Monday, October 29, 2012

Silver Linings Playbook (R)

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Are.You.Kidding.Me?!?!?!?! Is there a new rule that I hadn’t heard about for romantic comedies? They must now be 95% depressing and try to make up for it in the remaining 5%? If that is the case then Silver Linings Playbook was an absolute success! It was less than two hours long but felt like four. Before any of you say that I’m jaded because I’m single let me just say that I wanted to enjoy this movie. I was ready to sit back in my seat and just get lost in the romantic funniness of it. At no point was I drawn in to this film. I was an outsider looking in and I so did NOT like what I saw. I would liken it to the train wreck theory but, after a little while in, I no longer wanted to watch any more.

Maybe at the ripe old age of 29 I am a bit old-fashioned but Hollywood romance seems to be slowly circling the drain. What ever happened to Sam and Annie? Joe and Kathleen? Anna and William? Linus and Sabrina? David and Susan? C.K. and Tracy/Tracy and Macaulay? And last, but not least Johnny and Baby? While most of these films did have some drama they didn’t let it take over the entire film and they certainly knew when to lighten up. I’m hoping I’ve seen a good Rom-Com lately and this movie tonight temporarily wiped it from my brain. There has to have been something good and recent. Right?

Silver Linings Playbook is about Pat, recently released from a mental institution where he’d been visiting since a slight “incident” involving his not-so-faithful wife. Pat had decided that he’s going to see the good and happy in everything. For someone determined to see the good, he sure does shout a lot. It’s also the story of Tiffany, recently widowed and recovering from trying to sleep her way through her grief. And I don’t mean that she was getting lots of rest.

I’m trying really hard right now to think of something good to say about this movie. The one part I actually liked was the dance scene because it was so painfully horrible that you just had to laugh. As for the rest, it was mainly a lot of yelling, cussing and football. And surprisingly enough, the football games were not the cause of most of the yelling and cussing although they did have their fair share.

I guess I should move on now from attacking the movie and start attacking the actors. I’m sure they’d be thrilled. Let’s start with Bradley Cooper. Bradley played the role of Pat. Let me rephrase. Bradley was chosen for the role of Pat. I didn’t quite believe him as an ex mental patient. I’m wondering if he decided that raising his voice and being overly profane would get across the character he was trying to portray. Sorry, Bradley. You just didn’t do much for me. I felt nothing other than anxiety for the movie to end. If you need “crazy” lessons maybe you should get hold of Christian Bale. He does it well.

Moving on. Jennifer Lawrence, you disappoint me. You were very nearly as profane as Bradley and some of the stunts you pulled made me ill. Inappropriate doesn’t even begin to describe some of your actions. Readers, if you haven’t figured it out yet, Jennifer was cast in the role of Tiffany. Not that cussing in general conversation ever thrills me but hearing it come out of her mouth just made me feel squidgy. It wasn’t natural, if you will. It wasn’t natural if you won’t. Samuel L. Jackson she is not! Any time Tiffany and Pat got together a yelling match ensued. Uber-romantic, no?

Robert De Niro played the part of Pat’s dad, Pat Sr. He was the only actor in this film that I liked; maybe because he was believable. It is not surprising, after meeting his mom and dad, that Pat Jr. is crazy . I'm surprised it wasn't worse. Not only does Sr. have a slight case of OCD, he’s also obsessively superstitious regarding his football team, the Philadelphia Eagles. I’ve been surrounded by OU/OSU fans my entire life and all of them put together wouldn’t fill up Pat Sr.’s crazy basement.

I’m going to end my actor complaints with Jacki Weaver, Pat’s mom Dolores. I don’t know what the deal was but it seemed as if she was only allowed to say a couple things in any scene she was in and most of what she said came out as a whine. Imagine Peg Bundy but higher pitched. It was absolutely grating. She contributed nothing to the film besides “crabby snacks” and “home mades”. At least I think that’s what she was saying. I have no idea what either of these things are.

In case any of my prior comments didn’t discourage you from taking your children, or yourselves, to see this, hopefully the break down will.

Sex/Nudity – Yes but, fortunately, not much. We saw the back of a woman in a shower and quickly discovered that she wasn’t alone. Later on we saw more of the woman after they were found out. We also saw Jennifer’s naked back.

Cussing/Cursing – Not just yes…and they hit all the really good ones too. The descriptive word of choice in this script was the F-word. I may have missed a few but by my count it was spoken at least 76 times. That puts it right up there with 21 Jump Street. I’m beginning to wonder if Samuel L. Jackson and Wesley Snipes would watch this movie and be shocked by the language. In one scene Mr. De Niro dropped the bomb around 10 times in less than a minute. My sister and I have been known to have some knock down/drag out fights – sometimes literally – and yet we somehow managed to not cuss. Even when our parents weren’t around. Considering the fact that we got a stern lecture for saying “fart” I don’t even want to know what the punishment would have been had we spewed some of the intelligence that was erupting out of the mouths in this movie. My mom gave up long ago getting me to not say the word “butt”. Yep. I’m a wild one. My point is it’s completely unnecessary. There are other words in the dictionary.

Smoking/Drinking/Drugs – There was drinking. Of that I’m sure. A few beers. A couple glasses of vodka. The only drugs were the ones given to the mental patients and we never saw them being abused. I don’t recall seeing anyone smoking. If anyone did, they weren’t a main character.

Violence – Yes. There are a couple of fight scenes. One got a bit bloody and the other was shocking because of who was hit.

I cannot recommend this movie to anyone. There were a few parts that made me laugh for a second and someone did kiss but to call this a romantic comedy is severely mislabeling the film. I would feel horrible if I said anything remotely encouraging about this and my mom or niece went to see it. I would even go so far as to beg my newly married cousin and her husband to keep as great a distance away from it as possible. It does not promote healthy relationships AT.ALL. Go see Sinister instead. Just kidding. Sort of.

There was nothing after the credits during the pre-screening so feel free to do what I did, if you go see this, and go home and share how not good this was in the attempt to keep others from having to live through the same experience.

I am now in desperate need of a new Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan film. They know how it’s done. The only silver lining in this film was that it eventually ended.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sinister (R/110 Min.)


I started this year’s Halloween viewing way late. Like…yesterday late. Now I’m trying to catch up in the few days I have left. Then it’s back to football movies. Wahoo (insert sarcasm font here). I missed out on the free pre-screening of Sinister by 6 people. I got to the theater later than usual because I had to go pick up my hockey season tickets. What? Priorities, man! Anyway, by the time I got to the theater the line was already super long. Dang it. After they’d let a good number of the people in, the rest of us were turned away because the theater was full. We were told that if we left our names and e-dresses we’d get passes to a future movie. Cool!

I was pretty sure Sinister was going to scare me but I wasn’t sure how much. Having just discovered that this was produced by the same person who produced the Paranormal Activity films I’m not surprised by the nature of the scares. This movie relied on jump-out-at-you events and your own imagination to set your pulse to racing. I had absolutely no desire to go see Sinister by myself. I knew there would, more than likely, be other people in the theater but I wanted someone with me who would tell me what I missed when I hid behind my hands. And, I know it sounds odd, but I wanted someone who would laugh at me for doing so. Trust me. This completely alleviates any tension caused by the Boogie Man. My cousins Justin and Jessica (yes, their names have been changed) went with me. Thank goodness. Let me tell you, Justin had quite a few laughs at my expense.

Sinister is the story of Ellison, a true crime author who moves himself and his family in to the house near which a family was murdered. While taking stuff up to be stored in his attic he comes across a box containing disturbing (to put it mildly) home movies. Soon after he begins watching the movies, creepy things start to happen to him and his family.

This is the type of horror movie I absolutely hate and yet I still go see. I mentioned the jump-out-at-you scares earlier. These make me so mad. And make me miss half the movie because I’m hiding behind my hands just waiting for it to happen. I counted at least 8 such scares. Some of the ones that happened may have been combined with one I counted because they were back to back and in the same scene. One scene involved super loud noises (two, to be exact) that I counted as one. Another involved people popping up unexpectedly. They were all counted as one also. Just be prepared.

Fortunately, a lot of the scares give you a bit of a warning. Actually, a good portion of the movie was predictable. I did make two predictions that turned out to be false but I did okay throughout the rest. Poor Justin had to listen to me talk through quite a bit of the movie. This is NOT typical for me. It’s a pet peeve of mine for people to do so but I think I did it out of discomfort. That, and the fact that, had it bothered him, Justin would have told me to shut up. We’re cool like that. What was frustrating about some of the predictability is that, regarding several pertinent facts, Ellison took forever to catch on. He’s supposed to be this smart guy detective-type person and the audience caught on way before he did with the same facts he had. I was very disappointed. Even more frustrating, Deputy So and So (that IS what he’s called in the film) took nearly as long. What really sent me over the edge was the fact that they found a connection between two of the families who were murdered but didn’t stop right then and check for a connection with the rest. And they knew these were serial crimes!!! ARGH!!!

I read somewhere that this was supposed to be psychologically disturbing. I’m beginning to question my personal level of disturbibility (What? I can’t make up words?) because, other than the quick scares, it didn’t bother me as much as I’m guessing it should have. Then again, it didn’t seem to bother Justin and Jessica either. There was one scene in which the husband and wife were tied up on their bed and the family dog was sitting between them. No, I didn’t want anything bad to happen to any of them but, I’m almost ashamed to admit, my first thought was, “Oh no! Not the dog!” You have to understand, though, THIS is what is sitting on my lap as I type…er…try to type.
I think that when your only babies are fur-babies, it tends to affect how you direct your emotions on occasion. At least that’s the logic I’m hiding behind for now.

At this point I usually prattle on and on, ad nauseum, about the actors. None of them were so bad that it distracted from the movie but, then again, none of them will be nominated for Oscars for this movie. You can’t really fault me for saying that. How many actors have won anything for their role in a horror film? And don’t say “Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster” because Silence of the Lambs is considered to be a Psychological Thriller so I win. Ha! The only actor who came anywhere close to bugging me was James Ransone who played Deputy So and So but I strongly believe he was told to act that way.

I know I talked earlier about a few of the things that bothered me about Sinister but I’m going to add more. So buckle up, Buttercup. I didn’t keep track of the number of these because I didn’t know I’d need to but there were many scenes in which Ellison heard something at night (of course) that woke him up or startled him in some way, shape or form. When he went to investigate, at no point did the man turn on a light. Okay, I will admit to having heard things and went investigating in the dark but my reasoning is that, in my house, some of the light switches are quite a walk from the last area full of light. I’d totally ruin my night vision getting to the next switch thereby leaving plenty of time for the bad guy to get me. You’re welcome, bad guys, for the details. However, if I kept hearing the same thing over and over, night after night, AND I had seen the bad guy outside my house, in my back yard, that place would be lit up like the 4th of July. And the space in between light switches…? That’s what one million candle power flashlights are for! Justin and I were getting a little miffed by Ellison’s inability to flip a switch. You wouldn’t believe the relief when he finally did it…in one scene only. Dork. To make things worse, there were a couple instances in which he investigated without carrying a weapon. What exactly did he think he was going to do if he came upon the bad guy? Talk him down? I don’t think so. In yet another scene he sits on the sofa right in front of the ginormous picture window through the curtains of which you could see the shadows of anything that might pass between the street light and the house. Finally, after a hole is accidentally created in the floor of the basement/ceiling of the main part of the house, Ellison never patched it up. Has this man never, in his entire life, seen a scary movie? You never EVER check out the noise without a weapon. You never EVER sit in front of a window or door. And you never EVER EVER leave extra spaces through which the bad guy can get to you. NEVER!!!

Let’s move on to the mom’s actions throughout parts of the film. I’m going to put SPOILER ALERT here even though I don’t really think it is. Soon after the family moved in to the house, Ellison’s wife informed him that if things started to go south she was going to take herself and her kids and move in with her sister. Do you think this happened? Now what kind of horror movie would this be if she had? Oh! And when all the loud noises were going on in the house not once did she wake up. She did wake up when her son had night terrors but if any of the sounds had anything to do with Ellison, he was on his own. How heavy a sleeper is this woman? She even slept through her husband’s screaming. I want some of whatever she was taking to catch some z’s. Honestly though, I’ve decided that all the wife was in the movie for was to bust Ellison’s chops for his rather poor decision-making abilities.

I’m not going to break this one down so you can decide whether or not to take your children to see it because if you think it is okay to take your children to movies like this, nothing I say is going to dissuade you. I really REALLY hope you would think twice before doing so. If you want to see this at the theater and are taking your kids because you can’t find a sitter, give me a call. I’ll come watch them. Unless you live outside the greater greater OKC area. You’re a bit outside my comfortable commute range.

Despite the many complaints, would I recommend Sinister to anyone? Actually, I would. To other people who go for any type of scares. To people who enjoy the jump-out-at-you scares. To other people who want to see as many scary movies, new and old, as they can in the weeks preceding Halloween. And finally, to those who don’t mind predictability and blatantly stupid moves by some of the characters. Some of the scenes in this film were highly clich├ęd but some of the reviews I’ve read mentioned unexpected twists. I’ll refrain from mentioning that Justin and I figured out a good portion of what was going to happen before it did. Even the supposed “unexpected” parts. I can’t speak for Jessica because she was sitting on the other side of Justin but I know she’s pretty smart so I wouldn’t put it past her. I’m guessing the afore-mentioned reviewers didn’t catch on as quickly. Wow! That was rude. So sorry.

I wonder…would any of this have happened if Ellison hadn’t watched the movies? Probably. The bad guy seemed determined. Otherwise it wouldn’t have been much of a movie. It would have been Not So Sinister. The story of a true crime author and his family, who moved in to a new home, found a box, ignored it and nothing happened. Not sure I would go see that film.

There is nothing after the credits so feel free to leave when you see them. The final scare is truly the final scare.

P.S. I’d like to give a big shout out to the editors. When the cameras were close up on the little girl when she was painting on her wall (she was allowed), the dress she was painting was completely filled in. When the camera pulled away there was a decent-sized section that was unfinished. Then! At one point the door to Ellison’s office opened in to the room. Later on, it opened out. How does this happen? Why would the way a door swings be changed during production? Why?????

P.P.S. Also, how did one of the characters not notice neon green poison in their coffee? It was flippin’ glowing! Okay. I’m done.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pitch Perfect (PG-13/112 Min.)

Pitch Perfect Pictures, Images and Photos

There are two reasons, and two reasons only, to go see Pitch Perfect. The music scenes and Rebel Wilson. It’s true. The rest of the movie just fell flat. No pun intended. I knew going in to this that it wasn’t going to be a blockbuster but I’d hoped it’d be better than it was. The scenes didn’t flow. The acting was less than stellar (but what did you expect, really?). AND! There wasn’t one but TWO vomit scenes, the second of which almost made me hurl.

Pitch Perfect is about the cut-throat world of collegiate a cappella competitions. That gave you chills, right? Sorry. That was rude. To continue, Beca (Anna Kendrick), a freshman at Barden University, is nagged in to joining the all-girl a cappella group, The Bellas. The leader doesn’t want her and the songs suck so I can’t imagine why it took so much begging to get her to take part. The main goal of The Bellas is to make it back to the finals of the a cappella competition and beat their rivals, The Treblemakers (groan); an all-boy group, also from Barden, led by a second-rate jerk.

I know I’ve mentioned a time or five that I was a band geek from middle school through college so you’d think I’d be a little more sympathetic towards music groups like this. You’d be wrong. It’s just not my bag. There’s a reason such groups are made fun of in TV and movies. Way more so than school bands are. Hey! I don’t make the rules. If this is how I feel then why did I go see Pitch Perfect? Why not? I really did go to hear the singing. It sounded like it was something I could sit through at least once and it was…just.

Despite the number of supporting cast in this film, only two actors are actually worth mentioning. Rebel Wilson and Skylar Astin. Let’s get the negative over with first. I sort of liked Skylar’s Jesse at the beginning of the movie though he did confuse me a bit. His roommate was crazy in to wanting to join The Treblemakers and it seemed to me that Jesse found this a touch silly. Next thing you know, he’s auditioning for a spot in one of the groups. And he only had one facial expression. He joked around for so much of the movie and his face never changed that when he was serious and angry with Beca, it took a minute to figure it out. This happened a couple times. I thought maybe he had forgiven her and was about to be silly again but nope. He was still ticked. He just looked happy to be so. I did appreciate the album cover scene though. If you decide to see the movie you’ll know what I’m talking about when you see it. If you’re leaning toward not seeing it, this scene is funny but not worth sitting through the entire movie for. I’m just sayin’.

Rebel Wilson stole pretty much every scene in which she appeared. Rebel played Fat Amy. Why did she call herself Fat Amy? So none of the other girls would call her this behind her back. What a brilliant idea! Cut ‘em off at the knees and give ‘em nowhere to go. Amy was a bit crude but Rebel made it work. I thought she was mildly amusing in Bridesmaids but she was a breath of fresh air in Pitch Perfect. It seemed that when some of the scenes were getting bogged down with too oft repeated “funnies” or not so great acting she would pop off a one-liner that would bring it all back again. I want to go back and watch other movies she’s been in to see how she holds up in those. If IMDB is to be believed, Rebel was the first person cast for Pitch Perfect. I see why.

The rest of the acting was pretty meh. That’s all I have to say about that.

Let’s go ahead and break it down:

Sex/Nudity – A shower scene is the worst offender and all the naughty bits are kept covered. Sex is mentioned quite a lot but we didn’t see it acted upon. A girl’s nipples (grossly enlarged for cheap laughs) are seen through her white T-shirt. Fat Amy tears open her shirt and exposes her undergarments. This particular action was included in the trailer so if you’ve seen that then this is old news.

Drinking/Drugs – Lots of drinking at an a cappella mixer. Several references to drugs.

Violence – A really lame fight scene.

Cussing – Yup. Quite a bit but either I didn’t catch any of the big ones used or they were, amazingly, left out.

Stomach Turning – I mentioned in my post for Here Comes the Boom that I didn’t want to have to use this category very often and here I go in my very next post. The two vomit scenes were disgusting and absolutely uncalled for. Other than the fact that their songs sucked pond water, the Bellas lost the competition at the beginning of the film due to one of the singers projectile vomiting all over the first few rows of the audience. Later in the film she pukes so much that one of the other girls, who ends up falling in it, makes a “snow” angel. No demon-possession horror movie ever made produced this much vomit. And you know how bad those can get. It was just over-the-top stupid grossness. Why is puke such a big draw?

If you enjoy movies full of cheap laughs you’ll probably like Pitch Perfect. If you’re going for the singing, that’s probably all you’ll like. If you’re going because you like Anna Kendrick…well…more power to ya. I strongly recommend not taking children to see this. I was going to say to get them the soundtrack as the songs were the best thing about the movie but the riff off scene contained several songs about sex. I guess you could get it and always skip that track.

There is a very brief extra scene at the beginning of the credits but nothing after that. Go home and scrub your brain clean of this film. It’s the right thing to do.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Here Comes the Boom (PG/105 Min.)

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“Without music, life is a mistake” –Nietzsche (sort of) and Marty

How many of you out there saw the movie Zookeeper? Come on. A show of hands please. I know it wasn’t just me. And how many of you vowed to never see another Kevin James movie as long as you live after you saw Zookeeper? Okay, fewer hands. I get that. I may have been a tad drastic in making that vow. The lovely people at Gofobo provided passes for the screening of Here Comes the Boom and I snatched them up. I had seen the previews several times on TV and thought that maybe, just maybe, it would have enough redeeming qualities that I could sit through what I was sure would be an overabundance of stupid silliness. This is proof that you shouldn’t always judge a movie by its trailer. I loved it! Kevin James, I owe you a huge apology.

Why did I like this film so much? It involved two of my favorite things; music and sport fighting - in this case, Mixed Martial Arts. Yes, I am a complex woman. It’s why I’m such a catch. To make it better, they mixed them together. Because what is a televised fight without the music? Pretty darn boring, I’ll bet. If you knew me in middle school or high school you can probably figure out my love of music since I was one of THOSE people; the band geeks. I also grew up in a singing family. To this day it’s no surprise when one of us just bursts in to song. Yeah. We’re THAT family. I have absolutely no explanation for my love of fighting. Or watching it, rather. It’s just fun. Especially at Buffalo Wild Wings when Manny Pacquiao (yes, I realize that’s a different style of fighting but it still rings true) is fighting on the big screen and I’m in the middle of a huge crowd of people and I’m sharing a big, round table with absolute strangers and we’re all glued to whatever is happening on that screen and, for just those few moments, we are of one heart and mind. I love it. And I just took a huge detour there.

If you’ve avoided the television and haven’t been to any movies lately to have seen the trailer for Here Comes the Boom let me lay it out for you. Kevin James is Scott Voss, a Biology teacher at a high school in Boston. He’s basically just phoning it in until the day the school decides to cut some of the extracurricular programs because the budget just can’t cover them. Any guesses as to what is cut? Yup. You guessed it…the music program. Debate and Art were cut too but I am the worst arguer on the planet and I can’t draw stick people so you can see how I didn’t focus on that. Can’t you? Anyway, Scott decides to come up with a way to raise the money to save the programs. How, you ask? By becoming a Mixed Martial Artist (or MMA fighter if you prefer) and donating his cut of the purse to the school. He ends up doing so much more than he set out to do but I’m not going to tell you about that here.

For those of you who’ve read previous posts you might have caught my ramblings about how much I love to go to movies with my mom because if it’s a really good movie and something wonderful happens she does not hold back. She giggles and breaks in to applause and has the entire theater joining her. Her happiness knows no bounds. I almost made it to that point. The only thing that stopped me was my absolute fear of being the center of attention. But only just. I figured, at the last minute, that yelling, “KILL HIM!!!” in the middle of a fight scene would earn me a glance or two…hundred.

Kevin did an excellent job as Scott Voss. I don’t know if I thought that because my expectations were so low or because he really was that good but I’m leaning towards the latter. He was funny. He was sweet. He was cute. Well. He was. Best of all, he was inspiring. If you’re not rooting for him by the end of this movie, you might want to check your pulse. Regarding my earlier statements about Kevin I do have to admit that I really liked him in Hitch. I shouldn’t have let “that other movie” dissuade me.

I am also happy with Salma Hayek again. Savages really made me not like her for a while. That’s what makes her such a good actor. She’s right up there with Christian Bale in The Fighter. They were so good at being bad that it took a while for me to come to grips with the fact that they were just acting. It wasn’t real! In Here Comes the Boom, Salma played Bella Flores, the school nurse and object of Scott’s affection. She was also funny. And sweet. And inspiring. That’s just the kind of movie this was. She and Kevin need to be in other movies together. They play well off each other. Two of my favorite scenes were the sneak attack scene and the dislocated shoulder scene. No, the one did not cause the other.

Henry Winkler is Marty, the music teacher. Some of you may remember Henry as The Fonz. Some of you may not. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, join Netflix and rent Happy Days. It may still be on TV. I wouldn’t be surprised. That has nothing at all to do with this movie though and Marty is so completely different than The Fonz but you really can’t appreciate Henry if you don’t see how he got his start. Marty is the other reason Scott wants to raise the money. What is a music teacher without a music program? If you said unemployed then you are right, my friend! Marty is Scott’s biggest fan and cheerleader. You just can’t help but love him. They have a real bromance going on. Yeah. I said it. Marty also delivers one of my favorite lines in the film…and in life really. “Music takes us where words cannot.” Wow. Deep.

Now here comes the part in which some of my earlier comments might seem a bit off. There were at least two actors in Here Comes the Boom that probably most any MMA fan would know. I knew neither. When I saw them I kind of wondered if maybe they were real fighters but I didn’t know for sure until I came home and jumped on IMDB. In my defense, I have been a big boxing fan for years but have only recently started watching more and more UFC bouts. So, I really couldn’t be expected to know that the guys who played Niko, Scott’s coach, and Ken “The Executioner” Dietrich, one of Scott’s opponents, are real, live MMA fighters, could I? There were other real fighters in the film but these two have the major roles so they’re getting mentioned. Bas Rutten is Niko and Krzysztof Soszynski is Dietrich. They both did well in the film though I don’t recall Soszynski saying anything. He was really good at being intimidating. One of the few scenes I didn't care for at all involved Niko. He was so bitter and selfish that he almost ruined a lucrative opportunity for Scott thereby affecting the kids. Niko, you should be ashamed.

Many, MANY thanks to the two people who commented questioning why I left out any mention of Mark DellaGrotte. Basically, he was left out because my hand-writing sucks pond water. As mentioned previously, I'm relatively new to MMA so I'm still trying to figure out who, in Here Comes the Boom, are the fighters in real life. I wrote down his name while watching the movie but it was dark and I couldn't read my writing when I went to type this up. I am so glad y'all said something as I liked Mark from the get-go. Mark played...Mark. He is the owner/operator of the Sityodtong USA Branch in both the movie and real life. He agrees to take a look at Scott's mad skills to see if he's worth training. He was hilarious. He was loyal. And he did 2 things that completely surprised me in a movie like this. He quoted scripture and he led a pre-fight prayer time. I have no idea if that portrayed the real Mark DellaGrotte but I was happy to see it in the film. And the reason I was ashamed of Niko above? Mark busted him on it. Well done, you!

Another person who might make you question my earlier comments is Charice. What? You don’t know who Charice is? I didn’t either until tonight. She is a flippin’ good singer is who she is. And her acting isn’t too shabby either. Charice plays Malia, one of Scott’s students and the pianist in the school orchestra. She also gets to sing in the movie. This girl has a got a set of pipes, let me tell you! Where have I been while she was becoming so widely popular? Absolutely no idea. Malia totally and completely proved a theory my dad had for years about my study habits. He always said that if I put my schoolwork to music I would remember everything and make A’s in all my classes. Let’s just say I’m not big on studying but I can memorize a song quicker ‘n a wink. I loved Malia’s breakthrough with Niko. Her rendition of Holly Holy even made me tear up a little. I couldn’t help it.

I know I’m rambling. It’s late. I got too in to researching the different actors that I lost track of time. I’ll wrap up the character comments by talking about Joe Rogan. While not one of the greatest actors in the world there was a moment in which he thoroughly impressed and moved me. In the movie Joe Rogan plays the part of Joe Rogan, ringside announcer. He does something so incredibly touching (and irresponsible at the same time) that I couldn’t help but think, “What an amazingly generous man!” Once again, it took me a second to remind myself that this was just a movie and that Joe didn’t really do what he did. It was still sweet though.

I believe the people running the pre-screening shindig said that the movie is rated PG but I can't remember for sure and I can't seem to find the rating anywhere. Found it! It's definitely PG. There is one thing and one thing only that I think might make you reconsider before taking your kids to see this and that is the fight scenes. Let’s break it down and I’ll show you what I mean.

Sex/Nudity – None at all.

Cussing – I am ashamed to admit that I don’t know for sure because I got so wrapped up in everything else. I do think a couple of A**’s slipped, no pun intended, but other than that I don’t remember any of the big words being thrown around.

Drinking/Drugs – There’s really not a lot of drinking. I saw beer and wine but not much of it. It was so not a big part of any of the scenes that I almost didn’t mention it but since helping parents make good movie decisions for their children is a big reason for this blog I figured it wouldn’t be right not to. I’m curious. What kind of chaos does a quadruple negative cause?

Stomach Turning – Yes, this is a new category that I hope to not have to use very often. I must mention that there is a vomit scene. Having said that, most of you will be able to figure out about when it’s going to happen. Trust me on this one. I wouldn’t even mention it if it wasn’t incredibly gross.

Violence – With this film this is just a given. Not every fight scene had a lot of blood but the big fights certainly did. The final fight most definitely did. It was streaming down their faces. Did this bother me much? Not at all actually but remember, I watch this stuff quite often. Also note, though, that despite the blood, it wasn’t gag-worthy and their faces weren’t beat to a pulp. That’s never fun to watch. I do have to admit that the slow-mo Superman punch was way cool.

There are so many people I would recommend this to that it’s just easier to say who might NOT like it. If you absolutely, 100% abhor violence then this isn’t for you. As for the rest of you, I hope you like it as much as I did. Jumping back to the music, I more than likely won’t own the soundtrack because a lot of it is mostly yelling but it was perfect for this film. The yelling songs were all used during the fight scenes and, as mentioned before, what is a fight without music? It gets you pumped and ready to watch two guys beat the snot out of each other. Wahoo!

There is no reason to stay through the credits. At least there wasn’t during the pre-screening. So, head on out to your various modes of transportation with your friends, spouses, dates, whoever and spend that time talking about what a good movie this was. Then tell all your friends who decided not to go that they really missed out. It’s only right.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Trouble with the Curve (PG-13/111 Min.)

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Okay, I know this isn’t a football movie but it’s what was playing and what I was given free passes for. I’ll get to that list later.

I have a love/hate relationship going on with Clint Eastwood movies. I either love ‘em or I hate’em. You knew I was going to say that, didn’t you? We’ll get to that kind of predictability later. This relationship has been going on for years. Until now. Trouble with the Curve starts off very VERY badly. It begins with Clint using the bathroom and taking to his…er…member. I have never, in my entire life, had any desire to watch someone use the bathroom. Nor have I wanted to hear them have a discussion with their parts about it. I’m kinda weird that way. Once that’s done it does get a little better. I mean, it had to, right? It still took a while to become bearable but it eventually came around.

Trouble with the Curve is the story of Gus Lobel, a scout for the Atlanta Braves, and his estranged daughter Mickey, an attorney. Mickey is on the verge of becoming a partner at her law firm when she discovers her dad has a health issue that will affect his job. She takes a few days off and joins her dad scouting a high school baseball player. Along the way they run in to Johnny, a former baseball player, who is vying for a position as an announcer for the Red Sox.

Sounds like the makings of a somewhat interesting movie, right? That’s what I thought! And then the movie began. It was a tad disjointed and incredibly predictable. When one character did what he did right before the high school baseball game started, I leaned over and told Leanne what was going to happen later on. I was spot on. Am I bragging about this? Not at all. It was just that easy. I was going to make a comment about 2 year olds being able to figure this out but that would be rude and I’d feel really bad if any of you didn’t guess it too. I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt though. I believe in you! The only parts that weren’t completely predictable involved Mickey’s boyfriend from the law firm and those totally came out of left field. Get it? Left field? Baseball? Okay, so I typed that before I thought it out and then I found it amusing and forced you to share. It couldn’t be helped.

There were many frustrating things about this film including scenes that just weren’t needed and were even a tad confusing. There are a couple of scenes in which Gus and some of the scouts are picking on another scout, trying to make him mad. It’s just stupid, for lack of a better word, and doesn’t play right in the film. Those bits should have ended up on the cutting room floor. They just weren’t funny. They really didn’t even need the other scouts as anything but extras. None of their interactions seem to fit. Gus reacts strongly to a man touching Mickey but you just chalk it up to him being an overbearing, over-protective crank-pot until later on in the movie and then you just kind of go, “Huh.” If this had happened more than once I might have wondered but as it stood the big reveal wasn’t as dramatic as it should have been.

Let’s move on to the cast. Clint Eastwood plays the part of Gus Lobel. He growls a LOT, curses a bit, cries a couple times and even sings. And although I’ve heard Clint sing before (Paint Your Wagon) it was a bit uncomfortable when he did it this time. It felt like it was personal and I shouldn’t have been witness to it. He also delivered one of my favorite lines in the movie. “Get out or I’ll have a heart attack trying to kill you.” Or something really close to that. Gus is very gruff but, as expected, really loves his daughter. Despite being such a bear he has gained the loyalty of several good friends including Pete. We’ll talk about Pete in a bit.

Amy Adams plays Mickey. Ask Mickey a baseball question and she’ll give you the answer. The correct answer. She’s one of those sports fans I’ll never be. She knows everything! All the rules, stats, players…EVERYTHING!!! Because of the way she was raised she has a huge problem making a commitment to any man. She is just as gruff and foul-mouthed as her dad but she’s able to give in a little easier than he is. It did say something about her, I think, that she set things aside to be with her dad. Trust me. Knowing now what she thought her dad had done to her you’ll appreciate her actions even more. I did.

John Goodman is Gus’s good friend Pete. I love John Goodman. I would marry him in a heartbeat. He just seems like an all-around good guy. That’s the part he plays here too. Pete is the head of the scouts for the Braves and completely believes in Gus’s abilities. Pete is also the reason Mickey finds out about her dad’s problem. At one point Pete questions Gus’s call regarding a player but sticks by the decision. He also supports and loves Mickey and you’ve gotta love him for that too.

Justin Timberlake is former baseball pitcher Johnny Flanagan. He and Gus are old friends from when he was being scouted by Gus. He’s thrown out his arm due to a bad trade decision that Gus tried to stop and now he’s working for the Red Sox. Johnny is just starting out as a scout and trying to work his way to becoming an announcer. I was pretty sure his scouting days were numbered when Mickey had to explain a few things about baseball to him; things a scout and former player should probably know. He helps Mickey lighten up so I liked him despite his lack of knowledge.

Matthew Lillard is also in this movie. He tends to typically be typecast as the goofball. Sometimes lovable, sometimes jerk-y. I think, in this film, he was attempting to step away from that kind of role. It was not a successful attempt. He was a jerk but he did such a poor job that I didn’t come anywhere close to hating him because of it. He didn’t have a major role in the movie but still stood out because I’ve liked his goofiness so much in other movies. Oh well.

And now for the breakdown:

Sex/Nudity – None. I know, right? How did they make a movie without either of those? Well, they did. The closest they came to nudity was Justin in his unders (and who doesn’t want to see that) but just his back side and Amy in her unders and a T-shirt. That kind of surprised me. I thought for sure she’d strip down to her bra and unders but nope. The shirt stayed on. Yea whoever made that decision!

Drugs/Alcohol – No drugs but several bar scenes and a scene in which Amy is downing whiskey.

Cursing/Cussing – Some cussing. Quite a bit of cursing. Several GD’s and JC’s. Were they necessary? Of course not.

Violence – Yes but little, if any, blood. Both incidents involve Gus fighting with someone else.

Hopefully you’ve made it this far because now’s the time to say some good things about Trouble with the Curve. It finally picked up about half-way through. I even teared up during one scene. I AM just that kind of dork. If you decide to go see this movie and the beginning makes you want to walk out and the predictability makes you want to roll your eyes, go ahead and stick it out. Despite knowing what was going to happen I was on tenterhooks waiting for the WHEN. I knew the movie had to be ending soon because things seemed to be wrapping up and yet…nothing. Then it happened. And I almost cried. For those of you who are going to go see this, it was the slow-mo scene that did it for me. It had been building up a bit before that but THAT nearly sent me over the edge. Why? Because I’m a sports’ movie freak and when things like that happen I want to stand up and cheer but can’t in the middle of the theater. Well, I could but I would embarrass myself doing so. So, it comes out in happy tears instead. I can’t explain it. Just work with me. I am happy to say that a little while later a couple of the audience members let out a few WHOO!’s. Those are my people.

If you like grumbly, ol’ Clint Eastwood you’ll probably like this film. If you like Amy Adams you might like this film. If you like Justin Timberlake you might like this film. If you’re a teeny-bopper who thinks Justin is “dreamy” then you probably don’t care at all about the film but will watch it anyway because, as mentioned before, he’s in his unders. If you like baseball you might like this but it’s more about the relationship between Gus and Mickey than anything else. Will I watch this again? Probably not. I won’t pay to see it again. Then again, I didn’t pay to see it this time. It was worth one viewing though. If you invite me over for dinner and a movie and this is your selection I’d probably sit through it. But only to be polite. Because that’s the kind of girl I am.

P.S. Feel free to leave when the credits start. Nothing happens at the end.
P.P.S. Pay close attention to Billy Clark (and don’t look the character up ahead of time, cheaters!). You might already know the actor or someone close to him. I completely missed it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fall and Football and a Cry for Help

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I am so hopelessly far behind on my reviews. Nine, possibly 11 movies (if you count the 2 foreign films I saw), to be exact. I do plan on catching up but I'm going on vacation soon so they're going to have to wait a little while longer. By the time I get them posted they probably won't be showing at the theater any longer. I hope that's not the case. I haven't seen any terribly bad movies lately. It's been kinda nice. Oh wait. I lied. I did see a very painful to watch movie at the OKCMOA (OKC Museum of Art for those who were wondering) last weekend. It was called Elena. It was Russian with English subtitles and it won all kinds of independent film awards and it was supposed to be film noir and it was awful. A lot of nothing happened. If I hadn't had a ticket to the film that followed I would've left but since I had to be there anyway... So, to sum up, I will catch up. Don't watch Elena. Unless you like to be bored. Then watch away.

Now to the point of today's rant...I mean...post. It is THAT time again. No, not State Fair time. That's in a few weeks. It's football time! Wahoo! It's my absolute favorite time of the year followed very closely by any time it snows. Just keepin' it real. We had OU season tickets most, if not all, of my life until I was in college and my parents moved out of state. I wish wish wish we'd been able to keep them but since my sister and I moved out of state shortly after, it was less than financially responsible to hold on. Fall meant/means OU football to me and even though it's been years since I've been to a game the season still feels like something's missing without my Sooners. In person, not TV. It's not the same no matter what Spike (He's a K-State alumni/fan, so what do you expect?) or anyone else says. Sooner fans are just awesome. I don't recall ever sitting near anyone who made any of the game day experiences bad. We were all there to support our team. We screamed for the touchdowns. We booed for the bad calls. We jumped up and down. We pounded our feet. We even hugged if something absolutely spectacular happened. We made that stadium roar! I was there for all that but I was there for the band too. I was there for the Drum Major Strut. I was there to see him run down the field while performing a back bend and practically drag his big, furry hat on the turf. If you've never seen this you are missing something fun. I was always excited to be at the games but it was that drum major who sent my heart in to spasms. That shouted to me, "This is game day and you are here! Welcome home!" Go Sooners!!! "Boomer Sooner! Boomer Sooner!" Everybody sing!

What does all this have to do with you? The OU part? Maybe not a lot if you're not a Sooners fan. I just wanted to share a much-beloved childhood memory. We're actually here today to talk football...movies.

I attempted a favorite sports post a while back and it sunk like a lead ball. Apparently I made some wrong choices. I think it's time I made amends but I need some help. I am going to spend this season watching as many football movies as I can. What I need from you is your favorite football movie of all time. I also want your not-my-favorite-but-you-still-should-see-this football movies. They don't have to all be the serious Rudy or Remember the Titans type movies. If Necessary Roughness is your favorite, shout it out! I promise I will watch each and every one, if they're available, and then share what I've decided are my [possibly new] favorites. I will even watch Brian's Song again, if it's on your list, even though I'll be a sobbing mess by the end of it. If you have a list of so so so incredibly bad football movies send that list too. I can share the ABSOLUTELY DO NOT WATCH THIS warning with the other 2 people who voluntarily read my blog. Please leave your favs/not so favs in the comment section below. I have mine set to "Monitor" as this is a family-friendly site so it may take a while for yours to appear. As long as it's clean it will show up.

I want to become immersed in the gridiron. If I can't go see my Sooners in person I'll watch them on TV and then watch your movies to share in the victories and defeats. It's gonna be all football all the time. Until hockey starts. Then they have to share me. So, send me your lists and I'll get to crackin'.

"O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A ay. Our chant rolls on and ooooonnnn!"



P.S. To you OSU fans out there, please note that I cheer for the Cowboys too...as long as they're not playing OU. My grandma (one of the biggest sport fans ever!!!) taught me that it's okay to be an Oklahoma fan and not have to choose until Bedlam. I just can't share many OSU football memories other than OSU band day when they invited different Oklahoma high school bands to play during half-time. Organized chaos at its finest. Just don't ask me to sing the OSU fight song. I know it not.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Savages (R/131 Min.)

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The heat in Oklahoma has been a tad overwhelming as of late so instead of killing my a/c in order to keep cool this past Saturday (okay, so now it was 2 Saturdays ago), I took advantage of AMC’s air conditioning instead. I saw four movies and managed to pick ones that weren’t too terribly bad. Yea, me! But!!! If I did have to choose which movie was the worst, Savages would be it.

Savages is the story of O, Chon and Ben, a woman and the two the boys she is in love with. Yup. That’s right. A love triangle if you will. And a love triangle if you won’t. The boys grow primo pot for medicinal (and not so medicinal) purposes. A big drug cartel in Mexico heard about their booming enterprise and wanted in on the action. They ever so kindly invited Chon and Ben to become a part of their operation and share the knowledge. When the boys declined the offer, the head of the cartel had O kidnapped. The head of the cartel apparently doesn’t quite dig what the boys will do to get O back.

The movie opened with O (Blake Lively) narrating. She explained that just because we hear her it didn’t mean she’s still alive. This automatically made me think she survived because the film-makers seemed to be going out of their way to trick us. Those sneaky so-and-so’s.

As mentioned above, Blake played the part of O, short for Ophelia. She was the female (obviously) part of the love triangle that is O, Chon and Ben. She was so absolutely the clueless damsel in distress. Or she’d just killed too many brain cells doing drugs. You be the judge. The only time we saw any spunk was when she spat on someone. O, you go, girl. For some reason Blake, as an actress, bugs me. I have absolutely no idea why. From everything I’ve heard about her she seems like a genuinely nice person. And she’s a FOODIE! I really want to like her acting. But I digress. O appeared to be clueless about what her boyfriends do. She knew they sold pot but that seemed to be where her knowledge ended. I would think that, in the drug world, they would either keep her completely in the dark or tell her everything. I would be wrong.

Chon was played by Taylor Kitsch of whom, as you might recall from previous posts, I’m not a huge fan. For the same reason I’m not a huge fan of Blake. No idea. Chon was in the military and served overseas; permanently changing his way of thinking. He was the bruiser of the group. If Ben can’t talk someone in to paying what they owe for the drugs, Chon goes in and gets it. He has no problem beating the stuffings out of or killing someone.

Ben (played by Aaron Johnson) was the pacifist of the group. He abhors violence in any form which, as you can imagine, came in handy when trying to help rescue his sweetie from the thugs in the drug cartel. I was there to see an action film so Ben sort of faded in to the background for me. He was basically the 2nd damsel in distress.

Salma Hayek is Elena, the head of the drug cartel. While Elena can be quite civil, and even sympathetic, she doesn’t balk at allowing people to be tortured in very disgusting and painful ways. Of course, if it wasn’t disgusting or painful it wouldn’t be torture. She seemed to be untouchable but, at one point, inadvertently mentioned her Achilles heel. Whoopsy. Fortunately the boys were paying attention.

The part of Elena’s head henchman, Lado, was played by Benicio Del Toro…and his hair; neither of which were fun to watch. John Travolta played Dennis, a cop sitting on both sides of the fence. He was so incredibly sing-songy and whiny. I didn’t care for him much either.

The one actor I really liked (Demian Bichir) wasn’t in the movie for long and I don’t like that I liked him seeing as he was another of Elena’s top guys. Demian played the part of Alex, a loyal member of Elena’s cartel. Very bad things happen to Alex. Very, very bad things.

I should have led with this little factoid but this is most definitely NOT a movie for kids. It earned its R-rating. Let’s see why:

Sex/Nudity – Sex. Most definitely. O had sex with both her boys; individually and altogether. There was also a rape scene (short, but there nonetheless). Despite all the lovin’, none of the bits and pieces were shown. I thought we were going to make it through without seeing anyone’s parts and then they went and showed the upper portions of Lado’s lady friend. Why was this necessary? Did they really think men wouldn’t like this film if they didn’t get to see one pair of boobies? Ridiculous!

Drinking/Drugs – Yes and Yes! The alcohol was minimal compared to the drugs. I knew going in to this that it involved pot and other drugs but it bothered me that they made it look good. Not good enough that I want to jump on that train. It’s just a part of their lives like smoking but one step further. I’d worry about kids getting the wrong message but, once again, kids should not be watching this movie!!! Of course, we saw the bad side of drugs too so that evened things out a little bit.

Cursing – Yes!!! I tried to keep track but gave up. I was really surprised by Salma Hayek. She had a potty mouth big time. Comparing it to 21 Jump Street there wasn’t as much but there was still a lot.

Violence – Yes. And lots of it. The movie opens with men getting their heads cut off with a chain saw. We didn’t see it happen but we heard it and saw the after-effects. During an excessively brutal torture scene I think I saw/tried not to see a guy’s eye hanging out of the socket. Yuck! Once again, it wasn’t the blood that made me almost gag. It was the spit. What on earth?!?! It could have something to do with the fact that I didn’t watch most of the gory scenes.

Despite being apathetic towards a good number of the actors, I still thought this was an okay movie for what it was. I’m not going to recommend that anyone run right out and see this but if you’re in to drugs, sex and violence you might want to rent it. There really wasn’t anything that makes me say, “You must see this on the big screen!!!” Even the 2 or 3 car explosions weren’t big-screen-worthy.

The one thing I absolutely disliked about this movie was the hostage exchange scene. I don’t think I would have ever had any desire to see Savages again but that scene clinched it. I HATE scenes like that. The only time I’ve ever liked that kind of scene was in Run Lola Run. If you’ve seen that film then I just ruined part of Savages for you since it’s basically how the entirety of Lola was filmed. I would recommend that movie (but not for kids). It was kinda fun. If you really want to see Savages I would suggest waiting ‘til it comes out on DVD so you can rent it or go to one of the cheap-o showings. I’m glad I did.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Hope Springs (PG-13/100 Min.)


Here’s a good start to a blog post (picture that with the new sarcasm font). I’m pretty sure this review is going to suck pond water but I’m going to try anyway. Tonight I went to see the movie Hope Springs. I knew there were going to be uncomfortable and, more than likely, sad scenes due to what I saw in the trailers but it also made it look as if it might be somewhat funny. If you saw the trailers, that’s all the funny you’re gonna get.

Arnold and Kay are in a rut. Unfortunately, Kay is the only one of the couple who recognizes this fact. (I know couples like this. I’ve been part of a couple like this.) Kay cashes in one of her CDs and spends $4000 on a week of intensive marriage counseling. As you can imagine, being the clueless boy he is, Arnold is less than thrilled about this little surprise. The counseling is uncomfortable, to say the least. And if you’re thinking the title of the film gives anything away please note that Hope Springs only has to do with the name of the town through darn near most of the movie.

I saw this by myself, no surprise there, and there were parts I was a little uncomfortable with. It’s one thing to watch a movie in which a couple is having sex but this was on a completely different level. I’m not talking porn here, people. I’m talking the struggles of a couple who haven’t been intimate in nearly five years and are trying (at least one of them is) to find their way back. Oy!

Hope Springs starred Tommy Lee Jones as Arnold and Meryl Streep as Kay. As I’ve mentioned before, I kinda like Tommy Lee. There’s just something about him. I wasn’t feeling it as much in this movie though. He did too good a job at being the thoughtless, gruff, jerk of a husband. He seemed to only notice Kay when she put his food on the table or turned the TV off and sent him to bed…in a separate room. Or when she said or did something he didn’t approve of. He was very demeaning and I didn’t care much for him at all. Kay was basically there to keep him from being alone and self-dependent. He did actually put forth some effort at one or two points and I thought it was very sweet but until then I lost any fondness I previously had for Tommy Lee. Oh! And one scene alludes to the fact that it's not her, it's him but it NEVER explains why! So frustrating.

I’m not an overly huge fan of Meryl Streep. Yes. It’s true. I never have been. Do I hate her acting? Absolutely not. I think she’s a good actress. She’s just not someone for whose movie I’d line up. Wait. That’s not fair. I pretty much won’t line up for any movie unless there are fewer than 10 people in front of me. Back to Meryl. I think she did a great job in this. Kay mentions, in one of the counseling sessions, that Arnold never touches her. She meant more than the brief peck on the cheek as he’s walking out the door. He doesn’t hold her hand or hug her or make any of the little but oh-so-big gestures. The therapist told them he was giving them homework. They had to go back to their hotel and just hold each other for a while. Kay started to tear up and my heart broke for her. What must her life have been like if something that simple could make her cry? Oh wait. I’ve experienced that first hand. Maybe that’s why it hurt so much. Wow! Sorry for that brief confession. There were a few times when I wanted to just shake her because of all of the wishy washiness but mainly because I’ve been there too. I was that person. Yuck! I don’t like resembling characters in a movie unless they’re happy, beautiful, skinny people. True story. Let me [quickly] state for the record that as much as I’d like to blame everything on Arnold, he was not the only one at fault in the relationship.

Steve Carell was the therapist. I thought that with Steve in the movie it had to be funny. Right? Have you seen Dan in Real Life? Less funny than that. “You’re a murderer of love!!!” Sorry about that. Flashback to Dan. Steve just wasn’t funny. And he wasn’t supposed to be. It was so weird seeing him straight. You know what I mean. He was the cause of some of the more squidgy [for me] scenes. I can’t even begin to imagine being asked some of the things he was asking. Outside of a slumber party, I mean. I think I remember having one of those. Anyway, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if real therapists ask questions like that in which case it doesn’t make me question that you hear about so many couples (or parts of a couple) who don’t want to go to counseling. I think I’d be all, “That is SO none of your beeswax!” Or something a little more adult.

There is absolutely no reason to take a child to see this movie. There is absolutely no reason a child would want to see this movie. It’s just not a very good idea. Despite that, I’m going to break it down for you.

Sex/Nudity – No nudity but at least one attempt at sex and one success. Just keepin’ it real here. There’s also a self-help scene and a very sad-attempt-at-a-movie-theater scene. This film may be about couples’ therapy but it seemed that the basis of it was sex.

Cussing/Cursing – Not much cussing but quite a bit of cursing. What’s the difference? Well, in my world cursing involves God and they involve God and Jesus often in Hope Springs. I am happy to say that while cussing doesn’t affect me as much as it should, cursing most certainly does. There is absolutely no place for it in any movie.

Drinking/Drugs – There was a bar scene in which Kay had a couple glasses of wine and something a little stronger. I didn’t catch what it was. Kay and Arnold shared wine and champagne at the hotel.

Violence – Just violence of emotions. No one was struck or intentionally hurt physically. That’s all I’m gonna say about that.

Intense Scenes – Of a sort. As mentioned previously, I’ve seen sex scenes before but what they showed here seemed as if we were being let in on something extremely private and personal. I felt like a voyeur. Not a very good feeling.

I spent my [five minute] drive home trying to figure out who I would recommend this movie to. Should I recommend this to perfectly happily married couples so they can look at it and laugh that they have it so much better? No. What if it brought up an inkling of a doubt? I don’t want that on my conscience. Should I recommend it to couples who are likewise in a rut? I’m not sure. If it would open some eyes then I say, “Yes! Go see this movie and mend your apathetic/lackadaisical ways!” If it would cause more hurt in one or both members of the couple then I say, “Please stay away unless you think it’ll make you feel better knowing that someone out there understands.” I am going to totally ruin this and tell you that it does end well but the getting there was as painful for me as it was for the characters. Almost anyway. All the happy in Hope Springs happens in the last few minutes and the credits. I’m not sure the hour-and-a-half of drama and hopelessness was worth it. If you’re thinking of going to see this alone…don’t! Drag a friend along with you. It’s got to be less depressing to have someone there to share in the experience. I hope.

P.S. Hope Springs was brought to you in part by: Coldwater Creek, Barnes & Noble, Sprite, lots and lots of liquor (I couldn’t read the labels), EconoLodge, Dr. Pepper, French’s Mustard (I recognized the bottle but didn’t see the label), ESPN, Dasani and last, but not least, Coca-Cola. I think I’ve figured out where they got the funding for this movie.

P.P.S. Looking at the movie poster I have to comment on a couple of things. "A comedy by the director of The Devil Wears Prada". I want to know who thought this was funny. If it was you...okay then. And then, "Fall in love again this August." This makes me think of movies like You've Got Mail or Sleepless in Seattle where it's a cotton candy kind of romantic story. This movie? Not so much.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises (PG-13/164 Min.)

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I took PT with me last night to see the Batman trilogy. We had so much fun during the first two. It had been a while since either of us had seen those two so there were bits and pieces we didn’t remember. So, in some instances, it was like watching three new movies. Okay, our memories weren’t THAT bad. By the time The Dark Knight Rises began we were beyond ready to see how the director was going to wrap this up. I loved the first two films. I just knew I was going to love the third. I was wrong. It was a very long 164 minutes.

TDKR continues the Dark Knight story but 8 years later. Batman/Bruce Wayne is a pariah who is showing his age. Most of Gotham still hates Batman and reveres the memory of Harvey Dent. Catwoman is introduced but is she a villain or just misunderstood? Bane appears as the head villain with a vague back-story.

There were parts of this film that I really liked but it lacked so much that we saw in the first two. Such as…Batman. How on earth can you make a Batman film and leave the title character out of most of it? And, in the words of Toby Keith, we (read, “I”) needed “A little less talk and a lot more action.” It was mostly talk talk talk. The speechifying got old. Quickly. I’m so glad I’ve never been around so many people who had so much trouble getting to the point.

Christian Bale is still one of my favorite Batman/Bruce Wayne’s. I never can decide for sure between him and Michael Keaton. Fortunately for him – unfortunately for us – he didn’t have to use his throaty Batman voice through much of this film. I always feel for him when I hear him talk. That couldn’t have felt good at the end of the day.

Tom Hardy was cast as Bane. If you’ve read previous blogs you know I’m a fan. He was a good villain but I didn’t recognize Tom in his character at all which, I guess, pretty much defines a good actor. He was bigger than I’m used to seeing him and he sounded like Sean Connery. They made him seem way taller than he really is too. The cameramen had their work cut out for them when it came to Tom. He had to come off as huge so the angles were either over his shoulder looking down or he was shot from the waist up if standing next to someone. I wonder how many boxes they had him stand on. He didn’t seem quite so big when full body shots were used. What does this have to do with the movie? Nothing. I just found it interesting. I wish Bane’s back-story hadn’t been so vague. That’s all I’m sayin’.

Anne Hathaway. The only nice things I can say about her in this movie are that she kept her clothes on, she had great hair and she was obviously chosen because she fit the costume. Since I can’t say anything else nice I’m leaving it at that.

PT loves Alfred. Well…so do I. Michael Caine continued his well-played portrayal of Bruce Wayne’s manny. When he’s happy, you’re happy. When he’s sad, you get a little teary. Okay, maybe you didn’t but PT and I did. The conflict between Alfred and Bruce was a little hard to handle.

Finally, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. While not drop-dead gorgeous or super hunky he is definitely here to stay. PT said on numerous occasions that he’s pretty so, at least he has a vote from the 14-year-olds. His acting’s not bad either. I loved him in TDKR. I wish they were going to make another film and include him in the cast.

Now that we’ve talked about some of the actors let’s talk more about what I didn’t like. This was predictable. The foreshadowing at the beginning was blatant. It completely ruined the heroism for me at the end. One of the characters seemed kind of off to me and I questioned their sincerity. It kind of stunk being right. As mentioned before I thought there was too much talk. If you like all the Batman action from the first movie you’ll probably feel the same. It was greatly missed. And so was Batman. Again…what on earth? The role of Catwoman confused me. Were we supposed to feel sorry for her? You don’t want people to know about your past as a thief? I’ll make it easy for you. Don’t become a thief.

Back to the action, the few scenes included were either highly entertaining or completely fell flat. The football stadium scene? Great! Except for the fact that it was included in the trailers. It should have been left for the film only. The underground fight scene between Bane and Batman. Meh. Super meh. I have no idea why I felt so apathetic about it. Was it over-choreographed? I just don’t know. Any idea?

Let’s head on to the break-down:

Sex/Nudity – No nudity. We know sex happened but we didn’t see it happen.

Drinking/Drugs – Drinking, yes. Drugs, no.

Cursing – I’m pretty sure there was but the audience members around us out-cussed anything that was said in the film.

Violence – Well, yeah.

Maybe I would have liked this more had I not seen it right after the first two films and was expecting more drama than action. This was an absolute waste of Bane. He could have been so much better. Judging by Facebook several people already disagree with me so you may want to take this review with a grain of salt. Although I was hoping there would be, there is nothing after the credits. Go home. Watch other superhero movies and forget that this isn’t really one.

P.S. PT and I saw this movie at the theater in Highlands Ranch, CO; 20 minutes away from the theater in Aurora. We got to go home that night (morning) and fall safely asleep in our beds. Because of one (that we know of so far) sick individual, many at the Aurora theater did not. This movie came out on my birthday. I woke up later in the day and was able to celebrate. One of the victims also had a birthday that day. He was 27 and will be forever. My thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims and their families. Justice cannot be swift enough.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Intouchables (R/112 Min.)


I enjoyed yet another free pre-screening thanks to the wonderful people at GOFOBO. I had absolutely no idea what to expect from this movie. I hadn’t seen any of the trailers and had only read the little blurb about it on the afore-mentioned website. To say I enjoyed it doesn’t quite cut the mustard. The time just flew by!

The Intouchables is the true story of Philippe, a very wealthy quadriplegic who is looking for a companion; someone to take care of and spend time with him. All Driss wants is someone to sign his paperwork showing that he came to an interview and was turned down so that he can receive unemployment and return to life in the projects. As you can probably guess, if that’s all that happened this would be a very short, very boring movie and it probably wouldn’t have been produced in the first place.

Philippe didn’t want to be pitied and Driss didn’t know how to. Both actors were wonderful at getting this point across. It also helped that that was mentioned but there you go. I was drawn to both characters and felt their pain and happiness. I also happen to be a sympathy breather (does that even make sense???) and had a rough time of it during the wheezing scenes. I was so completely drawn in to this movie. I love it when that happens. Also, the summary leads you to believe that this is going to be more of a drama than anything. It really wasn’t. I can’t believe how much I laughed. Just to be clear, I was meant to. Some of the humor is so irreverent and I believe anyone not in on their jokes would have been completely shocked at some of the things said. I will watch this again just to see the opera scene.

The supporting cast did just as well as the stars. Yvonne, whose role in the household I’m not quite sure of – I guess she would be the key master in a show like Downton Abbey (not Ghostbusters as some of you might be thinking) – but seems to be in charge of everything, was my favorite. She is loyal and careful of her employer but, despite finding some very scary things in Driss’s bag, seemed to quickly warm up to and accept Driss. I loved how we saw that those feelings were reciprocated. Magalie, secretary to Philippe, was the object of Driss’s affection/lust and she gave him what he deserved. So funny. While the other actors also did a good job of it I’m going to skip on because they just didn’t have as big a role. The only character I felt lacked anything was Philippe’s daughter. She never did quite fit in to the story. They just stuck her in here and there so we didn’t completely forget about her. She either needed more scenes or to be taken out altogether but I’m sure the real daughter wouldn’t appreciate the latter.

I seem to be having trouble coming up with things to say tonight without giving too much away. So! Let’s head on to the break-down.

Sex/Nudity – No nudity. Driss was without a shirt at one point. He was also in a couple of bathing scenes but all you could see were his knees and from the shoulders up. Sex was discussed a few times and there weren’t any of what we would consider sex scenes. There wasn’t anything kinky, I assure you. I just have no way of explaining without spoiling it for you. It was funny. Trust me on this.

Cussing – Yes. And quite a bit. Several of the big ones.

Drinking/Drugs – While there is drinking there wasn’t drunkenness. The only drug shown was the Imodium that the daughter tried to kill herself with. She survived. Oh wow! I completely forgot the pot which is surprising considering the number of joints shown in this film.

Violence – None. The worst that we saw was Driss’s brother showing up a little worse for wear from getting beat up but nothing gross.

While this is not as intense as Scent of a Woman (hoo-ah!!!), I would still recommend The Intouchables to anyone who liked that. That being said I must warn you now that THIS.IS.A.FOREIGN.FILM!!! French, to be exact. With subtitles and everything. Having watched my fair share of foreign films with Spike (to the tune of Japanese horror flicks) the knowledge that I don’t speak the language didn’t really bother me. The subtitles were easy to read and didn’t seem to detract from the movie at all. Everyone enjoyed it and as long as you can read at a medium pace you’ll be good to go.

I’ve decided that if this were ever Americanized, which it really shouldn’t be, Dustin Hoffman needs to play Philippe and Jamie Foxx should play Driss. When this comes to fruition I’ll be expecting my cut of the profits…or top billing…whatever.


P.S. I didn't stay through the credits as this didn't seem like the kind of movie that would have anything after. If anyone does and there is please let me know so I can spread the word.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Goon (R/92 Min.)


Watch this movie only if you love hockey. I repeat…Watch this movie ONLY if you love hockey. If you have no idea how many quarters are in a game, how many umpires are on the field or how many players are on the squad do NOT watch this movie. If you didn’t find any mistakes in that last sentence do NOT watch this movie. Having said that, if you don’t appreciate a good hockey fight DO NOT WATCH THIS MOVIE! Do you get what I’m saying?

This is another film, like Warrior, that I waited FOREVER to see at the theater. I don’t think it was ever released in the booming metropolis of OKC. How very disappointing. This is definitely a movie I would’ve liked to have seen on the big screen. Especially the part with the tooth flying. Yuck!!! I looked it up today to see when it is coming out at the theater (Ha! on me!) and saw that it is already available to rent on Netflix. It’s even in the “Play from the computer” selection of films. Wow! That was quick!

Goon is based on a true story. Doug Glatt is the black sheep of his family. His dad and brother are both doctors and Doug is a bouncer at a club. Doug has a friend, Pat, who enjoys heckling hockey players. When one player is pushed too far and comes after Pat, Doug steps in and strongly convinces said player to leave his friend alone; to the tune of busting the player’s helmet with his head. Yeowch! The opposing team’s coach is a touch impressed and asks Doug to join the team as an enforcer and a career is born!

If you don’t know what an enforcer is please see the first paragraph. If you still want to know, an enforcer is the bully of a hockey team. He protects the other players on his team by beating the stuffings out of the players on the opposing team. “That’s unsportsmanlike conduct!” you might object. No. That’s hockey.

It may seem as if I’m suggesting that Goon is all hockey all the time but it’s really not. There is actually stuff to watch in between each match. Doug is a bit of a goof but he’s a lovable goof. With a potty mouth. Actually, everyone except Doug’s family has a potty mouth. Be prepared. Seann William Scott did a great job as Doug. It’s nice to see Seann as something other than a smart aleck jerk. He plays the doofus to a tee and does equally well as Doug “The Thug”. As tough as he is, though, he’s a big softie when it comes to Eva. Doug also believes in right and wrong and takes his punishment when he believes he has wronged someone else. I didn’t like that scene very much at all. There’s even a Forrest Gump scene in which he admits to his family that’s he’s stupid. It was almost sad.

Eva is played by Alison Pill. If you’ve never heard of Alison then you’ve probably never seen Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. She’s the drummer in SPvTW who introduces her band by yelling, “We Are Sex Bob-Omb!” Classy, right? In Goon she plays the boyfriend-having sweetie of Doug. She tries to warn Doug off by telling him what a bad person she is but Doug is having none of it. Alison and Seann play well off each other. She is so fun to watch and I hope we see more of her. Not literally. Seriously, people.

The other person of interest in this story is Ross Rhea played by Liev Schreiber. I happen to think that Liev is one attractive hunk o’ man so I was more than happy to see him in this film. He plays an enforcer sent down from the NHL for slashing an opposing team member in the back of the head. For some reason the hockey officials frown on stuff like that. And I have to agree with them. Beat the crap out of each other face to face. None of these behind the back cheap shots. Despite being a seemingly tough guy on the ice he’s not so bad off. The ice. You know what I mean. And even on the ice he tries to talk some of the other players out of fighting with him. But once you cross that line…

Rhea is coming to the end of his hockey career and is being encouraged by the press to participate in an on-the-ice brawl with Doug. Here are the two possibilities I foresaw. Me being omniscient and all. One…Rhea wins the fight thereby ending his career in a blaze of glory and Doug’s fans, while disappointed for him, still hold him in high regard. Or two…Doug wins and Rhea is a good sport about it and the crowd goes wild! Which one happened? I am so not telling.

The rest of the cast are either hockey players or family. Except for Pat, played by Jay Baruchel who, not surprisingly, co-wrote the film. He’s annoying. End of story. Okay, not end of story. He is so incredibly inappropriate. I really think the movie would have been better without his antics. He’s completely sophomoric and I hope that even boys (read: men) would get tired of him after a while. Now end of story.

To say this movie is not for kids is the understatement of the century. Here’s the reason Netflix gives for the R-Rating: “Brutal violence, non-stop language, some strong sexual content and drug use.” That pretty much sums it up. If you don’t believe the part about the brutal violence lemme ‘splain one of the scenes to you. Yes, I am going to actually tell you what happens. Please skip if you don’t wanna know. The Halifax Highlanders, Doug’s team, are fighting to keep the other team from scoring. Unfortunately, the Highlanders’ goalie gets taken out leaving nothing but Doug in between the puck and the net. Instead of using his glove, as I was hoping he would, he takes it in the mouth. Blood spurts. And spurts and spurts. It’s gross but once again, it’s hockey. There is a LOT of blood in this film. I will admit that the only part that made me gag involved not blood but a spit fight. I can’t explain me so don’t even ask. Oh wait! I was almost ill when I heard a bone break. That was more than I could handle. Aside from that I thought the sexual content was completely unnecessary but it is in there so be warned. And while the language doesn’t hold a candle to 21 Jump Street it is still pretty bad.

If you like Slap Shot you’ll, more than likely, like Goon. I was on the edge of my seat during the final scene. The one good thing about not watching this in the theater is that I didn’t have to worry about making an idiot of myself during parts of the movie. If you’re longing for hockey season, Goon may help tide you over. It might also help if whatever match you watch doesn’t include the fights I know you go to see. This may be my new anger management movie…if G.I. Jane doesn’t do the trick. What?

Magic Mike (R/110 Min.)

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It’s not surprising at all that Magic Mike did so well at the box office this past weekend. We all knew that we would be seeing Channing Tatum in his [nearly] altogether however, if it continues to do well then there are a LOT of women out there that are either lying to or withholding information from their friends. This was so far from being a good movie. The woman two seats down from me was complaining about being bored. And this was just 10 minutes in. Was I expecting it to do as good as it did for the opening weekend? Yes. Yes I was. Was I expecting it do great? No. No I wasn’t. I’m not completely oblivious. I knew going in to this that it wasn’t going to be anywhere close to Oscar-worthy. They shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same sentence. Why did I go? Because I wanted to. So there.

For those of you who’ve been in a cave the past few months, Magic Mike is the story of a stripper who really wants to own a custom-made furniture business. He befriends another guy at one of his many other jobs and introduces him to life as a stripper. He’s less than satisfied with his current situation and his personal life is an absolute shambles as he appears to be avoiding healthy relationships.

Makes you want to run right out and see it, doesn’t it? Here are the pros for Magic Mike. Most of the strippers are very easy on the eyes. Though one did remind me of Mickey Rourke. No thank you very much. The other pro?...The movie ended. Now for the cons… While the scenes inside the clubs were bright and sharp, the rest of them were almost sepia and dull. It was so very blah. And so was the script. I would say the acting wasn’t too bad if I hadn’t been distracted by what the actors were forced to say. This is yet another movie in which I have to ask what was going on at the viewing. Again, did they actually watch the entire thing and think, “Man! We are awesome!” Or did they think, “We don’t really care about the rest of the story because women have one-track minds and they’re not going to care that everything aside from the strip club scenes is stupendously awful.”? Maybe “stupendously” is a bit of an exaggeration…but not by much.

I would say that I don’t need to do a break-down for this but when I came out of the movie and saw the line of women waiting for the next showing I noticed that one woman was standing there with a 5 or 6 year old. What the crap was she thinking?!!! There was nothing about the trailers that should have made people think this was okay for children. There is nudity including a male member taking up a good portion of the screen. The rest of the nudity was limited to the women. Yeah, we saw men in thongs but the “parts” were covered. There is lots and lots of drinking and a couple of drug scenes. There is most definitely cussing. And did I mention the vomit-eating piglet? No? I’m sure there was more but I was so numbed by the banality of it all that I just don't remember.

If you are determined to see this movie I would recommend finding a way to see it for free. Since I’m not a big fan of strip clubs anyway, the women in the movie and in the movie theater really bugged me. I’m sorry but it’s true. I guess it’s nice to get away and just be silly with your girlfriends sometimes. I just choose to indulge in other forms of silliness. So again you ask why did I go see this? I have to admit it was because of Channing. I’m sorry, Channing. You have officially broken me of seeing one of your movies just because you’re in it.

There is no reason to stay through the credits but if you decide to anyway, they are mercifully short. Not surprising really. It didn’t take many people at all to create this near disaster.

P.S. To read a much funnier (more funny?) review click here. Please be warned that this review itself is not appropriate for children. I'm just sayin'. And I am apparently one of the "snotty film buffs" to which she refers. At least for this movie anyway.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (R/105 Min.)

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I had to work late tonight and ended up in a mad rush, when I was finally liberated, to get to the theater on time. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was another in a decent-sized list of films that I was anxious to see. I didn’t go this past weekend due to Jazz in June (a girl’s got to have her priorities) and the rest of this week is bound to be crazy busy so this was my only chance to go before it got lost and forgotten in the midst of all the other movies I want to see.

So, I hustled my tuckus and made it to the theater in time to see the trailers (yea!) and then the movie started and then…I was ever so slightly underwhelmed. How very very VERY disappointing. Now, while anxious to see this I do have to admit that I didn’t really think it was going to fare well at the box office. My main reason for wanting to go was a curiosity to see how they were going to turn one of the most well-known and beloved Presidents the US has ever known in to a vengeful, monster-killing machine. Well, he did kill a LOT of monsters.

IMDB had this to say about Abraham…
“Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, discovers vampires are planning to take over the United States. He makes it his mission to eliminate them. “
Ummm…no. I won’t tell you how this is incorrect. All I can say is that it is. Do the people who allow these summaries on the site even watch the movies before they post them? I’m guessing not. Okay okay, the second sentence is correct. I’ll give them that much.

The acting wasn’t too bad. The scenery was as close to a historical match as I can imagine and the costuming was about as thrilling as you can guess considering the time period in which this is set. You’ve got to agree that clothes back then just weren’t all that exciting. But the fight scenes…Omigosh the fight scenes! I never thought I’d say this about an action/horror movie but the fight scenes really did get old after a while. They choreographed the stuffings out of them. And to make it even worse they added lots of dust and/or smoke so that nothing was very clear though things did jump out at us every once in a while. The worst, in my opinion, was the scene during the horse stampede. Coming in a close second was the train scene. Yes, it was kind of neat but it got to the point at which I thought maybe the vampires had gotten with Abe and Will ahead of time to decide who would come at who and when. I can hear Spike right now. “IT’S NOT REAL!!!” I know this but come on! I don’t ever want the heroes to die but just once can’t the evil villain tell all of his minions to attack all at the same time? Seriously?

I would love to have been tucked away somewhere in the screening room (or whatever it’s called) when the entire film was watched for the first time by the production staff. I want to know if they honestly sat back and said, “Well done, us.” “We are the bomb.com.” I’m thinking they got tired of filming, shrugged their shoulders and said, “Meh! It’s as good as it’s gonna get. The masses are mindless drones. They’ll eat it up.” Maybe they didn’t go to that extent but sometimes I wonder. Especially when I catch the mistakes that were made. What on earth are the editors for? I’d like to know how bad the mistakes were that they did manage to catch. I know I’ve mentioned all this before and I probably will again. I can’t seem to help it.

Another thing I MUST poke fun at is good ol’ Abe’s handling of the ax. We were apparently supposed to be highly impressed with how he spun it around during his training and when he was fighting the vampires. I might be…if I’d never in my life seen a flag corps. For the few of you who don’t know what a flag corps is, go to any high school/college football game and watch the girls/boys on the field during half-time who are not playing instruments. I guarantee a lot of these individuals could give Benjamin Walker (Abraham Lincoln) a run for his money. Just keepin’ it real, folks.

The violence was somewhere along the lines of 300 and Immortals. If blood flew, it had to do so in slow motion. Why get it over quickly when we can make the audience soak it all in, so to speak. This is yet another case of if-the-action-doesn’t-work-let’s-try-to-gross-them-out. If my mom were watching this film it would be mission accomplished but since she is pretty much only in Disney’s demographic the grossness just didn’t cut it. No pun intended. I will admit that the vampires were pretty darn creepy looking. These guys are most definitely not the currently oh-so-loved sparkly vamps. Not by a long shot.

I’m not going to break this down. It’s rated R for a reason. See the paragraph above if you need a reminder. I know people out there are going to completely disagree with my assessment of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and that is totally their prerogative. I didn’t completely hate the movie. There were a few good scenes. I also didn’t feel like it was a complete waste of time. I just don’t think I will ever watch it again. If you liked the vampire-killing fest that was From Dusk Till Dawn then you’ll probably like this.

There is absolutely no reason to stay through the credits. I did find it amusing that Linkin Park performed one of the songs in the film. What really tickled me was the part in the credits in which it mentioned that all of the characters were fictitious. Now I get that the real Abraham Lincoln was not a vampire hunter but the fact remains that he and Mary Todd were both quite real. Unless our US History books were works of fiction also. For some reason I’m pretty sure they weren’t.

Brave (PG/100 Min.)

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I went last Friday to the midnight showing of Brave.  I thought that since this is an animated film opening at the same time as Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter that I could leave the house around 11:30, get to the theater a little before midnight and still have a shot at my favorite seat.  Boy was I wrong.  The joint was packed!  I think I sat in the third row.  So NOT my favorite place to sit. 
Brave is the story of Merida, a Scottish princess who isn’t quite ready to take on the responsibilities of an adult.  Her parents plan a competition among the local clans to see who will win Merida’s hand – and the rest of her – in marriage.  The main problem?  Merida’s not exactly on board with the whole betrothal idea.  She wants to be the master of her own fate.
Having seen the trailers for Brave I was certain this was going to be a girl power movie.  I couldn’t have been further from the truth.  It’s more about the power of family and the special bond between a mother and daughter.  Yeah, her dad was there too but he is more the stereotypical dad to a young woman.  He spoils her rotten.  Almost literally.   At this point my dad would probably ask where her “rotten” is.  That’s just how we roll.  Fortunately for mom we only see each other a few times a year. 
Merida is your typical tomboy.  Her dad taught her to shoot a bow and arrow at an early age.  She is highly independent and acts more like her dad than her mom would like and her mom tries, sometimes in vain, to train that out of her.  She has three ornery brothers (triplets, Heaven help her mother) who she obviously loves.  She is so very much a daddy’s girl and, at the beginning anyway, it seems as if her mother is just an afterthought to her.  Makes me wonder if that’s how things go in my own family.  If so, mom, I do apologize.  You have never been an afterthought to me.  Even at the ripe old age of 29 (what?) there are still nights I wish you’d hop on a plane and come sing me to sleep. 
Elinor is Merida’s mother.  She is a woman trying to raise her daughter in a man’s world.  You can tell she only wants the best for Merida but they so obviously lack the communication needed for her to convey that message.  They are both head strong women who want things the way they want them and nothing else will do.  They just can’t seem to find the middle ground.  It took me a while to warm up to Elinor.  Her reaction to Merida’s “punishment” ultimately brought me around.  Elinor knew she was wrong and was sore at heart because of it.
The other characters are important but I think I’ll stop with just Merida and Elinor as they are the basis of the story.
Let’s talk about the animation, shall we.  To someone who can just barely draw a stick figure I am always in awe of the talent behind an animated film.  I have been drawn (no pun intended) to the point of tears at the beauty some of these wonderful artists display on the big screen.  They are amazing.  In one of the scenes in Brave I would have sworn that it was a real landscape with Merida drawn in.  And Merida herself.  That hair alone must have been the bane of someone’s existence.  The beauty and wonderful curliness of it almost made me rethink chopping off my hair next month.  Almost.  I live in Oklahoma, a location alarmingly close to the temperature of Hades in the summer.  Oklahoma in the summer.  Not Hades.  Though both are equally hot.  I’m guessing.  Having never travelled to Hades.  Welcome to my ramble, ladies and germs.  So, the hair goes and Locks of Love will benefit from my summer discomfort.
Next let’s talk about the music.  I LOVED it!!!  Enough said.
I’m not going to do the usual break-down because this is a Pixar movie.  I will mention that we saw several male behinds in the film and the powers that be seemed a tad juvenile at times in that they were very focused on one of the maid’s cleavage.  It was quite prominent in a few scenes.  I will even go so far as to say that some of the pastries in the film brought to mind the same body part.  I’m guessing most kids won’t notice that aspect so I won’t press the issue.
If you like a good Pixar movie you definitely need to go see this.  The only thing, really, that I found fault with was that some scenes went on way too long and some went by too fast.  The bear in the castle scene could have been much shorter (it stopped being funny after a while) while the climactic fight scene could’ve lasted more than just a minute or two.  Other than that, I loved this movie.  If your child has watched any Disney film they should be okay with Brave.  As mentioned in several other posts, I wish that the intense scenes were somewhat scary to children in that they aren’t numb to bad things happening but I do very much want parents to take their kids to see this.  I’ll give you a heads up to the two most intense scenes in the P.S. in case you’d like to go ahead and distract your kids a bit or at least be prepared for a reaction.  I will NOT tell you what happens in those scenes.  No spoilers here, folks.
I don’t care what your age is I think everyone should go see Brave.  Except Wally because movies like this are apparently not her bag, baby.
P.S.  For those of you who were wondering if John Ratzenberger was included in this latest Pixar production the answer is yes.  Yes he was. 
P.P.S.  The first “intense” scene happens when Merida and her mom are walking in the ruins.  The second happens close to the end of the film in the circle of stones.  The latter is the scene I was complaining earlier was too short.  Yes, I’m contradictory.  Deal with it.
P.P.P.S.  There is a little something after the credits but I didn’t find it particularly amusing.  You might though.  Who knows?