Archive for the 'Madison Monroe' Category

Fast & Furious 6

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013


It sucked!It'll be on cable.I liked it.It was good!It was awesome!! (2 People gave this 4.50 out of 5)

After “Fast Five” comes “Furious 6”


A few months after the wild adventure that was Fast Five, our heroes are basking in the glow of their amazing heist, enjoying their wealth while spread out across the globe.  Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) and Mia (Jordana Brewster) are about to become parents.  Roman (Tyrese Gibson) enjoys entertaining women on his private plane.  And Dom (Vin Diesel) and Elena (Elsa Pataky) are enjoying each other – until their bliss is interrupted by Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson).

Hobbs and his partner Riley (Gina Carano) have been tracking an organization of lethally skilled mercenary drivers across twelve countries led by Owen Shaw (Luke Evans).  They are stealing parts to assemble a super-military-grade weapon that they can sell for tons of money.  Shaw and his crew drive weird-looking cars that look like go-carts but are actually pretty deadly because they are designed with a steep slope in the front that can cause a car to flip over.  One of the members of Shaw’s crew is Letty (Michelle Rodriguez).  Wait a minute, didn’t Letty die in “Fast & Furious” (the fourth installment of the series)??  Not exactly.  All is revealed in the movie, I won’t spoil it here.  Not surprisingly, Dom is shocked to see his former love alive when everyone thought she was dead.

In exchange for full pardons for the crew, Hobbs asks Dom and Brian to assemble their team of skilled drivers to help track down Shaw and his gang.   So the aforementioned characters, along with engineer Tej (Ludacris), Han (Sung Kang) and Gisele (Gal Gadot) assemble in London, which is where Shaw is suspected to hit next.

Unlike Fast Five, this was less of an Ocean’s Eleven type movie and more of an investigation.  They are trying to find Shaw and trying to protect what he is looking to steal next.

At one point it seemed that the movie was over and I thought to myself “how disappointing, this is very anti-climactic”.  However I was wrong.  The climax of the movie involves our heroes, several substantial fight sequences, a plane, and the longest landing strip ever.

During the credits, we are treated to a scene that will lead into the next movie in the franchise.  It really shows no signs of stopping!!  The scene was short and sweet, and a collective gasp went through the audience when the very well-known action star appeared on the screen, calling Dom and telling him “Dominic Toretto. You don’t know me…but you’re about to.” Fast & Furious 7 can’t come quickly enough!

If you are looking for high-octane action, amazing stunts, comedy, and high-speed twists and thrills, then Fast & Furious 6 is for you!

The Great Gatsby

Friday, May 10th, 2013

Click the image above for MANY more vibrant shots of this instant classic film.

Check out both reviews!

Madison Monroe (She Said) gave it four stars and Alyn Darnay (He Said) gave it five out of five!

Click here for Madison Monroe's review.Click here for Alyn Darnay's review.

The Place Beyond the Pines

Thursday, April 18th, 2013


It sucked!It'll be on cable.I liked it.It was good!It was awesome!! (1 People gave this 5.00 out of 5)

If you ride like lightning, you’re going to crash like thunder.


A story in three acts, The Place Beyond the Pines stars Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, and Eva Mendes.  I never did learn from the movie what the title refers to, but I found out via IMDb that the place beyond the pines refers to the name of the city of Schenectady, which is where the movie took place and also was filmed.

Act One involves Luke (Ryan Gosling), a stunt motorcycle rider who works for a traveling circus.  While performing in Schenectady, he runs into Romina (Eva Mendes), a sometimes lover of his.  When Luke discovers Romina has a baby boy named Jason and that Jason is HIS son, he decides he wants to be a part of his son’s life.  He immediately quits the carnival to stay in town to be near his son.  Now, what happens next is kind of unbelievable, but it’s a movie so I went with it.  While riding his motorcycle through the forest, Luke meets Robin (Ben Mendelsohn), who gives him a trailer to live in and a job fixing cars at his shop.  I’m pretty sure nothing like that would happen so fast in real life, but this is movie land so I guess it works.

Now that Luke lives near Romina and Jason, he wants to spend as much time as possible with his son.  Some scenes were pretty heartbreaking, such as when Luke goes to watch his son get baptized and Romina and her boyfriend are standing up there holding the baby instead of Luke, or when Luke and Romina take Jason for his first ice cream because Luke wants his son to remember him whenever he has ice cream.  Some fathers just don’t get to spend enough time with their sons, and that’s not right.

Anyway, since he has no job, Luke decides to rob banks to get money to support Romina and their son.   Using his motorcycle to get away from the robberies, he is able to get away with it a few times.  Until one day, his getaway doesn’t quite go as planned.  Enter Avery (Bradley Cooper), a cop who is summoned to the house where Luke has taken cover.  I won’t spoil exactly what happens next, but it’s not good.

Next comes Act Two.  This focuses on Avery as he returns to work after a work-related injury.  Avery and his wife Jennifer (Rose Byrne) have a baby boy, AJ.  When he returns to work he is on light duty, which includes being in charge of the evidence room.  Here he finds out that some of his fellow cops aren’t exactly on the good side of the law.  As he struggles to deal with the guilt of shooting a suspect, he also has to deal with the issue of his crooked cop buddies and his crumbling marriage.

Finally we arrive at Act Three.  It is fifteen years after the end of Act Two.  Avery is running for Congress.  Avery and Jennifer are divorced.  AJ wants to live with his father in Schenectady, and he is enrolled in the high school there.  AJ is a drug-addicted, partying waste.  While at his new school he meets a fellow student, Jason.  They become fast friends and end up getting into trouble for possession of drugs. Avery tells AJ to stay away from Jason, but AJ won’t leave Jason alone (not in a homosexual way, just in a buddy kind of way).   I can’t really say much more about this without spoiling anything so I’ll leave it at that.

One word I can use to describe The Place Beyond the Pines is raw.  These characters did NOT look glamorous.  They looked weary and somewhat wrecked.   Director Derek Cianfrance seemed to favor tight, close shots of the actors throughout the movie and there was no escaping their tired eyes.  I also noticed another camera technique, which was following behind Luke as he walked from his trailer to the tent where he performed his motorcycle stunts.  It was strange yet it worked, because you felt like you were there at the carnival with him, although I did think “gosh I hope the whole movie isn’t filmed this way” (it wasn’t).

Overall I thought it was a good story, but it would have kept my interest if it was shorter.

South Beach sit-down with Chris Sanders and Kirk De Micco – Directors of The Croods

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Madison Chris Kirk
We shared our interview on as well, check it out!

It was a chilly day in South Beach, unseasonably so, when Madison Monroe and a few other local journalists and I sat down with Chris Sanders and Kirk De Micco, co-directors of The Croods, starring the voice talents of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Clark Duke, Catherine Keener, Ryan Reynolds and Cloris Leachman (the mother-in-law with a tail).

The interview was for their work on The Croods, so we resisted the urge to ask Chris about being the voice of Stitch.  Madison was pretty thrilled to be meeting one of her favorite Disney characters.  But, I have a feeling after families check out The Croods, more kids will want to have their very own Belt.  Chris Sanders voiced Belt, the world’s first pet.

After some pleasantries and caffeine pouring, the questions began.

Where did you guys get the idea to make a movie like The Croods?

Kirk De Micco: I originally started writing the story with John Cleese in 2004, and it was going to be a different movie, it was going to be stop-motion and was called Crude Awakenings at the time.

It still has that same concept of the fear of change, and John was really into it at that time, because he has a deathly fear of technology.  And in 2007 I started talking to Chris about it and Grug and what it was, the fear of change, and from that it evolved into a story of a family.  And what’s really relatable is the fear of the change going on inside your own family.  And for a father the most scary change is when his daughter starts to fall in love with a boy.  So that’s the arc of the evolution.

What message do you hope that people take from this film?

Chris Sanders:  The message of this film, there are many different levels that are going on at the same time in this film.  One of the ones I like to talk about is just the idea of change and risk.  At the beginning of this film, Grug the dad, is trying to keep everyone together inside this cave.  Just hide them away from danger, and he’s also trying to hide them away from change.  Nothing frightens The Croods like something new.

Anything new is bad, right, it can’t be good, because new is risk and new is bad.  But change finds them, their cave is destroyed, and it’s nothing that they could have ever stopped.  And the interesting thing about this film is that the villain in this film is really change itself.  In this film it’s a collapsing continent that pursues The Croods through the entire film.  The idea that Grug is going to have to accept is that if this family is going to survive is that change is going to happen and they’re going to have to accept some level of risk and that’s the lesson that Grug learns at the end of the film . . . that, life is risk.

Rick Swift:  What are some of the biggest risks that you have personally taken, Kirk and Chris?  

CS:  Career wise?

RS:  Yea, nothing personal, just what you had to risk to make The Croods.

KD:  One thing I think is relatable, you know, everyone has that fear of change, choosing a new school or getting a new job, or deciding you are going to go into a relationship.  There’s always that fear that something is going to go wrong.  But if you don’t try anything, it’s, you know . . . I don’t know if there’s any one personal one that I have; I live in constant fear – “Never not be afraid” is kinda my model as much as the line.  I don’t know where to start with that, you’d probably be with me in therapy for many many years.

Madison Monroe:  I wanted to talk about one of the voices from the movie, Emma Stone, she has a very distinctive voice, kinda raspy, but it’s really nice, so why did you think it would be good for the voice of Eep?

CS:  You know, Kirk and I, she was our very first choice for the voice of Eep.  And, a lot of the different things you’re looking for, one of them is that they inhabit their voice . . . very fully.  I think it was the overall quality that Emma Stone had that drew us to her, we thought she was very very appealing.  She inhabits that voice.  Uhm, we do shoot the videos of the recordings so we can bring them to the animators later so that they can capture a little facial expression, gesture, timing, things like that, but most of what we come away with is a recording.  And everything needs to be in that recording.  So, uhm, there’s a warmth, there’s appeal, there’s a quirkiness.

KD:  The quirkiness is what, you know, we actually, you know, kinda fell in love with her watching House Bunny.  That was before we started, before like, everything, Easy A, But, you know how that character was . . .

MM:   Natallllieee

KD:  Exactly, yea, that’s what we wanted.  We both felt like that was something we wanted.  You know, Eep needs to have a bit of awkwardness, she’s a cave girl, she’s not so polished off, you know, and that’s what she does so well, and her timing is so impeccable.

Which characters were you most drawn to?

CS:  Well, I have my human favorites and I have my animal favorites.  My animal favorite is the giant tiger.  I think that’s one of my very favorite characters I’ve ever worked on.  The human characters, I think Eep, because that scene in the very beginning when she’s seeking light, and the idea that she passes that thing on to her dad, I think is one of my favorite things in the film.

KD:  Well mine is Grug, obviously, because that’s like I said, I live in fear, and for animals . . . it’s kinda a toss up, but I grew over time to be falling in love with Douglas.  Because I’m a dog guy, and I just felt like that, that, there’s the one shot where Grug is running for his life and he sees Douglas and Douglas is sitting there with this look on his face, and he’s just a sweet dog, you know.

What was the hardest part of making this movie?

CS:  This has a very unusual story, it’s a road trip, and so for this movie the changes in the characters are internal, so because of that the physical journey the characters take in that was variable.  We, again, we didn’t have a traditional villain that was going to pop out and confront the characters.  So really all these changes are internal changes, and that was probably the hardest thing about this film.

Writing it and story-boarding it to finding the actual path that they took. We made a lot of changes, they went to a lot of places that you’ll never see in this film.  But, it’s all about triggering the correct responses inside the characters.  That was the quest.

KD:  Another one I think was the, you know, it’s completely a fantasy world. There’s nothing that we could rely on.  You go, oh well, that’s a building, we could just make a building.  We know how to make that.  Oh, they walk into a room, ok, that’s got four . . . . you have something to start with.  Here we had nothing to start with, so all the artists at DreamWorks were like . . . WOW, we can do anything we want . . . and after about six months they’re like, uh, where do we start?  So everything you see there is from their imaginations, you know, it’s their fantasy world.

Rick Swift:  Whose decision was it to cross a Macaw and a Sabretooth?  I know you said that was your favorite character, so.

CS:  Yes, I did design that one character.  We were trying to do combination animals, it was an idea that one of our developing artists came up with, named Shane Prigmore, and very early on in the design process, he did a single drawing of an animal that was a combination of two different creatures that we know.  And we thought, that’s a great way to go.  So we imagined if you rolled backwards in time that maybe all these animals that we know today may have been fused together and they separated at some point.  And the tiger was an interesting one, because he’s a staple. 

I felt very strongly that we should have a couple of staples of our prehistoric world that we are all very familiar with.  So we have a mammoth and we have a Sabre-tooth tiger, he’s our sabre-tooth tiger.  So, the best combination we could think of was maybe the coloration.  He has a green macaw coloration to him that I think is just stunning.

RS:  It really is visually exciting, yea.

Did you learn anything new about yourselves during the filming?

CS:  That’s a good question, that’s a very good question.  I think for myself, and it’s coming for Kirk, . . . it’s coming.  I have a daughter, and she’s seven now, and the dad daughter relationship in the film was something that was very new, because I’ve been on this film for about five years.  And that was a very new relationship for me when I began the film, so I think that just learning about that type of relationship while I was home and then bringing that to work and putting some of that into the movie I think was probably the thing that was evolving as we were making this film.

KD:  I would say pretty much the same, because I started this like in 2004, and writing about a father for about eight/nine years and now I just had twins last week, so, there we have it.  I don’t know if it’s life imitating art or art imitating life.

What did you take from How to Train Your Dragon to use in The Croods?

CS:  In Croods we pushed the 3D harder, Croods is a different type of film, it’s a different tone, it has a much broader tone, we have bigger action, almost like cartoony, if you will.   Especially the opening sequence.  It allowed us, in the moments that were appropriate, to push it literally to the breaking point.  We have moments where things come out into the audience and you can’t bring them out further.  The technology just will stop.

KD:  Your eyeballs will go in, there’s nowhere left.

CS:  For me with How to Train Your Dragon, that was my crash course in all things, CG.  And I took every little bit of the knowledge I gained from How to Train Your Dragon and brought that all to Croods and there were big changes on Croods when I came back, because I better understood what this CG thing could achieve.  So when I came back, both Kirk and I started pushing things on the Croods a lot harder visually to be more believable, in a sense of having things be more realistic and things.  Just because this film is about consequences of decisions.  So you need to believe in the world the Croods are in, so a lot of the stuff is broader.

We wanted to ask probably about a thousand more questions of each of them, but they had to be a million other places and in no time.  You don’t think about the amount of hard work that goes into a film when you sit back and just demand to be entertained.  It is nice to meet people so passionate about their work, and it translates incredibly well in their overall product.  I can’t wait for everyone to see The Croods, to meet them and understand their own families a little better perhaps.

We hope Chris and Kirk keep making great films, and we look forward to meeting them again.  Plus, it was a miracle I kept Madison from stealing that Belt prop at the Mandarin Oriental!  I’m not gonna lie, I wanted it to, for my son, yea, for my son.

Oz The Great and Powerful

Thursday, March 7th, 2013


It sucked!It'll be on cable.I liked it.It was good!It was awesome!! (1 People gave this 5.00 out of 5)

This is not your Grandmother’s “The Wizard of Oz”

Oz The Great and Powerful

At last, we finally get to see how the great and powerful Wizard of Oz came to be.  I know there have been books written about the Land of Oz, but I can’t recall there being a movie about the origin of the characters.  With “Oz The Great and Powerful,” we learn how both the Wizard and the Wicked Witch of the West came to be.

Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Issac Norman Henkel Emmannuel Ambroise Diggs, or Oz for short (James Franco) is a magician in a traveling circus, circa 1905.  Currently the circus is in Kansas and Oz is performing with the help of his assistant Frank (Zach Braff).  We learn pretty quickly that Oz is a bit of a con man and a lot of a lady’s man.  One of his scams is to give pretty ladies a music box that he claims was his grandmother’s (he actually has quite a bit of these music boxes).  Oz is good at smoke and mirrors and other assorted tricks, which sure comes in handy later!!  When he is chased down by a paramour’s lover, he goes on the run and ends up…in a hot air balloon.  Not really a great place to hide when a storm is coming.

Of course there is a tornado (apparently the transportation method to get to the Land of Oz) which sweeps up the magician Oz and that’s when everything changes.  Oz meets Theodora (Mila Kunis) and pretty much instantly, sparks fly.  See, there is a prophecy that there will be a great wizard who will come and save the Land of Oz.  Theodora truly believes the prophecy is about Oz.  She brings him to the Emerald City, where he meets Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and a giant room full of gold, all of which will be his when he takes the throne.  One catch though, he needs to defeat the evil witch by breaking her magic wand.

Off Oz goes with Finley the flying monkey (also Zach Braff).  Along the way, they pass by China Town (not what you are thinking) and pick up another mate to join along in their travels, China Girl (voiced by Joey King).  When they reach the Dark Forest, they discover that they were tricked, and the ‘evil’ witch was actually Glinda the Good Witch (Michelle Williams).  Glinda convinces Oz to help her, and the people of Oz, defeat the witches that currently reside in Emerald City, thereby freeing the Land of Oz!!

Together with the residents of the Land of Oz, the magician Oz plans an amazing spectacle to defeat the two evil witches.  What follows next is a real nail-biter, as the people of Oz battle the two evil witches to gain control of the Emerald City.  I won’t give any more away but it truly is amazing.

With a two hour and ten minute running time, you would think the movie might drag but the time flew by.  The story is immersing, I felt like I was there in Oz!!  Maybe that was due to the 3D effects.  Unlike The Wizard of Oz this was not a musical, although there was one partial musical number.

Solid acting performances all around, even with wild card James Franco.  You just never know what you’ll get, between the cheesy Spider-Man 3 (“You’re my best friend forever Peter”) and Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which he was really good in.  Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz were great as the witch sisters (Weisz especially being deliciously evil) and Michelle Williams was a fabulous Glinda the Good Witch.  As most of the movie, he was the voice of the monkey Finley, Zach Braff had to rely on his distinctive voice to animate his character (did you know he was also the voice of Chicken Little?).  I won’t give away who, but the actress whose character became The Wicked Witch of the West gave a stand-out performance as well.

At first, I thought the production quality was kind of lacking.  It looked like they were on a giant set.  Then I realized…it looked like The Wizard of Oz looked!!  Amazing!!  Keep in mind, this is not a remake of The Wizard of Oz, rather it’s a prequel.  Although direct references to The Wizard of Oz weren’t allowed, they made many nods to the earlier film; if you keep your eyes and ears peeled you’ll spot them.  I’m not sure if there will be a sequel to this but I hope so as I would love the chance to visit Oz again.

The movie is rated PG for some scary scenes (the flying monkeys, for one, which definitely had facelifts!!) but overall this is a great family movie that can be enjoyed by fans of The Wizard of Oz and newcomers also.

Parental Guidance

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012


It sucked!It'll be on cable.I liked it.It was good!It was awesome!! (1 People gave this 5.00 out of 5)


When old-school parenting meets new-school parenting, buckle up because it’s going to be a wild ride!!

I’m pretty sure Billy Crystal is funny 24/7. He is great in all the movies I’ve seen him in, and even when you don’t see him, you only hear him (a la “Monsters Inc” and the upcoming “Monsters University”).

Artie Decker (Billy Crystal) loves his job as a minor-league baseball sports announcer. Unfortunately, he’s not with the times (he doesn’t do Facebook, Twitter, or any social networking at all) and he is fired from his job. This gives him and his wife Diane (the also hilarious Bette Midler) the opportunity to watch their grandchildren while their daughter Alice Simmons (Marisa Tomei) and her husband Phil (Tom Everett Scott) go out of town for Phil’s job.

Alice and Phil are very different parents than Diane and Artie. I think the term is “Type-A helicopter parenting”; they don’t tell their kids no, the baseball team their son plays on has no real rules (no three strikes and you’re out), and the kids don’t eat sugar!! No real birthday cakes for them. Harper (Bailee Madison) plays the violin, yet she doesn’t really enjoy the instrument. Turner (Joshua Rush) has a stutter and goes to speech therapy, yet they don’t practice speaking, which baffles Artie. And Barker (Kyle Harrison Breitkopf) is a mischievous little imp who calls his grandpa Fartie (awesome) and has an imaginary pet kangaroo named Carl.

Of course, the clashing of parenting styles along with rascally kids leads to some weird and wild situations, including but not limited to: a blacklight-painted face at the symphony, the kids’ first ice cream cake, and a dead imaginary pet kangaroo.

I read an article that said even though they’ve been friends for 30 years, this is the first time Billy Crystal and Bette Midler have actually worked together. They both gave solid performances in “Parental Guidance”. Apparently the idea from this movie came from Crystal’s real-life experience taking care of his own granddaughters, whose mother gave him and his wife Janice a list of pages and pages of rules for them.

Overall a good family flick, great for the holidays, with many humorous situations and feel-good moments. OH and also Artie sings a song about POOP!!! What could be better than that??

Life of Pi

Monday, November 19th, 2012


It sucked!It'll be on cable.I liked it.It was good!It was awesome!! (3 People gave this 4.67 out of 5)

Welcome to Pi’s Ark

I haven’t yet read the book “Life of Pi”, so when I went to the film’s screening, I didn’t really know what to expect.  The previews I had seen only showed a young man, in a lifeboat, with a fully-grown tiger.  I was full of questions:  how did that happen??  Is this entire movie going to take place on alifeboat??  When is the tiger going to eat the guy??  Will this movie be boring or interesting??  I was pleasantly surprised that it was NOT boring; it was very interesting, as well as emotional and amazing.

As the movie begins a journalist, known as The Writer (Rafe Spall) is interviewing Pi Patel (Irrfan Khan) to learn his life story.  He had been advised to seek out Pi to hear his story.  Hence, the majority of the movie is told in flashback form.  Pi (Suraj Sharma), short for Piscine (French for pool.  Pi’s uncle was obsessed with a specific pool in Paris and Pi was named after the pool) is a quirky lad.  He lives with his mother (Tabu), father (Adil Hussain), and brother Ravi (Vibish Sivakumar) in Pondicherry, India.  His parents own and run a zoo.  The opening credits of this movie focus on the animals at the zoo, and this is one time where the 3D made the movie even better looking.  Pi loved to learn, especially about different religions.  He changed his religion weekly.  His parents weren’t happy, but they went along with it.

Pi’s first experience with the tiger was when it was first brought to the zoo.  The tiger’s name was Richard Parker.  There was a mix-up with the tiger’s actual name, which was Thirsty, and the person who brought the tiger to the zoo.  The names were accidentally switched on the paperwork that was processed at the zoo so the tiger was thereafter known as Richard Parker.  Not Richard, Richard Parker.  When Pi is a teenager, his parents decide they didn’t want to own the zoo anymore and they wanted to move to Canada, so they packed up the animals (to relocate to other zoos) and their belongings and loaded everything up on a freight ship across the Pacific.  Sadly, tragedy strikes and not everyone makes it out alive.  Pi finds himself in a rescue lifeboat with an injured zebra.  Soon, an orangutan comes floating over on a bunch of bananas.  This dynamic is ok, no carnivores in the bunch.  Unfortunately, a hyena also stowed away and pretty soon, it’s only Pi and the hyena….until Richard Parker shows up.

Luckily, the rescue lifeboat contained food, water, and other emergency supplies which was enough to sustain Pi for a while.  He also devised a way to avoid being eaten by the tiger.  Throughout the nearly 300 days Pi and Richard Parker were lost at sea, Pi has all kinds of fascinating experiences.  Many times I found myself wondering “is this really happening, or is it all in his head??”  The visual effects in this movie were just stunning.

Since Pi is narrating the film, we know he survives.  But how he survives, and copes with his situation, is amazing to watch.   At one point, they come across a mysterious island inhabited by meerkats. Thousands of them!!  Too bad the island has a secret, with no other civilization besides the meerkats.  Overall, about 75-80% of the film is Pi and Richard Parker lost at sea.  For a newcomer, Suraj Sharma did a fantastic job portraying desperation and loneliness but never giving up hope while floating out in the Pacific with a tiger.

Overall, “Life of Pi” is a thought-provoking, emotional journey with sensational cinematography.  Be warned, there are some scenes of animals attacking and eating other animals, but that is how it happens in the wild.

While this post was sponsored. All opinions are my own and not influenced by any outside parties. – Madison

Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2

Friday, November 16th, 2012


It sucked!It'll be on cable.I liked it.It was good!It was awesome!! (Give us your rating!!)

Sparkly vampire fans rejoice!!

The time has come for the grand finale, the….wait for it…SWAN SONG (Swan like Bella Swan) of the vampire love story otherwise known as “The Twilight Saga”.

With “Breaking Dawn Part 2” Bella Swan (Kristin Stewart) is now Bella Cullen, mother, wife, and…vampire.  As a newborn vampire, Bella has to adjust to her new life, which makes for some humorous scenes.  She and her eternal love Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) are parents to what appears to be a human baby, Renesmee.  But Renesmee isn’t any normal human baby.  Her mother was human when she was born, but her father is a vampire.  As a result, Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy) grows at an accelerated rate and within a short time, she is about ten years old.

If you’ll recall, at the end of Part 1, Jacob (Taylor Lautner) imprinted on Edward and Bella’s daughter (imprinting is the involuntary mechanism by which shape-shifters find their soul-mates).  When Bella finds out about that, you’re in for a laugh!!  Kristen Stewart actually showed a shred of emotion!!  Anyways, you might be thinking “gross, Jacob has the hots for this child” but it’s not like that.  Remember, Renesmee is fast-growing.  At this point, Jacob is more like her protector than anything else.  As a result, he is always around.  Hanging at the Cullen’s house.  Always.  However, this time the rivalry between Edward and Jacob is non-existent.  It was kind of nice to see everyone getting along, one big happy vampire/shapeshifter family.

Of course, that was not meant to last.  One of the Cullen’s cousins, Irina (Maggie Grace) was spying on the family (I’m not really sure why, I can’t remember why that happened in the book) and she went and reported back to the Volturi (the vampire league in Italy, the really powerful and power-hungry vampires) that the Cullens created an immortal child, which is against vampire law.  So Alice (Ashley Greene) has a vision that the Volturi are coming to Forks to punish the Cullens (by the way, in this movie, to kill a vampire there is no staking.  They simply crack off the vampire’s head to kill them).  Well Edward’s “father” Carlisle (Peter Facinelli) thinks they can stand up to the Volturi if they have enough witnesses to convince the Volturi that Renesmee is not an immortal child but a human child, which leads to the Cullens travelling the world to recruit fellow vampires to help their cause.

When the Volturi, which includes the leader, Aro (Michael Sheen), his right-hand man Caius (Jamie Campbell Bower), the evil Jane (Dakota Fanning) and her brother Alec (Cameron Bright) arrive, they have an army of their own.  Although the Cullens have their vampire friends as well as the shape-shifters, the odds are not in their favor (yeah that was a “Hunger Games” shout-out).

If you’ve read the books, you don’t know what happens next!!  Yes there is a deviation from the story.  I was sitting there thinking “I don’t remember that happening in the book” a few times before the big reveal, and it is a GOOD one!!

Team Jacob fans will be happy that within the first twenty minutes of the movie, Jacob strips down to nothing (although sorry, we don’t get a peek at his cheeks) to reveal his true form to Bella’s father, Charlie Swan (Billy Burke) in an attempt to stop the new family’s original plans to move away from Forks. See, if Charlie thinks Bella is dead, they can’t stay living in the same town where he lives.  The truth isn’t really fully revealed, it’s just on a “need to know” basis.

If you don’t want to find out the plot twist, stay off the message boards on imdb.  I saw a slew of threads that revealed the twist in the subject line.  Not cool.  Also, stick around during the credits.  It’s a whose-who of the main and supporting characters from the entire series.  It was like the “In Memoriam” segment of the Oscars, but only some of the characters are dead.

Just like in the previous installment, I was surprised, because amidst all the gaggy love scenes (and there were some doozies in this one!!!  Yuck), there were some funny moments.  There were also some corny moments.  Cheesiest line said by Edward to Bella “we’re the same temperature now”.  Barf.

The acting is still sub-par, but again, I don’t think people like these movies for the terrible acting and dialogue.  Which makes me wonder, how many people will still go see this after the Kristen Stewart and her “SWATH” Cheating Scandal of 2012??  Supposedly the real-life Edward and Bella are back together, but is that just for show??  Or was the entire scandal a set-up??  I guess we’ll never know the truth about that.

Overall, it doesn’t really matter what I, or any other film critic, says about “Breaking Dawn Part 2”.  The Twilight fans (I won’t use the ridiculous term) will most likely flock to the theaters, despite any real-life drama, to see their beloved Edward, Bella, and company in their grand finale.  Even though it was no “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts 1 or 2”, it was still a satisfying ending to the series.

Pitch Perfect

Thursday, September 27th, 2012


It sucked!It'll be on cable.I liked it.It was good!It was awesome!! (Give us your rating!!)

At Barden University there are several singing groups.  Most notable are The Bellas (an all-female acapella group) and the The Treblemakers (an all-male acapella group).  In the opening sequence, The Bellas and the The Treblemakers are rivals who made it to Nationals and are performing their musical numbers.  Too bad an unfortunate vomit-related incident causes The Bellas to lose the competition and become the laughing-stock of their school.

Fast forward to the beginning of the next school year.  The Bellas are looking to recruit new talent and overcome their disastrous performance at Nationals.  However, they are having a hard time finding females who fit their perfect mold.  They end up recruiting Beca (Anna Kendrick), a freshman who spends a lot of time on her laptop creating mash-ups of songs, Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson), who has a knack for saying inappropriate yet hilarious stuff, Lilly (Hana Mae Lee), who looks like a Japanese anime character come to life and speaks in a very soft whisper but says the most outrageous things (when she actually speaks), and several others.  The leaders of The Bellas are Aubrey (Anna Camp) and Chloe (Brittany Snow).  Aubrey is very stuck in her ways.  She is determined to perform the exact same routine and will not deviate from this at all.  Of course, this leads to conflict among the group.

Also new to Barden University is Jesse (Skylar Astin, who looks like a mash-up of Ben Savage, Dane Cook, and Zachary Levi) who works at the university radio station with Beca (and is the love interest of the film) and his roommate Benji (Ben Platt) who is a super duper ultra mega “Star Wars” fan.

Fans of “Glee” will definitely enjoy “Pitch Perfect”.  It’s like they took a whole season of “Glee” and crammed it into a two-hour movie.  Nothing felt rushed though, everything played out naturally.  I did notice that none of the characters spent time in class or studying.  I guess the makers of the film felt that would drag the movie out longer.  It really didn’t matter to the plot anyways.

I really enjoyed Elizabeth Banks (Effie Trinket ya’ll!!) and John Michael Higgins as the singing competition judges.  Their inappropriate banter was hilarious.

I spent a lot of the movie wondering why The Bellas and The Treblemakers didn’t team up to make one unstoppable group.  They did that on “Glee!”

With great music, snappy dialogue, and fierce musical numbers, “Pitch Perfect” is Glee’s older, more risqué sister.