CINDERELLA (2015) movie review

Kenneth Branagh masterfully directs Disney’s newest live action adaptation of the beloved children’s classic fairy tale Cinderella.75

In contrast to this year’s Into the Woods, no cheesy princes seek with fickle vengeance to woo winsome woeful indecisive scullery maidens. Cinderella_2015_3You need never flinch in fearful disgust. It’s appropriate for all ages but not so slapstick that adults can’t stand it. Marvel at the costuming and at Cate Blanchett’s truly wicked stepmother. CINDERELLADelight in each scene, drenched in artful Victorian symmetry which would do Jane Austen proud.


No longer just once upon a Time, it’s now once upon our time as Downton’s best take center stage. Lily James’s portrayal is demure, deliberate, ethereal. And Daisy of Downton is the perfect pompous step-sis. Already a fan of Agent Carter in her Marvel Fame, I believe Hayley Atwell was perfectly cast as the tragic mother figure. Shockingly, even Helena Bonham Carter underplayed her toothy froofy Godmother. The film as a whole was like a lovely well-paced waltz. Caring characters suffer loss but seek to prove always that bravery and kindness win the day for good. Well done.cinderella3

Spend an evening getting swept up in the array of gowns and Swarovski’s best. Ah, the glass slippers! cinderella4See Cinderella and believe in magic again.

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Filed under Classic, Comfort Film, Family friendly, Fantasy

BIG HERO 6 (2015) movie review

1405130453000-BAYMAX-BIG-HERO-6-MOV-JY-965--65727092Capitalizing on anthropomorphism is not a new story for Disney. In conjunction with Pixar, they introduced a small trash compactor with big heart in Wall-e. They keep reviving the Toys of our childhoods giving them lives and attitudes. Now Big Hero 6 gives the State Puff a huge heart and one prime directive: to protect and keep young Hiro after he experiences a tragic loss.

Big_Hero_6_sneak_preview_event_article_story_largeGrief counseling never looked so appealing. Big Hero 6 achieved what no other A.I. could. Where films like iRobot, Prometheus, Robot & Frank, and Transformers fail to make huggable machines, this film succeeds. With his program downloaded to help and heal, Baymax brings together the team of six super friends who challenge the lurking evil madman currently threatening the city.  Instead of taking out the masked man in a death-match, however, like true heroes they seek restoration and willingly sacrifice in an Interstellar scenario to bring ultimate justice and harmony back to the world.  I laughed out loud. I understood Hiro and felt the Baymax hug.

BIG HERO 6This film wraps you up in it, flings you out the window to fly on the wings of adventure landing you back home gracefully pillowed in promise.  Oscar well-earned.


Filed under Action, Animated, DramCom, Family friendly, Fantasy, Sci Fi

JUPITER ASCENDING (2015) movie review

jupiter_ascending_pushed_2015_lWhat’s in a name?
Everything, apparently.
Channing Tatum lures an audience of lonely women, Step Up dance fans, and heart throb honeys looking to him to fill their Saturdays with shirts-off eye candy. In that case, Jupiter excels.
Mila Kunis‘s name promises dark eyeshadow dreams and daylight sighs. Her teen impressions are spot-on every time.rs_560x415-140327073050-1024.Jupiter-Ascending-Mila-Kunis-JR1-32714_copy
Sean Bean, ever Boromir, brings the sci-fi fans a quick thrill with his original accent and scenes of hard punching. Though he tries for the likable space-rogue status, he can never quite reach his inner Han Solo. Not enough comedy…even his smiles look angry.

And sweet Eddie Redmayne‘s big bang into stardom began with his role in Les Miserables and evolved into larger roles. He is currently up for an Oscar for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. In Jupiter, however, he whispers his way to the purest dark side as this film’s Hitler, trading bones for soap stones in effect by managing the factory that turns humans into liquid life. A sort of advanced anti-age serum.jupiter-610x350

And finally the big names: The Wachowski‘s, of the Matrix fame. Ironically, they wrote and directed this film in which yet another advanced life-form chooses to liquefy people into a product worth killing for. Decent plot repeat on the sci-fi syndicate.
I left feeling adequately sci-fi satisfied with endless kicking and sky-skating. My dad loved it. Aliens. Kicking. Explosions. Yes. Yes. Yes. He had to agree, however, that the dialogue was junior high driven, if not written, and when the plot lacked, shooting commenced.
You obviously won’t go for an intellectual boost. You won’t have to think at all, in fact. It feels very Men in Black minus the quirky duo and catch phrases.
“Say it again.”
“Your highness.”
“Yeah. I like that.”


Oddly, the costumes and creature creations were almost worth the ticket. I enjoyed the sequence of alien waiting lines and red-tape best, even though it led to another poorly executed scene in which lycan bodyguards wrestled dragon dino slaves to free the helpless virginal beekeeping princess from a fate worse than death. Good thing they brought their flying boots along.jupiter-ascending-boots-01


Filed under Action, Sci Fi, Skip It

ANNIE (2014) movie review

annie-poster-106479Despite her hard-knock life, little Quvenzhane Wallis sees sunshine in every tomorrow.

Jamie Foxx woos audiences on each and every corner of NYC with his likable expressions and a voice like butter, but it’s Rose Byrne who knows she’s never fully dressed without a smile and helps charm little Annie into thinking she’s gonna like it here.

Cameron Diaz takes easy street as a surprisingly believable Ms. Hannigan, the evil caretaker for the all the little girls and former member of C+C Music Factory.

Maybe Annie will seize the opportunity to find her family, but most likely she will figure out that she doesn’t need anyone but you!

This remake was darling, vastly more entertaining and enjoyable than I ever expected it to be. 75


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Filed under Comedy, Comfort Film, Family friendly, Musical

MAZE RUNNER (2014) movie review

A short and sweet review for a thrill-a-minute futuristic Lord of the Flies with a Lost-esque flair. One character maintains the fight to stay and survive. One pursues escape at the risk of death. Both fear the Maze.Maze-Runner-Movie-Poster

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Filed under Action, Drama, Sci Fi

BOYHOOD (2014) movie review

One CBC columnist aptly titled his review “12 years a Boy.” 12 years. 12 times an annual reunion with the same cast to produce this one film. THIS one…incredibly dull, purposeless film.22boyhood_ss-slide-7UMX-jumbo Here are 12 reasons to avoid the hullabaloo and redeem the time you would waste by watching this year’s Oscar nom:

Reason 1. MUSIC & TECH. Most reviews have been ooohhh’ing and aahh’ing over Linklater’s use of music which sets the veritable stage as time beats on. This trick is not revolutionary or foreign to film. Being a period film, the occasional Britney Spears hit and a glimpse at the original Oregon Trail game is to be expected.
2. CAMERA ANGLES. The first scene opens on a young boy watching the sky. Most reviews have waxed poetic over reasons why he is watching the sky. So many metaphors could be made, reasons presumed. The reason is unclear, and unnecessary to unfold.  The passing of time allows it to matter even less.large_qfMWhdtULUAVxKpINbHW5CdKPI9CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT
3. Ethan Hawke’s character, “Dad,” offers constant, ridiculous advice. He proves untrustworthy from the start but becomes a bit less so as time passes.
4. The character known simply as “Mom,” played by Patricia Arquette, obviously wants to do right by her children, but her choices prove selfish and continually deepen her sorrow and confusion. 1404935134_boyhood-movie-ethan-article
5.  All adult / potential mentors like teachers and employers become more childlike and less trustworthy as the two children age.
6. You get to know a few secondary characters who just disappear in the film. No, you never see them again. But you don’t seem to mind.

7. TITLE & MEANING. The film is called “Boyhood,” which is misleading since the coming-of-age views expressed in this film come equally from the sister and the parents.

8. STRING THEORY. For the same reason as #6, you won’t be bothered by the fact that I am skipping reason #9. Time will skip forward and you’ll just have to move along with it. Don’t worry. You haven’t missed anything.
10. HYGIENE. One fascinating observation that you will allow your mind time to ponder while watching this film, however, is the fact that the characters obviously shower less frequently as they get older. To the degree which your concern for their personal hygiene increases, your interest in the film decreases sevenfold.

11. BOWLING. Bowling is a repeated motif. I wonder if the idea of trying your best and being repeatedly mowed down is symbolic in any way. Nah. Too bad the bowling scenes are the more interesting offerings.Boyhood-Movie-Review-Image-1-640x329

12. CONCLUSION. The pertinent moments  of a boy’s life shown over those 12 years are in retrospect…pointless? Is that the point. If so, what a Nihilistic, God-forsaken, frustrating conclusion. Why was any of this nominated for awards?

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Filed under Drama, Skip It

THE IMITATION GAME (2014) movie review

the-imitation-game-benedict-cumberbatch1-600x399I’ve been impressed lately with films that exercise power over time. Jumping time zones, they show scenes during the war and jump seamlessly into post-war scenarios; scrub the screen black and pop right into the past. We follow without a hitch. Perhaps we can thank shows like Lost for allowing our minds the freedom to flash back or flash forward.

This Interstellar loop in a film’s string theory feels effortlessly achieved in Imitation Game.The-imitation-game-film-movie-desktop-wallpaper-benedict-cumberbatch-keira-knightley-matthew-goode-morten-tyldum-uk-alan-turing-british-films-best-picture-academy-awards-predictions-best-director-best-actor-726x400This effect was the film’s greatest achievement…aside from casting half of Downton, reconciling women’s rights issues, causing universal disgust over Britain’s punishment of homosexual behaviors, positing the potential effects of education on children within the autism spectrum, creating the first computer, decrypting Hitler’s Enigma machine, and winning the 2nd World War with math.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira KnightleyNeedless to say, it forced a few too many plot lines. Benedict Cumberbatch could have simply saved the world with his math skills. That plot would have sufficed.



Filed under Drama, Historical Drama