Staff Picks: Movies
Staff-recommended viewing from the KPL catalog.
When the film begins the warning label for Getaway with Selena Gomez and Ethan Hawke says Mayhem throughout and indeed there is. Basically Ethan Hawke has to drive Selena Gomez’s armored Shelby GT500 car around town and crash into everything especially police cars. Pretty much there was a crash or explosion every 5 minutes throughout the movie. So who cares what the plot is, cars crash and explosions happened. There is a plot but really it is secondary to crashes, Ethan’s wife is kidnapped and Ethan, an ex race car driver is forced to drive what turns out to be Selena Gomez’s car which is now outfitted with cameras so the bad guy can watch and listen to the occupants. Selena’s dad runs the bank the bad guy is trying to rob. He gets Ethan to cause accidents at strategic points to block traffic and then the bad guy makes his move. You have to let go of logic and just sit back and enjoy but 2 things still bugged me. Ethan is driving an armored car and yet he is scared of bad guys on motor bikes. Just wiggle your car and knock into them, motor bikes are notorious for falling down. The second point was when Selena Gomez “reprograms” the cameras by grabbing one and rotating its lens back and forth and voila it is now a live feed to the police. She is that good. For this movie, turn up your sound especially your bass, turn off your logic and sit back and enjoy.
Usually I am disappointed with Cuba Gooding Jr. movies. Maybe I lowered my expectations or maybe this is a good movie, you watch and decide. The Ticking Clock is about a true crime reporter becoming involved in a murder. When Lewis Hicks (Cuba Gooding Jr.) girlfriend, or maybe better said the woman he is seeing while he is separated from his wife, is murdered. Lewis chases the guy and in a scuffle the murderer drops his journal. When Lewis reads the journal there are entries for more murders to take place in the future. Keech (Neal McDonough) is our murderer and he makes a good one. Lewis is not liked by the police as he has written negative things about them in previous articles so they are not very willing to help him. Everything keeps pointing to a 9 year old boy in an orphanage who is interested in science and time machines. Keech is that grown up boy and is traveling back in time murdering people thinking that he can change things and make his future better. He murders his abusive mother but instead of making things right he is now raised by his aunt and she is worse. Lewis investigates and finds this boy at the orphanage and visits him, takes him to the zoo, is tempted to smother the boy with a pillow and change the future. I think my problem with Cuba Gooding Jr. is his face. He has a face for stern, or mad or thinking and it is the same face. His smiling face is a little different.
Sleepwalk with me is about a comedian who has REM disorder disease. Matt is a comedian who is currently working as a bartender and Abby is his girlfriend. They go to his sister’s engagement party and his parents and friends are putting pressure on him to get married. His sister had been seeing her guy for only two and half hears while Matt has been with Abby for eight years His girlfriend is great, can sing, people love her. I think one of the telling lines is when Matt tells his sister everyone thinks Abby is amazing; mom and dad think she is amazing, our friends think she is amazing. I think everyone thinks the best thing about my life is my girlfriend. Matt is not ready for marriage and the pressure causes him to sleepwalk. At his parent’s house during a sleep walking episode he thinks the hamper is a jackal and he is kicking it. Matt gets an agent and she sends him on some comedy gigs. They are scattered about the east coast and involve a lot of driving and time away from home. He becomes exhausted and the sleep walking episodes get worse. His comedy, however, gets better. At one comedy club a veteran comedian talks with him off stage and Matt makes a joke about marriage. The veteran says that’s funny you should use it in your show. Matt’s comedy gets funnier as he jokes with the audience about marriage, making fun of it. One night Abby comes home at 4 am very drunk and starts to pack a suitcase, Matt wants her to stay and agrees to get married in the summer. As we watch Abby plan for the wedding and Matt touring and doing his comedy act we see his sleepwalking progress until finally he thinks a missile is coming at him (signifying the upcoming wedding) and he jumps out of a second story window. This is a deadpan humor type of story; the most humorous parts are his sleepwalking dreams. It’s a real type of story, real issues, real struggles, real relationship problems, with comedy sprinkled in especially in the sleepwalking dreams.
Sleepwalk with Me
In The Apparitionfour college kids perform an experiment trying to recreate the Charles experiment from the 1970s, only this time they want to manifest the spirit into this world. They have a figurine of Charles that they concentrate on and with the help of computers magnify their concentration from 4 to 4,000 and it works. The table shakes, the figurine is smashed, lights flash and Lydia is sucked through a wall. I thought ok the spirit is here but the movie fades out and we meet Ben, one of the original four apparently a few years/months (not sure which) later with his girlfriend, Kelly. They are house sitting for her parents in a housing development which is mostly vacant, a good setting for a spirit to haunt. Ben checks his email and has numerous messages from Patrick his old buddy from the experiment. Patrick is played by Tom Felton who was Draco in the Harry Potter series. Patrick has sent message after message increasing in urgency saying Ben is in danger. Kelly is taking a shower and we see spirit stuff. The soap goes all fungus looking and the real horror, all of Kelly’s clothes which are hanging in the closet are tied in knots. We are then treated to a lot of convincing spirit in the house sounds, they did a good job with this part. Ben finds out that Patrick has reopened the rift and a spirit wants into our world. They think they can send it back by playing the sounds from the original experiment backwards. This reminded me of my youth when they thought there were satanic messages on a vinyl record if you played it in reverse. I think the movie plot pushed the recreate experiment too far. First they recreate the 1970s, ok that’s a good premise, but then they leave it and allude to recreating the recreation and this time the spirit is unleashed, the rift was widened. It was big enough to suck Lydia through the first time and what happened to Lydia, we hear nothing more of her. Ben and Patrick set up their equipment, we see a diagram of the house and all the devices sync up, Patrick amplifies, we hear the sound track played in reverse, the spirit makes sounds, the house cracks, this is one big spirit and then nothing… I thought it was an anti-climactic ridding of the spirit. But that was because (spoiler alert) the spirit is not really gone. I liked the build-up to the spirit coming and the sound effects but one recreation was enough. Give it a watch sometime, especially at night, preferable when it is stormy and you are alone.
Wiener Dog Nationals is a cute children movie. We have a family with a mother who has died recently but not that recent, like 2 years ago. So we have a father raising 3 children; one is 18 and the other 2 are like boy age 8 and girl age 6. The boy discovers a picture of his mother as a child with a wiener dog (dachshund) and she used to race the dog and win trophies. Nowhere in this movie do we hear anyone say dachshund it is always Wiener dog, just like the title of the movie. For his birthday he wishes for a wiener dog. He names it Shelly because he got it from a shelter. He and his sister are in a fast food place and there is a girl signing up people for the Wiener dog races, what are the odds. Morgan Fairchild is a rich lady who plays dirty tricks to try and eliminate Shelly from competing in the race. She has won for the past 2 years. The movie is your typical child movie, Morgan Fairchild is shown doing nasty things and being rude so you hate her. The boy with the dog is nice and friendly with the other contestants especially a dog called handshake who can do one trick, bet you can’t guess what it is, yep Shake Hands. His owner is a girl of about 8 same age as the boy. The dad meets and falls in love with the girl (Alicia Witt) who was signing up people for the race. Shelly wins Nationals. Happiness reigns for all in the end. Two things that did bug me about this movie, when cleaning up from the birthday, the dad tosses the left over cake into a garbage bag. Who does that, you keep the cake and have more of it later. The second was more of a continuity issue. Shelly hurts her paw. They show her raising her right front paw as if it is hurt but they bandage the right rear paw. I even rewound to make sure I saw the correct paw. But hey, I wasn’t watching this for accuracy just for a good time. It’s cute, if you have children or just like these movies Check it out at KPL.
Wiener Dog Nationals
Legendary White Stallions. If you like looking as talented gorgeous horses then give this DVD a perusal. This is a DVD about the legendary Lipizzaners. It talks about their training and their breeding and shows them in action and in the country side. Some of these quotes will give you a feel for the DVD. The Director of the Spanish Riding School says “Classic Horse riding is pure Beauty and Harmony” The Rider is the artist and the Horse is the medium” Now, while I agree with his statement and love seeing these horses, I thought that he, the Director of the Spanish Riding School looked like Prince Charles. Ok, back to serious, this is an informative and also beautiful DVD of the Lipizzaners. They are the horses of legends. Another quote “It’s Teamwork, it is as if there was a gossamer thread between the riders and the horses mind.” This is a visually powerful and educational DVD of a legendary horse. It is a wondrous photography of the Lipizzaners. Check it out, give it a watch and be enthralled and educated.
Legendary White Stallions
The Sorcerer and the White Snake is gorgeous. The mountain scenery is breathtaking, the underwater visuals are amazing. This is a story of True Love. The demon white snake falls in love with a human. All sorts of problems arise from this but she never regrets it because she now knows true love. The White snake said she meditated once for a thousand years but just a moment with Xu Xian (the human she is in love with) was worth more. This was a great story of love based on a Chinese legend, but the best part was the visuals. It was one breathtaking scene after another. As I have a snake phobia, I wish it wasn’t a White Snake but when they are that big they look more like a sea serpent than a snake so it wasn’t too bad, only at the end did they send in the little snakes. Jet Li is the monk and he does do a lot of action. But even the fighting scenes are overpowered by the visual effects. When Xu Xian is under water the details of the plant life and the fish was spectacular. When the White Snake flooded the town and summoned the waters, it gripped you and the music swelled and you were carried away. While the story is of White Snake and her True Love with a human it also displayed the sister love between White Snake and Green Snake. When White Snake was dying Green Snake offered her life’s essence to her sister. It is a foreign film and you will have to read the subtitles but it is the visual effects that will blow you away. A fun part was the monks apprentice turning into a bat demon and the animated mice were delightful.
The Sorcerer and the White Snake
The Trouble with the Curve is about an aging Atlanta Braves baseball scout, Clint Eastwood, who uses his experience and gut to pick a player vs. the modern way with computers. Clint Eastwood is a cantankerous man who loves baseball, misses his dead wife and has a love but leave me alone relationship with his daughter, Amy Adams. They convey all this to us in the first few minutes, by showing Clint Eastwood home alone, stumbling into a coffee table and kicking it out of the way and, my favorite, getting a can of spam and eating directly out of the can. (Side note, shortly after seeing this I bought a can of spam. I did not eat it directly out of the can mainly, because my wife is still alive and would not let me, but I did dump it out on to a plate and cut off a hunk and ate it raw, after first verifying that it is fully cooked.)
Philip is one of the new upcoming modern computer wise scouts with ambition and is trying to push Clint Eastwood out of the way. The movie centers around the scouting of a likely looking baseball player in North Carolina; do the Braves sign him, do the Red Socks, is he a good pick? OK, so now let’s add in some other things. Clint Eastwood is losing is eyesight, Amy Adams is his lawyer daughter and lets spice it up, Justin Timberlake is a scout for the Red Socks and likes Amy Adams.
You do not have to know about baseball to like this movie but if you do it probably enhances it for you. Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake have drinking contest about past players and infamous plays. Personally, I did not know who or what they were talking about but still enjoyed their competition, drink if you do not know. I wasn’t drinking Justin and Amy were.
The movie gets its name from a type of pitch, The Curve, they also call it the change up unless I got that confused with one of those other pitches. Amy Adams and Clint Eastwood see Bo Gentry as having a major flaw in that he cannot hit a curve ball, hence the title of the movie. They talk about Bo hitching and his hand drifting. I have no idea what that means but you do not have to, Clint Eastwood knows and it is this personal seeing with his own eyes, hearing the clink of the bat that makes him a better scout than the computer. There was one part of the movie that I can relate to on a personal level, there is a batter who is up just before Bo Gentry and Gentry says get a hit so he, Gentry, can get up to hit. This poor little scrawny, glasses wearing guy is now praying to God to get him on base. He gets hit with the ball and gets to walk to his base. On his way he is saying to God, perhaps you misinterpreted my request. This part of the movie, while not in any way the major thrust of the movie, hit home for me. How many times was I up to bat and said the same prayer and sadly it was in Softball (which for those who do not know, is a bigger ball and as its name implies softer). You rarely get to take your base for getting hit by a softball. My prayer was broader than this guy’s, he wanted to get on base thus preserving Gentry’s ups. My prayer was just let me hit it, I did not care where it went just let me hit it.
Clint Eastwood is struggling to hang on to being useful, more than that, to being independent. He is getting older, computers are encroaching in on him, his eyesight is failing. Amy Adams sacrifices her promotion, her boyfriend, in order to be with her dad and help him. Ok so did you get the gist of this movie, it involves baseball but it is more than a movie about baseball, it is a movie about family love, old age, scum who try to push you out of the way and about what is really important in life. And hey if that is not enough for you, then watch Justin Timberlake and Amy Adams both are cute as a button.
The Trouble with the Curve
Have you ever thought what it would be like to be just a Head. You could not move your arms of your legs. The Intouchables is a story about such a man and his caregiver. Philippe is a French aristocrat who has a great life until his wife gets a disease and dies and Philippe who was always into high adventure, goes paragliding and crashes. He crushed his 3rd and 4th vertebrae and is now a quadriplegic. The movie is about the relationship of Philippe and Driss. Philippe is interviewing numerous caregivers, they all have great credentials and PHDs. Driss is applying because in order to draw is benefit (unemployment check) he need to show he is actively looking for a job, he has no real desire to have this job. He talks to Philippe in an off hand manner, “don’t get up”. Philippe likes him because he doesn’t treat Philippe as an invalid. Driss is offered and takes the job. We are given glimpses into what Philippe has to do every day. Massages for the arms and legs, strapped in a chair so he doesn’t fall out, turning pages with a stick in his mouth. Driss asks him if he ever thought of just shooting himself. Philippe says yes but I cannot move my arms or legs so I am stuck. Luckily for Philippe he is rich. He says the Doctors can keep him alive until he is 70. Philippe introduces Driss to the arts, and music, Bach etc. Driss also shows Philippe what he considers good music Earth, Wind and Fire. Driss is a kid from the streets. He introduces Philippe to smoking marijuana to help with the pain. When Philippe has to travel they go the van and Driss says no way is he loading Philippe in the back of the van like a horse, he puts him in the front seat of a muscle car and roars down the road. This is a story of a developing friendship. This movie is foreign and in French so if you do not understand French, you could take a crash course on our Rocket Language lessons, free if you have a library card or for this you could turn on the subtitles. The thing that really touched me is that this is a true story. At the end of the movie they show the people that this movie was based on.
Have you ever thought what it would be like to be just a Head
The Man with the Iron Fists was a pretty cool Chinese martial arts movie with plenty of action. I was surprised to see Russell Crowe in this movie but they gave him a knife that spins and shoots bullets. Jungle Village has several warring clans. The Governor trusts Gold Lion to protect a shipment of Gold. Well, Gold Lion did not live long, he was killed by one of his own lieutenant’s, Silver Lion. Jack Knife (Russell Crowe) arrives, he is the Emperor’s undercover agent. He comes into the Pink Blossom brothel run by Madam Blossom (Lucy Liu), requests a room overlooking the street and 3 of the women, one of whom is currently with Crazy Hippo. Jack warns Crazy Hippo to give up the woman and not fight him then promptly knives him with his spinning knife. This isn’t a serious martial arts movie and it seems like they had fun with it. Later in the movie when Jack shoots someone with his knife he says I bring a gun to a knife fight. It’s funnier in the movie that it sounds here. There is a blacksmith played by Rza who also wrote the story, screenplay and directed the movie. He is the one who gets the Iron Fists. There is a mercenary named Brass Body. I think he was the most formidable person. His whole body turns into brass and nothing can hurt him, until the end of the movie and Iron Fists does him in. The movie has a lot of action and the basic plot is guard the gold, gold gets stolen, gold gets back to Emperor but the enjoyment of the movie is watching everyone go martial arts on everyone.
Man with the Iron Fist
End of Watch is a movie shot in documentary style of two police officers in the south central Los Angeles area. It gives you a good insight and feel for Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavela (Michael Pena) as partners. A lot of the movie is the two of them in the locker room, in the squad room or in the car, talking about everything with each other. It really shows you the bond the two of them have. The movie also has many moments of gripping action. Mike says that they see more action in one shift than some officers will see in their entire lifetime. Some police can go their entire career without drawing their gun but not in southern Los Angeles.
Brian is making a film so he is always filming with his camera and he and Mike are wearing button cameras. This gives us the feeling of being part of the action. There is a Latino gang that ironically is also filming and we see them inside their van gearing up for action. They are talking about hitting Tre and his fellow Bloods gang. We see them getting their guns together and a we see them drive by the Bloods and start firing their AK47s and hand guns, hundreds of bullets are fired and then off they drive. Our officers find the burnt out husk of the van dumped. Brian would like to be a detective but as he is a uniformed officer the homicide detectives shoo him away and tell him to stay on the other side of the crime tape. Next we watch the officers respond to a missing children call, only to find a man and a woman obviously high and not in their right mind. The woman is saying her children are missing, the man is saying they are at their grandmas. Brian searches the house and finds the children duct taped in the closet. This is to give us a feel of what their watch is like. Later they pull over a truck and the driver tries to shoot Michael with an ornate looking pistol. They search the truck and find oodles of cash and what looks like a gold plated AK47. Our next adventure is when Brian and Michael are at a house fire and they risk their lives to rescue a bunch of small children. This section of the movie was very powerful and definitely had you on the edge of the seat of your chair, you could almost feel the fire and have a hard time breathing due to the smoke. They are awarded medals and accolades from their fellow officers. Brian, who wants to be a detective, decides to dig deeper into the driver with the ornate gun. He convinces his partner to back him up and they go to the house where the truck came from and they find a room full of human trafficking people. Suddenly there are many ICE agents descending and they tell Brian and Michael to lay low as there may be reprisals.
Now we go back to the personal side of life and Michael’s wife has a baby. Then back to driving around in the squad car talking about the baby when a call comes in to help two officers. When they arrive they find one of the officers with a knife sticking out of his eyeball in his head, and his partner is getting beat on. They get the huge hulk of a man off the female officer but her whole head is caved in and is a misshapen bloody mess. This gives you a feel for the harshness of the streets. There are more personal moments and of course a reprisal happens with a hit put out on Brian and Michael.
This movie has a lot of action, and gives you insight into the life of a police officer. This was modeled after two real live police officers. I think that gave me the most scare. This is not just a movie, this stuff really happens. This movie is not for the faint of heart and there is a lot of use of the foul language to give you the realness of the gangs.
End of Watch
When I started watching John Dies at the End I knew it was science fiction and that it was different. I wasn’t really ready for how different it was. It was a real Mind Tripper. And even though I had talked about this movie with our resident movie expert at KPL, Dan, I was not ready for the girl to turn into a bunch of snakes. Dan did not forewarn me about that and he knows I have a phobia about snakes. I was scurrying to grab the remote control and fast forward not carrying what dialog I missed. If you are not bothered by snakes this movie has it fair share of bugs and other disgusting looking creatures. John and some others are enticed by a drug called Soy Sauce which we find is linked to an alternate reality’s world attempt to take over our world. Dave is John’s best friend and it is up to the two of them to stop the invasion. Time travel is involved, Dave is constantly getting calls from future John. The movie has a lot of action, then seems to stop for dialog period where Dave is talking to a reporter or the police or John on the phone then it jumps back into action and people explode or have their head blown off by a shotgun and then set on fire and they may or may not die. I would say that Dave and John are pretty laid back dudes, not much frazzles them. When pieces of meat from the freezer start coming together to form a meat monster they take it in stride, tell it to hang on a second while they make a phone call. They then hand the phone to the monster who takes it and he listens and then falls all apart, end of monster. This is a movie for adults not children and it is for adults who are willing to just be entertained and not try to point out the flaws in the time travel and are ok with someone finding their cut off head, putting it back on and fastening it with fishing line then looking for the guy who cut off his head.
John Dies at the End
I love Morgan Freeman. He has a way of talking. Like when he is teaching the dog to fetch a ball. Morgan Freeman throws it and the dog just lays there. He says “Maybe it’s the word Fetch that doesn’t resonant perhaps retrieve will stimulate some long dormant instinct” or when he is invited to a seven year olds party he says “I greatly appreciate being included in your celebratory plans and I will be sure to mark that special day on my calendar.” In this movie, The Magic of Belle Isle, Monte Wildhorn (Morgan Freeman) is a writer of western novels whose wife died seven years ago and with her passing he gave up writing. We see him arrive at the island brought there by his nephew. Monte is in a wheel chair a bit cantankerous and drinking heavily. He moves in next door to Charlotte O’Neil (Virginia Madsen) and her three daughters. The middle daughter, Finnegan asks Monte to teach her how to use her imagination. Monte becomes her mentor. As time passes, Monte develops a fondness for the O’Neils and they of him. The plot is predicable but who cares, you get a warm feeling of happiness from this movie and that’s all that matters. Monte does write some a story or two, but not a western. It’s about an elephant, the youngest girl loves elephants. Through the story of the elephant Monte lets Charlotte know that he likes her and for those of us too dense to figure it out Charlotte while reading the story says I think he likes me. Monte is invited over for dinner and Charlotte plays the piano. Monte comments that for playing like that he would leave his windows open. Later in the movie when Luke and Joe are trying to buy the rights to the books to make a movie we hear piano playing. Monte tells Luke and Joe that the music is for him and it’s personal so they have to go. Monte lies in bed listening to the music and dreams of sipping wine with Charlotte and dancing by moonlight. He is awakened by the dog licking his face. I don’t think it will spoil anything to let you know that the dog eventually does fetch a ball. They show that very comically. Monte tosses the ball and the dog heads in the exact opposite direction. Monte says “I admire consistency” then the dog shows up with the ball. This could be a Hallmark movie of the week. I loved it mostly because of Morgan Freeman and his portrayal of Monte Wildhorn. Give it a watch some time when you want a warm fuzzy.
The Magic of Belle Isle
This is one of those feel good Disney movies; The Odd Life of Timothy Green. A couple, Cindy and Jim Green (Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton) are told by a fertility doctor that they cannot have children. While feeling sorry about the news they have some wine and make a list of all the things their child would be if they could have one. He would be good at drawing, score the winning goal in soccer etc. They take this list and put it in a very nice wooden box (this shows the depth of their grief, this looked like an expensive box) and bury it in the garden. That night there is a thunder storm, even though the town is in a drought, and this thunder storm only occurs at their house. Timothy Green a 10 year old boy appears in their house covered in mud. At first they think he ran away from home but Timothy calls them mom and dad and he has leaves growing out of his legs. They check the garden and indeed the spot where they put the box has been disturb. This boy must have come from that box and is destined to be their son. OK we are over that hurdle, now to tell the story of Timothy Green and all the wonderful things he does, and how he makes people’s lives he touches better. It is a cute story, it delves into father son relationships and parenting, hopes for your children all that gooey stuff. But it does it in a way that keeps you entertained. That being said I do have two comments. The first is that even if one comes up with a better way to make a pencil you cannot just say the plant is saved all your jobs are secured. You would have to retool the plant, and make sure there is a market place for said pencil, and personally from looking at it, I would not want to write with it. However it does tie in nicely the leaves on Timothy’s legs with the leaves to make the pencil. My other comment is when Timothy draws Cindy’s boss’ picture and includes the chin hairs. Cindy says Timothy is very honest and outspoken. Mrs. Crudstaff, a very stuffy and stern lady, asks what else has Cindy not told her. Cindy bolstered by Timothy’s actions proceeds to tell Mrs. Crudstaff her honest opinion, that Mrs. Crustaff could be nicer, that her one joke is not funny and that they need to open the curtains to let in light so people can see the objects in the Pencil museum. I thought this was going to be one of those hallmark moments and Cindy gets a raise or at least high praise but nope, she got fired. I liked that twist to what I thought would happen. This is a good family movie, you should give it a watch.
The Odd Life of Timothy Green
I learned a few things from the movie Trooper and the Legend of the Golden Key.If you are an 8 year old boy and get moved to a new town, that is a good time to bamboozle your parents into getting a dog and if they say yes to one dog then they will for sure allow you a second dog. I also learned that if you have a maniacal evil plan then you should laugh about it with your partner in a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde sort of way. One more thing I learned, if you want to show your audience that your character is a bad dude, have him take candy from a baby. Trooper is a bloodhound and he narrates the story. Due to budget cuts, by the bad guy of course, Trooper can no longer be a police dog. Luckily a boy has just moved into town and is able to have his family adopt the dog. The evil bad guy is trying to shut down the local bookstore so he can put in an oil well that will make him rich. He tells the bookstore owner that she owes back taxes for 25 years and has to come up with a million dollars. The boy learns of this and also hears about a recently deceased man who may have left a treasure in his house. Trooper and the boy discover the Legend of the Golden Key which is worth a million dollars (coincidence?). This was a nice little just watch the movie and don’t worry about the facts. I was a bit fixated that the book store owner just accepted that she owed a million dollars. This is after all, a children’s movie.
Trooper and the Legend of the Golden Key
Mary and Max was captivating. It reminded me of the Wallace and Gromit movies. It is a clay animation and makes no effort to make it’s people look life like which I think adds to the movie. The humor is odd and you will either love it or not get it. It is a story of a little girl 8 years old in Australia and a 40 year old pen pal in New York City. The little girl, Mary, is lonely and gets picked on at school. She has a birth mark on her forehead the color of Poo. Her pen pal suggests telling the bully that it is the color of chocolate and that when she gets to heaven she will be in charge of the chocolate and he will not get any. The bully upon being told this, cries. Her dad has a job at the Tea factory tying the strings from the tea bag to the label for Earl Grey tea. Mary thinks she would love to mary someone named Earl Grey some day. Her mother cooks with Sherry and as Mary puts it she is wobbly most of the day. When Mary’s teacher says Mary needs to smile more, her mother gets out her lipstick and draws a smile on Mary’s face. One day at the Post Office she sees a telephone book for New York City, she describes it as a telephone book with a picture of a lady on it with her hand on fire. Mary opens the book and chooses a name at random and writes a letter. The letter was to Max. Max is a nice guy but has a whole host of problems. We find out that he has been in a mental hospital and is subject to anxiety attacks, and has trouble reading people. He has a sketch book he made of people’s faces so he can tell by referring to the book if they are happy or mad or sad. We find later that he has Asperger’s syndrome. Max likes being an Aspie as he calls it and even has a t-shirt with Aspie on it. Max has no friends but he does have a gold fish, Henry the eighth, which later is Henry the ninth etc. as accidents keep happening to the little gold fish. This is a movie you have to see to appreciate.
Mary and Max
The Grey is about a plane crash in the Alaska wilderness and the survivors being hunted by wolves. Ottway (Liam) is hired to protect the pipeline guys. They show him shoot a wolf right in the beginning of the movie, thus establishing him as a good shot with a rifle and their defender. I thought The Grey was going to be all about Liam Neeson protecting the survivors of the plane crash and indeed it was but no gun. I guess if he had a gun it would have been too easy. The movie starts out showing the men working on the pipeline, Ottway shoots the wolf then we are in their bar at the base camp and we get sort of introduced to the characters. Then it’s off to the plane and pretty much right away the plane crashes and the movie gets going with its major thrust of surviving the wolves. I mean the movie is called The Grey. Liam organizes the remaining men, a wolf attacks, Liam tells all the men about wolves and that they will hunt in a certain radius of their den etc. thus setting up the rest of the movie. These wolves are HUGE, more the size of a black bear and they are very organized. There is a scene where the men are sitting around the fire and they hear the noise of two wolves in the trees. They say what was that? Liam tells them that was the Alpha male putting down the challenger. Then Diaz, one of the men around the fire, challenges Liam. Why are you in charge? Diaz pulls a knife and wants to fight. Liam, of course, stomps on a fire log, disorients Diaz and beats him. So just like the alpha wolf putting down the challenger so does our human male. Another time they are all around the camp fire and all the wolves start howling. Apparently it sounded real enough that my little puppy perked up and listened and started growling at the television. In a touching moving emotional part of the movie they are all telling stories and Liam recites a poem his dad wrote: “Once more into the Fray. In to the last good fight I’ll ever know. Live and die on this day. Live and die on this day” Which reflected what was happening, each day the wolves attacked and killed another survivor. This is a good movie to watch when the snow is blowing and it is cold outside.
Can you imagine your wife has a brain injury and does not remember being married to you. That's the premise of the movie "The Vow" and it is based on a real live wife who had a brain injury and forgot her husband. She never did get her memory back, but she is still married and has two children. The movie has a car crash causing the brain injury and then to keep us interested tosses in issues with in-laws, a bit of infidelity, and old flame who she does remember. Rachael McAdams plays Paige the wife of Leo played by Channing Tatum ( and yes he does take off his shirt showing his magnificently sculpted abs) . The movie starts off with the car crash and the hospital scene, then does a flashback to show us how much in love they were. I thought they did a good job with her waking up and seeing Leo for the first time. She assumes he is her doctor, a very reasonable thought. Paige has lost the last 4 years, and in her mind she was still in law school, and engaged to Jeremy, not an artist and married to Leo. The movie unravels for us the tale of why she left law school and ditched her fiancé Jeremy. Leo faced with having a wife who does not remember him at all, tries to spark her memory, failing to make that happen he tries to re woo her and make her fall in love with him all over again. Paige's parents want to control Paige and take her back to their home and try to mold her back into the person they want her to be. This is a good romantic movie, a good one to watch with your special someone.
Every wonder what happened to Cliff from Cheers? Well, he is working as a barber in a small village outside of Las Vegas. John Ratzenberger (Cliff) is in a movie called “The Village Barbershop” along with Shelly Cole. His name in this movie is Art and Art is not doing well. His wife, the love of his life, has passed on and now his fellow barber and co-owner has also died. Art is in debt, the landlord want to kick him out as he has not paid his rent. Art advertises for a replacement barber and after seeing an assortment of odd applicants, along comes Gloria. Gloria has recently found herself to be pregnant and her boyfriend just told her he has found someone else and they are getting married. Art does not want to hire a female barber but as she also can do bookkeeping he hires her to do his books, something his partner used to do. Gloria of course wheedles her way into being Art’s partner partly by winning him over with her charm and partly by threatening to sue for gender discrimination. The movie is one of those Hallmark type movies. We see Gloria and Art grow on each other, start to care for each other and help each other overcome life’s difficulties.
The Village Barbershop
Lovely Still. Robert Malone (Martin Landau) meets Mary (Ellen Burstyn), who looks great for being 76 years old at the time this movie was made. Robert comes home from working at the grocery store to find Mary in his house. She says she was checking on him, to make sure he was all right as his car was crashed into his garage. Mary then asks him out on a date. Robert is ecstatic and in love. They go on horse drawn carriage rides, romantic walks, and even sled riding. There is also an undercurrent. Mary’s daughter Alex (Elizabeth Banks) keeps cautioning her mother to not get hurt emotionally. We see Mary with a pill bottle that she drops in the sink. Every morning just before Roberts alarm goes off we see his dreams, multi colored dreams with vague shapes in the background. When he is with Mary these dreams go away. At times I was wondering is Mary real? Her name is Mary and it is a Christmas tale. Will Mary die? This is what appears to be a Hallmark story of love for old people and is named as such Lovely Still but it has something else going on. I was thinking this was going to be just a Hallmark love story when it took a twist and I have said too much already. Watch this when you are feeling a need for a heart tug, an emotional warming, a tale of true love.
HOME is a different type of movie, maybe because it is French. The movie starts out by trying to show how this family is a nice family unit, brother gets along with sisters, everybody is happy. They happen to live next to a section of highway that was never opened. They live the idyllic life or do they? Maybe they live this idyllic life because there are no obstacles. When they open up the highway and hundreds of cars are going past their home, their life crumbles. The oldest daughter likes to sunbathe and when the highway opens up, truckers honk their horns and cars beep. One day the family notices the daughter is gone. No Note, No Message. Nothing. Do they panic, do they call the police, do they think she was abducted, NO. They think oh well, she was probably picked up and moved on. Maybe it's because they are French but to me, if this was a real idyllic life, the daughter would not have taken flight without notice. The family then tries to continue to live next to the highway. Next to it mind you, not near. They are smack dab against the guard rails. They do not even have an access to their house. They have to park on the other side of the highway and try and get across when the traffic is light or go a mile up and cross through the water drain that runs under the highway. When the constant noise gets to them, they wall up the home with cinder blocks and noise deadening material. Of course then they have no ventilation nor sunlight and that brings it own set of problems. I'm sure this movie is fraught with hidden meanings and undertones that can be studied at length in some college classroom. To me it was sad and frustrating. I kept urging them to move, or get a lawyer or something but no they walled up the home with cinder blocks.
Another movie about Snow White, this one is darker and has some big stars, Snow White and the Huntsman. The girl from the Twilight movies is Snow White, her step mother is played by Charlize Theron. Chris Hemsworth (Thor) is the huntsman. And what is really wild, Ian McShane is one of the seven dwarves. I watched the movie with my mother-in-law and she kept saying that Snow White isn’t so pretty, she snarls instead of smiling and her two front teeth look like chicklets. The premise of the movie is the same as all the Snow White movies, Snow’s mom dies and her dad remarries. In this movie the Step mom (now queen) sticks a knife in the king instead of doing the honeymoon and snow white is locked away in a tower like Rapunzel. The step mom has a magic mirror and the mirror tells her if she cuts out Snow Whites heart she will remain beautiful and immortal. This is where I was thinking, hey Chris Hemsworth is an immortal, they should hook up. But in this movie Chris is a huntsman and the Queen orders him to find Snow White (who has escaped to the forbidden forest) and cut out her heart. One of the coolest parts was the seven dwarves. I kept looking at them and thinking they look familiar. And indeed they were familiar but not as dwarves. They did some sort of thing like they did in Lord of the Rings and made them appear to be dwarves. They did a real good job of movie magic.
Snow White and the Huntsman
This is a 2003 horror thriller. Take a group of kids in their twenties and have them drive into the back woods of West Virginia where a family who after years of inbreeding have produced mutant looking children and you have yourself a classic hunt the fresh meat and kill most of them but the last one (or two usually a couple) turn the tables and kill the mutants and survive the ordeal. This would make a good addition to your horror viewing for Halloween. In this Wrong Turn movie you have stars like Eliza Dushu (known for her role as a Slayer in the Buffy series) and Jeremy Sisto (who looks majorly different than he does now on the TV series Suburgatory but his voice is still the same, very distinctive). We start the movie following Chris as he drives a very nice mustang along the highway. There is an accident which ties up traffic and Chris tries to find an alternate route. Driving through back roads trying to hurry and make up time when WHAM he smacks into the back end of a SUV that is in the road. Turns out the SUV had driven over barb wire that was placed across the road to snare its victims. Of course cell phones do not work so a group of them head off in search of a phone and one couple stay behind with the car. And it begins. The couple who stayed behind are killed in a grotesque manner. We see the girl looking for her boyfriend and she finds his shoe and then BAM a string of barb wire is wrapped around her head through her mouth and practically cuts her in half. It would be just as deadly around her throat but through her mouth gives you the willies and is therefore a better way to kill in a horror movie designed to give you those thrills. Then the hunt is on for the other victims. We see the mutants and their deformed heads and their disheveled appearance. We find their house and see a stew with body parts. These mutant may be deformed, look hideous and probably have not bathed in years but boy are they fast, and strong. You can be running away from them, lose sight of them and then suddenly find them ahead of you blocking your way. You can knock them out of a tree from so far up you can barely see the ground and yet they get up and dust themselves off, laugh manically and scamper away. I saw this movie back in 2003 and when it came through the library as a new acquisition I watched it again and it kept my attention. Check it out, if you are into mutants hunting down teenagers and mutilating them.
"Salmon Fishing in the Yemen", with Ewan McGregor,
Emily Blunt and Kristin Scott Thomas. The title says it all. A good friend of
mine, JD, recommended this DVD, I watched it and liked it so much I told my
wife she had to watch it. The premise is that there is a Sheik in the Yemen
with tons and tons of money who loves fly fishing for salmon and equates it
with a religious experience. He also wants to do something for Yemen, provide
water for agriculture. Emily Blunt handles the Sheik's finances and finds Ewan
McGregor, a fishing expert, to help her make the Sheik's dream come true. Kristen
Scott Thomas is the Prime Minister's PR person (this takes place in England)
and sees this as a good PR piece. Ewan says it is impossible and starts to list
all the reasons why, Emily counters them, you need water, the sheik has built a
dam, you need cool temperature, the temperature in that part of Yemen is cool, Ewan
says it will cost 50 million and Emily doesn't even blink. The story is nice,
the interactions of the people is what captivated me. Sheik Muhammed played by
Amr Waked was an excellent portrayal of a sheik. He had the beard, the soft
demeanor, the handling of the beads while he talked. This and many other movies
are available in our AV department.
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Have you ever wanted to just slap a spoiled rotten whiny rich kid? Frank takes it a step farther. In “God Bless America” Frank has been told that he has only a few months to live, he lost his job, he is divorced and his kid doesn’t want to see him. Frank decides to kill himself. But while watching television he sees a spoiled rotten rich kid complaining that the car she got for graduation was the wrong car. So Frank finds her and shoots her dead. Roxy, a 16 year old girl, sees Frank do this and convinces Frank to take her with him and go find others who are also deserving of death. They have long conversations of just who those people are, one group is people who high five. Frank teaches Roxy how to shoot and in response to his praise she quips she just pretended the targets were members of Glee. Frank and Roxy go on a Bonnie and Clyde shooting spree, Roxy even buys hats for both of them so Frank can look like a gangster and she looks like Patty Hearst. I found this movie entertaining but it’s not for those who are easily offended.
God Bless America
Casa de mi Padre (My Father's House) stars Will Ferrell. It
is a Spanish language film with English subtitles. It is done is the style of
the overly dramatic telenovelas. Armando Alvarez (Will Ferrell) has lived on
his father's ranch in Mexico his whole life. His father's ranch is in debt.
Armando's brother Raul comes home with his fiancee and says he will pay off the
debt. But Raul's income is from drug dealings. Armando falls for Raul's woman.
A war between Raul and Mexico's most feared drug lord, Onza ensues.
The story is ok but the spoof of telenovelas is what kept me
watching this movie. The mountain lion is made of paper mache and looks that
way on purpose. When Armando and Sonia are riding horses they show real horses
and then the next shot is of them on obviously fake horses. The part I liked
best was when they drove into town and parked their car. The film showed a
match box car driving on a cardboard cutout of a town. When you watch this
movie don't expect high grade CGI, this is a spoof movie of overly dramatic
telenovelas. Just go with it and let it roll.
Casa de mi Padre
Can you imagine your wife has a brain injury and does not remember being married to you? That’s the premise of the movie The Vow and it is based on a real live wife who had a brain injury and forgot her husband. She never did get her memory back, but she is still married and has two children. The movie has a car crash causing the brain injury and then to keep us interested tosses in issues with in-laws, a bit of infidelity, and old flame who she does remember. Rachael McAdams plays Paige the wife of Leo played by Channing Tatum (and yes he does take off his shirt showing his magnificently sculpted abs). The movie starts off with the car crash and the hospital scene, then does a flashback to show us how much in love they were. I thought they did a good job with her waking up and seeing Leo for the first time. She assumes he is her doctor, a very reasonable thought. Paige has lost the last 4 years, and in her mind she was still in law school, and engaged to Jeremy, not an artist and married to Leo. The movie unravels for us the tale of why she left law school and ditched her fiancé Jeremy. Leo faced with having a wife who does not remember him at all, tries to spark her memory, failing to make that happen he tries to re woo her and make her fall in love with him all over again. Paige's parents want to control Paige and take her back to their home and try to mold her back into the person they want her to be. This is a good romantic movie, a good one to watch with your special someone.
Albert Nobbs is a movie set in the 19th century. Glenn Close plays Albert Nobbs a woman posing as a man in order to find work in 19th century Dublin, Ireland. What I loved about this movie is what a fine job the makeup crew did making Glenn Close into a man. Glenn Close play a mousey man to be sure and others in the movie thought him to be strange but you could not even guess that he was a woman. Albert kept to himself and personally I think he was a bit off in his dreams for the future. He was working as a waiter in a hotel and saving his money to buy a shop. He had visions of running a Tobacconist shop but he does not smoke, does not even know how to roll a cigarette.
The movie starts out showing us the hotel staff and their roles and shows us Albert. We do not know Albert is female until one night he is forced to share his room with the painter and a tic starts biting him. In an effort to get rid of the tic he removes his clothes and exposes his breasts. The Painter sees this and Albert is in a panic that he will be exposed. The Painter assures Albert he will not give him away and later in the movie after being pestered by Albert to keep his secret, the Painter (Spoiler Alert) opens his coat showing Albert that the he also is a woman and tells Albert his story. Albert is then fascinated with the fact that Hubert Page (the painter) is living her life as a man and has a wife. Albert fixates on this aspect and wonders how they sleep and did Hubert tell her before or after marriage that he was a woman. Albert wanting companionship decides that Helen, one of the maids, would be a good wife for him and asks her out for a walk. Helen uses Albert to get presents for her. Albert proposes marriage and Helen tells him he doesn't have a clue what it is to date a woman or even how to kiss one. After Typhoid sweeps through Dublin and kills off many including Hubert Page's wife Cathleen, Albert says to Hubert that he could take the place of Cathleen and Hubert and he could run the Tobacco shop together. Hubert tells Albert that that's not going to work that Cathleen was his universe. The movie is not a Disney happily ever after movie. Spoiler Alert. The movie does not end with Albert finding his own Cathleen, instead he winds up dying never getting his shop and all the money he as saved up does not go to the painter which would have made a bit of a happy ending or even to Helen to help with the baby. Instead the hotel owner finds it. Course this helps her keep the hotel open and everyone employed so not a dismal ending at least. The end scene shows the painter holding the baby and talking with Helen about the future. She tells him she is going to be tossed out and the baby taken away, he tells her we can't let that happen insinuating that they will become a unit and Hubert will take care of Helen. An ok ending for all except Albert who died. Course in my opinion he would have failed as a Tobacconist and would have just wasted all his money. I kept thinking the winner is the real estate agent with whom Albert gave deposit of a 100 pounds for the shop and would lose if he did not sign the contract by Monday. Albert saved for years to get enough money to buy a shop. Being dead and all the real estate agent gets to keep 100 pounds free and clear. This movie was about a lot of things, life in the 19th century, woman's rights etc. but I was thinking Hey, become a real estate agent and make some real money.
The Father of Invention stars Kevin Spacey as a "Fabricator" . In the movie they explain that the definition of a Fabricator is one who takes two things and puts them together to make something new, they also say that the fourth definition says Liar. The movie begins showing Kevin Spacey as a successful business man worth 1.6 billion dollars. They briefly show you some of his successful products and then show his latest AB Cruncher Television remote control. Unfortunately it has a design flaw and has a tendency to lop of peoples fingers. Kevin Spacey goes to jail for 8 years and the movie really begins with his release from jail and his struggle to regain a life in the business field and with his estranged family. Coming out of jail his appearance has changed from crisp business man to dirty ragged long stringy hair homeless man. As the movie progresses he slowly changes appearance loses the long stringy hair. In the transition part he wears clothes picked out by his daughter's Lesbian friend played by Heather Graham. She is not fond of him and in the guise of getting him hip clothes he looks like a loser. Throughout the movie he tries to come up with a new great idea that will put him back on top. One of the best scenes is when Heather Graham is showing him Guitar Hero and she is playing the guitar and he is on the drums, he says what would make this even better, thinking hey I can do my thing and fabricate, is if it had a microphone at which time Heather tosses one at him because the idea has already been thunked.Of course being a movie, he does come up with an idea and it does put him back on top but along the way he realizes family is important and cue the rainbows all is wonderful. I liked the movie. It will not will an award, it will not be on my top 100 list but I didn't feel like I wasted 93 minutes either. I also happen to like Kevin Spacey and Heather Graham.
Father of Invention
Mr. Popper's Penguins
I thought I'd give this movie a try, it looked cute but it had Jim Carrey in it. I entered this movie with trepidation. Jim Carrey can be funny but 98% of the time, to me, he isn't. I find his silly shenanigans not appealing to my comedic tastes. I did like this movie, Jim Carrey was not the Jim Carrey of Ace Ventura but more of the Bruce Almighty type. The Penguins were adorable. I thought for sure they were CGI but seeing the DVD extras I found they were real. I think the DVD extras said it best, Penguins are 10 times better than puppies. I think the story they wrap around the penguins is ok but the movie is the Penguins. And yes there is bathroom humor, after all it is a Jim Carrey movie.
The movie is about a little boy and his relationship with his father and later when grown up his relationship with his family. The typical work before family and then discover that family comes first. Jim Carrey's father was an explorer, hence the sending of the gift of penguins. Jim Carrey is separated from his wife played by Carlo Gugino and has two children played by Madeline Carroll and Maxwell Cotton. Jim Carrey is a big shot acquiring real estate tearing down landmarks building new buildings, the penguins arrive he discovers love. The story is ok but the fun part is watching the penguins. I also enjoyed Ophelia Lovibond who played Pippi. She must have worked hard on her dialog. They had her speak almost exclusively using words that began with a P.
If you can tolerate or better yet fast forward through some of the slapstick parts you will enjoy this movie. If you have a eight year old who thinks a farting penguin is funny then no fast wording necessary.
Mr. Popper's Penguins
Rare Exports is not your ordinary Christmas tale and certainly is not for kids. In this movie Santa is the Finland version. Santa PUNISHES bad kids. He whips them with a stick and makes them bleed, he puts them in a pot of boiling water. The movie plot is that Pietari a young lad lives with his father who herds reindeer. Some big giant company is excavating a mountain to free an evil Santa who has been frozen and buried many years ago. On a certain night each year Reindeer run through Pietari's town and his father and most of the village herd them into a giant corral and that's how they make their money for the entire year. I'm not sure how they know which night but they do. Well this time all the reindeer are found slain, hundreds of carcasses strewn about. This is tied to the unearthing of the bad Santa even though he is still frozen. His "elves" steal every heat producing device to thaw him out. The elves are not your typical short cute elf with pointy ears. They are old frumpy naked men who do not speak. You'll have to watch the movie to see how Pietari and the villagers deal with the evil Santa and the lack of their income. Oh and this movie is in their native tongue so there will be subtitles.
Rare Exports a Christmas Tale
Gnomeo & Juliet is a very cute re-imagining of Romeo and Juliet. It has stars like James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Michael Caine, Jason Statham, Ossy Osbourne, Patrick Stewart, Hulk Hogan. It is a very well done computer animated family feature. There are Blue Gnomes in one Garden and Red Gnomes in the other Garden and of course like the story a Blue Gnome falls in love with the Red Gnome. But the great part of this movie is the adorable Gnomes. Throughout the movie they are warring with each other, having lawn mower races, and sneak attacks with weed killer. Whenever a human is around they freeze and you can hear the porcelain clink. Elton John produced this and his songs are in it. This is a fun movie for the whole family. I love the the stealthy sunflower gnome.
Gnomeo & Juliet
Bunny and the Bull is a trip into the imagination of Stephen who has agoraphobia and doesn't leave the apartment. The movie is scenes of Stephen now in his apartment and then we transform into scenes of his imagination. We see him going to bed and sleeping and next he's opening a door in the bed which he goes through and he is in Spain with his only friend Bunny (male) and they meet a girl who quits her job as a waitress and travels with them. Stephen has a crush on her and of course Bunny sleeps with her. Then we see Stephen crawling through the back of his sofa and into his living room. Bunny is outgoing and drags Stephen into things. The best line in the movie was from a Matador, he said "Much has been written about Bull fighting, but I can sum it up in one sentence -- Get out of the way of the Bull"
Bunny and the Bull
Now this is a good wholesome the entire family can enjoy movie. Secretariat. This is a Disney movie about the horse named Secretariat. It has many stars, Diane Lane and John Malkovich to name two. This movie had No swearing, No nudity, No guns or explosions (and I am a fan of explosions). It was just down to earth good entertainment and it was about a REAL horse who had an amazing racing life. The movie even had a cameo of the real life Penny Chenery, the owner of Secretariat. I highly recommend watching this movie. KPL has it on DVD and Blu Ray.
Robert Rodriguez's new move Machete give you lots of explosions, shooting, blood, guts, gore and nifty outfits with a plot and big named actors. Dany Trejo; Steven Segal (as a bad guy), Robert De Niro, Lindsey Lohan and Jesica Alba. I watched this thinking OK let's watch some shooting and some explosions, but I was rewarded by it also having a watchable plot.
I give it a month, anyone used to $600 shoes and Louis Vuitton suitcases is not going to like slaving away in a backwoods inn. Add to that, it is in Ireland and she is used to big city and likes a big city life, she will quickly tire of working in an inn.
The movie is cute, When Amy Adam's boyfriend of 4 years does not propose on their 4 year anniversary, Amy Adams decides she will do something about it. Her boyfriend goes to Ireland, why I do not remember, and there is an Irish Tradition that the woman can propose to the man on the 29th of February. Now, why she doesn't communicate with her boyfriend while in the states I do not know. Why she thinks she has to go to Ireland and propose instead if just saying to her boyfriend "Hey, lets get Married", but then there would be no movie. Of course (spoiler alert) she meets someone, falls in love, changes her entire life and gets married to him. It is filled with funny situations even if it is not very realistic. But then if it was, I would have been bored and not watched. So if you are looking for a romantic comedy and are willing to let go of reality, you can pick up this movie at KPL.