Monday, February 24, 2014

The Lego Movie

Okay- let me get this off my chest first- the villain in this (Will Ferrell) is called President Business. Because God knows that in the film industry (industry being French for BUSINESS), business is always the bad guy. Rich, evil, beat down the workers, etc, Bad Guy. The irony should never be lost on the viewer that your kids are being manipulated by people who work in a HUGE businesses, are highly overpaid, and charge YOU gobs of dough to make those salaries possible. Not to mention that while you are sitting to watch this, everything around you (including the seat you are in) is made or made possible by businesses. The stupidity of these attitudes is something you should explain to your children.  Then tell them nothing stops them from having their OWN business one day.
Okay- now the review. At first, it is like watching subtitles- the action is sort of jerky, the characters look and move, well, like Legos (oh look, another BUSINESS rears its ugly head).  It is similar to the feeling you get while watching subtitles and suddenly your brain adapts, and you think you really did speak Italian (or Japanese, Chinese, etc). You do adjust and your brain starts believing these little animated bricks are real. Thank God. Because otherwise it would be quite the miserable experience. There is also a lot of adult humor, though Alex and I seemed to be the only ones who a) got it and b) laughed at it.    We thought it was fun. I realize I am 3 weeks late to this party because I just didn't think a Lego movie was worth the jillion dollars the evil businesses charge for 3D, but I pretty much think I got my money's worth.  I don't think seeing this on a small screen would be as good (if anyone actually HAS a small screen anymore- again those damn evil businesses building those big screen sets).  So try to catch it in 3D now.


The blogger monster ate my first Frozen post- so now we skip to the true short review. It has a great sountrack- witness the number of kiddo sing-a-long shows going on with that. It has a fun story. It has an ugly snowman. It is based on a very old fairy tale.  And who knew Kristen Bell could sing like that? The end. Go see it.


This subtitled film is headed up by Paulina Garcia, a Chilean actress, who could teach the plastic, middle aged American actresses a thing or two. In fact, she is really the main reason to see this. Paulina Garcia plays the title character, Gloria. Gloria is a middle aged woman whose nest is empty, whose ex-husband never fails to remind her why he's her ex, and who is very good at getting out and around through dance clubs.  There is a wonderful ordinariness to this as we watch Gloria meet the man (Rudolfo) that we believe will give her the relief to her loneliness. Turns out, Rudolfo cannot stop being the handmaiden to his former wife and daughters. In the end, Gloria faces her reality in a wonderful scene where her inner security settles into a calm on her face. This is an adult movie - and by that I mean that Gloria has a maturity and lack of neediness that is charming to see. She is truly a good woman who is just trying to stay busy and happy without being desperate. I really enjoyed this and I think it has not gotten enough press. If it is gone from your local theater, then be sure to catch it on DVD. It's worth it.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Monuments Men

Remember how much I hated The American? Surely you remember. It stunk. Well, MOVE OVER The American- because this is one of the all time worst movies (with the best cast) ever made. Curiously, they even managed to use odd music in bits and pieces, and then only in parts, and totally inappropriately. The script had to have been written by 14 year old aspiring script writers. The film is so disjointed and so poorly paced that the audience cannot possibly be sure of where they are in time. Plot: (again, based on a true story) The amateur soldiers taken from the knowlegable art elite to rescue the art stolen by Hitler become suddenly seasoned soldiers who can use explosives, go into Nazi locations as the LEAD team, etc, etc. There are so many holes in this, so many poorly written scenes, so much jumping about that if I hadn't paid IPIC a small fortune to sit in my recliner, I'd have walked out. Jean Dujardin was lucky- he got to die in this. Shame on Clooney for producing this piece of crap from what could have been a really exciting and fun adventure to see. It plods, it disconnects, it isn't funny or witty or even interesting. That's quite a skill- to take a great story and kill it.  If you go see it, you've put money into the pockets of people who really don't care if they entertain you- and that should be a crime. If you go, please pay attention to the miserable score. Believe me, you will notice it because the film just isn't that interesting and you'll have to have SOMETHING to do. For once, Wikipedia is a better place to find out the information on the "story" they based this on:  Then save yourself the admission and time.

Lone Survivor

I was so afraid to see this movie- I avoided it until I realized that it is really a tribute to the incredible men who do the most dangerous missions with the most horrible cost if they are found. It's a true story of Navy Seals who went into Afghanistan in Operation Red Wings.  The title tells you the end, but it doesn't tell you the story. It is gritty and brutal and sad- their honor was their downfall. Because in America, we don't shoot children even if they can go find an adult who will shoot us. Not so much in Afghanistan. We teach our children with Sesame Street- they teach their children warfare.  It is much more involved than that. I was one of those people with tears streaming down my face- because these men are real. At the end of the movie, they show the families and lives left behind- personal pictures that bring their loss right into your heart.  I could stay composed through the battle scenes, but I couldn't keep it together seeing what these unbelievably heroic men did, and did for my safety and yours. I can't imagine the sense of loss. So, if you are up to it, definitely go see it. It is really remarkable and 99% of it is true to the event, unlike most movies now.  But bring about 5 tissues and some sun glasses.

August:Osage County

Oh Jeez. This has a huge cast- Streep, Roberts, MacGregor- even Margo Martindale. But it never loses the feeling of "watching a play". Lots of plays are made into movies and are given the sort of nuances that only a movie with close ups and lots of scenery can do. But this never, ever stops feeling like an overacted, overprojected play.  And it is so ANGRY. The looks are angry, the words are angry, the actions are angry. the family is angry. If you leave the theater feeling exhausted, well, you are only human.
On that note, I'd say rent it. I'm late with this review, so maybe you got lucky and missed it on the big screen. I was just so sad I was sitting there. We all know people who can dish out anger in person if you need a dose of it, call them- it'll save you a lot of money!