Disney, film

Movie Review: Disney’s Zootopia

Decided to go a little more modern for a Disney review today. I have learned to never really doubt Disney when it comes to their movies, and Zootopia is no exception. When I saw the trailers I thought, “OK they have animals acting like humans, I’m sure they have got something planned.” Boy did they ever as this movie is the latest Disney hit to win the Oscar for Best Animated Feature, it as well won the Golden Globe, Critics Choice and so many more for best animated movie. If you have not seen it spoilers ahead. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) has always wanted to be a police officer despite everyone from Bunnyburrow, including her parents Bonnie and Stu (Bonnie Hunt and Don Lake) telling her because she is a rabbit she would not make it. She graduates from the police academy top of her class and is placed at the best department in Zootopia; basically the biggest city of this world. However because she is a bunny Judy’s superior Chief Bogo (Idris Elba) has her become a parking attendant. Judy reluctantly takes the job and gets hustled by con artist fox Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman). Judy becomes determined to become a “real cop” and convinces the chief to put her on the case of fourteen missing predators in Zootopia. Bogo only does it after pleas from Mrs. Otterton (Octavia Spencer) in finding her husband, assistant mayor Dawn Bellwether (Jenny Slate) praises the assignment and tells the mayor Lionheart (J.K. Simmons) and on the condition that if Judy can’t crack the case in 2 days she will resign. Discovering Nick had seen Mr. Otterton Judy forces Nick to become her partner in solving the case. They both discover something much bigger is a foot and become friends along the way. Keep an ear out as well for Shakira as the biggest pop star in Zootopia Gazelle.

Let me start off by saying I loved this movie, it’s Disney I did not expect anything less. I thought the voice acting was perfect. I adore Ginnifer Goodwin in a couple of movies and her role on ABC’s Once Upon a Time and I could not think of a better person to voice Judy. Jason Bateman as Nick also worked out; he had a good voice for playing someone very shady and sarcastic. The rest of the cast is spectacular, the writing is fantastic, the song “Try Everything” is a great listen; overall Zootopia is a great Disney movie so put it on the animated film recommendation list, but there is one thing that sticks out the most in the movie: the message it had. Prey and predators were living together in harmony until the case began to blow up. Stereotyping and prejudice may have been around, but it only increased and got worse. While even after the movie ended things got better we all know it never truly ends; much like in our world. There will always be stereotyping and prejudice, I hate to admit it, but if this movie shows anything it is not everyone is defined by what they look like and if we get to know a person there will be more than meets the eye. I wish we can live in a world without these evils, and that is my dream one day. It is just going to take a little time and a whole lot of love.

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film, James Bond, must see

Movie Review: GoldenEye

Now we are getting into the Bond films I am pretty sure everyone knows about; they may have watched the movie or played the video game either way. Constantly listed as one of the best Bond films, usually within the top 2 at most, GoldenEye was the first Bond film in over six years, and it was well worth the wait,; i would even call it a must see even if you are not a Bond fan. As always spoilers ahead. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) along with a fellow MI6 agent Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean) infiltrate and destroy a Soviet chemicals facility holding weapons. Bond escapes but Alec is taken and seemingly killed by Colonel Arkady Grigorovich Ourumov (Gottfried John). Nine years later Bond is assigned to find out more about the Janus crime syndicate, which he does by following one of the members (if you have not seen the film I swear this is the name) Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen), Moneypenny (Samantha Bond) does make a joke about it. Unfortunately Bond is one step behind Onatopp after she kills a Canadian Navy admiral for his credentials and steals a Eurocopter Tiger helicopter. She along with Ourumov go to Siberia; stealing the control disks for the Goldeneye satellites, satellite weapons used during the Cold War and massacre the entire staff except for programmer Boris Grishenko (Alan Cumming) who is on their side and Natalya Simonova (Izabella Scorupco) who hid out until she could escape. Bond is assigned by M (Dame Judi Dench) to investigate the attack. With the help of CIA operative Jack Wade (Joe Don Baker, told you we’d see him again) and reluctant ally Valentin Zukovsky (Robbie Coltrane) Bond meets with the person responsible for everything; Janus aka the not so dead Alec Trevelyan. Having vowed to destroy MI6, not for leaving him dead but for his Cossack parents deaths during World War II, Trevelyan along with Onatopp, Boris and Ourumov plan to use the GoldenEye satellites to destroy the British economy by robbing the Bank of England and erase its finical records. Bond along with Natalya and Wade are determined to make sure that does not happen.

This is without question one of the best Bond films to ever be made and it was sort of a breath of fresh air for the franchise. Many made their debut as characters we know and love; Brosnan as 007, Dench as M and Bond as Moneypenny with only Desmond Llewellyn returning as Q. The Brosnan era Bonds were the ones I think my generation are more familiar with and why these are some of my favorite Bond films, but of course GoldenEye is at the top. I think Brosnan is my second favorite Bond (Connery of course at the top spot) as he is the right amount of charming but dangerous. He is quick to pick up his gun or how to get the bad guy in a deadly position before ultimately executing depending on the situation. I, like I know so many others, absolutely love Judi Dench as M. Many will argue is the best version of that character, but you won’t get it from me. While I think Dench is great as M in this era of Bond we all know she shines in the Craig versions but that is for another day. Before I move on I also love Samantha Bond as Moneypenny; while she does not come close to Lois Maxwell she does very well.

My thoughts on Natalya will be later so I’d like to focus on the characters that let’s face it we all love to hate in this movie; the villains. Sean Bean is one of the finest actors today and this is one of his best works. Trevelyan is basically an evil version of Bond and one of the best villains not just in the franchise but in movies (OK not that high on the list but right where he should be). Ourumov is also fantastic as it seemed for a long time he was the bad guy, but nope. He’s more working for his own goals rather than Trevelyan, but still he is great. I’ve always loved Alan Cumming in movies and he is both a joy and a nuisance to watch here, “I am INVINCIBLE”, really dude. While all three of them stick out in their own way however no villain or femme fatale is more memorable in this film than Onatopp. Let me give you some of the reasons of the top of my head: that name, she is gorgeous as well as deadly, she takes (ahem) pleasure out killing and for the love of God uses her THIGHS to kill a guy while taking pleasure! Tell me that is not crazy. I honestly think this is one of the very few women on the bad guy side that Bond actually does not sleep with, if HE doesn’t sleep with HER you know he knows how nuts he is.

The story of GoldenEye is very well written as is the action. I could not think of a Bond movie up until that point that had more guns and explosions, which is probably why people love this movie so much in addition to the performances. If you have not seen GoldenEye I would say watch this as soon as you can, even if you are not a huge fan of the Bond franchise.

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film

Movie Review: Maid In Manhattan

Yeah I know another Cinderella like movie, but this one I am not a huge fan of. Don’t get me wrong I like it but I’m not crazy about it. Released in December 2002, Maid in Manhattan I would describe as cute, but I feel like it is lacking just a few things. Spoilers ahead as usual. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

A young single mother Marisa Ventura (Jennifer Lopez) works as a maid at one of the best hotels in Manhattan; The Beresford Hotel. Her son Ty (Tyler Posey, yeah the same guy from Teen Wolf) likes to hang around the hotel when not in school and soon meets one of the guests at the hotel; senatorial candidate Christopher Marshall (Ralph Fines), who feels like his life is under a microscope. Marisa and her friend Stephanie (Marissa Matrone) are cleaning the suite of Caroline Lane (Natasha Richardson) a socialite whom let’s just say is a little off her rocker after a break up. She asks Marisa to return a Dolce & Gabbana coat, but Stephanie convinces Marisa to try it on because “technically” it doesn’t belong to anyone. As she does Ty arrives with Chris asking if he can go with him to walk Chris’s dog. Marisa and Chris are quickly smitten with each other, but he thinks she’s Caroline Lane. Marisa tries to avoid Chris because she thinks it will ruin her chances of becoming manager, but it does not stop them from falling in love. If you know your Cinderella stories I’m sure you can guess how this ends.

As I stated previously while I do enjoy this movie it is not something I would recommend too highly. Here are some good parts: I like the story, what can I say I’m a sucker for Cinderella like stories, and I enjoy the performances from Lopez, Fines, Richardson and Posey and a couple of the other maids. However there are a few things I don’t like. Lopez and Fines are I think good actors in other films I, like many others, felt there was a lack of chemistry between them. It felt multiple times there was a forced attraction between their characters. I also felt the writing could have been in a few places. While I would not say it is a bad movie, I would not put this incredibly high on a recommendation list.

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film, musical

Movie Review: Oklahoma!

Again I am a woman of my word and this is one I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. One of the greatest musicals of all time, not just on Broadway but on film in 1955, Oklahoma proved to be another hit for Rogers & Hammerstein and the beginning of a wonderful musical career for one shining star. Oklahoma also won two Academy Awards for the score and sound. Spoilers ahead as usual. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

It would seem everyone in Oklahoma is getting ready fro a big party in town that night. Curly (Gordon MacRae) wants to ask the woman he loves, Laurey Williams (Shirley Jones in her first film) to the party and while Laurey clearly feels the same way, she is upset he asked her the day of the party instead of a few weeks earlier. To make Curly jealous she agrees to go with Jud (Rod Steiger), the hired hand for her Aunt Eller (Charlotte Greenwood) despite being terrified of him. Curly and Laurey play back and forth for a while before eventually giving in to their feelings, but Jud is not going to go away that easily. Meanwhile a friend of Laurey’s Ado Annie (Gloria Grahama) has been spending time with a traveling salesman Ali Hakim (Eddie Albert) but when the man she loves Will Parker (Gene Nelson) returns intending to keep his promise to marry her, once he has $50 to pay her father (because I guess that’s how it worked back then I don’t know) Annie becomes torn between the two men, though Ali does not want to marry her at all. Once all of them at the party that is when the fun really begins.

It took me a long time to find this musical, it doesn’t air on TV that much but thankfully someone uploaded it on YouTube. I had heard great things about it and it lived up to the hype; this isn’t something you can read about on Wikipedia and get the idea you have to watch it to feel the emotions. Watching Carousel before I already knew how good MacRae and Jones were together, and I definitely liked their chemistry more in this film than Carousel. I also loved the side story with Annie and the two men she must choose from. I of course cannot forget the amazing soundtrack. Every song is great, but three stand out for me. The opening song by MacRae “Oh What A Beautiful Mornin'” is a classic, “People Will Say We’re In Love” is a romantic duet between Jones and MacRae, admittedly I did not like this as much as “If I Loved You” and last but not least “Oklahoma” at the end of the film is the best known song from the show and movie. If you can find Oklahoma I encourage you to watch it.

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DC Films, film

Movie Review: Batman (1989)

While this was not the first Batman movie this was without question one of the better superhero movies of all time. Batman has been in my life since I was a kid, and it grew even more when my brother became a huge fan. If I were to guess what was his favorite movie of all time this would be my top pick. Spoilers ahead as always. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

Gotham City is getting ready to celebrate it’s 200th birthday, and Mayor Borg (Lee Wallace) has ordered the police commissioner James Gordon (Pat Hingle) and district attorney Harvey Dent (Billy Dee Williams) to make the city safer, starting with taking down crime lord Carl Grissom (Jack Palance). Meanwhile journalists Alexander Knox (Robert Wuhl) and his new partner Vickie Vale (Kim Basinger) investigate the sightings of a man dressed as a bat taking down the criminals of Gotham, but they are the only ones to believe it. At a fundraiser at Wayne Manor Vicki meets and quickly falls for Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton) and vice versa, however Bruce’s butler Alfred (Michael Gough) informs him of Gordon’s sudden departure. Grissom has his second in command Jack Napier (Jack Nicholson) in charge of a raid at Axis Chemicals, but calls corrupt police lieutenant¬† Max Eckhardt (William Hootkins) to arrange a hit on Napier (he was sleeping with Grissom’s mistress Alicia (Jerry Hall)). Batman soon arrives, much to the shock of Gordon and Napier, but the night ends with Napier falling into a vat of chemicals, despite Batman’s best to save him. However Napier is alive, but driven insane. He soon takes over the crime world as The Joker. Bruce has to figure out Joker’s insanity, his own relationship with Vicki and reliving his past (if you know Batman you know exactly what I’m talking about).

I watched this film a lot when I was a kid because of my brother, and it still stands for me as not only one of the best Batman films, but one of the best superhero films of all time. The writing is spectacular, cast was spot on and the action was everything you want it to be and more; I love the final battle between Batman and Joker at the church. Michael Keaton is one of the better actor to portray Batman in film, I also enjoyed his performance as Bruce Wayne. Without question for me though Jack Nicholson has been the best actor to portray The Joker, yes a couple of people have given him a very close run for his money but I think Nicholson has yet to be topped as the maniacal clown. While I did love Kim Basinger as Vickie Vale she screamed WAY too much. I do admire Vickie’s commitment not only as a journalist but to her relationship with Bruce, but she was way too damsel in distress. Granted I am not too sure what she was like in the comics, but I’m pretty sure she was a lot tougher than that. Gough and Hingle were the only ones to stay with the Batman franchise on the 80’s and 90’s and for me at least this was their better performances of the four films. The rest of the cast is very good as well. Tim Burton is a fantastic director and while I would not go so far and say this is one of his better films, it was definitely a good one. If you like superheor movies and have yet to watch the 1989 Batman, put it on your list right now.

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film

Movie Review: Jaws 2

When it comes to the Jaws sequels do yourself a favor; only watch the second one. From what I have heard prior to watching this film this was the better sequel of the franchise; at least a good follow up to the classic film compared to Jaws 3-D and Jaws: The Revenge (let me put it this way, Jaws 3 had tremendous negative reviews while Revenge was named one of the worst films of all time). If you are interested in Jaws 2 spoilers ahead. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

A brand new hotel is getting ready to open on Amity Island, but it is not long before there is trouble. Two divers taking pictures of the wrecked Orca are killed. A girl is also killed while water skiing and another girl causes her own death using the gas and flare on her boat severely burning the shark. These disappearances along with a whale body being washed up on the beach have Chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) believing another shark has made its presence. One day at the beach Brody sees a dark shape, orders everyone out of the water and starts shooting, but it was only a school of fish. Despite finding proof there is a shark in the area Mayor Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) and the Amity council fire Brody. Brody’s sons Mike and Sean go sailing with some of Mike’s friends, and soon realize their father is telling the truth, forcing Brody to go out and save the teens and I will say not everyone comes back home.

I’m going to say this right of the bat, this film is not as fantastic as the original, the first Jaws is a classic and will never be topped. That out of the way Jaws 2 is not a bad movie, in fact it is pretty good. Scheider does a great job in the film as does Lorraine Gary as his wife Ellen and Hamilton as Vaughn. The action and thrills are decent enough for the second film, not as much as the first but good. If you like the first Jaws and are curious about the sequels, then watch this one not the others.

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classic, film, must see

Movie Review: Juno

While I would not call Juno a sleeper hit in 2007, nor a surprise at the 2008 Oscars winning one of the four it was nominated for (winning for Best Screenplay and nominated for Best Director, Actress, and Picture) I did not see this film talked about as much compared to some of the other films that year. That being said it was still a fantastic film and I would put this very high on the must see movie list. Spoilers ahead. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

16 year old Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page) becomes pregnant after sleeping with one of her best friends, and someone who has been in love with her for a long time, Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera). She makes an appointment at the abortion clinic, but after arriving there changes her mind and decides to have the baby adopted. Juno, along with her best friend Leah (Olivia Thirlby) tell her father Mac and stepmother Brenda (J.K. Simmons and Allison Janney) she is pregnant and they offer support in her decision. Juno finds the seemingly perfect couple in Vanessa and Mark Loring (Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman). Over the pregnancy Juno struggles with her feelings for Paulie, as well as spending time with the Lorings, more specifically Mark which may or may not backfire later. About as far as I can go without giving away the rest of the movie.

As stated before this was one of the best films I have seen, from the Oscar winning script by Diablo Cody, the incredible and funny performances not just by Page who stands out in her own way, but by all the cast, the amazing directing by Jason Reitman to the rather unique soundtrack, I personally have not downloaded the songs but if you like them than go for it.

Like many of the critics who praised Juno, I loved how Juno chose against abortion and go for adoption. I’d rather not go political on my blog and I have no intention on explaining my views on abortion because it is not worth getting into an internet fight if someone is against or for abortion. All I will say is for this film I am happy with the decision Juno made. While I would not say the film glamorizes teen pregnancy it had an effect. Shortly after the film, and other films such as Knocked Up came out 17 high school students of Gloucester Massachusetts were expecting, TIME called it “The Juno Effect.” Many blamed statistics others blamed the movies; it was rather interesting watching and reading about this. I have no experience in any of this so I am probably the last person to take advice from, but if I may say something on the matter: be safe, be responsible and be smart.

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