Friday, December 20, 2013

Saving Mr. Banks

Winds in the East, mist coming in. Something is brewing, about to begin. I remember those words being sung to me by Burt right before we meet Mary Poppins. But what is the story behind the movie? How did this magically story go from book to Disney legend? Saving Mr. Banks takes a look at the difficult task it was to create Mary Poppins. The author P.L. Travers is played by Oscar winner Emma Thompson. Mrs. Travers, as she is called in movie, is strict, protective, and a no nonsense woman. She has a large fear that if she sells the rights to Mary Poppins, Walt Disney will turn her into a cartoon character with no real heart. Walt Disney is played by everyone's favorite man, Tom Hanks. To be perfectly honest, there is no one who could have played him better. Personally, I don't think Walt Disney Studios would have approved of any one except for Tom Hanks to play Walt Disney. Tom Hanks brings so much heart and life into Walt. He was a family man that wanted to create magic for children. Hanks shows us the Walt Disney we saw on tv and film but also portrays him as the brilliant filmmaker he was.

Saving Mr. Banks is really two stories in one. The first is about a young girl and her family living in Australia during the early 1900's. We see a beautiful young Travers and her larger than life, full of joy father who is played by Colin Farrell. He has a large imagination and treats his daughter with love and magic. As the story progresses, we see that things are not always as they seem. We learn of Travers real family problems and see that her father is not the perfect man we think he is. We see where the inspiration for Mary Poppins began.

The second part of the story is of Walt Disney Studios in 1961. Walt has been trying for 20 years to buy the rights to Mary Poppins. Mrs. Travers will only agree if she has final script approval. Most of the movie is about the very negative relationship that Travers has with Walt and the fellow creators. For most of the movie I found Travers to be so harsh but thankfully Thompson does a great job of showing her real heart. She was so protective of her story because it was also her life.

I will warn you in advance, bring tissues. The last 30 minutes of the movie has so much heart and truth that I could barely contain myself. I was a crying Hot Mess but every moment was pure magic. This is a film for the Mary Poppins lovers and the Walt Disney Lovers. I am a very big fan of Disney, I think he was a brilliant man that made it ok to believe in magic again. Hanks brings him back to life on screen and we notice how much we miss the real Walt Disney. I say this movie is for the fans because there are so many little tid-bits for you to enjoy. For example, Walt Disney holds the record for the most Oscars ever won in History (22 according to When we first meet Walt, we see all of the Oscars behind the desk. Walt was also a chain smoker but never smoked in public because he didn't want to tarnish the family image. This issue is also addressed in the movies, it's very subtle but it is still there. To it's credit, the film gives truth, life, and magic to the characters. If you love Disney and you love Mary Poppins, this is a film for you.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Conjuring

Who doesn't love a good thrill and chill?! The Conjuring is a scary movie about a family that moves into a house and weird ghost things start to happen.....very original. The movie stars Vera Farmiga as Lorraine a powerful clairvoyant and her ghost hunter husband Ed played by Patrick Wilson. They meet Roger and Carolyn Perron, played by Ron Livingston and Lily Taylor. They have a very haunted house and ask Lorraine and Ed to come check it out.

This movie takes a little while to get going. It starts slowly and has a few jumping moments. It takes about 35 minutes before the movie really gets creepy. I thought the movie was about Ghosts but it turns out to be more of a spiritual battle. That brought a whole new level of scary to the movie. There are a few things I don't mess with and Spiritual battles is one of them. This movie stayed with me because I believe there are forces we don't understand, nor should we.

It's very difficult to do a review on a scary movie because I do not want to give anything away. Let me say that yes it is creepy but it takes WAY to long to get scary. Once the movie gets going, it keeps your attention well.   If you like scary movies, you will enjoy this film. It is like The Exorcist meets Insidious. Over all it was good, I won't buy it because it creeped  me out a little too much to have in the house. I give it a B

The Way Way Back

I have been waiting for The Way Way Back for about a month and a half. I found the trailer on Youtube and knew I would love this movie. I love when films are not afraid to touch on some raw and real emotions. I also really enjoy Sam Rockwell as an actor and was excited to see him in this drama yet comedic role.

Let's get into it. The Way Way Back is a film about a 14 year old boy named Duncan, played by Liam James. Duncan is spending the summer at a cottage belonging to his mother's boyfriend (Pam and Trent). Played by Toni Collette and Steve Carrell. Within the first two minutes of the movie you know that Trent is a giant D-bag to Duncan. For example Trent tells Duncan that on a scale of one to ten, Duncan is a 3. He's horrible to the poor kid. Duncan is already shy and slightly awkward.

The Cottage is on the ocean and all the locals are big drinkers and party animals. It's like spring break for grown ups. Duncan keeps avoiding family and even the cute Susanna next door, played by AnnaSophia Robb. One day, Duncan shows up at the local water park called The Water Wizz. There he meets Owen, played by the charming Sam Rockwell. Owen takes Duncan under his wing and get's him a job working at the water park. Owen becomes the only real friend that Duncan has. Duncan can be himself and have fun for the summer.

The movie is filled with tons of heart and real emotion. It dealt with everything from verbal abuse, to infidelity, to friendship, to first love, to growing up and growing down. Sam Rockwell is so raw and pure as Owen. You miss him when he is not on screen. He brings this fantastic humor and real heart. He helps people embrace who they are, flaws and all. He also has great comedic timing with Maya Rudolph who plays Catilin. They bounce off of each other so well but still have this emotional connection that is the real center of their relationship.

Toni Collette and Steve Carrell do a sensational job playing a couple in love but also a couple confused in what they want. Trent is this man who is so hurtful to Duncan but caring to Pam. He does not act like a parent, he acts like a cliche college party jock you want to punch in the face. Poor Pam doesn't know which day to turn. She wants to be a good mother but she is trying to play this perfect girlfriend. She also tries so hard to fit in with Trent's immature friends, it's almost sad to watch.

Over all it was a great movie that I really enjoyed watching. I laughed so hard I had tears coming down my face. Sam Rockwell stole the story for me, I missed him when he wasn't on screen. I wish the whole movie could have been about Own and the water park. Duncan was adorkable but still managed to pull off this torn teenager.

If you are looking for a good summer movie with tons of heart, this is it. It has a great message and a real story that everyone can relate to. GO SEE IT!! I loved it and I know I will buy it when it comes out.

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Host

I will admit, the only reason I read The Host is because Stephenie Meyer wrote the book. The book was a little slow getting started but I really enjoyed the characters. Most of the book has an internal struggle between Melanie and Wanderer. I didn't know how the book would transfer to film. I must say that I was very impressed. I think I might even have liked the movie more than the book!

The Host takes place in the not so distant future. An alien race comes to earth with the goal of taking over the bodies of the people and creating peace and order. A girl named Melanie is part of a small group of human runners trying to stay safe. Melanie is played by Saoirse Ronan and she does a great job playing a duel role. Melanie is running with her brother Jamie, played by Chandler Canterbury and her boyfriend Jared, played by Max Irons. One night Melanie is caught by a Seeker played by Diane Kruger. Melanie jumps out of a window instead of being taken. She survives and the aliens put Wanderer inside Melanie's body. Melanie is still fighting from within. The director did a great job of having Melanie's voice over be in a different accent than Wanderer's.

Melanie talks Wanderer into going into the desert to find Jamie and Jared. Melanie believes that they are hiding with her Uncle Jeb somewhere. Uncle Jeb, played by William Hurt finds Wanderer and decides to take her with him. Jared and Jamie are there and do not believe that Melanie is still alive. Then we meet my favorite character, the charming and lovely Ian, played by Jake Abel. Ian is conflicted because he hates the aliens but Wanda, as they start to call her, is not like the others. I should stop there because I could ruin the whole movie for you.

This movie has a little bit for everyone, it has action, science fiction, and romance. One thing I will warn  you is it is 2 hours and 5 minutes long. There is a small moment in the middle where the movie gets a little slow but give it a minute because it picks up again. The same thing happened in the book too.

Saoirse is fantastic as always, this girl is an amazing actress. She is able to play two people in one body and it makes total sense. She bring a purity and grace to Wanda and a ruthless never ending need to survive in Melanie. Max Irons does a smashing job of playing the sexy yet conflicted man. Most of the movie he is angry and confused about Wanda. Max does a great job of making you hate him one minute and then feel sympathy for him the next. William Hurt is the perfect Uncle Jeb, he brings this sense of compassion and open minded spirit to the group. He is willing to take a chance on Wanda and has faith that something good can come out of all the chaos. My favorite character is by far Ian and Jake Abel is fantastic. Ian is a character that learns to love a person by who they are and there actions. He is willing to keep an open mind and allows himself to feel for an alien that everyone else sees as a murderer. It also helps that Jake is very easy on the eyes. He is more than that, he is full of compassion, love, and pain. Jake is going to have an amazing career ahead of him.

Over all I loved this movie a bunch, I really want to see it again. I know it will for sure be apart of my vast DVD collection. If you feel like Science Fiction and a splash of romance, this is a great movie for you. Make sure you enjoy every minute of Ian on screen because he is MY FAVORITE!!

Over All B+

Saturday, March 23, 2013


What to do on a cold Saturday evening.....oh I know! Go see Admission with my best friend from high school! I wanted to see this movie and went into it with an open mind. To be totally honest, I had not heard much about it. I saw a few previews but I was very excited to see that it was produced by Focus Features. Focus is probably my favorite production company out there....they probably tie with Marvel Studios...anyways!

Admission is about a very uptight Princeton admission officer name Portia Nathan, played by Tina Fey. She has been living with her boyfriend Mark, played by Michael Sheen, for ten years. She enjoys finding the right kids for the school but she is tough as nails. She wants applicants that will go above and beyond and have a flawless past.

Portia goes on high school visits to many schools on the East Coast. A new school she has heard about is called Quest. The school is a mix between the commune in Easy Rider and the new age ideas of South Harman Institute of Technology in Accepted. They teach about third world water purification, gardening, and how to birth a cow. This charming yet unorthodox school is run by John Pressman, played by Paul Rudd. John is a world traveler that adopted his son, Nelson in Africa and is working with an adopted kid named Jeremiah to get into Princeton. I feel like that is all I can say about the movie without messing up some very big plot points for you. So there ya go!

The film was very charming and I would not say it is a comedy. The way I would describe it would be as a Dramedy....yes that is a real can Google it. There are so many very serious moments in this film with a splash of comedy tossed in. It was also advertised as a Romantic film and it really isn't. The focus is about Portia trying to rebuild herself. Taking a look at her life and finding what is really important to her.

Tina Fey is charming, as always. She is able to give a moment of truth and still have undertones of humor without ruining the deeper purpose behind a scene. Her comedy does not overshadow her dramatic acting. Paul Rudd is just so darn adorable! He still looks like the 22 year old from Clueless. This movie was such a great switch for him. So many of his recent movies have been over the top funny that he comes off as completely ridiculous. This movie shows that he really is a brilliant actor that can bring so much love and heart to the screen. He's the man you want to take home to your mother. When he wasn't on screen, I missed his character.

Admission also has an experienced cast of dramatic actors. We have Michael Sheen as Mark, not my favorite character but he played it beautifully. Lily Tomlin plays Portia's mother Susanne. She is raw and Bohemian. She brings this hippie free love that contrasts Portia's uptight personality. Susanne was a breath of fresh air during the stuffy drama moments.

Over all the movie was charming and teaches us that some things are worth fighting for. If you feel like you want to go see a movie with a lot of heart, love, and some comedy this is for you.

Over All B-

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Bourne Legacy

The Bourne Legacy also known as Proof that Jeremy Renner is a bad ass action star! I went into this film torn and conflicted. As you know, I think Jeremy Renner is a brilliant actor known for his dramatic skills. I went into this hoping that Jeremy would be able to hold an entire action movie on his own. All I can say is how dare I ever doubt him! The other reason I was torn is because I love Matt Damon. He did a brilliant job playing Jason Bourne and I was curious to see how this film would cover his story. I must say the writers did a great job creating a new story that is still in the Bourne Universe. Would treadstone and Blackbirer stop with just one man? Of course not! Aaron Cross is just another piece of that puzzle.

The film starts off where Jason Bourne left off. Jason is on the run and the government knows that the project has been compromised. We find out that Eric Byer, played by Edward Norton, is hired to purge the program. As he phrases it, "Burn the project to the ground." While all this is happening Aaron Cross,  played by Jeremy Renner, is on a exercise in the mountains. We find out that he is taking two pills to help enhance his abilities both mentally and psychically. Once Aaron reaches the base camp all Hell breaks loose and Byer is killing every participant in the program.

In the meantime we meet Dr. Marta Shearing, played by Rachel Weisz, who works with the program. She helps create the genetic alterations for the participants in the program. She is put in danger when he lab is attacked, again to purge the program. In a moment of desperation Aaron seeks out Marta and together they are running. There journey brings them to the other end of the world where they must work together.

The movie has some of the most intense action scenes I have seen in a while. Aaron is so quick and has no fear. He will hop on the back of a motorcycle and race across the busy streets while being shot at and doesn't miss a beat.

Jeremy does many of his own stunts and it is stunning to see him while climbing up the side of a building. He really dedicates himself to the character and the film. He also brings life to Aaron and shows how conflicted he is about the program. Rachel spends the first part of the movie screaming and not knowing what to do. Once she gets her act together she starts to help Aaron and show she is more than just a Brain. She becomes empowered and she gains courage from Aaron's faith in her. Then we have Edward Norton as the man in charge. He is worried because he knows that if the media finds out they have been genetically altering soldiers they will create trouble. Edward does a great job playing the man in charge and being very stern. We really don't get to know that back story of Byer or why he is the way he is.

Over all it was a great movie that ties in the other Bourne story. It was left wide open for another movie. I even heard a rumor that Matt Damon is considering being a part of the next film. Jeremy Renner and Matt Damon would be fantastic together on screen. I really hope they make another one because it was such a great film....another would be ok with me!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters

So to begin, I must say that I adore Jeremy Renner. He is a breathe of fresh air and pure raw talent.....he's also very easy on the eyes. I also have been waiting for this movie since the summer when it was suppose to be realised in the fall! I love stories with witches and magic and awesome weapons. So needless to say, I went in with high expectations. I must say that it was AMAZING!

The story starts with the traditional Hansel and Gretel get lost in the woods and stumble on a candy house and a witch. Together they stick the witch in an oven and kill her. So what happens after the story ends? Who do these children grow up to be? In this story they become Witch Hunters.

Part of the fun spin on the movie is the kick butt weapons they use. We are talking big guns and semi-automatic cross bows created to destroy witches of every type. Hansel enjoys a big gun and Gretel is an arrow girl both with a taste for witch blood.

They come to a small town where children have gone missing. They work together to try and deal with a scared town and renegade witches in the woods. Plus the story has some very painful attachments to Hansel and Gretel's past.

Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton are amazing together. They really do seem like brother and sister who count on one another. You believe that they love each other and they are all they have. Jeremy Renner plays the perfect big brother that will do whatever it takes to keep his sister safe. Gretel loves her brother but tries to be the voice of reason in every situation. Together they are a magnetic team that you want to see more of. They have this great on screen chemistry and playful banter of a brother and sister.

We also have the evil and at times beautiful witch Muriel played by Famke Janssen. She knows more about Hansel and Gretel than they know about themselves. She is also heartless and willing to do anything and hurt anyone she needs to to get her way. We also have the lovely and mysterious Mina played by Pihla Viitala. There is also the lazy, bigot Sheriff played by Peter Stormare and the witch hunter groupie named Ben, played by Thomas Mann.

Over all it is a great film that is sadly rated R. It is rated R because of the blood and guts that happen in the movie. There are also a bunch of hilarious F-Bombs dropped. It is a fantastic movie that I can not wait to see again! Jeremy Renner is THE MAN and I can not wait to see what else he comes out with.