Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Lone Survivor (R)

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A couple weeks ago Mack and I went to yet another movie I knew nothing about. I read the brief synopsis that was written on the pass but that was it so I knew it was going to be a war movie about a true story and I knew that there would only be one survivor (hence, the title) but nothing more. I did find out prior to being allowed in to the theater that this was not going to be easy to watch. The powers that be passed around forms to anyone who had a child younger than 17 with them. They explained that a good portion of the movie would contain graphic violence and the parents would need to sign and turn in the forms. I guess they were to release the studio from any responsibility. If you’ve read any of my prior posts regarding minors allowed in this type of movie, you know that I’d like to go in to full-on rant mode here. But! I won’t. I’ll talk about the movie instead.

I keep trying to decide if Lone Survivor would be considered entertainment. I classify entertainment as a getaway from the real world. This was definitely that but not in a good way. Don’t get me wrong. I think this movie was very well made. Peter Berg is the director and I am a huge fan of his work. I was so drawn in to the film that my muscles were knotted by the time the credits rolled through. But entertaining? I don’t think so. Especially knowing that what we saw really happened. Why, then, would I recommend this movie to anyone? Because it’s just that good. And because a story like this should not be forgotten.

For those of you who don’t already know what this movie is about, it tells the story of the SEAL team that was sent in to a mountainous region behind enemy lines in Afghanistan to complete reconnaissance on terrorist Ahmad Shah and his men. The team was discovered by local shepherds and the SEALs made the decision to let them go instead of killing them. This compassion led to their demise. Apparently the enemy was not as kind.

Even though we knew from the very beginning which soldier made it out alive, I still wanted to protest as each of the others was killed. I do that sometimes. I can’t help it. It’s one thing though when the story is fiction. Each death in this film was a blow to my heart. It didn’t help any that, at the beginning, we got to see them as more than SEALs. We saw the individuals and heard about their home lives. We saw the camaraderie and competitiveness. They weren’t just blurbs in the nightly news anymore. These men were humanized for us. Would the movie have been as good without that? I really don’t think so. This made them more important to us.

Once the fighting starts, it stays tense through most of the rest of the movie. The guys got no rest. They were heavily outnumbered and though they were trained, and trained well – they’re SEALs for goodness’ sake – for combat, there were just too many bad guys. Now, my pain tolerance is somewhere in the medium range so I can’t even begin to imagine what their poor bodies went through. And yet, they plowed on. In the movie G.I. Jane, Viggo Mortensen’s character quotes the following from D.H. Lawrence: “I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.” That was these men! If they did feel self pity it definitely was not shown. One of the men, Lt. Michael P. Murphy, made the ultimate sacrifice. It’s shown a little differently in the movie than what I found reported on the Medal of Honor home page for Lt. Murphy but the point was made. This man put his body in harm’s way in an attempt to ensure the safety of his brothers. His death was the hardest for me.

The light at the end of the tunnel came from the Afghan man and his village. I would love to meet this man. It is one thing to have a basic belief but another still to have such a strong code of honor that you will give everything you have to protect a complete stranger knowing that it will not bode well for your future. If that doesn’t make sense to you now, go see the movie. I was absolutely horrified that, according to the movie, nothing was immediately done by the US soldiers to help the villagers. I wanted to grab hold of the young boy and the man and drag them both out of there. I completely understand why the soldiers did what they did but it didn’t make it any easier.

I feel as if I’m getting too in depth so I should probably wrap this up. All the actors were good. We even got a brief cameo by Peter Berg. The story was well told and I hope it was as close to the truth as they could possibly get. I haven’t read the book yet but I hope to do so before this film is released in January. To say that Lone Survivor is violent is understating things a bit but they kept it real. It wasn’t sensationalized in any way, shape or form. There was actually less cussing than I thought there would be. They used all the good ones but, for what they were going through, it was kept to a minimum. I’m not going to break it down any more because I don’t think young children/teens should see this. I know I don’t want my niece to see it. It’s too much for her right now. Yes, she watches scary movies but reality is a little harder to deal with. I do think she should see it at some point in her life. I think everyone should (when they’re older!!!). These men gave their lives for us. Surely we can give them 2 hours of ours.

The only reason I would go see this again when it’s released is so I can contribute to the numbers on opening weekend. It really was that hard for me to watch. Despite this, I encourage all of you to go. Just remember, you know from the title what’s going to happen. This is not really a feel good, skip on your way to the car afterward kind of movie. Mack and I sat a couple seats down from a Veteran. I didn’t realize this until he and his wife were leaving. I wanted to run up and hug him (because I’m a huggy person) and hold tight for a bit but I figured that would be a tad inappropriate. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Thank you to those of you who have served, are currently serving or have plans to do so. Your sacrifices have not gone unappreciated. You are loved and thought of and prayed for. To those of you serving overseas...come home soon.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Red 2 (PG-13/116 Min.)

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If you liked the movie Red, go see Red 2. What? Oh! You want more than that? Okay. I went to see this with Mac, her mom and a co-worker of mine and Mac’s. We’ll call her Witten. We all loved Red 2 so that’s four fors so far. Still not enough? Fine then.

Red 2 opens with Frank and Sarah living a life of normalcy, much to Sarah’s chagrin. Enter Marvin who, much to Sarah’s delight, throws those plans all out of whack. Well, in a round about way. Someone wants them dead and they would very much like to stay alive. Loyalties and animosities are questioned but, in the end, it’s just a whole lot of fun. Since this isn’t coming out until July 19th, I’m keeping the details to a minimum.

Bruce Willis returns as Frank Moses, ex-CIA agent. He would like nothing more than to settle down and take care of (read: Protect) Sarah for the rest of their lives. That ideal alone makes his character fun to watch. I have been a huge Bruce Willis fan since Moonlighting (I mean the re-runs, of course) and I have yet to see him in anything that disappoints. Frank never really loses his over-protective tendencies but he does finally let Sarah fly on her own and the results were entertaining, to say the least.

Mary-Louise Parker is Sarah Ross. I couldn’t have picked a better actor for this role. Stereotypically speaking, she doesn’t look like the type of person who would want to have anything to do with spy games or assassinations. More the former than the latter. Granted, I’m sure that quality is what would make someone a perfect spy/assassin. She stole the scene on several occasions which must be hard to do with Bruce and John in the picture. She’s so very deadpan a lot of the time and I love that kind of humor.

John Malkovich is Marvin Boggs. Oh John, I love you so. Don’t ask me to explain my admiration because I just can’t. He’s another actor that you either like or you don’t. I definitely like. Marvin interrupts Frank and Sarah’s peaceful existence early in the movie. You won’t have to wait long for the action to start. Trust me on this. Yeah, I know you don’t know me but still… Marvin can be just as low key as Sarah so it’s fun to watch the two of them together. And Marvin is a tad eccentric which makes the plot that much better.

Helen Mirren is the last actor who gets her own paragraph. The rest have to share. So sorry. Helen is Victoria, an assassin hired to kill Frank and Marvin. If you saw the first movie you pretty much know how this is gonna turn out. Or do you? Helen seems to be such a classy person that, like Mary-Louise, it’s hard to imagine her doing some of the things she does in this film. She should be at home sipping tea and eating crumpets, right? In one scene we see her oh-so-calmly kill a couple of people while dressed to the nines. Her…not them. Classy, huh? I have to say that though I loved her throughout the movie, my favorite action scene with her involved her shooting from both sides of the car during one of the chases. Unrealistic, you say? Maybe, but who cares? It’s a movie.

Catherine Zeta-Jones, Byung Hun Lee, Neal McDonough and Anthony Hopkins round out the main cast of characters. I liked Catherine in this but questioned, early on, why she keeps getting brought in on sequels. Then I looked it up and discovered that this is only the second time that’s happened. Whoops. Catherine plays Miranda Wood, a somewhat ex-love of Frank’s. Yikes! Byung brought the antagonistic humor that this film needed. He is another one of the assassins hired to kill Frank and Marvin. He also used to work with Frank until things went sideways. Interesting. Anthony Hopkins is Bailey, a scientist who has been locked away for years because of something he knows. Both sides are in a race to uncover his secret. Anthony is, as always, entertaining. Ending the list of actors is Neal McDonough as a ruthless CIA agent. He is a good bad good guy. Make sense? No? Go see the movie. I think you’ll like him too. I think he was deserving of more recognition in the ad campaign. Let me rephrase. I think he should have been included in the ad campaign. And on the poster. And the official website (which totally blows, by the way). Sadly, I forgot my notebook the night of the film and I can’t remember/find on-line the name of his or Byung’s character so it appears I am under-appreciating him also.

Because my niece is older now and watches more movies with cussing I tend to not pay as much attention anymore but I really don’t recall a lot of “words” being tossed around. I remember at least two but that’s it. It sadly surprises me that there are writers who have figured out that you don’t have to have a movie full of obscenities and still have a hit. Sadly, because films with lots and lots of expletives seem to have become the norm. Okay, I’m off my soapbox now.

There wasn’t much, if any (Sorry again. If I’d only remembered my notebook), drinking or smoking. Also, no sex or nudity. This was a straight-up action film. They didn’t have time for that. Whoops! I just read another review and was reminded of the fact that there WAS nudity. It just didn't show everything. Fortunately for any ladies watching the film, Byung Hun Lee was the actor involved. He's very not difficult to look at.

There was violence but that’s no surprise. I am happy to announce that it’s not disgusting violence. I mean there’s no gore and blood spray a la the movie 300, etc. People are shot/stabbed/blown up and then we move on. I don’t mean that to sound as if I’m okay with death. Not at all. I’m just reporting the facts as I see ‘em.

If I had to make any complaints about the movie they would be as follows. The beginning was kind of choppy. It jumped around quite a bit. Once they get to Moscow it evens out so hang on until then, okay? The other thing (and this always cracks me up) is the way people shoot each other. If someone has just thrown themselves behind something (say, a wall or car) to avoid being shot why do the shooters always insist on shooting high only? Chances are pretty good the shootee is going low. Shoot down, people! Also, how can someone be renowned as a crack shot and still miss the main characters? Yes, I realize that if he killed a main character it would mess up the movie but come on! At least wing one of ‘em.

Again, if you liked the first movie, you’ll like Red 2. If you like Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker and the rest mentioned above, you’ll like this. If you haven’t seen the first movie, why not? Go see it and then watch the sequel. It won’t do to watch them out of order even if you are my niece who likes to do such things. PT (my niece) will be 16 this year and despite that, I don’t think I would recommend this movie to her. She is still at an impressionable age and some of the violence is just so nonchalant as to make it funny. I don’t want that for her. You know what your children can handle. Please note that this movie is rated PG-13 for a reason.

I’m going to visit family in a few weeks for the anniversary of my 29th birthday and I’m taking the original movie with me in the hope that dad will like it and will want to go with me to see the sequel. If not, I’ll go again by myself. All alone. Sniffle. Or maybe I’ll talk Mac, Mama Mac and Witten in to going with me again. I don’t think it would be a hard sell for at least two of them.

P.S. There’s nothing after the credits. Go home OR go see another movie so you can stay out of the heat. Unless you like heat. In that case…enjoy!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

White House Down (PG-13/131 Min.)

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Olympus Has Fallen…again. Or so I thought. If you agree, I ask that you go ahead and drop that thought at the door and give White House Down a chance. Yes, there are several similarities but so many more differences that if you let the first movie go you might enjoy this one. I have to admit that I didn’t expect much from WHD other than an entertaining couple of hours. It was definitely entertaining but wait…there’s more!

White House Down is about John Cale, a Capitol policeman who dreams of joining the Secret Service and is forced to fulfill those duties while on a tour at the White House with his daughter.

I will try not to compare this too much to OHF but I have to at least say this. I questioned some of the military judgment/decisions in OHF and I did the same for WHD. Why on earth would the powers that be not change any and every method of logging in to the country’s weapons program if the President is found to be incapacitated or believed to be dead? And I would really like to know if a pilot would, in real life, do what the pilot in the movie did. It’s probably hard to answer that question because it would very likely depend on the person. They would have to decide which they would be more able to live with; obeying orders no matter what or going with their conscience. I can’t even begin to know what my decision would be.

For those of you who may think that I went to see this just because Channing Tatum is in it, I’d like to say you’re wrong. There were other reasons too. But, since we’re already talking about him, Channing is John Cale, ex-soldier, ex-husband, not-so-reliable (but trying) dad and Secret Service wannabe. I know he doesn’t sound promising but he gets his right place at the right time moment or twenty. He’s most definitely an action hero in WHD but he’s also a dad who loves his daughter and dang if he didn’t make me sniffle a time or two because of it. I really liked him in this movie. He hit several parts of the spectrum with his acting. Okay, so he didn’t quote Shakespeare but it wasn’t that kind of movie.

Joey King is John’s daughter, Emily. She was almost perfect for this role. We first see Emily as the sullen tween and then as a know-it-all. Pretty soon though we get to see her bravery in the face of many MANY dangers and finally not only how smart she truly is but that she’s also self-sacrificing. And she is one tough cookie! Every one of her emotions come across on the screen and I’m hard-pressed to be able to think of anyone who could have done it better. Something that happened to her reminded me why I get so fed up with the media nowadays. Is it really necessary to put people in harm’s way just to scoop the story? I can tell you right now that hope I will never want/need information so badly that I don’t mind that people are hurt because others are determined to report it. In the movie, Emily has a video blog on youtube. While doing a little extra research this evening I came across a link to the vlog. Click here to check it out.

I’m going to wrap up the actor/character descriptions with Jamie Foxx. He would be another reason I wanted to see WHD. I just really like him. In this film he gets to be the President of the United States. Nice! What I love about this role is that he’s not infallible. We see that he’s got a few quirks and we laugh and love him for them and then move on. He even comes across as a tad nerdy a couple of times. Sadly, he played a big role in my least favorite scene. He had to make a horrible decision and look a much-loved (by the audience) person in the eye while he did it. Once again, I don’t know what my decision would have been so I can’t judge his.

For those of you craving lots of action and explosions you should be satisfied with WHD. It’s almost realistic too. Channing’s face does, in fact, get a little bloody but not as much as it would have if this had been real. But who, in their right mind, is going to mess up Channing’s face? I mean, come on! Also, for those of you who are wondering if they snuck some romance in on us the answer is a resounding NO! If you’re expecting even a little mush then this is not the movie for you.

What else can you expect from this movie? Let’s see:

Sex/Nudity – Not really. We saw a thermal image of a couple engaging in intimate relations but that’s it. Channing does keep most of his clothes on. Sorry ladies. You’re going to have to just enjoy the fact that he strips down to just a white tank top. Okay, so he’s wearing pants and shoes too but you get my point.

Drinking/Drugs/Smoking – Here’s where I should have paid better attention. I don’t recall seeing any of that.

Cussing/Swearing – Yup. It’s not as bad as I thought it would be though. I only recall one F-bomb and a couple GDs. The favored word was synonymous with poo. Sorry folks. Still trying to keep my posts at least PG.

Violence – Well, yeah. Of course. People die from gun shots and explosions but there wasn’t any gore. The director didn’t sensationalize the blood and wounds and I was very okay with that. Once again, national landmarks are damaged but I think we’ve gotten to where we expect that. It’s just not an action movie until either New York, California or Washington DC get blown up in some way, shape or form.

If you’re a Channing Tatum fan, you’ll like this movie. If you’re a Jamie Foxx fan, you’ll like this movie. If you like all action all the time, chances are pretty good you’ll like this movie. I plan on going to see it again after its release. Unless you’ve got a big screen TV this is definitely best enjoyed at the theater.

Finally, I only have one thing I’d change about the ending. Someone should have called his/her spouse to let them know that he/she was okay. But I’ll let it slide this time.

Friday, June 7, 2013

This Is the End (R/107 Min.)

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Wow! This Is the End was not good. Well, for me anyway. I avoided the trailers and went solely based on who was in the movie. Bad decision on my part. I knew just looking at the poster that it would be stupid humor but this went above and beyond. This is what I imagine went in to the writing of this film:

“Okay, I have an idea. Let’s make a movie about the end of the world and we’ll play ourselves. No, not WITH ourselves [giggle, snort]. Play us. Since everyone thinks that all celebrities do in their off time is drink and do drugs we’ll do a LOT of that. And then a bunch of people will disappear and then we’ll hole up in Franco’s house because it’s, like, built of concrete so it’s super fortified. Of course, we’ll have to talk about body parts and poop and pee and other fluids…a LOT. And wouldn’t it be hilarious if we totally bagged on Christianity? And we’ve got to get a lot of celebrities to be in it. Oh! I wonder what we could talk Channing in to doing!”

It couldn’t have taken too much more thought than that. At no point was “intellectual” humor included in the plot. It was straight up gutter/toilet humor. If you happen to like that then you’ll love This Is the End. I will admit that I laughed a few times but most of it was caused by the sheer stupidity and awkwardness of some of the jokes. But some of it was just gross. I took Mac with me again and we both almost hurled during one scene. I don’t know how many times I leaned over and said, “I’m so glad we didn’t pay for this.” Well, not with cash anyway. I want that 107 minutes back.

I would be surprised if there was much of a script for this movie. I think they all just got together, received a basic scene description then were told to run with it. I won’t waste time on talking about each actor because there wasn’t much acting in this. It was just one cheap joke after another.

The break-down for this is relatively simple. Was there cussing? Absolutely. Was there nudity? Definitely. It’s weird, over-the-top nudity too. And it’s not women. Was there drinking and drugs? Oh crap yeah. Was there sex? It was grossly implied. Did I like anything about this movie? Yes. Yes, I did. I liked the group cameo that showed up at the very end. Was it worth it to be able to see them? No. No, it wasn’t.

To say “Don’t take your children to see this movie” is sorely understating it. I beg you not to take yourselves. I have a feeling this is going to do well at the box office and that’s very sad. In case you’re wondering whether or not I even have a sense of humor, I do. Ask anyone. Ask them. ASK THEM! Ahem. I just, apparently, don’t have the sense of humor needed to enjoy this movie.

I just knew that there would be a teaser after the credits but there was nothing. I may have to watch another movie before I go to sleep tonight just so I don’t dream of this one.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

After Earth (PG-13/100 Min.)

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1000 years in to the future, humans are residing on a planet that is not Earth because they managed to make a real mess of it. Earth, I mean. General Raige takes his son, Kitai with him on a mission and, of course, bad things happen. They end up back on an Earth that wants nothing to do with them. Because the General is badly injured in the crash landing, Kitai is forced to seek help on his own. It is NOT a walk in the park!

So many different things happened in After Earth that should have made it a success but despite all that it seemed to be lacking something. I hate to even mention that because I am a huge fan of Will Smith. The story behind the General’s relationship with and attitude towards his son seemed to have a big hole in it. We’ll talk a little more about that later. I feel like saying nice things first.

Let’s begin with the scenery. I LOVED it! The city on the cliffs of their current planet is beautiful! The jungle that Kitai has to traverse on Earth is amazing too. I want to go where that was filmed and take all kinds of pictures. Especially of the waterfalls.

Several parts were predictable. Several were cheesy. And several just dripped with so much foreshadowing that you almost didn’t need to finish watching the movie. I did though. Because I’m cool like that.

I don’t need to talk up Will Smith much. Most people either like him or they don’t. He’s not usually an “in between” actor. He was very stereotypically military as General Cypher Raige. He gave orders and expected them to be obeyed by everyone including his family. It is implied that he blames Kitai for the death of his daughter (Kitai’s sister) but the movie doesn’t delve too deeply into that aspect of it. It’s almost an afterthought. When he does lighten up he’s very lovable.

Jaden Smith is Kitai Raige. He spends a good portion of the movie either scared or upset. The scared I definitely understand. He’s got to conquer his fears though in order to succeed. What I don’t get is how they made him seem scared and yet if someone was relying on me to run 60 miles through a not-so-friendly jungle so that I could “phone home” we’d all die. Mainly because the minute I saw even a hint of a bug, snake, angry monkey, etc. the mission would be over. Kitai, however, powered through. When he does throw a hissy fit because he’s upset with his dad it comes out of nowhere. Had more been shown about how home life was between him and his dad it may have been a little more understandable. Soon after Kitai sets off his journey something bad happens to which he responds with one of my favorite lines in the movie. “That sucked.” Yes, Kitai. Yes, it did.

There were some sad parts in the movie – one involving animals – but I handled it well. No crying for me this time although it was close when an unexpected ally repaid a brave act with the ultimate sacrifice. I’m getting kinda misty just thinking about it.

It’s almost pointless to break this down because, other than attacks by animals and a grody alien I couldn’t find a reason kids shouldn’t go see this. There was a very young boy at the end of our row and he seemed to handle it all well. I don’t recall any cussing/swearing. No sex or nudity. No alcohol or drugs. I know you’re wondering how anyone can make a movie without all that but they did. It was action-y but not super action-y. Make sense? No? Well, go see it and you’ll understand.

I’m having trouble deciding what aged children would be okay with this. You know what your kids can handle. We didn’t see any animals getting ripped apart but we saw the after-affects. Kinda gross. Oh! And there were a couple of cheap scares. That was so wrong! One of them was just a loud drum beat. I took my friend, Mac, with me and she and I both about jumped out of our skin because of that stupid drum. And then we laughed.

I called PT after the movie to see if she was going to go see it and tried to encourage her to do so but, based on the previews she’d seen, she had no desire to go. If you like Will Smith I would give it a chance. This was a completely different role than what we’re used to seeing him play. I don’t know if I would see this repeatedly but I will probably rent or own it in the future. Mac said she really liked it so now you know at least 2 people did.

P.S. There was nothing after the credits so feel free to hit the road when they start rolling.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Twister Live (The OK Tornadoes 05/19 and 05/20)

In a scene in the movie “Twister” several people are discussing the intensity rating of tornadoes. It’s mentioned that EF2s and EF3s are pretty strong and an EF4 will relocate your house. Someone else asks if there’s such a thing as an EF5 and what would that be like. The reply? “The finger of God.” For those of you who don’t live in tornado alley you may want to note that this little factoid wasn’t made up for the movie. If you’ve been anywhere near your TV and on regular programming this evening you’ll know this is true. The city of Moore, OK was hit by an F5 today. Actually, “hit” is a bit of an understatement. Words can’t describe the devastation.

The news has been tossing around “war zone” as a description. I wonder if anyone who’s been in a war would agree. This was not man made. This was not something anyone could fight. And, in some cases, this was not something from which you could hide. At one point the reporters said that if people couldn’t get underground the chances were pretty good they wouldn’t survive. Why do I care enough to post about this? Because several of my loved ones live in Moore and as soon as I heard the sirens and the news that the tornado was headed towards them I tried to text one of them hoping against hope that she was at work and far far away from her house. She was not. She was home. Her daughter and son-in-law were at their apartment. Also in the path of the tornado. Another cousin was in a Moore school. Unreachable by me. The rest of his family was in different parts of the city. I work in an office on the 20th floor of a building in downtown OKC. My windows face to the south...towards S. OKC and Moore. I sat in my office, looking out the window of a building just miles away from these loved ones and that tornado and straining with all my might to be able to see what was happening. Yes, I knew that even on a clear day I can’t see that far but, at the time, it didn’t matter. I needed to know.

Needless to say, I didn’t get much work done. Fortunately, I have a very understanding boss. He took in stride the fact that I couldn’t sit still and kept walking in to his office to give him updates about people he’s never met. At one point I told him I wanted to go home. His immediate response? “Okay.” No questions asked. I didn’t leave. I knew there wasn’t anything I could do and, had I left, I’d just sit around the house worried. So I tried to work and didn’t accomplish much.

I spent the next hour texting; trying to find out who was where and whether or not they were safe. My family is not a group of great communicators but apparently we pulled out all the stops for this ordeal. My mom was in another state and got some family news before I did. I also logged on to to watch the streaming video of what was happening. It wasn’t pretty. So much damage. So many homes and 2 schools destroyed. The reporters showed the schools but wouldn’t tell us the names (they didn’t know yet themselves). I knew which school my cousin was in but the reporters wouldn’t confirm whether or not his school was one of the ones they were showing. I started yelling at the reporters on my computer. Because that always hurries information, doesn’t it? They finally gave the names of the schools. Not his. Thank goodness. Relief! Then I got the message that another cousin goes to one of the schools that was destroyed. She’s actually a step-cousin but our family doesn’t work on the step-system. If you’re family you’re family. Period. It was okay though. She hadn’t gone to school today. Hold that thought…she was at home which is in the housing area behind the big theater that was hit and we didn’t have information yet about whether or not she and her grandmother had gotten to shelter. ARGH! They are both safe. Thank goodness.

I finally gave up and decided to bring my work home with me. I didn’t feel like doing it here either but it would put me closer to my family. This all started around 3 o’clock this afternoon and we didn’t confirm the location of all family members until around 10 this evening. They are all safe. I want to see and hug every one of them. Just to be sure. As I was leaving work, dad called and asked if my house had any wind damage. I hadn’t even considered my house. I knew the tornado hadn’t hit it but I hadn’t thought that it could be hurt by the weather in other ways. That was a dreaded trip. I pulled in to my driveway and the only disaster to be seen was my lawn which badly needs to be mowed.

I went inside, hugged my boys and called dad to let him know everything was okay. I turned on the TV and HGTV came on. Regular programming. Didn’t they know what was happening here? Then I turned on the news. Seven children who were trapped in an elementary school had drowned (I just heard on the news that it was from broken water pipes in the school). Seven children who left home for a normal day of school and wouldn’t be returning. That was it. I had had enough. I called my mom. My sounding board. My rock. Everything had gotten very surreal. My house was fine. My boys were fine. I was fine. Love It or List It was on HGTV. If all that was true, how could something so bad have happened just down the road? Mom let me cry it out and we talked about what we’d both seen on the news. I was angry that we’d had looters at a medical center and people trying to catch pictures of destruction and injury. In Oklahoma. My Oklahoma. The state in which people help each other in times of tragedy. They don’t add to it. I was heart sick that so many children had died. I didn’t know yet that the number would climb to 24. Mom let me vent it out and told me to get some sleep, told me she loves me and hung up the phone.

Why do I feel like my little story is important? I don’t. Not really. As it affects me anyway. It’s after midnight and I can’t wind down. But, the little roller coaster I rode today was absolutely NOTHING compared to what happened to those in the path of the tornado. Compared to a mom who couldn’t locate her son. Compared to a dad/son trying to get to his daughter and mom. Compared to teachers – found under cars and trapped under debris- who used their own bodies to protect their students. Compared to sobbing rescue workers who had to switch their efforts at an elementary school from rescue to recovery. Compared to thousands of people displaced because their homes are no more. My fears and stress, though they seemed large at the time, were minor.

This has been declared the worst tornado in history. The death toll has climbed to 51 and I pray it stops there. [Turns out the news was wrong on that count at the time of this post. The total was 24; that number including 9 children]In a few hours I’ll get my sleepy butt out of bed and drive in to work while thousands try to figure out how to carry on. I pray that they get back to “normalcy” as quickly as possible. I pray that those who lost loved ones will be able to get rest enough to see them through. I finally feel like I can go to sleep but it’s with a heavy heart. The one bright spot in all this is that the loss of lives could have been so much worse if not for the systems set up for just this very event so that people are warned quickly. My only wish is that 24 more could have been saved.

Please remember the people of Moore in your prayers. They have a tough road ahead of them but they are not alone. Every thought and prayer counts and yours will be felt throughout the community. Of this I am sure. God bless and keep us. Good night.

Added 05/23/2013:
I hate to admit that in all the excitement over the Moore tornado I completely forgot about the cities that were hit the day before. It's hard to imagine how though. A friend and I watched in horror as the reporters told the people of Carney and Wellston that the tornado was as big as their cities and, once again, if they couldn't get underground they needed to get the heck out of Dodge. If you've ever heard an Oklahoma newscaster during a tornadic event you know this just never gets said. It's always only "seek shelter". To be told to flee or die must be a scary, scary thing. Shawnee and Norman were hit along with several smaller cities with a death toll of 2 people. I know that doesn't sound like much but to their families, it's a lot. To all of these cities mentioned I would like to offer up my apology for not seeing the big picture. You too are in my prayers.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

42 (PG-13)

42 Movie photo 42movieposter_zpsdc168842.jpg

“There was something unfair at the heart of the game I loved.”

Those of you who really know me know that I love three sports. Hockey, college football and baseball. I love college football not only because it is a harbinger of Fall but also because my beloved Sooners and other collegiate players are still playing for the joy of it. Hockey is my stress relief. I like to sit up in my corner of the arena and yell my heart out for my Barons. But baseball. There’s just something about it. Or, it’s everything about it. It’s the crowd. It’s the ice cream in the tiny plastic baseball helmet. It’s the brats with sauerkraut (yeah, I know that’s not American but I love my brats). It’s the young child attending his/her first game and pummeling their parents with question after question after question. It’s the fireworks after the Friday night games. Growing up, it was the grassy area next to left field where my sister and I played while we waited for the chance at a foul ball. It was 89er stadium and now, The Brick (I don’t care that they changed the name). It’s watching an entire team when they’re out in the field but just one player when they’re up to bat. I love baseball. I love how it is portrayed in movies. I’ll watch any baseball movie I can get my hands on and I’ve had several favorites throughout my life. I have to say now that my favorite has once again changed. If you don’t watch any other movie about baseball ever, you need to watch 42.

For those of you who aren’t baseball fans and haven’t heard of this movie, 42 is the story of Jackie Robinson, a baseball player who tore through the color barrier so that he could play the sport he loved in the sport’s biggest arenas (or parks if you’re going to be picky). It shows how he rose above the meanness and hate and became one of the greatest players in baseball history. Not only for the man he was on the field but also because of the man he was off.

To say that this movie affected me is putting it mildly. If I hadn’t embarrassed myself a couple times I’d have been a fan in the stands throughout the entire film. But we’ll get to that later. Except for Harrison Ford’s acting at the beginning I can’t find anything negative to say about this movie. How it was made, I mean. There were plenty of reasons for me to be disappointed/sad/angry. That’s what made it such a good movie.

What is it about 42 that I liked so much? Jackie himself. I don’t know a thing about his personal life so I’m just working on the theory that the director/writer was close to getting it right. We saw more than just the athlete. We saw the husband who, oh so obviously, loved his wife. We saw the wife who was his greatest supporter. We saw the man who could turn the other cheek when most men wouldn’t have. We saw the man who cried when it was just too much. We saw the man who proved that it wasn’t HIS color that slowed the process of him becoming a hero. We saw the young boy who was inspired by Jackie Robinson to become a Major League player himself.

Aside from that, I liked 42 because it showed the men who supported Jackie despite the fact that it was so not the popular thing to support a black man in the 1940s. It showed that you should stand up for what is right no matter how it might affect you. It showed that actions, more than anything else, prove a man’s character.

Speaking of characters…

Chadwick Boseman was cast in the role of Jackie Robinson. I’m sure I’ve seen him before as several of his roles occurred in TV shows I watch a lot but I guess I haven’t paid attention until now. I believed he was Jackie Robinson. I hurt with him, I wanted to fight for him, I most certainly cheered for him (one of my embarrassing moments in the theater), and I yelled at an ump for him (another embarrassing moment in the theater). I would love to one day have the kind of relationship he did with his wife. They adored each other and she truly was his biggest fan and he hers.

Nicole Beharie was Rachel Robinson. Her character was beautiful inside and out. But she had an ornery side too! I loved that when Jackie was at his lowest her response wasn’t full of venom towards the people who’d hurt him. It was, I think, a healing response and it was wrapped in one short, little line. I hope the real Rachel actually said that to the real Jackie.

Harrison Ford played the part of Branch Rickey, the baseball executive who signed Jackie Robinson to the Brooklyn Dodgers. I have no nice way to explain how I felt about Harrison’s acting at the beginning of the movie other than to say he overdid things a bit. Throughout the rest of the movie it seemed as if he was channeling Jimmy Stewart. Aside from that, I loved Branch. He was a good man who fought for what he believed in. He believed baseball should be integrated and he made it so.

John C. McGinley was Red Barber, the announcer at several of the games. I’ve liked him in almost everything I’ve seen him in and 42 was no exception. He was hilarious. My dad has Red’s kind of sense of humor so it was very easy to love him. I guarantee dad will appreciate Red’s description of Jackie when he walks out on the field.

Were there any characters I didn’t like? Absolutely! Every hateful racist who hurt Jackie or Rachel. Which one did I want to jump onscreen and smack? That would be Ben Chapman played by Alan Tudyk. Ben made me so angry at one point that I was upset with Alan. I loved you in 28 Days, A Knight’s Tale, Dodgeball and Suburgatory. How could you do this to me? You were awful! You were hateful! You were mean! And you tried to excuse it. I never want to see you in this kind of role again. EVER!

Next in line to Ben Chapman was the man whose son was so excited to be at the game. He was a huge fan of Pee Wee Reese, the short stop. When Jackie walked on to the field the game lost a little bit of its luster for the young boy. Not because of Jackie. The blame lays squarely on the shoulders of that horrible man.

There are so many other actors I want to mention but this will just go on and on and on. I think everyone who portrayed one of the baseball players was well chosen. Well done you, casting director.

I’ve already discussed some of the following with my sister so the break down is for anyone else who’s interested. If you’re wondering why I mention my sister it’s because these posts are meant to help her decide if it’s something she’s okay with my niece seeing. Anyway, here’s the breakdown.

Sex/Nudity – None. There is a brief bedroom scene in which Rachel gets kissed on her chest but that’s the worst of it.

Drinking/Drugs/Smoking – Drinking…yes. Drugs…no. Smoking…Branch seems to have a cigar in his hand every time we see him.

Violence – the benches are cleared for a good ol’ all-American brawl. That’s about the worst of it. Oh wait. No, it’s not. Jackie got hurt in one scene by an opposing player. I reacted strongly to that incident. I made people around me giggle. I couldn’t help it.

Cussing/Swearing/Racial Slurs – And then some. SOB, GD, S and H played small roles throughout the film but the biggest word of all was the N word. Mama taught me early on that that is NOT a word to be used in her household. Or out of it for that matter. I lost count at 53 and I know it was said a lot more than that. In 42…not our house. Ben Chapman was the worst offender. He needed to be punched. Soundly. I so completely hate that THAT word was used so much but I understand why it had to be. That’s how it was back then and what Jackie had to deal with. I don’t think the audience would have been quite as incensed if the bad guys yelled stuff like, “You’re a stinky poo poo head!” It’s just doesn’t have the same ring to it. Several other racial terms were used that were just as offensive but the N word was used most often so that’s why it was mentioned. The fact that Jackie was able to overcome such abuse makes me want to hug his mama. I don’t care that the movie portrays Branch as being the one who encouraged Jackie to be the bigger man. I’m pretty secure in believing that how he was raised made him the man he was.

I can’t/won’t discourage anyone from seeing 42. I plan on going again this weekend. Tonight was another free screening and though I loved that I didn’t have to pay for it, I now want to help it become number one at the box office. Please go this weekend. Opening Day at The Brick is this Friday and I didn’t want to miss one to see the other so this was yet another reason to be thankful for the pre-screening. Spike couldn’t get to the theater in time tonight so I think I’ll drag him along on Saturday or Sunday. Oh! I just thought of something. If you’re a dyed-in-the-wool Pittsburgh fan…you may not like this movie.

I have no idea if anything happens after the credits. The powers that be turned the projector off just as they started rolling.

P.S. If you’ve heard of Jackie Robinson but don’t really KNOW about him except the very basics, I encourage you to do a little research. He was so much more than baseball.

P.P.S. I would like to take a quick minute to thank my mama. If you’ve ever known her you know that, in her world, people aren’t a color. She raised us to look beyond the outside to the potential friend inside and that hate and fear are caused by actions, not race. Because of you, mama, this movie meant so much more to me than it could have. You are truly a tender-hearted champion and a hero. Thank you for raising us to know that the only color that matters is that of the blood pumping through our veins. Everything else is just a covering.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Evil Dead (2013) (R/91 Min.)

Evil Dead photo EvilDead_zps786d14a3.jpg

Do you remember, as a teenage girl, going to slumber parties and staying up late watching scary movies and getting in trouble who knows how many times because of all the screaming said movies elicited? No? Well I do. And I loved it. I could watch anything or read any scary book and sleep like a baby. Friday the 13th? A Nightmare on Elm Street? Please. Stephen King? Yawn. Oh wait. I said “anything”, didn’t I? I meant almost anything. One movie from my formative years stuck with me. To be more specific, one scene from that movie stuck with me and can still send shivers down my spine just thinking about it. Unfortunately, after all these years I had forgotten what movie it was. I only remembered that scene. Tonight…I remembered the movie.

I went to the pre-screening of Evil Dead. It was another freebie and made me glad of two things. One, I didn’t have to pay for it and two, there were a lot of people there so I wasn’t sitting in the back row of the AMC Crossroads with nary another soul in the theater. I know that hard core horror fans will probably roll their eyes or laugh at my reaction to this film but it can’t be helped. I am proud to say that I didn’t cover my eyes even once during the entire movie though. Okay, so it’s not as pride-inducing when I remind myself that the only reason I didn’t is because we were told ahead of time that they might be filming the audience reaction and I didn’t want to be THAT GIRL. So, I clenched my hands around my purse and settled back (sort of) for the show.

Evil Dead is a remake of a movie of the same name that came out forever ago. Or 1981. It’s about five twenty-somethings who go to a VERY remote cabin to help one member of their group go cold turkey off drugs. From drugs? Anyway. She dumps the drugs down a well and begins the - what can only be super fun - withdrawal experience. While exploring a funky smell in the cabin, the guys stumble upon a Book of the Dead and, despite its being encased in barbed wire (!!!), one of them opens it, reads it and accidentally summons a demon. Creepy things starts to happen and everyone blames the main character’s fears and seeming paranoia on her desire for the drugs. Boy, were they wrong! This is a movie about possession. Not something someone owns. More like someone being owned. Have you seen those movies where an evil spirit sort of floats in to a person’s body and takes over? Yeah. This movie’s not like that.

This movie wasn’t just scary, it was gory. And then some. Fortunately for me, they took it way WAY over the top. Several parts were funny scary. Yes, it was gross but you couldn’t help but laugh. Those scenes may have saved my bacon. I needed the levity in the midst of the madness. The audience helped a lot too. One woman in particular kept things light by yelling at the screen like I do when watching movies at home. On more than one occasion she entertained us all by yelling, “Do NOT turn around!” A man somewhat close to her was heard to say, “Oh, heck no.” Okay so, I cleaned it up a little bit. It made me laugh and got me through. If the woman who sat in front of me could have, I think she’d have crawled in to the woman sitting next to her she was sitting so close. I hope they were friends.

Except for the bad acting at the very beginning of the movie it wasn’t too bad. They so needed someone else to play the dad. The opening scene was supposed to be scary but ended up cheesy. The initial scare wasn’t that scary either. I think it was supposed to be a sudden make-you-jump scare but…not so much. There were several instances in which I felt they were trying to do the same but I managed to not be startled. That is not bragging. That’s a lack in the film. Some people in the audience jumped or yelped at those times but it didn’t affect the audience as a whole. Those few moments aside they did include a scare or two. I did notice, during the credits, that my legs were shaking. I couldn't figure out why for a second and then realized I was having muscle spasms. Apparently I wasn't as unaffected as I thought.

I seem to be talking around everything while trying to not give away anything. Let’s talk about some of the characters instead.

The main character is Mia, played by Jane Levy. She’s the reason I wanted to see this movie. I DVR Suburgatory every week and thought it would be interesting to see how she handles horror. She handled it well. Her maniacal giggling was funny and spine-tingling at the same time. She got to be all kinds of creepy. That scene that I can't get out of my head??? It happens to Mia. I'm just sayin'.

Shiloh Fernandez plays Mia’s brother, David. David’s been kind of an absentee brother so we didn’t see a whole lot of love between the siblings but he’s trying. A couple of things happen that make you want to smack him for not double checking but that’s so typical in horror movies. Kudos to him though for his creative use of duct tape.

Lou Taylor Pucci plays the siblings’ mutual friend, Eric. I mention him only because, aside from Mia, his poor character went through the most trauma. Having said that, I should also mention that he totally deserved it. Pay attention to the holes on his face. Sometimes they move. Whoopsy. I’m also pretty sure that the doorknob keeps moving in the scene in which Eric goes to check on Olivia. I could be wrong.

The other two characters either didn’t get enough play or just didn’t affect me as much as the first three. Natalie’s (Elizabeth Blackmore) initial response to her peril caused a titter or twenty but her moments of glory involved so much spraying of blood and other ridiculousness that it became comical. I didn’t care much for Olivia, played by Jessica Lucas. And “that’s all I’ve got to say about that.”

We were told that this movie was not yet rated but according to IMDB it’s rated R. I’m not sure how else anyone would rate it. Do horror movies ever get an X rating? If so, I’m going nowhere near those films. The same person who said it wasn’t yet rated also said that it’s inappropriate for children. That really is the best word for it. No child should see this movie. At. All. If you liked the original Evil Dead you’ll probably like this. If you like scary movies, you’ll probably like this. If your favorite kinds of movies are like Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail, you probably won’t like this. But then again…

Having mentioned sleepovers at the beginning of this post I should also mention that if you are a young person and are susceptible to nightmares after watching horror movies and you attend a slumber party at which this film is on the list of the night’s entertainment I would recommend calling your mom to come pick you up. You’re not going to be a happy camper. You may get teased later but I’d rather deal with teasing than what happens with an over-active imagination when the lights go out. If you’re the adult at said party, plan on not sleeping. There will be screaming.

If you’ve never seen any of the original movies then what happens after the credits, more than likely, won’t mean anything to you. If you have seen them, stick around.

P.S. One question for those of you who’ve seen this…does anyone else find the movie title placement in the poster a tad amusing? Just me again? I can live with that.

P.P.S. I would like to state, for the record, that I completely outgrew being unaffected by Stephen King books. It would take a lot to get me to read one now. No, thank you very much.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Croods (PG/98 Min.)

the croods photo: The Croods the-croods_collage_zpsff192249.jpg

I WAS IN AN ANIMATED MOVIE!!! Okay, so not literally but I’d hardly gotten past the opening credits and I was already a member of the family. I was so drawn in to (no pun intended) it that I only visited the theater a couple of times during the film and that was caused by several kids’ laughter. They loved it! I have nothing negative to say about The Croods and I’m already ready to see it again.

The Croods is about a prehistoric cave family whose father/husband/son-in-law protects them by keeping them in constant fear. One day they are forced out of their cave and their lives are changed forever.

I went to the 3D showing - even though I usually don’t notice the effects - and thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve never wanted to be artistically talented so badly in my entire life. All the effects were pretty amazing. From the family itself to the different animals to the plant life; it was all just so cool! Oh! And someone must like elephants because there were several different elephant type critters. I think I saw at least 4.

Moving along. Allow me to take a moment to introduce you to the family:

First there’s the dad, Grug (voiced by Nicolas Cage). Grug’s entire life seems to be spent protecting his family; whether they like it or not. He’s a good guy. He just tries too hard.

Next there’s the mom, Ugga (Catherine Keener). She’s the keeper of the peace who tries to help Grug see what’s right for the family.

Then there’s the grandma, Gran (Cloris Leachman). This woman is a little spitfire. Literally, at one point. They picked the perfect person to be her voice. I could totally picture Cloris as the live action Gran.

Next up is Thunk, the son (Clark Duke). Poor Thunk. If this guy doesn’t manage to find a smart girl to take care of him he’s in a mess of trouble. Or he’ll just live with his parents his entire life.

Randy Thom is the voice for Sandy, the baby girl. This kiddo is every parents’ nightmare. She is in to EVERYTHING!!! And then some. She sticks whatever she can get hold of in to her mouth. Who cares that it’s a giant flying bug. Yuck!

Rounding out the family is daughter Eep (Emma Stone). She’s tired of living in fear; not being able to leave the cave whenever she wants. She just knows there’s more to life. And she is very much the stereotypical teenager.

Not members of the family but still very important to the film are Guy (Ryan Reynolds) and his pet sloth, Belt (Chris Sanders). Guy is truly living life and encourages the Croods to do the same. Belt is his trusty sidekick. Belt was also the cause of quite a bit of the kids’ laughter.

I don’t need to break this down because I think it is fine for pretty much everyone. But I will anyway. There was no cussing, no sex/nudity (doy!) and no drinking/drugs (again…doy!). There was violence but there always is in animated movies, right? I don’t think any of it was particularly gross. ParaNorman was way scarier and if your children were okay with that they should be fine with this.

I recommend this for pretty much anyone. Unless you hate animated movies. Then don’t go see it. I’ve already told mom and dad that they need to take PT to see this as soon as possible. There is a teensy little extra after the credits. It’s cute but I’m not sure if it’s worth the wait. I’ll let you decide.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Olympus Has Fallen (R/Approx. 130 Min.)


I should have hated (okay, greatly disliked) this movie. Not exactly what movie makers want to hear, I’m sure, but still. I should have. Yet I didn’t.

Olympus Has Fallen is about a terrorist take-over of the White House. The President has been taken hostage and only one man, a man who he probably feels let him down before, is in a position to get him out.

That’s about as cut and dried as I can get it. It sounds like a fun story, right? It’s sort of Die Hard meets Cliffhanger meets Taken meets 300 meets The Departed meets The American President. Minus the romance.

If you’ve seen the movie The Departed you might have some idea of why I shouldn’t have liked this movie. I was almost ill by the end of that film due to all the killing; especially the shots to the head. Olympus gave it a run for its money. The violence was so over the top but it didn’t bother me as much as the other did. Maybe I’m becoming numb to it. I hope not.

I hate ever having to say SPOILER ALERT but the following 2 paragraphs do give a small glimpse in to a couple of scenes. I don’t think it will ruin anything for anyone but I felt the need to put it out there just in case.

So, why should I have hated it? It was so completely unrealistic. But it’s a movie!!! I do understand that but the lack of reality was a tad offensive in some cases. Who could possibly be offended? Let’s start with the US Military and Secret Service. How dumb do the producers think these people are? Yes, our service men and women have been known to sacrifice their lives for their country but I found it very hard to believe that they were forced to do some of the things they did. You cannot sit there and tell me that the acting President is going to trust the inside man for all the intel he’s providing and then not listen to him when he, oh so fervently, warns him about a ginormous weapon that could be a danger to the soldiers being sent in to rescue the elected President. Also, and I know this is kind of vague, you should NEVER put all your eggs in one basket. You’re really going to trust the fate of the nation to a small number of human beings without some kind of overriding authority? I don’t think so.

As for the Secret Service…I strongly believe that if their fellow agents were being gunned down right in front of them and there was absolutely no way to stop the slaughter, they were not going to run out in to it too. It was a major (needless) 300 moment. They would have regrouped and come at it from a different angle. And I am going to take a risk here and believe that the agents have a set protocol for a reason. They do their job the way they’ve been trained and stick to it no matter what the President says. Otherwise, what’s the point? The President doesn’t feel like going to a secret cave when the country is under attack? Super. The President wants to decide who joins him in said cave? Oh well. Okay. Because he’s the President. The agents should just go with those whims. Right? Ummmm….no. And who on earth would put the President AND the Vice President IN THE SAME ROOM during this kind of crisis? Maybe I give them too much credit but I don’t think so. I’m worried about the country and any President if those protecting us are really that boneheaded. Having said that, the movie wouldn’t have gone the way it did had the agents not been so malleable.

Another thing I loved/hated was the foreshadowing. I knew the sparring match at the beginning was going to be useful later on. I knew we’d see the drone again. I knew the discussion between the First Son and the agent was going to come in to play at some point. I knew something was going to happen to the dog. So, I was right about at least one of them. The one I absolutely knew was going to happen didn’t. That was just a cheap shot. I know I won’t be the only person to expect the same. There was also one instance in which I wish they had used foreshadowing. Or maybe it ended up on the cutting room. Or maybe they just didn’t think of it. It involved the bad guy and the bad girl. I was expecting a Cliffhanger kind of relationship between the two of them. I was wrong.

Finally, a little technical criticism. The sound was wonky. I can’t believe I’m saying this but it wasn’t loud enough in parts. Usually I have to cover my ears during parts of action films but I didn’t have to at all this time (thank goodness) and some of the dialogue was really hard to hear. Just the rustle of popcorn bags covered it up and no one in the theater was being excessively noisy with their concessions. And at least one line seemed to have gotten dorked up in the editing process. Something Gerard Butler said kind of skipped. Whoops!

I considered not talking about any of the characters but I feel I must. At least a few of them, anyway.

Gerard Butler is Mike Banning; ex-Secret Service and the “inside man”. He got to play the action hero with the gooey inside. So the latter was only in a couple scenes but it was still there. I liked him in this movie. Then again, I’ve liked him in every movie in which I’ve seen him. There were parts of his character, though, that seemed to be lacking. The scenes with his wife (Radha Mitchell) almost didn’t need to be included. They didn’t do anything for the story except introduce someone who might worry about him. I wonder how many of Radha’s lines were left on the cutting room floor. I think they should have also played up Banning’s friendship with the First Son (Finley Jacobsen) more. But they didn’t. So there. Speaking of Finley…he was way underutilized. I did love his character’s call sign though.

Aaron Eckhart is President Benjamin Asher. I know he’s played many roles but I will always see him as Harvey Dent/Two Face. So I’m a Batfan. I thought he was going to have a bigger role in Olympus but he didn’t really. He got to be the loving husband for a little bit. He got to be the pal dad for an even shorter amount of time. What we saw most was the “you’ll-have-to-pry-this-nuke-from-my-cold-dead-fingers” side of him and there wasn’t even much of that. Once again, there had to have been so much more left in the cutting room.

Morgan Freeman is the Speaker of the House/Acting President. I don’t know if it’s in his movie contracts or what but there’s just something about Mr. Freeman that says, “I’m not going to look like an idiot.” Even though I didn’t agree with one or two of his decisions in Olympus it was hard not to respect him anyway. I would vote for him for President. At least I know his State of the Union addresses wouldn’t be boring.

Dylan McDermott is Agent Forbes and his character made me angrier than anyone else in the movie. Not only was he predictable but he didn’t stick to his guns, so to speak. I completely disagree that Forbes would have done what he did and then changed his mind at the last minute. He would have gone down fighting. Oh so frustrating!

I’ll end the character comments with Melissa Leo. What I couldn’t stand her for in The Fighter I loved her for in Olympus Has Fallen. She plays the Secretary of Defense and she is a tough old broad. Please excuse the “old”. She is involved in one of the violent scenes and I wanted to cringe for her but she was just so “bring it” that I cheered for her instead. I was a bit angry, though, that her bravado was banked by an order from the President. She was later involved in a scene in which I just barely stopped myself from covering my eyes. Oh the thrill of it all.

Olympus Has Fallen is rated R for a reason. Well, for two really. The cussing and the violence. There’s no need to break it down any more than that because that’s basically all there is. To say it’s violent is putting it mildly. The carnage was spectacular. I don’t mean that in a positive way. And they were not biased about who was affected. Some of the shooting scenes went too quickly to see exactly who all was hit but we saw it later in the hospital scenes. After the violence, the cussing seems almost unmentionable. Almost. It happens. And quite often. Please please PLEASE do NOT take children to see this movie. I’d be okay if PT never saw it.

If you liked any of the movies (except The American President) mentioned at the beginning of this post you’ll probably like Olympus Has Fallen. If you don’t like violence stay far, far away. I had a bit of trouble getting past the things previously mentioned but still ended up liking it. This probably isn’t anything I could watch repeatedly. I’d definitely watch it again but with Spike just to listen to him moan about the ridiculousness of it all. My only request for this film? Fix the sound and take another look at the cuttings. You left a few things out.

There was nothing after the credits at the pre-screening so head on home and discuss how you could have made this so much better but liked what you saw anyway.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Oscar Picks (and then the winners)

As most of you know, the Oscar Awards show is was on tonight. Following are were my picks for the winners. If I’m right about even one, I’ll be thrilled. In some instances, such as the Foreign Language Film and Documentary Feature, it’ll be an absolute guess as I haven’t seen any of them. Feel free to chime in with your choices. I would like to note that though I really liked Django Unchained (I would love for Quentin Tarantino to win an Oscar), Beasts of the Southern Wild and Zero Dark Thirty I felt that, comparatively speaking, they didn’t quite add up.

So…the Academy Awards is over. I didn’t get any of the actors and actresses right. Oh well. Let’s see how I did on the rest. I think I got a tad carried away watching the Awards this year. There was either jumping up and down with glee or much wailing and gnashing of teeth (okay it wasn’t that dramatic) in anger. You’ll know which cause the latter. The italicized items are what were added after the show. Well, except the parts with the winners' names. The names with the lines through them are my guesses that didn't come to fruition.

Writing (Original Screenplay)
Django Unchained (Yea, Quentin!)

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

Visual Effects
Life of Pi
Though I really REALLY wanted The Avengers to win something

I really don’t know a whole lot about the next two categories so these are absolute guesses:

Sound Mixing
Les Miserables (Nailed it!)

Sound Editing
And it’s a tie!!!
Skyfall and
Zero Dark Thirty

Short Film (Live Action)
Death of a Shadow (Dood Van Een Schaduw)
I really think the above-mentioned short should win but if I had my druthers it’d be: Henry
Curfew (Are you flippin’ kidding me?)

Short Film (Animated)
Paperman (It just had to win. It was an easy choice.)
Followed closely by:
Fresh Guacamole

Production Design
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Lincoln (I always go for the fantasy films over reality. Seems like that would be harder to design what with no history books to use for reference.)

Music (Original Song)
Skyfall (Came unglued on this one. Yea, Adele!!!)
Because I would love for a James Bond song to win and because I love Adele’s music.

Music (Original Score)
Life of Pi (I almost had to resort to eeny meeny miney mo on this one)

Makeup and Hairstyling
Les Miserables
Followed closely by:
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Foreign Language Film
I chose this solely because it made the list for Best Picture and the others didn’t
(Apparently a good deduction on my part, if I do say so myself)

Film Editing

Documentary Short Subject
Mondays at Racine
Inocente (To keep this from becoming political I will refrain from posting the reason I was absolutely miffed that this won. It was a good story but Racine was better in so many ways.)

Documentary Feature
Searching for Sugar Man
It’s music related. That’s my only reason.

Beasts of the Southern Wild
Life of Pi (While happy for Ang Lee I was really rooting for Benh Zeitlin on this one)

Costume Design
Anna Karenina (Period costumes tend to kick butt)
Followed closely by:
Mirror Mirror
(I saw in the In Memoriam section that the costume designer for Mirror Mirror, Eiko Ishioka, passed away this past year. She was very talented and has some big shoes to fill. No pun intended.)

Life of Pi

Animated Feature Film

Actress in a Supporting Role
Helen Hunt for The Sessions
Anne Hathaway for Les Miserables (I wasn’t thrilled with this but she really did do a good job in this particular movie so I can’t gripe too much.)

Actress in a Leading Role
Quvenzhane Wallis for Beasts of the Southern Wild
If you watch this for no other reason than to see this little girl’s acting it’ll be worth it
Jennifer Lawrence (I happened to be on the phone with mom when the winner was announced. My shriek of, “NOOOOOO!” just might send her to the doctor to have her ear checked. Sorry, mom. Love you.)

Actor in a Supporting Role
Robert De Niro for Silver Linings Playbook
Christoph Waltz (I just didn’t think Django would win anything because of the EXTREME violence and gore. I’m thrilled that Christoph won. He really was good.)

Actor in a Leading Role
Hugh Jackman for Les Miserables
Daniel Day-Lewis (It’s hard to be mad when he wins. He’s just that good.)
Could someone please explain to me how Argo and Life of Pi could get so many nominations but neither was nominated for Best Actor? Ridiculous! I feel cheated.

Best Picture
This was the most difficult choice but I think I’ll go with
Argo (Yea, Ben!!! You so deserved this!)
Followed closely by:
Les Miserables

I thought I was going to stay away from politics and I hate to end the post this way but could someone please explain to me what Michelle Obama has to do with the Academy Awards and why they even bothered with Jack Nicholson? Cue the JAWS music, please!

And on a positive note, I stated that I would be thrilled if I guessed even one correctly. I guessed 14 correctly. Out of 24. How 'bout them apples?!?!?! Yes, humility is one of my best qualities. If only I'd gotten the actors and actresses. Oh well. There's always next year.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Oscar-Nominated Documentary Short Subject

Spike and I went to the OKCMOA (Oklahoma City Museum of Art) last night to watch the Oscar-nominated short documentaries. I was under the impression that short meant 20 minutes or less. When the gentleman announcing the names of the nominees informed us that a short actually meant 40 minutes or less and that most of them hit close to the 40 minute mark I quickly turned to Spike and mouthed, “I’M SO SORRY!!!”. Yes, you can mouth things loudly. It’s true. So, even [now] knowing that we were going to be there a while, we settled in for a long evening of documentaries and, except for one, we were glad we did.

Let me take a moment to say that any opinions in this post, unless otherwise stated, are mine alone. I wasn’t happy at all with the time wasted spent on one of the films and some people may feel that my ranking of the films is all wrong. This is how it affected me last night and I’m sticking to it. Following is the list of nominees based on how much I liked them. I had trouble with the last two because they both brought forth a lot of emotion but I ultimately went with the one that struck closer to home.

5) Kings Point (40 min.)

This was a documentary about retirees who’ve moved from New York to Florida. I don’t know what I expected but it wasn’t this. It was like high school but with retirees. There was pettiness, gossiping, cheating, etc. In one instance, a man mentions that he doesn’t want to spend the rest of his life with the woman he lives with because she’s older than he is and he’s already buried a wife. He wants a younger woman so that someone can bury him. Listening to the things he was saying, I wanted to bury him. I don’t know. Maybe since I’m not in this situation I couldn’t get in to it but I really didn’t see the point. I definitely wouldn’t go out of my way to see Kings Point unless it was at a showing such as the one last night. Having said that, it’ll probably take home the award.

Go to the official site here

4) Redemption (35 Min.)

Nope. Not THAT kind of redemption. This showed the lives of New Yorkers who survive solely on Canning; collecting cans, plastic and glass bottles and redeeming them for money at recycle centers. Granted, if you’re going to make your living that way it’s a good city in which to do it considering the population and the amount of recyclables that are thrown out with the garbage. This is a full-time job and if you skip a day, you don’t eat…or drink, as the case may be. This was an okay documentary. I felt like it could have been filmed better. They lost me a few times but held my attention for the most part. It did make me rethink all the things I take for granted, i.e. going to the movies or eating at a restaurant. Once again, this was okay to be seen with the other nominees but I don’t think I’d make the effort otherwise.

I had a bit of trouble finding an official site.

3) Inocente (40 Min.)

This documentary was another reminder of how good I have it despite wishing I had money for better clothes, a nicer car and super nice vacations. This told about Inocente, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been homeless since she was six. She, her mom and her brothers have had places to stay but never for more than three months at a time. She “escapes” this life through painting. I wish I could throw out all kinds of adjectives to describe the paintings but I will never EVER be an art critic. I know what I like and that’s the best I can say about any one piece. I did like her work even though I would never own any of it myself. It’s just not my style. Inocente narrates her story and I liked it all the better for that.

The main thing that bothered me about this story is that she (and her family) is an “undocumented immigrant”. I wonder if her family would still be homeless if they didn’t have to face the constant fear of being deported. This makes me want to do some more research on exactly how difficult it is to become a “documented immigrant”. Aside from that, I might be tempted to go to a showing of this film on its own. I liked how it was filmed though I had my moments in which I wanted the film crew to drive her to wherever she was walking. Yes, that would have taken away from the realness of it but still. I especially loved the dream scene. Something about the way it was filmed really caught me. I want a still picture of it.

In an aside, Spike mentioned that he thinks [non-poverty stricken] children should watch this film to see what it’s like for those not as fortunate. Neither one of us could decide at what age this would be beneficial but I agree that maybe it would help kids rethink things they “just have to have”. I’d like to think it might.

Go the official site here

2) Open Heart (40 Min.?)

Please don’t judge me for putting this second. Maybe it’s my own vanity. You’ll understand more on that when you read my pick for the award. Anyway, Open Heart is about 8 Rwandan children with heart defects who need surgery but whose family cannot afford it. In order to get the operations they so desperately need they are flown to a Sudanese hospital that performs the surgeries at no cost to the patients or their families. You may be thinking, “Wow! That’s awesome!” And it is. The drawback is, the families cannot accompany their children. They have to put them on a plane in hopes that they’ll return. I’m hoping I misunderstood but at one point I thought the doctor said that if something happened and any of the children die, their bodies would not be returning. Please say I’m wrong about that.

While this is about 8 children, the main 2 that it focused on were Angelique, age 6 and Marie, age 17. I know this trip couldn’t have been comfortable for Marie but I can’t imagine what it had to have been like for Angelique; 6 years old and having to leave her dad behind and put her life and trust in the hands of complete strangers. Well, except for the doctor. Marie ended up having the most difficulty and I admit to having cried with her.

Also mentioned in the documentary is where they receive the money for the surgeries. 75% is gained through donations while the remaining 25% is provided by the Sudanese government and, according to the film, Sudanese currency isn’t doing so well these days. I hope the hospital continues to get the funds to be able to take care of these children. I really liked this documentary and would recommend it to just about anyone. They do show one of the surgeries but it wasn’t really bad at all and I’m a turn-your-head-away-during-TV-show-surgeries kind of a girl.

Go to the official site here

1) Mondays at Racine (39 Min.)

This was my favorite of all the documentaries. Mondays at Racine tells the story of cancer patients who are treated to a free day at the Racine salon in Long Island. While the title leads you to believe it’s about the salon, this film focuses mainly on the women affected. Of those women, it most closely follows Cambria and Linda; both breast cancer patients. When we meet Cambria she is dealing with the loss of her hair. She doesn’t want to shave her head because she’ll have to finally admit to having cancer. While she is in the chair getting shaved I cried with her. I couldn’t help it. And I can’t explain it. There are wigs out there to cover the bald but it’s just not the same. One woman in particular showed us her fear of what her husband would think of her bald head. I sobbed. I wasn’t the only one though. There were plenty of sniffles to be heard.

Mondays at Racine goes beyond just the loss of hair. We went home with Cambria and Linda and saw how their illness affected their daily lives. Cambria and her husband were trying to adopt a young boy while Linda was dealing with a husband who just couldn’t be there for her. I felt their heart breaks if only on a small level. So, despite the fact that it, on the surface, seems to be about their hair loss, this goes so much farther.

The film was very well done. It pulled me in and kept me through the final credits. I wept with Cambria as she lost her hair and received not-so-comforting news about the adoption. I hurt for Linda when she made a major decision about her home life and I was at the salon for the hat modeling and the head shaving. I strongly encourage everyone to go watch Mondays at Racine. As soon as it was over I texted my sister that this is something she needs to see. She runs a salon and is a CNA and I could picture this becoming a part of her life. The sisters who run Racine are doing a great thing. Their story is an inspiring one. I really want this documentary to win. Here’s hoping!

Go to the official site here here.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Chasing Ice (PG-13/80 Min.)

Across the US and around the world we’ve heard debate after debate after debate regarding global climate change. Are we really affecting our planet? Is something we are doing causing major, damaging weather patterns? Are we dooming ourselves and the creatures of the world to loss of home, health and life? Very good questions. This film set out to answer some, if not all, of them.

Spike and I went to the Oklahoma City Museum of Art (OKCMOA) Sunday to see the documentary Chasing Ice. Why? Because it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song and I am determined to see as many Oscar nominated movies as I can before the actual show. That was my one and only reason. Spike went because he thought it sounded interesting and because the pictures were sure to be above par. We were both happy. Despite faulty cameras, faulty knees, faulty helicopters and a somewhat tippy dog sled this film was a success.

The story line for Chasing Ice is as follows (IMDB):

“'National Geographic' photographer James Balog was once a skeptic about climate change. But through his Extreme Ice Survey, he discovers undeniable evidence of our changing planet. In 'Chasing Ice,' we follow Balog across the Arctic as he deploys revolutionary time-lapse cameras designed for one purpose: to capture a multi-year record of the world's changing glaciers. Balog's hauntingly beautiful videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate. Traveling with a young team of adventurers by helicopter, canoe and dog sled across three continents, Balog risks his career and his well-being in pursuit of the biggest story in human history. As the debate polarizes America and the intensity of natural disasters ramp up around the world, 'Chasing Ice' depicts a heroic photojournalist on a mission to gather evidence and deliver hope to our carbon-powered planet.” Anonymous

That is pretty much what we saw. Several scenes covered televised debate and lectures given by Balog but for the most part it showed what happened while he and his team were out in the field. We hadn’t even gotten 10 minutes in to Chasing Ice and my emotions were already in turmoil. I’ve seen firsthand the damage that has been done. When I was ten years old my family took a vacation up to Canada and we had our awe struck by a massive glacier there. A couple years ago we went back to the same glacier. So much of it was gone. Please see the pictures at the end of this post. It was my niece’s first time to see the glacier so it was still pretty cool (no pun intended) to her. The rest of us had to process the major recession (for lack of a better word) that had occurred in just 27 years. I had to call my dad just now to find out the name of the glacier. It’s the Athabasca Glacier and the Columbia Ice Field. It was still plenty impressive but it was disheartening to see the loss. But, enough about me.

Balog and his team, Extreme Ice Survey (EIS), planted over 2 dozen cameras on parts of Iceland, Greenland, Alaska and Montana to document the disappearance of the glaciers. It was fascinating to say the least. I’m a big fan of photography so this hit just the right chord with me. Despite the cold temperatures they had to endure and the climbs they had to make to get some of the pictures, I would still love to go to these areas. I want to see and document some of those views myself. Back to the cameras. The team set them up with the intention of checking them every few months. Imagine their frustration when the cameras didn’t work. I very nearly cried with Balog. How disappointing that had to have been. I do applaud him for not cussing or throwing anything. At least if he did, it didn’t make it in to the final production.

Once the cameras were fixed they recorded amazing things. I can’t even begin to describe the changes they documented. Balog made comparisons for us so that we would understand the magnitude of the loss. It was greatly appreciated. In one scene there was, what we thought, a small hill of ice with different neat-looking striations. It didn’t look that big but we didn’t have anything to compare it to. Then the helicopter got closer and we saw a teensy tinesy dot of a man standing on part of it. In yet another scene the helicopter was being filmed from afar as it was flying close to a glacier. From the vantage point of the team it was so tiny as to be somewhat difficult to see with the naked eye and it still had a ways to fly before it reached the end of the ice. The cameras had to zoom WAY in to capture it.

Not only did the cameras need to be fixed but so did Balog. His knees were not handling the stress very well. He had multiple surgeries to allow him to continue to make the perilous climbs and hike miles to get the cameras set up and to take pictures with his hand-held camera. One of my favorite conversations in the film occurred when the team had returned from climbing down in to a big hole for some pictures and video. Balog was sitting in a chair with ice on his knee and said that it hurt worse right then than it had for the first three days after his surgery. His team informed him that he didn’t need to go with them to check the next camera. They could handle it. Balog commented, “I have a hard time letting ideals go,” to which one of the team members quickly replied, “That’s why your knee is like this.” At least they kept their sense of humor.

While the pictures and video alone made this worth watching I learned a thing or two along the way. For instance, it is believed by some that 200 – 300 years from now the increased carbon dioxide caused by man will bring about the mass extinction of certain animal life. How does this affect you? It doesn’t. Not really. It does, however, affect future generations. Why should you care? Why shouldn’t you? But what if you don’t have children? You wouldn’t visit someone’s house and leave it worse than when you got there would you? Same goes. Leave your planet pretty, people! I also learned about Cryoconite. What is Cryoconite? I’m glad you asked! My good friends Merriam and Webster define it as “dust that is found on the surface of a glacier (as the Greenland ice cap) esp. on the bottom of small depressions and is formed as a result of differential melting of the ice”. The black sludge left by dust (blown in from other countries, believe it or not) and soot from diesel engines absorbs the sun’s heat and causes the ice to melt. Another very interesting/disturbing fact, if I understood correctly, is that over 150 million people will be displaced within Balog’s daughters’ lifetime due to the rising sea level. His example; not mine. That’s a LOT of people! Balog shared so much more but I think it’d be better if you heard it from him. That and I couldn’t write it all down. Oh! I also learned about glacier calving. Look it up. It’s very interesting.

The saddest, and yet most amazing, part of the film involved the Ilulissat Glacier. These scenes alone are worth your time and money. Two members of EIS camped out on a spot overlooking the glacier to see if they could catch any kind of movement. They waited close to three weeks before anything happened and when it did… Wow!

I know I’ve told you straight out what happened in parts of the film but nothing I’ve said should ruin any of it for you. Chasing Ice was well made. The photographs are breathtaking. The information was well-delivered and the lady sitting next to me made it all the more enjoyable. In one particularly hairy scene (the team climbed in to a huge crevasse) she started saying, “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh” over and over ad nauseum. It was quite entertaining. If you'd like to see some of the pictures taken during the filming of the documentary, please go to James Balog's web site here.

I would recommend this for just about anyone. It’s important information along with stunning landscapes. And Scarlett Johansson sings the song “Before My Time” that was nominated for an Oscar. Who knew she could sing? I’m not sure that small children would get anything out of watching Chasing Ice but maybe kids around 10 years old and up? I would think so. If someone asked me to, I would go see this again. For those of you who live in or near OKC, this will be showing again this Thurday evening, 31 Jan 2013, at the OKCMOA. It starts at 7:30. I hope that anyone outside of OKC is able to find a showing on the big screen. If you know of a showing and would like to share, please do so in the comments.

I just looked to see what this was rated and was somewhat surprised. It got it's PG-13 rating, I guess, because one of the men mouths the F-word. As most of you know, I don't much care for this word but come on! Really? That was the only cuss word in the entire documentary. Spike thought he heard another one but I believe Balog said "frickin" or "freakin". I'm just sharing what I heard. I would hate for someone to miss out because they are against seeing movies with this rating or higher.

P.S. I discovered that most of the people in the audience do NOT like Sen. James Inhofe. When the film showed a clip from TV on which he was speaking nearly everyone booed him. Yikes! I guess they don’t think global warming is a hoax.

P.S.S. After watching Chasing Ice, I asked Spike what he thought. He liked it but also mentioned that all this could just be a part of the cycle of nature and as the planet went through one ice age it could do so again. Well, hmmmm.

Following are the pics of the Athabasca Glacier taken on our 2009 Canada vacation.

All of the dirt and rock you see from the base of the glacier over to the left side of the picture used to be covered in ice.

I took a picture of this sign since it showed where the glacier was the year my family and I visited the first time. You can't even see it from that point. You have to hike a ways to get to the base. No, I did NOT take this in the year 2038 then return to share my findings. I apparently didn't properly set the date on my camera.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Warm Bodies (PG-13/97 Min.)

A lot of life has been happening since my last post and while I’ve seen several movies I haven’t found the time to share them with you. I’m tempted to say, “All that ends now!” but I’m not playing that game. I hope to write a big post soon that’ll catch you up on most of the movies I’ve seen in the interim instead of writing a post for each one. There’s almost no point now (since several aren’t even showing any more) unless you’ve chosen to wait and decide whether or not you want to rent certain movies. This one however is NOT out yet. I saw Warm Bodies a little over a month ago and liked it so much I’m going to see it again this Thursday. If you’d like to go too, hop on over to Gofobo and see if they have any passes left.

Warm Bodies is the story of R, a zombie who’s not quite like the other zombies. He rescues then falls in love with Julie, the girlfriend of one of his victims; consequently changing “life” in the zombie world.

Before you say, “Oh no! Not another zombie movie!” read a little bit further. This has to be, by far, my favorite zombie movie ever. Having said that I should probably admit that I don’t typically watch zombie movies because they’re gross. This one is too but only for a little bit. And it’s funny. And sweet. And, in case you’re a guy and need some action with your zombie movies, it has that too! All in all, though, this is a romantic comedy so guys, consider yourself warned.

This film starts out kind of slow and I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to suffer through it. It didn’t take long to change my mind. The entire film is narrated by R and wouldn’t have worked nearly as well as it did if it hadn’t been. You need to hear what he is thinking before he says what he says. Trust me on this. Some of the best lines in the movie are delivered as a thought/speech combo.

Nicholas Holt was R. He calls himself R because he’s forgotten his real name but was pretty sure that’s what it started with. I want to say all kinds of good things about him but his job didn’t seem that difficult. Drag your feet, moan and mumble and you have the makings of R. A lot of teenagers I know would be perfect for the role. I’m sure, though, that it takes better acting chops than I have (none whatsoever) to have come across as he did. He was funny and gross and sweet and heroic. He’s also the reason I’m going to see this again.

Teresa Palmer was Julie. I’ve liked her in other movies and I liked her in this. She’s sort of the victim but sort of not. Clear as mud, right? She is able to look through R’s not so lively exterior and see the good inside. Awwww…mush.

I feel I must also mention two of the supporting actors. Rob Corddry and John Malkovich. Rob because I thought he was hilarious and John because he’s John Stinkin’ Malkovich. Rob Corddry is M, R’s best friend. He steals several scenes but I’ll forgive him because he was able to say just one or two words and have the audience cracking up. John Malkovich plays General Grigio, Julie’s dad. He hates the zombies and is intent on eradicating them from the face of the earth. Does he succeed? Maybe. Maybe not.

Let’s break it down now.

Sex/Nudity – No to both. Julie strips down to her unders but that’s the closest it gets.

Drinking/Drugs – If there was, there wasn’t much.

Cussing – Yes. But not much. Definitely the F-word. If you’ve read previous posts you’ve probably noticed that I very rarely feel that cussing is necessary. In this movie there were a couple of occasions in which a line would have fallen flat without it, including a couple of M’s few word lines. I think that makes sense.

Violence – Yup. A couple of zombie attacks. Not very pretty. And while it’s no longer violent since the people are already dead there were a couple scenes in which a zombie was eating brain pieces. Yuck! Oh! I just remembered the skeletons. They’re zombies who’ve been zombies waaaayyy too long. Even regular zombies keep their distance when the skeletons are around. Yikes! I do think it’s a tad much for children. I think they actually made a good choice with the rating this time.

I went to see this with my cousin, Brat Boy, and he likes regular zombie movies and still really liked this so if you fit that category (not being my cousin but liking zombie movies) then you’ll probably like this. If you don’t usually like zombie movies but don’t have a weak stomach or can overlook the few gross parts you might give this a try. As mentioned before, I’m going to see this again on Thursday and will, more than likely, have to update this because I forgot a thing or two. We’ll see. I’ve already forgotten whether or not anything happened after the credits. Now I’m going to have to sit through them again. I hope you appreciate this. No? Okay.