Peeta Mellark, Thor, and the chubby kid from "Drake & Josh" walk into a bar...but seriously. Red Dawn (dir. Dan Bradley, 2012) is a remake of the relatively famous war movie from 1984 in which Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen fight off invading Russians and Cubans. In the remake, the year is 2012 and the United States' primary enemy is North Korea*. After a cheesy high school football game and unexplained power outage, brothers Jed (Chris Hemsworth) and Matt (Josh Peck) are forced to band together with their ragtag group of high school friends to save their small Washington town from a land, sea, and sky invasion by the North Korean* army. Jed- older brother and former Marine- must teach his kid sibling and friends how to fight and survive if they are to make it back to normalcy again.
I love this film probably more than I should. I've seen it about five times already. There's humor, action, and a smidge of romance (that I don't really care about but other people seem to enjoy). It's a lot more fun than the original Red Dawn which I think was intended to be a more serious type of film. Alternatively, the portrayal of women in the original is far more feminist than the women in the new flick. Thankfully, I didn't go into this expecting anything other than mindless action, so it didn't bother me much this time. Either way, I'd highly recommend this movie to anyone who loves simple action flicks.
*Originally the film was slated to portray China as the invaders but after some real-life tensions between the US and China, the studio thought it would be a better idea if they didn't aggravate the Asian superpower. If you look closely, you can tell the actors' voices have been dubbed over.
I know what you're thinking. "Why is Ashlyn watching a movie about love? I thought she only liked movies where stuff blows up and/or the world is ending?" Well, this little slice of life story based on the novel by Wendelin Van Draanen is so refreshing, mature, and playful all at once that I couldn't stop watching (or reading). Reiner does as much justice to the source material as he did with Princess Bride (which I still say was better than the book), and the young actors are all fantastic in their roles.
Flipped is the story of Juli Baker and Bryce Loski- two children who meet when Bryce moves in next door to Juli right before second grade begins. Juli is immediately smitten, and Bryce is just as quickly made uncomfortable and annoyed by her attention. Bryce isn't particularly nice to Juli, and eventually, in junior high, she realizes that maybe he's just not the guy she first thought he was...just as Bryce starts looking at Juli in an entirely new light, and wondering what exactly his problem was all those previous years. The narrative also flips back and forth between Juli and Bryce, so we get to see many of their interactions from both perspectives. This is also one of the best uses of voice overs I have ever experienced, and I'm thinking some film students should be required to watch.
Somehow, this love story between a couple of kids, set against a backdrop of 1960s nostalgia (although the book seems to be set in the 2000s), class and family issues, peer pressure, and youthful idealism, is more realistic and full of genuine emotion than just about any big budget releases in the last decade.
This film is appropriate for all ages, and there's something to connect with for everybody. This one's a winner!
Brendan Gleeson tends to pick great scripts, and he sure found a winner in this film written and directed by up-and-comer John Michael McDonagh.
The Guard is about Sergeant Gerry Boyle, an Irish police officer, and FBI Agent Wendell Everett, as they team up to bring down a huge drug smuggling operation. Or at least...Agent Everett is trying. Sergeant Boyle is really much more interested in milkshakes and prostitutes, and hanging out with his equally irreverent mother.
This film is in turns hilarious and bittersweet. There is pervasive adult language (although, if you don't have a good ear for Irish accents, you won't catch half of it), a few dead bodies in cold storage, and some other really funny, really inappropriate chatter. There is also one of the most realistic fire fights I have ever seen on film in here, proving that McDonagh has a real grasp of how to make a realistic film without sacrificing plot or pacing.
I loved it! It reminded me of In Bruges, although it has not nearly that level of violence. I give it an A, and a reminder not to watch this one with the kiddies (lest you have to explain some words to them)!
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