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.