Posts Tagged ‘action’

Being home for summer, you have to get creative to keep yourself entertained. And I figured a good way to keep busy would be to start putting a dent in the infinite stack of books I have purchased but not read.

I decided on Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. I bought this book a while back. It was on sale for $5 at Barnes and Noble in honor of the upcoming release of the final book in the series. The book had a really interesting cover and a great sale price. The synopsis written on the back cover was interesting enough for me to seal the deal.

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So here’s the plot, in a nutshell: Awkward high school girl, Nora Grey, is assigned a new lab partner in biology. He is elusive, uncooperative, and refuses to answer any of her questions. She figures out that his name is Patch, but that’s about all she learns. He’s tall, dark and handsome, and despite being endlessly frustrating, she finds herself strangely attracted to him. He begins showing up at the same places she is, claiming it was coincidence. She later finds out that he is something more than what he seems. Their romance plays out in a gloomy, rainy locale (for example: Maine or Washington.)

Does this sound familiar to anyone? Nora Grey is basically a reinvented Bella Swan. Nora is more annoying than the book version of Bella, but less annoying than the movie version of Bella. Patch and Nora meet in biology class, just like Edward and Bella. Patch descends into frustratingly mysterious behavior, also just like Edward. Nora’s friend Vee Sky is seemingly intended to be the comedic relief, but just comes off as kind of annoying, not unlike Jessica Stanley in Twilight. Nora gets into trouble when she travels to a nearby town, Portland, only to be rescued by her elusive love interest. Maybe it’s just me but that sounds strikingly similar to when Bella gets scared in the alley while on a trip to Port Angeles, only to have Edward come to her rescue in the nick of time. There was no secret in beginning Twilight or Hush, Hush that the male leads were superhuman.

I don’t know about you, but when I read Twilight, I knew Edward was a vampire from the beginning. I read the book before all the hype began to generate from the movie, so there weren’t endless spoilers everywhere I turned. It just wasn’t that hard to figure out. As for Hush, Hush, all you had to do to realize that Patch was a fallen angel, was look at the cover of the novel. If there was any doubt left in your mind, the summary on the back would surely clear it up for you.

There were some good things about this book, and some bad things. I think Becca Fitzpatrick does a good job of creating this Hush, Hush world that readers just fall into. Some may disagree, but this book was a page turner for me. I finished it in just a couple hours. While it was easy to read, that doesn’t mean the story was great. It most definitely doesn’t mean that the story was original. I am certain I would’ve appreciated this book if it was the first of its kind. I read Twilight when I was about 12 years old, and I was completely enamored by it. I had never read anything like it. Now, 7 years later, Barnes & Noble has a section dedicated solely to “paranormal romance.” Hush, Hush just seems stale. It was entertaining and I enjoyed reading it, but books like that are a dime a dozen. There wasn’t really anything special about it. I intend to read the rest of the books in the series (Crescendo, Silence, and Finale.)

This is the summary from the back of the novel, if you want a better idea of what the story is about:
When Nora and Patch are forced together as lab partners, Nora would rather fall to her death than put up with his elusive answers to her questions, his teasing, and his infuriatingly handsome face and hypnotizing eyes. It seems Patch was put on earth just to drive her crazy. But before long, Nora’s defenses start to break down as her curiosity about Patch heats up. Why does he always seem to be wherever she is and know exactly what she’s thinking? How does he know what to say to both attract and repulse her? And what is up with those V-shaped scars on his chiseled back? As their connection grows stronger, Nora’s own life becomes increasingly fragile. Nora needs to decide: Is Patch the one who wants to do her harm or the one who will keep her safe? Has she fallen for one of the fallen?

Upon doing a little research for this post, I learned a film adaptation of Hush, Hush is in the very early stages of production (fingers crossed for Thomas Dekker to play Patch.) Patrick Sean Smith, writer behind ABC Family’s Greek, has been commissioned to write the script for the film. If you want to get ahead of the movie hype, now is your chance.

If you enjoyed Twilight, and are just looking for a quick, easy read, Hush, Hush isn’t a bad choice. If you’re looking for groundbreaking literature, I don’t think I need to tell you to look elsewhere.

Let The Right One In, released in 2008, is a Swedish horror film starring Kare Hedebrant and Lina Leandersson. You can watch the trailer for the film here, or watch it in its entirety on Netflix. The film is based off of a novel of the same name by John Adjvide Lindqvist. If there’s one thing about Let The Right One In, it’s that it cannot be easily categorized. While it is considered both a horror film, and a vampire film, it really doesn’t seem right to categorize it as either.

Kare Hedebrant plays 12-year-old Oskar. He is the quiet, socially awkward target of school bullies. He notices a girl around his age and her father moving into the apartment next to his family’s. He later finds out that the girl’s name is Eli, and the man with her is not, in fact, her father. His job is to get blood for Eli. If you haven’t figured it out yet, Eli is a vampire. After letting her borrow his Rubik’s cube, which she returns solved, she and Oskar begin to form a friendship.

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I had heard countless rave reviews about this film, claiming that it was much better than the U.S. version, Let Me In (starring Chloe Grace Moretz, also available to stream on Netflix). Reviews said not to be put off by the fact that this is a “vampire movie.” It’s more of just a movie, that happens to have a vampire in it. That’s mostly true; it’s unlike any other vampire film I’ve ever seen. There are definitely no sparkling Edward Cullens in this film. While there are still age old vampire tropes included (aversion to sunlight, being unable to cross a threshold without being invited in) it is still quite unique. It sounds pretty generic in the summary I provided above, but I kept it short to avoid major spoilers.

Here’s where I’m probably going to upset some fans. I didn’t think this movie was all it’s cracked up to be. After reading 100 positive reviews for every 1 negative review, I was convinced I was about to see something profound. I enjoyed watching this movie, but I was quite disappointed. The story didn’t waste time getting started, but nothing exceptionally eventful really happened until the first hour had passed. Going in to the film, I was thinking that I would like Eli because she was a “good” vampire; a misunderstood, tortured soul. I found myself pretty indifferent to her. Oskar elicited more emotion from me. I was rooting for him to fight back and stop letting the bullies get the better of him. I think the only reason I really like Eli at all was because she seemed to be the only thing that made Oskar happy.

To be completely honest, and this is just my opinion that 99% of people will disagree with: I found Twilight more entertaining than Let The Right One In. I’m not saying that Twilight has a better story, but I didn’t find myself bored at times, like I did while watching Let The Right One In. (Yes, I enjoyed watching Twilight. Judge me.)

The story, as I said, is very unique. I can appreciate that. It’s not at all a bad film, in fact, it’s a pretty good one as far as story quality goes. I just didn’t enjoy watching it as much as I had anticipated. It’s possible I would have felt different if I had watched the film without hearing all the hype, but as it stands, it was really just okay for me.

If any have you have seen this film (or the American version, which I haven’t seen) let me know what you thought! I would love to hear your opinions (aside from bashing me for saying I liked Twilight.) Thanks for reading!

What is the greatest movie ever made?

It’s a loaded question. There’s no possible way to ever get a definitive answer, unfortunately. How would you even go about deciding? You could look to box office success and decide that way (accounting for only theatrical revenue, that would be James Cameron‘s Avatar). You could poll movie critics, movie-goers, filmmakers… But it’s unlikely that you would get more than 3 people to provide the same answer.

As for the top ten highest grossing films, the list is as follows:

1. Avatar (2009)
2. Titanic (1997)
3. Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)
4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011)
5. Frozen (2013)
6. Iron Man 3 (2013)
7. Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)
8. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003)
9. Skyfall (2012)
10. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

My personal favorite of the films listed above is Christopher Nolan‘s The Dark Knight Rises, and it is likely that there are plenty of people who don’t think Avatar is worthy of the title of “Greatest Movie Ever Made.” Great? Sure. The greatest ever? That’s debatable.

Most of these films have not won any Oscars (Avatar, Titanic, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, and Skyfall were the only ones to snag an Oscar, [or 2, or 11 in the case of Titanic] but a few of the others were nominated.)

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There are plenty of factors a movie can be judged on. I prefer the story in The Avengers to that in Avatar, but there’s no question that Avatar was deserving of its Oscar wins in the categories of Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, and Best Visual Effects. You could also base your decision off the performance of the actors. I prefer Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic to Sam Worthington in Avatar, even though Avatar is higher on the list. You could also merit the films based on the quality of the plot, the overall look of the film, and many more factors.


 

After scouring the Internet for “The Greatest Movie Ever Made,” I found about a dozen different lists from different contributors. You can check out IMdB’s list of the 250 greatest films here – this list seems to encompass most of the films listed by other contributors. There were many lists that covered just the greats of one genre, but I omitted those, and only counted the ones that looked at movies overall. A lot films were on nearly every list. Francis Ford Coppola‘s 1972 film, The Godfather, was the most common film listed, taking the top spot on quite a few of the countdowns. Other films that appeared on numerous lists include Citizen Kane (1941), Vertigo (1958), The Shawshank Redemption (1994), Casablanca (1942), and Psycho (1960). There is no doubt that all of these films are considered great by many people, and I think it’s safe to say a lot of them could be considered classics. (Notice that though Avatar was the highest grossing film ever, it didn’t top any of the lists I encountered.)

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I found myself pondering this question, “what is the greatest movie ever made?” and I have come to the conclusion that there isn’t, nor can there ever be, one definitive answer.

So now I am posing this question to you: In your opinion, what is the greatest movie ever made and why?

 

Leave a comment below and let me know! Thanks for reading!

Last night, I went to the theater to see 22 Jump Street. This film is the sequel to 21 Jump Street (not to be confused with the TV series starring Johnny Depp).

The films, 21 Jump Street (2012) and the new release, 22 Jump Street, star Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill.

I know quite a few of the reviews I do are about horror films, but I’m a fan of all genres so this review is going to be a little different! Admittedly, I am typically pretty hard on the comedy genre. It really reminds me of horror, in that it is a very polarizing genre. I don’t think there is a lot of middle ground. It’s either really funny/scary, or just stupid. I know there are many viewers who will be critical of the “silliness” of the Jump Street films, but if that’s not your thing, that’s okay. When I saw 21 Jump Street once it was released on DVD, I was impressed. I would be lying if I said these movies had characters who are hardened into emotional stoicism only to have their heart of stone changed by the love of their life, or an unpredictable, mind-bending plot, but what comedy does? The comedy is more witty and clever than Dumb & Dumber, Zoolander, or any Will Ferrell movie (I’m not a fan). Clever and witty humor, in my opinion, makes the best comedy. (Poop began to lose it’s comedic effect around roughly age 6 for me). I would say I have a pretty eclectic taste in terms of comedy, but smart humor usually prevails (I won’t lie though, as stupid as the film was, Sacha Baron Cohen in The Dictator made me laugh enough for me to watch it more than once.) Previously, Horrible Bosses was my favorite comedy, but Jump Street has surpassed it in terms of how funny the films are. However, watching Charlie Day pretend to be on cocaine and sing “That’s Not My Name” in Horrible Bosses will always be hilarious.

In 21 Jump Street, Greg Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Morton Schmidt (Jonah Hill) go undercover to find the supplier of a new drug at the high school they graduated from, while the drug is still contained to their high school. While they were actually students, Jenko was a hunky jock, who has beauty, but not so much with brains. Schmidt was the Not-So-Slim Shady, who, while he wasn’t popular, is intelligent. Jenko and Schmidt end up at the Police Academy together, and become friends. One thing with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum is that they have incredible chemistry. I imagine that they’re pretty tight off screen with a chemistry this dynamic. After being taken off bicycle cop duty to go undercover because of their youthful appearances, they find that high school is different than it used to be. After accidentally switching their assumed identities, Jenko ends up in AP chemistry (“Fuck you, science!”) and becomes friends with the tech nerds, while Schmidt falls in with the mellow, environmentally conscious popular crowd (“Ja feel?” “Ja feel. Ja definitely feel.”) Schmidt befriends Eric (Dave Franco) who they figure out is the dealer. You can get a better idea what the first film is about by watching the trailer.

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21 Jump Street ends with Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) telling the guys their next assignment (“You two sons of bitches are goin’ to college!”)

22 Jump Street takes everything we loved from the first movie and amplify it. They are similar; same type of comedy, similar characters (“It’s the same case! Do the same thing!” “It’s not exactly the same case, ’cause one of us got laid last night.”) But if you liked the first film, you will love the sequel. First of all, it’s hilarious. I was laughing through the entire movie, and even into the credits. From the moment they arrive in their dorm, hilarity ensues (Pop-up hamper. Bean bag chair. Hot plate. Hilarious shirt that signals we drink alcohol.) Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) has a larger role in this film. His mental breakdown at parent’s weekend at MC State University had me in tears. Jenko and Schmidt are up to their usual antics, but the comedy isn’t stale or, in my opinion, overused. Another positive note worth mentioning is nearly 2 hours of Channing Tatum, and his new frat-tastic football dude bro, Zook, played by Wyatt Russell (but sadly, Dave Franco had less than two minutes of screen time). If you even remotely enjoyed the first movie, I highly recommend you guys check this one out! You won’t be totally lost if you haven’t seen the first film before seeing 22 Jump Street, but it would help; plus, it’s another great film that’s worth the watch.

If you’ve seen either of the Jump Street films, feel free to leave a comment and tell me what you think! Also, what is your favorite comedy and least favorite comedy? Leave a comment! Thanks for reading!

 

Oh, and there is no Korean Jesus in 22 Jump Street. Instead, Vietnamese Jesus. Word.

So this will be my first post after my unannounced (and unintentional) hiatus. Fortunately for you all, my hiatus was filled with tons of movies to review, after binge watching for the better part of a week.

Directed by Frank Darabont, based off the novella by Stephen King, The Mist was my favorite of the horror films I gorged on this week. You can read the NY Times review here.

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To be completely honest, the premise of this film may sound kind of stupid. A small town is plagued by a mysterious mist that holds a horrible, tentacled monster that preys on townsfolk. The majority of the film is set in the supermarket, where many people are scurrying to stock up on groceries before a storm arrives. Not surprisingly, the mist arrives, leaving them trapped in the store. The movie examines the interactions between the people in the supermarket as their situation grows exponentially bleak. The group is divided and turned against one another as the story progresses.

There is quite an interesting cast chosen in this movie. The hero of the story is David Drayton, played by Thomas Jane. David is accompanied by Amanda (Laurie Holden), his son Billy (Nathan Gamble), Dan (Jeffrey DeMunn), Irene (Frances Sternhagen), Private Jessup (Sam Witwer), Ollie (Toby Jones), and a few other less notable followers.

The loathsome Mrs. Carmody (Marcia Gay Harden) goes head to head against David and his “team.” Mrs. Carmody believes that the mist is God’s wrath against the less wholesome people in the store, claiming that they deserve it. (“Those of you who aren’t local should know that Mrs. Carmody is known in town for being unstable.” “No shit. What was your first clue?”) Mrs. Carmody drones on and on about the second coming and tries to stage a coup d’état against David, and the more likable characters. Due to the obnoxious nature of Harden’s character, a shining moment of the film was when Irene, a badass grandma, throws a can of peas at Mrs. Carmody (“Shut up you miserable buzzard! Stoning people who piss you off is perfectly okay. They do it in the bible, don’t they? And I’ve got lots of peas!”)

For those of you who didn’t notice above, this film features Laurie Holden and Jeffrey DeMunn, both of which starred in AMC’s The Walking Dead, as Andrea and Dale, respectively. Though she doesn’t have a large role in this film, Melissa McBride, known to TWD fans as Carol, also appears in The Mist.

This could just be me reading too far into what is meant to only be 2 hours of mindless entertainment, but I think there’s more to this movie than the characters trying to defeat a giant tentacled monster. It is always interesting to me to see the way different movies portray characters when they are thrown into a dangerous fight for survival. Each instance spurs a different reaction from the characters. You get to see who is loyal to the group, who would betray the group for their own benefit, the relationships that form, and who will emerge as a leader. It seems like this movie does a pretty good job depicting a group of people put into a dangerous situation and seeing how they react. As their fear becomes more intense, their relationships are strained and they begin to make more questionable decisions.

I’m not sure how many of you have seen, or are even familiar with this movie, but I recommend it. If you are a Stephen King fan like me, you should definitely see it. Any of you who have already seen this film, leave a comment and let me know what you thought. Thanks for reading.

 

David Ayer, who has a number of police dramas under his belt as a writer and director, gave us End of Watch in 2012. I don’t think this movie received nearly the amount of acclaim that it deserved. This film starts Jake Gyllenhaal as Officer Taylor, and Michael Pena as Officer Zavala. Both of these actors give incredible performances. I was unfamiliar with Michael Pena before seeing this movie, but I really think he stole the show. Gyllenhaal is great, but Michael Pena’s performance was so genuine, and you can’t help but adore his character. You can read a quick review of the film here and this is a link to the trailer. You can also watch the movie here on Netflix! If you ask me, movies that elicit real emotional responses from the audience are pretty rare. Directors and actors who can generate that raw emotion should be praised. This movie certainly does that, in my opinion. It’s so real and moving.

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This is not your run-of-the-mill police thriller, but it’s also not bogged down with so much drama and emotion that it takes away from the action. I really encourage you guys to check this movie out.

As I’ve mentioned in my profile, writing is my passion. That passion collides with film. It is my dream to write and direct my own screenplays.

I genuinely love all genres of film. Action, horror, thriller, comedy, romance. They all have their space in my personal, fairly extensive, DVD collection. While romance takes up a very small space, action and horror seep from my shelves. I’m going to start posting some of my favorite movies, directors, and actors, plus what I love about them and why you should love them too.

Also, like I said, I love all genres of film (and I’m not just saying that to sound sophisticated). If you have any movie suggestions, movies you love, under-the-radar directors you think I should check out, please let me know. Getting a new movie for me is more exciting than new shoes. I’m always on the lookout for new films, so give me some of your cinematic wisdom.