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.