Conviction (2010)

I never quite figured out why I always wanted to seeing this but never actually bought it or whatnot.  It was available on Netflix and it was going to expire so I made it a point to give it a viewing.  Maybe it was because Hilary Swank never did a bad movie (except New Year’s Eve, but we’ll pretend that never happened due to few cast members). Or maybe its because its based on a true story, which I have no knowledge of before hand.  Whatever the reason, I gave it a watch a few days ago.

Let’s check it out!

conviction posterDirector: Tony Goldwyn

Cast: Hilary Swank, Sam Rockwell, Minnie Driver, Peter Gallagher, Melissa Leo, Bailee Madison, Ari Graynor

Kenneth Waters (Sam Rockwell) and Betty Anne Waters (Hilary Swanks) are brother and sister that love each other and are inseparable as siblings.  When Kenneth Waters is arrested by police office Nancy Taylor (Melissa Leo) for the murder and sentenced to lifetime in jail, she spends almost the next two decades, sacrificing her marriage and sometimes being a good mother to get her high school degree and proceed to go into law school in order to be the lawyer to overturn her brother’s case.  In her heart, she knows he is innocent and her determination along with the help of her best friend, Abra Rice (Minnie Driver) leads her to defeat one challenge at a time.

Conviction 2010

Honestly, I don’t know what I did of late but the movie gods have been extremely awesome to me. Its been pretty much a streak of pretty decent movies.  Conviction is no exception.  Just for fun of it, I always go over Rotten Tomatoes quickly before writing these out to see the rating to get an idea and they called it manipulative.  I’m still trying to grasp when a movie does that.  To me, this wasn’t manipulative but it was pretty real. Obviously, I don’t know the true story so I don’t know how “true” it is in terms of fact but as a movie experience, it was just wow.  I was pulled in right from the start and it never really let up.

Conviction 2010

The story itself is no doubt an amazing and heartfelt one.  The hoops that Betty Anne Waters has to go through just based on trust for her brother and the bond they share make this so genuine.  I really have to give it to Hilary Swank for another awesome performance but as well as she was as I had expected, the performance that blew me away was Sam Rockwell.  I’m a newbie when it comes to Sam Rockwell.  Lets just say, I might even do a marathon on the man’s performances.  This guy took this role and just ran with it.  Although, his character Kenny was in prison more than outside and his only interaction we had was the little bit when he talked to Betty Anne, the emotions he had was just way too compelling.  A man that can act out a role with so little room to wiggle in and covered, tough, desperate, happy, sad, hopeless all in the course of about 100 minutes is just a great actor.  Something that based on a true story usually is known and we know the ending but with the right performances, it brings out the story so much for effectively.  Conviction managed to do that. Aside from them, the supporting roles from Minnie Driver as Betty Anne’s best friend help loosen up the serious mood at times which is usually very much needed in a movie that has such heavy content.

Conviction 2010

Honestly, I have nothing else to say about it.  Conviction is moving and compelling true story that takes you on a courageous and ambitious journey of a sister who will do anything for her brother, and constantly reminds herself and her brother to not give up because they are always getting close and who believes and trusts so much in family and its amazing and tugs on a heartstrings.  With the convincing performances of Swank and Rockwell along with great supporting roles, Conviction is a must-see! 🙂

What did you think of Conviction? What are your thoughts on Hilary Swank? What are some of your favorite performances of Rockwell that you’d recommend? 

Step Up Revolution (2012)

Its been 2 months or so since my review on the previous installment of the Step Up series and after my Toronto trip, I was able to pick up Step Up Revolution for a decent price.  If you have missed it, I did reviews this year on the previous few also, Step Up, Step Up 2, and Step Up 3D HERE, HERE and HERE.  If its anything I know about these movies, its just my time to shut off my brain and enjoy.  Exactly what I need after a long drive…

step up revolution posterDirector: Scott Speer

Cast: Ryan Guzman, Kathryn McCormick, Misha Gabriel, Cleopatra Coleman, Stephan Boss, Peter Gallagher

Sean (Ryan Guzman) and Eddy (Misha Gabriel) lead the crew The Mob that focuses on making big performance flash mobs in all areas of Miami.  This is all in the goal to reach a certain amount of hits on Youtube to earn the grand prize in order to further The Mob’s presence.  As a job and source of revenue, them and a part of their crew work at a big hotel chain. Its there that Sean meets Emily (Kathryn McCormick), the daughter of the owner of the hotel chain, who wishes to pursue her career as a professional dancer against her father’s wishes.  As a stimulation to have better ideas, she joins The Mob hiding her identity as another situation grows that her father (Peter Gallagher) wants to tear down The Mob’s area in Miami to build a upscale hotel resort.

step up 4 dance

Step Up Revolution is high energy and filled with new and original dance routines.  Thats possibly the most attractive part of this movie.  I didn’t enjoy it as much as the predecessors but its still enjoyable.  Although the plot for these are usual simple, this one really doesn’t dive any further than the surface and its frequently intercepted with more and more dancing and training paired with music.  As you see from the picture above, the dance scenes look absolutely gorgeous and the choreography is fun to watch.

step up 4 couple

My issue with this one is really that I felt that the characters lacked some charisma.  For the previous few movies, I love all the characters and what they brought on screen.  Plus, the previous ones had obvious connections especially with the character of Moose, played by Adam Sevani.  In all honesty, the characters were somewhat boring when they weren’t dancing.  Which really helps that it was full of dance scenes, right? It was a good call on that level. Plus, to link it up, they kept one of the guys in the previous movies that joined The Mob and eventually got us the big showdown dance finale scene of “protest art” with a few of my fave dancers from the previous one. My favorite out of this series/franchise had to be Step Up 3D and I thought the dance crew The Pirates were the best in all the movies so it made me happy to see a little connection established.

step up 4 moose cameo

If you liked the Step Up movies, I’d definitely recommend this one.  The characters may not be quite as interesting but there is a lot of dance scenes to compensate.  Each dance scene is totally awesome.  I’m a huge fan of flash mobs mostly because I’ve never seen one and I just don’t think they exist in Montreal.  Its that exciting factor of how someone executes it and in this one, its really whether The Mob will get caught also. Plus, the final dance scene is the best one out of all of them.  This one certainly  keeps the high energy vibe going.

Whats your favorite Step Up movie? Have you seen them all (or any at all)?

Burlesque (2010)

I’m sorry for the back to back reviews.  I watched this on the weekend before Fast 6 (but I wanted to get that one out first).  This one has been sitting on my shelf for a while.  I bought it because its a musical but I also was reluctant to see it because I have zero confidence in Christina Aguilera’s acting.  Somehow, watching Mamma Mia made me want to continue on with musicals and I figured I might as well continue working on the unseen movies in my shelf before it grows anymore 😉

burlesque posterDirector: Steve Antin

Cast: Cher, Christina Aguilera, Cam Gigandet, Peter Gallagher, Stanley Tucci, Kristen Bell, Eric Dane, Dianna Agron

Iowa girl Ali (Christina Aguilera) wants to do more with her talents and heads out to Los Angeles.  There she spontaneously walks into Burlesque Lounge owned by Tess (Cher).  Through the recommendation of bartender Jack (Cam Gigandet) and her own perseverance, she gets a job as a waitress there.  However, her dream is to be on stage dancing.  In the meantime, the club is under the danger of being foreclosed due to not being able to pay their mortgage.  Tess needs to figure out a way to make up the money by the end of the month, if not, she will have to possibly consider selling it to persistant millionaire Marcus (Eric Dane).  At this time, when one of the dancers Georgia (Julianne Hough) gets pregnant, Ali gets the chance to replace her at the dismay of another dancer, Nikki (Kristen Bell).  It is this chance that Ali shows that she not only can dance but she can sing also.  Can she save the club from closing?

burlesque ali

Let’s just start by saying that I didn’t hate the movie.  It wasn’t something I wanted to kill myself to get through.  For one, as a musical, it felt like I was watching a Burlesque style Christina Aguilera concert for a good part of it.  I think she has a great voice so I’m cool with that.  Plus, the grandiose of the Burlesque dancing numbers were fun to watch.  Cher had a few singing opportunities as well and I’m cool with her as well.  Singing and dancing plus a group of attractive girls really helps this movie.

burlesque georgia nikki

Plus, Christina Aguilera is surprisingly a decent actress.  It was refreshing to see her on stage.  I would choose her over Justin Timberlake, even if she only has this one in her filmography.  It wasn’t an incredibly hard movie to act I would suppose though.  She was working with Cher, who I’ve never seen on screen either.  However, they are helped with a few actors and actresses that I like.  Eric Dane playing Marcus was great.  I always like a little bit of McSteamy in the mix 😉 Stanley Tucci always does fantastic at the role of a background makeup/clothing stylist.  He did a similar role in Devil Wears Prada. Peter Gallagher is great as Tess’s ex-husband who freaks out over the finances.  I’ve always enjoyed him on screen.

859797 - Burlesque

How can something like this be without some form of a love story, right? Jack played by Cam Gigandet is the guy here. I first saw Cam in the OC and I fell in love with him and his character, maybe its the bad boy things he had going on.  After that, he appeared in Easy A and I absolutely adore that movie, mostly for Emma Stone but you’ll see soon that my next movie made my  Sunday into a Cam Gigandet double feature. He’s decent and he had some funny moments.  Plus, his chemistry with Christina Aguilera was pretty fun.

burlesque tess

This was an average movie.  Although it is predictable (and boring at times), it offers some beautiful singing with the talent of Christina Aguilera and some fun dancing from a group of pretty girls like Kristen Bell and Julianne Hough.  It has a decent supporting cast and could be enjoyable if you are attracted to the Burlesque atmosphere that it brings. 🙂

Christmas Marathon: While You Were Sleeping (1995)

WhilesleepingposterSecond up in the marathon was While You Were Sleeping, a bit of an older selection, but still a very memorable holiday flick.


DIRECTOR: Jon Turteltaub (National Treasure 1 &2, Sorcerer’s Apprentice)

CAST: Sandra Bullock, Bill Pullman, Peter Gallagher, Peter Boyle, Glynis Johns

Lucy Moderatz (Sandra Bullock) is a girl that works on the train ticket counter who doesn’t really have any family around and Christmas is right around the corner.  Everyday at her counter, she sees the perfect guy, Peter (Peter Gallagher) and falls for him.  On Christmas Day, when she is forced to work, she sees this guy but on the platform he gets mugged and then falls onto the tracks and goes unconscious.  He falls into coma and there she meets their family who mistakes her for his fiancee.  She share a lot of family fun for her over the holidays and its there she meets Jack (Bill Pullman).  While he is sleeping, she realizes that she falls in love with Jack.

First off, I’m a HUGE Sandra Bullock fan.  This was before all the other awesome stuff she’s done afterwards and still I loved her in this one.  She portrayed this lonely and casual character really well.  It was a charming performance.  All her reactions and emotions were done right on.  I don’t know why but if anyone asks me about Bill Pullman, this is the movie I’d think of right away.  Its not that I don’t know other films that he’s been in, it just never seems to surpass how I liked him in this role.  He was funny and very entertaining to watch.  Maybe first impressions do have a lasting effect.  There is someone else that I’d love to mention.  I didn’t recognize her right away but man, she’s definitely still got it. That’s the woman that plays the grandmother Elsie, played by Glynis Johns who happens to be in Mary Poppins as Mrs. Banks.  Awesome stuff, right?

Why is this in my Christmas marathon and never escapes the list? Above all, this is a romantic comedy but it also brings in a family aspect.  It gives us a lot of heartwarming moments of celebrating Christmas and New Year’s with family.  Its not only heartwarming but its really funny.  There are conversations (many of them) that you just laugh really hard.  There really is one line that probably sums up the plot, “Life doesn’t always turn out the way you plan.”

If you haven’t seen this, you should.  Its an uplifting, funny family-oriented romantic comedy.  Just perfect for the holidays.  It never fails to get into my Christmas marathon.

I always have this feeling that this movie is underrated.  Have you seen or heard of it before? Did you like it?