Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Inside Out is one of Pixar's most honest and deep hits

Movie:   Inside Out

PG, 1 hour 34 minutes

Grade:  A

In a Nutshell:   This is Pixar at its finest.  It’s fresh and original and surprisingly deep.  It’s about emotions, so expect to bring tissues.  With a fantastic cast and great writing, this insightful animation will touch the hearts of all ages.  It’s honest, sophisticated, and imaginative and will make you think about your own life and memories in a new way.

Uplifting Theme:
·         Amy Poehler’s character asks in the very beginning of the movie: “Do you ever look at someone and wonder what is going on inside their head?” The film is extremely creative in showing how our emotions work, as well as evolve.
·         “You can’t focus on what’s going wrong.  There’s always a way to turn it around, to find the fun.” – Joy
·         I think everyone can relate to the feeling of sadness and melancholy we feel when remembering the past.  Feeling sadness is OK.  It’s a part of life and learning.

Things I liked:
·         It’s a mature kid’s film.  In other words, there aren’t stupid farting and burping scenes, like in most kid movies.
·         The color is lush and rich and meaningful.  I love how some of the colors glow.
·         Keep watching when the credits start rolling at the end of the movie.  I love it when movies give you more.
·         “Train of thought”….ha ha
-    The funny voice talents include: Amy Poehler (Joy), Bill Hader (Fear), Lewis Black (Anger), Mindy Kaler (Disgust), Phyllis Smith (Sadness), and Richard Kind (Bing Bong).
·         I love how Joy gives herself pep talks and focuses on the good to keep herself happy.  Shouldn’t we all do that more often?  She says, “Joy, you’ll be in charge of the console, keeping Riley happy all day.  And may I add I love your dress?  It’s adorable.  Oh, this old thing?  Thank you so much!  I love the way it twirls!”  A few years ago I wrote a “Things that make me happy” list that I refer to when I’m feeling down.  I’ve been trying to fill each day of my life with more of the things on that list.  It sounds like such an “Oprah” thing to do, but it works and I highly recommend it!
·         There are several poignant moments when someone is feeling down and Sadness reflects the emotion, while carefully listening.   Joy is surprised and learns that Sadness’ response is more helpful and appropriate than simply trying to cheer someone up or change the other person’s attitude.  I’ll never forget when a dear friend’s husband died.  Everyone was at a loss as to what to say.  Most of us weakly grinned and said something like “I'm so sorry. Everything will be OK.”  I watched as someone wrapped her arms around my friend's sorrowing body and simply cried with her.  She later told me that meant more to her than anything else.   
·         I loved the teenage boy’s reaction towards the end of the movie at the hockey game.
·         I remember being 11.  It seemed like it lasted 2 years.
·         I get tired of being slapped and preached at by so many movies nowadays, but this film does none of that.  It’s an intelligent movie that allows you to reflect and dig as deep as you would like.
·         Director Pete Docter successfully manages to make you feel happy and sad at the same time, like he did in Pixar’s brilliant movie “Up”.

Things I didn’t like:
·         Some parts of Joy’s journey seemed super random and willy-nilly.  Then again, some parts of my own journey are that way too.

Funny lines:
·         “I read somewhere that an empty room is an opportunity.” - Joy
“Where did you read that?”  - Anger
“It doesn’t matter. I read it and it’s great.” – Joy
·         “Congratulations, San Francisco.  You’ve ruined pizza!  First, the Hawaiians and now you!” – Anger
·         “Crying helps me slow down and obsess over the weight of life’s problems.” – Sadness
·         “When I’m through, Riley will look so good, the other kids will look at their own outfits and barf.”  - Disgust
·         “Being cool is so exhausting.” – Emo teenager
·         “Wait Joy!  You’ll get lost in there.” – Sadness
“Think positive!” – Joy
“Okay…I’m positive that you’ll get lost in there.”  - Sadness
·         “Maybe it was a bear?” – Fear
“There are no bears in San Francisco.”  - Disgust
“I saw a really hairy guy.  He looked like a bear.” - Anger

Tips for Parents:
·         Watching this film together creates a great opportunity to talk to your kids about life’s experiences and how they’re feeling.  As a society, we’re often told to just have a good attitude and everything will work out.  Well, sometimes things don’t work out.  Kids need to know that their feelings are valid; they’re allowed to feel angry or disappointed or scared.  It’s acting on our feelings that can often get us in trouble.
·         The movie is clean and inoffensive.
·         There is a scary clown scene that might worry wee ones (I just got back from Scotland and so I have to use the word “wee”).

·         Pixar has always been mindful of parents who are paying for the movie tickets and sitting through the film with their kids.  As a mom, I definitely appreciate that.  This movie is different in that parents may actually enjoy this movie more than their kids will, because of the profound truths layered underneath the color and fun. 
This is one you'll want to watch again:

Sure, there will be merchandising.  I don't mind on this one.  It's already out:

Monday, June 29, 2015

Critics are saying good-bye to Aloha

Movie:    Aloha

PG-13, 1 hour 45 minutes

Grade:  C

In a Nutshell:   The cast is a delight to watch: Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, John Krasinski, Alec Baldwin and Bill Murray.  Unfortunately, this RomCom is just too messy.   Most of the characters will frustrate you, as well as the pacing and transitions.  It’s pretty predictable, but yeah, I’m a sucker…the last scene made me tear up a little anyway.

Uplifting Theme:
·         In the beginning of the movie, a kid who is a Hawaiian myth buff (played by Jaeden Lieberher)  announces the theme by asking Colonel “Fingers”, “Are you aware of the so-called ‘Arrival Myth’?  The calendars all say that this week is the return of the playful Hawaiian god “Lono” and he will wreak havoc in the sky with the fire goddess Pele.”
·         “Nothing’s sacred.  It’s all for sale.” – Brian Gilcrest (Bradley Cooper)
·         Bill Murray’s character explains “The future isn’t just something that happens.  It’s a brutal force with a great sense of humor that’ll steam-roll you if you’re not watching.”
·         Islander purity and folktale vs. big business

Things I liked:
·         The movie starts with the sounds and images of old Hawaii, including cultural and military history.  Throughout the movie you get to hear lots of great Hawaiian music and feel the laid-back attitude of the islanders.
·         Emma Stone’s character describes Bradley Cooper’s character by saying “you look into his eyes and it’s like miles of blue.”  I’m pretty sure a lot of other women would agree.
·         Who doesn’t like Alec Baldwin as a fast-talking general?  I first loved him in a military uniform in The Hunt for Red October
·         The unspoken “conversations” between Brian and Woody weres hilarious and awesome.
·         Watching Emma Stone dance with Bill Murray was both funny and disturbing.  She said “I danced with the devil and I liked it.”

Things I didn’t like:
·         It’s pretty insensitive and inappropriate for a spouse to invite an ex over for dinner, don’t you think?  It’s got to be one of the most awkward positions you can put your spouse in, right?  Rachel McAdams’ character seemed too selfish to me by putting her unfinished, romantic past before the needs and happiness of her marriage and family. Yeah, yeah…there’s that “thing”…NO Spoiler alert.
·         Emma Stone’s character is a little too intense and the performance uneven.
·         It might surprise you to know this mediocre movie was written and directed by Cameron Crowe, who brought us box office hits like Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous

Funny lines:
·         “A double espresso.” – Brian
“Good morning Sir!  I’m so jacked for today!”  - Allison Ng
“Make that a triple.” – Brian
·         “Why is dad in places where the war is supposed to be over?” - Grace
“Oh, I don’t know, Sweetie.  That’s why your mom takes long walks.” – Tracy
·         “You’re a workaholic who creates works to avoid real work.” – Tracy
“Well, I’m still working on that.” – Brian
·         “I don’t hook-up; I get deployed.” – Allison Ng
·         “I’d just rather be alone.  Mostly it’s with guys like me.  I just call them ‘alone- togethers.’” – Allison Ng
·         “Happy holidays Bottom-Feeder.” – General Dixon

Interesting lines:
·         I will tell you this for sure.  In its many forms , I have found that nothing beats fun.” – Brian
“Maybe, purpose.”  - Allison Ng
·         “If we can’t look up and see purity or promise, we are finished.” – Allison Ng

Tips for Parents:
·         Young children will be bored with all of the romantic drama.  Teenage girls will get lost in Bradley Cooper’s eyes and the love triangle.
·         There is very little profanity

·         Pre-marital sex,.  You see people kissing and then later, they're in bed.

Other movies by Cameron Crowe:

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

How are movies rated in YOUR country?

Thank you for reading Movie Review Maven every week!
I love watching movies and hope you love reading my reviews!

You may have noticed that I don't review any Rated R movies, unless I've seen an edited, cleaned-up version.  My goal is give families a better of idea of which movies to watch.  Here in the United States, a Rated R movie means you're going to hear more than 1 F-bomb, and probably see nudity and extreme violence.  As a mother of 4 sons, I don't find that to be family-friendly viewing!

Here is how movie ratings work in the USA:

A friend of mine, Vanessa Alfaia in Brazil, explained how movie ratings work in her country:
L     (appropriate for all ages)
10   (not recommended for kids below 10 years old)
12   (not recommended for kids below age 12)
14   (not recommended for kids below age 14)
16   (not recommended for kids below age 16)
18   (not recommended for kids below age 18 - mostly for adults)

I've noticed that a lot of international readers follow my movie review blog, so I'd love to hear how movies are rated in YOUR country!  Please share in the comment box below!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Can't wait for Eddie Radmayne in Harry Potter prequel!

REDMAYNE CAST IN HARRY POTTER PREQUEL: Actor Eddie Redmayne has signed on to star in the forthcoming Harry Potter prequel,Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the Warner Bros. studio announced that Redmayne will play Newt Scamander, the magizoologist of the wizarding world, who was introduced in J.K. Rowling’s best-selling series. 

The movie will be directed by David Yates, who was also behind the final four installments of the Harry Potter series. Fantastic Beasts is slated for release on November 18, 2016 in 3-D and IMAX.

I thought Eddie Redmayne was fantastic in The Theory of Everything and he definitely deserved the Oscar his performance won.