First ,of course, is the action which is in great display during this movie. What I will note is the lack of cheesiness to the action that can be prevalent in most comic book films. Next is the love story in which Johnston did a good job of presenting the romance between Evans and Atwell in a secondary way that was complimentary to the overall plot but at the same time took nothing away from the comic book style of the film. And lastly, the part of the movie I think the family will love is that this is a clean (no language or sex or gruesome violence) movie in every way without losing the edge intended by most action movies. I believe the movie was made clean on purpose to stick with the Captain America essence, which is to say he is the ultimate all American boy. They also used a familiar bad guy in the man of Hugo Weaving who first became took on the villain role as Agent Smith. I think that Weaving relishes these roles because he seems to so easily fall into them.

Side note: If you stay to the end of the film you will see a pleasant upcoming movie surprise.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Twisted Love Story

Bad Teacher Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, and Justin Timberlake
My grade: C +

Where do I start with this movie? I think the best way to describe it is: Tried Too Hard! I mean they actually thought off a half way original idea (besides the slight ripoff of School of Rock), but that seemed to get lost in the attempt to be like the rest of the vulgar comedies. But let me say this first, if you are a teacher and especially if you teach middle school, this movie is a must see. Cameron Diaz plays a money seeking teacher who is always looking out for herself and for the easy way out. She demonstrates the worst teaching strategies ever put forth by any teacher, but through it all she ends up building a relationship, some what, with the students. This movie did a good job of mixing in a couple different styles of comedy. They have a little annoying comedy portrayed by everyone's favorite brown nosing teacher, Lucy Punch (Dinner for Schmucks). Then there's the sarcastic comedy that is so perfectly delivered by Jason Segel. Lastly there is the crass comedy that has so recently become popular. This is where the movie lost a little credibility for me because the sexual comedy is so grossly forced that I don't see the need. I can see the value of a crass joke when it fits into the story, but in this case director Jake Kasdan threw these scenes in the movie without any real flow to them.
I do feel that the awkwardness of the teaching staff was played to perfection form the calm and weirdly "dolphin" principal to the teacher that goes along with what everyone says. Then there's the ever improving Timberlake who plays the so called "got it all together" guy. The overall fit of the movie is really good with several well timed comedic moments. There are a handful of very funny parts where you'll catch yourself laughing out loud slightly marred by a few abrasively sexual scenes. Everyone of viewing age will enjoy this movie but I think teachers will especially catch it wittiness.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Our cruise with the Leidners!

Recently we returned from our Eastern Caribbean cruise with our best friends and we had a BLAST! I have been wanting to go back since we got home, but I had to return to real life, I guess...Anyway, here is a recap of some of the highlights! Check out Facebook to see all of our cruise pictures!

We flew to Orlando, and then took a transfer bus to Port Canaveral, where we boarded our ship on Sunday, July 3.

Our first port stop, the following day, was in Coco Cay, Bahamas. Coco Cay is a private island owned by Royal Caribbean. It was BEAUTIFUL and our favorite day of the cruise! We rode jet skis and the water was gorgeous! Then we hung out in some hammocks and relaxed, plus did some shopping. Below are some pics from the Bahamas! When we got back on the ship, we ate dinner in the dining room, our first formal night of the week.

The next day was a sea day, and we did lots of fun stuff! We played Bingo, played some 42 on the deck, and tried the Flowrider surf simulator. The guys also won a basketball tournament and even got medals! :) We ate dinner in the dining room that night as well, and the food was always amazing!

The following day we stopped in St. Thomas, which was beautiful! We did separate excursions on this day. Mike and I did underwater scooters and Christen and Ronnie did Snuba. Then we met back on the ship to eat dinner at the pizza parlor and then went to the ice skating show, which was amazing!

The following day was spent in St. Maarten, and our excursion actually got rained out. I was worried that it might ruin the day, but we ended up having a great day! We shopped, did some sight seeing, ate at the Hard Rock Cafe, and went to the beach. All in all, it was one of our favorite days!

Christen and I got opal jewelry in St. Maarten! Showing it off...

To finish off the week, we had 2 more sea days filled with fun and relaxation! Mike & I took a cooking with chocolate class, we hung out at the pool, played games and hung out! We also played miniature golf and ate lots, so they were 2 awesome days to end our week!

What a fabulous trip! We had a blast and look forward to making this a yearly event!

Posted by *Becky*

The Final Chapter

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 Daniel Radcliffe/Emma Watson/Rupert Grint My Grade: A-

Well the Harry Potter series is complete, but it did now go quietly. The last movie in the most followed series ever watched will fulfill every Harry Potter sensation you have. From start to finish this film will have you on the edge of your seat. It starts where part one left off, and I mean exactly where it left off. I think that was a cool tribute to how these two movies were made out of one book. I know its kind of a given but this was by far the best movie in the series due to the actors having gained experience, the movie being put into the film, and the director wanting to go out with a bang. The cinematography in this film is brilliant especially during the trolley ride in Gringotts and in the casting of the protection spells around the castle. I thought that was a particularly cool part of the film as both sides are preparing for the "Battle
Royale". They did a great job of building that fight scene up from the camera work to the music (which I think is a highly underrated part of this whole series) of the scene to the tension portrayed by the actors.
I have to give it to David Yates in that he has stayed pretty close to the books which I know some fans have aptly criticized. Now I am sure he changed a few things but that is needed when making a book into a feature film, but I do believe he captured the very nature of the book and was able to create a movie that someone who has never read the books would love. Yates did a wonderful job of celebrating the good vs evil that is rampant through out the series and really comes to a head in this movie. The way he captured that struggle and personalized it so that the audience could relate with the way Harry was feeling was his best feat. I do believe he rushed the final blow that killed Voldemort. I just think the movie felt like this perfect date and that was just a kiss on the cheek instead of the perfect end to the date, if that makes any sense. Other them that my only other criticism would be the way everyone looked "19 years later". As one movie goer was quoted in saying, "The years were not very kind to Ginny.", but if that's the only thing wrong then its a pretty good movie. Now I know what you're saying, Mike if you liked the movie so much why did you give it an A-? You see with a movie that is hyped so much it has to outdo the hype in order for it to score higher than that.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Movie review blog

Well, this will be my inaugural movie review blog. I have to tell you up front that I have and probably always will be a movie lover. My dream is, that when I retire, to be a movie critic for a newspaper or online magazine, and the hope is this will lead to that future. That being said, let the review begin.

Due Date (2010) comedy/Robert Downing Jr./ Zack Galiflanakis Grade: B

I thought this movie was very entertaining and mildly amusing. I am a big fan of Downing Jr. especially of late, finding that he attacks every movie with a sense of passion that is not easily matched. The jury is still out on Galiflanakis though. Being that he is still relatively new to the big screen I will save my harsh judgement till later on, but he seems to play the same role in all four movies I've seen him in. Now those four movies (or at least three of them) were very funny, but he needs to be careful not to fall into the type cast rut.

I thought that Galiflanakis did a wonderful job delivering the "awkward dumb witted" comedy that he is known for. Him and Downing Jr. worked well together thoughout the movie. The movie is basically one man's fight to get back to see the birth of his first baby, and along the way meets a funny little man who always seems to cause certain disaster. After an unfortunate event on the airplane and a couple of unusual circumstances, the unlikely couple is forced to travel from Atlanta to Los Angeles. The rest of the movie is filled with these two and their struggle to understand each other. Where this movie's real beauty is how director Todd Phillips works a very dynamic plot into this comedy. About a third of the way into this movie is when you discover the depth of Galiflanakis' character. And so the movie continues with this mix of comedy and seriousness until the end, which ends happily.

Side note: (This review is a little less specific because it was written a few days after I watched Due Date and I watched several other movies between watching Due Date and writing this review. Tell me what you think and stay tuned for the Harry Potter: Deathly Hallows Part 2 review tomorrow night.)