Friday, July 11, 2014

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Starring: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Toby Kebbell and Kodi Smit-McPhee
Running Time: 2 Hours and 10 Minutes

I remember the original "Planet of the Apes" back in the late 60's and 70's. I was a huge fan of the franchise until they became way too strange and overdone. I was reluctant to revisit the series in the 2011 movie "Rise of the Planet of the Apes". It was a little too environmental for my taste. I did fall for the sweet ape Caesar (Andy Serkis) though and his plight for freedom for himself and his fellow apes which leads me to the here and now, the 2014 updated version "The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes".
This movie takes place a decade later after the devastating virus and its catastrophic effects leave the genetically superior apes living on their own in the Muir Woods area north of San Francisco. They have evolved to the point of being able to talk and communicate with one another. Their designated and compassionate leader is Caesar from the former movie. He is a great leader, he is both strong and gentle.
When a group of humans somehow survive the catastrophic virus attack, they leave their compound in downtown San Francisco to search for the dam. They need to access the dam to work on to help to restore power/electricity to San Francisco to help to resume some normalcy to their devastated city. While out searching for the dam they stumble upon the compound of hostile and violent apes. After one of the humans shoots and wounds an ape, all chaos ensues and a small war begins. The human Malcolm (Jason Clarke) tries to settle the apes down and bring peace, unity and trust to them. He and his comrades are both shocked and intrigued when they find out they can communicate and talk with these superior apes. They develop a relationship and try to gain their respect. As always someone has to be greedy and defiant and betray the apes trust.
I was quite impressed with this story. The movie ended up being better than I had anticipated. I really enjoyed the relationship between Caesar and Malcolm. Caesar was easy to fall for. He was so human-like and so tender and dear. His facial expressions as well as the other apes were absolutely incredible!
The Weta Digital 3-D was stunning and literally made you believe that the apes really were real. They did an outstanding job portraying these apes as human-like as possible. The story was impressive as well. It pits the bad guys against the good guys in hopes that the good guys will prevail.
Parents be advised: I would not recommend this for children under 13 because of the very realistic animation and the violence and the ferocity of some of the apes. It is very dark and dreary as a post apocalyptic world. Also, the F-bomb is needlessly dropped once.
I am giving "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" three and a half bags of popcorn.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Fault in Our Stars

Starring: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff, Laura Dern, Sam Trammel and Willem Dafoe
Running Time: 2 Hours and 5 Minutes

WOW!!! What a moving story this is. A movie with reality and true grit that will send your heart into a talespin! The situation that many people unfortunately find themselves in and how they have to learn to live with cards they are dealt. This is the story of a young seventeen year old girl named
Hazel Grace (Shailene Woodley) and her battle to stay alive. She was diagnosed with cancer when she was thirteen years old. Her cancer is fatal and she battles the symptoms and the reality of it everyday! She is an only child who is very close with her parents, mother Frannie (Laura Dern) and her father Michael (Sam Trammell). They are there by her side every step of the way. They do all that is humanly possible to assist and help her, they love her dearly, she is their whole world! They encourage her to attend the cancer support group with other teens around her same age, she is opposed and does not want to go. While attending the support group she meets a handsome young eighteen year old man named Gus (Ansel Elgort) who is also afflicted with cancer. He had to have his leg amputated but still carries on with a prosthetic leg and a super-great attitude!!! He was a basketball star in high school, athletic and looking forward to his future.
They were attracted to each other instantly, they were able to relate to each other and support each other. Hazel had been very isolated and had not had many opportunities to socialize under her circumstances where Gus was able to live a fairly normal teenage life. Hazel would read the same book over and over again, she tells Gus he has to read her book so he tells her she needs to read his favorite book too. Finally after he finishes her book he contacts her and thus their story begins.
They were able to go to Amsterdam to seek out the author of her favorite book and have quite an eye opening adventure.
This story was moving beyond words! It shows the true story of what these young people go through and the agony they have to endure. Gus has a great friend named Issac (Nat Wolff) from the support group who is battling his own cancer demons and ends up losing his eyes, he was an amazing young man who was a true friend. Laura Dern did a great job portraying her loving mother, very touching! Cancer is such a monster, it is definitely no respecter of persons! I lost my sister Sheila to cancer ten years ago. My sweet little six year old niece Gabrielle is battling her way through leukemia right now. This was a difficult movie to watch but I also think it is important too because it helps those who have fortunately not had a brush with cancer to understand and have more empathy for those who have!
Parents be advised: I am recommending that this movie is for the thirteen and over group. Not only is it highly emotional and realistic, but there is one sex scene in the movie that is very suggestive and the F-bomb is dropped once.
I am giving "The Fault in our Stars" three bags of popcorn.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Edge of Tomorrow

Starring: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton,and Brendan Gleeson
Running Time: 1 Hour and 53 Minutes

Live, die and repeat. That pretty much sums up the theme of this movie, kind of like "Groundhog Day" meets the aliens! I really had no expectations for this movie and I ended up being really impressed. I haven't been a Tom Cruise fan for a while but he scored in this one. This is a big-budget sci-fi thriller that really delivers!
Officer Cage (Tom Cruise) is called to report for duty in London, England where Europe is being completely invaded by extraterrestrial creatures called Mimics, it is kind of like the invasion of Normandy. These Mimics are sent to conquer the world. They are very hideous looking organisms, a cross somewhere between a jellyfish and a spider.
 Officer Cage finds himself in an extreme dilemma because when he reports for duty in London at Heathrow Airport where the training facility is located, he is assigned to battle on the front lines. He tries desperately to explain that he is not there to battle but in the capacity of an officer. No one is

believing him and he cannot make any headway. He is sent immediately to battle with the other soldiers and he is extremely frustrated and afraid!  He keeps going through the same motions over and over again. Every time he fails to win his battle with a Mimic and he is killed, he instantly find himself reborn back in London at Heathrow only to start the same predicament all over again, hence the live, die and repeat!
Rita Vratraski, The Angel of Verdun (Emily Blunt) is an impressive warrior with exceptional skills. Every time Cage starts his life over again, she never remembers him. Vratraski helps officer Cage to find the powerful "Omega Mimic"!
Cruise and Blunt had good chemistry together and I liked her strength and assertiveness.
This is an intense and thrilling movie with great action and excitement. A thrill ride of a movie.
 filled with incredible special effects and a unique story-line.
Parents be advised: I would not recommend this movie for children under twelve years of age. There were many sequences of action/violence that are intense and unexpected. I saw many audience members that were startled and almost jumped right out of their seats.
I am giving "Edge of Tomorrow" three bags of popcorn.

Friday, May 30, 2014


Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Sam Riley, Lesley Manville, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, Kenneth Cranham and Brenton Thwaites
Running Time: 1 Hour and 37 Minutes

The Mistress of evil is back in a big way, complete with a detailed and painstaking history of her life and how she became the one and only "Maleficent"!
The insight into her journey is both touching and unique as you find yourself lost in a world of complete mystery and mayhem. Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) is the queen of the fairy world where all who rule under her have absolute love and respect for this beautiful and powerful enchantress. The fairy world is one of magic and mystique with every kind of creature you could possibly imagine and beauty so extraordinary it encompasses all of your senses.
Maleficent was left alone and bewildered as an orphan at a young age where she had to fend for herself. She encountered a young human male named Stefan (Sharlto Copley) who was out of his element and befriended him. As time went on they became closer and closer. Maleficent began to love and trust Stefan and developed emotions for him which she had never experienced before. She was comfortable and happy with him.
One day King Henry (Kenneth Cranham) the human King of the Land, became very ill and was looking for an heir to his throne. He made a very tempting offer to any man in his kingdom who could potentially inherit the throne if only he would do one particular and specific deed.
The young Princess Aurora AKA Sleeping Beauty is played wonderfully by Elle Fanning. She is beautiful, sweet, charming and innocent always wanting to love and believe the best in everyone. The three fairies are also represented in this movie,they are known as Flittle (Lesley Manville),  Knotgrass (Imelda Staunton) and Thisltewit (Juno Temple). They are lively, witty and full of chaos.
Angelina Jolie was supreme in the role of Maleficent, I felt her emotions strong and clear in this most powerful and commanding role. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and found it completely mesmerizing. I was spellbound by it and was sad when it was over wishing it would have lasted a little longer. I felt like they did justice to this adaptation of the classic fairy-tale "Sleeping Beauty".
Parents be advised: I would recommend this movie for children eight and older. This movie is not for younger children. It has a Parental Guidance rating. There are many different creatures, some cute and some not so cute. The scene with the dragon is very intense and intimidating! It even made me  uncomfortable. There is some violence and multiple scenes of war and fighting, I thought "Maleficent" was magnificent!
I am giving "Maleficent" four bags of popcorn.

Friday, May 23, 2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past

X-Men: Days of Future Past

Hugh Jackman,
Jennifer Lawrence,
Michael Fassbender,
James McAvoy,
Patrick Stewart,
Ellen Page,
Halle Berry,
Ian McKellen and
Peter Dinklage
Running Time: 2 Hours and 11 Minutes

Having not been a big "X-Men" movie aficionado, I was a little naive going into the movie, but I must admit, The X-Men are back. All of them. Days of Future Past is an ambitious undertaking to say the least. This film a sequel to three other movies: 2006's "X-Men 3 The Last Stand", 2011's "X-Men First Class", and 2013's "The Wolverine".
Days of Future Past reunites the old X-Men cast in a not too distant dsytopian future, where all powerful mutant-killing robots called "The Sentinels" search the entire world for the last of the mutants. In an effort to save their future, they send one of their own back to the past to prevent this Apocalypse from ever happening. The almost immortal Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is the one to do it.
Wolverine is sent back to the year 1973 to Paris, France to the Paris Peace Accords. Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) is on a very personal mission to  assassinate The Sentinels creator, Bolliver Trask (Peter Dinklage). In order to do this Wolverine has to recruit and reunite Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and Professor X (James McAvoy), and other mutants to help him.
This was a great movie with tons of action and history as well. As always, the special effects were incredible.
Parents be advised: I would recommend this movie for children 12 and over. There is some nudity, Hugh Jackman's backside and Jennifer Lawrence's blue body is suggestive.The mutants and their transformations are sometimes scary and there is a lot of action and violence.
I am giving "X-Men Days of Future Past" a solid three bags of popcorn.

Friday, May 16, 2014


Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, CJ Adams, Carson Bolde, Sally Hawkins and Ken Watanabe
Running Time: 2 Hours and 3 Minutes

Godzilla-"The King of Monsters", is back on the job in this new 2014 version. Patterned after the classic Godzilla movies, this was an intense, edge of your seat popcorn movie. Simply an entertaining, take you back to your youth fun movie!
Chaos and mayhem ensue as a giant explosion occurs, dramatically changing the lives of Nuclear Engineer, Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) and his son Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). Losing his wife and young Ford's mother, Joe Brody is determined to find the cause of this catastrophic event.
This story takes place in the Philippines, Japan, Honolulu, Las Vegas and ultimately, San Francisco.
The scenes were a lot like the old Godzilla movies but vamped up with our modern day super special-effects and computer generated technology.
The special effects were really good and you really felt like you were right there in the middle of the action.
The enemies to be thwarted off by Godzilla in this movie were the "MUTOS" aka: massive unidentified terrestrial organisms. They were ruthless and extremely destructive. There were two of them, both a male and a female, and they were on a mission. They were determined to feast on radiation for their survival and to mate with each other. Ford Brody is the hero and star of this story and he does it well.
I really enjoyed this movie, it took me back to the former Godzilla movies I remember in my past.
It was very intense and realistic. The scene on the Golden Gate Bridge was spine-tingling and will make you think twice when you cross the bridge again!
Parents be advised: I would recommend this movie for children ages 10 and up. I am being a little more lenient because it is monster fighting action and I think children really love that stuff.
I am giving "Godzilla" three bags of popcorn.

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Sally Field, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan and Paul Giamatti
Running Time: 2 Hours and 22 Minutes

Wow, Spider-Man AKA Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is back! This movie starts out with a bang! You are immediately drawn in for the plane ride of your life.
Also, when chaos ensues, Spider Man jumps into action and helps save New York City from impending doom.
This was a non-stop action thrill ride that will excite and entertain you.
As a high school senior on the verge of graduation, Peter Parker has many unanswered questions and unresolved issues concerning the death of his parents and the workings of his father and his fathers relationship with the powerful yet mysterious company Oscorp. He is driven to find out everything he can to try and put the pieces together about his parents and their untimely demise!
He is still smitten with the beautiful, sweet and intelligent class valedictorian Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) and she feels the same way about him.
A former acquaintance of Peter's is Harry Osborn AKA The Green Goblin  (Dane DeHaan), son of the owner of Oscorp. He is called home to bid his estranged father farewell on his deathbed. His father informs him that he has inherited the very same rapid spreading disease as he has and because it is genetic, he won't live long either. He is desperate for a cure. He was already an angry young man because his father sent him away at sixteen to boarding school. He inherits his father's $200 Billion company and has  absolutely no knowledge of how the company functions! Others on the board of directors try to intimidate and overthrow young Harry and he doesn't know where to turn. He remembers Peter and sends for him. They reunite, touch base and enjoy reminiscing.
Shortly thereafter, a new villain makes an unwelcome appearance with superpowers the likes of which no one has ever seen, Spider Man is once again on the scene fighting with all his might to confront this new menace named Electro AKA Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) who actually has a kind disposition but is angry because he feels that Spider-Man has betrayed him! Electro was unexpectedly transformed and has no idea how to control his mega power!
Spider-Man is saying goodbye to Gwen when Electro strikes again. She stays with him and tries to fight too! She is sincere and compassionate and helps Spidey with everything she's got!
This is a fun and spellbinding story with some very touching sentimentality with both Gwen and Aunt May (Sally Field).
Peter Parker is a young man with a big heart who is torn and he tries desperately to make the right choices and to be there for everyone. I did feel that there were too many things going on in this story. There were so many adversaries that Spider-Man had more than his share of challenges. That being said, I still really enjoyed the story a lot.
Parents be advised: This is a PG-13 rated movie with a lot of violent action and some scary scenes that are very realistic and intense. I would not recommend this movie for young children. I think 12/13 year olds and older will enjoy it.
I am giving "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" three bags of popcorn.

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