I have a confession to make. I have not been watching any new movies the past few weeks. For one, I have been reliving my pre-adolescent days by watching The 90's are All That, a TV block on the TeenNick channel dedicated to the Nickelodeon television shows of the 90's. I also had been investing my time (and some money) at Borders (R.I.P.). Between those things, my child, and work, I have just not been into watching new movies lately.
Then, my friend Aggy posted a website link to my Facebook about a website she's been using to watch television shows that are on cable. I told her I would check it out. As soon as I got on the page, I realized that it wasn't just for television. I found a website to watch movies that are currently in theaters. After the initial feeling of guilt for gaining access to these films, I have enjoyed movies that I have debated on seeing at the theaters.
Get ready for some reviews on a lot of recent movies in the foreseeable future... including today!
Shaun of the Dead
Shaun (Simon Pegg) is at a crossroads in life. He is working at a mediocre job, his roommate Ed (Nick Frost) does not contribute toward rent or bills, and his girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield) dumped him over the dismal efforts he made toward their anniversary dinner. As he devises a plan to win Liz back, the townspeople have turned into zombies. Shaun and Ed find themselves finding refuge from the zombies while protecting their friends (and Shaun's family) from the same fate.
As a fan of horror movies, I have been recommended to watch this movie from several people over the past couple years. I knew it had a cult following. This is one of those movies that I fell in love with in the first five minutes. I loved the characters, the plot, and the fact that it was a comedy. I cannot find anything that I hate about this movie. Watching Shaun go to the store for a few things- while being completely oblivious to the zombie invasion- was absolute perfection. When Shaun and Ed are sifting through vinyl albums to throw at one of the zombies, I was cracking up. To think of trivial things like that while under a distressing situation is pure comical goodness. I highly recommend this movie! Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Annie (Kristen Wiig) has reached a low point in her life when her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) chooses her to be her maid of honor. Annie soon realizes that Lillian's friend Helen (Rose Byrne) is trying to destroy and upstage her wedding responsibilities. As planning for the big day goes forward, Annie tries to prove to Lillian that she can handle things, despite being broke.
Hollywood is an industry where comedies are normally male driven (or features just the main character as a woman). This movie is one of the few standouts for women in comedy. I have not enjoyed a comedy like this since The Sweetest Thing (with Cameron Diaz, Christina Applegate, and Selma Blair). This is also the first time that I have really enjoyed a character played by Kristen Wiig. I got a lot of laughs from the bridal shop scene and the opening scene (can you say most awkward sex ever???). This movie was more entertaining than I expected. Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Elizabeth Halsey (Cameron Diaz) had her dream lifestyle with her fiance/sugar daddy. But when he suddenly dumps her, she ends up with nothing. When the school year starts up at the junior high, she meets a new substitute teacher, Scott Delacorte (Justin Timberlake). In order to impress him, she decides to get breast implants. To afford the surgery, Elizabeth gets involved in as many fundraisers as she can, which includes attempting to get the teacher's bonus for having the class with the highest state test scores. However, fellow teacher Amy Squirrel (Lucy Punch) is onto her game and will stop at nothing to prove that Elizabeth is deceiving everyone.
When this movie was announced, I was in love with the concept. I also loved that I would get to see Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake together in a movie (that wasn't about ogres). Oh, and Jason Segel... RAWR!! This movie was exactly as I expected from this kind of raunchy comedy. It was interesting to see Justin Timberlake play a more timid, straight-laced guy but it worked well for him. It was pretty predictable, but I enjoyed the little twist at the ending... I didn't expect it, which made it more enjoyable to me. If you want a movie with some good laughs and a few one liners worth repeating, check this out! Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Final Destination 5
While leaving for a work retreat, a group of coworkers find themselves escaping from a suspension-bridge collapse after Sam (Nicholas D'Agosto) has a premonition of their brutal deaths. Over the following weeks, each of the survivors are dying off in freak accidents. Sam realizes that there is a design and death is after them, unless they succeed in the loophole that allows them to cheat death.
Final Destination 4, in 3D, was a success... so it's not surprising that they made another sequel aimed for the extra dimension. Now, I didn't see this film in 3D but I assume it would have been very interesting to watch. It was obvious that the deaths were intensified compared to the first three films (I mean, it has to in order to keep audiences coming back). I wasn't as fond of this one but the eye surgery scene is one of the few (out of all the films) that actually creeped me out. I'm a little trepidatious about having that procedure done to me someday because of this movie. The ending was the best part, and for me to reveal why would be a major spoiler alert. You'll just have to watch it to see what I mean. Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Friends With Benefits
Dylan (Justin Timberlake) is a workaholic. So is Jamie (Mila Kunis). Both of them get dumped by their significant others. While Dylan makes a business trip to New York City to meet Jamie for a business proposal, he decides to take the job and move across the country. Dylan and Jamie become friends and enjoy the city life together. One night, they decide to avoid all the Hollywood movie cliches and have a sex-only relationship. They both realize that even with the simplest of ideas, things become complicated and threaten their friendship.
I had made a prediction that Friends with Benefits would be better than No Strings Attached. While I enjoyed both movies, it became clear that my prediction was accurate. The jokes were funnier, the supporting cast were more entertaining (thank you Jenna Elfman, Woody Harrelson and Patricia Clarkson!), and overall this movie felt like it had more life in it. I loved how flash mobs were incorporated in several parts of the film (I have a fondness for them). I also got to see Justin Timberlake's ass... and it was very nice! Yes, the plot was predictable but I don't care... all that matters is that I was entertained. Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars
Oh, how good it feels to write about movies again! I apologize for having several weeks go by without a Movie Monday blog, but I promise that you will have another blog to look forward to next week! See you then! :-)