Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Quickie Movie Reviews

Wingnut and I have a favorite movie theater near Salt Lake City.  It's our favorite because it serves salty, sweet, kettle corn.   Whenever a craving for kettle corn hits we scour IMDB for a movie we just might find tolerable enough to splurge.  We've seen several movies over the last several months, and seeing as I haven't taken the time to review each one individually, I thought I'd write several quick reviews in one post.

Dracula Untold--
Driven by noble ideals, Vlad Tepe chooses to take on evil in this somewhat fresh retelling of the Dracula story.  Cinematically beautiful, with an intriguing story line, it is not the best retelling made, but it was an at least enjoyable kettle corn worthy flick.  Extensive violence and gore, and flashes of more adult thematic elements, I'd definitely recommend this one for adults only. Catholic News Service movie rating: AIII, adults only

John Wick--
Keanu Reeves is in his element in this shoot-em-up revenge film.  In other words, he doesn't have many lines and his character is on the sociopathic side with only one dimension.  This was one I saw only for the kettle corn.  Pervasive gore, violence, adult themes and language make this an adults only movie. Catholic News Service rating: O for morally offensive (oops!  I just saw that rating. Normally I stay away from O movies!)

Wingnut and I were really excited to see this film.  We ended up seeing it in a theater that did not offer kettle corn.  While not the Nolan's best film, I really, really, loved it.  Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway were superb.  The story was a bit plodding at times, but the cinematography was absolutely amazing.  Wingnut was not a fan.  He has some serious philosophical problems with the film and the film makers.  He's explained it to me, and I kind of get it, but if I don't think too much about the incongruence, I'm not nearly as bothered as he is.  I really thought it was a beautifully done film, artistically.  If not for a few uses of foul language, I'd allow my 12 and 15 year olds to see it.  Catholic News Service rating: AIII, adults only

I saw this one with my daughters.  Wingnut is not a Hunger Games fan at all.  Of the three movies released so far, this was my favorite.  Jennifer Lawrence really makes this series special.  This film is not nearly as action packed as the previous two, but the film makers did a wonderful job in setting up the conclusion of the series with this installment. Is Katniss merely a symbol or pawn being manipulated by the rebellion or will she become the true heroine in the end?  Julianne Moore, as President Coin, made a fine contrast to the terrifyingly, sinister President Snow, played so wonderfully by Donald Sutherland.  My girls sang the hauntingly creepy "Hanging Tree" song for days after seeing the movie. We are really excited to see the final film next November.  Mild language, and a touch of violence made this movie a no-go for our 12 year old, but our other older kiddos did see and enjoy this pic. Catholic News Service rating: AII, adults and adolescents

Penguins of Madagascar--
I was a big fan of the TV series and so we were really looking forward to seeing the Penguins on the big screen.  This was indeed a fun family flick, made all the more fun because of the kettle corn ;) I only wish King Julian and Mort were more included in the fun.  I love, love, loved John Malkovich as Dave, the Octopus, the nemesis of the film.  It was a very cute and mostly family friendly movie, with a touch of potty humor. We took our whole family. Catholic News Service rating: AI, general patronage

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies--
Skip this one.  I hated it.  Of the three Hobbit films, this was the worst and most boring.  I am a huge Tolkein fan, and for the most part I was willing to overlook the inconstancies with the books, as Peter Jackson had done such a wonderful job keeping to the Christian themes in his vision of the LOTR series.  Someone really should have reigned Jackson in on this one.  Everything was over the top and at times downright silly.  Really, there was no need for 2.5 hours of battle scenes.  To be perfectly honest I only liked three things from the series of three movies:  Bilbo, played by Martin Freeman; Bard, played by Luke Evans; and Jackson's wonderfully envisioned Smaug, voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch.  The end.  Our children; from the 12 year old on up; saw the film separate from Wingnut and I, as they knew they would get an earful of our thoughts and observations against the films.  They loved the movie.  I guess there's no accounting for taste.  Catholic News Service rating: AII, adults and adolescents

This one was my favorite movie of the year.  It was beautifully envisioned, filmed, and acted.  Based on the true story of Olympic athlete, turned airman, turned prisoner of war, Louis Zamperini; formidably played by Jack O'Connell.  Directed by Angelina Jolie, it is an inspirational and faithful retelling of his story, that surprisingly did not shy away from aspects of faith, and themes of surrender (to God) and forgiveness of one's enemies. While many reviewers have critiqued the film failing to more strongly establish Zamperini's faith as being responsible for his perseverance, I felt, for  a secularly made film, it was definitely a step in the right direction, if not quite a large enough step. Scenes of incredible true to life brutality at the hands of the Japanese and an extended rear nudity scene (though not sexual in nature) led to our decision to not have our teenaged children view this film. Catholic News Service rating: AIII, adults only

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Battle of the Five Armies=BEST MOVIE OF THE YEAR!!!!! It's a must-see!!!!

Oleander and Skoshi A