I'll start the ball rolling here.... feel free to add your reviews here! I am going to start with a recent favorite....

The Blind Side

This is one of my favorite movies of recent. For those unfamiliar with the movie (which is based on a true story), is about a 16 year old African American boy that is taken in by a well to do family. The young man turns out to be a rather good football player who ends up being drafted in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft.

One of the things I liked most about this movie is that you don't have to be a football fan to enjoy it. I took the folks to see the movie about a month ago which in its self is a bit of a miracle since the last time they went to the movies was to go see "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" which I believe came out in the 90's. The acting is pretty decent and their is enough humor and drama in it to keep the movie flowing along pretty good. I've seen it a few times and will be buying the movie as soon as it hits DVD. Sandra Bullock did a wonderful job and has already been rewarded with several awards already and was nominated for a Academy Award.

So in other words, if you want to go see a good movie still playing in many theaters (although unfortunately not the local Ludington theater), good see this one!

I am going to give this movie a rating of 5 Torches! (5 Torches being the best rating)


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Alas, if one wants to watch Atlas Shrugged around here they have to travel a ways, or wait for it to hit video.  One of those novels/movies that may make you think about the proper role of government in a free society.   
Atlas Shrugged is not what you would call a real popular movie yet, or at least per the critics so far. Reason: it makes you think about your life goals, the politics of the USA, and your reasons for being whom you are, and whether you are the best you can be. All this said, people would much rather be in a movie laughing, crying, or just falling asleep. After all, you go to a movie to relax and be a sheep, not to take life seriously and think. You can worry all day, why go to a movie for education and self-improvement? That's why I believe the liberal press hasn't been appreciative toward the movie's release, it's just too darn confusing and intellectual for the average Joe in the street. Theaters want seats filled, not empty. Good luck finding the movie all.

Fast Five

Fast Five is the newest sequel in the Fast & The Furious series, reuniting Vin Diesel and Paul Walker who are now both on the same side as opposed to their original sides in the first movie. Dwayne Johnson also stars in this film as a tough as nails US Federal Agent, bent on making sure that he gets the guys.

After busting Dom (Vin Diesel) out of the hands of the authorities during a daring rescue, Brian (Walker) and Mia (Jordana Brewster), Brain's girlfriend, all head south of the border to Rio. Once down there they meet up with a old friend who knows that everyone is hurting for cash so he mentions that he has a job lined up. The job consist of removing 3 exotic cars off of a moving train, not exactly a easy job but one they can do none the less. During the job, the feds on the train get shot and killed and Dom and Brian are said to be the shooters. So now the guys are not only in trouble with American authorities, they have the locals on their case too. Throw in a corrupt businessman and the guys have their work cut out.

I've never been a huge fan of this series but I do have to admit that this film did look like it might be decent and it ended up being worth seeing. I couldn't say that it will win any Oscar's or anything like that but if your looking for a fun popcorn movie with plenty of action and fast cars then this movie will be for you. This one is in theaters now.

I'm going to give this film 4 Torches

Thor

Chris Hemsworth stars along with Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins and Kat Denning. Hemsworth portrays the mythical god of thunder Thor, a warrior to say the least.

After upsetting his father Odin (played by Hopkins), Odin banishes Thor from the realm of Asgard to Earth. On Earth Thor is a mere mortal although it takes him a short time to realize this. Upon his arrival he is hit by a vehicle that contains Portman, Denning and one other person. They get out to check on his condition and think Thor to be confused or drunk as he calls for his Hammer. Before long, Darcy (played by Denning) tasers Thor just as he is saying "how dare you threaten me with your puny weapon" which of course knocks him out. In the hospital he has some issues when someone tries to draw blood from him, knocking around several hospital personnel before finally being sedated.

Eventually he gets out of the hospital and runs into, literally, to Portman and Denning. They are not sure what to make of him of course as he is definitely out of his realm, part of them thinks he's crazy and part of them wants to know more about him. Shortly thereafter, they find out another object had fallen out of the sky the night before and eventually Thor and Portman make their way to the site. The other object turns out to be Thor's hammer. Thor attempts to get to his hammer and eventually does only to find out that it wont respond to him as it once did. During this scene one of the future Avengers has a cameo, Hawkeye.

Overall the movie was decent, pretty much what I expected out of it. Of the superhero movies being released this summer, I suspect this might be the weakest of the bunch as Thor maybe isn't the big name that Hulk or Spider-Man is. I personally think Captain America is probably going to be the best of the bunch although X Men: First Class and Green Lantern wont be far behind. As far as the 3D goes, I again wasn't overly impressed with the 3D effect.. there were again a few scenes where you noticed it but it didn't jump out at you. To date, Avatar is still the only 3D movie that really lived up to being a 3D movie. Oh yes, if you wait til the credits are over with, there is a additional scene that ties into a future movie. I love that Marvel does this, just wish that the ending credits were not so long

I'll give this movie 4 Torches

Captain America

 

OK, I'm a sucker for the superhero genre.  This film's setting is 1942, so sure, you got nazis and even a worse villain inside Nazi Germany named Johann Schmidt, heading a group known as Hydra.  He finds an ultimate power source, but at the same time an expatriate German assists Steve Rogers, a sickly thin American who wants to join the army in the worst way.  Through a serum, Rogers becomes super strong and dextrous, but the serums creator is killed.  Rogers is then used on stage to raise money for the war in a Capt. America outfit, until one day while he is entertaining the troops in Italy, he learns his buddy has been caught by the Krauts, and gets dropped into enemy territory by Tony Stark's (Ironman) dad and his love interest.  He then finds his true calling:  kicking German butt.

Don't want to spoil the finish, so I will just let you know that I and my 13 y.o. nephew both enjoyed the flick and would give it 4 torches out of 5. 

After this movie finished, I noticed some amazing coincidences between CA battling the German Hydras and my current battle with City Hall.  Johann (the German 'John') Schmidt, has the same initials as John Shay; Hydras and Hendersons also have similar word structure and motives; CA's last name Rogers is close to 'Rotta' and is a true patriot; Schmidt and the Hydras are corrupt nationalists out for more power as could be said for our City leaders and their ordinances and policies; and perhaps most interesting is that Chris Evans, the actor who plays the Captain, also played another Marvel super hero in the Fantastic Four movie-- named appropriately The Human Torch

I caught Captain America over the weekend and enjoyed it quite a bit, think its one of the better superhero movies to come out in some time. I'll more then likely see it again as I have a tendency of doing such things with movies I like. I was impressed with Chris Evans in this movie, it seems in most of his movies his roles are more narcissistic, where he's more about his ego and being cool... in Captain America he played the part of Steve Rogers exactly the way it should of been played.. at first its the weakling Steve and after the transformation he evolves into the character of Captain America.

I'm giving the movie a 4 1/2 out of 5!

I won't argue with that rating-- my nephew would probably have given it 5. 

Cowboys and Aliens:

My nephew roped me into seeing this one, and I'm glad I was corralled into it.  I don't want to put down any spoilers, but the improbable scenario envisioned in this movie comes to an entertaining conclusion where the Nineteenth Century Earthers with sixguns and an odd ET weapon put up one heck of a fight against alien '49ers. 

Harrison Ford in a supporting role is cast as a cowboy, that ironically makes you think of his Indiana Jones character because of the hat, and as his alien kick-butt Han Solo character when he's pitted in battle.  Daniel Craig stars and does fine in that capacity, but the subplots involving Ford and other secondary characters make this movie work a lot better for me.  If you like westerns and you like scifi, this is the must-see movie of the summer.  I give it 4.5 stars.

The Hunger Games

 

I haven't read the book this is based on, but my nephew, like many other young adults, has and really wanted to see the movie.  He made it sound interesting enough to look at by the political satire and allegory that was contained therein.  This was one of those movies that I don't want to give away too much of the plot, but I will say it takes place in a dystopian future where there exists twelve relatively poor districts in a future American setting, plus a thirteenth of exceeding splendor and decadence that exists on the backs of the other twelve.  The teen heroine comes from one of these backward districts, and is effectively picked in a lottery system along with a boy, just like all other districts, to participate in a defining bit of reality TV, where they fight to the death with the remaining survivor getting personal glory and recognition for their district.  The film is a bit of an allegory, part social satire, and I was pleased with the way that the heroine gets through the various conflicts in the movie by her choices.  I actually got some ideas I could work with for dealing with problems in my own district.  Good movie, PG-13, violence.  4.5 Stars.

I saw the movie a week ago or so.. like many people my age I hadn't read the book and really didn't know much of anything regarding what the movie was about. Overall the movie wasn't to bad, one of those that I'll probably only see once but was worth seeing.

I'm just waiting for the Summer movie season to start with the Avengers in about a month and then the pre-guel to Alien, Prometheus, a few weeks later... after that we got the Amazing Spider Man, The Dark Knight Rises and some others to look forward too.

If I had reviewed the movie directly after seeing it, I may have rated it as low as 3.5, but I thought it said a lot about overcoming obstacles and solving problems without the typical way action movies do so (by violence and mindless computer animated sequences).  The problems are solved primarily by non-violence, love and liberty.  The antagonists are public despots.  This is a game I can enjoy, as long as the underdogs win.  Plus, I love Seneca Crane's beard; maybe someday we can get Head Gamemaker of Ludington John Shay to grow his beard out like that. 

The Judge

The film's synopsis says:  "A successful lawyer returns to his hometown for his mother's funeral only to discover that his estranged father, the town's judge, is suspected of murder. He sets out to discover the truth and along the way reconnects with the family he walked away from years before."

For some reason, this brought to mind attorney Craig Cooper and his father Judge Richard I. Cooper in our local setting, but the judge in the film (Robert Duvall) is a lot more dedicated to law and justice than our old curmudgeon, and the attorney in the film, played by Robert Downey (aka Ironman and Sherlock Holmes) has a lot more hair and charisma than Craig, but less connection to his dad.

Downey and Duvall give great performances to lift this film from mediocrity to good, making their parts almost believable, and Bill Bob Thornton's Prosecutor Dwight Dickem (a great name for a PA), in a limited role, also is memorable.  If you like courtroom dramas, this isn't the best, since most of the action happens outside the court, action which is often formulaic, but driven into tolerance by the stars.  Not a great date flick, it left my date sad, but 3.5 Stars.

 

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