Amazon.com is a great place to buy and has a free shipping program.
no data yet
no data yet
"The Amazing Spider-Man" - With Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen, Sally Field.
Plot Intro: How Spider-Man became Spider-Man. In this version, he fights a mad scientist who changes his body.
Review: Special effects are good. I found Garfield to be too quirky. There wasn't enough of Stone. The story seemed to be kind of choppy in parts.
"The Amazing Spider-Man" at Amazon.com"Anna Karenina" - Drama with Keira Knightley, Jude Law.
Plot Intro: A young mother has an affair that ruins her life.
Review: More style than substance. Costumes, editing, photography, and set decoration dominated over acting. Not impressed.
"Anna Karenina" at Amazon.com"Arthur Christmas" - Animated feature with Hugh Laurie, Jim Broadbent, James McAvoy, Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Eva Longoria, Joan Cusack, Michael Palin, Robbie Coltrane, Laura Linney.
Plot Intro: The younger son of Santa Claus tries to save Christmas for the one child who was missed.
Review: Creative script. There are two living Santas and two of the next generation. Which one has the true holiday spirit.
"Arthur Christmas" at Amazon.com"Beasts of the Southern Wild" - Drama with Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry, Gina Montana.
Plot Intro: A girl and her father have to survive a major storm on the wrong side of the levee near New Orleans.
Review: You have to get past the first 20 or so minutes. During the first third of the film I was wondering what all the great reviews were about. But by the middle of the film I could see what they were talking about. You have to ignore the story - which is kind of disjointed, and you have to concentrate on the scenes between the girl and father. By the end of the film I thought they both should have won the Oscar. Wallis displays so many emotions in just a few seconds, and it all looks natural. Very impressive. I was equally impressed by Dwight Henry. He should have received a nomination.
"Beasts of the Southern Wild" at Amazon.com"Bourne Legacy" - Drama with Jeremy Renner, Edward Norton, Scott Glenn, Stacy Keach, Rachel Weisz.
Plot Intro: The CIA is trying to shut down Treadstone by killing anyone who had even the slightest link with the program. One of the last Treadstone operatives helps a scientist survive.
Review: Murky script that takes a while to get going. One thing I can say is that the photography isn't quite as jerky as the last Bourne movie, making it easier to watch. At first the film puts together clips from previous films to show that the action is taking place near the same time as the other films. Then it branches off to deal with another Treadstrone operative. The clips from the previous films are clips from better films.
"Bourne Legacy" at Amazon.com My review of Bourne Ultimatum (2007) My review of Bourne Supremacy (2004) My review of Bourne Identity (2002)."Brave" - Animated feature with Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane, Craig Ferguson, John Ratzenberger.
Plot Intro: A princess is being pressured into marriage by her mother, the queen. She gets a cake from a witch which changes her mother completely.
Review: Excellent graphics. Interesting story. Another Pixar quality film.
"Brave" at Amazon.com"Campaign" - With Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, Dan Ackroyd, John Lithgow, Dylan McDermott.
Plot Intro: A candidate who has growing scandals finds that a squeeky-clean opponent has appeared.
Review: The average campaign for office on steroids. Foul language and bried nudity. Some good scenes, some offensive scenes. Best seen as a rental - or not at all.
"Campaign" at Amazon.com"Casa de mi Padre" - With Will Ferrell, Genesis Rodriguez, Diego Luna, Nick Offerman.
Plot Intro: The youngest son of a Mexican rancher finds out his older brother is going into the drug trade and is marrying a beautiful woman he falls in love with.
Review: Funny film. In Spanish with subtitles. Tongue in cheek. It is supposed to be a low cost film - with the resulting "continuity" problems - all in the Spanish language. Examples: The Rodriguez character starts walking across a room in one dress and ends on the other side of the room in another dress. A portrait of Ferrell's dead mother shows her holding a fake baby. Ferrell's character begins to pick up a live calf and ends up picking up a plastic calf. The film is filled with these kinds of things. So, while these things may make the film uneven, it is also pretty funny.
"Casa de mi Padre" at Amazon.com"The Dark Knight Rises" - Comic book drama with Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Ann Hathaway, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Morgan Freeman, Matthew Modine, Marion Cotillard, William Devane, Liam Neeson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Plot Intro: Batman must fight another super-villain.
Review: Third in the Bale-Batman series. Based on the comic book character. I don't like Batman's motorcycle. It's not maneuverable enough for what he needs to do. Kind of irks me when I'm watching it.
"The Dark Knight Rises" at Amazon.com My review of "Batman" (1989). My review of "Batman Returns" (1992). My review of "Batman Forever" (1995). My review of "Batman & Robin" (1997). My review of "Batman Begins" (2005). My review of "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012)."Dark Shadows" - With Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Eva Green, Jackie Earle Haley, Jonny Lee Miller, Alice Cooper. Directed by Tim Burton.
Plot Intro: Barnabas Collins returns after being buried for around 200 years.
Review: Very funny. Depp gives another one of his great performances.
"Dark Shadows" at Amazon.com"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" - With Martin Freeman, Ian McKellan, Richard Armitage, Ian Holm, Elijah Wood, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch.
Plot Intro: Bilbo, the Hobbit, goes on a journey with thirteen dwarves and the wizard Gandalf.
Review: Some parts of the movie were good, and other parts were beyond ridiculous. Jackson usually gets makeup, set decoration, and costumes right, and this movie was no exception. It's the script where he fails. People will say, "Movies are a different medium." But Jackson strays way too far from the original story, adding things like goblin-warg chasers, rock giants, and falling from extreme heights without even a bruise. It makes Tolkien look ridiculous. I was thinking, "This isn't too bad" until the sides of the mountain became rock giants. Pretty ridiculous. How could anyone have survived all the tossing around? And the fall inside the mountain was ridiculous, too. They must have thought that LotR was more exciting because of a chase (black riders), so Jackson added a chase in the movie by Azog and goblins. The problem is that goblins can't stand sunlight. It makes their legs like jelly. At least there wasn't dwarf tossing or extreme extended close-ups, but then again there are still two movies to come out, so Jackson still has a chance to make that mistake, too.
Chronology of "The Hobbit" My "The Hobbit" Differences Page
The Chronology of "The Lord of the Rings" (a 66 kb. Excel spreadsheet) My review of "The Fellowship of the Ring" (2001) "The Fellowship of the Ring" Differences Page - differences between the book and the movie My review of "The Two Towers" (2002) "The Two Towers" Differences Page - differences between the book and the movie "The Return of the King" Differences Page - differences between the book and the movie
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" at Amazon.com"The Life of Pi" - With Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Adil Hussain. Directed by Ang Lee.
Plot Intro: A college professor tells the story of his life - part of which included survival in a lifeboat with a tiger.
Review: Some of the visuals in the movie are amazing. Well worth watching just for the graphics. Nominated for Best Picture Academy Award. The story may lack some logic. Personally, I think the "real" story is the one he tells at the end in the hospital room.
"The Life of Pi" at Amazon.com"Lincoln" - With Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, Hal Holbrook, Tommy Lee Jones.
Plot Intro: Abraham Lincoln's struggle to get the 13th Amendment passed.
Review: The best film of 2012 that I've seen. Daniel Day-Lewis seems like he's channeling Lincoln. He must have studied the photographs of Lincoln extensively, because his posture is so dead on. Field and him have some excellent scenes. I expect the film to get the Best Film Academy Award, and I expect Day-Lewis to get Best Actor. Field will get nominated and maybe Strathairn and Jones. The costumes and set design will probably get nominated as well. Watching the film is almost like stepping into 1865 (at least my concept of what it must have been like).
"Lincoln" at Amazon.com"The Lorax" - Animated feature with Danny DeVito, Zach Ephron, Taylor Swift, Betty White, Ed Helms, Rob Riggle.
Plot Intro: A young man wants to impress a neighbor girl by finding a tree, something that everyone assumes no longer exists. He leaves his town and finds a person who can help him - the elderly man who when he was young invented something that led to the destruction of all trees.
Review: Another translation of a Dr. Seuss book to the big screen. A film with a message. Corporations run by committees, groups who are only concerned with profits and stock prices, groups who are coerced by circumstances to ignore whether what they are doing will cause harm to the Earth in the long run, are a danger to our survival.
"The Lorax" at Amazon.com"Men in Black 3" - Science fiction with Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Emma Thompson, Josh Brolin, Alice Eve, Jemaine Clemente. Also known as "MIB3".
Plot Intro: An alien escapes from his prison on the moon, and he travels back in time to kill Agent K so that he can get his arm back and enable an invasion of Earth.
Review: Good special effects. Alice Eve looks great, as usual. I liked the ending. Totally unexpected.
"Men in Black 3" at Amazon.com"Moonrise Kingdom" - Romantic comedy with Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, Harvey Keitel. Written and directed by Wes Anderson.
Plot Intro: Two young teenagers fall in love and run away. Their parents and friends search for them.
Review: Quirky script, photography, and acting. Typical of an Anderson film. Fun to watch.
"Moonrise Kingdom" at Amazon.com"ParaNorman" - Animated feature with Kodi Smit-McPhee, Tucker Abrizzi, Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, Leslie Mann, Jeff Garlin, Elaine Stritch, Tempestt Bledsoe, John Goodman.
Plot Intro: A boy can talk to the dead, and he must save his town from a witch's curse.
Review: Didn't do much for me. If you like animated horror, you would probably like it more than me.
"ParaNorman" at Amazon.com"The Pirates! Band of Misfits" - Animated feature with Hugh Grant, Salma Hayek, Jeremy Piven, Imelda Staunton, Brian Blessed, Brendan Gleeson, Al Roker.
Plot Intro: The story of one pirate's quest for the 'Pirate of the Year' award. It's the story of a pirate and his parrot - er, dodo.
Review: Another Aardman feature. You always know you'll be entertained by Aardman. I thought it could have been better somehow.
"The Pirates! Band of Misfits" at Amazon.com"The Raven" - With John Cusack, Alice Eve.
Plot Intro: Edgar Allen Poe's writings are being re-enacted by a madman. The police solicit Poe's help to solve the crimes.
Review: Dark, Well acted. Poe's death is mysterious. Good records were not kept, and some conditions like alcoholism were covered up. This is one attempt to fill in the gaps with a good story.
"The Raven" at Amazon.com."Skyfall" - With Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem.
Plot Intro: An evil genius has the idea to bring down the British Secret Service through his ability to program a super computer he has hidden away.
Review: I had always thought that the stylish Sean Connery was the best James Bond, but I don't think the style of the 1960s James Bond would fit today. Daniel Craig is the best James Bond. The others seem out of date for the types of movies that are released today. Concerning "Skyfall": Some of my friends say that it is the best of the Daniel Craig films. I can't really say that. It seemed formulaic to me. I think "Casino Royale" is better. But "Skyfall" is an excellent film.
"Skyfall" at Amazon.com Bond1. My review of "Dr. No" (1962). Bond2. My review of "From Russia With Love" (1963). Bond3. My review of "Goldfinger" (1964). Bond4. My review of "Thunderball" (1965). Bond5. My review of "You Only Live Twice" (1967). Bond6. My review of "Casino Royale" (1967). Bond7. My review of "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (1969). Bond8. My review of "Diamonds Are Forever" (1971). Bond9. My review of "Live and Let Die" (1973). Bond10. My Review of "The Man With The Golden Gun" (1974). Bond11. My review of "The Spy Who Loved Me" (1977). Bond12. My review of "Moonraker" (1979). Bond13. My review of "For Your Eyes Only" (1981). Bond14. My review of "Octopussy" (1983). Bond15. My review of "Never Say Never Again" (1983). Bond16. My review of "A View To A Kill" (1985). Bond17. My review of "The Living Daylights" (1987). Bond18. My review of "License to Kill" (1989). Bond19. My review of "GoldenEye" (1995). Bond20. My review of "Tomorrow Never Dies" (1997). Bond21. My review of "The World Is Not Enough" (1997). Bond22. My review of "Casino Royale" (2006). Bond23. My review of "Quantum of Solace" (2008)."Total Recall" - Science Fiction with Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Bryan Cranston, Jessica Biel.
Plot Intro: An everyday worker is having nightmares, so he decides to go to a facility to have new dreams-memories implanted in his brain. He becomes a target.
Review: Entertaining version of the story. Farrell, Beckinsale, and Biel are very good.
"Total Recall" at Amazon.com
"50/50" - With Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard, Angelica Huston, Matt Frewer, Philip Baker Hall.
Plot Intro: A young, health-conscious man is diagnosed with cancer. His friend tries to keep his spirits up. He also goes into counseling at the recommendation of his doctor.
Review: Excellent. Humorous at times. Very moving at times. Highly recommended. Rated 'R' in the US. Mostly for language. There is a love scene, but it is very short, very dark, and there is virtually no nudity.
"50/50" at Amazon.com"The Adjustment Bureau" - With Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Anthony Mackie, John Slattery, Michael Kelly, Terence Stamp.
Plot Intro: Two people meet and fall in love, but according to the "plan" they weren't supposed to meet.
Review: I really liked this film. It starts out political, but it's not a political film. It's a romance wrapped in a fantasy. The film is very well-written. Emily Blunt and Matt Damon are so natural. I always considered Matt Damon to be a great actor (and he is excellent in this film), but Emily Blunt really impressed me. Watching Blunt was a pleasure. It looked like she got into her character. Both Damon and Blunt are very natural and believable. Recommended.
"The Adjustment Bureau" at Amazon.com"Anonymous" - With Vanessa Redgrave, Rhys Ifans, Rafe Spall, David Thewliss, Jamie Campbell Bower, Derek Jacobi.
Plot Intro: The Earl of Oxford wrote plays and hired Shakespeare as his "front" man.
Review: First, let me say, that I like costume dramas, and I liked the film on that basis. Second, The movie fleshes out the Edward de Vere (17th Earl of Oxford) theory of the authorship of the works of Shakespeare. Whether Shakespeare wrote the works attributed to him is a thorny question. Most scholars do not doubt his authorship, and they consider the Oxfordian theory a fringe theory. So while I watched the film, I kept wondering how many viewing the film would accept the whole thing without research. Third, one of the problems I had with the movie was that it jumped around a lot, and many times there wasn't a way to know what period the story had gone to. Fourth, aside from these concerns, like I said, I liked the film to a certain extent.
"Anonymous" at Amazon.com"The Artist" - With Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, John Goodman, James Cromwell, Penelope Ann Miller, Missi Pyle, Malcolm McDowell, Bill Fagerbakke. Written and directed by Michel Hazanavicius. In B&W.
Plot Intro: An actor who was very successful in silent films has to adjust when sound comes in. Before the end of the silents, he meets a young actress who becomes successful in sound pictures.
Review: Black and white with virtually no sound made by the actors. The only sound is the soundtrack and a few scenes with various sounds. There are some clever scenes - like the one with Bejo and the coat, and the one with Dujardin and the tuxedo window display. Dujardin and Bejo are excellent. The film won the Best Film Academy Award.
"The Artist" at Amazon.com"Bad Teacher" - With Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, Lucy Punch, Jason Segel, John Michael Higgins.
Plot Intro: A teacher quits her job, and then her fiance breaks up with her, so she has to go back to teaching. Her goal is to get a rich husband, and to get a rich husband she wants breast augmentation.
Review: More of an adult film (some nudity).
"Bad Teacher" at Amazon.com"Blitz" - With Jason Statham, Luke Evans, Zawe Ashton, Paddy Considine.
Plot Intro: Police in southeast London are being killed by a psycho. Detective Sergeant Tom Brant tracks him down.
Review: Statham is great. The movie is kind of like a British version of Dirty Harry.
"Blitz" at Amazon.com"Bridemaids" - With Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Jill Clayburgh, Ellie Kemper, Melissa McCarthy.
Plot Intro: Two bridesmaids compete for the affections of a bride.
Review: Not funny. Advertised as a humorous road film for bridesmaids, but it's really a film about the downward spiral of a maid of honor.
"Bridemaids" at Amazon.com"Captain America: The First Avenger" - With Chris Evans, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Hayley Atwell.
Plot Intro: A short scrawny guy can't get into the military in 1942 until he's taken into a special program. He's injected with an experimental drug, and he becomes Captain America.
Review: Much like "Thor" in that it's a setup for future films. Some of the film is good, but it seems long in parts.
"Captain America: The First Avenger" at Amazon.com"Cars 2" - Animated feature with Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Michael Caine, Olivia Holt, Eddie Izzard, John Turturro, Brent Musburger, Joe Montegna, Peter Jacobsen, Bonnie Hunt, Darryl Waltrip, Tony Shalhoub, Cheech Marin.
Plot Intro: Lightning McQueen agrees to a series of races to determine a world championship, and Mater is mistaken for an Americna agent.
Review: The story in the first one is a little better. The second film tries to out-do the first one, and just get too involved. Still fun to watch.
"Cars 2" at Amazon.com My Review of Cars (2006)"Columbiana" - With Zoe Saldana, Lennie James, Michael Vartan.
Plot Intro: Her parents were killed when she was nine, and she wants revenge.
Review: Saldana is pretty good. The movie is pretty good, too.
"Columbiana" at Amazon.com"Cowboys & Aliens" - With Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Keith Carradine.
Plot Intro: Aliens come to earth in seach of gold. They like to capture and torture people. A man comes to town, and he helps the townspeople deal with the aliens.
Review: If you like Craig and Ford (and the other actors) you may like the film. I couldn't get past the weird story. Unlike anything I've seen. But it may be worth a rental.
"Cowboys & Aliens" at Amazon.com"Crazy Stupid Love" - Romance with Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Marisa Tomei, Kevin Bacon, Josh Groban, Julianna Guill.
Plot Intro: On the way home, a wife asks for a divorce. The husband is taken under the "wing" of a younger ladies' man. He learns that he had begun to take things for granted when it comes to love.
Review: Carell plays this kind of character well. Moore, Gosling, Stone, and Tomei are great. It goes through a rough patch in the middle, but it ends OK.
"Crazy Stupid Love" at Amazon.com"The Descendants" - With George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Robert Forster, Judy Greer, Amara Miller.
Plot Intro: The head of a foundation finds out that his estranged wife has had an accident and is on life support. The foundation controls a large amount of untouched land on one of the Hawaiian islands. He has to deal with two out-of-control daughters. One of his daughters lets him know that his wife was having an affair. Things get kind of complicated.
Review: Very good film. Recommended but with a warning about language. Clooney and Woodley are very good as is Forster.
"The Descendants" at Amazon.com"Dolphin Tale" - With Harry Connick Jr, Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman, Kris Kristofferson.
Plot Intro: A young dolphin is found on the beach wrapped up in rope from a crab trap. The tail has to be amputated. Then the challenge is to help the dolphon swim.
Review: The first half is definitely geared for kids. It never loses the kid-oriented feel, but the second half - when they are trying to develop a prosthesis - is somewhat moving.
"Dolphin Tale" at Amazon.com"The Eagle" - With Channing Tatum, Donald Sutherland, Jamie Bell, Tahar Rahim. Based on the 1954 novel "The Eagle of the Ninth" by Rosemary Sutcliff
Plot Intro: A young centurion is trying to live with the humiliation his father brought to his family when he marched north of Hardrian's Wall to attempt to subdue the local population, but instead he was never heard from again - and the eagle was lost. A rumor comes that one of the northern tribes uses the eagle in ceremonies. So the young centurion goes on a journey to get the eagle back.
Review: I didn't know what to expect when I began watching "The Eagle". I was pleasantly surprised. I thought it brought this period to life. The costumes (including uniforms and weapons), the set design (including the Roman city, fortress, and villages north of Hadrians Wall), and the dialogue -- all add up to a movie that can be engrossing. The acting by the main characters is excellent.
"The Eagle" at Amazon.com"Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance" - With Nicholas Cage, Violante Placido, Ciarán Hinds, Idris Elba.
Plot Intro: The devil must get a new body. His son is ready, but the mother is not. The Ghost Rider attempts to stop the kidnapping of the boy.
Review: A little more elaborate than the first one. It's a good addition to have the Ghost Rider drive/ride more than just a motorcycle. Entertaining.
"Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance" at Amazon.com My review of 'The Ghost Rider'"Gnomeo and Juliet" - Animated feature with James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Michael Caine, Maggie Smith, Jason Statham, Ozzie Osbourne, Patrick Stewart, Julie Walters, Hulk Hogan.
Plot Intro: The reds and blues are feuding, and blue Gnomeo meets red Juliet. They fall in love.
Review: The film is entertaining. It is a good film from beginning to end. Of course, the end of the original story was changed, but that's Disney. Great for kids. Includes some good Elton John songs.
"Gnomeo and Juliet" at Amazon.com"The Green Hornet" - With Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Cameron Diaz, Christoph Waltz.
Plot Intro: The Green Hornet fights crime while everyone else sees him as a master criminal.
Review: I like Seth Rogen, but in this film he was kind of awkward in certain scenes. I did find parts of the film entertaining.
"The Green Hornet" at Amazon.com"The Green Lantern" - With Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Tim Robbins, Angela Bassett.
Plot Intro: A group of defenders called "The Green Lanterns" are on guard against evil. Hal Jordan is chosen to be a Green Lantern, and he has to defend Earth against The Parallax, which feeds on fear. As a Green Lantern, he can create anything to defend himself and others around him.
Review: This is an excellent movie. Great graphics. Very good script. It's probably set up for a sequel.
"The Green Lantern" at Amazon.com"Hanna" - With Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchett, Eric Bana.
Plot Intro: A young girl is trained by her father to be a spy - the best one possible. Both are being hunted down.
Review: Kind of a mix of Jason Bourne with a little science fiction thrown in. Well done.
"Hanna" at Amazon.com"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2" - Fantasy with Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), Alan Rickman (Prof. Severus Snape), Tom Fenton (Draco Malfoy), Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid), Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange). Based on the book by J. K. Rowling.
Plot Intro: Harry has his final confrontation with Tom Riddle-Voldemort.
Review: The finale of the Harry Potter series. It's a great way to end the 8-film series. The action is nearly continuous through the film, and the main actors have continued to grow in their craft.
Though I admire the film, there were differences between the book and the movie - and other things of note:
- In the book, the confrontation between Voldemort and Snape was in the Shrieking Shack. In the movie, it took place in a boat house.
- In the book, the blind dragon created it's own exit rather than go through the lobby and then the ceiling of Gringotts
- In the book, the Stone had been cracked by Dumbledore when he destroyed the horcrux, and the stone was still mounted in the ring. In the movie, it was an unmounted stone which has no crack.
- In the book, the items in the Gringotts vault that increased in number also were firey hot.
- In the book, the final confrontation between Harry and Voldemort was in the Great Hall with other wizards standing around. In the movie, there were no witnesses to Voldemort's end.
- In the book, the diadem of Ravenclaw is destroyed by the fire in the Room of Requirement. In the movie, Harry stabs it with a basilisk fang and throws it into the Room of Requirement, which is on fire.
- In the book, Voldemort fell back, killed by his own curse. In the movie, he disintegrated.
- In the book, there were two giants, but one of them was Grawp, Hagrid's half-brother. The movie has two or three enemy giants.
- In the book, during the final battle, the goblins and house elves and centaurs fought against Voldemort's supporters. This was not included in the movie.
I'm sure there are other differences, but these are the ones I can think of now. In making this list, I'm not criticizing the movie. The eight-movie series is an amazing accomplishment. I think it is matched by few other movie series.
My understanding was that originally it was intended that there be one film. But because of the large amount of material that needed editing -- and because of financial considerations, the material was made into two films. So it may be valid that the films should be analyzed together. However, I've seen some mixed reviews about the first and second parts of HP7 (though mostly positive). Not sure I understand the criticism. I saw one review where every criticism was about something that was taken directly from the book. First, it made me wonder if some of the reviewers haven't read the books. Secondly, I think there is a prejudice of reviewers and movie-goers against movies that are blockbusters, which may have affected reactions to movies like Avatar. Thirdly, reviewers also may fall into an intellectual prejudice (if the uneducated masses are excited about it, it can't be that good). Or, fourth, a reviewer may think that his reputation will be enhanced by giving a negative review to a movie like HP7B. The reason I believe this may be the case is that while watching one reviewer on TV, it struck me that he was giving a negative review as a ploy to look like he was not influenced by hype, that he was smarter, more educated, or intellectually independent.
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2" at Amazon.com My review of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1" (2011) My review of "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" (2009) My review of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" (2007) My review of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" (2005) My review of "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" (2004) My review of "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" (2002) My review of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" (2001) - AKA "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" The HP Lexicon - some interesting reading if you are a Harry Potter fan."The Help" - With Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, Octavia Spencer, Jessica Chastain, Cicely Tynan, Sissy Spacek, Allison Janney. Based on the book by Kathryn Stockett. Screenplay by Tate Taylor and Kathryn Stockett. Directed by Tate Taylor.
Plot Intro: A recent college graduate returns home to a southern town and takes a job at the local paper. She tries to get involved in the local ladies' groups, but she gets more and more disillsioned by how the local white women treat their help - the black women from the poorer side of town. She decides to write a book about the way the black women are treated, how they deal with it, and how it affects their lives.
Review: Excellent film about one of the darker periods of the history of the United States. Excellent acting. I would give nominations to most of the cast - in particular, Stone, Davis, Howard, Spencer, and Chastain.
"The Help" at Amazon.com"Hop" - With James Marsden, Russell Brand, Kaley Cuoco, Hank Azaria, Gary Cole, Elizabeth Perkins, Hugh Laurie, David Hasselhoff, Chelsea Handler.
Plot Intro: E.B., the son of the Easter Bunny, doesn't want to inherit the title and take over operations on Easter Island. He wants to be a drummer, so he runs away.
Review: Obviously a film geared to children. I don't know if they were trying to do a Easter Bunny version of Santa Clause. Probably entertaining for children and those who really like bunnies. Cute enough.
"Hop" at Amazon.com"Horrible Bosses" - With Jason Bateman, Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx.
Plot Intro: Three men have to deal with horrible bosses, and they look for solutions.
Review: One of those films that you have to watch for a long time before anything verging on humor or watchability is arrived at. This movie is on my "will not watch again" list.
"Horrible Bosses" at Amazon.com"Hugo" - With Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz, Christopher Lee, Emily Mortimer, Jude Law, Helen McCrory. Directed by Martin Scorsese.
Plot Intro: A boy is trained by his father as a watchmaker, but his father dies in a fire. He has to move to a train station to live with his uncle, but his uncle disappears. He has one thing to do in order to re-connect with his father: fix an automaton his father found at the museum where he worked.
Review: I really enjoyed this film. It was promoted as if it's a kids film, but it isn't. All ages should enjoy the film. Somewhat moving at the end.
"Hugo" at Amazon.com"Ironclad" - With Paul Giamatti, James Purefoy, Brian Cox, Kate Mara, Derek Jacobi.
Plot Intro: King John, son of Henry II and brother of Richard the Lionhearted, is forced to sign the Magna Carta, but then the pope declares that it is invalid, and John begins to war on his nobles again. A small group of rebels hold out to defend the historic document. They are waiting for the French invasion force.
Review: Mostly a war picture with a little romance in the middle. Pretty violent. Some nudity. And Giamatti gets pretty loud (though it is consistent with his character). I am interested in this part of English history, but this film wasn't very enjoyable to watch.
"Ironclad" at Amazon.com"Johnny English Reborn" - With Rowan Atkinson, Gillian Anderson, Rosamund Pike.
Plot Intro: Johnny English must save the world from a plot to assassinate the world's leaders for money.
Review: Atkinson reprises his role as Johnny English. If you like Atkinson or if you enjoyed the first film, you'd probably like the second film.
"Johnny English Reborn" at Amazon.com My review of 'Johnny English' (2003)"Just Go With It" - With Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Nicole Kidman, Brooklyn Decker, Dave Matthews, Rachel Dratch, Minka Kelly.
Plot Intro: A guy who has a bad experience with a fiance starts using his wedding ring to meet women. Then he meets the girl of his dreams, and one thing leads to another. He has to create a fake family and take them on a trip to Hawaii.
Review: Kind of like a B-movie or a TV movie.
"Just Go With It" at Amazon.com"Killer Elite" - With Jason Statham, Robert DeNiro, Yvonne Strahovski, Clive Owen.
Plot Intro: After a member of their team is kidnapped, a group of assassins begin killing the men who supposedly killed three brothers.
Review: The action scenes are good, but for some reason I just couldn't get into it.
"Killer Elite" at Amazon.com"Larry Crowne" - With Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Rob Riggle, Rita Wilson, Cedric the Entertainer, Pam Grier, Brian Cranston, Ian Gomez, Wilmer Valderrama.
Plot Intro: Larry is laid off. Management says it's because he has no potential for advancing into managemen, since he never took a college course He starts taking college courses, and he makes new friends.
Review: Not the best that Hanks and Roberts have done, but overall it is watchable, pleasant film. A romantic comedy. This is the first film I've seen with Gugu Mbatha-Raw. She was a pleasant surprise.
"Larry Crowne" at Amazon.com"Limitless" - With Bradley Cooper, Robert DeNiro.
Plot Intro: A wannabe writer is given a pill that changes his life. He wants more pills, but he finds his supplier dead. He finds the stash, but other people want the pill, too.
Review: Wasn't sure what to expect from the film. So many films are deceptively promoted. You never know what you're going to get. I was very pleasantly surprised by "Limitless." Very good. Cooper is excellent, and DeNiro is always good. The supporting cast makes the film above average.
"Limitless" at Amazon.com"The Lincoln Lawyer" - With Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei, William H. Macy, John Leguizamo, Michael Peña, Ryan Phillippe, Frances Fisher, Josh Lucas.
Plot Intro: A lawyer who is constantly on the go, mostly working out of his Lincoln Town Car, takes on a new case, but he finds himself involved in a case with an unsavory client.
Review: Did not know what to expect from this film. I was pleasantly surprised by it. Very good film, very good suspense, good writing. Recommended.
"The Lincoln Lawyer" at Amazon.com"The Mechanic" - With Jason Statham, Ben Foster, Tony Goldwyn.
Plot Intro: An assassin kills a man he respects. He then takes on a partner, his murdered friend's son.
Review: I haven't seen all of his films, but I really like the Statham films that I've seen.
"The Mechanic" at Amazon.com"Midnight in Paris" - With Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Mimi Kennedy, Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody, . Written and directed by Woody Allen.
Plot Intro: A young writer from the 21st century goes to Paris with his fiance. At midnight he meets famous people from the 1920s.
Review: I love the concept of this film. It may be my favorite Woody Allen movie of all. Very entertaining. Beautiful photography, costumes. Excellent. I loved the film so much I watched it twice, back to back.
"Midnight in Paris" at Amazon.com"Moneyball" - With Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright, Kerris Dorsey.
Plot Intro: The Oakland A's lose three players to free agency. The General Manager has to come up with a new way to pay the salaries of the team he fields. He turns to a new way of looking at stats and the value of players.
Review: I really enjoyed the film. It's the story of Billy Beane, the General Manager of the Oakland A's. The Oakland A's were the first team to use sabermetrics in a serious way. Sabermetrics was developed by Bill James, whom I had heard about in the 1980s.
"Moneyball" at Amazon.com"One For The Money" - With Katherine Heigl, Debbie Reynolds, Daniel Sunjata, John Leguizamo, Sherri Shepherd, Jason O'Mara, Frederick Fischler.
Plot Intro: A girl loses her job at Macy's, and out of desperation she takes a job as a bounty hunter in her cousin's bail bonds office. Her first big case is to capture a cop who failed to appear.
Review: The film is based on the 1994 Janet Evanovich book, a book I read a couple years after it was published. I've been a big Plum fan ever since. The movie was a pleasant surprise. Heigl was very good, as was Sherri Shepherd. Fischler fits well as Vinnie. Some may think that parts of the plot of "The Bounty Hunter" (2010) are similar to "One For the Money", but Evanovich's book is (as I said) from 1994, and the 2010 film was not based on a new plot either. Both films are watchable. "One For The Money" is more gritty. "Bounty Hunter" is about a former boyfriend going after his former girlfriend who missed her court date, and the two people traveled a lot. IMO, "Bounty Hunter" is more like "Midnight Run". "One for the Money" is about a girl who goes after a copy who is FTA (failure to appear) - rather than the other way around, and the action basically stays in and around Trenton.
"One For The Money" at Amazon.com"Our Idiot Brother" - With Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, Rashida Jones.
Plot Intro: A guy gets arrested for dealing drugs. When he gets out he goes to his family. He doesn't want to live with his mother, and his sisters don't want him. Things come to a head after he causes everyone trouble.
Review: Paul Rudd is funny at times, and the movie is humorous. A little nudity.
"Our Idiot Brother" at Amazon.com"Paul" - With Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Seth Rogen, Jeffrey Tambor, Jason Bateman, Krisen Wiig, Sigourney Weaver, Jane Lynch. Written by Nick Frost and Simon Pegg. Directed by Greg Mottola.
Plot Intro: The alien who crashed in "Area 51" escapes from captivity and meets up with two guys from England who are driving a Winnebago.
Review: Rogen is excellent - voicing Paul, and Pegg, Frost, Wiig, and Bateman are very good. Tambor and Lynch have some good scenes. Steven Spielberg has a cameo. The Special Effects creation of Paul are very well done. Not necessarily a laugh-out-loud film. Just a pleasantly humorous extra-terrestrial-alien, radical-religious-nut, over-zealous-government-agent film.
My review of Shaun of the Dead (2004) My review of Hot Fuzz (2007) "Paul" at Amazon.com"Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" - With Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Geoffrey Rush, Ian McShane, Keith Richards.
Plot Intro: The Spanish are on the trail of the Fountain of Youth. The British want to get there first.
Review: The fourth in the series -- Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Dead Man's Chest (2006), At World's End (2007). It was great to see Cruz and Depp together. An entertaining movie.
"Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" at Amazon.com My review of 'Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl' (2003) My review of 'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest' (2006) My review of 'Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End' (2007)"Rango" - Animated feature with Johnny Depp, Ned Beatty, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Alfred Molina, Bill Nighy, Stephen Root, Harry Dean Stanton, Timothy Olyphant.
Plot Intro: A chameleon gets separated from his family after their car hits a bump. He ends up in the desert and must deal with a mystery about water in the town of Dirt.
Review: The movie takes some themes from "Chinatown" and "Destry Rides Again" among other films. It is basically a movie that turns small desert creatures into human-like characters. The graphics are interesting to look at - trying to figure out why they made some of the choices in animals and other creatures. Also, I was distracted from the story by trying to recognize the star behind the voice. It was difficult. It was easy to be distracted, because the film is like few films, and the story was not really engrossing. The film picked up a little after Rango reached the town of Dirt, but I didn't think that it ever took off.
"Rango" at Amazon.com"Real Steel" - With Hugh Jackman, Dakota Goyo, Evangeline Lilly, Hope Davis.
Plot Intro: A down-and-out robot fighter finds a robot in a junkyard, and in the process he reconnects with his estranged son.
Review: Part "The Champion", part "Rocky", and part "Robocop". Starts slow, but it builds. Very good in the last half.
"Real Steel" at Amazon.com"Salmon Fishing in Yemen" - Romantic drama with Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, Amr Waked, Kristin Scott Thomas.
Plot Intro: A sheikh from Yemen wants to establish salmon in his country. He hires a consulting firm in London, who contacts the British government. They assign a man to the job.
Review: Very good film. Blunt and McGregor are great together. Waked is excellent as the sheikh.
"Salmon Fishing in Yemen" at Amazon.com"Something Borrowed" - With Ginnifer Goodwin, Kate Hudson, John Krasinski, Colin Egglesfield, Geoff Pierson, Jill Eikenberry, Ashley Williams.
Plot Intro: The maid of honor has always loved the future groom of her best friend, and it turns out that he has always loved her.
Review: I was increasingly annoyed with Egglesfield's and Goodwin's character, because they just go for what they wanted. No courage. But then I realized that life is basically that way for most people.
"Something Borrowed" at Amazon.com"Super 8" - With Elle Fanning, Joel Courtney, Kyle Chandler, Ron Eldard.
Plot Intro: In a small town, kids are working on a film as a zombie project. While filming at a train station they witness a train crash. That leads to some weird events in town and a military cover-up.
Review: Parts of the film are not believable. For example, the train crash couldn't happen the way it's filmed. (No pickup would derail a train, let alone a high-security one.) Other parts were more real. For example, the relationships of the kids. In the end, it can be described as a teen film.
"Super 8" at Amazon.com"Thor" - With Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård.
Plot Intro: Thor angers his father Odin, who banishes Thor to Earth. Things get out of control back home, and Thor must save his father.
Review: The story is a little weak. When you think about the movie after you've watched it, you realize that not much actually happened.
"Thor" at Amazon.com"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" - With Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, John Hurt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ciarán Hinds. Based on the book by John LeCarre.
Plot Intro: There is a mole in the British Secret Service - also known as The Circus. The head of The Circus, known as Control, suspects that there is a mole. He sends one of his men behind the Iron Curtain to get info to help him figure out who it is, but the agent get shot and captured, and Control is run out of the service.
Review: Based on the popular espionage novel by John LeCarre. It's one of my favorite books. It was dramatized in a seven hour mini-series for TV with Alec Guinness playing George Smiley. This movie is about two hours, so they had to take some short-cuts to fit the story in. There were some points in the first 30 minutes where I had to explain what was going on. One of the major things to look for is when John Hurt appears in the scene. By the time George Smiley is investigating who the mole is, John Hurt's character is dead. Anyway, after the first 30 minutes, the movie was very good. The movie was nominated for the 2011 Best Picture Academy Awards.
"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" at Amazon.com"Unknown" - With Liam Neeson, January Jones, Diane Kruger, Aidan Quinn, Bruno Ganz, Frank Langella.
Plot Intro: After his taxi crashes into the river, he is rescued by the taxi driver but ends up in a coma for four days. He tries to reconnect with his wife, but she says she's never seen him before.
Review: "Unknown" has a similar story line to "Bourne Identity". Of course, any movie that involves amnesia will be compared to Bourne Identity.
"Unknown" at Amazon.com"War Horse" - With Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson, David Thewlis, Benedict Cumberbatch.
Plot Intro: A father sells his son's horse into the army at the early stages of World War I, and the son vows to find it.
Review: The first half of the movie is hampered by saccharin music and obvious attempts of the filmmaker to make the viewer care for the horse. The horse is a beautiful animal, but that's not enough. The side-trip behind the German lines takes away from the momentum of the story. Well-photographed. The film does pick up somewhat at the end.
"War Horse" at Amazon.com"Win Win" - With Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan, Jeffrey Tambor, Melanie Lynskey, Alex Shaffer.
Plot Intro: A down-on-his-luck attorney becomes guardian to an elderly man with memory issues. Then the elderly man's grandson arrives. It turns out the grandson is a pretty good wrestler. But then his mother arrives from Ohio.
Review: A film that kind of grows on you. Giamatti and Ryan are very good. Lynskey has some good scenes. Shaffer is very good as a somewhat numb teenager who has been through a lot.
"Win Win" at Amazon.com"Winnie The Pooh" - With John Cleese, Craig Ferguson, Jim Cummings, Bud Luckey, Jack Boulter, Travis Oates, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Wyatt Dean Hall, Tom Kenny, Huell Howser.
Plot Intro: Eeyore lost his tail, so a substitute must be found. In the meantime, a monster (a Backson) is in the Hundred Acre Woods.
Review: I have been a fan of the original animated shorts. "I'm a little black rain cloud, of course." The animation and the voices were perfect. This movie comes close. Would be entertaining for children and those who love Pooh.
"Winnie The Pooh" at Amazon.com"Winter in Wartime" - Foreign film, subtitled. Also known as Oorlogswinter.
Plot Intro: A teenager in occupied Holland gradually gets involved in the resistance movement to protect a downed British pilot.
Review: Based on a true story. Suspenseful and well-done.
"Winter in Wartime" at Amazon.com"X-Men First Class" - With James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Oliver Platt.
Plot Intro: The beginnings of the X-Men. From World War 2 to the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Review: Good special effects.
"X-Men: First Class" at Amazon.com My review of X-Men: Last Stand (2006). My review of X2 - X-Men United (2001). My review of X-Men (2000).
"127 Hours" - With James Franco, Kate Mara, Amber Tamblyn, Treat Williams.
Plot Intro: A hiker hiking through part of the slot canyons of Utah gets his arm wedged by a falling boulder for 127 hours. He has to resort to desperate measures to free himself.
Review: Based on the true story. Well acted. recommended.
"127 Hours" at Amazon.com"Alice In Wonderland" - With Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Ann Hathaway, Crispin Glover, Stephen Fry, Alan Rickman, Mia Wasikawska, Mairi Ella Challen.
Plot Intro: Alice has grown up, but she falls into the hole in the tree again, and she goes back to Underland. Her friends in Underland expect her to kill the Jabberwocky and overthrow the red queen.
Review: I found the film to be enjoyable. Very interesting to watch. Johnny Depp is great.
"Alice In Wonderland" at Amazon.com"The American" - With George Clooney. Based on the novel "A Very Private Gentleman" by Martin Booth.
Plot Intro: A weapons maker is tracked down in Sweden, and an attempt is made on his life. He flees to Italy, but they track him down again.
Review: The story is an interesting and suspenseful. Clooney is very good. Filmed in Sweden and Italy with European stars. There is some nudity. Not sure why they thought the change of title from the book was necessary.
"The American" at Amazon.com"Blue Valentine" - With Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams.
Plot Intro: A young couple tries to save their marriage by going to a nearby motel, but it's a struggle.
Review: The story is a little hard to floow, because it goes back and forth between parts of the story ten years apart. The movie has nudity, and some other graphic scenes. Tambor's character almost seemed unnecessary to the plot.
"Blue Valentine" at Amazon.com"Bounty Hunter" - With Gerard Butler, Jennifer Aniston, Christine Baranski.
Plot Intro: A reporter misses a court date, has her bail revoked, and becomes a fugitive - all because she is working on a story, and her main witness disappears. She is tracked down by a bounty hunter who happens to be her ex-husband. He is being chased by employees of a bookie, and she is being chased by an ex-cop who is trying to cover up the story.
Review: The movie is a chase movie with a little bit of humor mixed in. I watched "She's Out of My League" after "Bounty Hunter", and thought that "League" was more entertaining. Might be a remake of "Midnight Run" with a couple twists.
"Bounty Hunter" at Amazon.com"The Conspirator" - With Robin Wright, James McAvoy, Kevin Kline, Evan Rachel Wood, Tom Wilkinson, Justin Long, Alexis Bledel.
Plot Intro: After the Lincoln assassination, people are rounded up. One of the people is the woman who ran a boarding house where some of the conspirators met. A young lawyer is assigned to defend her in a military court.
Review: Well-done portrayal of a disturbing true story. The incident shows that the government can use patriotism to justify anything, including coercion of witnesses and judges.
"The Conspirator" at Amazon.com"Date Night" - With Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Mark Wahlberg, Kristen Wiig, Mark Ruffalo, James Franco, Mila Kunis.
Plot Intro: Two suburban parents go to the city for a romantic dinner, and they are caught up a blackmail plot.
Review: Tina Fey and Steve Carell are great. There are parts of the film that are pretty funny. The rest of the film is not as funny but still entertaining.
"Date Night" at Amazon.com"Despicable Me" - With Steve Carrell, Julie Andrews, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Kristen Wiig, Elsie Fisher.
Plot Intro: A man named Gru thinks he is the worst villain in the world, but he finds out that there is someone else who is vying for the "title." Gru's attempt to get back on top is complicated when he adopts three little girls.
Review: Great animated feature. It is a sweet story. Very enjoyable to watch. Love the minions. Should have been nominated for an Academy Award. I have more fun watching "Despicable Me" than any of the features that were nominated.
"Despicable Me" at Amazon.com"Dinner For Schmucks" - With Paul Rudd, Stephen Carell, Zach Galifianakis, Bruce Greenwood, Ron Livingston, Larry Wilmore.
Plot Intro: An somewhat aggressive mid-level executive tries to make it to the upper echelon in his company. The requirement for getting the upper level job is to bring an idiot to dinner.
Review: Sometimes hard to watch, sometimes funny. Gets more humorous as it goes. I enjoyed the mice dioramas. They were apparently based on a San Francisco artist named Jeannie M. without credit, though I couldn't see the direct correlation between her art and the movie - aside from the mice.
"Dinner For Schmucks" at Amazon.com"Due Date" - With Robert Downey Jr, Zach Galifianakis.
Plot Intro: A man is trying to fly to California for his wife's operation when he runs into a guy who is only bad luck.
Review: The film gets more intense as it goes. Some funny moments. Others not very believable.
"Due Date" at Amazon.com"Easy A" - With Emma Stone, Amanda Bynes, Thomas Haden Church, Patricia Clarkson, Stanley Tucci, Lisa Kudrow.
Plot Intro: The English teacher gives his class an assignment to read and analyze "The Scarlet Letter." A high school senior tries to help some students who are not having a great time in school. She volunteers to let her reputation be dragged through the mud, so they can look more cool. In the process, she comes to a better understanding of what the main character of "The Scarlet Letter" went through.
Review: Very entertaining film - mostly due to the performances by Stone, Tucci, and Clarkson - and because of the excellent writing and direction, of course. Emma Stone plays the main character, and she dominates the film. Tour de force.
"Easy A" at Amazon.com"Edge of Darkness" - With Mel Gibson.
Plot Intro: A Boston cop walks out of his front door with his daughter, and the daughter is killed by a shotgun blast. At first, the police assume that he was the taget, but as he investigates her death and uncovers a situation more complicated than anyone will believe.
Review: The mystery kind of grows. At the end, it kind of reminded me of a cross between "Conspiracy Theory" and "Payback." Mel tries to have, what sounds to be, a Boston accent. There are others who have accents and don't necessarily speak very clearly - or loudly, for that matter. Any DVD of a movie where people speak with accents should have a subtitle option.
"Edge of Darkness" at Amazon.com"Everything Must Go" - With Will Ferrell, Rebecca Hall, Stephen Root, Laura Dern.
Plot Intro: After being laid off from work, Nick Halsey drives home to find that the locks are changed and all his belongongs are on the front lawn.
Review: I kept waiting for this movie to get better, but it just never seemed to make it over the hump. Halsey is an alcoholic who just got laid off and notified that his wife wanted a divorce, so I understood why he'd be depressed and antagonistic. But I didn't see what motivated him to change at the end, and the movie left him hanging. There isn't an indication of his direction in life. Just seemed like an odd movie.
"Everything Must Go" at Amazon.com"Exporting Raymond" - Documentary with Philip Rosenthal, Max Rosenthal.
Plot Intro: The creator of "Everybody Loves Raymond" gets involved in helping to put a Russian version on Russian TV.
Review: Documentary about Philip Rosenthal working with a Russian TV crew to translate the US hit "Everybody Loves Raymond" to Russian TV. It is an interesting look at how humor in one nation has to be explained and explained until it finally breaks through the walls of misunderstanding and culture.
"Exporting Raymond" at Amazon.com"The Fighter" - With Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo.
Plot Intro: A welterweight fighter has to fight in the ring, and he has to fight his dysfunctional family, before he starts putting it together.
Review: Based on the true story of light-welterweight boxer Micky Ward, his brother, and his family. Nominated for Academy Award for Best Film of 2011. Christian Bale was awarded the Best Actor Oscar, and Melissa Leo received the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. All well-deserved. And Amy Adams is great. The film contains some foul language, and the fight scenes are violent - but that's to be expected. The fight on Charlene's porch between Charlene and Micky Ward's sisters, and the subsequent flight of George in his truck, is a very funny scene.
"The Fighter" at Amazon.com"Gulliver's Travels" - With Jack Black, Jason Siegel, Emily Blunt, Amanda Peet, Billy Connelly, Chris O'Dowd, Catharine Tate.
Plot Intro: A mail room clerk, recently demoted and who has a 5 year crush on a co-worker, accepts an assignment from her to do a travelogue series of articles. His boat gets sucked into a vortex, and he ends up tied to the sandy beach in a land inhabited by very small people.
Review: This is another attempt at updating the story written by Jonathan Swift in 1726. Swift's book was a work of satire about the political situation of the time. Very few attempts to translate it to the screen capture this aspect of the story. I'd like to see a film take on the how ridiculous today's political climate is. Not sure anyone would understand it. Getting back to this film: Black is OK, Blunt and Peet are always a pleasure to watch, and the rest of the cast puts forth a good effort. And there is the obligatory Jack Black song and dance at the end.
"Gulliver's Travels" at Amazon.com"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1" - Fantasy with Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), Alan Rickman (Prof. Severus Snape), Tom Fenton (Draco Malfoy), Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid), Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange). Based on the book by J. K. Rowling.
Plot Intro: Harry Potter and his friends must travel around to finish what Dumbledore started, but they stumble onto something called "the Deathly Hallows" which are described in a children's story.
Review: I've read the HP books several times, but it's been a while since I've read book 7. My impression of the movie was almost all positive. I thought they stayed very close to the book. I'm not sure whether the story would make sense to someone who hasn't read the book. The twist from horcrux to hallow is very subtle, and Harry doesn't necessarily completely understand the whole Deathly Hallows thing until Voldemort attempts to kill him (again). Those who have read the books may have to explain the whole subtle turn of events. Also, the story will be a little easier to follow after the second movie comes out, and both movies can be viewed back-to-back -- though you'd have to sit there for about 5 hours. Overall, it was one of the better HP movies. I'm looking forward to the second one.
I watched the DVD of HP7A when it first came out, and I realized that there was a missing part of the book. Voldemort got the Elder Wand at the end of the movie after Harry, Hermione, and Ron escaped from the Malfoys - while Harry is burying Dobby. In the book, they escape from the Malfoys, bury Dobby, go to Gringotts, get the cup, escape on the dragon. While the dragon flies away, Harry sees Voldemort get the Elder Wand, and then Hermione destroys the horcrux in the cup. So in the book, at the time Voldemort gets the wand, there are only three horcruxes left - the diadem, Nagini, and the one on Harry's forehead. In the movie, they didn't get the cup, so there are four left. Not sure whether they're going to leave out the cup and Gringotts - or whether they just wanted to end the first half of the story with a dramatic scene of Voldemort raising the Elder Wand.
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1" at Amazon.com My review of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2" (2011) My review of "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" (2009) My review of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" (2007) My review of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" (2005) My review of "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" (2004) My review of "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" (2002) My review of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" (2001) - AKA "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" The HP Lexicon - some interesting reading if you are a Harry Potter fan."How To Train Your Dragon" - Animated feature with Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Gerald Butler, Craig Ferguson, Jonah Hill, Christopher Minz-Plasse, TJ Miller, Kristen Wiig.
Plot Intro: Dragons are the enemy. A young man finds out they're not as bad as everyone thinks.
Review: A good family film. The numerous variations of dragons is impressive. Entertaining.
"How To Train Your Dragon" at Amazon.com"I Am Number Four" - With Alex Pettyfer, Timothy Olyphant, Teresa Palmer, Dianna Agron.
Plot Intro: Refugees from a conquered planet are tracked down on Earth. Three of them have been killed, and now they are tracking down Number Four.
Review: The last half hour somewhat make up for the slow first two-thirds of the film. It is set up for a sequel
"I Am Number Four" at Amazon.com"The Illusionist" - Animated film based on a screenplay by Jacques Tati. AKA L'illusionniste.
Plot Intro: A magician from France ends up in Scotland where a young girl kind of latches onto him.
Review: Very good animated feature. The artwork is very well-done. It's kind of like a series of watercolors. The story is entertaining. Might not be as entertaining for kids. It has a more adult theme about growing older.
"The Illusionist" at Amazon.com"Inception" - With Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe, Michael Caine, Tom Berenger.
Plot Intro: People sedate victims and then subject them to dreams in which they find out their secrets, but one of the team has uncontrolled parts of the dreams. They have to dream within dream within dreams.
Review: Lots of visual effects. A creative story. Hard to keep track at times if the logic of the dream world makes no sense. I guess they were trying to leave it up in the air at the end.
"Inception" at Amazon.com"Iron Man 2" - With Robert Downey Jr, Mickey Rourke, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johannson, Samuel L Jackson, Garry Shandling, Jon Favreau. Directed by Jon Favreau. AKA "Iron Man II".
Plot Intro: Iron Man and his father have made enemies, and the government wants his nifty suit. Now Iron Man must deal with the situation.
Review: When I first saw "Iron Man 2" in the theater, the movie was schizophrenic for me. The build up at the beginning was very slow. Too much time with dancing and parties. Too much time in the Senate hearing. However, I've watched it a couple times recently, and the length of the scenes didn't feel wrong.
Part of the plot didn't make sense. What could the Senate or the US government threaten him with? In the real world, Stark would have multiple houses, and his money would be in a place where it couldn't be seized. Also, the government needed Stark Industries. Who else could they go to? So if the US government had tried to seize his suits, he could easily have gone to another house and had all his resources - with no adverse affect to his company.
The fighting scenes were good, but I liked the first movie better. At times I could feel that there was a conscious effort by the filmmakers to out-do the first film. Sometimes it's better to simplify a little and edit some more.
"Iron Man 2" at Amazon.com My Review of "Iron Man" (2008)."Jonah Hex" - With Josh Brolin, Megan Fox, John Malkovich.
Plot Intro: Jonah Hex is a bounty hunter searching for a gang who are planning to overthrow the government. He has an advantage, because he can talk to the dead.
Review: Based on a Western-themed comic book. Brolin is great to watch in his recent films. I've never read the comic books. The movie was different thatn what I expected, but it was fun to watch as a rental.
"Jonah Hex" at Amazon.com"Karate Kid" - With Jackie Chan, Jaden Smith.
Plot Intro: A widowed mother is transferred to Beijing, and it's a big adjustment for her son. He runs afoul of a local tough kid, especially after he befriends a pretty girl in the neighborhood.
Review: The idea of the story occuring in Beijing is an interesting one, but I had a few problems with the script and editing. The film seems a bit long. Also, it seemed like more than half of the scenes are between Smith and the local girl. I had a hard time believing that a small boy like Smith could be trained in Kung Fu in a short time - enough to win a tournament against kids who had been training possibly for years. Admittedly, I know little about this kind of training, but the development of muscular strength should take longer, in my opinion.
"Karate Kid" at Amazon.com"The Kids Are All Right" - With Julianne Moore, Annette Bening, Mark Ruffalo, Mia Wasikowska, Josh Hutcherson.
Plot Intro: A same sex couple who each gave birth to a child by the same sperm donor have their family lives disrupted when their children want to meet him. They face the challenge of roughing a crisis in their relationship together.
Review: Moore, Bening, and Ruffalo have at least one scene where they can display their acting skills. Great acting which resulted in multiple Oscar nominations.
"The Kids Are All Right" at Amazon.com"The King's Speech" - Historical drama with Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Derek Jacobi, Michael Gambon, Guy Pearce.
Plot Intro: His father, King George V, dies, and his brother, King Edward VIII, abdicates. King George VI has a speech problem and goes through speech therapy.
Review: Very entertaining throughout the film, and it is very moving at the end. Firth and Rush are great. Carter and the rest of the cast are top notch, excellent. Won the Best Picture Oscar, and Firth won Best Actor Oscar. Four Oscars in all (including Director and Best Original Screenplay).
"The King's Speech" at Amazon.com"Knight and Day" - Action drama with Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard, Viola Davis.
Plot Intro: A rogue agent hides a highly desired object in the luggage of a woman walking through an airport.
Review: I'm usually not into Cruise movies, but this movie ended up better than anticipated.
"Knight and Day" at Amazon.com"Leap Year" - With Amy Adams, Matthew Goode, Adam Scott, John Lithgow, Kaitlin Olson.
Plot Intro: After not receiving an engagement proposal from her boyfriend of four years, a young woman flies to Ireland to propose on Leap Year Day. She ends up in Dingle and has to make her way to Dublin, but she runs into one obstacle after another.
Review: Many cliches, but the photography of the Irish countryside is beautiful.
"Leap Year" at Amazon.com"Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole" - Animated feature.
Plot Intro: Owls plot against other owls. Owlettes find out that the legends are true.
Review: The graphics of the movie are good to very-good. The movie will appeal more to children, though you may be more interested in it if you are familiar with the book - which I'm not.
"Legend of the Guardians" at Amazon.com"Made in Dagenham" - With Sally Hawkins, Andrea Riseborough, Jaime Winstone, Lorraine Stanley, Geraldine James, Bob Hoskins, Miranda Richardson.
Plot Intro: Women are tired of being treated like second class citizens after receiving demeaning and condescending comments from the men who they have to deal with - teachers, managers, union reps. They go on strike and bring production at the auto plant to a halt.
Review: I enjoyed this movie. Bob Hoskins and Miranda Richardson were excellent, and I enjoyed Sally Hawkins. I've seen her in other films, particularly "Persuasion" (2007), where she did great.
"Made in Dagenham" at Amazon.com"Megamind" - Animated feature with Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, Ben Stiller.
Plot Intro: An evil genius wants to be the hero.
Review: Creative story. Well-voiced. Entertaining.
"Megamind" at Amazon.com"Morning Glory" - With Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton, Jeff Goldblum.
Plot Intro: A young woman is hired to reinvigorate a morning show in New York City.
Review: McAdams is very good. A good rental.
"Morning Glory" at Amazon.com"Nanny McPhee Returns" - With Emma Thompson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Maggie Smith, Ewan McGregor. AKA "Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang".
Plot Intro: A young mother, whose husband is fighting in the war, has to deal with her three children and save the family farm. She is under pressure from her brother-in-law, and she has to add her niece and nephew to the group.
Review: Starts out silly, but it kind of evens out. Kids might like it.
"Nanny McPhee Returns" at Amazon.com My review of Nanny McPhee"The Other Guys" - With Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Samuel L Jackson, Dwayne Johnson, Eva Mendes, Michael Keaton, Damon Wayans Jr.
Plot Intro: The two top cops in NYC die jumping off of a building. That leaves their prime spot open for competition. A top-line detective is teamed up with an accountant type, leading to total frustration.
Review: I liked this film a lot. Parts of it made me laugh out loud. It kind of slowed in the middle, but most comedies do when they set up the end. I'll watch it again.
"The Other Guys" at Amazon.com"Salt" - With Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber.
Plot Intro: A CIA agent is captured and then traded back. Then during the interrogation of a defector, she is implicated as a "mole". In spite of her denials, she is targeted by her fellow agents. Her main concern is the safety of her husband. Is she a "mole" or not?
Review: "Salt" is a movie that stretches credibility. At some point, Salt would have broken a leg or lost her grip, and the whole escapade would have ended. And the final twists are easy to predict. Other than that, the film is pretty good. May be set up for a sequel.
"Salt" at Amazon.com"Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" - With Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin, Jason Schwartzman.
Plot Intro: Scott Pilgrim has to defeat the seven evil ex-boyfriends of Ramona Flowers.
Review: The film is based on a video fight game. Lots of extra graphics. Very funny; fun to watch. I like this film a lot.
"Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" at Amazon.com"Secretariat" - With Diane Lane, John Malkovich, James Cromwell, Scott Glenn.
Plot Intro: After a coin toss, a horse breeding farm ends up with a colt that becomes a Triple Crown winner.
Review: Good portrayal of some of the events related to the career of Secretariat leading up to the winning of the Triple Crown in 1973.
"Secretariat" at Amazon.com"She's Out of My League" - With Jay Baruchel, Alice Eve.
Plot Intro: A guy who works in airport security helps out a very pretty young girl who forgot her cell phone at the security checkpoint at the Pittsburgh airport. After he gets her phone back to her, she asks him to a hockey game, and things progress from there. His only problem is that his friends and family keep telling him that she's out of his league.
Review: Very entertaining. Alice Eve looks beautiful, and she plays her character well. Baruchel sounds a lot like Christian Slater. "League" was rated "R" in the US, but I thought it should have been "PG-13". Alice Eve does disrobe some, but she never is completely undressed.
One thing I don't understand: Two people are about to have sex for the first time, and while they're in their underwear, they talk about their bodily defects. Does that put a person in the mood? I don't think so. I know these kinds of things happen, but those people are stupid.
"She's Out of My League" at Amazon.com"Shrek Forever After" - Animated feature with Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, Julie Andrews, Antonio Banderas, John Cleese, Kathy Griffin.
Plot Intro: Shrek is a family ogre, and he gets no time for himself. No one understands, particularly his wife. He makes a deal for one day during which he is the old fearful ogre he used to be. Then he has to try to get his life back.
Review: Kind of slow at the beginning, but after he finds the other ogres, the film kind of takes off.
"Shrek Forever After" at Amazon.com My review of Shrek (2001) My review of Shrek 2 (2004)"The Social Network" - With Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Rashida Jones.
Plot Intro: A computer nerd creates the next big thing - the social network of Facebook.
Review: Reported to be based on the true story of the founding of Facebook. Actually, my understanding is that it is based on court depositions in in some lawsuit cases. The only reservation I have then is how much of the depositions were accurate - and how much embellishment the filmmaker added to the story. Eisenberg, Garfield, and Timberlake are great. It is very interesting how quickly the site was programmed and how quickly it expanded.
"The Social Network" at Amazon.com"The Sorcerer's Apprentice" - With Nicholas Cage, Jay Baruchel, Alfred Molina, Monica Bellucci, Alice Krige, James A Stevens.
Plot Intro: Merlin's apprentice has to stop Morgana's apprentice, so he chooses his own apprentice. He has to train the new apprentice to help .
Review: Some good special effects. Jay Baruchel makes me laugh, so that helped. Some of the music and some of the scenes are based on the Mickey Mouse cartoon of the same name.
"The Sorcerer's Apprentice" at Amazon.com"Submarine" - With Noah Taylor, Paddy Considine, Craig Roberts, Sally Hawkins, Yasmin Paige.
Plot Intro: A teenage boy wants to help save his parents' marriage, and he wants to be the best boyfriend he can be to his new girlfriend. He can only be in one place at a time.
Review: Melancholy film about young love. It's also about what it's like to be young, trying to figure out what life's all about when there isn't a manual for getting through all the tough times. Craig Roberts is great. He has a sad look about him through the whole movie.
"Submarine" at Amazon.com"Tangled" - Animated feature with Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Donna Murphy, Ron Perlman, Brad Garrett, Jeffrey Tambor, Richard Kiel.
Plot Intro: A princess with magic hair is kidnapped by an evil witch, and she is kept captive so that she can give the witch a long life. But a shady character comes into her life and helps her find the truth.
Review: Some of the singing early in the film is a little too much, but the last half of the film is very good - singing and all. Excellent artwork and animation. Very good story.
"Tangled" at Amazon.com"The Town" - With Ben Affleck, Pete Postlethwait, Blake Lively, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Chris Cooper, Titus Welliver. Directed by Ben Affleck. Co-written by Ben Affleck, Peter Craig, Aaron Stockard.
Plot Intro: Armored truck robbers are being hunted by the FBI. One of the gang wants to quit.
Review: Excellent film directed by Affleck. The acting, directing, script are all very good.
"The Town" at Amazon.com"Toy Story 3" - Animated feature with Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Ned Beatty, Don Rickles, Michael Keaton, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Estelle Harris, Laurie Metcalf, Timothy Daulton.
Plot Intro: Andy is going to college, and the toys are nervous about whether they'll end up in a landfill. They end up in a day care by mistake.
Review: A good Pixar effort. It seemed like they were closing the Toy Story series. I went to see the 3D version, and most of the time I couldn't really see much 3D. The Hispanic Buzz was very funny. I didn't really care for the cartoon short that came before it. Toy Story 3 won Best Animated Feature Oscar. "Despicable Me" should have won. It's a better film, and more fun to watch.
"Toy Story 3" at Amazon.com My review of "Toy Story" (1995) My review of "Toy Story 2" (1999)"Tron Legacy" - With Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, Garrett Hedlund.
Plot Intro: A computer hacker, trying to discover what happened to his father, finds his father's equipment. He turns it on and triggers it - ending up digitized and transferred into the world of Tron.
Review: Some good special effects. I've never been able to get into the Tron story. If you liked the first one, Tron (1982), you will probably like this long-awaited follow-up.
"Tron Legacy" at Amazon.com"True Grit" - With Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon.
Plot Intro: A 14 year old girl's father was killed by an outlaw. She hires Rooster Cogburn to assist her in capturing him and bringing him to justice.
Review: Excellent dramatization of Charles Portis's book. Nominated for Best Picture Academy Award - among other nominations. Great cinematography. Excellent casting. I like this version better than the John Wayne version.
"True Grit" at Amazon.com My Review of True Grit (1969)"You Again" - With Kristen Bell, Jamie Lee Curtis, Sigourney Weaver, Betty White, Cloris Leachman, Kristin Chenoweth, Odette Annable.
Plot Intro: After getting promoted, a young executive flies home to find out that her brother is marrying the girl who bullied her all through high school.
Review: More like a TV movie. Somewhat humorous.
"You Again" at Amazon.com"You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger" - Written and directed by Woody Allen. With Anthony Hopkins, Gemma Jones, Naomi Watts, Josh Brolin, Freida Pinto, Antonio Banderas, Lucy Punch.
Plot Intro: An elderly man becomes addicted to working out. He splits up with his wife. Later, the wife becomes confinced that a "psychic" knows what she's talking about. An author whose first book was a best-seller is struggling with his next book, adding pressure to his marriage. He becomes attracted to a woman in the next building. He splits from his wife, and she splits from her fiance..
Review: Slice of life. Watching this movie reinforces that many people are not happy with their lives. They want to be doing something else, or they want to be someone else. And if they make a change, they find out they are not happy anyway. The trick is to be content..
"You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger" at Amazon.com