Tuesday, March 25, 2014

2014: Week 12: Divergent


Genre: Action, Adventure

Main Players: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ashley Judd, Miles Teller, Zoe Kravitz, Ansel Elgort

General Gist: A futuristic Chicago is divided up into five factions.  Every 16 year old has to decide what faction they belong in.  One girl realizes she doesn't fit into just one faction and has to figure out what that means.

Tiff's Take:
Such a highly anticipated movie!  I love these kinds.  Reading all three books in the series within about 9 days helps a little with the anticipation.  I felt a little bit like a teenage girl waiting for this one.

Let's start out with, of course the book is better.  That's a given like 99.9% of the time.  But obviously some do it better than others.  This one was on the better side of it.  It wasn't perfect but it was good.  The main reason I thought it was so good was the casting.  Maybe not everyone physically looked exactly how I envisioned the characters in my head but they all played the part so well.  It seemed like the actors really got the characters.  Shailene Woodley and Theo James played the parts of Tris and Four fantastically.  I was worried that Shailene wouldn't seem weak enough to play Tris but she really nailed it.  And Theo James. *swoon*  I felt like there was a lot of hype from the teenage girls about him.  Boy am I on that bandwagon.  Not only is he easy to look at but he really took on the Four persona.      

Was it perfect?  No.  Did it leave you a little disappointed after reading the book?  What movie doesn't.  Am I still thinking about it?  Yes.  Do I want to see it a second time?  Is it wrong if I say I do?  I think not.

Tiff's Rate: Friday Night

Deb's Take:
I didn't read all three books in the series like my dear sister (I did read the first one in a day or two though).  How can you not look forward to a movie that was a book?   It's all about bringing the characters to life.  Movies like this are about the anticipation, the energy in the theatre as everyone waits to SEE what they have only imagined.  The whole experience is just fun.

I will agree with Tiff, the book is always better.  A book allows you to see in the brain of the characters, allows you to know their thoughts,  not really possible in a movie.  So..yes the book was much, much MUCH better.  So, let's take the book out of it.  The movie was good.  I believe the casting of Tris and Four were good.  I didn't like Eric and Christina so well..Peter was right on.  I think where the movie was lacking was the whole romance between Four and Tris.  I just didn't get that "first love" passion.  They had good chemistry, but the movie didn't play on that.  I also was unimpressed with the relationship between Tris and her parents.  I felt it was to surface.   I guess when I think about it, none of the relationships were very impressive, and unfortunately that's what makes a good movie for me. 

I'm a little less forgiving with this one.  I think it could have been better, I think the directors got a little lazy and let the book do the talking.  Can't wait to read the next two books though!

Deb's Rate: Matinee

Preview:  One of us is traveling this week so we might have to go to different movies.  
(or maybe two sisters will become one sister and a brother for a twist.)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

2014: Week 11: 12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave

Genre: Drama, Biography

Main Players: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong'o, Brat Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch

General Gist: Set in pre-civil war America, a free black man is tricked into traveling south into DC and then abducted and sold as a slave.  Based on a true story. 

Tiff's Take:
This was a slow week for movies so we decided to see this one since we didn't get to see it last year.  And I always like to see Oscar ones I missed.

Let me say, this was so well acted and done.  I can definitely see why it won Oscars.  However, that being said, it was so difficult to watch.  How can people continue to move forward when their situation is so bad?  It's really hard seeing people literally and figuratively beaten down over and over.    Obviously not a high point in our country's history.  But this man's story is horrific and amazing all at the same time.  And Lupita Nyong'o who played Patsey definitely earned her Oscar.

If you haven't seen this yet it is definitely worth seeing but it's not an easy one to sit through.  It won't be one that you can watch over and over.  One time is enough for me.

Tiff's Rate: Opening Night

Deb's Take:
If you want a movie that will evoke emotions from deep in the pit of your stomach this is the one to see.  Like Tiff said, its horrific and amazing. Worth every award it received.  I can't even imagine living through what these people endured.  There is something to be said for the ability for a human being to carry on. 

This movie was best because I didn't know many of the actors.  I like when movies don't pull in the known people, a sense of authenticity is created when the actors seem more like people than stars.  Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong'o were beyond amazing.  I think if I had to live those parts, in any way, shape or form, I would vomit daily.  That's what this movie made me feel like, it was so sickening to see what these people had to endure I wanted to throw up. Piggybacking on my "history lesson" post of The Monuments Men, I will say this kind of history lesson hurts the heart. 

This movie was all emotion, intensity and passion.  The movie will break your soul, cause you to question humankind and possibly fill you with hatred... but it will also make you passionate about life, hunger for compassion and burst with love.  Now that folks, is a good movie!

Deb's Rate: Opening Night

Preview: Divergent of course.   

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

2014: Bonus: Mr. Peabody & Sherman

Mr. Peabody & Sherman

Genre: Animation

Main Players: Voices of Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Ariel Winter

General Gist: Time travel at it's best with an genius dog and his adopted human son.

Tiff's Take:
I really didn't know much going into this movie.  I knew my son (9) wanted to see it but that's it.  Actually the one or two previews I saw didn't make it seem very interesting.  I wasn't expecting to like it all that much.  I was pleasantly surprised.

It's basically about this genius dog who has accomplished all this great stuff in life then decides to adopt a human son.  He takes that son on time traveling journeys to teach him about history.  Let me tell you, this movie was right up my son's alley.  It was perfect for him.  And it was really interesting for adults too.  It didn't have a lot of action and it didn't have a lot of kids humor but it really worked. At least for me and my son.

To give you another perspective...my daughter (almost 6) did seem to enjoy it but I think I've mentioned before that she enjoys the process of going to movies more than anything.  Afterwards she said it was a little boring but good.  She doesn't want to hurt anyone's feelings after all.  So I can definitely see how this movie wouldn't be a great fit for all kids especially younger ones.  But for me and my boy it was a hit.

Tiff's Rate: Friday Night

Preview: 12 Years a Slave review up next.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

2014: Week 10: The Monuments Men

The Monuments Men

Genre: Drama, Biography

Main Players: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, John Goodman, Bill Murray, Jean Dujardin, Hugh Bonneville, Bob Balaban

General Gist: A group of unlikely men seek out stolen art during WWII in hopes of saving what the Nazi's are trying to destroy.  Based on a true story.

Tiff's Take:
There's nothing better than a good George Clooney/Matt Damon movie.  They have such great chemistry together.  Paired with a good movie and they are fantastic.  I was hoping that this would be one of those movies but I was slightly disappointed.

All the actors did well and George and Matt were their normal wonderful selves but the movie itself was a little slow.  I'm not sure if it was the screenplay or what but it didn't feel like it had much direction.  It was also missing some pizazz or emotion or something.  Things happened too matter of factly that you almost didn't care if something happened to one of the characters.  And it was sort of easy to forget that they were plopped down in the middle of a war.  There wasn't a sense of urgency or level of intensity.

Aside from that though, it was really interesting.  (Slow and interesting at the same time?  A little bit of an oxymoron.)  The idea of what these men were trying to do was really fascinating.  This is something you don't often hear about when you learn about WWII.  For that, I enjoyed it.  But if it wasn't such an interesting topic with phenomenal actors then I don't think this movie would have really gone anywhere at all.

Tiff's Rate: Matinee

Deb's Take:
I disliked history growing up.  I didn't like my history classes, I was often bored with the facts and because of that I know very little about history, (to a fault).  In the last few years I have grown to love history because I began studying it in a more interesting way.  I like the stories behind the history.  The meat and potatoes.  My husband says I had the wrong teachers.  I think so.  Now, I know this movie is hyped up on Hollywood, but what I liked about it was that it taught me some history I didn't know.  The story was so fascinating to me.  World War II and the doings of Hitler are so intriguing.  SAD..but intriguing. 

I agree with Tiff that this movie wasn't so much about he actors.  They all did good, and I know the group of them was more of some of the "top" players, but really, the story had me engrossed more than the actors.  They did a good job, but I wouldn't say they were what made the movie, the story itself made the movie.  The movie would have been good to me no matter who played the parts.  I wasn't as underwhelmed as Tiff in this one, I don't remember feeling like the movie was slow, but I agree there wasn't much emotion or intensity.  I don't know how close to the real story this movie came, but I enjoyed learning something I didn't know before.  Although this wasn't a huge winner for me, I can't say it was a loser.

Deb's Rate: Matinee

Preview: We finally got to see 12 Years a Slave and a bonus movie with the kids.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Divergent Giveaway Winner

Thanks for everyone who entered our giveaway.  I know I have been getting little sleep since I started reading the books.  I hope the movie is just as good.  

The winner of our giveaway is...


We'll be in contact with you and thanks for playing along!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Divergent Giveaway

In honor of the (older) sister's birthday today (Happy Birthday Deb!) and because you guys were kind enough to give us 100 likes on Facebook (it's the small things that make us happy), we want to do a little giveaway.  

We here love movies and books so we love doing giveaways that involve them both.  I'm getting ready to start reading Divergent.  I saw the preview for the movie and it seemed like it would be an interesting book.  I thought I would try to read it before the movie comes out which is March 21st.  And I thought it would be a perfect book to giveaway!  Let's throw in a Fandango gift card too!  That way you can go see the movie after you read the book.

Here's the trailer.  

Looks pretty good huh?

To enter the giveaway all you have to do is comment on this post.  That's it.  We like hearing what you have to say.  And it's sort of nice to know that people are actually reading are blog. :)  (There is someone out there reading this right?)

So, comment on this post about anything (just say hi if you want) and you could win a copy of the book Divergent and a $15 gift card to Fandango.  Make sure you leave your name or email so we can get a hold of you if you win. 

If you're having trouble commenting on this post just let us know on our Facebook page and we'll make sure you get entered!

We'll announce the winner this weekend before our next review.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

2014: Week 9: That Awkward Moment

That Awkward Moment

Genre:  Romantic Comedy

Main Players: Zac Efron, Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Imogen Poots, Mackenzie Davis

General Gist: Three best friends and their dilemmas with relationships.

Deb's Take:
I needed this movie this week.  I needed to laugh and pretty much sink into a chicky flicky kind of mode.  The thing about this movie is that is wasn't necessarily a chick flick, it was about three college guy friends.  There is very little that is chick flicky about three guys.  However, this movie was about relationships, and love, and sex, and friendship and MY perfect combination of romance, comedy and seriousness.  Now by no means is this movie an Oscar type of show.  There is no deeper meaning, no hidden messages, just flat out relationship craziness.  In all actuality it's the "fairytale" portrayal that I liked.  Chase the girl, lose the girl, get the girl (although not completely).  The better part though is it cracked me up.  There was a scene that made me laugh so hard I almost peed my pants. It was crude, but I guess my humor runs a little on the dirty side at times.  I will never think of the word "cocktail" in quite the same way.

Now about the actors,  yes I am 42 but I still think Zac Efron is nice to look at.  Also, the chemistry between the three guy actors was so natural.  Not sure if they are really friends but they seemed pretty believable to me.  I also liked the chemistry between the couples.  I liked how the dynamics between each couple was different and  all seemed like plausible situations.  Another sort of hokey likeness in the movie were the cliches and puns.  I am a sucker for one liners be it serious or funny. 

If you happen to see this movie stay for the outtakes.  They are funnier than some of the scenes.  Oh, and another thing...not one naked woman, but a couple naked men..see, chick flick!  I say take a friend (like your sister) and enjoy some girl time, and really, I think a guy might enjoy some of the funny men situations, if for no other reason than the fact that they could probably relate to every situation.

Deb's Rate: Friday Night

Tiff's Take:
Another love story (sort of) for the third week in a row.  This one was more from the male perspective though.  Meaning a lot about sex and a lot of swearing and definitely funnier than the other two.  Seeing relationships from the male perspective can be refreshing.  And this was.  But.

There were a lot of one liners, which were funny, but it didn't seem like there were any real conversations.  It was a little too much for me.  I liked the chemistry between the couples but they didn't ever really talk to each other.  I don't know.  I just didn't get into the rhythm of the movie.

But as Deb said, there was one scene that was so funny we both were practically crying.  We sisters definitely like a good laugh.  That right there is enough to go to the movie.  But overall, for me, it was just okay.

Tiff's Rate: Matinee

Preview:  We'll be celebrating the older sister's birthday this week with a movie!