Tag Archives: AMC Theatres

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Geoffrey Rush and Sophie Nélisse made “The Book Thief” come alive.

Geoffrey Rush and Sophie Nélisse made “The Book Thief” come alive.

As regular readers know, the Mister and I see a lot of movies. In fact, on our first date we watched “A Fish Called Wanda” (and loved it). In 2013, we sat in the comfy AMC Theater or Santikos Palladium seats 37 times. It would’ve been a few more, but the Mister has had a horrible, hacking cough for a couple weeks (scores of early-morning movie patrons are thanking us for staying away).

That means I can’t add “American Hustle,” “Saving Mr. Banks,” “Frozen,” “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” or “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” to this list, all of which we plan to see this month. So keep that in mind when you consider whether or not you agree with my best and worst movie picks for 2013.

Virtual envelope, please!

My favorite flick last year? “The Book Thief.” I’m sure it was a tough task bring such an amazing, emotion-drenched novel (by Markus Zusak; read it!) to the big screen. The cast was outstanding. Foolishly, I only had one Kleenex with me; it was sopping wet well before the credits rolled.

Judi Dench always is good.

Judi Dench always is good.

Runners-up for my personal best movie were “Philomena,” “42,” “Monsters University” (I still love animated films), “Captain Phillips,” and “The Impossible.”

Loved the ending!

Loved the ending!

Films that surprised me in a good way? “Now You See Me,” “We’re the Millers,” “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” (better than the first one of the trilogy), and “Escape Plan” (yes, despite the non-acting abilities of Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger).

Now for the negative side of my selections. Fortunately, I liked most of the movies we saw. It seems like there was some redeeming value in the majority of them. Wish I could say that for the two that scraped the bottom of the barrel.

Boring with a rotten ending

Boring with a rotten ending

The runner-up was “All Is Lost,” a very apt title. Didn’t see it? Don’t! Robert Redford is the only actor, which should be enough . . . but it wasn’t. And I hate endings where you have to figure out what really happened. That’s such a cop-out.

And now . . . drum roll, please! . . . my pick for the worst move I saw in 2013:

Just so awful!

Just so awful!

It’s “The World’s End,” which is what I was wishing for halfway through the film. It made “The Expendables 2” almost worthwhile!

Well, not really.

Here’s hoping the Mister and I see many more good movies than bad this year. I’ve read that “The Expendables 3” is scheduled to debut on my birthday. That’s one present I do not want!

2012 Movies: Likes and Dislikes

Love those superheroes!

Love those superheroes (“Marvel’s The Avengers”)!

Most people we know will see a movie every few months or wait for the DVD to come out via Netflix.

But the Mister and I aren’t “most people.” We love seeing films on the big screen, usually AMC’s as we exercise its Stubs card. In 2012, we parked our carcasses in the plush seats 50 times. That’s a lot of indentions!

So does that make us experts when it comes to picking which movie will win the Oscar for best picture? Absolutely not (but I’ll bet “Lincoln” takes home the gold statuette). But that still won’t stop me from listing my selections for the year’s best and worst flicks that we did see (we tend to avoid the scary, ultra-violent, and just plain dumb movies, especially if they star Adam Sandler or Seth Rogen). I know what I like and dislike.

Drumroll, please!

John Goodman, Alan Arkin, and Ben Affleck in “Argo”

John Goodman, Alan Arkin, and Ben Affleck starred in “Argo.”

The Best 2012 Movies

1. “Argo.” With a plethora (my 25-cent word of the day) of wonderful movies, it’s really hard to pick a favorite. But what I really liked about “Argo” was how surprised we were at how well the story was told. Yes, even with Ben Affleck as the lead actor. If you didn’t see it in the theater, be sure to rent it.

2. “Lincoln.” Although it’s too long and tends to drone a bit, “Lincoln” is a great history lesson. Daniel Day-Lewis, who likely will win the Oscar as best actor, makes you believe that he really is Abraham Lincoln.

Eddie Redmayne

Eddie Redmayne

3. “Les Misérables.” Amazing singing, especially by Eddie Redmayne and Samantha Barks, as well as a compelling plot makes this a must-see for those who love musicals. Unfortunately for the Mister, who I dragged to this, it amounted to a $6 nap.

4. “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” It’s nice to have a movie that works well for younger and older audiences. The acting was great, as was the story.

5. “Flight.” Denzel Washington. Enough said!

Honorable Mentions: “Marvel’s The Avengers” and “Looper.” I’m a sucker for superhero movies, possibly because the Flash is my animated husband. “The Avengers” was fun to see with my guys, especially on Mother’s Day. As for “Looper,” I loved the acting by Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as well as the plot.

“The Expendables 2”: Truly a dud

“The Expendables 2”: Truly a dud

The Worst 2012 Movies

1. “The Expendables 2.” This was possibly the worst flick I’ve ever seen! Bad, cheesy acting, ridiculous violence, and the dumbest storyline ever. Avoid, avoid, avoid!

2. “The Expendables 2.” Yep, it was that bad!!

3. “This Means War.” What was Reese Witherspoon thinking when she signed on for this creepy flop?

4. “Fun Size.” It just falls flat. All the good scenes were in the trailer.

5. “Jeff, Who Lives at Home.” Good cast, but the bad language ruins it.

What do you think of this list? Got your own faves and flops? Comment away!

A Cornucopia of Movie-Going

Bella and Edward continue in love forever.

During holidays, we love seeing movies. This recent Thanksgiving break was no different.

First up for me and my older son (he of the snarky, clever commentary) was “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2.” As continued from last year’s first part, Bella’s transition from human to vampire is explored, and the family prepares for the arrival of the nasty Volturi. I did like the somewhat-controversial twist at the end; it was a brillant addition to the plot.

Long story short, this flick is purely for Twihards who need to wrap up the series. Bella and Edward will live forever together. Fortunately for us, we don’t have to endure them and their band of wooden actors any more.

Sally Field and Daniel Day-Lewis: Possible Oscar winners again?

“Lincoln”

Usually we see a movie Thanksgiving morning, but this year we instead sweated out our Houston Texans’ overtime win against the Detroit Lions. Sweet! So the next day I dragged the Mister to see “Lincoln.” All I can say is “wow!” It’s definitely another Steven Spielberg masterpiece.

“Lincoln” is mostly about the struggle to pass the 13th amendment to abolish slavery by the U.S. House of Representatives. Earning probable Oscar nominations are Daniel Day-Lewis as not-so honest Abe, Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln, and Tommy Lee Jones as crusty Thaddeus Stevens. All delivered masterful performances.

My warning to future “Lincoln” goers is to make sure you’re fully awake, because the droning music will do its best to put you to sleep. Caffeine is a must!

Vanellope and Ralph become friends in a Sugar Rush game.

“Wreck-It Ralph”

When your kids love video games, seeing “Wreck-It Ralph” is a natural. I figured that the boys and I would really like it (and we did), while the Mister wondered if the fine folks at the AMC Theater would frown upon him bringing his pillow (he did end up enjoying it, though). It’s hard to beat the eternally important message that it’s best to just be yourself.

James Bond and M are together again.

“Skyfall”

Before my older son returned to UTSA yesterday, we finished our moviethon (well, at least it was for me) by seeing the too-long, new James Bond movie. The guys are big fans of both the films and some of the video games. I usually tag along to see how hot the actor playing Bond is (Pierce Brosnan, yes; Daniel Craig, no!). Oh, and I enjoy criticizing the ridiculous though thrilling chase scenes and massive destruction.

“Skyfall” had plenty of action but not much sex for a change (the kid says it’s because Craig is ugly, so women aren’t attracted to him; could be the case, I suppose). Javier Bardem was an interesting villain, and the plot centering around him and his relationship with M (Judi Dench) wove an intriguing storyline.

But did the movie really need two hours and 25 minutes to tell the story? The editors needed to do a better job with “Skyfall.”

As for the best flick of the four I saw? Being a history buff, I’d have to give the nod to “Lincoln.” It was just right on the money!

“New Year’s Eve”: The Critics Blow It

“New Year’s Eve” features an all-star cast.

We almost didn’t see “New Year’s Eve” at our local AMC Theatre yesterday. That would have been a big mistake.

The critics panned this dramedy, saying it’s pathetic and not funny. Yes, it is pretty corny, thanks to feel-good director Garry Marshall (he also directed “Valentine’s Day,” which also featured lots of stars), and I could do without ever seeing Ashton Kutcher’s dour side again. But the Mister, our younger son, and I laughed a lot and really enjoyed the film.

Katherine Heigl and Jon Bon Jovi try to get their relationship back on track.

Any movie that features an ensemble cast of superstars like this one is bound to be pretty scattered with plotlines weaving all over the place . . . until the end. And I was bothered by several elements, which included Katherine Heigl’s awful dye job (she’s a natural blonde, but it looks like she was covering up the brunette from shooting “One for the Money”) and gorgeous Michelle Pfeiffer being totally miscast as a mousy secretary who has also-gorgeous Zac Efron help her complete her resolutions bucket list.

Sarah Jessica Parker talks to her daughter, played by Abigail Breslin.

But bugging shallow, catty me the most was Sarah Jessica Parker, who looks like a hag in the flick. Which wouldn’t be a problem except for the outcome of one of those pesky plotlines. I won’t spoil it, but I found it to be laughable and ridiculous. Sorry, SJP. No way, not any day.

“New Year’s Eve” is easily Netflixable but don’t avoid it if you’re looking for a light, breezy, and corny good time. Lea Michele, who plays Rachel on “Glee,” sings, which almost is worth the price of admission (especially at matinee prices).

And be sure to stay through the credits. The outtakes add to the fun.

Two Thumbs Up, Two Thumbs Sideways

Meryl Streep as Julia Child cooks up a storm.

Meryl Streep as Julia Child cooks up a storm.

The Mister and I went a little movie crazy last weekend . . . without the boys. We saw two movies at our local AMC Theatre and rented another that we actually watched well before its due date.

Sidebar: Anyone else have a nasty habit of returning DVDs to the video store just before midnight on the due date? There probably are 12-step programs for people like us who need to stop procrastinating when it comes to watching rented movies on time.

By far, the top movie we saw was “Julie and Julia.” I was anxious to see it, because the same-named Julie Powell book that most of it’s based on is hilarious. And what a great premise: A 30-year-old woman in a dead-end job with a supportive husband decides to cook all 524 recipes in Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” cookbook in one year and then blog about the results. Like me, Powell wasn’t the greatest cook before starting the project; I think that’s why I could relate to her so well.

What I totally disliked about the book and was glad to see wasn’t in the movie was Powell’s incessant foul language, which almost ruined the story for me. I’ve never read so many f-bombs in my life; what a turnoff.

But this is what Powell says about cussing: “I happen to believe that curse words are vital parts of language, and I write accordingly.”

I totally disagree! And I would feel the same way even if I wasn’t an old broad of 56. All cussing means is that you have a poor vocabulary. The only time cursing truly is necessary is when you’re driving without the kids and have to deal with all the idiot drivers surrounding you (it always amazes me how everyone else is such a bad driver when I’m behind the wheel!). Otherwise, as I tell my two sons, the English language is rich with descriptive words that won’t make their mother’s jaw drop in surprise and disgust. Use them!

Amy Adams celebrates her final Julia Child meal.

Amy Adams as Julie Powell celebrates her final Julia Child meal.

But I digress . . . the movie is a must-see! Two thumbs up!! It’s so funny and so delightful. Meryl Streep, one of my favorite actresses, is amazing as Julia Child.

I’m lucky to be married to a guy who is so secure in his maleness (though he doesn’t prefer pink) that he’ll willingly see chick flicks with me. After the movie, he admitted that he had had reservations about seeing it, but he loved it, too.

I do agree with the reviewers who have said that the Julia part is much more interesting than the Julie one. Julia Child was a fascinating personality, and I’m glad that Nora Ephron, who wrote and directed the movie, also used “My Life in France,” Child’s autobiography, as a basis for the film.

If you haven’t read Powell’s book, I do recommend it. Just be ready to do a lot of cringing!

“The Time Traveler’s Wife”

The time traveler (Eric Bana) and his wife (Rachel McAdams)

The time traveler (Eric Bana) and his wife (Rachel McAdams)

The “two thumbs sideways” is for “The Time Traveler’s Wife.” I haven’t read the book, and I found the movie to be a bit confusing. In the film, Chicago librarian Henry DeTamble (played by Eric Bana) has a genetic disorder that causes him to time travel, usually when he’s stressed. Putting up with all of that is a woman he’s known via time traveling since she was a little girl, artist Clare Abshire (Rachel McAdams).

It makes for an interesting story, especially to a “Lost” fan like myself. But what bothered me the most was the lack of chemistry between Bana and McAdams. I just didn’t believe the love story. The Mister agreed with me; we were disappointed. Well-acted but not a must see.

“17 Again”

Zac Efron struts his stuff.

Zac Efron struts his stuff.

Okay, no laughing! The Mister and I rented “17 Again” and really liked it. I did roll my eyes a little that Zac Efron, one of the stars of the “High School Musical” franchise, also played basketball in this movie. But I thought he did a great job as the young version of Matthew Perry, who got to be 17 once again with a chance to rewrite his life’s story. Rent it for some light humor.

Oh, and be glad that Julie Powell didn’t write the story . . . no f-bombs, thank goodness!