Category Archives: Movie review

Movie Review: Monument Men

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Last weekend for Valentine’s Day Al (hubby) and I went to the movie Monuments Men.  While normally anything has to do with war would be a thumbs down for me, the great movie trailer and the all-star cast had me curious.  It also helped that I had recently read about the Monuments Men while readingThe Roses Underneath by C.. Yetmen).  I am ashamed to say, prior to that reading, I didn’t know such a  group existed.

Monuments Men is about the very real group of Men that were tasked during WWII to go into war-torn areas and save the most important pieces of art and culture of our time.  As said in the movie,

If you destroy their achievements, their history, it’s like they never existed.

"The Monuments Men" - Los Angeles Photo Call

If you are thinking Monuments Men was a cushy job (in reality or in the movie) think again.  These men put their lives at risk right alone side others who fought in the war.  Lives were lost and art was saved….  all in all a brilliant enlightening movie.

 

Now… Monuments Men is not getting the best rating.  Said to be an “aw shucks buddy” type comedy, directed and acted in by George Clooney, it is falling into some poo ratings.  My husband while liking the story of the Monuments Men, was not as impressed with the movie as I was.  Honestly, I may be an easy sell… teach me something new and I want to know more.  Now I want to read the book, Monuments Men by Robert Edsel.

I hope you will give this movie a try.

 

Labor Day Movie Review

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Earlier today I posted about the Bookies getting together this week and going to see the Labor Day movie together.  It really was a lot of fun.  Thirteen of us who had read the book gathered for a chance to see the movie.  This review is my thoughts on the movie.

 

Kate Winslet is wonderful in the role of Adele, a single mom who has been scarred deeply by love.  When she meets Frank, an escaped convict, while making a rare trip to the store for supplies, he leaves her little choice but to take him with her.

Frank (Josh Brolin), is just looking for an escape from a crime that he says was an accident.  While he comes off as frightening at times, he is really just looking to start living again, and soon it is apparent that this life may be with Adele and her 13-year-old son Henry.

What starts out as what appears to be a hostile take over of Adele’s home, turns out into something very different indeed as both Frank and Adele find comfort in each others inability to be a part of the bigger world outside the front door.

 

 

 

I am pleased to say I really enjoyed Labor Day.  I was a little uncertain as I struggled with Adele’s passiveness in the book – but found her to be a stronger woman in the movie and a little more protective of her son.  Both book and movie (IMO) move along a little quickly for a 5 day storyline.  I would also say that some of the flashbacks in the movie are a bit confusing, even though I had read the book and knew what they were about.  I imagine it would be even harder to follow if you had not read the book. 

Labor Day is still a movie I would recommend.  There is some inner depth and hurt in both the main characters that is revealed in such a way that you suddenly understand that this is not a scary movie, but a love story unfolding. There are some wonderful elements to the movie and it is a story line I have not seen done before which is almost always refreshing.

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Book VS Movie

Both book and movie were very close and I liked that.  As I had just recently finished the book, it was still fresh in my mind to pick up on any differences, the differences I noticed were few and in some cases added to my enjoyment of the movie.

What I liked:

Adele comes off as stronger in the movie than in the book.  Not too strong but enough to know that if she had to she would do what she could to defend her son. I preferred movie Adele.

Henry, as I shared in my book review has a bit of a teenage boy obsession with girls and sex. I just didn’t want to read all those details.  I was happy to see that in the movie while they do show he thinks about girls…we did not have to see anything beyond his thinking about them.

What I didn’t like

Frank has more of a frightening presence in the movie at times.  It almost made me wonder if in the end…how innocent was he?

Missing character.  There is a grandmother in the book that plays a short but significant role.  She is not in the movie.

There are subtle differences in the end results, nothing big… nothing disappointing, but tiny tweaks. 

My Labor Day Book Review

Captain Phillips – Movie Review

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In 2009, Captain Richard Phillips, while taking his crew into international waters is hijacked by a small group of Somali Pirates who board the massive ship.  This is the first American ship to be hijacked in over 200 years.

 

Holy smokes.  I went into watching this movie having no knowledge of the ship or of Captain Phillips.  Sometimes I amaze myself how little I know.  :shock:

The movie is powerful.  It is fast moving and anxiety creating.  I was on the edge of the couch while watching as the Somali pirates led by their leader, Muse, took over this massive ship.  I could not even believe that these 4 pirates in a small motor boat were able to overtake such a massive ship – but they did.  I was amazed that the crew was unarmed. And it is a true story.

If you are looking to watch something AMAZING this weekend I highly recommend renting Captain Phillips.  I will most definitely be watching this one again.  There is also a book (YAY!) called Captain’s Duty.

 

Movie Review: JOBS

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Always fascinated with movies about people who have done amazing things (IE.  I am a huge geek for the Social Network movie about the creation of Facebook), I had to see the movie Jobs.

Jobs is the story of Steve Jobs and his creation (yes yes… I am aware he didn’t do it alone) of Apple computers.  This is a fascinating story because much like what Mark Zuckerberg did for social networking, Jobs did for computers and putting them into our homes – as well as I Tunes, I Pod, I Pad, I Phones…

I feel Ashton Kutcher did an amazing job as Jobs.  If you see the movie (and I hope you do) watch Kutcher’s walk… he has it right down as Steve.

I enjoyed the movie thoroughly was fascinated by the early years how Apple came to be and while Steve was not necessarily the brain that put it all together, he was (and is) the heart and sole of Apple and what I believe made it what it is today.

I listened to Steve Jobs on audio a while back and really enjoyed it.  I have to say I got more out of the audio then I did the movie.  The movie, sadly seems to be unfinished.  Towards the end everything seems to rush together, you see him with his daughter but you have no idea how that came to be… there is a woman in his life and I am not sure who she is, he walks back into Apple makes some big changes and before we even get into I Tunes, the personal computer, I Pod…. it is over.  Ending on a cliff of what is next.  Sure, most of us know what happened next but still…I feel Steve’s story was incomplete and they do not even elude to his death or the cause.

This one probably about a C- rating from me and for that… I am sad.

Catching Fire – The Movie

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On the evening of November 21st, 2013 I was thrilled to go to the opening night showing of Catching Fire.  Catching Fire is the 2nd book in the trilogy by Suzanne Collins.  My review of the book is here. 

Catching Fire is the continuing story line from The Hunger Games.  Now Katniss and Peeta are living back in District 12, still pretending to be in love when in front of the cameras and about to go on tour of the districts as is their duty as the winners of the last Hunger Games.  President Snow has a strong disliking for Katniss, feeling that her heart and her fire for what is right could bring on an uprising, he keeps a close watch on her and monitors what she can say and do when on screen and in front of the people of the districts. In the midst of this battle of Katniss and Snow, a plan is developed that all the tributes will enter the Hunger Games as a “Quarter Quell”, a twist to the 75th anniversary of The Hunger Games. 

And this is when this movie really comes alive.

Katniss, played by Jennifer Lawrence shows such appropriate emotion throughout the movie that I could not help myself but feel anger when she felt anger and yes, cry when she cried.  (Way to go new director Francis Lawrence!

As the tributes from all districts prepare to go back into the games, Peeta and Katniss are sure that there is no way they will allow for two victors again.  Love or just deep friendship, the two struggle with how they will handle this when the time comes.

Cinna, the creator of the costumes that both Peeta and Katniss wear comes up with an amazing dress for Katniss, which if you have read the books… you know… well…. we will save that for the spoiler page ;)

All in all I found this movie to be even better than Hunger Games and that surprised me.  Of the books, Hunger Games was my favorite and they went down from there. Not that I didn’t still enjoy them, just that was the order they fell in for me and so I did not expect this movie to be loved by me to the extreme that it was. 

If you are a fan of the books, do not miss out on seeing this one on the big screen.  I am pretty sure as soon as I can find someone to go with, I will be seeing it again.

Want to talk about the movie in a bit more detail?  I have wheeled the Spoiler Button out of storage so we can do just that!  If you HAVE seen the movie, join me in the spoiler room to discuss what we loved, what we didn’t, and everything in between.

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Safe Haven (Movie Review)

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Katie (actress Julianne Hough) has had enough of walking on egg shells whenever her husband, Tierney (David Lyons), is near.  The abuse both physical and mental raises to such a level that Katie fears for her life.  One night she decided there is only one thing she can do.

She runs.

After cutting and dyeing her hair, Katie seeks shelter in a small North Carolina town where townsfolk are curious about this newcomer who keeps to herself and has rented the small home in the woods on the outskirts of town.  Alex (Josh Duhamel), a widowed store owner seems particularly curious about Katie, as she turns down any offer of help he gives for home improvements or transportation.  Eventually Katie befriends another single girl named Jo who lives not far from Katie and becomes a kind of confidant. 

But as Katie is starting to relax into her new life, Tierney has not given up on looking for his wife and the longer it takes to find her the angrier he becomes.  Practically psychotic with thoughts of her with someone else he finds a clue that sets him in the right direction.

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Holy awesomeness!  When I read Safe Haven a few months back, I was so impressed by the book that I was nervous about the movie not living up to it.  I need not have feared.  Once I put this DVD on, I stopped everything and just watched. 

Safe Haven was beautifully done, and while you may think you have it all wrapped up in a neat “Sparks like” bow you will (oh yes you will!) find yourself blown away by a plot twist that is ovation worthy and really took me for a loop – yes, even after I had read the book.  I loved this movie.  The acting was well done, I was fully engaged in the story line – Tierney was every bit of whacked out creepy that I felt he should be for a crazed abusive nut case husband (think Sleeping With The Enemy creepy… and then double it). 

I hope you will consider renting or purchasing this movie.  Not only is a good cold evening chick flick, it also would make for a good couples or girls night in showing.  I was impressed and I will definitely watch this one again.

 

Thank you to 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

for the review copy of  this movie in exchange for an honest review.

Books To Movies… “Heck Yeah!” or “Hell’s No!”

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As readers/book lovers I believe we take the reading experience quite personally.  From the discussions I have had here at Book Journey to the discussions I have participated in or just read all over the web, books can touch our very innermost soul.  They make us laugh, cry, become angry, and take us to places we may never step foot in if not for the book.  The characters become a part of us… we may know them, or wish we could know them.  Some books cause us to wear t-shirts saying ‘Team ______________”, and some make us publicly defend their honor.  Some books stay with us for years afterwards, and just thinking of them brings up fond emotions as we gush to a friend, “It’s one of my all time favorites!”

Now… let’s say (Insert a Favorite book title here) is going to become a movie.  Enter Joe the Director (yeah, for this post we will call him ‘Joe’).  Now Joe has big – BIG ideas of how he is going to turn your beloved book into a movie.  He has a vision and you start to hear and see the hub bub of who might play this character or that one….

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BUT (and it’s a big one, I will not lie) what if this Director, Joe Whats-his-face’s vision does not line up with what you or I had felt was the heart of the book?  What if Joe takes the book an entirely different direction and now what you loved, what you admired, seems to be gone…

Are you in camp:

A.  I hate it when my favorite books become movies – it ruins what I loved about the book.  I do not see movies that were made from books.

B.  I am so excited when a book becomes a movie, I LOVE to see what they will bring out on the screen and how their vision may differ from my own.

C.  I am ok with a book becoming a movie as long as they stick true to the nature of the book – like when ____________________ became a movie.

D.  I have no opinion either way…. I am just reading the post to see what you are up to. :D

E.  Other

 

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.  Can you choose a camp you fall into?  Can you name a book to movie that was extremely successful in your opinion?  Can you name a book to movie that was an epic fail? 

 

 

Breaking Dawn Part II (yes! See it!!!)

 

For the second time this afternoon, I went to see Breaking Dawn II at the theaters.  I would have reviewed it when I seen it opening night but life busyness has not made it possible until now.

And believe me when I say I want to review this book. 

Like most Twilight fans I have read the books a long time ago.  I have heard the feedback on books and the movies, even have written reviews for all three books.  I have watched the movies and have understood the jokes people had made of them – but let me say… no matter what you have thought of the Twilight books/movies in the past, this one is worth seeing.

Visually the movie is amazing.  Everything that has true up to this point pulls together for a dynamic finish that is in a word….

POWERFUL.

 

 

Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, and yes, Kristen Stewart (she must have read the online comments) were at top game.  The supporting actors are pretty incredible too and we are treated to many new faces.  While we did not get a gratuitous shirt removing from Jacob (Taylor) like we were treated to in Breaking Dawn part 1, we are treated to many laugh out loud moments, as well as intense ones.  It’s a good mix.

The ending – well, the ending is BRILLIANT.  I can say nothing more than that, I can say – readers of the books and fans of the movies alike are in for a real treat. 

My final thoughts…. treat yourself to this finale.

 

The Raven Movie Review (See This Movie!)

Fact:  Edgar Allen Poe was found walking the streets on October 3, 1849 in clothes not of his own, delirious and calling out the name “Reynolds”.  He never became coherent enough after being found for anyone to know the cause of his distress or to even know what had made him this way and he died on October 7th – one of the sad and unsolved mysteries of our time…

The Raven:

Edgar Allen Poe.  The poet.  The writer of Gothic Fiction, deep and dark and appealing to the public masses.  A man tortured by his own soul and the hot pursuit of the love of his life, Emily. 

Meanwhile, gruesome, unthinkable murders are taking place in the town and Police Detective Fields is finding a familiar ring to the way the murders are taking place, the way the crimes are being set up… they are as Poe has written them in his fictional stories, down to the last detail.  Edgar of course is shocked and mortified that someone has taken his dark writings and created true crimes out of them, he agrees to help the Detective try to solve the crimes and capture the killer by deciphering clues that are left either with victims or delivered mysteriously into the hands of the detective or Poe.

As each clue is unraveled Poe’s inside track on the stories help the police move into the next spot quickly but only to find yet another clue.  The murdered is quick and knows Poe’s work well creating a fast paced and heart pumping mystery that will keep you guessing until the end.

John Cuzak Then and now.
L: Better Off Dead 1985
R: The Raven 2012

John Cusak has come a long way since the first movie I remember him in, Better Off Dead.  He has really grown into his characters and his role as Edgar Allen Poe is brilliant in The Raven. 

I have to say going into this movie I did not know a lot about Poe’s life or death for that matter, never a big fan of poetry although familiar with his work of course, I admit to never having read it.  I do love it though when fact meets fiction and when I discovered the opening lines of the movie are actually factual regarding how Poe had died in such a mysterious way, I had a good (and turns out accurate) feeling that this movie was going to be a good one.

Fast paced, I love how the move took pieces of Edgar’s work and wove them into the crimes.  It reminded me a bit of Copycat, another amazing movie of crimes being copied, in that case it was a serial killer copycat. 

I really was impressed how this all came together, I did not have a clue who did it although now after having read a bit today about Poe’s real life and death I think I may have been able to have made an educated guess. 

HIGHLY recommended to those who love a good mystery to solve.  I was very impressed with the entire movie. 

Movie Review: Rock Of Ages (80′s Fans! Listen Up!)

 

Sherrie Christian was just a small town girl… living in a lonely world.  Then she took a midnight train, going anywhere….

 

(lol… ok 80′s peeps… I had to use that because well…. that pretty much is the story..)

 

But oh yes, there is more.

Sherrie is hoping to make it big with her voice in LA but her start turns out to be a little more rocky than rock and roll.  When she meets Drew, he invites her to apply for a job where he works at the once famous Bourbon Bar where at one time they raked in the big names – including giving Arsenal(Ton Cruise, errr…. Stacy Jaxx’s band) their big start  *insert swoon here* …

Payin’ anything to roll the dice… just one more time…
Meanwhile, the mayor and his wife, are all about shutting out the awful rock and roll music down as part of their “cleaning up the city” program and Patty (Catherine Zeta Jones), the Mayors wife has an odd obsessive desire to start with The Bourbon and Stacy Jaxx.

 

Some will win…. some will lose… some were born to sing the blues….

 

what happens next… is pure… rock and roll.

 

 

I am die-hard loves of all things 80′s (leg warmers, aerobics, Music, big hair, and yes, Bubble Yum) and I… didn’t think I wanted to see this movie.  :shock:  I thought the preview was a big cheesy, a bit musical….

but then a friend of mine said “Best movie I have seen in a long time”, and I was sold on giving it a try.  Then I watched it a second time with my husband.  Then a third time with College Son…. then probably watching it again tonight with both sons. 

Why?

Rock Of Ages is not only song upon song on awesome 80-ness (my word), it is also many great stars…. Alex Baldwin’s role will shock you and make you laugh, fans of Russell Brand will not be disappointing in his brilliant portrayal of Bourbon Manager Lonny, and love him or hate him – you are bound to be impressed with Tom Cruise who – (I looked it up) sings all the songs himself and had written into his contract that he would not allow any voice improvements… just pure Cruise…. and I was impressed. 

Rock Of Ages is a funny look at the 80′s, a semi cheesy love story in the mix but that is sooooooo 80′s and some quick wit mixed in (watch the dance moves closely when the ladies are dancing in the church) and I do love me some quick wit! 

My hubby who usually falls asleep half way through movies actually likes this one which is a testimony in itself! 

Over all rating… a big visually risky in points but no foul language, and no sex (implied but not seen)

 

80′s fans… you are going to LOVE it.

 

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