REVIEW: ‘X-Men Origins Wolverine’

Cast:
Hugh Jackman
Liev Schreiber
Danny Huston
Will i Am
Lynn Collins
Rated: PG-13

Well, it was better than “Last Stand.”

Rather than another sequel, “Origins” serves as a prequel to the first three movies, displaying the backstory of Logan, also known as Wolverine (Jackman). The movie begins with Logan’s youth in Canada where he discovers his powers and runs away from his family with his brother Sabertooth (Schreiber).

After running away, the film follows their lives through various wars before being recruited by the U.S. government for special missions with other mutants.

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REVIEW: ’17 Again’

Cast:
Zac Efron
Leslie Mann
Thomas Lennon
Matthew Perry
Sterling Knight
Michelle Trachtenberg
Rated: PG-13

Not bad Zac Efron, not too bad.

In this twist on a high school comedy, the story centers around Mike (played by Perry and Efron), once a popular basketball star in high school who missed out on a chance to go to college. The film picks up as his life is hitting a rocky point, as he’s in a dead end job, facing divorce and has a bad relationship with his kids.

This changes, though, when he falls into some sort of whirlpool and is suddenly 17 years old again. For this reason, he gets another look at life and a chance to fix his relationships with his family from another angle.

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REVIEW: ‘Monsters vs Aliens’

Cast:
Reese Witherspoon
Seth Rogen
Hugh Laurie
Will Arnett
Rated: PG

It’s classic ginormous monsters taking on alien invaders in this animated picture, setting up a heavyweight bout.

The film mainly centers around the character Susan (Witherspoon), who gets smashed by a meteor and absorbs super powers on her wedding day causing her to grow to 49 feet and 11 inches while also getting enhanced strength and agility. For this reason she’s taken into a government facility with other monsters who are kept for research.

The team of monsters get a chance to get unleashed, though, when an alien species, after the powers that Susan now has, comes to Earth.

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REVIEW: ‘Knowing’

Cast:
Nicolas Cage
Chandler Canterbury
Rose Byrne
Lara Robinson
Rated: PG-13

Nicolas Cage’s career is going off the rails.

This movie starts in 1959 with a school putting a time capsule in the ground to be opened in 50 years. One of the items in there is a list of random numbers. The film then cuts to the present day with a professor named John (Cage), who’s also a single father to his son Caleb (Canterbury). Caleb just happens to be at the school with the capsule and brings home the list of numbers.

While looking it over, John begins to see a pattern through all of the numbers and realizes that all of the disasters over the last 50 years were prophesied. After this realization, he begins investigating what it all means.

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REVIEW ‘Watchmen’

Cast:
Malin Akerman
Billy Crudup
Matthew Goode
Jackie Earle Haley
Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Patrick Wilson
Rated: R

Disclaimer: I haven’t read the graphic novel, just keep that in mind.

“Watchmen” takes place in an alternate 1985. During the World War II era, unlike our timeline, super heroes came to be a mainstay in American culture. This both helped and hurt this alternate timeline, as the extra security provided by American heroes has caused the Russians to take increased precautions, further arming their nuclear weapon stockpiles.

The movie starts off with this tense situation between the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. Right in the middle of that tension is a murder of one of the Watchmen, a super hero team that has been largely splintered over the years.

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REVIEW: ‘Bride Wars

Cast:
Kate Hudson
Anne Hathaway
Bryan Greenberg
Chris Patt
Steve Howey
Rating: PG

This certainly not a good way to kick off the new year.

“Bride Wars” centers around two good friends, Emma and Liv, who’ve both been dreaming of having a perfect wedding. While this is all well and good, their dreams go off the rails when their wedding dates land on the same day.

For this reason, the two become enemies, with each trying to upstage each other to have the better wedding.

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REVIEW: ‘Valkyrie’

Cast:
Tom Cruise
Kenneth Branagh
Bill Nighy
Terence Stamp
Rated: PG-13

Tom Cruise’s latest film has him play Colonel Stauffenberg, an officer in the German military who decides to join a plot to kill Hitler after seeing the devastating effects of World War II.

The film follows Stauffenberg, along with other German military officials, coming up with a plan labeled Valkyrie to kill Hitler, arrest the Nazi leadership and surrender to the Allies.

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REVIEW: ‘Marley & Me’

Cast:
Owen Wilson
Jennifer Aniston
Eric Dane
Kathleen Turner
Rating: PG

It’s always great walking out of a theater enjoying  a movie that you expected to be poor.

This latest film to star Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston is “Marley & Me.” The two lead actors play a newly wed couple who get a young puppy named Marley in their first home. The film follows their lives with Marley and also shows how Wilson’s character, who works at a newspaper, writes a column about the family dog.

The film continues through the ups and downs of marriage along with the couple having children, all while having Marley close by.

Upon first seeing the trailer, I was mostly expecting something along the lines of “Beethoven,” with nothing but a bad dog crashing into things and being nothing but a nuisance. While this movie does feature some of these aspects here and there, the picture is much more focused on exploring the relationship of its two leads.

Watching these characters go through their life together, including all the moments that Marley provides the family, makes for an engaging and endearing romantic comedy. This is one of those movies that can make a person laugh and cry and walk away with a smile on their face.

Helping this along are solid performances from Wilson and Aniston, who both have a great chemistry with each other and are both very likable in their roles. Their interactions feel genuine and never forced.

With that said, the movie does run nearly two hours and unfortunately that time starts to get felt after a while. While the movie never truly drags, it does have a few lull.

“Marley & Me” is still a nice feel good movie, though, with plenty of heart. Plus, the dog is just pure cuteness. High 3 out of 5.