Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Noah
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Divergent
Gloria
Bad Words
Veronica Mars
Non-Stop
The Past (Le Passé)
The Act of Killing
Winter’s Tale
The Monuments Men
The Great Beauty (La grande bellezza)
The Square (Al Midan)
Ride Along
Lone Survivor
Her
August: Osage County
Mainstream Chick’s 2013 Year in Review
Inside Llewyn Davis
The Wolf of Wall Street
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
American Hustle
Nebraska

Currently browsing posts by Ellen Carl.

2 Guns

Full disclosure: I will go see anything with Marky Mark, um, I mean Mark Wahlberg in it. Don’t judge. Everybody’s got their something. That doesn’t mean I like everything he’s in (I’m looking at you Broken City). But I did like 2 Guns. Why? Because it’s got Wahlberg with the added bonus of Denzel Washington, and they were really fun together.  I enjoyed the banter between the two, which is borderline flirtatious.(Perhaps in the sequel, they’ll actually hook up.) It was silly fun, but it is also violent and the plot is completely convoluted. So it’s not for everyone.

Broken City

Broken City is a broken movie. Sorry, it had to be said. But even an all-star cast can’t fix this noirish clunker. I always wonder about movies released in January. If they were any good, the studio would release them in December in time for award nominations. January is a dumping ground for the studios’ leftover junk, and that’s why Broken City is out now.

The Paperboy

My newspaper headline for The Paperboy would be: “Hot Mess” and not in a good, kinda campy way. It’s a creepy, sweaty melodrama set in the Florida Everglades circa 1969 — a jumble of sex and violence that never comes together into a coherent story. Director Lee Daniels, an Oscar nominee for “Precious,” was obviously going for something here, but what that was isn’t clear. What is clear is that he doesn’t shy away from scenes that will make you cringe — like the already infamous one where Nicole Kidman pees on Zac Efron, or the one where she and John Cusack mime sex acts to get each other off in a prison visiting room.

Looper

Looper is where mobsters and sci-fi meet, a smart time-traveling action movie. Set in the near future, in a gritty city somewhere in the mid-West, the mob of the further future is sending its enemies back in time to be eliminated. To do the dirty work, they employ a band of low-level hitmen called “loopers.” All the loopers have to do is show up at the designated spot at the designated time and fire their guns when the bound and hooded target arrives from the future. Then they collect their silver from the body and dispose of the evidence. An easy job — until the target is yourself.

Hotel Transylvania

Hotel Transylvania is a delightful little getaway — of the animated, cinematic variety. You can check in anytime you want, on one condition, you must be a monster. Humans are not welcome. This flick takes the usual monster movie plot and turns it on its head… at the Hotel Transylvania the humans are the scary ones. It’s a cute premise that results in lots of family friendly laughs.

Count Dracula (Adam Sandler) built the “five-stake resort” as a human-free haven for his monster friends and, more importantly, his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez). Every year, Drac throws his little girl a big birthday bash with all of his monster friends and this year is a very special one. She’s turning 118 — get it? The problem is Mavis wants to spread her wings and fly. She wants to experience the world outside the hotel’s grounds. But Drac is your typical blood-sucking, over-protective dad, and he does everything he can to keep her at home. Then all of his plans are jeopardized when a cute backpacker (of the human variety) named Jonathan (Adam Samberg) stumbles upon the hotel and, of course, captures Mavis’ heart.

The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure

I love a good kids’ movie. I will even go see one alone if I can’t find a little buddy to take me along. But The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure is not one of those kiddie flicks that adults will want to see on their own. I’m not even sure you’d want to see it with your kids. It’s clearly meant for the two to six year-old crowd, but even a discerning six year-old might want to run for the exit. It’s a weird musical adventure featuring three brightly colored, big-hipped teletubbie wannabes and their friends a talking window, vacuum, fish and pillow. Throw in brief appearances from an odd smattering of Hollywood stars — Cloris Leachman, Christopher Lloyd, Chazz Palminteri, Cary Elwes, Jaime Pressley and Toni Braxton — and it all adds up to a strange attempt to create a new thing for kids to obsess over.  It doesn’t work.

Cosmopolis

I was really tempted to write just a two word review for Cosmopolis: “Don’t bother.” But then I thought I should probably explain myself. You’re either going to find this movie a pretentious, claustrophobic slog through hell or an artful commentary on contemporary capitalist excess. You can guess where I stand. I hated it.

The Bourne Legacy

Confession time: I have only seen the first Jason Bourne movie and that wasn’t until it was on basic cable. So I am not fully versed in the Bourne backstory. Take that for what you will but I thought you should know. As for The Bourne Legacy, I was not blown away. For an action movie, it could do with a little less conversation and a little more action. On the plus side, the man in the middle of the action is Jeremy Renner and there’s nothing wrong with that. He plays his part with a focused intensity that is one of the best things about the movie.

Celeste and Jesse Forever

“It’s the perfect break-up.” That’s what Celeste and Jesse tell their friends and themselves. They were married and now they’re getting divorced but they say they’re still “best friends.” Can it work? As a movie, it certainly does. Celeste and Jesse Forever isn’t really a rom-com, but it will make you laugh and it’s certainly better than any actual rom-com I’ve seen recently. Plus, it’s got a lot of heart, without a lot of the standard chick flick cliches.

Rock of Ages

If you are a child of the 80s and a fan of musicals, you will most likely love Rock of Ages. (Take note Mainstream Chick.) If, like me, you are a child of the 80s and not a big fan of musicals, you will still really like this movie. It’s over-the-top campy fun with a soundtrack that will have you singing along. And honestly your singing will be almost as good as most of the actors’ singing. That’s my major quibble with the movie; I wish the voices had been stronger.