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Monday, May 18, 2015

Mini Movie Reviews and Some Introspection

It's been so rainy lately, there's been talk of building an ark. I won't complain. We were under drought conditions for four years. This year our lakes are back to normal.

With the weather so bad and my allergies holding me hostage, we opted for a marathon of movies.  

We went out to see the Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Good flick, but a little long. I was thrilled to see James Spader and Paul Bettany in the cast. Those two never disappoint. I'd read that while they were filming, the cast was so impressed with Spader's performance they applauded him after his first take. How's that for peer validation?

Lots of back story in this one. Normally, I like back story, but with so many characters, it got unwieldy. I won't say more so as not to spill spoilers, but if you like the franchise, don't miss it.

At home, we finally watched Battleship with Taylor Kitsch. I was shocked at how many people panned this movie. Some hated it with a passion citing that it was a confusing mess. We must've watched a different movie because other than the slow lead up to the action, it was a classic popcorn movie.

Aliens come to Earth with bad intentions. The aliens create an impenetrable force field bubble between a piece of Oahu, Hawaii and the ocean where three of our warships are separated from the rest of the fleet on Naval exercises. The aliens are trying to create a communications base and it's a race to stop them before it's too late.

Both sides have vulnerabilities and that's where it becomes interesting. Why so many reviewers said they couldn't follow along is beyond me. I'm generally very easy to confuse but even I could figure out what was going on. 

Supposedly, it's based on the old board game, Battleship. Maybe it's generational. I've never played the game, but I understand the concept. My favorite part is that they included real wounded soldiers and WWII veterans in the movie as valuable assets to the story. 

Definitely a popcorn movie. Watch it for the fun, and leave the nitpicking for something else.

We also saw Lone Survivor with Mark Walhberg. All I can say is that it was intense and pretty depressing. Not my kind of movie. They say it's based on a true story which only makes it sadder. I don't recommend this movie unless you're a diehard military film lover.

Finally, we re-watched Meet Joe Black with Brad Pitt. This is another movie where reviewers either loved it or hated it. The haters called it boring. Disagree entirely. Maybe they were looking for a lot of action and car chases. This movie is very cerebral in a metaphysical context. 

There's a scene between Joe Black and an old Jamaican lady that brought up an odd, old memory, something my mother mentioned once.

She said when her brother died, she'd had a vision of him. He told her he was all right and not to worry. Behind him were two other brothers and two sisters who had died before him. All of them were smiling. Behind all of them was her mother. She couldn't help thinking her mother looked sad.

This troubled me. I love my grandmother. I didn't see her often but she was one of those people who had a profound influence on me. I don't like to think of her as sad for any reason. 

I inherited my love of gardening and homesteading from her. Born at the turn of 1900, she was a true pioneer and one tough lady. I'm hoping what my mother saw as sadness was instead introspection. My grandma was like that--always thinking.


At least ten more days of rain. Looks like we'll be watching a lot more movies.

Have you seen anything good lately? Anything you'd like to recommend?


Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Maybe your grandmother was sad that another of her children had died and was joining them?

Haven't seen any movies lately, but really caught up in the new season of Game of Thrones. Also reading a lot of thriller/suspense novels.

Angela Brown said...

Age of Ultron is on my need-to-see list. Home is a movie my daughter wants to see again, but with me since she saw it the first time with her dad. There are a few horror movies I have no intentions of seeing. Otherwise, not so much happening in the movie watching scene for me.

But I'm glad you got in some great flicks.

Long and Short Reviews said...

Too lazy to log out of my biz account, but you know who I am *G* ... but, I've seen Age of Ultron twice now and loved it. Of course, I'm a HUGE Marvel fan and see pretty much everything they release. Ant Man is next :-D

Haven't seen any of the others, though Battleship is on my "maybe I'll watch this some time" list.

Re: relatives who've passed -- several years ago, my mom saw me one morning and said, "Your dad came to me in a dream last night and told me to tell you not to worry, that Aunt Julia is fine." ... was really odd, until later that day I received a call from my cousins that she had passed away the night before. Those kinds of things always give me a bit of a shiver...

Lynn Viehl said...

I liked Battleship; I thought there were a couple of missed story opportunities with the characters but overall it was a fun movie.

I'm slowly rewatching all three seasons of Tim Roth's Lie to Me* on DVD. Mainly because I adore Tim Roth, but Kelli Williams and Monica Raymund are pretty amazing, too. Highly recommend it if you like unusual crime procedurals.

BBC's Grantchester is my latest new find. It's a mystery series featuring a young vicar and a police detective working together to solve cases in the 1950's. Extremely well done all the way around with the stories, and the casting is inspired.

Diane Carlisle said...

I thought about Lone Survivor and I love Mark Walhberg, but I don't like war movies or anything about the military. When I mentioned this to someone, I was told it wasn't really about the war or military actions. I don't like depressing movies either!

Terms of Endearment with Debra Winger and Shirley McLaine? OMG, cried like a big ole baby.

Mike Keyton said...

Shame you can't sell some of your water to California. You'd make a tidy profit from watering Hollywood lawns :) Speaking of which, the film I've most recently seen and thoroughly enjoyed was Blackthorn. (though Prometheus is also lodged somewhere to watch) Blackthorn only gets 6.6 on the IMD ratings but it deserves more. The film's based on the premise that Butch Cassidy survived the shoot-out in Bolivia and lives to a ripe old age. We see him in late middle-age, wiser, more grizzled and determined on reaching California (Where according to legend he lived to see the Wall St. Crash). No plot spoilers but I'd argue there should have been an oscar for the camera work and Bolivian scenery. The acting was good too with some nice twists. Enjoy your enforced hibernation.

betty said...

We saw Imitation Game a few weeks ago, enjoyed that. Saw Insurgent in the movie theater, enjoyed that too :)

Always good to get rain especially if you had been in a drought before. California would covet the rain you are getting :)


Maria Zannini said...

Madeline: I do hope it's nicer on the other side. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Angela: Age of Ultron was pretty good! The only back story where they skimped was Thor's. I read later Joss Whedon had to choose someone to cut and Thor's back story got whittled down. I kept waiting for them to explain more of his vision but they never did.

Maria Zannini said...

Marianne: You, lazy? Ha!

I always wonder about these visions. People who have passed always say they're fine. I guess it's what we want to hear, but just once I'd like more details.

Maria Zannini said...

Lynn: I'm going to put Grantchester on my queue. I love stories set in the 50s (and earlier).

Re: Battleship
I agree they dropped the ball a couple of times but overall I thought it was pretty good. That's why I was so surprised to hear it got such bad reviews. I don't get it.

Maria Zannini said...

Mike: I think California tried to sue Texas for our water. I guess they didn't win because I never heard any more about it.

Not really sure how you can sue a government to hand over water running on their land, but that's politics and the legal system.

Maria Zannini said...

Diane: I don't like depressing movies, even when I like the actors. The only depressing movie in my library is City of Angels. I still love the story, but I have to be in the mood to watch it.

I do like war movies though, as long as it delivers a satisfying end.

Maria Zannini said...

Betty: I heard Imitation Game was brilliant. I'm waiting for it to come on Netflix or Amazon Prime.

Re: water
As much as I'd like the rain to subside for a few days to let us dry out, I won't complain. The alternative is worse than too much water.

Darke Conteur said...

I'm with you on Battleship. I remember hearing about it via Hollywood people (I follow some on Twitter) and they had it in for that movie from conception. When I first heard about it I rolled my eyes to, but after seeing it, it's not a bad flick. Like you said, a good popcorn movie. One go-to movie we like is Speed Racer. people didn't like it either, but it's pretty good. Visually stunning and somewhat silly. Kind of like live-action anime. :D One movie that I really want to see, but will have to wait for PPV is John Wick. I'm a huge Keanu Reeves fan (seen just about all his movies) and I've been hearing a lot of good things about it. Bloody, but good.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I saw Age of Ultron with my youngest son. It was fun. I never saw Battleship though I did read some bad reviews.

Maria Zannini said...

Darke: I had the same reaction when I heard the premise. We'd had that dvd in our library for ages, but never watched it.

It was so nice to be pleasantly surprised.

Maria Zannini said...

Susan: Don't let the reviews sway you. It was quite entertaining.

B.E. Sanderson said...

OMG, I totally loved Battleship! When those WWII soldiers get the battleship ready to take on the aliens, I cry. Every time. It's so inspiring. (But I'm a crier, so it could be me.) And I cheer when we kick butt and win. Yep. Definitely one of my favorites.

Meet Joe Black is a remake of an old movie. I've seen the old one, but I haven't seen this one. Not a Brad Pitt fan. You're probably right about your grandmother. Thinking people often get mistaken for being sad. :hugs:

If you haven't seen Pacific Rim, it was another one they panned, but I found it pretty action filled and enjoyable. =o)

Maria Zannini said...

BE: The veterans' scene was my favorite part! Maybe because I'm entering into fogey territory myself, but I loved that even the oldest of us are valuable.

I'll put Pacific Rim on my queue. I have to space my cerebral movies with a little popcorn. :)

Barbara Ann Wright said...

I really enjoyed Mad Max: Fury Road. I was surprised by just how good it was.

Maria Zannini said...

Barbara: Thanks for the rec. I keep hearing it called a 'feminist' movie. Not sure why.

Tyrean Martinson said...

I enjoyed Avengers: Age of Ultron as well and thought Spader did a great job! I was frustrated by some of the "pace" of the overall movie, but I still liked knowing some of the backstory.
I haven't seen any of the others you watched - I guess I listen to the critics too much.
I did watch The Machine on Netflix - it's a British film that's an early, more cerebral version of Ex Machine (not sure that's the right title) that's playing in theaters now. I liked it, but definitely wouldn't watch it with kids - slightly disturbing on different levels.
Then, I watched Stolen (also on Netflix) with Nicolas Cage and liked it as popcorn flick.

I hope you get some sunshine soon!

Maria Zannini said...

Tyrean: I'm the same way about pacing, especially with the fight scenes. I always think they go on too long.