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Review: Little Women

Louisa May Alcott’s 1860s novel Little Women has been adapted to film more times that I can count, beginning in the silent era. So do we really need another one? Yes, we do. In the hands of the talented Greta Gerwig, this story of the four March sisters in Concord, Massachusetts feels as fresh and as relevant as any modern story. And blessed with a perfect cast including Saoirse Ronan, Laura Dern, and Timothée Chalamet, it’s one of the gems of this awards season.

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast represented near-perfection for an animated musical when it competed for Best Picture honors in 1991. So it’s hard to imagine that any reimagining of the “tale as old as time” could possibly hold a candle – or a lumiere – to that instant classic. But Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast does what it set out to do, and that’s bring a strong cast, a contemporary vibe, and a few new songs to audiences old and new. And while it’s not perfect, it is quite enchanting.

Noah

I’m no biblical scholar, but I’ve heard the story of Noah and the flood a few times. I suspect there are not many who haven’t. In a nutshell: “The Creator” talks to Noah. He tells him to build an ark. He does and there is a flood. And there are a lot of animals involved. In the latest cinematic iteration of the story, there are not a lot of surprises. But there are some big time special effects and this one feels like Transformers meets A Beautiful Mind with a touch of Lord of the Rings and a heavy dose of your faith of choice. Noah is not a Cecil B. DeMille reverential telling, but a Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream) psychological/environmentalist drama. It’s loud and messy and pretty entertaining.

This Is The End

This Is The End isn’t for everybody – by a long shot. But for those who enjoy the likes of Pineapple Express, Harold & Kumar, and The Hangover… and maybe a zombie movie or two… then This Is The End is most definitely for you. It’s disturbingly comical. Absurdly funny. Satirically sickening. In other words, it’s quite good, especially for a comedy about the apocalypse. The movie stars a bunch of movie stars playing fictional versions of themselves – or at least, I hope they are fictional versions (yeah, I’m talking to you Michael Cera!). Here’s the gist:

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The problem with being a wallflower is that wallflowers can come and go virtually undetected. So while I generally liked The Perks of Being a Wallflower when I saw it a few weeks ago, it didn’t resonate for very long. It’s certainly a decent psychological drama/coming-of-age movie that takes some interesting turns, but I suspect that this wallflower will have a hard time getting noticed amid the bigger, louder and dare I say, more mainstream offerings hitting theaters this weekend and beyond. That said, if you’re a fan of 80s music and mixed tapes, it may be worth seeking this one out for the totally awesome soundtrack.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower stars Logan Lerman as Charlie, a charming but introverted freshman who finds acceptance, friendship and even romance when he’s embraced by his high school’s merry band of misfits. The oddball group revels in their outcast status (often to the aforementioned soundtrack of “old” songs from the likes of The Smiths, Air Supply, Dexys Midnight Runners, and David Bowie). And while they all have ‘issues’ of some sort, Charlie’s, we come to discover, run rather dark and deep.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- Part Two

When Part One left us hanging back in November of last year, it seemed so cruel to have to wait until July 2011 for the epic finale of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. But time has flown faster than a broomstick in a quidditch match – and now we must bid a fond farewell to the boy wizard and the entire HP universe.  Thankfully, the much-anticipated conclusion doesn’t disappoint.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One

Okay, I must confess. I’m a rather ignorant muggle when it comes to the Harry Potter franchise. I haven’t read the books, and I don’t think I’ve seen all the movies. But I don’t live under a pop culture rock, so I can definitely understand and appreciate their appeal. And I can attest – with a certain amount of confidence – that the penultimate Potter flick, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One will satisfy most if not all of the HP fans, young and old, and leave ‘em wanting (and waiting) for more. Unfortunately, they’ll have to wait eight friggin’ months! Part Two doesn’t hit theaters until July. And therein lies the movie’s only real flaw. HPATDH Part One draws you in from the very first frame, cruises along at a steady clip, and ends – abruptly. No fair! What am I supposed to do now? Read the book!?

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

At two hours and thirty-three minutes in running length, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince could easily grow tiresome. But somehow, I was surprised when it ended. That is not entirely a compliment to the filmmakers. The movie ends very abruptly. Sure, it is a cliff-hanger, setting up the next installment, but the way the final scene is directed is both extremely awkward and terribly unsatisfying.