Spend Your Money/Save Your Money Movie Review: The Avengers

Holy guacamole it’s been a long time! I’m sorry everyone…honestly, there haven’t really been any movies that have drawn me out recently…this was the first movie I’d seen since The Hunger Games! *gasp* Anyway…the hubs saw this at the midnight premiere…then again the next night…then Saturday night I finally got to go. We still ended up having to wait in line for this movie for over an hour…ridiculous! Did anyone else have this kind of experience?

Let me preface this review by sharing with you my background with The Avengers. I had previously seen both Iron Mans (Iron Men?) and Captain America. I did not see Thor…the beginning was way too boring and I bailed. I knew nothing about Hawkeye…my impression of him was that he looked super lame from the previews… I have also never seen either Hulk movies. I was still able to very much enjoy this movie…namely cuz I love Tony Stark and his snarky comments :)

Questions…ASSEMBLE!

“What is the movie about?” – An agency called SHIELD has control of an energy source called the tesseract.This gets stolen by a god named Loki…the brother of Thor, who wants to use the tesseract to open a portal and take over the world (naturally). Nick Fury assembles a team of superheroes to try and save the world!

“Is this movie part of a series?” – Well, technically. Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America all led up to this movie. And judging by the way the movie is performing, there will be definitely be more! Yesssssss! 

“Do I have to watch the other movies in order to “get” this movie?” –  I’m gonna say no…I think anyone will enjoy this movie. Now, if you’ve watched the other movies, you will get more OUT of it…you’ll get more of the story line and who the characters are…but I do think that someone can go in blind and still enjoy it. 

 

“Wait, don’t I know that actor from somewhere?” – Cobie Smulders from my favorite show How I Met Your Mother is Maria Hill…and I was wondering where scientist Erik was from until I remembered him from Mamma Mia and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

“Anything I should know going in?” – There are two clips at the end…one in the middle of the credits and one at the very end. The one in the middle will only make sense to you if you know your comics…I had to ask the hubby what was going on. The end one is super cute, but not really necessary to stay for :)

“Anything that annoyed the heck out of you?” – I’m sorry but Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) just seems so LAME compared to the others with their super powers…there’s one scene where they are “assembled” and they’re all displaying their powers and she’s…loading a gun. *sigh*

The movie was so good. It was long (142 min) but I didn’t even realize it…I was laughing and enjoying myself the entire time. This is how movies are supposed to be!

Spend or Save? Without a doubt, spend. You will laugh (Iron Man is hilarious, as usual, but The Hulk! Hysterical!) and you will be fully engaged, especially at the end. Even Hawkeye does cool things, towards the end. Go ahead, spend your money…you will not be disappointed!


Spend Your Money/Save Your Money Movie Review: The Hunger Games

Miss me guys? To be honest, there really haven’t been any movies I’ve wanted to spend my money on…so I’ve been absent for a little bit…but I’m back! I have been waiting for this movie for a long time and after reading the book for the fourth time, the hubs and I headed to wait in line for the midnight premiere.

I loved this book. I had VERY high expectations for this movie…especially after watching the trailers…I will say that Jennifer Lawrence was great as Katniss…which is huge. As for the rest of the movie, well…read on

Question time!

“What is the movie about?” – In the not too distant future somewhere in time and space, the country of Panem is divided into 12 districts and a Capitol. As punishment for rebelling years ago, each district has to send one girl and one boy between the ages of 12-18 to participate in The Hunger Games. These participants are called tributes.  The Hunger Games pits each child against each other in an arena where the children have to survive and kill each other. The last tribute standing is the winner and they, as well as their home district, will be given food and money. Katniss’ little sister, Prim, is selected as tribute and Katniss volunteers to take her place in the games. The rest of the story details the process of getting to the games and how the tributes fare throughout.

“Is this movie part of a series?” – They have already started pre-production on the next movie. Keeping up with the recent Hollywood trend, this three book series will be divided into four movies, splitting the final book into two movies…which, in my opinion, is unnecessary, but they didn’t ask me. The remaining books in the series are Catching Fire and Mockingjay.

“Does it stay true to the book?” –  In a way, yes. It follows many of the parts of the books…much better than epic movie-adaption failures like Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief (still super angry about that one), but one of my biggest pet peeves is when Hollywood feels the need to ADD things to a movie that were not in the book. For example, in the movie, President Snow (the president of Panem) and Seneca Crane (the head Gamemaker) are in this movie throughout and are pinpointing Katniss as enemy number one, targeting her specifically in the games with events meant to kill her. This SO is not how it went down in the book, and I feel like it cheapened the games themselves…they are terrible on their own, they didn’t need an evil president behind the scenes making it worse by having him focus on one possibly rebellious girl. I have more rants about this, but to keep from posting spoilers for those who haven’t read the book, I’m gonna put my grievances in a separate post. Being a book purist as well as a movie freak is a hard life.

“Wait, don’t I know that actor from somewhere?” – Beyond the obvious faces of Stanley Tucci from movies like The Devil Wears Prada, Elizabeth Banks from 40-Year-Old Virgin, Woody Harrelson from Zombieland and Jennifer Lawrence from X-Men: First Class, a few other actors might jog your memory. Seneca Crane is played by Wes Bentley, who was the bad guy from P2. Peeta is played by Josh Hutcherson from The Kids are All Right and Gale is played by Liam Hemsworth (Thor’s little brother), probably best known right now as Miley Cyrus’ boyfriend.

“Anything I should know going in?” – I think that the violence is pretty toned down…the book has a lot of killing scenes and there’s probably 3-4 that I can remember from the movie…I also think the violence is hidden enough that younger kiddos might not even notice it. Also, if you are a person who gets motion-sickness, this movie is filmed with a little of a documentary feeling to it, so in the arena you’ll experience some bumpy camera shots. There were two times my husband had to look down for a few minutes to feel better.

“Anything that annoyed the heck out of you?” – Again, I have a few things I need to rant about, but I’ll do it in another post. There were no blatant accent problems here, so that was good cuz I sure was listening closely to Gale to see if the Aussie slipped out.

The movie was good. It was. I wish they hadn’t added the things they added, and there were some people, events that I really missed (Madge? Where are you?) but it was interesting and engaging and fun to watch.

Spend or Save? Absolutely a spend. This is gonna be a huge movie franchise, so might as well jump on board now…it’s a very interesting and different story and Catching Fire will be a great movie too, so I’m looking forward to where they take the series. My advice? If you haven’t read the book by now, go to the movie first. Watch it, enjoy it. THEN, get the book and read it. You’ll see what I mean. Happy Hunger Games!


Dissecting the Hunger Games Trailer

Is it March 23rd yet? No? Dang it. I cannot WAIT for this movie to come out…I’ve read the trilogy and am OBSESSED with the first book. It’s so well-written, such a great story and is one of those books you just can’t put down.

Now, I realize that not everyone out there has my same obsession. Many people are probably wondering what all the hype is about. Allow me to help. Watch the preview below. At different parts of the preview, I’ll give you some insight on what is going on…maybe this will help everyone to get excited!

:13 – Meet Katniss Everdeen. She lives in District 12, which is a part of Panem…a country that sprung up in a land formerly known as North America. The hottie she’s with is Gale…her friend…and maybe something more? They hunt illegally together in order to feed their families

:24 – The scary aircraft you see? That’s the police, essentially. They’re trying to catch people who are outside of the fences, trying to escape.

:33 – In Panem, every year there is a lottery of sorts…each district has to send one girl and one boy to The Hunger Games…these children will literally fight to the death until there is one left. The children competing are called Tributes. Whichever district the winning tribute comes from will receive food, money and other luxuries for a year. The woman calling the names is Effie Trinket.

:46 – Meet Primrose, Katniss’ sister. Prim is scared (naturally) but since she is young, she only has her name in the drawing once. Of course, Prim’s name is called…and Katniss volunteers to take her place. I’m not gonna lie, this scene gets me EVERY SINGLE TIME I watch it.

1:10 – Meet Peeta Mellark, chosen as the male tribute. Katniss is not thrilled with this since she kinda owes Peeta her life.

1:23 – The Capitol. This is where the rich people live. These people do not have to send their children to The Hunger Games.

1:26 – Each tribute has to be made beautiful…they have to try and make an impression on people because they can be sent helpful gifts while in The Hunger Games that can help them win. The more people like you, the more help you’ll get.

1:28 – Meet Cinna. He’s assigned to help Katniss with her look and her presentation to the audience. He comes up with concept of making her “The Girl on Fire”.

1:33 – Meet President Snow. He’s the bad guy. You won’t see a ton of him in this movie…but remember him for later.

1:40 – Meet Rue. You’ll fall in love with her. Sorry.

1:41 – Meet Cato. Big tribute. Katniss’ main competition.

1:42 –  The tributes get to train how to use various weapons and survival techniques before they actually enter The Hunger Games. At about 1:55 you can see that Katniss is awesome at archery…which is super important!

1:50 – Meet Haymitch…District 12’s only Hunger Games winner. He acts as a mentor to Katniss and Peeta. He’s also a drunk. So naturally, he’s played by Woody Harrelson.

2:09 – The Mockingjay Pin. The Mockingjay is a sign of rebellion to The Capitol. This pin that Katniss has will become SUPER important later on in the series…so keep an eye on it!

2:12 – Not gonna tell you EXACTLY what’s going on here, because I don’t want to give a major scene away, but this is a symbol of respect and is ALSO a very important part of the story and Katniss’ character.

2:17 – Awesome. The tributes each start out in a tube and have to stand on the platform until time is out. They don’t really show this, but the platforms are surrounding a pile of weapons, tools and other goods that can be beneficial to the tributes. The tributes have to decide if they want to risk going for something in the pile, or if they want to take off for safety. Can’t wait for this scene!

Can’t wait for this movie! Got questions about The Hunger Games? Ask me in the comments!


Best Picture Nominees: The Descendants

I can already tell I’m gonna get some flack for my opinions on this movie. One of my followers told me this was their favorite movie of the year…and I disagree :( Good movie? Absolutely. BEST movie? Nope. More fun to watch than Moneyball? No way, Jose.

Question time!

“What is the movie about?” – Matt King is a lawyer living on the island of Oahu whose wife is in a coma after a boating accident. He has to reconnect with his daughters, figure out if he wants to sell a huge piece of land that he owns, and he discovers a secret that rocks his entire world.

“What other nominations did this movie earn?” – George Clooney is up for Best Actor, against his BFF Brad Pitt. I personally think this battle should go to Brad, but George will most likely get it. He just has more respect in Hollywood. Alexander Payne is up for Best Director and the movie is nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay.

OSCAR BAIT CATEGORIES

  • Pretty person turned ugly – In a way. While we were watching this movie, I leaned over to my husband and commented that I was in no way attracted to George in this movie. He has a full head of gray hair, he wears boring “islander” clothes and he has a constant look of bewilderment on his face. Personally, I like my George in a tux, figuring out the best way to rob Andy Garcia. So, in a way, they did try to make George less dashing.
  • Actor pretending to have special needs – None here.
  • Set during a different time period – Not a different time period, but it definitely feels weird…does everyone in Hawaii really dress casually all the time? And decorate their houses like the 80’s threw up inside?
  • Based on a true story – This one I’m not entirely sure of. I think it’s loosely based on true events, but not really based on a true story.
  • High-concept story line that no one really understands, but pretends to so that they will appear intelligent – This is pretty obvious…father trying to keep his two daughters under control, dealing with a life-changing secret…nothing too high concept here.
  • Based on a best-selling novel – Yup, written by Kaui Hart Hemmings. Haven’t read it yet, but I may have to check it out!

“Will it win the Best Picture Academy Award?” – I hope not. I think this is a good movie, worth watching, but I do not think it deserves to win Best Picture. I have no desire to see this movie again, and I enjoyed Moneyball MUCH more than this movie. I even tend to like George Clooney more than Brad Pitt, but I feel that Moneyball was the more enjoyable movie. Sorry guys!

“Should I watch this before Oscar night?”Absolutely. There is going to be a lot of buzz surrounding this movie, and Clooney is likely to win an Oscar for Best Actor. Definitely add it to your To-Do list…watch this movie before Sunday night!


Best Picture Nominees: Midnight in Paris

Next nominee for Best Picture is Midnight in Paris. Wasn’t sure if I was interested in this movie, but had some free time Friday night and it was for rent on my Apple TV…so I indulged, spent 4.99 and watched it. Good choice!

Question time!

“What is the movie about?” – Gil is an aspiring author vacationing with his fiance, Inez, and her parents in Paris (try saying THAT one three times fast). One night while trying to find his way home, he happens upon an old-timey vehicle that picks him up and whisks him off to the Roaring 20’s. At a party, he meets such iconic 20’s figures like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. He realizes this car is a time machine of sorts, and he begins to live his nightlife in another era, meeting many famous people and discovering his true passion in life.

“What other nominations did this movie earn?” – Woody Allen is up for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. I like the screenplay’s chances…it’s a very original concept, yet still is very interesting…unlike most Oscar Bait movies.

OSCAR BAIT CATEGORIES

  • Pretty person turned ugly – Nope. Everyone is beautiful.
  • Actor pretending to have special needs – Nope.
  • Set during a different time period – Half the time the main character is hob-knobbing with the likes of Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali, so yes, definitely has period costumes (flappers galore!)
  • Based on a true story – As awesome as that would be, I’m gonna say no.
  • High-concept story line that no one really understands, but pretends to so that they will appear intelligent – It’s a little complicated to explain, and you will have to have some level of culture in order to really appreciate the famous people Gil encounters. The good thing about this movie is that they don’t spell out exactly who every single famous person is…I found myself Googling a few of the names!
  • Based on a best-selling novel – Nope…hence the original screenplay nominee :)

“Will it win the Best Picture Academy Award?” – Nope. It’s a GOOD movie, but it’s not an OSCAR level movie…While it is stocked with previous Academy Award winners who are in the movie for mere minutes, it just doesn’t have the buzz surrounding it that will push it to the top. Hey, it’s awesome it got nominated though!

“Should I watch this before Oscar night?”You probably don’t need to rush out and rent this one before next Sunday…it’s a good movie, and worth watching, but I don’t think it’s going to make a huge impact at the Oscars.


Spend Your Money/Save Your Money Movie Review: The Woman in Black

As any good, die-hard Harry Potter fan would be, I was extremely excited about Daniel Radcliffe’s first big non-Harry role. Plus, it was a SCARY movie…oh Harry, you know me so well! So we headed to the cinema, I settled in with my movie snack of choice, popcorn and Buncha Crunch (with a 2:1 popcorn to candy ratio of course) and told myself I could watch Daniel and not think about Harry Potter the entire time.

I was wrong.

Harry Daniel’s character, Arthur is on a train at one point. A train! I kept waiting for the man across from him to introduce himself as the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher…and he was reading a paper! And the pictures didn’t move! What?? What IS this movie? He walks up a staircase adorned with paintings…and the paintings don’t throw witty remarks at him. Geez…

Question time!

“What is the movie about?” – Arthur is a widower and a lawyer with a four-year-old son in London. Money is tight and in order to keep his job, he has to take a job in a small town perusing a recently-deceased lady’s papers and financial information. Upon arrival, the townspeople try to get him to immediately leave and act frightened. Apparently, there is a woman that once someone sees her, children start to die in the town. Arthur doesn’t listen, goes to the house, investigates all the bumps in the night that will have you yelling at the screen and begins to fear for the safety of his son…who is on his way to this very town for a visit. What will happen???

“How scary is it, really??” – Not very scary at all actually. I liked the fact that it employed very traditional scare tactics…darkness, scary toys turning on by themselves, shadows turning into ghosts, etc. There are some good moments where my heart jumped a bit, but overall, it’s the type of movie that you can watch, enjoy, but still go to bed at night without any nightmares. 

“Wait, don’t I know that actor from somewhere?” – The main character has had mild success in a little series called Harry Potter…perhaps you’ve heard of it? Other than that…no one famous.

“Anything I should know going in?” – It’s so hard to think of Daniel Radcliffe as an adult…a widower with a child, no less! Maybe non-Harry fanatics will have an easier time, but I struggled the ENTIRE time…

Overall, the movie was good…not one of my favorite scary movies…not particularly scary at all, but fun to watch. Fun to yell at the main character’s idiotic choices. At one point, a character tells Arthur not to chase shadows…which of course he spends the entire rest of the movie doing. Oh well. Movies.

Spend or Save? Sorry Harry, but guys, save your money. This will be way better at home on your couch where you can immediately pop in your Harry Potter box set once this movie ends. That’s definitely what I am in the mood for after watching Arthur look at old pictures and the pictures stay still…psh. No fun!


Spend Your Money/Save Your Money Movie Review: Chronicle

It’s been over a month since my last movie review…miss me? It’s been a busy month, and the hubs and I were just now able to get to a movie theater…our choice? Chronicle. We had both seen the preview and thought it looked interesting. We both love superhero movies and were both fans of the late show, Heroes. People who get superpowers? Someone turns bad and uses them for evil? Yup, my kind of movie…or was it?

And now for your burning questions…

“What is the movie about?” – A loaner/loser teen named Andrew is dragged to a “rave” by his cousin, Matt. Andrew, of course, has a camera and is filming every step of his life, because that’s totally normal. Because of the camera glued to his hand, the “cool kid” in school, Steve, finds him and asks him to come film this cool “thing” he has found with Matt. The “thing” turns out to be a hole in the ground, which these three boys, of course, immediately leap right into, even as it emits scary, unnatural sounds. There is a huge, alien-like structure down there, so naturally, they walk right up to it and touch it. Lo and behold, the next day, these boys have found themselves with various “powers”… the ability to move things with their mind, and flying being the two main ones explored. Naturally, one of them takes his powers too far, the others try to stop him and a fight very reminiscent of Will Smith and Charlize Theron ensues…will good prevail over evil?

“How are the special effects?” – Pretty good, actually. No strings or anything :) Of course, if the good people of New York City can be fooled by people-shaped aircraft, then of course, the actual effects in this movie are obviously up to par.

“Wait, don’t I know that actor from somewhere?” – Steve is played by Michael B. Jordan, whom you soap opera fans might recognize from his days on All My Children. Andrew’s abusive father is played by Michael Kelly, famous for Dawn of the Dead, Changeling, and The Adjustment Bureau. Other than that, not many famous people!

“Anything I should know going in?” – It’s a found-footage film…which means there are some scenes that will leave you asking, “Who the heck is filming this”? I find that in order to enjoy found-footage films, you have to simply repeat to yourself, “It’s just a show”, you should really just relax. In all seriousness, and without reference to T.V. theme songs, release any desire for practicality and you will enjoy the movie more.

Overall, the movie was okay. Interesting story, good action…my main qualm is just characters acting stupid, and making stupid decisions. But, that’s present in any movie!

Spend or Save? I am gonna say save on this one. Wait for it to come on Redbox and you’ll enjoy it more. It is worth watching, just not worth spending $50 on the whole movie theater experience.


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