comedy, movie, movie review, romance

November 12th, 2018 Movie – Valentine’s Day (2010)

valentine's day

I am going to be 100% honest right now. I really am not in the right mind set to review this movie. Stan Lee died today and that really hit me as his creations have been a large part of my childhood and adult years. That coupled with long hours at work and dealing with a couple of crazy kids this evening honestly has me mentally exhausted. To top it off, this movie is a rom-com which is not exactly my preferred genre of movies. This movie is the last of the free movies that I received after signing up for my ultraviolet account so let’s get right into Valentine’s Day.

The plot: (too tired to focus on writing while watching so this is the plot outline from wikipedia) The film follows a group of related characters and their struggles with love on Valentine’s Day.

Florist Reed Bennett wakes up and proposes to his girlfriend Morley Clarkson, who accepts. However, Reed’s closest friends, Alfonso Rodriguez and Julia Fitzpatrick, aren’t surprised when Morley suddenly changes her mind and leaves Reed a few hours later. On a flight to Los Angeles, Kate Hazeltine, a captain in the U.S. Army on a one-day leave, befriends Holden Wilson. Kate is travelling a long distance to get back home only for a short time, and Holden states that she must really be in love to do so. When the plane lands and Kate has to wait hours for the taxi, Holden offers his limousine to allow her to be there on time. Julia, an elementary school teacher, has fallen in love with Dr. Harrison Copeland, but does not know that he is married to Pamela. Harrison tells her that he needs to go to San Francisco for a business trip: on his way, he stops by at Reed’s flower shop and orders two flower bouquets – asking for discretion. Wanting to surprise him and despite Reed’s warnings, Julia flies to San Francisco, convinced that Reed was wrong. Julia finds out that he is married and finds him at a local restaurant. Dressed as a waitress, Julia makes a scene at the restaurant, making Pamela suspicious. One of Julia’s students, Edison (Bryce Robinson), orders flowers from Reed, to be sent to his teacher. Julia suggests to Edison to give the flowers to a girl named Rani in his class who has a crush on him after telling Edison the meaning of love. Edison’s babysitter Grace Smart is planning to lose her virginity to her boyfriend Alex Franklin. The planned encounter goes awry when Grace’s mother discovers a naked Alex in Grace’s room, rehearsing a song he wrote for Grace. Edison’s grandparents, Edgar and Estelle Paddington are facing the troubles of a long marriage. Estelle admits to Edgar about an affair she had with one of his business partners long ago. Although she is deeply sorry, Edgar is very upset. Grace’s high school friends, Willy Harrington and Felicia Miller, are experiencing the freshness of new love, and have agreed to wait to have sex. Sean Jackson, a closeted gay professional football player, is contemplating the end of his career with his publicist Kara Monahan and his agent Paula Thomas. Kara is organizing her annual “I Hate Valentine’s Day” party, but soon becomes interested in sports reporter Kelvin Moore, who was ordered to do a Valentine’s Day report by his boss Susan Moralez, and who shares Kara’s hatred of the holiday. Substituting for Paula’s absent secretary is one of the firm’s receptionists, Liz Curran, who dates mail-room clerk Jason Morris. Jason is shocked when Liz turns out to be moonlighting as a phone sex operator. Liz explains that she is only doing this because she has a $100,000 student loan to pay off. Jason is upset, but eventually reconciles with her after seeing Edgar forgive Estelle. Sean finally comes out on national television, and Holden, Sean’s lover, goes back to him. Kate arrives home late at night to greet not her supposed boyfriend but her son Edison. Willy drops Felicia off at home after a date and they kiss. Kelvin and Kara hang out at Kelvin’s news station where they later kiss. Alfonso dines with his wife, and Grace and Alex agree to wait to have sex. Edgar and Estelle reconcile and redo their marriage vows, Harrison’s wife has left him because of his infidelity and Morley tries to call Reed, who is instead starting a new relationship with Julia. Paula receives a call from one of Liz’s masochistic clients and takes delight in expressing her dominance and sadism.

Valentine’s Day met with poor results from the critics, holding an 18% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Eager to please and stuffed with stars, Valentine’s Day squanders its promise with a frantic, episodic plot and an abundance of rom-com cliches.” Julia Roberts turned down The Blind Side (2009), in order to appear in this movie. Ironically, Sandra Bullock turned down Roberts’ role in this film, and went ahead to star in The Blind Side (2009). Despite the poor reviews, the movie was a success, earning $216.5 million off of a $52 million budget.

I have to admit, as disjointed as this movie was, it wasn’t that bad of a movie. There were too many stars to really single anyone out but they all did good jobs in their roles, even Topher Grace. The different stories were all pretty good but the bouncing around that they did to try and fit all of them into the movie made it hard to focus on them at times and I ended up just zoning out on some of the stories. That being said, there were a couple of parts that really did have me laughing, such as Paula’s (Queen Latifah) reaction when she starts talking to one of Liz’s (Anne Hathaway) clients. However, the whole romance aspects really were about as cliched as you could expect and honestly didn’t really give me much of the loving feels that you would expect form a rom-com. So it is a decent movie and does offer some laughs but there are better movies to watch for a date night type outing.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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action, adventure, movie, movie review, sci-fi

October 28th, 2017 Movie – The Amazing Spider-Man 2

the amazing spider-man 2

So a superhero movie comes to the theaters and I have no desire whatsoever to see it. I know, it is really an odd thing to have happen but it is true. When the trailers for this movie came out, hinting at a possible Sinister Six plot line, I was actually less than amazed. I would say that maybe it is that dreaded adulthood creeping up on me and I felt the desire to see more Oscar worthy films that would only elevate my sense of culture. Of course, that would be shot down by the fact that I happened to see 3 other superhero movies that year and enjoyed all three of them so obviously that is not true. I think it was probably just that the trailers themselves gave me no desire to see this movie. Anyways, I decided to pick it up on Blu-Ray sometime after it came out and honestly, put off watching it until several months after I bought it. After all of the hesitation, let’s see if today’s movie was worth it as I watch The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

The plot: Late one night, Richard Parker destroys all of the test subjects and erases the data from his bio-genetics lab at Oscorp but he is found out and his clearances are revoked before he finishes so he grabs the hard copy files as he leaves. As he records a message explaining what he has done, he hears Peter calling out to him, leading to the events at the beginning of the first film. After dropping off Peter, Richard and Mary are taking a plane to somewhere where they can hide and Richard is working on uploading some files while Mary uses the restroom. When one of the pilots exits the cockpit and starts talking to Richard, Richard notices blood on his hands and gets suspicious. The man reveals himself to be an assassin and as a struggle breaks out between Richard, Mary, and the assassin, Mary ends up being shot. The plane starts to go into free fall as Richard and the assassin continue to struggle and Richard manages to get control of the gun and shoot out a window, causing explosive decompression of the cabin which rips the door off the plane. The assassin is sucked out of the plane and falls to his death while Richard ensures that the files were uploaded just before the plane crashes. In the present, Spider-Man hears about a police chase involving some stolen plutonium from Oscorp and he heads off to stop it and during the course of the chase, he saves Max Dillion, an electrical engineer that works for Oscorp. As Spider-Man catches two of the thieves and works on keeping the plutonium containers from spilling out of the truck, he receives a call from Gwen, wondering where he is as their graduation ceremony is starting. When the third thief, Aleksei Sytsevich, drives his wrecker truck into a bus, Spider-Man quickly keeps the bus from tipping over and injuring the people inside and some pedestrians in it’s path, then captures Aleksei before heading to his graduation. After the graduation ceremony, Aunt May congratulates Peter, wishing that Ben had been there to see this. May takes a picture of Peter and Gwen together and then Gwen invites him to dinner with her family that night but Peter keeps seeing the image of Captain Stacy. When Peter shows up, he doesn’t enter the restaurant and Gwen goes outside to talk to him and Peter tells her about constantly seeing her father and she tells him she can’t keep having him do this to her and despite the fact that Peter says he loves her, she breaks up with him. Some time later, Harry Osborn returns to New York City at the request of his dying father Norman, who tells Harry that he sent him away for his own good. Norman then tells him that he is dying from a genetic disease, and Harry is at the age where the disease begins to manifest. Meanwhile, Max is about to leave work when his boss, Alistair Smythe, has him check on an electrical surge in one of the labs. As Max fixes the short, he gets shocked and ends up falling into a tank of genetically modified electric eels, which attack him and their bites mutate and electrocute him as the tank explodes. Norman dies the next day, leaving Harry as the CEO of Oscorp, though the board is less than happy about it, as the company is under intense scrutiny after the event with Connors. Peter goes to see Harry, as they were childhood friends, and the two end up talking and catching up, while members of Oscorp’s security try to hide Dillon’s body. That evening, Gwen calls Peter and asks to meet and says she wants to try to stay friends. As they try to set up some ground rules, Gwen tells him that she was offered a scholarship to go to England for studies and she is considering taking it. Meanwhile, Max regains consciousness and finds his body has transformed into a living electrical generator. He makes his way towards Times Square and starts absorbing some of the electricity from the area until the police show up and Max inadvertently attacks them when they start shooting at him. Peter, having sensed the disturbance, changes into Spider-Man and heads over there  and after recognizing Max from his description of his saving him, tries talking to him to defuse the situation. When Max cause an explosion of sparks by accidentally stepping in a puddle, a sniper shoots at him, causing Max to react violently and cause a blackout before attacking the police. He then attacks Spider-Man, blaming him for setting him up but Spider-Man is able to keep some bystanders from being electrocuted then, with the help of some firemen, use a fire hose to short out Max and bring him down. Returning home, Peter starts questioning himself about whether he should continue being Spider-Man or if he should try to have a normal life with Gwen. Meanwhile, Harry is examining the device his father left him when he discovers a series of video files on it concerning Richard Parker’s work. Peter is working on building a more insulated web compound in case he has to face Max again when Harry calls and says he needs to see him. When Peter arrives at Oscorp, Harry explains that he is dying of the same disease that killed his father but shows him the files of Richard and Norman talking about their experiments and Harry says that he needs Spider-Man’s blood to cure himself and asks Peter to help him locate Spider-Man, as Peter is the one to take Spider-Man’s pictures. Peter says he will try to find Spider-Man and leaves but sees Gwen being chased by security and when he grabs her, they duck into a maintenance closet. Gwen explains that she had met Max and was looking up information about him but all of his records had been purged from the system and Peter distracts the guards so she can leave but she ends up in the elevator with Harry, who talks to her on the way down. When Peter returns home, he finds Aunt May in his room staring at the collage of pictures concerning his parents and she ends up telling him that his parents were suspected of being traitors and selling secrets to foreign governments. Spider-Man goes to visit Harry but refuses to give him a sample of his blood, saying it could kill him or worse and Harry gets enraged. When Peter returns home, he angrily destroys the collage and smashes things in his father satchel but finds some subway tokens hidden in an old calculator and, recalling a comment his aunt made about his father’s schedule, investigates it further and finds Richard’s secret lab in a hidden subway tunnel. Inside, Peter sees the video explaining that Osborn was the one selling secrets and framed Richard for it. Richard also explains that the human DNA that he merged with the spiders was his own so without his blood, or his bloodline, nobody would be able to recreate his experiment. Meanwhile, Harry is told by his assistant Felicia that while the spiders were killed, the scientists saved the venom from them in case it could prove to be useful and is kept in an area of the building called “Special Projects”. Harry looks into “Special Projects” and learns that they are experimenting on Max at Ravencroft and that he supposedly signed off on it. Suddenly, he finds his authorization revoked and is approached by security and Oscorps’ Vice President Donald Menken, who had framed Oscorp in order to usurp control of the company away from him. Harry breaks into Ravencroft and goes to Max’s cell, who is calling himself Electro now. Harry says he will free Electro in exchange for his help in getting back into Oscorp and as the guards approach and try to grab Harry, Harry zaps Electro with a taser, giving him enough of a charge to break free from his restraints and kill the guards. Harry and Electro head to Oscorp and after taking Menken hostage, Harry has him lead him down to Special Projects while Electro heads to the city power grid. Inside Special Projects, Harry has Menken inject him with the spider venom but it causes him to start mutating and Menken is able to escape. Harry manages to crawl into his father’s special armor prototype and the armor’s inboard healing process begis working on curing him. Meanwhile, Peter exits the subway tunnel and finds he has a voicemail from Gwen, telling him she is heading to England for a summer class as a means of trying to get over him. As she is stuck in traffic, she sees Spider man writing “I Love You” in webbing on the nearby bridge and as she gets out of the cab and stares at it, Spider-Man swings down and grabs her. On top of the bridge, Peter tells Gwen that he decided that he wants to be with her and go with her to England and the two kiss. Suddenly, the whole city suffers a blackout and they see Electro absorbing the power from the power grid. Gwen helps Spider-Man magnetize his web shooters so they will work against Electro, then tells him that she is going with him, as she knows how to reset the grid, but Spider-Man webs her hand to a police car to keep her from following him. Spider-Man heads to the power station and battles Electro but finds himself outmatched and is about to be killed, only for Gwen, having freed herself from the webbing, crash the police car into Electro. Spider-Man and Gwen come up with a plan to overload Elector, feeding him too much electricity so that he ends up exploding. As the two approach each other, they are surprised by the arrival of Harry, having mutated into a goblin like appearance from the venom. When Harry sees Gwen had helped Spider-Man, he realizes that Spider-Man is really Peter and gets even more enraged and grabs Gwen, flying her up to a nearby clock tower. Spider-Man pleads with Harry to let her go and Harry drops her then begins fighting with Spider-Man as he tries to save her. As Peter is holding onto Gwen with a strand of webbing, Harry tries to force it into the gears so it will snap and Spider-Man shoves his foot in the gears to keep them from turning. The pressure eventually causes the gears to break and Harry is knocked unconscious by the debris while the webbing snaps. As Gwen falls, Spider-Man leaps after her and tries to snag her with some more webbing to save her and succeeds in doing so before she hits the bottom but the sudden stop causes her neck to snap, resulting in her death. As Peter climbs down to check on her, he finds that she has died and cries out in grief over his part in her death. A funeral is held for Gwen and Peter decides to give up on being Spider-Man, not wanting anyone else he cares about to be put in danger. Several months later, Gustav Fiers, the man who visited Connors in his cell, pays a visit to Harry in his cell and tells him preparations are ready for his team and asks how many people he wants in it. Harry says to keep the number small and that everything they need is at Oscorp and asks if they have their first volunteer. Fiers says they do and he heads to Special Projects, walking past several specialized suits until he reaches a giant armored suit fashioned after a rhino. As the news report about Aleksei’s escape from prison and the rise in crime in the city since Spider-Man disappeared, Peter ends up watching Gwen’s graduation speech, where she tells the graduating class to become hope for people, and Peter decides to become Spider-Man again. When Aleksei, wearing the rhino armor, attacks the city, a little boy dressed as Spider-Man stands up to him and Aleksei starts mocking him but the real Spider-Man shows up and comments on the boys bravery before sending him back to his mom and then goes to face Aleksei.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 met with mixed results from the critics, holding a 52% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “While the cast is outstanding and the special effects are top-notch, the latest installment of the Spidey saga suffers from an unfocused narrative and an overabundance of characters.” The movie was a hit at the box office, earning $709 million off of an estimated budget between $200 and $293 million. The movie was supposed to spawn another sequel, with a spin-off movie featuring the Sinister Six but plans were scrapped and Sony instead entered into a partnership with Marvel to redo the series as part of the MCU.

Yeh, I don’t really know how I feel about this movie. The acting was ok, with Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone both doing good jobs reprising their roles of Peter and Gwen respectively. Jamie Foxx’s portrayal of Electro was kind of interesting and, while brief, Ialso liked Paul Giamatti’s portrayal of the Rhino but thought that Dane DeHaan was a little odd as Harry Osborn, seeming to play the character a little too sleazy than he should have. The story wasn’t bad and it actually did a good job in setting up for a possible sequel and introducing other members of the Sinister Six, primarily Doctor Octopus and the Vulture. Personally, I would much rather have more involvement with Fiers, as his character, which was introduced in a series of novels, was very interesting and I would have liked to have seen more involving him. As for the Gwen Stacy death, I understand that they had to make some changes due to the story line but I liked how they did this as opposed to Raimi’s rendition in Spider-Man. The special effects were pretty good and I liked the fight scenes with Spider-Man and Electro. I honestly laughed when the effects of him moving through the towers caused them to hum out “The Itsy, Bitsy Spider” during the final fight with Electro. Not as bad of a movie as I thought but still it could have been a lot better.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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