Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Shallows

This movie didn’t live up to my expectations, but I think I liked it a “little” better than I originally thought.  Nancy Adams is a medical student that has lost her mother, is getting overwhelmed by life and just needs a vacation to get away from everything for a while.  She decides to travel to a secluded beach she’s heard about to enjoy the sun and get in some great surfing – alone, of course.  What she doesn’t count on is being attacked by a shark!  After escaping, she’s able to eventually make her way to a raised rock that she can sit on to get away from the killer shark, but is still 200 yards away from shore.  She’s also injured and starts suffering from the heat, along with lack of food and water, all while trying to “outsmart” the shark.  Overall, I just didn’t buy it.  I’d heard it compared to the movie Jaws, but it was nowhere near that level!  And the longer it went, the cheesier it was, and the more overacting there was!  I liked the scenery and filming, but the story just got old and didn’t go very far once it was all set up.  It had potential, but didn’t live up to it for me…

The Shallows


It was billed as the “next Jaws” as “fearless” and “terrifying” . . . did we see the same movie???  I was thinking more along the lines of “I don’t think so” “laughable” and “oh please – did you even see Jaws?”  I found nothing new or fresh about this movie or terrifying none the less!  A woman, played by Blake Lively, goes back to the beach where her mom use to surf to deal with the death of her mom.  She is basically alone, on the waves, where she runs into a . . . shark!!  Who would’ve thought that would’ve happened???  She manages to make it to a lone rock with a gash her in thigh from the nip that the shark gave her.  She’s only 200 yards from shore – she can make it – but wait . . . the shark is reading her mind!!!  It knows what she’s thinking and no matter what she tries – he’s always there. . .waiting for the taste of her flesh and the lust of her blood!!!! Whatever will she do?? (Que the dramatic music)  She comes up with a plan – one that will rock her world and the shark!!!   REALLY??  I saw Jaws!  It was far more superior than this film and I already knew the ending before she even dipped her big toe in the water!! I guess you can assume what I thought of this movie . . .

 

Parental Guidance


Love, love, loved this movie!  Billy Crystal and Bette Midler play grandparents who are asked to come babysit their grandkids that they don’t see very often.  There are 2 helicopter parents with a new age way of parenting, 3 kids that have their rules of governing themselves, and 2 old school grandparents who are in for the ride of their lives.  There is a lot of crazy stuff that happens, a lot of laughs as we see Billy and Bette trying to copy their daughters ways of parenting and kids that really don’t know their grandparents and aren’t thrilled about being with them.  The three kids all have personal issues they’re dealing with and along the way we see them getting closer to their grandparents and the family overcoming the obstacles that first separated them.  I am very sentimental about this film because I am a grandma of 9, so forgive me if I get a little weepy, but it really is a heart-felt movie about the little things in our lives that create the bonds and the memories that we will always have of our family.

 

The Good Neighbor

This movie was a little different.  The story is about two high school kids that are attempting to scare their old, cranky neighbor into believing his house is haunted.  They set up all kinds of props to get his attention along with sneaking into his house and installing cameras so they can watch and record everything from home.  Besides recording everything not being the best of ideas, each attempt to frighten him seems to bring out some hidden emotions from his past that end up to be much more than either of the boys bargained for!  The more they watch, the more they wonder about what he’s doing in areas they can’t see on their cameras, and the riskier their own behavior gets until it all comes to a head.  James Caan plays the neighbor and does a great job in his role.  It’s a simple story overall, but was pretty intense and felt like there was a lot more to it than there appears to be on the surface.  This one can cut deep if you let it…

Central Intelligence


Kevin Hart – Duwayne “The Rock” Johnson . . . what more could you ask for?  I know, you’re probably thinking dumb – cheesy – been there, done that before movie, but it was a good movie with a lot of laughs.  Kevin Hart plays Calvin Joyner, an all-around popular jock from high school.  Duwayne plays the overweight, nerdy kid that everyone made fun of.  The opening scene is set in a gym where we see them as seniors.  As Calvin is receiving his award, we see Duwayne’s character being humiliated in front of the school.  Calvin is the only one to rush over to help him.  Fast forward to 20 years, class reunion time and Calvin is looking back on his life and wondering how he went from hero to zero as he’s just an accounant now.  When Duwayne’s character calls him up, he has changed his name to Bob Stone and he’s no longer the nerdy kid we know, but more like “The Rock” as we know him.  The story goes that Bob is really a C.I.A. agent and needs Calvin’s help to break a crime ring.  But – Calvin doesn’t know whether to believe him or not because Bob Stone is into unicorns, Pretty in Pink reruns and fanny packs.  These two are great comedic actors together and each of them plays off each other so well.  It’s just a fun movie to sit back and have some laughs and to see a little action along the way. 

 

Pete’s Dragon


This is such a sweet, sentimental story.  Pete is left alone in the forest by a car accident that kills his parents.  He has no one to protect him and the wolves are circling him.  In comes Elliot, a beautiful, soft, dragon that saves him.  As the story goes, we know that Pete and Elliot became family.  But one day, Pete is seen in the forest by a local forester and they want to save him. This begins another new story of what it means to be family and to believe in what’s not seen.  We go on a great adventure with Pete and Elliot and I loved every minute of it.  One of the actors in this movie is Robert Redford, who plays the grandpa.  He was such a delight to see.  This film is for all ages and it will make you cheer and maybe even shed a tear.  Just a terrific film.

 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Ghostbusters (2016)

I really wanted to hate this movie!  I didn’t think they should be messing with a classic and I loved the original!  I’m so sick of movies being remade and nobody being able to have an original idea anymore!!!  So, I have to say I was disappointed in this one because I actually enjoyed it.  They didn’t try to recreate the original so much as maybe pay tribute to it with a kind of “goofy” version of the original.  It was different having all women as the ghostbusters and there were little cameos by most of the original actors, which I thought was very cool!  I still like the original 100 times better, but this was actually kind of fun and might have just been what I was needing at the time.  I didn’t want to, but I’m glad I watched this version.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Mr. Church

I don’t know the last time I’ve had a movie “speak” to me like this one!  I’d been waiting for it to come out on DVD ever since I’d heard about it – and was really curious how Eddie Murphy would be, since it seemed like he has been going further and further downhill with every movie he’d done lately.  Set in 1965, he plays Henry Church, a man who has been hired to cook and take care of a mother that is battling cancer and her 10-year old daughter, Charlie.  What was originally intended to be a 6-month job turned into a much longer time than any of them had anticipated.  Whether he was trying to or not, he became a father figure to Charlie and helped her navigate through life when she really didn’t have anyone else, forming an amazing bond for both of them.  This was such an incredible, emotional feel-good story that I can’t wait until I get to watch it again – even though I’ve already seen it twice!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Deadpool

I almost turned this movie off after about 5 minutes.  But, I didn’t.  And I’m glad!  I wasn’t sure where it was going because it just seemed corny and ridiculous at the beginning, but it did get WAY better.  This is not your typical “superhero” movie.  Ryan Reynolds plays Deadpool, a sarcastic, foul-mouthed, dirty minded, almost naughty at times, funny, violent, yet romantic lead character.  This one is definitely not for kids!  It’s also not very serious – almost like a slap-stick with one-liners and Deadpool talking to the camera and commenting on what’s going on all the time.  Just when I thought I knew what the film was going to be like, it would change and go from serious to silly or from a hero to a filthy character saying things you’d never expect.  Eventually, I did get into the movie, and now I keep thinking about how much I liked it!  I would have never thought that with the way it started…

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Revenant


This is quite a film.  Running at 2 hours and 36 minutes – you are transported into a cold, ruthless, bitter but awe inspiring world of the 1800s.  The movie is loosely based on the life story of Hugh Glass, who was an American frontiersman, fur trapper, trader, hunter and explorer.  His story is set in South Dakota itself and Hugh Glass has become a legend with this movie.  Leonardo DiCaprio plays Glass and does an amazing job.  Through different interviews I’ve seen and watched, I knew this film was quite brutal in the making for various reasons and after seeing it – you’ll understand why.  The geography of the film was almost a different movie in itself.  It played as big as character as Leonardo did – which was the intent of the director. But the basic story line is that Leonardo’s character gets mauled by a bear leaving him almost dead.  The group that he is with needs to get back to the fort and ask for a few men to stay back with Glass until he’s better or he dies.  After some time, the men leave Glass to fend for himself.  The story is his survival without any weapons, food, or strength to find his way out of the blank wilderness.  The reason I stated this was “loosely” based on his life was because the writers didn’t stick to the facts. The actual events take place in the summertime not winter, he wasn’t married or had a son as the movie portrayed, and he didn’t kill the men who left him but actually tracked them down and forgave them. But I suppose like all stories in Hollywood – it’s always better to add some gut wrenching scenes to a story that was already pretty gut wrenching.  I did like this movie though. It was intense, gritty, and compelling. If you’re going to watch it, be prepared to give it your full attention, because it’s quite a story.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Concussion

I like football.  Actually, I LOVE football.  This movie made me want to love it a little less.  It really makes you question whether the injuries and head trauma are all worth it and how much money plays into everything.  Will Smith plays Dr. Bennet Omalu, who has made the first discovery of CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy), which is a disease of the brain caused by trauma and repeated blows.  It has also been seen in other sports, too, such as boxing, hockey, racing, rodeo, etc.  People with the disorder start having dizzy spells, erratic behavior, and memory loss, which eventually leads to dementia, impeded speech, and suicidal thoughts and actions.  The only way they can be tested is after death, since the brain has to be examined.  Dr. Omalu didn’t quite know what he was up against when he started making claims against the National Football League, but the longer things went on, the more cases there were, the harder it was for them to deny it.  He isn’t against football – he just wants to find out what is causing the issues and what can be done to help people from going through these horrible episodes.  If you’ve wondered why so many high-profile athletes have been announcing they are donating their brains to science lately, this is the reason.  It will definitely make me look at football a little differently this season. 

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Daddy’s Home

I can’t believe what passes for movies these days!  For a comedy, I didn’t think this one was very funny at all.  Will Ferrell wasn’t funny.  Mark Wahlberg wasn’t funny.  There were a couple of scenes that had funny “moments,” but overall, it was just boring!  And stupid!  Ferrell plays a step-dad that is just starting to make a connection with his kids, when Wahlberg shows up as the “real” dad and interferes with everything in their life.  From then on, it’s just a competition to see who the better dad is and who the kids will like better.  I always hear people say things like they want their time back, but I really do!  This movie owes me 95 minutes back of my life!!!

Daddy’s Home


I never expect too much from Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg when they do a film together.  I think Mark Wahlberg is a better actor when he does serious roles than comedy and with that being said . . .this movie is just fluff.  Will Ferrell plays a step-father to his new wife’s kids who don’t like him.  It takes him a long time to earn their trust and when he finally does, the biological dad, played by Mark Wahlberg, shows up.  From there – it’s just an all-out battle to see which “dad” is the best and who can win the kids’ love.  The movie is just what you expect it to be, cheesy gags and dumb one-liners.  Towards the end of the movie there was a hint of something a little deeper but it doesn’t last too long.  I wouldn’t say this is a “family” film for younger kids because there is language and strong sexual innuendos.  But if you’re looking for fluff to pass the night or you like Will Ferrell humor – this movie would be ok to pass some time if the paint on your wall has dried!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Room

This movie was incredibly powerful!  It was intense, scary, emotional, fast, slow, draining and just wore me out!  Brie Larson won the “Actress in a Leading Role” Oscar for her portrayal of a woman that was kidnapped at the age of 17, and forced to live in a shed for seven years!  It was just her and her son in that “room” with little more than basic necessities.  He was born there and didn’t know ANYTHING about the outside world – just that room.  He had never looked out a window or gone up or down stairs or petted a dog or even seen or talked to anyone except his mom and eventually their captor.  After escaping, it was like that's when the real struggle began!  With trying to get back to normal life and all the issues the whole ordeal had caused for everyone.  I was worried about the kid adjusting, but the mom had been so strong for so long, she's the one who had the most problems when it was all "over" for them.  Both of them, along with all of their family, went on a horrible journey that can never truly end for any of them.  I’m glad I watched this one, but never need to see it again.  I don’t think I’ll ever forget it, either… 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Creed

Before watching this, I wasn’t sure that we really needed another “Rocky” movie – and I know it’s called Creed, but it’s really Rocky VII if I’m not mistaken!  I love the first three or four Rocky movies – and still watch them all the time - but felt like they’d kind of gone downhill with the last couple.  This movie was like it brought new life to the series for me!  The acting was stronger than it has been, the story was stronger than it has been, and it was all just a lot deeper and more emotional than I ever expected!  Michael B. Jordan plays Adonis Johnson, the son of the late Apollo Creed, who died in Rocky IV.  He wants to become a great fighter like his dad was and has never really had anyone in his life that could teach him.  So, it just makes sense for him to go to the man who knew Apollo better than anyone to train him – Rocky Balboa!  It was great seeing all of the flashbacks and little nods to the earlier films, along with adding a lot more to the story instead of just the same old, same old.  This was a great movie and I can’t wait to add it to my rotation!

Creed


There was a reason that Sylvester Stallone won a Golden Globe this year for his reprisal of Rocky – because he deserved it!  This movie packed a powerful, emotional punch that I wasn’t expecting.  Sly is Rocky and no one can play him better!  At this stage of the game – we see a much older, wiser Rocky than what we knew in the past.  His wife died and his child no longer visits him.  He has no desire to be in the ring until Adonis shows up on his doorstep.  What a better salute to the original Rocky movies than to have the old memories mixed in with the new.  We are taken on a very emotional journey as we watch the fire light up in Rocky’s eyes again with his love for boxing and see the beginnings of possibly, a new character, come to play.  There are a few twists that almost broke my heart and I knew the movie couldn’t end that way.  But for all true Rocky fans – it ends with a fight of redemption and the love of an old friend.  Don’t miss it –just sit back and enjoy it!

 

Monday, February 22, 2016

The 33

This is the true story of 33 Chilean miners that were trapped over 2,000 feet below the surface after a collapse in a gold and copper mine.  I remember when it all happened, but had never really given much thought to what they experienced or how almost impossible the task was to drill and rescue them.  Also, what their family members were going through during the whole ordeal.  It’s amazing they were able to survive with the small amount of food they had, the extreme temperatures they were dealing with, and that they were able to be rescued at all.  There was also a lot happening on the surface with trying to mount the rescue and deciding if it was even worth trying.  I can’t imagine being trapped and spending 69 days underground hoping to be rescued while trying to survive.  I’m sure this movie just barely covers what it was actually like for them, but I definitely have a whole new appreciation for everything they all experienced!

Our Brand Is Crisis

This movie bombed at the box office!  I’m not sure why I even wanted to watch it – maybe because I like Sandra Bullock and Billy Bob Thornton – or maybe I was just curious.  They both play rival political consultants working for presidential candidates in Bolivia who will stop at nothing to get their candidates elected.  With how shady everyone was, it all reminded me of watching an attorney defending someone everyone knows is guilty.  It also reminded me of our own political system here, too.  Things can be twisted to make them appear however you want them to and there are a million different ways to do it!  Eventually, you can see that she’s starting to wonder what she’s doing and how moral and ethical it all is.  I wasn’t too sure about it early on, but I’d say this film completely had me by the end!  I don’t know when or how exactly, but it did win me over.  Big time!

Monday, January 25, 2016

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.  Everyone is equal on the mountain – it doesn’t matter who you are, how much money you have, or what connections you might have – if you take the climb lightly, you will definitely pay for it in the end.  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.

The Intern

This movie stars Robert De Niro as a retired widower who has found out that being alone and having a lot of free time isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.  When he sees a flyer advertising for a senior intern, he decides to try it out.  Anne Hathaway plays a young woman that has started her own internet business and it is growing to the point where she’s almost in over her head.  She thinks the whole “senior intern” thing is a joke, but after awhile, realizes how much his experience can help.  Also, just how important it can be to have someone with an actual work ethic that knows what they’re doing and can offer you different points of view – it turns out to be invaluable to her.  It takes her some time to figure this out, but once she does, she can’t imagine being without him!  I enjoyed this film a lot.  It felt like something that could actually happen in real life and was nice to see how much everyone was able to learn about work – and life – from this “old” man!

Pawn Sacrifice

I had never heard of this movie until Christy told me about it.  And honestly, it sounded kind of boring with it being about chess.  But it wasn’t at all!  The movie is set in 1972 during the Cold War.  Tobey Maguire plays the role of Bobby Fischer, an American chess prodigy who has a goal in life to be the world champion of chess.  In order to do this, he must beat the Russian champion Boris Spassky, who is the best in the world.  Who would have thought that a movie about chess could be so engaging and intense?  It almost felt like America against Russia more than just a chess tournament.  It was also interesting watching Fischer get more and more paranoid the closer he was to reaching his goal.  Every step came with challenges and made him closer to cracking.  He was almost falling apart.  Chess was his world.  And he truly was a genius at chess, but not so much at life.  It makes you think about being so focused on something – is that really a good thing?  I also thought Toby Maguire did an amazing job in his role!  I always thought he’d just be Spider-Man to me, but now he is totally Bobby Fischer!

Pawn Sacrifice


There is more to this movie than the title leads you to believe.  I think this was one of those movies that flew under the wire without much hoopla, but it’s a very good movie.  Based on the world championship chess player, Bobby Fischer – this is the story of what it took to become the ultimate chess champion!  There was so much more to his story than chess and the amazing feat he accomplished by having all of America cheer for him.  Tobey Maguire, who plays Bobby, is awesome in this role.  He created a person who I was very interested in knowing.  Bobby was a child prodigy with a very unique mind but also a mental illness that kept coming to haunt him in his quest for the world title.  His one and only desire was to beat the Soviet Union champion, Boris Spassky, played by Liv Schreiber.  As you watch him struggle with his mental illness, you also watch those that care for him struggle too as they know how important this title is.  It was very interesting, very intriguing and I would watch it again.

The Martian


Matt Damon, who plays astronaut, Mark Watney, is on Mars with his team when a fierce storm comes up.  As they try to make it back to the spacecraft – Mark is hit with flying debris and is sent spiraling backwards in the darkness of the storm.  To the other astronauts, it seemed like he is dead and they must make a decision to stay and possibly not survive the storm or leave.  They choose to leave.  As the next day dawns – Mark isn’t dead but finds himself alone.  With thier base camp with some supplies left – he must figure out how to survive with little food and water till the next craft comes to Mars – in four years!  From there the movie gets very engaging!  There’s a lot of storytelling that goes on as we see him trying to grow potatoes with his own poop, make water, and figure out how to contact NASA.  He does eventually make contact and a rescue mission is set into motion.  But not everything goes as planned and at times you have to stretch your imagination to the impossible.  But it doesn’t matter – you are hooked from the beginning of the movie and you stay on the journey till all the popcorn is gone and you know how Mark’s journey ends.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Martian

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…

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Walk

This was a great movie!  It follows the true story of Philippe Petit, who was a wire walker that had the ultimate dream of walking on a wire connecting the towers of the World Trade Center in 1974 - which was over 1,300 feet above the ground and without a net!  I had always just viewed his walk as a publicity stunt and had never thought about “why” he did it or the incredible amount of planning that had to go into doing something like that.  Or how hard it would be to get a wire strung up there that was safe and without anyone noticing.  Also, he couldn’t do it alone and needed to find people he could trust to help him in his “coup,” as he called it.  I watched this movie because l was curious and it looked interesting – but it was so much more than I was expecting!  It was about following your dreams, finding your passion and doing what is right for YOU, and not letting anything or anyone stop you!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story


What would you do if you were called, “The Ugliest Person” on the Internet and people were posting horrible things like, “kill yourself” or “kill it with fire?”  This is what happened to Lizzie Velasquez.  You may not know that name, but by the time you finish this movie, you won’t forget her name.  She is a 25 year old woman born with a very rare syndrome that went undiagnosed until just recently.  She is only 1 of 3 people with a rare syndrome called Adipose Tissue which means, she is unable to gain weight.  So through her childhood, she looked different than other children.  She experienced many forms of bullying and it wasn’t until she was in high school that the bullying went cyber.  She was called the “ugliest woman” and had very hateful, hateful things said against her.  But, instead of listening to the haters, she opened her heart and took a stance against bullying.  With her desire to show the world a different side of her and who she was – she stood up and proclaimed she is a somebody – that we are all a somebody.  In 2012, she did a Ted Talk program and become an overnight sensation! Her story has made her somewhat of a celebrity where she has had the opportunities to go to many countries, schools, and even the White House to have others join her in the fight against bullying.  She has partnered up to help push “The Safe School Improvement Act” in Congress.  This is the first federal bill on bullying with the potential to reach the floor for a Congressional vote.  For more information on Lizzie herself and her cause, go to any of her websites.  This film can make a difference in children’s, youth and adult lives.  Very strong, very emotional and very personal – don’t miss it!!

 

Minions

If you like the Minions, you will probably like this movie.  I did.  They were funny and quirky like they always are – just a lot more of it all!  You get to travel through their entire history all the way up into the 1960s, where most of the film is set.  There are times where it was almost too much of a good thing being all about them in many parts instead of having them play small parts and popping up like in other movies I’ve seen, but it was still a lot of fun.  And I can honestly say that I now know the difference between Kevin, Bob and Stuart, too!  Overall, I’d say I liked it, but didn’t “love” it.  It was just a nice movie that kids (and parents) of all ages can enjoy.

Ant-Man

You wouldn’t think that being able to shrink down to the size of an ant would be much of a “power” to have.  But being able to shrink and grow at will, along with gaining the strength an ant has (like being able to lift 50 times its weight) turns out to be VERY useful – and kind of cool, too!  Paul Rudd plays a man that finds the suit and after wearing it, “becomes” Ant-Man!  The suit’s creator is played by Michael Douglas, and together, they go up against Yellowjacket, a villain that is trying to replicate the shrinking process for his own good to possibly take over the world!  This was another movie that was just fun and entertaining.  I thought I’d enjoy it, but I liked it even more than I thought I would.

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation

I've seen all of the Mission Impossible movies and have liked them all – including this one – a lot!  Tom Cruise is back and trying to keep a group known as “The Syndicate” from destroying the IMF (Impossible Mission Force).  The whole movie is full of action and amazing stunts, just like you’d expect if you’ve seen any of the others.  A fun fact that makes it even more exciting to watch is that Cruise performed ALL of the stunts in the film himself!  So, when you see him dangling off the side of a plane that’s taking off, it’s really him!  Or when he had to hold his breath underwater for 6 minutes during one sequence, that’s him too.  At least to me, those things do add something to it all.  For the 5th film in the series, I was really impressed and VERY entertained!