Monday, November 30, 2015

Ricki and the Flash

I'm not sure why I wanted to watch this movie so much.  Maybe that it had to do with rock musicians?  Or that Meryl Streep was playing one in it?  Maybe it was just that I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Streep plays a woman who gave up everything for her dream of being a rock-and-roll star, which never really happened.  She never seems to have quite gotten over that dream and still plays in her local bar, where she is the “star.”  But to her family, she is someone who ran out and left them to fend for themselves.  So, when there are family problems and she returns home to help, everyone tries to make nice, but she is definitely not welcomed with open arms and the tension just builds and builds.  The more she realizes what she’s done to their lives, the more intense everything becomes.  It was a lot of family drama, but in a way, felt very real and like it could all happen to anyone.  I thought Meryl Streep did a good job, but overall, I’d say the movie was just alright.

The Intouchables

I don't normally watch many foreign films, but this one was highly recommended to me by a friend of mine, so I gave it a shot.  I’m glad I did, because I did enjoy it.  Driss is an ex-con from the projects who manages to get hired to care after a French aristocrat who has become a quadriplegic after a paragliding accident.  They are about as opposite a pair as you could imagine, but somehow, their friendship evolves and there is an unbreakable connection formed that totally works.  Through all of their adventures together, they both learn a lot about life, preconceptions and working through adversity in all shapes and forms.  After watching this, I feel like I may have, too.  It was definitely worth watching!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Trainwreck

What an appropriate title for this movie – Trainwreck – because it was one!  It was a mess.  I’m not even sure what I was expecting, but this wasn’t it!  Amy Schumer plays a woman who doesn’t think monogamy is possible and seems to want to sleep with as many men as possible without ever having a real connection to any of them.  She doesn’t even know what it is to have a normal relationship with someone who likes her for “her” and who she really is.  There were a few funny lines, but every scene just seemed to go on longer than it should.  There were also a lot of crude and vulgar jokes that weren’t really that funny.  I don’t know why Hollywood thinks this is humor anymore!  The movie tries to go from dumb to being serious and heartfelt when she finally meets a good guy and realizes maybe that’s not the worst thing in the world, but it doesn’t really succeed.  It was over 2 hours long and it’s sad that the best thing about the movie was LeBron James – and I don’t even like him!  Overall, this movie is almost a complete waste of time and has the perfect title!  I’d skip it!!!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Gift

This was one of those movies that makes you think about how much you really know people.  Even if you think you do, you may not at all.  It also shows that your past can have a way of catching up with you, even if you've tried to leave it all behind or start a new life.  This was definitely a creepy, intense thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat the whole movie!  Jason Bateman plays Simon, a man who has just moved with his wife back to where he grew up and runs into a guy named Gordon that he went to high school with, who wants to catch up on their lives and be friends.  That's all good and well, but it starts getting uncomfortable when "Gordo" starts showing up a little too often and strange things start happening to where they can't decide if they should be afraid or if they're all just paranoid.  And that is where everything starts unraveling for Simon.  Who is Gordo, really?  And who is Simon, really?  I liked that it wasn't that far-fetched or over-the-top.  Everything in the movie could easily happen, so maybe that made it feel even more "real" watching it all.  It was a good movie, but may not have been the best movie to watch just before going to bed, though!!!

The Gift


Creepy – that’s a good word to describe this film that you may not have heard of.  Jason Bateman plays a regular guy named Simon, who with his wife, Robyn, moved back to his home town for a new job.  Along the way he meets a childhood friend named Gordo.  Gordo the weirdo.  And that’s where the story gets interesting.  This film is a psychological thriller that kept me very involved and wondering who or what was around the corner.  Gordo is making his presence known in Simon’s and Robyn’s life but why? Why is Gordo always there? Why is he always dropping off presents for them? What is it about Gordo that just gives you the chills every time you see him?  There is a huge twist at the end of the movie that will take you aback.  Not to spoil anything – but it left me wondering – who is the bad guy? One of the tag lines for this movie is, “the sins of your past will become your present.”  Just because you’ve forgotten what you may have done doesn’t mean the other person has!  Check it out!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Glen Campbell . . . I’ll Be Me


This is a beautiful documentary about Glen Campbell and his farewell tour after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.  The Campbell family opened up their lives while they toured with Glen for 151 dates over a year and a half of doing concerts.  They gave us an insight into what their lives and Glen’s life is like living with this awful disease.  They are very open and honest about the slow decline of Glen’s memory and we get to see how a worldwide star struggles with his highs and lows.  One thing that just amazes me – he may forget the lyrics, he may forget names and people, but he didn’t forget how to play guitar.  If you were in any of those audiences – you still would’ve been at a great concert because his love of his music still came through when everything else was fading.  Truly a film I really enjoyed, even with tears in my eyes.

 

Monday, November 9, 2015

San Andreas


This movie has got to be the end all to disaster movies!  Get ready to shake, rattle and roll as you go on a rollercoaster of craziness with this movie! A 9.0 earthquake has struck California along the San Andreas fault and all h@ll has broken loose!  Buildings are collapsing, explosions, tsunamis, cats and dogs living together! (had to throw that in for all you Ghostbusters fans!) But the fault has opened up and it’s swallowing everything whole and we need a hero to save the world!  Dat da da daaa  – in comes our hero – Duwayne Johnson to save humanity or at least his ex-wife and daughter.  In all seriousness – don’t take this movie seriously.  It was so over the top - I mean really – can a boat get enough power to crest over the top of a tsunami?  If you’re looking for a movie that’s full of CGI effects and a whirlwind of crazy stunts – this is the one.  I didn’t mind going along for the ride though because overall, it was fun and worth 2 hours of my time.

 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Southpaw

It was nice to finally watch a movie that felt like a real “movie” to me!  Jake Gyllenhaal plays a champion boxer that is on top of the world and then out of nowhere, has a tragedy suddenly tear his life apart.  After losing everything important to him, he must find a way to deal with it all and make his way out of the depths to which his life has sunken.  It reminded me of the Rocky movies with him having to overcome some obstacle to get back on top, but felt more realistic with the real-life things he had to get past and work through.  There was a lot more blood, language, and violence than those movies, too, but that seemed to make it a stronger movie rather than take away from it.  I guess I would call the movie this generation’s Rocky.  It was definitely worth watching!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Pixels

I loved this movie!  It was silly, but it was just so, so, SOOOO ridiculous that it was funny!  If you don’t worry about how unrealistic it is, it’s a blast!  The Earth is being attacked from space by aliens using code from arcade games of the 80s that was sent out in a capsule back in the day.  The only way we can fight them is with people that know how they think – the arcade game champions from 1982, of course!  They were the unpopular nerds and geeks when they were gaming, but now they have the chance to save the world!!!  It’s like all of the arcade games have come to life and need to be beaten in order to win the battle.  It was great seeing Pac-Man, Centipede, Galaga, and Donkey Kong again, among others from that time.  I’ve been pretty disappointed with Adam Sandler’s movies lately, but I really enjoyed this one!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Jurassic World

I was very excited to see this movie!  I still remember watching the first Jurassic Park movie when it was released back in 1993 – 22 years ago!  Wow, has it really been that long?!  While this one doesn’t compare with the original – not even close, it was at least entertaining – and better than the other sequels for sure!  And even though I liked all of the original actors in the series, it was fun to have Chris Pratt being the “hero” in this one.  The story has a new theme park being built on the site of the original Jurassic Park – with new attractions and even a newly “created” dinosaur – the Indominus Rex.  Don’t they know you shouldn’t do things like that?  Maybe they don’t know what else to do with the series, but it felt like they were trying to recreate the original movie a little bit with newer, improved computers and technology – and thinking they’d learned their lesson from the first time around, but, of course they hadn’t and aren’t as bright as the original creators of the park.  It did feel a little bit “dumbed down,” like many movies these days, but I still enjoyed it and liked being transported back in time – even if it was only 22 years back…

Jurassic World


As I watched this movie it had a familiar feel to it like I had seen it before – oh that’s right – I had seen it in the Jurassic Park movie!  It’s been over 20 years since Jurassic Park but this movie was like a throwback to it.  I’m sure in some respect, it was giving props to the original movie; which in itself was great.  There was nothing like it at the time.  Jurassic World on the other hand just seemed like a second rate movie compared to the first.  Everything felt familiar to me even the storylines. They created bigger, meaner dinosaur’s, they escape, kids are lost in the park, the dinosaurs come and wreak havoc everywhere and we know in the end the guy is going to get the girl.  Not to say this was a bad movie – it was decent.  But I guess nothing still compares to the first and most of the time, the best of the movies.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Everest


Wow!  This movie was INTENSE!  It’s about the true-life story of a group on an expedition to the top of Mount Everest.  The struggles for these people range everywhere from just trying to climb to the peak all the way to actually surviving the trip.  And if that wasn’t enough, they have a huge storm to deal with that hits just as some of them are beginning their descent.  Watching the movie, it seems almost insane to think of a person wanting to put themselves through this kind of torture and abuse just to say they hiked Everest!  I thought the producers did an amazing job of capturing just how hard this journey was – from the photography and camera angles to the climbers and their families and everything in between.  After watching this film, I have a whole new appreciation for the people who have made this climb, along with those who have never made it back.  This is another one that hasn’t been released on DVD yet, but was such a good movie, I just needed to tell the story.

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Martian

I know this one is still in theatres, but just felt like posting about it with all the hype it’s been getting.  First off, I did like this movie.  A lot.  I thought Matt Damon did a great job as an astronaut left stranded alone on Mars.  Besides just needing to figure out how to survive, he had to try to find a way to make contact with NASA and possibly be rescued.  In doing all of this, he was incredibly resourceful!  Especially for being the only one on the planet for a very, very long period of time.  I guess I’d say my only “issue” with all of it is that I was thinking I would feel a little more “despair” or times of hopelessness through the movie – maybe like the film Castaway, only on Mars.  It seemed more upbeat than I thought it would be, which isn’t a bad thing, just not quite what I was expecting.  I’m sure he had his down moments, but maybe that wouldn’t have been as fun to watch as him trying to grow potatoes and listening to disco music that was left behind.  There was a good balance, but just felt like it could have been a little more intense overall.  I really did like it – just more in a “fun” disaster-movie kind of way…

Monday, September 21, 2015

Furious 7

It was a little different watching this movie knowing that one of the main characters had died in real life (Paul Walker).  Even how he died, crashing a high performance sports car like the ones in this film, made it like there was something "more" to this than just a normal movie.  When it started, all I could think about was the death of Paul every time he came on the screen.  But, the more I watched, the more I was able to get into the movie and allow myself to be distracted by the unbelievable, over-the-top, almost ridiculous crazy stunts they were able to pull off and cheat death over and over.  There wasn't much to the actual plot other than a guy wanting revenge for his brother, but the plot isn't why people watch this series - they want to see fast cars and action that could never actually happen in real life - and if that's what someone is looking for, this movie definitely delivers!  As the movie wound down, you could see it turning into more of a Paul Walker tribute, which was nice.  He has been a part of this movie series since it started back in 2001, and it all seemed like a fitting way to allow everyone - the actors and the viewer - a way to say "goodbye" to Paul and thank him for his contribution to the movies and allow everyone to move forward.  It seems strange feeling that way after a Fast and Furious movie, but I guess I do...

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road

Was this a good movie?  Not really.  Did I enjoy it?  Yes!  I think this is one of those movies people will either really like or really hate, with not many opinions in between.  I have a soft spot for the Mad Max movies, so this felt like kind of a “guilty pleasure” for me.  Charlize Theron plays a woman leading a rebellion against a tyrannical leader, taking his favorite women, Max and others along with her.  They are being chased across post apocalyptic Australia by the ruler and his people with very cool souped-up muscle car/monster truck type vehicles.  There were constant wrecks and explosions and all kinds of things going on almost the entire time.  It was quite an adrenaline rush watching this one.  It wore me out.  I normally don’t go for films that are all action and not much else, but for some reason, I did enjoy this one.  Truthfully, I probably would have liked it no matter what.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Boy Next Door


If you’re hoping for an intense thriller – you won’t find it in this movie!  This movie was “sssooo” clichéd and I knew within 5 minutes of the movie where it was going and how it was going to end.  It seemed like they took several movie plot lines from Disturbia, Fatal Attraction and other movies and jammed them all together to make this laughable movie!  Jennifer Lopez plays a mom with a high school son going through a separation from her husband.  A young, handsome kid moves in next door and they start making googly-eyes at each other.  Well before you know it – Jennifer is making out with him, among other things (and these scenes just make you uncomfortable to watch).  He is instantly in love with her and when she won’t return his affections, he goes berserk and tries to kill her and her family for the rest of the movie.  It was cheesy and horrible and even though they tried to save the movie with sex (because nothing else would save this movie) – it still didn’t work.  I give it an F for failure, farfetched and featherbrained!

American Sniper


Eric and I feel the same way about this movie and have written the following review:


By now, Chris Kyle is a name that many people have come to know.  American Sniper” is the story of being the U.S. Navy Seals most lethal sniper and earning the name “Legend.”  This is Chris’ story, (who is played by Bradley Cooper), of his 4 rotations of serving in Iraq.  The movie makes you feel like you are there with him behind the scope as we watch him protect the men who are on the ground.  As with other recent true war stories such as, Lone Survivor and Zero Dark Thirty – you walk away with a new sense of patriotism and total respect and awe for the men and women of our country.  Chris’ story took a tragic turn when he and a friend were killed by another veteran on American soil on February 2, 2013.  You can read more of his story through his books, the movie or his wife’s new book, “American Wife” by Taya Kyle and Jim DeFelice.

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 clichéd 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!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Interstellar

To say this movie messed with my head would be an understatement!  Matthew McConaughey plays an ex-NASA test pilot that is chosen to join a mission to find another planet for humans to live on.  Earth is no longer able to sustain any crops other than corn, which will ultimately lead to extinction if no other solution is found.  Lucky for him and his team, a wormhole has been discovered near Saturn that allows the team to travel through it into another dimension and galaxy to hopefully find other planets with suitable environments.  As you can imagine, not everything goes smoothly and it gets a little hard to keep track of everything when he’s going into all kinds of other dimensions and different space and time.  It’s also a struggle watching how much of his own life he misses out on with his family and how they all react over the years to him being gone for almost their entire lives.  There were other big names in the movie along with McConaughey, like Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain and John Lithgow, to name just a few.  The movie was also almost 3 hours long – which isn’t that bad when they’re covering around 100 years of time, I guess.  Overall, I did enjoy it and also thinking about what we would do if that type of situation does ever arise for us and our planet.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Unbroken

This movie is the incredible true story of Louis Zamperini, a former Olympic athlete who experienced more trauma and hardship than anyone should ever have to endure.  After surviving a plane crash during World War II, he and two other survivors spend 47 days on a raft in the ocean before being captured by the Japanese and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp until the war is over.  Any of these experiences are enough to break a person, but “Louie” is remarkably resilient and is able to survive the ordeal.  I almost found it hard to even watch the scenes in the POW camp – the humiliation, the beatings and just seeing their spirit fade away the more they were subjected to over time.  I also wasn’t expecting to be so moved by the story of what has happened since the war ended and how he was able to eventually make peace with everything and even meet with the very people who held him captive.  As the movie said before the credits rolled, “Louie came to see that the way forward was not revenge, but forgiveness.”  And that is exactly what I was feeling after watching this very powerful movie.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Theory of Everything


Eddie Redmayne who plays Stephen Hawking won best lead actor for his portrayal of Mr. Hawking and after seeing this movie – there is no doubt that he deserved to win!  The film is based on the true story between Stephen and Jane Hawking.  It starts off in Cambridge in 1963, where they both meet and fall in love with each other.  Shortly after that, Stephen is diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease and told he has 2 years to live.  The story revolves around their lives and what it was like to be one of the smartest minds and trapped in a failing body but yet have your mind be so clear.  It’s about their love and their fight to keep their marriage together through the hardest times in both of their lives.  He broke all the rules by surviving this disease, and by doing so, gave great insight to the scientific world.  I admire Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal of Mr. Hawking.  He gave a very personal, heartfelt, and saddening look into the life of an ALS patient and their family.  For not knowing much about Mr. Hawking, I enjoyed the film immensely.

Guardians of the Galaxy

I wasn’t sure if I was even going to watch this movie, but had quite a few people tell me how good it was, so gave it a shot.  I’m glad I did, because I really enjoyed it!  I’d say it was a sci-fi film that didn’t take itself too seriously, but wasn’t “silly” either.  Chris Pratt plays Peter Quill, an unlikely “hero” that was taken from Earth when he was young, and has grown up in space in other worlds.  When he gains access to an orb that is worth millions and that everyone seems to be trying to get, his latest adventure begins.  Through trying to fight off anyone that wants the orb, he meets and teams up with four other characters that are all kind of misfits like himself, forming a great team with each person bringing their own unique qualities to their group.  It was funny, had a nice story, and great characters each with their own back story that made it all a very fun movie!

Nightcrawler

This was quite a movie!  Jake Gyllenhaal plays an unemployed person who stops at an accident scene and sees a man filming footage to sell to TV stations for their news broadcasts.  This trips something in his mind that he could do this, too – and possibly make some money in the process.  And he does.  The more experience he gets and the better quality his recordings are, the more it all works out for him with contacts and demanding more money for his work.  When it all came together for me was when he started manipulating scenes to make a better “story” or picture and started arriving to crime scenes before the police were even there.  Where is the line on what you can/should legally film, especially when doors are already open or a crime is in the process of happening?  This movie was kind of fun, but got very creepy the longer it went on and the more risks he was willing to take.  I’m still thinking a lot about all the different angles you can look at this story.  Toward the end, he was definitely crossing the line, but it’s also the world we live in…

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Foxcatcher

This movie is based on a true story.  Steve Carell plays multimillionaire John du Pont and he sponsors two wrestling brothers, played by Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo, as they train for the 1988 Olympics.  I found it interesting watching the movie because all of the main characters played parts that are very different from roles I’ve seen them have in other films.  When du Pont calls and wants the brothers to move to Pennsylvania to train with him, it’s hard to know exactly what his motives are, but they do eventually move into his estate where they can all work out together.  du Pont seems to be trying to live out some unfulfilled dreams through these “students” of his, even though he doesn’t really know very much about the finer points of wrestling and starts to take credit for their success whenever he can.  Eventually, jealousy comes out in many different forms and from different characters, showing how messed up everyone can be, no matter how much money or fame they might have.  It’s sad seeing everything end the way it does, especially knowing it’s a true story…     

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Whiplash

I think of this movie and my heart starts racing – it was that intense!  J.K. Simmons was amazing as an over-the-top instructor at a music school who will stop at nothing to bring out the full potential of any student in which he can see “greatness.”  His methods were VERY extreme, but I can see where he was coming from and what he was trying to accomplish with the students.  The story revolves around the teacher, Fletcher, and a young drummer named Andrew that wants to be one of the best ever, and becomes one of the chosen few to be allowed into an elite band conducted by Fletcher.  It becomes a battle of wills and you’re never quite sure where either one stands with the other, which I really enjoyed!  Maybe it’s because I related to the parts of being in a band so much, but I lost myself completely in the story and it made me want to strive for more in my own life and see what I’m capable of, too!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Horrible Bosses 2

This was one of those movies that didn’t really need a sequel.  At all.  Nick, Kurt, and Dale are back and have decided to go into business for themselves and be their own bosses.  But, of course their plan doesn’t go well, and they end up getting caught up in a kidnapping scheme they’ve come up with to get money back from an unscrupulous investor.  In some ways, this movie was a lot like the first one, but even more silly, stupid, and moronic in carrying out their plans.  It did have funny lines and humorous parts, but was also more rude and crude with a LOT of language, too.  I didn’t “hate” it, but wasn’t very impressed, either.

Birdman

Im not sure exactly what to think of this movie.  I know it won the Oscar for Best Picture, but I thought it was just alright.  I’m still not entirely sure about some parts of the film, either, which I think was kind of the point.  Michael Keaton plays an actor who once played the superhero character Birdman, but has moved on, or is at least trying to by directing and starring in a play on Broadway.  He seems to be trying to work out issues with his family, his past stardom and trying to separate himself from the Birdman character, wanting to be taken seriously for his acting, and just really trying to get his life together and figure out what his future holds.  I didn’t care much for the movie right after watching it, but it’s been a week or so, and I do appreciate the film more than I did right away.  It definitely had its “moments” and the acting was impressive, along with the filming and camera angles.  Overall, the movie felt like something the critics might like more than the everyday person, but if you’re in the mood for something a little different, you might want to give it a chance.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

St. Vincent

I thought this movie was great!  While I didn’t really know what to expect with Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, and Naomi Watts as the main characters, I was pleasantly surprised.  Murray plays a grumpy, older man that is all alone with not much money, who drinks a lot, and doesn’t seem to have much of a future for himself.  He’s just kind of “existing” until a newly single mom and her son move in next door and it starts to change his life and kind of mess with his normal routine.  Along the way, we’re able to see there is much more to Murray’s character than it seems and there might be reasons why he is the way he is.  Whether they realize it or not, they’re all needing someone and are able to fill some of the gaps in their lives, no matter how strange it all might seem from the outside.  The story was almost deceptively simple - it can be as moving as someone will allow it to be for them.  If you let it in, it'll get to you... 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Lucy

I had high hopes for this movie.  Sadly, I was very disappointed!  Scarlett Johansson plays Lucy, a woman who after being abducted, has been surgically implanted with a bag of something called CPH4 that she is being forced to smuggle.  When the bag starts leaking inside her body, she becomes “infected” with the drug.  Once in her system, it starts making her brain work at levels above normal capacity and it just keeps increasing and increasing what her mind is capable of processing.  I thought everything started off well and was making sense, but at some point, it all just became ridiculous!  I was expecting something like the move Limitless - not for her to turn into someone that almost had "superpowers" just because she could use all of her brain power.  I get that she had changed into something so advanced that our logic can’t even comprehend it all, but that just wasn’t what I was looking for, I guess.  It really did seem almost ludicrous to me!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

John Wick

I liked this movie alright, but wouldn’t really need to see it again.  It was OK in a video game, shoot ‘em up kind of way.  It actually reminded me of a video game with how much shooting and killing there was scene after scene through the whole film.  Keanu Reeves plays an ex-hitman that has changed and removed himself from that way of life and gotten married and started his life over.  After some tragedies occur, something finally puts him over the edge and brings out his inner hitman again and it is “on” from there!  His skills are legendary in the underworld he came from and he is pretty much unstoppable.   Once that switch has been flipped, there is no going back and you had better not cross him!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Judge

WE LOVED THIS MOVIE!  It was very powerful.  There were so many storylines that all tied together without being complicated and were so full of depth.  Robert Downey Jr. plays Hank Palmer, a big city lawyer who has disconnected from his family that returns home for his mother’s funeral.  After having as much of his family as he can handle and is ready to leave, Hank gets a call that his father, played by Robert Duvall, is being charged with a murder.  The interesting twist is that his dad had been this town’s judge for many years and is now going on trial – and eventually is represented by his own son, even though they have a very rocky relationship.  This movie was so much more than just a murder trial.  It was about family and their connections, right and wrong, living in the past, looking to the future, forgiveness, life and everything in between.  I connected with many different parts of this film and felt completely worn out after watching it.  It was great!!!
 
Eric and I both agree about this movie – it was great!  I can’t say enough about this movie.  It was enthralling and very touching and I would watch it again.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Gone Girl

This movie wound up getting pretty twisted – much more than I was expecting.  Ben Affleck plays a man who comes home on his anniversary and finds his wife is missing.  The longer the story goes on, the more he starts being looked at as a suspect in her disappearance, and possible murder!  How do you prove you didn’t do something?  Especially when the facts and clues all start pointing toward you, no matter what you say or do.  How honest is he being?  Before long, it becomes a huge media circus that gets out of control and makes finding the truth even harder.  This film made me think about how much we really don’t know about people – only what they “want” us to know.  Also, what lengths people will go to just to protect themselves, no matter how much it hurts others.  There are a lot of different angles to look at this story, and I can’t seem to stop thinking about all of them!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Million Dollar Arm

A sports agent, played by Jon Hamm of Mad Men, is on the verge of losing his business and comes up with the “crazy” idea of getting attention and publicity by going to India and recruiting locals to try out for professional baseball in the United States.  I was thinking that was pretty much what the movie was going to be, but it was more about what happened AFTER they had been selected.  They had never picked up a baseball in their lives, so you know training them won’t be easy, but the story became more about everything else they were dealing with having never been out of India, missing their families and life there along with being thrown into Los Angeles and American culture.  I liked seeing the main character transform from someone who only cared about himself and has always been about the bottom line into someone that actually cared about other people and doing what’s right instead of money and business.  It’s all based on a true story and was one of the better sports movies I’ve seen in a long time.