Monday, October 17, 2011

The Big Year

The Big Year was listed as a comedy. I, for one, did not find myself laughing at all, but I did enjoy the lesson values within the movie. Three known comedy actors, Steve Martin, Owen Wilson and Jack Black come together. The story line of three people from different walks of life on a quest to see as many different types of birds they can see throughout a year. Owen Wilson plays the reigning winner and decides he wants to go and do another Big Year so that no one beats his record. Steve Martin is the older, wanting to retire executive of his company who decides he wants to follow his dream of winning the prize and then there is Jack Black, the poor everyman who loves birds and wants to 'win'. These three people begin the year not knowing each other and soon they are running into each other and realize they are all going for the Big Year prize. I'm a Jack Black fan and found his usual style wonderfully suited, except when they decide its supposed to be a comedy and have him fall down a few times (not funny). The lessons learned is the thing. Owen Wilson looses his wife and gains lonely. Steve Martin retires totally and enjoys his family fully and Jack Black finds his love. What more could one want to see. You most definitely get to see birds and lovely views of different parks and places around the country.
What I enjoyed was the same people showing up in the group shots demonstrating how many of these 'birders' travel to catch sight of different birds.
3 out of 5

The Ides of March

Every so often you hear so much hype about a movie that when you go and see it you are disappointed. This happened to me with this movie The Ides of March. Within a short time I had to give myself a talk and settle back to enjoy the movie. Once I realized this was not the best movie of the year (hopefully I don't eat those words) I enjoyed what was being offered. The cast was great. George Clooney, who also co-wrote and directed. Philip Seymour Hoffman, who was excellent in his role, Paul Giamatti's role small but well delivered, and Ryan Gosling as the young idealistic campaigner who because of events spelled out in the movie turns into a cynical, do what ever it takes campaign manager. The two women in the show, Evan Rachel Wood who plays the young intern and Marisa Tomei who plays the realistic journalist hold there own with this wonderful male cast. This movie really gives a glimpse behind the scenes of a political campaign. You can't help but be pulled into the life of Stephen (Gosling) which takes place over a short period. I love educational movies and this could be classified as a lesson on political campaigns and the back room deals and back stabbing from the different teams that goes on. You may think it, hear it, but in this movie you get to see it.
3 stars out of 5.

Monday, October 10, 2011


To overcome being home after completing teaching for three days I decided to go to the local theatre and see Abduction. The only thing I knew about the movie was Taylor Lautner was in it. I thought it would be interesting to see how he did in a movie which was not one of the Twilight series. I have to say I was impressed. In the beginning you can't help notice his brow and those 'wolf' eyes. I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to watch him without thinking 'wolf' but I digress.
The first five or so minutes I thought 'oh no a teenage thing' but within ten to twelve minutes I was beginning to change my mind and by 20 minutes I was totally engaged. This is an interesting thriller. The premise of a teenager (Lauter) who believes he has been abducted begins a journey which is both well acted and thrilling. Within a short time his parents are dead, his house is blown up, his girl friend (not romantic in the beginning, but is by the end is played admirably by Lily Collins) is hurt and they are on the run. Sigourney Weaver plays his psychologist who helps him get away from the men who are trying to kill him too, but soon the two teenagers are on their own making their way through a forest to an address Sigourney Weaver has given them.
Here they get a few clues which they begin to follow in order to figure out who he really is. The CIA is also after them. Are they good guys or bad guys? It seems everyone is out to get them and yet they are smart and able to avoid capture. Then the end in which you breathe a sigh. All is explained (you really have to see this movie to find out all the whys and wherefores) and Nathan (Lautner) has a home while he finishes high school and gets on with his life. At least there was closure here. You knew what had happened and what was going to happen. Not like lots I've seen lately.
I did enjoy this movie once the first 15 minutes were done, but I also realize that needed to be there in order to explain his life before he finds himself online. I think anyone who likes a thriller and does not mind teenagers would enjoy this. Oh yes, people do get killed. It is hard to get away from the violence which crops up everywhere. But this movie is not for you if you can't see people shot dead and a house blown to bits.
I give this 3 stars out of 5.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Movie Review - Real Steel

Last night I went to see Real Steel.  Although I enjoyed the movie (Rocky with Robots) I felt something was missing. Hugh Jackman was wonderful as the irresponsible Dad committed to his Robot fighting and Dakota Goyo was terrific as his son, wanting a relationship with his father he never knew plus being more level headed and stubborn. Its a warm wonderful story on many levels. You become attached to Atom the Robot (how do they make a put together pieces of steel humanized?). Unfortunately, Evangeline Lilly's role was small and could have been more involved. But the main story is between Charlie (Jackman) and Max (Goyo) and they do that wonderfully well. I laughed, I wiped away a tear and I clapped during the movie. Can't be better than that, yet at the end there were lose ends. I don't like loose ends. But all in all, the evening was not wasted. After all its better to watch pieces of steel bash on each other and two humans going at it.
3 1/2 stars out of 5.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Movie review - Dolphin Tale

I loved this movie and to think I almost missed seeing it. If you have a family, and even if you don't you need to see this movie. It is lovely. It is touching after all how could a real life story of a Dolphin called Winter who loses her tail not be. But I think its the kids who make this movie. Nathan Gamble plays Sawyer a troubled kid whose father has left home a number of years ago and he has not heard from him since, and his favorite cousin has gone off to the army. He's sad and lost and when he helps free Winter from the rope binding her and forever finds himself a 'friend' his life changes.
I loved the journey of how the sea animal hospital in Clearwater, Florida not only saves the Dolphin's life, but then they discover how to build her a new tail. Well, they don't build it others do, but they work with Winter until she finally has one which works. Of course in the process they save the sea animal hospital and exhibition. I don't really care how much of it is real or how much is fiction, as I wiped my tears away from my eyes (which I did not even know I had begun to cry) I knew this movie had something for everyone. Laughter, tears, joy and being left with a good feeling. The cast all do their roles well, Ashley Judd as Sawyer's mothers. Harry Connick Jr as the Dr in charge, Kris Kristofferson, as the grandfather and Morgan Freeman as the Scientist who helps create the tail. The young girl, whose name I don't have who plays Hazel (like the eyes) was also great.
If you see one movie this month, go see this one. I think its worth it.
4 out of 5.

What's Your Number?

I enjoyed this movie.  Much more than Bridesmaids, which I did not enjoy. I found What's Your Number? fun, quirky and most importantly I laughed - a lot. Sometimes I felt embarrassed for the situation, a feeling I personally don't like to feel, but I think it was only twice and I soon forgot about it as the next situation came about. Anna Faris and Chris Evans did a great job. The premise seems a bit lame, Ally (Faris) realizes she has been to bed with 20 men and doesn't want to go over that limit so with the help of you neighbor Colin (who  sleeps with different woman regularly) played by Evans they go back to find if she missed her life partner somehow. As they movie evolves with her Sister getting married and all the dramatics that brings (divorced parents) the couple relax and begin to enjoy each other's company.
Eventually Colin realizes he has feelings for Ally, but Ally isn't being fooled. Then when the sister's wedding is taking place she realizes where her heart belongs and goes on a journey around the city to find him. Silly at times, but the message "you need to be yourself" is one which we can all take heed of. Forget trying to please others, please and be yourself.
3 out of 5

Movie Review - Drive

I recently heard a review of Drive and it whetted my appetite to go see it. Well I was not disappointed. Mind you if you do not want to see brutality, blood, anger or aggression you may want to stay home. But, if you want intensity, and an interesting story line which reminded me of some of Clint Eastwood's early movies, then this good be one not to miss. Ryan Gosling (one of our Canadian Ryan's) did an incredible job. Did he speak 100 words in the whole movie? I'm not sure, but his acting was phenomenal. Oscar worthy maybe? It's interesting how an actor does not have to say words but a movement of an eye, or a toothpick can speak volumes. At times I flinched with the brutality of it, most be getting soft in my old age, but the story line I appreciated. I especially liked it that they let the 'hero' live (or at least you think he lives - or does he).  I like to think he did. Cary Mulligan played the love interest as a young mother and who's ex-convict husband begins the 'trouble' in the movie as he, Ryan, tries to help them. Albert Brooks was definately the surprise playing the 'heavy' in the movie. He did a great job.
Yes if you like fast cars, can handle the brutality and blood - a good movie to see
3 1/2 stars out of 5.