Three Quick Reviews: Vanity Fair, The Upside of Anger, Gnomeo & Juliet

You know whats great about these quick reviews? Its when you have these movies that can be explained in just simple terms how you feel and you just have to write a paragraph instead of trying to analyze way too much. Anyways, it would be not feasible to write full reviews for everything unless I have everything backlogged and then, I’d just forgot I watched it.

Enough of ramblings, another three quick reviews for stuff I watched outside of recommendations ūüôā

VANITY FAIR (2004)

vanity fair poster

Director: Mira Nair

Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Romola Garai, James Purefoy, Tony Maudsley, Rhys Ifans, Jonathan Rhys Meyers

Vanity Fair is adapted from¬†the novel (which I haven’t read) about Rebecca Sharp (Reese Witherspoon), a girl who is orphaned at a young age and grows up poor and once she leaves the home for girls as governess, she tries to ascend the social ladder. ¬†We follow her through different stages in her life as society tries to pull her back but she always finds a way to climb back up in her own way.

I’m just going short here because this movie was a bit over 2 hours long and I have never watched a movie in 4 parts and I watched this over 3 days (at least). ¬†It just dragged on and on. ¬†If it wasn’t for a rather charming James Purefoy for a bit of the movie and hating that he got married to a very annoying Rebecca Sharp and feeling bad for him, I’d have shut off the movie. Still, I did keep on because I kept hoping it would get better. ¬†Till now, I don’t really know if I’m supposed to feel good or bad for Rebecca Sharp… I guess thats why, I downloaded the novel to my tablet and I’ll read it to know what the actual story really was ūüėČ Oh, and the girl from Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (review HERE) was in it too!

The Upside of Anger (2005)

the upside of anger poster

Director: Mike Binder

Cast: Kevin Costner, Joan Allen, Keri Russell, Evan Rachel Wood, Erika Christensen, Alicia Witt

The Upside of Anger is about Terry Ann (Joan Allen) whose husband unexpectedly disappears and she is left with her four daughters: Andy (Erika Christensen), Emily (Keri Russell), Hadley (Alicia Witt) and Popeye (Evan Rachel Wood). As much as she should be taking care of her teenage girls, they end up taking care of her instead, as she picks up her pieces and eventually engages into a relationship with an once baseball star and now radio DJ, Denny (Kevin Costner). At the same time, the daughters each have to manage their own lives.

I chose The Upside of Anger because of Kevin Costner and my lack of exposure to his roles. ¬†Other than being slightly lengthy at parts, I felt that The Upside of Anger is definitely one that should be seen by more people. ¬†I don’t know, maybe a lot of people know about it? Do you? Its the first time I’ve heard of it at least and it took me by surprise in a very good way. ¬†As with the title, there are a lot of conflicts and crazy going on but somehow it gets the story flowing and we get a good view on the relationship of Terry ¬†Ann and each of her daughters, different point of views and how she changes and eventually sees things a bit different, a lot was slowly through an outsider’s perspective who was let inside which was Kevin Costner’s character Denny. ¬†The movie starts and ends with the narration of her youngest daughter, nickname Popeye and she recaps the essence very well with this quote:

Anger and resentment can stop you in your tracks. That’s what I know now. It needs nothing to burn but the air and the life that it swallows and smothers. It’s real, though – the fury, even when it isn’t. It can change you… turn you… mold you and shape you into something you’re not. The only upside to anger, then… is the person you become. Hopefully someone that wakes up one day and realizes they’re not afraid to take the journey, someone that knows that the truth is, at best, a partially told story. That anger, like growth, comes in spurts and fits, and in its wake, leaves a new chance at acceptance, and the promise of calm.- The Upside of Anger

GNOMEO & JULIET (2012)

untitled
Director: Kelly Asbury

Cast: James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Ashley Jensen, Michael Caine, Matt Lucas, Jim Cummings, Maggie Smith, Jason Statham, Ozzy Osbourne, Stephen Merchant

I’m sure I don’t need a synopsis for this classic Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet but in a children’s version with garden gnomes. ¬†Forbidden love, family feud, garden gnomes, red versus blue, etc. ¬†You know the story already. Just remember Gnomeo & Juliet is aimed to children and it doesn’t get that bad. ¬†At least I don’t remember it being too hitting adult territory. ¬†With that said, if you sit through this with a fully alert adult brain, I promise you will find a lot of flaws in the story design and the premise itself. I mean, just for starters, how in the world do the owners not know where they left their garden gnomes and not question when they are shifted or don’t look the same?

gnomeo and juliet 1

BUT, ¬†if you can overlook those things and go to being a simple mind, they do have some pretty fun moments and I loved the voices. ¬†I recognized the main voices, especially Michael Caine. ¬†Who doesn’t recognize his because its so awesome. I have to admit that I paused when I saw Jason Statham (WHAT?!?!). That just made this totally out of the world. ¬†I really love the voice work. It made the characters very likeable despite its very predictable and possibly overused storyline. ¬†The characters were very cute and there were some nice moments. ¬†And well, some pretty nostalgic ones too. ¬†I may not have had garden gnomes when I was younger because it wasn’t my dad’s thing but we had those plastic flamingos. ¬†Coincidentally, the plastic flamingo was one of my favorite characters.

Gnomeo & Juliet is an average animation. It aims to please kids more than the parents.  The upside is that it has a talented cast that gives life to each of these characters to make them fun and vibrant.

OVERALL..Out of these three, I’d really say that The Upside of Anger is the best one. ¬†It has a great cast with Joan Allen, Kevin Costner and my personal favorite, Keri Russell (who I almost wrote Felicity).

What has me curious now is: Have you heard of The Upside of Anger before? What is your favorite version of Romeo and Juliet? Have you read Vanity Fair before and is it similar to this movie?

Just a little intermission while I decide which movies from the recommendations list I want to watch! ūüôā Happy Friday!!

Now You See Me (2013)

The post for yesterday didn’t really happen but I did manage to squeeze in a movie on my down time and I felt like I needed a little magic in my life so I put in a movie I’ve been wanting to see since it hit the big screen but missed because lets just say, I was the only one that was enthusiastic about it. ¬†Despite the pretty much average reviews, I still have rather high hopes for this one. Lets do it! Back on track with catching up on 2013 flicks ūüôā

now you see me posterDirector: Louis Leterrier

Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Mark Ruffalo, Melanie Laurent, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine

Four solo magicians (Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Wood Harrelson, Dave Franco) come together to form the Four Horsemen. In their first act in Las Vegas, they attempt to rob a bank and give back to the audience.  This alerts the FBI and the case is handed to  Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) who is forced to team up with Interpol agent, Alma Dary (Melanie Laurent) to try and catch them.  Meanwhile, they seem to always be a step ahead.

Now You See Me is a crime/mystery thriller. ¬†Let me first talk about why this movie drew me in. ¬†First of all, its about magic. ¬†I like that stuff. ¬†I’m one of those really easily tricked people and I can never replicate or figure out how any trick is done so I’m the optimal target audience for this because I’ll just lick it right up and not really think but enjoy the show. ¬†Second, notice the cast up there. ¬†Its full of actors and actresses I like (if not, love). ¬†I’ll elaborate on that point a bit later. Last, its essentially a heist flick, a thriller and a mystery, all of the above is one of my favorite genres.

NOW YOU SEE ME

Now You See Me is very much like watching a magic show. ¬†Everything is flashy and there’s plenty of action. ¬†The first two acts were fun and impeccable to watch on screen. ¬†The effects were not so 2013 but more 2003 but thats okay, I’m not very nitpicky about that sort of thing. Its really just something I noticed. ¬†The action was great and for the most part, I was pretty drawn into the movie. ¬†The only deal was that there was something missing to pull me in completely because right near the finale, I pressed pause and was about to shower and then I noticed I had 15 minutes so I sat back down and continued on. ¬†Usually, I don’t want to leave my chair at the end. ¬†So I acknowledge something wasn’t there, I just can’t pinpoint what. Maybe its the connection to any of the characters…I need to think that one through again.

now you see me dylan alma

With that point we head into the characters. ¬†Other than Dave Franco being a new face (which I’ve only seen before in 21 Jump Street) in The Four Horsemen, I really like the other three. ¬†Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson worked fantastic in Zombieland so I was hopeful about their performance here and it didn’t disappoint. ¬†I love Isla Fisher because she is quite good in a lot of the roles. Dave Franco was pretty good too and well, he has charm and style. ¬†The Four Horsemen meshed well together and that carried a good part of the movie to a good level for me. ¬†And then we come to our opposite party, Melanie Laurent and Mark Ruffalo. ¬†I’ve only seen these two previously separately in one other movie before this one, I was alright with them in this. ¬†I can’t help but feel like it could have been better, but I’m no expert at this so its just a feeling I’m getting. Finally, we have two of my favorite actors: Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman. ¬†They may have very small roles but I pretty much have admitted that Michael Caine doesn’t have to do much and he can be totally awesome, the same goes for Morgan Freeman ūüôā Great actors can portray what they want to convey in their facial expressions and these two do it so well.

now you see me morgan freeman and michael caine

Now You See Me is really a movie that resembles watching a magic show. You either buy it or you don’t. ¬†For me, my fascination for magic probably made me like this movie a lot more than the majority of viewers. ¬†The cast and their chemistry with each other brings the movie to a more enjoyable level as well. ¬†There are some part of the plot that seems to fall flat, especially nearing the end when it becomes a bit more predictable in some parts where I did guess it but it could have gone both ways. ¬†After these are magicians, so you never know if what happens is what they planned or not.

There is no doubt in my mind that I believe this is a good movie.  I would gladly watch it again, maybe not in abundance but its one that I bought their acts and I had fun and was entertained.  Thats what matters in the end, right?

Have you seen Now You See Me? What do you think about it?

Children of Men (2006)

This week, I plan on getting through 3 movies on Netflix that are going to expire on December 1st. ¬†I decided to choose the first one using the highest RT Score and it happened to be Children of Men. ¬†I’ve read a few positive reviews about it recently so it was one I had already planned to watch. ¬†Knowing that Alfonso Cuaron, director of Gravity that I recently watched, loved and reviewed HERE was also the director for this one made it even more motivating. Lets check it out!

children of men posterDirector: Alfonso Cuaron

Cast: Clive Owen, Michael Caine, Julianne Moore, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Charlie Hunnam, Pam Ferris, Clare-Hope Ashitey

In 2027, the youngest member of the population Baby Diego dies at the age of 18. ¬†There hasn’t been a child for eighteen years as the women have become infertile. ¬†This causes chaos. ¬†An activist group has now found a miracle and their leader, Julian (Julianne Moore) seeks the help of her ex-husband Theo (Clive Owen) to help get papers to help them transport a pregnant girl, Kee (Clare-Hope Ashitey) to the Human Project, a refuge on the sea that tries to find a way to build up the population again.

Children of Men was an unexpected choice for a Saturday night Netflix pick. ¬†I hadn’t intended on seeing it but it turned out to be a very good futuristic chase thriller. Children of Men is well-rounded with a thought-provoking script, a good amount of action, and portrayed with a great cast.

children of men clive julianne

I’m a huge fan of the cast. ¬†I’ve seen some decent works from Clive Owen before (with one exception being The International *grimace*) I hate that one but in general, he’s great at these sort of thriller roles with a bit of action and suspense, fighting for a cause, etc. ¬†He’s a pretty great actor and most of the time, he pulls me into the story effectively. ¬†In this one, he plays Theo, a man that numbs his life with alcohol after his son passed away years ago. ¬†He doesn’t really care much about whats going on but he gets pulled into this whirlwind of crazy when he decides to help his ex-wife and realizes that he’s in something that seems to be more than it actually seems.

children of men michael caine

My favorite part of the cast is Michael Caine. ¬†Stick him in any movie and he usually is my fave part. ¬†He is a phenomenal actor and in this one, he has some funny lines to loosen up the pretty tense situation. Although, the supporting actors and actresses didn’t get such a crazy amount of screen time, they did contribute in their small way with their great acting to give some substance to the thriller. ¬†Julianne Moore had that same sort of effect.

children of men kee

Overall, Children of Men is an engaging thriller that touches on an interesting story about a possible future where humans are bordering extinction. ¬†The drama and the struggle behind keeping mankind alive to bring hope for the future. ¬†Although even now, I haven’t quite figured out if the first 30 minutes was just slow so it felt long or it was so much information overload that I felt tired. ¬†But I promise, the following hour after that is pretty awesome! Plus, I didn’t know Alfonso Cuaron by name until Gravity but suddenly I realized he also made one of my fave parts of Harry Potter (I love the 3rd one). ¬†So yes, I do recommend this ūüôā

Are you a Clive Owen fan? Whats your favorite role of his? Did you see Children of Men?