Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Best-selling author Trina Boice speaks at LDSPMA writers' conference

Guess who is speaking at the LDSPMA writers' conference in November? ME!!! Oh yeah, and my new best friend Orson Scott Card! Check out the impressive list of other speakers. It's going to be awesome!

Come join us!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Wildling was wildly mediocre

Movie Title:     Wildling

Grade:  C

Rating: R, 
       92 minutes

In a Nutshell:  A monster coming-of-age story, this creature feature movie feels like a 1980’s horror flick.  

It’s actually a new indie film by director Fritz Bohm, who also had a hand in writing the script. 

I picture a group of teenagers watching this at one of their friend’s house on a Saturday night as they laugh at it and eat pizza.


Tips for parents: 
  • A man shoots himself and you see blood splatters.
  • Profanity, including a few F-bombs
  • There is blood and talk of a teenage girl’s menstruation.
  • You see a teenage girl in her underwear.
  • Teenager sex scene with skin and sounds.
  • Some violent, gory deaths.
  • You see a naked female “wilder.”
  • Teenage drinking
Uplifting theme: 
  • Embrace who you are...?
  • Don't kill people...?
  • Don't eat people...?                                

Things I liked:
  • It was good to see Liv Tyler in something again, although I’m kind of surprised she picked this script.
  • Anna sees a picture of Aurora Borealis in a book.  Seeing that in real life is on my Bucket List!  I’ve been researching a trip to either Iceland or Finland to see it.  Which do you think is a better country to see the amazing Northern Lights?
  • I liked the psychological aspect of the story.  Otherwise, we have already seen this story before.
  • Actress Bel Powley was 26 years old at the premiere!  I thought that was so surprising, because she really does look young in this movie as Anna.  What's even more impressive is that she eats a ton of hamburger and sausages in the movie, despite being a vegetarian in real life.

Things I didn’t like:
  • The creepy father (played by Brad Dourif) tells this tiny, young, adorable, little girl (played by Arlo Mertz) about the “Wildling”, not holding back any scary details, and introducing you to the horrific childhood Anna experienced.  I was confused by what happened to him later.
  • It has a lot of dark, evening scenes, so this will be hard to watch on a TV or computer.
  • It’s pretty slow-moving.
  • Some of the special effects are pretty cheesy and amateur looking.  According to IMDB, there were 350 visual effect shots.
  • There really aren’t any surprises.  The movie poster pretty much reveals what you already suspect is going to happen.
  • Some of the make-up on the Wildling looked super fake and ridiculous. 

Interesting lines:
“You’re not sick.  You’re a woman.” – Sheriff Ellen Cooper  (Liv Tyler)

If you love werewolf movies, check out some of these classics:


And my personal favorite:


Monday, April 23, 2018

Get movie tickets online with Atom to secure your seat!

This is going to be a big box office weekend with the newest AVENGERS: Infinity War movie hitting the Big Screen!

Movie Review Mom is now using  
to help my readers secure their movie tickets in advance!  Atom donates a percentage of ticket sales to my favorite cause (my son's college tuition)!  Click on either Atom image on this post to get your movie tickets from now on.  My son thanks you.


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Acrimony shows you what UNHINGED looks like

Movie Title:      Tyler Perry's Acrimony

Grade:  C

Rating: R, 2 hours

In a Nutshell:  This is a Tyler Perry drama that’s being touted as a psychological thriller.  What they mean is that it features a total psycho.  

The movie trailer is misleading, probably intentionally, to make you think the film is going to go in one direction, but there’s a little switcheroo.

For what it’s worth, the more I thought about the movie, the more I liked it.  There’s a huge paradigm shift that’s pretty clever.  Maybe I’m giving Tyler Perry more credit than he deserves.  Maybe that’s just how I interpreted his intention for the movie.  Either way, it’s not that great of a movie, but it’s an interesting journey.


Tips for parents: 
  • Lots of profanity, including MANY F-bombs.
  • You see the naked rear of a man several times.
  • Sex scene with some skin.   
  • You’ll read the definitions of words like acrimony, bewail, deranged, and nexorable.  The best word to describe what you see is UNHINGED.
  • Infidelity, adultery, pre-marital relations.
  • Serious anger management issues.                                                  

Uplifting theme: 
  • Love and infidelity
  • Revenge
  • Forgiveness, Trust
  • Persistence in reaching your dream.

Things I liked:
  • Music of Nina Simone Her Greatest Hits.  Robert (Antonio Madison) says, “Her music is like going to church.”
  • I like that you don’t know exactly what happens after the movie ends.
  • A lot of reviewers on IMDB loved this movie.  A lot of YouTubers hated it.  It goes to show you that movie critics only give THEIR opinion and it should only be taken with a grain a salt.
  • I really like Taraji P. Henson.  Unfortunately, she could only do so much with the material she was given in this movie, but she still did a great job.
  • The film was shot in only 8 days.  Wow, that's impressive.
  • Ajiona Alexus played the younger version of Taraji's character, just like in the TV show "Empire."  If you missed it, click here to see the Pilot of that award-winning TV drama.
  • Maybe this movie will help young people look for the red flags that often show up in relationships.  When you see them, RUN!

Things I didn’t like:
  • I didn’t like either of the main characters.  They both lacked integrity and had anger management issues.
  • The acting was over-the-top and mediocre at the same time.
  • Lots of screaming, fighting, and profanity.  It was like watching crazy people on Jerry Springer.  I can’t stand that.
  • There were some really dumb things that happened.
  • The dialogue is often completely ridiculous.
  • Sometimes outdoor scenes are filmed on an obvious green screen.  Why wouldn’t the director just film outside?  
  • Below is another version of the movie poster.  It came out first and was later replaced by the one above of Taraji Henson.  Maybe Tyler Perry thought it would give away the story too much?

Interesting lines:
  • “Have you ever asked me what I wanted?” – Melinda (Taraji P. Henson)
  • “You cannot negotiate with crazy.” –  Diana (Crystle Stewart)  Ain't that the truth?!



Friday, April 20, 2018

I Feel Pretty just might give women more confidence

Movie Title: 

Grade:   B+

Rating: PG-13, 110 minutes

In a Nutshell: 
Every female is going to relate to this movie.  I think it’s fairly safe to say that every woman has insecurities about herself.  

Whether it’s a lack of confidence about how we look or speak or do certain things, we all wish we felt better about ourselves.  We can be our own worst enemy. The mirror certainly doesn't help.  This isn’t a movie about body shaming, but one of having self-confidence and trying to be your best self. In an interview with with Gayle King, Amy Schumer explained it as a journey, both the struggle for feeling good about one's self and her own career.

It’s kind of a mix between Jack Black’s comedy Shallow Hal and Tom Hank’s charming movie Big (I loved both of them).  It’s a fun chick flick…meaning, take your besties to the theater, share a giant bucket of popcorn, and don't beat yourself up for not being so perfect.

Tips for parents: 
·      Some profanity.
·      You see a lot of Amy Schumer’s cleavage, mid-section, and bare naked back side a couple of times, complete with tramp stamp.  There is also a scene with a bunch of beautiful women in skimpy bikinis.
·      There is a lot of talk about sex, as well as a super awkward sex scene where you see some skin.  Pre-marital relations.
·      2 gay men.
·      Renee (Amy Schumer) gets drunk.
·      One of the girls confesses she has HPV and explains it away by saying, “Everyone has HPV.”  Um….nope.  That’s not true.  Guess what?  If you don’t sleep around, you won’t get it.

 Uplifting theme: 
·     “Believe in yourself.”  - Renee Bennett (Amy Schumer)
·      It’s confidence that makes you beautiful and sexy.
·      “Change your mind, change your life.” – Soul Cycle teacher
·      “We are real women.  What a great thing to be.” – Renee Bennett
·      Do YOU really see people?  Do you judge people just by how they look?

Things I liked:
·  Michelle Williams is hilarious and awesome.  She's so effective in dramas, but it's also nice to see her in a comedic role.  She has had an amazing few months in the success of The Greatest Showman , as well as All The Money In The World .  She's on a roll!
·   Most young people won’t know who Lauren Hutton is.  There is a picture towards the very end of the movie that shows Lauren Hutton when she was at the peak of her modeling days as a young woman.  I thought it was really fun to have her in the movie as Lily LeClaire.
·      Yep, it’s true.  Kentucky Fried Chicken does use Hidden Valley Ranch dressing.
·      I liked that the Soul Cycle teacher told all of the class participants to “set an intention.”  If we were all more mindful and proactive about our lives, we’d be surprised at how much better things turned out.  Renee (Amy Schumer) wears a sweatshirt at the beginning of the movie that says “Get it Girl!” which is the anthem of the movie.  Take your flaws and STILL believe in yourself.
·      It’s refreshing to see how brave Amy Schumer is about making fun of herself and flaunting her more than size 2 body.  Her stand-up comedy bits have always been completely honest, although extremely raunchy. I admire that she doesn't let Hollywood make her feel terrible about herself.
·      I’ve been a big fan of Saturday Night Live ever since my college roommate and I would watch it together on a tiny TV in our dorm room.  I love seeing a lot of the comediennes from SNL on movies lately.  This one features the talented Aidy Bryant and Sasheer Zamata. 
·      You’ll see a lot of beautiful women like Naomi Campbell and Emily Ratajkowski.
·      I laughed at the beginning when the camera scanned all of Renee’s beauty products in her bathroom.  Most of us spend ridiculous amounts of money on products, hoping they will FINALLY be the magic pill to make us look prettier and feel better about ourselves.  The ironic thing about this movie is that Renee works for a cosmetic company and her speech at the end sells more make-up.
*  I loved Renee's color-coordinated boxes behind her desk in the China town basement.  

Things I didn’t like:
·   You know what else is attractive?  Virtue and humility.  While Hollywood has been pumping out a lot of "be who you are" movies lately, there is a serious lack of movies that celebrate women, or men for that matter, who are virtuous and humble and chaste.  Religious values are, more often than not, mocked in Hollywood movies. Yeah, that doesn't exactly get laughs or sell box office tickets, but I sure would like to see more well-behaved, good girls in movies being honored for a change.
*  Everyone loved Amy Schumer when she first hit the scene, but for some reason, it’s now popular to hate her.  Her stand-up routines are super trashy and she seems to celebrate being a skank, but I love that she doesn’t apologize for not being the skinny model that Hollywood thinks she should be.
·   I thought it was funny that they grouped Busy Philipps with the “average” girlfriends, because I’ve always thought she was pretty.
*  I thought for sure that some time during the movie we'd hear a modern version of the famous  West Side Story song, I Feel Pretty.  Nope, it never played.  Missed opportunity, right?
*  Women are definitely going to appreciate this movie more than men.

Funny lines:
·      “Can I be you when I grow up?” – Ethan (Rory Scovel) 

Interesting lines:
·   “I think a lot of people are confused about themselves.” – Ethan
·      “I started to believe that if I wanted it bad enough, all my dreams could come true.” – Renee Bennett
·      “What if we never lost that little girl confidence?” – Renee
·      “This make-up line won’t change your life – only you can do that.” – Renee
·      “I know I look good.  I don’t need a room full of drunk guys to confirm it.” – Renee
·      “I am brave.  I am blonde.  And I got this!” – Mason (Adrian Martinez)



Saturday, April 14, 2018

Rampage pushes the PG-13 line

Movie Title:   Rampage

Grade:   B

Rating: PG-13, 
1 hour 47 minutes

In a Nutshell:   My 4 sons used to play the 1997 Midway Rampage video game, so I was curious to see how well director Brad Peyton would adapt the game to a movie for the fans. 

Historically, movies that take video games to the Big Screen are horrible.  Well, yeah.  This movie requires you to turn off your brain and not care.  If you just want to see some monsters destroy a city and watch the ROCK do his thing (he’s awesome), then this movie is for you.  If storytelling and character development is important to you, then you’re going to have trouble watching this.  The monsters look great; it’s the humans in the movie that feel more like they’re in a video game.


Tips for parents: 
  • George , the silverback gorilla, flips the bird several times.
  • There is a HUGE body count.  There are a lot of bloody bodies and some of the deaths are almost portrayed as a joke, which was a bit alarming.  Lots of blood splatter.
  • Lots and lots of destruction and violence
  • Some profanity
  • People in perilous situations
  • Talk of poachers.  You’ll need to explain to your little ones what poachers are and why they’re so bad.
  • Cleavage
  • Inappropriate joke at the end.

Uplifting theme: 
  • Family
  • Friendship
  • Loyalty
  • Animal protection

Things I liked:
  • Some humor, although there could have been more since the movie already feels like a cartoon.   
  • According to IMDB, an original cabinet of the Rampage arcade game can be seen in Claire Wyden’s office.  That’s a fun Easter egg for fans, but it doesn’t make sense for her to have it. Midway Arcade Origins - Xbox 360
  • The movie shows George, the gorilla, living in the San Diego Wildlife Sanctuary.  As far as I know, that doesn’t really exist, but the San Diego zoo is fantastic.  They actually have a really good gorilla habitat there.  About 40 minutes outside San Diego is the awesome Wild Animal Park.  I used to live in San Diego and can highly recommend both!
  • I think Malin Akerman’s eyes are so pretty.  I hated her stiff hair that looked like plastic.  Her character, unfortunately, was ridiculous.  If you're a Billions: Season One fan, you'll like that she gets to finally play the boss.
  • Well done CGI.  The monsters look really cool.
  • You see Dwayne Johnson get out of some zip ties.  First of all, his biceps are soooo massive!  Second, you actually can do it and big biceps aren’t required.  A former CIA agent taught me how.  Make sure the zip lock thing faces up.  Then, lift up your arms above your head and quickly pull them down to your hips, pulling your elbows back as fast as you can.  Ta da!
  • SPOILER: Jeffrey Dean Morgan does a bad guy so well.  He was so maniacal in The Walking Dead Season 7 [DVD] that I had to stop watching the show.  Seriously evil.  Luckily, he has a heart in this movie.
  • You’ll actually learn a little bit of sign language.  My niece married a deaf man, so I’m always thrilled when sign language is used in movies.  Another movie that uses sign language and is currently in theaters is A Quiet Place.  I thought it was really good!  You can read my movie review of A QUIET PLACE by clicking here.
  • I thought it was a respectful nod that the city rampage occurs in Chicago, the headquarters of Midway video games.

Things I didn’t like:
  • There were quite a few differences in the movie and game, although George and Ralph keep their names in the movie.  Lizzie’s name is never mentioned as the crocodile.  George was never an albino in the game.  The biggest difference is that the monsters in the video game were mutated humans, not mutated animals.
  • The villains are terrible, but not in a good way. 
  • Some characters are introduced in the beginning, but completely disappear from the story.
  • There are some really dumb details that could have been easily fixed if anyone working on the movie had been paying attention or cared.
  • The young male gorilla that is new at the Sanctuary in the beginning of the movie looks totally fake.  George looks much better.
  • Naomie Harris doesn’t really do anything, other than run around and rely on the ROCK to come up with a plan.
  • The clip in the movie trailer that shows the gorilla crack the crocodile’s jaws open like King Kong does to the dinosaur in his movie didn’t actually make it into this movie.

Funny lines:
  • “Of course the wolf flies!” – Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson) 
  • “You know there are other ways of dealing with people, don’t you?” – Dr. Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris)
“Of course I do, but that’s no fun.” – Davis
  • “That’s a big arm.  Don’t fight it.” – Davis
  • “Who are you?  Homeland? CIA?  Justice League?” – Dr. Kate Caldwell  
  • “Girls love him.  I should shave my head.” -  Nelson  (P.J. Byrne)



Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Forever My Girl is a sugary flop

Movie Title:    Forever My Girl

Grade:  C-

Rating: PG
 1 hour 48 minutes

In a Nutshell:   This toe-tapping, sugary chick flick is based on a New York Times best-selling novel by Heidi McLaughlin.  Heidi even appears in the funeral scene as an Extra. 

It sure feels like a formulaic Nicholas Spark movie or something you’d see on the Hallmark channel, although it's not nearly as good.

Tips for parents: 
  • No profanity.
  • Liam gets drunk.
  • Billy informs Liam about all of the dangers of convertibles.  While they’re true, I still drive my convertible and love it.
  • Talk of pre-marital relations
  • Liam teaches his daughter, “Sometimes you just need to let go and live on the wild side.”  How do you feel about that advice?
  • Young rom-com fan girls will probably like the movie.

 Uplifting theme: 
  • Your choices will define you.
  • Family
  • Community
  • Loyalty
  • Forgiveness                                                                                                                       

Things I liked:
  • Abby Ryder Fortson, who plays the precocious Billy, is adorable.  She did a really great job, although her lines are much more advanced than what they should be for her age.
  • If you liked Jessica Rothe in Happy Death Day, you'll be happy to see a softer side of her in this. 
  • The cast includes Alex Roe, John Benjami Hickey, Abby Ryder Forstson, and Judith Hoag, with a special cameo by Travis Tritt, who sings the original song, “Slowin’ Down.”
  • The small Louisiana town of St. Augustine is picturesque and charming, but actually filmed in Georgia.  I lived in Alpharetta, Georgia for 15 years!  I absolutely loved the Southern Hospitality and magical fireflies.  What I hated was the humidity and the fire ants!
  • I was expecting a slap to the face, but the stomach punch was much better.  Ha ha
  •  It was directed by a woman, Bethany Ashton Wolf.
  • Country music fans will enjoy the soundtrack.

Things I didn’t like:
  • The protagonist, Liam Page (Alex Roe), is not very likable.  He easily gets forgiven for being such a jerk to everyone, not just to Josie.  He never really gives a good reason for humiliating and leaving her on their wedding day.  He clearly has a drinking problem, but it's never addressed in the movie...ever.
  • Some pretty terrible Southern accents. 
  • Very slow moving.
  • What ever happened to the burgers?
  • Ultimately, it’s pretty forgettable.
  • Yeah, sure, it’s easy to forgive someone who is rich and famous, but what if Liam had become a homeless bum with nothing to offer Josie?  
  • Fans of the book may be thrown by the fact that Josie and Liam have a son in the book, but a daughter in the movie.

Funny Lines:
  • “I said I wanted to meet him, but I never said I’d be easy on him.” – Billy