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).