Friday, June 15, 2012

Mini Movie Review: #1 Mark of Love, Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family, and Hello Sister, Goodbye Life

Mini Movie Review: #1
Mark of Love, Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family, and Hello Sister, Goodbye Life

Personal Note: This is a post I started back in April but because of my personal life I never got around to finish and posting. I however, still wanted to share my opinions on these not-so-great movies.

I've watched some not so great movies recently. Wanting to really start on review movies in general, although feeling these movies in question didn't contain enough content to feature a review each (also doubting I would be able to produce enough content about each of them that would worthy of posting) I decided on a mini review to feature all of them.

Mark of Love (2009)

Based on: The play "I Love You!…and You…and You…" written by Ellen Cribbs
Director: Brett Simmons
Studio: Cinema Libre
Release Date: (DVD) July 26, 2011
Running Time: 89 minutes
Language: English
Rated: NR (Not Rated)

Official Site

Mark is an average guy who has found himself unlucky in love. Looking for a hobby to fill his love-free spare time, he goes to a Karate Class... only to find himself the victim of five speed dating girls who have falsely advertised they're group in a desperate attempt for men to attend. Bribing him to stay, they hope he'll give them the answers to their relationship troubles. The tables are turned when instead of him helping them, they help him. Mark soon discovers that falling in love is one thing but realizing it is another. (Source)

Movie Tags: Romantic Comedy, Sentimental, Feel-good

I felt this film was low budget (very noticeable), with poor acting; a shallow and empty plot with characters to match. Some of those traits I can over look when watching a Indie movie, although this isn't labeled as one I'd consider it so,  if they are worthy qualities within the movie. I found nothing that I enjoyed here.

Mark is a guy with a problem, anytime a relationship gets too serious he runs. Being unable to say "I love you" to anyone he's been in a relationship with. The story starts with the ending of his current relationship. Which is about the only reason I watched the movie.
I waited for what felt like longer than I should have for something to happen, to be met with a women slamming a door in his face only to open it again to begin throwing some of his belongings at him, leaving him with a "What just happened?" expression on his face. The way it happened hooked me, I honestly said "Okay now we're talking, I need to see how this plays out." That's as excited as I got.

Each time he breaks up with someone he finds a new hobby, which usually results in how he meets a new girl. This time he choose karate only to walk into a room full of women who started a 'speed-dating' group to try and meet men, only no men seem interested. With hopes of tricking men to show up they change places with the karate class while still printing fliers with the old information (time place, etc.), only none of the men stay once they find out. These women are desperate for a man to give them some insight and advice they offer to pay Mark to stay and talk to them about how to attracted and deal with men. Which ends up in him telling about his 5 most meaningful relationships.

Mark has virtually no personality, no appeal, no drive, no desire, I do not understand how this guy is in a relationship let alone tells the stories of his five most meaningful one! And yet every women he tells a story of practically throws herself at him. I understand he's nice, shy, quirky, a little cheesy, and somewhat clever, but there is nothing that makes him stand apart.

The women.. are terrible. From one extreme to another. You have the rocker, all hard core and ready to kick some butt, you have the hipster who is.. 'everything must be correct and original' and that 'I like how I like (something)' kind of personality, you have the actress who is over the top dramatic drama queen, the athletic girl who drove him to do everything all the time, and finally the unbelievably perfect girl; smart, pretty, popular and always having him wonder "What is she doing with me?"
Add in the ones that are at the speed-dating gather, I won't even get starting. I would have been insulted or offended if it wasn't so silly.

The girls sit there all the while listening to him, only to have the entire situation turn to focus on Mark as his relationships instead of the girls he's meant to be giving advice to. Though telling the stories of his past relationships the girls end up asking how they (as a couple/the relationship) ended and/or why. Each time he makes up an excuse "She was too pretty" "I wasn't ready to get serious." "Her job probably wouldn't have worked out." only to lead the women to same conclusion his best friend has been telling him for years; He's never ready to get serious.

I won't say much else because it would give the story away.

The one thing I enjoyed, was his best friend. Who I wish had more of a role. I'm pretty sure he only appears twice, but he can see through Mark's excuses and tries to set him straight. Along with the fact it was made very apparent that he loves his wife, there was a wonderful scene in which he tries to explain to Mark how 'you know' when you've found someone you love enough to marry and base your life around. Only to have his wife call at that moment and do something wonderful for him, although we don't know what that is, and you can not only see but feel how much he cares for her.

Honestly, this isn't worth watching. The only positive thing I can say, the movie is completely clean. That might be the only reason to watch it if any and the only reason this gets two star,  because I understand how difficult that is now a days and admire those that strive to create something in such a way.
Need something that's refreshing from the cursing sex filled world? Look here, although overall I can't say I recommend this movie.

Recommend: Light-hearted, chick-flick, "good clean movie"

IMDb | Rotten Tomatoes

Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family (2011)

Director: Tyler Perry
Producer: Tyler Perry, Reuben Cannon, Roger M. Bobb
Studio: Tyler Perry Studios
Distributor: Lionsgate
Release Date: April 22, 2011
Running Time: 106 minutes
Country: United States
Language: English
Rating: PG-13

Official Site

Madea jumps into action when her niece, Shirley, receives distressing news about her health. All Shirley wants is to gather her three adult children around her and share the news as a family. But Tammy, Kimberly and Byron are too distracted by their own problems: Tammy can't manage her unruly children or her broken marriage; Kimberly is gripped with anger and takes it out on her husband; and Byron, after spending two years in jail, is under pressure to deal drugs again. It's up to Madea, with the help of the equally rambunctious Aunt Bam, to gather the clan together and make things right the only way she knows how: with a lot of tough love, laughter ... and the revelation of a long-buried family secret. (Source)

Movie Tags: Comedy, Goofy, Sentimental

This movie is incredibly hit and miss, sadly I found it to be more miss. The overall theme is a mix of humour, family drama, and tragedy, which never seem to make up their mind with what emotional direction the story will go in. I didn't feel worked.
The humour was over the top and annoying at times. Most of which should be expected with a Madea movie, as much as I love her. There was one character, who's a baby's momma that made me want to slap her silly, and that's putting it nicely. She would just kept yelling Byron-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n. over and over.
I wanted her to get hit by a car, I won't lie. Not a character I would miss.

This movie is.. down right silly, and not the good kind where you are laughing along and enjoying. The kind that left me asking myself "Why am I suffering through this?"

I love Tyler Perry, but he has made much better movies. The only positive thing I have to say, this movie shines more light onto Madea's family and their personal stories over all.
Giving this two stars is no doubt pushing it, but it wasn't all terrible. There were some tender moments and character growth, which usually wins me over in some small way.

Recommend: Tyler Perry and Madea fans, light-hearted, comedy, family drama.

Hello Sister, Goodbye Life (2006)

Based On: Same as It Never Was by Claire Scovell LaZebnik
Director: Steven Robman
Producer:  Iddo Lampton Enochs, Jr.
Release Date: 2006
Running Time: 89min
Country: United States
Language: English
Original Channel: ABC Family
Rating: TV-PG

Official Site

Olivia Martin (Lacey Chabert), a college student, is faced with the responsibility of taking care of her half sister, Celia, when her dad and his wife die in a car accident. Being the child from the first marriage, Olivia is distant and constantly disagrees with her father. She is surprised to learn she has been named Celia's (Sammi Hanratty) guardian. According to Dennis Klein, the family lawyer, her dad and his wife both agreed that it would be best for Celia to be taken care of by Olivia. At first, she is against the idea. She plans to leave for Italy with her boyfriend, Joe, but as time passes by she finally gets the hang of being a big sister. (Source)

Movie Tags: Comedy, Drama, Emotional, Heartfelt, Sentimental

This was a made for TV movie, I personally don't consider it a big deal if I didn't enjoy a made-for-TV movie, what I have a problem with is the fact it's an ABC Family movie. On occasion their movies are hit and miss, this one an insult to anything being considered a 'miss'. It was just plain awful.

The two biggest problems I have are the characters and the way the story progression. Let's start with the characters.

Olivia is.. jagged. Walking around with a clip so big on her shoulder everyone in the world could see it. She is the result of the first marriage, for both of her biological parents. Her mother, who is the one she's lived with the most, is off the wall over the top crazy and irresponsible. Having Olivia clearly pick up the pieces through-out her life and growing up faster than she should have. Her father, almost never present in his life. Remarried with a new daughter, Celia, who he so clearly spoils.
Celia, is a brat. Giving everything she was wanted, as Olivia wasn't, she is a second try at raising a daughter, only to result in some of the same traits. Celia wants nothing more than to have someone close to her and to have a relationship with her sister. Given a tough path in life, she has moments that she raises above any difficult to show a grown-up side to herself and other times where she is a brat acting her age.

Their relationship is stressful, trying to find a balance of being sisters, friends, and child-parent roles in their lives. All while getting to know someone you've only known from a distance their entire lives.

Add in a crazy mother that is essentially being raised by her daughter, a non-existent father that remarried and treats his new daughter like a do-over for raising a child, a step-mother you barely know, a selfish boyfriend, the father's best friend that doubts as Celia's "Uncle" and their fathers personal lawyer; trying to make Olivia see things different.

What really bothers me, the boyfriend and the "Uncle" both whispering in Olivia's ear the entire movie. Does this girl not think for herself or just listen to everything other people say? Have your own mind and opinion for once. Everything about this character setup was about tug-of-war.
On one hand Olivia feels she much assume responsibility for her sister, as it was Celia's parents wish, while on the other she feels she is just a kid herself and has a right to having her own life and deciding for herself before someone else.
On one hand Olivia has her father's best friend telling her that she can do it, that there is a deeper meaning and reason as to why she was asked to care for Celia, while on the other her boyfriend is telling her that she deserves to run away and live her life how she wants.
Think for yourself!

Now let's talk about how the story played out.

Mostly, how it makes no sense. There is literally no transition between scenes. Sloppy cut to the next scene and you are thrown into what's going on, sometimes having no idea what that is. The biggest issue? Most of happened, was because it should. Not because the characters or the story it's self was driven to or lead to that choice/decision but because that's how the story should be told.
There was no drive, there was no thought, they was simply a "This is what must happen." Appalling storytelling.

This movie did have a touching story about family and the love of sisters to tell, but through it's flaws that story fell apart.

Honestly, a waste of my time. I had a friend sit there saying "Why are you tutoring herself with this?"
Part of me wanted to know how it played out but most of all because I hate not finishing things, bad habit that comes out on occasion.

Recommend: Made for TV, family drama.

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