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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xx

 

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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xx

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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xx

 

 

Kingsman- a film review

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Synopsis: A juvenile delinquent is recruited into a top secret British spy agency by a stylish mentor who trains him tin the skills of his craft.

Trailer (via Youtube)

Kingsman is a cross between James Bond and a B teen movie, but somehow it works. I remember laughing at the trailer for this when it was in theatres and declining an offer to go, but I was bored and it was on netflix …

I caught it last weekend and Kingsman was actually pretty entertaining! Parts were pretty fantastical, such the bullet-proof umbrella and the whole slicing a man in half bit. There is an incredible dearth of blood up until the end, despite all the violence. All in all, it was a completely unbelievable – yet amusing – story.

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I was very impressed with Colin Firth’s performance. I love actors who can play a wide variety of roles and this one is about as far from King George as you can get.

My favourite parts were the testing stages, from underwater escape rooms to Halo jumps.

I have a little bit of adrenaline junky in me and it would be cool to do this. Not saying I would do the first, because I don’t actually want to experience a likely-to-die scenario, but it would be an AWESOME story to tell, if you did survive.

There isn’t all that much story in Kingsman, but what is plentiful is the fun. It made me laugh. I said it above, but this movie is very James Bond with all the impossible situations and crazy tech, but I was more so reminded of Ethan Cross, from the Mission Impossible series. Firth’s motto “manners maketh the man” is a good one to live by, and something a lot of us could use the gentle reminder of.

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I didn’t understand the the “R” rating that the movie received. It felt very Disney because despite the violence, there was little blood, gore, or repercussion. I certainly feel that 14A would have sufficed.

Minor, minor spoiler:

The only questionable bit was at the end, where the Norwegian Princess offers the young hero anal sex in exchange for saving the world. If the movie was bumped up to an R rating for that one small line, and a quick glimpse of bare ass, it’s a little bizarre compared to some other movies out there that are 14A.

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xx

The longest ride – a film review

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The Longest Ride is the newest romantic-drama based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks. It follows two generations through the trials and tribulations of falling in love and merging two lives. The main characters are Luke and Sophia.

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Luke, played by Scott Eastwood, is a good ol’ country boy, with the morals and manners to match. And the stubborn, pig-headedness and toughness that goes along with “being country”. He is a professional bull rider, and let me tell you, it would torture me to date someone who did something so dangerous all the time. Sophia on the other hand is a New Jersey girl in the South for school, ready to head for a prestigious fine art internship in NYC.

I may have a little crush on Luke. So sexy!

The other couple followed in the story is Ruth and Ida Levinson, who fell in love in the 1940’s. Sophie and Luke rescue Ida after a car accident, and their stories become interwoven throughout the movie, flashing back and forth between the 40’s and modern day.

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Although I loved both stories, I would have personally preferred to see more of Sophia and Luke’s. Luke is very country and he influences Sophia to become more that way herself. I am also a country girl so this story-line was more appealing, IMHO.

I love the way that Sparks writes his male characters. Although they are all different, and certainly far from perfect, they also depict many of the characteristics that I appreciate and look for in a man. Physical and mental toughness (not to say that they don’t need someone to lean on at times, everyone needs someone). Protectiveness towards women and children. Someone willing to plan a date or surprise his girl. Come on guys, “netflix and chill” requires zero imagination. There is nothing sexier than a man you can rely on.

This movie was sweet enough to distract me from the project I was working on while watching, and a great way to spend a quiet evening alone. During Luke’s big championship ride, I was biting my lip, praying that he would be ok because you really never know when Nicholas Sparks is the writer!

Spoiler below the picture, letting you know.

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Thankfully, yes Luke is okay. This is another Sparks movie that has a happy ending, at least for the couple.

Definitely recommend! Probably just for the girls though.

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xx

The Lucky One – a film review

The Lucky One is a romantic-drama, based on the book of the same name, written by Nicolas Sparks. Released in 2012, it stars Zac Efron (“Logan”), Taylor Schilling (“Beth”), and Blythe Danner (“Ellie”).

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Trailer (via Youtube)

While I don’t think that any “Sparks” movie could ever come close to topping the masterpiece that is The Notebook, The Lucky One is another favourite of mine, and one that I have watched numerous times. Especially this time of year (I live in cold, snowy Canada), it is relaxing to watch a movie based in the South, and I do love me some southern accents. The Carolinian scenery is breath-taking. I think I need to take a trip down that was sometime.

Efron plays an American Marine recently returned from Iraq where most of his buddies died. He escaped a fatal blast by stepping out of range just seconds before, to pick up a picture he noticed fluttering in the wind.

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Upon his return to the States, he decides to track down the girl in the photo and return it to her, and thank her for saving his life. He doesn’t expect to fall for her, and her son, before he can figure out how to explain.

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The Lucky One is a sweet movie. I love how Efron depicts his character. Although Logan seems to suffer from PTSD, it isn’t the focal point of the film. He isn’t depicted as being a danger to himself or anyone else, and is certainly more stable than Beth’s ex-husband, a local cop.

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You wouldn’t want to me alone with this guy

It is amazing to see how naturally Logan takes to being a father-figure to Beth’s son and just what a good man and hard worker he is. He inspired me to work hard in my own life, and to look for a man with many of the qualities that he depicts. Beth and her son will never need to wonder about their security in the future, because Logan will make sure they don’t want for anything, and that they are safe and happy together.

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I loved how he was there for Beth as a friend, before they became romantically involved. She is initially an unpleasant character, filled with pain, and verbally lashes out at him multiple times, but is more than redeemed shortly on. Her brother, the one who lost the photo in Iraq, didn’t make it back alive, and Logan can certainly relate to her grief and anger. Together, they help each other through and grow.

** Minor spoiler, as to whether the movie ends happily or not:

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The Lucky One is a great romantic comedy. It has drama, and tears, but ultimately, the film ends positively, with Logan and Beth’s relationship in-tact. I have watched this movie multiple times and definitely recommend it to you.

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xx

Tomorrowland – film review

Tomorrowland (2014) is a futuristic movie about a second dimension that is inter-layed over Earth. The people who live there are the brightest and most optimistic from our planet, and are selected by highly advanced robots mandated to seek them out.

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From imdb:

Bound by a shared destiny, a teen bursting with scientific curiosity and a former boy-genius inventor embark on a mission to unearth the secrets of a place somewhere in time and space that exists in their collective memory.

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Tomorrowland’s magic stems from the enthusiasm of the young teenage protagonist and the wonder of the technology of the future. It was inspiring to see such a clean city full of life, to witness the jetpacks and trackless sky-trains and space travel.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see very much of that. In “present day”, the city of Tomorrowland is collapsing and seems nearly empty except for robots and security personnel. The residents of Tomorrowland know that our world is collapsing and despair and depression seem the dominant attitudes among them. Many of the former wonder-kid inventors have been expelled from the city, including the character played by George Clooney.

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What I didn’t like about this movie is that it didn’t live up to the fabulous potential of such an imaginative idea. The writing was sub-par and sort of unravelled half way through. It felt like someone got lazy, like they came up with a great idea and then didn’t have the motivation to see it through.

It is established that Tomorrowland will continue on unimpeded even though our world is ending, but everyone seems to have left it anyway. There are a few robots here and there and the city’s ruler and his minions. That’s it. Most of the city is in a state of disrepair. There is never any explanation given except for “they built something they shouldn’t have”.

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Athena: “They built something they shouldn’t have. And I think you can fix it”.

But that isn’t entirely true. And even if it is, their world isn’t being destroyed by this invention, ours is.

In many ways, Tomorrowland feels like the technological version of Neverland. You don’t have to grow up there. Emotionally, “creationally”, or even physically. I wish that the wonders of that world – what surely drew in audiences from the trailer, especially adults – had been explored further.

Unfortunately, between the lazy producing and writing, the movie fell far from expectations. It is supremely disappointing to see a fairly original idea fall flat, especially from a powerhouse like Disney.

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