Category Archives: Movie Reviews

Movie Review: Tomorrowland

 

tomorrowland

PG | 130 min | Action, Adventure, Mystery | 22 May 2015 (USA)

I had my big little home over the weekend.  He has a couple weeks off between spring semester and summer semester.  He spent a few days here and then flew out to Utah to hang with friends earlier this week.  He is probably traipsing across beautiful mountains right about now – I’m jelly.  Before he left, the two of us headed out to a screening of Tomorrowland.  It’s Disney and stars George Clooney so I figured those are two pros.  It had to be good, right?

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This is how we felt after the movie…

Tomorrowland is a special place in another dimension where only certain people are invited to visit.  It’s a mecca for creative types, inventors and geniuses.  That’s all I’ll say.  Disney is trying to keep a lot of the plot under wraps and they really want the movie goer to go in not knowing much.

Here are the positives… 1. George Clooney does a good job.  2. Raffey Cassidy does a GREAT job (she plays the young girl/robot).  3. The film is family friendly; probably geared toward 7 – 12 year olds.  4. There are some decent special effects.  5. There is a beautiful message: If we would stop allowing our preconceived notions to be negative self-fulfilled prophesies, we could change the world.  Hmmm, that’s about it for the win column…

Here is what we didn’t like.  1. Brit Robison (plays Casey, a high school age NASA lover) is so blah.  I thought it was just me, but Gage thought the same thing.  She was not believable and sorta boring on screen.  2. The story was weak.  It had the potential to be something really inspiring but fell flat.  3. I personally thought there was some unnecessary violence.  I’m sensitive to this since it’s being marketed as a “whole family can see it” movie.  The violence is robot violence so Gage tried to convince me that was different.  I’m not sure. 4. It’s a little over 2 hours, and for most of that we were waiting for something good to happen.  When the movie ended, we felt a little cheated – like we had waited all that time to see something cool and nothing happened.

I’d give the film 2.5 stars.  Worth watching when it comes out on DVD/on demand as a family movie night at home with some good pizza.  A cushy couch and tasty pizza can help you overlook a lot of movie flaws.  10 dollar tickets and 8 dollar popcorn tend to make a us a little more critical – save your movie cash for something else.

For more movie info and reviews, visit Mungleshow.
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Movie Review: Focus

focus

The stars randomly aligned this week and I was able to get in a midweek date night with Matt.  My previous plans were canceled due to this crazy weather so it enabled us to attend the screening of Focus – Will Smith’s latest flick.  This movie has been on my radar cause, well, who doesn’t love Will Smith?  And also, that Margot Robbie is hot.  Js.

Will Smith plays Nicky, a seasoned con artist with lots of experience and “jobs” under his belt.  Margot Robbie plays Jess, the novice wannabe con girl that needs Nicky to teach her the ropes.  He does… for a little while… and then he says goodbye – seemingly breaking both of their hearts.  A few years later they meet up again and from that point on you won’t know who is conning who – and trust me, there are several characters with various agendas and different levels of deceptions happening.

While the premise of this movie is an old one, I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t have it all figured out by the end.  When the movie was over, I told Matt my overall opinion was that it was very “Oceans 11 with a lot of raunchiness thrown in”.   There are some great one liners (inappropriate as they may have been I was seriously laughing out loud) and the wit and fast pace was great too.

All in all, great movie for some laughs and entertainment.  It’s not for the young ones – it earns it’s R rating for dirty language and low down shady behavior – but I enjoyed it!

Movie Review: The Boy Next Door

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Okay, here’s the deal.  There is a lot of chatter in the movie world about all the Oscar nominated flicks out there right now.  In fact, the last few movies I’ve reviewed or even watched are nominated or SHOULD have been… Well… *insert awkward silence*  This is not one of those movies.  However, the majority of movie-goers out there aren’t necessarily looking for a film with Oscar buzz.  People just want to be entertained.  I’d say this one is entertaining…

Single mama and teacher Claire Peterson (Jennifer Lopez) has recently separated from her cheating husband and on a particularly vulnerable night (and after several glasses of wine) she has a moment of weakness and has some hot steamy relations with her much younger next door neighbor (Ryan Guzman).  Young hot neighbor turns out to be a tiny bit obsessive and pretty much a total nut job and stalking and terrorizing ensue.

The characters are SO stereotypical, the acting is meh (although JLo did a pretty good job…) and the plot is beyond predictable.  BUT… you will be entertained, if not for the scary moments that have you jumping out of your seat the long-sweaty-moaning sex scene should impress you.   I swear JLo must work out ALL.THE.TIME.  You won’t leave the theater excited to have a deep discussion with your friends – in fact you’ll probably forget the movie when it’s over.  But it’s mindless and sometimes that’s what we’re looking for on a Friday night.

This movie is rated R because is says ALL of the REALLY bad cuss words, it’s got a few crazy violent scenes and plenty of T&A.  Not for the young ones.  Fans of JLo and hot sex will like this film, otherwise, it’s one of those that in a few years you’ll stop on when your flipping through the cable channels on a lazy Saturday afternoon.

2.5 stars.

Movie Review: The Imitation Game

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It’s no secret that I am a huge Benedict Cumberbatch fan.  I think he is a MAHvelous actor to put it lightly.  I was excited to see The Imitation Game end of last year and even more excited when a screener arrived in the mail for Mungleshow to review in early December!

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Posted this on instagram last month, perfect Saturday night “in”.

The Imitation Game is based on the life of mathematician Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch).  Turing was a brilliant cryptanalyst and pioneer in the computer industry.  His advancements in those fields helped the Allies win WWII.  He received a great deal of backlash from his colleagues and superiors who thought his “code breaking machine” was a waste of time and money.  He did eventually gain their support but Alan Turing faced adversity again when his homosexuality came to light after a break-in at his home.  He was prosecuted and convicted for gross indecency – homosexuality was a criminal offense during this time.

The movie makes the creation and process of building the code breaking machine exciting.  The personal experiences of Turing and the struggles he faces are complicated and sad when you think of what he accomplished and why he was held back.  Cumberbatch was fantastic in this role, his social awkwardness that he plays so well is perfect for this character.  Kiera Knightley and Matthew Goode also do well in their portrayals of members of Turing’s motley crew of highly intelligent analysts.  If you are drawn to films about war history (not violent but still suspenseful), technology advancement or maybe you’re just a member of the Cumberbunch fan club – I think you’ll enjoy this one.

4.5 out of 5

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Movie Review: The Theory of Everything

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The Theory of Everything

PG-13

This movie was NOT on my radar initially, but several weeks ago my 14 year old daughter came home and told us she *had* to see it.  I suspect that her reasons had more to do with a crush on Eddie Redmayne (who portrays Hawking in the film) and less about the accomplishments of Hawking in the fields of mathematics and theoretical cosmology.  I could be wrong though, she loved the film as much as I did.

Although Theory addresses Hawking’s achievements and touches on the success of his best selling book A Brief History of Time, its main focus is on his condition (ALS) and the effects of it on him and his wife Jane (played by Felicity Jones).  It portrays the aftermath of his diagnosis in a realistic way and it was sometimes heartbreaking to watch.  The movie covers several decades (60s through 90s roughly) and catalogs the onset and eventual paralysis of Hawking.  In the film, Hawking’s wife is his main caregiver and the tender and intimate relationship they shared is apparent on screen.  Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones did an exception job in their roles and will surely be recognized during awards season.

I honestly cannot say anything bad about this film.  The sets and scenery were flawless (I appreciate when a film gets the clothes, hair and scenery correct for the decade), the writing and story were poignant and the acting excellent.  There are no explosions or gratuitous sex scenes in the film, so if that is your thing you might skip this one.  But if you are looking for a well acted and moving story, this one more than qualifies.  You’ll leave the theater with a better understanding of Hawking’s academic abilities and a greater respect for those fighting ALS.

4.5 out of 5 stars

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Movie Review: Big Hero 6

big hero 6

There is nothing new about Disney’s upcoming film Big Hero 6.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that every scene of the movie has been done in multiple superhero films (The Avengers, Iron Man) and I swear I even recognized a scene from Gravity.  However, I still walked out of the theater smiling – it’s worth a trip to the movies.

HIro is a 14 year old genius that initially spends all of his time building homemade robots and fighting them in illegal bouts around the city.  His older brother, who apparently is also highly intelligent, introduces him to his classmates at the robotics department at his university in an effort to motivate Hiro to use his gift for more positive projects.  As the truth unfolds about a tragedy in the university’s science department, Hiro finds himself fighting the classic “villain” and using his intelligence and technical skills to outfit himself and new friends as “super” crime fighters.  At the center of the group is a large inflated robot named Baymax – a robot built to act as an unassuming medical assistant, not to save the world.

Baymax is obviously the character that steals the show.  We all love an honest being that will do anything for his charge – human or not.  I give the film 4 out of 5 microbots – it would have been a higher mark if some of the scenes weren’t blatant copies of other films.  I found myself laughing out loud over and over again during this movie and I won’t lie, I got misty eyed during certain parts as well.  The villain in the film is a bit scary so keep that in mind if your child scares easily.  I think the story is geared more for the above 5 kiddos, but adults who like this genre will enjoy it as well.  In fact, I texted my 20 year old college son after the movie and told him about it because I knew he’d love it.    I’d definitely put this film in the “see it” column, however, see it in a NON 3D showing – it’ll save you a few bucks and you and your kids won’t have to wear the annoying glasses.

Movie Review: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

movie alexCady and I opted for a midweek Girls’ Night to see a screening of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day last week.

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If you’re looking for a fun family movie, this is a good one.

This is my review copied directly from The MungleShow site.  Visit it for all sorts of movie info!

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PG 81 min – Comedy | Family

If you are a fan of the original children’s book like myself, this movie might have peaked your interest. There have been several adaptions of children’s books into movies in recent years that have been less than successful so I will admit I was skeptical of this one… I’m happy to report if you are looking for a clean family flick, this one fills the need.

Starring Steve Carrell and Jennifer Garner, the story examines what it would be like to have a very very bad day…VERY bad day. Ed Oxenbould plays title character Alexander – the kid who just can’t catch a break. Waking up with gum in his hair, a popular kid planning a way cooler birthday party on the same day as his, and struggling to find his place among siblings that all seem to excel is just a typical day for twelve year old Alexander. As he sits alone at midnight on his birthday he makes a wish that his family could understand what it’s like to have a day when everything goes wrong. When everyone wakes up the next day (very late of course), the hilarity ensues.

This movie is perfect for families with kids five and older (if you don’t fit into that demographic, you might consider seeing something else). The humor is juvenile and there is a scene where Mom (Garner) uses the word penis several times – but nothing inappropriate. My fourteen year old and I found ourselves cracking up several times. There is something for families in all stages to identify with and of course a reminder of what’s important at the end of every day – even if it’s a very bad one. I give the movie 4 out of 5 flammable pirate shirts.