Thursday, November 19, 2009

Friday, 11/20/09

The Twilight Saga: New Moon - 1 1/2 stars

The first half hour or so is absolute torture to sit thru. Boring as hell. The movie starts off pretty much where the last one left off. Bella and Edward are in love. He and his family want to kill and eat her, but they don't because they are good vampires. Well, at her birthday party she gets a paper cut. Edward's brother is so overwhelmed by the smell of her blood that he charges at her with murder in his eyes. Edward saves her but she suffers some minor injuries.

Now, I think we went over this in the last movie, but my memory is fuzzy when it comes to the first Twilight movie. Didn't Bella and Edward go thru the whole idea about how hard it is for a vampire to resist eating a human and all that stuff? Well, Edward decides that Bella is in danger if she hangs out with his family, so he blows her off. But Edward is an idiot because he forgot about Laurent and Victoria. They were the bad vampires in the last movie, and he doesn't even consider the idea that they may want to get Bella as revenge for Edward killing Victoria's mate.

All the scenes of Bella and Edward together are horrible. They speak so slowly that I almost fell asleep. Please, someone get excited for a moment, will ya?

With Edward gone, Jacob enters the movie. Here, it gets, well, not good but less horrible. The Bella and Jacob story has promise. He wants her, she sees him as a friend, she is lonely without Edward and starts considering hooking up with Jacob. I really started to pull for Jacob and I genuinely felt bad for him when things start to go bad.

Even though months pass, Bella doesn't get over Edward. The scenes where she wakes up screaming are a bit over the top. I get that she is depressed he left her, but seriously, get over it. And the way they keep Robert Pattinson in the movie is pretty lame. When she is in danger, she sees a vision of Edward telling her to go back, stop what you're doing, stuff like that. It doesn't work.

Towards the end the movie does get good for 10 minutes or so. They go to Italy to see the Volturi, the ruling family of vampires. The head of the Volturi is played by Michael Sheen, and he manages to make the movie watchable. Unfortunately they go back to Forks, Washington and there is more boringness with Edward and Jacob fighting over Bella.

Precious - Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire - 2 stars

Precious is a teenage black girl living in the projects in New York. She is functionally illiterate, at least 100 pounds overweight, has one kid and is pregnant with her second. Both pregnancies were the result of being raped by her father. Oh, and her mother is so sadistic she makes Mommy Dearest look like a saint. Her mom blames Precious for the rapes, because she 'stole' her mother's boyfriend. Do you fell depressed yet?

This movie is one of the most depressing movies I have ever seen. There are some good things that happen to Precious. She goes to an alternative school where she has a great teacher, she makes friends, starts to learn, and gradually comes out of her shell. She also has a social worker who tries to help her get her life on track. But by the end of the movie, I felt really let down. I was expecting her life to improve more than it did. Just because she gets away from her mother doesn't change the fact that she has two little children to raise by herself, and she is definitely not qualified to raise them. She also has a disease that is mentioned once in the movie and that's it. They don't bring it up again, but as the movie ends I couldn't stop thinking about what kind of a future Precious was going to have.

Mo'Nique does a great job playing the crazy mother. She may get an Oscar nomination for this role and it will be well deserved. Her performance is probably the only reason I would recommend this movie. Not saying I recommend it, but she does a great job.

An Education - 4 stars

This is one of the best movies of the year, and the reason is Carey Mulligan. She is also likely to be nominated for an Oscar.

She plays Jenny, a schoolgirl in 1960s England. She is planning to go to Oxford but she is bored with her suburban existence. One day she meets an older man named David (Peter Sarsgaard). He introduces her to music, movies, culture, all the stuff she craves. He takes her to museums, jazz clubs, and eventually to Paris. Her father doesn't approve of much, but he does approve of David. Even though David is older, he charms Jenny's father to the point where he gives his permission for David to take Jenny to Paris, believing that they will stay in separate rooms.

The story is simple, but the performances make it great. Carey Mulligan is exciting to watch. The dialogue is interesting and the movie is everything that New Moon is not.

Five Minutes of Heaven - 3 stars

The first act of the movie is great. It is about a killing in northern Ireland in 1975. 17 year-old Alistair Little murdered 19 year-old Jim Griffin in cold blood, and Jim's 11 year-old brother Joe witnesses the killing. In this section they do a great job of recreating what I assume a small town in Ireland looked like in the 70s. I wish there was more to this part of the movie.

The rest of the movie is set in modern times. Alistair (Liam Neeson) is going to meet Joe (James Nesbitt) as part of a TV documentary. This TV documentary is all about understanding the troubles in Ireland at the time, and about healing. It's kind of like South Africa's truth and reconciliation. Alistair is very calm as the meeting approaches but Joe is going out of his mind. His mother blamed him for the death of his brother and he seems very nervous about meeting Alistair.

The idea of these two meeting for the first time is interesting. It seems like the TV documentary would be the ultimate reality show. "30 years ago, Alistair killed Joe's older brother right in front of his eyes. Now, they two will meet for the first time."

The problem with the movie is the ending. It is kind of a letdown. It works and makes sense, but it feels disappointing given all the buildup. The performances were good, and it was nice to hear Liam Neeson speak with Irish accent for a change.

The Blind Side - 3 stars

I liked this a lot more than I expected to. I'm not a football fan, and even though the movie is about a future NFL player, the football was kept to a minimum. The focus was on the characters and the football scenes were done so well that I almost enjoyed them. This is definitely the best movie Sandra Bullock has done in a long time.

Planet 51 - didn't see

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