Double Feature: Anaconda (1997) & American Ultra (2015)

Welcome to this week’s double feature for a double Netflix A movie, Anaconda and American Ultra!

I’m back to my alphabet thing which I never tend to finish because I always start it at the beginning of the year and then Valentine’s marathon and the Ultimate Decades blogathon cuts in between and then I lose track. I’m hoping it will be more organized this year and things will work out. However, I do have some other double features lingering on the background so at least I’ll keep up with a weekly thing, right? ūüėČ

Let’s check out these two!

Anaconda (1997)

Anaconda

Director: Luis Llosa

Cast:  Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Jon Voight, Eric Stoltz, Jonathan Hyde, Owen Wilson, Kari Wuhrer, Vincent Castellanos

A “National Geographic” film crew is taken hostage by an insane hunter, who forces them along on his quest to capture the world’s largest – and deadliest – snake. – IMDB

I’m a huge fan of creature features. While I’ve been working hard to catch up on some of the older ones, Anaconda has been one that I haven’t caught up with until the last few months. To be honest, it was quite a disappointing experience. Perhaps its because it is awfully dated and the Anaconda doesn’t look too believable or the execution was paced fairly slow. However, if we put aside those little things it still works as a concept. There are other movies in the same subgenres who execute creature features in the same way and it still work. What works for it is the setting itself where this group is on the water in a boat going through unknown waterways and it works with the jungle environment and all the unknowns that pair with it. That is one of the few things that I liked.

My biggest issue with Anaconda is the cast. Put aside the other people who were tolerable, Jennifer Lopez is an actress that I’ve never found a movie where I liked and yet she constantly gets cast into films over and over again. It is mind-boggling to me but I’m sure there are others who appreciate her. However, her acting didn’t quite work for me here and it became very irritating to watch. The second performance who I, at times, do enjoy is Jon Voight who does an over the top villain sort of role who also gets very ridiculous at points. Just these two weaknesses and their frequency and importance in the film made this one really hard to enjoy for myself.

In fact, Anaconda isn’t a really lengthy film and yet it took me about 3 sittings to finish, which says a lot about how I feel about going back to visit this one again.

American Ultra (2015)

american ultra

Director: Nima Nourizadeh

Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Topher Grace, Connie Britton, Walton Goggins, John Leguizamo, Bill Pullman

A stoner – who is in fact a government agent – is marked as a liability and targeted for extermination. But he’s too well-trained and too high for them to handle. – IMDB

American Ultra is a fun little action crime adventure. Its comedic and pretty well-paced, packed with lots of action and schemes. Its straight forward and just a lot of crazy. I think what makes this movie work is Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart. Jesse Eisenberg has his roles that don’t work (aka Lex Luthor) and then he has roles that works for him (like Zombieland and Now You See Me) and this definitely fits in the latter category. The premise is a bit far-fetched but in this absurd way that kind of works. I can see how it could be irritating to watch but then, there is this desperate connection between him and Kristen Stewart that works well. Talking about Kristen Stewart, I can’t help to feel that her lowpoint is definitely Twilight and everything else that I see her in generally works from good to great. This one works so well for her character. She keeps the film pulled together just like some of the other supporting characters does also.

On that note, John Leguizamo’s role was¬† meant to be absurd and it was so absurd that it was really annoying to watch (I guess they succeeded?). In my mind though, its sad to see me get annoyed by John Leguizamo who I like a lot and feel that he is unique in his interpretation of roles. I’m starting to realize that Topher Grace also ends up taking up roles that I truly dislike. Seeing as he is the “enemy” in this case, it felt like its good to hate him but he is so hard to like. I feel like whenever I see him in a movie always dislike his bits and this one is no different. Its the fact that I can’t quite to decide whether his roles are meant to be dark humor or if we are meant to take him seriously. Either way, those two are the lowpoints for me in this film that felt slightly annoying and disappointing.

However, the lowpoints here are not enough to forget about the sum of all the positives here. I can’t help to like a film that is so fun. It does have its dramatic moments but the film that I could compare this film to would be Mr. Right and they have the same vibe and tone that I like a lot.

That’s it for this double feature!
Have you seen these two A selections? Thoughts?

 

Double Feature: Deidra & Laney Rob a Train (2017) & Equals (2015)

Time for the next double feature! I’m aiming for a double feature every week now! Exciting stuff, right? Yay to organization! As usual, these are quite alphabetical randomness. Deidra and Laney Rob a Train seemed like a fun movie and Equals seems like a more dramatic romantic thing. I’ve been having this desire to bring some justice to figuring out whether Bella is a bad character or whether its Kristen Stewart. You might see a few more of her movies popping up here as I try to find more of her movies depending on what Netflix has to offer obviously.

Let’s check it out!

Deidra & Laney Rob a Train (2017)

deidra and laney rob a train

Director: Sydney Freeland

Cast: Ashleigh Murray, Rachel Crow, Myko Olivier, Tim Blake Nelson, Danielle Nicolet, David Sullivan, Sasheer Zamata

After their mother ends up in jail, two sisters turn to train robbery in order to support their family. –IMDB

Heist, coming of age and a rag tag family brings together Deidra & Laney Rob a Train. Its about sisterhood and high schools as much as surviving and sustaining their living conditions. In many ways, Deidra and Laney Rob a Train was a pleasant surprise. While it had some flaws, the film was a lot of fun to watch. Their inexperience and how their youth brings in some interesting choices for their props and such in their robberies. At the same time, their family consists of a mom who breaks down at the beginning. Their dad turns out to be this bad influence full of bad records which poses as a bad father figure and can lead to why they are pushed into a rather extreme way to try to keep up with their expenses for the sisters. At the same time, the sisters here also show maybe not enough of their sister relationship but does give each of them their own space for the characters to grow as Deidra prepares to head to college and Laney tries to find the confidence she needs to see herself in a different way and not get trampled on and looked over.

At the same time, being a heist/crime film, these girls’ train robbing days are interrupted by the appearance of a train investigator (or whatever his title is) Truman who starts sniffing around to figure out who the perpetrators are as he hunts around. While Truman is somewhat of a goofball, his appearance only emphasizes how we’ve bonded with Deidra and Laney and start feeling a sense of anxiety for whether Truman will catch up with them and what will happen when and if he does.

With a fair share of fun and ambition, along with some coming of age plots and family, Deidra and Laney Rob a Train is a nice Netflix Originals to catch. It definitely exceeded my expectations and hits a lot of the feel-good moments with some of the humor here which works pretty well. All in all, a very worthy movie to check out.

Equals (2015)

equals

Director: Drake Doremus

Cast: Nicholas Hoult, Kristen Stewart, David Selby, Guy Pearce, Jacki Weaver, Kate Lyn Sheil

In an emotionless utopia, two people fall in love when they regain their feelings from a mysterious disease, causing tensions between them and their society. – IMDB

It seems that my connection to both Nicholas Hoult and Kristen Stewart performances are very one toned love stories, Warm Bodies and Twilight respectively. With that said, the story told here is something of a Romeo and Juliet forbidden love sort of scenario. The futuristic world achieves peace through eliminating emotions and feelings which are thought to be engineered between conception and birth so when someone has this, they have Switched-On Syndrome (aka SOS). Not surprisingly, Silas (Nicholas Hoult) and Nia (Kristen Stewart) both end up having different stages of SOS and are attracted to each other but need to hide it away. There’s a lot to like about Equals. The futuristic world and the idea of it works to a certain extent, the color palette in the scenes also complement to the mood a lot and then there’s the soundtrack that also works well, particularly in the scenes where Nia and Silas spend time together and embrace their feelings in secret.

However, there was a shred of weird sense as I watched Equals that something didn’t work and yet I couldn’t pinpoint what it was. Nicholas Hoult and Kristen Stewart was decent. They worked for the material provided to them. Although, there was a few scenes that Nicholas Hoult’s character felt odd in the beginning but did seem to grow on me as the movie moved along. Perhaps a portion of oddity had to do with the fact that this future had a lot of ignorance to make what seemed incredibly obvious between Silas and Nia especially as their feelings grew stronger and it feels slightly contrived. At the same time, the futuristic Romeo and Juliet does work except the ending felt like it wanted to be different but actually might have made it more predictable. Although, there is a supporting role with Guy Pearce and¬† personally like him a lot although his roles are usually not enough to show off his acting. Either way, I appreciated his role here.

Overall, Equals is an alright film. I have mixed feelings about it. Technically, cinematography, soundtrack and world building, it does such a great job but when it comes to the story, it is more generic which makes the characters and their acting also be reduced to more generic qualities. However, in the grand scheme of looking at Kristen Stewart works, this one is alright.

Valentine’s Marathon: The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010)

If you missed the previous review of New Moon, you can find it HERE.

Moving right along in our time crunch before February ends to check out the rest of the Twilight saga, we are at the third movie, Eclipse. After New Moon’s somewhat lackluster viewing, my expectations have never been lower on where it has gone but then, I also feel like once you hit bottom, the only way is up. As long Jacob hangs around, there is still hope. Watching a franchise after its been completely released has that downfall where its already all out as to what will happen so don’t be surprised when we get to Breaking Dawn that I would already have an idea where the story is headed.

Lets stop the rambling and check this one out!

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010)

twilight eclipse

Director: David Slade

Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Ashley Greene, Billy Burke, Gil Birmingham, Bryce Dallas Howard, Peter Facinelli, Kellan Lutz, Nikki Reed, Dakota Fanning

As a string of mysterious killings grips Seattle, Bella, whose high school graduation is fast approaching, is forced to choose between her love for vampire Edward and her friendship with werewolf Jacob. – IMDB

Eclipse is definitely a colossal step up from New Moon and much better than Twilight. I do maintain that Twilight is one of those movie franchises that have to be watched in sequence as the sequels by itself will not stand well alone. The main reason is its characters and how the decisions usually end on some cliffhanger and it carries to the next one. While the stories aren’t complex in itself and has its flaws (which I’ll talk about more later), it still relies heavily on how you feel about its main and supporting characters and the relationship map that has been developed over the last 2 films. With that said, Eclipse does deliver more this time. It has more action and shows other people’s stories rather than just the love triangle and Bella’s crazy intense love for Edward. The supporting characters have a bit more back story as to the pros and cons of Bella becoming a vampire and the central part is still convincing her to consider her options. Its nice that other than the triangle, there is still a little more to learn about the werewolves and vampire histories along with a how things work sort of thing going on on both the werewolf and vampire front. Its something I have criticized about the Twilight saga’s previous two films which seems to be slightly remedied in Eclipse.

twilight eclipse

Bella is slightly more bearable in this one. Although there is this sense of lack of continuation from her character in the New Moon. I say that because in New Moon, she spent a good part of it whining about not caring about her soul and wanting to be changed regardless of the consequences and Edward offers her a condition for him to change her (other than the fact that there is kind of a Volturi high order that it has to happen and everyone acts like she has a choice). Lets say she has a choice and the Cullens can bamboozle the Volturi forever, or else the logic falls apart (unless you’ve read the series, then please do share your knowledge), why would she not accept the condition if she’s willing to do anything, right? But this one she resists with some silly responses and whatnot. My point here is not that the story lacks continuity and logic especially on the love triangle front. But love is subjective and I get that there are a lot of fans out there that do support this story. Perhaps, reading the book will unlock a lot of these answers but its something I’ve never managed to get through because I’m not a big fan of Stephanie Meyer’s writing style. For myself, just watching this film, the story is quite weak.

Its funny because if we take a look at Bella’s love triangle in Eclipse, which is probably at its strongest, I’d probably start seeing Edward in a different light because he’s overrun by strong jealousy for starters which acts a lot out of possessiveness. The scene above not only highlights one of the best scenes since I’m apparently Team Jacob and looking forward to actual kiss but the beginning part highlights that Edward is masked by a lot of bad calls where he uses Bella’s emotions to move a situation the way he likes. Whereas, in this situation, Bella didn’t want to tell Jacob for a particular life and death reason, which was legitimate. Obviously, this is just an example to show how I don’t think that Edward is a perfect character which is fine, because he’s supposed to be perfect to Bella and I guess it does show that as flawed as I find his character to be, the discussion of Edward and Jacob is what shows that I’m becoming more invested into the storyline. I still think Edward’s character lacks depth and consistency while Jacob’s character is written much stronger, probably because he needs to fight harder for Bella and his werewolf story gets a little more attention because of that. On a side note, as I was watching Eclipse, I started seeing how Fifty Shades of Grey was a fan fiction of Edward and Bella, and I’m not sure thats a compliment or not on either/or. We’re not here to discuss that so I’ll leave it at that.

twilight eclipse

Overall, Eclipse suffers from a weak storyline and a lack of consistency in its character’s behaviors and decisions plus loses out by being not very self-contained. However, for fans of the franchise, this third movie definitely is a step up from the previous two. It has as much romance as it has mystery and action. There’s a deeper look at some of the side characters that have been neglected like Jasper (Jackson Rathbone) and Rosalie (Nikki Reed) which I don’t talk about because they never have enough story but this time it focuses a little more on the werewolf tribe and the vampire Cullens, and the history of it all gets a nice emphasis. It has nice training and in turn, a great fight. It has a great score to accompany it all. There are some fantastic moments with Jacob and Bella (as always). I’ve always like the supporting male character more in love triangles so its not too weird that I’m more into their story.

Despite its flaws, Eclipse is entertaining and rather well-paced, even with a 2 hour run time. My first thumbs up on Netflix for a Twilight saga film. I’m pretty happy about that and in a pretty positive feeling going into Breaking Dawn – Part 1.

Valentine’s Marathon: The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009)

And we finally continue with the Twilight Saga. Since I already know what to expect from New Moon, as fuzzy as my memory is of it, I had my hesitations. Of course, now there is context to what I remember and perhaps that will help a little. I was pretty midway with Twilight. If you missed the review, you can check it out here.

Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009)

new moon

Director: Chris Weitz

Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Billy Burke,

Oh, New Moon, how I wish I felt more different on this second viewing. Fact is, the second complete viewing of New Moon definitely was more successful than the first time I watched the 85% of the film and then had to get off the plane and didn’t care to seek out the ending because it was painfully obvious. While this second viewing was not as painful, New Moon is really for fans of the franchise because it doesn’t stand well on its own. This sequel is long and starts off with Bella and Edward’s breakup which would mean nothing of you didn’t watch Twilight and/or didn’t care about their relationship. At least my former description of their constipated looks now all made sense. New Moon highlights on Jacob, played by Taylor Lautner and his discovery of his werewolf roots while a heartbroken Bella approaches him as distraction and finding adrenaline rushes in attempts to forget her pain and remember Edward. Huh? Did that just make sense? Heartbreak makes us all do dumb things and this was Bella’s version so I rolled with that thought so that I could keep watching.

Twilight New Moon

Twilight had a lot of faults starting from twirly and spinning camerawork which New Moon still frustratingly has. It also still has quite a bit of clunky dialogue to over the top scenes where fans are always blowing as the characters watch each other and walk towards each other and hair was flying in the first or Edward’s shirt is flapping in the wind. However, in Twilight, its strength was in the characters and its chemistry in its first film. While some characters still managed to keep a lot of the charm unfortunately, Bella got on my nerves in New Moon. She was really self and in many ways, manipulative. She felt like a brat when she insisted on being turned and then went along to lead Jacob on and ignore those feelings she obviously seemed to have but wanted to go for the much more adventurous love that left her in the first place. Maybe its because I’m older now that I don’t quite understand her choices because it felt reckless to begin with. Bella being a central character and not appealing to my tastes really doesn’t help, especially when its run time was also incredibly long at over 2 hours.

Twilight New Moon

With Edward leaving the movie for a good part of the film, Taylor Lautner’s Jacob and his knowledge of his werewolf genes plus his development of his relationship with Bella, he actually became quite the intriguing character to watch. It did help that I like dark and brooding characters and he has a really kind heart. I would have liked to see a deeper look into the wolves instead of them just running here and there and how strong and fast they are. Everything felt so on the surface with the wolves and the vampires and the whole deal with Forks and the land. However, the best parts are definitely with Jacob and Bella. The chemistry between them felt different from hers with Edward’s and in a much more positive way, which made it hard to see her seemingly reject him over and over again. I guess if I had to choose, I’d be team Jacob in this film at least. However, putting all that aside, there’s a lot of bad effects here and I can’t handle the sparkling vampires angle, but the werewolf transformation thing is pretty cool.

Twilight New Moon

Overall, New Moon are honestly for those who enjoyed Twilight. It takes a lot of connection with the characters to truly understand their emotions and feel their story a little more. If not, this is quite a long story. While its nice to the Jacob and werewolf angle be elaborated on and see the Jacob and Bella story get more focus in this story and that was the best parts of the film, its faults were in Bella’s character. I can’t say its Kristen Stewart because its honestly the way her character was written that makes it hard to be okay with her decisions and frustrating to listen to her monologues and particularly annoying to watch her be incredibly selfish. One of the standout points for this saga so fair is its soundtrack and I’m hoping that it continues to remain strong.

Valentine’s Marathon: Twilight (2008)

Twilight’s kind of our highlight feature for February so I’ll group it in with the Valentine’s Marathon since its really a love story more than its a vampire story. So we’re getting back on track. The love and Valentine’s theme has definitely been there even if I haven’t been reviewing as many movies as I’d like.

Funny thing about Twilight is that I actually watches about 85% of New Moon on a flight and it was the reason that solidified why I honestly wanted to stay away from this franchise. It doesn’t help that I have stood in the bookstore on more than one account over the years and tried to read Twilight and never made it past the first two pages. I chalk that up to Stephanie Meyer’s writing style not being my cup of tea.

Let’s get right into it and check out Twilight!

Twilight (2008)

Twilight

Director: Catherine Hardwicke

Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Anna Kendrick, Michael Welch, Billy Burke, Ashley Greene, Cam Gigandet, Rachelle Lefevre

With what I said in the opening, I have never read the source material and probably never will seeing as my love for YA has diminished over the years. I went into Twilight expecting it to be bad and having really low expectations. While I have a bunch of criticisms which I will get to in a moment, Twilight’s faults were actually having nothing to do with the faults I originally thought it would have based on my experience of New Moon. Maybe its the low expectations of the film going in, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

I am going to go into the strengths of the film first. The original faults that I thought the film would have was Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, the beloved Bella Swan and Edward Cullen, the stars of the show. In fact, they have quite a lovely chemistry (when they aren’t talking and we will look at dialogue in the next paragraph) except for that scene above which let’s just say was both cheesy and over the top. The cast here also has some great moments and characters like Bella’s dad is Billy Burke (who I like quite a bit) and the ultimate villains are a trio but the standout here is Cam Gigandet and Rachelle Lefevre. The latter having a short but still quite sinister role. The whole Cullen clan has some familiar faces and they are a fun group for the little time we do spend with each of them. Then, Bella’s friends include Anna Kendrick who I have never seen play such a teenage role like this one but does pull it off fairly well. Twilight has moments that work to be a lot of fun to watch: the baseball game, the treetops, saving Bella moments and then a few scattered here and there.

twilight

A movie however should be made up of more than just moments and chemistry. The dialogue here is where Twilight falls apart the most. It had a nice cast of characters which seemed okay for their set-up so that future instalments could explore more in-depth but the moment they started talking, particularly the moments with Bella and Edward which had the most weight was also incredibly cringe-worthy. This is coming from me who enjoys and tolerates Nicholas Sparks movies. It brought up a lot of eye-rolling and face-palming moments. Then the dialogue also brings up the story here. On the surface, it works alright in the nice quiet moments then Edward will go and say something like “I like watching you sleep” or “I feel very protective of you”. Look, I’m a romantic and all but if some random dude (meaning just some guy I don’t know much about), no matter how mysterious he seems, that I just started dating said those things to me, the stalker and possessive alarm goes off in my brain (sure, maybe a little less alert when I¬† was in high school probably). Something else that bothered me was the constant desire to spin the camera around a scene or cut through a scene abruptly from one angle to the next. It mostly got really frustrating and annoying. And, while this is from the original source, I couldn’t help but finally know what the deal with sparkling vampires were and its quite lame. I get the desire to give a new twist to the traditional vampires as many different vampire stories over the years have attempted but sparkling vampires have got to be the one that I can’t buy into and then Bella goes and says that Edward is beautiful or something and I’m like, nope.

twilight

Overall, Twilight was better than expected. Still very much flawed in many ways, story, dialogue and camera work didn’t quite work for myself but there are some nice characters here which could use a little more development but the chemistry between Bella and Edward is quite good (even if they look awkward a ton which kind of grew on me). I already know what to expect in New Moon and knowing that the franchise started better than the second one at least hopefully links some plot points together but who knows, I don’t remember much of New Moon other than where it was set.

Check back soon-ish for the sequel soon! ūüôā

Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)

I’m not going to lie..I almost forgot about this Snow White adaptation that I had to write up. ¬†I saw it so long ago as I’m writing this that I can’t even remember it all that much. ¬†Well, it wasn’t that long, maybe a month or so. ¬†Regardless, my final Snow White adaptation that I’m writing up and I’ll get the baking part done and we’re on our way to the next movie on the Disney Classics list, Pinocchio. That one is easy because there is no available adaptations for me to watch. ¬†If you have any to suggest, or anything loosely based on it, I’d give it a go to. Not to mention baking for that one is going to be crazily hard. ¬†Anyways, one thing at a time. Let’s finish this Snow White business with Snow White and the Huntsman. ¬†I wasn’t excited to watch it, had low expectations. ¬†Now you know where I stand before I fired up this one.

Let’s check it out!

Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)

Snow White and the Huntsman

Director: Rupert Sanders

Cast: Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, Sam Spruell, Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, Eddie Marsan, Toby Jones, Brian Gleeson

In a twist to the fairy tale, the Huntsman ordered to take Snow White into the woods to be killed winds up becoming her protector and mentor in a quest to vanquish the Evil Queen. – IMDB

The journey of watching Snow White adaptations has been a long one. ¬†There is no doubt that Snow White is one of those very frequently adapted story plots that seem to always be a good way to go. ¬†Whether the movies themselves are of what quality, well, that changes. ¬†Snow White and the Huntsman is one that I mentioned before where I didn’t have a lot of expectations. For one, I’m really not a huge fan of Kristen Stewart and while I love seeing Chris Hemsworth and his handsome body, I’ve learned to also not watch anything in hopes of seeing them take their clothes off. ¬†I really don’t know to say it any other way. ¬†I did that for Clash of the Titans (remake) and it was disappointing along with the fact that it was a terrible movie. ¬†But, that is for another post (which will never happen probably because I refuse to put myself through it again). Except, I like Disney Princesses and while Snow White isn’t my favorite one, there has been okay adaptations of it in some unexpected entertaining pieces and even though its hard to believe but the hopeful part of this is Charlize Theron as the Evil Stepmother.

Snow White and the Huntsman

I ramble a lot when I don’t know how to word my reviews. ¬†I realize that. ¬†I guess the easiest way is to start with what was good. Snow White and the Huntsman is not a great film. ¬†Its a tad boring, a little pointless but there are some good parts. ¬†Its doesn’t really make the film one I’d sit down to watch again which is why I’m writing this on a very vague memory because it simply is forgettable. The first good part is the dark take on the Snow White tale. ¬†The harsh evil from the Stepmother, the dangers and dark environment, the black magic in the air, just how the movie is a lot darker in nature. ¬†Second, it makes Snow White into a warrior, someone who will fight, and not the weak princess cleaning up after the dwarves and waiting for her Prince to save her. ¬†Honestly, the recent take of making out the princesses to be stronger in nature is one I’m enjoying a lot. Even if its Miss Stewart playing the role. ¬†We will discuss her a little later. Three, the dwarves are always chosen and played with such character. ¬†The same goes for here especially when we have some unexpected recognized actors here. ¬†Four, it has to be the outstanding role of The Evil Queen played by Charlize Theron. ¬†She just takes command of her role and every scene she is in make it so much more enjoyable. ¬†Five, the visuals are pretty in this one. ¬†There’s dark tones as I mentioned in point 1 and there are some bright parts of it as well. ¬†The CGI is done very nicely and makes it feel that much more like we are in a fantasy/fictional land.

Snow White and the Huntsman

¬†That’s a fair bit of positive but you know what. The cons of Snow White and the Huntsman far outweighs those five points above. ¬†For one, the movie was way too long. ¬†It was over 2 hours long. ¬†That is absolutely crazy. ¬†That’s because it had a ton of really pointless scenes. ¬†I felt like it was all added for dramatic value. ¬†Except this leads to my second thing that I didn’t like: Kristen Stewart. ¬†Look, I know its horrible to be ragging on Kristen Stewart and to be honest, it seems she’s gotten better but this was her right out of the Twilight series and her face does not make me feel anything. ¬†Its not happy, always sad, maybe constipated and her as a tough girl doesn’t quite make me feel convinced. ¬†As I watched this, I did think of one thing: how her career might be like Channing Tatum where she was pegged for certain roles and one day, she’ll find that role and break out of her shell and be a better actress. ¬†I’m trying to be positive here. ¬†Oh and I have to hate on Kristen Stewart just a little. ¬†She got to liplock with Chris Hemsworth!

Snow White and the Huntsman

I guess what it all comes down to is that the sum of the positives can’t even outweigh that of the negatives. ¬†Long, boring, convoluted, got lost in itself and I just couldn’t get into it or feel connected to any of the characters. ¬† Sure, the premise was good, the take of this classic tale was good in all its dark glory but it just doesn’t seem to be able to pull itself out of its own mess. ¬†Charlize Theron couldn’t do it. ¬†Chris Hemsworth, huntsman and narrator, didn’t even have the chance. ¬†Snow White and the Huntsman has the right intentions but with a bad script and messy execution, it falls short of what it could be.

Have you seen Snow White and the Huntsman? 

Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005)

I don’t often have the luck of opening the TV and hitting a channel where a movie just starts. ¬†Somehow during our Toronto trip and the night we decide to stay in the hotel room to eat, we land right at the start of Zathura: A Space Adventure. ¬†My best friend had seen the second half of it so the beginning was still new to her. ¬†I’ve never seen this before but always wanted to.

zathura posterDirector: Jon Favreau

Cast: Josh Hutcherson, Jonah Bobo, Dax Shepard, Kristen Stewart, Tim Robbins

Two boys Walter (Josh  Hutcherson) and Danny (Jonah Bobo) never got along especially now that their parents have divorced.  When their father (Tim Robbins) leaves them under the reluctant care of their sister Lisa (Kristen Stewart) while he takes care of his work outside of the house.  As Walter gets angry at Danny, he sents him down the dumbwaiter to the basement.  He comes back upstairs with an old space adventure game called Zathura and asks Walter to play with him. Once Danny starts off to play the game, he realizes that the game has shifted the whole house in space physically and the only way they could win was to take turns and complete the obstacles given, reach Zathura to reset everything.

zathura 4

Zathura is pretty much Jumanji but in space. ¬†I’m a huge fan of Jumanji and I still have no idea why my boyfriend doesn’t like it so seeing Zathura was something that would happen eventually. ¬†I’m just beating myself up as to why it took me so long to see it after it was done. ¬†Sure, I figured out a lot of the twists but still, I bought the whole idea of it and it was crazy fun to watch. ¬†Even K. Stew can’t bring this one down. ¬†She was actually quite funny and in what other time can you see her frozen in place, and when she wasn’t, she was emoting. ¬†Good job K. Stew! Still, I’m not going to join Justin in the Kristen Stewart Defense Council anytime soon but she did good in this. Plus, just look at the picture on the top, the special effects and visuals were pretty awesome. ¬†I’d say this one satisfies both kids and parents with the story and the style.

zathura 1

Here we have a very young Josh Hutcherson as Walter. ¬†I’m an only child so I don’t understand the sibling dynamics but my best friend said its normal that older siblings tend to mess with the younger ones. ¬†In this one, Josh plays that older brother who somehow doesn’t like Danny because he thinks that he takes away the attention from his father or ruins everything in his life (maybe he just finds him a nuisance). ¬†As the story progresses, as much as its an adventure movie, its about them treasuring each other as brothers and putting their trust into each other also. ¬†At the same time, Danny, played by Jonah Bobo is a super cute kid and he does a really good job.

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There’s a lot to love if not for the principal characters like Walter and Danny but for the other ones that show up. ¬†I’ve already discussed Kristen Stewart above but the other one was putting in the astronaut who really helps inspire the characters and help the kids through certain obstacles they probably wouldn’t otherwise. ¬†It makes something so fictional become slightly realistic. ¬†I’m guessing if any kid got time warped to another time and space, they would probably freak out and not really understand what to do so help is always needed. ¬†The astronaut also makes it a lot of fun because he’s somewhat silly at times as well so it would appeal to adults. ¬†Even in the more dangerous parts, it maintains enough intensity to hold the audience but not enough to scare the younger crowd too much.

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If you read all that up there, I’m recommending this one. ¬†Its a great family adventure movie, especially if you are already a fan of Jumanji. ¬†Its lots of fun, full of great characters and even teaches a bit about the value of families especially between siblings. ¬†Kristen Stewart is enjoyable to watch, Josh Hutcherson is young and quite good (before he was all Hunger Games cool) and we even have a little bits with Tim Robbins (which I failed to mention about before). The special effects are nice and visually, its pretty beautiful. ¬†A winner all around ūüôā

Are you a fan of Jumanji? Did you see Zathura? What do you think about it?

Panic Room (2002)

Justin at Today I Watched A Movie reviewed this flick a few months ago (exact time frame I don’t remember) and he gave it full score 3/3 and said that Kristin Stewart could act. ¬†I have nothing against Kristin Stewart but I have NEVER seen anything remotely memorable from her. ¬†So I went on the hunt for this movie, then last month I found it on special somewhere and I snatched it up. ¬†After having it sit on my table for the past month, I finally picked it up and saw it a few days ago. ¬†I have seen this before on TV or somewhere, not in full though so this is technically my first time seeing the whole thing.

panic room posterDirector: David Fincher

Cast: Jodie Foster, Kristen Stewart, Forest Whitaker, Jared Leto, Dwight, Yoakam

Meg Altman (Jodie Foster) is recently divorced and is seeking a house for her and her daughter Sarah (Kristin Stewart) in an area closer to her ex-husband. ¬†We start with her looking at a gigantic house and we see that there are 3 floors, basement. ¬†The best part is that there is a secret room connected to the main bedroom called panic room which is not only a 3 feet steel box, but has an elaborate security system and is a place to hide if ever there are burglars, which has its line and all that. ¬†As uncomfortable as Meg originally was with that idea, they ended up getting the house and on the first night, three men, Burnham (Forest Whitaker), Junior (Jared Leto), Raoul (Dwight Yoakam) breaks in not knowing that Meg and Sarah had already moved in. ¬†They are after something valuable that was left behind by the previous owner. ¬†As Meg realizes that they are in danger, she gets Sarah and they lock themselves in the Panic Room. ¬†What they didn’t know is that what the three men want is in exactly where they are hiding, and they find ways to get Meg and Sarah to come out while inside the panic room, they are trying to find a way to be rescued.

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This is a crazy movie: Intense action thriller to say the least. ¬†It had me extremely anxious the whole time. ¬†There were some times where I felt it was slightly stupid, but then thinking about ¬†if I was in Meg’s shoes, I’d probably have done the same stupid things. ¬†So it was forgiven. ¬†I mean not connecting the panic room separate phone line, I can get that. ¬†I have my cellphone, its not totally crucial. ¬†Who actually expects to get broken in on the first night? This flick is even more intense as everyone is locked into one place: the house. ¬†As much as we had a tour in the beginning of the movie, a lot of it was still new. ¬†Not knowing what was around the corner, made this a thrill to watch. Plus, ever since Phonebooth, I’ve been attracted to movies with only one setting.

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Ever since Silence of the Lambs, I’ve been a HUGE fan of Jodie Foster. ¬†I haven’t seen all her movies and far from it, according to IMDB but I adore the movies she’s in. ¬†In this one, she’s just totally awesome as a woman that strives to protect herself and her daughter from the dangers that keep coming and repelling it in intelligent ways. ¬†Kristin Stewart is an alright child actress….just what happened to her now? She actually was decent in this one. ¬†At least she didn’t have one expression through the whole thing, that’s already good enough for me. Thats what scares me though, how child actors do okay but after they grow up, they forget how to act.

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Any good hero is always carried with their villains. ¬†The bad guys in this one are played by Forest Whitaker, Jared Leto, and Dwight Yoakam. ¬†The last guy, I’m not familiar with, nor do I remember any of the movies that he’s in. ¬†However, the characters themselves were done pretty well because the 3 guys each had their own motives, different personalities that balanced their actions and played off of each other really well.

I’m definitely recommending this movie. ¬†I had me at the edge of my seat and genuinely worried about the two main characters. ¬†It made me wonder about what next move the theives would do to force them out and how they would intelligently (and sometimes not so much) counteract. ¬†This is a fantastic thriller!

Whats your favorite thriller? What do you think of Jodie Foster?