Movie Reviews

popcornI love movies–not all of them and certainly not all types. You won’t see me making comments on horror, slashers, or really stupid movies.

A movie can earn up to 4 Golden Eggs full_star, meaning, drop everything and get your ticket (or DVD)!

Below are many of the movies that I’ve seen over the past year with the latest at the top. Here’s a start … I’ll regularly add to the list.


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  • December, 2011

  • Show the reviewHide the reviewTinker Tailor Solider Spy 4.5/5

    2011-12-27 20:00
    * * * * +

    Tinker Tailor Solider Spy If you want a movie that makes you think—hard—this may be yours. It’s brain-candy, complex and complicated. Based on the John LeCarre novel of the same title—it’s 1973, Cold War and Spy Games time And moles. For many, the action is too, too slow. For the thinker, it’s fabulous to see lead character George Smiley’s mind click and clack (the visual of the train tracks switching as he starts to unravel who is who is subtle and excellent). It helps to have a game card as to what is what—ie, the “Circus” is like our CIA; “Control” is the Director. Smiley is Gary Oldman, ousted with ”Control” than brought back to uncover the Mole—he’s sure to get an Oscar nomination.

    0.3

  • Show the reviewHide the reviewWar Horse 5/5

    2011-12-27 20:00
    * * * * *

    War Horse Steven Spielberg delivers a Christmas package that will be cherished by young and old alike. War Horse is love at first sight for a boy, Albert, and a minutes-old horse, Joey. Based on the children’s book by the same name written by Michael Purpurgo, it’s a story of courage; of loyalty; of perseverance; of connecting; of the kaleidoscopic horror of war. And of hope and belief. Set during WWI, Joey is taken by an officer and passed in a variety of ways to different handlers and caretakers over a multi-year period. Does Albert ever see Joey again? You have to see. Excellent—should get a best picture Oscar nomination. Go see.

    0.3

  • Show the reviewHide the reviewNew Years Eve 2.5/5

    2011-12-27 19:59
    * * +

    New Year’s Eve True to the Hollywood formula: when you pull together an all-star talent pool—no one really worried about putting together a great story—hmmm, maybe that was what was missing—an all-star writing pool. The result: you end up with a ho-hum, patch-work type of movie. With an amazing cast, it’s an amazing dud. Another example where the trailer was the best part. Pass.

    0.3

  • Show the reviewHide the reviewThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 4.5/5

    2011-12-27 19:57
    * * * * +

    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo I have to confess, I struggled to get into the book. Not with the movie. Daniel Craig shines as journalist Mikael, fresh from a whopping loss in the libel lawsuit against Wennerstrom, a powerful and corrupt businessman he wrote an expose on. He resigns from the magazine he works for and accepts an assignment to track down what happened to Harriett, the beloved niece of Henrik played by Christopher Plummer. Henrik is the patriarch of the very wealthy Vanger family who offers money plus evidence that will vindicate Mikael and prove Wennerstrom is the scumbag that Mikael knows him to be ... and then the movie takes off, introducing stealth Goth investigator Lisbeth, played by Rooney Mara—the girl with the dragon tattoo—who’s definitely not a typical investigator. With motorcycle, zillions of piercings, a few tattoos, an amazing memory and expert hacker—Lisbeth becomes Mikael’s right hand in uncovering the Vanger family secrets. Mara and Craig will most likely get Oscar nominations. There’s twists and turns and overall, excellent. Forewarning—this isn’t for the youngsters and includes a rape scene.

    0.3

  • Show the reviewHide the reviewYoung Adult 2/5

    2011-12-02 19:58
    * *

    Young Adult Charlize Theron is Mavis Gary, a writer of teen lit who returns to her hometown and snag her former beau (surely he will deliver her from all her unhappiness)—who just happens to be married with a new baby. Happily. She’s on deadline to complete the last book in the series. To say that Ms. Mavis is a tad screwed up is an understatement. As the former “it” girl of the high school, she doesn’t get that she is the “was girl” ... she is so yesteryear. She creates a bond with another classmate who was bullied—played by Patton Oswalt (who is quite good in the role). Mavis seems to finally “find” herself as she completes her book and leaves town—probably never to return again to the relief of many. Theron does an excellent job and will most likely get lots of kudos ... but her character is not in the “girlfriend” arena. There is nothing likeable about her. Directed by Jason Reitman of Juno, I was hoping for more and let down. Pass.

    0.3

  • June, 2009

  • Show the reviewHide the reviewAngels and Demons 3/5

    2009-06-17 19:39
    * * *

    Angels and Demons is the latest Dan Brown blockbuster book to hit the big screen. Tom Hanks is back as Professor Robert Langdon, symbologist, from The Da Vinci Code, this time joining him in the search for all things awful is Ayelet Zurer as Vittoria Vertra, the brainy (but beautiful) scientist who is part of a team that created antimatter—dangerous stuff that looks like a small nuclear bomb. The dangerous stuff is stolen, leaving a trail of bodies as the culprit escapes with the dreaded antimatter canister. Langdon is recruited by the Vatican after the death (which, of course, is murder) of the Pope and the kidnapping of the four top cardinals candidates to be the next Pope. The Illuminati appears to be at the root of all things going wrong and has told the Vatican that all will explode in 24 hours. The Carmerlengo, played by Ewan McGregor, runs the Vatican until a new Pope is elected—performance is good and he’s a key player as the mystery gets solved. The big race is on… the Professor has to get to Rome—that’s a few hours from Harvard—there’s plenty of speeding cars, villains, story twists, scary music woven with the ongoing debate of the Catholic Church’s war with the men of science and science itself. I personally liked the movie—I wish Hanks would let his sense of humor (or would that be director Ron Howard letting him) to come out and play a la Harrison Ford and Indiana Jones—after all, this is a kind of “B” movie. You know that the Professor is brilliant in symbology (you are told that)—would have been more fun, and interesting, if the viewer is let in on some of the mysteries of the Church.
    Who Should See It? Teens and up.

    0.3

  • Show the reviewHide the reviewThe Proposal 4/5

    2009-06-17 19:39
    * * * *

    This will be this summer’s comedy hit—tons of laughs—Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock (and yes, I could tell there was at least a 10 year age difference!) work well together. Meet Margaret Tate—she’s the stern, pissy boss who’s a high powered executive NY book editor. The instant messages that flow through the office as she enters, or makes a move, are a hoot. Reynolds is Andrew Paxton, her right hand and aspiring editor to be. All hell breaks loose when Margaret is hours away from being deported and forces Andrew to declare to all that he is her fiancée. The fun kicks in when he takes her to his home base to get the emigration authorizes off of her (and now his) back—Sitka, Alaska—where Betty White (terrific), Mary Steenburgen and Craig Nelson are Gammy, Mom and Dad. I was fearful that this was going to be one of those flicks that the trailers were the best part. They are just the warm up act. Go see, worth the full price of a movie ticket.
    Who Should See It? Teens and up.

    0.3

  • Show the reviewHide the reviewAway We Go 3/5

    2009-06-11 17:15
    * * *

    If you like quirky, this just may be your movie. John Krasinski, Maya Rudolph play Burt and Veronica—a couple expecting a baby who are insecure and almost misplaced in this thing called life. When Burt’s parents decide to pull up roots and head to their dream destination to live in Europe (a hoot by Jeff Daniels, Catherine O’Hara), Burt and Veronica decide that they need to find a new home. Visiting old friends, co-workers, Veronica’s sister and Burt’s brother, they finally get it that they, and no one else, have to define what home is all about … and where it will be. Laughs, a little sadness and misadventure along the way.
    Who Should See It? Teens and up.

    0.3

  • Show the reviewHide the reviewThe Boy in the Striped Pajamas (DVD) 4/5

    2009-06-11 13:40
    * * * *

    One of the top pics for foreign films in 2008 starring Vera Farmiga, David Thewlis, Rupert Friend and David Hayma. You will find that this is a haunting story of a young German boy who befriends a forbidden Jewish boy as the Nazis take over Europe. At an impressionable 8 years of age, Bruno witnesses several displays of hate toward what he believes are kind people. He begins to question the doings of his once hero father. Bruno brings his new friend food, they talk about life and when Schmuel reveals that he has a family problem, Bruno offers to help his friend. Based on the story by John Boyne, you won’t forget this one.
    Who Should See It? Teens and up.

    0.3

  • May, 2009

  • Show the reviewHide the reviewStar Trek 4/5

    2009-05-30 12:12
    * * * *

    Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine debut as Spock and Captain Kirk the youngers along with new versions of Scotty, Dr. McCoy, Lt. Uhura, Sulo and a cameo from old Spock, Leonard Nimoy. The bad guy is quite bad, the evil Romulan Captain Nero played by Eric Bana. What is a clear launching pad for a whole new series, Star Trek is a romping space opera and worth a bag of popcorn. It’s got action, a hint of romance, friendships and plenty of travel shenanigans and special effects. Scotty is a hoot.
    Who Should See It? Mature kids and up.

    0.3

  • Show the reviewHide the reviewX-Men Origins: Wolverine 4/5

    2009-05-30 12:12
    * * * *

    Hugh Jackman is the Wolverine. The storyline begins with Logan (aka Wolverine) as a kid who discovers that his family isn’t what is considered “normal.” When he learns who his father is, he escapes, along with his older brother—a nasty character all his own. Logan is a mutant… he just doesn’t know that there are other mutants, including his brother. Years later, and all grown up, he’s recruited into a special force unit for the military—all mutants and all under an experimental umbrella. Eventually, Logan wants out… he quits, becomes a logger, but the military seeks him out, destroying his lady-love in the process. Logan goes through another transformational “experiment” and now becomes a super mutant—indestructible. Has a nice twist at the end. Jackman is hot.
    Who Should See It? Teens and up.

    0.3

  • Show the reviewHide the reviewQuantum of Solace 4/5

    2009-05-30 12:11
    * * * *

    The latest to the Bond saga, Daniel Craig and Ola Kurylenko have Bond doing the usual global seek and destroy of the bad guys. Still stinging from the loss of his beloved, Bond has sought to uncover the truth of who and what Vesper is. Along the way, he connects with Camille who leads him to the latest Bond villain, Dominic Greene. As usual, you’ve got to pay attention to Craig—his Bond character is far more complex than those played by his predecessors. You may have to see it twice to appreciate all the nuances…contrary to rumor, there is plenty of humor, just not the sex as in the previous flicks. Dame Judith Dench returns as M—helping and hindering. I liked it better the second time I saw it.
    Who Should See It? Teens and up.

    0.3

  • Show the reviewHide the reviewBolt 3/5

    2009-05-30 12:11
    * * *

    The voices of John Travolta and Miley Cyrus headline Bolt. Animated Bolt is a super-dog that really thinks he’s a super-dog until he discovers the bolt on his side for the cameras is merely painted. Meanwhile, he begins a cross-country adventure trying to reunite with Penny, his mistress in the movies. Bolt meets up with Mittens, the rejected housecat now alley cat and Rhino—a hoot of a hamster who just happens to idolize the TV series Bolt was ejected from. Bolt eventually finds Penny and learns that heroes don’t need superpowers.
    Who Should See It? Kids and up…teens will take a pass.

    0.3

  • Show the reviewHide the reviewSlumdog Millionaire 3/5

    2009-05-30 12:10
    * * *

    Sweeping the Oscars, Slumdog presents a diversified cast with Danny Boyle, Dev Patel and Anil Kapoor. With India as the backdrop, you are introduced to the horrendous slums, housing millions and wondering, how can people live/survive like this. When their mother is murdered, the two brothers escape, are taken in by men who send them out in the streets to beg and steal. Befriending a young girl, their lives are woven and tangled. Fast forward … the kids grow up and Jamal (Danny Boyle), the slum orphan, ends up on the Indian equivalent of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Jamal becomes a folk hero—the question is … does he get his childhood sweetheart?
    Who Should See It? Teens and up.

    0.3

  • Show the reviewHide the reviewBride Wars 2/5

    2009-05-30 12:09
    * *

    Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson are Emma and Liv, childhood best friends who dreamed as little girls that they would get married at New York’s Plaza Hotel. The respective boyfriends pop the question and the plans are put into high gear. That is until there’s a date mix up—the wedding planner’s secretary has mixed up dates and books them both on the same day, same place—the Wars begin. There are some laughs, but it’s fairly predictable. Not worth $7 bucks, rent it and pop your own popcorn.
    Who Should See It? Teens and up.

    0.3

  • Show the reviewHide the reviewThe International 2/5

    2009-05-30 12:09
    * *

    Clive Owen and Naomi Watts are the headliners for what could have been a thriller about the banking system in today’s world of financial chaos. Instead, you wonder what in the heck is Naomi Watts character about—yeah, she’s tracking the bad guys with Clive, but not really necessary to move it forward. Clive is on the trail of a group of international bankers who are underwriting global gun running operations. There’s action, there’s the shoot-ups and there’s the destination visuals. Color me disappointed.
    Who Should See It? Teens and up.

    0.3

  • Show the reviewHide the reviewTaken 3/5

    2009-05-30 12:09
    * * *

    Liam Neeson plays Bryan Mills, a former CIA operative who retires and moves to be closer to his now teenage daughter … to get to know her and make up for the all the years he was not present. Mom has remarried, surrounded by wealth and dad is having a bit of a time competing. Daughter Kim is played by Maggie Grace and hoodwinks him in allowing her to go to Europe. Sounds good, until the naïve Miss Kim is kidnapped by the nasty Marko, to be sold into white slavery. Meanwhile, Dad kicks into high gear and shows his true self and stuff. Who knew that Liam had this secret, kick-butt side?!
    Who Should See It? Mature teens and up.

    0.3

  • Show the reviewHide the reviewRace to Witch Mountain 2.5/5

    2009-05-30 12:08
    * * +

    It’s been a long time since a Witch Mountain movie has surfaced. This time, Dwayne Johnson plays a kindly taxi driver who finds two teens in his back seat with plenty of money to get them to their desert destination. The teens’ powers have evolved since they were first discovered—their quest is to get to Witch Mountain and claim their heritage. That is if they can stay out of the target range of foes—both domestic and alien. The scenes from the Las Vegas Sci-Fi convention are a kick.
    Who Should See It? Kids and families.

    0.3

  • Show the reviewHide the reviewMonsters vs. Aliens 3/5

    2009-05-30 12:08
    * * *

    Get your 3-D glasses out, the old times are back. With a voice cast consisting of Kiefer Sutherland, Hugh Laurie, Reese Witherspoon and Stephen Colbert—the venture begins when a woman becomes a giant after a meteor shower. She ends up being recruited by a secret agency of other super-freaks to take on giant aliens. It’s fun, my 3 and 5 year-old grandkids had a great time.
    Who Should See It? Kids and families.

    0.3

  • Show the reviewHide the reviewBedtime Stories 2/5

    2009-05-30 12:07
    * *

    Adam Sandler is a bit gippy-goo for me in most of his movies. Bedtime Stories wraps around the wild and impromptu stories he tells his niece and nephew when he babysits—the kids enhance the stories and the movieland takes over—night time turns into daytime and what comes out of his mouth as make believe turns into reality and chaos. Some fun, but it’s not deep.
    Who Should See It? Kids and families.

    0.3

  • Show the reviewHide the reviewThe Day the Earth Stood Still 3/5

    2009-05-30 12:07
    * * *

    Keanu Reeves and Jennifer offer their twist in the remake of the 1951 sci-fi classic. Klaatu travels across time and the universe to warn Earth that it’s in deep doo-doo. As in all things alien, the military swoops in to seek and destroy, Klaatu is taken under the wing of scientist Dr. Helen Benson who believes that he is who he is and sets out to convince him that Earth is worth saving. There’s some neat visuals—suggest you rent the 1951 and do a comparison—liked some of this one, but it missed out when Klaatu #1 stopped the Earth.
    Who Should See It? Teens and up.

    0.3

  • Show the reviewHide the reviewThe Curious Case of Benjamin Button 4/5

    2009-05-30 12:06
    * * * *

    Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett deliver remarkable performances in what became one of my favorite movies last year. It’s a love story, pure and simple. Based on a F. Scott Fitzgerald story about a man who is born 80 years old and as he ages, he becomes younger. Abandoned by his father shortly after his mother dies in childbirth, Benjamin is taken in by Queenie, a black women who takes care of old people in a nursing home—the perfect, safe place for Benjamin to root in. Opening with Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, an elderly woman asks her daughter to read from the diary she has kept that was written by Benjamin Button. Recounting his life, it’s a classic example of a book opening and falling in. In this case, the movie starts, and with patience, you allow it to envelope you. Special effects, make-up are amazing.
    Who Should See It? Teens and up.

    0.3

  • Show the reviewHide the reviewMarley & Me 2.5/5

    2009-05-30 12:05
    * * +

    Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson are newlyweds and journalists located in Florida. Alan Arkin and Kathleen Turner add to the mayhem that evolves as the couple brings Marley the pooch into their family—3 kids follow later. Marley is incredibility destructive—there is plenty of humor … but gads, how much chaos can one really take? Are there life lessons? Sure—columnist John Grogan made his living on the antics of Marley—so it was a good thing for him and it is about commitment, not giving up and love. But, and I say this strongly, this is not a movie for young kids.
    Who Should See It? Teens and up.

    0.3

  • Show the reviewHide the reviewWall-E 4/5

    2009-05-30 12:03
    * * * *

    Disney/Pixar’s fabulous WALL-E is a keeper for all. WALL-E does what he is supposed to do everyday … he collects junk on Earth, after it has been deserted because it could no longer support life because of the level of trash. WALL-E is fascinated by the trinkets and trivia of Earth and becomes a packrat. When Eve shows up—another robot—it’s love at first sight. And the fun begins. This is an Oscar winner and deserves to be part of your home library.
    Who Should See It? Kids and up.

    0.3

  • July, 2007

  • Show the reviewHide the reviewWild Hogs 2.5/5

    2007-07-25 13:47
    * * +

    with John Travolta, William Macy, Tim Allen and Martin Lawrence is a stretch. Four pals decide that they need a guy’s week out. Their normal routine is to suit up each week in their leathers, hit their bikes and head into town for a beer. Travolta thinks they need more…not telling them that he’s basically out of luck, marriage is falling apart, etc., and he needs to escape from his problems. He ropes his pals into his venture and true to form, they run into a series of mishaps, including the nasty Del Fuego gang that has been terrorizing a coastal town for years. Not to worry, our boys to the rescue. Here’s a flick, loaded with incredible talent and it just is limp in too many areas. There are some genuinely funny scenes—I love William Macy, but with this talent bank, I wanted to laugh myself silly and have a great time… it was just OK. This film could have been so much more. Who Should See It?—Teens and up, Gramma might get a kick out of it.

    0.3

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo     

****

I have to confess, I struggled to get into the book. Not with the movie.
Daniel Craig shines as journalist Mikael, fresh from a whopping loss in the
libel lawsuit against Wennerstrom, a powerful and corrupt businessman he wrote
an expose on. He resigns from the magazine he works for and accepts an
assignment to track down what happened to Harriett, the beloved niece of Henrik
played by Christopher Plummer.

Henrik is the patriarch of the very wealthy Vanger
family who offers money plus evidence that will vindicate Mikael and prove Wennerstrom
is the scumbag that Mikael knows him to be … and then the movie takes off,
introducing stealth Goth investigator Lisbeth, played by Rooney Mara—the girl
with the dragon tattoo—who’s definitely not a typical investigator.  With motorcycle, zillions of piercings, a few
tattoos, an amazing memory and expert hacker—Lisbeth becomes Mikael’s right
hand in uncovering the Vanger family secrets. Mara and Craig will most likely
get Oscar nominations.

There’s twists and turns and overall, excellent.
Forewarning—this isn’t for the youngsters and includes a rape scene.