Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Meet the Mormons now on DVD

While the movie came out in the Fall at limited theaters, it is now on DVD TODAY for everyone to see. 

Movie:  Meet the Mormons

PG, 1 hour 18 minutes

Grade: A-

In a Nutshell:

Have you seen the Broadway musical The Book of Mormon ? While entertaining, it's not exactly accurate.  It's a perfect example of how the book is better than the show.

This is an uplifting film about REAL Mormons, people who have found faith to carry them through each day.  They said "We found something that helps us meet the daily challenges of life.  It's the gospel of Jesus Christ."

Meet the Mormons examines the very diverse lives of six devout members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Filmed on location and across the globe, Meet the Mormons takes viewers on a journey into the day-to-day realities of individuals living in the United States, Costa Rica, Nepal, and beyond. From their individual passions to their daily struggles, each story paints a picture as rich and unique as the next while challenging the stereotypes that surround the Mormon faith.

Uplifting Theme:
 * The Berlin Candy Bomber shared that "Service is the bottom line for happiness and fulfillment."  He motivated me to look at the world's problems differently and find a way to make a positive difference.
 * Bishnu Adhikari in Nepal explains "There is no fear.  There is, rather, love."  I was so impressed with his 
    humility and service that I immediately "friended" him on Facebook.
 * The profile that brought tears to my eyes was the mother at the end of the movie who experienced true heartache and was saying good-bye to her missionary son.  I was so touched when she exclaimed "My love is real."  
* The Mormon church presented "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" two decades ago which teaches families how to be happy even still today.  Click on the video below to watch American Idol star (and Mormon) David Archuleta sing the theme song from the movie.

Things I Liked:
* The movie doesn't preach, but simply shows elements that enrich Mormon life.
*  If you're not Mormon, you'll learn that Mormons are normal, nice people who probably live in your neighborhood.  If you are Mormon, you'll want to be a better one.
*  There are a few funny moments that let you know Mormons and the church have a sense of humor.
*  It's about goodness, hope, service, faith, change.  People of any religion should be able to take away those
    uplifting messages.
*  There are millions of Mormons out there and millions of inspiring stories that could be told.  I left the movie inspired to live a better story of my own.

Things I Didn't Like:
* The film doesn't include the history of the church or some of its doctrine that a lot of people are curious about.  In fact,  the movie is less about the Mormon church, but more about the everyday people in it and how the gospel of Jesus Christ makes their lives better and more meaningful.
*  If you're not Mormon, it might feel a bit like an infomercial.  

Tips for Parents:  This is a safe movie for all ages.  Watching it together might result in an interesting family discussion about religion, but it will definitely inspire you to do more and be more.

If you want to learn more about the church, the end of the film invites you to talk to one of your Mormon neighbors or contact one of the 88,000 full-time missionaries.  One of them is my son!


Friday, March 27, 2015

Unlimited movies at AMC theaters coming soon

Monday, March 23, 2015

Do You Believe script is weak, but with a bold message

Movie:  Do You Believe?

PG-13, 1 hour 55 minutes

Grade: C

In a Nutshell:  If enough people support Christian movies at the box office, then maybe the films will improve.  The writing in this film is just not very good, but the message is still sweet.

Uplifting Theme:
The narrator explains, “I’m not sure any of us gets to see the whole picture…the God’s eye view…so to speak.”   God is the master weaver.  We only see the threads from underneath the tapestry, but one day we will see the genius of God’s handiwork in it all.  In that immense tapestry, we’ll get to see that one thread, our own life, is what makes the masterpiece complete.

Things I liked:
·         We often don’t realize the impact our lives have on each other.
·         The bold song at the end of the movie proclaimed “We believe!” and testified of Jesus Christ and resurrection.  I believe those things too.

Things I didn’t like:
·         All of these Christian movies seem to have the same ole cast with the same ole story: sappy believers who quote scriptures all the time while looking off in the distance, ridiculous non-believers who end up in the hospital and change their minds.
·         There are a lot of story lines that come together in the end, but until then, the script is pretty messy.
·         Cybill Shepherd isn’t aging very gracefully, but then again, neither am I.
·         With a cast full of decent actors like Sean Astin, Lee Majors, Cybill Shepherd, and Mira Sorvino, you would think that the acting would be better.   
·         Some of the characters are just plain annoying and clich├ęd.
      Most of the inspiring lines in the movie came off of T-shirts and plaques you've probably already seen in Christian bookstores.
       I'm guessing cross sales are going to go up.  You know, not all Christians wear and use crosses to celebrate Christ's resurrection.  Speaking of resurrection, Happy Easter this week!

Interesting lines:
·         “The man whose death certificate you just signed is sitting right here, talking to you.  I’m just saying…you might want to reconsider believing in miracles.” – Joe
·         “What are you doing?” – EMT
“Praying…more like apologizing.” – Latina nurse
*  "If you believe, what are you going to DO about it?" - 
*  "If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?" - EMT

Tips for Parents:

·         This is a safe movie for all ages, although most children will be pretty bored.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Second Time's a Charm with The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

PG, 2 hour 2 minutes

Grade:  B+

In a Nutshell:  The cast is charming and fantastic: Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton, Celia Imrie, Dv Patel and even Richard Gere. 

If you liked the first movie, this one will feel like you’re spending a couple of hours with good, old friends...."old" being a key word.  I guess I'm showing my age when I say that I really enjoyed both movies... While the target audience is an older crowd, younger viewers will see some of their favorites from Harry Potter, Downton Abbey, and Pirates of the Caribbean.

As a stand-alone movie, it’s ok, but it’s MUCH better if you have seen the first movie made in 2012, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel , in order to fully appreciate and understand the growth of the characters, as well as know what’s going on.  In fact, it’s very satisfying to see “the rest of the story.”

Uplifting Theme:
·         “Water doesn’t flow until you turn the tap on.” – Madge (Celia Imrie)    In other words, don’t sit around waiting for your life to happen. Make it happen.
·         Judy Dench’s character asks herself “How many lives can we have? But then I thought…as many as we want!”
·         “In the end, it’s all very simple: to look into someone’s eyes and to say ‘yes, it’s what I want’ and for them to say ‘it’s what I want too and there’s nothing to fear.’” – Douglas (Bill Nighy)
·         Maggie Smith’s character (Muriel) says “There’s no present like the time.” Indeed.

Things I liked:
·         If you liked the first one, you’ll enjoy this sequel.
·         Sonny’s quips are fast and funny throughout the entire movie.
·         I had a friend get the Henna hand art tattoos just for fun, but in India, brides get it done for their wedding.  I think it’s really pretty.  Speaking of weddings, I thought the Indian wedding scene was beautiful with so many colors, flowers, and interesting traditions.
·         In the movie, Richard Gere plays a man who is 64 years old, but in real life, he’s actually 66!  While Hollywood is filled with plastic celebrities, Richard Gere seems to be growing old quite gracefully.  Younger viewers may not realize that he was actually named the “Sexiest Man Alive” by People magazine.

Things I didn’t like:
·         Some of the story lines end a bit vaguely.

Funny lines:
·         “You’re nineteen days older than I am.” – Muriel
“Nineteen days is the life span of a wasp.” – Evelyn
·         “While her language is salty, it has great economy and pith.” – Sonny talking about Muriel
·         “You’re probably thinking I’m a bit young to be staying at the Exotic Marigold.” – Lavinia (Tamsin Greig who has fantastic biceps)
“Either that or your plastic surgeon is a genius.” – Sonny
·         “I’m 79 years old!”   Evelyn
“We don’t mind if you don’t.” – Susan
“Nobody checks out until…they ultimately check out.” – Sonny
·         “You have bedrooms?” – Sonny
“For when our members get tired…or fortunate.” – Viceroy Club concierge
·         “I must apologize.”  - Sonny
“You already apologized.” – Sunaina (Tina Desai)
“I mean it more now.” – Sonny

Interesting Lines:
·         “Sometimes it seems that what we want and what we fear is the width of an eyelash.”   Evelyn
·         “Coincidence is just another way of saying we cannot see the whole plan.” – Sonny
·         “There’s nothing I admire more than those who plant trees under whose shade they may never get to sit.” – Ty Burley (David Strathairn)
·         “There’s no such thing as an ending…only the place where you leave the story.” – Muriel
·         “Let go.  That’s where the fun starts.” - Muriel

Tips for Parents:
·         Some sexual innuendos.
·         Some British profanity like “bloody”, “bollocks”, etc.
      Young kids will be extremely bored.  Teens may only be mildly entertained, but watching the  
      film together might be a catalyst for talking about their purpose in life.


Saturday, March 21, 2015

See Divergent before you see Insurgent

Movie:  Insurgent

PG-13, 1 hour 59 minutes

Grade:              B

In a Nutshell:  Veronica Roth’s Young Adult Dystopian sequel picks up right where it left off in the first movie, Divergent.  If you haven’t seen it, watch it before you see this second part; otherwise, you won’t understand a lot of what’s going on.  It doesn't work as a stand-alone movie. You can read my movie review of Divergent here.

Uplifting Theme:
·         Sacrifice, forgiveness, fighting injustice
·         “I know you’re angry, but you’re letting it consume you.” – Johanna (the fabulous and underutilized in this movie Octavia Spencer)

Things I liked:
·         Lots of action and cool 3D special effects.
·         It was nice to see Daniel Dae Kim again from Lost - The Complete First Season .
·         I love twists and surprises in movies…

Things I didn’t like:
·         The plot has changed a bit from the books, but if you haven’t read the books, you won’t care.
·         Shailene Woodley’s character (Tris Prior) is either crying or super intense with not much in between.  The only development in her character from the first movie is that she cut her hair.

Interesting lines:
·         “I’m not gonna fight you.” – Tris Prior
“Of course, you’re not.  You’re gonna fight you.” – Jeanine Mathews (Kate Winslet)
·         “It just goes to show, you can take the girl out of abnegation, but you can’t take abnegation  out of the girl.” – Peter (Miles Teller)

Tips for Parents:
·         Some profanity and an implied sex scene between Tris and Four after passionate kissing.
·         1 F-bomb with very little other profanity.

Quick review of the 5 factions from their Manifestos:

Abnegation (The Selfless): “I choose to turn away from my reflection, to rely not on myself but on my brothers and sisters to protect always outward until I disappear.”

Erudite (The Intelligent): “Ignorance is defined not as stupidity, but as lack of knowledge.  Lack of knowledge inevitably leads to lack of understanding.  Lack of understanding leads to a disconnect among people with differences.  Disconnection among people with differences lead to conflict.  Knowledge is the only logical solution to the problem of conflict.

Dauntless (The Brave): We believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another.  We believe in shouting for those who can only whisper, in defending those who cannot defend themselves.”

Amity  (The Peaceful): “Give freely, trusting that you will be given what you need.  Do not be angry.  The opinions of others cannot damage you.  Cruel thoughts lead to cruel words, and hurt you as much as they hurt their target.”

Candor (The Honest):  Although Candor values honesty above all else, they also seek to develop impartiality.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Books by Trina Boice

I love watching movies and writing about movies, but I thought you might like to see some of my more recent published books! My next one hits stores next month!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The new Cinderella is quite charming

Movie:  Cinderella

PG, 1 hour 45 minutes

Grade:  A

In a Nutshell:  In an era of movie remakes, this version of Cinderella by Director Kenneth Branagh is very simple, elegant, pure, and even old-fashioned, staying true to its original animation roots.  Walt Disney would have been very pleased.  So would the original author Charles Perrault. I loved it.

SPECIAL NOTE:  One of the best things about seeing this in the movie theater right now is the animated short that plays before the movie.  It’s called Frozen Fever and highlights your favorite characters from the Frozen movie!  It’s a cute singing number that features Anna’s birthday party.  Absolutely ADORABLE!

Uplifting Theme:
·         “Have courage and be kind.” – Cinderella’s dying mother’s wish for her.  This phrase is repeated so many times that it’s not a subtle theme, but a very clear one that even little children will be able to pick up on.
·         Inner beauty shines greater than outer beauty.
·         “Just because it’s done doesn’t mean what should be done.” - Ella
-    "Where there is kindness there is goodness and where there is goodness there is magic." - Ella

Things I liked:
·         That dress! Wow. We are sure to see dozens of little girls wearing miniature versions of Cinderella’s shimmering, blue ball gown  on our front door steps this year on Halloween, complete with butterflies and sparkles in the hair.  I thought it was clever to match the ball gowns with the personalities of the wearers, such as the tacky and garish stepsisters’ dresses contrasted with the beautiful, graceful one worn by Cinderella.  I also loved the Fairy Godmother’s whimsical dress with wings.
·         The word that describes the film itself, as well as the set designs is charming.
·         Cate Blanchett can do no wrong. I adore her in everything she does.  She is splendid in this role as Lady Tremaine and looks absolutely stunning in every outfit in every scene.  Her subtle expressions add depth and nuance to the wicked step-mother, but they don’t change the story, only enhance it just enough.
·         The mice and other CGI creatures look very real.  They provide some comic relief, but it is very understated and simple.   The narrator tells us that Ella “had very little in the way of friends…well, her friends were very little.”
·         The magical transformations of the creatures to footmen, coachman, etc  is wonderfully Disney.   The lizard footmen are kind of creepy looking, but I love that they had lizard teeth and kept a green eye shadow hue to remind us of their true nature.
·         Both Prince Charming (the handsome, blue-eyed Richard Madden with absolutely perfect teeth) and Cinderella are modest, wholesome, noble, and good.  That’s so refreshing in protagonists these days.
·         Cinderella shows such grace and poise even when confronted with cruelty.  SPOILER ALERT: I love it when she tells her wicked stepmother “I forgive you.”  Lily James is the perfect Cinderella, so kind and graceful.  I want to be her.  In real life, she's a mezzo-soprano and sings the classic Cinderella song "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes" at the end when credits are rolling.  How lovely.
·         I’m really glad this film didn’t show the ugly step-sisters getting their feet cut off to fit into the glass slipper like in the recent movie Into the Woods .  So gross.  Speaking of glass slipper….wow!  Gorgeous.  “And you’ll find them quite comfortable.”  - Fairy Godmother    
-     There are a few touching moments, including a very sweet one with the prince and his father that made me shed a tear. 

Things I didn’t like:
·          Helena Bonham Carter appeared too fake and quirky for this simple, elegant version of Cinderella.   While some would say she stole the show, I thought the humor seemed too forced and out of place.
·         Ella always wears the same blue dress to everything. Her ball gown is also blue.
·         It’s a bit slow-moving with very little action.
·         The interactions with Ella and Prince Charming were too short.  I wanted to see them together longer.
·         I was surprised that Prince Charming’s castle didn’t look like the Cinderella castle in Disneyland.

Funny lines:
·         “I can’t drive!  I’m a goose!.”  - Coachman

Interesting lines:
·         “I believe animals speak to us if only we have an ear to hear them.  That’s how we learn to care for them.” – Ella’s mother  (played by the lovely Hayley Atwell who you will see more of in Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man)
·         “Time passed. Pain turned to memory.”  - Narrator (Fairy Godmother)  True statement.
·         “I do love a happy ending, don’t you?” – Ella
·         “Kindness is free.”  - Ella
·         “This is, perhaps, the greatest risk we will take – to be seen for who we really are.” – Narrator/Fairy godmother
·         “Surely you have a right to your own heart.” – Ella
·         “It really was like a dream…better than a dream.” – Ella
·         “They’re all looking at you.  – Ella
“Believe me…they’re all looking at YOU!” – Prince Charming

·         “Names have power.”  - Narrator/Fairy Godmother
·         “Punctuality is the politeness of princes.”  - King

Tips for Parents:
·         There is nothing super scary or offensive.  This is a very safe movie for family viewing of all ages. 

·         No profanity.  You’ll hear “Gosh” and “my goodness” instead. I think the harshest sentence uttered is when the wicked Stepmother says “Do shut up” to her own daughter who sings terribly.

If you can't get enough of this great classic, you'll enjoy these:

Monday, March 9, 2015

The DUFF makes you glad you're not a teen anymore

Movie:  The DUFF

PG-13, 1 hour 41 minutes

Grade: B

In a Nutshell:  Teenagers have always lived in the world of bullying and underdog struggles for greatness, but this movie takes a modern tech, funny look at YOLO cyber terrorists.  Based on the book by Kody Keplinger, it gives hope for teens currently in high school, struggling to survive it.  If you’ve already graduated, it makes you feel grateful you don’t have to do it again.

By the way, DUFF stands for "Designated Ugly Fat Friend."

Uplifting Theme:
·         “Believe. Retrieve. Achieve. Just don’t conceive.”  - Dottie
·         “When you become proactive, your problems become subtractive.” – Dottie
·         “When I went to school in the 90’s, we didn’t have emoticons.  We had actual facial expressions.” – teacher
·         Self-acceptance
-   "Only you can define yourself." - Bianca
-   "Honey, you're weird.  So?  Own it!  Be the best weirdo you can be." - Dottie

Things I liked:
·         I love Allison Janney in anything.  
·         Mae Whitman does a good job as a snarky underdog with teenage angst.
-    Clever rolling credits at the end.

Things I didn’t like:
·         I’m a big The Walking Dead: Season 1 fan, but how can Bianca possibly get a good night’s rest with those gross zombie posters on her bedroom wall?
·         The movie is a bit shallow and predictable, like some of the teens in it.
-     It's pretty sad how teenagers can be so cruel to each other.  

Funny lines:
·         “Irregardless.”  - Wesley
“Not a word.” - Bianca
(True.  I’m such a Grammar Nazi)
·         “We’re sizing up your strengths and weaknesses.” – Wesley
“And?” – Bianca
“You’re horrible.  I hope you like cats.” – Wesley
·         “J-date?  You’re not Jewish.” – Bianca
“I know.  That just makes me more exotic on the site.” – Dottie
- "I just thought of something funny and now no one's going to know."  - teen in hall after cell phones were taken away from the students.
- "You're racist against jocks.  You're jockcist." - Wesley

Terrible advice from teens:
·         “What happens in high school stays with us forever.  Most people don’t think so, but most people are losers.” – snobby girl
·         “No one’s making out if they’re 3 feet apart.” – Wesley
-    Pick-up line:  "I could tell from across the room we might be into each other.  Now that I'm here, I know.  your move."  - Wesley
Tips for Parents:
·         A LOT of sex jokes, discussion about porn, and sexual acting out
·         A LOT of profanity. 
·         Teenage partying
-     The only F-bomb dropped in the movie comes out of the mouth of Bianca's MOM.
-     Two male teachers kiss during the rolling credits at the end.

If you like any of these below, then you're going to like the movie The DUFF: (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) :


Friday, March 6, 2015

SpongeBob brings nautical nonsense to the big screen

PG, 1 hour 40 minutes

Grade:  A

In a Nutshell:  If you love SpongeBob SquarePants, then you’ll get a kick out of this colorful movie adventure by United Plankton Pictures.  The beloved pineapple-dwelling sea creature, plus the wonderful Antonio Banderas and all of your favorite Bikini Bottom characters are featured.  It’s been 15 years since we had a SpongeBob movie.  This one is just as entertaining and random as the last one, filled with nonstop gags and nautical nonsense.

Uplifting Theme:
·         Teamwork and friendship
·         Do the right thing
·         Don’t judge someone without knowing all of the facts

Things I liked:
·         My kids grew up watching SpongeBob, and they’re now in their 20’s, so this movie’s fan base isn’t limited to rug rats.  There are a lot of physical and visual gags that adults will enjoy.  I laughed out loud a bunch of times for the sheer silliness of it all.
·         Be ready for lots of puns, including a “Bad Punz” band to celebrate them.
·         Look for the little details in every scene, and look fast because everything moves quickly!
·         I love the mixing of real life with animation.  The seagulls with Antonio Banderas were pretty cute.
·         Who doesn’t love Antonio Banderas?
-     Crabby Patties....mmmmm...
-     You'll never look at a sponge the same way again.  ha ha
-     Clever ending with the pirate singing in classic Spongebob fashion.

Things I didn’t like:
·         There are MANY jokes about pooping and passing gas.  I have to put this under the category of things I didn’t like, because I’m a mother, but I confess that they made me laugh every time.
·         Not worth paying extra for 3D.  Buy popcorn instead.
-   Every scene with Bubbles the dolphin is just too weird.

Funny lines:
·         “Welcome to the apocalypse, Mr. Squidward.  I hope you like wearing leather.” – Mr. Krabs  (Timed well for the release of the Mad Max movie, some of the characters wear Mad Max leather outfits during a funny post-apocalyptic scene.)
·         “It’s raining…tanks!” – random sea creature
“You’re welcome!” – Plankton
·         “Come on, SpongeBob!  Join me!  We’ll be rich and powerful until I betray you.” – Plankton
-  "I really blew it.  No, WE blew it...we're a team."  - Spongebob
    "No.  This one's on you."  - Patrick

Tips for Parents:
·         Exaggerated cartoon slapstick and violence
·         Clean language, but insult language (“jerk”, “stupid”)

·         Lots of skin…a lot of the movie takes place on the beach.

You'll want this one in your video library:

And while you're watching the movie, enjoy these Crabby Patty snacks!