May 2011 Mini Reviews

Water for Elephants: 2 out of 5
Water for Elephants started out fairly promising. It used a premise similar to Titanic using flashbacks to tell the story. The performances were fine, especially from Christoph Waltz. The real downfall of the film was the climax. It just seemed really improbable and too nicely wrapped up. I was very underwhelmed by the end.

Madea’s Big Happy Family: 2 out of 5
Tyler Perry has returned again for his latest, and probably not the last film to star Madea, the old woman with an attitude and a motor mouth. Tyler Perry seems to always put in a major amount of drama into his films but this one seemed to over do it. All the characters had so many problems and they could have fixed them fairly easily. The only thing that makes the film work is Madea her(him)self. I got quite a few laughs from the scenes where she showed up.

Fast Five: 4 out of 5
Yes it’s the fifth movie in an action series, yes it has a lot of the same things as before, yes the plot isn’t amazing, however the action is. Fast Five is the best action film since last year’s Expendables. The way the whole cast is brought together makes for a solid team of characters. However the ones who steal the show are Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson, and they have a fight that I think everybody has been waiting for. The fights, the car scenes and the races are all great to watch. By this point you know what you’re going in for. This movie is straight up fun.

Hoodwinked Too, Hood vs. Evil: 2 out of 5
I can’t think of a film that didn’t need a sequel any more than Hoodwinked. I walked into it expecting to hate it, but fortunately I found it tolerable. Still that’s not saying a lot. The film has a ton of clichés, pop culture jokes that aren’t funny and characters who can get on one’s nerves.

Prom: 2 out of 5
Prom was a really lame movie. The problem there is that it had some potential however it didn’t know what it wanted to be. There seemed to be a type of tug-of-war with the idea between a tween plot and a teen plot. The acting is average and much of what happens we’ve all seen before. It seemed like a movie that had a good idea, but the execution tripped over itself.

Thor: 3 out of 5
I seem to be on the opposite side of many opinions on this one, but I just couldn’t seem to enjoy Thor. All I can say is that there were some good effects and action. I felt the story just seemed very rushed and I never felt that Thor’s character ever made an arc, unlike Tony Stark in Iron Man. Another thing is that the film just felt really concealed, In the previous Marvel films there is a sense that the whole world is aware of what’s going on and we get to see many different places. Here there were only two main places for the plot and one of these locations was VERY boring. This one just couldn’t grab my attention.

Something Borrowed: 1 out of 5
I really couldn’t stand this film. I hated the premise and I hated the protagonist even more. I never had a feeling that what she was doing was morally right. Plus, the couple that is to be married never really show a reason why they are, every scene they are together just show that they don’t really like each other. I don’t understand how you’re suppose to root for these characters.

Bridesmaids: 0.5 out of 5
I don’t care if it’s from a man or a woman, gross out humor really doesn’t do it for me. Add to the fact that the characters in this picture are under developed and loathsome, especially the main protagonist, really made this hard to enjoy. Most of the time when you have a bunch of characters with different backgrounds come together in a comedy it is funny watching them work together and build camaraderie, but that just didn’t happen here. I despised every character in this movie and I had to hold myself in my chair so I didn’t walk out.

Priest: 2 out of 5
Priest is the kind of action film you see at a matinee or rent. The premise has an original element however the action and characters never really take the film to a level that takes you out of your seat. It was mediocre however will at least keep ones attention.

OnStranger Tides: 2 out of 5
Where the past Pirate movies have benefited from Jack Sparrow, his role in On Stranger Tides hindered it. I’ve been saying it for awhile, Jack Sparrow should not be the protagonist, he is the Han Solo of Pirates, when he is thrust into the role of the protagonist, you begin to change his character too much. For example giving him a love interest in an under developed character played by Penelope Cruz just doesn’t work. Ian McShane’s character felt like it had potential however he just ended up being a throw away villain.

Also for the first time I was tired of Geoffrey Rush being in the series. His story was basically finished at the end of the first film; however they were able to make an interesting way for him to return in part three. This time his character being in the film just feels shoved in and not necessary. There was one character, a cleric who probably could have made for a good protagonist to follow and team up with Jack Sparrow, being a sort of replacement for Will Turner, however they just didn’t give him enough screen time or a satisfying conclusion.

Add all this to the fact that the action was the exact same thing we’ve seen before, especially the part where Jack Sparrow has to escape from some troops, and it just makes for a been there done that situation which in turn makes the film BORING.

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Author: Matthew Liedke

My name is Matthew Liedke. I'm a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer in Minnesota, but I also have a passion for the art of film. This passion led me to start writing about film in 2008. From 2008-2016 I wrote pieces at my own website, After the Movie Reviews. Then, from 2016-May 2018, my write-ups were featured on AreaVoices, a blog network run by Forum Communications Company. Today, I now write film reviews and other pieces here on Word Press. More about me: I'm a 2012 graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead where I studied journalism and film. Outside of film, I enjoy sports, video games, anime and craft beers.

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