Friday, October 17, 2014

The Best of Me

Starring: James Marsden, Michelle Monaghan, Luke Bracey, Liana Liberato and Gerald McRaney
Running Time: 1 Hour and 57 Minutes

This is a movie based on the very popular Nicholas Sparks New York Times Bestseller book, "The Best of Me". The story of two long-lost star-crossed lovers who reunite after twenty-one years.
The characters, Dawson (James Marsden) and Amanda (Michelle Monaghan) originally met while both were in High school in Louisiana. Their younger characters were portrayed by Luke Bracey as Dawson and Liana Liberato as Amanda. The movie continued to switch back and forth between the older long-lost lovers and the younger high school characters.
This is your basic story of the wealthy young debutante and the rough and tumble bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks meeting and falling desperately in love with one another.
Young Dawson is raised by his father and two older brothers. They are criminals and they deal in illegal activity. His father is terribly abusive to him! He is continually a victim of beatings and violence. He is actually a very good young man with aspirations to rise above the garbage and overcome all that he has been exposed to.
On the other hand young Amanda is a child of privilege who has been raised by two loving parents who love her dearly and just want the very best for her.
They continue to date and spend time with each other.
The night of their prom, there is a horrible event that will change their lives forever. After his father and brothers go to attack and beat up a wonderful older man named Tuck, (Gerald McRaney) who has befriended Dawson, taken him in for food and shelter, Dawson is also confronted by them! In a fit of rage Dawson seeks them out and takes out a rifle and accidentally shoots his best friend and kills him! He is devastated and he is sent to prison!
Amanda never gives up on Dawson. She goes every week to visit him in prison. He refuses to see her, he does not want to drag her down!
She has no choice but to move forward with her life. She goes on to attend college and meets another young man and gets married and has a family.
Dawson on the other hand serves out his sentence and lives a very lonely life.
When the old man Tuck dies, he awards Dawson and Amanda his estate.
They are reunited at the reading of Tucks will and discover that they still have strong feelings for each other.
I actually liked this movie. I thought it was good but a little bit sappy. It is a total "chick flick"!
I found the abuse and the beatings Dawson endured very difficult to watch. There were also some sexual scenes between the two that got a little heated as well. I had a tough time with the adultery! Also, I didn't think the younger Dawson was a very good match for the older Dawson, they looked nothing alike.
Parents be advised: this is definitely NOT a movie for any age children! It is rated PG-13, but it is a really hard PG-13. Very adult subject matter. I don't think this movie is appropriate for young adults under the age of 17. The F-bomb is also dropped once.
I am giving " The Best of Me" three bags of popcorn.

Friday, October 10, 2014

ALEXANDER and the Terrible, Horrible, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY

Starring: Steve Carrell, Jennifer Garner, Ed Oxenbould, Dylan Minnette, Kerris Dorsey, Elise and Zoey Vargas and Jennifer Coolidge
Running Time: 1 Hour and 21 Minutes

Disney has not had a live-action comedy movie for a long time. I just went into this movie thinking it was going to be rather lame and had no real expectations for it. It is based off of the very popular children's book written by Judith Viorst in 1972.
Well, boy was I wrong! I have not laughed that much in a movie for a very long time! I had so much fun at this movie, it was just plain, silly fun.
This is the story of your basic all American family on a typical or not so typical day. Young Alexander is turning twelve years old and he gets lost in the shuffle.  Everyone is so busy with their own life and goings on that he feels very unimportant. Even his friends at school don't seem interested in him or his big birthday bash.
Steve Carrell stars as Ben Cooper, the unemployed stay-at-home father or "fommy" as he is fondly referred as. Jennifer Garner stars as the employed and very busy mother of four. Newcomer Ed Oxenbould stars as the overlooked and underestimated Alexander who believes he jinxes everyone or everything he comes into contact with!  Dylan Minnette stars as Anthony, the teenage older brother trying to pass his drivers test in time to drive his date to the Prom. Kerris Dorsey stars as Emily, the older sister with a terrible cold who is cast as Peter Pan in her school play. Then you have the baby (Elise and Zoey Vargas) who star as the baby.
It is Alexander's twelfth birthday and his family is in for the ride of their life.
I found this movie to be entertaining and it held my interest. I enjoyed the story and his family's ultimate camaraderie. It was actually quite sweet and touching. I laughed and had a very fun time at this movie.
Parents be advised: There were some male dancers but they quickly changed their style of dance to accommodate children.
I am giving "ALEXANDER and the Terrible, Horrible NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY"  three and a half bags of popcorn.

Meet The Mormons

Running time:1 Hour and 18 Minutes

There has been a lot of hype about this documentary style full length movie, the very first of its kind to be released by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It was promoted heavily during this past General Conference weekend. Well I'm happy to say that it definitely lived up to all the hype!
The movie starts out with LDS comedian Jenna Kim Jones walking through Times Square in New York City asking people what they think "Mormons" are and what they believe. Trying to help to dispel the myth that "Mormons" are NOT  Christians the movie gives in depth stories of six people and their families. It details their diverse lifestyles in various places around the world. It features Jermaine Sullivan, a Bishop from Atlanta, Georgia, Bishnu Adhikari, a humanitarian from Nepal, Ken Niumatalolo, head football coach for The Naval Academy in Bethesda, Maryland, 94 year old Gail Halvorsen, The Berlin Candy Bomber from Arizona, Carolina Munoz Marin, a kick boxer from Costa Rica and missionary mom, Dawn Armstrong from Utah. All with very unique, rich,  compelling and beautiful stories.
I found this documentary to be very realistic and genuine. I feel like these individuals are very sincere and truly believe in their religion and they base their lives on the principles that it stands for.
I was impressed with their work ethic and devotion to the causes for which they stand! I especially enjoyed the missionary mom Dawn Armstrong having sent off a missionary myself, I could relate to her strong emotion. I also loved the music and especially the awesome song "Glorious" by David Archuleta.
I wholeheartedly support and encourage others to view this movie for themselves. You will be touched and inspired beyond measure!
Parents be advised: 81 minutes of family time well shared!
I am giving "Meet The Mormons" four bags of popcorn.

Friday, September 12, 2014


Starring: Brian Cox, Jack Smith, Natascha McElhone, Philip Jackson and Toby Stephens.
Running Time: 96 Minutes

What a sweet and pleasant surprise this movie was.  Knowing it was based on true facts but not knowing what the story was actually about, I found it both intriguing and up-lifting.
It takes place in 1984 in Manchester, England.
Sir Matt Busby (Brian Cox) was a celebrated and amazing coach for the world famous soccer team, "The Manchester United". In February 1958, he and his team were taking off from Munich, Germany when their airplane crashed. He lost seven of his great players and suffered a devastating blow! He needed some time after that to get his head back on straight and move forward.
He has become aware of a young 11 year old lad named Georgie (Jack Smith) who is a great futbol player with some baggage that he is struggling with. Georgie is the captain of a little neighborhood soccer team. Sir Busby comes out of retirement to coach this ragtag team of misfits in the Manchester Cup final.
This is the story of how these two come together and find what each of them searching for. Young Georgie has lost his father and Sir Matt Busby had lost his father as a youngster too. Sir Busby helps him and teaches him to "Believe" in his dream. He tells him "If you believe, you can score with your eyes shut".
 Sir Busby is enjoying the camaraderie and challenge of coaching and fellow-shipping this young broken hearted boy.
I found this to be an entertaining and inspiring story of love, dedication and devotion.
Parents be advised: I found nothing objectionable in this movie other than some smoking.
I am giving "Believe" three bags of popcorn.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

When The Game Stands Tall

Starring: Jim Caviezel, Michael Chiklis, Alexander Ludwig, Laura Dern, Matthew Daddario, Clancy Brown, Stephan James and Ser'Darius Blain
Running Time: 1 Hour and 55 Minutes

This is the true story about the 2004 De La Salle High School football team. De La Salle is a private Catholic school for boys located in Concord, California. It is based on their legendary coach, Bob Ladouceur.
Coach Ladouceur (Jim Caviezel)  is notoriously famous for his 151 game winning streak.
He is a coach who has taught and led by example. He is a gentleman who has integrity and honor and has set the standard high for his young men to follow. The coach believes in unity and is trying to build camaraderie between the players. He likes to incorporate bible verses into his pep talks to help inspire and motivate his players. One of the scriptures he quotes is Matthew 23:13,  "Whosoever exalts himself shall be humbled. And whoever humbles himself shall be exalted".  Trying to teach the kids not to be selfish but to play for one another. The team endures some tough set backs when the coach suddenly suffers a life-threatening heart attack and is struggling to stay alive. He recovers and once again resumes his position as coach.
The team then suffers another devastating tragedy when one of their best teammates, T. K. Kelly (Stephan James) is suddenly shot and killed.
I have always been a sucker for a good sports movie. I enjoyed this movie but I didn't love it. I found myself getting bored and a little uninterested. It did have its high points and some exciting moments but overall, it just felt rather flat to me.
Parents be advised: The shooting scene and heart attack scene were sad and emotional. Also, one of the player's fathers was obsessed with his son breaking the record and he got abusive and violent with him which is always hard to watch!
I am giving "When The Game Stands Tall" two and a half bags of popcorn.

Friday, August 22, 2014

If I Stay

Starring: Chloe Grace Moretz, Jaime Blackley, Mirelle Enos, and Joshua Leonard
Running Time: 1 Hour and 46 Minutes

This much anticipated story is about seventeen year old Mia Hall (Chloe Grace Moretz), who is a prodigy on the cello. It is based on the popular teenage novel, of the same name. She is a very beautiful, dedicated and intelligent young lady whose lifelong dream is to attend Julliard.
Things become a little convoluted when she meets Adam (Jaime Blackley) a fellow student at her high school who asks her out on her first date.
He continues to pursue her and she continues to resist. She is totally devoted to her love of playing the cello. She finally caves in and accepts a date with young Adam. He is a lead singer for a small local rock band and she feels that they have nothing in common. She feels completely out of her element when she goes to watch him perform.
Her father Denny (Joshua Leonard) was a former musician who played in a rock band and her mother Kat (Mirelle Enos) is a free spirit with the attitude that anything goes. Her mother continually encourages her to date Adam.
Things take a terrible turn when the family gets into a catastrophic car wreck and some of them are fatally injured.
Mia is immediately unconscious and the movie takes place from her point of view while she is in a coma.
She is in a place between life and death and finds herself alone and unable to communicate with anyone to let them know she is still around. Faced with the mind-boggling dilemma of, should I stay or should I go?
The story is so mixed up, it jumps from before the coma to while she is in the coma.
I  found this movie to be so discombobulated and all over the place that I did not enjoy it.
 Her parents, especially her mother condoning and encouraging her to go and get romantically involved with Adam, both emotionally and physically. It was a relationship that was totally uncharacteristic for Mia's own personal behavior.
Parents be advised: I am recommending this movie for children ages 13 and over. The car wreck and the early age sexual relationship are too intense and too suggestive for young children. I feel the sexual relationship scenes are even too much for high school aged young adults. There is also some mild profanity.
I am giving "If I Stay" two bags of popcorn.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Starring: Megan Fox, Will Arnett, William Fichtner, Whoppi Goldberg, Alan Ritchson as "Raphael", Noel Fisher as "Michelangelo", Pete Ploszek as "Leonardo" Johnny Knoxville as "the voice of Leonardo", Jeremy Howard as "Donatello", Danny Woodburn as "Splinter", Tony Shaloub as "the voice of Splinter", and Tohoru Masamune as "Shredder".
Running Time: 1 Hour and 41 Minutes

This was a really fun movie. Not knowing how they were going to revive this incredibly popular TV series, it transitioned pretty smooth and I was totally entertained. My oldest son was the biggest TMNT fan of all time, so I took him with me to the screening and he really enjoyed it too. It was a completely different look for this crime-fighting foursome.
New York City was being inundated by the evil, always diabolical and very intimidating "Shredder" (Tohoru Masamune). Shredder was directing his wicked foot clan to overthrow everyone in the City from the politicians to the police.
While out riding her bike one night, on-air reporter, Miss April O'Neil  (Megan Fox) is able to film the foot clan up to no-good on her cell phone and then the story begins.
She goes home and finds a box of keepsakes which includes a video of herself as a child in her father's laboratory and she discovers the secret of why the turtles were mutated. She had seen the turtles on her cell phone video and sets out to find if these new full-grown turtles could be the same ones.
With all of the evil that Shredder is inflicting on the city, the turtles (heroes in a half shell) come to the rescue.
There is a lot of action is this movie! There is one scene where they (April, Vernon Fenwick (Will Arnett) and turtle Raphael)  go to the home of wealthy politician and so called friend Eric Sacks (William Fichtner).
Soon after a dramatic and intense snow covered downhill chase between, a rocket powered skateboard, a Humvee and some other vehicles takes place.
The turtles never fail to disappoint. Cowabunga, they brought the heroes in a half-shell back to the big-screen in a big way!
This is a fun and action-packed movie that will keep the young ones on the edge of their seats.
Parents be advised: I am recommending this movie for children ages 8 and up.Shredder is a violent and scary creature. I did notice one swear word and at the end of the movie, there is a very unnecessary "Victoria's Secret" billboard ad (Times Square style)  that shows the turtles crawling into the bra of the model. Completely random!
I am giving "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" two and a half bags of popcorn.

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