The Adjustment Bureau AWESOME!
Matt Daman plays a politician who meets a fascinating dancer (Emily Blunt) in the men’s bathroom moments before making a big speech. She inspires him, and although their meeting is fleeting, he just can’t stop thinking about her. When he runs into her again in his life, he discovers that there is a group of people called The Adjustment Bureau who work to keep all human beings on their set paths. He wasn’t meant to ever see her again, and the rest of the movie has him working against his own fate and destiny in order to be with the one he loves. This movie was a whimsical twist on science fiction, dealing a bit with God and our life’s purpose, and I found it to be completely enjoyable! Daman and Blunt had fantastic chemistry and I couldn’t help rooting for them from the get-go.
Russell Brand plays Arthur, a rich playboy and a drunk who has to marry a woman he doesn’t love (Jennifer Gardner) or else his mother will cut him off from the family money. To complicate things, he has fallen in love with a quirky, poor girl named Naomi (Greta Gerwig). The comedy is a remake of the 1981 Arthur starring Dudley Moore and Liza Minnelli, and I couldn’t help but compare the new one to the old one while watching. While the original is my favorite, I found that the remake still managed to maintain a lot of the sweetness and charm, even while making some big changes. The biggest change was switching the character of Hobson from a male butler to a female nanny (Helen Mirren), which presented a very different relationship between Hobson and Arthur. Different doesn’t necessarily mean bad, and once I got over the changes I found the movie to be pretty funny.
Saoirse Ronan plays a 16-year-old girl named Hanna who has been living alone with her father (Eric Bana) all of her life in a remote, snow-covered forest. He has trained her to be the perfect assassin, and when the time comes, Hanna is set out on her mission: to kill an intelligence agent named Marissa (Cate Blanchett). The movie is for the most part a stylistic game of cat and mouse, but while Hanna is being pursued by Marissa and her operatives, she runs into an average family and meets a young girl her own age. Here the movie shifts slightly to become more of a coming-of-age story where Hanna discovers that there are many things she’s never known: like friendship and young love. This aspect of the movie was very endearing in my eyes, and the humanity of the film really provided a nice contrast to the more violent action-driven scenes. The movie does leave a lot of things unanswered and unexplained, but I guess that’s kind of what I found to be most fascinating.
Water for Elephants ADMIRABLE
Robert Pattinson plays a veterinary student, Jacob, who quits school after the unexpected death of his parents. He runs away and joins the circus—as clichéd as that is—where he meets the ringmaster August (Christoph Waltz) and his beautiful wife Marlena (Reese Witherspoon). Jacob becomes the new vet working with Marlena’s elephant, and the two fall in love. My only complaint of this movie was I felt the characters had nothing more in common than their mutual respect for animals. A few more scenes of the two of them talking together might have helped me to believe that she would run away with him. However, the true star of the show was Christoph Waltz! Without him, I wouldn’t have liked the movie as much as I did. He is truly a brilliant actor (go watch Inglourious Basterds now!) and his character is deeply complex and compelling. A good villain is one you love to hate, and Waltz knows how to make that happen.
Aimee Teegarden leads the cast of high school kids getting ready for prom night. She plays Nova Prescott, a goody-goody who is in charge of the prom committee. When an accidental fire destroys all of the decorations a mere three weeks before the big dance, she is forced to redo it all with the help of Jesse Richter (Thomas McDonell) who is the “bad boy.” Obviously these two opposites attract. Other plotlines involve a geeky guy trying to ask a girl—any girl—to be his prom date, a girl afraid to tell her boyfriend that she’s not going to the same college that he is, and a lower classman crushing on a pretty girl who is interested in a jock with a girlfriend. Being a Disney flick, it’s not surprising that it suffers from extreme cheesiness and bad acting…
Fast Five AWFUL
Vin Diesel plays Dominic Toretto, the leader of a group of fast-driving thieves. Along with his sister Mia (Jordana Brewster) and her boyfriend Brian (Paul Walker) they enlist the help of a multitude of others to steal money from a corrupt Brazilian businessman named Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida). To add to the difficulty of this feat, the money is being kept safe within a police station and Toretto is being pursued by a federal agent named Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson). Although the plot sounds as if it would be action-packed and riveting, I found myself incredibly bored throughout the overlong movie. Aside from a very cool—albeit unrealistic—action sequence at the beginning involving a moving train and the final car chase where they drag a heavy bank vault behind them, the movie is oddly devoid of any action or suspense. Instead it is filled with horrible “serious” dialogue that amounts to zero character development, mingled with unfunny banter and unmotivated fighting. Dwayne Johnson is such a bad actor that he makes Vin Diesel look like an Oscar winner.
Jesse Eisenberg voices Blu, a domesticated macaw that can’t fly in this fun and colorful animated film. When it is discovered that he is the last male of his species, he is whisked away by his owner Linda (Leslie Mann) to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in order to mate with the only remaining female, Jewel (Anne Hathaway). Jewel, however, isn’t the least bit interested in the pathetic Blu, but when they are kidnapped by some bird traders they are forced to work together to escape. Throughout their journey they meet several fun characters, grow to care about each other, and Blu even learns to fly. This movie comes from the same studio as Ice Age, and I thought it was a huge improvement both visually and story-wise. The colors were vibrant, the story both fast-paced and endearing, and I loved the original music.