Sunday, December 25, 2011

We Bought a Zoo (PG/124 Min.)

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Lions and tigers and bears oh my! Go see this movie!!! I went with my mom, dad and PT and we all loved it. I've been unable to go to the theater this month (except one visit to the OKCMOA) so I'm so glad I enjoyed the one mainstream movie I was finally able to see.

If you haven't heard about this movie yet it's based on the true story of a man (Benjamin Mee) who decides to move out of his neighborhood after his son, Dylan, is expelled from school. He and his daughter, Rosie, spend hours looking for a new home and both fall in love with the same house as soon as they see it. Unfortunately, the house shares the land with a zoo. Benjamin decides to give it a chance and the adventure begins. If you have heard of it already, the description is still the same.

Matt Damon plays the part of Benjamin, a man who lost his wife six months ago and is trying to be the best dad he can. Matt needs to be a dad in more movies. I am in love with his character. For today anyway. I'll love someone else tomorrow. My dad is doing some reading about the real Mee family and has just informed me that the mom died of a brain tumor three months after they bought the zoo. Sad.

Scarlett Johansson plays the part of Kelly, the zookeeper. I didn't much care for Scarlett in the first few of her movies that I saw but I've liked her more and more as her career has progressed. She is sweet and serious and funny in this film. Even though my heart broke when she had to stand up to Benjamin regarding one of the animals I still loved her for it.

The children are played by Colin Ford (Dylan) and Maggie Elizabeth Jones (Rosie). Dylan is 14 and was forced to grow up too fast when he watched his mom struggle through her illness. He's sad, sullen and in major need of a good talking to. You know it's gonna happen. It's just a matter of when. Rosie is 7 and is a little ray of sunshine through the entire movie. I was so glad we never had to see her cry. I don't think I could've taken it. Unfortunately, sweet little Rosie says one of a few bad words in the movie. I kinda wonder, though, if the real little Mee said the same thing and that's why it was included.

I pretty much liked all of the characters in We Bought a Zoo except for the guy who had to inspect the zoo before it could re-open. He was a jerk and a pig. But that was the point. Rosie's one bad word was aimed at him.

At times during the movie the animals stole the scene. Buster, the bear and Spar, the tiger were my favorites. And Crystal, the Capuchin was so sweet. I want to own a zoo.

And now for the breakdown..

Cussing - Yes. This is one of the only things that bothered me since this is a family film. $#!+ is the favorite and both kids use bad words. I'm not condoning what Dylan said but I'm really not surprised he said it.
Drinking/Drugs - No drugs but quite a bit of drinking.
Sex/Nudity - None at all.
Violence - Nope.
Intense scenes - Just two. I won't tell you what happens but one involves snakes and the other involves a lion, a busted lock and a man inside the lion enclosure. This second scene includes PT's favorite line of the film, "I'm full of Scotch, bitterness and impure thoughts." She has said this repeatedly since we left the theater.

Who would I recommend this to? Pretty much anyone but with the warning to parents regarding the cussing and drinking. It is such a good family movie if not for that. I will definitely buy the Blu-Ray/DVD when it comes out and might just go see it at the theater again. Mainly to help their standing at the box office. And ladies, if you're having trouble getting your guy to go with you because he thinks it's a chick flick you can assure them that the mush is kept to a minimum.

Finally, I just wanted to mention that the final scene is now one of my favorite movie endings and the reason I'm now in love with Matt Damon. Go see this!

P.S. If you like animals as much as I (and pretty much all my family) do you may need Kleen-Ex. PT commented as we were leaving that she noticed I had cried. A few minutes later she admitted to doing the same after mom said that she had cried too. But, rest assured that this doesn't last long. You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll leave happy.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Movie List - November 2011

It was a bad month for movies apparently. But I got a lot of other things accomplished. I think.

1) Immortals
2) Jack and Jill
3) G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra
4) White Christmas (It's a tradition that the girls in the family watch this on Thanksgiving or at least Thanksgiving weekend. Mom and I were the only ones to carry it on this year. PT and Armat had other things to do. Oh well.)
5) Hugo
6) Thor (I showed PT the Conan O'Brien Thor trailer right before we watched the movie. We spent the whole movie doing the lines the way Conan did. And giggled the entire time. I love that girl.)
7) Young Adult

Young Adult (R/94 Min.)

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This does NOT seem to be the season for good movies. I saw Hugo last week and liked it and will be posting on it this weekend but other than that the last few films have not been kind. I thought Jack and Jill was bad but at least part of it was funny. This movie was just plain awful. Let me try to sum it up for you.

Mavis Gary is a lonely, washed-up young adult book author who decides to go back to her hometown in Podunk, MN. That’s not really the town’s name but you already knew that, didn’t you? Her plan is to track down her old boyfriend, Buddy, who now has a wife and brand spanking new baby girl and break up their marriage because he is so obviously unhappy. Along the way she runs into the guy who had the locker next to hers in high school. He was brutally attacked back in the good ol’ days and now walks with a cane. We get to hear a LOT about his crooked…ahem…member that was also victim to the attack. Mavis calls him Hate Crime Matt. She’s so sweet. Mavis tells Matt her plan. Matt tries to stop her…repeatedly. Mavis calls Buddy. They meet at a local sports pub. Buddy invites Mavis to come hear his wife’s band and after the gig Mavis drives Buddy home because he’s drunk and Beth (his wife) wants to hang with her band mates some more. Mavis and Buddy kiss. Buddy calls Mavis the next day and invites her to the baby naming ceremony. She shows up, asks him to speak in private and then tries to kiss him and get him to run away with her. He is having none of it. He not only stops her kiss but he blocks it with his hand and pushes her away then asks her to leave. When she’s out in the yard with all the other party goers she tells Beth she needs a real drink. Beth gets a pitcher of what looks like sangria and turns around too quickly. She bumps in to Mavis and dumps red drink all over her. Mavis flips (not literally), cusses Beth out and makes a general fool of herself. Buddy comes out and basically tells her that Beth made him invite her and that she’s the town joke. Ouch! She goes to Hate Crime Matt’s house and has relations with him. At this point the audience was strongly expressing their disgust. The next morning she extracts herself from Matt's embrace and sneaks out. She goes to the kitchen and helps herself to some coffee and conversation with Matt’s sister. The sister tells Mavis that she’s the best thing that happened to that town. Mavis, of course, agrees. She leaves, picks up her dog, who has been neglected in the hotel room through the whole movie, and then she heads home learning not much at all from her experience. Oh, and did I mention that Mavis is drunk through most of the movie? No? Well, she was.

There. Now you know what it’s about so you don’t need to waste your time or money. I was hoping this was going to be along the lines of My Best Friend’s Wedding. It wasn’t. And then some.

I was so completely disappointed in Charlize Theron. What on earth was she thinking? And what were the writers, director, producers, crew members, catering companies, etc. thinking? Did they really all sit there and watch as this was being filmed and think, “Wow! I see an Oscar in our future!”? They couldn’t have. I can’t believe this even made the big screen. This is another film I strongly considered walking out during but I stayed. For you. Because that’s how I roll.

I took Leanne with me and kept looking at her during to see if she was as pained as I was. Pretty much. I have a feeling she’s going to stop going to movies with me. Even if they ARE free. I felt dirty after. I needed a shower. And to reformat my brain. Well, I’ve probably needed that for years. I’ve decided that not only do they need to reimburse us the money it took to drive to the theater, they also need to send me two blank pieces of paper and replenish the ink used to print the passes. From hearing the people who sat around us we weren’t the only ones feeling this way.

I absolutely do not recommend this to anyone. Period. I refuse to even break down the cussing, sex, etc. Just don’t go see this. If more people read my blog I’d feel bad about saying all this but only a few people do so I won’t be affecting much of the box office take. I would like to say, “Thank you!!!” to those of you who do read this. It’s nice to know I’m not just talking to myself. Again. Oh, and speaking of not recommending this movie I’d like to give a big shout out to the intelligent life forms who brought their young children to this film. WHAT.WERE.YOU.THINKING?!!! It’s rated R for goodness sake!

P.S. I got my wish and Elizabeth Reaser (Esme from Twilight) had a bigger role in a movie. Finally. She doesn’t get to talk much, though, and she looks horrible. Be careful what you wish for.

P.P.S. There is absolutely no need to stay through the movie much less the credits. Unless you want to see who to blame.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Immortals (R/110 Min.)

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The gods have declared they will not become involved in the conflicts of man unless the Titans are released. Good thinking. For those of you who have managed not to see any previews for Immortals, the Titans fought against the gods, lost and were imprisoned; supposedly for eternity. You see where this is headed, don’t you? If you don’t see, you’ll probably love this movie and all it’s unpredictability. If you do see, you’ll spend most of the film as I did; just waiting for it to happen.

I have yet to see a friendly review of this film. Sadly, I feel compelled to join them. This is yet another movie about which Spike would yell at me, “It’s not real!!!” I know this and I knew this going in yet I can’t help but point out some of the really idiotic decisions made by the characters; more to the point…the gods. First, you (the gods) already know the Titans are tough sons of guns or their threat wouldn’t have been such to require eternal restraint. But knowing this you imprison them where? Somewhere on Mt. Olympus so that they can be guarded by the gods themselves? Nooooo! You imprison them inside Mt. Tartaros…on Earth. Well done, you.

Next, you know for a fact that something exists which can release the Titans. The Bow of Epirus. And where is the Bow of Epirus? It’s trapped in a rock formation, in a shrine, on the outskirts of a small village. On Olympus? You would think that but no. It’s on Earth too. It HAS to be on the other side of the planet, far far away from the Titans though. It just has to. Oh now why make it that hard for the bad guys? Let’s put it so close that you probably don’t even need to change horses to get between the two places. But, of course, the gods are going to make it darn near impossible to break through the rock formation in the shrine, on the outskirts of a small village, close to the Titans, on Earth, right? Ummm…okay. If you believe that please go back to the first paragraph. Read it again. Enjoy the show.

Third, let’s prove to man that you’re not going to step in and help them…ever. King Hyperion wasn’t completely stupid. He knew what he could get away with. Pretty much anything he wanted. And he was correct. Who ended up stopping Hyperion? Not the gods.

Finally, you said you would not become involved in the conflicts of man unless the Titans were released. How about becoming involved just before. You know, wait until there is no shadow of a doubt what is about to happen and then stop it. Instead, you choose to wait until the Titans, who you obviously fear, are set free and then step in. And when you do finally saddle up you’re going to bring hundreds of gods with you to turn the tide, correct? How about just four? Good idea. Then be surprised when the Titans overpower you. Being Greek gods and all you’d think you’d know the meaning of the word hubris and why it’s not a good thing to have.

I wanted to completely like this movie. A friend on Facebook said that “IMMORTALS is epically awful.” While I don’t think it was that bad it wasn’t far off. They wanted so badly for this movie to be like 300. They even went so far as to use the old make-them-come-through-a-small-space-so-we-don’t-have-to-fight-them-all-at-once ploy which was a big hit in that film. Unfortunately that didn’t work for very long in 300. And we all know how that ended. It does seem to have fared a little better in Immortals. What I really liked (insert sarcasm font here) was when the good guy (Theseus) was running down the tunnel, fighting bad guys as he went along, and we get to see little tableaus of other fighters in windows along the sides. I feel the need to point out yet another really bad decision. Why on earth would you build a tunnel so deep and with a gate that is impenetrable – unless someone is wielding the Bow of Epirus – and put rooms just inside the gate with stairs that lead to the rest of the keep? Maybe entrances from the keep side and not the OUTside would have been a wiser choice?

Enough of all that. Let’s discuss the acting, I mean, filler that kept this from being just one big action scene. I guess we did need some back story. I actually liked these parts the best. Well, some of them. Henry Cavill did a good enough job as Theseus but I think he was chosen more for his body than his acting. Not that I’m complaining. He is not difficult to watch. They also included Stephen Dorff. He would so be on my freebie list if I had such a thing and condoned having one. I guess Henry can be added to that also. But I think I’d need more than five. If you don’t know what I’m talking about you probably never watched Friends which is probably a good thing. One person in this film who would NOT make that list is Mickey Rourke. He was very believable to me as Mad King Hyperion. Mainly because I didn’t like him in the first place. Mickey…not the king. Okay, the king too. I have no idea why I don’t like him. He just gives me the creeps. Maybe that is his publicist’s goal. If so…mission accomplished.

I liked pretty much all of the gods but, then again, that’s what they wanted us to do. They were beautiful. Yes, even the men. None of them really got to talk much except for Zeus and Athena so I can’t really comment on their acting. I can, however, comment on their head gear. Seriously? What were you thinking? How threatening can you be with gold twigs and seashells sitting atop your noggin? I do have to say a big, “Yea for you!” to Kellan Lutz. You have this AND Breaking Dawn out at the same time. Talk about exposure. And speaking of exposure, the skirts the male gods were wearing covered all the naughty parts….just. The costume designers had a lot and a little to do in this movie.

I loved some of the background scenes in Immortals. The four statues holding up Mt. Tartaros from the inside? So neat! I liked what we could see of Mt. Olympus. I guess they didn’t have a big enough budget for all the marble that would be needed to show more. The walls running alongside Mt. Tartaros made me think of LOTR and now I want to watch those movies again. The little village was kind of neat too. The entire place was tucked in to the side of a mountain. I really liked the shrine except for the fact that it was a big maze. I guess they only wanted the faithful to be able to get in or out. I questioned why Theseus cut his leg before he went in but it didn’t take me long to figure out that he was marking the way with his bloody footprints. Gross!…and cool! I would like to know how he found his way to the center in the first place.

This film was rated R for one reason and one reason only. The violence. The nudity was limited to a derriere (my mom doesn’t like me to say “butt”) shot and a side view of a woman’s breast. Well, unless you count all the statues. If you do then there was a LOT of nudity. One of the reviews I read mentioned the diaphanous clothing of the Oracle. I didn’t notice but, then again, I wasn’t looking that hard either. The one sex scene in the entire film was limited to implied sex. There wasn’t much cursing and I don’t recall any drinking at all. We do get to watch Mickey Rourke eat which invoked a different kind of violence all on it’s own. Why do they always make the bad guys eat like that? Were they never taught table manners? Ewwww! Now back to the violence. It wasn’t just people beating each other up and killing each other. It was a literal blood bath. There was spewage, if you will. I was so glad I didn’t watch the 3-D version. What made it worse was these scenes were in slow-motion. Yuck! One of the Titans is cleaved in two and we get to see his insides quivering. This is definitely not a movie for young children, my mom or anyone with a weak stomach.

Would I recommend this movie to anyone? I really don’t know the answer to that question. I would almost say that if you liked 300 you’ll like Immortals but this was just lacking…something. I was mad about several things that happened so I don’t want to encourage anyone else to have to experience the same. While I disagree that this movie was epically awful it definitely wasn’t epically great either. It was epically meh! which, I’m sure, is not what the producers were going for.

P.S. The only reason to stay through the credits is because of the names. I challenge you to accurately pronounce them all. It was Greek to me.

P.P.S. The ending seemed to be setting up the chance for a sequel. I really hope not.

P.P.P.S. Orlando Bloom and Luke Evans (Zeus) need to be related to each other in some way, shape or form in a movie. I'm just sayin'.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Jack and Jill (PG/91 Min.)

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I should probably start this with a warning. This is going to be short and not very nice. I promise. To say this movie was bad doesn't do justice to the word. It was below awful. It was painful to watch. I took Leanne with me and was almost embarrassed for her. She didn't sound too thrilled when I asked her to go but she was a trooper and went anyway. She should not have had to sit through that. The good news though is that we didn't expect much and we certainly got what we expected...or didn't. Whatever.

Maybe we just don't appreciate Adam Sandler the way other people would. Except that I really do like some of his movies. So that can't be it. I have to hear the Turkey Song at lease once around Thanksgiving. And Christmas just isn't Christmas without Hannukah. Work that one out if you can. My point is, he CAN be funny. Just not in this.

I'd like to shout out a big, "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!!!" to all the people who had cameos in this. In no particular order...Regis Philbin, Dana Carvey, David Spade (Who am I kidding? This was right up his alley. He plays a woman. Yuck.), Shaquille O'Neal, Drew Cary, Jared from Subway, John McEnroe, Christie Brinkley, Michael Irvin, Bill Romanowski, Billy Blanks and Bruce Jenner. I might have missed one or two. Come on guys...and Christie. If someone was calling in a favor they should consider you paid in full! I can't believe I almost forgot the worst one. Al Pacino. How the mighty have fallen.

I'm gonna move on to the breakdown since I can't think of anything nice to say about the movie.

Sex/Nudity - None. Thank goodness!
Alcohol/Drugs - Lots of drinking. Even the used-as-a-joke-five-too-many-times bird gets drunk.
Violence - A little but it's meant to be funny.
Cussing - I have no idea. I'm serious. I even called Leanne to see if she remembered. There had to be. Right?

To say that I would recommend this to anyone would be a huge stretch but if I absolutely had to I'd say that anyone who loves every Adam Sandler movie ever made or is related to the guy who sat next to Leanne will love this movie. My IQ was cut in half just watching it so I have no idea if that sentence even made sense. I think you get the point. Please, for the love of all that's good and right in the world, don't go see Jack and Jill.

P.S. I just remembered a positive about the experience. We didn't have to pay for the tickets. Wahoo!

P.P.S. If you do go see this you'll probably stay through the credits anyway because it's a bunch of twins being "funny". Once that stops you can go ahead and drag yourself to the nearest exit because there's nothing else to see. Not even a teaser about a sequel. Oh! Another positive!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Movie List - October 2011

This was supposed to be my month of scary movies. Let's see how that turned out, shall we?

1) Dolphin Tale
2) Dream House
3) Real Steel
4) The Stratton Story
5) Smokin’ Aces
6) Footloose (2011)
7) Footloose (1984)
8) Top Gun
9) She’s the Man – PT loved this. I ended up buying it for her while she was in town visiting.
10) The Three Musketeers (2011) - I promise I'll post on this soon.
11) The Three Musketeers (1993)
12) 127 Hours
13) Anonymous
14) Paranormal Activity 3
15) Saw
16) 1408 – A good portion of it anyway. The DVR wasn’t working correctly.
17) Halloween

So, all in all, there was only one movie that necessitated my hiding behind my hands because of scary scenes. I did hide behind my hands for a couple parts of Saw but only because they were gross. The toilet scene about did me in. Blech!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Paranormal Activity 3 (R/83 Min.)

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It is the month of October – though it is almost over – and that means that I’m watching more scary movies than usual. Or that was my intention anyway. I think I’m going to have to let scary movie month ooze over, so to speak, in to November. A little bit anyway.

A couple nights ago I went, by myself, to see Paranormal Activity 3. Why did I go by myself? Don’t ask. I wasn’t supposed to but that’s what ended up happening. So, I got to the theater and climbed to my normal spot – back row, center – and prepared to be skeered. While sitting there wondering what on earth on I was thinking I took a moment to look around. Not only did I go to the movie by myself but I was in the theater BY. MY. SELF!!! Yup. That’s right. All by my lonesome. The back corner seats were looking mighty cozy. The only way any critter could get at me there was from the front and I’d see them coming long before they got there. And don’t think I wouldn’t have been able to make it to the foot of the stairs without ever touching the floor. I have talents, man. Now, you may think I’m making this up as I type but these thoughts really and truly were running through my mind as I sat there…”in the night…in the dark”. Anyone besides Leann, name that movie. Why then was I even watching this in the first place? I have absolutely no idea. Scary movies are scary. Imagine that. Maybe it’s the cheap thrill in relative safety. Yeah. I’ll go with that.

If you’ve seen the first two movies in this series then you already know whether or not you’re going to like the prequel. And whether or not you’re going to be scared. This contained the same jump-out-at-you type scares that were in the first two. And they even came up with a way to not make people sick while watching. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who tossed her popcorn during the first movie. This time they used an oscillating fan. They attached the video camera to the base so that it would film while sweeping back and forth from the front entry and living room to the kitchen. This little set-up did NOT make me happy. I was just waiting for it to sweep from one room to the other and instead of seeing the room I’d see a big, scary face. I’m not saying whether this happened or not but I was definitely worried it would.

Let’s pause for a moment to discuss the trailers for PA3, shall we? Let me tell you exactly what was in both the trailers AND the movie. Pretty much NOTHING! How rude is that? It’s one thing to have a teaser trailer that doesn’t quite give you the story and leaves you guessing but this was a complete and total falsehood. I protest! If you were looking forward, as I was, to seeing some of those scenes on the big screen the only thing I can say is you’d better find someone with a hugantic TV and watch the trailer at their house because that’s as close as you’re gonna get.

Now back to our program. Be warned. This next part may ruin the movie for you. Read on…if you dare. I expected the prequel to answer questions that arose from the first two movies. The only thing it really answered is what happened to Julie and Dennis (the mom and mom’s live-in boyfriend). That’s it. So, basically this movie was for scares only. Not surprising really but still…

There’s no way to say much more without just flat out telling you everything that happened so I’m gonna just skip to the breakdown. Oh wait. No, I’m not. If you think it’s okay to take your child to a movie like this then nothing I say is going to stop you. All I can tell you is enjoy the nightmares. Not yours. Your kids. Okay, I’m finished proselytizing. For now.

Would I recommend this movie to anyone? Crap, no! Unless you’re a big goober like me who likes to safely scare the daylights out of herself on occasion. Or unless you just happen to like scary movies and aren’t the big baby that I am. Some of you may think this is downright tame. I’d like to hear from those of you in that camp. Mainly so I’ll know who to take with me next time.

P.S. Do NOT cover your eyes during the scene in which Katie is crying at the foot of the stairs. I did and I totally missed what happened. And keep ‘em open when grandma walks in after Dennis gets knocked down soon after the deal with Katie. If you don't, you’ll wonder what on earth went on there. If you go see this and avoid hiding behind your hands please tell me what I missed. I’d appreciate it because I will NOT be seeing this movie again.

P.P.S. If you want a heads up regarding the scary scenes feel free to contact me. I won’t tell you what scary things happen but I’ll let you know what leads up to them so you’ll be prepared.

P.P.P.S. I ended up not being alone in the theater. Several more people came in including the three adults who sat in front of me and threw their concessions in the air during one particularly startling scene. Broke the tension a bit for me. Thank you, whoever you are.

P.P.P.P.S. Last one. I promise. Mainly because my hands are freezing. Even though I thought that maybe the director of this film was going to be cute and throw something startling in to the credits somewhere, I stayed through them. You won’t need to. Oh, the things I do for you.

Anonymous (PG-13/130 Min.)

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"You may have betrayed me but you will never betray my words."

To say I enjoyed Anonymous is a bit of an understatement. Except for a few moments in which the audience responded to something that happened on the screen I completely forgot I was in a theater. I had been transported to early 17th century England. I did miss you while I was there. Leann, her daughter Aspirin and Aspirin's boyfriend (I haven't come up with a secret identity for him yet) went with me and they all said they liked it so you don't have to just take my word for it. Then again, you never have to take my word for it. I'm just putting that out there.

For those of you who have neither seen the trailers nor read any reviews for Anonymous, this is a speculation of who really wrote William Shakespeare's plays, poems, etc. They told the story so well that I couldn't stand good ol' Will by the end. We found out, as far as the film goes, who wrote those famous lines and why he didn't receive credit for them. Fortunately for him he was happy with the applause even though the people thought they were lauding someone else.

The actors were wonderful. I loved that they used a mother and daughter - Vanessa Redgrave and Joely Richardson - to play the part of Queen Elizabeth at different ages. And the actor who played the Earl of Oxford was so different than any character I've ever seen him portray. Had I known at the time that he was the man who played the part of the gross roommate in one of my favorite movies and the compulsive gambler/football player in another I might have had a hard time getting in to his character in Anonymous. I was determined that he was one of the Fiennes boys. I was obviously wrong. He needs to be nominated for a Golden Globe at the very least. If you figure out who he is while you're watching the movie let me know. I will be very impressed.

The scenery and costumes were gorgeous. The men looked dashing and the women looked...uncomfortable. There appeared to be a few close calls due to daring décolletages but everything stayed where it should have. And all of the manors, castles, etc. were stunning. I would love to return to England in hopes that I could capture pictures of the fog shrouding the countryside and the beautiful edifices early in the morning. Is it possible to be homesick for a place you only lived for a year-and-a-half?

The breakdown for this is fairly simple. There was minimal cursing because apparently their adjectives were less vulgar than what is used today. At least in this movie anyway. Men are shot and one man is beheaded - it showed right up to the swing of the axe - but it is not bloody or gory. A lot of ale is consumed. There is no nudity except for a figure on a tavern sign and the sex scenes were implied. Sadly, I couldn’t remember whether or not the second intimate scene was implied so I had to call Aspirin to be sure. They really were very small parts of the film.

I highly recommend this movie unless you're strictly an action movie type fan and even then I'd suggest giving this a go. And despite the relatively tame descriptions in the breakdown I would still question taking PT to see this and she'll be 14 next month. I don't know if many kids her age or younger would be interested in it. I hope they would be but you never can tell.

I will be buying Anonymous when it comes out on DVD and I hope to see it among the nominees for the Academy Awards. In several categories. It definitely deserves it.

P.S. No need to stay through the credits.

P.P.S. Kudos to you if you can figure out - while watching the movie - what actor played the part of the Earl of Southampton. I knew I knew who he was but I just couldn't quite place him. I'm almost ashamed to admit that I had to look him up when I got home. Almost.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Footloose (2011) (PG-13/113 Min.)

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“Let’s dance!!!”

This evening I dragged Leann kicking and screaming to the pre-screening of Footloose. She is loyal to her original Footloose and wanted nothing to do with the remake. She was adamant. She was not going. I told her I’d bake apple pies for her for the rest of her life if she’d go with me. OR! I asked her last week if she wanted to go with me and she said something along the lines of, “Sure! But I don’t want to like it.” I’ll let you choose whichever scenario you want to believe. But I do agree with what she said. I was determined that there was no way this was going to be as good as the original. So maybe I was wrong in some ways. A little. It does happen on occasion.

I’m going to go ahead and assume that you two or three people who read my little blog have seen the original movie. Okay? Okay. Did you know that this is loosely based on events that happened in Elmore City, OK? I didn’t either until, before the movie started, a local DJ shared that tidbit and then introduced us to a couple of the people in the audience about whom the movie was, once again, loosely based. Cool, huh? Well, it was interesting anyway. What I don’t get is why, if it was based on an Oklahoma city, the movies are set in Utah and Georgia.

Anyway, since you’ve already seen the original (again…assumptions) I’m going to use this post to compare the two movies. Let’s begin shall we? And, if I make any mistakes, feel free to correct me. I did watch the original for 100th time a few months ago and I still could be missing a few things. It does happen on occasion. Just a warning…this is completely filled with spoilers for the new movie.

1984 – Ren moves with his mom from Chicago to Bomont, UT.
2011 – Ren moves from Boston to Bomont, GA to live with his aunt and uncle because his mother has died from Leukemia.

1984 – We hear about kids having been killed playing car tag on the way home from a party. One of the kids killed is the main female character’s (Ariel) brother.
2011 – We see kids driving home from a party lose control of the car and run in to a semi. All five kids are killed. The driver of the car is Ariel’s brother. The little girl sitting in front of us turned to her mom and in a very loud voice asked, “Are they dead now?” Totally broke up the tension of the scene.

1984 – Ren and Chuck play chicken while driving a couple of tractors. Ren wins but only because his shoelace gets caught on one of the tractor pedals and he can’t jump.
2011 – Ren and Chuck race buses in a figure eight and end up in a game of chicken when Ren’s brakes fail.

1984 – Ariel’s act of daring-do is balancing on the window sills (are they called that?) of a car and truck while they’re driving down the road and a semi is headed towards them. She jumps in to the truck at the last second.
2011 – Ariel’s act of daring-do is sitting on the window sill of a race car (with her legs inside) while her boyfriend Chuck drives it around the track. This scares her best friend for some reason who then cries and tells Ariel to find her own way home. Why on earth would this scare anyone?

1984 – Rev. Shaw changes his mind about the dance after stopping a book burning rally.
2011 – Rev. Shaw changes his mind about the dance after Ren comes to talk to him.

1984 – The music. What can I say? Who didn’t love the Soundtrack? You didn’t? Well, besides you.
2011 – The music was good and they remade a couple of the old songs but I like the original tunes better. I wonder if I would’ve felt the same if I’d seen the remake first. I liked the new version of “I Need a Hero” but I agree with Leann in that it wasn’t as good as the 1984 version. It was country instead of rock.

1984 – Ren dances in the abandoned warehouse to “Never” by Moving Pictures. At the beginning of the scene he has flashbacks to different bad things that have happened since he moved to Bomont.
2011 – Ren dances in the abandoned warehouse to a song I’ve never heard of and didn’t much like. At the beginning of the scene he yells at a room full of nobody. It’s everything he wanted to say when he is talked down to throughout the first few scenes.

1984 – Ren brings his yellow VW Bug with him to Bomont.
2011 – Uncle Wes tells Ren he can have his yellow VW Bug if he can fix it.

1984 – Ren is pulled over and given a $25 ticket for blasting “Bang Your Head (Metal Health)”.
2011 – Ren is pulled over and ordered to appear in court for blasting “Bang Your Head (Metal Health)”.

1984 – The uncle is a jerk.
2011 – The uncle is very supportive.

1984 – Ren is on the gymnastics team (squad?).
2011 – Ren was a gymnast at his old school but is now on the football team.

1984 Ren (Kevin Bacon) – A guy who has a bit of a spastic style of dance and not much of an accent to speak of (no pun intended).
2011 Ren (Kenny Wormald) – A guy who has a bit of a spastic style of dance and has a thick Boston accent. And! Sorry Kevin…he’s way cuter than the original Ren. It was somewhat painful watching both of these guys dance. Says the person who couldn’t dance if you lit a fire under her.

1984 Willard (Chris Penn) – Goofy good ol’ boy befriends Ren who ends up teaching him to “dance”.
2011 Willard – (Miles Teller) – Goofy good ol’ boy befriends Ren who ends up teaching him to dance. As with Ren, I liked the new Willard better. He was hilarious. I think I might have known a couple of this Willard in high school. And I like the way he dances much better than I liked original Willard.

1984 Ariel (Lori Singer) – Rebellious PK who gets in as much trouble as possible just to get her daddy’s attention. Not a bad dancer.
2011 Ariel (Julianne Hough) – Same as above except better dancer. At least I think so. Both of them get in to a fight with Chuck after they break up with him.

1984 Rusty (Sarah Jessica Parker) – Ariel’s best friend. I liked this Rusty better than the remake. She’s more outgoing and funny.
2011 Rusty (Ziah Colon) – Still Ariel’s best friend. Her and Willard’s relationship just sort of springs out of nowhere.

1984 Chuck (Jim Youngs) – Ariel’s boyfriend. He’s a jerk in both movies and I can’t decide in which movie I like him better. We’ll call it a tie.
2011 Chuck (Patrick John Flueger) – Still Ariel’s boyfriend. I think he totally looks like Patrick Swayze.

This could go on and on and on but it’s way past my bed time. Oh who am I kidding? It’s not 2 a.m. yet. Let’s break it down.

Cussing – Yes there was with the favorite being $#!+.

Sex/Nudity – We have/get to see Ariel take her shirt off and use it as a flag. She is wearing a bra. We know someone is about to have sex but we don’t see it happen. The original shows guys behinds. Not so in the remake.

Drinking/Drugs – Yes. Quite a bit of beer and one joint.

Violence – Two-and-a-half fight scenes. One between Chuck and Ariel. One between Ren and Willard and Chuck and his friends. Half between Willard and a guy from a dance club. I say half because Willard gets knocked out with the first punch.

I wanted to be able to tell you that the remake totally stunk and you should just save your money but I can’t do that. I really really liked it. Except for the music. No one can replace Kenny Loggins, Deniece Williams and Bonnie Tyler. For Footloose anyway. I can’t remember if I saw the 1984 version at the theater when it came out. I’ll have to ask my parents. I was only 2 at the time. The only reason I’d say this isn’t for kids is because of the cussing. I don’t think young children would understand what is happening in the we-know-they’re-about-to-do-it scene. The kissing did bother the little girl that sat in front of us though. She cracked up everyone around her when she yelled, “Eeeewwwwww! Gross!”

We got to see this movie for free but I wouldn’t have minded paying to see it. I will definitely own this and would recommend it for anyone who liked the original and for those who never saw it. If you never saw the original you should rent it before you see the remake. Watching the remake first will, more than likely, ruin the 1984 version for you. And since it’s 1 a.m. and I’m still wide awake I think I’ll put in the original movie and try to go to sleep.

P.S. There are plenty of names to make fun of in the credits but other than that there is no reason to stick around.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sports

Following is the list of my favorite sports movies. I know it’s probably shy a few really good ones but these are films that have stuck in my head and I’ve watched a time or twenty. For some reason I keep wanting to add The Natural to the list but in all honesty I only saw it once and though I remember liking it the only things I remember are that it starred Robert Redford and it was about baseball. I’m pretty sure that doesn’t qualify it as a favorite. Feel free to chime in with some of your own favorites or even question some of mine. We’re all entitled to our own opinions. I’d like to hear some of yours. I assure you that not all of the movies will have a long-winded reason for my favor. I’ll try to keep it to a minimum. Now, in no particular order…

1) The Stratton Story (1949) - I just watched this again about an hour ago. If ever there was a come-back story this one is it. And if you’re a baseball fan and have never seen this movie you should. Forget that. Everyone should see this movie. So there. Jimmy Stewart plays the role of Monty Stratton, a farm boy who plays 5 years for the Chicago White Sox. His career is prematurely interrupted when a hunting accident necessitates the amputation of his right leg. But Monty doesn’t stay down. He never got back to his pre-injury talent but he still played. Despite cheap bunts by opposing teams. And this is back before sports prosthetics. We’re talking the 1940s here people. I promise this movie makes for good watching.

2) Miracle (2004) - I grew up watching the Oklahoma City Stars play hockey. My dad was still in school and this was a relatively cheap entertainment that my whole family could enjoy. Despite a love of the sport I was completely oblivious, at the mature age of 8, to the fact that the US defeated Russia in hockey. Why was this match such a big deal? The Russians had been training for years. The US team? Months. The Russian team was a hockey power house. They had taken Olympic gold 6 years running. They had veteran players. The average age of players on the US team? 21 years. Several of the men on the Russian team had played together for 15 years. And finally, President Jimmy Carter announced that the US would be boycotting the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. I find it amazing that Brezhnev didn’t reply in kind regarding the Winter Olympics in New York. Had he done so this game would never have taken place and there is a pretty good chance Russia would have continued on as the ultimate team to beat. As it was, the US got to change the history of hockey…in a big way. I get that I didn’t say a lot about the movie itself but I’m hoping just the basic facts will pique your interest. I love sports films based on true stories. This is definitely one to watch.

3) Mystery, Alaska (1999) - Yes, another hockey movie. A small town team in Alaska is chosen to play against the New York Rangers in a televised event. I first watched this because it’s about hockey but also because it stars Russell Crowe. Two very good reasons if I do say so myself. This is a fun movie to watch. I especially like the scene in which the player gets knocked out with a snow shovel. He so had it coming.

4) The Replacements (2000) – “Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Glory…lasts forever.” The best line in the whole stinkin’ movie. Yes. This is a comedy/come-back type of sports movie but it’s good just the same. And it stars Keanu Reeves who, I am not ashamed to admit, is just all kinds of cute. Please don’t let they sway your opinion of my little movie/dinner site. Oh! And if you have a weak stomach I highly recommend fast-fowarding through the scene just after the player eats the eggs. I know I do.

5) Blue Skies Again (1983) – “What did you say?” You heard me. I know a lot of you have probably never heard of this movie. My sister and I discovered it on HBO (I think that was the channel) and watched it nearly every time it came on. It’s a baseball movie. “So what?” you ask? It’s a baseball movie starring Robyn Barto as the female…yes, you read that correctly…who tries out for a minor-league baseball team. This movie never won any awards and was virtually unheard of but we didn’t care. We got to see the obstacles she had to overcome just to get the try-out and when she did make the team (sorry to ruin it for you) the other team refused to even pitch to her. But everything came out in the wash. This is a good girl-power movie. I just wish I could find it on DVD.

6) Without Limits (1998) – This is another based-on-a-true-story movie. Steve Prefontaine was a track star in the early ‘70s who still holds unbeaten world records to this day. As I have never in my entire life enjoyed running and I was just a month or two old when Pre raced in the Munich Olympics, I hadn’t heard of this film before I ran across it in a friend’s movie collection. Did it motivate me to get out there and run? No. But I still liked the movie.

7) Moneyball (2011) – See? I told you it made my list. See my post to get the 411.

8) Ice Castles (1978/2010) – Seriously? You’re darn tootin’! Ice skating is a sport. If you’ve never heard of this movie or its remake you’re either a guy (wow, that was sexist!) or you just didn’t feel like watching a film about ice skating. The main song, “Through The Eyes of Love”, is uber-famous. This is the story of Lexie Winston, a small-town ice skater with no formal training who catches the eye of a competitive skating coach. She is destined for greatness when an accident causes her to lose her sight. Despite this fact she works her way back to the competitive skating world. My favorite line? “We forgot about the roses.” Just a warning. The original movie drops the F-bomb…a lot!

9) A League of Their Own (1992) – I love this movie. It’s got girls playing baseball when the boys go off to fight a war. What’s not to love?

10) Goal! The Dream Begins (2005) – This is the story of Santiago, a kid who dreams of becoming a professional soccer player…pardon me…footballer. I believe this was set up to be a trilogy and I own the first two films but haven’t heard anything yet about the third. I hope it gets made because they kinda left us hanging.

11) -16) The Rocky Movies – Yup. All of ‘em. I can’t help it. I’m addicted.

17) Stick It (2006) – Well. That was rude. Ha! This is a gymnastics movie. But! Not your typical gymnastics movie. Haley Graham is forced to enroll in an elite gymnastics program. Unfortunately, it happens to be a program upon which the snooty competition judges look down their noses. Because of this the gymnasts are given lower scores than they should have been. In one instance a point is deducted because the girl’s bra strap was showing. But it’s not just their team that is suffering. The girls’ scores are based more on popularity than skill. Yes. They do have to be somewhat good but little things are overlooked if they’re beloved. “That would only happen in the movies,” you say? Really? Have you paid attention to an Olympic sport in which judges are necessary? It’s not always fair and you know it. Haley sets out to change the rules. There is some cussing but it’s a cute movie nonetheless. I especially like the mall scene. And anyone who thinks gymnastics is not a sport needs to pay close attention to Haley’s solo training scene. Yikes! No thank you very much.

18) Wimbledon (2004) – Ask me what I know about tennis and I will tell you…Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras and Bj√∂rn Borg. What? I know the very basics of the game but couldn’t even begin to explain it to anyone. Why did I watch this movie? Paul Bettany. Enough said.

I could probably go on and on but I think 18 is a pretty good list, don’t you? What are some of your favorites?

P.S. Judging by my responses on FB I missed quite a few. Looks like I'm going to have to break down and separate out the different sports. Consider this my first draft.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Real Steel

If you know me…and, well most of you don’t…you know I like boxing. Watching. Not participating. Although there are days I wouldn’t mind going a round or two. I get that it can be a violent sport but there’s just something about it. It’s not just two guys slugging it out in front of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people. It’s being able to read your opponent. It’s fighting ‘til you just can’t fight any more. It’s the grand-standing. It’s the entrance music. It’s the excitement of the crowd. It’s the build-up to the main event. It’s being able to walk away once the fight is over and leave it in the ring. Okay. Not always. Sometimes the trash talk continues after the bout but that’s all part of the fun. Couple all that with Hugh Jackman, Dakota Goyo and a robot who just won’t quit and you’ve got Real Steel. I know that’s more than a couple but you know what I mean. All that was missing was Michael Buffer booming, “LLLLLET’S GET READY TO RUMBLLLLLLLLE!”

Someone on IMBD says Real Steel is, “Set in the near future, where robot boxing is a top sport, a struggling promoter feels he's found a champion in a discarded robot. During his hopeful rise to the top, he discovers he has an 11-year-old son who wants to know his father.”

Wow! Did you even see the movie? Despite the fact that I put that summary in my post you can pretty much ignore it. There are 5 truths in the above statement. Real Steel is set in the near future. Robot boxing is a top sport. And it’s a story about a robot, a struggling promoter and an 11-year-old boy.

Charlie is the main character; a down on his luck gambler and robot boxing promoter. He’s so washed up that in the opening scene we find he’s scheduled a bout between his robot and a bull. What? Yup. You heard (read?) correctly. A bull. I wanted to be completely appalled by this but the idea was just so silly I wasn’t really bothered at all. But still. A bull? Moving on… Charlie has the brains and boxing talent that should shoot him to the top in the robot boxing world but he’s got a really bad case of arrogance to go along with it and it destroys everything he sets out to accomplish.

In steps Max, Charlie’s son, who shows him that there are still things in the world worth fighting for. And Max himself is definitely a fighter. Add ten years and a hundred pounds to this kid and you’ll have yourself a contender. He’s got the heart. He’s got the mind. I love this kid. And I love the scene where he tries to protect his dad. It happens quickly but it’s there.

Max is actually the one who “finds” the robot (Atom). Actually, Atom sort of finds him. Max wants to put Atom in the ring but Charlie keeps insisting that the robot will end any fights in pieces. Max is determined and apparently what Max wants, Max gets. I tell ya. The kid’s a scrapper.

Charlie is played by Hugh Jackman. That fact alone would make me go see this movie. It didn’t hurt that he put in his typical performance. Typical in that it was super awesome! Sorry. Just seeing if you were paying attention. He did such a good job that there were several scenes in which I wanted to smack him. Get over yourself, dude! You are so not all that! This is another teddy-bear-behind-the-gruff-exterior movie. At the end of the film you’ll almost have forgotten what a bum he was at the beginning. Unless you’re writing a blog. Then it’s kind of important that you remember. One of my favorite lines from the film shows he’s finally thinking of someone besides himself. “You deserve better than me!” Oh Charlie. Sniffle.

Dakota Goyo plays the part of Max. Get ready for some cheese. This kid grabbed my heart from the beginning and didn’t let go. Cheese over. Yeah, his life pretty much sucks but he didn’t pout about it much. Like I said. He’s a fighter. Dakota was so much fun to watch. I hope he makes it way past being a child star. I think he stands a fighting chance. Get it? Fighting. Okay. I’m done. Their relationship sorta (and I’m stretching a bit here) reminds me of the relationship between Lincoln Hawk (Stallone) and Michael Cutler (David Mendenhall who, by the way, is way cute now!) in the movie Over the Top. Except the acting is better and there is a lot less mumbling. And robot boxing is way cooler than arm wrestling. You know it’s true.

Evangeline Lilly plays Charlie’s love interest, Bailey. If/when you see this you’ll get a glimpse of what I act like during a boxing match. That and she and I look a lot alike. I mean we could be sisters. Stop laughing. Keep reading. This was the first time I’d ever seen Evangeline so I had no biases one way or the other regarding her talent. No. I never saw an episode of Lost. Don’t look so surprised. She is yet another fighter in this movie. She believes in Charlie even when he’s down on his luck. Two more favorite lines in Real Steel? Baily: “1200 miles for a kiss?” Charlie: “Worth it.”

And to wrap up, so to speak, the actors I leave you with Kevin Durand. I strongly disliked him in Real Steel. He is a jerk and a bully and a coward. How can a bully be a coward? Because most bullies are. Kevin plays the part of Ricky, a big-mouthed Texan who, years ago, beat Charlie boxing. We don’t see this happen, thank goodness. We just get to hear about it. Ricky tells Charlie that he’s going to beat him to within an inch of his life if he doesn’t settle up on a bet. And when the whoopin’ takes place it’s not just Ricky doing the beat down. He brings two thugs along with him. And one of them is carrying a bat! C-O-W-A-R-D!!! We know Ricky gets his own at the end but we don’t get to see it happen. Dang. I like Kevin but the accent was a tad thick. He’s one of at least 3 Canadian actors in this film. Just curious, Kevin. Have you ever even been to Texas? Maybe I just haven’t run in to a stereotypical Texan yet.

I can’t move on to the break-down without talking about Atom. I want an Atom. Even though most every other robot in the movie had way more flash I still like the looks of Atom best. He’s very basic. And he’s more than just an inanimate object. We are led to believe that he is cognizant but we don’t really get to see much of that fact except a couple of times in the final fight. And not in the way I was hoping. But, seeing as how the producers came up with a much better fight than I wanted I guess I’m okay with that. Was the final score of the bout fair? You betcha. If you disagree then you definitely need to watch a few real fights.

Now for the break-down.

Sex/Nudity – None. Not even a you-know-it’s-gonna-happen scene

Drinking/Drugs – The movie starts with Charlie knocking over a bottle of beer and other bottles are in the background. And there is at least one other scene in which alcohol is present. I didn’t see any drugs at all. Yea!

Cussing – Yes. And a few of the words came out of Max’s mouth. Seriously? I don’t care that this is supposed to be the boxing world. Was that really necessary Shawn Levy (director) and John Gatins (screenplay)? Is it okay to hope that your kids talk like that in public (or private even)? No. I know it’s not.

Violence – Yes. And I’m not talking about the robots. I refer you to the afore-mentioned butt-whoopin’ scene. Yeah. The robots do beat the stuffin’s out of each other but it’s not the same as watching it happen to people. Charlie even talks about this in the movie.

I just talked to PT and she said she thought it was AWESOME! She said that she (and a lot of the people around her) was on the edge of her seat during the final fight scene. I have to admit that I was too. On the edge of my seat. Not hers. We wouldn’t both fit.

I would recommend this to pretty much anybody. Unless you’re totally hooked on Masterpiece Theater type movies. Because this is not. Parents please see the break-down above when you consider taking your kids to see it. I will say that I sat next to several very fidgety kids who seemed to love it.

I will definitely buy this when it comes out on DVD. I may even have to go to the theater to see it again. Television (okay MY television) just won’t give the robots the magnitude they deserve. I also want the soundtrack. Loved the music!!!

P.S. One thing I really loved about Real Steel is that none of the fight scenes had the hug fests that tend to occur in a lot of human boxing matches. Get a room, guys!

P.P.S. I still think they should have used Michael Buffer in this film.

P. P.P.S. No need to stick around. Nothing to see here but credits. Move along folks.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Dream House

If you’ve seen the previews for Dream House and you thought what happens is what I thought would happen then you are so wrong. I went to this thinking it would be a good way to kick off my month of scary movies. I chose the wrong movie for that.

According to IMDB: “Soon after moving into their seemingly idyllic new home, a family learns of a brutal crime committed against former residents of the dwelling.”

Kudos to whoever produced the trailer and also to whoever wrote the summary above. You totally set us up to believe something that was completely untrue. I love it!

Because this just came out Friday I’ll try not to give too much away. I will say that the husband and wife are totally dedicated to and love each other. I was worried about this at one point. I was wrong. I don’t know if Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig were already dating when they filmed Dream House but if they weren’t they did an excellent job of seeming as if they were in love.

There are so many things I liked about this movie but I can’t talk about them without giving away important information. Let’s just talk about the characters. Daniel plays book editor Will Atenton, a man who has been married to his job for years and has decided to leave it all to spend more time with his family. Until close to the end of the movie I never questioned his loyalty to his family. He loves his wife and adores his daughters. Well played, Daniel. Oh ! And his contract stipulation in which he bares his chest at least once held up yet again. We get to see his torso at least three times in the film. Woohoo!

Rachel plays Will’s wife, Libby. I’m assuming by the little we know about her that she’s an artist/interior decorator. I so want the plaid chair, by the way. She knows her husband. And by that I mean she really KNOWS her husband. She pays attention. He and their girls are her world. She can tell just by looking at him that he’s worried or possibly keeping something from her even when he’s trying to hide both emotions. Is this typical in most marriages? Sadly, I wouldn’t know. It wasn’t in mine. But that’s beside the point. I wish Rachel and Daniel the same kind of relationship in their real marriage as they had in the movie. Minus the few obstacles.

Libby and Will’s daughters, Trish and Dee Dee, are played by real-life sisters, Taylor and Claire Geare. I would love to be able to sit in on a movie set in which some of the actors are the same age as these girls. I wonder how many takes there were for any scene in which they were involved. I can imagine an adult having the complete attention of a child when it’s just one on one but these girls had to contend with not just their “parents” but also the film crew, probably their real parents and who knows what other distractions. I don’t know that I could do it. Oh wait. I do too. No. I couldn’t. These girls were great in their roles and I hope to see them in other movies.

And as for the title character of the movie… I want that house. Or the way it was at the beginning anyway. So nice. And I want my kids (when I have them) to have secret rooms off their bedrooms. That would be so cool. And I want someone to come decorate it for me because I really do have absolutely no sense of style.

Now on to other important matters. This movie was “Rated PG-13 for violence, terror, some sexuality and brief strong language”. Yup. That about sums it up. I’ll still break it down a little more.

Sex/Nudity – We know sex was had. We just don’t see it happen. The only nudity we see is Daniel’s bare chest.

Drinking/Drugs – There is champagne at the very beginning to celebrate Will’s going away but that’s it. We don’t see much eating or drinking at all during the movie.

Cussing – Yes. And it’s not surprising. You’d cuss too.

Violence – Yes. But not as much as I thought there’d be. The stitched up wound on the back of a character’s head was kinda gross but there’s very little blood and no gore.

Terror – I wouldn’t state it that dramatically. There was one part that made me jump but they show it in the previews so I was ready for it.

I think because of some of the movies PT has already seen that she would probably be okay this one. There was a family at the showing I was at who had children under 10 years of age, one of which looked to be under 5. I most definitely wouldn’t have taken them based solely on the previews and even if they did have all the facts I still think it should have been too much for kids their age. Maybe I should start fighting for theaters to actually enforce the ratings ages. If you’re under 13 you can’t go see PG-13 movies. If you’re under 17 you can’t see anything rated R. Whether you’re accompanied by an adult or not. I’m betting that wouldn’t go over too well with some parents.

Despite the rant above I would totally recommend this to anyone who likes a good thriller. If you’re like me and want to see something scary…not so much. Just get out of that mind set and you’ll probably like it. I did.

P.S. There is no reason to hang around through the credits unless you just want to.

Dolphin Tale

Unless you are completely against feel-good type movies you really need to go see Dolphin Tale. I was drawn in to this movie from the beginning and was so disappointed when the credits started rolling. I wanted to see more.

Dolphin Tale is the [inspired by the] true story of Winter, a bottlenose dolphin who was injured when she became caught in a crab trap, and the boy (Sawyer) who helped rescue her. Going solely by the title of the movie this is just about Winter but it’s really about so much more. This story has many other personal triumphs too. Sawyer is a seemingly shy, closed-off boy who finds something to speak up for. Kyle is his cousin who is encouraged to carry on and find new dreams. Dr. Clay is the marine biologist who overcomes personal tragedy to help Winter survive. Dr. McCarthy is a prosthetic doctor who, while working to give Winter a tail, revolutionizes the prosthetic industry. And! The evil hotel tycoon isn’t really what he seems.

I’m really only going to focus on one actor/character this time. Nathan Gamble. He played the part of Sawyer Nelson, champion to stranded dolphins and fire beneath wayward cousins. Comparatively speaking, he didn’t have a lot of lines in this movie but when he did say something things happened. He fought to be able to take care of Winter. His mom listened. He yelled at his cousin to wake up (metaphorically speaking) and he did. He wanted to raise awareness and money for Winter and the entire town came together. Although Nathan didn’t get to say that much he was easy to believe as the loner kid who just needed something special to bring him in to his own. He needs to be in more movies. And he needs being a celebrity to not affect him.

There are some sad scenes in this movie but you pretty much know that going in to it. I was so glad I wore a long-sleeved shirt as I cried a little during the sad parts and a little more during the happy ones. Big baby. Let me tell you though, it is SO not easy to dry your eyes on the cuff of your shirt when you’re reaching under regular glasses and 3D glasses. Speaking of 3D…the opening scene is so cool.

This is definitely a movie for kids. I don’t recall hearing any cussing. There is a little blood on Winter’s tail and mouth but it’s just for a second and it’s not gory. There is no alcohol and no sex/nudity. I really do think this movie is for pretty much anybody. I do recommend researching the true story ahead of time if you don’t already know it. I didn’t know a thing about it and checked it out after I got home. They definitely Hollywood-ized it. But it’s still an inspiring story.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Movie List - September 2011

Wow! this month's list of movies is really sad. Either I forgot to write down a few or I've been too busy for movies. Too busy for movies??? Well, that's just un-American, is what that is!

1) Moneyball
2) Straw Dogs
3) Colombiana
4) Shark Night 3D - I considered blogging about this but decided that since all I could think of to say was, "WHATEVER YOU DO, DO NOT GO SEE THIS MOVIE!!!" I refrained from posting anything. This is so bad that it's not even teen slumber party worthy. I was a tad upset with the family that was close to me in the theater . This was the after 10:00 p.m. showing and the entire family was in attendance. Including at least three kids who were way under 10 years of age. What on Earth were the parents thinking?
5) I Don't Know How She Does It - I didn't post on this one either. Not because I hated it but because I forgot to. Oops. But those of you who know me know that this movie might as well be the story of my life. Okay now. When you're finished laughing hysterically...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Colombiana

Of the three movies I watched the night of my “people in dire straits” marathon I liked this one the best. I really like Zoe Saldana. She’s living proof of why you don’t mess with little women.

Anonymous summed up the movie on IMDB as “A young woman grows up to be a stone-cold assassin after witnessing her parents' murder as a child in Bogota. She works for her uncle as a hitman by day, but her personal time is spent engaging in vigilante murders that she hopes will lead her to her ultimate target - the mobster responsible for her parents' death.”

I am so going to bag on whoever wrote this. I hope it’s none of the three or four people who claim to read my blog. This person very obviously missed the Movie Summation 101 class in which everyone learned that if someone is one thing by day they must be something else by night. And that should be hit person. Just kidding. Sorta. And I so so so so love the use of “stone-cold” as an oft-used adjective for film characters. Insert sarcasm font here.

And now for how Anonymous was wrong. Cataleya (Zoe) is a hit man/person/woman but the people she’s “hitting” are the ones who played a part (even if it was teensy tinesy) in her parents’ murder. The only thing she does that is not condoned by her uncle is she leaves a calling card of sorts. She decorates the “victims’” bodies with the flower after which she’s named. Yeah. Not so smart.

How was the acting in this film? Not too bad for what it was. What on earth does that mean? It’s an action-y film. No one expects the acting to be Oscar worthy. Well, they don’t. Okay, I don’t. I have no idea what you expect.

I loved young Cataleya. This girl was one tough cookie. I wish she’d been in the movie longer. And I loved how the movie peeps didn’t make her “stone cold” at the beginning. Sure, she held it together during her escape but cries it out when she’s safe in the arms of her uncle. Awwwww! And older Cataleya isn’t as stone cold as Anonymous would like you to believe. She loves her grandma and her uncle and seems to really care for her boyfriend/lover/whatever (so romantic, no?).

Some of the scenes left me scratching my head (figuratively) or giggling at the blatant irony. At the beginning of the movie when the bad guys are coming to kill the family, Cataleya’s dad leaves her sitting at the dining table while he and the Mrs. go to face the intruders at the front of the house. But wait! There’s more! Not only is she left sitting in plain sight, he’s also just given her something important that she needs to see safely in to the hands of someone at the American embassy. He hasn’t exactly set things up so that this can be done easily. Nice planning, dad. It’s not ruining anything to let you know that she escaped. If she didn’t this would be a very short movie.

Another scene shows Cataleya going to “hit” one of the bad guys who just happens to have a glass-covered shark pool on his patio. Even if you haven’t seen the movie yet you pretty much know where this is going, don’t you? If you know that someone is in your home to harm you DO NOT GO ANYWHERE NEAR THE SHARK POOL! And certainly don’t stand in the middle of the glass. This is good to remember if you’re ever in that situation. I’m just sayin’.

This is another movie in which foreshadowing occurred that I was really really really hoping wasn’t foreshadowing. It involves her family. I’ll leave it at that.

Colombiana is “Rated PG-13 for violence, disturbing images, intense sequences of action, sexuality and brief strong language”. I would’ve rated it R just because I wouldn’t want PT or anyone around her age to watch something like this.

The breakdown is simple: Sex/Nudity (partial), Drinking, Cussing, Violence? Yes, to all. IMDB lets people comment in the “Parents Guide” about each topic. The following was said about the cussing. “At least 1 F-word (9 in the international version), 1 not fully enunciated F-word, 13 scatological terms (1 mild), 2 anatomical terms, 6 mild obscenities, name-calling (stupid, crazy, idiot, bad apple), 1 religious profanity, 8 religious exclamations.” I am SO going to use “scatological” in a sentence some day.

I would recommend this movie if you’re wanting to watch an action/revenge/romance type movie and you’re over 17. Otherwise…not so much.


Straw Dogs

What can I say about this movie? Let’s see. I guess the question I should actually ask is, “What can I say nice about this movie?” The answer is…not much. This wasn’t at the top of my I-really-want-to-see-this list but I was determined to have myself a little movie marathon and this is what was showing. The other two movies I saw that night were Colombiana and Shark Night 3D. Nope. It was not a good night for a marathon. Unless you’re talking about running…and we’re not.

Let’s hear from IMDB:

” L.A. screenwriter David Sumner relocates with his wife to her hometown in the deep South. There, while tensions build between them, a brewing conflict with locals becomes a threat to them both.”

Seriously. Do the people who write these summaries actually watch the movies? The first statement is correct. The rest is most definitely reversed. And don’t get me started on the trailer. Gah!!!

This came out a few weeks ago so, once again, I’m hoping that everyone who is going to see this has because I’m going to totally ruin it for those of you who haven’t. Following is my attempt to sum up better than the IMDB person did.

David does move himself and his wife to her hometown of Blackwater, Mississippi so that he can work on a screenplay. Soon after arriving, David hires Amy’s ex-boyfriend, Charlie, and some of his friends to fix the roof of Amy’s late dad’s barn. Are you still with me? David doesn’t quite hit it off with the townsfolk in that he thinks they’re simple and they think he’s a snob. When Charlie and the gang go beyond just taunting David, Amy labels him a coward. The couple later come to the aid of the town pariah thus inciting an attack by the boys and a local ex-football coach/drunk/bully.

Yeah, so mine had a few more words anyway.

Let’s talk about why I didn’t like this movie. It’s ridiculous! We’ll start with Amy. We find out a ways in that something bad happened to her when she was dating Charlie but we never really find out what. I’m figuring she was raped. Whatever it was, she very obviously never mentioned this to David. First, I think I would definitely include that in the “need to know” information packet before I left home. Second, I most definitely wouldn’t return to the town if the same people involved still live there! Then! She taunts the men who are constantly leering at her by undressing in front of them. Good decision!!! I don’t believe that women who are raped are “asking for it” because of the way they’re dressed, or undressed as the case may be, but come on! And then after we see her get raped she doesn’t say anything to David or anyone else for that matter. Get these guys in jail for the love of Pete! And she does call David a coward because he won’t stand up to these guys. These four strappin’ guys with power tools and guns.

Now for David. Amy does have the teeniest bit of a point. He does allow some things that a lot of people normally wouldn’t. One of the crew walks in to David and Amy’s house and helps himself to a beer from the fridge and then stands there and chats up David. I’m sorry. I don’t give a fig for local custom. Get.Out.Of.My.House! You keep your door unlocked all you want. I’ll use the dead bolt, thank you very much. And I’m guessing the tag line, “Everyone has a breaking point” is supposed to apply to him. I just don’t believe he came to a breaking point. He was defending his home and his wife. He never seemed out of his mind. In fact, he made some very intelligent moves in that defense. I’m not real crazy about how Charlie dies but David most definitely used what was handy.

And now for the part I hated the most but so saw coming. They killed the cat!!! Rude.

The acting is really not worth discussing. It wasn’t the worst I’ve seen but nowhere near the best. In all fairness, though, to the movie itself and the acting, I had had a really REALLY bad day and thought that seeing movies in which people were in dire straits (not the rock band) would help me put things in perspective. Unfortunately, a couple paid $8 per ticket so that they could sit down the row from me and talk. Through the entire movie. You think I exaggerate. While that is true on occasion, this time I did not. And they were using their outside voices. I did finally get fed up and politely asked them to stop talking. They had a few choice words for me from which I couldn’t walk away. Right? Right? Hello? So. I was frustrated going in and angry during. Just not a good combination. Did you need to know all that? I think so. Will I see this again when I’m in a calmer frame of mind. No. Despite the negativity on my part at that particular time I still don’t think I’d like this movie.

Now let’s talk about the rating. This was “Rated R for strong brutal violence including a sexual attack, menace, some sexual content, and pervasive language.” Amen to that. There is absolutely no reason a child should be brought to this movie. None. I will go ahead and break it down though.

Sex/Nudity. Partial nudity, sexual innuendo and a rape scene.

Drinking/Drugs. Lots and LOTS of drinking. I don’t recall drugs but that doesn’t mean there weren’t any.

Cussing. Oh crap yeah. And then some.

Violence. Please see answer above.

If you’ve seen the original film with Dustin Hoffman or have read the book (The Siege of Trencher’s Farm) I might recommend this version just to see how it adds up. If you haven’t done either of those things then I suggest almost anything else. Almost. I’m considering reading the book just to see if it’s any better. It’s got to be.



Thursday, September 15, 2011

Moneyball

Omigosh! I officially have a new movie to add to my favorite sports movie list. I'll try to remember to post that list soon. Leann and I went to see Moneyball and it is so so so so good. And did I mention...? Since we went to the pre-screening I'm not going to ruin it any more than life or the trailers did.

Leann mentioned that she had just recently heard about Moneyball whereas I've seen the trailer many MANY times since I am a movie freak and go to the theater more often. This is one I'd been anxiously awaiting and I definitely would not have minded paying for it. I guess that makes it that much better since it was free. Wahoo!

I should mention that I'm a baseball fan. Let me rephrase. I like to watch baseball. Let's try again. I like to watch certain teams and I tend to not care about any others. So! If you aren't playing the Rockies or the Redhawks you are not on my radar. I tell you this to say that I had no idea how this movie was going to turn out. Was I happy with how it ended? Not gonna tell ya. Oh! And I also need to mention that while I am a fan of baseball I enjoy it purely for the fun of watching. Do not ask me for stats. I won't be able to answer with even a teensy tinesy shred of confidence. It just won't happen. It's true.

This movie was all about the stats. Let's hear for a sec from IMDB:

"The story of Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane's successful attempt to put together a baseball club on a budget by employing computer-generated analysis to draft his players."

Yup. That pretty much sums it up. They went completely by the numbers and not by popularity. I think I said that right. It's almost like the baseball version of The Replacements in that these were players that pretty much no team wanted. Some had knee injuries. One had a real weird, but effective, way of pitching (I need to see if he still plays. I would love to watch one of his games). Some were getting on up there in age. I hate that last sentence because the player I'm talking about was 36. But that's OLD in sports. One was a catcher who got turned in to a first baseman. Craziness! Why did the Oakland A's or, more to the point, Billy Beane want these guys? Because they could get on base. And that's way important in baseball. Yeah. I knew you knew that. I was just sayin'.

I could go on and on about the movie itself but I won't. I'll just give you the down low (yeah, I said it) on a few of the actors. Let's begin with Robin Wright. Why on earth did she get top billing? She's in the movie for about 5 minutes. Big woo! Moving on. Brad Pitt was great as Billy Beane. I say that knowing nothing about Billy but I'm guessing that he had some say in how he was portrayed. Not only did we get to see what a good GM he turned out to be but we got to see what a great dad he was as well. The music store scene about did me in.

Jonah Hill played the Assistant GM, Peter Brand. I haven't really liked him in other movies but I did in this one. Peter is basically the man behind the madness. He's the analyst who gets "recruited" by Billy. His figures decided who was going to be on the team. And he was loyal. Holy cow was he loyal! Once again, not knowing the real person I think Jonah was really good in this role. I hope he gets more roles like this and less stupid comedy.

Kerris Dorsey plays the part of Billy's daughter, Casey. I really REALLY want to know if that was actually her singing in the movie. It was so good! And I loved her rapport with Brad Pitt. I could totally believe them as father and daughter. I hope she is in many many more movies.

And finally, Philip Seymour Hoffman. In Twister he was annoying but somewhat likeable. In several other films he was just kind of meh (or so so if you will). The movie Capote is the reason I've had trouble watching him in anything else. I saw only an hour of it and it was one of the most emotionally painful hours of my life. Okay, that was a tad dramatic. I've had far more emotionally painful hours but that's the way it felt at the time. I was determined that I was going to like Moneyball despite him. I didn't have to. I liked him. Yea! I didn't like his character much at first but he was entertaining to watch. He is expected to take the new system on faith and he just doesn't do it. I can totally see his side of the argument but, of course, I was rooting for Billy and Pete.

Since a lot of you haven't seen this yet I'm going to jump on to the break down.

Cussing? Yup. There was. And the big ones too. It was mostly in the first half of the movie. The main reason I even noticed is because I saw two very young children a couple rows in front of me before the movie started. This movie is rated PG-13 and they were nowhere near this age. Grrr!!!

Sex/Nudity? Nope.

Drinking/Drugs? Drinking. No drugs but marijuana is mentioned.

Violence/Blood/Gore? Billy gets really angry and throws things but that's the worst that happens.

Whether you like baseball or not I recommend this movie. I think it'll be interesting and fun for most anyone. I will definitely buy the DVD when it comes out. Go see this if you have the chance. It's a good way to spend a couple hours. And I'm thinking at least one Oscar. Maybe?

P.S. There is no reason to sit through the credits unless you just happen to be sitting right in front of the projector and decide you want to make bunny rabbit shadow puppets on the screen. But I don't know anyone who would do anything so unmature (as one of my relatives has been heard to say).



Saturday, September 3, 2011

Movie List - August 2011

I have completely slacked on my blog this month. I did see 5 movies at the theater and only blogged on one. Shame shame. I'll give really REALLY brief comments in my list.

1) Rise of the Planet of the Apes
2) Rio
3) The Help - if you haven't seen this, you should. Very, very, very good movie. Some cussing with GD and $#!+ leading the way. I noticed it more because P.T. was sitting right next to me. Went with mom, Armat and P.T. We all laughed. We all cried. Mom clapped. I love going to the movies with her. That was NOT sarcasm.
4) Fright Night - this was SO 80s. This may sound a tad irresponsible considering the cussing and violence but I would totally recommend this for teenage slumber parties. If you grew up in the 80s you know what I'm talking about. This ranks right up (down???) there with the Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th films. Violent cheese.
5) Conan: The Barbarian - Good effects. Very sexist. Men will LOVE this movie. Especially the ending. Much nudity. Much violence. Not a movie for kids.
6) One Day - Anne Hathaway stayed clothed...for the most part. She does go skinny dipping but you can't see anything. This movie was painful to watch. It was a combination of When Harry Met Sally and (a little bit of) City of Angels. Was very angry at the end. If you haven't seen this...don't.
7) The Last of the Mohicans
8) The American President
9) The Last Airbender - I didn't see this in the theater but I'm going to comment anyway. I think I'm one of the few people who liked this. A little bit anyway. The acting wasn't great and I have a feeling that a lot of the people who didn't like it have actually watched the cartoon...er, pardon me...anime' and it didn't measure up. What really stinks is that they set it up to have sequels. Apparently the producers thought it was going to do way better than it did. Bummer.
10) Twilight
11) New Moon
12) Eclipse
13) The Lake House
14) Tombstone
15) Wyatt Earp
16) Moulin Rouge
17) Mulan
18) Sweet Home Alabama

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Gumbo with Chicken and Andouille Sausage

Spike and I have only made this two or three times since we’ve known each other and I’m not sure why we don’t make it more often. Because I.Love.It!!! This recipe calls for 3 cups of okra and Spike likes to use his home grown veggies. Usually we have plenty to choose from but this being Oklahoma you just never know. By this time of year for the past few years (I think that makes sense) Spike’s okra has been taller than he is and he is NOT a short fella. Right now his plants come up to my knees. Height-wise. Not in the creepy, crawly, they’re about to take me down sense. So, since there’s not much hope for a bountiful crop and he didn’t want what he’d already cut to go bad he asked if I wanted Gumbo. Uh…yeah!

Oh! And I should mention that Spike found this recipe on the Razzle Dazzle Recipe site. I looked it up so I could make sure I give you the correct ingredients and found that they credit Rachael Ray. Our (read “My”) changes are in brackets []so you’ll know what we (I) did. I tend lately to just glance at recipes and then do my own thing. This frustrates Spike. Poor Spike. In fact, he just walked in and is mumbling about that very thing.

And before we get started, Spike wanted me to take a picture of his cooktop. He loves his cooktop. It's usually the cleanest part of his kitchen.

And without further ado:

Gumbo with Chicken and Andouille Sausage

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
1 pound chicken breast tenders, diced
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced (or use 2 pounds chicken breast tenders, diced)
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1 1/2 pounds andouille sausage, casings removed and diced [we used 2 andouille and one mystery sausage from the freezer that Spike thinks might have been boudin]
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ribs celery from the heart of the stalk, chopped
2 green bell peppers, seeded and diced
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 bay leaves, fresh or dried [oops…we forgot to add this]
2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup hot cayenne pepper sauce (for mild to moderate heat) [no mild or moderate for Spike. He should buy stock in the cayenne pepper company]
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 quart chicken stock or broth
3 cups chopped okra, fresh or defrosted frozen [Spike says that frozen just does NOT do the trick]
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, in puree
3 tablespoons fresh chopped thyme leaves, several sprigs [Spike’s thyme plant kicked the bucket so we had to used dried. It’s just not the same]
8 scallions, thinly sliced on an angle
2 1/2 cups white enriched rice prepared to package directions
[Most of you would call this rice. I call it how I annoy Spike by using liquid indredient measuring cups to measure dry goods. Engineers are so fun to cook with]

Preheat a large heavy-bottomed [this makes me giggle] pot over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil, one turn of the pan, [I did not turn the pan. For that matter, I didn’t add the oil either. Spike was not happy. He added the oil soon after the chicken went in and made me segregate them until the oil heated up] and 1 pound of the diced chicken. Season with salt and pepper and a sprinkle of poultry seasoning [Spike had me do this before I put it in the skillet]. Brown on all sides, about 2 or 3 minutes.

Chop your veggies while it's cooking [Spike chopped veggies while I cooked the chicken and sausage and took pictures of him chopping veggies].

Add half the andouille to the pan and cook another 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer chicken and sausage to a dish and repeat with remaining chicken and sausage, remembering to season the diced chicken as you go [or before].

Return pan to heat and add butter. When the butter melts, add chopped celery, peppers, onion and bay leaves. Season with salt, pepper and hot sauce.

[Let me take a minute to tell you how much I strongly dislike chopping onions. I would say that I hate it but, come on people! You shouldn’t hate. I was very glad Spike took this task to hand. And what a fine job he did.]

Cook 3 to 5 minutes to begin to soften veggies. [Before and After. Pretty either way]

Add flour and cook for 2 minutes. Slowly stir in the broth and bring liquid up to a boil [this looked gross so I deleted the pics instead of sharing]. Add okra, chicken and sausage to the boiling broth,
then stir in tomatoes and half of the fresh thyme.

Bring back up to a bubble, reduce to simmer [look at all the colors!].

Simmer for 5 minutes to combine flavors and adjust your seasonings. Serve gumbo with chopped thyme and scallions [Blech! But Spike put some on his] to garnish.

[This is the thyme we had to use instead of the fresh stuff. So, I guess you could say Spike has Thyme in a bottle. Thank you! I'll be here all night!]

Scoop cooked white rice into the center of bowlfuls of gumbo using an ice cream scoop [or just a big spoon]. Serves 8 to 10. The rest of the comments are all me so no more brackets.

The perfect bite! Doesn’t that look all kinds of delicious?

This is what my bowl looked like when I was finished.

This is what Spike’s bowl looked like when I was finished and made him dump what I had left in to his bowl. What?

And this is what was left after we each had one helping and Spike had seconds (not a full helping). This skillet is ginormous!

If you've got a big family this recipe is perfect for you. If it's just for two of you be prepared for leftovers. Spike has no problem with leftovers and this is another meal I don't mind reheating.

Spike has just informed me that okra is used in Gumbo as a veggie AND a thickener. Who knew? So, if you're like me and can't stand slimy okra (which it wasn't this time) use it anyway and then pick it out. Seriously though. I can't stand onions or non-fried okra (it's a texture thing) but I left them both in. There're so many different flavors going on you'll never even notice. If you're adamant about not having okra in your Gumbo (but what is Gumbo without it?) then use file'. Spike said that is sassafrass leaves or something like that. I think he just likes saying sassafrass. Or I do. Sassafrass!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

When I was a young child, (yes, PT, I was young once. I have pictures to prove it.) I watched the original Planet of the Apes. Not all at once, mind you. Even as someone who loved movies that tended to be a tad cheesy, I couldn’t make it all the way through. I still don’t recall whether or not I’ve seen the ending. This was another film (such as Flash Gordon and Logan’s Run) that was played often on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Any time it was on I’d try to make it through. I ended up only watching bits and pieces. I just couldn’t take it. I had no such problems with Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

I went to the midnight showing (shocking, I know). I wasn’t able to come home after work and take a nap this time. I just wasn’t tired. Then. I also wasn’t feeling one hundred percent. And I very nearly decided to stay home and just catch the movie tomorrow (well, today now) afternoon. By the time I got settled in my seat at the theater I was getting kinda sleepy. I wondered before it even started whether or not I’d be able to stay awake. That wasn’t even an issue. They had me from hello.

Let’s see what IMDB has to say:

“An origin story set in present day San Francisco, where man's own experiments with genetic engineering lead to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of a war for supremacy.”

That’s mostly true. You’ll see at the end of the movie how they kinda missed the mark. What they managed to leave out of the description above – and all the trailers I saw – was why the scientist was adamant about creating this drug. And I’m not going to tell you either.

I am completely against animal testing so I was on the side of the chimpanzees from the get go. I understand the good scientists reasoning but I still can’t condone it. How else would we test medicines if not on animals, you ask? I have no idea. I certainly don’t want to be that guinea pig, so to speak. And I kept expecting to be forced to side with the humans at some point. It never happened.

This is usually the point in which I start talking about how good the actors/characters were but they all paled in comparison to Caesar, the main ape, played by Andy Serkis. If Andy’s name doesn’t sound familiar, it should. He played Gollum in the LOTR movies. And did a very creepy job of it if I may say so. Caesar is, without a doubt, the star of this film. There was never a point in which I didn’t like him. There were times when his features appeared almost too human but since I am incapable of creating special effects on a large scale, (or at all for that matter) who am I to complain? I did like that you see how intelligent he is. All the other apes are zombies compared to him. At first.

Speaking of Special Effects…Oh.My.Goodness! This has to win some type of award. I guess if it doesn’t I can make one up for them. It’d be a golden TV tray or theater seat or something like that.

I was left with a few questions but I guess I can forgive them for that. For instance, why didn’t the guys tell anyone why Bright Eyes went ape? Tee hee. Sorry about that. Couldn’t help myself. And when the money man told the scientist that he’d get him whatever he needed to further his studies, why didn’t said scientist ask for Caesar? I know, I know. Things wouldn’t have ended the way they did. If that’s the case, though, they should have left that line out. I should totally be a film editor. I’m just sayin’.

Let’s break it down, shall we?

Cursing – I’m ashamed to admit that I have no idea. I was so completely wrapped up in the movie that I didn’t notice. There were a couple parts in the climactic scene where you’d think there would have been a word or twenty but it didn’t happen. I really do think they kept it clean.

Sex/Nudity – Only the apes are naked and no one has sex. That we see or hear. Or assume.

Drinking/Drugs – We see beer but we don’t see anyone drinking it.

Violence – Yes. And lots of it. The blood is kept to a minimum, though, and it wasn’t gory.

Intense scenes – Yes again. The apes are treated poorly in the “sanctuary”. Okay, poorly is putting it nicely. They are abused. During the fight at the end several people are killed.

We know from the original films that the apes eventually take over but I didn’t really want to see that happen. And I didn’t want to see Caesar kill anyone. I didn’t want to see any of the apes kill anyone. It does happen though. Yet still I was rooting for Caesar. I even teared up a couple times as did another woman in the theater. She was about halfway up the section and I was at the very top and I could hear her crying. But I understood.

And let me just add real quick the ending I had playing in my head during the climactic scene. Will, the scientist, who still loves his friend Caesar, is determined to protect him. When the policeman in the helicopter lines up to fire at Caesar, Will jumps in front of him and is shot instead. As Will dies in Caesar's arms we see the hatred grow on Caesar's face. Instead of leaving the humans to their own devices, thus begins the war between apes and humans. Is this what happens? Again...I'm not telling.

I was going to say that I recommend this for pretty much anyone. I think Transformers was much more violent and had worse language (that I noticed). The only difference is the apes are much more believable to a young child than robots in disguise would be. I mean really. How many real robots who turn in to cars have your children seen compared to the number of chimps, orangutans, etc.? I thought so. But I believe it is a judgment call on the part of parents/guardians/relatives/whatever. Will I go see this again? Yes and yes and yes. I loved it. Maybe now I can go back and finish the original movies. Ummmm...I don't think so.

P.S. The only “extra” thing happens at the very beginning of the credits. Once the yellow lines are finished you may go home. You have my permission.

P.P.S. Does anyone besides me find it funny that the puppeteer who “played” the young Caesar goes by the name of Richard Darwin? No? Just me? Okay.

P.P.P.S. (Sorry about all the last minute thoughts) As much as I liked this movie I really hope they don't create a sequel. There's just no way to avoid the cheese factor.