Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Ugly Truth

Release Date: July 24th, 2009

Click here for The Ugly Truth Trailer.

Abby Richter (Katherine Heigl) is a romantically challenged morning show producer for a local television station. When the morning show she produces begins to lose viewers, and fast, Abby is forced to find new ways of exciting the crowd. When she is unable to come up with any good ideas, her boss Stuart(Nick Searcy) hires Mike Chadway(Gerard Butler), the host of a raunchy late night local access t.v. show called The Ugly Truth. On his show, Mike offers relationship advice to men and women in the most perverse, and sometimes truthful, way. Abby, having called Mike's show the previous night to call him out, is furious and shocked when she sees Mike walk into the studio for his new segment on the morning show also called The Ugly Truth.

Abby and Mike butt heads from the very start when Mike discontinues reading from his monitor and goes over to give relationship advice to the hosts of the morning show Larry(John Michael Higgins) and Georgia(Cheryl Hines), a married couple who are having serious relationship woes. Abby is furious with Mike but when the ratings that come in the next day are through the roof, Abby realizes that she has to work with Mike or face losing her job. But Mike doesn't make it easy on Abby when he provides a scenario for all the men asking them if they'd rather go on a romantic, candlelit dinner or watch two hot women wrestling in a pool full of jell-o. Abby sees an oppurtunity and goes with it, telling Mike to further the debauchery by licking the jell-o off of one of the girls fingers. The two get into an argument over the stunt and Mike proposes a challenge to Abby. Abby begins bragging to Mike about Colin(Eric Winter) her new neighbor who is young, attractive and a doctor. When Abby was in a tree outside of her house getting her cat, she saw Colin getting out of the shower and began spying on him. But when the tree branch she was on snapped, she fell and got got hanging upside down. Colin rushed out to help her and took her back to his apartment to treat her ankle.

Mike bets Abby that he can get Colin to fall for Abby if she goes by his advice. If Colin does fall for Abby Mike gets to do things his way and if Colin doesn't, Mike will quit. Abby agrees and to her surprise, Mike's techniques begin to work. eventually Colin does fall for Abby and they begin dating steadily, at which point Mike realizes his true feelings for Abby. When the two go to Hollywood so Mike can appear on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, they share an evening that brings them closer than either of them expected. After they furiously make out in a n elevator Abby breaks off and goes to her room. She hears a knock at the door and excitedly answers it expecting it to be Mike. But instead, Abby finds Colin, who surprises her. Mike works up the courage to go back to Abby's room and finds Colin answering the door. Mike gets angry and leaves before turning in his resignation with Abby's station and returning to his old show. Abby realizes her true feelings for Mike and tells Colin that she hasn't been herself and that she has been acting the way Mike told her to. She breaks it off with Colin and returns to work to find Mike gone.

However, the two are soon reunited when both of them are attending the same hot air balloon festival to cover it. Abby is running the new The Ugly Truth host while Mike sits and watches it from his t.v. van. When the new guy fails, Abby steps in to salvage what is left and goes on a rant about Mike. Mike can't take it and goes to where Abby is filming and begins to rant about her. The two get into the balloon which takes off with them on board. Abby and Mike start to argue while secretly being filmed by an on-board t.v. camera. Mike tells Abby he loves her and after a long debate she realizes what he said. Mike rejoins Abby's station and continues his role as host of The Ugly Truth.

This movie is set to appear as a typical romantic comedy but in turn focuses more on raunchy humor than romantic appeal. Gerard Butler is your typical womanizing, chauvinist, male dominant guy. His character "tells it like it is" from the male standpoint on woman, sex, and relationships. Butler isn't known for being the comedian in his films. However, he definitley shows his funny side in The Ugly Truth. Butler was by far the funniest character of the movie. While Katherine Heigl is known for her comedic work in movies like Knocked Up, The Ringer and 27 Dresses Gerard Butler is better recognized for his roles in movies such as The Phantom of the Opera, P.S. I Love You and 300. Yet Butler definitley takes the center comedic stage in this film. I think the best part about his comedy was that he wasn't afraid to say anything and that his timing was perfect.

This movie talked about topics and scenarios that you wouldn't typically expect. Some of the items covered, either on the morning news show or in conversations between characters, actually made me go "whoa!" and be taken aback sometimes. Nothing was out of bounds for director Robert Luketic. Luketic continually pushes the envelope with every scene sometimes resulting in huge laughs. Butler's character is definitley the hook for male audience members. Butler says everything most guys are thinking but are too afraid to say, making him a sort of hero/role model for men everywhere.

Heigl adds the sex appeal as well as her own unique comedy to the movie. Heigl's character is somewhat ditsy and is also a total control freak. She carriers around a list of the the 10 qualities she looks for in a guy and checks off all the ones that he meets. She even goes as far as to do a full background check and to print out the personal files of the people she meets online dating. It adds the neurotic sense to her character that makes her funny to watch, not to mention the fact that Butler and Heigl played well off each other, especially with their timing.

The movie isn't the funniest thing I have seen and sometimes the jokes can get old or offensive. I am really happy that the director steered more towards the comedy side as opposed to the romantic side. This movie is one that a girlfriend is going to drag her boyfriend too thinking it is a romantic-comedy chick flick but the guy is going to find it more relates to him than her. Although there weren't many, the supporting cast of the film was good. Cheryl Hines and John Michael Higgins were both pretty funny and Eric Winters added the anchor of realism and calmness that kept the movie somewhat balanced. If you are a fan of Katherine Heigl or Gerard Butler or you need a quick laugh to fill out your weekend, then The Ugly Truth is a good choice. I give The Ugly Truth 7 Hotties wrestling in Jell-O out of 10

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Release Date: January 16th, 2009

Click here for the Defiance Trailer.

In 1941, German forces are marching through Eastern Europe targeting Jewish people as they go. Most are killed and the ones that survive are thrown into concentration camps or restricted to living in ghettos. In Russia, the Jewish Bielski brothers Tuvia(Daniel Craig), Zus(Liev Schreiber), Asael(Jamie Bell) and Aron(George MacKay) are hiding in the forest on the run from German soldiers and local police. Their parents have been killed by the local police under orders from German soldiers and the Bielski brothers vow revenge.

While in the forest, Aron goes exploring and sees a small group of refugees gathered in a clearing with large ditches that are filled with Jewish bodies. Aron allows the refugees to follow him back to his brothers. Zus doesn't want to help them, fearing they do not have enough food and supplies to provide for everybody. However Tuvia refuses to turn anybody that needs help away and allows them to stay. While talking with his brothers, Tuvia discovers which Russian police officer killed his parents. Tuvia then takes his brothers and the other refugees to a local farm where a non-jewish family friend lives. Wile his brothers and the refugees are hiding in the upper level of the barn, Tuvia meets with the farmer who gives him a pistol and four bullets to take care of the Police Chief who killed his parents. While Tuvia is having a drink with the man, the Police Chief, along with his police officer sons, show up at the house. Tuvia runs and hides in the barn while the man distracts the officers. After they leave, Zus, Asael, Aron and the refugees go back into the forest as Tuvia peruses the Police chief. Tuvia walks into the dining room where the Chief and his family are having dinner. Tuvia confronts the Chief and kills his two sons as they draw their weapons. When the Chief begs for his life, Tuvia shoots and kills him as well.

Tuvia returns to the forest where Zus asks him how it felt to kill them but Tuvia walks away. Over the next year, more and more refugees begin to join Tuvia and his brothers. Zus expresses his concern about providing for everybody at which point Tuvia devises his plan. Tuvia takes Zus, Asael and two other men and they set up a trap on a nearby road. When a German motorcycle soldier drives by, the men pull a wire across the road which dismounts the soldier. The men quickly dispose of him and search for weapons until a jeep approaches them. The men hide in the surrounding bushes but when a soldier urinates on Zus, he kills him which starts a firefight between the soldiers and the men. Tuvia and his squad survive and begin raiding the truck when truck filled with German soldiers arrives drawn by the gunfight. The two men are killed as Tuvia and Zus are separated from Asael who is chased into the opposite forest by soldiers. The next day, Tuvia and Zus return to the farmer who gave them the gun for more supplies only to find him hanged in his own barn by the Germans with a sign pinned to his chest stating "Jew Lover". His wife, however, is still alive and she takes Tuvia and Zus to the cellar where Asael emerges with a woman, a teenage girl and the guns from the soldiers.

When Tuvia and Zus fall upon a group of Russian freedom fighters known as the October Otriad, they make a deal where Tuvia allows his best fighters to serve with them in exchange for supplies and protection. Tuvia and Zus debate over the direction in which the group should take. Tuvia wants the group to stay hidden in the woods and remain safe while Zus wishes for them to join the October Otriad, which is aggressively attacking the German patrols. Through their disagreement, Zus takes a small force to join the freedom fighters while Tuvia remains behind to lead the refugees. As their numbers grow the group falls on hard times, especially in the coming winter. However, Tuvia is able to form the refugees into a community, assigning people jobs, making everybody work, building shelters and bunkers and even forming relationships with the men taking what is called a forest wife. After a long winter filled with disease, starvation and death spring approaches and the group begins to prosper once again. The leader of the October Otriad finds Tuvia and tells him that the Germans are surrounding the forest and plan to attack the refugees. The October Otriad refuses to help and flees to save themselves. When Tuvia returns to camp he notices a German scout plane above them. Tuvia orders the camp to evacuate taking only what they can. As the refugees gather their supplies a squad of German dive bombers attacks obliterating the camp and killing several people. Tuvia's hearing is impaired after a bomb explodes next to him at which point Asael takes control. Asael positions fighters at key points to hold off the Germans long enough for everyone to escape.

The defense is defeated easily by the large German force with only Asael and another making it back to the group who is now stopped by a seemingly endless marsh. Asael once again takes the leadership role and has everyone tie their belts to together to make a human chain across the marsh. As the refugees make it to the other side hope seems restored until another German force, accompanied by a Panzer III tank attacks them from the front. This time the group stands and fights. They begin firing on the Germans as Tuvia and another refugee, Isaac Malbin(Mark Feuerstein), flank around to the side where some soldiers are setting up a mounted machine gun. Tuvia and Isaac defeat the soldiers and take the gun. They begin firing on the tank and soldiers who change their focus from the refugees to Tuvia and Isaac. As the tank aims its sites on the two men, Isaac grabs a stick grenade and charges the tank only to be gunned down instantly. Just as the tank gets ready to fire Zus, along with his men from the October Otriad, emerge from the forest behind the Germans. The kill all the soldiers while Zus drops a grenade into the open hatch of the tank destroying it. The group gathers what ammunition and guns they can and head off back into the forest. The film ends with text and pictures revealing the fate of the Bielski brothers and the refugees they helped.

This is a completely different take on the whole World War II setting. Typically in WWII movies we get the viewpoint from the American soldier. Bravely fighting the Nazi regimes and keeping America safe or the attack on Pearl Harbor are all typical settings for WWII films. We sometimes even get the viewpoint from the Jewish people that are in the concentration camps. But we have yet to have a movie depicting the Jewish people fighting back against the tyranny and oppression the German soldiers inflicted upon them. Defiance is a refreshing take on the WWII genre. It depicts the struggle of a band of Jewish refugees who take up arms and fight back against the German forces invading their country.

This movie wasn't a huge mainstream blockbuster when it came out. It was a very good movie that got shadowed by the bigger films in it's release date. But just because the internet, t.v. and magazines aren't buzzing about it doesn't mean that the movie isn't worth watching. Daniel Craig(Casino Royale), Liev Schreiber(X-Men Origins: Wolverine) and Jamie Bell(Billy Elliot) are three very different actors who do an excellent job of portraying the three very different Bielski brothers. Each one gives his own unique style to his role which really helps diversify the characters allowing you to relate differently to each of the brothers based on your own personality. The setting of the film was also refreshing. Typically in WWII films you are thrust into the desolate and destroyed buildings of Germany or the beaches of the Pacific Islands. However in this one, you are based in the forests of Russia. This change in scenery makes for interesting battlefield tactics and firefights. I really liked how the refugees made their shelters. The were more like log bunkers built into hillsides which made hiding them from the soldiers easy. The story was also good. It really gave you a sense of how deep human emotion goes and the bonds and love shared between brothers. It also did a very good job of showing the basic human instinct to survive against all odds.

Some problems I had with the movie are minor at best. I did have a problem with some of the accents. While I have to give credit to the director and actors for making every character that needed one have a Russian accent it sometimes didn't come through so good, especially with Craig. Craig has a strong British accent which poked through more than once in some of his dialogue. I also didn't understand why some of the Russian characters in the film spoke in Russian with subtitles while a majority of the rest of the characters spoke English with Russian accents. It makes sense in a movie if the main character is one nationality and they speak to someone of a different one and their is subtitles, but when two Russians are speaking to each other in Russian and there are subtitles and then that same person goes off and starts speaking English to someone else it gets confusing. My biggest complaint, however, has nothing to do with the acting, writing or anything like that. I hated how everybody in the refugee camp was a horrible shot. They couldn't hit anything at all but that is because it was scripted like that so it doesn't really matter. I also found it strange that they were always complaining about not having any food or water but they always had a full supply of vodka.

All in all this was a very good movie. The main actors in it were great and the story is dramatic and captivating with action that leaves you on the edge of your seat. I would highly recommend this to any of you who like war movies, action movies or even movies with a good story and compelling drama. I give Defiance 8 Bielski Otriads out of 10

Monday, July 20, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Release Date: July 15th, 2009

Click here for the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Trailer.

The lines between the wizard world and the muggle world are becoming thin. Death Eaters are now wreaking havoc and destruction in the non-wizard world, causing major disasters which are claiming the lives of muggels around the world. The Death Eaters also turn their sites on innocent people in the wizard world, capturing people like Mr. Olivander, the wand maker. Harry Potter(Daniel Radcliffe) is reluctant to return to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry after his latest scrap with Lord Voldemort(Ralph Fiennes) at the Ministry if Magic. However, Headmaster Albus Dumbledore(Michael Gambon) persuades Harry after taking him to meet an old teacher from Hogwarts, Horace Slughorn(Jim Broadbent). Dumbledore wants Slughorn to return to Hogwarts and take Harry under his wing. At a secret hiding place, Professor Severus Snape(Alan Rickman) is approached by Bellatrix Lestrange(Helena Bonham Carter), one of Voldemort's principal Death Eaters, and Narcissa Malfoy(Helen McCrory), the mother of Draco Malfoy(Tom Felton) who is Harry's enemy at Hogwarts. Lord Voldemort has chosen Draco for a special task, one that will cost Draco his life should he fail. Narcissa wants Snape to look over Draco and to protect him. Snape agrees but fails to convince Bellatrix of his commitment. Bellatrix forces Snape to enter the Unbreakable Vow with Narcissa. This ensures Snape uphold his bargain lest he die.

While walking through Diagon Alley, Harry, along with his friends Ron Weasley(Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger(Emma Watson) spot Draco entering the dark magic shop of Borgin and Burkes where he participates in a ritual with other Death Eaters. When the students return to Hogwarts, they see that the school is under heavy security to keep out the Death Eaters. Slughorn returns to teaching taking up his old role as Potions Master while the former potions teacher, Snape, is given the Defense Against the Dark Arts class. Harry and Ron, who are not good at Potions, are advised by Professor McGonagall(Maggie Smith) to take the class due to the fact that Professor Slughorn is much easier than Snape was. The two boys didn't have any books for the class and were forced to grab some from the closet. There were only two left, a new one and an old, tattered one. Harry and Ron fight over the new one with Ron winning. Harry picks up the old one and notices that it belonged to somebody named "The Half-Blood Prince". This book had detailed instructions that differed from the ones in the book on how to make the different potions. For their first task, the students were asked to make a very difficult instant-death potion. With the help of the book, Harry surpasses everybody else, including Hermione who is always the best, at successfully makes the potion. Professor Slughorn then awards Harry a vial of Felix Felicis, which is basically liquid luck.

Harry leaves the school for Christmas break where he stays with Ron and his family. While having a conversation with Arthur Weasley(Mark Williams) Remus Lupin(David Thewlis) and Nymphadora Tonks(Natalie Tena) Death Eaters attack and try to capture Harry, who runs out into the fields after them. Ginny Weasley(Bonnie Wright) follows close behind Harry. The two enter a clearing with the Death Eaters casting spells from the the shadows. Lupin, Tonks, and Arthur Weasley find Harry and Ginny and fight off the Death Eaters who destroy the Weasley's house by burning it to the ground. While back at Hogwarts, Dumbledore reveals to Harry why he has asked Harry to become close to Professor Slughorn and why Slughorn was asked to come back to Hogwarts. Tom Riddle, which was Voldemort's real name, was a student at Hogwarts. Dumbledore shows Harry memories that he has extracted over the years regarding Voldemort. Dumbledore is looking for any clues to help defeat the dark lord. Dumbledore shows Harry a memory he got from Professor Slughorn. Voldemort was a close student of Slughorn and approached him one day with an interesting question. Voldemort asks Slughorn about a very dark piece of magic. Slughorn gets angry and throws Voldemort out of his office. The memory, however, was tampered with by Slughorn and it didn't reveal what the dark magic that Voldemort asked about was. Dumbledore wants Harry to get Slughorn to tell him what they talked about. Harry uses the vial of Felix Felicis to lure Slughorn to the grounds keeper Hagrid's(Robbie Coltrane) hut, where they begin drinking. While Slughorn is intoxicated, Harry is able to convince him to reveal the piece of magic Voldemort asked about. Slughorn reveals to Harry that Voldemort asked about Horcruxes. These are devices that the user stores a part of his sole in. Should the user die, the part of his sole will survive rendering the user immortal until the Horcrux is destroyed. Voldemort created seven Horcruxes which all need to be destroyed in order to defeat Voldemort. Dumbledore has already found and destroyed one of the Horcruxes which was a ring that belonged to Voldemort's mother. Harry had unknowingly destroyed another one in his second year at Hogwarts when he destroyed Voldemort's journal.

In the meantime, Harry is still suspicious of Draco Malfoy. Harry believes Draco to be behind two attacks on Dumbledore's life, one attack involving Katie Bell(Georgina Leonidas), who was under the Imperius Curse, delivering a cursed necklace to Dumbledore and another involving a poisoned wine that Slughorn was supposed to give to Dumbledore but instead gave to Harry and Ron. Ron drank the wine and almost died but Harry was able to save him. Harry follows Draco into a bathroom where Draco is at the sink crying. Harry confronts Draco who attacks Harry. During the fight, Harry casts the Sectumsempra spell, one he learned in the Half-Blood Prince's book, which severely injures Draco. Snape arrives and mends Draco's wounds after removing Harry from the site. To prevent Harry from using the book again, Ginny Weasley convinces Harry to hide it in the Room of Requirement. Ginny hides the book so harry won't know where it is. While in the room, the two uncover, unknown to them, a vanishing cabinet which Draco has been secretly trying to fix. The cabinet can transfer things from it to it's sister cabinet, which is located in Borgin and Burkes. After this Dumbledore asks Harry to assist him on finding another Horcrux. The two apparate to a seaside cliff where they enter a cave that houses one of Voldemort's Horcruxes. Dumbledore summons a boat from underneath the water which takes him and Harry to a small crystal island. At the island there is a small basin filled with water that has been cursed by dark magic. Dumbledore begins to drink to the water to reveal the Horcrux and makes Harry promise that no matter what he will not let Dumbledore stop drinking. Despite his pain and yelling Harry does as he is told. When they Horcrux is revealed Harry grabs it. Dumbledore asks for some water but the two are attacked by numerous inferi. Harry fights off as many as he can before being thrown into the water where more inferi attack him. Suddenly bolts of fire come crashing into the water killing the inferi. Harry swims back to the surface to see Dumbledore conjuring great flames. The two flee the cave an apparate to the astronomy tower in Hogwarts.

Dumbledore instructs Harry to retrieve Snape, but before he can the two hear footsteps. Dumbledore orders Harry to hide under on the lower level of the tower. Draco appears in the tower and points his wand at the weakened Dumbledore, prepared to kill him as ordered by Voldemort. Bellatrix Lestrange as well as other Death Eaters arrive in Hogwarts through the Vanishing Cabinet that Draco fixed. They arrive in the astronomy tower as Draco is confronting Dumbledore. Snape arrives under the tower where he motions for Harry to be quiet. Snape joins the other Death Eaters and they all wait for Draco to complete his task. Draco is unable to bring himself to do it at which point Snape raises his wand and casts the Avada Kedavra curse which instantly kills Dumbledore who falls over the rail into the courtyard below. Draco, Snape and the other Death Eaters leave the school causing destruction in their wake as Harry peruses them. Outside the castle Harry confronts Snape and attempts to use the Sectumsempra curs on him. Snape easily deflects and knocks Harry down. Snape then reveals that he is the Half-Blood Prince and the creator of the spell. After the Death Eaters leave the students and faculty gather around the body of Dumbledore as Harry clutches to him being comforted by Ginny. After wards Harry is approached by McGonagall but refuses to give her any details. While Harry is in the castle thinking he is approached by Hermione and Ron. Harry reveals to them that the Horcrux they found was a fake. It contained a message to Voldemort from an R.A.B. The message stated that R.A.B. had found the real Horcrux and was going to destroy it. Harry tells Ron and Hermione that he doesn't intend to return to Hogwarts next year but instead is going to seek out R.A.B. and the rest of the Horcruxes to finally destroy Voldemort. Ron and Hermione remind Harry that they are his friends and that he can not do this alone and agree to go with him.

This is the sixth movie in the Harry Potter series based off of the books by J.K. Rowling and it was definitely the most anticipated one yet. Now everybody knows that movies based on books never have everything from the book in the movie and if you come to this film expecting it to be word for word from the book then you are going to be disappointed. However, this movie did a good job of keeping key points from the book in the movie and making the story make sense from the previous films. We have seen from the previous films how the mood and feel has progressively grown darker and more sinister as it did in the books. This movie is definitely the darkest of the series and turns Harry Potter from the lovable lad we saw in the first movie to the dark magic fighting wizard he is now.

What I like most about this movie is how they matured the characters from the previous films into this one. The director does a great job of making you feel like you are growing up with Harry, Ron and Hermione. Also, all the actors themselves were fantastic. Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint have come a long way since The Sorcerer's Stone and prove to be capable of the big roles they have in the Harry Potter films. But Harry Potter isn't all about the acting. The locals in which the movie and book take place are key structures in the story. Places like Hogwarts, Diagon Alley and the Weasley's home are points of interest that are crucial in making the film feel as real as possible. Well the special effects used in creating the world of Harry Potter were top notch. The areas in the film felt remarkably real and the production team did an excellent job of making you feel like you were actually in the Harry Potter world.

One aspect of the film that I really liked but was not suspecting was the comedic presence throughout the movie. This was by far the funniest Potter film yet. Now introducing comedy in a film that is supposed to be dark like The Half-Blood Prince is a tricky business. Add to much and it overshadows the true nature of the film, add some but not enough makes it feel awkward and unrealistic. However this film had the right blend. The comedy never seemed to overshadow the darker nature of the story but added that flavor that made the movie that much more enjoyable.

Being a reader of the books myself, I notice which things are present and missing from the book. This film is no different in leaving things out than the other movies. Some of the things they left out made sense like different scenes from the book that didn't progress the plot. But a few scenes they left out from the book were particularly disappointing for me. The biggest disappointment I had is how they left out the scene of Dumbledore's funeral. At the end of the book there is a big funeral with all the different characters and such. I particularly thought this was a major part in the book and the fact that they didn't add it to the movie angered me. Dumbledore was the biggest character in the books next to Harry. I just feel like they cheated him by not having the funeral. He just sort of died and they left him alone. I felt like he deserved more. But I'll let you make your own assumptions about that.

Overall this movie was great. I became a huge Potter fan after seeing the first movie. It actually got me reading the books. While I was a little disappointed at some of the things they left out I can also say that what they did put in the movie did the book justice. This is by far the best movie in the series. It had great action, great acting and was just a joy to watch. I can not wait until I get the chance to see it again. If you love the Harry Potter movies, or the books, or just love anything to do with it then you must see this movie. It makes me sad to see this beloved franchise coming to an end but I look forward to the climactic ending that awaits. I give Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince 9 Liquid Luck Potions out of 10.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Proposal

The Proposal - review by zackRelease Date: June 19th, 2009

Click here for The Proposal Trailer.

Margaret Tate(Sandra Bullock) is the executive editor-in-chief- of Colden Books, a popular and well-known book publishing corporation. Due to her no-nonsense attitude, Margaret is despised and feared by everybody at the office, especially her personal assistant Andrew Paxton(Ryan Reynolds). Andrew has been working for Margaret and doing every little thing for her in hoes that she will promote him to editor and maybe even publish his manuscript. When Margaret is told not to leave the country because of a problem with her citizen visa, she does it anyways to close a big book deal. The government hen cancels her Visa and attempts to deport her back to her home country oh Canada. Realizing that she can not enter the country for an entire year and not wanting to get deported, she tells her boss and her unsuspecting assistant Ryan that the two of them are engaged. Initially Andrew refuses but when the threat of losing job is hung over top of him, Andrew reluctantly agrees on the charade. Everything is going according to plan until the two meet with Mr. Gilbertson(Denis O'Hare) an INS agent who begins investigating the two's relationship to make sure it is legitimate. He tells the couple that if it is found that the engagement is falsified just so Margaret won't get deported, that Andrew will be fined up to $250,000 and serve five years in a federal prison.

After hearing this news, Andrew decides that he will only continue the false engagement under a few conditions. He wants Margaret to promote him to editor as soon as they are done and to publish his manuscript. Margaret begrudgingly agrees and the two head off to Sitka, Alaska to celebrate Andrew's grandma's 90th birthday and to tell his family about the engagement. When the two arrive in Sitka they are greeted at the airport by Andrew's mother Grace(Mary Steenburgen) and his grandma "Gammy"(Betty White) who are shocked to see that Andrew has brought Margaret, the woman he has hated for the past three years. As the four travel through Sitka, Margaret notices all the stores are entitled with Andrew's last name in front of it where in which Margaret realizes that Andrew's family owns most of the businesses in town. Margaret and Andrew then take a speed boat to an island where Andrew's family lives. Margaret is stunned by the size of Andrew's house and the fact that Andrew's parents have thrown them a surprise "Welcome Home Party". During the party, Andrew’s ex-girlfriend Gertrude(Malin Akerman) approaches the two and introduces herself before Andrew’s dad steps in. After Andrew introduces Margaret to his father Joe(Craig T. Nelson), he is immediately embarrassed by his father's views on Andrew's job. Confronting his father about, Andrew bursts out and tells him that they are engaged where in Andrew announces to the whole party that the two of them are engaged. The family then forces the two to kiss. When they do, they are strangely not repulsed and actually enjoy it.

That day, Grace and Gammy, along with Gertrude, take Margaret out for a “girl’s time”, much to the resentment of Margaret. The girls go shopping and end the day by going to a bar to watch the only male exotic dancer in Sitka. While at the show, Grace puts a wedding veil on Margaret who is taken up on stage by the dancer, Ramone(Oscar Nunez) who was also a waiter at the party for Margaret and Andrew. After the dance, Margaret goes outside for some fresh air and is followed shortly after by Gertrude. The two begin to talk and Gertrude tells Margaret that Andrew proposed to her in college and wanted her to elope with him and movie to New York. Not wanting to leave her home or family, Gertrude said no. Gertrude continues to talk with Margaret realizing Margaret’s true feelings for Andrew. While the girls are out, Andrew approaches his dad who wants to apologies for how he first acted around Margaret. He also tells Andrew that he wants to retire and that he wants Andrew to take over the family business. Andrew has already been through this before with his father and the two get into a fight, in which Andrew storms off and starts hollowing out an old canoe to get rid of his anger. When the women return, Grace and Gammy see Andrew working and immediately know something is wrong. Grace then goes in to confront Joe about what he did and tells him he needs to make it up to Andrew immediately.

Everything seems to be working out just fine until Gammy and Andrew's parents insist in getting married on the island the very next day instead of having a party for Gammy's birthday. Not wanting to disappoint, the two agree to the wedding. While it is all still an act for Andrew, Margaret, having no family of her own, is attracted to the love and generosity that the Paxton's are showing her. When Andrew and Margaret go into town to retrieve a cell phone they ordered, Margaret is taken away by Grace and Gammy to be fitted into Gammy's old wedding dress, the same one Gammy's great grandmother made and wore. Gammy also gives Margaret a necklace to where that has been in the Paxton family for generations. Seeing the care and the love that Paxton's are showing her, Margaret decides she can't go through with the wedding and hijacks the speed boat with Andrew in it to confess. But when Margaret lets go of the wheel, Andrew grabs it and turns sharply to avoid hitting a buoy and Margaret falls into the water. Andrew circles around and picks her up and takes her back to the house. When they arrive at the house, Andrew's father takes the two back into the barn where Mr. Gilbertson arrives o try and get the couple to confess. Andrew fervently denies that the wedding is fake and storms out with Margaret.

The next day Margaret and Andrew attend the wedding in the barn, a Paxton family tradition, which is filled with friends and family, including Mr. Gilbertson. As the ceremony starts, Margaret realizes her true feelings for Andrew and his family and realizes that she can not do this to them. In the middle of the wedding, Margaret stops and reveals to everybody her true reasons for marrying Andrew. Trying to make Andrew seem better, she admits that the only reason he agreed was because she blackmailed him. Margaret leaves and heads to the airport with Mr. Gilbertson. The two get on a plane headed for Juno Alaska where they will take another plane to New York. Andrew is confronted by his family but retreats to his room to collect his thoughts. While in his room, Gertrude approaches him and makes him realize his true feelings for Margaret. When Andrew leaves to stop her he is confronted by his father. The two get into a fight which heavily upsets Gammy, who falls to the ground, apparently suffering of a heart attack. Andrew and his parents are airlifted off the island with Gammy who, while in the air, tells Andrew and his dad to stop fighting all the time. The two agree at which point they arrive at the airport. Andrew contacts the Radio Control Tower Operator Chuck, who is a friend of Andrew's, and tells him to stop the plane. However, Chuck is thick headed and fails to come through. Andrew and his family watch as the plane flies away.

Back in New York, Margaret is given 24 hours to clean out her apartment and office and to get back to Canada. While at the office, Andrew comes running through the doors. He approaches Margaret and reveals his true feelings for her. Andrew asks Margaret to marry him for real. After some hesitation, Margaret admits that she is scared to which Andrew agrees that he is too. The two kiss in front of the other co-workers in the office and return to Mr. Gilbertson telling him they are engaged again, only this time he believes them, but still puts them, as well as Andrew’s parents and grandmother, through a ridiculous series of questions purely for his amusement.

This movie was a romantic comedy in every sense of the word. Ryan Reynolds is known for his comedic presence with such movies like Waiting and Van Wilder while Bullock is known for being funny in some of her roles like Ms. Congeniality. This movie put a larger emphasis on comedy than it did the romantic side of things though it didn’t leave it out completely. One thing that is hard to get in romantic comedy movies, or any romantic movie for that matter, is good chemistry between the two leading roles. This was not the case with Reynolds and Bullock. The two had great chemistry with each other. Some of the best times they had were when Bullock was being rude or mean to Reynolds and he just responded with a quick sarcastic response that was always funny. The film really made you feel sorry for Reynolds and his position under Bullock. Bullock played the ruthless boss perfectly. The way Reynolds responds to Bullock’s actions helps to add to her character as well.

The plot was fairly predictable. You know from the start that the two are going to fall in love; such is the plot with nearly all movies with this kind of premise. The premise where two people who have nothing in common, are complete opposites, or seem like they hate each other actually fall in love. But although the plot wasn’t totally original, it made up for it with the humor. One of the funniest show stealers was that of Betty White. The former Golden Girl star added her special dose of comedy to the film. She added the perfect dose of her own comedy to the movie that really gave it that extra kick. Mary Steenburgen and Craig T. Nelson performed adequately for their parts. Neither one had a big comedic role. Nelson was playing the un-approving father who just wanted his son to take over the family business and Steenburgen played the loving mother who just wanted her son to be happy.

Overall this movie was a surprising delight to watch. All the actors were good and Reynolds and Whit were hysterical. Bullock was also funny and her chemistry with Reynolds was something to be desired in some of the other romantic movies seen these days. While definitely not a movie to stand up against Transformers or other summer blockbusters like that, it is still definitely one to go and see. This movie is definitely worth an initial watch and, if you’re a fan of romantic comedies, one that you will definitely enjoy. I give The Proposal 7 Fake Engagements out of 10.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Public Enemies

Release Date: July 1st, 2009

Click here for the Public Enemies Trailer.

In the early 1930's, America has sunken into the Great Depression. Money is scarce and crime is at an all time high thanks to famous bank robbers like Pretty Boy Floyd, Baby Face Nelson, and Public Enemy #1 John Dillinger.

In an Indiana prison lies key members of a gang lead by John Dillinger(Johnny Depp). Being a loyal man, Dillinger stages a daring rescue and gets all bu one of his friends out alive except for his friend Walter Dietrich(James Russo) who was killed during the escape. Dillinger, along with his gang, flees the prison and holds up at a local farm where the gang gets some food and changes clothes. The gang then leaves Indiana and heads to Chicago knowing that the Chicago police aren't after them and that the Indiana police can't arrest the gang in Chicago.While in Chicago, Dillinger and his gang decide to make a little money and rob a few banks. Dillinger's plans are always in order. Three men, Dillinger, Charles Makley(Christian Stolte), and Harry Pierpoint(David Wenham) enter the bank and rob it while Homer Van Meter(Stephen Dorff) acts as a look out outside the bank and John "Red" Hamilton(Jason Clarke) awaits in the getaway car. The gang only robs from the bank itself and never takes any money from the patrons inside. Dillinger and his gang knock over a few banks and lay low.

In the meantime, J. Edgar Hoover(Billy Crudup), administrator of the Bureau of Investigation is putting together a special team lead by Agent Melvin Purvis(Christian Bale) to track down and arrest all known criminals starting with John Dillinger and his gang while Dillinger and his crew spend their nights after robbing the banks attending high class Chicago parties. At one of the parties Dillinger meets Billie Frechette(Marion Cotillard), a coat check girl who Dillinger immediately falls in love with. Dillinger then takes Billie to a very fancy restaurant where he meets an old associate of his. The man introduces Dillinger to Frank Nitti(Bill Camp) who is Al Capone's right hand man and the under boss in Chicago. Nitti tells Dillinger that he wants to talk with him more and Dillinger and his gang go down to Miami with Nitti. While staying in Miami, Dillinger and his gang are ambushed and arrested. The police fly Dillinger back to Indiana where he is to stand trial. The prosecutor wants to send Dillinger to the State Penitentiary, claiming that the jail he is in now is not sufficient enough to hold him and his gang. Dillinger tells his attorney and friend to stall the transfer long enough for him to break out of jail. He does so and Dillinger starts making his plans.

Using a fake wood pistol, Dillinger fools the guards and manages to break out of the prison. Dillinger is back on the run and closely pursued by Purvis who is always one step behind. Purvis thinks he has a lead on Dillinger and goes in to make the arrest. But instead of finding Dillinger they find George "Baby Face" Nelson(Stephen Graham) who kills one of Purvis' agents and flees. Dillinger regroups with his gang and they stage their next robbery. But the gang is shorthanded and they need help. Going against their rule of not working with the crazy or desperate, they inquire the help of George "Baby Face" Nelson who was an admirer of Dillinger and who also was a dangerous and crazed killer/robber. Nelson tells the group of a bank holding around $800,000, the biggest hit they would have made. When they break into the bank, everything goes smoothly until Baby Face sees a motorcycle police officer pull up across the street, oblivious to what is going on inside he bank. George decides to shoot and kill the cop which attracts the attention of the rest of the police. When the gang leaves, the see officers disguised as civilians pull out weapons and open fire on the gang. They manage to escape but not before George opens fire on innocent civilians. The gang, who has lost even more members due to the gunfight, make their way to the Little Bohemia Lodge in Manitowish Wisconsin to hold up for the night.

At the lodge, the gang discovers that the hit was only around $26,000 instead of $800,000 like George promised. Dillinger tells his partner "Red" Hamilton that first thing in the morning they need to ditch George and head out of town. But before they can leave Purvis, having been tipped off by a member of Dillinger's gang who was captured after being presumed dead, shows up with his agents and opens fire on the lodge. Dillinger and his gang escape with Dillinger and Hamilton going one way and Nelson, Homer Van Meter, and another member going a different way. Thinking they are following Dillinger, Purvis and some of his men follow Baby Face while some other agents, who were flanking through the woods follow Dillinger and Hamilton. During the chase, Hamilton is shot and eventually dies as the two flee the agents. Purvis catches up with Nelson and the others who flipped their car while escaping. Purvis and his men gun down Nelson, Van Meter, and the third gang member. Dillinger then makes his way back to Chicago to find Billie. He does and the two go away to a safe house. What they don't know is that the safe house is filled with Purvis' agents. Dillinger sends Billie in and she is immediately captured and arrested. Dillinger watches her being taken away, knowing he can do nothing to save her.

After receiving a letter form Billie telling Dillinger not to break her out, Dillinger meets up with his friend and criminal Alvin Karpis(Giovanni Ribisi) who asks for Dillinger's help in robbing a train carrying money to the U.S. Reserve totaling over $1 million. Dillinger agrees and Karpis makes the plans. That day, Dillinger meets up with his friend Anna Sage(Branka Katic) and his new girlfriend Polly Hamilton(Leelee Sobieski) and decides to take them out to the movies. What Dillinger doesn't know is that Anna had been approached by Purvis who threatened her with deportation back to Romania if she didn't cooperate. She told Purvis she would inform him when Dillinger would be taking them out. She tells Purvis that they are going to a movie either at the Biograph Theater or another theater. Purvis splits his team with himself and other agents going to the Biograph and the other half going to the other theater. When Anna is identified by the clothing she told Purvis she would where, the agents get ready. Purvis waits at the entrance of the theater, telling his men he will light his cigar when he spots Dillinger. The agents await in the shadows for Dillinger to leave the show. When they spot Purvis lighting his cigar they move in, leading to the final confrontation between Purvis and Dillinger.

Not too many movies are made in the era of the Great Depression but the ones that are certainly are good. This movie was highly anticipated by critics and movie goers alike and I know I was definitley excited fir it, and for good reason, this movie was good. Depp was phenomenal as the famed criminal John Dillinger. Depp had this swagger about him that clearly showed his carefree attitude. You really got a sense of who John Dillinger was and why he did what he did. If anyone can make being a criminal cool, it is Johnny Depp as John Dillinger. This is definitley one of Depp's best performances. I was surprised by Christian Bale's performance, pleasantly surprised. Bale's character was a calm, cool southern gentleman sort of character and Bale did a nice job of portraying that sense of justice and peace that his character had. The story mainly focused on Dillinger and Purvis, which didn't leave much time for the other characters. aside from those two, the only characters with extended screen time were Billy Crudup who played J. Edgar Hoover and Marion Cotillard who played Billie Frechette. Although there was a good supporting cast behind these people that included David Wenham, Giovanni Ribisi, Stephen Dorff, and Stephen Graham.

The story was interesting and exciting, following the fast paced life of John Dillinger and the action was definitley top-notch. There was car chases, prison breaks, and shootouts galore in this film so it never left you with a dull moment. The main story aside from the action did lack a little in enthusiasm but if you pay attention it proves to be a moving story. This movie is based off of a non-fiction book written by Bryan Burrough entitled Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34. The acting was good and the story was great. i really liked Depp's performances and the way they made Dillinger appear invincible. They did this by putting Dillinger through all the shootouts and prison breaks and in certain scenes. My favorite scene is when Dillinger takes his girlfriend to downtown Chicago to get her waitress license. She has to go into the Chicago Police department to get it and Dillinger bravely walks in with her. He then walks upstairs into a room completely dedicated to finding him and his gang. He walks around the people gathering evidence about him and looks at the board describing him and his now dead gang members. He even walks up to a group of cops listening to a baseball game and asks what the score is, then he leaves. This scene, for me, showed the guts Dillinger had and how brave he was. It was kind of like a superiority complex for him, going in and saying "I'm right here and you don't even know it."

All in all this movie was good. It had a great story, fantastic action, and magnificent performances, especially by Depp. If you are a fan of Depp or you just like good movies than I highly recommend you see this film. I give Public Enemies 9 Daring Bank Robberies out of 10.