Monthly Archives: December 2011

Spend Your Money/Save Your Money Movie Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and you’re working hard on your New Year’s Resolutions! I got AMC theater gift cards for Christmas so the hubby and I were off to the movies!

Now, let me start by saying that I did NOT read this book. I bought it for my Nook, read the first thirty pages or so, promptly got bored/confused and stopped reading it. My husband did read the book and was very excited to watch this movie. Anytime I can eat movie popcorn combined with Buncha Crunch is good for me, so I went along for the ride. Holy guacamole…

Question time!

“What is the movie about?” – Mikael (Daniel Craig) is a journalist who has been accused and convicted of slander. He is essentially broke and therefore vulnerable to an offer made by a wealthy businessman, Henrik. Henrik wants Mikael to find out who killed his granddaughter, Harriet…an unsolved missing persons crime that dates back to the 60s. In return, Henrik will pay Mikael lots, and give him dirt on the evil business man who sued him, Wennerstrom (in your mind, add those two little dots above the o…I don’t feel like figuring out how to do that). Mikael enlists the services of Lisbeth, an odd looking girl who works as an investigator/hacker/bad girl. Together they investigate Henrik’s family to try to solve the mystery of “Whatever happened to Harriet?”

“Is this movie part of a series?” – If they stay true to the books, this is the first movie of a three-part series. The other two are The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.

“Does it stay true to the book?” –ย  As I stated previously, I did not read this book first…and I’m still debating about whether I will read it now. My husband did tell me that the Harriet reveal played out MUCH differently in the book and that there are other changes that were made…all to be expected from Hollywood!

“Wait, don’t I know that actor from somewhere?” – Lisbeth Salander is played by Rooneyย  Mara…you might remember her from another of director David Fincher’s movies, The Social Network where she played the girl whose break-up with Jesse Eisenberg is essentially the catalyst for the creation of Facebook. Also, Mikael’s co-editor/lover is played by Jenny from Forrest Gump (Robin Wright) and Anita (Harriet’s um…cousin) is played by Joely Richardson. I remember Joely purely as the sister to Mel Gibson’s dead wife in The Patriot…and in real life, she’s the sister to Liam Neeson’s dead wife, Natasha Richardson. Sad connection ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

“Anything I should know going in?” – GRAPHIC SEX. My my. I am not a fan of constantly being shown sex scenes…I think it is highly unnecessary and it actually takes away from the movie-watching experience for me. That being said, there are various types of sex scenes in this movie, most meant to portray what a tough life Lisbeth has. This probably goes without saying, but not a movie for the kiddos.

“Anything that annoyed the heck out of you?” – Actually yes, thank you for asking! Anyone who has read my reviews before knows that I get highly annoyed when accents are crazy…Now this movie is supposed to be set in Sweden…and the people are supposed to be Swedish. Now to be fair, my only reference to a Swedish accent comes from The Muppets, but the accents in this movie were terrible. For my money, Rooney Mara (Lisbeth) did a fair job…everyone else…you are fired.

Overall, the movie was good. Remove all the sex and it was interesting, engaging and worth watching. There’s a good story, you’ll be trying to figure out the ending the entire time and I’m interested to see where this series goes on from here.

Spend or Save? This is a tough one. If sitting through 8 separate sex scenes doesn’t bother you, then I say go ahead and Spend. It is a long movie…it clocks in at 158 minutes and that’s WITHOUT the 20 minutes of previews beforehand. I typically have a short attention span when it comes to movies, but I was actually engaged throughout the movie. Make a judgement call on this one. Oh, and one more thing…the cat dies. You’ve been warned.

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

I so wanted to love this movie. I love Jason Segal, I love Amy Adams. This movie got incredible reviews and people “left the theater singing”! However…well, just read the review ๐Ÿ™‚

Before we start, let me preface this by saying that I did not go into this movie a Muppet fan. I did not spend my youth watching Kermit and the gang so I did not have the nostalgic aspect that I think was greatly needed to truly enjoy this movie. My husband and my dad (both incoming Muppet-maniacs) liked the movie very much…so there is hope Muppet-teers! (totally made that word up)

Question time!

“What is the movie about?” – Gary and his brother Walter (a non-muppet Muppet) embark on an adventure to Los Angeles with Gary’s girlfriend Mary. Walter’s lifelong dream is to see the Muppet Studio but when they arrive they see that the studio is in shambles and on the verge of being purchased by an evil oilman who wants to tear it down and drill for oil (naturally, his name is Tex Richman). They run to tell Kermit and they get the old gang together for a Muppet telethon in order to raise $10,000,000. Can they do it in time??

“Is this movie a sequel?” – Not really a sequel, merely another movie based on a group of characters that you probably have seen in another movie.

“I haven’t seen any other Muppets movies or the show. Will I be lost?” – not necessarily lost, but you might find all the singing and dancing a little on the tedious side. The characters are familiar enough to get the general jokes but I do think that going in with a love of the Muppets will help you enjoy the movie more.

“Wait, don’t I know that actor from somewhere?” – There are many many cameos in this movie. Neil Patrick Harris, Jim Parsons, Jack Black, Selena Gomez, Zach Galifianakis, Whoopi Goldberg are among the many faces that pop up throughout the movie.

Overall, the movie was not bad. I appreciate the ironic parts, where they reference the fact that it is a movie (“Wow that was an expensive looking explosion…didn’t know we had the budget for that!” or “80’s Robot, let’s hurry this part up with a montage!”)

Spend or Save?ย  Ask yourself – “Do I like the Muppets? Does the preview make me laugh?” If the answer is yes, then spend. If you are only interested in this movie because everyone keeps telling you how wonderful it is, then save your money. This is the type of the movie that will be way better on TV in a few months where you can flip the channel when it starts to get boring…but if you really MUST see it in the theaters, go with someone who loves the Muppets. Listening to people around you laugh helps you get in the Muppet spirit.


Spend Your Money/Save Your Money Movie Review: New Year’s Eve

I know it’s been a few weeks since I reviewed a movie and I’m sorry. It aint cheap going to the movies and I really haven’t had time. There are SO many movies out there that I wanna see now, but this is the one that we chose to see yesterday…I know, I know…you are questioning my taste. I have a soft-spot for ensemble casts with intersecting story lines (see Crash, Love Actually) so naturally, I was excited about this one.

And now for the questions…

“What is the movie about?” – Lots of different story lines about people in New York, and what they are doing in the hours leading up to the ball dropping on New Year’s Eve. Characters include:

  • A pregnant couple attempting to win $25,000 by having their baby be the first born in the new year
  • A mother and her 15-year-old daughter engaged in a power struggle over whether the teen should be allowed to go to the ball drop (um at 15? H*** NO!)
  • A man trying to get back to NYC to “make a meeting”
  • The vice-president of the “Ball Dropping Committee” (there’s an actual title, but I’m too lazy to look it up) who is stressed out on her big night
  • An anti-New Year’s guy stuck in an elevator with a back-up singer who desperately has to get to Times Square
  • A catering manager who finds her ex-lover won’t leave her alone on the biggest night of her career
  • An old, dying man wishing he could go to the roof of the hospital, which just happens to have a spectacular view of Times Square, to watch the ball drop
  • A middle-aged woman who asks a young guy to help her achieve her previous year’s resolutions in exchange for the “hottest ticket in town”.

“Is this movie a sequel?” – Though both are directed by Garry Marshall and both feature Jessica Biel and Ashton Kutcher, this is not a sequel to 2010’s Valentine’s Day. This is merely another holiday-themed movie for a holiday that doesn’t have a ton of movies centered around it.

“Wait, don’t I know that actor from somewhere?” – There are so many famous people in here that I’m gonna focus on the people that I spent a good ten minutes trying to figure out where I knew them from. The “other” pregnant woman competing with Jessica Biel’s character for the grand prize is non-other than the psychic Billie Dean Howard from American Horror Story. Also, one of the chefs assisting Katherine Heigl’s character is Russell Peters, the comedian. There are also a few fun cameos, such as James Belushi, Penny Marshall and Matthew Broderick as “Mr. Buellerton” ๐Ÿ™‚

“Anything I should know going in?” – If you are a fan of TV, then you will enjoy watching some of these past and present TV stars have their moment in the sun. I found myself amazed at how each of the previous TV stars could easily be playing their TV characters and the story would have probably been just as relevant. Lea Michele is very Rachel Berry-like, Katherine Heigl is acting just like self-righteous Izzie from Grey’s Anatomy, and Sofia Vergara’s character might as well have been named Gloria, she acts so much like her Modern Family character. Even Sarah Jessica Parker’s character seemed very Carrie-esque…I could even picture her voice-overs, discussing how she and Big didn’t PLAN on being parents, but it had happened…Other past or present TV stars include Ashton Kutcher (That 70s Show, Three and a Half Men), Josh Duhamel (All My Children), Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story), and Jessica Biel (7th Heaven).

Overall, the movie is pure cheese. It makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it makes you groan with the cliches. There is one part that I admit, I totally thought I had figured out and I was completely wrong…which doesn’t happen often.

Spend or Save? Seeing as how there are many incredible-looking movies coming out soon, I say save your money, and rent it when it comes out. I think it’s definitely worth watching, just not worth spending $9 a ticket on it. The people in my theater were genuinely enjoying themselves and if you love New York City, go see it just for the shots of Manhattan during the holidays. I almost booked a ticket while I was sitting in the theater ๐Ÿ™‚