Mini Movie Review – The 5 Year Engagement

Friday, April 27, 2012

Who Picked it:  It was really the only decent option out at the moment.

My rating (out of 10):  8.5
The boyfriend’s rating (out of 10): 5

Better than Knocked Up.

Not as good as Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

In a nutshell: I went in with really low expectations, but with Emily Blunt being adorable, Segel and Pratt with some hilarious lines and a very convincingly British Alison Brie, I thought the movie was absolutely hilarious and completely surpassed my exceptions.

See it or skip it: See it!!!

Mini Movie Review – The Lucky One

In case you missed my Facebook update (follow me on FB here), I’ve decided to start doing Mini Movie Reviews on Fridays. I go to movies every Friday so it just makes sense. It’s nothing official, but just a quick snapshot of what I thought about my Friday movie. They will always follow this format. The “better than” and “not as good as” categories will try to be targeted to a similar genre/theme. Let me know what you think!

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Who Picked it (me or the boyfriend):  me (duh!)

My rating (out of 10):  6
The boyfriend’s rating (out of 10): 3.5

Better than The Vow.

Not as good as New Year’s Eve.

In a nutshell: Zac Efron is really good at exactly one thing (and it’s not acting), which unfortunately comes off slightly creepy in this delightfully sappy chick flick, but the film makes up for lost ground with an adorable little kid, some beautiful scenery, and a little bit of guns and drama!

See it or skip it: See it

The Hunger Games: The Book

I can’t decide if the churning feeling in the pit of my stomach lately is due to an uptick of work responsibilities or the fact that I’m halfway through the third book in the hunger games. I’m starting to think it’s probably the latter. I started reading The Hunger Games about a month ago. Since then, I’ve repeatedly stayed up too late on week nights, almost missed bus stops and appeared completely anti-social during my lunch break because of my complete obsession with this series! I don’t know what I would have done if my Kindle wasn’t equipped with 3G because I had to buy the second and third books immediately after finishing the previous book halfway through my bus ride home.

I know I’m not alone in this sentiment. When the New York Times reviewed the first book back in 2008, it only took up the bottom half of the article. They couldn’t have known that the books would catch fire (pun totally intended!). The New York Times has reviewed it since then, but I was totally bummed by the level of spoilers in some of them, so I’m not going to link here (I’m sure you can find it yourself if you’re interested). The book has received numerous awards and praise, including one of Publisher Weekly‘s “Best Books of the Year” in 2008 and the “2008 Cybil Winner” for fantasy and science-fiction books. More importantly, all my really awesome friends loved it to!

As (hopefully!) you all know, Lions Gate Entertainment has adapted the book into a feature length film that premiers on March 23.

I could not be more excited! I have never read a book before it was made into a movie! I have read books after the movie based upon them comes out, but never the other way around.  This is really huge for me. I always hear people say how the movie is never as good as the book, which might be true in this case, but I’m staying optimistic! I’m sure that people say this about most books before the movie comes out, but due to the nature of this book, I highly recommend you read the book first! Plus, it’s written for 13-year-olds, so you could totally knock it out in a day if you really tried.

Let me give you a brief summary …

The book takes place in Panem, which is the nation that formed in the remains of a post-apocalyptic North America. Panem comprises 12 fenced districts, which are home to the poor working class who provide food and other resources to the wealthy and eccentric capitol residents. Before what is known as the Dark Days, there was a 13th district, which was destroyed when the districts unsuccessfully tried to rebel against the Capitol’s tyranny. Since then, the Capitol punishes the districts for the rebellion in a variety of fear-inducing ways, the most horrifying being the Hunger Games. Each year, the Games begin with a Reaping, at which the capital draws the name of one boy and one girl, between the ages of 12 – 18, from each district to be Tributes. They are briefly trained by the Capitol in the art of survival and then thrown into an arena to fight to the death, until only one Tribute remains and is crowned Victor. The story is told through the eyes of the strong, yet lovable, lead character from the deprived District 12, Katniss Everdeen. Katniss is complex in all the right ways; she is tough and wicked smart, but frosted with a soft side of gentleness and wit. When her little sister Prim’s name is drawn during the District 12 Reaping, Katniss volunteers to take her place. Along with the male District 12 Tribute, Peeta Mellark, she is whisked away into the Capitol’s whimsical, yet disturbing world where she prepares to enter the Games. Told through first-person point of view, the reader is whisked away with Katniss and Peeta into a new world where strength, brains and loyalties are tested to the max.

So go read it! Please and thank you.

You can buy The Hunger Games:

Hard Copy on Amazon for $9.46

Digital  Copy for Kindle for $7.49

Digital Copy for Nook for $7.49



Red Tailin’

I’m notoriously bad at setting high standards, and thus, I am often let down. After I saw the trailer, I was ridiculously excited for Red Tails. I think you know where this is going.

Red Tails wasn’t really a bad movie, as long as you don’t go into it expecting it to be the next Top Gun, which it certainly was not. Now I’m no Ebert, and my favorite movies include the aforementioned Top Gun, just about anything Michael Bay (particularly Transformers and Pearl Harbor) and a narrow collection of RomComs (particularly Love Actually and Uptown Girls), so you might want to take my review with a grain of salt.

Coming from a girl who finds the line in Pearl Harbor where Ben Affleck says, “I’m not anxious to die, sir, just anxious to matter,” to be epic, it takes a lot for me to find movie scripts to to be cheesy. Red Tails had a lot of lines that really did that for me. For example …

“I sure hope we get their help again!”

“We fight, we fight, we fight!”

“My God, those pilots are African!”

“We’ll get them on the way back.”

Even I, a girl who favors RomComs and Michael Bay, found the storyline’s predictability unforgivable.

My poor taste in movies is why I’m not suggesting you just take my word for it. Check out reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, the Red Eye and the Chicago Tribune and decide for yourself!

Take Me Out to the Movies

To say that Kenny and I have different tastes in movies would be like saying that a notebook is different than an iPad. We watch the same movie, but we see two totally different films. I’m very surface-level, while Kenny is much more thoughtful. It’s not a real surprise, though. Kenny and I see our worlds in totally different ways.

He likes the “game”. He enjoys finding the meaning and purpose in film and cinematography, and I rarely dive below the plot line (largely because I often have a hard enough time figuring that out). He is the person for whom you write movies that win Oscars for. I’m the girl you write movies-that-no-one-remembers-in-three-years-except-me-because-I-was-the-only-person-who-bought-the-DVD for. I (unashamedly) like Michael Bay action movies and really sappy romances with Brittany Murphy. 

If you didn’t know me, you’d probably assume that Kenny and I would never go to movies together. You would be wrong. Kenny really enjoys seeing movies for the sake of art, and I really enjoy seeing movies because I really enjoy doing cute and cliche things. So we go to movies all the time — every Friday to be exact. 

Here’s a look back at some of the movies we’ve seen lately and my thoughts on each of them, so you can start to understand my taste in movies.

I hated it.
I did note and even kind of appreciate the long camera shots, but that’s about the extent of what I enjoyed about the movie. I felt really uncomfortable and awkward the whole time and found the whole movie very dull.  

Tinker Tailor Solider Spy
I hated it. 
I can’t even really comment on this movie because I have no idea what it was about. I tried to figure it out for a while, then I think I fell asleep for a while and then someone got shot and it was over. I do remember thinking it was very Film Noir. Sorry I’m not much help on that one. 

The Decedents
I hated it.
I thought it was incredibly boring, anti-climatic and sad. I think that the girl from Secret Life of an American Teenager (Shailene Woodley) did a great job in her role, but she was the only character I really got attached to. I feel like the movie was a bunch of really sad stories sewn together with a few surprisingly really funny one-liners.

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol
I loved it.
I had never seen any of the Mission: Impossible movies before, but I thought this one was fantastic! It was so intense! I loved all the fancy equipment and Jeremy Renner was hilarious! The scene at Burj Dubai was incredible on IMAX! I had a blast. I totally acted like a secret agent when I left the theater.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
I loved it.
I don’t know that I could watch this movie again, some scenes were really hard for me to watch the first time, but I thought it was riveting. It’s important to note that I did not read the book, but I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. I haven’t been really sucked into the world of a movie in a long time, and this movie really did that for me. After the climax though, the end seemed to drag on a bit.  

Arthur Christmas
I loved it.
“I can wrap anything with three pieces of sticky tape! Three!” I thought it was freaking adorable and not just because I’m a sucker for Christmas movies. It was this delightful mesh of Miracle on 34th Street and Mission Impossible. I thought it was a fresh take on Christmas, and I really wish that it was a bigger hit. 

New Year’s Eve
I (obviously) loved it. 
It was cheesy and predictable and pretty and perfect! Okay, not perfect, but I still loved it. It had all the makings of a perfect chick flick: a few pretty faces, a love-to-hate-then-back-to-love relationship and some well placed bad jokes. It was refreshing compared to some of the movies we’ve seen lately.

J. Edgar
I hated it.
I got really confused about the timeline on this movie, which comes back to the fact that I often have a hard time even following the basic plot of a movie. I thought this movie was pretty boring, too. No real story arch, just walking through J. Edgar’s life. I did think that Leo did a great job as an old man though. 

The Ides of March
I liked it.
This one was a while ago, so I don’t remember the details, but what I do remember was thinking that the ending was really abrupt and disappointing. I don’t really remember loving or hating it. It was your typical political drama.

I loved it.
I love baseball and I love Brad Pitt, so this one was an easy A. It was a heartwarming story about the little guys coming out on top. I love rooting for the underdog! I also didn’t know a lot about the actual Oakland team, so I felt like I was actually living the season as it happened. I thought it was great.

Wrapped in Tradition

I’m really big on tradition. Sundays are for grocery shopping, football and baking. Every weeknight after work, my boyfriend and I cook dinner together, watch tv and I write my blog while he studies. And lately, Fridays have started to become a tradition. 

Friday, I can usually leave work early, which is deceivingly great. It’s really only 10 minutes, but it feels like forever. Then I walk east down Adams all the way to Michigan Avenue, sometimes grabbing a coffee along with way. Kenny takes the 6 bus up to Wacker and I meet him right by the river. We find a cute, new restaurant that we’ve never been too. I order a glass of wine (usually crappy merlot, or sangria if they have it) and Kenny will get a beer. We split an appetizer and Kenny tells me fun stories about law school and I talk about the trials and tribulations of being in recruiting. Then we hold hands and walk to the movie theatre downtown. We try to alternate who picks the movie. (I pick sappy, terrible romantic comedies or Michael Bay movies like 50/50 or Transformers. Kenny usually picks the better acclaimed action or historical films, like J. Edgar or Moneyball.) We order a soda and I get Sour Skittles. We watch the movie, I usually get confused and then we walk to the bus talking about the flick. When we come home, we pop in another movie — sometimes really bad ones like Armageddon, but I enjoy them.

And that’s our Friday! I think it’s perfect. It’s no line of shots in Wrigleyville or midnight rave session, but it’s very us. It’s a few of our favorite things wrapped into one lovely evening. 

With the holidays coming up, people think a lot about tradition. There are some things that we continue to treasure year in and year out, like listening to my brother play Christmas carols on the piano or baking cookies with my mom. Some things we have to modify, sometimes grandparents join us from heaven, sometimes siblings move across the country and sometimes new little ones join us, and all these things help us build new traditions. But the older I get, the more I realize that tradition isn’t about doing the same things over and over again, it’s about making memories with people we love. It’s not that me or my brothers actually believe that Santa wrote us the note thanking us for the cookies, but we put them out anyways because that’s what Christmas is to us. 

So if one day, our Friday tradition is threatened, I will be okay with that, because the point isn’t about going to a movie every Friday, it’s about making a memory with someone I love. I hope everyone out there finds it in their hearts to figure out what their traditions really mean to them, and embrace the love that’s hidden behind the routine.

[Please expect these sappy posts to continue at least until mid-January. =) ]