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Frame by Frame: A Family-Friendly Movie Blog

    Frame by Frame: A Family-Friendly Movie Blog

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    Hunger Games All Ready Pulling In Big Bucks

    Posted: 22 Mar 2012 03:17 AM PDT

    Advance Ticket Sales Big For Hunger Games

     The Hunger Games doesn’t open until tomorrow – Friday, March 23, 2012 – but it’s already pulling in big bucks and will probably easily grab the number one box office spot for its debut weekend. The new sci-fi flick has an estimated advance tickets sales of more than $15 million for screens at AMC Entertainment, Regal Entertainment and Cinemark theaters.

    In addition to those movie houses, Fandango reports The Hunger Games is the company’s top-selling franchise opener of all time with more than 2,000 show times already sold-out!

    That makes this flick Fandango’s top ticket-seller for the year to date.

    Breaking Records All The Way

    Aside from raking in big bucks already and breaking Fandango sold-out shows, The Hunger Games also broke into Fandango’s ranking of the top five all-time advance ticket sellers, surpassing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse settling into the current number four spot on the list. But remember, we still have today – Thursday – to go through too!

    Hollywood Dot Com Box Office President Paul Dergarabedian expects the film to have a huge opening weekend. Dergarabedian believes for it’s debut weekend The Hunger Games could grab the number one spot topping the $145 million dollar mark for ticket sales. That would put the movie at the top of the list for best opening weekends ever.

    What will happen during the weekend box office? Time will tell! I do plan to screen this movie but I will avoid the midnight showing of this marathon length movie clocking in at almost two and a half hours.

    Yours in movie news!

    Dr. Rus


    Movie Review: 21 Jump Street

    Posted: 21 Mar 2012 12:57 PM PDT

    21 Jump Street

     

    Rated R for sexual content, pervasive language,
    drug material, teen drinking and some violence.
    Genre: Action, Comedy, Adaptation
    Running Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

    Schmidt and Jenko are more than ready to leave their adolescent problems behind. Joining the police force and then assigned to the secret Jump Street unit, they use their youthful appearances to go undercover at a high school. As the pair trade in their guns and badges for backpacks, they also risk their lives while investigating a violent and dangerous drug ring.

    An Adaptation Not Remake

    When I first heard about the release of 21 Jump Street I wondered what those involved with this flick were thinking. Are they really that hard up for ideas that writers have to dip back to the 1980′s to find material? I watched the trailer and thought – “Okay, maybe this movie does have potential.” I of course new from the R rating it would not be family-friendly but it did peak my interest some. Then – while in search of a new movie to screen – I decided to check out 21 Jump Street simply because I did not feel like sitting through 2 and a half hours of John Carter.

    I was pleasantly surprised by the laughs and acting quality in this movie.

    First off, it is worth noting 21 Jump Street is an adaptation of the popular 1980′s TV show. The names have been changed, the year updated to current time and there are some nice throw-back memories to the original tossed in just for good measure. Actually, one of the things that makes this movie fun is the fact that it not only adapts 21 Jump Street to a new time era, but it also takes some funny shots at the old show and even a shot at “running out of material for movies”!

    If you grew up with 21 Jump Street on TV the throw-back jokes make this movie worthwhile.

    When it comes to acting, I once again have to give kudos to Channing Tatum. Right on the heels of writing about the improved acting talent of Tatum in The Vow, he does not disappoint in 21 Jump Street. He seems to be breaking out of the dancing body builder type cast who’s nothing more than eye-candy. He seems to be coming into his own as an actor I do hope he continues to improve. I was also impressed with Jonah Hill who’s come a long way since his Superbad days. Hill fell into the type-cast character in his early days as well. It almost seemed like he wanted to be a cardboard cutout of John Belushi. But through the years – and this became evident in last years Moneyball movie – Hill too is coming into his own and has a calmer spirit about him when it comes to his acting style.

    The over-the-top-bad-acting-award for 21 Jump Street has to go to Ice T and his portrayal of Captain Dickson. Ice T is a mediocre actor even when he’s at the top of his game. But his performance of Dickson is so over-the-top and bad it proves once again he should go back to his day job as a sub-par rapper. He’s not believable in this role and many times it looks like he’s simply trying to hog the screen rather than work with others involved in the shot.

    Ice T did not add anything to this movie.

    For fans of the 21 Jump Street TV series, be watching for a few super cameo appearances! Not only does Holly Robinson Peete show up as Officer Judy Hoffs, but also be on the lookout for appearances by both Johnny Depp and his original 21 Jump Street partner Peter DeLuise. The appearances are a nice touch and a great throw-back for the early fans of the series.

    From a script standpoint, while it’s over the top with language and sexual innuendo, there are some great “laugh-out-loud” moments too. We of course knew 21 Jump Street would be edgy for the simple fact it carries an R rating. But, for an R-rated movie, it wasn’t R for skin-shots. We are also pleased those involved with this movie didn’t try to smooth over the rough edges simply to obtain a better rating. There is no way 21 Jump Street could be turned into a family-friendly movie. This movie is edgy, but funny and definitely aimed at an older crowd.

    Enjoy the show!

    Dr. Rus


    Movie Review: The Vow

    Posted: 21 Mar 2012 12:55 PM PDT

    The Vow

     

    PG-13 for an accident scene, sexual content,
    partial nudity and some language.
    Genre: Romance, Drama
    Running Time: 1 hour 44 minutes

    Paige and Leo are a happy newlywed couple whose lives are changed by a car crash that puts Paige into a coma. Waking with severe memory loss, Paige has no memory of Leo, a confusing relationship with her parents and an ex-fiance she may still have feelings for.

    Despite these complications, Leo endeavors to win her heart again
    and rebuild their marriage.

    Holding Steady Since Debut Weekend

    With a production budget of $30 million The Vow grabbed the number one spot for its debut weekend about  a month ago. It continues to pull in moviegoers with staying Top 10 Box Office power and now pulling in an estimated $118 million in revenue. Not bad for a movie released during what is usually known as the slow time of the Hollywood year.

    Opening on slightly less than 3,000 screens for its debut weekend The Vow is quietly making money and quietly hanging in the number 10 quite nicely.

    Honestly, when I heard about this movie I wasn’t really pulled in either direction to see it. The Vow pretty much fell onto my list of ‘take it or leave it’ movies. While I do like Rachel McAdams –  Channing Tatum seems flat, stuck in a rut and of little to no interest to me at all. While Tatum has an impressive credit list with movies like Coach Carter, She’s the Man, Step Up, Public Enemies, G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra and Dear John just to name a few – his performances really never jumped off the screen. With the exception of Step Up I considered Tatum nothing more than a plant to attract female moviegoers to the big screen.

    But, after seeing The Vow I must conclude one of two things happened here. Either Tatum is hitting his acting stride and breaking out of the type-casting mode – or – Working with Rachel McAdams helped pull a brilliant performance out of this young man. Whatever the case may be, Tatum’s portrayal of Leo in this based on true story movie is captivating, capturing, moving, multi-faceted and believable in many ways.

    Touching And True

    Since The Vow is pretty much flying under the radar as far as Hollywood entertainment news goes, I also did not realize this was based on a true story. It wasn’t until the end of the movie when it flashed up on the screen saying “Based on True Story”. I won’t tell you what other information appears on the screen as I don’t want to spoil the ending. I will say this however – Do not leave the theater as the last scene fades. Make sure you stay at least long enough to catch the information about the real-life couple too.

    From an acting standpoint, this movie is captivating as a direct result of the performances put in by Rachel McAdams as Paige and Channing Tatum as Leo. There seems to be good chemistry between the two. While McAdams does well at carrying a scene by herself, when you combine McAdams with Tatum, their performances really gel and make this a very enjoyable movie. The beginning of the movie starts a little slow but at least those involved in The Vow didn’t feel the need to over-kill the front of the movie with access baggage in the area of movie set up. Once its gets moving there’s a nice flow of story line as we see Paige and Leo work through their wedding vows in the face of Paige not remembering she was married at all.

    The downfall of The Vow is the length. Clocking in at approximately an hour 45 minutes, it’s about 10 to 15 minutes too long. The story line is wonderful, it hangs together well and it ends well too. But at the tail end of the movie there seems to be a lull in the action as the writers try to tell the story of what the couple is like apart. This simply does not work. If anything the movie almost comes to a complete stop in the area of interest. I will say this – at the tail end of the movie when I did look at my watch I said to myself – “Okay, this could be done now”. If about 10 minutes of this movie fell on the editing room floor nothing would have been missed and the overall flow would have been much better.

    We did enjoy The Vow. I went in wondering if I would really like it and I came out with the hopes that we will start seeing better performances from Tatum in the future. On the surface this looks like it has all the elements of a tear-jerker romance-love story. In the end the movie really does have substance and tells a wonderful story. As for rating we’re calling it Cautionary Family-Friendly. The PG-13 is appropriate however it’s probably best suited for a slightly older audience who will appreciate the depth of the movie too.

    Enjoy the show!

    Dr. Rus


    Movie Review: Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax

    Posted: 21 Mar 2012 12:54 PM PDT

    Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax

    PG for mild brief language.
    Genre: Adaptation, animated, family, action, adventure
    Running Time: 1 hour 34 minutes

    Based on the popular 1971 Dr. Seuss book, The Lorax is a story about a boy searching for the one thing that will enable him to win the affection of the girl of his dreams. In order to find it he must discover the story of the Lorax, the grumpy yet charming little creature who fights to protect his world.

    “Unless someone like you cares a whole lot,
    nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” 

    The Ever Lovable Dr. Seuss

    There’s just something about Dr. Seuss that brings the kid out in everyone. This movie not only grabbed the number one spot on the Box Office for its debut weekend but it also topped the dollar list for money making movies so far this year too. Such numbers prove once again that the movie-going-audience is looking for family-friendly movies. I do hope Hollywood starts listening soon. As a kid I grew up with Dr. Seuss. As an adult I read Dr. Seuss books to our kids and now as an empty-nester, I still love Dr. Seuss stories. The rhyming master always brings a smile to my face.

    Right out of the gate I want to say to all those screaming foul about a capitalist-environmentalist agenda – “Please take a chill pill”.

    Yes they cut down trees, yes The Lorax wants to save the trees, yes it seems like capitalism pushed the extinction of the trees. But if you go into the movie with a slanted view you will miss the entire message of this wonderful movie.

    “Unless someone like you cares a whole lot,
    nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” 

    The Lorax is best described as 90 minutes of fun and laughter. It’s colorful, well done and seems to pop off the screen whether you’re seeing it in 3D or on a regular flat screen. Then when you toss in great voice talent, this movie has all the right components to catch and keep the attention of both the young and their parents.

    For me the weak talent is Ed Helms who voices the storyteller The Once-ler. It’s sad those involved in The Lorax didn’t work a little harder to find a better storyteller for this very important part. But, aside from Helms, the rest of the voice talent is wonderful with Zac Efron as Ted and Taylor Swift as his love-interest Audrey. Then when you toss in Betty White as Grammy Norma and Danny DeVito voicing the Lorax, this movie crosses generational lines.

    Overall we really enjoyed The Lorax. This is a great movie to be enjoyed by the whole family. Forget about the conspiracy theories which abound. For those calling this an agenda driven movie I’d like to ask – “Where are you when there are real agenda driven movies out there?” This movie – while it is true there is an under-current of agenda present – does not compare to other movies which are far worse.

    The bottom line is this – The Lorax is a spectacular color bonanza with lots of action, fun times and a great message both adults and kids alike should remember…

    “Unless someone like you cares a whole lot,
    nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” 

    Enjoy the show!

    Dr. Rus