a very late review

Guess who finally saw Guardians of the Galaxy II?! Yup, this girl. I’m sure there are a million and one reviews out there already breaking it down, but I want to talk about it so here is one more.

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Also, spoilers abound.

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Guardians II is FUNNY. Quite possibly even funnier than the first one which is saying something. Rocket and Baby Groot are hilarious and kinda steal the show in my opinion. There was one point where I seriously considered whether I would have to leave the theatre for a few minutes to calm down I was laughing so hard.

There are very few action movies that are also comedy but Guardians has that shit nailed down. It is also family-friendly and thoroughly entertaining for adults so its no wonder they rake in a billion + before the DVD is released.

Baby Groot is adorable and I loved that the animators took the opportunity to make him so much more expressive in personality and facial expressions. At times, this little guy almost broke my heart but he is the core of the film and my favourite character.

The only part of this movie that I didn’t like, was the part that I was looking most forward to. The big reveal of Peter’s lineage, aka The Celestial, Ego.

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Ego started out great and I think Kurt Russell did a pretty great job of it, but the idea of Ego is somewhat existential and I didn’t feel like that came across very clearly. I also hate how he was supposed to be so powerful and yet was defeated relatively easily. Certainly more easily than Ronin in the previous movie!

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Additionally, I was disappointed that Peter finally finds his dad, who is a super cool being, just for Ego to immediately portray his complete lunacy and evil intentions, and then be killed off. It was too “easy” and would have loved to see Peter have a contentious struggle with his father all his life … which is apparently a very long time … and develop his super-power.

It finally looked like we had met a human supe without any (obvious) physical enhancements, “just” the ability to manipulate energy and energy balls. Most of the Marvel cast are superhuman in a physical way, from Thor, to the Hulk and Spiderman and Captain America. Now Peter is a run-of-the-mill human.

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I detest that Marvel made Ego so evil. It doesn’t fit with my idea of a Celestial and made the character so pathetically one-dimensional when he could have been the most interesting new development in the MCU. I would have preferred him to go forward mostly impartial to the plight of humans, and all our “petty” concerns, and have an ongoing relationship with Peter and his family. Ultimately, this plot line dropped a star from my review of an otherwise fantastic movie.

I did love the plot development that went into this movie. Everyone involved brought more into the universe from the intricacies of ravager society, and the gold people to information about the creation of the universe itself.

I saw this movie with my Mum who isn’t a marvel fan and doesn’t like superhero movies in general. She hadn’t even seen the first movie which I didn’t quite realize before we arrived, but she was a good sport to go with me for my birthday and even she admitted it was great. I’m glad she enjoyed it and even ventured that the trailer for Spider-man (2017) looked good so maybe I can return the favour and take her to that for her birthday!

Trailer for this movie

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Fifty Shades Darker

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Well I went to see the new Fifty Shades today! I went to the “Stars and Strollers” matinee edition with three friends and two sweet little babes … that will be some story to tell them when they are older, that their first movie was Fifty Shades Darker!

I was surprised and very happy to discover that the movie was SO much better than the first! All four of us adults agreed. It still isn’t something that the actors will win an Oscar for, but the acting and pacing of the film were both better. Jamie Dornan, was much sexier in this movie, without that goofy haircut from the first film, and the actors seemed more comfortable with each other and the inherent sexuality unfolding on-screen.

It helped that I went with the girls I did, and that we were expecting a light-hearted movie that wasn’t too deep. We were there to bond, snuggle babies, and share some laughs.

And that is exactly what we did.

The actress who played Leila, Bella Heathcote, did a fantastic job entering the series. And I have always loved Max Martini as Taylor. I seriously hope that his role is expanded in the final film.

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Fifty Shades is the type of movie that you can’t take too seriously. It isn’t about abuse or the subjugation of women. It isn’t a high-class movie, with witty commentary, high stakes car chases or deep meaning. It is what it is and I am happy to report that we all had a great afternoon out.

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If you liked the books, you will probably enjoy this movie. If you hated the books and all they “stood for” then you will hate the movie equally.

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Drop Dead Fred (film)

Drop Dead Fred is a HILARIOUS movie that was released in 1991 by Universal Studies. It stars Phoebe Cates and Rik Mayall.

I have been looking to watch this movie for so long now. I couldn’t find it on DVD or streaming service anywhere, other than for rent on Youtube. Thankfully, my local library just got a new streaming service that is free to members and this movie was on there. Libraries for the win!

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From IMDB: A young woman who’s attempting to find her place in the world battles with her controlling mother and a womanizing husband finds comfort and confusion with the appearance of her childhood friend. It is a zappy movie that emphasizes self-actualization.

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This movie is rated pg-13, but I watched it with my parents from a young age. Looking back, that is a little shocking because of the swearing in the movie, but I was never one for bad words so I guess my parents could tell that the language and occasional adult situation went over my head at the time.

Drop Dead Fred is a fantastic movie to watch as a family if your children are a little older. The rating is mostly for language, there aren’t any sexy scenes. Making out is about as heavy as it gets.

Drop Dead Fred is a hilarious coming-of-age story about a mousy young women taking control of her life that was previously run by her husband and mother. She overcomes the emotional abuse that was inflicted upon her as a child, with the help of her childhood imaginary friend, the rambunctious and heart-warming troublemaker, Fred. You will be in stitches over the situations that Lizzie and Fred find themselves in, both as children and as adults, and if you’re a neat-freak like me, you might just be cringing a little bit too.

The young child, Ashley Peldon, who plays Young Elizabeth in the flashback scenes does an amazing job. She is sweet and convincing in her role. It is more than a little heartbreaking to see how the mother treats her and all I wanted to do was hold her tight and love on her.

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I highly recommend this hilarious comedy for some hearty laughs on a cold and snowy winter’s night.

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The Grand Seduction film review

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The Grand Seduction is a 2013 Canadian film set in the small harbour of Tickle Head, Newfoundland. Like many communities on the East Coast, Tickle Head’s economy collapsed with the fish stocks their livelihoods were based on, and now the once proud town is disintegrating. Buildings have fallen into disrepair, long-time residents increasingly leave for cities and those few who stubbornly remain in the harbour scrape by on welfare and the feelings of shame that it comes with.

Enter Murray French. He is one of these welfare-dependent Tickle Heads who was born and raised in the Harbour; he misses his fed-up wife who left for a job in the City. An oil company is considering building a petro-chemical recycling plant that will provide enough jobs for everyone, if the town can meet a set of conditions, including procuring a full-time doctor. So Murray spearheads a campaign to seduce a visiting doctor (Paul Lewis) over the course of a month, convincing him that Tickle Head is the perfect place to settle down and sign a long-term contract.

Enter the comedy.

From pretending that the entire community is in love with cricket to pre-catching fish and planting them on the good doctor’s hook, the entire town is in on the charade to charm Dr. Lewis.

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I love the charm and character of this film. It is very Canadian and many things in the film seemed familiar to me. It was filmed in New Foundland and the music and scenery are absolutely beautiful. I’ve thought about moving out that way for a long time and this film just increases that longing in me.

download The Grand Seduction isn’t a film that relies on flashy special effects or scantily-clad, movie-perfect Hollywood youth. The majority of actors are middle-aged or older. And while the scenery is gorgeous, it is the writing that keeps pushing the plot along, and charming the audience. No crudeness required.

Gordon Pinsent, then age 83, won the award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role at the 2014 Canadian Screen Awards. It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival where Monica Bartyzel of The Week wrote of the film: “The Grand Seduction is a super-sweet community tale sparked by the inclusion of McKellar’s wry humor [sic]. It’s a film overflowing with charm from end to end.”The-Grand-Seduction-Movie

NFL is the only eastern province that I have yet to visit and this film has me cruising the travel websites and packing a bag!

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Please Kill Mr Know It All

Please kill Mr Know It All is a 90 minute comedy that I borrowed from our local library this week. I think it is an indie film. It was unrated but I would probably place it about pg-13; it was not nearly as graphic or violent as I anticipated, and much funnier.

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The story begins with popular (and anonymous) advice columnist Sally aka “Mr. Know it All” going viral and becoming nationally syndicated. Due to the convoluted web of lies told by her business partner, she has to make up an image of the purportedly male author behind the column. She finds a face that she feels would match the column at a local movie theatre and she sketches him, and releases this to the industry, and then to the public. Unfortunately her muse (Albert) is an assassin for the mob, and not too keen on being recognized everywhere he goes. So Albert takes it into his head to kill Mr. Know It All and end the column so that he can fade back into obscurity. Albert doesn’t count on his target being the cute, awkward, bubbly redhead that he is falling in love with.

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Albert, played by Jefferson Brown, looks like a young Pierce Brosnan to me. He is so cute! I loved how he and Lara Jean Chorostecki represented their characters. Indie films like this can be very hit or miss and I think that this one is definitely a hit. Her nerdy awkwardness perfectly fits the character’s habit of writing about life instead of experiencing it, and I think that Brown struck the right balance between the aloof, emotional killer and a bewildered guy falling for this girl who keeps appearing in his life.

The only thing I would have changed would be for Sally to struggle a little bit more with the knowledge that her “Mr. Right” intended to kill her. I mean, dude, talk about an emotional betrayal!

I highly recommend you check out this movie. I thoroughly enjoyed it and consider it the perfect length to watch one evening through the week, and still get into bed at a decent time to get up the next morning.

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Bedknobs and Broomsticks

Well, I haven’t been feeling well this week at all but unfortunately I had to work through it. Normally I am working about 70 hours a week so the fact that Monday was the Family Day holiday … so thankful! I firmly believe there should be at least one holiday long weekend every single month.

This weekend I took the opportunity to enjoy a few nights in, some hanging out with room-mate and others with my family, and I brought out the old movie Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971).

I haven’t seen it since I was a little kid. I totally forgot this movie even existed, although it had some pretty big names in it in its day. If you aren’t familiar with the story, here are the important deets (copied and pasted from wikipedia):

“Bedknobs and Broomsticks is a 1971 British-American musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Productions. It is based upon the books The Magic Bed-Knob; or, How to Become a Witch in Ten Easy Lessons (1943) and Bonfires and Broomsticks (1945) by English children’s author Mary Norton. The film, which combines live action and animation, stars Angela Lansbury and David Tomlinson.”

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“The film is frequently compared with Mary Poppins (1964), since it combines live action and animation and is partially set in the streets of London. It also features numerous cast members from Mary Poppins, particularly Tomlinson. This movie is great for all ages.

During The Blitz, the three Rawlins children, Charlie, Carrie, and Paul are evacuated from London to the remote village of Pepperinge Eye. They are placed in the reluctant care of Miss Eglantine Price, a reclusive woman who agrees to the arrangement temporarily. The children attempt to run back to London, but change their minds after observing Miss Price attempting to fly on a broomstick. Miss Price reveals she is learning witchcraft through a correspondence school with hopes of using her spells in the British war effort, and offers the children a transportation spell in exchange for their silence. Miss Price casts the spell on a knob that the youngest child, Paul, has removed from the bed in the children’s shared bedroom, and she adds that only Paul can work the spell.”

Well, you know trouble is going to ensue from that, now don’t you?!!

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I was a little nervous that rewatching a movie I had loved as a child would tarnish its image in my mind, but the charm remains. All the tunes in this musical are very catchy. A bit like Mary Poppins, I feel as though Bedknobs and Broomsticks will never age too much to be enjoyable, although it would be neat if they remade it with updated special effects and animation.

Any of the scenes with the bagpipes or military songs are my favourites!

It seems like the movie is available for free from a couple of youtube accounts (which I have no association with). Try these links: First Try     Second Try

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The Finest Hours – a review

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The synopsis:

On Feb. 18, 1952, a massive storm splits the SS Pendleton in two, trapping more than 30 sailors inside the tanker’s sinking stern. Engineer Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck) bravely takes charge to organize a strategy for his fellow survivors. As word of the disaster reaches the Coast Guard in Chatham, Mass., Chief Warrant Officer Daniel Cluff orders a daring rescue mission. Despite the ferocious weather, coxswain Bernie Webber (Chris Pine) takes three men on a lifeboat to try and save the crew against seemingly impossible odds.

Deep breathe. Wow.

This movie certainly has anticipation down. I think I was holding my breath for half the movie, and when I left the theatre, my ticket was shredded into ribbons in my pocket from working it through my fingers during the many tense moments in this film.

I love a story that can invoke so much emotion. That is surely the point of creating anything in the first place. The last time I felt so much anticipation in a film was Unstoppable, also based on a true story. I may have to re-watch it and put a blog of here sometime soon.

In the mean-time, go watch The Finest Hours.

One of the best aspects of this movie is that it shows the harrowing events taking place both on-board the stern of the sinking oil tanker, and the experiences of the Coast Guard crew trying to reach them. Both stories were incredibly interesting and could have comprised a movie in themselves, but having both perspectives in the same one shows how incredible it was that the rescue was able to succeed and the narrow odds both crews were up against.

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Although I suspect that some creative liberties were taken in the scenes depicted, mostly due to the extremely dramatic nature, this was still a remarkable feat of will. As I sat in the theatre, I couldn’t help but think how awe-inspiring humanity can be the iron will every man exhibited to keep struggling towards life. From the actions of the sailors fighting to buy time and keep a sinking ship alive for as long as possible, in the hopes (not knowledge) that someone was coming to save them, to the Coast Guard crew who went out on a suicide mission, fully expecting to never even make it to the sinking ship, it was one heroic moment after another.

And the Coast Guard seemed to think their cutter was a surf board, cruising over, and under, massive stormy waves.

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The story made me think of soldiers in war and this movie inspired a whole new level of respect for Coast Guard members, and their families, for the dangers faced and sacrifices made, in serving. We all know that the Navy can be grounded due to poor conditions, but the Coast Guard cannot. Their mandate is to serve; if there is a ship in distress, the Coast Guard will respond.

One of the themes repeated throughout is that the Coast Guard always goes out. They don’t have to come back. This is so very different from the Marine motto of never leave a man behind and it shows the differences in mindset between the two organizations. Management in other corps will weigh the costs and benefits of performing a certain mission, and plan for the least number of casualties possible. The Coast Guard just goes out, because they don’t have the option to re-plan, re-schedule or just the “null”.

Casey Affleck and Chris Pine were both magnificent in this film. Although I was more drawn to Affleck’s character, I couldn’t help but compare Chris Pine to some of his other notable roles such as Captain Kirk (Star Trek) or Prince Charming (Into the Woods), simply because this one was so different. I love versatile actors and consider them one of the greats when they can inhabit such different characters with apparent ease, rather than sticking to the same role in thirty different productions. Chris Pine is surely a great.

Clearly I am a huge fan of The Finest Hours. It brought up a whole lot of similar feeling films that I want to go re-watch now. Hopefully I will get some blogs up on here shortly.

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