Movie Reviews

Napoleon Dynamite

Genre: Realistic Fiction
Directed by: Jared Hess
Reviewed by: Chris Dutcher
Rated: 4 out of 5 stars





“Gosh”! Napoleon Dynamite can be simply described as a low budget version of an odyssey. Napoleon (Jon Heder) is a non-popular teen who struggles with both social and home life. He lives with his grandmother (Sandy Martin) and his brother Kip (Aaron Ruell). But when grandma gets hurt in an accident, a family relative must step in to take care of Napoleon and Kip. Uncle Rico (Jon Gries), steps in and makes Napoleon’s life even worse. Kip and Uncle Rico both pair up and decide to make their own small business leaving Napoleon out of the picture. Napoleon meets many friends and enemies at school. Sided with his friend Pedro (Efren Ramierez) and his other friend Deb (Tina Majorino), they take on the popular kids in school.

Napoleon Dynamite is sort of like the Seinfeld of the movie Universe. It is a movie about nothing. It does not follow the format most movies go by. The movie was extremely low budget, but the comedy was what led to it success in the box office. The quirky humor of Napoleon and the randomness of some things makes the movie a laughable one. The movie also has one of the most unique opening scenes ever filmed. The opening scene is a bird’s eye view of hands placing various items on the table, and later in the film, a corresponding character is shown using or eating that same item. I would recommend this movie to anyone who doesn’t mind there being no action or a movie that is slow, but loves to laugh. Napoleon Dynamite will make you laugh, and learn what it means to be an underdog

Directed by: Justin Moore
Reviewed by: Bryanna Thomas
Rated out of 5: 5out of 5

Pitch Perfect takes place at Barden University, where besides sports, the most popular thing is accapella singing. After losing all but two of the Barden Bellas, Chloe (played by Brittany Snow) and Aubrey (played by Anna Camp) need to find a group of “bikini ready body” girls who can match pitch and harmonize in order to redeem themselves their senior year after last years final competition tragedy. Unable to find a group of girls with those traits, Aubrey and Chloe have a difficult and detailed schedule to accomplish in order to make it to victory. The only problem is they perform only songs made famous by woman in order to keep tradition; unfortunately these songs aren’t exactly the fast and upbeat tunes the public is looking for making them barely making it to finals. This is wear Beca (played by Anna Kendrick) comes in. Beca is a freshman at Barden and has a free ride because her dad is a professor, all Beca wants to do though is go to L.A. so she can produce music and create music. After being promised a free ride to L.A. as long as she tries to fit in by her father she decides to try out for the Barden Bellas. After try-outs she finds out who will be joining her in the semester of singing. After singing at competition after competition the same boring song Beca decides to stand up during a performance adds a little flair by singing words to another song that would fit the beat of the old one. Once she gets kicked off the team, Aubrey and Chloe realize that she is more important than they thought. Will they listen to her now? Will they win at finals? Watch Pitch Perfect and you will soon find out.

My Girl

Drama, Comedy
Directed by Howard Zieff
Jordan Brodfuehrer
Rated 5 out of 5

Set in a small town located in Pennsylvania, this is an emotional movie about a lonely young girl’s journey during the summer of 1972. Eleven year old Vada, based on her life, is played by Anna Chlumsky. Vada lives with Harry or her dad, played by Dan Aykroyd, who has a business in their basement, preparing dead bodies. With Vada’s mom passing, she hasn’t really been introduced to girly side of life, leaving her as a tom boy. Vada also feels responsible for her mother’s death considering she died during Vada’s birth, making Vada an emotional mess.

Vada is very quiet and shy, but she ended up becoming very good friends with a local boy, Thomas J. Sennett played by Macauly Culkin. Thomas and Vada have a very strong relationship and they would be very lost without each other. They do everything together, they are truly best friends. Vada and her dad are very similar, quiet and not really out going, but that changes when a wild and crazy makeup artist gets a job for Harry, Shelly DeVoto. Shelly is played by Jamie Lee Curtis, Harris and her get closer and closer and Vada feels very threatened by Shelly. This all changes, Vada’s emotional shell fades away as a huge tragedy strikes her. This changes how Vada looks at life, she tears herself down, but as she gets further in her life she realizes different things about people and she realizes she needs to move on, even though it will be very challenging for her.

This movie is a heartwarming film filled with many hints of humor. I feel bad for Vada she has been through a lot, but she push’s people away to fast before she can realize that they are just trying to help her. Vada is a very strong character, and I feel like I feel every emotion she has, when she is sad I feel like crying, and when she is happy I feel like laughing and smiling. Laurice Elehwany did a great job developing the characters and making the audience really get interested in Vada’s life. I am very excited to watch the next movie, My Girl 2, it looks even better than this one. I recommend this movie to everybody, boy or girl, old or young. I could see anybody liking this film. Make sure you bring your tissues because this will defiantly get the water works started.

Yours, Mine and Ours

Drama, Comedy, Romance
Directed by Raja Gosnell
Reviewed by McKayla Parkin
Rated 4 out of 5 stars

Admiral Frank (Dennis Quaid) and Helen Beardsley (Rene Russo) are high school sweethearts. After high school they went their separate ways and married different people. Later on they find each other on dates at a fancy restaurant, but not with each other. Come to find out both Frank’s wife, and Helen’s husband had died in tragic accidents. After seeing each other’s faces again they realized how they still shared the same love as they had in high school. Helen and Frank have large families and were afraid to say anything about them, for fear it would scare people off. Helen has eight kids and Frank has ten. Later on that night, after finding out they have so many things in common, they got married without their children knowing. The children are devastated because they haven’t had a family with both parents in it sense the accidents. They moved both their families into a lighthouse that Frank planned to have the family fix up together. No one gets along because of the families ways of life being different. Frank is a very neat and organized man whereas Helen is very unorganized, so the children join together to break the happy sweethearts up by using their differences. Will the children get what they are trying to accomplish? Will they be happy if the separation between their parents occurs?

Yours Mine and Ours was originally made in 1968, starring Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda. Before they released it, they were looking into other titles such as The Beardsley Story, Full House and His, Hers, and Theirs. The movie was remade in November 2005 starring Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo. The director shows the struggles big families undertake. They have to overcome several obstacles, living in one home, with children that don’t get along. Throughout the movie the parents and children learn several life lessons. I would recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys some romance and wants to have a good laugh.

The Princess Bride

Action, Comedy, Fantasy
Directed by Rob Reiner
Reviewed by Morgan Sherwood
Rated 5 out of 5 stars

Many years ago, in a European nation called Florin, there was a beautiful girl named Buttercup. Buttercup has a farm boy, Westley, who only ever says three words to her, “As you wish”. Buttercup realizes that when Westley is saying, “As you wish” he really means, “I love you” and she finds out that she truly loves him back. “Hold it, hold it,” interrupts a small boy, “What is this? Are you trying to trick me? Where’s the sports? Is this a kissing book?” This story is a tradition in this little boy’s family to read when one is sick. The Grandfather of the boy reads the story with many interruptions giving the movie an innocent feel. Now where was I, oh yes, the couple is deeply in love but don’t have the money they need to get married so Westley goes on a trip overseas to earn the necessary cash. When he leaves, Westley tells Buttercup to wait for him, he will come back, they have true love, which is strong enough to keep them together and return him to her safely. 5 years pass and Buttercup gives up hope that Westley will ever return. She receives word that the Dread Pirate Roberts, who never keeps his prisoners alive, had captured Westley’s ship. Prince Humperdinck of Florin choses Buttercup to be his bride, but she will never love him for her heart belongs to Westley. A few days before the wedding, while on a horseback ride through the woods, Buttercup is kidnaped. The kidnapers take her far from Florin, sailing through eel infested waters. While sailing they notice a boat following them. It is too soon for anyone from Florin to notice Buttercup is missing and they are too far away from any town for it to be a fishing boat. It is a struggle between the mystery “man in black” from the boat and the strength of the giant, the skill of the swordsman, and the brains of the Sicilian kidnapers to see who will keep the princess and their lives. Oh but there’s one other thing, he who wins the girl will also have to deal with the Prince.

The Princes Bride is a classic; not cheesy like some other older movies; and will be enjoyed for centuries. This film gives you confidence that anything is possible and not everything is what it seems. The actors do a great job captivating the audience without a single dull moment. Buttercup is played extremely well by Robin Wright and Westley is played just as well by Cary Elwes. This movie was originally a book of the same title by William Goldman and has been a favorite of my family’s for years. I love this movie because it has a great storyline which is demonstrated well in all accounts. I recommend this film to all ages that enjoy adventure, action, fantasy, and comedy. You don’t have to like romance to enjoy this movie, but it gives it variety so it appeals to everyone.

The Help

Directed by Tate Taylor
Reviewed by Cassidy T.
Rated 6 out of 5 stars

Set in the 1960’s in Jackson, Mississippi, a white woman named Eugenia Phelan, nicknamed Skeeter, is a unique, intelligent, different type of woman. Black women, also named “the help” to white families, have become sick and tired of how they are treated.  When Skeeter becomes aware of the unjust and cruel treating of black people in her community, she decides it’s time to do something about it. So Skeeter teams up with two black woman, Aibileen and Minny, to show how they are treated by breaking society rules and putting themselves all at risk, by writing a book in “the help’s” point of view on society. Soon after, outbreak occurs and unforgettable events change their lives forever.

Based on the #1 New York Times best seller by Kathryn Stockett, The Help stars Emma Stone as Skeeter, Viola Davis as Aibileen and Octavia Spencer as Minny. This movie is an inspirational and empowering story about how such different and extraordinary women in the 1960’s southern society build an unexpected and strong friendship around a secret writing project that changed their lives forever. The Help is an unforgettable story about the will to create change. I would recommend this movie to anyone who likes powerful and courageous stories with a little bit of humor.

The Time Traveler’s Wife

Fantasy, Romance
Directed By Robert Schwentke
Reviewed By Taylor Cupp
Rated 5 out of 5 stars

Henry DeTamble, played by Eric Bana, has a gene that not many people in the world have. This gene causes him to be a time traveler. But with this type of a gene mutation you can’t decide when and where you want to travel.  It just happens, instantaneously, and he has no control of stopping it. Another problem with being a time traveler is that when he disappears and travels, his clothes get left behind, which causes him to have to get in trouble while trying to find clothes.

The storyline starts when Henry was 5, driving in the car with his mother on Christmas eve, singing with his mother, when a truck swerves and hits them, head on. As soon as the truck hits the car Henry’s first experience with time traveling begins. He disappears but then reappears on the road, watching the crash, when an older him comes up and explains the idea of time traveling.  Once at his work, a girl, Claire, played by Rachel McAdams, comes up to him more enthusiastic than ever, claiming she knows about Henry and his traveling. It turns out that she met him when she was 6, he used to travel to her woods all the time, they’ve known each other for a long time and that they were always meant to be. After a few dates they start a relationship. But having a relationship with a time traveler isn’t always easy.  Henry always disappeared at the most important times.  Once married, Henry and Claire wanted to starts a family but with many miscarriages the doctor informed them that because the disorder is because of genes, any offspring they have could have it too. Can they ever have a normal life? Will this disorder cause too many issues?

The Time Traveler’s Wife is a heart-wrenching story that is based on a novel. The novel was written by Audrey Wiffeneger in 2003 and was then developed into a movie in 2009. This movie takes your imagination to a whole new level.  It shows the societal issues of love, and loss.  The Time Traveler’s Wife does a great job of putting you in the movie, making you feel empathy for both Claire and Henry. I recommend this movie to anyone that are teens and up. Also anyone who likes romantic movies, but is looking for a different, new type of a romance movie.

The Hunger Games

Directed by Gary Ross
Reviewed by Haley Hill
Rated 5 out of 5 Stars

“Happy Hunger Games, and may the odds be ever in your favor!” A cheery death sentence everyone throughout 12 districts of Panem. It’s a horrid annual event invented by the Capitol to oppress the 12 districts . Two tributes, a girl and a boy between the ages of twelve and eighteen, from each of the twelve districts are drafted to participate in the Hunger Games. A total of 24 tributes are to fight each other to the death in an arena for entertainment. Only one victor is supposed to emerge.

After taking her younger sister’s place, Katniss Everdeen, played by Jenifer Lawrence, becomes the girl tribute for district 12 in the 74th Hunger Games.Brave and adventureous, Katniss has experience in the wild since she has had to take care of her mother and sister ever since her father died. With her bow and arrow Katniss has always been confident and successful but will that be enough for what awaits her in the “Games”? Peeta Mellark, played by Josh Hutcherson, becomes the boy tribute of district 12 and together they embark on a journey throughout the 12 districts all the way to the Capitol itself. There they undergo training with the tributes of other districts until finally they are released into the arena where a bloodbath will erupt. With chaos and death blossoming every which way in the arena, Katniss will do whatever it takes to remain humane and return home to her sister as promised.

The Hunger Games is based on the novel by Suzanne Collins and sticks pretty close to the book. In movies there is never enough time to get every detail exactly the same as the ones in the book but Gary Ross did a great job at getting as close as he possibly could. Jenifer Lawrence’s performance of Katniss was outstanding. She showed viewers how brave, nurturing, and unique Katniss can be. In fact all of the casting was brilliantly done and the actors made the characters some to life, empowering the characters with their personality traits from the book. The book and movie shows how dangerous oppression can be and how some people aren’t afraid to push their restrictions to the limits. Throughout the movie Katniss is constantly testing the capital with her spunky attitude, angering them. It also shows how oppression can sometimes bring people together. Most districts throughout Panem mourn together the Hunger Games and have revolted against them together as well. This movie is a must see with its large source of action, adventure, and excitement. You will get emotionally connected with the characters and go on a journey with Katniss Everdeen as she prepares and goes into the The Hunger Games.

The Last Song

Romance, Fiction, Adventure
Directed By: Julie Anne Robinson
Written By: Tara Birkmeyer
Rated: 5 out of 5 stars

The summer Ronnie Miller moves to Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, to stay with her father, is a summer she’ll never forget. Ronnie is a rebellious 17 year old who hasn’t spoken with her father for about three years. She took things harder than her little brother, Jonah, after her dad left and her parents got divorced. Ronnie meets a boy named Will Blakelee and she has no desire to get to know him. When they keep bumping into eachother, she decides to give him a chance. Ronnie and Will are about to experience the summer of a lifetime. Through the ups and downs, Will will be right by Ronnie’s side helping her through it. Will Ronnie mature and find out what faith, love and family really mean to her, or will she keep being an immature, rebellious, typical teen?

This movie has an extremely good story line and Nicholas Sparks did a very nice job at writing the plot. The Last Song will take you to a whole new level when it comes to love, family, and faith. Not only is it romantic but it is also very meaningful and funny. You’ll fall in love with the characters and each actor who plays them. Watching it once won’t be enough. This movie lets you experience laughter and tears along with a little adventure.

Soul Surfer

Based on a true story
Directed by Sean McNamara
Reviewed by Moriah Teed
Rated 5 out of 5 stars

Bethany Hamilton, played by AnnaSophia Robb, lives a dream life with her family on the beach, surfing daily with her best friend, Alana, and competing in surfing competitions. Everything appears to be perfect until a tragic event turns her life upside-down. One seemingly regular day transforms into a day she will never forget. While surfing with Alana, Bethany becomes the victim of a shark attack. Although she is still alive, she is faced with a previously unimaginable challenge, going through life with only one arm. Now she can’t even put her hair up on her own, and normal activities are practically impossible to carry out. Bethany will have to learn a new way to do just about everything – including surfing. Throughout this process, reality painfully becomes apparent; her life can never be the same. However, that does not stop her from striving to accomplish her goal of winning the national surfing competition. This task would have been difficult enough with two arms, let alone one, but Bethany refuses to let that hold her back, stating, “I don’t need easy; I just need possible.”

Soul Surfer is based on the true events in the life of a teenage surfer, Bethany Hamilton. The movie is captivating and extremely motivational, sending the powerful message of perseverance. Watching Bethany’s attempt to overcome such an obstacle is truly inspirational. During her journey, Bethany learns many meaningful life lessons too, and being in the theater gives the feeling as though you are right there with her, learning from them as well. Although the lessons of determination, loving others, and more are experienced by a teenage girl, audiences of all ages can get a strong meaning from them; many adults have yet to figure out what she already has about life. In addition to the deep, overall theme of the plot, there are little heart-wrenching moments along the way, capturing both strength and weakness. Those moments are what really make the movie so great, because they show the pure, raw emotion that we have all felt at some point in our lives. This gives Soul Surfer a real and relatable depth, when otherwise it would have been just a distant retelling of someone else’s life. That emotion shows the brilliant making of an exceptional movie.

I am Number Four

Science Fiction
Directed by D.J. Caruso
Reviewed by Jax Maxian
Rating 4 out of 5 stars

“Nine of us came here. We look like you. We talk like you. We live among you. But we are not you. We can do things you dream of doing. We have powers you dream of having. We are stronger and faster than anything you have ever seen. We are the superheroes you worship in movies and comic books- but we are real. Our plan was to grow, and train, and become strong, and become one, and fight them. But they found us and started hunting us first. No all of us are running, spending our lives in shadows, in places where no one would look, blending in. We have lived among you without you knowing. But they know. They caught Number One in Malaysia. Number Two in England. And Number Three in Kenya. They killed them all. I am Number Four.”

John Smith, a 15 year old alien from the planet Lorien, and his guardian Henri have to move to Paradise, Ohio as John, or Number Four, is next to be killed by the Magadorians. In Paradise, John finds himself in trouble with the head of the football team, a boy that John could easily break like a pencil, and falling in love with a girl named Sarah. Normally blending in too school, John is starting to stick out and gets a best friend, Sam. Happy with is new life, John does not want to leave when there are signs that the Magadorians are near. Going to the extremes, John and Henri continue working on John’s training for his powers. Soon, the Magadorians will come for Number Four and John is not ready.

The movie “I Am Number Four”  is very interesting and grabs you from the beginning. You will be on the edge of your seat as you choose your side, the Loriens or the Magadorians. Many people think that “I am Number Four” is more like Twilight and that is why they don’t watch the movie. Twilight, a movie about a vampire and a human falling in love, is different than I am Number Four, a movie about a alien running away from death. I would recommend this movie to any teen who likes adventure, science fiction, and a little bit of romance.

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