Well, finally a batch of movies in which I can recommend every one. Each one was enjoyable in its own way and I even brought back my * to denote my must watch movie of the batch. I haven't been using it because lately it's been pretty obvious which ones to watch and which ones not to (as in they mostly stunk). I haven't updated in a bit as I still feel like I'm catching up from the holiday season and not quite in a rhythm yet. Hopefully things should get going again soon.
Knight and Day - (3 1/2 Stars)
After watching the trailer for "Knight and Day," I wasn't too thrilled to see it. I usually enjoy Tom Cruise, but Cameron Diaz is a completely different story (I mentioned my dislike for her briefly in my previous review of The Green Hornet). However, I was pleasantly surprised with the over-the-top action/thriller. The movie from the start seems to wink at the audience and acknowledge that it's going to be a goofy, but action-packed, ride which is why it works. A movie that purposely attempts being ridiculous is always better than a movie that doesn't try and ends up that way due to poor writing or acting. This is a great example of a good popcorn movie that you know not to take too seriously and just enjoy.
(109 minutes - Rated PG-13 for sequences of action violence throughout, and brief strong language - 2010) (Netflix)
Charlie St. Cloud - (3 Stars)
Went into this one with an open mind and I was rewarded with an enjoyable experience. The movie, though starring Zac Efron, is not a romantic comedy or teen romance movie. There are elements, very slight, but overall the story focuses more on loss. Overall I found "Charlie" to be pretty likable and engaging. Granted, at some parts it got a little strange or overly sappy (and one or two "suspend your disbelief" moments as well), it was still definitely worth watching.
(99 minutes - Rated PG-13 for language including some sexual references, an intense accident scene and some sensuality - 2010) (Netflix)
Ramona and Beezus - (4 Stars)*
I remember (vaguely) reading and enjoying the Henry Huggins books, and in turn, the Ramona books. I was also a big fan of the Ramona TV series that ran in the 90's starring Sarah Polley as Ramona. So, I had some lofty expectations for this new incarnation of Ramona and I was not disappointed.
From the start, if you were a fan of the old TV series, you need to distance the two and not try to make comparisons. It's the same with any remake/revision: don't try to compare it with the old one, just watch it and judge it on its own merits and not how it stands up to its predecessor. With that being said, I really enjoyed Joey King's Ramona. She was funny and quirky and definitely brought to life the character very well (with many memorable lines). Selena Gomez, who I was really worried they'd use too much because of her star power, gets about as much screen time as Beezus should. The books were written awhile ago so the movie takes some liberties with modernizing which I think is probably shown most in Beezus' casting.
"Ramona and Beezus" is basically what one would expect: a funny, sweet and enjoyable family film. But it also delivers more than that as a solid retelling of the classic Ramona stories with a solid cast. The movie is genuinely funny as well, not just for kids, but for adults as well. For some it might seem sappy or sentimental. But those who find it to be too much for them, probably aren't the people who enjoy this type of film anyway (or they are just trying to exude a little too much machismo).
(103 minutes - Rated G - 2010) (Netflix)