Taken Up Millionaires (3 Cannarf Reviews)

I’ve seen 3 movies in the past 2 weeks, which might not be a lot of movie watching for you, but it is for me. What better way to celebrate my theatrical binging than with 3 mini Cannarf Reviews.

(if you’re new to the blog and don’t know what my Cannarf rating system is, it’s my own rating system that gives something 0 cannarfs if it meets expectations, positive Cannarfs if it exceeds expectations, and negative Cannarfs if it doesn’t meet the hype. You can read more about it here.)

Movie: Taken

Where I saw it: In my living room

With: My girl, Erica.

Favorite Thing about it #1: The way it highlighted human trafficking as a significant problem. I have a feeling for some people this was their first real exposure to child sex slavery and the like. The more awareness, the better.

Favorite Thing about it #2: As a dad, you gotta love the notion of a father protecting his daughter and saving her from the most dire set of circumstances ever. It connects with a certain thing inside every dad that isn’t there until you have kids. I really feel like this was the whole point of the movie. That 5 years ago some guy was sitting around and said, “I need to make a movie that fathers are going to love because a dad who was every reason not to fight for his daughter will fight for her and he’ll win.”

Least Favorite Thing about it #1: Maggie Grace’s acting. She was a 24-year old playing a 17-year old, but she played the part like she was supposed to be playing a 13-year old. She wasn’t on screen that much, but when she was, the body language and whining and even the writing seemed more like 6th grade than 12th.  Mildly annoying.

Least Favorite Thing about it #2: The plot seemed a little contrived. You’ve got the overprotective father who warns his daughter about trouble, and she’s not even out of the airport when she runs into it. Really? That soon? I almost wondered at first if the father set up the incident, just so he’d have something to save his daughter from. And like I said before, the whole thing seemed to be aimed at fathers a little too much. Like I was supposed to be pumping my fist and clapping every time Liam Neeson punched a bad guy in the face.

Overall: The movie was fast-paced and riveting, despite the sketchy plot and occasionally awful acting. Definitely worth a rental.

Movie: Slumdog Millionaire

Where I Saw it: My living room

With: My wifey Erica

What I liked: Great story and great storytelling. Like most of you who have seen it, I realized right away that they were going to use the Millionaire questions as a vehicle to move the plot, but knowing what they were doing didn’t make it any less enjoyable. I thought it was brilliant, actually.

Love stories, when done well, are probably the most powerful stories we have. I think that’s why this movie resonated with so many people. I mean, who doesn’t love a good love story, other than you, heartless reader who is raising his/her hand.

What I didn’t like: There wasn’t a whole lot to hate in this movie. If I had to pick on anything, I’d say that the ending played out pretty predictably. No real twists or turns that truly great stories throw at you when you least expect it. But even so, the ending felt very satisfying.

Overall: Believe the hype. Fantastic movie that made me want to give my wife a movie kiss and win a trivia game.

Movie: Up

Where I Saw it: Penn Cinemas in Lititz, PA

With: My wife, my kids, and 50 other people.

Complaints: None.

Praise: Lots. Fantastic movie chock full of great moments, from the truly sad to truly funny.

Were they making onion popcorn at the theater? They must have been because I got a few tears in my eyes during the movie, and that’s the only possible explanation I can think of as to why that would have happened.

So you were bawling? No, just a tear or two. But there was a girl a few rows behind us who was literally sobbing during a few parts of the movie. Audibly weeping to the point where it made you uncomfortable. Either she just lost a loved one or she just started going on the pill and her hormones were out of whack.

Overall: No matter how high they set the bar, the Disney/Pixar combo knows how to deliver. I thought the ending was extremely well done, and the storytelling was great. The tragic elements of the story were done in a way that my 6-year old totally missed them, but my (almost) 8-year old knew what was happening, which felt about right. And like all good kids movies, there were a few laugh out loud moments too.

Cannarf Ratings: (what’s a Cannarf?)

Taken: -1 Cannarfs (I had heard too many good things about the movie. Enjoyable, but could have been better)

Slumdog Millionaire: +2 Cannarfs (high expectations, and the movie delivered)

Up: +3 Cannarfs (I was planning on being entertained, but this movie moved and entertained me beyond what I expected.)

Have you seen any of these 3 flicks? If so, what Cannarf Rating would you give them?