The Shawshank Redemption

Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman
Direct by Frank Darabont
Rating: A+

An innocent man is imprisoned for murdering his wife and her lover, and he must learn to live in a new system behind bars.

According to one inmate named Red (Freeman), anyone in the Shawshank Prison will say they’re innocent. Some have a hard time believing Andy (Robbins), an accountant, means it. Andy has a hard time adjusting to prison life, especially when a group of men targets him as their personal punching bag, and worse.

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Kill Bill: Vol. 2

Uma Thurman, David Carradine
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Rating: B

The Bride returns to continue her journey of revenge against her former employer and lover. What he has in store for her at the end of the road was not something she was expecting.

In this continuation of the Bride’s story (Thurman), her past opens up and viewers learn more about her training rather than her personal life. Bill (Carradine), her lover, is the last target as she hunts down everyone who had a part in the Two Pines Massacre that put the Bride into a coma and lost her child.

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Kill Bill Vol. 1

Uma Thurman, Vivica A. Fox, Lucy Liu
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Rating: A

The Bride survives a slaughter on her wedding day and seeks vengeance on the team of assassins who tried to kill her.

In this violent tale of revenge, The Bride (Thurman) wakes up from a four-year coma to discover a hole in her head and an empty womb. She goes on a path to kill members of a team she was once a part of, the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad.

In this first volume, she crosses off two names: O-Ren Ishii (Liu) and Vernita Green (Fox). Director Tarantino must love the way blood splatters because this is one gory film. The beginning of the movie captures the audience’s attention with an intense fight scene before revealing the why of the film.

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Wet Hot American Summer

Janeane Garofalo, Michael Showalter, Marguerite Moreau, Paul Rudd
Directed by David Wain
Rating: D-

A cult classic with an A-list cast but this movie was just terribly, embarrassingly, frustratingly stupid.

It’s the last day at summer camp Firewood and it’s the camp counselors mission to get laid. The kids are off being kids and doing scheduled activities while the teenaged counselors shirk their responsibilities to make-out or get high. Wet Hot American Summer is the ultimate parody of summer camp movies, and maybe those who went to camp can appreciate the humor. Otherwise, it was extremely hard to get through.

In this unbelievably long day at camp Firewood activities go awry while couples break up and make up. I guess the only positive thing about this movie is the acceptance kids have for each other. Two guys have a ceremony cementing their love, and when their “homophobic” friends (because that’s how they act when they find out about the ceremony) find out, they buy the couple a wedding gift. Meanwhile a cook accepts himself for who he is and opens up about his weird feelings in front of the campers.

Yet it’s the lack of character growth, frenzied-dialogue, and over-exaggerated personality traits that makes this film hard to swallow. I paused this movie halfway and almost didn’t return to it, because it was just so bad I wasn’t entertained. There wasn’t much happening to make me laugh -something this movie is trying to accomplish- however there are a lot of people who like this movie. There are also a lot of people who don’t.

The cast is what sold the movie to me, but even ten minutes in I knew I was setting myself up to settle in and suffer. I know this movie is supposed to be silly, but what’s funny about watching a bunch of actors play dumb? It completely lost me at the scene when a bunch of counselors go into town to buy stuff and check books out at the library, but then they buy cocaine, harass people on the street, shoot heroine, and become prostitutes. That is when I thought, okay, what just happened?

I’m just one of those who don’t get it, and I wouldn’t recommend this movie to anyone. It’s just not funny. I can’t give it an “F” though, because somehow people actually like it.

The Omen (1976)

Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, Patrick Troughton, Harvey Stephens
Directed by Richard Donner
Rating: B

An adopted baby brings trouble for an ambassador and his wife. After four happy years with their son, Damien, his fifth birthday reveals there is more to where he came from.

There are many secrets surrounding Damien’s coming into the world. Robert Thorn’s wife just lost their baby during labor, and a priest at the hospital suggests adopting a newborn without the consent of his wife. Years later Robert and his wife are happy with their child until the nanny commits suicide at Damien’s fifth birthday party. From there the priest returns to warn Robert the son he adopted is evil.

There has been a lot of hype around this classic horror film, which in itself isn’t very horrifying. It’s more about the build up of the story taking place than about any jump scares or evils deeds surrounding the child and his new, stern nanny. The suspense picks up when the father starts investigating the child’s background and who gave birth to him. However, it takes up a lot of screen time just to get to that point.

The Omen is a movie worth consideration for horror fans who want to see the classics, but don’t expect too much out of it. The idea of the story, the Antichrist, is the most terrifying aspect of the movie, but the elements that create a truly scary movie are lacking. The Omen was probably scary for its time, but we now live in an age where we expect jump scares and demonic deeds to happen in a movie about the son of the devil.

Back to the Future

Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, Thomas F. Wilson
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Rating: A

On October 26, 1985, Dr. Brown tests his time machine, a work in progress for 30 years, that changes the course of his young friend’s history.

Marty McFly (Fox) gets accidentally sent back in time to the day his parents meet for the first time. In the confusion of the time traveling event, Marty meets his high school aged-dad peeping on his high school aged-mom changing in her room. In the event that his dad was supposed to get hit by a car and introduced to his mom, Marty saves him and ends up unconscious in his mom’s house.

Queue the panic attack. Marty’s mom isn’t the shy, innocent young lady she always made out to be. His young, attractive mom makes moves on him and Marty uncomfortably realizes she isn’t interested in his dad, but him! He quickly makes his way to his scientist friend’s house, to ask Dr. Brown (Lloyd) for help to get him back to his proper timeline. When Dr. Brown finds out Marty messed with his parent’s first interaction with each other, that led them to dating, he warns Marty to fix it or else he’ll be erased from existence.

Back to the Future covers a lot of ground. There’s action, comedy, drama, romance, and science fiction! While it takes place mostly in 1955, anyone can relate to being young and in love. Marty has to find a way to make his parents fall in love for the first time so he can go back to worrying about his own love life. Sometimes you get a crush on the wrong person, and Marty sure doesn’t want his mom to be in love with him.

At the end of the day though, when Doc and Marty have gotten everything straightened out, Marty comes home to find life better than it was. His parents, who were nothing special, have turned into confident, successful adults. The bully who used to bother his dad now works for him. The girl Marty was seeing is still in the picture.

Back to the Future is a classic, fun movie that people still talk about today. It was my first time watching it and I was pleasantly surprised to really like it. The ending was a little suspenseful and it prepares you for a sequel, which most people talk about because of all the predictions made about 2015. Overall, it was an enjoyable movie worth the watch.

Legally Blonde

Reese Witherspoon, Matthew Davis, Luke Wilson
Directed by Robert Luketic
Rating: A

Elle Woods has it all: the 4.0 GPA, presidency of her sorority, and the boyfriend who’s about to propose… or is he?

When Elle (Witherspoon) gets dumped on her big night, she takes the criticism that she’s not “serious” enough to get her California, preppy self, to Harvard law school to win back her sweetheart, Warner (Davis). She has the grades and score to get into Harvard, but it’s not just her ex-boyfriend who think she’s not law school material. Her peers judge her for her perky, pink appearance despite her ability to get into one of the toughest schools in America.

Legally Blonde is not just a light-hearted comedy. It’s a great inspiration for women to do better for themselves. Even though Elle went to Harvard to chase after a guy (not something you really want to teach women), she proved to her class of 2004 that she was smart. She buckled down and studied so she could do well and it got her to the top of her class as well as an internship with a law firm.

This was a fun comedy I didn’t expect to like. Elle is too preppy, but like everyone else in the movie I judged her because she was a sorority girl, blonde with perfect skin and teeth, and only cared about maintaining the perfect image of herself. Instead she showed that she has other things to care about (like proving someone’s innocence in a murder trial) and she tried to be friendly with everyone she met, even her ex-boyfriend’s new fiancee.

Yes, there’s an overwhelming amount of pink in this movie but it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. So what if pink is a girly color. Elle Woods has proved that being a girl rocks and that with enough determination, you can go far in life. Legally Blonde deserves more credit for using humor and giving girls a positive role model in Elle.