Dazzled by Now You See Me

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Thanks to a fall which resulted in a broken ankle I will be spending the next two weeks with my butt on the couch. The good thing about this is it gives me plenty of time to be EnterTAYned!

I started this morning with a movie I had really wanted to see and am now regretting not seeing it theatres. Now You See Me has a Star Studded cast yes but it also has a story that wows and a twist I did not see coming. I was sure I knew who the person in the gray hoodie was. I was so surprised and thrilled to find out I was completely and totally wrong. I love the fact that I didn’t figure it out because, as someone who sees a lot of movies and reads a lot of books, I find many of them to be predictable. I don’t mind that. There’s a certain comfort in it. It’s just really nice to be truly surprised every once in awhile.

Now You See Me is the story of 4 magicians struggling to make a name for themselves in one way or another when they are brought together by a mysterious benefactor. A year later they make a name for themselves by robbing a bank from the stage. Or do they? And if they do, just how did they pull it off.

A good story filled with the unexpected, lots of action and a hint of romance all come together in a most mystical display of movie magic.

This is a movie I will watch many times looking for the hints and tricks I had previously missed.

I give this movie 41/2 reels out of 5.

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Old Favourites on DVD

homealone
For last nights edition of Coast2Coast Movie Nite my friend and I started our annual tradition of watching Christmas movies by watching Home Alone.

Home Alone is a movie that I watched many, many times with the oldest of my two J’s. He used to watch it all year round. I was surprised to realize that I had not actually seen Home Alone for several years now. Even when the boys gave me the Home Alone Collection for Christmas last year, I had not viewed the movie. It was every bit as fun as I remember it being. It was also interesting to me that the music in Home Alone sounded a lot like the music in Harry Potter. My curiosity led me to do a little Google research where I discovered that the reason for that is because both movies were directed by Chris Columbus and the musical director for both was John Williams.

In watching this old favourite again it started me thinking about how much fun it was when I was a kid to wait each year for favourite specials and movies to come on tv. How much more special they felt. I recall the treat it was for my sister and I to do the bed and bath routine and then settle on the couch with a snack waiting for Bass/Rankin Rudolph or Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Do you remember the joy of seeing the opening sequence for The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Frosty the Snowman or Charlie Brown’s Christmas? I do. I got that feeling again recently when I discovered a new Halloween Toy Story Special on ABC a few weeks ago.

Grinch

Rudolph

Part of the joy of movies on DVD is watching what you want when you want to. As I write this I am watching Judy Garland, Bing Crosby and Peter Lawford in Easter Parade. EasterParade
I have been searching for a copy of this movie for a very long time and was extremely excited to see it available for order on the TCM website. http://www.shop.ca That is why I am watching it today but I have to say that after this it will sit on the shelf and I will not see it again until Easter. I love watching some things whenever the mood strikes me but I love even more the thrill of the once a year viewing, something specific to a season or moment in time. Like when they used to show Elvis movies for a week leading up to the anniversary of his death. Or the ritual I have of wrapping Christmas gifts while watching White Christmas, Little Women and Meet Me in St. Louis.

It makes me a little sad that my grand-nephews will never know the excitement and angst that comes from those moments of anticipation while waiting for that special to come on. The oldest of the two loves Nightmare Before Christmas. He watches it all the time, walks around the house singing songs from the movie. But what does he have to look forward to? What does all this instant gratification do to us? Maybe it isn’t that big a deal but it makes me feel as though it’s just one more thing that takes a little of the magic out of the season.

Whether you watch them on DVD or wait for them to come on Tv, I wish for you the joy of enjoying those treasured moments with those people most special to you.

Gatsby, Great? Depends on who you ask.

Last night I joined some friends at a viewing of The Great Gatsby starring Leo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and Toby Maguire.
Within our group of 10-12 women, ranging in age from mid-20’s to late 50’s, there were various opinions on whether or not this was a good movie. One of my older friends was very disappointed. She thought the movie was too long, badly directed, complained that the music was all in the background and puh-lease do not get her started on the character development! Many of the older ladies kept comparing it to the original.

I myself have not seen the original so I can not compare the two. What I can do is tell you that I really enjoyed it. I will probably buy the DVD and watch it once a year. That being said I can not say that I LOVED this movie.

I knew it wasn’t a musical so I didn’t compare it to Moulin Rouge but I was expecting more from the music. The music was interesting and I noticed it in a way my friend didn’t but it wasn’t spectacular or fitting to the moments in the way that when I hear those songs I’ll think of that particular movie moment. Nor will I buy the soundtrack and be unable to stop myself from singing along it just wasn’t memorable enough or epic enough.

Unlike my friend I did not find the movie to be too long. For the first time in a long time I was not fidgety during a movie. If this had been an action flick I would have said I was on the edge of my seat. Maybe that’s because I didn’t know the full story going in having never read the book or seen the movie. Whatever the reason I was hooked.

I think the costumes were stunning, I love the old look to many of the scenes but I was disappointed in the green screen moments as I found them to very noticeable. I seems to me that with all the advancements made in Hi-Def they haven’t improved the green screen abilities and that’s why they stand out.

Because all I ask of a movie is to be entertained I find myself less judgmental about acting abilities then others I know but I did notice and was impressed by DiCaprio’s ability to convey different things just by facial expression alone.

One pet peeve I had was the numerous times I heard Old Sport. It was beyond annoying to the point where I wanted to smack someone, especially since I found so much of the language of the film to be so elegant.

Sadly I do not think that this version of The Great Gatsby is going to throw the women of the world into a 1920’s frenzy but it was fun to journey there for a few hours.

All in all I enjoyed the movie but more importantly I had a great evening out with some wonderful women. Dinner, a movie followed by coffee chat at Tim’s, sounds like a perfect evening to me.

Zombies With Heart

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1588173/

Some friends and I decided to go see Warm Bodies as a “Yeah We’re Single So What?”  Valentine’s Day outing. Who says the day has to celebrate romantic love only? We refuse to be told we’re lesser than just because we don’t have dates. So we all went to dinner and a movie and had a great time.

Warm Bodies is the kind of movie that becomes a cult classic. It doesn’t pretend to be more than it is, it has the 80’s power ballad anthem song and is just cheesy enough. The movie is full of Zombie Ass-Kicking action, teen angst, romance, lots of laughs  and family drama sure to please all that see it. Wait! Let me rephrase that. Not everyone will enjoy this movie but you know what I mean.

The movie has been out for several weeks now and even though Tuesday is cheap night at our local theatre we didn’t expect the theatre to be as full as it was.  A good sign that this movie is getting incredible word of mouth. Turns out that it is very well deserved word of mouth. Though Warm Bodies won’t be nominated for any Oscars I expect to see it at the Teen Choice, People’s Choice and MTV Awards!

The Heart-Throb Zombie is R played expertly by Nicholas Hoult, sure to become one of this generations leading men. Some of his credits include Xmen: First Class and the upcoming Xmen movie,  About  a Boy, A Single Man and the soon to be released Jack the Giant Slayer. Look out Johnny Depp, Ryan Gosling and Zac Efron I have seen the competition and his name is Nicholas Hoult.

http://www.imdb.com/media/rm3582835200/nm0396558

When our main Zombie and a group of his friends go hunting they come across a group of young humans out scrounging for medical supplies. Somehow in the midst of the feeding frenzy he falls for Julie (get it yet?) and saves her from being eaten or kidnaps her depending on your point of view. Julie has lost her mother and now her boyfriend in this recent feeding frenzy. She also happens to be the daughter of the leader of the remaining humans. Julie is played by Teresa Palmer. Some of her credits include Bedtime Stories, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and I Am Number Four where she herself plays an alien. Teresa was very believable as both a kick-ass zombie fighter and someone with a big enough heart to give peace a chance.

http://www.imdb.com/media/rm2078450176/nm1954240

Other things I enjoyed about this movie: Julie’s bestfriend played by Analeigh Tipton, R’s bestfriend father figure played by Rob Corddry and of course John Malkovich as her Dad. And lets not forget that at least parts of this movie were filmed in Montreal.

If you are looking for a movie to take a tween/teen sibling, niece/nephew or kid of any relation to you than this may be the one you would both enjoy.

I give this film 5 out of 5 Film Reels.

I will definitely be adding this one to my movie collection.

Hoping for a White Christmas

More than a few years ago I started my own holiday tradition for when I wrap my Christmas gifts.

I set out all the items I need and watch a mini marathon of Christmas movies. It started with White Christmas starring Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney. I love classic movies and this one has not only a sweet holiday sentiment but also some funny moments courtesy of Danny Kaye. I really enjoy both performances of the song “Sisters”  seen in the film. Growing up in Canada I have been lucky enough to almost always have a white Christmas, maybe not quite as white as the rest of the world thinks but there always seems to be enough snow on Christmas to make it delightful.

Trhttp//www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/147806/White-Christmas-Original-Trailer-.html

Another favourite to watch is Little Women starring June Allyson, Elizabeth Taylor, Margaret O’Brien and Peter Lawford. The opening scenes are about Christmas and the girls very generously giving up not only their Christmas gifts but also their Christmas breakfast so that others might have a happy Christmas. I love the sets and costumes, the joys and hardships in dealing with family members and the romance of this film!

http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/411046/Little-Women-Movie-Clip-We-ll-Storm-The-Citadel-.html

The last film I  watch while wrapping presents is Meet Me in St. Louis. Again their is only one small part of the movie which is related to Christmas but it is a doozy of a moment.  This is another movie where the sets and costumes play almost as big a role as the actors do. Another film that reminds me to appreciate family, friends and all the everyday things life has to offer.

http://http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/202454/Meet-Me-in-St-Louis-Movie-Clip-Corsets.html

This week I had Monday off. My first full day off from my two jobs since November and I thought what a perfect day to watch these movies and wrap presents. I did watch these movies as well as the old Bass/Rankin shows I loved as a child (and still love today) but I didn’t get any wrapping done. Instead I tried to pick up some ideas on  how to get Mother Nature to negotiate  a White Christmas from Snow Miser for us this year.

http://I don’t know who gave Heat Miser control over Nova Scotia but someone’s got to give it back to Snow Miser, at least for Christmas.

Oh well, the lack of finished wrapping just gives me an excuse to watch the three Disney/Tim Allen Santa Clause movies!

Gasp! Am I too old for Pitch Perfect?

I went to see Pitch Perfect expecting to enjoy a fun and funny light-hearted romp about Collegiate A cappella groups.

I did enjoy the movie, laughed out loud a few times and will purchase it for my collection to watch again.

The thing is that I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would and I wonder if it’s because I’m getting older or is it that I have a different sense of humour than the audience this movie is aimed at.  Admittedly there are a few of the Judd Apatow type movies that I like but most of these movies I find repulsive. Even the ones I like (Get Him To The Greek, Bridesmaids) have scenes that I cringe at. This type of gross or potty humour has never really appealed to me and that is my one big problem with Pitch Perfect. It fell flat for me because of that.

The music is fun and done really well. I like that it portrays the main characters as not just fame hungry wanna be singers. One wants to be a DJ and one wants to score movies. I like that Fat Amy is confident and content with herself and even portrayed as sexy. It’s enjoyable for me (someone in their 40’s) to see the movies of my teenage years to still be so revered (Breakfast Club, Say Anything, etc.).  I really enjoy the fact that they portray a variety of different women. Gone are the days when girls had to be demure and virginal. A couple of the girls are strongly sexually active, one has a gambling problem, some are shy, others outgoing, and yes some are more demure. I really enjoy the variety of personalities shown in this grouping.

I also could have done with out all the over used Acca- phrases thrown out, though a few of them were quite clever.

Is the movie predictable. Sure is! That is not necessarily a bad thing though. The nerds and weirdos come into their own and lets face it, rooting for the underdog is what we do and what these movies are all about. Overall the movie was a good time on a dreary Saturday afternoon.

I give Pitch Perfect 3 and 1/2 film reels out of 5

Changing It Up

Recently a friend and I went to the movies. Usually we go see movies considered to be chick flicks. You know the type, romantic comedies or tear jerkers like Nicholas Sparks movies but this time we decided to change it up and see End of Watch.

End of Watch is gritty, gruesome and disturbing. It is filmed strangely jumping back and forth from the view of a characters video camera to us watchng the characters. Almost has the feel of a reality show. The story at times felt choppy but by the end it had come together. This movie is funny, raw and heartwrenching while reminding us that not only soldiers but cops and fireman put their lives on the line for us everyday.

Jake Gyllenhaal and Mike Zavala as police officers who stumble into various activites of a drug cartel often enough that a price is put on their heads. Gyllenhaal plays Brian Taylor, an ex-marine now a cop woking his way through law school. He is filming almost everything for a class and this gives us a unique view of his day to day activities both professional and personal. He convinces his partner to help him dig deeper into the cartel, rescues children from aburning house and falls in love.

This isn’t your typical He-Man cop movie. Not only does Anna Kendrick play the role of Janet (Gyllenhaal’s love interest, Natalie Martinex plays Gabby (Mike’s wife) and both America Ferrera and Cody Horn play cops. Two of the gang members are also females.

Over all ,as gruesome and raw as it was, I thought End of Watch was really well done. Oscar material? Probably not but still a really interesting movie. Will I add it to my collection? I’m going to say no as it was incredibly graphic. Would I watch it again? Sure, if a friend wanted to see it I’d watch it again. Over all I’d recommend seeing it if you can handle the graphic violence.

I give End of Watch 4 out of 5 film reels.