Oz, the Great and Powerful is a good family film…

Unfortunately, that is my highest compliment.  Although Oz, the Great and Powerful succeeds in pleasing their demographic–I was left wanting.  With that said, I am sure many will love this film and kids (especially) will enjoy the story and beautiful imagery.

First of all, I should state that I like The Wizard of Oz, but I am not a fanatic about it.  The new Oz follows its lead in being a wholesome family film, but it does not even get close to its classic status.  While some felt that Disney was taking a gamble in trying to reboot a beloved classic, it seems to have paid off for them (sequel is already in the works).  Hey, they have to make the $$$.

So, why wanting?  For me, it was a bit one dimensional.  Everything looked great and paid homage to the original (more based on novel, than the 1939  film because of property rights)–but it was just…flat.  I did not care for any character on-screen.  I was never invested.  It’s just pretty.

The cast okay.  Again, no stand outs.  James Franco was fine–but could’ve have been more con-artist-y or shady, that way his arch was more believable.  Rachel Weisz was good–but it felt like she was limited.  Mila Kunis was wasted–that character had SO much potential, yet it was all too fast–too rushed.  Michelle Williams had more screen time and yet, her character too is so shallow and simple.  The CG sidekicks–Zach Braff as Finley (the monkey) and Joey King as China Doll were, again, okay.  See, not much to get excited about it.

Well, there were the cool special effects–the opening sequence was pretty sweet.  I appreciated the black and white tribute and then the use of introduced characters in the Oz world (a salute to the original).  Ummmm… I’m thinking…I’m thinking…I liked the land of Oz–the poppy fields–the different citizens–the flying baboons (much more scary than plain monkeys).  Yeah.  I think that is it.

Everything my daughter and I thought of that could have made this film better, would have changed the safe PG rating and possibly alienated some.  But hey, in defense of a PG rating–Pixar and Disney have been extremely successful in providing clean, safe entertainment that also has substance and is able to keep an adult’s interest.  So, then it just boils down to a lackluster script and unfortunately, director Sam Raimi‘s choices.  What a shame.  I am a true Raimi fan and was looking forward to this, just because of him.  Deep sigh.

Bottom line?  It’s not bad.  It’s not awesome.  It’s okay and kids will like it.  That’s it.

 

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Thanks Keith and The Movies for the Liebster Award 2012!

Thanks to Keith & The Movies for giving me a shout out!  So cool. I always enjoy visiting his site and find his 5 Phenomenal… series so much fun–they’re always creative and original.  I appreciate that he liked me enough to pass The Liebster Award to me.  Hope I can do it justice.  Here are the rules this time around:

  1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
  2. Answer the 11 questions the person giving the award has set for you.
  3. Create 11 questions for the people you will be giving the award to
  4. Choose 11 people to award and send them a link to your post.
  5. Go to their page and tell them
  6. No tag backs.

So, 11 things about me–Oh my!  Here we go…

1.  I am a film geek.  Duh!  Films make me happy.  If I am stressed, sad or sick, watching a movie makes me feel better.  Actually, anytime movie-watching makes me feel better.  I also listen to film scores (soundtracks) all the time–love them!

2.  I have an ongoing love affair with Kermit the Frog (he’s my iphone cover) and all things Muppets.

3.  Gary Oldman is my ultimate crush.  He is amazing! **deep, dreamy sigh**

4.  My lovely daughter turns 21 in September.  Time is on warp speed and I am old.

5.  Cats are awesome!  I like all critters, but cats are my favorite.  I have 3 at the moment and I will probably end up as a crazy cat lady someday. 😀

6.  I love nature and the ocean.  My full name, Nereida, is greek for sea nymphs and I believe it must be telling because the ocean is my affinity.

7.  I did not believe in fairy tale love, until I was proven wrong six years ago.  Now, I am in my own happily ever after. It does exist–who knew?

8.  I am a Law Enforcement Operator for Texas Parks and Wildlife. Never a dull moment…

9.  I am foodie. I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE food.  Dinner and a movie? Yes, please.  It is truly my favorite way to spend an evening.

10.  I have a fascination with vampires, but REAL vampires, that burn, disintegrate or explode in sunlight! (fyi..vampires DO NOT sparkle.) -_-

11.   BORIQUA!  I am Puerto Rican.  (Represent!)

And now, Keith’s questions….

1. What’s your biggest movie guilty pleasure (a movie you love so much even though you know it’s bad)?   Starship Troopers?  Reign of Fire?  Strange Days?  Oh, wait…those are AWESOME! 😀

2. What actor or actress do you vehemently dislike and why? Katherine Heigl–do I need to explain??

3. What are your thoughts on the current 3-D craze?  I do not mind if it enhances the films presentation.  Sometimes it works–UP! and Avatar–and sometimes it doesn’t–Immortals–but most of the time I will watch movies in 2-D because I do not need the extra dimension. 🙂

4. What do you think was the best decade for movies and why?  I will have to say the 1980s with the 1990s a close second.  I am a child of the 80s and the movies of that decade created the film geek I am.  Blade Runner.  Predator.  Star Wars.  E.T.  Indiana Jones.  The Thing.  Ghostbusters.  Yeah, I can on and on.  It was a decade of original, creative filmmaking that is still being copied to this day.  Yet, the 90s had stellar films as well–but based on influence I will stick with the 1980s.

5.  What the scariest movie you have ever seen?  I do not scare easily–but the Sixth Sense stayed with me.  I would get chilly and then freak myself out, when I was alone.   I think because we all feel that sometimes, the film tapped into the fear. 

6.  Have you ever walked out on a bad movie at the theater? Which one and why?  I have to finish it.  If I paid money I will stick it out.  Plus, if it sucks…I want to say I saw ALL of it and can testify to it’s suckiness.  But, I seriously considered walking out of The Ugly Truth and When in Rome. Why? I have trouble with stupidity.

7. What are your aspirations for your movie blog?   I hope that people will seek out my opinion and that it will help them to make decisions about what they should watch or read.  Storytelling is my passion and it is awesome to write about it.  Honestly, I started my blog as an outlet and the sole purpose was to have fun with it.  So far, it has been a blast.  The fact that it has grown a little is a bonus.  

8. Siskel or Ebert? Why?  Ebert.  Siskel was always a bit too technical.  Ebert judges most films according to their genre–Siskel tended to be harsher on films in genres he did not like.  Not fair. 

9. Who is the most beautiful woman or most handsome man in movies? (Heavy stuff here!)   I think Mila Kunis is gorgeous!  And as far as male beauty–no one can be as pretty as Johnny Depp.  

10. Do you have any weird movie novelties or collectibles? If so, what are they?  Nope.  We collect film posters and I have a few muppets hanging around my house but, nothing weird.   

11.  Name three other movie blogs that you love to keep up with.  I have a few that I enjoy, but I can only pick 3? Okay.  3guys1movie–Fog’s Movie Reviews–and Keith & The Movies 

Now for my questions…

1.  What movie have you watched over and over?

2.  Who is your ultimate actor/actress crush?

3.  Which film trilogy do you consider to be perfect?

4.  What novel would you love to see made into a film?

5.  What actor/actress do you consider to be overrated?

6.  What famous/classic film have you never seen?

7.  Seinfeld or Friends?  Trust me, it says much about you. 🙂 (I am Seinfeld all the way…)

8.  Name your favorite Super Hero and what super power would you want to have?

9.  Name your favorite muppet.  You have to have one–right?

10.  Vampires?  Yes or No.  If yes, what is your favorite film?

11.  If made into a movie…your life would fit under what genre?  Comedy? Action? Indie? etc…

Well, I think almost all the blogs I know have been given the Liebster Award and I am a bit behind responding–so if you check this out and want to take part–go right on ahead!  I recommend any blog that is following me!  You’re all pretty cool! 😀

If you like Family Guy, you’ll like Ted. If not, you may want to think about it…

Ted is not for everyone. For me? I laughed at about 50% of the jokes and shook my head at remaining 50%. I do the same with Family Guy, so it was not a surprise. What I really did like, was the fact that Seth MacFarlane created a narrative that had some heart. Ted is actually a romantic comedy with a side of bromance thrown in.

Be warned. MacFarlane is rude, crude and offensive and an equal opportunity offender. That does not mean you will not find yourself laughing. Despite yourself at times. The jokes range from juvenile to hilarious and cover plenty of pop culture–à la Family Guy style.  This is pretty much an uncensored, bigger version of a FG episode.  (Even the music seemed to be similar to the TV show–weird.)

What is different is the narrative. I am going to give MacFarlane some credit here. He has created an original story and I appreciated how he made a universe where a walking–talking teddy bear was normal. It is claimed as a “miracle” but the world accepts this concept and it helps to ground the story, so you can just go with it.

The best part though is the unexpected tenderness, depth and heart that goes with all the raunchy shenanigans.  Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis and MacFarlane, all have great chemistry and you believe that they have a history together. They keep this film from turning into a mess. I found myself cheering for them and hoping they can work things out. There are also a bunch of cool cameos, the best being a truly creepy villain by Giovanni Ribisi.

That’s it. If you know what to expect and go in willingly, you will enjoy yourself. If you are unsure–don’t do it. Ted is not everyone’s wish come true, but I think that is exactly the way Seth MacFarlane wanted it to be.

 

Friends With Benefits is a pleasant surprise!

Although romantic comedies have a consistent formula, you never  know what you will get–will it  be painfully bad?  Sadly mediocre?  Entertainingly cute?  Okay good?  Or the rare gem?   I think I found a ruby here.  One of the great things about Friends With Benefits is that it makes fun of itself while talking about the influence of romantic comedies on our culture.  It does not forget its place–yet Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake have enough talent and chemistry to make this one work. 

I may have already said this–but I like reality.  I hate when they fall in love in two days–that does NOT happen–EVER!  You can’t know someone completely in two days.  So, all my favorite Rom Coms are realistic–as realistic as possible for a movie.  When Harry met SallyTwo Weeks NoticeGoing the Distance–those are few of my all time favorites.  What they also have in common is a wonderful supporting cast.  You have to believe the universe.  As you may have guessed Friends with Benefits has all that going on (unlike the disappointing No Strings Attached from earlier this year). 

I loved the extended family subplots.  The parents were awesome–Richard Jenkins and Patricia Clarkson are some of the best character actors out there!  Then add Woody Harrelson, as the work buddy, for good measure and you can’t go wrong.

Yet this story belongs to the stars–Kunis and Timberlake are both naturals and they make this look easy. (Both of these actors are going to have long careers.) Funny, sweet and even a bit raunchy–it is their delivery that makes it.  It was also refreshing to see sex talked about truthfully–and shown in some unromantic ways. 

Bottom line, you will have fun watching these two people find their happily ever after–cuz you know they’re going to find it–c’mon it’s a romantic comedy! ** insert sappy pop song–“Hey Soul Sister! Ain’t that Mr. Mister on the radio…”