Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Newest Ben-Hur movie is half the length of Charlton Heston's Oscar-winning film

Movie Title: Ben Hur
Grade:   B-

Rating:  PG-13, 124 minutes

In a Nutshell:   I grew up watching the 1959 Oscar-winning original every Easter when it would play on TV.  

As a Christian, I’m always grateful to see religious-based movies hit the Big Screen.  However, as a Christian, I’m often disappointed.  

While the Charlton Heston adaptation earned 11 Academy Awards, this 6th version will be mostly forgotten.   Watch the original instead.

Uplifting theme: 
  • Redemption.
  • Revenge vs. forgiveness
  • Mercy vs. justice
  • Fear vs. faith
  • Kindness vs. brutality

Things I liked:
  • This was filmed at the same site in Rome as the 1959 movie.
  • Some of the sets were actually very good.
  • The Roman ship battle scene was very impressive.  You’ll want to take a deep breath when it’s over.
  • The chariot race towards the end was brutal, action-packed, and pretty exciting.
  • Cheers to married couple Roma Downey and Mark Burnett who keep trying to bring family-friendly, inspiring movies to Christian audiences.  In fact, this adaptation shows more scenes with Jesus than any other version of Ben-Hur.
  • Jack Huston sells us on his character's development.

Things I didn’t like:
  • It doesn’t seem to have the same heart and soul as the Charlton Heston version. 
  • The first half of the movie was a bit of a snore fest.
  • Choppy editing.
  • There is a lot of very obvious foreshadowing.
  • This remake doesn’t really add anything new or even offer a different perspective to give audiences a reason to watch it.
  • A lot of CGI, although it was done well.
  • I always feel so sad for the horses in these sandal and sword movies.
  • I wanted to cry and really feel something, but the few touching scenes were too rushed.
  • Yeow!  Yeow!  Yeow!  Yeow!  (chariot race)
  • This remake is half the length of Charlton Heston’s famous film that lasted almost four hours.  Granted, four hours is really too long for a movie (the popcorn only lasts 20 minutes).  I guess you could call this version “efficient.”  
  • This movie will give you a headache if you see it in 3D.  2D is perfectly fine and enough.
  • When you see Morgan Freeman playing the old sage, you know this movie isn’t going to be offering anything new.  I mean, how many times have we seen him play that role already?  Don’t get me wrong.  I do love him.  But wait, Morgan Freeman in dreadlocks?  That's new.

Interesting lines:
  • “What should I do?” – Judah Ben-Hur  (Jack Huston)
“You’ve done enough.  Now pray!” – Naomi (Ayelet Zurer)
  • “Love your enemies.” – Jesus (Rodrigo Santoro)
“That’s progressive.” – Judah
“It’s the truth.” – Jesus
  • “We don’t kill all Romans.” – girl in tent
“Well, that’s not very comforting to the dead ones.” – Judah
  • “You confuse peace with freedom.” – man in tent
  • “You should have stayed away.” – Messala (Toby Kebbell)
“You should have killed me.” – Judah Ben-Hur  (Jack Huston)
“I will.” – Messala

Tips for parents:   

  • Fighting, blood, suffering, drowning, trampling.  In other words, LOTS of violent sequences.
  • Some kids just don't like older movies, so this newest version of Ben-Hur will be a nice introduction to this loosely-based Bible story for them.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is raunchy and disgusting

Movie Title:    Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
Grade:  D- for disgusting

Rating:  R, 98 minutes of trash.   THIS MOVIE IS DEFINITELY R!

In a Nutshell:  Supposedly based on a true story, this vulgar comedy is always offensive and occasionally funny. 

Sam Richardson’s character explains the other characters well when he tells them, “You’re all self-absorbed, barely functioning, co-dependent weirdo’s.”  Yeah, pretty much.  They’re so moronic that they almost seem mentally retarded.   Not exactly my idea of good comedy.  Raunchy and disgusting.

  • “I think reason we always get ourselves into such xxxx is because we’re always telling each other we’re awesome when we’re not being awesome.” – Alice
  • “I think occasionally we should think about how we make other people feel.” - Alice

Things I liked:
  • The cast is young, hip and really hot right now: Zac Efron, Anna Kendrick, Adam DeVine, and Aubrey Plaza.
  • You get to see some fun things to do in Hawaii.  For example, you can actually drive ATV’s through the north part of Hawaii where they filmed portions of the movie Jurassic Park.

Things I didn’t like:
  • This is a very crude movie with very little redeeming value.
  • Zac Efron and Anna Kendrick deserve much better material than this.  Why would they choose to make such a trashy movie like this?
  • What’s going on with Anna Kendrick’s color-changing wig?
  • Alice and Tatiana are total skanks.
  • It’s so over the top that it’s just dumb. 
  • If this is how American young adults behave, then our country is truly in trouble.
  • This is what happens when people have more money than brains.
  • The trailer pretty much shows all of the funny parts.
  • Adam DeVine and Anna Kendrick have a surprisingly bad musical number at the end.
  • Super crude outtakes at the end.

Funny lines:
  • “We’re not party ruiners; we’re party creators.” – Dave Strangle
  • “We don’t rile each other up!!!” – Dave
“We never get riled!!!” – Mike Strangle
  • “Tatiana, your underwear needs more underwear.” – Alice
  • “Look at that personality from behind.” – Mike
  • “The key to teaching children is repetition.  You’d be surprised how stupid they are.” – Tatiana
  • “You look like Burn Victim Barbie.” – Mike
  • “You are not a loser.  Dude, you introduced me to the Ninja Turtles.” - Dave

Tips for parents:   
  •  A million F-bombs and other profanity.
  • Girls wearing very few clothes, sometimes none at all.
  • There is some risky, disrespectful, reckless behavior that will make parents cringe.
  • There is a naked massage scene and sauna scene that are extremely inappropriate and graphic.
  • There is a lesbian who keeps hitting on one of the girls.
  • You see full frontal female nudity, as well as another woman’s bare breast.
  • There MANY sexual jokes and conversations.
  • There is a lot of binge alcohol drinking.
  • Two girls take the drug Ecstasy and go crazy for several hours.
  • This movie is pure trash. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Genius is for book lovers

Movie Title:    Genius

Grade:  A-

Rating:  PG-13, 104 minutes

In a Nutshell:  
I'm an official book nerd, so I really liked this movie. 

As an author of 21 published books, I was fascinated with the working relationship between the 20th-century "genius" writer Thomas Wolfe and his famous book editor Maxwell Perkins.  

Based on the biography “Max Perkins: Editor of Genius” by A. Scott Berg, this stylish film is beautifully shot and has some gorgeous vignettes in almost every scene.

In a summer full of remakes and loud explosions, this period piece will hit you in the heart, not over the head.  It was fascinating to watch Thomas Wolfe and his editor create better sentences together. As you watch the film unfold, ask yourself: Which man was the true genius?

Uplifting theme: 
  • “Human beings aren’t fiction.” – Aline Bernstein (Nicole Kidman)
  • I loved the conversation Tom and Max had about the importance of stories.  Tom saw the people struggling during the Great Depression in America and decided that what he wrote was trivial in comparison to what they were dealing with in their lives.  Max explained that in the beginning of time, when people would gather around the fire at night to get protection from the howling wolves around them, someone would begin to talk and tell a story.  The stories gave them comfort so they wouldn’t be afraid of the dark.  Tom puts his head on Max's shoulder and breathes a sigh of gratitude and understanding.  Sweet moment.
  • The creative process is messy!
  • Words are powerful things.
  • Transformative relationships and friendships.

Things I liked:
  • For those who are unfamiliar with Thomas Wolfe, you’ll get to hear snatches of some of his beautiful work.
  • Jude Law gives an excellent performance.
  • It was fun to watch Max interact with other famous writers he discovered like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway.
  • There are some really clever, funny, insightful conversations.
  • The cast is absolutely terrific: Colin Firth, Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Laura Linney, Guy Pearce, Dominic West.
  • The musical score was very understated, yet extremely powerful when it needed to be.  Nice job.
  • It’s hard to show someone writing on paper look exciting on the Big Screen, but it works in this stirring film.
  • It was fun to watch Max's family listening to the radio in the 1920’s with everyone gathered in the family room, on the couches, on the floor, letting their imaginations run wild.
  • Director Michael Grandage is a Tony Award winner who is now bringing his magic to the movies.  Welcome!
  • John Logan is an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter who brought us Gladiator, The Aviator, Hugo, and Skyfall.  I loved all of those films.

Things I didn’t like:
  • Max wears his hat indoors and outdoors, in almost every scene he is in.  Am I missing some kind of deep symbolism?  Was it supposed to illustrate his own quirky mania that each of his writers possessed?
  • The movie uncovers the inner turmoil that some of the greatest writers of the early 20th century endured.  Most popcorn-crunching, action-seeking audiences won’t be able to sit through such a movie. 
  • Watching this movie may feel a little bit like reading one of Thomas Wolfe's books...long winded, but worth the effort.
  • Some viewers describe the relationship between Tom and Max as a bromance, but it's more of a father/son relationship that is complicated like normal father/son relationships.
  • The movie poster could have been so much more compelling.

Interesting lines:
  • “It’s not the page count that matters; it’s the storytelling.” – Max
  • “I hate to see the words go!” – Thomas
  • “They’re working girls.  It doesn’t count.” – Tom
  • “Yes, Tom.  It does.” – Max
  • “Editors should be anonymous.” – Max
  • “That’s what makes editors lose sleep.  Are we really making books better?  Or are we just making them different?” – Max Perkins
  • “I don’t exist anymore.  I’ve been…edited.” –  Aline Bernstein
  • “Enjoy the time with Tom.  Because after him, there is a great hush.” – Aline Bernstein
  • “Am I supposed to grow up like you?” – Tom
“No, Tom.  But you’re supposed to grow up.” - Max

Funny lines:
  • “Good that Tolstoy never met you!  We’d have that great novel ‘War and Nothing.’" - Thomas

Tips for parents:   

  • Children and most teens are going to be bored.
  • Thomas Wolfe is a loud and obnoxious drunk during most of the movie.  In one scene, he kisses some "working girls."

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Netflix has more shows to watch than you thought!

Below is a great article I just found by Glenn Beck that opens up a whole new world of movie-watching possibilities!

Did you know this? There are secret Netflix codes that unlock thousands of hidden movies and TV shows. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I search Netflix and think, “That’s it?” I just can’t find anything I want to watch. But there’s a trick I just learned. 

It turns out Netflix is a little like Big Brother. They’re watching, all the time, with an algorithm to learn your preferences. Based on your viewing history, they display shows that might be of interest to you. Which is great, really, unless you want to watch something outside of your normal fare. Let’s say you’ve been watching When Harry Met Sally non-stop for weeks (because who doesn’t love a good Rom Com, right?). 

Well, if you want to switch it up and watch a military action movie, your choices may be limited. UNLESS, you know that Military Action & Adventure movies are coded as 2125. Search with that code and your options explode. 

Here’s how it works: • You have to have a Netflix account. • Log into your Netflix account on a desktop computer (it might work on other devices…try it out). • Search with this URL and the genre code at the end: 

Here are a few more examples:
 • Biographical Dramas:

 • Classic War Movies: 

• Classic Westerns: 

• Vampire Horror Movies: 

This opens up a whole new world of entertainment possibilities. The LIST OF GENRES is on Netflix. Click a genre button and you can see the code in your browser URL address.

 Try it and let me know what you think. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Nerve has more suspense than brains

Movie Title:   Nerve
Grade:  B

Rating:  PG-13, 96 minutes

In a Nutshell:  “Nerve is a 24 hour game like truth or dare minus the truth.”   

This suspenseful movie is made for teens who are obsessed with themselves and think everyone else is too.  It appeals to adrenaline junkies who want to be “instafamous” and offers an interesting commentary about social media.

Teenagers will probably think this movie is super cool.  Be forewarned:  Do NOT try these dares at home…or any other place.

  • “Are you a watcher or player?” - Nerve game
  • “Life is passing you by.  You need to take a few risks every once in a while.” – Sydney (Emily Meade)
  • Everyone has an inner desire to be famous.
  • “It’s easy to be brave in a crowd.” – Vee
  • Even though we can be anonymous online, there are still very real consequences to our virtual actions.

Things I liked:
  • This is surprisingly entertaining.  The action is non-stop.
  • Pretty good music soundtrack, although it usually tells you how to feel in almost every scene.
  • I like the size of Sydney’s cell phone.  Ha ha
  • It’s definitely suspenseful.
  • Emma Roberts and Dave Franco have great chemistry together.
  • New York City and Staten Island vistas at every turn.
  • Hey, this isn’t a remake! Finally, a summer movie that isn't a remake of something else! There is, however, another movie made years ago with Michael Douglas called “The Game”, which has a similar story but without all of the digital effects and social media aspects.
  • Almost every scene has neon in it.  The movie feels young and energetic.
  • Some movie critics say there isn’t really any resolution in the end, but I actually thought it worked.  It was fast, but then so was the entire movie.

Things I didn’t like:
  • The idea is that the camera sees everything, yet there is no one actually there filming at every angle.  Don’t think very hard, because most of the things in this movie don’t make sense.
  • This is what happens when you have kids with more time than brains.
  • The loss of a loved one and the inability to move on is a clich├ęd background story.  The movie doesn't spend very much time on character development, but does insert a brief backstory that fuels the motivation for each character.
  • NOT a spoiler alert: I don’t appreciate that they make the cops out to be the bad guys. 
  • I hate it when people are afraid to report crimes being committed because then they're labeled a snitch.  Isn't the crime a LOT worse than being a "tattle-tale"?  One of the rules in the Nerve game says "Snitches = stitches.”  I wish people felt more safe reporting crimes in general.

Interesting lines:
  • “I don’t want space.  I want you.” – Nancy
  • “I’m sorry.  When you said ‘live my life’ did you mean live my life in your shadow?” – Vee
  • Vee, do you really trust that guy?  He’s the one who got you into this mess.” – Sydney
“I’M the one who got me into this mess.” – Vee

Funny lines:
  • “You guys are the dumbest smart kids I’ve ever met.” – Nancy (Juliette Lewis)
  • “Crazy first date, huh?” – Ian (Dave Franco)
“Is that what that was?” – Vee (Emma Roberts

Tips for parents:   

  • There is a LOT of VERY risky teenage behavior.
  • Direct democracy = mob mentality.  Talk to your kids about why America's Founding Fathers did all they could to prevent our government from being a direct democracy and why they chose to create a Republic instead. 
  • Do your kids know about the “Dark Web”?  They probably know more about it than you do.
  • Farting.  More farting.
  • Profanity.
  • You see people text crude comments on their cell phones.
  • You see 2 teens in their underwear.
  • You see another 2 teens making out on a bed at a party without all of their clothes on.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Jason Bourne franchise still alive

Movie Title:     Jason Bourne
Grade:  B

Rating:  PG-13, 123 minutes

In a Nutshell:   If you’re a fan of the Bourne movie franchise, then you will want to see this movie, regardless of any critic’s review.  

I love Jason Bourne and Matt Damon, so I was looking forward to it, although I wondered what more the writers could possibly say or do to the story line.  The fact that it is “more of the same” is its strength AND weakness.

So, is this 4th installment the last?  Who knows.  If this one makes any money, then you can bet there will be another one.   Who knew Robert Ludlum’s “The Bourne Trilogy” series would keep going?

  • Personal rights vs. public safety
  • Revenge
  • “Privacy means freedom.” – Aaron Kalloor (Riz Ahmed)
  • Cyber security
  • Family

Things I liked:
  • I love Jason Bourne kicking bad guy butt.  Forty-five year old Matt Damon produced the film.  You see a lot of pictures and even clips of him in his younger days.
  • Tommy Lee Jones can always be counted on to do a great job playing a good/bad Sherriff/Director/agent in any film.
  • Alicia Vikander is beautiful to watch.  She started out with a bit of a British accent, but then it quickly toned down to a believable American one.  She’s actually Swedish and a very good singer!  She won the “Rising Star Award” at the 2010 Film Festival in Sweden and even won the role of a Danish queen in a 2012 movie without knowing any Danish.  Her career is definitely one to watch.
  • It was nice to see Julia Stiles again.
  • I wanted to beat the crap out of Vincent Cassel, who plays a brutal, vengeful agent with Jason Bourne in his sights…literally.
  • The car chase scene down the famous Las Vegas Strip was pretty doggone impressive.  The most unbelievable thing about that scene, however, is that it is absolutely impossible to drive down Las Vegas Boulevard that fast.  I live in Vegas and can tell you that it is ALWAYS crowded and cars inch slowly along the road bumper to bumper.  Ha ha  At one point, cars crash into the Riviera Hotel, which no longer exists.  Las Vegas is the Capital of Implosions and just demolished the "Riv" in June.  Check out this clip from the real life implosion. 

  • The film begins with some old clips from past movies in case you forgot what happened 9 years ago in the last flick.
  • One thing I love about the Bourne franchise is that you get to travel all over the world in the movies.

Things I didn’t like:
  • Does anyone actually like the “shaky cam” effect?  Every time there was a close-up, the jiggling around would begin.  That’s so annoying.
  • Sometimes you have to read really fast to catch written words on computer screens or other documents.
·       At some point, almost every character in the movie says “Understood.”
·       The same flashback gets played over and over.
·       The same tense music and drum beats during almost the entire
*       Some lines in the trailer weren't in the actual movie.

Interesting lines:
  • “I remember.  I remember everything.” – Jason Bourne
  •  “He’s seen things.  He knows things.” -  Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander)
  • “What if he’s not coming for us.  What if it’s something else?”   Heather Lee
  • “I know who I am.  I remember everything.” – Jason Bourne
“Remembering everything doesn’t mean you know everything.” – Nicky Parsons
“Tell me.”  - Jason Bourne
  • “I volunteered because of a lie.” – Jason Bourne
“No, you volunteered because of who you are.” – Director Dewey
  • “We’ve just been hacked.” – Craig Jeffers (Ato Essandoh)
“How bad?” – Director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones)
“Could be worse than Snowden.” – Craig      - By the way, there is a movie about Snowden that hits theaters on September 9, 2016.
  • “He is involved in this somehow.  I can feel it.” – Director Dewey
  • “You don’t know the truth about what they did to you.” – Nicky
  • “You have no idea who you’re dealing with.” – Director Dewey
  • “I’m trying to find another way.” – Jason Bourne
“And how’s that working out for you?” – Director Dewey

Tips for parents:   

  • LOTS of shooting, killing, crashes, riots, and bloody hand-to-hand combat.  This is a very violent movie.
  • Some profanity.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Pete's Dragon is simply sweet

Movie Title: Pete's Dragon

Grade:  B

Rating:  PG, 90 minutes

In a Nutshell:   Disney is on a live-action roll!  This is a charming family movie for all ages. 

In fact, it’s the adults who will probably get the most out of it, feeling like children again.  It’s very touching and a simplified version of the 1977 original.  

Uplifting theme: 
  • “There’s magic in the woods if you know where to look for it.” –  Meacham (Robert Redford)
  • “If you go through life only seeing what’s right in front of you, you’re going to miss a lot.” – Meacham
  • Family, belonging
  • “Just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it’s not there.” – Meacham
  • Why we love and need a faithful pet.

Things I liked:
  • Little Levi Alexander, who played the young Pete, is absolutely adorable.
  • Oakes Fegley does a great job as Pete.
  • Popular Mormon YouTube artist Lindsey Stirling created the song “Something Wild”, which is featured in the movie.  Did you know she is the highest paid female YouTuber?!  Her newest album “Something Wild” just dropped last Monday. Andrew McMahon sings the vocals. 
  • Beautiful forest scenery.
  • Sweet ending.
  • I liked that Elliott, the dragon, didn’t look sugary sweet, but had just the right amount of scariness and believability.
  • The car accident was handled well in the beginning, although young children may be frightened by the scenario.
  • I saw it in 3D, but it’s just as good without the added 3D element.
  • Great blend of CGI and real humans.
  • I’m always happy to see Bryce Dallas Howard.  Her emotional performance got to me.
  • Who doesn’t love Robert Redford?
  • You get to see the dragon.  A lot.  Yay.

Things I didn’t like:
  • If you're looking for a remake of the original musical movie, you will be disappointed.  
  • The relationship development between Grace and Pete seemed too fast.  It seemed unrealistic that Pete would so quickly leave the only friend he had ever known for most of his young life (Eliott) to go with Grace, whom he had just met.
  • Karl Urban’s character, Gavin, was too one-dimensional.
  • There was a little bit of humor, but there could have been more.
·       The film has an E.T. quality about it, as most of the adults in the town don’t understand magic or friendship.  I’m not sure why I put that in the “Things I didn’t like” section.  Maybe because that idea is no longer original?

Interesting lines:
  • “That’s the other thing about an adventure; you have to be very brave.” – Dad (Gareth Reeves)
  • “You might be the bravest boy I’ve ever met.” – Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard)
  • “It was like magic.  There’s no other word to describe it.  It was magic.  It changed the way I see the world.” – Meacham

Tips for parents:   

  • No profanity.  Very clean.
  • Your kids are probably going to want a pet now.
  • Good time to buy the book so your kids can relive the magic over and over again.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

He Named Me Malala will break your heart and inspire you

Movie Title:    He Named Me Malala
Grade:   B-

Rating:  PG-13, 87 minutes

In a Nutshell:   This true story is one that needs to be told.  

Unfortunately, the film is underwhelming considering the importance of the subject material.  It is informative, but not engrossing enough to create raving fans or high box office sales.

The film is a powerful educational tool for teenagers and even comes with free discussion guides for teachers to use in a classroom setting.  #WithMalala   Hopefully, teens, especially girls, will be inspired and motivated to make a positive difference in the world.

Uplifting theme: 
  • Stand up for what is right.  Stand up for rights.
  • Countless unsung heroes have paid the price for freedom.
  • “It’s better to live like a lion for one day than to live like a slave for a hundred years.” – Malala
  • “It is so hard to get things done in this world.  You try and too often it doesn’t work, but you have to continue and you never give up.” – Malala
  • “Change matters.” – Malala’s father
  • Education is power.  Malala’s father stated, “When you educate a girl, it transforms her.  It transforms our world.”  So true.
  • “There’s a moment when you have to choose whether to be silent or to stand up.” - Malala

Things I liked:
  • It was smart to use animation sequences to separate the past from the present, as the film jumps back and forth in time.  
  • Malala’s father is truly remarkable. The film explains that his family pedigree only included the names of men for 300 years, until he was the first to add his daughter’s name to it. He has such a better way of seeing the world than is common in his culture.  He has done a lot for women’s rights and forward thinking.
  • It’s impressive to hear the profound things Malala says and then remember that she is still a teenager.  She received the Nobel Peace Prize and was listed in the Top 100 Most Influential People by Time magazine.
  • I thought it was interesting that, although Malala would be killed if she returned to Pakistan, she still wanted to go back.  She said, “I miss the dirty streets.”
  • There are so many positive lessons to be gleaned from Malala’s story and life.  Her father stammers sometimes and she said that she was impressed with his persistence and never let his speech impediment slow him down.  She suggested to him that he simply choose another word when he stumbles on a particular word, but instead, he persists until he finally gets it right.  Impressive man.

Things I didn’t like:
  • Sometimes it’s hard to understand Malala’s accent. 
  • It took me awhile to get into the movie, but by the end, I was glad I spent the time to learn more about Malala and her story. 
  • The beautiful home in England where Malala’s family now lives and all of the media coverage make you wonder who it was  who pushed for all of the attention and how much money was made from her story.  Some people have been critical of Malala’s father, saying that he orchestrated all of the coverage in order to gain money and notoriety.  When confronted with that criticism, Malala stated, “My father gave me the name Malala.  He did not make me Malala.  I chose this life.”  Good answer.
  • It feels more like a documentary than a feature film.
  • Malala’s little brother talks about how she slaps him every day.  She explains it’s a loving gesture.  I understand the filmmakers were trying to show her playful relationship with her siblings, but considering the film is about violence, I wouldn’t have highlighted that interaction. 
  • A clip shows Malala saying, “I believe there is no difference between a man and woman,” but then immediately says, “A woman is more powerful than a man.”  Huh?  While Malala says some very insightful things in the film, that inconsistent logic shouldn’t have been included.
  • There isn't very much humor, so the movie can feel very heavy after awhile.

Interesting and inspiring lines:
  • “Dear sisters, don’t be fooled by superstitions.” – radio host who inspired Malala as a young girl
  • “School was my home.” – Malala   (Her father was a school teacher, so she spent many hours playing and studying in the school where he taught.)
  • “I think she’s not independent and free because she’s not educated.” – Malala said this about her mother
  • “I think she’s addicted to books.” – Malala’s brother said this about her.  Later, she explains “One book can change the world.”
  • “I saw her completion in me and I saw my completion in her.” – Malala’s father said this about when he first met his wife.
  • “God is not that tiny.” – Malala
  • An interviewer asked Malala’s father who shot her.  He answered, “It was not a person.  It was an ideology.”
  • In speaking about the Taliban, Malala stated, “They were not about faith.  They were about power.”
  • “If my rights are violated, and I keep silent, I should better die than live.” – Malala’s father
  • “Let us pick up our books and our pens.  They are our most powerful weapons.” – Malala
  • “A conscience exists in the world that extends beyond all boundaries.” – Malala’s father

  • Young children may be bored.  The topics are serious, political, and often dark.
  • There is a scene that describes when Malala and some of her classmates were shot on a school bus.  You see some blood on the bus, which could be frightening for young children.
  • There is some live footage of past events, but most of the violent history is shown in animation.
  • No profanity.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Ice Age: Collision Course crashes

Movie Title:  Ice Age: Collision Course
Grade:   D+

Rating:  PG, 100 minutes

In a Nutshell:  Although this film is only the fifth in the series, it somehow feels like so much more.  It also feels like a money grab from a franchise that should probably be extinct now.

That being said, rug rats will love the goofy antics and colorful action. 

Uplifting theme:   
  • Friendship
  • Hope
  • Faith in our children to make good choices and courage to let them.

Things I liked:
  • The beginning sequence of our favorite acorn-loving squirrel shows an alternate beginning of the universe, included with the voice of Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson. Later, you get to see an animated deGrasse Tyson creature of some sort.  Weazel?
  • The voice talents include Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Lopez, Adam DeVine, Max Greenfield, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Josh Peck, Simon Pegg,Wanday Sykes, Seann William Scott, and Nick Offerman.
  • Parents will get a kick out of some of the musical references.
  • There are some new characters.

Things I didn’t like:
  • Unfortunately, the thin plot and weak script don't serve the talented cast as much as it should or could.
  • It feels like it should have just gone straight to DVD or as a Saturday morning cartoon.
  • It’s really not very funny.
  • A lot of things don't make sense and start to bug you.
  • The original, of course, was the best one.
  • If you haven't seen any of the previous movies, you won't see any of the charm or character development that occurred before.

Funny lines:
  •  “Everyone has somebody, but all I have is my boyish good looks and this mariachi band.” – Sid
  • “I didn’t know sucking was a strategy.” –  Granny (Wanda Sykes)
  • “Nature’s sunshine!” – Julian (Adam DeVine)
“Isn’t sunshine nature’s sunshine?” – Manny (Ray Romano)
  • “You’re the wind beneath my fleas.” – Sid
  • “You may be Jurassic, but I am fantastic.” – Buck (Simon Pegg)
  • “Sweet eye patch.  Very gangster.” – Julian
  • “Sorry.  I just love playing Devil’s Advocate and looking FABULOUS!” – Buck
  • “Why can’t we just fear the Apocalypse like a normal family?” – Roger (Max Greenfield)
  • “Baby made a poopie.  I’m a method actor, so I WILL need to be changed.” – Crash (Seann William Scott)
  • “Oh Brooke, you’re so pretty you take my lisp away.” – Sid
  • “You know what I love about our family?  That we’re alive.” - Roger

Tips for parents:   

  • Parents will be happy that the film includes some science facts. 
  • No profanity.
  • Several nipple humor jokes. 
  • Because of the young target market for this movie, there are a lot of butt jokes, farts, and other “potty” humor.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Ghostbusters isn't as good or bad as you thought it would be

Movie Title:        Ghostbusters
Grade:  B

Rating:  PG-13, 105 minutes

In a Nutshell:  Some of the funny women of Saturday Night Live, including 4 time guest host of SNL Melissa McCarthy, star in this reboot of the 1984 smash hit.  

The beloved original (which I loved) is hard to beat, but this version gives it a respectable shot.

Written and directed by Paul Feig, this movie isn’t as good as you want, but also not as bad as you thought it would be. 

Uplifting theme: 
  • “No woman should walk around unarmed.” – Jillian
  • “The purpose of life is to love.” – Jillian
  • Female empowerment.

Things I liked:
  • Cameos and references from the fantastic cast of the original movie.
  • Terrific cast includes Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Chris Hemsworth, and Cecily Strong.
  • Keep watching during the final credits for a peek at the sequel…
  • At the end of the movie, it says “For Harold Ramis.”  A lot of people don’t realize that he died in 2014.
  • Chris Hemsworth.
  • You’ll laugh out loud at least a couple of times.
  • The action sequences are better than the original, thanks to new movie technology.
  • I thought Zach Woods’ comments as the tour guide at the very beginning of the movie were really funny.

Things I didn’t like:
  • It doesn’t have quite the charm as the original.
  • Does this reboot add anything new to the original?  No, not really.  Oh yeah, Chris Hemsworth.
  • The script didn’t allow these comediennes to really knock our socks off.  The material just isn’t as good as they are.
  • Every male character in this movie is either an idiot or a jerk.
  • Although this film isn’t the greatest ever made, it certainly doesn’t deserve all the hate that has been spewing over it online.
  • The villain isn’t anything special or memorable.
  • Needs better pacing.

Funny lines:
  •  “Something big is gonna happen!” - Erin
“The word we’re looking for is Apocalypse!” – Jillian
  • “That is a deadly high five.” -  Abby
  • So, I don’t know if it’s a race thing or a lady thing, but I’m mad as hell.” – Patty
  • “How can you be eating right now?” – Erin Gilbert
“Try saying no to these salty parabolas.” – Jillian Holtzmann
  • “Am I on crack or is this a good logo?” – Jillian
  • “That’s where I saw that weird sparking thing.” – Patty Tolan
“What was it?” – Erin
“If I knew what it was, I wouldn’t say ‘weird sparking thing.’” – Patty
  • “Why am I using the untested nuclear thing?” – Erin
“You have the longest arms.” – Jillian
  • “Ah, it’s always the sad, pale ones.” – Jillian
  • “You hate to see the smart ones go bad.” – Jillian
  • “You guys, this is exactly how I pictured my death.” – Jillian
  • “Who’s the flying beefcake?” – Rourke
  • “What year is it?” – Abby
“It’s 2040.  Our president is a plant.” – Jillian
  • “I’m just looking for a reasonable ratio between wontons and broth.  This is absolute madness.” – Abby
  • “It transports ghosts and I don’t know where, but I think it’s Michigan.” –
  • “Safety lights are for dudes.” – Jillian

Tips for parents: 

  • A lot of crude jokes.
  • Some of the ghosts could be frightening for small children.
  • Some profanity.
  • Lots of slime, which your kids will love.