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, 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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classic, film, must see

Movie Review: Rebel Without A Cause

One of the most iconic films of the 1950’s and one of the very few films to portray teenagers as not perfect. This film also has tragic stories for its three leads of the film. If you have not seen it spoilers will be ahead. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

Jim Stark (James Dean) is arrested for being publicly drunk and is taken to the local juvenile division of the local police. He meets two other teens: John Crawford aka Plato (Sal Mineo) and Judy (Natalie Wood). Plato was arrested for shooting dead puppies while Judy broke curfew. Problems at home are soon revealed for all three teens: Jim is angry with his parents constant bickering and his father failing to stand up for himself (he screams “You’re TEARING ME APART” when they fight at the station, an iconic line from the movie), Judy believes her father does not love her anymore because she is no longer a little girl and the clothes she wears only cause more resentment, and finally Plato’s mother is never around. The next day at school Jim, who has become enamored with Judy, offers her a ride home only to be stopped by her “friends” a gang of teens. Their leader Buzz (Corey Allen) challenges Jim to a knife fight, with Jim almost winning. Buzz then asks for a chicken run with stolen cars. Jim agrees and Plato comes along, seeing Jim almost as a father figure. The chicken run tragically does not go as planned and Jim, Plato and Judy are forced to deal with their home lives, the gang coming after them as well as become closer together, almost acting out a fantasy as a family. I will say this if you expect this film to have a happy ending, brace yourself.

This has been listed multiple times as one of the best films ever made, and with good reason.  It was not only well written and well acted this was one of the few films back then that showed not all home lives were picture perfect: teenagers acting out, families arguing, gangs, young tragic deaths, etc. The performances by Dean, Wood and Mineo are the best parts of the film, Mineo and Wood nominated for Oscars and Dean’s going down as the best performance of his career, which makes their stories more tragic. Dean, just off his Oscar nominated role of East of Eden, died in a car accident on September 30, 1955 before the film was released. Mineo was murdered on February 12, 1976 and finally Natalie Wood drowned on November 29, 1981, a case that is still in the news. Tragic stories for a movie with many tragedies in the plot itself. I would highly recommend watching Rebel Without A Cause as soon as possible, it is that good.

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film, James Bond

Movie Review: Licence To Kill

Without question the darkest Bond film in the franchise. It also served as the final film for Timothy Dalton as Bond, Caroline Bliss as Moneypenny and Robert Brown as M. If this is what happens when Bond takes things personally, I do NOT want to be on his bad side. Spoilers ahead as usual. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

Bond and Felix Leiter (David Hedison returning from Live and Let Die) are on their way to Felix’s wedding when they get a call that drug lord Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi) is in the area. A quick stop there and Sanchez is captured. However shortly after Felix and his wife Della (Priscilla Barnes) marry, Sanchez bribes DEA agent Ed Killifer (Everett McGill) for his freedom. Sanchez and his henchman Dario (Benicio Del Toro) take Felix to an aquarium owned by Milton Krest (Anthony Zerbe), an associate of Sanchez. Bond hears Sanchez escaped and arrives to find Felix maimed, courtesy of a tiger shark, and Della dead and possibly raped. Bond and a friend Sharkey (Frank McRae) investigate leading to the aquarium and discover Sanchez’s submarine used for smuggling cocaine. Bond kills Killifer by forcing him to drop into the shark tank. An angry M demands Bond report to his mission and Bond resigns to go after Sanchez. M instead suspends him and revokes his licence to kill. Bond, along with a friend of Felix at the CIA Pam Bouvier (Carey Lowell), an unauthorized Q (Desmond Llewelyn) and Sanchez’s mistress Lupe (Talisa Soto), aim to stop Sanchez once and for all.

As I said this is the darkest Bond in the entire franchise, and with good reason. While I admit the writing could have been better in a few places and a couple of things don’t make sense the characters make up for it. Bond is a man without anything to lose and it shows; I personally think between Dalton’s two performances as 007 this is his better one. My thoughts on Pam will be later so I’d like to focus on the others. Lupe is a pretty good Bond girl, admittedly very damsel and “oh James”, but nonetheless she gave Pam a run for her money as who would Bond end up with. Sanchez is one of my favorite villains in the Bond franchise; he is so evil, creepy and overall just a good bad guy. I don’t see him on many top Bond villains list; which I understand there are better villains, but I still love to hate this guy. While this was not his first film Del Toro stood out as the maniacal Dario; on a side note Dario and Sanchez’s death are two of the most gruesome/spectacular in the franchise along with Krest. Brown’s final appearance as M really packed a punch and I was  disappointed for two reasons. When Bond flees M prevents someone from shooting him not because he cared but because “there are too many people”, come on really. Also there seems to be no reconciliation at the end of the movie even though Felix says m has a job for Bond. Bliss is only on screen for probably two minutes, and not the best Moneypenny, but if it wasn’t for her Q wouldn’t have been there to help. This is my favorite Q performance out of Llewellyn because he basically defies orders to help Bond out, showing as much as he gets annoyed at him Q has a soft spot for 007, I also liked his scenes with Pam. While I would not say Licence to Kill should be placed high on a recommendation list, I would still say if you like the Bond franchise then watch this movie.

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