Kathryn Stockett could not have written The Help 50 years ago. Which is the point of the story. But the Jackson, Mississippi, native has joined Margaret Mitchell, Harper Lee, Donna Tartt, and a few others on the list of Southern women writers whose first, and sometimes only, novels have become instant bestsellers. Perhaps because the American South is unique in its culture and history, it continues providing fodder for great stories. Stockett’s 2009 debut novel has spent 116 weeks on the USA Today bestseller list and before the manuscript was even completed, the author’s lifelong friend Tate Taylor snagged it to make into a movie. Taylor served as the film’s director, guiding it to completion almost as true to a book as a movie can get.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes backtracks a bit, telling the origin story of how a planet that is ruled by apes came to be. Set in present-day San Francisco, the movie focuses on how genetic engineering resulted in the increased intelligence in apes, which ultimately leads to a war over domination. Though the film includes elements of revenge that seem to be validated, it proves to be quite entertaining and very well-written. It is by far the best film of the entire Planet of the Apes franchise.
Those behind the movie The Smurfs performed poorly in their efforts to re-introduce the popular 1980s franchise to a new generation of children. They produced a film that at times is dull and relies on the same potty humor that is growing a tad old, particularly for adult audiences. For those who are feeling a bit nostalgic, the film is likely to jog some fond memories of the beloved children’s cartoon, but this aspect alone is not enough to make a trip to the movie theater worth the cost.
Making Captain America: The First Avenger was a huge film risk, but one that should pay off big for the Marvel superhero franchise. The Captain America reboot is mostly retro, something that has already failed in theaters, and starring a leading man who's never played the role. Based in the Second World War, where weakling Steve Rogers (played impeccably by Chris Evans) is rejected again and again by Army recruiters, Rogers signs up for an experimental program to create super-soldiers. Using science from expatriate German scientists, and the super-steroids (and "vita-rays," ... yeah, whatever that is), Rogers turns into Captain America.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 proves to be an exciting culmination to the ever-popular Harry Potter book and film series. In this final installment, Harry, Ron, and Hermione continue their quest of finding and destroying Voldemort’s three remaining Horcruxes, which are responsible for the Dark Lord’s immortality. As Voldemort senses his reign of terror may soon come to an end, however, he grows increasingly dangerous. For Harry and all those at Hogwarts, the stakes are high. For moviegoers, these are all the makings for an exciting, thrilling, action-packed film that espouses important themes and leaves Harry Potter fans filled with a sense of satisfaction by the end.
What do you get when you combine elements of films Dr. Doolittle and Night at the Museum? Frank Coraci’s Zookeeper, starring Kevin James. Despite what may initially come across as a movie geared solely towards children, Zookeeper is an overall cute and funny film that would likely appeal to a variety of audiences. However, the strong environmentalist message may prove to be the film’s downfall for moviegoers.
In the third installment of the Transformers series, Dark of the Moon (also known as Transformers 3) focuses on the Autobots’ mission to search for a Cybertronian spacecraft that has been hidden. The Autobots must reach the spacecraft before the Decepticons do in order to learn of its secrets. While the movie contains a strong moral, as well as some patriotic themes, the absurd dialogue, failed attempts at humor, and intense violence may keep many potential viewers at home.
The story of the U.S. government’s war against Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski and his revolutionary cancer treatment is enough to make anyone’s blood boil. It’s a perfect example of government gone completely wild — and a figurative struggle between a little David and an out-of-control Goliath.
It seems it’s been a while since a film such as J.J. Abrams’ Super 8 has been on the big screen. Produced by Steven Spielberg and packed with suspense and thrills, it has all the necessary elements to keep viewers engaged from beginning to finish. After a young group of friends witness a train derailment in the summer of 1979, they begin to notice a variety of strange events taking place in their tiny town. Their curious and adventurous spirits prompt them to investigate what is taking place. What they discover is beyond what they could have imagined.
Judy Moody and the Not So Bummer Summer proves to be a pleasant enough family movie about the joys of childhood. The film follows Judy Moody on her adventures as she is determined to make this her best summer yet, and will have moviegoers laughing as they reminisce about their own childhood summer escapades. However, much of the thrills and humor in Judy Moody and the Not So Bummer Summer is oriented for younger audiences, with a limited amount of appealing humor for adults.
X-Men First Class is entertaining and at times engaging. However, some of the film's major elements may pose a problem for many moviegoers: It relies on evolutionary theory; it includes confusing references to historical events; it presents a seemingly sympathetic view of Communism; and it regales in revenge and rage — and even utter brutality.