My Life <![CDATA[ Impressive Debut Film in a Fiercely Competitive Arena]]>
Additionally the film has managed to establish itself so firmly in the world's collective psyche that not only is a sequel in the works for 2013 but also a spin-off film based on the minions for the following year. Not bad at all for a firm with only three titles to its entire roster at present (the other two being a CG/ live action hybrid called Hop and a second full CG feature, Dr. Seuss' The Lorax).

But enough about Illumination and their meteoric rise to legitimate competition to industry heavy hitters Pixar, DreamWorks, Sony Imageworks and Blue Sky, you are surely reading this review to learn more about the movie itself. But before we get to that, consider Despicable Me's modest budget of $69-mil. If that sounds like a lot to you, the average budget of a modern CG feature from the likes of some of the companies mentioned above is roughly $150-million with some even dwarfing that amount (fellow 2010 CG entry Toy Story 3 cost a staggering $200-million for example). Obviously this makes Despicable Me's current gross of $543,113,985 even more impressive! Okay now I'm done talking about Illumination, honest.

Despicable Me tells the tale of a villain getting up there in years who is feeling the squeeze put on by young up and coming evil-doers like the smug & tech-crazy Vector. So as to one up Vector and raise the bar of villainy so high that no other baddie can ever compete, antagonist/ protagonist Gru hatches a scheme straight off the pages of a comic book: He'll steal the moon!

But to accomplish such a lofty ambition a little heist action is in order: Namely the stealing back of the shrink ray that Vector stole from Gru after he had stolen it initially. Confused yet? No need to strain your noodle, the plot is a straight forward through and through with a wide variety of visual goodies and far reaching shades of humor to be sure to get almost anyone giggling sooner or later.

Things get complicated for our pointy nosed, bald headed, sweater donning bad guy when his scheming requires that he adopt a trio of wide-eyed orphans. Lending his voice to the character of Gru is none other than The Office's Steve Carell with a surprisingly convincing European accent. The remainder of the cast is equally well selected and delivers above average vocal deliveries to compliment the solid visuals- Jason Segal as Vector, Julie Andrews as Gru's unlovable and unloving mom, and strangely appropriate Russell Brand as Gru's geriatric genius inventor Dr. Nefario.

However, and as you might expect, an animated version of Austin Powers' Dr. Evil is hardly going to obtain the type of marketability that you'd expect from a film trying to give Disney a run for its money but don't worry, Despicable Me has that covered in earnest as well in the form of the minions. While it's never actually made clear just what these little yellow capsules with safety goggles and overalls actually are in the film, the special features reveals that they are in fact small genetically engineered drones. The high-pitched nearly unintelligible banter is just the icing on the cute/ marketable cake. If additional films and theme park rides are any indication, mission accomplished.

The soundtrack & score are spectacular as well. Pharrell Williams provides an absolutely infectious blend of beat driven filler instrumentals and original hip-hop and R&B numbers.

Comparisons to DreamWorks' Megamind are all but inevitable and though pretty similar from afar, the fact is Megamind is more of a spoof on comic-book cliché/ superhero vs super-villainy not unlike Pixar's The Incredibles (just told from the bad guy's point of view). Despicable Me is more about the business of trying to make it in the world as a villain; completely doing away with the hero element altogether. At the risk of providing a little spoiler, this is a redemption tale at its core as well: The type where the goodness present in the human heart trumps even the sheer terror of wearing a gray turtleneck sweater with scarf and freezing everyone ahead of him into a block of ice in the line at the coffee shop.

In all, Despicable Me falls into the territory of a resounding success in just about every unit of measurement. The plot feels a tad bit more forced than the well-oiled machine that is Pixar (or DreamWorks of late) but for a new studio on an extremely limited budget, such complaints become increasingly insignificant. With an exclusive partnership with Universal Films, Illumination Entertainment has made it clear that they aren't going to be content competing with anything less than the absolute upper echelon of the genre. This, their first entry into the fold is 95-minutes well spent. Here's hoping we're treated to that inexplicably absent back-story of the minions in either of the forthcoming films in the series.]]> Thu, 14 Mar 2013 01:17:59 +0000
<![CDATA[Despicable Me Quick Tip by Count_Orlok_22]]> : (
I swore an oath that I would not watch any more computer animated movies, but I couldn't help it... this one was just sooooo CUTE!

The film tells the story of Gru, a neglected boy who failed to win the approval of his mother as a child and grew up to be the world's greatest villain, and his attempt to pull of the greatest theft in villain history: the Moon. However, things begin to go awry when a younger, sassier, and wealthier villain named Vector shows up in town after having stolen the Great Pyramid of Giza, which results in the media dubbing all other villains as simply lame. In order to regain his throne of supreme villainy Gru must show that he can steal the Moon and be as ruthless as possible in doing so, but things don't go as planned when Vector manages to get a hold of the shrink ray that Gru needs to shrink the Moon before stealing it. Desperate and unable to break through Vector's security defenses, Gru relies on three young orphan girls, which he adopts, to sell Vector cookies and divert his attention while Gru steals the shrink ray back. The plan goes perfectly, well, almost, until Gru realizes that he has accidentally bonded with the three precocious and adorable children... at which point he must decide whether he wants to be a villain or a good dad.

The film is amazingly well made and the humor (much of which is provided by the antics of the Minions, Gru's genetically engineered henchmen who look like little yellow capsules) works wonders on both children and adults. The heart of the story about an embittered man trying to find acceptance and approval from his own mother and discovering that it is even more gratifying to find it from his adopted children is heartwarming and surprisingly effective within the realms of an animated family film.]]> Mon, 27 Jun 2011 12:04:46 +0000
<![CDATA[ Cute and charming, but only sometimes funny, however, I do somewhat admire it.]]>
"Despicable Me" is an animated feature in which weapons pop out within several seconds, little orphan girls are made somewhat cute, and evil minions are nothing short of resembling dimwitted corn-pops.

So right there, some good ideas were put into the product. The final result is energetic, family-friendly fun that has charm; but lacks the extra kick that could have earned it a total recommendation. With that being said, I would never try to turn someone's back on the film; although if you want a masterpiece in animated filmmaking, then this isn't where you should be looking.

But why would you be looking here in the first place? Mastery is not implied with this kind of premise; but rather cartoonish fun. Like Dreamwork's "Megamind", also about the struggle between heroes and villains, "Despicable Me" has its moments of fun, cartoony glory; although the story somewhat fails to deliver when it comes to captivation. But that's OK. "Despicable Me" is entertaining, sweet, and sometimes funny; so there's stuff to forgive as well as stuff to forget. All-in-all, I think you're in for a pleasant, if not forgettable treat.

Super villain Gru (Steve Carell) needs to find a new angle. His evil antics are losing popularity and substance due to the arrival of new super villain Vector (Jason Segel), as well as more villainous figures who know more about the business than Gru does. So Gru plans to shrink and steal the moon. However, when he gets the shrink-ray, it is stolen Vector, who uses it for his own meaningless purposes. And in one of his nigh pathetic attempts to get it back, Gru befriends and adopts three orphan girls (voiced by Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, and the adorable Elsi Fisher). Eventually, Gru re-claims his shrink-ray, and production on the theft of the moon continues.

However, Gru grows affectionate of these girls. He soon becomes a fatherly figure to them, taking them to amusement parks, telling them bed-time stories, and winning them stuffed-unicorns with his deadly weapons. All sequences listed above are surprisingly sweet, thorough, and more thoughtful than one would come to expect.

The plot can get sort of sappy and generic at times, but "Despicable Me" never stops being at least mildly engaging. It's not a great animated film, like "Spirited Away", but it's not a bad one, like "Hoodwinked". Thus, I can forgive it for its flaws; and I can also respect it too. I like what the writers and talents involves in its making were trying to do, and while they could have done better, there is some solid wit to be found here; buried underneath the seldom-seen but sometimes-annoying poop/fart humor, which most animated outings tend to throw in the mix anyways.

Carell voices Gru like some sort of Nazi. He sounds German; and the character looks like one built for Carell himself. This is a good thing about animated filmmaking; you can have the voice actors inhabit their characters, and Carell, well frankly, he fits right in.

The film looks decent, as far as animated films go. The animation itself, for the characters especially, is admirably smooth and never- absolutely NEVER- looks particularly ugly. Everything else looks fairly good, although there's just nothing that makes "Despicable Me" special. I know it doesn't need to be "special" to be good, but there's something missing, and sadly, it's a crucial ingredient. But if you're looking for light, consistent family-entertainment, then by God, you've got it.]]> Sat, 4 Jun 2011 20:55:40 +0000
<![CDATA[ Our alter-egos]]>
Gru reminds me of Michael J. Fox in Family Ties; arrogant but lovable. Then there are also moments of Batman Begins, Matrix Revolutions, Star Wars, James Bond 007, Honey, I shrunk the kids, Mrs. Doubtfire & Saturday Night Fever (the altered dimension of them all, that is)!

There’s a lot of humor in this one, perfect for a Sunday afternoon!  I haven’t got such good feelings for a thief this much since… a long time ago! It’s a fun-filled animation with beautiful crafted and lively characters. The artistic impression certainly scores high on this one. Ok, remember this, it’s an animated film, not a figure-skating championship ;-) I don’t think a villain has ever been so lovable!!!

The folly of an egocentric man! Yet, he was somewhat "neutralized" after the 3 orphaned girls came to stay with him. I haven’t got such a good laugh since a long time ago! It’s a most ridiculous plot and yet it’s highly effective in neutralizing one’s tense muscle. It makes one feels warmth inside, esp. during this cold wintery afternoon!
This movie is full of ridicules, innovations, associations & conceptual principles. It’s mambo-jumbo but certainly highly entertaining for anyone who has got a sense of humor ;-)
Hey, doesn’t Vector reminds you of (an altered) Steve Jobs?! It certainly does me :-)

]]> Sun, 16 Jan 2011 16:14:20 +0000
<![CDATA[Despicable Me Quick Tip by Lopez15]]> Thu, 25 Nov 2010 06:03:41 +0000 <![CDATA[ 4 stars: I've got problems how 'bout you? I want to be the number one villain do you?]]> In almost all films with superheroes or heroes,   the most interesting character is not the hero but the evil, demented mad man he is trying to stop. I can name more than ten villains off the top of my head that are far more fascinating than the hero who is trying to stop him The Joker is far more fascinating than Batman; Brainiac is more fascinating than Superman is. The Green Goblin is more fascinating than Spider-Man the list goes on and on and on and on In the new animated kids film. "Despicable  Me"  from directors  Pierre  Coffin and Chris Renaud  takes the most fascinating character  and puts that character in the spotlight as the lead in a film that proves that not only the hero can be  interesting. Gru is the kind of villain who is not interested in destroying his hero or the world. However,  he wants to be know on national cable television  as the greatest villain in the world to everyone including the bank manager  from  the local Bank of Evil(I had no idea villains had a bank). The Bank is  run by  the ever creepy and disturbing Mr. Perkins(voiced by Will Arnett) who sees Gru as a bumbling idiot who has not pulled off a single great act of villainy in years and thinks he never will. That is until Gru devises a plan so genius so evil so... so.. so... Despicable that it will change the world forever and Gru will forever be known as  the greatest villain  in the world. So grab your kids, grab your popcorn, and  prepare to strap yourselves in for one of the best-animated  family  adventures this year.


Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud  and  writers Ken Daurio & Cinco Paul  have crafted  such a  clever, ingenious tale  of super-villainy, father daughters relationship, over the top antics and  lame brained schemes "Despicable Me" proves to be one of the years most entertaining and surprising films. Surprising is the fact that someone older than ten years old would find an animated film about a washed up super villain outrageously entertaining  and you know what I am proud to say it, I loved this film I loved everything about this film  what is  there  not to love? "Despicable Me" is a rousing joyous film that not only follows the trapping of the best in animation (in particular the Loony Tunes). It also sets up its own ground rules and ideas by implementing  them in a sporadic and  boisterous  fashion, this film is not short on laughs in-jokes, high   jinks or outlandish plot twists(The main character, Gru, desires to be the greatest villain by pulling off the ultimate theft by   stealing the moon!!!?) This quirky film swerves from one point to another without ever losing itself in its own energy or flamboyant style. Directors  Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud have crafted a fine piece of work that not only pays homage to the mega maniacal villains of the sixties, seventies and early eighties  but also pays tribute to the best of animation like DreamWorks "Shrek"(2001), Disney/Pixar's "UP"(2009) , "Toy Story"(1995)  and many, many more. "Despicable Me" is as entertaining as it is boundlessly energetic, it moves with the quick swift pace of all animated films. However, holds onto the integral nature and good-hearted fun that it should have this film does not get bogged down in over the top antics or harebrained schemes (And let me tell you that some of the schemes in this film are rather clever). No, "Despicable Me" is meant to be an entertaining film for the entire family  that  not only kids will absolutely  fall  head over heals in love with the parents, teenagers will love as well  this is one of the best and most thrilling, hilarious, touching and despicable films of the year.

What you will take away when you finish this film is that family over almost anything is important you cannot forget about them, you cannot leave them behind (Unless you do not like your family) family is important. The anti-hero of this well crafted story Gru finds that out. "Despicable Me" is a fantastical magical  film  the kind of animated film that only comes along once in a great long while, this film  was produced by Universal who is not know for making animated features have  just jumped into uncharted waters from them and  they make a big splash with this delightful treat. "Despicable Me"  fast pace and quick witted dialogue help add to this films deliciously deviant atmosphere "Despicable Me" is a perfect example of all ages entertainment that surpasses its age stereotypes  and becoming a strong triumphant piece of comedic flare  that is just the right touch of both evil and good.

 I have never been a huge fan of Steve Carrell in fact; I really do not like him much for that matter. Carrell is one of those types of comedians that have that kind of Jim Carrey type of energy when it comes to his comedy the only difference between him and Jim Carrey. I actually like Jim Carrey as both an actor and as a person. But I must give the credit where the credit is due Carrell delivers what is possibly one of his best and most likable performances as the washed up, has been  super villain Gru  his quirky accent seems to be a combination of both Béla Lugosi and Boris Karloff and a mad Russian villain. Carrell does not over play Gru or under play him. He just shoots for even and hopes for the best and luckily, for him he is luckier than he knows, Carrell's off beat style of comedy comes quite in handy when the Loony Tunes antics kick in and the film shifts from over the top comedic flare to more grounded cutesy territory. Carrell is the shining light in this film and thanks to his ever present and up front, performance helps elevate this rather standard animated film the rest of the cast including Jason Seagel, Russell Brand. Miranda Cosgrove and Julie Andrews all deliver fine performances in this unexpected near classic animated film. 

"Despicable Me" may not be a Disney/ Pixar or an animated masterpiece but for what it is it is fantastic. This film is all good hearted fun and charm it doesn't need to be serious or dramatic, it doesn't need to make a strong moral point about adoption  or the importance of family  hell it could have just been about being despicable  and I would have appreciated it just  the same. This film will win many over and then on the other hand it might not  with animated films that are not from Disney/Pixar are always being compared against those films "Despicable Me" is no "Toy Story" and it certainly is no "UP" but for what it is it is great  good humored fun that it sets out to be.

]]> Thu, 25 Nov 2010 02:23:56 +0000
<![CDATA[ There's A Ton of Great Intention, But Can't Get Out of Pixar's Shadow]]> I’m not usually that picky with it comes to animation. Toy Story 3, How to Train Your Dragon, and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs all got a 5 out of 5 from me. While How To Train Your Dragon and Toy Story 3 were amazing feats of film-making in their own respects, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs struck a different cord in me. The movie had the same humor style of a lot of the cartoons I grew up with like the greater days of Spongebob, having this goofy style of humor that’s really outlandish but is still wrote really well and completely takes you off guard causing you to burst out into laughter. The movie also took me by surprise with some really great and relate-able characters. Despicable Me is the new film by Sony Pictures Animation written by Chris Meledandri, the same mind behind the Ice Age franchise. The story follows Gru, a renowned villain who is constantly battling fellow villain and arch-enemy, Vector. Gru adopts three orphans that are down on their luck in hopes of using them to finally defeat Vector. Despicable Me does a lot of things in an interesting way, but it doesn’t do a lot of things great. It has its eyes set on being the next classic so much that it forgets the bear basics of that and in the process be distinct. The animation unfortunately isn’t the sharpest in the world, not really living up to the beauty of How to Train Your Dragon or the mastery of the art like Toy Story 3. Despicable Me gets some fair use of scale in some OK-looking environments, but the overall character design just comes off a little lazy and amateur. I understand when you want your characters to look distinct, but some of the people in this movie were just sorta ugly. The movie does work off of a great concept, but the execution to me was where the movie started to sputter. The film too often throws characters at the screen that are really one-dimensional and almost come off as placeholders. They never really had any personality, and it’s like they take for granted that we have to connect with characters that are actually interesting and have deeper characteristics than EVIL or CUTE. Even the dad in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was greatly developed and hysterical with only 20 minutes of screen time. They toss in these minions that they assume will have the audience rolling in laughter, they throw in the little orphan girls that will hopefully be delightfully adorable and cute, and it all comes off as a really strained effort when you realize the movie’s trying too hard to please you. Even Gru, our main character, never feels more developed or “human” than a passing character in a regular movie, mainly b/c we’re told what to think about him and never get to learn on our own who he is and why we should love him. That being said, the film has its moments of hilarity. A lot of the segments with the minions got some good laughs out of me, and there are a few great moments with Steve Carrell’s character and his accent that got far more than a chuckle or two from me. However, the jokes in the film can also be a little too scatter shot and they end up shooting for a lot of different jokes to get the highest laugh ratio, which in a sense felt annoying. The voice cast is formidable in the movie, even if it’s not fully utilized. Steve Carrell steps outside of his normal schtick for some fun work, and both Jason Segel and 30 Rock’s Jack MacBrayer have some great parts. Russell Brand and Will Arnett both have some really funny parts in the film as well for comedy veterans to look out for. All in all, Despicable Me was more of a miss for me. I would definitely say skip until DVD unless you absolutely have to see an animated film AFTER seeing Toy Story 3. On paper, Despicable Me is an absolute winner, but by trying to be everyone’s favorite movie, they missed out on some great opportunities to get huge laughs and tell a memorable story.]]> Mon, 27 Sep 2010 03:03:27 +0000 <![CDATA[ Despicable Who?]]>
The first thing you notice about the film - or perhaps the last, seeing as it is only with the rolling of the credits that you realise what has caused this odd dissonance - is how French it is. Other than the voice actors, virtually every name on the credit roll is French.

And that gives it, well, a je ne sais quoi (he says with a "pfft" and a Gallic shrug). Gru, the master villain, wears the sort of stylish scarf and a snappy zip-up turtle-neck that would simply never occur to a Californian. His house is a decaying Gothic mansion with a dead lawn, but live suburban Californian neighbours (no South Pacific atolls for this major criminal, but his inside space is still cavernous to say the least). Gru drives an ungainly rocket-powered car made of riveted steel that might be of Jules Verne's devising. And Gru - sardonic, ironic, eastern European Gru - is the hero of the film, not the villain: in tune with the modern world's acknowledgement that there is no good and bad, only 1001 different flavours of turpitude, Gru's quest is nothing more honourable than reclaiming the world's number 1 bad guy spot off some precocious young kid in a tracksuit.

So a word about allegories. I have seen a couple bandied about in cyber space, that this is a thinly disguised biopic about Microsoft and Apple - for said track suited adolescent "Vector", superimpose Bill Gates. And Vector certainly seems to have outdone the older, more complacent Gru, in every conceivable way (whilst being obsessed with a Squid Gun!). Yet, with Microsoft these days more or less an also-ran in the tech wars, it's difficult to see why this would be an interesting subject to explore. And it might jut as well be about Google versus Microsoft, or even Universal versus Pixar. But you do have a hunch that the Frenchmen are hinting at something darker than the nostalgic slapstick of, say, The Incredibles. There is something about this film's bearing that leads you (well, it led me, at any rate) to look for buried messages.

As is the way of these post-modern comedies, the cultural references are legion, and the story itself is an imaginative (or perhaps random) welding together of Little Orphan Annie, Moonraker, the Incredibles and, in its way, Wall Street: Gru's problems only start when he is turned down by his bankers for a loan to finance his latest dastardly enterprise. His bank: The Bank of Evil, of course. (Subtitled: "Formerly Lehman Brothers").

What looked like a cheap shot had me thinking allegorically again (sorry: it's a weakness). I wonder whether it isn't technology, but capitalism itself, that is the Frenchmen's target. Something chimes about the parallels between the corporate and banking excesses of recent years which, as we remorsefully rehearse, sorely lacked social utility outside the enrichment of their perpetrators - and a hubristic and egotistical race to do something as pointless (and self-harming, as a poor werewolf discovers, mid-howl) as stealing the moon. The only motivation offered was "profit", with no explanation given for how any might accrue (which also rings rather true!)

Certainly, the speech Gru gives to all his "minions" (semi-sentient little helpers who look like Advil capsules in goggles and denim overalls: he tells them to prepare their CVs) resembles Dick Fuld's supposed speech to his defeated troops after the battle of wall street in 2008, and the minions (half-witted automatons) do rather resemble aspiring investment bankers. The Lehman reference, perhaps, was not coincidental.

So much for hubris: Gru's redemption is at the hands of three orphans whom he adopts for nefarious purposes, and in whose hands he makes his moral recovery. This is predictable, yes, and formulaic, yes, but nevertheless is handled deftly, with genuine inventiveness and the same sort of new parent's knowingness which infuses Pixar's output: Gru's irritation at the feebleness of the bedtime story he is required to read was visceral and very, very familiar to the audience, judging by their uproarious response. Brilliant.

The 3D is used inventively (why no-one has ever thought to stage a rollercoaster ride in a 3D movie before is beyond me, but it works a treat) without ever being gratuitous. And I liked the incidental music too: other than the opening strains of Lynrd Skynrd (accompanying a stereotypically annoying family of American tourists: again, a deft little Gallic tweak) it is suave and, well, Continental.

Others have carped that Despicable Me is saccharine: maybe it caught me on a good day but I didn't think so at all: I enjoyed every minute, and so did my kids (9 through 4), so from me it comes well recommended for all ages.

Olly Buxton]]> Wed, 22 Sep 2010 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ Surprisingly good]]> Two young people with tragic pasts meet and fall in love in New York City. Tyler (Robert Pattinson) is the moody slacker son of a corporate fat cat (Pierce Brosnan) and Ally (Emilie de Raven) is the spunky daughter of a cop (Chris Cooper). Tyler dates Ally on a dare but finds they have a real connection and their mutual trust begins to heal past losses.

The first half of this romantic drama is about the two young lovers getting to know each other. They're both grumpy and sarcastic and their conversations are made up mostly of monosyllabic grunts and mumbles accompanied by much slouching and shoulder-shrugging. These scenes move a bit slowly, but in the second half, we see a much wider range of emotions and Cooper and Brosnan bring maturity and outstanding, nuanced performances. Pattinson is surprisingly good, in spite of his trademark unkempt appearance. Brosnan has outgrown his dashing leading-man days and graduated to wonderful, serious character actor status. Cooper gives a poignant performance and almost steals the movie.

The much talked-about ending involving 9/11 seemed out of place to me; the same result could have been achieved without resorting to such a manipulative ploy. But I do recommend the movie; it's got good acting and a touching, complex story that rings true. 

        Cooper and Brosnan are both great in this movie.
]]> Tue, 20 Jul 2010 01:35:02 +0000
<![CDATA[ Good movie, Amazing 3D!]]> I can wait for a lot of movies to hit DVD before I need to see them. But I had heard about the incredible 3D animation of the new Steve Carell flick. My girlfriend and I saw it at the Pacific Beach Cities Theater (which apparently is becoming an Archlight = amazing popcorn) on Saturday. I purchased the tickets on a blackberry app Poynt I downloaded while I was getting dragged through Target. I digress.

I would definitely NOT wait for this movie to come out on DVD. It is for sure a kids movie but also includes entertaining adult jokes. Great story line, even better 3D animation. Oh and wait for the credits to finish before you leave.]]> Wed, 14 Jul 2010 23:06:15 +0000
<![CDATA[ Compelling drama, forced dialogue]]> Wed, 14 Jul 2010 12:00:00 +0000 <![CDATA[ great movie!]]> I loved this movie! It was wonderful to get to take my little brother to a movie that was entertaining for both children and adults. I really enjoyed the 3D features of this film, especially the end credits which included some very cool pop out minions. At the beginning of the film the different stories did not seem to coincide with eachother very much, but once they came together it was great. Steve Carrell did absolutely amazing and his voice was truly unique for the character. The minions are truly the most entertaining characters to watch. They run around and bounce and are so giggly. The 3 girl characters are very cute and keep you rooting for them the entire show. I would recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys animation and the 3D experience. As for the humor of this movie, I was laughing from start to finish. The music is extremely catchy and I honestly came home and downloaded the song that was made for the film. It is original and I really enjoyed it. I didn’t really like the other evil guy too much, his character was kind of annoying, but I guess he was important to the plot.

]]> Mon, 12 Jul 2010 23:31:43 +0000
<![CDATA[ 3 1/2 stars: Never forget, Never let go, never stop living]]> Have you ever lost someone you love? Have you ever felt like loosing that loved one was so hard you would never get over it and you just spent the rest of your days mopping, mourning that said loved one feeling like no one in the world understands you. No one understands what you are going through the kind of pain your feeling for the loss of someone you care for with all your heart and soul. No one understands this better than young Tyler Hawkins who is going through a long-term bout of depression after the loss of a loved one he mopes and sulks around New York like no one in the world care about him. Harboring a deep hatred for his cold and workaholic father who he blames for all the troubles in his life Tyler is about  to have his life altered not by self reflection and self  discovery but by the one thing  he never thought would happen to him, love he finds love  with a young girl who is living with he same pain as he is  with the same bottled up anger and sadness he is going through  and together learn to overcome there grief and find happiness and solace in each other and slowly learn to move on from there personal woes.  Allen Coulter’s “Remember Me" is a dark and searing look into the lives of two families as they deal with the loss of loved ones and a look into the lives of two young people who find love  amidst  each others pain and sorrows. 






When I heard that Robert Pattinson (one of my least favorite actors) was going to loss the fangs and the pale skin to play a regular human being in a movie that has actually moral meaning and a story not half-baked and dull to unlawful extremes I nearly fell out of my chair it was just too unbelievable, too unfathomable for me too comprehend Robert Pattinson is not the type you would exactly associate with a movie with this kind of deep subject matter the films story revolves around death, loss, suffering and violence all of which are very heavy themes and echo  sadly throughout the film.  I had no interest in seeing this even if it did have some of my favorite actors in it namely Chris Cooper and Pierce Brosnan (both of which are phenomenal in this film) it had almost been two maybe three months into this film release that I started to become interested in it. Especially after a news article surfaced about the film talking about the films twist ending my interest in this film soared. You see controversy surrounding a film always for some reason or another intrigues me. Allen Coulter's "Remember Me” is not your typical romantic drama  it does not have a straight forward story like  most  as in most romantic dramas you are able to tell how it is going to end. Which takes the fun out of watching the film  however, that is not the case with "Remember Me" you don't  know how it will end you don't know what will happen to the two young lovers  will they live   or will they die? Will someone else die in there place? You keep asking yourself theses questions in   the hopes that you may be able to discern how this film will end   and when the end comes, you end up with your jaw going through the floor. The ending is the most shocking part of this film and possibly the most heartbreaking thing about this film it just leaves you so distraught and in a complete state of sadness; you do not know what to think about this film it just leaves you in a complete state of shock. This is the kind of film that most will enjoy some will find it either overly offensive or extremely sad how you choose to view it is your own opinion. "Remember Me" is a well-made movie with deep meaning, real emotions not cheap Hollywood emotions, but real true human feelings. I felt for the characters  I felt like  I got o know them as the film moved along I felt like they were people I had know for not too long,  long enough for me to be able to care for them and feel there pain. This film does not cheat you it may at sometimes feel that way nevertheless, it delivers what promises or so it seems. 



"Remember Me" is a very touching and at sometimes very heartbreaking look into the subject of life, death, love, betrayal and hardship. It is not a cheap movie it does not pretend to be something that it’s not  it does not try to sugar coat real life to make it look easy simple and death free as most romantic dramas do. They usually portray the difficulties of the two lovers never the people around them. Some romantic drams are based just around two people and the rest of the people in there lives  there mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, uncles aunts etc. are  just side characters or dead to add a certain flare to the film to keep the drama flowing strong. Most of the time it works and other times it just feels stale and just thrown in there for good dramatic effect. That however, is not the case with "Remember Me"  it is a real film not a slick exploitation of one it does not sugar coat life or use it as a gimmick for the romance   it fleshes out the deepest and darkest parts of life, it puts them to use  like more films of this caliber should. "Remember Me" is a truly enjoyable film that  that brings to life the dark side of life and the joys of romance  this is the rare film  that works on all levels.




I really do not care much for Robert Pattinson he is one of the most over hyped actors of this generation thanks to no less than the Twilight films from which he skyrocketed to fame faster than Tom Cruise. Which I thought was impossible until I saw the amount of  crazed fans screaming his name and the amount of fan sites  he even has  a documentary about his popularity it is unbelievable. I never thought that Pattinson would go anywhere beyond the twilight films I figured he would be like the kids from Harry Pothead oh, sorry I meant Harry Potter. However, Pattinson has not found much success outside of the "Twilight" series until now. Pattinson performance in "Remember Me" is not half-baked or lagging although in some scenes, he tends to drop off into the whole Edward Cullen hoarse whisperer thing in some scenes. His performance is very subdued yet intense, succeeds in fulfilling his duty to this films deep story, and comes out on the other side as a very competent and convincing dramatic actor. I liked Pattinson in the role   I felt for his character I sympathized with his character and in a film that is one of the major parts in filmmaking if you do not care about the characters or if in some cases despises them then the film, itself has failed miserable here all the characters have hearts and souls. They cry they feel and most if not all of them are in pain Pattinson has the task of carrying the most baggage and he effectively gives a performance that is worthy of being called good. The rest of the cast including Emilie De Ravin, Lena Olin, Tate Ellington, Gregory Jbara, Ruby Jerins, and Pierce Brosnan with Chris Cooper all deliver fine supporting performance in this heartbreaking drama that proves to be much more than you could ever expect.






Many may call this film overwrought, overly offensive, half baked and dull, I call it a fine piece of filmmaking  its a movie that no  matter how you view it still manages to entertain in some way. "Remember Me" is not a perfect movie it ha sits flaws and parts where it lags  a little and the drama  shifts to over the top melodrama but the movie never strays from its dark and lurid tone  of loss and despair. What I admire most about this film is what I think most will as well  it is  a very touching romantic drama as well as a look into the trials and tribulations   of   one man  trying to find his place in this sometimes bleak and lonely world. In addition, ends up finding it in the loving arms of a young woman who is just as emotionally scarred as he is. For what it is it is this film is very well done and well played out  it leaves you thinking of how short life can be sometimes  of how in the blink of an eye you can lose someone so dear and in some rare instances find someone new to love.

]]> Mon, 12 Jul 2010 05:09:15 +0000
<![CDATA[ Gosh, This Movie is Soooo Despicably CUTE and Adorable! (Bleecchh!!!!)]]>
With 3D graphic technology in full swing and the box-office successes of animated films such as “How To Train Your Dragon”, “Shrek Forever After” and “Toy Story 3” has inspired a new wave of animated films so expect a lot more where they came from. The economy is bad so people are seeking out wholesome family entertainment. Well, we cannot all expect these films to be made by Pixar and Dreamworks Animation. So Illumination Entertainment with Universal Pictures have come up with a 3D animated adventure called “DESPICABLE ME”. This film is a formula film; offering not that much when it comes to an inventive story but channels something that most grumpy people find really despicable--CUTENESS.

Gru (voiced by Steve Carrell) is a man who lives in a quiet suburban neighborhood; he tries to keep to himself for the most part except for the occasional incident in a coffee shop. He is actually the former # 1 super-villain who has his own hideout below his house; a hideout filled with his army of mischievous minions. [cute] Gru has been unseated as the world’s # 1 villain after the Great pyramid of Giza has been stolen by Vector (Jason Segel), a nerdish, young villain who has the financial backing of a super-villain investment banker (Will Arnett). Now, Gru must regain his position as # 1 and with the help of Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand), they hatch a scheme to steal the moon. But things become more complicated as Gru becomes faced with taking care of three [cute] spunky orphaned little girls; Margo, Edith and Agnes (Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier and Elsie Fisher respectively) after they perform a nefarious plan for him; this proves to be Gru’s greatest challenge…

                 A scene from "Despicable Me."

                 A scene from "Despicable Me."

“Despicable Me” has a very simple premise and quite frankly it is an animated film that is so predictable and yet you find that you don’t mind just how predictable the film really is. You have the character who believes that he is actually something that he wants to be; to perhaps attain the approval of his mother, or maybe to just be different. The film is sort of a ‘coming of age’ tale as to how we find [cute] that we aren’t actually what we thought we were meant to be and that we can shine in our best image when we are faced with issues that test our character. Gru is an individual who can testify that we find the best within us when someone is defending on you; that one can become his very best to be worthy of another’s adoration; whether he wants to be or not.

                  A scene from "Despicable Me."

                 A scene from "Despicable Me."

               A scene from "Despicable Me."

The film is just filled with colorful characters and Gru with his indeterminate European accent can provide some laughs by itself; the voice-acting by Carrell deserves to be noted. The direction is so full of endearing moments, slapstick vigor and [cute] adorable gags that provoke a laugh. Gru’s bald-headed appearance may be a homage to Lex Luthor (Superman’s arch-enemy) that I thought was a very nice touch with his characterization coming in the form of flashbacks. The film [cute] is about competition as two villains try to outdo the other when it comes to raw villainy until it becomes a one-on-one struggle for the 'shrinking ray';  the laughs just come from those sequences and most often than not, it wasn’t just how inventive or fresh the comedy was, but rather the timing was just excellent that the viewer is just going to have to laugh. Gru’s behavior is more despicably endearing that actually villainous in my opinion; his scenes with his neighbor, the coffee shop and his devilish vehicles are some of the film’s main strengths. (as a villain, Gru isn’t environmentally “green” so his jets give off despicable fumes) I thought the film has the feel of classic 60’s super-agent comedies that relied on being exaggerated.

                     A scene from "Despicable Me."

                    Elsie Fisher voices Agnes and Dana Gaier voices Edith in "Despicable Me."

                   A scene from "Despicable Me."

                  Elsie Fisher voices Agnes and Dana Gaier voices Edith in "Despicable Me."

What really steals the show are Gru’s small, yellow, pill-shaped [cute] minions that are so (ahem) adorably cute and funny who he sends to assist him and carry out his despicable plans. They seem to have been made to charm the holy heck out of the most darkest, coldest movie watcher [cute] that even I was so entertained whenever they were onscreen. The film is successful because of these minions; their gags, their behavior is just so full of [cute] comedic momentum that they actually helped shape the film's personality and Gru's character. The three girls are also quite endearing, most especially Agnes who plays the pesky, youngest orphan who also scares the heck out of Gru’s attack dog.

“Despicable Me” isn’t anything special; it is a formula film that stays aloft because of its comedic charm and slapstick energy than actually trying to attempt something inventive or original. The film is filled with contrivances but the direction isn’t pretentious; and channels what it wants to be quite well. A villain who finds his soul because of three girls has a very endearing charm and proves a worthwhile family film. If the quality of a film can be measured in “cuteness” then, this movie scores HUGE. “Despicable Me” may prove inferior to those very used to animated films, but I bet the majority of its viewers will see this movie again and again--especially with the entire family. “Despicable Me” isn’t a despicable animated film, but it is just so adorably ‘CUTE’.

So can anyone tell me how many times they found the word ‘cute’?

Recommended! [3 ½ Out of 5 Stars]
The 3D effects in the film are nicely done. I do think it added to the film’s fun experience.

          ]]> Sun, 11 Jul 2010 02:02:45 +0000
<![CDATA[ Despicable You? Maybe. Unimpressed Me? Definitely.]]> Written by Ken Daurio
Directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud
Voices by Steve Carrell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand and Kristen Wiig

Gru: Good night, sleep tight.  Don’t let the bed bugs bite … because there are literally thousands of them … and there’s probably something in your closet too.

You’ve gotta love an imagined world where there are evil super villains lurking around stealing things like pyramids and what not right from under the world’s noses.  Arguably, super villains exist in our world but the consequences of their dastardly plots are  little too real for me.  Someone who wants to shrink the moon and hold it ransom though so he can be the biggest, baddest super villain in the world though – now that’s my kinda guy.  Or at least he would be if he weren’t trapped in such a predictable, hollow plot and bogged down by such tired, unfunny dialogue.

Gru is despicable.  As he is the center of his own universe, from his point of view, he is DESPICABLE ME.  Voiced with a pretty sturdy Russian American accent by Steve Carrell, Gru is so evil he pops kids’ balloons after he blows them up for them (gasp!) and freezes the long line of people waiting for their lattes at a local coffee shop so he can go to the front of the line.  I’m shaking in fear here.  What he does next is actually pretty gross when you think about it.  He adopts three little girls so that they can bring a shipment of cookies to his new nemesis, Vector, who is evil with “both direction and magnitude” and voiced delightfully by Jason Segel.  The cookies are really robots though and are designed to steal the shrink ray Gru needs for his moon heist.

In a not at all surprising turn of events, Gru, a man who is supposed to embody evil, finds himself caring for these adorable little girls.  When the girls’ dance recital poses a conflict with his moon heist, you can almost piece together every little lesson still to be learned.  Family films do not have to be complex or present a true face of evil to make their point but they have to try a little harder than this to remain original.  Instead, DESPICABLE ME almost ends up living up to its name and leaves you with little more than a few funny moments and some pretty awesome little minion characters.  Those guys made the movie!  Too bad it wasn’t about them.

Thanks for reading and just click the link for more BLACK SHEEP REVIEWS.]]> Sat, 10 Jul 2010 14:24:56 +0000
<![CDATA[Despicable Me Quick Tip by sunshineliz]]> Sat, 10 Jul 2010 03:32:33 +0000 <![CDATA[ He's a Villain, But He's Not a Bad Guy]]>
He certainly has the means to be a criminal mastermind; within his vast secret lair beneath his looming black house, he and the goggled Dr. Nefario (voiced by Russell Brand) have overseen the creation of ray guns that can freeze people and blow things up, vehicles that can drive on surface streets but look serious enough to drill through the Earth's crust, flying machines equipped with every missile known to man, and tiny robots disguised as chocolate chip cookies. The problem is, Gru's notoriety has been overshadowed by rival super villain Vector (voiced by Jason Siegel), who looks like Bill Gates in an orange jumpsuit and lives in an obscenely secured white fortress (surveillance cameras, hundreds of missiles, trick doors, shark-infested moats - the whole nine yards). Hoping to regain his status, Gru plots his greatest heist yet: Stealing the moon.

Of course, it will have to be shrunk to a manageable size, which is why Gru needs Vector's extra special shrink ray. Here enters three orphaned girls - Margo (voiced by Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (voiced by Dana Gaier), and Agnes (voiced by Elsie Fisher) - who get by selling boxes of cookies door to door; Gru adopts them, knowing that they can safely infiltrate Vector's fortress. What begins as a simple plan turns complicated when the girls start behaving like the children they are. They run around. They make noise. They touch things they're not supposed to touch. They always want to be read a story before going to bed. Aside from those things, they actually expect to be raised, a responsibility Gru has avoided after growing up with a sourpuss mother (voiced by Julie Andrews). Does he have it within himself to be a dad and a super villain?

Many animated films have scenes stolen by the antics of their supporting characters. "Despicable Me" is no exception; here, we have Gru's minions, a multitude of yellow ball-shaped one- or two-eyed creatures of unknown origin that speak fast, high-pitched gibberish and are a bit accident prone. You look at one and just can't help but want to punt it across a football field. It would probably be able to take it, judging by the hilarious physical abuse they all endure throughout the film. They're goofy, broad, and given the best sight gags, so naturally, they thoroughly upstage all the other characters every time they appear in a scene. They're even given their own epilogue segments during the end credits, which have little to do with the actual story but deftly take advantage of the film's 3-D effects.

Ah yes, the 3-D, seemingly inescapable these days. It's a process I admittedly have mixed feelings about. Sometimes is works beautifully (Disney's "A Christmas Carol," "Avatar," "Alice in Wonderland"). Sometimes, it's either an unnecessary gimmick ("Clash of the Titans," "My Bloody Valentine 3-D") or a total disaster ("The Last Airbender"). I'm glad to say that it works for "Despicable Me," especially during a scene at a boardwalk amusement park when Gru and the girls ride a roller coaster. There's also the moment when Gru makes an emergency landing in the middle of the street; the point of his shuttlecraft juts out from the screen, which momentarily made me think it would poke out my eye. Still, if you have the choice, go for traditional 2-D. Aside from paying less at the box office, you won't have to bother with the glasses, which can often times be a distraction.

Regardless of the dimension involved, "Despicable Me" is a delightful film - funny, sweet, and a triumph of animation and visual effects. Kids will enjoy it for its bright colors and physical humor, and this will almost certainly include Dr. Nefario's demonstration of a gun that emits a foul-smelling gas: "It was supposed to be a DART gun!" Gru exclaims in frustration. Adults will like it for its subtler touches, like a sign that reads "The Bank of Evil (formerly Lehman Brothers)." Everyone is sure to enjoy its good-natured spirit, especially when it's coupled with scenes of Gru's minions. Mark my words: They will be remembered long after memories of the plot have faded.]]> Fri, 9 Jul 2010 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ Funnily Enough, "Remember Me" Is Highly Forgettable...]]> Pros: Great acting...

Cons: ...horribly formulaic plot, terrible ending, somewhat of a pointless film.

The Bottom Line: Robert Pattinson manages to escape the glittery skin and vampires, but he's still stuck with bad plots...

Most anyone who knows me knows that I am a reluctant Twilight fan-girl.  Though the books aren't great, and the movies are arguably worse, I've fallen for lead actor, Robert Pattinson, like any self-respecting twelve year old would (never mind the fact that I turned 23 a few weeks ago).

Naturally, when it was revealed that Pattinson would venture out of the world of Twilight to star in another movie, I was excited and thrilled to see the film, Remember Me.  However, due to the fact that all of my friends refused to buy tickets to see the movie with me (something about being embarrassed to see a movie with the Vampire guy in it), I had to wait for it to come to my local Redbox.

I'll just cut to the chase by saying it was truly only worth a $1.

Okay, perhaps I'm being a bit harsh.  Writer, Will Fretters, created the story which focuses on Tate Hawkins (Pattinson), a 21-year-old student at NYU.  Tate is at all times angsty, moody and directionless; he's brooding and dark and kind of like Edward Cullen, except less wooden and he doesn't glitter in the daylight. 

One evening, Tate and his roommate, Aiden (Tate Ellington), get involved in a street fight, and after mouthing off, Tate finds himself being accosted by one of the detectives (Chris Cooper).   Soon thereafter, Aiden sees the detective at NYU, dropping off his beautiful daughter, Ally (Emilie de Ravin).  Aiden cooks up a scheme in which Tate can get back at the cop by dating his daughter, sleeping with her and then dumping her.  Tate reluctantly goes along with the scheme, and of course, trouble eventually ensues.

The film also stars Pierce Brosnan, who plays Tate's inattentive businessman father, Charles.   Besides the main plot of Tate and Ally's eventual romance, there's also a few side stories which focus on Tate's damaged relationship with his father, his protective relationship with his younger sister, Caroline (Ruby Jerins), his mourning over the death of his brother, Michael (whom kills himself prior to the film's start), and Ally's relationship with her overprotective dad.

For the most part, I found the plot to be incredibly vapid and trite.  I feel as though I've not only seen this same story a million times, but on top of that, I've seen it done better.  Within minutes of watching the film, you know exactly what's going to happen.  Of course, Tate and Ally really do fall in love.  Of course, her father finds out that Tate is the same kid he beat up.  And- you guessed it- after falling in love, Ally finds out that Tate lied to her and was just using her.  And then, as the obvious plot would go, Tate begs her forgiveness and explains that he really did fall in love with her.  Ah, who didn't see that coming?

Then, however, the plot takes a surprising twist, which is probably the worst part of the film.  The ending was spoiled for me before ever seeing the movie as I browsed reviews, and I'm sorry to say that I plan on spoiling the ending for you too (so stop reading here, if you don't want what happens), just because I find it simply ridiculous, and it's basically the reason the film receives its two stars in my review.

Anyway, after Ally and Tate make up, things seem to be going better in Tate's life.  He seems to finally be coming to terms with his brother's suicide, he and his father are getting along better, and his father finally takes interest in his little sister (which is a main conflict throughout the film).  One day, Charles asks Tate to meet him at his office, and so Tate heads over and waits for his father at work, while Charles takes Caroline to school.  At school, we learn that the day is September 11, 2001.  Meanwhile, we get a shot of Tyler staring out the window of his dad's offices, and the camera pans away to reveal that Charles actually works in one of the World Trade Center buildings.  No actual footage is shown, but within a few minutes we are told that Tyler dies in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Honestly, I found this to be the worst part of the film- even worse than the clichéd plot.  The "surprise" twist was not only unnecessary, but also had nothing to do with the rest of the film, and amazingly just devalued the rest of the plot.  I mean, there was all this character development, and the film leads you to care about the characters and then Tyler is unnecessarily and quickly killed off in the end.  What was the purpose of it?

Worse yet, it just made the film even more depressing than it already was.  The movie begins with Ally's mother being shot point-blank at a subway when Ally is 11, we're repeatedly hit over the head about Michael's suicide and how sad that is, and then Tyler dies at the end too?  Why?

I see where writer, Will Fetters, and director (Allen Coulter) were trying to go with the ending- it was supposed to be poetic, bittersweet, moving.  However, it really came off feeling rushed, cheap, and downright depressing.  It's almost as if Fetters and Coulter didn't know where to end the movie, so they just tacked on Tyler's death at the end to bring it to a close.  The ending honestly made me feel as though the whole movie had been a waste of my time- I wanted my two hours and one dollar back.

Really, the only good thing I can say about Remember Me is that the acting was pretty stellar.  While I am a fan of Pattinson (admittedly more so for his good looks than anything else), I'll admit his acting in the Twilight films is stilted, at best.  However, he really showed that he can act in this movie, and gave a surprisingly great performance.  He brought the character of Tyler to life, and though it can be argued that the role wasn't too much of a stretch, Pattinson still showed a certain charisma and charm that we have yet to see from him in the Twilight roles.

Meanwhile, de Ravin turned in a pleasant performance as the tough around the edges yet irresistibly sweet Ally.  Pattinson and de Ravin had great chemistry together in the romantic scenes, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Pattinson be offered a load of romantic comedy leads after this film.

Likewise, Brosnan, Cooper and 11-year-old Jerins, delivered equally solid performances.  Jerins really stole the show for me; though the youngest in the cast, she showed incredible depth and emotion in her character and was a delight to watch.

It's actually such a shame that a cast so strong got wasted on a film so bad.  I think this could've been Pattinson's chance to break out of the Twilight role; however, the horrible plot might have ruined things for him.  I feel as though the film could've been written by someone else, or even ended a different way and been significantly better, but alas, this is what we're stuck with.

I suppose if you're a fan of Pattinson, the film would be worth watching for his performance and the additional two hours of eye-candy; otherwise, just stay away.


Movie Mood: Serious Movie
Viewing Method: Other
Film Completeness: Looked complete to me.
Worst Part of this Film: Plot]]> Fri, 25 Jun 2010 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ Endings Have a Funny Way of Sneaking Up on You]]>
All I can say with certainty is that everything leading up to the ending is enjoyable, if a little routine. The main character is Tyler Hawkins (Robert Pattinson), a moody, rebellious, bitter twenty-one year on the verge of turning twenty-two. Is this something to celebrate? Not with the life he has leading. He lives in a dingy New York apartment. He takes all his college classes on an auditing basis. He has no prospects. He picks fights with the wrong people. He smokes too much. He often lands in jail. He hates his father, Charles (Pierce Brosnan), whose cold, distant workaholic tendencies may have played a part in the suicide of Michael, Tyler's brother. Michael, of course, was only twenty-two years old.

In due time, Tyler starts dating a college student named Ally Craig (Emilie de Ravin), who has her own emotional baggage to contend with. Part of it stems from her father, an NYPD officer named Neil (Chris Cooper), a broken man who we know is decent deep down. He's immensely overprotective of Ally. Why? He has his reasons, other than the fact that he's her father. If she forgets to call home after just one night away, he'll call everyone he knows down at his precinct and demand they help track her down. If he had his way, she wouldn't have a boyfriend, nor would she be allowed to grow up. Be that as it may, Tyler and Ally really do seem to have a good thing going, despite the fact that it all started under false pretenses.

Meanwhile, Tyler remains devoted to his eleven-year-old sister, Caroline (Ruby Jerins), a gifted artist who has a tendency to space out in the middle of class. She's often made fun of. Eventually, she learns just how mean other kids can be. This generates even more friction between Tyler and his father, who frequently thinks business meetings are more important than family gatherings, specifically an art show Caroline was lucky enough to be a part of. But is Charles really the hard-hearted monster he seems to be? Or is he still grieving the death of his other son? Tragedy can make us do things we ordinarily wouldn't do. For Charles, overworking might be easier than actually allowing himself to feel. All he knows is that he more than adequately provides for his family, financially speaking. And Tyler? He has no responsibilities at all. How can he when he believes that life ends at age twenty-two?

While hardly groundbreaking in terms of story, "Remember Me" does have emotional resonance. It helps that the performances are strong. I responded best to the scenes featuring Pattinson and Jerins; all too often, the chemistry between child actors and adult actors is overlooked, and this is a shame because it's sometimes the most believable aspect of a film. This isn't to suggest that there isn't chemistry between the adults. Indeed, Pattinson and de Ravin are always charming, humorous, and poignant whenever they appear together. And Pattinson and Brosnon are convincing as a quarrelling father and son. The only casting choice I question is Tate Ellington, although it had nothing to do with his performance; his character - Aiden Hall, Tyler's roommate - was completely unnecessary, and, quite frankly, annoying.

I've now established that this movie opens on a good but unoriginal premise. This brings me back to what I started this review with: The ending. Was it earned? Honestly, I have no idea. On the one hand, it's a contrived scene that's in service of an already contrived plot, which is more than a little unfair. On the other hand, it depicts a very real event, and it correctly reinforces the idea that it's pointless to put all your energy into hating those closest to you. Both are equally valid points. Ultimately, I can recommend "Remember Me" only on the basis of its opening and middle sections, which were well done in spite of a very traditional premise. As far as the ending is concerned, I'm afraid you're on your own. Hopefully, I'll be able to make up my mind the next time around.]]> Fri, 12 Mar 2010 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ A cautionary tale]]>
While Zoe was harder to swallow I rather liked the guys in the book. From Henry and his bandmate Niles to Sam, her friend that makes no secret of his crush on Zoe. They all seemed a lot more level-headed and also really seemed to care for Zoe even when she was acting crazy. I also liked Zoe's friends Julia and Shannon they tried to keep her on the right path for as long as they could and when that wasn't working that finally gave in and fed the craziness of Zoe and her plan.

The ending was a little meh but I think it was an appropriate ending for the message that I thought the author was trying to send. I really like how she and some of the characters stress that no matter who you are with, you need to maintain yourself and your own interests instead of losing yourself within someone else. I think that's a very important message that everyone needs to be reminded of from time to time.

Overall an interesting concept with probably a truer to life (but exaggerated) main character than we all want to admit to!]]> Sun, 14 Jun 2009 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ We Are Family: Broadening the Parameters]]>
Ron Davis is a successful architect in an Atlanta based company: he loves his work, enjoys his co-workers and appears to have it all in place, with the exception of a significant other. Ron is surrounded by devoted friends, especially his best friend Randy who is a campy party person always encouraging Ron to find the right partner. Ron is closeted at work and when his boss sends him to Houston to critique and assist a housing project, Ron is tense as he is traveling with his very straight partner Steve. Once in Houston (and quite out of the blue) Ron meets Sam, a partner in the firm he has been sent to advise, and the two men find a surprising and richly fulfilling relationship: Steve likewise pairs off with a beautiful partner and through an accidental meeting, Steve discovers Ron's sexual proclivity and, to Ron's surprise, is completely accepting of the 'new Ron'. The stay in Houston is meaningful but short, and when Ron returns to Atlanta he discovers a tragedy that crumbles his world. The remainder of the novel deals with how Ron works through his loss and how his own family as well as the families of his friends and acquaintances not only accept Ron's sexuality, but how they all are support systems far beyond what the previously paranoid Ron could imagine. It is a coming out story rich in details and told with a surety of prose that makes this novel eminently readable.

Christopher Beckwith writes so well that his use of vernacular phrases and conversational language of the African American community highlight his book rather than control it. Too often authors attempt to tell an entire story in an idiosyncratic lingo that at times demands a translation footnote! Not so with Beckwith: the verbal interchanges of his characters add flavor while allowing the novel's flow to be uninterrupted for those who may not be familiar with such terms and phrases. Beckwith has a gift for describing sexual encounters (both gay and straight) with highly charged eroticism while never crossing the line into the seamy territory. His physical encounters described so well are about passion and love and his ability to fill his book with such language without alienating any reader is amazing.

Beckwith develops is characters extremely well, so well that they become part of our own reading family as the novel develops. There are no loose strings and no matters left unattended. If the novel relies a bit heavily on spiritual matters (how many times is it necessary to hear the prayers before eating?), then Beckwith sews these threads into the flavor of his community with the respect that such spiritualism holds. It is a bit troublesome that the editor of the book found it necessary to place a disclaimer about the model whose presence on the beautifully designed cover of the book sets just the right mood for the story inside: 'The sexual orientation and/or preferences referenced in this work do not constitute those of the model'. Perhaps with more understanding books such as this one by Christopher Beckwith such homophobic actions will dissolve. This is very fine writing from a very fine new author. Recommended reading for many reasons. Grady Harp, August 08]]> Fri, 8 Aug 2008 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ Freaks and geeks]]> Mon, 19 May 2008 12:00:00 +0000