Sunday, December 10, 2017

How to be a Latin Lover 2017

    Maximo is a penniless gold-digger and he has lived as a boy-toy in a marriage with Peggy 25 years.  They go to purchase a new Lamborgini for Peggy’s birthday but it’s really for Maximo.  Unfortunately for Maximo, the young car salesman becomes Peggy’s new boy toy.  Maximo is tossed out on the street, there was a prenuptial agreement and Maximo gets nothing.  He goes to stay with his younger sister and her son but this is not a happy arrangement.  All Maximo can think about is connecting with another wealthy woman.
     Maximo is very shallow and he is very self-centered.  He even claims that he is younger than his sister but he is the older brother?  He needs to get a real job and turn his life around instead of being a sponge!!  There is a lot of humor in this film.  3* (This movie is OK)  

105 min, Comedy directed by Ken Marino with Eugenio Derbez, Salma Hayek, Raphael Alejandro, Rob Lowe, Kristen Bell, McKenna Grace, Raquel Welch, Linda Lavin, Renee Taylor, Rob Corddry, Rob Riggle, Rob Huebel, Michael Cera.

Note:  Imdb 5.9 out of 10, 38% critic 62% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 1 1/2*, Metacritic 54 out of 100 with 11 critics 5.4 out of 10 with 35 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Santa Clarita and Pasadena, California.  Eugenio Derbez’s son in real life plays Maximo at 22 years old in the beginning of the film.  There is a mistake with the truck in the opening scene.  The truck is supposed to be driving down a road.  The instruments show no amps drawn from the battery and the coolant temperature is below the lowest end of the cold range?

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Frontier House 2002

     The setting is 1883 and the location is the Montana Territory in the United States.  There were many challenges for the settlers in this time period.  There are blizzards, the scorching sun, forest fires, difficult, neighbors, cattle drives and hunger.  Three modern families will be living the real life of this period on the American Frontier.  One of the families is the Clunes and they are a wealthy family from Malibu, California with three children and their niece.  There is the Glenn family and they are a middle class suburban family from Tennessee with two children.  The Brooks family consists of the father and his adult son.  Nate brooks will marry his fiancĂ© Kristen on the frontier and his father Rudy will return to his home.  They had set a date to marry and then Nate was selected to participate in the program.  The families will spend five months living in the Territory.
     Over 5,500 families applied to be on the show and the filming location was south of Big Timber, Montana.  Each family received a 160-acre plot of land.  Initial provisions and supplies were purchased based on a period appropriate budget.  A dairy cow was included for each family to provide milk for their use.  The families were expected to farm, graze animals and build a home.  The properties had access to a creek for water and they were within a 15-minute walk of each other.  The country store was 10 miles away and required a hike on foot over two mountain passes.  One family received a bonus because there was already a cabin on their land parcel.  The other two families needed to construct a wood cabin using trees from nearby property.  Ten days before the conclusion of the project, historical experts assess the families preparedness to survive a Montana winter.  I thought this was very interesting, it was a LOT of hard work and there were contentions between the families.  The families left with a different perspective on the lives they were returning to after their Montana experience.

6 episodes, TV mini-series shown on PBS with Kristen, Nate and Rudy Brooks; Adrienne, Aine, Conor, Gordon, Justin, Tracy, Clune; Karen and Mark Glenn, Erinn and Logan Patton, narrated by Kathryn Walker.

Note:  Imdb 8.6 out of 10, Amazon 4.7* out of 5* with 97 reviews, 4 ½* with 97 reviews.
Special Note:  When the attack on the World Trade Center towers happened on 11 September 2001, the families were notified of this event by local newspapers.  Adrienne sewed an American flag with the details of 1883.

Miles from Nowhere 2009

     Cameron Stiles is playing football in high school and his dad Gary Stiles is the coach.  Cam is good on the field and he will be able to get a scholarship for college.  His parents aren’t able to afford the tuition and fees to send Cam to college.  Cam and his best friend John go out to a party that John doesn’t want to attend.  Cam promises John that they won’t stay long.  John is committed to his training in track at the same school with Cam.  John decides to run home since Cam obviously isn’t ready to go home.  John is accidentally hit and killed by a car on his run home.  Cam feels responsible and he is totally devastated.  He decides to change to running track to in remembrance of John.  This change causes conflict between Cam and his father Gary because of the scholarship situation.
     Cam is torturing himself because of the accident and John’s death.  He decides to honor the life of John by following John’s goal of an under 4 minute mile.  I thought this was interesting and about the deep subjects of death, guilt, pain, forgiveness, parents and teens.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

89 min, TV movie directed by David Burton Morris with Andrew Lawrence, Treat Williams, Joanna Going, Kevin Kilner, John Beasley, Rachel Style, Jake McLaughlin, Jarrod Bailey, Kevin Elms, Christa B. Allen, Ryan Krueger, Julian Alcaraz.

Note:  Imdb 6.7 out of 10, 79% critic 77% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.6* out of 5* with 81 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Los Angeles, California.  Also titled Chasing a Dream.  There is a quote from a proverb about the antelope and the lion.  "Both the antelope and the lion better be running when the sun comes up!!"

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Band Aid 2017

     Anna and Ben are a married couple and they are always fighting.  The reason for their fighting is because Anna suffered a miscarriage and they are both grieving.  They need to find another way to manage their grief without attacking each other.  It doesn’t help their situation that friends and family are always asking when they are going to have a baby.  All their friends seem to have children and invitations are usually for child birthday parties.
      The couple is going to a councilor but they don’t open up to her.  She gives them some advice about how to fight with a purpose instead of their normal fighting.  Anna and Ben decide to form a band with their neighbor as the drummer.  Maybe they can make a career out of their fighting through songwriting??  Anna and Ben also struggle with unfulfilling jobs, unemployment and monotony.  The songs lead to the most important thing the couple needs, communication.  3* (This movie is OK)

91 min, Comedy directed by Zoe Lister-Jones with Adam Pally, Fred Armisen, Zoe Lister-Jones, Susie Essman, Retta, Hannah Simone, Ravi Patel, Brooklyn Decker, Angelique Cabral, Majandra Delfino, Nelson Franklin.

Note:  Imdb 6.7 out of 10, 86% critic 72% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*, Amazon 4.3* out of 5* with 34 reviews, Metacritic 65 out of 100 with 21 critics and 7.5 out of 10 with 6 reviews.
Special Note:  Anna and Ben change the phrase misery loves company to misery loves accompaniment.  Written, directed and produced by Zoe Lister-Jones.

Big Little Lies 2017

     This series is based on a novel by Liane Moriarty.  Madeline Martha Mackenzie meets single mom Jane Chapman on the orientation day of first grade.  Jane and her son Ziggy are new in this Monterey community.  There is an incident at the school and another student chokes one of the first grade girls.  The red marks can be seen on her neck.  Amabella says it was Jane’s son Ziggy but he denies the accusation.   Madeline goes on the warpath against Amabella’s mom Renata because of the accusation.    
     This series is filled with ex-husbands and their relationships with present and past wives.  Also there are current marriages and their relationships.  It’s about problems in the classroom and the schoolyard with school personnel and first grade students.  Mainly it’s about the lies we tell to ourselves and the lies we tell each other.  How can we face the next day without these lies?  All the hair products, makeup, expensive homes and cars can’t change the inside of a person!!  I thought this series was very good and I did succeed in figuring out who was hurting Amabella and what would happen with the adults in the ending.  4 1/2* (I loved this series)

7 episodes, 3 discs, TV mini-series, Crime directed by David E. Kelley with Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Alexander Skarsgard, Adam Scott, Zoe Kravitz, James Tupper, Jeffrey Nordling, Laura Dern, Ian Armitage, Santiago Cabrera, Darby Camp, Kellen Coleman, Larry Bates, Kathreen Khavari, Sarah Baker.

Note:  Imdb 8.6 out of 10, 92% critic 94% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.6* out of 5* with 541 reviews, Roger Ebert 3 1/2*,  Metacritic 75 out of 100 with 42 critics 8 out of 10 with 215 ratings.
Special Note:  Filmed in Monterey, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach, Carmel Highlands, Malibu and Los Angeles, California.  Witherspoon and Kidman are also the producers of the series.  Nicole Kidman was once engaged to Lenny Kravitz, the father of Zoe Kravitz.  There was a bidding war for the filming rights between HBO and Netflix.  Witherspoon and Kidman became close during filming and Witherspoon bought the residence next to Kidman’s home in Nashville.  Witherspoon withdrew from Downsizing of 2017 to make this film.  Kidman turned down Wonder Woman 2017.  Witherspoon and Kidman also obtained the rights for an adaptation of Truely Madly Guilty, also a novel by Liane Moriarty.  In the novel, the setting is in a seaside suburb of Sydney, Australia. 
Titles for Episodes:  Somebody’s Dead, Serious Mothering, Living the Dream, Push Comes to Shove, Once Bitten, Burning Love, You Get What You Need.
BOOKS:  Big Little Lies 8/11/2015, (4.5* out of 5* 15,248) Three Wishes, The last Anniversary, What Alice Forgot, The Hypnotists Love Story, the Husband’s Secret.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Tanna 2015

     This film is based on an actual marriage dispute that happened in 1987.  The setting is the remote South Pacific island of Tanna and people are the Yakel tribe. The island is covered in rain forest and dominated by an active volcano.  Wawa is now a woman and she is promised to a man from another tribe to settle a peace treaty.   Wawa is in love with Dain and they want to marry but they are both from the Yakel tribe.  There could be another war between the two tribes if Wawa does not marry into the other tribe.   The tribes have rejected colonial and Christian beliefs in favor of their traditional Kastom belief system.
     I thought this was interesting and I had never heard of these two tribes or this island.  The scenery of the island is very beautiful.  The villagers know about Captain Cook, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.  Captain Cook was the first European to visit this island in 1774 and the volcanic light of Mount Yasur attracted him.   I was surprised about the information about Cook and the Queen.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

104 min, Drama directed by Martin Butler and Bentley Dean with Mangau Dain, Marie Wawa, Merceline Rofit, Charlie Kahla, Albi Nangia, Lingai Kowia, Dadwa Mungau, Linette Yowayin, Kapan Cook, Mangau Yokay.

Note:  Imdb 6.9 out of 10, 90% critic 79% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.7* out of 5* with 28 reviews, The Guardian 4* out of 5*
Special Note:  Filmed in Tanna, Vanuatu.  Awards won by this film were AAFCA Best Foreign Film and also Best Original Music Score, ADG Best Direction in a Feature Film, FCCA Best Music, Sutherland Award Special Jury Prize, Venice Best Cinematography, Zagreb Special Mention Feature Film.

Monday, December 4, 2017

New Life 2016

     Benjamin Morton moved with his family from the UK to America and he met his neighbor Ava right away.  They were both seven years old.  They seemed to hit it off as friends and their friendship seemed to last.  Ben and Ava almost break up during her senior year but they get back together.  Ben gets a good job with his father’s architectural firm and Ava is a grade school teacher. They almost lose there way again when Ben forgets what’s most important and he is gone for work too much. 
     This movie is a real downer!!  Ben and Ava want to have a baby but Ben never seems to be home.  Ava is wondering if he wants the same things from their marriage?  They start to pull together as a team again but then a lot of life events get in the way.  3* (This movie is OK)

88 min, Drama directed by Drew Waters with James Marsters, Barry Corbin, Terry O’Quinn, Bill Cobbs, Jonathan Patrick Moore, Erin Bethea, Kris Lemche, Irma P. Hall, Drew Waters Brenda Jo Reutebuch, Caige Coulter.

Note:  Imdb 5.8 out of 10, 40% critic 67% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 3.7* out 5* with 24 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Winona Lake and Warsaw, Indiana.  Erin Bethea in the role of Ava was co-host of On Mission Xtra of 2009 on Family Network.  There is another film with the same title from 1983.