Monday, May 18, 2015

Still Alice

This wasn’t an easy movie to watch.  Julianne Moore does an incredible job playing Alice, a linguistics professor who starts forgetting things and gets concerned when it starts happening to her more and more.  After getting lost on a run, she decides to go to a doctor and see what’s going on.  She’s only 50, but is diagnosed with Early-Onset Alzheimer’s disease, and there is really nothing that can be done to stop its progression.  Watching the movie, I felt like I was able to experience her decline through her eyes and know what she was thinking and feeling the entire time.  She would have good days and bad days, but knew exactly what was happening to her.  I also enjoyed Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, and Kate Bosworth in their supporting roles.  Everything about this movie seemed to capture what it might be like to either have Alzheimer’s or have someone close to you dealing with this terrible disease.  It’s not a fun movie, but is well worth watching.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Black or White

I enjoyed this movie.  I like films that deal with real-life situations and problems.  This one had a lot of emotions that felt "real" to me - and nobody was perfect - far from it!  Who's to say what's right, really?  Should a little girl who lost her mother and now her grandmother be with her drinking grandfather who has helped raise her since birth, or with her real father who is fighting his own demons, or even with her grandmother on the other side just so she can be raised by a black family, since she is half black?  Also, how much of a say should the girl have in who raises her?  The movie was definitely about race in many aspects, but I felt like it was actually more about trying to get past all of that and doing what is right for everyone involved.  It got pretty real when everyone started looking at themselves in the mirror and facing up to their own thoughts and prejudices, even if they felt like they had reason to feel that way.  Some may not be impressed with this movie, but I sure was.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Black or White


The premise of this movie is Kevin Costner has primary custody over his granddaughter after his daughter dies during child birth.  A family custody battle ensues when his wife dies and the other grandmother decides she has more to offer the girl now that it’s just the grandpa.  I know this movie was trying to make a statement about race and color, (the girl is half white and half black), but I think it should’ve made sure we were attached to the characters first!  Because of the lack of character development, the story gets all muddled.  There were a lot of clich├ęd characters in the movie and  it seemed almost suffocating at times when the crux of the story was about race when in fact, the storyline of two grandparents who loved the child and wanted only what was best for her  would’ve made it more compelling and heart felt.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Furious 7


So it seems lately I’ve been in a slump with watching or writing about movies.  Not much seems to be grabbing me like I “have to” watch it.  It makes for a quieter blog for sure but Eric seems to be picking up the pieces and writing for the both of us.  But, as I have done before in the past, I’m writing about another movie that I have seen at the theatres but wanted to share my thoughts on it.  I have been a fan of the Fast and Furious movie series since it came out.  I read that it’s been 15 years since the first one!  Crazy to think that this cast of characters are still going strong but they are.  If you’ve seen any of these films then you know that they are known for their extreme stunts and cars! But it’s also more than a “car/action” movie - it’s about family.  You get to know these characters as you do any TV series that you watch.  So it was a blow when Paul  Walker lost his life in a real life car crash.  He had already started filming Fast 7 and we all wondered how would they finish the movie and what would they do with his beloved character! Well, unlike real life, his character survives this movie and the final scene of the film is of him, his wife, and his son on the beach and his family looking on with tears in their eyes.  It was strange to watch because you knew this was his last film, his last ride with Vin Diesel and his character.  It was with gratitude, I’m sure, that the film directors relied on his brothers to fill in the gaps where Paul wasn’t able to finish.  What amazing brotherly love!  They had no prior acting skills, but yet, they were able to fill in where if you didn’t know, you wouldn’t have known it wasn’t Paul.  There will be a Fast 8 and it will be interesting to see where it goes without Paul.  But it still has all the things you want from this franchise – fast and crazy action with genuine respect towards the cast whom have all become more than friends.  As the movie ended, there is a tribute to Paul and as I sat there it felt like I just attended a funeral for a friend.  But that’s what you want movies to do - to move you in some way and this movie will stand alone as a bigger, badder, Furious than all . . . but also with the love that only true friends can give another friend.

Cake

This movie had Jennifer Aniston in quite a different role than I’m used to her playing.  Her character is Claire Bennett, a woman who is struggling to deal with both debilitating, chronic pain and the loss of her child from an accident they’d been through together.  After someone from her support group commits suicide, she becomes fixated on those types of thoughts for herself and starts acting a little irrationally, along with taking painkillers constantly.  She even contacts the husband of the woman from her group and starts a relationship with him and his little boy when they’re both trying to deal with their loss.  It was hard watching her struggle every second of every day just trying to have a normal life when she was in so much pain, but also felt more like real life than a movie in that way, too.  If you’re looking for “Rachel,” you won’t find her here.  This is NOT a happy movie, but if you want something that is an honest portrayal of how difficult life can be when a tragedy occurs and you need to pull yourself up and try to move on, this movie is very relatable.  I didn’t enjoy it, but I enjoyed it…

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Wild

Reese Witherspoon plays a woman named Cheryl Strayed who is completely lost in her life after enduring a family tragedy and the fallout from that event.  When she is at the end of her rope and doesn’t know what else to do, she decides to go on a thousand mile hike on the Pacific Crest Trail.  With zero experience doing anything like this and being alone on her journey, it all turns out to be much harder than she had anticipated.  But, every obstacle she overcomes helps her to find a little more of herself again and help her deal with all of the feelings she’s been trying to work through.  It reminded me a little of the movie Into the Wild, except instead of trying to escape all of “life,” she was just needing a break from her own life for a while.  This film also reminded me of that old saying how “sometimes you have to lose yourself in order to find yourself.”  After watching this and seeing all of the amazing scenery, it makes me want to hike the trail, too!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Imitation Game

“Sometimes, it’s the very people who no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine.”  This line is used a few times during this movie and it couldn’t be more true!  Benedict Cumberbatch did a great job playing Alan Turing, a brilliant, socially awkward mathematician who is part of a team assembled to try to break the unbreakable codes of Germany’s World War II Enigma machine.  I also enjoyed Keira Knightly as Joan Clark, who worked with him and the rest of the team as they spent all day, every day trying to crack the codes.  Turing had a dream of creating a machine that could go through codes faster than any human could ever dream to – and spent most of his time trying to create this “computer.”  Just as he’s starting to make progress, a secret he has been hiding his entire life comes to light and threatens to completely ruin life as he knows it.  This was just a great story of never giving up, not judging a book by its cover and fighting against impossible odds.  They say Turing’s machine shortened the war by two years and saved an estimated 14 million lives, which is an incredible achievement, and I’m glad the story has finally been told!