Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mini Review Set: 11/19/2009

Twilight: New Moon

Running Time: Just over two hours
MPAA Rating: PG-13

The starry-eyed sparkle fest that was "Twilight" is improved a dozen times over by the absence of its mopey lead vampire. This story follows protagonist Bella as she finds new love in the companionship of her old friend Jacob (who reveals himself to be yet another mythological monster) to replace her old flame (popsicle, to be accurate) Edward. The writing is as cheesy as ever, but the efforts of incoming director Chris Weitz make it work as well as possible. Fans of the series will be pleased and newcomers may enjoy the supernatural action much more than expected.

Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

Running Time: Just under two hours
MPAA Rating: R

Claireece "Precious" Jones is a morbidly obese 16-year-old high school girl who lives in 1987 Harlem. She is illiterate, forced to labor over her abusive mother, and is pregnant with her second child as a result of being raped by her disgusting father. It's safe to say that this is not a feel-good movie. The story follows Precious's attempts to receive an education while caring for her children and finding love in a world that has shown her nothing but unconditional hatred. Saying that it is emotionally powerful would be an understatement, but sometimes the most shocking moments are transitioned into darkly humorous fantasies too quickly for any impact to be made on the audience. If you can handle such a dark tale, then "Precious" is a must-see for an engrossing look into a young girl’s search for hope in a hopeless world.

The Blind Side

Running Time: Just over two hours
MPAA Rating: PG-13

This part biography, part sports movie handles itself surprisingly well. Sandra Bullock pulls herself together nicely (after a series of critical flops) to play the compassionate adoptive mother of future football star Michael Oher. There are an excessive number of tearjerker moments relating to Oher’s poverty-stricken childhood, but they are done well enough to make you care about the characters rather than feeling like exploitive gimmicks. The plot revolves around an inspiring act of Christian charity that will work for audiences of all tastes; sports fans or not.


Running Time: Two hours and forty minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Many will argue that this movie delivers exactly what was promised in its advertising, but knowing that a movie will be bad does not excuse the fact. Special effect technology has improved since Roland Emmerich’s previous movies (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow), but his writing has become steadily worse with each new entry into the disaster movie genre. If you’re looking for several hours of eye candy and don’t much care what the characters have to say or think, then this is the movie for you.

This Is It

Running Time: An hour and a half
MPAA Rating: PG

Michael Jackson’s swan song was caught on tape before his untimely death last June. This film is made up entirely of rehearsals from his preparation for the highly anticipated “This Is It” concert tour. The footage was caught using a variety of cameras with varying quality (it was never meant to be anything but posterity). While Jackson’s performances are up to standards, the necessary planning process often interrupts them, which, while potentially engaging to fans of Jackson or those with an interest in the production of live music, will be just plain boring to most people. This is a movie that would not have been made had it not been for the performer’s death, so my recommendation is to skip it unless you’re significantly drawn to his work.

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