Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Imitation Game

PG-13
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.



Into The Woods

PG
Starring: Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick, James Corden, Chris Pine, Johnny Depp,
 Lilla Crawford and Daniel Huttlestone
Running Time: 2 Hours and 4 Minutes

Wow! I was so impressed with this movie I really don't know where to start! This story is based on the Broadway musical of the same name.
It is based on several classic tales from the infamous Brothers Grimm fairy tales.
They include: Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Rapunzel and Jack and the Beanstalk.
It is the story of a baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt) who are unable to start a family because a very wicked witch (Meryl Streep) has put a evil curse on them!
The story plays out with several beloved fairy tale characters coming to life, Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford), The Big Bad Wolf (Johnny Depp), Jack and the Beanstalk (Daniel Huttlestone) and Cinderella's Prince (Chris Pine).
The witch has set an ultimatum to the young baker and his bride to acquire several things or objects to break the evil curse. Once they are able to obtain every single one of these things, she will willingly overturn the dreaded curse.
She has her own reasons for wanting the curse to be lifted as well.
This is a story told by singing and a lot of music, which I generally do not enjoy. But, boy oh boy was I surprised! I immediately fell in love with the music and the singing. All of the characters were in stellar form and they all did a spectacular job! Meryl Streep was incredible and I absolutely loved her voice!
I was also very impressed with a young lady, Lilla Crawford who plays Little Red Riding Hood, her voice is magnificent!
I enjoyed the story and the music so much, that I really did not want the movie to end! I will definitely go and see this again. I will also be obtaining the soundtrack.
Parents be advised: This is a magical movie, but it has some dark and scary moments in it as well. Also, there was a really strange encounter between The Prince and the Baker's wife which was completely random and very unexpected! I would recommend this movie for children ten and over.
I am giving "Into The Woods" four bags of popcorn.



Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

PG-13
Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellan, Richard Armitage, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, and Benedict Cumberbatch
Running Time: 2 Hours and 24 Minutes

This is the final installment of "The Hobbit" series. Always a bittersweet moment and a realization that all things must come to an end!
Make sure you study up on the previous two installments of Peter Jackson's"Hobbit" trilogy before you go and see this one.
"The Battle of the Five Armies" throws viewers right into the thick of the battle with Smaug (voice of Benedict Cumberbatch) that was left unfinished at the end of the previous film. The heavy action will leave audiences hooked, but the plot and character development in this film rely almost too heavily on the previous films. As a Tolkien fan, I have enjoyed this trilogy and found this series to be very fun.
However, Peter Jackson has not recreated the magic of "Return of the King" with this movie. This one does provide some great links between the Hobbit trilogy and the subsequent "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, and will still find a place in movie lovers and Tolkien fan's movie collections.
Parents be advised: This movie is constantly showing some sort of battle scene, some mild and some more violent. It was very dark and serious! I would recommend this movie for children age 10 and over.
I am giving "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" three bags of popcorn.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Exodus: Gods and Kings

PG-13
Starring: Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, John Turturro, Aaron Paul, Maria Valverde, Sigourney Weaver and Ben Kingsley
Running Time: 2 Hours and 30 Minutes

This is the classic and timeless Bible story of Moses and his epic adventure to free 600,000 Hebrew slaves from the wrath of the almighty Pharaoh Ramses.
This rendition under the direction of Ridley Scott is similar, but yet very different from the 1956 Cecile B. DeMille "The Ten Commandments" version we have all grown up with.
With the state of the art computer generated graphics, it puts a totally different spin on the story. Christian Bale gave a very good and solid performance as Moses in the first half of the movie. I felt like he got a bit weaker and a little confused towards the end. The epic parting of the Red Sea was completely different and I was underwhelmed with this one. I have always been so impressed with the DeMille version that it was always completely magical to me!
The scenes when he talked to God were unusual to me as well. Ramses was played by the actor Joel Edgerton and he gave a strong and commanding performance as the Pharaoh.
I really enjoyed this movie and I would highly recommend it, just realize it is the same story with a different twist with incredible graphics. It is long at two and a half hours, but worth the time you invest in it.
Parents be advised: There is a lot of Biblical violence which consists of plaques, pestilence, famine, large alligators and frogs, many frogs! It also deals with the deaths of the first-born Egyptian sons which was heart-breaking to watch!
This is rated PG-13, I would recommend this movie for children ages 13 and over.
I am giving "Exodus: Gods and Kings" three bags of popcorn.






Friday, November 21, 2014

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1

PG-13
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence,  Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Julianne Moore
Running Time: 2 Hours and 3 Minutes

Well, here we go again... kind of, its "The Hunger Games", but no games this time around.
 If you remember from last year, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) destroyed the games!
This is the story of the destroyed District 13 under the presidency of Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) and how she and Plutarch Heavensbee (The late Philip Seymour Hoffman) try to persuade Katniss to be their "Mockingjay" which will make her a hero and the face of rebellion for the people of District 13.
District 13 is trying to hold it own under the attack of  President Snow (Donald Sutherland) with his iron-fisted my way or the highway mentality. He continues to intimidate and wreak havoc with his citizens of The Capitol by forcing them to be subjected to his tyrannical dictatorship!
When Katniss discovers that her friend and hunger-game partner Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) has been captured by President Snow, she becomes very alarmed and wants to find him. She thought that maybe he had been killed. When Peeta is broadcast live over the airwaves, he is not acting like himself and appearing very strange, she becomes very concerned. She knows she needs to locate and rescue him.
I was not impressed with "Mockingjay". I am disappointed that they turned this third book in the "Hunger Games" installment into two parts. I think it was long, drawn out and somewhat convoluted. It felt weak and not very interesting. I think they should have just done it all at the same time and wrapped it up!
Parent be advised: There was some war violence and a disturbing execution scene. Also, some mild profanity.
I am giving "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1" two bags of popcorn.







Friday, November 14, 2014

Dumb and Dumber To



PG-13

Starring: Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Kathleen Turner, Rachel Melvin, Laurie Holden and Rob Riggle
Running Time: 1 Hour and 50 Minutes

This is the sequel to the 1994 movie "Dumb and Dumber". Jim Carrey stars as Lloyd Christmas who has been in an institution for the past twenty years. His old buddy Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels) shows up to help him, he tries desperately to communicate with Lloyd but he is completely withdrawn. 
Then miraculously he starts talking and confesses that the whole act for the past twenty years was a complete joke!
That pretty much sums up the theme of this movie. Harry takes Lloyd out of the institution and they start their new adventure together. Harry confesses to Lloyd that he needs a kidney transplant and also that he needs to find his daughter Penny (Rachel Melvin) that he had given up for adoption. They decide that if they find her, she being a biological match could donate a kidney to him and save his life. They travel around the country while trying to locate her and have some ridiculous encounters.
For me personally,I thought that it was rude and crude and just plain DUMB!!! So the title fits the movie.
I also thought that it sank to a new low in a couple of instances! I did not enjoy this movie at all! I realize that this is not the kind of movie that I would ever be drawn to and I am definitely not the target audience but it just didn't work for me. A lot of the people in the audience were laughing like crazy and were enjoying the crude humor. 
I realize that the original "Dumb and Dumber" has quite a cult following. They have been anxiously anticipating this one for twenty years, I think they will probably get a kick out of this movie as well.
Parents be advised: this movie is non-stop gross insults and perpetual potty humor.  There is profanity and a lot of suggestive stuff as well. I would not recommend this movie for anyone under fourteen.
I am giving "Dumb and Dumber To" just one bag of popcorn.






Friday, November 7, 2014

Interstellar

PG-13
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Bill Irwin, John Lithgow, Mackenzie Foy and Topher Grace
Running Time: 2 Hours and 49 Minutes

I am so excited about this movie! I would sum it up in one word-Stellar!!! It was an epic all encompassing experience! I was fortunate to see it in IMAX. There were only press at the screening so there were just a very few people. I felt as if I were all alone at this movie and it totally just enveloped me! This movie is outstanding and seriously Christopher Nolan has blown the lid off of this movie! It is eleven minutes short of three hours and you will enjoy every minute of it.
Matthew McConaughey stars as Cooper, a widowed father of two who is an ex-NASA pilot. He is put between a rock and a hard place when he is called upon to fly on a mission of extreme importance. He must go and leave his two children for a significant amount of time and this causes a real dilemma especially with his ten year old daughter Murph (Mackenzie Foy) she is very close to her father and protests him leaving for the mission.
He is accompanied by Amelia (Anne Hathaway) and two others. This mission is crucial for the very survival of the human race. Planet earth is in trouble and they need to find another planet that is similar that can sustain human life.
This is a story not only about the amazing space mission but also about the relationship between the father and his children specifically his daughter. Cooper is able to receive Skype type messages from earth, but he cannot transmit any messages to them. It is very difficult for the children and they become disillusioned!
This movie is fascinating and riveting! It was very realistic and a truly amazing experience. Matthew McConaughey gave the performance of a lifetime! There is also a surprise cameo by someone who I will refrain from identifying because of the intentional element of surprise.
You can tell I was quite impressed by this movie, so I would encourage you to take the time to see it and I strongly suggest you see it in IMAX only!
Parents be advised: this is a high intensity movie with a science fiction theme and a doomsday scenario. I would recommend this movie for young adults 13 and over plus it is a long movie and there is some profanity.
I am giving "Interstellar" four bags of popcorn.


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