movie review

okay, football season is over, Ginny is feeling better and it’s time for my first movie review of the 2009 non-football viewing season.

I watch a movie this weekend.  FOUR TIMES.

My five month old laughed, squealed and bounced her way through it.  Almost singing along with the catchy songs.

any guesses which  movie?

I’ll help you along.

the reviewers panned it.  Said it was too silly.  they said the actors couldn’t sing.  They said the whole thing was too contrived.

I totally disagree.

They sounded to me like real people who are not professional singers.  The story was perfect.  Yes it was silly, but it was also real.  Real people are inconsistent.  Real people do act silly and outrageous sometimes.  Real people don’t always sing on the right key or have perfect hair.

Real people make mistakes, and sometimes they come back home to roost in unexpected ways.

And real people have real bodies, that age.  And don’t necessarily look as good in a tight 70’s glam rock outfit as they used to.

Yes, the movie I watched FOUR times in one weekend was Mama Mia.  And, are you ready for this? Martin watched it with me.  All Four Times.  We watched it straight, then we did the director’s comments  twice through(which were really good by the way) and then we did the karaoke version.

And if I get a chance, I’ll watch it again.  Yes, Pierce Brosnan and Meryl Streep  have aging voices. Who cares?  I think it came across as people who used to sing in a band but now are older.

anyway, loved it, loved it, loved it.  Silly, sweet, funny, touching, tender, and real.

Anybody wanna come over and give me an excuse to hit “play” again?  it is still in the DVD player. Just waiting.

Mama Mia….here we go again………………………


review: sex and the city

Yes, I actually went to see this movie.

Yes, I know. I had always avoided the show. I mean how could I possibly enjoy something whose theme appeared to be all about promiscuity? How could it not be with such a blatant title?


While I still don’t know anything about the TV show, I can certainly say this (albeit a bit sheepishly) I LOVED the movie.

Okay, there were some flaws. The actual sex scenes were, for the most part, completely unnecessary. They could have been cut without losing any story line at all.  I mean, we are all adults here.  Most of us know what sex is, we don’t really need the visual.  Those scenes are only in there to make the guys who watch the show happy.  Correct me if I’m wrong here ladies, but I don’t think most women get the same kind of voyeuristic thrill that guys get out of seeing naked sweaty *other people* having sex.  I’d ten thousand times rather be teased with a tiny glimpse than have it paraded blatantly in front of me on a 40 ft high screen in technicolor.  ahem.

But other than that, the themes of the movie were fidelity, friendship, faithfulness and the harm that comes when we don’t communicate. There was even an underlying story of a strong woman learning to let the man in her life be in charge.

I was, quite frankly, astounded.

At best I was hoping for the slightly guilty pleasure of an evening out at the movies with friends. What I got was a really enjoyable movie that I am still talking about two days later.

Of course the admission price *could* have something to do with putting me in a favorable frame of mind. I went up to the window. I asked the ticket girl for four tickets to “Sex and the City”.

there was a pause

then she asked me for TEN DOLLARS

I stuttered “I need FOUR tickets, not two”

She blinked at me and said “yeh, four tickets, TEN DOLLARS”

I gave her the $10 bill. She handed me FOUR movie tickets, to a Saturday evening showing.

I wandered away in a daze.

You see, in Atlanta, ONE movie ticket on a Saturday evening costs $8.00


Secondhand Lions

Just saw the movie “Secondhand Lions” this past weekend.

Had no idea what I was getting into.

It was recommended by a friend of ours who likes horror, so I didn’t know what to expect.

Turns out it was a sweet character development piece. The type of movie that hardly ever comes out of Hollywood anymore.

Robert Duval, Haley Joel Osment, Kyra Sedgwick and Michael Kane. All quality actors who bring something special to this script.

Rent it. Be prepared though, the pacing is not what you are used to. Leave your cynicism in the kitchen, sit down on the couch and just watch. Revel in a movie that celebrates growing up and preserves innocent joy at the same time.

Night at the Museum

Martin wanted to watch a movie with dinner last night. I had just enough brain for something entertaining, but didn’t want to see anything that was going to tax me emotionally or mentally.

So he suggested “Night at the Museum”

I’m thinking, ummmm Ben Stiller ???? I don’t really think much of him, but it’s bound to be stupid humor and that’s kinda what I’m in the mood for.

Boy was I wrong.

I enjoyed the movie immensely. The part I was wrong about was in selling Ben Stiller short. He was good. The humor was varied, but never the sophomoric dross that I was frankly expecting. And his acting (yes I said ACTING) had nuances to it that I definitely was not prepared to witness.  To say I was surprised by the quality of the movie, the story, the directing and the acting would be an understatement.

I guess it’s time for me to re-evaluate Ben Stiller. Or at least to admit that he CAN do good work when given an actual script.


One night with the King

all right, I know I’m behind on my movie reviews.  I can get this one out of the way with just one word though: underwhelming.

normally i don’t get too bent out of shape when people monkey with a story, but let’s face it the story of Esther is pretty darn good to begin with.  It’s mostly action and deeds driven so it works really well for a movie script.  It’s got great characters, fantastic suspense and a very satisfying conclusion.  As well as some slight comic relief along the way.

Why on earth the producers felt that they needed to complicate things is beyond me.  But for whatever reason they did it.  And it ends up overwhelming the beauty of the original story.

I’m not upset on Biblical grounds (although some probably would think I should be) I just simply can’t understand why anyone would choose to complicate a really fantastic story with a bunch of distractions.

oh well.

Prince Caspian, review

**** spoiler alert****

If you haven’t read all the Narnia books, you may want to skip this post

Okay. We went to see Prince Caspian this weekend. Friday actually. We could have gone to the late show Thursday night to catch the very first showing possible, but I’m glad now that we didn’t. for a couple of reasons.

First off we would have been up really late. Movies that start at 12:05 and goes for almost TWO AND HALF HOURS means I would have been getting to bed around 3 a.m. ……on a “school night” No, I don’t have kids, but I still call Sunday through Thursday “school nights” cause we have to get up at 5:30 the next morning. yick. Besides, we both work at University, so it IS a school night. We probably would have gone to the late showing if we could have gotten up a crowd, but it seems that while people were interested in the movie, no one was so enthused as to want to be up quite that late.

Turns out to have been a good thing actually.

Friday evening, before leaving my desk at work, I checked out the reviews. The critics were widely divergent in their opinions of the movie. Comments ranged from “dull, boring and too long” to “magical and vibrant” ! With such a range to pick from what was a Narnia fan to think? Was I about to waste money going to see this thing? Would it be better to wait and see it on video?

Well we went anyway and I have to say that I loved it. It is possible that the mixed emotions I entered the movie theatre with actually helped. Since I didn’t have sky-high expectations, the movie surprised and pleased me.

Some people might have had problems with the story-line tampering that went on.  Normally I definitely have problems with this type of thing, but the few changes they made in the story details simply WORKED. The fleshing out of the scene in Aslan’s How (in the book it is the discussion of bringing back the White Witch) was heightened by having Tilda Swinton actually in the scene. Her power is so appealing to both the older boys since they both feel powerless and totally disconnected from Alsan at that point in the film. This is some thing that didn’t really come through in the book, but was very effective on film.

The subtext they added with Peter not being able to to handle “stardom” was perfect. Especially his mishandling of Caspian.  I even liked that he gets into fights in our world because he can’t deal with being “treated like a kid”  And his introduction of himself as ‘Peter….the Magnificent” was brilliant.

Also well done, was the budding relationship between Caspian and Susan. That subtext makes her ultimate rejection of Narnia in the later books so much more poignant.   Since, had Susan remained a faithful believer in Narnia, she and Caspian would have spent eternity together.   The actor who played Caspian was subtle enough with his reaction when he discovered that Susan was going away that he just about broke my heart.

And for fans of the books, I think they got Reepicheep just right. I had always wondered how the feather stayed in place without a hat and they solved that “problem” quite neatly. Izzard played him perfectly. And I was so proud of how they walked the line with him. He’s funny, but not cute.

I will be seeing this movie again soon, but I won’t be paying $10 a ticket to see it. I’ll see a matinee or wait for the DVD release. Caspian is worth the money to see again, don’t get me wrong, it’s just that I don’t have the money right now.

late to the party

I’m behind on my movie watching.    So forgive me for being very late in viewing Ratatouille the Pixar movie from 2007.

I finally saw Ratatouille this weekend and I absolutely adored it!

I loved how they didn’t ever have the rats speak to the humans, just used gestures and expressions. As a dabbler in art, let me tell you that’s hard to accomplish. And did you know that the “new” version of the actual Ratatouille dish at the end is a real recipe?     and it looks pretty good too.  

I know I’m coming late to this particular party, but I have just joined the legion of fans.

Unlike some animated movies, this is NOT fluff. There is no condescending mush, no silly song and dance numbers (though I love musicals and big musical numbers, I just don’t think all children’s movies should have to have them), just a well crafted story, and beautifully illustrated.

There are a couple of background panels that are stunningly real.

anyway, this is NOT just a good flick. It is a Great FILM.