Archive for Kristen Stewart

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, part II

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Bella awakens from her transformation from human to vampire, not only keenly aware of her new abilities, but also of changes within the coven as Jacob has imprinted on her child, Renesmee. It also appears that Bella’s father, Charlie, has been attempting to contact the Cullens for updates on Bella’s illness. They intend to tell him she didn’t survive, which requires that they move out of Forks, Washington to protect their identities. Jacob, desperate not to lose Renesmee, tells Charlie that his daughter is in fact alive and well, and explains that Bella has had to change in order to survive. He morphs into a wolf, revealing his tribe’s shape-shifting power, but does not tell Charlie about vampires, stating that Bella just had to change into something “other”.

Several months pass uneventfully, with Carlisle monitoring Renesmee’s rapid growth with Bella, Edward, Jacob and the rest of the Cullen family worrying what will become of her with such a rapid growth rate. On an outing in the woods, a bitter Irina sees Renesmee from a distance, and believes her to be an immortal child. Immortal children were those who were frozen in childhood, and because they could not be trained nor restrained, they destroyed entire villages. They were eventually executed, as were the parents who created them, and the creation of such children outlawed. Irina goes to the Volturi to report what she has seen to them.

Alice sees the Volturi and Irina coming to kill the Cullens, and leaves with Jasper the next day, instructing the others to gather as many witnesses as they can that can testify that Renesmee is not an immortal. They must gather the witnesses before the snow covers the ground, because that is when the Volturi will come. The Cullens begin to summon witnesses, such as the Denali family. One of the Denali, Eleazar, later encounters that Bella has a special ability: a powerful mental shield, which she can extend to protect others from mental attacks like those from Jane and Alec, with practice.

As some of their potential witnesses are attacked and prevented from supporting the Cullens, Carlisle and Edward realize they may have to fight the Volturi, despite their desire to avoid this. Some witnesses hesitate, but ultimately agree to stand with them in battle.

The Volturi arrive, led by Aro, who is eager to obtain the gifted members of the Cullen coven as part of his guard. Aro is allowed to touch Renesmee, and is convinced that she is not an immortal child. Irina is brought forth and she takes full responsibility of her mistake, leading to her immediate death. Her sisters are tempted into picking a fight, but are restrained. Although the blunder has been settled, Aro still insists that Renesmee may pose a risk in the future. Alice and Jasper appear to attest to the existence of other children like Renesmee, and Alice shows Aro a vision of the future. In the vision, Aro refuses to change his decision and a battle ensues, during which both sides undergo heavy casualties, with most of the Volturi dying. The identifiable major characters who die in the vision are (for the Cullens) Carlisle, Jasper, Seth, Leah and (for the Volturi) Aro, Jane, Alec, Caius, Marcus, Demetri and Felix. After the vision ends, Alice reveals to Aro that the vision will come to pass if Aro maintains his pursuit of Renesmee. Two more witnesses then arrive: a fully grown vampire-human hybrid and his aunt who have been living peacefully and undetected for 150 years, proving Renesmee is not a threat. (In a change from the novel, his three hybrid half-sisters and the gender differences in vampiric qualities of hybrids are not mentioned) For the sake of self-preservation, Aro orders his guards to retreat but not without giving one final glance to Alice and Bella.

Back at the Cullen home, Alice glimpses into the future, seeing Edward and Bella together with Jacob and a fully matured Renesmee. Edward reads Alice’s mind and feels happy that Renesmee has Jacob to protect her. Alone in the meadow, Bella finally allows Edward a peek into her thoughts. As the two share a kiss, their story closes as a book revealing the final line, “And then we continued blissfully into this small but perfect piece of our forever.”

REVIEW:

The Twilight franchise and I have not had the best of times as I am no fan of these films. Why am I watching this, you ask? Well, my OCD wouldn’t let me not finish it, not to mention morbid curiosity about how different The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, part II differs in production value from the original Twilight.

What is this about?

In the epic series’ final chapter, Bella and Edward’s newborn daughter forces the couple into a life-altering confrontation with the Volturi. Meanwhile, Bella’s burgeoning vampiric power makes her the key to the future of her family and their kind.

What did I like?

Action. For a last hurrah, they sure pulled out all the stops. This is a franchise known for sappy looks and bad acting. We get that here, to be sure, but also, the last half of the film is one gigantic fight scene, complete with beheadings, the ground opening up, and everything else you can think of. In other words, someone realized that they need to pull in the male audience if they wanted it to be a success.

They took the hint. All throughout this franchise, audiences have been forced to deal with Edward and Jacob trying to one up each other. Also, with the exception of the first entry, Jacob hasn’t been able to keep his shirt on. It was good to see these two on the same page. There comes a time when enough is enough. I’m sure there are more than a few female viewers out there who wish there were more shirtless Taylor Lautner scene, though.

Had to happen eventually. I’m sure all hell is going to break loose as soon as I type this, but it appears as if Lautner, Pattinson, and Stewart finally took a couple of acting classes. Don’t get me wrong, they still suck, but they are nowhere near as bad as they were previously. Also, does anyone else find it weird that Kristen Stewart’s character has more color and life as a vampire than she did as a human. She actually smiles, for goodness sakes!!!

What didn’t I like?

Cash grab. When they split the last Harry Potter book into two films, I didn’t have too much of a problem with it, because of how the book is written. It made sense to do so. I haven’t read, nor so I plan on reading, these books, but I can’t imagine that there was a need to split the last book into two films other than having the ability to milk a few more bucks out of the fan base. That really is the only reason they did that. Had this been made in the Golden Age of Hollywood, if there was a need to split the films, both would have been made with great care, rather than half-assed it the way these films feel.

Flashback. I appreciate the novelty of going down memory lane at the end of the film, but it was just too much. With the exception of a couple of changed actors, the flashback during the end credits reminded us of every character in all the films. I just didn’t really see the point, especially since most of them are long forgotten.

Vampires or X-Men. So, in this universe, vampires sparkle in the daylight, and have varying superpowers, similar to the X-Men. What kind of weirdness was going through Stephanie Meyers’ head when she came up with this idea. Sure, it is cool, but like most people, vampires to me are only known for having a select set of powers, such as mind control, speed, strength, etc. This whole controlling the elements, electricity, becoming a shade, etc., that just was a bit overboard.

Pie man. This is a personal thing, but Lee Pace, best known as the pie man from the cancelled too soon Pushing Daisies, does not pull off the gruff, long-haired look. I guess I’m so used to seeing him as more of the clean-cut guy, so it didn’t really work.

Finally, or should I say mercifully, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, part II brings the franchise to an end. These films were never meant for my demographic, which is probably why I never got into the, With that said, this was arguably the best of the bunch. After all these years, though, you have to figure they learned a thing or two about making films. Now, I won’t recommend this to anyone that isn’t into this franchise, because, quite frankly, this isn’t for everyone. Make you own decision if this is for you or not.

3 3/4 out of 5 stars

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Snow White and the Huntsman

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Snow White is the Princess of Tabor, daughter of King Magnus and Queen Eleanor. After his wife’s death, King Magnus marries the beautiful Ravenna after rescuing her from the Dark Army, an invading force of glass soldiers. Ravenna, who is in fact a powerful sorceress and the Dark Army’s master, kills Magnus on their wedding night after noting that men like him exploit the beauty of women and discard them. As Ravenna usurps control of the entire kingdom, Duke Hammond escapes the castle with his son William, but is unable to rescue Snow White, who is captured by Ravenna’s brother Finn. Snow White is then locked away in the north tower of the castle.

Tabor is left in ruins under Ravenna’s rule as she periodically drains the youth from young women in order to maintain a spell once cast by her mother which allows her to keep her beauty. When Snow White comes of age, Ravenna learns from her Magic Mirror that Snow White is destined to destroy her unless Ravenna consumes the young girl’s heart, which will make her immortal. Ravenna orders Finn to bring her Snow White, but she escapes into the Dark Forest, where Ravenna has no power. Eric the Huntsman, a widower who has survived the Dark Forest, is brought to Ravenna, who orders him to lead Finn in pursuit of Snow White. In exchange, she promises to revive his deceased wife, Sarah. Duke Hammond learns that Snow White is alive and has fled into the Dark Forest. William, Snow White’s childhood friend, later infiltrates Finn’s band as a bowman to find her.

The Huntsman tracks down Snow White in the Dark Forest but refuses to hand her over until he knows Ravenna will keep her word. When Finn admits that Ravenna cannot resurrect the dead, the Huntsman helps Snow White to escape, promising to escort her to Duke Hammond’s castle in exchange for a reward of gold. The two leave the Dark Forest, escape the troll and pass through a fishing village where all the women have disfigured themselves in order to escape Ravenna, and where he learns Snow White’s true identity. He then leaves her in the care of the women but returns when he sees the village being burned down by Finn’s men. Snow White and the Huntsman eventually meet a band of dwarves — Beith, Muir, Quert, Coll, Duir, Gort, Nion, and Gus. Muir discovers that Snow White is the only person who can defeat Ravenna and end her reign.

As they travel through a fairy sanctuary, the group is attacked by Finn’s men, resulting in Gus’ death. The Huntsman kills Finn after learning he abetted in the murder of his wife. William reveals himself and helps defeat the soldiers before joining the others in their journey to Hammond’s castle.

Ravenna disguises herself as William and tempts Snow White into eating a poisoned apple, but is forced to flee when the Huntsman and William discover her. William kisses Snow White — whom he believes to be dead — without seeing that she has shed a solitary tear. She is taken to Hammond’s castle. As she lies in repose, the Huntsman professes his regret for not saving Snow White, who reminds him of his wife, and kisses her, breaking the spell; she awakens after a second tear has fallen. Snow White then takes command of the Duke’s army and leads them into battle against Ravenna.

The Dwarves infiltrate Tabor through the sewers and open the gates, which allows the Duke’s army to invade the castle. Snow White confronts Ravenna, but is overpowered. Ravenna is about to kill Snow White and consume her heart when she uses one of the moves Eric taught her on Ravenna and successfully kills her in the end, telling her that she cannot have her heart. Duke Hammond’s army is victorious.

The kingdom is once again in order and peace as Snow White becomes Queen and in the end, Snow White and Eric share meaningful glances, indicating a possible romantic end for Snow White and the Huntsman Eric.

REVIEW:

Remember the days when fairy tales were all about singing princesses, talking animals, and happy endings? Well, if Snow White and the Huntsman has anything to do with it, and I fear it will, those days are numbered. This film brings us a darker tone to the tale that most of us know best from the Disney masterpiece Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, but I question whether this change is for the better or worse.

What is this film about?

Snow White, imprisoned daughter of the late king, escapes just as the Magic Mirror declares her the source of the Evil Queen’s immortality. The Queen sends her men, led by a local huntsman, to bring her back. But upon her capture, the huntsman finds he’s being played and turns against the Queen’s men, saving Snow White in the process. Meanwhile, Snow’s childhood friend, William, learns that she is alive and sets off to save her.

What did I like?

Special effects. Say what you will about the film itself, you cannot deny that these effects are one arguably the best thing about it. Starting with the (underused) magic mirror. Instead of a disembodied head, we get some sort of lucid figure that oozes from the mirror, quite the departure from what we are used to. The queen herself has some pretty cool effects, mostly dealing with her magic glass army. Finally, there are the creatures in the forest, fairies, trolls, dwarves (which I will talk about later), and a horse-like spirit. The look of all this is just gorgeous!

C & C. Kristen Stewart may be the “star” of this little picture but, make no mistake, it is Charlize Theron that owns the picture. She gives a wicked queen so evil that she may even make you forget about any other versions. Chris Hemsworth also is a presence to be reckoned with. He doesn’t steal the film like Theron does, but he does prove that he can do more than just play Thor.

What didn’t I like?

Snow White. I don’t care for Kristen Stewart. She is one of these so-called actresses in Hollywood that sleeps with the director or some other higher up and keeps getting jobs, while the more talented thespians are forced to take lesser parts. That point aside, she may have the pale look needed for this part, but she doesn’t have the acting chops. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it is a dead heat between her and Megan Fox as to who is the worst actress in Hollywood today. Her acting may have been the reason why I didn’t really get the chemistry between her and Hemsworth or the sudden change in attitude. Before she bit the apple, she wasn’t exactly a prissy princess, but she wasn’t going off to lead a rebellion, but she waked up and all of sudden she’s Xena? WTF?!?

Vertically challenged…or are they? No disrespect to the seven fine British actors that were cast as the dwarves, or the use of technology that allowed these “full-size” actors to portray dwarves, but how hard would it have been to either totally CGI some dwarves or find seven little people (or whatever the term is these days)? I know that if I were an actor such as Tony Cox, Peter Dinklage, Warwick Davis, or any of the other shall we say, vertically challenged, actors, I’d be more than pissed. Work is already hard to come by, and now they’re shrinking other actors down? That just isn’t right!!!!

Girl power. Enough is enough with this girl power thing! Women are powerful, we get it, but is that any reason to turn a classic fairy tale into what is, as one person put it, “a watered down version of the Lord of the Rings movies”. On top of that, was there any reason to take the love story away from the prince and give her to the Huntsman? Doesn’t that negate everything we know about Snow White? Even further than that, the “fight” between her and the queen wasn’t worth the wait. Snow walked in there like she was storming down to the WWE ring, but then all we get is some scenes with the queen’s glass army and other special effects.

*YAWN* I cannot remember a film that has bored be as quickly as Snow White and the Huntsman. The few redeeming qualities it has are not enough to overcome the slow, boring pace of the flick with characters we don’t really care for. I do not recommend this unless you’re doing a comparison of Snow White films. In which case, I suggest the far superior Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Mirror Mirror or, if you must have something different, Sydney White but please don’t waste your time with this. I certainly wish I could have those two hours back! Yes, I did just say Mirror Mirror is far superior to this one. My opinion, deal with it!

2 out of 5 stars

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, part I

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on February 25, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The film starts out as Bella Swan plans her wedding with the Cullen family. The wedding takes place, and Edward Cullen tells her that he has murdered people in the past, undaunted by this, Bella and Edward go ahead with the wedding. During the reception following her wedding to Edward, Bella is visited by her friend Jacob Black. When Bella admits that she and Edward plan to consummate their marriage during their honeymoon, Jacob becomes angry and is held back by his pack. He then runs off into the woods, and Edward takes an upset Bella back to the reception.

The couple spends their honeymoon on the Cullens’ private Brazilian island. Although hesitant, Edward has sex with Bella for the first time. After Edward realizes that he bruised Bella’s arm, back and shoulders during sex, he vows to never be intimate with her again, much to her disappointment; he later gives in to her seductions. Two weeks into their honeymoon, Bella discovers that she is pregnant with the fetus growing at an extraordinarily accelerated rate. After consulting with Carlisle, they rush back to Forks. Bella refuses to consider having an abortion, and enlists Rosalie’s help to protect her wishes.

Opposed to Sam Uley’s plans to kill Bella and her child, which is thought to be a demon, Jacob angrily leaves the pack and arrives at the Cullens’ to protect Bella; Seth and Leah Clearwater join him, forming a new wolf pack. As the pregnancy progresses, Bella’s health severely deteriorates. As a last resort, she begins drinking blood, which satisfies the fetus and allows her to regain some strength. Soon afterward, Bella goes into a painful labor and gives birth to her daughter, Renesmee. To save her life, Edward injects Bella’s heart with his venom to transform her into a vampire, but nothing happens, and Bella is thought to be dead. Greatly distraught, Jacob attempts to kill the baby, but stops when he realizes he has imprinted on the child, becoming her protector.

When the werewolves learn of Bella’s “death”, they attack the Cullens’ house in an attempt to kill the baby. They are forced to stop after learning Jacob has imprinted on Renesmee, which, under their wolf law, means Renesmee cannot be harmed. Bella’s wounds heal; she remembers her entire life as the venom reaches her heart. The Cullens all look at each other in shock. Bella’s heart finally ceases, and she awakens with red eyes, a newborn vampire. The film cuts to the credits.

In a post-credits scene, the Volturi hear about Bella’s conversion; Aro notes that it does not end their dispute with the Cullens, proclaiming, “They have something I want.”

REVIEW:

*SIGH* Yes, another Twilight movie. If you’ve read any of my other reviews involving vampires and/or werewolves, then you are aware of what I really think about this crap. That being said, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, part I isn’t the worst entry into this franchise.

I still don’t understand why they insist on calling this a saga. Doing so is an insult to other franchises that have gone on to become saga, most notably the Holy Trilgoy (Star Wars for those of you not in the know), hell, all 6 movies (even though most people hate the prequels) are a true saga and these….things…just spit on their legacy.

So, let’s talk about the good…–crickets chirping–

Wait, there is some good. Once the film gets past the hour spend in the honeymoon cabin with absolutelt nothing going on, there is a slight bit of intersting-ness happening, but the best parts are the scenes that sandwhich the credits.

I will admit that the wedding was beautiful, even if I could care less.

Now, the bad…

First off, the first thing we see is Jacob running out of his house, tearing his shirt off (because heaven forbid he keep his shirt on in one of these movies). Was this really necessary? No, it just serves to get all the females in a tizzy.

As I mentioned before, they spent over an hour at that stupid wedding cottage with absolutely nothing going on but more of their emotional non-acting. I realize this is supposedly a big climactic point of the film, but it just felt like they were just padding this out to justify splitting this book into two movies.

Look, splitting a book worked for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, but if you recall, even with those there was dead space in the woods that they could have just grazed over, in favor of more important things (like say Dumbledore’s funeral), but the second film made up for it. On top of that, it feels like they split this up for no other reason than to make more $$$ out of desperate housewives and teenage girls (not to mention their unwilling boyfriends and husbands). From what I hear, there isn’t anything interesting that happens in this, so the second film is going to be nothing else than more of these people sitting around staring at each other trying to show some kind of emotion.

This franchise is not specifically known for being humourous, yet in this one, whether it is done on purpose or not, they seem as if they are trying to be funny. The problem with that is they don’t work, at least for me.

After all this time, you would think this cast would have learned how to act by now, yet it seems as if they are getting worse! Now, I’m talking specifically about the leads, especially Lautner and Stewart. Watching them made me want to see Megan Fox read the phone book. It couldn’t have been worse than this. Ugh!

I think you can tell that I was not a fan of this mess. I realize that I am not in the target audience, but with the previous couple of films, they at least seemed as if they were trying to appeal to the males that are being forced to watch. However, with this one, it was like they did nothing but center in on the females. Who else would care about all a wedding, honeymoon, and emotions? Not any straight guy, that’s for sure. Oh, and that sex scene that is supposed to be so controversial, well, it is quite tame, or should I say lame?

All in all, this is just not for me. Female viewers will more than likely be all ooey-gooey about it. However, this is one of those that franchises that splits people along the gender line. Do I recommend this? Well, no, but I will give credit where credit is due. This is better than I thought it would be, but still not worth seeing. Why did I even bother with it, you may ask? Well, blame that on my OCD. I saw the first film, and now I jst have to see them all, no matter how horribly painful they are to sit through.

1 1/2 out of 5 stars

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Riley Biers (Xavier Samuel) is attacked and bitten by Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard), in order to begin creating an army of newborns set to destroy Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart). Back in Forks, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and Bella discuss the complications of becoming an immortal vampire. At 18 years old, one year older than the age Edward was when he became a vampire, Bella expresses her aversion to the idea of marrying so young, though Edward refuses to turn her until they’re married and she’s had various human experiences she would otherwise miss. While Charlie Swan (Billy Burke) investigates the disappearance of Riley Biers, Edward suspects his disappearance was caused by the newborn vampires. Furthering his suspicions is the intrusion of Riley into Bella’s room.

Although Edward fears for her safety, Bella insists that Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) and the rest of the werewolf pack would never harm her, but Edward is still not convinced. Bella goes to La Push to see Jacob, and returns home unharmed. During one of her visits, Jacob confesses that he is in love with Bella, and forcefully kisses her. Mad, she punches him and breaks her hand, and Edward later threatens to break Jacob’s jaw. Bella even revokes the invitations of Jacob and his pack members to her graduation party, but when Jacob apologizes for his behavior, she forgives him.

Meanwhile, Alice (Ashley Greene) sees a vision that the newborn army is attacking Forks led by Riley Biers. Jacob, accompanied by Quil (Tyson Houseman) and Embry (Kiowa Gordon) overhear this, which leads to an alliance between the Cullens and Wolf pack. Later, the Cullens and the wolves agree to a meeting place and time to train and discuss strategy. During the training Jasper (Jackson Rathbone) explains to Bella that he was created by a vampire named Maria to control a newborn army. He hated his original existence and upon meeting Alice, joined the Cullens with her. Bella sees the true bond between a mated vampire pair and begins to understand Jasper better. Despite her reluctance to marry, Bella realizes that spending eternity with Edward is more important to her than anything else and agrees to marry him. Edward and Bella camp up in the mountains to hide Bella from the bloodthirsty newborns. During the night, Bella overhears a conversation between Edward and Jacob, in which they temporarily put aside their hatred towards each other. In the morning, Jacob overhears Edward and Bella discussing their engagement and becomes very upset. Before he can run off to get himself killed in the fight with the newborns, Bella desperately asks him to kiss her, and she realizes that she has fallen in love with him. Edward finds out about the kiss but isn’t angry, as Bella says she loves him more than Jacob.

Victoria eventually finds Bella’s hiding spot, and Edward kills her while Seth kills her partner Riley. The Cullens and the Quileute wolves, meanwhile, destroy her “army”, though Jacob is injured saving Leah Clearwater from a newborn. Several members of the Volturi arrive to deal with the newborn army. They also see that the Cullens are guarding the newborn, Bree Tanner (Jodelle Ferland), who had refused to fight and surrendered to Carlisle. Jane (Dakota Fanning) tortures Bree to get information, then instructs Felix to kill her, despite the Cullens’ efforts to spare her. When Jane notes that Caius will find it interesting that Bella is still human, Bella informs her that the date for her transformation has been set. Bella visits the injured Jacob to tell him that even though she is in love with him, she has chosen to be with Edward. Saddened by her choice, Jacob reluctantly agrees to stop trying to come between her and Edward.

Bella and Edward go to their meadow, where she tells him she has decided to do things his way: get married, make love, then be transformed into a vampire. She also explains that she never has been normal and never will be; she’s felt out of place her entire life, but when she is in Edward’s world she feels stronger and complete. They then decide they need to tell Charlie about their engagement

REVIEW:

 So, here I am once again reviewing a film in the Twilight franchise (I refuse to call it a saga). Admittedly, I did like the first Twilight, or at least was impressed with it. The second one, though, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, was just plain boring. Going into this one, I figured more of the same.

I must say that I was wrong. Yes, there is more of the longings of these talentless actors for each other that permeates through the entire film, but there is actually some action that makes it worth the torture.

I haven’t read the books, so I don’t know how they are written, except that teenage girls seem to love them, which more than likely means there is lots of stuff to please them and no one else.

This film is different though. It is almost as if they realized that they weren’t getting any voluntary male viewers, so they needed to up the ante. Especially if they want to become a legit franchise or “saga” This is the reason, I believe, they brought in a new director who actually knows how direct action.

I’m sure there are those of you out there wondering with all the action, was the plot changed any? As far as I know it wasn’t. There is still plenty of useless staring and whining between the leads, which apparently is what actual fans want to see. Don’t ask me why. Its one of the true mysteries of the cosmos.

Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner have been playing these characters for 3 films now. You would think they’d have actually gotten better at acting, right? Instead, with the exception of Pattinson, it seems as if they’ve gotten worse. I wonder if they went to the same acting school as Megan Fox. Yes, they are THAT bad.

I found it a bit of a shame that we didn’t get more of Alice Cullen, played by the tasty Ashley Greene this time around, but there was plenty of Jasper, who in the previous films had done nothing but stand in the background looking…odd.

Bryce Dallas Howard takes the mantle of the villanous vampire Victoria. I wish I could say I was impressed with her, but the fact of the matter, there wasn’t enough of her to make an informed decision. I do find it kinda funny that she was initially offered this role for the first film, but turned it down because it was “too small”. From what I recall from the first film, this is notably smaller than that one.

Before I get my man card revoked for actually liking this film, let me make something clear. This is not a great picture. How can it be when your leads have no talent and don’t seem to care about getting any better? There are other flaws here, such as why is it the werewolves can’t keep their shirts on in human form (except for the female..of course), and in the animatistic shape, they’re the size of bears. WTF?!? I still question what kind of vampires these are. They are an insult to all that true cinematic vampires have worked for. Having said that, as a film, the action scenes make this enjoyable, but the lack of talent in the cast cancels that out. If you’re a fan of this drivel, then by all means, watch it. If you’re not, then I suggest not wasting your time. Just looks for the fight scenes on YouTube or something.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

The Runaways

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The film opens with Cherie (Dakota Fanning) and her sister, Marie Currie (Riley Keough), as Cherie has just got her first period. Marie’s boyfriend, Derek (Brendan Sexton III), picks up the sisters from Marie’s job at “Pup n’ Fries” and Marie announces to him that Cherie has gotten her period. Angry at her sister for telling, she informs Derek that Marie is not wearing any underwear. Later, Cherie is seen cutting her hair in a shag and putting on face makeup in an attempt to create a look resembling Bowie on the cover of Aladdin Sane (the cover is shown on her wall as a poster). The scene is accompanied by scenes of Joan huffing marijuana with her girlfriend. Cherie is later seen lip-syncing David Bowie’s Lady Grinning Soul at the school talent show and is the target of paper balls, to which Cherie reacts by flipping off the crowd, but wins the talent show.

Joan Jett (Kristen Stewart) is making out with a guy outside a club when she sees record producer, Kim Fowley (Michael Shannon). Joan approaches him and talks about starting an all-girl rock band. Kim is interested and introduces Joan to Sandy West (Stella Maeve), a drummer. Joan and Sandy become friends and start jamming when Kim suggests that they recruit a hot blonde in the vein of Brigitte Bardot.

At a club, Kim and Joan look for hot blondes and discover Cherie. They ask if she wants to be in a band and she accepts. Then they tell her to come to auditions in a trailer park in the valley.

Cherie learns the cover song of Suzi Quatro’s “Fever” and goes to audition, however they’re disappointed at the song. Instead, Kim kicks Cherie out of the trailer and with Joan, thinks of a song for Cherie to audition for, thus writing “Cherry Bomb”. Cherie sings it and, after improving, is part of the band.

After moving in with her aunt because her mom moved to Indonesia, Cherie travels to her first gig with the band. Soon, they get signed to Mercury Records and start recording an album. Due to the album’s success, they travel to Japan to play a concert. After their performance, Lita Ford (Scout Taylor-Compton) throws magazines at Cherie that have pictures of her, something Cherie thought was for the whole band.

After an argument with Lita, Cherie, and Joan, crazy Japanese fans break through the window and chase the girls out of the building. Afterward, Cherie overdoses in the hotel, collapses in an elevator and is sent to the hospital. Upon arrival home, Cherie’s alcoholic father is passed out on his bed. Cherie takes his painkillers and her actions are seen by Marie.

At the studio recording their next album, Cherie has a breakdown and refuses to play, followed by Lita trash-talking her and Joan defending Cherie. After a very heated argument, Cherie quits the band and leaves. Joan has a fit, throwing chairs and beer bottles against the glass. Cherie returns home while Joan continues playing and starts her own band, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Cherie collapses again in a phone booth in a supermarket parking lot. At the hospital, Marie visits her and tells her to get her stuff straight.

Later at a job, Cherie hears Joan’s cover of “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” on the radio and calls the station, where Joan is visiting for interviews. After an awkward conversation between Joan, Cherie, and even the radio host, Rodney Bingenheimer (Keir O’Donnell), Cherie says her goodbyes and continues working, smiling when Joan’s next song, “Crimson and Clover”, comes on the radio

REVIEW:

I’m only vaguely familiar with Joan Jett and Lita Ford, so I can’t really get in a huff about any inaccuracies this film may or may not have, however, I cam say that I did not really care for The Runaways.

I know there are a lot of people out there, mostly critics, who love this picture, but I just don’t fall in that category.

First of all, the casting doesn’t work. I’m partially biased, as I don’t particularly care for Kristen Stewart, since she is just a slightly more talented actress than Megan Fox. I guess if you’re not as hot, you have better have some talent, huh? I didn’t buy her as Joan Jett. She just didn’t have the aura, or vibe, if you will, that I expected from whomever would play Jett. Having said that, this is Stewart’s most impressive role.

Dakota Fanning may be growing up in front of our eyes, but she seems to be taking these roles that are solely meant to make her seem like an adult. As Cherie Currie, Fanning didn’t sell me on anything but the fact that she was just a little girl trying to act all grown up, especially in the parts where he character is trying to be all sexy. Unlike with Stewart, Fanning doesn’t shine with this role, for the reasons I just mentioned. She was just a bad choice.

Michael Shannon does a fairly decent job as the sleazy record producer, Kim Fowley, but I think he may have been a bit too over the top for the serious tone of this picture, or that may have been the reason for his characterization. Who knows?

I didn’t know that this film was from a book written by Cherie Currie. I thought it was just a random biopic. Since it was written by Currie, I can understand her being the main focus, otherwise you have to winder, why not focus on the “name” members, Joan Jett and Lita Ford.  I still question why there wasn’t more of Lita, and the rest of the band. It seemed like they wanted this to be a Cherie and Joan movie with Kim Fowley scenes every now and them.

A film about a music group must have the music, right? Believe it or not, they actually got that part right, but I would have liked for there to have been more. It just seemed like there could have been more performances, bu I guess the filmmakers wanted to focus more on the drama, rather than the music. Good call for a film about musicians (not the sarcasm)!

So, what is my verdict for this film. As I said before, it just wasn’t my cup of tea, but I can see how some people would like it. However, of the handful of people I know that actually took the time to watch this, no one seems to care for it. Let’s face it, this is not the most popular rock band in the world on film here. I think that may have been another reason I didn’t care for it. Either way, my opinion aside, I can recommend this if you’re really into Joan Jett or Kristen Stewart, or the music of The Runaways, but otherwise, this isn’t a must-see.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

Adventureland

Posted in Comedy, Drama, Independent, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

t is the summer of 1987 and James Brennan (Jesse Eisenberg) has just graduated with a comparative literature degree from Oberlin College. He is looking forward to touring Europe for the summer and going to Columbia University for graduate school in journalism when his parents (Wendie Malick and Jack Gilpin) announce they won’t be able to help him financially.

James looks for summer jobs, but can only find one, at Adventureland, a local amusement park in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where his childhood friend Frigo (Matt Bush), who has a habit of punching James in the testicles, works. James is hired immediately by the assistant manager, Bobby (Bill Hader), and is assigned to the games area. He meets some of his co-workers: the dry and sarcastic Joel (Martin Starr), Bobby’s wife and manager of Adventureland, Paulette (Kristen Wiig), Sue O’Malley (Paige Howard), Mark (Mark Miller), Lisa P. (Margarita Levieva), and the park’s repairs technician Mike Connell (Ryan Reynolds), who is a part-time musician and claims to have once jammed with Lou Reed.

James meets another games worker, Emily “Em” Lewin (Kristen Stewart), after she saves him from being stabbed by a disgruntled customer. She later invites him to a party at her house. During the party, Em invites him to join her in the pool. After the party ends, it’s revealed that Em has been having an affair with Connell, although he is married. James goes out to a bar for a drink with Em, and while they are talking at the bar, Em is surprised to learn James is still a virgin. Connell arrives at the bar and Em wants to leave, so they go to one of Pittsburgh’s three rivers close to one of the city’s bridges where James kisses her. The following day, James tells Connell about his strong feelings for Em, which Connell reports to Em. Em later tells James she wants to take it slow.

The next morning, Lisa P. asks James out on a date, but only lets a few people know. After James returns from the date, he learns Em had called to tell him that she regrets having rejected his feelings on their past date. James gives Em some of his marijuana to bake pot cookies to cheer her up. After a pot-induced game-playing streak, Joel is attacked by an angry customer who learns the games are rigged. When Em steps in, the customer pushes her and James defends her by punching him in the balls. The customer’s friend starts chasing James who hides in Bobby’s office, who then scares the customer off by threatening him with a baseball bat. Em tells James that she doesn’t want to lose him.

Joel sees them walking together and decides to quit. James tries to talk him out of it but Joel is angry at James for dating Lisa P. when he already loves Em. James wants to be honest and tells Em about the night he went out with Lisa P. Shocked by his honesty, Em goes to Connell’s house that night to end their affair. Prompted by Frigo, the park’s mentally challenged parking official tells James he saw Em and Connell doing “push-ups without any pants on” in the back of Connell’s car a few weeks earlier. James goes to Connell’s Grandmas house with Frigo and sees Em leaving, having just broken up with Connell. When James confronts Em, she is so shocked to see him there that she becomes tongue-tied and does not explain; James becomes angered by the assumed betrayal, and leaves after Em calls herself an “idiot”. Later, James tells Lisa P. about the affair, but asks her not to tell anyone.

Lisa P. tells her friend Kelly, and soon everybody in the park has found out and Em quits. James is heartbroken and drunkenly crashes his dad’s car into a tree and passes out. The next morning, his mother wakes him up and tells him that he has to pay to fix all the damage. After getting his last paycheck, Connell tells James that he has not spoken to Em since she quit. James doesn’t have enough money to go to graduate school, but heads for New York anyway. In New York City, James waits outside Em’s apartment. She’s surprised to see James waiting for her and is reluctant to talk to him, feeling she has ruined everything between them. James tells her that he sees her in a different way than she sees herself, that he sees the girl who saved him from getting knifed, the girl who stood up for Joel, the girl who introduced him to psychotropic cookies, and the girl who doesn’t make apologies for herself. Touched, Em brings James up to her apartment. Once there, James gets out of his wet clothes, and finds she still has an Adventureland shirt. They kiss and begin to take their clothes off as the film ends, and James presumably finally loses his virginity to Em.

REVIEW:

When this film was first announced, I thought it was some sort of film based on the attraction at Disneyland. I was somewhat right. Adventureland is based on a theme park, but not in Disneyland.

I had heard that while this was a comedy, it was also a critic’s favorite. Translation- it isn’t very funny.

That doesn’t mean this isn’t a good film, though. It does make a few failed attempts at comedy, they just don’t pan out.

This film works best when playing up the drama aspect of these college grads and soon-to-be grads who have to spend their summer working at a cheaply run theme park and their lives.

I have to say this…how does anyone find Kristen Stewart attractive? On top of that, why do studios keep hiring her? She can’t act. Granted, she’s nowhere near as bad as Megan Fox, she’s just a bad actress. When the Twilight franchise ends, chances are so will her career.

As expected, when you put a bunch of young adults together, there is going to be some attraction. Even in a crappy theme park like Adventureland, this is the case.

Jesse Eisenberg is just not leading man material. In Zombieland and Cursed, he was able to pull off being the male lead because the film wasn’t primarily focused on him. However, in Adventureland, it is quite obvious that he is the “star”.  Don’t get me wrong, the guy tries, but he fails. He doesn’t have the charisma to carry a picture…even as a nerdy loser.

I’ve already mention Kristen Stewart’s appeal being overrated and her lack of acting talent. I’m still perplexed how anyone can pick her over Margarita Levieva, though. As Lisa P., she is the goddess of Adventureland. A girl who every guy wants to be with and every girl wishes she were. I will say that she did seem to be a bit Jersey-ish. I don’t know if that was on purpose or not. One thing is for sure, though. I was wishing for more of her and less of just about everyone else.

Sad part of this film is the best acting came from the older cast members. Ryan Reynolds does what he does best, but he gets to flex his acting chops a bit here as he acts as a friend/mentor to James and lover to Em. Bill Hader and Kristin Wiig aren’t as funny as they could be, but I belive that has more to do with the way this film was written, rather than anything they did.

Adventureland fails in the comedy aspect and should not be categorized as such, but they insist this is a comedy. It does however succeed in the teen drama (even though everyone here is in the early 20s or above). The story is a good one, though not great. I wasn’t totally bored, though I was sort of wishing the film would’ve moved along at a faster pace, rather than plod along the way it seemed to do, especially after James gets settled in at Adventureland. I suppose I can recommend this, but I’m not enthusiastic about it.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

The Twilight Saga: New Moon

Posted in Chick Flicks, Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 3, 2010 by Mystery Man

 

PLOT:

On her 18th birthday, Bella Swan wakes up from a dream in which she sees herself as an old woman. She expresses her distaste with growing older than her boyfriend Edward Cullen, a vampire who stopped aging physically at 17. Despite her lack of enthusiasm, Edward’s adoptive family throws Bella a birthday party. While unwrapping a gift, Bella gets a paper cut, causing Edward’s brother, Jasper, to become overwhelmed by her blood’s scent and attempt to kill her. Realizing the danger that he and his family pose to Bella, Edward ends their relationship, and the Cullens leave Forks, Washington permanently.

Edward’s departure leaves Bella heartbroken and depressed for months. However, when her father, Charlie, decides to send her to live with her mother in Florida, Bella agrees to spend time with her friends. After seeing a movie with Jessica, Bella sees a group of men on motorcycles. This reminds her of when Edward previously rescued her from an assault, and she sees his image warning her to stay away. Bella discovers that thrill-seeking activities evoke Edward’s preserved image. She is also comforted by her deepening friendship with Jacob Black, a cheerful companion who eases her pain over losing Edward. When Jacob is unable to see Bella for weeks, she discovers that he is a werewolf, an age-old enemy of vampires. Jacob’s pack members, the Quileutes, are on constant patrol for Victoria, a vampire searching to kill Bella due to the death of her mate, leaving Jacob little time to spend with her. Alone again, Bella returns to seeking thrill-inducing activities.

Through a series of miscommunications, Edward believes Bella has killed herself. Distraught over her supposed suicide, Edward flees to Italy to provoke the Volturi, a powerful vampire coven capable of killing him, by exposing himself in the sunlight. Alice, Edward’s sister, and Bella rush to Italy to save Edward, and arrive just in time to stop him. However, the Volturi determine that Bella, a human who knows that vampires exist, must either be killed or transformed into a vampire herself. Alice stops them from killing her by sharing her premonition with Aro, a Volturi elder who is able to read thoughts, in which Bella has been transformed. Returning to Forks, Edward tells Bella that he always loved her and only left to protect her. She forgives him, and the Cullens vote in favor of Bella being transformed into a vampire, to Edward and Jacob’s dismay. Edward gives Bella a choice: either she lets Alice change her after their graduation, or, if Bella agrees to marry him, he will change her himself. However, Jacob reminds Edward of the treaty the Cullens made with the Quileutes: they will not attack each other, as long as the Cullens never bite a human.

REVIEW:

I just looked back and realized that it was exactly 1 year ago that I watched and reviewed Twilight, a film that I had no intention of actually enjoying, but somehow did. The Twilight Saga: New Moon, however isn’t os lucky.

Apart from being so overly dramatic and whiny, this film proves that Kristen Stewart can’t act. No wonder her nonTwilight film that was just released, The Messengers, bombed. Stewart spends thew whole time pining for Edward while trying to find comfort in the arms of Jacob. This is all well and good, as that is how it is in the book, from my understanding, but the emotion that she could be showing during these scenes is just not there, and she comes off as robotic.

Edward  isn’t really in this film much, but it is my understanding he isn’t in this book, either, so I can’t fault him for that. However, the scenes he is in, including the ones where he’s just a vision, are all as if he took some Ritalin before the cameras started rolling. Nothing wrong with being calm and all that, but if you’re telling someone who they shouldn’t go do something that could kill then, there should be a little more emphasis in your delivery. Acting aside, though, he doesn’t do half bad in the fight scenes in the Volturi throne room, or what have you. I think we all know they put that scene in there to attract some guys to the otherwise overly chicked-out chick flick.

This thing might as well have been called Taylor Lautner: The Movie. Not only is he the primary focus on the film (and book), but almost all advertising was centered around him and his newly buff bod. As with everyone else in this flick, he turns in a very robotic performance. I hate to judge him by these films, but I’m seriously starting to think that this kid can’t act and folks are just capitalizing on his shirtless scenes.

The Cullens have a drastically reduced part in the film, except for Alice, who actually has about the same. THe Queileute tribe I wonder about since they just walk around all day with no shirts on. Granted if I had abs like that, I’d want to show them off, too, but to walk around all the time with no shirt on? Seriously? I have two theories behind this. The first is that they do it to avoid having to get new shirts everytime they change to and from their wolf forms. The other is that this was for the women to drool over these guys.

With a bigger budget, I expected more from this thing. Comparing the two films, you would think Twilight had the bigger budget. The wolves looked slightly better than a SyFy channel movie and the glitter on the vampires doesn’t look as if they tweaked it at all.

Speaking of keeping things from the first film. All those flashbacks were a bit much. I like to say that flashbacks are a cheap way of filling time, and that’s exactly what these seemed to do. Now, some of them do serve a purpose in that they refresh the audience’s memory, but to keep showing these things the entire flick is a bit much.

  I don’t know, I guess I had a bit lofty expectations after the impressive surprise of Twilight, but this thing just didn’t impress me. What makes it worse is that the trailers do it an injustice in that they are better than the actual film. The Twilight Saga: New Moon comes off as an overly dramatic, overhyped, piece of teen drama that is only missing the head cheerleader dating the captain of the football team and a nerd crushing on one of them. This is just not a good picture. Sure, some out there will chastise me for ripping it a new one, but tis is my opinion, and I stick by it. Maybe next April when I watch the next installment of the franchise, it will be a much better film, but I’m not expecting so. I believe that Twilight will prove to be the best of the bunch.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars