Monday, October 22, 2012

2012: Week 42: Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas

Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi

Main Players: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Jim Sturgess, Jim Broadbent

General Gist: A story about how individual lives affect one another in the past, present and future.

Deb's Take:  
This movie was another one of those “thinker” type of movies.  There is a lot going on with so many characters and so many time lines, the movie can get confusing.  I was a little lost most of the time.  I felt like I needed to watch the movie a couple times in order to really figure out who was who and what was what.  The movie followed the lives of so many different people/past, present and future.  I tried to find the connection in each but know I missed some of it. 

The most amazing part of this movie was how many characters each actor played.  Tom Hanks played 7 different characters, Halle Berry did 6, and most of the others had 5-6 as well.  Not until the credits were running did I see who was who as some of them were so unrecognizable.  There definitely is outstanding acting.  I sort of felt like I was watching a play vs a movie because the actors “acted” so well.

The movie was a little to long and drawn out for me.  I found myself wondering if there was really a point, luckily, things did  have closure..which I like of course.  Wonderful acting, but a little too much bouncing back and forth for my taste. 

Deb's Rate: Matinee

Tiff's Take:
Yeah, this definitely was a thinker.  I too, like Deb, was confused for a lot of it.  I wasn't sure how it was all going to tie together.  I don't think it was until the last 20 minutes of the movie that I had a little ah ha moment.  But I'll be quite honest.  That ah ha moment wasn't a real clear one.  There's still a lot I missed. 

It sounds like I enjoyed the whole journey of it a little more than Deb. I liked the bouncing back and forth between stories and times.  And I liked how some of the stories were more serious then others.  The present day story was especially entertaining and gave a little comic relief. 

The acting was great but more importantly, the makeup was wonderful.  I imagine it was fun for the actors to play all those different parts and be a completely different person for each story.

And yes it was long but it didn't feel too long for me.  The only beef I have is, again, what's up with these bleak futures?   

Tiff's Rate: Friday Night 

Preview: A few more pre-screenings in the works.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

2012: Week 41: Looper


Genre: Action, Sci-Fi 

Main Players: Bruce Willis, Joseph Gorden-Levitt, Emily Blunt, Pierce Gagnon

General Gist: Futuristic movie about a hired assassin from the 2040's (called a Looper) who kills for the mob from the 2070's via time travel.  Things get complicated after he finds out he needs to kill his future self who doesn't want to be killed.  Confused yet??

Deb's Take: 
What an intriguing concept for a movie.  ( I am sure it’s been done before, and there is probably a book out there with this story too, but was new to me.) I am reading an awesome book series right now, “The Outlander” series by Diana Gabeldon.  The book is about time traveling (and a lot more!) and I am always fascinated with the concept.  Due to that fact, I was excited to see how they played out this movie with time travel.   Sometimes in movies time traveling gets too confusing certain scenes are “wrong” in that some little aspect is missed, making the time travel too questionable.  This movie seemed to avoid those two problems, generally speaking.  I enjoyed the way the plot played out.  I liked the chemistry of the characters, Bruce Willis and Joseph Gorden-Levitt seemed to have worked hard to become the same person, and Emily Blunt was likable and convincing.  I think I was most impressed with the son in this movie, played by Pierce Gagnon.  I tried to find his real age but only came up with 5-8.  He seemed on the younger side, yet I am always amazed at the talent of some children.  He also plays/played in a T.V. show and has been in a couple other movies, he was pretty darn good!  All in all the movie had good action, and the story line carried a cool “supernatural” air.   
We got to enjoy company again this week with my husband and my sister-in-law.  Movies just draw a family together!

Deb's Rate: Friday Night

Tiff's Take:    
So, trying to describe this movie does make it sound really confusing.  It really wasn't though.  There weren't a lot of hangups on the whole time travel concept.  It all made sense and seemed like it could really happen.  (But in only 60 years from now??  I'm not sure about that.)

Like Deb said, very interesting concept if not a little unnerving.  Why is it that movies (or books for that matter) portray the future as being so bleak?  Are we really that bad of a species?  I've been reading Lois Lowry's The Giver books so I have bleak future on my mind.

This really was a great sci-fi thriller if you're into that kind of thing.  It was a great concept, sort of intense and great acting by all.  Joseph Gorden-Levitt was fantastic and only annoyed me slightly by his Bruce Willis facial expressions.  One thing to keep in mind though was that it had a lot of blood and guts.  Be prepared and for the love of God don't take your kids to it.  (A facebook friend said they saw kids in the theater when they went.  Seriously people.) 

One thing I really liked about this movie was the unpredictability of it.  I wasn't sure how things were going to get resolved.  The storyline didn't fit this nice little mold.  I liked it.
Tiff's Rate: Friday Night 

Preview: We were thinking about seeing Argo but just got prescreening tickets for Cloud Atlas.  So I guess the free movie wins!

Bonus Review: The Odd Life of Timothy Green

The Odd Life of Timothy Green

Genre: Drama

Main Players: Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton, CJ Adams

General Gist: A young boy appears as an answer to a couple's prayer for a child.

Deb's Take: I actually went to this movie several months ago with my two oldest kids.  It was a pre-editing screening.  The whole experience was pretty cool for my kids.  My son was super excited that he was watching a movie that hadn’t even come out yet, and taking a survey at the end with our opinions made him feel special.

As far as the movie itself,  I felt like the previews really played it up and it was a little bit of a let down.    I was looking for something that would really touch my heart.  Don’t get me wrong, the movie is touching, just not deep in your soul touching.  I felt like all the characters had good chemistry.  There were some funny parts, but it was a little slow at times.  My kids both rated it highly in there surveys though, and I think it was a good family movie.  I think younger kids may get a little bored,  but  11 and up seemed to work.  I have to say from a mom’s perspective, it was a fun night with my kids, but the movie wasn’t what made it memorable.

Deb's Rate: Rent it

Monday, October 15, 2012

2012: Week 40: Taken 2

Taken 2

Genre: Action Drama

Main Players: Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen,  Maggie Grace

General Gist:  A retired CIA and his wife are taken hostage.  The group who holds him hostage is also the same family who kidnapped their daughter. The group is seeking revenge.

Deb's Take:
Well, this movie definitely makes the most sense if you have seen the first one.  I did, and thought the first one was decent, lots of action and adventure, and I loved the premise of how he figured out where is daughter was.  This one is pretty much the same movie, with a slightly different spin.  All in all the same concept, he has to figure out the details in order to get to the bottom of his ordeal.  I still liked all the small, intricate details of how, as CIA, he has tactics to figure out any mysteries of the kidnapping.  I don’t feel like the movie was real deep or meaningful, there was no hidden message, and the relationships were…basically action, violence, car chase and fighting.  Kind of typical of Liam’s roles recently it seems.

We had a larger crew with us this time, Mom, my 15 year old, and a good friend (soon to be neighbor to Tiff).  Thanks for the company guys! 

The actors did well, and it was a good action film, nothing real major or award winning.  Lots of violence for a 13 year old I think. 
Deb's Rate: Matinee
Tiff's Take:
As Deb said, it helped if you saw the first one and I would agree to an extent.  Yes, you sort of knew the premise behind what was going on but in the end it didn't matter a whole lot.  There was a lot of action and suspense and really not a whole lot of story.  Which I think is fine because I think that's what this kind of movie is all about.  That being said, it's not my favorite type of movie.  I enjoyed it alright but it didn't do a whole lot for me.  It was just sort of neutral.
I did enjoy the company though!  And I loved that the two flanking me on either side were jumping and visibly cringing the whole time.  It made me smile to be with such active movie watchers.     
Tiff's Rate: Matinee
Preview: Another trip in our future.  (And I'll tell you since we're posting this one so late, we did manage to get a movie in on our vacation.  I guess we're surrounded by people who love movies just as much as we do.)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

2012: Week 39: The Master

The Master

Genre: Drama

Main Players: Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams 

General Gist:   A troubled WWII veteran comes home from the war and gets caught up in a cult like group called The Cause. 

Tiff's Take: 
Wow.  Where do you even start with a movie like this one?  I hadn't really heard anything about this movie until about two weeks before it came out.  I heard it was going to be an award winner so I thought I better go see it.  Also, my cousin, who's in film school (and obviously much more knowledgeable and cultured in movies then this accountant) said that it was good but warned me that it was weird.  Weird movies don't scare me.  I like a good, solid, weird movie.  This one took weird to a whole other level.

So I'm a little torn with this one. 

The downside of this movie:
  • It was weird to the point of uncomfortable.  There were some uncomfortable scenes and Joaquin's character was just sort of creepy.  It made me feel a little yucky.
  • It was confusing.  You know when you're reading a poem and it doesn't make much sense and you have to dissect every word to find the meaning?  That's what this movie was like but I don't feel like I found the meaning in the end.
  • Any story about a cult/religious group/organization that is controlling in any way is unsettling to me.  It scares me and I don't like it.  Period.     
The upside of this movie:
  • What amazing acting!  Joaquin Phoenix was a completely different person in this movie.  I would be shocked if he isn't nominated for an Oscar.  And both Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams were fantastic.  Amy Adams definitely branched out with this role.
  • Even though I'm not the most creative or artistic person and tend to be more logical, I could still appreciate the artistry in this movie.  Whether I liked it or not.  I can't tell you specifically what it was that made it good but I can tell you that it was extremely well done.  In the opinion of the average layman of course.
So did I like it?  Well, I'm glad I saw it but I don't think I'd want to see it again.

Tiff's Rate: Rent It

Deb's Take:
 I stuggled with this review for many of the reason's Tiff mentioned above.  I am not a totally uncreative thinker, in fact, I have always been a little far fetched in my symbolic thinking, you'll notice I didn't say super intelligent or a master of symbolic thinking, only...far fetched.  So during half of this movie I sat and really tried to analyze the symbolism that obviously I felt must have been taking place, (as I was so totally lost I couldn't imagine any other reason for it).  By the second half of the movie I decided I was intellectually challenged and maybe the last scene of the movie would just sum everything up for me.  WELL...that was a big NO.  Instead, the first words out of my mouth when the movie was done were "I so didn't get all!".   Oh, I got the main concept, that was very apparent, but the storytelling was crazy weird.  SOO...all that being said I went to the following website for "The Master" and read the Synopsis (a very detailed account of the movie and it's scenes.)   AH HA!!  Light at the end of the tunnel. 

Here is the deal, I missed a couple things in the movie, a few points that I took at face value and after reading the synopsis realize the story makes a little (very little) more sense to me.   I feel the movie didn't do that wonderful of a job getting their point across in some of the scenes.  Like for instance...1.) he was dreaming when he was in the movie theatre?!?  REALLY?  so didn't get that!  2.) I know the whole teachings were suppose to do something for his insanity/drunkened/wierd self, but...what were they teaching?  read the synopsis and you will understand a little more. 3.) The support characters always just seemed so random...again, read the synopsis...that guy he beat up was the editor of the book?   Just a few of my "OHHH I get it" moments. It kind of felt like a movie that was a book and the director didn't have enough time for all the details so he just hoped everyone who went would have read the book to fill in the blanks.

I guess what I am saying is, I like a movie was deeper meaning, but I think this movie did a poor job at getting the point across.  Too many details were left out that made the movie seem chopping and disconnected (Disconnected in a movie is a killer for me).    Tiff did mention the acting was amazing. Amazingly weird...but I will give the movie that, these actors did weird very well.

Deb's Rate: Don't the synopsis, you'll get more out of it.

Preview: Not sure what's in store this week but our mom's in town so we'll have company!