Friday, February 13, 2009

My Bloody Valentine 3-D

This gory 3-D adventure is the ultimate anti-valentine movie.

The plot contains all the right ingrediants for gore-loving horror fans everywhere. An old mine accident on a Valentines Day past, with one suspiscious survivor, gives way to the legend of psycho killer.

The girl next-door runs the small town super market. Her husband, the sheriff, is cheating on her with the cashier girl. And to mix it all up, a strange series of murders starts up all over again. This time, the killer has a trademark. Hearts, flowers, and valentines. In the end, it's all about finding out "who-dun-it" before he finds his next victim.

If you liked: Friday the 13th (original)
Nightmare on Elm Street

What's similiar at the box office: Friday the 13th (Imax and regular release)
The Uninvited

Bottom Line: For Valentines Day pessimists everywhere; sit down, put on your 3-D specks, and sit down for one gory Valentines ride, but beware the words "Be mine."

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Hooray for animation of the future

I must admit there is a certain type of movie that gets me every time. My boyfriend dreads the date of their release. He knows I just can't resist them. I mean have you ever met a girl that could?

I'm not talking about "chick flicks" or romantic comedies. No sir. The type of movies that make my heart sing are computer animated kid's flicks.

I was taken with "Toy Story" and I never looked back. There are so many good ones to recall. "James and the Giant Peach," "A Bug's Life," "Monster House," "The Incredibles," "The Nightmare Before Christmas," "Monsters Inc", "Ice Age," "Corpse Bride," the list is seemingly endless... And it's about to get longer.

Pixar and Disney released it's current lineup until 2012 of computer animated films last spring. Let's recap:

"Wall E," the Eco-friendly story of a compassionate little robot that could, came out in 2008. Now available on video.

"Bolt," a super-dog escapes the safe confinement of his movie trailer and ventures out into the outside world to save the day, also released in 2008, and is currently playing at the cheap seats.

Scheduled to come out at the end of May, "UP" is the story of a 78 year-old dreamer who meets his eight-year old match, and also learns a few things about life on the way.

What could be better than Disney's "Toy Story?" "Toy Story 3-D" Pixar's first Disney computer animated feature is scheduled to be released in a new 3-D version in fall of 2009. " Toy Story 2" and "Toy Story 3" will also have 3-D counter parts set to be released in 2010.

Christmas 2009, what a gift! Disney releases "The Princess and the Frog." Based on the musical, Disney-Pixar returns to old, but timeless animation styles. Set in New Orleans, what could be better than a love story with frogs?

"Rapunzel" the story of a long-haired princess locked away in a tower will be released in 2010 just in time for the holidays.

Two blue-footed newts must learn to love each other to save their species, in Disney's "Newt" set to release in the summer of 2011, in 3-D!

Also in 3-D, coming out for Christmas of 2011, look for "The Bear and the Bow." Merida, a daughter of royalty wants more than anything to be an archer. She finds herself on a perilous journey, that involves an ancient curse, magic and nature.

For 2012, look for "Cars 2" and "The King of Elves."

Hooray for animation of the future!


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

At the cheap seats (Bolt, Valkyrie, The Secret Life of Bees)

Why pay $6-$8 to see a movie when it first comes out, when you can have the same experience by waiting a week or two, and pay only $3.50 a ticket?

That's right at Celebration Cinema at Woodland Mall, you can pay half the price to see movies a few weeks after their release date.

Here are a few reviews on movies you can see now, for less!

Bolt (rated PG)

Disney's Bolt features a cast of three lovable animated animal characters; an alley cat named Mittens, a hamster named Rhino, and of course a dog named Bolt, who has super powers...or does he?

Bolt, played by John Travolta, has grown up on the set of a very popular TV show. He plays a crime-fighting dog with super powers, who is always rescuing his favorite human, Penny, played by Miley Cyrus.

As always, the world of television ratings causes the show to take on a darker side. In one intense episode, they decide to leave the audience hanging, only the audience isn't the only one left in the dark.

Bolt, believing that his human has been captured by the evil Dr. Calico breaks out of his trailer, and takes off a journey that will change his world forever.

Voices include Susie Essman playing Mittens, Mark Walton playing Rhino, and many more.

If you liked: Wall E, The Incredibles, Toy Story, Cars

What's similar at the box office:

In one line: This kid's flick is a great see for audiences of all ages.Link
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

For trailer:

(rated PG-13)

Based on real attempts by members of Hitler's Nazis to assinate him and end the war, Valkyrie is not for the faint of heart.

Rated PG-13 for violence, this movie does not spare the audience the horrific acts of war. A group of rebels, lead by Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, played by Tom Cruise, tries to assasinate Hitler, and put in place a new regime.

This film reminds viewers of the other side of Germany, of those who fought to save their country, and as stated in the movie, they weren't all like him.

We all know how the story will end, yet in Valkyrie, you cannot help but get caught up in the moment. You will be sitting on the edge of your seat hoping for Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg's plan to overturn the ruling tyrant.

If you liked: Black Hawk Down, Letters from Iwo Jima, Saving Private Ryan, Schindler's list

What's similar at the box office:
nothing at the moment

In one line: To those who love a good war movie; I wouldn't miss it.Link
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

For trailer:

The Secret Life of Bees
(rated PG-13)

Based on the award winning novel, The Secret Life of Bees, is set in 1964 in the south, during the adaptation of the Civil Rights act.

Starring Dakota Fanning as Lily Owens, a teenager, who leaves her abusive father to find any clues about who her mother was, and why she left them.

Lily is also dealing with some inner demons. She cannot forget the day her mother returned. It was also the day she died. It was the day she shot and killed her own mother. She was only four.

Lily and her care giver, and plantation worker, Rosaleen, played by Jennifer Hudson run away. They arrive on August Boatwright's, played by Queen Latifah, door step in search of food and shelter.

From there on, Lily begins to find her place in life, and a future she never imagined. This story is unforgettable, and one that every teen age girl should see. It is about the world, and the way people are never truly good or evil, but a mix of both.

If you liked: Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Beloved, Fried Green Tomatoes, The Cider House Rules

What's similar at the box office:
Closest would be Slumdog Millionaire

In one line: Dakota Fanning delivers a 4 star performance, which is like the icing on the cake, or in other words tops off an amazingly written screen play. Link
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

For trailer:

Watch Collegiate on Movies for more Cheap Seats reviews.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

"Gran Torino" provokes ... everyone

Possibly one of Clint Eastwood's best performances yet, "Gran Torino" is not one to miss at the box office.

Eastwood's character, Walt Kowalski is a retired war vet, who has never quite forgotten the horrific events in his past. It is his experiences in the Korean war that have left him somewhat "scarred" from the audiences' standpoint.

Eastwood introduces Kowalski at his wife's funeral, as a hardened, cynical, white-haired racist that seems distant at best, from his two grown sons and their families. They urge him to join a retirement community, but Kowalski insists on staying in the home and neighborhood he has known his entire adult life.

The neighborhood is evolving. It is becoming a multicultural community, which only fuels Kowalski's prejudices. Next door, a family of Hmong immigrants strive to make their way in this Michigan neighborhood.

Thao, Bee Vang, the oldest male of the family, is pressured into joining his cousin's gang. As an initiation, he must steel Kowalski's prized possession, his 1972 Gran Torino. His unsuccessful attempt saves him from the gang lifestyle, and ironically throws him into an unexpected relationship with his next door neighbor, that changes the both of them forever.

Eastwood spares no empathy in expressing every racial slur in the book. Some may be offended by this language, however it is his language and demeanor that give his character depth, and also show the dynamism of human nature. It is the very people he has stereotyped so harshly in the past that understand him better than his own family.

Be prepared to experience a range of emotions is this amazingly written screen play. At times you will be laughing, then crying, then holding your breath. However, with the reoccurring theme of life and death throughout the movie, it is no surprise that each of these emotions plays a significant role in the plot.

If you liked: "American History X"
"Million Dollar Baby" (Although this was not one of my favorite movies, many themes can be compared in both flicks."

What's similar at the box office:

In one line: With red carpet quality performances, look for "Gran Torino" to scoop up nominations in categories across the board.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

For trailer:

Thursday, January 1, 2009

"Bedtime Stories" not a bad family flick

Filled with raining gumballs, a treadmill friendly guinea pig, and of course a booger monster, Happy Madison's Bedtime Stories is a ride through a world of imagination.
As one of Adam Sandler's better productions, this film truly inspires children to dip into a world of pretend.

Skeeter, played by Sandler, works as a handyman around what was once, his father's hotel. His father, was forced to sell it when Skeeter was just a boy, but left the new buyer, Barry Nottingham, played by Richard Griffiths, with one request.
Someday, Skeeter be allowed to run the hotel. With Nottingham's word, the hotel was his.

The years pass by and Skeeter finds himself being passed over time and time again for management positions. Finally, while watching his estranged niece and nephew, Skeeter realizes that there still is a little magic left in the world.

The bedtime stories he shares with the children become reality. It appears his luck has changed.

This movie is a great family flick. Some may be disappointed that there could be just a bit more emphasis on the stories themselves, and more magical events. The first colorful and magical event is when it starts raining gumballs. This is the perfect idea of a bedtime story through the eyes of a child.

However, the "magical" events following, seem small in comparison, and lack that glint of childhood sparkle. They belong to the world of adult magic and mystique. For example, they are more career and romance oriented, than a shower of raining gumballs.

More kid magic would have been a great asset to this film. I wanted to see more color and magical creatures. Director, Adam Shankman, could have benefited from getting his hands dirty and incorporating more of the goofy, crazy, messy, gritty, and comical stuff that resides in the imagination of kids everywhere.

All in all, "Bedtime Stories" is classic proof that happy endings still exist, no princess needed, in everyday life. It would be a great rental for family movie night once it hits the shelve of your neighborhood movie store.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
To see the trailer click here:

Friday, December 26, 2008

“Marley & Me” is a holiday treat for audiences

“Marley & Me” is a light, family comedy based on the columns and best-selling novels of John Grogan, a Philadelphia Inquirer columnist. The full name of the novel, “Marley & Me: Life and Love With the World’s Worst Dog,” briefly and beautifully summarizes what both the book and the film are about.

Marley, named after Bob Marley, is a boisterous, fun-loving Labrador retriever who John buys to placate his wife Jenny after the b-word pops up in their marriage (baby, in case you were wondering). Initially dubbed as a clearance puppy, the Grogans quickly learn that Marley is more than a handful.

The film, released on Christmas Day, spends most of its time showing all the shenanigans caused by Marley (swallowing a necklace, chasing a UPS man, attacking an obedience school trainer, chewing and urinating on many, many things), usually while dragging John behind him on a leash. The beauty of this film is that anyone who’s ever owned a pet can relate. You can fully laugh, cry, and enjoy every special moment with Marley and his family simply because most of us have been there. Despite the relentless hardships caused by Marley, it’s very clear that he is John and Jenny’s emotional constant as they struggle with work, kids and their marriage.

While Jennifer Aniston is likable and effectively carries her role as Jenny, a working journalist turned mother, it’s Owen Wilson in the role of Josh Grogan that makes this film work. His portrayal of John and his interaction with Marley is heartwarming. It’s the relationship between John and Marley that illustrates this film’s message: even though having a pet is hard work, you just can’t help loving them.

Bottom Line: “Marley & Me” is a heartwarming, family film that will make audiences laugh, cry and cheer. It’s for anyone who has ever been through the experience of owning and loving a family pet.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Next Review: Sandler's "Bedtime Stories" may appeal to children, but it lacks its promised magic.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Man on Wire: A documentary that will keep you on your toes

Ever dreamed of taking a walk in the clouds? Well Philip Petit certainly did. It was this dream that drove him to performing the world's highest tight rope walk, and possibly also the most dangerous.

It was this dream that led Petit to spend his entire life with only one goal in mind; to walk between the towers.

"Man on Wire" is a documentary that brings Philip Petit's 1974 high-wire stroll to life.

Filmed in 2008 by James Marsh, Petit's journey to full fill his goal to walk between the twin towers is chronicled. There is real footage of Petit and his accomplices while he prepares for the feat, and also during the actual tight rope walk from one tower to the next.

The title comes from a security guard on the roof of the towers shouting, "Man on wire!"
When interviewed later in the movie the guard claims that even he thought the chance to view Petit's high-rope walk was a once in a lifetime experience.

I was captivated by the photographs taken of Petit during his 45 minute walk across the wire. Most are in black and white, but this only empowers the omniscient feeling of awe they reflect. It is like time has stood still as all of New York gazed into the sky, at the two World Trade Center Towers, and the man who walked between them.

However, I was disappointed that the film did not make one reference to the highly acclaimed children's book by Mordicai Gerstein, "The Man who Walked Between the Towers."

Also if you are looking for Petit to hold the spirited image of the children's book hero, you will not see it. Petit is shown in the documentary as a spirited individual who follows his dream, and also concedes to the shortcomings of humanity. Instead of going to celebrate with his long-time supporter and girlfriend, he sleeps with a beautiful women who approaches him and praises him after his walk. And with that, alas...A man is again changed by the power of fame.

The power in this documentary is not within the traditional aspects of film critique, but in the amazing once in a life time content. No one has repeated what Petit has accomplished and no one may ever match it. That is the beautiful and amazing power of this film.

I would recommend this documentary to anyone who has an interest for the unusual. The combination of interviews with Petit and his friends and also the photographs and original film make this documentary a collage of an amazing moment in history, and also one, as noted in the film, that will never repeat itself.

Petit's book, "To Reach the Clouds" was a great influence on the film.

To view the trailer which is temporarily unavailable on our blog, go here: