Friday, October 28, 2011

Paranormal Activity 3 (R/83 Min.)

Photobucket

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.)

Photobucket

"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.)

Photobucket

“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...