Thursday, January 30, 2014

2014: Week 5: August: Osage County

August: Osage County

Genre: Drama

Main Players: Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor, Dermot Mulroney, Abigail Breslin, Juliette Lewis, Julianne Nicholson, Benedict Cumberbatch (Basically a lot of well known actors and a few others thrown in.)

General Gist: A slightly estranged and dysfunctional family comes together after a crisis.   

Deb's Take:  
I am a relationship junkie.  I people watch, get encapsulated by interactions and connections and get sucked into movies that dive into relationships.  This movie was that kind of movie.  To say this family was dysfunctional is an understatement.  With an alcoholic father, a drug addicted mother and a past of craziness how could they not be?  I will say though,this movie will not be a movie for everyone.  When I really think about, this movie didn't really have a point.  The message I got from it was, you live life, you fall into your place in life,you try to change it, and eventually you come home and see nothing has changed at all.  Sort of depressing.  Here was the kicker for me though...I love watching good actors put on good performances and become real people.  So, I got sucked in big time.  I felt like I was a fly on the wall in a home of discourse and disarray. I was able to just sit back and analyze and ponder and watch.  Therefore, I loved it!

Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts outdid themselves in this over the top melodramatic movie.  Really, there wasn't one actor that didn't impress me.  The characters had to work to match each other in this one, and they all did quite well. I love when laughing can happen in the mist of chaos.  Pretty much every soap opera moment you can think of death, divorce, stealing, incest, mystery...everything in one 2 hour package.  Again, that doesn't mean there really was a point to the movie.  Sure, I found some good life lessons thrown in, but really I felt like the movie was just a snapshot of a family and their coping, or lack of, mechanisms.  I am sure the original screen play was written with deeper meanings and intents, there were plenty, but all in all the movie was just one big mash up of dysfunctional relationships.  I really did enjoy it...I have a feeling that I may be one of the few...

Deb's Rate: Friday Night

Tiff's Take:
Ugh.  I had practically my whole review typed out earlier today.  I came back tonight to finish it up and there was only one sentence down.  "This movie was intense."  Apparently two people can't update a post at the same time.  One person will end up with nothing.  That person was me.  I'm not sure I have it in me to do it all again.  However, my "This movie was intense" does wrap it up nicely.

To save myself the pain of rehashing what I already wrote, I'm going to defer to Deb's review for the details.  There was a lot of crazy, dysfunction going on in this movie.  With Deb loving the relationship aspect, it was just too much for me.  Everyone was mean (mostly) and hopeless.  There was nothing happy about this movie.  And forget about closure in any way.  This movie did not leave you feeling good about any part of any character.

However, it wasn't a complete loss.  The acting was superb which was to be expected and the movie itself was really well done.  So, I can see why there are Oscar nominations for this one.  But, even though I usually like movies that are a little off the beaten path, this one was just more than I could handle.  

Tiff's Rate: Friday Night for the acting, Rent It for entertainment purposes so I go with Matinee overall.

Preview: Not sure what we'll see next week.  Any ideas?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Give Away Winner

Congrats to Amy Sacry on winning the book and snack giveaway!    We will get that out in the mail soon. Another book to add to your growing collection!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

2014 January Giveaway

We have been having so much fun getting back into the swing of movies that we wanted to share our joy with a giveaway. So, since we absolutely love books that become movies we are giving away a copy of "Labor Day" by Joyce Maynard along with a plethora of movie snacks. Popcorn, candy, snack mix, pretzels,...just a big old basket of fun! You can enjoy reading the book before you see the movie, which comes out Jan. 31 OR you can just read the book and enjoy your snacks. We will make it super easy to enter. Just leave a comment either here on the blog or on our Facebook page with at title of your favorite book and your all time favorite snack. We will pick a winner on Tuesday evening. Good Luck.

Friday, January 24, 2014

2014: Week 4: Labor Day

Labor Day

Genre: Drama

Main Players: Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Gattlin Griffith

General Gist:  A fugitive takes up residence in the home of a mother, who is fighting with depression and her 13 year old son.  

Deb's Take:  
Another pre-screening!!  I do love free movies.  We also had company this week.  Glad Shelley and Lavon could be at this one with us.   Another cool thing, since this movie was based on a book, and the author was actually present during the movie, we got a free book.  Reading and movies..two of life's simple pleasures.

So.. the movie.  I like Kate Winslet.  She is such a great actress, and in this movie, she continued to be good old Kate.  I was more impressed with Gattlin Griffith.  He did a really good job.  Kid actors amaze me sometimes.  That being said, the movie was lacking.  I like to read books and then go to movies because the movie is able to capture a "real" person, and the book fills in all the empty spots.   The bad part about going to a movie without reading the book first...all the empty spots remain empty.  Now, a really good movie won't leave you feeling empty even if a book is involved.  This one just didn't do the trick.  I felt like the development of the relationship was non existent.  I didn't buy the whole 5 day love affair..yet a good movie can sell it.  There was no real build up to the climax of the movie, and the climax was sort of blah....Since I got a free copy of the book I might as well give it a read and see if maybe some of the empty spots will be filled in, as well as determining if the love affair was more believable.  As far as the movie standing alone, well, curl up on the couch and maybe fill a boring Friday night with a glass of wine and this movie.

Deb's Rate: Rent It

Tiff's Take:
Yes!  Movies and books.  Two of my favorite things.  This was a nice little surprise.  But reading a book after seeing a movie is not necessarily ideal.  So, not sure I'll actually make it around to reading this book but if I'm in a book drought I just might.   

I guess I'm a little more forgiving then Deb on this one.  You could definitely tell there was more to the story then what the movie showed.  The weekend love affair was a little stretch for me too.  But I thought it was an interesting story.  Even if you had to read into it a little.  I liked how it was from the perspective of the son too.  It gave a little different twist on things.  But yes, I wanted to know more about what Kate's character was thinking in trusting a stranger so quickly (and a fugitive at that) and what inner struggles the son was having throughout.  Okay. so maybe I will read the book.

The acting was great though.  I'm a huge fan of Kate Winslet since back in my Titanic obsession days.  Gattlin Griffith was fantastic as well.  Josh Brolin was good but the verdicts still out whether I'm a huge fan of his.  In short, great acting but the book to screen adaptation could have been more insightful.  

Tiff's Rate: Matinee

Preview:  With all the pre-screenings we aren't even sure what's really playing!

Friday, January 17, 2014

2014: Week 3: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Genre: Action, Drama

Main Players: Chris Pine, Keira Knightley, Kevin Costner, Kenneth Branagh,

General Gist:  A young Marine is recruited to become a covert CIA analyst and uncovers a Russian plot to crash the U.S. economy.

Deb's Take:  
First off  WOW!  What a great movie to see in the IMAX.  I don't usually care if I see a movie in the IMAX theatre or not, but this is a great one to spend the extra couple bucks if you like a good thrill ride. 

I will start by saying that movies that address the stock market, economy, international conspiracy, ect, always sort of make me feel ignorant.  I am trying to do better at understanding worldly economics, how the stock market works and how the government comes into play.  I am getting smarter, but still have a long way to go.  This movie was all about terrorists, economy and the stock market.  I think I actually had all the logistics figured out in this one. (Go Deb!)  Because of my understanding the movie was much more enjoyable. It wasn't rocket science, but I'm still happy.

Ok, as far as the movie itself.  I had forgotten how much I like Kevin Costner.  He is such a cool actor.  I like his calm, cool, collected nature that so many of his characters portray.  He sort of seems that way in real life too.  He did an excellent job in this movie, and, as usual, he was his calm, cool self.  Chris Pine is an actor I often forget about until I stumble across one of his movies.  He has the young boy charm, but the movie lover's face. What I liked most about his work in this movie, was the ability to capture the emotions of his character. He had some really badass chase scenes and stunts.  He did such a great job.  Kenneth Branagh plays an amazing bad guy.  I would turn and run if I ever crossed his path in real life. 

The story line was engaging and the action was non stop.  There wasn't a point in this movie that I wasn't totally sucked in.  A great date night movie!  Thanks Leslie and Brian for joining us on this one!!

Deb's Rate: Opening Night

Tiff's Take:
I'll admit that action movies aren't my all time favorite types of movies but I always enjoy them.  I really enjoyed this one.  As Deb said, it was fantastic in IMAX.  Definitely worth the extra cost to see it that way.

This was fast paced and kept you tensed up throughout the whole thing.  That's a sure sign of a good action movie.  What I liked about this one was that it didn't spend a lot of time setting things up.  It got right to the point and just started right in.  It wasn't unnecessarily lengthy.  Another thing I liked about it was the fact that it wasn't super confusing.  I knew who was bad, who was good, what the problem was and how they were going to fix it.  I often enjoy these movies but I usually leave them not really sure what happened.  So, good writing I guess.

I had no idea until after the fact that Jack Ryan is a character in other movies/books.  So can't really compare how Chris Pine was versus Alec Baldwin or Harrison Ford or whoever else played Jack Ryan but I'll say he did pretty darn good in my opinion.  They all did.  I literally loved everyone in their roles.  Well done!  

Tiff's Rate: Definitely a strong Friday Night.

Preview: Looks like another pre-screening for us.  "Labor Day" with Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin coming next week.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

2014: Bonus: The Nut Job

The Nut Job

Genre: Animation, Comedy

Main Players: Voices of : Brendan Fraser, Katherine Heigl, Liam Neeson, Will Arnett

General Gist:  A group of squirrels venture to the city in an attempt to save their park animal friends' community from starving over the lack of nuts saved for the winter.

Tiff's Take:
My kids were excited to see this movie and we decided to make a family event out of it which is always fun.  I usually don't mind going to kids movie.  I tend to enjoy them for the most part as much as the kids.  This one, however, was not one of those movies.

I'll start by saying, we just got a new kitten and it's a little like having a new baby.  We haven't been getting real good sleep lately so I was, well, a little sleepy.  A kids movie should wake you up and keep your attention, right?  Folks, I seriously couldn't keep my eyes open during this movie.  I thought about blaming it on the kitten but I think this one was just that boring.  The characters weren't real dynamic, the story line was weak and it just wasn't that funny.  Kids movies are suppose to be funny.  What gives?  You would think with the actors involved in this that it would be better but it just wasn't.  As an adult I definitely would not recommend this one.

My kids on the other hand said they liked it.  But I think if they get popcorn and treats they'll like anything.

Tiff's Rate: Rent It - Only for the kids' sake.

Deb's Take:  
I was excited to get pre-screening tickets to this movie because it was at a new theatre that hadn't done screenings before.  I was also excited because for kids movies they usually give 4 passes, allowing more of my family members to attend.  This time I took my son and one of his friends as well as meeting up with Tiff's family.

I usually am a fan of kid's movies.  I like how the writer's often throw in humor for the adults.  The kids get hung up on the natural laughs, (burps, farts, falls) while the parents get some of the more adult aimed jokes.  This movie was so unimpressive.  For the amount of children in the theatre, I would expect tons of laughs, giggles and excited voices.  I think I only remember two moments of laughs, from anyone.  The movie was boring.  The story line was ok, but there was a sub story line that was unnecessary.  (my son even said he thought it was a weird sub story).  There was very little humor, the story lines were weak, it was slow and boring, and  I actually was having a hard time staying awake.  From a kid's perspective, my 13 year old and his friend said it was ok, but they really just liked that fact that they got to go to a movie.  This was one movie I could have lived without seeing.

Deb's Rate: Don't bother

Preview:  Another Pre-Screening!!  Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Friday, January 10, 2014

2014: Week 2: Her


Genre: Drama, Comedy, Romance

Main Players: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, voice of Scarlett Johansson

General Gist:  A man develops a relationship with his personal operating system.  No seriously.  That's really what it's about.

Deb's Take:
I walked out of this movie quite torn.  I am a sucker for romance and drama, but this movie pushed the whole idea to the limit.  The movie was just bizarre.  I have two thoughts that keep running through my mind.  Either the movie was suppose to enlighten us about the overtaking of media and computers and how we are loosing connection with reality.  Or, we are to be enlightened by the ability for emotions to take on any shape or form and that underneath it all, we just want to feel loved.  I suppose maybe it wasn't either of those, but that's what I took from it.

Joaquin Phoenix plays some pretty quirky characters, and this movie was no exception.  He is always right on the edge of crazy to me, and he did it again.  He was wonderful in this movie, don't get me wrong, but wonderful and crazy fell pretty close together in this one.  Amy Adams had a minor role, but did it well.  Scarlett Johansson was just the voice of the computer, I guess I didn't really feel a connection with her because she wasn't "materialized".  Another hmmm moment.

Although I think this movie taught some good lessons, and will make you think twice about life, love and relationships, I guess I'm a sucker for the old fashioned romance.

Deb's Rate:  Rent It.
Tiff's Take:
I felt like I entered bizarro world the minute I sat down for this movie.  We saw this at the Alamo Draft House downtown and for their previews they had these weird retro clips about computers but with a sexual twist.  I'm sure it was just because of what the movie itself was about but it made me feel strange.  And the movie hadn't even started.

I knew this wouldn't be just a normal love story with Joaquin Phoenix as the main guy.  It wasn't.  It was set in what appeared to be a futuristic LA maybe?  But not so futuristic that it didn't seem realistic.  But, apparently in the future everyone will be awkward.  Almost like awkward is the new black.  Everyone was awkward and it was perfectly normal.  Is that really what we're destined to become?!

So in a nutshell, Joaquin's character is trying to get over a bad marriage and falls in love with, for all intents and purposes, a computer.  They go on dates and have sex and all the normal stuff a couple does except one half of the relationship doesn't actually have a body.  I will say though, after you get over the crazy (or maybe not so crazy) concept, it really felt like they just had a long distance relationship where they never got to see each other.  If you thought of it that way it was sort of a sweet story.  Unlike Deb, Scarlett Johansson as the voice of the computer, made me connect with the whole idea a little better.

But the bland colors, unfashionable hair and wool slacks that sat way too high on their waists reminded you that this is not a conventional story and maybe too far out there.          

Tiff's Rate: Matinee.  Can't get over the odd feeling it leaves you with to give it a higher rating.

Preview:  Taking one for the kids..."The Nut Job"

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2014: Week 1: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure

Main Players: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly

General Gist: The second in the trilogy. A Hobbit and a gang of dwarfs continue their journey to reclaim their home from a Dragon.

Deb's Take:
I looked back at my review for the first Hobbit movie (week 50 in 2012.)  After reading my review I'm thinking two things, 1.) Wow, I can tell I had been doing reviews for a while because I am extremely out of practice for writing like that! 2.) I think I must have liked the first one better.

As I've said many times before, this movie genre is not my favorite.  After seeing the first one though I felt like I need to finish the whole trilogy or it's a job left undone.  This movie was good.  My husband and son both thought it was much better than the first.  I think it was comparable.  This movie had a lot more adventure and action then the first one.  The characters took on more personality and life.  I found some of the characters more endearing and there was a little romance for my soulful side.  I feel like this one fell more into the "Hollywood" category as it worked to capture the audience with bling and fire.  The actors did wonderful, and I feel everyone fits their parts perfectly.  Again, I am just not so much a fan of these movies so I'm a little biased in my lack of enthusiasm. Like I said the first time, if you are a Hobbit fan you will probably love it!

Deb's Rate: Its a renter for me, but if you are a fan Friday Night.

Tiff's Take:
I read my review for the last Hobbit as well and I have to say that I feel pretty much the same about this one.  I didn't have a huge desire to see this movie but I didn't not want to see it either.  I've seen all the other movies so it seems like I need to keep going.  For being so unenthusiastic about going, I was pleasantly surprised.  As always with these movies.

I really did enjoy this once I started watching it.  It kept me engaged and didn't feel super long even though it sort of was.  The only bad thing is I felt totally confused about what was going on.  Apparently I remember even less then last time.  But even in my state of ignorance I didn't feel like it was a waste of my time.  Also, it was a major bonus seeing Orlando Bloom.  It's been awhile!  Oh, and another bonus.  It's super fun saying the word Smaug.  

Tiff's Rate:  Matinee for me.

Preview: Week 2: "Her"

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Holiday Season Movies: A Quick Summary

We're back!

We took a little break in 2013, but we decided we really missed our weekly movies. We didn't like being out of the loop.  Mostly, we missed the time we spent together going to the movies. So here we are.

Before our first official review for 2014, we thought we'd give you a little breakdown of the movies we saw over the holidays.  There were some good ones in there we think are worth mentioning.  Five movies in less than a month. Guess we are coming back with a bang!

Deb:  This movie was the best Princess Disney movie I have seen in a very long time.  The music was superb, the concept was different and it was about sisters!! I would give this one an Opening Day review.  You and your kids will love it.

Tiff:  I really liked this movie too but the beginning story line was a little rushed and weak.  From an adult standpoint.  My kids however, loved it.  I liked the idea that true love wasn't just a romantic concept.   I give this one a Friday Night rating.

Saving Mr. Banks:
Deb: So different than what I thought it was going to be. I love a true story.  This one made me want to go out and buy the Mary Poppins Series.  Great acting.  (not necessarily a kid movie, they would probably get bored.) Friday Night at its best.

Tiff:  This was definitely a deeper movie than what you think you're getting into.  Very well done and acted.  Agree with Deb, not a good kids movie.  Definitely worth a Friday Night.

The Wolf of Wall Street:
Deb: WOW, WOW and WOW.  Pushing movies to their limit in more ways than one.  I did really love it! Great Acting, Crazy out of control story.  (Lots of nudity, sex and drugs so be aware).  Friday Night Rating from me.

Tiff:  This movie was dirty and wrong but so very good.  Lots of sex, lots of drugs and more than a  little uncomfortableness.  Make sure you go with an appropriate companion.  Leo was really great in this.  I give this an Opening Night.  

American Hustle:
Deb:  Think 70's at its height.  Great job with setting the stage, costumes and personalities.  The movie did get a little long for me, the story was lengthy but I never guessed how it would end.  Matinee

Tiff:  Didn't get to see this one.  Maybe I can check it out on Netflix someday.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty:
Deb:  This one was Quirky at best.  I have a hard time with movies that push the limit on reality.  This one did, but the relationship was endearing and the message was positive.  Great Rental     

Tiff:  Didn't get to see this one either.  Wasn't super interested.  I guess I'm fine with missing this one.

What movies did you see over the holiday that you think are worth mentioning?