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.

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Kung Fu Panda 2 review

Jennifer Yuh
Jack Black
Angelina Jolie
Dustin Hoffman
Gary Oldman
Jackie Chan
Seth Rogen
Lucy Liu
David Cross
Rated: PG

Add another to the “good sequels list.”

In Kung Fu Panda 2, we once again follow the character Po (Black), the giant panda who became a kung fu master after finding that he was the prophesied ‘Dragon Warrior.’ Now Po lives with the other ‘Furious Five’ fighters as well as their master Shifu (Hoffman) where they are constantly fighting against bandits and the like, keeping the nearby villages safe.

Meanwhile, a new enemy arises, a Peacock named Shen played by Gary Oldmann. Shen has discovered the powers of gunpowder and plans to use them to rule all of China, and the first place he takes over is his city where he was born into royalty and was exiled. Upon finding out that Shen has taken over the city, Po and the Furious Five are sent to deal with the problem, however Shen has a bigger past with Po then the protagonist realizes.

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X-Men: First Class review

Matthew Vaughn
James McAvoy
Michael Fassbender
Jennifer Lawrence
Kevin Bacon
Rated: PG-13

Arguably the best X-Men movie out so far.

X-Men: First Class tells the origin story of how the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants came to be by going into the back stories of both Charles Xavior (McAvoy) and Eric Lehnsherr (Fassbender). We begin with their youths, Xavior growing up and learning that there were others like himself by meeting a young girl who can shape shift into any person named Raven, meanwhile Lehnsherr grows up being experimented on and treated poorly under the watch of Sebastian Shaw (Bacon), who has plans of world domination through mutants.

Once the two reach adulthood, the CIA contacts Xavior to help learn about the growing number of mutants appearing, Meanwhile Lehnsherr is out getting vengeance on those who had ruined his childhood and destroyed his family. Eventually the two characters meet and decide to seek out and help young mutants in the world. However once they gain light of Shaw’s plan they realize that he needs to be stopped and set out to deal with him, the two protagonists also learn that their ideals may be more conflicting than they first thought.

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Midnight in Paris review

Woody Allen
Owen Wilson
Rachel McAdams
Tom Hiddleston
Corey Stoll
Marion Cotillard
Rated: PG-13

The artistry of Paris being on full display was expected, the time-travelling was not.

Midnight in Paris follows the character Gil (Wilson), a Hollywood screenwriter who is on vacation in Paris with his fiance Inez (McAdams) and is also in the middle of writing a novel. While the two are scheduled to be married, it is apparent that they have problems, as Gil is usually dragged around the city by Inez and her parents to some of the more dull parts of the city.

However one night Gil finds himself walking the streets of Paris and at midnight, he is taken into an old model car and brought back to the age of the 1920’s. Here, Gil meets famous artists from the time including Ernest Hemmingway (Stoll) and F. Scott Fitzgerald (Hiddleston). The rest of the film follows Gil’s mundane life during the day and his exploration of his favorite artists at night.

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The Conspirator review

Robert Redford
Robin Wright
James McAvoy
Evan Rachel Wood
Alexis Bledel
Rated: PG-13

The Conspirator takes place after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, at the end of the Civil War. With Lincoln killed the, the government decides to go after the perpetrators. However, they not only go after the ones directly involved, but their loved ones as well, like Mary Suratt (Wright), whose son used her boarding house as a meeting place for rebels looking to do the assassination attempt. Therefore, Suratt is put up to trial in a Military Tribunal.

This is where our protagonist comes in. Frederick Aiken, a decorated war hero who fought for the north turned lawyer is set to defend Suratt. Aiken is at first taken back, believing that she must have been involved someway or another, which creates friction since he has to defend her. But as time goes on, Aiken begins to learn how and why what the government is doing is wrong, and he begins to change over the film.

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Your Highness review

David Gordon Green
Danny McBride
James Franco
Natalie Portman
Justin Theroux
Zooey Deschanel
Rated: R

Your Highness is the latest ‘stoner comedy’ type film to come out, trying to be like other successful films such as “The Pinapple Express.” The story follows the character Thadeous (McBride), a man who is constantly living in the shadow of his older, heroic brother Fabious (Franco). Upon the return of Fabious’ many quests, it is revealed that he has rescued a woman named Belladonna (Deschanel) and plans to marry her. However she is kidnapped by an evil wizard, Leezar (Theroux).

So Fabious has to go on a quest to save her and Thadeous is forced to go along or face banishment. Along the way they are accompanied by Isabel (Portman), a woman warrior who wants to get revenge on Leezar, and a love interest for Thadeous.

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Hop review

Tim Hill
James Marsden
Russell Brand
Kaley Cuoco
Hank Azaria
Rated: PG

The film follows two characters, Fred O’Hare (Marsden) a man in his 20 somethings who has no real inspiration of what to do, and E.B. (Brand), the son of the Easter Bunny who is more interested in music then taking over the family business. One day, E.B. leaves the Easter Bunny base of operations and goes to Hollywood to try and make something of himself. While going there he is hit by Fred on the highway.

E.B. guilts Fred into taking him in while Fred is house sitting a mansion. The two have a rocky start however they eventually start to grow on each other as the movie goes on. Meanwhile, the Easter Bunny’s right hand man Carlos (Azaria), begins using E.B.’s disappearance to try and take control.

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Source Code review

Duncan Jones
Jake Gyllenhaal
Michelle Monaghan
Vera Farmiga
Jeffrey Wright
Rated: PG-13

It’s almost like Deja Vu, but the character goes back more than once.

Source Code begins immediately with a mystery as Colter Stevens (Gyllenhaal) wakes up in a body that’s not his on a train he is unfamiliar with. Before he is able to figure anything out, the train explodes. Stevens then wakes up in a type of advanced capsule and is in communication with military officials. Stevens finds out that the train was actually destroyed a long time ago and the military is using a program called the Source Code that allows him to enter the world of someone on the train for the last eight minutes of their lives.

After learning this, Stevens begins to wonder why he can’t leave the capsule and the film begins to balance two mystery plots, who blew up the train and what is really going on with the military not allowing Stevens to leave the capsule.

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March 2011 Mini Reviews

Hall Pass: 2 out of 5
The Farrelly Brothers are really starting to annoy me, but at least this was better than their previous disaster “The Heart Break Kid.” This film had a lot of jokes here but most of them really fell flat. When they weren’t dick or shit jokes they were ones that I’ve basically heard before. Oh and then they tried to have some emotion in the film that didn’t work either.

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Sucker Punch review

Zack Snyder
Emily Browning
Abbie Cornish
Jena Malone
Vanessa Hudgens
Jamie Chung
Rated: PG-13

And to think, I was one of the people that defended Zack Snyder after Watchmen.

Sucker Punch is the story of Babydoll “Browning,” a girl who after accidentally killing her sister when she was actually trying to kill her step father who was jealous of her since she was going to inherit her mother’s money (This all happens in the first 10 minutes by the way), is sent to a mental institution. However, upon arrival it turns that she is able to escape into her own dreamscape, which becomes an under ground strip club run by Blue Jones (Oscar Isaac).

Babydoll knows she needs to get out of there and in one of her dreams a Wise Man (that’s actually his name) played by Scott Glenn lets her know that she needs to collect five items to escape. To do so she enlists the help of four of the other girls that are there. When she’s collecting the items she goes into another dream and makes capturing the items extremely over the top.

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