Wednesday, December 31, 2014

This is Where I Leave You


We all have those family members that are a “little” dysfunctional or maybe the whole family is!  If you can relate to that – you will relate to this movie.  This is Where I Leave You is a film about the family that you love but can drive you up a wall within 5 seconds of being back together.  Having to spend a whole week together mourning the loss of their dad, 3 brothers, 1 sister and an over-sharing mom learn far more about each other than they really want to.  A great ensemble of actors from Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Timothy Olyphant to Jane Fonda allow for each characters’ charms and quirks come to life in this film. Jason Bateman by far was the most enjoyable character to watch and a different role for Tina Fey which I thoroughly enjoyed.  You get to see a new side of Jane Fonda in this movie and the other cast members all added to the merriment.  I enjoyed this film for the craziness of the family life and the moments when you feel like no one has your back and then you realize your family was always there.  Not a sappy movie but one that was entertaining in a reality type way.

Think Like a Man too


This is part two to the first film of the same title, Think Like a Man.   All the same cast of characters are back and this time the group is headed to Las Vegas for a wedding and a night to remember of bachelor and bachelorette parties.  I did like this film and the only negative thing I have to say is that it felt like it was a Kevin Hart movie.  Now, he is a funny comedian, but a little Kevin . . .goes a long way!  I would’ve liked to have seen more of the other actors and more of their storylines front and center instead of Mr. Harts but with that said – it was a fun romantic comedy with all the craziness that you expect from a film like this.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Chef

I would say this movie was an example of “finding” yourself by “losing” yourself and following your passion, even if it might not be how you imagined.  Jon Favreau, known for roles in movies like Rudy, Swingers, and the Iron Man series,  plays a chef who leaves his job at a fancy restaurant after not being allowed to create his own menu in his kitchen and being slammed by a food critic for becoming stale.  Eventually, he starts up a food truck and goes cross-country with the truck and his son promoting their travels on Twitter.  I think he sees how much his “good” job was keeping him from enjoying creating food dishes and connecting with his family and everything that was important in his life.  I just really liked how he found all of this in the last place you would expect without even realizing it until it was happening.  Maybe I should buy a taco truck???

Monday, December 15, 2014

Dolphin Tale 2

Dolphin Tale 2 finds us back at the Clearwater Marine Hospital where the rescued dolphin Winter lives along with the rest of the cast from the first movie.  While the first movie was about saving Winter and making her a tail and teaching her to swim again, this movie was more of a continuation of life for all of them.  After Winter’s companion dolphin dies, they need to find her another dolphin so she’s not alone in isolation (which is against the law) or risk losing her to another park.  The rule/motto for the rescue facility has always been “rescue, rehabilitate, and release” whenever possible for any rescued animals, so it’s not always easy to find another animal that “needs” to say there.  It’s all based on a true story and does feel pretty real when it comes down to making some tough decisions that are going to affect everyone in the park.  There were a lot of lessons of right and wrong and it’s a good movie for the whole family.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Edge of Tomorrow (aka “Live Die Repeat”)

I liked this movie much more than I expected.  Tom Cruise plays Cage, an inexperienced officer in the military that is thrown (literally) into a war being waged against an alien enemy that is trying to take over the earth.  A twist with this extraterrestrial is that it can control time and reset the day so it can know the future ahead of time – which helps whenever a part of it is killed.  When Cage is “infected” with this same power, he works with a legendary warrior, Rita, to try anything they can to defeat the aliens and end the war.  For Cage, this involves being sent back in time to the same point every time he is killed in battle – which is over and over and over and over – hundreds of times for him!  This also allows him to hone his skills and become legendary himself.  I was afraid this was going to be too much like the movie Groundhog Day or be all sci-fi and special effects and not much story – I was wrong!  It totally worked for me – it had a great story and moved at a nice pace and let you learn what was happening right along with Cage just as he was learning.  I’m glad I watched it – and would definitely watch it again!

The Expendables 3


This movie was a huge let down after the first two.  It was full of over the top action and I mean – over the top!!  Most of the movie was one explosion after another and total unreal stunts that were predictable but yet not needed!  You know who the Expendables are and what they do but yet they forgot to bring the fun to it like the first two had.  New characters were introduced but they all seemed out of place including Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas, Harrison Ford and Kelsey Grammer.  Not to mention a few of the “new” comers, (Victor Ortiz, Kellan Lutz and Ronda Rousey), which was the point of the story.  Stallone thinks his team is getting too old so he fires them and hires a batch of “young” kids to be his new team.  Well of course, they get their butts kicked and held hostage and the “old” guys have to come and save the day.  What I did like about it was Mel Gibson – he played the bad guy in this film and he was great!  He had a little bit of Mad Max and Riggs character from the Lethal Weapon movies in him.  When Gibson and Stallone went toe to toe - it was fun to watch.  I wish they would have stuck to the magic that was the first one but I guess – all good things must come to an end and in this case – the biggest over the top end there ever was!

Let’s Be Cops

I didn’t know how this movie would be, but it was actually pretty funny.  Two friends (Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr.) dress as police officers for a costume party.  Their outfits are so realistic that everyone who sees them thinks they are actual policemen.  When they realize this, that’s when the fun begins!  If you don’t take it too serious, who wouldn’t want to pretend to be cops and be “in charge” of things and test the limits of their new “powers”?  Some things are definitely a little (or a LOT) far-fetched, but that’s part of the fun.  It’s funny watching them start acting like they actually are cops, but knowing they really aren’t.  It all starts to fall apart when everything gets serious and they get caught up in a real life web of mobsters and detectives that can’t be trusted.  There were a few crude type scenes and some language, but overall, it felt like a good, buddy cop type of movie that was just fun!  I enjoyed it!

22 Jump Street


Sooooooo, 22 Jump Street is a sequel to 21 Jump Street starring Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill and that’s exactly what you get – the same as the first just with a few more one liners!  This movie doesn’t take itself any more seriously than the first.  In fact, they make fun of the first movie and if you listen to some of the punch lines – you’ll notice a lot of references to other movies and tv shows.  The story itself does have some laugh-out-loud parts but for anyone who is easily offended by language – this movie is not for you.  There are over 200 uses of the “F” word alone!  The lines get so saturated with the language the movie almost becomes offensive. But if you liked 21 Jump Street - you’ll more than likely like this than too.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Tammy

Where do I start with Tammy?  I like Melissa McCarthy alright, but maybe I just don’t always get her comedy?  Or maybe it just wasn’t that funny?  She plays Tammy, a woman that finds out her husband is cheating on her and also gets fired from her job the same day.  She’s had enough and decides to take off and leave town, but having wrecked her car, needs to borrow one from her grandmother, played by Susan Sarandon.  The only way the grandmother will let her take it is if she can go along on the trip.  This should have been a funny road trip type movie, but the “humor” just wasn’t there for me – the grandma was getting drunk all the time, McCarthy’s physical comedy wasn’t funny, and the jokes just fell flat over and over.  The only time I really liked it was when she’d let her guard down and it got a little more serious – which doesn’t seem quite right for a comedy.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Maleficent


Disney’s classic movie, Sleeping Beauty, came out in 1959 and was the tale of Auora, a princess who had a curse put on her by the evil Maleficent.  The new Disney film, Maleficent, is the view point of Maleficent who is so richly played by Angelina Jolie. In the story, we know that she casts a curse on Auora and at the age of 16 she would prick her finger on a spinning wheel and die.  But did you ever wonder why Maleficent cursed Auora and why she was evil?  This tale was fun to watch and it captured my interest from the very beginning. I really enjoyed how the writers took a cartoon character and made her into a person with emotions while still telling the story of Sleeping Beauty. It was dark at times but through it all there was a charming element beneath the surface of the character.  I really liked the movie!  (Just a personal note, this movie is geared for maybe older kids due to some of the intense scenes but then again, the dragon in the original movie scared me!)

 

The Signal

I wanted to like this movie.  And it’s not really that I didn’t like it, but I can’t tell if it was trying too hard or not hard enough.  It starts out with a few friends that have tracked down a signal from a computer hacker and decide to confront him.  After things go bad when they try to locate the person, they find themselves split up and waking up in a sterile, hospital-like facility being told they have been “infected” through an encounter with aliens and are highly contagious.  From then on, it’s all about trying to figure out what actually happened, surviving the ordeal, and trying to escape from the facility – all the while having more and more unexpected things happening to them.  I liked the idea and the premise, but just felt like it was a bunch of scenes thrown together without much connection at times.  I didn’t know what was going on half the time, which was fine, but it was almost too much that way – not enough details to really understand it all until the very, very end.  And I still don’t understand the reasons for a lot of things that were in the movie – which is what they were going for, I guess.  Not horrible, but not great, either.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Hercules

Watching this movie with Duwayne Johnson, “The Rock”, as Hercules is a pretty good way to watch a movie! This isn’t the type of movie I was expecting as I’ve seen several in this genre before  It focused more on the reality of the man instead of the mythological one.  The mythological story of Hercules is included in the film and was done in about the first 10 minutes of the movie,( being a demigod and all the feats he had done to attribute to the legend of Hercules). After that- the real story starts.  Hercules and his group of followers are mercenaries.  They’ve all heard the stories of Hercules but to them, he is just a man who has become their leader and their friend.  The story gets intense as they are hired to kill a tyrannical warlord for the King of Thrace.  There are a lot of battle scenes which surprised me.  There weren’t any made up monsters or other Greek gods in this film – it focused upon the flesh and blood of man and the sins that can haunt one person. The battle scenes were epic as were some of the twists and turns the movie threw in.  I really enjoyed Duwayne Johnson in this role as he didn’t overact and the other actors such as, Ian McShane and Rufus Sewell really added some fun to the story.  It was better than what I thought and I probably would watch it again for a whole new take on the legend of Hercules.

 

Earth to Echo

I wasn’t too impressed with this one.  I guess it was supposed to be like some Blair Witch Project with a lot of the movie filmed on a camcorder by a 13 year-old, which wasn’t great.  And the story seemed like they were trying to combine E.T. with The Goonies with Super 8 with Stand By Me.  Those were all good movies, but I didn’t need to see them again – especially all in one film!  It was actually a LOT like E.T., having kids discover an alien from another world and trying to help him get home without adults finding him or hurting him before he can leave.  And of course the kids can leave their houses, be gone all night, go pretty much anywhere on their bicycles (no matter how far) with almost nobody questioning anything.  They can also decipher anything the little alien can send to their cell phones!  In those ways, it was almost ridiculous how unrealistic it was.  Maybe it was meant for a younger audience, but even so, for such a big story there wasn’t much to it overall.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Godzilla

I was really looking forward to this movie!  I watched the old black and white Godzilla movies when I was a kid and remember them fondly.  I was hoping this one would bring back those feelings – it didn’t!  I liked Godzilla himself, but it felt like he was hardly even in the movie – the movie is over 2 hours long and his screen time comes in at a whole 10 minutes.  I was also NOT impressed with the “monsters” he was fighting – giant spider/cockroach type things?  Really???  When one hatches and starts looking for a mate, they’re calls and emitting of electromagnetic pulse shockwaves “awakens” Godzilla to come out of the sea and try to destroy them.  It all just felt VERY long!  And other than the short action/fight scenes toward the end, it was pretty boring, which I didn’t think I’d ever be saying about Godzilla.  The acting was horrendous, the storyline was almost non-existent, and I really didn’t even care who lived or died in the end.  The more I think about it, the less I liked it!  I really do like Godzilla, but this movie could have been SO much better!!!

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Fault in Our Stars

You don't get to choose if you get hurt in this world...but you do have some say in who hurts you”, a quote from the popular book by John Green.  Another transition of a book to screen and a great one at that! Hazel Grace, played by Shailene Woodley is a 16 year old girl with terminal cancer.  She attends a support group and meets 18 year old Augustus Waters, played by Ansel Elgort.  It’s their story of love and death in their crazy world of trying to live through their cancers. There is a lot of story to be told in this movie as Hazel and Gus try to live normal lives in spite of their illness even going to Amsterdam in search of an author that has changed Hazel’s life. This movie is much more than death or cancer – it’s a story about life.  How we deal with people that we love and how we deal with death.  Their journey all comes to a close when Augustus wants to hear his eulogies before he dies.  Hazel and his best friend come together and share their love for their friend and in that instant – they tell each other how they are going to be remembered and why.  In a world of people – they will remember each other.  For me, this movie must’ve hit the right chord because I would watch it again, same as Heaven is for Real, because they both speak volumes about our lives.   I opened this blog with a quote from the book and I may be getting a little personal here, but I believe the statement to be true.  When we lose a loved one, we should feel honored to have loved them.  We chose to love them and even in their death, we are still the luckiest person to have been their friend.

Heaven is for Real

Heaven is for Real” was a #1 book on the New York Times Bestseller list. It’s the true story of a family who was given a glimpse into Heaven through their son Colton.  Greg Kinnear plays Todd Burpo, Colton’s dad and a preacher of a small church in Nebraska.  Colton, played by the adorable actor, Connor Corum, gets very sick and needs emergency surgery.  As his parents call the church for prayers for their son, Colton has an incredible journey as he is being operated on.  It is only later, that Colton starts telling his family the things he saw and heard in Heaven.  The family has to decide whether Colton’s visions are real or made up. Did his son really see angels? Did he talk to Jesus? And did he really see his grandfather?  The town’s people are divided over the issue and the church must decide if they’re going to stand with the Burpo family and Colton’s incredible stories or release him from his duties.  I really liked this movie!  I had read the book but found the movie to be more powerful and inspiring than the book.  To me, I enjoyed the journey that this movie took me on.  The sweet face of Colton as he talked about Heaven just made me feel happy about what I believe in.  It’s an inspirational film the whole family can watch together. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mom’s Night Out

This was a fun movie for the whole family!  Almost any mom can relate to this theme, a night out with the girls and NO KIDS!  It was silly fun to watch the comical misadventures of Allyson as she tried so hard to have a normal night out.  But between her crazy sister-in-law, her husband and his “anti-kids” best friend, her pastor’s wife issues with her teen daughter, a missing baby and a biker dude, (played by Trace Adkins)  . . . the night didn’t turn out as she had planned.  No mother is perfect nor do we have a perfect life.  This movie reflects the insecurities of moms and their constant battle for survival among the fittest but it does so in a light hearted manner and with inspirational insight that gives moms, a chance to reflect on the values and the importance of being a mom

God’s Not Dead


There are a lot of inspirational films out but for me, this is one of the better ones I have seen in awhile.  I really liked most everything about it - the story, the actors and the music.  The premise is a freshman college student by the name of Josh, (played by Shane Harper), takes a philosophy class.  The philosophy teacher, (played by Kevin Sorbo), has only 1 “rule” in his classroom - to talk strictly about philosophy and rule out any hogwash about a “God”.  To do so, he insists that his students write on a piece of paper that “God is Dead”.   Josh is unable to do so because he is a Christian and believes that God does exist.  The professor, being an atheist, allows Josh two weeks to present his side of why there is a God to the students   At the end of two week, the class will decide if Josh is right and passes or if he failed and flunks the class.   I thought the actually story line of the debate was very interesting to watch.  I think the movie could’ve focused more on the issue between the two main characters instead of adding side stories in.  The side stories were intended to bring home the main theme of the movie and at times it took away from the main premise of the movie.  But even with that said, if you’re looking for an inspirational film to lift your spirit, to give you something to think about, or enjoy some great music by The Newsboys and other artist you might give this a try. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Draft Day

In this movie, Kevin Costner plays Sonny Weaver, the Cleveland Browns general manager that has an opportunity to turn the team around if he can make the right decisions and choices in the NFL Draft.  The story takes you through the 24 hour period leading up to the draft and how he is being pulled in every direction - by the players wanting drafted, the head coach, the team owner, the media, his family, the fans, and just about everyone else you could imagine.  Ultimately, he’s the one with the final decision, and he has to do what he feels is “right” for everyone, including himself.  I’ve never given much thought to what’s really going on behind the scenes of the NFL Draft, but I was completely drawn into this movie!  It reminded me a lot of the movie Moneyball that has the same themes, just with football this time instead of baseball – and I loved that one.  Plus, you can’t go wrong with Kevin Costner in a sports film!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Blended

I was surprised by this one.  You never know what you’re going to get with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore – especially when they’re in the same movie.  I’ll admit, I wasn’t expecting much.  After watching the first half, it didn’t seem very good, but if you hang in there for the whole movie, it gets much, much better!  After a horrible first date and deciding they never wanted to see each other again, Jim and Lauren’s families end up together at a resort in Africa.  It almost felt like a “reverse Brady Bunch” – Jim was raising girls that needed a mom in their lives and Lauren had boys that needed a dad in theirs.  No matter how much they all resisted, the kids (and parents) were all benefitting from having each other around.  This movie did have silly, ridiculous parts to it, but it was also touching and emotional in parts, too – more than I ever would have imagined.  I’m glad I watched it!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Joe

I used to like Nicolas Cage a lot, but hadn't been that impressed with the movies he's made the last few years.  I would say he impressed me in this one.  He plays an ex-con named Joe who wants to be a good man and is trying to stay out of trouble.  You can tell he has a good heart, but sometimes has issues controlling his inner demons.  He comes across a 15-year old drifter named Gary (played by Tye Sheridan from Mud) that has an alcoholic father who abuses him, and Joe eventually hires Gary to work for him.  Joe actually becomes kind of a role model for him and they are both able to help each other find some direction in their lives through the friendship they forge.  But, being the kind of movie this is, everything cannot be all rainbows and butterflies - Joe's past will always haunt him, Gary has a dad that's just getting worse and will do almost anything to obtain alcohol or money, and you know it's all going to come to a head in this small town sooner or later!  I wouldn't call this film "enjoyable" - I liked it, but it wasn't always easy to watch.  There was a lot of physical violence, quite a bit of language, and it just felt like a dark, depressing time for everyone in the movie highlighted by a few good moments.  It felt real and raw to me.  Joe and Gary both made me think about how things may not always turn out the way you want, but you have to keep trying and keep fighting and never give up, even if it seems like there is no way out of a situation.  I'm going to remember Joe for a long time...

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Lone Survivor


I wrote this blog after seeing this movie in the theater.  It is now out on DVD and  my thoughts are still the same. There are no words to really express what a powerful, emotional, brutal, raw and heartbreaking film this is!  If you don’t know about it – it’s the story of the failed 2005 mission in Afghanistan of four Navy SEALS whose mission it was to find and capture a Taliban leader.  Things go horribly wrong when goat herders cross their paths and they have to choose what to do with them.  Also, the radio contacts with the base failed and they were left alone to face the Taliban by themselves.  As the title suggests, only one of them makes it out alive, barely, and that was Leading Petty Officer Marcus Luttrell.  This is his story of the fight for their lives and the death of his fellow SEAL mates and friends.  This movie is larger than life on the big screen and you witness the most extreme brutalness of the rugged country in which they were fighting in and what they endured.  It is heartbreaking to see the deaths of his fellow friends, Michael Murphy, Danny Dietz and Matt “Axe” Axelson.  As this movie ended, not one person in the theater said anything- there was a revered silence for the men who lost their lives serving their country.  I believe this is an important film to see for what it stands for.  For more detailed information; you can also read the book with the same title. 

Lone Survivor

This movie puts you right in the middle of the action with a group of four Navy SEALs while they are on a mission trying to capture a Taliban leader.  Besides getting caught in rugged terrain and in unfamiliar territory, they begin having radio and communication problems that make their situation worse.  It was very engaging and I found myself “forgetting” to breathe and trying to stay calm and quiet during tense moments.  It really makes you appreciate what our military does for us and the sacrifices they make for us every day.  It’s easy to second-guess some of the decisions they made, but there was a lot of wondering what I would do in the same situations, too.  I really don’t know.  I was exhausted after viewing this film.  When the movie finished, I just sat there…  I’m STILL thinking about it all…

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Monuments Men


I’m always enticed by movies that are “true” stories.  When I saw the previews for “The Monuments Men” starring George Clooney and Matt Damon – I knew I wanted to see the movie not for the big name actors, but for a story I knew nothing about.  I’m not a history buff, so I was really surprised to learn about The Monuments Men and to know why they risked their lives for art.  The movie told the story of a group of men, who believed in saving the masterpieces from the countries which Hitler had ravaged, for the generations to come and for the people that had lived and died.  These men, portrayed by Clooney, Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, and Hugh Bonneville are curators and historians of art who have been tasked with the unfathomable job of finding missing pieces that Hitler has stolen to use in a museum he was to create after the war.  To be honest, there were parts of the movie that dragged on, that weren’t needed, and sometimes the action was rushed, but, the story itself of the self-sacrificing commitment these men had was what really moved the movie along.  The end of the movie was very interesting as they told how many pieces of artwork were stolen and the incredible places they hid most of it. The more I read about this story, the more I appreciate what they did and how they saved historical pieces that are still in museums today.  (The more in-depth story can be found in the book with the same title as the movie by Robert Edsel).

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Her

This movie was different.  I should have known with Joaquin Phoenix, you never quite know what you’re going to get.  I’m not sure if it was a look into our future, if it was a desperate, heartbroken man looking for some companionship, or if it was just weird and creepy.  It may be all of them!  Phoenix plays a lonely man whose long relationship has just ended.  He makes his living writing caring, personal letters for others and sees a new computer operating system that says it’s unique and learns from you and is its own unique entity.  When he starts it up, he meets “Samantha” – who seemed like a futuristic, high-tech version of Apple’s Siri.  She talked exactly like a human, had feelings, and understood his jokes – she just didn’t have a body – since she’s a computer!  The more they talked, the more she learned, and the closer they became – so close that she became his “girlfriend” and he considered it an exclusive relationship.  That’s when it started getting weird for me!  It was nice that he was able to find something to make him happy and help him move on in his life, but it just felt almost uncomfortable to me at times – but hey, maybe that’s where we’re heading???  You would definitely have to be in the mood for this one…

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Nebraska

I loved this movie!  It’s about an old man who is sure he has won a million dollar prize and is going to Lincoln, Nebraska to collect his winnings, even though he has some dementia and shouldn’t be making a trip like that alone.  He’s a little out of touch and doesn’t realize it’s just a magazine marketing letter, so in order to try to get to know his dad better and spend some time with him, one of his sons offers take him there.  I don’t know if it was meant to be as funny as it seemed to me – I was laughing the whole movie – but it was just that I could recognize people I know in almost every character and they were hilarious!  It could change from one moment to the next and be incredibly serious and thought-provoking, too.  It's quietly poignant and still very powerful.  I laughed, I cried, I was worn out, yet still exhilarated when I was finished with this one.  I don’t know if everyone would connect with it the way I did, either.  Not sure what else I can say about this film - it was just one of the best movies I’ve seen in a very, very long time.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

I don’t know that I can even do this movie justice with my words.  I wasn’t really sure what to expect from the previews I’d seen – maybe a little goofy and quirky and different than a normal movie.  And it was!  For such a simple story, it just felt like such a breathtaking, powerful work of art.  Ben Stiller plays an anonymous photo negative archiver at LIFE Magazine and is always finding himself zoning out and daydreaming about things instead of actually doing them.  When his job is threatened, he finally takes a chance in the real world when he needs to travel to Greenland to try to track down a legendary photographer, played by Sean Penn.  After being there and following the trail to Iceland (in any manner he can) and climbing the Himalayas, he finally realizes how much of “life” he has been missing out on.  It was like some “magical” transformation, but in reality, he just started actually doing things instead of daydreaming and wishing he had.  It seems so simple.  It's funny, it’s thought provoking, it’s touching, and dare I say “life-changing." 

Delivery Man

Wow – this movie was NOT what I expected!  With Vince Vaughn, I was thinking I’d just get a bunch of one-liners and crude humor and not much story.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  It was funny in parts, but actually felt more like a serious movie or drama than a comedy.  The story is that David Wozniak learns he’s the biological father of 533 children through sperm donations he made twenty years earlier and now 142 of them are suing to find out his identity.  He’s also just found out that his girlfriend is pregnant and doesn’t think he has what it takes to be a father.  This could have gone a number of different ways, but it became a very emotional, heartwarming movie where he cared about EVERY single one of his children.  He wanted to know them and help them – to be the dad he’s never been to them, even though he wasn't sure if he could tell them who he really was.  It also wasn’t full of unnecessary swearing, sex, and shock humor, which was a nice change from most movies these days.  Vince Vaughn gives a very heartfelt performance and I’m glad I watched it!

Ride Along

I wanted to like this movie.  I really did.  Watching it, I just felt like I’d already seen all of the funny parts in previews I’d seen.  There were only a couple parts that even seemed halfway humorous that were new to me.  Ice Cube plays a cop that takes a security guard, played by Kevin Hart, on a ride along to prove he has what it takes to be with his sister.  Ice Cube is trying to seem “tough” and Kevin Hart is just a scaredy-cat that would rather escape into the world of video games than be a man and face life – and neither really worked for me!  Hart is usually so funny, I was pretty disappointed with him in this one.  It was OK and passed the time, but it just wasn’t that funny.  It could and should have been MUCH better!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Grudge Match

I liked this movie, even though it wasn’t really what I was expecting.  Grudge Match is the story of two old boxing rivals (played by Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro) who haven’t been in the ring for 30 years and come out of retirement for one final fight.  At their age, most people view it as more of a joke than a serious rematch, but to them it means everything!  I was expecting a lot more comedy, but it went more into them trying to get over their past and resolving family and relationship issues and things like that.  I’m not saying it wasn’t funny – it was – and I loved Alan Arkin in his role as the old trainer – it just wasn’t as funny as I was expecting from all of the previews I’d seen.  Even with as old as they are, their fighting was still better than a lot of real fights are anymore.  They definitely showed that after all these years, they’ve still got it in the ring!  Overall, I’d say it was just alright – it had humor and was entertaining, but not a classic, either

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Wolf of Wall Street

I mainly watched this movie because I wanted to see what all the “hype” was about.  Leonardo DiCaprio plays Jordan Belfort, a young stockbroker who gets caught up in the excesses of the new life he’s created for himself in New York City.  There’s a LOT of greed, corruption, sex, drugs, and money!  And too much is NEVER enough – of any of them!  His life just snowballs into a never-ending cycle of trying to get more of them all.  The movie definitely pushed the envelope on everything as far as all of the language and sex and nudity and drug use over and over, but I just felt like it was really wanting to drive home that lifestyle and how out of control it was getting for him.  It did seem a little long at almost 3 hours, and I’m not sure why it wasn’t NC-17, but I still felt like it was worth watching.  It was definitely a controversial film when it was released, and looking at mine and Christy’s posts, you can see why.

The Wolf of Wall Street


So, against my better judgment, I watched about an hour or so of this movie.  Now, I know what you’re thinking, “How can I possibly give a review about a movie that I didn’t watch all the way through?” Because I think within the first 5 minutes of the movie you’ve seen everything they are going to show you!  There was lots of Hollywood hype surrounding this movie! Without the hype – I wonder if it would’ve lasted at the theatres!  The movie is based on a true event – on a Long Island Penny stockbroker by the name of Jordan Belfort (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) who made millions of dollars and defrauded his clients along the way.  During his ride to the top he was heavily involved in drinking, drugs, and sex.  It didn’t matter how much of anything he had – it wasn’t enough – and everything in his life was insanely over the top! What got me though about this movie, (besides the 506 usage of the “f” word and the almost NC17 rating it should’ve received because of all the nudity and soft porn acts) and being 3 hours in length – is why? Why 3 hours of full blown all out orgies and every usage of a slang word imaginable – for 3 hours?  I get it – this guy was rich and he wanted to show it in every twisted way he could – but as I was watching the movie they forgot to pull me in with the deeper story of how he defrauded so many people and was eventually jailed for 36 months. Admittedly, I’m not one to watch shows with this much language and nudity but I really do feel that I experienced the total "feel" of this movie.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Hunger Games – Catching Fire



The biggest thing I have to say about the 2nd movie in The Hunger Games trilogy is that Jennifer Lawrence has become a big star since the first once came out in 2012.  It seemed odd to watch her in this type of film after she’s been in more critically acclaimed movies. But that aside – the movie was exactly what it should be –the next in the series   Katniss continues her struggle with the government as she and Peeta travel the districts as the reigning victors from the reaping games.  President Snow is enraged as to how the people have chosen to make her the symbol of rebellion and he wants her dead.  Another hunger game is forced upon the contestants that have won and once again – Peeta and Katniss find themselves fighting for their survival.  This time the survival is more than their lives – it’s about the lives of the very people who are counting on her to lead them to a rebellion.  This film sets up the final installment of the trilogy.  The story only gets darker from here as lives hang in the balance and not all will live. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Springsteen & I

If you’re a Bruce Springsteen fan, this one is pretty cool.  The entire movie is made up of videos his fans have made to express what Bruce and his music means to them, what it has meant to their life, and continues to mean to all of them.  It’s filled with stories from concerts and moments they’ve had with “The Boss” along with actual video to back their stories!  There is also a lot of concert footage from recent times along with some rare footage from the early days mixed in, too.  These fans all feel an undeniable connection to Springsteen, whether it’s with his music or to him or anything else he’s associated with, so it was nice seeing the fan perspectives.  It was fun and emotional and just a very touching tribute to a legendary entertainer!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Thor: The Dark World


I didn’t like this movie as much as I did the first one.  Not to say I didn’t like this movie – because there were parts of it I really did like –then there were parts that were way too long.  The best part, for me, was the banter between Thor, (Chris Hemsworth) and his brother Loki, (played by Tom Hiddleston).  These two actors are really fun to watch, especially Loki’s character.  If you saw the first movie - you know the history of the brothers.  This film brings about the conclusion of that story line.  But on the flip side – knowing it’s a science fiction story line – it was a very science fiction story.  I didn’t care for that part.  The different worlds, the different wars, the different characters – even though I know that is what Thor is about.  I just thought it was over the top and some of the characters and lines just got lost in the telling of it.  I probably will watch Thor 3 – as it was left open (in this huge money making film) for another.  I just hope it isn’t as steeped in the science fiction world and they bring more earth to the noble hero.

Gravity

Sandra Bullock plays opposite George Clooney in this one.  She is Dr. Ryan Stone, who is on her first shuttle mission, and he is a veteran astronaut named Matt Kowalski, who is on his final mission.  It seems like people either love this movie or hate it!  I would have to say I’m in the “love it” category.  OK, so it wasn’t the most technically accurate space film or even that believable in a lot of areas, but I felt it was more about the characters and what they represented than trying to be the greatest space film of all time.  It was meant to make you think about life and what matters and overcoming adversity.  After a disaster strikes the shuttle, Stone basically finds herself in an almost unsurvivable situation and has to summon every ounce of will and courage she can to try to make it out.  There was a lot of hype when this movie was released, but it really does seem like one of those movies that can “affect” you if you let it.  I think this one is going stick with me for awhile - that's for sure.

Gravity


For me, this movie was just a movie.  I didn’t get any emotional feel from it or a sense of attachment to life and the whole meaning behind our existence.  At first, I didn’t think I was going to watch this film – I just didn’t buy into the characters of Sandra Bullock and George Clooney being astronauts.  They seem like the furthest actors I would’ve picked for these roles.  Then there was the whole gushing over the film as it was in the theaters and how amazing it was.  Can you say “over it”?  But, I did watch it – and it was so-so.  I’m sure if you saw in on the big screen and 3-D you might have found yourself attached to the story and might have “possibly” felt like you were one with space – but I just didn’t buy it.  I wasn’t impressed and I didn’t empathize with her character and the life and death situation she was facing. ( I also think George just showed up for a cameo – I guess to lend his name to the project).  Maybe I’m the only person on this planet that didn’t obsess over this movie – but I doubt it.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

All Is Lost

I love movies like this!  Robert Redford is also one of my favorite actors, so it’s not really a surprise I liked this one.  Redford plays a sailor who is alone at sea and has a rogue shipping container punch a hole in the side of his boat.  Obviously, that is not a good situation.  He needs to make a plan and do whatever he can to get through this ordeal.  There were almost no spoken words the entire film, which I really enjoyed!  They didn’t explain every little thing and it was like you were with him as he tried to figure out what to do as each new challenge arose.  You can almost see his determination and spirit fading away as each day passes and he starts to face his own mortality and realize how slim his chances of surviving really are.  Some people may think it’s boring and is just a guy out on the water in a boat, but it felt like so much more to me – a lot more!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Escape Plan


I really wanted to be “wowed” by this movie but unfortunately – I wasn’t.  The premise itself looked really interesting to me and it had Sly Stallone in it – another plus.  But when I was watching it – I felt like it was a movie I had seen many different times in different films.  Stallone plays Ray Breslin, a man who gets paid to break out of prison to highlight the weak areas of the prison.  As the story goes, he’s asked to take on an undercover, secret mission where none of his people know where he is.  As it turns out – it’s a setup and he is now forced to be a prisoner in an unescapable prison.  To me, the prison and the storyline seemed to border on being sci-fi.  I really didn’t believe the storyline and it felt so similar to other characters he has done in the past.  Even with Arnold Schwarzenegger in it – I half expected him to say “I’ll be back.”  It was ok to watch – but I just wanted more and it just didn’t get past the starting block for me.

Dallas Buyers Club

What a powerful, emotional movie!  This one destroyed me!  I can’t stop thinking about it.  Matthew McConaughey plays Ron Woodroof, a straight man in 1985 that’s been diagnosed with HIV and told he has 30 days to live.  During this time, HIV and AIDS were still fairly new and scary and there were all kinds of stereotypes and prejudices against those that were sick, which Ron gets to experience firsthand.  Those wanting treatment were subjected to the FDA’s red tape and doctors & drug companies wanting to make money when the people are just trying to survive.  After improving by using experimental drug “cocktails” created with meds from outside the United States, Ron works to find ways to get these to the sick and dying – fighting with the system every step of the way.  Since it’s illegal to sell them, he creates the Dallas Buyers Club – where you buy a membership and then get the meds for free.  This helps countless people and makes what’s left of their lives more bearable instead of just waiting to die in the hospitals.  This movie made me sad and angry, and just really makes you think about what’s right and wrong and how our system works…  Sometimes, it’s such a hard thing to straddle that line of what’s legal and what’s RIGHT!