Title: Friends with Benefits (2011)
Cast: Mila Kunis, Justin Timberlake, Patricia Clarkson, Woody Harrelson, Jenna Elfman
Synopsis: While trying to avoid the clichés of Hollywood romantic comedies, Dylan and Jamie soon discover however that adding the act of sex to their friendship does lead to complications.
Like another movie that came out a few months earlier with a similarly cute brunette, Friends with Benefits tries to accomplish a charming view of sexual friendships. While some of the jokes seem overly done and the story is cliched, there are some redeeming factors about this film. Mila Kunis is as cute as ever as Jamie. The spotlight is stolen however by Patricia Clarkson as her mother and Woody Harrelson as Dylan's gay coworker. Take this one as something light to watch when you're looking for a romantic comedy.
Title: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
Cast: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Jamie Campbell Bower
Synopsis: The infamous story of Benjamin Barker, a.k.a Sweeney Todd, who sets up a barber shop down in London which is the basis for a sinister partnership with his fellow tenant, Mrs. Lovett.
Gothic, bloody and full of singing, Sweeney Todd is everything that a good Tim Burton movie should be. The casting is the usual Burton flair with Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter along with Alan Rickman and newcomer Jamie Campbell Bower. This is a film where all the actors shine in their roles. While not perfect by far, it's well directed and acted for those who enjoy gothic cinema.
Title: He's Just Not That Into You (2009)
Cast: Ginnifer Goodwin, Kevin Connolly, Scarlett Johansson, Bradly Cooper, Justin Long, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Connelly, Drew Barrymoore, Ben Affleck
Synopsis: In Baltimore, five women and four men try to sort out the signals that the sexes exchange. Gigi imagines every man she meets is Mr. Right; she gets reality checks from Alex, a sweet but cynical saloon keeper. Janine and Ben seem solidly married until he chats with Anna in a market checkout line; meanwhile Anna is indifferent to the pursing Connor. Neil and Beth have been together seven years; she dumps him when she realizes he really and truly isn't going to marry her. Does he love her? And Mary sells advertising while searching online for a man. Will those in love stay in love? Will those searching figure out who is and who isn't into them? Are men all that different from women?
This movie revolves around the principle that all relationships fall into a predetermined pattern. Men lie and manipulate. Women are needy and vulnerable. The only redeeming quality for me is Ginnifer Goodwin's endearing cuteness as she goes from one bad relationship to another. While I wouldn't change the channel if it was on, I wouldn't seek out watching this movie again either.
Title: The Phantom of the Opera (2004)
Cast: Gerard Butler, Emmy Rossum, Patrick Wilson, Miranda Richardson, Minnie Driver
Synopsis: Begins when an opera ghost terrorizes the cast and crew of the French Opera House while tutoring a chorus girl. He finally drives the lead soprano crazy so she and her friend leave. The girl is able to sing lead one night but the soprano doesn't want her show stolen so she comes back. The ghost demands they keep giving his protégé lead roles. Meanwhile, His pupil falls in love with the Vicomte de Chagny, but the Phantom is in love with Christine, his student. The Phantom is outraged by their love and kidnaps Christine to be his eternal bride. Will Raoul, the Vicomte, be able to stop this dastardly plan?
For a classic piece of literature that was turned into an iconic stage musical, the film version of The Phantom of the Opera had a lot to live up to. While the vocals of the two lead actors didn't live up to the standards of the stage musical, the movie did have brilliant effects and a much wider budget for costuming to make up for it. I was instantly hooked from the scene where the chandelier is auctioned. The stunning move of light and life as the dust is blown away is simply breathtaking.