Posts in "2010"
DOUBLE FEATURE MOVIE REVIEW: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Parts 1 and 2

Beyond all that, the real progress that made the movie series tick is the dual-growth of Harry, Hermione, Ron, and the three actors that played them.  The classic aspects of teenage coming-of-age storytelling have always been present in the Harry Potter series, but on two distinct fronts.  As the characters, they have grown to find their skill, importance, and desires as to what really matters in the grand scheme of all that has transpired around them.  As actors, Radcliffe, Watson, and Grint have gone from unknown cute-faced children playing borderline stereotypes to mature and capable performers we genuinely care about and root for through this decade within their characters' shoes and robes.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Black Swan

The daringly original new film Black Swan, from director Darren Aronofsky, is the cinematic embodiment of answering that figurative expression and that twist of choosing what you see in the mirror.  It's a twisted psychological thriller where nothing is what it seems, all the way until the credits roll.  The film's slow-boiling pull on you, the audience, builds more and more with a pace and tension that matches the maddening breakdowns of its lead character.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Blue Valentine

Those two time periods and settings of Blue Valentine create Oscar-worthy opportunities for Gosling and Williams to give absolutely amazing dual performances.  Their chemistry as actors to create both loving attraction in the past and boiled-over stress in the present is remarkable.   Both of them completely pull off every possible level of married realism in the present-day scenes that, when we see them in their past years, we hardly believe they could be the same people, let alone the same actors.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Tangled

It's refreshing to see Tangled.  It marks the occasion as Disney's historic 50th animated feature.  The fun film, much like Disney's recent Enchanted, turns out to be a Hallmark card to their time-honored classic fairy tale storytelling, while still having modern dashes of flavor and wonder to appeal to the new 21st century generation.  The old fashioned ingredients are in place. 

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ADVANCE MOVIE REVIEW: Country Strong

The new film Country Strong hopes to continue that tradition by stealing a few pages from real-life comeback stories and making its own. Add one part Britney Spears (of which the movie was actually inspired by, in fact), one part Mindy McCready, and a few dashes of Johnny Cash and Tina Turner and you've got country star Kelly Canter, played by Academy Award winner Gwyneth Paltrow.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Tron: Legacy

Tron: Legacy dazzles from start to finish with the same revolutionary level of production design and visual effects that its original first brought to the world nearly 30 years ago.  Everything you could dream of from the original is bigger, brighter, and better.  Never before have video games, or even science-fiction itself, looked as good or as sharply designed as this. Disney spared no expense and it shows. 

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MOVIE REVIEW: Morning Glory

There are a lot of air-quotes in that description of Morning Glory because the stereotypes shown in the film, just as in any real life workplace, are true.  The magic of Morning Glory comes in how those stereotypes are broken down and redefined.  The characters, while initially shaped as stereotypes, are richer and have a lot more going on underneath, with a great deal of change and growth.  In different or more dramatic hands, this movie could have ended up as a button pusher along the lines of the classic Network, but this movie sticks with the comedy and stays light. Morning Glory works because of it's all about the quirks and characters instead of the issues that really make up the news.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Unstoppable

Every manly man in America will enjoy this movie.  If you walk out of the theater going "Oh my god, that was too loud!" or "Why did they have to do that?" then you're obviously not a manly man and we'll tear your man card right with your ticket stub.  Plot is secondary and action is king.  Does it matter or add any brevity that it was inspired by a true story?  Nope.  Just buckle up and enjoy the chase. This is vintage stand-up-and-cheer Tony Scott spectacle.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Megamind

Megamind, the newest computer-animated family film from Dreamworks, is just that kind of story.  It's a villain's origin story and a look inside their motivations and inner psyche.  It's a chance to see what would happen if the hapless bad guy actually won for once.  While the pool that we get to look at is pretty shallow, it still has a lot more going on than one would realize.  That different point of view is the cleverness and fun of Megamind and it's quality storytelling elevates it much higher than this year's previous villain-inside-story animated movie Despicable Me.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Red

With this premise, Red is a fun action-comedy that doesn't take itself too seriously and definitely doesn't have to.  It's an A-Team for the Viagra crowd.  There's enough mystery in their preposterous mission to create a suspenseful puzzle to keep your attention, while balanced with enough bullet-filled "too-old-for-this-shit" moments to really entertain.

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DOCUMENTARY REVIEW: Waiting for "Superman"

From both story perspectives, the cracks and deficiencies of the American public school system are revealed and out on display in a very strong way. Waiting for "Superman" doesn't sugarcoat or hold its statistics and ugly findings back.  Much about No Child Left Behind and educational funding is discussed.  It is both sickening and fascinating to watch at the same time, yet all the while poignant.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Jackass 3D

Shock value sells.  It always does.  Dane Cook was right when he talked about even simple car crashes in an old stand-up routine.  We can't take our eyes off of something like that.  We are even drawn to it in some way.  For those ways and reasons, the new Jackass 3D is irresistible.  Those that are drawn to it will be endlessly entertained.  Those that are appalled by it still won't be able to look away, even if they want to, because of its "how did they do that?" factor.

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