Mud, produced in 2012 by director Jeff Nichols, came out in theaters early May all across the United States. So far its ratings have ranged from 3.5 out of 5 stars to even a 4.5. Many critics across the nation are proclaiming that this film was a sentimental movie with meaning that is Matthew McConaughey’s best performance of his career.
Although the film consists of a lot of manufactured sets the picture is nicely shot and has an incredibly strong performance from McConaughey, Tye Sheridan, and Jacob Lofland making the film one to remember and enjoy again and again.
Ellis (Sheridan) and Neckbone, “Neck” (Lofland), are young teens who one summer take a boat out to a deserted island in the Mississippi where a past flood has surreally dumped another boat up in the trees.
The boys are set to make it their own private tree house, but find food and dirty magazines. Somebody else is there: a grinning, talkative but tough-looking guy called Mud (McConaughey) who makes it clear he could be pretty scary if he wanted but not with these kids. He becomes the boys’ exciting and secret friend, but back on the mainland, where Mud has a dangerous emotional connection with a woman, Juniper (Reese Witherspoon), they see Mud’s face on a Wanted poster, and their secret grows more toxic.
The film is ultimately sentimental, but an engaging and good-looking picture. The overall meaning of the movie is much more emotional and deeper than the surface problems on the screen. The film brought up some really cool and heartfelt meanings about loyalty to the people you care about and to your own beliefs and desires. It consists of many different people from being young teens to older men, taking risks to follow your heart and sustain what you have or obtain what you hope to have with someone, in any relationship not just a romantic one.
The chills shoot up your spine as you hear the sound of the chains grinding on the blades. The little hairs stand up on your arms as goosebumps cover you from head to toe. That feeling of absolute terror is taking over you. You’re at the edge of your seat, waiting, waiting; and then, it’s over. Shrieks fill the theater. Texas Chainsaw is back, but this time, in 3D.
On January 4, one of America’s favorite horror stories came back into theaters and picked up right where it left off. An hour and thirty-two minutes is all it took for director, John Luessenhop, to scare my socks off.
In Texas Chainsaw 3D, a young woman named Heather Miller (Alexandra Daddario), and her friends Nikki (Tania Raymonde), Carl (Scott Eastwood), and Ryan (Tremaine ‘Trey Songz’ Neverson) travel to Texas after hearing about Heather’s unknown grandmother’s death to collect her inheritance. Little does she know that a crazed chainsaw-wielding killer is lurking in the basement of her new mansion.
On its opening night, Texas Chainsaw 3D, earning approximately ten million dollars, took first place at the box office. For the entire weekend, the film ultimately took first place making over 25 million dollars. As of January 20, the film made 36 million dollars worldwide, proving the series still has horror fans chained to their seats.
Although this movie is all about blood and guts and suspense, a touch of humor was scattered throughout. It’s a great Friday night fright.
Abraham Lincoln, one of the most historical figures to have ever lived, was magnificently portrayed in the new movie Lincoln, which hit theaters on Friday, November 16. Lincoln, played by the phenomenal Daniel-Day Lewis (The Crucible), shows the audience what life was like for Lincoln during his final four months in office. Receiving a positive rating of 8.2 overall, and reaching an outstanding $65 million, I knew that there was no way I would miss out on this extravagant masterpiece.
As I impatiently walked into the theater on opening night, I couldn’t say I was even the slightest bit surprised to see that every seat was occupied. Though I am an admirer of the prominent 16th President, I wasn’t quite sure how this film would be portrayed on the big screen. Once the credits scrolled down though, I indisputably knew that the way Steven Spielberg depicted Lincoln entirely surpassed all expectations.
Spielberg’s Lincoln is an informative drama that focuses on Lincoln’s struggle as President from January to April 1865. This recently re-elected United States President is tattered by the gory Civil War, his authoritative belief of the 13th Amendment that will everlastingly abolish slavery, and his depressed wife Mary Todd Lincoln (Sally Field) that spends her days endlessly sobbing in the room of their deceased son Willie, who suffered from Typhoid in 1862. The film begins with Civil War soldiers dying in the revolting war itself. Although the battle scenes are scarce, it gets the point across that the nation is fighting for survival. The war scene unravels and fades to what we see as two black Union soldiers having a discussion with Day-Lewis, except the part we didn’t get to see is hidden behind the words themselves. Tangled behind each word is the ugly truth, revealing before us that racism is only getting worse, and slavery is at its highest peak.
Even though Lincoln desperately wants to emancipate slavery forever in the U.S., the returning southern states also had a say in what they wanted, which was the complete opposite. Now the only way to obtain enough votes would be from a recalcitrant Congress, leaving the anxious president no choice but to try and gather a majority vote in the House before the delegation arrives. If that wasn’t enough on his plate for one day, Mary Lincoln argues with her husband that their eldest son Robert (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is forbidden to enlist in the war. However, the compassion that Robert feels towards the war is too compelling, leaving him with no choice but to inform his dad of his reasoning. Robert feels that if he does not enlist in the war, then he will never forgive himself, which only created more stress on the home front.
It’s certain that Daniel Day-Lewis plays Lincoln with an astonishing presentation, wearing his role like a second skin. Day-Lewis completely put his all into his performance, making each scene more believable than the last. Not only does he entertain, he delivers, bringing us into the world of a conflicted American leader.
Overall I would give this 140 minute film a four out of five stars. I was perplexed at how this film masterfully captures the intricate struggle to surmount slavery once and for all. Lincoln no doubt leaves the audience in complete awe.
The drama, historical accuracy, and persuasive acting were what made the film a vast success. I would highly recommend Lincoln for anyone who wants to take a step backwards and into the malicious world of 1865.
Every generation has a book (or books) that define it. In the 20s, there was The Great Gatsby; in the 50s, On the Road and The Catcher in the Rye. While the last twenty years have seen an explosion of literature, film, television, and video games, all exerting their influence on our cultural zeitgeist, there is one book in particular that has served as a sort of Bible for teens growing up in the 90s and 2000s.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower was published in 1999, takes place in the 1991-1992 school year, and remains relevant even in 2012. It owes its longevity to a number of things, most notably its audacity in tackling subjects like abuse, suicide, drugs, and homosexuality, which are treated less like an after-school special and more like a series of compelling case studies. Add to that a mix of cult teen touchstones like The Rocky Horror Picture Show and it’s no wonder why Perks has cemented itself as an enduring part of the teenage experience it so poignantly portrays.
In other words, Perks is a popular book – and Hollywood logic follows that if a book is popular, then a film adaptation of it will be profitable. You can probably see where I’m going with this. The Perks of Being a Wallflower was recently made into a film written and directed by author Stephen Chbosky, an event which, to me, has been inevitable since I first read the book in tenth grade. What you might not expect, though – what even I had my reservations about – is that Perks doesn’t make a half-bad film.
It might just be the best book-to-movie adaptation of our time.
From my experience, there are three things that make a good translation from page to screen: most, if not all, key plot points are retained; the actors play their respective characters well; and you get pretty much the same feeling walking out of the theater as you did when you read that last line on the last page. Perks delivers on all fronts.
And looking at the credentials in hindsight, why wouldn’t it? No one wants Perks to succeed more than Stephen Chbosky, who said of turning his novel into a film: “This was the lifelong dream… There was no way I was going to die without making this movie.” Chbosky can do more than just talk a good game, however, and the best example of this is the absolutely stellar cast he assembled. Ezra Miller (We Need to Talk About Kevin) dazzles, delights, and delivers a performance infused with equal parts snarky one-liners and heartbreaking sincerity. Emma Watson (Harry Potter) has a more understated approach, but breathes life into enigmatic love interest Sam and fits her like a glove. Most important of all is Logan Lerman’s (Percy Jackson & the Olympians) rendition of Charlie, the protagonist and narrator. Lerman is offbeat, charming, real, and sympathetic in the rawest sense possible. Without giving too much away, there’s a scene about 90 minutes in which finds Charlie recovering from a mental breakdown and talking to a nurse played by Joan Cusack. It’s here that Lerman delivers the best performance in the entire film. As Charlie, disoriented and emotionally drained, fumbles to a realization about his repressed childhood memories, you can feel the tension, loss, and disbelief roll off his quietly sobbing form in waves.
Like any other film adaptation, certain things have to be left out: one of my personal favorite segments in the book was a poem called “Chops”, which Charlie reads aloud to a group of his friends. It’s one of the most impactful sections of the book – Charlie is too naïve at the time to realize that it alludes to suicide – and when I heard that Chbosky had cut it, I couldn’t help but be a little disappointed. Well, let the record show that I, Abby Harrington, did not think about “Chops” at all while watching the movie. Every scene flows seamlessly into the next and ties into the overarching themes of Charlie’s story, his triumphs and struggles. This is not a literal retelling of Chbosky’s novel. This is Charlie’s letters come to life. This is a three-dimensional view of people we know and love, yet had previously only seen through one lens. This is their story and ours: high school and love and loss and college acceptance letters and new music, new friends, new experiences, new beginnings.
In the end, if I had to compare Perks to anything, I’d call it a love letter. A love letter to young adults, to outcasts, to those who’ve read the book and those who haven’t, scrawled on the back of a mixtape and passed from hand to hand to hand until it’s blared from every speaker in every tunnel on every bridge.
The Raven, one of Edgar Allan Poe’s most famous pieces of literature, is now also a movie about Poe’s last few days on Earth. Poe, played by John Cusack, is caught up into an ongoing investigation of a serial killer who’s using Poe’s works of fiction as inspiration for his murders. Being a huge fan of Cusack and of Poe, I was highly anticipating the release of this film.
Though I am definitely an admirer of Poe’s work, I was a little anxious on how the blood and gore would be translated onto the screen. Being someone who does not enjoy seeing a lot of on-screen violence, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the times I needed to cover my eyes were sparse. Though there were a few bloody scenes The Raven was definitely more of a psychological thriller. On one end it was the typical, “can we catch the killer” drama, but the director were able to make it a little more interesting than that. Since it was based on Poe’s works, the mystery was following the clues that could be interpreted through the stories he wrote.
Overall, I would definitely give The Raven four out of five stars. I thought the main positives about the movie were the creative plot, suspense, and the acting.
Suspense was the key piece to this film. Being a murder-mystery, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats isn’t always an easy task to accomplish. During The Raven I never knew what to expect, or what unexpected twist was coming next. Not only did the audience get to see a story depicting Poe’s last days, but the love story as a side-plot added a romantic element to the plot.
The originality of referencing Poe’s famous works, such as The Pit and Pendulum, The Masque of the Red Death, Murders at the Rue Morgue, and integrating them into the plot is one of the main reasons that I enjoyed and would highly recommend The Raven to Poe fans.
Not only was the plot creative, but the acting in The Raven was very well done. Edgar Allan Poe is a difficult persona to portray, but I believe that John Cusack did a fantastic job. Poe is known to have been not well liked while alive, and Cusack was able to completely take on that characterization. Cusack’s portrayal of Poe, along with the supporting roles, made The Raven even more believable.
If Poe’s work is the reason you set foot in the theater, then be prepared to see another side of him. Yes, Poe is seen as moody and volatile, but also seeing him go through despair over the murders and his passion for his lover brings a new side of Poe to the public. As a Poe fan, I enjoyed being able to see this fictional story from his perspective, giving me a slight moment of what it could have been like to think and see events through Poe’s eyes.
Considering the storyline, the acting, and the suspense I would highly recommend The Raven for anyone looking for an interesting film this spring.
Marvel’s The Avengers blasted into theaters Thursday, May 4, stirring up much excitement for both hardcore Marvel fans and those new to the superhero genre. As I took my seat in the Brighton’s MJR theater, I was amused to see several people, men and women alike, dressed as Captain America. The crowd hooped and hollered for their favorite heroes when they would beat the bad guys. In only three days, The Avengers generated a record setting domestic gross of more than $200 million.
Based on the famous Marvel comic book series, Marvel’s The Avengers stars some well-known actors, like Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man and Chris Evans as Captain America. Other actors include Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Tom Hiddleston. The acting in the movie was spot on. Each of the actors portrayed their parts to the fullest, becoming with heart and soul the character they were designated to play.
In this superhero epic, Nick Fury, director of S.H.I.E.L.D., assembles a team of super humans when Loki attacks Earth with his army. Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, the Hulk, the Black Widow and Hawkeye join forces to save the world from Loki’s chaos.
The suspense had been building up to The Avengers with several single movies focusing on one superhero at a time. I believe this was a clever way to build up anticipation for The Avengers.
Iron Man and Iron Man 2 tell the story of how Tony Stark, a genius billionaire and CEO of Stark Industries, undergoes a transformation of an arrogant playboy philanthropist to vigilante-hero Iron Man. Robert Downey Jr. brought a lot of energy and life to the character, making for a very entertaining movie.
Captain America, also leading up to The Avengers, follows Steve Rogers, a sickly man from Brooklyn, who despite repeated rejection fights to get into the military. A scientific test transforms him into a super-soldier to aid the war effort. In the movie, Captain America fights to defeat Red Skull, Adolf Hitler’s ruthless head of weaponry, and the leader of an organization that intends to use a device called a Tesseract as an energy-source for world domination. The end of this movie shows a glimpse into The Avengers, where Captain America and the other heroes are called upon to save the world.
Filled with both excitement and humor, Marvel’s The Avengers is a must-see movie to entertain families and friends. Don’t wait until it’s too late and risk missing out on this thrilling movie that trumped Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two at the Box Office. See The Avengers in theaters today.
I’ll admit it – I’m obsessed. I’ve read the series three times, seen the movie four, and definitely do not own a shirt featuring the “mockingjay” emblem…
So what am I talking about? The Hunger Games, of course.
The movie, released March 23 to hordes of screaming fans at midnight premieres all over the world, received mostly positive reviews across the board, from Entertainment Weekly’s A- grading to Rotten Tomatoes’ 4/5 stars. The movie has grossed over 330 million dollars so far, and has been number one at the box office for four weeks.
The Hunger Games, a series of three books by Suzanne Collins, introduces sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives in a post-apocalyptic world in the country of Panem where the countries of North America once existed. The Capitol, a highly advanced city, controls the rest of the nation. The Hunger Games are an annual event in which one boy and one girl, aged 12 to 18 from each of the 12 districts surrounding the Capitol, are selected by lottery to compete in a televised battle in which only one person can survive.
The film did receive the occasional mixed or negative review from some critics, but the real critics – the fans – were in agreement.
It was awesome.
The acting, directing, scenery, costuming, and score were all up to par with Suzanne Collins’ book. Almost every detail was exactly how I pictured the world of Panem while reading the novel.
Jennifer Lawrence, as main character Katniss Everdeen, brought just the right amount of focus and intensity to her role, and so much emotion to a certain pivotal scene that everyone in the audience needed tissues.
The supporting cast – including celebrated actors such as Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, Lenny Kravitz, Donald Sutherland, and Stanley Tucci – were equally fantastic as Lawrence, which was to be expected. Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark was surprisingly well-rounded and emotionally deep, which wasn’t really predicted. The casting of Hutcherson in such an important role was pretty controversial.
Director Gary Ross, who you have to admit was entrusted with a pretty tough job, used many techniques that really added to the performance of the actors and to the movie overall. He used a lot of shaky camera work that increased feelings of fear and stress, adding to suspenseful moments. It also added violence to fight scenes without gore, which was good, since Hunger Games is a Young Adult novel with some pretty youthful readers.
There’s always pressure when a movie adaptation of a book with a fanbase of this magnitude is released. However, The Hunger Games lived up to, and surpassed, expectations.
Inspired by true events, the film features an elite team of Navy Seals on a mission to save a kidnapped CIA agent. However, after accomplishing the given task, their world comes tumbling down when they soon discover a terrorist plot against the United States. The Seals are then fully put to the test to rescue the lives of several thousand people.
Each time these soldiers complete their assigned missions, thinking they are closer and closer to saving the United States, they receive new information about the terrorist ring and are sent racing around the globe. They eventually end up at the U.S-Mexico border, where they engage in an epic and unimaginable battle that causes loss and hardship and that could destroy the future of America.
Act of Valor hit theaters on February 24, and although not holding the box office spot, this action thriller still made an astounding 24.4 million dollars opening weekend.
This is no surprise to me for the movie was full of real heroism, and reveals the truth behind what really takes place in battle. These soldiers dive deep into the true reality of those dangers of war that no one sees or knows about, until they experience it themselves.
Right away, the movie dives into the terrorist ring and the background behind the most elite warriors who must fight it, known as the Bandito Platoon. We meet their families and see the lives they have to leave behind to fight for their country.
Usually, movies contain high paying actors and actresses who pull a movie together. However, in this case, the directors used real Navy Seals in place of actors. It was an okay decision, considering the Seals already have war experience, and it was clearly shown in the movie with the way they loaded their weapons and fought during each battle. The only minor problem with that is they had no acting experience and that was a little obvious in the movie. It was mostly just the way they delivered lines; they weren’t fully believable.
The biggest surprise was discovering that the directors, Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh, aren’t very well known directors. They each have only done a few small movies. In this film, they did a splendid job on camera angles. There were a couple close-ups and slow motion shots, which added to the dramatic effects of the movie. These were especially useful in the most action filled scenes and also the ones that were hard to watch.
What topped it all off were the special effects. There were no flaws or mistakes. The filmmakers actually used real ammo and the battle scenes were exhibited perfectly. There was plenty of action, gun fire and explosions. They were really convincing and they never ceased to be boring.
Act of Valor takes you on an exhilarating adventure that keeps you on the edge of your seat. It contained mind- blowing, non-stop, heart pounding combat action that brought out the true reality of what soldiers really face in battle.
“I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life. To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. ”
Wedding vows are the most tearful and meaningful expression of love. Some people look at vows as just a part of the ceremony, but for husband Leo Collins, they were a promise and a commitment that he never thought he would have to try so hard to keep.
The Vow, starring Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum, is a movie based on the true story of Kim and Krickitt Carpenter. The Vow tells the story of Paige and Leo Collins, a very much in love newlywed couple, who are involved in a serious car accident. Paige head injury results in a coma. Upon waking with severe memory loss, Paige does not remember Leo and thinks she is still engaged to a former boyfriend. Leo stays true to his vows and begins a journey of trying to win Paige’s heart and make her fall in love with him all over again.
The Vow opened in theaters on February 10 and took the number one spot in the box office its premiering weekend. The film took in a remarkable $41.7 million which exceeded expectations.
This film was very anticipated by love hungry teens around the country, but I found the movie very disappointing. After all, the film was based on a true story of a couple’s life, but the movie lacked detail, and the audience was left thirsting for more background information on the journey of how Paige and Leo’s love really came to be so intense.
The opening scene of the film did not pull hook my attention. It was very dry and almost pointless. The major conflict in the movie was the car accident which left Paige in a coma, but the accident came so abruptly, playing out in the first five minutes of the film. It was almost too soon and too much to handle. The ending of the film was just plain old disappointing.
“The ending was very frustrating,” says senior Elizabeth Burr. “I was expecting at least a half an hour more of the movie. I literally said to myself, ‘Is that really it?’ It didn’t live up to my high expectations.”
On a lighter note, the casting for the film was dead on. Rachel McAdams, who has also played in The Notebook, Mean Girls, and the Time Traveler’s Wife, did a fantastic job playing both sides of her character before and after the accident: the very loving side and the very rejecting side. What I found frustrating was that Paige, because of her memory loss, continues on with only the life she remembers, and treats the fact that she is married rather carelessly.
Channing Tatum, who starred in Dear John and Step Up, should win an Oscar for his performance in this film. This was Tatum’s most believable performance to date. Tatum cried many times throughout the film and it was so real, I almost felt that he really loved McAdams. Tatum’s incredible acting ability and loving gestures towards Paige (McAdams) undoubtedly warmed the hearts of every young woman who walked into the theater.
All in all the story line was dry and lacked detail, along with much needed and wanted background information. Although the film did not exceed this viewer’s expectation of a very mushy and tear-jerking experience, there is no doubt that the true story of Kim and Krickitt Carpenter should leave an impact on our hearts, and cause us to take promises more seriously.
“I’m no hero,” says Carpenter. “I made a vow.”
It’s time to play the music. It’s time to light the lights. It’s time to meet the Muppets.
Starring Jason Segel, Amy Adams, and everyone’s favorite, Kermit the Frog, The Muppets is a must-see for any Muppet kid. To someone who watched reruns of The Muppet Show every week as a child, it’s a reminder that Kermit used to be my hero, too.
The plot is in every way reminiscent of the Muppet spirit: the old Muppet studios in Los Angeles, California has been bought by crafty oil tycoon Tex Richman, and the only way to save it is to raise $10 million, and the only way to do that is to put on a show. Even going into the movie knowing that the Muppets are going to get their studio back (they’re the Muppets – it’s a safe assumption), the story can be taken seriously. The movie itself though – even the Muppets don’t take that seriously!
Though comedy is the main focus, there are a few moments that tug at the heart, and even bring a bit of guilt; some might even surrender a tear. While Kermit looks at photos of the old gang and wonders if a new show would even draw a crowd, you might find yourself with the urge to stand up and say “I believe in you, Kermit!”
Since it is a Muppet movie, every camera angle reveals a different celebrity cameo. Some are expected, such as Neil Patrick Harris, who could make a living off of cameos.
And then, there’s a few that will make you jump in your seat when you realize who you just saw, such as 91-year-old Mickey Rooney. In total, there are 16 confirmed cameos. However, an Elmo appearance was outlawed by lawyers; Sesame Street and the Muppets haven’t collided since Disney bought the Muppet name.
The music comes from a variety of sources. A few of the songs are brand new for the movie, some are old favorites, and some are those songs you heard on the radio yesterday. Your chest will swell when you realize that you recognize the song everyone knows from some point in their life: Kermit and Ms. Piggy’s duet is, in fact, one you’ll instantly catch yourself singing along with. To reveal the title of that song, of course, would spoil the effect. The opening musical number, Life’s a Happy Song, will be running through your head for the rest of the day though. Consider yourself warned.
When comparing The Muppet Show of 1976 to The Muppets of 2011, it can be said that the same brand of humor, inspiring creativity, and ability to make audiences rise to their feet can be found on either one. Not even the late Jim Henson himself was absent. Twice his picture appears on the screen.
If you were a Muppet kid, buy a ticket right now and go see The Muppets. You’ll walk away with only one thing to say: “Mah na mah na!”