Keanu

“I have no idea why I was so excited to see this movie. I was insistent on making it in to see this this week, and refused to entertain any schedule that would push it back. I’m not even a Key and Peele fan, nor do I consider myself a cat person, beside the love for my two little vampire furballs. I think it was just the unique concept and the absurdity of it all. Peele’s Rell adopts a kitten, Keanu, who is stolen by drug dealers. With the help of his friend Clarence, Key, they faux break bad in an attempt to get their feline friend back.

The very first thing I need to warn you about, if you’re only in it for the kitty, there’s a solid hour or so that’s kitty-less. Quite the disappointment as the kitty was the biggest highlight. The story went some strange and dark places and I don’t know that I was so prepared for that (again, I expected more kitty.) Still, this is a very clever movie with an original premise, although ironically, the next closest thing I can think of plot wise is John Wick where he goes after the baddies that killed his dog, ironically played by Keanu Reeves. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not.

I’ll admit, not all of the humor landed for me. But our lead boys had enough charisma that they won me over anyways. I don’t know that we can really call me a fan yet, but I’m still I’ll be just a little more happy to see them on screen in the future.

Oh and for those who are really paying attention, there’s a really fun cameo about mid to 2/3 of the way through the film. Judging by the reactions of the audience reading the credits walking out, you may not recognize who you’re hearing, but it’s very appropriate and purrfect (sorry, had to)! Didn’t wanna spoil, but wanted to at least keep you on the alert.

Keanu – \m/ \m/ \m/ \n”

The Huntsman: Winter’s War

“So I had my day all planned out since earlier this week when movie times were out (is anyone even surprised that I do this?) Pretty standard plan. Yoga. Double movies. Blue Apron. Warcraft. And then I got a text at 6:30AM for an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Actually, I’d first gotten one at midnight for 4:30, but didn’t think it was worth interrupting my sleep. The 6:30 WE-NEED-PPL-IMMEDIATELY was worth it. Unfortunately, I’m not really at liberty to discuss exactly what that opportunity was, but you can bet I’ll blog about it once I’m allowed (December maybe?)

Anyways, I knew enough about the timelines to assume that my original movie plan was out the window. The question was would I be able to make it up in the afternoon, or push off to tomorrow? At 1:30, it became clear that freedom was in sight. Not that I had been particularly trapped or that I didn’t have something else absolutely gorgeous in my sight for a while (cryptic much? Still not telling!). I checked movie times and saw a 2:30 start time combo that work would. Otherwise, a double wouldn’t work until much later. I was out at 2:40 and the movie theater was about 10 min away. All of this is just a really long and roundabout way of admitting that I missed the first 15 minutes of the movie (and had to buy a ticket for something else in order to get in), but I didn’t think it’d be a big loss.

To be completely honest, I wasn’t too thrilled when this prequel/sequel mix was announced. I was rather underwhelmed by the first, which had lots of pretty but not lots of happenings. This one looked like it might fall into the same trap. However, I will say that I was quite excited about the visible girl power in this one. Besides Charlize Theron’s powerful evil queen, we have her ice queen sister played by Emily Blunt. And aiding the returning Mr Chris Hemsworth (swoon) is the ass kicking Jessica Chastain. 3 tough damsels, none of whom are in distress? This is a concept I can get behind.

Well I wasn’t quite as bored as with the previous outing, but it was still kinda thin. So Chastain and Hemsworth were soldiers for the ice queen. They fell in love (aww…or something) but then the ice queen rips them apart because she’s bitter (or something). Time jump where the previous movie happens. Now ice queen wants evil queen’s mirror and Hemsworth wants to stop it and there’s fighting and dwarfs and beautiful costumes and predictability all over the place.

So yeah, would not be surprised to see Colleen Atwood pick up yet another Academy Award nomination for her costume work, as these were incredible (the queens in particular, and extra particular the ice queen). Otherwise, we’ve got minimal improvement over the first, but still not enough to get too excited about anything other than Chris Hemsworth’s body (and oh what a body). And it was a cool excuse to see such a great cast have fun on the late night circuit, but otherwise, I don’t expect anyone to be thinking about this film past next week, especially since this fab four each have their own exciting next projects to look forward to

The Huntsman: Winter’s War – \m/ \m/ \n”

Kramer vs Kramer

“I don’t know what’s harder to believe, that this 5 time Academy Award winning film (including picture, director, and the first wins for both Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep) did not make AFI’s Top 100 list, or that this family drama beat out highly acclaimed classic, Apocalypse Now.

Actually, I can kinda see how the later would happen. I personally much prefer this film, and something relatable stands a better chance over such a heavy handed film, even if the heavier one has gained more notoriety over time. See also Rocky being out Network and Taxi Driver or Shakespeare in Love beating out Saving Private Ryan.

In Kramer Vs Kramer, mother Joanna (Streep) leaves her husband Ted (Hoffman) and young son Billy (record holding youngest ever Academy Award nominee Justin Henry). Where Ted was once the self absorbed but hard working provider, leaving all the domestic duties to his wife, he has to learn how to put his son first and play both mother and father. The story is simple, but compelling.

It is kind of interesting seeing it through the lens of today, as gender roles aren’t quite as strictly divided as they were then. Joanna’s crisis of identity and need for self discovery also doesn’t often present that way anymore as most of this generation has waited to figure that out before the whole family thing. Still, some things don’t change, and the bond that forms between father and son still resonates today.

For me, though, the weird thing is seeing Streep play this type of character. I’m so used to her today as the wise matriarch type, or a stern and strong authority figure, that young and lost and kinda selfish feels so bizarre. I shouldn’t be surprised at the range that this goddess of a woman has, but I’m delighted that I still can be.”

October Sky

“This movie is on the list of ones that I want to show repeatedly to my theoretical one day future children. The reason being that I hope it inspires them to be science nerds. Oh I’m sure I’ll have plenty of other tricks on hand to turn them on to science, but a feel good family film like this one can only help the cause right? I mean, look how influenced I was by family movies of the early 90s.

I ordered this movie while in the middle of that Jake Gyllenhaal kick I was on (am still kinda on) recently. Although this Jake is a bit too itty bitty to be the object of lust he typically is for me (we’ll stick to Donnie Darko or Jarhead or End of Watch or Bubble Boy for that). Here he stars in the true story of Homer Hickam, a future NASA engineer who got his start by building rockets with his friends in their small coal mining town.

Seriously, this movie is a joy for science nerds. It chronicles the journey of a budding scientist finding that joy for himself, from the initial interest, to the trial and error to the breakthroughs and discovery to the eventual (slightly spoiler) success. Having grown up in a household that encouraged educational endeavors (even outside my family, my Daddy was best known for his love of education and passion for empowering others with it) and then hanging around a nerdy school like MIT, I kinda take it for granted that the type of thinking celebrated in this movie isn’t the norm for everyone. And it’s kind of cool seeing both sides of it here, as Homer is faced with some strong opposition within his family and school. But science and passion triumph over all, as it should be, huzzah!

Sure it’s cheesy, but that’s half the fun of a (barely) 90’s family film. There’s a reason us babies of the 80s and 90s kids feel such nostalgia for these things (even if this movie was more of a recent discovery, it still fits). They’re effective and they take you to a happy place for a couple hours. And that is why I do intend to inundane those theoretical one day future children with these movies. Because it would be a crime not to!”

Elvis and Nixon

“This has to be one of the most bizarre films I’ve ever seen. Bizarre, but wonderfully quirky and fun.

Michael Shannon and Kevin Spacey star in this strange but true (though somewhat embellished) story of the day when Elvis Presley met President Nixon, the resultant photo is one of the most requested in the national archives. The film serves to fill in some of the gaps of what happened on that fateful and strange day.

Cutting straight to the chase, the performances are the reason to see this. We know that Shannon and Spacey are good. They’re some of the best intense and most serious actors on screen today. This movie is a rare chance (especially for Shannon) to see them cut loose and just have fun. If you’ve been reading ExpDel a while, you’ll know I love little more than to see a favorite actor have a blast chewing some scenery. And c’mon, think of how many times we’ve seen Shannon tower on screen, in how many of those has the man gotten to crack a smile?

Throughout this short movie, I constantly found myself chuckling with joy and/or surprise. I really can’t even begin to describe it, it’s just something that should be experienced. These are two of the biggest, most famous and influential men in history, interacting and being completely baffled by the other. It’s just so bizarre, and yet so humanizing for a couple of larger than life historic figures. You know, just when I think I’ve seen it all, and that there’s nothing left for Hollywood to surprise me with, a movie like this happens. And that’s why I religiously spend every Saturday afternoon at the movies, hoping for this type of experience that only sometimes comes along.

Elvis and Nixon – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/”