Sunday, November 23, 2014

St. Vincent isn't heavenly, but messy good.

Movie Title:   St. Vincent DVD

Grade: B-

In a Nutshell:  It never ceases to amaze me at what qualifies for a PG-13 movie these days.  The content in this movie is quite mature and inappropriate for children, even though a little boy named Oliver stars in the movie, played by the talented, young Jaeden Lieberher.

Hilarious Bill Murray plays a crusty old guy who swears, smokes, gambles, drinks, and pays weekly visits to a pregnant prostitute...hardly the father-figure that Oliver needs or one that you want your kids to watch.  Nevertheless, the movie has heart.  Bill Murray’s performance is stellar and is already receiving Oscar buzz.  McCarthy plays the straight role as a hard-working single mom whose frenzied life collides with Bill Murray's.

Uplifting Theme:  
  • “A saint is a human being we celebrate for their commitment and dedication to other human beings, for the sacrifices that they make, for their hard work in making the world a better place for those around us and for those who will follow them.”  - Brother Geraghty

  • “I do happen to believe that there are saints all around us today.  They may never be considered as such by religion, but they are just as important as the ones in your textbooks.”  -  Brother Geraghty

Things I liked:
  • Chris O'Dowd plays a snarky Catholic priest who inspires young minds to look for the good in the world.  He has a believable accent and some of the best lines in the movie.
  • The lovely Naomi Watts is fantastic and chose this film because she had been looking for a comedy to "lighten" her career.
  • The characters feel real in their messy lives.
  • I loved Oliver's sweet innocence combined with his young wisdom.
  • Even the rotten kids at school said "Sir."  Why couldn't I ever get my kids to say that?
  • True to the disheveled characters, nothing gets wrapped up in a tidy Hollywood bow in the end, but there are some "feel good" moments that will leave you smiling in the end.  
  • Saints don't always come with halos.

Things I didn't like:

  • I don't have to see a character in bed with a prostitute to understand the story line.
  • Vince's wife seemed too classy to be married to such a curmudgeon.  Did his character really change that much when she became ill or did she see the "sainthood" in him too?
  • Wait for it to come out on DVD or Redbox.  It's not worth the hefty movie theater price.

Funny lines:
  • “It is what it is?  Everyone’s saying that these days.  What it means is “You who are screwed shall remain screwed.”  -  Vince
  • “Dumbness does not play well in heaven.”  -  Brother Geraghty
  • “Take me God.  Don’t play with me.” – St. Vincent
  • “I think I’m Jewish.” - Oliver              OK.  Good to know. – Brother Geraghty (Chris O’Dowd)
  • “Your father never taught you to defend yourself?” – St. Vincent      “No Sir.  He’s a pacifist.” - Oliver            Well, this country wasn’t founded by tree huggers, that’s for sure.  You need to defend yourself or you get mowed down.”  - St. Vincent          “I’m small, if you haven’t noticed.” – Oliver         “Yeah, so was Hitler.” – St. Vincent
  • “When will you become like man?” - prostitute 
  • “I’m a Catholic, which is the best religion of all religions, because we have the most rules and the best clothes.” – priest
  • “This food beats hunger.”  - St. Vincent

Tips for parents:  The movie starts with Vince having sex in bed with a pregnant prostitute.  Yeah...not exactly a family-friendly movie.  There is a lot of profanity, including one F-bomb.  Vince takes Oliver to the horse races, a bar, and surrounds him with cigarette smoke and filth of all  kinds.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Interstellar is out of this world

Movie Title:   Interstellar
PG-13, 2 hours 49 minutes

Grade:  A

In a Nutshell:   This movie will blow your mind.  Either that or put you to sleep.  Viewers seem to be split in their opinion on this one.  The movie is definitely long, but you’ll feel like you got your money’s worth.

Writer-director Chris Nolan has trained us to expect epic movies under his watch and this one is no exception.  Like his enigmatic Inception , you’ll have to watch it a couple of times to completely understand it. This nearly 3 hour drama is so long that you almost feel like you’ve traveled in space and come back again by the time it’s over.  Its time-space continuum preaches of love, hope, and the will to go on despite all obstacles, including gravity.

I sat with an audience that filled every seat in the IMAX screening, where Nolan’s 70mm movie magic really shines and where the seats practically rumbled while we hurled through space.  The movie simultaneously explores your heart strings and intergalactic space travel.

Uplifting theme: 
  • Matthew McConaughey narrates the beginning of the movie, saying “We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars.  Now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt.”  The movie explores a dystopian world   and where mankind may go in the future, both physically and emotionally.
  • Some will read spirituality into the story and see God’s hand in the journey, while others will applaud mankind’s strength to take care of ourselves.

Things I liked:
  • Hans Zimmer’s new score is fantastic.
  • I agree with Matthew McConaughey who said in a recent interview, “This is Christopher Nolan’s most ambitious work.”
  • I love Anne Hathaway.  She always brightens any screen.  So does Matt Damon.
  • You’ll learn a science lesson or two while being entertained.  Theoretical physicist Kip Thorne was consulted during the making of the film.
  • A nod to 2001: A Space Odyssey was included by director/producer Nolan who wrote the screenplay with his brother Jonathan.
  • The visual effects are stunning.  I liked seeing the tiniest reflection in someone's eyes through another's eye, and then the contrasting, grand aerial scenes over earth.
  • It’s definitely thought-provoking and a great conversation-starter.
  • I thought Amelia’s speech about love was profound and beautiful.
  • The frozen cloud was cool.  Literally.  Ha ha
  • I love symbolism in clever names, such as the project “Lazarus.”
  • Mackenzie Foy is an adorable Murphy.  Jessica Chastain was a beautiful adult Murph.  Nice casting.

Things I didn’t like:
  • It’s a bit slow-moving at times.  A friend of mine actually fell asleep.  Don’t expect a fast-paced action movie like Star Trek.
  • Some of the script seems nonsensical.  Some of it was simply hard to hear.
  • The black, sticky, towering thing that sucked up everything reminded me of the odd ending in the movie Lucy.

Interesting lines:
  • “Love is the one thing that transcends time and space.” – Amelia Brand
  • “We’ve always defined ourselves by the ability to overcome the impossible.  And we count these moments.  These moments when we dare to aim higher, to break barriers, to reach for the stars, to make the unknown known.  We count these moments as our proudest achievements.  But we lost all that.  Or perhaps we’ve just forgotten that we are still pioneers.  And we’ve barely begun.  And that our greatest accomplishments cannot be behind us, because our destiny lies above us.”  - Cooper
  • “Do not go gently into that good night; old age should burn and rave at close of day.  Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” – Professor Brand
  • “It’s not possible.”  - computer/TARS
“No.  It’s necessary.”  - Cooper
  • “We’re not meant to save the world; we’re meant to leave it.”  - Professor Brand
  • “Mankind was born on earth, but it wasn’t meant to die here.” – Cooper
  • “You said science was admitting what you don’t know.”  - Young Murphy to her dad
  • “They forget who we are – explorers, pioneers, not caretakers.”  - Cooper

Funny lines:
  • “You look sic.”  - young Tom
“I cannot be sick.  I am a robot.”  - computer/TARS
  • “We’re going to be spending a lot of time together.” – Amelia
“Then, we should learn to talk.”  - Cooper
“And when not to.”  - Amelia
  • “We’ve calculated 2 years to Saturn.”  - Professor Brand
“That’s a lot of Dramamine.” – Doyle    (I actually got a little dizzy during some of the spinning scenes and had to look away.)

Tips for parents:
  • 1 F-bomb and some other tough language.
  • Young children may get bored.
  • Kids who want to prove to their parents that all that time playing video games and using a joystick will come in handy now have ammunition for their case.
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