“Edge Of Tomorrow”: A Movie Review

“Edge Of Tomorrow”: A Movie In Review

“An officer finds himself caught in a time loop in a war with an alien race. His skills increase as he faces the same brutal combat scenarios, and his union with a Special Forces warrior gets him closer and closer to defeating the enemy.”

EdgeOfTomorrow

Release Date: June 06, 2014

Running Time: 113 Minutes

MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language, and brief suggestive material

Cast: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton

Nothing says “Welcome to Summer” quite like an action-packed adventure film. With the widely anticipated release of “Edge Of Tomorrow” this weekend, moviegoers nationwide will be welcoming the warmer season. Starring Emily Blunt (best known for her role in “The Devil Wears Prada”) and Tom Cruise (best known for jumping on Oprah’s couch), “Edge of Tomorrow” follows the story of Major William Cage (Cruise) and Special Forces Sergeant Rita (Blunt) as they battle alongside each other to defeat an alien race that is attacking planet Earth. Major Cage discovers that he cannot die. Well, sort of. He can die but he repeats the day of his death over, and over, and over, and over again learning new tactics to save Earth and its inhabitants with each repeated experience. Will he live to see tomorrow?! Do they finally defeat the enemy aliens and save humanity?!

Audiences who have the opportunity to catch this flick in 3-D will enjoy the effects which are impressive and very well done. One would assume that recreating similar scenes multiple times within the same film would make Jack a dull boy but Director Doug Liman (who also directed The Bourne Trilogy) really hits it out of the park capturing each scene with unique details that don’t seem too redundant. Easily the best part of this film is the on-screen chemistry between Sergeant Vrataski (Blunt) and Major Cage (Cruise). Two duo seem to work naturally together which translated into an exciting adventure as they embark on a journey to save the human race.

“Edge Of Tomorrow” is an exciting movie with a great plot, a good script, and a cast that plays together nicely. On the It’s An Ordinary Blog movie review scale from one to ten where one is the worst, five is the best, and ten is the worst again: I give this film a 6.02394 with an emoticon based sub-ranking of “Pretty good….pretty, pretty good…”

 

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“A Million Ways To Die In The West”: A Movie Review

A Million Ways To Die In The West

A Million Ways To Die In The West

Release Date: Friday May 30th, 2014

Running Time: 116 Minutes

Cast: Seth MacFarlane, Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Liam Neeson, Giovanni Ribisi, Neil Patrick Harris, Sarah Silverman

MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong crude and sexual content, language throughout, some violence and drug material

Million Ways To Die In The West

With movies like “Blazing Saddles”, “Maverick”, and “City Slickers” (just to name a few) which have been enjoyed by audience members for decades, western comedies created today have pretty big shoes to fill. With the wide release of the newest addition to the genre hitting theaters today, moviegoers will have to decide if “A Million Ways To Die In The West” fits the bill.

A Million Ways To Die In The West Review

At first glance, with the number of cameos and the star studded cast, “A Million Ways To Die In The West” seems like a promising adventure in comedy. The story follows the life of Albert (Seth MacFarlane), an intelligent yet seemingly cowardly sheep farmer living in the dangerous wild west (Arizona in the late 1800s).

million ways to die movie review

After being dumped by Louise (Amanda Seyfried), the woman he thought was the love of his life, Albert is almost ready to give up on his life in Arizona until a chance encounter introduces him to the new girl in town, Anna (Charlize Theron).  The two become friends, bond over mutual hatred of all things dangerously western, and discover that maybe life in the old west really isn’t so bad afterall. That is, until Anna’s real identity comes to light and Albert is forced to muster all of the courage he can to save her.

In looking at the trailer for this film (which is at the top of this post in case you missed it), it seems so promising and I think that’s what will ultimately draw audiences this weekend. Unfortunately, however, the movie falls pretty flat. It’s just okay. Not good, not great, not the next best thing for its genre, just okay. I chuckled a few times, gagged once (just you wait), and cringed a lot during the film. It might be a decent rental if you’re bored at home one evening with absolutely nothing better to do with your time but, honestly, I think the admission price of your ticket is better spent elsewhere.

Overall, on the It’s An Ordinary Blog movie review scale from one to ten where one is the worst, five is the best, and ten is the worst again I give “A Million Ways To Die In The West” a 8.95945021 with an emoticon based sub-ranking of “That was equivalent to dealing yourself first in a game of poker which, I’m pretty sure, gets you shot in the old West.”

“Blended”: A Movie Review

When it comes to on screen comedic romances, Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler are among those who do it best. From their first on screen kiss in “The Wedding Singer” to their performances in “50 First Dates”, the pair have dazzled audiences for more than a decade. In the more than fifteen (my god I feel old) years since their first movie together, so much has changed. Adam Sandler has gone on to star, write, and produce a variety of films some of which have been great and, some of which have not been so great. Drew Barrymore has also worked on several movies as an actress, producer, and director. Though much has changed in their careers over the years, one thing remains the same: When the two come together, people tend to love them.

blended

Release Date: Friday May 23rd, 2014

Running Time: 117 Minutes

MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, and language

Cast: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Kevin Nealon, Terry Crews

We’ve all had that one, horrible blind date that leaves you wondering what on Earth your friend was thinking when they set you up with that person. For single mom and professional closet organizer Lauren Reynolds (Drew Barrymore), a blind first date at Hooters with single dad and Jim Friedman (Adam Sandler) is that one, no good date. Unfortunately, unlike the rest of us who get to move on from the experience, Lauren’s nightmare date simply does not end. It gets worse. Much worse.  After learning about an opportunity to take their children on an African getaway over Spring break, the two unexpectedly find themselves in the position of sharing a suite for the duration of their African adventure. Little do they know, this particular resort specializes in blended family getaways.  The movie follows their story, the issues that they each have to overcome with their own parenting, and attempts to show audience members what it means to be a family.

I wanted to like this movie. I really, really wanted to enjoy it. I kind of enjoyed it. Sort of. The movie was cute. I laughed a little, cringed a little, and may have even shed a tear (don’t judge me). Overall, the storyline was great. I enjoyed the idea behind this film and, in understanding that it’s an Adam Sandler movie, I could appreciate it at face value. The problem that I had with it, and this is something that is consistent throughout most of the “Happy Madison” movies of late, is that they have a tendency to beat the dead horse. A half witted joke might get laughs during its first circuit but after the eleventybillionth time, it just gets old and eventually starts to take away from the movie. Had they stuck with their roots and not tried to go for it time and time again with the exact same joke, this film might have been a real winner but, unfortunately, that’s just not Sandler circa 2014 style.

Overall, on my scale from one to ten where one is the worst, five is the best, and ten is the worst again, I give “Blended” a movie review rating of 1.3284 with an emoticon based sub-ranking of “Well, humph.”

 

“Neighbors”: In Review

"Neighbors" Movie Review

Neighbors Release Date: 05/09/2014

Run Time: 96 Minutes

MPAA Rating: Rated “R” for all of the things.  Seriously, all of them. Like every single one.

Cast: That Guy From “Knocked Up”, The Australian Chick from “The Internship”, The Kid From “High School Musical” Who Is All Grown Up, & Baby Franco

As any homeowner will tell you, there’s always that one neighbor that nobody wants to live next door to.  You know, the one that never mows their lawn, refuses to fix the issues on the outside of their house, or sports his man sweater all summer long (please, for the love of all that is holy, put on a shirt!).  With the release of the new comedy “Neighbors”, which hit theaters nationwide this weekend, screenwriters Andrew Cohen and Brendan O’Brien aim to prove to you that it could always be worse…You could be living next to these guys:

Neighbors Movie Review

After settling into their new home in a quaint neighborhood along with their adorable daughter Stella, Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) are excited about the prospect of new neighbors.  That feeling, however, quickly subsides as the pair discover that the house next door will be occupied by a fraternity.  Not wanting to seem ‘old’ or ‘out of touch’ these 30-somethings make a valiant effort to connect with their new neighbors, kindly asking them to “keep it down” so their new daughter can sleep through the night (because, of course, they wouldn’t otherwise have any problem, whatsoever, with the noise).  Once the frat brothers have had the opportunity to get acclimated to their new pad, Mac and Kelly realize that their “keep it cool” attitude towards their new neighbors will be short lived. Antics ensue and the situation rapidly spirals out of control in an outrageous, over the top series of events that leave you thinking that your neighbors might not be so bad after all.

This movie is crazy and outlandish but the best thing about it is that it’s exactly what it’s intended to be.  Like any good Rogen film, “Neighbors” doesn’t take itself too seriously. There are parts that are downright ridiculous but will leave you laughing throughout the movie. Overall, on my scale from one to ten where one is the worst, five is the best, and ten is the worst again: I give “Neighbors” a solid 4.20 with an emoticon based sub-ranking of “Ha! Did you see what I just did there?!”

“Blended” Advanced Screening Ticket GIVEAWAY!

Blended

For more than a decade, we’ve watched Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler play characters that fall in love on the big screen.  From “The Wedding Singer” to “50 First Dates”, the duo dazzles audiences time and time again with each romantic comedy that hits the big screen.  The upcoming release of “Blended”, which is slated for wide release on Friday May 23rd, looks to fall in line with its predecessors.  The film follows the story of two single parents who, after a disastrous blind date, inadvertently each sign up for a family vacation with their children only to discover that the other is also staying in the suit at the resort.  Barrymore and Sandler will undoubtedly make moviegoers fall in love with the characters.

This film, which is rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content as well as language, also stars Joel McHale (“Community”), Wendi McLendon-Covey (“Bridesmaids”), Kevin Nealon (“Weeds”), and Jessica Lowe (“RobotDown”).  You can discover more about this film by visiting the Blended Movie website.

I am thrilled to announce that I am giving away family 4 pack advance screening passes for Blended.  This special screening gives you access to the film before it’s available to the public. The screening will take place on Thursday, May 15th at 7:30pm at AMC Independence Commons in Independence, Missouri.  All winners will be randomly drawn and contacted by GOFOBO on May 12th.  Should you have problems or questions, please contacted GOFOBO directly at: (866) 372-0272 or support@gofobo.com.  To sign up for your advanced screening passes, follow this link: http://l.gofobo.us/1756dTMN

One again, for good measure, enter to win your 4 pack of screening passes through this link. Good luck and, as always, may the odds be ever in your favor!

 

Reflections on “Heaven Is For Real”

Heaven Is For Real

Release Date: Wednesday April 16, 2014

Run Time: 100 Minutes

MPAA Rating: PG

As you might remember from my previous post on Parenting Without Faith, religion is something that we think a lot about in our household. I think it’s for that reason that I was so excited to discover “Heaven Is For Real”. The movie (and adapted screenplay of the book with the same name), which has a release date just in time for the Easter holiday, is based on the true story of the Burpo family. After Nebraska born Colton, the son of Todd and Sonja, apparently has what is commonly referred to as a “Near Death Experience”, he begins to recount his journey to Heaven and back rocking his family to the core.

I will be the first to admit my skepticism regarding the accuracy of the story. It’s hard to digest the possibility of a young child actually spending time in the afterlife and one has to wonder whether or not his experiences were influenced by the religion in which he was raised or if he would have witnessed the same regardless. I was also a little bothered by the fact that they kept bringing up the financial situation of the Burpo family throughout the film. As a natural skeptic, I thought they would have had better luck without those details. Regardless of my personal feelings, doubt, and questions regarding the storyline, the movie was very well done.

What I appreciated most about the film was the way that the cast portrayed the familial relationships that were such a huge part of the story. From the performances of Greg Kinnear (Todd Burpo) and Kelly Reilly (Sonja Burpo) as a loving couple who puts Christ at the center of their family to Margo Martindale (Nancy Rawling) and Thomas Haden Church (Jay Wilkins) who perfectly portray the most caring and loving friends a family could ask for, every cast member worked together to bring this story to life.

The intended audience (Christian families in search of a feel good Easter film) will love the message this season. Overall, on my scale from one to ten where one is the worst, five is the best, and ten is the worst again: I give “Heaven Is For Real” a 7.839 with an emoticon based sub-ranking of “Hallelujah!”

“Enemy”: In Review

Enemy

Release Date: Friday March 21st, 2014 (Kansas City Market)

Runtime: 90 minutes

MPAA Rating: Rated R for some strong sexual content, graphic nudity and language

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Mélanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon

Sometimes in life, there are films that are so unique, so intense, and so well done that they become timeless works of art. “Enemy”, which opened in the Kansas City market on Friday, is not one of those. Rather, it is a film with grand aspirations.  Unfortunately, it is a film that just doesn’t quite deliver.  Several weeks ago, when I was looking at upcoming films for review, I took a peek at the official movie trailer for “Enemy” and had chills.  In looking back, the film’s trailer was its best attribute.  It had suspense and a build up that left me nervous and wanting more.  The film itself, however, could not maintain that same momentum throughout its entirety despite its relatively short runtime of only 90 minutes.

Academy Award nominee Jake Gyllenhaal plays Adam, a professor at a local university who lives a relatively mundane and simple life.  Academy Award nominee Jake Gyllenhaal plays Anthony, a local movie star who lives a seemingly happy existence with his pregnant wife.  After spotting his exact double in several small local films, Adam becomes weirdly obsessed with uncovering the mystery behind his doppelganger.  Once Anthony discovers Adam’s existence, he, too, becomes awkwardly obsessed.  The two meet up in a dark hotel room (honestly, who just meets a complete stranger an hour away from home in a remote hotel room?! WHO?!) for a confrontation that is supposed to be intense but just falls flat. Afterwards, the plot takes you through a series of twists and turns that seem a little forced and leave audience members more confused than interested before providing an ending that leaves you questioning whether or not the cashier at the concession stand put something in your drink.

“Enemy” has so many twists that it ties itself into a knot it cannot undo.  It asks far more questions than it answers, and I left feeling confused and unsure as to what I had just seen.  A good twist is one that you don’t see coming, but after it happens you feel like you should have.  “Enemy” substitutes needlessly complicated for clever and throws enough at you in hopes that you don’t notice.  Gylenhaal does a fine job in playing two distinct characters, but it is not enough to make up for the shortcomings of the screenplay.

On the It’s An Ordinary Blog scale from one to ten, where one is the worst, five is the best and ten is the worst again, I give “Enemy” a 1.23574 with an emoticon based sub-ranking of: “Ummmmmm, whhhhaaaaat?!”

“Divergent”: In Review

Divergent

Divergent

Release Date: Friday 21 March 2014

Run Time: 140 Minutes

MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense violence and action, thematic elements and some sensuality

Cast: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Miles Teller, Ashley Judd, Tony Goldwyn

“The Hunger Games”, “Twilight”, and “Harry Potter” are all examples of popular young adult novel series turned wildly successful films.  Given the incredible success of its predecessors, it would stand to reason that “Divergent”, which opened in theaters across the nation yesterday, would follow suit.

“Divergent”, the first in a series of three (books), follows the story of Tris Pryor, a sixteen year old living in the futuristic dystopian society that was once Chicago.  After a series of wars and societal problems, the city divided into five factions based on qualities that they believed maintained peace.  At the age of sixteen, children in this society are tested to see with which of the five factions their instincts most closely match.  With their results to guide them, the children must then choose a faction to live in as they become official members of society.  Not everything is as it seems and during her initiation into her chosen faction, Tris’s life is turned upside down.  Conflicts within the city and plans to overthrow leadership put the bravery of Tris, her friends, and her loved ones to the test in a series of twists and turns that keep the audience focused on the story.

For those reasons, the first book was an incredible read.  It was a captivating page turner that kept my attention right until the very last page.  Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the film.  My biggest complaint about the movie is that the screenwriters diverged (see what I did there?!) a little too much from the book.  They failed to provide any substance to the characters that readers came to know and love through the books, and they put too much on the table taking some of the suspense and drama out of the story.  I cringed at the changes that were made to the plot, the fact that they simplified the story, and that they failed to capture some of the things that were so great about the first book.  Although the movie was mildly entertaining (ignoring the fact that I’d read the books), it was truly disappointing.

Would be fans with a few hours to burn will find that their time is better spent reading the books, which are far superior to the first film.  Overall, on the It’s An Ordinary Blog movie review scale from one to ten where one is the worst, five is the best, and ten is the worst again, I give “Divergent” a 1.39025 with an emoticon based sub-ranking of “Facepalm”.

“The Grand Budapest Hotel”: In Review

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Release Date: Friday 21 March 2014 (Kansas City Market)

Run Time: 100 Minutes

MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, some sexual content, and violence.

Cast: Bill Murray, Saoirse Ronan, Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, Jeff Goldblum, Jason Schwartzman, Willem Dafoe, Adrien Brody, Edward Norton, Jude Law

Happy Friday, Folks!  Director and screenwriter Wes Anderson has done it again in his newest film “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, which hit theaters in the Kansas City market today. Anderson, who is well known for his work on hit films such as “Moonrise Kingdom” and “Fantastic Mr. Fox”, (forgiving “The Life Aquatic”) always hits the mark with his quirky, witty films that engage and sometimes mildly confuse audience members.  Going along with that theme, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” does not disappoint.

The film follows the life and adventures of Gustave H, played by Ralph Fiennes (well known for his role as Lord Voldemort in the “Harry Potter” series), the most attentive and incredible concierge who ever existed and his trusted friend and lobby boy Zero Moustafa (played by Tony Revolori).  The two join together after the death of a wealthy hotel guest and lover of Mr. Gustave who leaves some of her fortune to her favorite concierge.  The adventures that follow and the people they encounter along the way will leave moviegoers laughing right until the very end.

If you enjoyed the weirdness of “Moonrise Kingdom”, you’ll surely not be disappointed by this film.  Overall, it’s an enjoyable ride with beautiful scenery, a fun and easy to listen to score, and a cast that plays together nicely.

On the It’s An Ordinary Blog movie rating scale from one to ten where one is the best, five is the worst, and ten is the best again I give “The Grand Budapest Hotel” a glowing 9.3546 with an emoticon based sub-ranking of “That was seriously enjoyable!”

The Unorthodox Review of “Endless Love”

Happy weekend, everyone! I hope you all had an enjoyable Valentine’s Day. I wanted to break away from my typical structure for the movie review of “Endless Love” which hit theaters yesterday. I hope you find it to be a refreshing change of pace for my reviews. I’m looking forward to connecting with you all with some personal posts this week as well as a few tutorials leading up to a big birthday weekend in our house (more on that later). In the meantime, enjoy…

Endless Love

Release Date: Friday February 14, 2014

Run Time:  103 Minutes

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual content, brief partial nudity, some language and teen partying

Cast: Alex Pettyfer, Gabriella Wilde, Bruce Greenwood, Joely Richardson

If you’re anything like me (a slightly cynical twenty-something who enjoys a good thematic adventure), you probably cringe upon hearing the word “remake”.  For that reason, it’s probably a good thing that I didn’t realize that the movie “Endless Love”, which opened in theaters this weekend, is a remake of the 1981 film with the same title.  The original featured Brooke Shields (Suddenly Susan) and Martin Hewitt (General Hospital) with Tom Cruise (Going Crazy on Oprah’s Couch) and James Spader (The Blacklist) also appearing in smaller roles.  The newest version of the story stars Alex Pettyfer (Magic Mike) and Gabriella Wilde (Carrie) along with Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek) and Joely Richardson (Nip/Tuck).

Audience members are first introduced to the cast at the high school graduation of Jade Butterfield (played by Gabriella Wilde) and David Elliot (played by Alex Pettyfer).  It’s there that we learn about the events in Jade’s recent past that left the privileged youth with the burden of living up to her parent’s high expectations, even at the expense of having a (social) life of her own.  Moviegoers are also clued into David’s infatuation with Jade, the girl who has never noticed his existence…until now.  The remainder of the film follows their love affair, the events that unfold threatening to keep them apart, and the promise that true love lasts forever (or at least until the end of the film).

When you take the film at face value (ignoring the fact that we’re watching two teenagers, who hardly know one another, fall “madly in love” within a matter of days), it’s easy to appreciate what it’s trying to accomplish.  It’s a sappy love story, at best, but it has some redeeming qualities that are worth the rental when it comes out on Red Box.  I enjoyed the use of comedy to break up some of the more serious moments in the movie and found it to be entertaining.  Everyone needs a good love story for Valentine’s Day (or, as I like to call it, “National Ferris Wheel Day”) and this film accomplishes just that.

Overall, on the It’s An Ordinary Blog movie review scale from one to ten, where one is the worst, five is the best, and ten is the worst again…I give “Endless Love” a 8.39253 with an emoticon based sub-ranking of “Awwww, that’s sweet”.