Friday, March 13, 2015


Starring: Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden, Helena Bonham Carter, Derek Jacobi, Stellan Skarsgard, Sophie McShera and Holliday Grainger
Running Time: 1 Hour and 52 Minutes

Such a pleasant surprise! The classic Cinderella fairy-tale retold again in 2015 with all of its beauty and charm. To say I enjoyed this movie would be an understatement, I really loved this version!
It was beautiful, touching, colorful and breathtaking. I really did not want it to end!
I grew up enamoured with The Rodgers and Hammerstein's classical 1965 version with Leslie Ann Warren and so I was really looking forward to Disney's new rendition.
It follows the classic 1697 version written by the French author Charles Perrault.
Young Ella finds herself an orphan when her wonderful mother suddenly becomes very ill and perishes due to illness. Her dear mother gave her some very wise words of wisdom shortly before she passed and told young Ella to "have courage and be kind",  that she should never ever forget that advice! Left all alone with her beloved father, he became very lonely and decided to take a wife, Lady Tremaine (Cate Blanchett)  until he too suddenly and tragically dies.
 Ella is left alone in her beautiful estate at the mercy of her new and very evil and sinister stepmother Lady Tremaine and her two perfect daughters Anastasia (Holliday Grainger) and Drisella (Sophie McShera).
The stepmother was kind in the beginning but little by little became more demanding and then just downright mean and cruel to Cinderella! Insisting that she do all of the work, cleaning, cooking and all of the chores around the house. She would work around the fireplace and get the cinders and dirt on herself, so one of the step-sisters decided to call her "Cinderella" instead of Ella, and so she was known as Cinderella from there on out.
One day when Cinderella was on her own out riding her horse, she ran into a very fine young gentleman who just happened to be the prince (Richard Madden) of the land. They exchanged words and found out that they were fond of one another. When they departed they both felt a spark of attraction.
When the prince returned back to the kingdom, he told his father the king (Derek Jacobi) about the young maiden he had met but he never found out who she was.
His father decided it was time to hold a grand ball in the palace to find his son a wife. The prince consented to the grand affair only if he would allow all the young maidens in the land, both nobility and commoners to attend.
When word spread of the grand ball, everyone was anxious to attend, getting beautiful new ball gowns and shoes for the magnificent affair. Cinderella was also very happy and excited to attend, she  fixed up her own dress the best she could using an old dress of her mothers.
When Lady Tremaine saw her all dressed up, she dashed her dreams by shredding her dress to rags.
In classic fairy-tale style, Cinderella's wonderful, personal Fairy Godmother (Helena Bonham Carter)  magically appears and comes to her rescue to save the day! the rest is, quite simply, a perfect fairytale
Cinderella was just a sheer delight and wonderful escape movie. I thought Lilly James who played Cinderella was a perfect fit. Young, sweet, trusting of others and always remembered the advice of her beloved mother, "to have courage and be kind", to help her get through all of her difficult times.
Cate Blanchett was also perfect as the wicked stepmother. She was delightfully sinister in this classic role, perfectly cast!
Parents be advised: Cinderella is rated PG. I think children over the age of five will be fine with this movie. There is a lot of cute interaction with the mice and some other animals, but there is also some cruelty to Cinderella by the wicked stepmother.
I am giving "Cinderella" four bags of popcorn.

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Starring: Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Richard Gere, David Strathairn and Dev Patel
Running Time: 2 Hours and 2 Minutes

This is the follow-up movie sequel to the very popular 2012 movie
"The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" based on the novel by Deborah Moggach. It is the story about the young hotel entrepreneur Sonny Kapoor (Dev Patal) and his plight to try and get his second hotel up and running while still trying to keep his beautiful fiance Sunaina (Tina Desai) from the clutches of his competitor Kushal (Shazad Latif).
Several elderly British citizens move to India to live out their golden years to find peace, tranquility, excitement and love.
 Ms. Muriel Donnelly (Maggie Smith)  has a very sweet and dear relationship with Sonny and he looks to her for wisdom, guidance and counsel in matters of many difficult situations he is faced with.
Evelyn Greenslade (Judi Dench) unexpectedly finds herself in a rather precarious situation. Being offered a most important job and  falling in love at her age is very confusing, she has to contemplate what she should do.
Joining the group of British retirees is the American, Guy Chambers (Richard Gere).  He finds himself interested in Sonny's widowed mother Mrs. Kapoor (Lellete Dubey) much to Sonny's dismay.
 This is a most colorful and beautiful story of life in both the older crowd and also the young Indian couple. I really enjoyed the insight into Indian life and the circumstances that surround it,
I especially enjoyed the beautiful Indian wedding of Sonny and Sunaina. It was very rich with Indian culture, tradition and color. This was an emotional and very touching movie.
Parents be advised: This movie is rated PG. I really enjoyed this movie and would recommend it for children over 10 years of age, not because of objectionable content but just because the story is suited for an older audience.
I am giving "The Second Best Marigold Hotel" three bags of popcorn.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Post Oscar results

Well, I am a little surprised that "Birdman" won The Best Picture category over "Boyhood".
"Boyhood" took over twelve years to film with the same cast including the young character Mason (Ellar Coltrane) who literally grew up during the duration of this massive undertaking. 
I do know that "Birdman" was a very strong contender and that is why I chose  "Birdman" as my very close second choice.
Other than The Best Picture, I called all of my other predictions. I guess five out of six isn't too bad.

Thanks to everyone who follows me on Utahmoviemom!!! I really appreciate your support and your confidence in me!!! I will keep trying to keep you informed with my best opinions on the movies, to help you have the enjoyment and entertainment that you deserve. 
With movie tickets as expensive as they are these days and even more important to me...
 are your children and your family's well being, that is first and foremost to me!!!
I will honestly try to always do my best!!!

Once again,
Thank you so much
Marilyn Phillips, Utahmoviemom

My personal Academy Awards predictions 2015

Ok-here I go, out on a limb again this year for the biggest night in Motion Pictures.
My predictions are as follows, simply my own opinion, but time will tell tonight how my choices pan out.
*Best Picture- "Boyhood" with "Birdman" coming in as a close second.

*Best Actor- Eddie Redmayne for "The Theory Of Everything" with Michael Keaton coming in as a close second for  "Birdman".

*Best Actress- Julianne Moore for " Still Alice".

*Best Supporting Actor- JK Simmons for "Whiplash".

*Best Supporting Actress- Patricia Arquette for "Boyhood".

*Best Animated Feature- "Big Hero 6"

Ok, Let's watch The Oscars now. Hope everyone enjoys the program.

Friday, February 20, 2015

McFarland, USA

Starring: Kevin Costner, Maria Bello, Ramiro Rodriguez, Carlos Pratts, Johnny Ortiz,
Rafael Martinez, Hector Duran, Sergio Avelar and Michael Aguero
Running Time: 2 Hours and 8 Minutes

This is the true story about a small town in central California in 1987. McFarland High School is in dire need of a new PE and Life Science teacher. Enter Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner) who is also in dire need of a new teaching job!
Coach White had been living in Boise, Idaho coaching the high school football team there when he was dismissed for trying to teach a smart alec kid a lesson about respect.
He uprooted his wife Cheryl (Maria Bello), two daughters, Julie (Morgan Saylor), and
Jamie (Elsie Fisher) and relocated to McFarland, California where they were definitely the minority.
They moved into a very small home that was unlike any they had lived in before. They were total misfits! It took some time and patience for them to feel comfortable and accepted by the community.
McFarland was almost completely comprised of Latinos who referred to themselves as "pickers". They made their living by picking crops in central California, day in and day out.
They expected their young sons to help them out as well. They were required to work every morning before attending school and again after school. A very difficult and tedious schedule for them to maintain. Their parents did not have any expectations for their children, they just assumed they would eventually end up being "pickers" full time like they themselves were.
Coach White had the opportunity to observe the students in PE class and noticed while they were running track that several of them had a real gift of running exceptionally fast! As time went by he continued to be impressed with their ability and decided to look at the school rules to see if he could implement a track team. When he was able to get the okay and decided to approach the students about it, most of them were against it. He needed seven boys to qualify to run in the State meets.
Finally, after convincing them to give it a try, he was on a mission.
This was a really good and inspirational story about sportsmanship, responsibility, human interaction and relationships, but to me, more importantly, it was mostly about learning how to trust!
How to overcome boundaries and finding a side of yourself that you never knew you had.
I was very pleasantly surprised with this movie and the warmth and tender feelings I ended up with after watching it. This is definitely a sports and relationships "feel good movie"!
On a side note, Kevin Costner said in an interview that he grew up not far from McFarland and he used to play against the McFarland High School teams when he was in high school, so this movie was very personal to him!
Parents be advised:This movie is rated PG, I found nothing unsuitable in this movie and feel that it is appropriate for children ages eight and over.
I am giving "McFarland, USA" three and a half bags of popcorn.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Jupiter Ascending

Starring: Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne and Douglas Booth
Running Time: 2 Hours and 7 Minutes

I was anticipating a lot of computer generated imagery in this movie, but this movie took it to a whole new level. It absolutely consumed the moviegoer, it was both completely ridiculous and fatiguing at the same time!
The story-line was weak and without any redeeming quality whatsoever! Another so-called dystopian  sci-fi flick! I felt as if this movie was a colossal waste of my time and my energy.
Channing Tatum stars as Caine Wise, an ex-military hunter, a magical, rollerblading humble hero of sorts who can skate himself all over the universe. He is able to jump off of towering high-rise buildings as well as different planets. How he developed these super powers of his are questionable.
Mila Kunis stars as the humble little Jupiter Jones from Chicago, the early morning toilet scrubber with a repetitive life that she is most unsatisfied with.
Suddenly she is thrust into a world that she totally unfamiliar with. She is wanted by several different characters and finds out that she has a genetic signature that makes her an offspring of royal lineage and an heiress of an extraordinary fortune.
This movie just gets totally lost. Tatum and Kunis in another setting could have been very good together, but they just couldn't keep up with all of the cgi and the crazy characters in this one.
I would advise passing on this movie.
Parents be advised: There are many scary and strange characters in this movie, Some of them were quite frightening and intimidating. There were some little alien like creatures that were very freaky!
I would suggest this for children ages ten and over.
I am giving "Jupiter Ascending" two bags of popcorn.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Imitation Game

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Charles Dance, Jack Bannon and Mark Strong
Running Time: 1 Hour and 54 Minutes

I was somewhat intrigued and curious about seeing this movie. I knew it was historical and based on the true story of Alan Mathison Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch). He was a young man at the ripe old age of 27 who invented "The Enigma" code to break the German War code. He was what some people might call a genius and that in and of itself caused people to doubt and question his motives. He was a British pioneering computer scientist, a mathematician, cryptanalyst, a marathon and ultra distance runner. He was also a very tortured soul!
This movie takes place during World War II during the height of the Nazi occupation. Winston Churchill is desperate to find a way to undermine and crack the Nazi code, one of the most difficult codes in all of history!
When Turing is called upon to work for the British Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, the codebreaking centre in England, he is up against a lot of opposition. The superiors doubt his ability and his motives. They feel that he is only working for his own self aggrandisement.
He is chosen as the leader of Hut 8 and works tirelessly to perfect his computer. When he is finally successful, there is much celebration and he receives many accolades for his pioneering expertise!
He lives a very sad and lonely life and is somewhat removed from regular society. He meets the beautiful and very intelligent Miss Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley) whom he hires to work with the other Hut 8 high achievers. They develop a close but unusual relationship and eventually marry. Turing is a devout homosexual and still marries her for social acceptance. He struggled mightily during his schoolboy years to fit in with the other young men. He is however befriended by a dear friend, Christopher Morcom (Jack Bannon) whom he has a very close relationship with.
Sir Winston Churchill credits Turing with shortening the War by two to four years by inventing "The Enigma" code computer and thereby saving many lives!
Many people refer to Alan Turing as the father of computers!
This truly is a great spy-thriller! I genuinely feel that it has been overlooked with all of the emphasis on the other "The" movie release for Christmas 2014, "The Interview".  Benedict Cumberbatch was incredible as Turing, he did an outstanding job!
If you want to be taken into history and enveloped into the action, this is definitely the movie for you!
Parents be advised: There are a lot of war action sequences and some violence. Mild profanity and very blatant homosexuality, which Turing openly discusses. I would leave the children 14 and under home, however the History is fascinating!
I am giving "The Imitation Game", four bags of popcorn.

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