Parental Guidance (2012)

After a few days of break, I finally managed to get a lot sorted out and we’re back to the next recommendation.  This was following my review on When Harry Met Sally (my review HERE) and Dan from Top 10 Films dropped by and recommended me to check out Billy Crystal’s 2012 flick Parental Guidance.  I’m not well known to Billy Crystal except for that flick up there and his performances as the host of the Academy Awards a good while back.  I had my reservations on this one but I’m going to trust Dan and check this one out.  Before we continue, you might want to hit up Top 10 Films and check out their awesome site because although I don’t comment as much as I should, they have some awesome content there! 🙂

Now, we’re ready? Lets check this out!

parental guidance posterDirector: Andy Fickman

Cast: Billy  Crystal, Bette Midler, Marisa Tomei, Tom Everett Scott, Bailee Madison, Joshua Rush, Kyle Harrison Breitkopf, Gedde Watanabe

Artie Decker (Billy Crystal) is fired from his job because of his outdatedness.  When he and his wife Diane (Bette Midler) get a call from their daughter Alice (Marisa Tomei) to help look after her three kids while her and husband Phil (Tom Everett Scott) head on a business trip and a long awaited trip. Upon their arrival, Artie and Diane realize the differences between their old school parenting/teaching methods when faced with their grandchildren: Harper, Turner and Barker, different sort of upbringing. At the same time, their daughter shows reluctance and doubt towards them and leaving her for a few days.

Its a bit weird that Rotten Tomatoes gives this like a total fail in the 20s or something while IMDB gave it like a 6.1.  Now I’m going to say that I agree with IMDB more because I had a lot of fun with Parental Guidance.  Comedies are those always hard to please the majority of people.  For me, most of the funny worked for me.  There were some that was really over the top and stretching and really nearing rather stupid territory but they always pulled themselves back and I had a decent laugh out of it. Obviously, my grandparents were never like this.  Chinese families rarely have this crazy going on.  They just have strict and more strict and authority and rules.  So this whole thinking for yourself and out of the world nearing irresponsible grandparenting style is above me so all I can do is laugh at it or be completely WTF about it. Point is, I had a good time with this one.  It was family comedy with a pretty sweet ending.  Honestly, I think I’m just going through some weird phase because my eyes water up for anything but that last bit made it just so heartwarming in a way.

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Parental Guidance may be pretty predictable and there really isn’t much special in a story about old  and new parenting differences but I always like the whole family angle.  A former generation thats grown apart but learns about each other more through unexpected situations like teaching grandkids.  Maybe there is nothing special but the cast in Parental Guidance is definitely the highlight.  As  I mentioned before, I’m not well known to Billy Crystal as an actor but I am to his humor.  For me, it still works and he demonstrates it here.  Alongside the very talented Bette Midler, who I adore as an actress and for her humor, they meshed together well.  I didn’t expect anything less actually.

parental guidance bette midler bailee madison

Next, we have the new gen group which includes first and foremost, the daughter Alice played by Marisa Tomei. Now, talking about the most unknown actress in my knowledge would be Marisa Tomei.  I recognize her face and I know some stuff she’s been in but then again, I’ve never actually seen her act.  I think she’s a pretty funny lady.  She has a nice on-screen vibe that I personally enjoy and as this uptight in-control mom role, she brings a little extra spark to it.

parental guidance billy crystal josh

Parental Guidance is about spending time watching over kids so definitely we need to look at the three young actors.  They were pretty awesome! The characters themselves were pretty fun with each their own little characteristics and their own problems.  The problems themselves were pretty realistic as well.  One had her pressure of perfection, future and it made her forget how to be a kid as she was so uptight.  That one was Bailee Madison who is the more known young actor among the three and the one that I like quite a bit.  I remember her in Just Go For It, where she was pretty hilarious as well.  She has a nice range of emotions in her acting so I think she’s pretty impressive.  The two little boys are pretty good because both have the issue of finding their self-confidence: one with the issue of a stutter (Turner played by Joshua Rush) and the other with imaginary friends (Barker played by Kyle Harrison Breitkopf).  Joshua Rush is in the Mr. Peabody & Sherman movie and has suddenly made want to go check that out.

Overall, I had fun with this one.  It wasn’t any that you’ll remember forever or stand out from the bunch but somehow I liked how they approached, as predictable as it was. The cast was great and made me laugh quite a bit.  The little family comedy thing was done in a decent way that I didn’t feel was absurd 85% of the time so thats a great thing 🙂 I’d say if you like Billy Crystal or Bette Midler, this is a good one to check out! Plus, there’s a small role for the Asian dude in Sixteen Candles but in a much older role.

This was a very good recommendation from Dan at Top 10 Films.  I often wonder if people remember themselves recommending these things but the site is awesome so go check it out, subscribe, comment, etc. Its really fun over there 🙂

Have you seen Parental Guidance? What are your thoughts on Billy Crystal and/or Bette Midler? 

Race to Witch Mountain (2009)

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is quickly becoming a very entertaining actor in my book.  I’ve enjoyed most of his movies that I’ve seen.  Of course, as for some actors, I tend to skip out on the ones I know I will probably not enjoy.  Today (May 2nd) is his birthday according to IMDB and he is now 41 years old. Seeing that I do like him quite a bit for his wit and fun, I decided to choose a movie to watch from what I have and it landed on this flick…one that I fell asleep watching the first time but I believe it was due to fatigue and not boredom.  Lets see which it was 😉

race to witch mountain posterDirector: Andy Fickman

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, AnnaSophia Robb, Alexander Ludwig, Carla Gugino, Ciaran Hinds

Zooming into ex-con ex-wheelman taxi driver, Jack Bruno (Dwayne Johnson) we see his choice to lead a normal life in The Stripe of Las Vegas.  While he is trying to cut off all ties from the criminal he used to work for, his life takes an even more dangerous turn when two kids, Sara (AnnaSophia Robb) and her brother Seth (Alexander Ludwig) appear in the back of his cab asking for a lift to the middle of nowhere with a lot of cash to pay the fare.  Strange things start happening as mysterious SUVs start attacking his car and on pursuit to their whereabouts. When they reach their destination, Sara and Seth realize that someone has arrived before them and sabotaged the area. This turns out to be another form of military alien who seems absolutely indestructable.  Jack learns that both Sara and Seth are also aliens and they are there to pick up something that will save their planet as well and they need to get back their spaceship from the Department of Defense.  The Department of Defense seems to be very crooked and they are hot on the groups tail throughout the movie (yes, the SUVs were them) and they are lead by Burke (Ciaran Hinds).  With the help of Dr. Alex Friedman, a UFO specialist, they make their run to a hidden base called Witch Mountain to get Sara and Seth back home.

First of all, this is a remake of a previous Disney  movie.  I’ve never seen the first one so I have nothing to compare it to.  I got this movie mostly because Disney usually makes acceptable family adventure flicks and it has The Rock.  Plus, I had just seen Bridge of Terabithia which had AnnaSophia Robb and I loved that one a lot too.  I need to review it eventually.

race to witch mountain group

Alien invasions movie has always seemed to be a difficult genre to master.  I’ve never watched one that I’ve truly enjoyed.  This one may not completely be an exception.  I fell asleep the first time around and this second time, I started it up at the beginning of a workout and eventually rewinded it to see the beginning again.  When I finally did sit down to watch the movie seriously, it wasn’t a complete downer.  The premise of the movie is decent.  The Rock delivers some good dialogue that gives us some good laughs.  He’s always fun to watch on screen especially when he is driving away in panic and then having attitude here and there.  Its what makes it so fun.

race to witch mountain sara seth jack

Let me just start by saying that I didn’t hate the movie.  But, at not really any point did I find that I was completely attached to the movie. I paused various times to do this and that.  There are parts that are predictable and the characters didn’t really make me love them all that well.  Was it their acting had problems? I’m not even sure.  I had fun here and there. Car chases and shooting and fighting gave this movie adventure and action.  You know what it felt like at some point in time? It felt completely like an  Alien 101 course.

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Almost forgot to mention! Remember back in The Woman in Black, I found an actor that I really liked? Ciaran Hinds is in this as Department of Defense head and he is pretty cool.  Pretty bad ass most of the time (well, as bad ass as Disney would allow) and he made me somewhat cringe a bit.  He made the events get a bit more intense.

It sounds like I’m complaining but overall this is an average movie.  I’m not sure I’ll pull it out to watch every year but its not bad enough that I want to throw it away either.  Everyone brings in a decent effort and the story is pretty good.  Its a nice watch when you want some downtime.  I’d love to check out the original eventually though.

Have you seen the original Race to Witch Mountain? Do you like The Rock? Are there any particular performances of his that you enjoyed?

Wrapping up the Valentine’s Marathon: She’s The Man (2006)

There was a bundle of movies that was supposed to be in the original list, but it came to the point that I realized it should be a romantic comedy to end off the marathon.  Why? Because its supposed to be happy.  I don’t want to end this bawling my eyes out or telling you about some bittersweet romantic story.  I can do that some other time this year.  The movie I was supposed to watch was A Walk to Remember but I’ve bumped that back for now.  My boyfriend was going to sit with me through a movie so might as well choose one that both of us knows that we enjoy.  By the way, I only have this because I stole it from his movie stash and never gave it back. But still lets take a look at it…

she`s the manDirector: Andy Fickman

Cast: Amanda Bynes, Channing Tatum, Laura Ramsey, Vinnie Jones, Robert Hoffman, James Kirk

Viola (Amanda Bynes)  is part of the Cornwall women’s Soccer team and is a really good soccer player.  When the women’s soccer team is cut and the men’s soccer team won’t let her join, she has to find another way.  When she comes home, her mother is trying to convince her to be a debutante.  When she dodges that, she goes up to find her brother Sebastian (James Kirk) getting ready to leave to London and skip school for 2 weeks to pursue his passion in music and he asks Viola to call in to his new school Illyria to make up a reason for his absence.  Suddenly, she gets an idea to disguise her brother for the two weeks so that she can beat the Cornwall’s soccer team to prove to them that she’s as good as them.  She asks her friends to help turn her into a guy.  When she starts school, pretending to be a guy turns out to be harder than she expected especially when this affects her social life and her chance at getting into the soccer team as well.  At the same time, her hot roommate, Duke (Channing Tatum) is also part of the soccer team and when she gets put into 2nd string by their coach (Vinnie Jones).  Duke  likes the hottest girl in school, Olivia (Laura Ramsey) but doesn’t know how to approach her.  When he sees that she gets along with Sebastian, Duke asks for help in exchange for getting her into first string in the soccer team by the Cornwall game. Caught between trying to get to first string on the soccer team, not getting caught of disguising as a guy, being pursued by her brother’s ex-girlfriend and not letting her mom suspect that she’s taking her brother’s place and at the same time fulfilling her expectations as debutante..the situation gets a bit more complex.

I really had no expectations when I saw this a few years ago. Its possibly one of the five romantic comedies that my boyfriend will watch and NOT roll his eyes at.  This movie is just full of laugh out loud moments.  Even though I know what happens already and this is possibly the third or fourth time I’ve seen it, I still just can’t help but laugh so hard that I get tears in my eyes.  Its just full of silly moments and the absurdity of how anyone would just laugh at a guy that acted like that (even if she was just pretending).  I don’t know how others feel about this movie but to me and my boyfriend, it gears towards our type of humour.

she's the man viola

This is possibly the best that I’ve seen Amanda Bynes.  I’ve seen her afterwards in Hairspray and Easy A in supporting roles.  This one really is just hilarious.  And plus, Channing Tatum practically one of his first roles where he’s taking somewhat of a leading male role.  As much as I didn’t like Channing Tatum a lot in his beginning roles, this one I actually like.  He’s just so adorable with his reactions when he starts getting all not sure how to act around the girl he likes.  And as much as I don’t usually swoon over actors, I mean Channing Tatum is pretty hot in this.

she`s the man duke

Apparently this was based on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.  I’ve never read of it and I don’t really know the story either.  Maybe I should find time and read some Shakespeare…although its going to take a whole lot of time to finish and understand what I just read.  It could be a refreshing read though.

she's the man duke olivia

This was the perfect way to end my Valentine’s marathon. Laughing and enjoying myself to a nice romantic comedy that didn’t shower you with too much lovey-dovey scenarios but more on the lines of just being silly fun.  If you’re into that sort of dumb silly humor, you should check it out.  No guarantees though since humor is the tricky thing that differs to each person’s taste!

What type of humor are you into? What is your favorite comedy? Is Channing Tatum a yes or no?

Just a side question, do you enjoy these marathons? Is there one that you’d like to suggest for me to do some time?

One more special post in a few hours and I’m going to give you all some peace! Have fun!