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  • If I Stay Movie Poster

    If I Stay (2014)

    Friday, August 22, 2014

    His Review: Mia (Chloë Grace Moretz) is 17 years old and is a senior living in Portland.  She loves classical music and plays the Cello (and yes it is Chloë playing) well…

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  • Sin City 2 Movie Poster

    Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014)

    Thursday, August 21, 2014

    Her Review: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is the follow-up to Frank Miller’s 2005 hit Sin City.  Based on the graphic novels of Frank Miller, Sin…

    Read More

  • Expendables 3 Movie Poster

    The Expendables 3 (2014)

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

    Her Review: On what they expected to be a pretty routine mission Barney (Sylvester Stallone), Christmas (Jason Statham) and the rest of the Expendables gang come face-to-face with…

    Read More

  • Lets Be Cops Movie Poster

    Let’s Be Cops (2014)

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

    Her Review: Ryan (Jake Johnson) and Justin (Damon Wayans Jr.) are struggling with where they are at in their lives.  Suffice it to say they are miserable but…

    Read More

  • boyhood_xlg

    Boyhood (2014)

    Tuesday, August 12, 2014

    His Review: The story of Boyhood is very simple.  Starting from the age of 6 all the way up to his move-in day of college, Boyhood tells the…

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If I Stay (2014)

If I Stay Movie Poster

His Review:

Mia (Chloë Grace Moretz) is 17 years old and is a senior living in Portland.  She loves classical music and plays the Cello (and yes it is Chloë playing) well enough to get an audition to Julliard.  She has a younger brother and parents who use to be rockers but put away the guitars to be responsible parents.  The new boy in town Adam (Jamie Blackley) is in a rock band and has the attention of every girl in school, but he is captivated by Mia’s love of music and they begin dating with much approval from her parents (even if she isn’t too sure).  Mia and Adam fall very much in love and soon are faced with problems such as college and his band traveling.  However, those problems are nothing compared to the tragedy that befalls Mia and her family when they are in a car accident on an icy road and Mia is left in a coma fighting for her life.

I saw another movie earlier this summer that reminded me a lot of If I Stay and that movie was The Fault in Our Stars.  The reasons why I compare the 2 is due to the teenage love and the tragedy that strikes both relationships.  I will come out and say that The Fault in Our Stars is a much better movie for so many reasons.  First things first, the couples.  In this movie, I didn’t buy the 2 love birds as having that much chemistry.  I mean even Mia is hesitant on liking Adam and his circle.  As a member of the audience, I really didn’t care if Mia and Adam stayed together but in The Fault in Our Stars, we knew Hazel and Gus were a special pair.  They have the chemistry that Mia and Adam just don’t have.  Mia and Adam are forced and the connection suffers.

Another aspect about If I Stay that I really didn’t like was the back and forth in time.  The scenes hop from the present day tragedy to the past where we see Mia and Adam meet and fall in love.  I think the disconnect for Mia and Adam come from the fact that we already know about the tragedy before we know about their love.  In The Fault in Our Stars, we are on the journey with Hazel and Gus and we know how much they love each other before tragedy strikes.  In that movie we are sad, we are moved and we feel sorry for the characters.  I honestly think that if we knew about Adam and Mia’s love first, we would have care much more when it was taken away.

I want to pause for just a moment and point out something from If I Stay that just really pissed me off.  I’m about to go on a rant about the medical field so if you need to, just skip to the next paragraph.  For those of you that don’t know me, I’m an Emergency Room nurse and I often go to the ICU.  I have never in my life seen any nurse or security guard treat Adam like they do in this movie.  There are some rules when emergency situations arise, but when a girl is laying in a coma, and her immediate family is not present due to a tragic event, allowing her boyfriend into her room is ACCEPTABLE!  Especially if he is going to be the only person in the room!  Trauma/Coma patients are believed to still be able to hear and feel touch and having Adam at the bedside while this girl he loves is dying is exactly what the nurse should have allowed.  Adam shouldn’t have had to devise a plan to trick the security guard away from the door.  Mia wasn’t arrested or in lockdown!  The security guard also shouldn’t have put his hands on Adam and the nurse telling Adam that it was his fault just set me over the top.  That whole entire situation pissed me off to no end because no ER nor ICU nurses act like that.  The only nurse that did her job was the black woman in the purple scrubs who held Mia’s hand and whispered in her ear to fight!

Ok, I’m back.  At the end of the day, I’ll point anyone who asks in the direction of The Fault in Our Stars because I think that movie sends a better message, shows us a couple truly in love, and allows the audience to feel deeper emotions.  If I Stay feels forced on so many levels, despite Chloë Grace Moretz trying her best to keep it all from falling apart.  Co-starring

4/10 Stars – Chloë Grace Moretz might shine, but everything else feels fake and forced.  Go watch The Fault in Our Stars.

What If (2014)

What If Movie Poster

Her Review:

Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe) dropped out of medical school after devastating break up with a fellow med student.  Nursing his broken heart, for far too long according to his friends, Wallace isn’t sure what to make of Chantry when he meets her at former roommate Allan’s (Adam Driver) party.  Chantry (Zoe Kazan), who happens to be Allan’s cousin, is an animator who is lively and fun to be around.  Wallace is in love.  There is only one catch, she has a longtime boyfriend named Ben.  Not willing to let her go completely Wallace agrees to be Chantry’s friend.  As they develop a close friendship neither one can deny the chemistry between them leading them to ponder the question, what if the love of your life is actually your best friend?  Starring Megan Park, Mackenzie Davis, Rafe Spall, Lucius Hoyos, Jemima Rooper, Tommie-Amber Pirie, Meghan Heffern, Jonathan Cherry, Rebecca Northan, Jordan Hayes, Oona Chaplin.

While What If certainly isn’t a perfect film and there have certainly been some like it before, the chemistry between its stars and the witty yet believable dialogue makes this one an enjoyable watch.  The best thing about romantic comedies like this one is that they are relatable.  So many can be far fetched or over the top making them potentially fun to watch but not truly interesting.  There are certainly moments in this film that border on over the top but over all the writers and director did a solid job of making the film feel as if it were real world.

My favorite part about the movie was the chemistry between Radcliffe and Kazan.  Their quirkiness and dorkiness melds well together giving the film an irresistible charm.  Who knew the “boy who survived” could be so normal.  Kazan, who I recall from the film Ruby Sparks, seems to fit well into this type of role although I think perhaps she was better in Ruby Sparks.

If the realistic nature of the film and the charming chemistry of the leads isn’t enough to convince then the witty dialogue and comedic moments should do the trick.  There is plenty to love about this film that makes it worth catching in the theater.

8/10 Stars – Cute, quirky and enjoyable

 

His Review:

Ah, so here we are again… another rom com!  A genre full of wonderful movies and some that are just wannabes.  Even thought this genre is pretty much the easiest kind of movie to watch, it takes great elements to pull off a great romantic comedy these days.  As I watched What If, I broke the movie into 2 parts; one which was awkward and boring and the other that was charming and engaging.  The first half of What If is pretty bland.  The story starts with the 2 main characters meeting and having an instant connection only to find out she has a boyfriend.  Wallace does the right thing (from a guy’s perspective) and ditches her number when he learns she has a boyfriend because who wants to get in the middle of that.  However, Chantry shows back up in his life and Wallace is made to be the 3rd wheel.  He is guy who wants to love this girl but can’t because she loves another dude.  There is even a scene in the movie where Wallace’s roommate lays out all the options Wallace could take and they all make him look bad.

There is a key moment in the movie where the audience connects and finally is able to root for these 2.  I won’t spoil the scene, but from that point forward, the audience is engaged.  We feel the bond.  We feel the need.  We feel these 2 belong together and want nothing else but that.  This is where the emotions fly and the chemistry between Daniel and Zoe shine.  They both are quirky, witty and only get each others humor.  I have to say that even though What If doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it’s a new kind of wheel that will have you smiling at the end.  Thumbs up from me!

7/10 Stars – Even with the slow awkward start, the 2nd half is full of charm and chemistry which makes us happy

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014)

Sin City 2 Movie Poster

Her Review:

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is the follow-up to Frank Miller’s 2005 hit Sin City.  Based on the graphic novels of Frank Miller, Sin City is a dirty, filthy, crime infested city where sex and death seem to go hand in hand.  In it we follow four separate story lines that all intertwine at some point.  Each story deals with one main character’s problem ultimately ending in violence and death.  Starring Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rosario Dawson, Bruce Willis, Eva Green, Powers Booth, Dennis Haysbert, Ray Liotta, Christopher Meloni, Jeremy Piven, Christopher Lloyd, Jamie King, Juno Temple, Stacy Keach, Marton Csokas, Jamie Chung.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is an amazing display of graphic design and stylized film but it lacks the backbone to keep it from being anything but something interesting to look at.  I don’t recall too much about the first Sin City other than it had that shock and awe factor of being something we hadn’t really seen before.  That is where this sequel falls down.  It doesn’t offer us anything new.  The high contrast aesthetic look of the film is definitely still alluring but to keep me interested it need something more that it didn’t have.

I like the idea of 4 different stories being intertwined and all taking place in the same city.  The problem is that those stories lack well story and instead seem to be more a foray into voyeurism and needless graphic violence.  There was no point to all the nudity, it was just there to be there and didn’t always have a point or contribute anything to the story.  The violence which is expected of this film becomes repetitive and boring.

There are probably far more points to be made about the four stories in the film – like how the character of Ava offers a shockingly stunted and naive view of female/femininity – but there isn’t even any point in going into all that.  This long-awaited film is a dud in comparison to its predecessor.  And while it might look cool in 3D I don’t think its worth the ticket cost unless you need a good nap.

5/10 Stars – No shock and awe here just same old same old

The Expendables 3 (2014)

Expendables 3 Movie Poster

Her Review:

On what they expected to be a pretty routine mission Barney (Sylvester Stallone), Christmas (Jason Statham) and the rest of the Expendables gang come face-to-face with an unexpected foe, Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson).  Stonebanks co-founded The Expendables with Barney but when rogue.  Barney and everyone else for that matter thought he was dead.  Instead he has become a notorious black market arms dealer to all the wrong people.  Barney knows he can’t bring his team on his next mission so he cuts them loose and recruits some new blood to help him take down Stonebanks once and for all.  Starring Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Wesley Snipes, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Kelsey Grammer, Glen Powell, Antonio Banderas, Victor Ortiz, Ronda Rousey, Kellen Lutz, Jet Li.

The Expendables 3, with its star studded cast, is a throw back to the old style action flicks.  Not surprising given its aging cast.  However, the film falls blatantly short of using that cast to its fullest potential leaving a mediocre film that relies to much on the action to be anything great.

Now, don’t get me wrong I love action flicks and this one has it in abundance.  The whole end of the movie is nonstop, jam-packed action.  The action scenes are all pretty slick and stylized not rough or gritty.  It was certainly a style choice on the part of Stallone but I can see why he went that direction because it works what his film is trying to be – a blending of the old and the new.  When it’s all said and done though a great action flick has characters you care about.  Villains that are so evil you want to hop up on-screen and give them what for.  Mel Gibson can play quite the bad guy when he wants to but it felt like there was something missing here to really make you hate him.  He was too charming.

As for the rest of it, the story didn’t give any one character much of anything to do.  Except Wesley Snipes at the beginning who gets to pull some pretty cool stunts.  Sure they all work as a team but where is the wow? Where is the “ooo” and “ahhh” factor that the first film had.  I wanted to be impressed by something but instead I kept getting a feeling of de ja vu.  On top of it all you know these seasoned actors have the ability to be funny, quirky and charming on-screen, yet that really isn’t there.  You get glimpses of it with Ford and with the interaction between Stallone and Statham but it needed more to make the whole film shine.

All said and done it isn’t a bad movie it just isn’t a wow one.  Good action and a few entertaining lines don’t make for a great film and a veteran like Stallone should know that.

6/10 Stars – Not bad but same old same old…no pun intended.

 

His Review:

So if you’ve read my reviews on the first and second Expendables, you know I like these movies.  I’m a guy and when it comes to lots of action and destruction, I don’t need a good story, I just need thrills!  The 3rd Expendables movie fits in just well with the other 2 and Stallone keeps the action coming.  I can’t complain with the nature of the action or the characters.  In fact, I liked the parts and screen time the new actors got.  Mel Gibson reminded me of crazy Martin Riggs (if he decided to go bad) and Wesley Snipes becomes part of the crew.  I would have liked to see more action from Harrison Ford, but I’m glad he wasn’t just a guy in a suit.  Antonio Banderas reminded me of Jar-Jar Binks, but who cares.  I was even impressed with Kelsey Grammar’s screen time…

I have to admit that I didn’t know any of the “new class” and I’m sure they are all MMA fighters, but they worked well and made things fresh.  I’m not sure why critics dogged this movie for being boring because I was pretty entertained, and that’s why we go to the movies after all.  I’m sad to hear about how the internet piracy is causing the 4th movie to be in jeopardy, but with the names I have heard thrown around, I hope these keep coming.  I like them, and have a lot of fun watching.

8/10 Stars – More of the same from new and old faces.  Tons of action and tons of fun!

Let’s Be Cops (2014)

Lets Be Cops Movie Poster

Her Review:

Ryan (Jake Johnson) and Justin (Damon Wayans Jr.) are struggling with where they are at in their lives.  Suffice it to say they are miserable but while Justin is ready to admit defeat and move on, Ryan isn’t.  Things change when one night the two decide to go to a costume party dressed as cops using uniforms Justin has to promote his video game about cops.  The two instantly notice a difference in how people treat them and how they feel about themselves as a result.  Ryan eats it up and decides why not take it all the way getting a cop car, learning the lingo on YouTube and patrolling as if he is a real cop.  Just as they start to think it could be fun they have a nasty run in with some real life mobsters who don’t care if they are real or fake cops they just want them dead.  Starring Rob Riggle, Nina Dobrev, James D’Arcy, Keegan-Michal Key, Andy Garcia, Jonathan Lajoie, Tom Mardirosian, Natasha Leggero, Rebecaa Koon.

Let’s Be Cops is a wannabe “bro-mance”/comedy that lacks any intelligence and is aptly described as convention, unoriginal and well just not funny.  Seriously not funny.  I was silent the entire film.  I didn’t find anything at all to laugh at or even chuckle at.  Some people around me had a few laughs but it wasn’t the rip roaring comedy it tries to market itself as.  I don’t blame leads Wayans and Johnson I blame the script and the concept.  The two leads had decent chemistry and seemed to play off each other well but it is just too little too late when faced the the stupidity of the dialogue and poorly timed jokes.  Sorry if I am being harsh but hey it’s what you come here for, the honest truth, right?  Basically I came out feeling like seeing it was a waste of my time.  If I had gotten even one or two laughs out of it I might feel differently but for me the funny just wasn’t there.  Not one I would recommend you pay theater ticket prices to see and maybe don’t even bother to rent either.

4/10 Stars – Just not my kind of humor

If I Stay Movie Poster

If I Stay (2014)

Friday, August 22, 2014

His Review: Mia (Chloë Grace Moretz) is 17 years old and is a senior living in Portland.  She loves classical music and plays the Cello (and yes it is Chloë playing) well…

What If Movie Poster

What If (2014)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Her Review: Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe) dropped out of medical school after devastating break up with a fellow med student.  Nursing his broken heart, for far too long according…

Sin City 2 Movie Poster

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Her Review: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is the follow-up to Frank Miller’s 2005 hit Sin City.  Based on the graphic novels of Frank Miller, Sin…

Expendables 3 Movie Poster

The Expendables 3 (2014)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Her Review: On what they expected to be a pretty routine mission Barney (Sylvester Stallone), Christmas (Jason Statham) and the rest of the Expendables gang come face-to-face with…

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