The Awakening–movie review

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This movie was fascinating to me. Now, as a rule, I never research a movie before I’ve seen it. I’ll watch a trailer to get the general idea, but researching before hand takes away the entire experience. If I had researched this movie before watching, I’m sure it would not be near as fascinating.

It is set in London, 1921, after WWI. Florence Cathcart, renowned author and ghost hunter, is invited to a boarding school for boys to help solve the mystery of a haunting. She is met by Maud Hill, the school matron, and none other than Professor Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter. As soon as I saw her, I knew that she was the one to watch out for. Florence, the only ghost hunter that doesn’t actually believe in ghosts, soon realizes that what she considered a school boy’s prank is actually a  real haunting. Not only that, but the boarding school was once her childhood home.

With that sudden twist you soon come to realize that Florence had been suppressing her memories after seeing her father brutally murder her mother and brother before taking his own life. During her flash back, the ghost is actually her brother, Tom, and Maud was their wet-nurse.

Maud reveals that she was the one that brought Florence back to her childhood home so that she could reunite the family again and live together forever. Which means, Maud tries to kill Florence. The weird part is, by the end of the movie you are unsure whether Florence is dead or not. In an interview, Director Nick Murphy says that they intentionally left the ending vague. They want the audience to experience the same confusion that Florence felt in the film.

This film is not really a horror but a mystery film. For people who enjoy bitter-sweet endings and tearful family reunions, this is the “horror flick” for you. Any one looking for something terrifying with maybe an exorcism or crazy contortions, this movie is not it. I did enjoy it. Will I watch it again? Probably not.

3/5

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The Other Woman

The other Woman staring Cameron Diaz is the ideal “Chick-flick” movie for women! This hilarious, romantic comady is a must see. I am a huge Cameron Diaz fan and this movie was right up my ally. I very much enjoyed this film and the plot that came along with it.

The other woman is a 2014 romantic comady directed by Nick Cassavetes. Carly Whitten tries to get her wreck of a life back on track after finding out about her boyfriend is married! When is finally meets her boyfriends wife it doesn’t go as you would expect, she actually found out she has a lot in common with the wife and what she thought would be her greatest enemy turned out to be her new best friend! Later in the film the women team up and find out another affair is happening right in front of their eyes. The three women team up and figure out revenge.

This film has a funny story line that you wont want to miss! Although there were many negative reviews for this film, there were also much positive feedback. The overall ranking from audiences for this film was a solid 59%. The negativity claims “the film was desperate for laughs that you can practically see the flop sweat appear on its performers as they flail from one obnoxiously, uncomfortable scene to the next.” On the positive side the film stars the perfect actors with great chemistry brought to the film. It is a great girls night, popcorn movie kind of film.

Review: Magic in the Moonlight

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Being the sucker that I am for romantic comedy movies, Magic in the Moonlight, directed by Woody Allen was a must see film for me. I thoroughly enjoyed this film and the series of events that occurred throughout the plot because it kept the audience curious.

Magic in the Moonlight is a film set in the 1920s in the French Riviera. Wei Ling Soo is a famous magician, but very few people know he is portrayed by Englishman, Stanley Crawford. Crawford has very high self-esteem with a strong dislike for psychic claims. However, Crawford is convinced by his friend, Howard Burkan, he should set out on a mission to the home of the Catledge family. He arrives to the mansion as a businessman by the name of Stanley Taplinger to investigate Sophie Baker, who claims to have a supernatural ability. What occurs over the course of the investigation is a series of surprising events, with Magic in the Moonlight being the trick that surprises us all.

In a way, Magic in the Moonlight reminded me of The Illusionist with the element of magic and individuals portraying themselves as others. The series of events that occurred made the film suspenseful, which kept me interested. For those who love romance comedies, this is a must see film.

Review: Gone Girl

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One word. Amazing.

Gone Girl is a film adaptation of an extremely good novel by Gillian Flynn. It is a mystery about the disappearance of a woman and her husband is the main suspect. I’m not going to include any spoilers, but it really is about how well you think you know someone. Can you ever really know someone?

I really enjoyed the movie. It is extremely suspenseful. The entire time your watching you have no idea what’s going to happen next. I mean, it was directed by David Fincher, who is known for nail-biters like Seven and Fight Club. Ben Affleck does a really good job in the lead role as the awkward, suspicious husband.

It has been doing really well in theaters and I would definitely recommend it. It would be really good for people who like crime dramas and crazy people.

Dead Silence-Movie Review

dead silenceI have learned that location is everything. For instance, watching a horror movie with the lights on surrounded by fifteen other girls is not going to cut it. So, for this movie I found myself at night, in a lake house, with only two friends in a room surrounded by giant picture windows. Now that situation was already a little creepy. Add in the fact that this was the third of three horror flicks we were watching that night…you could say that my nerves were already a little frayed.

Dead Silence, for those of you who do not know, is about a man returning to father’s house after being suspected for the gruesome murder of his wife. There are some horror movies that like to draw things out and others just hop right into creepy. Dead Silence is one of the latter. It begins when Jamie Ashen and wife, Lisa Ashen, find a mysterious box on their door step. Naturally, they open the mysterious box to find a vaudeville doll named Billy. The curse of Mary Shaw is unleashed in poor Jamie’s life, starting with the murder of his wife, forcing him to return to his hometown, Raven’s Fair.

This movie was riveting and, just when you think you have it all figured out, it throws you for a loop. It helps that Dead Silence is the love child of James Wan and Leigh Whannell, the creators of the Saw franchise. With that said, the name of the ventriloquist doll, Billy, suddenly makes sense. In Saw, John Kramer (Jigsaw) also uses a doll named Billy to communicate with his test subjects. Leigh Whannell actually commented that the Billy character will manifest itself in every movie he creates.

Dead Silence, much like Saw, was not terrifying, but I’ve learned that horror movies do not have to be terrifying to be good. During the movie I found myself perched on the edge of my seat, waiting to see what would happen next. Did Mary Shaw manage to create her perfect dummy? What is up with Jamie’s creepy father? It was all so interesting, if not a little long.

Halloweens coming up and if you are looking for a movie to watch Dead Silence is definitely one to try out. Just a warning, don’t scream…

4/5 Stars

Movie Review: Sex Tape

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I have always enjoyed comedy films because a happy, fun atmosphere is created for viewers.  Coming across a good comedy film can be a hit or miss.  Some comedies will have a great storyline making it easy for the audience to relate, and other films will have an uninteresting plot making it hard for the audience to engage. I was skeptical about Sex Tape after hearing how inappropriate it was, but I finally watched it and thoroughly enjoyed it.

After ten years of marriage and having two children, married couple Jay (Jason Segel) and Annie (Cameron Diaz) lose physical connection in their relationship.  To rekindle the intimate, physical passion of their marriage, Jay and Annie have a clever idea of creating a sex tape.  After creating the sex tape, Jay and Annie both discover their most private piece of property has gone viral.  To retrieve the video, the married couple sets out for a night of search, luring in individuals who received the sex tape to save their reputation and marriage.

In a way, Sex Tape is similar to The Other Woman with characters setting out to retrieve or discover something.  Sex Tape has definitely made it to the top of my favorite movies.  My favorite element of the film was the adventure of the married couple trying to find the video because it kept me engaged.  I would recommend this movie to adults for the amusing storyline.  For those who love comedies like I do, this movie is a must see.

Review: The Giver

The_Giver_posterThe Giver is a best-selling Young Adult fiction novel by Lois Lowry, published in 1993. It won the 1994 Newbery Medal and has sold more than 10 million copies. In Australia, Canada, and the United States, It is a part of many school’s required reading (as I’m sure many of you remember). Because of the content though, it is also on many challenged book lists and appeared on the American Library Association’s list of most challenged books of the 1990’s and 2000’s. The YA classic was recently made into a movie.

The Giver presents a futuristic, utopian society that gradually appears to be more and more dystopian. The culture functions by way of “sameness,” meaning they have eliminated all differences (or variables) in society (i.e. race, religion, art, personal choices that make us unique), all of the things that could be a catalyst for emotional reactions. They have even forgotten the language that describes emotions.

The movie follows Jonas, the new Receiver of Memory, who protects society and “sameness” by being the singular guardian of the memories of how the world was before. By Jonas remembering the past, he is supposed act as council the elders and society without polluting their minds of the ways of past civilization. However, Jonas struggles with this newly given information and must decide if it’s better for everyone to forget the past or remember.

The classic book cover.

The classic book cover.

I really enjoyed the movie because it made me think. It is a soft science fiction movie, meaning it was more about philosophy and ideals as opposed to technology and the effects of that on humanity. It gains the sci-fi aspect due to setting being in the future. So don’t be deterred if you aren’t the typical science fiction connoisseur. And, while it may have gotten mixed reviews from critics, I think it really makes the audience reconsider what we assume would be instant fixes for the problems (i.e. hate, war, extremist beliefs, dealing with death) that challenge today’s civilization. I really enjoy a movie that has substance and leaves an impression on me. At the end of the movie I was left asking myself a question. What makes us human? There may be many ways to answer this question, but in The Giver does a pretty good job.

This may sound like a recurring plot in YA novels that have been made into films lately; and it totally is. But, I think what sets it apart is similar movies, like Hunger Games and Divergent, are action driven. They are really fast-paced, action movies. That is not The Giver. It brings you into the future society and lets you live there and slowly it dawns on you, perfection is far from perfect.

If the fact that The Giver is a literary classic, or your nostalgia for middle school isn’t enough for you to go see this movie, the a-list cast might be. Some of the big celebs are Meryl Streep, Katie Holmes, Alexander Skarsgard (True Blood’s Eric Northman) and Jeff Bridges (Fun Fact: who actually bought the rights to the book and had it made into a movie). Overall, I think it was a successful movie and the box-office agrees. It’s already made $53 million (over half its budget) and it’s still in theatres.

Review-The Conjuring

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I genuinely enjoy horror movies. Why? Well, it certainly isn’t because they are great cinematic masterpieces. The majority of them are so horrible that they are actually funny. The acting is mediocre at best, and yet I still hold out for that one new horror flick that will scare me senseless. After hearing my friends rave about The Conjuring I thought this might finally be the one.

The Conjuring takes place in the seventies when a family of seven moves inside an old farmhouse. Almost immediately things get weird. (They should have clued in when the dog refused to go inside the house.) As things get progressively worse as things tend to do in horror flicks the mother, Carolyn Perron (Lili Taylor), seeks the help of paranormal investigators Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga).

The family soon finds out that they are not being haunted but are cohabitating with an angry demon who has a niche for possessing mothers. With the help of the paranormal investigators the family is able the exorcise the demon and remain fairly unscathed.

For horror movies it was not a complete waste. Lili Taylor does a passable job acting as a loving and then possessed mother of five, although Vera Farmiga definitely outshines her as the psychic paranormal investigator and loving mother of one. Patrick Wilson was completely ruined for me after his performance as Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera. I half-expected him to burst into song as he frantically raced to save his wife (Vera) from the formidable basement.

The plot was lacking, but there are only so many different versions of “my family is being possessed by a demon” that the movie industry can churn out before it gets monotonous.

Overall I would give this movie a 3/5 for recent horror films.

Review: Blended

      

Blended is a 2014 American romantic comedy directed by Frank Coraci. The film received many negative reviews. Blended has a score of 31 out of 100 based on 32 unfavorable reviews.  According to the critic score distribution the film Blended has a 2% positive feedback, 14 % mixed feelings and 16% negative feedback. Although Blended was not ranked very high, I personally enjoyed the film and thought it was a lot better then i expected.

After a disastrous blind date, Lauren and Jim only could agree on one thing and that was to never see each other again. As time went on Lauren and Jim ran into each other every where. The two single parents each sign up separately for a wonderful family vacation with their kids to surprisingly find out that they are all stuck sharing a suite in a African safari resort for a week. Their attraction grows for each other as their kids benefit from the rapidly growing relationship.

Movie Review: If I Stay

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If I Stay is a drama based movie directed by R.J. Cutler, earning the box office 39.7 million dollars.  For someone who enjoys romance movies, I thoroughly enjoyed the film and was as good as I had anticipated it to be.

The film is based on a novel of a girl torn between attending Julliard to pursue her musical dreams, or to be with her love, Adam.  In addition to the romance element of the film, the movie included an emotional aspect when the main character Mia was involved in a car accident.  The emotional element of the film was a tearjerker making the mood of the audience very melancholy.

The movie was very suspenseful in regards to the ending.  For those who enjoy drama films, I would recommend this suspenseful and emotional movie.