Friday, September 30, 2016

Movie Review: Blind Love (1979)

This short move is based on a true story written by Ray H. Walton.  It is an LDS produced movie and tells a very important story of love.  I really like Barta Heiner's portrayal of the wife.  Maikel Justis plays the blind husband, who through surgery is about to see his wife for the first time.  The wife has always considered herself plain, and has been withdrawn.  Somehow she feels her husband might not love her so much if he had his sight.  I like this movie because it lets us know we are all of worth.  We are all Heavenly Father's children.

Movie Review: Once I Was a Beehive

This movie was surprisingly good.  It is about a group of young women, and their leaders, who struggle with accepting each other, and in the end find much more than the bargained for as they begin to work together.  It is about Young Women's Camp.  It is strange the effect this camp can have on testimony.  Berta Heiner portrays one of the camp directors.  I have enjoyed her work in Mormon movies.  Claire Neiderpruem portrays a young woman, Bree, whose father dies of cancer.  She is not Mormon, but reluctantly goes to camp with her new step cousin who is a Beehive.  Hailey Smith portrays the youth director, who becomes a rival to Bree.  You add some handsome local rangers, and a bear, and you have a pretty fun camp.  This movie is written and directed by Maclain Nelson.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Movie Review: ***^Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013)

This is the second installment of this series of movies, and in fact I fond more enjoyable than the original.  Thalia, passed away some time ago at the hands of a cyclops, and she turned into a protecting tree for Camp Half Blood.  However Luke poisons the tree, and evil creatures are again able to enter the camp.  A party from the school goes in search of "the Fleece" which can heal anything.  Luke too wants to discover the fleece to restore Kronos, on of the ancient gods who was captures by the first Olympians.  Percy is not selected to be part of the group, as Clarisse, Luke's rival is selected.  Luke leads a second group with Grover, Annabeth and his half brother, Tyson (half Poseidon and half cyclops.)  Luke intervenes and captures them,  but then they escape.  Luke maintains his distance but when they discover the fleece he takes it from them, and begins to restore Kronos.  Tyson in all this takes an arrow for Percy, and falls into the ocean.  However he returns at the right moment, as being a son of Poseidon, the water healed his wound.  Annabeth is also killed, but restored by the fleece.  Percy has to deal with Kronos, with a special sword he had inherited.  They use the fleece to restore the tree, and also Thalia is brought back to life.
I think I like this movie because of the addition of Tyson.  He is half cyclops, which leads to a great deal of prejudice against him, and Percy has a hard time accepting him.  Cyclops have always been the enemy.  However Douglas Smith does an excellent job portraying the roll, and he is a bit naive, but the negative still hurts, he just chooses to ignore it, and usually wears sunglasses.  Over the course of the film, the prejudices melt away, and people begin to accept Tyson for who he is individually, rather than as a group.
Logan Lerman as Percy Jackson, Alexandra Daddario as Annabeth, Douglas Smith as Tyson, Leven Rambin as Clarisse, Brandon Jackson as Grover, Jake Abel as Luke.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Movie Review: Ben Hur (2016)

The 2016 version of this story has many things to be liked.  The replay of the Chariot race is again the high light, and it is very intense.  However it lacks the hubs sticking out which rip the spokes of the other racers.  It does have considerable peril.  This movie also lacks the part where Judas Ben Hur saves the Roman consul, so he comes back to Israel not as a Roman citizen, but as an outlaw,  for whom his benefactor makes arrangements for his  release, if he wins the race.
Morgan Freeman places the benefactor, Ilderim, Jack Huston plays Ben-Hur, Toby Kebell his adopted brother and nemesis, Messala, Nazanin Boniadi Ben-Hur's wife, Ayelet Zurer Ben-Hur's mother and Sofia Black D'Elia his sister,
The redemption scene at the end of this movie, I do not remember from the original movie; however it is well done.  After being enemies for so many years, Judah and his adoptive brother make amends, and the go off with Ilderim, along with the rest of the family.  They are going to tour others circuses to  race chariots.

Movie Review: ****The Sting 1973

This movie puts Paul Newman and Robert Redford back together for quite a ride.  In this film they play conmen, who are going to take down a notorious mobster.  However as the mobster has the  habit of killing people, they have to be very careful.  Robert Shaw portrays the mobster, and he is a really bad man, who makes people disappear at his orders.  Johnny Hooker (Robert Redford's character) is in the con for revenge.  He has been a small time con, who happened into mob money, and his partner was murdered.  They are looking for him as well.  Throughout the picture he is running from would be murderers.
A cute scene is when the have to come up with a Western Union office at the last moment.  They take over an office pretending to be painters.  (Ray Walston) plays the painter.
This movie is good, and entertaining, but perhaps the most entertainment is the use of Scott Joplin music.  His piano ragtime music is superb.  The song, "The Entertainer" is well known, and moves me every time I hear it.
This movie won seven Academy Awards including Best Picture.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Movie Review: ****^In the Heat of the Night (1967)

This is the movie with the famous lie of Sidney Portier, "The call me Mr. Tibbs."  Also in his roll as the police of chief, Rod Steiger, won the Oscar for best actor.  The lead was shared by Porter and Steiger.  Steiger was a southern chief of police, in a town with Jim Crow laws and with rampant racism including violence.  Potier's character just happens to be visiting when there is a murder.  He is a homicide detective from Philadelphia.  The chief on several occasions arrests the wrong man.  Potier has to keep digging.  Even he was intent on looking for the murderer in the wrong place.  However in he end, while be just by a mob after him, he is able to get to the right man, by following who is paying for the abortion.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Movie Review: ***^The Frisco Kid (1979)

In the Frisco Kid Gene Wilder portrays a Jewish Rabbi from Poland, who is being sent to become the Rabbi in San Francisco.  Of course San Francisco is next to New York.  It is 1850, and the journey presents quite a challenge.  First he is robbed, then he travels by train after earning some money working on the railroad.  However he has to get off to not travel on the Sabbath.  In the mean time, he meets u with a train/bank robber played by Harrison Ford.  Ford is always saving him, but in the end they become friends.  A couple things don't work in this movie.  One is having a white guy play the chief.  The other is the interaction between Wilder and a raccoon.  They should have made more of this, or cut it entirely.  The way it was it was lame.  Ford is his grouchy, angry self which marks some of his later characters.  (The first Star Wars predates this film.)  Add a gang of three men who are after them and this show has the makings of a good western.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Movie Review: ***Surf's Up (2007)

This is a movie about penguins surfing, but more importantly about reaching for your dream.  It features two penguins geared for a surf competition, Cody Maverick (Shia LeBeouf) and Tank Evans (Diedrich Bader).  Tank is the current champion.  We also have a girl interest, Lani Aliikai (Zooey Deschanel.) and her uncle, the old surfing sage, Zeke Topanga (Jef Bridges) and a crazy chicken (Jon Heder).  Makes for a very wild ride.  The movie is often presented with a documentary type style, which I really didn't care for because it seems to get in the way of telling the story.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Music Review: Rascal Flatts: Feels Like Today

Rascal Flats is a country western group, and this album has the traditional country flavor.  Their most popular song is included in this CD.  It was a cover of the song, "The Broken Road."  This was first released by the Nitty Gritty Dirt band.
Every long lost dream led me to where you are
And others who broke my heart they were like northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know it's true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you
In this song they lament the time the could have been with their true love, instead of loves that didn't work out.  
In "Feels Like Today" they are singing expecting to find the one missing thing in their life today.  "Fast Cars and Freedom" was also released as a single.  
The song "Oklahoma, Texas Line" was written by the performers, and has more of an upbeat feel.
In listening to this set, there is not a particular song that really stands out to me, but as a whole the music and feel is fun.
One song, originally released as a hidden song but then later added is "Skin." also released as "Skin (Sarabeth)" about a girl who contracts leukemia, and has always wanted to go to prom with her boyfriend, but now her head is shaved and she doesn't think he should take her.  He shows up with his own head shaved in empathy and they go to the dance.  Country music has a way of telling stories which other genres sometimes miss.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Movie Review: The Jungle Book (Disney, 1967)

Disney presented the Jungle Book in 1967 as an animated presentation.  The took many of the Rubyard Kipling stories and wove them into a movie where Bagheera, the Panther is taking Mowgli, the man cub back to his own kind.  He protests, and runs into Baloo the bear and the run off to have adventures, but are caught by the  ape king.
This presentation includes the voice talents of Phil Harris as Baloo (very well done), Sebastian Cabot as Bagheera (his goody type of voice become grating after a while, Sterling Halloway as the snake Kaa (he almost even hypnotizes the audience). Louis Prima as the ape King Louie, and George Sanders and Shere Khan the tiger.  The ending is different than the remake, and I think I prefer the original.

Picture Book Review: A Porcupine Named Fluffy

A Porcupine Named Fluffy by Helen Lester, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1986.
I like to comment on the books the grandkids are looking out.  This is a cute story about a porcupine who is poorly named, because fluffy he is not.  However the rhinoceros is also poorly named, and together they have a good laugh.  The illustrations enhance the story.