Girl Rising is a beautiful film about the power of educating girls. After gaining momentum with on-demand screenings organized through the website Gathr, it was picked up by Regal Cinemas. Beginning today, it will be available in 150 theaters across the country for a one-week engagement. Girl Rising is not a documentary, nor fiction, but rather a powerful piece of storytelling that follows nine real girls, each of whom has overcome common barriers to education. The filmmakers asked award-winning writers to each create a vignette about the girl from her own country. Those stories were then used as the screenplay and are narrated by famous actresses. And in the film, each girl, not a professional, acts out her own story. Watch now to find out more.
Not every movie can be Schindler's List-caliber, but would we really want that, anyway? Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is a preposterous movie, but the blood-soaked fairy tale is more than aware of its silliness and embraces it. Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton star as the titular brother-and-sister duo, but the classic characters are a little different than you may remember. Their tale begins traditionally, with their miraculous escape from a witch who lures them in with her candy-coated cottage. Now grown, the siblings' childhood nightmare has catapulted them to fame as the most successful witch hunters in the land. The movie picks up when they are commissioned by a village to investigate the disappearance of children. It's not the most imaginative concept, but that doesn't mean the film lacks creativity. Read on to find out why Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters may be more amusing than you think.
- The acting isn't genius. Wry one-liners and overblown dialogue are status quo here, and for the most part, this isn't a brilliantly acted work of art.
- But . . . Watching Oscar nominee Renner spit out lines like "If you're gonna kill a witch, set her *ss on fire" is worth the price of admission. There's something fantastic about the way he clearly doesn't take himself too seriously to do a film like this, and it's a pleasure to watch him as the grumpy, suspicious Hansel.
- It's ridiculous. The project is produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, so that should be an indicator that this film is no ordinary thriller. Hansel is diabetic because of all the sugar the witch made him ingest when he was a kid, and the leather-wearing hunters have homemade medieval versions of machine guns and defibrillators. The latter is used to bring a fallen troll back to life.
- But . . . It's the perfect antidote to all the three-hour dramas flooding theaters during award season. Hansel and Gretel take their jobs seriously, but audiences know better than to take this movie seriously.
To find out the other ups and downs of Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, just read more.
Within the first five minutes of Pitch Perfect, the stranger sitting next to me uttered that it seemed like a "total made-for-TV movie." I was originally put off by his flippant dismissal of the new comedy, but after sitting through the entire trite film, I have to agree. Anna Kendrick is at the heart of Pitch Perfect playing Beca, a humorless college freshman who joins the Barden Bellas, a floundering female a capella group, at the insistence of her father. While she'd rather be spinning records for the campus radio station, Beca reluctantly embraces the opportunity to help the group free itself from the binds of its traditionally snore-worthy performances. Though peppered with some laughs and a couple fun musical numbers, the movie ultimately feels uninspired.
Borrowing aspects from the wealth of fish-out-of-water college comedies that have come before it, Pitch Perfect attempts to stand out from the rest by delving into the "cutthroat" world of a capella singers. Though many of the creative musical mash-ups like "Bright Lights Bigger City"/"Magic" are impressive, it's a gimmick that doesn't quite make up for the overall lack of originality. To find out what parts of Pitch Perfect I did enjoy, keep reading.
If you've paid any attention to the early buzz, trailers, and commercials, you'd be led to believe that Disney Pixar's Brave (in theaters this Friday, June 22) is defined by the plotline of a rebellious, bow-and-arrow-happy heroine. And while you'd be correct, there's more to this story than first meets the eye. Set in the Highlands of Scotland, Brave embraces a folkloric feeling, touching on themes of tradition, fate, and, of course, bravery.
Merida, the impetuous young princess, is determined not to accept her fate to be married to one of three "acceptable" suitors. Her attempt to challenge her destiny, however, goes horribly wrong, and she risks being responsible for the demise of her mother and the kingdom.
While red-headed Merida is a respectable role model for little girls, and she's a far cry from some of her glass-slipper-seeking predecessors, she certainly isn't the first of her kind. Disney's animated films have long championed the independent, free-spirited protagonist-princess. From the nonfictional Pocahontas's refusal to accept her arranged marriage to Mulan's acts of heroism to defend her family's honor, Merida joins a long-standing tradition of Disney "women" who determine their own destinies — which we love.
Brave is fast-paced, fun to watch (especially in 3D), and filled with wholesome, important lessons and plenty of good humor. Here, five reasons why it's worth taking your kids to see Brave . . . and why grownups will be happy to accompany them.
Source: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
When What to Expect When You're Expecting hits theaters this weekend, moms and those on their way to motherhood will find themselves nodding in agreement with Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Elizabeth Banks, Anna Kendrick, and Brooklyn Decker, who play five women entering the sisterhood of parenthood in five very different ways. But while the women may be the stars of the flick, much as we are of our pregnancies, it's the men — Chris Rock, Thomas Lennon, Rodrigo Santoro, Dennis Quaid, Ben Falcone, and Rob Huebel — who walk away with the best scenes. While the men spend plenty of time poking fun at their wives' pregnancy ailments and helicopter parenting, Rock's thoughtful (and probably ad-libbed) monologue about the joys of fatherhood is the highlight of the flick.
Based on the advice found in the widely popular self-help book of the same name, the new film takes us through five different paths to parenthood, watching the women deal with obstacles to fertility, unexpected pregnancy, some of the not-so-pleasant side effects, and the emotions that come with changing family dynamics. While some of the characters may reflect viewers' own journeys, others are made for the movies. Check seven truisms we found in What to Expect When You're Expecting and be forewarned: spoilers ahead!
Source: Lions Gate
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 isn't just the final installment of a film franchise, it's the ending of an era. The eighth movie in the series takes us to the wizarding world for one more look at Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson) as they square off against Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) for the last time. The movie is also peppered with the familiar faces we've come to know and love throughout the series, but ultimately, this film belongs to Harry as he comes to terms with the death and destruction of his peers as well as his own mortality. No film in the series has had higher stakes, more action, or quite this much anguish.
As the threesome arrives at their former school, Neville Longbottom informs Harry, Ron, and Hermione that "Hogwarts has changed." It doesn't take a wizard to see what he means: the once warmly lit castle is now shrouded in gray, the laughter of the students has been replaced with fear, and the once-bubbly professors are now panic-stricken and unsmiling. It's only fitting that Hogwarts, where Harry's wizarding life began, is also where it all ends, and so begins the much-anticipated battle between good and evil that comprises the majority of the movie.
To find out why Deathly Hallows Part 2 is a must-see, just read more
Horrible Bosses highlights a common pain of the gainfully employed: working your butt off for someone you hate. Though the movie may be preying on your plight, it's a laugh-filled escape from an oppressive office. Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, and Charlie Day star as three friends who are so unhappy at their respective workplaces that they come to an extreme conclusion: to murder their three bosses. Bateman plays Nick, a financial exec trying to move up in the corporate world, but he's roadblocked by his company's malicious CEO (Kevin Spacey). Sudeikis is content at work until his kindly boss dies, leaving the family business to his drug-addicted loser son (Colin Farrell). Lastly, Day's character Dale is the assistant to a sultry dentist (Jennifer Aniston) who sexually harasses him at all hours of the workday.
The plot may be far-fetched — would three well-adjusted guys really plot to kill their bosses? — but the premise works thanks to clever writing of John Francis Daley (of Freaks and Geeks fame) and Michael Markowitz. And really, the movie is so funny that it's easy to suspend your disbelief.
To find out why Horrible Bosses is the opposite of horrible, just read more
Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the third film in the Transformers franchise, has to pull off one major feat to please its fans: make up for the huge disappointment that was Revenge of the Fallen. Not only does director Michael Bay rise to the challenge, but he exceeds expectations with the big-budget blockbuster of your Hasbro-toy-loving dreams. The story is better, the jokes are funnier, the action sequences are epic. In a word, it delivers.
Sam Witwicky, the once geeky teenager played by Shia LaBeouf, is all grown up now and seeking his first postcollege job. Unfortunately, saving the world (twice!) and being BFF with the Autobots (aka the good transformers) aren't viable additions to his résumé, and he's plagued with the feeling of helplessness. Even his smokin'-hot girlfriend, Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, who never once makes you miss Megan Fox), can't lift his spirits, and he ends up taking a job in a mail room. There, a seemingly cuckoo co-worker passes on some intel — the Decepticons (aka the evil transformers) are back — and thus begins Sam's fight to save the Autobots once again and prove that he's more than just a messenger.
To find out why Dark of the Moon is worth watching, just read more
A foul-mouthed Cameron Diaz stars in Bad Teacher, a comedy that follows her selfish character Elizabeth as she tries to collect enough money for a breast enlargement while working at a middle school. Elizabeth's plan is to use her new rack to net a wealthy man who will take care of her so she won't have to work. And truly, she shouldn't work; as the title implies, Elizabeth is a horrible educator. She shows movies in class while she sleeps off her hangovers, and when she does pay attention to her students, she's insulting them or cussing them out. The formula produces a bit of humor, but there aren't enough laughs or a sturdy enough plot to make the comedy memorable.
The movie's greatest strength is its leading lady; Diaz leaves behind the bubbly ditz characters we've seen her portray time and again to go in a new direction. Her Elizabeth is a cold shrew with an acid tongue, and Diaz nails the timing on each joke like she's been waiting to do this for years. Unfortunately, one good character doesn't compensate for the film's overall flimsiness. To see what I mean, just read more
It's a bad sign when the opening sequence of a movie not only fails to grab your attention, but has your eyelids drooping before you even meet the main character. Such is the case for Green Lantern, and the frustratingly dull first few minutes set the tone for rest of the film, which is based on the popular comic book series.
Ryan Reynolds is the actor throwing his hat into the superhero ring this time, and he's actually a great choice. With charisma coming out of his ears and a perfectly chiseled body, Reynolds easily fits the bill as Hal Jordan, a self-assured test pilot with a taste for adrenaline. Hal's fearlessness eventually makes him a candidate for the Green Lantern Corps., a league of alien warriors that keep the peace amongst the galaxies. Seemingly out of nowhere, Hal is absorbed by a large green bubble and transported to a site where a dying alien gives him a ring that signifies his place as a Green Lantern (and provides Hal with a slick CG suit and superpowers in spades). If you think the green bubbles and purple aliens sound silly, it only gets more convoluted from there. To see what else I thought of Green Lantern, just read more