Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Sand Wars 2013

Sand Wars

     The natural resource with the most consumption after water is sand.  There are limited reserves today because of a building boom across the planet.  A lot of the sand used in construction has been smuggled and this causes ¾ of beaches to have erosion.  Moving sand also causes the death of many creatures picked up along with the sand.  Desert sand cannot be used as a substitute because the grains do not hold moisture and shouldn't be mixed with concrete for buildings.  Sand is used in fiber optic cable, mobile phone components, computer chips, glass, bridges, sidewalks, roads, runways, toothpaste, powdered food and wine.
     There is a lot of information in this film that causes concern about the heavy use of sand.  I didn’t realize it is used in so many varied products.  I thought sand was plentiful and that desert sand could also be used.  Sand used that contains salt water can later cause metal erosion in structures.  This can be very dangerous and cause a building to collapse.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

74 min, Doc directed by Denis Delestrac with Sumaira Abdulali, George Borden, Rick Chaumillon, Loke Ming Chou, Riza Damanik, Pieter de Pous.

Note:  Imdb 8.2 out of 10, 80% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Godzilla 2014


     The Janjira nuclear power plant was destroyed in 1999 and it caused the loss of many employees.  Joe Brody was the supervisor at that time.  His wife along with several other workers became trapped behind a door.  Joe was forced to seal the door at the last minute to contain radiation.  He could not save them, they had been exposed to a high of a dose of radiation and could not survive.  Years have gone by and Joe has not forgotten a single detail of his experience and he has not recovered from the loss of his wife.  Ford, his young son is now an adult in the US Navy.  His job is ordnance disposal, he is married to a nurse and he has a young son of his own.  Ford goes to Japan because Joe has been arrested, he went into the quarantined area to search for information.  They witness the secret of what really happened to the power plant.
     This is supposed to be intensely serious and dramatic but some of the scenes are funny!!  I could not contain my laughter.  It makes me think about Godzilla versus Mothra and the two tiny Asian girls singing to Mothra!!  A lot of the action is in the dark so you can’t really see the details of the monsters and what is happening.  The two other creatures featured are called kaiju and they were featured in the film Pacific Rim.  3* (This movie is OK)

123 min, Action directed by Gareth Edwards with Aaron Taylor-Johnson, DJ Adams, Ken Watanabe, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Carson Bolde, Sally Hawkins, Juliette Binoche, David Strathairn.

Note:  Imdb 6.6 out of 10, 73% critic 67% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3 ½*.
Special Note:  I also found it funny that Godzilla is listed on Rotten Tomatoes as a celebrity!!  I like the info listed, “The most revered monster is reborn, an epic action adventure, visionary new director, powerful story of human courage and reconciliation in the face of titanic forces of nature!”  How much can you sugar coat this film?

Monday, December 29, 2014

Are You Here 2013

Are You Here

     Ben Baker is an adult but he’s not a grown-up and he spends his life getting high on his friend’s couch.  Steve Dallas is a somewhat successful weather reporter but he lives a shallow life.  Ben is notified that his father has dies and Steve drives him home.  When they arrive, they reconnect with Ben’s sister Terri and his mother Angela.  Ben believes he can come up with a new purpose for his life as he listens to the reading of the will.
     How many movies will there be about man-child slackers with failure-to-launch syndrome?  I guess if even one of these films made a little bit of money, it will have to be repeated over and over until people stop watching?  Of course there has to be a road trip, there can't be a slacker movie without a rode trip or they would not have anything to do?  Maybe the most unusual thing about this film is that it was worked on over an eight year period by Matthew Weiner, the Mad Men writer and also a contributor to the eight year run of the Sopranos?  Was his mind blown and he didn't have anything left?  So many questions with no answers?  1 1/2* (I really didn't like this movie and it's a waste of time) 

114 min, Comedy directed by Matthew Weiner with Owen Wilson, Zach Galifianakis, Amy Poehler, Jay Gates, Jason Davis, Melissa Rauch, Melanie Ratcliff, Noami Lavette, Lauren Lapkus, Alana De La Garza, Greg Cromer.

Note:  Imdb 5.3 out of 10, 7% critic 22% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 1 ½*.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Swimmer 1968

The Swimmer

     This film is based on a short story by John Cheevers published in the New Yorker.  Ned Merrill is an advertising executive and he has been away from his home in Westport Connecticut for most of the summer.  He visits friends at their pool one Sunday and he notices there are pools all along the valley on the path to his house.  He decides he will jog and swim back to his house.  Conveniently, he also is offered a drink at most of his stops.  Some friends are happy to see him and others want him to leave. 
     There are a lot of blanks in Ned’s history in this film?  His friends reveal some information but we don’t really know what happened to him, his marriage, his wife and his daughters and how long he has been away.  He doesn’t seem to see things as they are now or his what happened in his past very clearly.  The style of this film fits the age of 1968 with stylized shots and an overlay of the musical theme with these shots.  I thought this film stresses the visuals by sacrificing information and you are supposed to fill in the blanks.  3* (This movie is OK) 
95 min, Drama directed by Frank Perry, Sydney Pollack with Burt Lancaster, Janet Landgard, Janice Rule, Tony Bickley, Marge Champion, Nancy Cushman, Bill Fiore, David Garfield, Kim Hunter Rose, Gregorio.

Note:  Imdb 7.7 out of 10, 100% critic 83% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 4*.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Wild 2014

wild 2014 film reviews Wild Review
     Cheryl Stayed decides she must do something about her life and she decides to hike the Pacific Coast Trail.  Her life had started to spiral out of control after the death of her mother.  She hasn’t done any physical preparation and she has never done this kind of journey before.  She orders many items to take with her and her backpack is so heavy that she can barely stand up the first time she tries.  She can only manage 5 miles on her first day of a 1,100-mile journey.  She doesn’t have the proper fuel for her stove so she can only eat cold food for her first days. 
     This is good and Witherspoon does a good job on this journey.  There are flashbacks along the way showing Cheryl’s life and her family.  This movie is based on the book Wild written by Cheryl, it’s been on the best-seller list for many weeks and was chosen by Oprah as the first selection for Book Club 2.0.  4* (I really liked this movie)

115 min, Bio directed by Jean-Marc Vallee with Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Gaby Hoffmann, Thomas Sadoski, Keene McRae, Michiel Huisman, W. Earl Brown, Gaby Hoffmann, Kevin Rankin, Brian Van Holt.

Note:  Imdb 7.4 out of 10, 93% critic 81% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Last Tango in Halifax Season One 2012

Last Tango In Halifax: Season One

     Alan and Celia were childhood friends.  They dated as teenagers and they liked each other.  At the age of 16, Alan’s late wife didn’t pass on a letter from Alan to Celia.  He was apologizing for missing their first date and he was sending his forwarding address.  Alan and Celia both married other people and they both have adult daughters.  They meet again after more than 50 years and they fall in love all over again.  Alan’s daughter Gillian is not too keen on the idea and she is very protective of Alan since he has a weak heart.  Celia’s daughter Caroline knows Celia was not happy with her husband and he has also passed away.  Gillian has her own problems running a farm out in the country.  Caroline’s husband has been seeing another woman and they are considering a divorce.
     This is very good and I like their English way of speaking.  Both families have a LOT of problems but they try to work them out along the way.  I thought this was enjoyable to watch.  4* (I liked this series)

60 min each episode TV Series, Drama with Anne Reid, Derek Jacobi, Sarah Lancashire, Nicola Walker, Tony Gardner, Josh Bolt, Louis Greatorex, Dean Andrews, Nina Sosanya, Edward Ashley, Ronni Ancona.

Note:  Imdb 8.3 out of 10, 94% critic 100% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Metascore 78/100 with 9 citics, 6.5/10 user score with 10 ratings, Los Angeles Times 90/100, Variety 80/100, Wall Street Journal 80/100.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Real St. Nick 2012

    Kate is a nurse at St. John’s Hospital and a man dressed in a Santa Claus suit saves her from an accident during an earthquake.  Unfortunately, he hits his head on a rock and he’s unconscious.  When he regains consciousness, he insists that he is the ‘real’ Santa Claus and his name is Nick Claus?  He insists that he fell off his sleigh during a routine test run before his big Christmas Day travel?  Kate has him placed in the hospital’s psychiatric section for observation and tests.  His personality and his ‘Christmas Spirit’ begin to change the patients and staff.  The only holdout against the changes is the head doctor who believes everything involving Christmas is a waste of time and energy for everyone. 
     Kate decides she’s had enough of Dr. Spaulding and she’s accepted a new position in Vermont.  The only problem is that she doesn’t want to leave Nick behind?  Both Kate and Nick will need help with their situation!!  3* (This movie is OK) 

85 min, TV Movie, Comedy directed by Penelope Spheeris with Torrey Devitto, Callard Harris, Roma Maffia, Kenneth Choi, Matt Felker, Alix Elizabeth Gitter, Mark Adair-Rios, Aaron Landon, Thomas Sellwood.

Note:  Imdb 6.1 out of 10, 100% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Crazy for Christmas 2005

Crazy for Christmas     Shannon McManus is a limo driver and her boss calls her at the last minute with a job.  She asks her neighbor if her son Trevor can stay with her while she goes to work for a little while.  She'd rather stay home with Trevor but she needs the money this job will give her.  She picks up Fred Nickells and he goes around town giving lots of money to strangers.  Then he tells Shannon that he is her father.  She doesn’t want to take anything from him and she doesn’t believe he is her father.  A newsman has been following them and he’s trying to get a big story so he can get a promotion to a larger news operation.
      All kinds of people come out of the woodwork claiming that Fred Nickells is their father after they receive money from him and watch the newscast by Peter Archer.  Peter pays a visit to Shannon the next day to tell her additional information he has learned that he didn’t put on the newscast. 3* (This movie is OK)

90 min, TV Movie, Family directed by Eleanor Lindo with Andrea Roth, Howard Hesseman, Jason Spevack, Yannick Bisson, Karen LeBlanc, Daniel Fathers, Joyce Gordon, Mark Wilson, Carla Collins.

Note:  Imdb 6.4 out of 10, 36% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 5* with 6 reviews.
Special Note:  This film was originally titled Secret Santa.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

All She Wants for Christmas 2006

All She Wants for Christmas

     The biggest employer in Forest City is the Aikens Christmas decoration factory.  Noelle Dunn is working on an economics graduate degree and she has returned to her hometown to finish her thesis by working as an efficiency expert at the plant. Mr. Aiken, the founder of the factory has passed away but Noelle learns he arranged for his personnel money to support losses at the factory.  His granddaughter Ashley has come to the factory to see if the company can turn a profit.  Noelle meets Justin when she accidently releases are large balloon snowman from a display.  She gets him a line job at the factory and she becomes jealous when she sees Justin with Ashley.  Another problem for the town is that a MegaMart is planning to open a large store.  This will hurt the factory and a lot of small businesses.
     Noelle has her work cut out for her.  By December 25, she needs to save the factory, unite the town, finish her degree for her MBA and find out if this romance with Justin is real or does he really want to be with Ashley?  Noelle certainly has ‘perky’ going for her!!  3* (This movie is OK)

91 min, Comedy directed by Ron Oliver with Monica Keena, Tobias Mehler, Steve Bacic, Ali Liebert, Sonya Salomaa, Denise Galik, Nelson Wong.

Note:  Imdb 4.8 out of 10, 28% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 3.5* out of 5* with 32 reviews.

Monday, December 22, 2014

All About Christmas Eve 2012


     Evelyn Wright, is a party planner in New York City.  At the last minute, she learns that one of her agency’s top clients is throwing a HUGE Christmas party in Los Angeles on Christmas Eve.  There is a BIG problem, she already has plans to go on a romantic vacation with Darren, her boyfriend.  Elizabeth, Eve’s boss, lays it on the line that she takes this job or she doesn’t get the promotion she was expecting.  Of course, Darren is not happy that Eve is choosing work over their plans.
     There is an aspect of this film that I didn’t like.  It doesn’t just stick to one story but it splits into two stories that alternate.  In one story, she makes her flight, in the other story, she misses the flight and gets fired?  2 1/2* (This movie is so-so)

120 min, TV Movie, Comedy directed by Peter Sullivan with Haylie Duff, Chris Carmack, Connie Sellecca, Patrick Muldoon, Stephen Colletti, Bianca Lawson, Gib Gerard, Mark Lindsay Chapman, Diana DeGarmo.

Note:  Imdb 6.1 out of 10, 92% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Love at the Christmas Table 2012

Love at the Christmas Table

     Sam and Kat are family friends in Illinois and every Christmas Eve since 1984 they eat together at the children’s table.  They grow up together but Sam leaves to take a job offer in another city.  At age 30, Sam decides Kat is the one he wants to marry.  They only have one night to get everything right but can they pull it off without bungling it all up?
     I didn’t like the theme of just one night every year going on and on from 4 years until they are 30 years old.  It’s just stretched out too long with too many complications every year.  2 ½* (This movie is so-so)

89 min, Comedy directed by Rachel Goldenberg with Danica McKellar, Dustin Milligan, Lea Thompson, Scott Patterson, Brian Huskey, Alexandra Paul, William F. Bryant, Cameron Goodmand, Viva Bianca.

Note:  Imdb 6.6 out of 10, 71% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.3* out of 5* with 50 reviews.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Home by Christmas 2006

Home By Christmas     Julie Bedford thinks everything is fine with her life.  Her husband has a good job and she he doesn’t need to work.   She does charity work and she belongs to a book club plus she has a lot of friends.  She finds a note in her husband’s pocket that changes her life.  Her husband wants a divorce and he’s been seeing a younger woman.  Julie is struggling, she moves with her teenage daughter to another apartment and she gets a job.  Her daughter Brittney is not adjusting to the changes very well.  Brittney feels like everything happening to her is some kind of punishment against her alone.  Julie is doing the best she can but Brittney wants to live with her father and his new girlfriend during the week so she can go back to her home and go back to her former school.  Julie should have asked for more money and the house during the divorce negotiations but she wanted everything settled right away. 
     Julie starts to have many problems, it’s not very long until she’s robbed of the little settlement money she has left plus her credit cards.  The mugging puts her in the hospital and she doesn't have medical insurance.  This film has a good message that feels very real and the events could possibly happen to anyone.  I think I've seen this before but not recently.  3 1/2* (I liked this movie)

95 min, TV Movie, Drama directed by Gail Harvey with Linda Hamilton, Rob Stewart, Brenda Crichlow, Garwin Sanford, Brittney Wilson, Campbell Lane.

Note:  Imdb 6.4 out of 10, 62% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.6* out of 5* with 123 reviews.