1) Bridesmaids - I have never and have yet to laugh as hard at a movie I saw in the theaters since I saw Bridesmaids on its opening weekend last May. Right from the get go, the movie had me giggling, and as soon as Melissa McCarthy (in one of my favorite performances of the year) pops up on screen saying how she fell off a cruise ship, ping ponged on the way down and met a dolphin who stared into her soul, I was laughing so hard I was crying. I’m really not a huge fan of the fart-jokey, adult-aimed, Apatow-produced comedies. They do have their funny moments, but more often than not, they’re just a little too much for me for some reason. Not Bridesmaids though. I give credit to the super strong screenplay (co-written by Kristen Wiig, who I have always loved on SNL and is amazing in this movie) and the all around fantastic ensemble for making a hilarious and boundary pushing comedy that actually was my favorite movie of the year.
2) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 - I have always been more of a fan of the Harry Potter books than the movies. I’d often watch the movies one time in theaters (when they were released) and one time on DVD (before the next movie) and that would be the end of it. Since the book series ended, the movies became the one last living link to the Potter universe for fans and fortunately, the movies began to come into their own and actually become kind of great films. I knew this final one would make me a puddle of tears, and I did end up doing the ugly cry through most of it, just because it was like a final goodbye to these characters I’d known for the last 12 years. What I didn’t count on was the fantastic final performances from these actors on screen. Little Daniel Radcliffe has grown up so and what a fine actor he’s become! Ralph Fiennes and Helena Bonham Carter’s Voldemort and Bellatrix are some of of the scariest villains ever on screen. As Snape, Alan Rickman is one of the best parts about the movie series. From the first appearance to the final, Rickman brought this character to life from the page perfectly. His death scene in the final movie (spoiler alert, but really, if you didn’t know by now that he dies) made me cry harder than anything else. He was bloody brilliant. I find it too bad this movie is not getting award recognition because it (and Rickman) are very much worthy of it. But then again, the Harry Potter films will be classics for years and years and it doesn’t need any sort of statue to prove what they’ve meant to the millions of fans.
3) The Artist – A super late addition to this list, but honestly this movie was so amazing I had to include it. I guess the saying “Everything old is new again” is true, at least in this case. Truthfully, not much about this film is new and original. It’s a silent movie, black and white, classic Hollywood story of the decline of a silent movie star actor to the “talkies” while a young starlet he guided rises in popularity. I was so charmed by this film – actually it was really less a film than what seemed to me a throwback to the old “motion pictures” of young Hollywood - I found myself smiling and my mood elevated to pure happiness while watching it. I was so drawn into the story that I forgot I was watching a silent film. And with that glorious ending, we walked out of the theater on a high. This movie is going to be the one to beat in the upcoming awards season and rightfully so. It lives up to the hype in every way.
4) Winnie the Pooh - Hands down the most heart warming movie of the year, and in my opinion, the best animated film of the year. I didn’t quite know what to expect going into this other than a visit with cute old Winnie the Pooh watching him do things with his Pooh friends. What I got instead was a throwback to childhood and simpler times, with plenty of humor for adults to enjoy. Some jokes and gags I couldn’t even believe was put into a Disney animated movie that seemed to be aimed at toddlers. I laughed hard at the funny parts and I teared up at the emotional parts. I even thought the new songs (mostly sung by Zooey Deschanel) were memorable and cute. Why Disney released this the same weekend as Harry Potter is beyond me, but more people need to see this adorable movie and bring out their inner child.
5) The Help - The Help may not be the best written or directed film of the year - but the acting in this movie is phenomenal. Viola Davis (who blew me away in Doubt, but really gets to shine here) is amazing, Emma Stone proves what a fine actress she really is, but it’s Octavia Spencer who steals the movie with super expressive eyes and her “terrible awful” pie recipe. I know a movie is one of my favorites if I’m really able to soak it in and quote it, and I guess it’s true for this one because I’ve told a good amount of people this year that “You is kind, you is smart, you is important.” Forget the controversial aspects of the movie, and give yourself over to the story being portrayed on screen - it’s a good one.
6) The Muppets - How glorious it was to see the Muppets make a comeback this year. I love them, always have (Beaker’s my favorite) and to have them return to the big screen was so exciting. So what if me and my best friends dressed in our Muppets gear and brought our Muppets stuffed toys with us to the movie theater and all the kids were jealous? We’re grown ups and we can do what we want. This movie was warm and cuddly and made me so happy. There’s not a demon in the world that would not break into a smile listening to “Life’s a Happy Song.” The Muppets represented just more than the return of the Muppet characters. Like Winnie the Pooh, it brought back familiar faces (albeit felt faces with googly eyes) that makes audiences feel joy at seeing their friends onscreen again.
7) The Tree of Life - So when this movie began and right off the bat went all weird and wack showing the beginning of the universe featuring nothing but whispering, colorful light effects, and then dinosaurs (!) I was tempted to turn it off and give up on it, but something told me to hang in there, and it was worth it. Without many words (which to me rings true to real life more than most movies - we spend more time not speaking than we think we do) a compelling family drama unfolded in an incredibly realistic and profound way. It was a study more on the loss of innocence and how that plays into figuring out that yours is a tiny role in such a great big world, I just could not stop thinking about the movie and what it meant after I saw it. I’m still not sure I have a good grasp on it all, I just know I found something relatable and true in this strange film.
8) Catfish - This movie may have its detractors and naysayers (and technically came out in 2010), but no other “documentary” (and that is in quotes, because you’re left wondering if it was honestly real or not) affected me as much as this one. At its core, the documentary explores the dangers of the internet and how our society puts so much social worth and meaning into something that involves such little truthful human interaction. We are constantly putting up walls with our phones and computer screens to either hide behind as a mask or to purposefully block out the world around us. Is losing yourself and your truth really worth it? The movie had me in tears by the end (who am I kidding though, I cry at everything.) No matter if it is a true story or not (I’m the camp of it being true and maybe a bit embellished - like a reality show) it doesn’t matter because the film is great.
9) Crazy Stupid Love - An original comedy with a fantastic, funny, and surprisingly great cast starring Steve Carrell, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, and Ryan Gosling (amongst a bunch of others.) It was a super well done genre mash-up romantic comedy/family drama/character study with some twists out of left field that I, and enjoyably so, did not see coming. It’s always nice to see a movie and get so swept up in enjoying it that I forget I’m watching a movie and stop trying to see what’s coming.
10) Super 8 - I have a love/hate relationship with summer movies. Sometimes I hate the cheesy action schlockfests like The Green Latern and other times, a summer movie comes along that tweaks the formula a bit and surprises audiences. Super 8 was one of those, and I loved it. While it could be seen as a Cloverfield/ET/Goonies rip-off, I prefer saying it pays “homage” to those movies while also becoming a standout classic on its own. Simply put, JJ Abrams is magical and pretty much anything he touches is amazing.
11) War Horse - Going into War Horse, I was unsure of what to expect. Horses (and movies about them) are not and never have been something I’ve been into. That being said, I found myself so caught up in the sweeping epic story (I’m a sucker for epic films) of Joey the horse and his adventures during WWI that I had to prevent myself from ugly crying by biting my lip during the last quarter of the movie. If you forget you’re watching a movie about horse, director Steven Spielberg makes it easy to get swept up and carried away, which is what happened to me.
12) Beginners - Ewan McGregor does not get enough credit as an actor. In this film he plays a lost son of a father who came out of the closet four years before he dies (not a spoiler - it’s said in the first couple minutes of the movie.) The movie is just phenomenal. Directed by Mike Mills (who based the screenplay on his life) and starring McGregor in his best performance since Moulin Rouge, a fantastic Christopher Plummer as his dad (he was perfect in this role), and the beautiful and really talented French actress Melanie Laurent (from Inglorious Bastards!) I loved every minute of this quiet and true movie about taking hold of the reins of life and seizing them before its too late.
I’m not ashamed to say I actually went and saw Footloose in the movie theaters tonight and LOVED it.
Crazy stupid good! I took the afternoon today to see the $6 matinee showing of this film along with the rest of the local over 65+ population. What can I say? I loved it, as I knew I would. It was heartwarming and tender and also laugh out loud awkward and funny. The entire cast is amazing with each bringing something brilliant to the film. And though I wasn’t trying, I honestly did not see any of the twists coming (not really a spoiler alert - there are twists!) which also make the ride the movie is taking you on that much better.
An alternative to the youngins claimin’ their childhood is ending along with Harry Potter. To me, a new Pooh movie means my childhood is just continuing.
I’m lucky to say I’ve never had a horrible boss. I’ve had horrible co-workers and indirect supervisors before…but never a horrible boss. Nevertheless, I found this movie to be funny. Not as funny as Bridesmaids, which has become my go-to-movie for comedy comparisons (I remember when it used to be Mean Girls), but it was still funny.
Things I liked:
1) The dark humor. Sure there were some typical buddy comedy gags and off-color remarks but it was really the dark humor that made me laugh the most.
2) The guys. The three guys, Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis make this movie. All three are hysterical in their owns ways and I’ve been a fan of all of their work for a while so it was hard to go wrong with them.
3) The bosses. Jennifer Aniston made me laugh like she hasn’t made me laugh since her best moments as Rachel on Friends. Colin Farrell was great in his coked up crazy way, and Kevin Spacey chewed the scenery, as Kevin Spacey at his best does. Gam-Gam. HA.
Things I didn’t like:
1) Jamie Foxx.There are two celebrities I do not care for one bit. They are: Donny Osmond and Jamie Foxx. One of them was in this movie. I admit I didn’t mind him in this role, but I attribute that to him not being in the film very much and not being required to “act.”
2) The neatness of how everything wrapped up. I admit, I love films and movies were people get so over their head they don’t know how to get out. Weeds and Breaking Bad are two examples I think of. Where “normal” people get involved in situations they would never “normally” be in, and they keep getting deeper and deeper until they give in. This movie could’ve gone there and I would’ve enjoyed it much more, but it didn’t quite make in, and it wrapped up in an all too tidy way.
Still it’s a good comedy, made me laugh, and was worth the matinee ticket price I paid for it.
Hmmm…I just don’t know what exactly to think about this one. I’ve supported and defended the first Cars movie to people, saying, yes it may be the least inspired of all the Pixar movies, but you can’t call it the “worst”, because “worst” implies “bad,” and Cars is still leagues better than most animated movies. I found that I originally misjudged that movie. Having no interest in cars other than being able to drive one, I didn’t care to see it and claimed it to be stupid. But, I found when watching it, the movie was more than just about cars, it had a great, touching story and a lot of heart. I was moved by the end of it…but I was not so much with its sequel.
I think the world of “Cars” is very fun. It’s got a lot of great puns which make me chuckle (like when they roll “fuzzy dice” in the casino), and the landscapes and architecture of buildings have creative and subtle car-like changes which make me smile. So when watching at this film, yes I had fun, but did not feel much else. From the opening action sequence to the all-to-brief appearances from great characters from the first film, I thought…this is going to be great…and then the movie just went off the rails, with no real reason. I thought maybe it will end up being about friendship and forgiveness, maybe it will have some sort of anti-car-pollution/pro-alternative fuel thing, or maybe even something about self-acceptance and not changing your self for anybody else…every Pixar movie had some sort of underlying message to it, that’s why adults can love them as much as kids. And while it did touch on those, as quickly as they were touched upon, they were lost again. By the time the movie reached its somewhat ridiculous climactic race through London (it just became too much with rocket boosters and parachutes led to a flying tow truck) I knew this movie was created not for the sake of creating something special to tug at heart strings. So I left with a mehhh feeling about it, which is honestly the first time I’ve walked out of a Pixar movie like that. I can’t even remember details of how the movie ended because it just lost me.
I guess it also didn’t help the film started out with two great trailers (the new Muppets movie, which I can’t wait for, and a charming Winnie the Pooh trailer) and a brazilliant Toy Story Toon short, Hawaiian Vacation that almost overshadowed the movie that followed. It recalls the brilliant Toy Story 3, which I knew Cars 2 was not going to be nearly as great as, so already, as the movie started my mind was back in Toy Story land and I was being set-up for a disappointment.
That all being said, I do like the characters from Cars, and thought the new characters were great additions, I just wish the movie was more. I want and expect more from Pixar than they gave me with this one. But, Cars 2 was certainly a beautifully animated film and I still cannot believe the environments and realism that Pixar is able to create with computer animation. I mean, the details…the incredible details in each frame…it blows me away. If this films fails to be as full of heart as the others, it at least continues, and even furthers their brilliant animation.
PS - I can’t stand seeing movies when there are misbehaving children in the theater. They’re as bad as cell phones. If your child has a short attention span, do not bring them to a movie theater. Watch a movie at home.
A recipe to make your own Super 8 movie.
1 Cloverfield monster
1 Bright red glowing heart from E.T.
1 Elliot-type child with big, emoting eyes
A handful of other kids from the Goonies
A dash of the friendship from Stand by Me
Mix well. Let mixture set until summertime, and package the movie in mystery. Upon release, the audiences will eat this movie up.
To say I love the work of JJ Abrams and the work of Stephen Spielberg might be an understatement. “Lost” and “Alias” are two of my all time favorite TV shows and a couple of Spielberg’s films are in my top 10 favorites ever. So when the two combine for a new summer movie loaded with action, thrills, heart, and humor, well you can pretty much call me a fan even before I see it. It would’ve taken a lot to let me down with this movie, and I did not leave disappointed.
I don’t usually enjoy watching child actors, but Abrams managed to find a bunch of wonderful kids whose performances will be probably be considered classics someday. He found kids who were real and grounded - they could’ve been the same neighborhood kids I hung around with making up grand, elaborate situations and acting them out.
Oh yes, and that freakin’ intense mothah of all train wrecks:
I think the reason I liked the movie so much because it dug up some deep nostalgic feelings from when I was a kid. Watching this, I found myself both smiling and tearing up in spots because the movie honestly could have my been imagination running wild when I was the age of the kids in the movie. We did stuff like they did…granted we never had a super 8 camera and made physical movies, but we certainly pretended to go on epic adventures. We would save the world!
Super 8’s a great movie - see this one in the theaters to really feel the experience. You won’t regret it.