Do you like receiving gifts? I know I do, especially if it’s something handmade by my children or it’s a surprise. What if the gift is a $1 million? Who wouldn’t take it? I know I could use some of that money to pay bills, buy a new car, and take a well-deserved vacation. However, what if there is a hitch in exchange for you receiving the money?
Released in November 2009, The Box is the story of a young married couple named Norma and Arthur Lewis, played by Cameron Diaz and James Marsden, with a 10-year-old boy. Set in 1976, the movie is rated PG-13 for thematic elements, some violence and disturbing images.
Early one morning the couple awakes to find a box left as a gift on their front porch step. Norma and Arthur open the box to find a black box with a red button located on top. Later in the day, a stranger named Arlington Steward, portrayed by Frank Langella, visits the couple with a deal. They may push the button and receive $1 million, or they may simply return the box. However, there is one hitch if they push the button. Someone they don’t know in another part of the world will die.
Norma, a teacher at a private school, and Arthur, a NASA worker, have 24 hours to make their decision. This huge decision torments the couple because they could certainly use the money to pay for their son’s tuition at the private school. On the other hand, they don’t want to be responsible for causing someone to die.
As a fan of Cameron’s, I thought I would watch this movie, especially when someone at work mentioned how strange it was. I must admit I am not normally a science fiction movie watcher, but with Cameron as one of the characters, I decided to take a chance and wished I hadn’t.
The Box started out pretty good and had a decent plot going. However, as the movie progressed, the plot got worse and worse. The plot got to the point where it was hard to follow and didn’t really make any sense, and I quickly lost interest. I was ready to turn off the movie and not even bother finishing it.
In conclusion, I would not recommend this movie unless you just really like the actors or science fiction. Maybe you can make more sense out of it than I did. I would not waste my money.
Harry Potter fans around the world seem to have mixed emotions about the final film in the series. After the last of the books was published, fans still had the movies to look forward to. This will be the 8th and final film, and it promises to delight fans. Daniel Radcliffe has said that as the first film in the two-part Deathly Hallows set built up the story line, the second film will be action packed. Those who haven’t read the books will finally see what becomes of Harry & company, and those who have are anxious to see it played out on the big screen.
The Hangover II (May 26)
One of the funniest movies of the past few years, The Hangover, is getting a sequel. The original cast is back, and this time they are traveling to Bangkok for Stu’s wedding. They are joined by some newcomers, including Jamie Chung as Stu’s fiancée and a cameo by Liam Neeson. Mike Tyson also returns, and it seems we will get to see the childhood version of the gang in a flashback. Hopefully this sequel will be as hysterical as the first film.
Green Lantern (June 11)
This action hero flick stars Ryan Reynolds as the Green Lantern, a test pilot who is bestowed super powers by a mystical green ring, and joins a squadron who works to keep peace within the universe. Blake Lively and Peter Sarsgaard also star, and the film is directed by Martin Campbell (Casino Royale). Hopefully this film stands out amongst the multitude of super hero movies we’ve seen lately.
Cowboys and Aliens (July 29)
The movie looks interesting – 1800’s cowboys must battle alien invaders. It also has a promising cast – Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig and Olivia Wilde star. Jon Favreau (Iron Man) directs, so hopefully this film is as action packed as Iron Man, but also contains an engaging story line, also as in Iron Man.
Transformers 3 (July 1)
Some say the Transformers movies need to end, but diehard fans will line up to see the action packed film. Shia LeBeouf returns, but Megan Fox doesn’t. Instead, Rosie Huntington-Whitely plays Rosie. Tyrese Gibson, Josh Duhamel and Patrick Dempsey also have roles in the movie – sure to entice the ladies!
This year was the year of the reality-based movie. Three contributing factors are leading to this movie trend: success of fact-based hits like, “The Social Network” and “The Fighter,” the shrinking influence of A-list actors on box office and the rise of the celebrity director.
Who could have guessed that a movie based on the genesis of a social networking site could possibly be a box office success? In fact, Aaron Sorkin’s script for “The Social Network” languished on Hollywood’s notorious Black List of the best unproduced screenplays in 2009 before it was finally distributed by Columbia Pictures. 2011 saw other success stories by films that were based on true events including “The Fighter,” “The King’s Speech” and “Unstoppable.” Even though Danny Boyle (“28 Days Later,” “Slumdog Millionaire”) hasn’t struck box office gold with “127 Hours” yet, the film is garnering plenty of award buzz and will probably have a strong second life with dvd.
This year, studios realized that celebrities have less pull at the box office than ever. Just look at some of the huge box office flops toplined by A-list actors that dragged 2010 box office numbers down. “The Tourist” boasted two of the biggest celebrities in the world, Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, together in an exotic setting. The movie landed with a critical and box office thud grossing just $77 million dollars worldwide. Other notable flops with big name stars include: “Edge of Darkness” starring Mel Gibson, “Robin Hood” starring Russell Crowe, “Knight and Day” with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz and “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” starring Nicholas Cage.
2010 was the year of the director. When Christopher Nolan was casting for the sci-fi thriller, “Inception,” he employed a technique only possible in the new era of the celebrity director. According to Kim Masters of KCRW’s “The Business,” Nolan called A-list stars and offered them the lead role, then gave them 48 hours to accept. He began with Wil Smith. When Smith failed to respond within the 48 hour deadline, he called Brad Pitt and so on until Leonardo DiCaprio accepted his offer. That film has so far grossed nearly $850 million dollars in worldwide box office receipts. Christopher Nolan is known for being the edgy, cool director that resurrected the Batman franchise. As the director on the film, he was perhaps the biggest box office draw.
The film “Citizen Kane,” Orson Welles’ great production, was voted five different times as the greatest film ever made. The fiction piece about Charles Foster Kane is based partly on the life of newspaperman William Randolph Hearst. Orson Welles himself plays the part of Kane.
Charles Foster Kane came into his enormous inheritance when he was twenty-five years old. On finding that his holdings included the New York Inquirer, he set out to be a newspaper publisher.
His life story is told in flashbacks, after the viewer witnesses his demise when his last word is revealed as “rosebud.” A quest begins as to what that word refers to – a lover perhaps – yet no one is able to come up with an explanation. A reporter named Thompson is given the insurmountable task of finding out the meaning of “rosebud.”
It seems that Kane can obtain everything he wants. He sets his sights on a beauty named Emily Norton, the niece of a future president. He also campaigns to become the governor of New York State. When it is revealed that he has a mistress, a “singer,” his marriage and his ambitions to become governor are both dashed. He marries the singer, Susan Alexander, and encourages her in her career, even building her a three million dollar opera house.
Joseph Cotten plays Kane’s long-time college friend, Jedediah Leland, who disagrees with Kane about many issues, causing them to part ways later in life. Cotten made his film debut in “Citizen Kane,” which also launched the careers of Agnes Moorehead, Ruth Warrick, Paul Stewart, Everett Sloane, George Coulouris, and Ray Collins.
It appears that the main lesson to be learned from the story of Charles Foster Kane is that money does not buy happiness, nor friends. The final scenes show Kane living alone in his palatial palace in Florida, which he named Xanadu, after his wife Susan has left him.
It is here that his butler Raymond, played by Paul Stewart, hears Kane speak his last word, “rosebud.” We then witness the household help throwing out the trash that has developed when Kane broke everything in sight after Susan went out the door. Among the items that were thrown into a fire was Kane’s childhood sled with the name “rosebud” painted on it. We can only assume that Kane’s fondness for “rosebud” stemmed from his remembrance of his happy childhood days.