Thursday, November 17, 2016

Sing Saturday!!!



What are you planning to do after the food fest of Thanksgiving Day and the craziness that is Black Friday?  Sleep in, you say?  Forget sleep.  That's what Sunday afternoons are for. Here's an even better option for your Saturday morning, y'all!  Universal Pictures is having its biggest advance-screening to date and you have the opportunity to take part in it. At 10:00 on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, get comfy at your local theater (AMC Quail Springs 24 and AMC Crossroads Mall 16 if you happen to live in the OKC area) and enjoy what is sure to be a really REALLY great movie.  Why do I think it will be really REALLY great?  If you know me, you already know the answer to that question.  It involves music.  That's right, folks, more than 65 songs crammed in to one movie featuring a shy teenaged elephant, a sad little porcupine, a harried mother of 25, a bad gorilla who wants to be good, a teensy mouse who wants to make it big, and the producer who is going to help make their dreams come true.  How can you pass this up?  Remember...it's FREE!!!  There's got to be a catch, right?  Of a sort. It's first come, first served.  Yup.  People are going to be hopping out of bed a little earlier than planned so that they can get to the theaters before anyone else.  This movie doesn't come out until Christmas, so not only will you get to see it for free, you'll get to see it a month before most of the country.  You'll get to be THAT person.  "What? Sing!?  Oh yes, I saw it a month ago and it was FABULOUS!!!"  Or you can use your own words.  Speaking of words, let's get past mine and hear from the Universal peeps themselves.  Followed by a look at the official trailer, of course.



Illumination has captivated audiences all over the world with the beloved hits Despicable Me, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, Despicable Me 2 and Minions, now the second-highest-grossing animated movie in history.  Following the release of this summer’s comedy blockbuster The Secret Life of Pets, Illumination presents Sing this holiday season.  

 

With its highly relatable characters, heart and humor, the first collaboration between writer/director Garth Jennings (Son of Rambow, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) and Illumination founder and CEO Chris Meledandri marks the sixth fully animated feature from the studio.

 

The event film stars Academy Award® winners Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon, alongside Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Taron Egerton and Grammy Award-nominated Tori Kelly.

 

Set in a world like ours but entirely inhabited by animals, Sing stars Buster Moon (McConaughey), a dapper koala who presides over a once-grand theater that has fallen on hard times.  Buster is an eternal—some might even say delusional—optimist who loves his theater above all and will do anything to preserve it.  Now faced with the crumbling of his life’s ambition, he has one final chance to restore his fading jewel to its former glory by producing the world’s greatest singing competition.

 

Five lead contestants emerge: Mike (MacFarlane), a mouse who croons as smoothly as he cons; Meena (Kelly), a timid teenage elephant with an enormous case of stage fright; Rosita (Witherspoon), an overtaxed mother run ragged tending a litter of 25 piglets; Johnny (Egerton), a young gangster gorilla looking to break free of his family’s felonies; and Ash (Johansson), a punk-rock porcupine struggling to shed her arrogant boyfriend and go solo.

 

Each arrives under Buster’s marquee believing that this is their shot to change the course of their life.  And as Buster coaches each of his contestants closer and closer to the grand finale, he starts to learn that maybe the theater isn’t the only thing that is in need of saving.

 

Featuring more than 65 hit songs, Sing is produced by Meledandri and his longtime collaborator Janet Healy.  Together, they have produced all of Illumination’s films since the studio’s inception.  Released by Universal Pictures, Sing arrives in theaters on December 21, 2016. www.singmovie.com





 

Doesn't that sound fun?  So, enjoy your food and shopping then relax with some lovable and talented characters who just want to...SING!



To find out where the advance screening is showing near you, go to www.singsaturday.com.




Friday, October 21, 2016

Ouija: Origin of Evil (PG-13/99 Min.)




Had you asked me before this past Tuesday if I’d watch this kind of film, I would have said, “Crap, no!  Those kinds of movies creep me out!!!”  Had you asked me after if I would watch this kind of film again, the answer would be, “Crap, no!  That movie totally creeped me out!”  Then why did I go see it?  First, it’s October.  The one month of the year that I watch lots and lots of scary movies in the safety of my house, a friend’s house, or a movie theater.  Second, I received a free pre-screening pass.  Good reasons, right?  Wrong!

Ouija is about a widowed mother and her two daughters who use the supernatural to scam people out of money.  Unfortunately, they mess with the supernatural one too many times.  The mother brings home a ouija board and immediately ignores all the rules associated with it.  Nice move, mom.  But, don’t get me started about those rules.  Not yet, anyway.  As we quickly saw, there’s a reason that sucker had rules and not following them was so not cool.

I have never, in my life, played with a ouija board.  I’ve never even been around one.  Of course, I was curious when I heard about them but mom nipped that in the bud.  She explained what it was and it scared the stink out of me so badly that I had no further desire to take it beyond curiosity.  Moms are cool like that.  They get paid extra or something.  Needless to say, I very nearly talked myself out of going to see this movie.  But!  I lost that fight.  I usually do.  I just figured I could hide behind my hands like I usually do during scary movies.  Unfortunately, I kept peeking at all the wrong times.  It did help quite a bit that the audience was highly vocal throughout. Even a few of the men hollered during some of the worst scenes.  And the woman behind me kept trying to talk the characters out of doing what they were about to do. 

If you’re looking for a movie, this Halloween season, with a lot of cheap scares and a super creepy story line, then look no further.  This is the movie for you.  If you prefer your scares a little less on the demonic side, you might want to pass this one up.  Speaking of demons, one part of the movie that made it a little less creepy for me was when they showed the demons. I’m not sure what I was expecting but alien-looking critters was not it.  Totally ruined that aspect of it. Granted, consistently showing a young girl with whited-over eyes and a mouth that stretches WAY beyond what is considered normal, pretty much threw it back in the land of “Holy crap!!!”

That little girl may be the biggest reason this movie scared the poo out of a lot of the audience.  It’s one thing to see an adult acting all creepy in these kinds of movies but making a child the center of the scare is another thing altogether.  That girl should get a bonus for being so innocent and so scary all at once.  We felt bad for her because of what was happening and strongly disliked her because of the number of times she jump started our hearts.  It’s been a long, long time since a movie has affected me so badly.  Granted, I grew up on 80s horror and that’s more what I’m drawn to.  It is absolute cheese compared to today’s horror. 

Let me take just a second to discuss the rating of this movie.  PG-13? Really???  I cannot fathom why this movie isn’t rated R.  Yes, I do realize how hypocritical that sounds coming from someone who watched the aforementioned horror movies as a pre-teen and teenager.  Once again, though, while the movies back then were scary, they were all so cookie cutter that you got used to them after a while. Or, they were just so bad they were funny.  Today’s horror films are just different enough from each other that they keep you on your toes. This pre-screening had several young-ish kids at it.  I’m not sure what their parents were thinking but I wonder how bad the nightmares were that night.

I seem to be having some difficulty telling you about the movie without really telling you about the movie.  Let me just say this and then I’ll finish up.  If you, like me, like to fill your Halloween month with scary movies, you might add this to your list. If, however, you like your movies with a little less satanic ritual, you might consider skipping this one.  The one goal of this movie is to scare you and it more than met that goal. 

To the few of you who decide to risk the heart palpitations, I highly recommend staying through the credits.   There was only about 5 or 6 people who stayed after the pre-screening, so a lot of people missed out on the lead-in to a possible sequel.  And ladies, if you go see this with your boyfriend/husband/male friend, you might want to hold his hand.  You don’t want them to get too scared.

Sequel or no, I will not watch this kind of movie again.  Never ever never.  I'll leave those reviews for those who are less faint of heart than I am.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Girl on the Train (R/112 Min.)



Dear Fellow Book Nerds…why did no one tell me about this book?  Because I obviously haven’t been paying attention.   The Girl on the Train was much better than I’d anticipated based on the trailers I saw.  I really didn’t hope for much; just another thriller in which no one believes someone saw what they said they saw.  This is why I should never watch trailers.

The Girl on the Train is about three different women, but mostly it’s about Rachel.  She's sad, she’s lonely, she’s an alcoholic, she’s a dreamer.  Put them all together and it makes for a really bad situation.  The other two are important mainly because of their interactions with Rachel; and because one of them dies.  Okay, if you haven’t seen any trailers and you haven’t read the book, I just ruined part of the movie for you.  But only a little.  The thing is, there are so many things happening in this movie that it’s difficult NOT to spoil it.  I’ll do my best though.

Rachel Watson is played, oh so well, by Emily Blunt.  Let me just say, right now, that if she doesn’t get at least an Oscar nomination for this, I will be completely surprised.  I liked her.  I liked her a lot.  Rachel’s life isn’t going quite as she’d planned.  Things are not working out in her favor and she’s turned to drinking to numb the pain.  Or at least that’s the perception I was given.  I choose to believe that she wasn’t an alcoholic before her world went topsy turvey.  She spends her commutes in to NYC daydreaming about the lives of the people who live in the houses that the train passes every day.  I totally get this.  When I lived in Belgium and took trips with the travel clubs to Germany, I did the exact same thing.  The bus would pass all these cute little houses and I’d wonder about the people inside.  I love Europe.  Sigh.  Okay, back to the movie.  Rachel’s dreams take an abrupt detour when she sees something that kills the daydream and angers her to the point of violence.  Or does it???

Megan Hipwell is played by Haley Bennett.  I have no idea what else I’ve seen her in but I didn’t like her in this.  Was she a bad actress?  I didn’t think so.  I just didn’t like her character.  Sadly, I see a bit of me in her and I didn’t much care for that mirror, thank you very much.  Besides that, though, she just isn’t a good person.  And, unfortunately for her, she attracts a certain type of man.  She didn’t seem to have a bad boy phase.  She’s having a bad boy life.

Anna Watson is played by Rebecca Ferguson.  I liked her a lot.  Even though she didn’t like our protagonist.  Honestly, though.  She had good reason not to.  Or did she???  At first I thought she was spineless and a bit wishy-washy but it all gets explained and you will totally understand why she seems a bit of a victim throughout most of the movie.  It’s just not her week.

If, for some reason, you missed that this movie is R-rated and you’re wondering if it’s okay for young children the answer is a resounding NO!  I think the rating should be enough but let me go ahead and break it down for you.

Nudity/Sex – Yes.  And YES!  Enough said.
Drinking/Drugs – Drinking…lots.  Drugs…none that I noticed.
Cussing – Ummm…yeah.  It wasn’t 21 Jump Street bad, but the favored word in this film was the F-word and they tossed it around with great abandon.  I think I counted around 50 times it was used.  Granted, some of them were in a video that we saw/heard a couple of times but I still think it should count.  A couple of other words were used but the total on those, unless I missed any, came to three.  Seriously. 
Violence – You betcha.  I was almost to the cover-my-eyes-and-ears stage of one act.  Yes, I am a big baby when it comes to certain acts of violence.  And I hope I never get numb to that.  I’m bad enough as it is.  The other main one was icky but also made the audience laugh.  I’m sure that wasn’t the intention but it was a very surreal gross/funny moment that couldn’t be helped.

If you like suspense or thrillers, go see this.  If you like Emily Blunt and can handle violence, sex, and cussing, go see this.  If you like to spend a movie guessing what’s going to happen and you’re okay with the things mentioned above…go see this.  I didn’t even bother trying to guess.  I jumped in to the movie feet first and went along for the, oh so twisted, ride.  

By the way, if Emily does get nominated for an Academy Award (hint hint Academy people!!!), I can tell you exactly what scene they will show on Oscar night.  The bathroom scene.  I’m just sayin’.   Enjoy the movie!  

Friday, September 16, 2016

Bridget Jones's Baby (R/122 Mins.)


Once you get past the crap accent, this is a pretty fun movie.  Not expecting that for an opener?  Well, I just thought I’d get it out of the way.  Deep breath.  Moving on.  Bridget Jones’s Baby is about…Bridget Jones’s Baby.  Or really, what happens leading up to that grand event.  This appears to be the final installment in the series and if you liked the first two, you have a pretty good chance of liking this one and a 50-50 chance of liking the ending. You’ll see what I mean. Just sayin’.

Bridget is alone…again.  One of her friends decides to take her out of town for a few days of rest, relaxation, and stress relief.  Or so she says.  She definitely got the stress relief, if nothing else. In the form of Jack Qwant.  A few days later, who does she run in to at a party but Mr. Darcy.  And bing, bang, boom.  More stress relief.  Well done, Bridget.  Oh!  Not so fast.  One of those encounters left her with a little more than a nice afterglow.  The rest of the movie consists of both men trying to wrap their heads around the situation all the while trying to win Bridget.  Well done again, Bridget.  Just plan on laughing.  A lot.  And, if you’re like my cousin, there might also be some crying.  And this was her second time to see it.  Big baby.  Just kidding.  Love you, C!

As most of you already know, Renée Zellweger plays the part of Bridget Jones.  While she’s not exactly one of my favorite actors, she wasn’t terrible.  Well, except for that one little thing mentioned at the beginning of my post.  She did have her moments though.  At least most of the people in the theater thought so.  At times, the laughter was so loud, you couldn’t hear what was being said.  And that’s a good thing, right?  Bridget spends the movie dealing with body and hormonal changes, two men fighting over her (poor dear), a mother who’s running for office…in the 1950s, fighting to keep her job, and all the craziness that ensues.

Colin Firth is Mr. Darcy.  And a nice Mr. Darcy he is.  I loved him in this film.  Except for one part. Then, I didn’t like him so much.  BUT!  He so made up for it later on.  Mr. Darcy is still struggling with his feelings for Bridget and making a big old mess of things.  Granted, she’s not helping the situation very much.

Patrick Dempsey is Jack Qwant, millionaire and dating website guru.  And one of the men trying to win Bridget.  Mr. Darcy and Jack are the 50-50 I was talking about earlier.  Depending on who you want Bridget to end up with.  I didn’t much like Jack.  But he sure was nice to look at.

BJB earned its R-rating mostly because of the language.  The favored word began with an F and it was thrown around quite a lot at the beginning and finally tapered out about halfway through, thank goodness.  I’m not quite sure of the import of the word to the film but they sure did like it.  There was brief nudity and a few sexual situations (duh!).  The labor scene was one of the more intense ones that I’ve ever seen.  One scream/holler/yell seemed to go on forever.  Other than all that, it’s not too bad. 

If you liked the first two movies, you’ll probably like Bridget Jones’s Baby.  If you like Renée, Colin or Patrick, you’ll probably like BJB.  If you like rom-coms in general, there’s a decent chance you’ll like it.  I definitely wouldn’t take my kids.  There’s a very small, cute something to see after the credits so stick around for a bit.  Where else do you have to be anyway? 

Friday, September 2, 2016

The Light Between Oceans (PG-13/132 Mins.)



What would you do for the love of a child?  What would you do for the happiness of your child?  Not the everyday “I want this.  I want that.” happiness, but true, to-the-core happiness.  Having never been blessed with children of my own, I found myself asking these questions while watching The Light Between Oceans.  Not out loud, mind you.  That would be rude.

Let me start by saying that this film will be nominated for at least one Oscar.  Maybe more.  It’s just that kind of movie. It was very well made and well written.  The scenery was amazing.  The actors were pretty darn good.  And it just about tore me in two.

The Light Between Oceans is based on the novel of the same name, written by M. L. Stedman.  It’s the story of a couple who tend a lighthouse on the small, and fictitious, island of Janus off the coast of Australia.  For anyone who loves lighthouses like I do, you can just imagine how enthralled I was with the lighthouse and its little island.  I want to go there.  And I still haven’t really started talking about the movie.  Tom was a soldier who served during World War I and all he wants now is a job and some solitude.  Fortunately for him, an Australian town needs a temporary lighthouse keeper.  Perfect!  Time passes and the temporary job becomes permanent, Tom meets Isabel, they eventually wed, and Isabel moves out to the island with Tom.  How lovely. 

But!  All is not sunshine and roses for our little couple. Sometimes, life can be cruel.  While Tom continues to mind the light, Isabel seems lost.  Until the day a boat carrying a small baby washes ashore, changing their lives forever.

While this sounds like it might be barreling its way towards a happy ending, just hold your horses.  You should know right now, if you haven’t already seen the trailer, that while this movie does have a happy-ish ending, it takes a lot to get you there.  I want, so very much, to be able to tell you more, but the trailers already give too much away. 

Michael Fassbender is Tom Sherbourne.  I loved Michael as Tom.  I pleaded with him to do the right thing and, when he did, I hurt for him.  I understood his initial need for solitude and then his desire to do anything to make Isabel happy, while struggling with his own conscience.  It was safe for me to sit in my seat in the theater and say what I would have done, but I do wonder.  Would I really have?  Would I have really put anything above the desires of a loved one?  I have no idea.

Alicia Vikander is Isabel.  I liked her when she was happy.  I felt horrible for when her world fell apart.  I completely disliked her when she forced Tom to choose.  Granted, she was a tad off her rocker at that point so it was easier to realize why she did what she did, but still.  Even when her world seemed sunny side up, she never seemed to feel like what she was doing was wrong.

Rachel Weisz… Oh, dear Hannah Roennfeldt, my heart broke for you.  Rachel portrayed Hannah beautifully.  I just wish she’d been given a little more screen time. I want to know what happened during that two years.  What was she doing?  What was going through her mind?  And finally, when her patience (I'm guessing) was rewarded but she considered someone other than herself, my heart was broken again.

I wish I could explain her better than that, but it would give away too much.

I had to look up why The Light Between Oceans received its PG-13 rating.  It was for “thematic material and some sexual content. “  I know that doesn’t tell you much but I’m not going to either.  Even if not for the sexual content and what they’re calling thematic, I wouldn’t recommend this for young children.  They won’t like it.  My apologies to the producer, director, writers, etc. but you know it’s true.  I doubt their own children would sit through this film without major fidgeting unless they’ve never seen any other kind of movie, ever.

Except for the fact that the drama never seemed to end, I did like this movie.  I would say “enjoyed” but that seems cruel, given the topic.  The only real problem I had with the film is that it seemed to have cut out quite a bit and dragged on some things that didn’t need to be.  I was left with more questions than I started out with.  Like, what on earth happened to Tom and Isabel?  What was the rest of their life like?  What did Hannah decide to do?  How did Tom and Ralph become such good friends (I really would have liked to have seen more with just the two of them)?  What happened to Bluey?  Why did Lucy-Grace do what she did at the end?  Besides the fact that her mother raised her to be a good, kind person, I’m guessing.  I really do hope the book explains all of this.  It’s definitely high on my to-be-read list.

If you like a good drama, go see The Light Between Oceans.  It won’t disappoint.  Well, except for all the questions above.  If you appreciate good movie making, you might give it a shot.  If you know what kinds of movies win Oscars and usually like what is chosen, go see this. It’ll be on the list.  Now, I’m off to find the book.  Happy viewing!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Jason Bourne (PG-13/123 Min.)


Let’s get a couple of things over with quickly.  I liked this movie.  I hated the camera work.

Matt Damon delivers, yet again, as Jason Bourne.  He’s tough yet vulnerable.  Kind yet unforgiving.  And the guy can take a hit.  Over and over and over again.  Jason is still trying to figure out who he really is and a LOT of people get hurt in the process.  The collateral damage alone is insane. 

I’ve liked all the other Bourne movies so I was excited about seeing this one.  I got to watch it with three people this time.  Well, besides the couple hundred others in attendance. I brought Leanne, her husband, The Polack, and my new person of interest, Dodger.  We all have different movie tastes but we all enjoyed this film.  However, I have no idea what movie the lady behind us was watching.  She laughed her way through a good portion of it and I don’t recall one funny part at all.  Granted, we’ve sat by her before and can pretty much rest assured that she’s going to find humor in the most inane things.

Let’s move on.  Most of you who are going to see Jason Bourne already know how well Matt Damon does as the title character so there’s really no point in me prattling on about him.  He’s good.  We like him.  Next!

Tommy Lee Jones.  I like him.  I like him a LOT!  I did not like him in this.  At all.  I wish I could go more in to why but it would have to include spoilers and I don’t feel like spoiling it any more than I have to.

The character I understood the least was Heather Lee, played by Alicia Vikander.  She is some type of computer specialist who gets herself added to the “let’s hunt down Jason Bourne” team much quicker than you’d think she would.  Who is she really?  Why does she progress so quickly in the CIA?  Whose side is she on?  Is she good?  Bad?  Ugly?  Just kidding on that last one.  And I never really understood her motives for anything.  Again, so many spoilers.

Now about that camera work.  As mentioned at the beginning, I hated it.  I didn’t just not like it a little.  It made me angry.  During each fight scene, the cameras had to be up close and personal and move crazily around the combatants.  I’m not saying they should have stayed perfectly still and forced a third person point of view of the fight.  That’s no fun.  But!  Making us become a part of the fight wasn’t pleasant either.  If you get motion sickness, this may knock you off kilter a little bit.  I don’t know how many times something was grabbed to use as a weapon and I not only missed where on earth they got it but also, exactly what they grabbed.   I just couldn’t keep up with the fight scenes and it became increasingly frustrating throughout the film.

Having said all that, I’m beginning to think maybe I liked Jason Bourne just on principle.  I liked the others so I decided I was going to like this one.  Everyone else around me seemed happy with it though.  The laughing lady even clapped at the end.  No idea.

If you like the other Bourne movies, give this one a shot.  If you haven’t seen the other Bourne movies and you like action films, rent them right away then go see this on the big screen.  I want to see this one again to see what I missed the first time around.  No need to hang around after the credits unless you just want to. 

P.S.  Does anyone here know whether or not a SWAT van can really outrun a Dodge Charger?  Just curious. 

Friday, July 8, 2016

The Secret Life of Pets (PG/90 Min.)


The Secret Life of Pets begins with birds flying over Manhattan.  New York.  Not Kansas.  And that was all it took to pull me in to this movie.  Though my stick-figure drawings are improving by leaps and bounds, I just don’t hold a candle to the amazingness of these artists.  The overhead view of Central Park in the Fall made me want to run home and buy a ticket for a flight to the Big Apple in September…October…Autumn-time.

And the pets!!!  But wait.  You probably want to know a little more about the story itself.  Okay.  I can dig it.  If you’ve seen the trailers, you have a general idea of what the movie’s about.  If you haven’t, you’ve done a great job of avoiding televisions, movie theaters, people in the office who e-mail links to the trailers to co-workers because, “OhmycowyoujusthavetolookatthisIcan’twaittilitcomesout!!!”  What? So I talk a tad quickly when I’m excited.  Anyway, this is basically the story of a good number of the animals in Manhattan and how they act when the humans are away.  It’s also the story of Max, who loves his human, Katie, and doesn’t want to share her with his new brother, Duke, and what happens when they push things just a little too far.

But, back to the trailers.  If you’ve seen them, you’ve only seen a tiny portion of the film and not lots of different bits of various scenes leading to what must be the obvious outcome.  Yes, that’s right, my peeps!!! Trailers that do NOT ruin the movie for you!  What a novel idea!!!  And, even if you laughed and laughed during the musical montage trailer, you’ll still laugh at it in the film.  Well, I did anyway.  As did most of the kids and adults in the theater with me.  I went with my cousin and my 6-year-old cousin, jr.  and we all loved it.  Some of us more than others because one of us…cough cough, jr. …had ants in her pants because she wanted me to get us signed up for a prize drawing that was to happen right after the movie was over.  That was my mistake.  I told her that I’d do it as soon as the credits began and those credits couldn’t get there fast enough for her.  However!  One of my other cousin jr’s. and her 3-year-old junior went to a different pre-screening of the film and junior, jr. really liked it.  So…now you know.  Kids like this film.  Unless they have their eyes on the prize.  Literally.



I have decided that whoever was in charge of creating the different pets either has these certain pets or they watch a LOT of YouTube or have many a pin on Pinterest.  They were spot on!  No pun intended.  Let’s talk about Chloe.  No, she’s not the star of the film but, as the main feline, she might as well be.  I must become friends with her creator.  She is so….cat!  From her I-don’t-care-about-you-til-I-feel-like-caring-about-you attitude, to playing with her toy mouse to, to fitting herself into different objects including bowls and way-too-small boxes.  Any time the main pets are congregated, keep your eyes on Chloe.  Okay, one of your eyes.  Because other stuff is happening too.


And then there’s Gidget.  If you’ve seen the movie Zootopia and think you’ve heard her voice somewhere before, you have!  If you haven’t seen it, you should.  It’s good.  But, enough about Zootopia.  We’re talking Pets!  Gidget pretty much stole the show.  How that can happen during an animated movie I have no idea, but there you go.  She’s a cute, little ball of floof but has a pretty decent case of tiny dog syndrome when it’s needed.  I vowed, long ago, to never EVER own a floofy dog but she came really close to making me consider the possibility.  Then the movie ended and I was over it.


Those were my two favorite characters, followed closely by Snowball.  You just can’t help but like Snowball, the sadistic little bunny that he was.  Yes, he bordered creepy-town on occasion but never totally crossed the line.  I’m almost ashamed to admit that I didn’t recognize his voice.  Almost.  I was too wrapped up to be pulled into that little game.  Which is amazing in, and of, itself.

I guess I should mention Max and Duke.  I truly liked them both and, again, firmly believe that their creators KNOW these types of dogs.  There’s nothing negative I can say about either of them.  They did funny things and were in funny scenes, and some not so funny scenes.  I just liked all the other pets so much more.  But, don’t let that deter you from seeing this.  I recommend this for just about anyone.  I say “just about” because I’m sure there are strange people out there (my sister) who don’t like animated movies. What?  I know, right?!?!?!

As far as anything that could possibly scare children, if they’ve seen the afore-mentioned movie about cop bunnies and did okay with that, this should be just fine too.  I am going to see The Secret Life of Pets  again this weekend.  At the Winchester (shameless plug for the local drive-in).  With a male-type person.  What?  I know, right?!?!?!  Oh!  And they’re showing Tarzan, too.  You should go.

Friday, July 1, 2016

The Purge: Election Year (R/165 Min.)




Most people will agree that sequels are never as good as the original.  That holds true here but if you liked the first two Purges, you’ll like this one too. 

In The Purge: Election Year, Senator Charlie Roan is running for President and stands a pretty good chance of winning; if she survives The Purge.  With the help of Leo Barnes, who we met in The Purge: Anarchy, she just might make it.

I’ve been asked why I like this type of movie.  Scary, fight-for-your-life kinds of movies.  My answer?  It’s an adrenaline rush minus the danger.  If I had my druthers, I would always pass on this kind of real-life experience.  And! I would definitely NOT want to watch any of that happen to real people.  The un-realness of it is the main draw for me.  Or it was.  Sadly, in the last few years, more and more people are calling for a Purge.  A real, live Purge.  Here.  In America.  I think this had an affect on my viewing experience this time around.  It was hard to sit back and accept this as “just a movie”.  It made it scarier, which is probably what the movie people were going for; just probably not for the reason they expected.

While Election Year is more like Anarchy in that it focuses on several different groups of people, it did have a main target as seen in the original Purge.  Senator Roan wants to end the Purge and many people would rather she didn’t.  What better way to stop her than to take advantage of the one night of the year in which she can be taken out with no repercussions?  Leo Barnes is determined that this will not happen.  Joe Dixon is the owner of a local deli and Marcos is an employee who will stand by him to protect the shop or Joe himself, if needed.  Laney Rucker is determined to protect them all.

I liked all of the main characters.  They served a purpose and I didn’t feel like the movie would have been fine without them.  The Senator was overboard stubborn but, other than that, I don’t think I’d have a changed any of the main cast.  Except for Dante Bishop, the leader of a group of people who would do almost anything to end the Purge, I found quite a bit lacking in the supporting cast.  The Freakbrides, the foreign tourists, and the blue-robed guy (great description, I know) in the church were all so over-the-top that it was almost graphic novel-like.  Which, in my opinion, was not quite a bad thing.

This movie is very much not for children, despite what the parents of the three-year-old who was in attendance at this showing thought.  I’m still reeling from the knowledge that she experienced that.  The violence alone gave the movie its rating.  If you’ve seen the first two films, you know the kind of violence I’m talking about.  It’s not a gunshot here and there with hardly any blood kind of movie.  This is a people getting their faces blown off kind of movie. And while it included plenty of cussing, it had a lot less than I expected; especially considering what was happening.  If I’d been going through any of those situations, I’d have given Samuel L. Jackson a run for his money. 

I would recommend this to anyone who has seen the other Purges or who like anarchy-type films.  If you, like me, enjoy danger-free adrenaline rushes, you might like this movie. If you stick mainly to sunshine and lollipops kinds of movies, this is so not for you.  And, please, for the love of all that’s good and right in the world, do NOT take your children to see this!!!

There is nothing after the credits.  Why are you sitting in a dark theater after a movie like this?  Go home!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Warcraft (PG-13/123 Min.)


Warcraft (PG-13/123min.)

Okay, so I never played World of Warcraft, but I did play Starcraft.  And since it’s highly unlikely that my ex-husband reads this blog I’m gonna say that I totally rocked it.  He played WoW, though, so I saw it a lot!  Enough of that though.  I was waiting for Batman v Superman to start when I saw the trailer for yet another fantasy movie.  I try not to watch trailers because they completely ruin movies so I was barely tuned in to this one.  Something caught my eye though and I very nearly yelled, “Warcraft!!!”  I did, however, whisper it loud enough for my cousin to turn to me and whisper back, “Nerd.”  Well…yeah.  And I know what some of you may be thinking.  Oh great.  Another game-based movie.   While that is true, it is so much better than some of the other ones out there.

Warcraft begins with a human facing off against an orc.  We saw them running towards each other and then, we never saw them again…that we know of.  And this fact just dawned on me.  And now I’m frustrated.  But this is about the worst thing you’ll hear me say about this film.  I liked it.  I really, really did.  Everyone around me seemed to, too.  So, after the two guys who faced off and we never saw again, we were taken to an orc world.  It was dying and they needed a new world to take over. Enter Azeroth.  Well, the orcs did anyway.  Through a stinkin’ big portal.  Unfortunately for them and fortunately for the citizens of Azeroth, only a “small” contingent of orcs could make it through the portal at that time.  The others would have to wait. 

The main characters consisted of a handful of humans, a few orcs, a half-orc/half-draenei (yes, I did have to look that one up), and a couple of mages.  The humans were, of course, not hard to look at, but the orcs were amazing.  I loved the special effects in this movie.  I can’t even imagine the amount of time it took to make one orc, let alone thousands.  As far as the scenery throughout the film, it seemed to have been stolen from several other movies. I felt some Lord of the Rings, some Avatar, a bit of Star Wars, and even a little scene from the Bible, as the lady who sat next to me said over and over and OVER again.  There may have been more but I missed it if there was.

I don’t think I can think of anything negative to say as far as the cast is concerned.  I thought they were all pretty good. After the orcs, I liked the mages.  After that, I liked the animals.  And finally, I liked the humans.  I mean, they were just humans after all.  No great effects there.  A couple of them were not hard to look at, though.  As far as star power goes, I only recognized one person in the entire film and I’m not telling who it is.  She was a bit of a shock though.  I never would have pictured her in this type of role though she did a great job for the minute-and-a-half we got to see her.

I’ve tried to stay pretty positive in this review but I do have to say one somewhat negative thing.  Why on earth would you make a portal so tall when you really only need one a little taller than the tallest orc?  It doesn’t make sense and was a complete waste of energy.  If they’d made it smaller, they probably could’ve fit more orcs through.  And totally changed the rest of the movie.  So maybe the powers-that-be knew what they were doing.  But still…

Warcaft earned its rating because of violence only.  There was no cussing, no drugs, no drinking, no sex, no nudity.  The violence did get a bit gross though.  When men get their heads bashed in by giant sledgehammers or stepped on by big orc feet and squish like melons, it gets a bit gross.  Fortunately, these humans didn’t have normal [for us] colored blood so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. 

As I’ve said many times before, this is not a movie my mom would enjoy because of the violence but I would highly recommend this film for WoW players and non-players alike.  While it does majorly push taking care of the world in which you live and how important honor is and should be, this was all entertainment all the time. I don’t recall a down moment in the entire movie. It had my attention from the get go.  Go see this.  It’s fun. 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (R/86 Min.)




Popstar. Where to begin.  I guess I could start by mentioning how glad I am that I didn’t write this review shortly after the movie.  It would have been bad.  Real bad.  Like, why-was-this-movie-even-made bad.  I still kind of wonder that but with not nearly the passion I felt as the credits started rolling.  Okay, that was too generous.  I felt that just a few minutes into the movie.  But!!!  Having had a couple of days to think about it, what on earth did I expect?  It’s called a mockumentary for a reason.  It’s doing nothing but making fun of real popstars.  Repeatedly.  Ad nauseum.  Over and over again.

Popstar is the story of three guys who grew up together, formed a boy band, split up when one boy got more attention than the other two and his subsequent fall from popstardom.

If you go in to this movie without a sense of humor, you might as well turn around and walk back out.  This is not for the perpetually serious.  It seems to serve one purpose and one purpose only.  To bag on stars who get a little too big for their britches.   And it does it in the most offensive and profane manner possible.  The lady who sat two seats down from me busted out with a belly laugh at the beginning of the movie and that was the last sincere amusement I heard from her the rest of the time.  She and several people, myself included, shared a lot of awkward laughter.  The oh-so-over-the-topness of it all became very uncomfortable.

Before some of you anonymous commenters get the chance to ask why I even bothered going to see Popstar, let me answer it for you now and save you some time.  I thought it was going to be funny.  Period.  I’m all for a good spoof.  This was just so overdone that it became pointless.  The person who went with me (we’ll call her Patty) probably got tired of me looking at her for her reaction.  And it just dawned on me that I’m not really talking about the movie any more, am I?

I think I only liked two songs out of all the ones we were lambasted with; I’m So Humble and Incredible Thoughts.  The rest are either incredibly silly or are mostly the F-bomb with a few other words added as filler.  Most of the songs seemed to go for shock value over any kind of music-writing ability.  Considering how the popstar acted away from the stage, this really wasn’t surprising. 

I know there’s been a lot of negative here so let’s switch to some positive for a while.  What did I like most about Popstar?  The cameos.  To say they included a few celebrities is putting it mildly.  Let’s see, they had P!nk, Snoop Dogg, Carrie Underwood, Usher, DJ Khaled, Adam Levine, Seal, Mariah Carey and her boobs, Martin Sheen, Jimmy Fallon, Nas, Danger Mouse, Ringo Starr, and several others I’m sure I’m forgetting.  The most unexpected cameo was Simon Cowell.  I would never, in a million years, have thought he’d be in a movie like this.  It’s nice to know he does have a sense of humor.  The funniest was Justin Timberlake.  We got to see him several times, thank you very much.  And last, but not least, Michael Bolton.  Also unexpected but by the time we saw him, we were no longer star struck.  Sorry Michael.

And then there were the celebrities who didn’t play themselves. Okay, so Justin didn’t play himself but, come on, he’s Justin.  These included Sarah Silverman, Tim Meadows, Imogen Poots, Bill Hader, Joan Cusack, Maya Rudolph, Will Arnett, and others.  It definitely didn’t get boring with all the famous “extras”. 

This movie is rated R and deservedly so.  There’s nudity, including male parts.  Well, one male part. But we got to look at it for a long, LONG time.  It wouldn’t go away.  Patty just referred to it as the “unfortunate penis scene”.  Yup. That pretty much sums it up.  To say there’s cussing is the understatement of the century.  I decided early on not to keep count because I thought it would be a waste of time. Now, I kinda wish I had.  Just because.  Drugs…yes.  Alcohol…yes. 

I have no idea who I would recommend to go see this film. I absolutely will NOT watch it again.  If I ever owned it, it would be because some funny person gave it to me as a gift.  Dearest friends, please no.  When we were discussing this very issue after the movie was over, it was decided that this is definitely a frat boy type film.  If you liked The Neighbors or This Is the End, you’ll more than likely like Popstar.  I don’t know if any of my friends would like this.  Oh wait, I take it back. I do know a few and if they go see this, some of the lines will be added to their already inane movie line repertoire. Sigh. 

Having said all that, if you’re going to go see Popstar, go with the understanding that the entire thing is tongue in cheek.  If you think you’re going to experience good, clean humor…no, but humor nonetheless.  If you go for any reason other than to laugh at celebrities poking fun, you won’t enjoy this at all.  Basically, if you aren’t a male between the ages of 18 and 24, or have that stereotypical maturity level, you aren’t the target audience and should probably skip this one.

P.S.  There’s nothing after the credits.  You’re welcome.

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Huntsman: Winter's War (PG-13/114 Min.)




First of all, I really enjoyed this movie.  Second, if you’re relying on the trailer to give an accurate accounting of what the movie is about, don’t.  It leads you to believe that most of the film is about one thing when it’s not and it ruins the surprise for something else.  If you haven’t already seen the trailer, skip it.  I would also skip the main description on IMDB.  I’m not sure what movie they watched but it wasn’t this.  The Huntsman: Winter’s War is Frozen meets Brave meets Braveheart meets Maleficent meets…

The Huntsman: Winter’s War is NOT the prequel to Snow White and The Huntsman.  Not completely anyway.  It covers the before and after.  And while there is a lot of action and fighting it is, ultimately, a love story.  In this story we are introduced to Queen Ravenna’s little sister, Freya.  At the beginning of the movie, Freya is as normal as you and me.  But, not for long.  A traumatic event brings out her powers and she becomes a force to be reckoned with.   Telling how the huntsmen/women become a part of the tale will be giving too much away and will ruin the surprise mentioned above so I’ll leave that for you to see. 

As with the first movie, the effects/scenery/costumes were awe inspiring.  I especially liked Freya’s costumes.  They were supercool.  No pun intended.  And while I realize that computers have paved the way for spectacular special effects, it still doesn’t take away the enjoyment of seeing them for the first time.  Or the second or third.  I will see this movie again. 
 

Let’s talk about the actors some, shall we?  I’ll start with the stars of the film, Chris Hemsworth and Jessica Chastain.  Wait…what?  The sisters aren’t the stars as the trailer, and other synopses would have you believe?  Nope.  The title character truly is the star.  Shocking, I know.  Chris Hemsworth is Eric, The Huntsman.  But, you already knew that.  If you liked him in the first movie, you’ll like him in this.  His emotions run the gamut and you’ll end up feeling all the feels along with him.  His accent, at times, was a bit hard to understand though.  Especially when he’s speaking quickly.  He’s understandable through most of the movie so this little bit is easy to overlook.  And though he is the title character, the women in this film stole the show.  It is very much a girl power movie.
 
Jessica Chastain is Sara, another huntsman (huntswoman/person/whatever).  I was a bit skeptical about her being cast in this role but she played it well.  Though why I was skeptical I have no clue.  She more than proved her merit in Zero Dark Thirty and some of her other films.  If there is ever a live-action version of Brave, she needs to play the part of Merida.  No one else will do.  I digress.  In The Huntsman, Sara is tricked in to believing something and her heart is hardened towards another character in the film.  Hard as her heart might be though, she’s tougher than her captors give her credit for.  In more ways than one.  I mean, the woman cauterizes her own shoulder and barely makes a sound when she does it.  You go, girl!  Something else she does is part of some foreshadowing in the film.  If you don’t guess what it is early on, it’ll hit you soon after it does him.  What on earth does that mean?  Go see it and find out. 

Emily Blunt is Queen Freya.  Emily, I must apologize.  As mentioned in my last post about The Boss, I put you in the same type-cast situation in which I placed Melissa McCarthy.  I liked you in The Devil Wears Prada and thought that that type of role was going to be your niche.  Boy, was I ever wrong.  I loved you in The Huntsman.  Even when you’re bad you’re good.  Granted, your lines were sometimes cheesy but that’s not your fault.  We understood your anger so it was a little easier to sympathize.  For a while anyway.  Okay, back to third person.  You’ll feel all the feels with Freya too.  I wish I could tell you more about what she does but it will completely ruin the ending and we can’t have that.  The one thing I hate for her is that, at the beginning of the movie, she is content with her life.  Someone else ruins all that for her.  It’s cool that she came in to her own magic but I don’t much care for how it happened.

Finally, Charlize Theron is Queen Ravenna.  I didn’t like her.  Hey!  Don’t judge.  Unless you were cheering for her in Snow White, you won’t like her either.  But, Charlize does make a good evil queen.  Thinking on it, I don’t think the roles could have easily been reversed for these two actors.  I don’t doubt they would have done a good job as the other queen but, having seen them in their current roles, they were the best choices.  I hope that makes sense.  As in Snow White, Ravenna has absolutely no redeeming qualities.  You’ll love to hate her.

There were other actors/characters who deserve mention but that would make this review too long.  If I did mention anyone else it would be Sheridan Smith as Mrs. Bromwyn.  She’s spunky!

I believe the only thing that earned The Huntsman its PG-13 rating was the violence.  There was a brief starting-to-have sex scene but all the important parts are kept covered/blocked and all we saw was the kissing.  There was some drinking.  No drugs.  No smoking.  While there was quite a bit of violence, it wasn’t a gore fest.  We did see some blood but it wasn’t exploding out of the bodies.  Some things about Queen Ravenna are a bit disturbing to see too.  Granted, she didn’t eat any baby birds in this one, thank goodness.

If you liked Snow White and The Huntsman, go see this.  If you like Chris Hemsworth, Jessica Chastain or Emily Blunt, go see this.  If you like fantasy action-y movies, go see this.  I do recommend sticking with the age rating though.  If I had children of my own, I wouldn’t let them see this unless they were at least 13, maybe older.  I kind of wish it was less violent for younger kids because of the whole girl power feel of it but then it would lose some of what made it an exciting movie.  As mentioned before, I will go see this again on the big screen and will also own it when it comes out.  I am loving this new movie genre and hope they keep it up.

P.S.  Nothing happens after the credits so the only reason to stay is to see some of the unique names of the people involved in production.