Animated Movie Review: Despicable Me

This is a movie review of Despicable Me.

Plot Summary (courtesy of IMDB):

In a happy suburban neighborhood surrounded by white picket fences with flowering rose bushes, sits a black house with a dead lawn. Unbeknownst to the neighbors, hidden beneath this home is a vast secret hideout. Surrounded by a small army of minions, we discover Gru (voiced by Steve Carell), planning the biggest heist in the history of the world. He is going to steal the moon. (Yes, the moon!) Gru delights in all things wicked. Armed with his arsenal of shrink rays, freeze rays, and battle-ready vehicles for land and air, he vanquishes all who stand in his way. Until the day he encounters the immense will of three little orphaned girls who look at him and see something that no one else has ever seen: a potential Dad. The world's greatest villain has just met his greatest challenge: three little girls named Margo, Edith and Agnes

Run Time: 95 Minutes

Movie Review:

Despicable Me was one of the most hyped movies of Summer 2010, with advertisements proliferating the net and television since at least early May (the movie was released July 9th). Because of all of this hype, as well as a significant amount of footage shown during this advertising campaign I was expecting that this movie was going to fall flat, especially with the recent success of well established franchises such as Toy Story and Shrek.

I was pleasantly proven wrong after only a few minutes into the film. A good deal of "footage" from this movie that was in the advertisements was in fact not in the movie, so it didn't have to rely on jokes which people already had seen hundreds of times. There were plenty of jokes to go around, ranging from the dark comedy of lead character Gru, to the slapstick comedy of the minions, to the cutesy-type comedy of the three little girls.

But this movie is not just a comic relief type flick. As with many other movies focused towards children it has a very heartwarming message about being a family and adoption.

Steve Carell, of The Office fame, plays the lead character Gru and would would not recognize his voice nor his normal comedic style in this movie. In fact, those changes are quite refreshing to see Mr. Carell do, as he has been caught in the same sort of comedy in the last few years because of his The Office character. Julie Andrews shows us once again her impressive acting range with another fine comedic performance as Gru's mother. Other popular comedians from SNL fame do a fine performance as well.

Overall I rate this movie as one of the best movies to see this summer so far. The movie has a definitive ending, which shouldn't leave much room for a sequel (although it has been done before), much like Wall-E, and I think that is a good thing. There are a great many instances in this movie which play towards the now popular 3D audiences, so if you get a chance to see it in 3D, do so.

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Overall Movie Review Rating: I rate this movie as a Must See - 4.5 stars

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Free Advance Screening of Temple Grandin

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Drama Movie Review: Julia & Julia

This is a movie review of Julie & Julia.

Plot Summary (courtesy of IMDB):

In 1949, Julia Child's is in Paris, the wife of a diplomat, wondering how to spend her days. She tries hat making, bridge, and then cooking lessons at Cordon Bleu. It's there she discovers her passion. In 2002, Julie Powell, underemployed and a failed novelist, about to turn 30, decides to cook her way through "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" in a year and to blog about it. These stories intertwine of two women learning to cook and finding success. Sympathetic, loving husbands support them both, and friendships, too, add zest.

Run Time: 123 Minutes

Movie Review:

I had great expectations before watching Julie & Julia. The idea behind it is inspiring, committing oneself to a project for one year in an attempt to turn ones life around. The casting was a good selling point, and the advertising really made it a movie that I wanted to see.

Unfortunately, I was disappointed when I finally saw it. Half of the movie was superb, while the other half was just iffy. The superb part was the semi-biopic part of Julia Child, played by Meryl Streep. This should have been the whole movie. The relationship between Julia and her husband, brilliantly played by Stanley Tucci, was engaging, funny, and absolutely interesting. Streep and Tucci's chemistry in Julie & Julia was spot on and quite believable. This pairing saves Julie & Julia from being an overcooked nightmare and turns it into a servable lunch.

The "modern" half of Julie & Julia, the story of Julie Powell, played by Amy Adams, just had no "meat" to it. The whole section tied itself upon her first recipe made. Adams does a great job at playing a very uninteresting character, but can not save this part of the movie alone. Nor does Chris Messina, who believably plays Julie's husband, help her.

All in all I would have liked to see more from each story line. Julie's story could have been much more interesting given more character development and Julia's story was so engaging I just wanted to see more of it. The great constant which tie these two sides together is of course the food. You will indeed drool over some of the food which is shown in Julie & Julia. Make sure to do your grocery shopping before watching this movie so that when you finish watching it and are starving you have motivation.

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Overall Movie Review Rating: I rate this movie as a Good See - 3 stars

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Drama Movie Review: Up in the Air

This is a movie review of Up in the Air.

Plot Summary (courtesy of IMDB):

Ryan Bingham's job is to fire people from theirs. The anguish, hostility, and despair of his "clients" has left him falsely compassionate, living out of a suitcase, and loving every second of it. When his boss hires arrogant young Natalie, she develops a method of video conferencing that will allow termination without ever leaving the office - essentially threatening the existence Ryan so cherishes. Determined to show the naive girl the error of her logic, Ryan takes her on one of his cross country firing expeditions, but as she starts to realize the disheartening realities of her profession, he begins to see the downfalls to his way of life

Run Time: 109 Minutes

Movie Review:

As Up in the Air starts we find out the main character's job is to travel around the country to fire people. With Up in the Air coming out in a poor economic climate I was expecting this movie to focus a little more on this idea. While Up in the Air does do this to some extent the movie does not focus on this topic. Instead, it focuses on the main characters life and his relationship with others. There were a lot of good moments, but i found myself getting bored with the movie in some parts where it was slowing down. A lot of the ending of the Up in the Air is extremely predictable. I was not surprised by anything that happened, and neither were the people sitting behind me who happily predicted each scene for the final 30 minutes.

Up in the Air has been nominated for multiple awards already, but I do not see why. It is not George Clooney's strongest acting job, although he delivers the few jokes in a great monotone. Most of accolades that have so far been associated with Up in the Air feel more like industry insider choices than actual earned awards. There were too many scenes which seemed more like commercials for Hertz, American Airlines, and various hotel chains than actual theatrical performance. In fact, one of the main points of the movie was a quest to gain a special frequent fliers card from American Airlines, a point which came up far too often to not be considered a blatant advertisement.

Going into the viewing of Up in the Air I had much higher expectations than what I came out with. I recommend waiting until this comes out on DVD so you can rent it and watch it once. Or watch it when you fly with American Airlines as they are sure to overplay it on their flights as soon as they can.

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Overall Movie Review Rating: I rate this movie as a Blah See - 2 stars

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