Monday, December 1, 2014

Movie Reviews - Update

Its been awhile since I posted anything.  During this year I have not been well, and my hands did not like typing for very long. I have now been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, and on proper medication I am feeling better, but my hands still are protesting when I type for very long.  This has meant that the Movie Reviews did not get done. Oh yes I kept going to the movies, even when it was difficult to get up out of the seats, my movie going friend Trish has had to help me out of the chair several times...but I learned, go early in the day when my energy was good and therefore I could get myself up.  I have loved doing my movie reviews, and I missed doing them. 

One day, watching The View, I saw a young man give a review of a play he had just seen via YouTube and thought I could that.  So now I have done a few, took me a few times to get the hang of it, and I will endeavor to do them this way, and see how it goes.

This link will take you to my YouTube account and latest movie review The Theory of Everything, plus several others.   I'm also inserting the link for you.

Please let me know what you think of this way of doing them and I trust you will enjoy these as much as you have told me you enjoy the written word ones.   Email me at


Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Giver

I approached seeing The Giver with some trepidation. I had heard it was ‘dark’ and controversial. This I’m sure is because the book had been banned from schools and it had taken Jeff Bridges 18 years to bring it to the screen. However long it took him, it was worth it. This is a movie which leaves you ‘thinking’. The theme is people living in a ‘perfect’ community, without emotion. Having no differences or choices and at the age of graduation the young are placed in a ‘job’ chosen for them. One boy, Jonas is placed with an elderly man The Giver, to learn about true pain and pleasure of the ‘real’ world.

Then the fun begins as Jonas, played adeptly by Brenton Thwaites wants to share what he is learning with his friends, mostly with Fiona played by Odeya Rush and Aser, played by Cameron Monahan. Jeff Bridges plays the older man The Giver, while Meryl Streep is Chief Elder, Alexander Skarsgard plays Jonas’s Dad, while Katie Holmes, his mother.

As mentioned this movie is worth seeing only for the conversation about society, and whether not being controlled is better than having all our feelings/emotions. Is it worth having to obey whatever is said by a governing body or not. The story is really about how Jonas is ‘freed’ and thereby ‘frees’ everyone. The result of that freeing we do not know. Is it good news how everything can go from black and white to ‘color’ when emotions are released.  Or is it better to live in ignorance in a black and white world.  The Giver is a movie which asks this question.  An important one.  It does make you think about our society and how many of us live.

4 out of 5.

The Expendables 3

As a fan of the Expendables, I was at an early showing to see how the ‘guys’ did this one. As usual, Expendables 3 is full of shooting, great stunts, and lots of well known actors. I think that is the part I love the most. Who is going to show up next. You have the usual, Sylvester Stalone, Barney and Jason Statham, Christmas along with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Trench,  Dolph Lundgren, Gunner Jenson,  Randy Couture, Toli Road and Terry Crew as Ceaser, who gets hurt and is only in it in the beginning and very end. Jet Li as Yin Yang from the previous two Expendables shows up near the end.
This time around they added some other well known names Harrison Ford, as Drummer (taking over Bruce Willis’s role) Antonio Banderas, Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes (so glad to see him again, and there is a priceless line near the beginning of the movie which had me laughing really early - if you know the history of Wesley Snipes you will get it. If not, ask me and I will advise you). Kelsey Grammar has a part in helping Barney find the new ‘young’ crew - Glen Powell, Victor Ortiz, Kellan Lutz, and Ronda Rousey. Each actor plays a contributing part and I enjoyed everyone.

The story line is usual, bad man (Mel Gibson) has to be taken out and the Expendables have to do it. Barney (Stallone) goes after a new team (the young ones) and they get captured and so its up to the old team (yeah - so happy to see them involved) to go save them. Then the ten of them work together to fight the bad guy and an army. Impossible odds, but heh this is the Expendables. Lots of great stunts as previously said, and if you don’t mind the noise of things being blown up then you will enjoy the Expendables once again.

Personally, I enjoyed it. I like love seeing the older actors, they are like a familiar family member. Now I’m attached to the new ones. I do hope they do an Expendables 4 with both teams alive and well once more.

3 ½ out of 4.

The Hundred Foot Journey

Every now and again we are given a movie which is absolutely ‘delightful’ to see. The Hundred-Food Journey is one of those movies. Slowly paced, but not too slow, character and story line building so you come to understand the main characters and their nuances. This is a movie which talks about bravery of leaving what you know to go to the unknown. Of courage of being able to go after what you want and achieve it. And most of all a movie of honoring what is really important to yourself.    

Helen Mirren plays Madam Mallory a proprietress of a celebrated French restaurant. Om Puri plays Papa, the head of the Indian family who opens an Indian restaurant right across the street from Madam Mallory. Tmanish Dayal plays Hassan, the son who is a gifted chef, who trains under Madam Mallory and Charlotte LeBon plays the beautiful Marguerite. These characters form the square upon which the movie is built upon. Oh yes there are others, but the dynamics between these four is what makes this movie work.

You may wonder why you would want to see a movie about French and Indian food, but it is really a movie about relationships, around food. I said to myself at the end ‘delightful’ and it is. A delightful movie, reminding us of hope, achievement of goals is possible and underneath everything love.

4 out of 5. (Go see this and be delighted).




Saturday, August 2, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy - movie review

First showing of the day in our local movie house, myself and two friends were there (it was already getting hot outside and my car was in the garage getting its tune-up) so off to Guardians of the Galaxy we went.  We have been watching the advertising for it for quite a while and we were waiting for this movie to be here.

First of all, I enjoyed it.  It was different from the other Marvel comic movies though. It was humours, not sure if it was meant to be, but the writing sure made it like that. The comments between each of the 'stars' had you laughing.  I also felt it was very much for teenagers, as it was not overly deep and certainly not intense, although I'm sure it was supposed to be tense. I did not feel it like that.

Other interesting bits was the different colored skin. Zoe Saldana, as Gamora, the assassin skin color is Green, but there were lots of people around with pink skin, blue skin, black skin, you name it people seemed to have it. I found that concept interesting - skin color coming from different planets in the universe with people living, marrying (there is one scene with a white man, pink woman and their pink little girl) getting along.  Yeah for acceptances of differences!

Chris Pratt is excellent as Peter Quill, Star Lord.  He had just enough sass, fun and yet determination about him to be the unherald leader of the group.  Zoe Saldana was great as usual in her action role.
Bradley Cooper's voice (was that really Bradley Cooper's voice) as Rocket the angry raccoon.  Mind you he gives the most laughs and is the hero of the hour (after Star Lord). Vin Diesel as Groot, the tree man who basically says only the same three words manages, thanks to the magic of computers has some wonderful expressions.  Apparently, he had to record "I AM GROOT" over 1,000 times to get the 'right' intonation.  And finally, to round out the five, Dave Bautista who plays Drax, what a make up, or transfer job he had on him.  Took me awhile to 'get' him during the movie, but in the end I found him acceptable (I can't say adorable - but he showed his softer side).

Worth going to see.  Well its not a movie I would say you have to see, but its well done, has a sci-fi story-line and definitely has action. You go from one action scene to anther with a little of non action in between.  I enjoyed the ease of this movie, not over intense, yet lots of action, explosions and of course the destructive of a city in the end.  In a hot summer day, in a cool movie house, yes worth seeing, and know I will go see the next one, which has already been ordered up.  Perhaps we will get to find out who Star Lord's Father is.
3 out of 5.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - movie review

After putting off going to see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, I decided yesterday afternoon I would go.  They had a 2D showing at 4pm, it was a very hot day, so what better time than to visit the movie theatre.

The question often asked of me when I see a movie is "Did you enjoy it?".  I can't say I enjoyed it, but I am glad I saw it.  Andy Serkis as Caesar is phenomenal, and Jason Clarke as Malcolm I thought played his part well. Of course Gary Oldman gave his usual stellar performance in his role as Dreyfus.

So what did I come away with.  A few things.  Near the beginning of the movie, the humans make the comment amongst themselves stating they want their lives to go "back to the way it was".  This struck me as absolutely silly. You don't go backwards, you go forward.  It was the wanting to get a hydro-dam back working that had the humans getting into contact with the Apes.

Then the following:  fear and guns are not good together.  Hatred, especially bottled up hatred, distorts and creates all sorts of problems. Rejecting anything which is different from oneself can lead to misunderstanding and therefore problems.  You could say this is a anti-gun movie. As it is guns which begin the problem and keep on creating the problem.

You have two different groups, with some of them really wanting peace between them, while others either filled with fear, hatred and do not understand differences escalate the problems.  I would not recommend that this is a movie you 'have' to see. But all the Apes were done wonderfully, the directing, editing etc, was done well.  But I left thinking "how sad we cannot respect differences and listen to each other".  And is that not happening in our world right now.  Perhaps we truly need to learn to respect and honor each other once again.  I will await the next sequel and see what they do with that.
I give this movie 3 out of 5.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Hercules - movie review

Setting off to see Hercules I did not have any expectations of what I was going to see.  If there were any, they weren't very high. I was pleasantly surprised.  Should have realized Dwayne Johnson was not going to be in something which did not have some substance. Plus Brett Ratner as director usually spins a good, tight story. This they did.

At the end of the movie, I turned to my movie companion Trish and "I enjoyed that". This movie has all what you expect in a myth tale. It contains great stunts, and you did not feel you were watching generated ones, you thought you were watching real people doing them. A story line of betrayal and heroism. The good guys definitely win, when you think they may lose. Of course the hero has to come out on top. Hercules and his group of friends save the day in more ways than one.

The line up of actors supporting Dwayne Johnson was good. John Hurt as Lord Cotys, always plays a bad guy well. Ian McShane as Amphiaraus was great as the 'seer' of the bunch.  He supplies the most humor with his comments. Rufus Sewll as Autolycus (I always love his eyes) as Hercules's longest friend.  Reece Ritchie who plays Iolaus, Hercules's nephew - the constant story teller gives a sense of humanity to the story.

If you like adventure, if you like good stunts, if you like a myth coming alive then you will enjoy this movie.  I did.  Oh yes, Dwayne Johnson must have worked out considerably to get his muscles to be that big!!!!  Forget Arnold is his day, Dwayne wins!
4 out of 5 for entertainment.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Lucy - movie review

First of all thank you to all of you who have requested that I get back to doing my movie reviews, and that you missed them.  Thankfully, I'm feeling much better now and my hands can type effectively for a longer period of time. So I'm back!

Just home from seeing the movie Lucy.  I thought I was going to see an action movie, with quite a bit of 'killing' in it.  Well, yes, there was killing, but the hidden story, of our human mind potential was PHENOMENAL.  I think everyone should see this movie, if only for the information it imparts.
The main character Lucy is played by Scarlett Johansson, and if there was any doubt that she can act, then this role dispels that. She was brilliant in this role. She ends up being coerced into being a 'mule' for an Asian cartel, when the substance she has been implanted with begins leaking which expands her mind. Then the fun begins.
Due to Lucy's brain being developed more than the usual 10% it is often said that we use, she began to use more and more brain power at one time.  So the action, often taking place with her mind power in command, is intersected with wonderful visuals of nature, or of Morgan Freeman lecturing on the function of the brain.  It is these inserts which make this movie totally worth while. 

Nothing like great acting, and then more importantly, the storyline, written and directed by Luc Besson, to educate us into realizing we are more than acquiring things and going for power.  All of us interested in humanity and its growth realize we need to move beyond the smaller thinking, and this movie gives us a glimpse at what it might be like with a 'mind' at full potential.  Whether that would be how it is truly like, who knows, but it certainly makes you think. 
I give this 4 1/2 out of 5.  Worth seeing for sure if you are interested in philosophy, the evolution of human kind and the potential we all know we have.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

3 Days to Kill movie review

The first look at this title 3 Days to Kill and the image they portrayed I did not think it was something I wanted to see, after all, I'm a little tired of all the guns and the needless killing shows out there.  But Sunday afternoon came with nothing really to do, so off I trot through the snow falling to see 3 Days to Kill.

What a surprise. There was a part of me that thought this might be misnamed and I think I was right, but I'm not sure what I would have called it. Yes, there was killing, but it was FUNNY.  I laughed so much through this movie, between people being shot dead, which in itself, shame to say was also funny for the most part.

Some scenes are not pleasant to look at, but so many were.  The Writer Adi Hasak (and others) did a great job of catching the comedic relief to the tension. The idea of this man who is dying spending time with his daughter, who is in total teenage rebellion, and who actually says to him "We have 3 days to Kill". And kill it they do.

Yes people die, but by killing the bad guys the good guy, Kevin Costner does super great as the old, dried up CIA agent who is dying is given an experimental drug and is saved. Hailee Steinfeld does great as the teenage daughter, who Ethan, Kevin Costner's character has not seen since she was little. She's mad, she's hurt, she's a 'teenager'.  Connie Nielsen plays Ethan's wife (they are not divorced) but its Amber Heard as Vivi the person who hires him to get the really bad guy who has nuclear weapons in a suitcase no less who is dramatic.  This movie is well casted. I never once thought, wrong person for this part, even right down to the smallest role.

I love plot twists, especially when I figure them out before hand, and I figured this one out.  Yes I knew they were all going to end up at the 'party' at the end and the resulting 'get the bad guy' ending.

No matter if there were killings, no matter what...chasing on a purple girls bicycle.  I laughed.  The juxtaposition of daughter vs the job was well written, well executed and everyone laughed. To see a different type of killing movie, then this is it.  3 Days to Kill is enjoyable - surprisingly.

3 out of 5.

Pompeii - movie review

I wanted to see Pompeii for a couple of reasons, one was it was filmed in Canada and had a lot of Canadian Actors.  Kiefer Sutherland and Carrie-Anne Moss to name two.  It is not often you go see a movie knowing everyone dies, and honestly I was interested in seeing how it was handled and how it would be done.

I enjoyed it. The writers, Janet Scott Batchler (and others) did a great job in weaving the historical event into a love story contaminated with greed and power of the times.  I loved the short history lesson of how the Romans in Britain destroyed villages etc. Watching the scene at the beginning of the movie when the main character Milo's father gets killed, and I had the thought 'power corrupts', as the Roman in charge, Kiefer Sutherland's character, Corvus, who of course shows up later as an adversary - still in charge, still in power. The first scenes really set the stage, how this young lad Milo escapes the massacre and becomes a slave and later a gladiator.

As a great gladiator he is taken from London, England, to Pompeii, Italy.  I loved watching the map unfold as they show is journey through the countries.  I think I do love looking at old maps, and noticing how the boundary lines of these countries are nothing like they are today, and wondering what they will look like 100 years from now.

Anyhow, Milo gets to help a lady, Cassia played by Emily Browning, with her horse. And the love story between the slave gladiator and the lady begins.  Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as the fellow slave gladiator Atticus who was to fight for his freedom and becomes Milo's friend plays an important role in the story too.

Mainly this is a love story (yes I shed a few tears at the end) which is going to end in disaster as the volcano erupts and Milo struggles to help save Cassia with the help of Atticus.  I think it is well done, not the greatest ever, but worth seeing. Those times were hard on the poor, the slaves, as the powerful had power. The higher in rank the more power you had. It reminds that a mean person, whether rich or poor is still a mean person, while a gentle, loving person is a gentle loving person whether rich or poor. We must always remember that and not brand people because they are in a powerful or not powerful position.

Thinking back what did I like the best, truly how the fighting combination of Atticus and Milo bet out the Roman soldiers. How I respond when the underdog beats the odds.  But, the heart strings at the love story was wonderful and made the story believable and workable. The last scenes were definitely well done. This movie combined technology and realism very well.

3 1/4 out of 5.  (Don't think I've ever given a 3 1/4 before).

Friday, February 21, 2014

Robo Cop movie review

Just a few weeks ago, I watched the old 1980's Robo Cop 1, 2 and 3 movies again.  At the time they originally came out I remember enjoying them, though now I was amazed at how 'cheesy' they were.  Not so the new Robo Cop.

This new Robo Cop is totally updated, the usual story, a cop who is badly injured is made into a Robo Cop by having the majority of him changed into a robot, a machine, which is computer driven. In fact there is one scene where you get to see him, his brain (altered with wires etc), his face, his heart and lungs and his right hand.  The rest of him is a machine.  It was quite a sight which left one a bit reeling.

The technology which is now in place since the originals were made was truly evident. The pace, the impact of the interactions plus the sets get and keeps one engaged with the process.  The actors all did their jobs very adequately.  It was not hard to 'like' and 'feel' for Joel Kinnaman who played Alex Murphy/Robo Cop. Gary Oldman as Dr. Dennett Norton, who had a heart and in the end helps Alex remain himself, Michael Keaton as the corrupt business man Raymond Sellars who only sees the money angle and not the human angle. 

I enjoyed this movie.  I found the pace was just right, I came away feeling like I can't wait for the next Robo Cop movie.  Joel Kinnaman made the Robo Cop believable. You were rooting for him to come out on top. You want him and his family to win.  A good remake.  

For an interesting adventure. Worth seeing.
3 out of 5.

Winter's Tale - moview review

Who would have thought that Colin Farrell could make such a wonderful romantic lead.  Whoever did the casting in Winter's Tale, knew something that most didn't.  If you want to see one movie which depicts a love story which totally embraces love, time travel, and mythology, then this is it.

What a beautiful story.  A thief (Colin Farrell) who has a fight on his hand with an old nemeses (a demon played aptly by Russell Crowe) has a beautiful white horse come into his life (Pegasus) and while he burglars a particular house falls for a girl who is dying.  She eventually dies in his arms, but not before the most wonderful love scenes of sincerity and joy have taken place. Plus lots of philosophy of life.

Then his nemeses sees him dead, except somehow he arrives not knowing who he is in our time. Here he encounters another person (Jennifer Connelly) who has a daughter who is dying from cancer. It is how this story unfolds and how although he thought he was supposed to save the original red haired girl, it turns out he can save the young red haired girl instead.  He also gets to destroy the demon, and flies away on Pegasus.  Sounds a bit much, but really it is beautifully done.  Akiva Goldsman who co-wrote and directed this movie has done a wonderful job of bringing a sensitive, hard to put into movie form story.  I believe he did it.  (I know many critics say it didn't).  But as I sat there with tears in my eyes (at the end) I was so glad I saw it and so did my friends who were there with me.

This is a beautiful love story, soft, gentle and leaves you with the feeling that love is real. Enjoy all of life fully while you can.  Go see this beautiful story.  The settings are wonderful. Especially those set back in time.  Oh yes, can't not mention Will Smith who has a small role as the 'Judge', (the Devil).  As usual he is great!. Plus Eva Marie Saint has a small role. Great to see her also.  A Winter's Tale, is definitely a winter winner!
4 out of 5.