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Category Archives: Movie Reviews

Life of Pi [Movie Review]

I have been in love with the book, Life of Pi, ever since I read it years ago.  When I found out that a movie was coming out based on it, I just knew I had to see it!  Here is my review.  Enjoy!

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TitleLife of Pi

DirectorAng Lee

Writer(s): David Magee (screenplay); Yann Martel (novel)

Cinematographer: Matthew Jensen

Starring: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, and Rafe Spall

Year Released: 2012

Synopsis: “A young man who survives a disaster at sea is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an unexpected connection with another survivor … a fearsome Bengal tiger.”

Life of Pi Poster

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My Review:

Life of Pi, the novel, is a magical read.  It expands your imagination, begs you to dream, and is a tale unlike any other.  Life of Pi, the movie, is the exact same thing.

Most films based on books tend to inadvertently stray away from the sensation readers felt when they read the written words they fell in love with.  The Life of Pi movie is the complete opposite of most book adaptations.  It opened the pages of the novel and brought the author, Yann Martel’s, words to life.  With the vibrant colors, and realistic very high-tech CGI, viewers were transfixed every step of the way, as if they too were shipwrecked and living with a Bengal tiger on a lifeboat.  Props go out to Ang Lee for staying true to the already amazing novel.

The acting was superb.  There was humor, grief, and surprise, and each actor seemed 100% dedicated to their role.  But my round of applause goes to newcomer Suraj Sharma, who played Pi Patel.  This was his first acting role, and he did absolutely wonderful.  According to IMDb in the “Trivia” section of the movie, a live tiger was never actually in the boat with Suraj Sharma.  Well, you could have fooled me, because Sharma did a hell of a good job acting as if he was actually face-to-face with a real Bengal tiger.  And for a first time actor, that can be a feat.

 I did see it in 3D, which the movie was shot in, however I do not feel that the 3D aspect added anything special to the film.  The only significant difference between seeing it in 3D and seeing it without, was the hummingbird popping out of the screen in the opening credits.  Otherwise, a lot of money could be saved if not attending the 3D screening, and nothing majorly important would be lost.

All in all, Life of Pi the movie is definitely recommended.  It is a film that can be seen with the whole family, and one that will sincerely touch your heart.  However, I also recommend that you either read the novel before or after seeing the film, because without Yann Martel’s marvelous tale, there would be no compelling movie.

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Check out the trailer here:

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Have any of you seen this movie?  If yes, tell us what you think in the comment section below!

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*Note: The synopsis, movie information, and movie poster were taken from IMDB.  The trailer was taken from YouTube.  The review above is written by me:  ©Kalie Lyn 2012*


Chronicle [Movie Review]

My boyfriend just got this movie in a steel book edition, and we both have been waiting to see it.  We just finished watching it, and I think this movie deserves an instant review.  Enjoy!

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Title: Chronicle

Director: Josh Trank

Writer(s): Max Landis

Cinematographer: Matthew Jensen

Starring:  Dane DeHann, Alex Russell, and Michael B. Jordan

Year Released: 2012

Synopsis: “Whilst attending a party, three high school friends gain superpowers after making an incredible discovery underground. Soon, though, they find their lives spinning out of control and their bond tested as they embrace their darker sides.”

Chronicle Poster

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My Review:

I am not a big fan of movies about superheroes, or super-human powers.  I usually find them predictable, and wonder why the main character always has to be the “good guy”.  Surprisingly however, I have been wanting to see Chronicle, and I’m very glad I did.

Shot in the “shaky camera” or “found footage” style, copying movies such as Cloverfield and The Blair Witch Project, Chronicle revolves around the perspectives of  three boys, Andrew, Matt, and Steve, all of whom gain telekinetic powers.  The main character, Andrew, who carries around his camera everywhere, and is usually the one filming, is your typical awkward, anti-social high school student.  Along with Matt, a young philosopher, and Steve, the popular school jock, the three of them document their powers.

Andrew annoyed me from the beginning of the movie.  He was shy, weird, and seemed to always complain.  Since he was the most advanced out of the three boys with his powers, you could tell from the start that he would start using them for evil, instead of good.  However, that seemed to be the last predictable element of the movie, as more and more unexpected things began to happen.  It was constantly filled with action, destruction, and the boys’ enviable abilities, and never once was the movie boring.

I enjoyed that there was no “world saving” mission, and the fact that the boys’ powers eventually led to chaos kept Chronicle a watchable movie.  A few major deaths, a couple of fun telekinetic pranks, and the last 20 minutes or so of the movie was amazing.  It was an overall entertaining film, and did not make you as nauseous to watch as Cloverfield did with all the shaking and moving of the camera.  Whether you like science-fiction or not, Chronicle is definitely worth seeing.

 

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Check out the trailer here:

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Have any of you seen this movie?  If yes, tell us what you think in the comment section below!

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*Note: The synopsis, movie information, and movie poster were taken from IMDB.  The trailer was taken from YouTube.  The review above is written by me:  ©Kalie Lyn 2012*


Horrible Bosses [Movie Review]

Yes, I know this movie has been out for about a year, but this was my second time seeing this movie and thought it was about time to share my review.  Enjoy!

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Title: Horrible Bosses

Director: Seth Gordon

Writer(s): Michael Markowitz & John Francis Daley

Cinematographer: David Hennings

Starring:  Jason Bateman, Charlie Day & Jason Sudeikis

Year Released: 2011

Synopsis: “Three friends conspire to murder their awful bosses when they realize they are standing in the way of their happiness.”

Horrible Bosses Poster

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My Review:

For the past couple of years, it has been hard to see a genuine good comedy.  Most “comedies” being released these days are either semi-funny with a bad, unoriginal story line, or are not funny one bit with a bad, unoriginal story line.  However, with Horrible Bosses it seems that the comedy genre isn’t completely lost.

A lot to do with the success of this movie was the cast.  Jason Bateman brought back his mature yet often phased character, Michael Bluth, from his days of Arrested Development.  Bateman is an essential component of this movie and is both a great actor and a funny comedian.  Charlie Day is, well Charlie Day.  Like Bateman, Day played pretty much the same role he plays on his TV show, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: eccentric, hyper, and hysterically funny.  And that suits him just well.  Mix in seasoned actors like Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston (side note: it was so nice to see Aniston playing a different type of role aside from her romance-comedy ones), and Colin Ferrell – all great performers and natural comedians – and you have yourself a damn good movie!

The movie’s script was both original and well thought-out.  The majority of the jokes and puns were genuinely funny, and we can all relate to a terrible boss we’ve had during one job or another.  Each of the movie’s three bosses had their own different antics that made them hateable yet enticing, and their fed-up employees’ plans to kill them was the crazy, watchable icing on the cake.  Of course it wouldn’t be a movie if their plan had gone off without a hitch.  Combine a few mishaps like hiring a guy who does “wet work”, taking killing advice from Mother Fuckah Jones, and accidentally saving a boss who is on the kill list, and the laughs continue throughout.  

I did not finish this movie feeling disappointed or as if I had been cheated out of some laughs – two emotions I often feel after seeing what was supposed to be a “comedy”.  Instead, I felt satisfied and even some relief as the feature exceeded my expectations, and was actually better than the trailer previewed it – which is often not the case. Horrible Bosses shows that with the combination of a good cast and script, a movie can be both entertaining and a truly well-composed film.  

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Check out the trailer here:

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Have any of you seen this movie?  If yes, tell us what you think in the comment section below!

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*Note: The synopsis, movie information, and movie poster were taken from IMDB.  The trailer was taken from YouTube.  The review above is written by me:  ©Kalie Lyn 2012*


Princess Mononoke (Mononoke-hime) [Movie Review]

I have never seen an Anime movie before, however the boyfriend loves this movie and wanted so bad for me to see it.  So I saw it.  Here are my thoughts.

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Title: Princess Mononoke [Mononoke-hime (original title)]

Director: Hayao Miyazaki (Japan)

Writer: Hayao Miyazaki (Japan)

Cinematographer: Atsushi Okui

Starring:  Yôji Matsuda (Japan); Yuriko Ishida (Japan)

Year Released: 1997

Synopsis: “On a journey to find the cure for a Tatarigami’s curse, Ashitaka finds himself in the middle of a war between the forest gods and Tatara, a mining colony. In this quest he also meets San, the Mononoke Hime.”

Princess Mononoke Poster

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My Review:

Every time I hear the word “anime”, I think of greasy haired teenage boys trading their Pokémon cards, and cape wearing girls reading comic books; these are the type of people I have encountered in the library, in the manga section of the book store, and sitting alone at the lunch tables in the cafeteria.  I have never understood what was so great about “anime”, and up until now, have never even read a graphic novel, or seen a movie that deals with Japanese animated characters.  To me, anime was a “nerd” affair, which is why, when my boyfriend excitedly told me I needed to watch Princess Mononoke, I was quite taken aback.

I went into this movie quite cynically, I must admit.  “How can an anime film be one of my non-nerdy boyfriend’s favorite movies?” I thought.  When the movie started, I sat back and just tried to enjoy it.  To my curious surprise, I didn’t even have to try.

Like all foreign films, my boyfriend and I try to watch every movie in the original language.  We put the audio in it’s original format – Japanese – with English subtitles.  Not even three minutes into the film, we had to switch the audio to English because we couldn’t keep up with the subtitles.  For long English sentences, the Japanese translation is short and quick, and the subtitles just passed on by without us able to read them and understand what was going on.  Once we switched to English, it was much easier to keep up with everything.

However, I have a problem with voice-overs.  I can’t concentrate on the images or story if I see that the lips are off of the words.  I can’t concentrate on the characters if I think their voice-overs are monotone or don’t sound like the character.  So I was quite pleased when I realized that the English voice-overs for Princess Mononoke were perfect.  Since it’s animated, you can’t necessarily tell if the lips don’t match up with the words, and the English voice actors gave the exact amount of tension, surprise, and seriousness in their voices as the original Japanese actors would have.  Good voice-overs make a movie that much more pleasant.

The images in this movie were stunning.  Just plain spectacular.  The animation was realistic – not what I was expecting from an anime movie – and the scenery, if you will, was gorgeous.  The story itself is very beautiful and inspiring as the people of the land try to live peacefully with the nature, so the wonderful images only added to the special content of the film.

All in all, I was extremely surprised at this movie.  Yes, it was long, however in this film’s case you did not want it to end.  The action scenes were great and characters were both funny and endearing.  Princess Mononoke, whether you like anime or not, is definitely one to watch.  Hey, if an “anime-hater”, such as myself, was turned into an “anime-lover” then it must be good!

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*Note: The review above is written by me.  ©Kalie Lyn 2011*


The Never Ending Story [Movie Review]

The boyfriend and I started off our nostalgia movie collection with this movie.  I have never seen it before so it was quite interesting to watch a children’s movie for the first time as an adult.  Here are my thoughts.

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Title: The Never Ending Story

Director: Wolfgang Petersen (Germany)

Writer: Wolfgang Petersen (Germany)

Cinematographer: Jost Vacano (Germany)

Starring: Barret Oliver (USA); Noah Hathaway (USA)

Year Released: 1984

Synopsis: “A troubled boy dives into a wonderous fantasy world through the pages of a mysterious book.”

The NeverEnding Story Poster

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My Review:

The Never Ending Story is definitely a movie for kids.  It’s a movie of fantasy, dreaming big, and characters that captivate.  However, there’s nothing better than re-capturing the joys of youth by watching a children’s movie as an adult.

Based off of German author, Michael Ende‘s 1979 novel of the same title, The Never Ending Story is a fast-paced, adventure film.  I can see why kids would love it: it gets straight to the point, has a range of interesting characters, and is packed with action and fantasy.  However, with a few scenes and characters which may frighten, I can also see how some children could be scared by the movie.

A creepy – with quotes such as, “I like kids” and “Oh, that’s good” – yet cute dragon-d0g, a child warrior, an allergic turtle, and a big bad wolf are just some of the intriguing characters throughout the movie.  Yes, I must admit that the acting is way too over dramatic, however, what children’s movie does not have its characters saying their thoughts out-loud?   The costumes of the characters are semi-believable – a two-headed couple, a troll sort of thing, and a tiny witch and a scientist – but for kids, the characters are nothing but believable, and maybe even a bit too realistic.

It’s amazing to see just how far special effects has come.  Compare this movie with Avatar and of course there will be major differences.  However, for the mid-eighties, the special effects aren’t so bad.  Yes, the green screen shots are more than noticeable, and yes, we can clearly see that the boy is just sitting on a stuffed animal with wind blowing in his face when he’s supposed to be flying the dragon, however, like I said before, for kids it is believable.

And like with every children’s movie, there has to be a point which makes you cry, or at least sniffle.  In The Never Ending Story that point came when, without going into too much detail, the child warrior’s beloved horse sank.  Yes, he sank, and it was quite sad.  Also, like I mentioned above, there were scenes that were quite scary, which also usually always appears in children’s movies.  For example, the dark scenes with the wolf could be quite frightening; at least I would be scared during those scenes if I were a nine year old girl.

It was my first time seeing this movie, and as an adult, there were parts which I found cheesy and silly.  However, I still fully enjoyed it, and if I were a child, I could only imagine how much I would love it.  The best part of the movie for me was the ultimate lesson: to never stop dreaming or wishing.  This is something I hold dear to my heart since still, at the age of 21, I have a huge imagination which never quits.  

If you are a fan of fantasy and adventure, and love movies with quirky characters and cute stories, then I definitely recommend watching The Never Ending Story.  Whether you are a kid, teenager, adult or elder, this fast-paced movie will keep you entertained and will bring back the memories of childhood.

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*Note: The review above is written by me.  ©Kalie Lyn 2011*


One Day [Movie Review]

After seeing the trailer for this movie, I made a mental list to see it.  Finally, my sister, cousin and I went and saw it last night.  Here are my thoughts on it.

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Title: One Day

Director: Lone Scherfig (Denmark)

Writer: David Nicholls (England)

Cinematographer: Benoit Delhomme (France)

Starring: Anne Hathaway (USA); Jim Sturgess (England)

Year Released: 2011

Synopsis: “After spending the night together on the night of their college graduation Dexter and Em are shown each year on the same date to see where they are in their lives. They are sometimes together, sometimes not, on that day.”

One Day Poster

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My Review:

Romance movies are becoming more and more typical and their endings more and more predictable.  As much as we root for the love interests to get together, we sometimes secretly wish for a twist that would shift the entire story in seconds.  “One Day” provided that twist and whether or not it was satisfying, it sure was surprising.

Along with the unpredictable ending, the acting is what made the movie.  As the movie is set in England, the actors obviously needed to be or act English.  While Jim Sturgess, the male lead, is originally from the UK, Anne Hathaway, the female lead and originally from New York, really gave her all in this role.  Her accent was spot-on (at least from an American’s point-of-view) and she really developed into her character, Emma.  Jim Sturgess played his role as the irresponsible party-boy Dexter very well also.  Not to mention the natural chemistry between Hathaway and Sturgess is what made their love scenes believable.

 While the characters were believable, the character development was not.  The way Emma and Dexter became “friends” was not realistic.  It seemed that it happened in a second with an important part of their first meeting taken out.  Forget “friends”, they seemed destined to be “lovers” from the beginning.  This small note can be overlooked, however, it made for a confusing introduction.

Overall, “One Day” is a movie worth seeing.  It may not be an “award-winner” but it sure is one that watchers will remember for awhile.

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*Note: The review above is written by me.  ©Kalie Lyn 2011*