Monday, January 26, 2015

Movie Review: X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

This movie is cool and in the same genre as the others; but I think it is a bit over the top.  They bring Jean (Famke Janssen) back form the dead, but she has no control over her powers, and her inability to control turns into a power that can take atoms apart, and basically destroy everything. She accidentally kills her boy friend Cyclops (James Marsden),  Dr. Xavier (Patrick Stewart) tries to keep her in an induced coma, while she heals, but Wolcerine (Hugh Jackman) feels they are imprisoning her and lets her out.  Then all trouble breaks lose.  Xavier becomes a victim of the atom thing and is killed. 
A sub plot is the development of an antidote for the X-men phenomena.  All who want to  be cured of being X-men just need to ask.  This becomes a recruitment tool for Magneto.  Beast (Kelsey Grammar) plays a big part, both as a politician and an X-man.  Storm (Halle Berry) takes over Dr. Xavier's school.  Thus the big battle between X-men under Magneto (Ian McKellen, and those who follow Dr. Xavier. It is fought in San Francisco. 
The last battle is a bit intense.  It is about even until Jean/Phoenix starts dissolving everything.  Then only Wolverine can save the day.
Something I don't understand.  How is Dr Xavier in future movies if his atoms have been scattered all over the place.   Maybe someone can explain.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Movie Review: The Reivers (1969)

This is a Steve McQueen movie based on the novel by William Faulkner.  This is a coming out story and an older Lucius (Mitch Vogel) narrates the story of his experiences on a high-on-the-road trip to Memphis with a stolen or borrowed vehicle.  Boon (McQueen) is set on seeing a girl, Corrie (Sharon Farrel) who happens to be a prostitute.  Lucius fights for her honor, and is cut by a knife.  Boon, in the end decides to marry her, as she wants to escape her current life.  The third member of the party is Ned (Rupert Crosse) who also runs a horse, which Lucius rides in an important race and bet.  The Boss (Will Geer) owns the car, and is Lucius' grandfather.  SO even though the win the race, Lucius still has to come to terms with his grandfather and with his guilt over lying and running off.  This film is about family relationships, and trust, and growing up; which is sometimes painful.

Movie Review: ****^Into the Woods 2014

This is a movie I would very much enjoy owning to watch again from time to time.  It of course is the Stephen Sondheim musical.  (Also James Lapine who did the screenplay.) The set is dark, as the woods are dark.  Meryl Streep portrays the witch.  She is hard to recognize before she regains her youth.  This is really a good cast.  Johnny Depp has a cameo as the wolf.  The Baker is played by James Corden, his wife by Emily Blunt.  Cinderella is played by Anna Kendrick.  Jack and Red Riding Hood are Daniel Huttlestone and Lilla Crawford.  I enjoyed the music, and the acting and the story more than I thought I would.  Kids did the first act in middle school, and the second act is where things get more depressing and the Giant's wife starts killing people.  However this was even entertaining and well presented. 
I have a favorite song, 'Children Will Listen."  My only regret is the Baker was providing dialogue over the song, and the song was soft and hard to hear.  SO here are the lyrics in their entirety:

Careful the things you say,
Children will listen.
Careful the things you do,
Children will see.
And learn.

Guide them along the way,
Children will glisten.
Children will look to you
For which way to turn,
To learn what to be.

Careful before you say,
"Listen to me."
Children will listen.

Careful the wish you make,
Wishes are children.
Careful the path they take-
Wishes come true,
Not free.

Careful the spell you cast,
Not just on children.
Sometimes the spell may last
Past what you can see
And turn against you...

Careful the tale you tell.
That is the spell.
Children will listen...

Chris Pine portrays one prince, who turns out to be charming but not sincere, and Cinderella leaves him.   The other prince (Billy Magnussen) ends up with Rapunzel (Mackenzie Mauzy.)  He turns out to be both charming and sincere.
I must admit I stayed for all the credits as wanted to listen to the orchestration.  I noted not all of the actors sang their songs; but most did.
Very well done Disney.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Movie Review: Jesse Stone: Death in Paradise (2006)

This is a very intriguing episode.  Police Chief Jesse Stone (Tom Selleck) has two cases going on at the same time, both involving lots of violence.  He is dealing with a domestic violence, and this episode lets us know that domestic violence can turn to death.  Stone is also dealing with a girl found drowned in a lake, and working through the case leads him to a child molester who is an author; and from the child molester to the murderers, who are in fact part of the mob.  It is intriguing how the question of a knot leads to breaking the case.  Plenty of violence in this episode, so if violence is not your thing this is not the movie for you.  I enjoy this series because of the character--especially Jesse Stone and how he is portrayed by Tom Selleck.  This is again based on the book of the same name by Robert Parker.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Movie Review: ****X-Men: Days of Future Past

This is the most recent and the most successful of all the X-Men series.  It is a bit confusing as it has Wolverine's (Hugh Jackman) consciousness going back in time 50 years to change the future, because the future is just death for the X-Men as the result of the development of an army of Sentinals which hunt down and kill the X-Men. Wolverine recruits an army including younger versions of Xavier (James McAvoy), Magneto (Michael Fassbender). Colossus (Daniel Cudmore) and Beast (Nicholas Hoult).  The mission is to secure Raven/Mystique's ( Jennifer Lawrence) blood so it can't be used to enhance the Sentinals. 
This movie rocks during the action scenes.  However at times it gets a bit too bogged down with going back and forth between the past and the future.   It also deals with personal demons and that gets a bit slow. 
True to form, Magneto is focused on beating the humans, and this drive gets him into lots of trouble.  It takes someone changing course, to get them out of this trouble.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

TV Movie Review: Jesse Stone: No Remorse (2010)

Tom Selleck again plays Jesse Stone, who in this show is suspended without pay from the Paradise Police chief, but working for state homicide where he is on a serial killer case.  However turns out this is not a serial killer case, but random killings to cover the first killing of passion.  Stone determines he has his man, but has difficulty building the evidence.  However the killer gets his from his boss who is co vering up the whole situation.
In the meantime, Stone covers for his local police force, looking into a string of convenience store robberies, and protecting his friend who works at such a store.  City politics influences the decisions that are made with regards to the police force.  They are deliberately understaffed, hoping they will fail; but with Stone's help they come through.

Movie Review: James Bond, Casino Royale (2006)

Casino Royale is the twenty-first in the James Bond series.  Although the twenty-first movie it is set as being the first mission for James Bond.  Daniel Craig portrays Bond for the first time.  He has the task of bankrupting a known terrorist through a high stakes poker game.  Bond come through, escaping an attempt on his life, but then the movie gets even more confusing with the money being stolen by his money handler, and people getting murdered in the end.  It left me confused.  It is based on the Ian Fleming book of the same name. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

TV Movie Review: Jesse Stone: Stone Cold

This is the first of the Jesse Stone movies made from the books by Robert B. Parker.  In this movie Stone is pitted against a stone cold killer; someone who kills for the sport.  The killings become more and more personal when Jesse's girlfriend (Polly Shannon) is killed.  Can Stone overcome this very cunning nemesis before they strike at more personal friends of Stone?

Friday, January 2, 2015

Jesse Stone: Night Passage

This is a prequel to the CBS series of feature length presentations with Tom Selleck portraying .  Stone is a cop from L.A. who has come to Paradise to be the police chief.  He comes with his dog, leaving behind his ex-wife.  He makes sort of a good impression, kick a spousal ab user in the testicles and telling him to leave his ex-wife alone.  This sets off a rivalry, but turns out the ex, Joe (Stephen Baldwin) is also running and killing for the mob--as is his new boss.  One of these kills is the ex police chief.  Appears Stone was hired with the hope he would be inept.  However, with Stone's witty style he seems to figure things out.
This is based on the book by Robert B. Parker with the same name. 

Movie Review: The Croods (2013)

Nicholas Cage and Emma Stone star in this animated feature.  The Croods are a close family, whose life is protected by the confines of their cave.  However when the cave is destroyed by an earthquake their life is thrown out of balance.  They have to find a new place to be safe, no easy tasks in a world of creatures and earthquakes.
This movie focusing on the importance of family, and making decisions to benefit the group.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Movie Review: ****Maleficent (2014

Maleficent 
This is a very good presentation and work by Angelina Jolie as Maleficent.  However I am not sure if it is OK for Disney to change the movie, from Maleficent being an evil character, to a misunderstood character who was wronged with the removal of her wings, and is determined to get even with the king through his daughter Snow White.  However, Maleficent's curse, though she will grow in grace a beauty, loved by all she meets, she will prick her finger and sleep, only to be restored by love's true kiss.  And she did grow in beauty and grace, and all were bound to love her, including Maleficent.  She was able to turn this love into a power which saved herself in the end.  Elle Fanning does a good job as Snow White.  It is she who finds the wings and restores them to Maleficent.  Cameos by Angelina’s daughter Vivienne Jolie-Pitt as a young Snow White, as well as Imelda Staunton (Dolores Umbridge) as one of the good fairies.