Actor Focus: Anton Yelchin

There is a young actor by the name of Anton Yelchin who I believe deserves way more publicity and attention than he gets. I love this dude and whenever I see he’s in a new movie, I get very giddy and know I need to see it right away. The first thing I ever saw him in was Alpha Dog. You can read about Alpha Dog in my last post

Here is a list of movies he’s done that you must see, in order of my favorite

4. Fierce People – This one, if I remember correctly, has a few disturbing scenes, and you’ll feel pretty bad for him. It’s more of a wacky film than anything. It has Kristen Stewart in it, but I kind of try to overlook that. I think it was pre-Twilight, anyway. Here is the story line according to IMDB:

Trapped in his mother’s Lower East Side apartment, sixteen-year-old Finn wants nothing more than to escape New York and spend the summer in South America studying the Iskanani Indians, or “Fierce People,” with the anthropologist father he’s never met. But Finn’s dreams are shattered when he is arrested in a desperate effort to help his drug-dependent mother, Liz, who scrapes by working as a masseuse. Determined to get their lives back on track, Liz moves the two of them into a guest house on the vast country estate of her ex-client, the aging aristocratic billionaire, Ogden C. Osbourne. In Osbourne’s close world of privilege and power, Finn and Liz encounter a tribe fiercer and more mysterious than anything they might find in the South American jungle: the super rich. While Liz battles her substance abuse and struggles to win back her son’s love and trust, Finn falls in love with Osbourne’s beautiful granddaughter, Maya, befriends her charismatic older brother, Bryce, and even wins

Trailer:

3. The Middle of Nowhere

The best part about Anton Yelchn is he pretty much stars with one of my favorite actresses in every movie he does. In this one it’s Eva Amurri Martino (Susan Sarandon’s daughter, who is also in this movie FYI).  Here is the plot line according to IMDB:

Summer in a small southern town: Grace wants to go to college, but her feckless mom has poisoned that well (no student loans because mom has welshed on credit cards in Grace’s name). Dorian wants to escape from his snobbish adoptive parents. They team up to sell marijuana – she hopes for enough to go to college. Both investigate family secretes, and things get complicated when Dorian falls for her, Grace falls for someone else, and Grace’s 15-year-old sister behaves badly. Can Dorian find independence and Grace get to college. And what constitutes a family, anyway?

View the Trailer here:

2. Like Crazy – This is definitely a chick flick and sad at times. I love it and guess who else is in it? Jennifer Lawrence. Oh yeah!  Here is the plot line according to IMDB:

Anna and Jacob fall instantly in love when they meet as students at an L.A. university. But Anna is British and when graduation approaches, Anna decides to stay and violate her student visa rather than returning to England. After a visit home, she is then unable to return to the United States. While fighting customs and immigration battles, Anna and Jacob must decide if their relationship is worth the distance and the hardship.

1. Charlie Barlett – Ohhhh my goodness. This movie is the whole reason this list HAD to be made. I freaking love this movie, and the best new is…ITS ON NETFLIX (so is Like Crazy, btw)…It’s hilarious and also stars KAT DENNINGS AND ROBERT DOWNEY JR. It also has Tyler Hilton and a bunch of Degrassi actors lol.. Here is the plot line according to IMDB:

Although cheerful, friendly, intelligent, well-dressed, authentic and wealthy, Charlie Bartlett has problems. With his father gone and his mother loopy and clueless, he’s been expelled from every private school for his victimless crimes. Now he’s in a public school getting punched out daily by the school thug. He ever longs to be popular – the go-to guy – and the true crux of his troubles is that he invariably finds the means to this end, whatever that might be. At Western Summit High, he makes peace with his tormentor by going into business with him – listening to kids’ problems and selling them prescription drugs. Charlie’s a hit, but attraction to Susan (daughter of the school’s laissez-faire principal), new security cameras on campus, a student’s overdose, and Charlie’s open world view all converge to get him in serious trouble. Can this self-made physician possibly heal himself and just be a kid?

Trailer:

CHECK HIM OUT. He’s also in the remake of Fright Night, Terminator Salvation, and Star Trek.

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Movies based on real life crimes….they’re pretty hard to stomach

So, I wanted to take a quick break from making review blogs. Not every blog I post is going to be a review on a movie I watched, but rather a list of movies I’d like to recommend, and why….Tonight you will be getting a taste of my very first list blog post…

This particular list is short. This is based on 6 movies that are terrifying and based on actual events. The first two are “loosely” based on actual events; meaning, the stories were based on real life crimes that happen, but not focused on one true event.

6. The Lovely Bones – The Lovely Bones is actually a novel that was turned into a film. it stars Mark Wahlberg, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci and the main character is played by Saoirse Ronan. It’s about a girl named Susie Salmon who is raped and murdered by a child molester neighbor. In the movie, she is stuck in the in between watching her family deal with her disappearance. While, I do not believe this story was about anyone in particular, it was to bring focus to all the young girls who this has happened to, which in itself, makes it just as sad as it would if Susie Salmon was a real girl. 

5. The Strangers – The strangers terrifies the shit outta me, and I don’t get scared by movies….However, this one hits me in a weak spot due to the theme of being a home invasion. This film stars Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman (you may remember him as the love interest in Felicity..Ben)  It’s about a couple who go to a cabin in the middle of nowhere and it gets invaded by these people in masks. This movie was inspired by the Manson murders and a less famous murder known as the Keddie Murders that involved a mother and her children who were staying in a Cabin Sierra Nevada (California)

4. Alpha Dog – Alpha Dog breaks my heart. It stars Justin Timberlake, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster, Olivia Wilde, Amanda Seyfried, and one of my favorite actors Anton Yelchin (I’ll be doing a blog on this guy soon). It is the true story of a drug dealer who gets screwed over by one of his customers, so in return, he kidnaps the dudes brother (played by Yelchin)…Yelchin becomes friends with his kidnappers and parties with them. he forms a really tight bond with Justin Timberlake’s character (in a brotherly type of way). I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who wants to see it, but the end is absolutely horrible & involves a decision made between Yelchin, Hirsch, and Timberlake. You’ll just have to watch it.

3. Zodiac – Zodiac has a great cast – Robert Downey Jr. Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Chloe Sevingy, and even Lee Norris (Minkus from BMW) has a small appearance in the film..However, it is a terrible story because it’s true, and a lot of people died. The movie focuses around the Zodiac killer — a guy who had 7 confirmed victims (two survived), but claims to have murdered 37 people. This took place in the 60s-70s in California. There have been a lot of claims on who the Zodiac killer may be, but he was never caught and there is no proof. The guy they suspected to be (and most likely was) died shortly before they could get him to confess.

2. Boys Don’t Cry – This movie stars the beautiful Hilary Swank, and another actress I really enjoy, Chloe Sevigny. This movie is a true story based on the life on a transgender (female-to-male) named Brandon Teena…I hear the movie was upsetting to the real people involved and did not portray parts of it accurately, but I still think it’s a great story to tell and how these horrible things happen to the LGBT community. Brandon fell in love with a girl named Lana. Lana was apart of a group of friends Brandon had made; however, once they found out Brandon was really a “girl” originally named Teena Brandon, two of the guys brutally raped him repeatedly (he was a virgin). Originally, they let him go, but later got spooked that he’d go to the cops, so they killed him. Definitely a heart breaking film, but it’s a good educational movie to show what ignorance can do. An innocent lovely person died because people could not accept who he was. Sickening…

1. An American Crime

With a long list of well known actors (Ellen Page, Catherine Keener, James Franco, Bradley Whitford, Nick Searcy, Ari Graynor) you wouldn’t expect to watch such a brutal film. The acting is incredible and the story is disturbing, flat out upsetting, and will literally make you sick to your stomach to watch. To this day, I still have a hard time enjoying anything with Catherine Kenner. Her acting was so good in the movie, I still feel like she was actually the monster who committed the crime, rather than just the actress.

An American Crime tells the true story of a young girl named Sylvia Likens and her younger sister, Jennie. Their parents were in a travelling carnival, so the Liken sisters decided to stay at the house of a woman named Gertrude Baniszewski. Sylvia had just befriended Gertrude’s daughters. This event took place in 1965 in Indiana. Gertrude had a lot of mental problems and was poor, supporting a lot of children. She agreed to let the girls there in exchange for $$ promised by the girls father. The payments started coming late so Gertrude started taking it out on Sylvia. She locked her in the basement, and the neighborhood kids would take turns beating her.. They starved her, made her eat her own feces, and carved words into her chest. These are only some of the nasty things they did to this poor girl. There are some things you’ll see in the movie that I can’t even bring myself to say. This movie is NOT a movie to watch for entertainment. It will break every little piece of your heart, and it does not have a happy ending. I recommend this movie for those who have an interest in murder crimes and would like to understand the history. It is definitely not a “date night” movie or something to watch because you are bored and want to be entertained.

Boyhood

Boyhood – R 165 Minutes

Trailer:

Starring: Patricia Arquette Ellar Coltrane Lorelei Linklater Ethan Hawke

My Rating: 7

IMDB Rating: 8.2

Would I watch i with my parents: Yes

So, I learned about Boyhood a few weeks before the Oscars. I thought the idea was brilliant and I was curious and impressed that they were able to pull it off. What bothered me though, is I could not find a plot line anywhere before I watched it….I mean I get it, they use the same actors for 12 years and watch them grow — but what’s the story? Well now I understand, there is no story.. And the description IMDB gives is about as perfect as you can get “The life of Mason, from early childhood to his arrival at college.” This could be a BIT of a spoiler, but I don’t think too bad…

The movie is good. I liked it…But, it is very long. verrrry long. Almost 3 hours…Which feels more like 4 hours when it’s a slow plot. The movie starts off with Mason and his sister as little kids. Their mom is a single mom who is going to school and trying her best to support her kids. I think Patricia’s character comes off as kind of “cold” at the beginning, or bitter…So, I was unsure on how she was going to develop throughout the movie.

Ethan Hawke plays their father who had gone away for a bit and is now back and wants to spend time with his kids. I really like him, he doesn’t come off as a deadbeat, but rather a father who had kids very young and needed to self discover himself to really be able to be a good father. He admits being back in their lives in a learning process, but throughout the movie, he is there for them.

It is cool to watch an actor grow right before your eyes, but Boyhood is a movie you really need to pay attention to. There is no warning that they are skipping ahead years and aging the characters. The only way you know that the next scene is years later is by the sister, Samantha. You can tell as she gets older.. Mason kind of looks the same for awhile, but as he ages you can start to tell by his different hair styles.

To be honest, I don’t think Mason has much of a personality until he gets into his senior year of high school, and college…Until then he’s just kind of a character on the screen who says stuff sometimes, lol. Samantha seems to have more character development throughout the movie.

Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette honestly look like they don’t age at all in those 12 years. Kudos to them. They looked fantastic the whole movie.

Because there is no MAJOR plot line, I don’t want to discuss the things that happen, otherwise there is no point in watching the movie, and I definitely think it’s worth watching. I enjoyed it and I hope they make a sequel. I’d like to see Mason’s college years and early adulthood.

Have a movie you want me to watch and review. Let me know in the comments!

Men Women and Children movie Review

Men, Women, & Children – Rated R 119 Minutes

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DS7uc8OF6Rs

Starring: Adam SandlerJennifer GarnerJudy GreerAnsel ElgortDean NorrisEmma Thompson, JK Simmons (sorry closed the IMDB page before I realized he wasn’t on the list) 

My Rating: 6.5

IMDB Rating: 6.7

Would I watch i with my parents: Hell to the NO! Never lol.

Review
So, the funny thing is…I finally bought Boyhood today and I put in the PS3, got comfy in bed and pt it on to watch…But then….this amazing intriguing trailer came across my screen….I won’t lie…It first caught my attention because of Ansel Elgort. I’ve only seen him in The Fault in Our Stars so, I’ve been intrigued to see him in more movies; however, as the trailer continued I became more interested because 1. It’s directed by Jason Reitman (Juno) and 2. The plot line genuinely seemed good, and continued to show an awesome cast.

Alright so here’s a brief plot explanation… It kind of has the vibe of the Valentines Day movie (or New Years Eve) where it’s several different storylines with characters who are all connected, but in this movie there are not as MANY and it’s easier to follow…However, I feel like some of the story lines were pointless and if they were cut they could have focused more on the interesting ones…But, anyway….It’s basically a movie about everyone’s issues surrounding sex…. Adam Sandler plays a husband whose wife is never interested in sex anymore and he starts watching porn and then one day they both see a commercial for Ashley Madison and start to consider having affairs; while his son is getting way too into porn and has problems getting turned on by traditional sex. Then we have Judy Greer who is a mom who failed as an actress and now her daughter wants to be an actress so she takes modeling pictures of her and puts it on a website. The daughter is trying to get onto a reality show. Then there’s another girl who I guess was fat the year before, and she is anorexic skinny and dealing with her desire to eat and desire to be thin, mostly because of a crush she has on some loser jock guy who called her fat last year.

The two most fascinating storylines lay within Ansel Elgorts character, whose dad is played by Dean Norris. Basically, Ansel was a football player and he decides to quit football because he doesn’t enjoy it.His mom just ran out on them to California with some guy, and while everyone else is looking at porn or having sex, he’s just over here playing Guild Wars non stop lol. His dad is upset with his son for not playing football anymore and is concerned with his gaming…

Then you have Jennifer Gardner, who plays a mom to Ansel Elgort’s love interest in the movie. She is crazy. She has the girl on lock down. She has a tracker on her phone so she can see every step her daughter takes, she can read and delete her daughters messages from her own cell phone, and she monitors and checks everything she says or does on the internet. She can read every character her daughter types on her phone or computer. Pretty intense..

I mean yeah, without going into the details and spoiling what happens, thats about all you need to know to understand the plot.

The movie is OKAY. The trailer is better lol, but I liked it. I wouldn’t say it’s great, but it’s watchable and you’ll probably enjoy it. The beginning is confusing. It’s a narration in outerspace… honestly felt like I accidentally put on a documentary…So, don’t let that throw you off. The movie is narrated by Emma Thompson, which is kind of annoying to be honest. I also think it was unnecessary. Jennifer Gardner also portrays how i picture most modern day parents…Way too overbearing, and despite the outcome her actions cause, I don’t feel like she really learned any lesson or grew as a character. The movie ended abruptly and I would have liked to see more development.

I do like the way they used social media and the internet on the camera…It’s been done before in movies like Sex Drive but I really enjoyed the way it was done in this movie. It was very fitting and done nicely.

Ansel’s character in this movie is much more introverted and I am not sure if I enjoyed him as much as I did in the Fault in our Stars, but still likable and I can tell he’s gonna make a lot of good movies and break a lot of teenage hearts.

I wouldn’t say it was as good as Juno despite reusing cast members (Gardner, Simmons) and using a main character who looks a lot like Ellen Page, but it’s definitely up the alley of a Juno-like movie and I would enjoy seeing more Jason Reitman films.

Also, after watching it, you’ll never be able to watch All State commercials the same way ever again…

Brief announcement

I interrupt your regularly scheduled movie review for this brief announcement:

If you by chance took a look at my Introduction blog, please ignore my “schedule” on there. I obviously got a very late start on this blog and will have to adjust how I go about it..For now, just check back when you’re bored and I might have a new review up. 🙂

Thanks,

Erica

The Duff

The Duff Rated PG-13 101 Minutes

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tbRlEXrysU

Starring: Mae WhitmanKen JeongAllison Janney, and a bunch of nobodies lol

My Rating: 7.5

IMDB Rating: 7.2

Would I watch i with my parents: Sure…It’s innocent. Nothing too bad

Review

Oh my, I have to review the Duff, because I actually got to see it in theaters , and if you knew my boyfriend you would understand what a miracle it is that I actually got to see a movie opening night.

The Duff stars an actress named Mae Whitman from one of my favorite movies (Perks of Being a Wallflower)..This was my main interest in seeing the movie….Because I usually base my initial decision on who the actors are and who directed it…Then the plot lol..

While the movie is somewhat predictable (no spoilers I promise) it was cute and pretty good for a teen comedy…It is no Mean Girls, but it is definitely better than a lot of the newer movies that have come out for the younger generation. I think the main character is adorable and while I should probably be outraged at the idea of a DUFF…I kinda think it holds some truth and I have accused people of having a Duff of their own (minus the terminology) in high school too…

So, here is a run down of the plot.. Bianca is your average teenage girl…She dresses kinda grungy, has her own personality, and kinda hangs out in the background and goes unnoticed; but her two best friends are these major knock outs who every guy wants to sleep with (or totally play PS3 with them) You would think this would mean they are using Bianca as their friend for some reason, but honestly the 3 grew up together and I believe the friendship to be genuine. Anyway, so they are at a party thrown by this massive bitch girl named Madison (played by Bella Thorne)….Who hates Bianca, because she thinks Bianca is trying to hit on her on again-off again boyfriend, Wesley (played by Robbie Amell) who, in reality is her neighbor that she hates.

At the party, Wesley tells Bianca she’s a DUFF (designated ugly fat friend), but makes it clear that a duff doesn’t necessarily have to be ugly or fat, but that doesn’t lessen the blow…She gets pissed off at him….but starts to realize it might be true, so she asks Wesley for his help to unDUFF her and help her stand out to land a guy she has a crush on.

I think I will stop my plot explanation there otherwise I’ll go too far into the details and possibly spoil something.

Overall, I think the acting is good for the targeted audience, it had it’s funny moments, and it wasn’t raunchy like a lot of “teen” movies now. Mae Whitman, as I stated, is adorable. I love her acting in it. She’s a bit corky and naive, but overall a very likable character. I did have an issue with her love interest in this movie though; Toby (played by Nick Eversman) his acting isn’t very good, and his facial expressions annoy me. The movie redeems itself with having Allison Janney play Bianca’s mother and Ken Jeong play her very likable teacher. If you don’t know who Allison Janney, she has a long list of roles including Juno’s step mom in…you guessed it, Juno…and the guidance counselor in 10 Things I Hate About You. Ken Jeong is the gay-not-gay asian dude in The Hangover…

Anyway, it’s worth seeing, but I’d save it for a matinee ticket or wait for it to come to Redbox if you’re tight on cash…There are better movies out there…But, if you’re a movie fanatic and don’t mind blowing cash on movies, I’d definitely add it to the list.

Introduction Post

Hello new readers. Erica here. Welcome to my insight on all things movies. During our journey together I will be reviewing movies and TV shows — past, current, and future. I am write as a hobby so I came up with this awesome idea to start a segment called “How it Should Have Ended” where I will re-write movies and last episodes of TV Series that either were horribly written or had a great concept but the execution wasn’t great.

See an example here.

 

Blog Schedule: 

I. Erica Blogs – New post every Friday night  – topics may include a review of a TV show, a new released movie, or something that is just on my mind.

II. 30 Days of Netflix Begins Sept 15th

III. 12 Days of Halloween Movie Challenge Begins October 19th

 

Have an idea for a movie review or re-write? Contact me!

 

 

The good, the bad, and the re-write