Category Archives: Movie Reviews

The Space Between Us – Movie Review

THE SPACE BETWEEN US

Warning!  Bring a tissue!

This was a fantastic movie!  I am a huge Science Fiction fan and this one did not disappoint.

Synopsis – The movie takes place in the not too distant future.  Earth, as suspected, is depleting its natural resources so we take to looking to the stars to solve the problem.  Technology has evolved so that we can put a space station on Mars and the first 6 astronauts are taking a 4 year posting to settle and see how we can make out on that planet.

The problem arises when the lead astronaut gets pregnant and is not noticed until they are two months into the mission.  She is due shortly after arriving on Mars.  Problem is that since her whole pregnancy has been in a zero G gravity, the baby’s organs are different than normal humans and cannot survive in Earth’s gravity.  His bones are weaker, his heart is larger etc.  The baby (Gardner) remains on Mars after the mom dies giving birth.  The story mostly takes place after Gardner turns 16.

Cast- Britt Roberson plays Tulsa,the 16 year old orphan girl on earth, whom Gardner sparks an online relationship with. Spunky, witty, edgy and charming all rolled into one!  Love the character and the actress who plays her.

Asa Butterfield plays Gardner, the first ever Martian!.  His best friend is a robot and he spends the first 16 years on Mars.  He is cute and funny and a little (ok a lot) nerdy but in a totally endearing lovable way.  You empathise with him immediately.  The actor does an amazing job with this character.

Gary Oldman plays Nathaniel Shepherd the man who founded the project.

Carla Gugino plays astronaut Kendra Wyndham who basically raised Gardner.  Love this actress as well and she does an amazing job.

I was surprised to read that the ratings for this movie were not very good and I’m glad I didn’t know that until after I watched it.  Critics say it’s cheesy and melodramatic.  I get the cheesy comments but I thought it added to the characters.  Maybe I’m more forgiving than most, or just a sucker for a romantic science fiction movie.  Either way….

I don’t want to give away any spoilers but suffice it to say that for me, the movie is amazing.  The science is believable and the story is awesome.  There are some tear jerker moments.  A great combination of romance, drama, suspense and science fiction rolled into one!  Loved it.

5 stars for me!

 

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, no good very bad day – Movie

horrible

I have to say that this was a great family flick. I loved it and so did my 8 yr old daughter. We laughed and cried and nearly snorted out our popcorn! The story stars Alexander (played by Ed Oxenbould) as he has the worst day of his young life. From gum in the hair mishaps to catching his crush’s book on fire in science class, the day keeps getting worse and worse.

fire

His family doesn’t seem to acknowledge his very bad day and he makes a wish that they would understand. The result is that each of his family members experiences the equivalent of their worst day ever resulting in some really hilarious antics. Steve Carell plays the dad and is funny as ever. The whole cast does an amazing job creating a mountain of laughter. The rest of the cast includes: Jennifer Garner (mom) Dylan Minnette (brother) and Kerris Dorsey (sister).

The movie is a heartfelt comedy that shows no matter how bad it gets, if you stick together as a family and support each other, nothing can really get you down. Lots of laughs and fun for the whole family.

family

4 stars for me.

The Judge: Starring Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall

the judge

The movie centers on Defence attorney Hank (Robert Downey Jr) who is a little on the callous side defending guilty people with money by bending every rule he can. “Innocent people can’t afford me”, he tells another attorney who is outraged at his lack of morals. Hank has to return to his hometown to attend his mother’s funeral when we meet Hank’s father (Robert Duvall), a prominent judge from their hometown in Indiana. Joseph Palmer (Duval) is a veteran judge who imposes his highly moral standard on all those he presides over. He has little tolerance for lawyers like Hank. The relationship between father and son is strained (to put it lightly) and highly charged making for a very emotional rollercoaster of antagonism and disdain between the two. (And an entertaining match up for us viewers to watch!)

The judge 2

Things really get heated when the Judge is suspected of killing someone with his car (I won’t give any details for fear of a spoiler) Hank of course wants to represent his father but the Judge will not hear of it. We see a lot of the cool disdain both characters have for the other with the underlying family issues that really set things on edge. Old grudges and bad feelings are at the forefront until Hank learns of his father’s illness. The movie takes on a very emotional hinge that really sets you up to understand the tolerance and acceptance family’s face regardless of what has happened before.

The judge 3

I have to say this movie was really well done. The courtroom drama was great, the family interaction and dynamic was amazing with these two actors and entertaining to watch (a little humour thrown in) and even the illness was made very realistic and hard-core. There were some great supporting roles with Hank’s brothers (Jeremy Strong and Vincent D’Onofrio play Dale and Glen) as well but I won’t go into it here. Billy Bob Thornton plays the prosecuting attorney as well and has a grudge against Hank. I wasn’t a big fan of this role for him, but it was done very well.

Overall, a great movie if you are expecting drama tied in with courtroom appeal and family dynamic. If you are expecting action…go see something else.

4 stars for me.

Divergent – The Movie

I absolutely loved this book and couldn’t wait to see the movie.  The premise behind the story is that after a devastating War much of society was destroyed. The story takes place about 100 years from now in what is left of Chicago.  In order to save society, the population was divided into five factions based on character traits that were dominant.  Amity(peaceful) farm the land, Candor (honesty) run the legal system, Erudite (intelligent) focus on technology, Abnegation(selflessness) run the government and Dauntless (Bravery) protect the city from the outside world. We don’t really know what is out there at this point but we are told we need to be protected from it.

Tris (or Beatrice as she was known from Abnegation) is the teenage main character and after undergoing the mandatory testing to see which faction she is suited to, discovers that she is Divergent.  She fits into more than one category.  Divergence is a dangerous thing she is told, and she must hide it from everyone.

Tris chooses Dauntless and then has to leave her family behind and learn to fight, shoot, and train for all kinds of different situations including a mental component that helps her combat fear.

I don’t want to get into too much detail, but suffice it to say that Tris is one butt whipping, super cool heroine. Shailene Woodley does an excellent job of portraying Tris.

And of course who could forget the love interest of Four.  Theo James plays Tobias (four) and OMG this guys is AWESOME!  My only complaint with the movie is that they swiftly passed over the attraction and intensity of the connection between Tris and Four.  You get the gist, but you miss the emotion of the book.  Sigh…but he is easy on the eyes for sure.

Well I will leave it at this.  The movie was great, full of action, suspense, drama, intrigue and everything you want in a movie.  Was it as good as the book?  Not a chance, but they rarely are.  If you didn’t read the book it was an awesome movie.  If you read the book, it was a good movie that left a lot of the book out.  But that is to be expected when you try to pack a fantastic novel into a two-hour movie that needs to focus on the action and special effects to draw in a crowd.

I wasn’t disappointed and look forward to the next installment.

5 stars for me.

 

 

3 Days to Kill – Kevin Costner

3 days to Kill stars Kevin Costner(Ethan Renner), an older kickass CIA who finds out he is dying.  Much to his regret he realizes that he let the love of his life (now ex wife) and daughter slip away from him for his life of killing bad guys and really amounting to little else. With this in mind he attempts to mend fences and reconnect with his daughter who is now in high school. 

What gets this movie going is that a CIA agent (who is after the same bad guy Ethan let slip through his fingers) comes to find him and offers him a deal.  She has an experimental drug that may cure him and will give it to him for said bad guy on a platter…in other words dead. 

Amber Heard plays the CIA agent with the cure.  Good actress, lots of badassery (is that a word?) and she is easy on the eyes with or without the blonde wig.

I have to say up front that I am a HUGE fan of Kevin Costner.  This movie has been torn apart by the critics, but I have to say I really enjoyed it.  I love the comedic nature of the film.  Costner is this bad ass who is trying to track down and kill a major terrorist while he is also trying to connect with his daughter, all without her knowing.  It makes for good humour.  I don’t care what the critiques say.  In one scene he has a guy tied up in his bathroom trying to torture information out of him when his daughter calls and he gets the guy to give her an authentic Italian recipe so she can impress her boyfriend with her home cooking.  Realistic?  Absolutely not…funny?  Of course.  Maybe the critics have no funny bone. 

Anyway there is lots of smash up explosions and car chases typical of any action movie and it delivers with a punch..even a little bit gory at times. (If you’re into that.)

(Kevin Costner is still easy on the eyes!  I would watch him in anything!)

I have to say I enjoyed the movie for what it was…an action packed thriller with a lot of comedic scenes thrown in.  Is it comparable to Taken or any of the latest action movies?  Not really.  There is no comparing Liam Neeson to anyone really.   

So if you’re looking for a serious action thriller like that then this is not the movie for you.  If you are looking for a light action packed thriller and don’t mind when it is a little absurdly humorous, then this is perfect. 

I give it 5 stars. 

47 RONIN

I have to say I went into this movie with very little expectation.  I had no idea what a Ronin was or really what the movie was about.  It had Keanu Reeves and marital arts…whats not to like?

Loved this movie!

A Ronin is a disgraced Samurai.  The movie is based on a Japanese legend of 47 Ronin who seek revenge for their leader after he is forced to commit ritual suicide for assaulting a court official.   I never heard the story before, so I don’t really know how accurate the movie is to the legend.

I have always likes stories about the Samurai, their unfailing loyalty, honor and integrity above all else is amazing.  The movie tells the story with a little paranormal magic thrown in, as legends often do.  I have to say it made the movie more entertaining.

The cast was phenominal.  Keanu Reeves is a favorite of mine, especially since Matrix.  He plays Kai a half breed who is treated pretty badly by the Japanese samurai, but ends up the hero of the story in the end.  He was raised as a boy by the tengu who are a race of supernatural beings that are popular in Japanese legends.  Kai disagrees with their methods and escapes, and is found my the Samurai leader who takes him in and protects him.

The other main characters are new to me, but did a phenomenal job.   Hiroyuki Sanada (oishi), Ko Shibasaki (Mika), Tadanobu Asano (Kira) and I absolutely loved the character of the Kitsune Witch played by Rinko Kikuchi.  She was so evil and played the part extremely well.  

47-Ronin-Poster

I watched the movie in 3D which I rarely do (It gives me a headache) but the special effects and cinematography were amazing.

Since watching the movie, I have read a lot of reviews and the general consensus is that the movie was bad.  I must have bad taste then because I thought it was amazing.  It is a movie about Loyalty, honor and heroes with a little magic and paranormal elements thrown in.  I loved it right up until the last ten minutes or so when I said “What? you’re going to end it like that?” but when I thought about it, the movie couldn’t really end any other way given that it is a story about Samurai and their culture.  I won’t spoil it by saying what happens but it was a bit of a shock since I didn’t know much about the story going in.

Overall I give this movie 41/2 stars.  I would even watch it again.

Let me know if you have seen the movie and your thoughts.  Have you heard of the legend of 47 Ronin?  I love hearing other peoples thoughts on movies.  I never agree with the critics.

Catching Fire – The Movie

I have to say right up front that this movie was amazing!  I loved the story, the costumes, the special effects, the cinematography…everything!

The movie starts with Catniss and Peeta going home after winning the Hunger Games.   They don’t get much time to enjoy their win however as they are quickly on the road to do a ‘victory tour’ of the other districts and we see the beginnings of a rebellion coming on, much to the dismay of President Snow.  The whole point of ‘The Hunger Games’ is to quell any type of rebellion among the masses that serve the Capitol and since Catniss has found a way to supercede that purpose, President Snow wants her gone.  They come up with a brand new game in this movie in which all the previous victors (including Catniss) have to go back into the arena and fight each other to the death, thus quelling any chance of rebellion.  Catniss would no longer be the Mockingjay and the source of the peoples hope.

The new Hunger Games is totally different from the first right down to the design of the arena.  The participants have to fight poisonous  rain, crazed man eating monkey type creatures,  raining blood, electrified fences, and even mocking jays that cry out like their loved ones in a psychologically terrifying never ending call for help that they can never answer.   The game this time is truly twisted and sadistic.

I don’t want to ruin the movie for anyone so suffice it to say this movie was fantastic.  There were some issues I had with the movie, but they mostly have to do with the pieces missing from the book.  The book was an amazing story and unfortunately you cannot pack all of that into a two hour movie.  Pretending that I haven’t read the book, the movie on its own was a great sequel to The Hunger Games.   I am truly looking forward to the next movie.

I have to add that the costumes and scenes from the movie were so out of this world and they really captured the spirit of the book.  My favorite has to be the wedding dress that Catniss wears on stage and is transformed by Cinna.  It is truly amazing.  The special effects are phenomenal.

I shouldn’t leave without saying something about the cast.  I am a big fan of Woody Harrelson and he does an amazing job as Haymitch.  I love Jennifer Lawrence as Catniss.  She is everything I imagine Catniss to be.  All of the cast is great right down to Donald Sutherland as President Snow.  I enjoyed all of the actors, they did an amazing job.

Well I don’t want to give anything else away so let me know what your thoughts were on the movie.  Did you like it?  Hate it?  Have you read the book? Please leave a comment.