Friday, April 4, 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Redford, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp and Garry Shandling
Running Time: 2 Hours and 16 Minutes

This is the second installment of the Captain America series, following the 2011 film, "Captain America: The First Avenger". In my opinion, the Marvel Studios has done it again, and they have a colossal success on their hands with the always amazing Captain America!
Chris Evans is stellar as the shield-wielding Captain America/Steve Rogers as he returns to Washington DC after the World War II Nazi drama.
 It has been seventy something years and he is now in his nineties looking no worse for the wear!
He is now with the spy agency known as SHIELD as he finds himself somewhat of a super-legend as he searches to fit in and continue on with his life.
He finds himself right back in the action when he is thrust into a terrorist takeover on a giant ship in the Indian ocean. He encounters a barrage of opponents whom he battles alongside his fellow super-hero the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) who has all the moves as well. They battle the enemy in every conceivable way till they are victorious and get their hands on a memory instrument containing some very important classified data.
Returning to the USA again, Captain finds out that SHIELD has been building three ginormous heli-carrier ships with the likes of which no one has ever encountered before. Massive flying machines that have the most up to date and sophisticated technology ever know to man with the capability to analyze and destroy just about everything! Under the direction of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and new to the series, Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford), Fury finds out the project has been compromised and he knows the only person he can trust is Captain.
Alexander Pierce proves to be a heartless and evil soul who says "in order to improve things you often need to tear down what's come before-no matter what the cost".  And he does, or did! The Winter Soldier is played by Sebastian Stan a mindless sort of robotic soul with no real heart of his own. Still in the back of his mind he has retained a miniscule amount of memory.
 Also, the character Sam Wilson/The Falcon  (Anthony Mackie) was a great addition to the cast. He was refreshing, fun and exciting.
I found this movie to be highly entertaining with the basic good-guys vs the bad-guys. Chris Evans is so good as Captain that you just want to stand-up cheer for him. He is a classic all around American hero! You'll have to be prepared for the non-stop super-hero action, violence and destruction! I suggest that you remain for the entire duration of the credits because there are two surprise scenes that are well worth the wait!
Parents be advised: this is definitely a PG-13 rated movie. I would not recommend it for anyone younger than 13. I think the violence is too intense for the younger ones. The character, The Winter Soldier is also somewhat scary and intimidating,
I am giving "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" four bags of popcorn.

Friday, March 21, 2014


Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Tony Gold and Ashley Judd
2 Hours and 23 Minutes

This movie is based on the young adult novel "Divergent", by Veronica Roth. It is set in a dystopian society (which just means a community that is undesirable, generally with a totalitarian government and some kind of environmental disaster). So therefore you can tell that the movie is not going to be very uplifting or enlightening.
It is set in a devastated Chicago where everything is very run down and dismal, Lake Michigan is dry and the Chicago river has dried up as well. The city is totally dilapidated and buildings are worn and crumbling. A huge fence has been placed around the city after some kind of war so no one can enter in.
Tris (Shailene Woodley) is the beautiful, strong and determined young lady who has come of age and has to take her "faction test" to determine which faction she will be best suited for. She has been raised in a home with her family all being in the Abnegation faction. When the test is complete she is told she is different from all the rest, hurried out of the room and warned to not tell anyone at all, even her parents that she is a "Divergent", which means she will not fit into any of the factions!
There are five factions: Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless and  Erudite. There were also a group of wanderers  known as the Factionless. Each citizen has to decide which faction they choose to join after they take their test. The young adult is allowed to make that choice but then they must leave their home and family and reside with their faction for the remainder of their life.
When Tris decides to join the Dauntless faction, she must prove herself in every respect. She undergoes a series of more tests and extreme physical fights with other candidates in a variety of scenarios. They push them to the absolute limits of their abilities. She must endure her greatest fears and triumphantly overcome them. She encounters her superior Four (Theo James) a strong and handsome young man who continues to push her and questions her reasoning for her choice to join the Danutless. They eventually overcome their differences and are attracted to one another.
Tris discovers that all the people are being controlled by a higher power with a leader who is a very normal looking but depraved female leader, Jeanine (Kate Winslet) whose motto is: "There is a certain beauty in the resistance, but it's a beauty we can't afford"!
I have not read the book so I found this movie to be somewhat confusing. I did appreciate young Tris' strength and her ability to be in control of herself and her body at all times. During one of her testing sequences they put her through a simulated very brief rape scene where she conquers her fear and she is victorious in getting her message across!
Parents be advised: This is a PG-13 with some violence (dangerous stunts, fighting, knife throwing, guns and shooting, bird attacks, quicksand, fire, and an attempted rape scene.
I am giving "Divergent" two and a half bags of popcorn.

Muppets Most Wanted

Starring: Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, Tina Fey and a throng of cameos of many famous people: Tony Bennett, Celine Dion, Lady Gaga, Salma Hayek, Josh Groban, Ray Liotta, and a whole lot more. Plus your favorite Muppet characters.
1 Hour and 52 Minutes

This was a really fun and entertaining movie. When the Muppets are approached by Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais) to go abroad to Europe to perform their infamous Muppets Show, Kermit is reluctant but finally gives in. The whole Muppets clan are on board for a train ride to Europe to perform their famous Muppets Show at some of Europe's grandest theaters.
Mayhem ensues when a very sinister and nefarious character named Constantine (who just happens to be Kermit's identical look-alike) escapes from a Russian Gulag. The whole world is in fear of this horrible, diabolical creature being on the loose!
Kermit has no idea that his look-alike even exists let alone is the most-wanted prisoner in the entire world! He is just busy trying to get the Muppets show up and going and dealing with Miss Piggy's constant pleas and reminder's that they need to get married.
When Kermit is spotted out in public, he is apprehended and taken prisoner and thrown into the Siberian Gulag and locked up! While there he helps the prisoners perform their own musical under the eyes of Nadaya (Tina Fey) who likes Kermit and allows him to direct the show.
Meanwhile, Dominic, who had other motives and who is a buddy of the international bad-guy Constantine get together and they  plan an entire caper out together to switch Kermit for Constantine to be able to heist the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom!
This was just a really fun little movie that was entertaining and interesting for the fact that it showed some of the great European scenery and ended up in London at The Tower Bridge, Tower Hill Castle, and the Jewel House home of the "Crown Jewels".
Both adults and children will enjoy this movie and get a kick out of it too.
Parents be advised: I am recommending this movie for all ages. I didn't find anything objectionable in the movie.
I am giving "Muppets Most Wanted" three and a half bags of popcorn.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Mr. Peabody & Sherman

Starring: The voices of: Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Stephen Colbert, Ariel Winter and Stanley Tucci
Running Time: 1 Hour and 30 Minutes

I am going to be completely honest, I was not really looking forward to going and screening this movie. As a child I really did not like any of the "Rocky and Bullwinkle" or the "Sherman and Mr. Peabody" cartoons.
Boy was I surprised!  I actually really liked this little animated gem. I found it to be both smart and clever. They incorporated many facets into this movie.
 It was a sweet and tender story about a lonely little dog, Mr. Peabody (voiced by Ty Burrell) who no one ever wanted to adopt. He  is a genius and inventor who had made a life for himself and one day happened upon a newborn baby boy, Sherman (voiced by Max Charles) in a box. He took the baby home and was allowed to "legally" adopt him and raise him as his very own son. They had a very touching and loving relationship. Mr. Peabody had invented a time travelling machine (The Wayback) that the two of them had used to travel back in time to witness several historical events firsthand. When young Sherman began school and became more independent things became a little more difficult and chaos ensues!
I really enjoyed the history that was portrayed and the quick-wit and one-liners that were found throughout this movie. It was a genuine fun movie for audiences of all ages.
Parents be advised: I am recommending this movie for children ages four and up. I didn't find anything objectionable in this movie.
I am giving "Mr. Peabody & Sherman" three and a half bags of popcorn.


Son of God

Starring: Diogo Morgado, Darwin Shaw, Joe Wredden, Amber Rose Revah and Roma Downey
Running Time: 2 Hours and 18 Minutes

I am just going to write a brief synopsis of this movie. Everyone knows how the story ends.
This isn't just a movie, but an experience!
I was a fan of the mini series "The Bible" on the History Channel last Spring 2013, so I was expecting a similar tone to the movie.
It was somewhat similar, but every time I see a story about Christ and the Crucifixion I am so moved and mesmerized that it is very difficult to put into words the passion that I feel!
Just know that it is difficult to watch and you will feel very sad! It is a long 2 hours and 18 minutes. I was exhausted when I left the theater.
Parents be advised: I am recommending this movie for children over 13 years of age. I think children will have a hard time watching the cruel and violent way that Christ was tortured and put to death!
I am giving "Son of God" four bags of popcorn.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

2014 Oscar Predictions

Ok-it's that time again. I am going to make my own personal predictions for the Oscars.

Best picture- a toss up between "12 Years A Slave" and "Gravity". I'm going with...
"12Years A Slave".

Best Actor- Matthew McConaughey.

Best Actress- A toss up between Cate Blanchett and Sandra Bullock-I'm going with Cate Blanchett.

Best Supporting Actor- Jared Leto.

Best Supporting Actress- Lupita Nyong'o.

So let's watch the Oscars and enjoy this evening!

Five out of five- Not too bad!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Monuments Men

Starring: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Hugh Bonneville, and Bob Balaban.
Running Time: 1 Hour and 50 Minutes

This movie is based on a true story that took place toward the end of World War II. It is about a group of seven men with a strong knowledge of art and history thus, they were titled, "The Monuments Men". They were brought together for the greatest treasure hunt in all of history.
They were assembled by FDR to go into very high risk areas in France and Germany to search out and rescue high value art and masterpieces that had been confiscated by the Nazis under the direction of Hitler. Hitler's motivation was to totally wipe out and destroy all of the history of the Jewish people. He wanted there to be no record whatsoever of their lives and their culture! These seven men are somewhat a band of misfits who are paired up in twos and are assigned to go their own ways to search and discover these grand works of art under the most treacherous and dangerous of circumstances. They put their lives on the line to help save and preserve the very essence of the culture of an entire society.
George Clooney not only directs but stars as the main character, Frank Stokes who is assigned the job of assembling all of the men together. He brings James Granger (Matt Damon), Richard Campbell (Bill Murray), Walter Garfield (John Goodman), Jean Claude Clermont (Jean Dujardin), Donald Jefferies (Hugh Bonneville), and Preston Savitz (Bob Balaban) together and they are all warned to be extremely careful, that their lives are worth far more than the art they are assigned to uncover.
I found this movie to be very good and I really enjoyed the historical aspects of the film as well. It seemed to be historically accurate and realistic with all of the heartbreaking horrors of
World War II. I appreciated all of the great art and the masterpieces that were shown in the movie as well.
On a side note, for those of you who can remember the early days of KSTU Fox 13 Television in Salt Lake, the news anchor was Nick Clooney. He just happens to be George Clooney's father. He makes a cameo appearance at the very end of the movie which I thought was touching and validates their mission.
Parents be advised: I am recommending this movie for children ages 13 and older. The brutality of war is evident and I think it might be to harsh for younger ones. It does have historical value but it is still hard to process. There is some swearing and some of the characters are consistently smoking due to the horrible stress and nerves.
I am giving "The Monuments Men" three and a half bags of popcorn.

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