Fury – A Movie Review

 Culture, Movies  Comments Off on Fury – A Movie Review
Feb 212015
 

Fury Movie PosterApril, 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy commands a Sherman tank and his five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Out-numbered, out-gunned, and with a rookie soldier thrust into their platoon, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany.

Director: David Ayer
Writer: David Ayer
Stars: Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Peña
Runtime: 134 min; Rated: R; Genre: Action, Drama, War; Released: 17 Oct 2014

I watched this on my day off for President’s Day at home. Continue reading »

Feb 162015
 

American_SniperChris Kyle was nothing more than a Texan man who wanted to become a cowboy, but in his thirties he found out that maybe his life needed something different, something where he could express his real talent, something that could help America in its fight against terrorism. So he joined the SEALs in order to become a sniper. After marrying, Kyle and the other members of the team are called for their first tour of Iraq. Kyle’s struggle isn’t with his missions, but about his relationship with the reality of the war and, once returned at home, how he manages to handle it with his urban life, his wife and kids.

Director: Clint Eastwood
Writer: Jason Hall, Chris Kyle (book), Scott McEwen (book), James Defelice (book)
Stars: Bradley Cooper, Kyle Gallner, Cole Konis, Ben Reed
Runtime: 132 min; Rated: R; Genre: Action, Biography, Drama; Released: 16 Jan 2015

We watched this one in the theater a couple of weekends ago. I’m sorry to just now be getting around to writing my review. Me and Lay both thought this movie was OK. I suspect he liked it a bit more. I had some trouble separating the politics, the biography, and the movie. Continue reading »

Best Exotic Marigold Hotel-A Movie Review

 Culture, Movies  Comments Off on Best Exotic Marigold Hotel-A Movie Review
Jan 192015
 

Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Movie PosterSeven elderly Britons, for a variety of reasons, respond to an online ad and travel to Jaipur, India, where they find run-down hotel with a young, exuberant, and optimistic host. Evelyn, newly widowed, wants low-cost experience, Graham seeks a long-ago love, Douglas and Jean have lost their pension in a family investment, Muriel needs cheap hip surgery, Madge seeks a rich husband, and Norman is chasing women. India affects each in different ways, enchanting Douglas and Evelyn while driving Jean deeper into bitterness. Their host, young Sonny, has dreams but little cash or skill; he also has a girlfriend whom his mother dismisses. Stories cross and discoveries await each one.

Runtime: 124 min; Rated: PG-13; Genre: Comedy, Drama; Released: 25 May 2012
Director: John Madden
Writer: Ol Parker (screenplay), Deborah Moggach (novel)
Stars: Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, Patrick Pearson, Hugh Dickson, James Rawlings, Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton, Maggie Smith, Liza Tarbuck, Paul Bhattacharjee, Lucy Robinson, Ronald Pickup, Celia Imrie

Lay had to work Saturday, so after chores were done, I watched this. I found it to be a grand and fun movie, with adorable characters who made me want to see more. Continue reading »

The Imitation Game – A Movie Review

 Culture, Movies  Comments Off on The Imitation Game – A Movie Review
Jan 112015
 

Imitation_GameBased on the real life story of legendary cryptologist Alan Turing, the film portrays the nail-biting race against time by Turing and his brilliant team of code-breakers at Britain’s top-secret Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, during the darkest days of World War II.

Runtime: 114 min; Rated: PG-13; Genre: Biography, Drama, Thriller; Released: 25 Dec 2014

Director: Morten Tyldum
Writer: Andrew Hodges (book), Graham Moore (screenplay)
Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Rory Kinnear

As the movie begins we hear Alan Turing saying, “Are you paying attention? Good. If you’re not listening carefully, you will miss things. Important things. I will not pause, I will not repeat myself, and you will not interrupt me. You think that because you’re sitting where you are and I am sitting where I am, that you are in control of what is about to happen. You are mistaken. I am in control. Because I know things that you do not know. What I need from you now is a commitment. You will listen closely and you will not judge me until I am finished. If you cannot commit to this, then please leave the room. But if you choose to stay, remember that you chose to be here. What happens from this moment forward is not my responsibility. It’s yours. Pay attention.” Continue reading »

Birdman – A Movie Review

 Culture, Movies  Comments Off on Birdman – A Movie Review
Jan 102015
 

BirdmanRiggan Thomas, once known quite well to movie theater goers as an iconic super hero called “The Birdman” had recently turned down a fourth installment of the franchise. Now washed up, he attempts to reinvent himself as a director by staging a new adaptation of a Raymond Carver short story called “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love”. The events leading up to the Saturday night premiere prove to be one disaster after another as the original lead actor is injured while on set and Riggan scrambles to find a replacement, but the replacement proves to be exactly who he needs – a method actor who takes the job way too seriously. But Riggan has a hard time juggling between the set, his replacement actor, his equally washed up daughter, and a host of other disasters that prevent a proper staging of the play. Meanwhile, a New York Times critic who Riggan has to woo threatens to shut down production of the play before it even starts with a scathing review of the opening night performance. Does Riggan have a hit on his hands or will he even make it past opening night?

Runtime: 119 min; Rated: R; Genre: Comedy, Drama; Released: 14 Nov 2014

Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Writer: Alejandro González Iñárritu (screenplay), Nicolás Giacobone (screenplay), Alexander Dinelaris (screenplay), Armando Bo (screenplay)
Stars: Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Kenny Chin, Jamahl Garrison-Lowe Continue reading »

Birdman – A Movie Review

 Culture, Movies  Comments Off on Birdman – A Movie Review
Nov 212014
 

birdman_posterRiggan Thomas, once known quite well to movie theater goers as an iconic super hero called “The Birdman” had recently turned down a third installment of the franchise. Now washed up, he attempts to reinvent himself as a director by staging a new retelling of a classic Broadway dramatic play called “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love”. The events leading up to the Saturday night premiere prove to be one disaster after another as the original lead actor is injured while on set and Riggan scrambles to find a replacement, but the replacement proves to be exactly who he needs – a method actor who takes the job way too seriously. But Riggan has a hard time juggling between the set, his replacement actor, his equally washed up daughter, and a host of other disasters that prevent a proper staging of the play. Meanwhile, a New York Times critic who Riggan has to woo threatens to shut down production of the play before it even starts with a scathing review of the dress rehearsal. Does Riggan have a hit on his hands or will he even make it to opening night?

Runtime: 119 min; Rated: R; Genre: Comedy, Drama; Released: 02 Jan 2015

Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Writer: Alejandro González Iñárritu (screenplay), Nicolás Giacobone (screenplay), Alexander Dinelaris (screenplay), Armando Bo (screenplay)
Stars: Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Kenny Chin, Jamahl Garrison-Lowe, Edward Norton

We saw this last Friday at the AMC Theater in Brandon. Attendance was kind of sparse. l found the movie enjoyable, but not on my top 10 list for the year.  Continue reading »

Movie Review – Conspiracy

 Culture, Movies  Comments Off on Movie Review – Conspiracy
Oct 212014
 

Conspiracy Movie PosterThe historical recreation of the 1942 Wannsee Conference, in which Nazi and SS leaders gathered in a Berlin suburb to discuss the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question”. Lead by SS-General Reinhard Heydrich, this group of high ranking German officials came to the historic and far reaching decision that the Jews of Europe were to be exterminated in what would come to be known as the Holocaust.

Rating: 7.9/10 (10,326 votes)
Director: Frank Pierson
Writer: Loring Mandel
Stars: Kenneth Branagh, Clare Bullus, Stanley Tucci, Simon Markey
Runtime: 96 min
Rated: R
Genre: Drama, History, War
Released: 19 May 2001

We watched this movie via Amazon Prime Saturday night. We were just surfing, and gave it a try, and it turned out to be a pretty decent movie, and well worth a thoughtful watching.

This movie could have been entitled, “how to chair a board meeting” or “how not to chair a board meeting” – given that the outcome of the meeting was the “final solution”. Gen. Heidrich with consummate skill and care manipulated the gathered Nazi hierarchy to the pre-arranged and pre-destined solution to the Jewish question. Continue reading »

Movie Review – Gone Girl

 Culture, Movies  Comments Off on Movie Review – Gone Girl
Oct 202014
 

Gone Girl Movie PosterOn the occasion of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne reports that his wife, Amy, has gone missing. Under pressure from the police and a growing media frenzy, Nick’s portrait of a blissful union begins to crumble. Soon his lies, deceits and strange behavior have everyone asking the same dark question: Did Nick Dunne kill his wife?

Rating: 9.3/10 (238 votes)
Director: David Fincher
Writer: Gillian Flynn (screenplay), Gillian Flynn (novel)
Stars: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry
Runtime: 149 min
Rated: R
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Released: 03 Oct 2014

Well, this one deserves the hype. Me and Lay went to watch this one last night at the AMC Theater in Brandon. The theater wasn’t packed, but there was a sizable crowd, which was, for a change, reasonably quiet.

David Fincher has crafted, in his clear-cut no-nonsense style, a powerful mystery-thriller that would likely win kudos from Hitchcock. I have never read the book, nor any Gillian Flynn books, but she crafted a great story, and executed the screenplay very well.  Continue reading »

Movie Review – The Grand Budapest Hotel

 Culture, Movies  Comments Off on Movie Review – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Oct 142014
 

Grand Budapest HotelGRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL recounts the adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. The story involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting and the battle for an enormous family fortune — all against the back-drop of a suddenly and dramatically changing Continent.

Rating: 8.2/10 (179,874 votes)
Director: Wes Anderson
Writer: Stefan Zweig (inspired by the writings of), Wes Anderson (screenplay), Wes Anderson (story), Hugo Guinness (story)
Stars: Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody
Runtime: 100 min
Rated: R
Genre: Comedy
Released: 28 Mar 2014

I watched this a couple of Saturday’s ago by myself when Lay had to work. I’d worked especially had during the week day evenings to get chores done, and have a real day off. While I did wind up having to trim a rather large and tall hedge we have on one side of the house. But this was a nice way to spend a quiet Saturday afternoon.

This film is funny, absurd (what else would you expect from Wes Craven), poignant, and exciting all at the same time.  Continue reading »

Lone Survivor – A Movie Review

 Culture, Movies  Comments Off on Lone Survivor – A Movie Review
Jul 152014
 
Lone Survivor (2013)
Lone Survivor poster Rating: 7.6/10 (215,986 votes)
Director: Peter Berg
Writer: Peter Berg, Marcus Luttrell (book), Patrick Robinson (book)
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster
Runtime: 121 min
Rated: R
Genre: Action, Biography, Drama
Released: 10 Jan 2014
Plot: Marcus Luttrell and his team set out on a mission to capture or kill notorious Taliban leader Ahmad Shah, in late June 2005. Marcus and his team are left to fight for their lives in one of the most valiant efforts of modern warfare.

 

We had the nephews over a couple of weekends ago, and got this movie from Redbox.

I’ve seen some user reviews comparing Lone Survivor to Saving Private Ryan. I’m sorry, but Lone Survivor, while a pretty good movie, is just in the same league with Saving Private Ryan.

The acting was not terrible, and overall it was a good story (based on a true story of course), but some of the dialogue was a little strained. The cinematography and sound design were excellent, and I believe it received a couple of Oscar nominations for these technical aspects. I can see why. Continue reading »

Jun 062014
 
Django Unchained (2012)
Django Unchained poster Rating: 8.4/10 (1,024,786 votes)
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Writer: Quentin Tarantino
Stars: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington
Runtime: 165 min
Rated: R
Genre: Drama, Western
Released: 25 Dec 2012
Plot: With the help of a German bounty hunter, a freed slave sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner.

Watched on May 26, 2014 from Redbox.

This one was OK. We’d both wanted to see it, and it wasn’t a wasted couple of hours, but we’re glad we didn’t pay the full theater price to see it.

Why people tout this movie as a work of genius is beyond me. A 3 hour long runtime was a lot for the material at hand. The story is predictable and the characters (barring Stevens and Calvin) pretentiously self-righteous and boring.

While the film did possess panache in delivery, as all Tarantinos do, it lacked a central character and premise strong enough to make it engaging. The intelligent script and characterization that is a hallmark of films such as “Reservoir Dogs”, “Pulp Fiction”, “Death Proof” etc is dampened due to Django’s portrayal as a virtual mute with an attitude.

A remake of a 1966 Spaghetti Western Jamie Foxx plays the title character, a slave taken on by bounty hunter King Schultz (Christophe Waltz) in order to help find his former overseers. Once free Django joins Schultz in a professional capacity and is Django is able to embark on a more personal search.  Continue reading »

snowflake snowflake snowflake snowflake snowflake snowflake snowflake snowflake snowflake snowflake snowflake snowflake