Monday, December 23, 2013

The Book Thief - movie review

Just after seeing Saving Mr. Banks, my friend Trish and I decided to go and see The Book Thief. I had wanted to see it and to ensure I got to see it before it disappeared in we went and once again we were not disappointed.  I must make a parallel here. We came out of the light yet very insightful movie of Saving Mr. Banks to come into the relatively heavy movie of the Book Thief, they could not be as far apart on the spectrum of entertainment. Yet the similarities were there. Both dealt with the past influencing the present. Both dealt with loss, forgiveness and understanding. It was quite a night for Trish and myself. As we drove back home (we had gone north to see these two movies) we discussed them - something we don't always do. But both movies had an impact.  Now onto The Book Thief.

World War II movies are not very popular, especially when the main character is about the German side of things, yet this human story is so touching of a young girl who is taken to live with strangers. She learns to read and loves books. In her love of books she steals 'borrows' them, memorizes them and either reads them to the young Jewish man the family is hiding, or recites them to others while in the bomb shelter.

This is a story which is not for the faint of heart, but wonderfully told and portrayed by the main characters. Lisiel played by Sophie Nelisse, Geoffrey Rush who plays her Papa and Emily Watson her plays her Mama.  Ben Schnetzer plays Max the young Jewish man. Her young male friend Rudy is played apply by Nico Liersch. 

Death plays a part in this movie, in fact is narrated by Death. What a perspective, and because it is death, perspectives are looked at which one may not necessarily consider.  I was concerned during the movie that all my questions would not get answered. What happens to this one, what happens to that one, and guess what they all get answered. Thank goodness.  It also shows the caliber of the movie that one is so involved you want to know what happens to them. Leave no end dangling.

I have not read the book, but a friend tells me it is excellent, and that I can believe, in fact, I may just have to read it because the movie is so impactful on how impactful war is no matter what side you are on. 

4 out of 5.

Saving Mr. Banks - movie review

Saving Mr. Banks with Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson and Colin Farrell was so worth going to see. I laughed, I cried I felt for P.L. Travers as an adult, adored her as a child played by Annie Rose Buckley.  This story of how the movie Mary Poppins got made is one which gives the audience much more than just a 'story'.  It is powerful.

Mr. Walt Disney pursued the film rights of this movie for 20 years. It was only when P.L. Travers is stretched financially that she agrees to meet with Mr. Disney. But she has her own idea of how the movie should be represented.  Fireworks, misunderstandings you name it. In the meantime, you laugh, you cry and you fall in love. You fall in love with the story of Mr. Banks.

The film is wonderfully edited by Mark Livolsi. Much credit goes to him in how he inserted the story of the young girl 'Ginty', who grows up to become P.L. Travers.  Colin Farrell is brilliant as her father, and as I really want you to see this movie I'm not saying anything more about the story of her Dad.

Needless to say Tom Hanks - he just keeps on getting better and Emma Thompson, both are brilliant.  The support cast held up their roles wonderfully well too. Coming out of this movie after crying my eyes out which shows this is a woman's movie, I was so glad I had seen it. It has a most wonderful section on forgiveness - one of my own topics.  How great to hear about it in a big budget movie. 

It also shows the impact on how we grow up and the effect into our current lives. Something I work with daily with my clients. Yes, this movie is one I could suggest anyone watch who wants to learn something about how the past affects the future.  Saving Mr. Banks could help you saving yourself!

Another 4 1/2 out of 5. 

Philomena - movie review

Sometimes you see a movie which touches your heart.  I just love movies based on true stories and although I know often creative license is taken, this movie, Philomena took me on a journey where sadness, joy and pain were all intermingled.

Dame Judi Dench plays Philomenia who initiates a search with the help of a unemployed political journalist, Martin Sixsmith, played by Steven Coogan,  to find her son, who was taken away from her 50 years previously. The story of the Catholic Church and their practices in Ireland all those years ago comes under scrutiny. Plus how the journey unfolds as they learn the church sold him to a couple in the U.S.

I loved the way the editor, Valerio Bonelli, fitted in pictures of the boy as he was growing up, which helped make him real as they were unfolding the story of his life. 

The humanness played by Judi Dench and how Steven Coogan begins not wanting to do this story at all, but gets emotionally involved with the story and aids Philomenia in unraveling the story utilizing his journalistic skills.

Worth seeing - definitely. Take Kleenexes, as the ending will get to you I'm sure - it did me.

4 1/2 out of 5.

All Is Lost - movie review

Upon reading about All is Lost with Robert Redford, I felt I had to see it, and I was not disappointed. This is the most interesting movie, reminding me of the story of "The Old Man and the Sea".  Written and directed by J.C. Chandor - what a job! 

There are hardly any words spoken, maybe six in the whole movie. There is only Robert Redford, a boat, a life raft, a cargo boat and a the sea, always the sea in its many moods.

The story is after a collision with a shipping container at sea a resourceful, older sailor finds himself, despite all his knowledge, efforts and ingenuity finds himself staring his death in the face.

This movie could have been boring, no words, one actor, but it wasn't. It was the most powerful movie and although I'm sure it is not going to be open to a lot of distribution, if you have a chance of seeing it. Do is excellent.  I think I went through every emotion I have, plus some more.
Definitely put it on your DVD list.....

Remember the name, All is Lost starring Robert Redford, who is magnificent.

4 1/2 out of 5  (maybe deserves 5/5).

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - movie review

As I'm a bit late getting my thoughts about this movie The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug written up, you may have already seen it, but if you have not, here is my thoughts.

First of all for some reason, I do not enjoy the Hobbit series as much as I did The Lord of the Rings. After saying that, I saw this in 3D and thought it was one of the best 3D movies I had seen, and if you have the choice, then choose 3D, the background, the Orc detail is magnificent. 

There is no doubt that Director Peter Jackson, has woven his magic as he brings middle earth alive once again and his cast of Ian McKellen as Gandalf, Martin Freeman as Bilbo and Richard Armitage as Thorn do their roles justice, although I thoroughly wanted to see more of Aidan Turner who plays Kili.  No wonder Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel is drawn to him. Her role was created so that a woman's presence could be seen in a male-driven cast. I thought she was spectacular!!!

 I also enjoyed seeing Orlando Bloom as Legolas once again. To me the movie lights up when he and Evangeline Lilly appear.  Then there is the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch as the Dragon.  That is wonderful to hear.

All in all, you need to travel the journey of the Hobbit, - concentrating on the dwarves - most of which I find uninteresting -- oh well. I know I will be there when the last installment is released next year, if only to see a few of the characters I love, and the scenery which is great and the wonderful sets. Plus as I have never read the book (although I attempted to several times) I want to see the end.
3 1/2 out of 5.  (Most of my friends who have seen it enjoyed it to at least a 4 to 4 1/2 -- unfortunately for me the dwarves don't inspire me).

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Homefront - movie review

I am a Jason Statham fan, and I was wondering how he would be playing this role in Homefront, where is plays a widower with a young daughter.  As a former DEA undercover agent, he moves to a 'quiet' town to raise his daughter.  Of course it is not 'quiet' at all James Franco is there as the drug dealer.
When Jason's character's daughter upsets Cassie Bodine Klum, played by Kate Bosworth, she sets her drug lord brother on him and the fun begins.  First I must say I did not recognize Kate Bosworth until the credits rolled at the end.  So thin!!!  Then I did not recognize Winona Ryder, playing James Franco's character's girlfriend, she looked great!  Therefore, great actors who I did not recognize until the credits. 

Isabela Vidovic who plays Maddy Broker, Jason's daughter does an admirable job as being able to take care of herself, and yet frightened when need be.  Another young actress who I'm sure will be 'working' a lot.

Although this movie has the usual Jason Statham's action it also has a warmer side of him, (perhaps not as much as some actors, but acceptable.).  Do you need to see this movie - no, but if you love Jason Statham, or like the gender, then yes, he is at his best. He has enough warmth to be the widowed father, he of course won't take anything from anyone...I said at the end "well that definitely got rid of any built up aggression I may have had".  My adrenaline was pumping. 

I was surprised to see that Sylvester Stallone wrote this movie, and I have read it was originally designed to be part of his Rambo series. Not overly deep, but entertaining.  Think of an older Rambo with a kid, but with Jason Statham playing the role. Quiet, deep, but taking no guff from nobody.

3 out of 5. (only if you like people being beat up and have your adrenaline going).

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - movie review

When I was reading the three Hunger Games books, I did not enjoy the middle (second) book. In fact I remember thinking, I don't know if I want to see the movie of this book.  Yet, there I was purchasing my ticket to catch The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie.  I was surprised.  I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. In fact, I do want to see it again, as the action scenes have so much in them, you cannot possibly see it all the first time.  I think my imagination was worse than what was shown in the movie.

Once again Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence and Peeta Mellark, played by Josh Hutcherson, go into the games.  This time though the odds are really stacked against them, once again, through to many twists of the plot, they are still surviving at the end. Once again great acting especially in the last scene by Jennifer Lawrence.

The supporting cast, which has some great actors, Donald Sutherland, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Liam Hemsworth and Woody Harrelson. This movie held my attention from beginning to end.

This is a movie you can pick up without ever seeing the first movie, but it does help to know the story line. I loved the clothes, the images of the fire coming up around their clothing while in the chariot being presented in the arena.  And the fighting scenes, well I've already mentioned those.  I enjoyed the movie much more than the book. The book left me depressed (often the middle book is the 'dark one' only to be redeemed in the third - think Star Wars). 

Director Francis Lawrence did a great job I'm sure with the editing (which I feel breaks or makes a movie).  We now have to wait another year for the next installment, and another year after that for the final installment.  Thank goodness time go fast.  In the meantime, I will go see this movie at least once more.
4 1/2 out of 5. 

Delivery Man - movie review

After all the advertising, which seemed to go on months before this movie, Delivery Man, came out, I wasn't really sure I even wanted to see it. To my surprise I enjoyed it.  Vince Vaughn, who I often find over talks in his roles, was great in this role as the man who has unbeknown to him fathered over 500 children. In the movie you discover why he donated so much sperm.

It is touching, funny and a statement about relationships.  Father/son; Boyfriend/girlfriend and family. How when the 142 of them, who are contesting in course to find out who their father 'Starbuck' really is, he says, you have found each other.  Family....that is the hidden message behind this.

Vince Vaughn is good in this role, Chris Pratt as his friend creates some laughs and Cobie Smulders playing his pregnant girlfriend, all give their roles justice.  Writer/Director Ken Scott should be proud of this. A great combination of comedy with emotion of a serious subject.

Not much to really say except, for a movie which brought a tear to my eye, lots of laughs and a couple of hours well spent.  Go see it.
3 1/2 out of 5.

Monday, November 18, 2013

12 Years a Slave - movie review

Making the drive north to see 12 Years a Slave, I was sure of what I had heard I would be in for a 'treat' of a movie.  Well treat may not be the word, but my oh my, what a movie. The acting of Chiwetel Ejiofor, is definitely an Oscar winning performance, with everyone involved, and to mention a few Michael Fassbender (phenomenal performance as the slave owner you love to hate) and with Benedict Cumberbatch, (making another movie appearance this year) as a more benevolent slave owner.
This movie, with graphic demonstrations of the cruelty that went on in the south with some slave owners. It is a hard movie to watch at time, and I came away with the thought of "how can we do this to another human being", and as my friend pointed out "they did not think they were human". Thank goodness we are past that. But we still have on our planet inhumanity acts being done to another human.  My respect of one another was certainly brought to the fore. Time to realize no matter the color of a person's skin, or the religion he follows, he is still human.
This is a story of a black man, a wealthy black man, who was respected and had a 'position' in his community and how he was lured to Washington, D.C. and then kidnapped and for 12 years until a kindly builder, played by Brad Pitt, (who was also on the production side) let his family and friends in the North know of his plight and he was rescued.  Apparently many people found themselves with this fate. Never to be rescued, but to live their lives out in slavery, after being free men.
But Solomon was rescued and returned to his family, and although he learn from the transcript at the end, he tried to sue the people who kidnapped him and the person who beat him until he would admit he was a slave, only to met defeat, he did write a book 12 Years a Slave.
This movie is impactful on so many levels, with great acting and editing, which means great direction by Steve McQueen (oh by the way. The audience was so stunned, they did not move to leave as the credits rolled and when the name Steve McQueen came up a man behind me said 'he's dead'.  I think the whole audience had a response to the name Steve McQueen. He did a great job here, bringing out the 'dark side' of the actors so you believed them. 
This is a movie everyone needs to see to remind us of a part of world history where we did not respect one another.  It is bound to solicit an emotional response, especially with some scenes, so this movie is not for the faint of heart. Still worth seeing.
4 1/2 out of 5. 

About Time - movie review

Want to go see a lovely, soft movie with a great message. Slow paced, yet impactful About Time is the movie to see.  Tim, Domhnall Gleeson, learns at the age of 21 hat he can travel in time and change what has happened (how we wish).  As he experiments with the girl of his dream Rachel McAdams he learns the pifalls of interfering with time.
This is a delightful movie, with a delightful message of enjoy everyday fully. As is often said, 'be present' or 'be in the moment'. 
Although not a big budget movie, with Bill Nighy as Tim's Dad and Lydia Wilson as Kit Kat the sister, the support cast all play their parts well. 
Enjoy the gentle, easy movie and the wonderful lesson it states.
3 1/2 out of 5.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Thor: The Dark World - movie review

The other day I went to see Thor: The Dark World, and realized this is one movie I need to see in 3D so off I went to see it in 3D and I was not disappointed. All the shots that I thought would be great in 3D were, plus more.  I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, in fact I may have enjoyed it more than the first. Chris Hemsworth at this best, Natalie Portman doing her wonderful work and the absolutely wonderful Loki played by Tom Hiddleston.  Even the support cast of Stellan Skarsgard, as the mad scientist, Anthony Hopkins, as the Thor's father, Kat Dennings as the side kick and Christopher Eccleston as the bad guy Malekith.
In fact, everyone played their part great and I feel in love with Zachary Levi. (Loved him in Chuck too).
The story plot of a dark energy (wonderfully red) is unleased into Jane Foster (Portman). Thor comes to save the day with personal sacrifices along the way. Where would Thor be without Tom Hiddleston as the devious Loki. This story has some shifts and changes and its a 'ride'. 
In seeing this film two times within a few days of each other, I honestly could go see it again. The detail, the story line with its twists and turns, the magnificent sets as you visit other planets. 
Worth seeing, most definitely, entertainment with great acting, wonderful bodies and how friendship, love and even brotherly competition can unfold.  It has enough explosions, fighting and flying through the air for those who want to see that to be more than satisfied. Also has enough human relationship interactions for those who love that.
Oh yes, make sure you don't leave the theatre until the last credit is will not be disappointed. (Remember last credit - stay sitting)
41/2 out of 5.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Last Vegas - movie review

If you are over 50 I think you will enjoy this movie - Last Vegas. I most certainly did.  Robert DeNiro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline play four older buddies who have been friends since they were six and now have very different lives. They all go to Las Vegas for the wedding of Michael Douglas's character. I must say I enjoyed seeing Kevin Kline as I had not seen him recently and I've always been a fan!

The laughs come a lot. Mary Steenburgen plays the woman of the group, and I won't say the ending, but if you want to laugh, and relate to what they laughter is about then go see this funny movie.
My friend who came with me, said as we went in, I'm tired of seeing movies about older people and its not funny. At the end she said, "I enjoyed that". I did also. 

Everyone needs to laugh and the antics each one of these characters get into is great.  Dan Fogelman as the writer really needs applause, as this could have been ridiculous, as many of the movies my friend was talking about are. But it is not, it is very real, and has a great message. Live each day! 

I also have to mention the Director, Jon Turteltaub, who has directed some great movies which I have enjoyed, and he manages to bring out the characters so well.

The cast has been well casted, as even the support players did their roles proud, Romany Malco as the person who takes care of them at their Hotel (that's another story line) and Jerry Ferrara who plays the young person who fetches and carries (that's another story line). 

This movie is full of inner story lines (after all you have four men all with their own agendas) and each one is presented funny.

If you love to laugh, and don't mind laughing at the older spectrum of things, then this movie is a must.
3 1/2 out of 5.  (4 for laughs).

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Ender's Game - movie review

After reading Orson Scott Card's book Ender's Game and seeing the shorts for it over and over I was waiting in anticipation for this movie to come to the screen. Yesterday I went to see it in this first screening of the day. I was not disappointed. 
What surprised me was how close to the book it was - reminding me of Harry Potter movies who kept close to the book outline. A few things were changed and some of the threads left out made sense. Therefore my first recommendation is read the book, Ender's Game supposedly written for children, but truly I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The story of how children and tested and if pass, taken to 'battle school' and then onto 'command school'. These are children, who because of their fast abilities in thinking (via video games no less) are able to work together in order to overcome a race of 'insect' beings who came to earth and killed many people. Now Earth is taking the fight to them.
The story evolves around the main character, Ender Wiggin, played by Asa Butterfield, a wonderful young English actor, who was able to become Ender as he worked his way through the 'game'.  I found knowing the book helped fill in quite a bit, even though the movie definitely stood on its own.
Harrison Ford plays Colonel Graff, his mentor who is with him the whole way.  Hailee Steineld plays Petra, one of his fellow students as does Aramis Knight, who is cast as Bean.  Ben Kingsley shows up as the last war hero, as Ender's teacher, with a full Maori Moko, as a New Zealander, I was disappointed with the South African accent coming from a supposedly a New Zealander.  Guess they did not know the difference of accents. 
I always ask myself, is the movie worth seeing? The answer here is yes...especially if you have read the book. Also second thing I ask myself, what was the message, and here it is about war and annihilating a race of people, just because you don't speak the same language. The subtle under story is. Listen, find a way to communicate with the enemy, just because they don't speak your language does not mean they cannot communicate with you.  Also, is it worth destroying (in the movies these young children) just to create the end.  In other words, does the end justify the means.
Have a few hours to go and enjoy a 'different' movie, then go see this, its different in lots of ways.
4 out of 5.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Fifth Estate - movie review

The Fifth Estate is based on the true story of WikiLeaks, from books written by Daniel Domscheit-Berg (played most adequately by Daniel Bruhl - I loved his eyes when he took his glasses off). Benedict Cumberbatch, plays the founder Julian Assange and does a wonderful job as this South African who wants freedom of speech, no matter what the cost.
The interesting way in which these two men Julian with the vision and drive and Daniel as the tech get WikiLeaks up and running and then becoming a world wide name. I remember when the news became full of WikiLeaks and what it was up to. It is the results of their work that we did not know, and now after this movie, which keeps you totally engaged right to the last moment, we know a lot more.
I enjoyed this movie, I liked the pace of the movie, the scenes created to show how the two men's minds were working (and this was not over done) and also how when you believe in something and won't let anything stop you (like exaggerating the truth), you can achieve.  It is also a story of how two men both had different agendas but did not realize it until the end. Communication of ideas right at the beginning of any partnership is important. But what is more important is to be sure that you are actually both on the same page.
3 1/2 out of 5.  A worth seeing.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Family - movie review

Last night was one of those nights when I drove 45 minutes north to go to a different theatre to see The Family.  I had missed it when it was in Penticton, due to being away in Vancouver. I had heard it was not that great, but decided that my daughter and I needed something funny to watch. So off we drove to see Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dianna Agron (from Glee) and John D'Leo with Tommy Lee Jones play in this movie about a Mob family being in witness protection in France.

This movie is violent, yet I found myself laughing at things I would normally be horrified at. Luc Besson, as the writer and Director has done a great job in making this violent show quite funny throughout the movie. I finally stopped trying not to laugh at the language, the situations, and the people, and sat back and enjoyed the wit, the action and the craziness.

The two children, both in high school have their issues, yet in the end are able to save The Family from extinction. The most endearing I thought was the dog, who shows up throughout the movie. Although I enjoyed Tommy Lee Jones's looks of disgust. I felt like cheering at the end as the movie comes to an end.
3 1/2 out of 5.

Captain Phillips - movie review

Movies based on true happenings I always find interesting and this movie, Captain Phillips, is no exception. In 2009 Somali pirates hijacked a US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama - the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in 200 years.  Although there were only four hijackers, Captain Richard Phillips played by Tom Hanks was able to get them off the boat into the lifeboat. Unfortunately, they took him with them. Tom Hanks does such a great job with this role, he may get another Oscar nod.

In the meantime, the US Navy sent a boat and the seals were sent from Virginia. Director, Paul Greengrass does a really great job in keeping the tension high.  In fact this story could have been quite boring, but it wasn't. The tension between Captain Phillips, Tom Hanks and the leader of the Somali Pirates, Muse played by Barkhad Abdi was kept at a high level, as both men interact with each other.

I remember hearing about this event at the time, but thought they stopped the Pirates on the cargo ship, but they weren't. They were stopped on the lifeboat. Muse, the leader was talked off the lifeboat onto the US Navy ship, and ended up in a Missouri jail, whereas the other three were killed.

I found that I was quite exhausted from the adrenaline rushes the up and down and even when you know the outcome the director made it great to watch.  3 1/2 out of 5.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Gravity - movie review

Gravity, a movie about being set adrift in space. Everyone's worst nightmare. Yet with the great acting of Sandra Bullock, who basically is the movie, with support from George Clooney has this movie leaving you with a sense of 'no way' do I want to go out there and also how appreciative it is to feel the 'earth' under your feet.

If you want your adrenaline going from the beginning to the end, then this movie - Gravity -  is for you. Now the adrenaline is not in the red line, it is just 'up there' all the time. I was tired by the time I got home, all that tension, all that uncertainty. Sandra Bullock will no doubt get an Oscar nod for this performance. George Clooney does a great job as the support person. Basically that is all there is.  We see a few other people, but after the first few minutes, everyone else is dead. Lovely.

From then on, we see George Clooney for a short while and then only Sandra Bullock. Sandra who has one trial after another as she works to get herself back to earth, first through a Russian station and then a Chinese. Nothing like international cooperation out in space.  This could have been called 'Lost in Space' and it would have been true. 

This movie Gravity does give you food for thought, it does give you adrenaline rushes and it does give you hope. It shows how the human spirit will fight to live.

Worth seeing - yes!

4 out of 5.

Runner, Runner - movie review

Sometimes you just go and see a movie which does not really have anything to say, or teach, but you sit back and go for the ride. Or, perhaps this movie is about the horror of what oneline gambling is doing to our society.  Runner Runner has Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake with Gemma Arterton in it.

I'm a Ben Affleck fan, so I wanted to see this movie for that reason, and he plays that arrogant, in control person (or thinks they are) person so well, and does not disappoint here. The big shot, living in Costa Rica and unable to go back to the states where he will be arrested. Justin Timberlake playing the young gambler trying to make enough money to pay his university fees and discovers he has been stolen from. He goes to Costa Rica to confront Ivan Block, Ben Affleck's character and then the dance begins.

Enter the FBI, enter the beautiful woman, enter Ivan Block, Ben Affleck setting up young Richie Furst, Justin Timberlake's character, crocodiles, corruption and you have a 'ride' of a movie.  You can't help liking Justin Timberlake (who becomes a better and better actor as time goes on) and when everything looks like 'oh no, how is he going to get out of this' the story evolves.

I loved the ending...uncertain, but perhaps he was going to go and become another Ivan Block, hopefully a more honest one.  Yes, if you want to be entertained for approximately 1 1/2 hours, then go enjoy!  Also note, that online gambling is shown as what it is...a horror for many.

3 out of 5.

Rush - movie review

I happened to be in Vancouver when I went to see Rush. Driving through a huge rainstorm in order to make the theatre in time to see this movie, I later appreciated what it is to drive at high speeds through rain when I was driving at a low speed through a rain storm, (the only other time I have driven through such rain was in Florida).

I arrived at the theatre, in time but damp from the rain from the car to the theatre and sat back to watch Chris Hemsworth as James Hunt and Daniel Bruhl as Niki Lauda battle it out to become World Champion road driver in 1976.

Ron Howard has the reputation of making 'good' movies. Ones in which the story flows and the action is good. Ron Howard manages to maintain the same throughout Rush. My attention never wandered throughout. The driving scenes were magnificent and I found myself having a new admiration for racing car drivers and what they do.

The story line is primarily between these two very different men competing. One living emotionally and driven to become the top driver, the other more intellectual, where everything is planned, but emotionally shut down, even with his relationship.  At the end you felt with the postscript that James Hunt died in his 40's, while Niki Lauda is still alive today, scars from the crash still visible on his face, that James Hunt lived. He lived totally, in the moment, and although dying young he achieved what he came to do - live.

Even the supporting women in this movie were appropriately cast, Olivia Wilde as Suzy Miller, the model James Hunt marries who divorces him and later marries Richard Burton and Alexandra Maria Lara who as Marlene Lauda played the elegant wife of Niki Lauda.

I left the movie, glad the rain storm was just about gone, and especially glad that I had gone to see it. Did seeing this movie make a huge difference to me, no, but it did give me an understanding of a bit of history, and especially made me aware of what racing car drivers actually go through.
3 1/2 out of 5.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Fruitvale Station - movie review

Yesterday I went to see the movie Fruitvale Station, based on the last day of the life of Oscar Grant II, a 22 yr old Bay Area resident.  You follow the day of this young man as be interacts with his girlfriend, daughter, mother, other friends, enemies and finally his confrontation at Fruitvale Station.

Michael B. Jordan plays Oscar quite adequately, displaying him through his many emotions and Melonie Diaz as his girl friend and mother of his daughter, but it is Octavia Spencer as Wanda his mother who his great. 

This is a sad story based on a true story, as the information gathered about his last day is brought together. Slow paced, it takes you through Oscars day, and at the same time you come to understand his journey, his awarenessness which are happening as he works to change his life.  This movie was a Grand Jury Prize Winner in the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, and I can see why.

It is a movie which leaves you thinking of many different things. Would this have been a different ending if Oscar was not black. Would it have been different if one of the Bart coops was not a rookie. Would it have been different if he had not taken the train.  Food for thought, a good way to leave a movie.

If you have a chance to see this movie, then do so, just to see how you can do everything in your power to do it 'right' but still be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
4 out of 5.

Riddick - movie review

As my movie goer friend Trish and I were sitting in the movie to watch Riddick, I thought there would be more people to see it.  I had been looking forward to seeing Vin Diesel again, as I'm a fan from the Fast and Furious franchise.  I really did not know what to expect.  I had seen the Chronicles of Riddick a long time ago.  So as it began I was open to anything I was going to see.

First of all, Vin Diesel was great with his usual 'man' style especially with the 'glinty' Riddick eyes. The story line was not overly hard to get. Betrayed and stranded on a hostile planet, with alien predators he has to find a way to survive. Discovers an abandoned station and sends an emergency signal and is therefore joined by two brands of mercenaries one who want him dead for the bounty on his head, the other wants him alive for information.

The predictors, who he Riddick runs into quite early are scary (I often found myself with my eyes covered). I'm a real scaredy cat when it comes to unusual looking things. In fact, at one point, I made my self look, because I felt I was cowering way too much.  But, I got used to these things, and was amazed as to how Riddick made himself a 'friend' with the coyote like thing (they were all things). How the plot had him inoculate himself so he could survive their poison and eventually gets himself off the planet, moving on to the next Riddick story to come.

The supporting cast, besides the computer generated things, Karl Urban did his usual good solid acting role, and Katee Sackhoff, who I  had been watching in Longmire, was great as the gay woman of the bunch. Jordi Molla was the leader to the rag tag group, who slowly got themselves killed off.

If you want adventure, high tension (my adrenaline was pumping) then go see Riddick. 
3 out 5.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Lee Daniel's The Butler movie review

Every now and again you get to see a movie that has everything. Lee Daniel's The Butler is it. It contains everything, education, emotion, plus great acting. This is the movie of the year. The cast was phenomenal.  Forest Whitaker as Cecil Gains the Butler, whose life we follow is his usual superb self. Oprah Winfrey, who you forget is Oprah, as she becomes Gloria Gaines Cecil's wife. She portrays the different stages and what she as a wife of a Butler in the White House, plus raising two sons goes through. 

David Banner who plays son Earl, who joins the freedom rides and even the Black Panthers is also great. Then comes the actors who play the Presidents, John Cuscak as Richard Nixon, Robin Williams as a great Dwight D Eisenhower, James Marsden as John F Kennedy, Liev Schreiber  does a great job as Lyndon B Johnson and Alan Rickman makes a wonderful Ronald Regan. They were all great selections for their roles.  You learn a lot about the Presidents and the affect having Black Butlers played in their awareness of equality.

In fact the whole cast was so well cast that there was not one person you thought, wow, this is miscast, in fact, for the over 2 hour movie, you hardly recognize the time. The movie moves through the years, with ease, and with each character being so well played, you get caught up in the story quickly as it touches you emotionally, and you go for the ride. At the end, I found my self sitting there digesting it all. Let us hope we do not forget what people went through in order to have equality - even though in some ways it still on going.

I'm sure you have heard the story line, of how this share croppers son, who is taken in and trained to be a 'house nigger' ends up as a Butler in the White House. As you follow this tale you begin to identify with the 'struggle' as the White Staff of the white house receive 40% more monies than the Black staff. It appears it was Ronald Reagan who changed that so they all received the same.

Also through the movie comments were made by the Presidents which showed that having  Black Butlers, whom they trusted and came to 'know', did make a difference.  Nelsan Ellis who plays Martin Luther King, Jr. makes a statement during the movie of not to demean the Black Help, but due to their work ethic (can't remember it all, but it was another great statement during the movie) advising Earl, to recognize the contribution his father was doing.

There were so many wonderful moments, so many wonderful actors playing their parts that I can't possibly mention them all. All I can say, if you want to see a movie of the year, then go see this one.
5 out of 5.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Company You Keep - movie review

Sitting recuperating from all the driving I have done lately, I decided to take a look at what was showing on my Cable company's Movie on Demand.  Within a few minutes of looking I was watching The Company You Keep with Robert Redford, Shia LaBeouf, with supporting actors Stanley Tucci and Nick Nolte, Julie Christie and the ever wonderful Susan SarandanChris Cooper and Terrance Howard as the FBI agent.  I could keep going with names, as you recognize people as the film goes along. 

Robert Redford directed, as well as starred in this movie, and I'm sure got all his 'friends' or people he wanted to work with somehow involved.  A great cast. The story of an old 'waterman' woman played by Susan Sarandan, turns herself in after 30odd years.  This puts a young newshound played by Shia LaBeouf, very well I might add, and he runs across Robert Redford as a lawyer, Jim Grant.  He soons determines that he is Nick Sloan, another of the 'waterman' wanted.

The movie then follows Jim Grant's journey as he leaves his young daughter with his brother, goes and finds other 'old' friends until he locates Mimi (Julie Christie - still looking wonderful). All the way Shia's character is poking, looking, putting two and two together until the story reaches its conclusion. 

I thought the premise, the acting and the unfolding of the story on the whole was good.  Robert Redford was at his usual best, and I was impressed that he could 'run' so well at his age (when I don't). It was fairly long (over 2 hours), and some scenes seemed to drag, but on the whole a good story. One in which kept me entertained while I rested.
3 out of 5.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Elysium - movie review

I went to see Elysium - at 10.10pm show - because I wanted to see Matt Damon in this role. After all I had seen him with his bald head for many months quite a while back.  Unfortunately, I felt the movie missed its mark. It did not emotionally engage me.

The story line should have.  The poor in future earth trying to get to the 'land of milk and honey' Elysium, (the international space station 100,000 times larger with a landscape like prosperous L.A.  The aspirations of the poor, to get where all illness is miraculously healed, so you don't get old, you don't get sick, you live this wondrous life. Or at least a few do.

The rest, well they live in an overpopulated, crime-ridden, rubble-covered Earth (filmed in a garbage dump in Mexico where a couple of thousand people actually do live).  Matt is Max who receives an overdose of radiation and then is made into a machine-man, who downloads a program into his head, and he needs to get to Elysium (which is heavily guarded - blowing unauthorized transports out of the sky).

The movie sets up as to how Max gets radiated, made into a machine-man, and how he gets to Elysium. Of course there is the emotional quotient as well. His childhood friend has a little girl who is dying and needs what Elysium has in order to get well.

There is some good support actors with Jodie Foster playing the going for power in Elysium, Sharlto Copley as the 'bad, bad guy', Alice Braga as Max's childhood friend grown up. Also Diego Luna, Wagner Moura and William Fichtner (he seems to be popping up a lot - still love his Crossing Lines TV show). 

I'm not sure what makes this movie miss the mark, but for all the guns, the fighting, the human heart tugging, it did not touch me, or my friend who came with me. We both sat at the end and said, what's not right with this movie. I was disappointed.  I like action movies, I like movies which have human heart strings, but somehow the director Neil Blomkamp missed the mark.  Mind you, I was one of the many who did not overly enjoy District 9, so should have known.   I understand I'm not alone in my estimation of this movie.  I'm disappointed in that, because Matt Damon deserves a better movie.
2 out of 5  (the lowest I think I've given maybe ever, but for a long long time.).

PS  Neil Blomkamp is south African, and I delighted in seeing the South African Flag on the side of Sharlto Copley's air transport plus he spoke with his South African accent.  Look for the flag if you go see this movie.  My friend missed it but you don't want to as it brought a smile to my face.

2 Guns Movie Review

I thoroughly enjoyed 2 Guns with Densel Washington and Mark Walberg. I found myself laughing and enjoying the antics of these two great actors, obviously having fun.

These two 'bank robbers' who discover they are both agents of different forces who are being pursued by the CIA, drug runners and the pursuit and antics which follow is done in a humorous way. You will recognize several of the support players, and that was also fun, saying oh look whose playing this role.  Won't tell you, because that's the fun of going to see it.

This is not a movie to go see if you want intellectual though, or some great concept. But, if you want to spend a couple of hours entertained by the antics of two actors having fun, then this is it.

I really don't have much to say about it.
3 out of 5.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Wolverine - movie review

Watching Hugh Jackman play any role is a treat, but being The Wolverine is always spectacular, and this latest outing of our beloved 'iron man with claws' is no exception.  I did not know what to expect when yesterday I went, with my friend Trish to see it. In fact Trish was not sure she wanted to see it, she thought it was going to be too violent and did not want to see violence that day, but she succumbed and off we went together.

What a surprise, the movie, mostly set in Japan was a phenomenal movie, it was an action movie at its best. This movie needs to be seen if you are a Wolverine fan or not. It has a wonderful story line, it has action, it has heart, it has a new X-Man character - Viper, well played by Svetlana Khodchenkover. Tall beautiful and deadly, I found her demeanor quite frightening just sitting in the theatre.

Tao Okamoto plays Logan's romantic interest Mariko, with a fighter ally Yukio played by Rila Fukushima who has the ability to see when and how people are going to die. Hiroyuki Sanada also plays a part in this movie. (He seems to be cropping up in several movies. I first saw him on Lost so recognize him now).  Anyway, back to The Wolverine.  This movie has Logan soul searching, with dream sequences of his lost love Jean Grey, to come to terms with himself.  Then he is requested to go to Japan to say 'goodbye' to an old friend, but instead encounters a proposition to give up his immortality and become normal.

What ensures with him and his two Japanese ladies, Mariko as his love interest, and Yukio as his fighter companion is a great story  with action, softness and interesting Japanese scenery.

Much to my surprise, I enjoyed this movie from beginning to end.  A true action movie with all the components. Action, love, introspection and resolution.  You can't find much better.

On the way to drop Trish off I said I give this movie 4 out of 5, and she says why not 5 (which I have my beloved Star Trek into Darkness) and I said because Star Trek I have gone to see many times and will see it many times again, I do not feel I have to rush back and see this one, but it was great!!!!
4 out 5.

Pacific Rim - Movie Review

Pacific Rim was another one of those movies I was not sure I wanted to see, although I had enjoyed the Transformers series the shorts on this one seemed too outlandish, etc for me. Anyway, I decided I would go and see it and I was pleasantly surprised. In fact, I found myself fascinated by the way in which the two people 'drifted' together in order to make the large mechanical man machines work.

It so happened, Friday when I saw this movie, (I caught the afternoon show in 2D because I did not want to see it in 3D) I was going home to do a 'channeling your guide' evening. I realized as I was watching the people 'drift' together it was similar to what I do with channeling, I allow a guide to come in and integrate with my voice, so they are in affect in my mind and voice in order to give their person a message.  This fascinated me, as I watched.

Then as the movie progressed I found myself having a moment of a different perspective. I was beginning to get upset with the constant thought 'the earth is ending' theme, which I have been finding in books, (Dan Brown's Inferno, James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge's Zoo in particular) and how in the movies they seem to destroy towns with no thought, that when they are crushing these buildings that there are people in them (Man of Steel for instance).  Anyway, I had been seeing this as the thought form for the 'killing off a good portion of humanity' being played out. 

But, as I have said in other reviews, sometimes you see a movie for a thought, or a scene well done. In Pacific Rim, I heard once more (it was also in the book Zoo, and World War Z) about how we have messed with the environment, and the petroleum's are doing something on a larger scale to the environment.

As I sat there, enjoying the discovering of the 'drift', watching the fights between the monsters coming out of the drift, and these large mechanical men (which by the way I often could not tell who was who while they were fighting) my realization that these books and movies were more about the environment and the affect on us, rather than just us being killed off. I found that awareness more peaceful. 

I was not familiar with the main actors except Idris Elba (from the English TV show Luther - I happen to like him a lot).  But, Charlie Hunnam (born in England) and Rinko Kikuchi, (born in Japan) I did not recognize from anything I have seen.  Seems like 2008 was when they both had movie releases, in genre I don't watch.

The question always is - is Pacific Rim worth watching.  If you like large mechanical beasts attacking each other, the world needing saving from aliens (that was a surprise) and how we humans win the day with out human stubbornness, then yes this is worth seeing.  Plus watching Idris Elba march around is worth it.
3 out of 5.

Friday, July 26, 2013

R.I.P.D. movie review

I'm not sure if it was the planets were not aligned right, or if it was the mood I was in, but I did not really enjoy R.I.P.D. I have mentioned before I find my humor is situational, not slapstick, not put down, and definitely not embarrassing, and by rights I 'should' have enjoyed this movie.  I attended with a friend, who I noticed did not laugh a lot either, but said at the end she enjoyed it. I laughed twice. When I spoke with my usual movie going friend Trish, she said she laughed all he way through it. Humor is so directed to people's taste.  If you have Trish's taste, you will enjoy this movie, if you have my taste, give it a miss.  Now onto the movie itself.

Ryan Reynolds a recently deceased cop is teamed up with Jeff Bridges an older lawman. In the earth vibration these dead cops, look like a gorgeous blonde female (Bridges) and an older Asian gentlemen (Reynolds). Mary Louise Parker, is there controller, who has some interesting verbal by play with Bridges. The real bad guy of the movie is Kevin Bacon. The plot was unusual, paying penance by being a cop and rounding up escaped dead bad guys.

As you follow them tracking down aliens who look normal, but when shot with a special gun, turn into all sorts of strange, usually large bulging, peoples. As they go on their rounds, looking and tracking down these escaped dead bad guys, they discover a plot, which will basically destroy the world as we know it by reversing the going up into the afterlife, but having all of them coming back onto earth.  Luckily, the heroes of the day succeed in achieving the end result of defeating the bad guys.  And everything turns back to normal.

Obviously by the 1st paragraph I did not particularly like this movie.  To me its a 2 1/2. To my friend Trish is a 3 1/2.  Go see it and see where your humor button is.

PS. Mary Louise Parker had two movies come out at the same time. She is also in Red 2, which I'm going to write about next - now that one I enjoyed.

Red 2 - movie review

I loved this movie.  Being a big fan of R.E.D. so much so I bought the DVD, I was looking forward to seeing RED 2, and I was not disappointed.
Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker, Helen Mirren, were back with Catherine Zeta-Jones joining in.

Once more the team is joined together as they work to track down a missing nuclear device.  Assassins, terrorists and power-crazed officials are all either after them, or standing in their way.
I began laughing almost in the first minute, and continued right to the end. John Malkovich is fabulous. His faces had me in stitches.  He conveyed so much in a look, a face here and eye lift there and I was in the aisle laughing. He was the star of this movie that is for sure.

All the others play there roles superbly. I love Mary-Louise Parker in her role as wanting the excitement, tired of Bruce Willis's character (Moses) protecting her, keeping her safe.  So many scenes were hilarious.  You just need to go see it. If you have seen R.E.D. and enjoyed it, you will love RED 2 even more.
4 out 5.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Lone Ranger movie review

I did not realize that The Lone Ranger was going to be funny until I was sitting there watching. Johnny Depp in a different incarnation as Tonto, but still managing to get the lines delivered with the same facial expression (except his eyes) the whole way through.

I was not over enthusiastic about seeing this movie, but there was no other that I wanted to see last night, so after a lovely Steak and Salad dinner, off my movie friend Trish and go. Within the first five minutes I was glad I was there. Armie Hammer, as the righteous about legalities and justice fits the bill, as he slowly realizes the wild west is still wild and justice is a different thing. The show definitely goes to Johnny Depp though, with his white and black face, although the white horse - Silver - is really good and such a comic.

Johnny Depp as Tonto tells the story of how he and The Lone Ranger meet and what follows as they go from one 'screw up' to another, yet some how in the end - they win!  Heigh Ho Silver.

The cast support with William Fichtner as the bad guy (a really bad guy) Tom Wilkinson as his bad big shot partner, and Helena Bonham Carter doing her usual great work as the 'madam'. 
If you want to laugh (not as much as The Heat) but laugh, and have an enjoyable few hours, except when the Gatling gun comes out against the Comanches. I hate those Gatling guns in movies and seeing how they just mowed everyone down. Other than that, it was funny, cute and oh yes, the good guys win and The Lone Ranger is born.
3 out of 5.

PS.  I recently have seen William Fichtner in a new TV show called Crossing Lines. I have enjoyed it and that's how I recognized him, after only seeing him for two week. Keep you eye out for the TV Show Crossing Lines. If you like adventure, solving crimes (with an international twist) then this is well done. Interesting characters in it.

PPS.  I had to look up Harmie Hammer, his face was not familiar to me. He's done quite a bit of work in both TV and Movies, but, most of the movies I have not seen, and if I did, I did not recognize him.

PPPS.  Johnny Depp surprised me how well he did this role.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

World War Z movie review

After watching the trailers and discovering World War Z was a movie about Zombies, I had decided not to go see this movie. I found the scenes in the trailers disturbing and I'm not interested in Zombies. Therefore, when the weather changed yesterday and I did not quite know what to do with myself, I decided to go see World War Z.  I'm glad I did.

Sometimes, as with After Earth, a statement made during the movie, makes it worth while, and the same with this one. Brad Pitt, was behind this movie, he coproduced and starred in it. Apparently, the love of Zombies by his boys was the motivator. The statement, that came quite early in the movie was about the way Mother Earth shows the way to solve these viruses or whatever else that gets thrown at us. A bright thought, amongst a growing thought form of world dissemination.

Another reason why I did not want to go and see this movie, was that the scenes I had seen in the trailers disturbed me, when seen in context of the movie were not so bad, in fact, explained a lot of what was happening. It was an interesting theme. As I'm not interested in Zombies, I most certainly had not read the book, and not listened or read anything about the movie. I was an open book to the theme. Brad Pitt, a retired UN worker, who had been in many situations is called upon to help find the original source of this 'virus' which was creating these zombies. When a Zombie bit you, you had 13 seconds before you transformed into one.

Brad Pitt's character Gerry Lane leaves his family, wife played by Mireille Enos from the TV show The Killing, and his two daughters plus a boy, who had joined them, on a boat while he goes off to find how to 'cure' this Zombie outbreak. He is running out of time, as countries fall to the Zombie phenomena.

If you want an adrenal rush this is the movie.  Wow, I was aware I was tense, especially when you realize noise is a factor which attracts them. I was also in awe of the large overhead shots of numerous people's running, pushing, shoving. I wondered if it was computer generated or real. They were impressive whichever way they were done.  Also the scenes of the zombies rushing towards the car, plane or high wall, again adrenal pumping.  Well done make up department and director.  World War Z is something Brad Pitt can be proud of. He achieved an action, intense, movie while discovering how to overcome Zombies.

The comments Brad Pitt makes at the end of the movie, were also worth hearing.  Thoughtful comments for us to think about. Unfortunately, I found them not easy to hear, and I wanted to hear them. I'm not prepared to go and see the movie again just to find out exactly how the words went, but those that I caught, were worthwhile hearing.  So when at the movie, listen hard at the end for the thoughtful thoughts.

I also want to make a comment, after reading Dan Brown's Inferno where the thought of wiping out the population by 1/3 at least is prominent, and now this movie about Zombie's taking over and again in essence wiping us out, I cant help but think this 'thought form' of something coming to decimate our population is growing. Aware that books and movies take a number of years of write and make this thought form is growing. Awareness is important, as collective consciousness of thought is what drives a society, and acceptance of a 'virus' taking out many of us to 'cull' us because of over population has been growing. Just be aware, both Dan Brown's book, and this movie are a part of this thought form. 
World War Z  3 1/2  out of 5.

The Heat Movie Review

What a combination of Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy in The Heat. Sandra Bullock at her best as the uptight FBI agent and Melissa McCathy as the foul-mouthed, hard edged policewoman. If you want to laugh, and can over look the language then this is the movie for you.  I don't think I have laughed so much for a long time. Now, I admit I'm a situational comedy person, and do not like other comedy,  once get used to Melissa McCathy's character, then it is hilarious.

The journey these two individuals take, as they partner on a case, applying The Heat, is what makes this funny. As the uptight Bullock unwinds some, and the hard edged McCarthy becomes more soft is what makes this movie work.  The bar scene is phenomenally funny. Also, the family dinner scene, reminded me of some scenes I experienced myself occasionally with family dinners (everyone talking over each other - no one listening). Mind you we did not use the language or the put downs that go on in this movie.

I also have to give a shout out to the handsome Marlon Wayans. I did not realize how good looking he is. I want to see more of him for sure (my old age fantasies coming out -- but heh, he looked gooood!)

Yes, this is a movie you go to laugh, not for much else except the bad guys get it, some others die on the way and the 'good ones' come out on top.

I have to mention, I had two very young boys sitting beside me. I would say they would have been six and eight thereabouts. The topic, never mind the language, so often sexual in reference I found I was uncomfortable for them. The younger one laughed at the slap stick stuff, the older one I felt was lost trying to figure everything out.  This is an adult movie, not for little kids.  Why don't parents check these things out and just because its a comedy doesn't mean it is for little kids. (Especially when Monsters University was also on in another theatre). 

Therefore, to laugh and enjoy go see The Heat!
4 out of 5.

White House Down Movie Review

I admit I'm a Channing Tatum fan. I also admit I had a lot of criticism on the 'other White House' movie 'Olympus Has Fallen'.  So I was a little bit hesitant going to see Channing Tatum along with Jamie Foxx, and Maggie Gyllenhaal in White House Down. I did not want to have to sit through another take down the White House movie which had me thinking of all sorts of other things.


This movie was about an insider, a close to the president insider, upset and wanting revenge. Its an unlikely theme, but doable, therefore, it made it more real.  I found the acting great, I found the theme acceptable, I found the comic relief wonderful. Some of the lines which Tatum and Fox exchanged were great. When you are tense from the action, there is nothing like a line being delivered which breaks the tension, before adding more.  Maggie Gyllenhaal, did her usual great job. She has become a wonderful character actress and I predict a long career for her as she gets better and better. Jamie Fox carried off his role with his usual ease, but for me Channing Tatum was the 'star', he had the larger role, and he did it wonderfully, I read where he did most of his stunts, good on him, as some of them were difficult.

The only thing....when someone is shooting an automatic at you, why do directors believe that we don't know the hero would be hit. I found in this movie too many times automatic fire was all around our hero, and he was only grazed once.  Come on!!  But, unfortunately, that is a truth of action movies, and it does give the wrong impression to our impressionable youth.  Bullets don't get you if you are fast. Oh yes they do, especially when the person shooting knows how to shoot. Movies are different than real life and flying bullets can hit you.  Oh well, that rant is over. Back to the movie.

Want to see a movie which is entertaining and enjoyable in the action genre, then I think movie holds up well. If you are a Channing Tatum fan like me, then you will love this movie. 
4 out of 5.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

After Earth movie review

I was not sure I wanted to see After Earth. Watching the previews with these large animals wanting to 'kill' humans I knew I would be frightened etc.  But, go see it I did and although I covered my eyes in certain scenes, and definitely had adrenalin racing through my veins, I was glad to see it mostly because of the discourse that Will Smith, who is listed as writing this movie, gives on FEAR!!  It's brilliant and worth seeing just for that as he teaches his son, Kitai played by his real life son Jaden about how not to exhibit fear. A lesson which gets learned by the end of the movie. They way Will explains fear is exactly how I teach it, but delivered so well. 
Their spaceship is wrecked on earth, a place where humans no longer live, but animals who hunt them do.  Cypher, Will Smith is injured so his young teenage son has to travel 100 miles over rough terrain with very variable day/night temperatures to get a beacon from the other part of the space ship. The adventures he goes through is what the story is mainly about, with flashbacks to the death of his sister to aid the impact of the story.  Young Jaden Smith, carries this movie and considering his age he does an incredible job. Will Smith's job as being the commander/father and learning about his son, who is strong minded and trying to impress him is truly a supporting role, done is the usual great Will Smith style.
If you like your adrenalin on high, action scenes with human fighting dangerous animals (even though animated) this is the movie to see.  Don't take young children, its violent and scaring even for an adult like me.
Mostly through the discourse on FEAR is why to see this movie and what is learned and taught about FEAR is worth the journey.
3 1/2 out of 5.

Epic - movie review

I am amazed these days when I go to see an animated movie how real they make everything and Epic is the same. Except for the gliding walk it could be real people and animals you are watching. Epic most definitely has an appeal for both adults and children alike.
The story of Mary Katherine (MK) who is voiced by Amanda Seyfried who gets shrunk by the Queen of the jungle and then spends time saving the forest. She hooks up with Josh Hutcherson - Nod and other Leafmen in their battle against Mandrake voiced by Chrisoph Waltz the evil one who wants to destroy the forest. Beyoncé is the voice of the Forest Queen, while Colin Farrell is her protector/friend.
This is a cute movie with the age old, good versus evil story. It moves quite quickly from scene to scene, with a lot of birds and other animals flying around carrying the fighting armies plus Nod and MK.
I think this might be a bit frightening for young children, but eight and above should enjoy it immensely.  I know the Dad sitting just down from me was laughing out loud several times and in one place a young boy sitting two rows down from me was up and jumping up and down with excitement.  Fun for the family!!!
3 out of 5.

Now You See Me - movie review

Now You See Me, is a movie worth going to see.  Why? because it is not like any other movie you have seen, it has magic, it has a most unexpected ending, and it is well acted.  I thoroughly enjoyed this movie from beginning to end.  I sat there mesmerized by the story unfolding before me.
Isla Fisher, Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson and Dave Franco play their roles wonderfully well. Woody as the elder statesmen and mentalist of the group, Jesse as the arrogant magician, Isla has the previous assistant to Jesse, but is now an escape artist and Dave who plays the young thief magician.
Then Mark Ruffalo as the FBI agent who is trying to capture these four as they steal a bank, from Paris, France no less and then give the money to the audience, plus other similar escapades.
I thoroughly enjoyed the interaction between the four main actors, and that means the writers did their job.
The direction was good, because as I said, it kept my attention right to the very end.  I wanted more, I wanted to see some clips at the end (which more and more movies do these days) but no, the end was the end.  For a few hours of entertainment, because that is what it is, an entertainment movie, then go see this. Enjoy!
4 out of 5.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Fast & Furious 6 - movie review

I could not wait to see this movie. My appointment book had when it was opening Fast & Furious 6. Unfortunately I had to wait a whole day before I could go and see it, but last night saw me and my movie goer friend Trish walk in and take our seats (I had bought them ahead when I went back to see Star Trek - phenomenal movie - again.).
I own the DVD's of the other movies and just loved seeing, Van Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordara Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Chris aLudacrisa Bridges and Elsa Patakg with Dwayne Johnson from Fast and Furious 5, and then adding Michelle Rodriguez who had died at the end of Fast and Furious but was reborn (having forgotten her memory) in 6.
I found it a bit slow for the first quarter (picky me) but then the action started and once again was tremendously impressed with the stunts.  Wow, there are some beauties in here. Worth seeing again for that. The plot was not as important to me as the message 'family is the most important'.  I could not agree more.
You want action, phenomenal stunts, and seeing the 'gang' back in action, then you have to see this movie. There are some surprises and yes, some deaths, but the ending sets up for Fast and Furious 7. Can't wait.
4 out of 5.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Great Gatsby movie review

The Great Gatsby directed by Baz Luhrmann, you knew would be spectacular.  Baz tends to produce large pieces (although Australia was panned by many, something I could not understand, as I loved it and have watched it many times.)  I therefore was wondering how The Great Gatsby would turn out.  Having Leonardo DiCaprio playing Gatsby was a stroke of genius. He is such a phenomenal actor, and he portrays all the feelings that Gatsby has with such aplomb, that I sat there in awe of the acting ability of this man. The supporting cast comprising of Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire and Joel Eggerton were also well casted and each actor portrayed their roles well. Carey Mulligan, the rich girl, who Gasby loves, plays the delicate, Daisy loving Gatsby, yet also ruled is some ways by her husband. I thought Tobey Maguire was perfect as the teller of the story. As Daisy's cousin Nick he remembers the 'summer' in which all this takes place. Money, manipulation, imagination and love all take place within this movie.
I would be remiss in not mentioning the sets of the parties which take place, the over abundance of color, booze, life, which is indicative of a part of society in the 1920's. 
This movie has depth, and the screen is filled with scenes of varying different shades of life and interactions of people. Baz has done is usual great job. Understanding the human condition is not always an easy thing, but through this movie you get to take a look.
4 out of 5.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness - movie review

I am a Star Trek fan, and I waited until Sunday to go and see this movie, so my friend Trish, who usually accompanies me to the movies could come with me.  She had been playing Grandmother, looking after her two small grandchildren.  So it was with enjoyment in our hearts, that Trish picked me up and we drove the two children to meet up with their parents and we went to a different theatre than usual to see Star Trek Into Darkness in 3D.
Words cannot describe how much I enjoyed this movie from beginning to end. The characters, so well fitting their roles. Chris Pine as the ever not going to obey rules, Zachary Quinto as the wonderful Spock, always following rules. Their verbal by play had me laughing away, the writing is really good to be able to keep the story going, yet not be boring, and not letting the plot die away. A big shout out to the writers.
Then of course the back up with Scotty played by Simon Pegg and Bones, Karl Urban and the never to be forgotten Uhura so aptly played by Zoe Salana. These characters are the backbone of the movie and always worth seeing as they interreact.
Then in this movie, the Sherlock Holmes from British TV, Benedict Cumberbatch, gives a face to the terrorist.  The movie house gasped as his identity was revealed, (I'm not going to here because if you have not seen it, you need to be surprised) but I will say I clapped on the revealing. He was spectacular as the villain.
All in all, I can't wait for the next Star Trek movie to come. I wish it was next week, but I will be gong to be this movie again its so good. Usually a second movie is not as good as the first, I think this one is better. JJ. Abrams is a great director, and brings out the best in all his
actors. The action scenes always fulfill the need in the moment. I truly don't know what else they could do to make this movie better.
5 out of 5 for me.  I will see it in 2D next time, just to see the difference 3D made.
Star Trek fan or not, if you like action, you will love this movie.  Go see it!!!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Iron Man 3 - movie review

While I was in Edmonton last week I went to see Iron Man 3 in 3D. In the last two Iron Man's I have found the character of Tony Stark always aptly played by Robert Downey Jr hard to take, after all his attitude was arrogant and 'know it all'. This time however, Tony Stark is humbled and with most of the movie having him out of his 'suit' and being a plain human, though ever smart, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie throughout.  Robert Downey Jr gives a great performance as the humbled Tony Stark. Guy Pearce as the 'bad guy' of behind everything, while the usual cast of support, Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle perform their roles as usual. But the movie belongs to Robert Downey Jr and especially Ben Kingsley as the Mandarin. He was superb.  For a wonderful few hours of entertainment, then this is a must.  3 1/2 out of 5.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Big Wedding - Movie Review

I went to see The Big Wedding after a very busy weekend, and thought some comic relief would be just what I needed. I was right. I giggled throughout the whole movie. I thought the characters were chosen well. Robert DeNiro as the father, Diane Keaton as the ex-wife mother, and Susan Saradan as the partner. Topher Grace as the Virgin brother, Katherine Heigl as the sister whose marriage is going through crisis regarding getting pregnat, and Amanda Seyfried who is engaged to the adopted brother and is getting married.
The situations these characters get themselves into you just have to laugh. The writing is good, the situations funny, (and thankgoodness not too often embarrassing - I personally don't like embarrassing situations).  The adopted son's biological mother is coming to the wedding from Columbia, with a sister (who Topher Grace's character gets involved with). The mother is a strict catholic and the priest, played by Robin Williams who has some really funny scenes as he interacts with the family.
Needless to say, through the giggles and laughs, there is a lot an older person can relate too. The pressures of a wedding is enough, but trying to pretend you are married to someone who you divorced 10 years ago, never mind the woman he now lives with for eight years, who is as much a mother to the adopted son as the other two mothers. Toss in racist in-laws (after all the babies will be beige) and you have a lot of fun. Tastefully done and funny. 
For a fun night, go see The Big Wedding and enjoy the acting, family interactions and some funny situations.
3 1/2 out of 5.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Oblivion - movie review

Tom Cruise is Oblivion. Oblivion was one of those movies that the trailers had intrigued and therefore you wanted to see what it was about.  As my friend Trish (my often movie goer companion) and I sat there watching Oblivion unfold, I found myself thinking, this has to move faster, then in later reflection I realized that it did not have too much emotion in it, so therefore for me, something was missing. My friend thought it was great! People respond to movies in different way. For me, I thought the movie moved slowly.
You have to give Oblivion credit for the surprise within the movie. In fact I blurted out the  awareness, as soon as it was obvious, I was that enthralled at that moment. The storyline is interesting. Future earth has been demolished as we would know it, and Tom Cruise's character Jack Harper is one of the last few drone repairman stationed on Earth, and is due to go to Titan where supposedly everyone has gone. He keeps having dreams about another woman, other than the one he is with in his overseeing station. Then an event occurs with the arrival of an older spaceship with some human bodies in it, one of them being the woman he keeps dreaming about. This changes everything, as he begins to question who she is and how she got there, he gets to meet the Scavs, which the drones he repairs go after. Once the second girl is introduced and he meets the Scavs, the movie then begins to move quickly and I enjoyed that part. The ending leaves one with a 'good' feeling that 'alls well that ends well' and once again Humans survive and replenish Earth.
Noting that the director, Joseph Kosinski, was also the director of Tron: Legacy, another movie that I thought lacked emotional content, makes sense. I don't think he has the ability as a director to bring out that subtle emotional content, many of us want. Mind you he is redeemed in that he produced the Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which was a phenomenal emotional movie.  He was thoughtful in that he did not direct.
Oblivion is a movie you may like to see if you like sci-fi movies and/or interesting twists, and especially both.
I give it 3 out of 5.  It would have gotten more if there was a bit more emotional content especially in the first half - although I realize why, due to the story content it did not have.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

42 - Movie Review

It is not often you sit in a movie and feel you have been entertained, learned some history and feel satisfied with the performance and story when you leave. This is what 42 does.  The true life story of baseball player Jackie Robinson played aptly by Chadwick Boseman who was the first player to break Major League baseball's color barrier when he was signed to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He eventually went on to play in six world series. 
The person who I think will be given an academy nod is Harrison Ford.  He is brilliant as the man who orchestrated Jackie Robinson's admission into the major league. Words cannot say how well he plays the role. He is not the Harrison Ford we know.  He is the character he is playing. I also enjoyed seeing TR Knight (George from Grey's Anatomy) doing well in his role. In fact there are many T.V. stars in this movie in different roles. You will recognize them as the movie unfolds.
This movie totally worth seeing, not only for the historical content, but for how we have evolved and how important people are who play a part in this evolution.  There is one scene when people are shouting abuse at Jackie Robertson, and all of a sudden a young man (about 14) begins yelling what his father was saying. In that scene alone you can see how racism is perpetrated. The young following the old without thought of what they are saying.  One powerful scene.
Well worth seeing for the various levels it portrays besides the baseball.
I give this movie 5 out of 5

G.I. Joe: Retaliation Movie Review

When G.I. Joe; Retaliation came I was once more looking forward to the over the top action and enjoyment and I was not disappointed.  The sad thing within the movie was Channing Tatum gets killed early. What a shame he will no longer be part of the G.I. Joe franchise, but I presume his career is such he doesn't do support roles any more. Sadly.  Regardless, Dwayne Johnson, Bruce Willis, Adrianne Palicki and Arnold Vosloo keep the audience entertained. Some of the stunts I thought were spectacular, especially when they were running along the cliffs on wires, and the tanks near the end. Definitely great entertainment and can't wait for the next one to come along.
Really what can you say, if you want to see things being blown up, and everyone doing their part to take down the enemy, you can't beat G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
3 1/2 out of 5.

After seeing Olympus has Fallen (see previous review) I was glad to sit and watch a regular action, blow 'em up, movie.  I'm still upset about Olympus - and now there is another movie coming out relating to the White House. I'm almost scared to go see it, but I will.  Watch how I write about that one - oh yes Chaning Tatum is in it with Jamie Fox.

The Host - movie review

While I was in Toronto I took the opportunity to see The Host.  I had read the book and I was curious as to how they would be able to film this story effectively.  Then I had seen some previews in which everything looked very sterile and white and I was even more concerned. The story itself has so many levels to it and I wanted it to work.  It did!  It was brilliant. The story unfolded and how they handled the two beings inside one body was extremely believable and workable.
Saoirse Ronan (pronounced Seersha who is from Ireland) was great/wonderful and did the job extremely well.  She was able to convey the conflict as when the alien's come into the body they human personality is supposed to be suppressed.  Supposed to be is the question.  The story is the struggle between these two within one body, while the human Melanie will not stop being a presence and the Wanderer who becomes Wanda, when they rejoin the resistance.
Then the fun begins as Melanie's love Jared played by Max Ions and Wenda's new love Ian played by Jake Abel creates even more tension. William Hurt plays Melanie's Uncle and is the leader of the resistance. Everyone carries their roles really well. Naturally, the ending makes everything work out. The book goes much more into details than the movie.  If you want to see a well done sci-fi movie, which is quite believable, then this is one which you will enjoy. If you can, read the book. The Host is definitely a movie to see.
I left the theatre with the feeling of "good job, well done".
4 out of 5.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Olympus Has Fallen - Movie Review

If you want to see lots of people die, lots of explosions and lots of hand to hand combat, then this is the movie to see.  It reminded me of the war movies we used to watch, where people just got mowed down. This was a bit more up front and personal. Seeing people shot in the head is not my usual taste, fighting, and things blowing up - yes I don't mind that at all, but this was .... wow ... a lot of killing for an action movie.
Now after saying all that Olympus Has Fallen, with Gerard Butler as the main character was good if you like action movies. Yes the killing was more than usual to say the least, the theory behind it was interesting. A terrorist group taking the White House and getting the President, played aptly by Aaron Eckhart, and other higher up officials to give them important, secret codes was an interesting concept. I found myself wondering, would it be that easy to take down what is described as the most secure house in the world.
One line of the movie the terrorist says to the President "it takes your army to get here in 15 minutes and we took this in 13".  What are they saying to the world.  Do not movie makers have some responsibility to what they tell the many terrorists out there.  I felt like a plan was being delivered to someone, somewhere.  I'm not sure if this was a book out there or if this was a screen play, but somehow it seemed like Homeland Security needed to be a little more involved when movies show the security bits and pieces of a place like the White House.
Morgan Freeman, plays the Speaker of the House, who takes over when both the President and the Vice President is in the bunker held hostage by the Terrorists.  Then then is Gerard Butler, Mike, the man of the hour, coming to rescue the day. He was good. He is worth going to see. Saving the son, killing a lot of terrorists and finding his way to say the day.  At one point near the end I'm thinking, Rocky in action.
Now I think a really good movie does not have you thinking about security of the White House or Rocky while you are watching it. You are supposed to be fully engaged, so this movie although worth seeing if you like killing, blowing up and a hero in action.  I give it 3 out of 5, but nearly gave it a 2 1/2 because of the over abundance of violence.  Defiantly not for the youngsters, please do not let your children see this, they see enough violence on TV and Video games.  Adults only.  Oh yes, here I am sitting in the first showing of the day with ---- wait ---- two other women.  Yes, three women came to see the thriller (we were all over 50 I would say).  Interesting, eh?
3 out of 5 with caution

Monday, March 11, 2013

Snitch - Movie Review

I'm a bit late getting my movie review of Snitch typed up.  Dwayne 'the Rock' Johnson plays the lead of a father who goes into the 'drug' business in order to stop his son going to prison for 10 years. The story is based on an actual story. A young man does his friend a favor and then his friend turns on him and he is found with drugs. The mandatory jail term is 10 years. (more than first time rape and other serious crimes).  Dwayne as the Dad, remarried with another child, running a successful trucking business, gets one of his employees to put him in contact with a drug dealer, stating he can 'ship' drugs (in his trucks). By stating he needs money in this down turned economy, they go on trial run and then the fun really begins.

Dwayne has set up a 'deal' with the District Attorney, played by Susan Saradan, if he can get the main people behind the drug deals his son could go free.  Once Dwayne is in, the truck, the gangs and money, lots of money, come to play the deal gets changed a bit. Benjamin Pratt plays the big drug lord who sets up Dwayne to go across the line into Mexico with millions of dollars. Dwayne, not being stupid, knows if he goes over there he will be killed, so in one of the best big truck driving scenes I've seen (I don't think I took a breath for several seconds at one point) he wins the day.  Not without some nervous moments though and then at the end the son is released and they are all going into protective custody. (Of course you don't see what happens with that story, although I'm sure there is one - protective custody can't be much fun after running a successful business, but then again putting that against your child being in prison for 10 years - no contest).

I enjoyed this movie, fast paced, had a motive, and again the good guys won in the end. The stunts were great, and looked natural, like they could happen. Yes, Snitch was worth seeing.  3 out of 5.

Oz: The Great & Powerful

First of all, if you are planning to take any small children to see this movie - DON'T!!  Even in my adult age I screamed, closed my eyes and was slightly terrified - but then it doesn't take too much for me to do that.  But this is not a movie for little kids.

Now in saying that, if you want color, you want enjoyment, laughter (at times) and just plain entertainment then as an adult go see this movie. It begins the same way as the original movie in black and white and then James Franco, a marvellous Oz: The Great & Powerful, gets carried away to the magical land of Oz. Here the 3D color comes in. I was mesmerized by the colors portrayed in this movie. Sometimes to the point of watching the flowers or the jewels unfolding before me and not the actors. James Franco is great in this role. His devilish grin, yet somehow pure heart shows through. Rachel Weisz and Mila Kuntis as the wicked witches do a wonderful job, especially when Mila is all green and nasty. Michelle Williams as Glenda the good witch is her usual 'nice' self.  I totally loved the china doll and the flying monkey. The flying monkey gives the comic relief to what sometimes gets quite tense. 

We all know the story of Oz, how the wicked witch has to be done in, and although it has been years since I've since Dorothy and her red shoes, the story is different although basically the same. Oz makes a wonderful fairy tale come true before your eyes.  Good over evil, isn't that we all want. The bad guy made good, the good witch getting the kingdom (and the man). What more could one want. Oh yes, the gold and jewels. Everyone's fantasy made real in 3D.  Was it worth seeing. Oh yes....even if only to enjoy the wonderful colors.
3 1/2 out of 5.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Identity Thief Movie Review

If you like going to a movie and laughing whether you want to or not, then this is the movie to go see. The title Identity Thief tells it all. Especially today, when identity thieving is commonplace. Here though you just can't help laughing and falling in love with Jason Bateman and especially Melissa McCarthy, who sees nothing wrong in taking people's identities and spending their money.
The chemistry between Jason and Melissa went along way to making this a funny movie. For some reason their energies clicked. Him playing the uptight, concerned man, yet moves more and more into being a stronger personality, while she goes from being the brash red haired into being more caring. The situations these two get into as Jason's character brings Melissa's character back to his home town to set him free of charges and keep his job is just one big foul up after another. Yet somehow you follow it all the way with laughter and for me some embarrassment.  Luckily mostly laughter.
Want a good laugh, yet learn about human behavior and redemption, then go see this movie.
4 out of 5 for laughs.

Safe Haven Movie Review

I'm not a huge fan anymore of Nicholas Spark's books anymore. I found I would often be left upset, because someone either died or the ending was unsure. So for many years I have not read them and have not gone to see his movies of them.  I must admit The Notebook was good, but I have never watched it again due to the fact I cried so much. Now in saying that, I have watched the odd movie of his on T.V. when it has come on and most of them have been enjoyable.
After all that, when my movie going friend Trish said she really wanted to see Safe Haven I could not say no and was pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed it. I especially enjoyed the surprise ending (of course he always does something different with the endings) and I was left happy instead of upset. I think after I saw Message in a Bottle, I could not get over his endings.
Both Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough did a great job. I also loved how they slowly introduced the background of Katie (Julianne's character) as you are not sure what exactly has gone on that she needed this Safe Haven. Josh played his role with sensitivity, and no overacting, (the director must be given accolades for this). As a Julianne Hough fan from Dancing with the Stars she did a great job, vulnerable yet spunky. I'm sure she will show up in more movies to come.
If you want a nice, pleasant, with some tension and an interesting ending, then see this movie. Its a great date movie with some conversation points afterwards. I'm glad I went.
3 out of 5.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Movie Review A Good Day to Die Hard

I have always enjoyed the Die Hard series, so as soon as it was opening I went to see it with my fellow movie goer Trish. I was not disappointed. In fact, I really liked this one a lot. Lots of action, and John McLean's (Bruce Willis)'s son played by Jai Courtney definitely made it worth watching.
If Bruce ever decides that John McLean needs to retire, Jai can certainly carry on with the family tradition. He even looks enough like Willis to be his son, plus he's taller.
The whole father / son theme where Willis stops his CIA son from performing his mission and then helps him reminds me of the last Die Hard and Live Free (which I tremendously enjoyed with Jason Long - I loved the humor especially in that one).  But, he did make it up with his daughter, who shows up in the beginning and end of this movie.
There is very little humor here. Only hard hitting stunts. The opening car chase I'm sure will go down in history, in fact someone asked us afterwards if they really had done that with cars or was it computer generated. I did not care, it was spellbinding. I had heard governments were making tanks to fit in streets (apparently for anticipated civil unrest) and there it was smashing and crashing into anything which stood in its way.  Of course the McLean's (of yes the son's name is John, but is called Jack) can take anything and survive.  But that is why the Die Hard series lasts so long and we wait impatiently for the next one.
If you like the Die Hard movies, or if you like action (pretty well non stop) you will LOVE this movie. 
4 out of 5.

Friday, February 8, 2013

This is 40

I had not gone to see This is 40 for a few reasons, one being Judd Apatow's Bridesmaids was not one of my favorite movies (I know I'm one of the only ones who did not like it) so when Trish and I who had just seen The Guilt Trip was in the movie house and This is 40 was showing, we decided why not so we saw that too. I'm so glad I did. I laughed more in it than I did in the Guilt Trip. I loved the by play between the husband and wife. I remember being 40 and already been in a marriage over 20 years.  (Yes, I got married young).
Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann (Judd Apatow's real life wife) did well as they entered the mid life crisis period, where one can get bogged down with similarity. Judd and Leslie's two children Maude and Iris were also in it and did an admirable job of being a teenager and preteen. Jason Segal as the fitness guru, Albert Brooks as Paul's money taking Dad who had young triplets) and Megan Fox as the young, georgeous woman.  All these actors made the movie adorable. It is funny, and so relatable.
Yes, I enjoyed This is 40.  I wonder what This is 50 will be like.
For a good laugh, if you have not seen it yet, go do so. I'm sure you will enjoy it and be able to relate to some, if not all, of the situations which arise.
3 1/2 out of 5.