To Watch or Not To Watch

Reviewing movies I've watched lately so that you know what's up.
 Letters To Juliet (2010) 105 Minutes
Comedy/Romance/Drama
Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Gael Garcia Bernal, Vanessa Redgrave
Director: Gary Winick
Plot: A story of how people from different backgrounds and prejudices interact with others they normally wouldn’t.
IMDb Rating 6.3/10
My Rating: 7/10
Highlights: It was fun. It was easy, it was obvious, but it was nice. A predictable, but love it because of that, classic romantic comedy. It has all the tell tale signs, and really nothing special, but at the end of the day, it makes you believe in love all over again, and that my friends, is what you’re craving if you’re watching a RomCom in the first place, and is what makes it a success. So for that, I loved it. It was extremely endearing to see those letters, and know that the whole operation is real, and actually happens. Makes it almost a true story. Probably, a true story. Did I just make a new tagline?
Fun Facts: 
Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero are a real life couple. 
Juliet’s secretaries really do exist. They are called the Juliet Club and they volunteer to reply to letters left in Verona, as well as organize events in honor of ‘Romeo and Juliet’.
Hugh Dancy was originally cast as the male lead role but dropped out and was replaced by Gael García Bernal. 
Gary Winick's last film before he died of brain cancer. 
During Lorenzo’s dinner toast, he mentions that Claire lost her “Jack” and he lost his “Rose”. “Jack” and “Rose” are the names of the two main characters in James Cameron's Titanic.  
Favourite Quote: “It’s over! We’re done! We’ve found Nemo!”
Favourite Scene: Duh the one when they finally fall in love.
Things not to miss: The actual Lorenzo’s grandson. I mean what?
Budget:  $30,000,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend: $13,540,496 (USA) (16 May 2010) (2968 Screens)
Gross: $53,021,560 (USA) (22 August 2010)
Source for unknown information: IMDb

 Letters To Juliet (2010) 105 Minutes

Comedy/Romance/Drama

Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Gael Garcia Bernal, Vanessa Redgrave

Director: Gary Winick

Plot: story of how people from different backgrounds and prejudices interact with others they normally wouldn’t.

IMDb Rating 6.3/10

My Rating: 7/10

Highlights: It was fun. It was easy, it was obvious, but it was nice. A predictable, but love it because of that, classic romantic comedy. It has all the tell tale signs, and really nothing special, but at the end of the day, it makes you believe in love all over again, and that my friends, is what you’re craving if you’re watching a RomCom in the first place, and is what makes it a success. So for that, I loved it. It was extremely endearing to see those letters, and know that the whole operation is real, and actually happens. Makes it almost a true story. Probably, a true story. Did I just make a new tagline?

Fun Facts: 

  • Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero are a real life couple. 
  • Juliet’s secretaries really do exist. They are called the Juliet Club and they volunteer to reply to letters left in Verona, as well as organize events in honor of ‘Romeo and Juliet’.
  • Hugh Dancy was originally cast as the male lead role but dropped out and was replaced by Gael García Bernal
  • Gary Winick's last film before he died of brain cancer. 
  • During Lorenzo’s dinner toast, he mentions that Claire lost her “Jack” and he lost his “Rose”. “Jack” and “Rose” are the names of the two main characters in James Cameron's Titanic
     

Favourite Quote: “It’s over! We’re done! We’ve found Nemo!”

Favourite Scene: Duh the one when they finally fall in love.

Things not to miss: The actual Lorenzo’s grandson. I mean what?

Budget:  $30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $13,540,496 (USA) (16 May 2010) (2968 Screens)

Gross: $53,021,560 (USA) (22 August 2010)

Source for unknown information: IMDb

 
Dear John (2020) 108 Minutes
 Drama/Romance/War
Starring: Channing Tatum, Amanda Seyfried, Richard Jenkins
Director: Lasse Hallstrom
Plot: A romantic drama about a soldier who falls for a conservative college student while he’s home on leave.
IMDb Rating 5.9/10
My Rating: 6.5/10
Highlights: This movie has left me with bitter sweet feelings. I both loved and hated it. The way they fell in love was perfect. I think the story of them together was perfect. But I don’t understand the things they did apart from each other. I don’t understand why John would act all mad that Savannah said his dad has a form of autism and say “You don’t think I would know that!!” Yet, he is mad at his dad for being obsessed with coins? John’s character is kind of too involved in himself. Wait, kind of? No, totally. The only part I liked about John’s character was the fact that Channing Tatum played it. And played him well, but.. I don’t like the character. Savannah’s character I loved. BUT, I don’t understand one bit why she would marry Tim. And then repeatedly say it was only because he is dying and Alan needs to be taken care of. Last I checked, she didn’t need to marry him to take care of Alan! What the what! And John gets the letter she’s engaged (RUDE) and then just decides to work for the army forever. Not go home and talk to her, not even write her back saying heck no i still love the crap out of you?! And then when he finally is forced to go home when his dad dies (BAWLED) he goes to her house, knowing she’s married, and DOESNT SAY ANYTHING. AND THEN GETS MAD THAT THEY’RE “PRETENDING”. UH HELLO JOHN, YOU ARE THE ONE WHO CAME TO HER, and SHE TRIED sparking conversation, but YOU DIDNT SAY ANYTHING. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU.
*deep breath* 
Aside from the fact that most of the storyline clearly just frustrated me, I also cried through the entire second half of the movie. So that’s why it still got a 6.5/10 from me.
Fun Facts: 
On its opening weekend in the United States, it went to number one, becoming the film to finally end the reign of James Cameron's Avatar, which had sat at the top of the box office for seven consecutive weeks. 
The Swedish flag can be seen flying over John’s camp in Afghanistan. This is an homage to director Lasse Hallström's home country of Sweden. 
The character of Alan was inspired by writer Nicholas Sparks' son, who is afflicted with Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism. 
Favourite Quote: “So, there’s something else I want to tell you. Right before everything went black, you wanna know the very last thing that entered my mind? You.” (except, the second time he says that quote. When we realize he’s saying that to his dad. TEARS)
Favourite Scene: The scene where he reads the letter to his dad. That was moving.
Budget: $25,000,000 (estimated)Opening Weekend: $30,468,614 (USA) (7 February 2010) (2969 Screens)Gross: $80,014,842 (USA) (25 April 2010) 
Source for unknown information: IMDb

 

Dear John (2020) 108 Minutes

 Drama/Romance/War

Starring: Channing Tatum, Amanda Seyfried, Richard Jenkins

Director: Lasse Hallstrom

Plot: A romantic drama about a soldier who falls for a conservative college student while he’s home on leave.

IMDb Rating 5.9/10

My Rating: 6.5/10

Highlights: This movie has left me with bitter sweet feelings. I both loved and hated it. The way they fell in love was perfect. I think the story of them together was perfect. But I don’t understand the things they did apart from each other. I don’t understand why John would act all mad that Savannah said his dad has a form of autism and say “You don’t think I would know that!!” Yet, he is mad at his dad for being obsessed with coins? John’s character is kind of too involved in himself. Wait, kind of? No, totally. The only part I liked about John’s character was the fact that Channing Tatum played it. And played him well, but.. I don’t like the character. Savannah’s character I loved. BUT, I don’t understand one bit why she would marry Tim. And then repeatedly say it was only because he is dying and Alan needs to be taken care of. Last I checked, she didn’t need to marry him to take care of Alan! What the what! And John gets the letter she’s engaged (RUDE) and then just decides to work for the army forever. Not go home and talk to her, not even write her back saying heck no i still love the crap out of you?! And then when he finally is forced to go home when his dad dies (BAWLED) he goes to her house, knowing she’s married, and DOESNT SAY ANYTHING. AND THEN GETS MAD THAT THEY’RE “PRETENDING”. UH HELLO JOHN, YOU ARE THE ONE WHO CAME TO HER, and SHE TRIED sparking conversation, but YOU DIDNT SAY ANYTHING. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU.

*deep breath* 

Aside from the fact that most of the storyline clearly just frustrated me, I also cried through the entire second half of the movie. So that’s why it still got a 6.5/10 from me.

Fun Facts: 

  • On its opening weekend in the United States, it went to number one, becoming the film to finally end the reign of James Cameron's Avatar, which had sat at the top of the box office for seven consecutive weeks. 
  • The Swedish flag can be seen flying over John’s camp in Afghanistan. This is an homage to director Lasse Hallström's home country of Sweden. 
  • The character of Alan was inspired by writer Nicholas Sparks' son, who is afflicted with Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism. 

Favourite Quote: “So, there’s something else I want to tell you. Right before everything went black, you wanna know the very last thing that entered my mind? You.” (except, the second time he says that quote. When we realize he’s saying that to his dad. TEARS)

Favourite Scene: The scene where he reads the letter to his dad. That was moving.

Budget: $25,000,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend: $30,468,614 (USA) (7 February 2010) (2969 Screens)
Gross: $80,014,842 (USA) (25 April 2010) 

Source for unknown information: IMDb

The Lincoln Lawyer (2011) 118 Minutes
 Drama/Crime/Thriller
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, William H. Macy, Ryan Phillippe, Marisa Tomei
Director: Brad Furman
Plot: A sleazy defence attorney has a crisis of conscience when he represents a wealthy client who has a foolproof plan to beat the system.
IMDb Rating 7.4/10
My Rating: 8.0/10
Highlights: I am finally watching this movie right now, because I’ve owned it since the summer but never got around to watching it. People didn’t give it the best reviews in the world, so it wasn’t high on my To-do list. Anyways, This movie is classic McConaughey. At least one scene with no shirt, he says “babe” in that drawled kind of way, and he doesn’t do things the usual way. Also he winked one time and it was kinda adorable as well. Storyline wise, it’s decent enough. But it’s a little to quick to keep my attention fully. As soon as the find one thing out, they quickly find out another, and it’s pretty straight forward. There’s simple twists. Definitely no film or story masterpiece. It almost felt like it was trying to be an edgy film, but didn’t succeed.
Fun Facts: 
Michael Connelly wanted Matthew McConaughey for the role of Mickey based on his performance in Tropic Thunder. 
Marisa Tomei and William H. Macy have previously played together in Wild Hogs. In both movies, Tomei played a character named Maggie while Macy played one named Frank. 
Mickey Haller also makes an appearance in the Michael Connelly novel “Nine Dragons”. In one scene of that book a suspect claims that Matthew McConaughey can provide an alibi for him. 
Favourite Quote: “You’re nobody till somebody shoots you.”
Favourite Scene: The scene where he opens his gun box and it’s empty and you’re just like “OHHHH CRAP!”
Things not to miss: Brian Cranston.
Budget: $40,000,000 (estimated)Opening Weekend: $13,206,453 (USA) (20 March 2011) (2707 Screens)Gross: $57,981,889 (USA) (17 July 2011) 
Source for unknown information: IMDb

The Lincoln Lawyer (2011) 118 Minutes

 Drama/Crime/Thriller

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, William H. Macy, Ryan Phillippe, Marisa Tomei

Director: Brad Furman

Plot: A sleazy defence attorney has a crisis of conscience when he represents a wealthy client who has a foolproof plan to beat the system.

IMDb Rating 7.4/10

My Rating: 8.0/10

Highlights: I am finally watching this movie right now, because I’ve owned it since the summer but never got around to watching it. People didn’t give it the best reviews in the world, so it wasn’t high on my To-do list. Anyways, This movie is classic McConaughey. At least one scene with no shirt, he says “babe” in that drawled kind of way, and he doesn’t do things the usual way. Also he winked one time and it was kinda adorable as well. Storyline wise, it’s decent enough. But it’s a little to quick to keep my attention fully. As soon as the find one thing out, they quickly find out another, and it’s pretty straight forward. There’s simple twists. Definitely no film or story masterpiece. It almost felt like it was trying to be an edgy film, but didn’t succeed.

Fun Facts: 

Favourite Quote: “You’re nobody till somebody shoots you.”

Favourite Scene: The scene where he opens his gun box and it’s empty and you’re just like “OHHHH CRAP!”

Things not to miss: Brian Cranston.

Budget: $40,000,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend: $13,206,453 (USA) (20 March 2011) (2707 Screens)
Gross: $57,981,889 (USA) (17 July 2011) 

Source for unknown information: IMDb

 


The Help (2011) 146 Minutes
 Drama
Starring: Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer
Director: Tate Taylor
Plot: An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African-American maid’s point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.
IMDb Rating 8.1/10
My Rating: 8.0/10
Highlights: Ignore everything people have told you about this movie, and do yourself a favour and watch it yourself. The story told in this movie is incredibly true, and incredibly heart breaking. The only bad thing about this movie is the fact that Viola Davis didn’t win the award. Not that Octavia didn’t deserve it just as well, but Viola brought it, man. And speaking of bringing it, as much as we hated the white girls (aside from Emma Stone and her family) you’ve got to admit, they brought it as well. The movie is really, really great. Watch it with your family, your friends, watch it with many people. I feel like as much as Emma Stone shined in this role (as she would in any role) she was actually over powered by the amazing cast that surrounded her. And I think considering the movie that might even be a good thing. I will say, it could have used a better ending. There were a lot of tiny ends that could have been tied up a little tighter, but mostly, don’t let me tell you this, watch it yourself.
Fun Facts: 
Jessica Chastain, a vegan, ate soy ice cream melted in the microwave to gain weight for the role of Celia.
Kathryn Stockett's book on which this film is based was rejected 60 times before it was eventually published. 
Hilly’s house is actually a residential property and the featured cream couch was already part of it. 
Director Tate Taylor and the author of the book, Kathryn Stockett, were childhood friends in Jackson, Mississippi. 
Favourite Quote: “Fried chicken just tend to make you feel better about life.”
Favourite Scene: This one’s hard to choose.. could be the scene when Hilly eats Minny’s poop… or the one when the little girl starts using a toilet that’s on the lawn.. The scene where we watched what happened to Constantine.. heart breaking, but very well done. Unfortunately.. :( 
Things not to miss: The tiny white girl repeated her nanny’s mantra of “You is kind, You is smart, You is important.” in the blackest of tiny white girl voices. ADORABLE.


Budget:
 $25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:
 $26,044,590 (USA) (14 August 2011) (2534 Screens)

Gross:
 $169,585,995 (USA) (15 January 2012)

Source for unknown information: IMDb

 

The Help (2011) 146 Minutes

 Drama

Starring: Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer

Director: Tate Taylor

Plot: An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African-American maid’s point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.

IMDb Rating 8.1/10

My Rating: 8.0/10

Highlights: Ignore everything people have told you about this movie, and do yourself a favour and watch it yourself. The story told in this movie is incredibly true, and incredibly heart breaking. The only bad thing about this movie is the fact that Viola Davis didn’t win the award. Not that Octavia didn’t deserve it just as well, but Viola brought it, man. And speaking of bringing it, as much as we hated the white girls (aside from Emma Stone and her family) you’ve got to admit, they brought it as well. The movie is really, really great. Watch it with your family, your friends, watch it with many people. I feel like as much as Emma Stone shined in this role (as she would in any role) she was actually over powered by the amazing cast that surrounded her. And I think considering the movie that might even be a good thing. I will say, it could have used a better ending. There were a lot of tiny ends that could have been tied up a little tighter, but mostly, don’t let me tell you this, watch it yourself.

Fun Facts: 

  • Jessica Chastain, a vegan, ate soy ice cream melted in the microwave to gain weight for the role of Celia.
  • Kathryn Stockett's book on which this film is based was rejected 60 times before it was eventually published. 
  • Hilly’s house is actually a residential property and the featured cream couch was already part of it. 
  • Director Tate Taylor and the author of the book, Kathryn Stockett, were childhood friends in Jackson, Mississippi. 

Favourite Quote: “Fried chicken just tend to make you feel better about life.”

Favourite Scene: This one’s hard to choose.. could be the scene when Hilly eats Minny’s poop… or the one when the little girl starts using a toilet that’s on the lawn.. The scene where we watched what happened to Constantine.. heart breaking, but very well done. Unfortunately.. :( 

Things not to miss: The tiny white girl repeated her nanny’s mantra of “You is kind, You is smart, You is important.” in the blackest of tiny white girl voices. ADORABLE.

Budget:

 $25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

 $26,044,590 (USA) (14 August 2011) (2534 Screens)

Gross:

 $169,585,995 (USA) (15 January 2012)

Source for unknown information: IMDb

 Dolphin Tale (2011) 113 Minutes
Drama/Family
Starring: Nathan Gamble, Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman, Kris Kristofferson
Director: Charles Martin Smith
Plot: A story centred on the friendship between a boy and a dolphin whose tail was lost in a crab trap.
IMDb Rating 6.4/10 
My Rating: 8.7/10
Highlights: An incredibly enjoyable movie from start to finish! I may be biased since I’ve been in love with dolphins since birth, but this movie was close to making me cry. Everything about it was simple, but just great. As a family movie, it didn’t have elaborate cinematography, or writing, but the story was true, and that alone makes it beautiful. I was full of wonder the entire movie, and needless to say, after finishing decided to become a dolphin.. worker.. yeah… Anyways, there’s a surprising amount of celebrity in this very little known movie, and good actors at that. It was one of those movies for kids that have multiple lessons you could take from it, and I liked that about it. It makes you want more of all of the characters story lines too. It was based around the boy and the dolphin, but I could have easily seen a movie based around the older cousin, or the mom (who should have fell in love with the girls dad) Or the dad’s business.. Anyways, it was beautiful even so.
Favourite Quote: “No one in their right mind would even try it. Luckily, I’m not.”
Favourite Scene: The scene when Sawyer stays the night with Winter, and Winter pulls him in, and they just play around together,… Ahhhhh beautiful. 
Things not to miss: The MORGAN FREEMAN factor.
 

Budget: $37,000,000 (estimated)



Opening Weekend: $19,152,401 (USA) (25 September 2011) (3507 Screens)



Gross: $72,247,774 (USA) (15 January 2012)

Source for unknown information: IMDb

 Dolphin Tale (2011) 113 Minutes

Drama/Family

Starring: Nathan Gamble, Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman, Kris Kristofferson

Director: Charles Martin Smith

Plot: A story centred on the friendship between a boy and a dolphin whose tail was lost in a crab trap.

IMDb Rating 6.4/10 

My Rating: 8.7/10

Highlights: An incredibly enjoyable movie from start to finish! I may be biased since I’ve been in love with dolphins since birth, but this movie was close to making me cry. Everything about it was simple, but just great. As a family movie, it didn’t have elaborate cinematography, or writing, but the story was true, and that alone makes it beautiful. I was full of wonder the entire movie, and needless to say, after finishing decided to become a dolphin.. worker.. yeah… Anyways, there’s a surprising amount of celebrity in this very little known movie, and good actors at that. It was one of those movies for kids that have multiple lessons you could take from it, and I liked that about it. It makes you want more of all of the characters story lines too. It was based around the boy and the dolphin, but I could have easily seen a movie based around the older cousin, or the mom (who should have fell in love with the girls dad) Or the dad’s business.. Anyways, it was beautiful even so.

Favourite Quote: “No one in their right mind would even try it. Luckily, I’m not.”

Favourite Scene: The scene when Sawyer stays the night with Winter, and Winter pulls him in, and they just play around together,… Ahhhhh beautiful. 

Things not to miss: The MORGAN FREEMAN factor.

Budget: $37,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $19,152,401 (USA) (25 September 2011) (3507 Screens)

Gross: $72,247,774 (USA) (15 January 2012)

Source for unknown information: IMDb

Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day (2008) 92 Minutes
Comedy/Romance
Starring: Amy Adams, Frances McDormand, Lee Pace
Director: Bharat Nalluri
Plot: Guinevere Pettigrew, a middle-aged London governess, finds herself unfairly dismissed from her job. An attempt to gain new employment catapults her into the glamorous world and dizzying social whirl of an American actress and singer, Delysia Lafosse.
  IMDb Rating 7.0/10 
My Rating: 7.0/10
Highlights: A rather enjoyable movie. I wouldn’t describe it as the best movie all year (or all of 2008) or the best movie I watched in a long time, but it was fun and light and exciting. The cinematography was stunning. For such a little known film, it had technical points that surprised me. The choreography of the actors was even beautiful to watch. Just watch the way in which the characters move, and when they move.. It’s gorgeous. The writing as well had it’s high points. Or maybe, just the delivery. The actors are all well conditioned and played perfectly. I loved how the movie actually took place over a single day. It made it feel like a fast movie, which being 92 minutes, it was, but felt like a half hour. Which kind of sucked because once it was over it was all.. crap I want more! I’d classify this movie in the same folder with Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. It just made me feel… like I was floating. In a weird sense… haha
Fun Facts: 
Frances McDormand's character Guinevere Pettigrew claims to be raised by a clergyman, when in real life, McDormand's adoptive father is Canadian minister Vernan McDormand. 
Winifred Watson's book was published the fall of 1938 and it became a smash hit. Plans were in the works for a Hollywood film version starring Billie Burke as Miss Pettigrew, but the start of WWII brought those plans to a halt. The publisher re-released the book in 2000 which lead to it being “found” again by Hollywood after 60+ years.
Favourite Quote: “Doggone, yes.”
Favourite Scene: The scene where Miss Pettigrew is talking about how much she loves her scarf with Joe, who made the scarf, and she doesn’t know it, and also the scene with the cigar, and the scene with the elevator, both beautifully played out.
Things not to miss: Lee Pace and Amy Adams singing together. :)
Opening Weekend: $2,490,942 (USA) (9 March 2008) (535 Screens)

Gross: $16,051,363 (Worldwide) (25 January 2009)

Source for unknown information: IMDb

Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day (2008) 92 Minutes

Comedy/Romance

Starring: Amy Adams, Frances McDormand, Lee Pace

Director: Bharat Nalluri

Plot: Guinevere Pettigrew, a middle-aged London governess, finds herself unfairly dismissed from her job. An attempt to gain new employment catapults her into the glamorous world and dizzying social whirl of an American actress and singer, Delysia Lafosse.

  IMDb Rating 7.0/10 

My Rating: 7.0/10

Highlights: A rather enjoyable movie. I wouldn’t describe it as the best movie all year (or all of 2008) or the best movie I watched in a long time, but it was fun and light and exciting. The cinematography was stunning. For such a little known film, it had technical points that surprised me. The choreography of the actors was even beautiful to watch. Just watch the way in which the characters move, and when they move.. It’s gorgeous. The writing as well had it’s high points. Or maybe, just the delivery. The actors are all well conditioned and played perfectly. I loved how the movie actually took place over a single day. It made it feel like a fast movie, which being 92 minutes, it was, but felt like a half hour. Which kind of sucked because once it was over it was all.. crap I want more! I’d classify this movie in the same folder with Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. It just made me feel… like I was floating. In a weird sense… haha

Fun Facts: 

  • Frances McDormand's character Guinevere Pettigrew claims to be raised by a clergyman, when in real life, McDormand's adoptive father is Canadian minister Vernan McDormand. 
  • Winifred Watson's book was published the fall of 1938 and it became a smash hit. Plans were in the works for a Hollywood film version starring Billie Burke as Miss Pettigrew, but the start of WWII brought those plans to a halt. The publisher re-released the book in 2000 which lead to it being “found” again by Hollywood after 60+ years.

Favourite Quote: “Doggone, yes.”

Favourite Scene: The scene where Miss Pettigrew is talking about how much she loves her scarf with Joe, who made the scarf, and she doesn’t know it, and also the scene with the cigar, and the scene with the elevator, both beautifully played out.

Things not to miss: Lee Pace and Amy Adams singing together. :)

Opening Weekend: $2,490,942 (USA) (9 March 2008) (535 Screens)

Gross: $16,051,363 (Worldwide) (25 January 2009)

Source for unknown information: IMDb

 
Crazy, Stupid Love (2011) 118 Minutes
 Comedy/Drama/Romance
Starring: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone
Director: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Plot: A middle-aged husband’s life changes dramatically when his wife asks him for a divorce. He seeks to rediscover his manhood with the help of a new-found friend Jacob, learning to pick up girls at bars.
IMDb Rating 7.5/10
My Rating: 7.9/10
Highlights: This movie is a romcom. But, even so, a “I didn’t see that coming” came at least once. Kudos for that. I mean, maybe I was just being naive but it surprised me. In a great way too! Of course, Steve’s performance was stellar, and quite literally laugh out loud yet again. Amazing. And Ryan Gosling didn’t let us down either. And no ladies, I’m not only referring to that not photoshopped mid section. Anyways, storyline wise, it was great. Every character kind of felt like the main character and I think with a larger main cast like this one, that’s usually hard to keep up but it was smooth and easy and I would have watched a movie of any of the story lines on their own. It surprised me, not only by the plot twist, but actually in the quality of not just regular romcom. I mean, don’t get me wrong it isn’t spectacular. It isn’t the best movie I’ve seen in a while. But it’s a good movie. 
Fun Facts: 
The feature film debut of Josh Groban
Robbie’s class is studying the Scarlet Letter. This novel is the basis for Emma Stone's previous movie Easy A. 
Molly Weaver’s face is never shown in full light until the third act reveal. 
They were actually giving a free iPad on set to whoever came up with a title for the film. 
Favourite Quote: “I have purchased a firearm.”
Favourite Scene: Both the scene in the bar where Cal is mad at Jacob and he is mocking him in a childs voice.. and every scene where someone slaps someone. This movie is hilarious with parts like this!
Things not to miss: Kevin Bacon.
Budget: $50,000,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend: $19,104,303 (USA) (31 July 2011) (3020 Screens)
 Gross: $84,323,970 (USA) (20 November 2011)
Source for unknown information: IMDb

 

Crazy, Stupid Love (2011) 118 Minutes

 Comedy/Drama/Romance

Starring: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone

Director: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa

Plot: A middle-aged husband’s life changes dramatically when his wife asks him for a divorce. He seeks to rediscover his manhood with the help of a new-found friend Jacob, learning to pick up girls at bars.

IMDb Rating 7.5/10

My Rating: 7.9/10

Highlights: This movie is a romcom. But, even so, a “I didn’t see that coming” came at least once. Kudos for that. I mean, maybe I was just being naive but it surprised me. In a great way too! Of course, Steve’s performance was stellar, and quite literally laugh out loud yet again. Amazing. And Ryan Gosling didn’t let us down either. And no ladies, I’m not only referring to that not photoshopped mid section. Anyways, storyline wise, it was great. Every character kind of felt like the main character and I think with a larger main cast like this one, that’s usually hard to keep up but it was smooth and easy and I would have watched a movie of any of the story lines on their own. It surprised me, not only by the plot twist, but actually in the quality of not just regular romcom. I mean, don’t get me wrong it isn’t spectacular. It isn’t the best movie I’ve seen in a while. But it’s a good movie. 

Fun Facts: 

  • The feature film debut of Josh Groban
  • Robbie’s class is studying the Scarlet Letter. This novel is the basis for Emma Stone's previous movie Easy A
  • Molly Weaver’s face is never shown in full light until the third act reveal. 
  • They were actually giving a free iPad on set to whoever came up with a title for the film. 

Favourite Quote: “I have purchased a firearm.”

Favourite Scene: Both the scene in the bar where Cal is mad at Jacob and he is mocking him in a childs voice.. and every scene where someone slaps someone. This movie is hilarious with parts like this!

Things not to miss: Kevin Bacon.

Budget: $50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $19,104,303 (USA) (31 July 2011) (3020 Screens)

 Gross: $84,323,970 (USA) (20 November 2011)

Source for unknown information: IMDb

 
Garden State (2004) 102 Minutes
 Comedy/Drama/Romance
Starring: Zach Braff, Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard
Director: Zach Braff
Plot: A quietly troubled young man returns home for his mothers funeral after being estranged from his family for a decade.
IMDb Rating 7.8/10
My Rating: 8.9/10
Highlights: This movie is incredible. And I feel like it’s one of those movies that 50% of people in this world won’t “get” or will write off as a “sad movie”, but that the other half will just totally fall in love with this movie, and love it to pieces. I personally love it to pieces. Our Zach Braff <3 wrote, directed, and starred in it, and I think 100% of the people can agree he did a stellar job. He basically told the world to suck it by making this movie, after they all judged him for being silly on Scrubs. And if you’ve paid attention to his career he hasn’t stopped. Another feature length film, and currently a broadway show. Braff’s got cahones that he knows how to use. But enough about our leading man, because lest we not forget Natalie Portman hits it out of the ball park yet again. Not that we doubted her for a second. And Peter Sarsgaard was the absolute best actor for his role. All in all, if you have ever felt alone in this world, or for one second a feeling of sad confusion to your life, or even just failure at all, you’ll watch this movie and sympathize with it, and think it’s talking about you, and love it. Love. It.
Fun Facts: 
Based partly on Zach Braff's own childhood in New Jersey, as well as his days as a struggling actor in Los Angeles before the success of Scrubs. 
When Zach Braff sent the script to people, he would also send them a copy of the songs which would eventually be the soundtrack (which he handpicked). That is why on the actual soundtrack album, all of the songs are in the order that they appear in the movie. 
The tombstones in the pet cemetery were made by the cast and crew, and feature their own deceased pets’ names. 
The “helmet” that Sam (Natalie Portman) is wearing on the motorcycle is actually a Rugby scrum-cap. 
On the commentary track, Natalie Portman admits she had never handled a vinyl record before making this movie. She had to be taught how to start a vintage “record player” properly for the scene in her bedroom. 
Zach Braff is seen in every single scene.  (DO WE NEED MORE CAUSE TO WATCH THIS MOVIE?)
Sam’s dead hamster, Jelly, was a real taxidermied hamster. 
Peter Sarsgaard learned to play guitar for the film. 
The house used as Jesse’s mansion was a real mansion in Mahwah, New Jersey that had been abandoned since the 1920’s. 
Favourite Quote: “We’ll probably head over there right after we bury your mom.”//”F**k, this hurts so much.”
Favourite Scene: This is a challenge. I love the scene in her bedroom when she’s telling him how to be original and they’re doing weird things to be totally completely original. But I also love the scene in the abandoned house when they’re by the fire. And the scene when they’re sitting in the bathtub and she keeps his tear.. Yeah that’s a real good one.
Things not to miss: Jim Parsons, dressed as a knight in shining armour, who works at Medieval Times. 


Budget:
 $2,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:
 $201,115 (USA) (1 August 2004) (9 Screens)

Gross:
 $35,825,316 (Worldwide) (21 July 2005)

Source for unknown information: IMDb

 

Garden State (2004) 102 Minutes

 Comedy/Drama/Romance

Starring: Zach Braff, Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard

Director: Zach Braff

Plot: A quietly troubled young man returns home for his mothers funeral after being estranged from his family for a decade.

IMDb Rating 7.8/10

My Rating: 8.9/10

Highlights: This movie is incredible. And I feel like it’s one of those movies that 50% of people in this world won’t “get” or will write off as a “sad movie”, but that the other half will just totally fall in love with this movie, and love it to pieces. I personally love it to pieces. Our Zach Braff <3 wrote, directed, and starred in it, and I think 100% of the people can agree he did a stellar job. He basically told the world to suck it by making this movie, after they all judged him for being silly on Scrubs. And if you’ve paid attention to his career he hasn’t stopped. Another feature length film, and currently a broadway show. Braff’s got cahones that he knows how to use. But enough about our leading man, because lest we not forget Natalie Portman hits it out of the ball park yet again. Not that we doubted her for a second. And Peter Sarsgaard was the absolute best actor for his role. All in all, if you have ever felt alone in this world, or for one second a feeling of sad confusion to your life, or even just failure at all, you’ll watch this movie and sympathize with it, and think it’s talking about you, and love it. Love. It.

Fun Facts: 

  • Based partly on Zach Braff's own childhood in New Jersey, as well as his days as a struggling actor in Los Angeles before the success of Scrubs
  • When Zach Braff sent the script to people, he would also send them a copy of the songs which would eventually be the soundtrack (which he handpicked). That is why on the actual soundtrack album, all of the songs are in the order that they appear in the movie. 
  • The tombstones in the pet cemetery were made by the cast and crew, and feature their own deceased pets’ names. 
  • The “helmet” that Sam (Natalie Portman) is wearing on the motorcycle is actually a Rugby scrum-cap. 
  • On the commentary track, Natalie Portman admits she had never handled a vinyl record before making this movie. She had to be taught how to start a vintage “record player” properly for the scene in her bedroom. 
  • Zach Braff is seen in every single scene.  (DO WE NEED MORE CAUSE TO WATCH THIS MOVIE?)
  • Sam’s dead hamster, Jelly, was a real taxidermied hamster. 
  • Peter Sarsgaard learned to play guitar for the film. 
  • The house used as Jesse’s mansion was a real mansion in Mahwah, New Jersey that had been abandoned since the 1920’s. 

Favourite Quote: “We’ll probably head over there right after we bury your mom.”//”F**k, this hurts so much.”

Favourite Scene: This is a challenge. I love the scene in her bedroom when she’s telling him how to be original and they’re doing weird things to be totally completely original. But I also love the scene in the abandoned house when they’re by the fire. And the scene when they’re sitting in the bathtub and she keeps his tear.. Yeah that’s a real good one.

Things not to miss: Jim Parsons, dressed as a knight in shining armour, who works at Medieval Times. 

Budget:

 $2,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

 $201,115 (USA) (1 August 2004) (9 Screens)

Gross:

 $35,825,316 (Worldwide) (21 July 2005)

Source for unknown information: IMDb

Shaun of The Dead (2004) 99 Minutes
 Comedy/Horror
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kate Ashfield, Lucy Davis, Dylan Moran
Director: Edgar Wright
Plot: A man decides to turn his moribund life around by winning back his ex-girlfriend, reconciling his relationship with his mother, and dealing with an entire community that has returned from the dead to eat the living.
IMDb Rating 8.0/10
My Rating: 7.5/10
Highlights: Comedy/Zombie movie is almost an automatic win in my books. The fact that it&#8217;s british comedy, makes it already a &#8220;meh&#8221; movie before you even start, but the fact that it&#8217;s Simon Pegg and Nick Frost makes it a lot better. So generally, I&#8217;ll say this movie did surprise me in a good way. In that I actually liked it. I liked how they introduced the Zombie theme, and how it took the main character a while to realize what was going on around him. Comedic, I&#8217;ll say that was. And the fact that he was trying to win over his girlfriend and mother during the whole thing was a good plot adder. I guess it was pretty standard. I don&#8217;t know why IMDb gave it a higher rating than both of my previously reviewed movies, considering the fact that this movie didn&#8217;t really compare film wise at all to Hanna, or 127 Hours&#8230; But I&#8217;d say if you have seen british comedy and not hated it before, or know and love Simon Pegg/Nick Frost.. or just like Zombies.. this movie you will enjoy.
Fun Facts: 
Because of the timing and the indisputable similarity of the names, the distributors were forced to hold the film back until two weeks after Dawn of the Dead was released in the UK. 
When Shaun and the group are running out of Liz&#8217;s flat they are all carrying weapons of some kind, but only Shaun actually hits any zombies. This was because only the cricket bat that Shaun was carrying was a padded fake, all the other items were real and would have hurt the extras playing zombies if they had been hit with them. 
All of the newsreaders and television presenters are real people portraying themselves.
Quentin Tarantino dubbed Shaun of the Dead one of the top 20 films made since 1992.
Favourite Quote: “Don&#8217;t forget to kill Phillip!&#8221;
Favourite Scene: I really enjoy that one take scene in the very beginning when he goes to the shop and it&#8217;s a single take of him not noticing Zombies are everywhere. And of course the very last scene when he goes out to the shed. haha
Things not to miss: The credits end with Mall Muzak from Dawn of The Dead (1978)
 Budget: £4,000,000 (estimated)
 Opening Weekend: £1,603,410 (UK) (11 April 2004) (367 Screens)

Gross: $13,464,388 (USA) (28 November 2004)

Source for unknown information: IMDb

Shaun of The Dead (2004) 99 Minutes

 Comedy/Horror

Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kate Ashfield, Lucy Davis, Dylan Moran

Director: Edgar Wright

Plot: A man decides to turn his moribund life around by winning back his ex-girlfriend, reconciling his relationship with his mother, and dealing with an entire community that has returned from the dead to eat the living.

IMDb Rating 8.0/10

My Rating: 7.5/10

Highlights: Comedy/Zombie movie is almost an automatic win in my books. The fact that it’s british comedy, makes it already a “meh” movie before you even start, but the fact that it’s Simon Pegg and Nick Frost makes it a lot better. So generally, I’ll say this movie did surprise me in a good way. In that I actually liked it. I liked how they introduced the Zombie theme, and how it took the main character a while to realize what was going on around him. Comedic, I’ll say that was. And the fact that he was trying to win over his girlfriend and mother during the whole thing was a good plot adder. I guess it was pretty standard. I don’t know why IMDb gave it a higher rating than both of my previously reviewed movies, considering the fact that this movie didn’t really compare film wise at all to Hanna, or 127 Hours… But I’d say if you have seen british comedy and not hated it before, or know and love Simon Pegg/Nick Frost.. or just like Zombies.. this movie you will enjoy.

Fun Facts: 

  • Because of the timing and the indisputable similarity of the names, the distributors were forced to hold the film back until two weeks after Dawn of the Dead was released in the UK. 
  • When Shaun and the group are running out of Liz’s flat they are all carrying weapons of some kind, but only Shaun actually hits any zombies. This was because only the cricket bat that Shaun was carrying was a padded fake, all the other items were real and would have hurt the extras playing zombies if they had been hit with them. 
  • All of the newsreaders and television presenters are real people portraying themselves.
  • Quentin Tarantino dubbed Shaun of the Dead one of the top 20 films made since 1992.

Favourite Quote: “Don’t forget to kill Phillip!”

Favourite Scene: I really enjoy that one take scene in the very beginning when he goes to the shop and it’s a single take of him not noticing Zombies are everywhere. And of course the very last scene when he goes out to the shed. haha

Things not to miss: The credits end with Mall Muzak from Dawn of The Dead (1978)

 Budget: £4,000,000 (estimated)

 Opening Weekend: £1,603,410 (UK) (11 April 2004) (367 Screens)

Gross: $13,464,388 (USA) (28 November 2004)

Source for unknown information: IMDb

 
127 Hours (2010) 94 Minutes
Adventure/Biography/Drama
Starring: James Franco, Kate Bana, Amber Tamblyn, Clemence Poesy
Director: Danny Boyle
Plot: A mountain climber becomes trapped under a boulder while canyoneering alone near Moab, Utah and resorts to desperate measures in order to survive.
IMDb Rating 7.8/10
My Rating: 8.0/10
Highlights: This movie was an obvious plot. Obvious, because it&#8217;s a true story. So we know right from the beginning, before even turning it on, that he&#8217;s going to survive. That being said, the plot wasn&#8217;t edge of my seat. But, I&#8217;d be lying if I said I wasn&#8217;t glued to the screen. I think this is the first movie that James Franco has actually showed his acting skills. And boy, does boy got skills. Since he&#8217;s always played &#8220;that guy&#8221; and this time he&#8217;s playing actually human feelings, that someone actually has been through.. phew. It was stellar. Stellar performance. You can literally feel every emotion he feels. And since he&#8217;s alone in a crevice, for most actors that isn&#8217;t an easy thing to portray. But we get everything. The movie itself flew by. At first I was like woah he&#8217;s already stuck! And then it was like woah he&#8217;s out! And then it was over. But 94 minutes had passed in full, and that my friends, is the mark of a good film. Special shout out to the girls, that scene with the water was a light hearted beginning to something you knew was going to be watching someone suffer. It was hard to watch him, knowing this actually happened, and all the while thinking what you&#8217;d have done. 
Fun Facts: 
Aron Ralston filmed a daily video diary while he was stuck in the canyon; the footage has only been shown to close friends and family and is kept in a bank vault for safety. Before shooting began both James Franco and director Danny Boyle were allowed to view the footage in order to accurately portray the events in the movie. 
The camcorder used by James Franco in the film was the actual one Aron Ralston used when he was trapped in Blue John Canyon.
When Aron Ralston was asked how how authentic the film was, he said, &#8220;the movie is so factually accurate it is as close to a documentary as you can get and still be a drama.&#8221; 
Favourite Quote: &#8220;What I could really use is about 20 meters of static wrap rope, 9.8 mil. Uh, three or four pulleys, a rack of carabiners, a sling, power drill, and bolt kit. Oh, and uh, eight burly men to do all the hauling. &#8220;
Favourite Scene: The scene where he actually first gets stuck is powerful. His emotion is so spot on it&#8217;s hard to just stare at without wincing because at first he thinks he&#8217;ll get out no problem this must just feel worse then it is, and upon taking it all in and his surroundings it&#8217;s like .. well as he said in the movie &#8220;I&#8217;m in some pretty deep doodoo.&#8221; Also the scene where he gets rescued almost brought me to tears. When he finally starts yelling help, and when the helicopter comes.. all of it. 
Things not to miss: The ending where we see the real Aron and his wife, and we find out the real details. Pretty cool.


Budget:
 $18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:
 $264,851 (USA) (7 November 2010) (4 Screens)

Gross:
 $57,547,568 (Worldwide)

Source for unknown information: IMDb

 

127 Hours (2010) 94 Minutes

Adventure/Biography/Drama

Starring: James Franco, Kate Bana, Amber Tamblyn, Clemence Poesy

Director: Danny Boyle

Plot: A mountain climber becomes trapped under a boulder while canyoneering alone near Moab, Utah and resorts to desperate measures in order to survive.

IMDb Rating 7.8/10

My Rating: 8.0/10

Highlights: This movie was an obvious plot. Obvious, because it’s a true story. So we know right from the beginning, before even turning it on, that he’s going to survive. That being said, the plot wasn’t edge of my seat. But, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t glued to the screen. I think this is the first movie that James Franco has actually showed his acting skills. And boy, does boy got skills. Since he’s always played “that guy” and this time he’s playing actually human feelings, that someone actually has been through.. phew. It was stellar. Stellar performance. You can literally feel every emotion he feels. And since he’s alone in a crevice, for most actors that isn’t an easy thing to portray. But we get everything. The movie itself flew by. At first I was like woah he’s already stuck! And then it was like woah he’s out! And then it was over. But 94 minutes had passed in full, and that my friends, is the mark of a good film. Special shout out to the girls, that scene with the water was a light hearted beginning to something you knew was going to be watching someone suffer. It was hard to watch him, knowing this actually happened, and all the while thinking what you’d have done. 

Fun Facts: 

  • Aron Ralston filmed a daily video diary while he was stuck in the canyon; the footage has only been shown to close friends and family and is kept in a bank vault for safety. Before shooting began both James Franco and director Danny Boyle were allowed to view the footage in order to accurately portray the events in the movie. 
  • The camcorder used by James Franco in the film was the actual one Aron Ralston used when he was trapped in Blue John Canyon.
  • When Aron Ralston was asked how how authentic the film was, he said, “the movie is so factually accurate it is as close to a documentary as you can get and still be a drama.” 

Favourite Quote: “What I could really use is about 20 meters of static wrap rope, 9.8 mil. Uh, three or four pulleys, a rack of carabiners, a sling, power drill, and bolt kit. Oh, and uh, eight burly men to do all the hauling. “

Favourite Scene: The scene where he actually first gets stuck is powerful. His emotion is so spot on it’s hard to just stare at without wincing because at first he thinks he’ll get out no problem this must just feel worse then it is, and upon taking it all in and his surroundings it’s like .. well as he said in the movie “I’m in some pretty deep doodoo.” Also the scene where he gets rescued almost brought me to tears. When he finally starts yelling help, and when the helicopter comes.. all of it. 

Things not to miss: The ending where we see the real Aron and his wife, and we find out the real details. Pretty cool.

Budget:

 $18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

 $264,851 (USA) (7 November 2010) (4 Screens)

Gross:

 $57,547,568 (Worldwide)

Source for unknown information: IMDb