1. The Rise of the Planet of the Apes - This is the first Planet of the Apes movie I've seen. I've never seen the original movie or that God-awful Tim Burton one from 2001. But this one was getting good word-of-mouth and thought I would check it out when it was available on Netflix. It stars James Franco who's been testing a drug on chimps to try to cure Alzheimer's which is what his dad (John Lithgow) has. They have to shut down the facility because one of the apes goes balistic and they have to shoot her. Turns out she had a baby and was only protecting him, so Franco ends up taking it home and caring for it. The chimp is named Ceasar and is super smart from the drug. He can solve puzzles and communicate with sign language. However, after he attacks the neighbor (because he is being a bully to Lithgow) he is taken by animal control and sent to a primate shelter where all the primates are being abused by the owner and one of his slimy little workers, Tom Felton, who of course everyone knows as Draco Malfoy. All the apes are created by computers because obviously there's no way they could have used real primates...that would have been a little difficult to have them do what's done in the film by the CGI ones. I have to be honest...while somebody has mad skills with the computers, all the apes still looked exactly like that...like computer apes. The main ape is played by Andy Serkis in the same vein as he played Gollum in Lord of the Rings. The orangutang was my favorite...he was really cute! The gorilla scared me the most, probably because I had a horrifying experience with a gorilla when I was little. Not a real gorilla, but an animatronic one. I used to go to this kiddie place called ShowBiz Pizza (kinda like Chuck E Cheese...do they even still have those around?) and they had a stage where a band of different animals (some animatronic, some people in costume) would play different instruments. You had your cute little bunny or doggie or friendly lion or whatever, and they you had this HUGE gorilla. He was taller and wider than all the other animals, so he was very intimidating and it scared me so much! The gorilla in the movie is much bigger and more aggressive than the other primates and has to be kept in a special cage when all the other primates are playing together. Of course, he's the one who ends up sacrificing his life for Caesar. There's a little teaser at the end of the movie that hints that there may be a sequel...or maybe not because it shows that a virus has spread around the world and is killing people in droves...kinda like Contagion.
2. Beginners - The beginners in question are Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor who play father and son in this coming-of-age film. After Plummer's wife dies, he admits to his son, that, at the age of 75 he is gay and wants to live the remainder of his life as who he really is and has a relationship with a much younger man played by Goran Visnjic. Plummer's scenes are told in flashbacks because he has already died of cancer in the film's "real time" which focuses on McGregor and his relationship with a woman played by Melanie Laurent. It was a sweet little movie with a cute little dog to boot.
3. Friends With Benefits - Dear God in heaven, what idiot came up with the bright idea to have Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis star in a movie where they're naked most of the time?! God, they are so hideous! Calm down, people, I'm just joking. If anything, this movie will make you feel even more insecure about yourself because both actors are ridiculously gorgeous and have the added benefit of being rich so they can afford a trainer. Oh, and I'm sure the airbrushing department helped too. They're not really friends in the movie, though. They've just met through work so they're more like co-workers who decide to have casual sex with no strings attached (hey, the name of that other movie with the same plot!) so it should have been called Co-Workers With Benefits, but that would have been weird. Kudos to this movie for reminding the world what an awesome song "Closing Time" is. (By Semisonic, NOT by Third Eye Blind :-))
4. Kung Fu Panda 2 - I thought the first Kung Fu Panda was really cute and charming and this one is no different. When it comes to Pixar vs. Dreamworks, I am always Team Pixar; the only animated movies from Dreamworks I've ever enjoyed are the Kung Fu Panda movies and How to Train Your Dragon. In the sequel, we are once again introduced to Po the panda (Jack Black) and his team of fighting animals: the tiger (Angelina Jolie), the monkey (Jackie Chan), the snake (Lucy Liu), the praying mantis who is so strong that he can hold a panda back (Seth Rogan), and a crane (David Cross). Po finds out that he was adopted (pretty obvious since he was raised by a goose) and wants to find out who he really is and where he came from. The villain in this film is a peacock voiced by Gary Oldman. And just like a real peacock, he was also strutting around and acting vain. By the looks of how the movie ended, they definitely have a third movie set up. (It turns out Po's father - his real biological panda father - is still alive).
5. 30 Minutes or Less - Jesse Eisenberg plays a pizza delivery boy who finds himself in a situation where these two idiots who need money have knocked him out and strapped a bomb to him and tell him if he doesn't get them $100,000, he's going to be blown to smithereens. Aziz Azari plays his friend who tries to help him rob a bank. There were a few funny moments (like him speeding to the houses so nobody gets a free pizza), but for the most part the movie is filled with stupid racial and homophobic jokes. Okay, I did laugh when one of the idiots calls Aziz's sister "Slumdog". Only see this one if you can see it for free.
6. Crazy, Stupid Love - I didn't love this movie as much as all the critics did, but it was an enjoyable watch. Steve Carrell and Julianne Moore play a couple who split up after he finds out that she's had an affair with someone she works with. Carrell, who plays a bit of a doofus, spends some time at a bar to try to pick up women and gets some help from Ryan Gosling who is a certified smooth-talking ladies' man. Carrell soon starts picking up women and starts a relationship with Marisa Tomei, who turns out to be his son's middle school teacher. Meanwhile, Ryan Gosling makes the moves on Emma Stone who's already in a lackluster relationship with Josh Groban (in what I believe is his first movie role). Carrell's son is in love with his baby-sitter, who in turn, is in love with Steve Carrell. I didn't buy that at all because what teenage girl would have the hots for some goofy older guy? There's a little twist at the end that I won't spoil.
7. Cowboys and Aliens - You think a western/sci fimovie with Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig (Indiana Jones and James Bond, for God's sake) would be awesome, but no, it was just as bad as all the critics said it was. The concept was cool, but they just couldn't get there. Skip this one, folks.
8. The Hangover 2 - Everyone was right when they said this is an exact replica of the first one, only it takes place in Bangkok instead of Vegas and there's a monkey instead of a tiger. This time the gang is in Thailand for Stu's (Ed Helms) wedding and once again he, Phil (Bradley Cooper), and Alan (Zach Galafanakis) get drugged and spend a wild night and forget everything they did when they wake up the next morning. Stu's fiance's little brother was with them and he's the one they lose and need to find. (Of course they check the roof first since that's where they found Doug in the first movie). There were some funny lines, but you'd be better off watching the first movie. I really don't understand how you could be so stupid that you get that s***-faced twice! And now I heard they're making a third one. God, please, no!
9. Our Idiot Brother - Paul Rudd plays Ned, the "idiot brother", his three sisters are played by Zooey Deschanel, Elizabeth Banks, and Emily Mortimer. After Ned sells weed to a cop (in uniform!) he loses his job and his girlfriend kicks him out of their house after he returns from jail. To make matters worse, she has a new boyfriend and is keeping Ned's dog, Willie Nelson. Ned seeks help from his family, but only makes matters worse. He finds out one of his sister's husband is cheating on her, accidently tells another sister's girlfriend that she cheated on her with a guy and is pregnant, and messes up the friendship of the third sister with this guy she knows. Of course his intentions are good, but he doesn't know that he's not always helping. The scene that made me laugh the most was when he was on the subway and is counting a big chunk of money while everyone is staring at him. He drops his bag and gives the guy next to him the money to hold while he picks up the things from his bag. The guy is just looking dumbfounded at everyone and it looks like he wants to bolt, but he doesn't.
10. Abduction - This movie did not make any sense. I was confused throughout the whole thing. It stars Taylor Launter, who is a horrible actor but does have some charisma, I'll give him that, as a high school senior, who, while doing a project for a class, finds out he is in the database for missing children. Jason Isaacs and Maria Bello, his "fake" parents are killed off by the bad guys who are alerted when Launter accesses the missing children database. In a plot I don't fully understand, Launter's mom was attacked and killed in Paris when he was a toddler because....uh.....I don't remember. I honestly don't know why. Well his dad is still alive and he has some list that the bad guys want...IDK. This movie was so effing stupid! I thought it might be good because it was directed by John Singleton and it has Jason Isaacs in it! Alas, he does not last long in this movie.... Lily Collins (I believe she's Phil's daughter) plays Launter's love interest and she's always with this other guy who is fighting with her and giving Launter the evil eye, but she tells him that he's not her boyfriend and there's this weird history between her and Launter where they used to be childhood friends, but then they drifted apart. They're also neighbors...sounds like Drive Me Crazy! She really has no use for the movie other than to be arm candy for Launter (and let's face it...he's the prettier one between them!) Sigourney Weaver (another cool person wasted in a crappy film) was right when she tells him that he should get rid of her. The movie was confusing because I was really never sure where they were. It takes place in Pittsburgh, but they (Lautner and Collins) find themselves in Virginia, but then I see Lautner's friend and I'm wondering how the hell he got to Virginia, but they were back in Pittsburgh...uh....HUH? And that happens twice! Stupid movie.
11. Rango - This won the best animated Oscar this year. Johnny Depp voices a lizard who finds himself in a town full of interesting characters that included mice, cats, birds, and snakes. (Still not sure what exactly Beans, his love interest, was suppose to be). He had been used to being alone his entire life and always wanted to be somebody and now gets the chance when he is put in a situation where he has to find out what's happening to the town's water supply.